A Bridge I Should Have Burned; Pt II: The Peace We Could Have Been
rating: +2+x

It's been a long week of travel, but I make it home without incident. The last week of running, fighting, and emotion finally caught up to me. My legs are barely holding me up, my arms hang limply at my sides, and my back feels like someone drove a steel rod into it. As I cross the gate, my sister comes up to me and clasps my forearm.

You have kept her waiting. She does not like that.

I snort a little and gesture at my leg.

Had to rest that a bit.

She clamps my arm harder and leads me to a storage room, shutting the door. It's an old one, hardly ever used. Dust covers everything, giving it an ashen dullness. This is accentuated when I run my finger over a shelf and it comes away gray.

"Listen, Mar. She's been really nervous. You haven't tried to contact her, and she doesn't know if you're alive or dead." Anjeli pauses for a moment and takes a close look at me.

"What happened to you? You're never this quiet."

"Anjeli, you've known me even before we were born. Our mother's womb is the first home we ever had. As with all things-"

"-it had to end. We were born," Anjeli finishes for me. "Stop stalling."

heh. She knows you too well. Expected from a twin, huh?

"I killed a child," I simply state. At this point, the grief and guilt returns in full force as I admit my shame to my sister. Such is the force of it that she takes a step back, staring at me like I may attack at any moment. That look, more than anything, shuts me down.

"Sorry. You shouldn't have to deal with that mess." I take several long, deep breaths, sucking in the stale air of a neglected space. releasing them slowly. Once I feel my heartbeat return to normal, I ask an obvious question: "You said she does not know if I am alive or dead. She doesn't know I'm back?"

She shakes her head. "No. I haven't told her yet. You need to rest."

"Sure I do. After I talk to her." I rise with a soft groan. My muscles are screaming at me as each of the individual strings of meat in them are ripped apart and formed back together. Slowly, my tissue will tear and reform, stronger and perhaps more callused than before. My spine screams at me with the sound of millions of cells telling me to sit back down or suffer. I can barely stand straight, yet I walk calmly out of that small, dingy closet.

As I'm coming close to the great doors leading to the throne room, I see a small form running through the pillars. He braves death, running on the outside edge of the railing. We're 100 metres up, overshadowing the kingdom I love. We see everything from here, and nothing escapes our notice if we really watch. As I'm watching him, a piece of the masonry crumbles under his foot and he goes tumbling off the edge. Immediately, adrenaline surges through my body and I jump over the side, not bothering to think. I'm heavier, so I catch up to him easily and grap hold of his arm. I open a portal underneath me and we drop back at the place I was watching him from. He lands on top of me and rolls off, crying. I let him hiccup it out and then yank him to his feet and get in his face.

"You could have gotten yourself killed, idiot! Do you know how lucky you were that I was here? If I wasn't-" I choke on the words, shutting my mind off to the image. He looks down, seemingly fascinated with the floor. I pause to compose myself and continue. "Listen, I want you to tell me what you learned from this."

He's still looking at the floor when he speaks. "Never run in the palace."

"Nah, the Queen doesn't have a problem with that. So long as you don't bump into her, you can run. Anything else?"

He finally looks up at me. "Look at my feet?"

I nod. "That's one thing, but there is another. Always have a few friends with you in case this happens. I don't want you alone. If you have a friend, they can at least tell someone who can help, yes?"

The boy nods vigorously. "Yeah!"

"Alright, now go home. You've had enough excitement for the day." Before I finish, he's off like an arrow, zooming down the stairs to get to the street. I look at the spot where his shadow seems to linger on the wall. My mind lingers on his spirit. I can see the way he feels in his eyes. He was happy. Ignorant, but happy.

Without warning, the door opens and a guard rushes out, seeming panicked. I hear my mother scream "GET BACK HERE!!" I rush in to find chaos.

She is swinging a sword made from diamond and du'rinium. It's a beautiful blade, measuring a meter, hilt, blade and all. The diamond lining is ornate and intricate, standing in clear contrast to the du'rinium metal.

That's the blade I made for her!

I forged it five years ago, for my mother's 200th birthday. She commissioned every blasdesmith to create a sword fit for a goddess. Only two were able to match her qualifications: me and an elven exile who left last year. The elf didn't forge a blade, but a suit of armor. Light, but durable, du'rinium is the strongest metal known to Alvorin. It can only be shaped once, unless through potently magical means. I stand there for a moment as I remember that day, when I broke a milestone to my work.

