Vendetta listened to him and shifted her gaze, "Times change."She spoke gently and shook her head a bit. She winced as he mentioned the memory, eyes finding his and she swallowed, half bitterly.
"Those times definitely changed." And they had. A year later, Mercy had released a Shade from a cell, one which would have most definitely faced the death penalty, then of course the death of her family. Slowly the times had twisted her and coiled her into what she was today and she blinked a few times, registering. She could only watch the Shade before her.
As he stood, she said nothing, letting her her fingers retract and she let her hand fall onto her lap, still studying him and still inspecting him. There seemed to be something new to him everytime she watched him and she chewed at her lip. She looked blearily at him, half closed eyes.
She fiddled, sub-consciously with his hair as he slumped against her, guided fingertips feeling each strand of his dark hair and she tilted her head so her cheek brushed his. She needed no assurance that a heart was beating somewhere within him, somehow she knew this Shade did have a heart that bore some compassion and she smiled ever so slightly.
She half glared at him when he called her Mercy. "She died a long time ago, Charon."She uttered quietly and frowned a little. She sighed, "She died and a new person was born it seemed." This wasn't entirely true, mercy had not died. She was still within Vendetta, deep deep down somewhere. Vendetta shook her head.
"We should."She agreed quietly, looking at him, halting her fiddling with his hair and smiling a bit, "Are you ready?"She asked him, lifting her head and her smile still present but fading a little. True, she felt fear now and she wasn't ashamed of it either. She knew all too well that this quest could claim both their lives and she didn't want that. Amazingly, she would rather if one of them had to die, it was her and not Charon.
He was stronger than her in many ways and she knew it. If one of them was better for leadership, it was him and she gazed at him, wondering if it would come to a choice between them both. She would submit but maybe he already knew that. She sighed and closed her eyes fully, letting hair fall into her eyes and face, not caring for the moment as she removed her hand from his head.
"Staying here won't do much."She broke the silence softly, "First steps are always the scariest. Afterwards, everything gets easier."She knew this was being foolishly hopeful. They could die, this was not going to be easy and this could well mean both their ends but, Vendetta felt like she was cooing a child into eating it's dinner and she giggled a bit at the situation before shifting, reluctantly to motivate him into moving.
Her anger speaks volumes of unprocessed memories she was now vomiting up. And every time they would congeal within her to wreak havoc on her inner structure –her being, her light. For now, Charon let her, at least talking would absolve some of the things she needed to work through though Vendetta would be the last to admit defeat against the burden, and would refrain from trying to cast them away. Instead perhaps, she should use the anger not against him, or the wall, but other, more prominent obstructions such as Titov and Imaroch.
“It’s what you’ve told me, remember,” Charon corrected her misguided words, “You wanted to kill me the first time we met, out of vengeance for what my kind did to your family, no. No, what I saw was something else, something different and worthy of the silver symbol of light marring the darkness instead.” Perhaps it was the taint inside –the blemish on her soul- which allowed for the darkness to take root in her so easily, for their bond to be so close; so fast.
When she returns to his side her mask is back in place, but he can peer through the cracks at what truly ails her, though decides not to comment. All he knows is that it’s warmer with her close by, and somehow everything seems less frightening. The darkness doesn’t show him as much death with her around –though it’s still present and filling up his memory, almost flooding it. Pathetic Shade he is, all he longs for is to be cradled like the boy he once was –as the boy she once saw in his memory and sleep eternally.
“It was a long time ago,” Charon replies with a soft grin. His mask too is in place.
The grin slowly dissipates though as his attention wanders to her fingers and watches her trace patterns across the symbol belonging to her. His voice is distant as he voices his thoughts, “You sing, and your brother comes in; takes you in his arms and tells you, your father should hear your song too. And Setheus, he loves you, and he prides himself with you like your father does, but the silver taint spreading their allegiance on your wrists saddens him,” Charon tries, his voice turning into a mumble as he recalls in colour the warm memory, and somehow it softens something in his chest and does away with some of the lust for power he carried within just moments before.
Charon realizes the memory is much like an anchor to him; steadying him in the ever increasing currents of the darkness which are only ever streaming towards death.
He rises, unintentionally breaking the connection of her hand on his chest, only to replace it the next moment by leaning his head upon her shoulder, his arms slack at his side. Charon shifts, slumps against her almost, and listens to her beating heart, trapped in the cage that is her chest and the darkness is cold amidst the warmth. Spoiled, his taint has spoiled her, pushed her from perfection –but that’s how he likes it best. Nothing can be perfect; every picture is marred and tainted, a jumbled up chaotic mess depicting life.
“It’s okay, I know now what they took from you; Mercy, I understand your Vendetta,” Charon mutters softly and though the Rose can hear the words no doubt; they are spoken to the young girl hiding in her heart, trapped between the warmth between the Shade and the Rose for the remainder of their lives.
“We should go,” Charon breaths, realizing the pressing urgency of their dire situation, but fails to move and instead revels in the awkward closeness which feel so much like a home he’s afraid to leave.
