It was early morning. The sun was piercing through the think clouds as it crested the tips of the shortest building. The thin rays danced across my back as I soured through the upper city, searching for my prey. Today I was hunting down a herd of Bristle Backs. A lumbering beast that had enough meat hidden under its shell to last myself a fortnight. That would give me enough time to track down what I had labelled 'The Lost Soul.' Even when hunting the old and weak of these beasts, they were still a terrifying force to encounter. If I wanted to stay on their trail I would need every advantage I could get.

It wasn't too difficult to find the herd in their usual grazing grounds; a large meadow surrounded by a cropping of taller buildings. The green patterning on their backs did make them harder to see, but after hunting them for more years than I cared to remember it has become easy too spot them. The sun cast my shadow far ahead of the herd hiding my approach. I landed on one of the few still standing buildings in the area to observe them safely. This close to the centre of the city I wasn't worried about slash vipers or other small predators this high up.

I studied each of them as they slowly wandered towards the building I was perched upon. After a short while I saw what I was looking for. A Bristle Back closer towards the outside of the heard was slightly larger than the others, but also shambled around more awkwardly. It was old and weak. Now for a plan to separate it from the others. I knew if I startled them they would run into hiding under the nearest shelter. I spied a fairly large opening in the row of buildings they they could escape down quickly and the plan formed in my head. After some quick preparation of my landing site and a trap in the alleyway, I was ready.

I waited as long as possible before setting my plan into action. Once the herd was close enough to the building, I shoved a sizable pile of rubble over the side. The noise alone was enough to get the curiosity of the younger ones, but after they saw what was making it they started to bolt with the older ones. They were heading right for the alleyway just as I had hoped. I needed to act quickly before I missed my opportunity to spring my plan ran past.

Pushing off the ground and flapping hard in a single downswing, I was off the ground and speeding headfirst towards a single wall that had remained on the upper floor of the building. The herd was picking up speed now and were starting to turn down the ally. I looked quickly and saw the old one I had noted earlier was lagging at the back of the pack. This had better work. I though to myself as my target grew dangerously close.

At the last possible moment, I flipped in the air and planted both my feet squarely on the vertical surface, then pushed up with every muscle I had. After only a brief moment of this my momentum stopped and I dropped on my back onto the ground. I had only a second to get up and continue pushing before I heard sweet sound of the concrete giving away and beginning to fall into the alley below. I backed off in time to see the iron-vine ropes I had attached to the opposing building grow taught and swing the wall inwards momentarily before snapping the support they were attached to and bring down portions of the other side as well.

My plan had worked exactly as intended. The new noises coming from above caused the younger, stronger Bristle-Backs to charge ahead faster leaving the older one to falter and become isolated from the herd as the new rubble came crashing down around it. Before it had time to reorient itself I jumped off and drew the sword strapped between my shoulder blades. I had one chance to get the killing blow just behind its head.

Only moments before impact I snapped my wings open to stop myself from crashing into the beast. The sudden noise brought the panicked animals attention up to me and before I had time to adjust my trajectory, it shifted its weight just enough to avoid a lethal attack. I manged to skewer the side of it's neck instead of square behind the skull. With it's shifting weight I lost the grip on my sword and in one swift motion brought its body around to smash into me and send me careening into the nearby building. Both of us yelled out in pain from our injuries. I could feel a broken rib, cracked forearm, and a dislocated wing joint.

I wasn't going to be getting out of here anytime soon and that was going to be a big problem. I was now injured and facing down a provoked, and very deadly creature that was nearly three times my size. I only had a quick moment to look at the damage I caused to it before it reared backed and charged at me. With a plate on it's skull almost 20 cm thick I would be paste if it managed to hit me. Bouncing into a crouching position I launched myself up the wall I had been launched into and over the charging beast as it shattered the wall. Its momentum carried it into the dank interior of the building as I rolled away from the debris.

I frantically looked around for my sword, but I came up empty. It must have still been lodged in its neck. Something else then. I couldn't fly out of here to my supplies to heal up, I would never be able to out run it. I running out of options and fast. I needed to think of something quickly or I would would never get a chance to find that Lost Soul. I didn't care if I died later, just not before I could save that Lost Soul. I need to do something right for once.

