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I love you.

Blue_XIII Aug 17th, 2019 (edited) 343 Never
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  1. Calael E. Kang asks, "What are you going to do with the treasure that's recently come into your possession?"
  2. Adrian Rowan whispers something.
  3.  
  4. Adrian Rowan whispers something.
  5.  
  6. Of course he knew about that. He knew about everything.
  7.  
  8. Aforementioned treasure glimmers brightly on his necklace. It looks utterly ridiculous. The blood-soaked youth whose dress shirt currently looked like he'd just performed an operation has a Spire Shard squared away on a necklace.
  9.  
  10. "Most likely for something involving a terrorist organization," he says frankly, knowing he can't lie to Calael.
  11. (Siegfried)
  12.  
  13. Adrian Rowan whispers something.
  14.  
  15.  
  16. Siegfried says, "Not sure yet. Figured you shouldn't rush something like that."
  17.  
  18. Calael E. Kang says, "Mm..."
  19. Calael holds out another miracle potion.
  20. (Calael E. Kang)
  21.  
  22. Calael E. Kang drops White Oil.
  23.  
  24.  
  25. Siegfried says, "Oh."
  26.  
  27. Calael E. Kang says, "This is capable of regenerating even some of the most mortal wounds."
  28.  
  29. Calael E. Kang says, "It is a potion that requires a Spire Shard to create."
  30.  
  31. Siegfried asks, "Mm. An' you want mine to make another, I'm guessin'?"
  32.  
  33. Calael E. Kang says, "You're both pretty beat up."
  34.  
  35. Siegfried says, "Then give it to Adrian."
  36.  
  37. Calael E. Kang says, "We have two Shards in the Lighthouse."
  38.  
  39. Siegfried says, "He's more important to the city anyhow."
  40.  
  41. Adrian Rowan says, "That's not the point, you idiot."
  42.  
  43. Calael E. Kang says, "Meaning... we can make another, but I'd also like to brew another Life Essence."
  44.  
  45. Calael E. Kang says, "Given we just used... the only one we had."
  46.  
  47. Adrian Rowan says, "Do you even realize how many times I have been so close to thinking you've grown, to think you have changed and become strong."
  48.  
  49. Adrian Rowan says, "And you do something, that makes everything I see go away."
  50.  
  51. Siegfried says, "At the risk of sounding like a giant douchebag, with all due respect, there is very little the city has ever given me, and I've kinda fought for it since fifteen. Sorry I always disappoint you, Adrian, but I don't really want to give a miracle away to this city. You guys got enough miracles."
  52.  
  53. Siegfried says, "I kinda need my own...I think Calael's words were that I could struggle away the rest o' my life and not match his legacy."
  54.  
  55. Adrian Rowan says, "You shouldn't waste your talent and efforts on a terrorist organization, one that also hunted Niklaus down in the past with a bounty on his head. "
  56.  
  57. Siegfried says, "I wanna change th-"
  58.  
  59. Siegfried says, "Oh, no, not any pre-established terrorists."
  60.  
  61. Siegfried says, "My own terrorists."
  62.  
  63. Adrian Rowan says, "This city didn't do anything for you."
  64.  
  65. Siegfried says, "It's in the works."
  66.  
  67. Adrian Rowan says, "But other people did."
  68.  
  69. Adrian Rowan says, "Not for you to end up like this."
  70.  
  71. Calael E. Kang says, "I'm saying we have the resources to fix you."
  72.  
  73. Adrian Rowan says, "It's not me you are disappointing."
  74.  
  75. Siegfried says, "Adrian, don't say it."
  76.  
  77. Adrian Rowan asks, "And who cares what I think anyway?"
  78.  
  79. Calael E. Kang says, "And you've given us service on these Expeditions."
  80.  
  81. Adrian Rowan says, "I don't need to say it. You already know."
  82.  
  83. Siegfried says, "I've never done any damn thing to harm this place, or any of you."
  84.  
  85. Siegfried says, "So don't fucking say it."
  86.  
  87. Adrian Rowan says, "I nearly died for that shard, so you can go and shove it into someone ungrateful."
  88.  
  89. Siegfried says, "It isn't going into her."
  90.  
  91. Adrian Rowan says, "Then invest it into yourself."
  92.  
  93. Adrian Rowan says, "And show me how far you have come."
  94.  
  95. Siegfried says, "I already said that."
  96.  
  97. Siegfried says, "There's something I gotta pull off before I die."
  98.  
  99. Siegfried says, "I don't think I got a lot longer to live."
  100.  
  101. Siegfried says, "That's why I don't really want you to waste anything fixin' me up."
  102.  
