Salis' Story

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

Chapter 15 (v.1) - An unwanted gift, Canyon of trial

Submitted: September 03, 2019

Reads: 12

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Submitted: September 03, 2019

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I had no idea how long I had been in this room but it was at least a few weeks. The man that had taken me from Korron, whose name I never cared to learn and just called Servant, had left me here "to get used to being heavier than I had been on Korran." Indeed this room, wherever it was, made me feel much heavier than I had in years. It was my guess that the gravity was similiar to what Earth was as far as I could remember.

Life in this solitary room had been anything but boring for I had not been alone aside from the last day or two. Another man would come, one wearing a mask and clothes that hid any features, and had been "training" me until I fell to the floor exhausted. I don't know why I had been training so hard and by now I felt that I never wanted to do any sort of training ever again, but as a result I had never been stronger.

"I see the training has paid off, Salis." Said the Servant, finally returning after all these weeks.

I groaned, still lying on the floor after having just finished another training session.

Servant laughed. "Do not worry you will not see your masked friend ever again."

Servant walked around the spot I was laying and looked me over closely.

"Terrans are such interesting things. Even after all the many years of making them I still find myself curious of them."

Something he said took me by surprise and I sat up.

The man laughed again. "I thought that would get your attention, and as thanks for your past and future cooperation I think you deserve some explanations."

"Like what you said about making Terrans?" I asked, very curious.

"Yes, but not only will I talk about that I will be more than happy to answer some other questions you may have. Not all but whatever I feel is safe for you to know."

"Alright." I said. "Can you explain the making Terrans bit first and how it effects me? And why did you make me a baby?"

The man thought. "I cannot explain everything because I only know part of the Terran phenomina." The man looked at me for a moment and then continued. "I do not know what happens to Terrans before they come to Calorin, and I imagine it is different for every one, but I can tell you what happens after.

"You see, the Deity I serve saw that the souls of you Terrans had somehow found their way from Terra and would wander, unseen by all but the Deity and us Servants. Being the kind Deity that my master is he commanded me and a few others to give these spirits life because they seemed to be unable to enter into the reincarnation cycle.

"We did as we were told, but unfortunately the process to make you Terrans new bodies is not perfect. For one it uses the soul itself as a template. Because souls are effectively pure white light your bodies, for the most part, keep the white color."

So Terrans were white because they took on the color of the soul? But if that were true why were my eyes blue and not white too?

"I know you said we turned out white for the most part, but what about my eyes? They are blue. In fact I heard that all Terrans have blue or grey eyes."

"To be honest." The man said. "I do not know why. It just happens. What affects the age a Terran becomes is mysterious as well, though for you I would say it was the fact that you were screaming like a newborn baby that determined your age if I had to guess."

"What about all of the physical deformities Terrans have?"

"As I said earlier the process is not perfect. It also takes lots of concentration and most spirits tend to not like to stay still long enough and it often disrupts the process." The man looked at me for a moment. "Fortunately for you, you did not move around much so we were able to make you a proper body. Your only problem was that you would not stop screaming and that is why I made you unable to physically express emotion to quiet you down, unfortunately I forgot to return your ability to express emotions before I sent you to Calorin. Which is now fixed."

At that moment I realised two things. The first was that the thing about my emotions made sense. In my time on Calorin I did not remember smiling even once, let alone laugh even though I did often feel happy or find things funny. The second thing I realised was that if I was a spirit it meant that I must have died.

"Was I screaming because of the way I died?" I asked.

"Ah, so you finally realised the probable truth. While I would not know for certain if Terrans do die before they come to Calorin I do know that all of them have experience something traumatic before they come. All of them."

"I can't remember anything bad happening to me before I woke up on Calorin." I said, not sure if it was true.

"That is because we block those memories. For the most part your mind is very strong so only your strongest and most recent memories were blocked and not all of them like the most weak minded."

Well, that explained that question.

"Why do you need to block our memories?"

"Because you would be mentally broken, though I expect you would fare much better if I were to restore it now."

"Are you going to?"

"Now is not the time." The man paused. "Do you have any other questions regarding Terrans or yourself?"

"Why is my magic broken?"

"Oh that? Once again that is thanks to your mental strength. Do you remember lots of blue fire when you woke up?"

I nodded.

"I am not completely sure but from the few other times I have seen this problem it happens when Terrans are exposed to magic for the first time and, I think, they reject it which results in all of their magical energy being released at once. I am not sure why this causes the problem it does but it happens. The blue fire is your expelled magical energy by the way."

"Can you fix it like you did my emotions?"

"No. If I knew what to fix I might be able to, but the process we use to make new bodies is automatic and only my master knows the exact workings of it. If it was a matter of the mind it would be a simple matter."

"Can you ask your master?"

"My Master is… predisposed for as long as I can see."

Who was this Servant's master anyways? Of all the Deity I had heard of none had servants that did anything like this. Of course there are probably a lot of things that the Deity do that the people of Calorin would never hear of. But this was making bodies we were talking about. Which Deity had that kind of power?

Of them all only Kel had anything to do with spirits and the dead. He even had places where bodies were created out of black stuff.

If it wasn't Kel… could it be Lolorai? Could Lolorai be the Deity of Life?

"Is your master Lolorai?" I asked, interested in being one of the few who knew anything about Lolorai if I was right.

Unfortunately the man showed no reaction. "Who my master is is something I cannot tell you. If others were to find out they would contact my Master and tell my Master of my plans, which I cannot have."

"Why can't your master know your plans? Are you doing something they don't want you to do?"

"Enough questions about my master."

I sighed.

"One or two more questions and then we need to leave." Servant said.

"Oh yeah." I remembered something he had said to me before I came to this place. "Before you brought me here you said you fixed a problem you forgot to fix and that you gave me a gift."

"Your gift will be a surprise. One that many would kill for."

"It better not be becoming one of your Berserkers."

"I would never dream of it. You are above such disgusting creatures."

I was glad to hear that. The thought of losing control of my mind like that only to be controled by another disgusted me.

"If it is not that, then what is it?" I asked.

"That, Salis, is something for you to find out." The man shifted on his feet. "One last question."

"Why did you bring me here, to this room?"

"To bring you back to strength of course. I even found this place that Melche abandoned that makes things weigh about how much they would on Terra. I always did want to see how strong a Terran would get when subjected to their normal weight."

"Wait… why would Melche know what things weighed on Terra?"

"All I know was that she found the way the spirits of you Terrans were coming to Calorin and found out how to cross over. There was also a large increase of Terran spirits crossing over for the two thousand years she was exploring Terra. As for why she stopped only she could say.

