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Author's note: This piece came to life due to the inspiration from two of my greatest friends. Vanroa and Leala have been dedicated to them.
In the shadows of Grotto City, a dark and sinister truth remained hidden. True evil walked among them. Willing and waiting to make their mark. When their world was threatened, they came to its defenses. With no care or thought in their mind they made their way to victory. All that mattered to them was getting the job done. They had no soul, no heart.
I was part of this society. I took my place among the evil. I killed without a thought, without wasting a moment. I knew what my job was. We were the hunters and they were the prey. I moved like the wind. I was silent as the shadows. I blended into the dark. I was the best. I was favored. I showed no remorse or mercy. I was programmed not to feel anything. Not even anger, hatred, hope, faith, sadness. Not even love. They gave me the impossible. I was talented, a form of art. I believed I was doing the right thing. I believed I would always be the hunter and never the prey. I was proven wrong. He changed me. He showed me the real truth, the reality of it all. Without a word, I turned on my society. I ran for my life and his. I finally realized what I was here for.
They called me Dierdre; it meant young girl, one who rages, broken-hearted in Celtic. I took on another name, a name that would strike fear in their hearts. A name that finally meant something to me; that finally had a purpose. My name is Jade and I was a part of the Achlys Clan, to others we were known as the soldiers of mist and darkness. And I am their end. I am the one to stop it all. This is my destiny and no one can control me.
It was 6:00 am in Grotto City. The streets were buzzing with energy. It was an energy that I did not understand, but the innocents confused me the most. I studied them closely, trying to make sense of them all. I wondered if they knew about me. About what I did for them, and how I helped them. I was tempted to ask but I couldn’t. I had to remain in the shadows. I had to fit in among them, but have little contact as possible. I needed to go unnoticed and that’s what I did. I lived in an apartment building on the 16th floor on Angelic Street and I found that ironic. I did not choose the street name. It was chosen for me. My clan assigned me everything: a fake name, job, family, and home. And I had to live their life day to day.
I turned away from the window and looked back at the stone cold rooms. Every room looked the same. The walls were a chalky white from corner to corner along with the floors and counter tops; my appliances were black along with all of my clothing. Nothing stood out apart from me. Usually I did not mind the empty feeling or the lingering silence, but this time it got to me. I got up from the window ledge seat and walked into my bedroom, which was linked with my study. I hoped to find a book that would get rid of this eerie feeling by taking me away to a new place. I looked around at the dust covered books and scanned the titles. I always wondered why I never touched them. Then I realized the books were just for show. So were the old typewriter, the desk, and writing utensils. I turned away from the room and headed to the bathroom and looked at my reflection. All I saw was a frail girl with ghost like skin, fierce hazel eyes, and stunning long fire red hair. I felt like an empty shell. I had no thoughts of my own, and the memories of my past killings haunted my dreams. I blinked those thoughts away and walked back to my study. Before I sat down at the desk, the message alert screen sounded and dropped slowly like an old projection screen would. I watched it with careful eyes and read the screen.
It read and announced:
“Incoming call from Restricted Resident.”
“S.A.M patch me in with the Restricted Resident,” was my response.
S.A.M was a self built computer automated machine. S.A.M stood for Stealth Activated Machine. S.A.M was designed to only respond to my commands and he followed me everywhere. Even though he was a computer program, he has been the closet thing I ever had to a friend.
“As you wish Dierdre.”
I hated that name. It was a type of brand that would never go away. One that would haunt me for the rest of my life. I glared at the screen and I knew S.A.M sensed it.
“I’m sorry Dierdre. I have yet adapted to the new programming.”
“Don’t bother S.A.M just patch me in.”
“As you wish, Jade.”
I smiled at that name. I don’t know why or where I picked it up but it made me feel like a person. I didn’t feel like one of them anymore. I felt like one of the innocents for a change. The screen flashed and I let the smile fade as my boss can into view.
“Good Morning Dierdre.” He was never enthusiastic no matter how hard he tried to be.
“Morning, Alistair.” I responded back.
Alistair was the head of the Achlys Clan. He was the one who controlled our lives and watched over us. He was the one who trained us to be just as heartless as he was. Alistair was built like a wrestler. He was bulk and stocky. His skin was golden like a perfect tan, but his eyes were black as coal. Nothing about Alistair was inviting. And he showed it. When he smiled, you wanted to look away with horror. His teeth were stained yellow from the cigarette smoke. Right now that very man had my life in his hands, and he knew it.
“How was your vacation Dierdre? I hope you stayed to the code.”
Alistair praised me and always called me his star assassin. He loved me so much that he has always been more lenient towards me. An assassins’ code was simple to understand but difficult to follow. For example, rule one clearly states that an assassin must not associate with the innocents, etc. But the hardest rule of them all was the final rule. Assassins are not allowed to feel any emotions, not even love. I knew Alistair was referring to the final rule. I could tell he was sitting there waiting for me to fall. But I remained there standing strong, with my shoulders back and head held up high. I knew what happened to those who fell in love. Alistair sent me to kill them and their loved ones. There were no exceptions. I was not allowed to give mercy. Love destroyed us; it never saved us.
“I have always abided by the code, have I not?” I questioned.
“Why of course you have Dierdre.”
“It’s not good for your health to worry about someone as small and simple as me.”
“Ah, see that’s where you are wrong Dierdre,” He grinned. “You are a very talented, beautiful woman.”
“Alistair did you disturb my meditation just to say how pretty I am?”
“Hmm...You are a bit restless when someone interrupts your meditation. But I cannot deny how that makes me feel, nor can I stop wondering just exactly how to put that restlessness to good use.”
Alistair sickened me. The way he talked to me, the way he looked at me made my skin crawl. He horrified me, but yet I worked for him. Even if I could escape alive, I have no place of my own. Not even a family to go to. Everything I knew about my life revolved around the Achlys Clan. They would find suitable children that fit their requirements and took them by force. No one but the child would survive. I was one of those unfortunate children, but I was only an infant when I was chosen from what I was told.
“I’m very curious Alistair as to why you chose to disturb me at such a crucial hour?”
His smile faded.
“I expect you to be in my office within no time at all.” With that the transmission ended.
I looked blankly at the screen. I was stunned I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. Have I really forgotten? I knew the answer. I wish I didn’t. I slowly turned back to my desk to examine the calendar. It too was slightly covered in dust. I looked at it and realized it was from years ago. I needed to know what the date was to figure out how long it has been.
“S.A.M what is today’s date?”
“August 12th, 2020.”
“Thank you. S.A.M if you would please transfer yourself. We need to head to the office.”
“As you wish, Jade.”
I ran the date through my head. I found it to be impossible to believe. I have been on this assignment for six months, three weeks, two days, and seven hours. And I never once tried to make a move towards my target. Something stopped me from killing him and I wish I knew what it was.
It was only 6:15 and within five minutes I was outside of the office. It looked no different from the metal plated sky scrapers that you would normally see. Neither did the well dressed people that came out. To what anyone could see, we were always just like them with our own happy families and fun-filled jobs. Only if they knew what went on behind the security lines and how our lives were actually lived. What would they think of us? To be exact, what would they think of me then? So many complicated questions filled my head, all demanding to be answered. I became overwhelmed with confusion. I couldn’t think straight. My vision became blurry, and voices of pain were screaming inside my thoughts. I started to back away in panic!
“Jade!” someone yelled.
I could not see them or hear them. All I could make out was a rush of horrible wind, and the ground falling underneath me. For the first time I was frightened. I wanted to scream for help but I could not utter a sound. But then I felt him reach out for my hand. He grabbed onto me and reeled me back to my feet. Then finally it all came back. My vision and all my feelings surfaced from their hiding spot. I didn’t realize what I was doing. I spaced out and awoke to see a strong hand hastily holding mine, keeping me from falling into the deafening streets behind me. I tried putting two and two together, but all I did was just stare at his hand as he spoke to me again.
“Jade! What were you thinking?!”
I remained fixated on his hand and mine. I paid attention to how well they were intertwined. Then I glanced behind me. I could not believe what I almost done. I watched the busy streets. I watched the cars race by. Had I really backed up into a busy road side? Would that have been the end of me? These new questions made my head spin. I wanted to make sense of it all, but I couldn’t.
“Jade, I can hear the blood rushing through your veins.”
This time he let go of me. He moved both his hands towards my face forcing me to look away. I felt dizzy and cold. My breathing was unsteady and my heart rate was out of control. As he moved my head, I slowly closed my eyes to stop it all. He cradled my face in both hands while he gently wiped the cold sweat off of my brow.
“Take a few breaths.”
I did what he said. In a matter of seconds, I slowed down my heart and breathing rate. I finally felt in control again. I was finally able to relax.
“That’s my girl!”
I decided to open my eyes, and as I tilted my head ever so slightly he let his hands gently fall from their place. He kept his left hand cupped around the nape and the other on my waist. There he stayed like he was afraid to let go. When I opened my eyes, I saw a familiar face.
“Jackson!” I exclaimed with a sigh of relief. With that, I buried myself into his chest while he wrapped his arms around me.
Jackson was only a foot or two taller than me. His hair matched his creamy chocolate eyes beautifully. And when you’re wrapped in his arms, you can feel every muscle contract and adjust to the shape of your own. His scent was so strong that you would walk away with the scent of rich pine trees and fresh spring water. I settled myself further into his arms.
“I believe you have somewhere to be, Dierdre.”
I nodded and let go of him. I walked around him and headed towards the main doors. He gave me one last smile, but I did not return one.
It was 7:20 a.m. and I was sitting outside Alistair’s main office. The walls were plastered white, and all you could hear were the subtle mummers of whispers, the silent flipping of pages, and the soft thud from the soles of shoes walking across the white linoleum floor. No one stood out. Our clothes were always the same; head to toe in black while dark shades were worn to hide our faces.
The silence unnerved me. The way my counterparts stared at me made me restless. I suddenly wished that I completed my task to being with. What was it about him that stopped me? I only knew his name. Nothing else was given. I’ve done this many times before. Why was this one instance any different? I scrambled my mind for answers, but I couldn’t find any. This irritated me and I wanted to know why.
The doors of Alistair’s office finally opened. I did a few meditation breaths to gain control of the rapid thumping in my chest. I reached for my chopsticks. They were six inches long, black at the top but faded into blood red at the tips; the tips were laced with a horrifying poison. But that didn’t bother me; I knew how to handle them the right way. I took both chopsticks and pulled my hair up with a slight of hand. A few strands fell from the ponytail and lay perfectly aligned with my jaw. I was finally ready to face Alistair.
I entered his office which looked no different than the outside halls. The sunlight shone through Alistair’s windows giving a more blinding appeal. As I walked across the floors, it seemed like I was walking on mid-air. I walked up to Alistair’s desk where he was sitting. Waiting. I stopped about two feet away from him. I prepared myself for the endless torture and revolting comments ahead. If there was another way out of this, I would take it no matter how heinous it was.
“I’m glad you were able to make it Dierdre.”
“I am always here to do your bidding, Alistair.”
Every bone in my body shook out of disgust.
“As are the rest of your counterparts,” He grinned. “Dierdre I believe you know why I’ve called you here.”
“No I cannot say that I do, Alistair.” I looked into his cold eyes, praying that he could not break my defenses.
“Well Dierdre, you of all people should know this is not your ordinary briefing.” Alistair reached for one of the files laid out next to him. I caught a glimpse of the one in his hand. It had my target’s name on it. “Dierdre I decided to look through your past briefings and I came upon this.” He threw it at my feet and my target’s picture landed at my feet.
Seeing him again made my heart jump. Something inside of me yearned to be with him. My defenses fell. I was finally exposed to Alistair. He got up from his desk and moved closer towards me. I swallowed hard. He walked in a circle around me like hawk circling its prey. He was the hawk and I was the poor defenseless mouse. I wanted to run away but I forced myself to stay still and to be ready for anything. Alistair finally stopped in front of me. He went for my arm and I didn’t react fast enough. Alistair swung me around and threw me against the wall. I tried to get up but my body would not move. He ran towards me picked me up by neck and pinned me against the wall with his entire weight.
“See what love does to you!” I couldn’t breathe. I struggled against him to let me free. “You lose your touch. You’re so focused on him you start to fantasize about him. You end up not paying attention to your surroundings. You become defenseless,” He let go of me. I fell to my knees gasping for air. It took all my strength not to fight back. I deserved this. “I do not want to do this to you Dierdre. You are one of the best agents I have. But I will give you a choice, a chance to redeem yourself.”
He walked back to his desk and pulled out his semi-automated K-40 and bent down to pick up His picture. He then walked back to me with both items in hand.
“You have a choice Dierdre. You either watch yourself get destroyed by him or you take my gun and end all this confusion yourself.”
I looked at his gun and then at Alistair. I told myself no matter how heinous the task was I would commit to it. I pushed myself back on feet. My body screamed in protest, but I was not about to let Alistair win. I looked at both items again, and then fixed my gaze back on Alistair. For once, I knew what I wanted.
“No.” I said with a stern gaze.
“What?!” Alistair pulled his hand with the gun back and swung. But it was me who was the fastest. I dodged his swing and somersaulted to the other side of the room. I had my towards his office doors. “Think clearly Dierdre. You don’t want this. I can hear your thoughts. I saw what the confusion done for you. How Jackson saved you from the street behind. Think about it Dierdre when you go running to your target do you really believe that he will be waiting there with open arms?” He smirked.
“It does not matter.” I gasped. “Shia is not a threat. There are too many variables in play.”
Alistair laughed darkly and stared at me. “Shia is it?” I did the worst thing possible. I said my target’s name, a critical error that will end us both. I turned away from Alistair and went for the doors. “Once you walk out those doors Dierdre, your whole life will change for the worse. You will no longer be welcomed to the Achlys Clan. You will be marked as a traitor and hunted will be hunted down as one. There will be nowhere to run.”
I looked over my shoulder and said. “I’ll be waiting then.” I ran out of the door and left the Achlys Clan forever.
