It was midnight when I set out for the forest, my ruby sword sheathed by my side, a bow and a quiver of arrows against my back. Some journeys must be traveled alone.
I began my walk, silently, so as to not alert anyone to my presence. Tamwyn and Flame were fast asleep in the training center, I had made sure of that before leaving. I wanted to be alone, and I knew that Flame would not be able to handle what I was about to do.
I reached the edge of the forest, quickly scanning the area that I had just left behind, making sure that no one had followed me there. I was completely alone.
I slipped in between the trees, and out of sight of the village.
I walked on for some time, knowing that most of the night would be taken up by the journey alone. When Tamwyn awoke, I would be gone, and he would have no idea how to find me. He wouldn’t worry though, as he knows I like to disappear sometimes. I always return by the end of the day.
A sharp rustling noise to my right woke my out of my reverie. Fast as lighting, I grabbed an arrow and my bow and aimed towards the sound. I waited, patiently for the other to make the first move. Probably just a squirrel, I told myself, but one can never be too sure. I stood, arrow cocked, still as a statue. Out from the trees came a tall man, walking calmly towards me. I pulled the arrow tighter and aimed directly at his heart before I realized who it was. I sighed, irritated but defeated, and sheathed my bow and arrow once more. He smiled and fell in to step beside me.
“You didn’t seriously think we would let you do this alone, did you?” Tamwyn asked, head tilted to the side and smiling mischievously at me.
“Who is this ‘we’?” I asked him, dreading the answer.
As if in answer, a rustling in the trees sounded to my left, and Flame fell in to step with us as well, his face grim but determined. I groaned inwardly.
“Flame, go back. Go home. Now.”
“No.” he said shortly, and kept walking. I stopped.
“I said, go home Flame. You can not do this.”
He turned to me, and in his eyes I suddenly saw something I didn’t like.
“You are in charge of my training, Starfire, which means when we are training I must listen to you. We are not training now, and unfortunately for you, my ranking actually trumps yours by one step, even if my reputation doesn’t. I have every right to do this. You can turn around, if you want. I’ll go it alone if I have to.”
I swore loudly. An owl hooted at me near bye.
“Fine” I said angrily. “But this is not going to be pretty.”
We reached the marble walls of the Earth kingdom, stained with blood from the last time we had been there. It was wide open, for the last time we were there we did not think it necessary to close it.
We walked through. The whole place was still deserted, and was crumbling to pieces. It was eerie in the moonlight, and I quickened my pace. Tamwyn and Flame did so as well.
We reached the castle, which just as the gate was still wide open. The impossibly high building looked as if it had died. We walked in, suddenly having second thoughts about this little adventure.
It was pitch black, so I lit the braziers as we walked, while Tamwyn and Flame both lit their palms on fire for some extra light to lead the way.
We reached the throne room. The cross that held Eva was still there, yet she didn’t look any different from the last time we were here, her body still intact. Tamwyn carried the cross outside, holding his breath so as to not breathe in the stench. Flame looked ill again. I put my hand on his shoulder and gripped it tightly, then wheeled him around towards the doors of the palace.
We walked on until we found the town square, with their flag flying high in the middle. I kicked down the door to a near bye shop and grabbed three spades. We began to dig. After a couple of minutes, Flame spoke.
“Why aren’t we just burning her like we would with one of our own? And why hasn’t her body completely decayed?” he asked, and his voice shook as he said it.
“Her body isn’t decayed any more than the last time we saw her because it will only do so if it is touching the earth. We will give our own tribute, but we must bury her the way she should have been.”
We kept digging until it was deep enough. Tamwyn burned away the wooden cross and gently lowered her into the hole. Flame lit his palm on fire, and blew sparks at her, and when they landed on her body, making her glow, they did not go out. We filled the hole back in. Then, to mark the grave in a way that if the Earths ever returned, they would know right away what it was, I lit a large flame on top of the grave, where her heart would be. This flame could not be put out, or buried, or gotten rid of in any way, unless I removed it. Doing so weakened me, but it was worth it.
“Goodbye, Eva.” I whispered, and Tamwyn and I began to walk away. It was a moment before either of us realized Flame wasn’t walking with us.
“Flame?” I called tentatively.
He sighed, and in the firelight I could see the tears running down his face. “I’m coming.” He called back, and the three of us walked through the ghost town, towards our home.
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