The sun was warm already in the morning and I had to get my eyes used to the brightness. As soon as I got out, I heard voices of the children. They were calling me and I saw some of them come to me. They looked at me and the Mord-Siths around.
"Here he is…" There was a stir among the children. "Will you save us? Will you beat these bad women here? We brought you the dagger… Use it."
Something made me shake my head. Something was wrong. The Mord-Siths looked at me and waited.
"Hey children, Lisa, others, are you okay?"
"Yes, yes we are…" Lisa said. "Seeker! Our hero… do it!" one of them continued.
"Uh, do what, my little ones?"
"Kill these women!"
"No… no please tell me if you are okay and how can I help you", I tried to understand the situation.
I saw excited young faces, the kids looked at me, measured me from up to down and admired me.
"Please Seeker, now that you are here… you must do it."
"Wh… what should I do?"
"Strike these bad women down!"
From the corner of my eye I saw that Mel and Brianna inspected my reactions.
"They told us that we will have a chance to see you", a boy said. "They brought us from the other village here."
"These young people wanted to come. We didn't need to force them", Mel spoke calmly. "You see your influence Seeker. Hah, a rumor is enough and they want to see you. They would do everything for you. And they want you to do what they want."
"To do what?"
"To use your powers. Slay us, heroically with your sword."
I shook my head. And I didn't even have my sword.
"Richard!" At that moment I heard Zedd's voice from the side. He was escorted by two Mord-Siths, and one of them held my sword. "Richard are you ok? Ahh…" The woman on his left kicked him.
"Here is your sword, now start to use it!" She threw the sword to me.
"Come on, fight us, like you did yesterday", Mel continued.
I looked around and and saw the children. They watched my every move, listened my every word. Should I raise my sword now against them? And let these kids see my anger? See my provoked anger?
"Do you love your Seeker?" Mel asked the children.
The children looked excited, they said yes, but the situation seemed to make some of them more and more confused. They waited something from me, I saw they really expected that I raised my sword.
"He is not going to do it…" somebody said from the group. "Like you told us, he is not doing it!" A boy turned to Mel and I saw another girl glance at me, not too happy either.
"You see that he is not the only fighter here. Make him confused and he can't do a thing." Mel smiled and stepped forward. "Brianna fought him yesterday, she could have won. You saw it Lisa, didn't you." Mel looked victorious, came close to me and touched my arm. "He is not doing anything. This a tame hero."
I saw expressions of disbelief in some of the children's faces, whereas the others looked still at me hungry to see what I would do.
"But I don't… I will not attack anybody just like this", I said strongly to Brianna.
Then I turned to the children.
"Are you really okay? Tell me, you don't need to be afraid."
"We are not afraid", one girl said and I saw from her eyes that she spoke the truth. "Mel and Brianna brought us here. Some of us knew they were Mord-Siths but… we didn't tell our parents. And maybe Lisa was scared when she thought you would get hurt." She looked at Mel. "We believed them finally. We believed they will not harm us. They are not taking us. But they did what they promised, they let us see you."
"But why did you want to come with them?" I asked.
"They wanted to see you! Seeker, everybody talks about you." Mel said instead of the girl, "you are their savior, through the use of your sword you will redeem them."
The group of kids were restless, they didn't seem to agree with each other. The ones who brought me the dagger still looked at me with shining eyes, but the others turned their eyes at the Mord-Siths.
"They are dangerous", I said to the children.
"You don't understand", Mel interrupted me. "These kids are not stupid. They know what they like. And apparently not anybody likes you so much when they see you in real life. Besides, let them decide, don't decide for them."
What Mel said felt made me feel empty. Yes, some of them seemed to like me much, but the others looked Mel and Brianna almost the same way, even in an admiring way.
"Hey kids, how about letting this Seeker go and continue on his quest? We'll bring you back to your homes, we can also tell more about us, would you like to hear? And these Agiels, they have seen much, they are powerful weapons, much more interesting than swords… and don't believe what you may have heard about us", Brianna talked in a soft tone to the children.
One of the Mord-Siths pushed Zedd and he fell on the ground. I walked to Zedd, lifted him up and looked at the Mord-Siths and the kids.
"One more time, are you okay kids?"
They didn't say anything. I saw a couple of them move closer to Brianna.
"Go. We don't harm you haha, don't be worried, at this moment you are not worth of being even harmed", Mel said in a glacial tone. "And yes, this is the best lesson and source of information we could have learned about you and people's interest in you. Our Master will be very satisfied from all the details."
I was speechless. I think Zedd started to also understand the situation. And it got worse when I saw many of the kids gather around Mel and Brianna. Some of them still looked at me but I could see that even they hesitated.
"Go. Right now these kids don't need you." Brianna said to me and I almost heard compassion in her voice.
The road back to our original route was long and I didn't want to speak much, until I was able to tell Zedd everything what had happened after we got separated.
"Richard, it's hard for you to believe, but you won. I'm sure you don't see it yet. You lost this battle but..."
"Won the war? I'm not sure anymore Zedd. The world is different. It's like a different order. Rumours, hopes, everything can get distorted from their original course. These innocent young people… I'm more worried now."
"There's no original course of things Richard", Zedd said. "Everything is really possible. But we must keep our minds clear."