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Shadows of Destiny
by Aelyva
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Part Three ~ The Beginning of the End

The joy is often short-lasted. We are happy, everything’s going well, until…Until everything turns up-side down. The situation now changes. Why can’t life always be beautiful? It would be so much easier for everyone!

Even without my memory, I was happy. I found friends, a family. I had something good to do with my life. Is it now all going to change?

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Sinbad looked up to Doubar. "I think we should go visit that man, Karpan. We have to save Bryn, and the only way is to go to his castle." He turned to the inn's owner. "Is it far away from here?" he asked.

The inn's owner thought a minute before answering. "It takes some hours, if you walk rapidly. You have to follow the right path of the forest all the way. But it's impossible to enter in the castle." He paused, to make a better effect. "There's no door."

Firouz frowned. "No door? Impossible. How does he enter in his own castle if there isn't a door? And how does his army do?" Firouz shook his head. No door...he almost wanted to laugh, but the situation wasn't funny at all.

The old man shrugged, a hidden smile on his rugged face. "I don't know, but I am sure there's no door like I'm sure there's a door to my inn. Don't believe me if you want, but you'll see when you'll get there."

Sinbad sighed. "Thanks. But we really have to go there. Our friend's life is maybe in danger." Sinbad saluted the man and got out of the inn, followed by his crew. The rain had stopped to fall, but the weather was now cold. The crew began to walk in silence, all lost in their thoughts. Sinbad was leading the way, and Bryn was occupying his mind. If that Karpan hurt her...he would regret it. He won't let Bryn die. An image of Lea appeared in his mind, replacing Bryn. She was still the little girl he knew, but her look was the one of an adult. He didn't understand everything Maeve told him. 'I'll ask her questions after we rescue Bryn,' he thought, since he was dreaming every single night.

Hours after, the path finally ended and the crew found themselves in front of a dark and enormous castle, surrounded by rocks. As they came near it, they noticed there was no door, like the old man told them.

"How are we going to enter, if there's no door?" Doubar asked his brother. This castle gave him the shivers. He always hated dark places, but he never saw a place like this. Thinking that he may go inside just made him trembling. 'Stop it, Doubar...you're older enough to know that dark doesn't hurt!' he said, trying to convince himself, which didn't work.

"Well...there's a window up there. It's not very high. I would be able to climb there," Sinbad said, more for himself. He then turned to face Doubar, Firouz and Rongar. "We don't have to go up there all together. Rongar and I will go. Just two stay here. If we don't come back after one day, leave."

"I won't leave without you, little brother. If you're not back tomorrow, Firouz and I will climb to that window!" Doubar decided. He won't change his mind and Sinbad knew it perfectly. When Doubar was decided to do something, nothing could stop him.

Sinbad sighed. "Fine. Let's go, Rongar." They ran to the castle and Rongar was the first to climb. He was very agile, so the job was easy for him. Sinbad followed him closely. The castle was made in rock and the cracks between each of them were just big so Sinbad and Rongar could put their fingers in it. The window was by chance opened, and they entered.

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A coffin...she was in a coffin...She started to scream and to give kicks to the walls. She was in a coffin, alive. She soon stopped to scream and to move, because her voice was only a whisper and she had no energy left to move. She wanted to cry, but she couldn't. She remembered now all of her days on the Nomad, with Sinbad and his crew. They were her friends, and they thought she hated them. Sinbad...Bryn remembered Sinbad's look when he saw she didn't trust him. "What have I done? They won't look for me now..."she whispered, sad. There was more in her than simple sadness. She felt all alone, left behind...'I'm never gonna have the chance to say goodbye, to say I remember them, to remember my past, to tell Sinbad I...' she stopped. Tell him what? That he was more than a friend for her? That she cared so much about him? That she loved him? "Love...yes I love him...but he doesn't. Maybe it's better he never know."

She closed her eyes. She was so tired. She just wanted to sleep, sleep and never wake up. She passed her hand on her face. Her hands were so cold, so sweaty. She seemed to float in the air. She wanted to go far away from that box that was keeping her prisoner. She wanted to sleep.

She suddenly heard voices that seemed to be far away. But they continued to talk, and she was now curious. So, with a sigh, she returned to her coffin and opened her eyes. The voices were closer now. She tried to hear what they were saying, but only words came to her ears. They sounded familiar. Who? She wanted to call, but what if it was them? What if they came to see if she was dead? She sighed, and closed her eyes once again.

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Before Sinbad and Rongar could make a step in the room, three guards appeared. They quickly hid behind the red curtain pending each side of the window. They held their breath, hopping the guards were just passing by.

The three guards stopped in front of the coffin. They were all wearing a black armor, a sword in the right hand and a metallic shield in the left. They looked professional, until they started to talk.

