Salis' Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium


End of the Arc.

Chapter 13 (v.1) - Eternal haze in the eternal day

Submitted: August 31, 2019

Reads: 15

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Submitted: August 31, 2019

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Helnion was sitting in Salis' usual spot. Ever since Salis had been taken she had sat here and watched, hoping her friend would come down one of the paths.

"So you are still sitting here." Perrinu said, sitting down next to Helnion.

Helnion glanced at Perrinu and then at the entourage and other men that had followed Perrinu.

"I wonder which of these paths Salis will be walking down whe she frees herself."

"Salis will be jumping from rock to rock." Helnion said.

Perrinu laughed lightly. "Yes, I suppose you are right." Perrinu's expression saddened. "If she can get past those powerful men Martu mentioned…"

Helnion looked at Perrinu again. "No need to worry."

"I know, but even the men I have helped leave this place over the last few days has not helped my sadness."

Helnion had been a little curious about how and why they left but she had let other things distract her.

"Try taking lessons from Martu." Helnion said, a scowl appearing on her face at the memories of Martu's increased training that had come after Salis' capture.

I do not think so." Perrinu looked just as disgusted with the thought as Helnion felt. "I have seen how hard Martu has been driving you these past few days."

"I hate training with the sword and bow."

"Yes, I can see why. Your body does not seem to like doing that kind of thing."

Helnion nodded in agreement .Her body still refused to do anything exactly the way Salis and Martu had been trying to teach her and her rich background had meant letting servants do everything that required much work so physically demanding things were foreign to her.

She knew that her problem was that she needed to concentrate more on the things she was doing but life seemed much more pleasant if you did not worry about one thing for too long. A part of her had wished that she had been pushed harder when she was younger. Maybe if she had she would not have been as bad as she was now.

The one thing she did regret now that she had had so much time to think these past few… months? Was that she had never tried hard to make friends. Before she met Salis she had thought having no friends was fine, but now that she had one true friend in Salis and was now getting close to Perrinu she realized how much more fun life was when you did things with someone else.

She knew how lucky she had been getting that cute little white haired girl as her friend. She knew Salis hated being around people, maybe even hated people in general so becoming her friend in of itself meant much to her. Of all the people Salis chose to be her friend it had been her.

Helnion did not quite know exactly what Salis thought of her but she did not care. Neither of them were talkers so it was not surprising. On the other hand it was probably one of the reasons they had become friends.

Over the time that the two had been friends Helnion thought that she had changed for the better. Her grades had gone up in math and even her other classes. Salis had not liked teaching much but she was good at it, or at least Helnion thought so.

Salis had also helped her in other ways. The biggest one had been that she was better at concentrating. Aside from Concentration Mode, she found that her mind wandered less now and she got more done than before.

While some of her improvement had been during their year at school, scheming their next project, this place had helped even more, there being less distractions. Her training with swords and moving the stones had done it or so she thought. While Salis trained she had forced herself to watch her every move.

Now that Salis was gone she found herself thinking more and more. At first she thought about saving her but Martu and Perrinu had stopped that plan and now she often found herself thinking about the past.

She thought about all of the fun things they had done together, like she had dozens of time in this place but now she found herself thinking about her family more.

This was because when she had first come she had had dreams about her family. This was not unusual so she never paid much attention to them, but now she found herself wondering how they were doing. If they were still looking for her.

"What are you thinking about?" Perrinu asked.

"My family."

"Do you mind if you tell me about them. I have been meaning to ask you for a while now but have been so busy lately…"

Helnion nodded.

"Papa travels a lot at Flae or inspecting our land and Mama is usually with him or her friends."

"So you do not get to see your parents much?"

Helnion shook her head.

"Oh." Perrinu said. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

Helnion nodded. "Two big brothers and a younger brother and sister."

"What are they like?"

"Big Brother Ata is always gone at school in Flae training to take over for Papa so he is always gone but NiNi always played with me and he would take me to forests to explore."

"NiNi?" Perrinu looked confused at the name.

"Big Brother Nie." Helnion had forgotted to use her brother's real name.

Perrinu smiled. "What a cute nickname."

"He calls me Helny."

"Helny? That is cute too. Maybe I should use it too."

Helnion scoweled.

Perrinu laughed. "Okay. So only Nie can call you that."

"Yes."

"What of your little sister?"

"Miro is too young for me to play with."

"Oh? How old is she?"

Helnion thought. It had been over a year since she had seen her little sister so… "I think she should be six by now."

"Oh wow. I wish I had had a little sister."

Helnion had expected Perrinu to get a lonely look in her eyes at the mention of her family but she kept smiling.

"What about your little brother? Were you close to him?"

Helnion shook her head. "He thinks girls are gross."

Perrinu laughed. "I have always wondered why so many boys think that way."

Helnion began to feel a great sadness now that she was thinking of her family. She thought about many “what ifs.” She wondered what it was like to be in a family where you saw your parents and siblings every day. A family where the only interaction a child had was not with just servants and tutors.

"Is something wrong?" Perrinu said.

Helnion shook her head. She did not want to put her worries on Perrinu when she already had so many of her own as well as the gross looking men.

Helnion did have one thing to make her happy because in a way Salis had become her family. Salis liked her for who she was. Salis even, in her own way, had helped her with her problems. She knew she would not admit to helping her but it was one of the things she had noticed.

Now Salis was gone. Was she even alive? Helnion knew in her gut that she was alive and fine, she just wished that there was something she could do. Salis had done so much for her and now Helnion wanted to do what she could and help her friend. For now all she could do was train, no matter how bad she was or how much she hated it. If it meant helping save her she would do it.

Helnion stood up and stretched. Martu and Perrinu were all she saw now. Martu's training was long and hard but it was something she would do. She hoped that she would soon be good enough to go with the rescue party they were planning. She needed to show him that she could handle herself.

"Do you know when Martu wants to do another rescue?" Helnion asked Perrinu.

Perrinu shook her head. "Martu and the others are still trying to find out how to fight off those strong men as well as trying to convince more men to join them in the attack."

Helnion looked at the men gathered just far enough away to not get attacked by whoever was Perrinu's bodyguard at the moment.

Perrinu sighed. "I did not realize how much they hated Salis. Many of them will not even do it if I ask."

“Are you going to see Martu?” Perrinu said after a moment.

Helnion nodded.

“Can you tell him I want to see him after your training? I want you to come too.”

Helnion watched Perrinu for a moment before starting her walk to where Martu would be waiting. She hoped that the meeting would be about rescuing Salis.

 

 



 

* * *


 

The training went as usual. Helnion had gotten better at not randomly dropping the sword and, while she had improved significantly, she was still clumsy when compared to Salis. Even Martu without a sword easily bested her. She just hoped she had improved enough to make it through a fight without getting hurt. Most of the men here were untrained but they had numbers so she worried.

If anything, the training certainly had improved her athletic ability. At first she had a hard time breathing in this place and just walking tired her. Now she could run and leap from rock to rock almost as well as Salis, providing she did not slip or trip on something.