  103. Adrian Rowan asks, "What makes you say that?"
  104.  
  105. Siegfried says, "Because I got something dumb planned."
  106.  
  107. Adrian Rowan says, "You'll live as long as I will, Seigfried."
  108. He looks at Adrian, his shoulders shaking with mirth. He'd live as long as his brother?
  109.  
  110. Not likely.
  111.  
  112. "Adrian, I'm so proud of who you are now, and where you've come. I remember back when you'd try to speak up at Reimara, and not know what to say, and you'd just kinda stand there, ballin' 'yer fists up, looking like you wanted to hit somebody."
  113.  
  114. Siegfried's hand descends to that hole in his stomach, still bleeding. Another injury accumulated for Levengard's goals. The slightest of smiles sits on his face.
  115.  
  116. "Now you stand up an' give these grand speeches and drop the cornies' one-liners. You're like a character from one o' these books I write. But the better ones. Passion. Heart. Soul. Alla' that. You're a good man, with a good woman, a good life ahead o' ya'. Wouldn't be surprised if you ran this place someday."
  117.  
  118. And then there was him.
  119.  
  120. "But there's a reason I always wind up in the situations I do. I always make the same mistakes. Always wind up charging into fights I can't win. Because I ain't meant to have a happy ending. What I'm meant to do, even if it kills me, is go after the heads of tyrants and shitheads on ego-trips.
  121.  
  122. An' I won't stop doing that. So Levengard using it's resources on me is a waste. What I'm goin' for soon is going to leave me dead, and if not, close to it. I've actually been meaning to ask you about being lighthoused, Calael. Don't want Clara doing some stupid shit like bringin' me back."
  123. (Siegfried)
  124.  
  125.  
  126. Siegfried says, "This shard isn't going into giving her some fake woman body so we can live some fake happy ever after."
  127.  
  128. Siegfried says, "I never liked fake shit. That's why I'm so bad at politics."
  129.  
  130. Siegfried says, "So bad at sayin' what people wanna hear."
  131.  
  132. Siegfried says, "But there's something I can do. An' I don't think Taiga woulda' hated it."
  133.  
  134. Siegfried says, "An' that's all that matters to me."
  135. ''You are wrong.''
  136.  
  137. He shakes his head.
  138.  
  139. ''You keep going on about how you are undeserving, it's because you are built up like me. Filled with passion and purpose, moving forward without being able to stop. But there's one thing that's different, only one thing that separates us largely.''
  140.  
  141. Removing his cape, his bleeding stub is presented. A missing arm was quite fatal in the grand scheme of things, yet his teeth grit. He didn't care for his injuries, that much was clear when he worried over Cordelia.
  142.  
  143. ''I defy death, while you keep chasing it. I told Thera a long time ago, that I would live for Levengard. I told Caira when I went out on these expeditions, that I will live through it. And I am no liar, I would NEVER lie.
  144.  
  145. And as my brother, you need to start raising your chin and living. Everyone around us died, everyone, we loved. That's why we have to keep living... Not just for ourselves, but for them too.
  146.  
  147. So get your head out of the gutter, I am not doing this again. I fucking suck at giving speeches and saying stuff, I just try to be real to myself when I do. And is this being true to you? Risking everything for this? The best way to do these things isn't forceful... You have to grow and act when it's right, you complete fool.''
  148.  
  149. He breathes heavily, panting. He was losing blood, and he was getting heated. The combination wasn't healthy at all, but he presses on.
  150.  
  151. ''If you find your life to be worth so little, then I am not going to keep wasting my time on trying to make you see reason. Just know, even if you find your life to be useless. As long as you are in front of me, I will reach out and save you... Despite your stupid decisions.''
  152. (Adrian Rowan)
  153.  
  154. Adrian said it best.
  155.  
  156. Siegfried was wrong.
  157.  
  158. In everything the Enforcer had said to Cal, one or two things really stuck out, and the demiangel's own bloodied head shook from side to side. "This has never been about what you can do for Levengard- or what Levengard can do for you, Siegfried. Your part of a family who laid the foundations to the Celestial Lighthouse. You were raised by two of the bravest men I have ever known, two men who stared at dragons and chose to save them, chose to give them a family, just as much as they did to those young boys in need that they met."
  159.  
  160. "It isn't about what you give us or what we give you, because we are all in this together. As one people, people trying to make this world a little less... a little less shitty." The Oracle swore for the second time in front of them, but part of him was still angry that Cordelia had the gall to die like that.
  161.  
