Nevermore: of Ryn and Reese

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  • Published: 30 Oct 2016
  • Updated: 19 Nov 2016
  • Status: Complete
Reese has grown up in the world of the aftermath of a devastating war, raised by what used to be the enemy of humans: the Scintulla. Now, though, someone wants to finish off the scarce Scintulla, as revenge for the decimated human race. (endfic comp)

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8. Daughters of Targaten

Reese walks north until she reaches the part of the forest the Aesch had said to go. This part of the forest is quiet, dead silent. 

Reese walks through them, not even hearing the rustle of leaves. 

She walks for several miles, until she hears the whisper of a breath.

She whips out her knife and cuts herself immediately, murmuring, "Qikeg uj Peklx, juaw ivuorj qa, ju giwx xla gpaiv wleapj uj svuxagxeur."

Reese's blood shines silver, and then bursts, like glitter, and shimmers around her and dissappears, making a protective shield invisible to they eye.

"Hope it lasts long enough," mutters Reese. Another whisper of life startles her, causing her to turn toward the sound. An arrow flies at her, but disintegrates when it hits the shield.

A person comes out from behind a tree, a woman, about thirty.

"You are not dead," says the woman, disbelieving. "You should be dead. It was aimed at your throat. I never miss." The woman frowns deeply, but only seems upset.

"That's really comforting. Just my neck," says Reese sarcastically. The woman cocks her head at her.

"What happened to my arrow?"

"Uh," says Reese. "I've got really good reflexes, see, and caught it. I through it into that hole over there." She points to a burrow in the ground. The woman shrugs.

"Since you are not dead, would you like to come back to camp for dinner?"

"Am I going to be dinner?" asks Reese. The woman laughs, but Reese is serious.

"No. It will be squirrel," says the woman.

"Sure," says Reese, sliding her knife up her sleeve. She wraps her hand with a piece of fabric. "Dinner, yeah."

 

Reese and the woman walk up to a giant metal gate. Up on catwalks, a few women walk with bows and what look to be guns. Reese had never seen a gun.

"Let us in," calls the woman. A force pulls the gates in.

Reese, dumbfounded, trails after the woman. 

"This is amazing!" exclaims Reese.

"Have you been a wanderer all these years? You look quite young," says the woman.

"Parents dead. Raised by adoptive mother...she...yeah know...is gone," says Reese, fighting back tears. She tightens her hand, making her cut sting. She hadn't heal it this time. 

"Ah," says the woman. "Well, this is our little camp. Permanent, for the time being."

Reese looks around. "Where are all the men?"

"Out," sas the woman. "They keep dangerous people and creatures away from our camp. We are left to tend to the camp."

"Oh," says Reese, still confused.

They walk to a central bonfire, where only about a dozen women and two kids are sitting. On a spit, roasting, is an animal. It's head still on, Reese looks into its eyes. Brown and green, not normal colors, but like lime green and muddy brown. An Aesch. 

Not a squirrel, like the woman said, but an Aesch.

When dinner comes around, she refuses, saying seeing her blood made her feel sick. She said she cut it earlier on a knife. They ignored her.

"We can have a medic look at that," says the woman, with a mouth full of Aesch. Reese feels like throwing up.

"No, it'll be fine, thanks," says Reese. She puts more pressure on it.

That night, the woman offers her the guest cabin, a desolate place where the wind howls. She heals her cut, and wraps a bandage on it, like she had tended to it. She rolls for hours, until a voice speaks.

"H...hello?" squeaks the voice. 

In a flash, she's crouching in the bed, knife at the red, poised over her hand.

"N-no! I mean no harm!" squeaks the voice. Reese looks around. She spots a discolored spot on the floor. She sighs  and crawls back into bed.

"What are you doing here, little...Mure?" Reese whispers, barely audible.

"Yes!" squeaks the Mure. It scurries up her bedside and looks her in the eyes. The Mure are smaller than mice, about two inches long, usually cream or white colored, with kaleidoscopic colored eyes, shifting color with the time of day and the weather. It is night now, so its eyes would be pitch black. "I saw you in the forest! I was in the burrow, watching. I watched you as you came into the camp."

