I ran and ran as fast as I could away from that tavern. Away from the man I fell in love with when I was little. From my friends and family.
At that moment I wished I wasn’t the Red Shadow so some one could kill me.
I collapsed when I finally ran out of breath.
I wiped my eyes and looked around. I was right in front of the old cabin we lived at for so long. It was where our father taught us, where we learned, and played. It was our home.
I hadn’t been here in so long.
Weeds had over run the grass around cabin, the wood of the house was starting to decay and rot. Vines drapped down over the roof and tangled in the window frames.
Fresh tears started to form at my eyes as I walked to the back of the small cabin.
There it was, the mound of dirt with flowers and grass growing over it, the moss covered mark there.
I sat down in front of it. Shivering at the cold. It was only now that I realized I’d forgotten my cloak.
“Hey, Baba.” I spoke to the wind and sniffed back tears.
“How are you? We’re alright. Alec and Zuren are still as stupid as ever. Martin’s taken the role of the oldest since we got back. Reggie is still down in the town. Paul just came up.” I paused and let out a sigh, “He’s the biggest idiot of them all.”
I started to breathe a little heavier.
“Me?” I asked the air, “I’ve been trying to prove a woman can be just as strong as a man. But no one believes me. And now with Paul hanging around.”
I choked on a sob again.
“Baba, I honestly think I fell in love with Paul a long time ago. But I could never get up enough nerve to tell him anything like it.” I told the wind, “Baba, I wish you were here right now. You’d tell me what to do.”
The tears had finally cleared from my eyes.
“I really miss you, Baba.” I finally whispered, “Why did you leave us alone?”
I groaned and pulled myself off the floor. Everyone was glaring at me. Zuren offered me a hand up, but didn’t take it.
“Always stubborn.” He muttered.
“She shouldn’t have said it.” I told him.
“How the hell can that princess love you when you don’t understand women at all!” A red head with her hair pulled back into a side pony tail yelled at me.
“What are you talking about wench?” I spat.
“You know Jowey’s always been, sensitive.” Zuren told me picking his words carefully, “Over the time we’ve been apart she’s changed a lot more than she’d care to admit to.”
“What are you saying?” I asked him, “She took the name and you guys did the killing?”
“No, she is the red Shadow.” Martain said walking over to us, “Maybe it’s best explained not in words, but in a sight.”
He motioned for me to follow him, I did along with Zuren and Alec.
They lead me about ten minutes away from the tavern and into the woods. What I saw when we arrived there made my eyes go wide.
A giant pit dig out, the smell of blood, death, and fire filled my nostrils. Looking down I saw a mountain of bodies. All mutilated, all cut, stabbed, bloody. They were robbed and tossed carelessly into there with no respect at all.
“It never started like this.” Martain told me, “Started with going after abusive spouses, bandits that rape and kill, evil dept collectors and the works.”
“She eventually got the name Red Shadow.” Alec told me, “Bounty hunters and the like started coming up here looking for her.”
“She liked the attention knowing that the name she’d gotten had most likely reached you, but she hated the actual fights.” Zuren said.
“Three, maybe four or so years ago, everything changed.” Martain said, “She came back one night from the kingdom, and everyone knew by the look in her eye not to mess with her. But a small group of bounty hunters had come up looking for her.”
“She killed them on the floor in the tavern.” Zuren said, “Right where the carpet is. We couldn’t get those blood stains out of the wood floor.”
“After that she craved any and every fight she could get. Always to the death. We never knew what was wrong, we never asked. She’d never of told even if we did.” Martain had a far away look on his face.
“It was after she killed them,” Alec cut in, “That it was noticeable she changed. She drew her daggers on anyone who wanted a fight, whether it was with her or not.”
“Killing,” Martain said, “it’s the only thing that seems to bring her peace anymore. And these unfortunate to cross her blade are only one of three other pits full that she’d killed.”
“She goes down to the castle every now and again doesn’t she?” I asked and clenched my fists looking down at the faces of Ash, Barry, and the others.
“We never know when exactly, but we know she does.” Zuren asked, “Why? Do you know what might have caused this?”
“It was about three or so years ago,” I started, “That I’d lay with the princess in her bed.”
“And she’s seen.” Martain finished.
“I really don’t know women.” I thought out loud and ran a hand through my hair.
“Why’s that?” Alec asked.
“She might have developed feelings for me when we were kids, and I never noticed.” I admitted.
“They say absence makes that heart grow founder.” Martain told me.
“Sounds like something Reggie’d say.” I told them.
“Think you feel the same about her, Paul?” Zuren asked me.
I only smirked as I replied.