Mei and Noah

Alysia World Forums Stories Mei and Noah

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    Chapter 1 – The First Sunset

    “Its hard to start writing about your life when your already half way into it. Today however is the perfect day to start. Today, I saw an angel.”

    “I had just walked out of the western grove at the top of the highest point of Ester’s Cliff. The sun stone my face, its warmth cascaded over my body, its energy pulsing down up me, causing my eyes to close before its radiance. A soft gust of wind rustled the trees, and a cool breath from the forest caused me to awaken from This brief moment of peace. I looked down on the Shore of Red, the soft setting sun casting its magical tint which, time and time again, redefined the name of this port. It is my favorite place in the busy capitol city of Kreath.”

    “As I stared out over the port, watching a particular ship that had just docked, My eyes caught sight of a single individual that was departing. She was nothing more than a sparkling dot among the dull that surrounded her. For some reason, some rare occurrence, my heart jumped into my throat and I audibly choked. When I glanced back, the sun had set too low and I lost sight of her.”

    “With a short sigh I slung my keep from the days hunt over my shoulder and, in normal routine, made my way through the forest back to the city.”

    He leaned back with a dreamy sigh from where he sat on the floor. His gaze shifted from the top of the ceiling to the leather bound journal twitching under the glow of the dancing candle light. He wanted to keep writing, but his thoughts were too erratic to put on paper. All that passed through his mind was a simple thought:

    “Today, I saw an Angel.”

    He was lost in his dream, replaying that moment when a single sliver of radiance among the bleak mass of dock hands captivated him. He didn’t even notice the door to his small room squeak open.

    “Stone.” The voice startled him. Quickly he turned around in surprise. There he found Lynn, the owner of the meek building where he had lived for the past few years. Gently he turned back to his journal and took a breath of relief.

    “Do you like oak paneling?” Lynn was making a feeble attempt to speak in code. “I do,” he continued, “Especially the paneling that sits beside the fireplace.”
    He could imagine Kair, Lynn’s wife, smacking him on the back of the head if she was around to hear this babble. He deciphered the code as Lynn talking about a rather attractive women that had wandered into the downstairs pub.

    “Don’t you have a job to do.” He replied, his voice holding no interest. All he could think about was the Angel that he had seen earlier that day.

    “I’m just saying,” continued Lynn, “If I were a single plank of wood, I would be down stairs trying to make an impression.”

    He sighed then looked over to the doorway. Lynn had planted his back against the frame, his arms crossed, and his head turned to look inside. Reluctantly he stood up and walked over to Lynn who had backed out into the hallway.

    “Alright,” He said nonchalantly, “Lets see what this paneling looks like.”

    He made his way down the flight of stairs leading into the kitchen where Lynn should have been working. Kair was tending to the bar. For a bar keep, and a woman married to Lynn, she was both beautiful and scary. She held a poise of confidence, assurance, and graceful radiance. She was the one that all the men came to admire, but never dare to make a pass at.

    “Good evening.” She said as he passed by, her voice was calming and motherly. He nodded softly, then began to glance around the pub, taking note of which direction the men where passing hidden gazes. Soon he caught glimpse of the commotion, and again his heart filled his throat. For the second time this day, he choked on his amazement.


    Chapter 2 – A New Sunset

    The chill winds brisked against her pale skin as she looked out over the railing to the city before her. After riding in a carriage all day yesterday, and then spending the night and most of the day at sea, her destination was finally in sight. The great city of Kreath was a marvelous sight to hold. She had only seen pictures and heard stories, but seeing the city rising up the cliff side was more beautiful than anything she could have imagined. She was arriving just as the sun was setting. Its warm rays illuminated the bank in red. This and the blue nights of Meshka were the most famous phenomena of Alysia. She never would have dreamed of actually getting to see it in person. But, there she was, staring in amazement as he ship docked and the crew began shuffling around getting ready to unload. She was a fish out of water, each step she made only seemed to get her into another persons way. Kreath was home to many beings from all over, but it didn’t help her. There were only a hand full of people in recorded history that ever left her homeland. 

    She could feel the gazes of the men and women. They stuck to her like darts, each one adding another sting of discomfort. She had been ignoring the feeling all day, trying her best to enjoy the open ocean. But now that they were docked, she knew she had to do her best to blend in, or escape into a corner and hide. Then, just as she was walking down the ramp towards the docks below, she felt an arrow strike her in the chest. It was heavy and powerful. She clinched her chest, trying to breath even the shortest of breaths. She wanted desperately to look around and find the person that could cast such a glance. He, or She, must be a person of extreme power. But, she couldn’t move. She stood there, time seeming to pass at an abnormally slow speed. Her heart was racing, her mind a mess. It wasn’t until she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder that she snapped out of this trance.

