As the twin, suns of Narrsus crested the
horizon a stranger rode into the quiet village of Nexius. He
grunted as he passed through the small village, His memories went
to the way the village was once bustling with activity before the
Dragon Wars, now it appeared to be almost deserted even though he
could feel eyes upon him as he rode down the street. The village
had been slowly rebuilding for nearly twenty years, he allowed
his eyes to roam over the new building and some of the original
structures that remained since the end of the wars, and then his
eyes caught sight of a set of stairs leading up into one of the
extra large trees in the village.
"Hmmmm… still here after all these
years." He urged his mount in the direction of the stairs.
A thicket of gnarled tress bracketed the stairs. "Sounds like the
inn is still open after all these years." He murmured as he
slowly started up the old staircase. The wood squeaked under his
weight with each step he took. Upon reaching the landing, voice
could be heard through the open doorway of the inn so the
traveler stopped to listen in on the conversation before
announcing his presence.
"Tarra, hurry up we've go to open in five
minutes!" Rumbled a deep voice.
"I'm just about done Di… Did you hear what the knights were
talking about last night?" A young ladies voice asked timidly.
Inside the inn Korron, the innkeeper smiled at his ward as he
wiped the last of the dust off the bar. 'No, I didn't were you
eavesdropping again little one?" He asked as he watched Tarra's
"No, of course not. I just happened to over
hear bits and pieces of their conversation while waiting on other
customers." Tarra said, with a gin as she finished her own clean
"Where is Calladoran this morning?" Korron
"I believe that he is in the kitchen making bread." She replied
while ringing out her rag before heading to the bar for a seat.
She watched the large man squeeze through the
door leading into the kitchen as she approached the bar. Tarra
sat at the bar, lost in her own thoughts, and did not hear the
swinging doors squeak.
"Are you open for business?" The voice was
elderly but with a vibrant strength.
Tarra jumped slightly and turned to see who had
spoken. The man's face was hidden within the folds of a hooded
"Yes, Sir we are open. Please enter and have a
seat. May I bring you something to drink?" She moved to a near by
table and wiped it unnecessarily.
"Yes, please some ale would be good to wash down some of this
road dust." The man said as he slowly passed b the first of the
Tarra watched the cloaked figure move gracefully through the
tavern area of the inn. As he crossed by the hearth the warm flow
of the fire washed across his face. The face looked ancient like
that of a wizard. When he sat down, he chose a table concealed by
the shadows on the east side of the tavern's central hearth.
"Your ale Sir. Would you care for some fresh
baked bread or perhaps some stew or chops?" Tarra sat his ale
onto the table "Please forgive my back being toward you when you
"No young one," He chuckled "I am the one who
is sorry. I did not mean to startle you. For now some bread would
be wonderful." He sat watching Tarra as she headed back to the
kitchen. The girls jade green eyes and fire-colored hair belied
"I need a loaf of bread." She said while
pushing the heavy kitchen door open. "Do we have any ready to
"There are a couple of loaves by the fire,"
Calladoran said as he placed another loaf onto the baking stone.
"We have customers already?" Korron asked as he
walked out of the smallest of the storerooms.
"Only one so far. I can handle things you go
back to what you need to do." She grinned knowing how much Korron
hated bringing in supplies. "I'll yell if I need any help."
Picking up the loaf of bread, she slipped through the heavy
The newcomer watched a grinning Tarra approach his table. "Here
is your bread Sir." She sat the bread onto the table "Will there
be anything else?"
"It's nice to see the young smile." He picked
up his much and took a drink before speaking again. "No, this
will do for now. I do have a question for you?"
"Yes Sir, I will do my best to answer your
question." She looked into his eyes for the first time.
"Do you still have rooms for travelers?" He
looked up and locked his silver eyes with her jade green
"Yes Sir we do. We have rooms available if you
require one." Trying with all her might to break free from his
While looking into his gaze Tarra felt her soul
open up, it was as though the old one was searching for something
"Your eyes are beautiful. Forgive me I have
kept you form your duties long enough." He bowed his head
releasing Tarra from his stare.
At once, she was overwhelmed as a sensation of relief washed over
She shook her head trying to focus her thoughts before speaking.
