mastin2 -> Art of Flame (10/6/2008 0:14:14)
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I watch as the love of my life is killed in front of my eyes. He just…dies in front of me. I can’t forgive myself for doing nothing. I watch as his body is carelessly discarded, revealing the face of the man who murdered him.
I mutter those words with great pain. The gash in my side prevents me from moving. I groan in agony as I attempt to stand up, falling to my knees at yet another failed attempt. I can feel the heat of our burning home. Our dream home, which my husband had built with his own hands. He had built it just for me. And now, it would be gone.
“Nothing personal, Elena. Really…he’s still my friend, even in death. We’ve been friends ever since we trained in the academy…all three of us. I hold no grudge against him. Not for you marrying him, not for him being a greater success than I. But simply put, there are very few Healers left in the world. In fact…the only three left stand in this room.”
“You have lost the right to go by that name.”
“True. That is true. I am not a Healer anymore. I do not believe in that weak belief. Helping the poor? I’m going to unleash my fury onto the people. I will be the only way out for them…I will gain my power, slowly, but surely. I will rule.”
“But…why? The rules you were raised on forbid you to do that!”
My eyes fill with tears. They run down my cheeks with their intensity. He meant everything to me…and now, Darkara, our best friend, had just killed him. He had violated everything. He had surrendered to the darkness. Now, he was just a pyromaniac out to dominate the world, in my eyes. The one who had killed the love of my life.
“No, actually, I am not bound by those rules. My honor would prevent me from killing him if he was my brother, or I owed him a favor. But I owed him no debts and he was just a friend. The rules do not state that I cannot kill him. They would—if I was still a Healer. Healers cannot slay Healers. The punishment for that is death. But it is as you said—I am not a Healer. By the rules of our class, a Healer ceases to be a Healer when at least two Healers band together against him or her. I am fairly certain that his vote counts; I am free of the burden that the Healer class hung on me.”
“You didn’t answer my question—why?”
The fire causes the roof to collapse nearby. This night would mark the end of my class, the Healers. I know that much. The heat from the fire spreads. I don’t know which burns with a greater intensity—my new-found hatred for Darkara, or the fires around me.
“Because he is a threat to my plan. Martial Artists are great at healing…the best after us—no, Healers. You—” He cruelly points to my husband, “and him. But they do not have the knowledge necessary to cure the ailments that I plan to create. Only a Healer could do that. Priests are too religious; they don’t contain enough power to heal it. Doctors are too scientific; they can’t heal it until they know what it is—which they never will. Rangers and Woodsmen share this problem. Simply put, the only ones capable of destroying my plans are Healers—and with your death, there will be none left.”
My rage boils over. Darkara had been kind and gentle before. Now, he showed himself as a monster I could not have imagined. He had stabbed my husband through the heart with a black longsword—a blade specifically meant to eliminate regenerative powers. This was something that only a person of pure evil could do.
“Was it all a lie? Your attitude? Our friendship?”
“No. In fact, it was all extremely real. Everything about what I said, what I did, was real. I do intend to be a healer of the land. I do intend to help others…but what I did not say was that I planned to do it through my method.”
In my rage, I stand up, grabbing the one weapon I have in the house: a small dagger meant more for a tool during operations than a weapon. I charge at Darkara, hoping to end his threat. There is no strategy in my charge; he can see me coming. It is something I am doing out of pure rage.
I suppose that I wanted him to plunge his sword into me right then and there. He instead just delivered a powerful kick to my stomach forcing me into a wall. It is one of the few not burning at the moment; there is a reason why. Something more valuable than my life is hidden in a small compartment of our burning house.
I feel as his dark magic wraps around my throat and he begins squeezing the life out of me. I throw my dagger at him; he parries, but releases his grip. I fall to my knees and cannot muster the will to get up. He is ready to kill me.
“Go on…get it over with. Kill me, already…”
“That is code for ‘I want to live, so that I can kill you later’. Like I said, I don’t want to kill you. I still have feelings for you, actually. You would feel great remorse for your loss. You might kill yourself out of grief. But it is far more likely that you’d live on, training yourself so that the next time we met, you could kill me. I cannot allow this. I’ll let you join your husband in whatever afterlife you believe in. Goodbye, Elena.”
With that, he plunges his black blade into my heart. I don’t feel the pain. Compared to my mental pain, the sword is just a tiny prick. I stop breathing. My systems start to shut down. My left hand drops the spoon in my hand that I would have used to eat my dinner that night. I close my eyes, ready to embrace death.
My last hope is that Darkara avoids that one compartment that I’d guard with my life. In a way, I just did. I hope that he never finds the contents within. Not only because of how much the contents mean for me, but because the thing hidden in there could be Darkara’s downfall.
The one thing that Darkara had overlooked is something that I had done when my husband told me he could feel an evil presence approaching. I pray that the fires will not touch the one thing that I truly treasure above all else:
In that compartment, our newborn son lies gagged. I had asked for that compartment to be built to keep him safe in an emergency. I knew that he would cry if I left, and he would probably know when either my husband or I died. With both of us slain, I was positive he would cry himself asleep. The gag was specially designed to contain this crying. So far, it appears to have worked. The fires consume the house, heading slowly for the compartment as Darkara leaves. I close my eyes, holding onto one thought.
Torien…please be safe…