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I could feel something hard drag against my legs. It felt bumpy. I could feel arms locked around mine. My body was upright. I was being dragged by two people. I could smell the ocean. Were we close to the water?

“Ok, come on. We’re almost there.” I heard one of the men say.

“Yeah, she’s not too heavy. She’s quite the beauty, though.”  I heard the second man remark.

“Hey, don’t get any ideas. Rorke will kill us if she finds that we were fooling around. “The first warned.

“I know. Still… I wonder if she’s a virgin.” The second murmured.

I open my eyes just a crack to see that we were on a dock. There was a ship that was docked. It seemed to be where we were heading to. I couldn’t let them take me there!

I felt a surge of adrenaline as I hopped up and shove my elbows into their jaws. I threw my fist into one of their faces and shove my elbow into the others eye. The man I punched fell into the water, dropping my sword. I quickly grabbed it and unsheathed it. I ran the man who was still on the dock through and waited for the other to emerge from the water. When he did I stabbed him in the throat. He sunk again left a small red pool behind him.

I stood there, on the dock.

“Sarya…” I breathed… tears ran down my face as I remembered what had happened.

It was… my fault. I… “Sarya… I’m so sorry…” I sunk to my knees.
I couldn’t save her. I…
Suddenly I remembered what the men said before I was knocked unconscious, something about Sarya ‘being worth a lot.’
I could feel a burning rage seethe inside me. They… were… ONLY INTERESTED IN MONEY!?! THAT’S THE REASON SARYA WAS KILLED!?! THOSE FUCKING BASTARDS!!!

I shot up with rage and ran to the duckboard that led to the ship.

I WAS GOING TO KILL EVERY. LAST. ONE OF THEM!

I slowly made my way up the board, careful not to make much sound. I got to the top and seen the deck was empty. Save for one man at the wheel who wasn’t paying attention. I quickly and quietly made my way to the guard and rammed my sword through his back. He choked out a silent cry and fell over. I dragged him to the edge and threw him overboard. ONE DOWN.

I made my way to an open trap door I spotted. I quickly moved to the side as I heard someone coming up. I crouch behind the door and waited until not one, but two appeared. I immediately swung my sword and cleaved both of their heads off. Blood sprayed as their bodies fell over with a double thud.

THREE.

“Oi! What are you idiots doing?” I heard another one coming up the stairs. I didn’t give him a chance to see the bodies as I jumped over the trap door and surprised him. He jumped but didn’t have time to reach his sword as I ran him through.

FOUR.

I left him lying against the wall and made my way down further. A man came out from a door facing away from me. I immediately kicked his leg out, tripping him. I looked down at him with my sword pointed at his face.

“Where is she? WHERE. IS. SARYA?” The man trembled as he tried to speak.”W-who?”

I thrust my sword in his eyes and spun it inside. His other eye rolled back. I had no patience left in me.

FIVE.

I stepped over his body and moved on. “Where are you Sarya?” I murmured. Where did they take her? Those fucking pigs. I was going through a hall and found three men playing cards.

EIGHT.

I moved and heard a sound from the door. I kicked it open to find two men taking shots of some kind of liquor.

TEN.

My bloodlust wasn’t satisfied in the slightest. I finally found myself at the bottom of the ship. I heard some talking and slowly cracked the door open. I gasped as I spotted… SARYA! She was laying on the table with two men… no three men surrounding her.

“So… tell me again. What the hell happened?” I saw a man with a scar on his eye giving the questions.

“I-I don’t know. We were having trouble with them. The wench with the sword was really skilled and-“

The man with the scar slammed his fist down near Sarya. I gritted my teeth. “I DIDN’T ASK FOR EXUSES! I ASKED WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED!”

The other two were nervous before one spoke up.”Well… when it was all over from the chaos of that damn dust storm a few of us fired at the two. When we caught up she was already like this.”

I looked at Sarya. She still had the black hair. ‘So it wasn’t just a delusion.’

“So any of you know exactly what the hell this is?” I heard the man with the scar ask. The other two shook their heads.
“You two. Go to the village and find a healer. You’d better pray they have a solution.”

I heard the two men making a hastily exit so I hide behind the door and waited for them to emerge. When they did they closed the door and I move to jab my sword in one of their throats, the other one tried to reach for his sword but I plunged the sword into his chest and retched it out. 

TWELVE.

“Oi! Sader? Lonto? The fuck you guys doing?” I slowly opened the door to show myself.

The man jumped in alarm and reach for his sword. “You the bitch who gave my men so much trouble?” I didn’t answer. My gaze fell to Sarya. I could feel my heart lurch at the sight. My gaze rose up to meet the mans. He came out from behind the table and looked down at me.

