The glory rips raw from her throat and echoes into the night, mingling with the predators’ victorious cries and the dying screams of the hunted. Each arrow of pain penetrates deep, from skin to soul in the space of one adrenaline-crazed heartbeat, and her sorrow seeps out like quicksilver from the punctures, disappearing into the bed of fragrantly decaying flora beneath her bare feet. Every gasp, every sobbing breath sees her growing lighter, light as the air that strokes her heated skin, even as her spread feet settle into the ground, putting down roots and drinking deep of the earth.

In a moment of silence and stillness, her eyes fly open and lock onto the eyes of the One before her. Hidden deep within her, the smallest door in the darkest corner unlatches, swinging slowly, tentatively open. A warm, golden light spills out, illuminating her from within. It shines from her eyes, glows on every inch of exposed flesh, reaches out like caressing fingers into the space between them, receiving an answering smile from the One who holds the key.

The inky-black, pungent wilderness surrounding them has become their fortress. Safe within, they open to each other, their spirits twining sinuously together, rising like a triumphant flag above the walls of their retreat. Each strike delivered, each stroke gifted serves as the mortar binding together the stones of the tower erecting beneath where they stand until they are lifted above limitation and into the total freedom of the night sky. Thus liberated, as one, they tilt their heads back to the stars and release their intention to the Dark Goddess watching over them, looking on as it spirals up and away into Her grasp.

Released, satiated, they drift, weightless as autumn leaves, back to the earth below, grounding in each other’s arms. Her trembling knees give way and she sinks to the moss-patched floor of the forest, cheek and palms pressed into the damp, emerald velvet. The familiar weight and spirit of the One settles beside her and she is ensconced, cradled, safe. She is Home.


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