    “Is everything alright miss?”

    One of the other women from the ship spoke to her. She had two kids with her, each of them hiding behind their mother, trying to steal glances at the foreigner. Her voice was calm, her touch as motherly as her smile. 


    She stuttered, the arrow dissolved from her chest and her mind free from its grasp.

    “I’m fine, thank you.”

    She was doing her best to be polite while refraining the over kill of a deep bow like she was raised to behave towards others. Instead she smiled at the lady who seemed to smile more brightly back.

    “Then could you please keep walking. I’d like to get the kids back home before night fall.”

    The mother replied, the moment suddenly sank in, and she realized she was holding up everyone on the ship.

    Another vessel rolled in just as she set foot on the docks. She did her best to stand to the side to let both the passengers from her ship, and those of the other move along their merry way. Eventually she found herself sitting on a crate close to the end of the pier with her only piece of luggage resting against her back. When the chaos cleared and the pier was silent, she hopped down and made her way into the great city. She was surprised to find how easy it was to enter the city. The only time she had traveled outside of her homeland, she was met with a full coordination of baggage checks, identification checks, even her father was subjected to a brief interrogation about his visit. But this city seemed to accept everyone with open arms. A few guards made sideways glances as she passed through the gates, but that was it. Could the great city of Kreath be like Dolthor? A city of fugitives and criminals, Dolthor was the ultimate freedom, but it came at the price of fearing for your life; or so she was told. 

    Now, more nervous than ever, she began making her way through the busy streets of Kreath. She was vigilant, her mind trying to judge every person she saw as friend or foe. She darted in front of every dark alley she came across, trying her best to keep with the small crowd that seemed to move in sync down the street. Every vendor gave her a small heart attack as they approached her, trying to sell who knows what kind of rotten, stolen items. But, the more she walked around, the more she realized that no one really seemed to come across as a villain. In general the people of Kreath, while diverse as they may be, were kind and polite. Men nodded their head as she walked by. Children said excuse me and yes ma’am, no sir; just like at home. She sigh a gentle sigh of familiarity……..until she looked up.

    Before she left her house, she had acquired a map of Kreath. Not able to keep the map when she left, she memorized the direct route to a nice cozy inn she had heard of from guards around her hometown. After running away from the non-existent criminals and monsters of Kreath, she quickly realized that the sun had set; and she was lost. Her panic must have been more visible than she thought because she was soon startled by the little voice of one of the local children. 

    “Excuse me miss, are you alright?”

    Twice today someone mistook her for some wandering tourist. Oh, who was she kidding. She was a completely overwhelmed, lost, misplaced tourist. She turned around slowly with a small tear swelling into her eye. It was frightful being lost in such a big city, but even sweeter was a child attempting to comfort her. Or so she thought. As she faced the small voice, she gasped, a small squeak escaped through her voice behind her closed lips. She knew that she had to expect the most bizarre and amazing things that Alysia had to hold for her; but this…..

    The small Lutran didn’t even notice her reaction, he was too wrapped up in her beauty to be bothered by her rude expression. On her behalf however…A TALKING OTTER!

    Quickly she composed herself, knowing that she must accept everything she came across with an open mind.

    “Y..Yes, actually.”

    Twice today her voice failed her.

    “You see, I am new to the city, and….and I can not find an Inn to settle into.”

    Her voice, once fully expressed, was both soft and brilliant. The Lutran, completely entranced by her, took her hand in his paw and gave a deep long bow. She was shocked by his motions, his furry little paw felt warm and soft in her hand, like her cat’s. 

    “My lady,” His small voice matched him perfectly. “I just happen to be a mage who specializes in finding objects lost.”

    Her heart sank a little as she realized that this meant he was only a mage in training. Even she knew that the basics consisted of either healing, location, or defense. Not letting her mind take hold of her expressions again, she smiled sweetly, then responded.

    “Then, great mage of the lost, could you please find me a safe Inn that I may rest for the night?”

    She was playing the card she knew best, helpless; and it seemed to work perfectly on the Lutran.

    “Of course my Lady!” His voice was small, even when he was speaking with pride and magnitude. 

    “Lutra, Lutra, Krea!”

    While she was no mage, nor did she hold what her people believed to the ‘Spiritual Capacity’ for it, even his small words did not make any sense. But he held his arms in the air all the same like he was receiving a message from the heavens. She decided not to interrupt him, hoping that her misunderstanding was true, and his actions correct. After several silent moments passed, the Lutran dropped his arms, then began walking down the street.

    “Keep up.” Was all that he said, not even bothering looking back to make sure she followed. 

    What he wouldn’t tell a soul was that his ‘spell’ had failed, and all he was doing was leading her to an Inn he remembered during that moment of silence was close by. While ‘safe’ may not fit the bill, it was an Inn all the same. 

