All in Beryl

The Grave

The work was rough. The soil was hard, and thick with roots. The smaller ones Beryl cut with the spade. The larger ones she had to burn. Her fingers and knuckles bled from the effort. Without her cloak, she must have been cold, too, although she hardly noticed.

Eventually, though, she got the grave dug, and, as day turned to night, she carefully arranged the bones.

The War

There was a part of Layna that wanted nothing more than to sleep. To curl up beneath the shelter of one of the snow-laden pines, to dig herself a little hollow in one of the wind-blown drifts, and to sleep. Layna had not slept in days. Her body was tired, as was her spirit.

But there was another part of Layna that knew that she could not rest. Partly because she needed to keep walking, needed to reach the village. But mostly because she knew that, if she lay down now, if she closed her eyes, she would never open them again.

The Lie

Beryl closed her good eye, and she sighed. She felt sorry for the boy. He was only a child.

Everyone she met stared at her maimed face. Everyone she met secretly wanted to know how it had happened. Beryl wasn’t stupid. She knew that they stared. She knew that they wondered.

The only difference between adults and children was that adults tried to pretend they hadn’t noticed her scar. The children didn’t know they were supposed to lie.

The Wish

Beryl took the flower from Aloise, and she held it up in front of her face. After a moment for thought, she closed her eye, puffed out her cheeks, and blew as hard as she could, sending a tiny storm of dandelion seeds flying up into the air, where their little white sails caught the freshening breeze, and the wind carried them off into the blue distance. 

Opening her eye, Beryl saw that the dandelion’s head was completely bare, and she smiled. 

“What did you wish for?” Aloise asked.

The Fire

Beryl turned to face her sister. Astria was still ashen-faced and shaken, but the color was slowly returning to her cheeks, and her breathing had settled. For what felt like an eternity, the two sisters simply stared at each other. Both were awkwardly silent beneath the weight of each other’s gaze.

Both knew what needed to be said, but neither was quite sure of how to say it.

A Name in a Book

“What’s that?” Alessa asked, a curious expression on her face.

“It’s something from the past,” Beryl said. “Something I thought had been lost.”

Alessa looked confused. “It’s not magic,” she said.

Beryl shook her head. “No, it’s not magic,” she said. “It’s more powerful than that.”

Between Two Worlds

“Why did you hide our mother’s letter from me?” Beryl asked.

Astria gave an indignant snort. “I did no such thing.”

“Please don’t lie to me, Astria. I’ve seen it. I’ve read it. You kept it from me—”

“—That letter,” Astria interrupted, her voice rising to a full, indignant yell, “was addressed to Beryl Trevanei. Beryl Trevanei!” Astria leveled a finger at Beryl, and her whole body shook as she spoke. “Beryl Trevanei no longer exists! I unmade her!”


“If she’s all those things,” Alessa said, as she slid the key into the lock, “then explain to me why you’ve never been kissed before.”

Beryl blushed. Again. “I don’t think she knows how I feel,” she said. “Even if she did, I don’t know if she would feel the same.”

Alessa shot Beryl a sardonic glance. “And whose fault is that?”

The Lies We Tell

Beryl leaned in close to Astria’s face, so that their eyes were level. “Have you ever killed anyone, Astria? And I don’t mean, have you ever had anyone killed, because I know the answer to that. No, what I want to know is: Have you ever looked someone right in the eyes – just like I’m looking at you, now – before you burned the life out of them? Have you ever smelled the smell of their melting skin as you watched them die? Do you have any idea what that feels like?”

Friends and Killers

“Maybe now you won’t believe just anything you hear about me,” Fisco said. He returned his cigar to his mouth. “Although, remember how you asked me before if I was a killer?”

Aloise nodded.

A grin crept across Fisco’s face. “Well, you’d better watch out for your friend, there,” he said, nodding towards Beryl. “Because she’s a killer, too.”


“I’m not asking you to forgive me," Beryl said. "I’m not asking you to love me. I’m just asking you to try to accept me for who I am and what I am.”

“A murderer?” Astria said.

“Among other things, yes. But also your sister. A Trevanei.”