Helnion soon found herself in the meeting place that Perrinu and Martu would be waiting. The meeting place was just outside The Inner Sanctum and was a large circle surrounded by stones, had many rows of stone benches, and a scattering of rock “chairs” that had been used when they ran out of rocks that were the right size for benches. This was also the one place in the Rock City, as she like to call the field of rocks they now lived in, that Salis refused to come.

Right now there were only a few people in the meeting place. Perrinu and Martu were here, of course, but there were several others as well. These others were those that, from what Helnion could tell, had been some sort of leaders before they had died and had now found themselves in the same position here and helped maintain order or whatever leaders did. They were also all good fighters too.

There was one last man in the group, called Bug by Salis and Ernon by Perrinu. Unlike the others he had nothing to contribute to a meeting where one planned war stuff like this. Normally Helnion thought that a man like this would not have even been invited to the meeting. He actually probably never did get invited and had just come.

Still, everyone ignored him because they were so used to seeing him as he followed Perrinu almost everywhere she went.

He did not talk much so no one really knew what went on in his head but there were two things obvious about him. The first was that he saw Perrinu as almost a god and was almost always constantly groveling at her feet.

Perrinu had at first tried to convince him to stop and that she was just a normal person that did not deserve such attention just because she was trying to help but that did not work so she, and everyone else, had given up and let him do what he wanted.

The second thing that everyone knew about Bug was that he hated Salis. No one knew all the reasons why, but Helnion knew one was the fact that he was one of the several that had been killed repeatedly at that one time at the pool of black watery stuff and he remembered it. It was that or he was jealous of how Perrinu gave Salis more attention than him.

Helnion still bet on the killing thing.

Thinking about this reminded Helnion about the time when Bug had kept attacking Salis and had finally been killed by an annoyed Salis. Perrinu had scolded Salis but Salis simply walked off and disappeared for a few hours.

Perrinu had become worried because she had seen neither for a long time. It was normal for Salis to go missing for hours on end but it was unusual for Bug to be away from Perrinu for so long. So Perrinu had gone off to see what was wrong. Helnion had alos went to look for Salis, suspicious that she was of to something and wanted to watch.

Helnion had found Salis at the outskirts of the Rock City after asking a few of the men. She was sitting on a rock with her bow out. Helnion said nothing and sat on a rock nearby and watched, wondering what the other was up to.

A while later Salis readied an arrow. Helnion looked to see what she was going to shoot and saw a silhouette slowly growing in the haze. From the shambling gait Helnion had a pretty good idea who it was. It was probably Bug and Salis intended to shoot him, probably for a third or fourth time considering how much time had passed.

Before too long it was obvious it was Bug. With that broken leg at an odd angle and the gash on his stomach there was no way it was not Bug. The poor man was obviously enraged. Despite being obviously out of breath he was moving as fast as he could towards Salis, who watched and waited.

Helnion knew what the result was going to be and it would not be good for Bug. If Salis had been showing emotion on her face right now she bet Salis would be grinning in anticipation of the kill to come. Well, maybe. The girl's emotions were still a little bit of a mystery even after being with her all this time so she could not be too sure.

Bug had gotten within ten paces of Salis when it happened. In an instant she had readied the bow a fired. The arrow lodged right in Bug's chest and an instant later he collapsed into a pile of dust, right next to three other fresh piles.

So he had been killed three times before Helnion had come.

Helnion had expected Salis to sit back down on her rock but she instead stood up, grabbed the arrow she had shot, and then headed back inside Rock City.

Helnion followed her, having no reason to stay, and soon found herself in the Inner Sanctum eating a meal with her friend as if nothing had happened.

Perrinu never found out that Salis had been shooting Bug like that. There was no way no one else had not seen Salis doing what she had done with how many aimlessly walked around everywhere but no one brought it up. No one really talked very much anyways, probably because not very many people knew the same language or they just had nothing to say.

The only clue that said that others had seen her shooting Bug was that a new nickname for Salis began circulating after that. It was “Bug Killer.”

To that she simply replied, “How simple. “Bug Exterminator” would have been much better.”

She never did mention it again because the men had already given her several other nicknames. Most of them involved the word demon, emotionless, and killer in the various languages.

Salis almost seemed proud of this.

In time as the men grew used to her and she got attacked less by random men, therefore killing less, the mutual hate had lessened and the name calling with it. The only problem was that this had made her become more restless. When she was not training she would often go out for long periods of time. Helnion did not know exactly what she did when she was gone because she could not keep up. She just hoped it was not hunting.

The months had passed like this until Salis' capture. Her aimless wandering had led to the current situation. Helnion just hoped it would turn out well and that her friend would be rescued without too much trouble. She did not expect it to, unfortunately.

So now here she was. At a meeting to see how to rescue her friend.

None of the men at the meeting spoke the same language so there was not too much talking going on. They had decided to all learn Perrinu's language and she had gladly agreed to it but it had turned out to be much harder than they had thought as the magic translator that Usui had given her translated everything she said into their languages and so she ended up having to teach them her alphabet and then going from there.

This had made some progress and the men could say basic things to each other. Helnion was sure they would have known a lot more now but Perrinu had discovered how to make the men disappear and had devoted most of her time to that now. She wondered how big of a problem this would make the meeting.

Helnion had been the last one to arrive. Everyone saw her and as soon as she sat down Perrinu stood up from her rock and and started speaking.

“I have called you all here so we can make a plan on how to rescue Salis.” Everyone nodded but not all looked like they really cared. “I asked you all after the first rescue attempt to think of any ideas.”

Perrinu then repeated the message more simply for those that still did not understand and when she had done this the planning began.

 



 

* * *


 

I was no longer tied up. Over the last few days I had managed to negotiate with the men that had captured me. I had yet to see the actual leader of this group of men and had only seen Boss Man, who wasn't actually the boss, but who cares that's what his name was now.

What did I negotiate you ask? It was simple really and sounded like a good way to relieve my boredom so I had agreed easily.

I was to help them test out the so called berserkers that had foiled my rescue. I don't know why they wanted me to help with this and Boss Man even didn't know why his master wanted me either but it was fine by me, however; I did make it a point that Perrinu and Helnion wouldn't be injured or targeted. To which they agreed but made no promises if they got too close to the berserkers.

I would soon be free from this place if Boss Man's master kept his promise and took me back to Calorin. I knew Perrinu would probably hate me for doing this but this place was so boring that her anger was worth it to me. I was also still having those dreams about my childhood and I would be glad to have those gone too and if all went as planned I would only have to endure them for one or two more nights.

I was getting pretty tired so as soon as Boss Man let me go for the day I decided to get sleep. I still hadn't figured out why I had been able to go so long without getting any sleep and now I did but that was a question for another day. For now I just had to endure another night of dreams about my past.

 



 

* * *


 

As my dreams had come closer to the present they had become to become longer and the time between memories were becoming much closer together. The images had also become more clear and occasionally I could hear what was going on. I had also begun to hear bits and pieces of what my past self was thinking at the time.

The memory I found myself looking at was of a scene of me in my first year of high school. I was in the classroom of my next class studying. Most of the other students were busy socializing and other such things that high school kids did during break.

