[08.15.99] » by H.L.

The sharp edge of the hill rose upwards towards the skies, its lush green slopes saturated with the incessant rains of winter. It made an uneasy footing, yet the woman who stood on the jagged tip maintained her poise with the firm surety of a trained soldier. One gloved hand rested on the bronze hilt of her sword and the other, its fingers clenched, dug into her waist in what seemed an almost frantic impatience; yet her grey eyes were clear and guarded, and not a muscle in her delicately-featured countenance moved as she watched the glorious prospect of rolling hills and lavish green meadows that spread at a great distance below her feet. A flowing  train of liquid clouds spilled across the soft, luxurious vision of the dark blue winter skies, and the bitter chill that pervaded the atmosphere was unrelieved by the sun, whose lustrous brightness seemed to almost hurt the eyes; its scintillating rays played across the dark copper strands of the woman's hair, setting them aflame.

Standing within that beautiful vision of turmoil, Miluda experienced a haunting sense of melancholy, like a ghostly shadow that seemed to rise from amid the flowing atmosphere of the hills and steal over her with its soft, mesmerizing presence. There was something almost surrealistic in her surroundings, something that the devout would describe as a vision of Heaven, yet which Miluda could only describe as a light that seemed to break from a world which was not her own, but which descended upon her for a moment, soothing the bitter fear that seeped through her veins like the darkest fire; the fear that she will die. It seemed, she thought, like a day in which one could die; something in its liquid, perfect beauty was almost threatening.

Her gloved hand clenched upon the hilt of her sword, gripping it tersely as the thoughts swirled inside her mind with intolerable slowness. There is no end to the sadness, she thought; no end to it, and no end to the blood and the death. And yet, she pleaded wordlessly to some unknown force, if I must die, please let it not be today, just before the revolution. Please let me participate in it, and give my life and my death FOR it, not die here, weak and useless. Please... God.

I will not make it easy for them, she thought. Even if I must die, I will not make it easy for them; if I have no choice, I will take them with me. Let them taste the bitter edge of death, the one that was so close to my own flesh so many times.

She raised her eyes towards the haunting blue skies, that covered the world with their soft, liquid embrace, trying to sense if something was listening to her hidden prayer; but all she could perceive was an endless beauty that harbored the same eerie, frightening impression of doom that pervaded her mind.

God... God... God... listen to me, even if I am your lowly daughter, whose people are doomed to hunger after serving the nobility, who feast in their mansions full of warmth and light. Listen to me, even if I disdained to pray to you ever since I realized there was no justice for people like me in this world, and that the only justice is for the rich who make the laws and make us bend before them. They say that in your world, everyone are equal. They say that even the sinner will be forgiven if he repents. Listen to me, God. I don't want to die today. I want to participate in the Revolution, to see it surging up and flooding the corruption with a cleansing force. I want justice, God. Nothing else. Only justice.

She felt her throat clogging with a choking sensation as the hidden plea seethed inside her, a secret voice crying, unable to break out.

I will not cry.

The uncaring skies swirled above her head with mesmerizing slowness, their beauty like something out of a dream, or maybe a nightmare. She wasn't sure which. God, God, her lips whispered. Did you listen to my prayer? I want to repent. I want to abolish the bitterness. I want justice, God. I will repent. Just don't make it my last day, don't let me die here, useless.

All I want is to stop that misery. I want to stop the hunger, the undeserved pain, the injustice. I will repent, God. Just help me for once, and show me the truth of their words.

She looked up at the depthless canopy of blue and closed her eyes, trying to absorb whatever warmth was left in the sun. But she felt none.

I... will... not... cry.

Slowly, the skies gathered their soft clouds and rain begun to fall.

Note: The tune that set the mood to this piece is "In Pursuit", that first occurs in the battle in which Miluda dies. I really, really love that tune; it's one of my favorite tunes ever.

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