Chapter 1 The Gathering
As the sun set over the tree top city of Trendelous, the light cast glorious shades of color across the amphitheatre. The rows of log benches were quickly filling, and the anticipation flowed in the air making it seem as thick as a pudding. The amphitheatre was one of the ancient marvels of the Elves. It was originally built for the conference of nations. In a time when evil threatened to dominate the world, the elves created it. Then they called on all the leaders of the free nations to gather and form an alliance to confront those evils. Though the theater already held over 50,000 Elves, Dwarf, Humans, and Gnomes, it never appeared to be full. The true magic of the amphitheatre was not its seating capacity though, it was its intimacy. The elves had infused magic into the amphitheatre; from anywhere you sat it felt as though you were sitting at your leisure amongst friends in front of a warm fire.
Still more and more peoples filed in and claimed their seats. They had come from distances near and far for the annual telling of the histories. It was said that though the histories were written and kept in the library of time, they were truly carried in the hearts of the peoples. So each year the historians gathered from across the lands to relate those histories. These histories were told in the form of tales to the peoples gathered in this theater and others around the world. It was an event not to be missed. The tails would be heard through the magic in all the theaters at the same time. There were no places of honor or reserved seating. For this event was truly for the people. It was the common people of the lands to which the historians gathered to spin their magic and tales. Besides the theatre made every seat the best seat there was.
Suddenly the glow of the giant glow pod far above dimmed and the trees enclosed around the outer edges of the theatre, as if they too were gathering to hear the stories. Upon the stage a figured appeared. He did not come from the back of the stage, nor did he ascend the steps on either side. In a blink he was just there. He walked forward to the front and center of the stage using his staff of dark wood to aid him as he walked. The only sound heard was the soft clunk, clunk, clunk as his staff struck the stage. When he reached his destination, he raised his hand and stabbed the staff hard on to the stage. There was no flash of light or loud bang, the staff simply started to grow and change shape. The old man moved his hands to shape and form the staff into a chair, no not a chair but a grand throne. With its raised back worked with scrolls and books, and two large flowing arms. The throne was breath taking.
He stood for another second seeming to admire his work, then walked around to the front of the throne and slowly lowered himself into the seat. This Elf was ancient even by their standards of life. He raised his arms as if to embrace the audience, and the light dimmed even lower. It felt to each person there, as though he was sitting with them, or with their small groups. The magic of the theatre brought them into his warm embrace. He gazed into each of the transfixed eyes upon him and began to speak in a low resounding voice.
“Now gather around young ones for I have tales that you need to hear. We gather here in these places each year on the vernal equinox in remembrance and celebration of those who have come before us. Only in remembering them and their deeds, can we keep from making the same mistakes, and those mistakes may be costly indeed. For the next week the histories will be told here in this theatre, and in other theatres around the world. Do not hesitate to stop and listen as a hawker tells of his uncle, or brother who traveled to far ends of the world in search of glory. Feel not that the only story we must learn or hear is that which is spoken in these hallowed halls. For every story and every history that is told is of great value to the listeners. Too often do we place greater value on the words and deeds told here and fail to hear of the trials and truths others have to give. The tails we tell of heroes are indeed important, but they pale when compared to trials and struggles of the common peoples.” He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts, then he continued, “This year we have chosen to tell of The Age of Evil, and the great wars and heroes of its time. We will not tell you the dry facts and figures though. We have chosen to tell you the stories of people, friends, lovers and families. For are we not all people, friends, lovers, and family to someone. May these stories enlighten you and touch your heart. Let your mind’s eye drift on the river of time, as we unfold these stories to your ears. Every tale we tell you will become a part of you, if you but allow yourself to become so. The mighty battles against evil will blossom and grow in your minds. Then the sorrows and joys shall grow in your hearts. For the time is coming once again that we may well have to confront that evil. For the shadows of evil once again grow in far off places. Now we shall begin!
