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Southern Water Tribe coast
Guilt
Chapter information
Series

Spirit of the North

Book

Book 1

Written by

Bomochu

Release date

July 13, 2014

Word count

5,902

Chronology
Last chapter

Chapter 4 - Liberation (SotN)

Next chapter

Chapter 6 - A Final Goodbye (SotN)

Author's Note

Hello there! If you're still reading my fanon than thank you, I feel honored :) The reason for this note is to notify readers that the rating for this chapter is PG-13, rather than PG. Although the chapter probably does fall under a PG category, I feel as though for particular people this content may be upsetting to them, and I think that readers should be at least 13 years of age to be able to deal with some of the issues in this chapter. Remember if you do suffer from depression than seek professional help, and let others know about it. I may be overreacting with this note, but where I'm from it is a big issue which is why I feel the urge to include a note about it. Almost all of the chapters in this fanon are rated PG, and whenever there is a chapter that feels a little darker I will bump up the rating and leave a note like this one.

Feel free to comment or let me know what you think of my fanon, it is my first one and any criticism or thoughts are much appreciated. Cheers :)

Chapter 5 - Guilt (SotN)

"Guilt is a double-edged sword. It is sometimes the result of one's conscience working, convicting them of their mistakes. But it is also a constricting vine, which drives one to hate themselves for past transgressions."—From the book of Tutorik.


They didn't bury the deceased in Manirak. There was always a layer of snow on the ground, which could preserve a body and prolong the natural process of decay, which went against the beliefs of their tribe. Instead, the whole tribe would gather on the northern coast, and the loved one's body would be laid into a canoe. Once the ceremony would finish, the canoe would be set alight, and sailed out into the ocean. It was a fitting end; the people of water having their final resting place in the ocean.

Miki and Saskha hadn't seen their father's corpse; the councilmen had advised not to. When they had found their father, the healers had estimated that it had happened a few hours after Keiro was reported leaving their home. But the sequence of events didn't really matter to his family. All that mattered was that he had taken his own life. Still, Miki couldn't bring herself to shed a single tear for that man.

The whole tribe had gathered under the rising sun, which cast red and orange light all around them. The villagers were all here on the northern coast, and many cried and wept for their fallen member. Iluliaq stood near the water's edge, alongside the other council members, ready to send the boat on its way. Saskha, Junetsu and some of Keiro's other close friends stood near the shore too. But Miki stood behind all the other villagers atop a hill where she could see her whole tribe, unable to shed a single tear.

Their chief stood on a rising mound of snow so he could address the whole crowd, "Last night, we lost a great hero of Manirak," As he continued many villagers began to wail, "Keiro was a much loved and appreciated member of our village, of our family. He has done much for all of us, and we honour him today."

Saskha leaned on Junetsu's shoulder, unable to support herself while crying. She had tried wiping her eyes at the beginning of the service, but it was no use; she couldn't keep it in. It was just so strange that he was gone, and that he wouldn't be around anymore, or waiting at home for them.

Chief Iluliaq continued, "How is it that we overcome loss? How can we move passed the passing away of a loved one yet not forget them? There is no clear answer for overcoming grief," the old chief paused a moment before continuing, and the gentle push and pull of the waves against the shore could be heard for just a brief moment. "But I will say this. We are the Water Tribe, and water is our element. The element of change. People find it ironic that we still use a bartering system instead of currency, and they call us 'primitive' in our culture because of it, yet we say that our element is about change. But I tell you, the change we speak of when we talk about our element of water is not advancements in economy, nor is it the change in traditions. It is our adaptive nature, our ability to change when adversaries reach us. To turn this world's attacks into our own strength. Death is something that we all must go through, but let it become our strength. Let Keiro's loss not be in vain, but let it permeate your spirit and inner being, so that you may build a bright and better future. In all that you do, live for the loved one's who have passed into the afterlife before us. That, my family, is what it means to change."

