Wet, cold mist clung to Grav. His torn pants, his brother’s jacket, his uncertain face–all wore the damp, chilling droplets.
Grav tried to clear his mind. He tried to ignore the cold, the wet, and the roar of the waterfall. Something was supposed to happen here. At this tower.
Something worth dying for.
At least that’s what his brother believed. That’s what his brother had died for. To get here, to stand here.
But now, wearing his brother’s jacket and standing before the rock, Grav felt cold. Really cold. And not from the water or the air, but from inside. From that place inside him that had wanted to believe his brother had died for something meaningful. For something old and powerful that gave wisdom instead of weaponry. Peace instead of power.
But whatever flicker of belief Grav had borrowed from his brother, it was snuffed out now. There was no light, no belief, no hope left in him. Only the frigid crashing of grief inside him. Like glaciers meeting, their unexpected forces groaning and splintering each other.
Grav shrugged off his brother’s coat. He let his numb fingers touch the charred holes in the leather. There wasn’t even any blood. Killing had become efficient. Murder was no longer messy. War was a game.
And there was no way out.
Grav turned the jacket to look at the symbol on the back. The symbol Grav’s brother had stitched on there by hand. He’d done a shoddy job of it. The thread was tangled and knotted and the stitches erratic. Grav traced the symbol, the desperate hope of one tired of the carnage, but doomed to be victim to it.
Then the string changed. The shoddy stitching on the back of his brother’s coat began to glow an eerie white. Grav held the jacket with new reverance and utter disbelief. Was this the work of his brother? Some sort of trick left beneath the leather to ease Grav’s greif? To trick him into believing?
Did he believe? Did he believe enough to look one more time up at the tower of stone? Did he dare to see if it had changed?
And if it had changed, would he have the strength to let go of the cold? Let go of the grief and believe, if only for his brother?
Grav wiped the wet from his face. He wiped the tears from his eyes.
Then Grav looked up.
ART CRED: RAFAEL CASTORENA