And Come To Dust

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters don't belong to me. The characters mentioned all belong to J. Michael Straczynski.

"And Come To Dust"
by Christine Anderson
aka Anla'shok Ivanova
Written for the Theatrical Muse 'tombstone' challenge.

The only monuments my kind leave when they pass on are our places of power, and without the mage who created them, these are not what they were. When a mage dies they are sent to the other side via funeral pyre, and their ashes given into the keeping of an apprentice or another who had been close to them, to scatter where they feel best.

My kind can live a long time, but I saw too many fall in the years of the Shadow War to think that death cannot come for me before my time. And yet still I have made no plans, left no instructions. I do not wish to leave those who care for me the way that I was left with Elric's passing, with Isabelle's, bereft and lost, given a vial of ash, all that remained...

I never knew what to do with Elric's remains. He died far from his place of power- died because he lost it, cut himself off from it when we fled the galaxy. I would not take him back to Soom, even if I could have. It was not as we left it, and- He would have said that his soul had come to rest there, and so where the ashes fell would not matter.

After the Drakh War, I brought Elric's ashes to one of the oldest places of power, to Stonehenge. I think that it would have pleased him.

Isabelle had claimed no place of power, but I knew the place that would have been hers in time, and when I found the Well of Forever, I spread her ashes there. Where she would have been most happy, I let her go.

I remember too well the burden of carrying the ashes all of those years, and yet I have given no thought to what those who remain after my death might do when I am gone. I have no place of power, no easy answers to give, and an apprentice whom, I think, would have expected better of me, and would not hesitate for a moment to express her profound disappointment in many, many colorful words full of rich detail.

I have been taught the power of words, the power of my voice, and yet I do not know what to say. Perhaps I flatter myself, but I can hardly face the thought of this, not for myself, but for her. She has lost so much, carried so many grievous wounds for so long, and I do not want to think...

When I am gone, what will become of her? Oh, she will survive, of that much I am certain. She has been broken before, but will not be so again. I know this. And yet...

Years ago I thought that Isabelle and I would die together, as my parents had. Before I faced the truth of what they had been, what they had done, I thought that we would die as they had, neither able to live without the other. If one of us died it would be right that the other did not linger...

I know better now. And yet for all of that, I understand no better now how to speak these things than ever I did before. The important things, the things that should truthfully be said... What can be said? I love her. I would not see her hurt for anything, would die to prevent it if I could. Yet I fear that it is in my death that she will find the most pain.

I would live forever, only never to see her smile fade, if I could.