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A Darkened Heart

By @Me-the-Rookie

Your heart soared as you spotted him, alive, tied to a tree. You called his name as you bunched up your skirts and started running towards him up the hill. His face was bruised but you could see the relief in his eyes as he saw you running towards him. You were almost there, just a few feet more and he’d be safe again. You dropped your skirts reaching towards him, only 3 feet away.

Swish.

You felt the wind rush by your face, the arrow reverberating a sickening sound as it pierced his chest puncturing his heart. His body stiffened like a board for a moment and you could see the life drain from his eyes as he went limp held upright by his bonds.

Woosh.

The air left your lungs and it was like the entire world froze as you stared at him now lifeless, the feather at the end of the arrow rustling slightly. Then, everything hit you all at once. Pain, sorrow, heartbreak, rage, and hatred all rushing into your heart. Tears welled painfully in your eyes and you let out a guttural scream that would curdle any man’s blood. You reached for his face, cupping his cheeks in your hands and bringing his face up to yours as you cried.

It was then you heard the laughter from behind you and you recognized it instantly. You gently touched your forehead to his, desperately whispering your final words to him before slowly dropping your hands from his cheeks letting his head hang limply again before taking the necklace that hung from his neck and grasping it tightly in your hand.

You straightened up and turned to face the one who was rejoicing in your pain, hatred and darkness overtaking your heart. Your tears were like fire as they rushed down your cheeks and the laughter stopped as you looked down the hill upon the ones you were going to make pay for their crimes.

Wind gushed around you whipping your hair loose from its braid as you raised your arms. The fifty or so men gathered at the foot of the hill froze and you zeroed in the one who led them, bow still in his hand.

“Hurry!” he yelled his voice panicked “Before she has a chance to-” But it was too late, you were already reciting ancient words.

Arrows were set loose upon you but the wind enveloping you tossed them uselessly to the side. You could sense the fear from the group of once fearless men grow as the earth shook. Your words finished, the wind around you branched out, down the hill towards the terrified men, slowly turning into fog as it grew closer to them. Screams left their lungs and drifted up to your ears as the fog reached them trapping them in its clutches. You waved your hand and a section of fog cleared revealing the leader of the group, murderer of the innocent, face pale as he panted.

He looked up at you sweat covering his face, he looked to be on the verge of tears. You felt nothing as you looked down your nose at him taking in the sight of his cowering form. You kneeled down placing your hand on the ground in front of you spreading your palm letting the grass and dirt bunch under your hand. You could feel the cold metal of the necklace under your palm as you ran your hand across the ground, never breaking eye contact of the terrified man below you.

Bris hath taré qos ja wa loo, tris depani migandt shash, felu gandt ji qauth retina, milé chipan avont tash”

The ground started to shake as you finished your vow and energy surged into the earth below your hand. The soil churned rippling like a wave as it thundered it’s way down the hill towards the sole man visible amongst the backdrop of fog. As it reached the ground beneath him the earth went still and the fog cleared revealing the few remaining men of the party the stench of their fear piercing the air.

You stood once more towering above them on your hill, looking upon them with such hatred and rage they could practically see it corrupting your aura. Then the spell took hold and roots wound their way up the barbaric leaders legs as the earth began to fall away beneath him. He screamed, twitching and jerking trying to escape as you made your way down towards them.

“You will know suffering,” you say, your voice calm as death as your cloaks drift in the breeze. “You will know suffering no one has known for thousands of years. The earth will claim you while you still breath, dirt will fill your lungs and you will know only darkness, only pressure, only fear and pain. You will be trapped forever beneath the surface soil as bugs chew on your flesh and you decompose into nothingness. You will leave no legacy, you will have no story, you will be nothing but food for worms, and you shall know it everyday until your last day.”

You raise your hand the necklace still in your palm as you close your fist around it.

“mih emusnoc.”

The roots tightened around the murderers limbs and he screamed a terrified scream as they dragged him down into the depths of the soil and earth. You looked down your nose at him as you watched him sink into the earth, his screams finally muffled as dirt invaded his mouth as his face finally disappeared below the grass.

The valley was silent as the remaining men could only watch in horror some shaking, others crying. You had no sympathy for them. You had nothing left in your heart nothing but hatred. You looked at the men around you before turning towards the hill once more.

You close your eyes and take in a breath before uttering “em ot emoc.” Before moving up the hill.

The creak of wood fills the silence and the men start to scream as they see trees animate and begin to move, circling them before their roots rise from the ground and latch onto each one as they are dragged slowly into the trunk where the trees consume them.

Silence envelops you as you reach the hilltop and you look upon the lifeless body still strapped to the tree. You feel nothing as you look upon it, and yet as you glance at the necklace in your hand something compels you to clasp it around your neck. You step back bringing the palm of your hand to the feathered arrow.

“Hestla ji shan fo tepaqi.”

The tree erupts with flames consuming the lifeless body still tethered to it. You stare for a moment watching the flames dance while they burn before you walk away.

Never again.

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