What Happened To You?

Everyone was pretty mad, several days passed since the whole alcomahol episode. And boy did they give me half the evils! Destran had tried to leave the group, but Yara pulled him to his senses, Lyra and Zahkon were still not talking, Brena continued to look at me with growing suspicion, and Valak was being… well Valak!

We carried on; I took several random stabbings along the way as a stress relief mechanism. I didn’t mind, I was quite used to it by now. My only qualm was that they not hit my face, I already had one scar, and I did not want another!


                                                            *


A week passed, and we left the Marshes, everybody’s spirits seemed to perk up upon getting out of the swamps. Although I noticed several Vaan continued to follow us at a distance for a long time, Valak noticed this too, but we kept it quiet. Another week passed, and the greens in the land had finally returned.

We spent several days in a place called the Gathering of the Lost, a part in the borders between the Vaan and men territories where the majority of battles took place in the Great War. I had another flashback to a time where I was younger, and it made me think of a man. I wondered if Sten’s soul was in there somewhere.


                                                            *


Another week passed, and everything seemed to be smoothing out. Lyra and Zahkon were on speaking terms again, even giving a bit of the old lovey dovey smoochy woochy looks here and there. Brena still looked at me as if I was insane, I tried often to thaw the invisible ice between us, but I think it just made her more hostile.

Valak kept mostly to himself, his only source of socialising came when I kept him company officially; unofficially I was keeping an eye on him. Lyra looked at him and wished him dead so many times, couldn’t blame her though, he did kill her father.

Those Vaan were still following us, so I decided to do something about it. I warned Zahkon, and told him to tell the others he was the one who noticed them, as nobody would believe me or Valak. Zahkon finally sensed the pursuers after being told of their presence, and he told Destran to which he warned everyone else, me included. Idiot.

We went on ahead and laid a trap, Valak was the meet them head on, Zahkon and Destran were to attack from the sides, and the girls were to take the rear. I said I’d like to go in the rear way with the girls, and Destran told me to stand with Valak. I did so, but I did not give a care in the world. Whereas Valak was standing in the road with his double spear, I was resting on a tree log with a bit of grass in my teeth. There was no way in hell I was gonna help out, not now that they had Valak.

The Vaan came, about a dozen of them. Valak greeted them with discontent, like he knew who they were and why they were here.
“Come with us and nobody gets hurt” said one of the ugliest Vaan.
“Come at me and everybody gets hurt” Valak grinned evilly.
“You’re worth a hefty price General, don’t think we’ll let that go” said another.
“And you’re worth nothing, which is why I’ll take no pleasure in killing you all. I prefer my victims have a little worth about them” Valak said as he raised his spear and pointed it at them.
“I think you should all have a nice cup of tea and talk about your differences like civil little turds” I grinned.

Valak dived into them with his signature spinning propeller move, and three were dead instantly. Two swings later and another two were beheaded, the others burst from their hiding positions as another five died by Valak alone. The Vaan noticed these reinforcements and one was beheaded straight away, the last survivor broke and ran at me. It jumped and shoved its dirty little blade to my neck, turning to Valak who was walking towards him.

“Stop there or I’ll kill him!” The Vaan threatened.
“Will you now?” I asked intrigued.
“Shut it!” The Vaan shouted at me.
“I think you better do what he says Valak; I think he really means it! Oh everyone help! My life is flashing before my eyes! Got born, got laid, got laid, got laid, got drunk, got laid, got laid, and got drunk. BAH HA!” I yelled out.

Valak took another step, and the Vaan pierced my neck. I gurgled and put on a performance until he withdrew and prepared to fight Valak, I tugged on his little sleeve and smiled as the Vaan’s face became distorted in fear as my neck healed up before his eyes. Valak ran forward to take advantage, when Destran yelled out to him.
“Valak! Stop! I want him alive!” He yelled, to which Valak stopped his blade an inch before the Vaan’s terrified eyes.
“As you wish your majesty” he said, albeit begrudgingly.
“You!” Destran shouted at the small Vaan who I swore could have wet himself. “You will go back to your superiors and tell them that any more sent will wind up like your companions there! What is your purpose anyway?!”
“General Valak has a bounty, we were aiming to collect” the Vaan said meekly.
“Go back home, and tell them that General Valak is under the protection of the royal family of castle Hava! To attack Valak is to declare war, by order of Prince Destran!” He declared.
“Prince Prick!” I coughed to correct him.

