Chapter I - Sin
I was bleeding, but I couldn't stop moving.
I didn't know how many people were chasing after me. I ran into the forest in hopes that I could lose them. It was a dense forest like maze. The sun still pierced through the foliage of the fall trees. I tore off a piece of my shirt while running and tied it around my forehead. Warm blood trickled down my face as my breathing intensified. My dark attire used for foul business now covered in blood, sweat, and dirt.
Frantic was the pace I moved on. You would be too if you only knew the people that were chasing after me. It was stupid of me to get caught in a moment of weakness. Gods, she almost killed me! I should have never gone to that town. I only went to get a glimpse of the funeral, but I overstayed my welcome.
A knight in shining white armor suddenly appeared to ambush me and bashed his shield against my skull.
My ears rang, and my vision went a blur, but I held onto his shield. It was pure luck that I did. I gritted my teeth and gathered my bearings before he could do anything else. As he jostled with me, I pulled out my dagger and stabbed him in the eye. Blood gushed out instantly as he screamed in pain. A knight's visor was easily the weakest spot in his armor. I pulled out my bloody dagger and twirled around him. His cry of terror carried throughout the forest until I used my blade to snuff out the sounds that came from his throat.
Another white knight with a mace stumbled through the forest following the sounds to find me only a few meters away from him.
Gods, they just kept coming. It was like I was stuck in a labyrinth in some sort of twisted game. While I was looking for a way out, everyone else was looking for me. I was going to be cornered quickly if I kept fighting everyone.
I flipped the dagger in my hand and threw it at him. He easily deflected it, but I ran away while he did. I still had my short sword by my side and wasn't totally defenseless. A dagger would be useless against their armor anyways. The Royal Army never used cheap metal. At this time, I stayed away from the roads, so deeper into the forest, I went. The sun was going to set, and I would be in the element I'm most comfortable around, darkness.
Metal clanking and footsteps echoed throughout the forest. They wouldn't stop pursuing me, not when they just found me again, not until I was dead and buried. The air that filled my lungs was hot as my temperature rose significantly. Irrational fear was filing my mind rushing through the dense forest. I didn't know if I could keep my pace, but I would be dead if I didn't. My long brown hair fluttered for a moment, and I saw a fireball coming towards me.
I ducked down instinctively not before some strands of my hair got burnt to a crisp. Damn! Of course, they had Mages! They always have Mages with them too. My luck couldn't get any worse.
I looked towards the direction of where that fireball came from to see a Mage in the flesh. The Mages' robes waved and moved like a starry night sky, an Imperial Mage of Bareth. The stars on his robes signified as much. He must've used magic to have gotten so close to me. His mouth was uttering nonsense, and his eyes closed as if he was going to cast another spell. I wasn't going to let him get a chance to do another when I barely avoided one.
My legs surged with a jolt of energy as I dashed straight for him.
The Mage kept mumbling his words as mana was swirling around the air.
I leaned forward while running and grabbed a handful of dirt off the ground. I jumped towards the Mage and stuffed the dirt in his mouth. I bet he didn't think that I could close the distance between us so quickly. He choked and gagged on the dirt as the spell canceled. If you stop Mages from speaking, they will be practically useless. I used my sword to cut open his stomach and watched the blood pour out like a waterfall. He wasn't going to speak ever again.
I inhaled the air as I tried to catch my breath.
I prayed that this was the only Mage here. They all die just the same, but they were the most troublesome I had to deal with in battle. Magic, I fucking hate magic. If it became a ranged battle, I was most definitely going to lose. I quickly checked his body and found some minor potions. I didn't hesitate, and I drank them all in one gulp.
It was disgusting! I have forgotten how minor potions tasted like. I was too used to the best money could buy. The ones that tasted like fine wine with some honey mixed in. These minor potions tasted like a stew of vegetables and medicine.
My wounds healed slightly, but my stamina was nearly gone.
I was getting exhausted, and I didn't have anything to heal that. Paranoia mounted on me as I set forth through the forest. I knew why they wanted me dead. They would have chased me to the ends of the world if they could. But, I wasn't going to let myself die for them.
Even if the whole world hated me, I did what I needed to do.
"Look! He's over there!" Voices carried through the forest.
