Thea, after several long hours of what seemed like a torturous path down memory-lane, had left the two girls alone in her one large room.
Tara's has had enough for one day.
Willow looked at the creasing brow forming on top of Tara's eyebrows. It's not every day that you find out your life-long nemesis has held her psycho unreasonable grudge because it was in fact your own father that brutally murdered her mother right after killing your own.
Willow mulled this over a few seconds.
Make that a century.
"Tara?" The girl began slowly, measuring her words, letting them sink in as easily as possible for the blonde, "Are you okay?"
"Yea..." Tara said slowly and then amended, "no."
"I know this may be hard to accept, child, but please understand he was just a very angry man..."
"He k-k-killed my m-mother... and then R-Ranthia... Oh god, that's why... that's why Caranthia-"
"The actions your father took have no connection to you, Tar'airah," came Thea's stern voice, "They have no connection to you whatsoever."
"Then why didn't you tell me?" Tara looked
"I didn't want you to feel guilty."
"G-g-guilty?" came the exasperated cry.
"For Ranthia's death."
The blonde looked up hysterically. Willow's grip tightened instinctively, as if to anchor the blonde's sporadic movements and oncoming shouts, "Why should I f-f-feel guilt?!"
Thea's eyebrows raised as the shriek filled her fur-adorned room.
"I-I-I was hit - c-couldn't get up - left, left, left there, on the ground. Oh God, I h-heard her, I heard her as she d-d-d... and it was him all along... him all along, he came and then there were the air flames and..." Tara closed her eyes tightly as the tears squeezed past her eyelashes. A course breath escaped her lips as she kept her eyes closed, trying to balance the emotions that were flooding at a rapid rate. "You expect m-me to feel g-g-guilt? What he did... I had no control... I would've... had I had the strength..." The blonde finally shriveled under the weight of her memory, crying.
"I think... it would be best for you to rest," The old woman gathered her robes and stood over the now weeping blonde, the redhead clutching to her form. She had done her damage, it seemed, and wanted nothing more than to leave her granddaughter in peace, quietly without notice. The stranger to these lands, however, was not going to let the woman off so easily. Tara had cuddled up to the redhead's neck, letting sparkling drops of salty water hit the girl's exposed skin - it seemed Willow didn't mind, in fact, was looking directly into the retreating form of the elderly woman.
The old lady felt eyes on her and turned into one of the deepest stares she had received in many several decades.
Willow's green eyes bored into the sage's own as she caught the look - Thea recognized it for what it was: a mutual understanding was being decided at this moment, and it seemed, in the role of Tara's protectorate, Thea had lost.
A few subtle silent words were passed mutually between the two. After several moments of quiet, Thea's voice spoke up.
"Be sure to keep her safe, Ms. Rosenberg..." she whispered sadly as Tar' wept, "...and happy."
Willow nodded in agreement with a slight twitch, eyes wide, as she let her nostrils flair with the breath she had been holding in; Thea could've been referring to this exact moment for all the redhead knew in holding Tara close to her body - which she intended to do, forever if need be. But one part inside of the redhead's quizzical brain suspected that something else had been decided - and the verdict, whatever it was, she was grateful for. Willow wasn't exactly sure what it had been, but Willow knew it was important, and when Tara was ready, she would talk to her about it. As soon as Tara was ready...
It had been a hard few hours, both for Tar' and Willow, watching several emotions play through her love's face. Anger, resentment, frustration, understanding, pain flitted across Tara's eyes during the short but essential history of her father's actions.
The redhead nervously twisted her hands about, standing awkwardly after saying goodbye to Thea's retreating robes once more. She looked up and around the hut, noticing everything surrounding the two women; beads, carpets, baskets and bobbles all hand woven into the hut's interior, decorated with hand-crafted furniture, bowls, and too Willow's surprise, a watering tub-like device.
So they DO have a sense of hygiene.
After not receiving an answer for what seemed like an eternity - but in reality only 31.6 seconds by Willow's calculations - she decided to speak again, possibly encourage some voice from the blonde. She sat down near the blonde again.
