Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Characters/Pairings: Pashalk, Anda, Daria
Summary: Pashalk takes a new partner, revealing his past along the way.
"You look like Mardi Calinthrell," Pashalk said as they dropped into the realm of spirits. The woman beside him frowned at the comment.
"Mardi Calinthrell? She was my great-aunt. But she never...," she trailed off, glaring at Pashalk before looking around. They were in Amers now, in a back alleyway.
"Ah, that explains it," Pashalk announced. "She always fancied Ryen but always was stuck as my partner."
"I don't care. I'm not her anyway. Just because I was called to serve the Death Goddess doesn't mean I like it!"
"Anda... Calinthrell, right?" Pashalk began, "I don't think anyone really likes being a harvester of souls in the beginning. But after awhile, it's just another job."
"So why am I stuck with you again?" Anda asked. "Daria's priestesses are just that - women!"
"This isn't a normal fetch-quest. This one's body is already in the ground but the soul won't come to us."
Anda frowned again. "Wait - no one explained that to me."
"Because it's a test," Pashalk said. "Remember - everything we brought with us to this realm will work in this realm. Your weapon may not hurt it, but it should slow down a little at least."
"Are you some big shot at this?"
"Mardi taught me, actually," Pashalk said. "Now, be quiet or we'll never catch it."
Anda nodded, motioning that she was tying her mouth closed before stepping forward out of the alleyway.
Pashalk winced, catching just a glance of the spirit in question as it skittered off from a rain bucket and headed down another alleyway.
"Anda," Pashalk scolded, quietly but firmly.
"I am so sorry," Anda replied, slumping against brickwork. "I... Maybe I do want to be good at this."
"Like I said, Mardi taught me. She was quick and quiet and with my past, Daria thought that I would be a good partner for her," Pashalk said as they stepped into the street.
"Hasn't anyone told you why I cannot pass to death?" Pashalk asked. "I am an evil man, a murderer and thief. I slaughtered entire families while they slept, terrorizing towns with both speed and power. I took on a unit of the Northland Army once and managed to take half of them down."
Anda took a step back.
"Don't worry. I'm on a tight leash woven by Daria herself," Pashalk continued. "When I went to her to beg release from what had become a curse of immortality, she only laughed and said that when I had worked off the weight of my sins, then I could die."
"Wait!" Anda exclaimed. "Then those who live apart from the priestesses are all..."
"Yes," Pashalk said. "They are amongst the most wicked and vile persons who ever existed in the history of Agassia who simply want release."
"Oh..." Anda was quiet as they kept walking.
Pashalk watched her for as long as he could while still looking for their rogue spirit. A knife to the side wouldn't be any hinderance in the long run, but it would still hurt for a few minutes.
And then he saw it, watching them from between crates stacked outside the back of a restaurant. Unless it had figured out how to fly, it was trapped. Grabbing Anda's hand, he pulled her into a fast run, hoping she saw what he saw before she thought him completely crazy.
"Go on!" he cried, realizing that she was the quicker of the two. "All you have to do is grab it!"
"What?! I...." She was already ahead, jumping wildly towards where the spirit of what looked almost like a young girl was clawing at the bricks of a dead end.
Pashalk wanted to laugh. Probably hadn't even noticed that she was dead and certainly hadn't figured out that walls weren't that much of a hinderance. Still, the spirit found Anda's hand around its wrist, not understanding that the natural order of things was making its feet move to follow her.
"I got it," Anda said almost incredulously. "We can go back. That was easy."
"You pass," Pashalk agreed. "So would you be my partner, Anda Calinthrell, just like Mardi before you?"
"If you'll answer one question for me," Anda said. "Why did you decide to die?"
"Why?" Pashalk repeated. "Well...."
"I won't think it's stupid," Anda said.
"How old are you?" Pashalk asked.
"What's that have to do with anything?" Anda questioned in response, glancing away from the spirit she still was gripping tightly. "And why are we still walking? Cast us back."
He wove the spell quickly, pulling the three of them first to the realm of the dead to deposit their quarry and then back to Temple.
Dropping to his knees to try to support Anda when she collapsed, coughing, Pashalk couldn't help a smile.
"Still having trouble with this part?" Pashalk asked. "You'll get used to it."
"Go on, tell me a story about Mardi, then."
"Mardi was much too perfect to let something like air in her lungs knock her down," Pashalk said as he pulled them both to their feet. "But you'll get there."
Both of them turned to realize that Death herself was watching them.
"She passed," Pashalk stated, bowing to his mistress.
"Excellent," Daria replied as she walked over to circle Anda. "I was going to wait until she was a little older to call her, but if she can do at sixteen what your last partner did at twenty-two..."
"She is related to Mardi," Pashalk interrupted. "However many decades ago that was."
"Ah," Daria said as she turned to go. "If you accept her and she accepts you, Pashalk Calinthrell of the Northland, then you have my blessing."
"Calinthrell," Anda repeated once the goddess had gone.
"Yes," Pashalk said. "Calinthrell. He who killed his own family in the dark of night."
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