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“Brett?” A voice said from in front of him. He looked up from the fire and his eye took a few seconds to adjust to the darkness. It was Mary-Kate, coming to talk to him.

“Hello again. What can I do for you?” Brett said, smiling warmly at her.

“All I need is a person to talk too and listen.” Mary-Kate said as she sat down beside him. She had been crying which was the cause for her reddened eyes. He put him arm around her and she leaned her head on his chest as they both looked at the fire burning in front of them.

“That’s what I’m here for.” He answered while stroking her hair.

“I’ve talked to Marc-Andre and Ashley and they seem to both be handling this fairly well. Marc-Andre is comforting Ashley and is hard at work trying to think up a plan to get thing kingdom back and what kingdoms to ally with.” Mary-Kate told him, “It’s just that…” she paused, “I can’t be as optimistic about this as they are.” She said as a tear rolled down her face.

Brett gave her a small hug and kissed her on the head. “It’s ok Mary-Kate. There isn’t anything optimistic about this. This is a lot to take in for such a short time passing. It’s ok to be afraid, it’s ok to cry and it’s definitely ok to share it with others. You are a very strong person and you should be proud. You are willing to put on a brave face to help your friends in this time of need. All we can do is take things one step at a time.”

Both of them just sat there watching the fire and enjoying the calm summer’s night. The air was cool and there was a light breeze. The fire gave comforting warmth and it’s soft glow lit up the trees around them.

When Brett looked back down to Mary-Kate, he noticed that she had fallen asleep. Part of him wished that the night could go on forever. He looked up at the stars as Marc-Andre came to sit down.

“Ashley is asleep,” he started, “and I see Mary-Kate I too.” He smiled glancing down at the sleeping girl. “To be honest, Brett, I don’t think we will be able to get Arcadia back. We just don’t have the resources for a war nor for an alliance.” Marc-Andre confessed.

“You forget about our army being on scouting missions. If we can track them down, we will be able to have them behind us and, hopefully, get a kingdom to aid us.” Brett said.

Marc-Andre looked at Mary-Kate to make sure she was really asleep. This action both puzzled and worried Brett as to what Marc-Andre was going to say next. He had an idea, but didn’t want to think about it in fear that he was worrying for nothing.

“I got a report two days ago about our armies being decimated by an unknown force.” Marc-Andre said, ashamed that he didn’t bring Brett in on it earlier.

“Although I don’t know why you didn’t tell me, arguing about it now will only make the situation worse. We need to concentrate on getting Arcadia back.” Brett said. “In the morning, we should travel to a kingdom to try to form an alliance. Any ideas?”

“Actually, I do have an idea. We can try to talk to the Hresnan kingdom.” Marc-Andre suggested.

“It’s worth a try.” Brett agreed. Mary-Kate shivered a bit due to the fire dying out. Marc-Andre went to get more firewood to get the fire started again. “We had better get some sleep.”

Marc-Andre nodded while putting wood into the resurrected flame. He went to lie down near the fire, close to his sister Ashley and fell asleep. Brett looked around at Ashley, Marc-Andre and then to Mary-Kate. He smiled and joined his friends in dreamland.

As time went on, the fire slowly calmed down and burnt itself out as the sun was rising. The air was fresh and cool; the grass was wet as the morning mist hovered above the fields and through the trees.

The group woke up to the songs of birds signing a welcome to the sun. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. They all stretched their arms and legs to get rid of the morning numbness. Brett went out to find food while Marc-Andre stayed with Ashley and Mary-Kate to plan their trek to the kingdom of Hresna.

Chapter 6
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