Painted Skies (Part 3) | By: Catherine Sidorenko | | Category: Short Story - Fantasy Bookmark and Share

Painted Skies (Part 3)

Why the Sun Rises in the Morning
Chapter 14

Happy Birthday Slavco! Slavco told himself as he woke up in the lust of a shiny new day. Today was going to be a beautiful day for two reasons. 1) His back didn’t hurt anymore since Aly healed his wound. 2) He was legally a man. He was aloud to marry and do what he wants with his life. Though technically it was true, Slavco didn’t exactly feel that way. Being stuck with a weird woman that can do great magic in a quest that he still doesn’t understand isn’t his idea of freedom. Spending his day travelling beside a smelly old man and a bunch of always pooping horses wasn’t his idea of passing his birthday either.
He wondered if Tastain would remember. Of course he will, he doesn’t usually remember that stuff but I am sure he will remember my birthday Slavco convinced himself. He was the first one awake not counting the-never-sleeping-Aly. “Good morning Slavco, isn’t it a beautiful day” greeted Aly.
Slavco surprised by Aly’s good mood simply answered “Aye we seem to be always blessed with beautiful weather.”
“Yes, indeed. Um... today I am going to teach you something new for magic. Are you ready for something much more difficult?”
“Aye, I’m all ears and eyes” Slavco answered her.
“I am going to start showing you how to master the powers of the elements. This is very difficult because the four elements contain an endless source of energy. As long as you are connected to a source. Though it is also possible to start it out of scratch, but first you need to understand how powerful this magic is. I once heard a story of an apprentice defeating his master by attaching a piece of string to his ankle and connecting it to a nearby river. Slavco do you know what the 4 elements are?”
“Uh... fire, water... air, and I think earth?”
“And which do you think is the most powerful?”
Slavco thought for a second “is this a trick question?”
“Oh Slavco you know me so well” Aly said smiling.
Slavco sighed and took a guess “fire.”
Aly smiled at him “ingenious but wrong. Essentially they are all the same, it depends by what attack you want to use. The answers vary by the imaginations. Personally I think that air is the strongest, followed by earth, and fire, and finally to me water is the weakest. Unless you are by or in the sea water is pretty useless, but don’t tell anybody. I know some people that specialise in water and they’ll find in offending.”
“But Aly? Which is the most difficult to learn? And what do you so call ‘specialise’ in?” Questioned Slavco.
“The easiest one and the one I’ll be teaching you is fire, then earth, then water, and finally the hardest one is air. Air is extremely advance very few people can fully touch all of it’s contents. If you haven’t guessed it yet, air is my speciality.’”
“So that how you did it?” Aly looked at him puzzled “In Lacha you drained all the oxygen, and since air is so hard it drain all your energy also.”
“Partly, yes.”
In the back Slavco heard Tastain wake up. He blinked a few times then crawled his way to Slavco. “We’re August 13 today right?” Tastain asked yawning. Slavco nodded “happy birthday mate! Are you happy to finally be 17?”
Slavco smiled, he was glad Tastain remembered. Aly was surprised, but not upset. “Good, now it’s impossible for anyone to treat me as a child” Slavco answered smiling.
“You mean it’s your 17th birthday?” Asked Aly surprised.
Slavco nodded still smiling “aye it is.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? Tonight I am taking out my best liquor and we are celebrating.”
Tastain gasped “you mean all along you had alcohol and I didn’t know?”
“Oh, shut up” said Aly laughing pushing Tastain down to the floor.
“If you want to take out your drinks for my 18th birthday also, it’s November 21.”
“I’ll try to remember.”
Slavco continued to grin “and you Aly when is your birthday?”
“Good question” interrupted Tastain “another good one is how old are you anyway? 17? 18?”
Aly sighed “oh my, I am really old actually. My birthday is January 18 by the way.”
“Okay” said Tastain “but it’s a number I want?”
Aly sighed again “73”
Tastain gasped “you’re ancient”
“You’re older then my father!” Continued Slavco.
“I wouldn’t count on that Slavco. Dyman never told me his exact age but I’m sure he was atleast a good 200 years old.”
She must be joking! His father never could be 200 years old. He heard elves and some others had long lives, but 200 that’s impossible.
Skylar then woke up leaving them all quiet. He rubbed his eyes, he seemed to have had a bad night like he did for the last two days.
“Hey, what the fuck are ya staring at me for?” Skylar said taking a sip of whisky. Ever since Slavco started knowing Skylar better (not really just seeing him act). He realised how different he was from the memory Cherry kept and wondered if she still will love him. Honestly he wondered how anybody could ever be attracted by that smelly old fart that spoke badly and drank too much.
“Nothing really” Aly told him. He looked at her suspiciously “so” she continued “are we getting ready?”
The two young men didn’t even answer her they just started packing. They were used to it, since they practised the same ritual every morning.
“I don’t undastand this” Skylar declared “what is your point on doing this? Where are ya going? Why the heck are ya here?”
“We are packing because we need to get ready for another day of travelling. We are going to Haralga. If we are here with you, it’s because we want to help you.”
“Ya don’t need to help me, I’m fine on my own” Skylar told them.
“Are you sure?” Aly insisted “and in that cell do you think you would have been able to escape without us?”
“Ya coulda just left me at that point.”
“And when the guards chased us. Would you have been able to escape then without us?”
“Okay maybe not, but after I would have been alright!”
“Like you were last time, and let me remember what happened. Oh yes, you were caught” Aly said continuing her packing.
“Fine, fine you won” he admitted “It’s just that your story doesn’t make it to me! Why would you help an old man that you don’t even know!”
“We told you!” Said Slavco tired of Skylar’s stubbornness “I want as much as your wife to see you again!”
Skylar gave him a cold glare. It reminded him of Aly the way he showed no emotion as if not caring, but deep down it meant the world to him.
“Aye” Tastain added “plus the humans are after us anyway and so are the elves.”
Slavco froze, had Tastain just said what he thought he had said “what? The elves are chasing you also?” Said Skylar surprised.
“Aye, should be after killing one of their war leaders or whatever he was. Slavco also killed another one back in Deber...” before he could finish Aly had grabbed him by the neck collar and was howling him away.
“What the heck do you think your doing?”
“Nothing I was just...”
“Never ever tell him about what we’ve done and are going to do, or anything about your past. That man seems to have a sleek tongue. Do you understand?” Aly murmured to him quiet enough for Skylar not to understand a thing, but Slavco could hear each and every word pronounced with tremendous fear and anger.
“Aye”, said Tastain terrified.
Aly pushed him back, flaming purple eyes, “come on” she said harshly “we’re leaving.”
Everything was very silent afterward, they were using a narrow trail that went directly from Ketu to Haralga and wasn’t very used. So far they hadn’t met or heard anybody. “So” said Aly breaking the silence “you seem very interested in us but we don’t know anything about you, my dear Skylar.”
“There is nothing to be known” Skylar said sternly.
“Okay if that’s the way you want to be. We’ll go to our normal daily occupations. Silence.”
* * *
With that both Tastain and Skylar couldn’t hear one word of what Aly and Slavco were saying. Skylar wasn’t yet used to it, he hated the fact that a spell was cast on him. Tastain was glad though because now he had someone to talk to. “I hate it when she does that” confessed Skylar.
“We don’t care if you hate it or not. This is important.”
Skylar looked at them. A ball of fire came out of Aly’s hand, while Slavco was struggling to make a spark. “Can they hear us?” Skylar inquired.
“Doubt it, I think Aly closes us so we don’t bother them.”
“Good, ‘cause I need to ask ya some things.”
Tastain looked at him suspiciously “what type of things?”
“About Alita.”
Tastain sighed and rolled his eyes “Oh, that!”
Skylar looked at him troubled “what did ya think I was going to ask ya?”
Tastain suddenly blushed “nothing, nothing at all.”
Skylar ignored that odd moment and said “what do ya know about Alita?”
Tastain thought for a second realising how small he knew about Aly, she never spoke about herself. Never. “Not much really. We’re not even sure what race she is. She really old, and...” Tastain remembered what Aly had told him about not telling anything about themselves or each other. “I don’t think I’m supposed to be telling you this.”
Skylar ignored his last words and asked him “how old? Atleast 35?”
“No, I mean yes. Oh! I’m not supposed to be telling you this.”
“I think I remember where I saw her.”
Tastain forgot completely what he was aloud and not aloud to do. His curiosity was too strong. Knowing more about Aly, it was Slavco who going to be happy. “I think” continued Skylar “It was ‘bout 27 years ago. Me was very young, and was in love with Cherry.(his tone became sad as he said her name). We were walking ‘round town livin’ life. Then we saw that small girl, ‘bout 11 no more. Ridin’ a horse the same sandy colour of the burnin’ landscape, ‘cause we lived in Cadin. She had very light blond hair, heard that up north loads or people are blond, but never had me seen some so pale. She had deep blue eyes, they weren’t bright but not quite grey. She came to us askin’ if we would like to donate books for the Great Library.
I had heard of it before, it two km or so north of Halen. I told her that, that darn library already had too many books. She answered that there was a fire and that ‘bout a hundred priceless books were lost. I didn’t own any books cause me can’t read, but Cherry had a few and guided her to her house to give ‘em to her. When she came back she looked so tired, like drained. I told her that she had probably gotten tricked and that, that girl didn’t work for that stupid library and just wanted books for herself. She told me it that, trust is the currency of life.”
* * *
When Aly had told him that magic with elements was difficult never had he thought it was that way. Thankfully the day was almost over, the sun was setting which meant that that they would soon stop and set up camp. “What are we going to eat?” Asked Tastain.
“Boiled meat.”
“Congratulations you’re right!”
Tastain sighed, he missed the bread, the beans and turnip. “I often see wild blueberries and raspberries” comforted Slavco.
Aly smirked “I’d pay to see Tastain do something as ‘un-masculine’ as berry picking. Slavco smiled and agreed. “Lets stop here. I’m going to prepare something more special then boiled meat for your birthday.”
Slavco and Tastain’s faces brightened “really” said Tastain.
“Yes, and your going to help me, my little Tastie-pou” Aly said descending from her horse.
“Noooo” he moaned.
“And Slavco, stay away.”
Aly took out a bunch of thing, including a bottle of Rum that she handed to Tastain. While the duo isolated themsleves, Slavco was for the first time alone with Skylar. It was very odd, he felt uncomfortable and still very attached to that creepy old man. “Why are ya staring at me like that?” asked Skylar rudely.
“No reason” responded Slavco awkwardly. Then he said it, he knew he shouldn’t but couldn’t stop himself “do you still love her?”
His eyes soften at that moment he could had felt any emotion. Anger? Sadness? Gratitude? “Yes.”
Slavco looked at him truly, he had already started so why not go deeper. “How much?”
Skylar looked at him horrified that he could ask such a question. “It’s been 26 years I’ve left her. 26, and from the moment I said goodbye I regretted. I damn regretted it. It’s been 25 years I’ve been looking for her, and I plan to do so until my last breath. I promised I’d come back and I always keep my promises. I’d do anything for her. I’d cut my hair, do every single chore. I’d go to the other end of Saraca to go get something see thinks, she maybe, might, like to have.”
Slavco hated himself for ever doubting it. He hated even more when he saw a single tear roll down his cheek. Skylar quickly wiped it and took a shot from his water skin (that Slavco had discover didn’t contain water but gin. “Does that answer ya questions.”
Slavco nodded. In his head he heard Aly’s voice say It’s because of people like him that the sun rises in the morning.

