Author Topic: Dragon Riders, by lolliepoplady,  (Read 1418 times)

Dragon Riders, by lolliepoplady,
« on: April 23, 2010, 08:44:45 PM »

Offline DannicaAngel

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Intro: part 1, Lily gets her dragon, and start on their new life together.


The keeper looked on as the dragon eggs sat in silence. He sighed, and looked around the elaborate hall way. There was a knock at the door, he stood to attention as the lord chancellor and his son entered the room.
"hello Tom," the chancellor called out,
"good morning sir, have you come to show young Mark the eggs?" Tom asked relaxing his pose and escorting them to the central platform where the two dragon eggs stood. The chancellor bent down and picked up his 3 year old son and showed him the eggs. One was a golden amber colour and the other a frosty white. Mark leaned forward to touch the white egg.
"no, mark you can't touch there for the older men,"
" there going to turn into dragons, like daddy's." Tom informed the infant. Mark strained his face and leant out to touch the egg with both hands struggling against his fathers grip.
"the little guys persistent." Tom commented, "he could touch it if he wants, I doubt that he'll hatch it."
"there been many passing through?"
"yes nearly all of the men from the villages have come through to touch them, but to no success." Tom said gazing into the eggs. The chancellor looked out of the stained glass window. It over looked the harsh mountains where the common bandits lived stealing off the honest people who worked the land. His thoughts travelled off to the people of the planet, the dwarfs deep in the mines, to the people along the coast, the farmers fishermen the traders wondering from town to town selling there produce. He thought to the woods where the elves lived in there peaceful state doing what ever they did best.
He looked down at his son and he had his hands clutched firmly onto the white egg.
"mark!" he scorned his son looked up at him the egg shivered,
"I think he woke it up." Marks eyes flashed grey and he yawned, he took off his hands and the chancellor put him on the floor taking his hand,
"watch that egg, let me know as soon as it hatches." The chancellor said facing Tom,
"yes Sir," tom said the chancellor walked out the room his small son trailing along side.

Two years later
On the edge of the forest a group of hunters entered it walking quietly. They were heading for a little house about a mile in. they reached it at midday they waited in the bushes watching the house. Inside they saw a tall brown haired eleven woman, she smiled then bent down and picked up a small child. The hunters looked at one another. They hadn't been told about a child. From the other side of the clearing a slim man emerged from the tree's. He walked into the house and the hunters saw as he embraced his family.
"are we still on?" on of them asked,
"Yes, we take the kid with us, we'll dump her in the town." Slowly the hunters stalked forward toward the house.

Fourteen years later
"hello Tom," the guard looked up as the cleaner came into the room.
"good day Lily," he answered as he watched her start to clean the grand room.
"how's Mary?" she asked dusting down the skirting board.
"she's alright,"
"when is she due?"
"erm next month I think," he replied,
"are you hoping for a boy or a girl?" lily asked,
"I want a little girl, but I would love a boy just as much." He replied. He watched as Lily whizzed around the room dusting,
"how old are you Lily?" she looked up from cleaning the window.
"sixteen," she looked at him for a moment then turned back to the window,
"have you got your self a young man yet?" he asked, she picked up the cleaning liquid and turned smiling at him,
"no, the only men I see are the guards that work here and the visitors,"
"there's nothing wrong with the guards." He said sticking out his chest proudly, Lily looked at him and smiled,
"no but I would like to find a man that thought of me as an equal, not a underling." She replied.
"I thought you went into town on weekends with the other girls." He asked sitting back
"no, I'm always too tired, besides it's not as if I want one at the moment."
"don't you?" she shook her head,
"they're too much hassle," Tom laughed,
"that's one way of looking at it." Lily nodded, she picked up her duster and walked over to the solitary Dragon egg. Her shadow fell over it yet it still shined. She stared at it. mesmerised at it's golden red colour.
"I'd hurry up if I were you, I've got a group of men from the town coming up to try there luck with him."
"how do you know it's a him, it might be a girl." She looked around at him,
"nah, when the eggs were brought here there was one male and one female. He's the male,"
"who released the female?" she asked putting on her gloves,
"the chancellors son, Mark. He released it when he was three, he's halfway through his training now, over with the elves." Lily froze, "he should be back in a couple of years, then he'll be a real rider like his father." Tom said, Lily sighed. Her identity was still hidden. She carefully dusted the counter on which the egg stood then finally she wiped the dust off the top of the egg. She smiled as it's warmth radiated through her gloves, it beamed a orange glow as she dusted it.
