Wisps of clouds floated across the clear sky at a calm pace of their own. Down below the gentle wind ran across the grass, pushing the blades ever so gently. On the dirt road that cut through the field a cart was being pulled along by a strong, brown horse. Guiding the cart was an old man with a fine beard. He whistled as the cart moved along. Inside the back of the cart, sitting amongst the many supplies was three young people: a girl with short, black hair with sky colored eyes and a smile on her face, a tall man with chestnut hair that was half asleep, and a younger, blonde boy whose eyes wondered everywhere, trying to take in all the sights of their trip.
"You sure you are okay coming along, Asa?", Zora asked. Her smile didn't fade as she asked her question. She was travelling with friends, going to do the thing she wanted to do most, help people. Over all, Zora felt pretty happy. "I don't want to pressure into doing something you don't want to do."
Asa nodded his head, "Yes Zora. Amhi told me that I should go see the world, and I actually want to." He smiled brightly at his female friend. Then his smile grew even bigger, "I want to learn and see all there is to know in this kingdom."
Zora nodded back, feeling relieved. "Good."
Asa lifted his hand up as if to pause the moment. "Only if you guys protect me," he said, "I am not very strong and knowing you, I will probably need it."
Zora couldn't help but laugh. "Don't worry Asa, we won't let anything happen to you."
"Yeah Kid. Stick with me and you should be safe", Helmir said. Apparently he wasn't really sleeping. Zora really thought he was. "Though, I can't promise your safety if you end up stuck with just Zora here," he continued with a mischievous smile.
"Hey!" Zora shouted at her old childhood friend.
"I'm counting on you then, ex-commander", Asa said, completely ignoring Zora's protest.
"Hey!", Zora shouted again. But she couldn't help it. She was just so happy, she ended up laughing. "I'm not that bad guys."
The two boys looked at each other, then back at Zora. "Yes you are," they both said together. The trip had been a comfortable one so far. They were about two days out of Sier and one day away from Rlon. They had plenty of food thanks to good, old Darius and no problems had occurred yet. It was a good trip. Zora beamed with happiness.
The day started out in a similar fashion. They traveled quietly and quickly along the dirt road, passing a few merchants and people heading toward Sier before beginning their trip elsewhere. It wasn't until midday that something occurred. Darius had pulled their cart off to the road so they could fix up some lunch and stretch their legs out a bit. The old man and Asa were working together to prepare the food, while Zora and Helmir stood beside the cart watching the road.
A man walked up the road and stopped at Darius's cart. He was tall, slim man with beautiful red hair that fell to his shoulders. He stood, looking at Zora and Helmir, with a relieved look upon his face. "Oh thank goodness, there are people on this road," he said dramatically.
Helmir and Zora exchanged glances before looking back toward the man. The man continued, "I have been travelling you see, but it seems as though I have lost my horse. Now it will take me sooo long to get to Rlon, you see." He looked at the two before with an expecting look.
"Should have tied the horse up to a tree or something," Helmir told the man with no emotion. Zora quickly whacked him on his arm.
"Helmir! We should offer the poor man a ride", she said. Turning back to the red-haired man, Zora said, "We are heading that way if you want to ride with us. I am sure Darius won't mind too much."
Zora could have sworn she saw the man's eyes widened, but when she gave them a further glance, they were their normal, usual size. "Darius?', he asked tilting his head.
Zora nodded, "Yeah, he is the one who owns this cart." She pointed at the cart, and then to Darius who was off a bit away watching Asa stir a pot.
The man smiled, "Oh, well thank you young miss," he said with a polite bow. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Theo."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Theo. I am Zora and this rude man is Helmir." Helmir gave a stiff nod and walked off towards the now finished food. "Come on, lets go eat!", Zora said leading their new companion toward the rest of the group.
