The Blooded

“The truth is,” he paused, “all are guilty. There are no innocent.  All are blooded,” his English as broken as their hearts.  

Ory stood stoically next to Prised casting a long shadow over her. He wasn’t as tall as Byal, but he was close. Ory knew all of this would end in ash and death, but he didn’t have the heart or the words to tell her that.  Instead, he gently took her hand and squeezed.  Prised squeezed back, her suspire trembling and weak.  The weight on their shoulders was immense, but they had always carried on as if they weren’t over-encumbered.  As if it was the Beforetime.

They felt that weight in that moment.

Silent tears fell down her face and Ory pulled her into him, her shoulder barely reaching the apex of his arm and chest. She let him envelope her and finally released her nightmares into his leather cuirass.

Her tears turned into unabashed sobs. Ory was not used to seeing her this way, but it didn’t cause him discomfort. He had seen her be so strong for so many years, he knew she would eventually crumble, and he knew he would be there when she did.

“Sweet, Lass,” he cooed sadly, petting the back of her head gently.

Ory scooped the rest of her into his arms as if she were a child. “I…,” he began, but let out an exasperated sigh to finish his thought.

He didn’t have the words to comfort her. In his country, back when there were countries, his response would have been something like, ‘I warned you’, but he had learned over the years that the old way wasn’t always the best way.

He continued to carry her back to their camp where Byal was waiting. She never resisted, instead she curled up into him, heaving with sobs. She clung to him and curled up into a ball in his arms. Ory’s heart was heavy for her, the grief washed over him not for her loss, but for her pain. He didn’t have the words, so he sang softly in his mother tongue instead, hoping to soothe away some of her hurt.

“Keesha pada, trava raste, gora zalanee
keesha pada, trava raste, gora zalanee

oo toy goree raste drvo tanko veesoko
oo toy goree raste drvo tanko veesoko

pod nyeem sadee moya seya, a ya pored nye
pod nyeem sadee moya seya, a ya pored nye…”

Ory choked back his own tears at the end, thinking of the hundreds of times his mother had sang that to him and his sister in their youth.