Lakai sat between
Lianna and Keramis on the gnarled roots
of an oak tree. Lianna was staring out to the left while Keramis
was staring out to the right, both with their backs to him, both
immersed in a gnawing silence. But Lakai had no concept of
silence; he heard the whisperings of every leaf and rock. From the
bliss and love which permeated his past to the pain and suffering
which dominated his present, he has never known silence.
he sat bombarded by a torrent of emotions and memories from either
side. Though he never did get a good look at Karaci, he knew the
emotional storm was concerning him. He could feel Lianna radiating
sorrow and rage, despair and denial, tinted with a faint
understanding that Karaci would have wanted to die that way. From
Keramis he could feel great sorrow as well, but it was
overshadowed by guilt and self-hatred, anger and helplessness.
the rare intervals between their emotional outbursts he could
sense the oak tree sending him waves of comfort and support. This
made him wonder whether it would be more painful to be either Lianna
or Keramis, or to be suffering the intensity of both at the
should have been me,” Keramis whispered.
turned to him absently.
sorry!” he fell to his knees, hugging her legs, “It should
have been me! It was my fault, I was the one who messed up, it
should have been me,” he tried to muffle the volume of his voice
through sobs, continuing in a faltering whisper, “You must hate
me now. But don’t worry I hate myself more than you ever
sat quietly, watching. He knew full well that blaming Keramis
never crossed Lianna’s mind in the least, and that she was only
happy that they were still alive. Looking back on the incident
sometime later Lakai was sure he could find a sense of humorous
irony in the way people tended to project their own thoughts on
others, but he found that difficult to do while experiencing it
No!” Lianna exclaimed as she pried Keramis off her feet. Hugging
him, she quickly slipped back into hushed tones, “Do you know
how scared I was that Kranti would kill you, too? Do you know what
miracle it is that you are still alive?” she hugged him tighter,
“Do you know how happy I am that you are still alive?”
looked up at her and smiled pitifully. Though her words were
sincere, Lakai could tell that they only encouraged his guilt. The
ground beneath them trembled and they immediately recognized the
sound of the great dragon’s footsteps. Lianna grabbed the boy
and his leash and ran deeper into the forest. Keramis followed
with an obvious limp.
blue hand shot out from the bushes and caught Lianna’s arm,
pulling her and Lakai into the underbrush. Keramis drew his
daggers and rolled in after her, lowering them and relaxing at the
sight of Lynn. They were standing in a secluded clearing, hidden
from prying eyes by the sheltering magic of the forest. Looking
around he saw a blond woman sitting on the ground, cradling a
semiconscious Raven in her arms.
happened to–” Keramis took a step towards his cousin, but Lynn
held him back.
is Karaci?” the dark elf inquired.
paled and swayed back, the words stinging him as if they were an
for life,” Lianna somberly replied, handing Lynn the boy’s
clung to him as one clings to driftwood during a flood. Though the
Acora was going through emotional flares of his own, he was still
the only sanity in the group.
was drained of most of his energy by Aloquin,” Lynn explained,
“And he is not showing any signs of healing. His breathing is
shallow and his heartbeat wavers. We don’t know what to do with
am Trellia, the spirit of this forest,” Aurora looked up at
Keramis and Lianna, “I can only heal physical wounds. These are
out of my league.” She laid Raven down on a pillow of leaves and
walked up to Keramis, “But I can heal yours.”
hand began to shine bright green as she put it on his knee, the
light flowing into his leg and through his body. He felt a
wonderful warmth spreading inside him, closing his wounds and
healing his injuries with the regenerative power of plants.
gave a nod of acknowledgement, then turned to Lakai, “Can you
try to figure out how we can help Raven?”
glanced fearfully to the dark elf, but knew this was not the time
or place to complain. Reluctantly he let go of the Acora’s hand
and warily approached Raven. His last attempt to search the
warrior was not an experience he wished to repeat, and suddenly a
four-way bombardment of depression and agony didn’t seem so bad
after all. Kneeling down, Lakai took the half-elf’s hand and
closed his eyes in concentration, shifting his attention from
everything around him to this one target.
first there was only silence – an absence of thought and
emotion. It could not even be called a state of consciousness. It
was more an absence of consciousness, a stillness Lakai only
experienced from the dead. But there was still life energy there,
he felt it. Listening closer, he heard it.
was a subtle sound akin to that of rushing water. Following the
current, he found that it was flowing in two separate directions.