Alistair sounded the alarm within seconds of my departure and so the race began. I pulled out my security helmet that not only protected me from any bullet but also gave me a connection to S.A.M. The helmet went on over my ear just like the old antique blue tooth ear piece and once placed it formed around my head. I jumped onto black slick motorcycle and started the engine. “S.A.M drive!!” S.A.M kicked it into gear and raced off into the crowded streets of Grotto city. We swerved in and out of lanes putting as many miles behind us as we could. I looked over my shoulder expecting to be followed but there was nothing. “S.A.M. strengthen the radar further in capacity.” “Two other motorists are heading in at a head on angle at the speed of 1200. Should I lock on?” I was about to say yes, but I looked around at my surroundings. There were too many innocents around. And for once I did not want to be the end of their glorious lives. “S.A.M find and alternate escape route.” “The only alternate route would have to be the rooftops.” I smiled to myself. “Let’s hit it!” S.A.M slammed on the brakes and we did a complete 180. We drove against the traffic, running in between the many cars and trucks. I wanted to catch them off guard, but somehow also to distance myself away far enough out of their aim. I sped past them. I only hoped I threw them off. The two agents turned and kicked it into high gear. “S.A.M come back for me.” I turned myself away from the steering, and patiently waited for them to get closer. The only way no one would get hurt is if I could disarm them and I was ready to take that chance. One drew close enough that I could see the white’s of his eyes. I stood up on the seat and did a front flip off the bike and with perfect timing I landed on his bike right behind the driver. He swerved right into a truck but regained his momentum. The agent took a swing at me and I deflected. He swung himself around and knocked me off causing me to hang off the edge. A truck sped towards us, and I had no time to regain posture. I leaned flat against the right side of the vehicle while the cold metal armored truck only grazed my knees. I lifted myself back up and he took another swing. I caught his arm and bent it behind him. I reached for his helmet, but as I did the other agent shot at me. My grip loosened and he deactivated my helmet and threw the little ear piece underneath an eighteen wheeler. “S**t!” I jumped between two cars as they were passing and landed on the hood of a red Articular. The car and I were heading straight towards the agent who fired. He slowed down to take a shot. That was the biggest mistake he could ever make. I jumped onto him and brought him down to the concrete road along with his bike. We both got to our feet and charged at each other. He pulled out another gun. I kicked the gun free from his hand. He went to jump above me to fetch it but I was faster. I kicked off his shoulders and managed to grab the weapon and unload it all in one swift motion. I threw the dismantled gun to different sides of the streets. I smirked. “Come on now.” I taunted and gave him a welcoming nod. He ran at me. I jumped to the left and he hurtled to the ground. Two cars missed us, but unfortunately did not miss each other. I caught the previous agent speeding towards me from the corner of my eye. I quickly grabbed the agent on the ground and used him as a body shield; the motorist fired. I held the dead limped body there until he ran out of ammo. He threw the gun to the ground out of anger and sped faster towards me. I threw the body to the ground and when the motorist took a swing I grabbed his arm and pulled him off. His bike went racing into an armored bank truck and as I let go he slammed into the pavement five feet away from me. I walked over to him, like the traffic was nothing to pay attention to, and bent down to check his pulse. He was fine for the time being; he was only unconscious. I undid his helmet and looked into the face of my current attacker. I staggered back out of shock; the boy looked only fifteen. Was Alistair determined to destroy me? Was he really determined so he sent a kid to do a man’s job? I walked over to the other body and looked him in the face. He seemed to be only fourteen. I shook my head in disbelief. Did I really kill these young boys? Why didn’t I notice their height or how quick their movement was? I squeezed my hands tightly and the ear piece dug into the palm of my hand. I still had the fifteen year-olds helmet; I could use it to lock on S.A.M. I messed around with the helmet’s modifications. It did not take long to get into S.A.M’s system. “Engaging the location,” Rang the familiar voice. I sighed and waited for S.A.M. I looked up from the streets at the chaos. So many cars were damaged. So many people died or were injured. It was a battlefield. Did I really cause all that damage? There were cars on fire or majorly rearranged. Some of the innocents were hanging out of their cars glass fragments sticking out of their skin, metal sticking through their bones. I could smell the blood in the air and the gasoline leaking out of the cars. It was a revolting sight. I cringed at the damage I’ve caused. How am I capable to do something like this? I should have just run when I had the chance. Why did I stay and fight? The calming roar of the S.A.M’s engine broke my thoughts, but I heard something else among the hum of his engine. It sounded like the flapping of a thousand wings. “Damn it!” I didn’t have to look up toward the skies. I knew what was heading for me. I jumped back onto S.A.M. We took off towards the city. I revved the engine even more. We were being chased by the worst possible thing ever. Our speed climbed and climbed, but I was afraid that we weren’t going fast enough. “Come on!!!” The needle moved almost falling off the speedometer. “We have to go faster!!” They were gaining I could feel the cold shadow over my head. I feared the worst. I could still feel them following us. I steered in and out of traffic trying to shake them off. Somehow I could lose them; I just knew it. We were almost there. I heard a soft click. I reached towards the helmet and tried activating it. The helmet sent an electrical shock through my body. “AH!!” I threw it off into the streets. I was helpless. They fired. ~ ~ Outside of the S.S.O.A was like any other day. Today unfortunately was not. It was noon and Shia was out with a couple of friends. They decided on seeing a movie, but when he got there they all had dates except for him. That made him a bit uncomfortable, so Shia left. He decided to walk home and all the while he kept thinking about that mysterious red headed woman. He noticed her watching him following him. Shia shook his head in disbelief. She was just another person passing the time like anyone else. Shia felt unnerved. The streets were very quiet, and he no longer felt safe. Shia reached a crosswalk and waited to any passing cars, but there were none. “That’s funny. The main street is always busy.” He spoke to himself. Shia just shrugged his shoulders and looked both ways before crossing, but when he looked to his right he saw someone or something racing towards him. It got closer and closer. It looked like whoever it was; they were trying to escape from their chaser. Shia squinted his eyes to focus on what it was exactly. He saw a motorist racing towards him and following the motorist was a helicopter. The worst part of it all was the fact the steel bird was taking fire. He shook his head. He believed he was thinking way too much and that he was just tired and was hallucinating. Shia looked back at the scene. He now noticed the motorist did not have a helmet and that they were getting closer. Shia ran across the street and hid himself in an alley way. He thought he’d be safe there. But he was wrong. The motorist raced into his alley way. “S**t!!” Shia dodged behind the dumpster and watched as the driver slid to a stop. Shia glanced around the slimy corner of the dumpster. And saw her. She was very lean but stood with a strong appearance. She jumped off the motorcycle and ran up the brick wall, and jumped along the fire escape. It looked like what you saw in the everyday karate movies. She floated on the air and was on the roof in no time. Shia stayed hidden behind the dumpster and could only hear the firing the machine guns, but then it was quiet. Far too quiet. He expected it to be safe. So Shia withdrew from his hiding spot and dared to look up into the sky. He saw something falling towards him. It was the girl she was diving into the air at a fast speed. She grabbed a railing and slowed her stop. She landed on the ground with perfect form and elegance. She had her back towards Shia and her eyes were still towards the sky. He was trying to figure out what she was paying such close attention to, but Shia did not dare look away from her. Shia only walked towards her; he was only three feet away from her when she suddenly turned around. The girl ran towards him grabbed his arm and jumped onto the bike. “You might want to hold on very tight!” she yelled at Shia. Shia wrapped his arms around her waist. He could feel she was all muscle. Shia was so distracted by her presence he barely could figure out what was going on. They bolted forward fast. They sped out of the alley way as fast as they could. Shia looked over his shoulder and towards the gray dull sky above and saw a mass of fire falling towards the ground. It was the helicopter. Shia slowly turned his gaze stared at the racing street signs. He could not wrap his mind around it. How could someone as small as her defeat something like that. Shia closed his eyes and waited for it all to be over.
The sounds of loud guitars woke Shia up from his sleep. He slowly got up from his bed, but when he came to he realized he was not home. Shia sat up and listened to the sounds around him. Music was playing in the background and from what he could tell it was by Linkin Park. They were an old time classic. Shia listened closer and he could make out running water from a shower. He rose from the bed and looked to the left down the hall. He saw steam coming out from the door way. Shia left the room and softly closed the oak door behind him and headed down to the direction of the bathroom. When he reached the door, he could tell it was open. Shia walked in as quietly as he could. He was amazed at the sight. The bathroom was half the size of a presidential suite. There were two pearl marble sinks and a big vanity mirror. Alongside that was a big amour filled with towels of different shapes, size, and color. He continued down and saw a pure white marble toilet and tub with high powered jets. Shia swallowed he could not believe the type of place he was in. He neared the shower that was running. It had glass doors that prevented fogging from the pouring steam and it was in a big room of its own. Shia walked in. The walls were black onyx stone with a gold trim. It also had an Aztec feel to it. He drew closer to the shower bed itself. His curiosity was getting the best of him. When Shia was close enough, he could make out the girl who took down the war bird helicopter. She was lean and each muscle curved with perfection. Her hair reached the middle of her back. Her hair looked darker with the moisture; it almost looked brown. Shia inhaled the aroma. He could not quite place the smell but it was so alluring and he could not help himself. Shia crept closer to the shower. He noticed faint scarring along her back. He was only a few steps away then someone grabbed him and covered his mouth. Whoever had a hold of him was stronger than expected. He was no match for his surprise attacker. Shia was pulled out into the hall and thrown towards the staircase. Shia spun around to face his attacker and saw a very tall man that seemed to have been raised in the woods. The man stood there with raging anger. Shia broke the silence. “What the hell?! You could have killed me!” “You would be better off that way.” He said with a stern look. “You have some major problems.” “I have major problems,” He laughed sarcastically “I am not the one who walked in on her.” “So you’re saying you never walked in on her that’s funny because I believe you just did. I mean hey you came and yanked me out of there.” Shia made him angry. He swung back and Shia closed his eyes preparing for the hit, but it never came. Shia opened his eyes and noticed a petite frame standing in front of him holding the man’s strong arm back. She was only wrapped in a towel and was dripping with cool streaming water. They stood there in silence until she spoke. “What the f**k do you think you’re doing Jackson?!” The man looked at her with misunderstanding and answered “Are you fricking insane?? He walked in on you in the shower!” “And like you haven’t?” “That’s a different story. It’s my house and I’m in charge of keeping you safe.” Jackson spoke with agitation. “Jackson,” she sighed “I can protect myself.” “Do you even know who he is? I looked at each profile and studied each one very closely. Do you understand how much danger you have put yourself in?” “It’s my choice. You and I both know it’s all that I can do.” Jackson sighed and gazed at her. Shia shifted his weight and caught Jackson’s attention once again. He huffed and walked downstairs into what looked like a kitchen. She turned around and faced into Shia. She said nothing; she only grabbed his hand and took him back to the room he was previously in and led him to the bed. Shia sat down without hesitation and she walked towards the opposite door. When she opened it, Shia saw the biggest walk in closet with tons of clothes and accessories both for men and women. She searched through the men’s clothing and pulled out an outfit and placed it on the floor and then turned around to walk down further and faced the opposite side. She took the towel and let it drop to the beige carpet floor. Shia blushed and faced the opposite way. “You think way too much.” She laughed softly. Shia turned around and saw her standing next to him dressed in black lace undergarments. She had clothes for the both of them. She gave Shia a soft smile and handed him some clothes. “You might want to change maybe even shower. You’re covered in blood.” Shia looked down at his clothing and noticed the satin red stains. He started to panic. She grabbed a hold of his arms and made him face towards her. “You’re perfectly fine. They didn’t leave a mark on you.” “What about you? Are you hurt?” Shia examined her thoroughly. He could notice the scars more. They were faintly white and visible. She lifted his eyes back to hers. “I’m fine.” “The blood…it was from the pilots.” She nodded and rose from the bed. She grabbed her clothes and slipped them on. Shia watched her dress into short khaki shorts and a mini cropped black shirt. She almost looked like Lara Croft the way she was dressed. She sat back down and looked directly into Shia’s eyes. “My name is Jade and I’m the only one who can keep you safe.”
I left the room and went back towards mine. Jackson had dinner on the stove and Linkin Park was still playing in the background. How he could ever listen to them I never understood. I reached the door to my room. I briefly stopped before opening to the door and looked behind me. I don’t know what I was looking for; all I saw was Shia heading into the bathroom to take a shower. I turned away when our eyes met. I opened the door and walked in. I softly shut it behind me, and walked towards my bed. I lay down and gazed out the French doors that led to the balcony. The French doors, like me, did not belong there. Jackson decorated the room with an Asian feel. I loved the décor but it was not my place to be there. I needed to find a place to hide. They would find me sooner the longer I stay here. I got up from my bed and onto the balcony. Jackson had an ocean side house and my balcony over looked the beach. I inhaled the warm salt water air, and I let the water from the rocks below splash up and hit me with the spray of the water. I stood out there for twenty minutes trying to clear my head. I knew everything about Shia, at least what I needed to know. He’s about 6’5’’. His body is built like a baseball players, but his muscles are not that detailed. Short light brown hair. Brown eyes. Rugged bread. Caucasian. That’s all that was to him…but I was wrong. When I sat down next to him I saw that his eyes were just not brown; they were a soft hazel, a light brown with a tint of forest green. His scent was so intoxicating and very hard to place in a category. His style of clothing could be easily compared to a down to earth personality with a sense of flare. His skin was pale but had a light hint of a tan. His voice was soft and subtle but it gets the point across and can draw attention. As for his face, it was a soft and angelic face with soft silk lips. He was beautifully sculpted. But his looks could not compare to how I felt, or how I imagined how I would feel. When I’m around him, I can’t breathe normally. When we would touch, I felt an electrical impulse. If he chose to kiss me, I’d go into a panic attack. I would remain silent just to make time grow longer. The worst part of this feeling; I let my guard down. All my senses that I’ve been trained to pay attention to fade. Just thinking about him made me smile to myself. I wanted him; I needed him, and I was not going to let them stop me. I stood there and looked down at my hands. I could not stop thinking about him. It was an obsession that I did not want to end. I stood there in silence until I heard scuffle below in the living room. Then it got louder things were crashing to the floor and it almost sounded like bullets were being fired. I turned around with great speed and ran to the desk in the far corner of the bedroom. I rummaged through the drawers looking for my guns. They were not there. Out of frustration I slammed on the desk with a loud bang. I continued looking around the room slamming things shut throwing things onto the floor. I was scared out of my mind. The noise continued downstairs unaware of the noise above them. I continued my ruthless search. What happened to my armory? Why would Jackson just move my stuff like that? Someone screamed like bloody murder and I froze in my tracks. I didn’t recognize that scream. The noise stopped but he was still screaming. I ran to my door and jerked it open. I ran towards the staircase and down them. I turned left threw open the great big oak doors to the living room. I looked around the room frantically. It was a mess all the priceless artifacts were broken. The paintings were ripped. The fire logs lay on the floor smoldered and burnt. They weren’t there. I ran to the right side of the room to the other doors that led into the dining room. The room was left untouched. No one had been in there. The screaming fell silent. I ran out both rooms and across the hall to the kitchen, ran straight through in the pantry. I threw everything on the floor. I didn’t know what I was looking for, or where I was. I finally found it and threw the switch. The wall collapsed to the floor and stairs appeared. Without thinking I ran down the stairs into some kind of cellar. It was nothing but dark brick walls and floor. There were no lights to help me find my path. The silence grew stronger and I jumped when I heard another scream. It sounded so cold and lifeless. I dashed towards the scream. I had no idea where I was, but I was for certain I was not in Jackson’s house anymore. I ran with all my might until I hit the light at the end of the long hallway. I slammed up against the wall and looked around the corner. Everything looked so familiar but I could not place it anywhere. I did not see anything until shadows crept into view. They were figures of two men. One man was strapped to a chair; the other man held two katanas and small drops fell off the blade. I knew it was blood. I could smell the iron seeping in the air. “Please. Please. Leave us alone.” His voice was injured and hopeless. I crept around to get a better look. The guy tied up looked so familiar. His hair was blonde and from the distance I could see that his eyes were crystal blue on the verge of ice. I saw the many cuts and his blood soaked clothes. The katana man said nothing. He just looked down upon him. “Please, she’s not here. She died at a young age.” The katana man remained quiet. “Why would I lie about my own daughter’s death!” The katana man finally spoke but his voice sounded like a whisper. “You’re daughter?! She is rightfully mine. I left her in your care. What have you done with her?!” “I’ve done nothing..” “Lies!!” He raised his swords to strike again. I heard feet running from behind me and a soft sweet smell