She is gone. I know that much. She loves me. She braids my hair. She sings to me and tells me stories till I sleep. I love her. Why shouldn't I, she's my mother. She's gone though, left behind somewhere on the mountain roads between here and home. We came here around a year ago. I still saw glimpses of her in those first days, so maybe she's here somewhere. Maybe she just needs time or home to make her feel like coming out. The mother from before is gone.

I remember her, a little. She sang with my father and played her lyre in the pretty room with all the people. I hid in her skirts away from the eyes. She was so busy, always coming and going. She was important to the people. She was warm and she smiled. The mother from before held my hand and led me through gardens. She sang me story songs about our home. She whispered stories of glowing warriors who beat back the Dark. She is gone.

She shushes me when I ask about the men and women who glow with power. The songs she sings don't tell about home now, only strangers, countless strangers who found love or died alone. She holds our home like a secret. She keeps herself a secret. I miss the world from before. I miss Cai and Father.

Father sing to me once more. Cai toddle a few more steps toward me. I promise I'll take you exploring with me, just giggle and reach for the red flower again. Just be something other than gone. Please be something more than memory. It's all memory. All that remains is her, and not even all of her. All that remains is her love for me. Mother, I'm sorry. I love you.

I remember home. I remember music and warmth and the feel of Father's skin beneath my fingers. I touched his lips while he sang and he stopped and smiled at me. I touched Cai's mouth too sometimes because his laugh was like music. Cai just opened his and wet my fingers and went back to back to his toys. Once he bit me. Father taught him to say "sorry".

When I remember, I'm happy that they aren't here. They might be like Mother, all gone except for love. I don't have to lose parts of them in memory.

She braids my hair. She touches my face and wraps me up in herself when it's cold. I love her. She is my mother. She cares for me as no one will ever know. I smile and show her stars and get into small mischief hoping to make her less gone. It doesn't work very well, but she gives me gentle looks and tells me that she loves me, so it can't be hurting anything.

Maybe I should forget about the mother from before, forget home. Maybe I should let Father and Cai become sweet dreams, no longer thoughts for waking times. She looks so sad when I whisper to her about them or ask her about the place beyond life. She told me once about that place. She told me that there is Light there and love. When all else is gone, there is love.

I know that. I have known that with every note that she plays for me, with every embrace from her thin arms and every kiss from the lips that touch my forehead. I have seen it in the hands that play with my hair as I pretend to sleep, the hands that hold her lyre. In the end her love for me, love for what is lost and for what yet may come to us, is all that remains.

All that we knew before is reduced to ash and memory. All that remains is love.


Hey, someone requested that I continue this so I figured I'd try my hand at Maerad's point of view. Thanks immensely to my reviewers, you guys are awesome. People who alerted or favorite this are also great, and if you fall under both categories, you might be the absolute coolest ever.