A Little Flame Under the Ice

Chapter Two: Tsakalatos

© 2001 by Seiiruika

This page was last modified: 2001/07/29

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Camus walked around the ruins of antic Greek buildings, looking from time to time at the relics of some colonnades which stubbornly stood upright. He was not admiring those who had erected them but the fact that in spite of time those stones were still up, for they defied time, the elements and the humans. Regardeless to what the others were saying, even if they declared they were the strongest, but from his point of view, that of a four years old boy, the rough, calm and compact strength was in fact represented by those columns which were still up, even after millennia of existence. Those stones, which would still be up even after the death of those so-called most powerful beings, fascinated him. A rough and focussed strength, a peace that nothing would shake. He knew that things could not suffer,could not feel anything and he envied them.

He put his hand on the greyish stone and closed his eyes. One year ago, he had not known what it was like to feel. He had felt things but he had not been aware of it because he had always been alone and he had not even known how those emotions were called. But since he had encountered Serge, he had learnt that humans had feelings, yet when he discovered this, he became aware of his own pain. Sometimes, he suffered and he hoped with all his heart that he couldn't feel anything. He then wished he had never met the Grus Saint, but in the next moment he was more than glad to have met him and to have chosen to follow him.

Although he had tried for one year to find out how humans really were like, he still did not have clear answers. The emotions and the feelings annoyed him the most. He had already made a choice among those he had already felt, and he preferred those engendering pleasure, joy and happiness. But Camus was perfectly aware of the fact that life did not mean only pleasure. He had suffered and he would suffer again. He saw suffering all around him. He saw pain and despair among the ones who tried to become Saints. He too was soon going to share their fate. He was going to share their pain and despair. His youth had brought him some respite.

He sighed and under his fingers he felt the coldness of the stone. The winter sun of Greece had not succeeded in warming it up during the day. He put his forehead on a flute of the column and he suppressed another sigh. 'Two months and a half. Almost three. I never thought I would suffer like this.'

He felt a pang in his heart and his eyes filled with tears. He closed his eyelids more tightly. He knew what would happen if he continued thinking of the only person who had showed kindness and affection for him. No, he did not want to cry. Tears would not solve anything. It was useless. Tears were for the death of your loved ones' only. But he knew that he was still alive. He knew it. He wished for it. Who would be stronger than him except for the few Saints who were of a higher a higher rank in the Sanctuary's hierarchy? So, why those tears? Regret, nostalgia, something else?

"Please Serge, come back quickly" he murmured.

A shiver ran down his spine and Camus opened his eyes. He returned to the harsh reality and looked around. The sun had disappeared behind the craggy slopes and mountains that surrounded the Sanctuary. The temperature had suddenly dropped. The sky darkened. In the East, the Venus called the evening star already shone. He tore himself away from the column. He needed Serge. He needed his presence and his knowledge. It had been almost three months now that the Saint was somewhere out in the world, he did not know where. From that moment he was aware of the importance the Saint had taken in his life and his heart, and he was afraid. He was really frightened by this dependence and link, and the worst was that he could not speak to anybody about this.

Camus tightened his small fists enjoining himself to not think about the Grus Saint and he started to move slowly, his eyes closed. He started to fight an invisible enemy, then he kicked him, quickly spinning around as the invisible enemy suddenly had had split up into several who were attacking him from all sides. He started again and again while he tried to concentrate on the action and not on his thoughts.

His eyes opened suddenly and the boy stopped dead in his tracks. Something had broken his concentration and inner harmony but he did not know what. He was sure to have felt a presence close to him. He looked around trying to pinpoint the reason for his sudden faintness. He could not find it. He slowly shook his head to chase this feeling away and he resumed his fighting movements. He started to leap on a piece of a fallen column and jumped down before repeating it.

Not very far from the place where the child was training alone, on a quite craggy steep slope but not too high, two men were watching the boy with interest.

"He learns pretty fast." noticed a very tall man wearing a blue mask.

"Yes, I think he got used to life in Sanctuary." said an another man wearing a emerald green tunic which was partly covering his white pants. His jet-black hair was tied in a ponytail at the nape of his neck and his eyes, each showing a different colour, were shining in the twilight. "But he doesn't speak with anyone, except for asking questions. He avoids the others and doesn't want to mix with them. The only person he tolerates close to him is Serge the Grus Saint."

"There are not many children of his age here, Ornythos" replied the man in the blue mask in a deep voice.

"He does not have any affinity to the children of his age. I am told that he avoids Aiolia as much as he can, and the children who are two to tree years older than him are not interesting to him, as he reassured us. Some say he is cold and insensitive. All he wants is to be alone. I have the feeling that he hides something within his heart, but I don't know what that should be."

"Serge alone must have an idea on what he wants to hide. Anyway, many here had difficult and painful experiences."

"Do you believe that he will be a Saint one day if he keeps this attitude?"

"I have confidence in Serge's judgement. Camus already has a small cosmo which just needs to be awakened. But even if it wakes up, I doubt he will be a good Saint, or all at least a powerful one..."

"Then, why did you admit him to Sanctuary?"

"Intuition. Moreover, he had already entered Sanctuary. We must teach him what a Saint and his mission is really about." The tall and masked man silently looked at the child for a long while. Then he turned his back to the scene and walked away to his temple. "Tomorrow I must go to Rodario. I will not go there alone. Inform Camus that I want him with me tomorrow."

Ornytos was about to ask a question but then he decided against it. The Pope could act as he wished. He was Athena's representative on Earth and everybody here had to comply with his orders. If he wished the child to be with him on the next day, so he was to follow his orders.

"Oh, Ornytos, let him train, but keep an eye on him, would you? I have promised Serge that nothing will happen to his 'little protégé'. I should think of finding a Master for this child very quickly."

"It will be made according to your desire, my Lord" he answered while he bowed. "But you should know that Camus will go his own way..."

"He is young but already mature. It is time for him to understand what Humanity is, or else..." The man did not finish his sentence and resumed his way in silence,escorted by Ornytos who followed him as a faithful and devoted shadow.

Camus stopped slowly his movement and opened his eyes. He was bathed in sweat and his breath was coming short, but he felt better. The weight he had felt on his heart since this morning had disappeared, but he pertinently knew that this weight would return the following day, and this as long as Serge would not have returned to the Sanctuary. He sighed and shivered in spite of the fact he was sweating. He raised his head and he noticed that it was alredy late at night. Saul was going to worry. He walked toward the small house, not without throwing a last glance at the columns which appeared phantasmagoric in the soft light of the half-moon.

He came into the small house that belonged to Serge and he slowly closed the door behind him.

"You're here at last! I was getting worried!"

Camus looked up at the seventeen year old teenager who was looking at him closely to make sure that everything was all right. Once he had made sure Camus was ok, he sighed in relief and a smile appeared on his lips. Camus knew Saul from the day on which he had arrived at Sanctuary, but he had never struck up a friendship with him. This way too extroverted black eyed and olive green haired boy was actually good natured, and this was maybe why he had never succeeded in becoming a Saint.

"The diner is ready" said Saul pointing at the table and went over to the cooking place. He took the pot which was put near the hearth.

Camus could not help but gaping at the teenager's limping. His right leg was around ten centimetres shorter than the left and at each pace he made Saul could fall. But like a miracle that Camus could not explain he did not fall and the little boy had the impression that the teenager was moving as if he was walking on the deck of a boat which pitched sharply. Camus felt embarrassed as he was staring and looked away and bit his lip.

"What's wrong?" demanded the puzzled and anxious Saul.

"You're not on guard duty tonight?"

"Yes, but I was ordered to stay with you."

"Ordered? Why?"

"You're too young. Serge would not forgive me if something happened to you. Ornytos knows this perfectly well, and that's why he told me to stay near you. I owe everything to Serge ..."

Camus did not listen anymore Saul's flood of words and walked towards his bed which was underneath the western window of the large room.

The house was small and had only two rooms. The main room was very large and contained hearth, the kitchen, the dining room, the room were Camus had lessons and slept, like Saul did when Serge was not here. The second room was the bedroom of the Grus Saint.

Camus sighed. He knew Saul's story by heart but the latter did not seem to notice this. He knew that when he was around nine years old and training he had had a serious accident which had caused his limping. But Serge had saved him from a certain death and since then the teenager helped and served the Saint as if he were a God."

"Camus? You don't want eat anything?"

Camus did not turn to Saul and slid into the bed without a word.

"You should eat. You are too thin and you have lost weight again.

Camus turned his back to Saul. "I'm tired" he told him. He heard the teenager sigh and limp to the other bed on the other side of the room. Few moments later, the candle was blown out and Camus curled up in the blankets. He missed the warmth of Serge's body. He had slept around one month in the arms of the only person who had ever showed kindness and affection to him. He had liked this warmth, so soft and powerful, those regular beats of Serge's heart which had soothed and lulled him into sleep. Then Camus had decided to sleep alone. He was afraid of a thing he did not know, a more or less irrational fear of the future and he feared that Serge would take up his decision the wrong way. Instead he seemed to be allright with it. Since this day, he had not fallen asleep in the Saint's arms anymore. But this evening he missed this warm presence end this scared him more. He now understood what he was afraid of. He unconsciously feared to be deprived of this human warmth. He closed his eyes after he had put a silent plea to the goddess he had pledged loyality to.

