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Cinders

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It is late.

 

You're sitting by the hearth in the temple, cold hard stones against your knees. Water trickles through small holes in the roof. It's only been weeks, but to you it feels like an eternity.

 

 

Your hands struggle with the lighter, you've nearly set fire to yourself twice now, but it'll be worth it. Small twigs lie scattered around the familiar pile of charred logs, both drenched in glistening ichor, you are not used to the permeating smell of gasoline.

 

She would want this. She would ask for this.

 

A thousand lifetimes ago a small girl had stepped inside Brigid's temple. Her eyes and clothes were wet with tears and rainwater. Balled fists and bloody nails, anger and confusion and most of all despair.

The girl had found a home that day, a shelter to replace the one she'd lost. You remember the fire vividly. So bright and warm. It filled you with a sense of comfort the first time, as if no matter what happened, there would always be a place to return to. You remember the cold, quiet nights when you would curl up and sleep under the crackling embers.

 

You fumble and the lighter clatters to the floor. The hearth, as if by pity, lights aflame. Your gaze immediately shifts to the entrance.

 

"Why are you here?"

 

The woman is silent, gripping the cane nervously in her hands. You ask again.

 

"I said. Why are you here?"

 

You feel your knuckles go white. She needs to go. How can she. How can she be here. Stand here, inside Her home, your home.

 

The woman stirs, but doesn't move. "I thought-"

 

Your eyes narrow as she swallows. Does she even feel any guilt? Any hint of remorse for what she did to Her? You both take a few steps forward, Brigid's former Priestess and Chosen, now face to face.

"I came to see you." she says "To talk to you and explain. Explain what happened."

 

And you look into her eyes, those terrible shimmering eyes, and you see, once more, Her face.

Bitter tears streak down your cheeks, you stare with hatred and vitriol and fury at the monster before you. The aroma of firewood merges with the stench of mossy walls as you let out a deep, agonizing moan. Her fire, Her temple. But She's gone.

Adira rushes to keep you from collapsing and you take her head into your hands and stare and weep and spit. Even now, even after all that happened, that spark still burns inside her eyes, the only thing in the world remaining of your Lady.

 

 

You hate it.

 

 

"Haven't you done enough" you croak, fully aware she could reduce you to cinders in mere seconds. "Haven't you done us all enough?". You cannot summon the energy to punch her.

 

"I'm sorry I-" she lets you drop to the floor and you can see she's fighting back tears herself. "Look I'm sorry, ok? I didn't want this, I never wanted this."

 

You don't reply. Instead you drag yourself back toward the hearthstone and cry and wish the world would all burn to ashes. When you turn around she's gone and you pray to your Lady that Adira Collins never comes back into your life, a life she ruined three weeks ago.

 

You pray to Brigid of The Forge, you pray that you can once again hear the soothing rhythm of hammer on metal. You pray that the hearth can once again offer comfort and solace, just like it has for so many in the past. You pray that you will one day feel Her hands running through your hair, brush against your skin and hold you like they used to. You pray that you can see Her smile, Her lips, Her beautiful eyes burning bright as ever. You sit there, and you pray. Pray that it was all another nightmare to wake up from.

 

But She does not respond.