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My Soul, My Conscience I plan to write about my day, maybe new episodes of shows I've seen the previous night. A like seeing movies so I'll probably end up writing about that too. Boys are always a good topic to write about, my family and friends.

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Chapter 2: Haria
“Wake up! Wake up, everybody!” Mya shouted.
No one so much as stirred at her alarmed cry.
Awhile later they all got up to find Taya cooking and Mya gone.
Taya? Rye looked around.
“Where’s the girl?” Garrett asked cautiously.
Oh, god! You’re cooking the girl!
“Shut up, Rye. She was here when I got up and gone when I got back. She must’ve wondered off.”
Why would she do that? Night wondered.
“Because she’s an egg collecting commoner, that’s why.”
Taya smiled at Garrett.
“I’ll be back.”

She decided to look for Mya from the trees and she spotted her not too far ahead. She jumped down in front of her.
Mya jumped. “You gave me a scare.” She grabbed her chest. “Could you not do that?”
“Why would wonder off? You don’t know anything about this forest. It-
“Sure I do. By my house, we had woods that I went into all the time.”
“Were they this forest you’re standing in right now?”
“Of course not.”
“Then you’re wrong. Mistek is filled with animals to which most fleshling have never seen. I only survive here because I can take care of myself. Now, lets go, Princess. I made breakfast.”

A soldier poked his head into Keen’s chamber door. He and his wife were still in bed.
“This had better be good.”
He put on his robes and secretly met his men in a room beneath the castle.
“Your brother is a traitor.”
The man before him stood matching Scien’s body in every way: height and muscles. His brown hair was cut very low, closest to the scalp. H wore the Iquim colors of black and blue with a silver chain mail under his blue tunic. He had piercing blue eyes and a sharp handsome nose. He was a n overall attractive young man but even the simplest of people could see that he harbored hate and vengeance in his heart. He currently had a bit of smile on his face at catching the “perfect” Scien at fault.
“Words mean nothing. He’s always been a step ahead of you. You’ve never like Scien. If you lie to me about something so important, the punishment is death.”
“He wasn’t ahead of me this time. I followed your instructions.”
“And he came to find Taya. I was a little upset that they sparred first. He underhandedly caught her off guard. Then he became the weak little nothing I knew him to be. She cut him down in two strikes and took him to her camp.”
“This is irrelevant.” Keen stood.
“Don’t you want to know how it ends?”
Keen hesitated then sat back down.
“There she passed out on the wings of an estrinto.”
“That’s not good.”
“Really? Well, guess who came to her aid.”
“I will not.”
“An algen.”
“What? They choose now to vanquish their convenient neutrality rule? During my uprising?”
“The algen told the estrinto and Taya’s white wolf that Scien would never hurt her or turn away from her. Later, she and Scien took a walk. He apologized to her, kissed her and told her to take Mya and run.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“He said himself, ‘I never though I’d betray my brother.’ He’s not coming back, Keen.”
“I knew there was a chance.” He breathed out exasperated. “Take fifty men and a messenger. I want those girls…and my brother.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Alive, Aiden. And if you see Luke, kill him.”
Aiden smiled then departed.

“Why were you out looking for me when you’re recovering?”
“Taya doesn’t understand the concept of pain and rest. That’s why she merely forgot about getting hit,” Garrett exclaimed.
“Those don’t sound like your words,” Taya said raising an eyebrow.
That’s because they’re not, Rye said accusingly. I taught her how to work through pain.
“And you taught me well.”
“You sure learned a lot that year on your own.”
“Don’t feel bad, Garrett.”
Mya and Taya sat down to eat what had been put aside for them.
“We need a plan,” Taya said mouth full.
Manners, Taya, Night disciplined.
“I’ve come up with something.”
“No one asked you, Scien,” Garrett said dragging out his name.
“Garrett, things might’ve changed since you lived there. He still understands how things work. Let’s hear him.”
Taya and Garrett exchanged glances.
“You know what? I wouldn’t mind sitting down in a town. Haria is close.”
