Lonely Sunsets: Chapter 4

"Cye, what is going on over there? I mean that is almost an all night drive to get to you." Rowen was now concerned. Cye almost never called in the others for a local problem. Advice over the phone yes, but never had he called them and told them to get there.

"I don’t care how you get here Ro, I’m telling ya that there is something weird going on down here and if you all don’t get out of your collective beds there is going to be a dead person. Considering the situation, it will probably be me."

That got Rowen’s attention. He tossed one of Sage’s socks over the blond man’s face and as Sage woke up and glared at Rowen he noticed that he was on the cell. This late at night it could only be Cye. Gesturing for the phone so Rowen could get dressed and wake the others he spoke up. "What’s going on Cye?"

"Sage, I told Rowen to get you guys out of bed and down here tonight, I’ll wait up for you all but I have a little situation I want you all to look at. Especially you Sage." The warrior of Wisdom raised an eyebrow at the phrasing but understood.

"I see to it that we are all down there soon. Local problem?"

"I don’t know how local it is Sage, she says she is a traveler and I know that she has been around here for a few weeks. Something about her. Something about her unnerves me Sage. She has a death wish and a rather sincere one at that. She challenged me to a battle to the death tomorrow evening after dark. Knowing what little I do know about her. I slip once, she’ll kill me with out hesitation." Cye was worried but he knew that the more information he was able to give Sage about the woman the better their chances were of finding out just what this woman was fighting.

About a half hour later the guys were awake and assembled down stairs being about as quiet as four young men in sub-armor with a White tiger could be. Sage had written Mia the not telling her where they were going to be and that they would call as soon as they had any more information as to how long they would be gone or if they needed her to try to look something up in her grandfather’s files.

Gathering their respective abilities they concentrated on Rowen and as he armored up fully he took to the air and grabbed the others to go along for the ride. He trusted the Strata armor like he trusted his friends and that trust only made his abilities with the armor stronger. Moving quickly he focused on Cye’s location and knew that he would meet them out at the hut that he had for times when he needed to be alone for a few days.

About an hour later the guys touched down all of them still tired from having been woke up in the middle of the night. One look at Cye’s face however and they knew that things were more serious than he let them know over the phone. Taking them into the little hut they all sat around the table to talk about the situation. Sage, knowing part of the situation continued to stand and listened as he looked out at the stars.

What Cye knew about the girl was not a lot. He knew what he had felt at the fight and he had tried to find out information about her from the village before today. Not having any luck he just thought that she was a traveler that was taking a rest from her journeys. This did not seem to be the case anymore as he related the evening’s events. The description of her was well done as he could draw decently. What drew Sage’s eyes to the picture however were the eyes of the girl.

As Cye described them the others understood why the woman might have unnerved Cye. Her eyes were one shade of black and they did not reflect anything like a normal person with dark eyes would. Not even the small light that was offered by the lamps that Cye had in there.

Looking at Cye Sage changed into his subarmor and asked Cye if he knew where the woman stayed. Telling him about the room above the restaurant that the manager told him about, Cye asked Sage to be careful. Something about her fighting style suggested that she would be a match for any of them even in their sub-armor. Nodding Sage disappeared into the night to get a feel for his friend’s opponent.

Choosing to take the streets instead of roof hopping he moved quickly and was almost like one of the shadows in the town as he moved. Smiling slightly to himself he found himself wondering if Cale knew about this little trick the light bearer knew.

Knowing that Cye would be honorable in the battle did not reassure him in the least, especially if the girl was as good as Cye had told them. Walking up to the building he found himself surprised that Cye was right about one thing. If she was here, he couldn’t sense her.

Walking around to the door he found it open and crept up the stairs praying that his boots would make too much noise to disturb her. As he entered the main room he was nearly blinded as his eyes had to readjust to a new light level. Sitting cross-legged on the floor with her cloak and kasa on was the mystery girl. Laid across her knees was the ornately carved staff hand on it as if she was expecting an attack.

Sage merely bowed to her and looked at her closely. There was something about her that unnerved him. Almost like he was having the bug-under-the-microscope-look turned back on him and she was seeing right down into his soul from under that hat. "I am Date Sage, What is your name?" Perhaps they would not have to fight. Sage did not want to do any damage to her but she looked like she knew what she was about with the staff as she stood up. Still several inches shorter than the Ronin in green she spoke softly as if she did not want to disturb anyone.

"My name is not important to you. Leave me be." Her voice though light and hard to place to Sage still bore a hard edge to it leaving no room for argument. Sage backed up a step at the semi-hostile greeting then settled again.

"Look, I am not here to hurt you. I just want to find out more about you. Maybe help fight what ever it is that you are running from." Sage never got to finish out his words as she moved so fast he could barely follow her and flipped him down the stairs. Following him down she pinned him with her staff at his forehead and her foot on his throat.

"I said leave. Do not be as foolish as your friend Cye. He will either die, or he will kill me tomorrow night. I do not run from something that is a part of me. I have my secrets and I will die with them. Now leave me be!" Her head tipped down the shadows served to conceal her features. She released him from her strangle hold on his throat as her voice hissed out her demands.

She moved swiftly going back up to the spare room and locking the door behind her. Sage knew he was beat this round and decided to go back to the guys to tell them what he discovered. Taking the roofs back was the fastest route so he jumped and ran. He knew what unnerved his friend so much now and what had unnerved him that little bit enough to put him off his guard in the upper room.

Getting back it was not more than an hour after he left and Cye looked up expectantly at his friend. "Well??"

"Well, we know what made you so uneasy. Made me uneasy too thinking that someone was able to actually pull it off with out loosing themselves to it." His words got the attention of the other Ronins as Sage recounted the tail including how she pinned him in less than two moves and didn’t think twice about it.

What we sensed in her was something that my family has strived to achieve for several generations now. She is in perfect balance. Life death, fast slow, you name it she is at the balance point of each. In the case of good and evil, something we can all sense through our armors, she is perfectly neutral. That was what you and I sensed in her."

"The fact that we can not sense her in a power balance is because she is at that balance point. Yet she acts as if this was how she was her whole life. We will have to wait for your fight to see what is going on. We’ll back you up if you need it. But she is going to be tough to beat. Even if you use your full armor." That pronouncement shocked them all as they knew that Sage was the best gauge of them all in abilities. Armor or no, they were all lucky she was in balance and not evil. They would have preferred it of course if she had be on the side of good, but Neutrality of the sort Sage was talking about was impossible, yet this girl was living that life.

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