Here's a continuation of the first book, Spirit Fire. Hope you enjoy! :)

Ch1. No Orders


Shay's body ached. The fight for her life that had happened only last night was really taking its toll on her. She had bruises in places she didn't noticed she'd been hit at. The bandage held the cut she had on her arm, but in all nothing was too survere; she was alive. And so was Shezearin, her partner...or less like partner and more like part-body guard and a friend she had grown close to. Zee, she called him for short. Zee had exceptionally strong powers and was known through this land as the "zeome'" it was a warrior's title he'd always had, even though he himself never quite knew what it meant. Only that it described one who wields his unique powers.

And as the zeome', he was never missed, carrying its sign, Zee had peculiar red colored eyes. Not in a scary demonic looking way, but Shay could admit to herself that she found them dazzling. They were red's mixed with shades of brown and it all ran naturally in his eyes and even matched the glints of red you could catch in his locked hair in the light.

Now, he sat next to her on the bed of a guest room, injured and weak. Last night, they had successfully fought off his former master, Kavothar who had appeared solely to take Shay, the human, in this land called Dezaria. As she was kidnapped here only weeks ago and had escaped. It turned out that Kavothar's true motive was to take and kill her in order to steal the power she never knew she had: the Cerulean Ari. Everyone in this strange world possessed ari, a power which came in many forms.

But Shezearin fought the man off, but as a result, he was drained and barley conscious. Shay was left to fight off mad man's minions and get them away, which involved them nearly drowning in a stormy river. In the end Shay had also overused all her energy and blacked out along with Zee.

Then she woke up here in Surai Village, their destination this whole time. A village Zee had known, that contained a team of warriors that he assured would help her find a way to get back home. If she had arrived in this world called Riav through a strong power of some sort, there must be more out there, right? And this team of warriors/travelers would know how to help. But right now she was just thankful that these warriors had managed to come to their rescue in last night's storm.

The door opened in the guest room and through it walked a man probably a few inches taller than Shezearin. Behind him was a woman followed by the small girl, Sa'li.

"Ah, Shezearin you're up. And so is your friend." The man spoke. He had brown skin and sleek long hair that fell down past his shoulders. His hair was dark brown, almost black. A few locks were coiled in a texture rougher then twists but softer then dreads, and small golden rings wrapped around those strands.

His short sleeved shirt exposed a muscular build as he folded powerful arms across his chest. But there was kindness in his soft brown eyes as he looked at her with welcome.

"So you're the human I've heard about. You must have gone through quite a struggle back there last night. Judging by Shezearin's condition, I'd say he owes you a lot. I'm impressed." he smiled with approval. "Welcome to Surai."

"Thank you." Shay smiled back. "It was you that came for us?"

"Yes I did."

"Thank you. Thank you so much."

He held a hand out to stop her. "It's our pleasure. I'm Raijen by the way." So this was him, the leader Zee had told her about.

He continued. "Shezearin had sent a message some days ago about you coming here so I've been on the lookout."

"You did?" Shay turned to Zee.

He nodded. "At the pythorn village, when I left you in the store."

Raijen continued. "Ezrene here said she sensed something funny about the stream. That she felt a tremor of power that came not too far from there. So we went to investigate."

He gestured to the woman standing by the door next to him. She was pretty tall for a female, with a smooth complexion of very light brown on a skinny, long and lengthy shaped body; like a model's. She wore long gloves a sleeveless shirt and a type of clothed miniskirt with a tie around her waist. Tights ran under her boots. Her hair was a sandy blondish brown that hung in feathery strands to the length of her chin. And her eyes were a pale light brown and with a slight almond shape to them.

"As usual, Raijen needed me to track, but we found you." she said with a grin.

"Yeah give yourself the credit but I did all the carrying." Raijen said in retaliation.

"But sure, I guess together we brought you two back." He turned back to Shay. "But anyway. Formally, we are the Surai warriors, fighters and overseers of the town of Surai; an organization of defense. And being qualified as top notch travelers, we also respond to aid of paying outsiders, usually for escorts, guards, or retrieval missions.

