More buried treasure unearthed from the Land of the Black Backpack.
“…believe she is dead. Some say she only slumbers. In either case, how is it that she can hold power over the Tenement?”
Noirin coughed once more into the bloodied palms of her white hands–her time was limited now. “The Illuminate remains among the living, and as long as the Light continues to burn, so shall our people continue to live in punishment.”
“Mother, I do not understand.”
“We are damned, boy!” For a moment her voice was commanding, as though she’d never fallen ill. “So said the Illuminate, ‘You are a people of malice. In darkness everlasting you shall live out your days within these confines; for the rest of the world will not have you. Through your actions against the Light–your pact with Wickedness, the most despised–you have stripped yourselves naked of worth and deserving. You are bound to this place, and so shall your ancestors be bound; fear of the righteous will keep the Tenement at bay.’ It’s been more than one hundred years since one of our own has ventured outside of the wood.” Noirin began to convulse then, and Mason could do nothing but scream.
“Mother, I’m sorry I upset you! Don’t go like this!” He screamed until his mother’s body went limp.
“Son,” she rasped, “the new age of war is fast approaching. Should you find yourself in the presence of the Light, do not rebuke her. Take up her banner.”
Mason leaned in and kissed his mother’s sallow cheek; her mouth smelled of rot, but he didn’t wince, only smiled as he stroked the thin grey strands away from her brow. Within her eye sockets, sunken orbs of black stared at him unblinking. The dim light of a sole lantern flickered in the corner; like his mother, the fire was about to die.
“My son, my love,” between uneven breaths, “my time has come to an end.”
“Quiet now,” Mason hushed. “Go in peace, knowing I have loved you.”
Noirin stroked his wet cheek.
The fire was snuffed.