Chapter 10: Jus Drein Jus Daun.

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We rode back to Thayers camp, our victory overshadowed by Rooks death. At the camp preparations were being made to move location, a preventative measure against any further unwanted visitors.
Thayer didn't rest upon our arrival, taking the Azgeda prisoner into the desert with some of her warriors.
I turned to Indra, "Where are they taking him?"
Indra looked at me fully aware of Thayers intentions, "Blood must have blood."
I knew he wouldn't survive the day, but I needed to find out what he knew before Thayer ended his life.
As I approached Thayers people halted me. I could see her standing in front of the Ice Nation man as he knelt before her, "Let her pass," She ordered.
I noticed her wounds from battle were still bleeding, but she didn't seem to care. "Wanheda, this man tells me his people want your head. That his King has already made his move to control Polis and that your people are now prisoners."
I continued to question the Azgeda solider, "How did you know where to find us?"
He struggled to answer due his injuries, "The one you call Murphy, The King threatened to have him executed. A grounder girl spoke out about The Ghost of The Dead Zone and your journey to find this Nightblood. We came to search for you, all of you."
Initially I felt anger towards Emori, but I knew she'd only spoken out to save Murphys life.
"Who sits on The Commanders throne?" I demanded.
"King Roan. Those who refused to kneel will be killed. He will send more warriors for you both," warned the Azgeda man.
Thayer grabbed him by the throat, "Let them come."
She turned to me, "Your people have been threatened as have mine. Take his life and be done with it." She released her grip and handed me one of her daggers.
This was a test of loyalty and of strength but it was also an execution. I felt nauseous, but the luxury of choice was no longer my own. If I refused it would show weakness to her people and any chance of Thayer returning to Polis with us would end there. There was also the possibility it could cost me my life. Her clan was unpredictable and the loss of Rook who was highly respected meant that emotions were high.
There was no way out of this situation. I took the dagger from Thayer, her eyes burning into mine. My hand began to shake as I put the blade to the neck of the Ice Nation warrior and pushed it against his flesh, killing him. Blood ran down his body and over my hands. I could feel his life ebbing away. I pulled out the dagger and allowed his body to fall to the ground. Thayer nodded at me, acknowledging my loyalty to her.
I always ask myself why this life must alway come with a price to pay. In that moment I really had become The Commander of Death.

We returned to camp and I wasted no time in washing the blood from my hands

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We returned to camp and I wasted no time in washing the blood from my hands. I couldnt take away the image of what I had done to the Azgeda soldier. Indra attempted to ease my mind, reminding me of the Ice Nations actions in Polis. The King had betrayed us, now blinded by power just as Queen Nia once was. No doubt my people had been tortured to gain the information they needed to find us and that was a bitter pill to swallow.
Come nightfall we all gathered in the desert to say our farewells to Rook and those who had fallen. Their bodies were wrapped in cloth and lay upon a funeral pyre. Thayer spoke in honour of the dead, "For those who have fallen, you carry the hearts of warriors and the strength of your clan. You are our brothers and sisters, our family. Yu gonplei ste odon."
The funeral pyre was lit, consuming the wood and what remained of the dead.
I stood next to Thayer, she never once shed a tear but I could tell her heart was heavy. "I'm sorry," I uttered softly. "Don't be. They died in battle with honour," she replied staring into the flames.
"I feel responsible. My presence here brought this upon your people," remorse filled my voice as I spoke openly of my fears.
Thayer turned to look at me, "You said we were on borrowed time, Wanheda. I've always been living on borrowed time one way or another. It wasn't you who killed Rook and my warriors, it was Azgeda's greed for power. My people have made their decision. We will ride with you to Polis. The King will be challenged in accordance with Lexa's law of leadership. He will accept, Roan will not wish to look weak."
There was anger in her voice but I needed to query one last thing, "And what of the Flame?"
She paused for a moment before turning back to look at the fire, "I will fight Roan as Thayer not as Heda. If I am victorious then and only then will we talk of The Flame. I will earn the role of leader, Wanheda. No more, no less. We ride in the morning."
Her sense of honour was humbling. I was proud to have met Thayer Kom Trikovakru, the shadow warrior.

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