"it always does that doesn't it." Tom said standing next to her watching it in her gloved hands.
"I reckon it likes you."
"you think?" she asked
"well it never does that to any body else, so yer." Tom said touching the warm glowing egg. Lily let go of the egg breaking the spell. She took off her gloves and put them away in her cleaning box. She looked at the egg for a final time.
"you ever thought about touching it without gloves?" Tom asked her,
"yes, but I won't as it's not mine to touch."
"I don't know about that. He seems to want you to release him." Lily looked at him,
"what would I do? I'm only 16, why would any thing want to attach it's self to me?" she asked,
"why not release it and find out?"
"I can't I'm just a cleaner, I'm no one special. I can't be a rider." Tom smiled at her,
"if you say so." She nodded then turned and left. Tom stood looking at her retreating back inwardly disappointed, maybe he could try to re-persuade her tomorrow.

Two years later
"mark welcome back home." His father walked out to greet him as he jumped down off his ice white dragon.
"hello father, how are you?" he asked embracing his father,
"I am well, have you completed your training now?"
"yes, I am now an legitimate rider," he answered grinning,
"have you found the other rider?" Mark asked walking into the building.
"actually Tom has come to see me, he thinks he knows who the rider is."
"how come?" Mark asked confused
"even I am not that sure about that, I'm going up to see him now, if your not too tired feel free to join me." The chancellor said,
"yes I think I will,"
Together the riders headed up to the Egg chamber.
"Tom. What is this news that you have?" the chancellor asked walking into the room. Tom stumbled to his feet and walked over to meet them both,
"my is that you mister mark?" he asked looking at the changed youth.
"Tom, you haven't changed at all have you?" Mark said, recognising the aging guard. Tom smiled,
"my lord I think I know the person who can awake the last egg." The men looked at him expectantly,
"who? man who?"
"Lily," Tom said pointing towards the window. The outlined figure at the window froze. The men looked at her,
"but she's a girl." The chancellor said to Tom, "is this some sort have sick joke Tom?" the chancellor asked,
"no, no sir, please I've watched thousands of people come through here and touch that egg, it only reacts when she touches it." he explained,
"then how come it hasn't been woken?" Mark asked looking at Lily, the light pouring through the window outlined her dress, the light shone off her brown hair.
"she wears gloves to dust the egg sir." Tom said, " the master's order, Lily, come and show the chancellor what I mean." He said beckoning her over. Obediently she walked over and put on her gloves and picked up the duster.
She started to dust the egg. Instantly is began to glow. Lighting up the room. The men stood awestruck looking from the egg to the girl. She stroked the egg and it shivered.
"how long have you known about this?" Mark asked Tom.
"erm a awhile now,"
"what! Why didn't you come to me sooner?"
"I wasn't sure thought it's been getting more and more active recently," Tom said,
"how old are you girl?" the chancellor asked,
"18 sir," she said bowing her head, mark looked at her with an unknown interest.
"does this usually happen? when you dust it?"
"yes sir," the chancellor looked critically at the egg then at the girl,
"what did you say your name is?"
"Lily Glendkan sir." She said letting go of the egg. Mark gasped, Tom and his father looked at him,
"what is it?" his father asked, looking at him.
"she's an elf." Mark said gaping at Lily, the men looked at her. she kept her head bowed. A stunned silence filled the room,
"are you?" Tom asked,
"yes." She said in a quiet voice.
"well why didn't I know about you when you first joined?" the chancellor asked her annoyed,
"you never asked for my species sir," she replied, he frowned.
"touch it." the chancellor demanded. Lily slowly removed her gloves and placed her hand on top of the egg. It shone a blinding orange light. Suddenly a loud crack echoed around the room, lily looked as a nose poked out of the egg. She smiled, and gently stroked it. the dragon vibrated and withdrew from sight. The egg cracked again and again, slowly the little orange/red dragon became more and more visible. Lily removed the top of the shell and looked at the glowing lizard. It looked up at her and yawned. She smiled, it unfurled it's golden wings and flapped them experimentally.
"well that settles it then. You are to go to the elf's to train as a rider. When your training is complete you will return back here to me."
"yes sir." Lily bowed,
"Mark, take this dragon to meet Meridith, she can look after the runt until he has grown enough to fly to the elf's." mark nodded keeping his eyes on Lily. His son nodded and went to pick up the tiny dragon, He recoiled as flames licked his hand. Mark met his father's eye.
