There was no one at this desolated place where he had expected to see her. Yet her message had been clear: “Meet me at the guard, the highest point on the hill, where you have a full view of the mesa.”
They had played there, witches and sorcerers, and later other games, as kids, as they grew up, away from the civilised world. The mesa was there, unmistakable. And the sentinel. But where was she?
He had memories of her, the leader of their band of many, of course just the the two of them, as the others had this elusive property of existing only for them. They were fierce, she was implacable, expecting loyalty to the death. All those battles, the glory, the love too, although the word only acquired meaning much later for him. In fact that was when he had to go, to a real war.
Now he was back. Her warrior. And she wasn’t there, in this of all the places, guarded by the sentinel, and now him, the cripple, the cyborg, a hideous reflection of the man she had loved.