"Her stopping was a good thing. The large influx of Terrans meant we had to rush and we made more mistakes with their new bodies. Now we only get one or two Terrans every three years or so."

Hearing this made me think. If Melche had found a way to Earth that meant there might be a way back. This meant I needed to find a way to contact Melche. The only question was if I wanted to go back. There was nothing there for me, but nothing here either.

"Enough questions Salis. It is time for me to take you back to Calorin so you can get on with your life."

I nodded.

Servant touched my arm and we left the room.



 

* * *


 

No sooner had we left the room I had to shield my eyes. The light was bright and I had just exited a rather dim room so my eyes had not been ready for the sudden change.

I also noticed it was much hotter. I don't know if it was the fact that Korron had been fairly cold and this place was a normal temperature or if I had actually come to some place hot but I knew that I would be uncomfortable until I got used to it.

"I hope you do not mind me not dropping you off in a place of luxury but I could not have anybody see us." The man said.

I finally opened my eyes. It was still a little too bright for my comfort but I could see the area around me now.

I was in a canyon. It was fairly deep and maybe a kilometer across. Running down the center was a small river, which had reeds, small bushes, and trees along both sides. The cliffs on each side were steep and looked difficult to climb.

The land on either side of the river was fairly steep and was littered with boulders. Unlike the river there were few plants.

"If you follow the river you will reach the larger Non' River in three or four days. From there follow the Non' until you reach Eto Lake where you can take a boat to Eto." The man said.

I was in Toa Mirr! Why would he bring me here? And why so far away from any place?

"Why Toa Mirr? I'm pretty sure they were the ones that tried to kidnap me in Flaern." I said.

"I am sorry, I was under the impression that you did not care where you went. Besides, in a few weeks it will be safer here than in Flaern." He said.

"Why? Flaern isn't full of bandits, murderers, and rapists like Toa Mirr."

"Since you have been on Korron and that room you have been unable to hear any goings on so it makes sense you have not heard about the Toa Mirr invasion of Koa Flaer."

Toa Mirr had invaded Koa Flaer? That would mean they would have had to have gone through the mountain range separating the two countries. And if they had invaded one of their old territories that meant they probably wanted the other too.

"Still, you could have sent me to a different country."

"Deko!" The man shouted. "Come fulfill your role!" The man shouted.

Immediately a large black cat, a puma or something similar, came out from behind a large rock resting near the river and ran towards us. It was carrying a basket in its mouth and had a bedroll strapped to its back.

"Bad Kitty." I said as it neared us.

It paused but continued towards us.

"Bad Kitty?" The man said curiously. "Are you a bad kitty, Deko?" The man said to the large cat. When it didn't reply the man said, "Never were a talker were you Deko."

The cat looked at the man and I and didn't make a sound, but just placed the basket on the ground.

"Deko here will be your companion for a while. For the most part she will leave you alone but if you get into a situation you cannot handle she might help."

"Might?" I said.

The man ingnored me. "I have prepared a bedroll for you and a basket. The basket has some food, money, shoes, and a few changes of clothing. There should even be some soap in there. That black sand staining you really spoils your Terran look so it was a personal request of mine."

I picked up the basket and looked inside. Everything was there. Even the soap.

"Good luck!" The man said and disappeared.

I turned and looked at the cat. "No peeking." I said and took the soap to the river.

 



 

* * *


 

The soap had helped clean my skin of the stains the black sand had left on me but the time I had spent in that room and away from the sand had not even done much. My hair had not fared much better and had only gone from a dark grey to a medium grey. Normally I would have been happy to have gotten some coloring to my hair, but this hair dye was made from dead people…

The consolation to still having dead people dye still on me was that I no longer had to wear my old ragged and now too small clothes that were also dyed black with dead people. The new clothes even fit perfectly as did the shoes.

"You can come out now Kitten." I said, calling her the name I had chosen.

No sooner had I said this than Kitten came out from behind a rock. She gave me an annoyed look but said nothing, if she could say anything to begin with.

When I had picked up the basket, my sword, bow, and quiver I started walking down stream that lead towards the Non' River. Even if I did not want to be in Toa Mirr it was where I was and I would need supplies eventually so to Eto I would go. I didn't look back to see if Kitten was following. I didn't care.

It had not taken long for me to get hot so I soon found myself walking barefoot in the river, holding all of my supplies above my head to keep them dry. Thankfully because of all my training in Earth gravity everything was lighter in the lower Calorin gravity, despite my muscles still being a little sore.

Kitten had seemed surprised with how easily I could hold it all.

 



 

* * *


 

It was just before nightfall. I had no idea how far I had walked that day and I had no idea how much farther it was until I reached the Non'. As I wanted to get out of this place in the middle of nowhere I decided that I would walk for as long as possible and would make a light out of magic after it got dark, if my magic power was strong enough to make a useful one that is.

Kitten stopped and looked around, sniffing the air. She then ran off.

Suddenly I felt a strong sharp pain in my leg and I immediately fell down, dropping everything I had been holding in the process. When I looked down to see the cause of the pain and saw an arrow sticking out of my thigh. Someone had shot at me.

I immediately grabbed for my bow that was still strapped on my back with my quiver and loaded an arrow and looked to see who had shot me.

"Put th' bow down if y' do not want t' die right now, Terran filth." A rough male voice said, his accent giving away his Tao Mirran upbringing.

I dropped my bow and looked in the direction the voice had come from and saw a group of seven men coming out from behind a large boulder near the shore on the opposite side of the river. Two of them were holding bows and had them aimed right at me.

"Do not try an' stop the arrows with your magic, Terran." He said, pulling out his sword as he started to cross the river.

Had these men come prepared to kill me? Had they known I would be here and what my skills were? If so why had they not killed me outright and only disabled me?

"What do you want?" I asked.

"Your life be worth good money."

Someone had put a bounty on my head? Well, Toa Mirr had tried to capture me before so it didn't surprise me. What did surprise me, however; was that he said my life was worth money. Why would Toa Mirr want to kill me when they thought they could get access to my knowledge from Earth? Maybe they had decided I wasn't worth the trouble anymore?

This led to my next question. How did they know I was here? Did Servant set this up or had someone followed Kitten?

The group of men had now crossed the river and had surrounded me.

"We still be playin' wit' the girl before we kill her boss?" One of the men said.

"Until she dies." The first man said. "But I get first."

WAIT… What did they mean by playing with me? They weren't going to rape me were they?

I tried to stand and got onto my good leg and said, "I won't let you touch me as long as I am alive."

The men laughed.

"I like it when they act all defiant." One man said.

