Chapter III: The Accused Truth

The door opened to meet a room of glazed wood and candles for light, while two guards (or what seemed like guards without armor, but farmers with spears) did their duty watch in front of a double door. The doors had a design that showed a family emblem depicting a royalty Vash has not seen since his awakening. The design was a pattern of leaves and a grapevine, and a lion caught within the tangle of vines.
Vash shut the door behind him and shook off his hood, rain dripping from his coat and face. He tried to shake off the drench and keeping his raincoat on, for he had no shirt underneath. "This is the Hall of the Achorach, yes?" The guards stood there with faces of concern and a watch of Vash's arrogant appearance. The guard on the left stepped forward. "And who may you be to enter this Hall?" "Well, I am the visitor whom your Master beckoned." "Name?" "Vash."
The guard looked behind for his comrade for an answer. The other guard had a face of some kind of worry. "We have not heard from any orders to let anyone else in, other than members of the Council. They are meeting at this time."
Vash took a breath. The men were just what Vash had been expecting; they were farmers struck with fear. "A man.Gregg is his name.came to my room and awoke me from my rest an hour before I walked in these doors. Are you or are you not certain your Master sent a messenger to retrieve me?"
The front guard replied with impatience. "Does it matter? We received our own orders."
The younger guard called the other out with an outstretched hand. "We cannot treat someone like this, despite of what we heard. It's not right."
"So you just want a stranger to waltz in with his nose up, when possibly he could be."
The double doors opening wide interrupted the argument. There was Gregg, looking down and opening the doors like a servant and stepping back against the door. A familiar voice down the hall rang clear and echoed. It was the voice of Avron.
"Friend! Come join me!"

The odds were now even more confusing. Was the only man in the town that enjoyed his presence was a man that asked for his name? Vash walked down to the table where papers of maps and plans of landscapes, appearing much like a battle plan. The lighting gave away the copper feel of a magnificent hall that belonged to someone who was definitely in charge. The eyes of Vash met with Avron's, as his arms were stretched out for an embrace of an old friend.
"Vash, you came in just the right time. We were discussing on our next move." Vash looked at the maps. He could see a symbol resembling the village and the spot were the orcs were found. They were battle plans. Avron continued on about plans for war against the orcs. "You seem to be a worthy ally for a stranger. I trust you this far after your little rescue. But more will come back, especially after news about a spy among us.
Vash was concerned about his statement. It had only been a day after the orc attack; now it is espionage in debate. "Yes, a spy. Apparently it is a person running around with a hooded cloak on and very agile; my troops spotted a strange man last night on the rooftops, and quite frankly, vanished into the air. Our conclusion is that he is the spy for the orcs, and more will be coming back."
Vash felt this was all wrong and out of line. "If you say a spy managed to get only a handful of orcs to raid your town without a warning of some sort, won't you think the spy will see the attack you are planning? After all, it is a spy who could be anyone." Avron grinned. "You are clever. Perhaps you're of more use than I thought."
Vash's gut was now really disturbed. Something was terribly wrong about this meeting. The terror was answered by a slam of doors opening and angry shouts from a man in the Narthex. The Hall doors were then opened with the guards bedazzled by a man with unkempt black hair, stains all along his body yielding to his profession, and eyes filled with rage. He was obviously the Blacksmith.
With a finger, he pointed directly at Vash. "That man should not be concerned with our affairs!! A filthy stranger mingling in a King's court is unfitting!" The man stormed to Vash and grabbed him by the hood of his coat and slung him off to the side. Vash could feel the hate raging inside him and quickly regained his footsteps. "Sir, I am a stranger but this calls for no rational moves from anyone." The Blacksmith spat in his face. "Shut that forsaken pigs mouth of yours! You were never welcomed in this town." Avron stepped up in reply to the hate. "That is enough Karl. No one asked for your judgement."
"No one asked him to help, either! If it wasn't for him, we villagers would have taken the lives of the orcs and they run in fear. But this slime hag of a catalyst is going to bring more orcs in." Vash's patience was wearing thin and his heart beating from the hate. "Hypocrite! Do you not understand that if you killed the orcs yourselves they would come after you!" Karl swung with a blow to Vash's lip. Blood came out in a flash as Vash held on to the table. Karl came back with a kick to the back of Vash's knee as hate spread through the two. "You see Avron! This cloaked scum is the spy. He knows what would have happened if."
In an instance Vash slid his sword out and knocked Karl on the battle table, the blade aiming for his throat. A rage was inside him but a heart of conscience effort was strong in Vash. Breathing heavily with pressure on the sword he warned Karl of his ill choice in asking questions.
"Spy or not, I will not kill you for mine and your sake. But understand that I am not so gentle when it comes to spiteful hearts." Blood trickled from the tip of the blade and Karl was covered in his sweat and falling from his brow. His face showed fear for his life, only enough to keep himself from getting killed. Vash took the sword back knowing the truth in Karl's reaction to the counterattack.
With animosity, Karl grasped his neck for safety, wiping the blood away. "You cannot be trusted in this world." He stormed off back to the doors and into the weather. Vash sheathed his sword, aware of all eyes on him. He finally spoke to the council instead of Avron.
"I have no clues to lead you forward on what is happening. I'm hoping one of you can explain." He took a breath to re-gather his thoughts. "The truth is I do not know where I am from and who I originally am. I awoke only a few days ago with the clothes on me now. Forgive me for this night, for Karl and my reactions. There are better ways to handle me of hateful eyes." He turned to look that some men were astonished by what he was saying. Some with still and displeased faces stared at him. "As far as your expedition goes with the orcs I wish you luck. But I cannot participate now as it seems."
He turned and walked out towards the door. Avron called to him and he stopped short of the door. "Stay one more night," asked Avron. "Stay as long as you may. When you are ready to leave, we will let you." Vash replied a cold thank you, mildly disappointed with himself. He too disappeared in the weather.

