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Prologue | All That Remains

Just inside the entryway of his crumbling tower stood Darrah, the Crow Lord, as the thunderstorm passed overhead. It was too early for torrential rain, which came only in late spring, but regardless of nature’s design, it fell. The storm winds were making all things shiver and even break under the force. In his tower ruin, however, only Darrah’s cloak of ebony feathers was flickering in the gusts that came and went. The rain was merciless and no sight of the sun could be found, casting the enclosed courtyard in greys and dark shadows. Darrah had become once such shadow since the turning of the seasons began. Indistinguishable from even the trees of the Great Forest surrounding his small, timeworn domain.

Though the thunderstorm raged, the Crow Lord was gravely silent. Almost solemn, were it not for the grief inside that cried out with the thunder and struck his soul as lightning did the earth. His gaze was distant, paying no mind to the rain as it further wore down the empty courtyard. Darrah searched for her even as the depths of his heart knew she would never step foot in here again. As he stood there his sadness only grew as he remembered her smile and was tormented inside as her laughter echoed in his ears.

Longed to see her again - to hold her again - but knew he never would.

All that remained was his grieving heart, the circling apologies to her that were his thoughts, and the loneliness that had returned to him.

His desperation to escape into the memories tainted with his grief, with his desire for the impossible, was then interrupted suddenly. He was brought back into the present by the pale, thin hand that had appeared on his shoulder, the grip firm. Darrah knew without looking who stood there, as the great presence of Corvus, the Raven God, was unmistakable. It possessed as much comfort as it did concern. He had returned from his duties, home at last and to stay until his duties called for him, but Darrah could not bring himself to greet him. His grief was all-consuming even as he was torn between his memories and Corvus’ offered comfort.

A quiet sigh preceded the aged croon of the Raven God, "Darrah, what has happened here during my absence? What has left you in such turmoil?"

"Nothing, Corvus, and so I am left with nothing," Darrah answered quietly.

"I never thought I would encounter the day when you would avoid answering me," The Crow Lord could hear the brief amusement in the Raven God's words, "But tell me in truth, Darrah, what has made your heart so heavy with hopelessness?"

"I did nothing," Darrah's own words were cracked with grief, "She's dead, Corvus, because I became so afraid of what may be instead of focusing on what is! I pushed her away and it became the mistake that killed her!"

The Raven God's concern grew more powerful, the air around them saturated with it. "What do you mean, Darrah?”

The soothing tone that came with the questions seeped into the raw wounds of grief within the Crow Lord. He could no longer hold back his tears, his pain, and he felt like he was breaking all over again. It was as if that day not so long ago was repeating itself.

“I should have done more!” The Crow Lord cried, “I should have done more for her!”

Darrah was utterly broken inside, that much Corvus could see for himself. He allowed a moment of silence to pass before he asked, “Who do you speak of?"

Darrah’s voice was incredibly weak. "She... she was Asha, Sirona's daughter."

"Asha?" Corvus was stunned, "You grieve for the Herb Witch's daughter?"

The Crow Lord could only nod, and Corvus gently implored his Son for more.

"Tell me what happened with Sirona's daughter, Darrah. I wish to know to better understand why it is she that causes this change in you."

He hesitated, but Darrah would not deny the Raven God this. And so, he began to tell him of the few seasons he spent with the daughter of the Herb Witch, and how their strange bond faltered at the seams because of his fears and uncertainties.
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Samantha England
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