Diving too far into my own thoughts I didn't notice that the Bristle-Back had realigned itself with the entrance it had made and raised itself up on its hulking front legs. I noticed moments too late as it fired off only a few of the quills from its tail in my direction with varying accuracy. I rolled instinctively out of the way onto my bad arm causing me to falter further movement. The beast took the opportunity to launch another barrage at me. I narrowly avoided them hitting me outright but a few of them managed to clip my wings and pass through the membrane several times. I rushed towards the tallest object I could find for cover, the distinctive thunk of the quills sinking into the surrounding landscape close on my heels.

As I slid into cover I knew it would charge at me. It was then that I saw what I needed; the section of debris I was hiding behind still had the iron-vine wrapped around it. I heard the beast roar and start another charge. Not thinking about anything but my survival at this point, I did what I swore I would never do again. I reached into myself, into the farthest reaches of my being, and pulled the strength I needed annihilate this pathetic creature.

I grabbed the vine and swung it around, the debris flying off the ground with ease and circling with my movements. Once, twice, three times I swung it around each time picking up momentum. On the forth I sped up even further as the Bristle-Back came close. I watched as I let go and the debris made contact with the head of the creature. It instantly dropped to the ground dead as my sword went soaring off some distance away. I let the body slam into me as I regained my focus. It was taking every bit of concentration I had to keep in control as my body moved on its own, pushing the body away from me.

I took only a few shaky steps before I keeled over in an attempt to contain it, the limp body of the Bristle-Back bleeding one the hard ground nearby. It was awake now, and it was famished. I knew what it wanted to feed on and I would not let it. Not after last time. "Yami." I whispered into the abyss as I tried to remember. Remember what she looked like. Remember the time we had together. But the image of her in my arms as she gasped for air still haunted me and how I couldn't be there for her. "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry." Her last words reverberated in my head and shook the feeling of dread off. I could control this. I had to.

It took me far longer than I would have hoped to regain my composure through deep breathing and focusing on her voice. Once I had regained focus, I pushed my self to my feet and stared as my arms returned to their normal size. "I can't do that again." As I spoke I could hear it chewing at the corners of my mind. It had been so long since that day that it had gone dormant. It might take just as long for it to secede once again. Now was not that time to think about that however. Many predators would have heard the commotion I had made and would undoubtedly be soon approaching. Some were most likely waiting in the shadows for me to leave at that moment.

I harvested the supplies I needed from my kill as swiftly as I could. Several large portions of tender flash, as many of the quills as I could strap onto my pack, and my sword. My sword had been by my side for mare years than I would like to remember, and it was still somehow in marvellous condition when almost all other steel in the city was rusted and corroded. Another mystery I had little intention on solving. For now I had to focus on finding a Lost Soul. I checked my wings and the holes were already healed over. I could feel my other injuries were slowly repairing themselves as I packed up the remainder of my supplies. When I flew off again into the sky, I saw the scavengers already start to emerge from the shadows. I ignored the growling sound coming from the back of my mind.

I took the meat back to the place I called home, one of the few remaining high rises in the outskirts of the city. I kept it sealed at all times from intruders and did a sweep of each floor every morning. Most of the predatory animals knew by now to stay away from this area by now, and there were always small groups of rodent like creatures that I allowed to seek shelter here. I maintained only a few of the 15 odd floors that once made up the building.

The main floor was my staging centre filled with supplies that were necessary in the every day survival of this world. Medicine, Iron-vine supply, a small storage of rations kept in what metal containers I could find, makeshift weapons, and different outfits. Over the years I had crafted and collected more supplies than I had ever hopped to use myself.

Second to forth floor were collapsed and uninhabitable. I used it as a shooting ground to practice my aim with bows and other weapons I crafted for distance take downs. Or when I felt that the population in that wide are was becoming too dense I would set up traps and have food set up for a week or two.

The floor above was my personal quarters as well as the next few floors. All designed to be lived in. Those floors where empty now. The remaining floors were set up for either storage or a personal collection of odds and ends that intrigued me. Many of these objects I understood the purpose of, but why they were designed for that purpose. I lived in a world consumed by time and darkness with no understanding of how it came to pass. One day I had hopped to find out why the city I spent my waking hours in had been abandoned. I would, but it was not in the way I would have liked.

The final floor and a small shelter on the roof was used exclusively for food storage. It was far less likely that it would be found by any undesired wildlife. It was there that I sat surveying my surroundings while the meat I had collected was being smoked and cooked. I had already checked my sword for severe damage once I set up the food to be cooked. Over the years it had become more damaged and the shine it once had was now only a dull sheen. It was a marvellous thing to behold still despite the years of heavy use. A hilt in the shape of dragon's head, outstretched wings as a guard and elegantly carved runes along the blade. It was the last thing in the world that made me feel safe.

