Legends of Belariath



Deep in the dark depths of the northern mountains, a scream was heard. Cria, a female Chirot of the warrior class, produces a tiny Chirot baby. Dakla takes his small son and rises him to see his new parents. "Dakira, we welcome you back to life as our son." he says, knowing that his son could only be the rebirth of one of the greatest Chirot warriors. The mother smiles knowing also that there son will some day be one of the greatest warriors in this plane. His very own name branding him as their son with a combination of their own.

As Dakira grew up, his parents were hard on him. They trained him and beat him to toughen him up. Others of the Chirot community also liked to train for battle, knowing that someday the battle for Sheara against the fiends of Kiroaja would fall upon them. Dakira studied in the form of physical combat through his parents and community members strict teachings, yet never learned much about the enemy. Often times he would be sent into the forests surrounding the mountain to fend for himself and fight off beasts.

One day in the forest he stumbled across something he had never encountered before. He found a female, sitting in the forest humming to herself with wings that were unlike his or those of the others in his community. Hers were white as the snow covered mountains and covered with feathers as of a bird. He stared in awe at the glorious feathers and immediately found a love of their beauty. The female looked down at him and smiled. "Hello little one." she said in a lovely voice. "Are you lost "

"N..no. I am not. Just trying to make my way through." he said still marveling. "Well then, you should hurry home little one, for night draws near and bad things come during it." she said. Dakira acknowledged this and hurried home.

Upon arrival his father questioned his returning home so soon. "I met a woman in the forest, and she told me I should return." Dakla gave his son a quizzical look "A female What did she look like " he asks. Dakira went on about her appearance until his father yelled in an angered tone. "That's enough." Calming down a bit he looks at his son. "Take me to this female you have seen." Dakira not wanting to disobey his father, lead him off into the forest to where he encountered the female.

"Look father, she is still there." he says rather enthusiastically. Dakla upon seeing her, lunges out in anger and strikes at her with a sword he had concealed earlier. The Torian fell forward, her chest pierced by the blade; she easily slid to the ground as Dakla smiled upon his work. Dakira stood horrified by what his father had done. "Son. This is a Torian, do not seem so upset that she is dead. This is an evil follower of Kiroaja, Sheara's enemy. Don't you know our history " he asks his still shocked son. Before Dakira can enter, a sound is heard thrashing through the forest, their Chirot ears following it and hearing the sound of large wings flapping away. "Another Torian." whispered Dakla, anger building in his features again. "To far gone though." he mutters rather regretfully. "Come Dakira, let's go back." he says leading his son back to their home.

A few moons later the mountain dwelling is attacked by Torians. "Dakira, you must flee." Cria tells her son, taking up arms and readying for combat. "Your training is not complete, she says as she pushes him the opposite direction the Torians are attacking. "Must be here to avenge their fallen female." Dakla says, urging his son out the back end as well. Dakira retreats to the depths of the caves and waits, listening for the sounds of war to stop.

He waited for days until the sounds finally came to an end. He returned to his home to find much of it destroyed and dead bodies strewn in many places. Blood, feathers, and bodies littered almost every corner he looked. A few Chirot's remained alive, and fewer lie injured. His very own parents were found dead, his father seemingly pierced by his own blade, his mother missing parts of her own wings and a spear through her. Dakira could not accept this and he wept, still only a child. He wept for his dead parents; he wept for his dead neighbors. Most surprisingly, he wept for some Torians too. Even as he wept for them, he felt a hatred for them. As he sat there, looking at the weapons jutting from his parents, he realized he did not want to become a warrior. He decided that he would grow up, learning the ways of the mage.

Many years later he found himself entering a young adult hood. His mage skills were coming along and his community was reviving. One day, a Torian unluckily stumbled across their dwelling. Dakira was first to see it and readied to destroy it. Yet he held back. He remembered his father mercilessly killing a Torian for no reason at all, and the love he had for the precious wings. He tried to shake that away by remembering the death of his parents, yet found he could not. The Torian escaped and the neighboring Chirots were enraged. He was then banished from his home and told not to return unless he carried in the head of a Torian. Upon hearing this he gathered what few things he had and went to exit his home. Something caught his eye before he left though. A tapestry hung above the entrance to his home beholding the crest of his beloved family. He took it with him and headed out into the world. He turned this tapestry into the cape that he wears behind him and bears the crest of his family.

Dakira begins his journeys after being banished from his Chirot home. The Chirot knight, Dakira is a 5'5" man that has, very dear to himself, leathery black Chirot wings that stretch a full 5 and a half feet long, longer than he is tall. His black hair is slicked back and is about 5 inches long upon his head, resting above his dark black eyes. His body has an athletic build and is somewhat thin, looking to be about 120 pounds. The only clothing upon his body are leather pants and a cape that flows behind him, displaying his families crest. Other than the black wings, hair and leather pants, his arms, chest, and face are visibly very pale, yet his wings are large enough to wrap around his body, turning him into a shadow in the night.

As Dakira leaves the mountains of his once beloved home, he finds that his path lies through the forest. He dares not use his Chirot abilities of flight, for he travels in shame. He faces the dangers of the forests alone and armed with only a dagger. His journey beginning with little provisions, accept a few parcels of food and a flask for drink.

This being his first time leaving home, accept for his training in the forest, he knows not where to go, but chooses his route to the south. He makes his way through the forest, not worrying much about danger because of his parents teachings to him, and even if death befell him, he knew he would stand alongside Sheara in the next life in battle against Kiroaja and his followers.

Dakira travels mostly by night, and sleeps during the day. The light during the day irritated his eyes, which were very used to being in the cave dwellings. After a few days his supplies run low. He makes his way west until he meets a nearby creek. There he gathers the water needed and hunts the nearby animals for food. He becomes well adapted to the ways of forest living as his traveling continue along the creekside. Upon the tenth night of travel, danger befalls him.

As he travels along the creekside, he comes across a small band of three Goblins. The Goblins have among them, a small female of a race he had not encountered yet. The female is naked, battered, and bruised. Dakira quickly picks up the sounds of feet quickly coming to the crowd. Believing it to be more Goblins he quickly grabs his dagger and goes after the Goblins.

Having the upper hand of surprise, he plunges the dagger into the first Goblins neck. The others reacting quicker than expected, turn on him. They attack with wooden clubs, beating upon the form of the Chirot knight. Having little training in real battle, the Chirot falls. His eyes slowly begin to close as he slips into a trance. Just before he does, the beatings cease and voices are heard.