The Shadow’s Secret
Chapter 15

Slavco looked at Aly and Tastain in the distance, they had built a fire and seemed to be preparing food. He didn’t need to be a genius to guess that they were making a cake. Slavco decided to act surprised anyway for Tastain (since Aly probably already knew he had figured it out). Suddenly a crow appeared diving down towards Aly, landing directly beside her. Tastain yelped at the sight of it he hadn’t noticed it yet.
The crow appeared to be carrying a piece of paper attached to it’s leg. Aly detached it. “Oh, shit!” She exclaimed and dropped her paper to race to her bag.
“Come paper” murmured Slavco. The paper zoomed to his hand it said:

Dear Alita,
I would like to inform you that I’m coming to meet the boy. I’ll arrive shortly after sunset, escorted.

Who’s Dawn? Slavco wondered probably someone from Finary, but why is Aly so panicked? “Aly what’s happening? Who’s Dawn?” Inquired Slavco jogging towards her.
“Dawn is a member of Finary, she represents a certain group, and is coming to approve your training. The problem is, I didn’t think she would be coming on such a short notice.”
Aly looked at the sky, it was basically set only a faint glow of sunlight was left. “I still don’t understand the problem.”
Aly left what she was doing and looked at Slavco in the eyes “the problem is that Dawn is a vampire. She is the heiress to the thrown of a bunch of blood thirsty vampires.”
Slavco gasped “but I thought vampires were evil, cruel, enemies.”
“For humans yes, but all the other nations of Saraca have established a law so they don’t attack any of their citizens. Except the humans, and the animals, and vampires prefer much more human blood then a bunch of wild creatures.”
13 years ago
Bells rang all over the town of Bed’ki. Vampires had been sighted. Slavco didn’t know much about vampires. They lived in the mountains up north and in the northern sections of Lacha. Once in a while cattle would be found drained of it’s blood. People hung garlic and various religious items over their windows and doors, to keep the vampires out. Even though the precautions people still died. People found it dangerous to live in such a place. If you asked a local though they’d say “If everybody moves away so will the vampires there is no escape to nature.” Regardless that, this area was known to have the most fertile soil in Saraca. Mining was very bountiful also.
The hot water currents coming from the south kept the winters short. Really except for the vampires this place had everything needed. “Father, are the vampires going to get us?” Asked the 4 year old Slavco to his father, like he did everything the bells rang.
“I don’t believe so.”
“But why not? Th...They got the lady down the street, they could get us, and... and we don’t have any stinky things.”
“The vampires like us.”
“Really!” Said Slavco joyfully “does that mean they are going to bring me presents for my birthday!”
Dyman laughed “No, sorry lad” he said brushing his son’s head “But be sure that they are never going to hurt you.
Slavco understood what his father had meant. Lately things from his childhood were taking a drastically new angle. “But we need to protect Tastain and Skylar!”
“What do you think I’m doing here?” Asked Aly sarcastically. Slavco looked at the sky, the sun had set it was night time.
“Skylar! Tastain! Come here fast!” never would Slavco permit himself to let anything happen to either of them.
“Got it!” exclaimed Aly, pulling out half of a ridiculously small garlic bulb.
Slavco looked at it discouraged “that thing is minuscule. How do you expect it to have any effect?”
“Have anything better?”
Slavco shook his head “not exactly.”
“Then shut up, and stay alert.”
Skylar and Tastain looked at them puzzled “What’s happening?”
“Stay clam, but we have everything to believe that vampires are coming to visit us” Aly told them.
“Vampires!” Exclaimed Skylar “I knew that ya crazy people were just trouble I...”
Out of nowhere Aly slashed her sword right beside Skylar’s throat. Brushing the throat of a tall and weary male vampire. Slavco hadn’t even noticed him coming. Right away Slavco and Tastain took out their swords, protecting each others back. “Dawn for Pete’s sake keep them away from those two, they’re with me.”
“I thought you were supposed to be alone with the boy” said a female voice. Slavco looked at the direction the voice came from. There stood a woman. She seemed fairly young, somewhere in her early 20’s but he knew that she was much more then that. She had long hair filled with tiny wavy curls, a little longer then Aly’s, but unlike Aly her hair wasn’t attached. Most of it was jet black, with electric violet hairs here and there.
She had starry strong grey eyes and pale skin. She wasn’t very tall 5 feet 2 inches at most, and all dressed in black. She was weird, he wondered if he should feel excited or fearful. It was after all the first time he met a vampire. The woman’s gaze switched to him, She started by his feet up to his face. After a few seconds she gave him an evil smiled, showing to pointy fangs.
“Hold back” she ordered the vampire behind Skylar and two other’s that popped out of nowhere. They obeyed. Aly slide her sword back in it’s sheath, Slavco and Tastain did the same, but Skylar kept his out.
“Happy to see you again” said Dawn hugging Aly.
“Me too” said Aly ending the hug.
Dawn looked at Slavco again “he looks so much like Dyman” she said astonished “it’s like staring at him. What’s the thing with the ears and eyes though?”
“Unexpected side effect.”
“Oh” said Dawn now playing with Slavco’s ears. Slavco just stood there. Half scared, and half dumbfounded. Afterwards, they started talking in a language Slavco didn’t comprehend. Slavco looked at Skylar he was paralysed in fear, his hands were shaking, and his legs ready for a run. Tastain was mildly calm, he was more used to tense situation then Skylar was. Slavco had to do something, the old man didn’t seem to be in the best health and he didn’t want that his heart stops or something. Slavco grabbed Skylar’s arm holding tight, quickly his shoulder went down, and his muscles loosen. Skylar shook his arm out of Slavco’s grasp.
“What are ya doin’ to me?” he said outraged.
“I’m helping you calm down” said Slavco plainly.
“I don’t want ya to do any of ya voodoo magic tricks on me!”
Slavco was very hurt, when Skylar said that he knew it was Cherry’s emotions. Or else he would have sacked that crazy old man a while ago. However no matter who’s emotions it was it hurt him. Skylar saw it and for the first time in a long time, Skylar felt sorry for someone else then himself.
“Leave if that’s what you want!” Slavco told Skylar “Leave you fucken old bastard of sonofabitch!”
“I’m sorry kid.”
I don’t care, leave! You must be good at that by now! Leaving when things don’t go your way!” Slavco showed no emotions while he yelled. Skylar looked at Slavco one last time. He was sure but for a second Slavco thought seeing the glister of a tear forming at the corner of the man’s eye.
Without another word Skylar jumped on his horse and left. The 3 male vampires were about to chase him for a good evening snack, but Slavco saw them and yelled “Leave him alone, if you attack him be sure that I’ll personally kill each and everyone of you.”
Then it hit him. This whole situation, how he spoke, him threatening those vampires. It wasn’t him, it never was him. He didn’t feel like himself in anyway. It wasn’t him it was what he had become, but did he like that new him? He had always dreamed of being strong of will and mind, like his father. It felt so wrong though, as though living someone else’s life. He was confused and lost, he passed his hand through his hair but realised that it was all on fire. His whole body was on fire, he was a human torch. He looked at Aly and Dawn, looks of amazement was on their faces. It was the last thing he remembered, because soon after his vision blurred and he passed out.
Dyman was sitting on a porch or a small white house. All the houses around him were white, and stuck close together. He was watching the sunset on what seemed like the ocean, but Slavco could see it wasn’t the ocean. A sea or a very large lake perhaps, but not the ocean. A young girl sat beside him, she was about 12 with white, pale, blond hair. It was Aly. “Why don’t you come in to eat something. Her eyes were bright violet.
“I’d rather stay here” Dyman said contemptibly.
“Why are you always like that?”
“Like what?”
Aly sighed “like you always are. You are always acting like everything is fine. You are about to stare at death in the eyes, and you look like you are about to go to a tea party. Aren’t you ever worried, scared, or nervous?” Dyman didn’t dare to look at her, he just stared blankly at the sun eating the water. “Answer me! Can you give me hint to now that you are not fearless?”
He bit his lip “why do you want to know this?”
“So I feel less weak compared to you” Aly said honestly.
There was short silence. “You want to know the truth? I am so fucken scared that I think I’ll piss in my pants. Do you want to know why I do that? It’s because it’s the only way I can. I can’t do it another way. It’s the way I am.

