Better Than Nothing
I could still feel it but no matter how hard I stared at the empty spot where my right elbow and forearm used to be I could almost feel my fingers moving. It was strange to be armless on my dominant side, I wasn’t sure how to deal with it just yet. All I did know is that I would kill every last one of those vampires that attacked me that night. All I needed to do is get past the guard dog over there.
I looked at the fire that was starting to die down. She’s been asleep for the last five hours and I needed to make my escape. Howl was ready, she seemed slightly off about leaving so soon, but she would get over it. I needed to go straight for the master himself; Ba’al. I wanted answers and revenge and I wanted it now.
My steps were lite as I walked around the dirt covered cavern floor. I wasn’t sure how she got me up here by herself but that was another reason I was leaving her behind. She wasn’t human and I wasn’t going to stick around her to find out what she really is. Beast or not.
Howl stood up when I passed her spot on the ground she followed behind me until we passed the woman sleeping on the ground by the fire. I stopped when I heard a small whimper from Howl. Turning I stared her down until she stopped whimpering and continued to walk behind me. We came to the edge of the cavern and when my eyes peered down the side of the cliff I really wanted to know how she got me up this far.
Howl stood at my side and for a moment I couldn’t get her former whimper out of my head.
“It’s for the best, we need to move on,” I told her and received an impatient huff. Rolling my eyes I set my sights on the far distance I could see from our point on the edge of the cavern’s opening. His kingdom was in the distance and lit alive with the undead life inside of it. In was deep in the middle of the night and the building was brighter than the stars in the sky.
“Such a show-off,” I mumbled.
The crunch of a few rocks brought my attention back to the opening of the cavern.
“It’s going to be hard to get down with just one arm. It was hard enough bringing you up on my back with two hands.” The voice from that woman sounded off behind me and my skin crawled just a little bit.
“I thought you were still asleep,” I spoke to her as my eyes stayed on the far-off kingdom of vampires woke for the night and held the thought that I was dead in the forest somewhere.
“A good hunter doesn’t sleep, and if they happen to fall asleep they still keep an ear on everything around them. I knew the moment you stood up and passed by me near the fire. I heard your wolf’s whimper and the moment you got to the edge of the opening. You can’t sneak past someone like me.” She spewed her words and I just didn’t care. I wanted to leave and I would.
“You can’t keep me here like a wounded animal. I need to be down there killing their kind.” I turned and looked at her when I mentioned the beasts. I knew she wasn’t human and I was going to make sure she knew that too.
The glow from the fire was barely seen this far ahead in the cave. That’s how we’ve been staying a secret up here. Was there thing I still wanted to know before I left? Sure, but I could live without knowing.
“That’s the thing, you are wounded. Animal or not. You need to heal properly and learn to use your non-dormant hand for fighting. How good are you with your left hand when fighting?” She asked me and for a second I could feel the tingles in my right hand.
“It’s called phantom limb pain, the feeling you’re having where there is no limb. I’m right, aren’t I?” She asked and received an answer all in one without me having to say a word. I hate when other people were right and this other person was definitely right.
“I can’t stay here, I’m thankful for your brutish help, but I need to go. He won’t kill himself down there and I seem to be the only person that actually wants them dead.” I turned fully to her and saw the seriousness of her face, earlier I’ve only seen the smart-ass side of her. If she really wanted to help me she would tell me how to get off the cliff.
“He can wait, in fact, I have information on him you may need before you go on your merry little way.”
Again, I hate admitting anyone is right and again she was right. I took to grinding my teeth again, something I had stopped while growing up. I was tense and the only release I knew would be to sink my dagger into someone’s heart. But something tells me that this woman in front of me had a different way of doing things. Howl seemed to like her, but I still wasn’t sure.
“How am I supposed to learn to fight with my left side up here?” I asked, nearly stunning her to the spot with my complete 180 degrees turn around in personally. She fidgeted with her feet for a second as if she was trying to find the words to answer me.
“You’re right, I can’t train you here. I have special permission to bring you back to our base. But, I can’t do that until you learn a few things and I’m not the one to tell you. You need to go see Ba’al.” That was surprising, someone was finally telling me to go to him. The thirst and rage I had for his blood was near blinding, maybe her way would give me some clarity before it got even worse.
“I have nothing without my arm. I was going to march in there to my death. I was going to ask them to finish me off before I even met with Ba’al. I don’t care about the truth as much as I used to. When I woke up and saw that there wasn’t anything there it just reminded me about the last night I had with vampires. They beat me and there’s proof of it this time.” I looked down at the absence of my arm and actually felt pity for myself for the first time in a long time.
“Losing an arm is better than losing your life. You have a lot of work to keep at and I’m here to help you along that path. Now, while I can’t tell you everything yet, I can help you get ready to meet him and he’ll never know about the arm thing. Then you can train with me, the better warrior, and go from there.”
I cracked a smile. I cracked a damn smile when she called herself the better warrior. She was just pushing my buttons to get a reaction. If she could teach me about fighting in the new style I’m forced to live with then I can take on Ba’al and get over this. But to see him without my arm will take a lot of effort on my part.
“You never told me your name, should I just keep calling you the woman?” I raised a brow and asked her. “Well, I did tell your wolf over there when I brought you up the cliff.” She shrugged and expected me to know what she was talking about.
“How about you tell me your name while I’m awake. And the wolf’s name is Howl, for what it’s worth. She likes you apparently.” I looked down at Howl and watched as the light seemed to come back to her eyes after finding out we’re staying for a little longer.
“Well, my name is Hera The Great, what about you? I only know you by The Slayer.” She thought highly of herself but Howl seemed to get a little more excited when she said her name.
“Hera, you can call me Redley, the people that fear me call me The Slayer. I don’t think you fear me at all.” I confessed and it was true. The people that called me slayer were the ones that feared and/or respected me. The line was just barely there but I could tell she didn’t fear me. And respect is earned, something that hasn’t happened between us yet.
“Well, Redley, let’s get you ready to meet The Destroyer.” She reached out for my good arm and I didn’t take it, I wasn’t the touchy-feely sort of person. She lowered her hand when she realized this and turned for the campsite she built. All I knew is that it was finally time to get under the skin of the most powerful being in the world right now. Then I’ll bring his kingdom down.