He awakes in a place of grand magnificence. The room, in which he awoke in, is built in great splendor. The arms of nature are stretched among the place as the walls, eaves, ceiling, and floor are alive with the flowers and vines of nature. He rises and is startled by a pair of guards that advance upon him quickly of the same race as the female he had seen. He hisses as a spear is placed near his throat, and the other near his chest. "Tampa" he hears from a man who has just entered. "Tampa " Dakira asks, looking as the men remove their spears from him. Th man smiles as he looks at Dakira. "A common tongue I see. You do not speak any Elven " Dakira looks at the man. "Elven What is that I only speak Common tongue and Chirot." The man eyes him carefully, his smile never fading. "Chirot. I see." he says, "Well then Chirot, I am Linilas. I am master of this place. You are hear as my guest, and if you act kindly to me and my people, you shall be able to stay as you please and learn from our tribe, as we learn of you." Dakira looks at him intently, eyeing him up. "Learn about me Why " Linilas continues staring at him "To learn about your race. We know much about the world, but little of the mountain dwelling Chirot." Dakira's Chirot pride begins to grow "And what if I refuse " Linilas smile quickly fades. "You would do so, even when a high elf asks you to stay within their tribe. You should feel proud to have that honor. But if you must refuse, we shall deal with you as necessary and you will never return." he says as an aura of power becomes well known to the Chirot. "Very well then, I shall stay." Dakira says, bowing his head. "And I am Dakira. Dakiras Lorgaine. Named after my parents, Dakla and Cria. A family of proven knights, all worthy and strong in the ways of fighting. And you should find it an honor to receive my full name, as few have ever heard it." Upon hearing this the man bows his head "Trust me friend, I am quite pleased that you allow me the honor. Now, honor me by joining my table tonight. My nobles will wish to speak with you as well." Dakira looks at him and nods his head "I shall attend your table Linilas." Linilas bows his head and leaves.

That night, Dakira makes his way, wandering around the halls, and being directed by guards to the grand hall. A hall that lies with eight pillars, in two rows of four, dividing the room into three pieces. The centerpiece lined with a long table, with many elegant chairs at it. The room lies ceilingless and vines creep up along the pillars, with flowers sprouting from them. At the end of the great table, Linilas sat, surrounded with many other grand looking elves, seated around the table, creating much noise as they talked. As the Chirot makes his way to the table, it immediately grows quiet. Linilas rises and waves a hand towards him. "This is Dakiras Lorgaine. A Chirot knight from the mountains. He is my guest of honor this night." he says as he waves Dakira to an empty chair upon the right side of the table near himself. Dakira makes his way to the seat quickly as the voices begin to fill the air again. He sits and looks at Linilas. "Dakira, enjoy the feast prepared this night and allow yourself to find good spirits among my noble elves." he says as the feast is brought in and placed upon the great table. As it is uncovered the nobles begin gathering their food. The Chirot looks to Linilas as he nods to Dakira, letting him know to eat. Dakira grabs some meats and enjoys his feast without speaking.

As the table is cleared, other Elves gather in and begin with music playing and singing. Dakira enjoys the music much and has a love for music himself. Yet it is quickly interrupted by an elf sitting across from Dakira. "Where are you heading Dakiras " Dakira looks away from the music at the man "I know not where I head. I have mostly been searching for somewhere to reside." Linilas smiles as he hears this "Then I invite you my friend, to stay with us here, and allow us to learn all that we can from you. In return, we shall teach you the many ways of the world." The man across from Dakira speaks again "Aye, and I can teach ya how to fight. What did Linilas say you were, a knight That will not do Chirot. A man of your stature should be studying the ways of a Mage. I sense you would be great." Dakira looks at him "A mage. But my family is of the knight race. I don't think I would." The man smiles and speaks again "Well, I will teach you anyway, and you can decide for yourself." Linilas interrupting looks to Dakira "Dakira, this is the head of our guards. He is knows as Arginith. He knows well in the ways of mage and knight skills and usually can determine which is best for a person to be. Listen to him, and you shall be great." Dakira bows his head in thanks, returning his attention to the music.

Many months pass as Dakira stays with the high elves. His studies growing intensive as Arginith trains him in mage skills and Linilas in the ways of many races, also asking many questions of Dakira's Chirot race. Many other elves become friends with the Chirot and he learns much from them as well, developing a lust for knowledge. He learns much of the Elven language, the ways of the elves, and other things concerning elves. He does not inherit their arrogance as he has his own Chirot arrogance, yet learns something of more value, being manners.

More months pass and his skills begin to become honed; yet his lust for knowledge only grows as the Elven lords fill his head with the secrets of the world. As this lust for intelligence grows, as does his need to go out and experience the world.

One day he goes to Linilas. "My friend, I must leave you soon." Linilas looks at Dakira and smiles "I foresaw this day Dakira, and knew it would come. Where is it that you will go " Dakira shakes his head "I do not know." Linilas sits back in his great chair and closes his eyes "There is a place I know of, not far from here. It is the town of Nanthalion. It shall take you no more than three days walking. Yet you can fly, and it should take you no longer than half a day. Head southwest of here Dakira." Dakira frowns and shakes his head "I cannot fly. I have dishonored my family." Linilas looks sternly at Dakira. "You have spoke to me about this before, and I have told you. By not killing that Torian, you showed mercy for a beautiful race.

To do otherwise, would have been murderess. Flying again will not bring shame more upon you as well. Go my friend, with speed of flight." Dakira nods and begins to leave the room. "Namarie friend Dakira. Remember, you may return to us anytime you wish." Dakira turns and bows to him. "Farewell Linilas, again I thank you for allowing me to stay here. I shall cherish the many things I learned here, and do plan on returning one day." He says as he leaves the Elven village.

His journey is short and pleasantful, flying through the air with much pleasure to be there again. His eyes come to rest upon the town of Nanthalion and he lands in the forest near one of the more friendly looking buildings. He enters and notes it to be an inn. He meets a few new people and finds sanctuary in the forest, where he rests during the days, and explores Nanthalion, and its surrounding parts during the night, and sometimes day as well.

