Big Damn Heroes
Learning to Murder
Five years later…
“Leaf and Star bid you welcome and well come, Belpheir’anon.”
Belpheir’anon jumped nearly an inch when Illeith’atharia started speaking. The Eladrin druid looked much like he always did; rugged and earthy. Per his norm, he carried his weapons at his side, and was additionally burdened with a back pack. He was just about to knock on Illeith’atharia’s door when she had wandered up behind him.
“Primal’s Blessing girl! Warn a fellow next time,” he said.
With a smile, Illeith’atharia gave him a quick bow. “Forgiveness, Belpheir. Please, come in. I’m sure Mother and Father will be pleased to see you.” She moved to open the door and held it for him. “I didn’t expect to see you back so soon. I thought you and Keara would be out for at least another month.”
“As did we. But the spirits smiled upon us and we were able to conclude our last job far faster than we anticipated. The ladies sent me out after some treats for dinner tonight…” The druid’s explanation trailed off as he noticed Illeith’atharia hadn’t moved beyond the entrance of the door.
Blood. Illeith’atharia smelled blood in the house. After years of hunting with Dalrick, she had become quite attuned to the sweet flavor of it on the air. This smell was not just the faint thrumming of life that normally floated around rooms that people lived in. This was the delicious salty tang of freshly spilled blood.
Mother…Father… Illeith’atharia’s thoughts flew into a panic. She took off in a sprint and began searching for the cause of the smell. Belpheir’anon followed right on her heels, looking both alarmed and slightly confused. Illeith’atharia tried to calm herself down, to move as silently as possible; but fear nagged her. Blood and Bones! Where is everyone, she worried to herself. The farther she raced into their manor, the stronger the smell became.
She found the bodies in the Water room. Originally modeled after a lady’s solar, the room had a wall of mosaic glass. When sunlight reflected through it, it made the room look as if it were underwater. Tiny pieces of crystal inlayed in the walls mimicked the shells and rocks one might find on a beach. White wood on the furniture and floor were carved and lightly stained to look like kelp.
Those same glass panes were now liberally smeared with blood. The dying rays of the sun’s light filtered through the soiled glass and bathed the room in a red glow. Chairs and books were scattered around there room. On the floor lay what was left of Keara Swift; it looked like she had taken a brutal beating before being killed. Her features were nearly indistinguishable with all the damage and the stain of blood on the floor was frighteningly large. In a nearby chair sat Shinnal’thea; her throat cut.
Belpheir’anon quickly ran to Keara’s body. He reached out to touch her, but couldn’t quite make contact with the ruined thing that was his love. Whatever he was whispering to himself was completely lost to Illeith’atharia. Her whole being was focused on her mother’s corpse. She stumbled over to the chair where Shinnal’thea’s body rested and fell to her knees. A scream threatened to pour out of her, but only a dull moan escaped her lips. She put one hand on her mother’s bloody knee and wept.
The moment seemed to stretch on for an eternity. Belpheir’anon was shaking her on the shoulder. His voice was coaxing in her ear, “Come on girl, snap out of it. We need to find out who did this. The blood is fresh; they couldn’t have left long ago. Don’t zone out on me now. Everything will be alright. Your father and I have faced worse and come out fine in the end…”
As she was brought back to the moment, anger replaced woe. Someone killed her mother and Keara, and that someone was still alive somewhere. The whole world seemed to be bathed in red for a moment; though she didn’t realize it, her eyes had started to give off an eerie red glow. Noticing the look in her eyes, Belpheir’anon took a small step back. His gaze bored into her for a moment, and then he started searching the room. “When I left earlier, Keara was here with Dalrick and your parents. It’s a good bet that Dalrick and Kith’athar are chasing them down now…or were taken. Although why they would take them…” He shook his head in confusion.
Gritting her sharpened teeth, Illeith’atharia joined the search for clues. There was a little part inside of her that was wailing and screaming. But once the initial shock wore off, Illeith’atharia found that most of the emotion inside of her was easy to ignore. There was still a dull smoldering fury, but it was like white noise in the background.
Her mind dropped into the almost trance-like state she fell into when she hunted with Dalrick. She surveyed the wreckage around her. Given that her mother’s corpse seemed to be mostly undisturbed, she moved over to the elf on the floor. She felt a curious detachment slide over her as she examined the body. Somewhere behind her, Belpheir’anon had turned into a hound and was sniffing the room.