I come to her throne room cloaked and holding a sheathed jiuhuandao with a serrated tip. I kneel down before my mother and offer her this blade.

"For the woman who brought a poor soul into a life of power. I give to you my thanks." My hoarse whisper echos through the hall as she draws the sword from its scabbard. Shouts of surprise ring out as a black blade veined with flowing ruby emerges.

As always, there are material blocks to test the blade on. One of wood, one of ice, one of stone, and another of solid steel. She casually flicks her wrist and the block of wood is cut clean through, but the tip catches on a piece just before the blade cuts all the way through and the sword sends the piece flying into the wall to shatter. Other smaller pieces break off of the block with the force of the blow. After a few seconds, the top of the wood topples off and it bursts into flame. The block of stone is next, and it's also cut cleanly. The ice simply sublimes wherever the blade makes contact.. The steel block is strong, so she swings hard. The sword cuts though and sends the top of the steel flying. She continues to spin and stumble, not expecting the ease. I rush forward and stop her by blocking her blade just before it hits one of her advisors. My shield rings out a clear, piercing clang as two similar metals clash.

She stands there, staring at me. "This blade is serviceable. Thank you, dear smith." She holds it up and examines the flowing ruby. "How is this possible? I have a son who would certainly love to learn. In fact, I am surprised he is not here examining this blade himself."

I grin under my hood, but strive to keep it out of my voice. "Perhaps he is practicing his stealthcraft again, Your Majesty."

She smirks, apparently amused at the thought. "You are likely right." She gestures toward the blade and restates her question. "How are you able to make the liquid gem?"

"Well, Your Majesty, I began with the metal. I shape the grooves into it where I will pour the gem. I may only shape the metal once, as I'm sure you know, so I had to approach this with the utmost caution. Once I was finished, I took rubies I raided from a Stonesman mine, and my purest ones at that. I enchanted them with the flames of the Land of Flame. I then used a tool for shaping gems. I used it to liquefy it and enchanted the blade to hold it. I worded my spell and said that because it was a passive enchantment and cannot cause damage, the gems will always be there. It was an intricate craft, handled with all care. Thank you, Your Majesty, for accepting this blade." I bend my knees and lower my head in deference to her.

She touches my head. "Rise," she commands me, "and lift your hood."

Finally, she sees through it.

I stand and lift my hood, grinning at the gasps and shouts emmanating through the throne room. The other smiths stare at me resentfully, but I really don't care. I've been studying these smiths, and I've learned from them. I applied those lessons making this blade, and this was the result. Nothing makes me more satisfied than my mother accepting my gift.

Mother smiles at me.

"Of course it was you."

I smile at the memory, but she's dashing toward her advisor. Before I stop to think, I throw up portals on either side of the advisor. My mother crosses them and swings. She whirls around, not understanding why she didn't hit, but then she sees me; battered, hollow me.

She drops the sword and stares at me, panting.

"Margova," she whispers before she collapses onto the floor.

It's been ten days since that, and she only woke up yesterday. Our healer said her lightheadedness, lethargy, and uncharacteristic aggression towards her subjects is due to malnutrition. She hadn't been eating properly, if at all, for multiple days.

I sit next to her in the throne room, which is devoid of people at the moment. I am seated my mother's left, and Anjeli is on her right. We're eating together at a table filled with unimaginably delectable foods, but we don't really speak at all. All that can be heard is the clink of metal meeting porcelain, and then, bone.

As always, I finish first, but I don't leave the table immediately. I fix my gaze forward and wait for the other two to finish. After a few minutes, Mother taps my shoulder. I start, whipping my head around to stare at her.

"You okay?" she asks. I can feel the genuine concern in her voice.

I smile at her. "Yes. I'm fine. Just glad to be home." I stand and bow. "I'll see you soon." Turning to head out, I grab an appola for later.

My body is on autopilot as I think.

what do I do to atone for this. I can't die; that would dishonor both of us. it'd be like me saying her life wasn't worth me putting in the effort to make things better. no, I'll live. I have to, for her.

huh. Wan't expecting to find myself here.

I'm at the training area for the warriors. This one is built solely for the purpose of increasing a warrior's strength and awareness of their body. Khortore stands proud at the center of it all, examining the newest batch of recruits. As I step next to him, another recruit falls to the ground.

