Fan fiction:Winds of the Kae Huron/Chapter 6: Divo
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Winds of the Kae Huron is a fan fiction piece by Nephilim, originally posted in the Diii.net Fan Fiction Forum. The fiction series was reposted on January 29th 2004. You can find more information on Winds of the Kae Huron article.
Chapter 6: Divo
The cliffs melted away, the winds died, and the skies parted. Blue. Skies were blue here. He wasn't wearing his thick furs, and when he breathed, he could smell the wet, summer scent of marshes, not the smell of snow. There was a flower by the tent. It was black. He had never seen a flower like that before. He had fewer scars, of all kinds.
Bohdan had met Divo when she broke Kashya's orders and followed Vidala, Kaelim, M'avina, and Bohdan himself into the monastery graveyard. He had saved her from Blood Raven's flaming arrows. They had battled a host of undead Rogues as Vidala and Kaelim took care of Blood Raven. When the former Rogue fell with a piercing scream, lightning had shot out from her writhing body and danced across the gravestones. Bohdan had dropped his halberd and fell on top of Divo, as he felt the hairs on his neck stand up. The undead fell to pieces around them. But after the electricity had fallen out of the air, they stayed on the ground together.
"I am Bohdan," he said quietly.
Divo was weeping, but whispered her name. A drop of blood fell on Bohdan's broad back, and he shivered. They were huddled beneath the gallows tree in the centre of the graveyard. That was why she wept.
They didn't stand until Vidala called out for him.
Kashya's joy at Blood Raven's death distracted her from Divo's mild insurgence, and she was not punished.
After that, Divo barely left Bohdan's side. She told him all about the Sisterhood, and about when the Citadel was taken. The joy went out of her voice so quickly it made Bohdan feel sick. But he listened, because that was what she truly needed. She insisted on accompanying them on their journey to retake the Monastery, along with a good deal of other Rogues, too. But Bohdan suspected that it wasn't just her loyalty to the Sisterhood that drove her to do it, but a loyalty to him, too.
He wasn't sure when they fell in love, but they did. He remembered that she was just a good friend when they slew Treehead Woodfist together and took the Scroll of Inifuss off that haunted Tree, but they were in love by the time Deckard Cain set foot in the Rogue camp.
"I would forsake my vows for you," she said, once.
He didn't know what those vows were, but it made him feel so much more than what he was.
Then came the day he battled Coldcrow.
Her skin was white, and her lips were black. She rode a grey horse with red eyes and a black mane. Bohdan was never sure if that horse was alive or not. Over her chest was the dead body of a raven, and raven feathers had been stuck into her arms and legs. Her teeth had become sharp, long, and numerous, and wrapped around one arm was the strange, root-like growth, sprouting horns at the elbow and shoulder, which marked the Rogues who had fallen under Andariel's malicious spell.
Her name had once been Blaise.
She came upon them in the forests by the swamp. Basanti had thought that it would be wiser to avoid the camps of fallen ones, for their Shamans dwelt there, and they made battling the fallen much more complicated than it needed to be. But Coldcrow and her cadre of archers were there waiting for them.
There was a disturbing fervor with which the corrupted Rogues murdered their former kinswomen. Some were farther gone than others. Those ones had lost their hair, and their eyes were more devious and furious. Their features were stretches and distorted, and they were covered in the rust-coloured vines of corruption with demonic horns sprouting from various joints. Coldcrow still had her hair, but she commanded them with a grim satisfaction that terrified Bohdan to the core of his soul.
Basanti was in the middle of saying something when five arrows suddenly grew out of her back.
Bohdan, Divo, and the other Rogues with them stared in amazement as Basanti fell silently forward into the underbrush.
There was a horrific moment of silence.
The corrupted Rogues had somehow found a way to mask themselves from the discipline that was taught to the Sisterhood. The Sightless Eye could not aid them against their own.
The demonic warcries of the turned Sisters filled the forest. Their voices sounded like there was a second one overlaid on top of it.
One burst from her hiding, and smashed a Rogue in the side of the face with a hatchet. She fell with little ceremony. Bohdan swung his halberd and sliced off two thirds of her head as the Rogues shot a dozen arrows into her chest. Bohdan was amazed that he wasn't hit. The mist-light of her soul left her body, blinding him for a moment.
Then they were upon them in full. Five corrupted Rogues wielding swords, clubs, and axes, and probably six of seven rising from their hiding places in the forest and loosing arrows from their bows.
Bohdan killed two of the melee Rogues, and heard one behind him die. Divo shouted something to another Rogue, and the sound of their bowstrings thrumming filled his ears. He pulled a knife from his boot and threw it at an archer. She dodged, and he felt an arrow from another one pierce his thigh. But he had entered battle, and felt no pain. Ignoring the offending Rogue, he instead focused on the one he had already chosen, and leapt over a log to bring his polearm down with both hands upon her. She tried to dodge, and he missed her head, but clove her chest in two. The strange light climbed out of her body and evaporated into the air.