The smell of congealing blood started to leave a sour tang in the air. Illeith’atharia simply clenched her teeth and turned over the body. Heavy bruising made some of the flesh softer and mushier than it should have been, and several deep stab wounds peppered the corpse. Something reflective caught her eye in one of the wounds. Leaning in, Illeith’atharia pressed on the dead flesh; slowly wheedling out the bit of metal. Belpheir’anon abandoned his search for a moment to watch her work.
The small green spike was buried quite deep. Once taken out of the corpse, it couldn’t have been more than four or five inches long. It was made out of some kind of metal with a dull green finish; intricate leaves were carved into the shaft. The blunt end of the stiletto was a flower bud with some kind of animal head coming out under the petals. It was the reflection on the eyes that caught Illeith’atharia’s attention. The eyes were shining gems; black within red.
“I know where they are. Let’s go.” She quickly began moving out of the house.
“Wait, what?” Belpheir’anon had switched back into his Eladrin form and was now tagging along behind her.
“We’re off to Lady Annearth’na Celayona’s manor.” She held up the stiletto so Belpheir’anon could see it. “This was created using the same motif that her house was. That should be a good place to start looking.”
“Hold on there. Where do you think you’re going?” He grabbed a hold of her shoulder and slowed her down a little.
“I’m going to find my Father and Dalrick.” She glared at Belpheir’anon.
“No, you’re not. You are coming with me to get Tethnick’near and Narith’deara, and then you are going to stay at the temple until we return. Dalrick may have been training you for a year or two, but you’re still too young for this. Creatures like these play for keeps.” He grabbed her by the arm and quickly guided her toward the shrine where Tethnick’near was staying at.
Illeith’atharia knew it was pointless to argue. When Belpheir’anon decided on something, he remained certain in it; the man was as stubborn as the mountains and as unchanging. Her shoulders shook with frustration and her jaw began to ache again. Knowing that her teeth had already grown into fangs was one of the only things that helped her keep her mouth shut. The other factor was that a plan had started to brew in the back of her head.
Belpheir’anon and Illeith’atharia made it to the Shrine of the Ancestors in near record time. After a brief chat with an attendant, Tethnick’near was summoned and someone else was sent to find Narith’deara. After he arrived, Illeith’atharia handed over the stiletto to the assembled group and they discussed a plan of action. All three of them were adamant that Illeith’atharia stay in the safety of the temple. She held her tongue and nodded in agreement; the sooner they were gone, the faster she could get to her plan. After some talk, they headed out together; intent on breaking in for a rescue.
Moments later she was out of the shrine, quieter than a whisper on the wind. Her parent’s friends were right. Illeith’atharia wasn’t ready for this, and she knew it. Belpheir’anon, Tethnick’near, and Narith’deara would all be taxed to the limit by dealing with whatever undead creatures Lady Annearth’na could throw at them. They didn’t need her along slowing them down.
But Illeith’atharia knew someone who might help; Lord Kallani Zavier; the same being who had dealt with Annearth’na last time on behalf of Dalrick. After years of attending the infrequent Blood of Vol rituals, Illeith’atharia had become somewhat used to seeing the red and black eyed stranger. Dalrick rarely let him close enough to speak with them though. When they did talk to one another they were polite enough, though it was clear something else was going on. Every conversation between the two of them was layered with hidden meanings and venom coated words.
With Dalrick unwilling to further sate her curiosity about the man, Illeith’atharia had spent some time tracking down where the red eyed stranger lived in the city. She always used the utmost care when following him. He never spotted her, but sometimes he would pause and get this strange smirk. It made her wonder if he didn’t know she was there anyways, though she generally brushed that off as paranoia.
He had helped Dalrick protect her in the past; logic would dictate that he might help her now. With her destination in mind, the young Eladrin stole across the city to the lair of a different undead.
As she approached his home, the twilight of the evening had finally turned into full dark. The place was shrouded in huge trees with weeping branches; only a small red mage lamp at the door lighted the stepping stones leading up to it. The soft moonlight did almost nothing to illuminate the rest of the area. After a moment of reflection and hesitation, she slipped off her glasses to get a better look at the area. Another moment slid by before she stole up to the door to quietly knock.
