The Hero from the Mountain

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Chapter 2

Saphira slowly opened her eyes, only seeing black. She guessed that she still had the blindfold on. Her eyes were burning as well, and she was in more pain than she was before. She tried listening to see if anyone was nearby, but she couldn't feel or hear anyone. That girl, Faith. What exactly does she want with me. She said she gave me the ability to see the truth, but what's that supposed to mean? She thought, noticing that she was lying down on a bed. She sat up, hearing a chain move as she did. It was tied to her right ankle. Well, someone didn't want me to leave. She thought, hearing a door opened to her right.

"Well, you seem awake. I wasn't expecting you to wake up so soon," the person said, Saphira recognizing the voice. It was the same woman, Faith. What exactly does she want, anyway? She thought, not really answering her. "You're eyes won't heal just because you're awake. Why not close your eyes and rest some more?" she suggested, though she was very against it.

"And how do I know you're not just trying to do something else? I might have lived a peaceful life up in the mountains, but that doesn't mean I'm not careful," she said, staying put. She could hear a small laugh from Faith. Her steps came closer to her, Saphira keeping her guard up. She felt her sitting down on of the edge of the bed she was on.

"Why, are you afraid of me? I don't see what I've done to make you fear me," she said in a very innocent voice. Yeah, other than making my eyes hurt like hell and taking me somewhere I don't have a clue where is. Saphira thought, not answering her. The door Faith came through making a lot of sound. She thought someone was banging as hard as they could on the door, and it sounded like it was made of metal.

"Faith, are you in here? What are you doing?" it sounded like the voice of a male. She could kind of hear Faith say something, but wasn't able to catch what she said. She also didn't recognize the voice from the door, so she could assume it wasn't one of the ones that she fought not too long ago

"Yes, and do not come in. You should know that I need time by myself after showing you the path of truth," she said, making her even more confused. Path of truth? Does that have anything to do with the mirror? She thought, staying quiet.

"I know, just wondering why you were in such a hurry to get back here before anyone else had a chance to take a look around this place for intruders. And the old man asks if you could help Erik with something," the voice continued, Saphira looking over in the direction she thought Faith was in. She remembered the name Erik, from the boy she helped earlier. So, she is involved with them. She thought, narrowing her eyes. But she new Faith couldn't see them.

"I'll be there soon, I must rest a bit more before I do anything," she answered, the man accepting it and left. Saphira kept still and quiet, not wanting to get more involved or in trouble for that matter.

"Alright, where exactly are we? I know who Erik is already. One of the guys making a mess earlier. What exactly do you have to do with them?" she asked, the bed moving a bit. She guessed Faith got up.

"That's for another time. Now, I will take you to a place near where you first met Erik and you can continue on your journey. When you arrive, locate the next town over to get some information. Also, you're eyes are fine now. Even if they still seem like they're burning, they've healed," she explained, Saphira feeling like she was floating. It was a similar feeling to before, only a little different this time.

"If what you did to my eyes helps me, then thanks. If not, you're gonna get it," she said before feeling very odd. Like she wasn't intact anymore.

Before she could understand it, she landed on a soft ground. She guessed it was grass, seeing how it wasn't sticky. She took off the cloth, Her vision was a little blurry, but she was able to see just fine. She looked around, noticing Sektories just below her. She looked over to her right, seeing the mountain where she lived.

"Well, whatever she did, at least it worked. Now, I better see if I can find the nearest town. Where should I start looking?" she asked herself, walking a little. As she did, she kicked something. She looked down and noticed her bag, making her a little confused and relieved at the same time. "At least I don't have to look for it in the town," she said to herself, picking it up and swung it over her shoulder.

After about 5 minutes of walking, she arrived at a very rich and healthy looking city. She could hear bells ringing throughout it. She noticed a huge church towering over the city. Or, she thought it looked like a church. She hadn't actually seen one before. but her father had told her how they looked like. The people around this place were smiling, laughing, kids were playing around, it looked like anyone's paradise. Even she felt this was way better than her own home town.

