Thursday, December 27

Chapter Six


Blazerine woke up in a cold sweat, barely able to see straight, with a splitting headache. The sun was blazing down upon her and all she could think is how odd. Why is the sunlight so intense this morning? Wait a minute she thought on, what in the hell happen to the roof? Her headache only seemed to get worse when she sat up too quickly. That's when she felt a hand press firmly against her shoulder. It took her a bit to focus on the owner of the hands' face. "Fenix?"

"Careful gal, we don't want yah to fall off now, do we?" Fenix grinned.

"Careful...?" Blazerine repeated quietly out of confusion. It took her just a minute to collect the passing surroundings to realize that they were no longer at the Inn. Not only that, but she was in fact moving, but not psychically herself. They were sitting in front of hay stacks, in the back of a four wheeled vehicle, which is made completely out of wood. Well as far as she could tell anyway. "I don't remember ever getting on this thing...." her voice slowly trails off.

"I just borrowed you." Fenix proclaimed.

"Borrowed? YOU KIDNAPPED ME!" Blazerine angrily snaps back at him.

With a creak, the horse-drawn cart rolled to a sudden halt. The driver quickly turns around from the front seat to look back at them. Fenix threw his hand over her mouth and started to laugh hysterically like a mad man. "Oh blaze you're such a knee slapper!" His laughter turns into half cries of pain and joy after Blazerine had bitten his hand. He adjusts himself enough to position himself to hug her head, but it's a disguise for a head lock.

Unable to move her head of her own free will, her eyes scroll over to the poorly dressed man. His face was soft, rounded, almost bubbly in her opinion. His eyes bore an almost unnerving stare, as if they were watching everything around them, aware of anything. The brown hair was natty, like it hasn't been washed in forever. The stillness began to sully once his jaw dropped. His face elongated into something almost extremely hideous, The skin on his face was pulling tightly, revealing a jagged sharp edge. It did not complement the stillness of his face before. The skeletal structure could be seen prominently on his face. Shortly he came across as if he had seen two siblings fighting among themselves over a scrap of meat. His mouth opened large an he began drool out of his mouth literally. The second the drool touches his tattered shirt, he quickly turns back around and wipes it away. Then the wagon was off again.

"Who is this guy?" Blazerine whispers.

Fenix drops his arms back down at his sides to free Blazerine. "I don't know, just some fella giving us a lift." He said.

"Wait let me get this straight. I passed out at some point last night and you put me in the back of, whatever this is, with this creepy guy? Seriously who does that!?" Blazerine falls back into a hay stack."What is this even about anyway? Where is everybody?" Grumpily she crosses her arms.

"Isn't it obvious gal? Were going after Fauna." Fenix felt a bit annoyed by the question.

 It only made her mad to hear irritation in his voice. If anybody should be annoyed it should be her. "Look..." She began, "Don't you think it would of have been, you know, SMART! If we had gone with everybody?"

Fenix shook his head and said, "You don't remember do you?"

"Remember what? Blazerine asked.

Fenix idly picks at a scab while continuing, "What you did last night."

"Well...yeah, well no actually. The only thing I remembered was you taking me up the stairs. Why does that matter anyway?" Blazerine frowned.

Fenix ends up going over the whole details about what had happened last night...

---------Last Night----------

Blazerine gradually open her eyes a bit more in reaction of his response and said, "Haven, HAVEN! It's your entire fault... What did I do to deserve this? Tell me, TELL ME!" Her arm around Fenix neck tightens greatly.

"Oh great she's one of those type of drunks!" Fenix couldn't help but cringe helplessly.

"What type?" Fauna puzzled.

"An emotional wreck..." Fenix replies. However it’s not the only thing he said. Quietly he comments further on about how she's probably familiar with the terms. Luckily for him she didn't catch on.


"Hey, you're not Haven. You tried to trick me with your barbarian mumble jumbo, didn't yah? Wait- wait a second... I saw you naked! You're...f-first guy I seen naked! Can you believe that!? I sort of wish I saw Leon naked first or wait that elf guy! It's okay though you were like totally huge and everything. And I was like whoa!" Blazerine stutters.

"I knew it! Well since were on the topic and all. What else do you like about me?" Fenix flashes his whites. Upon the finishing of his statement, a single flame quickly swipes over the table, eating away at a thin layer of the wood. It perishes as fast as it had came, but it left its mark skewed in the wood. He knew it couldn't have been anyone other than Fauna.