Just then a rowdy bunch of boys entered the room. I watched as they goofed around and acted stupid and while I did my best to ignore them.

As the time for the next class drew near and the boys continued on I felt more and more annoyed and the expression on my face went from completely emotionless to slightly irritated and then to strained.

Fortunately for them and for me I have always had pretty good control of my emotions and I didn't snap at them.

The boys saw that too and one of them walked over to me. “Are we botherin' ya?”

I looked up from my book and politely said, “I would appreciate it if you would be a little quieter.”

He said my name, “Ya should open up a little and at least have a little fun. Studyin' all the time gets borin' don't it?”

“Perhaps, but playing all the time accomplishes nothing and making noise will not help my grades or my chances of getting into a university.”

“Come on studyin' is good an' all but you should enjoy life.”

“I happen to enjoy learning, and it is certainly more useful than playing all day.”

The chime for class to started to go off. “Ya used to be so much more fun when we were kids.” The boy says before leaving to take his seat.

I sighed and turned back to my books since the teacher hadn't arrived yet.

The scene changed.

I was now at home. My mother, my older sister, my little brother, and I were in the living room. My sister and I had just received our report cards and both of us had gotten straight A's.

“I'm so proud of you two.” My mother said happily.

“Wow. All A's again.” said my little brother in awe. “I'm going to do my best to catch up to you two.”

My poor brother. I don't know what it was like to have two genius older sisters as an example to follow and by no means was he dumb but because he hadn't gotten all A's like me and my sister, despite getting mostly A's and B's, I could tell sometimes that he did care that he wasn't at the point we were at his age.

Another scene change.

It was my sister's graduation. As a testament to how hard she had worked she had managed to graduate a year early, though to my pleasure she only got salutatorian. This meant I had a chance to beat her. If I could get valedictorian and be the top of my class it meant that maybe I was better than my sister.

All of these years in schooling I had done my best to do better than my sister. I had taken all of the hardest classes, studied late into the night, and had received tutoring on weekends.

Just like my sister.

My sister was just as competitive as I was and was doing her best to stay ahead of me. As it turned out we were both pretty equal, but an opportunity had just opened up for me to pass her.

The scene jumped again.

In fact the next few scenes went by quickly. They were also some of my most regrettable memories.

Many of these bad memories were of how I treated my brother. While we did play a lot as kids it was only because my sister had begun to focus more of her time on school and friends as did I when I got older.

It's kind of sad. While at first I was more than happy to have him as my playmate over time I became bored of playing with him. The reason was that he was not because he was unathletic, but because he wasn't able to keep up with me so I ended up becoming bored with him and eventually started to ignore him.

Unfortunately these memories were not the ones I regretted the most. While I had stopped playing with him it had just opened an opportunity for him to get more friends, which he did. He was sad that I had stopped playing with him but he had moved on.

The bad memories were when he aspired to catch up with his sisters academically. I guess seeing my older sister graduate so high in her class and me probably soon to follow made him not want to get left behind. Since my sister was busy getting ready for college he came to me. Sadly I told him I didn't have time to help him and that even if I did he wouldn't match up to me or my sister. He just wasn't capable.

Despite this he did try to do better in school. Over the next year his grades did improve but when he showed them to me to prove that he was capable of doing better I scoffed at the one B+ and A- and left. I don't know what the look on his face was because my dreams only showed me things from my perspective but it probably wasn't good.

The scenes jumped a few more times. Most of them were just more memories of my high school life and I soon neared my graduation. As I went farther and farther on I saw myself start caring less and less about people. I had no friends, nor did I want any. I never spent time with my family and when I did find myself with free time I simply read in my room.

When my sister left for college I found myself caring less and less about our "competition." Why did it matter how I looked to other people? Would it change anything if I was the top of my class?

In my senior year I found myself trying less hard to get the top spot. I still got all A's, my pride wouldn't allow anything less, but I stopped doing the things that would put me ahead of the others. I had gotten a full ride scholarship at a good college so why work harder than I had to?

I think my brother actually took it harder than I did when I failed to even get salutatorian. Despite all the times I had ignored him he was proud to have sisters that were among the best of their grade. Or maybe he was sad because he knew what I was capable of and hadn't taken advantage of all my abilities?

As the scenes jumped I knew that they would be nearing the end as I found myself at college. It would be my first and last year. It was an unremarkable year at that.

When I found myself home for summer after that year…

My head started to hurt. The dream stalled and began to fade in and out and my headache became steadily worse. As this happened I realized one thing. I didn't remember anything about this summer. It wasn't that I didn't want to I just couldn't.

Had this been when I came to Calorin? I couldn't remember. I just knew that something important happened here. It was as if there was a barrier keeping me away.

 

 



 

* * *


 

I woke up with a headache. It wasn't as bad as the one I had after I had hit my head but I still would rather not have one in the first place. So, in hopes of something to distract me from my headache as well as my memories my dreams had brought up, I got up and went to look for Boss Man.

"Salis!" Boss Man shouted to me as he saw me coming. "The Master has told me it is about time to attack. He said the Berserkers are ready to go and that we are waiting for your magic to be at a good place, whatever he means by that."

I knew perfectly well what Boss Man's master meant by my magic being at a good place. What scared me was that his master knew about my inability to control my magic power.

I decided that question could wait for later and raised my index finger. I soon had a decent sized flame being projected a few centimeters above my fingertip. I saw that it was a decent size and knew that my power was at a place where I could fight with it effectively. Thankfully my power seemed more stable here on Korron even if it never did reach my peak capacity.

"I'm good." I told Boss Man. "But I want my weapons back."

"Right! Your weapons. They will be given to you just before the battle starts."

I wasn't as concerned about the bow it could easily be replaced. It was the sword I wanted back. Fighting was also much more enjoyable with a sword or pole axe than a bow.

 



 

* * *


 

"Trouble!" Yelled a man Helnion did not recognize well.

"What is the problem?" Perrinu called to him in.

"There is a large group of men approaching this place."

Everyone in their right mind look at each other with concern.

"Could you estimate how many there were?" Perrinu asked.

"No, the dust is as thick as always, but it appears to be many."

"Quickly gather everyone that can fight." The messenger was told, before he left to do just that.

"Do you think it is the group that has Salis?" Perrinu asked the others.

"I would imagine so." Martu said. "They are the only other group I know of that could coordinate an attack like that."

Perrinu looked sad. "Why must things like this happen? I just want to help everyone here. Can they not see this?"

"Lady Perrinu, you know that most are not in the state of mind to think rationally."

"I know… I just wished…"

"Lady Perrinu." Martu said. "This might be the perfect opportunity to find and rescue Salis."

The other men nodded in agreement.

"You may be right." Perrinu said, still with sadness in her voice.

"We will need to find if they brought her with them or not." One of the men said.

"True," Martu said, "If they did not bring her with them then she is most likely not well guarded. Even if she is with them it should be easier to get to her if we can attack before they get into the cover of the rocks."

"What if she has joined them?" One of the men said.

"Yes, what if she has?" Another said.

"Sadly I can see her doing that." Martu said.

"If she has." Perrinu said looking a bit angry. "I will personally beat her up."