"Shezearin had briefly explained to me the situation and so I found this case... interesting. And so I've agreed to help you. The only pay I wish to see is the possibility of some knowledge being gained from this. You see, your predicament is one of a kind and may be linked to a strong study of mine. But we'll talk about the situation later. It's best you get acquainted with everyone."

"She's met Zairick already." Sa'li added flatly.

"How many of you are there?" Shay asked.

"Five." said Raijen, "Of the main warriors that is. We do have help from the village here and there and a few trainees but we are the official warriors. You'll get to know everyone soon enough. The guest room you woke up in is yours. And for now, feel free to explore a little first since you're up. It's still only late morning."

Shay nodded an okay. She opened her mouth to speak, but paused. She and the others all turned their attention to Zee when he moved himself to the end of the bed, about to get up.

Seeing everyone's eyes, he spoke. "Well since Shay's fine now, I should get ready to be on my way."

Shay found herself staring at him, speechless.

"You're leaving already?" said Ezreane.

Zee nodded silently. "I thank you all for your help but there is no reason for me to stay. It's probably best I do leave." His eyes narrowed at whatever dark reasoning he held in his mind.

"Shezearin." Shay spoke slowly. He raised his head and set his deep ruby eyes on her.

She didn't know how to start, "But I thought you didn't have to... I mean now you don't..." her words stumbled out pathetically.

Despite her struggle for words, Zee already understood. "Kavothar isn't a problem now. Though there still is a chance he might find me here if he is looking for me."

"But he can't track you now." she spoke quietly.

"That's not it. That battle happened close by. If he really wanted to find me, eventually he'd check here. But that's not the case since you are his complete focus now. And he's injured to begin with. After this blow and the loss of his best right hand servant he will have to recalculate everything carefully and won't be making a move anytime soon. But he has another disadvantage because he wouldn't know where you'd be by then."

"So if he's not the reason then...why?"

"It would be best." His low voice said after a moment passed. He then added in an even lower one. "Besides, I need time to clear my head now."

"Wait," Raijen cut in. "So Kavothar; isn't that the guy you..."he wasn't sure how to label the man. "Well him, he isn't a problem anymore?"

Zee shook his head, body completely still his elbows rested on his knees so that his knuckles supported his chin. "I've been freed. That's what happened before you found us." he said without emotion. His mind seemed to be in a completely different place.

But as for Shay's mind, it was pondering over Zee's motives. His last reason she understood. But what she didn't understand was why staying here for at least a couple days was so bad now that he was free from Kavothar. He said himself that this was the village he felt most comfortable in.

After some silence, it was Raijen that spoke up. "Well Shezearin old friend," he said putting a hand on his shoulder. "You may do what you wish afterwards. I won't stand in your way since I've seen very well what happens to those that do." he laughed. "But as for now, speaking as a friend, captain of the Surai Warriors and overseer of the town you find yourself in now, I can't let you leave. Not at least for another two days when you have regained more of your strength."

Shay turned to Raijen after hearing his words and she felt instant admiration for this guy. He was strong, proud and what seemed to be a pretty noble friend. And that was a lot to get after just meeting a person.

He continued on. "Besides, look at you. I know who you are and all, but it would be just cruel of me to allow you to leave on your own in this condition. If anyone attacked you right now outside the village even you'd be in some trouble."

Shezearin eyed him challengingly and they both held each other's stares in a showdown of will and strength. After a long moment of their silent battle of squinting eyes, Shay saw a smirk appear on Raijen's face and Zee's stone gaze softened.

"Nothing's changed of you." Raijen said shaking his head with a smile. Then he turned to his side at the rest of his comrades. "Ezreane you can take Shay and show her around some. Sa'li I need you to whip up another bottle of herbal healing formula. I need to run another re-analysis of his ari energy to make sure its recovering properly."

