The Price

The laws of life and death are meant to be broken, this I knew. The Creator would not have put a species capable of such intelligible thought if he did not expect it to eventually realize rules are only governed by those to which they apply. With this epiphany anything is possible, so I set out to put it to the ultimate test.

I was going to bring her back; she didn’t deserve to die. All it took was a blessed herbal concoction and a recited sacrament under the light of a full moon. Sure, the ritual would be much easier with the staff of the Grand Wizard, Arca, but neither he nor the rest of the council would ever consider aiding me in an act they would deem blasphemous.

As I am standing atop Talonbreak Hill, having already recited the sacrament, the king intervened. “Alastair!” He hobbled up the hill to meet me at the top, his white hair glowing in the night. “Stop this insanity this instant!”

“Don’t you have a kingdom to ruin, Rock? Go back to that corrupted council of yours where you belong, and let me be.”

“Alastair, step away from the circle. I’ve got fifteen archers with you in their sights if you continue to disregard my orders. You’ve been warned on multiple occasions that the use of magic is strictly prohibited in accordance to last year’s incident.” The stress incurred from his reign is amplified under the moonlight – deep wrinkles stretched across his face.

My gaze turned to the potion; all that was left of the ritual was the pouring of the concoction over the grave. I was so close to seeing my precious daughter once again, but yet I faced another obstacle. “Oh, I know all about that massacre, Rock. My daughter and all of her students lost their lives that day by the blade of the magic resistance – a group mirroring your ideals. So you’re going to have me killed just as you did Emily?”

Festered, the king replied, “For the last time that was not my doing. You really think I would be capable of the slaughter of an entire school full of children and teachers?” His face was expressionless. “Now, I am very sorry for what happened to Emily, and honestly if her revival had no repercussions, I would personally see to it that all of those poor people were brought back. That’s not the case however.” He gestured at the night sky. “The cost of reviving your daughter is eternal darkness. Not even the council, as wise and powerful as they are, can reverse it either. So do us a favor and walk back with me to the village.”

“A world without Emily would be dark anyway,” I said, diving toward the potion. Unfortunately, Rock wasn’t lying about the archers, and before I reach the ground four arrows tore into my chest. However, before my last breath I spill the vial’s contents onto Emily’s grave, pouring the magic into the earth.

My last sight was of Emily, enveloped in a warm, heavenly light. She hadn’t aged one day, and was prettier than she ever had been. Her golden hair fell over her shoulders just as her mother’s had – if only I could tell her how much she looked like her mother. But before I closed my eyes and left the realm, the silver moon receded into darkness and the star-speckled sky turns black. The curse of eternal night had befallen the land, and I, blinded by sorrow, selfishly dragged Emily out of everlasting bliss and sentenced her to live the rest of her days under a black cloak. My final gift to my daughter was that of damnation.

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