“Get up, big guy, time to go.”
The honey voice drew Gart from his dream. Strange, her voice sounds way more appealing than last night.
Gart propped an elbow beneath himself, slowly moving his numb muscles around. He used his free hand to chase the sleepiness away from his eyes. His, now slightly reddish, eyes found Sulafa, she was sitting atop a cylindrical bundle carefully and meticulously arranging her curls.
“Where is your sister?” Gart’s eyes searched for the sun and found it practically on top of them, he must have been way more tired than he thought.
“Hunting for the jine’ery.” answered Sul with a grimace, her hair was being bitchy. “We have a job to do, remember?”
“Oh, I remember I just find it strange that she left without you and her cloak.” Gart finally recognized the bundle that Sulafa was using as a cushion for her butt.
“We’d both slow her down, plus, it’s not so cold today.”
Gart sat down an extended a hand outside of his cloak. Sulafa was telling the truth, the weather was rather warm and yet the woman herself showed no desire to take off her cloak.
“So, how does this work exactly, we flick our ears and wait for Angiss?”
“Nah, my sister finds the jine’ery, I find her. We figure out how to put it down.” Sul carefully stood up. She was finally done with her hair and moved on to her clothes.
“How exactly are you going to find her?” Gart found his feet, collecting his sword and bag, he wasn’t too hungry yet, his stomach abhorred eating food shortly after waking up.
“Girl secret!” Sulafa cheerfully started pacing towards a seemingly random goal.
“I’m not feeling very leader-ly at the moment.” he claimed with a sour face.
“Don’t sulk, oh glorious leader.” teased Sulafa. “We’ve been doing this for fifteen years. I assure you that we will be of no help to my sister. She is an exceedingly skilled tracker.”
“Her apparent affinity towards insubordination is not what worries me. The Sentinel knows, I’m not suited to be much more than a soldier.” Gart shifted the bag to his other shoulder. He debated for a moment whether tapping Water to fix some stiff muscles was worth it, then decided against it. He might need his Elements later. “Your sister comes off as an untrusting person and I assure you my words to her were not a lie. I don’t want to see you both hurt because you were vexed by an allegedly insulting interference in your private space. If you do not cooperate, this could turn, from a simple hunt and capture, into a blood bath.”
“We do not capture jine’eries, Gart. We cull them.”
“Killing this one is meaningless. You’ve already done so, repeatedly.”
Sulafa abruptly came to a stop. She turned, in a swirl of golden curls and green cloak, to face the man.
“Try recalling the image of the last jine’ery you and your sister killed.”
Sul closed her eyes, rummaging through her memories. She nodded.
“Now describe him to me.”
“Its fingertips ended with ebony claws, it had wolf-like legs. Its horns started from the forehead and curved backwards, they were several shades lighter than the claws. It was huge, over two-thirty tall, muscular arms and chest, slitted brown eyes. The mouth lacked lips and it had fangs instead of teeth.”
“Alright, now try to remember the one before that. Focus only on proportions and bone coloring.”
Sulafa slightly tilted her had.
“I guess that I can see some resemblance. But the last one had way heavier scarring, besides from what I know the beasts can have siblings, therefore, they might be brothers or even twins.”
“Possible, yet what are the odds of you stumbling upon on two member of the same family?” Gart rubbed his chin. “One of your reports from two years ago describes an alarmingly similar specimen to your last two kills.”
“Alright, now you are just leading me on.” She started walking again, this time slightly faster. “Why would it come back to play cat and mouse with us?”
“I cannot find a justification. Nevertheless you shouldn’t allow facial scars to deceive you. The post mortem regeneration of a Gifted sometimes ignores superficial defects and if I do happen to be wrong, then I will apologize and leave you be.”
“How can you tell if it’s like you?” The female elf started playing with a curl.
“The moment he taps an Element, I will now.”
Gart carefully eyed Sulafa. She was silent for a while, lost in thought.
“How many elements are there?”
“Right now – seventeen.”
“Can you use all of them?”
“Curious little creature, aren’t you?” Gart said with a smirk.
“Just answer the question. Don’t worry, I won’t spill the secret. I doubt I can find anyone that cares.”
“I can use the six master Elements.”
“And how many of the others have you seen in action?”
“Two or three, I believe.”
“And if it uses one of the others, you are going to recognize it how exactly?”
His chuckle made her nose wrinkle in slight annoyance. She quickly regained her composure.
“It doesn’t matter if I’ve actually seen an Element. I can always recognize it and I would already know what It does.”
“You can do that how exactly?”
“It’s a bit hard to clarify.” Gart was starting to get hungry. “Within every living being there is a matrix…”
“What’s a matrix?” Sulafa was quick to interrupt, if Gart was trying to confuse her with big words, she wouldn’t give him the pleasure.
“It’s a template, a source that contains information. For example it tells you that you are an elf, it teaches your body how exactly an elf should look. This way you can develop properly and don’t end up resembling an orc, for instance. Sometimes the matrix can provide you with life preserving information…”
“I smell bullshit. All I know I’ve learned from someone, not a magic ball that allegedly exists within me.”
“Please, stop interrupting me.” Gart’s irritation was growing. He narrowed his eyes, peering in the distance. “Are you certain that your sister went this way?”
“Don’t change the subject and yes, I’m quite sure.”
“Well, that’s unfortunate. However, it provides me with a convenient way to validate my words. We are currently walking towards an old village, to some of our people it is a symbol of betrayal and misfortune. What can you tell me about the elf named Rordehriel?”
“I have no fu…”
Sulafa suddenly gasped. Her hands shot towards her head as it started to pound. Knowledge that she had never held before suddenly started oozing into her mind.
When she finally found regained her focus, she found herself shaking, held on her feet, only by Gart’s hand.
“She… she was an elf. She ascended into godhood, she… She was raised by the Reaper, for her abilities to mete out death…”
“Yes, we elves are born of the Sentinel. To us the patronage of the Reaper is sacrilege.” Gart released his grip. “Congratulations, you just tapped your matrix for knowledge. It takes a strong mind to be able to do that.”
Sweat had broken over Sulafa’s now pale face. She took out a handkerchief.
“This is not the first time I’ve come across something I don’t know, why haven’t I used this… matrix before?”
“Well as you have seen for yourself, tapping the matrix is not pleasant in the least. There is also a limit of how much a mind can store before going insane. If you saw a bunny and you didn’t recognize it as an herbivorous animal, the matrix would probably stay quiet, since it’s not particularly important that you recognize it. If you were starving, however, and stumbled upon unknown berries, your matrix will tell you if they are edible or not, provided of course that you are of strong will.”
“How’d you have explained all this if I failed to recognize the name Rordehriel?”
“Oh, I would have probably stopped trying to explain anything to you.” He shrugged his shoulders. “What’s the point of educating a retard.”