Painted Skies (Part 2) | By: Catherine Sidorenko | | Category: Short Story - Fantasy Bookmark and Share

Painted Skies (Part 2)

Chapter 6
A Notch of Knowledge

The next morning was horrible, Tastain, was very sick and was barely able to walk, even less ride.
“Oh my, how in a million years did it get so hot?” Tastain was lying on a bed, half naked, sweaty, his face red and drowsy.
“It isn’t hot, if you had a little more control on yourself last night, you would be sick, and can you quit complaining for a change?” Said Aly from the other bed.
“I can’t believe how tired I...” Tastain put his hand over his mouth, and grabbed the bucket beside him to puke. When he was finished he wiped his mouth with his hand and finished his sentence “am.”
“Well you better start feeling better, because we are leaving” said Aly, putting Espory in her bag again.
“Where are we going?” asked Slavco who hadn’t said a word to Aly since their conversation of last night.
“Jarod, I checked the blacksmith of this shit hole last evening it’s bullshit and you two need good swords, and maybe a chainbody or a shield if any money is left.”
Slavco remembered his sword that his father kind of gave him, he should tell Aly, but what if she took it away saying he wasn’t worth it, he’s nothing like his father anyway. Nevertheless he wondered why Aly hadn’t noticed it yet. It was just there hanging from his hip all along.
“Slavco doesn’t need any, his father left him one, with all that leather stuff, didn’t you notice?” Tastain butted in.
Aly didn’t answer his question she looked perplexed, worried with a hint of anger. “Can you show me that sword?” She said her voice nervous as though something was going to pounce on her and tear her into pieces. Slavco pulled it out of the sheath, the blade reflected against the light that passed through the small window making it stand out. Slavco deposed it in Aly’s hands, she passed her fingers across the handle feeling it’s curly edges, then she passed her hand across the flat side of the blade. She smirked in discomfort, then said “If I was you I’d get rid of this sword, it’s the best made I do not dealt it, but what it’s made out of is of a great disgrace. You can keep it if you want, it’s just a matter of values. Dyman always wore it proudly even though I never completely stopped harassing him for doing so.”
“What is it made of?” asked Tastain even in agony he still was as curious, meanwhile Aly gave back the sword to Slavco.
“Believe me, you’ll sleep better at night not knowing” said Aly. “So Mr. I-want-to-have-fun-getting-drunk-and-the-next-morning-be-sick I hope that you’re cured because we are leaving now!”
“Nooooooooo!” moaned Tastain, Slavco helped him get up and mount his horse. Villagers cheered the trio (mostly Slavco) as they made there way out of Alma. It disturbed Slavco deeply, as far as he can remember he never had so much attention. Usually it was Tastain that got all the attention, he just stayed there. It was the way he liked it. He didn’t have to worry about doing something stupid or being judged since no one even knew his name. Now, he was a hero and he didn’t even do anything it was Aly, and she didn’t even do anything about it.
“When they were a good distance away from the village, Aly let go of the reins, her horse continued trotting down the road at the same speed. While its owner was searching through her traveling bag, her hair bouncing on her shoulders. After a few minutes of rampaging, she took out an old fat book exclaiming “Ah ha! Found it” and tossed it to Slavco. The book weighed several kilograms the cover was broken at the side, and it bore the bad smell of something old and forgotten. On the cover, in elegant golden letters, was the title it said “The Monsters and Beauties of Saraca” he opened the book and looked inside.
The writing was small and cramped, on every page everything was separated in 3 columns with at least one drawing on each page. He quickly scanned the pages, it seemed interesting enough. “What is it?”
“It’s for your learning. It’s the best you can ever find about Saraca, everything that is currently know about every single creature in Saraca is in that damn thing. It’s old and some new information might need to be added but in there is everything you’ll ever need, want, and don’t want to know about every race in Saraca” she said proudly.
“But one minute, you want me to read it?”
“No it’s because I like bragging about my books. Of course I do, why else would I lend it to you. Ever heard about knowing about your alleys and even more about your enemies. You need to know how they act, what are their weakness, and strengths. I also expect for you to pass some knowledge to Tastain. Does that pose you a problem?”
“No, of course not, it’s just I expected you to teach me complex sword maneuvers and show me how to kill a foe with magic, well that kind of stuff.”
“But I will teach you that but before I want you to have a good understanding of how, our allies and enemies live, work and communicate, what are there traditions, beliefs, and way of life. So that’s why I want you do read it while we ride don’t worry about your horse going the wrong direction, Ilina will guide it. Do you understand what I mean about your education?”
Slavco nodded and opened the book to the table of contents, the book was separated into 7 chapters and many dozens subchapters. He read them:

Chapter 1: The First Animals
-The Long Gone
-The survivors
Chapter 2: Humans
-The Becoming
-From Clubs to Swords
-Humans Today
Chapter 3: Elves
-Magic and Elves
-The Great and the Bad
-From a Different Eye
-The known and guesses
-The unknown and mysteries
Chapter 4: The Creatures of the Water
-Monsters or Friends
-The always persisting Dangers
-Beauties of the Sea
-Legends and Myths
Chapter 5: The mixed
-Were Animals
-Lamias, Centaurs, fawns, etc...
-What to do...
-Always Remember
Chapter 6: Dragons
-Different Species
-The Great mysteries
-What we are Sure of
Chapter 7: Magic
-What Magic really is

Wow though Slavco, it was the only word that came to his mind, the second thought was reading the chapter about the dragons to learn more about Espory.
“And don’t even think about skipping chapters” said Aly as though reading his mind. Slavco grunted and started reading the first chapter. It talked about how certain creatures became what they are now, and why only certain living things have magic. As he read on he learnt tons of things that he never even heard before. He learned that unlike most people think magic is a presence that is always surrounding you. The book was very long to read, he knew that if he read for an hour or two everyday it would take him a few months to finish it.
Tastain looked curiously at the book and said “Where did you get a book like that? did you actually attend school or something?” Aly nodded. School thought Slavco he had only had a basic education of 3 years where he learn how to read, write and calculate. But never ever had he heard of a school were they taught you about magic. In Deberson magic had always been a taboo subject because people were scared of what they couldn’t control.
“Where was it? How was it there? Can I go there? It looks so awesome!” Tastain of bombarding Aly with question one after question but for all of them she had the same answer,
“I can’t tell you.”
For the next hour it was quiet, Aly didn’t want to talk, and Slavco was concentrating on the book. Tastain who always needed action or else he would die or boredom hated it, and decided to braid his horse’s mane. When he was done with that. He started playing with Espory, he would perch on Tastain’s arm. Tastain would jerk his arm up, Espory would jump at the same time glide in the air for a few second to land back on Tastain’s arm. When he got bored of that he started annoying Aly with stupid questions like what was her favorite colour, and what might be the weather in Halen. Slavco was about to stop his reading so Aly wouldn’t end up strangling Tastain, when Tastain yelled “Fucken Shit! Your horse has wings!”
Slavco snapped his head towards the horse it wasn’t the same camouflage colour instead it was as white as snow, almost as if a bag of flour had been dropped on it, it’s mane and tail were of the colour of gold, but no wings. Aly turned to Tastain a look of bewilderment on her face.
“You can see her wings?”
“What wings? I don’t get what your talking about” said Slavco confused.
“You mean those giant bird wings? Aye,” said Tastain still in shock.
“I don’t see anything!” yelled Slavco frustrated that nobody was explaining what was happening.
“Your the fifth person that ever was able to see them” said Aly now calm. Slavco finally got it, well he think he did anyway. Ilina seemed to have wings that only certain people were able to see that’s why Tastain could see them.
“But, why can I see it’s wings and not everyone else? And why haven’t I seen them until now?” inquired Tastain.
“I never discovered why some can see them or not, I can see them though but I’ve never seen the relationship. For why you only started to see them now, Ilina just turned back to her natural colour because she feels no threat, and at the same time shows her wings.” Aly looked at the boys “perhaps” she hesitated to contiune “no it’s impossible” she finished her eyes now bright green like an enchanted forest.
“Your eyes,” said Slavco decided to ask Aly “they often change colour.”
Tastain who like usual never notices anything said “they do?”
“Yes, I know I am actually the only who has eyes like that” she said with a sad note at the end.
Slavco who found that very lucky said “why do you sound sad? I’d love to have eyes like those.”
“Maybe one day you’ll know why” she said mysteriously “For now, what page are you at?”
“8” he said a bit embarrassed by the small number, but he didn’t stop getting detracted by Tastain and his boring but still funny jokes and comments.
“Well try to get at least to page 16” she said seriously, and again as though reading his mind Aly said to Tastain “and you shut up, you slow down Slavco.”
Tastain was surprised by Aly’s commanding tone. No woman spoke like Aly did, her being in command was an amazing thing. Still her authority was striking. “Okay” he said unsure. As Aly had told them they didn’t stop to eat, and even Espory didn’t like that idea. Aly agreed to stop just for today, so at around one o’clock they stopped to eat. Aly had been able to get some cheese which they gladly ate.
“Aly?” Asked Tastain.
“Will you teach Slavco magic?”
“Yes, I will.”
“When are you going to start?”
Aly smirked at his rudeness “you are ever impatient a trait at I especially dislike try correcting that” and went back to her food. When she finished eating she got up, took a few steps and drew and circle on the ground. When finished she touched the line, it became snow white. Except for when they were in the fire it was the first time Aly had performed magic in front of them. It left both Tastain and Slavco dumbstruck with enthusiasm and fear.
“Magic,” she started “is both the most complicated and difficult thing in the world. Tell me what is the first rule in magic?”
“Always follow the rules” joked Tastain.
“It’s the exact opposite, rule number one there are no rules. Through history, many great magicians spent there life trying to establish basic rules to help young apprentices learn more quickly. The problem is that there is always a way to go around. When you use magic, all lot of practice is needed to expand your power. Though there is a certain way that is very difficult to do that will make the spell work to the top and beyond your abilities. Even if you didn’t practice it at all it will work. The price is once it’s done there is no coming back the spell will suck all the life out of you. If it goes too far you die, the magic I did in the fire was using that technique and right know I feel very stupid for doing such a thing. I could have died, I was tired and my concentration was off. I should technically have died, but faith seemed to have other plans for me.
The lesson is that magic is very powerful never underestimate it. Going back to the rule number one of magic, there is and always will be a way to do whatever you want with magic, if you have the right powers anything is possible. Can one of you tell me who is the person that did the most things that everybody thought impossible? I’ll give you a clue, it isn’t for that, that he is famous for.”
She looked at both Tastain and Slavco, her eyes grayer then ever. Slavco didn’t have an idea who that was, he was sure neither did Tastain. “Caniric himself,” she told them “this shows how powerful he is. So come here Slavco” she told Slavco pointing at inside the white circle. Slavco stepped in scared that something would happen but nothing did, so he looked up at Aly for more instructions. “Okay, now tell me what is in the circle?”
Slavco thought for a moment not wanting to get it wrong again. Finally he came with a satisfactory answer, “me.”
“Yes, indeed” she said calmly not breaking eye contact with Slavco and completely ignoring Tastain, “but what else.”
Slavco looked at the ground lifting his feet that covered 80% of the circle to see more. “There are, pebbles, dirt, a leaf, oh and I think there’s a dead bug in the corner there.”
Aly smiled at him, as if waiting for him to give this exact answer and said “yes, your right, but Slavco can you tell me how many pebbles? How thick is the dirt? How old is that leaf? And why did that insect die?” Slavco looked at her puzzled, how in the world was he supposed to know that?
“I...I don’t know” he convinced himself to finally say.
She smiled again “you see magic isn’t only about casting spells, to make proper use of magic you need to comprehend your surroundings. You need to be able to see beyond the box, and see relations where nobody else sees any. You need to always understand what is happening around you. So that even if you are tired or sick you are able to see an arrow coming and dodge it.”
He really couldn’t see the relation to all of this how was it supposed to help him, Aly saw his look of puzzlement and started talking again. “Let me put this to you in a simple way, if you hear movement in the brush what do you do?”
“You go see if there is someone, or some animal, or something” said Tastain as though it was common sense.
“Exactly, but what if you see a dead bird decaying on the ground while on your way to some village?”
“You pick it up, and play catch” Tastain said sarcastically.
“Close, but not quite” Aly said ignoring Tastain’s sarcasm.
“You leave it there” Slavco finally said “It’s disgusting.”
“Yes, that would be common sense, but what if that dead bird was a warning of a contagious virus that hit the village you are going to?”
“Yes, but how am I supposed to know that, that bird died that way?” Asked Slavco finally starting to get Aly’s point.
“That” she said “is were magic comes in place, but to use it in those peculiar ways you need to know what to look for, because you never really look for something until you know what to look for” Aly finished mystically smiling. “There are 68 pebbles, the dirt is 5 cm thick, this leaf fell off that tree” Aly pointed to an large oak at the distance “yesterday, and that insect died of old age. Lets pack now, we still have a long way to go.
“I still don’t get what see means” said Tastain to Slavco as they jogged towards their horses.
“I didn’t expect you to either” joked Slavco. Tastain shoved him playfully,
“Ha, ha very funny Lav.”

