'You know, Killion,', the woman said bitterly as she looked down upon him from a broken cliff, 'you are not the one holding all the power anymore.'
'As if I could ever forget that, Etian.', he said, slowly turning around to face her with a cold look in his eyes. 'And even if I somehow did, in no way would I need you to remind me of it. Know your place, Guardian of the Underworld.'
'My place?' she laughs dryly at those two words. 'My place...', an angry growl escapes her throat as she leans forward over the edge. 'You can't be seriously telling me to know my place when it was you who had broken the rules, overstepped his boundaries and entered my domain by sending that soldier's dying soul to the pits of Alvalor?!'
'He would've been sent there anyway, Etian', he says, shrugging his shoulders, his voice deprived of any feeling of concern. 'So why would it matter who sent him there this time?'
'Because it does!', she yells, for she was slowly losing control over the temper, even though she was trying not to with all her might. 'And you know it does, Killion.'
He stays silent for a minute, thinking about it. Then, he slowly raises his head again, looking up and straight into her eyes for the first time since she has shown herself, and says: 'So what if I know? I will still do whatever I have to do.'
And by those words, her control if finally broken. She jumps in the air, landing right in front of him and gritting her sharp teeth as she grabs the front of his shirt and yells yet again: 'You can't! You don't have the power anymore, Killion! Or, at least, you shouldn't have it...' He says nothing. He doesn't try to move or get away. He's not afraid, or even concerned, for he knows that she can do nothing to him.
'Yet you do, and you keep using it, again and again, just because you can, even though you know that unless you are using it to fulfill the role that you have now, you are breaking the rules, breaching our domains and disturbing the balance of it all! You already came close to destroying the world once, Killion. Keep doing this, and you will find yourself there again.'
The child crying in pain before him did not understand that his wounds, consisting of an ugly-looking but shallow cut across his knees and a few just as ugly, purple bruises, were nothing compared to the pain of men and women dying just a few meters behind him, dying because there was not enough healers, or herbs, or remedies. Because there wasn't enough of anything, not even those who would be willing to lend a helping hand and wash away the blood from the broken bodies and burning wounds. There was so much blood everywhere. On the floors, left by those who have just entered the shrine, on the walls, for many of them could not stand on there own, on the beds... And in the end, on the healers hands. But that could not be helped, for there was no way or time to clean away the blood, since more and more people entered with each passing minute anyway. The whole eastern side of the town was caught in the avalanche of stones, caused by the part of the mountain crashing down because of the earthquake. So, in the end, there was not even a point in trying to clean away the blood.
The crying child also could not be helped, for to him the pain he was in was the worst pain imaginable and he could think, or understand, of nothing else. Well, almost nothing.
'Come here.', the one who hugged the small child was covered in blood himself, but the difference was that the blood was not his own. He was one of the people helping with the wounded, not a healer himself, but determent to do as much as he can.
That was why when the one that was supposed to take care of the child finally arrived and saw him in his arms, he sighed with relief. If the stranger's hug and a clean bandage was everything the child needed, than it was fine, and it would stop crying, so the shrine could get a bit quieter now, even though it was just for a second, even though it as just for a one scream of pain... That helped, even though it was just a little thing. He had time only for one more deep breath before they called for him again.
After taking care of the boy's wound, he stood up and asked: 'Where are your parents?' The child didn't reply.'Where do you live?', he tried asking again, but the child still did not reply. He sighed, irritated. Than, he looked at the child again.
The boy was so small, maybe even too small to know how to speak properly. He was scared, too; scared of the pain he was in and scared of the one helping him, for he must've been a sight to behold after hours and hours of working at the shrine, all covered in blood and dust and dirt. And he was, in the end, only a stranger.
'Nevermind.', he sighed again and picked up the child. 'Let's go find your mother and father, shall we?' He exited the shrine with the child safely in his arms, and as he steeped through the door, he looked up at the sky, as if he was checking the time by the placement of the Sun. But, unlike countless others, he was not counting the seconds until his loved ones lived or died, but rather it looked as if he was speaking to someone.
