and when we died, you died alone

For I had believed what I was sold, I did all the things that I was told
But all that has changed, and now I'm bold.

Thoth was uncharacteristically perceptive when it came to the Staff of the Dead. It didn’t twitch or gleam, but he seemed to know the moment it sent a tingle down her spine. He gave it a sour look. Since she’d ‘returned’ from the dead, he’d taken to looking at the staff, the floor, his books – anything but her.

“Guess it’s time for you to go.” He said in a tone she didn’t like.

The staff’s message – that a dying soul somewhere needed guiding – was bittersweet. On the one hand, the expression on her son’s face gave Aura a pretty good indication of what it must feel like to disappoint your parents. Tight-lipped, shoulders tense, Thoth expressed disapproval in the way he expressed all emotions: honestly and openly. On the other hand, she’d gotten the sense that he didn’t want her here even before the stupid stick started telling her to go back to work. He’d grunted or shrugged his responses to her questions, avoided looking at her and kept his hands busy with the flask of colourful liquid he was boiling over a Bunsen burner. Part of her wanted to throw the staff on the floor and insist on staying, but another part – the larger part – felt a quibble of doubt. Thoth had made it clear that he wasn’t interested in a visit from his mother right now. Maybe he never would be.

Besides, Kelise had ignored the staff’s will and look how that had turned out.

“I’ll see you later,” she told him, a questioning note in her voice. He didn’t respond, so she swung her scythe and vanished into the death portal.

As it turned out, she didn’t have far to travel. The portal deposited her in the shadows of an unfamiliar room with familiar grey-stone walls: she must still be inside the castle. The dying man, middle-aged, lay on the floor in a lake of his own blood, apparently unconscious already. Blood loss could do that to a person, but Aura usually made it to the dying before they lost consciousness. Stood over the man’s body was a fair-skinned, dark-haired woman who looked vaguely familiar, although Aura couldn’t immediately place her. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t here for the living.

Aura crossed the distance between them and knelt down beside the man, not caring that her white-blue robes lingered on the surface of the pooled blood. For some reason – magic Reaper powers, presumably – her clothes self-cleaned whenever she jumped through a portal. Handy, especially since her appearance to the dying was unnerving enough without her being blood-stained. She placed a hand on the man’s chest, sensing the cause of death, the moment of the injury, the future moment when he would pass. She glanced back up at the woman, her mouth thinning a little in much the same way her son’s had earlier in the day.

“Next time, a medium would work just as well,” her sharp blue eyes flicked to the dreamcatcher behind the young woman, “follower of the Somnium.”

A u r a
They thought I was weak, but I am strong; they sold me the world but they were wrong
And now that I'm back, I still belong.

image by ankur sharma at flickr.com

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