By: Murasaki

Chapter 5

<body>The Lady Denae was much younger then. She had just been named a Lady of Camelot Reborn a few days earlier. On this cool night she was standing outside, watching the night sky. The stars twinkled brightly, as did her eyes. Just moments before she had heard loud cursing and shouting and had come out to see what was going on. Nobody was out there though. She had thought that perhaps the words had been carried on the wind from a far off place and was about to turn and go inside when her gaze was caught by two sparkling stars. She stood there, alone, watching the sky.

She heard some rustling coming from the forest to the west and turned to gaze upon it. Nothing happened and her interest called out to her. The lady made her way over to the forest to see what the rustling was. Suddenly a dark figure burst out of the woods and landed on the ground, sliding along until it stopped just before smacking into a rock that was right before her. She could hear a moan of pain on the other side of the rock and glanced over to see. She saw a lock of long, dark, red hair spread out over the cold, dusty ground. It looked as though it had been stained with blood. She looked on some more and saw a red beard. Just as she was about to take a step forward a rumbling sound could be heard. She stopped, looking around for the source of the sound, but found none.

"Get down!" A voice barked at her. She turned to see the dark figure with red hair and a red beard standing before her, on the other side of the rock. It looked like a man, but had ruby red wings like a dragon. The figure stood almost seven feet tall and was very muscular. The man held a sword in one hand. The weapon had been stained with blood. "Get down!" The figure ordered as the rumbling sound got louder. Denae was about to ask what was going on when the rumbling turned into a high velocity storm of black shadows. Each shadow with it's own pair of glowing ruby red eyes. Loud growls came from the shadows as they sped past her and towards the man before her. Not knowing what was going on, and scared, Denae did as the man had told her and hid behind the rock, staying low.

The sound of ringing steel and screeches of pain echoed through the night. Blood splattered on the front of the rock and more sounds of ringing steel could be heard. Denae rose up just enough to see over the top of the large rock. There she watched as the strange man fought, his sword slicing here, stabbing there and tearing in other places. She watched as the winged man kicked forward, slamming his foot into the face of one of the shadows. The shadow fell backwards and the man ripped his sword free of a shadow behind him. The man's sword came slicing downward and right through the shadow, causing it to cry out in pain. Dark red blood splattered onto the man's pants and vest. A few more shadows descended upon him then. He swiftly spun, flicking one of his wings out and knocking one of the shadows flying. He stabbed forward with his sword and a second shadow leaped at him. The shadow on the end of his sword was sliced apart as he was knocked away.

Denae watched as the cracking of bones and ringing of steel cried out. She watched in terror as the shadows were torn apart and their blood splattered on the man's face, pants and vest. She watched as this man, this stranger, fought. She watched as he insured that none of the shadows had a chance to get to her. The lady watched with growing interest as the man moved. Her eyes glazed over and a feeling came upon her. A feeling he had not known in some time.

A very large shadow appeared from behind the man and Denae was about to call out to him when he was smashed on the back hard with clubbed fists. The man dropped to his knees and groaned in pain. The large shadow grabbed a hold of him and slammed a fist into his face. Then again, a third and fourth time. The man just hung there, in pain. One more swift smack across the face sent the man to the ground, his sword sliding behind the rock and stopping just beside Denae. She looked down at the blood stained blade. The large shadow kicked the man hard and he landed with a hard thud on the rock. The man winced in great pain and his hair fell down the far side of it.

"Now, Chris Ford," the largest shadow began as it approached the man. The other shadows gathered around the larger one and they growled. "You're mine...." The shadow chuckled evilly as it reached down to pull the man up to him.

Suddenly, in a swift movement, Denae shot up from behind the rock. She held the blood stained sword out at the shadow's throat, her face contorted. She glanced down at the man on the rock as the shadow drew back, it's eyes glowing ruby red. The other shadows growled loudly as she stood. What had the shadow called this man? she wondered. Chris Ford?

"I suggest ye turn around and be on your way back to your own land." The shadow looked on Denae's soft features and laughed. "Why, what are you going to do little lady, slit my throat?" The others chuckled along with their leader. She stood firm and held the sword out straight. "I am Lady Denae of Camelot Reborn. Christopher Ford is under the protection of Camelot." The shadows all laughed loudly at the lady before them. "If you do not leave this place now, I will have our knights upon you in an instant." Another laugh rose from the crowd of shadows. "Little lady," the leader began. "Camelot Reborn is a new colony. It is hardly two winters old. I am positive that your people have no knights." "We are a place of peace, why would we openly discuss weather we have any knights or not?" Another laugh came and the shadow reached forward to grab the man below her.

The man could hardly see very much through his blurred vision, but he could tell that someone was standing over him holding his sword against Red Leader's throat. He was in too much pain to do anything and so just lied there, watching. Denae poked the lead shadow stiffly, a flare of determination in her eyes. The shadow looked up at her, seeing the look on her face. He was sick of chasing this man. He had what he wanted and needed no more. He also didn't want to risk a confrontation with any knights at this point in time, if what the lady said was true. In an instant the shadow spun around and vanished. The others vanished as well and there was no sign of them being around, other than the splattered blood.

Denae looked down on this man, Chris Ford by name, and let the tip of his sword rest on his chest. She was shaking with fear and did her best to compose herself. The man slowly took a hold of the blade of his sword and spoke softly. She saw his lips moving and leaned forward to listen. "Thank you, Lady Denae." He whispered. She looked on him with sympathy in her eyes. She put his sword in it's sheath and helped the man to his feet. "Come now, sir. We must get ye to help." With the man's arm wrapped around her Denae walked back to Camelot where the man told her of the Darkons who they had just encountered.

The memory left Denae as she came upon Chris, sitting cross legged in the middle of the field of reeds. A large circle had been cut out of the see of reeds. It was a clean cut and the tops of the reeds were leaning against the ones behind them. Clearly this was the work of Marty. Denae made her way towards the Ford father. She did not find what she was looking for, the dragon/mortal who claimed to be Darkon, but she did find Chris. She knelt beside him quietly, waiting for him to speak. She saw on his face that he was upset about something. The man gave a small sniff and spoke, his voice cracking a bit.

"You are right, sweet one. Marty is ready." He looks up to her, and continues. "There is something I must tell you." He said, the pendent on his necklace glowing deeply. "Those many years ago, when I first came to Camelot," his eyes slipped closed, allowing a tear to fall from his eye as he began with his story, "there was something I left behind which was important to me... My life..."</body>

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