Ornytos looked down at Camus who looked at him back without an emotion crossing his indigo eyes. This child was an enigma in itself. The child was not afraid of him despite his eyes of different colours. He intimidated most people he met and it always frightened the children. His right pale lavender eye and his left pale green eye were exceptional, but Camus had never been scared, even when they first met each other.

* * *

Ornytos stood behind the Pope who was looking at the Sanctuary from the large balcony. He particularly liked contemplating the colours of the sky which arrayed all the bluish colours before it blazed up in a fire going from yellow to a very pale pink, turning into read and crimson before dying out in blue and black velvet colours spangled with stars. The representative of Athena on Earth liked to look at the Sanctuary at this hour when everything was calming down and fell asleep.

Ornytos saw the Pope raising slightly his head towards the blue sky that would in few moments explode into all the colours of the sunset.

"He's here" he announced in a breath.

The chief of the Sanctuary's soldier raised his eyebrows puzzled not understanding what his Master was talking about. But he did not ask a question. Moreover had he spoken to him? He was not sure, it was as the Pope had spoken to himself. A very long moment slipped by in silence before the monumental door was opened and one of the guards on duty came in. "What is it?" asked Ornytos while he turned to the man who had knelt on one knee. "The Grus Saint is here and he wants to meet the Pope."

"Serge?" demanded the chief of the soldiers surprised. He suddenly understood what the pope wanted to say earlier. While he thought back to the sentence he had said he could not help but detecting a hint of relief in his voice. He knew the links the Silver Grus Saint and the representative of Athena shared together.

"Let him come in" said the Pope giving up his contemplation of the sunset and looking down to the several temples that lined the way of his palace.

Ornytos knew that the Grus Saint was the only one who was allowed to disturb the Pope at any hour of the day or the night, even at this moment of the day that he particularly appreciated. He saw the soldier opening the door and nodding his head. He saw the silver haired Saint coming into the large room and the door was closed behind him. 'No, them' he thought when he saw a little silhouette walking near the Saint. He frowned and raised his head for meeting the Saint's amber eyes. He did not have any answer to his silent question. Serge put simply and briefly his left hand on the child's head and did not grant a glance to the man that they were passing by. His attention was turned to the masked man who had turned to them.

Serge knelt on one knee and lowered his head, demonstrating that he recognised the man's authority. Camus slightly arched his eyebrows in surprise, but he did not move.

"I thought you would be back sooner..."

"Unfortunately some small incidents hindered me to return at the time we have planned."

"Is he one of the small incidents you are talking about?" asked the Pope pointing at the boy who was quietly standing close to him.

"No. He is the best news that I was able to bring you."

"So the news are bad."

"I let you be the judge of deciding if they are good or bad" said Serge while he stood up. "I introduce you Camus. He is French. He is only three years old but he already has a light cosmo which appeares subconsciously time to time."

The Pope turned his head to the boy and looked him up and down. "Why have you brought him here? He is too young..."

"Aiolia is young too. Camus would certainly not survive alone. I preferred taking him along with me than losing a highly probable candidate."

"I see... Anyway, it is too late." He turned to Ornytos and motioned him to come closer. "Take the child and take care of him."

"As you wish my Lord." Ornytos approached Camus who was still looking fixedly at the representative of Athena on Earth. Serge slightly pushed the boy towards the chief of the soldiers. "It won't be long. Stay with Ornytos."

Without a word Camus went to the man and followed him.

Ornytos glanced at Camus and they left the large room. They stepped up some stairs. "So your name is Camus" he said in very hesitant French. "Do you know where you are?"

"In Greece. At Sanctuary. Serge explained me" answered the boy tersely.

"Then he has already explained you the rules."


They arrived on a platform and an immense female statue wearing a long chiton and holding a winged little statue in her right hand and a shield in her left appeared in front of them. Ornytos stopped and looked at the little child's reaction. Camus opened eyes wide and observed the statue. "Do you know who is she?" The boy shook his head in denial. "Athena..."

"The Goddess of the War. The Saints train in order to serve her and in order to safeguard the peace in the world" cut the boy looking up at Ornytos

Ornytos was astonished to see that the child did not blink once when he saw his eyes of different colours. There was not a hint of fear in his indigo eyes. There was only the need to confirm his answer.

"I see that Serge already taught you the bases. Yes it's right and you are a potential candidate."

"I know" he replied. "But how can the Goddess of the War represent the opposite?"

"To explain this to you in French is beyond my abilities. Serge didn't explained this?"

"He did, but I didn't understand all what he said" revealed Camus quite simply.

A little smile appeared on the man's lips before he burst out laughing. "You're still quite young! You will be taught all what you need to know. Rome wasn't built in a day."


"Someone will teach you, at least Serge will do it. I think first you should learn Ancient and Modern Greek, then it will be easier for you to understand a few things."

"If there is a so huge statue it means that she is very venerated, doesn't it?"

"Yes, well at least here. And from the very moment you have come inside Sanctuary, you belong to Athena."

Camus nodded, meaning that he was aware of this....

* * *

Ornytos stopped thinking about this one-year-old memory. Camus had absolutely not changed. True to form, he was calm, serious, and indifferent to what could happen to him, cold, discreet and intellectually curious. 'As always he is his usual self. An adult mind in the body of a child. You have a strange power that you're not aware of, little one. Everyone succumbs to it and I understand that the Grus Saint had succumbed to it too. You look at the world without fear, without judging it, you seldom speak and this strange warmth that emanates from you invades the ones who are close to you, and they desire to stay near you... Strange boy, strange enigma....'

Camus felt that someone was watching him and looked up to the chief of the soldiers and stared at him a long moment. Like often, Ornytos shivered when his eyes met Camus'. 'He's too adult, too much...'

The child turned his look to the monumental stairs which led to the Pope's palace. "Why?" he suddenly asked.

"The Pope wants you to go with him. It's all what I can tell you." He heard someone pacing and he saw the chief of the Sanctuary stepping down the last few stairs. Ornytos lowered his head but Camus looked up at him and tried to make out what the blue mask was hiding. He did not succeed. He could not read anything in those blood red orbits replacing the eyes of this strange man.

"Ornytos, I let you deal with everything. Camus, are you ready?"

Camus wondered whether he should follow the Pope but he knew that he had to follow him because he had been ordered. He nodded. The only way he had to know what the Pope wanted of him was to follow him and thus to obey him. The Pope passed by him followed by two servants. Camus fell in behind them.

Under the respectful looks of the soldiers, they walked out of the sacred compound. The small group went down the path that led to the Rodario village. They walked in silence and this did not seem to bother Camus. He was listening to the noises that were surrounding him and he noticed that they were the same as in the Sanctuary. Only the shouts and cries of pain or of encouragement were missing there. He missed them at first but he appreciated this relative silence. He felt lighter and more free because of it.

This feeling of freedom invaded him. He was not jailed in the Sanctuary. He could go everywhere he wanted but near the female training camp, Star Hill, and near the mountain where the Pope's palace was located. The Sanctuary was large very large and he could come and go as he pleased. But now, he became aware that the ban on going out of the Sanctuary weighted heavily on him and the call for freedom was stronger than he had first thought. Therefore he appreciated this feeling right now.

At the bend in the path, the little boy caught a glimpse of the roofs of the village that lay below. The village seemed small to him. He did not remember it so small. It was true that when he had arrived, he had seen big cities and this little village located in a steep-sided valley but being under maritime climate had seemed insignificant. Here and now he paid more attention to it. The village only had few hundred inhabitants, but it seemed welcoming.

Camus lost sight of the village for few moments, and when he went down the steep path, the nearest houses appeared as well as the shouts and laughs reached his ears.

"The Pope! The Pope is here!" people shouted. The joy in their voices could be easily heard. They ran in all directions and the children were laughing. They did not dare come closer to the representative of Athena on Earth but Camus understood they wished to do so. He did not understand why the tall, masked man was so popular to the inhabitants of Rodario and this perplexed him.

A child holding a few flowers and more courageous than his fellows, came out of the crowd which had gathered around the Pope and Camus, and ran toward the tall man. He held his flowers, a light of hope in his eyes. The Pope bent and accepted the wild flowers and he ran his fingers through the bold boy's dark hair. This latter's smile widened. It was the signal for all the children whom rushed to the Pope attracting his attention.

Camus blinked when the Pope accepted all the signs of gratitude from the children and was more surprised when he noticed that the man did not reject them. He thought it was an attitude unworthy for the representative of Athena but he said nothing and stayed quiet. The Pope was free to do what he wanted. The group of children parted and opened the way to this illustrious man. The Pope walked and stopped, asking if everybody was fine, if everything was fine here and in the little hamlets around.

Then the Pope stopped and came inside houses and spent his time near wounded or ill people, trying to make them feel better.

Camus followed the Pope and he did not understand why he wanted him to come with him and why the Pope had required his presence. As he was not speaking, Camus observed what was happening around and he was more and more lost. The Pope's servants and the inhabitants of the village did not speak to him and Camus had plenty of time to think about what he was seeing and hearing. The people seemed to be more welcoming and open than the ones he had seen when his mother had left him to his fate. 'Maybe because I'm able to feel some emotions, that I'm aware of them, I'm able to take a different view of things. Maybe because I live in a place where pain was more than present, I can see the others' happiness and joy when I see those emotions. Is it for preserving this happiness and joy that Saints exist? Saints must suffer so that the others can live?'

