Nadia sat in the ashes that remained of the grove. There had been a number of earthquakes and droughts since the grove had burned, but the world was resilient. Through the gray powder coating the ground she could see shoots of greening climbing up toward the light of day. Tiny green phoenixes signaling that all would be well once more. Behind her there was a soft padding of footsteps. Looking up she met eyes with Claudia who’s white temple robes were now coated in a fine layer of ash and dust.
“You’re still reading that?” Claudia sank to the grund next to the Goddess gesturing to the book that lay open in her lap.
“Yes,” Nadia admitted solemnly carefully closing the cover, “It’s all I have left of him.”
“How are they?” Claudia asked not wishing to push the subject further.
“Broken, but healing. I don’t know if they will be the same again.”
“They will, but they will need time.”
“But how much?” Nadia asked worry painted across her face. “Ramora hasn’t eaten in weeks and from what Alex has told me, Baymore hasn’t left his own house. I’m worried about them.”
“As far as the time, it depends on the people.” Claudia replied drawing circles in the ashes wth her fingertips. “From what you’ve told me, they are in an enhanced state of grief. Some people heal more quickly than others. You can’t expect them tobe perfect over night.”
“I know, but it hurts me to see them this way.”
“Then you must help them. Once you have been shattered like that, well, it feels impossible to pick up the pieces on your own. Just being there for them when they need you will help them in the long run.”
“I..” Nadia started but thought better of it sitting in silence nodding in agreement instead. The young priestess was wise beyond her years ad she couldn’t help but wonder if she knew this. It was this wisdom that reminded her so much of her beloved Jacob. The similarity was so uncanny that she couldn’t help but wonder if she was not a relative. It wouldn’t be impossible, though she had not kept an eye on them in many years so it woud be impossible to tell. Nadia ran her fingers gingerly over the fragile cover losing herself deeper and deeper into her thoughts.
“You have a lot of love for him.” Claudia offered softly seeing the pain begin to build in the Goddess’s eyes.
“And it seems you still do. It’s hard to let go of someone who means so much to you, it seems that you know this far better than anyone. You understand on a more mortal level at least.”
“You are wise beyond what I even think you comprehend.” was Nadia’s response. “You remind me so much of him for that very reason.”
“What happened? I mean…I’m sorry I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No, no it’s fine. The story over all is rather complex and for another time, but ultimately I could not bare to stay with him and watch him grow old where I would not. I was devistated, but never stopped watching over him when I could.”
“And what of him?”
“He went on to live a long life in mortal terms. He married, had children and grandchildren…and I watched over them all for a time. In the end I came to him. I begged him to forgive me where I could not forgive myself and I will never forget what he said to me. ‘If not for you I would not have become the man I lived to be. I don’t feel an apology is necessary, I never have, but if it would give you some comfort then I accept it wholeheartedly.’ He left a print on my heart that I don’t think a thousand lifetimes will ever be able to wash away.” A tear slipped down Nadia’s cheek. She brushed it away hastily hoping the young priestess had not seen.
“Then you under stand, to an extent, what your friends are facing.” Nadia just nodded.
“Nothing would have helped me more than having them there when I lost Jacob, but being with mortals something that the Gods are not supposed to do, so I couldn’t tell them. I am doing my best to be there for them where I can. I know I can’t put them back together like I want, but everyone needs someone to help find the pieces at least.”
Claudia nodded slightly in agreement, letting her head hang down casting her gaze to the ground. The small shoots of grass blazed brilliant green contrast to the charred landscape around them. It was by no means the ending to the story that they wanted, but it was also by no means the end to their story over all. This was just the closing of one chapter as they moved on to the next and the world was destined to go with the ebb and flow forever competing with the love of Gods.