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CHAPTER 2

The sounds were remote at first and became more prevalent as minutes passed. Te’ori was hoping to herself that she was just hearing things, that the sounds weren’t what she thought they were but looking over at the focused glare on Nana’s face as Nana kept her eyes glued across the clearing where the forest continued, Te’ori knew that something was coming. Nana kept looking, her eyes darted about waiting to see what would emerge. Maybe it wasn’t horses. After all this was a forest and various types of animals lived here. The sound drew nearer and it became very obvious that it was the hooves of galloping horses striking the ground, and not just one horse but many. Maybe it was wild horses Te’ori said to herself. She had heard that sometimes wild horses made their way into the Boki Forest and that some even grazed and lived further north of the Boki. As the sounds of hooves made their way closer to the clearing despair set in and Te’ori desperately thought of other possibilities. It was possible that it was lost travelers, yes indeed Te’ori said to herself. But in Te’ori’s entire time living in Hok Village she had never laid eyes on a traveler, not a one. The Boki was too dangerous and too large. Nana had told Te’ori that once she discovered the remains of a few lost travelers years back, but that was miles to the south far past Hok. Even a skilled traveler would would not survive if they traveled to Hok from outside the forest. That was why Nana chose the heart of the forest for the village to settle. The Boki was vast and many brown bears lived here, they were fierce and territorial. If not for Te’ori making a bond when she was a little girl with Bear the brown bears would’ve made it difficult for the villagers. Bear was a child of the shimana, and because he was a host of not only magic but also nanites he had gained higher intelligence. Bear was smarter, faster, and stronger than the other brown bears of the Boki and was also immortal. Bear had become their leader. And since Te’ori was also a child of the shimana the two seemed to hit it off well they were very close. Te’ori was six years old when Bear entered Hok Village, he had sensed Te’ori and peacefully came to investigate. Te’ori had to reassure the villagers that Bear would not harm them and that he was only there to greet her. It was then that the villagers held Te’ori in even higher regard, they saw her almost like a goddess. The child healer that also spoke to fierce bears and befriended them. Often Te’ori would go out and spend long hours with Bear. For this reason no matter how many times Nana would try to sway the villagers from believing that Te’ori was not a goddess the people including the Chief would not listen.

At last the first horse broke through the forest into the clearing at Old Pass, it was black. Te’ori’s heart stopped momentarily as she eyed the rider on the back of the horse. The rider wore a gas mask that came from the old world, it kept his face and identity hidden making him seem soulless. He was shirtless and his skin was grey with smeared mud. A brown leather strap went across his shoulder, that strap held a rifle. Te’ori had never seen one save for in her vision, but she had heard how easily the rifle could take a mans life from Nana. It was a single fire rifle that upon shooting had to be reloaded. That was why a belt of bullets were strapped around the soldiers hips for faster reloading. He wore dirty looking loose grey camouflage pants which was also something worn from the old world as well as worn black army boots. Attached to the side of the horses saddle was a machete resting in its scabbard. There could be no doubt now, this was a soldier of Law. Behind the soldier in a single file five other black horses broke into the clearing, all of thier riders wore the same garb as the first rider, the only thing that varied was the weapon that was attached to the horses saddle. But all of them had a rifle strapped to their shoulder. She had heard stories from Nana and other villagers how good at shooting those rifles Law soldiers were, that they were very accurate, and that Law soldiers were very skilled fighters with their battle weapon of choice. She had also heard they were skilled hand to hand fighters. All of this information that Te’ori had learned about Law flooded her mind making her become very afraid. The fierce killing machines that showed no remorse for their victims were now riding across Old Pass, to Te’ori’s delight they were not riding toward the hill but instead in another direction. Under her breath she repeated to herself like a mantra that the riders would continue on. If they continued their course they would very well get lost. But the soldiers had made it this far. They had gotten past the brown bears and the other dangers of the forest, and had indeed not gotten lost, Te’ori had realized this and her heart sank. Even if the Law soldiers continued on they would eventually make their way to Hok Village. She started to see why Nana wanted them both to leave. Te’ori hadn’t really taken this situation too seriously until she saw the soldiers of Law. Now this was all too real, and very dangerous. She would not fail the village, she would practice more to perfect her magic. She told herself that she would be the guardian of Hok Village, that she would make things right from her original oversight. Nana pulled her head back from the bushes as if avoiding something, she looked over seeing Te’ori was still looking through. She softly called to Te’ori who didn’t respond. She heard Nana calling but she was too focused on watching the soldiers casually ride off. It was then she felt eyes staring at her. Te’ori looked at the last horseman who was looking right at her. Nana pulled Te’ori back from the bushes but it was too late, she had been spotted. The soldier cried out raising his fist high above him, the others stopped their horses turning them around to face the last solider. Nana pushed the bushes apart slightly seeing the soldiers conversing, she looked over at Te’ori who had foolishly poked her head through the brush again, this time all of the soldiers started chanting a war chant when they saw her. They raced their horses toward the hill. Te’ori pulled her head back realizing this was where her vision started. Her heart was beating so fast, she was terrified. This was really happening now. Nana reached over grabbing Te’ori by the arm, the fear had grasped Te’ori so deeply she had almost forgotten that Nana was there.

“Prepare yourself!” Nana said looking Te’ori directly in the eyes. She led Te’ori back through the pits as the sounds of the horses made their way up the hill. Standing behind the last pit Nana let go of Te’ori’s arm keeping her eyes fixed on the bushes where they were just standing. The sounds of the galloping horses slowed eventually coming to a stop. The Law soldier brought his horse up to the bush then pulled his machete from its scabbard and proceeded to hack away at a portion of the bush in front of him until he made a small clearing. Slowly he urged his horse through to the other side stopping inches from the first pit. The other riders slowly came through lining up side by side. The soldiers waited and silently stared at Nana and Te’ori, Nana tried to understand what was going on.

“Why aren’t they attacking?” Nana said out loud. She had hoped that at least a few would’ve fallen victim to the pits but none had. This was not happening as Te’ori’s vision had predicted. The soldiers seemed to know that the pits were there but how? A deep growl came from their right catching Nana and Te’ori’s attention. From the bushes came a large feline looking creature with thin reddish fur. On all fours it stood five feet tall. It was thinly built and looked like its relative the wolf. But the renwolf was a far superior apex predator. Like Te’ori it was birthed of the shimana. The nanites that it hosted gave it intelligence and the usual heightened abilities that went along with being part of the shimana. But the renwolf had taken on a vile mentality which made it truly sinister. The magic of the renwolf made its host have completely silent steps, it moved undetected by its prey. This made it very dangerous and a perfect creature to be used by General Juma in hunting and tracking enemies of Law. When Te’ori caught sight of it she saw the intelligence in its eyes, it was terrifying to see. “Now would be the time to show me what you have been bragging about.” Nana said but Te’ori did not hear her, the renwolf had her full attention; she was paralyzed and that wasn’t what Nana wanted to see. Nana reached out placing one hand on Te’ori’s should and shook it vigorously as the renwolf lowered its head sniffing it’s way around the hidden pits. Raising its head the renwolf trotted faster coming closer, it’s eyes were locked on Te’ori as being its first victim. “Te’ori do something!” Nana yelled nervously, the soldiers found the spectacle amusing and they began laughing. The renwolf went from a trot to a much faster pace closing in on Te’ori. She could not move, all she could do was stare at the large creature as it made its way toward her. Finally the renwolf leapt at Te’ori, it’s claws came out prepared to grip her flesh. She saw its mouth open, saliva dropped down its fangs eager to taste her flesh. It was so close Te’ori smelled the odors that came from its breath. The renwolf turned its jaws sideways to lock onto Te’ori’s throat, Nana cried out but Te’ori still did not move. Nana pushed Te’ori out of the snapping jaws of the renwolf by seconds and reached out with incredible speed gripping the surprised renwolf by the throat. It yelped momentarily as it gasped for air. Now it was the renwolf that was concerned for its life.

