un.

Loryle tossed the petal down into the small creek. It spiraled slowly, finally landing upon a leaf that made its way gracefully towards a destination far out of sight. A notorious laugh tore from the mouth of a petite figure behind her. It was perhaps only made notorious by the response that tore from the lips of the person who had been traveling with her for only a few days.

"I suppose 'He loves me not' does not really apply in this situation?" The girl blabbered in ignorance to the peace that had applied to this particular location mere seconds before.

"What?" Loryle wasn't concentrating on the question and had managed to start an unnecessary dialogue. She enjoyed speaking to others only on occasion, and so when her near meditative silence was interrupted, she found herself quite irritated. Unfortunately, her response had been automatic, and thus, the conversation commenced.

"Oh, you know," The girl rambled, "It is a fun game to play with flower petals! Have you never played? But anyway, I was saying that it did not apply to you because you are engaged, right?"

Distancing herself once more from her companion's ubiquitous chatter, Loryle only responded with a shrug and continued walking the well-beaten path towards whatever destination she had in mind at present.

"You do know where you're going, right Loreel?" The girl struggled with her name due to her unpleasant northern accent. Loryle sighed and once again corrected the mispronunciation. If she could sort anything out, it would be her name at least.

"It's Loryle, like the plant."

"Lawr-ell" She responded, trying out the name.

"Yeah, that's about right, Wystra," At least she pronounced names right.

Wystra beamed and continued bobbing amiably besides Loryle, continuing peacefully along the way to wherever they were headed.

True, Loryle mused, from what she could determine the girl was only thirteen summers or so, but surely that was old enough to know how important names were. In this world, it was possible to do all the worst sorts of things with names, and battered ones were just no good in general. Mentally chiding herself, she smiled in slight amusement; she was only twenty winters herself, hardly old enough to call thirteen young; still old enough to be engaged, unfortunately.

Loryle sighed at the thought, kicking a pebble further along the path with her weathered boot. She had traveled so far from all of that she had hoped to escape the domestic doom arrangement of marital ties. Just two years ago she would have sworn to the stars and the moon that she would never be tied by anything as simple as a household and a husband. But, now Loryle stooped on the path and felt her will beaten slightly out of her by threats of disownment and poverty.

Currently, she was on the pathway to a local village, but she would only be stopping by. Her final destination lay beyond the mountains that stretched before her and out of view to the right side of her vision; or, as far as it would reach past the auburn bangs that hid her weather-beaten face. It was another village, but as she rightly suspected, the village she searched for was far larger and more prosperous than the one that lay just on her way. She had to stop soon, for a small list of necessaries if nothing else. With Wystra humming merrily at her side, Loryle managed to convince herself that the closer she came to their mutual destination, the sooner that she could be rid of the teenager.

Upon entering the outskirts of the humble place, Loryle promptly forgot her worries as a large lizard began cantering straight towards her. Dropping her small pack, she grabbed Wystra by the shoulders and threw them both against the wall of a building. The creature charged past them and into the woods, flapping enormous wings and snarling about. After a few seconds, the creature emerged from the tops of the trees, flying as fast as it could into the sky.

Wystra giggled.

"What's so funny about that?" Loryle panted, sweat forming on her forehead from the adrenaline coursing swiftly through her body.

"They are only racing, Lawr-ell!" She mumbled in a sly voice obviously amused by her companion's antics.

"Racin-?" She barely got to respond when another beast, covered in scales launched into the sky just behind the first.

"Yeah! You know? The Old Folk!" Squealed Wystra.

"Those are lizards, Wystra." She began, shooting a disparaging look in her general direction, "Why all of Corlow's Great Realm would you race a beast that is wilder than you can control?"

"I think they are beautiful, Lawr-ell." Wystra smiled, "Just look how they fly! I sure wish I could fly…"

Without commenting this time, Loryle shook her head and stood up, offering her arm to Wystra almost in afterthought. When they both were standing again Loryle grabbed her abandoned pack and wandered, more cautiously this time, into what appeared to be the village's main square. A crowd was gathered there, the dust swirling about their features that were quite possibly as plain as the square itself. If they hadn't been cheering, Loryle might have suspected them to be all from the same family, of the dull variety. She was walking past them in any case. After peeking in a few shops, she found what she needed, but with a tug from Wystra, Loryle was dragged into a grimy store directly across from a small cloth shop.

"Oh wow!" Wystra started as she stepped into the doorway, "It is a name shop! I wonder if I can add a letter, or maybe even a syllable? What do you think of that, Loreel?" The chatterbox rambled on, as if she was a young pup excited over a stick. Unfortunately, she had revisited the old pronunciation. This set the usually silent Loryle off, lighting a fuse for what could potentially be a very potent anger.

