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By Zoey Martin


Revised 1/27/03

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Satuna Territories 5008


Clouds screamed across a black sky, pounding down on an old battlefield, and on an old war.  The sound of the dead was deafening, hurtling against the wind as it wound its way through the fallen steel.  Bodies tumbled over one another and were lost in the blood and dirt of another battle with no victor.  An eagle's cry battered its way across the armour that littered the field, falling into a sharp echo.  Very few still fought on this field, and their strength had been sapped by the fallen. And finally there was nothing, only silence. This battle was over, and only one remained.


Dusk enveloped the warrior with its cool embrace, leaving the day behind and forgetting everything that had gone before.  The woman stood motionless, remembering some dull memory, as though held in a prison.  She did not rouse from it for some time, until startled by the rustle of the wind through the trees and the movement of the clouds as they flew across the dark moon.  For an instant she forgot on which battlefield it was that the dead now lay.  Looking at the corpses strewn on the ground once more, the woman knew that they would all too soon be forgotten, just as she had forgotten all the others.  She had known that of the soldiers who had left the field few would ever return to fight.  She had ceased to care a long time ago.  Everything led to dust and broken memories, and somehow the path no longer seemed important.  She had learnt that a long time ago as well. 


She did not rejoice, for there had been no victory.  The warrior walked through the dead, looking for survivors, but expecting to find none.  She knelt down slowly, driving a dead man’s sword deeply into the earth, and muttered a prayer for those who had been lost that day.  But she did not mourn them.  She rose knowing that these corpses were the lucky ones.


Rain pressed hard at her back, but she seemed oblivious, maintaining a slow, deliberate speed.  The night's darkness consumed the earth and air in a thick blanket of emptiness, and yet this too she ignored.  In the blackness, she navigated the sometimes rough terrain with ease.  The wind began to howl, swirling around her in an endless dance.  Still she paid no attention.  The warrior had fought more battles than memory could count, had seen more dead than memory could recall, but today she remembered another battle in which she had borne no arms.  It was a fight that she continued to turn from, but which haunted her every step.

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Smoke filled the air, billowing and spiraling, dancing with the morning mist, and everything was lost in grey and white.  The air was no longer filled with the spring smells of lavender and dew, only burning stone.  The fire seemed to have been burning for days, and it would not be tamed.  The villagers had fled, leaving their homes and their dead behind.  The cries of the half dead no longer tore at the hearts of the living, but had become background noise no longer heard.


She stood between the flames, her green eyes the only visible feature through the layers of soot and dust.  Her face was filled with hope and desperation, and she did not move.  Neither a woman nor a child, she stiffly began to walk, her eyes and ears searching anxiously for the only face and only voice that mattered.


Slowly and meticulously she searched each burnt body, sometimes retching over their maimed and disfigured forms.  Every now and then the smoke would claim her, sending her to the ground with the dead. Often she would awake, to find her arms or legs touching burnt flesh or bone. She would rise in a blind panic, but would always return to her search.


On the third day she found him.  On seeing his burnt body, she cried out and stifled the urge to vomit.  He was unrecognisable, his flesh blackened and wrinkled by fire.  She would have passed him by, but out of the corner of her eye she saw the flash of silver.  An armoured sheath on each finger of one hand identified him immediately.  Gently she removed them from his shrivelled fingers and placed the rings on her own right hand, not surprised when they fitted perfectly.  She wept next to his body for a long time.  There was a hole within her that would not be filled and seemed to grow as she sat senselessly beside him. People had called him Xenon Lethlinn, a title – not a name, but she had known him only as her brother.


As she woke the next morning, she knew there would be no more tears; she wondered that she lived at all, that her heart had kept on beating.  Silently she dragged his body away from the town and towards the forest, and did not notice when the smoke and fumes no longer enveloped the sky.  Having no tools, she dug with her hands, kneeling for hours. Her fingers soon became numb and bloodied, but she ignored them. As she lowered him into the earth a deep sob escaped her throat, but there were no tears.  She covered him with earth and rocks carefully and deliberately, and at dusk kissed his grave.


"Rohan", she whispered over and over, as if the sounds of his own name would awaken him.  She placed both of her hands on the stones that covered him.  "Half of myself will always lie here with you in this grave, and it will never live again.”  She closed her eyes only for a moment and then rose, continuing through the forest, leaving the ghost town behind her, as if it had never existed at all.

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The warrior shook herself almost imperceptibly, as if to extinguish the memory.  Knowing full well that this was impossible, she merely clenched her jaw and pressed on.  Each day she remembered Rohan, and each day she longed for numbness and oblivion, but she could no sooner banish his memory than she could her own being.

 She crossed the hill overlooking the camp and stopped. In the darkness, she was alone despite the bustle of activity below her.  She had joined the army what seemed an eternity ago, when everything had been different; in reality, it had been under seven years. Then she had been called Morgan, and it was the only name she had ever known.  But now the world knew her by a different name; Morrigan.  And as Morrigan stood there contemplating her half-heart, she hesitated, but it was impossible to tell as she slowly made her way to the camp and home.