Chapter Twelve

Teishu handed Irian a box.  A rather large, unwieldy box.

“Have you given any thought to what you will do when you leave school?  It would seem others have…”

He gestured for Irian to open the box.  Inside was an exquisitely carved recurve bow, set with a cabochon rock crystal.  Irian recognized the form immediately.  He had seen it before…

He had been training in the lake at Sanctuary that day, and a group of friends had come along, under the cover of “fishing”, but mostly to escape another boring weekend of dorm life.  He was standing in water to his armpits, stripped to the waist, wearing micromail leggings. His pockets were full of stones.  The day was clear, and he was practicing resistance with the suburito bokuto again.  Every time he struck the water, his friends (half of whom didn’t even have lines in the water) would complain he was scaring the fish.  One of them did manage to pull in a rather large hypostomus, however, so that excuse didn’t work as well.

The hypostomus was one of a series of experiments in restoring the balance of nature after the Harvest poisoned many of the native waters with aether.  The loriicarids and doradids were edible, fast-growing and hardy,and adapted well to life across the ocean.  The characins were only slightly less adaptible, and were still out in enough numbers to make the mail necessary.  However, they weren’t biting today-bait or legs.  Irian endured one last comment about scared fish, and struck the water in a classic Isshin-ryu slash.  Water flew everywhere (including on his friends), and several doradids floated up, including a pair of megaladoras that were large enough to eat.  Irian was about to make a joke about fishing when arrows pierced both them and the hypostomus that, invigorated by the water, was making its way down the bank.

“I see that you are a better fisherman than your friends.  Care to join me?”

From a tree behind them, a man in a ghillie suit jumped down out of a tree.  In his chestnut-brown hand he held a bow much like the one that Irian was looking at now.  He spoke again in his heavily accented, labored Common.  “You act as if there are no Americans at your school.”

He was a real American, from the lower continent it appeared.  His blue-black hair was entirely straight, but his face was different from the ones he had studied.  No facial hair marked his greasepainted face, and he smiled slyly as he regarded Irian.  “I’m from the plains, not the south land.  We are different from the east.  But you knew that.”  And Irian did, for he knew this man’s sister from Sanctuary.

He was a Redemptor, and his presence meant one thing.  Something was there or on its way there that had no business being alive.  And he was there to stop it.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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