Leaning back in his saddle, Darius lifted the visor of his helm, allowing the cool summer winds to wash over his sweat covered face. Earthly brown eyes peered forward, and swept the road before them. The man had traveled this path many times before, but had not once taken to the time to really look at it, as he recalled the path from forced marches. The sides of the road were adorned with various wild flowers of deep blue, and violent reds, with subtle yellows, and mute purples. "Sad to think I never recalled seeing such flowers along the Pilgrim's Way..." Darius murmured aloud to himself as he guided his horse along the beaten dirt path that lead from the distant capital to the outstretches of farm holds at the kingdom's borders. A distance it was, as the capital of Ironhold was nearly a month's ride to the small village of Theton. The village itself hadn't changed in the years, Darius had passed it's way, and that thought often held some comfort to the prince. The Kingdom seemed to have less consistency each passing year with it's campaigns, and politics. His thoughts were interrupted as a stitched leather ball flew past his face, and crashed through the wild grass that edged the flowers. The voices of children playing followed it almost immediately, and from the grass four children scampered through in their games. Reigning his horse gently, Darius looked down at them, and smiled softly. The children... they were why he did what he did. If he could protect them, then all the sins he had a hand in would be worth it. Duty in life would be his reward, and though he at times often wished for more, he would be content knowing that others weren't as fortunate with their lot in life as he had been... even with war having been his bedtime stories since youth. "Careful there you brats. You almost killed me with that!" Darius chimed in jest, as they spotted the large draft horse, along with the large man riding it. "Darius!" they cheered, as the eldest whispered something in their ears. "You going to play with us?" The children pleaded as they ran up to his horse, who promptly huffed in annoyance. "Alas, I wish I could young ones, but I'm on a quest today." "You're always on quests." The youngest, a girl answered, while putting her hands on her hips smearing dirt on her dress. "Aren't we all, m'lady?" Darius answered, while leaning to the side to look at her. Rolling her eyes, she walked away to pick up their ball, while the eldest snickered, and looked up Darius. "Still going to teach me how to fight? I told dad that I'm going to be a warrior like you, and that when I'm old enough, I'm gonna be a knight... but dad keeps saying I have to be a noble like you." "Nonsense! We both know it takes bravery, and kindess to be a great man, don't we Jaycen? The farmer does more than a knight ever wi ll. He helps his fellows in all he does, and works the land which grants us all life. But if you're so inclined to be a knight, then I dub thee a squire errant. And your first duty is to discover something for me. Think you're up for your first royal issue?" "Yeah! But you better have more for me cause I'm gonna be done so fast, you'll fall off your horse!" Jaycen boasted, and ran his thumb across his chin, with a grin on his face. "Then I issue you to find me a maiden. One said to have eyes casting ruby's to jealousy, and hair as white as the first snow fall." "Kinda cryptic, ain't that?" "Well I thought if anyone knew the pretty ladies in Theton, it would be you, but it seems I was wrong... I'll just have to find myself another squire who follows orders..." Chewing his lip, Jaycen sighed heavily, and then hung his head. "Fine! I know just the lady, but you owe me for this, and I want my own banner." Grinning, Darius nodded. "You have my promise."