Ramava Beaumontesi felt free, enjoying the wind fingering through his long black hair as he hung around the driver's waist that maneuvered the motorcycle he rode upon. He giggled, savoring the shaggy strands of the motorcyclist's red hair blowing freely against him. Nestling closer, the motorcyclist grinned, leaning back into Ramava, taking in his warmth. He pushed up his mirrored sunglasses that threatened to fall off his nose and Ramava sighed contently, enjoying his driver's cologne. He glanced around, admiring the lights of the nighttime city that passed by them as a blur of colors while they sped along the highway.
"Having fun, aren't we?" the motorcyclist called over the rush of air. Ramava smiled and his driver hunkered down, increasing his speed as he whizzed beyond other cars on the road, darting in and out of the lanes.
Suddenly, Ramava felt chilled though the evening air was overly warm. He looked up and around, spotting swiftly moving shadows darting around them. Ramava held in his breath, overwhelmed by fear welling within as hissing voices spoke to him.
"He is the one we want..."
"Yes, he's the one we're after..."
"Such a lovely soul... so powerful..."
"Yes... surrender to us..."
Ramava let out a cry as a winged warrior in golden scale armor materialized near them, wielding a flaming sword in one hand and a large bronze tower shield in the other, sprinting forward and cutting through the shadows that came at them. A looming van appeared ahead on the road, its tires skidding as it spun out of control, heading onto their lane.
"Watch out!" Ramava screamed and the motorcyclist quickly darted out of the way, only to come onto the path of a jack-knifing tractor-trailer.
"Oh, God!" the motorcyclist cried and quickly leaned to the side to force the cycle to circle around. The skidding trailer rammed into the guard railing, while the front cab smashed into the cycle head-on, throwing both Ramava and his driver into the air before striking the pavement.
Ramava rolled with the fall, striking the curb as shards of glass and splintered metal auto parts rained around him. He slowly staggered to his feet and looked down at his hands as he shook in fear, suddenly overcome with sudden illness.
"This can't be happening again," Ramava thought as the shadows approached him. "I'm not hurt and yet..."
"Come to us..." hissed the dark voices.
"I'm not going with you!" Ramava shouted. "Leave me alone!" The swirling shadows leaped forward, tackling him down and he struggled, trying to go for his pockets for the talisman that he had tucked within.
"There is no use calling for your power now..."
"You are too weak against us!"
"You will join us... or die!"
Ramava let out a scream as pain quickly consumed him and he fell forward onto his knees, weakened. Sensing a gentle hand on his shoulder, Ramava glanced up to spot the motorcyclist standing over him, bloodied and holding his broken arm close to his body.
"Are you alright?" he asked softly. Ramava nodded and stood to his feet with ease.
"I should ask you the same..."
"I'm not sure..." Ramava gasped as the winged warrior with the flaming sword stood nearby, pacing.
"Hey, why are you here?" he called. The fighter shook his head and vanished. Ramava ran to where he once stood and stopped dead in his tracks, staring down at the motorcyclist that lay on the ground in a pool of his own blood, surrounded by crashed glass and metal shards. "No!" he cried, dropping down by his side.
"Oh my God..." the young man wailed. "That can't be me!" Ramava looked up to find the motorcyclist standing over him, horrified and his form became more washed out as he panicked.
"Calm down or you won't be able to go back to it!" Ramava reprimanded.
"Oh my God, oh my God..." the motorcyclist moaned, falling to his knees. "It hurts...! For the love of God, make the pain stop..." Ramava put an arm over his shoulders, pulling him close.
"I know," he murmured.
"It'll be alright..." Ramava shut his eyes, hearing sirens wail in the distance. "You'll wake up and the pain will stop."
"Come with me..."
"I'll be here." The motorcyclist vanished from his touch and Ramava looked down at the body that lay before him, unmoving. He pushed against his shoulder, turning him onto his back and clenched his teeth, noticing the cyclist's pewter pendant had worked out of his collar. Ramava touched the pendant that depicted two swords crossed against each other, wrapped with copper wire. "I'm so sorry, Daiwon," he murmured. Pulling away, he reached into his own shirt, pulling out the chain from around his neck. Giving it a firm yank, Ramava snapped the silver rope chain and glared down at the two pendants that he held in hand: a hematite sword and a pewter staff. "This can't be happening again," he thought in disgust as the wail of the sirens came closer Ramava let out a distressed cry, chucking the chain and its charms over the overpass's railing, sending it falling to the street below. He put his hands on his knees, fighting the urge to cry as he leaned forward, clenching his teeth. Feeling a firm hand to his shoulder, Ramava turned and looked up, finding no one there.
