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Marken pulled his spirit deep inside of him protecting himself from his wife’s anger. Rilla wailed while raining blows down upon his chest, neck and head.

“You stone-faced bastard! You are broken, ruined! Our line will die because you are useless. You dare to call yourself Raeli? You are nothing but a stinking human!”

Eventually Rilla’s blows weakened and she crumbled into a heap as his feet, her passion, the lifeblood of the Raeli, drained. He scooped her up and carried her to their bed where he gently covered her with a silk duvet made by the magical hands of her sister. Magic that Rilla was desperate to manifest in offspring, but there was misborn after misborn, halflings that did not survive.  Rilla knew that it was exceedingly rare for their kind to bear children but she believed so thoroughly that their love would protect them from this reality that as time passed Rilla’s sorrow morphed into madness.

“You will have to do it, Marken. She is dangerous and powerful. Too deadly a combination.”

“Hush! Not here. Not where she can hear,” said Marken cutting his own sister off.

His sister was right but he could not forget the bright light Rilla had been, her quick smile and agile mind, her love and her wonderful sense of wickedness. Marken truly didn’t care if she bore him children or not, their love had been what separated him from the other Raeli, what defined him.

“You must send her back to our world, they can take care of her, only there can she do no real harm.”

“I know.”

“She isn’t the Rilla you knew anymore, Marken, she’s gone feral, given in, and as such must be sent back.”

“Stop telling me what I already know!”

“If you can’t do it, I will,” said his sister.

“No! I will be the one.”

In the heat of the argument neither of the siblings noticed Rilla.

“I think not,” said Rilla and cast from her heart through madness, a curse.

All Marken felt as the spell rolled up his body was a chill as stone replaced flesh. At first Rilla kept him in the house taunting him. Then as she aged, she talked to him and at the end of her life, when her passion drained away enough so the madness had no fuel; she tried to undo what she had done. But by then she couldn’t remember how she had cast the original curse.

When she finally died, no one remembered where the stone statue in her sitting room had come from, but it was decided that it looked more like something that belonged outside and Marken was placed on the cliffs edge facing the water, an ever-present sentry. As his stone eroded and pieces fell, littering the ground he wondered just how much of him must return to sand before he was freed, before he too could finally go home.

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