"That was the only reason?...Natasha?" Dakarai sat there a moment leaning against the tree. It didn't take long for him to realize she was sleeping and not contemplating the question. He slumped back upon the tree and gazed into the starry sky. What have I gotten myself into …what have I gotten her into?

Dakarai felt exhausted from the last few days of killing, hiding then the brief capture and now more running and hiding; and yet he couldn't bring himself to sleep. He felt something was amiss. He looked down at his waist and unsheathed the sword from its scabbard, he thought he saw Natasha stir a bit but wasn't sure. The craftsman ship was unmistakable; definitely an imperial long sword

The smooth hilt and slight serrated edge near the bottom of the blade, perfect for slitting throats gave each sword a custom feel to it. They always seemed weightless and the slight hum they made when being swung made it seem almost as much an instrument of music as an instrument of war. It was said each blacksmith employed by the empire was cursed with silencing spells to ensure they could not reveal their secrets.

Dakarai thought back to his own sword he had once carried into battle. So many niches and scratches it may have well been serrated. He laughed quietly to himself.

He sheathed the sword and again gazed into the nights sky letting its immense size bewilder him and in a way he became part of it. He was brought out of the trance when he heard Natasha was whispering something, not to him though; she was speaking in her sleep.

Dakarai was intrigued and dared to lean closer to listen but stopped short. This is more invading than a mages truth spell. He againleaned back against the tree and this time felt more at ease than before. I should try and get some rest, first thing in the morning well be up and hunting… Don't want to make myself look like a fool in front of her just because of sleep deprivation.

Dakarai closed his eyes and for the first time in roughly two weeks he felt comfortable. The sun was becoming more and more visible now and Dakarai turned over to his side to shield his eyes from the new days light. There before him was a very small rabbit. Probably the same one from before he thought to himself, too small to eat…maybe we can find its family tomorrow. The rabbit stared back at him unaware of his future intentions and slowly began to meander its way back towards the forests under brush.

0.o.0.o.0.o.0.o.0.o.0.o.0.o.0.o.0

Dakarai dreamt he was young boy again, amide the other trainees at the academy. He looked down the row of other children assembled there.

He noticed a young girl doing the same thing as him. He instinctively smiled and she returned the gesture, that's how the two of them met.

From there on they trained together, ate together, sparred together and always requested to be assigned to the same group in training outings, the trainers allowed this because their skills complemented each others very well.

What ever the goal of the outing was didn't matter. Their team would always succeed first and complete the mission to the letter. Records were broken again and again as the two competed in a friendly rivalry to outdo each other.

Soon enough fifteen years had flown by. Now officially Imperial officers it was time for them to be distributed among the Empires many legions to serve as tactical commanders and staff commanders. Dakarai and Natasha had still kept in touch though. Their divisions would be given guard duty together of a certain border castle or duties of escorting pilgrims to shrines throughout the vast imperial wilderness to the north.

It was when Dakarai's Division was called to act upon a newly risen revolt to one of the nation's easternmost territories when it all changed. Dakarai's division barely limped its way back to the capitol with few survivors and one fewer commander than when it set out.

It was soon determined that Dakarai had defected to the rebellion for reason yet to be determined and that the rebellion only gained more momentum with each passing day.