As soon as they got to the food, Asa and Darius gave surprised looks at Theo. Zora sat down and accepted the bowl Asa was sort of holding out her way. "This is Theo, he lost his horse on his was to Rlon." Then she turned her face toward the red-head that stood smiling behind her. "This is Darius and Asa, our companions."
Theo gave them another polite bow. "I hope you don't mind me tagging along," he said with a smile.
Darius still looked taken aback but nodded his head with a "uh huh" sound escaping his lips. Asa just sighed and got up from his spot on the group to find another bowl for the new comer. He returned with a bowl and filled it with the soup Darius and he had prepared. Theo took it with thanks and sat down to eat it. "Delicious, isn't it?" Zora asked. "Asa is a genius with food and Darius has the best supplies."
"It is pretty good!", Theo said with a surprisingly happy look on his face. "You are really good, Asa!"
Asa gave a smirk, "Yeah, of course it is", he said. Though, Zora could tell he did appreciated the compliment.
"Like that?", Helmir said, suddenly smile. "Then you should try Zora's cooking." Zora nearly spat out the food she had in her mouth. Darius and Asa turned to Helmir completely surprised.
"She can cook?!", they both asked at the same time.
Helmir laughed, "Yeah, yeah. Try it next time."
Theo gave a thoughtful looked and then said, "I would love to try the young lady's cooking."
Zora stood up abruptly. "Now wait a minute, Helmir," she said glaring at the man. "You know that I have been terrible at cooking since we were kids!"
Helmir's eyes widened as if surprised, but his smile showed Zora otherwise. "Oh, you still haven't improved?" he asked.
"Of course not, I have been too busy!", she shouted at the man.
Helmir gave one of his face mischievous smiles, "Now you have gone a ruined it. I would have loved to see their faces once they ate something you prepared", with that he broke out laughing. The rest of the group just sighed and went back to their meals. Theo looked a bit confused, but he just went with it.
After they finished their meal, the group packed everything up to begin travelling again. Darius took his seat on the front of the cart and the others filled into the back. They traveled that way for a while, pulling over once it got dark.
"We are practically right outside Rlon, but with all that is going on maybe we should camp out here and head in during the day," Darius suggested to the group.
Asa nodded, "Yeah last thing we need is to become more victims. We can all keep watch for the night." He began setting up the tents for the night. Zora rushed over to help.
"Nah, Zora and I can keep watch. You are Darius wouldn't be much help if someone sneaks his way over here," Helmir replied, also moving to help with the tents.
Asa nodded again, "You have a point, but are you sure?" he asked.
"Yeah, we've been trained remember." With that Asa agreed to leave the night watch to the two ex-soldiers.
Theo jumped from out of the cart, "hey guys", he started. "You guys have been so helpful to me. Why don't you let me take the first watch. Trust me, I have experience with this kind of thing."
Helmir looked at him suspiciously. "Oh yeah?"
"Yep, I used to be a body-guard for hire for travelling merchants," he said as a reply. "Trust me."
Zora gave a big yawn, "Helmir, let him repay off his debt to us." She quickly settled into her tent that she shared with Helmir. "This way we won't be so tired when we head into town tonight."
Helmir gave her a nod, but continued to stare Theo down.
The man who called himself Theo watched as the group made their way into their tents. He gave Helmir the most reassuring smile and wave that he could. Afterwards he sat, staring at the stars, for a while. He waited a while, enjoying the quiet. The group was sure a talkative one. Well, most the girl, he thought to himself. She was so social and open, he almost felt bad for her. And the kid seemed nice. He also felt a bit sorry for the kid, and for missing out on more delicious meals.
He was sure everyone was asleep by now. Time to get to work, he thought to himself. He stood up and patted the dirt off of his clothes. He gave the tents on last smile. Fools, he thought to himself, but such nice fools. With that he headed toward their horse drawn carriage. He bent down and pick up a rock from the ground and tossed it into a nearby bush. Shortly afterwards a feminine figure approached him on a horse of her own. The man smiled at the woman. "Lets get this over with," he whispered.