Death & Rebirth
Delmar awoke to a sword at his throat; the sharp edge grazed him ever so slightly. The owner of the sword‘s eyes were wet and dark as if she didn’t get enough sleep.
“Whatever spell you cast undo it, NOW.”
“I didn’t cast a spell,” he said with all the calm he could muster trying not to move for the sake of getting his throat sliced.
“Liar! Give me a reason not to kill you where you lay.”
“I don’t believe in spells and magic remember?”
“That is not reason enough.”
“Did you ever wonder why you can’t remember anything before the H’enigh? Memories of your childhood or parents or where you grew up? They may be a reason for that.”
Her stance wavered slightly as if considering his words. She sheathed her sword and offered him a hand up, he took it and was pulled up with surprising strength.
It wasn’t until sometime later he gathered the courage to question her change of heart.
“Would you rather be dead?”
“Look, whomever you think I am is not who I am. Let’s just drop and find your princess. “
“Why did you become a bounty hunter?”
She shrugged. “What else would a former H’enigh do? Become a housewife?”
“Become a merchant or pirate?”
Her nose crinkled , looking up at the sky she squinted seeing a dragon flying overhead. Kiera puts her fingers in her mouth and whistles loudly.
Delmar cringed “What was that for?”
“How else am I going to get his attention?”
“I have no intentions being dinner. “
“He’s not going to eat you. “
The dragon did a graceful circle around them and landed in the clearing. Dark purple scales glinted in the sunlight as it tower high above them. She spoke to it in another tongue it made a chattering noise and blew smoke out of its nostrils.
After a few moments Kiera turned to Delmar,“Y’elt’s been following a group of krisna that just passed thru this way with Nyri and a blonde woman, they came from GoldenCity. They’re heading towards Hagemage.”
“ Isn’t Hagemage sacred?”
“The borderlands between Hagemage and Yor are a shelter for those who practice dark magic. More than likely they are being taken there. He’s offered to catch us up. “
The dragon lowered himself to the ground allowing them to climb on his back near his neck. Standing up slowly it sprung into the air with a mighty leap its wings beating fiercely. The wind whistled in Delmar’s ears as they soared through the air.
The dragon tilted slightly suddenly drawing Delmar’s attention to a clearing where several beings were gathered. He wanted to ask what was going on but a shrill shrieked froze the words in his throat. The noise belonged to a skeletal dragon as it called out a warning to the other beings on the ground. Soon there were several more dragons heading their way and arrows began to whizz by Kiera shouting in a foreign tongue at them. An arrow grazed his lower leg, the sheering pain cause him to clench his teeth before he could make a move to see how bad the damage was he noticed they were going to make a nose dive for the nearby lake.
“Hold your breath!” Kiera shouted just before they hit water.
It took him few moments or two to surface slightly disoriented his leg throbbing with pain, he lowered his head for a moment afraid that whatever it was would still be after them. Kiera’s head popped out of the water.
“What was that all about?”
“Something big is going on.”
Another head poked out of the water, it was a man whose black hair that was plastered to his face, he swept it away revealing odd colored eyes, “Sorry, there was no way to outrun them.”
“You’re a shape shifter?” He said in disbelief.
Kiera nudged him hard glaring at him.
Y’elt seemed to not notice.
“They’re afraid of the water?”
“Not afraid, can’t swim.”
“Nyri is there and so is your Seline.”
“How do we attack?”
“Ambush, it is the only way we will have a chance. Do not let them touch you or you will become one of them.”
“We need to get close as we can without them seeing us.”
They lept out of the bushes just as another group of two men and a woman from the opposite side did. Everyone paused for a moment forgetting their objective.
“Look out!” someone shouted.
The shriek of krisnas and sword clanging soon filled the air.
“Morishta!” a voice cut through the clanking of the swords a warrior was looking directly a woman who held a jagged dagger as she was just about to stab a blonde haired woman.
“Seline!” Delmar shouted
Aquil tackled Morishta knocking the dagger out her hand in the meantime Delmar freed Seline
“Are you ok?” He asked nearly hugging her.
“ I think so,” she asked dazed,” Where am I?”
He pulled her away from an advancing krisna.
“We’ll catch up later.”
Morishta hissed in anger holding her wrist as though injured but retreated along with the krisna.
Introductions were made and they broke off into smaller groups.
Adra began sprinkling powder around the area to make a protective circle.
Seline found herself drawn to the mage, unable to stop herself from walking closer. The words the mage uttered a moment ago were unfamiliar to her but now she understood with perfect clarity.
The woman paused for a moment to get more of the purple powder form the pouch tied to her waist.
Seline smiled an otherworldly smile and said in a voice not her own, “It is good to know that my followers still believe.”
“What needs to be done my goddess?” Adra knelt, bowing her head before the blonde woman
“Stand up my child, do not kneel before me. You have heard my call and tended to those in need that is all that I can ask of you. There is much work to be done before dusk as they will be returning.”
“I thought we defeated them?” Aquil piped in.
“Surely you did not think a servant of Signess would slip quietly into the night? No, they are gathering their forces as we speak. The darkest hour lays ahead. Grim decisions must now be made.”
Seline turned her eyes resting them on the Rothous warrior.
“What must I do Goddess?”
“You are the only thing that keeps her bound to this world. If she turns completely all hope will be lost.”
He looked at her eyes and in it he saw the answer, the only thing he could do to save her.
“Now is the time to ask her.” Delmar encouraged as Nyri and Y’elt walked out of earshot.
They walked up to Nyri who leaned slightly against a nearby tree. Y’elt stood beside her looking uneasy.
“What happened to my memories?”
“I took them.”
“You have no right to take them.”
In a flash Kiera had unsheathed her sword and had it at woman’s throat. Nyri’s eyes reflected slight amusement.
“Would you have preferred death? If you kill me they will be gone forever. “
“Give them back. “
“Is this really what you want? “Y’elt questioned
She glared at him, “You knew?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“It was not my place to tell you.”
“So you let her tell you what to do now?”
He ignored the insult “It was for your own good.”
“How could you? I trusted you.”
“You were nearly dead when we found you. Nyri’s only choice was to kill you so that krisna would not claim you.”
“How am I to believe you now?”
Y’elt turned to Nyri who shrugged, “I can give them back to you, if that is what you want.”
Nyri grabbed Kiera suddenly by the wrists and began to chant. The writing on the H’enigh’s arms came to life moving slowly as though a snake twisting and slithering to Kiera’s arms. The smell of burning flesh invaded the air, Delmar turned his head trying not to gag. When he turned back he saw the bounty hunter on her knees before the native.
“That’s enough Nyri.” Y’elt said concerned for both women.
She ignored him, cowering over the now crying Kiera,” Is this too much for you? You wanted it back you will have all of the pain and anguish that was that night.”
A smile crept upon her lips causing Delmar’s blood to run cold it was a smile of pure evil. The black snake like creatures fell off of Kiera’s arms and slithered back to Nyri crawling up her boots. A shiver went down Delmar’s spine.
Kiera got up uneasily and ran, Delmar followed her not wanting to spend a moment longer in the native’s presence.