Painted Skies
Chapter 16

He looked at the food on the plate before him, he didn’t want it. It was tasteless, everything was tasteless, boring and useless. Nothing was worth it anymore. Everything was just so confusing. Aly and Tastain looked at each other worried about Slavco. Tastain finally went to see him “hey mate, your not hungry?”
“Um” he said shrugging his shoulders “not really.”
“Is everything okay Lav? Me and Aly are very worried about you because of what happened yesterday.”
“I’m fine, I don’t need that stupid hobo anyway” Slavco said not so convincingly “is Dawn coming again tomorrow night?”
“No, after you went on fire, well... she was pretty convinced. Aly says we are still going to Haralga, we are going to stay there until Caniric comes back. I’m happy about that because I’m so tired of travelling and I’ll be able to go visit Elima, I hope I remember where she lives. Are you happy also?”
“I guess so.”
Tastain sighed “I’m only trying to cheer you up, you don’t need to act like such a bum!”
Slavco didn’t care if Tastain was angry at him, he didn’t care about much. He was just tired and confused. Aly softly grabbed Tastain by the shoulder as he stormed away “don’t get angry please. I don’t know why he is doing his little depression now, but it’s in moments like this that you need friends that won’t give up on you. No matter how frustrating or annoying you are.”
Tastain nodded “but we can’t leave him like this.”
“I’m working on it. I know we can’t afford taking another day off but it’ll be useless waste of energy if I try to teach him, as moody as he is.”
Tastain’s kind green eyes looked at Slavco lying down staring at the sky “I’m worried Aly. I really am, I’ve never seen Slavco like that. He’s usually strong no matter what and never complains.”
“Don’t worry I won’t let anything happen to him” Aly convinced Tastain, but secretly didn’t even believe herself. “A man can only take so much, when many things happen too quickly. There comes the breaking point.”
Tastain bit his lip “take the day off Tastain. Do what you want we’re staying here for now.”
“I’ll stay here for him.”
“You really are a true friend.”
Tastain went to sit beside him without saying a word, but Slavco didn’t really care, nothing seemed to matter anymore. It isn’t just because of Skylar it everything he thought. I can’t handle this. I really can’t it’s to much. My father could but I can’t. I suck to much. I’m so stupid, I’m getting all over for such stupid things I can do it. Some have gone through worse and still made it. Still I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!
Aly had been righting something in her notebook. I seemed like a letter because seconds later a bird flew to her and she attached the letter to it’s leg. “Who are you sending this to?” Inquired Tastain.
“That is none of your business.”
“Oh, ms has an attitude.”
Aly raised her eyebrows “just shut up okay. I’m not in the mood. Why don’t you go take a nice bath in that creek over there, honestly I thought that smell of dead fish would wear off by now but it doesn’t seem so.”
“But I took a bath 3 weeks ago, when I fell off the boat.”
Aly gave him a stern look. He pouted and walked towards the forest, then stopped “why should I take orders from you, your not my mother.”
“Because” she said throwing a soap bar at him.
Tastain stared at her for a second “oh” he finally said.
“Your not fast today eh?”
Tastain lowered his head “aye.”
Aly sat down beside Slavco and started talking, even though she wasn’t sure if Slavco was listening she kept on talking. “Feeling lousy eh? Wonder why life is so hard, why do you need to feel pain so strong? Well life is hard because if not it would be boring and because everybody makes mistakes. You know in the end we are all the same in our mistakes and our pain. Did you know that not everybody feels emotions the way you do and that all races descended from humans. It’s a quite interesting story. The thing is that humans were the first to come to the face of earth they were the only very intelligent species, except maybe something else but we won’t talk about that now. They were very primitive and could only feel pain, love, jealously and other basic emotions. Then there are two different versions of the story. One involving the elven god giving three wishes, but I don’t really like that version. In my version, humans discover magic.
How that is possible, I really don’t know. Most people think is that through out the earth there was those underground caves with pure essence of magic. At that moment humans weren’t that smart and thought it was water. They soon found out that who ever drank were able to change themselves the way they wanted. The tribe now known as elves saw the most important thing is being able to cast spells of whatever they wanted by pronouncing the name. They also saw great importance in beauty. The wizards, and sorcerers did basically the same thing but with more technical control over it. The dwarves who had only found a weak source and were only able to make themselves stronger. Goblins who had found a contaminated source which gave them awful side effects.
Then one group was different, they had a very small amount, but it was the purest of them all. When they drank it the thought that came up was that they wanted to know and feel what life was really about. They were the humans. Later the other groups discovered unpleasant side effects, they lost all their emotions. That is why it is so rare to see an elf cry or smile, the only emotion they have is very odd. It’s a type of need to control, Libas have the same emotion. Vampires have only two emotions the strongest one is pleasure and the other is very weak but they can feel love, but everyone shares one thing, some are weaker then others but everyone feels pain.
Though the question is how can it happen. How can someone come from no emotions to something. Some think it’s by mixing with humans, others think it’s because they learnt it. The idea seems foolish though, learning to love or envy. Emotions are in the instinct of man, though sometimes experience wakens it up. I guess we’ll never know, because in life we can’t always know everything there will always be those unresolved mysteries hidden in the depths of the past and the future.”
Aly smiled at Slavco he didn’t react to what she had told him but she smiled and continued anyway. “You know life is like a painted sky. Everybody has their own painting. Some are more talented and make beautiful masterpieces. Others get lucky or work hard on it to get it done right. Other make a mess of it, but you need to forget those mistakes you make on it. When you use oil paint there is no coming back. The best is to cover it up with nice colourful strokes. Everybody’s paintings are as interesting as another. Some are more violent some more calm, but they all have that same vivid energy. However do you know what is worse then a hideous painting?”
Slavco actually turned around to talk to her “Never finishing it” he said not smiling, she was smiling though .“Aly?”
“What does your painting look like?”
“It’s a purple storm with jets of brave sunlight breaching through the clouds.”
“Did my father finish his?”
“I believe so.”
“Who are you?”
“A poet who hides her poems until she discovers why she wrote them. Basically the truth”
“What truth?”
“The end.”
“But Aly it always ends with a new beginning” this time it was Slavco that smiled.
Aly got up and said “well Slavco then it’s about time to begin.”