Chapter 7

The comforting scent of the evening had arrived. Wrapping Slavco in the deep reassurance that the day was soon over, and that he could finally lie down comfortably. Aly spent the afternoon telling him about the dangers of magic. Stories of ignorant magicians that lost theirlives doing a foolish thing with magic, but never did she get anywhere close to show him how to use it.
Slavco being patient of nature didn’t make a big fuss about it. “Listen” Aly said seriously “I don’t mind you two having a little fun, but please don’t go running around like freaks.”
“Can we run in a straight line like freaks” joked Tastain, Slavco cranked up with laughter, even Aly let out a faint giggle.
“No, you can’t” she finally said “we’ll stop for the night it’s getting dark, and you de need to eat.”
They both nodded excessively, they were starving unlike Aly who seemed to barely eat and most of all never sleep. As they forced their tired bodies to eat, Aly was once again rummaging through her bag, but Slavco didn’t really care she was always taking things out of that bag. It was only when she took out 2 well craft, wooden, toy swords that she caught his attention. The fake blades were a good ¾ of a meter long, how could they fit in her bag. It made him remember a lot of things seemed to fit in that bag. It was also the only bag that Aly transported.
Curiosity got the best of him, and he raced to the bag, to see it’s contents. He was holding the bag with a hand Aly a couple feet beside him, staring at him with her powerful, dead, gray eyes. “Can I” he asked her before looking in, smiled and gave him a nod. His jaw dropped open as he saw the inside of the bag, the opening was large enough for a person to slide through, but the inside was like a small, low room. There was even a floor, boxes were pilled over each other. Some open most closed, often used objects didn’t have a box and just laid there. “Wow” said Slavco speechless, magic certainly wasn’t finished with impressing him.
“What is it?” yelled Tastain, too lazy to leave his spot.
“Come and see” I told them, knowing that it would be difficult to describe in words.
“Awesome” it was the only words that he was able to utter. Tastain then spotted the two toy swords, “Whoohoo you’re going to show use moves?”
Aly looked at the contents of her hands and sarcastically said “wow you guessed that by yourself, like a big boy” Tastain didn’t appreciate her sarcasm, and shut up. “Here” she said handing both Slavco and Tastain a sword, her voice was more kind as if silently saying that she was sorry to Tastain. As always though, Tastain didn’t notice and stayed upset at Aly. For what seem like forever, Aly showed them techniques that they needed to memorize and do perfectly. Slavco surprised himself with his newfound agility, he was even better then Tastain! He Slavco Meti was better then Mr. Athletic, he found it both bizarre and fun.
The time passed but still didn’t spare, “are we actually going to practice in a real battle?” Inquired Tastain tired of waiting for action.
Slavco put his hand over his eyes as a sign of exhaustion and frustration.
“No it’s okay Slavco if he wants action then he’ll get some, it will be a magic lesson also” Slavco looked at her confused. “Magic helps a lot in a way that you can feel, or hear what you can’t see by projecting your senses. Example.”
Aly snapped her fingers and a black bandanna appears out of nowhere, she attached it on her head in a way that she couldn’t see anything anymore. “Slavco use your sword, Tastain take this” she tossed her own sword at Tastain “now try to hit me.”
Tastain smirked, they were two against one and Aly was blindfolded and without any weapons. They definitely would win. So they started swinging the swords as quickly as they could like Aly had taught them. Aly dodged, leaned, jumped, everything possible, even some impossible. Slavco and Tastain fought with all their might but their swords never seemed to get anywhere close to Aly. Aly then grabbed both of their sword-held-arms in motion, “enough” she said, and removed her bandanna. You see what I can do using only my hearing, touch, and a lot of practice.
For the rest of the evening neither did Slavco nor Tastain say anything, out of embarrassment.

* * *

“We are going faster then I thought we would, if we keep the same speed and don’t stop too much we will reach Jarod, very late tonight” said Aly looking at a map. Slavco tried to peak and take a look, but she was too far.
Instead of trying some more Slavco took out his (more Aly’s) textbook and continued reading. Slavco had always loved reading it was one of his greatest passions getting lost in a fictional world of adventure, mystery, and romance, but the length of this book was so incredibly depressing. He turn the page and noticed that there was something written in the margins. There was two different types of writing one was of a great neatness, it seemed to be a conversation, it said:

I can’t believe this is working!
I told you it would
Sorry, so are we still going to eat together at the Chame se huseai
Of course, why wouldn’t we?
Okay then

It was Aly’s textbook so one of the two people must be Aly thought Slavco. Should I ask her? No she will erase it and I want to learn more about her. Should I tell Tastain? No he’ll spit the bean right away. I know this is wrong, but this will be my secret.
“What’s the matter” Aly asked Slavco seeing that he was lost in thought.
“Nothing, nothing, was just...thinking.”
“Okay then” she said with suspicion. Slavco went back to his reading, he saw on the other page that something else was written:

You know that you are a really good friend Hean
Come on Aly your not that bad either! But remember not to write to me too often or else this with be filled and someone will notice.