'Look!', he said angrily. 'Look what has your judgment brought upon them, even though they have done nothing to deserve it! Look, and tell me what in the world's name is wrong with you today?!'
'Ex...Ex..Excuse me..', somebody said in a broken voice. Carefully turning around so he wouldn't drop the tray of remedies he was holding, a young healer watched as the short, red headed girl urged herself to take one more shallow breath and speak in the same time.
'Easy there.', he warned her. 'Try catching your breath first, before you speak.' It took her a few moments, but after nodding her head several times and taking one or two deep breaths, she calmed herself down enough that she could speak. Still, it was fairly obvious that for some reason she had run a great distance to get here. A though immediately appeared in young healer's mind. 'Is somebody hurt?', he asked.
'No, no, that's not it', she shook her head, taking one more deep, this time also completely calm, breath. 'Have you perhaps seen a really tall man with black hair and green eyes carrying a small boy?!', the question she wanted to ask all along suddenly exploded from her.
'Wha... What?', asked the healer, a bit surprised by her sudden outburst.
'A man', she repeated. 'With black hair. Really tall. Has a scar on the left side of the face. Should be with a small, blue haired boy.'
'No, I haven't seen... Wait.', he remembered suddenly. 'Are you perhaps Demian's sister?'
'Yes!', she exclaimed happily. 'He has run away again, somehow, and I think that he probably come over here, to see that man again... Pleas, have you seen him?!'
'No, like I said, I haven't. Not today, anyway', he shook his head. 'But you needn't worry, I'm sure Killion already took him home. That's what he usually does when your brother manages to sneak away and come here...'
'Oh, no...', the girl said with a sigh, colour slowly draining away from her face. 'I'm in so much trouble.'
'Again, I'm so sorry for disturbing your evening. I really had no intention of interrupting your gathering...', Killion excused himself one more time as he exited the richly done white house, with the dozen or so house guests watching him as he did so. He could not blame them for that. He did, in the end, jumped over the garden wall-because Demian insisted so and he wanted to spare the boy of the trouble he would get into for sneaking away-and landed right in the middle of the dancing platform that was being set at that moment. 'I am so sorry...'
A women seeing him off waved her hand in dismissal. 'Don't worry, you are really not to blame. Sarah was supposed to be watching him anyway.'
Kilion nodded his head once, accepting her words, and added, 'Perhaps someone more responsible should be watching over him for the next few days. I'll be leaving the shrine tomorrow, so there might be no one to take him home if he ends up there again, and I would really hate to see him get hurt more.'
'You are leaving town already?', a curious look appeared on the women's face.
'No, not exactly.', he answered with a small, polite smile. 'It's simply that my help is not needed any more at the shrine now that more healers have arrived.'
'Well, where would you be going then?', she asked, even more curious.
Giving her a dark, annoyed look that she never saw, and frowning suspiciously at her curiosity, Killian, in the end, answered politely, 'I originally came here to see the mountain. I intend to go there now that the danger has passed.'
'Passed? Are you sure? They say that if something happens, there could be another avalanche…'
'I'm quite sure', he nodded his head while turning around. 'Please excuse me now, madam, for I have to go.' With those words, he disappeared through the gates and down the street.
'Bye bye…', Demian said holding tightly to his mother's skirt.
'Well, then...', she said closing the door behind her. 'Where in the world has Sarah disappeared to?!'
'So, this is what has happened...'
Killion spent most of the morning climbing up the broken mountain side, until he reached the point of the mountain from which the rocks have fallen a few days ago. He walked calmly, not even bothering to check where he was steeping, for he knew better than to think that this was actually caused by something as natural as the earthquake.
'I see now why have you done this, but that doesn't change the fact that innocent people were hurt. You need to be more careful, because, if you are just going to make the same mistakes I did, what's the point?' , he said while looking at the sky and scoffing bitterly.
Barely visible beneath his feet was the reason he was talking about- a circle carved in the hard ground of the small clearing, along with a few words and symbols that were now mostly destroyed. It wasn't much, since the punishment of course washed away most of it, including the bodies of those who have tried it, but it was still obvious what has happened-someone was trying to draw a magic circle and do a summoning, which was forbidden by the most sacred laws, especially for humans.