With the first touch on the door, she could see dark red runes faintly glowing on the surface of the wood. There was a sound of something clicking, and the door creaked open ever so slightly. Illeith’atharia gave one last look at the trees around her, and quietly slipped in.
The hallway she walked into was decorated like a dead forest. Wood flooring was carved like intricate twining tree roots and extended up the walls; the curves suggested bones in the trees. Minerals and cut gems set in the wood gleamed dulling under the soft red light of a lamp hanging on an extended branch. The sides of the hall continued quite a long ways up; Illeith’artharia could just barely make out tiny twinkling gems in constellation form shining through the leafless branches. Seeing the barren branches and the pitiless dark sky above gave an impression of deep winter.
After a slight shiver, Illeith’atharia slowly picked her way down the hall. She didn’t make it more than a few steps before a hand brushed her shoulder. Nearly jumping out of her skin, she spun around. A petite cloaked figure stood behind her. The figure was so thoroughly enveloped in cloth that very little could be distinguished about it, even facial features. The deep black hood covered the figure’s eyes. It bowed deeply to Illeith’atharia and motioned with a gloved hand for her to follow.
The person led her through a twisting path of hallways and not-trees, until coming to something that looked more like a traditional library. Books lined shelves in the walls and the top of the room arched into what looked like a cave roof. Kallani sat at his ease in a very large comfortable looking chair. When Illeith’atharia entered the room, his handsome angled face looked up with a smile. He set down a book and walked over to kiss her hand.
“My lady, you surprise me with your visit. Please, join me…” A somewhat familiar smile adorned his face; one part wicked and two parts pleased. He stared at her directly in the eyes, reminding her again of her own heritage.
“Forgive me for intruding Lord Kallani, but I am in need of your aid.” She blushed lightly and averted her gaze. Faced with is mildly disturbing presence again, she started to question the sanity in getting him involved. Despite the fact that Dalrick vouched for him, he was still a dangerous and unpredictable undead. Then the image of her mother’s throat cut sailed behind her eyes again. She clenched her teeth and tried to keep the anguish off of her face.
He leaned in a little toward her and inhaled slightly. “How interesting…and what have you been up to?”
“Someone has broken into my home and killed my mother, as well as a guest of ours. Dalrick and my father are missing. I believe it was Lady Annearth’na Celayona.” She clenched her jaw again. Just stating what had happened caused a huge lump to form in her throat and another surge of anger to fill her. She briefly closed her eyes to stop the slight glow from being seen.
“I see. You wish help in going after them, yes?” At her nod, he continued, “I think that can be arranged. After all, we of the Blood must look after one another.” His grin was pure wicked now. He stepped away and bowed again. “If you will excuse me for a moment; there are a few things I’d like to pick up before we go. You can explain the full situation on the way over.”
Illeith’atharia nodded again and felt a great burden of tension leave her; she wouldn’t have to do this alone. While Kallani was out of the room, she took a few moments to center herself. The little bat in her hood squeaked for attention. A quick pat on the head was enough to quiet the small creature; the familiar action calmed her down quite a bit as well.
She had very little chance to look around the room before Kallani returned. His fine dark clothing was now neatly covered in a cloak so deep green it was nearly black and various blades decorated his belt. He bowed before her once again, and gestured her out the door.
As they headed over to Annearth’na’s old manor, Illeith’atharia quietly whispered to him what had happened. Kallani said very little, but occasionally he would smirk or frown. They stuck to the shadows as they moved through the city. Every step of the way Illeith’atharia prayed they weren’t too late to help.
Lady Annearth’na’s estate was far more disturbing than Illeith’atharia remembered it. Five years of decay and over-growth had added a grim weight to the already creepy home. The gate was shut, but there was a large hole bent into the green animal headed vines. Bits of fresh blood coated some of the sharper bits of metal.
“Well, it’s fairly clear this is where your friends went in. Very nice of them to make a path for us,” Kallani whispered quietly. He slipped through the opening with deft ease, careful not to catch his cloak on the pointy parts. Illeith’atharia followed suit, and soon the two of them had stolen their way into the house proper.
Rather than following the clear trail of destruction that was left by her parent’s friends, Illeith’atharia and Kallani prowled through a side entrance. Kallani lead the way through a maze of hallways and rooms. Occasionally he would point out traps for Illeith’atharia to avoid.
