The pale moonlight hit the silver birch trees, making them shine. The forest, normally a place of refuge, took on an unearthly glow. It was as if he had stepped into a dream.
Or perhaps a nightmare.
He had run here without thinking. To the sanctuary and shelter of these trees. To their safe place; where they had spent hours talking, planning, dreaming.
They had been so young when they met. Newly Chosen, terrified. She had been taken from her family, leaving behind a mother, a brother, a sister. He had been taken from no one. They were so different, but they had each needed a friend.
And, as their world changed and their gifts brought them power, if not control, they had become so much more.
What went wrong?
He had been so sure that it would work, that they would succeed. That the storms would end, without the need for sacrifice, and they could live their lives in peace. Together.
I was wrong.
His arrogance had cost them everything.
And, he had run, leaving her behind. Leaving her to her fate.
What have I done?
He ran on, through the trees, the bright silvery light in stark contrast to the darkness that surrounded his thoughts.
Running, but not escaping. How could he? He had failed her, failed himself. Failed them all.
The storms would go on, the Called would continue to steal people from their lives, the Lessers would continue to suffer.
And suddenly, he was through the trees. The moon continued to cast its light but the world no longer glowed. Reality shifted and he stopped.
I need to plan.
He breathed deeply. Focussing. It was there! He could feel a faint glimmer of the gift, at the very edge of his mind, small and cowering but still there; the ceremony had not taken everything. There was still hope.
He turned to look back towards the Citadel. She was there, he could sense her. She was scared. She was shattered. She was alone.
He started forward, not sure where he was going, but knowing where he would end up.
I will come back for you.
© Sara Murray, 3 March 2016
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This story has been developing in little pieces and the idea continues to take shape… This episode is the first from the perspective of ‘him’ and was inspired by a beautiful silver birch tree that I passed on a walk last week! If you would like to read the story so far, in the order that events happen, click on the images below…