Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Silent March

No one said a word. Not one word.

First in line was Corundar. Always at the head of any formation, he was usually quiet and dour. This time, things were much worse. His eyes were as hard as the stone of his homeland, his gaze as cold as any diamond's chill gleam. His jaw was set, immobile and unyielding. He had quarreled with his siblings before but this time was different. They blamed him for this new enemy, this old enemy renewed. Was he at fault? Hell no. This was NOT his fault.

Was it?

Behind him, agile and silent as ever, Azure kept pace with the much bigger man's ground-shaking strides. Almost unshakable in his resolve and unflappable in his calm, the sea elf could weather any storm and never lose his bearings. Until now. Now his nerves were on edge, his eyes casting about, darting from shadow to shadow. They had been through so much, his sisters, brothers and he, but this was new. This was something of their own doing, a sin they all had to share. Was this at last the mistake that would doom them all?

Was it?

Third in line was Akasha. They always tried to keep her within arm's reach so the Lady of Light could heal their every ailment in battle. They counted on her for comfort and life, but she was not unable to deny that her hands were also the cause of what could easily be their demise. She'd been Vertrius' companion. His lover. In her arms, he'd revealed so much, opened himself so completely. When she'd chosen another, that heart had shattered. He'd tried to be noble, tried to be understanding, but in the end, was his hatred of them her fault? Was her fickle heart the true betrayal and his only a pale shadow?

Was it?

Behind her Byrne walked with all the life of a crumbling statue. Inwardly, her life was fading fast. She'd failed her family on so many levels. She'd burned Faile, failed to defend the others, and when Vertrius needed her most all those months ago, she'd turned on him as well. If she'd just spoken out against Corundar, just refused to will the divinity to Vertrius when he was begging to be spared, perhaps none of this would have happened. She'd prided herself on being strong, but in truth, was it only weakness that burned so falsely in her veins?

Was it?

Nyx hovered over the ground, walking without actually touching the stone. To stride the earth itself would have grounded her too much, made her feel too strongly. Damn Vertrius, and damn them all for being part of his damnation. She'd been pushed, as had they all, into doing as Corundar commanded back then; there was no dodging the arrow on this one. They might have been coerced, even bullied, but the responsibility had to be shared. No one was innocent, especially not the Lady of the Dark. Was this then the end of them, an End even her powers could not control or forestall?

Was it?

Lastly, walking when she would have preferred to fly, Faile struggled to keep up. Her wounds were healed, but her heart was another matter. Still aching from the searing of her flesh, it was her soul that bore the deepest injuries. Nyx had told her of Akasha's words, that Vertrius had been the armored knight on dragon back. For years, she'd harbored a silent wish, that the elf would see her and not the Bright Lady, see that she too... loved him. Inside, she could only cling to one hope. Was it foolish to think that when she met him again, he would feel anything for her?

Was it?

And as six, the Elementals moved to the portal monolith. Its power was active. Another world awaited, another reality closer to the City of Secrets and its dread lord. Another gateway on the road to their victory. Or oblivion.

And none of them, at this moment, could be sure which fate they preferred...

1 comment:

Erisraven said...

Stunning as always.