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Monday, 9 May 2016

Of Ash And Dew - One

   I'd thought I'd have been more sad than this. My hands are shaking, my mind is clouded, and despite how my heart stings, all I can seem to think of is this how numb my body feels. I've shed barely a tear.
   And yet they're dead. They're all dead. Mother, Father, even Datran who was asleep in his cot, and yet all I can remember of the scene is blood and upturned earth. The hut was a mess, that I also recall, though it was a passing notice, but I couldn't miss the small locked chest sat in the mud, standing open and empty. The murderer was looking for something, and they seem to have found it. Only one thing had been in that box, the only thing we had worth keeping safe and locked away: a waterstone amulet that belonged to my great, great grandmother. But it was only an heirloom, a memento of her time in the service of Tída, the Water Goddess. It was worth little - but apparently enough to kill for.
   The moon has passed five times since that night, but still my mind is distant. I gave them all their last rites; I built their rafts and sent them down stream on the gentlest of flows. The Mangrove will have them by now, their spirits ferried off to Tída's embrace and their remains sustaining her creatures. Though I feel a strange guilt at not having been with them when it happened - perhaps I could have done something - I can't ignore the fact that, if I'd been killed along with them, all of our bodies would have rotten on the ground, and that was no fitting end for anyone.

   But despite my numbness, and the sorrow that refuses to reveal itself, though I know it is there, I can feel a darkness in my heart. Bleak thoughts are pulling at the edges of my mind, thoughts I know I shouldn't dare turn to...but my life has been taken away from me almost as absolutely as theirs.
   I have nothing left here; no one to love, no one to care for, no one to turn to. And I feel an anger and a hatred building for that thought, alongside more than the deepest loathing for whoever did this.
   I want to find them. I want to retrieve the amulet for the memory of my mother's line, at least. It won't bring them back, this I know, but at least everything else would be back where it belonged, and I might find out why this had to happen.
   There is one person who could help me: an old oracle lives nearby, almost a week from here in this season. I've heard that he can see fragments of the future, but that he speaks cryptically. But I don't seek any destiny like others who have sought him out, nor answers to profound questions. I only need a direction, a finger to point me the right way. Surely he could provide that.

   I've packed up all I have and I set out tonight, under the guidance of the moon. Hopefully Tída's sister will not lead me to my own death...



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