The elves in the meanwhile create stories of him. One being this: A cloak as dark as the night covers this male, wrapped around him tightly, yet, it is not cloth that covers him. No, it s living tissue, a membrane, held by bones of hands, elongated along the four main fingers and with a fifth, the thumb in front, hooking in on each other like the clamp of a normal cape. When he spreads out his thirteen feet spread of arms with these hands, skinned out and edged with silver ink lodged in his skin forever in runic patterns, large and imposing, wings like those of a bat, he shows what he is. Before you stands a Chirot male known as Dakira. His dark eyes of a pure charcoal black intimidating and stern, yet hiding his more gentle inner soul, a warrior with a heart. His long hair goes to his shoulders and is loose all around him, curtaining his eyes most of the time. From his hair sprout up two large ears, upwards and round, agile too, his hearing superior even to that of an elf. His form is covered mostly in leather of a single piece of clothing, pants that go up and over his waist, covering his belly from where that laces go up and over his powerfully muscled and winged back. His well muscled arms and torso well seen, showing the otherwise pale skin of the Chirot mage. At his side is his weapon. (Help from Katsumi on desc.)

After many long months within the village of Nanthalion, Dakira finds himself visiting the Bounty Hunters Guild once again. A strange feeling that seems to draw him there. As he enters he listens to the members, and finds that one of the Nobles in the Town nearby the inn has had his silverware set stolen. He listens to the intelligence the Guild was able to ascertain is that it has been scattered about the nearby Goblin villages and does not care what they do with it. He then hears a reward offered for 100 mhl and his interest grows. 'Eight Silver Chalices seem to be scattered about the camps nearby to the inn in the great forest north of the establishment.' he hears someone say using his adapt Chirot hearing to listen in. He quickly exits the guild and heads for his room at Unigo.

At Unigo Dakira grabs a book from the library and heads up to his room. He disrobes his cape and hangs it on the bed. "Won't be needin that. Make to much noise." he tells himself. He opens the book of lands known and begins exploring the northern forest region, marking out the places a Goblin camp might be. When finished he kneels near his bedside and prays to Sheara for strength, stealth, and good fortune. He leaves Unigo and takes flight, planning on entering the forest from overhead.

As he circles the forest he spots a tiny settlement of Goblins. He lands a couple hundred yards away. His black Chirot features, and black leather pants, aside from his pale chest and face hide him in the shadows. He quietly makes his way towards the camp, his light Chirot body making little or no sounds. When he draws near he pauses behind a great tree and listens, again using his hearing to locate any sentries that might be around. He notes few. 'Odd' he thinks silently to himself. Dakira quickly and swiftly moves about the trees, drawing near the camp, all the while watching for sentries. Three tents can be seen, one, bigger than others. He moves towards the closest one and slips inside.

As his eyes focus he sees it to have no guards inside. He looks about the room. 'Supplies.' he says as he begins to rummage through silently. He finds many things, yet not the items he searched for. He peers out of the tent and into he night.

A few sentries are nearby and he waits it out until they leave.

When they do, Dakira slips out into the night. He enters the large tent and allows his eyes time to focus. As they do he sees it to be a sleeping quarters for the many Goblins he thought would be there. He blinks several times at the party of sleeping Goblins and notes that at the end of the tent, their apparent leader lay sleeping. His massive form was far greater than any of the other Goblins. The smell from the tent was almost unbearable. The Goblins were definitely celebrating something

and the smell of alcohol was strong among them. Before he has a chance to gag he leaves the largest tent.

As he leaves he realizes he forgot to check to see if it was clear. A Goblin stands before him and seems to be caught off guard and steps aft in shock. Dakira seizing the opportunity grabs the man and chants in quick Chirot words, that of a trance. The guard slowly slips to the ground in a deep sleep.

Dakira, now more weary than ever, makes his way to the third and final tent. He enters and looks about. Seven silver chalices could be found within a barred lock box. He judges that none could be pulled through the bars and decides to either search for the key, or find the other chalice.

He sighs, as he knows the only place he hadn't searched. He heads for the large tent once again and enters it grimly. The tent is full of sleeping Goblins, upon pitched mounds of hay. The only other thing within the tent is the Goblin captain who lies in a bed, obviously stolen for that purpose from the town. He quietly tiptoes through the tent over to the captain s bedside. He looks about for one of the items he was searching for. The smell from the Goblin captain very overpowering and foul. He sees the missing chalice, yet it is tucked in the Goblins arms. He makes for it and then notices the key, tied, yet almost falling off his wrist.

Dakira, not wanting to have the Goblin wake and see him moves to the nearest corner of darkness and wraps his wings around himself, a tactic he learned in the forest. The wings make him disappear into a black shadow, the only things to be seen being his black leather pants and wings. He parts them a bit for a direct line of sight and uses telekinesis upon the key. The key easily slides off his wrist and comes floating to Dakira. He grabs the key and quickly heads out.

Out in the dark forest he quickly heads to the tent containing the chalices. Finding it empty again he heads to the box and unlocks it. As he opens it, it creaks and whines ever so loudly. He stops and listens. Hearing nothing he quickly flips the lid open and a quick yet rather loud noise fills the night. He grabs a few chalices and turns, heading for the door. When he reaches the door a Goblin comes bursting through, running into him and knocking the chalices to the floor. Dakira stumbles and then looks at the Goblin in horror as it places a whistle to its lips. As he blew the whistle no doubtedly woke the guards. Dakira barely could move as the shrill, high-pitched note emits from the whistle, entering his quite sensitive Chirot ears. When the whistle ended and the man began to withdraw it from his lips, Dakira grabs his dagger and slices the Goblins throat. The Goblin drops and Dakira grabs up two chalices and heads out.

Out in the dark forest, the Goblins had awakened and were standing prepared. One, near Dakira hit him with a club, causing him to drop the chalices once again. These were quickly picked up and hoarded off. Dakira lunges out at his assailant with his dagger and pierces the Goblins chest. He rises and quickly hurries back into the tent. He looks about frantically for them, but they had vanished. "Damn Goblins." he curses as he exits the tent in the back.

As he exits he notes a small band of three Goblins behind the tent, along with the captain. They had apparently exited their tent in great hurry from the back and now stood facing the Chirot. The Goblins all carried weapons that had to have been stolen. One carried a short sword, two others had spears and the fourth had a whip. The Goblin captain carried a grand sword that appeared to be a claymore.