Chapter 2 A Rangers Quest
The Historian waved his hands and the image of a young elf appeared before him floating a foot off the stage. As the figure revolved he spoke softly building in tempo and volume. “In the 170th year of the age we call ‘The Age of Evil’ a young elf named Thorndan Tallonfist came of age, and began his quest. This was a quest to prove himself worthy of being called a Ranger”
“In this time the elves were a people of solitude. They believed the future of their race lay in keeping themselves apart from all others. The elves divided themselves into five fighting groups that were their effort in the war. There were of course other non combatants, such as the smiths, the farmers, the merchants, and other crafters. Our tail though, concerns the fighters.”
The image changed showing an elf holding a harp. He appeared to be singing. “This is a Minstrel or as some liked to be called a Troubadour or bard. They used music and rhyme to carry their magic. They could aid in healing, erase fatigue, speed combatants, or even slow their opponents. Minstrel’s tunes have even caused great fear in the enemy armies”
The image Changed for a second time, to an elf kneeling over another. “There were also the ‘Healers’. Elves that could cure sickness or remove poison, heal wounds, cure blindness, and even re-grow someone’s arm or leg, or so it is written.
Again the image changed, to that of female elf dressed in gleaming armor. “The ‘Warriors’ these elves forewent most magic only using it to improve the speed, strength, alertness, and other combat abilities. This however made them some of the greatest fighters of their time. They were considered to be some of the most skilled and deadly of the fighters of any race.” The female elf dodged as a spear went flying at her. Many of the listener dodged to the side so strong was the spell of the historian.
Next the image changed to a robed figure with vines growing from one hand, and lightning shooting out of the other. “The ‘Druids’, where like the wizards of the Human and Dwarf races, however their magic was formed of nature. It is written they could transform in to trees or animals. They could cause vines and creepers to grow and ensnare their foes. They could call on the wind and lightning to combat their enemies. They could not only wield their magic in combat though for they could do healing, if of a lesser kind then those called ‘Healers’.
The image returned to that of Thorndan this time holding a bow. Next to him lay a very large Cat. “Finally we come to the ‘Rangers’ the last but surely not the least of our groups by far. Rangers were, in many ways, a combination of several of the classes. They trained in the ways of the sword and various other melee weapons. Rangers used magic to camouflage themselves so well it is written they could not be seen when standing in front of you. Much of the ranger’s magic, however, was used in the bonding of wild creatures. These creatures were not pets, nor slaves to the rangers, but true life companions. They fought beside the rangers protecting and helping them. The rangers were the true masters of the bow. It is written, that 20 rangers armed with only their bows, held off hordes of trolls for 3 days until the reinforcements arrived.” The image showed the scene of the rangers firing at a vast group of dark figures wielding deadly weapons. Wave after wave tried to breach a narrow pass and each failed. Finally mounted warriors rode into the scene.
“This brings us back to Thorndan. He was what the Rangers called a sapling, something like an apprentice. Each sapling must complete a quest before they be truly called a Ranger. This is where our story begins. Let me take you back to then.” With that the old story teller waived his arms and began speaking again. Now his words were more felt than heard. The audience felt as though they were there. They did in fact experience the tale. They felt the breeze on their faces smelled the strong scent of the cedar trees and heard the crickets chirping. They saw through the eyes of the young elf as he entered the chamber of the Ranger Elders.
Thorndan kneeled in the heart of the chamber of elders. The room was soft and smooth, with the wood polished to a bright almost reflective shine. Beside him lay Krystal. The big cat pressed her snout on to Thorndan’s lap causing his mind to wander back to when he had first bounded the cat. As all rangers had to do, he had spent seven years as a seedling learning the basics. Each day had been filled with the sword and bow, with lessons in ranger magic, and with the history of the ranger’s path. After those seven years, he had been called before the elders, just like he was called here now. They told him he was advanced to a sapling. They were very informal then no ceremonies or long winded speeches, just a few curt words and a dismissal.
