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Location: Fulmen

Day: 21, Fourth Month of Bruma


Black is a death color.

Appropriate for the mood, I guess.

My hands were shaking throughout the wake. Mother showed such strength. Her face never wavering with Father, with his arms wrapped around her. I felt bad for Grandmother Janice.

She was crying furiously over my grandfather's casket.

Grandfather Alexander died two days ago. A sudden death. He was a young fellow still, almost reaching seventy years. No one has revealed the reason after his heart attack, but I know it's nothing good.

I begged to know as the next heir, but Mother said it didn't concern the kingdom so she wouldn't tell me. I'm not a child to be treated this way. I was angry, but right now, I feel bad for her and Aunt Alexa. They're taking it on strong.

I looked up to see Eddie and Cinnia on each side of Grandmother Janet. They were trying to comfort her. Perhaps, I should be there, too, but I couldn't move my limbs. I wanted to be there for her, too.

I bit down on my lip.

A hand reached out to touch mine. I looked up to meet Ziska's vibrant blue eyes. She looked sad and mouthed, You okay?

I nodded and looked down at my hands again.

My legs started to shake on their own.

What kind of tragedy is this?

I heard the patter of small footprints and suddenly, she was in my arms. With her small hands, she reached up to touch my face.

With her beautiful voice, she managed to say, "Bru-der, what's happening?"

My lips started to quiver to see such an innocent soul knowing the forsaken loss of life. My head hung lower. She gave me a small kiss that made me gasp. I let my hair fall to hide what pain shown across my face.

I felt her small lips near my ear. "I love you, Nate." Even though her arms couldn't reach well, she gave me the tightest hug. I put my arms around her and carried her out.

I couldn't handle being in the deafening silence of death.

I couldn't let that affect her, a child.

The light of my life.

She was everything to me and she didn't know what was happening, but she knew I was sad. I couldn't let her see me that way. She has to know that I am strong and protective. I am her big brother and she has to know she can count on me for anything. She has to see that I can't be broken, even though I was fighting hard to not break.

I didn't want to break, for the sake of him.

He taught me to be tough.

He taught me so much.

I loved him and now ... he's gone.

I almost ran to her bedroom. She was giggling as I ran. She must have thought I was giving her a ride. She was surprised when we reached her door.

I set her down and she looked up, quizzically.

"Why are we here?"

"To play," I told her, "It was boring in there so I wanted to come out and play with you. Don't you want to?"

She shook her head. "I want to be with Eddie."

"She's busy."

"She promised me candy!"

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