[A/N: Okay, first Earthsea fic to be posted here . . . there's still one more part to come at the end, and then you'll see what it's all about. It's not what it seems ::grins:: It probably won't make much sense until then, and it's not at the part in the series you think it is. Please, review! I'm working very hard!

Disclaimer: I own none of this. We know this. FAN FICTION. 'Tis FAN FICTION. ]


She ran through the tunnels, her feet drifting off the floor it seemed, and her soul seemed to leave her body for a moment, pulling it in the wrong directions. Her body knew the way, but she did not. Her body could remember the turns. Take a left, miss a left, turn left, right at the fork, the room on the right . . . no, that wasn't the way to the Room of the Great Treasure. Where was she going? The turns seemed so familiar, yet she knew not how. Her feet carried her along while her mind told her to turn back. This isn't where she should be going, this is the wrong way! She stopped. A shiver ran through her and she knew where she was.

The Room of Chains.

Skeletons lined the walls, some shackled to the stones, lying on top of others and some still with robes about their wasted necks and others crumbling to dust. The dead of ages past. Those Arha-That-Was had killed; those whose blood was on her hands. She tried to move; tried to leave the cursed room, but she was frozen stiff, watching the horror before her eyes. The skeletons and corpses reassembled themselves, twirling and leaping in a mournful dance of loss, some missing skulls and arms and legs and all crying out to Arha in their wailing, tongue-less voices. Arha? That was not her name. Her name had been returned to her by a man of Power. She was Tenar. Not Arha. Tenar. Tenar. Tenar. Tenar . . . They were screeching. She covered her ears and looked to her feet, trembling and stomping as if to drown out the horrible sound. It echoed. And it echoed in her ears. And it echoed in her mind. She cried out, but no-one was there to hear her. Only the skeletons. Only those she had killed. No, she hadn't! Arha had killed them; not her. She was Tenar . . . Tenar . . . Tenar . . .

"Stop it! I am Tenar! Not Arha! I am Tenar! Tenar! Tenar! Tenar!" Every bone stood still for a moment, as if complying. And then, very slowly, the skulls turned on the hinges that were their necks to look at her; accusing her. And with a desolate cry, the skeletons collapsed, and a strong gust of wind blew back against Arha, almost knocking her over, shrieking through the corridors with no escape. They would not be reborn.

Her face was wet. Why? Only in little streaks coming from her eyes, running over her cheeks and dripping off her nose and lips and chin. She licked her lips. Salty. What was it? This taste? The way her voice moaned and hiccupped of its own accord? Why?

Tears? Tenar did not know tears. Only Arha knew tears and crying and the sobs that wracked her body. Tenar knew only love, and a faint memory of Arha's knowledge. No. Arha did not exist anymore. It was just Tenar. Only Tenar. They were one and they were Tenar.

She ran away, following the echoes of the tortured cries, losing herself in the labyrinth (or was it the Undertomb?), shivering and crying and wailing. No. Tenar did not cry. Arha cried, but Tenar did not. She would not cry! She turned around herself and stumbled backwards, trying to hide her tears. From who? From the spirits of the damned? No. She did not care about them. It didn't matter what they thought of her. They were not reborn. She was. She was Arha. No, she wasn't! And she threw her body against the dead end of a corridor, and the world was spinning. What world? All she knew was darkness. Darkness and evil. She was evil. She was darkness. And it devoured her . . .


She could not see, or was there nothing to see at all? The darkness, the black chasm of the labyrinth was about her. Or was it the Undertomb? She could not tell. Only Arha would know, but Arha was gone. Arha was named and thereby killed. She was no longer Arha and she no longer knew the way. She was lost in her own palace with no hope of rescue. Arha was gone. There was only Tenar.

