Speaking of shadows (Talia, p. 54)

She is standing on the hill again, the cold wind whipping around her. A raven-haired woman stands near, just out of reach. “You’ve been gone for some time.”

“You no longer need me.”

“I still want… where are you now?”

A blonde woman steps from behind her, circling her as she speaks. “They’ve left you… they always leave you, just as you left me.”

“No… I am not alone.”  A woman in red leathers steps out from nothing, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder.

The blonde figure raises an eyebrow, continuing to circle. “So, you’ve surrounded yourself with shadows? How long until you become one yourself?”  A man in black steps out from nothing and stands to one side of the raven-haired woman.  “How long until you become lost to yourself… until they control you?”

She shakes her head, “They do not control me… they protect me.”

“Do they? From what threats? From each other?” The blonde’s lip curls into a sneer as she speaks. She stops circling, standing several steps in front. On either side of her, a man and woman step from the shadows, both wearing robes of red. The very air around the male figure pulses with a red malevolence, fire seeming to dance in his eyes. The woman has a kinder smile. She absently weaves a stray lock of hair back into her braid. Small gems in her hair pulse in time to the stone suspended from her necklace. The green light, familiar, is seemingly at odds with the fire of the other.

The raven-haired woman steps back, blending with the shadows until she is nearly indistinct. Even the dark man has faded from view. “Do they still protect you… or have they just delivered you, kept you ready until the time was right?”

Her voice fills with confusion. “No… they wouldn’t… she wouldn’t.”  Tears form in her eyes, the raven-haired woman is gone. She speaks faintly, “she wouldn’t.”

“Where is your protection now?”  The blonde woman crosses her arms, she too beginning to fade.

She reaches up to wipe a tear and the hand forgotten on her shoulder squeezes gently. “I am here with you. You’ve nothing to fear.”  She turns slightly, looking down into those eyes. The red robes, the fire and the light, fade away. She sees nothing but those kind eyes. And for the moment, knows peace.

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