Memory Avenue
Chapter 17

It’s odd how things seem to fly by. You take it day by day then suddenly a life time seems to have passed. It had been 25 days since his father died. 3 weeks and 4 days. Almost a month. Still he felt like it had happened yesterday. They were quickly approaching Haralga. It had been 11 days they hadn’t seen a large enough village for there to be actually something, so going to Haralga was going to be a change. To add to it Slavco had never visited the metropolis, he had never seen anything close to it’s size. 300 thousand citizens lived there, not counting the slaves. He had heard many stories of it being a trash hole filled with violence, and treachery, but he still wanted to go. Haralga was built on a raise beside Duey Lake, giving a nice view from many places.
There surroundings became more an more tropical, and warmer. Duey Lake was like a giant oasis in the middle of this never ending savannah. Slavco looked at Aly, more he knew her more he appreciated her company, and more he was intrigued to know more about her. He wish he could know what it was to be her, she seemed to know and understand so much, it made him feel so ignorant. He couldn’t imagine how Tastain felt.
On the top of an acropolis was the gigantic fortress of Haralga. It seemed to watch restlessly over it’s surroundings. Houses and various commercial buildings grew around it like a moss on a rock. The buildings reached them, and went too far for eyesight, passing by the edge of Duey Lake. The whole place wasn’t especially attractive. Probably because they were apparently in a poorer section, but the city had a decent organisation. There was a main street, big enough for two wagons to pass, that went all the way to the fortress with only 2 major junctions. On the way to it was millions of narrow passages, criss-crossed each other like a laberant. All the houses were a clean white with a little blue even the forteress, which was odd Slavco had never seen such a thing. Everything looked the same, it would be easy to get lost. The houses were also very close together. All the people there had black hair and tanned skin. They were also ridiculously short, Slavco even wondered if they weren’t dwarves. They also were close to neck-less, and wore worn, filthy clothes.
As though reading his mind Aly said “dark colours attract sunlight, keeping the houses close gives them shade. This section isn’t very rich, but the people are happy” she said pointing at a group of bare footed children kicking a ball of cloth at each other.
One of them stared at her with big eyes “Beuno Aly!” he said.
“Beuno Christo” she said. The other children then came running towards her petting Ilina.
Beuno? Slavco knew that word but where had he heard it. Suddenly he remembered. “Aly are they slaves?”
“No, there are no slaves in this section.”
“But didn’t he just talk in...”
“Vylic, yes but they aren’t slaves not anymore” Aly told him.
“Do you mean?”
“Yes” said Aly watching the children pulling Tastain off his horse so he can play with them “I bought them and freed them.”
Slavco’s brows went up “all of them” he said in disbelief.
“Them, their parents and a few others.”
Slavco gasped “that must have been freaken expensive!”
“You bet it was, and it was an auction so everybody was angry at me for buying all the slaves. Sure maybe after I killed the slave hunters and took back my money but I gave it all to the slaves I bought. It was worth it though, if I could afford giving more money I would.”
Slavco swallowed, even though he practised his sword handling all the time. He still didn’t get the idea of killing somebody you don’t know just like that. He still wasn’t able to kill anyone anyway, not even his worst enemy, but that he wouldn’t tell Aly. Still this couldn’t be true that she bought all this people, when she lived in this section. “I thought you were poor. How can you even buy one?”
“I have more money then you think. When we were travelling I just ran out on me. Also I don’t see the importance of living with more things then friends. Here everybody helps eachother and that’s all I need.”
After they retrieved Tastain, they turned to one of the narrow streets, and went through many twists and turns. Slavco tried memorising so he could get out but everything looked so alike. When finally they got to a small house with lots of pots filled with beautiful flowers, it even had a tiny well kept garden patch. Beside it was a wide pot filled with water. “Just attach them here. I know a place where they can be kept. The streets are too narrow to ride a horse properly here anyway.”
“What is this place?” Asked Tastain.
Aly blushed and smiled “it’s my house.”
Slavco jerked surprised. It wasn’t what he had imagined of Aly’s home. He didn’t quite get what Aly meant earlier, but know he did.
“I’m not there for half of the year, and I lend it to the other members who pass by here. It’s also the people I freed that take care of my flowers.”
“Okay then” said Slavco, looking at the familiar scenery. He could see lake from the porch. This was where his father was sitting when he was talking to Aly before he went to confront Caniric.
“Want to see inside” inquired Aly. They nodded, and with that Aly flicked her fingers and the door unlocked. The inside was very cosy. In one corner there was a small kitchen with a wood stove, and a few counters. In the middle there was a small oriental table with four matching chairs. The right wall was take up by bookshelves and a small red sofa. In front of them was an awesome hanging bamboo chair. In the back of the room was a ladder staircase and a cellar trap door. All the walls were white washed, with two windows. “There isn’t much upstairs” she told them “just a dresser a some hammocks and the balcony.”
Tastain, and Slavco walked around looking and touching things “I like your chair” said Tastain spinning in it. Slavco had never seen a house like this, he didn’t even know what a hammock was, everything was so alien. “What’s a hammock?” asked Tastain breaking the ice.
“Come I’ll show you” she said leading the way. The room up stairs was half the size of the previous room. In the room was 5 quilted cloth-looking things that were hung on both ends to the ceiling. In one corner was a tiny wardrobe beside it was a full length mirror. The boys looked around but when Slavco walked past the mirror he gasped at his reflection, he thought he had just seen a ghost. He looked exactly like his father, a younger copy of him, the resemblance was stunning. The only thing was that he kept was his death pale skin and pitch black eyes (with Aly’s potion). People often said that they didn’t look alike but this was too much. He really felt like a clone at that moment. Slavco had always thought of his father as a very handsome man, he basically worshipped everything he did. The fact that he now looked exactly like him, was odd. Did that mean he was now handsome? No, he was still ugly Slavco.
Aly put her hand on his shoulder “now I see what they all saw in him” Aly said smiling. Slavco was surprised, did she just compliment him? “I’m going to leave for a few hours make yourself feel at home, your going to stay here for a while anyway. Tastain jumped on a hammock.
“I think I’m going to like it here” he said grinning.

* * *

Slavco sat beside Tastain on the front steps, holding Aly’s urine drink. Mentally preparing himself for another taste. Aly’s house was basically on the edge of a cliff, sitting there he could see over the neighbouring house, beyond Duey Lake. The sun was soaring upon them, it was hot here. The hot air currents from the south kept Deberson warm enough year long, so the temperature always stayed in a range of 10 and 30C. Here though they went well beyond the 30C, with the humidity factor. He didn’t mind humidity, he lived with it all his life but it had been a while he had been living in very dry conditions.
It didn’t really bother Tastain much, he just took his tunic off, but Slavco who was more shy kept it on. “screw it” said Slavco, and swallow the substance then finally took this tunic off. It felt good (not the potion), air was finally circulating, plus his tunic was getting too wet anyway.
“What do you want to do?” Asked Tastain.
“Don’t know, wander around I guess what else.”
“Aye” said Tastain but not exactly doing anything “I think we have a spy” he told Slavco.
“Uh?” said Slavco puzzled. Tastain pointed at the corner of a house. There stood a young girl with long flowing curly black hair, 8 or so he wasn’t sure because everybody was so short here. The girl tried hiding when she realised they had spotted her but it was too late.
“What do you want kid?” Asked Tastain abruptly.
The frightened girl came out of her hiding place trembling “my mama told me not to talk to strangers” she said with a slight accent.
“Didn’t your mama ever teach you it isn’t right to spy on strangers either” Tastain told her.
“I wasn’t spying on you, but on him” she said pointing at Slavco.
“Exactly he’s also a stranger.”
“No he isn’t, tell him Dyman” Slavco was staring at his hands when he smirked. She thought he was his father, how ironic.
He finally looked at her small brown eyes “sorry but I’m not Dyman. My name is Slavco and I’m Dyman’s son.”
“No, you’re lying Dyman has no son” Slavco wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be insulted or understanding, everything was just so weird.
“Well guess wha? He does” said Slavco and walked away. Tastain stared at Slavco then the girl, then Slavco again. Finally he decided to follow his friend
“Want to go in town?” Proposed Tastain. Slavco simply nodded, but the little girl kept on following them. She was starting to get annoying he had enough trouble trying to forget about what had happened he didn’t want that brat reminding him.
Slavco stopped dead on his tracks frustrated “what do you want now?” He knew he was being rude and impatient, but he just wasn’t in the mood.
“Why isn’t Dyman there also?”
Slavco didn’t want to tell the poor girl. She didn’t know and probably none of them knew. Luckily Super Tastain came to the rescue, using his super power, of not thinking about the consequences. Sometimes Slavco thought it was a good thing, because he never have that continuous worry. “Sorry that you learned it this way but”-wait thought Slavco her knowing that isn’t a good thing!
“He’s busy somewhere else” Slavco cut in.
“What are you talking about?”(Elbowed in the arm). “Ooow! Aye, what he said.”
She seemed to have believed them because she changed subject “Okay then, I’m Isabella happy to meet you Slavco” she said hugging him. I guess that’s how they say hello here. Oddly (and amusingly) she totally ignored Tastain as if he wasn’t there. Tastain and Slavco kept on walking but Isabella stayed with them. “Where are you going?”
“In town” snapped Tastain.
“Can I come?”
“No, it’s an adult thing.”
“Well you’re no adult!”
Tastain clearly offended squat down to talk to her at the same height. “Listen we’re 17 that is much more of an adult then a little eight year old like you. Plus we’re legal.”
“#1) I’m 12 not eight #2) Here the legal age is 18 so too bad I guess you’re still a child like me.”
Slavco had to restrain himself from laughing he was starting to like that kid’s attitude. Slavco had no idea why Tastain hadn’t hit her yet (that’s what he usually did when people pissed him off) maybe he actually had more temper then he thought. He didn’t mean to think that in a mean way Tastain was actually very intelligent, and he knew that he sometimes thought of him as some nowhere dunce, but he liked to fool around and when he’s in it he does stupid things.
“Well, your mama is so stupid that she sold her horse to by horse food.”
Isabella stood transfixed for a few seconds “you are such a loser you can’t even insult well.”
“Scram kid” he told her, but she kept on following. When they tried turning to go to the marketplace, Isabella grabbed them and pulled them back.
“We can’t go here, we gotta go around!”
“What are you talking about kid” protested Tastain “the marketplace is straight ahead I can see it from here.”
“We can’t pass by here it’s to dangerous!”
Tastain wiggled out of her grip and ran to the middle of the street “Ha! You see nothing is going to happen.”
“I don’t like your friend” Isabella told Slavco.
Slavco squatted down to her level like Tastain had down earlier “Isabella, why don’t you want to pass by here?”
“Because it’s ‘the’ avenue.”
“But what does it have more then the other avenues?”
“Isabella bit her lip “Aly won’t pass by here she refuses to she always goes around. No one knows why, but if she does she must have a reason. Harry Gina reckons it’s because something happened here and it brings back evil memories to Aly. Whatever the reason is, if Aly is scared to pass by here so am I.”
Aly scared? He tried to recall a moment where Aly got scared. Was it even possible? Aly was so brave, but everybody gets scared, evan his father. Then he remembered. The day after they left Jarod, Slavco had looked at his new appearance and screamed Aly came rushing scared that something had happened to them. That’s what he liked about Aly she had a weird way of doing things and of interacting with people but she cared. She cared for you more then you could care back in a million years.
“How much do you know about Aly?” (In the background Tastain was yelling at them something about a giant rock falling upon him and he being scared. People started staring but he didn’t pay attention).
“Not much. My grandmother is the one who knew her for the longest here, but even her only knew her for a few years.”
“Could we perhaps go visit your grandmother?” Inquired Slavco. Isabella nodded happy that she could be of some use. “Tastain! Are you going to wait for that rock to fall on your head or come with us?”
“What about our browsing? Uhhhhh! You don’t know what you want don’t you Slavco Meti?”
Slavco started laughing and Isabella joined in.

