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Ravalli Venai

She took the gentle, cobbled slope in one sandaled little thump at a time. It was all she could do.

She could command flames. She could run for miles. She could flip from a stand. She had trained.

Alone. But this... this was a city. Her first city. She was in her first city and she could not walk. All of her training, all of her discipline, and all of her determination rushed out of her like road dust under a spring rain. The city and its many spirits washed her sense of self down through the gutters.

Within a mile, there were two pairs of lovers making something quite a bit like love - one rough and tender, the other meek and dutiful. Five different children pretended to sleep, while seven others did. Only two had nightmares - the third was just reliving her day. A deep-throated man sang about a feeling that he'd never felt - joy at the sight of green eyes, but she knew that dull, brown eyes had filled him once with poetry. Now? He sang about green, hoping to forget.

She remembered, because he did. She was awake, awash in sweat, and asleep all at once.

She took another step. Her open spirit touch another mile, expanding like a spark across arid brush. That's what was happening, after all. This city hadn't seen a priestess in a generation. Dead wood from troubles, sorrows, secrets, and selfish little thoughts threatened to catch.

So they caught her. She felt them, felt through them, and burned away their burdens.

This is who she was, but not who she had chosen to be. No one chose to see that deep.

She chose... well, she chose to take another step. She did what she could.

Another mile of troubled spirits met her halfway to the ground.

Prompt: A breathless Anonymous asked me:

"A thousand kisses deep"

A brief introduction to one of the principals of the novel(s) working on when not messing around tumblr or... you know... that unimportant stuff I'm paid to do. Back on the road I go...

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Grateful for prompts, questions, feedback, and anything else!