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The Assassin The Soldier And The Thief
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Writer Nelso555
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The Assassin The Soldier And The Thief
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#36
Chapter 36 - Negotiations
Nelso555
Dec 15, 2017
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12 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!Q6bagYvmp9fBtkBZWUYsposted on PENANA

The gentle wind swept through the vast fields beyond the Sandra River, and the bitter aroma of the blood-poppies surrounded him as he walked. For a dream, Arlandra found this a little too vivid, and he began to think that he wasn’t dreaming at all.copyright protection7PENANAbcm5R2Ta5p

It was morning in his dream – he could see the sun slowly climbing away from the field, which was sprinkled with millions of tiny droplets of water, each one exploding with a vibrant red light. Where were his friends? He tried to find Juliet, but soon realised that he was alone, or at least he thought he was, until a familiar voice broke out from behind him.copyright protection7PENANAQVv15M0A8p

“Hello Arlandra,” said Ariana, the goddess stood as a dark figure against the vibrant poppy field. Arlandra turned around as she strolled towards him with the Sandra River at her back. “I must say,” she continued, “your head is quite a stunning place, so many colours.”copyright protection7PENANAJo1dJCcFwb

“Do you make a habit of invading peoples dreams?” Arlandra asked.copyright protection7PENANA8IouNfxHpD

“No,” the goddess replied, “only when I need something from them.”11Please respect copyright.PENANAR8jUzJWrkS
“And what more would you have of me?”copyright protection7PENANA6gyCiEojfx

“Consider this a reinforcement of our previous agreement. I’d to ask you a question.”copyright protection7PENANAIZVKcFmpkT

Ariana stood uncomfortably close to Arlandra – so much that he could smell her; a sweet scent, and he could see up close the details in her pale face.copyright protection7PENANAAtBYYpdw6D

“Go ahead,” he inclined.copyright protection7PENANA9dUIPcnevD

“When you were in the temple, fighting against Sam and Christel, why didn’t you use your powers?”copyright protection7PENANALeCHYPmleH

Arlandra turned away from her, creating some distance. He found it hard to put this into words. “When I was in that prison camp… I killed at least six people. Six lives undeserving of death were taken by my hands.”copyright protection7PENANAePbQO9g2Gm

“It was necessary,” Ariana said.copyright protection7PENANAFQAAzpMWDi

“No,” he argued. “I took a vow long ago to protect the innocent. You can never justify taking a life that is not meant to be taken.”11Please respect copyright.PENANAtEjaT4mfxb
“So it is your power you fear.”copyright protection7PENANAApxc7v1tRg

The assassin glanced down at his hands, slowly curling his fingers into a fist. “I don’t trust myself to control it. What if I become like Garn? What if I hurt Juliet? What if I hurt my friends?”copyright protection7PENANAb65mXUwdWc

“Well would you look at that,” the goddess remarked. “You of all people speaking of friends.”copyright protection7PENANAAC3acCzZzd

Arlandra paused for a moment. “When I was in that temple I came to realise something, that no one can survive in this world on their own. I will not use my power if it threatens the lives of those around me.”copyright protection7PENANAh9DOmKkoeb

“You know, there’s a reason they call me the goddess of fate, Arlandra. Like it or not, you have those powers now, and if you don’t learn to control them soon, they’ll destroy you.” She placed her hands on Arlandra’s shoulders. “This is your destiny, Arlandra Knight, embrace it.”11Please respect copyright.PENANA8OUPOcuKeT
The assassin glared over the expanse of poppies, watching as the wind rippled through every single one. Each poppy represents a life. Each life I must protect. If a life must be taken so that others may flourish, then that is a price I will pay. I will defeat you, Garn Pallerii, so that all these lives may be at peace.copyright protection7PENANAEpiKLfEisA

“Show me how to control my power,” he said. “Teach me how to use it.”copyright protection7PENANAv2dydpbNpL

