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(Part 30) For a complete list of this series, please go here.

“Ye be certain?” Twyla asked in a hushed voice.

“Yesss, I'm certain,” hissed Thedra with a tinge of annoyance in her voice.

Aerissa slowly opened her eyes, but laid still, listening to them talk in quiet whispers over Locke.  She could hear Thedra's robes rustle and the chink of glass against glass.  She was unable to hear all of their conversation, only bits and pieces, but the overall tone gave her an uneasy feeling.

“…no chance?” asked Twyla.

“No…missstake…” responded Thedra.

“I wish I could… …no Light…”

“…it'sss not my problem…”

“…ye be done here.” 

Aerissa heard Twyla let out a heavy sigh as the door opened and closed.  She sat up slowly, her heart beating wildly in her chest, panic rising.  As she rose from the couch, she saw Twyla bent over Locke, who was still laid out on the table.  Aerissa swallowed hard, her heartbeat filling her ears.

“T-twyla?” she managed to croak out, her mouth dry.

Twyla looked up, wetness on her cheeks.  Aerissa fleetingly thought how odd it was that one could cry without eyes, then the emotion she was witnessing hit her hard in the chest.

“No~!” She exclaimed, rushing to the table.

“Rissy, no! Ye need not-please, Rissy.  Leave ‘im be.”  Twyla tried grab Aerissa's shoulders to hold her back from him, but Aerissa shrugged her off, insistent on getting close to Locke.

As she neared him, she saw how much his condition had worsened.  His sides still rose and fell with shallow breaths, but his fur was increasingly patchy.  His visible skin had changed in color, giving him the look of the lynxes she-they-had encountered in the woods of Ghostlands.  Her eyes welled with tears as she looked him over.  Her hand shook as she reached out to touch him.

“Where's the serum? Didn't she give it to him?” Aerissa shot at Twyla, her voice uneven as she struggled to control her emotions.

“Serum didn't work fer ‘im… he be too far gone.” Twyla patted Aerissa's shoulder.  “Come, leave ‘im be-”

“Why? Why didn't it work, Twyla! I tried so hard… I tried to save him.” Aerissa cupped his limp head in her hands, the tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I don't be ‘avin' them answers, Rissy.  Come.  I know ye tried to save ‘im.  I-I did too, but the Light ain't no friend o' mine these days.”  Twyla pressed into Aerissa's shoulder, trying to steer her away from the table.

“He's still alive though! It can't be too late!” she cried out.

“No, deary, it be too late.  He not be Locke as ye knew ‘im anymore,” she said quietly, her tone serious.  “Please, step away from ‘im.”

Aerissa ignored Twyla, burying her face in what was left of Locke's neck fur.  Her shoulders shook with every sob.  She uttered apologies and other unintelligible words between sobs and gasps for air.  But Locke was cold to the touch.  He did not respond to her in any way.  She could no longer feel a link in her mind – their bond was gone.  Aerissa sniffled and wiped at her nose, the smell becoming overwhelming.  Her mind reeled as she turned instinctively and wretched all over the floor.

Aerissa felt dizzy as she gripped the edge of the table.  A whirlwind of emotions overtaking her mind.  Her chest hurt, even worse than when she regained memories of Xanadrian.  This loss was different.

She felt as though she lost a piece of herself, which she had.  A piece of herself died upon the table.

“Rissy, deary, ye need ta go upstairs an' take a hot bath,” Twyla smiled weakly at her, patting her arm.

Aerissa nodded, oddly numbed by the realization that her cherished bond was forever broken.  She followed Twyla's suggestion, but felt as if someone else was moving her through the motions.  Her mind followed a chaotic cycle of thoughts: How? Why? It was her fault.  It was Thedra's fault.  It was no one's fault, and back to it being her own fault.

As Aerissa plodded up the stairs, Twyla let out a sigh of relief.  She was hoping to take care of what remained of Locke before she awoke.  She approached the lynx, reciting a prayer.  He opened his eyes as she got close, but they were not the eyes she remembered.  He let out a snort as his upper lip curled, revealing his fangs.  Twyla nodded, calmly removing a kitchen knife from her apron.  She finished the prayer as she plunged the knife into his neck.

“Locke, ye were loved as ye once was, not as ye are now.”  She lowered her head, weeping as she decapitated the lynx that laid on the table.

—-

*Author's note: I imagine this piece makes it clearer why I was off track with posting for a few weeks.  I knew the outcome that I needed to write, but I did not look forward to having to do it.  My apologies for breaking the Tuesday RP post schedule for so long without a very good excuse.

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8 comments

  • /mourns the loss of the faithful companion

    Hopefully, Aerissa will stop blaming herself and eventually form a bond with another companion.

    Excellent work by the way, I actually felt sad and was hoping by some miracle he would survive.

    Totally OT…
    I miss my Orc Hunter so am moving her to join Holi on Bronzbeard. Her faithful companion is Uhk’loc the white gorilla. I renamed him ‘Hanuman’.

  • @Moondancer – Thank you 🙂 A great deal of emotion was put into writing this part and it wasn’t easy by any means. And I’m glad to hear you are playing your hunter again! 🙂

    @Keli – Just try to remember him as he was before being plagued /hugs

  • I have to admit this piece had me sobbing…I know it’s just a story…I don’t care I’ve become emotionally attached to these characters and I took Lockes loss a bit hard. Ok I sobbed satisfied…lol
    I sure hope Rissy finds a new friend soon she’s going to need one with the baddies closing in.

    Thanks Lady S as always for the great story it was worth the wait

  • @tiggs – I’m sorry to have caused such sadness, but am glad that the emotion I put into it came through. I should be back on track now.

    @Kim – I think Rissa forgot to train that… 😛

  • Poor Locke 🙁 Well written as always, but a very sad ending for our fur-covered friend. I still look forward to what lay in wait around the corner.

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