In brighter days when knights held sway, there was a shining valley filled with magical beings and brave souls.
Many of the brave men and women of the valley lived in two townships, separated by a dark and dangerous wood.
The village of Colonia held within its borders the Honorable Lord, Wufei, who protected the villagers by his own
choice. This man of honor and wisdom had freed a young slave five years prior by the name of Quatre. The blond
youth, scarred by his ordeal, remained frightened by those he did not know. Two years after his arrival and being
granted his freedom, Quatre befriended a wandering entertainment, the quietly intense youth known as Trowa.
Little more was known of the acrobat, but Quatre's gift of sight had assured them all that he was a peaceful soul
simply seeking a place to call home. Wufei had gladly taken both into his home where they worked and lived
contentedly. Across the valley lived the Baron, Treize, also a wise leader of men, whose large holdings required
protection by Captain Zechs, leader of the Baron's personal guards.
In the nooks and crannies of the valley dwelt groups of magical creatures who lived by their own laws and had
powers beyond that which is known now. One such group was the Elves.
A branch of the family of Fairy Folk, elves were gifted with the ability to grant wishes and were often sought by the
greedy and unscrupulous for personal profit. While most Fairy Folk were open, kind, and forgiving, the Elves had
been mistreated by so many, for so long that they had become intolerant even within themselves. One cold winter
an Elfling, young and inexperienced, found himself at the mercy of the Elf Court and was banished.
"But why, my queen?" The young elf had asked, sorrow written upon his beautiful face as he was told to leave the
relative protection of the Elf Clan.
"You, Duo, have been the victim of a foul treachery, and while it was not your fault, you bring risk to all of us, I am
sorry." The queen brushed back a single lock of honey-gold hair and didn't look the least bit sorry. "You were
deceived by the last wish-taker who had captured you and now you are no longer welcome here. Your increased
size endangers us and calls attention to us when we would seek to hide. You must leave and never return."
"But, majesty," he pleaded. "I was forced by the code of magic to grant his wishes, it was not my fault the fool did
not know that my size had no effect on his wishes! When he wished me to be larger it was because he thought his
other wishes would then be increased, and without the wish-taker using a wish to reverse the spell there was
nothing I could do! This is my home, Queen Relena, please do not cast me out!"
The cold ruler of the Elves would hear none of his pleas and soon he was exiled. The violet-eyed elfling was indeed
quite large for his kind, now standing the size of a young human, but he detested it. Elves were supposed to be
small, no more than 25 cm high, and he felt sad and lonely as an outcast. He found a small cave near a spring to
make his home and lived there all alone.
A distance from the home of the lonely elfling lay a small village. The village, Colonia, was home to a nobleman,
Lord Wufei, who had in his employ two skilled entertainers, a musician and an acrobat, who had been asked to
perform for the upcoming midsummer's night festival by Baron Treize, in the city, Ahzz, forty leagues distant.
Wufei, recognizing the danger to travelers who passed through the wilderness unescorted, searched for a
protector to accompany himself, the violinist, Quatre, and the acrobat, Trowa. As he was becoming despondent
over the lack of safe passage and contemplated sending his apologies to the baron, a knight flew into the village
on the back of a magnificent Pegasus.
Arrival of the knight caused quite a stir in the usually quiet village.
His armor, though somewhat the worse for wear, was white and his shield bore the emblem of his steed. His name
was Heero, something he had spent most of his life being teased about, and he was not a very pleasant person,
having learned to shut himself off from others to avoid pain.
The nobleman, however, cared nothing about his personality, he was interested in the man's reputation as a
cold-blooded soldier well known for his abilities in battle. Wufei felt he would make a wonderful escort for their
journey; he sent for him at once.
"Your grace," the knight bowed stiffly to the man in rich silk robes awaiting him in the main room of the manor
house overlooking a stream.
"Ah, Sir Heero, so pleased you could come!" The black-haired man greeted him warmly though it never occurred to
Heero that he might be truly welcome here. "I have a proposition for you."
"Many people do," the knight remarked dryly.
"Well, um, yes," the nobleman was a bit taken aback by the lack of emotions expressed by the soldier before him
and paused to reconsider his request. Just then a messenger arrived with word from Baron Treize regarding how
pleased he was to know Wufei would arrive within a fortnight it having been too long since the men had spent time
together and he had missed his friend and occasional lover.
Sighing and pondering how he had become trapped between a rock and a hard place, he strove ahead. "Well, Sir
Heero, I wondered if I might hire your services as a bodyguard for myself and two members of my household as
we travel to Ahzz? We are invited by Baron Treize for the Midsummer's Festival. We can certainly discuss your fees
and such, but time is of the essence, I shall need an answer within the week if there will be time to make the
"Then why wait?" Heero remarked stiffly. "My terms are straight forward. First, my steed, Wing, requires the
services of a skilled blacksmith. He can only wear Gundanium Shoes due to the dangers of flight and this is a costly
material which I can ill-afford normally. If you can provide him with these shoes, as well as stable care while we
journey, then I will indeed accompany you and your servants on the journey. The only thing I require beyond that
will be sufficient coin to cover my expenses for a month after we return that I might have time free from searching
for work." The knight's stiff back bowed slightly. "This has been a difficult few years and I wish to spend time alone
seeking some peace."
