(This is an epilogue to the short story The Scent of Flowers)

“They told me I had a visitor.” They didn’t tell me who it was.

“I had to see you one more time.”

“Just one more?” There are stars in your eyes, mother.

Edberene’s lips softened into a smile. The stars flickered for a moment, revealing her indigo eyes. “I would have come more.”

“You could have come before.” Why didn’t you?

“I’m sorry.”

Esefel did not reply. Sorry? Is that all you can say? All you can do? You hated that I left. Hated that I returned to the humans. You turned your back on me!

“The ice has touched you, daughter. They have taught you well.”

“I do what I have to.” She bit her lip to keep the anger at bay.

Edberene stroked her cheek with a tender finger. “So there is a little bit of fire left. Don’t forget your fire, Esefel.”

“Fire is not a good thing here.”

“I guessed as much. I had my reasons to want you home. Though you would never have listened to me.”

Edberene paused for a moment. Esefel saw her eyes become darker. Black like the eternal night sky, full of stars, reflecting the Goddess who was drawing her back home to the night.

Edberene drew a deep breath and continued, “I have come to say goodbye. And I have come to bring a small token of atonement.”

“Atonement?” I wish you could have stayed. I wish we could have been friends. I wish so many things, and none of them will come true. What atonement could anyone make for that?

Edberene gestured to the barge behind her. An animal handler stepped up, holding the reins of a creature of the woodlands.

A trained deer?

“That is a valuable gift,” Esefel said. But it is not your friendship or your blessing.

“It is. It is yours. It will live many years – although it is no more enchanted than any other bird or beast of the Vengrand Forest. Take care of it. And remember me.”

“I will.” Both.

And the Sunday Sketch is a mythological sketchy sketch of the Eyes of Elyo; one silver for Selenselt, the goddess of the moons and stars, and the other golden for Eselar, the goddess of the sun.



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