An Angel Among the Living
Chapter 18

Life sometimes seemed to be written in advance, to make the deserving lucky and the other well unlucky, like karma. Slavco must have been part of the others until now. If that girl hadn’t thought he was his father, they would have never met her and she would have never brought them to that old women. Okay maybe it wasn’t that great of a coincidence, but he was still happy.
Isabella brought them a tiny home smaller then Aly’s. It was only one story therefor the hammocks weren’t hanging freely but were tightly attached to the ceiling until night time came. Inside was a middle age women, with the same curly black hair as Isabella. In the back in a rocking chair stood an old lady. She wasn’t moving, and Slavco wasn’t sure which number was higher her age or the amount of wrinkles in her face. If it wasn’t for Isabella acting normal he would have reckon the old lady was dead. Isabella’s mother (a guess) heard them come and turned around to see who it was. “Iza brono amies?” Asked the lady, but when she say them she dropped the carrot she was pilling.
Out of nowhere a cat seize his chance and snatched it. “Hi” said Slavco unsure of what to do.
The lady came towards Slavco and hugged him “Bueno Dyman.”
This was starting to get annoying everybody thinking he was his father. How can so many people know him? “Edbenzo pani Dyman on Slavco fisea” Isabella told her. The women let go of him.
“Sorry, my name Claudia. Make yourself at house.”
Slavco nodded and followed Isabella to the old lady. Isabella sat on the floor the two boys did the same. Isabella and her grandmother started talking to each other quickly in Vylic for a few minutes, nothing much happened, for the next few minutes. When Claudia left to do who-knows-what, Isabella finally talked to them. “What do you want to ask?”
“When did you meet Aly for the first time?”
Isabella translated and said “she said seven years ago, Aly bought the house before that though, but wasn’t there often, also very secretive. She stayed there for four years, the last one is when she freed the slaves. No one saw of her in 2 years and a half. She stayed for a few months then left again almost two months ago. The last part is from me though, gran doesn’t remember when she came a few months ago.”
Slavco nodded “Did she ever tell you anything about herself?”
When Isabella translated the old woman shook her head “Enze pani parla Enza ange.”
“She said that she can’t talk about her because she is a... what is it called again goddess... no.”
“Ange” repeated the old lady “ange s’espory.” Isabella didn’t need to translate Slavco knew what ange meant.
8 years ago
“I think she’s an evil spirit that they trapped to serve Jarred” suggested Tastain.
“I doubt his father would be brave enough” commented Slavco.
“Ha, your right he’s such a wimp” added Tastain and they both started laughing.
“Shhhhhhh! They’ll hear us. No Tas I don’t think she’s an evil spirit probably just a slave. I saw a man with half decent clothes on that was teaching Jarred and his sisters stuff.” They were discussing the odd entity that was that girl that they saw a few days ago. “She’s probably his daughter.”
“Are they rich enough to afford two slaves?” Inquired Tastain.
“Guess so, they own a big home in town so they must have some money.”
Suddenly the wagon that hid them from the mysterious girl from seeing them started rolling away. The two boys searched for a place to hide but weren’t exactly lucky. In the end there was nothing that block them from being seen and they were seen.
“What are you looking at?” she told them hanging the laundry “scram you mischief’s before I cast a spell on you!” She threatened them.
“What? You’re going to make our clothes clean? We’re not scared of you bimbo!”
Maybe Tastain wasn’t scared but Slavco was about to piss in his pants. Slavco kept tugging on his arm telling him that they should leave. Finally Tastain gave in and they left. “You should have some sympathy it’s hard to be a slave. Mostly when you work with someone like Jarred” Slavco informed him.
“She deserves it, if I could I’d send her to one of those gold mines.”
“How dare you say such a thing?” Said Slavco outraged.
“Sorry, it just that she got on my nerves.”
Gold mines were the worst thing a human being could injure. The hard labour 12 hours a day, with barley any food or water. Plus the danger of falling in a hole or you’re lamp to miss oil. There was also the constant fear of a cave it. As if that wasn’t enough when your day is over you have the worry about the werewolves and vampires coming to snack.
“I think we should try to help her” suggested Slavco.
“Like what? There isn’t much you can do. You can’t just free her, she belongs rightfully to Jarred’s family and you know we can afford to buy a slave.”
“Aren’t there laws that stop people from badly treating slaves?”
“Nope, not ever since we got our new king he got rid of them, anyway she doesn’t look that miserable.”
“Tastain Balden, do you need new eyes, her arms were all burned and bruised!”
“Listen Slavco” Tastain told him “I know you lived in a small village all you’re life and you’re not used to the kind of things that happen in larger places, but there is something you must understand. It’s that we can’t do anything for those kinds of things. What is in the family stays in the family. We can’t go running around messing with everybody’s issues. Got it?”
“Got it.”

* * *

After another day of doing useless but very interesting things with Tastain, Slavco was exhausted and came back home. His father arrived a few minutes later and noticed that something was on his mind “Hey Slavco, is there anything wrong?”
“No it’s okay there is nothing you can do anyway” said Slavco disappointed.
“There is always something you can do, there is always a way around.”
“It’s just there is this girl she is a slave, she works for this boys family.”
“The Kalansons right?”
“Aye how do you know?” Asked Slavco curiously.
“His father trades raw goods along the coast and the fyord.”
“Well they also mistreat her she is filled of bruises and burns they hurt her to a point we it could leave scars!”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Slavco was ecstatic he imagined his father coming up with a brilliant plan which he was an important part of, and would make nice win and the bad lose. Well things are always like in books or in your mind, because it didn’t end up that way at all it. The way it was, was much more boring.
One day he came back home to find a surprise. The mysterious girl was sitting at their table, all clean and prepped to the perfection. “What is happening?”
“The Kalansons freed them” his father informed him “Jarred and the girls we’re acting a bit too spoil and they wanted them to learn the value of things, and since these two had been so loyal for so many years. They thought it was best to give them liberty.”
Slavco was shocked he couldn’t believe someone could give up their slaves. Even less the Kalansons. When it came time for the duo to leave, Slavco went up to the girl (who’s name ended you being Filisity) and asked her in a whisper. “What really happened?”
Filisity grinned at him “an ange s’espory came to save us.”
“What does it mean?”
“Ange means angel in Dalasdian.”

“Ange isn’t Vylic, isn’t it Isabella?”
She looked at him shocked “no it isn’t, I never knew where the term came it’s just something we all know.”
“It means angel.”
“Yes, that is the word I was looking for, but how do you know?”
Everything made so much sense now, He remembered Aly telling him the language she spoke but the word is so forgettable. “Espory is Dalasdian for hope” she had said. Ange s’espory. Angel of hope. It was Aly. She was the angel of hope in their lives. She was the ange s’espory in his.

Chapter 19

All his life Slavco had been running. Running away from his life. Running away from reality. Running away from who he is. For the first time in his life he stopped running. He was truly happy in this house in Haralga. With Aly, Tastain, and all the children that kept play tricks on them (mostly Tastain). For the first time in his life he could rest his legs and be happy the way he always wanted to be. Something was wrong though. It was too beautiful, to perfect to last. He knew one day the harsh reality would come head butting him. Thankfully it wasn’t happening not yet anyway. It had been 3 months since he first came to this place. Meantime, Tastain turned 18 and flirted with no less then a hundred girls.
They both got a hair cut once, courtesy of Aly (though by now Slavco’s was overgrown like always). Then one day Aly came back from her morning walk to continue Slavco’s education, but this time she had news. “I have some news. You’re going to meet another member today. He’s going to stay here longer though” she said closing the door.
“Eh?” Said Slavco, surprised. “Now?”
“Yes, so why don’t you prep up a bit? Okay?”
“Aye sure” he said and stumbled off his chair and ran upstairs to tell Tastain, who was still sleeping. Slavco yelled from downstairs “um, who is he?”
“Yes, why don’t we yell things at each other so everyone can hear?” Aly said sarcastically closing the door. Slavco didn’t answer that, and pushed Tastain off his hammock.
“Wakey, wakey, Tastey.”
“What the fuck?” Asked Tastain rubbing his sore head.
Slavco was looking for clean clothes, and ignored Tastain’s complaints. “Another member is coming.”
“Ah, Just that?” Said Tastain and climbed back on his hammock lazily. Slavco pushed him off again.
“Ow! What do you want?” Inquired Tastain now fully awake.
“Nothing, I just find it funny the way you fall” Slavco said laughing.
“I hate you” declared Tastain grimacing.
“I love you too Tastey-pou.”
Tastain didn’t seem to find great importance in the arrival of another member of Finary. He simply yawned and went downstairs to eat breakfast. After a good 15 minutes Slavco went downstairs to find out that he was alone. Two seconds later he heard Tastain talk loudly outside to Aly. Aly told him that she was going in to talk to Slavco. “Are you ready?”
“I hope I am” Slavco said biting his lip. Slavco sat down but Aly stood were she originally was not moving.
“You don’t need to worry, it’s going to be much less stressful then with Dawn he’s going to be alone and not there to evaluate you.”
“What, well... type of thing is he?”
“A wizard” she said calmly. Suddenly Tastain crashed the door open, and closed it fast.
“I think... No it can’t be!”
“What’s wrong Tas?” Asked Slavco worried.
“I think I just Niss.”
“What our Niss?”
“Do you know many other Nisses?”
“It can’t be.”
“That’s what I thought, but it really looks like him.”
“Um” said Aly “I think there is something I need to tell you.”
Knock Knock
Aly didn’t need to say anything Slavco saw it coming. I made sense. That was why his father trusted him so much, and why he had been suspicious when those weird things happened on the boat. Aly opened the door and indeed there stood Niss Sosce. Tastain stood there paralysed, Slavco sighed, and Aly did nothing. This was definitely awkward.
After a few seconds of silence, Niss summed up his courage and said “hi.”
This situation was awkward, embarrassing, and frustrating. Slavco stared at Aly, she was taking deep breaths, staring at him back, but not doing a thing. Slavco knew it was just best to leave he needed to be alone. He slammed the door open and left for the beach. Aly and Tastain didn’t do anything to stop him, they knew he wanted to be alone, but Niss followed him anyway.
When he reached the beach Slavco just let himself drop in the sand and started looking at the clouds. There was a dog with his tail happily wagging. Under it was a cow staring at him, as if saying “what are you looking at?”
“What are you looking at?” Inquired Niss.
“A stupid dog and an evil cow” They both remind me of you Slavco thought but didn’t say.
“Are you angry at me?”
No I’m furious! “What do you think?”
“I don’t know” Niss said lying down beside him “you never seem to speak your mind why don’t you tell me. I won’t get angry.”
“You are a sonofabitch.”
“And a mother fucker.”
“I see, but why?”
“You lied to me your no better then my old man. I trusted you and you were with him all along.”
“I seriously hope that by now you know that things are more complicated than just that.”
“Aye, but I just want everyone to include me in their secrets. I’m not some imbecile child, I’ve always understood those things quicker then most. I’m your key point in this stupid thing. So no more lies and secrets okay?”
From that moment on Slavco kept his eyes staring at the crystal blue sky and it’s balls of floating cotton. It had been a while they hadn’t gotten a beautiful day like this, and Slavco was tired of looking at Niss. “Does Shenna know, who you are?”
“She knows what I can do, but not who I am.”
“And your kid.”
“He can do stuff, but we decided it’s best that I don’t teach him anything so it stays at it’s lowest.”
“Okay” said Slavco. “It’s stupid you know? The way we act.”
“What do you mean?” Asked Niss confused.
“Ever since this started there is something that kept popping up. We always want something, and when we get it we can’t deal with it. There are only two choices left. We learn to deal with it or we give up. Then when that is done, we get bored and want something else. The problem isn’t only that this is a vicious cycle, but that I have yet found a way to deal with it, and I cannot give.”
“I’m sure you’ll find a way.”
“Remember when you said that the day I’d be able to make trolls pass out, you’d give me your best net.”
“I need to see you do it, before you can even think about it” said Niss joyfully.
“Remember Conirus?”
“The guy that recruited soldiers?”
“Aye, he came twice every year, and when he was finished, he went to see the boys that were just looking because they were too young to sigh in. He must have talked to Tastain a million times, but Tastain couldn’t have been less interested. He didn’t want to risk his life for some greedy king, no matter how honoured he would be. He would be able to kill I’m sure of it, but he didn’t want to. Every time he came I would always cross my fingers, hoping that he would notice me and come to tell me that I would make a good fighter. He never came, not once.
I’d like to see his face if he knew what I was capable of now” Slavco said laughing. “I know I’ll never be able to go back to Deberson, but sometimes I dream that I’ll wake up in the morning. Tastain will be snoring beside me and my father will be yelling from downstairs telling me that breakfast is becoming breakslow.”
“I know it’s hard” said Niss “what destiny can bring you.”
Slavco smirked “I believe in destiny. Still it is unpredictable, this story could go anyway.”
“Which story? The one about you saving the world, or the one about you finding yourself?”

