chapter 3

the viking and the samurai were friends. The next day, as they stood on the river bank, the Samurai felt that the secret were going to split his etheral body in two.

The boy.

What about him? did you finally decide it's a waste of time trying to face him.

no. you knowhow, you know how we can't feel anything?

we can feel things

we know the shape of things by putting our hands against them. We can looka t ssomething when we touch and decide if it. But we can't really feel. We're numb.

Oh that. Of course I know that. You know how it is after a war, all the new guys it's all they talk about. How even if they got out of here they coud neverfeel their beautiful wife's skin blah blah blah. So what?

what if I told you that there was a way to feel again.

The thing is, that rebirth thing, the Jemadar's all did it, but they had to leave their memories here. It's not like they're going to come back as baby's and crawl out to find their wife and... and anyway my wife is certainly long dead. There must have been a hundred wars since-

The conversation had gone from where the samurai wanted it to. Somehow they were back in a rut they'd rolled in a thousand times before.

No. I mean, what if I said there was a way to be as we are now. to think as we are now, but get our sensation back?

Even if there was...

And here the viking did what he did. For whatever reason, he was one who would always accept his lot. Theoreticals were tiresome to him, and he liked to engage in long winded explanations as to why his past choices were the right ones, and how even his dim half-life was the best anyone could choose. Even if half his brethren rode now in Elysium, still he could explain that, given the circumstances, any normal man would be in hell now, and this cave was only the reward for his great sagacity.

There is a way. I know a way.

What is it? asked the Viking, all his cool and pomp departed.

the boy.

He's warm...

more than that. you can feel everything. everything you could want to feel. Heat,, cold, the textre of things. And more, you can feel your memories, too, everything you touched.

The boy has been here for ages. said the viking. why now?

It's not his touch. It takes more. It's his blood.