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A Whirlwind of Passed Lifetimes - Excerpt

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By chanthar
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Chapter 1 - Plans with Interesting People


With a deep breath taken in, a lone figure stared down from a craggy peak. If I’m really going to live for a long while, I should find a place to settle. I don’t like the idea of being attached to a permanent place, though. It will make me vulnerable... The young woman’s nose wrinkled up. She was older now, but her looks hadn’t aged past nineteen. It had only been two years, though, so she couldn’t expect to look that much different in such a short time.

Spread before her, a barren landscape went well over the northern sight. Behind her, a vast mountain range in a horseshoe shape ran east and west. Inside of that horseshoe was the central river, which gave life to the land of Tsubasa. The central river ran southeast along the main continent into the eastern sea far away from this country.

The young woman’s black eyes narrowed while her gray lips curled to a scowl. Much like the dusty brown landscape, she had varying shades of all one neutral tone. She wore black, just like her shoulder length hair. A very pale gray tone made up her skin. Where can I hide? I can’t set up in the city or in the usual haunts. She shook her head then ran her fingers through the chin length bangs. “Eh, suppose I should visit an old friend for lunch anyway.” With that, she hopped down the rocks to the city of Jacot.

This city on the northern edge of the mountain range held one very important being within its borders. Aloysia held the place for the spirit of battle on this side of the veil. She and her servant Semadar lived on the outskirts so the training wouldn’t interfere with the people’s daily life.

As Rune wound through the stones, she left the buildings that formed into the mountainside behind her. The flat plain opened up. Days away, meadow ran before the seashore. She had a good view until she made it down to the tents that made up the battleground respite. Beyond those canvas shelters were a variety of training equipment. Rune’s expression eased as she saw the artificial forest spread out to the east. There were plenty of people who came to train, including her.

Outside of the main tent, a tan female ran around with a broom in hand. The barren stretch could get fairly dusty, so it was best to sweep the tents out every day. That wasn’t the only task for her, though. She did everything for the avatar of the spirit of battle.

“Semadar!”

With a blink, she turned her green eyes towards the echoing voice. A slight laugh left the mid-twenty year old woman’s lips. “Rune! I didn’t expect for you to return so soon.”

“I didn’t want to miss the fighting.” With a grin, she put her hand up in a wave. “It’s in June now I hear.”

“Yes, Aloysia wanted to take advantage of the early summer air. It’s mixing with the Summer Festival. Balin is going to make an appearance then.”

“It’ll be good to see her again.”

“She’s pretty busy.” Semadar said while she leaned her weight against the handle of the broom.

“She’s always busy, isn’t she?” With a chuckle, Rune folded her arms across her chest.

“Well, yes,” Semadar laughed. “She has to keep in shape.”

“Something I don’t have to worry all that much about.”

“Mm...I see you’re still tall and lanky,” Semadar said with a slight grin.

“You’re still short,” Rune replied with a slight smirk. It was true. Rune herself was two inches shy of six feet, but all of the running around she did kept her form in a wiry nature.

“I’m as tall as I can be,” Semadar replied. She was half a foot shorter, though a few years elder. With her pigtailed braids, the redhead originally from Sharne still looked younger than she was too.  

“Alright, let’s stop teasing.” Rune dropped her hands to her waist. With a sleeveless top over a silver belted skirt, she wasn’t wearing much. It was just enough with the summer heat.

“Sure,” Semadar replied as she straightened her body. With the broom swung over one shoulder of her pumpkin colored t-shirt, she gestured to the tent. “Would you like any refreshment?”

“No, I’m good, but thank you.”

“So...” Semadar shifted her weight from one white and brown leather shoe to the other. While she moved, one hip unconsciously popped out to the side in her short brown pants. “Do you want to take one of our tents?”

“That I’d like,” Rune said while she bowed.

“Oh come on, you don’t have to do that.” Semadar waved her hand with a laugh. “You’re one of the champions around here. You can take a room in her tent without having to ask permission.”

Rune shrugged and rested one hand on top of the brown leather pouch at her hip. “It doesn’t hurt either.”

“Fine, come on in.” Semadar turned and pulled open the flap at the entrance. Either side held a potted bush, a fairly common sight amongst those with the means to keep the plant life fed with precious water.

With a slight nod, Rune followed the redhead. In through the first tent and following through to the second they went. It was in this entryway that Aloysia held court for Balin. A delicately embroidered rug stretched across the floor of each of the tents. Here plush cushions provided extra support for the bottoms. Various other accessories made the place cozy. “I notice a few things have changed.”

