This was written to the Thimbleful Thursday bonus (or deleted) prompt "Out with the Old, In with the New."
It was time to stop being Avarna, which was going to be hard because that was the identity she’d been born into. Her parents’ mission against the wormglows was over and they were going home, back to Sedna’toreh where the Mother Tongue could be openly spoken and her cinder-rot dark hair could be called just that. She only had to make it to the rendezvous in time for the pickup.
Her parents weren’t home of course. The explosion in Heim’s Central Complex couldn’t be done remotely and it had taken neat work to get the device in place then get to safety before it detonated. Assuming they had, a little voice inside her head reminded her. She chose to believe that they had. She would proceed with the plan.
The first step to leaving behind the identity she’d had all her life was getting out of the house without reminders of that life. She shed the clothes she was wearing into the laundry basket, removed the set stored in the hiding place under the bottom drawer of her wardrobe and put the dark garments on. Just doing that meant that the person in the mirror didn’t look like Avarna anymore.
Next she locked up the house, latching the windows and drawing the curtains, before turning off all the lights. She left the fridge on, but turned every other household appliance off at the wall. There was no pet to worry about. Finally she stepped out the door, pulling it shut behind her to hear the lock snick. The keys still sat on the middle of the kitchen bench.
It was night out now, but she merely paused to let her eyes adjust. She would have seen better without the street lights but the wormglow people insisted on trying to light up the night instead of embracing the darkness. In those whispered night-time conversations in the Mother Tongue her mother had taught, “The night is sacred, the night is Mother, the night is your friend.” Now she stepped out and embraced it.
She bypassed the brightly lit boulevards and passed silently down the service alleys with their lesser lighting, avoiding the light spilling from residences. The Ombrians weren’t just spilling light beyond their boundaries but sound too. As she passed she could hear the news broadcasts talking about the explosion at the resource industry congress in the Central Complex and analysing the Ombrian and Sedna’torehan resource access dispute. She almost ran into an impromptu police checkpoint but recovered in time, retraced her steps and avoided it.
Finally she reached the rendezvous site in an environmental heritage site within city limits, just the sort of place the wormglows wanted to clear fell in Sedna’toreh. She didn’t find the sentry, he found her and the first thing she knew of his presence was his challenge, “Who’s out walking in the deepest night?”
She been drilled in the countersign. “A child of the sacred darkness.” He sent her on.
The extraction team leader looked like her father, but wasn’t him, was blunt and to the point. “Who’re you?”
For the first time she said out loud the name her mother had whispered to her every night, “I’m Tal’annah sur Phald’r nur Meth’ri yl B’suldic.” Then she added, “I want to know who that is.”