One way it flowed to the head while the other way to the heart.
What troubled Lakai was that he saw astral wounds there, and saw
the energy flowing out of those wounds.
peculiar thing was that no matter how much energy leaked out from
the wounds, the total quantity of energy present in the conscious
self stayed the same. This made him realize that there was more
energy stored away somewhere else. Lakai searched deeper through
the layers of Raven’s psyche. In the subconscious he discovered
a tiny stream of energy trickling from the unconscious to the
conscious self. To his surprise, he felt an enormous amount of
energy still stored in the unconscious.
was no secret that the unconscious self is a wellspring of life
energy in all living beings. Lakai also knew that in the case of
uncontrolled astral bleeding, the unconscious self would dispatch
much of that life energy, through a type of osmosis, to the
conscious self in order to heal the wounds. But this was not
happening here. Instead, the unconscious self looked as if it was
resisting the natural healing process, doing everything in its
power to keep the energy from pouring out into the conscious self.
as to why this might be, Lakai attempted to go inside the
unconscious self, but was pushed back by a static wall reminiscent
of a psychic barrier. Undaunted, he tried again. Instantly, the
vision blurred and began to change. The stream trickling from the
unconscious turned blood red and the barrier flared with vicious
wrath. An image of the charred monstrosity, jagged teeth bared and
crimson eyes glaring, flashed vividly before his eyes and jolted
him out of concentration.
gasped as his eyes popped wide open and he pulled his hand away
from Raven’s on reflex. Becoming aware of his surroundings, his
gaze met with Lynn’s piercing ice-blue stare.
is it?” the Acora asked.
you know?” Lakai paused. Trellia, Lianna, and Keramis (who was
no longer limping) gathered around him. “He’s possessed,”
Lakai breathed, “By something… s-something terrible! Something
that feeds on fear and pain, and revels in blood and carnage.”
nodded, “He is possessed by the Warrior Spirit,” looking to
Trellia, “The god of war,” he turned back to Lakai, “But he
was possessed by this entity for over twenty years. What does that
have to do with him not healing now?”
Aurora, Lianna, and Keramis stared at the boy intently.
Aloquin was draining Raven’s energy, did he finish his ritual or
did you interrupt him?” Lakai asked.
interrupted him,” Trellia said, “When his concentration
was draining energy through the head and the heart,” Lakai
reasoned, “In order to do that he had to make openings in the
astral body from which to draw energy. When you interrupted him,
those holes remained open. They are astral wounds, and he is
bleeding energy still.
energy is a lot like blood,” he continued, “And just like if
you are physically wounded blood will close the wound by clotting,
so life energy heals and clots astral wounds. But you need a
certain quantity of life energy for it to be able to clot, to
heal, and to regenerate.
he has enough energy to do that!” Lakai quickly added, “He has
much energy in his unconscious self, more than enough for him to
live and to heal! But,” he hesitated, “But it is being… it
is being held dormant b-by this Warrior Spirit. He is holding onto
it and will not let the energy flow out so that it could close the
wounds. This way the energy is flowing out little by little, just
enough to keep him alive and his life processes functioning. But
it is only a matter of time before every last drop leaks out.
entity is using Raven’s unconscious self as an anchor,” he
explained, “And he guards fiercely against anything that tries
to penetrate his defenses. This Warrior Spirit may have saved
Raven’s life from Aloquin but now he is slowly killing him.”
you negotiate with him?” Lynn asked.
is not very reasonable,” Lakai gulped.
we’ll just have to force him out,” Trellia said with a
determination that nobody dared to question. Sitting down, she
lifted Raven off the ground and laid him onto her lap.