“Not much...the rug does tend to get worn out fairly often though.” Semadar chuckled faintly. She gestured to a flap. “We changed the way the tents are arranged a little bit.”

“Tell me.”

“The kitchen’s here with my room behind it. Aloysia’s room is in the middle. Then there are two guest tents on the far side. If it gets too busy then we’ll attach more on the back.”

“I see.”

Semadar bobbed her head slightly. With a quick glance at Rune she said, “Go ahead and drop your bag in one of the rooms. I’ve got to start dinner.”

“Thanks,” Rune said with a slight wave. She turned and wandered to the second flap. Once she passed through she went to the first room. For all of the guests it held a similar form: a pallet in the corner with a short table by the head and a small trunk underneath that. Rune walked over to the far side of the bed. She pulled the blanket back from the pillow. Then she slid the trunk out from underneath the table. With her backpack put into the trunk, she tugged the piece of furniture to the other corner. “Mm... Maybe I should have brought more with me.” With a slight sigh, she shook her head and left the tent entirely.

In the late afternoon hours there were many who fought out on the training grounds. It wouldn’t become too dark another four hours at least. While training could be done after sunset, it was agreed around here that it stopped so everyone could rest and patch up their exercise wounds. The training groups ranged from single targets to group melee.

Much like the very first time they met, the spirit of battle’s avatar was engaged in a little friendly competition. The style this time had no weapons. With fists flying, the strikes went in a quick succession. Aloysia was also a redhead. Her bangs were held back by her ears with gold hairpins. The same metal held her long pigtails at the nape of her neck. With each turn, her pale skin shifted under her light armor. Her blue eyes darted from person to person while she fought off the three attackers.

A light chuckle left Rune’s lips. She watched as the other fought the woman who wore naught more than a leather bikini under her armor. Most of the youths who came here were drawn more out of curiosity than the desire to fight. Once they got over the staring they usually went straight into the training. This young woman came for a social visit instead.

Time went by quicker than she thought as the battle went on. Eventually Aloysia ended up with all three men on the ground cringing in pain at various parts of their body being too bruised to fight any longer. With a light laugh, the avatar stood over the others while she held out her hand. “It was a good fight... You’d better get a poultice from the healer.”

“Yes Mistress Aloysia,” one of the fighters replied. He hopped up to his feet then wrapped his arm tightly to his chest with his other one.

“If you can, help each other.”

“Yes Mistress Aloysia,” replied another. He slowly worked his way up, though he was limping. The third with one eye quickly swelling helped him away.

Rune shook her head while she folded her arms across her chest. “I see things haven’t changed around here.”

“I’m glad. Otherwise I’d have to retire.”

“We can’t have that.”

Aloysia let a laugh ring past her plump lips. She walked over to Rune. At four inches shorter, she was around average height for her kind. The redhead tilted her head back so she looked up at Rune. “Nice to hear that. So, have you come back for training?”

“Eh, not so much that as some advice,” Rune replied while she rubbed her hand on the back of her head. “Do you mind?”

“Not at all.” Aloysia glanced back at the others then waved her hand. “I’ll be right back!” She returned her gaze to Rune while she started towards the tents. “Let’s get to a more private place.”

“Thank you.”

Aloysia led the way into her tent. In the common room she flopped down into a large red cushion. She unfastened her armguards, belt, and shin guards. That made up the majority of her armor. She set them to the side then relaxed. “So what did you need advice on?”

Once Rune was inside, she took a seat on a blue cushion across from her. “You know my, ah, unique situation.”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’m going to try to set up a place somewhere. I want to go after my brother again, but I don’t want to be too close. Do you know of anywhere that would be good for me to settle in?”

“I don’t know why you’d come to me for that.” Aloysia laughed and shook her head. “Seven would know best, but you can’t really ask that spirit since he’s the one you’re fighting to get your brother back. After that it would be the triplets...”

“The three sides of the mind...” Rune murmured. Her nose wrinkled up. “It makes me dizzy the way they talk.”

“Peace, Chaos, and Neutrality... They are a little nuts, but they do mean well.”

“It makes me nervous when I have to call on their sister Insanity to make sense of it all.”

“She’s not really insane, just the epitome of impulsiveness.” Aloysia chuckled faintly.

“And Zaccur’s always telling me to stop being impulsive,” Rune replied with a shake of her head.

