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The Faery Tale

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Vasa, 78 - Afternoon, hr 9    
She followed in Tahlia's wake, never quite fast enough to get ahead, never quite good enough to beat her older sister. Even when she was hurt. Like always. There were tents ahead, buildings, and a blocky hill of stone. This must be the place! Over a year of walking, from the Seths's camp to the beach, then down the coastline, then past the grass stretching as far as the ocean. Walking and more walking, through the hot sand and under the burning sun.

But there, in the camp, pointy-faced creatures like the Seths were milling around. But unlike the Seth and the smaller Seth, these looked alive and strong, not the still, nearly-dead things in the house by the waterfall. She was afraid, but she tried not to show it. Even though they were big, very big, with claws and teeth like monsters and shadow-colored fur. Can't be afraid in front of her sister.
 
A familiar silhoutte caught her eye: smaller than the Seths, flat-faced, with no claws. An Avathean? It must be. She stepped closer, passing her older sister, and recognized the teenage boy, just as he shouted her name.
 
"T-tessi?! Tahlia?!" Her older brother Joshua embraced her. She twisted so as not to squish the bundle of feathers tucked in the crook of her arm. "How did you find me?"
 
Joshua. When was the last time she saw Joshua? She hadn't even noticed him leave. Had his hair always been such a strange color? And why was he here? The thought struck her: He was here! He had beaten them! No, they were supposed to be the ones who discovered the place with more Seths. Not Joshua! But this seemed to matter less and less.
 
"We were looking for them," she tried to explain, "how did you get here?! How long have you been here?"
 
A year. He'd found a corpse that led him to the camp of these people that called themselves Anu. He'd found it even before Tahlia had found the Seths's camp. He'd known it first. One of the Anu approached, spoke to Joshua in a voice like a growl. Was it going to eat her? No, Joshua introduced her. Masika. They had names, too. Not even her bird had a name. The other Anu were taking notice now, watching, talking amongst themselves.
 
"You have nothing to fear from the Anu, Tessi," Joshua whispered to her. They were approaching, one with a spear. But they did not attack. One offered to tend to Tahlia. "They seem kind enough, despite their rather... frightening... appearance."
 
She learned very much that day, from these strange people. She learned of Aten, whose eye was the Big Sun, who made Avien'zia and Nexeidra and the whole world. She learned of his wife Sekah, the moon. She learned the dangers of Desert Witches. She learned the Anu breathed heat out instead of sweating, had hair in their ears, and that they had tiny babies too. She learned why it rained, how the oceans were formed, where gigawurms came from, and these creatures had all the answers. All the answers that Tom hadn't been able to supply and that Avien'zia had been silent about. Avien'zia, who hadn't gotten Tom to choose her, after all. He chose a baby, stupid baby Layla. She hated Tom anyway, she hated Layla, and she hated Avien'zia, who only gave other people answers and never her. But these Anu, they explained to her how scorpions grew to be cave spiders, and where babies went when they never woke up. She could see the conviction in their eyes, and knew this was the truth. There was no uncertainty here, only facts.
 
Ringwe, 78 - Sunrise, hr 5    
After leaving Lorelei yet again, Ewon figured he would go down the coast until he found a nice place to live. He didn't really have any hope of finding his mother and sister. Rosa hadn't spoken to him in a long time, and her directions never seemed to bring him any closer to finding them. He was about to give up looking when he saw something odd: an old woman, building something outside of a mine. After all this time, Ewon had finally found his Mother.
 
Ringwe, 78 - Evening, hr 10    
Malric had spent more than a year in the Folke mine. He had first made the opening larger to fit, but once inside discovered that the tunnels were just large enough for him to crawl around. This was no problem; he had always found crawling easier than walking.
He spent his time in the mine while the bright sun was out in the sky. The Folke told him that Jeuno caused the burning light. Malric did not like Jeuno.
What Malric liked was iron. He knew a lot about iron, because his mine at home was full of it. But this mine had none. He dug and dug with the pick he made from the Folke's copper, but there was no metal to be found here.
This was sad. It was a mine, but too different from his mine. Malric missed his mine. But he had no way of knowing where it was, until he woke up one evening with the sunset in his head.
It was not something Malric usually looked at, but thinking about it, he always looked away in the same direction. Was this a message from the Stone God? Was that where he had to go?
Malric left the mine and told the Folke that he would leave, then started walking east. Maybe he would finally see his family again, and be in his own mine, with all the iron.
 