Many of the villagers cheered and clapped after their chief's words. Others continued to weep, or remain quiet. After a few more minutes, the council members pushed the canoe into the water, and set it on fire. Onartok created water currents in the ocean, sending the canoe far enough out that it could be carried out to sea by the waves. Despite their differences, even he wept for his comrade.

Once the boat was out of sight, the crowd began making their way back to the main village, some singing songs of mourning, or praying to the spirits. As was their tradition, those who were close to the deceased were given a gravestone to set upon the hilltops somewhere, so that their memory would never be lost. They were usually placed just a few kilometers west from where they were now, though some people preferred to keep the gravestone nearer to their home. Saskha and Junetsu held one end of the gravestone each, and carried it towards the cemetery in the hills.


The gravestone itself was a long rectangle shape, with two wave-like swirls which met in the middle near the base. After it had been set in the ground, one by one the close friends and family of Keiro made their way to the gravestone to say goodbye. Miki eventually made her way over, and stood next to her sister and Junetsu, who still held each other while crying. After the others had said their farewells, including the chief himself, only Miki, Saskha, and Junetsu remained by the grave. The three of them stood without talking, only soft sobs and cries from Saskha and Junetsu, none of them ready to say goodbye. After a few more minutes, Junetsu detached herself from Saskha, and made her way towards Keiro's gravestone. Before she reached it, she turned back to face both of the girls. With red and swollen eyes, she took her time to look at both of them, smiling like a mother would upon her own children. Saskha managed to return a similar expression, even for a moment, before she began to weep again. But Miki continued to stare into the snow below her.

The librarian knelt down before the grave of her old friend, reflecting on their time shared together. They had drifted apart after Liena's death; she was closer with her than with Keiro, but despite this she still cared for him deeply. Part of her regretted being so hostile to him when he started drinking heavily. She thought back to yesterday, when she had found Miki at the market, and she had mentioned to those women there that she 'knew what he was really like'. What she had said was partly true, but Junetsu had a long history with Keiro and a friendship which could overcome anything. She just hoped and prayed that wherever he was, he would know how much she did miss him.

With clasped hands, Junetsu prayed a short prayer, bidding her old friend goodbye. When she had finished, she rose and dusted the snow off her pants. As she turned around, Miki and Saskha noticed something different; Junetsu was smiling. Her tears had stopped, and she beamed with genuine happiness.

Walking up to Saskha, she hugged her tight, speaking to both of them, "Your father was a dear friend of mine, so do not think you are alone," She let go and turned to Miki, embracing her as well, "And I will do whatever I can to look after you girls, Just as I always have." Somehow she had managed to compose herself after saying goodbye, as if all her sadness had become gratitude, compassion, and love. Maybe that's what it meant to be a true Water Tribesman; turning the world's attacks into your strength. Changing grief into love. It was something both Saskha and Miki really admired about her.

Miki tried to stay like a stone statue, emotionless and unmovable, but seeing her close friend and sister like this made her lower lip quiver, and the area behind her eyes grow warm. Why, why should she waste any tears on that man? Saskha had already cried an ocean of tears for their deceased father, so why did she have to?

With each step her sister took towards his gravestone, Saskha's sobs became louder and louder until they were more like anguished wails. She collapsed into the snow, trying to keep her emotions inside. But Miki had known her sister all her life; she wore her feelings on her sleeve, and now there was nothing she could do but let them out.

"F...Fath...er," Saskha could hardly utter his name; her cries and whimpers causing her to stutter. After taking a few big breaths, she continued, "You taught me all I know about fighting, and fishing. And you helped me learn waterbending. You taught me how to live with honor, and to serve those around you. I owe you for these things," Another flurry of tears streamed down her cheeks and landed on the snow, which still glowed orange from the flaming sky. Saskha pictured the two of them, learning the basics of waterbending. Even after the passing of their mother, he had managed to smile every once in a while when they would waterbend together. She eventually began learning from master Kesaq since Keiro was hung-over most of the time, but Saskha would always cherish those moments they shared together.