  162. "If you don't want a fake happy ever after, then go grab a real one. You deserve as much, Siegfried. You've fought and lived and seen more than most of Agartha will ever witness, you have felt pain and joy and the extremes that only you can ever live to tell the tale of. Your story doesn't have to end just because you... feel it is useless, or trash. You are more than someone who is dismissed or thrown away."
  163.  
  164. The demiangel stepped forward, still holding the White Oil in his hands. "The Lighthouse... if we succeed... might very well manage the power to bring back the dead. Not via necromancy or even what you witnessed with Cordelia. I mean resurrection. A revival of someone taken too soon from this world..." The Virtue's light in his eyes glowed somewhat confidently. "I will see that work finished. I cannot rest until I have delivered nothing short than the purest of miracles and gifts I can to the people of the future, to my children, and their children."
  165.  
  166. "Death... is something no one in this room is a stranger to, and it is the very thing we are... more or less fighting against all our lives. And now, now it isn't Levengard or Calael Kang who has a shot at giving something to the world that it has never known. It is you, Siegfried. It is Adrian, it is Cordelia and Noel. We can do something Isaac Shimasu will never fathom. We can take that pain we've all faced and turn it back, we can change the world, but for that we... we need to stop looking at ourselves as worthless, hopeless humans,"
  167.  
  168. "and we need to come together in this. You are brothers, the only family you really have left. So listen to what Adrian is saying... your story isn't over. And a new chapter might find you here."
  169. (Calael E. Kang)
  170.  
  171. Calael E. Kang picks up White Oil.
  172.  
  173. Calael's words are rousing, they are heart-touching, and so are Adrian's. They are everything that nurtured love in a person. Through their speeches in turn, they'd notice Siegfried's full attention and his eyes on the both of them when they talked, and then, at long last, at the end of it all, he laughs.
  174.  
  175. He laughs like the delirious madman he'd become. Not from occult madness. Not from prophetic visions of Azreal. Not from a cursed star or some undead curse. Nothing that Calael could fire magic at and send away. He laughs because he has lost his fucking mind. So gone is he, he can't even feel that hole in his gut, even as his blood drips onto the tile of the upper room of the academy he'd asked to join eleven years ago...
  176.  
  177. And then stopped, before he'd finished registering.
  178.  
  179. "You all will work alongside men like Isaac Shimasu, and to a much, much lesser extent, men like Kabu. You accept that there is no better option, and that for the future, you have to put aside your differences. Lea's like that too, and will defend that way of thinkin' to the death of 'er now. It's not a bad way to think. It's a reasonable mans way of thinkin'.
  180.  
  181. I'm not a reasonable man.
  182.  
  183. Isaac Shimasu killed the woman I love. A woman I'd have married. Had kids with. A woman I was so close to the happy ending I fought for with. Fought Magdalen for her. Faced down Sors. Fought Isaac over. Fought her. Convinced her everything she was doin' was dumb. Even when everyone told me not to get wrapped up with her. That was my happy ending, and it could never mean as much to anyone else as it did me, an' I accept that.
  184.  
  185. Because Isaac Shimasu is everything that I hate, I am going to kill him. Because Isaac Shimasu has ruined too many lives, I am going to kill him. Because Isaac Shimasu killed the woman I love, Iam going to kill him. I am going to destroy the monarchy he has erected on fear and falsehoods. I am going to do so in the midst of everyone's beloved 'peace time'. People will call me a lunatic. That's fair, 'cause I certainly ain't got all my marbles left."
  186.  
  187. As if on cue, Siegfried's finger digs into his ear, to grab some wax, and flick it away.
  188.  
  189. "I don' want you givin' me anything 'cause if I fail, I don't want him to be able to put any o' the blame back on you. You all don' deserve that. And if I'm still standing after I tear down Isaac, Sors is next. But before either one of them?
  190.  
  191. I gotta kill that thing that Clara's soul is stuck in. Which I'm probably going to do tonight. Her mum asked me to, an' I'm in the habit of keeping promises, if nothing else."
  192.  
  193. He's saying all of this while at the same time looking like he'sgoing to pass out from blood loss at any given moment.
  194.  
  195. "You tell me my story ain't over, and there's a new chapter, but after I lop Clara's head off tonight, I'm in the endgame. Just that'll get people after my head. And it'll only get even worse from there."
  196.  
  197. He closes his eyes.
  198.  
  199. "You shouldn't call me an enforcer in this place anymore. Affiliation with me is gonna get real bad, Cal'."
  200. (Siegfried)
  201.  
  202. You have entered private mode, your last white-text and RP will not be visible to others.
  203.  
  204. ''I know... What you want. And I can't defend him, I cannot convince you not to. But all I can say is, you are going about it wrong. There are many other ways to deal with this, and you are doing every wrong one there is.''