He turned, and it was then that Coldcrow climbed the hill into view, upon her unholy steed, with an arrow on her bowstring, and a look in her eyes that held only hatred and malice. The arrow was on fire with blue flame.
She fired and stuck one Rogue through the neck, and Bohdan realized that there were still a number of other corrupted Rogues still alive. Coldcrow had no reins on her horse, but it moved, it seemed, in the direction she wished it to go.
"The Sightless Eye has blinked," she said in her strange, double-voice. "It cannot save you now."
Bohdan was beginning to feel the pain in his leg as he trudged through the thick foliage to get to Divo. Another Rogue got an arrow in her chest, but fired off her last arrow as she fell, and struck the corrupted Sister who had killed her in the stomach. She was still alive, but doubled over. Divo finished her off.
Divo fired an arrow at Coldcrow, but the horse suddenly started and caught it at the base of the neck. It flinched, but Bohdan still couldn't be certain it was alive. It occurred to him, as he crashed through a pile of sticks into the clearing, that Andariel could corrupt animals just as she did the Rogues. But had had no time to think of it. Divo and three other Rogues, two of whom were wounded, readied their arrows at Coldcrow, who kept her distance.
She was not at all alarmed at the four arrows pointed at her face, and that alarmed Bohdan to no end. He felt the pain throbbing in his thigh, but ignored it and made as threatening a stance as he could, knowing all the while that range had him at a disadvantage, and if a warrior of Coldcrow's skill truly wished, he would be dead long before he had the chance to lay a blow. Bohdan didn't chance a look around, but knew that the corrupted Rogues had all been slain.
Bohdan heard the choking gasps the Rogues behind him made. Divo had tears in her eyes. He knew that she and Blaise had been friends.
"This is not Blaise," he whispered.
She may not have heard him.
Coldcrow sat there on her horse for several minutes, staring at them with that same malevolence and revulsion. Her hair, and the feathers she had pervaded herself with, ruffled in the wind.
"Your old life is gone," she said, and that hollow echo made Bohdan shiver in spite of himself. She didn't even announce it. She said it all with a casual clarity that only the mad and cruel could understand. "The Monastery has fallen. Your Sisters are slain. Hope has escaped from this land, never to return. Whatever dreams you have of gloriously returning to your Citadel are only that. Dreams. Memories. Anguish has taken this land, and that is all it feels now."
The Rogues stood still. Bohdan could hear the tautness in their strings, and in his own muscles. He felt blood and sweat drip down his leg. The arrow was still there. When he tensed his leg, his tendons caught fire, but he kept them tense nonetheless.
Coldcrow sighed listlessly, and spat on the ground, then growled, showing her sharpened teeth. "Very well. Cling to a sinking superstition and die along with it. The earth will swallow you up just like the birds and the rats.
The horse turned and walked away.
None of the Rogues fired.
Bohdan felt a tear slide down his cheek, and clenched his teeth.
Coldcrow descended the hill into the forest.
The Rogues lowered their bows almost simultaneously. Wendy looked at the two Rogues who had been injured. "We need to get them back to the camp," she said, and helped one to her feet.
Divo knelt down. "Hold still," she warned quietly, and gently pulled the arrow from Bohdan's leg. It hurt very much, but he knew it could have hurt more.
She cleaned the wound with spit and a rag she had tied around her arm. It was a rag all Rogues had tied around their arms. She had never explained that.
She stood, and Bohdan stuck the end of his halberd in the dirt and leaned on it. She lifted his hand, put the rag in it, and closed his hand around it, holding it tightly. She leaned into him and kissed his sweating chest.
"I love you."
Bohdan smiled gently. "Thank you," he said sincerely. I love you too, he thought.
He turned. Wendy and the others were a fair piece ahead of them. He sighed, looked at Divo, and began to follow them.
He took eleven steps before he realized that she wasn't by his side. He turned around.
Divo was standing on the crest of the hill, a fair distance away. Maybe it was only his dream, but he could see her eyes as clear as if she was in his arms. He had never seen despair until he looked into her eyes. He looked down, at the rag in his hand, still covered in his blood and her spit. He clenched it tightly in his fist.
Divo sighed heavily, and then slowly trudged down the hill.
He killed Coldcrow at the edge of the Monastery gate. M'avina knocked her off the horse and he sliced her in half with his halberd.
The world turned a lighter shade of hopeless, and the smell of loss filled his nostrils. The trees turned to mountains, the blue turned to grey, and the green turned to white. He tasted ice on the wind.
"Wake up, Bohdan," said Kaelim. "We're moving on."
Bohdan got to his feet immediately, and followed him through the remainder of the Pass.
He never saw Divo again.
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