Everyone looked at her in surprise.

Martu laughed. "If it comes to that I will help you."

"We better move out." Someone said.

As for what Helnion thought of the situation. She didn't care. While she did want to be back together with Salis she didn't care what happened as long as that happened.

If Salis was fighting with the other side Helnion wanted to join them too. She would feel a little bad leaving Perrinu behind but she had not gotten nearly as close to her as she had with Salis since Perrinu spent most of her time helping the men disappear.

"Helnion." Perrinu called to her.

"Hm?" Helnion said, cocking her head to the side.

"You should stay here. It is not going to be safe."

Helnion did not reply to this. She wanted to see what was going to happen herself no matter what Perinu said, and if Salis was there she would join her as soon as she saw her.

 



 

* * *


 

Helnion made it to the growing group of men that were waiting for the attackers to come. She could not see the bad men very well because of the haze but she could tell there was a lot of them. No one was fighting yet, and they were just looking at each other.

A man from the bad group stepped out. "Let us know when you are ready to fight. I know two of you have those nifty translator bands as do I so if you want to talk a little while we wait…"

"What have you done with Salis?" Perrinu called out. "We have no wish to fight and I can even help you if given the chance, but her safety and safe return is our greatest wish and we will not hesitate to take her back."

The man laughed. "Do not worry about the Terran. She has been quite cooperative and we have had no need to do anything to harm her other than an unfortunate crack to the head, but if you want her back you WILL have to fight for her."

"Is there no other way?"

"None. We will be fighting no matter what you want."

Perrinu sat on a nearby rock and put her face in her hands.

"Ready!" Martu yelled.

This call made the men on both sides tense up.

Helnion was getting excited. She had never seen a battle before and did not know if she would ever have the chance to see another, so she boosted herself on top of the tallest rock she could see with her magic and sat down.

Up here, with the extra height and thinner haze, Helnion could see much farther. Despite this the men were still far enough away that she could not make out many details.

"Berserkers forward!" Someone from the bad man group yelled.

As soon as this was said a group of the bad men that had been separated from the rest charged forward. Helnion was amazed at their speed. They moved with inhuman speed and their passage threw huge amounts of the black sand into the air behind them, making the visibility even worse.

When this group of bad men reached her side she saw that they tore through the not so bad men that were waiting. It was brutal, even being unable to see many of the more gruesome details she could tell it was a slaughter. There were so many of the not so bad men being struck down that the plumes of black sand they left made the scene become almost invisible to her.

Now that she could not see what was going on with the fast bad men she turned to the area closest to her. Here she saw that the battle had started too but that it was not as one sided. She saw men from both sides, some wielding rocks and some not, tearing into each other.

For a second she though how gruesome this should have looked to her but it did not bother her in the slightest. There wasn't even any blood. As soon as one was struck down there was just more sand. Instead of bleeding only black sand came out. She had been here so long that it was completely normal to her now.

She had found Martu. He was moving through the bad men so easily that he made it look like he wasn't even trying and this was was just using his hands.

She saw him breaking necks as if they were chicken bones. His punches and kicks easily knocked his victim back and down so hard that they did not have enough time to recover before either he or someone else came and finished them off.

Martu was not the only one on her side that was moving through the enemy with ease. She saw that all of the men in the planning group earlier were doing just as well. She also saw a few other men she did not recognize fighting well.

She hoped she would get to see them fight the bad men that were now concealed in the thick black haze on the far side of the battle.

Strangely, Martu nor any of the other strong men were heading to the black haze where their help was obviously needed. She thought she remembered what they were planning to do during a battle like this but she had fallen half asleep during most meetings she had gone to.

"Lady Helnion!" Yelled a somewhat familiar man. "As much as I abhor the thought of making you fight, your magic skills are needed or our west line will surely fall."

Indeed Helnion knew how much of a help she could be in this battle. A simple boulder throw or a great burst of flame into the enemy would do a great deal of damage.

Helnion laid on her side and propped her head up. She did not want to leave her spot up here. If she participated she might miss something good on a different part of the battlefield.

"Lady Helnion, please!"

Perrinu walked up to the man. "Can you wait a little longer? I do not wish to see Helnion have to dirty her hands if we do not have to."

"Lady Perrinu!" The man said with shock and reverence. "Forgive me my Lady."

Perrinu nodded.

"I know Leader Ferls said to not ask for Lady Perrinu or Lady Helnion's help, but there is a savage group of men with inhuman speed and strength on the west line which we cannot defend against and Lady Helnion is the only one available that has any ability that might be able to stop them."

Perrinu looked grim.

"Helnion." She said and looked up. "Would you please help?"

Helnion pushed out her lower lip and pouted. She had finally gotten into a comfortable position and now she had to leave her nice vantage point?

She stood up. With Perrinu and the man distracting her she was not going to get to see much of the battle anyways.

"Thank you, Lady Helnion!" The man said, relieved. "The men we need you to attack are in that black cloud."

Helnion jumped from her rock and started to make her way to the ever approaching cloud of dust.

"Be safe." Perrinu called to her.



 

* * *


 

It actually surprised Helnion how close the black cloud had gotten and she did not have to go far. She could now even make out shapes through the front part of the cloud as it engulfed the not so bad men fighting for her side. She even saw one or two get torn apart.

Since she did not want to get close she decided that a long range attack was good. Thankfully there were plenty of rocks for her to throw and she had gotten really good at moving rocks despite her magic power being weaker here than on Calorin.

Helnion wanted to get this over quickly so she decided to pick up a big rock first in hopes she could take out more than one of the bad men at once. She quickly found a nice large rock and soon had it floating high into the air. She then flung it at the back cloud.

When the rock landed it sent a plume of dust higher into the air than anything else had by far. She could not tell if she had hit anyone but picked up another rock and then another. In less than a minute she had flung dozens of rocks and boulders. She still could not tell how much damage she had done but the black cloud, while having grown in size because of her attack, had stopped moving.

Nothing moved. The men on her side simply watched as the black cloud started to fade. The only sounds were of those coming from the battle far to her right and behind.

Someone yelled to her left. She saw movement and turned just in time to see several men, faces showing a thirst for blood, rushing towards her. She summoned as many rocks as quickly as she could and easily turned the men into piles of dust. Then out of the corner of her eye she saw something else move and then heard more men start shouting.

The black cloud had moved far enough for her to see several more men. They were lifting up rocks too big for any normal person without the use of magic and were throwing them at the men. Helnion picked most of the rocks out of the air and threw them back at the throwers.

Soon another black cloud had formed and she could no longer see anything inside, but no more rocks came flying out either so maybe they could not see either.

"Lady Helnion! Behind you!" She heard someone nearby shout.

Just as she turned around she saw one of the men come from where the earlier sneak attack had come. The man soon reached the rock she was standing on and jumped at her. Helnion tried to jump away but was not fast enough and the man grabbed her left ankle and with ease broke it.

Helnion screamed in pain. Through the pain she also felt as if a part of her was being absorbed by the hand that was crushing her ankle.

As soon as the man landed beside the boulder some of the men rushed forward to rescue her. This distracted the man holding her just long enough for her to raise her hand.