The Pope came near Camus and put his hand on his head meaning that they should go out of this house. Camus followed meekly and without a word to the representative of Athena on Earth. He narrowed his eyes when the rays of the Sun attacked them when he walked out. The chief of the Sanctuary resumed his way and Camus rushed after him. He looked around him and observed the children around his age whom were playing or chasing each other playfully, shouting or laughing, but everything was joy.

'It's so different from France', thought Camus. He felt a pang in his heart when he thought back to his native country. France for him meant betrayal and desertion. France represented his mother whom had had no scruples about abandoning him on a winter day and that he wanted to forget the memory. But France represented Serge too, the native country of the one whom had taken him in and to the place where everything had begun. Camus stopped thinking about his past and looked around. The Pope had just come into another house but this time he did not join him. He stopped and he took the advantage of looking where he was. He was in a little street lined with houses, but at the left of the place he was standing there was a piece of waste land on which the vestiges of an important and ancient house or temple were visible here and there among the grass and some bushes. Knowing that the Pope would not come out until a long moment, Camus who was attracted by those stones came to the laying columns. He walked among the ruins for few minutes and then he climbed on a column which was laying all its length down on the rocky ground. He walked on keeping his balance by spreading his arms before he stopped dead in his tracks.

Voices. He heard people shouting. Camus curiously narrowed his eyes and walked few more paces. Then he saw a group of children surrounding another one who was around his age and had wavy and blue hair falling on his shoulders.

"Why haven't I the right to play with you!" he shouted looking around to the four eight nine years old children.

"You're too young! We don't want to play with you!"

"I'm strong!" shouted the boy. "Nikolaios! I have the right to play with you!"

"Go back home! You're too young!"

"Stephanos! Please!"

"Go back home at once!"

"No! I will go with you!"

"That's enough now! Do what we told you and immediately!"

"I will tell Dimitrios!"

"Carry on! Do it if you want, baby!"

"I want to go with you! I'm strong! I can prove it!" assured the boy taking a position of attack.

"Ha ha ha ha! The little one is aggressive!" said a blue haired boy and he pushed without effort the young boy whom lost his balance and fell on the ground, his nose in the dust. "He! Learn to stay up first before defying someone, little bro!" He burst out laughing and walked away leaving the child alone. The three others followed him and they were soon out of sight.

The blue haired boy, his nose still in the dust punched the ground furiously and stood up slowly, his head bent. Tears could been seen even if his bangs hid the most part of his face. "You will pay for that! I swear!" he hurled punching the ground angrily. He stood up and he sniffed while he tried to wipe away his tears.

Camus stayed still looking at the boy who was sniffing and with his left hand was trying to wipe away his tears. While he was doing so with his dirty hand, he got dust and earth all over his face making the tracks of his tears even more visible. Camus resumed staring at him.

The child was swearing under his breath and his eyes were red. He was very angry and he was clenching his hand so tightly that his finger joints were white. At the same time he was kicking some stones, angrily whipping up a cloud of dust and sand at the same time.

"Why are you crying?" asked Camus in a neutral tone and catching himself speaking to the boy.

The boy hardened and raised his head to see who had spoken to him. He saw a boy who was around his age and who had very deep blue hair which was framed by few bluish-green bangs. He noticed that the child's indigo eyes were cold and didn't show any emotion. "It's not your business!" he shouted. "And I wasn't crying!"

"Sorry" replied the other boy in a neutral voice, "I thought you were. I have made a mistake." Camus jumped off the column and turned his back to the blue haired child. He walked away without giving a glance to the child.

"Eh! Wait!" called the child curiously. "Who are you? I've never seen you here before! Where do you live?" he asked while he was running after the other and catching up with him.

The boy adressed continued his way and did not look at the Greek child, but the latter followed him curiously, his anger completely forgotten. The blue-greenish haired boy stopped and sighed before turning to the other. "My name is Camus" he answered in an emotionless voice.

"Camus?" repeated the child intrigued by the new one's accent. "You're not from here? You have a strange accent. And it's not a Greek name. Where are you from?"

"Why do you ask all those questions?"

"Why did you ask me why I was crying" snapped back the Greek.

Camus replied nothing and he watched the boy carefully. Now he could see the real colour of the others eyes. They were turquoise. He did not know why but this colour seemed cold and heartless to him. A colour which represented what he wanted to be or become. But by observing them more carefully he made out a sparkle of curiosity and something he could not define. His eyes were warmer and more lively than he had seen at first glance. Furthermore, the Greek boy's face expressed all sorts of emotions. Curiosity and surprise could be easily read on the boy's face. He could read the child's soul as he was reading an open book. "France" he simply replied without letting the other out of sight.

"France? Where is it? Far?"

Camus shrugged meaning that he did not know. "Your name?" he asked laconically.

"Tsakalatos" replied the child with his chest stuck out and crossing his arms on it, defying him, afraid of something.

"Tsakalatos" repeated Camus slowly.

The boy sat cross-legged on a fallen column as he wanted to speak. "I hate my name" Tsakalllatos said all of sudden. "I hate it! I don't know why my father had given me this stupid name! I would like he gave me one as Nikolaios or Stephanos or another, but he did not! Everybody makes fun of my name, and the first to do this are my brothers! They have normal names! It's not fair!"

Camus replied nothing and stared at the wavy haired boy. "At least, you have a name" he said in a breath.

Tsakalatos raised his eyebrows, puzzled. "What do you mean?"

Camus shook his head defensively. "Nothing important."

"Really?" he asked not totally convinced.

Camus only nodded. 'The past is the past' he said to himself.

"You're new here, aren't you? I haven't seen you before. Where do you live?"

"Not in the village."

"Then, in a farm? You seem to be too refined and noble for being the son of a farmer..." Tsakalatos remarked honestly, looking up and down the French boy.

"No, I live in the Sanctuary" replied Camus still in a neutral voice.

"In the Sanctuary?!" shouted the boy jumping to his feet and having a precarious balance on the piece of marble. "You're joking, right?!" he continued while he jumped off his perch and looked into the French boy's eyes. Camus shook his head in denial. "I can't believe it!" Camus shrugged wondering why the Greek boy was reacting this way. He was about to ask him the reason when a deep and warm voice muffled by a mask prevented him to do so.


The child turned and saw the Pope who was waiting for him. He knew the rules of the Sanctuary and now that he had come into the sacred compound, he could not go out freely unless he became a Saint. If he did not succeed he would have to stay inside for the rest of his life. He made a step towards the representative of Athena on Earth but stopped dead. He turned to the child he was speaking with. Tsakalatos had his eyes and mouth wide open because of his surprise.

"You know the Pope?" he asked in a voice in which respect could be heard. He looked at Camus respectfully.

Camus nodded and walked to the Pope.

"Camus!" shouted Tsakalatos. "Will we meet again?"

Camus looked back and shrugged, not knowing if he would come out of the Sanctuary once more. He fell behind the Pope and the servants.

"I would like to see you again!" shouted Tsakalatos.

Camus did not turn around and followed the three men. But before turning at the street corner, he cast a quick look behind and saw Tsakalatos who was staring at him. When he saw Camus turning to him, the Greek child raised his arm and waved. Unconsciously, Camus raised his hand to answer him.

"Camus" called one of the servants. Camus lowered his hand quickly and resumed his way to the Sanctuary. "So Camus, you made a friend?" asked the servant.

Camus raised his eyes and shrugged. "What is a friend?" he asked seriously. Serge had explained him that a friend was someone with whom he could play and share his thoughts. But there was nothing of this sort with this boy. He had only met him, and that was all. 'Is there another definition of friendship?' he said to himself.

The servant looked down and stared at him. Surprise was utterly written on his face. "You don't know?"

Camus shrugged his shoulders. "What is friendship to you?"

The servant shook his head in despair.

"Friendship is one of the noblest feeling that exist in the world that humans can have, Camus" the Pope suddenly replied without turning to the child. "It's a strength which doesn't have limits as love does. It's an affection we have for somebody else, an irrational feeling without second thoughts."

Camus bent his head thinking about what the Pope had just said. "No, it is not a friend" he admitted a moment after. "I have just met him."

No one spoke to him and they continued they way to the Sanctuary. Camus looked back to the village and he noticed that the day was almost over. He looked at the tall man who was at the head of their train. He still did not know why the Pope had brought him with him. 'Why? For what purpose?' It was of no good trying to think about it and to find the answer, Camus could not do it. He frowned and sighed silently. He continued following the Pope saying to himself that he still had lot of things to learn and to understand, and he missed Serge.

Camus came into the Sanctuary and he noticed that he had not thought about Serge a lot that day. The day had slipped by quickly and he had made new experiences. He missed Serge on that night because he wanted some answers to his questions. Serge seemed to know all the answers. But the need he had felt for a few days was lesser tonight. "Why?" he murmured while the Pope turned to him.

"Thank you Camus, I don't need you anymore today. You are free to do what you want." Saying this, he walked away leaving Camus more puzzled than ever.

Camus saw him speaking with Ornytos then looking in his direction. Ornytos did the same and he nodded to something the Pope said him. The latter began to climb up the monumental stairs. The little boy walked away to his favourite place where no one went. He met a few young exhausted candidates but they had to continue their training until their masters decided that it was enough for that day and in the best case it would not be before two hours or more.

Camus passed them as quickly as he could. He felt uncomfortable. He has just had a good day and he had had the right to come out of the Sanctuary, and this was not the case for everybody here. He felt uneasy because he did not know the same pain as the others and he could not help thinking that there was injustice within the Sanctuary.

