In the Absence of Light

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Chapter 2: Darin

The first couple of days were unbearable and boring. I found myself challenging people to duels they wouldn't accept, and riding my horse around and around the riding court. At first I hated the deal I made to stay within the temple grounds, but then I began to teach the girls I knew were not truly ready to go out into the world. Every waking minute was soon filled with tutoring the girls in preparation to send them out the day before the two Lady's came back to Earth.

I began to forget my longing to leave, and before I knew it, a day became a week, and a week became a two weeks, I was still sane. I was too sane. The pain of separation was still present, but I was learning to live with the mortal person left behind.

I trained women who didn't want to be better. Some of these women were so close to the twins that they didn't really want to fight. Others had the right mind set, but lacked natural skill. Everyone had some sort of natural skill. The Lady would never choose someone without some natural skill. It was part of what made our mercenaries so special.

I worked to bring out that natural skill, because my mortal self-cared a little more for people than Zedigrivikonola cared for them. A month passed, and all the women started looking at me with awe, and treating me almost as a Lady. They seemed frightened by me, and if I tried to greet them, they would mumble something and turn their head in fear of my godly retribution.

I tried my hardest to bring Kyra out of her shell. I tried to tell her that she once played jokes on siblings with me, but she responded, "A humans wrongs should not be remembered. Violence is evil, and if you did such a mean thing, then you should regret the harshness of your actions, and beg the Lady of Light for forgiveness, my friend." She called everyone her friend, and remembered no one. I lost my temper and chucked a cup at her. I was tired of her wise woman act, and I just wanted her to remember me. I was frustrated with my lot in life at the moment, and I was taking it out on anything and everything.

I think the thing that was worst, was her reaction to me. Previously, she would have gotten mad and told me I had no manners. Now, she sat there with a blank smile on her face while the cup hit her. She didn't even flinch. She then told me, "Violence is not the answer. You should find a different way to take out your frustration."

I couldn't stand to be with her another second that day. I stood up and stalked out. I didn't look where I was going, and I almost ran into the white head priestess of the twins. She was glaring at me, and spoke harshly, "You, darkness, should not try to taint the pureness of our light. The Lady left her pure for the wisdom of the words that she speaks. Kyra is gone in favor of a woman who speaks wisdom to us and is revered."

I don't think she should have spoken to me when I was this mad. "For one thing light is not pure because it is the combination of all colors. Light is chaotic in its very nature. For another, don't order me around. I am part goddess, and I could roast your ass. Kyra and I rank way above your mediocre ass. And lastly, I have a responsibility to my partner to help her remember herself. I will help Kyra, and I will take her away from here once my two year deal is finished, and you and your dark partner head priestess of the twins can't do anything about it. Me and Kyra are partners, and we will stick together."

I turned to leave and I heard the woman say, "It's Kyra and I, and as priestess you forget the bonds of partnership in order to serve your goddess."

I could barely keep myself from punching the woman as I swung back. My voice came out venomously, "I don't care a rat's ass about grammar, and we never signed no contract saying I gave up the bonds of partnership or that I was required to be a priestess for life after being a host."

This time I stormed away and didn't listen to the woman. I walked to the close contact court, and I whipped out my long sword. With deadly precision I wiped out my enemy dummy. I wanted to leave. I was going insane due to being stuck in the tiny priestess' compound. Maybe that was the point of two years, enough time to truly cause me to go insane. In a final fit of fury, I used energy to burn the dummy to ash.

I was still angry though. I was too perfect in fighting. I moved over to a punching bag, and began beating the thing. If anger caused lightning to come out of eyes, then I would have killer lightning bolts. I must have been there for at least an hour, and my mortal hands were torn up and bleeding when I finally felt the last grips of my insane anger fade.

I heard a person cough slightly, and I turned around to see the dark priestess of the twins. For the longest time I hadn't realized there were two priestesses of the twins. I thought one woman wore black and white on opposite days for the two sides of the twins. As a goddess, I hadn't concerned myself with the worries of mortal priestesses. Now though, I'd come to realize there were two women, and that they were partners. They were born to different parents, but they looked almost like twins.

"I have come to apologize for my partner's behavior. She knows of the deal. She resents the fact that the absence of light turned out stronger than the mixture of all light this time. We have discussed it, and she will leave you alone now. It is not her place to speak to you." The dark priestesses looked like she was about to turn away after she spoke.

I quickly spoke before she could, "I am glad to know that I will not be spoken to so disrespectfully again. Also, when I leave, will I be provided with the normal gifts of leaving?"

The priestess turned back to me, "Yes, we will provide both you and Kyra the horse, food, and other supplies needed for your journey."

"Good. I think the only way to bring Kyra's mind back is to force her out of her shell here. Thank you." I hated that word. It stuck to my tongue like glue and felt like sandpaper. The priestess bowed in acknowledgment and turned away. This time I let her walk away.

I myself turned and walked to the stable. I went to the tack room and put some horse salve on the wounds. I didn't feel like asking one of the women of light for a healing right now. The salve was something we were trained to put on horse wounds whenever one of the women was not available immediately. Often times, they would simply put on the salve instead of examining the wound and mixing up some strange concoction to go on it. I often felt like the horses got the better deal.

