It was agony, stepping onto the dead lands of Tira once again.
It had been many years since the massacre, since Juda had to drag his brother and cousin out of the fire and blood, since the day he had to fend off his own blood, since the day he prayed to the moon and–
Juda gritted his teeth, pressing a hand against the left side of his face. It still ached whenever he thought back to that day, whenever he looked at the moon. He still dreamt of fire and blood.
Fire and blood was fine – those were the memories that kept him alive. What Juda struggled with was the darkness and the silence that came afterward. Those moments were unbearable, suffocating. Those were moments of Death. And it was not Arezo he wished Death to.
Juda looked up at the House. It was only a husk now. He still remembered how its corridors once glowed with the hearts of their Arinaaha. He still remembered how its windows looked out into the night without fear. They challenged the darkness to take them knowing that they wielded ghosts like swords.
Tira was quiet. Too quiet. But Juda knew it was not the breathlessness of death – no, the whole land was holding its breath. Juda could feel its still beating heart pulsing beneath his feet.
If he listened closely, he could almost hear her voice beckoning them home.
There was still a lot to do until Tira is restored to her former glory.
Juda looked up at the House one last time before he turned his back, heading back into the forest.
He vowed that the next time he stood before Arezo, it would be to rebuild what had been destroyed.
He vowed that the next time he stood before Arezo, it would be to bring back their crown.
Juda did not look back.
In the realm of the heartless, there was no such thing as remorse.