Flames shot from her raised hand. As the man was engulfed Helnion saw his body resisting the fire, but even still, turn to dust he did. Unfortunately for Helnion the man flung her as hard as he could towards the black cloud just before he turned to dust.

She landed hard, her breath getting knocked out of her and fear filling her even more as the realization that she could soon die came.

"Lady Helnion!" Several of the men shouted as they rushed to her.

But no sooner had they arrived when more of the crazed men of death came. Not only did they come from the cloud but more came from the direction that the sneak attack had been.

Helnion tried to stand up but only managed to prop herself up on her good leg. She did not know what to do. Her magic power was mostly still there but she could not move and could only look at so many places at once.

Without realizing it she had entered concentration mode. Despite becoming more aware of the pain in her leg and actually losing focus on the group of the crazed men of death coming from the area she had just been she knew what to do.

Looking towards the group coming from the black cloud she began to summon. She did not know how long it had been since she had summoned because of how much concentration it took, but it had worked because she soon saw a bear and several wolves materialize in front of her. Until she unsummoned them this was all the magic she could use so she had to do her best with this.

The men of death actually stopped. She did not know if they were confused or what but she took the opportunity to attack them. The bear and wolves did not run towards them but flashed from where they were to where the men of death were.

The men of death attacked the summoned animals. The animals made no attempt to dodge but simply let the attacks pass right through them, only magic and magical weapons being able to affect them.

The animals tore through the men of death, ripping out throats and biting pieces from their bodies. They stood no chance.

Helnion heard the men around her shout, not with triumph, but with fear and anger. The other group of men had come.

"You will not have the Lady!" Several of them shouted as they came to meet the attackers.

Helnion turned her attention to the men fighting behind her. The men of death were outnumbered and the men on her side were actually managing to hold them off, even killing one with a lucky blow to the head from a rock.

Just as Helnion began to turn her attention back to her summons an arrow hit the man of death closest to her piercing its chest, a second soon followed and a third before the man turned to dust.

When Helnion turned to see what happened she saw her. Salis had come to her rescue.

 

 

 



 

* * *


 

I looked down on the scene in front of me. Helnion and a group of men were fighting the Berserkers and actually looked to be doing fairly well, but Helnion looked injured and the men behind her were slowly losing ground in their fight.

While I knew that Helnion would most likely be able to finish off the group she was attacking I saw that her power was begining to wane as the wolves and bear began to start losing their form. I was actually surprised she had them up at all, but I knew she had to have gone into Concetration Mode.

I was glad I had come. I had been watching the Berserkers do their dirty work from afar and it was amazing at how fast and agile they were. This was most likely because all of them were without any persistent injuries that would have affected their ability to fight and they showed it by the ease they had torn through Perrinu's worshippers.

It wasn't until Helnion had entered the fight that anything had opposed them. When she had started lobbing the rocks even the Berserkers were outmatched. Through all the dust of the battle I couldn't tell how many she had taken out but it had been at least half.

It wasn't until I saw Helnion get attacked from the side that I felt that she might not be able to handle it well, but she did. At least she did the first time.

What actually surprised me was the fact that the Berserkers had actually tried to flank her. From what I had understood about them was that they didn't think for themselves and would head straight for their target with no regard to their safety. The fact that they had flanked Helnion meant that someone had commanded them to do that.

While I knew that it was Helnion's fault for getting involved, as surprised as I was that she had, my deal had said that neither Helnion nor Perrinu would be targeted specifically and I took the attack as a break to that agreement, but since Helnion looked to be doing fine for the moment I did nothing.

When I saw her get attacked again and this time successfully I decided to help her. I had still been too far away to shoot accurately with my arrows so I had to make my way to her.

When I had gotten to a better vantage point I saw her and the men fighting off the remaining Berserkers. Instead of helping her I watched once more, curious to see if she could make it through without my help.

I soon saw that there was no way they would win this fight. So I readied my bow, took aim at the Berserker nearest to Helnion, and fired. When I saw that the first arrow merely staggered the Berserker I fired two more. Finally with the third arrow he turned to dust.

When Helnion saw this she looked right to me and smiled when she realized it was me.

I had no time to deal with Helnion at the moment so after exchanging looks with her I started running towards the fight. Since I had seen the Berserkers fight I knew how dangerous they were, but instead of feeling fear I felt excited. It was the perfect opportunity to finally get a good test of my training.

As I ran I fired more arrows. I knew that I didn't have near enough to kill them all so after I took down a second one I dropped my bow and quiver and pulled out my sword.

Immediately I began putting my magical energy into the storage crystal in the hilt. This was going to be the first time I had seriously used my sword so I didn't know how well it would work, especially against these Berserkers. While one of the things I was worried about the most was their speed I hoped that one of my sword's abilities would help me get past that danger.

I raised my sword now that I was close to the fight so that I could use my sword's lightning. When I was only within a few steps of the closest man I triggered. When I did the energy stored in the crystal battery moved through the sword and out the crystal at the tip, being amplified and converted into lightning, before shooting out.

The result was amazing. A huge arc of lightning shot from my sword and lept to the man closest to me before leaping from Berserker to man and so on.

The men stood no chance. The ones that didn't immediately turn to dust seized up and fell to the ground. While none of the Berserkers turned to dust they had stiffened and couldn't move well if at all.

It was then that I took the opportunity to test the blade of my sword. As soon as I stopped my lightning attack I lept at the closest Berserker and plunged my sword into his heart, barely avoiding his grasp.

I then turned to the next and once again shot lightning into him before running to him and slashing his neck open. To my shock this did not kill him. As soon as I pulled my sword away from the gaping wound in his neck I saw it slowly start to close back up.

The wound had not phased the Berserker and now that he was no longer being shocked he reached for me.

I barely dodged his attack and thanks to my training I reflexivly struck at the arm that had come at me and once again was surprised. My sword failed to sever his arm. Unlike all of the others I had killed on Korron my sword had met resistance. I was going to have to change plans.

I decided to alternate between using my lightning attack and my flame attack. It would use up my magic energy from the magic battery faster than I could replace it but I couldn't be picky at the moment.

I shocked the Berserker with my lightning again and when he stopped I quickly switched on my sword's flames. As I swung at his neck once again the blade of my sword burst into flame. Thanks to the many tiny flame crystals forged into metal the flame stayed close to the blade as if it was some super hot skin instead of shooting them far like the lightning had. Hopefully this skin of flame would be enough to help my sword cut all the way through.

It did. The Berserker turned to dust even before I had completely separated his head from his body.

I saw a wolf run past me. It was Helnion's summon and looked to be the only one remaining, but it too looked as if it were about to disappear.

It was then that I took the opportunity to take advantage of this help from the wolf. In fact, I was lucky it had come because there were no more of Perrinu's worshipers nearby and all of the Berserkers were turning there attention to me or the wolf.

Helnion must have seen this too because instead of the wolf attacking the berserkers she was using it to get all of their attention off of me and onto it.

The distacting was not completely effective but it worked enough that I was easily able to kill a few that had turned their backs to me. Unfortunately the wolf soon lost its form and disappeared.

