Scars, Chapter 30.

A new chapter for Scars is up; the search for the Haunter of Jachenbreg continues.


“Let’s not pretend that elvenkind were without flaw,” Terrasi retorted. “Your people ended truces when it suited them, too. But that merely confirms what I have said. Humans and elves were not blood brothers, or even friends. We were neighbours that at best tolerated one another. Why did your people sacrifice themselves for us?”

Khy-kala’s expression tightened. “I don’t know. I wasn’t there when the decision was made.” She’d wondered about that herself. Why had her people died for these grubby, filthy mayflies? What made humanity so special that her species had to all but destroy themselves for it? Were they losing the war against the Kindred and this was their only option, a final act of desperation that just so happened to save humanity? Or had it been planned, elven rulers watching their borders crumble and choosing to preserve rather than risk losing it all.

She’d heard both claims (and many variants of the specifics of them) of how Suicide Night began. Some elven survivors even claimed to have been in the homelands when the devastating magic was unleashed, claiming to be privy to knowledge that others did not. Few among her own kind believed them; Suicide Night had been too thorough. No living soul within elven borders had been spared the cannibal spell that had fed from her people before burning across the world… but credulous humans would lap up stories like that and spread it to others.

“Do you agree with it?” Terrasi pressed.

“What does it matter?” Khy-kala snapped, baring her teeth. “It’s done. My people are dead and yours survive. Accept that as a victory, as a mercy or as a gift – whatever you like.”

Justir almost reached a hand out to the she-elf, but stopped himself before he did. Instead, he locked eyes with Mattio and gave his former friend a small, disapproving shake of his head.

“I’ve offended you,” Terrasi said. “I am sorry. It was merely my curiousity at play. In the halls and studies of the Iron Monastery, the truth of the matter is still being debated. I thought-”

“I’m honoured that our mass suicide is a topic of academic discussion,” Khy-kala hissed acerbically. She glanced down at Justir. “I’m going to find my own breakfast.”

He nodded as Khy-kala spun on her heel and stalked out of the inn. Mattio rose to go after her, but Justir caught his arm. “Don’t.”

“I should apologize-”

“Later,” he affirmed. He’d seen something off about the she-elf as soon as she’d come down the stairs. She wasn’t in the mood to be confronted. The redhead knew from experience that the easiest way to get under Khy-kala’s skin was to press her on the Salvation. He’d blundered into that lesson himself. Even thirty years hence, how could it be anything but an open wound? His own painful past had been brought to the fore by seeing Mattio again, and no one he’d lost then had died.

…almost no one.

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