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Author Name: FreeThunder Wolf 7 Comments
Date Added: October 06, 2004 05:10:04 Average Score: (Needs 2)
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Zar the Mercenary (part four)
Zar had not been walking for very long when he thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He quickly glanced in that direction but all he could see were tree trunks and darkness. He continued walking and after several more minutes he again saw some sort of movement off to his left. This time he had a plan, he noted an extremely large oak tree a little to his right up ahead so he angled towards it. As he started to walk past the huge trunk of the tree he quickly sidestepped behind the tree, drawing Soulreaver from its scabbard and stopped. "Let's see if I am imagining things or really seeing something in the trees." He thought.

He stood absolutely still and almost held his breath as he waited to hear or see whoever was following him. Several minutes pass by with not a sound heard or any movement noted in the trees. It is so quiet he can hear the sound of his heart beating in his chest. Just as he is starting to think that maybe the exhaustion is playing tricks with his mind he see a pair of green eyes looking at him from behind a tree about fifty yards ahead of him.

He trys to make out any details of whatever is out there but it is just at the limit of his sight in this dark forest and all he can see are the eyes. Suddenly they are gone. He blinks a couple of times and studys the area where he last saw them but only sees the trunks of trees again. He remains motionless as all of a sudden the eyes reappear a little closer to him. He can now start to make out a shape to go with the eyes. It looks to be some sort of large cat but it is still too far away to make out much detail yet. Slowly the cat advances towards the mercenary until he can see that it is definitely a large black panther.

The panther has a beautiful jet black coat of fur and the most vivid green eyes he has ever seen. As the panther continues its slow progress towards him, Zar tightens his grip on Soulreaver and starts to think about ways to take out the cat when it attacks. He knows that in his weakened state he is going to have a very hard time surviving this encounter. He can see the muscles of the cat ripple beneath the sheen of the black coat and is amazed at the quietness with which it moves through the forest. Even at this close range he still can not hear any sound being made by the cat.

When the panther reached a point about 25 yards away it stopped and sat down facing him. After five or six minutes the cat rose up and turned around and started to walk away from him. The panther took a couple of steps then stopped and looked over its shoulder him. Zar grew curious and spoke aloud "Do you want me to follow you?" At that the cat resumed to slowly walk away from him. "Well, let's see where this leads me. It can't get much worse than the situation I am in now anyway."

Slowly he started to follow the big panther but even though he had a strange feeling that he could trust this mysterious cat he kept Soulreaver drawn and ready. The beautiful black cat walked along effortlessly and quietly. Every fifty feet or so the cat would look back over its shoulder as if to make sure the mercenary was still following. To test this Zar decided to stop at one point to see what the panther would do. As soon as he stopped, the cat stopped and turned around as if to say "What are you stopping for?" Zar shrugged and started walking towards the panther who turned and continued on.

Soon the panther started heading in a north-easterly direction. Zar wondered if any of the black arrows would soon thunk into any nearby trees but no arrows materialized. Well at least that was one enemy that he hopefully did not have to worry about again for awhile. After a few hours of uneventful travel Zar suddenly heard a faint sound. He paused to listen and his pulse started to quicken, it was the sound of running water. Could it be that this strange and mysterious panther had led him to water on purpose. He definitely could sense intelligence when he looked into those beautiful green eyes but this was totally unexpected. Zar quickened his pace and the panther quickened its own to match.

A few minutes later they came upon a small river. Zar put Soulreaver back into its scabbard as he ran to the bank of the river and dropped to his knees and took a deep drink of the cold water. The mercenary knew from all of his training not to drink too much water too fast so he took this opportunity to refill his canteen and take a much needed bath while the panther sat on the grassy bank watching him. Zar could feel the water washing away the weariness from his muscles as well as almost a weeks worth of dirt, sweat and grime. After his invigorating and refreshing dip in the river, he climbed out onto the riverbank and flopped down beside the panther on the grass. He had not been laying there long when the cat got up and started to head north along the river. Zar rose to his feet and began to follow the cat.