He turned to Zee. "And as for you, you need to lie back down."

Zee glared at him but not in the harsh way Shay expected but more of a competitive way. "You don't order me around Raijen."

The leader chuckled. "Oh I already know that. And right now, I see clearly that no one does." he said with a prideful smile, offering acknowledgment of Zee's acomplishment. In return Shezearin gave a nod of silent thanks.

Shay didn't know the history between these two, but they seemed to have some sort of understanding of friendship. It was great to see that in all this, Zee had a friend after all; that there were people who didn't look down or shun him in fear.

"Besides, Shezearin." Raijen spoke. "You may be the zeome' but in this condition even you wouldn't be able to touch me in this state. So you should be the one to back down."

"Yeah for today Raijen." Zee snorted and climbed back towards the bed. "But don't get ahead of yourself. Today may be the only day you could beat me."

Raijen snorted back and looked towards Ezreane and Shay. Sa'li was already gone. "Go ahead Shay. My test for him will only be a minute and then he could join us if he wants to."

"Okay." Shay said and began to follow Ezreane out the door.

"I'm well enough to join them now if I wanted." she heard Zee say behind her to Raijen.

"Nope. Not 'till we test your condition first."

Zee sighed frustratingly. "I told you I'm fine. I don't need help."

"Well maybe not but it still won't hurt."


Ezrean had given her a brief venture of the Surai Warrior's home. And the house was huge. It was apparently four floors and very wide; the biggest home in the village they said. Shay compared it to a small version of batman's hide out but only above ground and in the open.

The top floor consisted of bedrooms, guest rooms, and any extras. Their large library took up most of the third floor, while a few lounge and study rooms occupied the rest. The second floor was on ground with the kitchen and other living rooms along with the front desk at the two main front doors, it was where most business and professional visits were handled. But the basement Shay hadn't yet to explore. That was where the training room was held, and apparently some sort of laboratory or work room.

At the end of the short tour Ezreane had brought Shay to the kitchen. It was large with bright hard stone glazed floors and with a center table, near the sink for the food. Every item including sinks and refrigerators, like everything else she's encountered, seemed similar to what she could expect in the human world only made of some different Riavn technology. Mostly, technology here was replaced with some sort of ari powered stones instead of the electricity that she knew. It was amazing how the two worlds were still so similar; having so many of the same ideas and visions in their technology.

The two of them sat down at the stools by the table along the wall that was shaped like a bar. Already there was the obnoxious Zairick that she met earlier, sitting down and munching on a piece of fruit.

"Sit." Ezreane told her. "I'm sure you're hungry. I'll get something for you."

Shay sat down next to him and waited, actually she was starving. After a moment Ezrene returned with a plate filled with colorful fruits and some hot strips of meats on the sides of them. She sat them on the table and allowed the two of them to dig in.

"Hey Ezreane," Zairick complained. "Isn't there any for me?"

"Well you aren't a guess. There might be some left." she said before biting into a piece of meat. "You can get it yourself anyway. You were already here."

"Yeah but how was I supposed to know where you kept that secret stash of food?"

"That's the point. I figured, that if I made it then I get the last helping, so I can decide to put my food somewhere you and any other greedy person wouldn't take it." she folded her arms. "I decided Shay can have some since she's a new guest that's going to be staying with us. She needs a good first impression you know, something I can assume you failed to give her."

Zairick snorted. "Fine. Okay, don't worry. Me and the newbie will become great friends." he said glancing at Shay to do a quick scan of her again. But Ezrene's eyes narrowed.

"Fine." he said standing up from his seat and walking over to Shay. He spoke to her with a straight face. "If we had gotten on a bad start allow me to reintroduce myself."

He raised one hand to his chest. "I am Zairick of Surai village. And your name is?"

"Shay." she said looking at him suspiciously.

"Shay." he repeated with a smirk. "Nice to meet you." he offered his hand and when she took it, he kissed the top of her hand. He gave her a charming grin before he let go.

Then he turned to Ezreane. "That good enough for you?"