Dakira hisses, as he knows he might not make it out alive and tries to catch them off guard. Not working the Goblins advance on him. He immediately notes the captain s weak point. He is slow because of his bulk. The other Goblins though were not. They attempt to attack head on. Dakira worries little of the minor Goblins, having dealt with them many times before. He extracts his great black Chirot wings and while jumping, thrusts them to give him an extra boost. He lands behind a spear-bearing Goblin and thrusts his dagger into the back of his thick skull. The dagger becomes lodged and he has to abandon it. The sword-carrying Goblin swings wildly at him. He quickly steps away and avoids it. Having no weapon and being discovered, Dakira realizes that it matters not if noises are heard. He quickly chants words in Chirot of an ice storm. He places both hands in a cup like form against his chest and forms a bluish liquid that floats within it. He thrusts his arms forward and the liquid solidifies, leaving shards of ice flying at the Goblin and striking him in various places. The Goblin topples over dead.

As Dakira finishes his spell, a whip cracks him along the back. He turns in great pain and sees it as it wraps around his leg, and pulls him to the ground. He looks up into the treetops and hears approaching strides. He quickly rolls as a spear is plunged into the ground where his chest used to be. He kicks out at the Goblins legs and brings him to the ground as well. He rises quicker than the Goblin and grabs the spear. Another crack of the whip snaps along his back. He turns and throws the spear into the Goblin, wincing in pain once again. The now spearless Goblin lunges onto his back. Dakira quickly throws the Goblin off and onto the ground. He seizes the sword of the fallen Goblin from before and plunges it deep into the Goblin.

He smiles as he finishes the little army. As he turns around, a great slap is placed along his face. He skids across the ground as the captain laughs. As Dakira rises he notes the dagger still stuck in the Goblins head. He quickly tugs it out and faces the captain. The captain readies his sword and begins his mad swinging; trying to strike the quick and agile Chirot who ducks, steps, and jumps past the swinging blade. Dakira notes an opening as the captain swings and throws his dagger at where he assumed the Goblins heart would be. He watches appalled, as the dagger does nothing but bounce off his chest. The captain on the other hand grabs the Chirot with both hands, abandoning his sword and brings him up, lifting his light body off the ground. Dakira frantically tries to escape, but the captain s grasp is too strong. The captain begins to squeeze the life out of the Chirot as other Goblins gather round, watching. His ribs crack a bit as the squeezing is applied and he wonders how much he can take before they collapse and his vital organs are crushed. A quick prayer to Sheara begins to run through the Chirots head as he thinks of something else. "For Unigo." he yells as best he can.

He draws an arm back, noting how the intelligence of the Goblins never failed to unimpress him. His hand balls into a fist and an orangish glow begins to emit from it. He smiles as the captain notices this and thrusts his arm at the Goblin captain s face. His learning s through Unigo paying off as his energy bolt with a magnitude of three blasts the Goblins face. The grip loosens as the body begins to fall backwards, the empty face of the captain facing up from the ground as the Chirot lands atop it. He quickly begins to push himself up; knowing that other Goblins were about and feels something inside the Goblins pants that almost horrifies him. He quickly realizes that it was not what he thought and pulls out the silver chalice. He looks around and sees Goblins fleeing from the man that defeated their captain. He smiles, as he knows he can now escape and after tucking the chalice in his own pants he takes flight.

His ribs sore from the squeezing he must move at a slower speed. A few arrows fly by him as he makes his way back to Nanthalion. Upon arrival he lands near the Bounty Hunters Guild. He slowly makes his way in, weary from the long travels and battered ribs. He makes his way to someone that looked in charge and said, "Where s my reward " as he pulls out the chalice.

As the days passed, Dakira began to grow fond of one. Due to a spell by Jester, the female Chirot seductress he found a great interest in his long hated rivals the Torians. The female was Nykita. She seemed to love him as much as he loved her, the spell staying in effect, but only to the extent of hiding her race from his eyes. His own passion for her grew until the day she left Dakira knows not how or why she left, and it began to drive him mad. After his madness being taken advantage of by Seiji at the inn, Dakira took refuge in the great tower of Unigo. There he stayed confined, studying the books and learning of the different races and classes of fighters. One seemed to take great interest in his mind and he dwelled upon it, even strengthening his own hand at one of the elemental spells of it. The element was air and the spell was his beloved energy bolts, which had saved him in the past.

As many more months pass, Dakira, having stayed long within Unigo finally made up his mind. He had decided that atop his mage skills he wished to have those of a knight again, like he had before he had ever resided with the elves. Before leaving he stops at the town and ventures into the weapon shop. With all his savings he still finds himself short for a blade of kopis in which he desired to purchase. The weapon shop attendant looks hungrily at his dagger. My that is a fine piece. Such a wear would give you more than enough money to purchase of the blade you wish to have. Dakira pulls forth his dagger. Long it had traveled with him and been his companion in battle and was one of the two items he left home with. With many debates in his mind he hands it over without a word along with the sufficient funds to purchase the new blade. Thank you sir. The employee bows handing over the kopis sword. Dakira leaves the shop with the weapon in the scabbard that came with it. Outside he places his hand upon the hilt for the first time and withdraws it, holding it before him, the moon reflecting in its blade. He smiles at the blade and sheaths it. Heading north through the forest he makes his way north, back to the land of the high elves that he stayed with before and learned many things along with his ways of magehood. With flight the journey was shorter and took only a few hours, and about twenty minutes of walking. The guards stepped forward from the trees, training their bows upon him as he reached the dwelling of the elves. Friend, friend! Dakira says quickly in Elven, kneeling and bowing his head. A few moments pass and a mans commanding voice is heard. Allow him in. With this command they remove their aim upon him and without a word move back to their posts. As Dakira rises an Elven man strides forwards to greet him. Dakira, friend. It is good to see you again. Arginith says as he reaches Dakira, embracing him in a brotherly fashion. How have you faired as of late Have the mage skills I taught you been of use Dakira smiles and returns the embrace. Withdrawing from it he looks at Arginith. Yes, they have been a great help and I am fine. Just curious as to why you had your guards upon me, Lord of Linilas house of guards. Arginith laughs and points to him. Your hair has grown long and such is not the way of the elves, and your wings are stained with silver now. Also there is a greater aura of strength and knowledge upon you now than when you left us my friend. He says, raising a curitive brow. Tell me, why have you so graciously returned to us Dakira I was told to return someday, and this is not that day. When that day comes I would like to stay for visiting and perhaps somewhere quiet to lie until the end of nights. But no, this time I return in need of your help Arginith, as you have helped me before. With this Arginith bows his head As a servant of Linilas and as friend to you, I offer my help whenever it is needed.

