Part 7

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Poe wasn't entirely sure how he got to where he was or how long he'd been walking; but after he'd passed through most of the town muddled deep in troubled thoughts as he'd been, he found himself in the only place that he realized Clementine Blue could possibly be.

On the ridge above it, as she shared a last visit with her sister before she left for who knows how long it would be before she'd return.

Shameful, he realized now that he'd been remiss at never having visited this place where his town looked at its best; even in the darkest of night.

A worn path with the light touch of green glow drew him as a guide through the tall grasses; and there she was, seated by what appeared outwardly as just another simple head stone, only to herald the hopes and dreams of a family that were lost against a log in woodlands not far from where he now stood.

The light glow around them ebbed and flowed like the subtle reflection of water, something that he strangely found both unsettling and comforting in equal parts.

Perhaps that was how it was meant to be.

"You know ..." Clementine offered softly as she pulled a few trespassing weeds from the dirt, "... everyone used to worry about Daniela. From the day she was born she rebelled and wanted out of our community. Many waited for the worse of the worse to take her from us. Once she left, I'm sure that they were somehow relieved that she was gone."

Poe saw that she had been crying as she worked.

"And then when we heard nothing for the longest time, they thought only of the good things that she could be enjoying ... or have accomplished."

She remained silent for several moments as she gently caressed the headstone wistfully.

"Perhaps a job or the heart of a young man or even better some adventure that they were sure to be jealous of when compared to their lives that were certainly found dulled and boring by far in comparison."

Poe remained silent as he watched her reminisce.

"And then nothing grew into more nothing. Even I ... her own g'dammed sister, could not contact her. Her ability to avoid any and all such attempts showed just how much more skilled she was than most had given her credit for ... including myself."

She paused in her memories as she admired the headstone fondly while the sky above them began to show the first hints of dawn as it rapidly approached.

"I really truly thought that my destiny was to come to her rescue and bring her home; or at least tend to her as she would allow. You know, open some sort of communication with our family back home. Little did I know ..." her words trailed off thick with sadness.

Poe sighed as he too could feel her pain.

"And now ... with what's happened to Running-Deer, it must have brought back a lot about what could have happened to your sister had she never set foot in this town."

She simply frowned before she spoke.

"I've come to believe that Daniela's fate must have been to act as a fulcrum and bring several peoples together, much like pawns on a chess board."

He watched as her frown slowly turned into a smile laced with bittersweet sadness.

"I arrived as her white knight only to leave as one of her pawns."

He offered his hand as she pulled herself to her feet and carefully patted her dress.

"Take care of her Poe. I'm not entirely sure ..." she paused as if to gather herself "... when I'll be able to return."

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