"I shall check on you after while. Will you be requiring a room
for the night?" Her voice was shaky as she waited for his
"I may later on," He chuckled "For now I will
sit here admiring this homey tavern." Raising his head.
"Very well." Turning away form the table Tarra headed back to the
safety of the bar.
Looking up at the young ladies pale face "What troubles you
child?" Korron stepped closer to his charge.
Nervously glancing over her shoulder. "It's that newcomer He give
me the creeps. The way he looks at me sends chills up my spine."
Taking a seat as she spoke.
"Don't let him get to you." Covering her
shaking hands with his own. "You probable remind him of somebody
he knew years ago or perhaps somebody he lost in the wars."
Giving the girls hand a gentle squeeze.
"You may be right. Talking with you always
makes me feel better." Giving Korron a halfhearted smile.
Looking over his wards shoulder at the mysterious stranger. "Why
don't you go help Callodoran for awhile?" Never taking his eyes
off the cloaked figure.
Standing up "That sounds like a good idea." She
started around the bar. Tarra paused at the door leading into the
kitchen and glanced over her shoulder at the stranger before
slipping through the door and out of his sight.
The traveler watched the pretty barmaid disappear form sight,
while examining the rustic beauty of the massive inn and tavern.
The structure seemed to materialize out of the massive twisted
tree. Each wall of the inn seemed to be apart of the tree. The
newcomer could just about hear the walls talking. He sat admiring
the hearth, which had been situated in the center of the inn for
ultimate heat and light. The fire pit seemed to be constructed
out of Dragon stone, a rare stone believe to only be found in the
"That is rare." He murmured, "Even though the
fire already burns there are no scorch marks on the stones. " He
sat staring at the prism reflecting off the stones.
To his astonishment, there was little evidence of a fire even
burning within the confines of the hearth from the evening
before. "The innkeeper has a very immaculate establishment." He
thought while continuing to allow his eyes to roam around the
In the kitchen, Tarra quickly started cutting vegetables for the
stew. She turned to get a couple of carrots and noticed that
Calladoran was gone. Placing her hands on her hips with disgust,
"Where did he take off to now? If Korron walks in here and we're
not about done with the mid-day meal he'll be furious." Spotting
the backdoor open.
"Don't panic I will be right in." He called
"I'm getting some more fire wood for the oven." Peaking his head
around the corner.
"Hurry up before your father starts yelling."
"Can you open the wood box for me?" Stepping through the door
with his arms full of firewood. "I'm about to drop this bundle."
"Yes of course." Tarra went to lift the lid of
the wood box. "Do you want me to help you with that?"
"I got it under control. It will really be a
big help if you hold that lid open for me."
"That's right this thing does like to snap back
down." Pretending to let the lid slam down. Tarra started to
snicker causing Calladoran to laugh aloud as he dropped the
firewood into the box.
"What brings you into the kitchen so early
today? The suns haven't even reached the mid-way point in the
sky." Glancing at the early morning suns as he passé by the open
"I know that isn't mid-day yet, but we're slow
right now." Glancing toward the door leading into the inn.
"There is something that your not telling me
isn't there." He asked while preceded to the cutting
"There is an outlander in the tavern that gives
me the creeps. The way he looks at me with those foreboding
silver eyes, yet at the same time I feel drawn to him. I can't
explain why." Dropping her head into her hands Tarra began to
"Easy does it." Stopping his work and going
over to her "You probably remind him of somebody, or maybe you
have seen him when you were a child. Silver eyes would be
something to remember." Wrapping one of his arms around her
Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. "You might be right."
Smile up at her friend
"I don't buy that smile and neither do you but I know that you
will be alright because you're a strong person Tarra." Smiling
down at the young lady standing beside him.
Tarra finished composing herself. "I had better go check on
things out front." She turned and headed for the door.
"Before you go would you take couple of loaves
of bread with you?" Reaching across the counter to retrieve some
spices for the stew.
"I can do that and I will let your father know
that the mid-day meal will be ready soon." Taking the warm loaves
from the counter next to Calladoran before heading back into the
tavern. The young man watched Tarra whom he thought of as a
sister slip through the door and out of sight.