"show her." he ordered, Mark met Lily's eye, she picked up her dragon and followed him out of the room. Before they disappeared out of the room, the chancellor called after them,
"find me when you have dealt with the dragon." He said not looking around. Lily nodded then followed Mark out of the room.

5 years later
"finally!" Franz said souring through the clouds, Lily smiled holding on tightly as she allowed her dragon to fly freely.
"you know we have to go back to the chancellor." She said, suspiciously he remained quiet.
"yes?" he asked trying not to grin,
"did you hear me,"
"maybe?" he said turning into a dive, Lily shook her head. Slowly she unleashed the strips holding her into the saddle. She crouched on the saddle, then jumped up launching herself into the sky. She faced down wards souring down towards the ground. Franz looked around at her he started to spiral around in circles around her falling body. Franz tightened the spiral, Lily glided herself back into the saddle and strapped herself back in before Franz turned up in a loop the loop.
Totally happy they both soured through the sky making their way back to the chancellor's home.

Lily climbed down off Franz's back and looked around at the old court yard. She walked into the main building in search of the chancellor. She knocked on his study,
"enter." A muffled voice said, taking a deep voice she opened the door and walked in.
"can I help you?" he asked puzzled at the young woman who stood before him.
"Sir I have returned from my training with the elves." Lily explained, he looked at her confused,
"yes, right," he looked down at his paper work and sighed,
"is there any thing you whish me to do?" Lily asked, the chancellor shifted through some paper work and picked up and read a document. Lily waited silently he looked up at her. he held out the letter,
"this arrived two days ago from Mark. He is in the mountains trying to get the dwarf clans to get along nicely without fighting and bickering." He sighed deeply and rubbed his eyes. "Unfortunately he hasn't inherited his mothers diplomatic procedures. This was meant to be a week job, but he's been out there for the past three years. Now he writes to inform me that the dwarfs are on the brink of war!" he looked up at Lily, " I want you to find him and sort out the situation, I will not have a civil war in the country. Even if I do despise the grubby little creatures. Find out what you must but I want this sorted out before the autumn arrives understand?" Lily nodded, she turned and walked out of the room.
"back so soon?" Franz asked watching her walk across to him, "You know these paddocks are quite comfortable," he said stretching out and yawning,
"well don't get too used to it, we've got a misson,"
"why do I get the feeling this isn't going to be as easy as what you think it is?" he asked, Lily laughed patting Franz on the head.
"any thing is easy when we work together." She said, Franz grinned curling up to sleep. Lily smiled,
"rest here I shall come get you in the morning." Lovingly she stroked his side, he purred contented. Smileing Lily left Franz to sleep and went in search of the library.
(week later)
Lily stood on the edge of the town looking up at the intimidating mountains that stood before her. She had sent a letter to dwarf leader who was playing host to Mark. She had asked permission for entry into the mountains and more importantly permission to stay in his city as a guest.
"Miss?" she turned around the Innkeeper's young son stood a safe distance behind her, he had a note in his hand, Lily walked to him.
"This came for you. Directly from the mountains miss," he handed over the envelope he watched as she read the contents.
"Is it from Uberwald Miss? My dad said only the dwarfs live in Uberwald. It's weird, he said the dwarfs usually write on slate." Lily looked up,
"Yes, it's from Uberwald, I need to speak to your father do you know where I can find him?"
"He said he was going to Lingfon to buy some thing from the market." Lily nodded, thinking.
"why do you need to speak to him? He's usually away for the whole day when he goes, he'll be back tomorrow." The child said,
"Is your mother at home?" Lily asked
"yep, she'll be doing the washing, it's washing day today."
"let's go find her."
"ok follow me." The child ran off, smiling Lily followed.
"Christo what is it?" his mother asked as they appeared in her wash room,
"the lady rider wants to talk to you." he said sitting down onto a upturned bucket. The woman looked up at Lily,
"I was wondering if I could borrow a horse to see your husband, I need to talk with him."
"he's gone to Lingfon can it not wait?"
"not really," the woman stood up wiping her hands on her apron.
"Christo, go saddle up a horse for the lady." He looked at his mother then at Lily then ran off to their stables.
"does this mean that you'll be leaving us?" the woman asked escorting Lily to their stables.
"yes, I want to thank you for your hospitality. You have been very kind."
"will you go into the mountains? Christo said you had a letter for Uberwald."