"He killed another one!"
"Gods! They just didn't stop!" I tried to catch my breath again momentarily, but I had to keep moving, and I did.
Bushes, shrubs and low branches covered this area of the forest. It seemed like the vegetation wouldn't let me go away safely either. The green scenery was hostile to my movements. I was already frantic, but I fell further into a frenzy as I shook through bushes, jumped over plants and tore away branches with my hands. Everything just seemed to block my way. I went through another bush only to come face to face with a mountain.
"No…no…no!" I slammed my fists on the side of the mountain.
My breath was ragged, my eyes shot, and I felt trapped like a rat in a cage.
It looked like everything hated me and wanted me stopped.
I had to turn back toward the direction of my pursuers.
I broke backward to retrace my steps and then I saw them. Three white armored knights and one other woman I knew very well. The look on her face told me everything when she stared at me dangerously. She almost killed me earlier in town if I didn't feel her blood lust. I knew she wasn't going to let me get away from her without a fight. She always liked to get her hands dirty, and my blood on her hands would have satisfied her.
My eyes scanned the surroundings for a way to escape, but I couldn't find it.
They were in front of me, and my back was against a wall of rock.
The sun was still setting to the east, and it would be better if I ran towards the light. The Knights watched me and held out their weapons. I still had a trick up my sleeve, but I needed them grouped together as close as possible. I checked the direction of the wind just in case, and the leaves told me it was good. The winds weren't blowing strong enough through this dense forest. As they came closer and converged towards me, I threw a bag from my belt to the ground, and it exploded with smoke.
I saw an opening, and my body moved instinctively.
I could've handled the knights but not with her there.
I sprinted fast as I dodged through obstacles only to look over my shoulder and see a figure chasing me.
Of course, it was her; she knew me all too well. I couldn't trick her; she expected my smoke bomb. Her white armor shone through the dark gray smoke that billowed throughout the forest. Even with her face in a permanent scowl from my sight, her beauty would not leave her. She didn't need to wear a helmet. Nobody could injure that pretty face of hers even if she hadn't the prowess of the blade. Her contorted face was mad with anger, and her golden hair violently shook in the wind. With every step she made towards me, the rage in her eyes like an ocean deepened.
I always knew her before as a cheerful, kind-hearted girl some ten odd winters ago.
I never imagined she would've become this wretched and wicked looking.
It's mostly my fault, and I knew it.
"Demitri! You Traitor! Stop running and fight!" She yelled.
I ignored her and kept running.
She's a much better fighter than I was. I didn't know if I could fight her head on and come out unscathed. Up ahead in the direction I headed towards, an exit seemed to open in the forest, and my body moved that much faster to get there. As I came closer to the exit I was stopped dead in my tracks; it was a cliff. A damn cliff.
"By the Gods," I exhaled.
I turned around almost immediately and met her face to face. She was shorter than me physically, but when I looked at her, she was much more imposing. I stood my ground and tried to catch my breath. I had no way out; I thought maybe I could talk to her.
"What is a lady from Bareth doing out here?" I said with a curt smile. "Didn't think I would meet you in town Cassandra."
Cassandra's seemingly permanent scowl never wavered.
"Stop your filthy mouth from uttering my name," Cassandra glared.
"Is that a way to talk to an old friend?" I replied with a smile.
Cassandra's eyes were cold when she glared at me; I could guess I was no longer a friend in her eyes. If I were in her position, I would hate me too. Gods know that I already hate myself for what I've done.
"Draw out your weapon! I will kill you myself!" Cassandra held onto the hilt of her sword while waiting for me to make a move.
"So will I expect your honor to a one on one duel?" I throw my hands up and give her a kind gesture.
She returned my kind gesture with a rude one of her own. That stung a bit.
"Unlike you," Cassandra said. "I do have honor!"
Cassandra drew her sword and pointed it at me. I readied my sword and widened my stance. I knew this wasn't going to be good. She was a genius swordswoman, a prodigy from a great house. I was an orphan, a back-alley street rat. My skills were mostly self-taught while she studied from great warriors. Sweat poured down my face, and I waited for her to make a move.
