Ned grew into a quiet young man and kept a low profile in the village. Harry Snookington never spoke to him, but Ned was always met with kind eyes wherever he saw Harry or Lord Snookington. Every now and then, Ned saw Gobba Gronk and his hateful stares. He knew there could be trouble from that direction and decided to keep his distance. But Ned’s mild demeanour disguised the burning vengeance in his heart. He was not the sort of person to let it go when he was wronged. The Malaxians had subjected him to a death march, sold him as a slave, hunted him down and killed his family. Ned honed his swordsmanship alone in the forest, but his desire for vengeance against sworn enemies remained unfulfilled.
Over the years, outlaws left the forest and little more was heard of the Malaxians. An uneasy peace descended over the Realm and order returned once again. People settled back into their everyday lives. The few focussed on making money while the rest strived to put food on the table. Lord Snookington was a fair governor and owned enough land to accumulate vast wealth. Ned still lived in his modest hut and earned just enough to eat. But the tranquility contrasted his feelings. The young man was damaged inside and defensive whenever he met other people. And it was a sad day when his trusted companion, Skar, died. Ned buried his little white dog in a shallow grave next to his family and marked it with a sturdy oak branch. He was now all alone in the world. And his thoughts of Krea were at odds with the need for retribution as she lived amongst the enemy.
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