Hean thought Slavco that’s his name. I’ll need to keep that one in mind. Should I question her about him? She’ll notice for sure she always does. If I do it I’ll need to be the most casual possible, but that impossible since I am a poor liar! I guess I’ll need to put that for later. Dammit see noticed something on face!
“Is there a problem? You look like you just can’t wait to ask me something, am I right?”
Think quick! Think quick! Dammit! It’s taking to long! “Um, do you know what kind of magic I can do, because I am reading this and it says that there are various type of magic with different levels and I am curious to know exactly what can I do?” Yah! she doesn’t seem to notice or does she?
“Oh my, what a question. Let me think. This is very complicated, you see your magic comes from many different people. 3/5 of it is from your father, I can guess, but really I can’t know I can only guess” she said with a sad smile.
“But don’t worry we can figure it out. Tell me what are the things that are different since you got the magic?”
“Well, I feel stronger and faster, and that all the time, but once I got really fast though I can’t do it again...”
“Once he got really strong also” Tastain interrupted “But suddenly he lost his strength.”
“Yes, that would be your father, and I can help you control those strength and speed gusts, if I can call them that. For the fact that you are more physically in shape, the attribute is for your father also it’s your muscles that contract more. If I am right you should get even better” Aly said seriously. “Anything else?”
“I also feel more agile, and a few days ago I fell a couple of meters. I was about to pass out when suddenly I was completely healed.”
“The healing power is typical of Prentes, sadly how they use it is a mystery to me so I can’t help you. What intrigues me on the other hand is your agility. I can’t find how magic could have changed that, though your father was agile of nature” she said peculiarly. Aly sighed deeply thinking, when suddenly an idea hit her and she snapped her head towards Slavco looking at him in the eyes. She pulled her horse towards Slavco’s, until they were so close that he could feel Aly’s breathing on his face. “Look at me in the eyes” she commanded. He looked at her straight in the eyes, she was only a few centimeters away from him. There noses were about to touch.
Her gray eyes seemed to glow in the darkness of the forest, Slavco then notice that her pupils were very pale, and seemingly thin. He could even see the blood vessels in the back. “That’s what I thought” she said after a long moment “They didn’t only give you magical traits but also physical traits. Hopefully you won’t start to speak like a woman.”
Tastain started laughing hysterically, while Slavco gave Aly a look of fear, disgust, and anger. “What?” he shrieked, Aly looked at him and started laughing at him also. Why are they so mean? I don’t want to start to grow breasts!
“Slavco, it’s a joke almost all of the donators were men. I doubt you’ll get female attributes, though there are less enjoyable things that might happen” Aly said trying to sound kind and understanding but obviously failed.
“What? What’s going to happen to me?!?”
Aly took a dead breath “Did you ever want yellow eyes?”
“WHAT THE FUCK?! YELLOW EYES!!!!” yelled Slavco making a couple of birds in a tree fly away. Tastain started laughing even more insanely. To him this situation seemed more then amusing.
“Take this the good way you’ll be able to see in the dark more then perfectly. Though I feel bad that I haven’t thought about this before, I knew it wouldn’t be omnipotent” Aly said biting her lip.
“You don’t get it do you? I am going to look like some kind of circus freak! It’ll be hard not to notice me when we are in a city!” Yelled Slavco, he couldn’t believe it. “Anything else I don’t know? Am I going to turn pink?”
“No, not pink but your skin tone might become a little darker. I insist on the word might” she said ready for more shouts.
“Isn’t that good news Lav you won’t look like a bucket of milk anymore” said Tastain grinning.
“He is right, it will do you good your skin is ghostly pale.
8 years ago
“Father, Please don’t go! I am bored all day and the other kids don’t like me” whined Slavco.
“Don’t say foolish things how can anybody not like you?” Reassured Dyman “I am going to be late now. Good bye.” Slavco disappointed that he failed in his mission to keep his father pouted to his bedroom.
He slammed his door shut. He didn’t understand, no adults did. The reason why the other children disliked him was because they found him weird. He had coal black hair too flat to be natural, they just fell down on his head. He had a very pale skin tone, and eyes of a dark brown so dark it seemed to be just one big pupil.
Slavco was also very thin making it easy to pick on, “here comes the ghost” that is what they would call him. They would invent wild tales that he is a dark sorcerer, and Slavco would even use that to his advantage to frighten them away when they wouldn’t stop. He was tired of staying here all the day he wanted sunlight, he wanedt fun, but mostly he wanted a friend.
After a very boring hour of doing absolutely nothing, he summed up all the confidence he had and went outside in search of entertainment. He walked along the dirt road, passing by mothers hanging their wet clothes on a thin rope. Young couples passionately in love, toddlers playing in the mud with broad smiles on there face.
He was now in the outskirts of Deberson, where all the farmers took care of their crops or livestock. An abnormally tall child, with monkey ears was playing with a furry golden dog. They weren’t really playing, more wrestling. It caught Slavco’s attention, they both seem to be struggling to gain advantage on their opponents. The boy noticed Slavco staring, and tossed the dog off him “finish” he told it, and turn to Slavco.
“Want to try?” He said happily. Slavco looked at the boy he was simply covered in scratches and bites, faint bleeding could be seen on his shoulder.
“I think I’ll pass my turn” he said shyly.
“Your choice, it’s really fun though. I’m Tastain by the way” he said and extended his arm. Slavco stayed still staring at Tastain shyly, “if you say your name I won’t sell it to the devil you know.”
Slavco still stayed mute, Tastain rolled his eyes and started petting his dog “My name is Slavco” Slavco said. He said it so softly that Tastain could barley hear it.
“Slavco” echoed Tastain “awesome name, never heard it before” he said mostly to himself.
When suddenly a voice interrupted them, “Balden, what are you doing with this loser” said the voice of a young boy acting as though Slavco isn’t there.
“Don’t be harsh Jarred” responded Tastain. Slavco turned around, a boy about a year or two older then him was standing there. His hair was long and thick though it ended not even an inch under his ear. He had powerful brown eyes, and a smirk on his face. Behind was 2 of his friends they seemed like clones of the lead boy, and a girl who seemed to be dressed with the contents of a trash can, her hair dark brown and messy fell over her eyes.
The boy named Jarred advanced towards Tastain, pushing Slavco on the way. He looked at him in the eyes “are you giving me orders? ‘Cause you know that giving me orders isn’t a smart idea.”
Tastain pushed him away “get lost Jarred”, Jarred gave him a dirty look. Tastain was much too big for Jarred but with his mates he had no chances.
“Who are you lookin’ at?” Asked Jarred to Slavco. Slavco was paralyzed at the spot and saw his life pass infront of him. Jarred and his gang were the ones that had been bullying Slavco the most since he arrived. He didn’t want any trouble he just went for a walk. Oh why hadn’t he stayed home? “Ya know eh, we don’t like ghosts” he said smirking “Ya could even say we hate ‘em”
“Jarred, can’t you pick on someone of your own size?” objected Tastain.
“Na, this is too fun” he said and punched Slavco on the face, he backed up blood squirting everywhere. Never had he thought Jarred would go that far, the only reflex he got hit back. Though the injury wasn’t as bad as Slavco he still bleed, but it was too late to go back Slavco was in deep trouble. He ran, tripped, got back up and ran, “Get him!” he heard Jarred commanded “nobody gets away from me like that!”
What had he done he was dead meat, no way he could get away, he wasn’t fast or strong enough. In no time the gang got him one of the two followers tackled him, his face slamming on the dirt road.
He heard the girl scream “don’t do this! Master won’t be happy!”
“Are you thinking about telling him, because I hope your not” he said dangerously. Slavco understood she was a slave, he thought they were only a myth, something that once happened but doesn’t exist anymore, or was only found in barbaric countries. Jarred then got his attention back to Slavco, he wipe his bloody face and kicked Slavco in the stomach. “Who do you think you are?” he asked Slavco but not wanting an answer. He grabbed Slavco by the hair and slammed his head on the ground a few times.
“Jarred” he heard Tastain’s voice say, Jarred turned around to receive Tastain’s fist on his chin. He hit him a second time this time on the forehead, Jarred passed out, mostly out of fear.
His two followers fled, but the girl stayed, she was crying, afraid, but not of Tastain. “No, no, no! He is going to be so angry after me!”
Slavco couldn’t see anything his injuries blurred his vision, but he could clearly hear the girl’s helpless cries. Tastain held out a hand for Slavco, this time he took it, “What a idiot he is! Are you okay?”
“Yes, just a bit shaken” Slavco answered timidly.
“Let me see” he said and touched his nose, and agony of pain followed.
“Ooowwww!” Slavco cried.
“I think it’s broken, you should come with me my mum is a healer she knows what to do.”
Slavco nodded and followed Tastain, “Do you need anything?” he asked the girl, she shook her head and continued sobbing.
Slavco slide his finger down his nose, though no scars were visible but a small hollow could be felt. As a reminder of the day he met Tastain, and when everything got better.

Chapter 8

Tastain was born 10 months before Slavco, so there wasn’t much of an age gap. During the first years of their friendship Tastain had many other friends, nobody could resist to his mind-blinding charisma. Slavco’s only friend was Tastain, Tastain tried to make Slavco enter his group but without any success nobody else then Tastain was able to see who Slavco really was. As the years past, though all of Tastain’s friends told him to dump the poor guy, that he was meant to be left out. Never did Tastain think of doing such a thing, slowly he lost his friends. He didn’t care to him they were only friends not true friends, and true friends are worth one million friends.
After three years or so Tastain and Slavco were alone. Alone but an unbreakable bond unified them. There was simply something that kept them together. Some say that they will be friends forever but a stupid thing will break them apart or as they grow up they go different way, but not Slavco and Tastain. In all those years they had no major argument, many small ones, but they always stayed together.
“I have a joke and it’s really good, so get ready for a good laugh. There was a duck he left up on leg, he found it funny. He left the other and fell on his butt!” Tastain howled with laughter, while Aly and Slavco looked at him with looks of disgust.
“Your weird” Aly finally said.
“I know he is” Slavco added.
“Come on, it’s hilarious! You just don’t see things the same I do” said Tastain pouting.
“Thank god I don’t, or else I’d hang myself!” Aly exclaimed.
“Thank you... hey that’s an insult!” Said Tastain finally realising, Aly signed.
“Pathetic, that’s what you are pathetic!”
Slavco laughed at Aly and Tastain as they continued to argue. Ilina had turned back to her camouflage colour a few minutes ago, and the sky was dark, which meant that they were almost at Jarod after 3 long days of traveling after they left Alma. Slavco looked at Aly she was very tall for a girl and he was short for a man, because of that they ended up being the same height. He saw her flick her head, everything became quiet, Aly had heard something. Espory flew off in a tree to hide.
Slavco listened hard, hoof-steps, pad pad pad, they were coming closer. They were going to cross other riders. Did that mean, they arrived, after a long moment Aly cried,
“Salutations, do you know if we’ve arrived to Jarod?”
The riders jumped they hadn’t noticed them yet “yes, down the hill” one of them yelled back from a good distance.
“Thank you” said Aly kindly.
Jarod resembled a lot to Deberson, but something important was missing and that’s the ocean. Like every traditional, town or city Jarod had a temple/church (call it what you want) in the middle, where the important leaders, and priest lived. People stared at them curiously as they rode down the narrow road. It was very comprehensible, Aly with her hair, make up and piercing. Slavco with his evil appearance, and Tastain tall and handsome which just didn’t fit with the two others.
After what seemed like forever they stopped at a filthy bar/inn. They put the bags in there room, and headed outside where Aly gave them instructions. “Listen, I am going to get what I wasn’t able to get in Alma. You two can go and have fun but be back in three hours. Understood?” the young men nodded “okay so be there or be square.”
“Oh, oh! Can I be triangle?” Asked Tastain dumbly. Slavco laughed but Aly left ignoring Tastain’s lame joke. “Fine be that way!” he yelled at her. “I think she is having her week” he murmured to Slavco.
Aly suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and slapped him in the face “No smart comments!”
“Ooowww! That hurts!” Slavco just laughed, Tastain did indeed deserve it.
The duo wondered off to the depths of Jarod. The people were welcoming there, and they got invited to have a drink with a group of townies at a local bar. This time Tastain controlled himself much more, he didn’t want to relive what happened at Alma.
“So what fellas like ya doin’ in Lacha? Goin’ anywhere?” asked one of the men.
“Traveling, fucking ladies, living our lives” answered Tastain. Slavco looked at Tastain staggered.
“I see... just wanted to know, the last lad that came here was convict on the run.” Tastain laughed, Slavco was worried, in a way he was kind of on the run. He had killed someone. The thought of that elf lying dead on the ground still haunted him.
The man noticed his worry, so Slavco thought fast of something to say “So anything special, happening here?”
The face of a second man shine with joy “Aye, our dear king is givin’’ us a visit, he has been here since yesterday.” Slavco remembered Aly’s telling them that they needed allies, the king of humans is perfect since most of the population of Saraca are humans. They could have access with armies.
“Where is he staying?” Inquired Slavco trying to stay casual.
“At the temple of Jarod, course” Slavco nodded Aly certainly was going to be proud of him for discovering that information. Suddenly they heard a crash from outside, two bulky soldiers stormed in the same gloomy bar, filling everything with action.
“What the heck!” shrieked Tastain jumping off his seat.
“Who is Slavco Meti, and Tastain Balden?” asked the first one, his voice deep and mean. Everybody pointed at the two boys, Slavco swallowed hard, his hands sweating. What was happening? They are humans not elves, what would they want of us?
Slavco pulled out his glossy sword, which was pretty stupid since just one of them would be able to over power him, “what do you want of us?” he asked either one of them. He struggled trying to keep his voice fearless.
“Orders of the king, he wants to talk to you. He says the girl is unimportant” the second one said. The king? Aly must have gotten in trouble, but why ask them questions Aly knew much more then they did.
Tastain seemed paralyzed in fear, again. So Slavco spoke again “What did you do to Aly? What does he want of us?” his questions were more like orders, bad move number 2. The men seemed tired to talking and just wanted to get their work done. They nodded to each other, to then advance and grab them. Slavco swung his sword to the solider closest to him. The solider, well trained, grabbed Slavco’s wrist and squished it until he dropped his sword. He took Slavco, an swung him on his shoulders, holding him with one hand and Slavco sword in the other. The other one did the same with Tastain, the solider was easily twice his size. At that moment Slavco really dispised his lack of height, he signed, they had no chances.