"Yeh, makes it more fun t' break 'em." Another said.

I grabbed my sword from the shallows of the river nearby and then lunged at the nearest man that was holding a bow as hard as I could with my good leg and a little magic.

My sword struck him hard, creating a huge gash across his chest and shattering his bow that he had tried to block with.

Knowing I didn't have time to position myself with only one leg to lunge at the next man I held up my sword and struck at him with lightning, killing him.

I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder, causing me to drop my sword. I then fell down on my face as one of the men kicked me in the back.

"Now I see why they told us t' not get near her if she 'ad her sword." One of the men said.

"Never saw anyone jump like that." Another said. "'Specially with only one good leg."

The leader of the men picked up my sword. "T' think we would find such a valuable sword on such a little thing." He said.

"How much you think we can sell it for boss?" Someone said.

"We can find out when we finish with the Terran." The leader of the men then knelt down and stroked my hair. "Shame you tried dying your hair and skin. Was looking forward t' dirtying the white."

The man stood up and soon after and pulled the arrow in my left shoulder out. I was then flipped over and two of the men pinned me down. They then put a crystal collar around my neck, one that I knew to leech magical energy from the wearer, and it began glowing brightly as it did so.

The men then slowly scanned over my body with their eyes.

"I prefere more mature women but I like children too." The lead man said.

The man knelt next to me and carressed my face before reaching for my clothes. I could feel his lust, as well as that of the two other men, as he did so. I cringed at the filthy feeling and fear began to rush uncontrolably into me.

"Are you alright Buyt?" One of the men said. The leader paused and looked at the man pushing my shoulders down.

The man in question looked pale and I noticed that his hold on me was getting weaker. The man holding my feet looked almost as pale.

"Just feelin' a bit tired boss." Buyt said.

As soon as the Buyt said this his arms gave out and he landed on top of me. The man at my feet fell soon after.

"Get them off of her!" The leader shouted. "Shoot her if she does anything."

The two men were quickly taken off from on top of me. As soon as this was done the leader knelt on my chest and held my sword down at me, ready to pierce my chest.

"I do not know what kind of trick you used but you will not live long enough t' do it again." He said angrily at me.

I could feel his rage. It entered me uncontrollably and to my disgust, I could feel it making me stronger, if only a little. I then noticed something. The more of his rage that entered me the more pale he became. What was happening?

"Boss you alright?" The man with the bow said. "Hurry and kill her before she does something t' you too."

Instead of plunging the sword into my chest the man dropped the sword and fell over. When the two remaining men saw this they readied their weapons.

The man with the bow shot at me. I raised my arms in hopes of blocking a lethal shot. The arrow pierced my left arm, coming out the other side. It was all I could do not to scream from the pain.

Ignoring the pain best I could I grabbed my sword from the body of their now lifeless leader and hurled it at the man with the bow. With a soft thud it pierced his stomache and he fell over, clutching at his wound.

Next, I grabbed the body of the leader and with all my strength pulled him between me and the last man just as he brought his sword down at me. The sword dug into my meat shield. I knew I only had moments before the man pulled the sword out so I grabbed his wrist and sqeezed as hard as I could, hoping I could inflict enough pain to make him let go of the sword.

The man yelped but held on. I could feel his anger, fear, and uncertainty as I held his arm.

Seeing that he would not let go I pulled on him as hard as I could, hoping to make him lose his balance. He did and nearly landed on top of me.

I twisted his arm. His fall had loosened his grip on the sword and thankfully a little help from me made him let go and as quickly as I could I finished pulling the sword out of the leader's body and swung at the man before he had managed to recover from his fall.

I pushed the leader's body off of me and lay for a moment, catching my breath. Was I safe now? I was pretty sure five of the men were dead, but what about the two that had collapsed earlier? Would they wake up soon and try to kill me?

I pushed myself off the ground, barely managing to not faint from the pain. Surprisingly I did not feel as weak as I thought I should have been, and if not for the fact that I had been shot by arrows, I actually felt just a bit stronger.

I limped over to where the bodies of the two men that had collapsed lay and checked their pulses. I felt nothing. Whatever had happened to them had killed them. I decided that figuring out how what had happened could come later as I still had an arrow sticking out of my body and probably a lot of bleeding to stop.

I then noticed Kitten had come back and merely looked at me with disinterest.



 

* * *


 

My wounds were not as bad as I had expected, and aside from being unable to use my left arm and right leg, there was little bleeding. Sure they hurt really really badly, but it had been nothing compared to… compared to what? I vaguely felt that I had felt pain even worse than these arrow wounds but couldn't place it. Something to do with the way I died?

Another thing to think of later I guessed. Now it was dark and the light from my collar had become too dim for me to see very well and I did not want to risk that little amount of light revealing my location to any other undesirables that might be nearby. Not that I could walk very far with a hole in my leg anyways.

Despite the struggle I had just been through and the wounds I had recieved, I actually did not feel very tired, but since I had nothing better to do I hobbled over to the river and tried to find the things I had dropped when I had been shot. I hoped that I had not dropped them into the river, but since I had been hit from the opposite side of the river I might have been lucky enough for the force of the impact to have pushed me to drop my things towards the shore. My sword certainly had so the chances for everything else to have done the same was certainly good.

Fortunately and unfortunately I had been in a section of the river with vegetation that was not as dense. This meant I would not have to dig through much brush in the dark and would be able to find my things much more easily. It also meant that there was less there for my lighter things to snag on, keeping them from floating away.

As I searched Nirca rose over the edge of the canyon and cast its dim reddish glow, allowing me to see much better. After this I easily found most of my belongings and the only things I couln't find was my right shoe, and some loaves of bread. Sadly, most of my food had gotten wet.

With most of my belongings secured and put into a safe place I decided to check the bodies of the men. Since all of them except for their leader had been carrying leather bags on their backs I decided it would be a good idea to check them for food before the several different kinds of small animals I had seen got to them.

I was in luck. Well, maybe if you called stale bread, unsafe looking meat, and flasks of a foul smelling malted drink a lucky find. Even so it was better than starving. I just hoped that the good food I had been given would last me long enough to make it to a settlement of some sort.



 

* * *


 

With nothing left to do I found a nice hiding spot under a large boulder a ways off from the river. I hoped it was inconspicous enough that no one would single it out and choose to look there but I had no way of knowing.

When I had hidden all of my things under a large scraggly bush near the boulder, wrapping the food in several layers of my extra clothing, I squeezed under the boulder. I just hoped it didn't decide to tip in the night.

As I lay there I thought about how sick I was of large rocks. I vowed that this night would be the last night I would be using one to keep the bad men away as had the rocks of The Inner Sanctum.