she whispered into his ear, but his oblivious expression did not
she upped her voice, shaking him lightly.
if you want to live, listen to me now,” Aurora told him, taking
his hand. Raven fought to focus his vision. She knew she had
gotten through to him when his eyes locked onto hers.
this may not make much sense now but you have to trust me,”
Aurora tried to be as clear as possible, “The Warrior Spirit
inside you – we have to get it out. Do you understand that? We
have to get the Warrior Spirit out of you. Blink if you understand
for us to get it out we need your consent,” she insisted, “Do
you willingly give us permission to do this? It will not work
otherwise. If you allow us to exorcise the Warrior Spirit,
nodded, closed her eyes, and motioned for everybody else to leave.
She then began to glow with power, joining her innate strength of
will with the firmness of her intent. Soon she sat within a beacon
of white light rimmed by a spiraling vortex of energy. Slowly
opening her eyes, Aurora started chanting an invocation:
invoke the Warrior Spirit,
lives in a castle made of half- elven bones,
is decorated with half-elven entrails,
by a moat filled with half-elven blood,
is strewn with half-elven body parts,
wears clothes made of half-elven skin,
are sewn with half-elven hair,
invoke the Warrior Spirit!
Raven’s eyes turned crimson as another force made itself
known, creating friction between contrasting energy fields –
Aurora’s shining white-green and the Warrior Spirit’s fiery
do you call on me?” he hissed, using the half-elf as a medium
call on you because you need to leave this host,” Trellia said
He is mine!” the Warrior Spirit growled, his aura struggling
fervently against Aurora’s.
can not fight me!” Aurora shouted back, “I have your host’s
permission to banish you! By his will and by my power, in the name
of Life I cast you out!!”
You can’t do that!” the Warrior Spirit snarled, but he could
not deny that the vortex was sucking him into its spiraling
whirlpool, upwards and out of his host’s body.
he kept howling, his voice becoming a string of demonic screams.
The Warrior Spirit resisted vigorously, sending the half-elf into
a series of violent convulsions. Aurora wrapped her arms around
Raven, hugging him tightly and rocking him back and forth. His
heart was beating faster than she thought was possible for a
mortal, and indeed she knew that not everybody survives exorcisms,
let alone the exorcism of a god. Trellia kept her intention clear
and strong in her mind and heart, willing the entity away. The
shrieking of the Warrior Spirit saturated the air, throbbed in
their ears, and sent involuntary tremors through their bodies. And
then, with a final cry of protest, he was gone.
forest was quiet again. Aurora could tell by Raven’s rapid
heartbeat and breathing that he was still very much alive, though
not surprisingly unconscious again. She noticed that the ritual
had taken a toll on her as well, leaving her incredibly fatigued.
Laying Raven on the ground, she curled up around him and drifted
off to sleep.
Kayintas resembled an untamed jungle more than a cave.
Walls of thorns and twisting vines entangled the main chamber.
What remained of the resident Kayintas army stood among the
brambles, recently returned from scouring the forest for the
fugitives. There was no talking, not even murmuring; all had their
heads bowed and their eyes to the ground.
bent down and picked a flower off one of the bushes, “Tell me
again how you managed to let Lakai and Raven – and Aurora! –
ambushed us!” Kranti answered hastily, “But we got one of
them!” he pointed towards the wall where Karaci’s corpse hung
impaled on a spike.
took a deep breath, inhaling the flower’s fragrance.
broke my staff,” Kentabri smiled uneasily, presenting his
cracked staff as evidence.
eyed him with suspicion and smiled back threateningly, “I
see.” The flower burst into flames in his hand and he hurled it
into the midst of the overgrowth. The crowd wailed in terror and
ran for the forest and inner tunnels as the foliage around them
bust into flame. Aloquin watched them run, glowering at them
through the inferno all the while.
dreams invaded Raven’s sleep that night – visions of raging
fires and screams of the dying. Running through the trees towards
the conflagration, he saw Gaisa dashing to her elderly father’s
side. She turned to face Kranti, his face lit up by flickering
flames. Clutching a shovel, she held it before her defensively.
