candle-burning-lowEyes darker than obsidian gazed back at himself from the mirror, it had been days since he last fed and the low flickering light of the nearby candle throwing shadows across the emotionless face as he slowly hung up his cloak and armor. Blues and blacks, several shades of each, had never before so clearly illustrated his mood today. A new threat, wary allies and always his own wariness.

How long would it be until he could have the peace he so craved? How long had it been since he’d gone a year without some new upstart trying to shatter apart the reality he wanted? Too long.

The house was still unlit for the most part, the weak Malas sun illuminating it as best it could. He made no sound as he moved throughout it so as not to wake Cherry from her slumber. She needed the rest more than he did what with the threats against the family. She worked too hard, it would be her undoing. Giving her the best gift he could right now, he made his way upstairs into the nursery quietly. A room he had begun spending more and more time in as of late.

A chair pulled in front of a portrait on the wall awaited him. He took it, and the bottle of wine from beneath it and gazed up into the eyes of the image before taking his first sip.

“I am trying so hard, to do what I think you would want from me.” He lowered his gaze momentarily before returning it upwards. “All these issues coming from cities not my own could spill over like a broken dam, and then what? Do I retreat from Moonglow? Do I stand, fight and possibly lose? Or do I make deals and schemes with which to protect all I hold close?”

He sighed deeply and took a drink from the bottle.

“What would you do in my position? Surely you would have the answer as you always did for me in life. If only I hadn’t attempted that spell, maybe things would have been different.” He looked over at the crib a moment. “Everything would be different. And I wouldn’t be here talking to your portrait again.”

The bottle shook a moment in his hand, a flash of anger coursing through him at his own failures.

“But I am. I have been and is it so wrong? I miss you more than I ever thought possible, in life you were my idol. You believed in me and all I did was cast that faith aside in my arrogance. I wish…” The bottle cracked, wine dripping from it onto the fall slowly. “I wish I had a way to return you to life…”

Hours passed, the sun lower in the sky now and the bottle of wine empty as he sat still and continued his silent discussion with the portrait. So when he spoke again finally, it filled the room with its clearness.

“I cannot undo the past, but like you always told me… The future defines who we are.” He smiled up slightly, “And when I have children of my own I think I will finally understand all you taught me in the short time we had.” He stood, pressing two fingers against the portraits forehead and moved out of the room, closing the door on his mother’s portrait.

He would do what he could to protect those he held close and he would do what he could to protect his city. Ideas filled his mind as he made his way downstairs and into the bedroom. He paused, eyes falling upon the form of his wife laying upon the bed. Her naked form covered teasingly by the sheets, her hair fanned out enticingly. The sight before him wiped all other plans from his mind as made his way to the bed stealthily. Her eyes opened slowly as she woke, but barely had time to register his presence before he was upon her.

Her plans for the night would have to wait. Enjoy the present for what it is.

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