Te’ori fell to the ground from the force of Nana’s push, she looked up seeing Nana holding the renwolf by the throat swiping its paws at her. With ease she avoided the swatting paws. With a quick motion of her wrist there was a soft snapping sound at which point the renwolf’s body went limp. Nana tossed the renwolf’s body to the pit in front of her where its body became impaled on the steaks below. The Law soldiers were caught off guard as they scrambled for their rifles. Nana raised her bloodied hand string at it. Her hand flipped inward toward her forearm with a mini gun flipping from the other side replacing where the hand was, there were four small holes on a circular shaped silver barrel that came to a point facing outward. There was another larger hole in the center, it started spinning. Nana pointed the mini gun at the soldiers who realized all too late what was going on. Laser fire released from each outside hole per second at the barrel spun. The lasers struck the bodies of the Law soldiers with great accuracy and in turn each of them shuddered before falling back off of their horses hitting the ground lifeless. Smoke rose from the holes in the soldiers bodies. The mini gun flipped back being replaced by a hand again. The horses ran off as Nana turned to Te’ori who was staring at Nana’s hand.

“What are you?” Te’ori asked, tears flowed down her face. Of everything that Te’ori had just witnessed, the coming of Law and watching a renwolf coming at her to take her life it was seeing Nana as she’d never seen her before that shocked her the most. Nana reached out with her hand to comfort Te’ori who smacked the hand staring at it as if the hand were poison. Te’ori backed away. “What are you?” She asked again. The first time she asked her voice was weak and faint, now her voice was filled with anger and disbelief. It hurt Nana to see Te’ori look at her that way, she now saw in her beloved Te’ori’s eyes the start of the decline of her loss of innocence. What hurt Nana most was that it was because of her that it started. Te’ori went from a saddening cry to a rage filled one. Her breathing was rapid, fists balled up with her arms to the side. “Are you even human?” Te’ori yelled out. Nana lowered her head closing her eyes.

“No…” She said. She had to fight to even say it. There was shame in her words. She turned off her emotion sensors in hopes to hide how she was feeling from Te’ori. Or perhaps she just wanted to hide from herself. The guilt of lying all of those years to the child she has grown to love as a daughter was heavy upon her. At first Nana knew it was just part of her mission, it was in her programming to lie to Te’ori for her own good. Over time she developed the guilt but was able to lie to herself that it was ok. She had told Te’ori that she had come from a long dead race of people and that she traveled the lands aimlessly until she stumbled upon Te’ori as a child and found her in the middle of a burning village where all the people had been slain, by who she didn’t know. Te’ori had asked of her origins when she was ten cycles old, and another when she was twelve but no more after that. It seemed a bit much to swallow that her parents and people had been wiped from the earth, that she was the only one left. There was comfort in knowing that Nana and her were the same in that regard, the only two of their respective people left, and for this their bond was un breakable. The realization of Te’ori being lied to now threatened that bond.

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The early morning sun touched the dark green tree tops of Boki Forest. The smell of morning dew was in the air. The forest was very thick with trees that rose twenty to thirty feet high and extremely thick brush, so much in fact the sun rays could barely get through in certain parts of the forest. The Boki Forest was vast spreading across thousands of miles and it teamed with wildlife varying from birds or squirrels to the much larger common black bear. Year round the weather was warm although during the rainy season it would be chillier and much colder over night. Most stayed away from Boki Forest including Law soldiers who feared the fierce territorial black bears who roamed about the forest. It was just too large of a forest to travel through on top of the dangers within it. Any traveler was wise to steer clear of the Boki Forest on their journey, it was said once a man entered he would never leave alive. Deep in the heart of the Boki was a small village called Hok. The village had been in existence for a few hundred years, but once the village moved deep into the Boki they remained without detection from outsiders since Te’ori was a child, the Boki was chosen just for this reason. For at the center of the forest it was not so thick and the trees not so close together. There were rolling green hills and patches of open fields. Villagers lived in burrows that were dug into the rolling hills of the terrain. From birds eye view you wouldn’t be able to spot anything but hilly grass fields, but from the ground there were strong reinforced doors built into the front of the burrow made of wood from the surrounding forest. When inside a burrow you would see wooden framed structures and walls to keep the dirt out and keep the earth from falling down and collapsing. The wood was sealed with wax to keep water from seeping through during rainfall. There were no windows. Most burrows had two to three rooms depending on the size of the family, and a tunnel system connected each burrow from the back room that lead to various areas of the forest that were safe spots in case of an attack on the village. None of the burrows had kitchens, all eating was done as an entire village at breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the center of the village. Everyone worked together to make the food and prepare it. And everyone would sit and eat together. This was village law. To the people it kept everyone close and social. A small fire pit was built in every burrow in the main room to keep it warm when needed.

A little girl excitedly ran down a small hill cutting between two burrows, she was no more than eight years old. Her face was round, her eyes light brown, her skin dark brown. She ran toward the center of the village where the tallest tree in the forest stood. The tree rose close to forty feet tall with branches that spanned over the lower trees below it. The girl ran up to where wooden spiral stairs clung to the wide trunk rising upward. She stopped and looked at a rope that hung down, she smiled and grabbed it tugging it a few times with laughter. The rope shook, at the other end high in the tree house that was built all the way around the trunk tiny bells rung. Te’ori sat with her legs crossed while she meditated on the bed. Her hands were placed on her lap. She opened her eyes upon hearing the bells ring showing light green almond shaped eyes that were quite large. Looking over at tiny silver bells attached to a rope that dropped down a small hole on the floor she moved her wavy silky black hair from her light brown face putting it behind her ear. She had a button nose and thin lips with a dimple on her small chin. She stood up revealing a thin average height frame then walked over to the window looking out over the forest. The Boki was all she knew, for as long as she could remember Hok Village was her home. Nana had brought her here when she was too young to remember. Not much was said by Nana of Te’ori’s parents save that Law had killed everyone in her village and that Nana came upon her as a baby then brought her to Hok Village. But that seemed so long ago. Soon it would be Te’ori’s nineteenth birthday, in just a few days in fact. She caught sight of a red bird that quickly flew past and took it as a good sign for the day. She walked to the front door and opened it. Taking a deep breath Te’ori was feeling quite positive and she didn’t know why, maybe because her birthday was coming up. She took a few steps down the stairs before picking up speed and running down. With twenty stories left to go she leapt off the spiral stairs landing with ease on the ground below. The little girl clapped excitedly at Te’ori’s spectacle of skill.

“Again!” The little girl said while hopping up and down. Te’ori smiled and gave a wink.

“Now Bina, you know we have more important things to do than me entertain you with minor acrobatics. For instance, why are you here?” Te’ori asked, she of course already knew why but she wanted Bina to regain her focus on the matter at hand. The smile left Bina as she was reminded why she was sent. Looking to the ground for a moment the little girl collected herself before looking back up at Te’ori.

“Nana has sent me to get you! Mother is close to giving birth Te’ori!” Bina said. Te’ori kneeled down in front of Bina.

“Soon you will be a big sister! Shall I tell you what you will be a big sister to?” Te’ori giggled, Bina remained silent. She wasn’t for sure if she wanted to know what her mother was going to birth, but she knew Te’ori had the ability to tell her. Maybe it was best to just wait and see because Bina would be disappointed if she was going to have a little brother. Her best friend had a little brother and he was so annoying. Te’ori studied Bina’s face and saw that she wasn’t ready to know what her mother was having. She rubbed Bina’s head then stood up. “Last one to your burrow is bear poop!” Te’ori said smirking then she took off running, Bina quickly took up pursuit, her laughter filled the air. Te’ori ran but not so fast so she could let Bina catch up to her and eventually pass by. The two ran up and down small hills laughing as they did so until they ran up a rather tall hill to a burrow where a worried man was pacing back and forth in front of his door outside. It was Bina’s father Elam. Elam looked up seeing Te’ori approach, the worry from his face melted away replaced with a wide smile. Wrinkles appeared on both sides of his eyes, the exact light brown eyes on his face was the same Bina had. Although Nana was with his wife inside and was known to be quite the midwife, it was Te’ori who had the power of the shimana. Before Te’ori’s magic manifested the number of women who died during child birth was enough to make men in the village worry once their wife became pregnant. But now no women died from childbirth, and better yet Te’ori would use her magic to take away birth pain and make it much easier for a woman’s pregnancy.

