It was with a light heart that Shadow sauntered down the corridor with his hands behind his back. The moment of tranquility however was ruined when his thoughts reminded him of the threat he was now under. The demons demanded blood be spilt, yet Shadow refused with mind, body, and even soul. And so he knew that he must keep a keen eye open for any attack. Although hell could only cause pain, they still cannot kill him, or personally harm any to get to him. So if all that could be done was pain, they would be wasting their time on him. His path was clear and pain would never cause him to waver.
As Shadow walked, he stopped the moment he found a window and opened its shutters. Looking out into the Freeport night his mind begun to wonder what was to be done from here. He was now entering a game of chess with a dangerous opponent, one with far more resources and probable intelligence. And what made matter worse was the fact that his opponent knew every move he was going to make. Regardless Shadow had to think of something.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I saw him come this way, heading for the prisoners room.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow picked up on someone talking and moving in his general direction. He instantly gathered that someone was looking for him, however it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter who. Shadow wanted some alone time at the moment, and even Vental would be bothersome to him and his thoughts. Shadow quickly looked behind him for a place to hide, however there were no doors close enough for him to enter. The only quick way out was through the window. Without hesitation Shadow leapt up and held his body out of the window. With much strain he lowered his body over the edge, pulling his head up and letting his feet drop down.
Well, this certainly is an odd position to be in.
Shadow thought, and he most certainly was correct. He was hanging onto the ledge of a window, backwards, with no foot holds to speak of, and his strength rapidly deteriorating. Curious of the drop, Shadow looked below to the ground in hopes that none were beneath him gawking up. In case his fingers finally gave way and he crushed the poor fools. No one was visible though, which was good. Planting his feet against the wall, Shadow let go of the ledge and kicked back. He prepared for the landing well enough, letting his legs collapse as he touched ground and then he sprung forward in a roll. Looking back to the window he just recently escaped from, he thanked his lucky stars for not being so stupid this time. He could vaguely remember his last few exits from extreme heights and the pain that came soon after, which his former self delighted in so very much.
Before Shadow released himself, he caught the glimpse of what looked like a church steeple, roughly only a couple blocks away. Such a place would be perfect to think, and no one from the Flurin would expect him to be there. Without saying or looking at anything, Shadow walked past the guards at the gate and proceeded towards the church. And although he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t walking clearly in the open down the streets, he did not make a huge effort to disguise his route. Without much trouble Shadow found the church he saw from before.
Shadow moved around the building, studying its design, looking for the easiest way to climb up. Such luck was his when he found a ladder against the church wall and some supplies next to it. Apparently this church was in need of repair.
I should be careful if the roof is damaged. I could end up inside the church, and I can only assume the worst then.
Shadow thought as he climbed the ladder quietly. His worries were alleviated once he got to the top and saw that the roof was the color of fresh wood, but Shadow still took some time feeling his way across the plane with his feet. His path remained as true as the strength of the newly lain planks, and soon he found himself looking for a climbing route up the steeple.
The only things I have left in this world are Kayin and Angel. Were I to lose them now, I feel as though I would revert back to the creature I have fought so hard to destroy.
Shadow stopped climbing momentarily and sighed. After a quiet moment of looking down, he looked up to the starry sky seeking solace from any benevolent source. However when he did, he was overwhelmed with the feeling of rejection and isolation. Why he felt this way was a simple answer that any could understand.
He who looks up is a foolÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Even if my freedom was granted by a caring soul, the rest is up to me now. I must remain in conÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thoughts suddenly stopped when he realized that he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t breath. He just finished climbing and had slipped into the steeple and gently touched the metal bell. He tried desperately not to panic, but the urge was close to overwhelming. Shadow thought for a moment that perhaps this was a torture administered by the demons of hell, but something was off. His skin begun to crawl and physically burn, in addition to the lack of breathing. He felt wrong, very wrong. Desperation finally hit and Shadow scrambled for the edge and climbed out. The instant he left the steeple he felt fine again, his breathing returned to normal and his skin started to heal.
A thought instantly surged through his brain that he felt like kicking himself over, Demons and sanctified holy ground, such as the inside of a church, even the steeple, are typically best left far from each other.
Shadow took one last glance inside and shook his head.
Fine. They still wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think to look for me on the roof of a church.
Looking down to confirm the route of his decent, he gave a confident nod and began to climb down.