Ariana simply smiled. “That is precisely why I’m here.”copyright protection7PENANA0GVEvhpQFD

Arlandra wasn’t sure, but he had a feeling that the sun wasn’t moving. It seemed stuck after it had just peeked over the horizon. How long had he been dreaming? He was dreaming, right?copyright protection7PENANA2k2k5OzJ62

The pale goddess strolled beside him as they walked through the poppy field. “There’s a part to the tale of the shemn that Korasuun failed to mention back at the temple,” she explained. “A thousand years ago, when the shemn infused the power of benezia with their own bodies, they released what you guys call red energy into the world. Unlike its sibling, that is, blue energy, red energy responded directly with the souls of living creatures. So, the shemn were destroyed and a few hundred years later, you humans came along, built your cities and, using the Benezian crystals, industrialised your nation. But there were some among you who took a different approach, souls that reacted with the stagnant red energy in a fundamental way, so that they were able to manipulate the energy around them and produce magic. But of course these sorcerers were feared because of their power, and for hundreds of years they were frowned upon, until at last your former king found it necessary to hunt them down and annihilate them.”11Please respect copyright.PENANAE62X1BHX21
“So you’re saying that the power that Garn and I possess is magic?” Arlandra found it hard to think about, having dozens or even hundred of people out there who were just like he and Garn.copyright protection7PENANAkB5xaiXl5m

“That’s right,” Ariana answered, “and it’s a power that you have possessed your entire life, you simply didn’t know about it.”copyright protection7PENANA6632KzjapZ

“Wait,” Arlandra stopped her, “are you saying that my father could have possessed the same power that I do?” Arlandra was awestruck. Could it be possible? He wondered. Could Taelliwey have killed my father because of his magic? Is that why he left me with the assassins? To protect me?copyright protection7PENANANskPMpEm9K

“I know what you’re thinking,” said Ariana, “however I’m afraid our time is running short. When Garn is defeated you will be able to find the answers you seek, but for now, it’s time to teach you how to fight using magic.”copyright protection7PENANAptmu1wMZSS

At first Arlandra was still reluctant to summon any kind of energy, and when he did the result frightened him, and he stopped. However, Ariana made him do it again and again and again.copyright protection7PENANAmZYp1JZlTo

“The reason you killed those men in Old Durren was because you couldn’t regulate the amount of energy you used in a single blow. It’s like firing a cannon to stun a fly.”copyright protection7PENANAkHQExD4b0d

Soon, and with practise, he was able to focus, meditate and concentrate his flow of energy until he could release little bursts of red light, one at a time.copyright protection7PENANAWpGjTIQGII

“Another thing that you will need to understand is there are ways to manipulate energy other than firing concentrated blasts at any one location.” Ariana plucked a blood-poppy from the ground and showed it to him. “See this poppy,” she said. “I want you to slow down the particles that make up this poppy until it freezes.”copyright protection7PENANAz4IytJit5c

At first Arlandra claimed that the task was impossible, but after a while he felt that the poppy was cold to the touch, so at least he was making progress.copyright protection7PENANASpTJ4qm9Cm

His next task was the opposite. Increase the speed of the particles until the poppy burst into flame. He tried for a long time, however he came to realise how heavy his body was growing. Eventually he lost focus and the poppy exploded with a hot bright light in Ariana’s hand. The goddess seemed to shake it off, even though it would have annihilated even the strongest of men. Her body and even her clothes were unharmed.copyright protection7PENANAmyM3SGLInt

“You look tired,” the goddess said. “We’re done. It’s time to wake up.”copyright protection7PENANAqWy9u2SMvX

“I can keep going.” Arlandra urged, panting.copyright protection7PENANAYnnS6sisBV

“This isn’t a matter of physical strength,” she explained. “Even though you’re asleep your body is sapping more energy by the second. You’ll need your strength if you’re going to fight Garn. Wake up, you’ve learned enough.”copyright protection7PENANAPXtC1miM4F

