Chapter 24 - Recollections
As Cydric jogged, darting through the alleys in the slums he paused for just the
slightest of moments. A smile crept onto his face as it occurred to
him that the best place to hide was with Tsuana and his gang of dissenters, the
Aed Danu. They weren't the most noble of men and most of them
were quite crude by Cydric's standards, but it was really Tsuana that
Cydric trusted anyway. After all, it was Tsuana that had befriended the young assassin many years prior.
As he navigated to Tsuana's base
of operations he remembered the first time he met the Tuathan.
Nearly ten years ago, Cydric, a boy of just sixteen years, had just
fled from his master's violent temper with a bright red welt on his
brow. As he ran through the streets he rounded a corner and slammed into a man dressed in all black in the alley.
The man never even moved from the impact, but Cydric fell on his ass.
Fury building, Cydric's impulse was to attack. But as the man
extended his hand with a genuine smile on his face, Cydric's
temper ebbed away. Accepting the man's hand he rose and dusted himself off.
Looking up, Cydric realized his benefactor was almost six inches taller than himself and dressed
completely in black from head to toe. Even the rapier at the man's
side was black. The man's eyes were dark emerald green and his hair
was long, black, and shinned like raven's feathers in the sun. Though he
appeared no more early twenties there was a wisdom to his eyes
that the young teen could not place. "Well young man,
what's the hurry?" asked the stranger.
Before he spoke, Cydric remembered his manners.
"Sorry sir, it was clumsy and careless of me to be running around not
watching where I was going. I hope I didn't hurt you." Cydric said in
the same meek tone he used when speaking to his master. There was something
about this stranger that demanded respect.
Laughing, the stranger shook his head. "Well I know that running into me didn't
this, would you care to tell me what did?" The man pointed his finger at
Cydric's swollen brow.
Trying his best form of bravado, Cydric passed it off as nothing, but the
stranger persisted. "It looks like you could use something to eat. Come with me
and we can speak more comfortably." Part of Cydric told him to run, while
another stronger part of him made him stay. Looking back on things, Cydric
realized he was much like a beaten dog back then; so scared of even the
slightest hint of kindness for fear of the betrayal that would follow.
Halfway through Cydric's second bowl of soup, he remembered his manners and
introduced himself and told the stranger about his master, Darthes Blackblade.
It was his master's temper that had sent Cydric running blindly as he had done
for nearly two years. At the mention of his master's name, the stranger nodded
as if it was familiar to him.
The young man's tale seemed to genuinely interest the man; not like the con-artists who
simply listened for their next ploy. Recounting how he had been raised in the
temple orphanage, Cydric confessed his loyalty to Darthes was primarily out of
guilt. It was Master Blackblade that had saved him from being a
beggar in the streets.
The stranger nodded his approval of Cydric's loyalty, but even life debts had their limit as well.
With the end of Cydric's tale, the
stranger then excused his rudeness and properly introduced
himself. "My name is
Arthapratismavit Kosovati Tsuana Ixquimilli de Danann. But you my
young friend may call me Tsuana. Now, why don't we head to my home,
where we can take care of that welt before it swells anymore and by
the looks of you, you could probably use some more to eat also."
Cydric was more than a little taken back by this man's seemingly
genuine hospitality. In all of his short life, he had never met anyone
who did something for nothing, and as his eyes narrowed to
slits, Tsuana recognized the look of distrust. With a laugh, Tsuana slapped the
young man's back. "Relax, boy. I owe you no harm." When Cydric's meal was done,
Tsuana led him to an old abandoned storage house.
As they entered Cydric's suspicions were confirmed, the storage house
was completely empty. Whirling about to face Tsuana, he drew out his dagger
and held it before him in a defensive posture. "I knew you were up to
something! My master has many enemies, but if you are looking to hurt
him through me, it won't happen. He cares little to nothing about me
and neither killing me nor trying to get to him through me will work."
Then before Cydric could react, the flash of movement he witnessed
stung his hand as his dagger flew from his hand. Cydric's jaw dropped
as he realized that Tsuana went from a relaxed position to a fighting
stance had drawn his rapier and attacked in just the blink of an eye
stunned him. He had never seen anyone move so quickly!
