She could feel it slipping through her fingers, every breath bringing about the end with a steady rhythm that only few knew. Crawling forward, she clung to what she could find, scrabbled for the next bit of solid ground to pull herself forward one more inch in and attempt to escape the fate that waited for her. But as darkness claimed her, the sound of voices ringing in her ears she knew that it was too late. It had been too late for a long time now.
The darkness clung to her like a shroud, even as the voiced returned. She knew she should respond to them, to warn them about the incoming threat. But it was still too late, she couldn’t find the strength to do anything but lay there and wait for the end. As she waited for the silence of the void to claim her again, she found a tiny glimmer of white appearing before her. It shimmered and wavered as a solitary kindly voice cut through the murmuring in the darkness. “Child… do not be afraid…”
“Too late,” she croaked out, her voice weak and shaky even to her own ears. She still could not focus on the flame of white in the darkness to see who it was talking to her, but she felt compelled to respond, no matter how much it hurt.
“Where there is life, it is never too late My Child,” the voice stated as a warmth began to infiltrate her body, the bone weary exhaustion fading as it eased the tension in her muscles.
She couldn’t argue against that, even if it felt like the only life present was the white flame drifting closer, coming to consume her. She never would have imagined this would be how she would go, and as she stared into the light, she was it again. The end of all she had known in a night of violence and flame, the blade slashing through the air. She felt it again, the helplessness as the raiders slaughtered her village.
“No life,” she tried to defend, her body going limp as the pain continued to fade. That must mean the end was near, she had survived the death of her village, her entire family, only to bleed out in the wilderness where animals would devour her.
“There is life in you yet My Child, I am here for you,” the voice assured her, the warmth pushing back the numbness as new life was breathed into her body once more. She could feel strength in her arms, born from days tending the fields and flocks. Her legs felt sound and whole once more, much like when she had stopped the wagon that had gotten loose with the farm’s shopping for the week.
“Who?” she asked as her mind was able to focus upon the fact that she didn’t feel like her body was dying around her once again. She reached out for the light now, feeling as it enveloped her hand with its gentle warmth. Bringing it closer, she watched as it danced up her arm and towards her body. The warmth reminded of spring time, where the sun would drive away the chill of night.
“You know my name My Child, it is on your tongue,” the voice answered with an almost musical lilt to her laughter as it filled the darkness, driving it away as the light of it spread further. “Oh, do call me by my name, please?”
Opening her mouth, she tried to deny knowing the voice. To claim that she did not know what the voice was named, but the sound died as she realized she had known it. There was only one possible name that she could say at this point, the voice had to know that there was only one possible name on her lips at this point.
“Of course… Hope.”