#Nightgale Week 2
I signed up to do the #Nightgale challenge that Stevie McCoy of Glitterword has put together.
These will be 4 stories, posted over the next 4 weeks, a minimum word count of 200 words each.
The theme is immortality vs. mortality.
The prompt for week two is: Immortality comes to you, you do not go to Immortality
“Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
… No voice from sublimer world hath ever,
To sage or poet these responses given –
Therefore the name of God and ghosts and Heaven,
Remain the records of their vain endeavour . . .”
~ Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Shelley
I will warn you that week two kind of took on a life of it’s own here, lol! This may turn into a longer story . . . who am I kidding? It probably will!
Man is corrupt and selfish, yearning for evil and greed. Once, goodness lived within each heart, and then temptation won, and good has been diminishing ever since.
All men used to carry the same capacity for good or evil within their hearts. Then temptation arose and one man chose evil and taught it to his children. For many generations, those who desired good outnumbered those who sought evil. Slowly, though, the riches and power that those of evil achieved seduced those who struggled to survive.
Almost overnight, the tides changed, and the age of the Kashtophim began.
The Rishka were hunted and slaughtered. Their settlements were destroyed, and those who survived were forced to hide in plain sight.
It is almost impossible to pretend to be evil without it affecting the soul, and many Rishka were deceived into betraying their own.
In a chamber, surrounded by wolves, is a solitary lamb.
The wolves are the Kashtophim. They are merely men with evil hearts, and for centuries their task has been the annihilation of all that is good and pure.
The lamb is a single woman, the one surviving descendent of the Rishka.
The wolves have no care for the lamb. They simply know that it must die, because it has won the affection of their alpha.
The alpha presides over this mockery of a justice system.
The verdict has already been decided, this is merely a formality.
The alpha, serving as judge, has no choice but to pronounce her guilty.
The woman, he knows her as Sachi, stands alone in the middle of the room. Three days ago, before this nightmare started, he gave her the blue gown she wears. Then, it was beautiful on her. Now, her dark hair lies tangled and matted around her shoulders, and the gown is torn and stained with blood. He can barely see the blue anymore.
Her eyes, once so full of life, are now dull and hopeless.
He knew, that day when he ran into her walking the street, that she was different. That she was one of them. She had captivated him anyway, especially the look of loneliness in her eyes. She had confessed, a few weeks into their affair, that she had watched the last of her people be slaughtered right in front of her.
There is no guilt for the death of kindred, only sadness that she is alone. He wants to fix it, to make her eyes smile again, and he tries for a while.
They talked of death once. She said she was not frightened. He didn’t understand.
Now, as she stands before his council, he hopes that none of them know of their involvement. His two eldest sons serve on this council, and the fact that she is Rishka is what the only part of their affair that would cause alarm, even though they never shared more than a kiss.
For the first time in his life, he desires mercy for another. He will do whatever he can to make sure her execution is quick and painless, but at the same time he can’t raise suspicion. She is the last Rishka. The Kashtophim will want a show.
They were about to lose all that was good and pure in the world, and he could see the look in her eyes. It was one of relief.
She would not be alone any longer, but in whatever eternity the Rishka believed in, he hoped.
But he would be alone.
I can totally see how this could become a bigger piece. I really dig the mythological tone and the elegance of the language. More, please!
There will be more, I just don’t know when! I have so many projects on my plate right now, but most of them are due the beginning of February, so I’ll have more time after this month :). I don’t know what I’ll do with this one yet, but it will definitely be something . . .
How sad! There had better be an escape plan in place! I want an adventure and romance and… aww I’m all involved and sympathic towards the last Rishka. I see a longer story here!
There is definitely a longer story, it’s starting to take shape in my mind :). I don’t know if there’s an escape plan or not, but I think this is the middle of the story . . .
Please allow some curious circumstance to save her so that the forbidden love can remain. That way Sachi will be able to deal with her issues without knowing that the alpha has intercede. Whatever you do, do more. Awesome potential with the last of a kind.
We shall see, we shall see 😀
“But he would be alone.” Is my favorite line and the perfect ending to this–and actually I sort of feel like she has to die? I’m inclined to agree with him that her suffering is tragic and undeserved, and relief as she now feels would be cruel to take away from her.
As one who is already given to evil however, suffering is appropriate for him. And I see an opening for an awesome mirror and the pendulum of history to swing back having reached the furthest point on its swing toward evil. One man gave in to evil and it slowly destroyed all that was good, and here I could see the perfect reply to that if one man is redeemed.
I’m eager to know more about the characters and world–glad this isn’t the beginning of the story–but as I read it, it does feel like the end of Sachi and the Rishka.
I find loneliness–what drew them together–deeply poetic and it is rare that the struggle between good and evil fails to inspire me–so this is great stuff from my perspective.
I think she does have to die, sadly, because if she doesn’t then the pendulum can’t begin to swing back, like you said :).
Thanks for stopping by, David, and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it! We’ll see if any part of this continues with the next Nightgale installment, but either way it WILL be continued :).
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