Never Ending Story
Each month, we will be bringing you a new chapter in a story. For the next few months, enjoy the writings of Caroline Reiser! - Editor
The Chronicles of Leonardo Dorcha and Kalli Leijona
by Caroline Reiser
“I don’t believe it,” Leonardo whispered, truly shocked. “It’s you!”
The woman squinted at him. “What do you mean, it’s me?” She asked in a cold voice.
“You! The woman from my dream! I saw you when…when…” the thought was too shocking to say aloud. It thrilled Leonardo to his bone marrow, and he began to shake. Rocking back and forth, he repeated to himself, “I saw you! I saw you!”
“What do you mean?” the woman asked, voice almost panicked. He began to paw at her arm, whining now and again. She pulled herself up and away from him, as though he was a horrid beast.
Suddenly, with a flick of the woman’s wrist, a silver sword was out of its sheath and at Leonardo’s throat. He didn’t dare move. Didn’t dare breath.
Leonardo had never had a sword near his throat before. He could feel the cold steel against his flesh. He assumed it must be as cold as her skin. A dead mineral.
And there it was. The answer to why she was the one in his vision. It was only she who would work, no other random woman could take her place. It was because no one alive could do what he had to do. Only someone dead. Or, someone who had never been alive.
“You must help me,” Leonardo suddenly begged, still not moving any muscle except those needed to speak. “Come with me. I saw you!”
But she only pulled farther away.
“I saw you! Help me. Only you can help me! I need you! You’re the only one. No one else. You have to come with me. Please! Help me. Please. I know you. I’ve seen you before. You can help me, only you! It’s only you who can help me! Help me! Please!”
The silence echoed out as it does after a gun isn shot. Right before the bedlam of panicked people, and right after the initial explosion. As time seems to stop, and everyone sees the world as it is, right before life is forever changed.
“You don’t know me,” the woman said, voice now under control. “The only reason…only reason I helped you is because…well, I get lonely.” She lowered her blade a half inch. “You have to understand, I came out here for a reason. I never expected to have company…ever…but then there you all are. So I help you.” She paused again. “But if you’re going to talk about visions and dreams, you can just step out that door. I left my life to escape such things, and I won’t have them finding me here unless the Gods themselves wish it.”
They stood still a moment, each watching the others moves warily. The time ticked on, the storm never wore itself out, the morning never came. It all just kept going, as though time itself had stopped.
Thud-thud. Beat-beat. Bump-bump
Leonardo’s heart had calmed now. The sword at his throat had thawed, and the hand holding that sword had grown lax. With a sudden flick, Leonardo had his blade drawn, held in a defense position in front of him.
“You’re quick,” the woman commented. “Too bad you won’t be quick enough.” And then she dove at him.
Jabbing in and out, the woman tested Leonardo’s swordsmanship. Leonardo began panting before long. Though he had been traveling for a year and was definitely not out of shape, there was something about this woman that was different.
She was quick on her feet and kept spinning, in and out and in and out. It was like she was dancing, not fighting. She was truly a master swordsman, as though the sword was part of her body.
Leonardo, on the other hand, was slow. He stepped on his heel as well as his toes, letting him keep his balance better than the woman, but keeping him just a bit slower.
He had never really learned to sword fight. All of his life he had been able to wield a staff and throw knives. He had been the best knife thrower in his village. But when he left his home a year ago, things had changed. Leonardo had needed a sword, a bow and arrows, and a sling shot.
Abruptly Leonardo needed to move twice as fast, but he was twice as tired. As he tried to focus on the silver blur that was the woman’s sword, he noticed there was not just one silver haze, but two. The woman had pulled out a second blade while they fought.
Leonardo dropped his sword on the floor, rasping for breath. She was too much for him, and they both knew it. A sword now red with heat was placed under Leonardo’s chin. A second one joined the first.
“Now, who are you?” She said quite calmly.
Leonardo choked for a moment. He was stunned by her question, and how she could be so calm asking it. “My name is Leonardo,” he said through gasping breaths. “I come from a small farm town close to Vainia. It’s a town in the Province of Sea-”
“Province of Sea? Who rules there now?” The woman asked, sounding truly curious.
“Well, last year Semen the…eighty-second I believe. A war was going on when I left, however. I don’t know who rules now,” Leonardo said stiffly. It was hard for him to speak of his home. He wondered if it was even there still.
“Do you know a man named George? He lived in Vainia, though the Gods know where he is now.”
“George Finkson?” Leonardo asked. “That’s the only George I’d ever heard of in Vainia, he was a-”
“A blacksmith?” The woman asked, one brow raised.
The woman looked Leonardo up and down, as though judging him. Then, with a satisfied nod, she sheathed her two swords.
“I’m Kalli.” She offered her left hand.
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