Then I thought about Perrinu and Helnion. I hadn't realised how used to their presence I had become. Now that they were both gone, Perrinu dead and who knew what with Helnion, I felt something missing. Not alone, but missing.

With those thoughts I fell asleep.

Like the dreams I had on Korron my dreams that night were of memories. Unlike the other dreams these dreams were not of my memories but those of others. Much like what I would have expected the dreams Perrinu had of the men she helped as far as I could guess.

Unlike the dreams of my memories these dreams went by as a flash. I saw memories of different childhoods flash quickly through my mind, too fast to "see" everything that happened, but slow enough to feel everything that happened.

As I experienced these memories I came to know the horrible hardships the owners of these memories had experienced. From their life on the streets as children, stealing food, abusive parents, lack of parents, extreme poverty, periods of starvation, among many other things. Sadly all of the memories were this way and as I saw more I realised this was the norm for most children from poor families in Toa Mirr.

As I watched I began to realise I was watching the memories of four different men. As they became older I began to realise who they were. They were some of the men I had just killed. The leader, the two that had held me down, and the last man I had killed.

If I had thought their childhoods had been bad I soon found myself forced to watch as they began to turn to greater and greater crimes and despicable acts. I saw them go from more minor problems like drinking, gambling, and bar fights to stealing, rape, and murder.

It was the latter two that made my soul ache. I found myself forced to watch every detail. Forced to feel their sickening desires and emotions as they did so. I even.. felt… what they felt even if it was dulled.

 



 

* * *


 

I awoke suddenly and violently, hitting my nose hard into the rock above me. I felt absolutely filthy, the feelings and sensations still fresh in my mind. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream.

With the hopes of getting the filth out of my mind I forced other thoughts into my mind. I thought about the fun times I had pulling pranks at the school and Usui's city. Thought about the training I had done and many other things.

A few hours later when the first light of the morning came I came out from under my rock. I still felt sick and defiled, but now I had a sense of purpose. I was going to get out of this canyon alive and do my best to forget about the things I had seen.

I also thought I had a good idea of what had happened and why I had seen the memories. I had realized that the four men that had touched me in one way or another were the ones I had seen the memories of. I had also remembered feeling what they felt as they had touched me.

I was still not completely sure what had happened but between the fact that three of the men that had touched me had died without a scratch and all had weakened at my touch. I was reminded of the Berserkers. While I had only heard that the Berserkers got stronger as they killed and had heard nothing of how they got stronger because of this, it would make sense that they did it by touch.

The reason I thought this was because I had actually felt stronger after the fight and not weaker. It was entirely possible that I had stolen something from the four men, life energy or what I didn't know, and that it had become apart of me, explaining the nightmare I had had. Probably.

I was sure of one thing. I didn't want to experience a night like that again. Both the fighting and the dream part. Hopefully those would be the last men I saw in this canyon and I would be able to simply walk into town and find someplace safe to stay for a while, but life never goes exaclty how one wants it. I hoped this was a time things did go well.



 

* * *


 

Now I was feeling better, though not enough to want to eat, and had my thoughts about me I decided to take one last look around the area before I moved on. Aside from Kitten and a few small animals and birds, I saw nothing and no one of any concern.

The first thing I wanted to do was take one last look at the men. I had only done a quick search for food the night before but I now wanted to see if they had anything else on them worth taking, hopefully something that would get the collar off of my neck.

I found that, despite their shabby appearances, they had a few useful things on them. Aside from a fair sum of money hidden on the leader I found several knives, small pouches of either a fine powder or dried and ground leaves, cheap jewelry, and other unnotable items of little to no worth. I also collected the weapons they had dropped onto the ground but decided I couldn't carry them, aside from a few arrows, so dumped them into the river.

Sadly I had failed to find a key or something that would remove my collar. I just wondered what kind of lock the one they had put on me was. I had hoped it had been one that opened with a key, but if it was they didn't have they key on them as far as I could tell. If it was the other kind lock then only a skilled magic user could remove it and the only ones in Toa Mirr that were taught magic were either nobility or Melche born, and all of the Melche born in Toa Mirr were forcefully conscripted into the military at birth.

Thankfully not being able to use magic was not a great inconvenience to me. It would be a pain to start fires now and I wouldn't be able to use my sword's special abilities but aside from those I was perfectly fine using my bow and the sharpness of my sword to defend myself.

 



 

* * *


 

When I was certain I had found everything I could off of the men I decided to get ready to leave. Strangely I had gotten my apetite back after rummaging through dead bodies, perhaps because seeing the men that had done those things were dead and suffering on Menein.

After I had finished eating I noticed that Kitten had disappeared. Since I wasn't sharing my food with the cat I figured it had gone off to find its own and took the opportunity to clean myself up.

To my surprise I found that as I cleaned my wounds that they had already healed quite a bit. While I still could not use my injured arm and leg to hold any large amount of weight I suspected that if they kept healing this quickly it would only be a day or two before I was back to normal.

This reinforced my theory that I had some of the abilities of the Berserkers now. I had seen their extreme healing abilities first hand. My healing was obviously no where near as fast but it had improved a lot just from killing four men. Even with the potential adavantages of this "gift" the servant had given me, I didn't want it. If it meant having dreams like I had had then I wanted nothing to do with it.

With myself now cleaned I began to gather my things. When I tried to pick them all up to leave I found I could not hold everything with just my good arm. Thankfully there were plenty of spare bags courtesy of some dead scum and I soon had a back full of bags.

I found myself underway again, with Kitten coming out of nowhere and following. While I was not looking forward to the heat I decided to stay to the sides of the canyon where there were many more places to keep myself out of sight.

As the day wore on I made steady progress. I had also seen no signs of any other men and hoped that it would stay that way.

It was around noon when I couldn't stand the heat any longer and I carefully made my way towards the river. As soon as I reached the river I dropped my things and slid into the water as quietly as I could, Kitten following suit.

I did not stay long and as soon as I had cooled myself down I refilled the water flask Servant had provided me, and took out a cloth. This cloth was what was left of the clothes I had been wearing the day before when I had been attacked. I had already cut strips of it off to use to bandage my wounds but now decided it would make a nice head rag to keep the sun off of my head and cover the light being emitted from my collar. I also soaked it in the river for good measure.



 

* * *


 

A few hours after my trip to the river I finally found another group of men, Kitten's sudden disappearance alerting me. There were three men and six dogs, all of them sitting in the shade of particularly large boulder. None of them were paying attention to their surroundings and one man and several of the dogs were asleep.