Chapter 9
Prejudice and Sorrow

Slavco really, but really hated being carried around when he was child. Now soon a fully grow man he hated it even more. Everybody was staring at them, Slavco had given up trying to free himself, and Tastain as brave as he always was when facing the unknown stayed motionless in fear. Though they definitely were in big trouble Aly must be in even more and that really scared Slavco. Though he only knew her for a few days he became very fond of Aly’s odd charisma. What would they do if she died? He would have to defeat Caniric anyway, too much people were depending on him. They were heading towards the temple, it was different from the one in Deberson (though the one in Deberson was one of a kind). It took a lot of space in area, but only stood a few stories high. Massive granite pillars gave it an impression of even bigger. Four guards that looked even meaner then the ones that had captured them protected the doors. They gave them a nodded and they entered the building. Slavco had entered the temple of Deberson several times, his father even more, and it was much more gorgeous then the one in Jarod.
It was luxurious, he couldn’t dealt that, but there was something missing something important. It took him a while to find it, it was obvious though, there was nobody. The only noise heard was the pitter patter of steps, Slavco listened hard. He heard the humming of a maid doing her cleaning but the large rooms echoed with nothing else but silence.
Could it be possible? A place were everything should be filled with action and laughter be so empty?
The man that was holding him just dropped him on the dark concrete floor.
Same with Tastain. “If you try running away, we kill you” the man said coldly. Slavco believed him. He pushed the two young men in a small cozy room. Slavco tripped, but before he could back up he heard a warm comforting word.
“Aly” exclaimed Tastain. He looked up Aly was sitting on an over stuffed sofa, looking exactly as she did when they left her.
“Oh my, Aly your okay!” Slavco exclaimed happily.
“Of course I am, what do you think?”
“We thought you were in danger, that something had happened to you” said Slavco with a look of surprise.
“Me? In trouble? Of course not.” Aly said smiling.
“Okay, it’s just because of those soldiers kidnapping us.”
“It’s me who asked them to bring you, but I am happy you resisted it proves you aren’t naive and are ready to fight for protection.”
“I knew it from the beginning it was you” Tastain boasted. Aly rolled her eyes she hadn’t fallen for his lie.
“But, why do you need us?” inquired Slavco.
“I’ve learned that the king was in town, and tried to make new friends.”
Too bad for impressing Aly with the discovery of already known information thought Slavco. “I still don’t get it, your much better then us at those things why do you need us?”
“You see the king isn’t really a king. He is just a kid who got the thrown early, and really he has no power. Well he does, he just doesn’t make any decisions, just approves them. I’ve already convinced the important people who take the decisions, but the king in question is a sexist jerk that thinks that women are meant for two things cleaning and cooking.” Slavco was shocked even though technically it was true. Nevertheless he would never be able to imagine Aly attending a family. Meanwhile Tastain found it more like a funny surprise, but everything is funny to Tastain.
“He won’t listen to anything I say, he’ll just say ‘shut up woman’ and other stupid things like that” signed Aly.
“How can they let such a person rule?”
“Because the second choice is a sadic conservative man, and it works better when his advisers do everything and he only plays around and signs paper. It kind of like a hidden Republic.”
“Okay then,” said Slavco, “but what am I supposed to do?”
“Eat supper with him, and be nice and kind.”
“That will be easy.”
“Wait until you meet him” she smirked.
They walked down the chic hallways following Aly to a pair of large doors, that lead to a beautiful dining room. As she opened the doors, all the noise that Slavco was waiting for appeared, but as soon as they saw them everything fell silent. A hundred or so of eyes stared at him again. Slavco hated it, he hated even more looking back so he turned his gaze to the walls. They were made of stone slabs and concrete, but they were barely visible behind huge paintings and elegant, colourful cloths decorating the walls. Most of the room was occupied by a magnificent, and massive table stretching through the length of the room. Two smaller table were set on each side.
“About time” said a rude voice, everybody pushed aside so the trio could see who said this. At the end of table in a chair more then 10 times his size sat a young boy no more then 13. His hair was dark and sleek, combed backwards. A playful smirk saying I-am-so-better-than-you-ha-ha-ha. His cloths was neat and clean, and his shoes bore the smell of a fresh polish. “I thought I would be an old man by the time you arrive” he said sarcastically.
“Sorry” said Slavco offended.
“Whatever you do don’t talk back or say anything rude this is going to be hard” Aly whispered to both Tastain and Slavco.
“Are you going to stand there all your life?”
“What kind of kid is this?” Slavco asked Aly.
“A spoiled one.”
Slavco and Tastain sat at both of the boys side, Aly sat beside Slavco. “I am happy to meet you I am Tastain he is Slavco, and she is Aly” said Tastain politely tending his hand. The boy looked at it but didn’t take it.
“You shall call me your majesty, and bow five times.” the boy said. He then looked at Aly “and you woman, don’t even think of talking to me. I’d bang you well, but I have more important things to do then give you pleasure.”
Slavco’s jaw fell open Fucken Shit did he just say what I think he did! What kind of pervert is he?
They all did as they were told. “So what do you want?” He asked the boys.
“We need your armies” said Slavco.
“And why would I lend them to you, they’re mine aren’t they? And I can do what I want with them” he said happy to show off how powerful he is.
“Because that is your duty as the king!” Aly interjected.
“Shut up woman!” the king scowled. Aly did an angry sign and closed her mouth. What a jerk! I wish I could just hit him in the face to give him a little common sense. Slavco looked in front of him where Tastain stood he too had trouble controlling his emotions. “Listen Slave!” the king commanded.
“But we’re not even your slaves!” Objected Tastain.
“I said LISTEN!” He said so loud that everybody in the room became quiet and advance to hear better what was happening “I am the king and I do the decisions, and if you object I’ll just throw you in prison. You people think your so awesome because you’ve got swords, and travel around with that freak girl, but I am the king which makes me more awesome no matter what” he smirked.
“You...” started Slavco but before he could finish his sentence something happened. He felt dizzy, very dizzy, you know when you get hit hard on the head and wake up 5 hours later and learn you had a commotion. Well it was ten times worse. His vision was blurry, and the weakness. Slavco thought that never again he’d be able to move even his finger.
Slavco fell to the ground, the hard cement adding to his pain. What is happening to me? He blacked out.
Everything was black, then he saw a small light I am dead? How could it have happened.
The light became bigger then suddenly a flash came. His vision slowly started to stabilize itself, and Slavco was able to see what was happening, but the images didn’t make any sense.
There was a woman with, long auburn hair, held up tightly in a bun. She bore crystal blue eyes and was very petite and short. The woman was very young no more then twenty, and seemed to be a few months pregnant. She was crying in a small wooden chair, she seemed so helpless and alone. Slavco tried reaching out to comfort her, but didn’t seem to have the energy to even blink. A man walked in the room he too seemed of very young age also. He had shaggy dark brown hair and small hazel eyes, he was also filthy his face was covered with coal. He was medium sized and well built, a look of worry crossed him when he say the woman crying.
“Cherry, why are you crying?” he said softly.
“Get lost! It’s all your fault! I thought you loved me that you would be with me forever, that’s why I married you!” She yelled and pushed the man with all her might.
“You don’t understand do you?! I did it for us!” He yelled back now he too was crying.
“How do you want me to live without you, and what about the baby? I won’t have enough money to raise it alone.”
“I’ll send you money every month, don’t worry this damn war will soon be over and finally we will be free. Everybody is talking about a group called Finary. They’ll change everything” he told her. He tried hugging her, but she pushed back unconvinced. He tried again this time she gave in.
“I don’t want to lose you Skylar, I love you. What if the money doesn’t arrive? What if you never come back? What if... you die?”
Cherry was sobbing hard against Skylar’s chest, he squeezed her tight “I won’t, believe me, never will I die. No matter how far I am, no matter what I’ve gone through, no matter if the letters don’t come any more. Believe me that I won’t die and that I will come back because I know you will be there waiting for me. He” Skylar paused “is very evil and strong, but nothing is stronger then my love for you” he smiled at her. Tears dropping from his chin to her head.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Everything disappeared and went back to black, he never came back Slavco knew it he felt it as though the woman and her emotions and thoughts were connected. The letters stopped 2 weeks before the war ended, he was dead it was only logic, but a little voice inside him told him that he still was alive somewhere. Thinking about his wife, child and life wishing that he had never left that he could just kiss her once more.
“Slavco” said a voice. “Slavco please wake up” he recognized Aly’s voice. He slowly opened his eyes and the sight of Aly confirmed it. He passed his hands on his face it was wet from his tears. He looked at Aly in the eyes they were bright violet, beside her was Tastain his eyes and mouth wide open.
“He never came back” he cried.
“What are you talking about?” Asked Tastain puzzled.
“He fucken never came back!” He cried louder this time, sadness was turning into anger inside him. He got up, ignoring Aly, and Tastain’s helping hands. “HE NEVER CAME BACK!” he yelled, everybody was looking and gasping at him. Fury was eating from the inside, “HE NEVER CAME BACK!”
“What are you talking about? Who never came back?” Asked Tastain.
“Skylar never came back” he cried, tears were falling from his eyes like miniature waterfalls.
“Who’s Skylar?” Asked Tastain.
“HE NEVER CAME BACK!” Slavco yelled louder then he ever did before. A table went smashing on the wall by itself. Slavco passed his hand through his hair “Arrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Two other tables went smashing on the walls. Everybody was yelling, panicking and running out of the room. Tastain grabbed him in attempt to calm him down. Slavco pushed him away with magic on a wall, putting him unconscious.
“Slavco calm down” yelled Aly “look at what you are doing!”
Slavco ignored her and made the gorgeous crystal chandelier crash to the floor.
“Who do you think you are?” Yelled the king to Slavco. Slavco turned around grabbed him by the throat, and held him up.
“You are the most ingrate person I’ve ever met, you are just and egoist, spoiled brat. The king didn’t say anything only let out loud choking sounds, and moved frantically trying to free himself. Slavco was about to choke him to death when, his grip was pushed open, making the king drop to the floor. His whole body was being forced down, no matter how hard he struggled he wasn’t about to take back control of his muscles.
He finally fell to the floor Aly stood up in front of him her hand in front of her, she was the one pushing him down. Aly kneeled down and slapped Slavco in the face. “What the heck has gotten into you?” she questioned him.
“He never came back” Slavco moaned tiredly, and then passed out.