A dim glowing light cast down a hall way told them they were getting close to their prey. Kallani motioned for Illeith’atharia to back into a different room for a moment. Once there, he whispered softly to her, “We need to find out what happened to your father and Dalrick, correct?” At her nod he continued, “My cloak can render all underneath it invisible for a short time. I shall pick you up, and then the two of us will go see what awaits us ahead.”
Before she could say yay or nay to the idea, Kallani scooped her up in his arms. She struggled and yelped a little in surprised. His arms closed like a vice around her and the hand that supported her upper body moved to cover her mouth for a moment. “Now, now…Best be quiet or we’ll warn Annearth’na that we’re here.”
She did quiet down, though she was intensely uncomfortable. Only the thought of getting close to her mother’s killer kept her silent. Kallani smirked and let the cloak envelope the two of them. An involuntary shiver raced through her; Kallani’s body radiated cold. Illeith’atharia situated the cloak so she could still see out of the front of it. A second shiver crawled up her spine as she felt the invisibility magic settled around the two of them.
Illeith’atharia tried to ignore Kallani’s tight embrace. The thought of him dropping her never crossed her mind; his hold on her was too solid. There was something about him though, some weird aura that seemed to jangle against her nerves in an unsettling way. Now that she was close to him, she picked up the faint scent of damp earth mixed with something else emanating off of him. It was very subtle, but not totally unpleasant. The whole affair thoroughly spooked Illeith’atharia; this was not how she envisioned them riding to the rescue.
The two of them moved back toward the lit hallway and into the room beyond. Soft yellow lamps illuminated a scene that would come to haunt Illeith’atharia’s trances. Kith’athar sat bound and reeling in a chair; his clothes were liberally stained with blood and his face was bruised. Annearth’na rested on his lap and was quietly feeding from Kith’athar’s neck; one jeweled hand in his hair kept his head at a comfortable angle. Dalrick sat relaxed across the room. He was unbound, if a little roughed up, and seemed to be watching the scene before him with irritation.
Upon seeing her father, murderous intent filled Illeith’atharia. She surged toward Annearth’na. Only Kallani’s vice like grip on her body kept her from flying toward the sorceress. His hand quickly covered her mouth, keeping quiet her grunt of rage. She struggled for a moment longer, but couldn’t squirm out of Kallani’s hold.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Dalrick’s lessons in control came flooding back to her, and she concentrated on controlling her heart beat. The world of emotion gradually slid back into the depths of her mind. When she opened her eyes, Kallani was watching her curiously. He quietly motioned for her silence. At Illeith’atharia’s nod of accent, he uncovered her mouth and continued to watch the feeding.
Annearth’na had just pulled away from Kith’athar’s neck. Her rusty voice oozed satisfaction as she addressed him, “Delicious. You taste delicious! You won’t last much longer I think, and I’ve been very gentle so far. So save yourself the pain and tell me where your daughter is.”
Kith’athar shuddered and feebly tried to move away from the sorceress. “Wh-why do you…want her?” His normally musical voice sounded dry; the words seemed to crack as they left his mouth. Annearth’na gently played with his hair while he spoke; occasionally she would yank his head to the side, putting stress on the bite wounds.
“Every parent likes to think their child is special, but little Illeith’atharia really is. I have such plans for her…So tell me. Where. Is. She.” With each punctuated word, Annearth’na stuck one sharp fingernail into one of Kith’athar’s many wounds. Each word brought a strangled cry of pain out of her prisoner.
“Ahhrgh! I won’t…tell you…” His voice came out in strangled gasps. It was all Illeith’atharia could do just to sit there and watch it all happen.
Just as Annearth’na bared her teeth one more time, a bright plunking sound echoed across the room. It was an hour glass perched on an out of the way table; the blue beads inside had just started falling. Both Annearth’na and Dalrick looked at it, though it was Dalrick who spoke. “Looks like they’re already in tha last room.” He tilted his head slightly, dismissing the relevance of it. “I figur’d as much.”
“Go deal with them. I’ll finish up here…”
“No chance. I’ve don’ my fightin’ fer the day. I wounna stand a candle to them in this state. ‘Side’s. With ‘im not talkin’, I’m still yer best chance at findin’ the girl.” Dalrick completely ignored the look of pure malice that both Anneath’na and Kith’athar leveled at him.
