A boy walked down a path, on his way to school. Cale ziisters was around five foot seven with dark brown hair. It was long enough to go over his deep, blue eyes. He wasn't exactly what most handsome guy around, but he was kind and sensitive at heart. He remembered when a war started last year. All the men had to go for war, but he hid from the soldiers when they came to his house. He knew that, as the head of his house, he would be taken away. Only a month ago had the men come home from the war. Out of the some fifty that left, only twenty came back.

Cale was like any other thirteen year old boy if the fact that his family was dead was overlooked. Two years ago, when he had come home from a fair, he found his mom and dad, dead in the garden, and his baby sister dead in her crib. For a month Cale didn't leave the house, except to get something to eat. For another he cried.

Right now he was on his way to school. He didn't see the root by his foot, and fell. Cale heard a laugh. Female. Then a few footsteps. A shadow fell over him and he looked up to see a familiar face. The girl giggled and held out a hand to help him.

" Have a nice trip?" she asked, smiling.

" Haha, very funny, Amber." said Cale.

" Your not going to school are you?" asked Amber.

" Why."

" It's a weekend!" said Amber, playfully smacking his shoulder.

Amber was just slightly shorter than Cale, with long brown hair that ran down the length of her back. Her emerald green eyes shone into his, full of worry at the mistake he made every weekend since his family was killed.

" Cale if I have to come over every weekend to tell you not to go to school, I will."

" No, It's all right. I think I'll get it tomorrow or next week." said Cale sitting down at the base of a tree.

" That's what you said last week." said Amber plopping down next to him. " And the week before that. And even last year."

Cale looked up at the treetops high above them. As he looked a drop of water hit him in the eye.

" Ah" he whispered, blinking repeatedly. He heard Amber's snickering and turned to her just in time to see a bunch of droplets hit her. She stood up as more came down. It had began to rain.

" Come on!" laughed Amber grabbing Cale's arm and pulling him along.

" Hey!" yelled a voice to their left. It was Jesse, their best friend. Cale waved and pulled Amber along with him. When they got to the covered area, on Jesse's porch, both he and Amber were soaked. Amber shook her head, getting Jesse wet and Cale, as impossible as it was, more wet. Cale looked up at his best friend, who was about a foot taller than him, with short blond hair. It ended right above his brown eyes.

" Hey wach it!" exclaimed Jesse backing up. Amber looked at him through her wet hair and grinned.

Cale looked out at the ground, now littered with the beginnings of puddles, and wondered. How could so little rain endlessly fall from such a vast sky? He laughed at the thought.

" What are you laughing about?" asked Jesse

" Nothing." said Cale, shaking his head.

" Cale, with you, it is never nothing." said Amber looking out across the same path he was.

" It was just a thought." said Cale and he stretched, sitting in a chair. Jesse's mom came out and saw them.

" Oh would you kids like to come in?"

Jesse looked at his mom, " They're soaked."

" No matter, said his mom, there is a leak in the roof anyway and the house is already wet."

" We can fix the leak, right Jesse?" said Cale looking into the house and seeing multiple leaks.

" I don't know... we may need a little help from some boards and a few extra hands." said Jesse, walking in after everyone.

" We can all help!" said Amber cheerily.

Cale nodded and asked Jesse to get a chair and some thin boards. Amber ran into the other room to get some towels for the floor.

When Jesse got back Cale stood on the chair and began to bang a nail into the roof, stopping the dripping.

On the last one the floor was especially wet Cale's chair went out from under him and he fell. Amber shrieked as he landed on her and Jesse, after seeing he was fine, burst out laughing. After a smack on the head from his mom Jesse finished what Cale had started and she and Amber started to dry up the floor.

" Cale, said Amber cautiously, me, Jesse and our parents have been talking..."

" I have told you, I won't move in with one of you." said Cale, sighing. For the past two years they had tried to get him to move in with them.

" Then at least let us help build it so that it can hold more then half a person!" exclaimed Jesse.

" It's all I need." said Cale.

Amber shook her head and looked mad " Cale, you are so- so... stupid you know that!"

Cale looked at Amber. He knew she didn't really mean what she'd said, but still... it hurt.

" I'm sorry- I-I didn't mean it." stuttered Amber

" I know" muttered Cale. He looked up at her. So beautiful. Inside and out. Nice, kind and gentle when she needed to be. But also strong and able... all in all, perfect in his eyes.

He smiled at her. All was silent for a bit. Then Amber said she needed to get home so Cale did, too, offering to walk her home.

" I am really sorry about that back there- Cale cut her off.

" Don't worry about it. It's OK."

" No, No It's not. You have too much on your mind and It's your choice whether or not you want a bigger house! I shouldn't keep saying what I say!"

Cale grabbed the girl and got her into a hug. " Do not worry about it. It's fine, I understand." he repeated firmly and then let go of her.

He smiled at her and she smiled back. Cale shook a branch and water rained down on her. She put her hands up and laughed, exclaiming " You little- I'm going to get you!" and she chased after him.

After the two had settled down in front of her house Cale said good-bye and started for his own small home. It was true, it barely fit him, but it was home and that is where he would stay. There was one problem though... someone else was in him home.

" Hey!" he yelled and the figure jumped, turning around. The woman smiled warmly at him. So warmly, in fact, that he regretted scaring her instantly and almost grinned back.

" You are Cale?" she said and he nodded.