He had gone to Stasheema the master of the saps, as most of the young rangers referred to him. It was Stasheema who had taught him how to call and how to bound with the creatures of the forest. He remembered laughing as the master called a grey squirrel to teach the bounding to his class of ten saps. He still carried the scars from where the small furry squirrel had run into his tunic and started heading south. He had worried the squirrel had been looking for nuts. It had been a sobering lesson. After several months each of the saps were sent to spend a night alone in the forest in contemplation.
They had traveled several days doing various lessons and performing various tasks. Then they were told of this final task. Stasheema told them they were aloud no weapons. As Thorndan sat beneath a giant sugar pine, watching the stars, he heard a noise. When he looked up there stood Krystal. The cat stood across from him watching him for several hours. Then she lay down for no discernable reason, she just kept watching the young elf.
As the sky started to lighten and turn to grey Thorndan reached out with his mind and touched Krystal. The two talked in that manner until the sun had risen fully in the sky. Then Thorndan asked Krystal about the bounding. It was not part of what his master had taught them. For some reason though, it seemed only proper to ask Krystal. The young cat found the idea amusing and agreed. Stasheema had been surprised when Thorndan returned with a cat almost as large as horse walking by his side. Thorndan at first had though he was in big trouble, but that was not the case. After a long talk, Stasheema told Thorndan that he was proud of him for asking Krystal. Then he told Thorndan, he had done the right thing. Since then the cat had been by his side almost every minute, sometimes commenting on things Thorndan was practicing. During his lessons this was sometimes an aid and sometimes a distraction. She often saw problems he could not. This helped him to grow quickly both in skill and in his mind.
Thorndan was snapped back to the present as the elders began to enter the room. Already sitting cross legged, Thorndan inclined his head to each of them, and then waited to hear why he had been summoned. “Thorndan Tallonfist” spoke one of the elders from his left, “you have been called here today to this chamber to begin your final test.” Thorndan’s heart felt as though it would beat out of his chest.
The next elder in the line produced a scroll and spoke “First you must travel to the heart of the Forest of Winds. There you will find the grove of ancients. Speak the words written here and you shall gain entry to the grove. Once inside the grove go to the spring. Give each of the ancients a drink with your labors. Only then will one or more grant you a stave. These staves shall be the body of your bow. You must enter alone, not even your bonded companion may go with you.” He passed the scroll to the next of the elders.
“You will have to travel to lands of Fallurken in the abandoned mines of the Dwarfs. There live the drakes. You must gather one heart string from the green, yellow, blue, and red drakes. Take care in how you kill them for the heart string must be undamaged. These heart strings will form the haft of your bow.” As he finished he passed the scroll on to the next in the line.
“You will have to travel to the fishing village on the coast far to the west of here. There they can direct you to the island of sirens. Gather seven hairs from the sirens. These you will braid to make the string of your bow.” Again the scroll moved.
“Next you will gather the materials for the quiver. For this you must gain a cured skin from a great sea crockilisk. This you can find off the cliffs of Momount. The cliffs are in the southern most part of our realm, just before you cross into the human’s lands. Send the skin back here to be cured.” The scroll moved again.
”You shall gather materials for the arrows to fill your quiver. Find the rib bones of the great cliff vulture for the shafts. Use the spell of anchoring on them. Each must be 3 feet in length. You will find these creatures near Fallurken. They seem to hunt, or maybe nest near the mountain top.” The scroll moved yet again.
“For the fletching you must climb to talon peak and gather the nesting feathers of the griffon. They must be the soft downy of the nesting feather, and you must gather 36 of them. Their nesting peaks are in the south eastern mountain range just north of the cliffs of Momount” The scroll moved.
“In the swamp of sorrows you will find reavers. The tendons of their legs will make the sinew to fasten your arrows. You will have to gain 36 strips.”
