The last devil dead, the battlerage cleared Xentril’s mind and she sagged, numbly surveying the carnage left in her wake.
She’d done it again. Except this time she remembered. She was there, present, fighting with every drop of her will to stop her axe from slicing down into Cuinas’ flesh.
I just… wasn’t strong enough. It’s done.
“It’s done,” she murmured. The others nodded, but Cuinas shot her a sharp, discerning look. Xentril shuddered at her friend’s gaze and quickly looked away.
How can she even bear to look at me? She knew what I am, but now she knows. How can the others just shrug that off?
She walked a few paces away and stood by the door, staring blindly about and raging internally at herself. Cuinas strode over to her and planted her hands on her hips, glaring up at her burly friend.
Xentril looked down, shuffling her feet, and if she hadn’t been so obviously distraught, the Half-Elf might have laughed at the picture she presented.
Cuinas cut her off.
“Before you even say a word, I’m gonna have my piece. What happened was not your fault.”
Xentril looked up, meeting her eyes for the first time and seeing none of the horror she expected, but just her friend’s usual exasperation.
“If things were reversed, you would have been just as injured as me. I was the first one that she dominated. So don’t go telling me that your mind is weak, because mine is certainly not, and she affected me just as much as she influenced you. I’m still standing, that’s all that matters.”
Xentril just stared at her for a minute.
“I can’t just let this go. I almost killed you. ME. My hand, my blade. My rage.”
Cuinas snorted derisively and almost rolled her eyes at her friend.
“If you truly wanted to kill me, I would be dead. Deny it, I dare you. I’ve seen you kill creatures far more powerful than me.”
Xentril sighed and turned away, running her claws through her tendrils and slumping back against the wall.
“The bottom line is that I’m too dangerous to be your friend. To be alive. I can’t fight it any more. I can feel it creeping up on me every battle. Feel the rage coming alive, like a sleeping beast coiled inside of me, just waiting for the right moment to strike and slay those closest to me. It is my curse, to live and destroy everything I love.”
Cuinas shook her head and put her hand on her friend’s shoulder, forcing Xentril to look into her eyes.
“You do not know your destiny as well as you think you do, my friend. I have seen it. Today you stood against a blow that should have knocked you down. Yes, even you! You live for a reason. I promise you that. Once you stop looking for the darkness within you, you will start to see the light that has been there all along.”
Xentril paused, staring into the earnest face of her friend, this strange woman who seemed able to reach into the darkest depths of her soul and find something worthy.
“I… I need time to think. I won’t do anything rash. I promise.”
Cuinas nodded and released her gentle grip on the Dragonborn and turned back to assist the others.