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Chapter Twenty-Three

Heroes of The Black Wave:
Specters of the Past
Chapter Twenty-Three
Niya Stellat was carried to the Landale. Her body was treated gently and respectfully by her comrades. She had earned her place as a Protector of Algo. No one would dare take the honor from her.

Demi piloted a small shuttle by remote. She brought the shuttle to rest near the sight of the battle. Once the shuttle had touched down, everyone let the dust settles. Nothing was said as they picked Niya up and carried her into the shuttle.

Sharon walked beside the makeshift funeral procession. She looked at the fighter and realized something was wrong. Her scabbard was empty. Like a small quiet child, she tugged on her father's sleeve and pointed at the empty scabbard.

Chaz quietly feel away from the group and walked over to ProFIRE's body. Niya's curved single edge sword had struck home. Chaz grabbed the handle tightly and withdrew the sword from ProFIRE's head. As the sword slid from the robot's body, Chaz saw something unusual. Blood.

Chaz saw blood on the blade. He examined the blade carefully and confirmed that is was indeed human blood. The tired warrior then looked at ProFIRE. He saw that blood slowly dripped from the wound caused by Niya's blade. Chaz could not help but wonder why and how a robot could bleed.

Chaz had no way of knowing that ProFIRE was part human. He did not know that a thousand years ago people from another planet had taken a cruel kind of revenge on a hero. They had turned this person, who had fought and given all for his home and his people, into their final tool of destruction. Chaz had never heard of an agent of Algo who had been declared a renegade. He had never heard of Rolf.

Chaz cleaned the blade and carried it over to the shuttle. He walked slowly up the ramp. He took a moment to glance back at the body of an enemy he never really knew. The hatch closed behind him and the shuttle gently ascended. Their destination was Esper Mansion.

* * * * *
Rune had made all the arrangements himself. Niya Stellat was given a warrior's burial on the grounds of the Quiet Esper Mansion. As a final gesture of respect, Her headstone had been specially carved. Carved from the finest marble anyone could ask was a replica of her sword. The headstone became the scabbard for this marble blade.

No words were spoken as her body was laid to rest. No one shed tears. Niya would have had none of it. Everything was kept as simple as possible. She did not have a fancy coffin. She was buried in a plain box. Her headstone was the only thing ornate left to speak of her greatness.

Everyone slowly walked away once they had said their final goodbye. Kyra walked next to Rune and carefully studied him. She hoped for some sign from him telling her what she needed to say to ease his pain. She knew he was hurting tremendously. Kyra knew he needed a friend.

As they walked in silence, Rune reached down and grabbed Kyra's hand. He gave her hand a slight squeeze. Without knowing why, she understood he was telling her thanks. He was also telling her how much he did care.

Everyone stayed at the Esper Mansion for a couple of days. Each consoling the others. Though Niya was very new to the group, she had earned a place in their hearts. They had lost a comrade and friend.

Soon, life would return to normal. Algo was safe once again. They had fought the minions of the Darkness once again and been victorious. But it had cost them. Much as it had cost them the first time. They knew, however, that the darkness would never ver truly gone. Somehow, it had left tiny seeds behind that would sometimes blossom in the hearts of those that nurtured that darkness. They would have to remain ever vigilante against the darkness.

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