33: The Blood and the Blade, the Empty and the Emotion

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It had been four days since the battle between the kingdoms above and below the sea where so many had perished. Four eternal days since Aren had gone. The sea had cleansed its waters. It had taken the fallen away and settled them to watery graves at the ocean's bottom. King Albert and King Trinity had been swift to sign a treaty and a pact. Though it would be difficult, both races had sworn to overcome their innate hostilities and work towards becoming allies. Potentially friends.

Prince Edgeson had tried to offer such an olive branch to Edris, but it had been ignored. Edris had left, returning to his home and knew he would be unwelcome in Trinities domain again. That was fine. He had nothing left to come back for.

Rick stood on the shore. it was his first time since.. then. The sea, though he didn't recognise its intent, welcomed him with breakers and a splash of spray. And a gift.

He bent down, seeing the glint in the morning sun as the waves released their burden. it was Aren's blade. There was no trace of blood, either the princess's or the witch's. The ocean had cleaned it before delivering it to the prince.

He held it, testing its weight. The edge was keen and he ran his finger over it, testing the sharpness, lost in the memory of where the blade had been. What it had done. He pulled his finger back sharply as he felt the knife slice into his skin. As he put the digit to his mouth to suck the pain away, a drop of blood dripped into the water.

The waves became excited, swelling and swirling. The breakers rolled back and forth, almost breathing as the foam atop their upsurge thickened.

The breeze brushed past Rick's ears and he turned his head, listening to something he couldn't have caught. A voice he had not heard but instantly recognised. An impossibility.

"Rick," the wind whispered to him.

He stared out to sea, his heart in his mouth.

"Aren?"

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