Ezreane crossed her arms again, before she could give a response Raijen's voice interrupted.

"Here you all are." He said walking into the kitchen room with Sa'li, and moving steady behind him was Shezearin.

"Shezearin." Ezrene smiled, changing her mood. "Well enough to be up now?" she said, not expecting an answer.

Shezearin answered with a blank look that clearly read: As if anything could keep me down anyway.

Everyone seemed pleased except for the scolding look that grew on Zairick's face. Shezearin ignored it well, his expression stayed cold and blank.

"Well at least you've seen a little of our home now Shay. It's yours now too." Raijen spoke to her. "Maybe now you should go get a little fresh air. Both you and Shezearin might need it after yesterday."

"Sounds good to me." Shay said getting up from her chair just finishing her last piece of fruit. It was delicious, zingy and sweet at the same time. She was really getting used to the Dezarian food. If anything, it was fresh.

"I have to go take care of some business." Raijen said. "I will meet you shortly and maybe we can get a start on analyzing this situation of yours Shay."

"I'll come with you." Sa'li said to Shay cheerfully. "I was looking for Vahn anyway. I think he's outside."

"Lead the way." She said to the girl.

Sa'li skipped ahead, her two massive frizzy pigtails bouncing. Shay followed but stopped to turn to Shezearin who stood. "C'mon Zee, this should be good for you. Aren't you coming?"

He was leaning against the wall, arms folded. He seemed to have woken from a daze through his thoughtful and yet unemotional eyes. He looked up to her and nodded. "I'm coming."

Sal'lie led them through the two large main wooden doors and light burst out of them.


The warrior's home towered on a tall hill. Behind the house was a field on one side with more hills to the other that stood even taller than the house's. A patterned stoned sidewalk ran below Shay's feet in a trail of disconnecting circles. It continued on a winding path around the house and down the tall hill where it later turned to steps on the steeper parts all the way down. At the bottom of the hill the sunlight poured across a village.

` Small stoned houses stood with the same glazed brick material as other houses she'd seen, except a bit brighter and also a bit larger. They lay scattered across the fields with winding paths of dirt connecting them. They were humble cottages, a few with gentle clouds of smoke puffing out of chimneys.

In many of the backyards and separating some of the houses had fields of flowers or plants of some sort growing in it. It covered the entire land with sprinkles of color. And just the grass alone was such a beautiful healthy green that blew in long strands into the wind. A few fields contain herds of small animals in them. There were tall windmills towering at the end of the village and also, Shay noticed in the field past the warrior's home behind her.

Pure natural herbal energy surfed through this town. But it wasn't just energy, but life. People children and small pets were running, playing and talking in the streets or just lounged about outside their homes in their yards.

Shay gasped. "Oh. This place is beautiful." she said slowly. "It seems so peaceful."

Zee nodded in agreement as he stood beside her. "Just as I remembered. It's always been the same." In his voice, she detected a hint of fondness for the village, whatever his history here may have been.

"Vahn!" Sa'li called leaving where Zee and Shay stood. She went to the side of the house where the stoned path started.

Resting, back against the wall, facing the fantastic view was a man lying down lazily with his arms behind his head. And he wasn't looking at the view at all but was instead sleep. A long piece of wheat grass hung out the side of his mouth that he'd been chewing.

After hearing Sa'li's voice, gray eye opened to see her and he sighed lazily.

The steel gray eyes of his matched the gray sweat pants he wore that made the color of the black shirt that stretched tightly across his muscled chest. The sun had tanned his white skin. And the chocolate brown wheat-like texture of his hair sprawled down his neck to touch broad shoulders, while a red sweat band held it down at the top of his head, covering the upper part of his forehead.

"Vahn!" Sa'li called again stopping in front of him. "C'mon get up! Our visitor's awake. I want you to meet her."

Vahn groaned as he closed his eyes again, completely ignoring the girl.