“Not one for talking huh? Very well.” He brought his sword up and slashed at me. I deflected the blow and stuck his sword hard. He managed to move with the flow and reduce the impact. He twirled the sword and slash again. I ducked and tried to poke my sword at his hand but missed. He took the opportunity to slash at my leg. I jumped back and brought my hilt sword down on his head. He stumbled; I then struck his sword again. His sword flew out of his hand and hit the far wall. I punch him in the stomach which caused him to fall back on one knee. He coughed.

“So I guess they weren’t kidding when they said you were skilled. Who would have guessed?” He eyed me before continuing. “So you want revenge? Well then, take it!” I didn’t. Instead, I uttered one question.

“Why?” He looked surprised by my question. “Why did you go as far as you did? Why did the entire village not raise so much as one finger to help? WHY THE FUCK DID YOU TAKE HER FROM ME!?”

He shook his head. “Well it’s pretty obvious isn’t it? We run this village. We can do as we please. We allow them to exist so we can take a few wandering travelers. We then take them and sell them across the seas to those who’ll pay. Elves are particularly in high demand.” I soaked in the bitter truth.

I lend my sword against the wall and grabbed him. I threw him through the door.

“Ah fuck! The hell you doing?!”

“Change of plans” I gritted. “I was going to just kill you, but now? I’m going to beat you to death.”

Before he had a chance to say anything I kicked his face. I got onto of him and started to punch him over and over again. Tears were streaming down my face as I beat him. He pushed his hand out. “S-STOP!” I grabbed his hand and twisted it. A crack sounded out. He screamed in pain but I quickly punched him again. My knuckles were raw but that didn’t stop me. My vision was red with fury as I screamed loudly. Soon… my rage quelled as I was out of breath. I looked at his face… or what was left of it. His face was caved in and brain matter was visible. I panted. ‘It’s… over…’
I staggered up and made my way back to the room with Sarya. She was lying on the table. Her features were undisturbed. I wiped my hands on my pants before placing them on the table.

“Sarya… I…” I choked on a sob. “I’m so sorry!” I fell on my knees and sobbed.

Why her? Why didn’t I do a better job of protecting her? Why did it… have to be this way? Sarya… Why her? I slowly got to my feet and placed a kiss on her forehead. “Sarya” I whispered. I wouldn’t leave her here. I… still had to take her to her people. I could at least do that. I picked her up and my bag and turned to leave this ship.

I walked off the ship and dock leaving them behind. Some people from the village were watching me from a distance, whispering among themselves. I wanted to take my anger out on them too but I still had something more important to do.
I found a wagon and horse outside. I placed the fur blanket down and her on top of it. I then got the horses going, leaving this place behind me.

…………………

It had been three days since then. I had received directions from people on the road as I made my way to the World Tree. I hadn’t eaten much. Nothing I ate had any taste. I, of course, didn’t have much besides some wild berries I found on the side of the road. I also drank from the rivers and my canteen. I didn’t have any appetite. As a result, my body trembled from weakness. I didn’t care though. I simply continued along the road. When it came to sleeping I slept on the seat in front of the wagon. I didn’t get much more than a few hours every time. I couldn’t stay asleep for very long. I kept Sarya in the wagon.

I finally had the World Tree in sight. It was pretty hard to miss as it was absolutely massive. It was incredible. If only Sarya was here to appreciate it with me. I made my way toward it and came upon a strange wooden gate. It had strange patterns and flowers grew on it.

“Halt!” I heard a voice call out. I looked around but couldn’t see where it came from. I was surrounded by trees so it was difficult to see.

“What are you doing here? And who is that in the wagon?”

I still couldn’t see them so I called out. “Her name is Sarya. I’ve come to… return her to her people”
Suddenly two people; a man and woman, jump out from the tree above me. The woman landed next to me and the man landed in the wagon. “Don’t try anything.” the woman said, pointing a bow at me. The man looked closer at Sarya and muttered something in a foreign language I couldn’t understand.

He looked at me and said “Very well, if that’s your reason then you can pass” He sat next to Sarya and the woman sat next to me. She took the reins from my hands and led the horses through the gates. I took in the sights that were shown. It was very beautiful. There were houses made from a white wood that I couldn’t tell what type it was. We passed by the city quickly and made our way to the Tree. I was incredible spacious inside and there were houses built into the insides of the Tree. “Wow…” I whispered in amazement. It was amazing.
 
We made our way to a small building. Inside there was an altar and a pedestal which had a silver basin on it. A very tall elven man came from behind a curtain and looked at us.

“What brings a human to the World Tree?” Before I could answer the man did. “She brought an elf with her. She’s… passing on” The tall man paused before nodding.

‘Passing on?’ What did he mean by that? They brought Sarya inside and laid her on the altar.

“Ummm… excuse me but what do you by passing on? I thought she was already…” I trailed off, not able to finish the sentence.

