Using this post to continue Day 68. Prompt: The sound of silence.
Piling the bodies takes me well into the afternoon, the sun high and peaking through the canopy of trees. I wipe the sweat from my brow, avoiding looking at their faces. If I don’t burn them before nightfall, they’ll turn.
The fire is hard to start, the wood sticky with blood. I lean against a mostly-intact hut and watch the flames grow, the crackling of wood breaking the silence. The tears surprise me, coming unbidden, streaming down my cheeks as emotion takes me. Someone is screaming in the forest, alone and in pain, the death of a clan news on the wind.
I sit there long after the fire has smoldered and died, dead eyes staring at the ashes of my people. The soft flutter of wings bring me back to present, back from my memories, memories now too painful to bear. Tirial is perched above me, head cocked, eyes sad.
She’s gone, Tirial, I tell her in the mindspeech of my people. They’re all gone.
She silent, as she always is, leaping into the air in one great swoop. Around me, all the giant owls take off. They fly together, a clan of their own, once partnered with my clan. Maybe one day they’ll return.
I gather what gear I can, holstering a pack and setting off into the woods. I turn to face my village one last time, biting my thumb and smearing my blood across my clan token. Blood drips from my hand as I stare, eyes hard against the scene.
One day, I promise to the land, I will return. I will seek vengeance on all those responsible. Their pain will be unbearable, their suffering, unending. I will avenge you all.