The sheath relinquished the sword with a soft click like a key turned in a lock. A sharp sound in the sudden silence. An arm’s length of black steel whispered through the air. The whisper was almost a name, but not quite. Not yet. An afterthought, the sheath twisted, reticulating into scale like plates that snaked up his arm to cover him from head to foot. Bullets clattered off his new armor and he barely noticed. He felt light. The blade whispered again as he turned toward the guns on the edge of the jungle undergrowth.
He was untrained in the use of a sword, but it seemed to pull his hand. He knew how to move and the balance of the sword shifted like water, easing him through motions. He managed. Death was not his goal, but neither did it bother him. Not against them. His enemies’ purpose was war, destruction, strife. Now it turned back upon them. Behind him, someone screamed. The edges of his vision wavered, darkness shifting. Shadows elongating.
The jungle and stones were gone. He ran down a hallway bright with white shimmering light. Darkness bit at it. Nipped at his heels, and growled. The sword sang in his hand, flickered, cut. Bright figures stood ahead of him, but he fell before he reached them. He ran. Ran. Ran.
Anger arrived slowly. Heat radiating from his heart into the bones, magma beneath the surface of his motions, a shield between himself and his losses.
Pain sparked along his spine and faded. A heat echo of his anger. Blade flashing, he emerged from darkness back into the light. He knelt, and as sheathed the blade home over his shoulder he understood her whisper. She was Ysenya. He tasted the name, Ysenya. A guardian’s name. A part of him. He thanked her and gave her his in return.
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