After 10 years in a self imposed exile, you come home to find your whole town desolate and destroyed. What happened?

Sai had followed the smoke from the highlands, watching it at first as a huge column, blackening the sky, but as the days passed and his journey came towards an end, the column had thinned until only the last wisps were visible through the treetops. His boots left no footprints, no rustle of leaves to give away his position. There were creatures in this forest other than him and he did not intend to make his presence known.

The village had felt bigger when he left. A child has a very different view of the world. But now, it all lay in ruins. The meeting hut had burnt through, only the tall poles left standing with the iron castings charred through.

The stench lead him onwards, finding bodies so bloated he would not have been able to recognise them as kinfolk, let alone members of the patriarchy who had died defending the women. Their swords and shields were still clutched in their hands.

Sai moved with more caution now, keeping low next to whatever structure remained as he moved through the centre of the village. A noise, caught on the wind, found his ears and he found himself spinning on the spot, drawing a short sword from his scabbard.

Again he heard it. Moving with a purpose now he circled in, keeping eyes open in-front and beside. The last hut on the edge of the town, near where the mothers had washed their clothes, was still standing, for the most part. Sai ducked through the entrance, sword leading the way.

A child lay wrapped in swaddling clothes, sucking on a crude wooden object. Sai searched the darkness but found no mother nor enemy. The baby was alone. He turned to leave, leaving the child to it’s own fate, but it cried out once more.

He cursed the cold gods and faced the child.

The basket was empty. Only a the wooden piece remained.

Sai picked up the small piece, turning it over and over in his hands, and thought back to that night, ten seasons ago when he had fled his people. He fished in his tunic and pulled out the necklace he wore, holding up the small object on the end.

He placed the two wooden objects together, letting them interlock perfectly.

It was the other piece. Made at the same time by his father. He had taken one part, and the other…

The other belonged to his brother.


Prompt originally posted by Hiii_powers on reddit and received 2 upvotes.

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