The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
HELL IN HADES
There were too many doorways up there, and the rock surface was too broad. If most of these citizens were as belligerent as this one was, then he could spend a lifetime roaming that rock surface looking for Tatita.
He continued walking along, meeting one wild citizen after the other and no friendly ones. He wondered how they lived, what they ate, and how they survived. Above all, he wondered who these beings were.
Then, after walking quickly along the black rock, he suddenly came upon a group of the citizens. They were mostly younger than the ones he had seen so far, and they looked weaker, and unhealthy.
They were grouped at the base of one of the black rocks where there were no doorways, and they were sitting with their backs pressed to the rock and their arms around their knees. The red materials they were wearing were tattered and barely gave them warmth. There was despair on their faces, and hunger too.
Sena did not have to be told that these were the homeless and abandoned, a group of indigens that could be found in his own universe. Without hesitation, he brought out the sack he had kept the fruit-foods in. He took out the grey fruits that gave water.
The eyes of the hungry citizens shone with desperation when he brought out the fruits. Obviously, they knew what they were. They suddenly grouped around him, jostling, begging, crying, holding out their hands desperately.
“Please, Traveller, have mercy!” they screamed. “Quench our hunger, we beseech you!”
“Alright, alright!” Sena said and raised his hand. “Form groups of two. Quickly. Now!”
It was difficult at first, but he held up the fruits until it dawned on them that he would not budge from his position.
Reluctantly, under the instruction of one of them, a seeming leader they referred to as Skali, they formed groups of three, and he counted about twenty groups. He squatted, spread the sack, and began to break up the fruit-foods on it, ending up with forty pieces. He did likewise to the grey water-fruits, then he told them to come forward. Each received a piece of water-fruit and fruit-food.
They sat down against the wall again and ate ravenously, but the wonder fruits were enough for each of them, for a little bite filled the mouth, just as Sena had experienced.
“Why are you outside?” he asked the one called Skali.
He looked sadly at him.
“Our Guardians died, and others took over our doors. The breakers charge fruit-foods before they can break a door for us, and we can’t get fruit-foods. The Tigansis too are wild.”
“Slow down,” Sena said calmly. “Break doors? What does that mean?”
“They use special cutters, Traveller,” Skali said and stood up, then he pointed to the black wall and showed Sena a faint oval outline on the surface of the rock. “See this shape? If they cut through, a little deep, it breaks, and reveals the door behind, where there’s comfort and safety. Without the tools, we can’t break through. But we need fruit-foods to pay the Breakers.”
“So, if you break through this outline, the door behind becomes your home?”
“Yes, Traveller, forever!” Skali said.
“And the fruit-foods? Where do you find them?”
Skali pointed across the dust mist.
“Over there, on Red Rock. But that’s where the wild Tigansis live! They would kill you if they get you! When the weather turns, many of us go there to try and pluck foods, and many are killed by the Tigansis.”
“Alright,” Sena said and stood up. “I’m looking for Tatita,” he said clearly. “You know where I can find her?”
The young ones suddenly began speaking in wild voices, their expressions holding weariness and sudden caginess. Skali faced Sena with a worried frown on his black face.
“Why do you want Tatita, Traveller?” he asked suspiciously. “We’re glad you gave us food. But we don’t want Tatita to be hurt!”
“I need her to help me get out of the Desolates,” Sena said. “I was told she knows a way out, only her. And I don’t mean her any harm.”
Skali pointed a finger at Sena, and it was only then that he realized they had only three fingers on each hand, but they were huge and powerful fingers.
“If you hurt Tatita, Skali hurts you back badly!” he said in a voice he hoped was tough.
“Sure, Skali,” Sena said. “I mean her no harm!”
Skali retreated with his group, and they conferred for some minutes, then he came back to Sena.
“Alright,” Skali said. “Tatita is good. She was helping a lot of Traveller’s that came through, freely. But Hangit, he is very greedy, so he captured Tatita and her brother, and sent her to his door, up there! Now, before Tatita helps any Traveller, Hangit takes a sack of fruit-foods from them. If you want her to help you, then you must go to Red Rock, gather fruit-food and bring it to Hangit. But most Travellers die because…”
When his voice trailed off, Sena nodded grimly.
“The Tigansis kill them.”
Skali nodded miserably.
“Now that makes sense,” Sena said as he looked up the surface of the black wall. “So, Hangit is up there, holding Tatita and her brother up there.”
“Yes, the doorways up there are the most precious. They’re extremely difficult to cut, you see. Down here, it is easier, but up there, it is very hard. The Breakers spend many long moon turns over there, so only those who have a lot of fruit-foods are able to break doors at the top. But, the doorways are bigger, cooler, and contain more chambers, even storerooms with fruit-foods.”
Sena turned and began to walk up the crude steps that led up the surface of the Black Wall.
“Hey, Traveller!” Skali screamed with terror. “What are you doing? Where are you going?”
“Come along,” Sena said without pausing. “I want to see Hangit, and I want to break a doorway up there, and I want you guys to stay with me.”
“Break a door?” Skali shouted. “With what? Your bare hands?”
Sena held up a fist.
“You’re crazy, Traveller!” Skali screamed. “Hangit will kill you! You can’t even scratch the wall if you have cutters! It takes skill, toil, expertise! Please, don’t do this! It is folly, stupidity!”
“That’s why you’ll remain down there forever, Rock-Boy!” Sena said.
As he continued to climb, Skali spoke rapidly to his friends, and suddenly they began to climb up the wall after Sena. Their excited and yet scared voices followed the warrior of the Spirits.
Lord Lastor hovered in space, and his eyes were filled with great fury as he stared at the roaring inferno beneath him, then looked up at the oval-shaped bubble of cloud to his right where Sena was climbing the rock face with a host of young Desolate infants behind him.
“He walks the Desolates, in search of the Accursed Damsel of the Spirits. Their alliance, according to the Old Scrolls, will be an unholy one, a dent in our existence. It should not happen!”
Behind him was a collection of fierce and horrible demonic minions, huffing and puffing with vile intent.
“Then he must be stopped!” said a hunch-backed terror of a demon whose mouth and nostrils emitted fire as it spoke. It had five arm-like limbs on each side of its huge, hair-covered body.
“And the honour now falls on you, Plunder!” Lord Lastor said grimly. “Go on, my cherished friend. Meet him in the Desolates, and lay him to waste!”
The demon called Plunder bellowed, and as raw fire burned out of its mouth and nostrils, a fireball portal opened behind him, and he was sucked out and hurled towards the Desolates!
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