Junetsu placed her arm around Miki, holding her tight. But still, Miki didn't respond, and continued to face the ground.

"I just... Hope you know... that," Saskha choked on her next words, "you know... How much we love you. How much... We will miss you," She couldn't compose herself any longer; she was too overwhelmed to speak about what had happened. Did he not know how much she loved him?

Saskha felt a pair of arms wrap around her shoulders, and Junetsu's warm voice whispering in her ear, "It's okay dearie. He knows that you loved him. And I'm sure wherever he is now, that he is watching." She helped Saskha stand, and led her back to where Miki was waiting. Saskha glanced at Miki for the first time since it had happened. Perhaps her sister blamed her for what had happened. Saskha's eyes were even redder than before, but her cries had become shorter, more like stifled sobs. It had helped speaking aloud, even if her father could no longer hear them.

"Miki, do you want to say goodbye?" Junetsu faced the young girl next to her.

"Goodbye? Hmph," Miki scoffed in reply. "I don't want to say goodbye. All I want to say is that he was a coward," After she said this Saskha and Junetsu both looked at Miki, shocked that she could say something like that. Her sister nearly interjected, but stopped when Miki continued, "You took your own life when I confronted you about what you had done to me. I won't honor you. I won't honor you! I won't say goodbye!"

Saskha's expression softened when she noticed how upset Miki was getting; she could hear her voice trembling, and a deep sorrowful sadness creeping in to her speech.

"I won't! I won't! I won't! I won't!"

After seeing her sister in such a state, Saskha began to weep once again. Miki had tried to stay strong, but her emotions were besting her. She took small steps towards her father's gravestone.

NO! STOP! She screamed in her mind for her legs to stop moving. She didn't want to say goodbye, nor be anywhere near his gravestone. But her legs had a mind of their own; with trembling strides they forced her closer to the gravestone, until she was directly in front of it. Now that she was closer, Miki could examine that gravestone. The two swirling waves began at opposite ends of the gravestone, and met in the middle. And where these waves met, a small inscription was etched into the stone, which Miki read in her mind:

Keiro,
Our fearsome warrior, gracious leader, and loving father and husband to his family.
Rest in peace, and may the spirits watch over your soul.


He was not! He was none of those things!

Miki's whole body began to shake. It started with her arms, then her body, until her legs finally gave out. She shrieked with anguish and grief, collapsing onto her knees and eventually falling into a sprawled position on the ground. The cold snow cut into her bare hands, but it wasn't enough. She dug her fingers in deep, and it felt like sharp needles were piercing her skin. She continued to wail while beating her fist into the icy snow, inflicting pain and nearly drawing blood.

Why, why should she waste any more tears on this man? She had asked herself this question many times, and each time she wasn't sure of the answer. But now, as she knelt in front of his grave, as she pounded the ground until it made her bleed, as she cried and screamed until her lungs ached, she knew the answer to her question.

She really did love him.

She really did miss him.

And his death was all her fault.

Miki finally stopped hurting herself and looked upon the stone in front. The sun's glow had now reached it, illuminating it with an orangey-red colour. Although her throat stung, she had to let her feelings out. Her voice hoarse and pained, she spoke aloud, "All I wanted was for you to change," Her salty tears stung the sides of her face, but she didn't care. "I didn't want you to die; I just wanted you to be my father again! I wanted to love you again, just like before mom died!" As soon as she mentioned her mother a fresh wave of warm tears blurred her vision again. She could also hear Saskha sobbing behind her, her cries loud and mournful.

"But now you're gone. The father I loved will never come back! Saskha and I are orphans now, and it's all my fault!" Miki wailed and bawled after she let these words out. But she knew it was true. Even with her powers, she was too weak to save their mother. And now, after she used them, her father had ended his life. "I killed you. I caused you to take your own life!" Her guilt welled up inside her like a geyser bursting from the earth, overpowering her and condemning her.

