Note from the Authro: Here’s part 2 of this chapter:
I was overwhelmed with the desire for revenge, the sadness from Vana’s death, the fear for my fate.
Was I to die here? I couldn’t allow that, so in my last attempt to flee, I crawled towards the boat. There was still a chance for me to escape this nightmare.
My mind at that moment was in a complete chaos as thoughts of Vana jumbled up with the desire for revenge and the fear for death. I didn’t want to end up at the hands of the Zal’velos, not without getting my revenge first.
The zar’tar quickly ran after me, and before I managed to reach the boat, he kicked me in the chest. The shock sent a shiver through my second heart making me cough. He was furious at me, and he raised his club up, ready to strike. The anger could be seen on his face, while on mine, there was only fear. The crying sounds of my pain filled the air around us.
I saw a fishing knife close by. I grabbed it and then, turning around, I stabbed the bastard right in his air heart. He coughed as he stumbled back and fell on the ground. I think his third heart was damaged as well because I didn’t see him get up to chase me.
I continued my crawl and got into the boat. With the help of my tail, I pushed it from the shore and let the waves take me away. Because of the pain and weakness in my body, I had to lie down. I looked up at the star-filled sky, and I could feel how I was slowly going numb. I believed it was because of the poison on the arrow the zar’tar shot me with.
My sight blurred out and because of my weakness, I closed my eyes. I tried to let my pain pass away. As I got carried down the river, I was able to hear the screams of the remaining El’zir and then the Zal’velos sounded the horn of victory. In that instant, I knew all had been lost. There was no hope left for me. I cried…
I quickly drifted to sleep, thinking of my beloved El’zir Vana. I missed her already, and I was to never know the face of our beloved luks. I was to never see my young sister and her own luks after a worthy zir’nashar coupled with her. My heart was in pain, in so much pain. I even forgot about the arrow stuck in my leg. I feared that these feelings which crippled me so much wouldn’t leave me for the rest of my days.
At that time, I wasn’t able to understand Vana’s last words, and I doubt I did for the remainder of my cycles in that life. The desire for vengeance and the hate for Zal’velos as well as velos’nashar already fueled my heart. My mind wasn’t able to listen to the true meaning of Vana’s words. I wanted destruction and death, I wanted revenge. She wanted closure and a new beginning.
When I woke up, I felt the warm touch of the torches that lit my cell. I winced when the pain in my thigh rushed up on my spine. Opening my eyes slowly, I saw many unfamiliar zar’tar faces around me. They were all dirty, and most of them looked scarred.
I was confused. Where was I, and who were those zar’tar? They didn’t seem to be zal’velos, but most likely zir’nashar like me.
Not knowing where I was, or if I was safe here, I tried to get up, but a female zar’tar quickly pushed me back down.
“No get up yet, pain still there and not go away until body heal…” she warned me as she placed her hand on my thigh to prove her point.
A burning pain shot through me, I closed my eyes and clenched my jaw. This made me remember everything, the fire, the house, Vana, and her moment of death. She had such a pure smile and even then, she thought of me in such a caring way. I let the sounds of my cry and pain to be released from my throat. No one said a word. They all probably went through something similar as I did and didn’t know how to calm me down.
I kept crying until I calmed down. I asked the female zar’tar then if she knew what happened to me. A male replied to my question and told me that I was found in a boat by a zelvidra’darnashar. The name sounded strange and weird for me. I never heard before of a zelvidra or darnashar.
They told me that right after I was picked up from the boat, I was brought here, in the slave pens. The female zar’tar saw my injury and decided to take care of me. She was something like a healer there.
I wanted to ask more, to know more, but I couldn’t because a guard came and took her away along with two other females. I asked the other zar’tars where they were taken, but none answered.
A few hours later, they returned to the slave pens. Their expression told me that something bad happened to them. The female who treated me didn’t speak afterwards to anyone.
Three days later, I found out from one of the elder zar’tar in the cage that she had been forced to watch her couple and luks killed in a hopeless battle against a velos. Upon hearing this, I could feel the rage boiling inside my veins, but what was I to do? I was too weak, and I couldn’t protect even my own couple, let alone take revenge for another one.
Thus, the seeds of hate for the Zal’velos grew more. They were at the very center of my hatred, alongside all the upper classes. The hate was for velos and for anything not zir.
The days went by, and I saw how many zir were brought in and how those who were taken out rarely returned. Some of the females were periodically taken by the guards. They were being toyed with and humiliated in the worst possible ways.
