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I’m sorry

“I’m sorry, too,” Komae said, withdrawing her knife and sitting back on her haunches, drying her eyes. “I shouldn’t have done that, I won’t do it again.”

Meha rolled a bit, getting up slowly, dusting herself off, quiet.

“Do you know what this place is?” Komae asked after awhile.

“No,” replied Meha, looking at the upright stones that seemed to go on forever. “During the war, I was a techie. Well, more of a glorified box mover. I just took care of supplies. I never saw combat.”

Judging by her size and gentleness, Komae could imagine that. Efficient, docile, hardworking.

“I fought in this place along with my lover,” Komae explained. “He fell somewhere in this area. I put up this stone to remember him.” She paused, looking up at the stone that stood tall beside her. “It’s been so long ago, but it still hurts like yesterday.” She looked intently at Meha. “This place is holy ground to Halans, Meha. If anyone found you here they would not hesitate to kill you, as I almost did.”

Meha said nothing, still staring at the pillar.

“Come, the others will wonder where we’ve gone to. The port is not far now.”

It was hard to hate Meha. Komae shook her head as she sheathed her knife. Her manner wasn’t warlike. Walking back to the bike in the twilight, she realized that compared to Meha, she was the hateful one. But, I still smell better. My god, I am going to buy you a bath first thing! Komae swore.


The bike roared to life as its headlight flicked on. The landscape began to shroud in semi-darkness, the immediate road illuminated with fake shadows. As Meha held her waist, the Forest Warden felt bad for being so aggressive with her. Whatever other Haders were, this one did not deserve her wrath.

In the distance, a glow in the night signaled the city. Sighing within, Komae prepared herself for it: The unnatural harsh white lights of the streets. There would be no quiet rest for her there, for Nilfheim was the center of a bustling metropolis nowadays. Traders from all parts brought their wares–legal and illegal–for sale in the markets.

What have I gotten myself into? she thought as she crested a hill, seeing the brightly lit city below.


Derek rolled slowly into the port city, allowing people time to stare at the rumbling bike as the dusty wheels moved slowly down the street. He’d not seen so many people since Fey, but these, men and women, seemed to all be different, some wrapped in rags, others in finery. Women walked by with less than dresses, bellies exposed, covered in ornaments, necklaces, rings, mostly dark haired, but some with white locks. Men paused to look at him, many of them in work clothes much like he used to wear for comfort and utility at various manual jobs. The only commonality was they all looked at him and Fallon suspiciously as they motored by.

Truth was, he had no idea where they were supposed to go, who they should look for. There were shops, but nothing looked like a hotel or a bar. Guess we’s gots to ask, he thought, first parking, then turning off the motorbike. Fallon didn’t move, seemed she was asleep. He reached back and patted her leg. “Darlin’, we’s here.”

She stirred on his back, like a cat reluctant to be moved from a comfortable blanket. “We’re here?” She said groggily.

You be Derek

Grabbing the handles, he swung his leg over and stood, taking Fallon’s arm as she did the same.

A big man, about Derek’s size and height, long dreadlocks on his head, stopped and stared for a moment. Then he said, “You’d be Derek.”

Derek raised his eyebrows, sizing up the man, and nodded slowly, saying nothing.

The man looked around. “A tall lady is supposed to be with you. Name’s Komae. Do you know where she is?”

“Gots behind. I reckons she’s comin.”

The man stared hard at Derek for a moment, then smiled big and said, “They said you were from Eden, and I’d know by your accent.” He patted Derek on the upper arm. “I’m Tane, by the way. Come, and bring your lady friend, I have a place ready for you to rest. I’ll have someone bring you something to eat, I’m sure you’re both tired. Best get you off the street before people start figuring out what you are.”

Derek looked around at Fallon. “Yous okay?”

She nodded. “I’m hungry. This place feels okay.”

Derek slid his hand down to the gun at his side, flipping the small safety lever. “Okay’s Mister Tane, leads the way.”