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The Gifts of Love

Chapter Text

December 1903

Her shimmering wings glided through the air bringing light to the darkness. The gown floated around her as she approached her assignment. She was an Escort, assigned to assist the mortals who had departed the earth into their new life in the beyond. Today her assignment was a Squire named Edward Everdeen. He died honorably saving the lives of children trapped inside of a burning home on the estate he inherited.

Her wings flapped silently as she came to sit by the tomb. Her gossamer dress glistened despite the rain and gloom that surrounded the funeral proceedings. Events such as this were always frightening for the departed. It was also painful for the families, but it was a right of passage every human was to foretake.

Her charge stood by his grave watching the proceedings dressed in somber clothing. He held in his hands a bouquet of wildflowers.

Wildflowers were a sign of hope and goodness in her realm. He was to his dying breath like the beautiful blooms that dotted the countryside. Beautifully dressed in majestic splendor but overlooked by man's never quenching avarice.

His face conveyed his anxiousness. The procession came to a stop in front of the grave. The pallbearers placed the casket near the grave. The Bishop began reading the last rites.

"I am your escort," she addressed him.

Edward was startled by her presence.

"Do not be afraid."

His eyes went to the group. They were dressed in mourning clothing. "I am in there."

"In a way, you're also out here, ready to take the next step." Escort extended her hand toward him.

"I am not ready to leave yet, they need me." Edward dressed in somber clothing.

"They will be fine." She tried to reassure him.

"I just need some more time with them please," Edward begged.

"There is time yet," she said.

"Thank you," Edward replied.

There were many in attendance by the graveside. They were poorly dressed but were present to honor a great man. A squire who dedicated his life to his people. Escorts wings flapped they shined and shimmered as she perceived a frightening future for those in attendance. The air was rife with discord and malcontent. The smoldering embers of war, unlike any other war, had been struck. In many ways, this man was lucky he would not have to face the horrors that lay in the future.

"I broke her heart," Edward whispered, his eyes trained on his wife.

Escort eyes turned to the loved ones of the departed.

His wife clutched in her hand a single flower, a pale lily. The woman and her two young daughters wept with deep sorrow. A wind shifted through their dark long dresses. Mrs. Everdeen's heartbreak and loss was such, she could not see her daughters were suffering. They were bereft without their father's steady presence and their mother's gentle touch.

The littlest one named Primrose, who barely reached her mother's knees stood with big blue eyes staring at the coffin as it descended into the ground. Her heart constricted painfully losing the will to help others. The eldest daughter, named Katniss, was the anchor of the family, her heart was tragically shattered into unamendable pieces, but she was determined not to let her brokenness win out as it had done with her mother. This one held her tears at bay and lifted her chin.

No eleven-year-old should hold the weight of the world on her shoulders. This child had lost a father, a mother, and her innocence and this bothered the Escort. Their tears and sorrow were so profound it moved her. She wanted to do something for them, something to ease their sadness. Closing her eyes, Escort reached to the heavens for assistance.

Edward Everdeen held tears in his eyes, as he tenderly beheld his family. "They seemed so lost."

Escort drew from her robes a scroll. "I have a boon for your family. This will help them during the dark days that approach this land."

Edward glanced from his family, grateful for any gift bequeathed.

She smiled and read the scroll out loud. "Love will awaken their hearts one day and they will once more be happy. They will discover love hidden in plain sight, love for the service of others, and everlasting love."

The wind picked up and the sun began to shine on the trio. From the heavens, three points of light danced in the wind. Lifting her hand toward them she granted each one the greatest boon, the gift of true love. The twinkling string extended from Escort's hand towards their hearts. The shimmering strands were destined for the hearts of Primrose, Myrtle, and Katniss Everdeen. Each one would find the love that was taken from them.

One directed itself into the heart of Mrs. Everdeen burying deep within her heart. The next danced on the crown of Primrose's head before it settled inside of her chest. The last strand zipped around the Katniss as if making a careful examination of her soul, before gathering speed and penetrating her chest. She clutched her heart and her eyes widened as aware of the metaphysical world around her.

For a moment she could see straight toward them.

"Katniss," Edward whispered.

"Papa," Katniss said brokenly.

"Take care of them. I love you."

"Don't go daddy." Tears fell from her face.

"He has to go to my child but, this is for you." The scroll in the Escorts hand became a pearl.

Katniss extended her hand and the pearl vibrated and became as bright as the sun.

"As long as you have this you will never be lost, you will always find your way home."

Katniss clutched the pearl in her hand.

The child was remarkable and very perceptive, the pearl would help her in the future.

Looking up toward the heavens it was time to go. "It's time." The Escort extended her hand.

Edward took one more look at the treasure he was leaving behind. He placed one last kiss on the cheek of his beloved family before he took her outstretched hand. Together they departed the earth.