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Chapter Twenty-Eight: Sorrow
He . . .
He . . .
Just . . . gone . . .
Like ashes on the air, like ashes on the air, like ashes on the air . . .
She was there, just moments ago.
On the ground right beneath his feet.
He knows exactly where she was. He can still hear her dying gasp, her scream, before the earth swallowed her.
And now she's gone.
His fingers scrabble in the dirt and dust, trying to feel for any sort of thing, anything that could tell him where she might be.
All he encounters is the earth, mocking him.
If you had been in the Avatar State, you could have saved her.
A spasm clutches through his body, wrenching it into two pieces.
Like yin and yang.
He can feel it.
He can feel it coming on.
It destroys him, every time it takes him, and he would fight it. He would stop it. Like he did before, when he was in the cave, and she was with him, and he didn't want to hurt her. He stopped himself. It was agony, it was pain beyond pain, it was an infinite swirling spiral of torture and death, but he stopped himself.
But this time . . . he can't. There's too much this time, so much . . . so very, very much . . . if that time was a storm, this is fifty hurricanes, bottled up in one, unleashing their fury through him. He can't control it, can't even channel it, can only let the pent-up energies release.
The tell-tale signs of darkness and light flicker at his vision. His muscles tense and spasm, and he is shuddering with the pure pain, the absolute agony, the terrible torture. It wracks through him, writhing in his inner recesses, slowly, one by one, destroying his memories.
He can't fight it off.
He must succumb.
His entire body howls, shrieks, cries, begging him, please, to take away the pain, please. Just let it take over. Rest.
Please, don't do it, he whispers, and a bolt of hurt like that of lightning smashes through him with the ferocity and intensity of the coming storm.
He loses his concentration.
He loses his thoughts.
He loses himself.
The world melts into darkness, a few pinpoints of light directing its attack. Too many, it decides, far too many to do it individually, so it simply raises the earth to decimate everything and all, playing not judge but prosecutor. There is no Judgment Day. There is only Do Not Hurt the Avatar Forever.
And the greatest threat of them all, the brightest pinnacle of light.
Its eyes narrow.
It sees the light.
The light is there.
And this light must be destroyed.
It moves, ready to—
A new light.
He won't let it destroy her.
He must fight.
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