What I Did That Night
Mardichi brushed hair from her face assuring her. Raese took her hand crooning softly. Nothing they did was enough. Acharius was trying to clean her wounds. Rhyers was doing the same to one down her side.
Tev couldn’t tell the little girl the rest. It’s too painful.
But he remembered it. Vividly.
They’d all heard the sounds of her anguish.
“She’s suffering!” Tev cried, leaping to his feet.
“We’re trying, Little Brother!” Acharius ripped more fabric, trying to bind the wounds on her face without cutting off her air.
Mardichi did his best to hold her still for them and Alazareth covered the hole in her throat with one hand, trying to help her breathe. Scooping blood from her mouth with a rag fisted in the other.
Her body lurched and jerked as she struggled for air.
“We can’t let this go on!” Tev tried again.
“What would ye have us do?” Mardichi demanded, holding the struggling girl to keep her hands from ripping at their efforts in her panic.
Tev looked at her broken body. His eyes perceiving the bones broken under her skin. In her leg and both arms. The crack in her vertebrae where the Sarabi had bitten to the bone.
He felt her pain as his own. My gift.
Drawing a quaking breath, he steadied her head between his palms. I couldn’t leave her to suffer any longer.
Acharius and Mardichi’s gazes moved to him in horror.
Without blinking, Tev jerked her head, snapping her neck without a word.
Alazareth gasped. “The Captain!” His eyes were accusing on Tev.
Acharius moved between them. “Will never know, Alazar. He can’t know this. He couldn’t live with himself. Teverius did what needed doing.”
Alazar shook his head, his gaze on Tev.
When the Captain returned in two hours, half dead from frostbite she was lifeless. They still knelt around her. Heads lowered reverently.
Only Tev stared at him. Quietly conveying the message. I’ve done it. It was me.
The Captain was too devastated to notice.
The knights were indescribably thankful for his return.
Had he not come back he’d have died on this mountain. Unable to feel the cold, he’d been unaware his body was racked with damage.
He was too weak to fight Radix…had the sorcerer found him instead. Tev knew. It was a painful night…We all failed…
“Come.” Teverius offered Serdephe a hand up. His earlier joy evaporated. “It’s time we head back.” He picked up the cloak and they began the trek down from the Black Mountains.
The pain of that night was misery for all of us. For you, My Love, for all your kind that tried so hard to save me that night. I know their guilt. I felt it when I was in the in-between place.
But none more than Teverius. Watching me die has eaten him alive. The guilt tearing him asunder. I’m not sure how much more of this constant war he can take…
What’s done is done. And I’m forever grateful to them. Eternally glad they found you on that mountain that night.
For you can only die once, where I can always come back. Long as the moon shines, I’ll always return to you, I vow it.
-The Fallen, ‘The Book of Immortals’