"Fredrick...." Fauna kept staring intensely.

"He doesn't love you. He treats you like a WORTHLESS DOG, all of them do! If I were you I would take your life back. All you need is a little push." Blazerine detaches The Bracelet of Falsity and tosses it over onto the table. It lands just inches away from her finger tips. " But hey what do I know. I'm just a thief, a BANDIT with no way HOME. I'm going to die anyway, why am I even bothering. Why does it all MATTER!? "

Fenix cowardly says, "I'm going to take Blazerine upstairs. Hopefully Leon will know what to do with her. So stay put, I'll be back."


"O-okay." Fauna quietly watches him walk away.


------

"I actually... said that?" Blazerine looked down slightly, unsure of what to think or even say.

"Your drinking days are over as far as I'm concern." Fenix growled rather'd stern.

Blazerine plucked a few strands of straw from her hair and mutters, "You know, the others are going to be beyond mad at you."

"This was all elf boy idea. He said something about you'll be better off with some space between you and Leon  for the time being." Fenix replied.

(I wonder what that's suppose to mean.) "Well either way.... This means Fauna has control of her own actions, right? How exactly is this a bad thing?" Blazerine asked.

"Like I said women are unpredictable creatures." Fenix didn't even laugh when he said this. He sounded pretty serious, which is so unlike him she thought.

"Where will she even go?" Blazerine sighed.

Fenix hangs his arms over the cart edges from behind. He then looks upward at the deep blue sky. Quietly he whispers, "I don't know... I don't know."

-----


With a final creak, the horse-drawn cart rolled to a stop at the edge of the town called Maiden Hill. A  city-like town which holds markets, shops and a few homes off to the sides. A forest surrounds this landscape, a world of trees, caves and waterfalls that is home to the wild life. Abandoned shacks can be found within the walls of the woods as well. Visitors from other lands come through constantly which brings plenty enough business to sustain life here.

The man quickly hopped off the front seat and shuffled towards the back of the wagon. "We be here." He called out, somewhat nervous. He was thanked for the ride by sparring him three copper coins. He's going to end up giving him three more for the return trip. It was actually the only money Fenix was carrying around. Of all the dumb things he could of have done. He could of at least thought of bringing more than that.  Fenix took a deep breath of the night air, feeling the cold air fill in his lungs as he walked. He loved the night life better than that of the day. People seemed to be much more alive when uptight society slept. The drunkards and loose women were alive and well when the sun went down. He could hear the echo of the loud laughing from the pub and grinned softly to himself. How he'd love to stop and get a drink but tonight wasn't a night he'd be able to get drunk. Stopping near, he watched as he heard men speak about how pitiful harvest was this year.

Out of no where, Blazerine said, "I'm pretty sure that would be the last place she would be."

 He knew for sure that the mead would most definitely not have the delicate taste the wines from the city had, but the brew would be distinct to the people, a taste of who they are. It was something he did, but, maybe it made him feel closer to them, someone.... more connected. As they walked in he got looks right away.  People looked at each other and questions were raised. Blazerine guessed it's probably the way she carries herself. She did seem like an alien, with her unworldly clothes. She tried to pretend there wasn't any attention drawing to her. When they approach the counter, the bartender smiled shyly at them. The sound of the pub grew noticeably quieter, then turned into a few hoots after. Fenix wonders if the local whore had come to sell herself for money.

Blazerine could tell he was getting side tracked by something. "Psst!" She elbow him in his side to get his attention.

Fenix now looked directly at the bartender, realizing he was in fact a she. He half expected this woman let herself go years early in teenage life, then her beauty faded within that time. Lazily he lays his arms across the counter and leaned in closer to the woman. "Were looking for a crazed gal, have you seen one around in these parts?" He finally asked.

"Crazed girl?" The bartender eyed him suspiciously.

