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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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Old Age

A face appeared in the pool.  It was a strong face with shimmery tattoos on each cheek that seemed to move at odds with the ripples in the pond.   The face had seen many years and there were many wrinkles.  Long hair still lay on his shoulders but the brown was almost completely defeated by the grey and the crown of his head was bare of any hair.  The face scowled at the image reflected in the pool.

Another face joined it there.  This face was still relatively unlined but the head was almost entirely bare of hair.  Only her eyebrows and lashes remained. Her scalp was scarred by an odd criss-cross pattern but she was still very beautiful.  She smiled indulgently and lovingly at the man's image in the pond.

"Old man he called me.  That pup."

"Roganvarth my love, you ARE an old man."  Saying this the woman lay her hand caressingly on his shoulder.

The man leaned forward and now his broad shoulders, mighty chest and thick arms could be seen.  His chest was bare and he still looked powerful.  He ruefully ran one hand over his bald crown before flexing his muscles.  The woman laughed at this posturing.

"Am I not as mighty a warrior as I ever was Rana?"

She shook her head sadly.

"No, my love you are not.  Neither of us are what we once were.  Neither of us are what we were before Whitewall."

His eyes flickered to her despoiled scalp and he remembered the glory that had once been her hair, her Riverlocks.  A selfless sadness crossed his face and he hugged her close to him.  She fit easily into his embrace.  He smiled down at her and she smiled back up at him.

"No regrets?" he asked.

A spark of anger touched her eyes so fleetingly anyone less familiar with her face than he would have missed it.  She saw in her mind's eye the children they would never have, the hearth they had never warmed themselves around, friends dead and gone and causes lost.  She saw the grandchildren they would never have and the people they would never see again.  Last and least of all she saw her lost glory.   The river of hair that had given her the long forgotten name of Riverlocks. And then she looked up into the face that gazed adoringly down at her.  She shook her head.

"No regrets my own breath.  How could I?"

He smiled broadly like a lad at her and then his foot reached forward and flicked the pool setting it into motion.  When it had stilled again they were gone.

December 01, 2004 

Last updated October 07, 2016

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