Khelek, 79 - Midday, hr 7    
Excerpt from journal:

Unca Marth died today.  He just never woke up anymore.  I thought...I thought I wouldn't feel anything at all when he died, except maybe relief at not having to take care of him.  But instead I feel really really sad.  He was a good unca, even if he didn't wake up very often.  And now he is gone.  He never really was awake enough to know Auda or anyone else that well.  I know he loved me - he even told me we could talk about what happened with Sofia and Papa and Hinrod someday.  But then he never woke up enough to talk to me.  I wanted him to.  I really did.  Now he is gone, just like everyone else seems to be gone.  Who is next?  What will happen now?  Tibalt wants me to be the Kindred Guard but I almost feel like I don't have the heart to be anything to anyone anymore.  It is taking all I have just to be a good Papa to Auda, and I love her so much it hurts.  How can I be good at anything else right now?
 
Losse, 79 - Midday, hr 6    
Nayal says me big enough now. She makes me shirt and skirt to cover skin.
 
Losse, 79 - Evening, hr 10    

Swimming endlessly North, the Ocean vast around her, she meets no one. The sharks circle her but come no closer, the dolphins accompany her for a mile or two, then move on. Then a creature so strange causes her to think about turning towards land again. It's large white body is enormous, the skin as soft and delicate as the silk she wears. Sparkling blue scales start sporadically towards the head, then condense. Old Blue Face, with a mouth so large, she would slip within and the monster wouldn't notice.

She turns to the Northwest, there must be land. Maybe she will find her Mother there. As she swims her thoughts return to Draka, she misses her so, and then she is at Cliff View. The wind whips lonely about the Cottage, she calls out but there is no answer. Draka is not to be found. Poking around in the cupboards, she finds some honey and sits there eating it as she looks out over the cliffs. So much has happened. Musing, she wanders back in time, licking the honey from her fingers.

She left Draka and Senic to explore this new world she washed up into. Meandering up the beach, she finally came to a settlement. Her stomach growls as she remembers the most delicious scent of cooked crab, she had followed her nose. Looking up, she saw them all standing there watching her approach. Her face reddens with embarrassment at the memory. In her excitement, she tends to be clumsy. Gliding gracefully towards them smiling, she abruptly falls flat out, having tripped on the remnants of a sand castle. A handsome young man, whom she now knows as Niran, approached her first, she extended her hand in the usual greeting and he took it, then she noticed the Knight. Something about him seemed familiar to her. He greeted her with a Mango, which she thought at the time was odd, but took it politely. Mango's were a treat she was becoming familiar with, and this one was ripe and smelled lovely. That was when the woman Ayla rudely came between them. Her hair was a most beautiful red color, she couldn't resist touching it and so she did. But when the Knight took off his helmet, all of her attention went to his eyes. Red, blood red. There was something about these eyes, but she couldn't remember at the time. She still can't remember even now, after so much has come to pass. His name is Myran. He was Ayla's mate. She gave the woman some honey to distract her. It was a good guess, she chuckles now to herself. Looking down at her silk clothing she has gotten used to, she remembers that she wore nothing when she met them. That really is how she is most comfortable, but it seems to disturb everyone she meets, and so she covers herself.

They call themselves Noljeni, they look exactly like Senic. Tall, with smooth creamy white skin, silky long hair of many different colors and large pointy ears. The ears fascinate her, Myran's  were soft and twitched as she caressed them. Senic never mentioned being of the Noljeni, and it seems they had never heard of Senic either. But when she mentioned Draka, they all turned to her. It seems their elder Amrod had met her on his travels. But they insisted she was a lizard woman. Now she understands how right they were. Back then, she was horrified that anyone would talk of her Draka so. Even so, she gave them a gift of blubber, fresh from the Ocean. They had never seen anything like it, these Noljeni from Pearl Beach. She left them then to return to Draka and Senic, she had a lot of questions for them. She has some of the answers now.