of lilac. She was a blur when she ran past. I could not see her face. She ran over to Katana man and pounded against his back screaming “No! Leave him alone!!” He just flicked his sword behind him and straight through her chest. The girl fell to her knees. He turned back to the blonde man and swung his sword at his throat. Blood ran from his neck and soaked the floor. I didn’t know what I was doing. I walked further into the room. I knelt down at the girl’s body. She was beautiful. Her hair was golden as the sun and her eyes were deep forest green. I got back up and stalked past Katana man and examined the poor boy. He was gorgeous. He was a girl’s dream man. I slowly straighten my back. Their faces looked so familiar. I felt Katana sway his balance. I turned around and I looked up at his face. He wore a white ninja suit with a hooded mask. His chin was at his chest and he sighed a great deal. Tears were coming from his eyes. He could not hold himself together. He fell to his knees. I bent down on mine as well. He dropped his weapons to the floor and tore off the mask. He looked roughly thirty-five but that’s all I could tell by his features. He kneeled there and sobbed heavy cries of pain and abandonment. I wanted to reach out to him and to pull his eyes towards mine, but I froze there with fright. He mumbled someone’s name under his breath as he continued to sob. He kept repeating I strained to listen. I wanted to know. I put my hand under his chin and his head lifted. He stared into my eyes. I looked at his face. His eyes were deep brown. Some of his facial features matched mine. He looked deeper into my eyes and spoke; “My poor little girl,” He sobbed “I’ll find you. I’ll bring you home. Jade,” I jerked back. Could he see me? How did he know my name? “Jade, my poor baby, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” The vision started to blur. “Wait!! Wait!!” I screamed. I could not bring it back. “Please no don’t go!” It went black and I was left there in the cold. “No! No, come back!” I closed my eyes and started to cry. “Please” was all I could stumble. I felt someone shaking me. I refused to open my eyes. I just wanted to lay there. I wanted to wait for Katana man. I wanted him to explain to me. “Jade, wake up.” I heard my name being called but I still refused. “Jade!” I slowly opened my eyes. The bright light blinded me. I retorted from it and someone’s shadow stood in the way of what seemed to be the sun’s light. I finally opened my eyes all the way. I woke up to Shia’s beautiful eyes. “There you are.” He smiled. I turned onto my back and realized I was in my bed. He was lying next to me half naked. His muscles gleamed with a clear sheen. He must have just stepped out of the shower. I sat up but fell back down, my head was pounding. Shia slowly helped me up. The sheets slipped off as I moved. I looked down. My clothes were changed. I pushed Shia away from me. Did he drug me? What the hell was he doing in my bed?! I glared at him and he seemed surprised. “I wasn’t the one who changed your clothes, I swear it!” “Looks like our patient is up,” rang Jackson’s voice. “Would you please tell her that you changed her clothes?” Jackson laughed full heartedly. “No worries Dierdre. He didn’t touch you. Well minus when he checked to see if you were breathing and had a pulse. Your clothes were soaked in blood. I was just looking for any entry wounds.” I looked between the two of them. What were they talking about didn’t they hear all the commotion. Didn’t they see what I saw? I opened my mouth to speak but it was dry. Shia reached on the night stand and grabbed the water bottle. “Drink.” I took a drink and swallowed it hard. It scorched my throat. I coughed. “What the f**k happened,” I was able to stammer out. “I could ask you the same thing,” Jackson said with a smirk. “I was downstairs cleaning up the dishes and putting away the leftover food for you. I heard a thud and thought you two were going at it. Then I heard him scream your name. I ran up the stairs and found you there lying on the balcony with him over top of you panicking. I ran to your side and lifted you on over to the bed. You were convulsing. I could see fright on your eyes. I thought…I thought he got into your head and started attacking. I strapped you down and paralyzed you. After that you were asleep wincing with fear. We sat here for hours. I just went downstairs to answer a call from…him. And now here we are.” “You mean…we weren’t under attack?” Shia looked at me with worried eyes. “What are you talking about being attacked? And who is ‘he’?” “Oh you didn’t fill the poor boy in, Dierdre.” “Why the name Dierdre?” “That’s not my name!” “Sorry my dear girl, but you have to explain to him why he’s been followed and on the top of our list,” Jackson smiled and went back down the stairs. I felt Shia’s eyes staring into my skin. I could not look at him. I stared out into the hall. I felt Shia get off my bed. He walked into my vision and walked to the door. He closed it and locked it securely. Or at least to him it was secure. I knew differently. He came back over and sat in his spot. I still refused to look at him. It was bad enough to have him in this mess. I could not make it any better by telling him. His hands worked their way around my jaw line, and he pulled my gaze towards him. He wiped my brow of the remaining sweat. He swept my hair away from my eyes. It was too much I pulled away and created space between us. I laid my back against the head board trying to disappear into it. He just stared; his eyes were filled with questions but he didn’t ask any. We just waited in silence for the other to speak. He sighed heavily and shook his head. “What happened,” he asked. I looked at him dumbfounded. “Better yet who are you? What are you,” he questioned. He got off the bed out of annoyance. “What the hell are you? How did someone as small as you defeat a steel metal plate helicopter? How did you stop that guy’s brute force with a petite little hand? I can careless how I am involved in all of this. All I want to know is what happened to you? Are you some type of super solider like Captain America?” I laughed at his last question. “No. No I’m not some super solider like Captain America. I’m nowhere close to that.” “Then explain to me what you are.” I took a deep breath. This was the moment of truth. The moment to prove Alistair wrong. “To answer your two questions, my name is Jade but they call me Dierdre. I’m a well-trained assassin. I used to belong to the Achlys Clan in your case the Clan of Mist and Darkness.” “You’ve got to be kidding me. Do you expect me to believe something like that?” “You have anything better, Shia,” it was my turn to take over the conversation. “The Achlys Clan is a very withdrawn population. They choose their assassins by birth. We are born with some sort of mark that only appears to them. We have strong abilities: strength, speed, stealth, and our minds. We can read the thought’s of others. We can even have our victims hallucinate. We have killed some in their own dreams, or by poison or weaponry. We are given a target and must proceed with care. We walk among you unnoticed. To the innocents, we look just like you.” “Innocents?” “Everyday people. We are assigned to protect them by killing those in their way.” “So you’re like hit men or in your case hit women. Someone calls your hotline and you go out and commit murder. Oh and we can’t forget about your pay for all your troubles.” “We are not hit men or women. We are not paid. We are assigned our lives and told to live them by the rules, and if we break even one it’s all over for us.” I looked at him with anger. Tears welled up in my eyes and fell down my cheek. I lifted my small fingers to my skin. I wiped away the liquid and caught a tear on my fingertips. I lowered them slowly and just stared at the small dew drop of salt water. “We are told to erase all emotion for it can destroy us. We are not allowed to laugh, not allowed to be happy, not even allowed to cry.” I wiped off my fingertips onto the dark-washed jeans that I was now wearing. “So you’re pretty much mindless robot zombies,” he smiled at me. He was trying to lighten up the mood. I smiled back and laughed a little. He scooted closer and wiped away the remaining tears with his thumbs. He smiled lightly and kept his hands around my neck. He looked at me with longing eyes. “Are you allowed to love?” I took him by his wrists and placed his hands back on his lap. I slowly let go and sat back in my spot. I kept my gaze on the white cotton sheets. I swallowed hard and took a deep breath before answering. “No we’re not. They take anything away from us. Anything that could distract us from our duty, our service.” “And what happened if you do fall in love?” I swallowed harder. I feared he had some idea. “They will kill us. All of us. Even the loved ones and the kids they conceived.” I started crying again. “They would send me to the job. I killed my own people. They begged for mercy. For a new life. But I showed none. I enjoyed the pain I put upon them. I killed the family quick and easy and had their lovers watch. Then I would get to the assassin and I made them suffer a very slow and painful death. I’m a monster. I killed so many! I can still hear their screams in my head. I can still feel their last gasp of breath. I can see all the faces of my past targets. I can’t sleep their faces haunt me.” I broke into heavy sobs. Shia grabbed me and pulled me to his chest. I could not contain it anymore. “They’re after me now. They are after me,” I pushed myself away and looked up at him. “I was only doing my job. I followed every rule. Every tactic. I followed him, studied him. I became his shadow. At first there was nothing, everything was going to plan…but then…then I went for the attack. I snuck into his bedroom when he fell asleep. I stood over him with knife in hand…but I couldn’t do it…I couldn’t do it. I watched him sleep and when he stirred I jumped out of the window and ran. I thought if I ran far enough, if I just forgot all about him I’d be fine. I took on other assignments, just enough to stay far away from him. But it all caught up to me. Alistair found out. He called me into his office. He showed me his file. He gave me one more chance. I was an idiot. I refused. I ran out of the building. Never to look back again. I have been running for my life and his,” I finally stopped crying. We sat there while he absorbed it all. “Who was the target?” “You.” Shia got up and unlocked the door. He slammed the door and left me there with my own guilt. I soon believed Alistair to be right. I should have just taken that second chance.
It has been three days since I told Shia the truth. He avoided me like the plague. He would not eat with Jackson and me. He wouldn’t even come downstairs. When we passed each other in the halls, we would just stop and stare five or six feet away from each other. We wouldn’t say anything. He would just turn and walk the other direction. As for Jackson, he went on like it was an ordinary day. He kept up with the clan and kept tabs on whether they were close enough to us. He risked everything for us though he would not admit the truth he only did it for me. I knew how Jackson felt. He never kept the barriers up around me. There were so many holes in his mind. I could almost hear every passionate thought.
After so long, I retreated to Jackson’s workshop. I worked on S.A.M’s circuitry and my weapon enhancers. I made a new helmet and an extra one for Shia. I made him anything he could use. I made him a protective suit like all of us wear. I worked for hours and hours. But it was not enough. After hours of work, I worked in Jackson’s gym. I practiced my skills trying to make them sharper faster. I needed to be better than the best. I worked on my aim, my kicks, my knife techniques, my shuriken tosses. I worked on anything I could, anything that needed improved. I worked to exhaustion and that still was not enough. I would sit in my room and meditate trying to see any moves from their side. I worked on my barriers. I needed my mind to be impervious. I did everything beyond my power.
Shia watched her every day. He watched her work herself to exhaustion. He could see it in her eyes, in the way she walked. He never said a word to her since that evening. But he couldn’t fight that sight out of his mind, the way he found her on the balcony. She was lying there lifeless. Blood soaked through her clothes. Someone was attacking her. She moved with aggression. Who the hell got into Jade’s head?! What did it matter to him? He was the one she was after from the beginning. She was the one that brought him into this. He ruined his life…or did she.
Shia skipped out on dinner, and sat up in his room to sort it all out. He noticed her so many times on the streets. She wanted him to see her. She wanted him to long for her touch…even a kiss. Shia shook his head. For all he knew, this could be a trap after all they were clever people. But the tears. The tears were real. So many emotions were locked away inside her. Ever since she was assigned to him, she had every chance to kill him. Jade never took the chance. She even turned down her chance to live. Jade wanted to be with Shia. Her heart and life depended on him.
“What did I get myself into? She’s an assassin for God’s sake. I was her target,” Shia got up from his bed and walked to the bedroom window. His window looked out over a rose garden. A fairly large rose garden and a hedge maze. He noticed someone on the swings below. Jade was outside with Jackson. Envy roared inside Shia. Jackson craved to have Jade as his own personal trophy. To have her as some sex toy. He could tell by the way Jackson looked at her. Shia despised that look. Ever since he arrived, Shia and Jackson were competing for Jade’s attention. Shia took a deep breath and walked away from the window. He tried fighting the urge to go into the gardens. Shia fought against his thoughts, his desires. He brought his hands in frustration towards his head and massaged his scalp. He walked over to his bed and sank into the mattress. It started to rain, everything was quiet. Shia listened to the soft patter of rain hit the window panes. Shia drifted in and out of sleep. He could have sworn he heard someone breaking into the front door. Shia moved to get up and look, but the rain was inviting him to sleep. “It’s probably Jade or Jackson. They probably locked themselves out.” With that Shia went back to sleep.
She sat there and fiddled with the lock for what seemed like hours. The other girl sat there and sighed. This was taking forever. If she had her way, she would have just climbed up to the nearest window and cut a whole big enough for them to fit through. That way no alarms would be set off and they would not have to struggle with a damn lock. But her friend was so sure this would be easier.
“How much longer is this gonna take?” she sighed to her friend.
“Just a second, I almost got it.”
“If you had it, we would have been through the front door like what fifteen minutes ago?” she snapped.
“Well if you think you can do better.”
“Actually I can.”
“Oh really Vanora? Then come over here and prove it!”
“Fine!” Vanora walked over to her friend snatched the lock pick, shoved her out of the way, and got on her knees to get a better look inside the lock. “Really Leala I don’t know why we couldn’t have broken in the easier way.”
“They’re assassins. Don’t you think they would have the windows pressure sensitive? This whole house could be wired with alarm systems.”
“Then why the hell would you risk setting them off by picking a damn lock?”
“I don’t know.”
“Seriously Leala, though I’m at a higher level than you, even you would know that picking a lock was going to be a waste of time.”
“What does it matter? It’s taking you forever anyway.”
“Actually it didn’t,” Vanora smiled “I picked the lock within seconds. I just liked sitting here and making comments on how stupid you can be.”
Vanora opened the door and silently slipped through with Leala at her heels. Even though Leala was not used to breaking and entering, or hijacking cars, she was pretty graceful and stealthy when it came to sneaking around.
“Leala you look upstairs. I have down here covered.”
“Why do you have to always boss me around?” Leala squealed. Vanora ran to her and placed her hand over her mouth.
“Leala are you trying to get us killed.” She stabbed in an intense whisper. “You have to control your voice and emotions, or else we’d be next on their finished list.” Vanora and Leala heard movement coming from upstairs. Leala moved Vanora’s hand out of the way.
“It isn’t any of them.” Leala had a sense for danger. She used her senses to survey their surroundings.
“Who is it then?”
“I don’t know. I never heard those types of footsteps before. I can tell he’s a male and about 6’5’’.”
“What about scent? Do you remember his scent?”
Leala took a deep breath and her lips curled into a tempting smile. “No I don’t remember that scent, but he sure does smell intoxicating.”
“He’s coming towards the stairs. Oh please Vanora let me have him.”
Vanora sighed. Leala was a good lure. She had the looks and the personality to fit. Leala was able to tempt anyone just so she could go in for the kill. She was like a vampire but only she did not lust for their blood. Leala only had the lust to watch the wickedness die. Vanora shook her head as to tell her okay and hid in the other room. Leala stayed at the bottom of the stairs. Adjusting her outfit and her hair and waited there with an innocent but tempting look on her face. Leala quickly looked around for any weapons or objects at all. She couldn’t find anything. Leala loathed using her own two bare hands; she quickly glanced over at Vanora who indicated to look at her right thigh. Leala ran her hand down her thigh and felt a stern hard object. She unhooked the clasp like it wasn’t there and reached into the pocket of her tight fitting skirt; she could feel a cool sharp metal knife neatly placed. She smiled to herself. Leala remembered the shape of the knife and the texture. It was the knife given to each warrior of the Ailis Clan. It represented their welcoming. The knife was her welcome into the clan. She was no longer just Leala. She was Leala Fleur a female warrior of the Ailis Clan. Vanora smiled at Leala’s joy but it soon faded when she heard the steps getting closer. Vanora shot a look up the stairs and disappeared into the shadows. Leala refocused her attention.
Shia awoke to voices from the entry way. He didn’t recognize the voices. Shia believed he heard two girls talking. He got up from his bed and walked over to the bay window. Jade and Jackson were still outside training in the rose garden. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself so when he caught Jade’s eye he just smiled. Shia carefully turned and walked to the door. He remained as calm as he could. For all he knew Jade could sense his fear. Shia made it to the top of the stairs and looked down at the entry way. He was amazed at the sight. A beautiful girl just stood below with very long brown hair that just stopped at the waist line. She smiled softly and undid the back of her shirt; she pulled out a hair clip and pulled her hair into a nice bun. “Hey.” She gave a sweet smile. “Hi.” Shia answered back. He walked down the stairs. He craved to get a closer look. She surely was not some girl you see every day. She remained there standing still with a beautiful smile. Shia reached the bottom of the stairs; she took a few steps towards him and leaned against the banister with one hand still in her pocket. “Who are you?” She just laughed. “Are names really important?” She leaned closer in. Shia could see she had hazel green eyes that seemed to captivate his soul. “Well..I..I..hah well.” Shia stammered. “Awe cat caught your tongue.” She slowly started withdrawing her hand of her pocket. Shia leaned in closer; he was so captivated by her. “Shia move!” Jade screamed. Jade ran and grabbed the end of the banister and swung kick the mysterious beauty into the wall and onto her knees. “What the hell Jade?!” “That hurt you b**ch!” the beauty said as she was picking herself back up. She glanced over Jade’s shoulder and smirked. “What a dumbass mistake!” Jade smirked back. Jade turned with great speed and kicked the knives out of her partner’s hands. Jade then kicked her in the chest and onto her backside. She spun around again and managed to grab a hold of the beauty’s wrist. Jade took a jab at her face, twisted the beauty’s wrist, and spun her over the banister. Jackson came in from the back door and had guns pointed at both women. “Thanks for sounding the alarm.” “I told you Vanora!” the beauty said. “Oh shut up!” Vanora barked.