I wanted to sneak past them but my unsteady gait often sent rocks and pebbles down the canyon. I suspected the dogs would easily hear the rocks and would smell me or see me as I moved along even if they I kept the noise of my passing from them. I also knew that if I stayed where I was the dogs would probably find me anyways.

I had to strike first. It was only a matter of when the men and dogs would wake up and start moving. If I could use my bow I could have easily taken out one or two of the men before they even knew what was going on. After that the dogs would have been easy to take care of too, and maybe even the remaining man.

As I could not use my bow I would have to use another means. These were the daggers and knives I had taken from the men earlier. While the knives were not weighted properly for throwing and it had been a while since I had even practiced knife throwing it would have to do.

I approached the men as silently as I could. My leg at this point could hold weight better than in had in the morning so, despite the pain I got from putting weight on my leg, I did my assassin's approach on the men.

Several of the dogs lifted their heads as I padded up to a small boulder a hundred meters or so away from them. This alerted the men and they both stood up and looked in my direction.

One of the men spoke to the other, who then woke up the third man. While this was happening the first man said something and motioned to the dogs in my direction.

The dogs immediately ran in my direction.

As I didn't have long until the dogs reached my location I readied my knives and moved to where I could hit the dogs with them.

When the first dog came within about ten meters I threw a knife at it, hitting it but only wounding it. By this time three more dogs had come within ten meters and I threw knives at them as well. Two of the three hit, killing one and wounding the other. I then threw my last knife at the dog I had missed earlier, easily hitting it and killing it now that it was nearly upon me.

The last two unwounded dogs were almost upon me so I pulled out my sword and grabbed a large rock with my left hand just in case. No sooner had I done that then the two dogs rounded the boulder, one on each side.

The dogs lept at me at the same time. I swung at the dog on the right and cut it cleanly across its throat, nearly cutting its head off. The dog on my left I tried hitting with the momentum from my swing but it was so close I hit it with my fist that was gripping the sword.

The dog's jaws just missed me but its body slammed into me and knocked me onto the ground. To make matters worse one of the dogs I had wounded came around the boulder.

Thanks to Bench's and Martu's training I rolled with the blow, ingnoring a jolt of pain from my injured shoulder, and pushed the dog off of me. I then recovered just in time to slash at the wounded dog and turned to face the last dog. It pretty much impaled itself on my sword with its last attack.

Now all that was left were the three men. I didn't know how much of the fight with the dogs they had seen but I hoped they thought their dogs had done something.

I only had a little time to plan my next action. As I had not seen what kind of weapons the men had had I would have to guess.

"What have you done to my dogs?" A tall, well groomed, man said. His hand was held out and had several spears of ice floating around him, ready to impale me. The two other men appeared soon after and moved to surround me.

"I thought they were going to kill me so I defended myself." I said, hoping to buy time to think of a way out of this.

"I find it hard to believe you did this." The man said keeping his eyes on me and paying no mind to the dogs he was speaking about.

"Is this the Terran we are looking for Lord?" The man to my right said.

Lord? Had one of the Toa Mirr nobility come to kill me personally? I had heard many of them liked to hunt.

"To think our prey came to us Lord." The other man said.

"Take off your headwrap and drop the sword and rock." The man on my right said.

I did.

"So you are a Terran." The Lord said after he saw my long hair fall from the cloth. "Your hair is more grey than I expected but your skin and features are unmistakeable."

"What are we going to do with her Lord?" The man on the right said.

"I had been looking forward to a chase." The Lord dropped his hand, the ice spears shattering on the ground. "Do you feel like a chase, girl?"

"Sure." I said, hoping he was being serious.

"Sadly I do not." The Lord said, giving me a smirk.

Then why ask? I thought.

"I tire of this heat and would very much like to return to my land. Fortunately for you, Terran, the price on your head means nothing to me and instead I plan on making you one of my posessions."

Good news was he didn't want to kill me. Bad news was I would have to become his slave.

"You don't want to touch me." I told him.

"What you think does not matter anymore, only what I think." The Lord motioned to his men.

The man to my right sheathed his sword and pulled some shackles from a pouch he was wearing.

"I do not know who collared your magic but this has made things much more easy." The Lord said.

The two men started moving towards me.

"It looks like they hurt you, which is a shame, but your wounds will be well taken care of."

The men had neared me and when they were about to subdue me I dropped to the ground, grabbed my sword, and then jumped back up, punching the man with the sword as hard as I could in the stomach. As I had expected I felt his emotions as I did whatever I was doing to him.

When the first man fell to the ground I turned from the man with the shackles and sprinted as hard as I could away from him. Since the Lord apparently wanted me alive I hoped that he would not use his more deadly magic on me and headed towards the nearest boulder I could.

I heard a whooshing sound behind me and just as I turned to see what was making the sound I saw the remaining lackey of the Lord swing what looked like weighted chains at me. I tried to get out of their way but it was too late and the chains found my legs and wrapped around them, tripping me.

"A fine attempt." The Lord said when he and the man reached where I lay. "Knocking one of my servants out in a single blow. Quite amazing. It makes me desire you even more."

The remaining man knelt down next to me and grabbed my right arm. As he lifted it into the shackles and began to secure it I pulled as hard as I could at his emotions that were seeping into me, hoping it would speed up whatever was happening. The effect was immediate and the man collapsed without a word.

"What have you done?" The Lord said, a mix of curiousity and surprise in his voice. The Lord leaned over and shook his servant. When the man failed to respond the Lord backed away from me and readied his bow. "Is your collar not working properly? Only a mental attack or something similar could do something like that." The Lord thought for a moment. "I loath to do this to a lesser person but if I am to find out what skill you used and prevent its use on me…"

I felt a poke at my mind. Thankfully it only took magic to induce a mental attack or probing and could be defended against with just the strength of mind. This is why I was able to fight Pie Can when I had known little about magic and didn't have the control needed to induce a mental attack.

I easily pushed away the Lord's initial mental probe.

"I see you have some skill at mental defense." He said.

I soon felt a strong push at my mental barriers. Strangely I felt more than simple force and could feel the Lord's emotions coming through. After all my training I had never known for the attacker to transmit emotions like this as they were generally trying to get at their target's emotions, memories, and thoughts not the other way. It was possible to transmit thoughts once mental barriers had been taken away but mine were still easily holding.

"What are you doing?" The man said, clutching his head. "How are you taking…"

I had absolutely no desire to steal this man's emotions if it meant having to go through another night like the one last night but if I didn't want to become a slave I would have to. I had already taken at least one full person's worth of emotions already, maybe two, so I would be having a bad night anyways.