Dakira smiles and bows Then my friend, help me learn the ways of the blade. I yearn for swordplay again and the lands of Nanthalion are littered with warriors. My mage skills improve daily as a scholar of a magical school, yet my mind is dim with those of a knight. Arginith laughs and looks happily at Dakira. I could teach you in less than seven human moons if you are willing to train hard and learn quick. Dakira bows As you know me I have proven that I can do both. Arginith turns and heads into the dwelling Then come with me, tonight you dine with Linilas and tomorrow we begin for he shall wish to speak with you again and see how you have been fairing.

As the feasts were finished and taken away much laughter and taking was heard. Sitting on either side of Linilas, the elf lords in this land were on one side, his guest of honor, Dakira and the other his lord of guards Arginith. Dakira it does me good to see you again. You have been well I hear and are in need of Arginith s training. Pray thee, show me your weapon. Dakira pulls forth his weapon and lays it before him. That is a fine piece, yet it does not suit you well. Allow my friends to have your weapon this night and you shall find it more suitable by the next sun. Dakira smiles and bows I thank you for your kindness. You have been a great help to me. Speak nothing of it Dakira for it is out of repayment for allowing us to learn more of the Chirots and as a show of friendship. Please let us talk now of other things such as all that has happened since you last left us. He says as they begin to talk for the remainder of the night.

Dakira awakes and rises from his guest bed. At the foot lies a new scabbard with his blade inside. The scabbard being that of a solid black that would blend well with his body and a leather belt. The handle now one of black leather grips he takes it and pulls forth his sword. The blade slides out and immediately he notices the change in its appearance. The blade now forged as black with a dark silver band around the edge of it. Atop the blackened blade is golden ink displaying the Elven words Mor Hyanda. Meaning black blade. Upon the black metal at the beginning of the blade were more Elven words Mori Mellon meaning dark friend. He smiles as he gazes upon the blade, which seemed lighter that before he entrusted it to the elves. He sheaths it and leaves his place of rest, moving tot he training grounds where Arginith was already awaiting him. Good morning Dakira. I hope you are happy with your blade. Linilas and I observed the tinkering ourselves. It must seem lighter to you

because of the spells placed upon it by Linilas. It is also a stronger blade that shall not dent. Are you ready to begin Dakira bows his head. I thank you for the gift and yes, I am ready. Dakira says unsheathing his blade. Arginith, I do know a bit about swordplay as I have used it lately in training and was born into knighthood. That is why I will teach you technique Dakira and a few Elven strategies. He says as he moves forwards and the sound of clashing weapons can be heard. The teaching of swordplay continuing with few rests for three of the human days, which seemed to Dakira to last three months.

You are improving quickly and greatly Dakira. We shall now lay our tired weapons to rest and busy our minds with some strategy. He says as he heads to a hall of books. Dakira followed and together they began his training and learning of the Elven strategies. Within an hour Linilas joins them. Dakira, I see you are learning quickly. Allow me to be your tutor and I shall teach you much more, and more quickly. Dakira bows his head It would be an honor. I shall return your kindness by informing you of the laws of Sheara s knights. Linilas smiles widely and bows as well. I thank you Dakira. Forever shall you be friend to the elves. With the help of the Elven lord, his learning became greater and his head filled knowledge rapidly.

Believing that Dakira knew as much as they could teach him they decided that his training was complete. As I promised Dakira, not seven moons have passed in the land of humans. Be off now and return at your own will. If help is ever needed again, hurry back. Arginith tells him, embracing him once again. Linilas moves forward and bows his head Dakira, you are a Chirot ambassador to us. I hope you enjoy the gifts of blade and knowledge we have given you, and use them wisely. Fare well friend. He says, turning and returning to his dwelling. Dakira bows his head one last time and extends his great Chirot wings. Thank you again friends. I shall return again, whether it lies in light or dark times I know not. Fare well. He says as he flaps his wings and lifts into the sky back to Nanthalion.

Dakira awakes from his dreams at Unigo with a start, a few months later. He looks around his room and sighs, lying back down and thinking over what he had just seen in his dreams. He was trapped, in a mountain and trying to get out. A tunnel opened and he flew through, leaving the mountains and getting away. Yet as he flew away, he noticed where the mountains were and realized what they held The Tome of Sheara.

He stands and gathers his belongings, pulling on his robe of the magi, black and satin flowing robes that allowed his Chirot wings to be opened through it. Also wearing his leather pants, two daggers and his Chirot Blade, MorHyanda. A serpent blade, wavy in style, black as night with dark silver edges, handle wrapped in black leather with gold Elven words on the blade spelling MorHyanda, Elven for black blade , and a gold D in the bottom of the hilt. He makes his way to the library of Unigo and pulls out some maps, planning his journey to the Tomb, but making no markings of it, only memorizing it so others would not be able to follow.

With the finding of the mountain on the map he makes his way out of Unigo, feeling a calling to go to Sheara s Chamber for whatever might await him. He takes flight and begins his journey, further west than the farthest mapped mountains of Nanthalion to ones that he shall not speak the name of in any tongue accept Chirot.

A long flight endured for a non-stopping two days in which he passed over many things to behold. Many lakes, streams, and fields. Many animals, goblin camps and marshes. An endless forest seemed to follow no matter how far he flew until he beheld the mountain range. He smiles and heads for it, yet moves for the trees and some rest.

He wakes from his trance and feels renewed. The healing power of the Chirot trance showing itself when needed most. He makes his way to the mountain and begins searching for the tomb opening. He searches and searches for a whole day before finding it.

He readies to fly to it and an arrow falls from the sky. He turns as he hears a trumpet blast and grumbles looking back down at the wooden arrow, built horribly and grumbles. Goblins. He says, hearing they re stomping feat and wheezing for air already nearing. He remembers the last encounter he had with them and the squeezing the leader did to his small frame. He could out fly them, but their arrows would rain down upon him again. He grumbles that it is not right for he had a way of disappearing with his shadow like form into the night. He steps behind a tree as a barrage of arrows fly into it. He waits and listens to the approaching footsteps, pulling a dagger and awaiting them.

As one Goblin pulls ahead from the rest, screaming and running as fast as its sluggish body would allow he nears the tree. Dakira smiles and turns, slamming the dagger into the Goblins face, crushing all sorts of bone and killing him as it passed into his brain. Dakira chuckles and looks up, already two Goblins are drawing arrows. He chuckles and takes aim upon them. He smiles as his fingertips cackle with energy and raises the hand, running it through his hair, turning the black Chirot hair silver.