One last time the scroll moved, and the final elder spoke. “Thorndan along your journey you will encounter many creatures and even other races. Be careful, you may choose to travel with them, and they may assist you as needed. Guard this scroll with your life for on it is written one of the greatest secrets of the rangers. Gather the things you need for your trail. You may rest one night here if you choose. The armory will issue you weapons of your choosing. A horse and a pack horse are in the south stable, should you choose to use them. Now go young sapling, and return us a Ranger.”
They all spoke in unison, “Your trail has now begun!” the words seem to carry a finality Thorndan felt shiver up his back.
The scroll rolled off the table and across the floor to stop against Thorndan’s knee. He bowed his head. The Elders stood as one and filed out of the hall not saying a word or looking back. Thorndan closed his eyes and breathed deeply. The day had finally come. Though he had doubts, he felt he was ready for this. He picked up the scroll when a thought stuck him of the elders warning. They had said this scroll held one of the ranger’s greatest secrets and to keep it safe. He unrolled the scroll and read it. The words the elders had spoken were written on the scroll along with a few other details. The words to enter the grove and tidbits like a map of the mine. He spoke the spell his mother had taught him, on his 20th name day so many years ago.
Though he saw nothing happen he knew the scroll would be blank to any but him. It wasn’t a powerful spell but it would work against querulous eyes. Then he rolled the scroll and placed it on the floor. Thorndan untied his tunic sleeve and rolled it up above his elbow. The rangers boasted that no ranger had ever been held captive. In his training he learned this was in part because of the spell of tattoo. The Rangers had discovered a way to hide items, like daggers or even swords in their own skin. Speaking the spell he waved his hand over his arm. He picked up the scroll and pressed it to his arm. On his arm was now a tattoo of a rolled scroll. Thorndan smiled as he pinched the skin of the tattoo and pulled at the scroll. The scroll came away a few inches. It was not the tattoo that came away but the rolled parchment of the scroll.
Thorndan returned to the barracks of saplings where his room was. He looked around as he walked the halls to his room. The halls seemed unsettlingly quiet. There were none of his fellow saplings bustling about as usual. He wondered where they were. Then he remembered, every time they had been sent to the woods one of their number was gone the next day. Stasheema had said this was the way of the ranger. When Thorndan entered his room his master was sitting in his chair puffing on a pipe. He was smiling like a cat with a large plate of cream.
“Greetings and salutations young sapling, or should I say future ranger.” Stasheema said
“Master Stasheema I am glad you are here. At least I can say Farwell to you.”
“It always warms my heart when my students greet me that way. Thorndan as your teacher and master I helped to decide when you were ready for the ranger trials. I just wanted to tell you, I believe in you. You are ready for this challenge. You will have little difficulty. This I am sure.”
Thorndan bowed his head saying, “thank you Master Stasheema. You honor me with your words master. I will do you proud in my trials. Master may I ask you a question?”
“You may. Remember though I can only give you general advice. I cannot tell you how to complete your trials. “
“Ok. I think I understand. Can you tell me some general information about the creatures I have to deal with?”
Stasheema laughed. “Yes I think I can help you there.” He said, “In the grove you must clear your thoughts of glory, and think only of the justice the bow will bring. Think of how it will aid our people, not of the fame it will grant you. I have seen others fail for their hearts were not true. I have some gifts for you.” He produced a plain box and handed it to Thorndan. “In there are some things you might find useful. The first is a bag of wasp eggs. They are covered in pine sap and sugar. The drakes find the eggs to be irresistible. The pine sap will seal their mouths and keep them from using the drake’s various talents on you. Next there is a mirror and brush set made of gold and gems. Sirens are vain and greedy creatures. I also included a bee’s wax and some wool. Both have, special properties, shall we say. WAX strong Thorndan, for the song of the siren has driven many to insanity or death.” Thorndan heard the emphasis in the word wax. “The crockilisk has hide as strong or stronger than any plate armor. Its mouth is its only weak spot. Even the Crock’s eyes are impenetrable to arrows. The vultures feed on dyeing pachyderma. Be very diligent with them for a giant vulture fades away in less than an hour. The griffons will not hurt you if you are careful, but the climb is long and treacherous. With the reavers I suggest you try something different, reavers travel in groups. I am afraid that is more then I should have said. I did get carried away in the telling.”