"Look, Wystra" She began, biting the front of her tongue with her left canine, "First of all, you need to learn enough discipline to understand that it is vital pronounce names correctly; they are not a frivolous thing that you can just wave around and mispronounce like a nickname. That brings up the next thing…" Loryle trailed for a second, to face the now unhappy looking girl in front of her.

"I am not close enough to you to have you call me by a nickname, that is reserved strictly for family, and even then it is limited. As it is, Wystra, you're lucky that I've let you come along with me so long, your accent makes you sound like you've been raised by dragons which is simpl—"

"She has, that's why she does." A strange man had decided to join in on their conversation.

Loryle turned to him, embarrassed that she had raised her volume so. "I'm sorry for yelling in public, let's go Wystra."

But Wystra had no intention of leaving just then. Instead, her giggle filled the shop as she ran to embrace the man who was leaning on the counter. He turned to embrace her with one arm, stepping towards Loryle and away from the shadow, which hid his face and body fairly well. Loryle paled noticeably against the yellowish light from the sun.

The man was a dragon. His wings were tucked behind him, they were short and useless; but then, all dragon wings were. His amiable brown hair was long, and peacefully tucked behind his ears in what seemed to be an effort to keep it tame. Yet he remained unrestrained as his remarkable eyes gazed upon the offensive woman in front of him. The eyes were almost always the first feature noticed about dragons. Their beautiful eyes were written about in countless stories of horror, remorse, and true love. His eyes seemed to put to shame Loryle's own nervous grey ones with their sparkle, not unlike the great ocean beyond the mountains.

"Sorry, sir. I did not intend to--" She attempted to cover for her previous remark, which was laced with racist meaning.

"You did mean it, so don't apologize."

She fell silent in hopes that she could find a way out of this distasteful situation of which she was somehow entangled.

"I presume you know Wystra, then?"

"She's my sister, it would be hard not to."

"Ah," was all Loryle could manage before edging out of the shop, where she spoke again, "I take it that you can take bring safely home then, sir?

"Quite certainly, but if it was your task, I would hate to deprive you of such a joy."

Loryle disliked the amusement in his voice and responded to it in a sardonic manner, turning from him and mumbling simply, "Oh, I would love to have her in my life forever, sir."

He heard her and kept his pace just behind her as his wings bouncing lightly behind him as his younger sister did at his side.

"You leave without introduction, yet my sister seems quite content to travel at your side, miss." He emphasized the title, obviously hoping for an introduction so he might properly evaluate the human who spoke so poorly of him. Obviously though, he seemed to know something Loryle did not and he smirked at her, even as she turned and halted her walk away from the pair. Giving names could be a dangerous thing, especially in a place like this. It wasn't as if the name itself gave an individual magical power over another, it was an issue oriented with status.

"It's Loryle." She hesitated, watching this man who seemed more like a predator every second watch her.

"Nice to meet you, Loryle, I am Rasotyr."

She sighed uncomfortably; he had won this battle of names.

"Unique, is it?" She pondered aloud.

"Yes, a good deal of money as well, but I have been told that it suits me. Or will until I decide to buy another one. I was never born a James!" He spouted the common phrase as if it was his own. Loryle replied simply with the appropriate response,

"And I, never born a Mary."

She stood there, waiting for him to say something or move. Luckily for her, he managed one of the two eventually,

"Where were you traveling, Loryle?" Her name rolled of his tongue lightly, like springy green grass freshly tainted by the landing of a butterfly. His pronunciation was perfect, and lacked the accent that Wystra had managed to pick up. Loryle blamed it on the necessity of dragons to blend more with their human neighbors. Humans were ever skeptical of dragons and their rapid rise to riches in what was presumed to be a human dominant world. Loryle knew it was their knack for naming that blessed the dragons; it allowed them to appease the human need for the perfect name and get the hoard of treasure that they desired. It was also their magic, though many would deny that fact because it raised suspicions as to the sanity of those who chose to bear its heavy conditions.

"Opaltune City. The same destination as your sister, I believe. Though I can't imagine why she was on her own at such a young age."

Loryle blushed, not meaning to let those aggressive words enter her speech. She silently blamed it on the fact that she was ever distrustful of dragons. She simply had a hard time compromising her values when it came to issues that she had decided were of importance.

"My, you are opinionated." His face was apathetic as his stance. Rasotyr had his hands folded across his thin torso as he watched her with his near-alien oceanic gaze.

"Are you going to take her?" Loryle decided to venture onto the route that appeared practical, seeking to avoid her own embarrassment again.

"No, but I will join you. I'm headed that way as it is my home."

She was quiet for a moment, cursing her own mistrustful nature then accepting his terms on a silent, and then vocal level. Loryle would have to deal with him for a few days. She hoped that if anything, he could distract his sister while they were moving. Or, maybe even distract her for the entire time. Unfortunately, he seemed to virtually pulse with secrets and shadows, something she wished she could avoid when alone in the woods for a good deal of time. Rasotyr was definitely not the type she would bring on her travels if she had a choice.

If.