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The Sum of a Soul

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Love consists of the condition in which the other person’s welfare becomes essential to your own. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

A funeral silence hung in the air while he stared in disbelief at the place where his friend had been only moments ago. A shiver shook his body as he fully grasped the magnitude of his loss and a name was wrenched from his throat in anger.


A moment passed that seemed a lifetime to the lone man before a cloud of mist rolled into the clearing where he stood. With lifeless eyes, he watched as the figure of Iara, the snake demon appeared from within the mist. A sardonic smile graced the face of the beautiful and deadly demon as she walked towards him. Stopping in front of him, she stared up at him and spoke.

"You called, Beastmaster?"

A shudder coursed through his body at her voice and Dar closed his eyes.


The pain filled question hung in the air between them until Dar opened his eyes and stared at the snake demon.

"‘Why’ what, Beastmaster?"

The smug voice cracked the fragile control he held and, with an inarticulate roar, he grasped her shoulders and stared into her eyes. The expression of burning rage within his eyes immobilized Iara, and she wondered rather inanely if the angry mortal would be able to kill her. Dar leaned in and, in a voice that showed his slipping emotional control, whispered into her ear.

"Why did you take him? Where is he? What have you done to him?"

The questions came fast and furious until the last question was shouted into her ear causing Iara to wince in pain. Realizing that she was loosing all control over the situation, Iara blew in his face and froze him. Escaping from his clutch, she frowned in confusion at the expression on Dar’s frozen face.

"Why does he react with such anger at the loss of another mortal? I left his animal friends alone this time. I need to speak to the Ancient One, he will know what this is about."

Whirling away from the frozen Beastmaster, Iara disappeared back into the mist. In direct correlation with the dissipating mist, the frozen Dar slowly thawed and, with a start, he stumbled as he regained control over his body. Looking around the empty clearing, Dar felt a growing sense of defeat. Dropping to his knees he lifted his head and roared out his pain with one word.