Aly’s Box
Chapter 10

The scent of cooking spices woke him up. He was very hungry, but rest had done well on him. Slavco pushed himself up he felt stronger, and more alert then ever. Tastain was sitting by the fire eating beans. He hadn’t noticed Slavco being awake.
“Good morning mate” said Slavco cheerfully.
Tastain almost dropped his food in surprise “Oh, your awake.”
“No I am dead this is Slavco’s ghost talking to you.”
“Wow, sarcasm I think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard you use it” said Tastain taking another bit.
“You’re right that doesn’t sound like me” said Slavco passing his hand through his dark hair. “You know what I feel different today, like I am not me anymore, but in the body and mind of someone else” Slavco sighed. His ankles were cold, and his tunic felt tight. He checked, his pants were too short, and his tunic too small. “What the heck?” He said staring at Tastain.
“It must be because of yesterday” suggested Tastain.
“Yesterday?” Suddenly Slavco remembered the events of the past day, everything came back to him. Though question was what really happened? And what all of this meant? “I’m sorry for what I did to you Tas.”
“It’s all right, you weren’t yourself.”
“Where is Aly?” he asked quickly.
“Giving the horses a drink, we were waiting for you to wake up” Tastain replied.
“Did you ask her, uh, you know, um, I remember what I did but I don’t really understand it, and... oh my I really am not acting like myself right now” said Slavco. He put his hands on his face and blink a few times to wake himself up and get his mind straight, then lied down on the hard ground.
“She said she had an idea but wanted to wait for you to wake up before taking any conclusions” at the moment he finished his sentence Espory glided down beside Slavco and rubbed his face against his affectionately. They had all became very close to the small dragon, though he had been growing extremely fast in the past days and soon wouldn’t be small anymore. He seemed especially found of Tastain and Slavco though it was Aly that took care of him the most.
“Your lucky he still recognizes you because I don’t” said Tastain out of nowhere.
“What are you talking about?”
“Oops it’s true I wasn’t supposed to tell you yet, yikes! You know for the clothes you can take mine, until we get you some new clothes of your size.”
“What is it? What is it? What is wrong with me? Why are you changing subject?”
Tastain picked up a small mirror that was sitting beside him. It seemed to be placed there especially for him. “Just don’t yell or be angry with anybody, okay?” Slavco snatched the mirror from Tastain’s hand and looked in it. The person that looked back at him had nothing to do with the Slavco he had always known. His cheekbones were higher, his face more angular and sharper. He had glowing yellow eyes, that rest under his thinner eyebrows. Pointy ears poked out of his overgrown hair that would usually cover his ears. Even with all those changes his skin was still pale and his long bangs were still pulled on one side of his face so it only bothered half of his vision. The rest of his hair was also the same, flat and black.
He pulled the mirror down Tastain just looked at him smiling, “the bright side is that you are also a good two inch taller, and that makes you officially not a midget anymore.”
“AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!” Cried Slavco. Aly then ran out of the forest worried, her eyes bright purple.
“What’s going on?” She examined the scene “Tastain! I told you not to tell him yet!”
“Sorry it just spit out of me.”
“Don’t be sorry be right, any idiot can be sorry” Aly scolded Tastain.
“What’s happening to me? Why am I like that? Exclaimed Slavco.
“Thanks to your yelling we need to leave right now if we don’t want to get caught, I’ll tell you later.”
Slavco pouted “fine.”
They hurried to get everything ready and started galloping down the road. They were out of Lacha and the forest seemed so opened compared to Lacha. “We need to cross the river, they’ll catch us if we stay on the main road, the forest is open enough for us to use no roads” said Aly.
“I don’t get it, why are we running away? Are the elves after us again?” Asked Slavco confused.
“No it’s the humans” answered Aly.
“Why would the humans be after us?” inquired Slavco “We didn’t do anything to them.”
“No nothing, except maybe when you almost murdered their king” said Tastain sarcastically.
“Right” said Slavco trying to remember more clearly.
“Come here” said Aly “the river isn’t very deep here” they followed her. When they reached the river bank Aly jumped off her horse but didn’t land on the ground, instead she stayed elevated in midair. “Follow me and pass were I pass” she instructed them. They did as told, Aly kept lead while her horse followed her quietly, Espory flew beside Slavco while Slavco and Tastain tried keeping there horses in track.
When they were almost at the other end Aly suddenly stopped “go back!” she ordered.
“What are you talking about we’ve gone through the worst, and you just want to quit now?” Argued Tastain.
“I said GO BACK!” she yelled, but it was too late a dozen elves already had their bows pointed at them.
“You move we shot, and I don’t care because your probably going to have death as a punishment” ordered a male elf ,with a high voice for a man, that seemed to be the leader. Slavco remembered him from the chase in Lacha. He was to one who was asking them to surrender. Aly smiled and looked at him, at the same moment that she was doing that movement the lead elf directed his palm to her and yelled “Gizza” and Aly flew backwards and splashed in the water. “Blind fold her, then tie all of them hurry before she get back up, she can do powerful magic.”
The elves did as told and two stayed there with their bows ready to shoot Tastain or Slavco.
“Oh Ela, I am happy to see you again but believe me I never do the same mistakes twice and I am not going to let you escape again.”
One of the elves was dragging Aly out of the river, she was wet, tightly tided up in rope, and blind folded but for some reason she was grinning. How can she find this amusing? Thought Slavco.
Soon he too was attached, he felt slightly ridiculous, with his pants and tunic too small. The fact that he was attached only worsen it. Thankfully his fathers jacket still fit perfectly. The lead elf walked up to him, his cruel eyes staring directly in his yellow ones. “What is your name” he asked kindly too kindly.
He knew he needed to lie but the truth was being pulled away from him like a doll from the arms of a child. “Sss...Sla... Slavco Meti.”
“Can you do magic?”
Slavco tried to lie but wasn’t able the elf must have been using magic to force him to tell the truth. “I have magic, but I can barley use it.”
“What race are you?”
“If you can use magic how can you possibly be human. You are lying to me?”
“I am not lying” said Slavco trying to pull his eyes away from the elf’s.
“Do you think I am stupid? No human can do magic, plus you look far from one.”
“But I am one” Slavco protested. What a perfect situation, if the elf thought he was able to lie maybe he would stop asking him questions. Sadly he didn’t.
“That girl your with Ela, if that is indeed her real name, what is the name of her mother?”
What kind of question is that? He thought “I don’t know.”
“You do know, I know you do! Oh send him with the girl and give me the other one” the elf ordered. Oh no! Thought Slavco Tastain will tell everything, he is even more vulnerable then me!
Don’t worry Slavco.
“What? Who said that?” Slavco inquired. Everybody looked at him with a surprised look. Was he hearing voices?
Don’t talk out loud you idiot! It’s me Aly! Don’t worry about Tastain I am already connected to him I’ll help him.
Okay Thought Slavco unsure that Aly heard him. The elves carried him to there small camp further in the forest. It was really a bunch of tents with a fire in the middle, but it was better than theirs. Aly was already there, and unlike him ropes covered her whole body, she couldn’t move one finger. A realization then hit him, where was Espory?
Slavco closed his eyes and did as Aly had taught him and tried feeling the presence of Espory. He felt him further away in a tree, he was worried and scared he knew that he wouldn’t be able to free his friends there was too many elves.
He opened his eyes and saw the lead elf, frustration spread all over his face.
“Give me their bags I want the girl’s first” he got what he wanted. He tried opening Aly’s but the buckle didn’t undo itself. “Harrie” he murmured, it still wouldn’t open. “Harrie” he yelled, still unsuccessful. He threw it on the floor, and stomped to Aly. He grabbed her by the throat and punched her in the face, her mouth started bleeding “last time I gave up, but not anymore I want to see what is in that fucken bag of yours!”
She smiled “you need the password.”
The elf sighed heavily “then tell me the damn password!”
“I don’t feel like it.”
He punched her again “I am going to kill you, I don’t care it’s been I while I wanted to.”
“Ha” she laughed, “you don’t even know why your sonofabitch king sent you here for. You won’t kill me your not allowed, you can’t kill them either.”
“I do know!” he said angrily “infraction of territory, running away from officials, and injuring officials. The other one is accused of murder” he said proudly sure he had cornered Aly.
“Don’t tell me your naive enough to think that your king would send so many of your so called officials in such a life threatening expeditions?”
The elf thought for a second, but found nothing, so he just repeated what he had said before. “Tell me the password and everything will go smooth. You don’t tell, then I’ll have to force it out of you” he threatened her.
“Of course you will, you’ll do it the same way you tried to take out of me that other information and let me remember how it ended. Oh yes, it didn’t work” said Aly smashing the truth in his face. He slapped her in the face, she grinned, he slapped her again even harder, she started laughing hysterically. “I can’t believe you haven’t figured it out yet!”
The lead elf looked at her thoughtfully, then laughed at himself “you can’t feel it? You can feel it when I hit you but not the pain, ha, what kind of monster are you?”
“About time” said Aly “started thinking you’d never figure it out. To top this all out I also master the art of Jilda Fe” she laughed. Meanwhile Slavco was looking at her with amazement, all those things that Aly was saying he had trouble following. What was Jilda Fe and Aly couldn’t feel pain? What else did she hide? Also the nerve she used talking to that elf he had never seen her like that before.
“Listen bunny ears, I feel kind today, and since I know that you’ll find nothing of real value to your eyes I’ll tell you the password” announced Aly.
“About time, Miss I-know-better-then-everyone” he said shamelessly.
“Hean, the password is Hean” she said smiling.
“What’s a Hean? Is it another name for a dead rat?” the lead elf said meanly.
“It’s not a thing but a person” Aly interrupted.
“Hean, who would call their kid Hean? That’s the ugliest name I’ve ever heard!” The elf now was just being rude to provoke Aly, and that both Aly and Slavco knew. “I sure hope Hean isn’t mean” he continued and laughed alone at his own boring joke. So the elf takes the bag and says “Hean” the buckle undoes itself immediately. “So lets see what we have here, Oh! It’s much bigger then I thought!”
One by one the elf went through Aly’s various possessions. First her everyday items, then clothes, books, medicines, but never did he find a souvenir or memory that Aly had kept that would help them know more about herself. At the end he took out the last item in her bag. It was a small wooden box identical to the one he had found on the desk of his father. The only difference was a small inscription saying Larisa. Slavco froze could it be? He already had suspicions on Aly but this was evidence! It all fit together his father had told him it was an old friend that told him that story. Aly is a lost wanderer looking for a place called home. Plus the elves try to capture her but can not kill her. She lied to everyone saying her name is Ela why wouldn’t she lie to them? Still it was only a legend told to children, and it involves fairies which everybody knows doesn’t exists. Though Slavco didn’t really know how old she was maybe she was indeed Larisa.
“Where did you find this? What does it do? How do you open it?” The lead elf asked her harshly.
“I found it, it is meant to keep the thing that we prize the most, and it only opens for the owner and the person it trusts the most. They also need to do it out of free will.”
“Don’t lie to me, I always wondered why they kept you alive, but I can’t believe how young you look. You’re supposed to be older then I am.”
“I am telling the truth, I am not that person. It wasn’t originally mine” Aly confessed.
“Bullshit! I saw paintings of her, you look very alike” he accused her.
“I am not Larisa!” Aly insisted.
“Right like I fell for Ela, the fake name you gave me.”
“Okay my name isn’t Ela, but it isn’t Larisa either!”
“What I don’t understand is the logo on the box. Isn’t that the old symbol for magic?”
Aly couldn’t take it anymore her nerves abandoned her and she yelled “TE GULL!” she screamed. The lead elf grabbed his throat and started making whistling noises.
Other elves went to his help, but couldn’t do anything, quickly the oxygen lack killed him. The other elves confused fled and the three of them were left alone. The piece of cloth that was used to blind Aly had fallen off, she was just standing there panting.

