candlelight Alix Paige

A very special family and their last night.

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The Lullaby

The stars glowed in the obsidian blanket of night as the sliver of a moon shone down on Brunfel the Witch, sitting down against the roots of her beloved Rain Tree, cradling her baby son Viktor in her arms. Her ears perked, and the soft chime of the stars made her smile. She stroked Viktor’s cheek, leaning down to kiss his forehead. A soft breath in, and she began singing to the beautiful chime of the stars.

“The stars shine bright as we close our eyes,

A beautiful night twinkling in skies.

Sleep now child, and know as you rest,

Know sweet dreams at Luna’s behest.

Sleep in peace and ’til dawn shine,

Sleep under boughs of the Rain Tree’s shine.”

As her song died away, the stars above continued their everlasting chimes as if she had never joined them. She listened to their twinkles, and nearly missed the soft footsteps of her approaching Guardian, Orion. “Brunfel,” he greeted in his ringing tenor. In his arms was her daughter, Aurora, sound asleep and swaddled in her soft white blanket.

Brunfel smiled. “Hey brother. How’s Aurora?”

“Sound asleep, as always.”

Brunfel chuckled. “They always did sleep better with you.” She looked down at Viktor, still awake, his still-blue eyes open and staring at her.

“He has very pretty eyes,” Orion commented, sitting beside her.

“I know.”

“Aurora’s eyes are changing color. I think they’ll be green.” He looked over at her with a smile. “Like yours.” His comment drew a light chuckle from Brunfel as she remembered her past reflection, before her eyes had turned silver with the Witch Light.

“And like the Tree.” Brunfel lightly nuzzled Viktor. “They will be safe under its boughs.” Orion did not reply, and when his silence drew for several seconds, worry crept over her. She looked over at her brother, who looked down at Aurora, stroking her brown locks. “Orion?”

“The earth-blood is running,” he murmured. Fear chilled her then, a spike of pure ice driven straight through her heart.

“What?” Orion just nodded at her strangled whisper.

“There’s more. The ghosts are whispering, sometimes they scream. Something very powerful is coming. Very powerful and very dangerous.” He looked at her, his eyes soaked in worry. “I’m not so sure they’ll be safe, Brunfel.”

The icicle of fear had frosted out from Brunfel’s core now, and reflexively, she tightened her grip on Viktor just slightly. “He was right…”

“Who was right?” Orion asked.

Brunfel’s throat had frozen, the echoes of her vow ringing in her head. “I…can’t say.” Orion seemed to understand a little at that, and he nodded.

“I’m not going to leave them alone tonight,” he told her. “Probably not for a long time.”

“Neither am I,” Brunfel told him.


His firm denial surprised Brunfel, and she looked at him. “What? Why?”

Orion stared straight back at her. “Brunfel, you need to get your rest. Protecting our family is my sworn duty and I will fulfill it to my final breath.” His gaze grew hard. “Your duty is the protection and care of the Rain Tree. So that is what you must do.” Brunfel sighed.

“I know, Orion-”

“Guardian,” he reminded her, his voice seared with emotion.

“Guardian,” she corrected herself. “I do. I just can’t bear the thought of anything happening to them.”

Orion shifted a little at her confession, no longer staring straight at her but settling more at her side, one arm cradling Aurora while the other pulled Brunfel in. “I know. And I know you know that I will do all that is necessary to keep them safe, for as long as I am able. But I need you to trust me to do just that.”

“I trust you.”

That night when Orion returned to the little cottage where they lived, just like every Witch and Guardian before them, Brunfel stayed at the tree, an act she would forever bless and curse for the remainder of her life and eternity.

Meanwhile, Orion sat with his spear and shield in the room where his niece and nephew slept, a mere arms-length away. As the sliver of moon crested above, the air chilled, and Orion’s breath fogged in front of him. They had come.

Slowly, Orion stood up, listening to the sounds around him as he drew his weapons into position. The nearly-inaudible thud thud of their feet traced them to the hallway.

Brunfel would forever curse her decision that night, because by dawn, there was no life in the room.

23 Septembre 2022 13:52:16 0 Rapport Incorporer Suivre l’histoire
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A propos de l’auteur

Alix Paige Hi. I'm Alix, a vaguely-feminine genderqueer person who doesn't believe in God, normality, or allowing people to walk over me. Seriously, don't even try. I write, I draw, I conlang, and you can 100% expect to see a conlang in my stories in the near future. I like women and only women, so if you're a guy, don't pull the tricks they did on I will report you. But seriously, I'm actually pretty laid-back, I just don't take things laying down.

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