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Mother of Storms

Drip. Drip. Like a ticking clock. Counting the beats of her pounding heart.

Would her blood be as scalding as the fire rushing through her veins to her enemies? They certainly screamed loud enough when she lay her hands on them. Laura supposed it didn’t matter. She had no interest in asking. No interest in hearing one more single word from their lips.

She had no more interest in her own words. Words that if she were calmer, if things hadn’t escaladed so quickly — might have lead them all to some sort of peace. Might have spared her the red staining her soul black.

A bitter cackle tickled her throat, but Laura refused to let it loose. She was trying to be quiet after all, despite the fact that stealth had long since been lost. Everyone in the complex knew she was here, given how that man had screamed her name like a curse over the intercoms earlier. Before she slit his throat and left him to paint his station crimson.

Peace was no longer an option. Not after what they’d done. They threatened her people. They had killed and hurt so many, crashing through like a devastating storm. They took her husband. They took her children. No. Laura was long past the point of seeking peace, despite the fact that she had been the one screaming for it for so many years. The first to put the idea forward, the first to fight for a decision that wouldn’t end in bloodshed. But before, there had been a sliver or redemption in those armies and angry terrified individuals she had seen over the decades. But that was then. Now, Laura only sought to bring her family home. Alive.

She almost pitied the men and woman who came to stand in her way. Perhaps she would have spared the ones stepping aside or those who fled from her raging purple magic — but Laura had seen them for what they were. Saw the blood they bathed in daily with joy. There was no guilt, no regret for what they had done. To spare them — it would be worse than letting loose hungry wolves against caged children.

But still Laura made her kills quick, if only for her own ghost of mercy. Whispering under her roaring pulse, and sounding far too much like her youngest son.

Laura took no joy in the slaughter she performed as she raced through the endless halls of the compound. She had to find her family. Her genocide could wait, all the doors and windows were sealed. And even if someone had managed to slip through some hidden crack — well. They’d get to taste how strong her wards were.

Laura ran, following the dim siren call of her beloved’s soul. Of the bright light of her children’s souls. She gasped, tasting iron, tasting the heat of her magic. Laura ran, summoning glimmering purple spears and jagged blades to slice through her enemies as she stalked deeper and deeper into the compound.

Her family lay at it’s heart. And as Laura stepped through the final door, she stared out with frigid eyes bright with magic as bullets and other magic constructs slammed into her purple shield. Laura looked to her bound Husband, her trembling children as she stalked into the room, and offered a gentle smile.

What a sight she must be. Her dress dusty and splattered with red, her sleeve torn as blood continued to drip down her arm, standing tall behind a bubble of impenetrable magic. She nearly laughed at the look in her Husbands eyes. How long had it been since he’d looked at her like she was something to be worshiped? Something to be terrified of? How long had she tried to see that all-consuming awe and curiosity turned her way? Her Husband would have endless questions after this, Laura was certain. But first —

Raising her arms, Laura flashed a toothy grin, and flared her hands, dissipating her shield in a wave of energy that knocked her opponents to the ground. She met the wide-eyed gaze of her eldest son, and silently begged. Blue eyes, so much like the eyes Laura used to see reflected back when she was young, before her magic overtook the soft color, hardened. Her son nodded ever so slightly.

Laura’s eyes burned as she drew her hands together, watching as a violet storm grew between her palms. The air grew hot in a matter of seconds, ridden with static that jumped across Laura’s teeth and tongue. Words, old and heavy, spilled near-silently from her trembling lips.

Wavering blue eyes stared into Laura’s as her eldest son pressed his younger brother’s face into his chest. The kindest of them would see no more horror, no more violence, least of all from the woman who loved them. Who so often spoke of peace, pressed for kindness and understanding. She wondered what her youngest would think of her when this was over. What would all of them think after she was finished? Something wet and hot dripped down Laura’s cheeks, and she smiled softly at her brave little boy. She hoped he would not hate her.

Laura listened as the men and woman scrambled to their feet, some reaching for their weapons, others scrabbling for exists that now were locked tight. Laura raised her head, her pulse roaring as she once again met her Husband’s eyes. He stared back, mouthing “I Love You”, before dropping to his knees and pulling their son’s to his chest, his own crimson magic circling the three in a shield.

Laura let go of the storm in her hands. And the world exploded in violent violet light and heat.

And then, Laura knew nothing.

When she came too, Laura found herself surrounded by something warm and soft. Slowly, blinking dazedly, Laura awoke in her and her husband’s bedroom. At her sides, warm and breathing softly, lay her sons. Laura smiled, pulling her children closer.

A scuffling sound. Laura jerked her head to the side, and met the dark eyes of her Husband, dimmed by exhaustion. He smiled, and Laura relaxed, offering as smiled of her own. She opened her mouth, but her Husband shushed her, shaking his head. He raised his hands and signed.

Later. They enemy is gone. Rest, my Love, the boys still love you. There is no fear.

Laura’s eyes grew hot, her chest tightening. Her breath hitched, and she reached for her Husband. She held his hand tight, pulling until he settled in next to her, their eldest snuggled between. Laura shivered with silent tears, listening to the gentle breathing of her children, and prayed she would never have to use her magic like that again.

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