The Loneliest Traid

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  • Published: 2 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 13 May 2017
  • Status: Complete
Love and death and war and Gods and blood and magic and dancing and rest and revenge and kings and fate.
Don't worry, within these three stories you'll know yourself,
And I will put you back together again.

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73. A Rightful King

Onyx was the first.  He was hit with an arrow, in one eye and out the other.  When he fell, his feet curled under him, and he died, looking so broken.

    “No-”

    “Come on!”

    They kept running, tripping but staying steady.  The beach was long, and the moon pulled the waves over the stones in unrelenting hits, each step sliding under each catch.  They made their ways down the bay until the army caught sight of them, and hunted them, if for nothing more than fun.  They weren’t sure who was behind them, but what flag they carried made little difference now.

    Arrows rained down.  They covered the sky, like an eruption, and pierced the stone, each hitting off with a spark..

    But they ran further, until Gomez couldn’t.  Not anymore, they had been running for so long now, and he was so tired.  A husk, hollow eyes, hollow cheeks, his bones the foundations tumbling down from within.  The sparrows were dull, but moved in lazy circles, under the waterfall of tears like the children in May.

    “Keep going,”

    “I can’t.”

    “Think about it, we’re almost there,” Chene pleaded, taking him by the shoulders and hearing the crunch of bone, “We’re almost at the spell, Gomez, think of the girl - your soldier - and her brother, and the children - you’re so good, Gomez, come on, almost there,”

    He took one step, another, and fell.  He was so weak, so tired.

    “I just want to rest,”

    “And you can, hey?” he took Gomez’s face, wiping tears, and the drool from his lips, “Hey, look at me, just that bit more.”

    “I - you, I-” he squeaked, Chene holding him up under his arms, and pulling him too his feet.

    They ran just that bit longer, the horses almost on top of them, an arrow skidding across Chene’s jaw.  The eyes a nearby dip in the underbrush, and he knew that they couldn’t follow them through there.

    “Almost, just that bit more, Gomez.”

    “I-”

    “Come on, hurry,” another arrow, two more, three.  Not rain, but fire and smoke that covered the skies and hid the sight of Gods, and they dodged one after another, but more always came.  And there seemed to be no one left in the world.  They were the last, and that was the last thing that Chene heard.

    “I - Wait for me.”

    He collapsed, Chene’s hand intertwined, and it dragged them both to the ground, their heads bashing against stone, the army gaining, arrows now suffocating the air.

    He pulled back against Gomez’s hand, “Come-”

    And that’s how he saw him.  The sparrows slow, and still, mismatched on his face.  His eyes were open.  An arrow protruded from his throat in one side.

    “Gomez?  Gomez!”

    “We…” blood poured onto his hands, down his clothes and his face.  His world was now numb, meaningless, there was nothing to hear but his friend, the last words he spoke, and the cried he made to do so while Chene pulled him into his arms, “We’ll meet again, won’t we?”

    “Don’t go, please, Gomez…”

    “We’ll meet again, like this,” he coughed, or shuddered, or screamed - it didn’t matter any more, “On an autumn day?  Just… Wait for me.”

    “Please.”

    He didn’t run, but he held his friend as the world went white, and it spun, and it no longer made any sense.  He felt his body rock forward and backward, but surely that wasn’t him?  His skin was crawling with black ants, and his blood was cold, and he was dead  Yes, he was dead, that was it.  The arrow was in his neck, and out the other side, and Gomez gave him one final glance behind his shoulder, and ran into the underbrush.  He had taken the rest of Chene’s power to heal himself permanently, and he had left him.  That must be it, how else could Gomez be dead?  Gomez wasn’t.  His skin was cold in his bone-crushing grip, and his mouth was agape, but he was alive.  He was running.  He was playing lyre.  He was growing things.  He was playing with Noom.  He was okay.  He was.  Chene held him against his body, and thanked him, for everything, for teaching him what life was for those who had reason.

 

    Nona sat back in her chair, and I felt her hands shake around the loose threads.

    Morta dropped the snapped line, letting it coil around the world, and tie its knot, and finally, rest.

    “It had to be done,” was all she said.

 

    Sinder sat on his horse, above Chene and Gomez body.  He struck Chene’s shoulder with a sword, and the ants scattered, leaving the face of a broken man behind.

    Sinder sniffed, “Hurts, doesn’t it?  Losing someone that you loved?”

    His men didn’t move, only one went to approach the body, before Sinder raised his hand, and put his bow away.  His royal arrows were red, they matched the one in Chene’s neck.

    “Sir, shall I-”

    “No,” he said, “Let the traitor keep his eyes open, let’s not give him the luxury of sleep.  He wanted this, and he can have it.  He ran off to find the spell of war, he can wait until his rebirth to seek revenge for it, the scut.”

    “That’s not what-”

    “Shut him up,” Sinder said, not giving away the courtesy of looking down upon Chene, “But don’t kill him.  Let’s bring him back to the dungeons, we can deal with our runaways ourselves.”

    They took Gomez from his grip, and although he thrashed and kicked and bit and let the animal inside him rip off the skin of the soldiers, he could only reach Gomez for a second longer, just enough to remember the look of a man, so empty, so many words dying on his tongue, and yet, we are split in two.  Gomez, he would always remember, was kind, and warm.  And they threw his body into the sea, but he would stay like that - warm, alive, singing, laughing.  Gomez was not dead.  Chene was not alone again.

Not again.

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