Chapter 20

Life is filled with surprises and ironic moments. So much that they wouldn’t exist without one another. Aly had been more soft about him reading her book ever since they reached Haralga. Since he had read basically nothing compared to what he had read the first month Slavco decided to finish it. There was about 10 pages left, nearly nothing. When Slavco finished the book though, he was happy. Not only because he had finished a book of extraordinary proportions, but because he had found a piece of information he was the most proud of. At the bottom of the last page was neatly written a message by Hean.

I now what happened really hurt you, and I just want to help. I’ll be moving to Prepetua Lake. If you ever need me for anything come and see me.

Your friend to the end

The mystery being too great, Slavco had decided to ask Niss if he knew anything about someone call Hean. He didn’t know so it must had been a really long time ago. He wanted to ask Aly but he was just to afraid of her reaction. Now it was too late though he had gone through the whole book without telling her anyway.
Days past and soon enough, a day that Slavco was the least waiting for came. It was Caniric’s deathday. Slavco celebrated every year in Deberson, though it was in a much smaller format he knew what to expect. What repealed him was the fact that he might again meet Skylar. Sure there was going to be hundreds of thousands of people wandering around the streets of Haralga, but Slavco knew that one of them would be Skylar. He was scared, he was terrified of the chance that maybe they would cross each others glares.
The tradition is that on that special day if you lost someone you cared for in the past year, you were supposed to wear only black. If you already lost someone in the past you dressed all in white with a black band on the left arm. If you never lost anybody you cared for in your life you were pure, therefor you only wore white. When night would come the person who was the closest to the lost one would light a candle, with the dead person’s name. They would bring it to an alter, and let the candle burn to the end. If the candle didn’t die on it’s own by sunrise, (according to the myth) it meant that the persons soul didn’t reach the heavens, and would be trapped on earth until next year. It wasn’t good either if it finished too early, it needed to die between midnight and sunrise. It also could only be lightened when the sun was down.
Slavco had once asked his father, how did the spirits reach the heaven before Caniric’s death. He had told him, that they were able to do it anytime in the year but it was the easiest on this day, because the passage between the two worlds was at it’s largest.
When night time approached, everybody put black clothes on (Tastain did care for Dyman, but not as much as the other. Since everybody was in black and Tastain didn’t want to feel left out he opted for black also). Aly was wearing a simple knee length dress, and for the first time (since they met her) she was wearing her hair untied and little makeup. It wasn’t that her usual self was more ugly, but it was a weird experience to see Aly look almost normal.
Slavco kept staring at her, trying to figure out how it could be possible. She noticed and started blushing. “What’s wrong do I have something on my face?”
Slavco shook his head “no you’re perfect.”
As Aly searched for her shoes, Niss grabbed him by the shoulder and gave him what appeared to be a black suede jacket “take this you’ll freeze if you go only in a tunic.”
“And don’t forget to take your sword. I know your sheath isn’t black but we can make an exception.”
“Why would I bring my sword?”
“We all are, if there is a Caniric pro manifestation it’s in Haralga, and I want you to be able to defend yourself.”
Slavco nodded, scratched his head and asked Niss “I know it’s a bit obvious, but didn’t you perhaps think that maybe he would come back today?”
“Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing, he’s not coming back today.”
As they proudly walked down the streets of Haragla, Slavco kept his head down. His hair falling over his face. He hated this day, each time he was about to move on there was always something that came to remind him how alone he was. Slavco looked up at his friends. He wasn’t that alone, thoguh he still missed his father so dearly. The sun was set, everybody was gathering towards the city hall, where a main alter was set for the occasion. Slavco carried a short and stubby candle, the word “Dyman” was written in golden letters. Slavco wasn’t sure if he would be able to do it.
Closer they got harder it was, his friends knew it, but didn’t do anything except shut their mouths. Slavco was happy they did so he was tired of people asking him if he was okay when he obviously wasn’t.
Many candles were already lit, at this point he was fighting not to sob. He had cried so many times already. He didn’t want everyone to think he was a whiny baby. It had been 4 months, and he was a full grown man. He wasn’t supposed to cry so easily. Oh no a tear was forming in his right eye, Slavco hurried to wipe it but it was already too late. He watched it drip on the ground.
Slavco looked at people dressed in black coming to bring a candle, others were just looking, some were praying. Slavco wasn’t sure of in his position in religious faith, but this was something he had to do for his father. He had to do it for his memory. Isn’t Hope the only god we need? Call it what you want, it still is hoping for a better future, for a better life.
More tears were forming this time in his left eye also. Slavco’s lip was trembling and he was taking long breaths. He finally decided to walk the final few steps. He got to his knees and deposed the candle on the ground. It was kind of an ugly candle. Slavco didn’t know why he chose it, it was a yellowish white with spirals. He looked at the other candles. They were oriental and decorative, with beautiful craved designs. A few even had thin sparkles of gold on them. Maybe it was because his father was a simple man, who didn’t like anything fancy. A man who didn’t need much to make things beautiful. Nevertheless it was still a candle.
Slavco then realised something, he had forgotten to bring something to light it. He looked around, no one would bother if he used magic, atleast they wouldn’t if they didn’t see him. Slavco put his hand close to the candle, making sure that nobody was looking “fire” he murmured. The candle lit up. Slavco stared at the candle thinking that for his father that was the best way to light his candle.
Slavco passed his hand through his face feeling it’s wetness. Great, he had cried. He heard someone sit beside him. It was Tastain. “How do you do it?”
Tastain looked at him surprised “what do you mean?”
“You’re always so happy, your life is always so perfect. How do you do it?”
“My life isn’t perfect.”
“What are you talking about, you have parents and a family.”
Tastain looked at his hands saying “I think I’d rather have no family then the one I have.”
“What are you talking about you have the ideal family.”
“That’s what everybody thinks” Slavco looked at Tastain with wide eyes. Tastain kept looking at his hands keeping his glare away from Slavco’s. “My mama she always wants everything to be perfect. She wants me to be perfect, but I’m not I’m not like the twins or Kenny, and my father” Tastain sniffed, he was now crying also “he came to see me at night. He doesn’t anymore I’m too old, no now it’s Devon’s turn. I told my mama but she won’t believe me. I’m pretty sure he went through all my brothers and sisters, but they won’t admit it to me.”
Slavco was shocked “you never told me that.”
“My mama threatened me, saying that if I started spreading rumours about her family, I wouldn’t have anymore family. Even if she had believed me there isn’t much she could have done anyway. My father has more rights, and he is the one that brings in the money. We would be living on the street, if he left. I just took the horses that’s how I got them. Without letting anybody now I left. My only regret is leaving Devon alone” there was a pause. “You know Elima? My sister that supposedly lives here. She moved out two years ago, without telling any of us. Probably went somewhere far where, she would never see us again” Tastain was crying and laughing at the same time. It was pitiful.
“How did you do it? How did you live with it for so long without anybody knowing?”
Tastain finally looked at Slavco “you just look up and say ‘feeling sorry for myself won’t get me anywhere I need to continue life anyway’ even if you are tried of living a lie you go on like everything is fine and be happy” he said with a fake smile. “That is how I deal with it” he paused again. “You need to know that before saving the world, you need to save yourself.”
Tastain was right, it was something so simple and obvious. Still Tastain was the genius that got it, and not him. “I’m stupid.”
“I know you are Lav, but thank you.”
Slavco scratched his head “for what?”
“For making me tell what I already knew, but forgot.”
Slavco didn’t really understand what he meant, but did at the same time. This awkwardly reminded him of conversations with Aly. Suddenly, they heard the piercing cry of a woman. A man came running covered in blood he spoke only one word before falling on the ground “he.”