And so Tenar stood and stumbled about, the rhythm of her heart echoing the sounds of her feet. She did not know where she was going. The only one who would was gone, and that was Arha. She had been Arha, but she was now Tenar. And she was lost. She would die here and so would Sparrowhawk. Sparrowhawk? She could not remember him now. Only Arha knew him. She knew hatred and fear for him. But Tenar knew only the sound of his voice, "Take care, Tenar." That was all she knew of him. But there was something in the word 'Tenar'. What was it? No, it wasn't the word. It was how he said it, but how was that? She knew nothing. The only emotion she knew was love. She was Tenar and she knew only love. Love? Was that it? Did he love her? Or did she love him? She could not remember. And she could not remember how to get out.

She did not know into which corridors she turned. And did it matter? She was going to die here. She would shrivel up to nothing and They would find her here in her maze; Their maze. And They would eat her. The Nameless Ones would eat her. Because she was no longer Arha. She was no longer the One Priestess. She was just Tenar. And she was trespassing on holy and evil ground.

He had forsaken her! Sparrowhawk had damned her to be eaten by her own Gods! Her Nameless Ones! He must be punished. She should have killed him long ago, not kept him alive and strong so he could kill her! Yes! He had already killed her. She hated him. Hate? Tenar did not know hate. She only knew love. But was hate just another form of love?

She stumbled into a dimly lit room. Light? There was no light here. Where was the source? No, there was none. Just a faint glow, making the figures barely visible. What were they? Skeletons. As in the Room of Chains, the skeletons were alive, dancing, mocking her, blaming her, but here it was different. Here? Where was here? The turns she took, they raced through her mind. She was in the Room of Bones. And these, these people, she had killed. Arha had killed them and she was Arha, not Tenar. She couldn't have wandered from the Iron door to the Room of Bones had she not been Arha! That wizard, that Sparrowhawk, had not given her name back. It was all lies. She was not Tenar. She was Arha. She was the ruler of this underworld and she feared nothing. Nothing but Sparrowhawk.

They screamed. And Arha stood fast. She had nothing to fear. She was the One Priestess and her will was law. Tenar was a girl of four, not a woman of nearly sixteen. That woman was Arha. And she was that woman. But as she watched, the skeletons grew muscles and organs and lifeblood and skin. They were people and she had killed them, and now they could speak to her. They were alive.

They spoke to her, in dead languages that had not been uttered by a human voice in eons, but they all said the same thing. What was it? She couldn't tell. It all sounded like gibberish, a nonsensical chant reverberating in her ears and drowning out her thoughts. They spoke 'Arha' and 'Tenar' but she did not know which she was. Was her name Arha? Or was it Tenar? They confused her and mesmerized her and hypnotized her, and now all she wanted was to sleep and never wake up.

They came towards her, chanting her name. What was it? That name they spoke? She didn't know; all she knew was that it was her name that they were calling and that they were coming for her. They reached out to her and scratched at her bare arms with their jagged fingernails, seeking revenge on she who had killed and killed without remorse. Seeking revenge on Arha.

But Arha would have nothing of it. She took the dagger from her belt; the dagger used only for ritual and decoration and never for sin. This was not sin. They had defied the Nameless Ones and they must be punished and punished again, without end. She twirled the dagger about her fingers, stabbing at the defiant in a dance of rage and skill, and slit each throat, the lifeblood spilling from them and turning to dust; the bodies decomposing and falling to the ground; naked skeletons of the damned.

The dagger was covered in blood; crimson, living blood, destroying the blade; rusting it and desecrating it to the point that it crumbled and fell to dust in her hand. She let the remains sift between her fingers as the dim glow that had once lit the room faded, leaving her in darkness. She shrieked and fell to the ground, shrinking and hiding in a corner, waiting to awake in the light. For she was surrounded by darkness; the sort of darkness so thick that it hangs in the air like a bad stench, suffocating and killing. Darkness. She was darkness.

Yet she feared the dark.


She had not meant to come here. Not to the labyrinth. Only the One Priestess is allowed in the labyrinth, and she was Tenar. She was not Arha. And the Nameless Ones would eat her soon. They would eat her again and she would be Arha. If she just stayed here for a while, she would know the way out, for Arha knew how to navigate her palace. Tenar did not.

