They think it's all over

The Sword Path

Freezeday, Illusion week, Fire season - evening (on the mundane)

Abul observes the scene below him, detached from it. Below? Beyond.... in another plane, one that no longer has much meaning for him. It looks shadowy, unreal. What's real is the dust beneath his feet, the rocks to either side, the sword in his hand. Yes, his sword is still here. His injuries are still visible, as he looks down, but don't seem to have any effect on his ability to move, nor to cause him any pain - in fact, he's not sure he can remember what "pain" is. Just one of many things that are rapidly losing their relevance to him, left behind with his body.

There's a path ahead of him, a dark path. It leads up into some far-away mountains. He knows where it goes. To Solace, eventually - but first, to a ravine, and the Sword Bridge. Or so he might hope, since that's the test of every Hazar.

Perhaps his sword in his hand is the sign that Abul has really become an Hazar. It should be a good news after all his years of training, but currently it's just a fact.

As a last remainder of his mortal curiosity, he tries to understand where his murderers are now and how his companions are reacting.

Should he wait for them?

Perhaps the road will be easier if some of them join him? But an intuition leads him to the conclusion that the road is a lonely one.

Supposing that arriving at the sword bridge will be a first goal and reward, Abul doesn't wait and takes the dark path.

It's difficult to judge distance or time, here. Abul has walked perhaps half a mile - was it uphill, or downhill? He looks back, trying to judge distance, but it's hard to decide where his starting point might have been. There's something moving, though, far back along that dark road. Moving? Appearing. Three figures, darker even than the darkness that surrounds them.

If physical sensations aren't any more even a memory to Abul, seeing the tall dark figures behind him teaches him that emotions are still possible. With anxiety, he considers the hypothesis of being still pursued by his haunting darkness demons. They won, he died. What can they do more than murdering him? Remembering old songs of lost souls and legends about ghosts and revenants, he concludes that a worse state may exist than pure death, after all that why else would the Hum'Akt watch over all dead? Would it be dishonouring to flee while questing for the Sword Bridge? Pragmatically, Abul decides to accelerate, he will stop if the figures finally vanish before he finds his testing place.

Another glance behind shows that only one figure is still visible, two others have faded out of existence again. It's pursuing him, though, and catching up. He starts to run, pausing at the next bend in the path for another glance back. The figure has stopped, and is looking around - listening? sniffing? as if unsure where its quarry has gone. He feels a new weight around his neck, and realises that his medallion is back in its accustomed place.

A burst of unexpected emotion comes with his discovery. Only two persons have really promised to take care of him: Jamal his adoptive father and Yenda his... friend?
Without the lies of the flesh, Abul experiences feelings without any sensory filters and suddenly he misses Yenda's smile and reassuring hand. "Too bad I died too early," he thinks, watching the sinister figure wandering.

With his medallion back, Abul's own courage is increased. Visibly most of his aggressors have been restrained. "No-one crosses the Legion without paying a price," he thinks proudly.
Let's find the Sword Bridge before the demon finds him. The Enemy is strong but the Good Lord still seems to watch after him.

Somewhere in Spol

The Sword Bridge

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