The little Vaan scampered off with his invisible tail between his legs, the others came together significantly disappointing that Valak got all the action. Lyra was furious, as usual, but Zahkon and Yara led her around Valak and on ahead. Right up to the point Valak decided to speak.
“Saved your life little girl, should be grateful” he remarked.
“WHAT WAS THAT YOU COLD BLOODED MURDERER?!” Lyra screamed at the top of her lungs before lunging towards him, her eyes black, and being held back by the arms before her escorts.
“Just saying, if you fight as well as your father… well you would have died quite easily” he laughed cruelly.

That was a low blow, even for my standards. I did feel a little bad for Lyra, but then I realised I didn’t care. I got off of the log and walked past Destran who looked like he wanted to murder Valak, but seemed to force the idea down. I expected Lyra to go on another rampage, but it was Yara who shouted at Valak instead.
“JARRELL WAS A GREAT MAN! DON’T YOU DARE INSULT HIS NAME!” Yara bellowed, her eyes steadily becoming darker.
“Was he now? If you knew the reason he died… you might change your opinions” Valak bragged.

Man it was flying everywhere now! But just as they were all about to rip each other’s throats out and show it to them, some bushes behind us rustled. I instinctively threw my boomerang at it, and a yelp of pain accompanied it as it hit its mark.

The same Vaan we had just let go scuttled off rubbing his forehead, for some reason he had decided to eavesdrop. Things were hanging on by a thread, and I was ready to step in if need be to stop them killing each other, but it was in fact Destran who stepped up to the task. He gave a long and elaborate speech about something, I didn’t pay much attention.

Although he did remind me of something… what was it…? Oh yeah. Bugger, this again.




Everyone was dead, I had killed them all. Their blood covered my hands. I saw them, at my feet, lifeless and the look of fear and regret imprinted in their eyes. Urysus had gotten away, but this was me. I did this; I'm responsible for this chaos. With my own hands, willingly and ably, I slaughtered them like animals.



NO!! I REFUSE TO BE REMINDED OF THIS!! GET OUT OF MY HEAD DESDEMONDA! GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!! I SEE YOU! I SEE YOU! COME HERE!



I took a deep breathe in a room filled with stuffed animals and mummified corpses. Random torture contraptions marred the wall, and I was lying on a large, gothic bed covered in spider webs. I leaned up with my legs over the side; I was wearing tattered tights under a long, black, ripped dress.
I stood up, and went over to a broken mirror and saw myself. Desdemonda was my reflection, and I smirked upon seeing it; it was just as before…

“I know you’re in there Jack, I just knew you couldn’t keep away could you? Do you like what you see? I’ve been saving myself for you…” I began to speak in a girly voice at my reflection, and my hands wandered over my body.
“Desdemonda, report, now” I heard a voice come from nowhere. I sighed and looked back at the mirror.
“You’re welcome in my body anytime” I moaned to myself as I walked away.

I took the quickest route to the throne room, I opened it up and there were hundreds of creatures in there. Most of them Lothrid’s, they were similar to Vaan, but had muddy skin, fewer teeth, and slime seeping from their body parts. They had their pet Vingers beside them, and they all bowed in Sethos’ presence.

One man was bowing before the throne which made me so angry, his bald headedness and grovelling stance made me recognise Urysus right away. I wanted to scream, I wanted to lash out at him, not as Desdemonda, but as me. However I walked past him and took my place at the foot of Sethos’ throne.

“What does our friend have to say, daughter?” Sethos said, his face covered in shadows once again.
“The seeds of doubt have been planted father, Urysus’ efforts have been successful” I told him, my eyes fixated on Urysus to my great dismay. He was right there in front of me and I could do nothing about it. Desdemonda knew I was in her head, and she knew exactly how to torture me like one of her pets.
“You see Urysus? You do have a worth after all!” Sethos spoke to him.
“Thank you my lord!” Urysus said with another grovel.
“And what of Valak? Is his mission going well?” Sethos continued to direct to me.
“He has infiltrated the group, Valenstar is keeping his eye on him but has said nothing so far” I told him.
“Excellent, just as I predicted. How is out little project coming along?” Sethos commented.
“He’s learning at a faster rate on how to combat me father, I already kicked him out before you summoned me but-” I was cut off just then.



