The Guilt, The Worship And The High One

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Even if he was not directly to blame for Louunza's death, Sen couldn't shake the feeling of guilt. The other Magic had said he would bring
only trouble with him, and then ended up dead hours later. The Guardian knew, deep down, that Louunza had been right. For one reason
or another Louunza had ended up dead because of him.

The guilt was like a broken promise coming back to seek bloody vengeance. Taking on the form of miniature blades it had begun to slice
through his every vein, leaving deep wounds on his conscious. He had attempted to alleviate the guilt by telling himself that he had tried to
save Louunza - but the lack of knowledge on what had really happened was accompanied by doubt.

What if he hadn't tried to help, after all? What if he had just stood there and watched as the Magic was murdered right before his eyes?

He didn't think he'd be able to handle remembering something like that. Sen may have his moments of insensitivity, but he didn't think he
could be so selfish as to just let someone die. Yet the doubt was still there, suffocating him from every angle. Every time he tried to breath,
it smothered him with its presence.

Staying in this cavern seemed to only bring more attempts on his life and conscious. Suffocation from the guilt, deep stabs from the still
suspicious glares, be-headings from the sharp words of others.. He couldn't seem to free himself from the guilt they so readily offered him.

Even after Louunza's body had been taken away, the guilt didn't subside. He could still see the lifeless corpse of the Magic lying near the
back of the cave - his dead eyes glaring accusingly at the Guardian.

Even if he hadn't been the killer...
He was to blame for this.


...*...*...*...

"You shouldn't blame yourself." Kiya gently said as she took a seat next to Sen, who was lying on a rock away from everyone else. "What
happened to Louunza was not your fault."

Sen regarded Kiya with silence at first. As much as he wished it was that simple to just throw away his guilt, it wasn't. No amount of coaxing
from others would convince him otherwise. He was guilty for Louunza's death. "It could have been."

"Look, even Uunagari thought you were innocent when he first woke up. He went out of his way to defend you from the others when they
arrived, and he's not the type to defend murderers. And I trust you. I don't think you had anything to do with his death. Please, Sen, just let
it go. What has happened has happened - you can't change it."

"I.. I just wish I knew what happened." Sen admitted quietly.

"We all do." Kiya replied with a light nod as she placed a comforting paw over Sen's own. He pulled his paw away from her touch, and she
frowned deeply at the rejection. She just wanted to offer him some comfort.

"Sweety. We all wish we knew what happened, and nearest I can see Louunza was the only one who coulda told us for sure." Xauutyn was
passing the two on his way toward the cavern entrance, a glare fixed upon Sen's unmoving form. "It's just too bad he couldn't be brought
back, eh? Coulda asked him yerself what happened. Seen for yerself what ya did, Guardeen."

Kiya tried her best not to respond to that. She managed to keep silent, but if looks could kill - Xauutyn would be a bloody mess on the wall
by now.

"Ignore that jerk, Sen." She spoke again once the Purgatory Raveen was well on his way out of the sanctuary. "He doesn't employ the use
of his brain anymore."

Sen chose not to comment.

...*...*...*...

"There wasn't anything out of the norm, sir. The Demons were just as messed up as they were before." Koryuu, a young Death Raveen
just barely out of his teens, was one of many who reported the same thing. There were Demons about, but they weren't acting any different
than before. Their search last night had gained zero results. No one had found anything to answer why Sen had been brought to the South.

Morgalis was growing frustrated, although his calm exterior would never showcase it for the rest of the world. He had hoped that his group
would have something - anything - to report. With Louunza's death last night, it only meant that the Demons were up to something. They
just weren't looking in the right places.

"I won't accept this." He spoke with regal calm as he glanced over the Raveens gathered in the cavern. "The Demons are up to something.
Louunza's death is proof enough of that. They went out of their way to kill him, and we have to find out why. I don't care how long it takes, I
want all of you back out there. Find something, anything, that may lead us to an answer. Don't return until you do."

He watched silently as the group began to file out, silently hoping that at least one of them would return with some kind of information.
Right now he was out of answers, and feeling drained from the previous night's activities. Like the others he had gone out to find any clues
as to why the Guardian was here, but come up empty.

As he continued to observe the exits of his mercenaries, Morgalis couldn't help but show a bit of intrigue at one pair in particular. "Well,
well.." He whispered to himself, a light smirk playing at the edge of his lips. "This.. is unexpected."

