Visions II: To Save an Ogrin - Part Seven
Nil and Karan made their way back to the temple without being spotted. A few of the students were training with Jiewan, the top pupil, but most seemed to be training on their own. Nil lead Karan to her room using a path no one else could access aside from them. They climbed in through the window and Nil began gathering her things.
"Why were you so worried about your earring?" Karan asked. He sat down and began rolling up the mat.
"Leave it," she said, pointing to the mat. "As for my earring, it was the first thing I ever stole, and the reason I'm here." She didn't say anything more and Karan seemed to understand her silence.
Once she had what little she possessed gathered into her satchel, she slung it over her shoulder.
"Now what?" Karan asked. "Do you think Jix will try and attack Hanso again?"
Nil shook her head. "No, he was hoping I would kill him. Since that failed, he'll probably just move on to his next target, which is exactly what I'm going to do."
"It's Jazan. King Jazan of Qasala."
"How can you stop him? He's probably been training for this since Xandra was stopped."
Nil shook her head. "I have it all figured out. You just have to trust me and stay here." She opened the door and peeked out the hallway, checking both sides to make sure no one was there. She was about to step out when Brynn strode into the hall. Nil ducked inside her room and shut the door carefully.
"What?" Karan whispered.
"Shh," Nil replied, holding a finger to her lips. She mouthed Brynn's name and backed away from the door, heading to the window.
Karan joined her. "Let's go."
"I have to see the Ogrin Master one last time," Nil insisted, climbing out the window. "You head for the staircase. If there are guards, wait for me by the bridge that leads from the temple. I know another way down."
The Xweetok nodded and climbed out the window, too. "Just be careful."
"You too," Nil replied, and they both took off in opposite directions.
We both have different reasons for doing this, she thought, running along the pathway. I just hope mine are right.
The teacup was warm and the smell was pleasant. The Ogrin Master lifted the cup to his lips and took a sip, savoring the taste. It was delicious, though a bit too hot. He blew gently on the cup and took another sip, finding it to be much more temperate. As he was about to drink from it again, he heard the window open.
"Hello?" he called out.
Someone climbed in and he immediately recognized the soft footsteps against the wood.
"Master," Nil said, coming over to him.
The Ogrin Master set the teacup down on the small table in front of him and gestured to the cushion on the other side of the table. "Sit. Tell me what troubles you."
Nil obediently sat down on the cushion. "Master, I attacked Hanso. I just wanted you to know I didn't mean to and that I have to leave Shenkuu."
"Why must you leave?"
"Jix is attacking--"
"No, why must you leave? There is a reason behind your actions that involves no one else but yourself. Now tell me what those are."
Nil looked up at the elderly Ogrin, trying to read his expression. It was hard, though, and she looked down at her lap. "I have visions about things before they happen. Before King Altador was attacked, I knew Jix was going to attack all of you because of one of my visions. I only cared about saving you at the time, since we were both blind. However, when I got in Altador, I stopped Jix from killing King Altador. It wasn't really on purpose, but I did.
"I traveled to Shenkuu with Karan to seek you out and protect you. Then, I met Xagam, or rather Jix, here after I had made it, as you know. When he attacked you, I felt like I failed at the task I came here to do." She stopped for a moment, choked up on emotion, and then pressed on.
"I decided I would save all the others he would try to kill. At first, it was out of revenge. Now, I don't know what it's out of." She could feel herself on the verge of tears. Her voice trembled and she felt herself begin to sob, but she stubbornly stopped herself and continued.
"I'm going to stop Jix and clear my name. Then maybe I'll be worth all the trouble I've caused. Maybe you'll forgive me for not being there."
"If you're going to try and talk me out of this, you can't. Don't even bother." She turned a steady, determined gaze to the Ogrin Master. "It's what I have to do."
A moment of silence passed between them, and the Ogrin Master nodded. "I understand why you're doing this and I won't talk you out of it. Just remember this: the world can never truly be against you, for there will always be someone willing to stand with you."
Nil nodded and stood. "Thank you, Master."
"Call me Fushi," the Ogrin Master insisted.
"Of course M--Fushi," Nil said, bowing to her master. "I won't forget you."
"Nor I you."
Master Fushi listened as his student retreated through the window. Safe journeys, young one.
Nil approached the bridge, checking for Karan. He wasn't anywhere in sight, so she headed across, going towards the stairs. She kept on running through her mind what the Ogrin Master had told her. The world can never truly be against you, for there will always be someone willing to stand with you. She adjusted the cloth over her eye and checked to make sure her ears were still hidden beneath the hood rather than sticking out from their holes. I hope he's right, because right now it really does feel like the world's against me.
She reached the staircase quickly and found Karan, hiding a bit off to the side. He smiled at her as she approached him.
"Ready to go?" he asked.
"As ready as I can be," she replied.
The two quickly descended the stairs, avoiding most of the travelers and keeping an eye behind them, just in case a guard was following. There was no trouble, though, aside from the occasional stare. Luckily, no one seemed to recognize her. One even mistook her for a Wocky without neck fur. She ignored him.
Once they reached the bottom, Karan led her back to the fisherman's house. They came in through his window this time, which was fortunately on the first floor. He took a moment to gather his things along with some of the fish the Lutari had gotten that day.
"Let's say bye to our father," Karan suggested. "You can come if you want."
Nil was about to reject the offer, but then she nodded. "Alright."
The two went into his room and Karan knelt down beside his father's bed. The Xweetok was asleep and breathing slowly. "Dad? Are you awake?"
Slowly, he opened his eyes and looked at them. "Nil, Karan. Where have you been? Oh, Karan, the Lutari asked where you were. I wasn't sure, so I told him you were somewhere in Shenkuu."
"Dad, Nil and I have to leave," Karan explained. "We're going to Qasala. Take care and rest up, alright? Don't leave until I come back. We'll go home together, all of us."
"Karan, you're not coming with me," Nil insisted. "I have to do this alone. It's personal. Don't get me wrong, you're nice to have around, but right now Dad needs you, and I don't want you regretting coming along with me. Stay here and don't follow me."
"Nil, I'm seeing this through to the end," Karan replied. "You're not getting rid of me that easily, especially not now that I know you're my sister." He took off the necklace around his neck and pulled down her hood. He placed the necklace around hers "Besides, what kind of a brother or friend would I be to you if I didn't try to protect you?"
Their father smiled at them. "Believe me, Ahnil, I'm probably going to get more sleep without him here. He'll be waking me up every hour, trying to get me to check if you're alright."
"What do you mean?" Nil asked. "Also, it's just Nil, not Ahnil."
"Everyone in our family has some sort of gift," Karan explained. "Dad could tell if someone was alright or not. I can tell what's about to happen, whether it's good or bad or even if it's something I hope or dread it will be."
"Do you have any gifts?" Father asked.
Nil was about to lie, but she nodded. "Yes. I can see magic through my blind eye, but that's not it. I have another gift, and it's seeing the future through visions."
Everywhere there was sand. Miles and miles of rolling hills of sand. There was a break in the smooth, perpetual sand, though. A city stood before them, tall and proud. It looked as ancient as the sands that surrounded it, though most of it was intact and new. This was the city of Qasala, the destination for two travelers who had struggled through weeks of hiking to at last reach it.
A red Xweetok looked towards his companion, a silent message floating between them.
We've made it. This is it. It all ends here.
A/N: This is not over, as you can guess. Wait for part three of Visions: The End of a King. Until then... ~yotoll