After a long night, shared with true love and passion, Devon and Syrana are waken by the first rays of the morning light. They gather their stuff and fetch the provisional sleeping place quickly, since their journey has just begun...
Devon: (loads some stuff on his horse.) Alright... I am done so far. What about you? (turns to Syrana.)
Syrana: (finishes attaching luggage to mount's back and jumps on sit.) I can go.
Devon: (wanted to help her to get on her ride, but he turns as she already sits. He jumps swiftly on his own horse and walks at the side of Syrana. They ride a while through the woods, which are getting much deeper every minute. A clear passage or road is no longer recognizable.) Hmmmmmm... I hope, you know where to lead us. (smiles.) That was a joke, of course... but anyone else would surely get lost in this forest.
Syrana: True enough... but how you are so certain about my knowledge of this woods?
Devon: Well... (scratches his head.) I just assume, you know where to lead us. (grins.) After all, you've been here before, right? Or are you following your cute nose? (snickers.)
Syrana: for now, I know the way...but when pass through this land we will be on our own... and we still need to go deeper in those woods through Fieras territory...I have a business to do there.
Devon: Hmm... okay, I believe you know what you are doing. (stays silent for some time. The sun rises more Then he sighs and begins to talk slowly. He does not seem to fear his question, he just does not know how to put it into proper words.) Syrana... about the last night...
Syrana: Yes? (turns her head at him from the road.)
Devon: (scratches his chin.) Well... ehm... I hope, you don't regret anything... or have the feeling that we did something wrong. I mean, I don't feel wrong... just... maybe, it was too fast for you.
Syrana: (smirks.) If I said that I regret it would be another lie on my tongue...
Devon: (smiles warmly.) Well, you said it very good... I was only worried, that all is happening too quickly. I mean, though we know each other for quite some time now... and though we have deep feelings for each other... I would not want to push you.
Syrana: Push me to what? (grins.) You think it is easy to keep yourself away from passions for all your life...?
Devon: I never saw it from this perspective. You mean, you sorta encaged your feelings?
Syrana: I have to... my position does not allow me to have any...
Devon: Relationships? Intimate moments...?
Syrana: Yes... I am not suppose to hide them... as a princess at least.
Devon: (curious.) Hmmm... as princess... why do you point this out so obviously? Do you have any other... "assignment", despite being a princess?
Syrana: (smirks.) Crows really know how to recognize their own kind...
Devon: (still confused.) Well, I mean... (he does not find proper words.) Okay, let's not talk about this now. (smiles and watches the small passage again, which appeared before them.) I can see... this might be the right way. So far, we are doing well!
Syrana: You will see all in proper time... and what I mean is that same persons always will find each other
Devon: (throws head to her again.) Hmm... yes. Otherwise, we would not share the same feelings. I mean... well, never mind. I just hope, this night was not an experience for one single time...
Syrana: Shaping iron until it's hot huh? I don't mind, but Sneferu will, and you know why...
Devon: Well, I am sure... we won't get many chances to live our feelings in the palace. Guess, we are both encaged there... at least about showing our affection.
Syrana: As for you get a way much freedom then I, you are not bounded to tradition...
Devon: Well, but as a stranger I cannot do everything I want, either. Since I don't wanna be a bad guest.
Devon: (after some time, he is riding next to Syrana and does not say a word. He is already through with looking around and enjoying the woods, since the forest is turning darker and deeper hour by hour. There are no more animals to see, and the sun is barely reaching the muddy ground. Finally, Devon speaks out.) Well, Syrana... one thought passed my mind lately.
Syrana: only one? i thought that you think intensively from few hours
Devon: (finally smiles again.) You know, how to lift a mood which is close to despair. (throws her a kiss.)
Syrana: You are close to despair?
Devon: (shakes head.) Hehe... not really. I mean, this forest can give you some desperation, but... that is not what I mean.
Syrana: And what about?
Devon: (sighs.) Well, I had the troublesome thought... (moves in his saddle from left to right.) What would happen, if we'd face enemy contact here? I mean... we are not quite an army! What if we'd find ourselves inside many enemies? Or are they not walking around in these places, which we are trying to find?
Syrana: Right now we are not yet on unknown areas, and actually not many thieves lurk in this forest, to be precisely... none. They die quicker than they manage to set up an ambush and besides there are not many travellers here
Devon: (breathes.) Well, if this is supposed to make me feel better, it worked. For now. (smiles.) Anyway, we both know how to protect ourselves... (blinks with an eye to her.) My sword and your feet. (laughs.)