He focuses his power on them, yet not too strong for these Goblins. I have grown a bit more powerful since I last fought you. He says, his eyes reflecting the glow of the bolt of energy as he releases it. The beam moving towards one and smashing into his chest, leaving a deep impression and probably broken ribs, singing the flesh as well and dissipating. The body blasts back and hits the other Goblin, knocking him down. Dakira sees three others behind them charge forward, holding their weapons.

He chuckles and shakes his head, aiming at the charging group. He releases another bolt, yet one more powerful. As the bolt passes from his hand a spear grazes his arm, yet not quick enough as his bolt destroys the Goblin and strikes another with his body, the weapon of the dead Goblin piercing him and killing him as well. Dakira grunts as an arrow passes through his shoulder, his second dagger withdrawn is quickly whipped at the last Goblin s head, dropping him in his tracks. And a few new toys to. He says, chuckling and plucking the arrow from his shoulder, then stooping to pick up his first dagger. He hisses in pain as another arrow slams into his back, the poorly made tip to blunt to pass through, still leaving a bit of pain. He turns and sees a Goblin from the first set and hisses, and leaps at the Goblin, slitting his throat with his dagger.

He chuckles and turns, and hears a whoosh. Before he can react, he is slammed in the chest with a heavy club and sent flying. He hits the ground hard and rolls, stopping to see the Goblin Captain he worried about. He hisses and Dimension Doors away and to his feet as the club crashes down to the place he laid. Now away from the Goblin he casts an energy bolt at him. The Goblin roars as it strikes him but does little damage, the Chirot mage beginning to become exhausted. The Goblin comes after Dakira and again strikes him with the club, batting him down. Dakira tries to kick the Goblins feet out from under him only to miss. The Goblin sets a foot on Dakira's Chest and presses down on it, squishing the life and air out of him. Dakira tries to use another energy bolt on the Goblin but cannot, as the Goblin applies more weight to his chest. Dakira hisses in pain and slams the dagger he picked up into the Goblins legs, causing the Goblin to stumble off. Dakira scrambles away and behind a tree to take a moment to recover his strength, the Goblin stopping as well, but only to remove the dagger and fling it aside. Dakira quite fed up with the Goblin captain he turns around the tree and takes aim upon the beast. A twisted little smirk crosses his face as he eyes him up, gathering his mage powers. For Sheara He says as he releases the bolt. The energy slamming into the Goblin and destroying his life and leaving his body steaming and a crackle still heard from Dakira s hand as the bolt takes the Goblin off his feet to land, dead, on the ground. I told you I was stronger. He says as his hair fades back to black. He gives up his search for the day and trances, recovering his wounds and energy for the next day.

Dakira awakes from his trance and stands, having rested on the ground and knows where the entrance is, for he dreamed again last night. He smiles and takes flight, heading a few miles down the mountain range to a spot where two ranges coincided. He heads for the merging cliffs and finds it. A cave only reachable to a flying race as it stands quite high and no possible way to reach it accept for flight or a rather difficult climb that would be impossible for any being known to Dakira. He moves into the entrance and stops. Kneeling he prays to Sheara. Oh blesses Sheara. Grant me passage to such humble grounds so that I may fulfill what you wish of me and look upon the grand Chamber and the Tome of Sheara. He says out loud to the cave. With that done he rises, only to hear something move deep in the cave. He listens but hears it no more and enters.

The tunneled rock he passes through is magnificently carved. The stones a smooth edge of rock that a hand could easily pass over, with torches built into them, obvious Chirots had been here before, perhaps with Sheara he thinks as he recalls this is where the first Chirots to reach this world entered. Engravings telling of stories of great battles and places of Chirot dwellings and names of great warriors reside within the walls. He smiles as he passes, wishing he had the time to read them, yet knowing Sheara wished him here for a reason, and the book was all he could think of. He passes through many tunnels, surprised at how far Kiroaja had buried Sheara and cursing him as he walked, until he came across the chamber. Many pictures line the Chamber, most showing of Chirot elegance and strength. Some of the killings of the Kiroajans, Dakira looks around with appreciation on the Chamber, well built and designed. A few jewels embedded in the walls and torches all around. He kneels and says another prayer as his eyes pass over the Tome. He stands and moves toward it, reaching out a hand to the book and stopping, moving his hand above it in a rubbing motion as he looks down to the most wondrous antiquity of Chirot history and lore. The knowledge supposed to be contained in it was enticing and exciting. Dakira gathers up enough nerve and reaches a hand down, lying it on the book. He smiles and gently opens the book, looking through the pages with interest, reading and remembering what they said. His mind racing with delight and trying to absorb the knowledge the book gave. Yet the book was to big to just sit and read and he knew what it was he needed to search for. He turns the pages until he finds a picture of a Chirot mid flight and waving his arms, controlling the winds and forming massive storms. He smiles as he knows this is what he was searching for and begins to read about the affinity of air, remembering described spells and battle techniques for aerial combat. He reads about the aerial work Chirots did long ago, using it to aid in the carving of rocks and battles with Torians. He reads about the controlling of the winds and how to do so, becoming one with the wind yourself and greatest to his interest of all, how to train in the powers of the air affinity and become greater in time.

He finishes the long passages of the air affinity and moves to close the book but stops. He recalls something he heard in Chirot lore that the book was supposed to contain. He turns it back open and leafs through, finding what he was looking for near the end. A list of Chirot names for those to be born, had been born, and died. A list of the souls that are to be passed on from great warriors down to infants. He stops in shock as he finds what he is searching for. A list of the Chirots in his time.

He fingers through, seeing some names he knows and then stops, his finger resting on his own Dakiras Lorgaine. He chokes and runs his finger over his name, forgetting that he even saw his own friend s names and spots the name his spirit came from. One of Sheara s greatest of noble mages, displaying one name, Aerco. He moves to see whom his spirit would pass on to but stops he needs not know that and shakes his head, releasing the thought. He closes the tome of Sheara and kneels, saying another prayer before making his way back towards the exit, a few days passing since he had entered and began reading, already his mind wiser and trying to unfold the things he read in the book.

