Two Souls Entwined
by Alexis Hunter
Scarlet and orange danced in the night. Forms entwined. Licking the sky and sending bursts of red sparks flying up at the stars.
The people gathered round.
Solemn faces in the night.
Beholding the flames’ dance of death. Watching the fire eat away at the warrior’s flesh.
Nyara stood by his head. Body stiff, spine straight. Refusing to weep. Refusing to tremble. Standing stern when the flames snapped at her face, singeing the hairs on her bronze arms and exposed shoulders.
The people scrutinized her face. Their whispers and murmurs told her that they wondered why she did not crumble.
Pressing her eyes closed, she willed her insides to cease their quaking. In her palms she held her lover’s sword. Its metal growing hot at the nearness of the fire.
Rasha, her heart whispered, let me not give in yet.
Her eyes flickered open and she gazed upon his face. The fire had chewed through part of his cheek, exposing the glittering white bone beneath. His eyes closed, his mouth forever sealed – he could give no response to her silent plea.
A few moments longer, she promised herself.
She locked her knees to keep from falling. Pressed her lips into a thin white line.
Her heart skipped a beat, then stuttered forward. She knew he would come soon. She knew he could not resist.
Her gaze skimmed over the people. Probing each shadowed form. Passing over all until she found the face she sought.
Her breath caught in the back of her throat when she saw him. Standing among the people. A wicked sneer twisting his lips. His black eyes boring into hers.
All the trembling rage and agony burst from within Nyara.
A savage cry tore from her lips as she swung her lover’s blade and bolted toward the sneering man. The people gasped as Nyara twirled the sword. The sharp metal tip sliced through the air with a hiss. Its weight in the palm of her hand offered the only comfort she had felt since Rasha fell.
Snarling, she summersaulted through the air and landed before the sneering man.
“Nyara,” he purred. “I thought you could see past this. Don’t you see, this is how I have professed my love for you.”
The people fell back. Confused. Silent.
Nyara fumbled for words, but rage twisted her tongue into a knot she could not undo. Instead, she howled.
And leaping forward again, she swung the blade at his head.
This man who had killed her lover. This man who sought to keep her for himself.
He was not unprepared. He drew his blade and met her own in the fraction of a second. The people stared in awe as the two danced before the flames. Twisting left, then right. Dodging, ducking, swinging their blades.
Sweat broke on Nyara’s brow, streaming into her eyes. She blinked the irritation away. Sides heaving as she hauled back and kicked the man in the chest.
With a muffled grunt, he flew back. Smacked the earth hard, jarring the sword from his hand.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Nyara leapt.
Without a word, she raised her husband’s blade and plunged it deep into his killer’s chest. Bone cracked and caved in under the blow; steal pierced through sinew with a gush and spurt of blood. Steam rose, mingling with the dying man’s cry as Nyara fell back.
Leaving the man pinned to the earth with Rasha’s blade.
Only then did the tears break.
Only then did the woman give in to the sorrow that consumed her. The boiled her blood until she felt even her veins crying out for her lover. With a wail, she turned and raced back to the fire.
“Rasha!” she screamed as she threw herself onto the pyre.
Flames crackled around her, melting her clothing and gnawing through her skin as she wrapped her arms around her beloved. She pulled his scorched skull into her chest and sobbed as the fire consumed them.
She lay still as death took her.
So slow and so agonizing.
But nothing compared to the torment of standing still while he burned.
Of living while he lay dead.
Of breathing while he breathed no more.
The people watched as the flames set her spirit free. A flash of sparks burst up from the pyre.
Two souls entwined – burning into the midnight sky.
Alexis Hunter is a freelance writer, specializing in short stories and flash fiction. A lifelong fan of the Fantasy genre, she has a passion for all things mythical, ethereal and out of this world. To learn more about Alexis visit www.idreamagain.wordpress.com.
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