  205.  
  206. He's tried so many times. Each time it's always lead to nothing... And the one time he had managed to bring joy to Siegfried, he cared too much about claiming a sword to stay happy. Taiga's sword cursed that moment, but he couldn't give up the item to someone like this. Someone who felt like death was coming, no.
  207.  
  208. ''I have tried so many times with you, Siegfried. And I can't do anything other than sitting back and watch, because that's all the power you give to me. Isaac has done bad things, he's acted without question and even injured Taiga once.
  209.  
  210. But... Clara made her decision, she ran back to Sors multiple times. I'm not going to say he's right, because none of it's right. But I can't sink with you, as much as I want to. I wish you would just put things aside, and think about what you have in front of you. All these people that care, me, your brother. Instead of on everything you've lost... We lost.
  211.  
  212. I have been through it all too, and I keep it to myself because I don't want anyone else to suffer. And you are suffering, and there isn't anything I can do to change that. It's selfish... Selfish of me to try and talk you down, selfish of you to throw your life away.''
  213.  
  214. Moving his hand up to his stub, he covers s hand around it for a moment. His dead lifeless arm flops out from his cloak, slamming onto the ground. He didn't want to leave his limb behind, but it doesn't look very pleasant.
  215.  
  216. ''Siegfried, you... If you can't feel the sunshine on your face, then I have nothing more to say to you. I love you, brother. And if you returned that truly, you would be thinking a lot more about how your actions affect us all, not just yourself.
  217.  
  218. My entire life I said I was never meant to be in these positions, these situations. And everything keeps pushing me into them... Because no one else wants to be reasonable, no one else wants to be good. It's tiring, you know? I am not special you know, I have as much potential as anyone else.
  219.  
  220. I don't even know what to say... I have run out of words. Good luck, Siegfried.''
  221. (Adrian Rowan)
  222.  
  223. Cal stared at the bloodied Fool for a long time. He was silent, allowing for Siegfried's raving to go on and on and on, until he finally pocketed the White Oil and shook his head again. One of the lessons Noel had once learned echoed in Cal's head, though it wasn't a new one for the younger demiangel either.
  224.  
  225. You can't save everyone.
  226.  
  227. "...I can't ask you to change your mind if you've already decided to martyr yourself." It didn't take the Virtue of Wisdom to see there was no steering Siegfried from his path, not without severe intervention or detainment, and even then, that might only end up hurting the man and his relationship to those in Levengard further.
  228.  
  229. "But I... can understand what you're after. In another life, I might have ended up following a similar path."
  230.  
  231. 'You don't have to ask me to do it for you, Est. All of this has... has always been for you...'
  232.  
  233. The Elishevan Ball, maintaining Crafthold, the Lighthouse, Blessings, Appeasement and the Chase for Peace on Agartha, building a home in Levengard, and now, at the end of that long list of missions and goals, this claiming of a Spire Isle itself were all things Calael had done for the woman he loved. He had turned his back on his familial name, on an Angelic Mother who had allowed them to take her moniker to build their own lives. And he had become a Kang.
  234.  
  235. It was all of this that made their conversation with Siegfried so painful, if only because Siegfried was a far more tragic version of an already terribly tragic tale that was the demiangel himself. Siegfried was right too; Calael was working alongside Isaac. He worked alongside Kabu, Ahmir, and Ashalle for this his wife's final dream, one that could very well solidify even Eiphraem Kang's visions for the future. The Oracle made his compromises as the archon had taught him and he was seeing progress forward, paved by blood and sweat and pain, but progress nonetheless.
  236.  
  237. In another life maybe he would have taken up arms against Isaac when the black winged would have come with Ren Shi to burn Thalassia to the ground. In another path Calael could have very well fought Perseus Kang if he had tried to turn Est into something undead and frightful. To imagine a world where he himself would have had to take upon such a weight of killing the one he loved most as Siegfried spoke of doing it...
  238.  
  239. was something he could not judge.
  240.  
  241. It was something he could not condemn.
  242.  
  243. Calael pocketed the White Oil and sighed. His shoulders fell and for a long time he only continued to stare at the Fool, trying to figure out what to say. Until finally, he kept it short, and hopefully simple enough.
  244.  
  245. "...Give them Hel." The demiangel moved forward to place a solid hand on the Enforcer's shoulder. He gave it a tight squeeze, and offered him a look of understanding, before saying, "And good luck..."
  246. (Calael E. Kang)
  247.  
  248. Siegfried takes that bump on the shoulder and makes it an embrace. Brief, awkward, but one all the same. Afterward, he walks over to Adrian and does the same, embracing the man, unless he was of mind to resist.