Arlandra opened his eyes and felt the warm dry air of the Morroak Desert brush against his face. It was still morning. The assassin sat up under the tree that he had used for shelter from the sun. Juliet was by his side. “You were sweating,” she said with concern, “I was worried.”copyright protection7PENANAgvCOE6QxTl

“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” he said softly, not wanting to involve her in his fears.copyright protection7PENANAuSISKPl3iX

Christel approached. “Arlandra! We tried to wake you. Damn you’re a heavy sleeper.” The thief handed him a slip of paper. “We’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is we know where Garn is. The bad news is, he knows where we are, and he knows what we’re doing.”11Please respect copyright.PENANAQwFaGyf3NM
Arlandra turned the slip of paper over to find a message neatly inscribed, that said;copyright protection7PENANAY8VsKWO3IT

‘Arlandra Knight, Samuel Ford, and Christel Saan, I trust you enjoyed your chat with Korasuun. It would appear that after all of my efforts, you three are still after me, to which I say, let us end this wild goose-chase. I have little interest in the soldier and the thief, however I have a special request to ask of Arlandra Knight. I would have no further blood shed, so I shall await you outside the southern gate into Torren, and we can settle this like gentlemen. See you there, and don’t keep me waiting.’copyright protection7PENANAIZolO2rEzl

Arlandra read the letter twice. Garn’s proposal was no doubt a trap. So what should he do? What does he want with me?copyright protection7PENANA04eJXYyi2Q

“Well?” Christel urged. “What do you think?”copyright protection7PENANAg1YbuJ7jMQ

Arlandra returned the slip of paper. “I think it’s a trap. Where’d this come from?”copyright protection7PENANAcvQAQEDijc

“It came,” said Samuel Ford, “from a guy in a suit. He said Garn Pallerii sends his regards.”copyright protection7PENANAEjhS3eRBxT

“So what are we going to do?” Hazel asked.copyright protection7PENANAsOVrZpb7JX

“Well I say we go,” replied Sam. “We know where he is. Trap or no, this is our chance.”copyright protection7PENANAXVsOwjs9BL

“I agree,” said Arlandra. “The sooner we face Garn the sooner this will all be over. This way may have already started but we can still end it before it gets too out of control.”copyright protection7PENANAmg5E88TZKr

The group exchanged glances for a brief moment. And then Christel spoke, “all right, then we go to Torren.”11Please respect copyright.PENANAfWA9Momh9B
copyright protection7PENANATdfOFeeQlX

The smoke trailed high above the city, mingling with the blue sky, black and thick, swirling around to give the illusion that a volcano had sprung up where the city had once been. Of course, as they drew nearer they found no such volcano, but the sight frightened them all the same, even Arlandra.copyright protection7PENANANjTg7pzAzb

The main gate into the city was gone, reduced to rubble and ashes, and sent away with the desert wind. How? Arlandra asked himself. What were these creatures? More importantly, how did they manage to take over an entire city like this?copyright protection7PENANAlWrrAAztzk

The first sighting he had of one of the shemn was the silhouette of a misshapen body as it patrolled across the top of the city wall. Then the creature was gone, and they all felt very alone. The aroma of fire and destruction filled the air, within smoke that drifted across the broken city with the wind. They approached the burning city and stopped outside the destroyed gate, not daring to go any further.copyright protection7PENANAUsxahcov2K

Arlandra heard Sam groan in anger and watched him kick a piece of burnt wood across the dust. “Arrgh! Garn!” he yelled. “How could you!”copyright protection7PENANAtQ4m7cMHMl

Garn’s figure appeared from the smoke beyond the destroyed gate. His face had grown paler, his hair thinner, and his eyes redder. He is not the man he once was, Arlandra realised, suddenly becoming filled with anxiety. Did his powers do that to him? His hands began to shake as he continued to watch Garn’s figure slowly walk from the ashes. I mustn’t show fear. I will not let this power destroy me.copyright protection7PENANAT8ikzSV9mu

