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Leap of Faith

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The first thing that Yorda thought when she saw Ico was that he was so small. He was no warrior and had never learned to wield a sword. Yorda's daydreams had been filled with broad-shouldered heroes defeating her mother and freeing her from the shadows. They didn't include skinny boys wielding sticks.

Yorda would count the days and keep company with the shadows. The shadows were not evil, she was never afraid of them as much as they kept her prisoner. She would have been resentful [of them]? but it was hard to do that when they were her only source of companionship.

As much as she didn't resent the shadows, she didn't wish to be one of them. It drove away her mother and erased the conditional love that bound her to the castle. Somewhere, the girl knew that she couldn't fix her mother, she could only get away. It happened on the first of the month.

Even if that boy was small, in his face she could see the light that had faded from her mother's. Hope radiated from him when he reached out his hand to her.

Yorda took a leap of faith.

-+-

Ico didn't know what prompted him to go back for the white girl-- Yorda. He hadn't even known her for more than a day, maybe two. He'd lost track since the first of the month prompted the annual sacrifice.

Maybe that was it. Yorda had reached out to Ico when his own people had not. He couldn't leave her. Surrounding her were the ever-present shadow monsters. He gripped the key-sword as tightly as he could, unsure of how to use it.

Ico rushed forward anyway. He closed his hand around Yorda's shoulder and recoiled in shock. She'd been frozen. Her body felt like it had been carved from marble. Yorda was the person that had trusted him when he reached out his hand to her and he had let her down. Something twisted sharply in the back of Icon's throat and he swung the blade up and backwards. It nipped through the shadows as easily as it did the air.

It was then that he realized what the shadows had been. From the corner of his eye he could see the tombs light up, rows upon rows like giant honeycombs they all mirrored the prison he'd been left in. He swallowed that twisting in his throat and turned to face them. Their shadows could have been his own. Horned shadows that used to be full boys and girls. He felt their despair, envy, and the violent will to exist. Even if they were just shadows, these beings were desperate to be.

But he wanted to live; he wanted the white girl to live. He wanted to exist as much as those shadows did.

-+-

When it came time for Ico to make a leap of faith, he trusted Yorda without hesitation. They didn't speak the same language. They hadn't needed to. She was there to catch him when his own people threw him away. He was there when they washed up on the beach. She reached out and pulled at the stubs that remained from his horns.

Instinctively, Ico yanked his head away and ended up falling over into the sand. Everything hurt and there was no telling if either of them were going to feel better or worse come morning. Slowly, Ico pushed himself up from the sand.

Yorda made a small sound and reached out her hand. Her palm was open and welcoming.

He took it without hesitation and she pulled him to his feet. Together they made their way to a small outcropping of rocks along a stream that trickled down to the beach. She motioned to sit and began ripping at the hem of her dress. She then pointed to her head and to Ico.

He nodded.

After she wrapped his horns the two of them leaned together. "Thank you" Ico said softly. She turned and blinked at him before she nodded and leaned back against his shoulder. They would learn to speak the same language in time.