In the warm, midnight embrace of July, rippling stalks of golden wheat cast finger puppets of shadow across the moon-silvered earth. The Leonids dashed themselves against the atmosphere, turning cold mass into heat and light and nothing - a spurt of heartblood.
Pari sat alone, tucked beneath those waving, grasping fingers of wheat. Hours had snatched away her tears – hard as diamonds and for three years just as common – snatched away and replaced with tracks of salt. That seemed more appropriate; her face felt like Carthage. Ravaged, razed, raked over, salted.
Ultimately though, Carthage won. Yes, it won, because Carthage endured. Scipio, the Punic Wars, even Dido and Aeneus were forgotten long before Carthage. Knife-blade snapped and gone, the lacquer handle felt like a stone in Pari's adrenaline-frozen fingers. Endure beyond the general and his war, beyond star-crossed lovers and heartless men. Endure.
The last fragments of stone slammed against the atmosphere and slid brilliant to shadow. A cold breath rattled through the wheat. Even summer winds have teeth, and whispered between them, "No matter the season, life will pass and winter will consume light into shadow." The broken knife fell from Pari's hand to the benighted earth.
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