"Pitiful, every last one of you! You can't even hang there for five fucking minutes!" His language is a little strange, as he has spent much time with any captives we have, interrogating them.

"By my count, the best was three minutes, twenty-seven seconds." I smirk. "Not too good at all. You're supposed to be our pride! Warriors of the highest caliber, able to withstand anything! If you cannot keep hold of that bar for five minutes, then get out! I don't want our kingdom being protected by people who can't endure past the worst kind of pain."

A recruit with a fresh cut on his forehead steps forward. He's young; barely old enough to fight. I wonder why he's here so early. What did he do to get here? Where is his innocence? "And by what right do you have to lecture us?"

I grin and leap down to the floor. "Simple," I say, "I can do this. I expect our best to be able to laugh while doing it. I want you to be more than good, I want you to be exemplary. If you don't mind, I'll show you what you should be able to beat by the time you're done here. I want to be able to trust you to have my back when the time comes, just as you trust your fellow recruits."

"Pretty noble boy, eh? Fine then, do it."

"You got it. In fact, I had come here to train with the rest of you, but if you want to watch, feel free. I have to train myself anyway."

"What do you say?" Khortore looks to me.

"Ten minutes, maximum intensity."

The recruits stand up a little taller. I hear a whistle in the crowd and someone whispering "Noble boy's gonna die."

don't I wish…
ah, don't do that.

I jump up and grab the hanging bar. It raises up three metres and leaves me dangling above the floor like a strip of meat. The Combat Sorcerer casts the Impenetrable Cube spell and then the wind starts.

It's blowing at a shredding speed, sending my clothes rippling like some flag of a forgotten kingdom. I'm swinging back and forth, completely at the mercy of the winds, or so it seems. I tighten my grip and let myself swing. My arms start to burn after six minutes, and that's when the waves kick in. Walls of water slam into my back, dousing me with what feels like liquid frost. The bar I'm holding on to gets soaked as well, trying to worm its way under my grip and loosen it. I shift a little and readjust my grip to better suit the current battle.

Just as I finish adjusting, the pressure suddenly stops. The waves and wind cease, and I am left hanging victorious to the storm. I look down breifly to gauge the distance and let go, landing in a crouched position. The recruits just stare at me.

"I knew something was wrong with you when that cube went up. Are you mad?" one of the recruits asks incredulously.

"Are you sane?" I reply, mimicking his tone. "Please. Sanity was never a factor for me."

I walk away and towel off my head, leaving the rest to cool my body while I train.

Next up is a two mile run. I walk to a separate track, away from the recruits, and give myself to the run. As I pound out each step, a new image flashes in my mind: Hanoi, in all her innocence; the warrior, in her decietfulness; me, in all of my sinfulness. Before I know it, I finished the run, and I stand there, thinking. What are our warriors made of?

"Hold on, I just thought of something. If you are going to protect the kingdom and be the tip of the spear, you need to be able to fight, especially with your bare hands. When it comes down to it, and you can't use your weapon for some reason, be it a breakage or something unreachable, that's what it comes down to. Your fists and your mind. I want to see you. Our warriors, our protectors. Get in the ring, two of you."

is this right? Are our protectors barely adults without any work experience?
it doesn't matter now. I gave the order.

I face the ring and assume a sitting stance. Two recruits immediately step in, facing each other. One has long, slightly pink hair, while the other has the most bony knuckles I've ever seen.

Khortore walks up to the center and says "We're not doing this again. The last time you two fought, the damn ring was destroyed."

I grunt in surprise and study them. In their eyes is a determination to fight, either here or later. "No, let them do it now. This fight's bound to happen. At least this way, you can make sure they don't kill each other."

He hesitates, but relents. "Fine. Both of you know the rules," he says, turning around, "so don't break them. No killing, no neck shots, and no magic today." Neither of them complain about the rules, but they both roll their eyes at each other. I pick up a pair of small pebbles and drill them in the side for it.

"Show respect to your teacher. If you can't show respect for the one training you, then how do you hope to join? Respect and absolute loyalty: those are the most prevalent values of the Wolf units. Now, both of you step into the center." They follow my instructions. "Face each other. Bow. Starting positions. Begin!"

They dash at each other, and Knuckles throws the first punch, predictably. First to the ring, probably the first to hit.. It connects with Pink's rib, but he grabs Knuckles' arm and throws him over his shoulder. Knuckles lands lightly, but Pink is already there, sweeping Knuckles' legs out. He jumps over that attack and grabs Pink's head. He headbutts him, sending a loud crack through the training room. Pink falls to one knee and holds his hand up. Knuckles takes it and lifts him up.

