Once Walked With Dragons

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Chapter Thirty Three

Keara was still wandering around the forest, still carrying her weapons. She knew that as long as Sharzak’s life-force flowed through her veins, she would not be free of Salerra’s bloodlust.

She stood next to the stream, staring down at her reflection, still not able to recognize the being she had become.
‘Hello Keara.’ a voice came from the bushes.
‘Hello Korian.’ Keara greeted, ‘Didn’t expect to see you in this part of the forest.’
‘I’m your guardian, Keara. I go wherever you go.’ Korian said as he walked over to her.
Keara sat down next to the stream, hugging her knees to her chest, ‘So, you were there when I killed all those people?’
‘Yes, I was.’ Korian answered.
‘Why didn’t you stop me?’ a tear started rolling down her cheek.
‘You were fully under the control of Sharzak. You wouldn’t have listened to reason; only attempted to tear me apart.’ Korian explained.
‘I guess that’s true.’
‘Even now, you have the urge to rip me to shreds, don’t you?’
Keara just looked at Korian. It was clear that the creature still had a lust for destruction. She turned her gaze back to the stream. She was starting to feel as though all hope was lost for her.
‘There is a way for you to regain control over your life, Keara.’ Korian started, ‘As well as Salerra.’
Keara looked at Korian again, a slight gleam of hope in her eyes.
‘But it will be painful.’ Korian informed.
‘It can’t be more painful than anything I’ve already experienced.’
‘Oh, it will be, Keara. It will be much more painful than anything you could possibly imagine; and it will also test your will to survive.’
‘What?’
‘The only way to regain control of your life, is to remove what is controlling you now.’
‘You mean, remove the very life-force that is keeping me alive.’
‘Yes.’ Korian replied bluntly.
Keara was silent for a moment, ‘If I survive, will I then have control over Salerra?’
‘If you have the will power, yes, eventually.’
‘What if I can’t?’ Keara doubted herself.
Korian looked into her eyes, ‘Now is not the time to start doubting yourself, Keara. You will gain complete control of the creature in time. You will be a part of it as much as it is a part of you.’
‘So, how do I remove this life-force?’ Keara wanted to know.
‘How do you remove any life-force, Keara?’
Keara’s eyes widened when she realized what Korian meant, ‘You mean, actually try to kill myself?’
‘Yes.’ Korian answered calmly.
Keara wore an expression of disbelief.
‘It’s your choice, Keara. But if you want your life back, this is the only way.’
Korian left Keara with those words. She knew it was the only way to regain what she had lost. But the risk was great. There was a very big chance that she would not survive. In a way, she thought, it would be a good thing if she was no longer alive; at least the world would be free of the terror and destruction she had already left in her wake. But in the dream she had, it seemed that her staying alive, was critical to the survival of the world around her.
It had started raining again, but Keara didn’t seem to notice.
She pulled her weapons closer and removed one of the daggers. It started glowing red, burning her hand; it did not accept the evil she had become. But she didn’t drop it. She stood up and removed her cloak. It was now or never. She took a deep breath, took hold of the dagger with both hands, turning the blade towards her. Then without any further hesitation, she plunged the dagger into her ribs, exactly where Scander had stabbed her. Her back hunched as she realized the pain, but it was still bearable; until she pulled out the dagger. Suddenly, the pain became so excruciating that she dropped the dagger and fell to her knees. She was gasping for air, but it simply wouldn’t enter her lungs. With one hand clutching her ribs and one hand on the ground to keep her from collapsing completely, she could feel the evil life-force circulating in her veins, refusing to exit her body without a fight. The life-force was trying to take control of her body again; she started scratching her stab wound, trying to tear it out of her body. She started screaming; the pain becoming even more unbearable. Her eyes were flashing different colours. She started scratching her stomach with both hands, then scratched at her arms, her shoulders and neck, her legs. She wanted this evil life-force out of her body. She didn’t care if she died, but she refused to remain a puppet any longer. She could no longer stand the pain.
‘Get out!!!’ she yelled at the top of her lungs; her voice echoing through the forest.
Then suddenly, a black, yellow, red substance started pouring out of her stab wound, out of every cut and scratch on her body. She screamed as the substance; the life-force drained out of her body. She couldn’t move; her body remained frozen until every ounce of that evil life-force was drained from her body. Finally her body was released and she collapsed. She gasped for air. Her body felt numb. She felt pain, but now it was at least bearable. She couldn’t move; she was too weak. But if she didn’t move, she would surely die.

On the brink of death; Keara lifted her head, even though it was only a few inches. She very slowly and painfully moved her arms forward, one by one, digging her fingers into the ground, dragging herself towards the stream only mere inches away, though it seemed like miles. She slowly slipped into the water. Shortly afterwards, her clothes started dissipating as that strange silver substance started covering her body, just like before. At least now, Keara knew she would live. She had overcome her first obstacle.

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