• Silence fell as Kohana entered the crowded tavern. Her light blue eyes could not hide her pain. Behind her, a young boy clung to her crimson gown. He followed Kohana as she stumbled to the bar. She fell against a stool. A man moved to catch her before she hit the floor, calling out to the innkeeper. The boy started to whimper. The man, a wealthy-looking merchant, carried Kohana to a back room and laid her gently on the wooden floor. The innkeeper, a short woman with wild red hair, began tending to Kohana's wounds as the merchant ushered the boy into another room. The woman looked over Kohana's wounds. Blood seeped through the silk gown. Although the wounds seemed trivial, Kohana appeared pale and weak. The innkeeper looked on as the injured woman began to mutter incoherently. She listened, trying to decipher the words, as she dressed Kohana's wounds.

    "Carson." Kohana whispered weakly, reaching out to grab at something.

    The innkeeper leaned over, brushing Kohana's red hair away from her face. "The boy is safe."

    Kohana looked around, seemingly unable to focus. "Where am I?" She asked through parched lips. She looked at the innkeeper, still unable to completely focus her eyes. "Who are you?"

    "Maleena." The innkeeper helped Kohana to sit. "Do you remember coming in to my tavern?" Kohana had shaken her head in reply. "Carson is the boy that came with you?" Maleena sighed when Kohana nodded. "He's in another room, with my husband. Eric will take care of him while you rest."

    Kohana frowned at Maleena. "No, I want him near me." Her eyes seemed to glaze over. "He needs to be by me." She attempted to stand but was stopped by Maleena.

    The innkeeper walked out of the room, leaving Kohana sitting on the floor. A few moments later, the boy came running in the room, throwing himself into Kohana's arms. She winced but immediately wrapped her arms around him.

    "It's alright, Carson." She wiped tears away from the boy's dark brown eyes.

    "They'll find us. They're going to get us." Carson began sobbing. "We have to get out of here!"

    Maleena's husband leaned against the door frame. "You're in some kind of trouble, then?" His large muscular arms were folded across his chest.

    Kohana debated on answering. She wasn't sure if she should tell these people anything. Instead, Carson spoke up. "We left a group of people that would kill everything around us, just to prove a point. You shouldn't get involved, mister."

    "The name's Eric, little one." His large hand pushed his auburn hair back. He sighed. "And we're already involved. You came here, we helped you."

    Kohana grimaced. It wasn't her intention to get others involved; she didn't remember coming here in the first place.