Chapter 260: Memories of Woes 4
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   Amadan crossed a mountain range while pulling his back forward. He took a glance at the giant ravine and saw mountains. The cold air felt refreshing and he habitually looked back, gazing at the mounds in the distance.

 Amadan looks at his finger. He couldn’t understand why he was looking at them. Those dreams were quite peculiar, and yet he couldn’t understand why he was dreaming of a man he doesn’t know.

 Amadan followed Aria through the mountains until they find a good spot where the rocks blocked the cold wind. Aria raises her white lance and projected a dome of white light around. She looks at Amadan, lowered her head, and cuddled her fur-lined coat, falling into a meditative state.

 Amadan rubbed his fingers together. He took out the bread from his pockets and ate it. He held a canteen and started drinking, his eyelids slowly closing, and turning towards a dream once again.

 This time he dreamt of a sunny place. It was a desert with the sun out, the dark clouds that usually gathers in the dreams were gone, and he saw an old man who was walking under the sun, breathing roughly, his eyes wary, and he fell on the ground.

 “I,” said the man. “I’ve come far, this, I, should be resting now, don’t I? I’ve done what I can, and I have fought all I have. Let me rest, please, just let me rest. I helped in saving the world, we helped, so please let me just close my eyes.”

 Amadan stood unmoving. He looks at the old man with pity. The old man fell on his back. He was about to close his eyes when suddenly he heard space wrap around him.

 “Where are you!?” said a woman’s voice. A purple robe, a witch hat, and graying hair. The woman had a beauty that was like the sun. She holds a divine relic on her hand and she whirls her staff, placing it near the place where the old man was laying.

 “Bloody idiot!” she said, moving next to the old man. “What are you doing here, laying around like this? Come on, I know you miss the sun, but you can’t rest forever!”

 The old man tears up, he raised his hand, using all of his ten fingers to touch the woman’s face.

 “What are you doing?”

 “I, you are not a dream, how did you survive?”

 “Humph!” said the woman. “Do you think that I, the Witch of Nether, could be so easily defeated!? I am Witch of the Nix River, the destroyer of the stasis river!”

 “Hah,” said the old man. “You are alive, I remember that. But what can I do? I’m just an old man who might not make it.”

 “Hold on,” she formed complex runes and placed it on his stomach. “That should do it, hmm, the runes inside you are weak, and this should keep you alive.”

 The old man rose from where he was lying. “I’m getting older, really now, why can’t you just let me rest? I’ve fought enough, and that should be enough.”

 “Don’t be an idiot,” said the woman. “I told you to live for yourself, not because you are a bleak walker or because you were forced into this role. You choose this role and now this role is over.”

“You know our curse,” he said. “We are forever-bound to travel the world until our legs give in.”

 “And do you think that I, the Witch of Nether, really care about some stupid curse? Oh, give me a month, and I will purge that curse out of your soul, idiot.”

 She puffed her chest. “I brought the passing down, I took in the stasis river, and saw time ran out, every moment, I saw it all and you think that I would lose to such stupid curse?”

 “I believe you,” said the old man. “You are always a genius, Rey

 “Is that all you can say, Sal?” She snorted. “How old are you again?”

 “I don’t know. I lost count,” he said. “But look at you, always so perpetually beautiful, makes me wonder how this old man can compete against such a beautiful woman like you.”

 “You’re not half bad,” she smirks. “You have that masculine aura, and that a man with a lot of scars and a gentle smile is quite popular around. Remember when we visited the Salt Passing’s royalty? Or the time at the Pontiff’s demesne? All those noblewomen and widows asking if you had a wife. Really, how can such the thin man I found in the swamp turned out to be one of the people who saved the world?”

 “I tried my best.”

 “That you did, I’m proud of you.”

 “Thank you,” he smiled, the old man whose face was so grim, finally smiled. “I’d never thought I’d hear that.”

 “You deserved it,” the woman said. “So now that everything is over, what would you like to do, Sal?”

 “I, I don’t know. I’ve lived my life fighting that I don’t know what I’ll ever do now that this is over. You can cure me out of this curse, but I honestly don’t know what to do now.”

 “Don’t worry,” she patted his shoulder. “You can always be with me. I mean you have nothing to do, and someone has to rid that curse.”

 “Well,” he said. “If you want to take a friend who doesn’t have that long, then I won’t mind at all, still, I am quite old now, damn, when did time go so far?”

 “Too bad for you,” she said smiling. “I can fix that, if you wish to, you had a good grasp on the runes, and I believe that you’d have better time spending it with me.”

 He smiled and bumped his fist against hers. “I hope you treat me well and let this old man have some good rest.”

 “As long as you don’t laze around,” she told him. “I don’t mind having you around. Though I think that it’s such a waste that our friends weren’t able to see the sun again.”

 “They died well,” said the old man. “I’m proud of them.”