Brushing her silk skirt off, she brings her attention back to the Ocean, where Big Blue Face lives. In a flash she is swimming beside him, then she turns and swims to the Northwest. Where she hopes to find a friendly face, and maybe her Mother.

 
Lote, 79 - Before dawn, hr 2    
He unclasps the small sheath on his belt.
_
He never wanted it to end like this, but a part of him knew it would.
He didn't know why and he didn't know how, but he loved her. Something deep inside of him knew it was what he wanted, but he never spoke up, never told her. Maybe if he had this would never have happened like it did.
_
He pulls the knife from the sheath.
-
He ran away with her; they were supposed to be together, be happy. It was wrong from the beginning; he was wrong.
He knew he didn't like him from the start; he didn't know why but he knew. And again, he never spoke up, never said his peace.
_
He rolls his sleeve up.
-
He killed someone. Someones daughter, someone's sister, someone's mother. He ended her life without thinking twice.The boy looked him in the eye and spoke civil, tried to speak reason with him; he had none of it.
_
He wipes the knife on his pants, removing the filth from its blade.
_
He gave him a blade, one of only four her made, he wanted him to protect her should something happen, all that blade represents in his mind now is regret.
_
He bites hard on a piece of wood.
-
What little he wrote of his life in the woods he burned, he didn't want to remember; he wanted to be new. Something inside of him told him he was a fool to think change would come with the ease of a burnt book.
_
He braces the knife against his arm.
-
They've all left now, and he knows not to follow, he knows someone will die and she will hate him, knows it will only end worse then it began.
It hurts so much to think of her, a twisting flame in his belly that will not be doused by even the coldest smile.
_
He presses the blade against his flesh.
-
All he wants to do is think of her, to feed the flame and watch in awe as its dark swirling mass grows inside of him.
Should he hate her for not seeing the truth in what he'd done? He knows the love of a sibling is true and steadfast, but it never stops the fire from growing.
_
He slides the blade down his arm, drawing thick streams of crimson down his pale skin, a ghostly warmth that fades fast in the cold air.
-
The flame grows still; his only thought is of her. All he sees in the sky and the earth is her face. It matters not where he looks; he sees her in the light, and in the darkness. He would never regret meeting her, in unsure times and black skies her face was his sun, growing the trees and spreading warmth through his body.
_
He pulls the blade from his skin, and places it against the other arm.
-
He hates himself. Hate for not telling her. Hate for giving him the wretched blade. Hate for still loving her.
_
He presses again, harder this time.
-
The fire will leave, like everything else, He tells himself. It will be gone, and the rage will subside, and leave nothing but sorrow. He is delusional, believing in what his mind says, not his heart.
_
He drags the blade down his arm once more. The knicks in the edge catch his skin as it slides, and he breathes in sharply around the wood and presses on.
-
I will leave and meet new people, find new love and new friends. He continues to beleive his own lies; they flow from his mind, thick like blood from so many open wounds.
_
He pulls the blade from his skin and watches the crimson stain his pale skin, a testament to how she left him.
-
He will never tell another living being of how he felt, the joy in his heart everytime he saw her face. Why did he hide it?
_

He bandages his arms, and slides the knife back in its sheath, the home he wished he had.
He weeps.
-
He weeps for things that never came, and things that did.
New friends and new love, he tells himself.
A delusion he'll never realise.
 
Lote, 79 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Why do i want to kill them?
I know it's bad and i shouldn't want it, but i just want them to hurt so bad, to laugh while thay beg me to stop and smile while they scream.
I can smell blood everywhere, i can hear their hearts beat and i want to open them up and watch, i taste nothing but blood when i eat or drink and i like it. I know it's wrong, i know i shouldn't want it but i do, and so soon i won't be able to hide it...
 
Naur, 79 - Midday, hr 7    

Beginning of Separation.