The sword in her hand danced and thrust towards me. Her movements were elegant but still fierce. All I could do was dodge and hope. Another sword swing came at my head, a killing blow. I blocked it with my short sword, but my muscles tighten from the impact. She swung her fist at me and her gauntlet connected with my jaw. My bones rattled, and I staggered backward. I felt the blood swirling in my mouth and knew she broke some teeth as well.
"That's not enough for you," Cassandra said furiously. "I'll make you suffer!"
Adrenaline pumped through my veins, and I chopped wildly at her. She blocked everything as her defense was like an iron wall. She slipped past me and slashed at my back. I cried out in my pain when her blade met my flesh. I turned around and faced her; she still stared coldly at me. She slashed at me again, but I guard it this time with my sword.
Our swords locked and I could only grit my teeth. I couldn't overpower Cassandra for some reason. She pushed my sword down and headbutted me. Blood gushed out from my nose as she knocked away the sword from my hand. I touched my face and saw my palm covered in crimson. I stood up tall with my hands to my side, and I looked at her, resigned to my fate.
"Didn't I tell you I was going to hurt you?" Cassandra sheathed her sword in a scabbard and threw it away from her side.
I charged at her trying to take her down but received a knee to the stomach and an elbow to the back of the head. The sound of my bones crackled as I fell over gagging in pain only to witness a boot to my face. I fell over backward from the impact, and my body was screaming in pain. I staggered back up to see her with raised fists.
She came to me, and I dodged mildly, my stamina was already low. I tried to uppercut her chin only to receive a counter to the liver. I couldn't fight her, whoever said women were weaker than men never fought her. She moved too quick and was too agile for me. I couldn't evade her swing, and I took a hook to the ribs. My breath was knocked out from my lungs, and I desperately gasped for air. It wasn't long before her fists connected with my face again.
Fist after fist hit my face as her white gauntlets became stained red. My face felt bruised, and my left eye was swollen shut. I crumpled down to one knee and looked her in the face. Her eyes showed no remorse. She grabbed me up by the collar of my cloak and propped me up against a tree with a thud.
"So how?" Cassandra said with her voice cracking. "How does it feel to know that someone you care about can hurt you so much?"
There were tears in her eyes as she looked at me. She was holding onto me, but I can feel the ease of her grip as she started to cry. I could only stare at her in pity, and I started laughing hysterically. I knew what I'd done, but to me, I did the right thing.
I spat my blood into her face and held her in my arms as I smashed my bloody face unto hers. How many men or women would dream of touching her face with theirs? But I was going to turn her beauty into a bloody mess. I released her from my embrace and punched her in the face. She stumbled backward and then lunged a kick to my gut. I toppled over and vomited blood to the ground.
"You fucker! Now you die!" She screamed as she moved to get her sword.
Night finally came, and darkness enveloped us. I couldn't hold up for much longer. I felt weak, exhausted, and feverish. I could tell that Cassandra earned her fearsome reputation. My body bled, my bones felt broken, I could barely see, and an insufferable amount of pain coursed through me. I stood up through it all as my pride wouldn't let me die as I looked up from the dirt.
Cassandra grabbed her sword and pointed it at me. I saw no way out, but my eyes wandered over to the cliff. I wasn't going to let her kill me. Friends killing friends always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. So I ran towards the cliff, and I felt my muscles explode, with one last effort, I leaped.
Cassandra couldn't reach me in time, all for the better. I was free falling as I heard a raging sound beneath me. I looked at the ground and saw nothing but pitch black darkness. Maybe I was falling straight into the underworld for what I've done. As I began to accept my end, I plunged deep down into the water below.
Everyone called me an Assassin or a Thief; I never denied those things. All I wanted to do was save the Kingdom. I used to wish for fame and glory; I got that now. Just not in the way I expected. I didn't have the luxury of living a normal life anymore. I had to run; they would have never stopped chasing me. I had become marked for death. My name is Demitri. And my sin? I killed the Hero, and this is my story.
~ Cassandra followed the Hero as closely as a puppy would, and she loved him as dearly as anyone could ever love another. ~
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Avid movie watcher, Navy veteran, car maniac (Lan Evo VIII), video game nerd, comics, anime, and manga lover, novel reader. Writer, Journalist and the follower of sports.
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Attending SDSU: Major:Journalism, Minor:Creative Writing.
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