Joy stacked her finished paperwork neatly on one cornder of the shadow stone desk in her study and started to get up from the wooden chair when the sound of footsteps reached her ears. She glanced at the grey stone stairway leading down from the upper level to see one of her guards descending towards her. "Forgive the interruption, tariamin," he said apologetically. "Scouts returned from Ilshenar just now." "Have they?" she asked. A flicker of hope found its way into her heart as she rose from the chair. "Send them in, please." "Of course, my lady," he replied with a quick bow. He then turned and left her sight, only to return a few moments later with three elven rangers at his side. "Welcome back," Joy greeted, "Would you care for something to drink?" "Diola lle, my queen," one of them responded for the trio, "but we just came here from the tavern." Joy nodded and got to the point, "Did you find any signs of Sheridan?" "I'm afraid not, tariamin," the tallest of the rangers replied. "We searched all over Ilshenar, but did not hear or see anything promising." Joy sighed and said, "Thank you for going regardless." "You will be compensated fully for your time and travel," she added. "Of course," he replied. "The three of you may return to your homes," she told them and watched as the guard led the three elves up the stairs. She glanced at the engagement ring on her finger and gently caressed the delicated, yet strong, silver band with her opposite hand. Joy worried about the wayward paladin, and while travelling was expected of Sheridan's nature, it was unsettling that he completely vanished merely weeks before the two were to wed, and had not been seen or heard from in months. She had searched for him herself, as well as sent out multiple search parties throughout the lands, but all of her efforts to find the elf she loved were turning up nothing. Joy finally began to make her way up the stairs and to the balcony at the front of the keep. As she looked out upon the lush green forest of Eldador, the tears she had fought for several weeks began to flow freely down her fair face. She felt something cold and wet nuzzle her hand, and looked over to see Rain staring at her, obviously worried at the feeling eminating from his elven companion. Joy hugged the great blue wolf, pressing her tear-stained face into the velvety soft fur of his shoulder. "I hope he comes back soon, Rain," she said, "Or at least sends word that he is even still alive." The elven maiden paled even more at the idea of her husband-to-be lying somewhere as a cold, lifeless corpse, mounted Rain in a flurry of motion, and recalled away from Eldador with haste as new tears threatened to spill from her emerald green eyes.