"Okay, well, that's fine, you have understandable reason to be upset, sad, moody, glum, down, blue... whatever synonym you prefer! But I'll be right here... i-if you want to talk it out - or not, cause I'm also good with the not-talking-thing too, although it may not seem so, this being a good example as to why, but that's fine and if you want me to l-leave too cause I'll understand that you'd want to be one with your amazon surroundings, you know, go Zen or try to meditate over the-"
A pair of lips stopped the redhead from explaining the ancient art of finding one's inner Chi.
"That... too... I could do that too," the redhead softly mumbled against Tara's mouth. The blonde smirked at the effect her attentions had on the girl.
"Good," Tara nodded her head again, catching another kiss before breaking apart again, "You taste so sweet."
The blonde lifted her hand to stroke away a random strand of hair that was leaning against Willow's brow, "You are so sweet," Tara let the words fall heavy with emotion. She did love her. She knew it and could not deny it. Willow's eyes fluttered closed at the feeling of her face being delicately stroked and sighed.
"Did you... did you mean it?"
"Did I mean what?"
Willow's eyes opened slowly. For the second time today, she would take the plunge into foreign territory that frightened her to no end, "Did you mean it when you said you loved me?" Tara's stare bored directly into Willow. Silence engulfed the two as Tara tried to think of a softer way to expose her strong feelings for the girl. Before she could thoroughly decipher the enigma that was her heart, her mouth betrayed her mind and answered.
Willow stared for a second and then a glorious smile broke over her whole face. She looked down, slightly embarrassed by her own goofiness.
"Tara, I've been wanting to tell you," she was nervously grasping at her own fingers, as if to count each off and make sure the ten digits were still intact, "I-I don't want to go back to England alone. I-I don't want to go back at all if you want to stay here. What I'm trying to say is I..."
"TAR'AIRAH! COME QUICK!"
The two girl's heads shot up in alarm at the body of Fa'aithlia who had stumbled in through the curtain.
"What? What's wrong?" Tar' ran forward swiftly, Willow in tow.
"It's Caranthia, she's gone."
"What do you mean g-g-gone?"
"I mean, after she left the Calthia noone's seen her. The bird's flown."
"Have you checked everywhere?"
"We have a few people out now, but they've checked all the places she might be... and she ain't there."
"Okay... what do you suggest we do? How can I help?"
"I don't know, Buf' just told me to tell you because we thought you'd know what to do."
The blonde sighed exasperated, "What does Thea say about this?"
"Thea! That's a great idea!"
"You didn't tell Thea?!"
"Again, this is why we come to you for the smart-part."
"Okay, go tell her then, see what she has to say," Tar'airah sighed at the last comment, "and then we'll go look for her."
"Okay," Fa'aith said turning to leave, "Oh, and be sure to explain to Red there, she looks a little confused."
A figure stumbled forward to the largest of seven trees that stood elegantly in the cool moonlight.
"Mej jaja jukilai du skalkia."
Let the scars come to light.
Several sets of feet padded down on the soft earth and leaves, as the search team was running swiftly towards the opening of the Trees.
A hand passed over the tree's trunk, allowing a dull shimmer of fire rise through the bark, highlighting the once invisible scratch.
"Hkopo qwiera kalashu..."
I bring you...
A deep rumble began from beneath a single set of bare feet.
"Hkopo qwiera kalashu alkahis eisaisa okos..."
I bring you to their eyes...
Running, breathing heavily with the aching muscles, a figure could be seen in the distance, if only for a millisecond. But the group of women saw nothing as they tore across the ground towards where they hoped their leader could be found.
The Tree growled ferociously.
"Ahkia me pensahia..."
And in recompense...
A sharp CRACK! sounded above.
"Pies allkia bragisha," tears streamed slowly down cheeks onto the rumbling ground.
For all ills made...
Several sets of eyes shot up as heads jerked with the sound of a final shriek. It shot through the air as the sky and earth seem to smash together in one giant streak of light, the largest of the Trees coming into sight, a figure slowly fell to the earth.
I'm coming mama...
Flashes above the tree's tops danced in sharp streaks, and finally swarming her body in one swift blow.
A limp figure, distorted by some unknown force, as if the life had been sucked directly out. Upon seeing the face, tears filled her eyes, and slowly dropped one by one to the ground.
A cry rose above the group of women as they all saw the lifeless body of their warrior captain, their pride and joy leader, Caranthia.