Syrana: (laughs as well.) Yes, those who watch at us know it as well
Devon: You mean the gods, hm? (points up to the sky.) Sure. Yes... we are a good team. I surely hope, that... (coughs.) That even the last night won't be the last of all time. But okay, this is another point.
Syrana: Gods?... no...not at all.
Devon: Never mind! (laughs and touches his butt.) Hmmmm... I barely feel that leech wound anymore. Thanks to your cure! I hope, we are soon through this green hell... okay, I will get used to it. But Sneferu surely knew what he asked of me... this is not an and easy mission. And we are not even close to our goal!
Syrana: Indeed and to be precisely, we are not even heading exactly in it's direction...
Devon: (screams almost.) NO? But where... why... why we are torturing us with his hell? Where is our right and correct direction, anyway??
Syrana: (shows with finger somewhere on the right.) Somewhere over there, first we are going to take care of some small business
Devon: (sighs out.) Hmmmmmm... alright. I guess, I will have to get used to "unexpected round routes and small business", when I want to get along with you. (laughs.) Okay, this is a "sacrifice" I am willing to take!
Syrana: Be careful with your promises.
Devon: (gets close to her and takes her hand. He kisses her hand top.) I shall take care, my queen. (smiles.) Alright, then let's travel on.
For a few more hours, the Reptilian couple rides deeper into the dark forest. Devon has spoken less in that time, and everything seems to get dark and cold.
Devon: (wraps a blanket around his shoulders.) Hrrrrrrr… it is frenzy. And I guess, it is already getting night again. (sighs.) Will be soon reach the place of your “business”?
Syrana: No... we can get off from mounts at this point.
Devon: Finally! (jumps from his ride and suddenly steps into something disgusting and not recognizable mud.) Eeew... (blinks at Syrana.) No funny spoke now!
Syrana: I have no words for that. (giggles and gets off the horse, then takes out a scarf from her luggage.)
Devon: (smiles.) Well, good for ya my dear. Hrrrrrrrrrrrr!! (stretches his muscles from arms and legs.) Oooouch... that is better. In fact... my butt feels either like pudding or a piece of cold stone. (grabs his rewind.) Hmmm... stone would be more like it. Without blood!
Syrana: What happened?
Devon: I dunno... (rubs his buttocks.) Happens to me after long riding in cold nights. Garrrr, I should've taken a furry saddle with me! (laughs.) Okay, don't say anything. I know, I am complaining like old root! (gets closer to Syrana and strokes over her soft scarf and softens her chin with his snout.) Hmmmm... (kisses and licks along her muzzle.) That is what I hate about separated riding most... it is hard to smell or kiss your skin from a few meters behind. And it is already getting warmer inside me...
Syrana: (smirks and kisses him back, and from all sudden, she puts the scarf on his eyes.) I am sorry for this, but you must not see the road from this point! (nuzzles his nose.)
Devon: (smiles underneath the scarf.) Awww... you got a surprise? I am not a small lad anymore... (grins.) Alright, I understand. (does not move, until Syrana is finished with this "bonding". Then, he takes her hands and places them on his butt.) Hehehehe... okay, you can lead me now wherever you like! (laughs and shivers.)
Syrana: (pinches his buttocks slightly.) Sure. (moves slightly away and takes his hand and hands him horse leash.) Keep it, I will lead a horse and he will lead you, don't worry when passage becomes uncomfortable, I guide you myself.
Devon: Alright, I trust you... I have no other choice anyway! Naaah, was a joke. (holds the leash tight.) Okay, lead the way.
(As they go on, Devon feels weird by not seeing anything. At one moment, the horse drags him slightly and he has to go. He can only hear what is going on around. He smells and feels grassy and wet ground under his feet.)
Syrana: (after some longer time, Devon hears a waterfall and Syrana stops the horses.) The mounts can't go further. (she grabs Devon’s hand.) We can leave them here, nothing will happen to them. Come on!
Devon: (as they go on, Devon can also feel more warm and dry grass underneath his paws. It seems, that they have passed the forest so far and are finally reaching more cultured places. They seem to pass the waterfall, as well. Devon resists the urge to ask Syrana for a quick bath, since after some days on a saddle, he’d love to take a refreshing swim. Later, he can hear some voices; talking in a foreign language, though. The smell of meat and bread lies in the air.) Hmmmm… I guess, we’re reaching a village of some sort? Is that our destination?