I stared out onto the horizon as the sun began to move through the overgrown husk of a city. My supplies were prepared and triple prepared for my journey into the heart of the city. It would be weeks, maybe even months before I found what, or who I was looking for. I would need my rest now, for I knew I would get little of it out there. Gathering what I had, I took one last look at the setting sun before sealing the exit behind me and making my way down to my bed.

It had started raining a few hours ago. I hated the rain. I got unreasonably cold from the drops upon my back, the wind and extra weight made flying round much more difficult, and tracking became far harder than it should have been. I had managed to pick up the trail of my Lost Soul little over a week ago and I was making good progress in finding them despite having to double back several times. Whatever this was, they were very good at covering their track and evading potential hunters, such as myself. The trails were getting fresher, the marking of passage more robust. I was getting too close to slow down now. Not especially since I was entering Hive territory soon.

Hive territory was a wretched place in the city. Located at its centre, it sported the most repulsive, vicious, and deadly creatures I had encountered in my years. Why, and how, this Lost Soul was managing to survive in this part of the city was beyond me. I just knew I would have to be far more cautious if I wanted to find them soon.

The rain continued into the evening and I was forced to take shelter as high up as I could find covered shelter. An open flame on a rooftop was as good as an invitation for anyone looking for a meal. If only for a few moments, I needed to warm up. A quick search in the surrounding buildings by the closest trail brought me into a small room on the twelfth floor in a particularly overgrown section. After clearing the room and subsequent floor, I got to work setting up a small fire in the corner. A bit of dead vegetation and the flint in my bag, although still wet, made a nice crackling bit of warmth I could set my back to. After laying down my pack and setting out certain things to dry, I sat and stretched my wings to hide as much of the light as I could. I knew it would be a while until my things dried and night would approach soon, so I tried to close my eyes for a while to get a small amount of rest.

I listed in my half dozing as the rain pattered against the vegetation and concrete. The growls and howls of the local wildlife drifting up to me. I wasn't worried about any of them sneaking up on me. A long time ago I had learned to meditate out in the wilderness as a way to recharge myself when alone or in potentially dangerous situations. It was never a permanent solution but always worked whenever I needed to stretch my hours awake more than I should have.

I must have sat there listing to everything for a good two hours or more before I heard it. A fighting in the distance. Which was extremely odd as very little fighting happened in Hive territory. Only for mating purposes and that was very far off from the season. It struck me as odd, but I was not willing to investigate it. That was, until the screaming started. A shrill sound, gut-wrenching, primal sound. One unlike any I had heard.

The shear suddenness of the noise was enough to startle me awake from my meditative state. Staring out into the direction I could only imagine it came from. With slow hands I moved to gather my things, only to find that they were not where I had placed them. Confused, I reached out further and brushed against something soft and furry. I snapped my head around just in time to see something I hadn't anticipated; my Lost Soul that I had been seeking, was shifting through my belongings. She was very vulpine in nature but still very much human. Her dirty rust-orange colouration very distinctive against her muted beige chest the travelled up to the underside of her jaw. I looked past the black spot of her nose on the end of her snout to see the utter shock in her bark brown eyes. That was the last good look I got at her before she bolted out of the room, my backpack still clutched in her hands.

It took me only a split second to grab my sword and pursue, but that was all the time she needed. As I rounded the corner of the room I was in, she was already rounding the next on her way down. She was much faster than I gave her credit for. I needed a way to overtake her or at the least get my things back. There was an opening at the end of the hallway and I knew what to do. Instead of trying to follow her on foot, I sheathed my sword behind my back and flung myself through the opening and snapped my wings open to start circling the building. The rain had stopped for now, but the night chill was beginning to creep in. It was better than the rain, but it would still make things uncomfortable for me tonight.

It was tough to focus my hearing. The miasma of noise was always overwhelming when I concentrated this way. Creatures living, plants growing and moving, in the distance the fighting had stopped. I heard something very peculiar coming from that place, but it would need to wait as I heard what I was looking for. She was had made it five floors down and was making her way across towards the next flight down. I flew towards the end of the floor to intercept.

