It is late afternoon as you find yourselves waiting expectently in the dining hall for Darien – Kara’s mentor and your sponsor. The message said that he would be taking you home tomorrow at first light, but none of you can wait to hear news from home. You hear Darien coming down the hall, his twin half-crutches and leg braces making it impossible to move with the fluid grace elves are known for. Perhaps it is a trick of the light but as you first see him he seems older than you remember and profoundly tired as if he were carrying a great weight on his shoulders. Whatever is bothering him seems to lift away as he shuffles into the light and sees you waiting. A half smile barely has time to reach his eyes before Kara nearly knocks him over in ferocious bear hug.
After disentangling himself, regaining his composure and settling into a comfortable chair by the fireplace with a sigh of relief Darien looks into the shadows and tells them in a resigned voice “You may as well come out now”. Scraps, looking a little bashful, pops out and brightly pronounces “Hi guys! Did’ya miss me?” Scrap’s followup question of “By the way Darien, how long did you know I was behind you?” is almost drowned out by the hoots and hollers of welcome from his friends.
Burying his face in a hand, no one pays attention to Darien as he mutters softly “Gods save us from halflings and teenagers”.