Road of Woe: Eight

“I am the love of no misbegotten spawn of weed and dark sorcery,” Sabit spat at the looming figure.

The plant-covered figure threw back its head, jaw gaping wide. The leaves of its face slapped against one another in a twisted parody of a laugh.

“You were always so proud and defiant, Sabit,” came the unnatural, whispery voice as the plant-thing settled itself atop Sabit’s paralyzed body. “Even as a boy, I loved you for your strength. I knew I had to make it mine.”

“You were a seed or perhaps a sapling. But you were never a boy,” Sabit said, pulling her head as far away from the leaves and petals as her neck would allow.

“You do not recognize me,” the plant-thing said, “but you cling to the pain I caused you like tree roots on the edge of a cliff. It is the only thing that keeps you from plunging into the abyss.”

The plant-thing passed one vine-covered hand over Sabit’s chest. A flower bloomed there, broad red petals beautiful and delicate. It trembled as it opened itself to the tender breeze, vulnerable and raw to the caress of the wind.

With woody fingers, the plant-thing plucked a large, red petal from the flower. Sabit’s body was wracked with sobs, tears streaming from her eyes. Everything she had ever cared about had been stripped from her! She was alone in the world!

Her captor released the petal, letting it float away on the wind. Although Sabit’s cheeks were still wet, she could not say what had caused her tears. What wound could ache as sharply as that?

The plant-thing plucked another petal. Sabit screamed with the anguish of a rejected lover. The wind swept the petal away and her voice grew still. Another petal conjured the fury and frustration of defeat in battle. The wind brought calm and clarity.

When the flower was just a naked stalk, the plant-thing leaned close. Its breezy voice whispered in her ear, “Do you recognize me now, Sabit?”

The spear woman looked at the shape above her, her cheeks still wet with unnremembered tears. On its head, the circlet of silver and jade gleamed brightly in the sunlight—just as it had in the palace of Ghabar so many years ago. “You were Ishum, son of the Prioress of Ghabar. You loved me. I rejected you. You sought me across the world. You died far from your home.” Her voice was steady.

The plant-thing’s leafy maw curled upward into a smile. “Yes, I am Ishum. Now we can be together, Sabit. Even death shall not keep us apart.”



Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: or