I must remain in control at all times. Regardless of any attachments I have. I must cleanse myself of the deeds I have done. At least then I can die with a little hope in the hell I am destined for. But there has to be a way to do this, and keep my promise to protect Angel and the child. But I know of no way except to allow that creature to control me, and fight all who come close to her. It is all I have ever knownÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Shadow sighed. He finished climbing down, and was now laying on top of the church with his hands propping up his head. Which I suppose is my curse. I shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be discouraged, but this is one fact that I can never be rid of. But would killing in the name of protecting her be any worse then what I was doing?
His thoughts went silent for a moment as his brain found itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s way into a loop trying to answer the question.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow shouted at the top of his lungs breaking the loop his mind fought over. No. The answer is obvious. What I did before is inexcusable, and that is what brought me to this situation in the first place. I can still protect her without killing! But I still need to fight, and for that I will need my blades. I no longer wish to use those given to me by the place I wish to rebel against. So that leaves only one alternativeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I need to see him, again.
Shadow cautiously picked his way through the back alleys of Freeport until he reached a long strip of old houses close to the port. As he got close his paranoia increased as he heard increased activity which he thought to be Flurin in origin. However it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sound like a search party for him, it sounded as if there was some sort of panic or alarm on the docks. Shadow sure wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t curious enough to investigate, and he doubled his efforts to stay hidden as some of the citizens had been woken and naturally were curious enough to pry. He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really have to be hidden to visit his old friends place, but the chance to be seen and sold out was too great.
Safety was at last his when he turned down a back alley and found his way inside a door. The sight Shadow was greeted with did not surprise him much, though its meaning could lead to a sad conclusion. The workshop was dark, stale and lifeless. What gave away the fact that it had not been used in ages, were the large cobwebs that were on almost every angle in the shop. If his friend had finally perished, then surely there would be no harm in Shadow helping himself to any relics that remained. Casually he walked over to one of the storage boxes to begin his search. The moment he touched the lid and opened, dust began to fly in every direction. Shadow coughed and swatted the air in front of his face to clear some breathing room. Once things had settled enough, peering inside Shadow found a dozen swords or so. Some were new, some old and rusting. All of such a simple and yet balanced design, exactly this crafters style, something Shadow always admired about him.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Came the call from another room. The sudden noise shocked Shadow enough that he twitched and dropped the lid of the box. It came down with a crashing thud, kicking even more dust and debris into the air.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Who is there?
Ã¢â‚¬Â The withered voice sounded again. Shadow recognized it to be the voice of his friend, which made him feel a little better knowing he had not passed on yet. Holding his breath in the dust cloud, Shadow stood and walked for the voice. Slowly a door opened, revealing his friend who was trying to hear instead of look into the room.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Surely you have nothing to fear of an old feeble man. As much is clear since you have not run away. And do not think to hide yourself, as I am nearly blind and such an activity will only burden you.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow stopped moving a few feet away from the door the man occupied. Shadow knew he knew he was there, as his hear was always as acute maybe even more so then his own.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In all the years I have known you, feeble has never been one of the words I would use to describe you.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow replied in a soft voice so as not to break the silent ambients. The old man tilted his face forward, and stepped into the shop.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ShadowRune? Surely I would have thought you dead by now.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Their common greeting ceremony had begun, but this time Shadow felt a little sick to his stomach as he truly was dead this time.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And I you, Thairus. Time has been cruel to us both.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus cocked his head, perplexed by what could have been done to the Ninja.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have been stricken blind, and IÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow paused, looking for the right words. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I, am no longer a mortal being of this world.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus was even more confused by his words and cautiously took a step forward. Though his fine senses quickly filled in the missing pieces when he could no longer feel any presence in the room.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Indeed? Then youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come to haunt me for my sins, have you? Or perhaps to claim my soul for the personal hell that awaits me?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Never speak of hell, even in jest!
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow shouted at the old man, boldly stepping forward and grabbing his arms tight. After a tense moment, Shadow released his grip on ThairusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ arms and tried to calm himself down.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I apologize. If you are not here for those reasons, then why may I ask are you? Perhaps you are looking for more swords and knives?
Ã¢â‚¬Â ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s silence was enough of an answer for him. Just as Thairus sighed and began to move, Shadow acknowledged his judgment with a sad tone. Thairus stopped moving and turned around quickly.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What did you say?
Ã¢â‚¬Â His words came out harsh and fast, which startled Shadow at first.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I said yesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow began to sink with his next words, Ã¢â‚¬Å“that is why I have come.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And why do you need my crafts? Perhaps to destroy more lives?
