Fade to White
Chapter Twenty Three
“Jerek, wake up.”
Slowly Jerek opened his eyes. His head hurt with a deep throbbing pain that nearly blinded him, and he had to blink his eyes a few times before he could get them to focus. “Uhhn,” he moaned, sitting up and putting his hand to his head.
“What happened?” Ken asked, grabbing hold of Jerek’s shoulders.
“Nosaj . . . was here.” Jerek gritted his teeth, then suddenly pushed himself up to his feet. “He took Tryne!”
“Sit down, don’t strain yourself.” Ken pushed Jerek back onto the ground, then sat cross-legged on the grass facing Jerek. “We don’t even know if she’s still alive, Nosaj could have killed her already.”
“No, she has to still be alive. Nosaj carried her himself . . . he won’t touch a dead body that much,” Jerek muttered. “We have to go get Tryne back. I need you to help me get her.”
“I’d like to.” Ken looked down sadly. “But I can’t. I can’t help you at all.”
“What?” Jerek looked surprised, creasing his brow in a frown.
“I can’t do anything for her now.”
“Why not? Don’t you care about her at all?”
“It’s not that!” Ken shouted, shaking his head and squeezing his eyes shut. “I’ve cared for her for longer and deeper than you know. There’s nothing I would like more than to rush to Nosaj’s castle and bring her back, but I can’t do that. Like Tryne, my life is tied to the resistance group.”
“This is Tryne’s whole purpose in the resistance group.”
“I thought she was the leader,” Jerek said, confused.
“No, that’s just what we call the position to throw people off. Tryne wasn’t a leader at all, but instead probably the least informed member of the entire group.” Ken jumped up to his feet, turning and taking a few steps away. “She was our scapegoat,” he whispered.
“Her mother was too, that’s why when the soldiers started harassing me and threatening to kill me in the village that day, she jumped forward and claimed to be the leader of the resistance group. That’s why I had to let them take her and kill her. Don’t you understand? I didn’t want Tryne to take this position, but she did anyway! I can’t save her because it could endanger the organization!”
“I can’t believe this,” Jerek murmured, getting up on his feet and wobbling slightly. “No wonder your group has been around for so long, you put the survival of the organization over the lives of its individual members.”
“I’m sorry, but it was established that way a long time ago. Please, save Tryne, make sure that she’s safe.”
“Don’t think you can gain glory through me by telling me to save her,” Jerek grumbled, then turning around in a circle, he scanned the area around him. “Where’s my horse?”
“They must’ve taken it with them.”
“Damn,” Jerek cursed, then walked to Ken’s horse and mounted up into the saddle. “I’m taking yours.”
“Where do you think you’re running off to so quickly?” Ken chuckled slightly. Frowning, Jerek looked at him but paused to listen. “You don’t even have a weapon.”
“I can find one when I get there.”
“Wouldn’t it be much easier to take one with you?” Stepping to the cottage, Ken pushed the door open. “Come inside.”
“Tryne doesn’t have any weapons. Do you expect me to hit people with a broken spoon or something?”
Kneeling down on the floor, Ken reached under Tryne’s bed and first pulled out a bag, then Jerek’s sword. “I expect you to use this.”
“What the . . .” Jerek picked up his sword, drawing his fingers along the scabbard. “I left this at the castle.”
“According to Tryne, some guy brought it here along with your clothes while you were asleep.”
“But why would she hide it from me?”
“Maybe because she really wanted to see you wear black?” Ken smiled, shaking his head. “I think she was jealous of the guy who brought it here, since she got weird vibes from him.”
“It had to have been Ramo,” Jerek muttered, reaching into the bag and pulling out one of his shirts then looking down at his black sleeve. He decided against changing shirts, opting for letting the symbolism of his new clothes show through. “Don’t tell Tryne,” he said out loud, “but she has practically every reason to be jealous of Ramo.”
“Too much information, bud.”
Narrowing his eyes at Ken, Jerek slowly said, “Are there any other secrets you want to reveal to me before I leave?”
“No, that was it. Good luck.”
“Are you sure you can’t provide any back up for me?”
“I wish I could.”
“You’re making this hard for me on purpose,” Jerek grunted, strapping his sword onto his belt, then going outside to remount the horse. “I’ll be back,” he yelled, galloping into the forest toward Nosaj’s castle.