Dakira stops, hearing the noise he heard earlier when he first entered, yet this time closer. He peers into the deep shadowed corners of the passageways. A long, hairy leg emerges from the shadows and slowly touches the ground, letting a hollow tap flow through the caves. A sickening crackle is heard as the large body of a spider emerges, the top being that of a man where the head of the spider should have been. What in Sheara He whispers, never before having seen or imagined something such as this. This was not foretold to me in my visions by Sheara. He whispers more as he continues to look upon that vicious looking being, confusion and anger in his voice. That s because I am not one with Sheara but a Drider. It says, beginning to move towards him. A test Dakira says, believing to have realized why it was there. No, more of a home little Chirot. The Drider says, moving closer still, those pointy spider feet tapping along the floor. Then I shall destroy you. This is a holy ground and you are not welcome. Dakira shouts, his mind twisting to its more evil form and challenging it. He wastes no time to study the eight legged, hairy beast. He draws both his daggers and throws them at the Drider. The Drider chuckles as the daggers bounce off his body. You cannot defeat me so easily. It smiles and raises one of its legs, cracking Dakira across the face and sending him tumbling to the ground, a wound opening where the leg had hit. He hisses and turns, anger in his deep dark eyes as he looks for a weak spot before grabbing up one of his daggers. He moves towards the Drider and tempts to stab it. It quickly smacks his arm away and brings up two others, wrapping them around him and pulling him close. Little Chirot man,

this sacred place belongs to me now. It chuckles, a dull glow emitting from its hand as it draws upon its energies. Dakira sees this and frees an arm, blasting a quick bolt of energy into the Drider. It roars and drops him, stepping back a bit from him. Light Is all it says before it turns quickly and slams its body into Dakira, casting him into a wall. He slides to the ground and looks up at the creature, seeking for a way to destroy it and launching another weekend bolt at it, hoping to get lucky. The bolt hits its target and dissipates. The creature chuckles and draws upon its own magic powers and that dull glow emits again. Dakira hisses as it readies its attack and moves quick, hurrying past the beast and stooping to grab his other dagger, replacing it and moving into the next corridor.

Inside the next he turns, waiting for it, yet it is already upon him. The creature rises up and slams its hairy legs into him, the pointing tips passing through a leg, the other just missing his head by inches. Dakira hisses in pain as the hairy leg pulls from his own leg, leaving it crippled and bloody. He slams a fist down on the hard body, only to find that proves nothing. The creature lunges for him, yet Dakira passes by quickly, ducking below the hairy legs. He turns and tries stabbing a dagger into its side, only to prove that would not work either. The creature turns quickly, knocking him back to the floor. Dakira quickly rolls and stands, turning to see only a dull light flash before him and blasting him against the wall, sliding to the floor once again, his wings spread beneath him, opening further than his robes. The creature rises once again and slams those sharp, hairy feet down on the wings of the Chirot, dragging them downwards and tearing through them. Dakira hisses in great

pain and leaps up as the legs lift from his wings, now tattered and bleeding. He glances to them with much distaste and scrambles up, catching another leg, hitting his face, another striking his forehead, both opening gashes in his face. He hurries away from the Drider and nears the entrance, now able to see light and feel the wind blowing in. He hears it following and turns. He looks at his opponent as it approaches through shades of blood and matted, disarrayed hair. A bit of energy passes over his fingertips. His mind set on the energy contained within himself, drawing it to show itself as the cackling grows a bit louder. A twisted smile crosses his face as he chants a few words of Chirot, praying to Sheara to meet his mark and destroy this creature. His wings flare out behind him, tattered and bloody, quite unusable. He draws his arm back, contorting the energy into a form. The glow emitting from around his hand as he smiles, eyeing the Drider. "For Sheara..." He yells, as his arm thrusts forward, throwing the energy into the form of a beam, flying to strike down his opponent in the greatest strength he could muster.

The Drider catches the blast and tumbles backwards, revealing its underside. Dakira sees this opportunity and withdraws his sword. A serpent blade. Wavy in style, black as night with dark silver edges, handle wrapped in black leather with gold Elven words on the blade spelling MorHyanda, Elven for black blade, and a gold D in the bottom of the hilt. His face drenched in blood, his wings hanging limply behind him, his leg hobbling with him as he hurries as fast as he can, plunging that serpented blade into the belly of the beast, the wavy style blade ripping through and destroying anything it touched. He pushes the blade in a bit deeper and smiles, looking down at the blood oozing out of its body, the shrieking wails of its cries heard easily as its soul escapes its body and it rolls back dead. Dakira watches as the life passes from the body of the beast and nods his approval. This chamber has been cleansed. He says, then dropping to the ground in a pool of his own blood, mixed with the blood of the beasts, falling into a trance. Visions of the tome, the chamber, the writings in the tome and on the wall, the pictures and the Drider pass through his mind as he rests, knowing he would not be able to return without help.

A few days pass and yet the Chirot still clings to life having fallen into many trances and had many visions pass through his mind. His only conversation being with the wind. Yet now awakened he tries to think his body still wrecked from the battle and unable to move much. He recalls a spell that just might work and concentrates on someone he knows would and could help him. He casts a spell of message to Homunculis. Brother I need your help. I am at the tomb of Sheara. He says, then telling of which mountain and how to find him in Chirot tongue, so that any near Homunculis would not hear it. He slips back into trance as the spell drains the bit of energy he spent casting it. Homunculis not having a message spell to reply with listens to Dakira's voice and says aloud "Do not fear my friend I will be there as fast as I can!" Homunculis turns to go back to gather his things for his journey back to the homeland to help Dakira.

Dakira lies there in trance, trying to keep alive so many days gone by that he had no food or water his body in pain. The only thing actually keeping his tormented body alive was the trance but even while in trance his mind filled with the things he saw in the cave, and the writings from the book he read.

Homunculis flies to the region where Dakira is with possible haste making the multi-day flight in good time. He stops to rest upon finding the cave Dakira mention so he can enter refreshed. After his rest, sensing trouble, he draws his katana and quietly enters the cave.

