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  1. As we sailed to pick up our kin from the north, I pondered my position. I was on the eve of my first real battle. Sure, I had fought, but I had never fought to the death. But this would be my revenge, I told myself. Revenge for my father. There was our northern kin. In the battle party was Rex Thorhammer, two raiders I didn't know, and an archer. Looking closer, I realized the archer was a girl. And the girl was quite pretty. Then Brandr Eraksson broke through my thoughts. “If you don't mind the shoreline, Logan, we're going to run aground.” After we loaded the war party on, Wulf and Rex went to the cabin to discuss the raid, leaving me in charge of the tiller. As I held it firmly, surveying the sea, the girl came up to the deck. “So you're Wulf's first mate,” she said. “Yes,” I replied. I felt the need to say something, but I felt an even greater need to not look like an idiot. She sensed my inner struggle, and answered the question on the tip of my tongue. “I'm Lydia, by the way.” “Good to meet you, Lydia.” Well, at least I could string a few words together. I didn't exactly have much experience talking to girls. “My name is Logan Fleetfoot.” “Why fleetfoot?” Here, at least, was a question that I could answer. “Well, back in Skaljarik, when we go bear hunting, I was named fleetfoot for my ability to move around the wood without making noise. It's a skill that has helped a lot.” “I'll bet.” We went on talking, right up until we reached the Nocturnian coast. I was shocked. It was at least a 8 hour voyage, even with a triangular sail. I was just as surprised to learn that I enjoyed talking to Lydia. I wondered idly how many such raids she had been on. I eventually asked her. “This is my first time,” she told me. “You?” “This is my first as well. It's not the same, is it?” “No, I should think not.” We had landed on the beach without much trouble. Having followed the river, we came upon the forces of the Black Spire. One was a dark knight, and all the rest were goblins and orcs. It was time for battle. As we began the fight, I quickly noted that I could defeat the goblins fairly easily. I wrote it down to that the goblins were poor fighters. But the truth was it was my own skill. I was a competent ax man, but where I came from, competent was the equivalent of “Skilled and highly dangerous”. We had gone through the goblin ranks like a knife through hot butter, and I had come upon a farmer. Well, if he fought, thus be it. He would die. But he didn't fight. He begged me, “Northerner, I have a family. A wife, children. Have mercy.” Now I had started a quest for revenge upon those responsible for my father's death. In the background, Wulf ordered, “Kill him.” I started, but then stopped. My anger was because raiders had taken my father from me. I would not visit the same punishment on some poor farmer's family. I murmered under my breath to the farmer, “run”. Then I turned to Wulf. “No. I will not kill him.” Wulf glared at me. “He's the enemy,” he almost shouted at me. “My father was taken from me,” I started. “And there is a hole in my heart for him that will never be replaced. I will not visit that punishment on some poor Nocturnian farmer's family.” Wulf, with an enormous effort, mastered his anger. Together, we tuned back to the Black Knight. Wulf let out an enormous roar, and swung his ax in a murderous side-stroke. My ax kept the sword at bay. Wulf's ax hit the bewitched horse head on, and it fell. The Black Knight rose, and shouted, while running in the opposite direction, “You'll pay for this, Wulf Stormbreaker.” As we walked back to the ship, Wulf pulled me aside. “Why the devil did you defy me?” I wanted to say nerves, but I decided avoiding the truth was a bad idea. “Because it would have been wrong.” “Wrong? His people killed your father!” “But not him. Every day, I feel the loss of my father,” I continued, gathering resolve. “I will not visit that pain upon someone else. Otherwise, I'm no better then they are. I watched Wulf's anger slowly fade. I hoped I hadn't pushed him too far. Author's notes: So the story was a bit shorter then I wanted, but oh well. Builder's notes: The builds aren't as large as I would like, but school has been brutal. In any case, I hope you guys like it,