I opened my eyes to see Valak and Lyra walk away from each other, whatever Destran said worked. I don’t think anyone noticed my little… ‘Episode.’ Until I saw Zahkon staring straight at me, I got up and walked past him with a condescending wink.
“What did you see?” Zahkon asked me as I walked.
“Your mother, now drop it Idiot” I said through gritted teeth. I was pissed off.

Sethos was clever, I bet as soon as he realised there was a possibility I was in Desdemonda’s mind, he did his magic to kick me out just as a precautionary measure. A process which I assumed would be very painful for Desdemonda.



                                                           *



Nearly a month had passed since I last saw Urysus, and about two months since I had met the group in that forest one morning as I walked around looking for food after attempting to starve myself. And things were different, we felt like a group. A real group, even me and Valak had become accepted members of this motley crew of misfits and losers.

I was leading of course, we had crossed the majority of the Kaya plains and we were now heading for the forest of Illumini. Only Destran knew where we were heading, why he hadn’t told the others I don’t know, but it might have something to do with Zahkon.

Zahkon was almost as mysterious as I was, except he had revealed certain things about himself. He told us he grew up alone, after being exiled from his people for some reason. Nobody knew why, but I guessed it had something to do with his magic.

The forest of Illumini was the home of the Falath’Nakan. I had been here a couple of times, learned ancient Falath’Nakan off of the leader of the people, as well as how to enhance my senses a tad. Zahkon was unpredictable when it came to going to this place, so my guess was we just winged it until we got there.

The centre of the Marshes were long behind us, and in that time questions of my past came up again and again, and each time I got more annoyed about it. Nearly a couple of weeks ago I had that vision of Urysus, and it still got to me. I was still snappish at times, but bottled most of it within me.

We had gone on without much interference, except now our road was blocked by what appeared to be more bounty hunters and mercenaries. This time consisting of both Vaan and human, and they meant business. Destran marched up to them with his sword withdrawn, and Zahkon and Yara had his back.

“This matter has already been resolved, and the fact that you have humans changes nothing! Valak is under royal protection as long as he accompanies me! If you proceed, I will send word that war between our peoples will exist again!” Destran threatened the leader, an ugly Vaan with no hair but a stubby beard.
“Stay your blade Prince Destran, we got your message! We are not impeding your path for General Valak’s bounty” he grunted.
“Then why do you impede us?” Destran said, not backing down.
“We are here for her” he calmly stated, raising a small finger to point at Lyra, who was shocked of course.
“For Lyra? What concern is she of yours?” Destran demanded to know.

However, the Vaan dropped his weapon to signify he meant no threat, walked past the three of them and confronted Lyra face to waist. Lyra looked down and looked disgusted, hell even I was intrigued at to what this could be.
“Your father’s name is Jarrell?” He asked near nicely.
“Yes…” Lyra answered hesitantly.
“Please pay us the owed debt of fifty thousand gold” he said, extending a hand as if he expected Lyra to have that amount of money in a little bag in her pocket.
“Wh-What?! What do you mean pay you fifty thous… I DON’T EVEN HAVE THAT MONEY!!” She yelled in shock and confusion.
“Vaan law, recognised by the royal family. Your father Jarrell of the Sieverian army borrowed money to which he never paid back. His bounty was posted and collected, but his debt passes to his children. Please pay us the money” he explained with a straight face.
“My father borrowed money?! What sick joke is this?!” Lyra screamed, her eyes turning black.
“It is no joke, it has come to our attention that he had offspring; you. His debt has been reinstated and inherited by you, we double checked everything, and we do not make mistakes in matters of money” he explained.
“It’s true, I killed your father for because he tried many times to assassinate me, and he racked up a lot of debts in order to track me and kill me. Come the time of my capturing of him, he had a bounty I was not aware of on his head, which I claimed after I killed him.” Valak confirmed with a grin.

Lyra was speechless, she didn’t know whether to laugh at the absurdity or kill him. Destran stepped forward to attempt to resolve the matter.

