"You're going to have to keep up if you're going to keep hunting with me." Arrc said to his younger sister. The girl struggled to keep her breathe as she clumsily ran to catch up.
"It's not fair. My legs are shorter. You have to slow down." Meka argued between gasps.
Arrc stopped dead in his tracks and looked back at his little sister, "Then you'll just have to move them twice as fast." and began running once more.
The only encouragement for Meka was the growing sound of the city streets that lay ahead. Their house rested just outside of the walls of the Travinipol Kingdom and the mere thought of being home safe with her mother for the night was enough to keep her staggering onward. It was a small house that the three of them shared, but it was enough to keep them safe from the world. It was home.
Arrc turned to yell over his shoulder, "Better fun faster! I think I see one of the Sentac behind you!" he continued running as he laughed.
"That's not funny! Don't say that!" Meka cried
It was only a few minutes later that the two siblings slowed their stride and stopped in fron of their house. They could smell food cooking inside which made their stomachs growl.
"We didn't catch anything today so we'll have to try extra hard tomorrow." said Arrc.
"You...you wouldn't leave me behind if a Sentac really was after me, would you?" Meka asked. Her voice trembled as she was on the verge of tears.
Arrc stepped forward and kneeled down, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close, "Of course not. Don't even think that." he said, looking into her eyes.
"But what if they caught me?"
"That won't ever happen!"
"But what if it does?"
Arrc smiled. He knew she needed to hear some reassurance, "Then I would go all the way to Sebok-Tur and into the Queen's tower and rescue you."
Arrc knew that would never happen, but truth be told, he had never really considered the danger after all. The Sentac were a strong female race that lived as servants to Queen Nixraxis. They wore elagant, yet quite revealing armor, and were said to be immortal. They were known to be extremely skilled in battle, but everyone knew that their real power came from the Queen. Merely tools of a greater evil. Nixraxis herself was quite a mystery though. She had walked these lands long ago before the kingdoms had risen, but had not been seen for some time. Her lands in the south were a dismal sort. Mostly made up of swamps and desert land and a single mountain peak that lay just beyond the tower.
"C'mon. Let's go inside now. Try not to let Mother see your tears."
Meka used her sleeve to wipe her face and took Arrc's hand. She stopped before entering the house.
"Do you think you could go hunting with Triv and those guys tomorrow? It's not that I'm scared, but I'd like to stay with Mother for the day. Ya' know, to help her out?" she asked.
Arrc had to fight back his laughter, "Sure. That'd be fine with me. Enjoy being a kid while you can." he smiled back at her as they went inside.
"Oh thank the Gods you're home!" the middle-aged lady yelled, "This was not a day to be wandering about the wilderness by yourselves!"
"But we always go out hunting, Mother. What's so bad about today?" Arrc replied.
"There have been attacks! Jace's wife was taken from him in broad daylight!"
Jace and Fimir Thinrol had been good friends for as long as Arrc could remember. They had a daughter his age, but she had died of a terrible illness when he was very small. Mother had always told him never to mention anything about it when they were in the company of the Thinrol's.
"What do you mean taken?" Arrc asked as he placed a hand on his mother's shoulder.
The woman was frantic as she fidgeted with her apron, twisting it in her hands. Arrc recognized this as one of her nervous habits. He had joked that one day she would twist it so much it would catch fire.
"It was one of the Vile's that done it. A woman they said!"
Arrc was instantly taken back by the claim, "But what would the Vile's be doing this close to Travinipol? Are they certain it wasn't just some thief?"
The Vile's were a large group of bandits that lived just inside the border of Sebok-Tur. They consisted mostly of pirates, thieves and murderers, but some had been schooled in forms of alteration magic. They chose to camp on the border because it was a safe-haven for them. The Travinipol government had no problem killing them on sight and they knew better than to cause trouble anywhere near the Queen's tower. In truth, they had become trapped and had lived so for decades.
"They knew it was a Vile because of how she took Fimir."
"What do you mean?" Arrc asked in confusion, "How did she take her?"
"She used magic! She shrunk her!" the distraught woman began to cry, unable to hold back her fears any longer.
Arrc reached out and hugged her, holding her tight. He looked over to his sister, but she remained quiet. Her eyes were as big as the moon. Maybe it's dangerous after all.