Crescent Bearers

What Liora lost in the Massacre is what she would spend the rest of her life searching for, and never really find. She would never quite recover the family and community she lost, nor what little innocence the early years of even a Rishvik life was graced by, from a time before she had words for the injustices that shaped her existence. When she and her twin sister lay dying on the banks of the River Miria, she was convinced that it would be Alika who would survive. Neither blade nor red magic nor hunger or thirst had quenched the fire that raged in her sister. The will to live was not as strong in Liora, who would have slipped quite gladly into the darkness that was starting creep over them. Then the man wearing black and crimson came to them, and offered them two vials so that he may try to Heal them.

We are Rishvik, she had wanted to tell him, not caring that he wore the garb of their enemy, even as the hands that steadied her spasms were gentle. We will die if we drink your metal. And yet she felt sure that this man was not trying to kill her. A childish instinct, but it saved their lives that day. She remembered her Ignition as though it were the start of a new life. Which it was, in a way. She and Alika were reborn that dawn, and as Druidium coursed through her veins, the metal of her masters renewing her dying body, she knew she was gaining access to something to which she had no claim. The disgraced Bladist had been almost as shocked as her when the girls survived. She looked into his eyes, and knew with newly awakened Auric perception that there was no danger in him. Only horror, and regret at not being able to stop what his brothers in arms had gone on to do anyway. Liora put a hand on his face comfortingly, as though to soothe him. The man flinched and looked back at her, and his horror seemed to deepen.

‘I am sending you to Edonia,’ she heard him say in a frightened whisper: it was as though he feared the very shadows, for they were all alone and the world around them was ash and death and stillness. And from that stillness, the stillness and deep silence of death and ashes, did her second life begin.

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