The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
A WEEKEND STORY
The Sage of the Spirits, Prosper Freeman, hovered on the black rocks as he looked at the naked form of Sena moving down the valley.
The boy moved quickly but with stealth, carefully taking note of his surroundings and not trusting anything around him. He paused without breaking stride much, just a slowing down of his steps anytime he came to a new terrain or a landform, anything out of the ordinary.
Prosper noted how he used the natural lines of the landscape to move from seemingly good patches to obvious bad paths, avoiding pitfalls and dangerous water bodies or vegetation.
“The Walk of Life!” Prosper murmured to himself. “Caution is established. Well done, boy.”
Suddenly, Prosper saw two black masses moving behind the boy!
They were in the form of humans, but they were spectral, unseen spiritual forces that were holding swords. Prosper felt a stab of uncertainty and confusion.
“Goodness!” he murmured. “The Assassins!”
In a puff of cloud, Prosper disappeared from the mountaintop and appeared between the two spiritual assassins! They turned towards him with instant growls, but they relaxed when they saw it was the Sage.
“What is this?” Prosper hissed fiercely. “Are you here to assist him, or your agenda is diabolical?”
“Any agenda comes from those we serve,” one of the assassins whispered. “We follow him.”
“To assist?” Prosper persisted.
“He passes the Walk of Life, he is free,” the other one said.
“And if he fails?”
“He dies,” they said in unison.
“He dies?” Prosper whispered. “He dies?”
“If he fails he cannot be the Chosen One,” one said.
“But everyone fails!” Prosper cried, horrified. “Even seasoned Walkers have failed in the past, and had to walk again!”
“Not this one,” the other assassin said grimly. “He’s the Sword of the Spirits. He cannot fail.”
“He’s but a child!” Prosper cried. “He’s fourteen years old… well, fourteen and a half, at most! He’s been here all this while, and they trained him in the Dark Abyss! Surely, the revered Spirits must know he is the One! If he dies, the Armageddon will consume Earth, and come down to consume Halo! What then?”
“Then humanity, on all multiverses, dies!” one of the assassins said.
“We don’t work on our own orders, Sage, just as you don’t work on yours,” the older assassin said grimly. “He fails, he dies. And don’t try to hinder us, old Sage.”
They surged forward, and Prosper moved up to look down at the young man who could not see that the assassins of the Spirits were following him!
Suddenly, a huge silver door appeared in front of Sena, and Prosper’s heart sank as he realized that the first door of the Walk of Life had appeared.
And when Sena reached it the door opened by itself, and Sena walked through. The silver door shimmered and Prosper vanished and appeared behind Sena.
The terrain behind the door was freezing!
Ice covered the whole landscape and the wind was fierce, chilling the blood in seconds. It was obvious that Sena, in his naked state, could not survive ten minutes in this sub-zero temperature.
The boy’s bleak eyes surveyed the grim landscape and he noticed an ice-covered building in the distance. He tried to walk through the wind towards the igloo, but the winds were too fierce and strong, and it drove him back relentlessly.
The assassins raised their swords above Sena’s head.
The boy could feel the wind strongly against his body up to his neck, but he felt no sting on his face, and he immediately knew that the wind was blowing at chest level.
With a grim expression, he suddenly spun into the air in a spectacular triple spin, sailing and turning over three times above the flow of the terrible breeze, and landed again on his feet several meters from where he had been standing.
Again, the strong winds threw him back, but he spun up and above the flow of the wind, and after such seven spinning leaps he came to the door of the igloo.
As he was leaping, the assassin lowered their swords and floated behind him silently, but when he landed and headed for the door they immediately raised their swords over his head.
Sena hesitated for a moment in front of the door, then he carefully put his ear to the door, listening carefully and noting how the voices within the room died down.
He then knocked and waited, but no one came to the door.
Floating high above, Prosper watched as the boy moved around the igloo without opening the door, taking in the lay of the huge structure and the two shuttered windows on each side.
Prosper wondered why the boy did not force himself through the door. Maybe, the assassin would kill him for hesitating and not taking the initiative to get out of the freezing cold.
Prosper floated high above the igloo and looked down, and saw about six huge men in the huge room. Three were holding bows and the arrows fixed and drawn back tautly were pointed at the door, and his blood ran cold.
If Sena had entered the room forcibly, he would have been a dead boy!
He glanced around and saw that the boy was running towards the igloo with huge balls of snow in his hands. He jumped high and his right foot landed on the side of the igloo, and he used his momentum as leverage to spin into the air, turned over, and landed on the roof of the igloo.
The men raised their arrows towards the roof when they heard the thudding sound, then Sena spun towards the chimney and dropped the balls of snow through the chimney, one after the other!
As the round orbs hurtled downwards, Sena was already running towards the front of the building. Prosper saw the men in the igloo looking upwards and tracking Sena’s run, and then the first snowball dropped into the fireplace with a loud splatting sound, followed by the second and the third!
All the men swung sharply towards the fireplace, and one of them let his arrow fly into the fire. With their attention diverted, Sena spun off the roof of the igloo, turned over in mid-air and his feet crashed into the door.
It flung open under his onslaught and he went into the room, rolled once, and gained his feet.
The men swung towards him, taken by surprise.
Some tried to line up their arrows whilst the rest held up their swords as they tried to line up on Sena.
The naked boy did not pause on the floor to ask questions or make a claim. His mind processed the fact that these were hostiles, and by the time he spoke to them he would be dead.
As he rolled into the room, he spun on his shoulder and bounced into the air, crashing a fist into the jaw of the nearest man and a foot into the face of the other, dropping two arrow men simultaneously. He spun away from a sword, grabbed the arm of the attacker, turned him and threw him into the fireplace.
