The earth was terribly dry. Already the leaves were wilting and the petals had crumpled to hang down in drops the color of coagulated blood: a red so dark it was nearly black. She wanted to rip the petals off one by one. Little girls played that game still, didn’t they? Now he loves me…he loves me not…
Because it was so dry, it was difficult to dig. Anya had found the little hand spade where she had tossed it so carelessly only days before. Was it so recent that she had celebrated her birthday with cakes and presents? Only weeks ago. She almost had not gone to him to get the rose bush. Surely the drawing of the blossom he had sent with Esthyr should have been enough. Why was it never enough?
Eruviel said Anric went on a trip. He had never mentioned a trip to her. Or had he? She was so distracted lately. Perhaps he was just getting away from how terrible everything was now that… And then, all this. She never wanted something like this.
What did she want? Eruviel’s voice echoed in her mind. Do you even know what you need?
The metal of the spade cut into the dirt. How could it be so dry when it was so close to the water? It should not be thirsty. She looked up at the sky. The sun had faded long ago. The darkness enveloped her and gave her the courage to trespass onto Anric’s lawn to dig in his backyard. Perhaps the neighbors did not know yet that he kicked her out. They seemed fond of her. They could not have known she kept such turmoil trapped inside.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. The spade fell rhythmically like the beat of her heart.
Thunk. Shh. Thunk. Shh. The earth fell in an ever growing pile. She would have to put it back. Perhaps Anric really would never know.
Thunk-shh. Thunk. Thunk-shh. Thunk. Her arms grew tired and started to drag across the lawn. She was so tired.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
She jabbed the ground with the spade and felt it penetrate a root. The rose bush shuddered. Appalled at her carelessness, she let out a cry and dropped the shovel.
“Oh, no, no-no-no. I am so sorry, little Charm, so sorry.” She reached into the dirt to pull it away with her hands. “So sorry. So so sorry.”
As she dragged the dirt out of the hole, more fell back in. She dug in deeper, pulling more and more away onto to have it tumble right back.
“So sorry so-.”
The sob broke out across the lake and bounced off rock to fly back to Anya’s ears. The noise triggered something inside of her and the tears fell to the crumbling ground before her. Her cries shook her with terrible, wracking jolts throughout her entire body. She fell forward onto her hands and then sank to the ground.
“I’m so sorry.”
Her cheek rested against the earth as the floodgates finally opened and all her pain, confusion, and fear fell to the soil around the roots of the Dalish Charm in Anricwulf’s backyard.
“I’m so sorry. Don’t die.”
Her tears watered the land as the moon passed in its wavering course and the nightingales sang to the stars.