mylit*

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TOP 15 ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS AS VOTED BY MY FOLLOWERS
  #7 Clary Fray and Jace Herondale (THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS by C. Clare)

“There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity. “I love you, and I will love you until I die and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.”

End of the Sixth Astral Era, 1572

The Calamity

Beyond the confines of rain and blood stained canvas, distant screams rung through a sky alight with fire and death. Some of the conjurers inside winced with their hands flinching up to their ears, but it was nothing to drown out roaring quiet of the dying and the battle beyond. A sharp gust of wind rattled the large, rectangular tent upon it’s frame, an errant window flapping loudly whilst it let in a cloud of smoke. A woman robed in once Adder’s gold but now oily, bloody cloth patched with sweat hurried over to wave her arms. It did very little to dispel the intrustion but soon she managed to wrestle the flap shut, guarding her innocent eyes from the enemy boiling over the horizon.

The battle beyond however, was not all that could be heard through thick, fetid air. The groans of injured soldiers clad in the sorry remains of scarlet, gold and bronze were unmistakable. A tired sigh cut over the low, aching undertone in the tent; Private Second Class Orva Redd, a haggard hyuran conjurer, stood staring down the aisle lined with cots. With eyes devoid of life, drained of her everything, she remained rooted to the spot with boots sinking into the bloody mud beneath her. There were her fellow healers bustling about, but they went unseen in her daze. She barely registered their unusual panic and quickened steps as they converged around one bed towards the corner.

“Is he-”

“Shit, have you tri-”

“Of course I have! We all did! Are you sure there’s not a pulse?”

“Aye, sir.”

“You let him die!?”

A flurry of indiscernible, squabbling voices wove through the air. Voices of panic. A healer was to be the calm of the storm, tranquil as the Shroud itself, the hand in the darkness. Yet there they argued in hushed, urgent whispers, rising in pitch until someone called a sudden silence. They shook in tandem, even the most stalwart now losing hope and solidarity in their united colours. With their backs turned to the injured, the healers hid their hopeless expressions to each other. Some shook not with fear though, but with boundless anger and blame. The corpse between the four or five strained souls however, remained peaceful, for all the blood and bandages he lay in. Flame Sergeant Sosoliro Loloriyo was dead and the current subject of the swash of emotion around him.

Some of them tried to reason. One woman, R’uhkna, sobbed in blind terror. Two had split off to administer autonomous care to the remaining patients. Storm Corporal Caulaire and Storm Private First Class Helbharrwyn stood just a small distance from his now covered body, tense and hard faced. Niether spoke for some time, but simply watched the two end their rounds, escort R’unkna to a chair and then do the same for Private Redd, pulling her from her stupor.

“It’s bein’ yerself at t’helm now, ain’t it, Aubin?”

“What?”

“Now Loloriyo’s bin-.”

Corporal Caulaire, a duskwight, cut her off with a tight folding of his arms and a sharp nod. Helbharrwyn watched him for a moment, as she’d watched the other medics, then sighed. She opened her mouth to protest, but then closed it. Gold gaze flitting over to her, Caulaire’s stony expression hardened some more. From stone to steel. Limsan, Ul’Dahn or Gridanian; they were all the same. Doubt and suspicion were emotions easy for Caulaire to see.

“We all took the same oath, Private.”

Helbharrwyn averted her gaze to the body. “I know, duskwight.”

“Good.”

Caulaire strode down the isle, hiding a limp from a bandaged leg. An uneasy, false calm had quite suddenly spread through the air and over the infirmary, though the tent shivered in another gust of wind. They were his medics now - a soberingly terrifying thought, with the remains of R’uhkna’s exhausted sobs ringing through his ears. She was at the end of her tether, he knew. They all were, stretched thin and beyond their limits as healers, as people. Caulaire knew he wasn’t the only one who had little aether left to pull from and already he ached to his bones with the persistent strain. Not to mention the gash he’d taken to the leg in an earlier assault.

An explosion filled the sky and stained it red, rolling over the crest of the hill.

The elezen was the only one to flit to the side of the tent as it swayed ominously from it’s residual force, staring through the windows with wide eyes. A terrified screech filled the air, R’uhnka again, as the frame rattled and started to give in and collapse on one side. Caulaire caught sight of Helbharrwyn and the rest of his medics snap into dazed action to keep their shelter erect. He paid them no mind, attention focussed solely upon the slope ahead.

A day, at most. A day at most to evacuate the injured and his charges. Corporal Caulaire turned on the spot, staring across the tent with a void expression. Gaze remaining set, he strode forward, painfully, past the cots. He turned left to exit down the aisle, heading into another section of the tent. Secluded away, the room was centered around a rectangular, pop-up desk and several chairs. A chest sat in the corner, with other supplies.

Caulaire pushed one of the chairs away and sat down on another. Soberly, slowly, he pulled out a thin deck of cards, shuffled them, then quite suddenly slammed them down onto the surface. With a heavy pause and a prayer to the Spinner herself, the Corporal took several deep breaths.

He asked a question, then dealt his hand.

Till sea swallows all.


***


“But what of the injured, Corporal?”

Corporal Caulaire took a moment to voice his reply, head bowed slightly as golden eyes watched the horizon. He then lifted his dipped chin, shoulders sloping beneath the weight of the mantle across them and then tore his gaze away to regard Orva Redd. The elezen wore an unreadable expression. “Prepare those who can keep up.”

Orva hesitated, some realisation dawning upon her. “And those that cannot?”

“They die.”