Guess it's not just his knuckles that are hard

Khortore walks to Pink and asks him if he's good. He says he is, but his eyes are a bit glazed over.

"No, you aren't. How many fingers am I holding up?" I hold up four on my left hand and two on my right.

Pink hesitates. "S-seven?"

I sigh. They shouldn't be out this quick. I suppose I should give him some help, as he is young.

"Incorrect. I was holding up six. Go to the medics and get yourself checked out. I think you have a concussion.

I take Pink by the shoulder and lead him out. I call out over my shoulder "Sorry for the intrusion," and carry on.

"Who are you?" Pink asks after we walk in silence for about two minutes.

should have asked that as soon as I stepped into the training area.

"Margova Isulde."

Pink stares at me for a few minutes, presumably wondering if I'm going to kill him..

amusing, but sad.

"How about you? What's your name?"


"Nice to meet you. Do you fight with that other guy a lot?"

"Nah, we're cousins. Narulen's practically my brother. With that comes a healthy rivalry, but we don't get too far into it."

"That's good. Make sure you always have each other's back, you hear?"

"Yeah, I hear you. We know that we'll always have each other's backs."

Those two didn't fight, they sparred. That's good. Most people take sparring a little too seriously, and then it becomes an issue. This one was over and done quickly.

Speaking of things that need to be over and done…

I see my mother waving me to the throne room. I nod and beckon a servant over.

"Take Isghoren to the medics to get his head checked out." I wait for him to nod and thank him. I walk into the throne room, dreading this unavoidable conversation.

When the door closes, I sit down and sigh.

"You've been unusually quiet. What is wrong?"

I fold my hands under my chin and lean on them. "You know I don't usually swear oaths, correct?"

"Yes. I've only seen you swear one. Was my assumption false?"

"No, that's the only one. I would never kill a child. The weak, sick, and elderly, I could kill without hesitation. Never children. That kind of kill leaves a hole that can never be filled again. The last mission made me break my oath."

Her hands clamp together, as if accused.

"I killed a child, Mother." My words ring through the room quietly, accusingly, as if even the echos of my voice judge me guilty. "I was filled with bloodlust, and I annihilated her. As she fell, I sensed another life, another candle flickering out for the last time. When I investigated, there she was. A child lay dead at my feet, consumed by my bloodlust. I crossed a bridge I should have burned a long, long time ago. I've been killing and learning to kill my entire life, and I know it's not just me. There are recruits who are barely adults being trained for the Wolf units, and they've never had a career they can depend on. After they train, they go to kill in some war we have with another kingdom. Our young men are being killed, and why? I have to know: why do we fight? Why do we kill each other all the time?"

"We kill to survive at any cost. Our enemies cannot destroy us."

"What if we didn't have to? What if we could have peace?"

She scoffs at the idea, but I see fear in her eyes. What will I do? "Peace is unattainable where the other queens are concerned."

"One side must be willing to extend a hand. If one is unwilling to show the desire, then nothing can happen."

"To be the first is to admit weakness," she's writing now, seeming satisfied with her argument. It's worked on me before, but I've had time to do nothing but think.

"A desire for peace is not weakness. In fact, it takes a certain amount of strength to go to the others and tell them you want to end our centuries-long tradition of war and backstabbing, and then say you want to have peace."

"This isn't like you, Margova." She looks at me with concern on her face. "Do you need to visit the doctor?"

I continue, ignoring her. "Do you know why I swore my oath?"

"You never did tell me, actually."

Didn't I?
… huh

"I've seen so many of our soldiers lose their minds after committing horrible acts. I didn't want to become some mindless thug, unable to do anything but exactly what I was told. I wouldn't have gained my strength the way I did if I were like that. I also didn't want to live with that guilt. Killing a child is destroying something completely helpless and innocent. Why?"

"Children can't fight, and those of other kingdoms can't even become part of our country as lesser citizens. What kind of life would they have?"

"We can change that. We can give them a life. Do you not understand? We can change their lives and get our own citizens." I don't believe that, but if I can convince her to save them, then it will be worth it.

"You value their lives so much. If you won't kill them, tell me why. What made you change so much?"

