Tania followed Nolan through the dense jungle, her manifested boots, crunching twigs, and crushing leaves under her. “You can bend the threads of power, why are we walking?”
“Because I don’t know this world,” he said. “Do you know this world, Tania? If yes, then passed it to me.”
She shook her head. “No.”
“Then silence, my flower,” he said to her. “Or you will be.”
His attitude had changed. There was an air of confidence and certainty that polluted him. Nolan Salvatore was a stone, but now he was steel forged.
“I will,” she shook her head. “I don’t understand. Why keep me?”
He gazed at her. Eyes piercing her soul. “Do you want to get out? You could have been reborn, and yet here you are, Tania, following a fool like me. You hating me makes me more comfortable.”
She stopped. “What am I to you, Nolan? What am I to you?”
“Someone I don’t know what to do with. I don’t understand why you would do this. Ah, if it was a pity, then maybe it was. Not that it bothers me.”
The two were now on a cliff that led to another jungle of towering trees. The rain didn’t let up and their waists were mudded. Both of them standing with rain pounding their hair.
“My heart, you are that to me, and I don’t think that without it. I’ll be whole. I, it is hard not to be with you, Heavens, it has been so many years that the thought of not being bonded with you sickens me. Nolan Salvatore, the day you die, is the day I truly die as well. Do you understand me, my heart?”
“I do. The powers that you have lent to me kept me alive. I’d be a fool to throw you away. No, you are family, we are soul-bonded, that not even blood matters anymore.”
Nolan grabbed the threads of power and fell trees. He pushed the threads down and lifted Tania and him down the chasm, falling like a leaf to the wind. The two landed and continued their long walk.
“You love her. Truly?”
“I do. So much hate and pain. Do you think that I could turn away after fighting for it for so long? She’s still higher than the stars and I know that it wouldn’t be ease. It’s a bleak path that I choose. It was never about defeating the Overlord of the Demons. It was always about Ciara and her identity as the Burned Woman. We’ve been reborn for so many times that the thought of the cycles scares. I live because she lives. I try because she tries. She’s powerful and I know that.”
“You can run away with me. She doesn’t know. She will never know. We are beyond realms now. Not the bubble, but the true lands where all those who died lives. We fight for the thirteen realms now, Nolan. This world is large as it can and many nations formed. We are reborn and we could Rulers.”
“We had been walking for days,” he said. “The land is untamed, isn’t it? I can tell by my memories how many Kingdoms past the Crystal Barrier that separates the Folk-Stone and the Spine of The Root. The Untamed Lands, the land where men live among the trees. I don’t want to rule lands or make an effort of it. I was never a Ruler, Tania.”
“I know,” she whispered, “that’s why I won’t manipulate you to being one. I am your heart, and yours as well. I will live with you and eat with you, and I will allow you to wield me as you always have. That has always been what I am. Your weapon.”
She pulled on his arm and caught his lips. He held her waist and spoke words of power that shone her veins. Slowly, she turned into a sword of pure black steel.
“My Pale Obsidian Sword of Zachariah. Through blood and flesh; through sacrifice and courage; this blade shall cut through its enemies.”
“I am yours,” she said. “It’s a shame that the Stasis River doesn’t flow here, my heart. I cannot summon the Pale Pass Giant for you, but I am your blade. But I promise you that I am sharper than any weapon of this realm.”
Nolan stared at the forest and swung Tania in an arch. The trees were sliced and fell and there was a clearing. Nolan lets go of the sword, pulled on the threads of power, and carved a cottage out of the trees, and then a transparent dome made of light above it. Tania transformed into her human form. She stood with a strange smile on her face.
Words of power were flick from Nolan’s fingers, a candle flame that lit the logs that he gathered. Tania twisted on one of the stumped, she rested on her chin and said to him. “The first thing you do is to make me cut trees.”
“Don’t complain,” Nolan told her. “It was faster that way and I still cannot adapt fully the powers that manifest in this world. Harder than the roots, and heavier than the mountains. One wrong move and I could break the land. I can pull on the threads of power, but doing so would be lighting a box of dynamites.”
“For a Ghost deadly as you, do you want to rest so badly?” She asked.
“That is one of the many pleasures that I have, Tania. I know that I am barely human, and that’s why I want to feel like one. Half of my body is dragon flesh, the other half a mix of wraith and human. That’s why rest, Tania.”
She nodded her head. “I will then. So, how long until we reach any settlements?”
“Just two more mountains, Tania.”
“My heart,” she slumped her shoulders, “I will be sheathed. Do you have any scabbard on you that I can be placed?”
“I’ll craft one from the furs that I have in my box.”
“I see. So what will happen next?”
“We’ll find a settlement and do some good. The North of the Three Mountains, they are hunted, and I will offer my services”