Jar of Vedara, Part 3

Fiction By Jackie West // 8/4/2011

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“Where are we going?” Kiral asked as they rushed out of the clearing in which Alex’s hideout was situated.

“To the portal that will take us to Arrall,” Jace replied. “Unfortunately, it’s on the other side of the forest. It’ll take us at least four hours, running, to get there.”

“I can’t run the whole way!” Kiral protested.

“You will when half of hell is going after you,” Alex said sourly.

Then he suddenly ground to a halt. “Wait-you said that the third Chosen One comes from Arrall?”

Jace nodded as he continued. “That’s right.”

“I can’t go! They’re our-my enemies,” Alex protested.

“You can stay and get slaughtered by your worst enemies,” Jace suggested casually as he paused several yards ahead of the Charrenian with Kiral close behind.

Alex sighed as he glanced behind them and fingered the sword that hung at his side.

“There’ll be too many of them. You’ll be overcome and the planet will fall into your hands. Many of your people will die and this world will never be the same,” Jace said.

Alex looked at the ground and nodded. “You’re right. I’ll come.”

“Good.” Jace nodded briefly. “Because the moment that demon recovers and informs his fellow soldiers, we’ll have an army on our tails. Come on!”

They took off again.

“What did you put on the demon?” Kiral asked Jace.

“A special formula created by my Master that destroys the demons’ ability to shape shift,” Jace replied. “That demon will forever be a demon, in form as well as in everything else.”

“How could anyone ever do that?” Alex wondered doubtfully.

“My Master can do anything,” Jace said simply. “That’s all there is to it.”

“No one can do anything.” Alex shook his head.

“My Master can,” Jace repeated. “If you were killed, my Master would know. He has foreseen everything that is happening now.”

 

“Master.”

Virrid turned his head to face the common soldier behind him. “What is it?” he hissed.

“Naixious has been contaminated and is no longer useful to us.”

“Kill him immediately,” Virrid ordered. “Show no mercy. Make his death slow. He has failed and deserves it.”

“As you wish, Master.” The soldier turned to go.

“Before you leave, soldier…..” Virrid continued, causing his follower to stop, “who contaminated Naixious?”

The soldier stopped. Fire flashed in his eyes and he hissed angrily as he replied, “Jace Tyrone, Master. He did it.”

Virrid’s face contorted into an ugly scowl. “He is succeeding in his mission,” he hissed in fury. “Send out two squads and rid the land of him immediately!”

“Yes, Master.” The soldier bowed and left the room.

 

“Is it alright if we take a break?” Alex asked.

Kiral looked at him with some surprise. Being the most fit and athletic of the trio, she had thought he would hold out longer.

“Why? Are you hungry and thirsty and tired?” Jace asked.

Alex nodded. “Yes.”

Jace slowed to a jog and dug into the pack hanging around his waist and produced a bar of some kind. “Here you go.”

Alex eyed it suspiciously. “What is it?”

“It’s an energy bar made from the root of the vathal plant and the thick juice of the talam tree. It’ll help you run faster and not be so tired,” Jace explained. “It’s not poisoned. If I had wanted you dead, I would have killed you back at the hut. Eat up.” He tossed a bar back to Kiral and took one for himself.

Alex rather unwillingly took a bite, and then shrugged. “It’s not that bad, I guess.”

Jace rolled his eyes.

“How long have we been running and jogging?” Kiral asked around a mouthful of the energy bar.

“About half an hour,” Jace replied.

“So we’ve got three and a half hours to get to the portal-and that’s if we don’t get attacked by demons,” Alex concluded.

Jace nodded. “You got that right.”

Alex sighed. “Is there anything we can do to pass the time-other than run?” he added quickly as he saw Jace open his mouth.

Jace grinned. “Talk. Tease you.”

“I’m serious,” Alex pointed out. “I need something to do. I get restless when I can’t do anything.”

“Okay, now you’re talking,” Jace answered. “Let’s see….”

 

Raymos pointed to the grove of trees to the left of the squad. “Half of us will surround that area. The other half will go through the portal and wait on the other side in case they are able to enter. I will lead the group on this side. Haekeye-“he pointed to another demon-“will lead the other group.”