...*...*...*...

Senbotsuusha and Uunagari continued up the entranceway, oblivious to Morgalis' amusement. They had spoken briefly and agreed that
they owed it to Louunza to find information on his murderer. The two were now making their way out of the sanctuary, and in to the land
now owned by Demons, with every intent on finding answers.

The two traveled in silence, with Sen following Uunagari's lead as they moved through the forest. For some time their silence remained like
a thick covering of fog, with neither one of them willing to attempt to clear it. Uunagari kept his pace light and quick, his silver mane trailing
behind as he weaved through the high grass and twisted trees. He had an idea of where to go to find answers, and Sen would just have to
trust his instinct.

Guardian and warrior continued onward, their own inner sense of guilt driving them on. Both were skilled at fighting, both could have easily
protected and fought alongside the Magic. But something had happened, and the two of them had been removed from battle with no
memory of what had transpired. They were both guilty of not knowing. Both guilty of blaming themselves.

Gradually the forest grew thicker, the trees blacker, and the wind wilder. Before the two had even realized it they were at their destination -
a shallow and muddy lake. It wasn't the water they had come for, it wasn't the leeches in their shallow waters, it wasn't even the glowing
scale floating in the middle of the lake.

What they had come here for was the raggy-looking Raveen lying on the shoreline.

He was a Bog Kat, but one wouldn't know it by his looks. His fur was faded to an off-white, stained by years of wear and travel. The spines
along his back were limp and unkempt, hanging like poorly cut grass over his fur. Not even his markings were right. They were dulled by
age, now nothing more than pale blue and black stains on his coat. Scars lined his starved form, more pronounced than they should be
against the exposed ribs and jaw line. Two black eyes stared out from behind heavily scarred eyelids, looking like holes in a decaying body.

Sen had stopped his approach after taking in the Raveen's appearance. "Is he..?"

"He's just old." Uunagari responded with a light grin. "A little worse for wear, and all that, but not dead."

The Guardian nodded numbly, not sure whether to believe the bleached Raveen or not. The Bog Kat looked every inch of death itself, and
the horrible smell originating from his direction didn't seem to disprove that.

Uunagari stepped up beside the Raveen, and sat down so that he was eye-level with the hollowed Kat. "Greetings to the High One."

Sen raised a brow at this, but decided it best to stay silent. He hung back away from the two, just observing whatever was to come. He
hoped this trip wasn't going to be a wasted one.

A switch seemed to be flicked on at Uunagari's words as those haunted black eyes began to glimmer with life. "Greetings to the Worship."

Uunagari kept his gaze locked with the Bog Kat's own, a faint grin playing at the edges of his lips. "The Worship wishes to be blessed with
knowledge, High One. One died during the last moon."

Black eyes swirled with the reflection of blue as ears flicked forward intently. "Many die during one moon."

"This one was blessed, High One. He hailed you once before." The bleached Raveen watched the much older Raveen carefully, gauging
his reaction and responses to these words. However minimal, Uunagari had knew this Bog Kat long enough to decipher them all.

Ears flicked flat back, and the Raveen's jaw quivered. "Death rides on the sand... Masks.. Masks will come to finish the job!."

The living corpse of a Raveen began to tremble violently, and Uunagari pulled back and away from the older one.

"They seek death! Vengeance - THEY WILL FINISH IT!" The Bog Kat was shouting now, while curling in to a fetal position. "Masks....
Masks.. They all wear them... Masks... Death!"

Frowning inwardly, Uunagari gently reached out a paw to touch the Bog Kat. Upon making contact the elder flinched away, still spouting
words about the masks of death. "The Worship calls to the High One. Blessing is done."

Sen watched in idle fascination as the elder Kat uncurled himself, and returned to the still position they had first found him in. His eyes
were once again blank and empty, and there were little sign to show that the Raveen had just been trembling violently upon the sands. The
Guardian looked to Uunagari for answers, only to see that the younger Raveen was frowning openly.

"He's never done that before." Uunagari commented after an awkward moment of silence. "Come on, Senbotsuusha, we best leave now."

The bleached Raveen moved past the Magic Guardian, who sent a cautious glance back a the Bog before following after him. Whatever
had just happened wasn't normal, and it left both Raveens worried for reasons of their own.
.The Downward Spiral.