Seliana invited Aneskia to follow her, and Aneskia accepted. Another would fear Seliana – another would think Aneskia foolish for trusting a Syrilae known only by their unnatural attitude and rumours born of ignorance. But Aneskia was curious. There were few whose hearts she could not pierce, whose intentions she could not read through power alone – Nefahtil, and now Seliana. And she was deeply troubled when, nearing the Aberviohn, she felt they welcomed them both. Did Seliana answer their call? It was impossible to know. Aneskia wondered whether she should, irrationally so.
“I frighten you still,” Seliana said, “Understandably. Your power is useless, and it is all you know.”
“Who are you?”, Aneskia asked again, the strange sensation of frustration captivating her attention, “What is it you want?”
“What all of us need,” Seliana replied, placing a hand upon the nearest Aberviohn, “for the Aberviohn to live.”
“What… what do you mean,” Aneskia hesitated to ask, feeling as though she was heading straight into a darkness she’d never be able to return from. Seliana stroked the Aberviohn’s bark.
“Your source of power is ideal,” Seliana stated, examining the Aberviohn, “an Aberviohn of Syrilae shape. Nefahtil’s source of power takes root in suffering and determination. What will a source of power rooted in hatred cause ?”
Aneskia shook her head. “I don’t understand…”
“Has she spoken to you of Selessannea?”
“Two daughters,” Seliana said, and her eyes begun to glow like the Aberviohn at her side, “one clouded, the other bright. From clouds emerges smoke. Asphyxiates.”
Seliana closed her eyes briefly, and returned her grim gaze upon Aneskia. “Nefahtil’s legacy lives to this day. Child of a child – Selessannea, Kassandra, and another, whose legacy must never awaken. Therefore, I seek a solution.”
Aneskia still didn’t understand, but refrained from mentioning this fact. “Are you saying… that… the Aberviohn might end ?”
“Iani,” Seliana truthfully replied, “they might. Therefore, I seek a solution.”
“What solution ?”
“Another,” Seliana continued, glancing over at Aneskia and seeing her puzzlement, “willing to share their blood.”
Seliana’s lips curled into a sarcastic, unexpected smile. “Adelouhn is long forgotten, and even Sorasiehn is but a name. Nefahtil is hated – feared, by all but the Aberviohn. Hollow. Tenacious. Surprisingly caring. Ah, but you know this.”
“I know of Selessannea,” Aneskia said quietly, “I know… that malia dreamt about her. A dream of sorrow.”
“Iani,” Seliana replied, “sorrow, and foolishness. The price of love.”
Aneskia said nothing. There was a strange sense of similarity emerging from those words.
She remembered her mother’s sorrow. Remembered the cause of it, that sliver of love faintly expressed, for a man Aneskia knew she would never meet – her true palo, Jethrin. A name she held onto, whom she’d asked about, learned about from Niskania. An Elven man she imagined kind and handsome, a man of heart and compassion, for no other man would her mother have loved. And this love had turned to deep sorrow when Jethrin had vanished from her life.
The price of love. Sorrow. Endless sorrow, rivers of tears. Yet her mother did not regret this love. And, even at her wits’ end, she did not regret having a daughter.
Aneskia let out a quiet breath. “What… what kind of man was he… the one Selessannea loved?”
Seliana didn’t react right away. This question she hadn’t anticipated upon – a question to which she possessed no answer. Only the knowledge of Selessannea’s essence, which she’d felt deteriorate the longer she was exposed to the power of her lover.
But she’d never perceived anything but love.
Seliana looked up at the foliage rustling above their heads. “I hold no answer as to this man’s character,” she said, thinking, “I know but what Selessannea knew: that she loved him. This, was true. She never ceased.”
“So he was worth loving.”
Seliana turned her gaze upon the child and said, “Iani. To many, worth is determined by another’s eyes.”
“What about her daughters?”
Seliana paused to stare at Aneskia. The child’s interest went beyond curiosity – she was relating, to some inexplicable level, with the tragic story of Nefahtil’s daughter.
“What is it you wish to know?”
“Did she love them?”
Seliana let out a pensive breath. “Nani, I believe not. She knew but Kassandra, who was… undefinable.”
Aneskia shook her head and, slowly, begun to cry. She slowly dropped onto her knees, and held her face in her hands. She felt such sorrow for Selessannea, and even for Kassandra. Deprived of a mother – deprived of her love. Then she thought of Nefahtil, who was deprived of her daughter as well, who lived every day without her, dreaming of what might have been. Such sorrow. Such darkness. And the village’s decrease in inhabitants was its result.
Not only this, Aneskia started to think, but the negative emotions floating on the wind like malicious spores. Suffocation.
Roots of suffering. And all suffered. Nefahtil most of all.
“I’m sorry,” Aneskia mumbled at length, sniffling, “I can’t help it. It’s all so sad…”
Seliana showed no emotion, no compassion. Only a few words did she share. “Return to your malia, child of the Aberviohn. There is nothing you may do.”
To be continued…