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Dustin

Memories

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This late at night the graveyard was quiet beyond the chirping of the night insects. This was fine as far as the drenched figure was concerned, he didn't need anyone thinking he was any crazier than he thought he was. Stepping off of the beaten path Dustin made his way towards the small fenced section bearing the Stonefield name and paused outside the gates. It had been a while since he visited, probably too long.

Exhaling slowly the paladin pushed open the creaky gate and made his way inside pausing to pay respects the the various family members interred here and then finally to a wall bearing the names of those kin who either could not be buried or were in the family graves left behind. That duty done he finally let himself make his way to the two newest graves. Reaching out a hand he slowly rested it on the top of the larger stone before finally sliding down it, he didn't need to see the inscriptions to know what they said.

~

Caroline Stonefield,                      Lily Stonefield

beloved wife and mother              beloved daughter.

~

Tilting his head back Dustin let the rain wash over his face for what felt like an age before finally speaking quietly. “I still miss you two. When I lost you, I formed a group to try and fill the hole left behind made of people who had likewise lost those they held dear. I was an idiot.” Brushing a bit of hair back out of his eyes the paladin finally closed them. Even so many years later the memory of the last time he saw them came as clear as if it had been yesterday.

~

“Papa!” The shrill squeal of his five year old daughter caused the paladin to pause and turn in amusement so he could catch her as she predictably flung herself into his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Don't go papa, you just got home!”

Giving her a tight squeeze Dustin gave her forehead a kiss and set her back down on the ground. “I have to go but I promise I will be back before you even know it alright?”

Lily's pout stated without words that she very much felt it wasn't alright. She was her father's daughter though and she finally gave a begrudging nods. “Okay. Can I have a pony when you come back??”

Laughing the man picked her up again and headed back towards their home. “Your mother and I will talk about it alright?” As another pout started he gave her a sly look “I hear the horse fair is coming around soon, maybe we will discuss it there.”

He was rewarded with a shriek of happiness and a fierce neck hug. Reaching the door he finally passed the girl over to her bemused mother and kissed both of their cheeks. “Keep your mother in line Lily, I love you both.”

~

The news had come the next week. War had come to his home and none in their town had survived. Rubbing his face rapidly Dustin finally reached into a pocket and pulled out a small intricate pony figurine. Giving it a long look he simply placed it on the smaller grave and stood to walk away. Even now he couldn't bring himself to say goodbye.

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