Nostra Cruciatus by Orin Drake
It's... something, alright.

        Chapter 1

        To her credit, she did not look back even once.  In fact, she hardly kept her eyes open; all of her energy and strength went into pumping her legs as fast as they would carry her through the wet streets.  She had full faith that the spirit of the warrior would guide her.
        A growing mob of guards and soldiers trailed behind her.  Bigger and stronger, maybe, but they had armor to carry with them.  She was a quick, petite, and disturbingly fearless medium for souls--there was simply no slowing her down when she was on a roll.
        Of course, the people that guarded the city knew the streets a lot better than either she or the warrior; she'd never been there, and the warrior's days of remembrance were long gone.  No matter.  She insisted that her reliance was well placed, letting instinct ride and never once slamming into wall nor person.  There were a few close calls with large holes in the cobblestone streets, but her eyes were closed too tightly to have seen them.  Luckily.
        The yelling of the men behind her was almost enough to be distracting as she suddenly skidded around a corner.  She knew better than to stop, of course.  It wasn't as if they'd simply arrest her.  Granted, that was her own fault... but this had to be done.  She only hoped that Brandon and Jerico would be waiting for her when the time was right... otherwise she'd make sure to tell the guards all about them.  Hey, they deserved to be killed right along with her, now, didn't they?  Charming thought as the air in her lungs burned, her legs beginning to ache as though the muscle was being shredded.
        Following her instincts and traces of inspiration from the warrior, she immediately ducked into an unseen alley--slamming into a large pile of recently rained-upon cardboard boxes.  Instead of a crash, it gave rather a dull thud of a sound; and she rolled with it, hoping her instincts were correct.
        Sure enough, not the hair of a breath later, the armored men rushed by with shouts rendered utterly unintelligible between their accents and their rage.  Well, she had to give the warrior credit for that one.  Though, as she caught her breath and the men's voices began to fade, she couldn't help but think that taking some of them out from behind might not be a bad plan of action...
        "No more innocent blood!" flashed to the forefront of her mind.  No, she did not think the soldiers were in the least bit innocent... but this was the warrior's desire.  She would honor it.  He'd spent too long here.
        With another gasp, eyes closed again, she was off.


        "Jesus Christ."
        "Will you stop saying that?" the elder man insisted quietly, not bothering to look away from his recently inked spellcard.  Almost...
        "No."  The younger man responded dryly from underneath the deep hood of his raincoat.  "You've got to see the number of fucking armed guards she's got behind her."
        "Shit."  Jerico grumbled under his breath, waiting for the ink to dry.  He allowed himself only a glance--and wished that he hadn't done so.  She was in trouble, alright.  Running like a cheetah, but they were closing in.  "She'll make it."
        "You don't sound so sure."  Brandon teased.
        "I am sure."  They gray-haired man argued.  "She's almost here."
        They crept to the edge of the cathedral's roof together, peering over... and waiting. 


        After all the time she'd spent working with those two, she had never, never had to run that fast, or that far.  Her body was giving out, her heart unable to beat any faster... but the warrior pushed her on.  She let him, for all it was worth... she couldn't allow his suffering any longer.
        Though she was damn well not quite liking her own, at the moment...
        The Cathedral.  She knew without having to open her eyes, that the road in front of her lead to rest...
        A stumble.  Fuck.  A pause as she tried to get back up again.  FUCK.  One of them had thrown a small ritual dagger; and it had stricken home in her right thigh.  Not deep enough to cause permanent damage, but certainly enough to interrupt her stride.
        Watching atop the cathedral itself, Jerico took the initiative.  Spellcard in hand, he turned the text outward and held the paper in front of his eyes.  Letting his tongue fall loose, he began to let the sacred hymns flow through him.  The paper lit afire--
        The soldiers were thrust backward with a powerful burst of flame.  Men closest to the fireball screamed and tore off their searing armor, the rest knocked to the ground.
        It was enough.  Warrior crying out in her mind, she got up again in spite of the stabbing pain and continued.  It was a limp at first, gaining swiftly into a decent jog as she made her way inside the building.
        Assured that she'd made it, Brandon cast his hand over the door and concentrated.  He watched as the soldiers began to move forward again, thwarted by the giant, solid bronze doors that closed in their faces. 


        The jog had held very well past the first hallway, but down the second, the blood had begun to make her pant leg heavy--not to mention the adrenaline finally having run out.  Didn't matter so much at the moment, though.
        She stumbled with great intention to the chamber that called the warrior, unable to stop even to admire the elegance of the building itself. At the end of the great domed chamber was a single oil lamp, resting atop an elevated tomb.  At the front of the tomb's stone face was a carved indentation.
        Falling to her knees in front of the tomb was not entirely her intention.  Not that the warrior didn't deserve the recognition, certainly, but her legs had given out as she'd made to kneel.  It simply did not matter.
        Still gasping from the run, she reached up underneath the back of her shirt for the treasure she'd bound tightly to herself: the dagger.  Wrapped in tattered velvet, her shaking hands made careful work of unfolding the fabric.  Grasping hold of the ancient, worn hilt, she carefully pressed the weapon into its proper place in the indentation of the tomb.
        "Rest, warrior."  She whispered, task completed.  "You have done your duty, and your soul may rest."
        The energy of the warrior's spirit passed through her--and with that split second merge came all of his most cherished memories.  The light passed through her hand, the blade, past the tomb and down into the ground, and the medium collapsed.

Content copyright Orin Drake 2011.
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