Kesstrel laid her hands on him and she could feel the burning fire ripping through her arteries, her tendons, and burying itself back again in her intestine where Jacob had taken the most damage.  She broke out into a sweat; she felt the droplets dribbling down her skin and into tiny puddles by her feet.  The cyan flame of her healing magic combated the black fire until at last three midnight tendrils wrapped around the ball of her power and threw her out of his body, away from his pain.  She fell backwards on the soggy ground, five feet away from the young man.  His body slumped and fell backwards in a head of skin and bones and blood, or at least, what little blood was left.

She pulled herself back on her feet and raced back to the young man, but that moment had been enough.  Jacob used his last ounce of energy to throw her away.

Before I became infected too, Kesstrel mused.  She took his hand in hers and held it tight, but already she felt his circulation stopping.  The hand was already growing cold and clammy with death, and the rigor mortis would sink in soon.  She let his hand fall to his side and she rolled the body on to its back. There were six sets of eyes bearing into her back, as though there was anything she could do about it, as though she had failed them all.

“Leave us,” she spat bitterly to the crowd behind her.  One by one, she felt their auras move away.  The fear, the disappointment, the adrenaline… all of it moved away into an abyss, and finally, there were only trees and wind behind her.

She looked down at the young man.  His head, at least, looked peaceful and natural.  The rest of Jacob’s body was mangled in strange contortions and there were holes in several places that did not belong.  But his face, his face seemed fine.  Just like he was sleeping.

Ye weren’t expecting this, were ye? She asked the corpse, knowing there would be no answer.  She closed his eyes with her thumbs and moved her arms so they crossed over his chest and hid at least part of the damage.  It wasn’t the first time she had to bury a friend and companion.  She kept telling herself it would be easier next time, hoping there wasn’t going to be a next time, but there always was.

Ye’re selfless, ye know? She told him in the corners of her mind, I don’t know ‘ow ye knew ‘t’was what we needed, but ye did.  Ye very well coulda saved all our lives.  Kesstrel stood, slowly.

Ye ‘ad t’be an ‘ero, didn’t ye….

She smiled down at the body and tried to ignore the raging emotions running through her own had. Anger, abandonment, betrayal, savior, fear, gratefulness, all of it.  All of it all over again, just like with Shayne.  It would never end, her circle of pain.

It was her curse.

She took a couple steps back and looked down at the body, knowing the soul that she had come to know better than any other of the companions was no longer in that empty shell.  She raised her head to the blue sky and the shining heavens, eyes dry, hands shaking.

Thankee, Jacob.

.

Word: Infection.  ||  Time: 15 minutes.  ||  Character: Kesstrel Clark.

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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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