I dove through an overgrown window headfirst and tumbled into a sprint. Rushing out of the room I looked down the corridor to her shocked expression, the ears on top of her standing straight up. She had trouble stopping herself as she spun around. As she spun, she used her momentum and flung my bag back at me with surprising force. It caught me off guard and she quickly made her way to the other end of the floor. She wasn't slowing down at all and it dawned on me that she was going to jump from this high up.

A fall from here would kill almost anything in this world. She couldn't be that crazy. "I'm not here to hurt you!" I shouted in desperation. She glanced back at me with curiosity underneath her fear. It seemed she quickly dismissed those feelings as she turned and leaped out the building. In shock that she would be scared enough to do something so reckless, I ran over to the opening to see her traversing down the side of the opposing building with great efficiency as she found hold in all the small cracks and dislodged material. It was awe inspiring that how quickly she made it down without falling. It must have been how she snuck up on me by the fire so easily. She landed on her haunches and looked back up at me with that same curiosity I sent to her only momentarily before she dashed off further into the tangle of buildings.

I was never going to catch her on foot, not with my bulky wings and her nimble athletics. I had to try and out pace her. I strapped my bag back on and followed suit through the air. My bag felt lighter, I would have to check what was missing later. I quickly got a bead on where she was headed and moved to try and intercept again. It was a ruined access point for the ancient underground system that ran through the breadth of the city. If she managed to make it down there I would have to spend another month tracking her down. There was no way I would be able to get ahead of her into an area like that so I did the next best thing I could think of; I made to try and cut her off sideways. I didn't like using force for something this delicate, but I just needed to be able to talk to her. Even if was only for a few moments. She would see that it was for the better. She had to.

As she manoeuvred over the remains of a fallen tree, I flew at her from the back. If I could sneak up on a potential blind stop, I might have been able to temperately restrain her. Just long enough for her to realize I wasn't a threat. But what happened did not go as planned. As I dived at her, arms outstretched to the sides, I only just noticed her ears were swivelling on her head. She had stolen my element of surprise. Only when I was too close to change my course, she side stepped and leaped into a roll. The change in momentum let her spin around and land a swift kick to my side as I tried desperately to reach out and grab her. I was sent careening as she swiftly followed, her stance; menacing. My new trajectory sent me into a nearby pile of rubble. The sudden stop causing my to become dizzy and stunned. Luckily my bag had cushioned some of the landing so I wasn't out cold.

The next thing I knew though there was an immense force on my neck and I stared up as she leaned over me, her entire weight pressing down on me with her foot on my neck. She intended to kill me. She had every right to, and her cunning handling of the situation had put me into a very vulnerable situation. She bared down at me, the claws on her fingers dangerously close to my face. A higher pitched mix between a growl and a whine escaped from her through as she came closer.

"I just want to he-" my wheeze of a plea was cut short as she pressed harder against my throat. I was starting to see stars at this point. It was almost welcoming to see the end coming after everything I had seen. Before anything else happened however, she paused her advance. Taking a few sniffs around me and then a deep breath, taking in my scent. She yelped slightly and withdrew her claws.

"The sky terror." her voice was a whisper. She quickly turned from aggressor to victim as she almost jumped off of me. Her eyes and ears spinning around in a near panic searching for something up above. She looked back down at me as I rolled over and coughed before letting loose a warning bark and dashing off into the underground.

It took me longer than expected to regain my composure, mostly because I hadn't expected the entire encounter to go so poorly for me. She had snuck up on me, stolen some of my supplies, bested me in scuffle and slipped through my fingers afterwards. And now that she knew of me, it would likely be even harder to find her a second time. I coughed several more times as I rubbed my neck before standing back up. I resigned myself to taking inventory of what was left before I headed back for home. Something would have most definitely heard our fight so I needed to but some distance between here and myself. It was then I remembered the other fighting I had heard in the distance. My supplies could always wait until later. I took to the skies and headed off.

It was a noise I had never heard before in all my years. It was my curiosity that was getting the better of my in this situation. Even with a damaged resolve, I knew I needed to confront what had made this scream, for better or for worse. I took me several minutes of searching before I came across something. It was a pack of Hive Hounds chasing three figures through the approaching darkness. A hive Hound was a nasty piece of work. A low to the ground creature with powerful jaws on a muzzle that extended outwards when they needed to strike with their oversized canines. Thick mussels gave these beasts a deceptively bulky appearance. What could be classified as fur was sparse from the head to the tip of its large tail. It was mainly covered in tough, yet brittle, chitinous plates. Pronounced claws dug into the ground as this pack of five perused their current target.

