**MissWendy: Yes, clichés are not always a bad thing, but all rules must be broken at times, don't you think…? *grins* Thank you, I hope your holidays where good as well, mine were fine. I didn't get to go home, but I did get a care package from my parents and a small one from my sis so that's alright…

**CheesyDoom: I'm glad you like Nick, well, yeah…he is actually my favourite char so far, mostly cuz I haven't gotten around to know the other ones so good yet…but also cuz he's just such a sweetheart…

**Jyna: Thank you for all your compliments, I reread them now and felt really good which is great cuz I really need some positive vibes right about now, having a run of bad luck and just being totally exhausted. Well yeah, the confusion is more or less intentional…

**ChristianGeekGuy (I'll just call you CGG kay?) You'll get this message when you get here, if you get here. Thank you for commenting. *hugs *

**Everyone: I am so, so very soory for being late with this one and for not having written as much as I should. I'm just poofed, got so many things on my schedule right now and things aren't looking any brighter in the near future. Seeing among other things how my bike got a flat today… *cries a bit * I only ever travel on my bike, I haven't got a car, I'm broke and don't know the bus routes. So this basically means I will have to walk, walk, walk tomorrow, it's three and a half kilometres to school, which I will have to walk two-four times… I have an early presentation/exam in the morning and a concert in the afternoon/evening. Gods, these things always happen to me at the worst possible time. Know what I mean?

Anyways, I will try to have the next chapter up by the end of the week. However I can make no promises since my life as I said is chaos… But, fear not, I will be back… :- ))

Thank you all for being so good to me. I love you.

This is a story of heroes, reluctant and voluntary. This is a story of love, lucky and unlucky. This is a story of fate and being all that you can be, whether it be easy or not, whether it seems right or not. We are who we are and will always be, in life, in death and beyond.

The one with pure intentions

'Tis for you to embrace

A stranger in all their innocence

Is a friend you do not know

This time when Nick awoke he immediately recognized Jaro standing by the window and he knew very well where he was, well, sort of. Within a split second Jaro's eyes were locked on him and with a few fast strides he was by Nick's side, a hand lying heavy on his chest as Nick tried to rise.

"I do not think it is yet time for you to be up my lord. The fever may have broken, but Lashana can often leave the body weak after its work is done. The aftermath depends on the severity of the damage done and you my friend needed enough of the drug to keep you in bed for at least a while longer."

Nick's head sank deeper into his pillow and he gazed up on his benefactor with tired eyes.

"I'm sure you are right, but I need to go to the toilet and some fresh air might do me some good too. How long have I been asleep?"

Jaro frowned at the memory.

"You 'fell asleep' shortly after supper on Marli, now it is Orli and barely around that time once again so you have been more or less unconscious for three days even. You awoke briefly on Turli, that's when I managed to get some Lashana in you, the gods be praised, had I not I fear things would have gotten…very bad. Whatever it was that held you in its clutches it did not want to let you go without a fight."

Nick did his best to try and process what Jaro said while trying to remember a dream he had had, but all he could think of at the moment was his urgent call of nature. Which was pretty much what he told Jaro in a very firm voice. The man sighed heavily, but shifted his hand to help support Nick on his attempt to rise once more. With an ironwill Nick finally managed to stand on his shaky legs, his shaking, naked legs. Well at least he still had his underwear…

The journey to the toilet was a long and unsteady one and was managed by heavily leaning on the man by his side.

Once inside his bedroom again Nick sank onto the bed with a pained groan. When he had managed to get himself comfortably under the covers again he smiled faintly.

"Thank you for taking such good care of me Jaro, I…" And then he went under once more without even finishing his sentence.

Jaro fixed the covers neatly over his mysterious Strangerfriend and after giving him a thoughtful look he turned around with a relieved look on his face; a dead lord on his premises was certainly not what he needed right now. For now it seemed that the stranger would pull through though and judging by the darkness that had attacked him on the night of the incident the young man had to be a good person. Only someone of exceptional strenght of spirit could anger such dark forces and prevail. Now as many times before Jaro regretted not having paid more attention to his mother's words of wisdom. He could have needed some more of his mother's vast knowledge of such things to know what to make of this strange story he had stumbled upon. How much could you trust a lord who did not even seem to have the slightest knowledge or interest in politics in these days, however good or noble he seemed? Jaro closed the door behind him, a worried sigh now escaping his lips. Well, the meeting with the movement could not be postponed any longer. All summons had already been sent and changing anything now could endanger all of their safeties. He just had to hope that the stranger slept soundly these following nights as well. If not…well, no use in worrying about that now, what would be, would be.