"I still don't understand the boss. He should have killed her right away with a sword, instead of letting her die in that stupid coffin," the first one said, pointing the beautiful coffin with his sword, which was on a table, covered with a white blanket.

"You don't suffer when you die like that...but if he wanted her to really suffer, I think he should have tortured her before," the second guard suggested, laughing. He once assisted at a torture scene and he loved it. The victim, begging them to stop…Too bad it had been so long...

"I agree." The third one nodded. "Who knows what the boss has in mind?" They all agreed and continued their round in the castle, leaving the room.

A minute after, Sinbad and Rongar appeared in the room, finally breathing freely. They looked around, to make sure the guards left.

"Did you hear what they were talking about? I didn't catch everything..." Sinbad asked, taking a look around the room.

Rongar shrugged and pointed the coffin.

"They were talking about the coffin? That's weird...I mean, it's not every day you hear people talking about a coffin, right?" Sinbad stared at it. He had this strange feeling about it...about something that was inside of it. He looked at his rainbow bracelet that was flashing. "Bryn...Rongar, I think Bryn is in that coffin!" He couldn't explain why he felt that way.

They rushed over the coffin, and try to open it, but it simply didn’t want to open up.

"I don't like this..." Sinbad whispered to himself. He looked around the room to see if he could find something to open it up. There was an old ax on a wall, but it would be too dangerous to use it. "Fast, Rongar...We have to think of something fast before it's too late!"

Rongar searched on the coffin, to find something, anything. At the back, he finally found a locker. He showed it to Sinbad.

"Good job, my friend." He took the ax and broke it down. The two of them then managed to remove the cover. They pushed hard and it fell down in a crash. "Damn. Let's hope they didn't hear that..."

When he looked inside of it, his face became paler. Bryn was inside, unmoving. Her eyes were closes and she had bruises on her arms and legs. Her hair was a real mess. But most of all, she didn't seem to be breathing. Rongar and Sinbad got her out carefully and put her on the floor. Rongar took her pulse and shook his head negatively. She was cold.

"No way she's dead. C'mon Bryn, you have to hang on!" He began to give her mouth-to-mouth, trying to hold on the tears he felt coming to his eyes. "Breathe! Do you hear me? You have to breathe!" She still wasn't breathing. Sinbad felt so helpless, looking at her lifeless body. He never thought he could lose her..."Why aren't you breathing? Why did you go away?" His voice was a whisper. He took her hand in his and holds it tight. Next to him, Rongar cried in silence. He lost so many people in his life: his parents, Lea, Dim Dim, Mustafa, Maeve and now Bryn. Happiness seemed to run away from him every time he thought he found it. He finally let the tears fall down to his checks.

Rongar was the first to notice that Bryn's and Sinbad's bracelets were shinning. He showed it to Sinbad. It was a sign. A good one.

"Bryn? Can you hear me?" Sinbad felt her hand moving in his. He smiled.

Bryn opened her eyes slowly, painfully. She had a terrible headache. She closed them right after. Too much light...She heard a soft voice, talking to her, but she couldn't understand the words. Her arms, her legs, her head...all her body was hurting her. She opened her mouth to say something, but she couldn't speak, she had no voice. She then tried to open her eyes again. After a while, she started to see things. Two shadows were by her side.

"Bryn! Are you alright?" one of the men said, anxiously. The other one just stared, concern in his dark eyes.

She coughed. "Yeah," she answered weakly. She tried to sit, but she didn't have the strength to, so she fell back. "What...what happened?" She looked at Sinbad. She felt happiness overwhelming her. He came to look for her! Even when she was hostile to him…She just wanted him to hug her and never let her go. But she was asking for too much. So she just stared into his blue eyes, wishing she could stay like this forever, lost into those sweet eyes of his.

"You were locked up in a coffin...We arrived just in time to save you," the same soft voice answered. "We have to get out of here fast. Do you think you can stand up?"

Bryn shook her head. She bit her lips and tried to get up, with the help of Sinbad, but her feet hurt so much so she fell in the arms of Sinbad, who decided to carry her. As the three of them were going to get out of the room, guards appeared in front of the door, blocking the way.

Rongar stepped in front of Bryn and Sinbad protectively, his sword in hands. He waited for them to make the first move, but they didn't move. He looked interrogatively at Sinbad who was still carrying Bryn.

Sinbad looked around to see if there was another way out, but there wasn't.

"Let me down. I'll be fine now. Really!" Bryn told him. She knew Rongar couldn't battle all the guards by himself, and Sinbad couldn't help him with her in his arms. As much as she felt comfortable in them, business came first.

"Are you sure?" When he saw the positive look in her eyes, he let her down, with hesitation, but took his sword and went next to Rongar, to prepare to fight. But before they could make a move, someone appeared in front of the guards. Karpan.

"Where do you think you're going with her?" Karpan laughed. "Guards, attack them!"

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First written: January 5, 2000
Revised: May 17, 2001