  249.  
  250. He'd bleed on both of 'em.
  251.  
  252. Afterward, he nods, with a plethora of injuries, a heavy burden, and leaking blood all over the place. He leaves to go kill his beloved, and start what would likely be the final chapter in the book that Siegfried has been writing this entire time.
  253.  
  254. ---
  255.  
  256. "Why throw away a good life? You needn't that anger. You needn't be burdened with that duty. Whatever dreams of justice dance in your heart - it's a flame that's easily snuffed. You can walk away right now and remind yourself the comfort of a nights rest. Indulge in liquor and work an honest life until you die a peaceful death surrounded by people who love you dearly, young Siegfried."
  257.  
  258. ---
  259.  
  260. Oh, Taiga.
  261.  
  262. You saw this from the start, didn't you?
  263.  
  264.  
  265. (Siegfried)
  266.  
  267.  
  268.  
  269.  
  270. Volcano
  271.  
  272.  The sound of bubbling lava can be heard in the distance.
  273.  
  274.  
  275.  
  276.  
  277.  
  278.  
  279. Cavern
  280.  
  281.  The maze-like caverns of the mountains of Agartha are difficult to navigate, and as dark as a starless sky.
  282.  
  283.  
  284.  
  285. Wordlessly, he arrives.
  286.  
  287. She'd see him long before he made it up the steps. He's soaking in blood...so much so, it was hard to tell if it were his, or someone else's. He leaves a trail of it in the snow behind him. As he approaches her range of sight, he waves to Lacar, a large, cheery smile on his face.
  288.  
  289. And around his neck, glimmering, radiant, possibly one of the prettiest things she'd ever seen and gleaming with enough mana to be visible to the naked eye...
  290.  
  291. Was a Spire Shard.
  292.  
  293. When at last he gets close enough, Siegfried grabs Lacar by the hand. He smiles, pleasantly. He acts like he is not fucked up.
  294.  
  295. "I did it. Hey."
  296. (Siegfried)
  297.  
  298. She had been stranded there upon the mountain, lonely, but alright. The cold didn't bother her, and she felt more of a lookout than anything else truthfully. As Siegfried ascended the steps, there's a slight bounce to her standing there, as he finally takes her hand. She stares, through the mask, towards the spire shard.
  299.  
  300. She had never seen one - had she?
  301.  
  302. A nagging thought, back from when she was just a young child, and her Father handing her one to keep safe, given she was just a child. But she had kept it safe and given it back in short order, eventually.
  303.  
  304. Naturally, the Undead reaches out tentatively, to touch the shard with her gloved hand briefly before it retreats.
  305.  
  306. "You did it," She said softly though now she studies him more intently. "But you are injured! I can heal you, if you wish me to, Siegfried... You are safe, thankfully."
  307. (Lacar Ultovex)
  308.  
  309. He shakes his head, and laughs at what she'd said, like he found it to be the funniest thing in the world.
  310.  
  311. The enjoyment of her. Happy to just be around her...near her, beside her. It's written all over his face. A breath of fresh air for a world-weary traveler, who'd had to see, to be, to do so very much, and so very many things.
  312.  
  313. He takes her by the hand and guides her, tugging, now, to the north.
  314.  
  315. "We never finished making that snowman, silly," he insists, alcohol on his breath, blood dripping down his clothes. "Come...I'll show you how to put on the nose, and the buttons."
  316.  
  317. He's bringing her with him as he heads off!
  318. (Siegfried)
  319.  
  320. He already had hold of her hand, and as he merely laughed at her suggestion that he was injured, she seemed... Confused. That was not the proper way to respond to such a thing, was it? As he now guided her, she followed along dutifully, speaking up as they went,
  321.  
  322. "... But you're injured," She insisted finally, "Why care for a snowman if you might pass out in the snow?"
  323. (Lacar Ultovex)
  324.  
  325. Upon arrival in the clearing, he has the same things as before. Buttons, and a carrot. Still seemingly ignoring everything that she was saying, he carefully, delicately places those buttons inside of the snowman's torso, the torso he'd shown her how to build less than a year ago now.
  326.  
  327. He does about half, and then turns to her.
  328.  
  329. He looks like he is about to cry.
  330.  
  331. "Your turn. Do the rest, jus' like that...or any kinda way you wanna do it. It's up to you. Your snowman."
  332.  
  333. Siegfried's button placement was all over the place...sporadic.
  334. (Siegfried)
  335.  
  336. She grew oddly quiet, as he seemed so invested in the snowman, she eventually stopped her protests and watched him place the buttons just like that. She was patient, studying them, and as he turned to her, she couldn't help but notice the look on his face.
