by Valley Fey/Pinprick
originally published at 03:25AM on Saturday, May 24, 2008

Alfred’s mother fell to her knees, “No… Sioni…” she murmured, letting his hands go. Alfred heard another voice, whispering to someone else. He followed it, his hand on his dagger’s hilt, I will save you, Sioni, my love. Have no fear.

He moved slowly, shuffling along the garden path until he was close to the voice, directly behind the speaker. He took a deep breath.

“Through forgiveness and-” Helen paused. This wasn’t forgiveness. She couldn’t forgive Sioni for a crime she’d never committed. The healing wouldn’t work. She opened her eyes, and over Sioni’s shoulder, saw the hunched form of Eva. Her head was down, and tears spilled from her cheeks. “Through forgiveness and love, I beseech thy womb, prepare for nature’s course. Lift this affliction, I command thee.” She continued staring at Eva, and at last felt no anger in her heart. Hate had left her.

She fell to her knees, hands still outstretched, her expression confused. Alfred reached for Sioni, leaving his dagger in the witch’s back.