Like the man that had tried to shackle me earlier I decided to pull at the emotions instead of letting them come in slowly. They rushed into me.

When the Lord fell I quickly unwrapped the chains from my legs and checked all three of the men for signs of life. They were all dead, even the man I had simply punched. I had expected to have weakened him at least but somehow I had killed him faster than I had the other two. Did intent to harm take their… essence faster?

Another mystery to solve at a safer time.

With the threat of the dogs and men gone, the last wounded dog having bled to death, I decided to collect my spoils and move on.

Kitten came back too by the way.

I had struck it rich this time. Having just taken out someone of Toa Mirr nobility many of the things I found were of high quality, and I found a large sack of coins on the Lord's body. I happily took an ornate dagger, two gold rings with impressive gemstones, a small yet fine sword, silk(!) clothes (which would be sold later), and even a communication crystal. This was just on the Lord.

The other two men were worthless in comparison. I only ended up taking a few more daggers, another magic sealing collar(to sell later), and a few coins.

The only thing of worth I found in their camp was some good food fit for a lord. Everything else was just garbage or things for the dogs. Even the bedding material wasn't as good as the one the Servant had given me.

 



 

* * *


 

With nothing left to do I retrieved my daggers I had thrown at the dogs and the things I had dropped before I had approached the men and continued my journy.

For the rest of the day I saw no more signs of anyone. By the time night fell I was feeling exhausted, mostly because of all the new things I had picked up.

Thankfully that night my dreams were nowhere near as bad as they had been. I did see the lives of the three men, no dogs thankfully, and saw that they were boring in comparison to the memories the night before. This was probably the first time I had been glad to find something boring.

I saw that the two men that had been accompanying the lord had been in his family's service their whole lives, and while they had done plenty of things I would rather not had know about none of it involved murder and rape.

The Lord's memories were even more boring. All I saw of him was sword and magic training through his childhood, his conditioning as heir of the family, and his "activities" with the female servants. His poor wife was neglected in the meantime.

I awoke the next morning relieved. Not only had the dreams been better they had also been faster, less vivid, and more detached. I didn't know if this was because my mind was getting better at handling whatever I had taken from the men or what but I hoped that it would indeed be getting better and eventually go away altogether.

Even better would be just not killing anyone at all and not having to worry about it. While I had done plenty of "killing" on Korron I knew that they would just come back the same as always moments later. These people were never coming back, at least not in these bodies. If I hadn't known that they would be reborn I didn't want to know how well I would handle this situation. Knowing what happened after death certainly did take away from the seriousness of death.

As for myself I was feeling much better physically today. To my surprise my wounds were almost completely healed and they didn't hurt much anymore. I guess the speedy healing was almost worth the mental suffering the dreams had given me. Almost.

My strength had also returned and I decided to only toss a few of my daggers and arrows away to lighten the load. As I threw them away I wondered how I had carried so much for so long. Even with my greater Terran strength I still had the body of a small girl. Had I been gaining strength along with greater healing? Another mystery that would have to wait.

I began my journy through the canyon again. As I went through the day I began to notice the high canyon walls begin to slowly become more and more shallow and farther apart as I moved along. I hoped it wouldn't take too much longer to get out.

By the end of the day I could still not see the end of the canyon. To top it off I had seen two more groups of men. The first group was a rag tag bunch that I heard coming from pretty far away and was easily able to avoid. The second group I saw was more cautious but was too spread out to effectively cover the widening canyon and they missed me too.

As I went farther on I saw that the amount of cover was getting more sparse. There were no more large boulders and only large bushes and trees for me to use. As these were more thick around the river I found myself too near for comfort and decided to try my luck with the canyon wall. There were more hiding places here but any smart person would realize this and be sure to keep an eye out in the area.

Despite the fading light I decided that I would climb out of the canyon. I had never climbed a rock wall before but the cliff above me was jagged and looked to have plenty of hand holds. My only concern was what I would do with my many belongings. I decided to not worry about it and began making my way up. Kitten looked at me and simply left, heading the way we had been going.

As expected my weight began to take a toll on me. My arms began to tire and I knew that I probably would not have the strength to make it all the way up. As the day had finally become twilight I also knew that it was probably too dangerous to continue much longer, especially considering I had only made it one third of the way up in about an hour.

I looked at the cliff wall around me, looking for a ledge big enough to hold me and my posessions. I found one about thirty meters to my left and ten meters up. I knew I wouldn't make it before nightfall so I hoped that my luck, nightvision, and the light of the two moons would help.

About half an hour later I had made it. I had slipped a couple of times but had recovered each time. It had actually not been as dark as I had feared and the light from Nirca had been enough, the other having not yet risen.

Since there was no reason for me to stay awake I positioned myself as best as I could on the small rock shelf and hoped that I did not move too much in my sleep. For once my small size was actually helping.



 

* * *


 

When I awoke the next morning I found myself well rested. I had had no dreams involving men I had killed either so it had been a good night.

Because of this I guessed that I would only have those dreams if I killed someone before going to sleep. I hoped I would not be making a habit of killing people and that I would not have to worry about it ever again.

Thankfully I, and all of my belongings, were still safely on the rock ledge. I also noticed that my arm, shoulder, and leg were pretty much completely healed.

As I ate my morning meal I surveyed the area around me. I had woken up before dawn and it was still dark but it was the perfect opportunity to spot any campfires. I saw none and figured that if there had been any they had probably gone out by now.

I regretted not staying up longer the night before and watching for them then.

After a few hours passed and the sun began to light up the sky I readied my belongings and began looking for a route up the rest of the way to the top. I decided to take a more winding route up and picked out several other rock ledges like the one I was currently sitting on.

I knew I would get up faster if I went straight to the top but with all of the weight I was carrying I did not want to risk getting myself overly tired. I knew I could have dropped the things I didn't really need but I wanted as much money as I could later on. I also was in no hurry to get anywhere.

By the time I stopped on a ledge a little more than halfway up it had begun to get hot and I decided that I would rest a bit longer than I had been at the other ledges. Since I was on the south side of the canyon there was plenty of shade but I didn't have a large amount of water and thought that I would dehydrate faster if I climbed too much in the heat.

Now settled down I once again surveyed the valley below. As I was higher now than I had been that morning I had an even better view.

This time I did spot something. Below me, a bit downstream to the north I saw a group of men. There were at least eight men from what I could see, maybe more. Since they were spread out along the canyon I guessed that they still had not spotted me. I was still in bow range from the canyon floor and would be in trouble if I was spotted. On the other hand I could now use my bow and shoot back.

