CHAPTER TWO: THE ENEMY PREPARES
Upon a mountaintop stood a man-- alone. Like Ro, he was also covered from head to toe in scars. He had long, dirty blonde hair that draped down to his shoulders. His teeth and fingernails seemed to be filed into sharp razors. His light green eyes pierced the soul of those who dared look at him. He paced back and forth expectantly. Any other man would freeze to death at this altitude wearing this man’s garb, but not him. He was trained to be more than just an average man, much more. Finally he moved to the edge of the clifftop and let out a long howl. Those who listened closely could hear the faint cry of “LAAADDDYYYY!”
With a keen sense of smell, the man picked up a familiar scent. Upon instinct, the man’s lightning quick reflexes lashed out as he spun around and grabbed the intruder’s neck.
“Please let go of me, Kajar,” The intruder said coolly.
Kajar relaxed his grip to see that the intruder was none other than the woman known to him as the Mysterious Lady. Her hair was black as the night sky, and it waved in the wind.
“Lady…” Kajar gasped, mesmerized. He bowed his head slightly to honor her and show his utmost respect, “I apologize.”
Lady turned her head to the side,
“It’s okay,” she said, “I just came to warn you that Ro is on his way.”
“What?” Kajar snarled, making no effort to hide his anger, “I need more time to train. I'm not ready!” Kajar stood by the ledge of the cliff.
Lady paced up behind him and laid her hands on his shoulders, “You can beat him, Kajar…I know you can,” she smiled. “I’ve watched you grow over the years.” She put her lips next to his ear, “I’ve watched you grow to become a seasoned warrior. You’ve practiced so well.”
Kajar turned to Lady and smiled, exposing his sharp teeth.
“Thank you, Lady,” He said in his usual raspy voice. He took her hand and kissed it with chivalry, “Your words inspire me.”
Lady let out a small giggle, “You can win the prize, Kajar. I’m certain of it. You’ve trained for it over the years. I’ve watched you. You’re ready.”
Lady sat beside Kajar and looked at a scar on the right side of his neck. She brushed his hair to the side and began to run her finger along the scar. Her gentle touch calmed Kajar and soothed his veins.
“Do you remember when we met?” she asked sweetly.
“Yes,” he smiled. “I remember it clearly. I was just a boy of seven…it was 5 A.D.”
*** *** ***
Kajar pranced about the streets of Rome like a madman. His innocent exterior masked a greedy interior. His small frame allowed him to weave his way in and out of the crowd. All at once he spotted a Roman soldier joyfully walking past him, sporting a husky coin pouch around his belt. With swift and nimble fingers he plucked the sack of gold from the soldier’s belt and rapidly replaced it with a rock and darted across the street.
Always eager for more money, Kajar spotted what looked like a wealthy woman in a purple dress. He followed her for what seemed like hours. All other noise around him became meaningless. Everything drowned out. He seemed to follow her for an eternity, looking frantically for an opening. Finally the Lady spun around and bent down to Kajar’s height. She smiled a friendly smile and sweetly talked to him.
“Excuse me,” she said, “but it’s not nice to steal.”
Kajar’s jaw dropped. The Lady gently poked his nose playfully.
“In fact,” she laughed, “I think you should give that money back to that nice man right now.”
Kajar frantically fished through his pockets to find the sack of gold had disappeared.
“That’s better.” The Lady said innocently.
Kajar looked at the Lady, confused. “Who…who are you?” he stuttered.
“I’m the Mysterious Lady,” the woman said, “but you can call me ‘Lady’.”
Suddenly, Lady clutched Kajar’s rough hand in her smooth one and dragged him along, gently stroking his knuckles with her thumb. “Come with me,” she said, “We’re going to go on an adventure.”
Within minutes Kajar found himself on the outskirts of the city. In the back of his mind he knew he shouldn’t follow this woman, yet something about her pushed him forward. With anyone else Kajar would be scared for his life, and yet Lady soothed him. Within a few more minutes she led him into a forest he never knew existed. The sun glistened between the tree tops and seemed to halo around the Mysterious Lady.
“We’re almost there.” She told him with a voice sweet as honey.
That was the last thing he remembered.
Kajar awoke in the streets of Rome, all alone. A searing pain came from the right side of his neck. He looked into a nearby pool of water to see an odd scar on his neck. He fished through his pockets again to find the coins were still there. He convinced himself it was just a dream and yet he felt different….powerful….