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“Do you really mean it? Do you really mean to leave?”

 

He turned back, low-brimmed had pulled down to shield his eyes from the flying sands—like tiny pieces of glass. He yanked down the scarf from his lips, freeing him to speak. “You know the council’s orders are absolute. You shouldn’t even be here.”

 

“But...what will I do without you?” The child of merely eight did not fully understand, and she raised eyes brimming with tears to her brother’s face. “Can’t I come with you?”

 

“No, Kami!” her brother exclaimed, taking her in his arms. “You must stay here and grow strong, and live happily. Marry and have children and make flying bird-kites. You’re so good at that. Here,” he pulled an emerald pendant from around his neck and pushed it into her hands. “This will protect you and remind you of me. If ever you’re afraid, just clasp it tightly, and you’ll be safe. No matter where I am, I’ll be with you.”

 

Kami sniffed, her tears spilling over as she gripped the glittering stone. She pulled a bone necklace from her own neck and pushed it onto his wrist. It’s small length clasped his arm snugly, still warm from her tiny child’s neck. “I want Nekan to be safe,” she whispered. “Don’t die.”

 

Nekan bit his lip and hugged his sister. She disappeared in his embrace, her quiet sobs muffled against his thick coat.

 

He stood up and mounted his black, flat-footed mnek elk, turning him towards the open, sandy dunes. He pulled his scarf up, drew his hat down, and rode away without looking back. Into the blinding sunset, into the desert of knife winds, glass sand, and shrieking pits. Into exile. Away from the home he adored, the family he cherished, and the safety vital to all existence. His survival had never been a question of maybe?

 

He would be dead before morning.

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ooooh. tell me what he did wrong.

but then again, I think I understand that it's that kind of story. you know, the one that you get a bit of it, and nothing more. unless I'm wrong about that. . .dunno.

bravo, nonetheless!!

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