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Reddit Writing Prompt "If you squint your eyes, the falling ash looks a lot like snow.

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Ash fell from the sky.

Kelsier stared out of his tent, bones frozen. Mare, his wife, curled next to him, shuddering. They waited for death to come, here in the Pits of Hathsin.

The prisoners here were less than skaa; they were the dregs of skaa and criminals, slaves that would last months if they were lucky. A week if they were unfortunate.

He’d been unlucky this past week. Tomorrow, in the morning, the prisoners would turn over their precious beads of atium. Those who had retrieved some of the metal would win another week of life. The unlucky few who didn’t? They’d be beaten mercilessly, crushed and killed.

This was his final night by Mare’s side. He owed his imprisonment to her. He owed his death to her. How could anything else be true? The Lord Ruler himself had thanked her for her betrayal. Kelsier had arrived in the Pits first, alone, and she’d followed within the next two weeks.

He stared at the ash. The ashmounts were particularly active tonight. There was no sky. Just the delicate flakes of white, gray; and black, that carpeted the ground just outside the tent.

Mare shivered again, and he snaked his arms around her. His arms which were shredded by crawling through the tiniest gaps in the massive maze of the pits, slamming his hands through the razor sharp crystals that created the beads. Blood was a constant companion, this past month, and it was her fault.

No. Trust. Just... if he was to die in the morning, he would trust her. He knew it was futile, but he couldn’t stop his body wracking with sobs, his face in her hair.

She turned, returning his embrace. “I’m sorry. I forgot to ask. Have you found a bead this time?” Her lips were soft on his collarbone, soft and cold.

“No,” he said, unwilling to lie. She had a right to know. She had every right to know that this was their final night.

She smiled gently back up at him, dark eyed, her dark hair a beautiful tangle around her face. “I found another,” she said, voice a hiss of secret excitement. “I found a second bead,” she said, and she pressed it into his fingers, then buried her face into his chest. “You’ll live. You’ll be alright. I promise.”

Bless her. Damn her. He couldn’t help but love her. He trembled as he held her, too exhausted to do anything more than that. “Thank you,” he breathed, tears on his face.

“The ash is supposed to look like snow,” she smiled, distracting him from himself. “Remember what flowers are supposed to look like? Snow was supposed to be blinding, pure, innocent, and white. I’ve never seen anything like it. If you squint, you can see it.”

He tried. He couldn’t imagine the piercing color. She spoke to him, soothed him, calmed him to his rest.

The next morning, he offered up her bead of atium.

That morning, she was thrown into the ring of taskmasters, the cruel men with their brutal clubs.

That morning, he screamed, pleaded, begged to trade his life for hers.

That morning, the ash was stained with something pure and innocent. Only, it wasn’t white.

That night, Kelsier burned atium for the first time.

Edited by ProfetessaOscura
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