A Handsbreadth Light

A Handsbreadth Light

Her life was but a handsbreadth compared to his.

The bonds that form between soulmates are inescapable and irrevocable, but Llereya has misgivings when hers appear.

459 S
Vardin Science Fiction Fantasy Romance
Flash Fiction Short Story

She wondered when she had begun to trust him.

Llereya out of Calai was not bound in the manner of some or most. Her gift was in her bonds and the bonds arrived with trust, whether or not she wished them. Spring had brought Cayden to their hunting band, and as the mists faded away with the wintertides into the summerlight, she found he had found a way into her mind. When she returned to her own House, the feel of him went with her and she knew where he traveled and how far. The intrusion went deeper than her dreams.

Dreaming was traditional, the rothnen way of knowing one’s other. She had dreamed of Cayden from the time she was fourteen and knew when she met him who he was. But this slid across the barrier to waking. Now, he walked with her in her house and the lands of her yaven, her family. She knew his moods as readily as that of her brother, her sister, her father.

“You are troubled.” Bryn stood behind her in the morning light.

Llereya preferred views for her meditation. The faint golden hues following the dawn lit the water gardens behind her balcony, softening the still chill wind. It was the first morning without the mists. “I have a new bond,” she answered.

Her father said nothing to that. What could he say? She had been collecting them from her childhood and had no recourse to do otherwise.

But Bryn understood perhaps better than most what it cost to her to be so intertwined with those she loved. In the way of many of the gifted, Llereya’s gifts came one at birth and the other at manifestation. She had felt her mother’s pain the day she died. She had tasted her sister’s fear when Kenira was captured in war. She had tasted the darkness of Kenira’s angry grief when her husband had been killed.

He came to stand beside his eldest daughter and look out on the morning with her. “You trust him.” It was both question and answer.

Llereya’s eyes drifted shut and in her mind, she was standing in the place of stones, her retreat enclosed on all sides but one from her land, Vardin. She preferred views for her meditation and out from the opening in that rocky sanctuary, her nation lay spread out before her. Like a songbird, she could fly along the shimmering golden threads of her mindscape to a sister, a brother, a father, an unclaimed lover who would be.

“I am but a handsbreadth to his span, my father,” she answered softly. It had bothered her when the dreams first arrived. Cayden had been alive from time of the First Great Slaughter, from the time Rothnarak and Vardin split, for centuries. She had no such length of life among her gifts and no desire for it. “I am a child to his years.” She barely touched the golden thread that led to Cayden. “He will live on after I am dust.”

She opened her eyes and saw compassion in her father’s gaze. He had been rothnen to a woman without gifts, her soulmate, though he too would ever be untouched by time.

“Ah, my strong wind,” he called her name by its meaning instead of its sound and tugged on her hair affectionately. “It was worth it.”

Worth it though Llereya’s mother had not lived past her daughter’s seventh birthday. Worth it though she had never been gifted and would never have lived to the end of her husband’s span of days. Worth it for the trust that knew not length of time, only depths of love. It would be worth it.

Llereya leaned against her father and closed her eyes again. It would be easy to pretend she were only a little girl again, but she did not. It was not her way. Instead, she let her mind become the songbird and fly along the golden light of the morning.

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Vardin Science Fiction Fantasy Romance

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