MourningShadow's Bones: The true meaning of sacrifice by Shandria Katz

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If both of us stood, there was better chance.

I owed his pack for the life they gave me. I owed Wall of Stone for the assistance that he provided within my own territory. It decided me. He was the keystone that moved events one way or the other, he was needed.

Marcus and I led them back to the familiar lands we shared. We led them to the hisil in the forested lands between our borders to a stone marker of some roman woman. Beyond the marker was dark hedge ways, onwards we led them through turns and twists up and down till near exhaustion we arrived to the hidden pools.

The others rested and drank from the water. Marcus and I waited for another guarded the place. Neither of us knew which Hirfathra Hissu found and bound these two but they were clever. If She left the temple, the Devourer of Thought will consume Her. She continues to collect her treasured memories potent with the emotions of the heart, unless one consumed her collection, She would never leave.

Soon he came and stood before us and bowed his head to us. But he turned to smile at all the new ones brought to this place. He waited.

We explained to the others that a price must be paid to the Wolf to enter the place and if they do not wish to enter they could stay here with the Wolf. Once inside another price may be asked in order to save Wall of Stone but they must be willing. They will be tested...we will give them the time to do this.
Only one questioned us, a clever Hirfathra Hissu irraka, "What do you mean you will give us the time to save him?"

Both Marcus and I looked back at him...He understood and his eyes widened.

"Sometimes the need of the many outweigh the needs of the few...and the need of the one outweighs the needs of the many." We three looked to Wall of Stone. "Ultimately it is his choice the gift we give him."

Marcus and myself went to Death wolf and nicked ourselves above our hearts , feeding the Wolf a drop of our hearts blood. The others followed suit except one who challenged the cost. He took a bite from the Wolf.

We led the way into the cavern of ruins to a place of great beauty. A hall filled with bottles, pools, cups, containers of various sort all filled with water. "Do not drink from these any of you."

We came to the dais where a chalice waited. Once all were within, Marcus and I turned to them. "We give you the time...use it well. Remember our goal, this is for Wall of Stone." Marcus took the chalice and called to Her. He whispered over the lip of the cup the sacrifice then raised it to his lips to drink the water within. He passed the cup to me. "It was a honour to know you, sister."

"Have faith brother, they may yet succeed," I smiled to Marcus.

He knelt upon the floor, "Perhaps." The greatest of his battle scars began to open and bleed.

I whispered her name and offered myself as sacrifice for Wall of Stone. I raised the cup and sipped the cool water placing back on its dais and felt the world dropping away. I knelt feeling the wounds on my arms opening once more.
I heard the dismay behind us but I felt Her pass to speak with them and offer Wall of Stone the Chalice.

I slipped to whirlpool of my memories as She search for the potent ones.

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