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Path of Balance

Chapter Text

It was a blasted tired little planet not even worthy of a name, with three aging moons that had been falling away for the last millennium as the hulk of rock long ago lost its grasp on them. The atmosphere was thin, but there was just enough for a dusty rust colored wind to blow about one lone figure silhouetted by starlight as she stands on the edge of a large ancient canyon. Weak light from the abandoning moons above reflects off the helmet that hides her features as she peers over the edge, considering. Lifting her arm, she reads a small display on her sleeve: "1.8793 kilometers." Decision made, she moves back a few meters, and then runs towards the edge and leaps gracefully into the moon kissed darkness below.

Silently she falls, pulled down by the gravity that could no longer contain the satellites, gaining speed until just before she is swallowed in the impenetrable dark of the crater a chute opens and both slide into shadow.

Moments later standing in the darkness, the parachute sprawled out on the uneven floor of the crater, she searches with eyes made for the dark, for finding what wants to remain hidden, remain unseen. There. A crack in the rock, nearly indistinguishable from all the other flaws in the wall, yet too uniform to be natural. With careful stealth, she moves towards it and feeling with gloved hands is able to find the simple latch and move inside.

Air, barely, but enough. The helmet is removed freeing her hair that falls nearly to the ground, luminescent as the moons above and braided with trinkets and bits of mementos from battles fought long ago. With deft fingers, she fastens a clasp to keep her hair from her face, revealing to the darkness tiny gills opening and closing with an even rhythm on the sides of her neck, pulling from the atmosphere any extra molecule of breathable oxygen possible.

Without benefit of illumination, she moves along the hallway, sensing light ahead before actually seeing it. Eventually she comes to an intersection of corridors and as she steps into the middle, a drac glides out from the left hallway as silent as she. She curses to herself but before she can act she is thrown against the wall with the telekinetic power granted to it by The Shadows.

Moving in ways contrary to nature, the lone drac slides towards her, hissing in menace as it dances side to side, blurring, making her dizzy. She can't help but wonder if it was it gloating. Eternally slow, it creeps forward as she struggles against the force of its mind. Reluctantly, in frustration, she gives in and relaxes. Her apparent defeat emboldens the drac and it moves more quickly to her side, peering directly into her eyes, lingering, and taunting.

The drac, to busy inspecting its prize, doesn't notice it's control of her slacking, and with one freed arm she has the grim satisfaction of feeling flesh tear, bones slice. The pain from her attack makes the drac lose his hold on her and with one more well placed attack she severs the spinal cord and the once dancing body falls heavily to the ground. The knife was crude, as crude as the latch outside, but deadly and more important to her, it was silent.

Without much effort, she drags the drac around the corner into the darkness and kneels next to the body, waiting. After an hour, satisfied that no alarm had been raised by her presence, she moves into the corridor a second time. Navigating only by a map in her mind, she hurries along the rough-hewn hall to another hidden doorway. This lock is crude and simple as well and she is almost disappointed at the ease of her entry, but brushes such pettiness aside as she gazes upon what she has traveled so long and so far for.

The room is cavernous and unlike the corridors outside, these walls are carved with meticulous care, broken only by thousands of pinpricks of light scattered like stars. The floor is the same onyx black, with an intricate mosaic that winds around the 13 coffin-like structures evenly placed in a wide circle, and it reflects the lights above giving an effect of endless space. Was the design on purpose? Did the builders intend to mimic eternity?

Lightly jumping over the rail, she lands softly on the reflective stone floor one story below and walks quickly to the sole structure that is untouched. Standing only slightly taller in height then her, she inspects it for an opening mechanism. Disappointed again by the lack of a sophisticated lock, she almost sighs as she reaches around to the small of her back and pulls from underneath her hair one of her fighting pikes. After releasing it to its full length with a soft * snit * uses the long weapon as leverage to pry the case open.

Inside is a man, his long curly black hair acting as a cloak over his naked body. She removes two tubes feeding blue fluid directly into his neck intravenously, but no other restraint held him in place. Without warning he slumps noisily to the ground. She throws the cloak she took from the dead drac over his shivering form, and then kneels down as he tries to forces his eyes open. With one arm she props him up as he struggles to speak and brushes his hair from his face.

His voice weak and shaking he says defiantly, "I am Duncan McLeod of the Clan McLeod."

She smiles, "Good morning, Duncan. I am Kierna Sinclair, of the Val'den'kai. You have been asleep for far too long, my friend. The Gathering is here."