"yes, one of my fellow riders is there already sorting out some trouble with the dwarfs, I was asked to go find out how he is doing." The woman nodded, they stopped out side the stables. "is there anything that you ever wanted from the dwarfs?" Lily asked, the woman looked at her stunned,
"in what way?"
"I will be visiting their cities, and I wanted to repay your kindness to me," Lily said, the woman blushed,
"no, I can not accept gifts from strangers, especially from a rider like your self." Lily nodded,
"what about your son, Christo? I'm sure that a gift for him would bring both him and you happiness." The woman looked at Lily,
"no, it's not proper for some one of your rank to be giving presents to people like us." The woman said sternly ending the conversation.
The boy brought out the horse minutes later, Lily mounted it and rode off to Lingfon. she sought out the inn keeper,
"Hello Miss what are you doing here?" he asked,
"I wanted your thoughts on a particular subject." Lily said looking over the stall that she had found him at.
"and what might that be?" Lily showed him the letter, "right, we'd best find some where quiet to talk." He replied looking around shiftily as if it were a crime. They moved through the crowd and found a quiet spot on the edge of the town.
"now what is this you want to know?" he asked looking troubled,
"You know that I have been reading up on the Dwarfs and their way of life." He nodded, " I wanted to know exactly how they effect your way of life?" he frowned at her,
"do they stop the trade from coming in?"
"no it doesn't, I get the odd young sod who comes down wanting to explore the mountains but that's about it, we get along. Why do you ask?"
"I'm going to Uberwald to help a fellow rider with a problem he's been trying to sort out, and I wanted to know if they affect the people living near the mountains." The man shook his head,
"no they stick to the mountains, and we stick to the flats. We stay away from one another." Lily nodded,
"thank you. I wanted to pay you for you hospitality but your wife did not think it was right to accept gifts." He looked up at her, he paused thinking then replied,
"She's always wanted a nice flower pot, but you didn't hear that from me." he said, Lily smiled,
"what about yourself and your son?"
"Christo? He's been talking about nothing but your dragon since you arrived," he faded away smiling at the memories of his son, Lily nodded.
"thank you again. I will call in again on my way back, if you do not mind."
"no, no, of course not. You are welcome at our house any time." he said standing up, "besides it's not every day that a rider comes to your door." He said smiling.
"I was beginning to think you had forgotten about me." Franz said seeing her,
"how could I forget. Have you been ok?"
"yer, I can't say the same about the deer population." He grinned at her she smiled back. Quickly they mounted up and flew into the mountains searching for the Dwarf city.
Hours later they stood on a platform being introduced to the most powerful Dwarfs of Uberwald. Lily quickly explained that she was here as a onlooker to the peace negotiations that Mark was carrying out. They all looked very sceptical when she mentioned that. Lily had said that she would like to explore the city and not think about the negotiations until Mark had returned. Harka had been assigned to her to make sure that she had all the things that she needed whilst she was staying here.
"Your other rider left yesterday to seek out Mertle, She's our main priestess, she lives deeper in the mountains, he left with a escort though I doubt he will need one." Harka explained, he had been looking after Mark whilst he had been staying in the city.
"I have prepared a room for you, it is next to Mark's so that you can talk without having to walk around the city to find him." Lily nodded,
"thank you, when would it be wise to think Mark would be returning?" she asked, the dwarf looked at her confused, "when is Mark coming back?" she asked again, his face relaxed,
"he will most probably be on his way back now. He will be wanting to see you I imagine. I think he has grown weary of our company." Harka said disappointment in his voice,
"don't be saddened, he is proberly just missing his home and family." He looked up at her and nodded.
Mark arrived later that afternoon weary from his travels and the long arduous process that he had been sent here to fix. He retired to his room and slept only waking when Harka came to call him to dinner.
"I have a surprise for you," he had warned him. Mark looked at him frowning,
"What is it?"
"Your Rider friend has arrived." Mark sat on the bed his head in his hands. His father had arrived. Now he was going to get a public humiliation in front of the dwarfs that though he was already barmy.
"Could you bring my dinner to my room please tonight, I do not feel like dinning in public tonight." Mark asked, Harka nodded,
"Very well, I'll bring it in for you."
Lily looked up as the door opened, Harka walked in.
"Sorry miss, Mark wants to dine alone tonight. I think he is weary of you." Lily frowned, she sighed and nodded
"Would I be allowed to eat in the kitchens?"
"Yes if you weren't to get in the way I'm sure that they would have no objections." Harka said thinking about the chef's.