The tall man looked at me and explained. “She is in a state of passage. The loss of her hair color is enough to tell us this. We will need to invoke a rite to allow her to pass on” He sighed. “It isn’t a very common thing to happen, but she…” He trailed off. “She’s very weak so there’s very little left to do”

I let that sink in. She’s weak? So… “What do you mean by weak? I thought she was…” He nodded.

“She doesn’t have much left so it’s imperative to being the rite to allow passage”

“Passage where?” I asked.

“Passage to the World Tree. It allows us to pass on to our ancestors and keeps our memories of them alive”
I thought for a moment. Something was strange… “So, she hasn’t passed away yet. That means she’s still alive right?”

The man paused for a moment then nodded. A spark of hope emerged in me.

“So that means she can-“”She can’t” The tall man cut me off. My heart sank again.

“Why not?” I demanded.

He was quiet for a moment before replying. “How did she get into this state? What happened?”
I was taken aback by his sudden question. “She… she was hit by a bolt from a crossbow. She was injured badly from it” I felt my guilt flare again. Tears were starting to weld up in my eyes.

“I see…” He seemed to notice my tears. “She means a lot to you, doesn’t she?” I nodded, rubbing my eyes.

The tall elf sighed and spoke. “Well… there is… a way” I looked at him waiting.

“You see, she is in a state of passing but she has yet to do so. She is ready body wise, but her mind isn’t. This is why she hasn’t passed on yet. When our kind dies they may wish to stay, but are not strong enough through their body. She is gravely wounded so her body is ready but something is keeping her here. Our kind has strong sprits but our bodies are still weighed by the world’s pain. Save for our long years we are still normal by human standards”

His explanation circled around my head. So she wasn’t dead. She just needed help! I could feel hope surge through me. I needed to help her!

I looked at him. “Please allow me to help her!”

All three (The tall man and the man and woman who escorted me in) looked surprised at my offer.

“You would go that far?” I nodded vigorously. Yes I would!

The tall man grabbed a pitcher and looked longingly at it, as if remembering a painful memory.

“Are you sure you ready? Sometimes the truth isn’t easy to accept” I stood quietly for a moment.

I… wanted to see her again. I felt guilty for my stupidity and I needed to see her again because there… was something I needed to say to her.

I looked at him and nodded. He then poured water from the pitcher into the basin and said. “Come then, peer into the basin and see into her sprit”

I approached the basin, I could feel a fear swelling up and I stood before it. What would I see? Would I be able to help her? I… couldn’t think like that! I would save her, whatever it took. I looked into the basin, face pressing closer towards it. I could see… something. I submerged my face into the basin and suddenly felt a rush as I felt like I was floating. I looked around but the surroundings were completely white. I did the next natural thing.

“Sarya…?” I called out. I waited for a response… desperately “Sarya? Are you here? Please… answer!”
I could feel my tear welding up. I….

“Teela…?” I heard a familiar voice from behind me. I slowly turned around and seen her. She was as beautiful as ever. I couldn’t hold back my tears as I seen her. She was here… she was finally here.

“Sarya…” I whispered. She bore a pained expression as she looked at me.

“Teela? It’s you? It’s really you?” I nodded. “Teela… I… please…. Don’t do this” Do what? What was she saying? “I can’t… continue on with you. I… I’m sorry but….” She looked to the floor; her tears were starting to show. She looked back up to me and said “I’m sorry but I can’t keep going on like this. I… I’m Elven kind. You’re human. I will outlast you. I… I couldn’t take such a painful experience.”

I… understood what she was saying. Elves were supposed to live long lives so she would likely live longer than I could. I would pass on and she would be left to grieve alone.

I looked at her. I… couldn’t just let it end like this… I…

“Sarya… please listen. I… can’t do what you ask. I’m sorry but I can’t because you already hold a place in my heart. I can’t because I want to remain with you no matter what. I can’t because…” I breathed in… “Because I Love You.”

Her tears streamed down her face. “Teela…” she choked on a sob.

“I made you a promise… I would make it up to you. Even if I have to spend the rest of my life I will make it up to you no matter what” 

Her bottom lip trembled as she covered her mouth with her hand. She sank to her knees, sobbing, I tried to move to comfort her but I was suddenly pulled out of the basin. The last thing I heard was her voice “Teela… I’m so sorry!”

I sharply pulled my head back from the basin and looked at Sarya on the altar. I rushed passed the pedestal to her side. “Sarya…?” I whispered. ‘Please… just please come back to me’

Her hair suddenly started to glow and changed to her more familiar silver blonde hair, her skin started to glow. “Sarya…?” I whispered again.

She slowly opened her eyes and gazed into my eyes. My vision blurred as I looked at her beautiful eyes.

“Teela…I’m… back.” She whispered. I immediately embraced her and sobbed. We held each other crying. They weren’t tears of sadness this time. They were tears of happiness; I finally had her back, the woman who meant everything to me. The woman who I made a promise to. I finally had her back.
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Gunner ten

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