Dear Reader,

This is not exactly a scene from our book, but something that would come after... using two of the main characters, Phyre, and Lily.

Phyre peeked his head over the window, looking into a small room well lit by a fire. Lily, he saw, was bound to a pole in the center of the room, her hands behind her back and her mouth gagged. She was looking around almost thoughtfully, and, upon seeing him, raised one slender eyebrow. She struggled for a moment with her bonds before sitting there placidly again.

"Say, what's this, young Lady?" a large man said from the corner of the room. "What has you so excited?"

Phyre watched her frown and glare at the bushy haired man before looking pointedly at the floor. He looked around the room searching for something, anything, that would be of use to him. His gaze fell on the metal rod that the man was heating on the fire. A blacksmith, Phyre thought, looking intently at the glowing rod. I can use this.

The man was busy hammering at a cooling piece of metal at the edge of the room, and his back was turned to Phyre. As quick and nimble as he could, Phyre leapt onto the windowsill, his eyes never leaving the man's back. He lowered himself gingerly onto the large wooden table below, then slipped silently underneath it. The firelight danced across his face, as if beckoning him forward.

His eyes strayed to Lily, who had been watching this whole thing. She was trying to catch his eye, and he saw what she was motioning to. Her hand. In the firelight, he caught the glint of his ring on her second finger of her left hand. His eyes connected with hers in a brief understanding, and he rolled out from under the table. He was behind her in seconds, and had the ring in his hand in a moment more.

He spun around with a practiced grace, and slinked to the fireplace. He straightened up, adjusting his black cloak around his well muscled but slim figure. Across his back was a strung bow with a quiver full of graceful but deadly arrows. He placed one hand on the sheath of his twin blades, which were rare to find and incredibly valuable. These two swords were cut from the same mold, and were bound to each other, giving the user perfect harmony with the swords.

Now, he slipped the ring onto a gloved finger, watching the fire idolly and waiting. When the blacksmith turned, he saw a dark figure standing in front of the fireplace, which was now spilling out fire around the figure.

"W-who are you?" he asked, wildy grabbing for the sword he had been molding a moment before. Phyre remained motionless, listening intently. He allowed the flames to grow slightly.

"What do you want?" the man pressed, sounding more confident. "Turn and fight me fairly. You have invaded my home, now leave."

When Phyre remained watching the flames lick eagerly at the brick wall at his command, the man behind him sneered, taking a step closer.

"You bastard," he said through gritted teeth, raising the sword and striding forward with confidence. When he was almost upon Phyre, he whirled, and the fire followed him. His cape billowed around him as he turned, lightning quick. The blacksmith froze, his hands holding the raised sword, and tried to see this hooded figure's face.

"Who are you?" he asked again, quieter this time. Curious. Phyre heard the fear in his voice with a grim satisfaction. He allowed the flames to return the the hearth, then reached a gloved hand up to the hem of the hood that covered his face. His ring flashed in the light, and the blacksmith gasped, knowing who he faced even as Phyre yanked the hood off.

Immediately, the blacksmith dropped onto both knees, the sword clattering to the ground.

"Master Phyre," he said, lowering his eyes in respect. "Had I known that you graced my humble home, I would never have... why, I never would have dreamed of-"

"Enough," Phyre said, looking down at the man. "Do you know who this woman is?"

The blacksmith shook his head miserably.

With a slow and measured pace, Phyre strode to where Lily had been watching calmly and knelt to untie her bonds. When her hands were free, she pulled the cloth from around her mouth, and tore her deep blue cloak off. Her long, light brown hair tumbled in graceful waves down her back, framing an angled face, where two calm, impossibly blue eyes watched the blacksmith, who's jaw had dropped.

"Lady Lilyian," he said, throwing himself to the ground. "I had no idea."

Phyre glared down at the man, thinking of imprisoning him for his treason. Capturing the Shifter was no small thing in these parts, this was something everyone knew.

"Leave," Phyre said coldly, pointing his sword at the man's throat. "Never return."

At this, the man looked up, his face tear streaked and his shoulders hanging with grief.

"Of course, my Lord. It will be as you command."

"No." Lily, who had had her arms wrapped around the pole quietly, glided to where the man kneeled, the skirts of her dress whispering against the rough wooden floor. She put a slender hand under the man's chin and raised it gently, so that the man looked into her face.

She tilted his head a little to both sides, as if examining an animal. A faint smile flickered across her lips.

"Your eyes are beautiful," she commented, looking into his frightened face kindly. "Very deep...and thoughtful."

"Thank you, my Lady," he said, a hint of color flushing his cheeks as he lowered his eyes. "You are most kind."

She smiled, pushing a grimy piece of his hair back from his face.

"Why do you live alone here?" she asked, watching him.

"My wife, Isabelle, died, with my son, Carrow last year. I needed a place to be alone with my work, so I chose here. Its small, quiet."

Lily regarded him thoughtfully.

"I'm sorry," she said, laying a hand on his shoulder. "I truly am."

She stood, taking his hand so that he rose with her, uncertainly.

"As you have caused me no harm and did not know my identity, kind sir, you are free to continue your life here."

He looked up then, shock etched on his face.

"My Lady?"

"I mean it. There was no harm done. Live your life in peace."

"Thank you."

She smiled kindly at him, then turned to Phyre, who had been regarding the man darkly the entire time.

"You're going to just let him-?"

"Yes," she interjected cooly. "Of course."

"Fine." He didn't object, but turned when he heard a muffled chuckle.

"Yes? What is it you find so funny, blacksmith?" he asked curtly.

"The Lady is said to be the only one who can tame you, Master Phyre. I never believed it until now," the man said, offering a shy smile. To his shock, Phyre broke into a broad grin, clapping the other man on the shoulder.

"That it is," he said. "I do not deny it. What is your name?"

"Saffin," he answered shyly.

"You are welcome in our company anytime, Saffin," Phyre announced before taking Lily's hand. Before Saffin could quite comprehend what had just happened, they had whisked away into the night, leaving the blacksmith with the knowledge and pride that the great Keepers of Light had graced their presence in his home.