" Good... You must listen, and listen closely."

Now Cale began to get worried " OK" he said, out of curiosity.

" You remember the war I trust?" Cale nodded " It was said that the wild people were killed along with the army as they were in trade with them, but they have been seen again... with growing numbers and weapons like that not seen in this part of the world. I must bring you with me to to Acer city. I have not the time to explain now, but the king will when we get there. We must leave within the next few minutes else they will find you."

Cale was confused and horrified at the same time. Leave... now? And who would find him? He wanted to ask, more than anything, but the urgency in her voice made him act. She had a sort of, power, that made him want to do things... maybe it was motivation. He didn't know.

In his room he packed a blanket and a pillow in the backpack that was meant for school and in the kitchen he packed a few apples and oranges and headed out the door. He and the lady crept to the outer part of the forest, which was slow moving as the edge was a good mile or two from his village, and got in a horse-draw cart with some man that looked like the lady only... more like a man version of her.

" You found him!" the man said, incredulously, and sighed, handing over what seemed to be a pouch of coins. He had an odd feeling he'd been the deciding factor in a bet.

" Come now, get in" said the woman.

He did and asked " You never told me your name... so"

The woman smiled " Arthia and this is Kyler" she motioned to the man, who smiled and said " You just cost me eleven gold coins, young man." The woman, Arthia, smacked him and said " Don't say that!" The man, Kyler, laughed and then looked back at Cale.

" So you are.."

" Oh, I'm Cale." The man nodded and said " Go to sleep Cale, It's going to be a long ride. These two made him feel safe so he obliged to the man, who looked about in his twenties with long, long, black hair and piercing blue eyes. With a last glance at the, also twenty looking, female, with long silvery hair, he lay down. The last thing he thought was that the lady had the most unusual purple eyes...

Cale woke with a start and found that he was in a bed. A very comfortable bed at that. It took him a minute to remember the events that occurred last night and looked around the room. It was a plain room, like at an INN or something, and had a desk, chair, and a bed.

Cale stood up and walked out of the room. He made his way downstairs to find the man and the woman at a table eating breakfast.

" Ah. Cale so you decide to wake up." Said Kyler with a smile.

Arthia looked solemn though and it got him a little afraid. As he sat down she put an arm on his shoulder.

" What's wrong?" he asked.

Arthia glanced at Kyler, who frowned sadly and nodded.

" What's wrong" He repeated.

" We rode back to your village earlier this morning... and found it destroyed."

It took a moment to sink in. No. No, no, no! It couldn't be gone. It was still there. And after whatever weird crusade these two were leading him on he would go back and see Amber and Jesse and the elders and his neighbors. It was the way that Arthia said it that made it all too true. He felt a tear break out of his eyes and travel down his cheek. He went to wipe it and felt the scratch he'd received only yesterday, before he'd met up with Amber. They couldn't be dead... NO!

Cale stood up, the chair falling over, and ran out of the room. The two adults followed him out and caught him a he tried to mount a horse from their cart.

" Stop, Cale! If you go back they will kill you!" yelled Kyler, as he struggled to keep Cale in his grasp. From the crying and yelling a crown began to gather to see what the commotion was.

" He just lost his mother, lied Arthia, he's pretty beat up about it." she was covering for them.

After a minute, Cale gave up and simply weeped. His home, friends, and everything he'd ever known was... gone.

" I think that they would be gone by now, said Arthia, we could take him. If the wilds attack we've got our weapons to protect him."

Kyler thought a moment and reluctantly agreed.

An hour later they came to the rubble of the greeter's hut. The old man was always the nicest and most interesting man he'd ever met. Then past the tree fort some kids had began to build. They passed Amber's ashes of a home and Cale jumped out of the cart, forcing the others after him. He kneeled down and picked something up, wiping dirt from it. It was Amber's good luck charm and only, real, personal item. Stuffed star, no bigger than his palm. His tears came back ten-fold.

Cale felt a hand go to his shoulder and looked up to see Arthia, her purple eyes sad, and deep. Cale looked around and saw that there were a few bodies by the house opposite them. He stood up and found that two of the five dead were armed and wild looking men. The other three was an old shop keeper, someone he'd only seen at a pub, and... Amber's dad. Only he wasn't dead, because as Cale looked at the man he stirred.

" Is that you Cale?" said his weak voice.

Cale rushed to his side and bent down so that he was face to face with him. " Yes, It's Cale. What happened?"

" They came without warning. A bunch of men who kept saying that if we didn't give you to them they would kill us all. Those who were willing could not find you and most of us defied and fought." said Amber's dad.

" Were there any survivors?"

He nodded and said " Amber, my wife, Jesse and his parents, some shop keepers, and two other families, along with two teachers. Those are the only ones I know for sure of."

Cale nodded, knowing that the ones that had survived for sure were less than half of a third of the people in the village.

" Tell Amber,- That... I love her. My wife... too." he smiled and added " You will take care of her, right, if anything were to happen to her mother."

" Without hesitation, sir." said Cale.

" Good, I have a feeling you have to go and do something to save this land since they have been searching all of Berdish for you, and I also know that my Amber won't let you tell her no into coming with you. Good luck, Cale.' With that the man went limp and his breath ceased.

Cale looked at Arthia and Kyler with a sad look that no thirteen year old should ever wear. His decision final. He would do whatever it took to find his friends and to save this land.