Welcome to the Truth & the Unknown
Chapter 11

Aly’s make up was all messed up but even that wasn’t as bad as the look on her face, nobody said anything. Slavco was sure that she wanted to talk even less. Everything that he had ever wanted to know about Aly was hanging from a string and dangling in front of him waiting for him to snatch it. He wanted to but the way he was going to do it needed to be very delicate, Aly wasn’t a fool and certainly wasn’t going to become one.
She slowly untied the ropes that attached Tastain and Slavco, her movements were slow and smooth. Something was wrong.
“Aly you have a serious amount of explaining to do to us” Slavco told her. She said nothing just nodded. Slavco got the horses while Aly was putting her things away. When Slavco was done he went to the elf and looked at him. Aly is supposed to be older then him? Couldn’t be he thought. The elf’s skin was wrinkly and worn, while Aly seemed just a little older then he was. The box was still in his hand, Slavco hesitated then finally took it.
The box was the same to his father, at the point of the finest details. “Aly” murmured Slavco.
“What?” she said quietly.
“Did you ever lie to us? And please be honest.”
“No never” said Aly.
“I have trouble believing you, my trust has gone down quite a bit” confessed Slavco.
“I never lie to people I care for, never did I do, and never will I. If I don’t want to tell the truth I’ll either say nothing, or say that I can’t tell.”
“How do I know your not lying right now?” Questioned Slavco.
“You just do, isn’t that what trust is? Believing someone no matter what everyone else says. Haven’t I gain your trust to believe me, because in this awful world the only way to live is take a chance and trust someone. Maybe they’ll lie and cheat you, or maybe that person really is honest and only wants you to be happy. These people are rare though, but they enter your life once in a while, sometimes when you least expect it” finished Aly.
Slavco forced a smile, if Tastain had listened to everyone and had not taken a chance with Slavco. They would have never became friends, if they didn’t take chances in life is it really worth living?
“I want to believe you Aly, I really do but something tells me to be cautionary. That you hide more then you show” signed Slavco.
Aly wasn’t angry, no instead she smiled “it happened to me before, and sometimes I got in a lot of trouble but at the end it was worth going through the bad parts to go through the good ones also.”
“How did you get hold of Larisa’s box?”
She laughed “the reason is stupid really. Every member of Finary gets a necklace and a box. When I took the place of Larisa, Dyman asked if I’d mind taking her things, instead of getting through the trouble of getting new ones. Since I knew that they were awfully hard to make I accepted” Aly said nudging.
“Why was the elf man so freaked out about when he thought you were Larisa?” Asked Slavco suspiciously.
“I had heard that the elves had been trying to track her down for a long time” Aly told them. Slavco wasn’t sure if he should get tell her that he knew the story of Larisa be decided not to.
“So you’re not Larisa, Alita is really your name?”
“Of course it is” exclaimed Aly.
“Where did you meet that elf before? and why did he try to capture you?”
“I had some problems with justice but nothing too big, the idiot underestimated me I ran away, he catch me again, I still had more tricks that he didn’t know of and I ran away again. I think he gave up after the second time when I killed most of his men. Though this time the fact that he found me is only a coincidence, what he was really sent here for was you but the poor idiot didn’t know much” she laughed at how pathetic the elf was, then looked at Slavco ready for more questions.
“You said he couldn’t kill you, that he wasn’t aloud why not?”
“Oh, that. I was only smart talking him. He could have killed me I guess, or maybe not” Aly told him.
“That elf, he said something about the Finary logo looking like and old symbol for magic. I don’t get how.”
“You see that is where we got the idea. The two different lines that intersect represent two different races that are the same at one point. The oval represents magic, it always surrounds everything and has the imperfect flaws of an oval.”
Slavco hesitated on saying the last question but couldn’t halt himself “who is Hean?”
Aly was frowning “that isn’t important.”
Slavco couldn’t come up with more questions so he went to another subject “I want to know what happened to me last night?”
“Well more or less, when you got the magic it took a while for your body to accept it when it did it came out as a big burst. You will most likely have several smaller burst later, but you’ve gone through the worst.”
“It explains why I physically changed but not why I had that weird vision and then couldn’t control my emotions anymore” said Slavco.
“First I wanted to know if you did have a vision because I wasn’t sure you did. Second don’t you find it was more of a memory then a vision what’s so ever?” She asked Slavco.
“In some way.”
“That’s what I thought, I had suspicions ever since I knew that you took physical traits but didn’t want to tell you before I was sure” said Aly looking away from Slavco.
“What? What is it?”
“Well to add on to it you also change emotionally and mentally. Basically you are going to receive, the thoughts, memories and emotions of the hundreds of people who gave you some of their magic.”
Worry was spilling over him, how was he supposed to be able to handle this? It was a moment of great need for his father. He would know what to do, he always did. He was always there when Slavco needed him. “I am sorry Slavco” said Aly “I know that this only adds to the large burden you are already carrying, but I’ll help you control the emotions that don’t belong to you. I’ll teach you” said Aly trying to sound encouraging.
“What is that thing you told that elf you mastered, and is it true that you can’t feel pain?”
“In a way yes, but not completely. It’s really weird, not sure why it happened as the years passed, a burn that would usually make me yelp left me indifferent. And a punch in the stomach tickled, but if I got stabbed in the back by a blade I’ll feel the pain, though it might not be as bad as it should be. For that other thing, you must be talking about Jidla Fe, it’s elven for auto healing. Basically it’s an advanced form of magic that takes years to master and that I’ll probably not teach you. What it does is when I get injured in a few seconds, without even thinking about it, my injury will heal it’s self. It took me forever to learn and at some point I felt like giving up, but at the end it’s really useful. It’s heals all minor, most mild, and some major injuries.”
Slavco looked at her dumbfounded “I also think it’s about time I show you what real magic is, and how to cast spells, curses, jinxes or whatever you want to call them” she said putting her hand on Slavco’s shoulder. A long thin white scar descended from her pinky to her elbow.
“If you can heal yourself, how come her have that scar?” Inquired Slavco.
“Sometimes it needs to heal inside, before it can heal outside” she said mysterious.
“I don’t entirely understand” said Slavco puzzled.
“You will one day.”
The rest of the afternoon was spent on Aly teaching Slavco how to levitate small objects, and create light out of scratch (without forgetting to put a temporary deafening spell in Tastain). At the end of the day Slavco was very proud of himself, never had he seen anybody (except Aly) do magic like he did, even less himself. Even Espory was proud and incouraging. Aly was disappointed though more for to herself than Slavco she said that she had thought they could have gone further.
When night fell they established camp and Aly taught Slavco how to distinguish his feeling from the ones of others. Slavco was falling asleep, Aly was sitting on the cold ground still wide awake. Tastain was sitting beside Slavco snoring hard again. When suddenly a question came to Slavco that he hadn’t asked Aly yet “What is in your box?”
Even though Aly didn’t turn around Slavco knew that she was smiling at his question. It wasn’t one of her normal encouraging fake smiles, this one was sad. “What to you think is in there?”
“The only thing that you find worth remembering” said Slavco.
This time she turned around but wasn’t smiling, instead her eyes were screaming something at him that he couldn’t get a hold of. He knew it was angry, and miserable. Hopeless and lost, and Aly would never tell him. “You’re different Slavco did you know that” Aly said meaningfully. At that moment Slavco knew that this was a moment that Aly would let her barriers fall down to talk to Slavco deeply and sincerely.
“Well,” he said pointing at his unusual ears.
“No it has nothing to do with what you have become but what you always have been. You think differently, you see the world of a different eye, not in the Tastain kind of way of course” Aly said finally smiling for a brief second. “It isn’t about being smart” she continued “it’s the way you feel and understand things. You look, study, and understand, while most people look and ignore the truth just to stay in their little bubble of lies and dreams.” Never had he thought that Aly could say such things, but the worst part is that she was right. “No Slavco” she said “the part is that my words are only words, and never no matter how omnipotent and perfectly chosen they are. They are only words, and never will they ever be able to truly describe what I mean.
“You still haven’t answered my question.”
“One day I might show you, but for now it’s only the past, and I live for the present though I live it the same way I’d live the past” she said softly. Slavco understood what Aly meant, he knew that he’d remember what she just said for the rest of his life.
Even with the torment and action of the day the thing that marked him the most happened at night in dreamland.
He saw his father reading to him from a book, a look of enthusiasm was in his face. He was truly happy. True happiness, that odd emotion, he wondered if he’d ever feel like that ever again.
He woke up late at night his face was wet from tears he had been crying in his sleep. Oddly Aly didn’t seem to have notice that he was awake, he was about to call her name when he noticed that she was crying mutely.
On her lap laid her box, open and empty. It’s contents seemed to have been taken out. Aly sighed put her elbows on her knees and was spinning a perfect silver rose in her hand. Is that Aly’s most prized possession a silver rose? It must have some kind of significance to her eyes, but what is it?
“I love you, I always will” Aly murmured to herself.
This must be one of her past loves. The thought of Aly being in love, how could such a cold and sad person love? Then he remembered Hean, he seemed to pop up everywhere. Maybe.
She sighed and whimpered “Always and forever Seth, always and forever.”