"No, Miki it's not--" Saskha tried to run to her sister, but Junetsu held her back.

"She needs to grieve," Junetsu looked as upset as Saskha about the scene before them. "She needs to let it out, no matter how painful it is for us to watch."

Saskha turned back to her grieving sister, wanting so badly to hold her, and tell her it was alright. But Junetsu had a point.

Miki continued to howl, her voice becoming more strained each time. She looked at her hands, her right one bleeding near her knuckles. These same hands which were now bleeding were also the ones that could move people against their will. Her powers flowed from them.

"You...It's all your fault!" She raged at the sky, searching for the moon. But even though it wasn't there, she knew it was hiding somewhere, snickering and laughing at her. Tui had cursed her with these powers and now both her parents were dead, so of course the evil spirit took pleasure in her suffering.

She took another look at her hands, now realizing what had to be done. She couldn't let Tui control her anymore. Miki thrust her right hand into the stone before her, causing her to shriek even louder than before. The pain rushed up her entire arm, and it felt as though her hand had been crushed by an elephant-cow's foot. But it didn't matter. She hit it again, and again, each time the excruciating pain making her screams higher and more pained. Through gritted teeth she did the same to her other hand, both becoming bruised and bloodied, smearing streaks of red over the gravestone and the snow below.

Saskha cried out behind her, and when she made it she wrapped her arms around her little sister. But Miki thrashed and kicked about, her hands stinging and burning, bleeding and sore. Junetsu held her too, and eventually Miki stopped struggling.

"Miki! It's not your fault. It's not!" Her older sister tried to convince her, holding her tight and weeping next to her. Junetsu had begun healing Miki's hands, the glowing blue water had already begun to soothe the pain. But the pain, anguish, and guilt that Miki felt in her heart still cut inside of her. And no amount of healing from Junetsu or her sister, could fix that.


Many of the other villagers came by their hut throughout the next two days. They offered their condolences, and brought with them food, wood, clothing, and anything else they could offer. Saskha would talk with all the visitors, shedding a few more tears each time she talked about their father. Junetsu would spend a few hours a day with the sisters in their home too, helping with cooking and cleaning, and other household chores. But Miki spent her time in her room, rarely able to leave their home.

She was never left alone; either Saskha or Junetsu would stay in the hut to keep an eye on her. Perhaps they were worried that Miki would try and do something rash, like end her own life. But death was a punishment that did not fit her crimes. It would be too easy for Miki to just leave this world. Instead, she felt she should live and suffer for her transgressions. She still couldn't forgive her father for what he had done to her, but it wasn't forgiveness that was the issue. It was that Miki knew in her heart, that it was her fault that both her parents were dead.

After the first day two of Saskha's friends, Anana and Kesuk, took her out for a day trip. It had been the first time Saskha had left the house since the funeral. Anana was a dear friend of Saskha's, and they were both in the same healing classes. Kesuk was a close friend too, and even at one stage more than a friend for Saskha. She had met him in her waterbending classes, the two of them often competing to see who was best at waterbending. The trio had gone to the northern coast for some canoe racing, which for Saskha was some much needed enjoyment and escape from everything that had happened. She had tried to take Miki along too, but she had still insisted on staying in her room. Everyone had their own ways of grieving; Saskha had wept for days for her father, and for her getting out and being with friends helped her begin to move passed all that had happened. But she worried for Miki, who hardly talked, ate, or slept, and very rarely left the house.

On the third day since the funeral, an unexpected visitor had made their way to the sister's home. Saskha opened the door, expecting to see someone standing behind it, but instead a large wolf peered into their home. Although surprised at first, Saskha realised that this wolf must have been Ulva, though she had only seen him a few times before. The loyal animal was distrusting of Saskha, even when she tried to coax him inside, but once he picked up his owner's scent he followed her inside.

"Miki. Someone's here to see you."

Her younger sister reluctantly forced herself out of her room, but when she did, Miki could not hold back the tears.

"Ulva!"