"It's his wife." Blazerine mention when the bartender spat on the outside of a mug. Fenix gave her a dirty look, but she ignored it. For the most part she looked away after being grossed out by  her cleaning methods. Fenix continued speaking to the bartender while she watched people get drunk off their asses. However there was one particular man that stood out of place. The left side of his head was heavily bandage down to his brow. Short black hair stuck out in between the folds. It looked as if it had been chopped off urgently to help fit the bandage. More of a reason to speculate that's the case is because the right side of his head is fully covered in long black hair with a single white streak. Right below is a leather eye patch. A faint long scar travels down from it, all the way to his cheek. His attire was rather different than the usual from around here, Blazerine thought. His bronze leather vest was sleeveless, but around the shoulders there are swash bucklers to keep it in place. These also intersect the ones that go around his waste to his rugged hide pants that are laced up in the front. There were several buckles down his legs that stored small wooden boomerangs that had knives on both ends. His boots were made of the material with an under lace belt to to prevent them from sliding up and down. Idly he stroked at his left bandage hand. Soon he slowly raises his head enough to look in her direction, but she turned away quickly. Now facing Fenix, whom shook his head out of disappointment. That action alone told her that nobody has heard of Fauna. Silently the two of them stepped back outside and stood there beneath the stars.

"My wife? You think this is funny? This is your fault." Fenix gave her that dirty look, which she had grown very familiar with by now.

"Half, I do recall a little somebody who had awoken Fauna. So technically this wouldn't have happened in the first place if it wasn't for you." Blazerine shrugged.

There wasn't much of a conversation from that point on until they found a remote place in the forest to crash for the night, it was up on a large hill, beneath a willow tree.

"You sure about resting here for tonight?" Fenix asked once the two of them had finally settled in.

Blazerine sluggishly slumped back against the trunk and said, "Sure why not? It's nice a shelter, just in case if it rains."

"It is..." He replied seductively before moving in awfully closer to her.

"What do you think you're doing?" Blazerine angrily snapped and moved further away.

"But you and elf - boy cuddle together..." Fenix whined loudly.

"He's a damn cat! Well... sort of. Either way, NO, just no." Blazerine kept her back against him now. That's when she heard it, sounds of heavy droplets bursting upon contact with the leaves.

"I think your cursed." Fenix busted out laughing, nonstop, and so did she.

In between laughing she said, "I think you're right." It was the first time they had finally found some common ground with one another. It all came to an end when a chestnut stallion came clopping up in front of them. It breathed heavily, it sides heaving as it tried to catch its breath. Strung across the stallion's rump was a large hide. Blazerine recognized the rider, it was the bandaged man from back at the pub. His eye drifted down upon them, but he didn't spoke a single word. Around his shoulder hung a rope of three dead rabbits, dangling by their broken necks. Sitting beside him was a well behaved grey wolf with amber colored eyes.

Fenix climbed to his feet and daringly stepped right in front of his steed then asked, "Who are you and what do you want?"

Blazerine rose to her feet, but stood there, unsure of what might take place between the two.

"My name is not important, but if you must call me anything, call me Sinner. " The man coldly replied. Then he asks,
 "What are doing out here by my tree?"

(Blazerine: His tree...?)

"Were passing through town on business. We were just seeking shelter here to get out of the rain for tonight." Fenix explained.

"If shelter is what you seek then come with me, back to my cabin." Sinner insisted.

For whatever reason they ended up following him through the rain to the outskirts of town. The only thing Blazerine could think of is that curiosity had gotten the best of Fenix. Eventually the cabin was approached, but it looked more like a run down shack, barley held up by plywood. Through medium opening, only one room  could be seen with a  hearth in a side corner. A couple of dishes could be seen right beside of it. And middle of the floor had a variety of pelts and hides scattered, some overlapping one another.

"Nice cabin." Fenix chuckled.

"I know its not much, but its home." Sinner smiled sadly.

The three of them sat in rather a triangular fashion, Fenix and Blazerine beside one another with Sinner directly across. It was quiet other than the loud obnoxious slurps of rabbit stew Sinner had prepared. The meal was a small bowl filled with mushrooms, roasted garlic and pieces of rabbit meat. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. While eating, Blazerine notices Sinner is holding his bowl really oddly with that bandage hand of his. Almost as if he was just holding it with only his thumb and index finger. He ate just a little to please the hunger in his stomach before giving the rest to his wolf companion; Argo.

Finally the silence was broken when Sinner asked, "What kind of business are you doing 'round 'ere?" .

"Were looking for my wife." Fenix said quite bluntly.

Blazerine shocked by his words, she spat broth out of her mouth and onto Sinner face. The bowl dropped from her hands and spewed out its contents. Having no idea what to say, she stood up, trying to think of something, anything to make the situation better.

The intensity sided quickly when Fenix said, "Women can't ever hold down anything."

Sinner agreed, "Ain't that the truth. See 'ere!" They tapped their bowls together to toast one another before sipping down the last of their stew.