As she was strolling around the city, she noticed some activities taking place in the field. She noticed a lot of them having a lot of fun, smiling at their expressions. However, as she noticed more and more people, she saw most of them looked almost depressed. She was confused by why they didn't just leave if they were unhappy. She saw two people standing close to the field, but weren't actually taking part. She asked them why the ones who didn't like it didn't leave.

"It's because they can't if they try and leave, they'll get in trouble with the Order. We have to do these at least once a day. Not everyone likes being active all the time," they said, mumbling away. Saphira thanked them before walking off, looking a little annoyed.

"One thing this place doesn't seem to have. Freedom. They're forced to take part in the activities. I would've given them a piece of my mind before that," she said, her voice low so only she could hear it. "Anyway, need to find some place to find good information about what's going on," she reminded herself, walking further through the streets.

She headed towards the church and saw a few people there, noticing something odd about them. They were all wearing snow white robes with golden lashes. She walked closer and asked if she was allowed inside. They told her no, in a very apologetic voice. They said the place was only for the Order and that it could bring bad luck if someone that wasn't a part of it went inside. She told them she understood and walked off, trying to find another place where she could find some information.

She noticed a small shop along the streets, looking like a weaponry. Might as well get my sword checked. I haven't in a while. She thought, fixing her bag on her shoulder and walked inside. As soon as the door opened, she could hear a loud banging of a hammer in the inside. once the door closed, the sound stopped and saw a man who walked out of a room. He went towards a counter in the center of the main room and wiped his hands.

"Well, there's a rare sight. Girls don't usually come walking in here. So, what can I help you with young lady?" he was a very big and strong looking man, almost scaring her. Though she kept her cool and looked completely normal. She put her bag down beside the counter and put her hand in the hilt of her sword.

"Mind looking at my sword? It's been a while since I've last had it checked," she said, drawing from its sheath. She lay it carefully on the counter, the man looking at it with awe.

"Whoa, that's a pretty nice sword you have there. This is probably one of the finest I've seen. I see a few recent scratches here, what you do?" he asked, Saphira telling him about the ruckus in the town over. She also took the time to ask if he knew anything about it. "No, sorry. And I doubt anyone wouldn't know about that. We don't get too caught up in things like that. Where you from anyway?" he asked, Saphira seeing no harm in telling him. She didn't think he would bother telling anyone. Besides, I doubt anyone in this town would even know it exist. We're kind of isolated. She pointed out to herself.

"The village known as Natallian, up on the mountains," she said, instantly being grabbed by the man. She almost hit him to make him let go if it wasn't for him being about twice her size. He pulled her into a smaller room and roughly threw her in. She hit her back to his desk, After he had closed the door he looked at her, with a mixed expression or worry and seriousness.

"You shouldn't be wandering here. People here think of you as a sin towards the Spirits because of how much free will you give them," he explained fast, and very unexpectedly. Saphira was shocked to say the least, but also very annoyed. And confused by why he was wanted to help her if that was the case. She asked him, point blank, the man hesitating for a bit. "Just an old legend," he mumbled. She looked at him, thinking over a few legends that came to mind.

" I know a few legends, though I don't recall one about someone from my village," she said the man telling her it was true. He peeked outside of the door, like he was expecting someone to show up. when it looked like he didn't see anyone, he closed it again and took a deep breath.

"It's said that a hero from the free village of the mountain will come down. When he or she does, the war will be at an end and the victor will be whoever the hero chooses. But the Order of this town says that it'll only bring more war and losses," he said, making Saphira think a bit. Interesting. And now I know why we didn't know about this legend. All our legends and myths are related to Spirits. This one isn't. She thought, both of them hearing someone knocking on the door. The man quickly left the room, Saphira following him.

"Well, if it isn't the order. How's it going?" he asked, going over to her sword. He took it with him to a oven and started working on it. Saphira stayed by the door, looking at the men. One of them, the one she thought was leading the group, was slightly different from the rest. The most notable difference was the color of his robes. They were the opposite of the others, gold robes with white sashes.

