It was dark. The sounds of swords clashing together in a furious harmony, while the sounds of corresponding footsteps hitting a stone floor. Sparks lit up the darkness correspondingly synchronized with the sounds of the clashing blades the two assailants faces features briefly showing the spark of light one easily recognized as Zane's, while the others head behind a white cloth, with dark blue eyes showing a fierceness that matched Zane's. However Zane was being pushed back by his opponent surprise, excitement and fear filled his face as he narrowly dodged the tip of the menacingly sharp blade that was aimed at his head. A woman’s voice mocked him.
"Still finding fun in danger I see." Zane Countered with a downward strike attempting to hold her blade down.
"Do I know you?" He asked incredulously while being forced to step back to avoid a deadly upward slice.
"Maybe." The woman said in a flirtatious tone, " Or at least you should." She pressured Zane making his ability to counter impossible forcing him to defend himself.
"Nothing about you is familiar, but with someone your caliber of swordsmen ship should be." He replied letting the sword slice him across the abdomen while using the opening provided to slash back managing to do the same to the women. The two of them stood still taking deep labored breaths. The woman took a few steps closer to Zane placing a knife against his abdomen all the while with her other arm embraced him locking her lips against his for a brief moment before taking as step back.
"What is this?" Zane asked. The woman smiled driving the knife deep into his abdomen.
Zane woke up breathing hard and clutching the place where he felt the knife being driven into his belly, it still seemed to sting with pain. The feeling of being kissed also remained on his lips. He brushed his fingers against his lips feeling the sweat that dripped down on his face.
"What was that?" He said out loud feeling an insecurity bubble inside him. It was a insecurity that he did not understand. Zane got out of his bed attempting to push the dream out of his mind, but nothing worked. He strapped his sword and armour on and left to start his routine. Meeting Layla for breakfast continuing her training yet the images from the dream did not leave him. In fact he found himself gazing off into the distance far too much that Layla had to snap him out of it.
"Zane? Zane? Zane!"
"Huh?" He said scratching his head putting on a smile.
"What's wrong with you today?" She asked. Lowering her sword.
"I I. I don't know. Layla lets end training early today. You've worked really heard lately and your skills have improved and developed incredibly fast. So a break won't hurt you at all, might even help you recover. I I. I don't know, I'll figure it out. Don't worry about me though." Zane said putting on a strong smile, while he started to walk away.
"Alright before you go though have you talked to Ceri about training outside yet?" Layla asked.
"No, I haven't I'll get on that today alright. Have yourself a good day Layla." He said turning away from Layla and waving his hand dismissively before walking out of the training room.
Zane kept asking himself if the woman's voice from the dream was a voice that he knew, and if so would he lose to the owner of that voice, and what did it mean when she said, “Still finding fun from danger."? Of course Zane knew he enjoyed the thrill of combat, but the way it was said to him. As if his enjoyment was like a dangerous poison that he enjoyed taking. Zane clenched his fist in frustration why did this dream have such a profound impact on him? Zane turned the corner finding himself near the exit of the cavern there quite a gathering as Ceri's voicedboomed over the smaller voices.
"What's happened here? What's going on?" His voice filling the air while breaking up the crowd revealing a squad of ragged and bloodied men who were holding back tears beside wounded and possibly dead men. Zane brought himself closer to get an idea of whats going on.
"We were ambushed by a team of imperial soldiers. We stood no chance; we couldn't even recover half of our team." The man's voice shook as he spoke. Zane recognized some of the men on the team, some of them being Rin's men.
"Was Rin with you?" Zane broke in while making his way to the front of the crowd. Zane's fellow comrade lowered his head.
"A lot of teams were taken out, we're possibly the only survivors." He replied.
"Dammit." Ceri said clenching his fist," get these men to the hospital, make sure there able bodied as soon as possible. Zane, Jasper, Genma, and other men who feel they can serve as team captains come with me." Ceri said making strong willful movement to his chambers.
"It's never a good time to lose men, but we definitely can't afford to lose men, especially if the enemy seems to be mobilizing. Which means we need to at least replace our eyes and ears, and seeing that we just recently became short staffed I need you all to prove yourselves good team leaders, as well as selecting yourself a team. I want these teams to be small to avoid detection. Now go and form yourself and report back to me. Except Jasper , and Zane. I have a few things to clarify with you." Ceri said while taking a seat on his throne. Jasper shot Zane a glance of surprise mixed with anger.
" Now You two have things a little differently because one Jasper you haven't left Headquarters for large sum of years, so its required that you have a co leader, and as for Zane you don't have experience as a captain, and your also supposed to be punished for you previous acts so you'll need supervision, and that's why I'm pairing you two up. Now go make yourselves a team." Ceri said, his facial expression showing absolute strength and leadership. Despite the tragedy he had just had to deal with his will had not shattered. Zane smiled in admiration.
"We won't disappoint you. I promise." Zane said, punching his right hand against his left. He then caught up to Jasper. Who shot him distasteful glances, while they walked out of Ceri's chambers? Zane waited till they were both out of ear shot before he confronted Jasper.
"You know I'm not any happier about this than you are, but we need to put aside our differences here, something is going down and we need to cooperate, besides you're a man of duty and I personally believe you're a man who prizes dignity and honour. So lets do this together as best we can. Anyways lets form a team, I suggest we bring Riovynn along with that snooty friend of his, maybe Layla if she is up to it..." Zane noticed Jaspers face pale when he heard Layla's name, “What? She has improved greatly in her training, a little bit of field experience would be good, and she doesn't have to come if she doesn't feel confident enough. She shouldn't be treated like a kid ya know." Zane said in an almost obnoxious tone, which did not help the situation. Jasper grasped Zane shoulder and violently pulled him back.
"You’re so goddamn naive!" He shouted.