With open arms she embraced her friend, and he in turn licked the side of her face. Even Miki couldn't resist a small laugh. She hugged him tight, feeling his soft fur in between her fingers, the warmth of his skin. She pulled back from him and looked into his bright blue eyes, "I'm so sorry I forgot about you," her eyes hot with tears she continued, "And I promise I won't leave you again."

Saskha smiled at the sight of her sister and Ulva. Miki still blamed herself, but at least her pal had brought a much needed smile to her face.

Miki and Ulva slept in the main room that night, next to the fire set to the side of the room. He was a loyal friend to Miki, and he didn't ask questions. He didn't try and tell her that it wasn't her fault. But he could sense something was wrong and simply stayed close to his friend. Miki knew that the reason Junetsu and her sister wanted to talk to her and convince her that this whole thing wasn't her fault because they cared about her, and didn't want to see her beat herself up about it. But the fact was that it didn't matter if others didn't blame her because Miki blamed herself. The depths of her conscience screamed out to her, accusing her and condemning her for causing everything. And no one, not even her sister or friends, could convince her otherwise. But she was grateful for her friend Ulva, who stood by her no matter how she felt about herself.

As Miki drifted off to sleep, cuddled next to Ulva's snugly fur, she found herself picturing her father. That night of the Full Moon Festival, when she had earnestly searched for his face among those on stage. His warm smile when he had noticed her, waving and grinning back. She remembered the time that he played 'families' with her and some other children; he had made them an ice castle to run around in and explore. The time she had eaten far too many sea prunes and felt sick, so he had stayed up all night with her. Miki lowered her face into Ulva's fur, unable to hold back her tears. How could she have caused this? How could she have been responsible for killing her father? She still found it hard to forgive him for what he had done after their mother had died, even after all that had happened with his death and it being her fault. But now that her evil father was dead there was no chance of the one she loved to ever return. They were two different people, yet shared the same body. Miki wiped her eyes, her hands still stinging from the other day. But she knew that she deserved much worse than her injuries. She had caused the death of both her parents after all.

"Miki."

The teary-eyed child looked up to see her sister standing before her. Her hair braided neatly in its usual position, the two stands hung from her temples and the rest tied in a ponytail at the back. She had their father's eyes, icy blue yet full of so much warmth and love. Even now, after all she had done to her, those light eyes continued to radiate with love and care for Miki. She didn't understand why.

Saskha lifted up her hand, revealing what she had been holding. As she did, tears welled up in her eyes, and she breathed in deeply to try and stop them. Whatever she was holding it must be important.

Her sister walked over to her and helped her stand with her other hand. With glassy eyes, she barely whispered to Miki, "This was with father when he died."

Upon hearing those words, Miki took several steps back, shaking her head. Her eyes widened as the dreadful truth began to work its way into her soul. Their father had left them a suicide note.

Noticing her reaction, Saskha explained herself, "I haven't read it yet. I wanted to do it together, but after everything that happened at the funeral I..." Saskha had to pause to gather herself. Seeing her sister inflict pain on herself, and blaming herself and feeling guilty had been heart-breaking to watch. Saskha swallowed and looked back to her sister, "I thought it would be best to give you time to process what had happened. I'm sorry for keeping it from you."

"Saskha no, it doesn't matter--"

"I don't blame you Miki."

Saskha's words had hit Miki like a strike to the head. She couldn't make sense of what had just happened. For a few seconds Miki just stood still, pretending that her sister hadn't said that. But slowly, reality began to sink in.

"Miki, I don't blame you for what has happened with father. Nor our mother."

Miki could hardly speak. Tears welled in her eyes after what she heard. "But... Saskha, how is it not my fault? How can you even look at me? I failed to save our mother. She died because I wasn't strong enough! And father? We wouldn't be mourning for him if I hadn't acted the way I did. How can you not hate me? After everything I've done?"

"Because it's also my fault."

With teary eyes, Miki looked back to her sister. What was she talking about? How was everything also her fault?