I healed fast and in a week, my leg was strong again. I didn’t know how long I could survive, especially after seeing what kind of treatment we were given and soon, I found myself afraid for my own life just like everyone else there.
When the guards noticed that I had regained my health, they quickly took me from the cell and brought me outside. Next to the cells where the slaves were kept in, there was a riktor circle. It was something like a gladiator pit from what only one walked out alive. A battle to the death awaited all those who stepped inside. Thinking about what being called out to the riktor circle meant, I believed that I was finally going to be given the chance to let out my rage against the velos.
One of the guards gave me a sword with a chipped edge and then pushed me inside the ring. Two other zir’nashar awaited me with their weapons drawn and ready to fight me or each other. At first, I looked around for the velos, but I saw none. Only the three of us were here.
The circle was properly lit by the many torches hanged on top of the walls. The zar’tar adapted to see during the Great Darkness. Because of this, I was able see what was happening inside the circle, but I couldn’t see anything past it, meaning those who watched and enjoyed this bloody show from the viewer seats. Nonetheless, I didn’t need to see in order to know that our audience was, in fact, of higher birth.
“You will fight or face honorless death!” ordered a male from somewhere above us.
There was no way to escape from the riktor circle. My only chance of survival was to fight and somehow remain the last one alive. That’s whyt they gave me a sword. If I didn’t, the other zir would kill me.
The call to start the battle was given by blowing into a horn and the two in front of me started to fight each other. I wasn’t going to fight against a velos, but fellow zir. I thought, I wasn’t going to be able to fight against them, but I was wrong…
The instinct of survival fueled me, and I remembered Vana and why I had to keep on living no matter what. Hate grew inside me, numbing my senses, making me unable to discern between velos and zir.
I didn’t hesitate and plunged forward with the sword’s hilt steady in my grasp and the desire for revenge in my eyes. I simply didn’t care anymore…
Those two zir weren’t going to be my first kill, and I didn’t regret them becoming my second and third either. Strangely though, I enjoyed it. The blade gave me strength just like it did back when I killed the velos’narshar in the El village. I wanted to become stronger so I could slaughter all of the velos.
After my victory, I was returned to the cell. I was not met with smiles and words of praise for my deed, but with the sobs of a female. One of the males I killed was her couple. I looked at her, but I didn’t feel a thing. I thought of them now only as stepping stones for me to gain the power I needed to kill the velos.
Time passed, and my hatred and anger shifted left and right. Many zar’tar fell at the tip of my sword.
The zir didn’t want to stay near me anymore. Even eye contact was a rare thing.
I didn’t know why they were treating me like that, because in my mind and as a result of my logic, I was fighting for them for all the zir! I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t see that.
Hate blinded me. I told Metatron.
Hate can blind anyone, my friend. he said.
The archangel was right, hate did blind everyone and everything. It put them on a straight path of pure ruthlessness. The cries of the innocents only instigated the hate, making it grow stronger. Violence and destruction were hate’s results. It took me a few lives, but I did manage to learn this important lesson.
What happened next? asked the archangel.
Six weeks passed since I was first summoned to the riktor, and I was starting to get used to the killings and the feel of the weapon in my hands. It was time once more to fight. I thought it was going to be the usual battle with another weak zir, but I was wrong. The one who faced me that day was a velos.
“If you, El’zir N’an win today, you get to be velos! If you win, you get right to be couple again and fight for the pride of Tir’eles against the Zal’velos!” a zar’tar announced.
This one was different from the others. He was fearless and didn’t seem to care much about anything. His imposing voice held weight over all the other zar’tars there. He was, without a doubt, their leader or a highly respected member of their community, but he was very old, over sixty cycles.
I wondered if he was an eles’nashar, a royalty. My mind pondered for a moment about this imposing character and then, I looked at the zar’tar in front of me. If I won this battle, I would have been able to gain more power than I could have ever dreamed of before. With more strength, I could achieve great things, so I didn’t hesitate.
The battle was fierce, and I thought a few times that I would find myself under the tip of his blade, but I never did. He seemed weak compared to me. Our blades clashed together, strike after strike, and none would step back. He was driven and willing to slay me, I knew this, I was able to see it, and fear began to embrace me once more, but I shook my head to throw those thoughts away. I thought back at Vana, and I could feel how the hate and desire for revenge gave me the strength I needed.