Later at the hospital, Ramava entered the room where the motorcyclist Daiwon stayed in, feeling relief when he found him sitting up, reading a heavy hardback book. Daiwon, in bandages that covered his chest and around his head, brightened once he glanced up and spotted Ramava.
"Hey, my special friend returns," he said brightly, placing the book aside.
"That was very harrowing, Daiwon," Ramava murmured as he approached the side of the bed.
"I'm just happy that you're not hurt," Daiwon said cheerfully.
"It's disgusting," Ramava thought angrily. "I don't have one scratch on me and look at you!" He sighed heavily. "It looks like you won't able to go out riding any time soon," Ramava said instead.
"Yeah, my arm's in a cast, it looks like..."
"Look, Daiwon," Ramava muttered. "I can't be your friend anymore." Daiwon raised an eyebrow.
"What do you mean?" he cried.
"I thought you'd be safe because you're the son of a high priest..." Daiwon laughed weakly.
"Look, I'm not bulletproof because my dad's the high priest!" Daiwon grinned. "Besides, look at it this way, I came out a little banged up with a lesson: wear my helmet!" Ramava shook his head.
"It's okay, Ramava, really!"
"I wouldn't want to worship a god that's tough on his followers..." Ramava murmured.
"I'm so sorry, Daiwon," he replied hurriedly. Daiwon blew a raspberry in response.
"You act as if this was your fault!" he complained. "You didn't tell me not to put on my helmet. You didn't hide it from me or hold me at gunpoint..."
"Please, stop!" Ramava snapped. "This isn't funny!"
"There's always a lesson that God wants us to know..."
"Stop it with this God business, Daiwon!" Ramava exploded. "It's nothing but nonsense anyway!" Daiwon appeared crushed and clenched his teeth, speechless. Ramava gripped the railing of the bed, shaking in fear and anger. "I shouldn't have let you become my friend! I should have kept my distance from you!"
"Why...?" Daiwon fussed. "You're so nice and kind; you make a great friend!" He blew a disgruntled sigh. "You can be so irrational sometimes. Why act like this is your fault?"
"Because it is!" Ramava yelled. Daiwon held out his good hand, taking Ramava's hand in his own.
"Then pray with me," Daiwon said softly. "Pray with me so that God will watch over you and protect you..."
"I wish it were that easy," Ramava thought, squeezing his hand firmly as Daiwon recited a prayer. He shut his eyes, feeling tears stream down his face. "All my prayers have gone unanswered... This God mess is so overrated..."
"Will you be alright, Ramava?" Daiwon asked gently when Ramava pulled away, wiping at his eyes with the palms of his hands.
"No, Daiwon," Ramava moaned. "I'll never be alright."
"What do you mean?"
"Don't you get it?" Ramava stepped away from the bed. "I need to be left alone, for your safety more so than mine!"
"I don't understand..."
"I just don't want to hurt anyone else." Ramava clenched his hands. "You can't change my mind, Daiwon!"
"God will take care of it," Daiwon said assuredly.
"Damn it, Daiwon!" Ramava screeched. "I thought that if I went to church all the time and said all the prayers, the whole string of them... I thought for sure that the pain would stop!" Ramava gripped his long hair in hand, resisting the urge to yank it out. "The pain never stops, Daiwon! I thought if I became a Councilman, or a Templar or whatever, it would finally go away..."
"You just need more faith," Daiwon said quietly.
"By Donato, Daiwon! Is that all you can say?" Ramava screamed. "I'm cursed! Just admit it, Daiwon... I'm cursed..." Ramava turned away, shaking as tears streamed down his face full force. "I'm so possessed by such bad medicine that even the gods, even your god, has abandoned me!"
"It will get better, Ramava!" Daiwon protested. "Don't let your spirit waver under the pressure! The Devil's just toying with you, trying to weaken your resolve!"
"Goodbye, Daiwon," Ramava muttered and stormed out of the room.