“Praise the elements you are here Te’ori! My wife Anim waits inside for you!” He said graciously. Te’ori nodded her head and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Dear Elam, your beloved was already in good hands before I got here. Has Tue Ageless ever steered you or anyone else from Hok Village wrong?” She smiled softly. Elam was ashamed knowing full well all of the great things Nana had done for Hok. What Te’ori said was very true. Before Nana came with Te’ori, Hok village used to be closer to the outer edge of the Boki. The village was always under attack by Law and had way too many unwanted visitors. At first Nana was not trusted but mainly due to her facial features. Her skin was white, her eyes blue, her hair blond. This was something not seen by anyone in Hok Village before. Everyone in the village had dark to light brown skin, even Te’ori did. Such features of Nana had faded due to the heavy mixing over the thousands of years. No one in Old America looked like Nana, and sadly foolish prejudices made the tribal leaders not sure if they could trust her. Nana had made the suggestion that the village move deep into the Boki where it would be difficult to be found. Chief Maj scoffed at this until Nana told him she knew how to navigate all of the Boki Forest with ease. In time with all of the advice and help with the village that made life easier everyone came to respect her. Elam nodded his head in acknowledgment of what Te’ori had said about Nana she looked him in the eye. “Soon you will be the proud father of a son! Now let me go in and ease dear Anim’s labor pains.” Te’ori looked over seeing Bina frown from hearing she would have a little brother she walked over and kissed Bina on the forehead before walking through the door of the burrow. As she turned to shut the door she saw Elam already rejoicing in the news that soon his son would be welcomed into the world.

“Back here Te’ori!” Nana yelled. The burrow had two rooms. The front room which was darker with only one candle lit by the fireplace, and one other where the entire family slept. But now with the new baby on the way the village would have to come together to dig out a new room for more family space. Te’ori walked back going though a doorless entrance, the smell of candles filled her nostrils. Candles were the primary way the burrows were lit, and in this room there were several places all about. At the opposite end of the room was a closed back door that lead to an escape tunnel. Bina’s small bed made of hay and animal fur was in the corner, a much larger bed of hay and animal fur was in the middle of the room where Anim lay on her back. She was shirtless showing her protruding stomach. Her face was full of sweat from her labor pains. Nana was kneeled beside Anim with a bowl of water, she soaked the cloth in her hand then dabbed it on Anim’s forehead. Nana looked up showing bright blue eyes that were very intense. Her face showed no signs of aging and in fact she never had. In all the time Nana had been at Hok Village her face remained the same over the years. For this she was given the title The Ageless by many villagers. Her skin was very white and it almost seemed to glow in the candle lit room. Her hair was shoulder length and very blond and bright and very straight. She stared at Te’ori firmly.

“I sent for you some time ago, Anim is almost ready to give birth.” She sounded as if she was scolding Te’ori yet there was still love in her tone. Te’ori smiled knowing that she was playing with Bina as they made their way to the burrow and this was why she was late, she tried covering up this fact but Nana knew Te’ori all too well. Although Te’ori was eighteen soon to be nineteen in a few days she very much still was so innocent and pure. That’s what Nana loved about Te’ori, most people lost their innocence by the time they became adults or long before. The smile left from Te’ori’s face for she knew she could not lie to Nana.

“Sorry Nana.” Te’ori said subtly ashamed. Nana smiled back at Te’ori who then felt better. Upon hearing Anim moan in pain Te’ori quickly walked up to her and kneeled down placing her hand upon the woman’s stomach. Te’ori’s hand started glowing a soft white then the light faded. Anim’s breathing calmed now that the pain had subsided. Anim looked over at Te’ori gratefully.

“Thank you child of the shimana.” Anim said softly. Te’ori nodded in acknowledgment.

“No harm will come to you or your son as he enters the world.” Te’ori said. Anim’s face lit up with surprise and joy.

“A son? Elam will be proud to know!” Anim said with a big smile. All of the women giggled in the moment of the joyous occasion. It was in that moment of happiness Te’ori felt a rush of energy come over her. Goosebumps raised on her skin, her body went numb; images began flashing aggressively before her that was not her own. Nana instantly noticed that something was wrong with Te’ori.

“Te’ori?” Nana asked concerned, Te’ori did not answer. Te’ori stood up looking around her the images became more visible. Instead of standing in the burrow she was standing at the east outer edge of Hok Village. She walked forward hearing the sounds of galloping coming toward her. Peeking through the bushes she saw men riding on horseback toward her. She was frightened by the masks they wore, the old world gas masks covered their entire faces entirely. Their skin was mud covered and ashy looking, and they all were shirtless. She also noticed that they had all carried a riffle strapped over their shoulders. They all wore dark green military style camouflage pants and big black combat boots. One of them caught site of her which made Te’ori flinch and jump back out of the bush. She heard the hooves of the horses coming toward her and then yelling of voices that screamed for her. Quickly she stood up and turned to run, but it was too late the horses were already upon her. Bursting through the bush the horses broke through the bush racing at Te’ori. She turned screaming looking at the horses crazed eyes and flared nostrils. She fell backwards onto the ground raising her hands out in protection. The horses ran past her rushing toward Hok Village. Fear overtook Te’ori and she cried out. Thunder roared from the dark clouds above as heavy rain began to fall. The vision quickly faded, Te’ori saw Nana briefly before blacking out and fainting, Nana reached out and grabbed her before she fell to the ground.

Te’ori stirred coming to, slowly opening her eyes she noticed she was back at the tree house in her bed. The open windows did not greet the rays of the sun, it was early evening now. After passing out she had slept the day away with Nana staying with her to make sure that she was alright. Sitting up Te’ori yawned while looking about the room. Evening candles had been lit in preparation for the coming nightfall. Nana was leaning against the base of the window frame looking out over the village. Te’ori slowly stood then reached her arms upward stretching, her legs locked up as she rose up on her toes. She walked up beside Nana studying her face, she had never seen Nana so serious and distant looking it concerned her.

“I remember when I brought you here to Hok Village. Well not to where the village is now, but where it originally was just on the far western outskirts of the Boki.” Nana said breaking the silence. Her face had a sadness to it as she spoke. “You were just a little thing, too young to remember the time back then. You were two full cycles old. Chief Maj as well as the others of the village were very uneasy when they first saw me, I was the visage of an extinct people long gone. The people of Hok were a superstitious tribe, and for them to cross a white woman I’m sure was no doubt considered a bad omen. But I slowly gained their trust through improvements that made village life easy. And I eventually persuaded Chief Maj to move the village deep into the heart of the Boki after countless raids from the warrior Duha tribe whose camp was not far from Hok, their raids became too frequent. The people of this village are not warriors, they are a peaceful people. The move deep into the Boki was a blessing for them. Not once have we seen outsiders here. The trek is too dangerous, your friends the Black bears for one, plus a myriad of other dangers reside in the forest. Not even Law has come here, it was perfect bringing you up without worry from you being discovered by the Dark Dreamer.” Nana looked at Te’ori. “Chief Maj also was eternally grateful to you for healing his leg that was mauled by a black Bear before we came to Hok.” She smiled thinking back on her memory. “A little two cycles old girl reached out and touched Chief Maj’s damaged leg fully healing it. It was then the villagers knew that you were a child of the shimana. You were welcomed in with open arms, and since I was your Nana it gave me some leverage. If not for you healing his leg they would’ve never agreed to my plans of moving the village deep into the heart of Boki Forest. This place is truly paradise in its own way. It provides everything for the village. Food, shelter, and protection from the outside world.” Nana’s face turned serious as her mind shifted to the present. “The reason you fainted, what happened? Although I do have some idea as to why.” She waited for a response, Te’ori bit her lip, it was a sign that she was nervous.