"We're doing quite fine. You're quite the gentlemen for asking, Jak. We came to see if you've been doing a good job taking care of people's wares," he said, looking at the sword he was working with. He turned around and looked at Saphira, who's expression didn't change. "Does this sword belong to you, young woman?" Saphira was about to say no, but as she thought of lying, her head started pounding.

"Yeah. Need some way to defend myself with everything that's happening out there. Or I'll be dead before I can walk 10 meters," she told him instead, not quite telling the truth, but not lying either. She guessed that with what Faith did to her, she couldn't lie anymore. The man, Jak, kept working, picking up a huge hammer and started working on the blade. The man ignored him and kept talking to Saphira.

"And why would someone like you need to defend yourself so greatly? I highly doubt people would just kill an innocent little girl when they see one," he asked, Saphira narrowing her eyes.

"With all due respect, I'd say you're dumb to think so narrow mindedly," she started, the other men following him giving her a cold stare. The one she was talking to, however, didn't. He just stood there and waited for her to finish. "There was trouble in Sektories. And I was there. That's why I want to defend myself," she gave a brief explanation, the man giving her a apologetic look.

"I see, that would certainly be a good reason to want to have a weapon in case of an attack. I've only heard of what happened. I unfortunately wasn't there myself. Well, I hope you'll enjoy your stay here in Rakterise and may the light of the Spirits shine bright on your path," he said, bidding farewell to both her and Jak. Once he was out, she pushed herself of the wall she was leaning against and walked towards Jak, who was done hammering for the moment.

"So, mind explaining what he was really doing here?" she asked, assuming he didn't just come here to see how the business was doing. Jak looked up at her and told her he was making sure that there weren't anyone involved in the war asking for better weapons. "They must really hate war,"

"It's not the war they hate, it's the Spirits most of them have. There are very few that a considered 'Light Spirits', ones with good heart," he said, Saphira rolling her eyes.

"I know what Light Spirits and Dark Spirits are. Did you already forget where I'm from?" she smirked, Jak looking back at her sword. He asked her to take a walk through the town while he was fixing her sword. She nodded, grabbed her bag and left the shop. She took a stroll through the streets of Rakterise. There were a lot of different shops. Herbal shops, clothing, shoes, armor, anything you could imagine.

However, there was only one shop that picked her interest. From what a few people on the streets told her, it was a shop that had items that would enhance the power you can use with the help of a Spirit. She went inside and looked around, the air a lot clearer than it saw outside for some reason. Air Spirit most likely. She thought, taking a few steps inside.

"Well, we have a customer. How may I help you, my lady?" she heard someone ask, looking to her right to see a small, chubby looking man with glasses. She asked him if he had anything for Fire Spirits, and his eyes grew big as he nodded. "We don't have much, with how few Fire Masters there are. You know how it is," he said, Saphira nodding. He lead her to the other end of the shop, a few items standing on shelves inside of glass.

"What kind of enhancements to they do exactly?" she asked, the man talking about a few of them, thought Saphira only saw use in two of them. One was control, as in making it so you couldn't use more of your Spirits power other than what you could control. The other one was contact. It would make the mind more capable of speaking to the Spirit. Though I don't really need either. She thought, looking through a little.

After a while, she noticed a necklace of a Dragon. I was silver, though the small gem in the eye was bright red. She moved her hand towards it and held it in her palm. She asked the man what this one did, the chubby man looking a little worried.

"It doesn't really do much unless you can use some special technique. Unfortunately, I don't know what that technique is," he said, Saphira looking at it closer. She asked him for the price, and it turned out it was quite cheap. I guess since no one knows what it improves, no one wants it. And there's very few Fire Masters around. She thought, handing him the money and thanking. She left and headed back to the weaponry, hoping Jak was finished. As she was walking, she took the necklace on around her neck and walked through the door once she arrived.

"Well, perfect timing. I'm done with the sword. Hope you didn't just wander around aimlessly," he told her. She shook her head, looking at her weapon. The edge was a lot sharper, just by looking she was able to notice it. He's pretty good, I'll say that at least. She thought, putting it back in its sheath. She looked around a little, seeing a small and sharp knife on the counter

"Where's that from? Looks a little fancy for such a small knife," she asked, Jak telling her it was used by people who killed swiftly and quietly back in the Dark Ages. Saphira looked at it, asking how much it was worth. He smiled to her and put it in its sheath, just handing it to her.