He stopped near the proud columns and he leant his back against one of them, watching the sun setting slowly behind the peaks. He should train and do the movements he imposed on himself everyday since Serge has left, but tonight he did not have the heart to do them. The embarrassment was more present than he had first thought. Why did he feel it today? The contrast between the joy in the village and the pain here, and because he knew he was privileged? Was it for this reason he had decided to start training alone or because Aiolia was training with his brother? Were there other reasons? Like the one to please Serge when he would be back, so that he would be proud of him? To thank him for bringing him here? He did not know and he could not remember his first motivation. Why did people enjoy making him doubt about himself and shattering his truths? He did not have the answer to these questions either.

Camus looked up to the sky and sighed when he caught sight of the first stars shining. 'Why have I spoken to Tsakalatos? What did encourage me to do this? I will certainly never see him again...' Tsakalatos' silhouette waving to him came back to his mind and his smile was a solace to Camus, chasing away his dark thoughts. "A strange boy" he murmured while he walked to Serge' house. "Really a strange boy" he confirmed shaking his head.

Camus was training as he did every night. He was training longer. He did not take any notice of Saul being worried because he was staying outside too late. Camus thought that he was his responsible for himself and that he did not have answer to the soldier. He quickly raised his leg. But he raised it too high and he heavily fell on the ground. He bit his lower lip and desperation crossed his indigo eyes for a short second.

"You put too much strength when you raise your leg. If you use less strength, then you could keep your balance, even if you jump in the air in the same time" noticed someone who was leant against a column, his arms crossed and he was staring at the boy with attention.

Camus turned his head quickly when he heard this voice. He knew it the second he heard the voice, his heart had beaten quicker and his eyes had shone. But he found his impassivity again when he saw the person leaning against the column. He stared at him silently, not believing what he was seeing.

The man was staring at him and his amber eyes were shining softly under the dim light of the stars. The steel blue-grey hair was floating freely in the air. Serge. He was back, he was here. Camus' heart lightened. They stared at each other for a few moments. Neither of them wanted to break this silence. Then the Grus Saint came closer to Camus. "So, you are training all by yourself?" he said stopping a few steps in front of the boy. "It's a bit late for this. Saul is worried" he continued while he held his hand to the child.

Camus looked at it but did not take it. He stood up all by himself and he dusted his clothes. "You were here?"

A smile appeared on the silver Saint's lips. "For a long time. But you didn't notice me. If it had been a real fight, you would be dead now. You should concentrate on your opponent, it's true, but you should always keep an eye on what is happening around. An enemy could be hiding and attack you from behind."

"I haven't thought about this" admitted Camus frowning. He studied the Saint's face and he had a sudden urge to throw himself in his arms. But he stopped himself from doing this and he continued staring at Serge who had crouched in front of him. He had never known a reunion after a long separation and he did not know how to behave.

"You seem to be in good shape, but you have lost some weight..." Serge reproached him kindly and he put his hand on his head. "You should take care of you" he murmured drawing the child against his chest and embracing him.

Camus fought against the tears which appeared at the corner of his eyes. "You have stayed away a long time" admitted Camus while he put his cheek against the Saint's heart.

Serge Smiled when he heard his protégé's indirect confession. "I missed you too" admitted the Saint while his fingers ran through Camus' hair. "It is longer, Camus" noticed the Saint.

"Tell me Serge, will you teach me?"

"I'm not your master, but I will teach you a few things which will make you an exceptional Saint."

"You leave again soon?" asked Camus freeing himself from the Saint's embrace and found his cold attitude again.

"No, I don't think so. I must wait for the Pope's order." He stood up and looked at the sky. "We must go back, will you come?"

Camus nodded and followed the Saint. "How was your journey?"

"As always. You really want to know a few things, aren't you?"

Camus looked right ahead of him with a little smile. "You have promised."

"Yes I have promised and I will keep this promise. You are really insatiable."

"I want to know and understand everything."

"I will tell you all what you need to know. Tomorrow we will go to Rodario together. I'm sure you will like this village."

"I already went there several times." Feeling that Serge had stiffened, Camus looked up and saw surprise in the amber eyes of the Saint. "Yes. Once with the Pope, and the second time with Ornytos."

"I see that you haven't got bored."

"Why would I get bored? There's so much thing to learn and know."

"Always so insatiable" smiled Serge who tousled Camus' hair. They remained silent and they saw the Saint's house near the foothills of a peak. "It's pleasant to come back home" he murmured. "Especially when someone is waiting for you..."

Camus raised his head and saw that Serge had closed his eyes and seemed to listen to the noise of the night, to smell the odours as if to let all his other senses except for his eyes increase the impression of really being at his home. The boy titled his head, puzzled, not understanding what Serge meant with this sentence and those acts. For him his home was Serge's house. The place he had lived with his mother was not what he could call a home. Having never left Serge's house and not missing the one in France, he could not understand what his mentor felt.

"Let's go inside now" suggested Serge while he headed for the door that Saul had just opened. "Welcome back home."

Camus would have like to stay longer alone with Serge outside, but seeing the light coming from the open door, he understood that the Saint yearned for rest, even more when he saw the rings under his eyes and that he looked drawn. He understood that the moments of joy and happiness were all the more precious if they were rare and very intense. He let Serge enter and closed the door behind them, so that no one could enter except for the three inhabitants of this place.

Camus and Serge quickly and silently went down the steep path. He felt good. He was near the one he respected the most and he was comparatively free. He appreciated the relative freedom that he had already got to know twice, but this one was more important for him. He looked up to Serge and was glad to notice that the rings under his eyes had disappeared and they were only memories. Serge had gone to bed practically right after dinner. But he had first told Camus and Saul of a few customs of some countries that he had travelled, then he had covered Camus up before going to his room and locking himself in.

Serge looked back at him but he said nothing. He just tousled his hair before he turned his attention to the stony and tortuous path leading to Rodario.

Camus was not offended when Serge ran his fingers through his hair. He was the only one he tolerated touching him. He liked this gesture of affection but also this gesture of recognition. A light smile appeared on his lips and when he saw the first roofs of the village, it widened a little more. Maybe would he see Tsakalatos.

The little French boy did not know why he he had become so attracted to this unruly boy who was so much more simple and so complicated at the same time. The little Greek child let his emotions and thoughts show, but sometimes the words he said made him look older than he was. Camus preferred the blue haired boy when he was speaking seriously, but with Tsakalatos, it did not last long.

The noises of the village reached their ears and Camus found this sound pleasant. He raised his head and he saw Serge who was looking to the first cluster of houses and the man shook his head when some strange ideas crossed his mind. He lowered his look and he saw Camus who was watching him. "Let's go. We must go before there is nothing left on the market." Saying this, he sped up.

The conversations, the laughter, the cries, the swearwords welcomed them when they reached the place where the market waswhole. Anyone would think the village had arranged to meet at the same place and time. While he was following Serge, Camus gave quick glances at the inhabitants who were wearing clothes in many colours and who were speaking or walking quickly.

"They represent Life, humanity, Camus" said Serge who had stopped at a stall and was looking at some fish. "The Saints must protect this world..."

Camus looked at the colourful crowd more carefully and he tried to understand what the Grus Saint had just revealed him. He sighed and followed his mentor to another stall. 'The humans. I'm human but I'm different from them. They can laugh, shout, cry and speak without complexes. They have feelings, they feel emotions. I don't think I'm human. Am I? Was Maman human when she abandoned me? What is hum...'

"Serge?!" called someone cutting Camus' thoughts.

The child turned and saw a man he had never seen before, coming to them, a smile playing on his lips. A man with short brown hair and more or less the same stature as Serge stopped close to them.


"Is it a long time since you came back?"

"Yesterday. Where have you been?"

"Here and there. I'm still waiting for the Pope giving me a mission. I was beginning to wonder if..."

Camus, understanding that this conversation was not meant for his ears walked away a bit and stayed around waiting for Serge finishing to speak. Not knowing what to do, the little boy looked around and his eyes fell on the different stalls of the market. The vegetables, meat, fish, fruits, kitchen utensils and others things, clothes were side by side and attracted the look of the women and passers-by. But Camus' eyes were more attracted by people than by the objects.

Suddenly he felt a hand gripping his wrist and pulling it firmly. Camus almost lost his balance but he kept it and was pulled along by someone who was zigzagging through the crowd. Once the surprise had passed, Camus looked ahead of him and saw blue bangs floating in the air while they were running. He knew who was the unknown. Tsakalatos. But why was he pulling him along? Camus noticed that they rushed out of the market and they were heading towards the place they both knew. The ruins of the temple. "Tsakalatos!" called Camus, unnerved by the boy's careless attitude.

"Later!" answered the boy who was still running and not looking behind him.

Camus stayed quiet and ran after the boy. He had no choice, as the grip around his wrist was strong. Noticing the grip he felt warmth spreading in his wrist and then in his arm. The same warmth as Serge's. Camus was baffled by the sudden discovery. He looked down at the hand holding his wrist and then to Tsakalatos. He blinked and wanted to say something but his throat was dry all of sudden. 'The same warmth as Serge's. The same...' Camus was suddenly afraid and wanted to ridden himself from this warm feeling that invaded his body, but he could not. He realised they had stopped running and that Tsakalatos had let his wrist go.

"Here, no one will disturb us" he said smiling and a bit breathless. He sat on a piece of a column and motioned to him to do the same.

Camus did not see the gesture. He was staring at his wrist, completely lost.