"Ugh! Vahn! Come on." she said balling her small fists. "This is important you know. She's going to be with us for a while. We have to consider her to be a part of the team!"

"Team?" he spoke finally. His voice had a deep rough ring to it.

"Yes, a part of our team." Sa'li put her fists on her hips.

"Can she fight?" he said hardly opening his eyes.

"What does that matter?"

He sighed to himself. "Well that is what you have to do to be one of us, right?"

Sal'ie huffed impatiently.

Another moment passed as Sa'li stared him down with a look on her face that Vahn was sure to sense. Vahn slowly raised his body up to a stand and opened his eyes as he stretched. The guy was tall, at least six feet.

He turned to look ahead at Sa'li, then Shay and Shezearin while he stood up straight and lazily shoved his half gloved hands in his pocket.

"Oh, Shezearin? Doing well I see." Vahn smirked.

"And you haven't changed a bit." Zee returned the half smile.

"Nope. You know me." he said stretching his arms one more time. Then he finally landed his gaze on Shay. "And so what might your name be?" He walked up to her as she took in first-hand the difference in height between the two of them.

"I'm Shay." She held out a hand.

Vahn raised an eyebrow. "And human right?"

Shay hesitated at first, but from the corner of her eye, she saw Shezrearin nod for her to go on and she resumed. "Uh yeah...human."

He smirked and took her hand with a shake. "I'm Vahn of Surai. Good to meet you."

He dropped his hand back down to his pocket. "But I warn you human, you're going to have to prove yourself." Regardless of his words, his tone was still friendly enough. Unlike when Shezearin said it, it sounded less of an insult and more of just calling her what she was.

"So Sa'li says that you're going to be on our team for a while. That means you're going to have to keep up."

Shay grinned "Oh I will, don't worry." Shay considered herself being in over her head, but she hid her doubt from sight.

"Hmmm, confident. Okay, well we'll find out." He looked at Zee. "You must have taught her a few things then."

"You can say that. Only a few. But it's what I was able to teach her is what you and Raijen need to look at."

"Hmmm." Vahn gave her a curious look. "I guess we'll have to find that out as well."


Raijen scratched the back of his head, brushing back one of his long strands of hair that hung lose down his back. He was thinking to himself hard.

Shay noticed the rest of the five-membered team giving similar looks. Zee stood leaning against the wall silently. He never bothered to look at the rest of the team's reaction to the story. He had helped on some parts to tell the tale, but left most of it to Shay.

Now they were bestowed with just about every bit of information that Zee had gained about her. This was truly an offer of official trust. Shay looked around at everyone sitting at the basement room waiting for a response.

"Well now..." Ezreane was the first to speak. "This is...interesting."

Sa'li looked at each of them. "What does this mean guys? I've never heard of such a thing. How could any ari fragments possibly exist in a human all this time, let alone find its way into the human world? That's...impossible."

"The little kid has a point." Zairick said ignoring the quick glare Sa'li gave him, it looked like a normal transaction. "This is hardly possible. It's as if she was like an ari thief."

Ezreane rolled her eyes. "Yeah you might make that accusation if she actually knew about the thing in the first place. Obviously it was already in her all this time. Probably since birth just like any one of us."

"Yet she is still a human, and born in an ari-less world." Vahn spoke. "It isn't possible."

"But what if someone else stole it!" Zairick pushed. "That's the only explanation. Somehow it was taken from Riav. Maybe it was taken by one of those ancient humans that came here long ago. And somehow she ended up with them. Maybe they took a lot and that explains the drop in ari between now and the ancient times!"

"Zairick." Sa'li cut him off, impatiently before he could go further.

"But you have to admit it makes sense." his tone was serious. "I mean everyone knows how greedy humans were."

Those in the conversation looked at him irritably but said nothing.

"But that's still impossible for a human to even do." Raijen spoke up. He had been quiet. Instead, the leader had drawn back without comment listening intently the entire time. When he spoke all eyes looked at him.

Zairick sucked his teeth. "But Rai." he started.