"Children are, quite simply, our future. If we cannot raise them well, our future is doomed. They are innocent. If we bring children of different kingdoms together, will they kill each other? No. They'll probably try to get to know each other, and they may walk away as friends. They are the peace we could have been, and the peace we still can be. This mission made me realize something. I've always wanted peace, but I've had to crush it. I couldn't let it be exposed, but this-" I pause. "This was the last time. I don't ever want this to happen."

She snorts derisively. "The peace we could have been? Margova, peace is impossible. We rule by might and dominance. You grew soft during that mission." She sighs. "I only wanted you to be stronger. I didn't think you would change. Just get stronger."

My body freezes, stiffening in shock.

Don't tell me she means…


She whips her head toward me, realizing her mistake seconds too late. I simply stand there and let her decide. After a few seconds, she sighs and speaks.

"I hired a warrior of another kingdom that owed me a favor. I told her of your oath and that I wanted you stronger. She said she would handle it, and she did. Perfectly. You didn't take to it the way I thought. You became more sentimental. I just wanted you to be the best, Margova. You have so much potential as one of Lothren's warriors, or even personal guards, but you couldn't get that unless you gave up that ideal."

I can't move. My mind is overloading with images from the time after I swore my oath until now.

Was everything she said a lie?

She reaches for my hand, and I finally move, jerking back as if shocked. I see her eyes begin to water, and I see the hurt in those crimson irises.

"Dont touch me!" I bellow, shaking in my rage. "You took my most stubborn value, the one mindset I would never let go of, and you slaughtered it!" The tears start to fall, dripping onto her lap.

I pause, shaking and panting. A sudden realization dawns on me.

it's not the peace we could have been, it's the peace I could make!

I take a long, deep breath and stare into my mother's eyes. She shrinks back, unable to meet the eyes of the one she wronged.

"I will not be able to stay, Mother. I need time to heal and think. I may not come back, but know that you are my mother. As such, I won't hurt you, I will eventually forgive you, but I will never forget what you did. Goodbye." I turn and walk away, my boots thumping on the polished floor. As I cross the threshold to leave the room, I hear her give a primal, mournful cry. The door shuts with a sense of finality. I stop as I enter my room.

"Hello, Anjeli."

She's sitting at my desk, looking at my blueprints. With a sigh, she says "You always did enjoy making things."

I take my bag and start putting essential supplies in it. Hunting gear, several arrows and bolts, dried food, and my journals are among the things that go into it.

Anjeli sighs and stands up.

Do you know what will happen if you go through with this?

Not completely, no.

You will never be able to come home again. Our laws state that anyone who abandons us can never come back, lest they face death.

I know. I have to go.

Please don't. You will tear this kingdom apart. You will tear us apart.

I sigh and sit down at the foot of my bed.

Listen, I've seen and done a lot of things. I've killed, tortured, and humiliated, but I've never done this. I need to heal.

Dammit, your mind is already made up!

I take my sister's hand and give it a reassuring squeeze.

I'll come back.

She gives me a sad look, and for some reason, I flinch, feeling a jolt of fear. It's a knowing sort of sad, like when a warrior realizes it's his best friend killing him.

I hope you do, Mar.

She walks out of my room, holding back tears. After the door closes, I bellow in pain and guilt and unleash a blast of pure elemental energy, destroying my bed and stripping the walls of their amethysts. Those amethysts circle around my wrists and behind my back like halos.

It ends after a few eternal seconds, and I stand in the middle of the wreckage, panting and hunched.

Well, damn. I need to pack a new bag.

I sigh and begin the menial task of gathering suplies, weapons, and clothes.

Once I finish, I write a note that only my mother could discover, and I walk away. Just before I close my door, I look back. It looks like something blew up in there, like one of my failed experiments got the better of me.

I shut my door and open a portal to the gate. None of the guards question it; I've gone out on back-to-back missions before. Setting a pace, I begin to run. I don't look back. I can't look back.

That night, I don't sleep much. I just stare at the cavern ceiling and think. Memories are flashing through my mind: Anjeli getting her first spell mastered; Mother thanking me for her sword; my satisfaction as I completed warrior training in the top of my class. All these and more run through me.

It takes a long time before I silence my mind, but once I do, I close my eyes and sleep fitfully.

It's been a week since I left, and my mind is


losing it.

you'll kill them all, won't you?

