Coming upon a small hill, they slowed their pace and began walking up it. Palderon could see the town walls appear in the horizon. "I hope the guard isn't too good" he chuckled, half worried that he'd be knocked out before Duncan could even get close to the gate. As they grew neared to the town, he could hear the fury of harsh words being spit back and forth between two parties argumentatively. All of a sudden it went dead quiet.

"I don't know"
The two exchanged a glance, then darted up the rest of the hill in the direction of the town. They could see four, five guards and everyone in the town in a big circle. The town's people seemed to have a stunned yet disgusted look on their face. Palderon stopped, he didn't want to get to close, until he knew what had happened. Duncan just stood there confused and a bit scared. The towns elder than looked up and saw Palderon on top of the small hill he perched upon. He began to part the crowd so Palderon could see.

The body of a 16-year-old girl was lying on the ground.

"Reina?" Palderon whispered as he slowly stepped closer to get a better look.
"REINA!" Palderon was now charging down the hill towards the lifeless body. Rushing past the crowd, he kneeled by Reina's head. A large gash across her neck was wet with fresh blood.

Reina, an orphan to demons that had taken her parents, had been Palderon's friend ever since he had come to the remote town. It was Reina that held him close to the town and gave him reason to help them. It was her warmth that kept Palderon going since he had lost his parents and started wondering the world aimlessly. Now she was cold as a rock.

"R-Reina" A tear trickled from Palderon's eye, landing gently on her soft cheek. Slowly, Palderon stood up, then looked towards the guards.
"You did this, don't deny it"
The guard captain gave Palderon a smug look.
"How? How could you kill such an innocent girl without any guilt?" Palderon was now shouting with rage.
The guard still wore an arrogant expression on his face. "Innocent? Hardly, she disagreed with the laws given by the new King, she even ripped the decree in half."

Palderon looked at the ground beside Reina's hand where a torn sheet of paper was laying. He picked it up. "Like this?" he asked, ripping the paper even more, then tossing it behind him. The towns' people gasped. Palderon then quickly drew his sword. "Prepare to die" he said, looking directly into the guards eyes with a raging fire burning in his.
"Very well, we shall fight, but you shall lose" The guard captain was now grabbing his sword from the soldier standing there beside him. "Come at me"

Before the captain could barely grip his sword, Palderon was already swiping his sword through the air towards his head. Quickly the captain drew his sword up, and a loud metallic clang rang through the air as the two swords collided. Rage filled Palderon's eyes as he continued to swipe at the captain, the veins in his arms starting to bulge with the tension running through his limbs. With each powerful swing of his sword, sweat bounced off Palderon's body. All of sudden pain ripped around his right eye as the captains sword seemed to come out of no where, leaving a large gash running an inch above and below the eye, and the tip of the sword missing the actual eye itself by millimeters. Palderon stumbled back as blood ran down his already sweat-covered face. Putting his hand to his eye, he tried to feel how bad the wound was. Pulling it away and looking at it, his hand was covered in blood. He could still see, though everything was a deep crimson color.

Looking back up, he noticed the captain was too busy laughing. Quickly, he gripped his sword a dashed at the captain with all the power in him. Before the captain could even grasp his sword, Palderon's blade was already inside of him, penetrating through the other side as the blood flowed freely out of the gaping hole. Choking in his own disbelief, the captain's face slowly turned reddish, the blood dripping onto Palderon's blade. Lifelessly, the dead body slid off Palderon's sword and fell to the ground. "It was a mistake to take Reina's life" Palderon said turning to the remainder of the guards "Run away, never come back here unless you wish to end up like him." Palderon said, kicking the captain's dead body. The guards, terrified and without a leader, mounted horse and rode off.

Palderon then turned back to Reina's carcass. Palderon whispered quietly into Reina's ear, hoping that somewhere, somehow, she heard him, then picked up the cold, breathless body and carried it to the bed of flowers were they always met when Palderon returned with his sack of furs. Reina would just stand, waiting for Palderon to appear on the horizon. Small circles of water were dripping off Palderon's cheek as he bent over and began to dig a hole. It was almost nightfall when he finished the hole. Carefully, he lifted Reina's body and set it gently on a patch of flowers. Gently he knelt beside her, gazing at her closed eyes. Reaching out his hand, he carefully moved some loose strands of hair from face. Then, taking a deep breath, he began to whisper to her.

"Reina… I have something to tell you, something I've never had the courage to say because I was afraid of what would happen. I still don't know how to say this…" Palderon was biting his lip trying to build up courage. "Reina… I love you… and I always will. You will live forever in my heart, and someday, we will meet again." Slowly he bent over, and pressing his lips to hers he gave her a soft, warm kiss while tears rolled silently from his cheek to hers. Quietly, he took her back into his arms, and giving her another kiss, he laid her gently to rest in the hole. He sat silently for a second, then pushed the dirt over top of her. He then found a piece of wood, took out his knife and carved:

"Here lies Reina,
The person who showed me life should be lived.
May you sleep well,
And we will meet up again,

He then pushed the wooden marker into the ground just above were Reina's head lay. With a long, sad sigh, he sat beside the lump of dirt. Peaceful for the first minute, then softly he began to speak. He bared a small smile. Looking up, gazing at the clumps of white lights that had formed in the night sky, he saw a vibrant sparkle. A star, brighter than all the rest was resting directly above Palderon's head.

"She heard me," he thought to himself, his smile starting to grow bigger. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a special necklace that she had made for him. Only two of them existed, the one she gave him, and the one he gave her in return. Gripping it close to his heart, he then lay down on the soft grass and fell asleep right there beside her.

Page Three

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Abel Tavern Tales


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