Ã¢â‚¬Â He accused Shadow, revealing that he knew more about this assassin then he should have. ThairusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ words stung the waking conscience inside Shadow, a pain that hurt but cleansed his resolve of any doubt in his new chosen path.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Came the panged shout from ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lips, to which the old man was quickly to ask, Ã¢â‚¬Å“then why should you want a blade?
That was the exact question Shadow asked himself. Why does he need a blade, if not to kill? He was about to say Ã¢â‚¬ËœBecause it is all I knowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, however he stopped himself from saying that, and looked back on why it was he came here. To protect, to change.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I need your steel to protect the one I have wronged most foul.
Ã¢â‚¬Â ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s demeanor slipped back into his usual dark, confused sadness.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You speak of the young whelp taught by Domianos? The hero of Faith?
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow shook his head in reply, though it clicked in soon enough that Thairus was in fact blind and could not see his physical expression.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not him. His wifeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and herÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow faded off, not being able to stomach continuation. Thairus crossed his arms and turned away from Shadow, disgusted by the direction his imagination had taken his thoughts. The fact that Shadow, who had always been vocal and a keen observer of emotions, did not even bother to protest was confirmation enough.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Such a foul demon you have become.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus wanted to cry, knowing that he had played a part in the creation of this monster. Surely that act alone was enough to engrave his invitation to hell.
This inquisition was getting to be too much for Shadow. He started to feel ill and was on the verge of dropping to his hands and knees from the heavy burden on his shoulders.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have paid for my deeds, and will continue to pay when my death comes again. But when I was reborn from the flames of hell, and I looked at the one I hurt, I recognized the pain I had caused. It scars my memories worse then the flames themselves! I have vowed to lessen her pain, and as many others as I can so long as I remain on this world. And for that,
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow looked up with determined eyes, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I need your blades. It is the only thing I know.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus snorted in grim amusement when he heard Shadow proclaim his ignorance. With folded arms he turned back to face the demon, his expression alone giving Shadow the answer he was expecting.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will not give my steel to you for such a duty. With it, you will only bring more suffering. More scars, and more pain.
Ã¢â‚¬Â It was like his thoughts had taken shape in front of him, accusing him of being blind. However Shadow was beyond frustration and confusion, and his mind had shut itself off from seeing the obvious.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then how if not for a blade in my hands?
Ã¢â‚¬Â ShadowRune shouted. Thairus took two great strides to walk up to the assassin and smacked the dark elves forehead, and shouted in return, Ã¢â‚¬Å“with this!
Ã¢â‚¬Â The old man then grabbed both of ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fists and held them up in front of both their faces, and continued, Ã¢â‚¬Å“and theseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you are truly wanting to protect someone, then sacrifice of your own flesh, not that of your enemies.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus grabbed both of ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shoulders when he spoke these words, trying to instill some confidence in this mans natural talents. Shadow on the other hand shook his head in defiance, thinking the weapon smith insane.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And what if my enemy has a blade? What use can I be to someone if I am weak from steel cutting my flesh?
Ã¢â‚¬Â The old man laughed in ShadowRuneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, releasing his grip from his shoulders. Without saying a word, the weapon smith confidently moved over one of the many chests lying about and drew two standard short blades from within. Without bothering to look, he threw them in a fluid motion to the waiting hands of the demon. From there he walked over to the kiln and reached over the top, there he grabbed what appeared to be a pair of gloves of intricate design.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You are fast assassin, you always have been. But no matter how fast you are, your blades will never get past my hands. It even doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter how strong you think you are, for that steel will never injure my flesh.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus confidently boasted as he walked up to Shadow. He stopped a mere five feet from the deadly creature, just the perfect distance Shadow would need to attack without fear of his opponent reaching him with fists. And Thairus knew that Shadow was mocking him and his words, with his usual cocky smile. Which he was. A true innocent smile that had vanished from his face for such a long time.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Quit yer smilinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and prove me wrong hole crawler.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow hummed in amusement. Again it had been some time since the last someone used a racial slur to insult him.
Shadow first met Thairus many years ago when the city held fighting tournaments. Thairus was a young man then and he had such flair for fighting, that most thought he was possessed by some noble spirit. While others would use some kind of weapon, he fought with his hands, adorned with the very gloves he now wore. The first match Shadow witnessed was against the father of Vaalic, Caleb Demonshire, who was practically a kid then. The match lasted for a few moments as the two studied each other, but it ended anticlimactically within a couple seconds. When it came time for Shadow to face the weapon smith, he could scarcely believe the talent he possessed with his fists. In the end Shadow threw away his sword and fought Thairus on his own ground and beat him into submission.