By the time the men reached the area below me it was well afternoon. All they had to do was not look up in my direction and I would be fine. If they did look up I just hoped that they thought my whitish cotton clothes and bedding was an odd colored rock.

One of the men, of eleven I had now counted, shouted. When the others looked at him he shouted again and pointed up at me. The rest of the men looked in my direction and then rushed towards the cliffside below me.

Instead of pulling out my bow I pushed myself onto the rock ledge as far as I could and then positioned my belongings along the edge in hopes that they would stop any arrow that got too close. When I had done this I did pull out my bow and readied it.

Thankfully the men appeared to be not very used to firing at a target so high above them and their shots were too short. I had gravity on my side and made my first shot quite easily, sending the men looking for cover. This worked in my favor as well because the men couldn't easily protect themselves if they stayed directly under me.

It stayed like this for an hour. The arrows had stopped coming at me when the men realised they would only hit me if they got closer. When they had tried to get closer I had taken out another of the archers, sending them back into cover.

I had had more than enough rest and decided to continue climbing. I knew that when I started climbing again I would not be able to keep them away with my arrow fire but if I could climb fast enough I could maybe be out of their arrow range in no time. I also had a bunch of stuff on my back so if they did manage to hit me I hoped it would me there and not my exposed arms or legs.

I began to climb. The men waited a few moments to come out but they did and were soon shooting arrows at me. I knew that the farther I was up the cliff side the less likely they were to hit me so I climbed faster than I knew was safe. At least I would be making it to the top faster, or the bottom…

The men stopped shooting. I had thought I was still in range of their bows but guessed I had overestimated it as none had come close to me. Despite this I did not look down and kept climbing.

When I reached the next rock ledge an hour later, having skipped one, I finally looked down. I saw that at least half of the men had started climbing after me and only one was still on the canyon floor. The rest I could barely see in the distance, making their way out of the canyon, probably in hopes to catch me on top.

I didn't know how much longer the canyon went up north but at the speed I was going I would easily reach top in only another hour or two. I would then head off in a random direction for a few hours before heading west in hopes of finding the Non' river and some water.

The men that had chosen to climb were still far below me and looked to be making slow progress. I could sit here for hours and they would not catch up. I was not going to do that but in the meantime…

Salis was bored. Salis thought of a fun game. Salis named the game: "How close can you get the rock to the man without hitting him?"

Being on a rock cliff and all there were plenty of loose rocks. None of them in reach were particularly big but they didn't need to be.

I gathered a large pile of rocks and lay on my stomach. I grabbed a small rock first and dropped it at the easiest target. The rock bounced off the wall about ten meters above the man and went off in a direction away from him.

I grabbed another rock and tried again. This time I got the man's attention as the rock hit the wall and skittered down about three meters to his left. I grabbed a bigger rock and tried again.

Twenty minutes later I nodded happily to myself as I looked down at the men. All of them had stopped and were now hugging the wall as tightly as they could. None of them had fallen but I thought one had wet his pants when a particularly large rock brushed just shy of him.

An hour or so later I pulled myself over the canyon wall and stood up, seeing Kitten already there. I looked from Kitten to the canyon I had been in for much too long and, after kicking some rocks and dirt over the edge I turned my back to it hoping to never see it again.



 

* * *


 

As there was still about an hour or so left of daylight left I kept myself moving to cover as much ground as possible. When night finally fell I was then going to turn west and keep walking until I found me a river.

I knew it would not be good for me to not get my sleep but there was not much cover out of the canyon, because what I saw was that I was in the Toa Mirr desert. It was nothing like the sands of the Sahara Desert but what vegetation was here was small and dry, aside from an occasional sad looking tree.

Now that I knew what the area was like around me I headed off to the south-east. A while after sundown I stopped and ate a meal. I had seen no signs of pursuit and Kitten had not disappeared so I was confident I was safe at the moment.

When I had rested for a while I decided to head towards the Non' river. I had no idea if I would find any roads or settlements on the river but I would at least have a water source. I also knew that I would be more likely to run into people there. Hopefully any I did meet were either not intending to go on any Terran hunts or they were still expecting to find me in the canyon and would overlook me, unless one of the men that had elected not to chase me up the cliffside had already made it to the river and spread the word.

My journey was not too difficult in the dark. Thanks to the light given off by the two moons, despite neither being full, I easily navigated around the rocks and bushes.

I had walked all night and still seen no sign of anything. I was having a hard time staying awake but kept walking well until the sun rose. Even then I kept walking until the heat began to pick up. As I was getting low on water I decided to take shelter under one of the trees. When I finished setting up a sun shade I went to sleep.

I awoke to the stars. Since I was now rested I hoped to make even better time this night. I walked all night yet again. Unfortunately I was almost out of water. I knew that I could go a few days without it but I didn't want to.

A few hours after sunrise the next day I made it to the river. This river was much bigger than the one in the canyon, looked much deeper, and was moving much more quickly. There was also a road alongside it. Other than that I saw not a soul.

I immediately refilled my water flasks and then set off down the road to the south-west. I had little desire to go to Eto but I had even less desire to keep wandering the desert. I also needed to go there to get the best prices for the items I had acquired in the canyon.



 

* * *


 

I had been following the road for two days now, and for the most part, nothing much had happened. I had met several groups of people along the way, but since I usually hid in the vegetation along the river I was never seen. Kitten always ran off before they came so I knew they were coming.

I knew I could have made faster time by offering to pay the occasional wagon that passed me but I didn't want to risk being around anyone for too long. Most of the people I saw didn't look very wholesome and I had even seen a wagon train with cages filled with slaves. Suffice to say I felt I was much safer on my own.

It was on the third day that something finally happened. As I hid in a dense thicket of bushes another wagon train, coming from the way I had come, came. It was another of many wagon trains filled with slaves that I had seen on this road. What was different this time was that they had dogs, like the lord had.

One of the dogs apparently picked up my scent and headed right towards the bushes I was hiding in.

"You smell something interestin' over there?" A man on a hoarse said, following the dog over. "Better be something tasty."

The dog entered the bushes and soon saw me. It immediately started growling.

"Is someone in there?" The man on the horse said.

"Something going on over here?" Another man on horseback said, coming over too. The second man had been accompanied by two more dogs.

This was bad. Of all the people to find me it was slave traders and they had horses as well. There was no way I was going to outrun these guys and there were several men with bows and they looked as if they knew how to use them…

"The dog smells someone in the bushes." The first man told the second.

"Think its a fugitive?" The second man said.

"Does it matter." The first said, grinning.

With that said the two new dogs were sent into the bushes after me. As they knew I was here I had no more reason to stay silent.