This last comment intrigued the nobleman who enjoyed helping others find solutions to their problems, but the
demands made by the knight were difficult to meet. Gundanium was the rarest metal in the valley, and blacksmiths
who could work the ore were rarer still, yet Wufei was willing to pay handsomely if necessary for the flying horse's
Deciding he had no choice, Wufei smiled warmly and pronounced. "I accept your terms, then. Allow us five days to
prepare for the journey, for I must first obtain the metal you requested for your mount. Then we shall depart.
However, you should know that the two men accompanying us are not my servants, they are employees, but more
important is the fact that they are my friends. I have known them both for many years and love them as brothers;
do not refer to them as servants again, for they are no more servants than you are, sir."
"Very well," the knight bowed stiffly and departed.
"You can come out now," Wufei called out in an amused voice.
Quatre, a blond youth trapped in a world he had not known until he had been brought there as a slave from his
own country almost five years previously, stepped out from his hiding place. He still feared strangers, for it had
been a man similar to the knight who had just been present who had abducted him from the safety of his
"How did you know I was there?" He asked innocently stepping forward to greet the man who had bought his
freedom asking nothing in return.
Chuckling gently, Wufei motioned him to come and sit beside him, asking a nearby servant to bring them drinks
and to search out Trowa so they might plan. "My dear Quatre," he smiled. "I know full well how much you fear
situations like this. The way you were stolen from your home is going to haunt you always, and I would return you
to it if there was any way to do so, but for now, please be happy here with us. It is, after all, the only thing I ask
of you, my friend."
"I know," Quatre sighed sadly, leaning his chin into his hand despondently. "I just wish I could return home, that's
all. Yet, a man as cold as that one brings a shiver to my heart, though I know not why. He doesn't carry the scent
of evil in his soul that the man who brought me here had. Instead, his scent is cold, lonely, as if he, too, had been
torn from all that he loved and doesn't know his way back."
"Your gift of insight helps me then, for I had wondered if we could trust him." Wufei looked worried, he too had
sensed something strange about the dark haired man and wondered what it was that bothered the man.
"Oh, yes, we can trust him," Quatre assured. "He was most sincere about what he wanted and seems truly
disturbed about something else, but he is strong and true and when he offered his aid he did so without hidden
intentions. We shall be safe with him."
"Good," the nobleman smiled once more as a servant assured him Trowa would join them soon. "Let us wait for
your companion, then we shall discuss travel plans."
"Yes," Quatre answered smiling at the thought of the tall acrobat. Suddenly, his face sobered, "But how are you
going to find Gundanium for his Pegasus' shoes, Wufei? That is the most rare metal in these regions."
"Now, that I do not know. Let us hope we can find a solution." Realizing money alone might fail to solve the
problem, the oriental man turned his mind to other concerns as they awaited the arrival of their friend.
Meanwhile, in the village, a visitor had arrived who they had seen regularly in their marketplace since the previous
winter, yet no one knew the secret of the strikingly beautiful youth known as Duo.
A long chestnut braid trailed down his back and the young man had unusually large and almost luminescent violet
eyes, he smiled whenever he was in town, happy to be around others even if they were humans who might have
taken advantage of him had they known his true identity. Sadly, there were those who would have taken
advantage of him anyway, but Lord Wufei had sent out word that no one visiting their village was to be harmed in
any way or the culprits would face him.
This proclamation had been issued one unfortunate week a single fortnight past the winter solstice.
That long ago afternoon some unknown bandits from the hills had come into town disguising themselves as simple
travelers. They had robbed several of the village merchants and had captured several attractive young men and
women in the hopes of selling them into slavery much as what had happened to poor Quatre years before.
Wufei himself had been in the market that day, preparing for a visitor, and many were surprised to discover the
peaceful and kind nobleman was also a skilled and deadly swordsman. Pulling what many had assumed to be a
purely decorative sword from a richly inlaid scabbard, he had fiercely attacked the bandits. He dispatched them
easily, and returned the stolen property to its owners. The nobleman had also made certain that those whom the
men had planned to exploit were returned to their homes.
Everyone was surprised when they realized the handsome violet-eyed stranger, whom they had seen only once
before, did not appear to live within the village's borders. The youth had been injured by the bandits and had fallen
unconscious. Lord Wufei, though not officially responsible for the village, took care of all of those who lived there,
and insisted the boy be brought to his home for care until he was well enough to go back to wherever he lived.
The manor's physician had cared for the injured boy, then had left orders for him to be allowed to sleep as long as
he needed to do so.