“Thank you master, I will take both the gifts and the advice with great humility. I am somewhat confused. They told me to gather these things but some mentioned making. Am I supposed to make the bow quiver and arrows before returning?”
“No, the elders, I think, do that intentionally. It is another way to test you. The bow and arrows must be made here by one of the Master smiths. The quiver you will make with guidance. I must say goodbye now sapling. That will be the last time I call you that. I must return to teach the others. Be strong in mind and body.” Stasheema extended his arm, and the two men clasped hands vertically forearms touching.
“Be strong in mind and body,” Thorndan returned.
Stasheema turned and left the room. Thorndan sat the box on his writing desk and turned to scratch Krystal behind the ears. “Well Lady, looks like we have a long journey ahead of us. Should we pack tonight and leave at first light or pack in the morning?”
The sending from the cat was sleep. Thorndan chuckled as she lay down in front of the door. Thorndan went through his room packing the items he thought he would need. Everything went into his traveling pack. When he was done he carefully placed the box from his master in one of the outside pockets, and cinched it tight. He set the pack next to the door. Then he removed his boots and stripped down to his small clothes.
Chapter 3 New Friends and Old
Thorndan woke, or more accurately was woken by Krystal about an hour before the sun was due to kiss the horizon. He was surprised that he had slept so well. He had fallen asleep almost instantly after laying down in his bed. He had been sure he would be too excited to sleep, but that had not been the case. He rose and washed the sleep from his face. Then he dressed and headed out the door with Krystal by his side. As he exited the hall he turned back and looked fondly at the large cedar tree that had been his home for so long. He knew when he returned he would either bunk with the rangers, or demoted to be a scout in the queens own. Either way he had slept his last night in this barracks.
Thorndan had decided his own weapons would be sufficient for the tasks before him. On his fifteenth name day, just before he was set to enter the ranger training, his father had given him a set of matched Kukri blades. They were between the length of a long and short sword with an almost boomerang shape. They fit him perfectly. He preferred his matched swords over any other he had trained with. His bow was of the finest lemon wood. His mother had gathered the wood for the creating of his bow, and his father had carved and shaped his bow. The pack had been a gift from his sister. She had claimed it contained a spell on it that would lessen the burden of the packs continents. She had been right, the pack had one other great feature as well, it never seemed to be full. It did have a limit to what it could carry but he hadn’t found it yet. His gear gave him the feeling that his family was with him.
He slung his pack over one shoulder, as he walked to the stables. His swords were buckled to the small of his back with the handle of each poking out slightly on either side. He was carrying his bow and quiver in his other hand. He had several knifes strapped to various places about his body. He had a few weapons hidden in tattoos around as well. As he walked with Krystal by his side he saw that there were others in the stable. When he entered the stable a knife came whisking from the other end, to stick in the support next to him. He dropped his burdens and drew one of his swords and one of his daggers. He turned and was about to throw the dagger when he was surprised to see he knew one of the two elves against the far wall.
The male was dressed in a fine cloth tunic, overlaid with a silk jerkin. He had on silk breaches and soft doe skin leather boots laced to below his knees. He was leaning on a staff as tall as he was. He didn’t move when Thorndan turned to confront him. The second person was leaning back against the wall in a careless manner using a small throwing knife on her fingernails. She wore a heavy breastplate and greaves. She had a helmet draped over a long sword at her hip. She also wore a smile of great joy at her little joke. There was no doubt, Katarra had thrown the knife. “I thought you rangers were supposed to be aware of your surroundings,” she teased, as Thorndan re-sheathed his sword and dagger.
“And I thought young ladies were supposed to be taught manners before their mothers let them out in public,” he returned. He pulled the knife from the board and then retrieved his gear before walking to the two of them.
