Chapter 2: Day Specters

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I was one of the few who could flee. God forgive me; I have abandoned my fellow man. I have abandoned my brothers and let them die. But I console myself it is for the greater good.

***

He stirred. The girl -Kyra- shifted, and her dark eyes opened. Her head rested on his shoulder, warding off the autumn chill with Laidu's body heat and his cloak. "Good morning," she said, still half-asleep, leaning down on his chest for a more comfortable sleeping position, probably not even realizing what she was doing. Then, she upright, eyes wide with fear. "It's morning."

Laidu nodded. "Yes. It's daytime." Kyra backed away from the cave mouth, away from the light. "That means we have Day Specters to deal with." He stretched nonchalantly. Blood and thorns, he forgot how sore he could get! Sleeping while sitting always made him a bit sore. He rolled his neck and massaged the stiff muscle with the tips of his fingers. He had talons.

Kyra stared out at the light. "We're dead," she said hollowly. Laidu ignored her and dumped out the rank water from his water jug. His map had told him that he was near Three Pines Village. It wouldn't take long to get there. "We're not going to make it out of here alive, are we?"

"Day Specters are bad, but not that bad." He went into his pack, and dug out a bronze medallion, a mage's circle engraved in it. "Wear this," he said. "It'll ward off their effects on your mind." In part, that was true. The circle was supposed to strengthen mental defenses. If Kyra believed she wasn't going to be hurt by the Day Specters, then this would strengthen that belief. So, while it wouldn't protect her, per se, it would help her protect herself.

Kyra quickly put it on, the cloth she had been wrapped in fashioned into a makeshift robe. She needed something tighter, less diaphanous, if she was going through the forest. It looked nice on her, covered her well, but it was too bright, too flowy. "Are you sure it will work?" she asked nervously.

Laidu nodded. "Yes."

Kyra looked at him. "Why aren't you wearing one?" she asked, drawing Laidu's cloak tighter around her thin frame. She was layered in that dirty nightdress and that bed sheet.

"They spoke to me," Laidu said, eyes distant. "I heard their voices and survived it." Kyra looked at him, eyes wide. "I'll be fine. Trust me." He looked at her. "Besides, you need it more than me. Getting inoculated against their power ...it's not a pleasant experience.

Kyra nodded. "Yeah. Well, thanks for saving me," she said, eager to change the subject. Day Specters were not the topic of pleasant conversation. Laidu smiled in response.

"Actually, I need my cloak back." He sighed. "Are you cold?" She shook her head, and undid the cloak, handing it to the scaly Changed. "It's my badge of authority here," he explained. "Someone sees you travelling alone, dressed in nightclothes, they might take advantage of you. They see me, they are definitely going to think twice about doing that. Probably even think three times." He gave a chuckle at his stupid joke. Then, after slipping on his cloak and repacking his supplies, he stepped out the cave.

"Hey!" Kyra shouted. "Wait up!" She tripped out the crag, the cloth slipping, revealing her dirty nightdress under it. "I'm not exactly dressed for running!" It looked like she was dressed for sleeping. Strange. That was the first time any Ajandi raiding party had been this far into Alberion. Though the way she dropped her r's, the long a's... her accent made her sound Caeldari. High noble Caeldari.

Laidu rolled his eyes. "Well, hurry up." He had to be a bit nicer to her. It didn't look like she felt comfortable in the outside world.

Kyra rushed down, nearly tripping over the dress's hem. "Sorry about that." she said, before adjusting the long swath of cloth so that it didn't trail in the ground. "Alright, which way are we going?"

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