(Corrected version - thanks so much for your help, saphiX!)
It was a bright summer day when Adair took a walk to a near little forest where, so far as he knew, grew some plants which Amaranth needed. He wanted to take a little walk anyways, for he had some leisure time this afternoon. Now and then he missed the woods - the last weeks he had barely time for something like this. He paused for a moment and took a deep breath, enjoying the odour of the fresh grass and the blossoms of the trees which were blooming now in spring-time. He was happy. His litte Ana'is loved him! She even accepted what he really was! Now he was eager to get on good terms with her brothers Francesco, Santiago and Ricky, and maybe make a new beginning with them.
Adair remembered where the plants for Amaranth were growing. It was near the old desolate house at the brink of the forest.
"Oh, here they are!", he murmured, picked them and put them into his bag. Just at this moment he had the feeling of being watched and turned. Indeed: a young woman stood near the house, watching him distrustfully. Adair remembered he heard people speaking of a foreign lady living nearby in distance of the village, in solitary.
"Sorry, milady, I didn't want to disturb you - I only wanted to get some of those plants for a friend ... you're new here, aren't you? By the way, my name is Adair de'Khell! I'm living at the Night Watchers Academy, not far from here. You surely heared of it?!"
"Yes ...", she said, and added: "My name's Neol."
"So welcome here, lady Neol! As we are neighbours now, if you ever need some kind of help, just come to us; we're always willing to bear a hand!" Adair smiled.
Neol frowned astonishedly. o_O. She wasn't used to meet people which were so friendly towards strangers. He didn't ask her who she was. He only welcomed her, even offered help if she needed, and he didn't seem to have any ulterior motives. And yet he had something irritating about him. She couldn't say what it was, but there was something she thought she should know ... he was kind, and he also was interesting - not in regards to a relationship - but anyways ... Now a quiet "Thank you" came from her.
Adair nodded and smiled. "I'll have to go now; have a nice day, lady Neol! Maybe we will meet again someday!"
Adair returned on his path through the forest and thought about this strange woman. She seemed to be used of hard times; she looked like a fighter. She would be a great addition for the academy. Well, if she would like to, she would surely find her way.
But now he hurried back to the academy to bring Amaranth his plants - and maybe he would have a chance for a little walk with his beloved Ana'is ...?!^^
A few weeks later Adair took once again a walk in the forest. Two days ago he returned from a mission, and now he needed a little bit quietness and time for himself. During the last days they scanned the whole area, but luckily there were no shapeshifters, and this forest was too small anyway and not thick enough for a horde of shapeshifters to hide.
Adair had already been walking for a little while when he heard a feeble squeaking. He paused, then he followed the sound - and found a little bunny who was caught by a wire sling and struggled desperately. "Why, poor little guy?! Let me help you ..." The wire strangulated his leg and ripped the skin. Carefully, Adair set him free. It looked bad. This wouldn't heal alone; the leg could be broken. "I think I will bring you to Amaranth", he murmured, "he surely will be happy to help you. You'll see, you will be better in no time!"
While carrying him carefully the way back to the academy, Adair laughed quietly. A shapeshifter - which were predators - (okay, he was only half shapeshifter, but nevermind) who was sorry for a wounded bunny? Indeed a strange and crazy thought. Adair didn't have the heart to kill him or let him die. He hated such traps - he disliked hunting with them. When people had to hunt an animal, they should have to take care that it didn't suffer.
Beacause he was distracted from his bunnily patient, he didn't notice the figure which appeared before him at the forest path. Adair startled. "Oh ... Hello, lady Neol! Sorry, I didn't see you; I was busy with my little friend here ..."
Neol recognized the young man who came to her house some weeks ago to get plants for his friend. She looked at him, yet a little sceptical. However, when she saw the bunny, her eyes immediately brightened up. "What's with him?" she asked and advanced to him; her voice sounded anxious.