After about two hours the panther started to head towards a large hill located about a mile from the river. As they got closer to the hill Zar could see that it was covered by numerous large boulders and rock piles. He watched as the panther disappeared behind one of the large boulders that was surrounded by dense bushes. He walked to where the cat had disappeared and found a cave opening behind the boulder. As he peered into the darkness of the cave he could barely see the black panther about 25 feet inside the cave. The cat was sitting next to something near the cave wall but he could not make out what it was from where he stood. Slowly he entered the cave allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkness of the cave after being outside. Now he could see what the cat was sitting next to. It was the skeleton of a human being. "Did you bring me all this way to kill me?" he asked as he slowly started to reach for Soulreaver.

The cat nudged the hand of the skeleton and Zar noticed the golden glimmer of a ring on one of its fingers. "What are you up to?" He wondered as he watched the panther back up and move deeper into the cave. He knelt down to get a better look at the ring and noticed right away that it had a large green stone shaped like the eyes of the panther. He cautiously reached out and slid the ring from the skeleton's finger and then walked back to the mouth of the cave to better examine the ring. When he reached the cave opening he turned and saw that the cat had moved back to the skeleton and was sitting next to it.

Zar held the ring out in front of him to better see it and noticed that there was a faint etching of a panther running around the entire band of the ring. He was amazed at the beauty of the strange green stone, but could not identify the type of stone it was. He also noted that it was a rather large ring and looked as though it could easily fit over his thumb. "The previous owner must have been a very big man." he said. Zar slid the ring onto his left ring finger just to see what it would look like. He was shocked as suddenly the ring shrunk down in size to fit his finger perfectly.

"Be calm, do not be afraid." A voice spoke in his mind.

Zar spun around, whipping Soulreaver from its scabbard looking for the unknown speaker.

"It is I, Jisiri the panther."

"Now I know I am loosing my mind, animals can't speak." He said.

"I am not talking out loud, you are hearing my thoughts in your mind because of the ring you are now wearing." Jisiri said. "It is a magical ring that allows the wearer and I to communicate with each other. I know that you are almost starving so I will go catch something for you to eat, then we will talk. There is also some wood further back in the cave so you can light a fire to roast your dinner." With that Jisiri bounded out of the cave and out of sight.

Soon Zar had a small fire burning inside the cave. He sat down near the fire to allow the heat to finish drying his still damp clothing. As he sat near the fire he watched the way the firelight danced along Soulreaver's blade which took him back to another time.....
Author's Notes:
Finally Zar has a companion again. Hope to have part five up soon.
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'Zar the Mercenary (part four)' Copyright © Richard Johnson
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Comment By: FreeJ on July 31, 2005 02:21:08 PM Report
Very intriguing. I can't wait for the next installment.
Comment By: AdminRichardM on July 18, 2005 12:16:37 AM Report
Wow, this is really wonderful, Richard! My goodness these are all such gems! I agree with Len!
Comment By: FreeLeonard Wilson on October 29, 2004 02:33:51 AM Report
So.......where's part 5?????
Comment By: FreeLeonard Wilson on October 12, 2004 03:21:07 AM Report
Sometimes you just gotta step out on faith..I really like this,Richard.You are a story teller.This is a very compelling write.AND...I love them paragraphs.:O}...len
Comment By: FreeShe Whispers on October 6, 2004 09:12:42 PM Report
Comment By: FreeGay Johnson on October 6, 2004 11:38:45 AM Report
Ohhh babe, this is riviting. Jisiri is magnificent. I can hardly wait to see what adventures they come up with.
Love you babe.
Comment By: FreeLady Dragonwyck on October 6, 2004 08:32:35 AM Report
Richard, I havent been reading the previous chapters; but, the panther with the green eyes got my attention.
I really like this....

Lady Dragonwyck


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