There had been warnings. We were all busy. Those of us outside, that had been there the first time it came, we were all preparing. Preparing for it to come back. It wanted a sacrifice, a virginn to be left in the Bone House. The house we dedicated to Avienza. It called us the children of Avienza, it claimed to know our goddess, yet it spoke of a different leader, someone else, who we where to give this virgin to.
The young one, the onlye ones awake to speak with the beast, not many of us even knew what a virgin was.
Sylvan took the lead, she wanted armour and weapons ready. It was comeing in Lote. It was coming in two months time.

    *      *     *    *      *     *    *      *     *    *      *     *    *      *     *    *

It came, it came when we were asleep, when we were unprepared. Furious it bellowed "Fools!", It turned towards us, it had been into the shrine, seen that we had left nothing. "Tho hast disobeyed thy master! Now thou shalt pay with the ouls of not one, but two of thy virgins." it cried out as it lumbered towards two of the girls, my sister and I. Away now, from our family. Away deep away, we where asleep. We were unaware.

Awakening.......... Awakening.
First underground, darkness, dirt, lungs struggling and the air, are we are no longer underground. But where?. Eyes opening,  there is a ceiling, darkness, more darkness, inside a tower, stairs. Coldness, what is this coldness underneath me?

The two girls are placed on a alter, Silver alter, what is this?. Someone's comeing, footsteps, more footsteps. A voice. What does it want? Darkness, why darkness?. The figure cloaked in inky black, it appeared in the darkness. "My servants have done wel" It voice becomes song-like, it chants. "Akumal.... zeolc... camdra..."  A flash of dark light surrouns the bodies. The darknes comsuming, the darness enters. It sinks into the skin. It enters the two girls bodies. The dark shroud fading, fading untill there is nothing. Gone is the darkness. Gone is the figure.

Alone... the two alone again. Her voice, my voice. "Where?" as she comes to the realisation she is no longer home.  Awakened for now. Awakened.
Another voice soon joins, small voice, a whisper. Her sister Awakened. "Kimlan" she ask as she slowly sits up. "where are we" If only I knew sister, my sister, If only I knew.
"I...don't know..." The words are a dagger, a lot I don't know. What to do, What to do?, Protecting my sister, all I know I must do. A sigh escapes her lips as she shake her head, sitting up looking at her sister, her sister... Alyss.  "..strange, do you remember anything" The lumps noticeable, the feeling odd, she pats her own stomach as she knows this is wrong.

More darkness, darkness of sleep and then pain. Lots of pain. What
has been done?. Children small children, babies but not babies. These are not as us, there are scales fragile scales, not yet hardened with age, there are tails, small tails. What are these things? They came from us, how could they?, these things came from us?.

Five babies total.  Two from me three from her. Five babies... why these babies?, What for?. One cries, it cries, one of my babies are crying. Its awake, its not sleeping, what would mama do? Fear, so much fear. She moves towards the child it seem more human, two babies are more human. More like her. The bab continues crying. She inspects the baby, it is ike its sibling, but it is like me, the babies... they are ours. Our babies, she scops up the small one weakly, so tired... so very tired. The pain and exhaustion taking its toll. Some food for the baby, like mama always does, some food. She rummages around her small bag, the baby now full, now happy. She rests against the alter.... the darkness of sleep coming. She rests with the baby in her arms.

 
Elen, 79 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Leaving

Outside, outside again. What now?, awake again on hard ground. Where am I now? The baby gone, the tower.. big tower. Locked. No entry. Appearing in a mist of darkness, that figure, that same figure. It spoke.. that same voice. "Thy work is complete" What work? My voice, its gone. I speak but do not speak, no sound at all. I glare at the creature, it takes away my sister and my baby, it takes me away from them. My family. She look around.. obsidian tower standing tall... beasts, large ugly beasts in the swamp bellow. Fear, lots of fear, her rage gives in to fear, she run, run quickly into the mine, so many creatures,  so long alone outside. So unprepared so unprepared. Her stomach growls, it pains her, it tells her to keep going. A dead end, a man, man with pointed ears, he hacks at the wall. A pick a glowing pick in his hands, still fear holds on, she quickly hide, her running, her ragged breathing. How can she be hidden, she sit stareing, stareing at the wall. She needs to calm, she need food.
She found food, a mushroom. It will have to do, she bite it, tastes funny, something she has never had befor. The man continue he seem frail almost dead. The man seems no threat, seems hollow, seems dead. But he still moves, why does he move?.