Chapter 21

Slavco’s heart was pounding so hard he was sure that in any second it would pop out of his chest. Reflex made him take out his sword without even noticing. Danger was near he could feel it flow through his veins. His heart was pounding so fast and hard he thought maybe it had broken his ribs, but he soon realised it wasn’t that, that caused the pain. The Finary symbol, it was glowing again, so intensively, that it could be seen through his jacket. Nice way to be discrete.
Row after row of soldiers marched down the street that the man previously used. Stepping and crushing that exact man. It wasn’t men that marched in that armour though. They weren’t disgusting just repulsing. Large prnouced blue eyes, almost dropping out of the skull. Snow white skin, that seemed stretched back, making their cheek bones stand out oddly. The ugliest part was their noses. Tiny and sticking upwards. They were armoured to the bone, in white and blue steel. If it wasn’t for their inhuman faces, Slavco would have sworn they were on the good side.
Slavco noticed that Aly and Niss were beside them. Tastain asked “I don’t get what is happening.”
“They are fiends that is all you need to know” Niss told them.
“But what are they?” Asked Slavco.
“If only I knew. They are the souls of men that didn’t want to die, and were ready to pay a price for immortality. Some weren’t originally human so beware” said Aly.
“But can we kill them?”
“It depends by what you mean by killing.”
Those word relieved and worried Slavco. He hadn’t yet accepted the fact of killing somebody just like that. Aly had told him to have no mercy that is what war is. That men kill each other all the time, and it was those who didn’t dare that died. Still he didn’t know those people, they had done nothing to him. How could he kill someone?
“Don’t worry though” said Niss “if you cut their head off they won’t continue fighting. They’ll vanish but always come back. That is why fighting him was so desperate. Sometimes he uses real people but I wouldn’t expect any in this battle.”
“But Niss, I thought he wasn’t supposed to come back today?!”
“Because he really isn’t supposed to. Slavco wanted to ask more questions but it was too late they had reached them. Chaos hung in the air, children crying, men trying to bring there families to safety. They were basically alone except for a few other men that had brought weapons, and soldiers who were on watch at that moment. Slavco put his hand in front of him, and yelled “fire” flames completely covered three soldiers, for a moment and they disappeared in a thin mist. Another one slashed his sword at Slavco, he dodged it and stabbed him in the stomach. He too vanished.
There were so many men, there was 4 after Slavco now. It was a lost battle. Suddenly the walls of the fortress burst open. 100 or so men came out, moments later more came, but the other army had at least a thousand men. Slavco was scared, he could feel that everybody was scared.
Slavco heard yelling and people pointing at the sky. He looked up, while another group of Haralga soldiers came out, this time only 50. Up in the night sky was a man in a light blue robe. He had a short black and grey beard, and shoulder length black hair. He pointed his hand at the small troop coming out. That is going to hurt thought Slavco. He pronounced a words, and a burst of silver energy was shot, but a magnetic dome had appeared factions of a second before. It was formed by Aly, who obviously had no struggle against that man, who was shocked.
Aly levitated herself to that robed man’s height and asked “who are you working for?”
The man smirked and said in a aggressing voice “I am my own leader.”
Aly looked at him mercilessly. The man put his hands on his throat gasping for air. Rapidly he lowered down, Aly followed him. “You see I don’t like liars. I really don’t likes liars” When she was finished speaking she let go of her spell, and the man fell on the floor with a thump.
“I came here to stop your reign of evil” He said proudly getting back up.
Aly laughed and looked around, the oddest thing had happened, the fighting had completely stopped. Everybody was staring. “Exactly how brainwashed are you? You don’t even know who I am. I’m no queen I can tell you that, and I’m not controlling anybody as far as I know.”
“That is what you want everybody to think.”
Aly closed her eyes, grinning and shaking her head. She opened them and grabbed the man by the throat this time “let me reconfigure my question. Who made you your own leader.”
Slavco was very confused. These people seemed to think they were on the nice side. That they were fighting for the better. Suddenly the opposite army stared separating in the middle to let someone pass. The person walked to Aly and the robed man to come to an abrupt stop and said “I did.”
What a dramatic entry! Thought Slavco. The person was nothing he thought of a leader. Probably because he looked much less of a leader then he did. He was younger 14 or 15, and had elegant, well combed, dark brown hair and a charismatic smile. He looked like a rich kid that adults loved because he was so good, and the other kids either hated because they were jealous, or stayed around because of his money. A bit like Jarred but more snob. He looked like the kind of kid that seemed so promising but was really incapable of doing anything without help. The one that dies early because of an alcohol overdose.
“You’re breaking the rules” told Aly.
“That is impossible, you now it yourself. Nothing would have happened if I was indeed breaking the rules as you have foretold. Adding that this date is obviously adequate” he said grinning in a in-your-face way.
“Get lost in a hole you son-of-a-bitch. We still have three months.”
“Accept the facts, instead of running around what you already know like a chicken who just got his head cut off” the boy said, his temper rising. “I am like magic, always there.”
Aly wasn’t smiling, her eyes were trembling. Slavco could feel her fear. She just wanted to piss on herself and run away crying like a little girl, but it wasn’t going to happen Aly wasn’t like that. Another troop join the party, and the boy yelled at everybody saying “I never told you to stop!”
Nothing happened as if, they had all gone deaf. Caniric looked at the robed man sighing in frustration. “I never told you to stop!” the robed man echoed. Without even enough time to react, a sword slashed his arm. The impact was so powerful, Slavco was sure he wouldn’t have an arm anymore. When he turned his head to look. He was surprised, because not only did his arm stay hooked on, but there wasn’t even any damage (except for the pain that Slavco felt) on his jacket. Slavco felt it. It wasn’t suede like he originally thought, it was made of a material similar to the one found on his father’s jacket.
Everybody was fighting, except for Aly and Caniric who were still talking. There was a large circle around them, Slavco wasn’t sure if it was a spell or simply because everybody was scared to get close to them. Niss was now fighting the robed man, but even with the shrieks and moans, Slavco heard Aly say “you might be like magic, but I am magic.”
He punched her on the face “don’t you dare insult me in my face, you insolent girl.”
Aly started walking away, “I knew you would run away, you’re too scared. Your eyes never lie.”
Aly turned in a flash and shot him a spell, but Caniric didn’t even have to move a muscle for the spell to be blocked. He too cast a spell, but was too fast for Aly, who was propelled a good distance away. “You have no chances against me. You are pitiful and feeble, like that stupid leader of yours. He wasn’t courageous enough to do anything. He had to make someone else do it for him. He is just a coward.”
His words hadn’t only angered Aly who’s eyes were now flaming red, but also Slavco who was more outraged than he had ever been. Nobody called HIS father a coward. His father was the most wonderful man in the world, loved by everyone he met. He always did the best he could to help people. Even if it deprived himself. Slavco wasn’t able to stop himself, he jinxed Caniric, and not a small one. He literally jumped in the air, vibrated and fell back down. He certainly wasn’t expecting it coming from that direction.
Caniric got back up, his temper had hit the top. “Talking about the chosen one.” A jinx attempt came again but this time failed. It was Aly, he was standing there plainly, even though her body had been ruthfully injured, because she simply didn’t feel anything. A second later Caniric hit Slavco, he shielded himself for a few seconds but the spell broke through.
You know when, your little toe hits the corner of a table, and it hurts like hell. Well it was like that but 100 times worse, everywhere, and the pain didn’t wear off a few seconds later. “And I thought she was pathetic” said Caniric. Suddenly he turned bluish. He looked at Aly snaring, she had her gaze concentrated on him. He used his magic, but Aly blocked, but for the glimpse of a second broke eye contact. “You have no chances, you are losing. They are losing” he said pointing at the mass of people fighting.
Faster then Slavco could see, an arrow was shot at Caniric. Obviously, he had seen it, since he simply leaned backwards before it hit him. What then appeared would seem to some be a frightful curse, but for the four of them it simply made their day.
Flying through the sky like dark doves of the midnight sky, were four dozens of bats. One by one they changed into there human-like form, grabbed a foe and snapped their heads. This was going to turn things around.
“This is nonsense, you say you are good, and still you are mercifully battling with veil vampires” said Caniric sternly.
Aly took out her sword, and got closer to him, so they wouldn’t have to nearly shout anymore. “You might have forgotten that, you are never searching for salvation.”
“You will never change your mind.”
“I challenge you to a sword fight, absolutely no magic. I warn you though, I’ve never lost. Not once in my life.”
Caniric took out his sword as a sigh that he accepted. Meanwhile Slavco had continued his fighting with some magic using fiend. It was more difficult, but soon enough Slavco defeated him.
Aly, was dominating. Caniric might be the strongest in basically everything but sword fighting. Aly didn’t just get it right, it was also graceful and elaborated. Her sword clashed against his golden one. It was tight nevertheless, but it was only a matter of time before Aly gave the coup de grace. When it happened, Caniric had lost his sword and was lying the ground. Aly didn’t hesitate at all to slash his throat. As evident as it is Caniric didn’t play along the rules, quicker then ever he blasted a spell on Aly.
One of the first rules of magic is that with distance it loses effect, in this case it didn’t even have the time to think about losing effect when it hit her. The spell was so powerful that when Aly got blast in the crowd again everybody turned for a second to look. As Caniric went to finish it off. Everybody gasped.
Slavco couldn’t seen from were he was, but it seemed by what he heard that Aly had somehow vanished. “Where the fuck is the girl!” Shouted Caniric. Well that confirms it thought Slavco.
As Slavco stabbed another zombie-man, Caniric stormed towards him. He grabbed him by the neck and held him up high saying “where the fuck is that bitch?”
Slavco took an opportunity, and pushed the tip of his sword towards Caniric’s stomach. The boy grabbed it before it even touched him. His hand was bleeding because of the sword’s sharp sides, but Caniric ignored the pain and flicked it out of Slavco’s hand to throw the bloody sword on the ground. “Don’t play those tricks with me” he said.
Caniric was talking to him, Slavco wasn’t listening he didn’t care. All his interest was in the odd thing that was happening behind Caniric. First he thought he had seen wrong, that he was just lacking air and seeing things, but when everybody was looking gasping in amazement he knew it wasn’t an hallucination.
The creature had long hair of the purest white, and its skin was a sweet sky blue. Its eyes were left blank, as though no one ever had the interest of giving it pupils. Behind, perching in its back, each twice the size of the thing, was two perfect butterfly wings. They were the same white and blue, and seemed so delicate and strong at the same time. The thing that was the most amazing in it though was the broken black dress that it was wearing.
“Answer me, dammit!” Caniric yelled kneeing him in the balls. He then smirked and said “Die.”
Behind him at the same time Aly took hold of his shoulders literally burning him at the same time.
As Caniric pronounced those words though, he knew it was over. The last noise he would hear is the pitiful cries of Caniric and the look of fear on the creature’s face.
Slavco’s body hit the floor. Then he felt it, the peace and quiet. He was dead.