Blazerine face was completely red when she yelled, "You guys are both sick!" Then she stormed out of the shack, not even caring about the rain.

That following morning, Sinner stepped out of the shack and found Blazerine off to the side, huddle up, sleeping in the mud. Her face was pressed against the top of her knees. And her arms were securely wrapped tightly around her legs, that were bent up close to her chest.  "Rise and shine darlin." He nudge her awake with the tip of his boot.

Still half asleep, Blazerine mumbled, "Alright, alright I'm awake." She lifted her head up just enough to look at him and asked, "Where's Fenix?"

"He's still inside resting." Sinner replied with a hand reaching out to her, however she refused to take it. He extended his hand out even further, getting the same result. He wasn't going to take no for an answer. He crouched down low and took a hold of her forearms and lifted her up with him at the same time. "There that's better." He commented.

"I'll go wake him then." Blazerine wearily commented as she headed for the door.

Sinner moved his arm out in front of her to prevent her from proceeding. Tilting his head, he said, "I don't know you reasons behind helping him... all in all I thank you. You being his mistress, or even a prostitute."

Blazerine is puzzled by his choice of words. "What? Seriously?"

"I'm not sure why he chosen you. He could of have gotten a better quality one that's for sure, unless he's low on coin." Sinner thought.

"What does it matter to you anyway? What's with this whole act of being nice to us?" Blazerine annoyingly asked.

Sinner moved his arm aside when Fenix came out stretching with a big yawn. "Looks like were all ready to head out."

"What do you mean by we?" Blazerine frowned.

-----

The day was still fresh, considering the sun had risen into the sky not long ago. Dew mingled on each blade of grass, causing it to be wet beneath the feet that pounded onto the ground with each step. It was just like any other morning for Sinner. A quick run through the woods was a regular routine for him and Argo; he was a good hunter, taking in every scent, it being rabbits, or even humans. If there was anybody lingering around in these woods, he surely could find them. Blazerine rode on Sinner horse while he led it by its reins. Him and Fenix chatted it up, almost as if it was old times. Further on Sinner said, "Let's turn back." Before they could say anything, Agro started barking furiously while digging his claws deeper into the soil. He was getting vicious barks in return. He grew more wildly as the group of seven men approached closer with their own wolf companions. They surrounded us on all sides with loaded crossbows aiming for the kill. Not only these men looked shady, but their apparel was suspiciously a lot similar to Sinner's attire. "There has been a change of plans." He announced.


Someone in the group hollered,"Nobody ever changes a deal with Feng after its been set into motion!"

"What deal? Who are they Sinner?" Fenix demands to know.

A second voice arises, "He's a traitor! He's hiding our mark!"

Sinner just ignores Fenix question by stating the following, "The candidate fit for the recruitment test is the girl, leave him out of it."

A third voice shockingly gasps, "Is he crazy? Feng won't hear of this!"

"Cado, as Feng right hand man you will do as I say." Sinner sneered.

"You know the law, each of our brethren must bring at least two candidates for the recruitment test every month. For disregarding our laws, you're here by revoked of your rank and will be led astray to die, unless you're willing to be reinstated into the pack by reattempting the recruitment test. Mind you... who barley made it through the first time." Cado laughed back at him.

"I accept only if you leave Fenix out of this." Sinner insisted.

"Ah, I see now, how amusing. Take them, take all three of them." Cado orders.

There was nothing they could do. No use in fighting, they were outnumbered, and an arrow could reach them a lot faster than Fenix's two handed battle-axe could reach them. At this very moment Sinner secretly signals Argo, and he immediately flees the area.  A metal fastening, encircled and confined their wrists and ankles. They were all shackled in chains. Each chain was connected to one another causing them to be bounded to one another. Sinner bandage was ripped off in the process, revealing a tribal tattoo of long rigged claw marks. Then with a shove here and there, they were all forced inside a enclosed cart with iron steel bars. Fenix knew the tarp being pulled down from the top was to disguise the cargo which was "them." This situation seemed awfully too familiar with him. Literally he started shaking while recalling the events of when he had been sold into slavery.

"Looks like were the ones who need to be found now." Blazerine helplessly looked down at her new jewelry accessories, cold black heavy shackles.

Sinner looked over at her and said, "You must take this time to mentally prepare yourself for what lies ahead."

"Oh yeah like I'm suppose to believe you suddenly care about what happens to me." Blazerine rolled her eyes.

