Fade to White
Chapter Twenty Six
Slowly Jerek eased his sword out of Ramo’s stomach, gently laying the body on the floor before standing up and pointing his still dripping weapon at Nosaj. “He died because of you,” Jerek said with bitterness in his voice.
“I am not the one holding the bloody sword. Jerek, how could you? Ramo only cared for your well being.” Nosaj tightened his grip around Tryne, moving a hand to her neck as she grunted in protest. “Even after I spared the life of your girlfriend, and even after I let her keep her virtue, you still slaughter the one person who loved you more than anything else in this world, because he worked for me.”
“Shut up!” Jerek yelled, as tear drops coursed their way down his cheeks. “Just give Tryne to me, and we’ll leave.”
Nosaj yanked Tryne back. “It doesn’t work like that, Jerek,” he said. “I was thinking that I would keep her for myself, and if you protested then I would simply lock you up.”
“It will work the way I say it will.” Jerek began walking toward Nosaj, holding his sword ready. “Give her to me right now.”
“I’ll kill you.”
Nosaj grinned wickedly, throwing Tryne against the wall and pulling out his own sword from its sheath. “Let’s find out if you can.”
Leaping through the air, Jerek connected his sword against Nosaj’s, pushing against the blades with all of his strength. “You’ve played your game for long enough,” he grunted.
“My game has just barely started.” Nosaj twisted his sword to the side and stepped back, causing Jerek’s weapon to slide off harmlessly. “Even after I’m dead, you’ll never be able to escape me. The only life you’ll be able to live is the one I’ve given you, and it is impossible for you to live any other way. Your hands are stained with the blood of innocent people. Your heart is callous toward others. If you think that you can create a new world for yourself with the girl you love, then you are mistaken. She is finally seeing how harsh you really are!”
Jerek hesitated, looking over at Tryne who was curled up against the wall and visibly shaking. She was frightened. Slowly Jerek started to lower his sword, his heart throbbing because Tryne’s eyes were open wide with fear as she stared at him, her muscles occasionally twitching as if she wanted to run away but couldn’t find the courage.
A sharp line of pain brought all of Jerek’s senses back to Nosaj, and he stumbled away, limping as Nosaj’s sword cut into his leg. “Why? Why did you do that?” Jerek asked. “Why didn’t you kill me?”
“Because you are my heir.” Swiftly turning around, Nosaj strode over to Tryne and yanked her up to her feet, swinging her so that her hair flew into her face. Pointing his sword at her, Nosaj said, “She is the only other person who will die today.”
“Let her go!”
Sneering, Nosaj moved his blade, poking it into Tryne’s side and causing her blood to slowly ooze out, coloring her shirt as she gritted her teeth and screamed, struggling to pull away from him.
Snapping with anger, Jerek swung his sword around and Nosaj barely had enough time to bring up his own sword to block, but Jerek hit Nosaj’s blade with such force that the metal of his weapon broke into two pieces, while the reverberations in Jerek’s own sword hurt his hands, causing him to drop the sword in pain.
“Finish it,” Nosaj said.
Looking up, Jerek growled, leaping forward to tackle Nosaj.
He didn’t resist as they fell to the ground, and he stayed limp as Jerek grabbed his hair, lifting his head up and slamming it down into the concrete. Jerek did it again and again, using all of his strength each time he bashed Nosaj’s head against the floor, and blood started to spray out as each thud was accompanied by a sickening squelch. Then Tryne screamed.
Jerek dropped Nosaj’s body, backing away as the cloud of anger cleared from his mind, leaving the image of Nosaj in front of him. Nosaj’s eyes were still open, bright red and glazed over, his skull oddly shaped, and the dark crimson liquid that was pooled up around him on the floor was also splattered across the wall. Moving his hand up to his face, Jerek saw that his skin was covered in blood, and a nauseating sickness overcame him.
Still hunched over, Jerek spoke, “He planned that, didn’t he.”
Nodding, Tryne answered, “Yes,” in a feeble voice.
“We need to . . . bury Ramo and him.”
Tryne nodded again, walking over to Jerek and putting her arms around him, burrowing her head against his chest as tears came from her eyes.
“That . . . bastard.” Jerek put his hands on Tryne’s back, lowering his head. “Why did he have to do that?”
Jerek’s eyes were lined with red, but they were dry as he watched the flames and smoke rise into the air, carrying the deep feeling of despair that had clogged Jerek’s mind right after the fight in the castle. He could finally breathe again. Holding onto his hand, Tryne stood beside him looking into the bonfire as well, her glassy eyes reflecting the orange light with moisture.
“What are you going to do?” she asked. “Are you going to accept Ken’s offer to become one of the leaders?”
Setting his mouth into a straight line, Jerek thought for a moment before answering, “I thought that maybe we could see the Ruby Village, then find out where the wind takes us from there.”
Squeezing Jerek’s hand, Tryne smiled. “I love you, Jerek,” she said.
Jerek smiled back at her, murmuring, “I love you too,” before returning his eyes to the blaze before him again. A thought crossed his mind, and with a smirk Jerek couldn’t help but say the words, “Long live Nosaj, the Commander and King of the Twelve Villages.”
I’ll be taking the rest of the year off to focus on the holidays. See you in 2018!