Syrana: You will see... (leads him a little more, as he suddenly feels rocks under his feet and slight echo of footsteps. After a short while, she takes off his scarf and in front of his eyes, he can see a small community; a village totally carved under the cliffs and walled with rocks from one side and with the forest from the other.)
Devon: Wow… (speechless.) I must admit, this is not as spectacular as the palace of Meru but… it is a very well protected and hidden place! Well… (smiles.) If I’d be a thief of some sort, I could think of no better place to hide. (looks around the people.) I hope, they’re not offended…
Syrana: Absolutely not, because at some point you are right! (villagers don’t look like farmer's, but warriors. The younger and older Reptilians are performing weird techniques, which Devon saw earlier in Syrana’s training room. Many of the people are tattooed or painted. Some of those who trained others, want to stop their doings, when they recognize Syrana, but she’s just lifting her hand. So they just make slight bows and return to their duties.)
Devon: (looks around.) Wow, what another interesting. You never seize to amaze me! This place here... hmmm... indeed, this looks somehow foreign and familiar at the same time. It is like you have trained all of them. (grins and looks at Syrana.) Did you?
Syrana: No... was I raised here. (leads him into biggest carved house and a Reptilian with covered face greets her there and kneels, before hitting with the forehead into ground.) Ah, Lune... (makes a slight head bow at him and he stands up.)
Devon: (does not know better, and just bows at Syrana's side towards the others. He tried to look very polite and nice; though showing his white teeth is not always understood as a greeting - more as a threat. So, he closes his mouth again, not to look stupid or menacing, after all.) So... Syrana, I thought you were raised in the palace?
Syrana: Yes, I was. We are all like a family here, with strict hierarchy. (takes a thin red band from which Lune gives to her and she puts it on her head.) Welcome to the home of Fieras...
Devon: Eeeeew... again this "Fieras". You finally want to show me this guy? I'm anxious to meet him. You were talking about nothing else in the past days and... I even remember, that you mentioned him in the palace. (thinks.) Well, even when we roamed away from the cold North lands, I heard this name...
Syrana: We are all Fieras here.
Devon: (quickly, he gets quite a stupid face expression of misunderstanding.) Aw... you mean, you are like... a collective? Or is this the name of... (searches for the word.) your tribe, of some sort?
Syrana: (nods.) Yhhm, exactly one of night-tribes, but you listened about it enough.
Devon: Hmmmm... I guess, I slowly get it. (smiles.) Well, it is just because I thought you'd be only a part of the tribe or people in Meru! In my lands, we reside in close tribes - each tribe for a specific part of the land. And we are all very separated... except, it is war. Okay... THIS is Fieras, then. (gets a slight pinch from Syrana in the side.) Okay, I am quiet now!
Syrana: Well, here is a little different. And we serve to capital Meru under the cover.
Devon: (very quiet.) Okay. Then, I shall not be in the way of your business... you won't need me, will ya? I have smelled some bakery over there... and... (licks his mouth.) Well, just fortunately I got some coins with me, which will fill my belly and their pockets! (plays with silver coins in his hand.)
Syrana: Oh, no! Get inside! And this is not a city to buy food over here... it is close time for night meal, anyway.
Devon: (puts the money away and makes a sad face.) Darn... but you know, that those cakes and... baked fluffy things... (throws and eye to the shop behind him.) They look and smell tasty. Well, I shall wait for the night meal then, awwwww!! (is pinched by Syrana again.) Okay, I understood!
Syrana: (looks after his finger and the direction, where he points to.) This is not food for gods sake! Food is prepared somewhere else.
Devon: So... ? What is it, then? (sniffles.) Hmmmm... that is no food?
Syrana: Those are forms for broad head arrows and shooting stars... we have different way of forging.
Devon: (laughs.) Awww, so! Now, I understand... well, then go and let's bake some arrows for dinner! Never tried that... (smiles.) Sorry, for stupid joke. I guess, the change of climate made me feel and act weird again. (thinks and slaps his head.) Let's go, before I accidentally start to eat your armoury...
Syrana: Good idea. (grabs his arm delicately and drags him inside, where when she saw few other females as they bowed at her, she bowed as well and then they hugged like friends.)
Devon: (watches around the small, but very comfortable room and exchanges bows and looks with the others. He can feel, that being at Syrana’s side, makes not only a big impression here; he is also treated like a king and gains same respect and devotion. Devon really likes this. Usually, he was feared and at least a less trusted stranger; here, he is more likely equal to Syrana and can finally feel like a king again. He follows Syrana and stays silent. He just enjoys the interested looks, which are lying on him.)