***

The scenery changed and Amadan found himself in a mansion. He was in a courtyard filled with children running around. The same old man, whose hair had grown white, and yet still tall, and appearance that made him look like he stopped aging at his late 40’s. He didn’t look so ill and he was instructing teenagers on how to hold the sword, the stances, the runes, and even how to shoot a firearm.

A woman whose seductive appearance, sultry way of walking, and wearing a purple robe, carrying a divine artifact, walked, watching the old man teach the children.

“Ma,” said the old man. “Done with the classes?”

“Yes, the children had a better grasp of the runes. I believe that they’d do well.”

“That’s good,” he turned to his students. “You can all go now. Make sure that you know how to do better.”

The students laughed and went away. The woman watched them, a smirk forming around her face. “You know, I don’t think that teaching them the sword matters that much now.”

“I know,” he said. “But it doesn’t hurt to teach them how to handle bladed weapons, and close quarter combat is a must when you run out of ammunition.”

“Let’s sit down, Pa,” said the woman.

The two sat down on a bench. The old man rested his back on the bench. The woman as well, her hands on her thighs.

“It has been ten years, and the world has changed. And I think you are hiding something from me, Pa.”

“I’m not, Ma. I just know how to adapt well. From tavern boy to guardsman and a bleak walker then one of the war heroes. I never thought my life would be this wild. I should be dead by now.”

“Oh please, Silica would raise you from the dead if you die without seeing her kids and do not think that Aarav won’t forgive you if you don’t see our grandkids!”

“I know, Ma,” he smiled gently. “I mean I don’t feel the urge anymore, and I don’t see myself traveling now.”

She looked at the children. “Who knew it would end up this way?” 

“I know,” he scratched the back of his head. “I didn’t think that we’d go this path.”

 “Well, I thought we’d be drinking away while thinking of how to extend our sorry lives. Who knew that sharing a bed would end up like this?”

 “Not my fault.”

 “Oh, it is yours.”

 “I don’t regret it.”

 “Same, Pa.”

 The man then turned sullen. “Say, I hear that something is happening. Do you think that we’d be able to witness it?”

 “I don’t know,” she said. “I hope not. They shouldn’t be able to live without the thread of that cycle. I made sure of that, but there is something that I cannot control. Kaiser has told us, that it cannot be stopped.”

 He grabbed hold of her hand. “I’d fight with you.”

 “I know you will, Pa,” she said. “I just wish that the children won’t have to grow up fighting again.”

 The two stared at the children for minutes. It was then that a servant appeared.

 “Madam, a certain noble wants to see you.”

 “I’ll be going then,” she said to him. “Want to come?”

 “I’m no good with nobles.”

 She did not reply. She nodded and followed the servant inside the mansion. It was then that he looked at the side, a strange hooded figure watched, and the old man couldn’t sit still.

 “Who goes there!?”

 The robed figure sprinted. The old man followed, his eyes grew, and the runes carved into his bones lit up. He bellowed, “Intruder! Guards!”

 He followed the robed figure to the outskirts of the town. Then, he saw a dome of light cover the outskirts entirely. The robed figure stopped, lowered her hood, and showed her half-burnt face.

 “Hello,” said the woman.

 “Who are you?” the woman in purple robes floated, her divine artifact blazing.

 The old man readied his sword and pulled out his pistol. “Answer the question.”

 “Oh my, look at these traitors, not even knowing who they betrayed. You two threw me to the abyss, thinking that I went too far! Now you forget me!”

 She lashes her hand and the purple-robed woman got sliced in half, and her entrails raining on the ground. The old man’s eyes widen, rage exploded out of him, and he rushed, conjuring a blade that immediately tore through the shield of light that the half-burnt woman’s shield.

 “And you disappoint me the most, I don’t understand. You were less of a dog when this started, and yet every incarnation, there is something that changes. What are you? Where did you come from? And why do you inherit the strengths of your incarnations? No, you are too dangerous, I sign the fragmentation of your soul, I deem you unworthy, and I deem you unworthy AGAIN. Try harder dog, but I’d like to see you if you still chase with a broken soul.”

 She punches his soul, and it shattered into many fragments. He fell on his knees and watched as the woman disappear. He turns his attention to the purple-robed woman, unsteadily moving, and placing himself next to her, not minding his breaking soul, staring, and mourning.

 “I couldn’t do anything, oh Audrey, I was too useless. I couldn’t do anything at all. Oh, Ma, you deserve better than this.”

 Amadan couldn’t even fathom why he dreams of this. Why he was forced to watch a man be beaten down like this. The wails of that man haunted Amadan, and he couldn’t help but shiver, closing his eyes, forcing himself to awake from that nightmare.

 He gasped loudly, catching his breath, and clasping his hands in fear, he couldn’t stop his trembling. When he looked around, he saw Aria, still sleeping.

 “Why do I dream of all of this?” he said, grabbing the locks of his hair. “Make it all stop, I don’t want these dreams. Please, why won’t it stop?”

 The wind did not whisper back. Only the gust that came from the mountain and Aria’s light breathing could be heard.

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