“There are only two spare reapers here,” says Gohvis.
Dozer is silent. He and Gohvis both look at nothing.
At length, Loren stands back up. They each stare at him, and he returns a similar expression of disbelief. They are not given long to understand what has happened.
“Now, your first test,” says Dozer. He allows Mira to return to the others and then motions to Loren’s four companions. “Kill one of them.”
Loren’s eyes widen, and he looks at the old man.
“They will not remain dead,” Dozer clarifies. “Just as you have been resurrected, so will they be. You have my word.”
That is not enough to convince Loren. He does not move.
“Test not my patience, boy. If you refuse, then I will choose for you. And I will not have them return. They will remain dead forever.”
Loren grows angry. “Why?! What is the point in making me do this?!”
“As I said, it is your first test.”
“How is this a test?!”
“A test of faith. Have faith in me--in my word--and all will be well. No harm will come to your friends.” Dozer folds his arms. “It is a very simple task, unless you make it otherwise.”
Loren looks between them all again. Pain crosses his face as he deliberates.
Dozer takes a step forward.
“Stop!” says Loren. He moves toward Mira. “I’ll do it!”
And the young man sees their exchange.
Loren apologizes to her. She tells him that it is okay, that he is right to choose her, that she does not mind. And Loren kills her. He is quick and precise. She falls into his arms.
The following silence is agony. He watches Loren’s frantic stare, locked on something invisible.
And Mira revives. Her return is met with relief and confusion.
Dozer divides their group now. The forest bandits are no more. Mira and Loren remain behind, and the other three leave on a boat to the northern town of Rohit.
The boat is a slaver ship, but they are not slaves.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Written by George M. Frost