Saskha saw that Miki was confused, and so she continued, "Father's death is also my fault. If I had done something earlier about his drunkenness, or how he treated you, than maybe you wouldn't have been pushed to the edge."

"Saskha, no it isn't your--"

"If I could have been better at healing, or stronger, or trained more, than maybe I could have saved Mom. Her death is just as much my fault as it is yours."

Miki tried to respond but her tears got the better of her. Why was her sister blaming herself? Miki had always known her to be positive, and not let her past mistakes weigh her down.

Saskha placed her arm on her younger sister's shoulder, "You don't think I blame myself for everything too? I could have done many things differently and perhaps things might have been alright. But they're not. These things have already happened. And blaming ourselves doesn't help us to move on at all." Her eyes searched Miki's, trying to convince her that what she said was true. Holding the note up so both of them could see it, Saskha continued, only able to whisper her words, "And we owe it to our father, our mother, and ourselves to read this, and hopefully move on with our lives. We deserve to." Tears streamed like small rivers down her cheeks, and her voice quivered from overwhelming emotion.

Her younger sister couldn't help but cry as well. Saskha was standing before her, not only telling her that she didn't blame her for both their parent's deaths but also that they should both try to move on. That she even deserved to move on. In the three days that had passed Miki had never imagined this would happen; her guilty conscience had conjured up all sorts of scenarios, ones involving her sister hating her for life, or perhaps she would be exiled from Manirak. Miki believed that she deserved such a fate. But hearing her sister's words was like a strange dream where the unthinkable happened.

"I've already wept for days about this note, and I haven't even read it yet!" Saskha replied with a tearful laugh, "And even though this may be the hardest thing we do together, we need to read it."

Miki could hardly speak; she was still processing all that had been said. But she nodded slightly, still feeling uneasy and undeserving to be reading her father's last words.

The sisters sat down together beside Ulva, and before unfolding the note they each glanced at each other through saddened and nervous eyes, not sure what to expect. Once unfolded, the pair read through the note:


To my daughters:

If you are reading this than that means I have followed through with my plan to end my life. First, I want to apologize for my actions. I mean not to cause you anymore pain after losing Liena. And I still wonder if I really will, seeing as I haven't been a good father for you both.

The truth is after losing your mother I have never really been the same. I met her quite a while ago, so beautiful, and graceful, and generous, and kind. I loved her with every fiber of my being, and she loved me back the same.

We moved to Manirak early on after we were married, and I was offered a position on the council there. Soon after, Liena was pregnant with Saskha, and then 4 years later Miki was born. You were both they joy of our lives, and my greatest gift ever given to me was to watch the two of you grow up, and to share some of that journey with you.

But after Liena died something changed in me. I never – and still don't – blame anyone for her death, but please understand that when two people are married they become one, and for me Liena's death was also how I lost myself.

I became haunted by her presence. My heart so longed to hold her again, but all I saw were distant memories, ghosts of a past life. My drinking wasn't an escape, but a way for me to see her again. The nights I was drunk I could sometimes recall seeing her again, if only in my dreams and delusions.

But I have been selfish. I have wasted these three years chasing Liena's legacy and as a result I have failed to see that her legacy was right before me, in both of you. You are her legacy.

To my eldest daughter Saskha, I apologize deeply. Know that this decision was not made because of a lack of love for you. Please remember me for the man I used to be, the one who took you fishing, or to the forests and mountains to explore. I love you deeply my daughter, but am torn between living on and persevering, or dying and being reunited with your mother who I love with every part of my being. I taught you about waterbending, and how it is the element of change. But I am a coward, who cannot turn his grief and guilt into anything better. I suppose I was never a true waterbender. But please, shed no tears for me.


After reading this far Saskha could not hold back her tears. The words of her father reached her very core. Hearing him talk about what he was really feeling, how most of his actions were because he loved their mother so much, changed her view of him slightly. She still was angry and hurt about how his life had ended, but at least now she could begin to understand why it had happened.

