What is your biggest regret? Not going on that date? Not asking that girl to the dance? Not taking that dog home? Or better, leaving…
A gentle gurgle from the river and the odd croak and splash from a frog filled the air as a pair of travelers crossed the mossy stone bridge. The air was warm and a gentle breeze brushed against the traveler’s dark heavy cloaks.
“Father? Why are we making this journey?” said the shorter traveler, his red beard poking out from the shadow of the cloak.
“Because son, it’s time for you to meet someone important to us,” the tall traveler said his eyes glowing a light blue.
“If they are so important then why have we not met sooner?”
The father stopped, causing the son to halt as well. The father said nothing as he looked towards the sky his hood slipping off for a moment. His tanned scarred face glowed in the sunlight.
“Because, because I was too weak to save them from their fate.”
“Too weak? But father, you are the high magus, how could you be too weak?”
A small smile broke out on the scarred face, “It was a different time, one where I wasn’t half the man I am now. Enough talk, let us not waste any more daylight.”
Pulling his hood back up the father resumed his walk. The son stared at his father’s back before following along as well.
The path grew steeper as tall stones lined the path. The son traced his fingers along the eroded etchings that told of legends long past. The father paid the ancient stones no mind as he continued up the slope. As the two continued their hike a small manor came into sight at the end of the path.
The son looked over to his father, but his father spared him no glance or words as they continued their hike. It wasn’t until they stood at the imposing front door did the father look at his son and speak.
“What do you know of your mother?”
The son’s hood fell from his grip revealing his bright red hair, thick beard, and tanned face. The question brought an unfocused look to the son’s green eyes.
“Mother? She-she died after I was born. They revered her as the greatest healer, able to heal the most fatal of injuries. No one says anything more about her except gaining an empty look in their eyes.”
The father nodded his head before placing a hand on the door. A circle of runes glowed white around his hands before disappearing. The door swung open revealing a dark hall. The son raised his hand but the father lowered it before waving his own hand through the air. Candles in all directions light up revealing the shining marble tiled floor and marble staircase.
The son looked around with wide eyes before doing a small jog over to his father who entered another room. The son watched as his father hung his cloak upon a hook and followed suit. The father simply walked to the wall opposite of the room before pressing his foot on one marble tile. The floor fell away revealing a dark staircase.
The father said nothing as he motioned his son to follow. Together the two descended down the stairs. The son had his hand held forward as a small ball of fire danced in his palm. Only the small crackle of the flames broke the silence as they walked down.
Once more the father said nothing as they stopped before an iron door etched with runes that faintly glowed black.
“Beyond this door, beyond here, rest the person we came to meet. The person we traveled to the edge of the nation for,” the father said before turning towards his son. Tears were welling in his eyes as he stared into his sons, “Your mother is not dead, she was cursed, cursed to live a half-life surrounded by solitude and darkness.”
“Why? Why have we not come sooner?” the son asked flames dancing his eyes as tears gathered at the edge.
“Because you were too young to handle her presence. Only now has your magic matured enough to withstand it. I did not want to chance losing you, even now I still do. But I cannot keep you from the truth any longer,” the father said putting a hand on his son’s shoulder.
The son stared at the tear tracks that ran down his father’s face. With a nod of his head the son turned back to the door. The flickering flame grew until it engulfed his hand. The father let a small smile that shined in the firelight before pressing a hand against the door.
Dark green light shined from runes on the door before a woosh of cold air blasted from the edges. With a creak, the doors opened outwards. Cold and darkness rushed out and engulfed the father and son. Yet, they stood tall unflinching. From the shadow, a pale hand poked out, followed by an arm, a shoulder, and so on until a woman with dark flowing hair and deep amber eyes stood staring at the father and son. Shadows wisped off her body like a slim elegant dress as she walked towards the father.
“Love, the years have not been kind to you,” she said as her hand brushed the tears tracks.
“You are still as beautiful as always my love,” the father said brushing a strand of hair behind her ear.
Her smile glowed before she turned towards her son.
“My son, oh how you have grown. How I missed so much of your life,” the mother said walking up to the son and reaching up to cup his cheek in her hand.
“Mother, I…I,” the son tried to say before a finger silenced him.
“Know that I love you son. I always have and always will. Now I must go before the darkness consumes you. I love you.” The mother turned away and the cold and darkness rushed towards her.
“Mother!” The son reached for her as she turned and showed her tear-stained face.
With a woosh the door slammed shut, the runes glowing green before fading into a dark red. The father and son standing before the iron door as tears flowed.
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