I don't write enough anymore, so when I felt inspired to do this I was quite excited. Obviously this is not cannon, and even if it was Ellie wouldn't remember it. Just a writing exercise, like when I used to write journals.
I thought that I would see my mother’s smiling face, or my father would pull me into his beefy arms, welcome me and tell me that it was okay. I thought I’d be surrounded by the loved ones that I had lost, my family members that passed when I was so young. Instead, the only thing I saw was a dark grey rock, damp and slightly mossy. I pressed a hand to my throat where the axe had been a moment ago, ran a shaking finger up the back of my leg where my uncle’s dagger had dug in, and inhaled the moisture in the air.
I was completely alone.
For a moment, I believed I had not died. I thought the wicked woman had spared me, and hidden me in some cave in the middle of nowhere, somewhere I would never be found. Somewhere Segar couldn’t reach me.
I called for help, my words croaking in my parched throat. I knew it was a fruitless effort. If I was alive, no one would hear me, and if I was dead, no one was there. That didn’t stop me from continuing to yell until my throat could not bear to make a noise. I curled my legs against my chest, hugging them tightly and shaking with guilt.
“I should not have left alone.” I thought to myself, closing my eyes slowly. “I should not have been so reckless, when I knew I was in danger.” Whatever rage had pushed me to abandon Linistel was long gone by now, and simply replaced with a horrible, gut-wrenching pain in my heart. I saw my brother on the back of my closed lids, his frame vulnerable and tired as he swept tears from the sides of his stoic face. I shook those thoughts free, running my fingers through my hair, but they were only replaced with images of others, people I had let down.
A halfling, his peppy little walk becoming a slow drag of feet, his eyes laced with lack of sleep, my last words replaying in his mind. A troubled guard, whose subconscious was already so plagued with fear, only becoming more afraid. A pregnant lover, struggling to keep her partner from crumbling to pieces. A leader, with heart so full of care, staring at the recipe we had made together.
A lone hunter, who learnt, for one last night, how it felt to hold someone, only to have them slip away moments later; lost.
A kidnapper, who spared me once before. Would she feel guilty? Would she regret what she had done? Was I truly that hopeful, after all that had happened?
I clasped my hands together, muttering soft prayers to Theodra, begging her to guide them all to brighter horizons, so that they may forgive me for being so irresponsible, and taking them off the path of happiness, even if just for a little while. I prayed they would not fear the world for this, that they would not succumb to the power of evil, the power of the woman who had killed me.
I realised then, perhaps a little too late, that I was strong. There is power in courage, and it is greater than any malicious force. There is power in family and community which no evil could overcome. I did not fear the woman who killed me; I pitied her. She believed her spite could tear people apart, but in fact it did the opposite, and when she inevitably failed, as all evil does, she would be alone.
A sense of relief washed over me as the cave began to fade. I was not scared.