Legend – Chapter 07
“Am I . . . alive?”
“You are, Lord.”
Lord? He thought about that. Everything was vague . . . but he remembered anger. A face, a young, determined face filled with certainty and fury. Something about that face made him clench his fists. But he didn’t quite remember. . . . “I am your . . . Lord?”
A smile, gentle and cold as falling snow. “Now, yes. You have fought long and hard to be here, Lord.”
Yes. Yes, I remember fighting. The words were thought to himself, not to the other, because though he had but the faintest traces of memories, still he felt surrounded by peril and possibility. I must be cautious, cautious. I do not know who she is or what she wants. I do not know who I am, yet, though I can feel the memory waiting. “I remember a battle . . . more than one. One a long time before these others.”
She nodded, black hair curving down, hiding the left side of her face in shadow. “Your memory will return. Memory is the province of the living; the dead have no need of it.”
“What?” He felt a chill of fear, and knew that for him this was rare indeed. But I remember . . . endless fighting. Through countless enemies in armor, pale and cold, swinging axe and sword and hammer without word or cry . . . “I am not dead, girl!”
“No, Lord,” she said, with that smile again. “Not now.”
He tried to laugh. “Dead is not a temporary state.”
“Truth you speak, Lord. Yet for some few, even death may loose her grip, if they struggle against her enough, and if their strength be greater than that of mortals. Gods and demons have passed from that realm and returned whence they came; perhaps one of those you are, as well.”
He was unsure if this was a trick, or something much better . . . or much worse. A part of me says that I have seen things nearly as strange, and such things rarely turn out well in legend . . .
. . . in legend . . .
He was standing, fists raised to the dark stone above as though to shatter it, the shout still echoing through the umbral spaces around, and he saw that face, that determined boy’s face . . .
The girl’s hand touched his shoulder. “So you begin to remember, Lord.”
“He . . . he sent me here.”
“Not here. Much farther away, and through ice and fire and armies you have found your path, and commandeered the ship of Vigrid to sail where never she was meant.”
I remember . . . a ship of ivory white, but scaled like a serpent . . .
But more, he remembered the black-haired boy, standing in his way, again and again, and finally . . .
He whirled suddenly, gripping the slender girl’s arms in his huge hands. “What do you want? Stop with these games and riddles! Who are you?”
As he shook her, the head tipped back, the coal-black hair fell away from her face, and he froze, feeling disbelief and horror mingled with a cold triumph, because now he understood, now it all made a terrible and fearful sense.
And in that moment, he remembered.