The tattered edges of the book, the crackling warmth of the fire, the crashing of the waves on jagged rock. They all reminded him of one thing.
Suddenly there were ships on the water. White, graceful, sleek swanships. In the water were streaming ribbons of red, and the sea tossed in mourning, in fury.
Torches licked the edges of the craft - two torches, three. The rope caught on fire, and soon the ships were engulfed in flames amid the dark sea.
Light that blazed in defiance. In vain pride.
There was blazing light on the ships, in their hearts, and in their eyes.
Makalaure found himself looking at the notes carefully inked into the pages.
It stung his heart bitterly. He wished he hadn't done so much. It was sickening, now that he thought about it, now that it was past. At times he felt as if someone had run a sword through his heart and pulled the blade back out, and he was only alive to feel the pain. To wait for death.
Desperately, he wished it would all just stop. He couldn't bear it. But every time he tried to end it-
He saw the fire. He saw the fiery chasm that had engulfed his brother, and the fire in his hand.
Stabs of pain shot up from his hand, the one that had once held the light of the Trees, the light of the Blessed Realm. It was scarred now. Scarred and useless, just like himself.
There was nothing left now.
Nothing but him, his pain, his regret and... there was one more thing.
Makalaure looked down at the book in his hands, edges frayed from thousands of years of use and marked with the once-proud, once-shining eight pointed star.
And now it was grey. Grey, dull, and cracked. Broken, just like the house it stood for. Some of the points were even gone, or faded.
Just like my brothers, just like my father.
The book had been with him through war and strife, through carefree childhood, through pain and sorrow.
That was the one thing that had stayed with him.
But maybe, he thought, just maybe it could carry him once more. Maybe it would help him bear the pain. And with it he could spin their deeds into tales of glory, and turn his brothers into heroes of song.
Yes, even now he could see them again, though through a veil of tears. His father, his brothers, his uncles, his cousins.
And then, he began to sing.