“They are, but I have never claimed to be a lady only you and my father have ever dared called me that.”
“Pardon me, I seem to be at a loss here. I am Leddek. May I ask who you are?”
“I am Thorndan Tallonfist. I assume you know Katarra then?”
“Yes. We know each other. In fact I have healed her on a few occasions.”
“Three times to be exact Leddek. Don’t make it seem I cannot take care of myself. You have not healed me in several years.”
“She is of course right.”
“She does seem to have that nasty habit.” Thorndan said as he handed Katarra back her blade. He turned his back to her and walked to the stall of a large horse. “Kat don’t think of throwing it, or I will let Krystal have some fun too.” At that moment the large cat came in the stables through one of the half doors upper portion, she was within easy striking distance of the other two elves. Leddek started to raise his staff but Katarra grabbed it and held it in place. Krystal let out a low snarl causing every one of the animals to stomp and snort in fear. Thorndan reached out with his mind and calmed the animals before turning to talk to the cat. “Krystal it is ok wait outside, all is well they are friends.” The cat turned and walked outside with a lazy flick of her tail. “I am glad to see you Kat. Can you tell me, are you here to wish me luck, or something else?”
“Well I was at the ‘Sisters of the Sword’ last night and was told there was rumor that an old friend was preparing to start a long journey. When I asked about it I was told if I wanted to, I could go with you. So I gathered a few things and headed to tavern for some mortal refreshment before I came looking for you. There I found the hapless healer. So I tell him a young ranger is getting ready to set out on his final trials, or so the rumor has it, and ask him would if maybe he would like to tag along. He told me he is on his own trails. He must spend four months among the peoples of the world healing, then return and report of his travels and deeds. I convinced him that you were definitely not going to be staying here and that you were indeed people as far as I knew atleast. So he agreed to join us, and here we are. The question is where are we going?”
Thorndan went about the business of preparing his horse before he answered. “I have to travel quite a bit. Not all of it involves fighting to complete this task. There are some parts I must do alone as well. However, there will be some fighting to do. I have to gather several items and return them here, and some of them the owners will not like giving up.”
“Well that sounds like fun to me,” said Leddek, as he picked up a set of saddle bags. He turned and headed out the door glancing back he said. “I will wait with the other beasts of burden.”
“Our horses are outside we will wait for you there. By the way I got us several weeks supplies on my pack horse, do you think that will be enough?” she was annoyed by the rudeness Leddek was showing Thorndan .
“Yes, with that plus what was packed for me we should manage quite well I would think.” He went about saddling his horse. As he was tightening the girth strap he saw Katarra leaning against the post watching him. She had a curious smile on her face as she watched. “so how are things in the life of a warrior?” he asked her.
“Good I suppose. I am enjoying my life or most of it anyway. I just got back from the wall. I was there for six months. It was hard for me to believe that I was not in some other land. Everything on the other side of the wall was burned. I didn’t see much fighting though only a few skirmishes.”
“I had heard it was much like that. Rangers come and go from the wall almost weekly it seems. Though I haven’t talked to them I have heard some of them talking to some of my trainers.” He finished the saddle then placed his bow case on one side and his quiver on the other side. He slid his bow into the case. Then he untied the rains and turned leading the horse out with Katarra by his side. He handed her the rains and turned to go back for his pack horse but one of the grooms was leading it out. He also carried a saddle bag.
The groom bowed as he approached, “Good day sir. May your journey be swift. I have loaded the previsions as instructed. I saw your pack and filled this saddle bag with its contents. The pack I placed on the pack horse. Is there anything else you need sir sapling.” With his last words there was a hint of a smile on his lips.
Thorndan couldn’t help himself a huge grin crossed his face as he replied “I can think of nothing. You as always are most efficient.” He bowed in return taking the lead rope of the pack horse. “Master groom I will be traveling quite far is there anything I can bring back for you.” It was a courtesy the rangers all extended to the grooms for the undying services they performed.
