She felt she had to pray, if not for her, then at least for him. And if she had to pray, here was as good a place as any. In the oratory in the chapel of St. Glinda, her old friend, she bowed her head.
It was the anniversary of his death. She hadn't allowed another person to touch her, even brush against her. Love was a wicked distraction; that much she'd learned. But there was no denying that she had loved and that he was gone. Madikien was gone. Yackle had taken care of Jansied as well, and the remains. The old woman had emptied the room and looked after the body…
Her room was boarded up. She wouldn't (and couldn't) walk into the room they'd shared, see the bed they'd made love in, the place he died, or the fireplace before which he had held her. It was too much, and thus the door between the two rooms was boarded. On days when she was particularly distractible, she could almost forget that there had ever been any other room. Malky wandered her room, never once mewling at the boarded up wall, for which she was thankful.
It wouldn't happen again. She couldn't allow it to. Love tore her too far away from the cause; it made her selfish. But she had no self. No one mattered in the scheme of things; she accepted that. Still, she couldn't help but think of him every once in a while. Madikien… I love you.
Just then she heard a noise from behind her. Someone else had entered the oratory. She couldn't be discovered here. The best thing to do was stay there with her head bowed, and when the stranger saw her, perhaps they'd leave her alone. Footsteps echoed and she worried she might be in trouble.
She heard her name. But that wasn't possible. No one knew her name except the rest of her circle, and they knew better than to speak it aloud. Yet, it had been her name; there was no mistaking it. Reminding herself to act as if she'd only responded to the noise, not the name, she turned her head and said, "I beg your pardon, sir?" When she saw who it was, she had to struggle to keep herself from reacting, or gasping in shock…
AN: Is anyone crying right now? I've been told that it makes people cry. I don't know. I cried writing it. I used up half a box of tissues writing the last chapter and the epilogue. Please, review.