The city had quieted after the return of the heroes from the planes walker temple. Laden was struck by how loud the silence was after such celebration. He let his mind wander as he leaned against the remains of a building, waiting for his father. It was movement on the abandoned streets that pulled him out of his musings, and drew his gaze to a lone figure, a shadow. His eyes widened when the individual finally came into focus, pulling him off the evidence of his ruined city.
It was the inquisitive elf.
They called her the last planes walker.
But she didn’t look like she could walk the horizon. Her feet dragged through the streets, each step seemingly more difficult than the last, as if the motion was too much, but at the same time, she couldn’t stop. The dirt that rose up from her trek hung in the air before drifting to her and clinging. Her face was obscured by her hair, red with blood, the dark color marked her face, the delicate column of her throat, and stained her armor.
She looked like a ghost.
And maybe she was, Laden thought, if she truly was the last of her people.
He hesitated. In the face of such grief, he felt small and insignificant. But, he still took that one step towards her, “Sariel.”
The woman paused, her head turning slowly, lifting to see him through the evidence of the battle she had survived, and what he saw there in her gaze made him freeze. “Are you…” The question died on his lips, it seemed…a stupid thing to ask when the answer was staring back at him. He swallowed roughly, “Thank you.”
“Don’t”, Sariel’s voice was hoarse and muted, nothing like the light almost lyrical sound of earlier. “Don’t thank me.”
Was all of this just leading to that room?
Her armor felt like it was pressing in on her, consuming her. Her next breath wouldn’t come. Sariel pulled at her collar, the feeling of not being able to breath grew in intensity, and a soft sob escaped as her hands got more desperate, pulling at the buttons and the ties until the pressure was off her neck, and the front of her armor hung loosely open.
When she first put the armor on, it felt like purpose. It felt like… belonging.
Now, now It felt tight. It felt heavy. It felt wrong.
Before she really knew where she was going, she was in front of his door.
Silent tears forging a path through the dirt, the grime, and the blood. “Why?” Her voice broke on the question as she pressed her forehead against his door. The silence that met her sparked her rage, an emotion she had little experience with, her jaw tensed as her fingers curled into a fist. Even though the door was open, she hit it with as much force that was left in her body and it felt good to break something. It splintered under her abuse. And when she hit Vardin’s door, she didn’t break her stride. Her mind beat like a second pulse, her desperation riding her as she tore through the already chaotic home of Vardin, and found nothing. Her foot connected with his desk in her anger dislodging the papers there and the words she had carved into the wood peeked out at her.
May you walk the horizon.
Sariel bared her teeth, her voice breaking as she yelled, “Why didn’t you tell me?” When she once again met with silence, it bent in on her, tried to pressed into the loud chaos that was Sariel Nallo.
“I won’t do it!” She screamed as she backed away from his desk, away from the silence, and even though the sound of her grief colored her voice, the denial was stronger, “I won’t!”
Sariel’s back crashed into the wall, hard enough that her breath left her in a rush. The words were stilted as each got trapped insider her before being forced out into the world, “It didn’t look like that in your mind.” Her head dropped, watching as her chest rose and fell with each desperate inhale. She squeezed her eyes shut. “It didn’t look like that.” And the words were so very quiet like they were some fragile thing easily broken. And perhaps they were, because it the next moment, her breathing stopped as her head snapped up, her eyes distant. “It didn’t look like that.”
A laughed escaped her but once Sariel started, she couldn’t stop. The hysterical sounds that left her were not of joy or even relief. The laughter was edged with panic. She slowly slid down onto the floor. She didn’t know how long she stayed like that laughing incoherently, but soon the silence was back. Her voice cut through the quiet, small and raw, but somehow it challenged the utter silence of the room.
“You didn’t know.”