The Tale of Larisa
Chapter 22

Did you ever notice how everybody has a secret? When Aly had told that to Slavco he hadn’t quite believed her to the point that she really meant it. Thinking that someone is normal from appearance. When really being different makes you normal. When Tastain had told him his story he was shock. Slavco had thought that he knew everything about his friend, but now he realised that everybody has a secret a part of them that is hidden. Is it because they are afraid? Ashamed? Or just plain stupid.
Slavco wasn’t dead. He was now entirely sure, but since he hadn’t seen any angels, and felt the presence of people he thought were still alive. He assumed that he had survived. After his fathers death life was rushing too fast. He went through day after day in a hurry. Unable to admire and think the way he had always lived life. Now he had plenty of time to think.
He couldn’t wake up though (not like he wanted to anyway), but once in a while he had his senses intensify. It was a booster of a few seconds to minutes. During those booster he had never felt so awake. Usually he knew someone was near by the vibrations of their footsteps, or simply the noise they made. During those boosters though, he could feel something so small as the air hitting the pores of a person, and back at him. It was like a second vision, better then vision even.
The first time it happened it was Tastain. He was sitting at his side, his face scratch to the point that he was temporarily disfigured. Slavco could barely recognise his friend. He was happy that he was alive though. He told him about, winning the battle. That Caniric was injuring him when Aly put a very bad jinx and he retreated. Nothing about Caniric putting the death spell, or Aly turning in whatever she was. Then it ended. Slavco realised that probably the only reason he was still there was the agreement. He wasn’t allowed to kill anybody until the due date.
Once he even got a glimpse of Niss saying that if it wasn’t for him and Aly they would have lost. Most of the time it was Aly though, just sitting there not saying a word. Sometimes she would hum songs that he had never heard before. The most interesting time though, was late a night. He had heard someone coming to the room. It was Dawn, and a man that she was making out with. “Dawn there is a someone here” he had said.
“Don’t worry it’s been two days that he has been sleeping” and they continued. The snappy part is that another night (probably the next). Aly was at his heels, when Dawn came in again with another of her vampire male friends. This one on the other hand was much older, and less attractive. He easily could have passed for her father. Until Dawn introduced him to Aly as her new husband. Slavco thought a lot about it. It didn’t make sense that Dawn would recently get married to an old fart and cheat with him. Had she married for the money? But Aly had said that Dawn was heiress, so she must have a lot of money. Or maybe it was him who made her a heiress. Still she had seem deeply in love with the first man, and vampires lived for pleasure not greed.
Then came a point where, Slavco had thought things through about a million times and really wanted to wake up. Sure the dreaming was really fun, but it wasn’t real, and it only echoed things about the real world. He couldn’t wake up, he was stuck in this other world. He was like a bird trapped in a cage, continuously piping but ignored and left trapped.
He was really discouraged, when he got another booster, when he believe the previous ones were powerful he had seen nothing. Aly was sitting at his side like usual, sighing.
As though she suddenly knew he could clearly hear her, she spoke to him for the first time. “In the far land of Eibaiae, Queen Nadia of the elves was pregnant. The King Hurgar hoped that it was a boy, so he would know the next ruler would be a strong one. The Queen on the other hand, was more worried about other things. Even though she loved her husband, (though not as much as the day of their marriage). She had an affair in 9 months ago. She feared, that the child wasn’t the kings. Though it wasn’t just a problem of infidelity.
The man in question was a creatra s’manie pura in your language a creature of pure magic, most commonly known as a fairy. You might remember me telling you that every intelligent creature in the world, descended from the human, except for one. Anyway the problem is that fairies are the elves arch nemeses, they always couldn’t agree with each other. Mostly because the elves were the only ones knowing their existence, and the elves had always been jealous of their power.
When the big day came, wasn’t she only not a boy, but the baby was marked with the symbol of the fairies. A symbol that all fairies are born with, no matter how unpure they are. The King got angry, but didn’t leave Nadia. He was only King by alliance and didn’t want to lose his privileges. Instead he drowned the truth and called the girl his own. They called their daughter Larisa.
Years past and Larisa continued her education, like all princesses would. Though she shown superior intellect and had a more open way of thinking, she was like any other young girl. Until one day, Larisa was 76 or to you would be her mid teens. When King Felix came to visit. A spy had found out that the Kings daughter wasn’t really his, and Felix hurried over. Felix was dangerously ill, with no children. The following monarch would be Nero a rather poor leader. He claimed his daughter as the next reina s’etile. Obviously the King wasn’t happy, neither was the Queen and that is when a war broke to decide who would have Larisa. Thousands of men died for one person.
Larisa was caught between two ends, being a pacific type of person and not knowing what to do she fled. Later that year Caniric invaded Eibaiae. No elf or fairy knew where she was, they searched. They searched like hell I can tell you that, but nobody ever found the princess, except for one man.
He was a lonely preacher, and seemed no more then twenty. Larisa knew better then trusting strangers, but there was a certain thing about him that made her know that he would always accept her. The man’s name was Dyman, and she was right about him being all right. They became very close, and he told her about his plan of defeating Caniric and freeing Saraca. For 50 years they built what is known as Finary. When one day the fairy tale broke and a troop of fairies found her.
Oddly they didn’t capture her for being Larisa, really they had no clue who she was, but for being a fairy. Larisa didn’t know anything about the culture or obligation she had. There was a law that made all fea s’etile, need to take care, help, and bond with an important person. It could be of any races, it was always an influential person who changed the world for a better place. You can’t chose, thought your thoughts have a certain guidance and reasonable choices were usually accepted. It was done in a sacred place, and once the choice was done their was no buts. You had to go get that person and get bonded. Once bonded you couldn’t spend more then a year apart or else you would die.
Larisa hoped for Dyman, but faith decided otherwise. Most think the ceremony was tricked, because the person was Caniric. Larisa followed the rules, though she often went to visit Dyman secretly. Eventually she got pregnant, not by Caniric, she was no more then a mug to his eyes. She later proved that it wasn’t Dyman either. He often made her get rapped by his high men, probably one of them was the father, but it doesn’t really matter who it was. When she fell pregnant she ran away to the fairies, before Caniric found out. She gave birth there, and left to go back with Caniric not wanting to die. She lived a double life for ten years, until she got tired of supporting that tyrant. She fled south were she lived happily the last year of her life with Dyman and her daughter.”
Slavco’s eyes opened “it’s my father’s story, he told it to me a million times when I was young.”
“You are wrong it’s my mother’s story.”
Slavco looked at her eyes they were dead. No life came out of those grey eyes. Slavco scouted on the side to give place for Aly to lie beside him. “Aly it seems that nobody can love in this cruel world, whether it’s our parents, Skylar, or Dawn.”
“I ask you Slavco, do you believe in love after love?”
“I guess so.”
“Then you can love in this cruel world.”
Slavco turned to look directly at Aly “do you believe in love after love.”
“I don’t know, I really don’t, but if there is a second chance I don’t know what I’d do with it.”
Aly started crying, for the first time she honestly showed how she felt. Who she was. Slavco sat up, and set Aly on his lap. He hugged her and comforted her, like a mother would do with it’s child crying child. “Aly, you need to know that before saving the world you need save yourself.”

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