"He was caught by a sling trap," Adair answered. "I just want to bring him to our healer. Amaranth can help him." An idea came to him ... She seemed to like this little bunny; maybe he would convince her to come with him for a visit at the academy? She surely wouldn't want to stay, but it could be a beginning ... "Maybe you want to join me, lady Neol?! He will need medical care when Amaranth treats his wounds, and he would need a temporary home. Would you happen to want to take him home with you? I haven't got enough time to care for him myself, you know." (Which wasn't quite true; he basically would have time for it. Besides this, Amaranth surely would love to care for the little guy; but Neol seemed to be interested at this bunny ...) "And I'm sure he would be in good hands with you!"
He saw her smiling slightly. ^_^ With these words he definitively was in her good books. "Just Neol. With this "lady"- thing I feel like an old grandma ... yeah, let's go."
Adair laughed. "Indeed you don't look like an old grandma! ... Okay Neol - It's not far from here."
While following him, Neolesaaz thought about Adair de'Khell. He was friendly, and there was no reason to distrust him - and yet she felt something strange about him, maybe even a little bit dangerous ... On the other hand, how carefully he treated this wounded bunny ...
It wasn't long before they reached the area of the academy. On their way to the infirmary, they met two men. Neol prefered to remain restrained. She hadn't been under people for a while and had to get used to it again.
"Adair - here you are! What do you bring to us? A rabbit?! Oh, great - you even thought of my dinner!"
Neol's view darkened instantly - ò_ó.
"Your dinner - at your a**, Angus! Get yourself something else; this little guy's under my protection!", Adair replied, laughing. "And, Ricky, don't make such a sour face; I just have no time for being hunted from you. You'll have to wait until later."
('... hunted O_o?', Neol thought, surprised. What could this mean?)
"Don't you want to introduce us to your friend?" Angus asked.
"This is Neol - these two crazy guys are Angus and Ricky," Adair said to her. "But we haven't time for this now, Angus, he needs medical treatment!" With that, he hurriedly advanced towards the infirmary, and Neol followed him.
"Amaranth? You're here?", Adair shouted when they entered the building.
Amaranth looked around a corner, from a little room nearby. "Yes. Do you bring me again some bruises or broken legs from your missions?"
"No, not this time", Adair answered, smiling. "I've got a little patient for you."
Amaranth came to see what happened - and was instantly delighted. "Oh my, how cuuuute ... what's with him? Where did you find him?!"
[Adair] "In the forest - in a sling-trap. Can you help him?"
[Amaranth] "As if I couldn't help such a darling ... of course I can!" He instantly hurried into a little room and came back with his arms full of dressing material and medicine. Very carefully and with many "oohs" and "poor guy"s, he treated his wounds and splinted his indeed broken leg.
"By the way," Adair remembered now his new friend, "this is Neol - I asked her to care for him until he recovered."
"Hello Neol - happy to meet you!", Amaranth said, smiling.
Amusedly, Adair watched how Amaranth explained to a very interested Neol what she should do and how to use the medicine he would give her for her patient. Finally it was a whole bag of things he gave her. "And if you should need any help with him", he ended his speech, "you can come every time! I'm sure you will be the best nurse for him!"
"Every time? Even at night?" Adair asked impishly.
Adair's answer came promptly: he pointed at the rabbit. "He - yes!"
Adair laughed. "Well now, thank you so much!"
"My pleasure, Adair!", Amaranth replied gaily. "Be well, Neol!"
When they left the building, Adair saw Neol smiling slightly, looking at him. "Thanks", she said. "I will take good care for him."
"I'm sure of this. I will try to visit you two soon - until then, Neol!" He waved his hand and looked after her until she disappeared behind the first trees of the forest.
"Now", Neol thought, "this day really didn't end as I expected. This academy doesn't seem to be bad after all. And", she sighed, "finally, finally, somebody who doesn't always call me 'lady'!"
A little "The Night Watchers" fanstory. :)
The Night Watchers, Elizabeth ("Ana'is"), Angus, Francesco, Santiago and Ricky belong to AvalonTheQuin
"Neol" Neolesaaz belongs to Forgotten
Amaranth belongs to PinkRobin
Adair belongs to me :)