It had taken three days for Alexis to journey to Syridor. Alexis looked for the nearest mercenary guild and took a look at the requests posted on their board. She needed funds and this was the fastest way to do it. The board listed a number of odd jobs with minimal pay and this didn't interest her much. And she found it, an escort job for a girl and the pay… ten thousand silver; money that will be more than enough for her stay in Syridor. Alexis immediately tore the request paper and made her way to the inn where her customer waited.

The parchment said to look for a mage in purple robes who is accompanied by a short raven haired girl in blue. When Alexis had found exactly who she was looking for, she approached them.

"So what are we supposed to do while Ser Rassfeld is out doing errands?" The mage complained.

"She did say that someone would accompany us." The mage's companion replied.

"Who we are waiting for… oh… might that be you?" The mage pointed at Alexis.

Alexis had taken the small amount of time to observe the two. "Yes, I have taken up the job posted in the mercenary guild."

The shorter girl immediately looked at her with distrust. Alexis did not seem to care or notice the hostility that the mage's companion gave to her.

"It says here that I am to guard you while you explore the town. Are you ready?" Alexis states frankly.

"Then we'll be in your care. Thanks." The mage thanked gracefully.

There was something in the mage's companion that wanted to object but she decided to keep it to herself. She just reminded herself to be ready in case their escort decided to do anything malicious.

~xXoXx~

They browsed through Syridor's bazaar and looked at a number of items. The mage and her companion simply were out in a new city trying to visit. Alexis wondered why anyone would pay a ridiculous sum of money just for an escort… but it had never been in her nature to question too much. Eventually, the mage had decided for them to stop at an antique bookstore that housed old magical tomes and scrolls. They spent the longest time browsing through the store's library. It was nearly dark and the mage was still at the books, trying to absorb as much information as she can. It wasn't long before the shop door opened again to reveal a tall woman who wore a green cloak. Alexis didn't sense anything suspicious from the tall woman but she decided to keep an eye on her anyway.

"I knew I'd find you in a place like this, 'Xev." The taller woman said.

"You always know me too well. Did you finish your errands?" The mage giggled.

"Yes. We can attend tomorrow. I see my escort did a good job seeing you guys wander around the city." The tall woman said, looking at Alexis.

"She doesn't talk much though; she hasn't really spoken a word since she introduced herself to us." The mage said.

"Well, I didn't exactly pay her to talk to you." The taller woman said.

"That's true."

The mage's companion stepped in, "I believe it's time we retire for the night. We have a big day tomorrow."

The tall woman approached Alexis with a heavy money pouch. Alexis acknowledged her payment and nodded silently. Since there was no business for her to remain Alexis simply decided to leave. She wanted to see if where her fortune here in Syridor will lead her.

~xXoXx~

Ayexev couldn't be happier when she was finally joined by Devasti in the bookstore. Sigurd was very relieved… she was getting stiff with waiting. The mercenary exited the building immediately after she received her payment. The three also set off for the inn they're staying in. Sigurd had been pretty tired from all the activities she accompanied Ayexev in… especially after hours in that bookstore.

"Ser Sigurd, you don't look well." Devasti observed.

"Ahaha… Y—Ayexev's hobby is one that would require a lot of patience. Something that endlessly consumes my energy…" The short woman explained.

Devasti laughed. "That is understandable. Books aren't my forte either."

"So… what exactly did you go out for Ser Rassfeld?" Ayexev asks.

"Well… since you decided to go here quietly, I needed to make arrangements for us to get inside the castle. I needed to inform the palace guard that we're attending the summit tomorrow… in a less showy manner." Devasti explained.

"Right… And you hired a mercenary to guard us because…?" She asks, again.

"Because, I was not there." Devasti replied simply.

Ayexev grinned widely. Devasti simply held the woman closer to her. Sigurd, on the other hand, just had fun observing the two lovers. The sexual tension still felt awkward though… Sigurd just convinced herself that she would have to get used to it.

"You two go on to the inn. I'll head for a pub." Sigurd said, stopping in her tracks and waving.

Normally, Sigurd would never leave Ayexev's side on trips like this but… she could make an exception since the person with her would never even let a fly harm Ayexev. Ayexev and Devasti simply waved at Sigurd in response.

~xXoXx~

Alexis had decided to spend a little bit of her extra money at a nearby pub. Somehow, she wanted to forget that she was in a room full of musty books that she could care less about for hours. A pint of ale would help her do exactly that. When she found a rather deserted pub she decided to settle in it since it had a high chance of being deserted for the rest of the night.

"What can I get you miss?" The bartender asked.

"A pint please." Alexis replied tiredly.

"All right." The bartender replied, quickly fixing up the ale and setting down the glass in front of Alexis.

