Posted by: jolantru | January 28, 2012

Path Of Kindness: Nine

Mother watches me from the doorway as I pack my clothes. She remains quiet with my choice, her eyes somewhat distant.

She has made the Journey before. To the City, into the Innerlands and to the Ridge where she met Dongzhen’s parents. She still talks about them.

What would she say?


She presses something into my hand. “Take this. Always remember who you are.”

She leaves without saying anything else. I unclench my hand. It is a glass shard, its edges polished blunt and smooth. Under the glowing light, the shard is a rich sea-green shot through with gold.


We speak once more, before I leave.

“If this were your choice, I am not going to stop you.” Her words are oddly cold and sad at the same time, as if she has already made her mind up. Doors are already closing. Mental doors.

“I am leaving,” I repeat.

She does not turn around to regard me. Her attention rests instead on the blue urn on the mantel.

“Auri, Auri, what should I do?” Mother asks no one in particular. Her look is very far away.

“Mother, I am leaving,” I state again. “I will leave first for the Sea of Dead Ships.”

Then she comes back from wherever she is. “Just remember one thing, Kai. Home. We will wait for you to come back.”

She leans forward and hugs me. I can smell her. The faint hint of the sea, of the rosemary she was just picking. I curb the rush of loss. It is very childish.

Who is Auri?

I hug her back and find myself tearing up.

Somewhere, a door opens.

“Who’s Auri?” I ask Mother when I finally let go.

Mother’s smile is full of pain, her eyes liquid with pooled tears.

“Your other mother. She would have been proud of you.”

My Other Mother?

“Now go!”

Mother shoos me out of the door. There are tears in her eyes, now freely flowing.

Was Auri part of the Triad with Mother and Pa? Why did she mention Auri now? Why now?

Nevermind. The path is wide open before me.

I step into the sunlight, grinning.


Decisions are the same as obligations. Binding, at times painful, at times needed.

I will make my way to the City. On foot. Through the Sea of Dead Ships.

I hang another colored braid on the tree. Another wish for a heretic.

Wish. The taste feels good on my tongue. The sweetest of creams.

But… it is painful – a choice I have to make. Shu’s face is covered with her tears. I hate to see her cry. Sweet Shu.

My hand tighten around the green-gold glass shard and wish it had sharp edges.


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