A trail of dust followed the once-white stallion as he galloped through the garrison gates, stopping abruptly at the stables. Raven, the stable master, rushed to the weary mount and rider.
"Lord Marcus, let me help." Raven's strong, tanned arm took the rider's hand in his own, pulling him off in a quick, smooth motion. He did not immediately let go, staring in disbelief at the paladin's heavily stained armor.
Seeing concern on the man's face, Marcus clasped his shoulder and smiled warmly. "Fear not old friend, only a little of it is my own."
Raven hugged him fiercely. "That is good to hear!"
"Yes, yes. I'm fine! The journey was long, and often hard, but I have returned victorious!" Marcus exclaimed as he pulled a bulging sack from beneath his armor, placing it gingerly in Raven's rough, steady hands.
The inquisitive stable master cupped the bag, squeezing gently to discern the contents without unwrapping the package.
"Don't be coy, you know what's in there. But I have something even better for you." Marcus said with a knowing smile.
Raven closed his eyes. He held out his hands and spoke calmly, "Give it to me, please."
His arms flexed slightly as he felt something heavy, strangely warm, and smooth along its length. "Oh, this is, hmm... familiar... okay, yes, I know that part... an enchanted sword!" Raven released the glowing weapon from one hand, letting it swing in front of him.
Marcus looked down and raised his eyebrows. "I'm glad you like it. Certainly not the first you've held?"
"Never one like this." Raven replied with a wink."We need to work on that grip, it's too tight. Perhaps you have time for some practice?" Marcus asked, peering into Raven's dark brown eyes.
Raven grinned. "I'll go tie up your horse..."
<The remaining pages are not yet written. It appears to be a work in progress.>