Now the remaining three Berserkers had their attention on me. I didn't think I would have enough magical energy in my sword left to use both lightning and fire so I had to choose one. I decided that keeping my sword aflame would be more effective. I just hoped that any lighting I made myself was strong enough to stop them long enough to kill them.

I ran towards the next Berserker and having to keep both my hands on the sword, I shot lightning out of my mouth. It didn't have the range nor power that my sword had but the Berserker shuddered and slowed. It was enough and the man turned to dust. As did the last two.

The fight was over. I saw no other Berserkers and a only a few men running towards us in the distance.

I turned to look at Helnion. She was laying about twenty five meters away and was unconcious.

As I neared her I saw that her only visible wound was her ankle. It was red and swollen with a large bruise from where the Berserker had grabbed her.

What worried me was that Boss Man had told me the Berserkers were supposed to steal the life energy from their victims, which was how they built up their strength. I didn't know if they had to kill to get that life energy but I couldn't know for sure.

I knelt beside her and took her pulse. I felt a strong heartbeat so I knew she was fine. From the looks of her she just seemed exhausted and had passed out. Concetration Mode did tire her easily so she would be fine if she slept some.

"Salis! Salis!" A man from the group she had seen approaching earlier called me. "Is Lady Helnion alright?"

I nodded. "Take her to the Inner Sanctum." And pointed from Helnion to Rock City.

The men nodded in understanding and carefully lifter Helnion up and went as quickly as they could towards Rock City.

"The battle still rages." One of the remaining men said. "Your help…"

I brushed him off and ran to where I had dropped off by bow and quiver and then retrieved the arrows I had fired at the Berserkers.

The men looked hopeful as they must have seen my gathering of weapons as a sign that I would be joining the remaining battle. They looked even more hopeful when I started running towards the fight. Unfortunately for them I was just planning on watching the rest and as soon as I saw a nice tall rock near the fight I jumped on top of it and sat down. When the men saw this they looked disgusted but continued on to join the battle.



 

* * *


 

My new vantage point was great. I could see the battlefield extremely well despite the haze being thicker than usual.

The battle itself looked to be nearing an end. Only a few dozen men looked to be left on each side with Perrinu's followers having the upper hand. This was thanks to a group of men in the thickest part of the fray.

In the group I saw Martu and a few of the other well trained men that had gathered arround Perrinu. They looked tired and were not fighting as gracefully as I remembered but their skill was still enough that all that they met fell. Only one or two of the remaining men on the other side, including Boss Man, were strong enough to put up a decent fight against them.

Surprisingly I saw none of who I knew the best fighters to be from Boss Man's group left and was sure they had no hope of winning unless they had a Berserker or two left hiding somewhere.

In a few more minutes the fighting was dying down and only Boss Man and a few others were left and were outnumbered three to one.

"Stop!" Martu shouted to both sides.

Everyone stopped.

"What have you done with Salis?" he said to Boss Man.

Before Boss Man said anything one of the men that I had been with earlier ran to Martu and said something and pointed right at me.

Martu looked at me.

"Are you alright Salis?" He shouted to me. When I didn't say anything he turned to Boss Man. "Why have you attacked us?"

Boss Man looked like he was going to say something but suddenly looked as if he heard something and his expression went grim.

"Attack." I barely heard him say.

Boss Man and his remaining men charged Martu's group. While the fight did not last long Boss Man managed to take out several more men, including one of the more skilled ones, before turning to dust.

There was a brief moment of silence before I heard it. At first I couldn't tell what the noise was or where it was coming from but I soon realized it was someone clapping.

Everyone was looking around, confused by the sound.

Then just as suddenly as it started it stopped.

No one said anything.

Perrinu, with Bug following her, was the one to break the silence. "Is it over? Did you find Salis? Where is Helnion?"

"Yes Lady Perrinu. It is over and Salis is safe." Martu said then pointed at me. "As for Lady Helnion I know not."

"Salis! You are Safe!" She said as soon as she saw me and started running towards me.

"Well done!" A voice that wasn't a voice came over everyone, stopping Perrinu as she looked to see who had spoken. "To think that my army would lose! Such an unexpected but exciting outcome!"

A man materialized out of the haze opposite of Martu's group from me. I didn't have a good view of him from the distance that I was at but even from here I could tell he was out of place. His clothes looked to be of the finest material and they glowed in the dim light. His skin was fair and his hair was more blonde than any I had seen on Calorin and appeared to be clean of the black dust that stained mine.

"Who are you?" Martu asked.

The man ignored him. "Salis. Perrinu. Come here."

Perrinu looked at me then at the man, unsure what to do.

"Stay back Lady Perrinu. We do not know what he intends." Martu said.

"Salis." The man said, ignoring Martu still. "I believe we had a deal and I intend to keep it."

Was this Boss Man's master? If it was and he did indeed intend to keep the deal then this meant he was the one that would be getting me out of this place.

I jumped off my rock and jogged to the man.

"Salis…" Perrinu said to me as I passed her. She reached for me hesitantly but made no other action.

When I reached Martu's group, with Perrinu close behind, the man continued. "It is a shame about Helnion's injury but that was unavoidable after she fought my Berserkers. Truly a miracle she survived at all."

"Helnion's injured!?" Perrinu said with a small gasp.

"If it were not for Salis, she would be dead." The man said. "My army would not have lost either. But to think it was the girl Helnion that would have been the most danger to my Berserkers. A surprise indeed and a great help into my research. To think they would be so vulnerable to magic based attacks."

"What test? Why did you attack us?" Martu demanded.

For the first time the man looked at Martu. "Why? The likes of you do not need to know why." He turned to me. "Salis on the other hand I will tell, but not now."

"You said you had a deal with Salis." Perrinu said. "What kind of deal did you two make?"

"A good question, especially since it involves all three of you girls that idiot Usui sent here." He looked at me and then back to Perrinu. "The deal was to free you of this place if Salis helped me test my Berserkers, and test them she did."

"You mean you attacked us just for a test!" Perrinu said, getting angry. "What right do you have to come kill these poor men as you please?"

The man laughed. "What does it matter if I use these men for my expiriments. No matter what happens to them they will return to as they were from that those vile pits of black."

"These men still feel pain. Feel fear. Just because they come back does not mean you can toy with them as you please." Perrinu glanced at me when she said this.

"These men are here for a reason. To suffer. They knew where they would go if they killed themselves."

Most of the remaining men had pained looks on their faces when he said this.

"I agree that what they did was bad, but they should not have to suffer more than they have to." Perrinu said.

"Fine." The man said. "I will leave this place alone as soon as I have finished our chat."

Perrinu looked relieved and happy. I thought his agreement was a bit too easy.

"Now that I have some ideas for my next stage of expirimentation I need to move to a better testing ground, and get better test subjects." The man added.

"No!" Perrinu yelled. "I cannot allow you to do that! How many more people are you going to make suffer!"

"My expiriments are for the good of all the people of Calorin. A few may suffer now but they will simply be born again and remember nothing." The man looked at Martu and the other men. "This pointless reincarnation cycle must be fixed."

