Chapter 2: Death
The first few days of travelling were brutal for Zaynon. She had never before ridden for any distance and now entire days were spent astride a horse. Everyday she would wake up, with sore muscles and bruised legs and every night when she dismounted her body was so stiff that she could barely walk. However, after a week of travelling, Zaynon grew accostomed to riding. Her muscles grew stronger and her body used to the motion of the horse. Now that she could ride without discomfort she found that she enjoyed travelling.
Even though the days became pleasant and she spent her time enjoying the sounds of nature, Zaynon's favourite time was the evenings. The night was always so beautiful. The black sky was suspended above her, the stars dancing happily and the breeze cool and crisp, keeping her cool as she trained. Xi insisted that she kept up her training thus every night they would. They went through complex patterns, blades weaving patterns in the air, their imaginary opponents never faltering, always matching their every strike. Then they would spar. Zaynon striving to find a weakness in Xi while blocking his attempts to strike her; she had not yet beaten Xi but one day she would.
Xi could not believe that Zaynon had once been unable to even lift up a sword for now she used it as though it were an extension of her own arm. He would never admit it but, it was getting harder to win against Zaynon. The training every night was becoming as hard for Xi as it always was for Zaynon; she would become a great fighter one day. Which was quite convienient considering her destiny.
"Look it's a town!" exclaimed Zaynon. "Tonight we can sleep in beds!"
"I can't wait," stated Xi.
The next morning the sun rose casting a golden glow over the hills making the world seem beautiful and unreal. Zaynon felt as though she was looking at a picture; it was so impossibly beautiful. Then in a brief instant, everything changed, the clang of metal filled her ears, hooves beat on the stone street and then she saw, for the first time, a man die.
She screamed, she could she only see one thing, blood. Horror struck her heart and clouded her mind. Terror at the thought that someone could so brutally kill another. She wondered how she could have ever practised, even enjoyed fighting. She vowed to never fight again.
Xi heard Zaynon scream, fear gripped his heart and held it fast in its hand. Xi jumped out of his bed, grabbed his sword and he sprinted out of his room. Within the few moments that it took Xi to reach Zaynon anger replaced his fear. He would kill whoever had hurt Zaynon. He prayed that she was still alive. He brutally shoved open her room door and looked around for Zaynon, at first he could see no one. Somebody murdered her, he thought. He couldn't live if she was dead, how could anyone expect him to go on without her? Then he saw her, crumpled on the floor. She was dead. He slowly creeped to her side, and kneeled next to her. The room was dead silent and he could hear his own heart pounding, sorrow was threatening to overcome him. Then he heard it, a gasp. Zaynon looked up tears staining her face. Xi didn't care about anything else, Zaynon was alive, everything was right again.
Zaynon collapsed into Xi arms, sobbing uncontrolably. Xi's usually impassive faced showed emotion. Concern, for her. Through her horror she could feel warmth, somebody actually cared about her, she wasn't alone. She wondered if the strange light in his eyes was love.
Xi was whispering comfort into her ear, asking her what was wrong, telling her that she would be fine. Zaynon could feel herself calming down.
"They killed him."
"I don't know but, he shouldn't have died liked that."
"Stabbed, in pain, bleeding."
"Calm down, everything will be fine."
"No, a man died, I will never fight again."
"Yes you will, you will fight to defend yourself. You will never fight without reason. You will keep yourself safe. You will fight again."
Xi realized that in her current state it was impossible to convince her not to abandon fighting, he would try another time. Right now he would comfort her, and she would calm down so that they could leave tomorrow. Right now she needed to be able to accept death. He just hoped that she wouldn't lose her mind, it had happened to too many before. He would make sure that she kept her mind. It was vital to her destiny.
Xi and Zaynon spent another day at the inn to give Zaynon some time to decide wheather she wanted to head home or not. Much to Xi's relief Zaynon still was willing to come; although Xi still could not convince her to fight.
"It would be nice if you told me where we're going," remarked Zaynon when they had left the hotel.
"Why should I tell you?"
"Because I asked nicely and I followed you this far. I left my family, my - "
"Alright, I'll tell you."
"But only if you agree to continue your training."
"No deal! What is wrong with you? I started training with you because it was fun but it isn't anymore so, I'm not doing it."
"Have it your way, you still don't know where we're going though."
Zaynon mumbled in frustration but continued following Xi astride her chocolate-brown stallion.
A/N-Chapter 2, you know how it goes, review please.