The Painbearer

It was the sound of the coins clinking together in her fathers hand that she remembered the most. Even as an adult Isadora could hear that sound in her dreams, like chimes that only served to bring nightmares to life for her.

The sun was high in the sky and there wasn't a cloud in sight. It was a day the young Isadora would have normally spent outside napping in a field or climbing trees with the other children of the small hamlet. Today though, was not like any other day. For months now she has felt there was something wrong with her father, something a child of eight could hardly discern. He smiled less, even when she had something exciting to tell him. He ate less, but never took from her and he cried more often. She would hear him at night while he assumed she slept. He wept like no man should, a weak, heart broken sob. It wasn't until the man from Suzail showed up at the door to their tiny, one room home, that Isadora put two and two together.

"Papa? Papa, what's happening?" The tiny little girl hovered close by her fathers leg, trembling nervously as she watched the exchange of coin. Her father, an imperiously tall man, stood rooted to the spot, seeming too terrified to turn and look at his daughter. When he finally did, his breath hitched in his throat. She looked so much like her mother, so much so that it made his chest ache. Thick black hair, which was always loose and always long. Sparkling green eyes that were usually full of mirth, only now they held fear. Her skin was smooth and unblemished aside from smudges of dirt a child would attain while playing.

It felt like hours had passed as she waited for him to turn towards her and when he did, he crouched down, she noted the sound of his knees creaking and cracking as he brought himself down to her height.

"Izzy, you know that I cannot give you a life anymore. Not a life you deserve." Tears welled and overflowed from the young girls eyes, she was unable to control them now as she simply shook her head in denial.  "I love you, my sweet girl. The gods know how much I love you, but I cannot provide for you anymore. With Mr. Stewart here, you'll have a chance at becoming something, I promise you."

She was wordless as his arms came around her, arms that used to offer her comfort in her darkest hours. Arms she would seek for refuge from the world of trust her to catch her when she fell. Today though, today they felt empty.

She felt alone.

The next few moments were a whirlwind, shock had set in at what exactly what happening and she never felt the exchange of her fathers arms around her to the hand of Mr. Stewart taking hers. It wasn't until they were walking to his horse that she realized she was walking away from the only home she had ever known.

"Papa! Papa, please don't leave me!" She shouted over and over, her voice dripping with desperation. "Papa please, I promise to be good! Please, I'm sorry!!"

He didn't even look back when she called to him, he just stood in the doorway, his back hunched and shoulders drawn. He didn't look back. Isadora screamed for him as they rode down the road and his broken down form, collapsing to his knees in the doorway of their home was the last vision of her father, the young girl would ever see.

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