Taya mounted a currently wingless. Scien mounted his horse, Garrett had taken to the skies and Rye was no where to be seen.
“They’re fast,” Scien said.
“You take Mya.”
They rode for about an hour when they came to a gate where they were permitted entrance. They dismounted soon after at Jonah’s Spread. They handed their reins to the stable boy.
“Take care of him, Roman. He’ll tell me if you don’t.”
She handed him a silver rubayen. “There’s a gold one in it for you if I get a good report.”
“Thank you, lady.”
Garrett landed in front of them.
“No one saw me.”
“I wasn’t going to say anything.”
Taya opened the door and entered. Garrett stopped Scien from going in next. He let Mya go then went in himself, letting the door close behind him. The room fell silent and everyone turned to look.
“Try not to look so surprised!”
Taya smiled happily.
Most of the workers: carpenters, blacksmiths and soldiers, cheered merrily.
One of the older guys swept her up into his arms, hugging her. When he released her she sat down at his table.
“Jonah! Ale for my niece,” he shouted to the bartender. “Where’s Garrett?”
She pointed to where they’d sat down.
“And her friends!”
“What’s the good word, Luke?”
The brown eyed man smiled at her revealing his pearly whites. He had his long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. His short sleeved black shirt fit his broad chest and blended into his black breeches. His tall brown boots were muddy from his constant travel between blacksmith, carpenter and man-at-arms. He’d been her father’s best friend and she’d grown up with him as her uncle. He was very fond of Taya and he watched over her in Iquim. When she was banished, he retired to a small town near Mistek where he’d still be close to her.
“I should be asking you. You love the wilderness. What brings you, young warrior, to me?”
She lazily put her hand through her hair while taking the drink a woman offered her.
“Tell me, lass.”
She looked at Mya. He followed her eyes.
“The girl? Who is she? And why is she and Scien followin’ you?” he asked, the country accent sticking to his tongue.
He could always read her eyes, to the point that it was eerie to tall others.
“The girl resembles ya. Same color hair, a bit shorter, you’re a tad taller, same nose. There’s a touch of your eyes in hers, no doubt. If I didn’t know any better I’d think-
“And you’d be right.”
“She’s Tabios’ daughter. Tell me everything.”
She explained the whole story. Everything from Mya’s arrival to Scien and Keen.
“That’s some tale.”
“You’re telling me. He wants her dead and I’m in his way. I have a war on my hands, Baba.”
“Give me a bit of time, little one. I shouldn’t be callin’ ya that anymore.”
“Yes you should, Baba.”
After a brief yet warming visit with Luke, she took a walk around the village, Mya close behind. She stopped to see the blacksmith.
“I know that voice,” came the reply from the back room.
“Why don’t you come see who it is?”
A goggle-faced man stuck his head into view. He stepped all the way out with a black apron covering his whole body. He looked to be in his late twenties and he was favorably muscled. He stood on strong nimble legs holding a hammer that made his arm muscles bulge. She liked the look of him. He smiled, the only white in the room aside from Taya’s.
“The sky gods have sent me an algen.”
He swiftly walked over to her. He placed his hand at the back of her neck and leaned in. just as his lips touched hers, he noticed Mya.
Pulling back, he said, “Luke attached a chaperon to ya, huh?”
He walked back to his workbench.
“No. She’s my charge.”
“You’re protecting her, eh? She’s very lucky. You know how lucky you are to be under the eye of this one?”
When she didn’t respond he looked up at her.
“You were speaking to me?”
“I was.”
“Oh, yes. She’s very skilled beyond what I know.”
“I see you carry those swords like that anyway. You have to be different. You taking care of’em?”
He held out his hand and she removed the weapons from their sleeves and handed them over.
“Not a scratch. But I’ll bet they’ve seen their share of blood and taken their share of lives.”
“That they have,” she said smiling.
“Is she not sinister?” he asked Mya.
“That she is.”
“I didn’t get your name.”
“My name is Mya.”
“Dex. Nice to meet you, Mya.”
He handed her the swords.
“You do my swords honor.”
“My swords, Earth and Wind. My swords, your work.”
