Everything went by in a haze, after I miscarried. I’m not sure how long passed, but it couldn’t have been more than two months. Maybe three, if I’m generous…. But I’m sure it was closer to two.
It wasn’t…. It didn’t happen that long ago.
How long have I been here?
Two weeks…. And it took me about a week to swim here….
This would have only happened three weeks ago.
Just three weeks….
Gods, I still see it like it was yesterday. It was— It was awful.
Take a breath, Jaisa. What was awful?
It was Nahrow. Nahrow and my genitor.
It was only about two months after I miscarried. They came into my room, and they… told me to go with them. They took me through several of the caverns, into parts of the cult I’d never been allowed to go to before.
Though, if I’d been allowed I doubt I’d have gone. It smelt like a dump. Rotting and moist. And… the deeper we went the more— The more corpses I saw. Just… everywhere. Thrown into piles like worthless garbage….
I wanted to turn around and leave, but Nahrow seemed… excited. For the first time since my miscarriage. And I wanted to know what had happened to make him so happy. So I let him and my genitor lead me. Even though it made me feel cold, and scared, and sick. I let them take me deeper into the caves.
That was a mistake.
A horrible, horrible mistake.
They pushed me into a small room, set up for their rituals.
And I saw it.
On the table.
At the back of the room….
I won’t call that thing my baby.
I refuse to.
It wasn’t them!
It was a thing— A disgusting thing, made from my child’s flesh.
The most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Worse than what they did to my surrogate’s corpse.
Worse than anything I could have imagined!
Its head was only half-formed, with eyes that never would have been able to see and holes where its nose should have been.
And it’s body… was…. It was barely seces.
And it— It—
It had been two months since I miscarried!
The thing was rotting! Its stomach was caving in! Its skin was taut and hideous and pink!
It made me sick.
And I said so.
Nahrow looked hurt. My genitor laughed.
And I felt… angry.
So, so angry, that they would do this to my child.
And I didn’t think, and took the closest candlestick, and before they could stop me I hit it.
It was a horrible noise. And blood spattered everywhere. But it didn’t stop moving— So I hit it again, and again.
Each strike I felt like I was ripping out a piece of my own heart.
But— But I couldn’t let that thing exist. I couldn’t.
It was an insult to my child’s soul.
So I beat it until it stopped moving, and then I turned back to Nahrow and my genitor and told them they were disgusting. And wrong. And evil.
I can’t remember what my genitor said. But it made me feel so angry I saw red, and I threw the candlestick at them.
And then my genitor let out a hiss from their gills, and grabbed me, and threw me down. I didn’t even hear what they yelled at me, I was so scared and angry. But they took out a knife and called me a traitor and— And then Nahrow grabbed them and pulled them off me.
They fought. And….
My genitor stabbed him. Though I think he was too furious to notice.
He strangled them to death. And all I could do was watch, paralysed, as he choked the life out of my genitor.
He tried to stand, after that. But he couldn’t. He slumped against the wall and I saw how bad the wound was, and my heart felt like it was breaking over and over as I tried to stop the bleeding.
But… it was too late. He was dying. And I couldn’t help him.
He took my hand.
And he told me he was sorry.
And I told him I was, too.
I think he understood.
I think he did.
He smiled at me.
And told me he loved me.
And I told him I loved him, too.
I kissed him. And I could taste the blood on his lips as he stopped breathing.
Then… I realised I was alone.
I’d lost… everybody.
My friends. My family. My baby.
All of them were gone….
I felt so small, and scared, in that moment. I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. I thought the throbbing pain in my chest was my heart about to burst from the grief.
I wanted to curl up and go numb.
But I couldn’t.
I heard yelling.
The fight hadn’t been quiet, and the others were coming.
And I quickly left the room, to try and get away. But….
I was cornered. And I knew it. Down one end of the cave I could see the flickers of torches, and down the other I could hear shouting and swearing.
So I…. I did the only thing I could think of. I threw myself onto the nearest pile of corpses, burying my face down so they wouldn’t see it.
I knew my lights were flickering— I was more scared than I’d ever been… how could they not be? So I tried to calm down. I forced myself to even my breathing.
I’m not sure how. But I managed to slow my heart, and as my body calmed down I knew my freckles were dimming.
I heard the yelling getting louder, and could see the eerie red light of the fire-torches out of the corner of my eye, and as the two groups met in the hall I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed to all the gods I could name that they wouldn’t notice I wasn’t rotting.
I’m not sure who heard my prayer, but someone must have heard it. Because the necromancers checked the room and I heard them yell that I was gone. And then they went to look for me, and left me lying in the hall.
I was so, so incredibly lucky they didn’t see me, then. If they had I don’t know what they would have done to me.
As soon as I was sure they were gone I got up and started to run. I had no idea where the exit was. I just ran, and ran, and avoided lights and voices and—
And I was spotted. By a felinic man. I kept running. He chased me and I knew I couldn’t stop. I don’t know how far he followed me, but I was exhausted by the time I managed to shake him off.
Then I found a river.
It was fast-flowing. Faster than any water I’d ever been in. And the rocks around were… well, rocks.
I knew it wasn’t safe. And that it might well kill me. But I didn’t have a choice. It was jump in the river, or… face whatever the necromancers were planning to do with me.
I figured… if I died in the river… at least they wouldn’t get my body.
So I leapt in. And felt it pull me under and away and beat me against the walls and floor of the cave so hard I couldn’t take a breath.
It’s what tore my fins, here. And here. And here…. And… everywhere.
But it saved me. I felt the water turn salty and I was spat out into empty ocean.
I struggled to catch my breath, and then I was sick. But I was okay.
I was alive.
And on the wrong side of the mountain.
I suppose that was lucky, really. I couldn’t have gone back to Ferraset. That’s the first place they would have looked for me….
I’d heard rumours, and stories, about… about you, Distro. And I hoped they were true.
So I came to Canis, and… well….
You know the rest.
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