'All of this, and he didn't even managed to destroy it all', Killion thought to himself, raising his hand slightly. He looked around, searching for something he could use to wash away the remaining signs of the committed crime, for someone will surely come here in the near future for the same reasons he did. He was being careful because he didn't want to cause another disaster, so he choose only to destroy a small stone cliff that was left above the left side of the clearing. 'Well, that should most definitely be enough.' He was pleased when he saw water from some unseen stream falling from the new formed edge and actually washing everything away. Casting one last glance over the clearing, he turned around and left.
The smoke was clearly visible even from th high up in the mountain. Rushing to reach the edge of the road Killion already knew what he was about to see: town, and all of its surroundings, were now burning up in hot red flames. To his eyes it did not matter that the town was so far away, he could still see small groups of men dressed in Lauentarian black as they rode through the town gates, and onto the streets and squares that were filled with unarmed people. He could not do anything but stand and watch as it all happened.
'Curse you!', Killion yelled at some point before he fell in complete silence. 'Is this also part of your punishment?! Did they survive the avalanche?! Did they?!' As he said that, more flames erupted in the town below, this time in the part of it that was too close to the healers' shrine and the ones that were already wounded.
'Did they?!', he yelled again, but he already knew the answer. They did not, and this was no sort of punishment of judgment, but a simple, human, attack of the neighbouring country's raiders, and he could not do anything about it. He was bound by the rules. He could not get involved.
'Curse you! What in the world's name has happened to their defences?! Curse you!'
'Sarah! No, Sarah!'
After hours of helpless watching, Killion could not take it anymore. He had to force himself to stand up for he had at some point fallen to the ground and as he stood up, he forced himself once more to turn his back on the sight below him and retreat to the clearing on which he was standing before,where he could pretend that the raid wasn't happening by drowning the sounds of screams he could not hear in the sound of a waterfall that he had created. If he had not done that, he knew he would have gotten involved somehow. And the twice cursed rules that bound him said that he mustn't. His was the role of protector, yes, but only and just only when the judgement was also involved. If it wasn't he had to sit, and do nothing as he watched the town burn away...
And after it was finally over, and the men dressed in Lauentarian black had finallywithdrawn, he ran down the steep mountain side, knowing that down there he would find only more death and blood. He still ran, because of so many reasons.
Without thinking, he found himself in front of the little boy's white house. It was untouched by the flames, but the walls were still painted red with blood. Ash that was now falling from the blurry sky as if it were snow covered the ground and grass , and on the doorstep of the short, red-headed girl's house a mother cried for her daughter had died.
'Killion', the healer called. 'Why are you still here? Are you not going to the Sarah's burial?'
'No', he said, raising his head and stepping away from the now healed deadmen's bed. 'I am not.'
'Why? Her brother...'
'Because I will not willingly set a foot on the ground on which you shall all gather and say his name, for he is the one who is to be blamed for Sarah's death.'
Healer could ot believe his ears, and taken aback by his arrogant words he spoke without thinking. 'How dare you speak such words, you...!'
'How?', he said quietly. 'Because I know. Everything. In the end, I was once the one to stand there...'
The look in his eyes scared the young healer to death, and suddenly afraid for his life, he remembered that they have the one that had killed Sarah not too far from her house, for he was wounded and dying himself. But as he died, he did not stop muttering about...
'The green eyes cursing him to the pits of Alvalor...'
'Yes.', answered Killion.
'Did you say something?', as she took the steep back, Etian's anger lessen and she was able to think clearly once again.
'I told you', Killion spoke in hushed, cold voice , 'to shut your mouth!'Sudden burst of pain in her legs made the woman fall down on her knees. She screamed.
'You', he spoke again, 'were created a thousand years after I was born.' He came one step closer to her. 'And you have no right', he said scornfully as he raised his left hand in front of him, 'to speak of such things. So, you should shut your mouth', he carefully bent his fingers in the sign of the powers he once had, and yelled, 'and know your place!'
With the loud crash of thunder, darkness came.