"How did things go in the kitchen?" Korron
asked as he reached for the bread she carried.
"Things went good. The mid-day meal will be
ready shortly. Calladoran is finishing the stew and the chops are
"Good I think that our guest might be starting
to get hungry. Why don't you go and check on him, before our
mid-day flow of patrons start arriving." He said as he placed a
stein of ale onto the bar.
Glancing toward the outlanders table. "It has
been awhile since I've checked on him." Reluctantly she picked up
the stein and turned toward the ancient ones table.
"We'll be busy soon little one. Just keep your
chin up." The usual hard-edged voice was now caring and
A side of the large man, which Tarra knew well.
Turning her head to look at Korron, she could still see some of
the man who had taken her in when her parents were summoned to
the royal palace so many years ago.
"Korron the might warrior that is what papa
always called you." Chuckling to herself trying to see the once
proud and honorable warrior instead of a bitter innkeeper who now
stood before her eyes.
"Are you growing roots? You have been rooted in
that spot for three minutes. Get moving before our customer has
to serve himself." Bellowed his deep voice when he turned and saw
Tarra standing in the same spot.
"I'm going, there's no need to yell." Smiling
at her aging guardian with a sparkle in her jade eyes.
Slowly she walked toward the travelers table, when she was close
enough "Are you doing alright Sir?" She asked in her friendliest
He jumped slightly as though Tarra had jarred him awake form a
dream. "I am doing alright except I could use some more of that
wonderful ale and perhaps some more bread if that would be
Picking up his empty mug and replacing it with a fresh stein of
ale. "Here you go Sir and I shall return with some bread in a few
moments." She turned to depart from his table before speaking
again. "Forgive me if I startled you when I approached Sir."
"Do not trouble yourself with startling me child. I was merely
lost in thought." Raising his head to look at the young woman
with his cold silver eyes.
Turning her head to look at the man who remained concealed within
the shadows of his cloak. "I will return shortly with another
loaf of bread." She left the area of his table as fast as her
legs could carry her.
He sat watching the timid young woman. "There
is a great power within you. I have sensed it and yet it is raw
and untamed." He chuckled softly and did not hear Tarra
approaching his table.
"Here is your bread Sir." Placing the warm
bread and small cutting board onto the table. Then she retrieved
the one she had placed on the table shortly after the outlander
had arrived. "Is there anything else that you require Sir?" Tarra
held her breath hoping that he did not require anything
"Not at this time. I am expecting four
companions; they should arrive after the rise of the moons." He
watching the young lady stiffen up.
"I may not notice your associates we get very
busy near moon rise Sir." Hoping that her statement would end
As she turned to depart form the travelers table, he reached
outland caught hold of her hand with one of his cold boney hands
to stop her from leaving. "You will notice these men my dear,
they shall all be cloaked in heavy dark cloaks such as mine."
Looking once more into her beautiful eyes.
Glancing down at the old yet strong hand, which
held her firmly in place. Trying to avoid the mans piercing eyes,
but for a fleeting moment their gaze seemed eternally
"I will do my best Sir." Bowing her head
thankful to have the opportunity to look away form the
Relinquishing his hold on her hand. "They shall require rooms for
"I shall prepare a could of rooms for your friends." Tarra
avoided the mans eyes while she spoke. This seemed to amuse the
stranger, because a frigid grin started to appear. A grin, which
chilled her to the bone.
Tarra quickly headed for the bar to let Korron
know about the guest the stranger was expecting.
"How is our guest doing?" Korron asked as he
cleaned up some ale that he had spilled.
"He is doing well. He said that he shall
require two rooms after the suns go down." Taking a damp rag out
of a bucket near the bar, Tarra started helping clean up the
"Why don't you go upstairs and get a couple of
rooms ready." Stopping his work to look at his ward. "I can
handle things down here for a bit." Giving her a tender
"I won't be long. There shouldn't be much to do
in the rooms they were all cleaned yester-morning." Trying to
avoid her friend and protectors eyes. "I can't let him see how
upset this outlander has gotten me." She reached over the bar for
the master key avoiding Korron's gaze.
"We still have sometime before the mid-day
rush, so there is no need to hurry on preparing the rooms."