Kranti’s toothy grin widened as he drew his sword to meet it.
With tears in her eyes, Gaisa dropped the shovel and fell to her
knees, pleading with him to spare their lives. But Kranti only
sneered at her, running his sword through her father’s stomach
and yanking it out in one swift motion. Gaisa threw herself over
her father, sobbing uncontrollably and trying to stop the gushing
blood. Smirking, Kranti brought his sword in a downward arc on her
as well, walking away as their bodies became enveloped in flames.
stood amidst the rubble of the lifeless Elcorian village, grasping
at the ashes of his best friend with his hands and watching them
seep through his fingers. There were times when he fantasized of
him and Gaisa being more than friends, and knew that she had
shared his feelings. But it was too late for that now – he was
too late to help her. All that remained was an all-consuming
thirst for revenge, for all who sided with Kranti to feel his pain
by the edge of his sword.
raven flew past his face as the scene changed. A desolate field
scattered with bodies stretched beyond the scope of his vision.
Looking over the magnitude of the slaughter made Raven feel
something on the horizon caught his attention. Though he could not
tell what it was, he saw that it extended from horizon to horizon,
and knew it was getting closer. The ground beneath him rumbled
ominously. It was a crimson tsunami, a tidal wave fueled by the
blood of those he had slain, gathering the idle corpses in its
path. It hurtled towards the half-elf, threatening to swallow him
in its murky depths. Raven tried to run but was swept off his feet
and picked up by the swift current. He found himself submerged in
an ocean of blood, tossed from side to side between the mutilated
bodies and gasping for air where there was none.
awakened breathless and sweating, sitting up on the ground to
reaffirm that he truly was on dry land. When he looked down he saw
Aurora sleeping soundly at his side. Not wanting to wake her, he
carefully moved her hand from his waist and walked to a nearby
clearing. There he sat down on a boulder to sort out his
surroundings and, more importantly, where his sword was.
sleep?” someone asked from behind him.
jumped up and twirled around to see a young blond boy sitting on a
were having bad dreams,” the boy said, jumping down, “I
couldn’t sleep because of them either.”
recognized him from the Kayintas dungeon.
am Lakai,” he smiled, sensing Raven’s recognition, “And you?
Would you rather I call you Trellion or Raven?”
Raven relaxed a bit.
Trellion,” Lakai used Raven’s more formal name, “I felt that
you needed to know some things. For instance, why you were having
stared at him inquisitively.
know that Trellia exorcized the Warrior Spirit out of you,”
Lakai told him, “But you don’t know it was because he was
inadvertently killing you. He was anchored onto a chunk of energy
stored in your unconscious, thriving on the pain and fear that you
did not want to face. He hung onto it, not letting that extra
energy heal you of the astral wounds inflicted by Aloquin. Now all
that energy is flowing freely through you.
will heal you,” he explained, “But it will also force you to
deal with issues which you thought were long behind you. Not the
least of which are guilt and remorse. Yes,” the boy peered at
him, “You will feel remorse when you kill now. It won’t be
quite as easy.”
you remember?” Lakai laughed, “You vomited the first time you
saw real blood in battle!”
scowled at him.
you had the ability but you didn’t have the guts to act on your
impulses. That is why you called on the Warrior Spirit, to numb
you to the consequences of your actions. So you can massacre whole
dare you pretend to know who I am?” Raven hissed, “If I had my
sword I would make you think twice about your words.”
did I hit on a weakness?” Lakai teased, “You have many
weaknesses, we all do. But those weaknesses keep us in check. You
now know what happens when somebody with your talent is unleashed
on the world unrestrained. It is your qualities of remorse and
compassion that make you a good warrior, not how many lives you
take. I bet Gaisa liked you for that.”
glared at him.
am not here to judge you, Trellion,” Lakai said, “Only to warn
you. You are very vulnerable right now; all your weaknesses are
exposed. Many will try to take advantage of that, so be
are the others?” Raven asked after a pause.
pointed up into the trees where Keramis, Lianna, and Lynn slept
supported by the branches. Raven saw his sword securely fastened
to Lynn’s belt.
