Rain poured endlessly down the menacing skies, drenching the roadsides in cold and sorrow. Thunder rumbled across the dark clouds as lightning pierced erratically through their velvet cloak. Beaten and exhausted, the travelers had discovered a nearby cave by chance, wherein to hide and await the storm’s passing.

     Though Idora felt not the sting of cold upon her skin, or the melancholy triggered by days of incessant downpour, she understood the boy needed to rest.

     She’d noticed the erratic quivering a few days ago. Then she had noticed him grow quiet and detached as the days had passed by. She never did realize, however, how peculiar it was for a hollow Necrolorian being to not only discern these facts about the living, but also to comprehend them. The boy was sick – not diseased as the living, but plagued by an incandescent power far too great, a living wildfire consuming him whole. As though by habit, Idora inched closer to the boy and stretched to wrap her arms around his bony, shivering form. But he shook his head and scooted away, and she lowered her arms.

     “Don’t—not yet, not… now… I don’t—just, don’t.”

     “Is something the matter,” she asked in a monotone, heartless voice. The boy slowly shook his head again and wrapped his elongated arms about himself, staring out at the rain cascading loudly at the small cave’s entrance. After a moment’s silence he sighed, a puff of white smoke trailing from his discolored lips.

     “I just… I like the rain,” he hesitated, never looking at her, “I don’t wanna forget that just yet. I just… you know… I mean, I…”

     Tears started forming at the corners of his eyes, which he promptly wiped away with an arm, grunting all the while. Idora waited patiently for him to collect his numerous thoughts, knowing it might take hours or more. The boy eventually pulled up his knees and wrapped his arms around them, resting his chin upon them. After a while, he spoke again.

     “I just don’t get the point, Idora,” he said with the sigh of an impatient child, “Why keep me alive ? Why give me a choice ?”

     Idora’s head cocked to the side. Such a peculiar question coming from a child, she thought. Her thought, in itself, was just as peculiar, but she never noticed.

     “We give you no choice—”

     “But I could run away.”

     “And we would find you—”

     “Not if I died.”

     Uncharacteristically, Idora let out the faintest of snorts. “Then we would certainly find you, Kooga. But as I recall, you cannot die.”

     “Like I needed to remember that!”, he suddenly cried, rising up to his feet in a huff, “I can’t live, I can’t die – what good am I, anyway ?! Wha—Don’t you touch me!”, he blurted out when she’d gotten up on her feet and reached out a hand towards him. She promptly lowered it, and stared silently into the furnace of his bright green eyes.

     Kooga panted, his erratic rage taking its toll on his already strained body. He swayed on his feet, and soon collapsed upon his hands and knees, shaking uncontrollably. His sight blurred and he fell entirely, sprawling upon the cold rocks like a beaten dog kicking its last.

     The power in his veins reached its pinnacle again, Idora knew. She felt the currents of heat stretching out into the air, condensing and breathing as though alive and lusting for revenge. Without hesitation she knelt by his side, and placed her hands upon his bare back. She did not feel the blisters spontaneously covering her palms, nor did she catch the stench of her burning flesh saturating the air.

     From the darkness beyond she conjured the power of her master’s master – the power of their God, Thaene, the power of the Spirit Realm within which He dwelt. She latched her soul upon the tendrils of death beyond death, which in return accepted her unyielding devotion. They stretched like wings unfurling and infused the small cave with the lightless peace and quiet which only death might bestow upon a restless soul. The invisible tendrils coiled round the boy and whispered to him, calling out to the tormented child seeking comfort and the end to his suffering. They filled his heart and mind with the silence of the dead, draining the blaze out of his veins, streaming it down into the willing sacrifice kneeling by his side. The pain suffused her very essence, filled it with fire and light and the promise of another day.

     Her heart jumpstarted and she screamed, each beat deafening against the silence of her soul. Memories came crashing down and buried her in emotions long forgotten: care, regret, disobedience. And the crunch of her skull smashed against a wall by a battlehammer.

     The transfer lasted for minutes stretching into eternity. When the tendrils released her from their grip, Idora collapsed upon the boy, her untrimmed nails digging into his skin. The blisters seared her hands and hurt terribly. She was suddenly aware of her hair, glued to her face by the rain; aware of the cold that bit through her pale skin, of drenched clothes weighing her down, aware even of the many shades of blue and grey upon the rocks, the soft moss growing on their surface, and even traces of animals who must have used this cave as shelter before them.

     More than anything, she was aware of their heartbeat, the loud thumps in her chest, the sound of Kooga’s heart beating steadily beneath her ear. Spasms dug her nails deeper into the boy’s skin and drew blood. Idora choked and drowned in the blood of her imploding innards.

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A moment of quiet respite, title and tale, is (c) 2017 to Isabelle ‘Nocturnaliss’ Apel. You may share my work if you credit me and link back to this website, but you may not claim it as your own or otherwise appropriate the creation of Aeyuu or any of its characters. You may, however, write fanfiction, as long as you also share it with me so I can read it.