With this in mind Shadow knew he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to careful with him, but he feared using all his strength as he was now a changed demon. His strength and speed has since increased exponentially, and he could seriously injure his friend. So to start things off, Shadow gave a rather standard attack that Thairus could easily defend against. Insulted by the weak move, he ducked under the swing and moved right into ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face. Before he could move away, ThairusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ fist cleanly cut into ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, breaking his nose. His assault did not end there. While Shadow was stunned from the blow, Thairus connected a firm punch to his stomach. As his body clenched from that blow, the old man grabbed his head and roughly introduced it to his leg. Shadow flew up and down onto his back, staring in disbelief at Thairus who returned to his attack stance.
Before getting up, Shadow waited for his nose to reposition itself and heal from the two sudden blows it had received. He noticed that his unnatural healing was getting slower, a sign that hell was fueling their unholy gifts less and less. Getting back to his feet, Shadow grabbed both the blades that he dropped and stood at the ready. Thairus was much faster and stronger then it seemed possible for his old frame to handle. And since this was true, Shadow had no need to hold back knowing his friend could handle an all out assault.
Shadow lunged forward in his low stance and swung both his blades in to cut the old mans feet from under him. Thairus leapt up and forward, pushing himself over ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shoulders. As he flew past a table, Thairus grabbed a stool that was sitting on top and he slid across the ground. Twisting his body before he stopped, he released the stool towards the waiting head of Shadow who got up, but had yet to turn around.
Shadow turned around just in time to see the wooden stool shatter across his shoulder, dislocating it. His left arm suddenly went weak and he dropped the sword it was carrying. This sudden fact though wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop him from trying to prove some what of a point. As he advanced Shadow rotated his shoulder and pushed it back into place, which caused his body to twinge from the painful act. Startled at how close Thairus had moved up to him, Shadow returned his maneuver and grabbed a lying stool and chucked it. Without bothering to look at his opponent, Shadow reached down for his sword and picked it up. Thairus stopped his advances and grabbed the stool out of flight and gently placed it down on a table. Shadow used that delay to leap back over a table where the area was relatively free of debris and obstacles. And as he hoped, Thairus followed.
Shadow went into full stealth, slowly creeping sideways to throw Thairus off his trail. However it only seemed to work somewhat, as he got a fair distance away before the old mans head snapped in his direction and he shifted his body.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Skulk about if you wish demon spawn, but know you this that I smell your taint. The moment you move to strike, your stealthy feet will no longer serve you.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow stopped with a slide, giving Thairus his exact location. He couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but be envious of the old mans gifts, even though Shadow once had them himself. When and why did her ever decide to drop such wonderful feats?
The day I killed my master, I forsake all the discipline he taught me. All of my training meant for restraint died with him, and all that remained was that monster who wished to kill. Why would the gods be so cruel as to create a monster like this, regardless of how much he had wronged them?
Shadow clenched his fist tight around the blade, building up his courage.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Damn your divine soul Kiine. Your conflict was with him, not me!
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow snarled under his breath, which his friend picked up and tilted his head in response. But he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ask, as it seemed like something beyond his reckoning, or even concern.
To quicken the events, Thairus knew that he had to put some pressure on ShadowRune to strike him. Without any further hesitation the old smith charged at Shadow, who was suddenly thrust back into a combative frame of mind. Startled, Shadow sloppily swung his blade for the mid-section of his attacker. Finally able to prove his point, ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sword stopped dead in his palm, which seemed to sink past the leather, but no further. The next move by the old smith he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect, though itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not like he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t try to stop it with all his might. Thairus skillfully switched hands which stopped his blade, and pulled it free of ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s grasp. The short sword flew fast across the room and deep into the stone of the kiln.
Shadow took a quick step back so he could grab his remaining sword with both hands, and then he attacked. His downward strike was again stopped dead as the weaponless warrior clapped his hands together around the blade. The two fought for control of the blade, which Thairus knew he could not win after a few seconds of the struggle. Realizing the futility, he positioned the struggle in a way so he could move his hands to a known stress point in most of his blades, and tried his luck. With a lucky and stressful twist of his hands the short sword shattered, leaving Shadow falling to the ground in an undignified heap, stupefied.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Point well made old friend.