  337.  
  338. She stares at him now, and finally speaks,
  339.  
  340. "What's wrong, Siegfried?" She asked all too suddenly. She took the buttons however, and began pressing them into the rolled up snow, exactly as he had showed her, to make a nice looking Snowman. Hers too, were sporadic, copying his.
  341. (Lacar Ultovex)
  342.  
  343. Oh, Clara.
  344.  
  345. His Clara was this woman, asking him what was wrong while placing the buttons into that snowman. His Clara was this woman, who'd risen the dead and fought against the rebellion and sworn she'd do anything for the most wicked man in the world, but was so gentle and kind with him even seeing him hurt caused her to lash out. His Clara was this woman, who the whole world perceived as beyond redemption, beyond saving, as evil...
  346.  
  347. Who was in his eyes, so pure.
  348.  
  349. He grips both of his Clara's hands, now, as soon as she's done. He looks like he's about to do something, or say something, right now.
  350.  
  351. His blood is dripping onto the snow...
  352.  
  353. "The carrot. You gotta do the carrot, remember?" He says softly.
  354. (Siegfried)
  355.  
  356.  
  357. Siegfried says, "...It's important to me. Just put it on there. It's like a face, remember? It's his nose."
  358. You have 3 minutes left until your next check. You currently do not qualify for an RPP reward in the upcoming check.
  359.  
  360. Brows furrowed underneath that mask she wore outside, and as he grips both of her hands, she can't help but be concerned. The carrot she had to...
  361.  
  362. She took it from him, and placed it directly onto the Snowman's little face, just like a nose. It was slightly crooked, and perhaps imperfect, but it was a Snowman alright, made by the both of them. The blood upon the snow couldn't be ignored any longer, and now she turned to him, once the deed was accomplished.
  363.  
  364. "You're bleeding, let me help your wounds. I can do that! I learned!" She insisted, once more.
  365. (Lacar Ultovex)
  366.  
  367. Clara, please. No, Clara. Stop.
  368.  
  369. "I can't let you do that," he says softly.
  370.  
  371. And then the very temperature changes. The winds howl about the two of them, blowing with the fierce gale that was destiny. The spirits convene upon him, and she'd be able to see what momentarily appeared to be a spectral cowl enshrouding him for a brief second before it dwindled into nothingness.
  372.  
  373. When he moves, it's with the suddenness of a bolt of lightning.
  374.  
  375. It tears him apart to do so, but he kicks Lacar in the gut so hard and so swiftly she'd be hard-pressed to react.
  376.  
  377. "I want you to have at least a chance to get out alive."
  378.  
  379. ---
  380.  
  381. Oh, what's the hero gonna do to the big, bad necromancer? Clara asked playfully.
  382.  
  383. I guess I'm gonna have to punish her, Siegfried joked back, and then kissed her.
  384.  
  385. ---
  386.  
  387. The sword on his back is withdrawn at speeds that were beyond human. Far beyond human. What he has become is nothing short of a boundless fountain of raw energy magic, his soul glistening not in spite of his scars, but because of them. Aforementioned sword tries to hack Lacar clean in half, severing what she was.
  388.  
  389. And then, if she were to avoid that, he would transition into a series of attacks that only seem to continually up the ante, spectral, ethereal limbs sometimes jutting from him, fueled purely by his resolve.
  390.  
  391. "Sors should have never brought you back like this.
  392.  
  393. And..."
  394.  
  395. I'm so sorry, Clara.
  396.  
  397. "I have to send you to where you should be."
  398. (Siegfried)
  399.  
  400. It was a beautiful moment, and yet it was shattered in an instant. The kick in her gut caused her to double over, and if she could breathe, she'd wheeze heavily. It hurt. It hurt in more ways than one.
  401.  
  402. Something triggered, right then and there, as the sadness expression that could possibly ever be written comes across her innocent, undead visage.
  403.  
  404. Everyone betrays you.
  405.  
  406. And so much as how her Father had been betrayed by those he loved, so too was Clara.
  407.  
  408. At first, she doesn't understand, she doesn't get it. The sword swiped at her, but she was coherent enough to get away from the swipe just in time.
  409.  
  410. "Siegfried what are you -- " But she couldn't manage out more, as those series of attacks came her way. Clara - Lacar - did what she had to, to survive. Even in Undeath, she didn't want to leave. The look and pain upon her Father's face when shehad recently been risen was all the motivation she needed to ensure she wouldn't die here, not tonight. His words all but confirm it.
  411.  
  412. Everyone betrays you.
  413.  