Brain Power
Chapter 12

After 5 days of hard studying and doing their best to contour the small villages they past through. Slavco had trouble grasping at the information given to him, though spending a few seconds reading Aly and Hean’s conversations was always available. He never learnt anything useful reading those they we’re most things like “what are you doing I’m bored” or “did you ever realize how bald Davies is?” No matter how useless or stupid the small talk was it was always entertaining.
Slavco learned magic quickly though his classes were very boring for Tastain who could just stare at them completely deaf. Espory had been growing at an incredible rate, now being the size of a pony Slavco had the impression that each time he turned to look at him he had grown. Sadly because of his fast growth he was spending more time hunting, and Aly said that very soon he would need to leave. She said that as soon as they reach Ketu, they needed to say goodbye to Espory because he was far too big to keep traveling with them. The two boys contested but Aly like always, she won.
They were now half a kilometer away from Ketu and were establishing camp even though the sun hadn’t yet touched the trees. The reason for that: lack of food. Never ever had Aly thought a person could eat as much as Tastain does. Only problem: lack of money. So Aly is poor for some reason he had always thought of Aly as a rich person who had nothing better to do then travel Saraca spending her wealth.
“I don’t know what to do” said Aly mostly to herself.
“Uh?” Said Tastain his mind elsewhere.
“I don’t know what to do, we need money. Also by now there must be descriptions of us everywhere. You Slavco have changed so much it would be impossible to recognize you, I guess I can make myself a disguise, and Tastain you have your soon-to-be bread.”
It was true Tastain hadn’t shaved since they left Deberson, (ever since Jarod Slavco stopped growing facial hair) making him even better looking. Aly sat down and thought. The three of them were washing their dirty clothes in the river. Tastain, and Slavco in topless(better off washing the clothes they were wearing at the same time), and Aly in a white tunic and black cotten pants. Their backs were aching because they were constantly bending down, so Slavco and Tastain sat down also. Slavco was less shy about being topless infront of Aly (mostly because he actually had muscle.
Slavco asked Aly “what about my eyes and ears?”
“Don’t worry about that, I have a potion for you that will bluff all the humans. The question should how do we get money?”
They all thought, then Tastain said “Aly can lap dance in a bar.”
Aly, very offended, slapped Tastain making his cheek as red as a tomato “Ouch, that hurt!”
“It’s not like you don’t deserve it” Aly told him. Slavco said nothing and muffled a laugh.
“We can steal” suggested Tastain this time ready for another attack.
“No, that’s just beyond me” Aly admitted.
“We can beg for charity” suggested Slavco.
“I don’t know, maybe. Ketu isn’t very big, I’d be surprised if we got a decent amount” Aly sighed. “Lets go anyway, just give me a chance to get things ready, want to finish the laundry?”
“Just for you sweetheart” said Tastain sarcastically. Aly rolled her eyes and sighed.
When Aly said “I guess I can make myself a disguise” never had Slavco thought of her having a disguise in that way. He always seemed to forget that Aly could do magic, it just slipped by him. Maybe it was because she was so much the other non-magical people he had always known, and expect someone completely different, but not in the way Aly is. Maybe it was because he was unaccustomed to see people use magic. Or maybe even because she rarely used it.
“Do I look anything similar to me?” Aly inquired stretching her arms and pointing at herself.
“You look my aunt Margaret, before she died getting eaten a crocodile, or was it an alligator?” Said Tastain casually.
“Tastain” said Aly.
“Too much information.”
“He took a second look at Aly, she did look like Tastain’s aunt though he had only seen the woman once he could she the resemblance. The person that stood in front of him was very petite. She stood around 5’1, looked around 29 maybe 30, had wavy dark brown hair, that seemed blond in a bizarre way. Two small dead grey eyes, fit perfectly with her small nose.
“Aye, your right. How Aly normally looks, looks like your aunt after she got eaten” joked Slavco. Tastain burst out laughing and gave Slavco an encouraging high five.
“Slavco what did I tell you about rejecting everything that isn’t you?”
“Sorry Aly” he said in the same way a child would say it to his mom after she nagged at him.
“Take this” Aly said throwing him a small florence flask filled with a yellow liquid who strangely resembled to urine. Slavco looked at her puzzled “Mr. Yellow-eyed forgot what I told him I’d do?”
“Oh, aye, your right I forgot” he said lightly hitting his head.
“One gulp will be sufficient, remember to take some every hour, you have enough for 6 hours so you should be fine.”
Before they left they said goodbye to Espory he was just too big, he wasn’t a baby anymore and could take care of himself. “I’ll never forget you” Slavco told Espory hugging him.
“Me too, I’ll always miss the way you cooked our food so much faster” said Tastain doing to same thing. A tear slide down the dragons blue/grey scales.
“I’ll miss you also” said Aly without showing any emotion, or hugging him. Slavco wasn’t surprised it’s just how Aly is. They all waved goodbye as the great dragon Espory flew away.
As they approached the village, Slavco saw Aly was very tense. She held the reins tightly and often took deep breaths.
“Is everything alright?” inquired Slavco worried about Aly’s state. She turned her head to look at him, her eyes flashing green.
“Yes, fine” she answered. She was lying Slavco could feel it strongly. Suddenly a brain wave hit him. How could he had been so stupid, he finally got why Aly’s eyes always changed colour. They changed according to her mood. Grey: sad, purple: scared, green: worried, also darker they got more in pain she was in (remembering what happened in Lacha). What about happy, and angry? He had never seen Aly have any of those emotions so he couldn’t really know.
“Slavco? Slavco!” he heard Tastain’s voice say. Slavco guessed he had zoned out in his thinking state since they were there. “Reality to Slavco, do you hear me mate? We’re there.”
They entered Ketu, a small rural village filled with log houses and little action. It was the kind of place were everybody knew everything about everybody. Though it was much more homey and peaceful then Jarod or Alma. Children were playing with wooden hoops, and sticks on the street, a man was driving his donkey down the street. A cat was sleeping lazily in the shade. The man with the donkey approached them quickly, his face cold and aggressing.
“Good morning, welcome to Ketu what is your business here?”
Both Slavco looked at Aly unknowing what to say. “Simply visiting” said Aly kindly her green eyes shining threw him.
“Visiting uh? Why are so heavily armed” Said the man looking at the three of them all bearing swords (Tastain got one in Jarod) and Aly with her bow and quiver.
“Nowhere is kinder even if Caniric is gone” Aly told. The man was addressing himself more to Slavco and Tastain, but unlike the other people that they met he didn’t mind Aly representing herself as the leader. “So if you can please move, so you can stop depriving us from our visiting” Aly said kindly.
As they moved along ahead, he heard the man murmur under his breath “fancy city people, with their fancy words. They think they’re so good.”
“Now what?” Asked Tastain.
“Do you know how to play an instrument?”

* * *

We travel the world in search of an answer,
To the question, of something pure.
The answer that will save the world,
For the better or for worst,
But we have a problem we need to solve first.
We ran out of food and cash,
Yes we might look like trash,
But one day you’ll be happy for helping us.

“Who are you calling trash?” Tastain asked to Slavco.
“Sorry, but this is last minute and there isn’t much that rhymes with cash.”
“Aye, there is lash, mash, um... flash, rash, dash, gash, and stash” Tastain insisted.
“Fine then, you can sing!” Slavco told Tastain frustrated. What they were doing was pathetic. Tastain was playing harmonica, Slavco making up last minute lyrics while Aly played guitar. Though Aly had a lot of talent, they barely got any donations.
“Sorry Aly but this isn’t going to work” Slavco told her miserably.
“I know but I have no more ideas” Aly admitted desperately. Her eyes slowly turning a dull pale green. She sat down her elbows on her knees palms on her forehead sighing. Then oddly she turned her head towards to end of the main street winking. A few seconds later Slavco knew why. He saw at the end of the street, a tall muscular man. His cheeks were sticking in and his nose and a large bump. Beside was his opposite, a short, fat and stubby man with a brush like moustache.
“He won!” The short man yelled “he won!”
It seemed like the whole village gathered around as he pronounced the words. Aly put her guitar in her bag then grabbed a villager by the shoulder “what’s happening? Who is he?” Aly asked the middle aged woman who grinned heavily.
“That’s Ryan, he’s a racing champion and a local hero. He won so he is now the fastest man in Saraca” she told them and ran toward the enthusiastic crowd.
Aly turned to look at the boys, Slavco he too was grinning heavy. Today seemed like a great brain power day for him because he had another idea.