Beside Garn were two of the creatures that they all knew as the shemn. Standinga head higher than their leader, they had the same general human shape as everyone else he knew – however their arms and legs were longer. Their dark skin, if you could call it skin, was completely solid. Both without hair, one of the creatures had a wedge in the side of its face as if it had been struck by an axe, and both of its terrible yellow eyes were off-balanced. There was no white in their eyes, only black, which made it impossible to tell what they were looking at.copyright protection7PENANAthX1reeQKh

Arlandra was sure however, that they were all staring at him.copyright protection7PENANABe7FBfSnWE

Garn gestured for Sam to quieten his voice. “You shouldn’t raise your voice here, you wouldn’t want to provoke my new friends.”copyright protection7PENANAJPN1amU5vg

“What do you want with me?” questioned Arlandra, not wanting to start any major conflicts, and not wanting to spend anymore time here.copyright protection7PENANAzZxx1ZLfPw

Garn’s lips twisted into a smile. “Ah, straight to the point, excellent. What I want, Mr assassin, is for you to join me.”11Please respect copyright.PENANAaOIcLJNtHQ
“What?” Sam exclaimed, most likely out of fear. Arlandra assumed that the solider didn’t entirely trust him yet, and why should he?copyright protection7PENANAwqLE6mTYKP

“I know that you can feel it,” Garn continued, “the power flowing through your veins, so much destruction and death.”copyright protection7PENANACuEpvOMqUi

The soldier’s turned pale and he faced the assassin. “Arlandra what is he talking about?” Christel had a similar reaction, although he tried not to show it.copyright protection7PENANAGtie0jdMy3

They don’t know yet.copyright protection7PENANAj4t4IzqCxb

“Go on,” said Garn, “tell them.”copyright protection7PENANAraF6AbVnBP

“Tell us what, Arlandra?”copyright protection7PENANAFiiXwjgK6O

When Arlandra remained silent, Garn continued. “Your friend here possesses the same terrific powers as I do. I’m surprised he never told you.”copyright protection7PENANANqTguCQVeo

Sam glared at Arlandra with hard oppressive eyes.copyright protection7PENANA6FzLLaWHxy

“What do you hope to gain by having me on your side?” Arlandra said quickly.copyright protection7PENANAwdQPan9r7f

“We are the same, you and I,” said Garn mischievously. “What has this world ever done for you? You have no place here, but I can give you purpose and meaning.”copyright protection7PENANAgUF9baM260

“I have a purpose,” Arlandra exclaimed. “I am going to defeat you, and I won’t rest until you’re dead.”copyright protection7PENANArcG0YsbV9I

Garn clenched his fists but held his expression. “You are going to regret that!” He sent his two disfigured bodyguards back through the smoke. “My accomplice and I have run out of patience, and so within twenty-four hours I am going to destroy the town of Riftsire. If you can save it, I’ll know once and for all what you’re worth, but if you can’t, then I’ll have no choice but to kill you.”copyright protection7PENANAtFVku6HDxO

Sam suddenly aimed his revolver at Garn’s head. “You bastard!” he yelled.copyright protection7PENANATNJzXVJJXP

“Uh, now think about this,” Garn started. “I’m giving you a head start. I’m feeling merciful today so I will let you go. If you do, however, decide to face me now then by all means give it your best shot, but Riftsire and its people will all be destroyed.”copyright protection7PENANAKp2qq1SBW1

Christel, who had been silent for most of the time, placed a soft hand of Sam’s shoulder. “Another time,” he said, “we have to get to Riftsire.”copyright protection7PENANAjqHfKblsPT

Sam yelled out in fury. So much death. So much devastation. And this was only the beginning.copyright protection7PENANAhIH0iEW2oT

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