“Perhaps I can pay on her behalf; we are not looking for trouble. I am the Prince, take your money from our vaults” Destran offered nicely.
“Only the affected parties may pay, no third party offer can be accepted” the Vaan said without looking at him.
“I’ll say this once and only once” Lyra began, her eyes incredibly black. “If any one of your disgusting kind talks to me about my father again, I will sing to your entire race!!” She screamed.
“Then you must die, and the debt passes on to your next of kin” the Vaan said, his expression turning threatening at once.

The people behind us sprang into action and leapt for her, Destran brought two down with his sword; Zahkon got two with his bow and then sword. Valak stayed out of it, as did I, but Yara and Brena each took down one respectively with little ease. My training of them was evident, and it paid off.

Lyra wrapped her hands around the Vaan in front of her, squeezing his neck. He kicked free and ran for the hills, leaving his comrades to die. He turned round and looked at her for one final threat.

“You realise that this will make you the most wanted woman in Vaan society! Not even royal protection will save you!” He shouted before scampering off.
“Go after him!!” Lyra shouted at me, wanting him dead.
“No” I said.
“You’re fast enough! Catch him and kill him!” She continued to yell, advancing on me.
“He’s done nuthin to me, why should I?” I stated with a shrug.
“Did you not just hear him?!” She continued, getting face to face with me. I could see her teeth become fangs, and her cheekbones rise.
“Yeah, but I couldn’t care less! Good luck with being hunted! I'm sure your best buddy Valak can give you a head start before he collects your bounty! BAH HA!” I laughed in her face, which caused her to sink her nails into my neck.

I kept laughing, which just increased her grip. When I had had enough, I picked her up with one arm and put her aside to walk on my merry way. She came at me again, and the others did nothing to stop her, even Brena looked like she thought I deserved this.

She grabbed my hair and pulled me backwards, we reached a tree in the open and she slammed my face into it. I chipped a tooth which regrew instantly, I looked at her and grinned, she kept on stabbing me out of frustration.

“Why! Won’t! You! Die!?” She yelled with each stab.
“Ooh you’re pretty feisty today!” I mocked her.
“WHY ARE YOU SO EVIL?!” She spat in my face.
“Evil? Nah not really” I laughed.
“YOU’RE A CRUEL, ARROGANT, INCONSIDERATE, EVIL, SELFISH, UNDEAD CREATURE!!” She yelled so hard her voice went hoarse.
“You forgot sexy, irresistible, and downright awesome” I added.
“What the hell happened to you to make you this way?!” She yelled, beginning to tire.
“Nothing happened, see that’s the problem with you people; you always assume there’s a reason for everything. Why can’t people just be?” I explained merrily.
“NO! I refuse to believe that! Nobody could be as closed off and heartless as you without a reason!” She yelled.
“I am who I am, take Sethos for example! Hey Prince Prick? Have you ever wondered why your uncle is evil? Or do you just accept him as such?” I called out to him. Destran did not reply. “Do you think it might be because he just is? Or did his brother take away all his widdle toys as a baby?” I joked.
“What happened to you?” Lyra said calmly, though her face was the very picture of rage.
“Nothing, I just am” I explained.
“What happened to you?!” Lyra asked again.
“Nothing! Absolutely nothing!” I said again, beginning to feel annoyed.
“What made you the way you are?! What happened to you Jack?!” She pressed the issue, getting right in to my face that I could have just leaned forward an inch to kiss her.
“Nothing happened Lyra, now drop it” I said in a constrained voice, I was feeling the heat.
“Tell us! Tell me! Tell me what happened to you! I know something did!” She refused to quit, and now my annoyance turned to anger, and my anger began to spill out.
“NOTHING HAPPENED TO ME ALRIGHT!? IT’S WHAT HAPPENED TO OTHERS!!” I yelled in her face, forcing her to back away.

I pushed away from her, and Zahkon was about to step in to protect her, but Destran put his arm up to stop him, wanting to see how this would all play out I guessed. I rounded on Lyra, and each step I took she took two steps back. She knew that if I fought back, there was nothing she could do about it. However, something else caught her attention.

Valak was laughing at us, I didn’t care, but Lyra did. And she did something about it.

“I'm going to kill you now Valak” She said through gritted teeth, and marched towards him.