is Karaci?” he asked.
by Kranti,” Lakai muttered.
sighed heavily and sat down on the boulder. He was hardly prepared
for such a succession of bad news. Karaci was a good friend, and
not the first good friend to be killed by Kranti. But Raven was
more concerned about Lianna. He had learned to see them as
inseparable. Though both were quite formidable alone, when working
together their techniques complemented each other’s so perfectly
it rendered them unstoppable, striking fear even into the likes of
Kranti the half-were. Seeing one without the other would take some
getting use to, and would always be a poignant reminder of yet
more blood on his hands. Restless, he got up and went back to
where he left Aurora.
by her side, Raven lost track of time. Everything seemed perfect.
The forest was alive and welcoming, it almost looked brighter.
Through all the turmoil, he knew he could come to her for comfort
and be accepted for what he was without judgment. Raven loved
Aurora more than he ever thought himself capable of. What was it
then that still made him feel ill at ease here? Looking up at the
forest canopy, he saw the dark form of his raven flutter onto a
Raven whispered, then sat up and shifted a few steps away from
Trellia who stirred at the noise.
her eyes, Aurora’s gaze fell on him and her countenance flooded
with joy. “You’re alright!” she tackled him to the ground in
an embrace that filled his nostrils with the fresh scent of
wildflowers, “I was so worried about you!” She tugged on his
sleeve, “Everybody will be so happy to see you.”
led him to the clearing where Lynn, Lianna, Keramis, Elvina and
Lakai were sitting on the floor, talking. Upon seeing Raven,
Keramis and Lianna leaped out of their seats and surrounded him in
a group hug. Elvina flew off Lynn’s shoulder as he awkwardly
approached Raven and handed him the sword. After each expressed
their respective gladness about Raven’s alive-ness, they settled
down to discuss more pressing matters.
of you manage to learn anything of Aloquin’s plans?” Lynn
asked Trellia, Trellion, and Lakai.
shook his head.
could block those thoughts well,” Lakai conceded, “I did,
however, pick up on thoughts indirectly related to his plans, and
on his emotions. But I am sure you all know about them already and
it won’t be of much help.”
need to gather every little bit we can,” Lynn encouraged him.
is obsessed with revenge at Queen Dinictis,” Lakai explained,
“He is very proud, and feels that she has humiliated him. He is
outraged and angry. He sees this as a competition, he wants to
prove that he is better than her once and for all. He is very
ambitious, he craves manipulative power, and he is ruthless.”
is not looking for superficial power,” Lakai elaborated,
“Aloquin understands that that kind of power is unstable and
ultimately useless. He wants to establish supreme authority over
all aspects of his subjects’ minds, bodies, spirits, and
emotions. His servants are loyal, brainwashed slaves.”
all of his servants,” Aurora grinned, “Kentabri is my
servant. He will not blow his cover by doing anything against
Aloquin; he is there only as an observer and a spy. But though
Kentabri is on very good terms with him, Aloquin trusts no one
with any truly relevant information.”
felt a sharp surge of hatred and pain coming from Keramis’
only thing that Kentabri had managed to pry out of him was the
reason he needed Raven’s energy,” Aurora added, “Apparently
Aloquin needs more energy because he is using so much of his own
to keep up some psychic barrier.”
Kentabri can’t be trusted with anything,” Keramis scoffed,
folding his arms and leaning back, “He has betrayed Kranti, he
has betrayed Aloquin, and he will betray us just as easily. He
manipulates everybody to his own benefit and then sides with the
do you think you are alive now?” Lakai reminded him, frustrated
by the elf’ stubborn dislike of Kentabri.
it matter?” Keramis mumbled, staring at the ground, “We’re
all dead. Aloquin’s troops will find us and kill us on sight.”
else is going to die,” Lynn cut in.
you so sure of that?” Keramis looked up at the dark elf, the
spite in his tone diminishing out of respect for the Acora.
