At 362 words, this is a short Shattered Guardian Session, but you might find a surprise if you read it.

If you’re a Pantera fan, you know what song I was listening to while writing this.

Queens - Naomi Bradleigh

Naomi had tuned out the cab driver’s chatter soon after settling into the plush leather seat and specifying her destination. It was a habit she normally tried to avoid; once a driver recognized her they tended to ask the same questions in the same order. It would have been easy to only half-listen and give canned responses to starstruck strangers, but she had decided to accept fame as a gift rather than a burden, and treat the people whose interest in her and her work as a musician made her life possible with actual courtesy.

It was hard to live up to that ideal tonight, she admitted to herself. She had put off this visit for months, but Claire had finally prevailed upon her to come to New York, order two bouquets of roses — one of white and one of black-tipped red — and visit the Adversaries’ graveyard. “Even if Morgan is too dead to give a shit,” Claire had said, “This isn’t about him. It’s about you. You need to acknowledge his death, pay your respects, mourn your loss, and move the hell on.”

The hiss of tires on wet asphalt ceased. The mechanical back-and-forth of the windshield wipers halted. The cab’s lights were all that held back the night. “We’re here, Ms. Bradleigh,” said the cabbie, who remained in his seat. “Are you sure it’s safe to be here alone, in the dark?”

Thanks for caring, but I brought a light and my sword. I should be fine,” said Naomi as she counted out money for the fare, and included a generous tip. “Will you await my return?”

Sure. Let me help you out.” The driver muttered what was most likely a curse in Yoruba as his head struck the doorframe. He was still rubbing it as he opened the door closest to Naomi and offered her his hand. Taking his leather-gloved hand in hers, she stepped out of the cab. She stretched, looked skyward, and wished the sky were clear. Selene was nearly full, and her light combined with that of the stars would have been enough to guide Naomi now that the city had gone dark until the morning.