Valak grinned, and raised his spear for combat. The others were in the process of getting their weapons to stop them from fighting; Zahkon was placing a bow in his string to aim at Valak. Everyone was ready to tear each other apart, and I could see it all getting to Destran.

However, none of them needed to. I appeared in front of Lyra and pushed her back. I did not advance towards her; I stood my ground and prevented her from getting near Valak. She tried of course, but was unsuccessful, and everyone was ready to attack me, Valak, or even each other. Trust was breaking down.

“Let me through!! I have to kill him!” Lyra yelled.
“No” I stated.
“Move Jack!!” She cried as she tried to stab me, but I disarmed her and pushed her away again.
“Alright let me explain something to you” I began, and she stopped to look at me briefly. “I have no love for Valak, hell I don’t even like him. But you, you’ve grown on me. I give a crap about you, not him. This is why I will use everything in my power to stop you fighting him. See logic in this Lyra; you are a girl who has never known war, you’d never even fought somebody before you reached the surface considering how you were when I met you, I figure. You are learning, but you are not ready. You. Are. A. Child. Valak is a General of the Vaan army, known far and wide for his cruelness in battle, and relentlessness in his attacks. He has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of all races combined through battle after battle in years of war, thousands of them probably by his own hand. He is the finest warrior the Vaan race has to offer, and if you challenge him… well do you even think for one second he wouldn’t stop until you are nothing but hunks of meat for him to eat? I will not fight him for you, but I will not let you die because of him. So if I have to break every bone in your body to spare your life, then I will.”

Silence followed my passionate speech, Lyra’s eyes did not change, but her face returned to normal. She was seeing sense in my words. Before things could continue, I walked up to Valak, took his collar, and whispered in his disgusting ear.

“You and me. Chat. Now.”

I dragged him away and he offered little resistance, we walked for at least ten minutes until I was certain the others could not see, hear, or find us. I let go of him, took a few steps away, before rounding on him.

“Enough games Valak, why are you actually here?”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“Don’t play games with me anymore! I haven’t been your travel buddy for nothing! I was keeping my eye on you!”
“I'm touched.”
“I know you’re Sethos’ little nursemaid, I know he sent you here, I know that letter was faked. What I want to know is why you haven’t tried to kill them yet?”
“Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t serve Sethos, he just happens to be paying a lot often. And as for my orders… Maybe my orders aren’t meant to kill them?”
“The stone…”
“Possibly.”
“He wants to you find the stone to steal it.”
“Not just me, he wants you to do it too.”
“I told him when I last saw him, I’ll never serve him.”
“He thinks differently, he thinks you’ll be a good General and bring him the stone. You are the only one who knows how to find it after all.”
“You didn’t infiltrate this group for Destran; you did it for me and the stone…”
“You always were pretty smart Jack, always thought outside the box. It’s because of you we located the stone in its first hiding place remember? Back when you were working for Sethos?”
“I tend to forget those times.”
“What have these people ever done for you? Nothing, yet you seem to cherish their affection. Could you possibly be growing to depend on them? You know what will happen if you do that, remember what you did last time you had bonds?”
“You’re going to shut your mouth and leave that alone.”
“Very well Jack, but remember, don’t say a word to them.”

At that moment, I heard a twig snap, but I continued my conversation.

“What will you do then huh Valak?”
“I’ll just tell them about how you worked for Sethos, how you technically still are. How you found the stone’s location for him years ago. And how you murdered everyone you once knew. You are not in control here, I am.”
“I could just kill you.”
“That’s your answer for everything, and that’s why Sethos wants you.”
“Be that as it may, Sethos can kiss my ass. I'm my own man now.”
“Oh of course… for now… but you’ll answer his orders soon enough. You will keep quiet from now on, unless you want them to find out who you really are!”
“Fine, but you leave Lyra alone from now on. She’s mine to deal with.”
“Agreed, I won’t hurt her, and I will continue with the orders given to me by his ‘majesty’ and you will continue to follow your own orders from yourself, until you answer Sethos’ call again.”



I marched away from him, not wanting to carry on our conversation any further. I walked for a minute, until I heard another twig snap. I rounded behind me, and was surprised to see Brena standing there, and I slowly realised that she must have heard us.


“How much did you hear?” I asked her coolly.
“Traitor…” She whispered.

The End

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