03-19-2017, 11:22 PM (This post was last modified: 03-19-2017, 11:23 PM by Melandru.)
There was a dead body floating in the entrance pool.
Melandru had been the one to look at it, asking Alexandros to keep his sister away with a surprising amount of composure for a boy who was still growing into his limbs. Dros and Suvetar and Lilith had stood back while he pulled it to shore, while he turned it over and stared blankly at a face he knew. He stared for a long, long moment even as the analytical part of him screamed that this area was no longer safe.
Then he turned and left, without a word.
"It's not my mother or yours," was all he said.
They followed him through the forest to the cliffside, Lilith covering behind, Alexandros at his side, Suvetar straggling after them in exhaustion. They had left the Sanctuary a day ago for their first hunt, and she was at the limits of her endurance. He knew she wouldn't last much longer before collapsing, but he had to see. He had to know.
They came to the seaside cliff at the edge of Kisetsumori, creeping on their bellies to keep low against the horizon, and looked out across the water to the Sanctuary that had been their home.
The distant rock had always looked innocuous from the outside, always just a random lump of dirt and jagged shale, rearing up from the waves. But now... now it was split open.
The green of the Sanctuary's jungles was visible from this distance, as was the water rushing in, the earth crumbling and falling into the chaos with splashes so far away they almost didn't seem real.
On top of the ruined Sanctuary stood a figure, fiery and black and laughing, plucking the tropical birds out of the air as they tried to flee. His presence seared their eyes like a black mark on the horizon, staining their memories of home with his horror, with his fear and madness.
"... What are we gonna do?" Lilith said quietly. "Where are we gonna go?!"
When he didn't answer, Dros said, "Your sister won't last much longer-" "I know!" Melandru snapped, emotion coloring his voice with anger, covering desperation.
They were quiet for a moment, unable to look away from the devastation before them. For a long moment, Suvetar's low, exhausted panting was the only sound.
At last, in a dead voice, Melandru said the words, "... We have to go. We can't stay here."
And the children of Noresmír turned, one by one, and fled together into the wilderness.
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