Chapter Twenty-Four, Part One: Alkahest and AzothMature

Flashback to Flamina’s dream, part three. 

He can feel grains of cold sand under his feet. 

His hand in hers, they are moving through the dark. 

The walls of the cave, they seem… muffled somehow, maybe by something hanging on them… are there pictures of someone? Perhaps a mother? A father? Who knows, with the old regime gone. 

 “Hello!” And what’s this then? 

He admires the blindfold of string from afar in his own head, feeling a sort of kinship with the Blind Consort as the girl leads him farther into the heart of the rocky hole. 

“It smells nice in here, like the sea. Do you dry flowers and put them in here?” 

Of course he gets no answer; Her throat was ripped out a long time ago. 

The rock grows deeper. Thicker. Soon he can no longer hear the crash of waves from outside. 

What a place to live, for a little girl. 

“This won’t do at all,” he murmurs, smelling dust. “Don’t you have a maid or something? Candy? Kids like candy…” 

 The girl’s hand tugs him along. His feet touch cold rock, through which a tremor is running. It starts as a crack, so far down… can she even feel it? It’s been eating at her, so long now. Running under her bare, swollen feet.  Does she even know her feet are swollen? Her skin… between her long elfin toes, it feels like fire. There is a burning at her heels which has nothing to do with their pace of descent. 

It won’t be long now. The air is thick, moldy. He doesn’t think she can breathe in here, but she does. Perhaps she smells roses, instead of dust.

The End

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