    After a small walk with many twist and turns, she was ready to accept what ever this little Lutran had to offer. She noticed that the roads had gotten smaller and the city lights darker. She could only image what the place looked like during the day, but by now the moon was the only frail source of light, and her imagination her only understanding of this side of the city. Eventually the Lutran stopped in front of a building that looked exactly like all the other around it. The windows were throwing dancing lights into the streets which meant that there was at least a fire inside. 

    “Here we are my lady, no reward necessary.” It was a phrase he heard someone else say that kept the patrons from handing over useless golden pieces of metal. “My service’s only requirement is to last in your memory for all of time. See, that is how I get my power.”

    The Lutran was horribly misguided, but none the less, she was standing in front of what she hoped to be an Inn of some sort. Her feet hurt and her hands ached from carrying her bag through what seemed to be the entire city. She smiled with great appreciation, then began to bow. When she rose, before she could speak, the Lutran had begun bouncing down the street with an energy matched only by children. The warmth of the smile that he had brought to her face continued all the way until she looked inside the building. It was an Inn, sure, and a bar, sure; but the crowd jabbed her with daggers as each of them watched her take her seat in the corner beside the furnace. This was going to be a long night.


    Chapter 3 – The Fireplace

    The dim lights of the bar below fluttered as the fireplace cracked and popped with the touch of each new inch of wood. There was a small candle on every table, and many more lining the corners of the room, but they could only hold the shadows at bay. It was the fireplace that gave the bar a heart. Warmth and life reached out from it. The entire setting and character of the room was in its hands.

    As he walked in from the kitchen, the fire decided it was too bright, and faded. Shadows were cast on peoples faces. He feebly looked about, trying to understand what Lynn was so worked up about. He could make our the shapes of the usual patrons, each of them sitting where they always had for the past several ages. Trying ton to look suspicious, he shifted his search to a free table, preferably in a corner. He found a seat against the far wall facing the fire. As he sat the flames grew hunger and began consuming more fuel, effectively brightening the room.

    He scanned the room from the left to the right. His eyes passed quickly over every figure visible. He couldn’t find the lovely lady, but he certainly picked up on the tension in the air. There were several women around, some familiar, others not. None of them however were sticking in appearance. Then he noticed the glances. At first he figured men were looking at the flair of the flames. But as the fire quenched its hunger for wood and dimmed once more, he realized that people were still glancing in that direction, in the corner beside the fireplace.

    It was too dark when he entered, and the brightness distracted him when he sat. Now in the dim light his heart skipped as two blue eyes pierced his soul. Their brilliance glowed in the shadows. They seemed to intensify the more he stared. He felt as though a spell had been cast upon him, his mind being swallowed whole by their power. He had to look away, divert his attention, but he couldn’t; he didn’t want to. Before he lost himself in their radiance, she diverted her gaze and set him free.

    Her heart pounded against her chest. She could feel each swift beat pulse her blood through out her entire body. She closed her eyes and turned her head. The warmth of the fire began glowing on her face. As it cascaded across her body, she took a few small gasp of air. There again, just like on the ship, was that deep arrow wrenched in her chest. There was something or someone around that made her body quiver, made her soul ache, and her spirit sprite in excitement.

    “This,” She thought, “This is the feeling I am seeking.”

    Her only wish now was that she could open her eyes and glance about the room for the source of the energy.

    Once he realized the pressure was lifted, he prepared himself to approach the lady hidden in the shadows of the flames. Before he could stand though, he noticed the advance of another. No, he could not allow this man the first words. With grace, spirit, and cunning agility he leaped from his chair and pounced towards the woman. His intent was to cause enough of a scene in his majesty that he would catch the other man off guard, then utilize that small window of hesitation to approach this angel first. Ultimately, at least in the end, his plan had worked, and with a heavy pant he stood in front of her in pure wonder. His words escaped him, and so awkwardly silent he simply stood in front of this beautiful woman.

    All she could see however, was the sudden lurch of a clumsy fool. He had knocked back his chair into another patron, knocked his table over (luckily there was no drink to spill), and then made a bizarre half dance, half dash across the breadth of the room directly towards her. It was a scene alright, one that she would usually scoff at in her homeland should any of the young men act in such a manner. But, as the awkwardly stood in front of her, staring with a soft pant from his efforts, she caught another more rough looking man begin to turn and sit back in his own chair. Was this man an underrated hero, or coincidentally still a bumbling fool?

    “May I help you?”

    Her voice was sweet. It sifted into his ears, nearly causing his legs to shake and falter under his body. It reminded him of the summer wind. It warmed his being and calmed his thoughts. Possibly, he might even be able to respond, if only he could divert his gaze from her captivating eyes.


