Lucas ran up the cobbled path leading to his home, he needed to see Trisha again. He had to see Hope, he had to know that they were alright. The small door was just a few minutes away, he picked up his pace ignoring the shouts following him. Amana didn't know the details, he just knew that he was to report to the Academy with Lucas as soon as possible. Orders that were being made impossible to follow thanks to Lucas.

The entry way to his old home appeared and breathing heavily Lucas grasped the handle and heaved it open, searching for the beautiful face of his wife. But he was met with nothing but a silent room. There was no sign of life, just dust-coated furniture. With slow steps Lucas made his way to the lone crib and looked inside. Nothing.

"Lucas! What are you doing we have to get to the Academy?" Amana reached the door behind him, apparently not realizing where he was. Eyes wide and spittle flying Lucas rounded on the other elf.

"Back to the Academy!" he raged, "Back to the bastards who took my life from me?" he clenched his fist and punched the wall, leaving a dent in the shape of his knuckles. Amana stumbled back, fear filling his gaze, "Lucas calm down! Control yourself!"

"No." It was with a deathly whisper that Lucas said that, he stilled appearing to calm himself. An action that greatly contrasted the single word he had just said. "No, I'll not control myself. I will destroy them."

"Who Lucas?" Amana was backing up again, apparently trying to distance himself from the deathly still elf still standing over the cradle. His own eyes were wide, Lucas noticed, wide with fear. And he wondered, wondered if Amana had seen him destroy the Southern army. He wondered if the Guardian had watched him kill with no mercy or hesitation, watched him lose control and become a beast. Lucas wondered if Amana had seen him heal himself with the magic that was forbidden in the north.

But he didn't ask, he simply made his way out and towards the Academy. There was a knife in his home, the sharpest there was. But Lucas didn't retrieve it, instead he kept the dull knife he had found tossed out in the village where he and Amana had rested. He wanted a slow and painful death for the one he used it on.

"Let's go Amana! We need to get to the Academy."

Internally Lucas wondered if he was betraying Trisha by planning murder, but he had to avenge her death. Surely she would see that, understand that he had to do it. She would surely forgive him, it was after all for her.

With his simple woolen cloak billowing behind him Lucas made his way to the building towering behind layers of defenses. His black hair, grown long from his time in the field, waved gently around his face as the wind billowed against him. His figure, always lean, seemed to move with no effort despite the apparent exhaustion of his companion. Any pain or fatigue that had plagued Lucas was now subdued and locked under an iron will.

Anyone who happened across him ducked out of the way, some natural instinct warning them that the darkly dressed elf with skin as pale as snow was dangerous. Amana followed far behind Lucas, unsure of what had happened to cause his companion to begin acting this way.

Lucas for the most part ignored the actions of those around him, he had only one purpose. To find those responsible for Trisha and remove them from the world.

*~*~*

"Identify yourself." the military precision of the guards by the gate made them seem more like common soldiers than Guardians to Lucas as he stood before them. But with the war he couldn't imagine the Guardian being anything more than glorified commanders now. Their ties with the villages they protected seemed to be cut, or at least ignored. Instead they defended the nation.

"Lucas of the North." His answer was equally precise, and by the looks the guards gave him Lucas was sure that he was being expected. The gate swung open and he made his way through, ignoring the wide-eyed stares of the two elves he passed. The drills that now took place on the grassy fields had a discipline Lucas hadn't seen before. Untrained elves were now striking heavy blows and moving with little energy waste. But Lucas didn't have time for them, he made his way directly to the main building.

It was still bustling when he stepped inside. Pages carried stacks of reports and men and women talked in small huddles. Lucas weaved through the bunches and made his way to the council chambers. There the same people sat, the same that sent him out. Hoffman looked up.

"Lucas, thank goodness Trisha - -"

"You don't have the right to say her name." Lucas interjected with a cold voice, sharp as a razor.

"Your wife," Hoffman continued obviously annoyed, "has been kidnapped by the South. Apparently a spy told them that she was our hold over you. A green-eyed spy."

Lucas cursed realizing that Hoffman was talking about Selena.

"I want a full set of light armor, a sword, and some provisions."

"And what exactly are you going to do with all that?" One of the counsel members asked snidely, "Take the South on by yourself?"

"Yes."

There was a beat of silence followed by guffaws, "You can't be serious Lucas?" Hoffman managed.

"I trust the result of the first battle has reached you."

There was a sudden gravity in the room as Lucas spoke.

"Oh aye, both sides completely destroyed. Only two survivors you and Amana."

"Is that all you know?" Lucas pressed.

"Is there more?" the same war-like female from the time before asked.

Lucas grinned, "Oh yes."

Hoffman stood and pulled out a chair, wordlessly Lucas sat and watched as the larger elf left to fetch Amana. 

Moments later he returned, apparently Amana had been in the hall.

"What happed at the conflict?"

Amana looked at the table, focusing on Lucas. He swallowed nervously before beginning to speak.

"The south surprised the camp. Lucas sent us into the trees to create confusion in the ranks with our bows. We obeyed and for a while it worked. But the South had been using magic. A thousand elves were surrounding us, and when the spell broke they attacked at once. I was knocked unconscious in the fighting but when I awoke our forces had been decimated, maybe a hundred Southern elves were leading prisoners away so I feigned death. After about an hour Selena found Lucas and pointed him out. Then, my God. He's a monster! He just attacked and killed every elf that remained. He had no weapon, he just ripped them apart with his bare hands. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

When he was done he, I'm sorry Lucas, he used magic to heal himself then just started wandering off into the forest. I'm not sure but it looked like the he couldn't stand the bodies around him. Hell, I couldn't either so I headed off as well. I knew there was a village nearby so I went there. It was empty, we should find out what happened, but before I had a chance to investigate Lucas appeared and we travelled back here."

"Are you seriously telling me that Lucas killed almost a thousand armored, armed, men with his bare hands?" The war-like elf was on her feet. Amana dipped his head, confirming the statement. Clear fear was in the eyes of the elves around the table as they turned towards Lucas, but he remained sitting serenely.

"Now, the armor and blade. I want it now. And I wouldn't mind a horse, you know. Something hardy, preferably black."

Hoffman gaped at the slight man sitting beside him, "I trained you, I never saw that much power. I can't, I can't believe this." Lucas closed his eyes lazily, "Don't you remember the first time we sparred?"

Scoffing Hoffman shook his head, "You mean the time when you had to go to the infirmary because you were feeling sick?"

Standing Lucas looked down at the burly elf, "I think you mean the time I almost lost control and killed you so I had to find an excuse to get away."

Hoffman blanched.

"I want those supplies, now!" Lucas glared at the people around him and headed towards the door, confident that they would comply with his demands. "I'm going back there, and I'm going to kill every Southern elf I see until I have my family back."


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