As daylight broke I watched Culsit drink water that cascaded over a moss covered waterfall like a dog. I just look at him and had to laugh. I knew he was intelligent but he just looked like a two year old with a new toy. I know he had things in his life that I didn’t know about, family life, you name it but you couldn’t tell by looking at him. I just sat on the rock looking down at him and smiling from ear to ear. As I turned too the pool that Vali was kneeling next to, I just watched as she wet her long blonde hair and rung it dry. I stared as the rising sun glinted off of the drops of water as she squeezed her hair dry and thought how I could sit here for a thousand years and just watch her like this. I content I could be to just sit here and watch her like this for an eternity. As she turned to glance at me, I guess she must have seen the look I had in my eyes because she just smiled and blushed but she didn’t look away. It was a perfect moment, if you ask me, but as usual, the big fur bag ruined it.
“She is pretty for a human, huh, little brother?” He said as he plopped down beside me like a heap of wet dog.
“Do you do this on purpose?”
“What?” He asked with a big grin forming just inches from my face.
“You know what you big fur monkey. You know I was having a moment and as usual you show up to ruin it!”
“Ruin it! I thought I was sharing it with you! Here I am this close to the great Vali and thought I would just sit and enjoy it with you!” His grin grew bigger as he slapped me on my back so hard it knocked me off my rock.
I picked myself up and turned to look at him as he just snickered like a teenager as he usually did.
“Sometimes I wonder why I tolerate you! Do you know that?” I hissed.
“Just keeping your mind on the task at hand little brother. You do know we are not here for a romantic stream side picnic right?” Culsit said just grinning bigger. I swear I could have killed him right then.
“I bet you haven’t even thought about what your next steps are, have you little brother?” He said grinning down at me.
“Well, yes, I have, I’m going to meet up with Jager and Rory, then I’m going to walk down amongst the enemy and do what I do best and that’s lay waste to all of them!” I said as I sat back on my rock.
“Is that right? You sure have come along way from that guy fly fishing on the river thinking I was a bear and throwing rocks at me haven’t you. Do you even know how to use those things?” He said as he pointed at the two short handled axes I had at my waist.
I looked down at them and I guess the image of Vali with water droplets dripping off her hair and the glint of the polished edges of steel must have triggered a memory. I was transformed in my mind to another time, a long time ago and back in my true home. It was Vali and I sitting next to a pool of water tumbling down rocks in a group of Fir trees. I could feel the heat of the light absorbing into my skin. I could feel her finger tips tracing over the scars on my chest that ran left and right from a fight that had happened even longer in the past. It felt like electricity flowing into my skin at her touch. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes, with the memory of how I got those scars rushing in. I could see the sword flashes coming in for me and I could feel the sting as the bronze bit into my chest, I could also see the flash of my two friends as they seemed to be nothing more but sharpened extensions of my hands. The memory of how fast and hard I struck even made me tremble, or was it the thought of her nails tracing the lines on my skin. I didn’t know. I seemed to snap back to the present and I actually pulled open my shirt to look at the scars. I thought I remember getting cut trying to slide under a fence but I guess that was wrong. My mind whirled in confusion as I felt her touch on the back of my neck surge into me.
“You scared me!” I chuckled as I turned my head up to see her standing before me, glowing it seemed in the morning light.
“You remember how you got those scars now don’t you? Sure they might have faded with time but now you are starting to see who and what you really are. It’s now just words now, but something you’re starting to really believe yourself. I knew you would, I have waited patiently all this time for you to remember the love we have between each other. We bound ourselves together at the beginning of this universe and we will always be.” She said as she stared straight into my soul.
“I don’t know Vali, after watching John all these years, I think you could have done much better!” Culsit laughed and broke the trance I seemed to be in staring at her face.
“I really think I hate you sometimes, you know that?” I said as I turned to him.
“No, you don’t, now it’s not time anyway for you to be playing boyfriend and girlfriend, it’s time for you to show us what you really can do. Enough of the sappy stuff before you make me sick!” Culsit just grinned even bigger showing those huge teeth.
“You know Culsit, if you had seen the things I had seen John do, you’d probably be careful with what you said.” Vali said as she turned to look at Culsit. He just still sat still, grinning from ear to ear.
“He’s right, it’s time to get moving and into the valley and get this party started.” I said.