The Unknown meets the Known
Chapter 13

“They say you are the fastest” said Aly loudly. The crowd became silent, everybody stared at them including Ryan.
“Because I am” Ryan said smirking.
“I challenge you to a race” Aly told him. Ryan started laughing everybody followed along. He wiped the tear that form on the side of his eye from laughing so hard.
“You don’t seem to get it don’t you? I am ‘the’ best of the best, no human being can be faster then me especially a woman” he laughed.
“Then it should be even easier for you” Aly said still serious.
“I said I don’t race woman, so unless you have a male replacement there will be no race.”
“Okay then, but if we win I get clothes, and a 4 week supply of food.”
“Ha, and what do I get if I win?”
“I have no money, but I have this” she said pulling out her sword “dwarven made probably the finest you’ll ever see, this item is priceless.”
Ryan walked to Aly coming face to face (more face to chest and face to air). He studied Aly’s sword then her now pine green eyes.
“I accept.”
Behind Aly, Slavco let out a little whine, because he knew that he was going to be her replacement.
10 minutes later.
“Listen Slavco, I know that you don’t believe in yourself, but I believe in you. Calm down I already taught you how to boost your physical capacities. All you need to do is run beside him all the way so it doesn’t look suspicious then when close to the finish sprint the fastest you can” encouraged Aly. Slavco wasn’t convinced though.
“It’s going to go fine Lav, the worst thing that can happen is that you can’t cast the spell, or trip before the finish line” encouraged Tastain.
The fat man stepped to them “Listen, this is a 2 km race, you start here, to the end of the perimeter of the village, back here, there a second time, and finally here again. Am I well understood?” Slavco nodded, but was secretly unsure.
The two young men walked to a white chalk line made on the ground. Ryan placed himself in a starting position. Slavco tried imitating him. “On your mark, set, run!”
Ryan’s start was graceful and perfect, while Slavco stumbled on his feet. He caught his balance and then ran the fastest possible to catch up on Ryan. Spite his efforts Ryan was too fast for Slavco and quickly enlarged his lead. Magic, I need to use magic. I need to go faster, faster. “Faster” Slavco murmured under his breath. As soon as he said the word he felt the magic gush through all his veins making him go faster than ever. Without even noticing it he was now beside Ryan.
Ryan noticed it though, and it was a horrifying surprise. There was less then a km left and they were reaching for the second time the end of the village. When they turned, Ryan hooked his leg on Slavco’s and made him trip. “He then told him “nobody ever beat Ryan Ra.”
Slavco crashed on his side making the flask he kept hidden in his pouch break. The glass stabbing his hip. Slavco got up anyway, he couldn’t let that bastard win. He probably did that in all his races, he wasn’t the best racer, he was the best cheater. Slavco ran with all his might, Ryan was only a few dozen meters away from the finish line. Slavco pushed himself to the extreme and beat him from about 10 meters.
Everybody was silent staring at him. Ha, they never thought I could beat him. they never even dreamed that someone could run so fast thought Slavco happily. Then he saw that Aly and Tastain wore the same expression. “Why aren’t you happy, I won” said Slavco happily. It didn’t take him long after that to know why, his flask, it was broken and it had been more then one hour.
“Arrez Ses Tem” Aly yelled. Everything froze, a windblown flower was still down, a bird stayed immobile in mid-air. All the people seemed frozen in time, you could even see Ryan’s expression of disbelief frozen on his face.
“Don’t stay there like I put the spell on you too, get the hell out of here!” Exclaimed Aly. Slavco and Tastain looked at each other for a second, before hopping on there horses and galloping away. They were almost out when Slavco noticed that Aly wasn’t following.
“Aren’t you coming?” he yelled at her.
“I need to stay here or else the spell with cease, don’t worry for me I’ll catch up just stay out of trouble” Aly told him. Slavco was worried, he knew that Aly was powerful but there was a lot of people and only one of her. Finally he resigned to trust her and left. Passing a fair sketch of the three of them as they were at Jarod, under a description and a big amount of money as a reward. At that moment he knew that it was all his fault, he should had been smarter then blowing up the way he did. Usually he was always able to retain himself, it’s only when it really matters that he screws up like always. Why wasn’t he perfect like his father?
3 years ago
“Slavco look at me” Dyman ordered his son. He was very ashamed of him that day. Slavco had beaten up a child younger than him for no apparent reason. The child was just walking down the street, as he walked by Slavco. Slavco started hitting him hard on the face and stomach. The two of them didn’t know each other.
“I really don’t understand Slavco, why did such a thing?”
“Slavco looked at him with his big black eyes “Because I had to. Didn’t it ever happen to you to do something in spite of yourself. Even though that you know it’s stupid, even though that you know it will only bring worst. You still do it because you know you have to.”
Dyman did an understanding nod.
Slavco smiled What a beautiful lie he thought. This was his fathers memory not his. The real reason he had beaten up that kid was because some other kids that called him a stuck-up wimp that never does anything spontaneous. It was the first and last time he had lied to his father even today he still regretted doing such a horrible thing. How could he have been so stupid. It must have been because he was tired of getting treated that way and wanted to show them wrong. Never though had he told them to stop nor did he show that it affected him, but really all he could think about was becoming popular, and handsome.
Still today he wished that even though he had matured and ended up accepting himself. The envy never left, though the scars were well hidden never would they leave. Slavco remembered the time that he asked Aly how did she get that scar on her arm. “Sometimes it needs to heal inside, before it can heal outside” she had said. It stunned him to realise that even though he spent all his days with her, he knew very few about Alita Nircot Sirnon. What had happened? Something must have hurt her emotionally as much as psychically.
Slavco had once again floated in dream world and hadn’t noticed that huge fallen tree that was laying in front of them. His horse did so it stopped abruptly, projecting the unsuspecting Slavco front wards. First he hit the tree, a broken branch stabbing him in the back, then did a roll/bounce on the cold ground.
“Are you okay mate?” asked Tastain.
Slavco lift his hand up indicating that he was indeed still alive and mumbled “My back is killing me.”
Everything was unclear and messy around him. All he knew was that his back was very painful. Tastain debarked from his horse to help his friend. “I’m coming Lav, I probably will only make things worse but I’m coming to help you anyway.”
The pain was so awful that he couldn’t even smile at Tastain’s funny comment. Slowly he turned Slavco on his back, “I can’t rip your jacket it’s just unripable.”
“Try taking it off.”
Tastain grabbed the sleeves and pulled it off, making Slavco moan in agony. Right away he saw the bloodstains on his tunic. That he ripped easily revealing a bad injury. It was about 20cm long especially deep and thick at the top. The skin and some muscles were torn, blood oozing out everywhere. “Lav, this is really a we-need-Aly-moment, or even Friggy he would know what to do but I... I... feel... like puking” said Tastain gagging on the side the next moment. “Didn’t Aly show you how to heal?”
It started to rain. They only had excellent weather since they left Deberson. Slavco and Tastain even started missing the humid and rainy weather they were used to. This though was really “the” wrong timing. He felt as if it only did so to add to the drama. Slavco brought his head up to talk to Tastain “Tas I can’t extend well to my back, and Aly only taught me how to use magic with my hands!”
Slavco dropped his head back down, the pebbles on the ground sinking in his skin. Slavco’s overgrown black hair covered his eyes. Aly please come fast thought Slavco even thought he knew Aly couldn’t hear him. Something was amiss though. Something was missing. He couldn’t feel Aly’s presence he always felt her so strongly almost as much as Tastain, but at that moment there was a gap. Aly was in danger.
“I am having a deja vu.”
“What is it?”
“It’s like what happened outside of Jarod, except this time it’s humans, Aly isn’t there, and I think we’re going to lose” finished Tastain.
Slavco lift his head, only to see a dozen or so archers, all bows pointing at them.
“Fucken Shit.”
“Put your sword down” ordered a ridiculously ugly man with a nose very round at the tip.
“What if I don’t?” Asked Tastain politely.
“I kill you” said the ugly man with an even more hideous smile.
“But why such hatred? Okay maybe he looks like some kind of retard man/owl (Slavco gave Tastain an evil snare) and we did a little, tiny whinny, white lie” exaggerated Tastain. “But we didn’t take anything and now you’ll have an awesome story to tell to everyone visiting. Isn’t that great?”
One of the archers shot Tastain in the leg, so he could shut up and get down.
“Well you know what?” Proclaimed Tastain “you smell funny! HA!”
The man sighed whiled two others got hold of Tastain and four of Slavco. “And your eyebrows are too high! And your butt too fat!” continued Tastain. Doing this was just a personal victory for him knowing that he had hurt the man’s feeling made him feel grander. Slavco knew that it did hurt his feelings he just didn’t show it. Everybody is effected by that, it’s just that some hide it better then others. The thought reminded him of himself.
Slavco was suddenly awoken from his thoughts by the sudden urge of pain that hit him when the four men threw him in a wagon pulled by a tired horse. They did the same with Tastain then the six men sat in the wagon, surrounding them, examining their every move attentively. “Okay listen, if you don’t free us now he’s going to shot fire out of his eyes and turn you all into ashes!” threatened Tastain. The men ignored his empty threats. The thunder roared, the rain seemed to pound hard enough to force Slavco’s eyes in its sockets.
Slavco turned his head to the man beside him, “please get me a doctor, I am going to bleed to death.”
A look of pity crossed that mans face for a second. Long enough for Slavco to know that he didn’t want to do that job. That he didn’t want to hurt them, but he needed to do what he was told. He then took out what looked like an exotic red spice. Popped it in Slavco’s mouth, and forced him to swallow. The rest is just a blur to him.

* * *

Aly was sitting on a cold concrete floor. Her hair was lackey, bags fell under her eyes, she wasn’t wearing any make up, and most of all a large frown was pasted on her mouth. Slavco found Aly looked very ordinary without her make up, she looked an any average person he could see on the streets of Deberson.
In front of her was Tastain, as handsome as always, except for his slightly sticking out ears. His clothes bore cold stains of blood, probably Slavco’s, and his pants were rolled up on his right leg showing a badly placed bandage. “It’s about time you wake up” said Aly without even looking up at him.
“Where am I?” Asked Slavco realising that two of the walls weren’t walls but bars.
“In the tiny and damp prison of Ketu” replied Aly.
Slavco tried standing up, but the pain in his back pushed him back. Tastain got up to help him. “How are we going to get out?”
Aly turned her head to look at him, her piercing grey eyes seemed to look right through him. “That’s not a problem, they’re stupid poison or drug, call it what you want, only works halfway for me. I can still use some of my magic. I was just waiting for you to wake up.”
Slavco looked at Aly unsure was it really that easy? “So we’re leaving?”
Aly smiled “as soon as the guard comes and leaves this stinky old place.”
At the moment she finished speaking, a young man with muddy clothes walked in the hallway. He then pushed another man inside, so hard that he tripped. The other man was old and raggy, his clothes was very worn but it was nothing compared to his face. He could have been 40 or 80 he didn’t really know. He had shaggy dark brown hair with strips of grey over his ears. His quivering hazel eyes looked at Slavco as he tried getting back up despite that both his ankles and wrist were chained together.
Slavco knew who he was instantly “Skylar... your Skylar” he mumbled loud enough for the chained man to hear him.
“What did you say?” he inquired suspiciously “how do you know my name?”
“Enough chatting!” commanded the guard and pushed Skylar in the other and only cell in the room. The poor man clutch his wrists, it was bleeding. The guard left leaving the four of them alone.
“Who are ya? How do ya know me name? Did I already meet ya?” Skylar asked quite rudely. Slavco was about to tell him when Skylar cut him short “just never mind I don’t want to know anythin’ ‘bout your kind, ya just bring trouble.”
What is he talking about my kind? Then he remembered his odd appearance. Slavco was very weak because of what Aly called posion, but spoke anyway “it’s your wife” Slavco said anyway knowing that, that would make him listen.
“What did ya say?” Skylar said trembling but not daring to turn around.
“Cherry your wife, I know her, well I never met her but I can feel her. Don’t ask me why it’s a really long story, but I want you to find her as much as she does.”
Skylar smirked then turned his head and looked at Slavco in the eyes. His old hazel eyes eating him from the inside. “Ya bastard is readin’ me mind, ain’t ya?”
“No, never, I just want to help you” Slavco said desperately. He looked at Aly for help she was just sitting there smiling and thinking (as it appeared). Slavco then turned himself to Tastain, he was biting his lip unsure.
“Tell him something that only Cherry knows but he kind of knows” suggested Tastain.
“You’ve got a son, she named him Skylar after you. He got married to the third daughter of your best friend Henry. They even have a child, a daughter Jackie. Cherry never forgot you she is still waiting.”
Skylar gasped he wanted to believe but couldn’t “ya are lying I went back, and they weren’t there.”
When the war ended the village was evacuated, Cherry and SJ went to live at her mothers for a while. Until the village was burnt to the ground be supporters. Then they went to Halraga hoping that when there was the yearly celebration, she would be able to find you” told Slavco “you need to find her soon she is sick, very sick.”
Slavco could see tears forming in his old hazel eyes “I believe ya.”
“Aly can we go with him, and help him on the way?”
“Okay” said Aly.
“Oh please... did you just agree?”
“What Slavco? Did you really think I had a heart of stone?”
With that Aly got up flicked her fingers to unlock there cell. Slavco tripped trying to get out. “Be careful” Aly told him “the drug is strong.”
She then unlocked Skylar’s cell and walked out of the building. Skylar got in front of Aly to get a good look of her “Ms you look very familiar, do I know you?”
“Possible, people often tell me that but never do they correctly place me.”
Skylar gave her a freaked-out-look and followed them and soundlessly escaped towards the forest.

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