"It's doubtful you'll even be sent through.... you'll probably become a servant; who satisfies the needs of the pack. You should already be used to it, considering your profession and all." Sinner mentioned.

"I never even had sex before, OKAY? Can you just shut the hell up already? I'm already pissed off at you as it is. As matter a fact since you have taken such a liking to Fenix for whatever reason. Why aren't you even trying to get him out of here at least?" Blazerine yelled at him.

Sinner hushes her by saying, "Keep your voice down. It's better not to draw any attention to us for the time being. And if we tried to escape, they would kill us on the spot."

"Who is "they"?" Blazerine asked.

Sinner calmly explains, "The Blood Pack; We have carved an illicit place in this world. At the same time, however, those flamboyant nobility and knights are infuriated by us for disregarding their so called laws. The nobles mocking contempt, for they see themselves as the ones who prey upon all those isn't of royal blood. The king takes what he wants, and has learned to do it well, and very so much enjoys leaving us nothing. We have lived much of our lives with a bounty on all our heads. He has recently ordered out strangers posing as our pack to potential cause chaos. It's because he see's us as a threat, a revolutionary force. It's his method of trying to gain alliances to go up against us. Surely we will be outnumbered... that is why we are gathering candidates for the recruitment test. You either join or die, it being from the actual test or refusing to stand with us."

"Some options those are." Blazerine shrugged.

Fenix rocked himself while repeating this phrase over and over again, "Face with punishment.. much worse than a smuggler's brand on their wrists or an amputated hand."

"What's wrong with him?" Sinner had overheard his ranting.

"I don't know... I never have seen him like this before." Blazerine honestly replied.

Sinner watches him with great concern. "We'll be reaching the camp in about a week. Hopefully he'll snap out whatever it is in the next few days before the test." He said.

"So what exactly is this test?" Blazerine tried to keep her hopes high, but all of it diminishes when Sinner says "It's a battle to the death."

------

Leon was almost asleep, so close it wasn't even funny. But he clenched his teeth for a fraction of a second before wriggling around frustratingly in the blankets. He's been miserable for three days, being confined to this wretched bed. Not only that but his comrades, no his friends had formulated a plan behind his back while he's been lying here helplessly. Sure enough, the sun was peaking over the hills, shining its light through the window. All it did was piss him off, for another day has passed. From time to time, Lyrist would stop by to leave him something to eat or change the bandage on his leg. Words were never exchanged those days, until he was up and at it. He could walk, well sort of with a bit of a limp. There's no telling if he would have it the rest of his life or if it will eventually fix itself on its own. Whatever the outcome may be, he just was glad to be finally moving about. Eventually he climbed into his templar armor, although the chain-mail was damage near his knee, it still was usable.  He ended up using his sword like a walking cane. It seemed a bit cocky and made his limp not so noticeable. He left the Inn and made his way to the market square to meet up with Lyrist. He never did ask what became of the guards since he's more eager to know if Fenix and Blazerine had actually found Fauna or not. Lyrist explained that they hitched a ride with a trader; whom should be back today. The two of them stood around for awhile, waiting. Soon Lyrist spotted the trader wagon passing into the market. Immediately he ran up to greet Blazerine and Fenix, but they weren't even in the back.

By the time Leon caught up with him, Lyrist asked, "Pardon me, but where is the ones who were suppose to be riding with you?"

"I waited for them, but they never showed up. I couldn't keep waiting... I have business to tend to." He nervously replied.

Leon reached up and clenched a single gauntlet around his neck, pulling him down closer to his face. He would of have fallen out his seat if he didn't instinctively held on. "You should of have waited." He said before shoving him back.  The reaction of the crowed almost made Leon regret his actions. Templars are suppose uphold the peace, not create personal vendettas. If this were to get back to the church, he would most defiantly be in trouble. Hell he's probably already in trouble for not returning in the first place.  Once the trader went on its way, he turned to Lyrist and said, "Don't ever do this again, got it?"

Lyrist only nods.

"The only conclusion I can come up with is something bad has happened.  I need to stop by the blacksmith and get whatever Fenix had him made. Secondly I need you to collect our belongings and get us some horses." Leon instructed. In response Lyrist only given him a nod and took off to carry out the deeds.