can’t afford to think that way! Once we get out of the North
Forest I am giving you all sanctuary in the Crystal Castle,”
Lynn declared, “But you are right, they will find us. That is
why we have to keep moving.”
and watchfully, they once again began walking north through the
woods. Many dangers lurked hidden by the forest shadows. One had
to be mindful of them all, never trying to anticipate the
days passed quickly, consisting of creeping carefully through the
underbrush. They spent their nights in the treetops, enfolded by
Aurora’s leafy protection. The outskirts of the forest were
nearly in sight.
felt as if he existed in the twilight world between fantasy and
reality, confronted by lucid visions from his past. Disturbing
dreams plagued his sleep, bathing him in the bloodied waters of
his own guilt. Deep-rooted memories of loss, sorrow, and ridicule
burned him with reminders of his own vulnerability.
to rest, he wandered off to think things through for himself.
Raven was never one to involve others in his problems, because
that was equivalent of asking for help, and asking for help was
equivalent of telling somebody that you were somehow dependent on
them, and being somehow dependent on them would mean that they had
power over you which they could eventually use against you. In
short, it meant revealing a weakness. It did not have to make
sense, it was just the way things were.
sat down on a dry log, determined to resolve at least some of his
inner chaos. Letting his thoughts drift where they will, he found
himself thinking about Gaisa. But instead of remembering the
cheerful times they shared while she was alive, he dwelled on the
gloomier times after her death. Of how, touched by his mourning,
her soul chose to bridge the separation of life and death by
taking on the form of a raven. Of how he surrendered his body to
the Warrior Spirit and led a war in her name, a bloody retribution
to avenge the deaths of the innocent and free the forest from
Kranti’s tyrannical ambitions. Though he now understood that she
probably disagreed with his methods, Gaisa in no way condemned
him. She still remained his best friend.
Raven was having feelings towards Aurora that rivaled his feelings
for Gaisa. Though he would not dare admit it, they were deeper and
stronger than those he had for Gaisa. He had turned to the forest
for solace long before he met her and never stopped coming back to
the forest for nurturing ever since he met her. Gaisa and he had
played around with the notion of being more than friends, often
laughing at the concept afterwards, but there was no question in
Raven’s mind on the kind of relationship he wanted with Trellia
now that he knew she could materialize as a tangible being.
much as he would have loved to pursue a more personal relationship
with Aurora, he felt uncomfortable about the idea. He believed
that by doing so he would somehow be abandoning, betraying, or
even cheating on Gaisa, and that was simply unthinkable. Ever
alert, Raven noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye.
up, he saw a pair of familiar hazel eyes peeking out to watch him
from behind a tree trunk. Tossing her hair back, the woman flitted
off between the trees, deeper into the woods. On impulse, he ran
after her through veils of mist, striving to keep up with her by
sight alone for her feet made no noise.
by little her visage faded away, leaving Raven searching
frantically for the slightest hint of her presence. Then a raven
fluttered onto his path, magically transforming into the shape of
a beautiful woman with wavy chestnut hair. Raven immediately
recognized her as Gaisa and couldn’t help but smile at the true
form of his old friend.
I so easily forgotten?” she asked bleakly.
the half-elf’s smile faded, “I needed to talk with you
know what you needed to talk about!” she retorted, “What right
do you have to even consider your own happiness after you ruined
mine? After you butchered and brought grief to so many?”
felt a sickening nausea swell up inside him.
don’t know what I ever saw in you!” she said contemptuously,
“You never did anybody any good your entire life. You are a
curse to all who know you. Maybe if I hadn’t met you I’d still
be alive now. Maybe Karaci would be, too.”
tried to swallow past the knot in his throat.
you know why you never knew your father?” she asked derisively,
“He wanted nothing to do with you! You were an embarrassment, an
accident, you were never meant to exist.
don’t deserve to live,” she said slowly, emphasizing every
word. It was then that Raven noticed something odd about her
tongue: it was a forked tongue. “It would be better for you to
die,” she said through a scornful grin.