    Chapter 4 – Awkward Interaction

    “Can I help you?” She asked, her voice was starting to fill with annoyance. He hesitated, stalled by her beauty. The only word that escaped his mouth was “Mauntice.”

    Her eyes widened, her cheeks blushed, and a silent, small gasp parted her lips and filled her lungs. Another small strand of hair fell from its perch behind her ear and curved around her face. He couldn’t escape her. Every detail burned into his mind. Her dark hair was pulled into a bun and lifted off of her neck. Her skin was smooth and flawless. Every inch of her was like a goddess in human form. He had to break away, divert himself from her.

    But how could he have known? in silence they stared at each other. It was as if the entire room had frozen in time. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, she couldn’t even think. She gazed deeply into his brilliant brown eyes. They were the color and strength of an ancient oak. His solid jaw line defined the features of his slightly rugged face. There was a fresh scratch on his cheek, possibly from remaining through thick brush. He was handsome, at least she presumed he could be. Between a sparse prickly beard and the unkempt, cow-licked, birds nest hair, her conclusion was that he simply, rarely, groomed. 

    “I’m sorry,” He responded, the few heart beats of time that had just passed seemed like the whole evening, “I caught a glimpse of your attire, and it peeked my interest.”

    He was a horrible liar. She could easily see this, but he was at least polite about it.

    “So your new in town?” He asked trying to brush off the intensity of the moment that just passed.

    She was exhausted, lost, and confused with an inner turmoil that no one could understand. The last thing she wanted to be doing was have an idle conversation with a stranger at a bar that wouldn’t quit staring her directly in the eyes. His gaze was overwhelming, powerful. She felt like he was looking at her soul. She began to speak, thinking carefully as to how she would ask him to leave, but he continued before she could talk. 

    “Of course your new,” he casually crossed his arms, shifted his weight to his left leg, and then leaned against the wall. She wandered why he didn’t sit down, but was some what pleased he didn’t intrude. Then she felt a weight lift from her shoulders. She looked up from the chair to him and found that he was now staring at the fire. It was the first time he broke his gaze, not even a blink. Her lips parted as she tried to force her vocals to work, but nothing escaped.

    “I hope I’m not being too forward, but I thought I would at least introduce myself.” He held out his hand, waiting for hers.

    “Noah, Noah Stoneart.”

    She paused as his name registered in her thoughts. Slowly she placed her hand inside of his. It was a custom she wasn’t used too, but she didn’t want to feel or act any further out of place.

    “Ash…..” she faltered, “Mei.”

    He softly shook her slender hand. She noted the radiant warmth of his skin. “Well Ash Mei” Noah said with a half smile, tactfully playing with her.”If there is anything you need, please, don’t hesitate to ask, me….around.” The words involuntarily escaped into the air. ‘Gsh!’ He flinched his face and quickly looked away. ‘Why did I say that?’ He thought to himself.

    “I will certainly do so.” Her sweet voice brought his attention back. She was so beautiful. Her smile expressed the sort of spectacular energy that perfectly matched what he would soon come to know as her true personality. Noah nodded his head slightly, then walked away. He was enthralled by the experience, and with out any thought he slipped out the front door. 

    Kair had been observing the entire encounter from the kitchen, her quick wit easily recognized Noah’s odd behavior. “Wheres Stone at?” Lynn startled her. “He went outside for a bit.” She replied as Lynn gave a sigh of annoyance once he noticed that they lady was still around. “Golden opportunity, and I’m sure he blew it!” Lynn threw his hands in the air with an over dramatic reaction, then leaned against the counter with his arms crossed. A wry little smile spread across his face and a gleam sparkled in his eye. Kair knew this face.

    “Whatever scheme your plotting, leave this boy out of it.” She commanded. “Oh, it’s too late.” He slowly responded. Kair took a few quick steps towards her husband, then planted a solid palm right on the back of his head. Lynn quickly grabbed the pain as Kair repeated himself.

    “Leave that boy, and that girl, alone.”


    Chapter 5 – A Night On The Town

    Noah didn’t make it very far before the chill of the night air woke him from this trance. He had no reason for being outside, but also he didn’t want to just walk back inside so soon. With a soft sigh, he began to walk around the block and re-entered through the back door. The trance began to swell over him again, and before he knew it, he was back in his room.

