A FATHER'S MERCY
Saints of Wura Flash Fiction
“Tell me, daddy. Tell me about before it came.”
The father had led the young girl to a trickling stream. She had always loved the river. It was on the edge of their land and a spot where they could see the stars. He started a small fire and laid her down to where she could just touch the water rolling over the rocks.
“Before? How long before, dear child?”
She smiled and looked up at the starry sky. “At the beginning, before we went to the trees!”
Her father began to light a fire with the small amount of kindling he had brought with them. He stacked wood and after the flames caught, tossed other sticks on top of it.
“It was a grand time. The gods were within the world. We were new to it as well. Magic was alive and strong, flowing through the air like fairies do near our home.”
The little girl smiled as her father paused. “Keep going!” she begged.
He set a pot of water with several herbs on the burning wood. The fire was not large, but they did not have much time. He had to be sure the fire was hot enough to infuse the water. He had picked a lovely bouquet of chamomile earlier in the evening. His daughter loved chamomile. She twiddled a flower near the edge of the stream and wasn’t watching him. Before the left, he had ginger from the woods near the old city and a small bag fairy dust that remained behind as the last fairies disappeared.
He also had some extra herbs, he hid those from his daughter. He was careful to add them in between her glances toward him. She laughed as she tried to take a peak at what he was putting in.They liked to play a game where she guessed what kind of tea and he would make tonight no different.
As the water began to slowly steam, she twirled and danced before him.
“Daddy! What other stories can you tell me about then?”
He pondered for a moment, staring into the slowly bubbling pot. He had many fond memories and he fought back tears as he thought of his love, the girls mother, already taken from them.
“Before it came, your mother use to take you to the fields near the glowing trees. It was nights just liked this, where the summer wind blew through her hair and your giggles filled the air, we would spend time beneath the heavens.”
“I remember that! I remember the moon being so bright!”
The world had become less of a place since then. It was dangerous to be out at night, especially, on nights with moons like this. They were always looking for their kind of people. They were always hunting for elves.
“Daddy, daddy, what else can you tell me?”
The tea was done. He had two wooden cups that he poured the herbal tea into before sweetening with a dab of honey.
“I will tell you, but first I wish you to drink my tea and for us to play our favorite game.”
“I know what you want and I saw you sneak in ingredients! I can still guess it!”
He smiled at her as she sipped it. She took one sip and grinned. “Chamomile! My favorite!”
He laughed, “Very good, my child.”
She took another sip and he forced a smile, holding back his own tears. Her back was to the fires that had begun in the distance.
He laughed and then gulped, “Very good.”
The fires spread quickly. The elven homes built into the great woods were burning. They would soon come towards them. His daughter began to sit up but he placed his fingers to her lips and shook his head.
“Drink more and tell me what you taste.”
She took another large sip. “Honey and… daddy?”
She had laid back flat and turned towards the river. She reached out to the stream.
“Yes, my child?” I ask, but I already know.
“I can feel something, something inside me. I will never grow as others. I feel... do… do I… go to… mommy… now?”
He placed his hands on hers. It had taken hold in her some time ago. The sickness, the plaque of their people that had already claimed so many. But it was not what took her now. He feared those that hunted them. They were coming. They had come for so many of them already. The two elves could not escape the horrid genocide against their kind.
“Yes, we both go to mommy.”
He took a large gulp of his tea as he watched his daughter’s hand fall into the water as her other released her cup, spilling her tainted tea on the ground. She had always loved the river. He made sure she was near it when they were both to see their last. He laid his head on her chest as he saw them staring at them.
His vision faded.
A stout legionnaire stood above the father and daughter. He sheathed his sword.
“These elves are already dead. Move to the next village and for the glory of men, we will destroy all of them before their sickness spreads. The gods be with us. We kill them to protect our own.”
The legionnaires left the two elves. Heading further into the lands to seek out the last of those they deemed evil. The magic in the world was fading and would soon be gone.
The race of men had used the perfect poison and many more would die before the end.
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