They wanted something from us or else it would not have been that easy, besides it only took a few seconds to knock them down to their feet. Ailis members were the best fighters among each clan even better than the Achlys. They even sent their two best members Leala Fleur and Vanora Fallon. What did they want from us? I sat down across of them. We were in the living room; Jackson wanted to tie them up and throw them in the closet or something like that but I chose not to. They were not here to kill us and I knew that better than anyone. I could not sit there much longer. Leala was the first to speak.
“Look it’s not what you think. I was only-“
“Leala I don’t think you’re going to get yourself out of this one so don’t even try.” Vanora interrupted.
“Same old Vanora. Same old Leala. You know I thought I was rid of you on the voyage back from Paris.” I said.
“Guess you can’t believe everything you see or hear.”
I shot Vanora a look then shifted back over to Leala. “You know you should really watch yourself,” I said to Leala “there are tons of sex offenders out there. We wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” I smiled then left the room. I headed back up the stairs and ran into my room. I slammed the door behind me and whisked myself onto the balcony. I needed the fresh air. I broke into violent shakes to point where my breathing was stifled. I fell to the wooden floor and curled up into a fetal position. I started crying. I was so angry, so upset. I could not stop myself. Every muscle in my body shook. I refused to move. I laid there wishing to disappear. I shut my eyes tight. I wanted all of this to be some dream.
I was left there for what seemed like six or ten hours straight. No one came to get me. No one seemed to bother. I summoned every ounce of energy that I could muster and lifted myself off the floor. It took several tries; I kept falling. My body refused to be moved. Once I got myself up I headed to the bed threw back the sheets and climbed in. I threw the sheets back over me and willed myself to sleep.
I sensed someone else in my room. I could hear their footsteps at the foot of my bed. I refused to move. Any sudden movement would startle them. I could hear them walking closer to my side of the bed. I laid still and left my sheets alone. They stepped closer. I took in a deep breath; I just wanted them to plunge that knife into my heart. They stopped right next to me. I held my breath waiting for their sudden movements, but they did not move. I slowly took the sheets and pulled them off my head. When they were completely off, I saw no one. I looked around the room and there was no sign. I got up from my bed and examined everything. There was no trace of a person being there. I turned back to my bed; my sheets were drenched in blood and a crest was painted above my headboard with the words Sisters of the Blade written across the bottom. I jumped back and hit someone behind me. I let my hands fall from my chest and neck to my sides. I felt cold steel blades with a sticky substance. I inhaled and smelled the iron. I took a step forward and as I did so did the vandal. I slowly turned around to face whoever it was. Little did I know it would be Katana Man. He looked down at me with his face half hidden. I was shocked. I stared back at him.
“You---what do you want?” He said nothing. “Answer me!! What do you want from me?!” He just continued to stand there. I retreated back a few steps and he followed in line. I backed up all the way towards the bed; the back of my legs hit the edge. He came close to me and I fell backwards onto the soaked sheets. He let his weapons drop and stared at me. I propped myself onto my elbows, tears were streaming down my face. “Who are you?” Again he said nothing, but then he averted his gaze up to the crest. I followed it. I wanted to know what that crest meant to him. I looked back down at him; he was staring at me. This had all to do with me. Something, someone was trying to tell me where I came from. So many pieces were missing and I was afraid to ask, but I could not let that stop me. I finally asked “Who am I?” He lowered himself onto the bed next to my feet, and I watched him disparate with the wind. He disappeared like smoke. This was not the ending; nothing about the scene changed. My door cracked open and someone sneaked in. I tried figuring where they were but no one was near the door. I turned slowly to look at the foot of my bed, and there he was. There was Alistair standing with the demeaning smile on his face. I went to move but he charged at me and threw me down back onto the bed. “No! No! Get off!” I could not move. I just kept screaming as I felt his hands on me.
“Jade! Jade!” he shook me. “Jade wake up! Come on please..please wake up.” I kept thrashing around and he kept me down. He lowered his head towards my ear and whispered. “Jade, please, I need you.” I stopped squirming and immediately opened my eyes. I gasped for air. Shia let me sit up but not without having his arms tightly wound around me. “Jade look at me. Are you alright?”
“I’m—“I swallowed “I’m fine.
“Are you sure? You’re covered in blood.”
“It’s not mine. It’s not mine.” I kept breathing taking short deep breaths, trying to rid of the panic. I looked over to the balcony doors. There was a necklace bearing some medallion hanging from the handles. I pushed Shia away and walked over to the doors. I bent down to take a better look. I gasped. It was the same crest that was drawn in blood over my head but it bared a different symbol then what was drawn and next to it craved in wood was a message. I will always be here to protect your soul my dear Jade stone. It was different and unheard of, but I felt safe again. I took the necklace and wore it around my neck. I turned back to Shia. I was shaking all of this seemed too real. I looked at him with pleading eyes. “Please stay with me.” Shia nodded his head and went over to pick a new set of clothes then came back to my side.
Shia took me in his arms and whispered. “I will never leave your side.”
Days have gone by and each day I wore the symbol around my neck hidden underneath my shirt line. Shia never brought up that evening to me. He was afraid it would bother me too much. He was right. Ever since I left my clan; things have been brought in question. My sanity? Who I was? Who I really am? And for other matters who are, were, the Sister’s of the Blade? And am I a part of them? I tried putting theories together but I couldn’t. Whatever questions I had, they would be answered by Vanora and Leala. They broke into Jackson’s house for a reason, and I am determined to figure out what that reason just is. Even if I have to result to torture. For all I knew, I could not let them see me fall. I had to be in control again. I needed to remember my training.
I spent my days kept to myself like I always have; I trained every hour I could. I pushed myself past my limits. I refused to listen to my body to the pain burning in my muscles. I needed my strength back. My physical strength was not a problem; it was my mentality. Katana Man still visited me once and that strange symbol would still appear. The symbol looked like the leaf from Naruto to symbolize the leaf clan but three other symbols surrounded it. I assumed the symbol represented a clan; I knew I saw it before. But the necklace, my necklace, what was the significance in it? Why was it a part of the symbol? My necklace had a symbol similar in structure to a shuriken or ninja star. This symbol was different however. In the center appeared to be a flame. I was familiar with some of the Japanese symbols. But first I had to decipher the leaf symbol. I had to find out whose clan I belonged to; if I belonged to any.
I needed to have my questions answered and we were pressed for time. If Vanora and Leala could find me how far along is Achlys to breaking into Jackson’s house as well? I had Jackson and Shia bring up Leala and Vanora from the gym; the gym was the only thing close to a holding cell. I had all of them meet me in the dining room. I had everything laid out from maps to blueprints to weapons anything that I could use.
“Oh look she actually lives.” Vanora spoke sarcastically with a weird restrained laughter.
“Darn. That’s just what I need more bruises.” Leala said.
I only rolled my eyes and only smiled. “You know I would love to kill you both, but I think I’d miss you two way too much. These silly feuds are so entertaining.” I walked towards them with a tanto, a short Japanese knife, the one Leala had on her person. “I believe this is yours Leala. You know a tanto is formed from the same steel as a katana and a akizashi. It’s more commonly found on warriors in place of the wakizashi. I’m sure you already knew this of course.” I was behind Leala by the time I finished. I took the tanto and place the cold steel edge on her neck over the jugular. She winced and Vanora tried to get out of her restraints. I drug the knife across without leaving a scratch. I ran it down to her wrists and hands and cut the restraints; I did the same for Vanora and placed the tanto back into its case and gave it to the rightful owner. They all stood still. No one dared to move. I threw a picture with the Sister’s of the Blade and symbol drawn in blood from my room. “Tell me what the hell this means!” Vanora and Leala looked over the picture with an astonished expression; I knew the symbols had to deal with them. “Tell me what it means!” They stayed silent. I grabbed Vanora by the neck and hoisted her up against the wall behind her. A necklace fell out from her shirt line; I let her fall to the ground. She didn’t get back up; she was afraid for her life. I dropped to my knees and grabbed the charm. Her charm looked like mine but in the middle was a Japanese symbol for mist. It contained the similar shuriken shape and four ‘Z’ like lines in the center. I glanced over at Leala she was playing with her necklace as a calming notion. I walked over to her and grasped the tiny charm as well. It was almost identical; however he symbol contained a single music note this meant sound. In turn I looked at mine. I examined it further; it looked like it could be connected to two other charms. I took Vanora’s and Leala’s necklaces and combined them with my own. It formed the same symbol that was painted on my wall. It was the symbol for Sisters of the Blade, but who had the leaf. I stood up with the symbol still in the palm of my hands. It seemed like all my questions would never end; new ones filled my head. What connection to Vanora and Leala did I have? I needed to know. I needed to know everything.
“If you want all your questions answered, you have to come back to the Ailis Clan. You have to come back with us. You and Shia both; we need you more than ever.” Vanora spoke.
Vanora gave me a deal I could not pass up. One question was answered for sure. Shia and I needed to be together. There was a reason we were brought into our lives and I needed to know more.
We agreed to Vanora’s offer. We packed clothes, food, weapons, armor, and anything else Shia needed. I packed a change of clothes and my usual weapons; I never wore much armor. I risked my life in hopes that I would be caught. In my eyes, dying was the easiest way to escape the Achlys Clan. It still enters my mind; I wonder if that would be the best way to reassure Shia a normal life again. All of this would be over. He would not have to keep running. It all seemed right, but would Alistair take the deal?
I was in the basement when Vanora found me.
“What are you doing?” Vanora asked.
I was kneeling by S.A.M. “Tuning the gears on S.A.M; he needs new wheels and alignment. I don’t know where we’re going so I need to prepare him for anything.”
“Jade—you can’t take S.A.M all the way with you. It’s not our way of life.”
I stood up and stared blankly at her. I did not believe she just told me I could not bring my one only friend let alone say our way of life. Was she saying I was a part of her tribe? The silence grew within the room. Vanora walked towards me and I backed into my bike grasping the handle bars.
“No. No. I will not leave S.A.M behind. He comes with us. This is not a negotiable.”
“It’s the right thing. S.A.M must stay.”
I could read every reason in her head to give me, but it was not working. “Look I know you’re worried but Achlys cannot track me. I programmed and built S.A.M myself from scratch. They have no jurisdiction. He is built to handle every situation and he holds all the technology we could need. Vanora, S.A.M is coming with us.” I turned back to my work and upgraded as much as I could in the short amount of time. Vanora turned and walked back up the stairs. I started to cry. How could anyone ask me to abandon my own work my own friend?
“I sense stress in your voice. If it’s any better you should follow Fallon’s instructions.”
“S.A.M do not argue with me. You’re coming and that’s that.”
The room went silent.
The upgrades did not take long; I wheeled out S.A.M onto the back drive way and towards the front door. Amateurs thinking of meeting within the open, I took my time making my way towards the front. I inhaled the sweet elixir of the rose garden. Even miles away you could smell it allure. I was going to miss that. I smiled sweetly to myself. Maybe someday I’ll have a garden like that in my own yard at my own place. Who was I kidding? I was never going to have a life like that. But the picture in my mind was too real. I saw a beautifully sized house with white paneling and a bright green front yard. It was so beautiful; I just wanted to escape into my own mind and take in the breeze. The more it stayed in my mind; they closer I felt to the front door. I closed my eyes briefly to shake it off and when I opened them S.A.M was no longer beside me. I was on the front porch of my dream house. The great black door seemed to forbid anyone to enter, but I was instantly invited. I held out my hand and grasped the gold door knob and twisted. The door gently flew open.
I jumped back in astonishment. The house itself was rotting and falling apart inside. The wood was being slowly eaten away. The walls were a dark faded red paint and chips fell from the walls and ceilings. I walked through the main entrance. It did not have much. I walked straight down the hall into the kitchen. It looked like the entry way. Dirty dishes were rotting in brown muddy water. The smell of spoiled food filled the room making me nauseous. I walked back down the hall way and turned left into an alcove. The alcove led to the dining room. Dead floors sat upon the long table which had a missing leg and the chairs fabric was torn into pieces. I walked into the dining room. There was a door leading to another room. I slowly opened the door and glanced inside. It was the entertainment room. Wires were yanked from the walls. Lamps were broken and lying on the floor; the TV had a cracked screen. I backed out from the door and dining room and took the stairs near the entry way. It all looked the same. The poor beautiful house was falling apart. The bedrooms and bathrooms with broken rusted pipes; I walked around the second floor and noticed a light on in a different room. I walked towards the door and stood in front of it. I reached for the handle but the door opened itself. I took a step back to see who was on the other side. I blinked to adjust to the bright white light. When I could see, I refused to believe my eyes. It was Allistair; he was standing there grinning from ear to ear.
“You should not let your mind wander. I thought I taught you better.” He grabbed my wrist and threw me across the room. I lost my balance and my head hit the wall. I was knocked out for what seemed like hours. I could feel somebody on top of me shaking me, messing with my clothes. I felt useless. I could not move; all I did was lay there hoping it would end. Then something happened something I can’t explain. It was like another person took over. My eyes snapped open. I saw Alistair looming over me. My clothes were misassembled. I was taken over by anger and hatred. I sensed my fury and threw Allistair off of me and across the room. Then there he was. There was Katana Man and I was standing next to him this time. Like somehow I teleported next to him. He was staring bluntly at the noise. I looked over at the spot where I was once laying. I saw a woman that looked similar to me like she was my own mother. I whipped my head back to Katana Man but he was gone and I was back next to S.A.M and we were still walking to the front of the house. I stopped and checked my clothes. There was nothing wrong with them. They weren’t messed up and there was no blood. The vision. The vision..I did not know what it meant. The image was permanently etched into my mind. Was I Allistair’s child? Or was I just seeing my worst fear? I didn’t want to know the truth. Those were questions I did not want to know the answers too.
I was now in the front yard. They were all waiting on me even Jackson. Jackson I couldn’t believe my eyes. Why was he coming with us? He had no right to tag along. If Vanora was afraid of me being tracked she would have made Jackson stay even if it meant killing him. But it was Leala who clung onto his arm; she was the one who insisted. Vanora shook her head. Approaching Leala would be over stepping my boundaries ones that I knew I had to. I went to approach Leala but Shia stopped me. It was Shia who had any control over me, but was he aware of it. I stepped back and hopped onto S.A.M.
“Damn it Jade! Can’t you leave that piece of junk behind?!”
It was Jackson this time. He wanted S.A.M to now stay behind. I paid no mind to him. I was not going to have the same argument.
“Why not back off for once okay?” Shia was the one to speak this time.
“It’s a damn bike she can always build another one when we get to safety.”
“S.A.M is not a bike. S.A.M is her friend. Her only friend she has ever had. Can’t say the same for you though, after all you’ve been a total tool.”
“Where do you think you get the right to—“
“I mean hey you just scream tool. You’ve been trying to get in Jade’s pants ever since you first saw her. Bet you even snuck into the bathroom when she would take a shower. It’s pretty obvious. And check this out you are now hitting and clinging onto Leala. When you obviously know her and Jade are just the worst enemies. So maybe you’re using that against her to make Jade jealous.”
