Lucas gaped at the figure waving at him, trying to figure out who had just shouted. With stumbling steps he made his way towards the elf waiting for him. Trying to appear as non-threatening as possible he kept his hands below his waist, though Lucas dearly wanted to attack. "Who are you?" he called out, hoping that the stranger would give him a straight answer.

"Lucas, don't you recognize me?" there was a slightly mocking edge to the question and Lucas blinked, trying to see the man before him.

"You're dead." he finally choked out as the identity of the elf before him was made clear.

"No, I survived." Amana replied, "I was knocked unconscious in the initial fighting, and when I awoke everyone was. . . was dead."

Lucas stopped walking a few feet from the elf before him. "Dead? How did you come to be here?"

Amana looked around, not answering at first. "When I awoke and saw the death around me I couldn't tell what happened. I knew that there was a village nearby so I came here in hopes of assistance. And, well, as you can see there's no one left."

"Do you know what this place is?" Lucas asked, his voice quivering as he wondered if he would have to kill the man before him. If Amana knew too much, figured it all out, everything would be ruined. But he only shook his head.

"I only knew of a dot on the map, I have no name, nor history of this place. So you don't know either? How did you come to be here?"

Lucas looked around him, at the empty streets and the abandoned homes. "I'm not sure." he answered truthfully. He wasn't sure how he had came to be in the position he was in now. What had happened to make him enjoy the hunt, the killing. He didn't know how he had ended up fighting for the North when so many years ago he had had a simple life in this village.

"Well, there is no help here. We should get back to the academy and report the incident."

Nodding Lucas followed the elf, walking down familiar streets that he had not traversed in years.

*~*~*

It took a while, the two men were tired and hungry, but eventually they made it to civilization. They were welcomed like heroes, two men dressed like soldiers and splattered with mud and gore, what else could they be to the simple farmers who found them at the edge of a field. Warm food and drink revived the two enough for them to give instructions to contact the guardians. Then they waited for the arrival of their answer.

Lucas remained quite through the experience, reflecting on the last few days and hoping that Trisha and Hope were still alive. He had not deserted, he had not failed. It was the North who failed, who lost the first skirmish. Though, he thought to himself, the South didn't exactly win. He was so wrapped up in his own thoughts that Lucas didn't see the glances Amana gave him, nor did he notice the subtle fear wrapped up in every action the elf took.

*~*~*

Lucas stood by himself looking over the field, he could remember the days when he worked in one very similar. Days not that long past, he told himself, but they felt a lifetime away as he thought of Trisha. A cool breeze blew, lifting the hair from his pale forehead. Lucas blinked away the tears the wind brought and leaned back against the tree that stood behind him.

"Lucas! Gather your strength! We are to report to the academy at once!" Lucas turned his steely eyes to the elf who had interrupted his silent vigil. 

"Let us go at once then."

Without waiting for a reply Lucas turned and strode down the hill, he knew where he was going. And he knew what he would do if Trisha had been harmed. He gripped the small knife in his belt, a pathetic weapon. Small and dull it would be very painful, and it would take a long time to take a life with it. Still, Lucas almost smiled, if Trisha or Hope had been harmed whoever was responsible deserved a long and painful demise. 


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