"You can just have it. No one uses something like this anymore. You should be able to find some use for it," he said, Saphira thanking him and accepted it. She fastened it to her belt so it was behind her. "Also, you'll want to head South of here. You'll find a town there. A friend of mine lives there and might be able to help you with anything you might need," he told her.

"Thanks, I really appreciate it," she said, bidding him good-bye as she left the shop. She walked towards the exit of the city. When she arrived there, she saw a group of men blocking the exit. A lot of people were surrounding them as well, making her curious about what was going on. She went to a woman she saw and asked if she knew anything.

"From what I've heard, there've been sightings of people involved in the war. They're making sure no one from this city leaves and that they don't come in," she explained, Saphira asking what the case would be if you're not from the city. "They'll probably let you leave. They know who's from and who's not, so you should be fine," she told her, Saphira thanking her as she made her way through the crowd.

"They're close by, so please, everyone get away from the entrance. We cannot risk you all getting hurt," she heard a male voice say, some of the people behind her not really listening to his advice. She made her way towards the right side of the exit, the group being more over to the left.

"What if it's nothing? We have work to do outside of the city and we have to do it now. Supplies are coming soon anyway, so you might have just confused that with the ones bringing the supplies," one of the people in the crowd said, Saphira looking behind her. She saw that the words the man had spoken seems to have given them some back bone. She kept moving, feeling the people behind her pushing closer to the gate, allowing her to get out without any of them noticing her.

Just to be on the safe side, she quickly made her way to a tree and stayed in there for awhile. Once she knew they hadn't seen her, she climbed higher up, put her bag down on one of the branches and looked around. The fields were calm, and the air was filled with untouched grass and trees. She closed her eyes for a second and took in the nice aroma.

"I better get to heading towards that town that guy Jak mentioned," she said, looking to the South. However, as she was about to jump down from the tree, she heard something underneath her. She looked down and saw a large group of people walking with sword on their left side. She moved slightly so she wouldn't get seen. As she did, she broke off a smaller branch and it fell on one of their heads. She quickly moved and held her breath, hoping her bag was out of sight.

"Is something up there?" she could hear him ask, calming down slightly.

"Other than a squirrel, I don't think so. I seriously doubt a Human could hide up there without falling because of his weight. And there's no way a girl would make her way up there," another laughed, Saphira sighing. One good thing about being a girl is that no one thinks you can do the same things a guy can. She thought, looking down at them.

"Men, start moving again! We don't have all day and we need to find the two Commanders of Shadow's Knight that escaped our grasp thanks to that strange fighter earlier," another one spoke up, Saphira looking at their armor. She noticed a symbol on their left shoulder, recognizing it slightly. That looks like the Royal Crest. Are they in the Army? She thought, going up to get her bag and was going to head down.

But as she made her way down, she heard a loud scream of pain. She looked towards the group, the men being killed one after another. Her body froze as her eyes grew, the man responsible appearing into her view. His eyes were blank and didn’t show any emotions. She could feel her heart pounding as she grew scared. She swallowed a lot of salvia and made her way down the tree slowly. Once she hit the ground, she hid behind it and placed her bag next to her.

"Y-you're Zack, the Second in Command of the Shadow's Knights! You're the one who destroys villages without a second thought" she could hear one of them say, who was trying to calm down. She looked over at him, seeing him stand over the man who just spoke.

"And what if I am? I don't regret any my actions," he said cold-heartedly. Saphira examined his clothing, and there was blood all over the front of his chest. She saw at least 5 men lying dead around him, and there were very few left. She clenched her fist and tightly closed her eyes, swallowing her fear and went into her bag. She pulled out the cloak and put it on her. She made sure she could be able to draw her sword without having to put it over the cloak. She pulled the hood over her head and looked over at him. His sword, covered in blood, was lifted over one of the men. She quickly drew her own sword and ran over and stopped in front of him. She blocked his attack and held her ground, biting her lower lip.