“I’d watch what you’re saying!” The tension in Jackson’s voice became intense.
“Oh I’m not even finished yet. I mean I could be wrong. You could have seen Jade was not an easy one to break. There was no way you could push her over her limits. So Leala comes into the picture and you see she’s very beautiful. In this case you think that she would easily fall for you. And this seems to be proven true hey she’s clinging onto you. But either way you go you’re still a tool. Leala doesn’t deserve to be played by some jerk like you neither does Jade. And now I am done at least for now until I can find something else to rag on you for.”
Leala let go of Jackson at this point. She could not believe her ears. Leala looked at Vanora for some back up, but all she did was give her look like she was telling her ‘It’s true’. Leala averted my eyes and stepped away from but not without kicking him and knocking him down to his knees.
“I believe that’s a ‘you can’t come with us’.” I said to Jackson. I looked at Vanora and spoke “You know if you’re so afraid of being followed you’d be wise enough to leave him behind.”
“Dead or alive?” Vanora said with an evil smirk.
“Oh you’re not going to do anything Vanora. Let me!” Leala came back towards Jackson but this time I stepped in front of her blocking her path.
“He stays alive.” I turned to Jackson. “You can tell Alistair that the Katana Man does not scare me; I’ll be back and this time I’ll be stronger than I have ever been.”
I jumped back onto S.A.M and put my helmet on. I gave Shia his and he did the same. Leala and Vanora jumped onto their individual motorcycles the classic Harley Davidson. I gave them an approving nod and we drove off.
We rode for hours at a time and did not bother to stop at a resting place. For all we knew. Alistair could be miles behind us. I thought it to be best to continue on our way. I did not want to risk anything. I did not want to blank out. I did not want to see Katana man no matter how much I felt safe next to him. Shia would switch with me though he didn’t have to; S.A.M knew exactly what to do. Vanora and Leala stayed in front of us the whole way. One of them would glance back once in a while to confirm that we were still alive or were they looking for followers. My eyelids started to get heavy and I struggled to stay awake. Shia let me sit in front of him while he held me tightly in place. I dosed off. I was so tired and for once I felt at peace. For once I was not listening for a predator.
I felt a sudden stop; I almost flew over the handle bars and onto the concrete assuming we stopped on the road. Shia still held on tightly afraid to lose me. I found it suffocating but in its own way the things he did was too adorable. I shook my head to wake myself up. I could just make out our surroundings.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“Some kind of forest.” Shia answered.
“It is not just some kind of forest; this forest happens to be our home.” Leala corrected.
Vanora got off her bike first and Leala did the same a few seconds after. They mounted their bikes and set off on foot. I went to follow on S.A.M but I couldn’t.
“S.A.M is just fine here. Our people will come and retrieve our bikes and put them in the shed. I promise he will be fine.” Vanora assured me.
“I must correct you. I am not confined to the bike. I can transfer to any equipment if necessary and I believe this is very necessary.” S.A.M scoffed.
I smiled and laughed at S.A.M’s remark. Vanora did not expect him to talk but then again she didn’t expect S.A.M to have some sort of personality. That was my personal touch. Shia and I got off the bike and S.A.M transferred himself to my head piece and to Shia’s as well.
We continued on foot for a couple more miles. Shia was losing energy but I stayed on top of things. I kept a look out when Vanora or Leala were ahead of us. They were reluctant but they kept to our pace. Within moments we were entering a campsite and I knew exactly where we were. We made it into the Ailis Clan’s main camp. I stopped dead in my tracks. I thought they were lying when Vanora said she was bringing us here. I reached into my pockets and felt the sharp blades of my shuriken. Vanora glanced over her shoulder without saying a word. She knew I was being cautious. It was what I was taught to do after all. Vanora and Leala walked us into a big tent. I assumed it was the head of the Ailis Clan that resided in here. Vanora had Leala keep us back while she went behind the curtain. I could see the shadows one belonging to Vanora the other to a strange man. Vanora came out first and spoke:
“Jade. Shia I would like you to meet our leader.”
As soon as she said leader he walked out. I knew I recognized him. The half covered face. The white clothes. The black belt. And most of all I remembered the two blood stained katanas. I looked into his eyes and there was the man who haunted me; there Katana Man stood in front of me and Shia. I was so overwhelmed. Memories rushed back to me. Every single one that Achlys and Alistair tried to erase from my mind. It was too much. The memories the overwhelmed thoughts coming from Katana Man killed me. I screamed and buckled onto the ground. I blacked out.
They never kept track of time. They took shifts watching her looking for a change in her actions, her appearance. Scared out of their own minds, Leala never stayed with her but did bring flowers to their dear friend. The others just seemed to watch her lay there, watching her shallow breathing. Something went wrong. Something had to have gone wrong. She was cold and stiff as a stone never even moved. She wasn’t even dreaming. It was like she vanished from her body. Jade was helpless and they could not tell if she was alive or dead. ~ ~ Only a couple of hours passed. Nothing new was stated. Jade’s breathing, her pulse, heartbeat all were shallow at times it was never there. ~ ~ Days have gone by and still there was no change ~ ~ Weeks now and still nothing, all Jade does is lay there. ~ ~ Close to the end of the month. Jade no longer has a pulse or a heartbeat. She is no longer breathing. Leala wants to burn her body. “Obviously she’s is dead.” Leala would tell everyone. “No Leala. We can’t. It’s not right. She’s not dead. I won’t ever believe she is.” Shia would argue. “Shia, there’s no use. Jade is no longer there. Her mind and spirit have left.” Vanora would try to explain. Shia would still refuse. He knew best that Alistair could not do a thing such as this. He just wanted one person to prove them wrong. There had to be a way. Why did Jade go down? Why did she faint when she looked into that man’s face, the man with the katanas? Shia just had to know; he just had to understand. They gave him one more day with Jade’s cold stone body. One more chance of hope that is all he needed. ~ ~ Shia found the man. He had nowhere to go. Shia needed the answers and he needed them now. He approached him. “I need you to answers everything I have to ask you.” Shia said to him. “There’s nothing to understand my dear boy.” “BS! Jade is laying there. She could be dead for all anyone knows! And you say there’s nothing to understand?!” Shia screamed at him. Shia lunged at him. The man was faster stronger. Each hit Shia threw was deflected; he threw his whole body. The man grabbed him by the neck and brought his knee to his stomach. Shia fell to the ground in pain. There lying next to him was a very short staff. He grabbed it and flipped back onto his feet. Shia aimed for his head; it was deflected. The man did a swift high kick and knocked the staff out of his and as he did he spun onto the ground and knocked Shia off his feet. “How could you let someone die, someone you did not even know?! You have no idea—“ “How much she means to you?” he grabbed the staff and held it to Shia’s neck “You must see child; I know exactly how you felt about dear Jade. You loved her with every fiber of your being. You stuck around in hopes to keep her safe. Foolish thing to do.” The man got up back on his feet and turned to walk away. Shia grabbed a large rock. “Don’t ever say her name! She was nothing to you! She was just another innocent girl caught in the wrong web!” Shia threw it; the man deflected it and hit the rock with the small staff. The man just stood there and stared at him with pure anger. Shia hit some type of nerve. “You know nothing of that girl, child. You didn’t hold her in your very arms once she was born. You did not have her taken away when she was just a toddler. You, Shia, have never had Jade as a daughter.” Shia stood completely still. “Jade was not caught in the wrong web. She was put their but other means. Ones that I could not control. And you tried to save her but you don’t even know what you tried to save her from.” The man went to walk away. “Then tell me!” Shia pleaded. “My name is Akio and I was Jade’s father. That is all you need to know.” “You can’t say Jade’s dead. Come on you know her better than anything. You got into her mind. You can tell she’s not dead.” “Alas my son, when she saw me it brought back every memory Alistair and his clan kept from her. Jade had a strong mind but to take in the memories of a life you were taken from left her vulnerable. Alistair used Jade’s own mind against herself. He got what he wanted. An assassin to be proud of right up to the very end.” Akio walked away. “She’s not dead. She can’t be dead.” Shia told himself. ~ ~ Shia spent hours in the forest where he found Akio. Shia sat there and tried to understand. Shia covered his face and inhaled; he could smell something burning. He looked up over the tree tops; black smoke towered above the trees and lingered in the skylines. “NO!” Shia ran to the camp; he ran to the fire. “NO!” Shia dropped to his knees; he was too late. They have begun to burn Jade’s body. “Memories are a powerful thing the mind withholds. Her mind was not strong enough for it all. For once I thought I could get the chance to hold my little girl again.” Akio last said to him. ~ ~ Shia was the only one remaining next to the fire. There was nothing left of her. Nothing. Shia walked closer to the ashy remains. Everyone was gone; no one would notice. Shia shifted through the remains looking for something to verify the identity of the body. This could be one of Jade’s tricks. She could have found a way around this all. Shia felt something molten hot. A metal was burned. It was the necklace Jade has been wearing recently. The only proof that they did burn Jade. Shia wrapped what was left of the necklace around his slender fingers. He sat on the ground. He waited for the tears to fall for the immense sobs to wake everyone. They never came. Something in the back of his mind was shouting at him. Jade was not dead. The voice telling him this sounded so familiar for it was not his own. Shia jolted up and into the forest again. Something in his mind played. A girl cloaked in a satin navy blue suit walked through the forest as to be leaving. Shia ran faster. The training he went through needed to pay off. He needed to stop her. ~ ~ Shia reached the edge of the forest line exactly where the girl was standing. She was there. What Shia saw was actually true! He had to stop her! “JADE! STOP!” he screamed. The girl stopped in her tracks. Jade slowly turned around to face Shia. Shia walked towards her. “Jade.” He was almost there. “Jade, please do not do this. You can’t do this by yourself. You know you can’t.” He finally reached her. He reached out to her and pulled down the cloak’s hood. “I’m sorry Shia. She had to go by herself. This is her choice. She’s the leader of us the Sister’s of the Blade. We had to respect her wishes. You must live on. You must go on knowing she died.” It was Vanora underneath the cloak. It was Vanora under the cloak and Jade was off to commit suicide.
News traveled through the wind of Jade’s death. The Achyls were finally safe and Ailis was left vulnerable. Akio just lost his baby girl again this time it was permanent. Alistair smiled to himself and out of his joy he promoted Jackson to be his new star. Without Jackson drugging the food Jade drank, she would still have a strong mind and she would have survived all those memories Alistair released into her. Alistair can still hear her blood curdling scream of agony; he still can see her fall to the ground. Because of this effort Jade slowly died losing control over her mind. It was Alistair that took over her entire body. He took control over her internal organs no matter how hard Jade fought back she died slowly by his own hand. The power over her gave him the greatest feeling of anxiety. Alistair felt a rush of pleasure and desire. He could have not been prouder. Jade was finally dead. ~ ~ Alistair went into his office very cheerful that very next day. He treated his clan members with the best respect. Nothing could bring him down from Cloud 9. Alistair felt fulfilled and he had Jackson help assign the newest assassins to their projects. These projects turned out to be simple and easy. No injuries would occur; it would be a quick swift kill. The day at the office flew on by. Alistair was so cheerful; he invited Jackson to his establishment to have dinner. This celebration needed wine. Alistair even believed it would brighten up Jackson’s mood for he seemed less excited and appreciative. Jackson agreed to his invite in hopes to rid him of this regrettable feeling. ~ ~ Dinner went by perfectly. The food was delectable and the wine seemed to add to their beautiful day. Jackson even seemed to be in a better mood. The two men laughed and talked about future plans to extend the Achlys Clan. They would get rid of the name and become an official hit man business after all it was where the money seemed to be. All the ninja junk would no longer be taught. It was all military training. They laughed and talked for hours on end then something ear piercing interrupted their conversation. The alarm was going off. Alistair ran to the desk to check out which area had been intruded. Each individual room was flashing. “What the hell is this?!” Alistair screamed. The lights and power went out. “What type of joke is this?!” “One you should be concerned about because you’re the punch line.” Alistair heard a voice next to his ear. “Jackson! What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” “I’m taking back what is rightfully mine. Achyls belongs to me. I am the rightfully heir; I am the end of the blood line.” Jackson stabbed Alistair. Alistair fell onto the ground. He tried crawling away but the pain was enterable. “How could you do this? I’m your boss!” “See Alistair that is where you failed. You see the clan as a form of business when in fact it’s a family. A family that is only meant to against those who get in our way. It’s been like this for years Ailis saw all people innocent and helpful and no matter what they did wrong the people still deserved to live. Now Achlys however is different. We believe every man, woman, or child who has committed a wrong deserve to be punished. They deserve to die.” Alistair choked on the blood spewing from his lungs. “Jade—Jade will be your downfall. You and I—you and I both know she’s well and alive. If she isn’t—Ailis will come find you and destroy you as well.” “You know I’d watch your tone if I were you. Ailis has nothing on me and I’ll see to Jade whether she’s alive or not. A person only gets a second life. You should consider yourself lucky Alistair you will be the first to put us back on track.” Jackson stabbed Alistair through the heart. Jackson got up from the body and looked up through the skylight. An unexpected guest came to play. ~ ~ A shadow loomed over the skylight staring down upon the two bodies. It watched the blood flow from Alistair. It knew well what happened, this unexpected guest. The shadow heard everything and this meant war. There was no use in fusing a truce with the old leader; the time has come to face the new. And everyone was a target. The shadow knew it was time to take its place among the other shadows to defend the innocent. ~ ~ Jackson still looked up at the looming shadow. “Hello Jade. I hope you’re ready to play.” Jackson ran towards the wall and threw himself through the glass skylight. There this shadow was standing looking at him. “What nothing to say Jade?” The shadow didn’t budge; it didn’t even speak. “Are we afraid now?” Jackson lunged towards the shadow with his knife in hand; Jackson went right through the shadow’s body. Jackson got up again and did the same thing. Again he fell on the other side. “No one can even evade that fast, not even you Jade!” He got up once more and this time he took out his katana and stabbed the shadow. The blade went through with ease but nothing happened to the looming dark shadow. Jackson backed away. “What are you?!” The shadow uncovered its face and underneath the cloaked darkness lays the face of Jade. “I am Ailis. I am a sister. I will be your end.” the shadow spoke and disappeared. “What type of magic is this? Has she really unleashed her true nature, her true power? What type of genjutsu is this? How developed is she with her jutsu skills?” Jackson questioned himself. ~ ~ The shadow ran along the rooftops and through the forests just to get away. It could no longer hide. It stopped on the highest building it could find. The shadow controlled its breathing before gathering its mind. “I have choice but where to look for a starting point?” it spoke in Jade’s voice. The wind blew hard; the shadow watched the leaves carried off the trees and followed. It ran as fast at the wind. Miles the shadow ran. The woods began to look familiar. The shadow was getting closer to something that felt like home. It ran through a camp and into a tent where a brown haired boy sat next to a bed of a red headed girl. The shadow walked closer to the poor scene. The girl seemed to be hanging on for dear life. Every ounce of strength she had was being used. More people walked in: two girls, one with short blonde hair and the other with long brown hair, and a man who she recognized as Akio the leader of Ailis. The shadow crept closer to the dying girl and turned her face gently towards it. The girl had the same face as the shadow. The shadow backed away in confusion and through the blonde haired girl. She was twisting a charm on her necklace. The shadow stared at the chain and recognized it immediately; she walked over to the brown haired girl and she too had the other charm. The shadow walked over to the dying girl and saw she also had the chain around her neck. “I know what I must do.” The shadow gave Akio one last longing look and disappeared into the dying girl’s body. ~ ~ The room was silent and eerie. There they watched their friend dying. They could not save her. They were losing all hope. “Shia she’s dying. She won’t pull through.” Leala said. There was a huge gasp for air and their dying friend came back to them. I slowly pulled myself up gasping for air. “Jade.” Shia reached out and tried pushing me down back on the bed. “Jade hold on there.” “What the hell happened?! Are you f*ing stupid?!” Vanora screamed while running to her. “Would you get off of me!” Shia took his hands away and I rose up out of the bed refusing any help from Vanora so I could stand. I shook my head and spoke. “Talk about déjà vu. That was the weirdest thing to have ever happened to me.” “Jade where did you go?!” Leala squealed. There were so many questions being asked. I ignored them all and stared at Akio my father. Everything was so clear to me. Members of the Achyls clan abducted me from my own. They knew what I was capable of. I was a gifted child. They gave me to a different family. Akio has been looking for me this whole time. When he found me he tried feeding me one memory at a time. He was afraid I’d be overloaded with everything that my mind was not strong enough. And my mother..my mother was raped and murdered by Alistair. I looked just like her; he wanted to relive the moment with hopes of keeping me alive. Alistair destroyed me and destroyed my family. His end was coming soon. Jackson was his end. The shadow…the shadow was my mother’s soul. She has been traveling on the wind looking for me but was bound to Alistair and these woods. She never knew me. She only saw her vengeance. Then something in the wind led her here. Was it my soul floating among the leaves? The pull she felt could that have been me calling out to her? Akio looked back at me and nodded yes to each question I asked myself. He was never afraid of losing me; he believes a daughter would always come back to their father. “Everything that had happened. Everything I saw is what could have happened if I were to die?” I asked. Everyone went silent. They looked at Akio who only stared at me and nodded. “Then spread the word of my death. Let everything I saw come to life. This is our only chance. We must plan everything out perfectly. This race for our lives must end.”
