A strike of steel, a rush of blood, a song of death, and caw of surprise. A song is Silenced.
She reaches out to me, soft hands spiraling - one red, one scorched - soothing me back to the silk and satin; yet our eyes dance along the curtain. I do not know how long we can visit this time. "He is dead." She tilts her hair to flow over our faces, a calming gesture. Our lips move on our own. "The one who binds us and breaks us in Her name. It is He who took my fingers, and now another has taken his throat."
"Shh." Tender energy curls over my mind, her soft care a promise broken a dozen times over, but a heartbreak I willingly return to. Our body relaxes, folding and sprawling inches above the stone floor.
Yes. Rest, we will.
We will. For He is gone, and we are Safe.
And then, with the sharp spike of cold breath slicing into my lungs, the Gray clears. I see them - I see them all. We will never UNSEE.
The man on the bridge, his desperate hubris driving the stick to his mouth and the raw arcana through his veins. It was the drug that bound him, entwined in the fates of the disparate Verdance and the Cold One's Prince. The spiral that took us, the Vermillion, the last of our brothers, to send the Four, then Three, then Two, then One, to send the towers crashing down amongst them. Amongst the bodies, the masses, the temples, and masks. Motion, such a tempest, to churn the blood and summon the harvest.
A Grim One, I know, and without Eyes to see a brotherhood torn, a resonance translated, and a Genocide chilled. Wings for a wingless devil, seeds for a dying tree. Fingers for pens and blood for its ink; he smokes the poison in and knows his death knocks, yet meets it anyway. Soulless, skinless forms marching to the beat of a slowing Clock. It swings, slowing...growing...to a stop.
Our back is driven to the floor, our body convulsing.
GLASS. SHATTERS. Frozen, and heaving, warped by white blood - a milk of vengeance, still wet, still young. A taunting song cut short. Knives and feathers. A sun rises, and falls, its clockwork soul sending ripples through the Ethos. As its flares scar our skin, we are plunged into drowning memory.
A boy - pale of skin and porcelain - claws at his mind while Genesis takes hold, blind to the dread purpose of his Shell; while another pulls free from glass, leaving his memories dripping behind it; a girl makes a choice, a simple alteration, and it spells her death in mere days, if not for the virus growing inside her; a man makes a choice, complex and righteous, and stands to wage war with the Infinitum itself; a woman stands on the precipice of worlds unknown, pitched and leaning, aware at length of the symphony she writes, yet uncaring of its form, and the bodies that tumble beneath her. We dare not look away, dear Savras, not to thine throne that we now witness, weeping at your feet.
We will not look away, even as our muscles spasm and our bones crack and whine.
It is this our Sight craves, and this we Cry for. We cry out every night our Sovereign summons the storm. We cry to see what the Gray clouds cover.
The name, shrill and striking, screaming with the thunder - she crumples, my muse, her ashen horns and split-tone skin mingling with the red now flowing from her chest...I cannot escape her eyes, even as more Thunder smashes through the walls, the wood, the bed, the floor. She locks me there, salty streams dripping down our faces. She locks me in, the gaze the key of our reverie, and the cage of our Reliquary. And it is in the beautiful Starlight of her eyes that my goddess leaves me - frozen and trembling.
I am there for the Eons and the Epoch.
Until blessed Thunder takes me too.
Our mouth turns sour with foam, our stomach rejecting this vision.
We gasp for breath, heaving and twisting in pain. Some minor dislocation, and fresh blood at our nose. We stare disapprovingly at the ankle, now broken in the seizure. Our eyes look around and wonder if our Muse is coming, and sigh in the rush of our Futures, clutching the tiny hummingbird wing around our necks.
A Sliver of hope, and a Spear of truth.
He is dead, and She is going to Kill Them All for it.
It is our grievance to report a tragedy transpired this eve.
While hosting a fundraiser for the afflicted Theater District, our Lady of the Arts, Satine Tesara, bore witness to a grizzly affair. Our very own Irvin Luse was on the scene to report.
We acknowledge and respect the Tesarian Estate's need for privacy, and we will keep this just to the facts.
A simple suve of our most respected noble houses and influencers gathered this evening to pay tribute and charity to our high arts. Luck has not been kind to old structures of our theaters and guilds, and Miss Tesara thought to bring together the most influential in her circles to remedy this fact.
No expense was spared, and with a full compliment of the Zaharian Blades and the Grinning Brand at her side, no one expected any trouble. Though the first few hours of the evening raised nearly 100,000 credits toward building a new Theater District and Miss Tesara has already broken ground on the project due to generous donation from her personal estate, a dangerous snake had woven their way into the hallowed halls.
As some of our audience is aware, we have been honored to house a decorated Detective from Feathertongue, Sir Bolton Jourdinais. He, hand in hand with the Grinning Brand, has been keeping our homes safe as the Severed Wing collapses with corruption. Just this evening, we knew him to be closing in on a murderer hiding in our midsts and plaguing our streets with blood and horror.
And it seems, tonight, that he was able to find his mark. However, as a malfunction in the Garden Maze pulled the Blades and the Brand to the aid of the other guests caught in its discord, the Detective made his move without any backup. This valiant knight of the republic entered a deadly duel with a murderous opponent, laying waste to the lower wine cellars of the estate in their vicious brawl. They were discovered by a young servant seeking refreshments, but by the time the Blade cleric could make his way there, the dark deed was done. Both criminal and detective had succumbed to their wounds, and passed to the Great Expanse this night.
As the dust settled, the Tower of Orquida suffered a cataclysmic structural explosion at its base. Experts cite an alchemical response to the healing salves and combat potions often studied in the tower. Though the resulting explosion was traumatic, there were no casualties.
Though Captain Ariessius of the Blades offered no comment, Miss Tesara had this to say on the evening.
"Sir Bolton was a gentleman, through and through, worthy of the highest honor of any slate or king of this age. He gave his life to defend the people of this city, and I would hope so many more could learn from his dedication and honor to the Old Code. Truly, I had so much more faith in the Blades as of late, but tonight proves what we all feared. They are not equipped nor capable of defendin' the noble families, nor our ambassadors of our sister city. No, I put my stake in our smilin' boys in gold. Men and women of good hearts and strong intention, from the cut of our finest tiers, unswayed by gold and silver; they carry now the values and the memory of this great man, and our city will only be safer when we swell their ranks. Swell them, with more like Detective Bolt."
This article humbly submitted for review. - Jote Riverwood Press
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