The Seat of Sacrafice

“Take me instead.”The words echoed in Corbin’s ears, days, weeks after they were spoken.
“They are more important than I am. Let me do this.”

His hands clawed into the soft earth, looking to pull away the dirt and soil that surrounded the chunk of usable iron ore.

How quick we all are to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others, he thought. Not that he could blame them. We all do that grisly math at some point in our lives. The more dangerous things become, the more often we are forced to make those hard choices: Who will live and who will pay the debt. Who will walk the path, and who will be the one to hold the line for the next several centuries. 

‘Saint Gabriella’ could just as easily have been Saint Isabel, or Saint Cadence. Who’s to say they still won’t be. And who would he be to tell them not to them not to?. Henri thinks it’s his destiny to die fighting Coropler. How many other people are starting to think the same? and how quickly will those prophecies become self fulfilling given half a chance? Half the circle was already falling over themselves to sacrifice themselves in order to save one of their own, let alone the rest of town. None of them thought to try to settle the debt some other way.

Corbin grunts in frustration as the small chunk of iron ore he was working to remove continues to thwart his efforts by refusing to budge. Back on his butt he goes to wipe his dirty hands off on some nearby brush and reconsider his approach.
Sometimes you just have to pay the blood debt. Make the choice of who lives and who dies. The Stag dies to feed the town. The Trees die to make the wood we need to stave off the cold. Sometimes it’s an easy trade, sometimes it’s not. He knows whose life he would sacrifice his own for. There wasn’t even a question.  
After all the recent fun at his expense, just thinking of her was enough to make his face flush and push him back into the battle against this stubborn hunk of rock. Maybe if he chipped away at the far side? It still refused to budge even a little.

“No” he finally says to no one in particular, after a long contemplative silence of wrestling with the stubborn earth. “We can all face the coming trials with our heads held high, but no more martyrs. Either we all survive, or we all burn.” It was adorably naive and he knew it, but for just a moment he was content to let Sophie’s infectious optimism take over. 

This rock wasn’t budging. He had no way of knowing it wasn’t the scrap of easily accessible ore he thought it was, but was actually the tip of an impossibly large boulder buried much deeper. As such, the perfect metaphor was lost on him when he eventually gave up – assuming the earth just wasn’t going to give in on this day. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

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