"Why are you killing them?" she asked quickly, some of the blood running over to her sword. He stared at her, Saphira trying to keep her cool. She slightly moved her head up to look at him, seeing him smirk. He put more pressure onto his sword, pushing her down. She tried pushing him up again, and was just barely able to make sure they were on even grounds.

"The battlefield is no place for a woman like you. Leave before I kill you too," he threatened her, making her ease up a little. She thought he knew she was scared now, but she had to keep her ground or more blood would be spilled. The men that were left got up and ran for their lives, Zack not bothering with them anymore. She felt a shiver down her spine, knowing he was more interested in her than them now. He showed her sword away from his and she saw him take one of his hands off the hilt. He moved it towards her throat and held a very firm grip on it. She closed her eyes and soon felt something hard hit her back, making her cough to get her breath back. The hood stayed on, that she was thankful for at least.

"Tch…you seem to like toying with people," she said, opening her eyes again. As she did, she noticed he was right in her face, his forehead resting on hers. Her eyes grew and she could feel her cheek burning up. Even though he was trying to kill her, it was still embarrassing to have a guy so close to your face. She noticed his other hand going towards her hood. She quickly moved her hand and grabbed his, stopping him. "Not a chance,"

"You think you're some kind of Hero? Sorry, kid. Go play hero somewhere else," he said, moving his head and grabbing her wrist, tightening his grip around her throat. She winced in pain, noticing the smirk on his face before he loosened his grip. This guy's sick. She thought, narrowing her eyes at him.

"I'm not trying to be anything. At the moment I was trying to stop you from killing those men. Since I've done that, I'm not doing anything other than talking to you," she answered with annoyance in her voice. She was still scared, but she had enough back bone to stand up for herself. She saw a smile growing on his face, which she wasn't expecting. "What is it?"

"You're an interesting one, I'll give you that. You're scared and yet you speak with so much spunk. There are too few girls like you. But," he started pulling her hood up a bit. She stopped him from pulling it off completely, but the light started shinning on her eyes. "You're talking to someone who has mastered the Dark Nightmare," he said, his eyes turning pitch black as he stared right into hers.

She stood by the altar to her house, the entire mansion in flames. She was looking around, searching for something, or someone.

"Mama, mama! Mama, where are you? Mama!" she cried, running towards the house. And she didn't notice either. She kept running, seeing her mother lying on the ground. "Mama!" she called, kneeling down beside her.

"Darling, you have to get out, or you'll die too. You won't be able to help me, dear. Go, find your brother and father, and get someplace far from this house," she told her, the girl shaking her head.

"You come too, Mama! Papa and Nate are already safe, they don't need me to tell them! I'll help you get out, so get up, Mama!" she cried, her mother giving a faint smile.

"My dear daughter, my most precious treasure. Don't let the world end up like our house. You might not be able to do much now, but you will once you've grown to a fine woman. Also, don't let your brother stray off his path, he's destined to lead the village," she gave one last request, the girl crying and refusing to leave her mother. But, after a while, she didn't have a choice.

The roof of the house fell down, and was about to hit both of them. But her mother reacted just in time and pushed her daughter out of range, being crushed in the process. Saphira called out to her mother, almost going over to try and dig her out, but Jacob arrived in time to stop her and took her on her back and left the burning mansion.

"Stop it!" she yelled, a ring of fire surrounding her, burning the tree and forced Zack to release her from the Dark Nightmare. She fell to her knees, her eyes filled with tears from re-living that horrible memory. She could feel the fire touching her cheek, as if trying to comfort her. She didn't look up, nor did she care about Zach at the moment. She could hear his steps in the grass for a while, but the sound was quickly replaced with the sound of the flames around her.

After a while, the flames calmed down and she dried her eyes, looking around. Zach had left, most likely when he knew he couldn't get any closer to her because of the fire. The ground around her was burned to ashes, and the tree behind her was as good as dead.

"Thanks, I needed that big time," she said, even though there wasn't any sign of someone nearby. She got up slowly, looking towards the path she was going to go in the first place. "I hope he won't recognize me, since he only saw my eyes and nothing else," she said to herself. As she started walking, she heard a pair of footsteps behind her, turning around and seeing a very beautiful woman with brown, wavy hair and blue eyes. She had a very fancy look on her, Saphira guessing she was a rich woman.