Dropping his gaze and returning to his work, 'I can't push her
for answers when she is ready I am sure that she will talk to me
about whatever is troubling her so much. What power does this
stranger have over you my sweet Tara?' Korron asked himself while
trying to keep the concern out of his eyes for the young lady who
was in his charge.
The stranger watched Tara depart form the bar, once she reached
the far corner of the tavern she unlocked a doorway which he
believe lead up the back stairway to the bedchambers above. Tara
used the master key to unlock the hidden doorway, while he sat
and watched the fiery redhead the outlander reached into his
cloak and withdrew a piece of parchment, a peacock feather, and
an ink well form on of the many hidden pockets within his cloak.
"The time has come for you to remember the day
your parents left you in Korron's care." He thought as he dipped
the peacock feather into the ink well.
Korron stood watching the stranger as he began to write, "He is
probable a storyteller." He dismissed the man form his thoughts
and returned to his work preparing for the mid-day lunch.
The outlander closed his eyes and began speaking softly in a
bizarre language as he uttered his eccentric words he began to
fold parchment. Once he was finished he threw it into the hearth
and watched it erupt in a flash leaving no evidence that it was
ever in the hearth.
"Now my child you shall remember what you have
suppressed all of these years."
Upstairs Tarra busied herself putting clean linens on bed of the
two beds in the first bedchamber.
"There one down and three more to do before the
rooms are ready for guests."
All at once, she felt lightheaded and dizzy, and then nothing the
whole room went dark. Tarra felt as though she was falling
through space and time only to awaken in what seemed like a
"Tarra, come over here for a moment."
"Yes, mama." A bright eyes little girl skipped
toward her mother.
"You, know that papa and I have to go away form
awhile." Taking hold of her daughter's hand.
"Yes, mama." Looking into her mother's sad eyes
trying to see what her mother was feeling.
"I want you to promise me something and it is very important
Tara." Tears started to swell in her eyes
"What is it mama. I have already promised to be
good and listen to Korron." Turning her head to look at the
muscular man speaking with her papa.
Reaching up and touching Tarra's cheek. "There
is something more important that I need you to promise me."
Holding onto her daughters hands firmly. "Vow to me that you
won't use your gift while we are gone. You know what could happen
if you do."
"Something bad could happen if I were to use my
gift." Letting go of her mother's hand "I swear that I won't use
my gift." Wrapping her tiny arms around her mother's neck.
Lowlana, held her little girl tightly trying to
hold back the tears that were starting to stream down her cheeks.
"I know you will sweetheart."
"Mama, don't cry we will be together again."
Wiping away her mothers tears.
The memory started to fade as Tarra started to
come too. "I must have fainted." She thought as she held her head
to stop the room form spinning and tried to sit up.
"Tarra hurry up child, our customers are
getting impatient." Bellowed Korron's worried voice form the
bottom of the stairs.
"Two more minutes." Forcing herself to stand up
and quickly finish the bedchambers. "I'm on my."
She double-checked the room before closing the
door and heading to the stairs. Once she reached the stairs Tarra
composed herself so that Korron would not notice that she was
even more rattled then before she went upstairs.
"I had better hurry and get downstairs." She
quickened her pace. "How long was I unconscious and what caused
me to black out like that? I have never fainted like that
before." Emerging from the stairs Tarra observed just how crowded
the inn had gotten.
The mid-day regulars had started pouring in.
Quickly she pushed her own troubles out of her mind and commenced
waiting on patrons. She approached the bar still feeling unclean
and a bit dizzy.
"Are you feeling alright Tarra, your looking a
bit pale?" Korron asked as he placed six steins of ale onto her
tray and looking into her usual bright and cheerful eyes.
"I'm fine just hot and tired." She replied
cheerfully. "It's pretty warm upstairs so I had to fight with a
couple of windows to get some fresh air into the rooms and to
help get rid of the stale air that filled them." She
"We should slow down for awhile when they
return to work." Nodding toward the merchants who occupied the
large corner table.
"That won't be for awhile, looks like they plan
on staying at least a couple of hours." Tarra watched as the men
who sold their trinkets in the marketplace lean back in their
chairs and start telling stories to each other.