The man blinked. “Me sir um um no sir I can think of nothing.” He quickly turned and hurried inside.
“At first I thought he was mocking you young ranger. What with that sir sapling then he seemed almost afraid of you. How odd.” Leddek mused.
As they mounted Thorndan explained. “You call me young ranger. Though in part it is true most outsiders call those like me thus, to the ranger community I am a sapling. When I first arrived I was a seedling. I have heard that the other professions have similar breakdowns amongst themselves. His addressing me as such was just his way of saying farewell. When I return I will be neither ranger nor sapling. If we are successful I will be raised to a ranger soon after. If not I will be offered something less, perhaps a scouting role for an infantry company. It is not something I have heard a lot about, to be truthful. As for his fear I think it was more shock then fear. I addressed him with the honor a ranger would give the leader of the grooms. That was all. I did it as a courtesy.” He tied his pack horses lead rope to his mount and took the reins from Katarra.
“So you are a sapling hu? I always knew you were a sap. So I shall call you sir sap I think.” Katarra said laughing, as she went to her horse. When all three were mounted she turned looking for something. She looked this way and that puzzled. “Where is that overgrown lap cat of yours?”
Thorndan chuckled, “Her name is Krystal, or Krys for short. We will meet her near the main road on the way out of the city. She went to say her farewells witch I still must do.”
“Her farewells?” commented Leddek a little bemused at the idea. “And who pray tell does a beast say farewell too?”
“Her children.” Thorndan replied shortly as he nudged his horse with his heels.
Katarra saw he was a bit perturbed, and decided she needed to calm things down. “What kind of cat is Krystal by the way? Her markings are rather unique.”
“Yes she is a beautiful creature. I nearly wet myself when she jumped into the stable.” Added Leddek.
“She is rare; I guess she may be one of a kind. She is half moor cat and half dire mountain cat. None of the other rangers had ever heard of the two breeding together before. A ranger from the north came to the training facility to meet her and I. He has bounded a dire cat. She is much larger then he was. The ranger came twice without his cat over the next week to see her. He only stopped when she became annoyed with him.”
“May I ask what is a moor cat and a dire cat for that matter.”
“Moor cats live in the wetlands mostly and are larger than a cougar, Dire cats are one of the largest of the cats it is a mountain dweller but hunts mostly in the valleys or plains they have been known to range hundreds of leagues.”
“I met a ranger at the wall he didn’t have a bounded companion.”
“Not all rangers can or do have bonded companions. The bulk of the rangers do though. One of my instructors had one for many years, when his wolf was killed he decided not to bond another because of his lack of a bonding he can speak and communicate much more fluently with all creatures. When we bound a companion we lose some of our ability to communicate with other creatures.”
“Wow. It seems there is a lot to it I thought they were merely well trained pets the rangers kept.” Replied Leddek.
“No Krystal is a part of me. I feel what she feels and she I. It has caused us some problems in the past.”
Katarra looked him questioningly. “What do you mean “caused you some problems””
“Well when I asked her if I could bound her, I did not know she was with child. She didn’t inform me and I didn’t think to ask. I got to share in her birthing and there were other complications from it.” Thorndan’s look had changed. He seemed to be far off. The trio moved thru the city without much more conversation. As they neared the city exit Thorndan turned down a side street.
“Where are we going? This leads to the barracks.” Katarra asked.
“Yea it does. I told you I had to say goodbye to Krystal’s kits.” Thorndan replied.
“You mean they are here in the city? I thought you meant she was in the forest outside the city.” Said Leddek.
“No they are at the Ranger barracks up the street here.” Thorndan didn’t sound very happy about that. Then suddenly he closed his eyes and a smile enveloped his face. He didn’t open his eyes until he had navigated thru the streets leading to the ranger barracks and right up to a small paddock in its rear. Thorndan only opened his eyes as he climbed down from his saddle. Katarra and Leddek had shared several glances as he turned this way and that with his eyes closed finding his way.