After taking a few moments to dry their eyes and process what had been said in the letter already, the two sisters continued reading:


To Miki,

I have no right to call you my daughter. The way I have behaved, the way I have treated you, is inexcusable. My words to you are much more solemn, as I have done so much to hurt you. But I want to thank you for what you did. Miki, ever since that day at the Spirit Oasis when we found out that the healing therapy had not worked, I have continued to lose myself and who I once was. I was unaware of who, or what I had become. But you helped me uncover the truth. When you used your powers on me, I realized that even though you had these fearsome abilities, there was only one monster here tonight, and it wasn't you.

Please, remember me for who I once was. The loving father who cared so much for you, who would take you to the coast fishing, who would build ice castles for you and your friends. The one who would teach you, care for you, love and cherish you. And that man who you remember will live on in your heart, as long as you will never forget him.

I know you both probably cannot forgive me for being so selfish, but I hope at least you will be able to move on and forget me. But I have one request to ask of each of you: That you would live you lives as a far better person than I ever was. Do not follow my example; I have lived a selfish life where I could not let go of my grief and sorrow for your mother until it killed me anyway. But follow your own path, and live a better life than I have. This is my one request.

I am a coward, and no words can describe how guilty I feel for all the pain I have caused you.

Farewell

Keiro


By the time the sisters had finished reading the letter, they were clutching each other while weeping, huddled together through endless waves of tears. It was a lot to process, reading their father's last words to them.

Saskha folded the note back up. With a strained voice she turned to her sister, "He...Was hurting this while time. About losing Mom. I didn't realize it was that bad," Another wave of tears flowed after she finished.

Eyes blurry from her own tears, Miki looked back to her sister. After a few more seconds of crying, she responded, "Saskha, I don't think I'll be able to keep father's request."

Saskha paused a moment to look to her sister.

Her younger sister wiped her eyes and stood up, a look of defiance on her face, "I won't try to live a life better than our father, because I don't think I can," Though she had this new motivation, Miki couldn't help but shed a few more tears in between her words, "Before Mom died he really was the best father to me. He loved me and cared for me so much, and I was so proud to be his daughter. I don't think I can ever be better than that."

"Miki." Saskha was so moved by her sister's words she didn't know how to reply.

"No, I won't try and be better than him," Miki had to dry her eyes again before continuing, "I won't live a life trying to be better than him. But I will live a life in honor of him. And I can never forget who he became, and how he has hurt me so much. But I will also never forget who he was."

Saskha stood up and placed her arms around her sister, looking her in the eyes, "We will Miki. We will live life for him, and for Mom. And we can't blame ourselves for everything that has happened. Because Miki, you're all I have left now. And I love you more than anything else."

Despite all her tears and her sore eyes, Miki managed to smile ever so slightly, "I love you too."

Saskha tossed the letter into the fire inside, the smoke drifting up through the chimney. Their father's words would stick with them for life, and there was no need to hang onto the letter. The sisters slept next to Ulva and the fire that night, and for the first time in three days Miki felt she had finally said goodbye to her father.

v - e Spirit of the North
Book 1
Chapter 1 - ManirakChapter 2 - MemoriesChapter 3 - The LibrarianChapter 4 - LiberationChapter 5 - GuiltChapter 6 - A Final GoodbyeChapter 7 - ReconnectionChapter 8 - Visitors from the EastChapter 9 - AvatarChapter 10 - The Dream that Led to a JourneyChapter 11 - PromiseChapter 12 - The VoteChapter 13 - Unspoken DesiresChapter 14 - Beyond the BordersChapter 15 - Foreseer of FuturesChapter 16 - The Warrior WithinChapter 17 - First BloodChapter 18 - Victories and DefeatsChapter 19 - Secrets of the BookChapter 20 - Entering the Earth KingdomChapter 21 - The Dream Nobody Thought Would Come TrueChapter 22 - The Great River City: Part 1Chapter 23 - The Great River City: Part 2


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