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12/11/2005 9:24 AM

Irene walked through the woods near her house, a light shawl wrapped around her shoulders. It had been two months since she had lost Jaren, and it still hurt as if it had been just yesterday. Even though he had died, she still wore the wooden cross he had carved for her, a sign of his devotion and love. As she thought of him, her fingers went up to her throat and fingered the carving.

Irene sighed, and continued to walk slowly towards the place where she had first met Jaren. It was a small, hidden area, where there was a fallen tree, just the right size and height for two people to sit on. When there were children, Irene and Jaren had climbed all over the tree, daring each other to run along it, and seeing which one could knock the other from it the quickest. Glancing down at her left hand, she remembered the day she had fallen and cut her hand on a sharp rock. Jaren had been worried about the blood, and in a fit of panic, ripped his shirt to stop the flow of blood.

The young woman sat down, and began to weep softly. She knew that he had left to fight in the war, wanting to help free their new home from the king, but she still didn't understand why he had been taken away from her. They had so many plans, their future was all they would talk about in the days before he had left. Now, all she had were empty memories. Irene sat there, crying, never noticing as twilight turned to dusk, and dusk quickly turn to night. She didn't even notice any sounds in the woods, nor a lack of sounds. All she noticed, was the aching of her broken heart.

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