Ã¢â‚¬Â He said, peaceably getting up and standing at ease.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You and I trained the same, and yet I a mere human have stripped you of your precious weapons, and could possibly continue to fight you into submission. By fighting with your own hands you are forced to think, and at the moment, your thoughts are clear with your convictions up front. If you continue to think before you do, your absolution and salvation will be just in front of you. Reminding you of why. A weapon will only distract you, keeping you from your goal. These are the principals we were taught, which you threw awayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow interrupted Thairus by holding up his hand, Ã¢â‚¬Å“they are still with me Thairus, I have thrown nothing of my life away. Good or bad. But you are right. Such talents I have, but have forsaken them for the easy way out. My master would be disappointed if he knew, though I doubt he would blame me. Thank you Thairus, I knew coming here would be promising.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Leaving so soon? Stay a while and keep an old man occupied for the rest of this eve you woke him from.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus complained, doing his best to sound like his age. The guilt trip worked, and Shadow graciously accepted and followed Thairus into the adjoining room. He was led into what Shadow could call a cozy sitting room, with many objects or trophies hanging about on various shelves. Thairus bade Shadow to sit in the chair opposite to his as he rummaged about the nearby fireplace trying to start it.
As the fire roared to life, the objects in the room were given color and more defined shapes. This truly was an awesome spectacle to behold. All the items were indeed trophies claimed by Thairus throughout his life. Swords, goblets, beast teethÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ All of which were lain on top of intricate leather clothing, all of which had his unique insignia on them. However what stood out the most was the proud centerpiece of the room, a large portrait of the warrior that he once was atop the fireplace. There was an envious aura of strength and truth surrounding the man in that picture, which although only slightly diminished today still surrounded him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the height of my youth there. It was painted by a local artist who I heard died only a few years ago.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus spoke casually, knowing that Shadow would be staring at it.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow uttered, brining his attention to Thairus.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The man I see there, and now, has a powerful aura about him. One of honesty, and strength of self.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow sighed with longing. Thairus snickered when he heard him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The aura of a warrior monk. Earned when he has respect for himself, and respect for others. In other words, when he has found peace within the chaos that is life.
Ã¢â‚¬Â A warrior monk was something he only heard briefly about in his time training. Basically it was the next step in his martial training. First you learn discipline, then you learned the moves, then you learn from experience, and last you learn to find the peace in all things. That was the true calling of his order, and Shadow sadly lost his way.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I remember now. But, is it too late for me?
Ã¢â‚¬Â He asked, concerned and in doubt.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is never too late to find peace. You are almost there my young friend, you know of the peace in your mind. You just need to let it seep into your soul. And trust me now, before you even ask. You will know when. Just remember, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be distracted from what is here.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus said and brought a clenched fist in front of his throat. Shadow recognized the symbol he made, for it was from his order meaning heart, mind, and soul. Or in other words, his absolution, his salvation, and his convictions. Shadow thought in silence for a while on this subject, which was pretty much the answer to his questions and yearnings. Never had he felt the peace that he knew of, but it was within his reaches, and this time he would never let it go. No, that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite correct. He had a small piece of it in his hands now. He just has to embrace it, to understand it, and to live it.
With a nod to himself, Shadow had affirmed his absolution, and the direction for his convictions. There were still questions in his mind, but none as important as he already asked and fought so hard for. From this day on, his only obstacle would be fighting the demons inside of himself. And to stop them from within, he will stop the demons on the outside which walk amongst the innocent. ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attention suddenly turned towards the trophies, but more specifically what they laid upon. His curiosity was piqued because it was rather strange to place trophies on such specially made clothing.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Thairus, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been meaning to ask. What is with all the leather clothing you have displayed here? I see in your portrait youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re wearing leather clothing. Even now when you fought me, you wear leather gloves.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus laughed at ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s observation, though not in a sarcastic manner.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The clothing, yes. I understand why you would think it odd.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus continued speaking as he pulled off his gloves and threw them over to Shadow, Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve read that many who found the enlightenment, thought as you had.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow observed the gloves and he noticed right away that there were tiny plates intertwined in the leathers design.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Steel will never injure your flesh, huh?
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus laughed, this time sarcastically.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not stupid. I wear this specially made leather because I want something strong, yet flexible. Our fighting style demands the latter, but without a weapon I demand the former. And so I make my own leather clothing, laced with the metal you see.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Whoa, wait a moment. Why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t I use a weapon then? We trained to use swords, knives, what have you. If our goal was to become like you, then why go through the hassle?