No family left...The words echoed within her like a leaden weight dragging her down and she barely even responded to Charons words at first, letting herself compose and settle. "I have no family. None." Now came fear, Titov-her only living relative- and her victim in this dance with death and darkness. Her dancing partner and one false step; everything would be lost. "He can't be." She muttered, "There has to be another." She made feeble excuses, not ready to accept it. Denial.
Vendetta did not move from his prod, instead looked down a the symbol and Charon's finger, curiously. Those hands that had killed and wrangled the life from beings and they were so gentle with her. Soft, almost tender and she smirked a bit.
The memory he had given her, rather willingly and yet so obliviously, replayed in her mind, every tiny detail, like the brush marks on a beautiful painting, the enchantment in the details and small intricate designs. Her gaze was almost sympathetic on him and she noted Emaras had left but she kept her eyes on Charons. Storm grey meeting emerald green.
She half laughed and half choked as he mentioned her watching her parents and siblings die in front of her, "Oh? And is that what you saw of me?"She shook her head, "I was a kid, I knew what was happening. I knew what the red fluid was."She spat angrily, standing up, her being leaving the bed as she was under the illusion he had seen her weakest moment but something told her mind it wasn't what he had seen. She calmed herself and closed her eyes, forehead against the wall, palms flat against the surface.
She ignored his words about Titov, she would do as she pleased and he wouldn't stop her.Or so she thought.
"I know you killed them."She murmured and turned to face him, sitting on the bed once more, almost as if it was an apologetic gesture, "I saw it."She murmured honestly and said, gently, "They should never have pressured you into doing something like that." She muttered and flinched a little, grimacing at the thought and then shivering, spine crawling unpleasantly. She sighed and uttered, quietly, "What did you see of me?"
Perhaps all her healings, forcing her energy into small children with stubborn mothers at their sides, un
grateful whores that would sell out to the first male that gave them eye contact. She was repulsed. Or even the time that she had been humiliated by a couple for refusing them help, oh but how she had got her subtle revenge. A miscarriage and infertility. Suiting to her. She never planned on ever having children. Vendetta did not make mother-material.
She looked at him, half pleading for the answer, fingers tracing the symbol she had inflicted upon his chest, very lightly.
An army of light under the wings of darkness, the night and the stars –if heavens could not come out victorious in all its infinity, what could possibly? Cloaked wings of wrath, but surely the Roses were already aware of Vendetta’s defection, or had Titov minded the Rose on his own for now? If such was the case, Charon reasoned, the coincidence wasn’t just that; somehow the two were connected.
“We would’ve seen more of the Roses if Titov wanted you gone so badly, but I think he too must realize that we are the only ones brave and stupid enough to face Imaroch in his stead. Attacking him is a good idea, but I won’t allow you to go alone,” Charon mused, watching Vendetta lazily, “though I think he’ll be easier to approach if he acted alone.”
A grin appeared on his face as he recalled Vendetta’s ability to lie straight-faced, though he wondered then how her acting was, and how she would hide the symbol protecting her from the darkness which was chained inside.
“Why would they believe you? If Titov explained the situation to the Elders, they will shun you, and try to do away with you. I very much doubt the Roses are that stupid,” Charon muttered softly to himself, contemplating the logistics of the idea. “We need another Rose to speak for us. Someone we can trust and who is still accepted within the ranks.”
However Charon had an idea on who would become the new leading force instead of the Elders; hadn’t they sought out Vendetta for exactly that purpose, and wasn’t that why she had defected in the first place? Perhaps with the Elders out of the way, and Titov dead, they could create their own story for the Roses to believe and under those pretences lead them in a battle against the Shades –something they should be willing to do by then, since wrath was something strong and vengeance something you wanted to serve hot.
Suddenly it clicked in the silence of Charon’s mind; the Roses weren’t happy with Titov anymore, no, no, the Elders weren’t so pleased with Titov anymore. They must have sought a way to push him from his place, and would gladly replace it with someone more suitable and perhaps more pliable –Vendetta. Titov however had taken to dealing with Vendetta on his own, involving no more Elders.
“You are,” and the darkness hummed in consent, approval in the thick murky depths, “You were supposed to follow their plans. It’s you.” Charon let out a breathless chuckle at the connections opening to him; the things he had missed, the details that had been lost in the dark were now uncovering themselves slowly before his mind’s eye.
“You are his family,” Charon pointed out, finger prodding the sign on Vendetta’s chest, where the darkness echoed in response playfully almost. “And the Rose that died, was like you. And the Shade that guided us into war, was like me, a lovers quarrel turned into war,” Charon mused, and Emaras watched the couple, feeling strangely closed off.
“When she died the Elders took over, and on our side it was an ambitious Shade –a monarchy and a democracy, both doomed to fail. I see it now.” There were no whispers, but the darkness was still talking to Charon. He just didn’t notice anymore the direct connection so acute; they appeared his own thoughts and memories.
The nudge punctuated Vendetta’s closeness and Charon’s gaze slowly ambled over to meet up with the Rose, replying her question with a nod. Nothing had been bothering him anymore, though he supposed he could have felt more energetic. Her words betrayed some of the memory she had seen, “I killed them, you watched yours die, that’s the difference.”
Emaras had left the room, finding the interaction between the two too intimate and inappropriate for him to watch. Steadily, Charon watched Vendetta, trying to see what she was trying to say.
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