The man landed heavily and his clothes caught fire on the hot coals.
He screamed and came rushing out of the fire.
The other men were momentarily thrown off guard by the sight of their burning cohort, and in thirty seconds, Sena was a blur of fury as he moved like a spirit through them, his fists striking into vulnerable spots in the throat, ribcage and balls of the standing attackers, and they fell to the floor in various degrees of pain.
The man whose clothes were burning was screaming in agony. Sena caught him and threw him through the doorway. The man landed on the snow outside, rolled thrice, and the ice put off the fire.
Sena walked to the doorway and looked at the man who got groggily to his feet and looked at the naked boy with fear.
“Come,” Sena said calmly.
The man was agitated as he took cautious steps into the room as he gingerly fingered his singed skin. Sena turned and looked at the grim men. Those were looking at him with grudging respect, obviously scared by his blinding and ruthless handling of them.
Sena pushed the splintered door shut and pushed a table against it.
He noticed that there were four other doors that led to inner rooms, and he quickly scanned them. He found an elderly woman sleeping in one of them. One was a kitchen, and the other a washroom. The last one was a bedroom with a huge bed.
He looked at the men.
“I won’t harm you if you’re fair,” he said calmly. “I need food, clothes and boarding. In the morning, I’ll be on my way. Do you understand?”
The six looked at each other.
One was a huge bearded man with ripped arms and torso wearing a huge, bearskin coat.
“Get Amanda,” he said, his gaze on a bald-headed, mean-eyed man whose nose was still bleeding from Sena’s blow. “Let them fix him a hotplate. Issah, get the boy some clothes!”
A few minutes later, the one called Issah opened a wardrobe and brought warm clothes and sheepskin boots to Sena.
The boy dressed quickly, and when he stood up, they saw just how handsome and grand he looked.
The elderly woman woman looked at Sena grimly as the boy sat at the table with his back to the wall watching them coldly.
Thick, warm, rabbit soup with soft wheat bread was served for Sena. As the scent wafted into his nostrils, his stomach rumbled with hunger. He drew the tray towards him, and immediately Prosper saw the assassins hovering behind the boy with their swords raised.
Sena picked up a wooden spoon and carefully stirred the bowl of warm soup, and then picked up the bread. The assassins dropped their swords lower, and Prosper hovered a little closer to the room with fear.
“What do you expect him to do?” he roared with trepidation. “The boy is hungry, he just fought for his life! What must he do?”
Sena broke a piece of bread and then looked up at the people, his eyes boring into the woman.
“Which of them is yours?” he asked coldly.
The elderly, muscular man spoke drily.
“Come here,” Sena said.
The man walked forward dourly.
Sena handed him the piece of bread.
“Pick the spoon, scoop the soup, and eat,” the boy said.
The elderly man’s face became filled with latent fury immediately.
“You impudent little goat!” he grated out. “You dared to invade my home, took my clothes, burned my brothers, wounded us, and now you dare call my wife a murderer? Is she capable of poisoning you now?”
“Eat,” Sena commanded softly. “Drink.”
The man plopped the bread into his mouth, scooped soup, and drank.
Sena must have been dying from hunger, but he sat for a full minute watching the man, and when nothing happened to him, the boy began to eat.
The assassins withdrew as Sena ate carefully without rushing.
When he was done, he made the woman drink from the cup he had been given from the pitcher of water on the table. Again, he waited three minutes before drinking the water.
He then stood up and surveyed them.
“I will sleep in your room, on your bed, and be gone in the morning,” he said calmly. “The door will be open. If any of you crosses the doorline, I will kill him.”
He moved into the huge bedroom and lay on the bed with his face against the wall.
“Sena, Sena, face the doorway!” Prosper said softly to himself. “These men are wicked! These assassins have orders to kill you with just one fail! Face the door!”
Prosper watched with fear as Sena drifted into deep sleep!
He watched as the darkness crept forward, and almost two hours later he saw the men peering into the room, and then they began to speak earnestly to each other.
The short, bald-headed man was speaking with evil on his face, making gestures at the sleeping form of Sena. The elderly man was obviously not in agreement, but the short man was adamant, brushing aside his senior brother’s hand and drawing out a long, sinister knife!
“Sena, wake up!” Prosper whispered with terror, and yet he knew he could not help the boy. “Wake up, Sena!”
He watched with horror as the assassins suddenly drifted into Sena’s room and raised their swords above the head of the sleeping boy. The short man was creeping stealthily towards the open door as the five men and the woman watched with bated breath.
The man’s face was twisted with wickedness as he slowly eased a foot into the room.
“Sena!” Prosper whispered with fright.
The assassins raised their swords higher.
The short man entered the room with his knife held out sinisterly, and then his other foot crossed over. He took a step farther, then Sena turned from the wall and threw a knife he had taken from the dining table!
The knife turned over once and buried itself to the hilt in the short man’s throat.
Sena turned again and slept facing the wall.
The short man uttered a strangled cry and dropped his knife. His hand clutched his bleeding throat as blood poured from his mouth. He crashed down heavily into the main room, and his feet spasmed frantically as his life ebbed out of him.
Prosper watched the assassins floating out of Sena’s room and melting into the darkness outside.
The people moved back from the body of their dead colleague.
The elderly man was trying to tell the other men to go and drag the body from the doorway, but none of the other men moved. They shook their heads with horror and fear.
No one wanted to go near the doorway where Sena was sleeping!
Prosper sighed and began to ascend higher into the skies of the Underworld.
“You are indeed the One,” he whispered to himself with admiration. “Rest, Sena. More distance awaits you in the Walk of Life. But I do not fear anymore… no, I do not fear for you. I fear, though, for those in front of you.”
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