21st of Floodtime 383 ONT, 2:55pm, the village of Glenrummy, Glenrummy Gorge, 27k south of Lockland Keep
Thaden walked along the perimeter of the small hamlet, taking in the lay of the land, and searching for an area where he could perhaps lay a false trail. He found a small path that led him into a small green clearing. The clearing was in full Floodtime bloom, with tall spring flowers, thick green grass and a beautiful set of standing stones. In a moment he was transported years into the past.
Walking down the steps in Rootwallow, towards the holy glade of the elders. Meagre and Willkin at his side as many of the Clava and small folk were gathered about the glade. He was so nervous, and excited. He a veteran Guard Mouse who had faced scores of Wyzels in battle was nervous; there was nothing on Argyle that would make him turn away.
“You will be down in the circle with me” Meagre said to him, “Dalla will escort the lovely Moria down through the people and join us there, do you know yet what you will say?” the Master Guard Mouse asked. Thaden ran his paw through his fur
“I have an idea, I have the emotion… but the words have not yet come…” he said nervously
“That’s fine…” Meagre said putting a paw on his shoulder, “trust in the weave, it will guide you”. Dalla broke the sombre moment by taking Thaden’s shoulders
“I can’t believe you are at last being wed!” she said with a giddy glee that was unbecoming a Guard Mouse, she pulled the tartan wrap from her purse to show them once more. The colours of Rootwallow the blues and purple of the wrap were intricately woven of love. Dalla had spent weeks learning the spells of the weave to recreate the Tartan perfectly.
Thaden was on his knees, tears pouring from his eyes as he stared down at what was left of the blue and purple cloth. It was dirty and frayed, much of it had been burnt away by the globs of acid and chlorine that the mighty dragon had spewed. Thaden let out a shuddering sob, the episodes of the past rarely haunted him, but when they came there was little he could do to stop the progression. He shuddered and dropped his paws to the grass as he was again taken away from the present
He leapt across the glade screaming at the Hedgie’s to run
“GO GO, BY THE WEAVE GO!”
“I got’em Chap, you cover our tails on our out” Basil had cried to him, taking the lead on escorting the people of Rootwallow to the underground tunnels that might lead them to safety. Thaden nodded to him and called upon the weave again to spring the rest of the way across the glade to the circle of stones. Halfway across his arc he felt the clutches of Shepard’s mystic powers he was thrown against the wall of the far side as the green dragon let disgorge its acidic cloud. Moria and Dalla were in the centre of the fire… choked screams emerged from them as the smell of burning fur filled the air. He had been vaguely aware of Meagre and Wilkin diving onto the branches above and distracting the enemy. He knew he should join them but he couldn’t he raced across clearing. Pushing the stones and chairs out of the way. He found Moria gurgling and sputtering. He raced around looking for anything to bind her many wounds… the Tarten, his sash that would have hand-fasted them, he tugged in clear and quickly tried to stop the oozing bubbling bleeding from his beloved.
“Moria…” he sobbed, his voice thick and heavy
“…” she tried to speak, but it was a gasp of pain and a shuddering cough that spewed and green gas form her lungs
“I’m sorry Moria, I’m so sorry” he wailed holding her as best he could, he felt the weave leave her, felt her move to the beyond… felt his heart go with her
He fell to his side shuddering, his body covered in a cold sweat, the old scars of the acid burns alive and on fire once more, the fear that immobilized him taking hold firmly. He gasped but he could only smell the chlorine and acid in his lungs and began to choke. He shuddered on the ground a seizure taking over as his memories haunted him with every detail of the past.
“THADEN! THADEN WE HAVE TO GO! WE HAVE TO GO NOW!” Meagre was screaming at him as the Master Guard Mouse reached out with the weave and forced the cloud of acid and chlorine to divert around their position. Thaden laid beside his love and best friend in a puddle of the acid, accepting the burn as his punishment for not saving them. Meagre grabbed him pulling him away from the circle. Thaden’s hands were in a death grip on the tarten, some of his loves fur ripped as he and the tarten were pulled away. He was being thrown over Meagres shoulder and watched looking back as Meagre ran across the glade dodging acid and attacks, as he made for the tunnel. “COME ON THADEN! I NEED YOU THADEN! COME BACK TO ME THADEN!”
“COME BACK TO ME THADEN, COME BACK!” Aury said as she pulled the Guard Mouse out of the little glade. She had not known what had happened, but had suddenly felt the deepest sadness and remorse in her life. It was as if she were being forced to watch Serenity die over and over. The sadness had nearly caused her to fall over, but then she felt it’s source, and felt real physical pain from it. She had raced back to the find Thaden unconscious and choking. She thought perhaps the glade was haunted or cursed and pulled him from the area, then tried her best to flood their link with love and happiness… thankfully her link to others gave her a touchstone to call upon, she doubted on her own she’d of been able to imagine what happiness felt like with the pain and anguish that Thaden was filling her with. The Smith was her source, nothing there but bubbling springing happiness she clung to that like a life line and dragged herself and Thaden from the cold oblivion of anguish and pain. She looked at her friend, her best friend who slowly opened his eyes
“Goodbye Moria, goodbye” he said in an exhausted whisper… at last the far away look fled his eyes and they locked with Aury… “Thank you my friend… thank you”