I picked up some brushes and walked over to the horse I wanted. She was a giant 19.1 hand black mare. I needed a stepstool to groom her back and to brush her mane. She was a crossbreed draft horse bred for size, strength, and the ability to actually gallop. Most drafts had a gallop, but it wasn't very fast. She was a draft and racehorse mix. Years of careful breeding produced her and some of the other war horses in the stable.

The mare, Gegarat, whuffled her lips over me as I came in, and I felt my lips turn up slightly, "No sweetheart, I don't have any treats today." After searching me thoroughly to make sure I wasn't lying, Gegarat went back to eating her hay. Gegarat was a word in the old language that meant Backbreaker. Sometimes I just called her Backbreaker, but I liked the sound of her name, so more often than not, I called her Gegarat.

I took my time brushing her. I loved brushing my horse. I found it peaceful to carefully clean my horse till she shined. Some people dislike the time it takes to clean an animal, but I found that it helped me to connect closer to my horse. I took pride in making Gegarat look beautiful. Once I finished grooming, I put the grooming tools back up and pulled out my tack. I didn't feel like putting on all the extra armor, so I left it hanging up and just took the saddle and bridle.

Once I finished tacking up I rode Gegarat into the equestrian practice court. After we warmed up, we started practicing war moves. I enjoyed practicing with Gegarat since she wasn’t perfect. She needed the practice, unlike me. Mostly we worked on her kicks because she needed to strengthen them. She was hitting the target a little low.

After I cooled her down, I felt much better. I felt calmer and better able to deal with the world. I did not feel like exploding. I fed Gegarat a treat, and left the barn area.

I made my way toward the temples where a new person would become host in two days’ time. I knew that we could not handle a third part; Zedigrivikonola and I combined were enough. We both tried to think up a solution that left a person sane, but not part of us. I had an idea on the top of my mind when I heard the shouting.

"A man has entered the temple!" A female voice screamed in shock. No man was allowed through the sacred gate into the first courtyard.

"Apprehend him! Stop him! Why is he here! Kill him with the fervor of the Dark Lady's hatred!" the yelling became barely distinguishable as the women all wanted something different. It drew me along, and I stared at the crush of women in shock, they looked like a hoard of animals.

"Quiet!" I yelled, enforcing the command with energy so that they could not make sound. Once they got over the shock of my will being forced, I lifted the energy, but they stayed quiet.

"That is better. Bring forward the man who entered our domain." Quietly a pathway opened up from the middle, and a woman on the brighter side of the spectrum led forward a man clothed in the dark clothing of a city defender.

I recognized him almost immediately. His black hair came to his shoulders and his brown eyes sparked with frustration and anger.

"Darin." My voice was quiet, but the sound seemed to echo across the silence. I could see the confusion enter his eyes when he saw me standing there like a goddess.

"Who are you?" his voice wavered with the confusion of almost recognizing me. I know that I changed. I was more mature looking, but more than that I was changed by being a part of the goddess.

A sly smile crept across my lips as I looked on him in amusement. I could feel the immortal half watching with interest, but keeping separate; we were not ready to combine again yet.

"I am the Lady of the Absence of Light," I could see shock registering as I forced the energy feeling of Zedigrivikonola on them. I radiated the intensity of our immortal half.

He bowed low before me, "My Lady, I did not mean to interrupt. I came to find the woman who was hidden within this compound for years."

I could not help but laugh. It was a dignified, upright laugh, not the laugh of an innocent person. I could see him trembling in fear, afraid he offended me. "Who are you looking for?"

"Umm, I am looking for Dynara," I could feel myself smiling at how little he recognized me. He looked so confused and lost. A new plan of action came to my mind that would save him. I felt like I owed him, similar to how Zedigrivikonola paid me for what I did by offering to save my mind.

"I am she. Did you not wonder how I recognized you? I am kept here for a reason Darin. Two more years and I will be released, but I am not fully human anymore. I am the mortal half of a goddess.” Not quite the truth at the moment, but close enough. I was the mortal discards of the Lady, and I was connected to her and the power of darkness.

"You… You're Dynara? But you, you're different You've changed," He was stumbling on his words as he tried to understand what happened, but I could tell that he couldn't quite wrap his brain around this.

"I told you, I have become a part of the Lady Zedigrivikonola. I have changed in the five years in here. I hosted the Lady, and we merged minds to become one. She has left me, but once my body dies we will be one again." I spoke the truth, and I think even the women were starting to believe me.

I saw the beginning of understanding, and I spoke again, but this time to all the people around. "This man, Darin, will be released when I am. He and Kyra's promised will be provided for by the city in 23 months when we leave. I will take responsibility for all of them."

The women bowed and cleared a path to the gate. Darin, however, did not move. I could see anger coming over his features, "I come in this place to get you, and you turn me away?"

"I made a deal that I would leave in two years if I was still sane. You are lucky that you were not killed when you trespassed on this ground. Go now, and come back in 23 months." He stormed out, and I turned to go back to my room. I was tired from all the energy I was using.

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