Both enter the small hut, where Syrana is slowly pushing Devon inside. Since they both had nothing to eat after the long travel through the dark forests, they allow themselves a rest. Though Syrana has some business to do here, a night meal is very much welcome.
After the meal, Devon leans back against a huge wooden chair, with soft fur for cushions. He cuddles himself into the furry stuff and sighs loud and passionate.
Devon: Well, this was a good night meal. After this dried meat and hard bread which we had for days, I could use new and fresh food. (smiles.) Hmmmm… and your people here are quite nice, as well. I am not sure, but I have the impression, that they treat me with way less confusion and mistrust.
Syrana: First, you are not the only freak around here... second , you came here with me and third... they know all what is necessary about you.
Devon: So, you already contacted your people without the knowledge of anyone else… including myself? Very interesting, indeed. Well, never mind. I just wanted to point out, that I feel quite well here. Though, we won’t stay long, right?
Syrana: Ooooh, I contact them for all the time... we are trying to be always well informed... just to know who is your friend and who is the enemy. Unfortunately, we have to go in 2 days.
Devon: Yes, I know… we got to continue our quest. Hm… I was thinking about this artefact, which we are supposed to find. I am not quite sure… but somehow, I recall some legends about is. This special item, Sneferu wants us to find… somehow, I think that it is not just ONE piece. I have the feeling, that it is not that easy, as I thought it’d be. (breathes.) But we will prevail! It is still time, until we reach our designated point, I guess.
Syrana: And what you have heard and how?
Devon: Well, I just have the feeling that it won't be that simple. It is just... you know, I was on the search for powerful artefacts all my life! And somehow, I recall of one very dangerous one which was last seen in the far east of these lands... I never thought about it before. But it could be this one, we are searching for. (laughs.) Hey, never mind. Most of the sources I've read in my life are not to be trusted. Likely, we will have quite an easy job...
Syrana: Nobody said, it will be easy in the first place... and any information which you can provide, may be useful.
Devon: (smiles widely.) Of course, that is why I am here, right? I will do my best to be useful! By the way… will we get support from your people? Or… will we still travel alone?
Syrana: We shall travel alone, it is easier for two and even one to lurk around.
Devon: I was afraid you'd say this... (grins.) Alright, I am not scared and it is true: two people are not as easily discovered, as many. But I hope, we will pack some additional food with us... (licks his lips.)
Syrana: You always think about food...
Devon: (laughs warmly.) Hehehehe... well, I cannot help myself. Since I have been in your presence, my appetite is so great! And I think... beside your lovely company (blinks to her.) it must be the air, the climate and most definitely the great food of your people! In Meru, I was able to try very tasty delicacies... and even here, the food is way better than in my homelands.
Syrana: I looks almost like at your homelands there is no food at all.
Devon: Well… (gets up and moves his body to hers, so he can lay his arm around her.) You might laugh, but it is quite true. In times of war, we only have “field rations”. Small, and disgusting. Okay, you get used to it, but I still cannot propose it to anyone! (spits.)
Syrana: There were missions sometimes when we didn't had time to eat... and they last for days!
Devon: Wow… I could not survive this! (laughs loud.) By the way… will this business of yours take long time? And do you need me during this? If not, I’d like to go around a while then and check this place out. I am just curious, what your people are doing here and who knows…. (plays with his coin again.) maybe, I’ll find something nice for myself, after all!
Syrana: No, my business is short... but I want to spend a little time here, gain strengths.
Devon: Alright then. So do I! (sighs and stretches his body.) Hrrrrrrr… it is late. You think, we should take a rest now?
Syrana: If you feel need for that... myself, I am going to use some hot springs.
Devon: Hmmmm… you know, there is something else, we usually do in my homelands before night time. (his fingers dance right up to her shoulder and along her neck. His claws are softly scratching her chin and neck. His finger tips twiddle and slide along her large fan at the back of her head.) After a good meal, a night of making love would be the perfect ending of a successful day… (smiles.) If you’d like to, we could share this night, again… and we can check out your hot springs together, later.
Syrana: Who said that I will let dirty male into my bed?! (snickers.)
Devon: (laughs and kisses her.) Well, let's take a hot spring bath then, first! And then, you can do with me whatever you want...
Syrana: You are risking with many things by saying that...
Devon: With you to be my only risk, I am willing to take every step!