Chapter 3

The bodies of the four Skakdi mercenaries were just lying there. Orxon could have buried the bodies, but he decided to not do it. He had been a little surprised by the fact that there were only four Skakdi, but it was just to his advantage. Besides, if he would take the time to bury the bodies, he would get caught unguarded once the other Skakdi warriors appeared. He also didn't want to waste time doing that either. It was a few miles to the closest town, and if he had any luck he wouldn't run into trouble. But he never was a lucky guy.

It was only now he remembered they had mentioned a prisoner of sorts, and her implied fate. Hearing it had sickened him, but there was nothing he could do about it. Whoever the prisoner was still had her fate in the hands of a bunch of Skakdi’s.

Just as he entered the woods, he saw three beings emerge from within the forest. Two of them were brutish looking Skakdi, obviously in Akron's war party. The third one however, seemed to be the prisoner. There was a bag over her head and her hands were cuffed behind her back, and by the rest of the body he could see that the being was a Toa. The blue and gold colors told him that it was a Toa of Psionics. The two Skakdi were looking angrily at him.

“Well, well. Another little, puny Toa” one of them said. Then he saw the rests of their camp, and his jaw dropped.

“How... in oblivion... What have you...?” He tried to say things, but he was so shocked he could barely speak. The other Skakdi had seen it too, and he was as much as shocked as his friend.

“Yeah, what you’re looking at now is the remains of your friends. And if you haven’t added one and one by now, it's my handiwork. And if I were you, I would run as fast as I possibly could. Because otherwise you might get killed,” Orxon said.

He was hoping that they would actually run, but if not then two more bodies wouldn’t make a big difference... Killing was now a reflex of his and every battle would end with a death, whatever it was his own death or the enemies’ death. The two Skakdi just looked at each other, and suddenly they dropped their weapons and ran away really fast.

“What about the prisoner?” one of them shouted to the other.

“Forget the prisoner, just run!” was the answer. Orxon had a hard time trying not to laugh at this, he had never before seen two brute-looking Skakdi running away in fear. He was however brought back to reality very quickly.

“Are... are they gone?” the prisoner asked.

“Yes. Hold still for just a few seconds and I'll release you.” He quickly untied her hands and removed the bag from her head. She turned around to face him.

“Thanks.” She was wearing a gold Kakama, the mask of speed, on her face. Her blue eyes gave a look of relief and a slight smile appeared under her mask.

“You're welcome.” But then her expression changed to a worried one.

“Did you... kill these other Skakdi?” Orxon sighed.

“Yes, I killed them. It's not something I'm proud of, but... it has become a part of me, unfortunately.” He didn't really know what else to say. All she did was to nod. She looked like she was about to say something though, but she didn’t say anything.

Orxon hesitated for a second, not sure what to do really. On one hand he really wanted to just get away and continue on his path of vengeance, but on the other he couldn’t just leave her here. Although he didn’t consider himself a Toa anymore, he eventually decided to do what was right.

“You know, if you’d like too I could help you back to your home. I'm sure your village is worried about you...”

“I appreciate your offer… but I'm never going back home, ever.” He almost regretted asking that question, because she seemed a bit upset when she answered. He was silent for a while, curios of why she didn’t want to get back home but he figured she didn’t want to tell him.

“Do you have anywhere else you could go?” he asked.

“No, I don’t have anywhere to go…” she replied almost silently whilst looking away from him.

“Unless…” she started, but went silent before finishing.

“Unless what?” he asked. She gave him an odd look as she crossed her arms.

“Nothing… It was just a stupid idea.” Whether it was stupid or not, he thought it would still be better than nothing.

“Well, I’m not going to leave you here like this until you tell me what’s on your mind. I’m sure it can’t be that bad.”

She bit her lip as she considered sharing what had come to mind, and eventually decided to tell it before she would regret doing so.

“Um, this is really straightforward for me, and you’re probably going to think it’s a strange question, but... can I, um, join you? You know, as a… fellow traveler, I suppose.” Orxon was surprised by this question. For some reason, he really wanted to know more about her, what her story was and why she had been a prisoner. But at the same time, he didn't want to bring her on a journey that might get both of them killed

“I don't know... the path I'm walking on is a dangerous one. I don't want anyone to risk their lives for my... goal,” he said.

“Well... it can't be worse than my so-called home.” That was not something he had expected to hear. He thought for a few seconds, and then made a quick decision.

“Alright, you can come with me if you really want to, at least for the time being. But, you have to do exactly as I say. Do we have an agreement?” She nodded to him.

“By the way, my name is Veerah. I... thought it could be good to know.”

“Well, it's nice to meet you Veerah. You can call me Orxon.”

“It's nice to meet you too, Orxon. I can't remember when I last met someone nice.” Orxon didn't ask what she meant, because he had a feeling that she didn't want to talk about it.

“The closest town is just a few miles away from here, and that's where we're headed. And excuse me if I'm not in the mood to talk, I... need to collect my thoughts. My mind is like a labyrinth right now,” Orxon said.

“I understand, I... kind of feel the same,” Veerah said. Orxon nodded.

“Alright, let's go,” he said and started to walk in the direction of the town. Veerah followed him very closely, but far enough to give him some space. In the distance, Orxon could see the sun high in the sky.

He felt conflicted about letting Veerah join his company. On one hand, he was happy to have some company after mostly being alone for almost a year, even though they currently were not sharing any words between each other. But on the other, he couldn’t let her into the end of the line, but he supposed they would just have to part ways once they had to cross that bridge.

Besides, there was something about her… He couldn’t tell what it was though, no matter how hard he tried to put his finger on it. But for now, he decided to just be happy about his new companion, even if it was just for the time being.

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