Chaffen wved his hand in dismissal and agreement to take the girl.

The girl scrambled to her feet and hid behind the young man.


"Thank you."

The small voice beside Jernel surprised him. Turning he saw the girl he had just saved following him.

"Uh, yeah sure, whatever." he answered uncomfortably.

"You aren't really Jernel. He wouldn't do something like that for anyone." she said, looking at him


He looked at the girl sideways then turned away.

"Is that so?" he replied.

"Yes, that and the fact you look nothing like him."

"You're sharp. My real name is Darrel. And I wouldn't go around messing with fellas like old Chaffer.

People like that drive the gods themselves crazy."

The girl simply nodded.

"What is your name?" asked Darrel.

Looking at him as if sizing him up she shrugged.

"Giving someone your real name can also give that person control of you." she answered solemnly. "Call me


"So where are your parents Ruth?" he asked.

Ruth shrugged. Not wanting to bug her about it, he dropped the subject.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"No where specific. Do you have a place to stay?"

Again Ruth shrugged. Darrel sighed heavily. He really didn't want to have her tagging along but he didn't have

anywhere to put her.

"I can go if you don't want me here." she said as if reading his thoughts.

Darrel looked at her surprised.

"Where would you go? Someone needs to look after you."

"I know it might not seem like it, but I can take care of myself. I don't need a babysitter just because i'm

a girl you know." she said stiffly.

An uncomfortable silence followed. Finally Darrel broke the silence.

"I'm really sorry. I din't meant to offend you. I had a little sister and she was killed. I don't want that to

happen to anyone else. That is why I saved you from Chaffen.

"It's okay."

They walked on in silence.

"Do you know anyone I could stay with?" she asked.

Surprised at the sudden resignation to his 'request', he shook his head.

"I think I have enough to get two horses. Out on the coast I have some friends. do you know how to


She nodded. They stopped at the stables. Darrel bought two horses and some food. Mounting the horses, they

rode out of the town. For two hours they rode in silence. listening to the horses breathing and nature.

"How far is it to this place?" Ruth asked.

"It is about a weeks worth of riding to the coast." he replied.

At around three o'clock they stopped to eat lunch. After resting for about an hour or so, they started to ride



In the middle of an unlikely opening in a small thicket of trees he waited. Only waiting because he didn't

know what to expect. He sat uncomfortably. He didn't trust the boy. His charm and looks only made things


"That boy isn't to be trusted!" he had told his employer.

Instead of listening, he had entrusted this reckless boy with such a delicate groaned indwardly.

It just wan't right. He had been with his employer for years. He had been faithful and suceeded in everything

he was asked. The boy wasn't even there a day and already he had an important role in all of this. He knew

every detail and layout. Able to go to the other side with information. Not the right information of course, but


"How did I end up like this!?" he yelled at the darkening skies.

It was getting very late. The boy was supposed to be here by now. What was taking him so long? If the boy

didn't return within the hour, he could report a failure of the boy. Then he would be in high regard once again.

A small rustle in the bushes told him someone was coming. The boy walked in with his horse.

"Did you get the girl?" Rean asked.

The boy simply tethered the horse to a branch and walked away. Rean grumbled angrily. Being two years this

boys senior, he should have answered him.

"Come on, I found us a place. There is another person there, but I won't let him hurt you." the boys

voice sounded softly through the bushes. One minute later, another horse was in the thicket with the girl

walking beside.

"Hello girl." Rean said. 'no need to scare her off with the knowledge of already knowing her name.' he


The girl shivered. Looking straight at Rean, she spoke.

"Do you know this man?"

"Again I congratulate you on your sharpness." Darrel murmured. "This is my friend. His name is"

"STOP! I will tell her my name. My name, girl, is Maren."

"I don't believe you. You are afraid to tell me your real name, aren't you?" she said.

Rean's eyes narrowed. He didn't like her matter-of-a-fact voice. All the same, he said nothing.

"I can live with that. I probably don't need to tell you my name, seeming as you already know it." she


"I only know your fake name girl." he replied, perhaps a bit too fast.