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A Loyal Companion

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ONE: Insomnia

I sat in front of the TV, not even knowing what I was watching. My mind was somewhere else at the time. I listened not to the TV, but to the sound of the passing spirits. I heard their cries, their laughter and sometimes, their messages. It wasn’t my intention to hear them, but the sound of them just happened to be louder than the sound coming out from the TV. I was bored.

My mind was tired, but my body was on full alert, and my eyes wouldn’t shut. I took another sip of my chamomile tea, but somehow I just knew it wouldn’t help. Something was bothering me, not just a normal stress or too much caffeine during the day, but it was something else, something unnatural.

I had nightmares in the past couple of weeks. I couldn’t make out what it was, the only thing I remembered was a hand asking for mine, and the name Aranthias. The rest was blurry vision, but was enough to leave me screaming during my sleep. I would wake up sweating and gasping for air, or worse, I would wake up in another form of being. I thought it was images from my past. There were so many suppressed memories… some of them had been long forgotten. Since then I was always edgy to fall asleep, but all living being still need sleep, so did I that night. I was exhausted and I wanted to fall asleep.

It picked that moment just before I managed to finally fall asleep for the phone to ring. I cursed at it, but slowly reaching for the phone.


“Hello to you too!” said the voice from the other end, there was a boyish charm underlaying that baritone voice, I couldn't help but rolled my eyes.

“Yes, Teal… what’s up?”

“You sound like you’re in a bad mood”

“If you have nothing important to talk about, I’ll hang up now…”

“Wait… gods, Ondine... no sense of humour”

Silence…. I was waiting for him to speak.

“We need you back at Tarkas asap”

I gave a deep sigh, Tarkas was a safe house for us supernatural beings, or Supers, as we called it these days. Up until then I still didn’t know what I was. I had my shapeshifting ability, but the other power I couldn’t quite understand was my ability of spell casting, it didn’t go with the rest of my powers, you were either a spell caster or a shape shifter, but never both.

“I’ll be there in the morning” and with that, I hung up the phone.

I put the phone aside, and stumbled to my bed room. My hand was reaching for something heavy, cold, and metallic under my bed. It was Crimson Tears, my sword. A two thousand year old sword, and still looked like new. I’ve had it since birth, according to my parents. Yes, that made me two thousand years old too, give or take, no one's counting when you've lived for so long.

Back then, I didn’t know what it was on the base of my neck, along my my spine, sticking out just beneath the skin, until I was four years old and suddenly my back got so itchy. One night, burning pain covered my whole entire back, it felt like someone poured a burning liquid along my spine. I didn’t know what happened next as I passed out from the pain. When I woke up the next morning, lying next to me was a sword, and I found traces of blood on my cheeks. I cried blood, and the sword gained the name Crimson Tears. The sword was smaller then. Not knowing the meaning of it, I kept the sword with me, safe under my bed. Every once in awhile I held it in my arms. The sword grew as I grew, and finally reached its full length when I reached adulthood.

One night I came home and found my parents were brutally murdered. I stood by the door way, looking at the very person who killed them. He was more of a beast instead of a human. Those glowing eyes, and shiny fangs… it didn’t scare me, but instead it made me angry. So angry that without me knowing I started to change shape. I only felt my heart was burning, my eyes were blurry from the tears flowing out of them. I charged at him, and that was all I could remember. I gained consciousness and found myself in the middle of the ruins of what used to be my house, at that moment I knew I wasn’t myself. I looked down and my nightmare came true. It wasn’t my hands I saw, they were paws. I tried to speak, but all that came out was a growl. I licked my lips, and I tasted blood. I looked around, and couldn’t find anything but a blood pool. And there it was, Crimson Tears, in the middle of it. I stepped towards it, and lied next to it. From then on, it was only me and Crimson Tears.

I was still considered as an immortal, but to my concern, I was not, I could die, if I was willing to die, or I could be killed, but only gods and certain people would be able to take my life. Why I was born this way? I didn’t know. Both my parents told me that I was special, that I was blessed.

“You are a gift from the gods, Ondine” that’s what my mother used to say whenever I doubted my identity, why I was the one they chose to bear the abnormality. I learnt later that my existence was a miracle, given the harsh reality of my mother not being able to bear any children. To me, it was more of a curse than blessing. I saw people aged and died while I didn’t. It was a curse.

A legend once said that I had to find my other half to solve the mystery, that I was someone else’s right hand. The sword belongs to that person and my purpose of life was to serve that person alone. I learned later that my other form was a war-dog, a loyal companion to the person I was supposed to serve, accompany him to every battle. Well, technically a wolf, though I wasn’t not a werewolf, no, the wolves made sure I knew that, due to the bond I had with the person I was meant to serve and my Ancient status, as well as my spell casting ability, the wolves didn’t accept me as their kind. The term war-dog was originally a slur, though later when I proved myself to the wolves and everyone else, it became something that carried a lot of weight and no one would dare call me a dog, but the title kinda stuck.

Knowing the legend, I didn’t like my destiny at all. I didn’t like being controlled by someone else, but my actions were different from my thoughts. I was constantly looking for that person, as if I was geared to do so, I was trying to fill the empty space in my life. I was unbeatable in battles. Throughout my life I had killed a large number of beings, I had travelled to the ends of the world and still haven’t found that person. After hundreds of years searching, I finally gave up, and lived my life the way I wanted it to be, I was my own master.

The darkness swept the room as I turned the light off. I moved back to the living room, crashed on the couch and continued watching TV. I cursed at Teal even though it wasn’t his fault, he just happened to be the news bearer, but I really wanted to go to sleep. So there I was, back to square one again, with my cup of chamomile tea in hand, hoping that somehow it would put my mind to sleep.

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