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I am a soul hunter. The name, no doubt, conjures images in your mind of some unspeakable, frightful demon from the underworld that steals the spirits of mortals. Before you turn away in terror, let me assure you that I am neither demon nor thief, nor am I from the underworld. True, I have been there; it is after all the fate of all mortals when they die to pass through the death lands. But I am not of that world. I was born in this one, a long time ago, in a small village called Selacele on the cost of the emerald sea.
And I was not always a soul hunter. What is a soul hunter, you wonder. That question will be answered in due course. But first I must tell you what or more correctly who I was before I became what I am now.
My name is Saldia Kann. Don't worry, I am not going to bore you with details of my birth and childhood, nor am I going to ramble on about my exploits as a warrior, a hired sword whose name became famous throughout the great cities, from Terandor to Karamayne. Instead I will speak to you briefly of Araden, the man who I fell in love with.
Our love I am sure shocked many. The feelings had come as a surprise even to me. Here was a man, who, the only time he had ever held a sword was when he forged them or repaired broken ones for soldiers that passed through the small village in which he lived. And yet I loved him. I loved everything about him- his quiet thoughtful ways, the laughter in his warm brown eyes, the touch of his calloused hands against my bare skin. But above all else I loved the feeling of tranquility that he radiated when we were together. For a warrior and a wanderer contentment in peace is a rare thing. But Araden could calm my restless soul, soothing the unconquerable fires in his ocean of calm.
It was for him that I laid down my sword and cast aside my old life. They say love changes people. Maybe that is true, or maybe it just makes them realize in themselves potentials that they never knew they had. For me he awakened a capacity to live life away from battle. And I was happy, we were happy together. But fate, or the Gods, for they are one and the same had other plans.
We had not been wed very long when tragedy struck. The dark fever had descended upon the village where we lived. People were dying by the dozens daily; those who survived were crippled for life. Araden was among the unfortunate who had fallen ill. Against the judgment of our friends I took to nursing him. It did not matter if I became ill; all that mattered was that he lived. Unfortunately he did not and I was left alone, but not for long. A few days later I came down with the fever as well.
I barely remember the moments that passed. Day and night had merged into one, the distinction losing its meaning as I lay sweating my life away. Nothing seemed real to me, not my sheets dank with perspiration or the cold cloth on my forehead. Vaguely I remember a grave faced healer peering over me. I did not need to read the worry in his eyes to know that I was dying. I had been close to death before.