|Disclaimer: The characters and story are based on the series BeastMaster are property of Tribune Entertainment Company. There is no intent to infringe on their rights, this is only for pure enjoyment.|
"Dar, how many fingers do you see?" Tao asked holding three fingers in front of his friend's face.
Counting to himself, Dar finally answered, "Three."
"That's good. Perhaps your mind's starting to clear. Now, who am I?"
Dar studied him carefully. "I'm not sure."
"My name's Tao."
Tao's examination was proceeding far too slowly for Curupira. She pushed him aside. "You must know who I am. I gave you the power to communicate with my animals, Beastmaster."
"Sorry-- Beast what?"
Frustrated, Curupira stomped away from the downed man. "What's wrong with him?" she asked the young scholar.
Tao rose from Dar's side and moved closer to the demon. He spoke softly so his friend couldn't overhear. "I've heard of this before. Dar hit his head pretty hard when he fell. Sometimes trauma to the head can make one lose his memory. It's usually temporary, rarely permanent."
Kodo and Podo made their way back to Dar and began crawling all over him. "Hey little guys, where'd you come from?" He tried to pet Podo when the ferret bit his finger believing he found something tasty to eat. "Ow!" Dar yelped, pushing the critter aside. "Get out of here, you little rats."
Tao glanced back and chuckled, never thinking he'd see the day Dar calling his friends rats. A frown quickly replaced the smile when Curupira grumbled.
"I don't find this amusing. He can't protect my animals this way." She looked over at Dar, who was smiling at her. For a moment she found his innocence charming. "Is there anything we can do to get his memory back?"
Tao scratched his short dark hair as he tried to recall what the older scholar had told him years ago. "Yes, sometimes another blow to the head will jolt one's memory back."
Curupira found Tao amusing, the excitement in his voice when he talked mesmerized her. The words 'another blow' got her thinking. "Easily done," she said, finally smiling. Confident one of her special jolts would make him remember, she started to raise her hand. Tao grabbed hold of it. She turned to face him, "Unhand me!"
Tao released her hand instantly and covered his face in a protective stance, fearing retaliation. After a few seconds, he peeked between his arms and relaxed. Curupira was smiling at him, but soon had that impatient look about her. Tao continued to explain, "Another injury to the head could do more damage. There's another way. Sometimes familiar surroundings will do the trick. I'll take him back to the Sanctuary."
"You do that and in two suns, if the Beastmaster doesn't have his memory back, then maybe I'll make you the next Beastmaster. Understand?" Her face pressed close to Tao's for she loved the thrill of making humans shake where they stood. As he nodded, she found him quite entertaining and somewhat sweet for a human. Curupira looked over at Dar who was still rubbing the back of his head. He smiled at her. She knew Tao would have his hands full and hoped the Eiron would be able to help their friend. "I have other matters that require my attention. At least the net is out of harm's way. Remember to burn it."
"Don't worry about a thing, Curupira, I'll take good care of the net and Dar. I'm sure his memory will return. If it doesn't by tomorrow, I'll take him to the Shaman. He's helped Dar be--" Tao's words trailed off as Curupira ran quickly into the woods like a flash of lightning. She amazed him. He rolled his eyes and turned around to face his injured friend. "Now, to burn the net and then go home."
Dar asked, "Where'd she go?" He had been fascinated with the way she handled herself as if she were the one in charge. Uncertain of where he was never mind who he was, Dar became concerned. "Are you leaving too?" He started to rise, but swayed slightly.
Tao ran over to support him. "Dar, sit for a while why I dispose of the net. I'll take you home afterwards, all right?" He held his arms until his friend settled back safely onto the ground.
Dar nodded. "Tao, why can't I remember anything?"
Keen eyes observed the twosome through a hollowed out amethyst geode. Their images appeared smooth in the liquid-filled basin surrounded by purple crystals and unusual glass bottles. Tao's voice was clearly audible as he struck the flint to start a fire. "You hit your head and the injury is preventing you from remembering. In fact, you weren't breathing for a while. I almost took you for being dead, but Curupira breathed life back into you. I'm quite certain that once you're back in your own habitat, you'll regain your memories."
"I wish she stayed."
"I assure you, she'll return in two days."
"That's good, she's beautiful."
Tao paused for a moment to look at his friend. "Dar, I never...never mind. You don't remember anyway.
The Ancient One encircled the basin where the Sorceress spied upon the pair of mortals. His voice echoed throughout the cavern, "So, the Beastmaster has lost his memories…"
Her tone softened, "In a way, I understand what he's going through. He's lost so many experiences."
"No need to feel sorry for him, my dear. One can't regret what they've lost if they never knew they had it. He's better off...new like a babe. No troubles. No worries. In time, he'll regain new ones...trust me, we all do."
She frowned at his logic. "How can you be so heartless. Memories create the person. Our life's experiences are what makes us whom we are...whether they be hardships or joyful events. Memories mold us."
"Memories lost…memories found. So many memories, it's hard to keep track of them all. Mortals are so lucky to deal with only one set of memories." The older sorcerer touched the crystallized growth implanted within his skull with his finger tip. It glistened as if it contained millions of memories.