Minutes later, the blacksmith door flew open, clashing against the wall, followed by the sound of Leon's clanking boots.  Quintus friendly greeted him, but in return he scowled him. He wasn't here for small talk. He just wanted to get what he needed and get the hell out of here. Two of the only customers in the shop cowardly scurried out the door. Once Quintus returned and handed him the bundle, he left, not bothering to even see what could be inside.

It took them about two days to reach Maiden Hill by horseback. The first place Leon decided to check was of course the pub. There's no doubt in his mind that somebody  had to have seen him here. He walked straight up to the bar counter to see if he could pry some information from the bartender. Lyrist stood little ways from behind him, peering around the pub from beneath his hood. Not only with his eyes, but mostly with his ears. He picks up a whispering conversation from the far corner of the bar.

"Speaking of which... have you seen Sinner lately?" Swift asked.

"It was about for days ago..." Stell replied and further comments, "He still owes me some coin from our last bet."

"Ah shite, you too mate?" Swift belches.

Without confronting Leon, Lyrist heads right over to their table to ask, "Where does Sinner stay?"

"N-not another one." Stell sighed.

"Sinner lives in some old piece of shite shack, out in the middle of the woods. If you're gonna go out of your way to see him, tell him he better pay up fast or he's gonna get what's coming." Swift slammed his half full mug against the table.

"Well do." Lyrist gave him his word.

"I appreciate it." Swift sluggishly smiles his gums at him.

Lyrist returns to the bar counter, where Leon is. In less than a minute he turned around and said, " From what I've gathered, they've in fact seen Fenix and Blazerine. But the odd thing his, nobody has seen them since the day they arrived. I don't know where we should start looking."

"I think I have an idea." Lyrist replied.

Riding into the woods, it was quiet yes, but it wasn't a calm quiet. It was the sort of hair raising, devil silence that make your fingers twitch in anticipation. Several shacks were investigation along the way, Unfortunately by looks alone, it might as well have the word abandoned stamped. The shack furthest out in the forest had a wolf guarding it. Friendly or not, Leon didn't care, he needed to see if anyone was home. Slowly he dismounted off the horse then pulled out his sword to help him walk along. Lyrist wasn't too keen about approaching the wolf, him and his kind have been adversaries for centuries. However he followed beside Leon regardless of what he thought. The wolf crinkled his muzzle a little, though more towards Lyrist. Taking in yet another whiff, he began to growl suddenly.

"I think he can tell what you truly are." Leon thought out loud.

Lyrist slanted his ears back and hissed, "Dirty mongrel!"

"Good keep him occupied, I'm going to check inside." Leon instructed.

Lyrist extended his nails and said, "It'll be my pleasure."

Inside, Leon scattered around the pelts and hides to see if he could possibly find some sort of evidence that the others had once been here. So far nothing out of the ordinary caught his eye.  "Nothing!" He yelled and swung his gauntlet against the wall out of frustration. That's when he caught something out of the corner of his eye. Stacked right next to the hearth was a pile of three uncleaned bowl, which are collecting insects. Precisely if Sinner lived here alone, why would he dirty bowls two extra bowls. Stepping back outside, he said, "They were here." He might as well have been talking to himself because Lyrist was nowhere in plain sight.  Aimlessly he looked around until his attention is diverted to the wolf. He was barking upward at willow tree. Unexpectedly Lyrist was up high, crouching low on a branch, almost as if he was trying to avoid the wolf at all costs. "I thought you could handle it?" He called out to him.

Lyrist pressed his ear against the bark and yelled back, "There's somebody here."

"What are you talking about?" Leon asked once he's right below him.

There was a long pause before Lyrist said anything back. "I can hear thoughts, although it's very faintly spoken. It's the same thing I've encounter before when I dealt with my father. Their very souls were absorbed, embedded into the bark itself."

"I don't understand how you're able to hear those who are stuck between this realm and the afterlife." Leon drew his glaze away from him. ( Although I've heard those who can hear the dead are close to death themselves.)

Lyrist hung himself upside down while watching him and said, "Ever since my transformation I have been capable of this~ One could only presumed it must be an elfin attributed. Unfortunately I am unable to communicate back, if its even possible. Perhaps it may be... I do not know."

"Nothing good would become of it. If they're not willing to accept the embrace of god." Leon argued.

"Sometimes its not the whole person that remains, but rather just a fraction, a piece of memory that got separated from the individual. But most human spirits bound themselves to this realm to either comfort those who are still grieving over their deaths or remain because of unresolved issues, such as an injustice. I've noticed most linger on to help others.... Perhaps to make immense with your god." Lyrist protested.