“Clever little thief… Very well. I will be back shortly, and then we can finish our little transaction.” Annearth’na slid off of Kith’athar’s lap and swept out of the room with a sneer on her face. As she left, Illeith’atharia’s father made another strangled cry.
“Dalrick…friend…brother…why? WHY!” Kith’athar’s voice ended with a rough crack. He hung in his bindings and gasped out a few more words, “Why would you do this?”
The human eased out of his chair and casually picked up his sword. He walked over to Kith’athar and stood next to him. “Tha’ old witch is right. Illeith is gonna be pretty important ‘ere in a bit. But ya see, ‘er trainin’ hit a snag. She wounna kill anyone; against tha whole idea, it seems. But she does love you and Shinnal. I bet she’d kill fer you.”
In the blink of an eye, Dalrick’s sword had sliced through Kith’athar’s neck. The Eladrin sorcerer’s head went sailing over the chair and landed with a thump against the wall. Dalrick just shrugged his shoulders one more time, “Well, time ta go save tha ol’ cabal from tha evil witch.”
As he turned to walk out the door, Illeith’atharia broke free of Kallani’s grip and flew at Dalrick. All of the hate and rage and sorrow poured out of her in an inarticulate scream. Despite the element of surprise, Illeith’atharia still only managed to get a glancing blow before Dalrick spun away from her attacks. An instant of surprise flashed across his face before he slammed her back with the blunt side of his blade.
“This is what ya call control, eh, lassy? Shame ya ‘ad ta see that, but it does seem to ‘ave caused tha desired effect.” Dalrick smirked as the two of them exchanged Oaths of Enmity. Illeith’atharia snarled and charged him again.
As the two exchanged blows, it was fairly clear that Dalrick was only toying with her. Illeith’atharia rarely landed a blow on him, while he continued to slowly grind her down. Her occasional successful stabs only caused him to chuckle.
Neither combatant seemed to notice Kallani watching against a wall behind them; a wide grin splitting his face the whole time. After waiting for the right moment, Kallani slipped into the shadows and appeared behind Dalrick. It took only an instant for the undead’s sword to stab clear through the human’s chest. A wheezing sound escaped the avenger’s lips as he crumpled to the ground.
Illeith’atharia sagged to her knees as well; she was bleeding in a dozen places and she was fairly sure she had a broken bone or two. Kallani had stepped in just in the nick of time. Kallani grabbed Dalrick’s hair and presented the human’s throat to Illeith’atharia. His eyes were glowing and Illeith’atharia could see the fangs in his mouth. “He still breaths. Drink.”
The young Eladrin just shook her head, and then groaned in pain. She had never been this wounded in all her life; it was excruciating. Her lower body started to feel cold and numb. Though she knew it was a bad sign, she nearly wept with the joy of the numbness.
“You’re still bleeding. You’ll be as dead as Dalrick here if you don’t get patched up soon. Drink. Save your own life and avenge your parents at the same time.” Kallani’s voice was coaxing and low. When he talked like that, it all made so much sense. He moved the soon-to-be corpse a little closer and slowly licked his bloody blade.
Illeith’atharia groaned again as her resolve wavered. She hesitantly grabbed Dalrick’s collar and pulled the dying human close to her. Blood smell filled her senses; she hesitated only a moment longer before biting into his neck.
It was like swallowing electric moonlight; thick, warm, glorious moonlight. The radiant glow of it reached through her body and brought warmth to every extremity. A low moan of relief caught in her throat as she felt her wounds closing up. The beat of his heart seemed to roar inside of her and slam against her body like a drum. She could feel that primal rhythm slow, until nothing but a corpse was left in her embrace.
“Monster!” Illeith’atharia looked up to see Tethnick’near glaring at her from a door across the room. Narith’deara and Belpheir’anon were behind him; varying levels of shock and resignation filled their faces. The three of them looked badly wounded, but they all seemed to be moving under their own power. The paladin sneered at her and said, “I always knew you would turn out to be a monster.”
Outrage and shame burned in Illeith’atharia’s cheeks. He was wrong! Everything was Dalrick’s fault, and they were going to blame her!
