The Beginning of the End A UTB Tale By Volrina Quarra It’s been so long but the landmarks are still there. The stables however are quiet only housing a few horses; no sign of the beasts that were the companions of my friends. I roam the streets in the wee hours of the night hoping for some sign that I’m not too late. Even the inn in Skara Brae is quiet the table in the back that Elyas once called an office collects dust. I flip a gold coin to the unfamiliar inn keeper “The tamers that used to call this village home; any left” I ask “Tamer’s; you mean those ones what called themselves United Tamers of Britannia?” he says the words as if they left a nasty taste in his mouth “Yes the ones whom I call friends” My arched brow and inflection of voice let him know he may be treading on thin water if not careful “You have no friends here anymore.” He flips the coin back to me and tilts his head towards the door Sure I could break his head or have my mare rip his place down but I choose my fights and this one would reap no reward. My mare is more than happy for my company in the stall next to him and the hay makes a fine bed. As I drift into sleep the nightmares that have become my memory of the past return to me; Emma’s exile; Trinity’s journey to hermitage; the guild crumbling around me and Nexus’s takeover. I stood numbly watching in shock that we could come to this; that the vow’s we took of honor were so fragile when I thought they were steel. My anger at not foreseeing any of this hardened my heart. The talk of new beginnings; the symbolic meetings with the leaders of Pax a community that was dieing even quicker than the guild I had so loved. I opened the stalls to the stables and released all of my pets save my mare. “Whose back there; now come out I don’t want to have to send a dragon in to get you but I will if I have to” a familiar voice wakes me from my slumber “Well if you plan on sending that Dragon back here to get me Jo’De’Nere be ready for it to be tamed and turned back on you. Old friend” I step from the shadows of the barn out into the light “It can’t be; Volrina is that you under the hood of that cloak?” Jo has to squat down to peer at my face “I’m sorry I can’t reveal my entire face to you but in this sunlight my half vamp skin is most sensitive.” I had kept no secrets from my old friends they all knew that my mother was bitten by vampire while I still grew in her womb. “It is you by all the Gods in the sky; Volrina I’ve missed you.” Jo gave me a quick hug and then straitened my cloak out. “Where is everyone Jo” I ask “There is no everyone Vol; there is a handful and they mostly just come by to check and see if the others have returned. After Trinity and you left the others just drifted apart; the meetings and diplomatic talk did nothing but push the others away. Ryo, Loveless, and many of the others followed Emma.” Jo shrugged at my shocked gasp “Emma returned from exile then, Nexus has brought her home?” Some hope wells up inside me “Yes he let her come home but she left again and more than half of what was left us went with her. I was thinking on following myself to be honest Volrina. Nexus has also went into hermitage no ones seen hide or hair of him in near a month.” Jo says dashing my hopes away “Give me some time Jo let me find Nexus and talk to him. A few weeks to see if there is any hope and let the others know we are only as strong as our resolve. There are young ones out there and others that are curious of our chosen way of life and perhaps its time we lift the veil of secrecy.” I call my mare from the stables and leap upon its back “No one saw Nexus leave Vol; where will you start looking?” Jo asked “Where it all began my friend” I wave good bye and turn my mare toward the woods The lines from a poem I had heard in my youth becomes vividly clear in my mind “These woods are lovely dark and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep.” FORWARD: Although this is a fictional tale there is much truth in it. The United Tamers of Britannia on the Chesapeake shard has dwindled down to but a few members. In the near future if I can not contact the current guild leader Nexus Point I will be holding a recruiting event. There are at least 4 previous guild leaders of UTB that visit these shards your input would be greatly appreciated.