January 21st, 2005

Mask

The Duelists: Part Two

The young man looked from Vindici to the Gate, fear and awe on his face. He steadied himself and wet his lips.

“Why?” He asked and hungrily stuffed the bread into his mouth. Vindici leaned forward onto the balls of his feet.

“Why are you here, and not dead on the path? Or ‘Why’ in a more general sense?” The boy swallowed.

“Why haven’t you killed me?” Vindici shrugged.

“Why would I kill you?”

“You know why I’m here, right?” Vindici smiled.

“You may be here for the Tomb, but I hate to assume your intentions. You could be here to fight me, which is delightful, but you don’t look like a fighter – I hope you don’t mind the comment, it isn’t meant to impugn your ability, I simply stating from my own awareness.” Vindici stood and began to pace on the hard packed dirt. “You may be here in order to deliver a message to me, perhaps one too important to entrust to carrier birds. I am thinking too much of myself, centered as I am, the axis of perception for which I dream the whole world.” He paused and tasted the air. “You could be here for a girl, or boy, some kind of love affair, to impress, but again, recentering on you, it could be a suicide attempt. I know many Gods disapprove of their worshippers taking their own lives, but if you gave yours to me, surrendered yourself in a noble battle. . .but that can’t be right. That is a baffling concept, suicide. There must be many warriors capable of taking a life where you live, rendering the journey unnecessary, and of course, traveling through the forest you risk your soul, which makes the whole idea inconceivable. Suicide is out.” Vindici looked at the young man, the membranes over his eyes sliding back and the emerald green eyes studying the human intently. “Your life seems especially easy to take. ” He shrugged “We all travel a long way to die, don’t we?”
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