Ã¢â‚¬Â A valid question, something that threw his whole perspective off slightly.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The hassle was so you learned. Nothing prevents you from using a weapon on occasion. If I ever got involved in a war, there is no way I would enter that situation without a sword, or even a club in my hands. Know when and where things are of use. Weapons are instruments of death, and should never be used until all options have been exhausted. A warrior monk is not meant to cause death. He is the martyr. He will stand in the face of death, protecting the innocent with his own body. By wielding a weapon he is no longer the martyr of protection, he isÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ was, you.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Use of weapons in light moderation was the point Thairus wished to impart. A concept lost, but would soon be found again by ShadowRune.
Thairus prattled on for a few hours, regaling him with stories of how he stumbled upon his current path. He too was troubled, as most impetuous youth are, and fresh out of training seeking his world experience. Many times he stared death in the face, all of which were foolishly his fault. Fearful of his death and coming to the realization of his short mortality, he began to fight for something. And so he fought only when he had no other choice, or if the cause was a just and noble one.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The good and strong can be so stupid sometimes. They stand in the face of death to protect others all the time and yet, through experience, they learn when and where to pick fights that prevent them from facing it. Being good, and strong, is a life choice that demands sacrifice. Protect those who cannot protect themselves, and protect those who deserve protection.
Ã¢â‚¬Â The two men remained silent for a few moments before Thairus had a question of his own to ask Shadow.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tell me ShadowRune, although I am blind can I assume you are still using the treated plate clothing used by the clan?
Ã¢â‚¬Â He was, although it was beginning to wear. There were multiple slices and rips throughout, and more than half was burnt and tattered. All this of course was from the time he left this mortal realm unto now, which was just under a month by his recollection.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, though it could fall apart any day now.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow replied, checking the condition of his clothing just to confirm his worst fears.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“By the gods ShadowRune! You are not half naked and in my presence are you?
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus poked jokingly at ShadowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment, to which he snickered, Ã¢â‚¬Å“only if I were to flex in the wrong places old one.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And I trust you would cover yourself eh?
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus scowled and replied with a harsh parental like tone. Shadow raised an eyebrow to the question. With what? His hands? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about all he owns besides the tatters he wore.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With what would you suggest, he who thinks I have anything but this to my name?
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow asked back, his eyebrow still raised. And evil smile slowly crept on to ThairusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ face, accompanied by a light laugh.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why, with the weapon you requested from me of course.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Well that confirmed it. Thairus expected Shadow to use his hands to hide his shame.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“How am I to protect the innocent if I am to cover my body with my hands?
Ã¢â‚¬Â This wise remark from Shadow deserved the sour look Thairus returned. There was no doubt that Shadow was not a moron, and knew how to keep the joke alive. All the while of course, keeping a straight face and serious tone which only added to the flavor.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you give me any of that back talk!
Ã¢â‚¬Â Thairus jokingly threatened, berating Shadow with his finger wagging.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the one who started it.
Ã¢â‚¬Â Shadow shrugged. That is when a slight smile appeared on his lips, unable to keep such a neutral expression anymore. Thairus grumbled as he stood from his chair and walked for the workshop.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to be the one to end it! Get in here before I change my mind!
Ã¢â‚¬Â The old man continued to ramble to himself as he walked into his shop. Shadow released breathy chuckles as he followed not so closely behind his friend.
For the remainder of the morning, well into the afternoon, Thairus made it his goal to teach ShadowRune the secretÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s he had picked up over his years on how to make his special leather. Once he had finished, he took measurements of Shadow and told him to return in a few days. There would be a surprise for he who wished to change. Shadow though knew of the surprise, but he feigned ignorance to make Thairus giddy.
You say that I shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fight, and yet to protect others I will no doubt need to fight some of the time.
Listen Shadow! There is a difference between fighting someone, and protecting them! You may only see it as fighting though, because you do not know the difference.
Then tell me! What is the difference between fighting to harm, and fighting to protect?
When you fight to harm, you are aggressive. You are actively trying to destroy your target. When you fight to defend, your only goal and concern is to stop the other from being aggressive. That is your inner demon ShadowRune. Know your enemies before you move to face them, and you will one day glow as I. And I trust you know this enemy all too well.
Shadow sighed as he slowly began to walk back to the palace, running his last conversation with Thairus through his mind. There was much more to this story that Shadow did not explain, because he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if Thairus or anyone for that fact would understand.
Enemies my dear friend. Enemies. I have two aggressors inside me, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure I can win with both pressing me for the worseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I need that stone back. Only then will I be able to control and be eventually be rid of one, or both. I hope youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re ready Vental, because we will move on him soon enough.