With that we picked up and started moving. Culsit moved up farther ahead with Vali and I moving fast just a few yards apart. I could feel my entire body tuning into all that was around me. The sound of a startled squirrel, they way a bird moved its wings as we passed by. The ground just seemed to slip passed as the day grew on. I knew that the time and miles slipped past but my thoughts seemed focused on what I was heading into. I know it took all day but it felt like just minutes when I realized the sun was slipping behind the mountain ridges to the West.
It was the sound of Culsit knocking ahead of me that brought me back to the present. I just stopped and glanced at Vali. She just grinned back at me, I supposed my mind might have been wondering but I guess my body was focused because I couldn’t remember my steps to get here but she seemed to approve and that said a lot.
I eased up next to the ridge top Culsit sat below as he turned to tell me of the reply.
“Did you hear to knocks back?” He asked while looking at me with worry.
“Yeah, just a single tap, not even a knock. You think Jager or Rory will work over to us to fill us in?” I asked.
Culsit just turned to try and see over the ridge with worry on his brow.
“I don’t think so little brother, with a single knock, it tells me they are either surrounded or in a position that any more replies would give them away.” He said with worry on his face.
“Maybe I should just walk down there and ask the enemy what they think I should do next?” I said grinning trying to ease Culsit’s worry. Vali had a mischievous grin spread across her face, I think she knew what was coming and I swear, the look on her face made me wonder if maybe, just maybe she wasn’t looking forward to watching what I would do just a little too much. Even though I didn’t know for sure what I would for sure myself. I just had a feeling, its hard to explain, but I knew I was literally about to do just what I had suggested jokingly to Culsit, walk right down into the hollow and ask the enemy, face to face for the first time .
“Funny, little brother, thats a good joke. We really need to think about our next move.” Culsit said with worry still showing.
I just stood and looked down at that giant, looking as if he was trying to hide behind that Oak tree he huddle behind.
“I wasn’t kidding, watch this my furry friend.” I said as I stood and started to crest the ridge.
Culsit started to follow but out of the corner of my eye, I could see Vali touch his shoulder and shake her head.
I did what I said, I crested the ridge and stopped for a moment. I looked down into the hollow and grinned, I didn’t know how or why but I knew somehow that I was about to become who I really was, it excited and scared me at the same time. I just started to walk down amongst where the enemy was with a smile on my face.
As I got to the bottom I stopped and stood still. The air had a heaviness that even the heat and humidity didn’t do justice to. I stood there looking towards the old mines that I knew had eyes that I couldn’t see staring at me. It seemed like hours passed but it was only just a minute or so.
“Is one of you coming out to talk or do you just want me to come in there and kill you all?” I screamed.
Not long after I yelled this, a figure emerged from the darkness of the mines as the last rays of the sun disappeared and the grey of twilight started to turn to the slate blackness of night.
I watched as he cautiously, all the while glancing around, made his way to me. As he neared he slowed to a stop and stared at me with nothing but what looked like hate in his eyes.
“You decided to come and brave us face to face finally?!” He said in a voice that sound like a cross between a whisper and a hiss.
I just smiled and looked at those eyes, just like the ones I had seen in what seemed so long ago when Rory saved me for the first time. I didn’t say a word but just to continued to smile. I thought to myself as confusion started to form on his face, not this time, I didn’t need protection or help from anyone.
Before I realized what I was doing, I snapped the two axes from my waist and relieved this excuse of an enemy of his head. I supposed I was yelling something as I took off at a run for the mine opening with the two axes raised above my head. I did know he was just the first of many and believe it or not, I felt comfortable with that. I supposed I should have been wondering what had come over me but instead I was giddy with excitement and strangely had a feeling of enjoyment.
I took one glance at the ridge I knew Culsit and Vali stood on before I entered the mine, Culsit stood there with his arms at his sides, his mouth gaped open in wonder and astonishment with Vali standing there with a look of approval on her face as they both faded into the blackness as I charged in. Time had come, time for me to be me and for the enemy to realize what they had feared all this time. Me, just me, realizing who I really was.
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If you liked this chapter, you might want to head over to Amazon and buy yourself a copy of “The Enemy”. The exciting first book in this series so you can see how our friends got into this kind of bind.
all photos courtesy of Kathys Kreations™