The mists protect.
Of all the things she had been told by her mother, the one she never doubted was this. “The mists protect us.”
Lysenna stared out the window as the rain continued to fall. The snow had melted, and the ground was back to its soft state. Spring was coming, slow though it may be this year. The cycles continued whether we chanced to follow them or not.
Her hands continued their movement without thinking, so used to the work and process that she was able to devote only a portion of her attention to it. The leonem was almost complete, the finer detail carving work done earlier. She continued to softly sand the back edges to ensure nothing would scrape against the skin or clothing of the wearer, rubbing a nail against the grain, checking for anything her eyes may have missed.
Setting that piece down, she pulled out another chunk of soft wood. The kind she kept for the small animals she made the children. Laying out her tools, she started carving. Recalling the conversation she had with the young Mervaille and chuckling. She never forced wood into a shape. It called. It spoke. It knew far better than her what it could be. She simply gave it form. She thought back to the day. It had been such a quiet day. She had never expected it to turn out the way it did.
Looking down, she noticed a dark spot on the piece and frowned. This was new growth pine, soft and warm yellow. It shouldn’t have any dark spots unless… Turning it over, she realized the discoloration wasn’t disease but blood. She had nicked herself. She stared at the bright drop welling on her thumb and disappeared into the memory.
~The scarlet drops shone brilliant on the fresh fallen snow. The screams of the other townsfolk still echoing in the clearing as they battled for their loves and those of the dead. Cuilon had gone to protect another of those who were walking the old ones back to their resting spots. Sophie and Isabelle were gone as well performing the rites and they were so close to the end. She wanted to sink down to the floor but she kept seeing Cadence by her side, sword out and keeping the ghosts from getting closer than they already had. Marinette’s gentle voice was cutting through the breaks in soft gasps of sound. The hammer was heavy in Lysennas’ hands, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to help for long. Her ribs and abdomen still hurt, and it took all her strength to stand and stay. Henri’s quiet voice came closer, and as he sobbed they pulled out another. In her mind she screamed at the thing that kept taunting her friends and family, but in reality, all that made it out was a rasping growl.
They had made it this far, they. Would. Not. Stop.~
Pulled out of the memory with a snap, Lysenna realized she had dropped the knife. Hands and head shaking, she reached for a bandage in her pouch, recalling the warmth in Granny Jo’s voice as she had bandaged her up and Cuilon holding her hand as she bit through the pain. Corbin’s hand on her shoulder, and Ettiene across the table. Hugo in the Grove, watching and guarding. Ruger making her laugh with those ridiculous eyebrows. Colobri and her songs. Her family had grown a bit more than expected. That was true. And some of them may have scoffed at the idea of her calling them that. But still. They were *hers*. No one hurt them without her noticing.
Wrapping the soft linen around her finger to staunch the blood flow she suddenly remembered the rest of her mother’s words.
“The mists protect us. But remember mon bebe, protection is not an empty threat. The knife cuts you as easily as another.”
Picking up the knife she stared at the blade. The keen edge did cut her as easily as anyone else. That was true.
But she would do whatever she could to protect them.
Damn the blood. Damn the cost.