    Things slowed to an ambient roar inside the bar. Mei effectively cloaked herself in the shadows once again, and began pondering her life. Absently she gazed into the slow swirls of tea as she rocked the cup back and forth. The act was mesmerizing enough on its own, but at this point she would have blanked out staring at a wall. The hours ticked by in fluid motion, time advanced through the night like a singe gust of wind. She didn’t notice the events of the bar, how many time Noah came up and down the stairs, in and out of the kitchen and bar. He didn’t have to look at her to know that she was still there. He didn’t think his body, nor his soul, could take another strain like before

    “Miss,” Kair was now standing in front of her. Mei didn’t know how long she had been there trying to get her attention. “Last call miss, its almost closing time. “Is there anything else I can get you?” Kair’s gentle voice pulled Mei out of her trance.

    “No, thank you” She politely responded, then started to shift back into her thoughts.

    “Actually” She piped up just as Kair was turning away. “Before I forget, may I have a room for the night?”

    Kair’s face swelled with concern as she apologized. “I’m sorry, were already booked for the night.” She had to respond, knowing that this caused serious complications for the traveler.

    “Oh,” She sounded broken. “Well, is there any where close by that you know of?”

    “Maybe the Rym Inn, it’s a horrible name I know, but they might have a room available.” Kair folded her arms around her torso, then proceeded, “But its on the other side of the district, and rather late at night.” With a bit more hope in her expression, Mei curiously responded. “I’m sure with helpful directions I could find my way.”

    “Well, we take last call and close up just before curfew so people can get home before the guards end their shift.” Mei was little confused by this, yet also equally curious. Her face must have said everything because Kair answered her question before she could ask. “There isn’t a rotation for inner city guards. The only guards who get a night shift are the ones who are posted on the walls. After midnight you have to fend for yourself. Maybe you could find someone to accomp….”

    “Well count my stars!” The small voice of the lutran came from behind Kair. She heard a faint, yet distinct roar of Lynn’s laughter come from the kitchen. “It really is you, I ….. I’m looking at you again.” The little otter came darting around the bar maid and almost jumped into Mei’s lap. She wasn’t quite sure why he was so excited, but he did make her smile, at least a little. Kair, however wasn’t so pleased to see the annoying fur ball. She looked around for her husband or for Noah but neither were in site. Then she heard the words she was dreading. “Honorable Mage, could you show me the Rymn Inn?” Otosai filled with even more joy and energy at the request. He paused for a brief moment as his mind race through many thoughts, then he responded with a low bow “It would be an honor to escort my lady this very evening.”

    While she only trusted lutrans as far as she could through them, and in particular was easily annoyed by this local otter, Kair knew that this arrangement was now out of her hands. In fact she was rather surprised she had this much concern for the strange foreigner.

    Mei would have never imagined that the lutran had any experience around courts or noble halls, but alas; his manners were proper and his words gracefully chosen.

    “Oh this is going to be so much fun!” The otter was back to his normal self. Quickly he grabbed her things, and with surprising strength he helped her up out of her chair. Before she could reject, he was already bounding towards the door. Then suddenly he stopped and a twisted, confused look contorted his face. He glanced back and forth from his staff to a rather large oak trunk. Pleadingly he looked up at Kair. “Its fine, you can leave it there. Think of it as an exchange for her safety.” She said before he could ask. Back in abnormally high spirits, he grabbed his staff and held the door open, patiently waiting for Mei to follow. For some reason Mei felt sad about leaving the inn. She politely nodded to Kair as she walked by, then just kept telling herself that she would make it back someday.

    The next few hours seemed to melt into the night. Mei was surprised at how alive this city still was. She had imagined a dark and haunted environment by the way Kair was describing the lack of city guards. Sure a few corners and alleys were filled with glaring eyes and the sparkle of metal in the moonlight, but over all it was a pleasant experience. Adult experience, but wonderful none the less

    Otosai was surprisingly knowledgeable with the city and its people. He acted more like a tour guide explaining in depth events, details, and stories he had personally experienced. It was also quite amazing how respected he seemed to be. The very few times they were met with adversity, he only ever spoke a few words and gave out a name. Then the small group of ruffians backed down and let them pass. Each time however the name was different, as if he had deep connections to every group or mob in this district. Mei was certainly glad to have this little otter around during these trials, but still wandered if she would have been able to manage with out him. Regardless, Otosai was becoming quite a mystery.

    The night from then on was magical. There was a particular strip of shops that were lit up as if it was a holiday or festival. Otosai continued to explain that this was simply an every night occurrence and that in particular it was his favorite part of this city. They plastered their faces against each of the store front windows, admiring the craftsmanship of each elaborate and expensive article on display. Eventually they came across a few vendors giving out samples. They tasted incredible meats, questionable concoctions of soups, and decadent cakes. Mei wasn’t the most willing to try many of the pots and the creations with in, but Otosai seemed unwavered by the smells and floating items. Then the street performers began their shows. They witnessed many incredible feats and stunts that stretched the limits of human capabilities. They enjoyed a few songs, one that the little otter couldn’t resist dancing too. As much as he ployed though, Mei wouldn’t join him. Instead she cheered him on with the rest of the crowd. As the song halted though, Otosai caught a whim and began giving his own introduction and deceleration of what amazement was soon to come.

