In the company of ghosts

She had always been chasing ghosts.

"I'll save eight lives in order to redeem myself and atone for the people that died to enable me to live." * It had been the last promise she had made to Jiguro, so the man she loved almost like a father could depart peacefully. So that she could continue living.

Balsa had known it wouldn't be an easy task, even before she had spoken the words. Even without her surrogate father's warning. In the end it had taken her almost ten years of her life, but she had done it. Had held onto the spirit of her vow to Jiguro's ghost as well as the ones of the 'Eight Spears.' She had saved eight people without taking a single life.

It hadn't eased her heart, however…

So after the farewell from Chagum, she had set her sights on yet another quest. And like this, she had departed for Kanbal. In order to finally lay to rest the man that had spent his life protecting her.

Tanda had said that she was always chasing ghosts once.

That had been a long time ago. Before the illness.

They had told her later that he had beeninfected with something while helping the people of a small village, supplying them with herbs. His health hadn't been at his best for some time after she left and he eventually ended up bed-ridden. Battling a fever for days and weeks.

That was how she had found him. Pale, sweating, his body wracked with fever or heavy bouts of shivering. The one time he had woken coherent enough to recognize her, he had given her a smile. And although they did all they could, his soul had departed that night, leaving behind only a body for her to bury.

"It had been his only wish to see you again. Therefore he died as a happy and content man. He didn't have any regrets."

But she did have them. Things that she regretted. And despite what offered of comfort, she couldn't quiet shake the feeling that the wise shaman blamed her for this. And even now, after years and years, she still catches herself starring at nothing, thinking of a caring nature and gentle smile. Spending her time in the company of memories of things long gone.

While deep down she knows that she is chasing after a ghost again.

A/N for 'In the company of ghosts':
* "I promise to save eight lives to atone for their souls…" is the actual quote from the subs I had. I tweaked it a bit to fit my purposes, however. Inspired by sciathan_filelj's fanfiction 'For Every Thing There Is A Season' which said "He is living and she has gone after ghosts"