No. I need to get out.

why don't we find some food

I have food in my bag.

some real food

My stomach grumbles at the thought. Why shouldn't I get some meat from the caverns?

let's hunt

Everything goes black.

I come back to my senses a few hours later, and I find myself covered in blood and meat. Horrified, I strip off my clothes and huddle in the corner.

what is that?

ahh, gnome meat tastes delicious

I freeze for a brief moment before starting to shiver.

what did I do?

no, you could never do this. I, however, could

who are you?

I won't say

I look in the corner and see a tiny femur bone. The bile begins to rise in my throat.

what… what is that?

oh, that? that was a youngling. in the chaos, I didn't notice it, and by then, it was already dead. I thought not to waste

I get on my knees and vomit. Covered in slime, I see blood, spit, and chunks.


I feel from this presence a sudden ecstacy. My vision goes bloodred as I let out a bellowing roar of rage, pain, grief, and guilt.

you are mine now

My vision goes black again.

*I apologize. At this point, the memory crystal becomes too corrupted to effectively scan. I'll fast forward to the soonest point his thoughts became legible.*

well, what is this? a spring?

I suddenly catch a horrid scent, seeming to realize that I exist. It takes me a moment to realize the scent: it's the scent of death and rot. Another moment later, I realize that the smell is comeing from me.

we haven't cared about that for a long time

Suddenly, something bright catches my eye. It's a ray of sunlight.

no. focus

"I am focused," I snarl to myself. I pause and just laugh, realizing what a fool I must look like.

Ah, whatever. It doesn't matter. I need to get this smell off.

I strip out of my clothing and examine my muscle. It's gotten harder, leaner, and more noticeable. I'm a little skinnier, but

we fed well

it's not an unhealthy type. I'm glad I still had enough sense to take care of myself, but I was in a dark, cold place.

how did you like that? that's where I was for a long, long time

I could only catch flashes of what was happening: snarling beasts, dark places, and evil things. There was evil there, and I knew nothing of it.

yes, it was new

Shut up.

never. you have to deal with me forever

I grumble curses under my breath and sink into the spring, sighing in relief.

at least I kept the bag

I look to my right and lo and behold! There it is! I rub my hands together and against my arms to scrub off some of the filth before reaching into the bag and removing a scrubber. I set it down and use my hands to clean off the worst of the filth, and then I take it and get the rest of it off. Once that's done, I move to the adjoining spring and just sit there, relaxing and letting my mind drift. I talk to myself too.

So, who are you?

I am you. or more accurately, your most inner fears, angers, and bestial instincts

How long have you been here?

I've always been here. I was unleashed when that child was killed, but I waited until you left to control you. it took so, so long for your heart to break. I am surprised you are as strong as you are now; that's how shattered it was

How long did you have control?

about two months

Two months?! Too long. I needed to be out weeks ago. I jump up and hurry to my bag. After rummaging through it for a few seconds, I dig out some spare clothes in surprisingly clean condition.

Did you go into my bag?

why would I?

I just sigh in annoyance and thank the gods for small miracles. They're a little musty, but serviceable. After I hurry into them, I take a moment to scan my surroundings more thoroughly. Sunlight is streaming through a crack in the roof of the cavern.

It's warm. Soft.

it's not right

To you, maybe. To me, it feels great.

I do another scan and find the passageway leading further into the caves. Nothing leading out though. So how will I get out? It's a tiny cave, only about fifteen metres wide. The springs take up over half of it.

nothing left but to

For once, we are in agreement.

I raise my fist, infuse it with shadow, and release it, directing it forward. It hits the crack with a resounding BOOM, and pieces of stone fall in front of me, shattering as they hit the floor.

When you said I have to deal with you forever, what did you mean?

once something has been released, it can never truly be caged again. I will always be here

Well, here's to a long time.

what, not a long friendship? disappointing

I doubt we'll ever be friends.

I hear the other voice grunt in annoyance, but it subsides.

I step out into the sunlight, feeling the cool surface breeze on my face for the first time. Clouds are gathering over the mountains, and I can taste something electric in the air. The hills around me are such a vivid green that it almost blinds me. Several patches of flowers in all colors dot the landscape. I take my first step into this new world I must learn to call home, not knowing what storms I may face.

Goodbye, Mother. Goodbye, Anjeli. I love you both. I will give others a chance at the peace we could have been.

<<A Mourning Heartbeat - - A Bridge To Burn; Pt II - - whatever's next>>

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