Sitting on the balcony overlooking the waters Aedon strained his eyes to look into the distance. He thought that if he could concentrate, he might be able to see past the long mines and catch a glimpse of a more peaceful land, and his home. It seemed as though he had not spent more than a week in his own bed since He and Janissan moved their family from the Yew woods. He had made many promises to his wife, most of which he had thus far failed to keep. She asked little of him; a safe place far from the Yew woods to raise their child. But there was always something that tugged at his mind, and drew him far from home, and back to Aegis. In the past, she had understood his sense of duty to the folks of the small village tucked deep within a forest of ancient pine and yew trees. She herself had long been a warrior, and understood that promises made, that offers to protect those under your leadership often disrupted life and love. But with the coming of their child a change came over Jan, and though still more than capable of bashing the toughest brigand upside the head, her duty, and her vow to protect now rested in the eyes of their daughter. Sitting back in his chair, Aedon picked up a cup of hot tea from the table. As he drank deeply from the cup his thoughts turned to what had happened in the Knights Rest and events he had heard transpired in Skara. How many innocent lives, he wondered did D’Amavir and Tailimont take in their attempt to exact retribution for the defeat they had suffered the night before? In Skara, a chest packed with the remains of some of the Rangers who kept watch in Spiritwood. In the Rest, patrons slaughtered as they enjoyed what they hoped would be a quiet drink or supper with friends. He knew he should have run out the door when he saw them standing there. But his mind was numb, his legs frozen by the barbarity of the scene. There was no sense of regret in their voices as they proclaimed this to be a sign to those who dared to stand against them. As he listened to them, Aedon felt the cold steel of the door against his back. It would have been easily understood if he had flung the door aside, and escaped by the path he had already planned out. But he was unable to tear himself from the visage of those who lay butchered across the tables and strewn about on the floors. As he slowly came to his senses, he felt the handle of the door behind him, and grasp it. At that moment his head reeled from a blow which sent him forcefully to the side. Before he could recover from this he was struck a second time, and slumped to the ground. They then sat down at the tables and continued to drain the ale from the bottles on the tables. As he lay between wakefulness and an unconscious state, Aedon thought he heard Mikael saying; “Take this as a warning to you, Gillian and Those Rangers. There will be payback for what was done. And tell Gillian we left a present for her. “ He watched as they left through the door, and then with great effort, pulled himself into a chair at the table. He vaguely remembered two other people coming into the Rest and trying to help. Setting the cup back on the table Aedon again turned to look out across the waters. He knew now that there would be little in the way of peace in the Glade for some time to come. He realized that the Rangers of Spiritwood, Skara along with Gillian and Thom any in truth any of the good people that enjoyed the quiet line in the woods would suffer and be put to task defending their homes and selves. The monks would be the first to feel their controlling hand as they sought to gain a strangle hold on the Abbey. And in no place, from Yew to Britian-Skara to Moonglow would their presence not be felt. Taking up the tablet he kept close at hand, Aedon turned his gaze from the water, and began to write; My Darling Jan, I know I had made promises, and at the time I had fully planned to keep them. But recent events have brought forth an old foe, and I find that I will not be able to return home this week as I had planned. I know I have not been the sort of husband you deserve and a very absent father to Kylee. But in all truth, you knew well the way I am before the wedding. I do not use this as an excuse for my constant breaking of promises. Nothing can excuse the seeming lack of concern I have shown for my own family, while constantly running back to Aegis to aid the families of other men. If all goes well, we should be able to clear up this matter freeing me to return home by Yule. But you and I both know that dire situations rarely are set to right so quickly. If things go ill here, and I am unable to return home again, know that you and Kylee have always been on my mind and in my heart. I wish I could have done better by you both. I wish we could have spent countless nights before a fire wrapped in each other’s arms. But my fate it seems is to always be set apart from that which means the most to me. Tell Kylee daddy loves her, and that one day, in some land or another we will at long last abide together. The night winds are turning cold now, and the pale light of the moon drifts across the balcony, her soft light illuminating the picture of you I keep always at my side. I have loved you since first I saw you as you rose in defense of your brother Vendyrr at his trial. And no distance, no separation, any Hand of terror shall ever diminish the clarity of your beauty and grace forever etched in my mind and heart. Always and Forever Aedon Finishing the letter home, Aedon folded it carefully and slipped it into a small tube. Standing, he walked to the railing and gave a whistle. He watched as the large swallow-tailed kite flew in and perched itself upon the banister. Tying the canister to a collar around the bird’s neck, Aedon looked into it's eyes and said: “Nemira, take this to Janissan, and be a swift as the winds allow.” The bird immediately launched itself skyward, and was quickly far beyond sight out over the waters.