"So it's pointless to blame it on them for now, Little Cousin." Raijen said emphasizing on the title to cease any more "ifs" "ands" or "buts" about it.

"And besides." he continued. "We can worry about figuring that later. We'll have to do some research on this power for the time being. And that will lead us to the answer and maybe her way home. But finding her way back is the sole purpose. I'll have to start looking up powers that are even capable of doing this."

He looked to Shay. "I can't predict how long your stay would have to be. But I can say that it'll be for some time considering we still have to continue other normal duties. But don't worry, things haven't been all that busy lately. I'll find out something for you as quick as possible. Sa'li here will help me to do so."

The small girl nodded happily.

"She may be young." Raijen told Shay with a smile. "But don't let her appearance fool you. She knows her stuff. One of the best ari-techs around. But for now we're going to have to see that power of yours for ourselves. Can you fire up some for us?"

"Umm sure." Shay spoke. "Uh here?"

"Yeah." Raijen waved a hand.

"Okay." Shay said a little unsure. She didn't have to worry about any damage, the room was wide; an old dusty training room that wasn't used anymore, they said. But still she took a few steps back from them.

Shay calmed her mind and inhaled. She reached her focus for that same burning fury she had used each time so far to summon her fire. She didn't need to push as hard as she used to. The inner fire source seemed so close to her now, not nearly as far away as it was when she could hardly tap its power.

As she breathed in she saw the quick flash of blue overlap her vision. She slowly raised both arms leveled at her sides, cupping her hands as they rose.

Starting at each hand a blue cerulean flame sparked up and spread up her forearm. Shay allowed the flames to raise higher enough that she felt the hot force of it blowing and burning in her face.

Through the crackling fire she looked up at everyone surrounding her before she let the ari flames die down, extinguishing the ari inside.

It was silent until Raijen spoke. "I haven't seen an ari energy that color before. The color is too strong and defined to be normal. This is a really rare one." He said with his hand cupping his jaw. "It looks impressive, and as much as I can tell...powerful."

Vahn agreed with him. "Unbelievable...She really does have the power of a Riavn...and a decent one at that."

"I look forward to putting her through some training." Raijen said with a smirk. "And from what it seems you already have some control over it." he said to Shay. "You do want to train it don't you?"

"Of course." Shay said instantly.

"It's settled then." he said getting up to his feet. "Starting tomorrow I'll put you through your first lesson with us. I see Shezearin already taught you a little bit which is good. We could jump right into the core of the basics and maybe a little more. But for the day both you and Shezearin should rest."

Shezearin slipped Raijen a glare. They both knew he didn't like being told when he was too weak for anything. They'd been going at it all day. But he didnt object.

They all trickled out the room one by one, and Zee was the last to leave the room.


Shay sat her small trusty backpack down on her bed. It was scrapped and stained from grass tree branches even soaked repeatedly in wild waters, but it stayed tough and handy. She ran her hand over top of it to make sure it was flat and empty. All her things were sat out neatly on the bed. The extra pair of clothes was put in the small dresser next to her bed.

It was nice having a room again. With a regular bed, a dresser, small table and a green oval rug in the middle, it was small and humble, but just right. All she needed for some quiet alone time to recollect herself. She hadn't had that space at all in the last few days.

Outside her window a half moon shinned bright covered by the wild sprinkles of stars. Below her glittered with lighting bugs that scattered across the fields of grass that flowed in waves down the hill and into the town below.

For now, this is going to have to be my home. She thought to herself.

Then came a light knock on the wooden door. Shay turned from the window and looked up, wondering if Ezrene had come by again with anything else she thought might make things feel like home. She had enough pillows and extra blankets by now. Or maybe it was Raijen who stopped by once already to let her know when their practice will be and how to be prepared.

Shay's feet dragged heavily along the shiny wooden floor until she came to the door and opened it slowly. Staring down at her was the piercing gaze of ruby eyes.