that same instant the half-elf’s keen hearing picked up the
sound of a snapped rope behind him. Without looking back, he dove
out of the way, but not before the swinging boulder brutally
grazed the side of his head. The blow sent him spinning briefly
before collapsing lifelessly in the grass.
form shriveled up into the shape of a diminutive trickster being
hovering in mid air. A band of tree dwellers chattered excitedly
from above while jointly tugging on ropes to pull up the pendulous
work!” Beyati stepped out from behind the bushes, “Who ever
thought a trickster could help bring down the first rank of the
do what I can,” the trickster smiled, though it looked more like
a sneer. And indeed it was already plotting to repay the orc for
his poor excuse for a compliment.
he dead?” Beyati yelled up at the tree dwellers who were coming
down from the branches.
know,” they chanted, “We don’t know! We don’t know!”
go check!” Beyati growled.
not touching him!”
not coming near him!”
prey! You go check!”
looked around nervously.
check,” the trickster said irritably, materializing a wooden
pole. It landed on the ground and cautiously nudged the inert body
with the end of its stick. Raven remained still as death. The
trickster prodded him harder, so that his head rolled the other
way, revealing a ghastly wound leaking blood over the side of his
face and onto the ground. “Dead,” the trickster declared.
Beyati echoed doubtfully, “Are you sure?”
don’t you go see for yourself?,” the trickster asked
mischievously, then shrugged, “If he’s not dead now, he will
be soon enough.”
Beyati decided hastily. Signaling for the tree dwellers to
withdraw, he marched back towards Kayintas to share the good news
with Aloquin, and no doubt be handsomely rewarded or even
raven cawed loudly into Lynn’s ear and pulled on his hair with
groping talons. In no time at all he was out of the tree, standing
vigilantly at its base. The raven kept cawing in alarm, beating
its wings and flying from tree to tree, leading the dark elf
farther into the forest. She stopped in a clearing, where she
spiraled downwards and settled in the grass.
took Lynn several seconds to realize that there was something in
the grass, but it did not take him long to react once he did.
Running up to Raven, Lynn hastily bent down to check for breathing
or a pulse, and fortunately found both. He scooped up the body and
held it close, stifling his tears in the half-elf’s tattered
Raven, Raven, Raven,” the Acora whispered softly, cursing his
own negligence. Rising from the grass, he hoisted the body up and
treaded back to the camp site through billows of fog. There he
laid Raven on the floor and woke up Aurora, staying awake with her
as she attempted to heal the gash. They stayed up all night, until
the rest of their company began to stir at dawn.
healed the physical wounds,” Trellia told the gathered group,
“But his soul is not here. His body is healed but he has to
decide if he wants to return. The only thing we can really do is
let him rest and see what happens.”
have to get out of this forest before something else happens,” Lianna
you must,” Trellia agreed, “But I’m afraid here we will have
to part. I am the life of this forest, I can not leave,” she
forced an encouraging smile, “I wish you all the best of luck
and pray that you will someday return to cleanse my forest of
will come back,” Lynn assured her, glancing at Raven, “All of
they could see the beginnings of a blush color her face, Aurora
changed into a pillar of green light and sank into the earth.
Lynn, Keramis and Lianna stepped across the forest boundary into
the Open Field. They walked for several days, sometimes taking
turns carrying Raven, sometimes making a group effort. Lakai,
Elvina, and the raven tagged along behind them.
Warrior Spirit whirled through a twisting tunnel between time and
space, screaming and resisting the momentum all the while, until
he was enveloped in a blinding flash of light. He plummeted
through the clouds and hurtled through the treetops before
crashing into the forest floor like a flaming meteorite.
ground sizzled and smoldered from the impact. As the smoke
cleared, the Warrior Spirit rose up from the ashes. To his dismay,
he found that he was not etheric anymore, but encased in a very
solid and tangible body. He noticed that his skin was not burnt
but pale and, feeling at his silky hair, observed that it was
black instead of fiery red. Dazed, he walked unsteadily on new
feet and came to the edge of a puddle of water. He staggered
backwards in shock, seeing that he looked like an exact replica of
the Warrior Spirit snarled, clenching his fist in rage.