"Why does it need to be fixed?" Martu said.

"Because it accomplishes nothing. Your spirits simply continue from life to life, body to body, forgetting all that you knew and were as you go along. What meaning does this have?"

Everyone looked at each other not knowing what to say. I on the other hand was curious about the fact that he didn't include himself when he was talking, as if saying he wasn't part of the reincarnation cycle. Was he a Great Servant? One of the immortals that helped the Deity? Or was he a Deity himself?

"Which Deity do you work for?" I asked him.

The man looked genuinly surprised. "Salis, I knew you were a smart one. Figuring something like that out proves it."

Everyone looked surprised.

"You are a Great Servant?" Perrinu said.

"Perhaps."

"Do you serve Dugin? Only Dugin would perform such a disgusting experiment."

"Dugin? That crazy thing? I would never dream of serving such a creature, although her pets do have their uses."

"Then who?"

"Who I serve does not matter, child." He looked at everyone. "As much as I enjoyed your performance it is about time to leave. Kel will notice me if I stay too long, but first I need to take care of some things."

Before anyone could say anything the man flashed. He appeared in front of Martu and put his hand on his forehead before flashing to the next man. He ended up doing this to all of the men excluding Bug, whom was hiding behind Perrinu. No one had had time to react it had happened so fast.

When the man appeared back in his spot, looking slightly exhausted, he spoke again, this time to the men. "Rejoice men, you are now the first to participate in my next stage of the expiriment!"

"We will never participate in your sick experiment." Martu said to him in disgust.

"It does not matter what you want." He pointed to the men to his left. "You half move over there." He pointed to a rock nearby.

As soon as he had said this the men moved.

"What are you doing!" Martu yelled at them.

"We cannot help it!" One of the men called back. "Our bodies are moving on their own!"

Martu turned to the man. "Stop this now!"

The man ignored him until Martu went to run after the men.

"Stop." He said to Martu, who did just that.

Martu said nothing but just glared.

When the group had reached the rock the Servant had told them to go he held out his hand. As soon as he did this a sword flashed past me and was caught by the man. It was Helnion's sword.

He looked at it. "Such a simple sword. No where near as beautiful as yours Salis." He then tossed it between the two groups of men. "The sword is the goal. Fight for it."

The two groups of men rushed at each other. Only Martu, and a few of the ones I knew to be more mentally stable, showed any resistance.

"I. Will. Not. Obey. You." Martu said, obviously straining to keep control.

The man said nothing and simply watched the fight, actually looking bored. That is until some of the men starting breaking off from the group. Six of the men headed for Martu, two headed for the Servant, and five headed for me, Perrinu, and Bug. Martu fell quickly, unable to fight back. The two that headed for the Servant turned to dust just from a simple touch by him.

As for the five men that were heading my way I had no time to pull out my bow and had to take out my sword.

No sooner had I done that when the first one reached me and I easily turned him to dust with a stab to the stomach.

Perrinu gasped but said nothing and hid behind a nearby rock, Bug standing in front of her defensively.

The next two fell just as easily and when I had finished off the fourth I saw that men that had taken out Martu were headed our direction now. I wasn't too worried because I knew I had time to dispatched the last two I was currently fighting before they arrived.

It was after my second kill from the second group that I saw something that worried me. The group that had been fighting over the sword had stopped fighting amongst each other and were heading towards me as well. One was holding the sword and he was one of the best fighters that remained.

Surprisingly the remaining men saw the other group coming too and three of them turned from me and rushed to meet them. With them gone I quickly took out the one that had stayed and then waited, hoping that the three that left would take out one or two of the oncoming group.

They were overwhelmed. From what I could tell there was about ten men in the last group and they had all taken on the demeanor that the Berserkers had. They wanted blood.

I looked at the Servant, who was still standing in the same spot. He looked frustrated and looked even more tired that he had earlier.

When he saw me looking at him he said. "Stop!" All but three of the men stopped. When he saw that three were still moving, including the man with the sword, he pointed at them. "Stop!"

Two of the men actually broke off and headed right for the Servant.

I realized that these two were also among the best fighters and was glad that if I still had to fight I wouldn't have to fight all three at once.

The two men reached the Servant first.

Unlike the other two that had tried attacking him before these two men managed to keep him from touching them, which might have been in part to him being so tired.

I was pretty sure the attackers stood no chance against the Servant but their attack was enough to apparently break his concentration and the rest of the men he had stopped earlier began moving again.

Six headed for the man and thankfully only one headed for me.

The man with the sword was close. Unlike the others I was worried about fighting him so I shot lightning at him with my sword, but just before I had done so he jumped to the side. I swung my sword to follow him and finally hit him. It merely slowed him down, showing he had probably acquired the resistance the Berserkers I had fought earlier seemed to have had.

When he reached me I met the blow he had made at me. He made several more strikes, which I dodged and parried easily but found it was just as hard for me to attack him.

As I had sparred with him before, while never with a sword, I knew how skilled he was. In fact I knew him to be much more skill than I and knew that the only reason I could keep up with him was because he was holding back. I could even see it in his eyes, behind the thirst for blood the rest of his face showed. He did not want to fight me but had no other choice.

The other man arrived. One on one I had barely managed to keep up but now I was in trouble.

I used magic again. Lightning shot out at my mouth at the man with the sword, stunning him and making him fall to one knee. I then used the opportunity do a spin kick and knock back the other man, who had moved behind me, sending him flying, and turned back to the man with the sword just in time to parry an attack, actually managing to send the sword flying.

Now unarmed the man lunged at me with his bare hands. I slashed at him, drawing a long cut down his right arm, sending sand flying from his wound.

It didn't phase him and he came at me again.

I heard a scream. It was Perrinu.

"Salis!" she yelled to me.

I glanced back and saw that the man I had kicked had not only picked up the sword but had spotted Bug and Perrinu and was running towards them.

Now inured, I managed to take down my current opponent and he turned to dust. With him gone my biggest threat was over and I rushed towards Perrinu.

I was too late. The man had reached the rock Perrinu was hiding behind. Bug had rushed out and was doing his best to keep the man at bay, but with his deformity he stood no chance and was quickly run through.

With bug gone Perrinu tried to run away but the man was faster and I saw him catch up to her and pierce her back with the sword.

Perrinu screamed as the sword errupted from her chest.

I wanted to scream. As much as Perrinu and I had clashed over the last few months I grown a great respect for her. A part of me even wanted to be like her but now she had a sword through her chest and I knew it was my fault because I had helped start this battle today.

I reached the rock. The man had noticed me but when he turned to attack me the sword he was gripping was stuck in Perrinu's chest, preventing him from moving to meet me and he was soon turned to dust.

I knelt by Perrinu. Her blood soaked the sand and she appeared to not be breathing. When I checked her pulse I felt no heartbeat.

She was dead.

 

 



 

* * *


 

There was nothing I could do for Perrinu so I stood up to see what was going on and saw that there were no men nearby. In the distance I saw that the Servant had gotten two of the men to stop fighting with only one more taking his attention. For some reason he looked concerned whenever his last opponent nearly touched him.