“I was in the burrow with you and Amina, then the next I was standing on the eastern side of the village, just outside of it not far from Jeb’s burrow a stones toss away really.” Te’ori said. Nana took in what Te’ori said.

“What else did you see? The look on your face told me that it was threatening whatever it was.” Nana studied Te’ori’s face seeing her become nervous over reliving the events.

“I peeked through some bushes upon hearing the hooves of horses, I saw six Law soldiers riding horseback up the hill near the stream at Old Pass.” Te’ori said. Nana tried concealing her concern.

“Are you sure it was Law? You have never seen a Law soldier before, how could you be certain?”

“I’ve heard enough stories about them to know it was them. The ashy grey skin, being shirtless, and of course wearing those awful masks. I know it was Law.” Te’ori said with strong certainty. Nana looked Te’ori’s face over knowing that what Te’ori said was correct.

“What you had was a vision.” Nana then said. Te’ori looked confused.

“A vision?” She asked.

“I had hoped your abilities just stayed at the level they had been for so long as a healer. It now seems you have manifested a new ability. This can only mean your power will now grow stronger.” Nana said. Te’ori looked ashamed before speaking.

“No, I learned a few new abilities months ago; I just never told you.” Te’ori said. Nana’s eyes fumed.

“What? Why didn’t you tell me?” With a raised voice. Te’ori looked to the ground.

“I wanted to surprise you after I had gotten better with using my new gifts.” Te’ori kept her head lowered. Nana calmed instantly knowing that it would solve nothing being upset. She wanted to ask Te’ori what abilities that had come into fruition months ago but she needed to find out more about the vision first. Had she known that Te’ori’s power was growing months ago she would have taken Te’ori and fled the village then. She cursed her stupidity for becoming to complacent. In her heart she knew that she hoped that she would never have to take Te’ori and leave Hok Village, but now she knew that she would have to. The innocence that she had admired so greatly in Te’ori would be lost once they left. Everything would now change.

“Continue the vision you had.” Nana said coldly. Te’ori didn’t like the tone in Nana’s voice, Nana didn’t mean to sound that way but she had to focus on the moment.

“One of the Law soldiers spotted me looking through the bushes then all of the soldiers rode uphill toward me. I tried to run but I fell when I turned upon hearing the horses leaping over the bushes. But they didn’t stop to attack me like I thought they were going to, they kept riding toward the village. I looked up at the sky and saw dark clouds, and then it started to rain heavily. After that the vision ended.”

Nana paced the floor taking in everything that Te’ori said. Torches lit up in the village below indicating that it was time for gathering to make way to the center of the village for dinner. The sun was now going down. This could not have been more ill timed. All villagers were required to come to the gathering for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One could skip a few on the clause that they were not feeling well which in that case a select few of the elders would bring food to them and see how they were bringing good tidings and medicine if needed. The village of Hok was a social village and it was felt by most that if the people were not close to one another it would bring chaos. Nana was the village counselor and Te’ori the village healer both could not miss the gathering or it would cause suspicion. Nana grabbed Te’ori by the arm and interlocked it, they both slowly walked down the stairs of the tree house.

“Do not speak of your vision to anyone child, it will only cause panic. I will consult the chief later in private about it. After the feast take me to where your vision took place.” Nana said as she forced a smile so that there was the illusion of happiness. Nana looked over at Te’ori who looked shocked. “Smile Te’ori. You know that by now word of your fainting at Elam’s burrow has fully circulated throughout the entire village. The people will see it as a bad omen if you come to them looking as you do now.”

“What shall I tell Chief Maj the cause of my fainting when he asks, and he surely will if not one of the elders?” Te’ori looked around cautiously as they neared the ground. Others were already congregated nearby, the treehouse was at the center of the village. Nana had recommended when they first came to this place that Chief Maj should have the tree so he could overlook the village since the tree was so tall. But the chief declined saying he wanted to be closer to his people. In reality Chief Maj was afraid of heights, he didn’t want to live high above the village. The chief said that Nana and Te’ori should stay there. And they had since arriving here. Nana and Te’ori were now on the ground, people had brought their personal straw mats and were either reclined on them on the grass, and sitting relaxed talking to one another. “It isn’t wise to speak now.” Nana whispered.

“We are free to continue.” Te’ori said, her lips did not move but her voice could be heard inside of Nana’s head. Nana sighed.

“Another gift that you didn’t tell me about?” Nana said frustrated.

“I learned this from Bear, I didn’t consider it a gift.” Te’ori said. Bear was the leader of the black bears of Boki Forest. Te’ori and Bear has been friends since she was six. Bear was much like Te’ori, he was an offspring of the shimana. The relationship between the two was very close. Although Nana cursed herself for not detecting this she saw this as a convenience. Now they could still speak without anyone knowing. Then she became guarded upon further thought.

“Can you read my mind as well?” Nana asked.

“No. But you seem worried if I was able to.” Te’ori said sensing Nana was hiding something again. Nana calmed.

“I am not worried, but a persons thoughts are their own. To extract someone else’s private thoughts without their permission would be a violation don’t you think?”

“Yes…” Te’ori said. Nana looked up seeing Chief Maj, his two sons, and several of the elders walking toward them. The chief was eighty nine cycles old. His oldest son was sixty cycles, and his younger son was fifty two cycles old yet Maj looked younger thank them both. Being healed by Te’ori and being touched by the shimana gave him added years and youth. To his regret he outlasted his wife who passed several years ago. The chief was a short yet thickly built muscular man. His shoulders were wide, and his arms were long. He was dark skinned with a thin bridge yet chubby tipped nose. His eyes were dark and so was his short curly hair. He had thick bushy eyebrows with a round face. He was dressed in the chiefs skirt that went down to his knees that was green, and a sleeveless shirt that was the same color. The people of Hok all wore colors that blended in with the surrounding forest in fact to make them harder to detect. The chief wore thin shoes made of leather skin, the bottom was much thicker to protect the feet.

“Looks like they all came out to see how you were doing.” Nana said telepathically through Te’ori’s gift. There was dark humor in how she said it. “Remember to smile, and tell them that you didn’t eat enough at breakfast and when you used your healing power on Anim it weakened you to the point of fainting.”

“I was starving got it…” Te’ori said in a snide manner. It bothered her that she had to lie, it was not in her nature to do so. Chief Maj opened his arms in greetings as he approached, he hid his concern as he spoke with a smile.

“Greetings to you both!” Chief Maj said cheerfully. Nana and Te’ori smiled back extending greetings. The chief focused on Te’ori. “I heard that you had a problem at Elam’s burrow early in the day, are you well child of the shimana?” He kept his eyes on Te’ori. The Chiefs sons as well as the elders seemed to hold their breath binging on what Te’ori would say next. She smiled and bowed slightly.

“I am well Chief. I was just hungry because I did not eat enough at breakfast. When I assisted Anim the use of my magic taxed my already weakened body, Nana took care of me and now I am fine.” She said, everyone relaxed after hearing Te’ori say that. She could see that the Chief was well hearing the false news, it made her feel sad knowing what she saw in her vision. Chief Maj looked at Nana with acknowledgement.

“The Ageless has always served this village well. Many blessings have you placed on us, praise the elements.” Chief Maj said with kindness. As the evening went on Te’ori and Nana continued to act as if nothing was wrong. Te’ori hated it but was obeying what Nana had asked of her. She knew what Nana said was true, there was no need to cause panic in the village. After eating dinner Nana and Te’ori slipped away, the sounds of crickets chirping in the night forest filled the air. Lighting bugs flickered on and off floating about, or landing on the sides of trees leaves and plants. The moon was full and hovering over the forest giving off a bluish haze of light. Away from the warmth of the torches from the village the air was cool. Nana elected not to carry a torch to light their way so as to not attract others to where they were. It was already bad enough that Noab, Chief Maj’s oldest son had been staying close to them all night. When he got distracted dancing with some of the villagers Nana saw the opportunity disappear. Once they were past The final burrow Nana held Te’ori’s hand telling her to stay close to her as they walked and to follow her steps exactly. It was when Te’ori said she was standing in the exact spot her vision started that Nana released her hand.

