Blood dripped down her arm as she hung over the cliff. “You have to let me go.” She pleaded, “Just let me go.”

Zane just tightened his grip, “We got this far, I’m not giving up now.”

Ayra struggled to gain purchase on the rock wall, “You’re injured Zane, you can’t keep holding on.”

“You don’t get to give up, not now. You’ve sacrificed to much. There’s too much at stake.” Zane dragged her up another inch.

Ayra found another foothold and tried to push herself up but slip an slid down again. Zane gasped in pain as he held on. Tears stung Ayra’s eyes. How much longer could they both survive this.

The night grew darker around them as Zane fought against the spell trying to claim them. As Ayra became more exhausted she stopped trying to find footholds and climb out. When he saw the that Arya was giving up, Zane been chattering about random things, trying to encourage both of them.

“How can you talk about food at a time like this,” Ayra snapped, so exhausted she barely knew what she was saying, “I suppose this whole effort is a joke to you. I should have known, you are the tyrant’s son after all.”

Zane didn’t respond, he only redoubled his efforts to pull her up.

“Nothing to say?” Ayra spat, “Isn’t that convenient.”

“If your so angry, why don’t you tell me to my face. Or are you scared?” Zane taunted.

The wind howled around them, as Zane fought against his own pain and exhaustion.

“I’m trying,” Arya growled, not realizing that she was steadily making her way up the cliff. Fueled by her anger Ayra finally made her way to solid ground.

Zane collapsed beside her, panting heavily. He looked at Ayra with a mix of exhaustion and relief, and managed a weak smile.

When Ayra recovered, she glared at Zane, “You tricked me.”

Zane laughed tiredly, “It worked.”

Ayra forced herself to her feet and held out a hand to Zane. As soon as they were both standing, they felt the pain of the curse.

Zane closed his eyes, “It won’t let us both leave.”

“I should stay, you’ve sacrificed more than enough.” Ayra murmured.

Zane gently pushed her away from the cliff’s edge, “You have to go, you have to be the one to return. The people would never believe their oppressor’s son.”

Ayra swallowed a sob, “Please Zane, don’t ask me to leave you.”

Zane smiled sadly, “I’m at peace with this, you can go.”

He pressed a hand to the ground, near the eerily glowing talisman, “I, Zane, of the Lions tribe offer myself instead of Ayra.”

The talisman flared, and Zane collapsed to the ground in pain. His wounds had ripped open and were bleeding badly.

Ayra fell to her knees next to him, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry for everything.”

Zane turned his head to her, “Why are you sorry, I chose this.”

Ayra smoothed his hair away from his eyes, “I'm sorry for the things I said. You are nothing like your father. I'm honored that I got to know you.”

Zane's eyes slipped shut, “I'm glad I didn't drag you back to my father when he ordered me to. I would have missed so much. Thank you, for showing me that there was more than the constant discipline and and fighting.” Zane sighed, “I only wish I could have seen more.”

Ayra shivered, unsure if it was the cold or the scene before her. Zane deserved so much better than to be treated coldly his whole life and then to die just as he had a glimpse of happiness.

Zane's eyes opened, they were filled with tears, “It hurts.”

Ayra took his hand, “What can I do.”

“T-tell them, when you return, what happened. Please, I want at least one of my people to be remembered for something other than violence.”

“Oh Zane, of course I will.”

Zane winced, struggling to draw in a breath, his eyes earnest and pained “Promise?”

Ayra nodded firmly, “I promise.”

Zane smiled, “Good.” His hand went limp in Ayra’s and his eyes slipped shut.

Ayra gently placed his hand on his chest and stood, “Goodbye Zane.” She wished she was able to do more but the ground was hard and rocky and she had nothing to dig with.

As she turned away, Ayra made a silent vow to honor Zane's last request.

Ayra made the rest of the journey in shock, wondering what had happened. She arrived back at the base near nightfall and was lauded as a hero. The people gathered around asking many questions. As many times as she tried to bring up Zane, the people shut her down. They told her that there was no way the son of a tyrant could have helped her.

Using the information that Zane had given her and with pain in her heart, Ayra helped lead her people to safety. Once they were finally established Ayra was asked to address her people. She vowed to try once again, to show Zane as a hero and not just a villain and the tyrant’s son.

She mounted the platform and faced the crowd. Opening her mouth she prepared to speak.

“Don't you dare say anything about that boy,” a low voice behind her threatened.

Ayra’s heart shattered yet again, even if she tried no one would listen.

Amidst the roaring applause, a silent tear fell, reflecting the story she could never tell.

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