The Binding Brook | By: Sarah Clift | | Category: Short Story - Fantasy Bookmark and Share

The Binding Brook

'Twas not so long ago that Akima first came upon the bubbling brook, its water splashing haphazardly at the stones in which it seemed captured. She'd smiled, warmly, to herself as she'd knelt down beside it, and dipped a calm hand into its beauty. A feeling of absolute magic filled Akima's heart that day, and she'd gone home to her hut in the mountains with a light soul.

But, as it is now, Akima's feels nothing but a hollow emptiness, slowing boaring a hole into her very being. She sits, alone, upon a wicker chair her father so painstackingly carved. Her hand occasionally flutters up to her throat, as if she's seen a great horror. Her lips glow no more. They are now nothing but a soft, pale red. And her eyes, once bold and beautiful, now sit, gray and unhappy, behind drooping eyelids.

"Will this pain never leave me?" Akima asks herself, sadly. Her lips tremble the slightest bit. Tears well up and suddenly spill over her eyelids, sliding coldly down her fair cheeks. "Why did thee leave me?" she wonders, as she glances upon the small gravestone, marking the final resting place of her beloved.

She bolts upright, and dashes to this reminder. She falls to her knees in front of the gravestone, and traces the words with the tips of her slender fingers.

Here lies Roland

In peace he walks,

In love he watches

over thee.

Words she has memorized. She sighs, softly, and leans forward, keen on placing a kiss upon the stone. Out of some deep urge, she glances downward, brushing at the grass which grows around the gravestone.

Look up.

Akima does at it says, unaware that she is trembling. Her eyes settle upon a figure. And there he is, her beloved Roland. Sitting in a tree and carving out juicy pieces of an apple. He smiles at her, and jumps from his perch.

Akima stands, her eyes clouded with pain and disbelief. As she rises, he blows her a kiss, and darts through the trees. She blikes away tears, rubbing at her eyes. When she looks again, he is gone. 'Twas all her imagination, it seems.

Akima sighs, and kneels beside the grave once more. She cocks her head to the side, and stares, opened mouth, at what has replaced the words "look up."

Are you still sitting by this silly stone?

Akima jumps to her feet as her ears are assulted by a laugh she knows too well. 'Tis Roland, true in form. He waits just inside the trees. Akima moves one wobbily leg, and Roland disapears again. The poor girl, confused but determined, takes another wobbily step forward.

She moves this way for what seems an eternity. Surely, he is gone by now. But as this horrid thought sinks in, he appears again, grinning at her widely. Such a smile is enough to get Akima moving. She begins to run, chasing after this apparition with newly regained courage.

Her trail weaves in and out of trees and into a clearing. Akima nearly falls to her knees when she bursts into the open air. There, before her, is the brook. And, lounging lazily atop the very water itself, is her love.

"Akima," Roland calls, happily, as if the past had never taken him away. He is vibrant. Alive! But, how can this be?

Akima says this last aloud, startled.

"Has thee already forgotten?" Roland asks, looking at her strangely. She trembles under his scrutiny.

"" Akima asks, puzzled.

"'A love like this cannot be broken, bonded true before its spoken'," Roland says, quoting 'Lore of the Old Ones', an unspoken power forever bound true by those of the Days of Past. "Before this brook we forged a love so strong, it could not even be parted by the 'Hand of Death' itself. You gave to me your entire being, as I, too, gave you mine. Our love was sealed by the Old Ones themselves, as 'twas consumed by our very passion. We are bound to eachother by a special magic forged long ago."

Akima stares at Roland, bewildered. She does not understand. "The 'Lore of the Old Ones' is impossible within the confines of such an unimportant place."

Roland smiles, and floats from the water onto the ground, facing Akima. "Look closely, Akima, my love," he whispers into her ear, sending a thrilling chill down her spine.

Akima looks toward the brook, and Roland moves his hand in an odd gesture. The water begins to swirl, creating a splendidly magic whirlpool of blue liquid. The water parts, and there Akima gazes something that mends her heart and soothes her soul. 'Tis truth Roland speaks, she understands, as she gazes upon the glowing insignia carved into the stones lining the bottom of the brook.

'Tis the symbol of the presence of the 'Old Ones' all around them.

Tears of utter happiness stream down Akima's face as she cries, most greatfully, "Our love, bound in truth and trust..." Roland nods, smiling widely, as his feet touch the ground, and his body glows with renewed life. "...negates death!"

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