    In a sudden flash, he slammed the tip of his staff into the cobble stone road, and scurried up it like a rope. It was astonishing on its own how he balanced on one foot atop the staff. As if out of thin air, he began tossing up items and juggling them. First it was a rather shiny rock and an apple, then he added a small sack of coins, then lastly he finished with a pocket watch. One by one she watched him tuck them back under his arm. His finale was a black flip from his perch that then exploded in a soft flash and huff of green smoke. He was a Master Mage after all. The crowd cheered in good nature, then the ground began to ring with the sound of a few coins tapping the cobble road. Mei quickly grabbed these up as Otosai bowed and reveled in the attention. Eventually they found a quiet little bench to rest and drink a particular tea that Otosai insisted on getting with the few fin he earned. Mei was reserved of course after watching him devour the soups from before, but this tea was surprisingly pleasant. After a long while, Mei finally broke the silence.

    “Can I ask you something Otosai?”

    “Anything princess.” She still wasn’t sure why he started calling her princess. “Are you always this generous to people you first meet, or is there something else going on?” She hated being so direct, but she had never experienced someone bonding so quickly to a stranger. Otosai contemplated for a moment, then he spoke the simple truth.

    “Well,” he said at last “Your beautiful.” He looked up at her with wide eyes. Mei tilted her head slightly in confusion and disbelief.

    “Oh, no, I….” Otosai started trying to recover. “I don’t mean it like I go out of my way for every beautiful lady……I”, he slowed down a bit. “You remind me of home, that kind of beautiful.” He let out a long sigh and looked to the busy street to hide his blushing cheeks.

    “This city is always….always turned on. Sure its alive and energizing, but after a while it can become too much. Home was peaceful, calming. That’s the beauty you remind me of.” They sat in silence for a while after that. The serenity of the moment was intoxicating. Had he not of spoken, she would have fallen asleep on the bench.

    “Thank you for this evening princess, it’s the first time in a while that any one has spent this much time with me.” Not quite sure why, but on its own her hand reached out and scratched to top of the lutrans head. Otosai was openly receptive and almost slid off the bench in his ecstasy. “Shall we get going?” Mei asked. Otosai nodded and the two of them walked back into the dark streets of the night.

    The second leg of the trip seemed as though it took the entire night. Mei had used the last of her weary travelers body enjoying the night market. Now her knees and feet hurt. Her eye lids seemed to be welded half shut, and she could tell that her sluggish nature was slowing the otter down. He kept trying to ensure her that they were almost there, but at this point she almost would have been fine curling into a ball next to the buildings. Finally, Otosai stopped walking and commented with an energetic voice. “Here we go princess, back at the inn.”


    A surge of desperate confusion snapped her eyes open. She was standing back in front of Kair’s inn, the same inn they had left earlier in the evening. “Otosai”, she could feel the tears of despair start swelling, her voice was shaky as she held back her reaction. “Why are we back here?”

    “Well Miss Mei,” He was starting to get the hint he had done something wrong. “You asked me to show you the Rymnin, so, so I did.” Mei fell to her knees as understanding sunk in. A single tear ran down her cheek as a small rage began festering in her mind. “I……I don’t understand what….” Otosai began stuttering. He felt miserable, but still didn’t know what was going on.

    “Don’t be mad at him.” A familiar voice came from behind them.


    Chapter 6 – Save The Night

    Mei looked to her right just as Noah walked by. She did not know where he had come from, or why he was out and about at such an hour; but she didn’t care. He was a welcomed sight.

    “Otosai,” The little otter looked at him with pleading eyes. He was hopelessly confused, frantically concerned, and desperately wanting to make amends. He, unfortunately, was used to making major mistakes like this, but still hadn’t figured out what to do in order to avoid them. “Do you know where the Inn is located on the eastern province?”

    Kreath was more massive and structured than she could have imagined. The city developer must have been completely overwhelmed with the task of establishing the cities layout. Each district was broken down into provinces, sectors, and then neighborhoods. “Yes!” The little otter almost shouted in response. “The Big Building with all the foreigners wandering around it, of course I know where….” He suddenly realized what was going on. His cheerful expression turned to shame and disappointment.

    “Miss Mei,” He softly spoke, “I am so, so very sorry. I completely misunderstood your request. And now…now…” Little tears began to bead up in his eyes as he choked on his words. “Now I have ruined your entire night, I’ve ruined your entire experience! I can only image what kind of a fool you think I am now.” With that he slowly turned away and began to sink away into night with a sluggish and depressing hobble. Noah placed his hand on the otters head, effectively stopping him in his place.

