“You,” the words are cold, glacier like in their tone, “will die.”
“As long as you take the liberty of going first.” The woman smiles, a spark of defiance in her emerald eyes. “I’m not much of a leader.”
Standing on the edge of the cliff, the man raises his sword to the woman’s throat. His black eyes follow the movement of her gulp, sensing the fear that rolls through her mind. He cannot not help but admire her courage, even when she knows that her end is near. She has been hell to track down, constantly on the move and to herself, but he had finally found her. She had fought, of course. His victims usually do, but they never left a mark; until now. The scratches across his cheek burned as drops of sweat meet them, but he forces the pain from his mind. The assassin gazes upon the woman’s exquisite form, lingering intently on the jasper gemstone hanging between her voluminous breasts.
“Ostara Nightshade, hand over the Spring Stone.” He commands her, nicking the tender flesh near her jugular. As blood beads on the tip of his sword, she laughs, wild and high. It is the laugh of a crazy person.
“You will never have the stone so long as I live.” Reaching up, she grasps the brownish orange gem in her shaking fingers, drawing strength from its warmth. It felt like an ember was imbedded in its core, warm and comforting to the touch. “I am Spring’s Protector, her guardian. I will not give my duties up easily.”
“Save the dramatics for the afterlife. The king is paying well for that rock, and you won’t need it where you’re going anyways.” He reaches forward as if to take it from her. She steps back.
Teetering on the edge of the rocky cliff, she peers hesitantly at the rock strewn waves beneath her. Yanking the cord from around her neck, she holds the gem over the waves. “I’ll drop it.”
“Like hell.” He jabs her again, this time drawing a line on her upper arm. She yelps in pain, but her fingers never loosen on the black string. “Give it to me.”
“Never!” She flings the stone as far as she can. As it sails through the air, words of her past lives fill her mind. “I call to thee, ancestors three, who created the stones from dragon bones. Send Spring forward, away from this sword, to the guardian after me, as I will it so mote it be.”
“NO!” Leaping forward as the woman jumps, the assassin’s infuriating yells join her joyful laughter. The gem, which hovers in the dusk’s fading light, glows with the intensity of a thousand suns. The sweet smell of spring flowers float on a warm breeze. Flowers burst forth through the hardened ground, lively and bright.
Ostara smiles and readies herself for the frigid water‘s embrace, but there is no meet with the waves nor rocks. Instead, she is welcomed by warmth and light. Her eyes open to a field of grass, dotted with trees and children playing. To one side, a village sits, homey and quaint, nestled in the side of a summer green forest.
“Welcome home, Ostara Nightshade.” The voice does not have a body, but she recognizes it immediately as the goddess of spring. “You have done well, my daughter.”
And so, the story of the stones live on, traveling through time. As the days fade and times flows, they hop from one generation to the next, always shifting protectors, but never changing. This time it was spring who was nearly lost. Which will be next?