Te’ori pointed to the bushes that were just a few feet away. “This is where I stood when I heard the hooves coming from over there.” She pointed to the bushes then walked up to them. “I pushed aside the brush and looked through. Down at the bottom of the hill I saw the six soldiers at Old Pass. One of them caught sight of my and alerted the others, they rode up the hill toward me.”

Nana pushed some of the brush aside looking down the hill. Te’ori continued speaking. “I turned and ran that way.” She pointed in the direction that they had came to this place. “But upon hearing the horses leap over the bushes I turned and tripped falling on my back. But the soldiers did not stop, they kept on riding toward the village. It was then I looked up at the sky and saw dark clouds, then it started to rain. After that the vision stopped.”

Nana put her hand on her chin analyzing what Te’ori had just told her. After a few moments Nana spoke. “Law is coming. And from what I can interpret from your vision the soldiers will come from Old Pass which if anything that is one good thing.”Nana said.

“How so?” Te’ori asked with a curious glance at Nana.

“This area is off limits and forbidden to any from Hok save for the Chief, a few others, and myself. There is a reason for that. When I first brought you and the others from Hok here we came from down that hill up to here where the village was started. As you saw from your vision below the hill the area is open, easy to travel and easy to reach the village, in fact it’s the easiest way to Hok Village. So I suggested that fifteen foot deep, ten feet wide, ten feet long pits be dug all through this area, and for six foot spikes to be upright filling the entire floor of each pit. The pits were to be four feet apart to the next. This is why I held your hand to guid you through so that you would not fall into one, Jeb and his sons are in charge of making sure no villagers come this way by accident, fortunately I know of ways to sneak past them. Below is called Old Pass because we only passed that way once, but never again because of the traps we made all through this area uphill. If your vision is correct that means they should fall victim to the pits. Law will come on a rainy day, that is the other thing I interpreted, however I don’t know how accurate I am on any of it.” Nana grabbed Te’ori’s arms with both of her hands her face was very serious. “We need to leave Hok tonight! We have a long journey ahead of us!” She said, Te’ori backed off from Nana pushing her hands away as if what she had just said was poison.

“No! This is my home!” Te’ori defiantly said. Just the idea of leaving Hok terrified her. She had never been outside of the village and she never wanted to.

“The pits might stop these six, but others will come. The Dark Dreamer has felt your presence, he will not stop until you have been captured, killed, and your body burned to ashes!” Nana protested. Te’ori knew who the Dark Dreamer was, everyone in the world knew of him. He was held in his prison of slumber by the magic of the Feya, a race long dead and gone and forgotten. The Dark Dreamer was able to still influence General Juma who lead his army of Law. The Dark Dreamer was said to be very powerful, and he was partly the cause of the mass destruction of the earth. With the death of the other races man was the only one who had flourished in this world now. But it was the Feya’s powerful magic that brought down the Dark Dreamer almost killing him. He fled deep underground to flee the magic spell that sought him out and went into a deep sleep to heal from the magical attack, he had been asleep for over ten thousand years, the magic keeping him in check. The spell swept across the globe destroying all technology, and even killing humans randomly. It was thanks to that spell that still was great a part of the earth that the planets ecosystem had dramatically changed. New beasts were born, while common animals grew or mutated to great numbers without mans interference. Nature had reclaimed the cities with the structures remaining however greatly eroded. The nanites that violently left thier humanite hosts to escape the destruction of the magic spell had fled deep into the earth. In time magic and nanites somehow fused and blended. From this blend came shimana. Most humans felt that shimana was a divine intelligent force. And many believed that shimana protected them while also keeping the Dark Dreamer imprisoned. It was also believed that shimana chose who would carry its power, and those that were are considered shaman or priest. It was rare that a man or woman even carried the power of shimana which was why people made such a big deal when someone did. For a time it was thought the Dark Dreamer was a fairytale until Law rose to power a few thousand years ago. Law mainly resided in Old New York, but they would venture out often in search of those who were of the shimana fold to kill them under direct orders of the Dark Dreamer. Everyone of Old Earth knew of Law and the stories of their master the Dark Dreamer. Te’ori had heard of Law searching for the children of shimana but never really thought she was part of that danger, maybe living within the protection of the Boki made this illusion possible. Hearing Nana speak of the Dark Dreamer searching for it, it was too surreal. Te’ori started to realize that if she stayed it would be her that would cause danger to come to Hok village. She couldn’t have that. If the Dark Dreamer was seeming her out, he would not find her in Hok Village. But before she left, she had to know that the villagers would be safe.

“I want to make sure Law doesn’t get past the pits. Then and only then will I agree to leave.” Te’ori said with sadness in her voice. Nana smiled but in her heart she was also sad for she knew this was the time Te’ori would start to loose her innocence.

“I understand that you want to ensure the villagers safety, but how would you be able to do that? You are the village healer, not the village warrior. And I am no more a warrior than you.” What Nana said was correct, how did Te’ori expect to protect the people between the two of them? Law soldiers were trained killers that always carried a rifle that could fire one shot before having to be reloaded. Most soldiers were an excellent shot. They also carried either a blunt striking weapon or a bladed one of some sort whether it were a large knife, an axe or machete. Law soldiers were skilled hand to hand fighters and experts that could handle himself against most men in Old America. They fought well as a team attacking enemies like a pack of wolves. Whatever Te’ori thought she could do against a Law soldier it was enough to strike Nana’s curiosity. Who was she to doubt whatever Te’ori thought she could do? So Nana agreed to stay and watch Te’ori confront any Law soldier that might slip past the pits. As they walked back to the village they conversed on the plan of what they would do on that rainy day that Law soldiers were believed to come to Hok Village via Old Pass. And also what route they would take after Te’ori dealt with the soldiers. Amazingly they went unnoticed once they got back to the village. They went up to the treehouse and packed two leather sacks that were filled with food in preparation of the journey. After packing Te’ori went out onto the walkway looking down on the village, she couldn’t help but feel it was for the final time. She saw one of the night watch snuffing out the torch below by the treehouse. He saw her as well and waved up to her with a smile. She waved back feeling out of place. Things she was so used to and took for granted growing up here in this peaceful village she would miss. She watched him walk off to do his task of snuffing out the rest of the torches throughout the village before going on watch, the gathering had ended, everyone had went home to turn in for the night.

It was a cloudless day above a city that spread for many miles with buildings that rose high into the sky. Te’ori stared in wonderment seeing such a city for she had never seen such a place in her lifetime. She stood high atop one of the skyscrapers looking out of the city much like she stared looking out from the tree house, but this was far more amazing to see. She could feel the life forces of millions that inhabited the city as they went about their daily activities. Walling close to the edge she looked down realizing that she was so high that she could not see the people below. Te’ori knew that this was another vision, unlike the last one this one she felt more comfortable in, more natural. Looking up in the sky she saw a bright ball of fire streak with horrible speed toward the city. She felt the fear of millions in thier last moments. The ball of fire struck at the heart of the city with great force that caused an explosive wave of destructive energy to shoot out stretching miles beyond the city within seconds. The buildings cracked and shattered then fell within the blink on an eye. The sounds of millions voices cried out and then were silenced. The city was no longer, in its wake was thick smoldering smoke. Te’ori found herself standing on the ground now. A heavy wind blew causing the smoke to wane. She realized she stood at the edge of the impact zone of the fireball. A large mile long crater that went several miles deep into the earth was before her. Smoke still rose from the crater high into the sky. She felt an entity deep within the crater and along with it she felt fear, confusion, hatred, and rage in great volume. She felt what the entity wanted. It wanted to end all life. She backed away upon hearing footsteps coming from the crater, she could barely see a figure walking up from inside the crater toward her, the smoke concealed its identity. Dark clouds slowly moved in and the sound of thunder caused her to look up. That was when she woke. She was in her bed in the tree house. Quickly she sat up looking around for Nana, she wasn’t there. Te’ori got out of bed and dressed. Walking over to the window she looked out flashes of her vision still fresh in we mind of the city she had looked at while she stood high atop the skyscraper. She noticed that no one was below doing their daily chores. She sensed that there was no life forces whatsoever in the village. She took a moment to notice that is was later in the morning, she never overslept but she had this morning. She missed the breakfast gathering. How was that possible? Surely she would’ve heard one of the elders coming to see why she hadn’t come, had she been that tired? She glanced over at the packs that she and Nana had packed last night but she knew they wouldn’t need them. See was never leaving Hok Village, she had already made her mind up she just hadn’t told Nana yet. A gust of cool air blew through the window catching Te’ori’s attention, she heard a sound and looked over at the weather vane just outside the window to her left, it started spinning. The wind was picking up. The sound of thunder made her look at the sky, in the far distance dark clouds were making their way toward the Boki. Looking down below she caught sight of Nana walking toward the tree in a hurried manner. She was clutching her scarf close to her face keeping the wind off of it, she looked up catching sight of Te’ori looking down at her.