"What's been happening here?" Reese asks, ignoring the Mure's previous statements. The Mure chitters.

"The humans, the women. Monsters. They killed dozens, if not hundreds of Scintulla. They are going farther out. They go beyond a mile. We hide at all times. They are always watching. They purge hiding places. That is how they found that poor Aesch tonight. I am lucky. They wouldn't eat a Mure anyway. Not enough meat. But I saw you refuse to eat the Aesch."

"Yes, yes. I know. I don't eat Scintulla. Never have, hopefully never will. But the women. They're killing Scintulla?"

"Anything they can eat, yes. The noraml animals, too, but we Scintulla eat them anyway."

"I need to get out of here."

"They are turning cannibalistic." Reese stares. 

"What?" 

"A few days ago, they found no food. I heard screaming, and investigated. I saw them butchering an old woman. I heard another saying she was dispensable. She had no use. She was old."

"That's awful."

"It is. I've seen that woman hunt. Even though she killed us, yes,  and ate us, she could hunt better than most of the women here. She was not useless."

"Yes, but besides that. I need to get out of here. I'm not part of their group. I'm very dispensable. This might not be a guest shack, it might be a slaughterhouse. She tried to shoot me in the forest. She didn't even apologize." Reese whips back the covers and draws her knife.

"Ooh! You wield a Meta knife! The homeland-"

"Look, I know it's cool, but I gotta get outta here," says Reese, a bit desperate.

"Qikeg uj Peklx, xla arj qiy fa raiv, ipp juvgaw xu fa gurkvakixaj, osur xla fujy, erxu i jerip wleapj." The blood turns blinding white, and gushes out. Reese clutches the bedpost.

The blood pools around Reese, seeping into the bottom of her shoes. It congeals up, making a dome, solidifies into a clearish dome, then dissipates, but leaves a light shimmer around her, like molecules and specks of silver.

"That is very powerful, dangerous magic, young human," says the Mure, its voice filled with awe.

"I know," pants Reese, very pale. "But I'm not that confident in my abilities. I've channeled all the magic I got into that one cast. There's a lot of them, and they're hungry. I need protection, and lots of it. I'm weak, but I could probably sneak out of here."

"If I may ride in a pocket," says the Mure. Reese nods, and puts a shaky hand out for the Mure. It hops in and Reese puts it into a front pocket of her shirt. Reese looks around, and sees a pole. She grabs it, her hand wrapped tightly in a cloth.

She staggers out the back door, leaning heavily on the pole.

The shield makes everything a bit hazy as she staggers to the wall, using it as a guide to the back of the camp.

"I doubt they have a back gate..." whispers the Mure. Reese doesn't respond.

But, lo and behold, there is a gate. There are no catwalks though, just a simple gate with a padlock.

"Watch the back for women," wheezes Reese, her energy running out.

"You can't use more magic," warns the Mure.

"Need to," says Reese.

She makes another cut on her arm. "Orju xla aivxl, orju xla qaxip." She smears the prick of blood on the lock. It glows silver. Reese pants.

"Going somewhere?" asks the woman behind the gate, wielding a spear.

"Wpaas," slurs Reese, her eyelids heavy, as she stabs the woman, without warning, in the shoullder. She cries out, but drops like a rock and begins snoring. Reese takes her spear, dropping the pole.

"Stop!" yells a woman's voice behind her. Reese turns to see a score of women, wielding a plethora of weapons. "Stop or we'll kill you!"

"You'll kill me if I do anything," says Reese drowsily. They notice their comrade's body. One gasps.

"You killed her!"

"No, she's sleeping. Stabbed in shoulder. Snoooring, loudly." There's a loud snore. "Toodle-oo," whispers Reese.

She sprints, as best she can, into the forest. The women throw spears, fire arrows, aim knives at her, but they just rebound dangerously off the shield, injuring several women.

There are yells of revenge.

As Reese hobbles south, she hears one yell above the rest.

"The daughters of Targaten will have their revenge on you!"

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