After the Battle

“How are you doing, now?” Yinla asked.

Oaleth poked the fire with the end of a stick. The smoke curled upwards into the night sky.

“That’s a loaded question,” he replied, looking up at the stars above. They twinkled back, quietly watching over the world below.

The world they had just saved.

“Alright,” Oaleth said, “I suppose.”

His wife stared back at him. She knew he was lying. That was why he loved her so much. Yinla didn’t take shit from anyone, let alone him.

“What do you want me to say, hon?” Oaleth said, “the Towers are destroyed, magic is free, bla bla bla.”

He waved his hand. Magic trickled off the end of his finger tips. It felt like nothing, now, after holding so much power. So much potential that he had held in his hands for the merest seconds as Yinla had sealed the vortex with her fire magics.

He’d never hold power like that again. No one alive would ever see magic like that again.

“I want you to be honest with me,” Yinla replied, shuffling around the fire and pulling his arm around her, “just honest.”

Oaleth sighed. He smiled at Yinla.

“Empty,” he replied. That was the best way to describe it. Everything felt quiet, the world felt dull compared to what he had felt holding the magics back from the vortex.

Apart from Yinla. She still shone brightly, as bright as the stars above.

She was his star.

“I know,” she replied, pressing a kiss to his cheek, “we knew the risks. You’ll get better.”

Oaleth sighed.

“I hope so,” he said.

“I know so,” Yinla replied.

This flash fiction was first posted in 2020

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