"What's this spirit telling you?" Leon asked curiously.

"She was a maiden who was in love with her own brother... And she was killed by her own outraged people once it had become public. Right here, is where she had been hung." Lyrist replied, but further comments with, "How odd..."

"What is it?" Leon frowned behind his helmet.

"Her brother would always visit the tree every night, but he has been missing the same amount of days as Blazerine and Fenix." Lyrist explained.

Leon suggested, "Sinner must be her brother then."

"I too thought the same, but she's giving me a different name..." Lyrist replied.

----

During the agonizing days of travel, an armed man stayed in the back just to make sure they wouldn't make a peep while others were being lured to the same fate. Sparingly stale bread and musky ale were given to them. Blazerine didn't know why it took her so long to realize about Fenix savage eating habits. They must of have been induce because of similar circumstances of treatment in his past. It made it even harder for her to eat what little there was. Fenix having to bare going through the torment again. She thought it might be why he drinks as much as he did. It's probably to numb all those painful memories of his. Why didn't she put two and two together sooner than now. If he can go through it once then so could she. She extended her hand out to Fenix to offer her share. A wearily smile grew upon her face to reassure him its alright. He accepted it, although he didn't even say a single word. ( If there's a chance one of us will get out of here alive, it surely would be him.)

The seventh day is the arrival of the Blood Pack camping grounds. Soon as the tarp was lifted, all inside could finally see the light of day. One by one, the captives were pulled out from the cart. They stood there briefly until the man in the front was pushed forward, forcing the rest the behind to do the same. Looking around, Blazerine saw a bunch of tents, not well lined up or really organized, all over the place. The smell of roasted pig filled the air from one of the few fire pits. There was also a few trunks of loot, but what caught her eyes the most was the sixty three feet pit in the center with two tall poles on opposite ends. Every inch of the walls bares iron spikes to either prevent people from escaping or maybe just another optional weapon. The only reason she came up with this consumption is because of limbs. They were probably left behind when the dead bodies were pried off the walls. Down in the middle, two weapon racks could be seen. She suspects they were purposely placed for a competition of who would be able to get there first. Most likely whoever did would have the upper hand.  Her sight changed drastically when she pushed downward, straight through a door, causing her to dangle over a pit of darkness. Once the chain link was broken, she fell, it was rough, but everything seemed to be intact. Although she was still in shackles, she could move around more freely now without being conjoined. Sinner grabbed her from behind and pulled her out of the way from more oncoming prisoners.  Both of them looked up as they heard some sort of announcement about a special event that will be taking place during the recruitment test.

"What do you think that's about?" Blazerine asked.

"I don't know, but whatever it is, it's not going to be good." Sinner answered.

The door shortly closes after-wards, leaving only a single crack of light behind. But how could that be, Fenix hasn't gone through yet. Without hesitation, she called out his name. Sinner told her to stop, but she didn't care. All she could think of.... is what they could be doing to him. And why him? Hasn't he been through enough already she thought. Her cries got louder and louder as tears began to swell up inside her eyes.

"Someone shut her up before I do!" One of the prisoners demands.

An arm wrapped around her head and pulled her in close. To her surprise it belong to Sinner. Then it happened... a sharp pain in the stomach interrupts her breathing. She struggles to catch her breath, but it wouldn't return, no matter how hard she tried. Panicky her eyes look down to see what could of have done this. That's when she see's Sinner fist pulling back after the blow. "W-why...." She barley manages to get out.

Sinner held her unconscious body in place and said, "I'll make it right." At that very moment, from above, he heard Fenix agonizing cries. Did they just start or was it because Blazerine screams were drowning out his? Or maybe, just maybe he no longer had anything to divert his attention from the pain now that he had silenced her.


Fenix knew he was under the effects of a lighter doze of Sleepy Lilly. It was just enough to keep him awake, but render his legs useless so he couldn't get away. The sun was blazing down upon his drenched naked body. Between the sweat and the sheer force of the whip, his skin was beginning to peel off enough to create cuts. Sizzling cuts that burn like hell. Although his arms worked, they too were useless due to shackle restraints binding him to a pole. There were eyes all around him.  Every single one of them was enjoying it. The swish sound of crackling a whip hitting bare flesh and especially the grunts left behind clenched teeth.

© Tiffany Ann Adkins 2015 - 2019