"Oh, what a great time to meet someone. Could you help me, sweetie?" she said in a mother-like voice, Saphira flinching a little. Considering what had just happened, it made her hesitate before speaking.

"What do you need help with?" she asked, the woman asking her if she could explain to her what Spirits were. "That's an odd question. Isn't everyone taught that when they're young?" she asked, really hoping she was right.

"I'm afraid people like me aren't taught that. We're homeschooled and aren't allowed to learn about the 'dangerous' world until we're old enough to take over the household. So I unfortunatly don't know anything," she explained, Saphira asking if she had asked other people. "The people here a very shut in. So they don't really say much," she told her, Saphira looking a little skeptical. But she did what she asked and briefly explained what Spirits were.

"Spirits are the ones who give us fragile Humans power. They use us as a kind of vessel so they can survive. In exchange, we are given their power and abilities. However, not all Humans can use their full power. Weaker Humans with little self-confident and think they're useless won't be able to use their power at all almost. The opposite, on the other hand, can use just about all of it,"

"So basically the weak can't use it and the strong can. That's easy enough to understand," the woman said with a glee, thinking she had it all figured out. A scowl appeared on Saphira's face, her glee disappearing.

"It's not like that at all. Even if one is known as the strongest person in the world, doesn't guarantee that he can use his Spirit's power to its fullest," she started, making her confused. "The most important thing is the bond between the Spirit and the Master, which is the name that's been given to the Humans who have Spirits are given. If they don't get along at all, they'll have a hard time using each other. If it's the opposite, then the power is almost unlimited," she said, the woman looking at her with a grateful look.

"Thank you, dear. I'll see you some other time if there's more I need to know," she said, leaving before Saphira could say another word. Saphira stared after her, very confused about her sudden appearance and disappearance.

"That wasn't weird at all. I get the feeling that woman was just trying to see how much you knew about Spirits," a voice in her head said, Saphira slightly nodding. "Oh well, what's done is done. No point in trying to figure out something we won't,"

"You're really easy going, aren't you, Flarenix? I mean, she could be involved with that guy somehow," she pointed out, Flarenix asking her why she helped her then. "I don't know. I guess since she sounded like a mother I couldn't help myself,"

"You're kind hearted, Saphira. You'll help anyone who needs it. Even if they're a backstabbing jerk. Like that little brat that picked on you all the time until I scared it off when you were ten," she told her, Saphira smirking a little bit at the memory of it. "And you better remember not to-"

"Tell anyone how long I've been your Master. I know already," she finished her sentence, Flarenix growling playfully at her.

"You're cheeky when you want to be," she pointed out, Saphira smirking. She started walking out of the little meadow she was in and saw the streets of the town. She walked towards the exit and looked around if there was anything else she could do here before leaving.

After walking for some time, she stopped up to rest a little. She went into her bag and pulled out a small bottle and drank the water that was in it. When she was done, she started putting it back into her bag. As she did,

After walking in the direction Jak gave her, she eventually arrived in the town of Katorels. She had met a few travelers on the way that had told her the name of the place. And getting here was a real pain for her. She was still a little shaken from her encounter with Zach, so she had to stop a few times to clear her mind and just rest a little.

The town was a lot more livelier than one she was just in, and it seemed like the people were lot more free. They were running, laughing, strolling, shopping, and so many other things. There were a lot of shops around there, though Saphira only focused on looking for the man Jak mentioned.

She kept looking around, and she noticed a man in a black cloak sneaking around in the streets. She narrowed her eyes and followed him, ending up at a dead end. She saw a small, wooden door that looked like it could lead down to a cellar. She ignored it and turned around to walk out.

As she did, she saw a big, muscular man standing in front of her. She stepped back, but his fist went right in her gut. She fell to her knees and almost lost consciousness. She could feel him picking her up, being very rough. Her head was spinning, and her stomach was aching. She slowly closed her eyes completely and fainted.

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