After taking a big gulp out of the glass, Alexis noticed that she wasn't alone at the bar. She immediately recognized that it was the mage's companion earlier. However, she decided to keep quiet about it and simply continued drinking. Tonight Alexis excused herself from all things that concerned jobs.

That was… until she realized that she felt an unnerving aura coming from the client she had earlier. Black smoke was enveloping the shorter person and she could see her shivering from trying to repress something.

"Looks like that young lady there is having a rough night." The bartender said to himself.

"Hey uhh… do you see anything odd about that girl?" Alexis asked.

"Uh… aside from the troubled looks… nothing, why?" The bartender replied, confused by Alexis' question.

Alexis could feel her brows lowering. Only magic users can see the black smoke emanating from her previous client. Alexis rose from her seat and grabbed the mage's companion by the arm.

"We should go. I doubt you want to cause trouble here." Alexis nearly hissed.

The mage's companion followed obediently and rose from her chair. Alexis paid eight silvers and immediately dragged the smaller girl outside. Alexis dragged the mage's companion into a deep back alley.

"How long have you been suppressing this?" Alexis demanded.

"… Long enough." The mage's companion replied through her gritted teeth.

Alexis took another look at the mage's companion and swore under her breath. "It's rooted to your heart. Been a very long time since I've encountered a parasite like this… the more you resist the more it'll hurt."

"… No shit." The mage's companion spat.

Alexis was in doubt of herself for the very first time. She knew that she would have to perform a nearly impossible ordeal in order to kill the parasite that's taken root within the shorter girl.

"… End this before I start doing things I will regret."

Alexis found herself in both amusement and horror at about what she was about to do. "Since you wished for me to end your life… I will try performing this. If I fail you die and if I succeed… well this thing will be out of your system."

"Whatever. Just do it." The mage's companion said, resigning herself to whatever may come.

Alexis took her bow and took aim at the smaller girl. After steadying herself, she began chanting in another language and imbuing her arrow with light. "Penetrare inimicus meus!"

She released her arrow as soon as she finished chanting. Alexis was perspiring so much, concentrating on what the arrow was going to hit. The aim of the ritual was to hit the true enemy. Alexis had failed her previous attempt at this and has never dared to do so again.

~xXoXx~

Sigurd had prepared for her end. However, she was instead met by an extreme pain in her chest as if something that was rooted was being forcibly pushed out of her. She found herself falling onto her knees after she saw a small source of light hit her heart directly.

Sigurd then felt something from behind trying to reach her but she immediately drew her sword and swiftly sliced whatever it was with her last ounce of strength.

The last thing she remembered was being supported by the mercenary Ser Devasti had hired today.

~xXoXx~

The last thing Devasti was expecting tonight was the mercenary she hired today and a fainted Sigurd. It really was. Devasti immediately let the two into their room and so many questions had risen from her mind.

"What transpired?" She asked.

"Your companion had been carrying a parasite." The mercenary stated plainly.

"What?" Devasti retorted, flabbergasted with the mercenary's reply.

"Simply put, she had been carrying a form of dark matter that had begun to take root in her heart. I was forced to use extreme measures in order to take this out." The mercenary explained.

"Where…" Devasti asked, and then it hit her like one of Ayexev's fireballs. "I thought I had cleared that out..."

The mercenary sighed. "Apparently not. Even though there was significantly less of the matter left it still efficiently took hold of her."

"How did you push everything out?" Devasti asked, curious.

"I shot her."

Ayexev broke out of her silence, "No way. You performed that?!"

"I'm not sure by what you mean when you say 'that' but I am not denying the fact that I shot her." The mercenary replied.

Devasti was utterly confused. "Uh… what is 'that'?"

"She managed to do Eir's Arrow…" Ayexev explained, still surprised.

"Uhm… care to expound?"

"It's basically gathering light magic into an arrow and releasing the arrow. The arrow will in turn drive out any unwanted things out of a person's body." Ayexev explained.

"That is the gist of it." The mercenary replied. "It's a miracle that she survived my shot. The last time I did this, the person ended up taking the real arrow. It killed both but it was not the result I had hoped for."

"This sort of thing rarely ends in success." Ayexev admitted.

"And this explains why you're all jumpy about it." Devasti chuckled.

Ayexev turned a little red. "Shut up."

"That's about it. I should take my leave." The mercenary rose but instead she was stopped by Devasti.

"You should take responsibility for this girl now." Devasti grinned.

The mercenary replied with a look. It wasn't exactly a look of hostility… but it went somewhere between annoyance and apathy. Devasti simply shrugged it off and kept on grinning. Ayexev sighed, "You're starting to look like an idiot, love."

"Fine. I'll take care of her at least for tonight. She's all yours in the morning."

Devasti immediately exuded an aura of victory. "Thank you."

"You can take this room. We'll just go to Sigurd's room for the night." Ayexev says with a hint of mischief on her face.