"Camus? Something wrong?" asked Tsakalatos, a bit worried by Camus' silence. He was used to it, but he had the feeling that this time it was not natural. Something bothered him and he did not know what. "Camus" he called once more.

Camus roused himself from his completation of his wrist and looked at Tsakalatos.

"Are you all right?"

"Why? Why did you have to take me out of the market?"

"I wanted to speak with you. It's more than two weeks you haven't come. When I saw you in the market I was happy and I'm happy you're here!"

"We could have spoken there."

"I prefer here. You don't want to sit? Eat something?" he asked producing two apples from his tunic.

Camus shook his head in denial and absent-mindedly he rubbed his wrist, still feeling the warmth. "You wanted to ask me something last time, didn't you?"

Tsakalatos smiled and bit into an apple. "They're good" he told him. Camus shook his head once more but when he saw sadness crossing the Greek boy's eyes, he took it and bit into it. Tsakalatos gave him a wide smile. He knew Camus had a good memory and it was easy to talk to him. He felt attracted by this boy and he felt that wanted to protect him from something but he did not know what. Camus was too mysterious but he liked his presence. Those two weeks had been hard for him and he had spent most of his free time looking at the path leading to the Sanctuary to see if Camus would show up or not. Each time he had come back home sadly. He did not know why he was so attracted by the stranger but he trusted and followed his instinct.

"So?" demanded Camus.

"Camus, since when are you in the Sanctuary?"

"One year."

"So long? You were young!" Camus shrugged meaning that the age was not important. "And how did you get there?" Camus did not reply and continued eating the apple. Tsakalatos waited.

"It's not an interesting story" he finally replied.

"Come on Camus! Be nice! How did you get in?"

"I've been brought" answered Camus tersely.

"Who? And why you?"

"The Grus Saint. I don't know." Camus stopped talking and he saw Tsakalatos narrowing his eyes.

"I will go to the Sanctuary too."

"Fool. You don't know what you say and you don't know what is waiting for you there."

"Camus, I want to be a Saint and there are numerous candidates."

"Fool" muttered Camus. "You can't come into the Sanctuary. There are soldiers everywhere to prevent people from coming in or trainees from running away."

"The Sanctuary is large, isn't it?" A sparkle of mischief appeared in Tsakalatos' turquoise eyes. "They can't be everywhere at the same time."

"Even if there are no guards, only those who are allowed to enter can cross the invisible frontier. It's what Serge had once said. So you won't be able to come into the Sanctuary."

"I'm sure I can and there is no magic frontier that will prevent me to do so. And I'm sure it's only a legend. It's for scaring the candidates and preventing them from running away. If there was such barrier, they wouldn't have soldiers and guards."

Camus sighed. Tsakalatos was stubborn and he seemed not to have heard what he had just told him. If there were soldiers it was to prevent the candidates from running away. The candidates could cross the magical frontier. "It's useless Tsakalatos. Stop hunting after this dream which would only bring you pain."

"I want to become a Saint and I will be one, Camus."

"If you come inside the Sanctuary, you will never get out again. You have a family. Why do you want to leave your family for living a life which will only be governed by pain?" asked Camus serioulsy, frowning.

"I want to be strong, really strong and by that I will prove to my family that I'm not the one they thought I am."

"A personal reason?"

"I want to become a Saint, Camus. Please help me!"

"Tsakalatos, maybe you will never become a Saint. And if you don't succeed in becoming one, you will have to stay in the Sanctuary all your life, until you die..."

"I'm sure I will become a Saint, Camus. Please..."

"I'm not the one who chooses who should become a Saint or not. I'm not the one who chooses the candidates, Tsakalatos."

"But you can ask the Pope! You know him and you certainly know some Saints, don't you? Please!"

"I don't understand it and I don't understand you. You should think more about..."

"Camus?"came a voice in which surprise could be heard.

"Yes?" replied Camus who turned to the voice and he saw Serge who was watching them half-surprised and half-amused.

"It's you, Tsakalatos!" shouted Serge coming closer to the children. "How are you? Still up to do silly things?"

"I don't do silly things" Tsakalatos shot back and his eyes shot daggers at Serge. He crossed his arms on his chest, defying the Saint before kicking a stone.

"What are you up to do, little tearaway?"

"Nothing at all! Why does everybody think I'm up to do silly things?!"

"Because you always do so" answered Serge laughing and slapping the child's back. "Everyone knows this!"

"It's not true!" pouted the child but a little smile playing on his lips betrayed his words were a lie.

"So you are trying to corrupt Camus? I didn't know you knew him. And what surprises me the most is to see him with you." Tsakalatos arched one eyebrow, puzzled. He was totally lost and when he looked at Camus who stood close to the Saint, he saw that no emotion was changing the cold beauty of his face. "He is too rigid and he must learn a lot. After all, your meeting was maybe destined, who knows." This time, a fugitive expression crossed Camus' features before it disappeared. "Yes I think that you're the only one who would be able to teach him what life is all about..."

"Really?! You really think what you said?" shouted the wavy haired boy. Serge nodded and his smile widened. "It's right that Camus is too serious, grumpy and reserved but I love him very much..."

"Camus is grumpy?" asked Serge smiling. "It is a way to see his personality. "Opposite characters get closeest to each other. We must go now. Try to not do silly things and above all don't put yourself to a dangerous situation, Tsakalatos." He turned to Camus who had not moved. "Let's go, Camus." The boy nodded and without a glance to the Greek child he followed the Saint.

"Camus! I will succeed! I will be a Saint too! I don't need to think about this. I want to go to the Sanctuary and I will succeed!"

Disheartened, Camus bent his head but he did not turn to the child. Tsakalatos was continuing to shout behind him and he quickened his paces.

Serge came near the French boy. "Tsakalatos is your friend?" Camus shrugged and Serge understood that Camus hadn't yet decided if the Greek boy was his friend or only an acquaintance.

"It seems that Tsakalatos regards you as a friend. He rarely admits that he loves someone. I really wonder what you have said or done so that he loves you. Tsakalatos is friendly with everybody but he rarely gives his friendship or affection to someone."

"Do I have to I be proud of this?" asked Camus frowning.

"Yes you do ."

"So friendship is something forced?"

"No. But you are more human than you want to believe." Camus raised his head surprised that the Saint seemed to know what he was thinking when Josue cut his thoughts short. Serge looked down but did not reply to the dumb question. "You appreciate the little rascal of Rodario, don't you?"

Camus did not answer but Serge noticed that the boy was biting his tongue. He did not want to have a friend. By instinct he knew that if he had one, he would have to suffer one day. He did not want to suffer again. Nor did he want to be betrayed once more. It was why he had been so afraid earlier when he had noticed that Tsakalatos had the same warmth as Serge. The less people he knew the better it was..

"He wants to become a Saint?"

"It's stupid" said Camus as it was an obvious fact.

"What is stupid? That he wants to become a Saint or to be a Saint?"

Camus understood the implicit allusion but he had always been frank. "That he wanst to become a Saint. He wants to become one."

"So why is that stupid?"

"He has a family. So why would he leave them? He is too young to take such a decision."

Serge chuckled when he noticed the situation. "Too young? He has the same age as you, Camus!"

"He is too young and he knows and understands nothing. He doesn't want to understand."

Serge smiled. In spite of his cold and indifferent attitude, Camus was worried for others and most fascinating was that he was not aware of this. Above all he had changed within those few weeks he had hot been here. 'There is maybe a hope. Tsakalatos has undermined the walls of Camus' heart.' Serge smiled. Tsakalatos wanted to become a Saint and the Grus Saint had already an idea for the Greek child. He had a very small cosmo, smaller than Camus', but he had one. He had felt it last year, but as he was young he had decided to not bring him to the Sanctuary in the next two years. 'Interesting, very interesting.'

"He doesn't know what pain is..."Camus said seriously.

Serge looked down at the boy. "So, for you, to become a Saint you have to know pain and suffering, is that right?"

Camus nodded. "Pain and suffering lead to power. Being alone and suffering or having bad experiences form up our character and shape our soul. All the pain we know drive us to surpass ourselves."

"That's why you said he is stupid." Camus did not answer. The Saint sighed. The child was young but he understood lot of things and he knew how easy it was for Camus was to learn and understand. "And you're right. He is stupid to want to leave his family."

Camus nodded and looked up at the Saint. "For being who you are today you have suffered too..."

"We all suffer, Camus, everybody without exception. The ones who don't reach their goal and the ones who succeed being a Saint, they all know pain and sufferings. But after all those sufferings and pain, the rebirth is all the more splendid as the path you have walked on was hard and painful before you could reach your goal. Becoming a Saint is a path in which sufferings and pain are more than present, as you have noticed."

Camus said nothing. Serge had only confirmed what he already knew. He had accepted to live in this world and he had an idea of what he would experience later. But Tsakalatos knew nothing even though he lived near the Sanctuary. He did not know what was really happening inside the sacred compound. He had a more blurred vision of the life of the apprentices and the Saints than he thought. He could not criticise him for this. It was not his fault. He had to prevent him from coming into this jail of sufferings. He had a right to joy and happiness and most importantly Tsakalatos had a family which seemed to love him. So why such determination? Camus did not know and Camus felt too weak to face this tenacity. 'Not Tsakalatos, please Athena, not him.'

The two of them passed by some soldiers who were on guard on the borders of the Sanctuary, and one of them stopped the Saint. Camus, understanding that this did not concern him, resumed his way and walked away to think.

