"Here... hold my hand."

She looked down at the small hand offered to her. A misty film laced the area and slightly blurred the edges of the hand against the black soil of the forest. A tree root jutted up from the ground below where the hand hovered to take hers.

"I'll help you over."

Her feet were rooted to the spot. A sense of dread clouding her better judgement. What was it that her mother had always told her? When she was lost to stay there and someone would find her. If she moved then her mother would not find her. All she had wanted to do was get her hat. The hat that daddy had brought back from America. He would be sore if she lost it.

Her brand new outfit was torn from jagged thorns which twisted out from branches below her knees. Mud caked her shoes, stockings, and her palms. She should have stayed back, back where she had first awoken but the stranger seemed so worried about her safety. A single muddy tear streamed its way down her check. Finally she had built up enough courage to speak to him.

"Im tired."

The boy stared at her in shock. Having said nothing and only indicating she understood by simple shakes of her head those two words rocked the boy backwards.



*** ".....drink this."

"Where did you find her?"

"I didn't find her. She found me. Tama must have..."

Umi's eyes flew open. She winced at first as black shadows began to transmorph themselves into human forms. When her eyes finally adjusted to the candle light in the small room two people sat by the bedside. Bedside? The last thing she could remember was falling from the sky. If she was dead the place sure didn't look like something she had imagined as an after life. In fact it seemed like a small village house from..... Cephiro.

"Oh god," she mumbled and closed her eyes once more. So it wasn't a dream. 'Hold up. Yes, you did have a dream. What was it though? Who was that boy?'

"You've been saying that for awhile my dear."

A young man scawled towards the old woman by his side. Obviously the woman seemed to take humor in their dire situation. Aggitated he shuffled his feet trying to give off the impression he no longer needed the services of the local healer. Finally with the old woman paying him no heed he gently nudged her shoulder with an intense gaze at the door.

"Crone, could you excuse us? I need to talk to this.... girl who fall from the sky."

Umi could have sworn that the youth had said something about Tama. A foggy memory Tama was. Tama, an earthquake and then suddenly falling down towards the land of Cephiro- it was almost to much. Her hands gathered under her supporting her up making eye contact with the boy.

Boy wasn't the word for it. More like young man. No, incorrect also. Much like Clef this boy's eyes belied his outer age. They held an ancient truth deep within the depths that she could not begin to fathom. His long snow white hair was pulled back at the nap of his neck into a straight ponytail, though a few shorter hairs hung around his eyes giving the impression he had once had a forehead full of bangs. His uneven bangs threated to hide his violet eyes from the sun light streaming in from a nearby window. A haunted expression masked his face, void to all thoughts. Those two cryptic eyes misting and swirling like smoke in the confines around his pupil. Changing hue...tone as new thoughts emerged into his mind. But how did she know that? She figured it was his inner workings that reflected in 'the mirrors of the soul'. A tight clasping upper ear earring adorned his left ear. Silver metal with a dark purple jewel clasps firmly to his ear. Other than his wrist guards and boot trimings he appeared to be wearing no other armor. He wasn't not musculer in the bukly sense but nicely built. A pendent of black opal adorns his neck laced in silver.

Her eyes traveled lower taking in the length of his arm. The way he held himself. Silver wrist bands with smaller matching opal gems clasped tightly to his wrists. For a moment Umi paused on those bands. They had used something like those bands in some land. If she had paid attention to her history lesson she might have figured out that on Earth before the middle ages they were considered slave bonds, however, they probably served as armor against magic in the world of Cephiro. An overcoat of flowing white robe partially hides baggy silk black pants and an ebony high necked vested top which buttons from shoulder to his throat. The collar ,to the top, folds over the outer white coat which is trimmed in silver. As usual matching his outfit. She knew she was staring at this point by the way the boy, no, young man clasped his hands together fidgeting. However, his appearance was abnormal. Not abnormal for a Cephirean court but for peasentry. He had to be some type of dignatary.

She wetted her lips but continued her gaze downward towards his feet. His black pants tucked into calf high black leather boots tipped on the brim with silver metal and white/black opals. She cleared her throat, not wanting to speak untill she knew who it was who stood before her. She couldn't gap all day at the man.

"Did you say Tama?" Umi inquired in barely a whisper. Her voice cracked up the silence, breaking the ice.

Gentle searching eyes focused on her lips. His own begining to form a replie. "Yes I did. Did he send you? Please, I need to know."

Foe? Or friend? Umi glanced quickly beside her. A door to the left and a wall to her right. If she need to escape it would be just a few feet to the door. What was she thinking? Escape? She hadnt even established grounds with the boy but she was aslready thinking of escape routes. How tipical of her to do so.

"Im sorry you must be tired." His eyes smiling at her even when his mouth remained level.

"Tama sent me." Umi felt like she was trapped in some gangster movie at the moment. 'Yeah.. big freddie sent me.' Now all she need was oozie. Wasn't that a picture? Her check's flushed at her smile. Faced with death then strangers she couldn't help but laugh at her own mental words.


"Nothing nothing. Tama sent me here. My name is Umi."

"Ragyn. Its nice to meet you. About Tama...."


Ferio brushed hair out of his eyes and glanced over at Fuu sitting on the ground pausing to smell the local flowers. The eternal breeze that kissed her sun golden hair floated across her skirt ruffling it up. Her warm breath fogged up the wire framed glass perched upon her nose while a hand drifted to smooth down the surface. Her redden cheeks asking quietly if he had seen anything a man should not see. Slowly he raised his chin to level their gazes together. Wide yellow eyes taking in her squinting green eyes.

"Fuu.." Like the wind her name whispered the distance to her, an invisible passenger of some invisible air current. No trouble presented itself to Cephiro since Hikaru had made her wish as the pillar. But that fact did not stop the Knights from appearing. Clef assumed it had to do with the hearts of the Knights, that they wanted to be in Cephiro and he truely hoped that that was the only reason but there was something darker around the edges of Clef's voice. Something he wasn't letting onto. Ferio brandished a wide smile blocking his fears from showing. It woldn't be good to make Fuu worry so much. In the last battle... he could tell the effects of it from her lithe form.

'Damn it' he thought. Why would Clef hide something from him, the Prince? Was he even a Prince any more with Cephiro's Pillar system the way it was. Shaking his head he leaned down shifting his weight on his right leg then lowered down to his left, sitting near Fuu. He barely towered above her but enough to block the sun out of her eyes.

"Ferio..." She answered his call on the wind.

"Hhhn?" He blinked adjusting the frame of his mind. It wasn't good getting distracted by worries. Hadn't he escaped them once by forgetting them?

"Do you think Clef will find Umi?"

A glove hand scratched his head then slowly captured her hand in his. "Fuu. Please dont trouble yourself. I know he'll find her. If not we will start a search for her early in the morning."

******** Ascot stretched and shifted uncomfortably. Clef had been searching with his viewer most of the day and Ascot was growing tired of it. If Clef couldn't find her this way then he would have to search on her on his own. Using one of his friends he could easily travel over exstensive ground. Clef never heard Ascot leave the room.

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