The Abandoned Chapter 46: The Past is the Past; A Triangle Only Results in Death
It’s not something you get used to, that wall. It was almost transparent, allowing you to see the goal just beyond – a taunt, but even as you could see the other side, you could feel the daunting enormity of the very power that kept such a wall up. No, ‘wall’ was not the right term. Not even ‘barrier’ could coin the description accurately. This thing was the bridging of two spaces that ran parallel to each other, a part of it’s surface intersecting at many point like interwoven layers. That intersection; that connectivity allowed the chance to travel from one space to the other; and it existed in a natural balance that kept the two from tearing apart.
That balance was delicate though, not so much as the two being joined but as a coexistence on a lever with only one fulcrum. Too much weight on one side, or any slight imbalance in their case, and the whole thing would collapse.
That was what Cotter was running towards. He was running towards an existence in which Nargul was attempting to disrupt through untested means, and albeit momentary, it could very irrevocably sever any connection of the realm he was born in and the one he was now ‘trapped’.
But there was pain within Cotter; a pain striven from hate, humiliation, and loss. His normal self – one that would be filled with fear was gone. Maybe it was because he no longer thought there was anything to lose as he already lost ‘her’. Maybe it was because he thought that in this given situation, any chance of coming out alive was an improbability, one so high the numbers were not something that could allow anyone to dispute it as anything but fact. So many ‘maybes’, but all that was certain was Cotter was charging at the few averati poised by the foot of where the two spaces met.
This was a person at the bottom of the competitors in these trials in terms of strength; a person so lowly that even his friends had abandoned him, siding with people not even from their side of the country – people who could at least have just left, but instead actively put him in danger. He was a person who lost the woman he loved to something he could not even wrap his head around; a person in a world now involving himself with creatures and clans he had no business dealing with over a month ago.
This was not something he wanted. Wasn’t something he asked for. He just wanted to go the academy, earn a decent living with some power to support his family; a family that would include a woman he had fallen for. But mostly, he wanted to make ‘her’ happy. She smiled at him when he got that letter. And he knew she wanted to go, and at that moment, he was the only one who could take her.
But those dreams of his did not happen.
And in fact, Cotter was now running towards everything he would not be, everything he would never do.
Become a monster fueled by hatred, and who killed for it.
Cotter was not running to save his dreams, or to do something just. He was running after the two people who killed his dream.
I remember like it was yesterday; the creek water running gently across the jagged rocks, making it’s way down the mountain. The stream here was small, and those fish that unfortunately got caught in it’s current from the larger source far up were all were easily snatched by the predators nearby.
It was after noon, and I laid there, on my stomach of a large flat but slick stone, formally warmed by the sun, and slick from the years of water that beat against it during high floods, as my hand brushed down in the cool water only a half a foot below.
“Hello,” I heard a voice say, and I looked up.
That is when I first met her.
Her eyes were what caught me. The straight stare seemed to bore into me as if all my secrets were revealed before the world. I felt… vulnerable, and I did not like the feeling.
Quickly, I jumped up. The girl was about the same size as me, her height being a smidge more; I myself only just jumping into my puberty years which was reason enough for me to not be taller than her yet.
“Hello,” I responded, my voice a bit caught. It came out like my neck was strained with hands wrapped around it, squeezing.
The girl tilted her head slightly and looked at me as if I were some strange creature, her eyes remaining sharp as ever. I wondered to myself is she could see through my clothes, and even my other parts below. The feeling became so strong, I unconsciously folded my hands in front of me over that area. It was tactful, at least I thought so. But for some reason, I couldn’t stop from getting the feeling as if she knew what I was thinking.
“I haven’t seen you before. What are you?” She asked, finally.
My eyes widened. What am I? What else could I be? Thoughts flung in my mind only for me to reflect back to the lessons my father forced me through every day. This world was much bigger than the mountain we lived on, and there were many other clans and creatures out there. Was she a different kind of creature? Was she new to this place? “Well, duh? Of course she’s knew. I haven’t seen her at least” I muttered to myself.
Her hair was a dark grey and down to her chin. Her eyes were of an even darker shade, and she had a small mole at the top of her lip. The mole was… tantalizing. I gulped, only to shake my head of those thoughts as I realized she was still staring at me. Did she know what I just thought?
My father did warn me of the many abilities of other clans and the creatures of the forest to the east of us. Maybe her ability were like the Chardrids of the Eastern Forest who could read your intentions and thoughts based on the aura you carried. But instead of keeping silent, I finally spoke, “I am averati.”
The girl just raised an eyebrow.
“I know that, silly.” She said. I can tell by the green hair and the steel like caps on your knuckles that you come from one of the great clans.”
“T-Then why did you ask? And who are you? Where did you come from?” I blustered and blurted all at once. I was embarrassed a bit, but was not too forgone in my slight shame to not ask her questions in return.
“Because… the Crackle Bears up the river eat a lot of fish there; and in the process they spew a venom to dissolve their food. Some of that venom escapes into the water. It is poisonous to averati. So, how can you just put your hand in there? How are you still alive?”
I just stood there with my mouth dropping open. Crackle Bears? Poison? “No! Can’t be” I yelled, and stepped back in my shock. My foot slipped on the slick stone. I fell down hard on my butt, and the pain stunned me before I slid into the small creak, the cold water not reaching me past a few inches above my naval.
And the girl laughed. “I was only kidding, silly. Your clan has been here all these years. Wouldn’t you know if you could get poisoned so close to home?”
I looked at her, and hearing that laughter and seeing the enjoyment on her face,… that fear I felt from before, the fear she could see through me, vanished. In fact, I wanted her to stare at me. I wanted her to know how I felt in that moment.
And that moment, I liked that stare.
That was the day I fell in love with her; the day I heard her laugh.
Blood spewed from Cotter’s mouth as he dropped to his knees. The averati was huge, looming over him; eclipsing the moon.
Cotter looked up, but he could not even see the face of that person. He was just one giant creature, but Cotter knew who it was. It was the same male who humiliated him. The brother of the male who took his woman.
‘Why am I so weak?’ He tried to cry, but only more blood came spouting out. A sword was pulled from his gut. He felt the object pull from him. The waves of pain felt weird, as if he were taking the worse poop of his life.
Why can’t I have her? Why can’t I have a peaceful life, and just live in the mountains with a family? Away from this wretched world?
… It came as a blur. Part of the dark figure had moved, and then the world seemed to tilt. He tried to move, but he couldn’t, only watching as the scene in front of him turned to the side, up and down, until it stopped with the wet grass pressed against his cheek, and some sticking into his eye.
He could not help look, see dumbly, from the corner of his other eye his kneeling form so far away, as it dropped.
His mind became muddled.
And everything went black.
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