Harka led Lily down to the kitchen and explained to the chiefs that she wanted to eat with them. They looked at her wearily at first but after a while and a crate of beer they soon accepted her as one of the 'lads'. They were singing and telling tales of old myths and legends that they had heard, shearing their past with Lily. In return she laughed at their jokes and joined in the drinking games.
Lily left later managing to control the effect the strong alcohol had over her. She sought out Franz and curled up with him for the night. He looked down at her as she let him see the memories she had of the past few hours. He laughed kindly as he knew she would be in a foul mood tomorrow.
The next day Lily woke with a monster headache. Cursing the chiefs for their hospitality. She found Mark in his room packing.
"Where are you going now?" Mark looked around shocked, Lily stood in his doorway looking at him.
"What are you doing here?" he asked
"I was sent to help out, why do you ask? I thought the dwarfs told you I was coming." He shook his head,
"No they haven't said a thing."
"Oh, well tell me every thing that's happened." She said coming into his room and sitting down on chair. He sighed, and told her.
"I don't know what this new rider is going to do?"
"No did you hear her? She wants to help with the peace negotiations. Ha, we've not been at peace since before my great, great, granddad was a small babe."
"These riders think they know every think."
"Ha, that boy still has a lot to learn."
"Maybe that's why the girl turned up,"
"What? To tell him to go home and read a book?" the 6 dwarfs gathered around the table laughed,
"It'll be best if they both went home."
"Yes let us sort it out the way we all always have done."
"Yer with our Axes!" the group cheered.
"The riders are here." Harka said looking wearily at the Dwarf leaders,
"Let them in then."
"Can't keep them waiting." They sniggered at the private Joke; Harka retreated dreading the forth-coming events.
Mark stepped into the hall followed by Lily and Harka. Silence filled the room; they sat down in seats that they had been set-aside for them.
"Good day to you all." The dwarf leader started, Mark nodded, Lily smiled.
"How was your trip Mark?" the dwarfs held back sniggers. They had sent him away to Mertle in the hope that she would frighten him off with her hocus-pocus and he would never return.
"Interesting." He replied knowing full well that he got set up.
"Who is your lady friend? I've forgotten her name."
"Too much Redrol last night." They laughed,
"How is your head my dear? I heard the cooks were complaining of sore heads from your tales last night." Lily smiled,
"I'm not sure, I thought I was ok then I came in here and I started seeing little people with beards and long hair," she said, there was a moment of silence then they all burst out laughing,
"I feel fine thank you." she said already in high spirits.
"On a more serious note," Mark started
"Have you seen the market?" one of the dwarfs asked Lily,
"Not yet."
"You should,"
"It's something people have never seen the likes of before."
"Watch out for the thief's though."
"Yes got to be careful."
"Can I remind you why we are here." Mark said becoming frustrated,
"To play cards?" one of them asked the others laughed; one pulled out a pipe and lit it causally.
"Ok guys," Lily started; " I know you as Dwarfs would rather fight this whole thing out with your best warriors, yes?" they looked at her interested,
"Yes," they agreed unsure of what she was getting at,
"And I'm sure that you would win and come home to a glorious victory."
"Here she's thinking like one of us now."
"That Redrol must've gone to her head." They all laughed,
"My point is gentle men, that the chancellor is concerned about you."
"Ain't that sweet." They laughed again
"He doesn't want dwarfs fighting dwarfs, for what ever reason."
"What concern is it of his? He doesn't even like us!"
"Yer," they all agreed,
"I realise this, but he thinks that by sending us, you can resolve your debate by talking civilly."
"He's madder than what we thought." The laughed again, Lily smiled,
"The point is that although he doesn't like you he wants you to live like humans." They went quiet, All watching her. "I on the other hand understand that you are a different species with your own ways and habits. I also understand that your idea of a peace negotiations consist of an axe and armour, maybe even a few barrels of borrowed beer to build up your spirits."
"You got it right there." They nodded silently,
"So all I'm asking is do what ever it is you do best."
"More drinking." They all laughed the mood lightening,
"Yes carry on, but if you must fight, don't let it pass outside of your territory. Don't let it out of the mountains."
"Is that it?" one asked after a few minutes silence, Lily looked at him, "he comes here for three years trying to tell us not to fight each other and to sit down and talk it over. Then you turn up and tell us fight if you want but don't let you people know about it?" Lily thought for a minute then nodded,
"yes, dwarfs wouldn't be dwarfs if you didn't have a fight every century. It's what makes you different from the rest of the world." The dwarfs looked at one another thinking, one stood up
" yer, I'll do it."
