It’s a Sunday, midday, as the sun begins to set, that the last breath is given.
The past has finally caught up, the kind of past that affects the children of a man’s great-grandchildren. An infliction almost.
Sloane dies alone, but she dies for the right reasons this time. It’s months prior an...angel of sorts, her brother, who died in her arms, that warns her of her impending death. Of the men that try to hunt her and they both know he shouldn’t be there but his love for his deirfiúr outweighs his responsibilities.
To his surprise, she knows, and she begs him to just let her. To his surprise, she tells him, it’s not because she has a death wish she very much wants to live and maybe one day give the world a child of her own to better it more than she ever could, but that’s it, just a dream. She tells him it’s because she has to.
Artair shouldn’t be anymore, couldn’t be any more, and none of her people died to repent. They died for selfish sins. So she dies for them, in hopes her sacrifice is great enough- even if she can’t find love for any of them especially her father -for them to finally see the better parts of the Otherworld.
In the end, he understands.
She fights and lets out a soft sorry every time these men, who had been wronged by generations of her people, falls by her sword. Eventually, it ends with her against the eldest of the men, and just before he falls she weeps in guilt. She doesn’t ask for forgiveness.
Instead, she continues to cry for them, her ancestors, her people and allows the blood loss to take her. Her arm stays a pale white. She doesn’t try to heal herself, she knows the poison from their weapons is too much, so she lets the pain take her.
Slowly she goes, and the last thing she sees is the sun setting.
The last thing she hears is, “Rest now.” She does.
Her actions, her sacrifice move the ones who protect, the ones her people worshipped. They give her a gift. One she’s unaware of, for now, they give her a selfless warriors reward.
Nine and a half months later her brother delivers it to a man, a man who’s waiting with the kindest eyes she’ll ever know. It’s a bundle of soft blonde hair, blue eyes. Her brother claims to be a social worker, passes her over, and the man stares at her in utter joy.
Slowly a woman leans over his shoulder with a smile and beams in similar joy as she takes her index finger with smaller fingers that clasp around the finger.
“Hi sweetheart,” the woman whispers teary-eyed.
“Mom! I wanna see,” A boy no older than seven tugs at her.
The man chuckles lightly and watches as his wife lifts their son up who stares in wonder, bringing a hand up to touch the forehead of the baby they hold. He scrunches his nose but grins when the girl looks up at her, he’s set down for a moment but he’s excited now over the prospect of a little sister to protect.
Her brother, the social worker, gives her one last sad smile before he can no longer look at her. They finish paperwork, anything else that needs to be done that day in order to finalise it in a rush, and then finally...they name her something he nods to and congratulates them tells them she’s not entirely normal- or won’t be, and they understand the man- her father now, Ryung Pierce isn’t either.
When they finally leave with her, he lets himself mourn. He’s repressed it since they told him of the gift they gave her, a chance at another fresh life with good people, and he didn’t understand. Not until today. But he mourns, an angel mourns.
Softly he whispers, “I hope you have a good life, Sloane. You deserve it.”
And then he’s back to his duties. The little girl that’s both his sister and not, receives a new worker shortly after.
His heart aches for everyone Sloane Artair loved and those that loved her, the only receive news through a letter signed Aodh that informs them she’s dead, not of her new life. That she loved them very much but she’s gone.
He’s not sure he likes the practice of it now.