Nick was exhausted for days after his very brief excursion and had been forced to resort to using a chamber pot for his needs. A fact he highly disliked, but had been forced into when he could hardly get out of bed without his knees bending and his mind spinning. However after a few days of doing practically nothing but eat, drink and rest he finally managed to leave his room sit a while by the fire and talk to Jaro. Sometimes they even played games. There was one board game that resembled chess in some ways that Nick apparently was a natural at. But mamy times Nick would just stare into the fire and think. He needed a plan now, that was obvious. Now that his senses had almost reached normal capabilities once more he was actually starting to remember some of the dreams that he had had during his fevered nights. One of which he knew had to be of great importance, the one where someone had asked for his help. The question was only or rather foremost, who was this mysterious woman? Not to mention how he would get to wherever she was or for that matter the all-consuming question of what this world was that he had somehow ended up in. Why him? Why now?

Oh well, he resigned in his thought, I guess there are a few more questions than just that one that need answer before I can be of much help to anybody.

So firstly he himself was in need of assistance and however uncomfortable it made him feel to constantly have to take advantage of the goodness of his host there seemed to be little other choice left to him. So one evening while they were playing Sa'mena he broke the silence of his opponent thinking on his next move.

"I…am not from around here, Jaro. I think you must have realised that by now. It's not that I have lived in some castle high up in the mountains, secluded from reality or anything like that I'm not from…" for a moment he was going to say 'this world', but he caught himself at the last second "…from this land. I'm from the other side of the infinate ocean." He guessed that was the right thing to say. All worlds had to have larger water masses of some sort or another and it could hardly be considered strange that a person from another continent was not up to date on local politics. Apparently his story sounded plausible because Jaro only listened calmly and was not on his way out to prepare a lynching.

"How did you end up here?" Jaro asked after a moments silence. "The ocean is many days marches to the west, why are you here and why escortless?"

Nick looked his host straight in the eye and decided to give him a lie as close to the truth as he could possibly get. "I was brought here by ways of magic. No one could follow me, on this journey so far I am alone. I have come on a mission to help a woman on whose fate a whole world rests upon." He wasn't sure why he added that last part at first he thought that maybe it was to convey the importance of that he'd be believed, but then he could feel his sight blurring and a splitting headache descending upon him, telling him that he might have gotten a bit too close to the truth. Afraid to black out once more he gripped his host's arm for support, but to no avail and the darkness became his world.

Jaro sighed heavily as his guest lost consciousness once more, swept him up into his arms with ease and carried him back to the guestroom. The stranger's story, what little he had been able to convey, sounded amazing, but it explained everything so for the moment he could only assume that it was indeed the truth. Acording to customs Kast'am were not entirely prevented to lie, but in the few scriptures he had been able to get his hands on concerning the world before the sundering it was said that you would not get a lie as response to a direct question. Why that was so, he did not know, the scriptures did not tell, but perhaps his guest would one day. Whatever the case that was not really his concern right now and even if you might not get a lie on an up front question, the law of Kast'am as far as he could discern said that you did however not have a right to an answer. The tradition was based on the strong sense of honour that had been characteristic for the time before the sundering and maybe something more, magic of some sort, here the scriptures were very vague, but if the man was telling the truth…

Jaro shook away the thoughts while laying the unconscious man down on the bed. Nomatter traditions and honour of old, this man was in need of help and help him Jaro would do. He could feel a promise of greatness in the young man, Jaro thought with a smile as he tucked his guest in and besides, I'd like to think that someone would do the same for me. He straightened and rested his eyes for a moment on the sleeping frame, a memory came unbidden to him then of another sleeper in the same bed many years ago. With a heavy heart he wondered where his sister was now and if she was even still alive, although he thought she was, but you could never be certain since she was no longer within the reach of his pack. With another shake of his head Jaro turned and exited the room.

His guest would most likely sleep all through the night and more judging by his previous pattern. Which meant that Jaro no longer had to worry so much a gathering. After a moment's hesitation he even decided to leave the door a little open, his conscience would not allow anything else in the current situation felling bad already for being relieved because of his strangerfriend's unconsciousness. He refused to become that kind of man that let the goal justify the means of getting there. Enough of that would be when the war started for real.

Civil war. Gods, that he would have to see another civil war within his lifetime, the first time he had only been 5 years old, then he had seen his father leave for the frontlines, never to return. His mother was still nursing his baby sister and had been forced to stay behind to take care of the both. Jaro could still remember the look in her eyes when his father rode off. The war lasted for three years, three long, long years and during that time the family had moved out to one of the resistance camps where his mother worked as a healer. He had often gotten to follow his mother out among the wounded, helping out with carrying waterbassins and bandages and running errands for the stressed out and hard pressed healers. After the so called 'war's end' and the shaky peace that followed, a peace that really was nothing more than a defeat with a semi-occupation instead of a virtual genocide, the family had gone into exile. But few places in the part of the once glorious country of Atirien now called Highest Sa'arma, where safe after the war when the enemy was domestic as well as foreign and one night heading for someplace he could no longer remember, somewhere in a forest a group of mercenaries had attacked their caravan…