Dakira lies near the entrance of the cave in a pool of dried blood. Most his own...some the blood of the Drider not far away from him. His own blade lying next to him stained with blood as well. His face drenched in blood and a gash across his forehead...his wings lying around him, torn and crippled. A noticeable wound is on his leg where the Drider had pierced through it. The Chirot himself, lies with eyes open, staring out into the light entering the cave, motionless accept for a bit of breathing. Homunculis carefully moves to the Drider and pokes at it with his katana to ensure it is indeed dead, satisfied that is dead he sheathes his katana and strides over to Dakira. "Brother, I got here as fast as I could." He casts his small heal spell once on each wound he finds. Speak to me. I can hear the breath in your body. He shakes him lightly. Dakira gurgles in pain at the shaking...the wounds might have received a bit of small healing...but it would not help most of them. "Guild...heal..." he mutters out, still staring into the light. "Drider...eight of em...sharp." the Chirot says, his mind having broken down from lack of food and water, and lying in pain for near a whole week, although he was speaking of the legs of the Drider.

Homunculis cradles Dakira s head in his arms and takes his water skin and pours waters over his lips "You are safe now. Drink I will get you in a condition to move and we will leave this place. You are safe now and if any more of them foul things show their faces I shall deal with them." Yet there was only the one and it had been dealt with. Dakira drinks the water eagerly, yet still being in a state that his mind was lost in. He still stared into the light, listening to the wind. The writings of Sheara flowing through his mind and the power of the beast, leaving his body in such a wrecked state flowing through his head, keeping his mind locked away...in a way still trying to understand the writings and still fighting the beast.

Homunculis allows Dakira to drink his fill as he listens for danger. He looks his wounds over and knowing that not being a healer he wouldn t do his friend much good. "Listen to me I have some dried meat and fruits you can eat. I m going to go to get you to someone who can heal you better than I." Homunculis helps Dakira try to sit up on his own. Then offers him dried apple and banana slices to give him a little energy, but Dakira sits there as food is placed in his mouth and will not eat it. The food slips out and falls to the ground. Dakira continues to stare blindly and not hearing Homunculis words. Homunculis sees Dakira's condition is much worse than he thought. Homunculis rises and picks Dakira up. "Hang in there I know where a village outpost is. I can have us there in about 20 minutes." Homunculis runs down the path flapping his wings madly and is soon in the air with Dakira he turns to the north west where he knows the location of a small community knowing a healer would be there. Homunculis glides over the trees carrying his friend, moving as fast as possible wit the load while Dakira makes low guttural noises as he is lifted. Yet as he is flown to the town he takes comfort in the sounds of the air whistling around him.

Homunculis lands with Dakira within the stone walls of the village. Other Chirot s recognize Homunculis as a Knight, not that they know him personally, his armor and weapons speak volumes of his identity. Younger Chirot s gather around to look and gawk at the wounded Chirot until an adult comes and shoos them away. He looks up to Homunculis as he speaks. "We need your village healer where is he " The Chirot man looks to Homunculis and speaks "Our priestess is our healer. She s in the temple of Sheara. Come, follow me I shall show you the way. The man says, leading them in the direction of the temple. Dakira still is in a world away from them all. "Eight...painful...watch out!" he yells. "You were victorious over the Drider my brother now rest your weary soul." Homunculis speaks softly to Dakira as he carries him in to the small temple. A young cleric hurries to get the priestess. Homunculis is shown to a room with a examination table where he lays Dakira on the table and speaks with the priestess, telling her everything he has seen and steps aside to let her work. Dakira lies there in trance...the already slim Chirot looking even thinner. His muscles looking more toned and virtually all, if any fat missing from his body. His bones show easily and he remains in his trance, quiet and still. Homunculis continues to speak with the priestess and tell her he will pay for her service if she requires it then steps aside not wanting to bother the healer.

The healer bows to Homunculis and lets him know that it is not needed to pay for their fellow kind and asks for him to leave. "It will be a while before he is fully healed...but we will do what we can for him. What is his name though " she asks. His name is Dakira and his soul is troubled as well. Since you are a priestess, perhaps you can help him with that as well. I am going to go but I will return in a few days if needed. The priestess chuckles. "For your own sake I would not return. It would cause trouble in your own life and I can guarantee he will not be healed by then. Do not worry, we shall fix him." Homunculis nods and heads home.

Days pass and the priestess places healing upon Dakira. His wings being sewn up and plastered with healing pastes of herbs. His leg needing more than that and having spells placed upon it to replace bone, found to have been snapped. His forehead easiest of all and taken care of with more simple spells. Yet the priestess finds the Chirot would still not come out of his own world, nor eat anything. He would drink and she forced nutrients into him by mixing them with his water. Her worry grows when after days of arriving there he still cried out in his sleep about Sheara, Driders and calling for the wind. The cries seemed to scare the Chirot children so she was forced to have him moved to a location away from the village. More days pass and the priestess visited him each day to find nothing changed.

After two weeks the wind picks up. The priestess is woken and worries about the Chirot. She heads up the path towards a sanctuary that Dakira was resting in. The stone building being old and rather worn, she finds that it was thankfully still standing against the winds as they picked up more. She still felt the urge to check on her patient though. She heads into the building and finds his bed empty. She searches and finds him out on the balcony, standing and looking into the sky, one hand raised into the sky. Thank Sheara. She says, but Dakira still does not turn, nor say anything. Carefully she moves towards him and places a hand on his shoulder, only then noticing he seemed different somehow. She spots the difference in his hair, the usually black hair now having streaks of silver through it and being a bit more messy as usual. He turns to look at her now that she had touched him and she sees his eyes not the black they had been when she checked them, but a more faded black, almost an ashen gray. Dakira how are you feeling She asks, still concerned about her patient. Dakira smiles her first time seeing the smile. I am fine a bit hungry though. He says, the wind beginning to slow to a stop and the clouds dissipating quickly as he lowers his hand. Did did you do that She asks, looking at the Chirot with interest. Dakira simply chuckles. What do you have to eat

A few days later the Chirot was well better than well though. His mind had returned to him, but healthier than ever. Many thoughts flowed through his mind, yet none of torture or torment. Merely of questions to be asked, and answers to answer them. He left them a few days later. He had eaten, but he still continued to become lighter, losing many pounds till he was about a mere hundred pounds. Farewell fair priestess I shall have to return here someday. He says, leaning to give her a kiss. The priestess blushes, but says nothing except. Farewell With that, Dakira makes his way through town, heading for the main gate. Other Chirot s moving out to the road to see him off. Some to give there blessings, others to look upon the powerful mage, who was rumored to have control of the winds. Dakira takes flight, and with new strength and agility, makes his way back to Nanthalion, making it in merely a day and in a few weeks...the priestess sent a Chirot girl named Myria to look after Dakira and to keep him occupied by training her.