    “Where do you think you are going Mr. Tour Guide?” He asked with some humor in his voice. “You can’t ruin a lady’s evening and then just disappear; you have to make things right.”

    “But Stone; it’s way too late to make a trip to East Pryv. Everyone and Everything that I know has turned in for the night.”

    “Use that noggin of yours Otosai, think of something.” Noah responded. Mei watched the conversation back and forth wandering if they even remembered that she was still around. “Well, I have a little pad around the corner, I suppose Miss Mei could stay with me?” Otosai suggested with his eye brows raised in over dramatic expression of helplessness. “No Otosai!” Stone sharply responded. “I highly doubt that she wants to sleep on a straw mat on the side of the street.” Did Otosai really live on the streets? Did he not have any shelter? “I’ll put up the roof!” the otter quickly responded, thinking that would convince Noah, or Mei.

    Noah shook his head in frustration. Then calmly he reached out his hand to help Mei up from the ground. “It’s not much, but I do have a small bed in my room that you can use for the night.” Mei could hardly believe the request. Noah didn’t seem like the ‘Womanizing’ type of guy, but this still felt some what awkward. “What about Kair and Lynn? No, I’m sorry but I don’t think that it would be right or proper of me, a strange girl, to stay the night with a strange man.” Mei politely declined after being helped to her feet. “I will find a way to manage for the night.”

    She was a honorable and proud woman; yet also stubborn. “Don’t get the wrong idea Mei.” Noah, however was not so refined and polite. “I won’t be sleeping tonight, so you will have the room to yourself.” He had a comforting smile splashed across his face, but she still couldn’t but feel as though he was simply rearranging his night for her. “I don’t want to intrude.” she calmly replied.”

    “My Lady”, Otosai chimed in, “I wouldn’t decline an offer from Mr. Stone.” There was a tone of concern and fear in his voice. Noah shot a quick glance at the otter with his hands half raised. Was the otter intentionally trying to make him out to be some kind of ruthless, bad guy? Mei certainly didn’t understand these two, but decided to take Otosai’s advice. With a small chuckle she shook her head. “Very well, if the two of you insist, then I suppose I can stay the night here. At least, what is remaining of the night.”

    Otosai lit up with excitement and joy and then grabbed up her things and began pouncing towards the door. “Otosai!” Noah called out to him quickly, “The backdoor, you know the front is locked.” “Oh, of course.” the little otter responded, and then pounced back by them and around the corner. “It really isn’t a problem at all.” Noah spoke to Mei in an effort to help sooth her concerns. “I have some work that I need to do tonight, so the room was going to be empty regardless.” Mei gave him a small smile and then turned to catch up with the otter. Once she disappeared from sight, Noah grasped the crown of his nose between his eyes. “What am I doing?” he thought to himself while gently shaking his head.

    Mei found Otosai at the back of the building with the door propped open, patiently waiting for her to enter. Once she was inside he shut the door and briskly walked by her. She took a glance back at the door, and then back to Otosai with a concerned expression. “Oh, don’t worry about him, he will make his way up.” Otosai picked up on her concern, and then continued to lead her through the kitchen, up the stairs, and then into the room at the end of the hall. When they entered, to her surprise, Noah was already inside getting the place picked up and ready for her.

    While she wasn’t quite sure what to expect, it certainly wasn’t what was staring her in the face. The place, while some what up kept, was a more of a storage room than a bed room. There seemed to be a splash of diverse items scattered from corner to corner. Noah was busy moving armor and weapons off of a neatly made bed that he likely had never touched since moving in to the Inn. Once the bed was cleared, Noah skillfully stripped the top blanket off and gave it a solid “Pop” in the air. The room quickly filled with a thin cloud of dust. Mei covered her mouth and let out a soft cough, while Otosai let out a bolstering sneeze. It was loud enough to echo through the room and cringe both Noah’s and Mei’s ears.

    “Quiet!” Noah popped off; “People are sleeping.”


    Noah continued to tidy up the room until he felt it was suitable for Mei. Once finished, he grabbed Otosai by the scruff of his neck and then walked to the door. Before closing it, he simply said “Sleep well”.