It was now more than one year ago that he had arrived at the Sanctuary and the memories he had of France were fading quickly. It was true that he did not know his country very well. He had practically not gone out of the apartment he had shared with his mother. But even the recollection of this apartment got swallowed up in the mist of his memories. Only the pigeons that flew freely in the sky lasted in his memory, but this recollection came from another time that had ended on the day he had been abandoned.

Camus felt as if he had always lived here. Everybody was kind with him, well, the men, because he was one of the youngest leaving inside the sacred compound. Everybody answered gladly and easily to his questions, as far as the private life and the secrets of a master taught to his pupils were not touched. His thirst of knowledge encouraged him to go and mix with the adults and the ones who were older than he was. It was his home, his country, but in his heart something was missing and he did not what. 'What's wrong with me? What is happening?'

He walked for a moment and he found a quiet place, he sat on a rock, a knee raised to his chest, his chin put on it. He looked at the wild and rocky landscape in which some olive trees grew. He sighed. His thoughts returned to Tsakalatos. 'He is so innocent and so joyful. Why this attraction to pain and future wars? Why? He could live a peaceful life? Why am I unable to understand people the way Serge does? Why am I unable to have feelings as others, strong feelings? I should...' A light movement near him roused him from his thoughts.

"So, what are you thinking about?" asked a young blue haired teenager who was staring at him.

"To nothing" answered Camus who recognised the one who had just spoken to him. When he could put a name on the young teenager, he looked back at the landscape. "Nothing in particular" he revealed when he felt that the boy was still staring at him.

"Are you sure, Camus?" asked the teenager who sat near the boy and stared into the same direction as the little French boy.

"Do you still have a family, Saga?" the boy suddenly asked, turning to him.

Saga did not reply at first and he remained silent, wondering why the child asked him such a question. He still had a family inside the Sanctuary, but no one but the Pope, his master and the latter's brother knew this fact. No one had to know this. "No, I have no family left, Camus. Why this question?"

"You are Greek, aren't you?" Saga nodded. "Can you understand that someone who still has a family wants to come to the Sanctuary?"

"If he really wants to become a Saint, why not?"

"He is a fool. He has people who love him, so why would he go away to come here?"

"Maybe its his fate..."

"He wants to be a Saint for personal reasons."

"And you, why are you training?"

"I don't train to become a Saint. I'm too young. And if one day I'd become a Saint, I would do it because I have to do it."

"How that?"

"I was brought here. I was aware of what would happen to me, but..."

"But what, Camus?"


"You are afraid of being mistaken?"

Camus shook his head in denial. "No. I don't fear the future. I don't exist and I've never existed, and therefore if I succeed or not is not important, as my life is not important" the child simply replied.

Saga stared at the boy who until then had never opened his heart to anybody but Serge. Camus trusted only Serge and never did this mysterious boy allude to his past. It made the teenager curious. He seated himself more comfortably. "What do you mean you've never existed?" Camus did not answer. "You are here, you're alive, so you exist" expanded Saga who took the same position as Camus'.

"I've never existed" answered the boy after a moment. "I don't have a name. A name makes that a human being exists, and I don't."

"Your name is Camus, isn't it?"

"It's not my real name. Serge has given it to me."

"Camus." Saga sighed and bent to the child. "You have a name now, and you exist." The boy was about to say something but Saga shook his head. "Many people changed their name when they succeed in becoming Saints." Camus opened his eyes widely. He hadn't known this. "They do this because the sufferings they had lived made it appear like a rebirth when they gained their cloth. Serge brought you into existance by giving you this name."

"I didn't look at it from this angle."

"You are still very young, Camus. You are very young but at the same time very mature." Saga smiled to him. "Can I ask you a question, little one?" Camus nodded. "Why do you train secretly if you don't want to be a Saint one day?"

Camus shrugged not knowing how to explain his motivations. "I don't know. A duty I have to do,I think."

Saga nodded. "You know Camus, there are lot of people, and Greek people in particular who want to become a Saint. Some of them even send one of their children to the Sanctuary when it has the required. It's an honour and a duty. As you are French, these notions of duty and honour are hard for you to understand and therefore you can't understand the real meaning of the mission of a Saint."

"So explain it to me, Saga!" entreated Camus, his indigo eyes shining because of his curiosity and his eagerness to learn.

"Ask the Pope. He will explain this better than anybody else. And after all, I'm not a Saint yet."

"Maybe, but you know lot of things."

"And Grus Saint? He did not explain this to you?"

"He did but he is French. You told me only Greek people could understand."

"Do you want me to tell you a little secret, Camus?" whispered Saga bending near the child's ear.

"If it's a secret, you shouldn't tell me."

Saga burst out laughing. Camus frowned. "What's so funny?"

"It's a secret everyone knows! To be a good Saint we must be in harmony with our heart and soul and we must listen to our heart. The answers to your questions are inside your heart, Camus."

"I don't understand" Camus replied.

"Your heart is the key. When you find the key your cosmo will truly awake and you will feel it all iside of you. Trust and follow your heart. Keep it pure and your cosmo will be powerful and blaze like a star."

Camus frowned and bent his head. "I think I can see what you are talking about, but thats's not what I was thinking of."

"You thought of the one who wants to come to Sanctuary, didn't you?" Camus nodded. "Why are so worried?"

"He is too young to take such a decision."

"Too young? How old is he?"

"About my age."

"Listen Camus. If I understand what you have said me, a young boy at about your age and living in Rodario wants to come to Sanctuary to become a Saint." Camus nodded. "And you don't want him to because he could be hurt." Camus nodded once more. "Does he listen to you?"

"No, I don't think so."

"So you want someone to tell him what is going on in Sanctuary."

"In a way, yes."

"It's what I've thought. Well, in three days, my master wants a me and a soldier to go to Rodario to fetch something. If you want to I will ask Serge if you can join us. I will talk to him. But I can't promise anything. Maybe it is really his wish. After that I will tell you what I think of this boy. Do you agree?"

"Yes. I agree. Thank you, Saga."

"I do it with pleasure, little man." Saga stood up and dusted his clothes off. "I'd better go before the night is falling. See you soon, Camus."

Camus nodded and watched the blue haired teenager running away, leaving him alone. He saw the head of Athena's statue. 'Please. Tsakalatos must live a happy life.' He wondered why Saga had spoken with him, but then simply shrugged. He was glad he had done this. 'Trusting only one person might not be enough when you need advice.' He stood up and he walked home. His mood brightened when he smelt fish. He liked the way Serge cooked fish. He pushed the door open and entered.

"Already back?" asked Serge without turning to him. "Dinner will be ready soon. Sit down."

Camus did so and stared at Serge's back. He now knew the Saint for more than one year but he did not know everything about him. The Saint had never really spoken about himself. He had not explained how he had become a Saint. In fact Camus didn't know anything about the one who had given him his affection. This Saint was a mystery. The child had never asked and now he was curious. Until today, he had thought he knew the Saint, but in fact, he had discovered that he trusted him.

"What do you want, Camus?" asked Serge feeling a change in the boy's attitude.

"Is Serge your real name?"

"Yes it is, Camus."

"You didn't change your name when you became a Saint?"

Serge turned to him and served the fish. "No, I didn't want to. I didn't feel the urge to do so. I like my name and it reminds me of my roots."

"Uh... So you didn't."

Serge arched his left eyebrow. "Why do you ask me this?"

"Saga had told me that most of the Saints changed their name when they gain their cloth."

"And he is right. It's like a rebirth, as I told you earlier. And what else Saga did say?"

"Nothing in particular." Camus took his fork and stuck it into the fish. "In a few days he'll go to Rodario. Can I go with him?"

Serge was more than surprised to hear this question. He stared at the child inquiringly for few moments. Camus just looked at him. Serge seated himself more comfortably on the chair and his eyes smiled. "Tsakalatos, isn't it?" Camus nodded without giving any of his feelings away.

"You like the famous tearaway of Rodario, don't you?"

"It's not that. I should prevent him to do something silly..."

"And Saga will help you" noticed Serge amazed that Camus was now less shy with others. He had really changed and it pleased the Grus saint.

Camus nodded once more. "Tsakalatos should not come in the Sanctuary. He is too young and too silly for this."

"Camus, we can't change someone's fate."

"What do you mean by this, Serge?"

Serge shrugged. 'If I told him that Tsakalatos has a very light cosmo and that the Pope already knows this, Camus will withdraw and all the effort everybody to open him up would have been for naught. He will discover the truth one day or another, but better later than sooner.' Serge did not answer and he withstood Camus' inquiring look. A very long while later, Camus returned to his meal and said nothing else.

Camus walked with Saga though the streets. The boy was glancing around, looking for the Greek child. The village was not large, but it seemed that today it was impossible to find Tsakalatos. Camus sighed and shook his head. They had been walking for one hour in the village and they still had not found him. Camus stopped. "It's useless, Saga. We should go back. I'm sorry."

"You shouldn't be sorry. We will stop for a few minutes and then we will return to the place where the market is. If he doesn't show up, then we will return to Sanctuary."

Camus nodded and they sat down on a low wall without another word. Camus looked around, glancing at people who where passing them. If only he could prevent Tsakalatos from coming to Sanctuary! He would be very happy! He did not want the life of this Greek child to be spoiled. Everything but this. He rubbed his wrist absent-mindedly.

"Hi Camus!" said someone behind him.

Camus hearing the voice turned sharply and was close to fall but Saga held his arm, with a smile. The both stood up and Camus saw Tsakalato giving him a wide smile, glad to have surprised Camus. "Tsakalatos. I was looking for you?"