“Where is everyone?” Te’ori asked telepathically. Nana kept walking toward the tree house, her hair fluttering about from the aggressive winds.

“You were pretty drained from your vision, I felt you needed to sleep in. When the elders came during the gathering I stopped them before getting to the tree house. I called an emergency meeting with the elders and Chief Maj. I told them about your vision.” Nana went to the point.

“And…?” Te’ori asked. Nana stopped and looked up at Te’ori above.

“Come down! We will talk on our way to Old Pass.”

“Old Pass? But we just went there last night!”

“Yes and your vision showed that Law would come via Old Pass during a rain storm!” Nana turned and pointed to the coming thundering clouds. “Have you not seen the coming storm child? With it Law could also be coming!” Nana said annoyed.

“It doesn’t mean that this storm will be the one if any! You put too much trust in dreams!” Te’ori said in protest.

“Child this wasn’t a dream you had, it was a vision! And we will evacuate the village every time a storm comes until Law comes! And you will face them as you professed that you would with your new found power that you boast of!” Nana was impatient and firm. Te’ori looked down at Nana who stared up at her with fierce blue eyes. She did not like Nana’s tone, it was almost as if she were mocking her. “Curse you child! Get down here now!” Nana yelled out loud. How she spoke did not scare Te’ori, it instead made her angry. She stormed out of the front door leaping from the balcony, she landed easily below standing in front of Nana. She stared at Nana defensively rolling her eyes. “Without a doubt you are strong. Let’s see how strong if Law comes this morning.”

“If they come!” Te’ori said before turning and waking toward Old Pass. Nana stared at Te’ori and for a moment she felt that maybe in this moment of defiance shown that Te’ori would be able to handle Law once they came. Just maybe. Nana sped up to walk beside Te’ori, they said nothing else to one another on the way to Old Pass. Nana guided Te’ori through the pits where they finally came to the bushes, and not a moment too soon; the the clouds were above them now covering a vast distance of the Boki. Lighting streaked across the sky followed by thunder. The rain began to fall, lightly at first then progressed to heavier rain. Nana took her scarf and wrapped it around her face. Te’ori became even more annoyed being forced to stand out in heavy rain, she waved her hand above her, golden energy formed above her head. It kept the water from pouring down upon face and head. Nana looked on in amazement, she had never seen Te’ori use this sort of power before.

“Indeed you have learned a new trick. Let’s see if it will be enough to stop Law. It will take more than a trick to stop Law soldiers!” She stopped admiring Te’ori and gave her a stern glare, the rainwater dripping down her forehead covering her face. Te’ori rolled her eyes once more. Nana pushed the brush aside looking through the bushes down at Old Pass below. Pulling her head back Nana looked over at Te’ori.

“What is your plan?” Nana asked.

“Excuse me?” Te’ori replied irked.

“Your plan, what is it when Law comes? You do have one don’t you? Because I am no warrior, there are no warriors in Hok Village, and since you insisted on being village guardian surely you must have a plan?” Nana kept her gaze on Te’ori, Te’ori’s face being seen easily even in the heavy rain due to the glowing energy above her. Nana could not help but to see how beautiful Te’ori was. Her wet brown skin was flawless. Her large light green eyes almost seemed golden. Her wet black hair curled up more than it already was from the moisture. In her heart Nana truly hoped that Te’ori could protect the village from Law. Te’ori struggled for word or even ideas of what she would do. To be honest she hadn’t the time to. She felt foolish just standing there saying nothing.

“I will use my new gifts to bring Law down! You will see!” Was all Te’ori managed to force out. To keep Nana from staring at her she placed her face in the bushes looking through to stare down at Old Pass, but really she stared at nothing. Her mind was fuzzy and could not aid her, she hated that she felt so stupid right now. What would she do she asked herself. She truly did not know. Te’ori kept her head in the bushes for a good twenty minutes until her back started to hurt. She pulled her head out of the brush to see Nana still staring at her, it was discomforting. “What?” Te’ori said irritated. The storm quieted and the rains ceased. Te’ori looked up to see the clouds disperse and the sun return to the forest, she looked back at Nana with a smile. “See..?” She said laughing. “The rains have stopped and throughout the whole entire bloody rain Law did not come.” Nana shook her head at Te’ori’s display then looked toward the brush. “What?” Te’ori asked, Nana hushed her then looked through the brush. Te’ori poked her head through again as well looking down at Old Pass, she saw nothing. He looked over seeing Nana stare off into the distance across the open field where the forest started again. She kept her eyes glued on the edge of the forest. This was stupid why were they here, Te’ori told herself. And then she heard it. Faintly at first, then more clearly. She heard the sounds from across the field in the forest. It was the sound of hooves. The sound of many horses riding toward Old Pass.

Prologue

The world of the five races of humans, humanites, feya, the mutates, and artificial intelligence would rise up against a power none of them had ever expected or seen before. A power that came from the heavens crashing to the earth below and instantly wiping out millions upon entry. The elites of the humanites came first against the Mad God and were easily dispatched. Mutates that were elite also tried but failed. But it was the feya with the greatest among them coming together under the leadership of their most powerful Papa Jinx a spell to bring down the Mad God was created and released on the world to protect the world. The spell worked and brought down the Mad God down and he fled deep underground to escape his fate by magic. He went into a self induced sleep to keep the magic at bay. But the magic that was meant to bring down the Mad God swept across the world instantly wiping out the humanite race, the A.I. And destroying all technology. But the spell did not stop there. To the horror of the feya the self proclaimed protectors of mankind the spell that they set loose on the world to save humanity wiped out ninety persons of the human race. The feya went into seclusion after this in shame. And over a few thousand years in a strange twist of evolution, the nanites that fled thier human hosts doing much like the Mad God going deep into the earth had somehow bonded with the magic that destroyed most life and all technology. This merging brought about the shimana. Ten thousand years has passed since the Day the Mad God fell from the heavens. The world has much changed parts of it reshaped by the shimana itself. New creatures have emerged living alongside those of the original ecosystem. Small villages or clans are sprinkled across Old America. Over time the history of the old world and the five races were forgotten by most. And even the name of the Mad God had changed. He was now known as the Dark Dreamer. And the Dark Dreamer was still a threat to humanity. He would bide his time until his strength returned. And when it did, woe to the earth.


Valhalla sat in the chair in his penthouse watching the news from a large monitor on the wall, Director Biyase stood silently with his arms crossed in front of him, he stood in front of Valhalla’s office desk. After the news went off about Hiro, Valhalla laughed a hearty laugh standing up clapping his hands, the monitor shut off. 

“Sacred? Overwatch Prime is sending Sacred to bring down H2O?” He clapped his hands once excitedly while walking around his desk toward the director. “This will be a full out test for H2O, let’s see if he comes into the realization of his true power. I need some damn popcorn for this battle!” He patted Director Biyase on the shoulder, Biyase did not seem amused. It was a strange friendship between the two indeed. 