Time to go, time to move, must not stay here for to long, the beast will come, the creature will come, she need to go, find help. Save her sister, save her children.  She carry all she can and leave. Leave quickly. Run out of the mines, run continue running, Her toolbox!, her sistes toolbox! She promised to give it back to her when she returned from her journey. She takes them with her, she run off into the forest, into the green.. no desert.. no sand.. just green... so much green.
I miss home.. I miss the desert... why is there so much green!?

Continue onward not to far away... what have I done? what of my sister?... What of the promise I had made.. ? I must get home. Time left to wait, time left to travel. Not to far onward. Only a few days travel. she stops on her journey, I have to prepare. she sets up camp, preparing for her journey collecting food. Making a fire. The tower... the tower still visible. It mocks me.. tells me what I have done..tells me I have left my sister to suffer.

She shakes her head.  I must find my way home. Travel northward.. travel.. I don't know where I am.. so much green. There is no sand.
Why no sand.


Frustrated...defeated... thinking... thinking..
What of the babies? What of her sister?... a year has passed. I must go back...
So much fear.. so much pride... my sister needs me.. I will find home with her...
I must travel back... back to the cursed swamp land... back to the evil place.
 
Elen, 79 - Afternoon, hr 9    
It's full! I filled the whole barrel! It took a real long time, but I can go home now!
Wait, who is that? Is it the huge thing with the club? Ha! No, it's just Rufus! I'll show him my barrel!
And there's father! He thought I was taken by the Stoneshapers, but I wasn't, I was just filling this barrel! So many flowers! So much salt!
But now we'll all be safe! The salt will make stuff to protect us and the flowers will heal us! Nobody will ever get real hurt again! And it's all thanks to me!
This won't be easy! It's a big heavy barrel, and I have to get it uphill! But it will be worth it to see everybody smile!
Well, here I go!
 
Gurtha, 79 - Before dawn, hr 3    
It is Gurtha, of the year 79.

I laid my brother, my twin, to rest today. 

Death took him while he slept, alone, in the house that mama made. He should not have let his guard down. He should not have gotten careless. I should have kept an eye on him... 

Samar...you were so strong. Why? How? How could Death defeat you like that? We were supposed to hunt it down together, how could you let it take you away? 

You had a moment of weakness, brother...but, if you see mama, please tell her I have grown strong. I am big now, no longer a tiny one. As she had once predicted, I have surpassed her in height, and perhaps even in girth! I can hunt the big white bears now, mama. And I have taken on the armor you have both left behind. 

Sometimes I think of it as both my mama and twin. Protecting me as I hunt. I will bring you back, Samar, you and mama and everyone, even our silent father who made that mistake. I'll hunt Death and feast on it's flesh. Watch me, Samar.
 
Vasa, 79 - Before dawn, hr 3    
Torn Apart

The girl's face crumpled when she heard his sobs. She couldn't bear to hear him hurting so. To see him scraped and shredded to the very soul. She rushed to his side, wrapping a protective arm around him- rocking him as his tears fell. No, he didn't have to explain himself, she told him. It didn't matter. It wasn't his fault.

She was sure of that, even when she laid eyes on the body inside the shack. Even if he was not sure, she was. And all that mattered was that he needed someone. Someone to believe him. Someone to tell him he'd be okay, if not by words, then by actions. She would be there for him.

She should've been earlier, but she was uncertain whether he'd want her there yet, or at all with everything that had transpired. There was no use in regretting her slow arrival. His brother had been there. That was more important. Now, after his brother had left, all that was important was that she was there, and she would not leave his side.
 
Vasa, 79 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Tangled Webs

The girl pushes a violet strand of hair out of her face as she stares at the blank page before her. After a long moment, she begins to write slowly.

"I am 17 today and the world fell apart."

She stops writing and stares at that line for a long time. How did it get to that point? It is difficult for her mind to process the recent events. After some time, the wheels in her mind seem to grasp onto something. It started when she'd walked into that shack. That cursed green shack that she'd helped build and paint. If only.. She shakes her head as she begins to write again.

"She told me she would be leaving soon. She was acting strange."

What was it? She asked if he'd told anyone she was leaving soon. But then she said it was supposed to be a secret. The girl thought she was going to go after those ladies, the fingers to the hand of Garrak. Hadn't she said something not long ago about cutting off the fingers of the hand? Instinctively the girl's eyes fall to her own scarred hand. But no. She said no. She said she was going somewhere to find her home. Find her home and... take care of a baby. A baby? How?

"She told me I'd have to keep it a secret if she went further. I promised. I shouldn't have."

No, she shouldn't have promised. She shouldn't have even walked into that shack when her aunt called for her. But she didn't know. Her aunt had been acting more normally, if you didn't count the seclusion and the planning she seemed to be doing with her sons. Oh, the plans! Another tear, just another casualty of many, begins to streak down her cheek. The baby. Her baby. He was supposed to be the father.

"I didn't know what to say. I couldn't really breathe. It hurt a little."

But her aunt couldn't know that. Now the girl understood what he'd been talking about more, when they were in the mine. When he said he cared about her so very much, wanted her to know that, no matter what he.. and her aunt did. She assumed he meant go after the ladies. But nothing.. nothing, ever pointed to this.

"...if it would make her find some peace, find some happiness in the world, then surely it can't be wrong entirely. I was sure that was the only reason he would anyway."

It had to be the only reason. But would that even satisfy her aunt? It seemed like nothing ever did. Or didn't ever for long. But her aunt wasn't done. She still had a favour to ask, now that she'd revealed that plan. She wanted the girl to go with her. What to do? She cared about her aunt and her happiness. But going would not help her own pain. It did hurt, didn't it? She wasn't sure anymore. Or maybe she was and didn't want to admit it. What was right and what was wrong? But then she decided.

"I wasn't going to deny her that. I didn't mind traveling with them some. I've wanted to travel more anyway. I still didn't know what I thought of the other thing. But I'd travel... and I'd see her settled and happy."

Her aunt's hug had nearly crushed her; it was so, so tight. She was so happy. So happy. Truly happy. She'd never seen her aunt happy like this. Never heard her say thank you so genuinely. Then her aunt asked if she wanted to discuss travel plans.

"I foolishly said yes, so she told me to get Ter.

That's when everything started falling apart."


Her aunt told him that the girl was going to join the travels and then stay with her when she found her home. He asked the girl if it was true. She couldn't make out any emotion on his face. Stay with her? She hadn't mentioned staying forever. She couldn't stay forever. Not if he wasn't. Not after.. after..

Then he asked what else her aunt had told her. He started sounding angry. Angry at his mother. Her aunt tried calming him down by reassuring him that the girl wouldn't say anything. Even eliciting another confirmation of this secrecy she'd said she'd keep. He only got angrier.

"He.. he threatened to let her have what she wanted now, and she'd raise it in Nolja. His face was so twisted with his fury. I've never seen him so angry. I didn't know he could be."

He said it didn't matter who the girl told now. There was no one else that he wanted to hide it from more. All he'd asked for in return for what he agreed to was a false story. And her aunt failed.

"He said she'd twisted his arm by trying to prey on Ner.."

The shock was too great for the girl. Her aunt was crying, bawling, telling them to leave the shack, and they'd never speak of it again. And still he threatened her, he was so angry. But he didn't want the girl in there. He wanted the woman to let her out of the shack.

"I couldn't let him do that to himself. I couldn't forgive myself if I did. So I stepped between them and asked him to not do it if he cared so much about what I thought. Told him I wouldn't leave. He seemed to calm some, just a little. He still asked that I leave, but I made him promise he wouldn't do anything he'd regret if I did."

More promises secured. Shock giving way to anger. How could her aunt do this? To him? To his brother? After everything they'd been through in their lives. After all the struggling against Garrak. After losing their mother to this mess of tears and selfishness. She could not look at her aunt with compassion. Not with any sort of care, anymore. This was it. The last of it. She'd always tried. She'd grown to care. Even willing to do the same for her as any of her other family. Fought for her aunt's right to their attention when those ladies got so angry that they left to tend to her. But her aunt couldn't accept that. Couldn't accept the love of her sons. Of her niece. Of the rest of her family that had tried and gave up. She had to keep pushing, keep manipulating. Have her way or cry about it, saying everyone hated her. How could this woman think she could possibly take care of a child? She was but a child herself still. Just like the girl's mother had said a long time ago. No, she couldn't have taken care of the child on her own. That was probably the only reason she wanted the girl to stay with her.

The girl didn't keep any of this inside. Not any longer. She said the most horrible things. She yelled at her aunt this very last time, just like the very first time.

"I told her to never ask me to do anything for her again. I even vowed not to speak to her again. Like I promised so long ago..."

The girl's mind churning, she looks up from her book. Glances around at everyone keeping themselves busied. Her promise had been kept this time. She never would talk to her aunt again. What happened in the shack after she left, she didn't know completely. But her aunt was dead, and he was torn apart again. Her aunt couldn't have just left in peace. She had to take one last stab, quite literally, at hurting him more than she had already. At destroying his faith, his heart, his goodness. The girl looks back at the book and writes a few last lines before clicking it shut.

"It seems so wrong to hate a dead woman so much. It seems so wrong that a dead woman could still have so much influence and still hurt someone so special. I don't know what to do now. I'm just going to be there for him if he'll still let me.

Dyn.. I feel it's my fault. I never should've walked into that shack when she called for me. Please save us all."
 
Khelek, 80 - Midday, hr 7    
Today I arrived at Iron Mountain with Semarala. I was surprised to see so many of these people! Not even at home had I ever been around so many. But they are kind-hearted and very, very curious, and they want to know all about me and where I came from and what I have seen in my travels. I try to tell them, but I am afraid I come across as clumsy and slow-witted. Their speech is hard to understand at times, especially the children who talk very fast and are often excited. They seem to be unfazed by the cold and snow... I learned many new names, and though I have trouble keeping up with them all, a few things stick with me. They call themselves the Holm-kin, named after their eldest father. They ask me what I am called, and I do not know. I do not wish to call myself after my father or mother. I like all of them. The young ones like Estanesse and Alaeban are full of energy. They seem to enjoy hunting, digging, and working with stone. They have "gods" that they respect and pay honor to, though I am still not quite sure what those are. I am glad to have Semarala here with me, though. She is very kind to me.
 
Losse, 80 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Breaking Hearts

The girl's sister was going to have a baby. They were only just seventeen. Her mama had always said they needed to be twenty. She wasn't sure it sounded like the wisest thing to do right now, in these times, but she supposed if it made them happy, it was good enough.

Her cousin that had brought her the news was excited though. Then he got a worried look on his face, "Which brings me to what I wanted to ask you, Rose." As she slowly nodded, agreeing that it was wonderful news, he made his way over to her, kneeling down. "Rose, before I leave on my journey, there is something I wish to have happen before I leave." He inhaled deeply, then exhaled slowly, taking up her scarred hand. "Would you... would you bear me a child before I leave?"

He'd told her several years ago, before he disappeared to the other place, that he planned on leaving because he didn't feel like he belonged there. But he said he'd have something big to ask her before he'd go. But this wasn't what she expected. She wasn't ready for babies. And certainly not with someone that was leaving. Not after what had happened in that shack either. Most of all because of that.

She flushed a deep crimson as he asked, the only color her face had seen in days. It only stayed a moment before it returned to the pallor her skin had taken up as of late. Everything that she'd been keeping inside burst forth in fresh tears as she backed up a step or two, though not withdrawing her hand. "I... I..." She choked up, trying to speak. How could she even begin to explain? "I... I just can't. I'm... I'm... not ready to have a baby. I'm... I'm not even twenty yet..." A floodgate of words rushed out. "I'm... I'm so... sorry... I just... with everything that's been happening... I can't... I can't... I... never entertained thoughts of... of having.. a baby.. before.. before I was... much older... and.. now.. I'm not even sure... If ever..." Her voice cracked as she babbled. "So.. so.. sorr..sorry. Just... just not.. not ready.. to be a mother.. Not.. Not with.. everything else too.." Attempting to compose herself, and maybe redeem herself for hurting him, she gave him a silk bag with a pearl in it, asking him to take it with him when he traveled to keep him safe and apologizing for not being able to be who he wanted her to be or feel the way he felt. She fled the room, tears still finding their way down her cheeks.

She had failed him. She never wanted to hurt him. And he deserved a child if he wanted it. But she couldn't bear the thought of having a child yet, and it wasn't him that she cared about in that way.
 
Losse, 80 - Midday, hr 7    
It was time to go.  He had prepaired as much as he could and put off leaving for as long as he could.  There was too much going on here to stay, too much death, too much talking.  He yearned for quiet and peace.  So he finished his preperations and fills his bags with as much as he could.

He had bags full of things he would need.  One bag contained his food, various meats and fruit, that should last for as long as he needed to travel.  It would take him a while to get far enough away, far enough so that they would not accidently stumble upon him.

Another bag was filled with medicine.  He knew he would be hurt often being on his own.  He watched the others hunt for food and get hurt.  He watched them make the different creams that made the cuts heal better.  So he made his own... and took some that he did not make.  Hopefully they did not notice.  Hopefully they did not become angry and come after him.  All the more reason to make sure he got far away.

His last bag was filled with his tools.  He would need them whenever he found the place he would make his home.  He would need shelter from the elements, and would want to build a fire to keep warm.  All of these things required his tools.

That was it.  He was ready.  He waits until they are busy; hunting, talking to each other, going in and out of the houses, not noticing the boy that is preparing.  He leaves quickly, running through the trees, trying to make as little sound as possible.  He does not know why but he runs to the Southwest, away from his old home, off to find his new one.
 
Kuile, 80 - Evening, hr 10    
It is Kuile, 80.

I write this as I walk, away from home again. I was going to leave again as soon as I had arrived, but Kendalyn said she was going to be a mama. This, I could not miss! 

First, she asked Daneel. He has always been a reticent sort, but eventually, she got him to talk of it. However, when she asked him of whether he wished to be a father, he fell silent. I have not seen him wake since. I waited with Kenda for two years. 

Waiting, waiting...I quickly came to realize how much I hated it. All that time...I started making a bone house, like mama's. Smaller, though, and it took me a long time to start just one wall. 

I realized at one point that maybe my being there would cause problems. No one ever talked about having babies, and I don't think I've ever even seen one before! It was like some kind of big secret. So I went inside, and waited.

In the end, after a long time of waiting, Kenda came in and told me she was expecting, and Gerwin was the father. Her stomach grew large. She lays her hand to rest on it sometimes, as if that were the baby. It is really strange. How did it happen? Why are they in her stomach? I still don't know. But I guess Gerwin gave her something special to eat, and it becomes a baby. I wonder if the more she eats, the more babies are born...I don't see Kenda eat much, and she's quite small. Maybe that's why she only had two?

Two. Two girls, two strong, healthy girls. They will be great hunters when they grow up, I am sure of it! I hope Daneel and Jikhen wake up to see them too. And Zeff...sorry Zeff, I'm not a mama yet. But Kenda is! Surely, that would appease you. Now the streets of Amras can be filled.
 
Kuile, 80 - Evening, hr 10    
Heading before the others, Margalit had completed what she knew she must do.

She had returned and found Lorel alive, she had escaped the witch.

Carrying a pick-axe and a shovel, Margalit went out into the tide.

Krai's Pointe would always be an important place for her people. Lorel and the others were staying back to create a secure building for the kiln and oven. They would then later join Margalit.

For Margalit knew what she must do. She had dreamt it. Farcliffs would become a great city, a bastion bursting out of the frothing sea. Safe against all evils of The Witch.
 
Rosa, 80 - Evening, hr 10    
Irhel left us, and I'm not sure I'll ever know where he went. I just hope he is alright, wherever he is.
 
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