Avdyra spins to face him, her eyes flashing. Before he can react, she has gripped him hard by his shoulders. "Was that her very words?" "Yes." She seems to sense the confusion on his face, and releases him. "She will never forgive me, then." "Forgive you? What for?" "Sit, Arovid. Sit in judgement. For I shall tell you of the death of Anira, my mother."
"Like my father and myself, the magic ran strong in Vanyra, for one living in a modest village and not bearing a proud name. There have been outstanding Spellcrafters among our ancestors, but not all that many. But my father and his sister were strong, one in Wood and one in Stone. They both left the village for all the seven years of the Undervisity. My father went first, being the older. Then my aunt.
"During her years in Asi, Vanyra was often lonesome, for this is a curse that often afflict those who are destined for the Blue. But she had a few friends, and her best friend was a young girl from the village north of here. While not as strong in the Lore, she was a good girl and worked hard to please her teachers. She was also full of life and laughter, and her good spirits helped to comfort my aunt in her times of darkness. This young girl was Anira.
"Through Vanyra, Anira met Marisfar, and they too became friends, or so it would seem. And this pleased Vanyra, for she and her brother were close. And when Vanyra visited her home, Anira would come with her more often than not. But it was not mere friendship; for secretly she had fallen in love with her friend's brother, and he with her. Nor could they in the long run hide their feelings. And Vanyra was filled with joy, for her best friend would now come and live with them for the rest of their lives. And so it came to pass that Anira, my mother, came to Omareim.
"And in the first year of her living here, Anira gave birth to a daughter. And she loved the child dearly. And the child grew up, and it became evident that she had talents for the Lore. This is often so with those whose both parents are able to learn the Lore, that their children may grow stronger than any one of their parents.
"But it came to pass that when her daughter was still young, then the Shadow fell. And the minds of the Serpents were darkened, and their thoughts twisted. And it became dangerous to travel on the paths, for the Serpents might be abroad there. Despite this, the young woman decided to go for a trip to a neighboring village, all alone. For the truth was that she was secretly enamored of a young man who lived there, though she had not said so. And she wanted to meet with him alone. But her mother was in the Blue Lore, too.
"And Anira felt in her precious blue stone the cry of fear and she knew it to come from her connection to her daughter. And she did not hesitate, nor did she ask anyone to come with her, but she ran the path from where she felt the anguish. And she ran for a long time and came upon a clearing. There were five Serpent braves, they had captured the young woman and paralyzed her, and were delighting in torturing her before the kill. And as Anira burst upon them, they turned on her.
"We call the Blue Lore also Healthlore or Lifelore, but as with all colors it is also the opposite. Like Heat is also Cold, so Life is also Death. And so, being surrounded by these powerful Serpents, she lifted her Bluestone high and sung as she had never sung in her life before. And she bonded in the way of a Healer with each of the Serpents; but knowing full well that she had not the power to Heal the Shadow, she sung instead the spell of Eternal Peace. She knew that, being connected with five of them, she would not survive the ordeal. And yet she did not hesitate, but sacrificed her life there, on that spot in the clearing.
"And her daughter came home and told all that had happened. A party of warriors and her family went and found the bodies, and they buried her where the path leaves the village for the north. So ended the life of my mother, and from that day on my aunt has hated me like the Shadow itself."
Avdyra lowers her head. "Now you know, Arovid. The woman who was hailed as the brightest in the entire Undervisity, was still fool enough to cause her mother's death. That woman was I. How do you judge me, Arovid?"
Arvid stares at her. And somehow - it may be the Song of Empathy, or something entirely different - somehow he feels the bottomless sorrow, the regret, the never ending pain of her soul that she has hidden beneath the brisk and cheerful surface. And he can not do anything else but what he does. He sees her wide-eyed surprise as he holds out both his arms. Then, they are hugging each other tightly, holding on like a drowning man to a piece of wreckage. He closes his eyes, but tears keep leaking out. And they still do as he wakes up.
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