"Well once they leave, it should calm down
until twilight." Korron said as he filled another stein of ale
for a patron standing at the bar.
As she turned and started toward the table of
merchants her thoughts turned toward the knowledge that once
things slowed down a bit, she would have to check on the
outlander and see if he needed anything. This thought sent a
shiver up her spine almost causing her to drop the tray of ale
she was carrying.
"Tarra, could you please add some wood to the
hearth? The fire is starting to die down to much." Korron asked
of his ward as she returned to the bar.
"Right away Korron." Tarra quickly went to get
some fire wood to add to the dwindling fire within the hearth.
After placing the wood onto the fire, Tarra stroked the flames to
ignite the new wood.
The newcomer watched Tarra tend to the
"Are you warm enough Sir?" She asked of the
outlander while she tended the hearth.
"Yes, thank you for asking. There seems to be a
nip in the mid-day air. Perhaps there is a storm approaching on
the winds." He replied while watching the fresh embers flare
"Yes, Sir I agree with you there does seem to
be a storm approaching, it could be rain or even snow. Winter has
not totally passed us by as of yet." Looking once more into the
hearth doing her best to avoid the outlanders silver eyes.
"You seem distracted, are you feeling alright?"
The old one asked in a very concerned voice.
Smiling warmly, "I am alright Sir it' is very
kind of you to ask." She turned her head to give him a friendly
The moment Tarra's eyes meet the outlanders his
gaze locked with hers and she felt herself being taken back to
the day her parents left her with Korron once again.
'While speaking with her mother, Tarra saw
Korron speaking with her papa and ever once in awhile both men
would turn and look over at the young girl.
"Mama, what is papa doing?" she asked as she
looked toward her papa.
"They are just talking child. Come let's go
over to your papa and Korron." Reaching out to take Tarra's hand
into her own.
Tarra's head began to spin as her thoughts
rushed back to the present at an alarming speed.
Blinking her eyes trying to focus her eyes and
mind. "What just happened?" Trying to regain her composer
Dropping his gaze, "I am not sure my dear. Are
you feeling alright?" A hint of sarcasm crept into his
Fighting to control her temper. "Excuse me but
I have work to do Sir!" She snapped.
The usually timid barmaid turned on her heels
and marched off with her fist clutched at her sides. The old one
watched her walk off; her eyes seemed to burn with rage.
She headed toward the bar. "Why am I so mad?"
Running one of her hands through her long red hair.
"How many ales do you need? Korron asked as he
reached four empty steins.
Tarra quickly looked around the tavern and noticed that it was
starting to fill up with the twilight crowd. "I need for jugs of
ale and four glass of wine for the Elves who have just arrived."
"Need any thing from the kitchen?" He placed
the drinks upon her tray as he spoke.
"I don't know yet, haven't gotten over there
yet to see if they are hungry or just wanting something to drink.
Those clouds are starting to look like storm clouds; I think we
are going to be in for a major storm tonight. Calladoron might
want to put on some more stew and perhaps add some mutton also,
we might get a larger crowd then normal if this storm hits us
Korron glanced out the large window, "Here are your drinks Tarra
and I will go and speak with Calladoron know about the extra food
that we might need tonight." Slipping off to go speak with his
son in the kitchen, "How did Tarra know that we had an
approaching storm, those clouds look as though they might by pass
us completely?" Korron though to himself, as he entered the
kitchen to speak with Calladoron about the twilight meal and the
need for perhaps some extra food.
Tarra cleared her mind pushing thoughts of the outlander totally
away from her conscious thoughts. "Ok girl it's time for a
friendly smile." She told herself as she picked up her drink tray
and went about serving some of the regular patrons.
After serving the drinks that she carried on
her tray, Tarra quickly sat about waiting on regular patrons and
travelers who had come to the inn for a hot meal and something to
wash down the road dust that had settled in their throats. She
was waiting on a large table of Elves when a sudden gust of wind
swept through the tavern. The cold air drew her attention toward
the door, which stood open but to her surprise, there was nobody
standing in the open doorway. Only a cold wind flowing through
the inn causing the flames in the hearth to cast an eerie light
on the walls and the faces of the patrons who had turned to see
where the air and come form.