Part of a tooth came out that time. Ruyo’s hand smeared the splatters of his own blood on the gravel as he still kept trying to rise to his feet.
Bruised and scraped from the attacks of four separate pairs of boots. Hard to make out anything they screamed at him amidst the onslaught.

Wheres your fire, flamer??
She gonna rescue you now??
Robalem piss on such wastes of his name!!

He got the jist.

He hated everything about these effonos. Their stupid faces. Their stupid clothes. Their stupid– ridiculous– accents–

This stupid country! He hated it! He bit his lip in force as another streak of blood dripped to the ground. Ruyo looked the big guy straight in the eye as he smirked in defiance. He hocked a bloody mass of bile and let loose.

Square in the eye.

It wasn’t dark yet. Must not have been too long. Did he even really pass out? He remembered lying there for ages.
God, what an ache.

A few locals passed by in the distance, meeting him with hurried glances. None of the assholes even bothered to check him. Though labored, he climbed to his feet out of pure spite.

Gramma and Oliye both gasped as he limped his way into the tent. His younger cousin hurried off for a bowl of water and a rag as he painfully sat down on the floor to avoid getting the mats bloody. Would never hear the end of it from Gramma if he did. Thankfully, she was more concerned about him in this moment.

It didn’t take long for the truth of the encounter to make its way to the surface.

It’s true, Gram! It’s bad enough that I have to defend myself from those pissants, let alone you!

She sighed as she kept dabbing crusty blood off of his cheek. What a mess of a situation.

Language. …Ru, have you ever tried… well… mm. …not egging them on…?

He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists as he glanced all over in frustration. No one was on his side! Gramma put a hand on his shoulder.

All I’m saying… is there might not be anyone that could handle… the way you present.
You mean what I present.
–Wh–
Gram, you know what I believe! Oraq rose! But She is coming back! She can’t not care about her motherland when it’s in so much trouble!

Gramma looked to the side, silent.

It was Her home! She was a person too! How could she sit by right now? She can’t! There’s no– way!
…But do you have to tell every effono you see?
We know one person for certain who ascended in this life. Effonos know the call too. But they can’t handle it because She wasn’t Avato!

Oliye piped in with her gentle voice from the stool in the corner. It only sounded irritating right now.

They’re not ready for the truth, Ru…

He glared at her, furious nearly to the point of tears. She froze for a moment before scampering away, upset. Gramma would console her later…

Ru, you know the call of the Flame.
I know.
But we can’t expect… well. …Someone to carry us. On that road.
I’m not! I’m still… walking! I just want– I just… I only want Her to help us!

The old woman locked gazes with her grandson. He saw only pain and empathy in her weathered eyes. She sighed one last time as she looked to the floor.

Dear… if someone has found perfection… if they had just washed their hands… why would they stick them in the mud again?

He knew deep down Gramma loved him. But he couldn’t handle her right now. To him, his best advocate was throwing him to the wolves. He rose to his feet once more and calmly stormed out. She didn’t follow.

He didn’t care what anyone said. Oraq had to come back. She is coming back.\

 

And She’ll make them pay.

 

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