I could see in the distant trees and rubble there was a Shell Pelt already killed and bleeding out on the ground. No doubt some scavenger would come and clean them up soon but I needed to find out what had killed them, not what was going to eat them. I followed close for a few moments before it became clear to me what it was they were chasing. Or more importantly who. They were in pursuit of other people. I though that the one who had bested me only a few minutes ago was the only other person in this decrepit city. Quickly realizing the situation and knowing the habits of these felines, I needed to act fast. In a fervour I dove down towards the current pack leader.

I shouted just before impact to garner everyone's attention. "Up here you mangy stray!" All five of them slowed to bring their attention towards me. Given the surprise I took the opportunity to turn and drive my heel into the leader's head with a swift kick. With a satisfying crunch of its plates breaking, I collapsed its skull and rendered its body limp in one fell motion. "They were driving you into an ambush." I tried to explain to these new people the pack's intent quickly before the rest of the Shell Pelts dove at me for interrupting their plan. "Help me and I can give you a safe place to rest." I didn't wait for any to respond before I struck out at the creatures first.

I didn't bother drawing my sword against these enemies. I simply would not have time. I needed to think quick and act quicker if I wanted to best these beasts. I picked up a nearby piece of debris and held it firm in my hand as I swung for the next largest predator. As expected it moved away as I came closer, but knowing these creatures it was not my target. I followed through with my swing and spun around on my heel to face the one that was charging at me. I saw the sudden look of panic in its eyes before my weapon shattered as it came into contact with its skull.

I let its momentum carry it past me and it slid to a halt in front of my original targets feet. It sniffed at its fallen pack member a few times. After realizing what had befallen it, it reared it's teeth at me and let out a deep growl. "You want me?" I taunted. I outstretched my arms, leaned my head to the side and slapped my neck a few times. "It's right here so come and get it." I heard all three of them start to charge me at once. Always the same with these mindless creatures. Thinking to myself. I kept my arms outstretched to feign defencelessness. At the moment I heard the first one leap at my throat, I dropped flat to the ground. I watched as it soared over my prone position while trying fruitlessly to realign itself to have at me. Once it was past I tucked my legs under myself and leaped into the air as the other two came dangerously close to snapping at my ankles. As those two collided into each other I made my move.

With a single beat from my wings I moved downwards towards the first one to attack me. I was only now able to recover from it's failed attack. There was a brief moment between it regaining its footing and me descending upon it with force. The fear in its eyes quite palpable. It tried to claw at me as we tumbled to the ground, raking my chest in process. Their strength was formidable and their agility was nothing to trifle at. Even in its frightened state it, it was a very formidable enemy. I need to act quickly before the other two could come to its aid. Spinning around it I managed to wrap my arm around its neck in one swift motion and locked it in place with my opposite hand. It was more focused on trying to kill me than escape as it was still clawing at my side and snapping it's jaws. The other two were looking in my direction as I kicked the Shell Pelt's feet out from under it and dropping all my weight with it. I hit the ground with a thud as the predator in my arm landed with a loud crack and a yowl as Its neck broke under my arm. Two left.

By the time I looked back up, there was only one. Not having time to think about where it managed to run off to, I charged at the remaining one. To my surprise, it started to charge as well. Their hive mind would have this one run away if the first one did. Something was afoot. I kept my footing on the ground until it did an oddly low lunge at me. I leapt into the air to easily avoid it and quickly realized my mistake. As I spun in the air with my wings I saw that the other one hadn't run away, but it in fact had circled around behind me. The low lunge was to be able to land fast and provide support as its lone pack mate sprung off of its back to get the necessary height to attack me.

It was my turn to be afraid. It collided with me mid air before I had a chance to climb higher and I got pinned to the rough ground as I did my best to defend myself. It clawed at me with vigour and hissed as I used all my concentration to keep it from ripping my throat out. I had almost forgotten about the second one until it growled as it charged a second time. I waited until it was within striking distance before I reared my leg back and kicked it square in the chin sending it flying sideways away from me. Unfortunately for me, this distraction had given the first enough of an opportunity to force my hand down and start nipping at my neck. I was in trouble in a big way if I couldn't get this thing off me. Luckily for me, I didn't have to.

