Preamble: This is a sequel to The Beginnings (the nineteenth Wend). It will not make as much sense without having read the previous story.

Arlia Village Has Burned To The Ground

By Maiji/Mary Huang

arlia village has burned to the ground
the trees are like houses; the houses are ash.
you laugh. there is nothing funny about this
yet it is somehow funny, in a sick way.
it is too late to be angry, and you are too old
to cry like a child, so you drop your red sword
on the ground and laugh.

much later, at night, in his sleep, he murmurs:
i'm sorry. you look at him. his eyes are still closed.
his hand is still black. if i were an engineer, he says,
i could have built a shield. i'm sorry.

you touch his face, which is wet,
and ruffle his hair, gently. you say,
i think we've cheated enough for a day.

Author's Notes: This was actually finished a LONG TIME AGO, back around July 23, 2009. Well before The Beginnings was finished. However, I felt it'd have more impact if I actually finished the other story first and gave the full context for that, so years later, here we are. IT'S THE FUTUREEEE Then I reread this and hated it, and it took me forever to get it to a decent point (basically deleting stuff, going away, then coming back again months later and going, "oh, I guess it's okay").

The next wend will be more lighthearted. I pwomish