The arctic winds of the Southern sea flowed through the forests of southern Vispyr; as they swirled around the stone wood trees, a thin layer of white stuck to the darkened bark. Among the trees, a group of gypsies were setting up camp for the night when they noticed the ice settling on the trees around them. An elderly lady reached out, pulling a shard of ice from a tree; she held it in a closed fist, waiting for it to melt. Seconds passed, and the fragment melted in her hand.
“He does not wander this way tonight. We set up camp.”
Most of the other gypsies felt safe under the old woman’s judgment, but there were some in the camp that were doubting the abilities of Gara-vae as she reached such a senior age.
Two male gypsies hide in a darkened part of camp away from the others.
“Gara-vae walks into the wrong truck half of the time; how can we trust her to survive the night? Let alone the whole journey to Rem.”
“Since only a female can lead our camp, I say we get Kara Ruiser to take over control; she is young and our best fighter.”
“Yea, yea. There is no way Gara-vae could stand up to her; we just need to convince Kara that Gara-vae is unfit to lead us.”
The two men wandered off to find Kara, and they walked off to divide the camp in two. The night rolled on, and with it came more frost. The moon reached its peak as the entire camp became completely covered in a layer of ice; the two foolish gypsies used this to their advantage when trying to convince the camp to turn against Gara-Vae.
“Come on, Kara, look at the ice covering the camp; the Wanderer is coming, and with him comes death.”
Kara looked around the camp at the ice that was slowly forming over every surface.
“Look, get the hell out of my truck; if Gara-vae says it is fine, it means it is fine.”
Kara stared down the two fools until they started to leave her truck. As one of them grasped the handle to leave, they could feel the cold of the night on the metal handle of the truck; his whole body shook as he pushed the door open, letting the arctic winds roll around the inside of the once warm truck. Small blue flames floated in on the wind; they floated through the camp like jellyfish through the tranquil seas. Although they produced light, the flames seemed colder than the air itself.
One of the men knew this was what they needed.
“Look at the Wisps, everyone; only one thing can amass them in such great volume. The Wanderer is here, and you all know what happens when he finds life.”
The camp seemed to be interested in hearing out the words being spoken this night.
“We need a new leader, one with a sharp mind that can fight, one with an unmatched strength, one that can lead this camp from a small few to a horde that should be feared. We can be so much more than peaceful entertainers; we could be hired guards and a force that even the wanderer fears as he treads the cold black of the night.”
The camp shouted in an uproar as they marched upon Gara-vae’s truck, shouting at her till she emerged.
“We demand new leadership; I, Kara, challenge you for the role of Vajda. We are surrounded by Wisps and can’t move until you say, I won’t let you kill this camp because of your old age.”
Gara-vae smiled, grasping her own hands, “So what challenge do you want to make, sweetie?”
Smiling, Kara raised her arms; in each hand, she had a long dagger.
“I challenge you to a fight till submission. Just save us all time and blood; give up once it starts; I would like to leave before the wanderer gets here.”
The camp surrounded the two, making sure to give them plenty of room. Kara had her daggers at the ready, smiling. She played with them to demonstrate her skill, but she fumbled the blades in the wintry weather that slowed her movement. Gara-vae continued to smile, pulling her hands from her warmed pockets.
A man walked into the middle of the group between the two girls.
“This fight will go until one utters the safe word or dies.”
He looks at Kara, “Ready?” She nods, grinning and gripping her blades.
Looking at Gara, “Ready?” Gara dropped her walking stick and stuck her hands into her pockets.
Kara knew she was much stronger and faster than Gara-vae, but she also recognized that she was one of the few to reach old age. She must have a secret.
Gara-vae started to wave her hands in overlapping circles while hiding two fingers on each hand. Her hands met in the middle, where she twisted them to the side, Kadast.
Kara fell to the ground screaming; she writhed in absolute agony as her skin turned red and the ice around her started to melt. Gara-have held her position till she felt she had done enough; lowering her hands, the screaming slowed.
“We stay here tonight; anyone who disagrees with me can leave or shut up.”
Gara-vae climbed back into her truck as everyone stared at Kara on the ground, still shaking with agony, “I was burning, my skin was on fire; she knows too much to remove from command. Gara-vae knows best; we follow her lead.”
Kara slowly climbed to her feet, holding herself; everyone else slowly walked back to their own sleeping areas in a shocked silence. No one knew that Gara-vae had so much power, the spectacle she presented distracted everyone from the wanderer, and they all went to sleep immediately after the fight.
The night drew on, and the Wisps grew in number till the camp was a blinding beacon in the night. People started to wake, remembering the horror of the wanderer; those conscious got the pleasure of hearing the footsteps of the Wanderer as he walked meters away from their campsite. The Wisps made it easy to see the cloaked individual; the further past the camp he got, the more Wisps gathered back into his oil lantern that sat upon the end of his walking stick. He stood staring into the campsite as his lantern filled with the wisps.
Eyes widened, and jaws dropped as Gara-vae walked up to the Wanderer; no words were spoken. She stood metres from him, waiting patiently. Minutes passed as more Wisps entered his lantern, causing it to glow much brighter. The glow started to dim, transferring to his hand as he extended it to Gara-vae. She received what was passed along, bowing as she clasped the glow with both hands. The wanderer continued his walk through the night, lighting the way with Wisps from his lanterns.
In the morning, tensions were high in the camp before Gara-vae climbed out of her truck. Those who were awake during the night made sure to avoid her, not knowing how she was capable of dealing with a demon. She seemed completely unfazed by the whole event, whereas Kara sat shaken to the core during the early morning breakfast. Gara-vae walked past her smiling as she went; seeing her was a bonus to her morning. She was, in fact, slowly making her way to the two men who had started the fight the night before.
Finding them in their usual hiding spot, Gara-vae snuck up behind them. Whispering into their ears, “If you want to cross me, do it personally. Don’t send someone else.”
The two men froze at the thought of Gara-vae coming after them; the rest of the camp shook at her passing as they could feel her energy being emitted from her body as she slowly passed.
“We move out in ten, everyone, next stop, Svelt.”