The spirit of battle’s avatar laughed, “Maybe you should go there to weigh out all of your options.”

“Maybe, but I don’t really want to.”

“I can’t force you, but you did ask for advice.”

“So I did.” Rune sighed. She dropped her head into her hand. “I suppose I’ll travel over to Mintha.”

“I’m sure my brothers would love to see you.”

“No doubt. I don’t want to go wearing frilly clothes, though.”

“I hope they’re still not on that style choice. I absolutely refuse to let them put me in anything other than my traditional garb.” Aloysia shook her head. “Anyway, until then, enjoy your stay here.”

“Thank you,” Rune said while she lifted her head. “I won’t bother you too much.”

“Nonsense, you won’t be a bother.” Aloysia laughed. She picked up her armor then pulled it on. “I better get back out. You’re welcome to train with us you know.”

“I know.”

With a slight wave, the avatar for the spirit of battle left. Outside, the sound of the others greeting her echoed even into the canvas tent. The training would continue until dinner. After that it would continue until dark. Tomorrow at dawn it would start all over again.

Though she had the intention to stay only overnight, Rune’s interaction with others in the camp delayed her by a few days. Eventually she packed up and left. There was one other city, Haines, on her travel west through the barren landscape. After the city situated halfway on the western mountain range, she traveled across nothing but dead space. The end of an outcropping of forest that swept northwest held the city of Mintha. Directly south on the opposite side of the thin line of forest was the city of Cheney in the country of Everly. Directly west beyond Mintha was the country of Sharne. It was desert and the seashore to the north and south.

As Rune traveled she tried to keep out of sight. The overnight stay with her friend Elma in Haines had tipped off the ones who watched her, however. Even if Rune didn’t openly oppose the growing control of the Thanatos at the moment, the leaders still wanted to know what she was up to.

With a slight chuckle at the news, Seven shifted in his throne. He had settled underground to the southeast of where she currently was. At the western side of the central river in the mountain closest to it the city of Inachus rested. The settlement Seven currently rested in was a little further south of it, on the edge of the forest border by the neighboring country of Everly.

“Do you want us to give chase, Master?”

“No,” replied the stern spirit. He brushed a strand of coarse hair from his white skin. The black eyes underneath stared at the masked figure knelt before him. “Just watch her. Do not interfere.”

“Yes, Master,” said the masked man. He bowed deeper then retreated. At the doorway the second of the pair joined him. They left to report.

The spirit stretched out his six foot two inch tall form. One leg remained draped over the armrest while the other fell down. A slight smirk danced across his lips as he lifted his gaze to the quiet masked man beside his throne. “She’s coming closer.”

“I knew my sister would come this way eventually, Master.” Even as Mask spoke, the twisted mouth openings didn’t betray whether the speaker frowned or smiled behind the pale green mask. The narrowed eye openings glowed red against it. The man’s black hair fell straight to his shoulders. He wore a purple robe hinting to his former status as royalty.

“Of course, Mask, but she hasn’t tried anything in years. Do you think she’ll get farther this time?”

“You let her come extremely close last time, Master.” With each word, the six foot tall man kept his voice near monotone.

“I did. She did very well in getting here.” A slight sigh left the spirit’s lips. He rose from his throne. With his hands clasped at his back, the forty year old appearing man held a slight smirk on his lips. “We showed her that she doesn’t have as much power as she thought. Fighting alone...what folly.”

“What will you do now?”

“I’ll watch and wait. When she sees she needs me she’ll come back. I’m willing to wait.”

“Can you wait forever?”

“If that’s what it takes.”

The masked man nodded slightly. Behind the face covering a slight frown turned his lips. Though he couldn’t go against his master, his heart ached for the sister born after he left his family. She was fifteen years his junior. The only time they’d met was that one time years ago.

The last thing Rune wanted was a repeat of the last time. While she had survived, the experience rattled her to her core. She knew her brother was bound to serve the spirit Seven, but the depths of those chains he wore she found she couldn’t overcome. She had done some good for others, but the ultimate goal was still far, far away from her grasp. With a shake of her head, Rune strode across the wasteland until she found the closest forest. There she could calm herself before she entered the city of Mintha to converse with the triplets. The fourth sibling wouldn’t be there since she lived in Inachus, but Rune wasn’t about to divert to there even for moral support.
This is from a book published last year, the third in Rune's series
Published:
© 2013 - 2020 chanthar
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