307 The Dream before Death II
Ebony? Only…it didn't look like the Ebony he remembered.
This Ebony wore an outfit entirely in black. Breeches and knee-high boots, with a long sleeve shirt and a leather vest. Her straw-blonde hair was long, but was tied in a single braid that hung down her back. And in her hand…she held a long sword.
He'd never seen her wield a weapon. She didn't even know how to. This can't have been Ebony.
But when he met her eyes, they were the same green he remembered, not eerie blue.
Perhaps because this was a dream…
But his instincts told him otherwise. They insisted that this was her.
"Ebony?" he asked.
She paused a few steps from him, her sword held out to the side in a ready position. The crowd around them roared. Aegin ignored them as he stared at her, "I will not fight you. Not you".
Ebony's eyes narrowed, then she stepped forward, and her body blurred.
Aegin sucked in a breath, lifting his spear to parry her blow as he shifted to the side. That speed���
"You can't be!" snapped Aegin as he turned on her, "You can't have made that choice! He turned you, didn't he! He made you this monster".
Ebony's eyes flashed a shade of red before she launched forward at him fiercely. He met her every blow. She was far more skilled than when he had taught her, but still no match for him. He attempted to disarm her, and found her fist in his face. He rolled back in shock, and she thrust towards him again.
"Ebony, no!" he shouted over the roaring crowd, "This isn't you!"
She ignored him as she continued to fight him, the rage turning her eyes crimson.
"You're not this!" Aegin insisted, "The woman I knew was not a monster, she was strong, and smart and kind. She was not this! She was not a bloodthirsty, conscienceless Vampire!"
Aegin's eyes widened, and he spun around to take in the other figure standing there, dark eyes and hair, pale skin…no. He couldn't be here, it was just a dream.
"Just a dream…" Aegin whispered.
The Other's eyes narrowed, "You say any more in this so-called dream, and you will regret it".
Aegin gritted his teeth as rage burned through him, "DON'T YOU DARE! YOU DON'T GET TO SPEAK HERE! YOU-"
Aegin instantly shifted, but was just an instant too late to escape the blow entirely. Ebony's blade cut his arm before he managed to parry it. She rolled away, then paused.
Aegin watched her as she kneeled on the ground with her back to him, her weight on the sword before her.
Her shoulders shuddered, and Aegin heard her choke back a sob.
Aegin took a step forward, and Ebony sent a glare at him over her shoulder, the track of a tear on the corner of her eye, "I thought I was just a monster? A bloodthirsty, conscienceless Vampire?"
She turned away before she stood. She took a deep breath, then turned and stabbed her blade into the ground between them, dragging it in a line along the ground.
Then she stepped back and met his gaze, "You're the one that made me draw this line, Aegin. You're the one that left. You're a hypocritical ass…" she trailed off, more tears coming to her eyes as she bit her lip. She glanced at Rassa, then back at him, "And I really hope that one day you'll come back to me".
Then she turned around and faded as she walked away.
Aegin watched her fade, not realising that he'd shed his own tears until he felt them on his neck. He swallowed back his emotions, refusing to turn and look at the Other.
"She thinks this is a normal dream. She'll wake and go on with her life," said the Other, "But we both know this isn't a normal dream, or Ebony and I wouldn't be here".
Aegin, turned to glare at the Other, "It's not your business".
The Other narrowed his eyes, "I'm not declaring that it is. In fact, I'm not sticking around either. But take it from someone who knows; running from your problems doesn't solve them, it just gives them power over you".
"I don't want your advi-"
"Glad you're alive, Aegin. For her sake, stay that way," he said, then he turned and stepped to the side and vanished.
Aegin held his breath for a moment, expecting them to reappear, when they didn't, he exhaled, shaking his head. He paused for a moment, then with a roar he threw the spear to the side.
It embedded into the sandstone wall of the Arena, and a crack formed. Slowly, the Arena around him crumbled and gave way to darkness.
"Time to wake up now, Aegin," he said to himself.
Sevis watched as his brothers sparred, their father overlooking the match and giving pointers. He clung to his mother's billowing skirt, his fingers nervously in his mouth. His mother, sensing his unease, place a warm and gentle hand on his head.
"It's okay, Sevis, they won't hurt each other, not too badly anyway," said his mother.
"Is everyone so fierce when they fight?" asked Sevis as he looked up at his mother.
His mother chuckled, "Not always, your brothers seem to be particularly passionate. But they've got something worth protecting".
"What?" asked Sevis.
His mother looked down at him, then knelt down to his level, "Well, you'll have to ask them, just as you'll have to find something that you wish to protect".
Sevis frowned, "Well I bet Kay will protect the Tribe, and Logos will protect Kay. But I…I'm not strong enough to protect either".
"You will be, if you want to be," said his mother, "It just takes time".
"But what if the things I want to protect don't need protecting?" asked Sevis.
His mother placed a hand over his heart, "You'll find something worth protecting. One day".
Sevis turned back to look at the fight, only to find that it was his older self, sparring with Aegin.
"You're not bad," he grinned.
Aegin shrugged, "We can't all be Tribesman, but that doesn't mean we can't all be fighters of some description".
"What do you fight for?" asked Sevis.
Aegin chuckled, "At the moment? Mostly myself. I'll find something eventually though that's worth more than that".
"How are you so sure?" asked Sevis.
"I've got a long time to search," Aegin replied.
Sevis rolled his eyes, "Right, of course…"
"I also made a promise to myself to do just that," said Aegin, "So, if it takes a few years or a few hundred years, I'll find it".
They settled into a stance opposite each other, "Why do you ask?"
Sevis sighed, relaxing a little, "I just…I love my home, but I've never really felt…I don't know…like I have a place here, I guess".
Aegin shrugged, "So look somewhere else".
"I've never left the Tribe," Sevis frowned.
"Doesn't mean you can't," said Aegin, "Besides, the Tribe will still be here, you've leaving it in capable hands, aren't you?"
Sevis gave a small smile, "I hope so. I don't think I'm Chieftain material".
Aegin shrugged, "Neither to I".
Sevis scoffed, then he grinned and lunged forward.