Ten soldiers joined him and the other ten went to Haekeye. They hurried to the tree grove and disappeared into the portal.

 

Jace slowed down and then stopped. His breathing was still light, which Kiral observed with some wonder and curiosity.

Alex was close behind him, and he bent over with his hands on his knees, breathing hard and trying to catch his breath.

Kiral sat down and leaned against a tree trunk. “Why did you stop? Aren’t you afraid that the demons will catch up? I’m tired, but I’d rather keep going so that they don’t.”

“I’m afraid that they’re not going to come after us,” Jace murmured, folding his arms.

“You’re afraid they’re not going to come after us?” Kiral asked in confusion.

“They should have been here by now,” Jace explained. “We’ve been going for almost two hours now. They can get here a lot-“he paused as a dart buried itself in the tree behind him-“faster.”

Kiral leapt to her feet and hurried to Jace’s side. “You mean like that?”

“Yes, that’s precisely what I mean,” Jace replied.

The trio drew closer together as a group of demons melted out of the forest on all sides of them.

“Jace Tyrone,” one, who apparently was the leader, hissed. “You will die.”

“You wish,” Jace answered. “I will not die until my time comes. My Master has made this clear.”

An evil smile twisted across the face of the demon who had spoken. “Then maybe it is your time now.”

Jace shook his head, putting a protective arm around Kiral’s shoulder. “It is not.”

“We’ll see.” The smile disappeared from the demon’s face.

Jace drew a blade from beneath his cloak.

“Attack!” called the leader.

The group charged forward.

“Duck!” Alex hissed to Kiral, and they both threw themselves to the ground.

Once they were in clear space, Alex stood and pulled Kiral to her feet. “Come on!”

“But we don’t even know the exact location of the portal!” Kiral protested.

Over the clamor of the 20 to 1 battle, Jace heard her comment. “You will know, young ones! Now go!”

“We’ll just know?” Kiral stopped in confusion.

“Don’t ask! Let’s just get out of here.” Alex pulled her a few feet before Kiral tugged herself free.

“Three hours ago you wanted me dead and now you’re trying to help me?”

“Do you want to get killed by the demons?” Alex asked. “If not, then I suggest we leave.”

Their weariness forgotten, the two sped off.

“What did he call us-young ones?” Alex scoffed. “He couldn’t be more than five or six years my senior!”

“Don’t fuss about it,” Kiral said. “He was only a year older than me less than a day ago!”

“I won’t ask,” Alex answered. “So, uh, what are we supposed to do if the demons come after us?”

“Run like crazy. Jace’ll keep them busy.”

“You hope,” Alex muttered.

After running for several minutes, Kiral paused and looked behind them. “They’re not in sight,” she reported. “Let’s rest again. That energy bar didn’t last long.”

Alex reluctantly agreed. “Okay, but just for a few minutes.”

They had just settled themselves against a tree trunk when a voice made them jump. They looked across the trail and saw a handsome, blue eyed and blonde haired man step out from behind a tree.

“Who are you?” Alex demanded.

“I’m a hermit who lives in these woods,” the man replied. “My name is Tavaris. Who are you?”

“Well-uh-I’m Adam, and this is Kristy,” Alex said, changing their names out of suspicion of the stranger.

“Don’t lie, please,” Tavaris requested. “You have no need to. I’m a friend.”

“How are we supposed to know?” Kiral asked, trying not to show her shock at Alex’s deceit and Tavaris’ apparent knowledge of it.

Tavaris held out a hand. “Look at my ring. Your friend Jace, he wears one just like it. We know each other well.”

“He never told us about you,” Alex said.

“He had no time. He didn’t think he’d need to,” Tavaris explained. “He usually tries not to bother me too much anyways.” He gestured back into the woods. “Won’t you come with me?”

“Jace wanted us to-go to the other side of the forest,” Kiral answered.

“But surely you are tired,” Tavaris said. “Jace wouldn’t want you to be worn out. come, just for a little while.”

Alex and Kiral looked at each other and then nodded.

“Alright,” Alex said. “But only for a little while.”

They got up and followed Tavaris into the forest.

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