    The room was lit by a single candle on the desk in front of the window. Mei sat on the bed and began looking around. There was a large assortment of random items collected and stashed in random places. It was certainly the room of a bachelor. Splendid armors and shields were casually laid against chests and boxes filled with parchments and books. Several scrolls were rolled and piled on top of each other. Swords, axes, spears … there were weapons of all sort. Mei began wandering how he came to obtain all of these treasures, until her eyes were met with a particularly tattered looking sheath tucked away in the corner. She could hardly see it, but something drew her gaze in its direction. Not really wanting to be invasive, she did her best to ignore it. But the sheath kept creeping back into her mind. Eventually she gave in and decided to take a look. She managed her way around the myriad of items until she was within reach of the sheath. The hilt was wrapped with a brown cloth, and the dark gray leather of the sheath was worn and used. She could only picture it once being a beautiful black leather at better times in its life. She reached out slowly to try and pull it from the corner, but before she could even touch the cloth wrapped hilt, a shock dashed from her finger tips all the way down to her toes. She almost let out a yelp, but did her best to mute the outburst. Deciding that this was the consequence for snooping through Noah’s belongings, she made her way back to the bed. Once under the blanket, it didn’t take her long before sleep swam over her.

    Noah starred up at the night sky whilst laying on his back on a roof top. Otosai sat next to him staring off into the dimly lit city. Time moved slowly and quietly for them, until the otter broke the silence. “So, what sort of work is on the agenda tonight?” he asked as if to suggest the two often collaborated on jobs from time to time. “Nothing.” Noah responded. He continued to gaze at the stars, his eyes darting back and forth as though he were counting them. “But, didn’t you tell the Princess you had work to do?” Noah turned his head to look at Otosai with a look of curiosity. “Princess?” He lightly asked, “what makes you think that she is a princess?”

    “Well,” Otosai stopped to think for a moment. “She just seems like a princess to me.” His answer was simple, similar to his general philosophy on life. “Our job tonight is to make sure nothing happens to your Princess.” Noah responded calmly, then looked back to the stars. More time passed in silence. It was peaceful in the city, a relatively still night. Otosai broke the silence again, the little otter just couldn’t help but always be thinking, always questioning. “Did she hire you? Do you think she will pay? I didn’t really get the impression that she had any money and …”. Noah cut him off short, “No, she didn’t hire us. This one we are doing for free.” This only confused the little otter more, but he decided not to press on about it; at least not out loud.

    The remainder of the night swept passed with out any excitement or action. Otosai eventually curled up into a little ball once the fogs of the eastern forest began creeping into the city. The low laying mist gently spread its reach down the streets and alley ways. Every night it was the same challenge for this stealthy white deity. How far could it venture forward before either the winds of the Rymnin Sea, or the light of the rising sun forces it back into the forest.

    On this night, it was the rising sun that bested the fog. The piercing warm rays began filtering into the city waking up the residence. One by one doors and windows began to open, causing drafts of air to swirl the fog up into the air and dissipate. The city was slowly starting to move. Shop keeps were setting up their stands, fishermen were heading to the piers, and hunters off into the forest. Noah sat up to enjoy the new day, but it wasn’t the beauty of the sun that he was admiring. Instead, he looked across the street at the closed window where the Princess was still asleep.

    As the sun rose higher into the sky, it began casting its warmth into the window where Mei was beginning to wake. It started filling the room and glistening off of the various metal objects scattered about. Her eye lids gently parted just in time to see the reflections dancing along the walls of the small room. It was beautiful, spectacular, and very short lived. As she rolled over to follow the dancing lights onto the ceiling, she felt something heavy, yet soft at her feet. She tried to push this thing away, it only moved back to where it was. Nervously she peeked to the end of the bed to find a furry animal curled up asleep. Her eyes widened as she raced through her memory, trying to sort out what this was and where she was. The night before was hazy. So much happened that she couldn’t fully understand.

    With a soft yawn and a long stretch, Otosai started waking up from his nap. Casually he glanced over to the other side of the bed to see Mei looking about. “Good morning Princess.” He politely called to her. Mei, on the other hand, shrieked out of confusion and disbelief. “What … what are you ….” She looked around some more, “and where…. where am I?” Otosai’s expression turned distraught. “Princess, it’s me. It’s Otosai.” He tried to explain, but Mei just kept pushing her self away and as close to the wall as possible.

    Before Otosai could say anything else, the room’s door opened and revealed a fair looking woman. “OTOSAI!” She sharply called his name, the anger in her tone matched her expression. “How many times do I have to tell you that when the bar is closed, THE BAR IS CLOSED! You can’t just come in and out whenever you want!”.

    “Oh, Kair! Thank goodness it’s you. The princess here doesn’t seem to remember anything at all!” Otosai completely missed the fact that he was being scorned at the moment and dashed over to the bar maid, pulling desperately on her apron. Kair’s concentration on the little deviant broke and she looked over to the bed where Otosai was pointing. “Princess, what are you …” She began responding until she saw Mei backed into the corner of the bed. She was holding the blanket up against her chest to try and hide from her disbelief.

    Kair paused for a moment, the furled her brow in more anger. “NOAH!!” She screamed out, waking any resident of the hotel that wasn’t already up.

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