“So everything is going according to your plans then?” Biyase said looking at Valhalla blankly. 

“I honestly won’t know yet. But this battle? H2O has true power, and I think he is more than a match for Sacred, but he just has to come into his power before then! A true battle of the gods indeed!” Valhalla giggled like a little boy, Biyase just stared at him with almost debatable disgust, Valhalla took notice. He calmed himself, the smile wiped from his face, the laughter now gone from his voice. Valhalla walked over to the viewing window looking out over the city. “You don’t understand all of this my friend, but it is all necessity. I have seen things that maybe I’ll tell you one day, maybe even today.”

“And what if I do not really care to know?” Biyase said coldly. Valhalla turned looking at Biyase with a half smile.

“If someone knew the day of your death, would you want to know the day you died and how, so you could avoid it?” The two men stared at one another in silence upon Valhalla’s question. Finally the director spoke.

“It would not be important to know, what is meant, is meant.” Biyase said with calm conviction.

“Oh come now, you don’t really believe that bullshit do you? You make it sound as if you believe in fate. But you’re a humanite, your kind don’t believe in such things. But then again, Sacred believes in God so who knows?” 

“A belief is an opinion, what I know to be factual is that one can not stop what is meant to be!” Biyase said it firmly. Valhalla turned back around looking out of the viewing window crossing his arms. He chose not to bicker over this, there were more important things to speak of.

“I stand corrected. One can not debate facts? But maybe one would stand a better chance if he understood the facts!” Valhalla said. 

“And what is there to understand if you see the truth before you?” Biyase asked, now it was Valhalla’s turn to be silent for a moment before speaking.

“Excuse me, I misquoted. Let me rephrase.” Valhalla turned facing the director again, he placed both hands into the pockets of his suit pants, he was very serious looking. “If someone knew the day that most of the people on this planet died, would you want to know how so you could avoid the end of mostly all life on this planet?” Valhalla’s eyes went serious, and for the first time Biyase showed the emotion of curiosity. Valhalla’s words had drawn him in. 

“What is it that you know?” Biyase asked very seriously, he knew that for Valhalla to say what he did he had good reason. 

“Oh, so now I have your attention? Maybe after we see how this ordeal with H2O turns out I will tell you.” Valhalla walked away, Biyase did not try to stop him, or ask anymore questions. He knew there would be another time. 


“In the news today, there has been more information on the Mutate known as Hiro Oda. As National News Network reported first that two days ago the Mutate broke out of his containment water based cell at one of VCI’s private facilities in Kentucky. VCI immediately released that several guards were killed during the mutates escape from the facility. At a press conference the head of VCI Magnus Valhalla reported that he was deeply saddened by this series of troubled events. Valhalla also stated that quite possibly Oda might have suffered shock while in the holding tank which made him lose his mind sending him into the fury that made him want to break out of the containment cell. Valhalla wanted to stress that Hiro Oda signed a contract with VCI to undergo study so that scientists could better understand the DNA structure of the mutate which could help them better understand mutates in general. Oda was paid the sum of five million dollars for a one year study. It was believed by VCI scientists that Oda was just a lower level mutate but after Black Squad clashed with him on VCI’s private reserve in Kentucky, the battle left one of the members of Black Squad dead. We tried reaching Overwatch Prime for a statement but as usual they stayed pretty tight lipped. Yesterday we obtained a leaked video from an employee at VCI of the entire confrontation and we at National News feel that Hiro is not a low level mutate but in fact an elite level mutate. After we aired that video public opinion seems to be that many are worried the Oda could be the next Fusion, and in the minds of every American, no one has forgotten the death and devastation that Fusion caused. In a press conference this morning CEO of VCI Magnus Valhalla expressed that he was not aware of the power levels of Oda as his team was only a few weeks into studying Oda when the escape occurred. He further went onto say that Oda himself said that he felt he was only a lower power leveled mutate and showed no signs of elite levels, and that all of this comes as a surprise to Valhalla and to his team. Valhalla and VCI have promised to help local law enforcement and Overwatch Prime in anyway possible to aid in the capture of Hiro Oda. But it is come to our attention that Overwatch Prime who has fully taken over in this matter. In an official press conference over an hour ago Overwatch Prime released a statement confirming that Hiro Oda is indeed an elite level mutate, and that they are now sending an elite level mutate to bring him down. Overwatch Prime also released that they will be sending the humanite Sacred to bring down Oda. As many know the humanite Sacred is a devout believer in God, something that most humanites do not believe in since they are born of science. Sacred claims to have a direct connection with God and says all humanites detect the presence of God but choose not to see it, andgor this he has stirred much controversy. Whether or not one would believe what he says about God, it can not be debated the immense power Sacred has. It is said his power levels are above even American Warriors and maybe even giving Kinetic Balance a run for his money. We are sure at National News that Sacred was not just picked for his elite speed and strength. He can also generate high amounts of heat from his body and unleash that heat from his hands at his enemies. Heat versus water, sounds like Hiro Oda’s days of freedom are evaporating. We will keep the public posted on any new events as it occurs. This is Jay Marshall with National News Network.”


Luana seems to avoid Hiro’s question as to what she was. She obviously holds special powers. But what is she? Humanite? Or Mutate? 

Who will Overwatch Prime send to eliminate Hiro? Will Hiro and Luna ever escape and find peace? 

But wait a minute…

We already know what Hiro is running from. What is Luana running from?


Black Squad received a silent message that H2O was headed toward a water source for replenishing. While they jogged Alpha glanced around to his squad. The helmet was completely smooth as were all Black Squad helmets. To enhance the nanites in the humanities bodies a special helmet was made to better utilize what the nanites could do making them more sensitive to their surroundings. Taking away complete eye sight was the way to do this. Without vision the nanites would work for their host even harder. The helmet had sensors all over the helmet that the nanites communicated with giving the squad member the ability to see in any direction at will. This meant a Black Squad member really did have eyes in the back of their head, but also on the top of their head and the sides. Alpha reached out to his squad via the nanites, speech was not needed. This though was nothing special, all humanities could communicate this way, but most chose to vocally speak to one another most of the time. The squad had deliberately trailed behind Hiro and Luana for most of the half mile waiting to see if they would make the first move or the first mistake, neither had happened. But once the squad was alerted that Hiro was trying to make his way toward the pond and that they were close to it, Black Squad decided to finish this now before Hiro had a chance to replenish, they were told by VCI that they were not aware what would happen to Hiro or what threat level he would be if he were to replenish; Black Squad did not want to give Hiro the opportunity. Alpha alerted his squad to fan out. Beta, and Gama along with Alpha would continue to advance, Delta, and Epsilon would flank cutting Hiro off from the water source. Upon receiving their orders and plan of attack the squad moved with precision spreading out. Delta and Epsilon picked up speed each cutting off into the forest from the left and right moving into flank positions. 
Hiro could smell the water now, they were very close. He trailed behind Luana but started to pick up speed in the excitement of knowing that soon he would be immersed in water. He was not fully aware of what he could do, but he did know that water made it incredibly hard for Hiro to be hurt, he knew this from a series of tests that was done on him while in captivity. Luana sensed something and looked to her left then to her right detecting hidden motion. She knew that Delta and Epsilon had just passed them. She slowed looking out in front of her. Quickly extending her arm she halted Hiro who was confused. Pushing her arm out of his way he was about to force his way past her when Delta and Epsilon broke from their camouflage revealing shiny coal black armor. From their palms non lethal concussive laser fire was unleashed upon Hiro and Luana. There was no need to carry weapons, a Black Squad warriors armor was a weapon. Luana dodged the laser fire with cat like agility, Hiro was not so fortunate being struck in the chest several times sending him off of his feet smashing into a tree. Dropping to one knee Luana opened fire shooting at the Black Squad members, the laser fire that she unleashed struck Epsilon but was absorbed by his kinetic force field. She tossed the weapon aside knowing it was useless, then quickly went back to where Hiro was slow to standing. The concussive laser had knocked the wind out of him. He was hunched over gasping for air, Luana saw Alpha, Beta, and Gamma uncloak behind Hiro a few feet away. 