We were careful with everything we said and did. Word would not spread to Alistair until I approved. What my mother saw would all come true. Days, weeks, and almost a month would pass before we would announce my death, before we burned my body. I hid myself away from everyone to keep everything believable. I played dead and let Alistair destroy bit by bit. I would not let anyone see me tortured. I had to surrender my whole mind to his overwhelming power. I had to give him what he wanted. This took effort and only Akio would be around when Alistair finally stopped my heart. Every line that my mother heard would be repeated with the same sense of emotion and loses. The fight between my father and Shia would be duplicated move by move. It all had to look real; it all had to feel real. For if it wasn’t Alistair would never face his death. Jackson however was the hardest to trick. I needed to perfect my jutsu; I needed to perfect each individual stage: genjutsu, illusion techniques; ninjutsu, ninja techniques; and finally taijutsu, body technique which was something I was always good at.
The time came and we burned my body. Shia did exactly what I told him along with Vanora. They’re pain was believable and I could feel it within myself. Something within me was unhappy and afraid. What if this didn’t work? If Jackson did not kill Alistair I would have to do it myself, but to kill a close friend someone who was there for me and saved me multiple times would be the hardest thing to do. I waited in the armory. I waited for my part to play out. I looked around the room for anything that could be of use if my jutsu would fail me. I noticed two sai. They looked like tridents but were small enough to use as hand weapons and only the middle blade stood the tallest. I saw navy blue satin cloth in the corner of the room. I made an outfit out of it. There I stood in satin navy blues with two sai. I was a true kunoichi, a female ninja assassin. Vanora walked in to give me my signal but once she saw me she burst out laughing.
“Who do you think you are Elketra?”
I laughed with her. “I guess so in a way.” My outfit did remind me of hers and I chose the same weapon as her. “But I’m not of Greek descent.”
“True you have little Japanese in you but you truly look Irish. I heard you are just like your mother Aven.”
“Was that her name?”
“From what I heard but I could be wrong. Look you better get going. Jackson needs to be scared shitless.” Vanora left and as did I. We went our own ways. I ran to Alistair’s and prepared to see the same gruesome scene again.
Jackson looked up to the skylight and saw a shadow looming over watching him and his every move. Now that Alistair was dead; it was now time to kill her. “Why hello Jade.” Jackson ran up through the glass like he did before. I stood there watching. Every move and every word were the same. I was ready to vanish but not without changing time’s path. I lunged back at Jackson with sai and handed and cut through his skin down his face giving him a deep cut from the top of his left eyebrow straight down towards the middle of his cheek bone and then disappeared. I left a mark on him that would forever remind him that I am ready to fight to defend my clan, and it will not be easy.
I stopped on the same building my mother did before finding me. I needed to rest and wait for a minute. What did I just do? That power emanating from me felt so strong. It felt like it never belonged to me. I was half convinced it was my mother’s power in me. My mother was the one keeping me alive and if I lost that then I would surely perish. The wind picked up in speed and strength, but this was not the wind that led my mother to me. No, this wind was bringing danger straight towards me. I saw them. I saw them coming straight for me with tonfas and nunchakus in hand. I should not have changed the time line. The hunting would never stop. I stood up and braced myself. I was ready to fight. They ran towards me and I ran towards them. We collided and the earth could hear every move we made. One slammed me onto the roof and brought down the tonfa; I braced the impact with my sai. I prayed he wouldn’t break the blades. I kicked him off of me and to the edge to the roof. The girl with the nunchakus came at me with full force. Again I used my sai to fight against her blows. The blades were weakening underneath the pressure. Tonfa came at me again and both of them gave deafening blows. Closer and closer I got to the edge of the roof. I was near the edge and I had only one idea of escape. I twirled the nunchakus out of the girl’s hand and knocked out the man’s tonfas from his. I placed my sai in their holders and jumped off the edge. I soared down with immense speed towards the concrete road. They followed and increased their speed to reach me. I took out a sai and dug it into the building wall to slow down my fall. Hopefully I would slow down just enough for them to fly past me and hurtle onto the ground below. Ninjas had fast reactions but no one was faster than me. My rate started to slow and as I looked up the two ninjas were doing the same. I lifted my sai from the wall and increased my speed as much as I could. The ground came up faster and faster. It was committing suicide and the ninjas were following my every move. They finally matched my speed and the ground came up faster and faster. I was only a few feet away. I took out both sai and dug them into the building and kicked the two ninjas off center. They fell to their death and I still clung onto the edge of the building. I slowly made my way down on the ground. I was lucky to not be harmed and very lucky that my blades did not break. I didn’t bother looking at the bodies I knew they were older members of the Achlys. They fought with the older weapons and never used any technology to slow their fall. Jackson was right when he said he wanted to bring the old Achlys back, but did he know that Ailis were waiting for him with the same learned techniques movements and weapon. Answer is Jackson does know. Jackson is a man who fights with honor and pride. The old techniques showed. Not for a second did I believe he would never result to using the other equipment for his advantage. At this point I was very thankful I brought S.A.M along, but we needed more. We needed to build. We could not live on a camp ground much longer. It was time to go home.
Word spread of Alistair’s death and so did the one of an upcoming war. Ailis trained just as hard as the Achlys. Weapons and armor were produced. We each strengthened our minds and bodies and perfected our own jutsu. This war was not meant to end; there was no ending to it. I felt it in my blood. Vanora and Leala felt the doubt too. We have been here so long; we have forgotten the reason why we traveled so far. There was no longer a reason. I knew who I was; I am Jade daughter of Akio and kin of the Ailis clan. Every question seemed to be answered in the way we practiced and guided each other. Shia and I belonged here. We trained together the most. We were a team; there was no way to unbind us. This bond was something which I could not understand. I tried and failed; it was aggravating. ~ ~ Akio watched from the side lines giving us a lecture or two if we missed some step or let our guard down. We no longer fought to shine the most; we never competed with the other. There was no need to be the best there was. All that disappeared. Competition was something that raced through my veins; it kept me alive. Being the best was something I was not ready to live without. I spent all my life living off the praise and because of it Akio and I butted heads the most. Although he loved me very much, Akio tried to teach me. After practice hours, he would lecture me until I would get it right. My problem was I never did get it right. ~ ~ It was another day of practice. Akio sent a detailed note out to each of us. Akio left specific instructions for each ninja. This of course was not out of the ordinary; it was the usual day to day thing. Each team headed to the practice grounds prepared for whatever was in mind. Shia was the first onto the grounds then me then Vanora and after her Leala. We exchanged smiles and went in our own directions. As we were walking, Shia stopped us. I laughed thinking that this was one of Shia’s jokes. “Shia what are you doing? Are you afraid I’ll break every bone in your body?” I went to walk past him but he held out his arm to stop me. “Shia, come on. I get it. I’ll go easy.” I tried passing him again but he would not let me. “Shia what the hell is this?” I went to move again. “Shia!” I looked back at Vanora and Leala for help. “Shia seriously you can stop pulling her leg.” Vanora came over to me to move his arm. Shia tightened his grip on me. “Dude seriously let her go!” Shia still didn’t budge no matter how much Vanora tried to get him to move. Shia tightened his grip even more. Leala came over to assist. “Shia!!!” Leala screamed. She tried pulling his arm away but his grip was too tight. I could feel his grip breaking the bone. The pain was agonizing. “Leala move.” “What?” “MOVE!” Once Leala was out of range, I took a hold of Shia’s arm with my free hand. I twisted my body around and under his arm while I still had my hand gripped tightly on my wrist. Shia spun around to me. I let go and ducked from his swing. He kicked me in the ribs and knocked me some feet away. I laughed. “Is that the best you got?” I picked myself up from the ground. The pain seared but I did not care. Shia charged with full force. I jumped just in time and walked down his leaning spine. I pushed him down from his back and flipped the other way. I landed gracefully on the floor when Shia got up again. “Shia please. Please do not do this!” He ran towards me again and with his force he went to roundhouse kick again I dodged. “Shia I know you’re listening.” Shia shook his head but whatever is controlling him had a stronger grip. His loss of control left me with no choice but to attack; I refused to. I dodged everything he threw at me from high kicks to low from punch to jab. The fight dragged on and on. Vanora felt so useless because I would not let her fight. My muscles refused to go on much longer but it was not because of fatigue something else hindered me from fighting and giving it my all. This fight has been my hardest not only was I fighting Shia I was fighting my body. Shia gave off a roundhouse kick again and my body refused to move; he hit me square in my jaw splitting my lip open and knocking me to the ground. I could not get back up; my body was winning the fight. Leala jumped in to block a deafening blow. I quickly pushed her out of the way and blocked the path. It did not matter anymore. I stopped listening to my strain. “SHIA!!!” I kicked him back off his feet. “Shia listen to me!” He got back up again. His steps were stammering. Whatever had control of him was losing. “Shia this isn’t you!!” He charged towards me and slammed me down on the ground. He stayed on top of me strangling me. I could not utter anything and everything was going black. I moved my gaze looking for something, anything that could render him unconscious. There was and ebo within reach; I stretched my fingers to grasp it. Shia was only watching my face looking for something to fade. I grabbed the ebo and hit Shia over the head. Shia stopped and fell tom my right side. I moved from underneath him gasping for air. Vanora and Leala ran to my side. “What the hell?! You’re an idiot never do that alone again!” Vanors lectured me. Leala checked on Shia. “He’s okay still breathing all he will get is a small bump on his head.” “How much lower can they get?” I asked myself. Vanora and Leala helped me onto my feet; Shia slowly came to. I watched him get up off the ground. He shook his head and looked at me. I did not look back I just pushed past him and ran into the forest behind the grounds. I ran far as I could as fast as I could. I ran and ran. I ran for hours and then something stopped me. Something screamed in my head to run back. I felt like I was running to danger. Then I realized it was a trap. Jackson set it up; he took control of Shia. He knew I would not fight him. Jackson knew I would never hurt Shia for reasons I would never understand. He knew I would run like I always did when I almost faced death. Someone was here with me. “Damn only if I had Leala’s strong senses.” I turned back to run away; this was no time to fight. It was too late. Whoever it was grabbed me from behind and around my neck. They put a cloth over my mouth. I fought against the posion but my body was succumbing to it. I wanted to scream. I wanted to move but I couldn’t. I needed someone to find. I needed Vanora and Leala. Vanora had the speed and Leala could sense me from miles away. I slipped into a daze and all I could hear were my own thoughts and I begged and begged for Vanora and Leala to find me before I was dragged away. ~ ~ Night fell that much I could tell. Whoever had me, carried me farther and farther away from them. He was not worried of being caught; his pace was a brisk walk not too fast and not slows enough to be caught. I was coming to but not fast enough. I regained some sight and some control. I fought the gripping toxin. “Vanora! Leala! Save me!” I flew out of the predator’s arms and onto the ground. Someone ran to my side and offered me a cup. “Drink Jade.” It was Leala. She had a remedy for the toxin. I opened my mouth and Leala poured the liquid down my throat. I swallowed and already I could feel the remedy working. Leala helped me up to my feet. I saw Vanora battling my captor. He did not even look human. His body bulged with muscles and sweat. He was stronger than Vanora, but she still fought with everything she had. “We need to help her.” “Are you crazy? We need to get you out of here.” “No!” I pushed Leala away from me and ran towards Vanora. I jumped into the fight; Leala did was well. This guy was not going to go down by one person. It needed all three of us. Each blow we gave left no mark. We tried attacking simultaneously but it never worked. One by one he threw us onto the ground and into trees. “This f*er is really pissing me off!” Vanora started to lose her temper. You could tell when her one eye would twitch. We got back up to our feet and the captor used a powerful jutsu towards us. We braced the attack and stammered backwards. “Oh s**t.” Leala said. “He tougher then I assumed him to be.” “Yeah there’s no way I’m fighting this guy.” Vanora said. My mind ran in circles there had to be some way to defeat him. I looked at each of their faces. Then I saw it. The necklaces they bond us to a greater power. “Follow my lead!” They nodded in my direction and followed my every move. We kicked and somersaulted over the man’s head. We did everything we were taught. Striking together may not have had an effect, but jutsu would. I started chanting and they did the same. We stood still arm in arm while we chanted and moved our hands to each symbol to make our jutsu stronger and stronger. We held in our power for as long as we could. I needed to feel that breaking point. “Now!” We let loose of everything we mustered. The blow was powerful. It disintegrated the man only leaving ash in his place. We stood there calmly. “What did we just do?” Vanora asked. “Hah. Who cares that was so sweet!” Leala laughed it off. I reached for my necklace and I knew exactly who we were and together we were the Sisters of the Blade.
A storm rolled in over the hills. The rain hit the windows with its usual pitter patter. Lightning lit all the dark places inside the mansion and out. Thunder roared and brought noise to the quiet dead. The wind blew down trees and tents and caused amounts of damage. It was never going to end. It felt as if the storm was out to destroy anything that crossed its path. It roared and raged on and on.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your mediating or whatever you’re doing.”
“Why hello Shia.” Jackson turned to face his visitor with a smile. “What brings you here? No wait don’t tell me. You want to make some deal.”
“You got into my head!”
“Of course you made it so easy. You shouldn’t let your mind wander. Your defenses give way by a drifting mind.”
“My defenses are just fine.”
“What is Jade teaching you these days? Everything about you reeks of weakness, but I believe she may be slipping after all this is so much for her. Meeting her father, regaining life from result of her mother’s soul; she has been through so much. She deserves it though after all she is a traitor.”
“She is no traitor. You took away her life, her everything.”
“Oh not me. That was all Alistair. His ways to lead on the clan have brought nothing but trouble to both clans.”
“So what you’re speaking about a truce?”
Jackson laughed. “No I am not. And whatever deal you have is not gonna make a difference.”
“Stay out of my head. I want my relationship with Jade to be left alone.”
“Relationship?! You’ve got to be kidding me. Jade would never love anyone like you. Besides you’ll screw her over just like her father did. Her heart was meant to be broken and to stay broken.”
“Her father did not screw her over. Your clan took her from him. You Jackson are the one who has screwed her over.”
“I can see you do not understand how this works. People like her and I do not deserve love from others. We have no soul to love.”
“Oh Jade has a soul alright. I’ll prove you wrong about us.” Shia went to leave.
“Oh Shia before you go I think you should know something.”
Shia turned around “And what is that?”
“The only way this ends is if you or her dies.”
Shia turned and stormed away. Why did he even try to make a deal. He wasn’t going to give up. Shia walked right back into the room with an offer.
“You just won’t give up will you?”
“I’ve an offer.”
“Please what offer could you have to make.”
“Fine I’ll just sit by and watch you being shred into millions of pieces. I mean who can beat those three girls after all.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh something about Sister of the Blade.”
“That is not possible the last sister died when Jade’s mother—“
“You see since Jade is so much like her mother and is carrying a part of her mother’s soul. She qualifies as a sister. And the other two have some direct descent, but I think it’s more Jade trusts them with all her power and chose them.”
“You’ve got to be joking.”
“You see that’s where you are wrong Jackson. The day you got into my head and had Jade run into that little trap of yours. Well you see something in Jade awoke so she called to her two sisters Vanora and Leala and well they all figured out that if they worked together their jutsu and strength would out match anyone. Since then they have been going through practice and obstacles to test their power. But if you’re not interested I’ll just walk on back to camp.”
“Hold on a second. I’ll hear out your offer but I will add some of my own ideas to it.”
“Fine. I want Jade to live along with the rest of our friends. In return I’ll give you our training hours.”
“How about no.”
“That’s the best I got.”
“Jade will live to an extent. As for the others they can fight for their lives. It’s only fair to my clan. And in return I want everything you know and you will join our fight. Let Jade know what it is like to fall for a traitor.”
“What--what do you mean to an extent?”
“All ninjas that know jutsu survive off their chakra. Now if another were to block their flow of chakra the said ninja would be left weak and helpless. Jade will only suffer from lack of strength BUT she will live none the less.”
“The others will live. They are strong and will fight and win for their lives.”
“So you say Shia so you say. Now do we have a deal?”
“Yes we have a deal.” Shia went to walk away.
“Not so fast. It’s not that simple. There is a ritual to uphold.” Jackson smiled evilly.
The smell of rain uplifted the spirits on the camp grounds. The little children jumped in the puddles and crawled in the mud. Mothers laughed from the sidelines and were prepared with towels to wrap their soaked children in. Fathers helped run baths for the children covered in mud; bubbles floated out of the tubs and onto the floors. For once the whole village was able to sigh a relief and go on with this day. Everything was peaceful for the first time in a long time. It was something the village deserved. Only if this change could last. Only if the peace and serenity lasted long enough. If only the tears of those who lost a loved one would stop flowing down. If the empty hearts were filled and the broken healed, this village would finally be at peace. The villagers would have something to look forward to everyday. They would not have to prepare for a fight. Each one looked for some form of hope and could not find anything to put their faith in. Now each day grows with little more faith and hope; it shines in their eyes like bright diamonds. They finally had something to put their faith in and it was the spirits of the three girls, the Sisters of the Blade. In the past, three sisters came and formed a strong bond that formed into a great power. These sisters showed their faces in the village’s time of need; they were the town heroes. A symbol of faith and strength but most importantly a new beginning. These sisters knew what it meant to give a true sacrifice. But I was not sure if I knew what my true sacrifice was. I sacrificed my whole well being trying to figure out who I was or was meant to be. When I was taken away from my family and this clan it was a sacrifice forced upon me. Neither one was a true sacrifice; neither one was appropriate. Tears rolled down my face as I watched the families; what if my true sacrifice was my father’s life. Being robbed of my childhood was not enough for these people. Ruining the life I had was not enough?! Inside I hated these people I despised them I protected them but who I hated more was those who took it all away from me. My name, my family, my chance to dance in the rain it was all taken away. Alistair stole it all and I couldn’t be happier to know of his death. I only wish that I was the one who his life fade to see his blood stain my own hands. I carried so much hatred and anger in me. The storm brought something else over the horizon. It brought a new war to rage a new war that would hopefully bring peace and sacrifice.
The sun tried to fight its way through the lingering storm clouds but with every try it failed over and over. The storm was not going to give way. The village slept heavy and dreamed many dreams. They never saw the clouds darken and grow in size. What this storm held was nothing compared to war fighting in each individuals’ hearts. There were sons and daughters ready at front line awaiting orders, fighting the un-denying rage and vengeance. Families stood on the sidelines fighting away the fear and hatred. While the rest fought back the feeling of déjà vu. Only they and the storm knew what lay ahead. It came to be time for history to repeat itself again. Only Vanora, Leala, and I hoped this would be the end of it all. As for my father, he saw things differently.
Many years ago my father fought the same war alongside my mother. They fought with honor and pride but lacked heart. My parents were the cause of this constant fighting. My mother, Dierdre, was next in line for power. My father was just only a brave soldier who fought with all his might that was given unto him. My mother was Achyls and my father Ailis. The bad blood against each tribe boiled because of them. Their love for each other was undeniable. My mother was welcomed into Ailis with open arms. There she stayed and became happy enough to start a family but there was a price to pay. The Achyls demanded their first born child in exchange for her betrayal and this baby would grow up to take her place. Then it all came to be. My father refused to give me up; he wanted to keep his little Jade stone. My mother refused to give up her place in line to some little child, but she did not want to lose the only family she would ever have. Dierdre fought and fought against what raged inside. Once I was born jealousy and fear soon began to outweigh her love. So she fled back to her village, with me, and claimed war on Ailis for the tricks on her heart. My father was left devastated and with no child. He made a vow to win me back even if it meant killing my mother to do so. Once the lovers saw each other’s faces on the battlefield, it all fell apart. My mother refused to lead her people onto the field. My father refused to fight; his only thought was to get his family back without any violence. So both withdrew from the heart of battle and fled into the forest. They reached the very edge but before they could stop, they were ambushed. The real leader then made it seem as though my very mother set a trap for Ailis’ most worthy solider. Every fiber of it seemed believable until my mother did something no one could ever see coming. Dierdre was the commanding tribe member. She was the reason Achyls has been surviving. She taught herself to give off her own energy to supply her soldiers with more chakra. The only way to stop this from going any further was to die or to kill herself. My mother shook her head and drew in her very lst breath before plunging her own weapon into her chest.
From there on I began to write my own chapter to our clans’ history. This was a chance to begin anew, where both clans could live in peace and harmony. Something however was telling me a different story for history has a knack for repeating itself. And the more these thoughts dug into my mind the more I wondered about what true sacrifice I would have to make. Was it meant to be like my mother’s or would I have to make a different sacrifice.
Weeks have rolled by and the storm clouds never left. So came the day where it would all be determined. This was it. This was the day where it would all end for we hoped it to do. Each clan looked upon another from a distance. Our battle ground would be the very camp ground that Ailis rested on. We each waited for a move to rage on. Each and every one of us stood still in silence. This is what it came down to.
“Jade do you really think you can do such a thing?” Vanora asked.
I told my friends and my father that I was learning to channel my chakra and pass it through onto our people. It was a move that would leave me vulnerable but I had faith in myself. The amount of chakra would only affect my jutsu but not my strength. Vanora and Leala would be on their own and if I was needed I was only a few feet away. It was a perfect plan to me.
“Yes Vanora. Yes I can do this,” I paused and took in a deep breath and exhaled. I centered myself and began to chant. The words flowed through me like a rushing river. Every feeling I contained disappeared into the others. The villagers now felt what I felt, thought what I thought, but never did they lose control of their own being. The power each and every one of them felt only added to their strength. I did nothing else to them. I opened my eyes and spoke, “I’m ready.” Akio looked at me and with a nod we were off to battle.
We ran with lightning speed as did the Achlys. We clashed weapons to weapons, arms to arms, we sent sparks into the sky. The war begun.
Hours have disappeared from time. We were still at an equal match. No opening of an advance showed to either team. The war raged on.
The field became filled with blood. Each clan lost a few poor souls, but that didn’t even stop us. We all kept the rage going.
The day was almost coming to an end. There was no sign of backing down. Achlys came at us harder. Ailis started to weaken. I kept pushing my chakra out of my veins and into another. My body started to give way; weakness peered its ugly head. This the Achlys saw. They all charged my way.
I kept fighting them off, but there was no use. I could not hold much longer. They only kept coming. I dodged left and right.
It was late into the night and I gave way. I fell onto the cold dead muddy ground. I screamed for Vanora and Leala. They gave the signal and everyone knew I was breaking off my chakra. I closed my eyes and went to exhale and push out what was left, but I heard a blood curdling scream. I went to move but I couldn’t. Was this to be my sacrifice?
The scream came again. My eyes shot open. As I went to get back onto my feet I could see that I was no longer on the battlefield. No I was far from it. The surroundings were nothing that has been seen by me before. The scream turned into screams and they grew louder and louder. My head began to pound from the ear piercing screams. My body buckled down back to the concrete floor. The screams wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t get them to stop. I began to feel that I was going to die here. Then there was a bright light coming from a doorway. A shadow figure stood inside. I stared at what I thought was its eyes. There was no way in telling whether it was a male or female. All I could concentrate on was the screams. My body cringed and shudder in pain. Then there was a soft voice:
“Don’t give up.”
“What,” I asked back.
The shadow crept closer and closer. The light seemed to disappear. There still was no way in telling who was looming over what seemed to be my body. The shadow bent over me and I could see a face, my face. I was looking into what seemed like my own.
“Don’t give up. The worst is yet to come,” she touched my face as she did the room grew brighter.
She kissed my forehead and she began to fade within the light. “Mo-mot-mother?” The room went black.
My eyes flew open and I shot straight up. Looking around I could see everyone still fighting and I looked up at that moment I saw my sacrifice. Akio, my father, was standing in front of Jackson. Blood seemed to be trickling down onto my right hand. Neither Akio or Jackson moved. There was slight movement coming from my left. I shot up and jumped in the way of Jackson? No that couldn’t be. Jackson never knew how to duplicate himself. The Achlys could never master their chakra and keep it sustained. They never had the patience or strength to keep it sustained. Jackson came to a stop and only smiled as if he had won. I twisted in the air and kicked him onto the ground knocking him out for a short period. Somebody fell to the ground once I sustained my landing. Slowly my body turned not prepared to see who it was behind me. My eyes drifted to the ground first and there lay Akio, my very own father.
I dropped to my knees. “Dad. No please no,” I shook him to no end. He wouldn’t wake up. “Daddy please please.” There was no use.
I rose to my feet with a shuriken in hand. I let my head slowly lift to meet my father’s murderer. There was Shia standing with a bloody knife. My mother’s very own knife. Akio kept it on him at all times waiting for the right time to pass it unto me.
“Jade. I’m so sorry.”
Something came over me. A chakra that was not my own began to rush faster than a river through my veins. My eyes turned into a harsh color and the people around began to slow and stop.
“Jade, it’s not what it looks like.”
My eyes turned blue. My soul was suspended from my body. I became an empty shell.
The storm died down and the sun was shining again. Childern were laughing and playing outside. The village was finally at peace with Achlys. Ailis and Achlys finally came to be one. Peace had finally come into the forest. I smiled and laughed. I was so happy. Although it was my father’s sacrifice it brought everything to an end.
I turned around to hear my name being yelled. Then a beautiful baby girl came running into a mother’s arms, but not just any mother she was my mother. Akio was right my looks came from her.
The scene changed. I was now I Akio’s tent. I was asleep in the cradle in the room over. Akio and Dierdre were next to the fireplace.
“Mom. Dad,” I walked over to the fireplace.
“We knew you would be here just like we have as well.” My mother was the first to speak. She turned to me and smiled lovingly. She got up from her seat and grasped my hand in her. “You have many questions but we have short time.”
I looked over and my father and he was still covered with his own blood. The wound was not healed. He looked in me and saw the fear and guilt.
“This all of this is my fault! I should have listened to Vanora and Leala. If I didn’t try to pass my chakra onto the others you’d still be with me,” I began to cry and fell into my mother’s embrace.
“Shh my child all is not lost. You still can win this war. You can bring it an end. Jade you are not just a Sister but a leader. This is your duty. This must be you sacrifice.”
“I’ll risk my life to win I promise.”
“No dear beauty you have it all wrong,” my mother was the last to speak “True sacrifice comes from the heart not from the mind.”
They all disappeared. The young child and my parents. The whole scenery disappeared.
“Jade please listen.”
“No,” I was no longer suspended in the spirit world “I will no longer listen to your excuses.”
The chakra fell into every ounce of my being and back into my people. Those who have been clinging onto life had been saved. Vanora and Leala grew in speed and strength. We began to fight again.
“Nice parlor trick there Dierdre or is this Jade I’m speaking to?” Jackson came to and brought himself to his feet. “Only one person has been capable of this and that’s Dierdre of Achlys. She too could heal and pass on her chakra, but there was one thing bad about it. Her defense was weakened and she died protecting that little screamer.”
I spun around. “Oh you didn’t know. Your mother died by trying to save your life. Rumor has it that only reason you’re still alive is because she passed her soul onto you. See in the midst of the first war I too was a child, but I too was a fighter. And it became my first war to prove myself worthy. My job was to kill you.”
“I remember you. You came into my house. You went for my throat and I knocked you into the fireplace.”
“Yes yes you did. And I still can’t get rid of that burn. Now we have that all confirmed. You have a choice either protect yourself or your people. Tick Tock.”
Jackson smiled and I smiled back. He ran into and it looked like it was all over. But then I whispered into his ear. “You forgot just one thing,” I pulled the blade from his stomach “I have my father’s speed.” Jackson dropped to the ground and that was the end of Achlys’ new leader.
“Shia, you have betrayed us. You have betrayed me. And I have no choice but to fight you.”
“Jade you can’t do that I love you and you love me. I know you do.”
“I’m sorry Shia but betrayal is not worth my love or the love and approval of my people or my friends,” I took a stand and charged one last time.
Shia awoke in the same chamber he had his last encounter with Jackson in. Where he made the deal and performed the ceremony. “Ack,” he rubbed the back of his head with his hand. Then someone pushed him down. “Relax sir you hit your head quite horribly.” “What is going on?!” “Oh you don’t know,” Vanora walked into the room. “Vanora where’s Jade? I need to talk to her to sort this out.” “Sorry no can do,” She smiled. “Before you go crazy and ask way too many questions let me tell you something first.” “Okay what is it?” “You lost,” The smile on her face began to grow “See the whole ceremony you did caused you to lose. I hate to say it but you’re the new leader of Achlys. And that’s not even the worst part. You carry a piece of Jackson’s soul with you. So in no time you’ll be just as heartless as him.” “You’ve got that wrong.” “Did he drink your blood?” “No.” “So you drank his. Let me explain because you looked so confused. You made a deal with Jackson. He agreed to keep Jade alive to an extent but the rest of the clan would have to die. Am I correct so far?” “Yeah.” “To assure that promise Jackson had you drink some of his blood during this ceremony. So he said to you that once you did he was eternally bound to you. Yeah that’s stupid of you. This ceremony binds you to him. He is now in you. Kinda like a second life. This is where it gets interesting. You see since you know have a piece of Jackson that now makes you the new head of Achyls. This war will never end just like it was planned by Jackson. The only sad part about it is you were stupid enough to believe him. And now I’m off,” Vanora went to leave. “But Jade?” “She’s gone Shia. She left, just like I am, we’re taking the clan far from here.” “But her true sacrifice?” “Was you. She sacrificed her love for you to gain the power she truly contained.” “And everything Jackson said about killing her?” “Is what started history. And is nothing you’ll ever understand.” Shia charged at the door and threw Vanora with such great strength. “Where is the little b***h?!” “Well hello Jackson.”
The plan Vanora put into play worked. We lured out Jackson to the conscious level. He no longer could hide behind Shia. I fell from the ceiling and threw myself into Jackson knocking him off his feet. Vanora shot back up and let Leala in through the window.