"Go away." I said.

"A child?" The men said to each other at the same time.

"Come out girl, we promise not t' kill you." The second man said.

"Move along, no new slaves for you here." I said.

"You do not have much of a choice, child." The first said.

Three more men came and joined the first two.

"Why has the caravan stopped?" Said a wealthy looking man with a thick, greying beard.

"We found a child hiding in the bushes." The second man said. "She knows who we are and will not come out."

"Not even the dogs have scared her out?" Grey Beard said.

I looked more closely at the men. Of the five that were here all of them had short swords and two had bows. None of them had drawn their weapons.

"Come out girl. You WILL be injured if we have to come get you." Grey Beard said to me.

I sighed. It looked like I was going to have to teach some more men what Salis' self defense consisted of.

I ignored the dogs, who had been growling at me but nothing else, and aimed my bow.

Grey Beard soon had the distinction of being the person to hold one of my nicknames for the shortest period of time ever and soon had an arrow sticking out of his chest.

Thanks to the confusion of their boss being killed I managed to shoot the two men with the bows before anyone reacted.

"She has a bow!" One of the remaining men shouted.

Six more men appeared from arround the wagons, two on horseback and three with bows, as well as three more dogs. By the time these six men had come, taking cover behind the nearest wagon, I had killed one more of the first five men as well as all of the first three of the dogs. I even managed to kill one of the new bowmen before he could get behind cover.

The next thing I did surprised the men almost as much as when I had shot their boss. I had put my bow down with the rest of my belongings and rushed out of the bushes, a dagger in each hand. It only took me a matter of moments to move past the wagon they were hiding behind and I threw each of my daggers at the two remaining men with bows.

I then drew my sword and headed for the nearest man. They had already drawn their swords so when their surprise wore off all of the remaining men came to meet me. I was too fast for them and my sword too awesome. As I fought I danced through their attacks, slashing chests, severing limbs, and even breaking a sword.

I had surprised even myself at how well I had done. I knew my training would put me at an advantage but my strength and speed had somehow seemed a little bit faster than I should have been capable of. Had this been another side effect of what the servant had done to me?

I felt eyes on me. It was the slaves caged in the wagons. None of them made a sound. As I looked at them I wondered what I should do with them. Should I release them?

I decided that it would be a good idea to scout out the rest of the caravan. I didn't want any other men to sneak up on me if they were still there, especially if they had a bow.

I ran from wagon to wagon, looking for signs of danger. When I came to a carriage at the back of the wagon train I stopped. I had seen no other men in the area but I wanted to check the carriage before I let my guard down.

When I opened the door I found that there was indeed someone hiding within. It was a young woman. She was wearing revealing clothing, her chest nearly spilling out. It was most likely the leader's sex toy.

"Please don't kill me!" The woman said, shreaking.

I ignored her and simply looked around the inside of the carriage. It was well furnished and even had a small bed inside. Whoever the man that owned this was, he was rich.

"Out." I said to the woman.

She nodded and hurried out from the carriage.

When she left I quickly looked through all of the drawers and soon found a key chain. I also found a Wanted Paper with a description of me, a note telling I would most likely be in that canyon, and a reward of two thousand gold for my dead body. When I saw how much the reward was it made sense why so many men had come after me. I just wondered why it was not 'dead or alive' and just 'dead'.

With the keys found I exited the carriage. I saw that the woman had already taken off down the road but since she was of no concern to me I let her be and walked to the nearest wagon. I then climbed the wagon and held out the keys to unlock the cage.

When I did this the slaves crowded to the side opposite of the door. The looks of fear on their faces meant nothing to me and I simply unlocked the door, swung it open, and then jumped from the wagon.

I did this to each wagon in turn. By the time I had finished the slaves had lost some of their fear for me and had begun to climb out of the cages.

"What is going to happen to us?" A slave woman said to me. She looked worn and had a few bruises on her body that were barely covered by the thin rags she wore.

"I don't care." I said.

I walked over to the body of Grey Beard and began to search it.

"Why did you save us?" Another slave said.

"It was a side effect of me practicing self defense." I said truthfully.

The slaves murmured to each other but said nothing more to me.

I soon finished searching through Grey Beard's body and stood up.

"How far to the nearest city?" I asked the slaves.

"About another day, I think." One of the few men said.

I walked back to the bushes and retrieved my things before heading back to the carriage. I then made one quick look in the back just in case the woman had returned and dropped my belongings inside before taking the driver's seat and leaving the caravan behind, the slaves watching me with uncertainty as I passed them by.

When Kitten finally came back I said, "Do you know how to drive?"

Kitten grumbled at me and then sat on the roof of the carriage.

 



 

* * *


 

The Servant found himself looking at a sad scene. A large group of newly freed slaves were gathered in a large group, arguing. It was the group Deko had told him Salis had freed. He saw this as an opportunity.

"Do you need any help?" Servant said to them.

When they saw him the group quickly backed away, aside from a few men that held swords.

"Put the swords down, I am unarmed." Servant said.

The men approached Servant and searched him.

"What do you want?" One of the men, the biggest, said.

"I want to ask for your services. In return I promise you will not have to fear slavery again."

"We will be paid?" Another man said.

"If you want, but it is power I offer."

The men looked at the Servant with suspicion.

"What kind of power." A boy said, breaking from the group of slaves, another boy, most likely his brother, followed him.

"Power like the girl that freed you, if not greater."

"We will help!" The second boy said, the first nodding in agreement.

"Are there any others?" The Servant said, looking around.

"Why should we trust you?" The biggest of the men said.

The servant looked at the two boys. He thought they would do. To off set Salis he needed test subjects willing to do what she would not. Subjects that would not hold back.

The Servant called the boys next to him and touched them each on the forehead.

"If you want power you must first take it from others."

"How?" The boys said.

"Touch them and take what is theirs. You will know what to do, but be quick." Servant said, motioning to all the other slaves.

The boys looked at him a bit confused but each grabbed a man. The men looked at the boys with irritation and tried to shake them off, but soon each boy had a smile and the men collapsed.

The boys took his advice to be quick and went quickly to their next victims. The boys simply had to touch their victims from this point on and with the men that were holding the swords dead none of the other slaves could stop them.

The Servant was pleased. These boys would be excellent test subjects. He just wondered how long it would take them to overtake Salis. The boys would be no match for her skill but they had already absorbed the life of more than she had and with what he had planned to do with them the gap would soon be vast.

"Come boys." He said when the last slave lay dead. "There is someone that requires our service and I promise there will be plenty of opportunities to get stronger as we help him."

The two boys rushed over to him and the three soon vanished.


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