The weeks passed by Jodyis in a blur. Nothing had stuck out to her, nothing anchored her as she was forced to put grieving lower on her priority list, her army demanding her attention as they had advanced towards the Duke of Verallis. The long treks left too much time to think, and Jodyis was forced to sit in a cart and listen to her strategist, Jeremy, present the plan for the final battle to her. I should be caring more, Jodyis thought as she laid in the cart and listened to the crickets around the army chirp mindlessly, but… Styn, Umren, where was the point that I went wrong? Someone, let me go back in time and help me see the moment that things went awry, and let me fix it. Let me tell them that I never meant to leave them alone when they were too young, let me tell them that I love them more than the sun and moon, let me tell them that I never meant to hurt them.. Please.
Each night, Jodyis saw Styn, Umren and her parents in her dreams all screaming at her, demanding the reasons for letting them die, letting them be alone in their time of need. It always ended with Jodyis waking up in cold sweat, screaming and gripping the bed sheets tightly. Tonight was nothing out of the norm, tears rolling down her face as Jodyis buried her head in her hands, the same dream happening with the same intensity as the previous nights. “Why don’t you just leave me alone?” Sobs wracked her body, shaking and shivering in the cold night air, muffled by her hands. “I swear, I didn’t mean to leave you all alone… I didn’t – I couldn’t protect you and I’m so sorry, I didn’t know I would never see you ever again – I didn’t know death would come so fast… Please, forgive me.”
Her words fell on deaf ears. Each night, it was the same, complete with the screaming, crying and cold sweat. The rest of that morning passed by her in a blur, only dragging her to reality as Jeremy entered the cart with a loud clatter and a small “oof.” He sat down, sighing as he launched into his speech, his messy black hair clashed with his white cassock. As he continued on, he was stopped by Jodyis’s hand shooting up. Jodyis drew a shaky breath, sighing. “I’m… I apologize, but I’m just overwhelmed by the information and the recent… events.” Her hand drew into a fist as she hesitated, almost saving her words before spitting it out. “As a general, I understand the importance of the upcoming battle.” Silence hung between them, Jeremy’s silence encouraging her to continue on. “But as a person... I can’t handle the event. I can’t handle this all. I need an anchor, I need someone to tell me it’s going to be okay when I feel like curling in a ball and hiding in a corner while I crumble to pieces. Please… Lay off of the battle plans for a while and… Please help me. I’m sinking in the hate I feel from them each night, tormenting me.”
A couple moments of silence followed before Jeremy took hold of Jodyis’s shoulders. “Listen,” the young man said. “I know it’s painful. But it’s not like you have to pretend to be strong all the time. It’s okay to have your moments of weakness, as long as you never it show it outside where everyone else can see it. And… who says it’s not going to be okay? I’m your strategist, as well as your tactician. Put more faith in me, okay? It’ll be all right. We’re not going to lose this battle, I guarantee it.” Jodyis and Jeremy stared at each other for a long second, her silver eyes meeting his dark brown ones, his mouth set in a soft line, worry playing on his lips.
She placed a hand on his, closing her eyes and gripping with a semi-strong grip. “Thank you.” It came out as almost a whisper, breathy and full of gratitude. There was little said between them, her hand gripping his as she bowed her head, each tear and shaky breath increasing her grip. "This battle isn’t just for my dying country. It’s for those who have fallen before… Family or not. Styn. Umren. I’ll fight my hardest for you… The last thrust into the tyrannical Verallis’s heart will be for our family, I promise." After a long while, the sounds of her crying and the constant shaking of the cart seeming endless, Jodyis wiped her eyes, looking Jeremy in the eye with a determined glint. “Alright. I think I’m okay now – Now, about these battle plans…”