Excerpt From Dolor and Shadow
Kallan inhaled again, painfully numb to the stagnant nothingness as she stared into the black waters of the Kattegat. The waves washed into the rock, beating at Lorlenalin’s base like the void that pushed against her, wearing her down little by little, carving out the rock one wave at a time until the foundation of her city conformed to the shape of the sea.
“My goals are lost to the void that has taken me,” Kallan whispered. “That void. It is there I have banished everything to the darkness…there I can place everything that reminds me of that pain.”
Kallan turned from the window, doing her best to still her quivering lip as she held back the wall of tears.
“I love this city,” she began, “and its people. And I know this. But through all the blood and the hate and the war, I fear I’ve lost my love for Lorlenalin. I know I love Lorlenalin. I must. But I can’t feel it. And I don’t care that I can’t feel it.” Wide-eyed, Kallan searched Gudrun’s face for answers, for strength. “If I go to him, if I see the king who killed my father, I fear I will lose the last of what little I still feel to hate.”
Kallan closed her eyes, desperate to feel what seemed so far from reach, but the pain was too great and she was faltering.
An ancient hand fell to Kallan’s shoulder, urging her to look up to her mentor. Kallan didn’t move. Too worn and disconnected to detect Gudrun’s Seidr, Kallan stood, numbed by the weight of her burden.
The old Seidkona breathed a weighted sigh and, for a moment, Kallan contemplated telling Gudrun about the Ljosalfr hunter and the Shadows, the same Shadows that had chased her from the precipice that night.
“I’m alone in that room with no door,” Kallan breathed “where I’m lost to the black that’s keeping me. I can taste its foul stench. But I can not run. I can not fight.” Unfallen tears glistened in her eye. Kallan turned to the old woman. “The last of my life is leaving me. I’m losing myself in the abyss. It’s taking my air… and I can not breathe.”