I wanted to get this fight over with so I rushed over and, because none but the Servant had seen me coming, I easily dispatched the last three men.

"Such filthy creatures." The Servant looked at me then to where Perrinu lay and started walking. "Tis a shame about Perrinu. The minds of these men appeared to be unable to handle the next phase of the test and became Berserkers even more true to name than the last."

We arrived at Perrinu's body. "If it were not for those attacking me I could have come here in time to save her."

"Why didn't you just kill them like the first two? You killed them with a touch but the rest you took longer to kill than I could have." I said, taking note of his fatigue.

The man looked at his hand. "I believe it is time to finish our deal before anything else happens. With the girl dead it is only a matter of time before Kel knows and in turn Usui."

"What about Helnion?" I said as he reached towards me. "She was a part of our deal too."

"She will be taken care of." He said just before placing his hand on my head.

I felt a strange sensation pass over me and then another. "A gift and a fix to something I forgot to do seven years ago." He said just before we vanished.



 

* * *


 

Usui found himself in a place he had never wanted to come. He was surrounded by black sand and the eternal haze in the eternal day of Korron and found great displeasure in the lifeless scene.

Still, as soon as Kel had told him about Perrinu's death he had come as quickly as he could. He knew that one of them could have died when they had come here but it was what they had chosen. He had just sent them here in hopes that they would see how bad it was here and how hopeless it was to help the men and they would choose to come back, but they had proven him wrong.

He had been surprised when Kel told him that the girls had been doing their job, that souls had begun to leave in an accelerated rate. When he heard this his hopes that they would ask to come back to him and take their place at his side went away. At that moment he had wanted to take them off of that accursed place and let them on their way but Kel had begged him to let them stay, that their lives would be worth it if they did die and that he would make sure they would be reborn into good families.

Now Usui stared down at the spot Perrinu had died, her body gone.

When he had arrived he had seen several men, weeping grains of the black sand because their bodies lacked any water. Usui himself had almost shed a few tears with these men when he realized how much of a difference the girl had made.

"Why do you weep?" He had asked them.

He was told how Perrinu had become a light to them. That the men saw her as an angel that soothed and healed their souls.

"And she was happy doing this?" He asked.

Yes! They told him. Unlike the other two she enjoyed her task and when the men turned to the glittering white dust, to leave Korron, she cried for joy and it made them want to cry with her.

"If her joy was so great because of this, why are you still here?"

It was because they did not want to leave her. They wanted to stay and help keep her safe.

"Then why are you still here now? She is now gone. Follow her and show her that her death was not for nothing."

When Usui had said this they all brightened. A few even turned to a glittering white dust within moments. The rest stood up. Most headed to a peculiar area of rocks, but others headed different ways.

Usui followed the largest group and was led to some structures made of rock. When they entered what looked like a large meeting place the men dispersed among the crowd gathered there and began to tell them what he had said earlier. Many then began to turn to the glittering white dust.

Usui soon saw why the men had gathered here. Perrinu's body had been placed on a large rock near the front. A large group of stout men were gathered there, keeping the other men from getting too close to her body. Only a lone man was near her body, also weeping grains of black sand in the stead of tears.

"Who are you!?" One of the men shouted when they saw him approach. "You do not look like you belong in this place."

Usui held up his hand, showing he meant them no harm. "I am here to collect the girls."

"Were you the one that sent him here?" Another man said angrily at him.

"Who I am is of no concern to you." Usui stopped in front of the men, wondering what he had ment by that. "Will you let me pass so I may take care of her body?"

The men looked at each other, suspicious of Usui.

"What do you plan to do with Lady Perrinu's body?" The first man said.

So they called Perrinu a lady. Usui thought to himself. They truly did respect her.

"She will be burried in my most beautiful garden."

"How can we trust you to do what you say?" A third man said.

"Would you prefere the body be left here?"

The men looked at each other again.

"Very well." The first man said, stepping aside, the rest soon doing the same.

Usui walked past the men and looked at Perrinu. He saw a grivous wound in her chest and knew that her death had been quick.

"What happened to her?" Usui asked them. The wound had been made by a sword and he knew of only two swords that had been brought here.

"We are not sure for certain." The first man said. "A man appeared, most likely a Great Servant, and made us fight each other by some strange magic. He had us fight over Lady Helnion's sword. Some of us became uncontrolable by the Servant and began to attack Salis and him. We assume it was one of them that did this, but none of them have returned other than Ernon but he he does not talk so we have not been able to ask."

"What of the other two girls." If it were not for this sad occasion Usui would have been amused about the fact that Salis had not been called a lady by these men.

"Lady Helnion is resting in the Inner Sanctum, as she was wounded in battle and passed out from exhaustion. As for Salis… It appears that she had made a deal with the man and was taken by him."

Salis had made a deal with the mysterious man!? Usui was angered at the thought. Was she so desperate to leave this place that she was willing to endanger her friends?

Usui could not be convinced that Salis would do something like that. She must have been tricked or things had gotten out of hand. He would be sure to confront her about this if he ever saw her again, and if she had been heartless…

Usui put his hand on Perrinu's forehead. He looked at her again, more closely this time. Her hair was not the lovely golden honey color that it had been the last he had seen her, it being stained by the black sand. Her skin and clothes being stained just as badly.

Perrinu's body disappeared, having been sent to his abode. The sobbing man jerked suddenly and looked around in surprise.

"Follow her." Usui told him.

The man then smiled at him knowingly and he turned to sparkling dust, surprising him at how fast it had happened.

When Usui had looked up he saw that many of the other men had done the same while his attention had been on Perrinu's guardians. It was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen. Sparkling clouds of dust filled the air. The black sand was now being covered as if being purified.

"Take me to Helnion." Usui told the first man.

The man had been looking at the beautiful sight and it took him a moment to respond but nodded.

Usui was led a short distance to an imposing looking fortification of rocks. Many of the rocks had been stacked haphazardly on top of each other but had been placed well enough that no man could have fit through the gaps. The place even had a ceiling.

A few men were guarding what looked to be the only entrance. Usui had been expecting to find Helnion inside but she was laying on a large flat rock just beside a large rock that covered the entrance, the rock looking much to big for these men to move easily.

Helnion herself, while looking pale and exhausted, seemed to be quite good condition despite the obviously broken and severely swollen ankle.

"What of Lady Helnion." The first man asked Usui.

"I will treat her wounds and then see her safely back to her country."

"Can we trust you?"

"I promise."

The man looked unsure but finally said, "If I find out you have decieved us I will hunt you down in my next life and kill you."

"What is your name?" Usui asked the man.

"Martu. Martu Elg Visol."

"I will remember you."

Usui then knelt next to Helnion and she disappeared.

Now that Helnion was safe all Usui needed to do was to gather the girl's belongings and then only the problem of Salis would remain. He was not looking forward to it, especially this mysterious Servant he would also need to find and then punish. For now he could only weep over Perrinu and take care of Helnion. He was just happy that things had not been worse.

"We will be staying here to carry on Perrinu's work." Martu told him.

"I wish you luck. I know I could not stay here and do that."

And with that Usui was gone.

 

 

 


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