"Really?! I'm honoured." Tsakalatos bowed in front them while Camus rolled his eyes.

"Be serious for a moment, Tsakalatos" said Camus. "This is Saga. He is a trainee, but he knows a lot. I want you to speak with him. Then, maybe, you will understand."

"Camus. You haven't given up your idea?"

"Have you?"

Tsakalatos turned to Saga who was staring at him. He saw the teenager who gave him a warm smile and the boy smiled back to him. "So you are the one Camus is worried about" said the blue haired teenager. "You're Tsakalatos, right?"

"Yes I am. And if you laugh at my name, even if you're a trainee and bigger than me, I will fight against you!"

"Very touchy. You're well known in Sanctuary, you and your silly deeds. There are other ways to become famous than this one. Well tell me, you want to become a Saint?"

"It's my dream. I want it so badly, I've wanted it for a long time."

"Do you know what life is like inside Sanctuary?"

"Yes I know. I've heard soldiers speaking to each other about the training."

"The soldiers are those who havn't been able to become a Saint. It's what awaits you if you fail. You will be forced to live in the Sanctuary for the rest of your life. The training is tough. It's not a game, Tsakalatos. You must be aware of this. Some die. If you join us, you may die. Are you ready to die?"

"To die?" asked Tsakalatos puzzled. He frowned and narrowed his eyes. "I want to become a Saint even if I have to die" he replied firmly.

Saga looked into the child's turquoise eyes. He saw determination. He heard Camus sigh but he did not know if it was out of despair or resignation. But he decided that it was not important for the moment. "Why?" he only asked.

"I want to be strong."

"Only for this reason?"

"To serve and protect Athena we must be strong. So where is the problem?" Tsakalatos replied and put his hands on his hips, defying the amused teenager. "I want to become a Saint."

"Do you know that you can fail?" he repeated, amused by the boy's arrogance and self-confidence. 'He replies fastly, he has a quick wit, even at his age!" thought Saga. "If you fail, you will never get out of Sanctuary and you will be forced to live there all your life."

"If I don't try, I will never find out. I'm sure to become a Saint" replied the child with a smirk. "It's my choice. You, my parents, or you, Camus, you can't decide on what I should do in my life. It's my life."

'You will regret your decision', Camus wanted to shout but he remained quiet. He stood there staring at the stubborn child who was still defying Saga. 'After all, he is right. I'm not him. Why am I so worried about him?'

Saga closed his eyes and a small smile appeared on his lips. The boy was really stubborn and self-confident. "Listen Tsakalatos, you're too young, but when you will have the required age, someone from Sanctuary will ask your parents."

"But I want it now!" pouted the boy.

"You can wait a bit longer, can't you?"

"But Camus is training! I'm old enough! We have the same age!"

"You're wrong." Saga stared at Tsakalatos. He was going to tell a lie but in a way it was right that the French boy didn't have an official master and thus did not train. "Camus does not train. He is too young."

Tsakalatos pouted and gave a quick glance to Camus looking for confirmation of Saga's words. The French boy slightly nodded and the Greek boy turned again to Saga. "You promise?"

"I promise to ask your parents. If it won't be me, it will be someone else."

"Really? You really promise?"

"I really do."

"I want to go now" said Tsakalatos looking at the ground and kicking a stone.

"Come on. You can be patient, can't you?"

"But" voiced Tsakalatos raising his head and looking at Saga, "I want to be with Camus!" Saying this he rushed to the French boy and embraced his neck. "He is my friend. I want to be with him."

"Unfortunately Tsakalatos, Camus belongs to Sanctuary." He smiled when he saw Camus obviously wasn't felling at ease with this and blushing embarrassedly before he tried to free himself from the boy's grip.

"So I want now" pleaded Tsakalatos tightening his grip around Camus' neck who blushed even harder. "Please."

"I'm not a Saint, Tsakalatos. I'm only a disciple."

"It's not fair" claimed the Greek child and let Camus go who now was as red as Tsakalatos' tunic. The French boy tied to regain his cold attitude, but it was difficult.

"That's life. You must patient. And you will see Camus time to time when he will come to the village."

"He hardly ever comes and I miss him" admitted the blue haired boy.

"Tsakalatos. You will soon have the required age, so be patient. Make the most of what you have now before coming in the Sanctuary."


"We should go back Camus. My master is waiting for me and we are already late. Be patient Tsakalatos." Saying those words, Saga turned his back to the Greek boy who gripped Camus' wrist.

"When will you come to the village?"

"I don't know. Normally I am not allowed to leave Sanctuary and we should never have met. But I'm sort of privileged, though I don't know why."


"I should go now. Let go of my wrist, Tsakalatos."

"Promise that we will meet again, Camus. Please."

"I can't promise if I don't know what will happen in the future."


"I will try, Tsakalatos. Let go of my wrist or I will be really late and they will not let me come back here again."

Tsakalatos sighed and did what Camus told him. "Take care of yourself Camus" he murmured looking into his indigo eyes.

Camus only nodded and turned and walked quickly to Saga who was continuing his way without waiting for him. He sighed. He glanced at Tsakalatos who was staring at him, his look was worried. Camus ran toward Saga without another look back.

"Now I understand what you feel, Camus. But I can't help admiring this silly boy."

"Why is he so stubborn? He now knows what would happen if he comes in the Sanctuary."

"Camus. Tsakalatos is not ready. In almost one year before he has the required age. He will maybe change his mind."

"I really doubt this, Saga. Tsakalatos changing his mind? Never."

"So, it's maybe Tsakalatos' fate."

"How can that be?" asked a puzzled Camus.

"We often meet our fate on the ways we take to avoid it. It is Athena's will, and we can't do anything about it."

"You believe in her?"

"I do. You don't?"

"Well, I don't know" revealed the little French boy. "Thank you for having tried, Saga."

"You're welcome Camus. If you want to speak with me when the Grus Saint is not here, you can."

Camus nodded and resumed his way in silence. From time to time he glanced at teenager and he was sure that he would become a Saint. Saga was a bit like Serge. He liked people. He had seen him speaking to everybody, smiling and asking about the others who were not in the village. He had acted like the Pope. Camus wondered if the Pope had once brought Saga with him and if the young teenager was admiring the representative of Athena on Earth and therefore acted as him. He did not dare to ask the question.

Camus sighed and opened his book. Serge was meditating and he was free to do what he wanted. The child preferred going to a place where he could read without being disturbed. He liked reading. He learnt a lot from it. He looked up to the sky and he noticed that it was the same colour as Tsakalatos' eyes. He sighed and looked down. 'Tsakalatos...' It was now almost one month that he had not seen the Greek child and he missed him. He hoped that he was fine and he thought that it was better like this. Tsakalatos would not be tempted to come to Sanctuary.The less often he would go in the village, the better it would be for Tsakalatos. He would protect him, even if the Greek child did not agree. Camus stopped thinking about him and plunged into his book.

Tsakalatos saw his friend sitting on a stone under an olive tree. He was reading. His smile widened and he cautiously came closer to the French boy. He skirted around him and wagain took his slow approach. He wanted to witness the boy's surprise, he wanted to see the amazement appearing on his face when he would see him. He stopped and he pressed himself against the trunk before looking quickly above his shoulder. He checked that Camus was still reading. Slowly and careful not to stumble over the roots and stones which could betray his presence, he sneaked toward him. When he was close enough, he pushed the boy with strength and he shouted into his ears. "Woaaaaaaa!!!"

Surprised and feeling his anger boiling inside his veins, Camus stood up. "Tsakalatos" he shouted turning to the hilarious Greek child. Camus regained his impassivity without difficulty before frowning. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

"I had enough to wait for Saga or someone else" replied Tsakalatos who crossed his arms before his chest.

"Don't tell me you..." began Camus staring at the Greek child.

He answered with a big smile and Camus resigned closed his eyes. "You guessed right. I ran away and I came here."

"And what will your parents say?" asked Camus seriously and closed his books.

"Why would I worry about this?"

"You're selfish."

"Hey! I want to become a Saint."

"You claim that you can become a Saint, but nothing is for sure and you will maybe never be the one you want to become."

"And you? You think you have all the chances to become one?"

"Compared to you, I don't really want to become a Saint. I don't mind if I will be one or not."

Tsakalatos eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. He had never thought that Camus could think like this. He blinked and approached the child. "You're joking?" When he saw the serious look into the indigo eyes he sighed. "You're really different from the others. But why are you in Sanctuary."

"Because I had to be there."

"Had to be? I don't understand."

"Never mind. What we should do now?" Tsakalatos raised his eyebrows inquiringly. "You've run away from your home and you're in Sanctuary. You know the rules. You will never return to the village."

"I'm here and I'm happy. I don't mind being here."

'You will regret this one day Tsakalatos, but it will be too late.' Camus closed closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them. "Tsakalatos. For once listen to me. Did someone see you coming inside?"

"Why this question, Camus?"

"Please Tsakalatos, answer me."

"First tell me why and then I will answer you."

"If no one has seen you, then you will have a chance to get out of this jail without being noticed."

Tsakalatos stared at Camus. He was more than surprised. Camus was ready to break the most important rule for him. He looked to the ground and shook his head.

"Tsakalatos?" asked Camus not understanding the answer.

"Camus. I don't want to leave Sanctuary. Not after having come here. And I've asked my way to some trainers..."