There was a shrieking cry coming from a distant room, racing through the corridors and into the Room of Bones. She shuddered and let out a terrified yelp. Who cried out in terror? Arha? Tenar? Or neither? Was it a ghost possessing her body? A soul not to be reborn, manifesting itself in her skin?

She scrambled to her feet, trembling and clinging to the stone walls, the rough surface tearing at the pale skin on the palms of her hands. She staggered out of the room and wandered the corridors, her bare feet tripping over themselves. She had no control over her body. Arha was taking over. Tenar had no say anymore, for the One Priestess had absolute power in her realm of darkness, and a little girl had none.

Arha ran. And Tenar sat down and sobbed. No! She did not cry! It was Tenar running and Arha crying! But they were the same. Two women in one body: one learned in the dark powers of the Nameless One and the other with the mentality of a young girl. They were both crying. And they were both running. But neither knew the way.

The Painted Room!

She had found her way to the Painted Room, and she ran to the far wall and collapsed before it, sobbing. She knew where she was, but she knew not where to go, nor how to get there. She had to leave! This room frightened her; it always had. The paintings on the walls . . . the paintings? They were gone! The paintings of the winged men and women with both human and bird heads were replaced by smooth stone, unmarked and untarnished by the years. She looked at the blank wall tearfully, and inside Arha was screaming "They have defied the nameless ones again!" But Tenar countered "They deserve rebirth. Everyone does." And with scorn and almost a hint of jealousy Arha responded, "Like your precious pet? Your Sparrowhawk?" And the body threw its fists against the stone, for the body did not belong to Arha, nor Tenar, only the struggle between them.

And the cry of despair did not belong to either.

She turned around, terrified, to find people with wings and some with the heads of birds, screaming and cawing and tweeting deafeningly. She tore at her hair and buried her face in her skirts. Stop! They had to stop! She couldn't think . . . were they angry at Tenar? Or Arha? Which was she?! Who was she? She was no-one. That's what she had to believe. If she believed it, it would be true and they would be quiet and she could leave. She just wanted to leave!

She stood and ran, only looking back as the beaks bit at her arms and face. She was bleeding. Arha said to fight back, but Tenar wanted to run . . . to run back to Sparrowhawk, but Arha searched for her dagger, only to remember it had crumbled to dust.

So the woman ran. The ground was heavy on her feet and pulled on her more with every step. Were they following her? She did not know. She could not tell if she wanted to know. All she knew was the ground on her bare feet and the cold swish of her skirts against her legs . . . and the lack of the ground beneath her feet.

She caught a hold of the edge of the pit, the blood seeping from her palms causing her grip to slip. No! She wouldn't fall! She was too close! And so she hung there crying; Tenar had no advice, nor did Arha and they both cried, so the woman had no choice but to cry twice as hard as before.

She cried out, "Sparrowhawk!" but received no answer. And then, she called out to the Nameless Ones to eat her and be done with it, but instead of falling, the body pulled itself back up onto solid ground.

She clawed her way to the shelf at the edge and shuffled across, but who knew where it was? Tenar could not remember, and neither could Arha. And yet the pit no longer loomed in front of her, but sagged behind like a ball and chain. As she fumbled towards the door, she found the key on her keyring. Which key was it? The one with the dragon . . . but how did she know? Which controlled the woman? The priestess or the child? Or maybe an outside force . . . she unlocked the door and entered, whispering, "Sparrowhawk?"

And, seeing her, bloodied and broken, the scarred man stood and came warily towards her. "Tenar? Tenar, call me Ged."

"Ged . . ."

"Sh . . ." A comforting hand stroked her hair. "I'm here. And I will be here whenever you call me. I will come to you. I would come from my grave if you called me, Tenar!"

"Ged . . ." His face swam and her vision blurred. She felt herself falling . . . into the pit? No, into the warm embrace of the man she loved. She loved him? No, he loved her. Maybe both, then? No, it was neither. But the feeling inside of her . . . what was it? She couldn't tell. Everything was dark now. "I'm afraid of the dark . . ."