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Delnair pulled up her mount, the points of her ears twitching. Her eyes darted about trying to pinpoint what had sent the jolt up her spine. Esmeraldas held her breath as she watched Delnair slowly slide from her mount her left hand resting lightly on the pommel of her dagger at her waist.

An unusual calm filled the air. There wasn’t the normal sounds of the forest. Delnair sniffed but the water obscured any scent.

“Someone lives near by,” whispered Delnair to her mount as she eased toward the bank.

Esmeraldas stared wide eyed as Delnair approached her heart pounding. Her mind screamed at her to flee. Her feet stayed firmly planted her knee’s digging into the soft ground of her hut’s floor.

Delnair paused and squinted across the stream. Suddenly she leaped atop her moount ans spurred him forward into the water. Esmeraldas let out a gasp and turned to her feet getting tangled in her chain.

The splash’s of Delnair’s mount grew closer. As her mount Delnair noticed the hidden path that led from what appeared to be a hut set back away from view.

Esmeraldas frantically looked about her small hut desperate to hide. “Frak!” cursed Esmeraldas as the sound of the mount grew closer the brush around the hut rustling.

Delnair looked about the hut her eyes narrowing. No one had come forward yet the hut had the look of recent habitation.

“What weirding is this,” murmured Delnair. Her hand momentairly went to the pommel of her dagger her palm cupping it before reaching ound and unhooking her short sword. The edge of the steel twinkled in the daylight as Delnair eased forward towards the huts entrance.

Esmeraldas gathered he chain her hand ready to use the heavy links as a weapon to defend herself from whoever was out there.

Delnair slowy turned the cornoer shading her eyes. Esmeralds leaped forward swinging the length of chain in her hands. Delnair let out a yelp of surprise as she sidestepped the attack bringing her short sword up to strike. Only to slowy lower her blade.

“What evil is this?” Delnair’s eyes traveled over the chain connected to Esmeraldas ankle.

“Leave!” hissed Esmeraldas. “You risk us both!”

“Frak that, no woman should be a slave.” Delnair spat out as she kneeled in front of Esmerldas to examine her ankle.

Esmeraldas jerked her foot away and scurried to the other side of the hut. Delnair stared at her mouth open.

“Why did you do that?”

“You need to leave. He might come back at any time.” Delnair cocked her head.

“I fear no man.”

“I fear this one.” Esmeraldas looked at Delnair her eyes wide with fear and pleading. “Please, for both our sakes, you must go!”

“What kind of man is this to inspire such fear?”

“He burned my mother,” whispered Esmeraldas as she turned her head to hide her tears.

Delnair stepped forward and sank to her knee’s. She reached out her long fingersand took Esmeraldas chin in her grasp. Gently she turned Esmeraldas chin and looked into Esmeraldas tear filled eyes.

“I’m getting oyu out of here I promise.”

Esmeralda gaped at Delnair her mouth opening and closing several times before she spoke.

“You mean that?” Esmeraldas whispered.

“If I work fast, we will be gone before anyone comes by.” Delnair smiled warmly. “Give me a moment to examine your shackle.”

Esmeraldas held out her foot and Delnair gripped it in her hands. “This shouldn’t take me long hold on.”

Delnair released Esmeraldas foot and rose turning on her heel and striding from the hut. Esmeralds listened as Delnair rummaged through her packs until she found what she was looking for.

“Just hang in there, ths will only be a moment,” Said Delanir as she once more grasped Esmeraldas foot and prodiced a slim piece of metal which she inserted into the shackles lock.

As Delnair worked at the lock Esmeraldas kept her eyes and ears open for the sheriff or any of the nosy villagers who would some times pass by to torment her.

“Almost there,” Delnair said softly as she manipulated the piece of metal.

Esmeraldss found herself smiling and looked down at Delnair. Really looking at her for the first time. Esmeraldas noticed how the points of Delnair’s earswere sharper than her own, almost like tiny mountain peaks poking through her hair.

Delnair let out a sound of triumph and Esmeraldas looked down and gasped in amazement as the shackle fell from her ankle onto the dust of the huts floor.

Tears once more filled Esmeraldas eyes as she stood on trumbling legs. SHe threw her arms around Delnair burying her face in Delnair’s hair.

“You have no idea how I dreamed of this day,” she said softly her words muffled.

Delnair grinned and returned Esmeraldas embrace. “We need to go, before anyone shows up.”

“It’s a litle too late for that,” rumbled a deep voice.

Esmeraldas gasped and pulled away from Delnair. Delnair whirled about to see Jandar standing at the entrance to the hut his massive frame filling it.

“I’m taking her with me,” Delnair said emotionlessly.

“She’s the daughter of a witch, she is chained here for her own good,” Jandar replied as he stepped forward.

Delnair smiles a bit, Jandar moved with an unsteady gait and his eyes showed signs of recent drink.

“It seems she is chaines so that even a drunken bastard such as yourself can sweatily flop about on top of her, limp flesh flopping between his legs useless.”

“You fracking bi tch!” howled Jandar as he drew his short sword and angrily thrust ar Delnair.

“Such forwardness,” smiled Delnair as she easily paried the thrust and drew her dagger driving forward her short sword kncking away Jandar’s, her dagger thrusting forward the piercing the leather of Jandar’s breeches cold steel pressing up against the tender flesh of his groin.

“I’m taking her far from this evil,” hissed Delnair.

“You won’t get far,” gasped Jandar his eyes bulging with fear.

“Farther than you.” Delnair thrust her dagger and shoved Jandar away from her. Jandar let out a high pitched scream of pain both hands clutching at his groin trying to staunch the massive flow of blood.

Delnair ignored Jandar’s flailing and pleas for help turned and held out a hand to Esmeraldas.

“It’s time to go,” she said simply.

To Be Continued........
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