The dreams were coming back. The face of the girl was still calling out to him, this time reaching in silence. His arms shackled by iron chains, binding him hand, foot and body. He was no longer in water but in darkness, all he could see was the girl reaching towards him and drowning in the deepness. All he could see now was darkness. A shriek pierced the night "AWAKE!"
With a scream he fought the air to catch his breath. Laying in his own bed and no longer in darkness, he rested his face in his hands. The voice he heard was not his. It wasn't anyone to his memory now sounded like any man's before. It had power and evil. The voice was keeping him from sleeping peacefully. Tears came to his eyes because no hope of a release in the fears that haunted him would ever set him free.
His clothes were calling him and he satisfied that urge. A moment of fresh air could do him some good and anything except contemplating on his horrors. But he took his sword, just in case. Walking out the door greeted with the fog of night. The village is asleep and quietly in dreams. The whole town appeared to be a dream and so did he. The third moon kept him from walking blindly into the street.
A shadow of his own was a few steps to the left ahead of him. Both moving in unison like another piece of him. It was complemented by the dark outline of the rooftops, leaning in the same direction as his dark figure. But the third dark figure was not with a body and Vash spun towards the moon.
A leather cloak disappeared into the sky but not from Vash. He climbed from a window like he would with a tree and raced on the rooftop. He could see the cloaked escapist, and called out to him. It must be the one who helped me fight the orcs.or he could be the traitor. The thoughts raced at the pace of his fast feet as they followed a chase towards the southwest.
The figure stopped short of 200 feet towards the hills. His cloak dancing with the wind and inviting the Archer for a dance. Vash unsheathed his blade for a chance for battle and pointed to the cloak. But the figure held out his hand. "Who are you," demanded Vash in a quiet tone ".and why are you watching me?"

The Stranger put down his hand and whispered softly, his voice being an undistinguished ghost. "Making sure that you are still in good spirit." "That does not matter. Are you a spy?" "Yes, but the question you should seek is for whom, not what I am." "Orc?" The Stranger shook his head. "No dark creature's enchantment I am under." "Then of what? A spy cannot be without his master. Tell me who it is or die."

As those same words spilled out of his lips, Vash could see a form of light flowing around in the shape of vague armor and dancing outside the cloak. Vash's sword lowered. The truth told him that this was no enemy of his. So he placed his sword back into inside the holster on his back.
"By your face, I can see you have changed your mind. Your decisions are wise and I am grateful to know my questions are answered well." The Stranger stood in place as the armor of light disappeared. "I have come for you, Vash. I have come to help you and the tragedies of your memories lost. You have fought bravely through the wilderness with me and my company."
Vash looked around to see others. "They are not here," claimed the Stranger, "but they are nearby. You cannot stay here long and without questions. Unfortunately, all answers cannot be revealed yet." Vash took offense to this and raised his voice. "What do you mean?! I need to know who I am! Who am I?! Where am I if I'm not supposed to be here?! And who are you."
The sound of a door slamming and men interrupted Vash and startled both of them. "You cannot stay here long and cannot leave tonight," said the Stranger. "You can only stay alive and out of sight tonight. We cannot come out during the daylight either, not in our cloaks. You are in danger of great persecution. The orcs know it, so do other dark creatures and their puppets." The Stranger turned around to face the edge of the roof.
"When will you find me, Stranger?" Vash needed to be prepared for anytime, but hoped for a soon departure. "Whenever the time is right. There is going to be a battle upon this village. They need you so it seems. But they cannot know who you are."
"Who am I?"
The figure only stood still facing the moon. "Vash.you are a warrior. You are a Light Raider. Understand that is the reason why they are after you."
And with that, the figure vanished away as he jumped off the edge. Vash ran to the edge of the roof and found nothing. The figure disappeared.
"Am I.a Light Raider?"