Sunlight, that was the only thing I wanted to see after we escaped the D'Noir. My luck ran out then, and the skies have been ash grey since our return. A storm rolled in once we returned to Gimli, the rain falling in blankets, swirls of wind carrying dead autumn leaves, it is silent, as though the heavens themselves are weeping the tears I never had the heart to shed.

A strange mood has fallen over me since we rose. Now that I'm home, the terrors of our captivity are not something I can talk of. There are many with sympathetic hearts that would sit and listen to anything I wanted to let go of, but they can never understand. They can offer words of comfort and a shoulder to lean against but never know exactly what it was like.

My ankles are starting to hurt again; I cannot stand for long with them mutilated as they are. Fuck it, I don't want to let that rule me now. Who am I kidding? I'm even starting to talk like the D'Noir; their taint will be on me for the rest of my existence. I set one hand upon my middle and feel it stir, damn them! I should have stayed behind to finish him; one more life wouldn't have mattered among the masses that were lost.

The wind howls, a shrieking whistle echoing a sound I would have made myself if my daughter weren't in the next room sleeping. Two leaves slap against the window, they're red, facing each other on the same level, tilted up slightly. Heat gathers in my forehead, teeth clenched. Will I ever have peace! I punch the window, the sound of broken glass booming against the now silent voice of the wind. Pieces of glass embed in my knuckles, and a gust of wind knocks me to the floor.

"Mother are you all right?"

I didn't hear my daughter Nesia enter my bedroom, she learned to move silently in our captivity, I still should have heard the patter of her feet, I always could before. Her eyes are on my bloodied hand, full of concern, but lacking the youthful innocent gleam they had before the escape. That is also a shadow that looms over me, had I not been so prideful she would have retained it even if it were diminished.

"I'm fine," I steady myself with my left hand and rise, Nesia rising shortly after me. "Go back to sleep."

"Your hand," she protests softly.

"I'll take care of it, and Adelain can heal me in the morning."

Nesia nods, but her visage is full of worry and her eyes full of fear. "Can I sleep here tonight?"

I smile at her, for the entire two weeks of our freedom she hasn't slept more than ten feet from me. And who could blame her, hisses a voice in the recesses of my head. For now I ignore it, watch her climb into my bed and tuck her knees in her arms. Once she's settled I cross the room to blow out the remaining candle, letting the darkness surround her so she can sleep. While I manage to get to the edge so I might sit and have a look at my injured hand. The darkness stains the blood a rich, dark black, and coiled in their thin trails across my hand look almost like hair. I clamp both hands over my mouth and bite down hard on my tongue to keep from screeching like the wind, which has begun its banshee's song again. Thick fluid washes around my teeth, bringing back another horrible flashback, and making my throat contract in revulsion. I spit it onto the floor, making a note to clean it before Nesia rises. Will every little thing bring back these memories, will I ever have peace!? In an effort to keep myself from thinking I exit the room, intent on finding something to mop up the blood from my floor and hand.

A bolt of lightning illuminates the hallways, gleaming on the metal body of a ceremonial sword. It's coated with dust of three decades, marking our time away. It wouldn't hurt to swipe it clean, after all it no longer needs to be a time piece. The dust is resilient under my hand, refusing to part with the sword, but a few swipes removes it, and allows the blade beneath to caress the roughness of my fingers. The lightning's companion thunder roars outside, sending the wind into another cacophony of howls. Funny how fast we can get things done, what can seem to take forever only happening in a breath of seconds. The sword continues to hold my gaze after I finish cleaning it. How sad it must be, to be a sword and never to taste combat as this blade has. Forged for death and ending up being displayed like a bouquet of spring blooms to be admired. Another bolt of lightning sizzles outside, picking out the gold of the sword's hilt and blade. Gold, so bright, so true. So light! I almost figured the sword would be heavy, and this one is scything through the empty air as though it were a silk scarf.

A drop of blood from my hand spills onto the blade, if anything it makes the sword appear more regal. If only there was more blood to spill on the sword, that would make it so perfect, it would be like the wings on an angel. The blood staining my hand is fast drying, and saliva has washed away most of the blood that was in my mouth. Another bolt of lighting sizzles outside, it picks at the spot, turning it from black to crimson and back to black. Thunder roars after seconds later, steady as a heartbeat. Heart, why there was so much blood being pumped through my heart, and my how nice it would look on the blade. Bright red against polished steel and shiny gold, it would be fabulous. I hold the sword to my chest, it makes a soft hissing sound as it soars through the air again, almost like the sizzle of the thunder right before it roars. A little pressure on the hilt and it enters my chest, I can feel the blood running down my torso. No, no, It has to get on the sword, I press the sword further and lean into it as the blade tears through more layers of skin. The blood racing from the wound has a warm feeling to it, but my feet are numbing. My ankles collapse unable to support my legs without the assistance of the feet. Blood continues to race along the blade, now I can feel it soaking through the fabric of my robe, it's probably getting on the floor too. Damn, now I'll have to clean another floor, oh well, this feeling of release is worth the trouble of cleaning a stupid floor. I feel weak, I can't even cling to the sword anymore, I can't feel my legs and my head is getting fuzzy. It almost feels as if I'm settling into a peaceful sleep. I could use a rest.

Morning came heralded by the breaking of the clouds and the end of the storm. The soft rays of the morning light danced on the eyelids of Nesia, waking the adolescent elf from her light slumber. Something wasn't right though, the house, reeked. It was a tangy smell, heady and strong. The young elf sat up in her mother's bed and rubbed her eyes, trying to get used to the sunlight again. "Mother?" she called softly. The silence confused her, where would Mother be this early, maybe she was seeing Adelain about her hand? The girl slid from the bed and glanced about the room, the cluster of dark spots on the wood flooring didn't seem right. There was no way her Mother could have bled that much from a few glass cuts to the hand. Paranoia spread in her frame as she went to exit the room. Opening the door showed the cause of the scent, and answered the question of where her Mother was. Nemia's emerald orbs widened, and nausea poked at her stomach. "Mother!" She called hysterically before collapsing into unconsciousness.