"yep all in favour?"
"yer." They all chorused,
"sorted, let's throw a party!"
"I'll get the beer."
"I'll help you," one by one they each made their excuses and wandered off leaving Mark Lily and Marka alone in the room.
"well done. You sorted that out nicely, no doubt your have a worse headache tomorrow but you handled them well. Must be off." Marka congratulated Lily then wondered off speedily seeing the expression on Mark's face.
Mark looked at Lily,
"you just let three years of hard work down the drain." He looked at her shocked,
"They are not humans, they are not diplomatic. They have fought wars and battles with each other for centuries; it's their way of life. You can't expect to change that," she explained. He looked at her fuming, then admitting defeat he nodded running his hands through his hair.
"I should've known that." He admitted quietly
"Don't worry about it. We're stay tonight then leave tomorrow after noon for the other cities." Mark nodded he stood up and left, Lily sighed and followed him out of the hall.
City by City they went around explaining that fighting is what dwarfs do best, other than drinking and having a good time. They were corrected on countless occasions. Slowly Mark and Lily spread the news that what the chancellor didn't find out about didn't hurt him.
Throughout their time together Lily and Mark became good friends and companions. Although Mark was the oldest and had been a rider for longer Lily had Elfish blood running through her veins, together they managed to persuade even the most stubborn Dwarf King that peace was not on the agenda for the dwarfish community.
Almost a month later Mark and Lily emerged form the mountains heading for home. Keeping true to her word Lily stopped by the innkeeper and his family accidentally leaving them behind 4 barrels of Dwarfish beer, a highly decorated plant pot containing a comman blue mountain flower, never seen out of the mountains and a book of the best dwarfish recipes. Lily also took Christo up on Franz for a short flight, the young boy loved it and moaned when they landed.
They stood in front of the chancellor a week later and gave him the news that he wanted: the dwarfs had met a neutral understanding of each other and were going to sort out their problems in a respectable manner. Through they didn't mention that it was a respectable dwarfish manner that they were sorting it out in. With the chancellor happy he threw a celebratory party; though it was more of a meet and great after witnessing the dwarf's boozy parties.
Lily sought out Mark during the celebration.
"Mark," he looked around,
"Yer, what is it?"
"I just heard that your father wants you to go to the coast, apparently he thinks that you need more human contact after the dwarfs."
"Yer, that's what I thought. He says I'm to keep an eye on the pirates, but I know that they left last season, and haven't been sighted since."
"Proberly why he wants you to go, find out what made them leave in the first place."
"I never thought of it like that." Lily shrugged, "what is he sending you to do?"
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about." He frowned curious, "he is allowing me to make a home for myself in the country somewhere."
"That doesn't sound like him."
"I asked him." Mark nodded he looked out over the people that had been invited to the party, lords and ladies, only the highest-ranking people were allowed in.
"I want your help to decide where I should go." He looked back at her,
"Why me?"
"Because you have had the chance to see the country, you know where every thing is and what the people are like." She explained he nodded
"Come with me."
He led her quietly away from the hustle and bustle of the party and into the library. He pulled out a map of the country, he weighted down the corners and looked at it.
"What did you have in mind?" he asked looking from the map to her.
"I had no idea it was so big." She said letting here eyes wander around the map. Taking in the mountains and streams, the towns and forests. Mark smiled as the look on her face was of amazement.
"Lily," she looked up at him. "What did you want to be near?" he asked,
"Mountains for Franz, and towns for myself. But near forest, or woodland as well."
"Ok," he looked at the map, "here looks good, you'll have the mountains at your back and towns all around you, there is even a forest on the other side of the mountains, that backs back onto the elf's territory, but there's a smaller woodland nearby look." She looked up at him smiling,
"Sounds ideal." He nodded. "I'll make a note of it and ask your father's opinion in the morning." Mark looked at her smiling he watched her eyes zoom across the map. Sensing his haze she looked up,
"What is it?"
"I was just thinking, I'll miss not having you around." Lily smiled turning away from him so he wouldn't see her blushing.
"I know what you mean, but the trick will be to stay busy," she looked around at him, "that way you won't notice the time fly by." Mark nodded,
"Lets go back to the party." He said, and led the way back to the court yard.

"Innocence" he said, while his eyes fell away and slowly slid black irises to study the mist-laden woods around him.
"Losing your innocence, is like losing a limb."
The smile that appeared on his lips was neither cold nor warm - it was colourless.
"She crippled me"
"For that, I will cripple her.