Tears tracked across his skin. Wet snow drifted down on him, seeping into his waistcoat and breeches.
He listened to the lap of the waves on the wooden hulls. His heart twisted in his chest as he allowed his years of pain and anguish to break. He pulled off his gloves and allowed the drops of snow to fall into his palm. It had been months since he had allowed himself the luxury of touching anything without the leather on.
He rubbed at his eyes, wishing the pain would subside. He pulled in heaving breaths and trembled. He laid his head in his hands and allowed his pain to surface. He wept. He wept for his past, for his lost future. He wept for the atrocities that kept him awake at night.
He drew himself up and paced the beach. North of the tack house, an uneven small hill told him he had found the spot he saw in his nightmares. He sank to his knees. I’m so sorry. I wish I could have done more, done something. They are safe, I promise you, they are safe now. He buried the blade of the hatchet into the ground of the hill and hung the leather string and little pendant from the handle.
He pulled his bowl, vial of alcohol, and powders from his bag at his waist. With slow meticulousness, he added the clear liquid to one of the powders, turning it a brilliant deep blue. Finished mixing it to a smooth consistency, he blew the fine yellow powder across the snow and grass, streaking the fine white snow with red and yellow. He turned to his bowl and pulled off one of his gloves. He dipped his forefinger and middle finger into the wet-dog smelling mix and pulled a small ball of the paste away. With careful work and many additions of woad powder and alcohol, he traced a massive blue triskelion across the surface of the hill.
He sat and stared at the dim blue and red-yellow of the hill. The small pendant swung on its perch on the hatchet.
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