Night crept on the forest as a dark cloaked figure, astride a dapple unicorn stopped. Looking up, the fine smooth skin of a white Esper gazed at the stars. He was from Rimmell, where there wasn't much sunlight so his race evolved differently. His glittering light brown eyes seemed to be troubled as the starlight reflected back into the black circles of his eyes. "Aria, I wish you could have come with me. But with how little she is, there is no way I'd risk your lives. I know you were helping me before the birth, but I can't risk it," Darious's strong sturdy deep voice said quietly. He said it almost as if Aria was there with him now; how he wished that she were. Giving Everett a slight kick, the unicorn on. It'd only been a week since he'd rode off alone on route to meet up with Archibald Grimhart. He was sure that they'd find the other royal lines, but he wondered how many would dare to venture on this quest. It would be incredibly dangerous; he doubted that this journey wouldn't claim every life. But if they didn't try, Esper would perish. The last family torn apart, the forests burnt down, the Gates destroyed. Blood would stain the green grass, the streams, rivers, would run crimson. This was their last chance to save their world before any of that happened. Darious, a determined, brave young man, was willing to lay down his life to save it. Not just for the sake of the world, but his family. His heart hurt to realize that even he had a great chance of never returning. Never seeing his daughter grow and blossom into a beautiful strong warrior, never see grandchildren if he should have any, not grow old with Aria. But what hurt most was the thought of his mission not succeeding; his daughter would really not have a chance to grow up then. A thick fog began to creep under toe of Everett; a few whimpers from him told Darious that something wasn't right. Patting Everett's neck, he cooed at him. "Shh boy..it's alright," he whispered. Looking up as movement caught his eyes, he squinted through the trees. Everything was quiet for a second before he realized the serious danger he was in. In the woods, lurking just in the third row of trees ahead, gazed a Carrion Hound. They were this diseased kind of creature that once bitten, you turned into one of them. Their head was skull like, with large fangs quite visible. Their skin was rotted and looked clung to the body, loose hair drifted hung from the entire body. It's feet were talon like, it's tail slunk in back of it dragging in the dust. It's ears looked like a horse's, long and the only thing on it's body with full fur. The eyes stuck out of it's head as if it were squeezed, the veins around it pulsing. The stench the creatures let off was foul, almost as if the forest was decaying. Saliva dripped from it's mouth, some hanging off in clumps. Turning, he kicked Everett hard the other way, tearing away from the beast. Once bitten, there was no way of coming back. The infection only took over night, and when morning rose, what made you 'you' was gone, and you were a monster. He could hear the banshee like cry behind him, closing in. Eventually, since he'd been caught off guard, he'd have to turn in fight. Stopping Everett, he hopped off and smacked his rear. Everett took the hint and ran, Darious pulling out his long sword. The Carrion Hound stopped short in front of him, panting and growling, it threw it's head back and cried out. Darious almost covered his ears, the sound painful and terrifying. But holding his ground, Darious made the first attack. But as he did, the beast lunged. As the hound landed in front of him, he struck down his sword, landing the blade between the shoulders and ripping. Falling limp, it was over quicker than the battle started. Panting, he pulled his sword out and whistled. Mounting, he rode off as if nothing had happened.