Tsuana picked up the dagger as Cydric just watched, rubbing
his stinging hand. He knew he wasn't injured, but the blow to the dagger had
been so fast that the impact jarred his hand. By now he
knew that he wasn't dealing with some common ruffian, but a true
master. The look on his face changed from anger to awe in mere
moments. It was then that Tsuana lifted a section of flooring and
pointed towards the hole in the floor.
Looking down, Cydric saw light and could faintly hear voices.
Tsuana with a large smile handed Cydric back his dagger and motioned
for him to descend. As they headed down, odors assaulted Cydric's
senses, some pleasant, others offensive. But as they stood at the
bottom of the hole, the smell of freshly cooked venison overrode all
other scents, and Cydric was practically drooling when he was led to
a large room with several people and a few open places at a large
Over the course of the next two years, Cydric spent as much time with Tsuana and
his Aed Danu. It was Tsuana
that trained Cydric in the proper use of a short sword and dagger,
and all in the gang knew that if Cydric's sense of loyalty to his master wasn't so
strong, he'd have joined them permanently.
But as it was he was an honorary member and everyone
helped to teach the young man a thing or two here and there.
night, while the rest of the gang slept, Cydric and Tsuana stayed
awake and spoke.
"I don't get it, you fight like a man with centuries of experience,
but yet you are only in your mid to late twenties. How can this be?"
Cydric asked while sipping on a goblet of deep-red wine.
"Well Cydric that's because I'm not human per say. Have you ever
heard of Tuathans?" Tsuana replied.
There were tales of immortals; those who lived a thousand lifetimes that of a
human. With a look, and Tsuana's nod of assurance, Cydric's jaw dropped and his
eyes bugged out slightly. Sure he had heard the legends!
The Tuathans were created originally by the god Danu to combat
the evil forces that threatened to shift the balance of good and
evil. They were created for battle, men and women alike were fierce
warriors, masters in the weapons they wielded. Their combat skills were
unmatched on the planes where evil lurked. But evil gods
secretly started to create new races and began distributing them onto
other worlds, worlds where humans, elves, dwarves, and other goodly
Soon the evil races started to conquer the good races, twisting them into evil.
The gods of good saw this and transformed the Tuatha. Before the miracle Tuatha were twenty feet tall, bearing claws,
fangs, and wings with demonic appearances. But the gods knew that
they would never fit in on the world and they were remade to resemble humans.
Now, in the likeness of man, the Tuathans could blend in.
Even with their new bodies, the Tuathans were fierce warriors
and all who opposed them trembled in their boots. For many millennia
the Tuathans fought evil wherever it lurked, but as they fought and
died, their numbers grew sparse and before they had time to realize
it, they became a dying race with but a few handful of them remaining. The legends said that in the darkest hour of the world, the Tuathans would rise again to defend the world from evil.
"So you're saying that you're a Tuathan? Hell, if it was anyone else I'd say that they were
having delusions of grandeur. But after these last two years and the
expertise in which you fight..." Cydric paused. "Yeah I believe it."
"Good, now that you know what I am, you know I can teach you a great
many things, and that my words are not merely words but come from
experience. Cydric my friend, it is time for you to do us both a
favor; it is time justice prevailed for you, it is time for you to
break free from Master Blackblade and to do so you must kill him."
Cydric sat back in his chair as the reality of Tsuana's words hit him
like a blow from a mighty ogre. He scratched his chin in
thought and soon knew how he would do it; he'd use Darthes' own
poison against him. As he fixed his master his morning meal, Cydric
would put enough poison into the food and drink to kill at least ten
men. Cydric looked up at Tsuana and nodded his understanding; Tsuana
could see in Cydric's eyes that it would be done.
Now, almost eight years after the death of his master, Cydric ran to
the abandoned storage house and warily watching around to make sure
he was unseen. Slipping in through the secret entrance he
stood on the wood flooring and stomped out the secret "knock" and then
opened the trap door. As he climbed down, the usual sounds and scents
came wafting up to him, and for a moment Cydric forgot about his
problems. It was good to be home.