  414. Her heart breaks, and for the first time, tears stream down her face despite her state of undeath. He wanted to kill her, just because of what she was. He had done it, he had the spire shard right there, around his neck. They had been so close. They'd live peacefully, away from everything, and be happy. But she had been a fool to believe that, hadn't she? Her Father was right. The world was bullshit.
  415.  
  416. "N-NO!" She shouted. Magical energies surround Lacar now, her entire body trembling, not from the cold. But from the pain of knowing this was what it had come down to.
  417.  
  418. "... I don't - please, Siegfried. It's right there! IT'S RIGHT THERE!"
  419.  
  420. They clash.
  421. (Lacar Ultovex)
  422.  
  423. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 10)
  424.  
  425. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 9)
  426.  
  427. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 8)
  428.  
  429. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 7)
  430.  
  431. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 6)
  432.  
  433. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 5)
  434.  
  435. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 4)
  436.  
  437. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 3)
  438.  
  439. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 2)
  440.  
  441. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 1)
  442.  
  443. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: Go!)
  444.  
  445. And so, they dance.
  446.  
  447. They'd never before, in death, or in life. He could've never brought himself to hurt her. Whenever she had seen him fight, it had been in defense of her. Half the times, she'd been on the sidelines, believing in him, rooting for him. Siegfried thrived because of her. He had reached this pinnacle, sought this peak for her.
  448.  
  449. And now, tears streaming down his face, he cuts her down.
  450.  
  451. Clara's defenses are impressive. The improvement she's done over time is commendable. She is not a weak mage. However, she was not her father. Not what her dad had bragged to Siegfried about being. A monster, capable of going toe to toe with the biggest and the best, and mastering rare, difficult magics in record time.
  452.  
  453. And that is what she would've had to be to stop him in this moment.
  454.  
  455. Siegfried fights his heart out, blinking in and out of her perception, encircling her with phantasmal images, churning himself so full of energy magic, overloading himself with so many emotions, he could hardly even think. He doesn't stop moving, because to stop moving would be to think. To realize what he was doing. Who he was fighting.
  456.  
  457. Her screams of pain tear his heart to pieces.
  458.  
  459. Her undead body's vessel coming undone stamps on it.
  460.  
  461. Her begging him to stop buries it.
  462.  
  463. It's right there, is all he gets from his lover as he brings the sword that had always protected her driving through her body, again. And again. And again.
  464.  
  465. He's sobbing, but he won't stop.
  466.  
  467. He loves her, but he can't stop.
  468. (Siegfried)
  469.  
  470. He was crying, and she didn't have the faintest idea why. He had attacked her - to kill her, permanently. She knew enough to know if she lost here, there was no coming back. There was no third chance... It was now or never.
  471.  
  472. For some reason, she knew, this was not the first time.
  473.  
  474. Memories flood back, of pain, of destruction. Of her death. Isaac Shimasu smiling down at her as she screamed at him in defiance. I serve my Father in death! she had so boldly declared, and here she was doing just that... Only to be cut down by the most unlikely source of pain she could have ever fathomed.
  475.  
  476. His sword work was impressive, and her defenses could only hold up against it marginally. A good strike hits the mask she had placed over her face, to hide what she was from any strangers. It tumbled onto the white snow, along with bits of blood. A cut along her face, which left her trembling all the more.
  477.  
  478. He was crying and she still didn't know why. He wasn't talking to her.
  479.  
  480. "SIEGFRIED STOP! PLEASE! I DON'T WANT TO DIE AGAIN! I DON'T! PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!" She suddenly shouted. It had been the same cry she had offered to her Father, when she had become the recently risen vexed undead. When thoughts of her death had collided into her full force, and she had clung to his form so tightly, scared out of her wit's end.
  481.  
  482. But she had a feeling, deep down, that not even those cries would stop him tonight.
  483. (Lacar Ultovex)
  484.  
  485. Lacar Ultovex drops Whitefur Cape.
  486.  
  487. You pick up Whitefur Cape.
  488.  
  489. They cannot.
  490.  
  491. Nothing can stop him now.
  492.  
  493. They both bleed together in the snow, and his tears do nothing to wash it away.
  494.  
  495. There was no other option but to fight.
  496. (Siegfried)
  497.  
  498. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 10)
  499.  
  500. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 9)
  501.  
  502. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 8)
  503.  
  504. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 7)
  505.  
  506. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 6)
  507.  
  508. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 5)
  509.  
  510. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 4)
  511.  
  512. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 3)
  513.  
  514. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 2)
  515.  
  516. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: 1)
  517.  
  518. {RP BATTLE} (COUNTDOWN: Go!)