Once Ayexev and Devasti retired to Sigurd's room doing the goddesses know what; the mercenary lifted Sigurd onto one of the beds that was available in the room. She grimaced at her situation but she simply shrugged it off with staying for free in an inn.

It didn't take long for the mercenary to go to sleep… or at least attempt to. Sigurd was causing quite a racket with her nightmares. The mercenary then did something rather uncharacteristic of her… or at least was in front of her old company. She moved to Sigurd's bed and embraced her. This effectively silenced Sigurd and let the mercenary have a good night's sleep.

~xXoXx~

Syridor's royal palace was quite grandiose and filled with golden layers of furnishings. Ayexev could feel herself grimace a little… it was a little too grand for her taste. She instead turned to focus to the guard who was guiding them into the summit room. Devasti followed Ayexev quietly but she knew that Ayexev is annoyed out of her mind.

"We're here you grace." The guard said, pointing to the room and opening it.

Once they entered the room they were greeted by three other individuals who had been waiting for them. The monarch of the west, the queen of the kingdom of Dir'Thal, had been garbed in a royal red garment generously embellished with gold. King Syridor himself was garbed with white and was adorned with numerous jewelry.

The southern kingdom's king had garbed himself in black. Though, one would expect more from the king of mercenaries.

"You all know why we're here." The king of Syridor said.

"Yes it's about the army amassing itself in the north." Ayexev replied coolly.

"What evidence do you have that will prove their existence?" The queen of the west asked, sceptical.

King Syridor froze. He did not want to remember the events which had led them to this summit. "A month ago I sent a platoon of men to scout the north to see if there was something behind the thick mist that had begun to settle there… One man out of twenty survived. He was inching closer to death the moment I saw him."

"And I presume that this man told you that he saw a dark army amassing in the north." The southern king said.

"Yes. He also said that a certain man was behind it… he said, 'for taking my master, I will take everything'."

The western queen shuddered at the story, Ayexev was stuck in deep thought, and the southern king looked at King Syridor. The room was in longest moment of silence until Ayexev finally spoke, "I have an idea as to who this man might be."

"Well stop keeping us in suspense, Empress Algenteria." The southern king said impatiently.

"The man used to be known as high priest Grendle Necrozauwar, the youngest high priest in history… I don't have an idea as to what he calls himself ever since he went under the apprenticeship of the Dark Sage."

Everyone grimaced at the mention of the land's previous threat. The room fell into silence as to how they were going to approach this current threat.

"What do you suggest we do Empress Algenteria?" The queen of the west asked. She knew to ask Ayexev because of her history with the Dark Sage.

"I suggest that we double our patrols on the northern borders just in case that the dark army decided to randomly pillage our northern borders." Ayexev said carefully.

"I am in favour with this. I will send some of my mercenaries to join the patrols in the north." The southern king said.

"Another thing, if I may be so rude your highnesses." Devasti finally spoke.

"What is it?" All four monarchs asked in unison.

"There may not be only one man behind all of this. It's all guesswork, for now, but I know Grendle… he can't amass a huge army by himself." Devasti explained. "Unless, he has forged a pact with something his old clergy has worked so hard to fight against."

"We'll take your opinion in mind Ser Rassfeld." King Syridor replied as evenly as he could.

The summit continued as the discussed what would happen should things take a turn for the worse. Tension was in the air… they didn't know what the gods have in store for them.

~xXoXx~

Sigurd awoke to arms that were tightly embracing her. She had expected death last night and was rather unsettled that she managed to survive until morning. When the mercenary had noticed that her patient had awakened from her slumber she immediately got off the bed and started gathering her things.

"It looks like you're well." The mercenary stated. "I'll be taking my leave now."

"How..." was all Sigurd could ask.

"I carried you here."

Sigurd tried to get up but all her being was against her will. It took her a few minutes to get herself to lean on the bed's headboard. "I didn't even get your name, ever." Sigurd chuckled or at least she tried. Her body was too sore to even laugh at the moment.

The mercenary just stood there, aghast.

"And it looks like I won't even be getting it today." Sigurd said, trying to hide that her body's soreness was bothering her.

"… Alexis." The mercenary finally replied.

"I am Sigurd. I apologize for the way I treated you yesterday."


Author's Note:

e_e; So I let SAS get the better of me and I decided to cut it there. Thanks goes to L Lawliet for giving an honest review! I will try to incorporate those changes to my way of writing this story ASAP, let me know if it was at least a little bit remedied here. Yes people! I need a beta! xD but I already have someone in mind for it so expect a more edited and better flowing chapter next time(or maybe the next next time lol). Anyway, this is unbeta-ed all mistakes, mispellings, grammatical errors are mine (_ _)m. Leaving reviews are awesome. Thanks XD.

- Doc