“I am Alpha, commander of this Black Squad unit. I order you both to surrender immediately! If you do, both of you will avoid bodily harm or possible termination! This is your only warning!” 

Hiro fully stood catching his breath, looking behind him he saw Alpha, Beta, and Gamma with their arms raised, palms pointed in his and Luana’s direction. Turning he saw Delta and Epsilon with their palms pointed in his direction. Luana stepped close to Hiro. 

“The pond is below, right past the two Black Squad soldiers in front of us through that brush is a cliff. If you can make it past them all you have to do is dive into the pond!” Luana said softly. She knew that Black Squad could hear her even though she whispered. She looked Hiro dead in the eyes, he und that she had a plan.

“We can’t make it!” He said following her que.

“Then let me just take a moment to soak this all in. I was not looking to be enslaved again, but I suppose there is no other alternative but to give up.” Luana walked over to a thin tree trunk placing her hand against it before resting her head upon it. She took a moment to just calm and relax her mind, Hiro just stared at her along with Black Squad. 

“Enough! Comply or be overtaken!” Alpha ordered. 

“Yea…” Luana said under her breath. Quickly dropping she gripped the tree trunk with both hands. Standing she lifted the trunk from its roots totally surprising Hiro. “Run dumb ass!” She yelled at him as she rushed Delta and Epsilon with the small tree. The two Black Squad soldiers opened with a new hail of concussive non lethal fire from their palms. Luana swung the trunk smacking the lasers away but as she did so parts of the tree was cut and ripped to shreds causing tree bark to fly and scatter into the air. Hiro took off behind Luana he could feel the rest of Black Squad taking up pursuit. When she was near Delta and Epsilon Luana swung the tree at them, both of them scattered which caused a clearing. Hiro saw the opening and ran as fast as he could. Laser fire hit him in the shoulder, then he was shot in the legs causing a deep stinging sensation. He was close now and could not stop even with the pain that throbbed in his leg. When Alpha saw that Hiro would succeed he ordered all in the unit to proceed with lethal fire. Alpha placed his palm downward his fingers pointed at Hiro’s back. Palms were non lethal concussive fire known as the hammer hand, finger tips were lethal laser fire called the sword hand. Hiro ran not looking back, he broke through the brush finally seeing the pond below. He smiled with gratification just as a laser shot through the back of his head causing it to explode in a spray of red. The force of the strike sent Hiro’s body forward hurling it off of the cliff splashing heavily into the pond below. 

Luana’a eyes went wide with disbelief, her one chance of being free was gone. Hiro was eliminated. She was struck in the back by non lethal concussive force. She fell to the ground stunned, the electric shock made her body convulse. Black Squad had orders to bring Luana back unharmed and alive, it was only Hiro who they had the option to keep alive or dead. Black Squad gathered around Luana who was lying on the ground shivering as her body convulsed. Alpha ordered Epsilon to recover Hiro’s body while reported in to Overwatch Prime. Epsilon walked through the brush where Hiro broke through at his attempt. He stopped at the edge of the thirty foot drop looking down at the pond for Hiro’s body. A basic visual detected no body floating on the surface, Epsilon finally detected Hiro’s body at the bottom of the pond but something wasn’t right. He did a deep scan of Hiro’s body, it still showed signs of life, faint at first was the heartbeat, but with each passing second it was growing stronger. One beat of the heart passed and the next would be twenty seconds, then the next was fifteen seconds, and then the next ten. Luana was now shackled and ready for transport, now what Epsilon was detecting caught the attention of the rest of Black Squad. The others congregated around Epsilon scanning and watching what he had been for the past minute. The Black Squad transport flew overhead prepared to have Luana brought aboard, Alpha alerted the ship to hold position and await further orders. 

The surface of the pond began to ripple softly until waves violently pushed from its center. The earth shook then stopped abruptly. Alpha ordered his squad to go into defensive formations, this battle was far from over. Hiro broke from the surface of the water, it violently erupted around him. Hiro’s eyes were lucid, water flickering from them but not falling as tears do, the water stayed in place where his eye sockets were. Hiro moved with pure fluidity and incredible speed, the water pushed him upward with Hiro landing on the edge. He dashed forward grabbing Alpha at the neck with one hand. Alpha grabbed Hiro’s arm with both hands but found that even with the power of his suit and his humanite strength he could not break free from Hiro’s hold. Alpha pointed his finger tips at Hiro unleashing the full lethal laser force of his suit which struck Hiro and point blank range, Hiro smiled.

“The likes of you can’t harm me now! I am replenished!” Hiro said, and with that he snapped Alpha’s neck then dropped the leader of Black Squad’s body to the ground. The rest of Black Squad were no fools, they scattered into the forest. Hiro cared less to take up pursuit. The ship above raised high into the sky in hopes of being avoided, Hiro and Luana were now alone. 

“Are you going to just stand there, or are you going to get me out of these damn shackles?” Luana said looking up at Hiro as she lay on the ground. The two stared at one another briefly, Hiro looking at Luana’s blue eyes, and Luana looking at the watery blue fluidity that was Hiro’s eyes at the moment. Kneeling down Hiro reached out grabbing the unbreakable shackles that were around Luana’s wrists, his fingers dug into them causing them to crack and shatter freeing her. Hiro looked Luana’s face over admiringly, she took notice. “Don’t look at me like that!” She said coldly before standing up. He felt a little stupid after Luana put him in his place so he decided to recover.

“So what’s your story?” He asked. Luana turned her back to him rubbing her wrists where they had been shackled, she looked down at the ground. 

“What?” She said.

“You have agility that is off the scales, and last time I checked human women can’t pull a tree from its roots and swing it around with ease. So what are you? Humanite or Mutate?” 

Luana searched her surroundings scanning the trees.

“We need to get out of here.” She said avoiding Hiro’s question.

“Black Squad fled.” Hiro said proudly.

“No, they regrouped, there’s a difference. And right now they are chatting it up with Overwatch Prime discussing which elite they need to send to end you.” Luana continued to search her surroundings while she spoke. Hiro wondered how she knew that Black Squad was communicating with Overwatch Prime, it was obviously yet another power of hers, he decided now was not the time to press the issue, but there would be a time. 

“I am not worried about Overwatch Prime! As long as I am in or near water they can not harm me!” Hiro said defiantly. It was then Luana turned looking at him with an irked glaze in her eyes. 

“That’s nice for you, but you didn’t do so well against making sure I stayed out of those damn shackles!” 

“I was weakened, but now I am at full strength. Did you not see that they blew my head clean off? And yet here I stand!” Hiro was even amazed by this but didn’t want to divulge it. Luana looked him up and down.

“Yea I did see that, near trick. But what if they send down a shit load of elites to take you down? What if they drain this pond? You’d be fucked that’s what!” She turned pointing off into the distance. “The exit out of the reserve is ten miles that way. Until we get out of here they will be able to see our every move, the forest is filled with hidden cameras.” She looked back to Hiro. “How long before you get like you were when I first saw you? Being as helpless as a baby?” 

“I don’t know, but that is a rare situation. I had to use all my power to break out of VCI’s holding tank, then fight my way out of the facility.”

“What makes you think you won’t have to fight like that until we are someplace safe, if there is ever a place?” Luana threw her hands up. “So what do you know about your powers?” 

“I honestly don’t know much, in fact it seems to be a learning process.” Hiro said looking a little confused. 

“Just great…” Luana said before taking off running. Hiro took off after her. From a monitor in his penthouse high above VCI corporate Valhalla sat in his office chair. Luana was correct, there were cameras hidden all over the reserve, Valhalla had been watching everything take place. He zoomed in on Hiro and Luana as they ran, his eyes focused on both of them. He rubbed his chin playing the mathematical ratios of chance over in his mind.