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You were so beautiful. Your auburn hair streaming in the wind, your amber eyes searching for danger. The strength on your face. I knew we’re just friends. Just an observation. What will you do, Keren? Where will you lead us? I didn't need to know. I trusted you.
“Lets go. Samir, behind me. Jaiyana, middle. Jaedon, take up the back, and Ritani, between them. Stay vigillant.” I took up my possition behind you and followed you into the unknown. You later told me you were afraid. I want to tell you you hid it well. I would have hugged you and told you it was ok if I knew.
We had known each other for a few years. Pretty good friends. You were always a mystery to me. Always something out of sight, locked inside. But living your worst nightmare causes you to need to confide in someone. I'm so glad that someone was me. You can trust me, too.
We begin walking. The siblings, Jaiyana and Jaedon, know each other as we do, but Ritani is a stranger to all and I’d only encountered the twins once before. We had different speacilities. You knew the area and were an exellent fighter. I had defensive expertise. Jaiyana was a healer but if nessacary cold hold her own with a bow and dagger. Ritani had dabbled in wizardry and was an expert with a bow. Combined with the poisons Jaiyana could concoct, she was lethal. Jaedon was a ranger. He had mastered the woods and stealth and could speak all 3 of the elf toungues, and a couple others, including goblish.
The king put us all together to pave the way for the soldiers. Clean up crew. I was so confused when I watched you accept leadership, and the mission at all. It was as if you wanted and feared it more than anything. But somehow you still choked yes out. So brave. I would protect you to my last breath. You had nothing to fear. The words I offered as we left. You smiled. It was the most beautiful and most heartbreakingly sad smile I had ever seen. I hugged you and gave you my first sheild.
You wore that sheild as we walked. You wore a banged up, flimsy peice of junk on your shining steel armor. You didn't even wear another, better sheild. Thank you. I don't know if you knew what a gift that action was to me. And thank you for trusting me.
I know what anyone with a brain would think. But we’re just friends. I love you as a friend, a sister maybe, but not like that. I know you trust me as a friend and I wouldn't do anything to risk that.
I followed you on high alert, watching for the slightest rustling of trees. When I did tense somehow you knew it was just an animal, and you held me back. You're so smart. I admired that about you.
“Break for camp!” you yelled. I helped set up the tents. You and Ritani shared one, as did Jaedon and Jaiyana. I was the lonely one. But you chose the tent arrangements, and you knew what you were doing. I wasn't sure why I didn't tent with Jaedon and you with Ritani and Jaiyana, or Ritani and Jaiyana and you being the leader got a private tent, but I was sure you had your reasons.
I sat in second watch after yours, carefully scanning the night. I heard rustling from yours and Ritanis tent, a sigh, a couple mumbled complaints in Ritanis voice, and then the flap opened and you walked out.
“Hey, what's up?”
“I can't sleep.”
“Come sit by me,” I tossed some sticks on the fire and glanced back at the forest. You joined me and kept your eyes on the woods. “What's wrong?”
“Nothing… I'm just glad I have someone I know with me. It's a lot of responsibility. I'm glad I can trust you.”
I smiled inside. “I bet. Lot of responsibility.” I paused as you looked nervous, but continue what I was already going to say. I gently lifted your chin. “Don't worry, Keren. You're strong, and confident, and amazing. You’ll be great.”
“Thanks, Samir.” you hugged me. I think it was to hide that you were crying. I know you were, because it wasn't raining but my shirt got a little wet. I didn't mind. I hugged back.
“What do you think we’ll face out there?”
“An old town. Ghost town, now. It was called Meadowside. Thats where we’re headed. The name doesn't fit anymore. The meadow hasn’t grown anything in a while. No grass, just death.” you seemed to tense. I focused back on the woods so you would think I hadn’t noticed.
“Desertside?” I tried to joke, but you didn't seem to be remotly amused. “You’ll do great. I've got your back,” you smiled at me and then went back to your tent. “Get up Ritani, it's her watch!” I whisper-called after you. A moment later Ritani came out and I went to my tent.
The next morning you were the first up. You woke me up first, then Ritani, then the Js. or did we start caling them the Js later? I think it started that day.
Road life was dull. We just kept riding. All day. It was hard to stay vigalant when the forest blended together. But you did. I could tell you didn't see it as just one forest. And you were more aware of possible threats. I tried to emulate you.
We finally set camp. As it was my watch I again heard rustling. I looked over at your tent and waited for you to emerge. Instead, I saw an orge behind your tent. Oh, ok. Wait-
“OGRE!” I shouted and everyone ran out. You didn't look tired but you did look restless. I should have been watching the ogre but I was watching you. You were frozen and you looked so afraid and vulnerable, and something flickered in your eyes that I couldn't see. I didn't move either until it swung its club at you. I ran and knocked you over, wincing as something hard and sharp hit my side, swinging me into you and the ground. You snapped out of it and stared at me.
“Jaiyana!” Jaiyana was already headed to me. You stood over me and stared at the ogre, daring him to take a step toward me. I had a feeling the amount of blood on me smelled delicious to him. I also had a feeling the look on your face was enough to turn his blood to ice. I seemed to be right because he turned and fought Ritani, who was rapidly shooting spells. He might have taken Jaedon, but he had disappeared. A barrage of arrows had also appeared from the trees, jumping around the area. He just waved them off like mosquitos.
He towered around 10 feet tall, wearing only a bearskin loincloth, but his skin was tough as leather armor. His teeth were mostly broken, but their points were sharp. His club had crude spikes… but it took a skill I was sure he didn't possess to make. And the crudeness of the spikes looked deliberate. But I was no expert, Jaedon could probably say better.
“Go fight him, Keren, they’re only bothering him.”
“No. I need to defend you… and Jaiyana.” Jaiyana she added as an afterthought in a justifying tone.
“I can keep it at bay,” she said.
I coughed. “They need you.”
The ogre got sick of playing. He slammed Ritani and she flew several feet, landing and gasping desperately for breath.
“I- I’m ok!” she pulled off. You didn't have a choice. You walked forward and put in your sword through his back with so much force you could have killed him with the dull side of a rock. He collapsed.
Ritani was ok, she just lost her wind and got a few bruises. Jaedon came out of the trees, irate that he couldn't do much. I got bandaged up and sat by the fire. There was no reason I couldn't finish my watch. You stayed.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah. I've been injured in battle before. This is nothing.”
“Can you travel?” I swear you hoped I would say no. maybe it was a trick of the light.
“Yeah. I might slow you down a little.”
“Thats fine. I won't leave one of my party.”
“I told you you would make an excellent leader.”
“No, i'm not…” you mumbled.
“Yes, you are. I trust you,” I turned your face with my uninjured arm so our eyes met. You hugged me.
“Of course. Get some sleep, Keren. You need your rest.”
“Yes. I’ll wake you for your watch.”
You reluctantly left and I continued to watch. The rest of th night passed peacefully a and in the morning we left again. We made camp early that night and we left to collect fyrewood. I felt like you were doing it on purpose so we could talk. You probably were.
“How do you feel?”
“Fine, Ritani whipped up a spell and Jaiyana is good at what she does.”
“Good, good…” the second good trailed off.
“Are you nervous?”
“Uh…” I could tell you meant yes.
“Do you mind me asking why? You can't be afraid of more enemies, we’re a capable group.”
“This is where I’m from. Just sad that it… fell.”
“I'm sorry,” I hugged you. I wanted to know if your family was here during the attack, but I didn't want to upset you. I pointed out a log to big for m to carry. You grabbed it.
“Good eyes,” you tried to change the subject. We lapsed into silence. It was supposed to be a cofortable, easy silence, but it was akward.
We got back and Jaiyana told me to rest. And scolded you for having me strain myself. I didn't mind.
We made good time. The next day we went slightly faster, dispite my flickers of injury. I think everyone was nervous. You most of all, but you hid it and instead tried to slow us down. That night, yet again, you came to talk to me.
“Evening, Keren. Only one more day of travl, right?”
Your nod was anxios. “Yes. I have something to… tell you. I need to tell someone.”
“Yeah?” I was worried.
“I… when they attacked, there was one survior. I saw everything.” you poked the fyre, then shuddered with memories. I gently wiped a tear away.
“It was obvios.” Yeah, since I payed to much attention.
“O...oh.” you stuttered in a breath. I hugged you.
“It will be ok. We’re a capable team. We’ll clear it up.”
“I don't want to go back,” you sobbed into my back. I felt the wet fabric cling and the pressure of your warm chin. I hugged tighter. You broke out of it and started to stand. I kissed your forehead for comfort, not because I loved you like that, you just needed comfort and you were practicly my sister anyways. You stood, hesitated, and walked to your tent. I heard soft sobs come from it, until they spasmed into soft dream shreiks. Possibly worse.
That morning you were a wreck. I took you aside, ignoring everyone. “You can stay back.” You were strong, but you couldn't face what was in there.
You shook your head, though you shuddered. “I have to.”
“No. stay back, Keren. You have to take care of yourself.” you would die if you couldn’t focus.
“I- I can-” you couldn't finish it. I hugged you.
“Stay back. You can shot arrows from the trees with Jaeden.” you nodded weakly. I explained the plan to the others. They all looked worried.
We rode into the feild, excet you and Jaedon. Jaiyana came with us. I refused to acknowladge a faint ping of jelousy that Jaedon got to comfort you and dry your tears. It wasn't like we were together. We were just friends, after all.
Word had traveled. The old ghost town appeared dead. We rode in tense, looking around. When we were about in the middle, humans and goblins swarmed in, taking us by suprise. We did fairly well for a while. Arrows rained from the woods. Then Jaiyana got hit(i knew we shouldn’t have brought a healer in). She was ok, just injured, but I lost focus. That split second was all they needed. A goblin got me. I fell.
It didn't hurt. Why didn't it hurt? I was dying. The world was foggy. Everything seemed far away. Nothing really mattered anyways. I looked down at myself lazily. Blood. That was odd. I choked out a laugh. My clothes weren't red.
I saw you running down the hill towards us. Odd. Somehow I didn't think you should be there. Oh well, it was probably nothing. You reached me as my head was starting to sag. I felt your hand pat my cheek and tears fall on me.
“Come on, Samir, stay with me.” your voice was high with fear and tears. It woke me up.
“Samir! It will be ok, you're ok, stay with me!”
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“I don't care.”
“It wasn't worth it.”
“Yes it was!” There was fyre in your eyes. It almost burned me.
“I’m going to die.”
It didn't matter. I felt myself slipping. The edges of the world we’re going dark. Then your face got close and I felt something salty on my lips. Tears. And other lips. I wasn’t going to lie to myself anymore. I loved you. I kissed back hard with all the strength I had left. And you loved me.
I felt your lips break away as you fell. I was starting to slip for the final time and the world’s color drained. I looked at your back resting on me and saw a sword sticking out. Above you stood a human. Above us. Rage filled me.
I was dead. I don't know where I got the strength. I was literally a second from the end. But I somehow pulled out my sword from under you and stabbed him.
Then I joined you in the sweet darkness.