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THIRD


Terrible lightning crackled in the dark sky as rain poured down relentlessly, beating down on the earth below as if the heavens had decided the world was to come to an end today.

And the world was coming to an end today. His world. Third was his name and his were the eyes of rage. Clad in mud caked heavy armor and armed to the teeth, the muscular Tryker trudged on.

Third. Blessed by Jena. The perfect homin. Pride of the Matis and the Karavan. The infinity symbol tattooed on his forehead, alongside the number "3".

Thunder roared like it never had before and the bark trembled. Jugulas growled and threw themselves at Third, one after another, and it seemed like there was no end to them. But the deadly poison and sharp fangs of the Jugulas only made Third scream louder - a wrathful, desperate, bestial scream that sent animals scuttling across the forest maze.

Teeth gritted, Third fired several rounds with his autolauncher. Loud explosions, blood splattered all over his armor, pieces of Jugula flying everywhere. All his pain, all his losses... her eyes, of the deepest blue... all his life, and all his fears. It all came together at that exact moment.

Once, a long time ago, there had been other doors. Other paths. But one by one, Third closed them all. And now there was only this blood red narrow path, which he followed with abandon. This trail of revenge, hatred and power. And at the end of this path he would find him... the Dark Zoraï. A myth, a nightmare of sleeping gods, a Kami demon.

And inside his hut, deep in the forest maze, the Dark Zoraï smiled. He was pleased. Third, Blessed by Jena, was on his way. The pride of the Matis and the Karavan. Third, the perfect homin.

***

Her eyes, of the deepest blue. They were the very first thing Third saw when he awakened to this world. She was a Matis, so graceful and unique. So intelligent and so very stubborn.

They walked together, and Third could see three homin sized cylinders made with some sort of hard transparent material. Plants of different sizes, colors and shapes filled the entire chamber, interwoven with the three cylinders as if they belonged together.

She talked to him. About oh, so many things. About life on Atys, about friends and war... and she told him everything she knew about love. And they loved each other. And their love was pure like the sap that flowed in the core of the planet. Like empty glasses, they filled each other to the brim and beyond, until it overflowed. And throughout all this, the Karavan scientists watched.

In those days, there were so many doors. So much hope. So many enemies and wars. And Third fought them all. He fought them like each victory could change the world. He fought them like there was no tomorrow. He fought them as if he was invincible. The perfect homin. And throughout all this, the Karavan scientists watched.

***

The door to the hut burst open and Third stepped in. Rain, wind and darkness came with him. The Dark Zoraï waited for him, sitting cross legged on the wooden floor. Wrinkled black skin. White eyes completely devoid of pupils. And... no mask. The demon smiled.

Third had one bloody dagger in each hand and he took another step towards the Dark Zoraï,

"You will repair her life seed," he said, "You will ressurect her."

But the black skinned demon shook his head sadly, "We merely granted her a wish. What is done cannot be done. This is a one-way road. There is no return. We just show the way."

Third spat on the Dark Zoraï's face and snarled, "Ressurect her or die, abomination!"

The demon laughed. And it was as if his laughter had pierced the fragile fabric of reality, exposing the innards of the universe in full view. But Third was not prepared for that vision... he was not built to see those dark secrets. Alien promises and threats murmured to his ears. All the paths he could have taken, might have taken. The glory, the deaths. The defeats, the fall. Anything and everything. And that looming, ominous presence... so dark and so alien, the unity of it all. Transcendence.

As simple as that, Third could embrace that wet darkness. How could he ever have concerned himself with such mundane and trivial events? Slowly, reality began to slip between his fingers. Dimensions coalesced and the golden path of Infinity stretched before him.

Her eyes, of the deepest blue.

Third roared and cried and spat blood everywhere. Rage consumed him. Rage against Jena and the Planet, rage against everything he could not see. When Third finally opened his eyes, the dead, mangled body of the Dark Zoraï lied underneath him, stabbed to death by the bloody daggers in his hands.

Slowly, unsteadily, the battered Tryker stood up. All of a sudden, he felt so tired. So old, so alone. For the first time in his whole life, Third began to doubt his perfection.

***

It was Spring in Yrkanis. Flowers bloomed everywhere and Karavan banners flew proudly in the air. Third could only look at her eyes and nothing else. They drank, they laughed, they danced.

It was Fall in Yrkanis. She spent more and more time talking to the Karavan scientists. Sometimes they would argue. So many secrets and half truths. Sometimes he could hear a name whispered... the Dark Zoraï.

Winter came upon Yrkanis. They yelled at each other now. She was determined. She was going to see the Kami Demon. She had a request for him.

Third felt like the world was falling apart around him. He could not fully comprehend the reasons behind all that. She fled into the night and entered the forest maze. She was determined to forget him, to forget their love. But how can one forget the very thing that defines her?

The Karavan scientists tried to stop him. They told him she was dead, beyond any repair. Third, Blessed by Jena. The perfect homin. He slaughtered them all and fled Yrkanis. He would find the Dark Zoraï. He would make him bring her back.

***

Third stood alone in the darkness. The rain had finally stopped. The dark clouds had parted and starlight trickled down from the sky above.

In front of him, the hut of the Dark Zoraï burned, engulfed in flames. Third watched, silhouetted by the fire. A fleeting smile curved his lips for a moment and he tossed his weapons into the flames.

He was Third. And his was the silence of the night.

---

"We are Kami. We are here to be you. We are many as you are of many minds. We are one as you are one in Ma-Duk."
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