"Zee?" She straightened herself a bit trying to lose the drowsy appearance. If Shezearin was here, something important must have come up. "What's wrong?" she asked.

He hesitated. "Can I come in?"

"Yeah. Of course." she said as she led him into the small room. Shay sat down at the bed and being no other place to sit, she scooted over for him. His face was contemplative as he took the seat.

"I uhh just wanted to check on you." He said in his low voice without looking at her. "So...does this place look adjustable to you?"

"I don't have much of a choice." she said. "But yeah, things seem fine. I think the better question isn't about me; what will you do next? " He's the one talking about leaving.

He eyed her challengingly before his gaze left her again. "So eager to know?"

"I didn't think you'd really answer that." She grinned. "I'm just wondering what's really bothering you. I wasn't expecting this visit."

Zee faced her without looking away this time. He seemed to have lost his tension.

For his sake, Shay changed the subject to give him time. "But yes, I can really get used to it here though. It's…really nice."

"I knew you would like it." A faint smile might have shown on his features but it faded. "I've been doing a lot of thinking...now that I'm free."

Shay was surprised; he was actually bringing up the subject. He hadn't mentioned it all day.

"I've been thinking of where to start, where to go. It feels…strange not having to go back. I'm..."

"Your own person." She finished for him.

"Yeah." He nodded and continued slowly. "My own person; having no orders. I almost don't know where to begin. But still, I do know that it's not the end. I won't be allowed to just walk away from it all. That's something that's been…bothering me, as you put it.

"He never just goes away. He's too persistent. This feeling of freedom...it won't last.

"I've...been in a similar situation before...When I thought I was free but he came back. Only it wasn't a battle like yesterday. So the difference is I'm no longer bonded. But like every time, he always manages to come back. And I need to decide how to handle it when the time comes."

"When the time comes Shezearin. 'Till then, don't stress so much about it. I'm sure it will be a while before he decides any move against you. I think his condition was pretty bad."

"You're right. But I wouldn't know where to go or where to start nonetheless. I feel no connection to any place...that is, except maybe here, at the moment."

Shay had a small thought on the meaning of his last sentence but thought better of asking about it.

"So now it comes down to me making my decision on my own." he paused and sighed. "Shay...I made a promise to myself not too long ago, just before Kavothar came. It was that I would help you to the best of my extent. After I became free, I re-thought everything, how so many things and plans for me may have changed. But I've decided that promise I still devote to you."

He finally met her eyes while saying his last words. "Maybe it is that reason that I still feel drawn to be in this town right now. It's the only thing that seems to make sense to me, to follow the only direction I have. The mission I've assigned myself to currently is helping you."

Shay was quiet, but then spoke. "Zee you don't have to order yourself. This is your time to follow your own agenda. You're free; you don't have to bind yourself to things anymore."

"It's just more clear this way, it's the only thing I feel any dedication to. Maybe afterwards I can find more for myself. But perhaps it's best to start off small and take one step at a time. And the first step I see is being here for now."

"Shezearin, I…" Shay wasn't sure what to say. He was choosing to stay here now, to help her.

"This way," he continued and spoke almost at a whisper. "You're helping me too."

She stared at his face, at its beauty and its complete seriousness. His ruby gaze held her without release. She felt that she could fall into them.

Shay felt heat burn at her cheeks, and any words she tried to say stumbled into nothing for some reason. She then swallowed, and took a moment to blink away and detach from the eyes that studied her. The seconds that they did, seemed incredibly long. "Shezearin..." she managed. But the smile of his that she'd seem a moment ago returned, and her words dropped cold again.

Then he slowly rose up to stand from the bed. When he did, Shay almost whined at the loss of the heat of his body sitting there next to hers. She didn't noticed how close they had moved through the conversation.

"It's okay Shay." He told her. "I told you you're helping me, this isn't a chore. It is my free own decision." The vibe from him seemed completely positive, something she wasn't used to seeing.

"You should get some sleep, you'll need it for tomorrow."

Shay nodded silently. "Good night,"