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Ashbringer replied to Ashbringer's topic in Sanderson EliminationLG91 Day 4: Destination Death stalked through the packed dirty streets of Earthen Truth. On this night, Kvaseth shadowed him. He squeezed past clusters of Shin, the faded brown of his hooded cloak bringing about little comment. Near the vineyards and mountain slopes, it would have. But Earthen Truth was meant to be a trap for the Tukari and warriors, those who subtracted were all over the city. In Earthen Truth, Kvaseth was just another killer among others. "What are you doing?" the spren asked, flitting about his shoulder. "Shhh," he murmured, absently. "I'm following him." "Why?" "Because I think he's Tukari," Kvaseth said. "Are the Tukari bad?" she asked. An odd question for a windspren, Kvaseth thought. But he supposed it was odd enough that this windspren seemed to have taken an interest in him. "Maybe," he said, after a long moment's pause. "They desecrate the stone. But this one. He kills others for the Blades of the Heralds. So yes, he is bad." He hesitated. "And I'm trying to stop him before he kills more people." Saying it aloud, it felt more weighty. Like his stone. Like an oath. "Good," the windspren said. He looked at her. "It's important. Feels important." "Yeah," said Kvaseth. "It is." - The Tukari, if he was Tukari, for Kvaseth had his doubts, no matter how diligently he studied the patterns of Earthen Truth, paused outside an all-too-familiar window. A light glowed through the window, and Kvaseth swore quietly to himself. The killer he was hunting wasn't going after a bearer of an Honorblade tonight. He was aiming to strike at the High Council themselves. He yelled and charged, sword hissing free of the scabbard in a lunge. No more killing. No more subtracting. No more, save for this one. He had already sold his soul as collateral, years ago, after all. Startled, the killer spun about, and Kvaseth's sword slashed out in a bright arc, cleaving through his calf. Blood spurted out. A bright red, one that never ceased to startle Kvaseth. He thought he'd never get used to it. Kvaseth returned to Windstance, grimly satisfied. He'd hit something vital, at least. "You," snarled the killer. "What?" said a voice Kvaseth knew only too well. Oh, the great storming blithering fool. The killer seemed to gather his strength for a lunge. Kvaseth charged to stop him, shoving him aside. He felt a sharp, deep pain in his stomach. Oh. He'd miscalculated. Not a sword. Knives. The killer stabbed him, again and again. Kvaseth did what you almost never did: he dropped his sword. It wasn't going to help in a knife fight. He scrabbled for advantage, slamming his fist into the killer's elbow again and again until the knife dropped from the killer's fingers. He was bleeding out, Kvaseth remembered. His stomach was on fire. It was a matter of time. He just had to hold on. Hell of a way to go, Kvaseth figured. He never thought he'd end up saving Vartan's life, but you never chose who you were protecting. Esaan would've understood, he thought. He found himself smiling, even through the pain, as he struggled to hold the killer down until the Tukari hireling grew limp. And then, only then, Kvaseth let go, allowed himself to roll off and just lie on the packed dirt. The light of the windspren winked, somewhere overhead. He wished he could figure out why she looked so worried. So terrified. "Tukari assassin," Kvaseth gasped, as Vartan's thunderous face swam into view. "I know that," Vartan snapped. "What did you think you were doing?" "Saving you," Kvaseth managed. So tired. The world swam at the edges. "Keeping you alive. Doing what Esaan told me to do. Making it right." "Subtracting never did," Vartan scowled. "I never understood you. You were one who adds. And you threw all of that away to pick up a sword, to subtract of all the damned things you could do!" He grabbed Kvaseth by the shoulders, shaking him. It hurt. It hurt so much, but he couldn't seem to find the strength to protest. "I never understood what Esaan saw in you. She always insisted that there was something more, something great. She was a great fool." "Once," Kvaseth whispered, "Nurturing the land, bringing forth life...Once I believed as you did. The words of the shamans were to me as breath and water. But when the raiders came, and no one did anything...how could I continue to believe? When the choice was between fire and the death of everything that mattered and the sword...If a man's philosophy does not let him protect his people, his home, and his family...what good can it do for the world?" "It is not your place to question the shamans," Vartan said. There was the spren again. Kvaseth thought he had seen her, so many times, on his late night walks through Earthern Truth. Funny little spren. The memories were slipping back, memories of blood. Kneeling in the burning fields, cradling his little ones in his arms, blood all over his hands. He had picked up the sword and damned himself and it hadn't even mattered. The raiders had gotten there first. Killed them all. All his little ones. Even Inis. She had died trying to protect them. He had been...he had been... Too late. Despair rose inside him, so thick he could choke on it, like the stench of soot and ash and smoke in his lungs, like the sharp copper scent of spilled blood, the iron tang of the scythe he'd snatched up and used to kill two of the raiders. "So pick something else," the spren said. Her shape winked, uncertainly. A flare of pale light in the darkness. "You can do that, right? Choose to protect. Pick a better set of beliefs." It was so close he could almost reach out and put his hand on it. "The Words," she urged him. "Say them. Believe them. Start again, Kvaseth. Choose better this time." He smiled. A funny idea, that. Starting again. Choosing better. As though he could undo it all. He would have given anything, anything at all to be running through the fields again, to hear them laughing, to gather them up in his arms again. "It isn't possible," Vartan said. "It isn't possible!" "Kvaseth," the spren called. Urgency. He didn't understand why. "You have to say the Words!" "Life..." Kvaseth whispered. "...Before...death." He was walking along a path of packed dirt, along a familiar little crooked road. "It is a lie," Vartan growled. "They are gone! They are gone for good!" "Say them all," urged the spren. "Strength," Kvaseth managed. He needed strength. He reached out and grasped the wooden bars of the gate, undid the latch, and let himself through. And beyond, sprawling as far as the eye could see, were rich fields of golden grain, ripening. He brushed his hand through the stalks and laughed. "...Before weakness." He walked through the fields, first. And then slowly, he broke into a jog, and then a run. Funny that he no longer hurt. The weight of the sword was the first to go. And then the stone. The stone he had carried for so long, a stone to match the one in his heart, the deaths he had carried with him. Laughter. He heard them laughing. His children, his wife, calling to him. "Journey," Kvaseth whispered. But his journey had come to an end. He had found his destination. He had come home, at long last. The last wisps of light faded away as his eyes closed for the last time. Kvaseth died smiling. Kasimir was killed! They were a member of the Shin High Council! He also wrote this Death RP! A Highstorm arrived! Everyone carrying an Honorblade gained 2 Stormlight. (If I didn't already get it to you, let me know.) The turn will end on Thursday, December 1st at 11:00 PM PST. Player List: