Thirty-five – 01

[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]

They stood together upon a precipice, watching as a hurricane rolled inexorably toward shore. There was no longer a hope that it wouldn’t come, that the track would ship. She was coming in all of her fury, called by a force neither of them could hope to reckon with alone.

Her fingers curled around his hand, nails digging into the flesh as her throat constricted. It was hard to breathe, as if something was standing on her chest, pressing the life out of her. Cíar stepped closer, head bending, breath stirring the hair near her ear.

“Fight it, grá mo chroí. Fight it—I’m here. I won’t let anything harm you if it’s in my power. You know that.”

She could hear a voice in her head, echoing at the back of her thoughts, the orders that were for the man standing at her side, whispering words of comfort in her ear as they stood upon the break. It was still, too still. Her heart felt sluggish and too fast all at once.

Word came haltingly, stiffly, words that weren’t hers, but another’s. She hated being their tool, their voice—but she hated what they did to him even more.

“The battle will still be joined,” she said, the words coming as a rasp. “You will still face their army on the field, storm or no storm. Whatever they’re able to marshal doesn’t matter. You will win. You will.”

For a few moments, he was silent. Time slowed to a crawl.

His fingers tightened around hers. “And what of you?” he finally asked, his voice heavy. “Are you to stay or to go or do they not care what you do, only that you eventually return?”

“I wish I never had to go back.”

Cíar was silent again, staring at the storm. It was still, too still, especially as they watched the waves in the distance, watched the shadow come closer, the clouds beginning to close in. Soon the sun would be gone, hidden behind them. How dark would it get? Neither of them could know.

“But we do,” he said, something sad in his voice. “But we do.”

She closed her eyes. It was still hard to breathe. He leaned his shoulder against hers and exhaled quietly.

“My life for yours, ‘peia,” he whispered. “Today and always.”

“No.” She shook her head slowly, eyes blinking open even as they stung with tears. “There is no life for me without you. If today or tomorrow is the day, we die together. Together, today and always.”

“Together,” he echoed softly.

Her gaze lingered on the storm as they leaned against each other, watching it come.

Soon.

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