“Took ya long enough,” She said while straightening her hair and skirt.
“Would you stop being a girl and try being oh I don’t know let’s say independent.”
“Will you two cut it out?! Dear gawd can you guys please come to an understanding,” I kept Jackson pinned down “Now Leala if you please put him out.” Vanora came to take my place.
“How do I know it won’t bring Shia up front?”
“Oh just shut up and do as you were told already,” Vanora spat.
Leala rolled her eyes and stuck Jackson with a long needle and put him to sleep. “Okay now what?”
“I need the two of you to shut up and keep quiet. I can’t be disturbed.” They nodded and went into their positions. I took a deep breath and let my soul wander into the spirit world.
I was back in the basement where I first met my father. Where all the questions came and who I really was surfaced. I could hear screams. Shia was hurt badly. The hall was long and no matter how fast someone ran it did not matter. Running was not going to get me anywhere. So I screamed.
“Jackson, you bastard, come out and face me like a real man would.”
Nothing had changed the hallway became longer and longer. There was no end. Shia’s screams only got worse. Soon they started to fade. “Please. Please let me make this sacrifice the right way.”
The scene changed to a rooftop. The very rooftop where I brought the helicopter down. This is where I first met Shia and where he first began to figure out who I really was. And there I saw them at the very edge. Jackson had Shia in a choke hold a gun ready and aimed at Shia’s head.
“Jackson let Shia go. This is not worth another fight.”
“You’re just like your father falling in love with an Achlys, a lost cause. You two believed love could change anything.”
“So it has been proven. You should even know that yourself. Remember you killed me? You even offered to start fabricated lies about Achlys stealing infants from their enemies? Or did you forget that little detail?”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh yes I do. See after the whole dying and coming back to life. I lost most of my memory and I only saw what my mother and father have witnessed. They were flashbacks, pieces of what would unlock my own memory.”
“Oooohhh I hit a nerve,” I smiled “See I was about ten years-old. You and I always chased each other around the fake offices and all the props. I broke a vase and you said you would take the blame. So when you were pulled away by Alistair, I assumed it was about the vase. I didn’t want you taking the blame. So I sneaked to the office doors and stood outside and waited for Alistair to yell at you. But yelling is not what I heard. No what I heard was you begging Alistair bring other kids before I got to curious. You decided to come up with some lie saying the special ones were stolen from their families to be given a better life. Alistair being afraid that one day my true memories would come to; he agreed.”
“Yo-you have no right to bring that up.”
“That’s not my only point. Love is what brought me back to life. Love is what kept me safe. Love is what kept my father searching for me and which led him to finding me. Love has everything to do with it. And the only way to end this is to die protecting someone I love.”
Jackson begun to lower his guard and I took fire. I hit him between the eyes with a stray bullet that spun fiercly as a football and which curved and stopped in his left eardrum. Jackson fell and the spirit world began to fade. I walked to the edge of the roof and tossed Jackson’s lifeless body to the hungry spirits below. I too stepped on the edge but before I jumped Shia stopped me.
“Jade please wait.”
“Shia, you no longer are considered to be a part of the Achlys. For the clan died along with Jackson. But I can guarantee that this isn’t over. Not until one of us dies,” I jumped from the edge and the spirit world disappeared.
The war came to end. Love was eternally sacrificed for peace to make way. However this was not the end for Ailis for they had a new leader. A leader with great speed and strong will. A leader with great chakra and an open mind. This leader would keep the clan alive. The families buried their dead and paid tribute to their lost sacrifices. They expected a brief period of peace before their leader and her two friends were called back again. For it was not the end of Achlys they soon would find a new leader. One who would hopefully prove a match for the leader of Ailis, but those fears were kept tucked away and unheard of. What remained of the village became a family burial ground and high above the hill underneath a Cherry Blossom tree laid Akio, the previous leader, and his wife Dierdre. They were the parents who brought the new leader into the world. But not two graves laid there but four. The other two were set there for the new leader and her lover. Those graves were meant for Shia and I. For I knew an end will be coming any day now.
“Jade are you ready?”
“Leala you could give her a few minutes hello she’s at her parents grave!”
I laughed. “Yeah guys I’m ready.”
“You are you want to do this?”
“Yes Leala I’m sure. There’s nothing left here to pick up. There are so many ghosts and I already have my own to face. These people deserve a fresh start on un-cursed grounds.”
So my villagers, my friends, and I left our old homes to start a new life for new families yet to come. And this time I was going to take my turn and dance in the rain alongside them.
A few years have passed and peace still remained. Where were the chaos and the turmoil? Where was the natural balance? Things were going smoothly. So much good and peace started to sicken me, like there was poison in the air. I could only imagine how much longer I could go on like this. There would soon be a time where this village spiral in turmoil; soon natural balance would take over and set things right. But would I be here to help them back on their feet. I felt something else pulling me away from my duties. Something else was calling me. Ways of a ninja did not set right with me. Ailis lived in the old days. Achlys lived in the new. The technology that Achlys bared made them almost invincible and strengthened their survival. There was no survival in Ailis only if they hid among the forests safely from the other innocents. This was not a life for me. I had to leave even if that meant leaving Vanora and Leala behind me. By night fall I’ll finally be gone.
Nightfall came and my bag was packed. It took a while but I finally found the garage where S.A.M. was being held. Once I flipped on the switch and saw his beautiful sculpted frame, I fell in love all over again. It’s like a piece of me was finally found.
“Hello S.A.M.,” I walked over to his side.
“Hello Jade. I was beginning to feel that you have forgotten about me.”
“I would never forget about you. You’re my only friend.”
“What about Vanora, Leala, or even Shia?”
“You sure have missed out on so much,” I looked him over “Well you’re still equipped with everything. Too bad we didn’t need much. But we’re leaving you never know what we’ll run into.”
“So this is where we make our final goodbyes then?”
“Unfortunately,” I activated my helmet and swung my leg around S.A.M. and got on. The engine started and a blank GPS address bar popped up, but I did not know where to head next. Should I just go to a different country and disappear among other citizens. I was about to set off into the unknown to sort of speak, but something caught my eye. The helmet deactivated and I looked around the room. There was no one there. Everything was brightly lit so what was bothering me.
“S.A.M. so a thermal scan would you?”
“I’m picking up to unknown figures.”
I smiled to myself. “Vanora! Leala! Just come out of hiding please.”
Vanora and Leala came out from their hiding spaces and stepped in me and the exit. They both looked so disappointed like I was about to commit a crime or have committed crime. Well if abandoning your own village was a crime then guilty was written all over my face.
“Look if you’re here to stop me forget it. There is no way I’m jumping off this bike and staying here while I wait for doom to destroy this town.”
“It’s not that Jade,” Leala was the first to speak.
“Then what is it?”
“I-I-I don’t know how to explain it.”
“Oh just spill it,” this time Vanora was the first to lose her temper.
“I had this dream. You know what it was nothing.”
“Leala just tell me.”
“Okay, I have a feeling our former sisters aren’t exactly former sisters.”
“That their still alive and have been aligned with Achyls.”
“Now that sounds out of whack.”
“I know but just here me out. These dreams have been growing stronger and stronger. There are three sisters by the names of Alma, Jezebel, and Lilith. Each has our individual strengths and abilities. Jezebel can get premonitions but not only through dreams; she can ask for them. Lilith has Vanora’s great speed and invulnerability to chi blockers. Alma well she’s like you. She has psychic abilities not known to many and she too can connect with the spirit world. She takes your greatest fears and turns them against you.”
“Okay so they’re alive? What makes them apart of Achlys?”
“They have Achlys’s old tribe symbol tattooed on their skin. Just like you used to have.”
“Alright so what do you expect us to do? I mean it’s not like they are causing any harm.”
“Jade, they are starting their own armies. The agents or clan members have gone rogue.”
I looked at the both of them and Vanora only had one last question to ask.
“Are we going to do this?”
I smiled and nodded. I finally knew where to go next.
“We have to split up. Each one follows one sister. Leala did you pick up a location?”
“Lilith is somewhere near Dublin, Ireland. Jezebel is in Paris, France. And Alma. Alma is in New Mexico. I don’t know what they’re up to but they are barely ever apart. This could be really serious.”
“Did you pick up anything? Anything at all?”
“All it had was just weird idols. I have no idea what they pertain to and who is all involved. What I’ve told you is all I have.”
“Well girls it looks like we have a scavenger hunt on our hands. This won’t be easy and your usual old time ninja tactics will be no match. At least your gear won’t help much.”
“No really,” Vanora spoke sarcastically “What do you expect us to do about it?”
“Get a flight to New Mexico. I have an old friend that lives there. He’s someone I can trust. He was the first to escape his role from Achlys. I went rogue not much longer after he did. I’ll meet you at the airport. Right now I need to get down there before you do. When we arrive at his house, I will set you up with the latest equipment he has. I’ll even make replicas of S.A.M. that way he’ll be of use for all three of us.”
“I guess while we’re down there it wouldn’t hurt to spruce up on our training?” Vanora asked.
“No it wouldn’t. These people are no longer villagers. Once Achlys upgraded to a ‘hitman’ business they all became agents. They only kept the name. So that means you’ll receive a crash course in our weaponry.”
“Does that mean we have to learn how to use guns?”
“No Leala we’ll use water balloons!”
I had to laugh. No matter how serious the situation Leala always gave some comic relief.
“You must wait for me. And once everything is done and I believe you’re ready. Both of you must jump onto your individual flights and find your equal. Understood?”
“Yes,” both of them replied.
“She left me. I can’t believe she left me. There were so many thoughts and questions that bounced around my head. It felt as if someone was playing ping and insisted in not losing.” Were the thoughts that ran through Shia’s head. When everyone left, Shia ran from the house to escape just what happened. Did the love of his life really just sacrifice herself? Was that the end of everything? After hours of running away from his fear, Shia jumped on the nearest subway tram and took the long ride home. All the people looked at him weird and of course they would. He was bruised and scraped; he looked like hell.
“That’s what you get for trying to defend your mistakes,” he said to himself.
The tram came to a stop. Shia looked out the window to see what exit they were at now. He just wanted to get home; he just wanted to drink all this away. From what he could tell, Shia was still four hours away from his house. The doors of the tram opened and a beautiful woman walked on in a trench coat with the collar propped up and an elegant investigator’s hat that covered her face. This odd woman took a seat right next to Shia. Once she sat down everybody else seemed to be in a trance and got up and left the tram. Shia gulped down some air and went to move, but the woman stopped him.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Shia sat back while the tram took off again.
“What do you want from me?” Shia sounded scared and helpless.
“Shush now,” she spoke while she ran her fingers through her hair “I’m only here to help you discover what you lost.”
“I have lost nothing.”
“You see that’s where you lie,” she ran her fingers across his chest and pointed to his heart “You lost the love of your life. I can sense the pain reeling inside of you.”
“You don’t know anything,” Shia started to tense up. He felt that this woman had no right.
She took off her hat and let her hair lose. The woman was captivating and breathtaking and she knew it. Her hair was long and raven feather black; her eyes were a beautiful shocking emerald green. Her pale skin accented them real well.
“You like what you see?” She stood up and undid her trench coat. She was wearing a cropped tight black t-shirt and torn hip hugger dark stone wash blue skinny jeans along with black high stiletto shoes. Then she sat back down and smiled. “Mmm I’ll take that as a yes. You must be wondering where I get these looks. I’m northern Irish or Black Irish. Legend has it that the Spanish invaded the northern part of Ireland and raped their women. Hence the hair color and texture, but the rest of us is still pure Irish.”
Shia swallowed. “What do you want?”
“I believe we went over this. I want to help you find who you lost.”
“Oh I would rethink about that.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh yes I believe I do. Your beloved Jade is alive and well. It’s amazing isn’t it?”
“Oh nonsense Shia. See Jade had no idea what she was capable of, but somehow she survived that jump from the rooftop. Jade had some faith in herself so the spirit world let her have whatever she wanted. There’s one thing she overlooked though. Even if you choose to die in the spirit world, you don’t really die.”
“Hmm..I wish I was at times, but if I was then I would not have been able to bring my sisters and I back. I’m sure you know all about the true Sisters of the Blade. We always protected the local villages along with ours. Answered every call for help, but what did we get nothing, only their spoken gratitude. There were no material items, nothing even to live off of. So we got tired of it. We left Ailis and join Achlys after all they were the only tribe to accept the new ways. They even got into the cutthroat business of training hit people. Even though Jade denies it, which was the real reason we were trained. It was never to protect the innocents. It was to destroy those who crossed our paths and so on. Poor girl her mind has only been poisoned. Being lied to since her birth must have destroyed her.”
“You don’t know anything about her,” Shia spoke curtly.
“So you say. But I know everything because in almost every way she is my equal. And as my equal I know she’ll follow my path soon. After all her and her friends Leala and Vanora are on their way to get new equipment and learn new tactics. They are so unprepared. But I have to give them credit. If I were them I would never choose to come after my sisters and myself. They are only setting themselves up for failure.”
“You don’t know what they are capable of.”
“You know what I would say if you are right, but unfortunately I do know what they are capable of. After all this talking aren’t you curious as to where she is heading to?”
“The only way to keep us both alive is if I stay out of her way.”
“But the only way to end this is for either of you to die? Isn’t that what she last said to you before plunging off that rooftop?”
The tram stopped at Shia’s exit.
“I believe this is where you get off.”
Shia got up from his seat and headed for the doors.
“Oh I have two more pieces of advice for you.”
Shia turned around and faced her.
“She was right you know one of you has to die for your pain to end, but I wonder if she’ll even dare to let you be the first to go.”
“What is the second advice?”
“If I were you, I’d jump on a plane and fly to New Mexico. After all Shia I am only here to help you and Jade find the right path to your happily ever after.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?”
“By training you, giving you the right equipment.”
“I’m not betraying Jade again.”
“Even though you’re not the leader. You are still part of Achlys whether the both of you like it or not.”
“If I take this into consideration, where do I find you?”
“In New Mexico. Once you get to the airport my driver will be there to pick you and your things up and bring them to my humble abode.”
“And who should I report to?”
“My name is Alma.”
Shia took the long way home to rethink every possible way out of this, but the only way to beat them was to join them. He regretted every bit of it; however, with the four of them together they could get out of anything. Then finally Jade and he could be together once again. Just like Alma said they could get their happily ever after. Shia raced home got onto his laptop and booked a flight to New Mexico. Alma seemed like the only possibility to find Jade so he could stop worrying. And if what she said about the spirit world was true then Alma would be able to bring Jackson back from its deadly grasp. Shia could not let that happen. These rogue agents must be stopped, and he seemed like the only person who could manage such a task. The only thing he asked himself was whether to tell Jade what he had learned within those long four hours on the tram with Alma. But he was more worried about was whether Jade would forgive him or if she would be happy to see him. Shia only had high hopes and wishes.
In the shadows of Grotto City, a dark and sinister truth remained hidden. True evil walked among them. Willing and waiting to make their mark. When their world was threatened, they came to its defenses. With no care or thought in their mind they made their way to victory. All that mattered to them was getting the job done. They had no soul, no heart. They were Achlys.
But alongside them were true heroes waiting to defend and to protect. Wanting to risk their lives for the better. When another’s world was threatened, they defended them. They trained every day. The only difference was they fought with heart and soul. Their honor was true to the very end. They were Ailis.
And my name is Jade. I am the leader of the Ailis clan. By my side Vanora and Leala helped defend what we believed. Together we made the Sister of the Blade. We all had impossible talent and strengths. My parents’ names were Dierdre and Akio and I carried a part of them with me. And I loved a man named Shia. I ran from him but I have a feeling he’ll find me soon enough.
The war may have ended for now but this was not the end of our journey.