Belpheir’anon quietly cautioned his friend, “We don’t know—“
His words trailed off as Kallani rose from behind Dalrick’s corpse and stood in between Illeith’atharia and the group. His voice was rich and smooth, but had all the venom of a scorpion. “Well, well, well… Who do we have here? So pleasant to see you all.” The small cabal of would-be rescuers all seemed to whiten a bit. Illeith’atharia even heard Belpheir’anon mutter something like, “How the hell…?”
The remaining undead glanced over his shoulder at Illeith’atharia and gave her his razor blade smile. “Do run along now. I’ll take care of matters here and catch up with you.”
As Illeith’atharia grabbed her sword and stood up, Kallani’s sword began to glow with black fire. Narith’deara roared and charged the undead standing before him. Tethnick’near started to chant and reached his arm toward Illeith’atharia. Whatever he was going to do was cut off as Belpheir’anon grabbed his arm and forced it down.
“Get a hold of yourself! This is Illeith’atharia here, not some creature!” Belpheir’anon continued to hold the paladin as he tried to talk him down.
Tethnick’near promptly head butted him. The druid was left reeling. “She’s always been a monster; you were just too blind to see it. Now look what has happened; she’s thrown in her lot with him.”
Illeith’atharia stood indecisive and watched in horror as everyone she knew fought among themselves. Kallani’s blade slid across Narith’deara’s armor with a screech, and the undead spared another glance in her direction. “Now m’lady. I would hate to see you die here.”
Illeith’atharia fled the estate. Still somewhat wounded numb to the world, she ran back to her house…the house filled with the smell of dead blood and her mother’s corpse. As she moved through the rooms, she reflected on the evening.
Her parents were dead. Her mentor had killed them. He had some plan in mind for her and he needed her to become accustom to killing. Well, he reached his goals there, she reflected bitterly. And now the only people I really trusted think I’m a murderer and a monster.
The thought of monsters brought Kallani to mind. He had helped her, but he also encouraged her to embrace the act of murder. If it wasn’t for him, perhaps her parent’s friends wouldn’t want to kill her now. Also, Annearth’na clearly had some kind of plan for her, as did Dalrick; maybe Kallani did to? Whatever it was, chances were good it’s because of her heritage.
Eventually, either Tethnick’near will find me or Kallani will. If Teth finds me first, he’ll probably kill me. Her jaw ached again and she absent mindedly rubbed her fangs with her tongue as she thought. Belpheir might be able to convince him to hold off for a while, but Teth never liked me…he’ll come for me one way or another. If Kallani finds me first, he might help me further. And while he’s at it, he’ll be encouraging me to act like him; to be a real undead. That last thought brought her to a cold stop; her tongue was still on one sharpened canine.
Or I could leave. Make a life somewhere else. With Mother and Father gone, there really isn’t anything here for me anyways…If I stay here I’ll either die or turn into something like Kallani. She suppressed an involuntary shudder. I do not want to be like the monster that made me. I don’t want to kill people.
The more she thought about it, the more the idea of leaving appealed to her. Once she made up her mind, she moved through the house with purpose. After years of learning from Dalrick, she had a good idea of what she might need.
After gathering a back pack full of supplies, whatever money she could scrounge up, and a couple more weapons from the armory, Illeith’atharia stood just inside the front door of her house. Everything was ready to go, but that last step seemed very hard to take.
She thought of her mother, laying bloody and dead just a few rooms away. She thought of her father, and of his torture and murder. They were gone, and the very people who were most likely to help her would only murder her on sight, or mold her into a gleeful killer. Either way, she couldn’t bring herself to face her parents that way.
Better they stay dead, than see what has become of the rest of us, she thought. Songs of leaving and mourning filled her mind as the fully fledged Avenger stepped out of the house and left the world she knew behind.
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread.
Through shadow, till the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Mist and shadow, cloud and shade,
Hope shall falter, all shall fade.
Where once was light, now darkness falls. Where once was love, love is no more.
Don’t say, “Good bye.” Don’t say I didn’t try…
These tears we cry are falling rain. For all the lies you told us, The hurt, the blame!
And we will weep, to be so alone. We are lost! We can never go home.
So in the end, I will be what I will be. No loyal friend, was ever there for me.
Now we say, “Good bye.” We say you didn’t try…
These tears you cry have come too late! Take back the lies, the hurt, the blame!
And you will weep, when you face the end alone. You are lost! You can never go home.