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Catch Me

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It was one thing to agree to Faran's request that she be the one to kill Chomarr when it was a simple matter of executing him where he lay imprisoned in another room, and acquiescence would distract her from thinking too hard about the possible causes of his exhaustion. In retrospect, Aral is half amazed that she hadn't worked out his predicament, between her own skill with magic and Kumi's lecture on the danger of necromancy.

But Chomarr had escaped – and when he'd asked how, Faran's only answer was to curse the risen until he was able to work out from context that they must have somehow broken the bastard's confinement while managing not to save everyone a great deal of trouble by killing him in the process. That in itself wouldn't have been a problem, had he not managed to set himself up as the next Son of Heaven during the chaos stirred up by the madness and destruction of the hidden risen.

Escaped, and proven that one need not be bound to an elemental creature of death that manifests as an undead plague in order to be a monster. The purges had been expected – while transition to the office of the Son or Daughter of Heaven is often not quite so bloody as other forms of succession, the deaths or disgrace of many of the church's upper echelons had left deep rifts within its structure. But the extent...

A part of him almost wishes he could feel some satisfaction at the damage Chomarr had wrought, but Torgana had proven that there was some decency left in some corners of the Hand, and anyway, the effects of the purges had rippled outward from Heaven's Reach, breeding schisms in faith that had only fanned the flames of revolution and desperate bids for power in those nations most thoroughly gutted by the gaps in the traditional power structure left by the deaths of Corik's pawns.

Ordering the execution of the blood kin of those amongst the Hand who opposed them hadn't been Chomarr's first mistake, but it had been his last. It was enough for even his own supporters to begin deserting him – not all, of course, never all, but enough to leave gaps in his security, and unlike Corik, he had no undead slaves to form a new shield around himself.

More importantly, it had snapped the last of Faran's patience. In retrospect, Aral is also half amazed that it had taken so long.

Still, after two months with no word – and he is reminded nearly every day, usually by Triss, occasionally by Jax or Siri when his restlessness builds enough to show through in the ring or in his voice that of course there hasn't been word, Heaven's Reach is distant and communication would be difficult even if half the continent weren't at war – he's begun to thoroughly regret ever promising Faran that she could be the one to claim Chomarr's head. His nightmares have had ample time to show him all the ways in which that might go catastrophically wrong, and much as his friends might remind him that Faran is more than capable of looking after herself, it's becoming harder and harder to banish them.

Much as his friends might remind him that losing one of the Blades is going to be an eventual consequence of his office, he's not certain he can bear losing Faran , and that adds a layer of guilt atop the already bruising weight of worry.

And so, when word finally comes, he's almost giddy with relief. It takes a little longer for the details of the news to sink in, details like lured to his death in his own play room and head left on display over the gates of the Son's compound . It's gratuitous, and he's hardly relieved when Jax takes the scroll describing the nature of Chomarr's death, reads it, and bursts out laughing before remarking that it seems Faran has learned a thing or two from her, too.

Still, when his wayward monster herself arrives, two weeks after the news of the Son's demise (and even telling himself that of course she would have to lay low a while to be certain of covering her trail, particularly if Heaven's Shadow still exists in some form), he's hard-pressed not to hug her before the formalities are tended to, her testimony given and responsibility formally discharged.

In time, it may grow easier to send her out and wait; for now, it's something to add to the ever growing list of questions he wishes he'd asked his own masters while there was still a chance.

How do you let go?