She slammed them back into their sleeves and turned to leave.
“You enjoying the stroll?”
“Would you like me to go back to Jonah’s?”
“You’re fine.”
She cut in between two houses to get to the backyard.
“Lady G?”
She walked through the hung up drying laundry and bumped into the older woman coming out of her house. Taya caught the basket of falling laundry.
“Oh, Lulu. Thank the gods. I have so many things to do let alone wash all over again.”
“No problem.”
“I heard you were in town. She ran off looking for you. I’ve no idea where she is. I could get things done more quickly if-
“Way ahead of you. I’ll find her.”
“You’re a sweet, you know that?”
“Try not to say that too loud, Lady.”
Lady Genna laughed out laugh.
She went back to the road the way she’d come.
“You’re well liked here.”
“Because this is home to me. Everybody here that knows what I did understand.”
“In Haria, Luke is my father.”
They saw a girl running toward them.
“Here we go.”
Taya made a cup with her hands. When the girl got close, she stepped into it and Taya launched her into the air.
“What’re you doing?”
Taya darted into the air after her.
“Have you been practicing?”
“Get your arms out to your sides, yours legs together behind you. Now you have to feel it.”
“I’m falling.”
“Sometimes that helps.”
She flew at the girl’s side as she fell. “Come on. I know you got it in you.”
She caught the girl’s tunic before she hit the ground in front of Mya. She stood the girl upright and landed herself.
“You said you practiced, Violet.”
“I’m not as good as you think. I get nervous when I get up there.”
“You are good. We’ll work on it.”
“Who’s this?”
“Mya. She’ll be around me all day.”
Violet held out her hand, “Please.”
Taya handed her bow and arrow to Violet.
“You’re giving these dangerous weapons to a five year-old?”
“I’m eight.”
“And she’s phenomenal. I should know, I taught her. I’ll show you. Do you trust me?”
“Not really.”
She stood Mya in front of a tree and tied her hands behind it.
She herself stood about twenty feet away, bow ready.
“What’re you doing?”
“Showing you,” was Taya’s response.
She took out three daggers and threw them all at Mya. Violet shot them all down. She threw five more and they were all knocked off target.
“Hey, Lulu?”
Taya turned to see a girl a bit older than herself standing in front of her. She had on a ragged brown tunic and leggings. Her short brown hair came to her ears. She had steely brown eyes and a long feminine nose. Her size outmatched Taya’s, but that wasn’t a factor. Her smile gave away her confidence. Taya had beat her many times before, this would be no different.
“Untie her,” she told Violet.
She looked the girl over. “Domi. I see you’ve--well, I see nothing new about you.”
“I’ve been training.”
“And I haven’t? I train everyday. You train with the village boys who can’t even beat me. If you really, I mean really want to beat me, go see my uncle. He’ll at least help you not embarrass yourself. Come to me when you know how to handle that,” she teased pointing at Domi’s sword.
She was leaving when Domi started to bring her sword down on Taya’s shoulder. Taya grabbed the hilt of Earth and blocked the hit. Next she withdrew it and brought it up in an overhand cut, slicing Domi’s sword in two.
“Now it’s useless. Along with no skill, you also have no honor. You need that to challenge anyone, especially me.”
They went back to Jonah’s Spread.
“I can’t-
“You’re with me.”
She started to go inside but decided to look for Garrett. He was behind the building practicing while Night and Rye watched.
Long time no see, Rye said rudely.
Quiet, Rye. She didn’t forget about us, she just had to go see the child.
“You up for a practice round?” Garrett asked swinging his sword.
She quickly drew Wind and knocked his sword from his hand.
“I wasn’t ready.”
Taya removed her bow and arrows and met Garrett a safe distance from where he stood.
“Night would you do the honor?”
People came to watch. Violet sat by Rye. She noticed Scien rested under a nearby tree and Domi tried to blend into the crowd. Mya stayed where she was.
“One sword,” Garrett remarked.
She narrowed her eyes at him released the hilt of Earth.
“Pay attention, girlie,” she taunted Mya.