Camus was more than disappointed. He bit his lips and he abruptly turned his head to the West. He saw the head of one of Athena's statues and a sparkle of hate crossed his indigo eyes. 'Why? Why have let him come here? Why do you like seeing people suffer? Is it because I don't really believe in you? But Tsakalatos is not responsible of this! Who are you, cruel Goddess? What do you really want?'

Tsakalatos followed Camus' look and he saw the statue but he did not know why he was clenching his hands so tightly. "Camus?"

Camus' head jerked back and he turned his look at Tsakalatos. Tightening his grip on the book he stared at him. "Fool" he spat at him before walking away.

"Hey! Why are you insulting me? I thought you would be glad to see me!"

"So you did this for me?" asked Camus who turned his head sharply.

"I wanted to be with you. I though you would feel the same. And I want to become a Saint."

Camus walked again in a certain direction. "You don't know what you're doing. I'm not you. I didn't want you to be there. You will suffer" shouted Camus stopping dead in his tracks. "Do you know what is pain?" he asked. "Now you will know. And don't come and cry in my arms because no one has told you."


"Now that you're here, we should tell Serge. It would have been better if I had never met you. It would have been better I had never spoken to you on that day." Camus walked quickly to Serge's house, not knowing if he should continue to tell Tsakalatos off. He was angry at Athena and at himself. He had not been able to protect Tsakalatos. He heard the Greek child walking behind him in silence. Camus sighed and turned to Tsakalatos. "I'm not angry at you, but at me."


"Never mind." Camus saw Serge sitting on the ground, his eyes closed. He was meditating and the French boy winced. Serge hated being disturbed in his meditation. But it was important. He approached the Saint and he stopped in front of him and waited. A minute slipped by, then two, then three. Five minutes slipped by.

"Camus. What do you want?" asked the Saint without opening his eyes. "You know I disliked being disturbed."

"I know, but there is a problem."

"Which problem, Camus?" asked the Saint his eyed still closed.

"Tsakalatos ran away and came here. He..." Camus stopped speaking. Serge opened his amber eyes with a snap and stared at his protégé. Camus slid to his right revealing the Greek boy.

"Wha... What are you doing here?" demanded Serge standing up. "Who brought you here?"

"I've come all by myself" replied Tsakalatos.

"And the soldiers let you come in?"

"I... I didn't see any. I sneaked into Sanctuary."

Serge buried his face in his hands and slowly shook his head. "It can't be."

"How could he be able to break through the magic frontier?" asked Camus curious and remembering what Serge had told him.

"That is not the problem, Camus. The problem is that he shouldn't be here now." Serge sighed deeply and then looked at the two boys. "What is done is done" he told them. "Come on, you two. We must see Ornytos. I hope there will be no other problems today." He walked to the sacred hill where temples lined the monumental way to the Pope's palace.

He stopped and halted the children. The access was forbidden, but he knew the secret passage, and Camus had already come to the Pope's Temple. But he did not want to see the Pope. He wanted to see Ornytos and this latter could be near the Pope or among his soldiers. He approached one of the soldiers who were near the stairs leading to the Aries temple. "Where is Ornytos?"

"Somewhere in the Sanctuary. I don't know where."

"Find him and tell him that the Grus Saint wants to speak with him."

"All right" said the soldier running away.

"Tell him it's really important." The soldier nodded while he continued running. "We must wait now." He walked back to the children who looked up at him.

They waited a while. The children had sat down on the stairs while Serge was pacing up and down, waiting. Tsakalatos said nothing. He was waiting calmly but Camus could sense his nervousness. He was inside the Sanctuary but he now understood that he had done something wrong. Tsakalatos glanced at Camus who just stared at him then he gave a ghostly smile.

Serge turned when he heard a noise behind him and he saw the chief of the soldiers coming to them. The Grus Saint glanced at the children and then walked to the man.

"I hope that it's important, Grus Saint Serge" said Ornytos coldly.

"It is, Ornytos. I would not have disturbed you if it wasn't and you know this perfectly well."

"What is happening?"

"A Greek child of Rodario is here at Sanctuary. He has crossed the limits" explained the Saint tersely.

"What?" the man was almost shouting and turned to the boy who had stood up. He saw Camus near him as a guardian. "Tsakalatos" he said remembering to have seen this child with Camus once and because the Pope had told him about the tearaway of Rodario. "But how did he get inside! It is impossible! I should put more soldiers around Sanctuary! The ones on guard today will certainly be punished."

"He did because he had managed to sneak in without being noticing by the soldiers. They are not totally responsible."

"They are! If a child is able to come in, what about Athena's enemies? But this doesn't explain why he has been able to cross the barrier."

"He did because he had the power to do so."

Ornytos turned to Serge and stared at him. "Do you want to tell me that he has a cosmo? That he is a potential candidate?"

"Yes he is and the Pope knows, too. I felt it one year ago, but as he was too young and as he lived not far of the Sanctuary, I didn't bring him here. Camus was enough for the moment."

"The Pope knows he can be a Saint."


Ornytos turned to the children and he looked into Tsakalatos' eyes. The boy shivered under the stern look but he stood in front of Camus as if he wanted to protect him. "Anyway, it's too late now." He returned his attention to the Grus Saint. "You're responsible for him as well, from now on."

"As you want Ornytos. Anyway he would not want to leave Camus."

"Do his parents know?"

"No they don't. He ran away."

"This is getting better and better" he commented ironically. "As if I hadn't enough problems right now. What is happening here! He is too young. Aiolia too, Camus too! Without counting the others who will soon come. Just what is the pope thinking!"

Serge stared at him. "Tsakalatos will not be a problem. He had arrived too early, that's all. I will look after him. He won't create any problems." The Grus Saint sighed. 'I hope' he thought, not entirely convinced.

"Go and tell his parents. While you do that, ask them about anything on this boy, so that we can decide which Master he will need. I hope his record will be more complete than Camus' one."

Serge did not reply. Ornytos was right. They knew nothing about his 'petit protégé', only the date of his birth, well the one he had told him. He bowed his head and turned to the children.

"One more thing Serge." The latter stopped. "You have become too indulgent the last times. You neglect your duties at Sanctuary and your mission. I hope this will change and you will serve Athena well!"

"I will try, Ornytos." The chief of the soldiers nodded and then turned around. He walked away quickly. Serge approached the children and looked down at Tsakalatos. "From now on, you will live with me and Camus, and this until you and Camus will have a Master. I must go and tell your parents where you are. Follow Camus." Serge turned to Camus and nodded at him. "Show Tsakalatos the house and tell him the shares. Tomorrow you will show him Sanctuary. Don't wait for me, I will certainly be late tonight."

"Saul is here tonight..."

"Tsakalatos will sleep with you. Go now." Camus nodded and gestured Tsakalatos to follow him. "Be careful. The night will be here soon." the child whispered to his mentor.

Serge smiled and looked at the children who were walking away. He sighed and took the opposite direction.

The moon's first quarter was lighting the path the Grus Saint was walking on. He had been a bit deceived by Tsakalatos' parents. He had read in their mind that they loved him, but as he was too unruly, they were more than relieved that he was now in Sanctuary. They wouldn't have to be responsible for him any more. 'Do they know what this implicates? They won't see him again. The child will never be allowed to come out. Maybe Tsakalatos was aware of being a burden for his parents and he had found this solution.'

He stopped in front of his house. Everything was quiet and in the dark. Only a little light from a candle was shining. 'I thought they would be asleep.' He walked to the door and opened it noiseless. Inside everything was silent and he came in. He closed the door and he heard a little noise near the East window. He saw Saul getting up for giving more light to the room.

"Are you fine, Grus Serge?" he whispered.

"Yes. Go back to bed. Your watch guard will be soon here."

"You don't want to eat?"

"I've eaten in the village."


"Tsakalatos is a new member of this household. Go now. I will go and sleep." Saul complied and Serge came near the bed where the two children were sleeping. He smiled at the scene. Camus was laying on his back and was true to himself. He was calm and indifferent. Tsakalatos was taking the bigger part of the bed. His head was on Camus' stomach and his arms wide open. Serge felt like bursting out laughing but he stopped himself from doing so.

He studied the too children. They were the perfect opposite, but they seemed to appreciate each other. He narrowed his eyes when he noticed something. Both of their light cosmos were mixing as if they had searched for each other.

Tsakalatos suddenly moved and his hand hit Camus' cheek. The French boy frowned and then turned towards the wall, pushing the Greek boy away.

Serge shook his head helplessly. He stepped to the bed and pushed Tsakalatos away so that he was in the right position before covering them. He ran his fingers through the blue strands of the boy and then through Camus'. "Sleep well, Camus" he murmured.

'You have become too indulgent in recent times.' Ornytos' words echoed in his mind. 'Yes I am. I am too indulgent because of Camus. You have a charisma that no one can resist. Even Tsakalatos. If one day you become a Saint, Camus, you will be one of the greatest. If only you'd manage to open your heart to the Humanity.'

The Saint sighed and walked away to fetch the candle. He looked once more at Saul, then Camus and Tsakalatos. The three people he cared about were here in his house and the one he considered as one of his fathers was certainly sleeping or praying to Athena. He walked in his room and noiselessly closed the door.

End of Chapter 2 -- Chapter 3: Friendship

Seii speaks:

This chapter should have been longer but I decided to cut it in two parts. This chapter is dedicate to Stayka as thanks for her encouragement and her advice. Thank you very much Stayka. ^_^

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