As I felt the saliva dripping onto my neck, I heard a voice coming from the direction of the one I had kicked. Ignoring the second yelp and a wet splash, I tried to force this thing back. Another figure appeared on the edge of my vision above me briefly before more closer down to me. They reached behind my head and I felt them grabbing my sword that was still on my back. With a single swift motion is was drawn and disappeared from my sight again. The motion drew the attention of the Shell Pelt on top of me for only a brief moment before I witnessed the sword being shoved down it's throat. It gurgled several times as it stumbled off of me only to drop to the ground a short distance away.

Quickly glancing over at the remaining Shell Pelt I saw as the other two figures had manged to hold it down long enough to cut through it's throat. I laid back down for a quick moment as I sighed in relief. It was over for now. Opening my eyes again I noticed the figure hovering above me. It was one of the people being chased earlier.

He was well built, his physique clearly visible under under the tattered remains of his jumpsuit. Similar to the vixen I had fought earlier, he had a snout like protrusion and a dark thick mane like fur with pointed ears located likewise on the top of his head. Though his snout slightly shorter and his mane bigger giving him a more imposing look. The dark fur of his face made him hard to see in the approaching moonlight. The black on top with underlying sections of lighter grey underneath and a near white patch running the length of his chin and disappearing under his collar. His round yellow eyes easily pierced the night and gave his entire appearance a ghostly look. I could see a rather large bushy tail swaying in the breeze of the night with a similar colouration. He offered me his hand after taking in my appearance likewise.

I rolled over and accepted his gesture. "You did well." I mentioned as he pulled me to my feet. I met his eyes with my own he stood only a few inches taller than me, but I could tell he though it was a few feet by the look he gave me.

He motioned to the other two as they joined us. "We were simply keeping our side of your bargain." I looked over at them as they neared.

One had a dismissive look about her. She was shorter than me but still taller than her compatriot. She had a very round face with large patches of brown forming a disk of sorts around her eyes. This facial disk was outlined on either side with darker brackets. Her face was extremely flat in comparison to the rest of us. She had two small tufts of what I then realized where feathers above the outsides of her eyes atop her head and formed a ridge downwards to her nose and attaching to a small black curved beak. This gave her a very menacing appearance. There was a large plumage of feathers around her neck that gave her an almost regal air. Her speckled arms ended in hands that looked a bit too large for her frame and were tipped with small talons similar in shape to my own. The other side of her arms were draped in long flowing white feathers with small brown stripes and a dark brown and grey speckled back. These feathers extended down to her waist forming a very simple wing, ones that did not look like she would be able to use properly. Her modified jumpsuit had no sides, only tied at the bottom.

The other was timid, almost hiding behind their friend. She was very short which made her hiding task all the more easy. Her dark grey fur outlining a short snout and her wide eyes which were both highlighted in a whiter patch that ran down her throat and presumably her chest as well. Long whiskers extended outwards from behind her pink nose that always seemed to be twitching, sniffing. What stood out to me the most was her ears; massive circular things atop her head that would sway in the breeze as they swivelled always seeking signs of danger. Her fur extended to midway up her forearm before her pick skin underneath took over. Her hands were small and nimble, each finger ended with a small claw-like nail. Her thick upper legs, combined with her digitigrade heels showed that she was clearly capable of bursts of speed if needed.

I nodded solemnly. Straight to business. I thought to myself.

"Understood. I go by..." I t had been so long since anyone had used my name, it took me a while to remember what it was. "Darusk. I go by Darusk." Motioning to the others I added, "And who might you be?" I looked over their faces as the words came out of my mouth. He was distraught. The other two flustered and embarrassed.

He looked back at the others as they came to stand beside him. "We do not know." He said though stern lips, clearly uncomfortable to admit the truth.

It was the mousy one that filled in the rest. Her voice on the higher end and small, just like her. "We were hoping..." the others turned unexpectedly to her. It must have been an uncommon occurrence for her to speak as she got further embarrassed with their gaze on her. "Well we were hoping that, you could tell us, who we are. If you knew." She slinked further behind her companion once she was finished and eyes returned to me.

It took me awhile to find the proper words to respond. I knew what they wanted to hear. It was what I would have wanted to hear all so long ago. I also knew what I should have told them, what I could amount to the truth after the soul searching I did trying to find answers. "I wish I knew more than I can tell you. But I don't know. All I know is that you are people that could use a hand in this world." A half truth, but not truth enough.

His sigh was barely audible in the breeze. I could not tell if my answer flustered him, or put him at ease. "That will have to do for now." He said. "If you do have shelter, we should go now. We can discuss matters further once we are safe."

You will never be safe, not in this world. "Follow me."