Their swords met each other, repeatedly exchanging blow for blow. Taya’s eyes darted in all directions, watching and examining his movements and counting his steps. Their swords clashed emitting sparks. They danced in a circle then the flat of Garrett’s sword landed on her backside. She smiled at him. Sweat rolled down her face and arms. She kept up with his footing until she saw an opening. She swung full force at his legs causing him to jump. While suspended in the air, she ran her right shoulder into his chest. He fell on his back and she placed the tip of her blade at his neck.
“I submit.”
She helped him up.
“You know me too well,” he said.
“Not to say you don’t know me well enough.”
“I’m going to clean up.”
She picked up her bow and arrow. Scien handed her a towel and she fell in stride with him.
“I want to ask you something but I don’t want to be out of place.”
“Please, tell me.”
“The blacksmith? Is he your new…are you seeing him?”
She smiled and her eyes turned a soft green.
“Sci, he was a comforter. I was quite broken when I came here with Luke. I was only sixteen. Nothing happened. Luke knew to keep me near.”
“He’s a smart man. He spoke with me. He’s only interested in you well-being and he made sure that I was too.”
Her eyes softened even more. They came to a pagoda and sat.
“You’re very skilled with a sword.”
He cleared his throat as she moved closer.
“You should see me with them both.”
He leaned in as she placed her hands on his chest. He kissed her and his heart danced as it felt the familiar hold Taya had on it. He deepened the kiss and her body rejoiced as a heat it had never felt before filled it. He put his hand at her back to bring her body closer to him. Suddenly she pulled back. She looked around realizing how far they’d walked.
“Did you hear that?”
“No. What is it?”
She looked up and saw smoke rising.
“Fire. Flames.”
She took off running for the village.
When she reached Haria, she stopped in her tracks. Her eyes made a transition between hollow green to an angry, bordering on black, green.
Violet ran over to her.
“You have to go. I’ll find you.”
“I can help.”
She handed how bow and arrow to Violet. “Go find a tree; climb it. Made sure you’re well hidden. Take out as many as you can and don’t be a hero.”
“I’ll stay out here. You find Mya,” Scien said.
She ran through the mayhem, drawing both Earth and Wind, cutting down the enemy as she went.
“Lady G.”
She ran the threatening soldier through.
“Get to Jonah’s. Have you seen my uncle?”
She pointed then made her way to the spread. Taya ran over to him mentally smuggling what small fires she could.
“It’s not good enough,” she told herself. “Who are they?” she shouted to Luke.
“They wear a combination of colors but the ones they all have in common are Iquims.”
“Keen. It needs to rain.”
“I’ll cover you.”
She opened her canteen and threw it’s contents into the air and sustained them there. The water divided into droplets and began to spin rapidly in a circle around her head. Then they stopped abruptly to form a straight line. She sent them sailing into the sky. When they came back down they were accompanied by more drops.
“It amazes me every time.”
“Have you seen Mya?”
Someone screamed. She ran to the back of Jonah’s to see Mya in the grasp of two soldiers. She only had one dagger on her. She threw it at the soldier on the right. While the other was distracted by the unexpected attack, she relieved him of his head.
“Find--no, come with me.”
She went back out front to see the soldiers dying down.
She looked for Luke. When she spotted him, a sword was violently rammed into his chest then two arrows.
She blinked repeatedly and there was no more green left in her eyes.
She slew three men on her way to him. When she got to his killer, two arrows glided over her shoulder and into his neck. To her, that wasn’t enough. Bringing her Earth and Wind apart, she swung them back together slicing the soldier in half. She dropped both her weapons and leaned over Luke, blinded by tears.
“Uncle Luke!” she cried. “No, Baba.”
Look out!
Taya looked down at the two arrows that stood in her chest.
“We’ll settle for the girl,” Aiden ridiculed holding an unconscious Violet. “Retreat!”
Thirteen men ran from the village, Aiden on horse.
Taya stood up, “Violet!”
Another arrow penetrated her back.
Scien caught her as she fell forward. He laid her on her side.

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