"Memories stolen…memories returned," the Sorceress answered, her tone sharpened. Her memories of Sharak had been stripped away from her long ago as punishment for expressing her feelings of love--only recently returned in a singlethrust. Memories she longed to rekindle. She waved her hand over the crystals and the image of Dar and Tao faded.
"Still bitter, my dear?" he asked his pupil.
"Of course not. It's just one can be so vulnerable without the memory of experiences."
"You have a point." He thought of what turn of events could take place, but then decided to let his student play the game. "Although his clumsy friend is clever, he won't be able to help him remember. If you feel it necessary to help the Beastmaster, then do so."
The Sorceress was already scheming. "Perhaps if I take the Beastmaster while he can't remember, he'll give me the power to communicate with the animals."
"Are you still harping on that? Really, why don't you just change an animal into human form and then talk to it? Why bother with the Beastmaster?"
Surprised by his suggestion, she studied her teacher carefully. Her eyebrows raised as a shrewd thought race through her mind. "I never thought of that. I've changed humans into simple animals before, why not vice versa?"
He started to leave the inner chamber, rambling about why anyone would want to talk with animals anyway. "Creatures have such an unadorned life: eat, sleep and mate. Never creating, no illusions…just surviving." He faded out of sight.
The Sorceress waved her hand across the crystal basin as soon as he vanished. "Perhaps you'll talk to Sharak for me now, Beastmaster."
"There!" Tao exclaimed as he smothered the last of the burning embers. "The net is gone. Such a shame, what craftsmanship." He kicked some more dirt over the ashes, just to be sure. "I'll grab Kodo and Podo. Are you up to traveling yet, Dar?"
Dar had been studying his staff weapon. The two-pieced hand-carved bone weapon fascinated him. One end was carved into a sharp blade, the other a knotted bulk forming a club.
Realizing his new friend was calling his name, Dar looked up. "Yes?"
"Let's go… we have a ways to travel before nightfall." Tao placed the pouch containing the ferrets around his shoulder. He watched as Dar tried to return the staff weapon to its rightful holder. "Here, let me do that," he offered as he took the weapon. Tao placed both pieces of the staff inside the quiver on Dar's back. "Like that."
"Thanks," Dar replied. "Which way?"
"This way," Tao answered. "Once we reach the Sanctuary, I'm sure your memory will return…I hope."
"What did you say? There's danger?"
Tao swung around just in time to see Dar wobble to-and-fro, trying to maintain his balance. He grabbed hold of his shoulders to steady him. "Maybe you're not well enough to travel yet."
Dar swayed again, this time bracing himself by hanging onto Tao. "What's happening? I'm...I'm soaring above the trees."
"That's Sharak!" Tao reasoned. "He's trying to show you something. You mentioned danger. Dar, listen to him. What's he saying?"
Dar looked to the sky, still balancing his weight with the help of his friend. "I see men on horses, riding fast."
"Terrons! That's not good. Can you see where they are? What good would that do?--you can't remember where anything is!" Tao suddenly heard the screech of the eagle flying above them. "Oh, great! They're too close for me. Where's Ruh when you need him? Let's go! This way!"
Too late. Five Terron warriors on horseback galloped into the clearing, their weapons readied for action. The leader jumped off his stallion. "Beastmaster? How fortunate for us to cross paths. King Zad has promised a hefty reward for you and your slave's heads."
Instinctively, Dar withdrew his staff, holding each part in separate hands. "King Zad?" Dar mumbled the name, looking to Tao for answers.
Terrons always made Tao nervous. Under different circumstances, he'd normally feel safe in Dar's company; however, with his memories lost, he felt completely defenseless. He ignored Dar's question; curious as to how the Terrons stumbled on their whereabouts. "How did you manage to find us?"
"We saw smoke. We hoped it would lead us to more slaves, but this prize is better." The leader raised his battleaxe and waved it overhead as he spoke. "I hear you fight like the animals, Beastmaster. Women have been known to call me a beast, so this should prove interesting."
With one swift swing, the Terron warrior struck Dar's side, sending him toppling sideways to the ground. His weapon flew out of his hands. Dar's knowledge of his fighting techniques had also gone astray. The downed man shook his head and attempted to stand up.
"Kill him, Ratax!" One of the other Terrons cheered.
Another strike sent Dar back downwards.Tao begged the warrior to stop, but his voice was drowned out by Terron laughter.
"What's wrong, Beastmaster? Can't tame me?" Ratax mocked. More laughter filled the air as the huge warrior lifted his battleaxe for the final blow. "Say your good byes, Beastmaster!"
Tao lunged forward onto the Terron's back. "Noooo!"
Suddenly, both men froze in place.
Bewildered, the other Terrons glanced around for the culprit. The Sorceress appeared and soon placed the rest of them in a frozen state as well. She strolled past the Terron leader named Ratax with Tao upon his back. She mused at the Eiron's heroic attempt to save his friend. This one need not die...his loss would mean too much to the Beastmaster. Besides, she found mortals like Tao intriguing, curious about their varied emotions and actions. She waved her hand and Tao, the ferrets and Dar's staff weapon disappeared. Next, she moved closer to where Dar lay wounded on the ground. "Now that I've saved you and your friend's lives, perhaps you can grant me one request."
Throwing sparkles of dust into the air, both she and Dar disappeared.
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My Fanfic is based on the BeastMaster: The Legend Continues Series
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