Alright, Lemme not talk too much. I’m sorry for the delay. Let the Fourth Day continue.
The columns of acolytes were just behind the lines of the disciples. The early morning sun met a deception, for the forests were neither empty of people, nor were they teeming with fauna. The acolytes had a whisper run through their ranks. The disciples were so few and perhaps the others had died for them fill their ranks. Perhaps they had died under similar circumstances. A disciple laughed under his breath. He turned to his fellow column-leader.
“Their eyes are not yet fully open. The first of them to do so always think giving themselves to the discipline of light is a mark of superiority.”
A voice out of the thin air asked, “Consoling yourself again? Your eyes are still being opened every day. Hopefully you’ll get to see everything before the second-death takes you.”
“See what I mean? The first death released his eyes, but his wisdom awaits him in the second death.”
“Perhaps it is you who awaits the second death?”
“Have you ever seen an Earth-giant before? It is not a man, it is not merciful, and it is not blind to you.”
Pandeseh shivered with excitement. Not from the banter, but because he could see the columns of Light-Acolytes. They vastly out-numbered everyone else. In fact, they formed a blockade 20 men deep, shielding Pandeseh and the others in a near perfect circle.
His mind went to Nedeseh, who was fast beginning to understand why he was asked to stand with the Long-Shadows.
“The Earth-Giants have been a mystery to us until the Stranger revealed their secret. They are the ‘projected animal rage’ of a hidden influence. Their way of war had kept their enemies at bay for centuries. They are nomads by nature, but are hired at great cost. Very great cost. Usually about 6 are sent here to use our land against us.”
Nedeseh looked at Nda Waniko with eyes that said all the Nda needed to know. The boy could see brief glimpses of what an Earth-Giant was.
“I can ‘see’ them. How do they do what they do?”
Nda Waniko was at a loss of words.
“I do not have the words to describe them. If you promise not to harm me as you ‘almost’ did, I can show you.”
Nedeseh nodded. Nda Waniko caused a darkness to fall, a ray of light came through and expanded into an apocalyptic scene.
Nda Waniko shared the most violent experience he’d had with the Earth-Giants.
Mountains seemed to rise and fall, shattered by disciples led by masters as iridiscent waves of darkness that swept into the Earth-Giants. It was like watching the beginnings of the wave that ended the world. Each drop was a frantically violent person slashing at the figures of red earth that seemed to surface from with the heaving wall of earth. But the figures also slashed back. There were streaks of lightning that marked the struck disciples going into their second and final deaths at the heart of the fight. Nedeseh followed the vision into the heat of the battle with the Earth-Giants and saw that the figures formed of the red earth had taken the shapes of men and they fought with the rage of a predator determined to have its prey. He saw Nda Waniko fight with grief in his eyes. Everytime lightning flashed, his grief became deeper and his fighting became even more violent. His sword was quick, precise and unrelenting, striking at pin-points where the forms held their ‘life’. He saw a sudden flash of green fire. He turned to see the Stranger had appeared with the Long-Shadows. The disciples fell back as luminescent dark green flames consumed the mountain with fire from within. Fountains of fire rose with intimidating results. The Earth-Giant suddenly sagged and began to flake apart, falling as clogs of baked earth in the forms of screaming men. He then heard a child’s cry and the Etsu of the Long-Shadows appeared with a teenager bound in chains.