  519.  
  520.  
  521. *** LACAR ULTOVEX HAS BEEN SLAIN IN BATTLE ***
  522.  
  523. They dance, and they dance, and they dance.
  524.  
  525. ---
  526.  
  527. Am I truly the big bad necromancer? She asked playfully.
  528.  
  529. ---
  530.  
  531. She molds, shapes the battlefield. Raises water to engulf them both, suffocating, asphyxiating. He can hardly breathe. He feels like he is dying.
  532.  
  533. He is not.
  534.  
  535. But the woman he'd have married was.
  536.  
  537. It is like Tototl taught him. Engulf yourself in your mana. Manipulate it, as you know how. Find your limits, and break them. A phantasmal image, composed of memories, composed of resolve, made of hardship, forged by adversity, sewn by loss, stitched with grief, it echoes his movements, giving him that extra oomph. He fights bloodied, wounded, nowhere near his peak capacity, not a shade as strong as he was at his best.
  538.  
  539. He allows her to wound him. To tear at him. And he allows himself to cry out as she does - corrupted water shreds away at his muscles and tear at his tendons. Occult, fueled by the madness that remained, batters and assaults him. As they fight, the adrenaline does not amplify.
  540.  
  541. ---
  542.  
  543. "Not the big bad necromancer," he corrected. "My big bad necromancer."
  544.  
  545. ---
  546.  
  547. It leaves him.
  548.  
  549. His sword is heavy. His body is heavy. And for the closing portions of that fight, it is so tempting to just stop. To let her kill him instead. Better that than to go on without her. To live in a world where he had hurt her, stabbed her, cut her, the only woman he'd ever kissed, ever held, ever made love to...
  550.  
  551. As Lacar draws his blood, Taiga's ethereal image appears. His heart bleeds. His body bleeds. He bleeds from his arms, his legs, his gut, his mouth. Everything bleeds. But he does not stop. He cannot stop. The splitting image of Emiri Taiyang, the successor to Taiga Rowan, he continues to hack and to slash and to fight, and whenever he thinks about dying, he thinks about Taiga, about Niklaus, about Adrian, about Godfrey, and it is like he is forcibly keeping his eyes open at this point, because he can't see through all of the blood and the tears, and his head is dizzy, and he can't tell if it's because this stress is fucking killing him, or because all of the fighting he has done tonight will finally end his life.
  552.  
  553. ---
  554.  
  555. The lad holds her close, and rocks her body, half-lidded eyes gazing into the necromancer's.
  556.  
  557. "...Run away with me to Gehenna," he says, and it's unclear, initially, if he's joking or not. "We'll live in bumfuck nowhere, in some village together."
  558.  
  559. ---
  560.  
  561. Their eyes meet. She is screaming. Her mask is off. Her defenses are down. Clara...Lacar is no longer even able to defend herself, because two lovers were fighting to the death, because she was an undead, and her very existence was a curse, and he loved her too much to keep seeing her this way, to let her live a false life, to continue to suffer, everyday, locked in the mountains, rotting, falling apart.
  562.  
  563. ---
  564.  
  565. "I can't," She said. In more ways than just one, Dusk was her home, and she loved it and her Father deeply. If Sors called, she'd have to go; she felt it earlier when he tried to summon Teivel. But he didn't need to know that, "That sounds... Fascinating, Siegfried... But I just can't. Just stay with me forever, mm?" She questioned now.
  566.  
  567. An equally impossible task for him as well.
  568.  
  569. Life was unfair.
  570.  
  571. ---
  572.  
  573. Siegfried's sword goes through Clara's gut.
  574.  
  575. Have you ever heard the phrase 'the silence is deafening?'
  576.  
  577. A stupid phrase. A paradoxical one, that diminished the meaning of silence. But Siegfried had never come closer to understanding that phrase than he did right now, as he reached past the point of being able to just stop. Of being able to just turn around, and go back home, and-
  578.  
  579. Why throw away a good life? You needn't that anger. You needn't be burdened with that duty. Whatever dreams of justice dance in your heart - it's a flame that's easily snuffed. You can walk away right now and remind yourself the comfort of a nights rest. Indulge in liquor and work an honest life until you die a peaceful death surrounded by people who love you dearly, young Siegfried.
  580.  
  581. No.
  582.  
  583. There was no going back.
  584.  
  585. Siegfried's sword is yanked back, out of her, and steals away the breath of the breathless. It sings through the air, crying for a dying woman who'd already been dead. And then it comes back around, like the cycle of the universe, like a planet in the solar system, orbiting the sun, to finish the job.
  586.  
  587. And then,in ultimate paradox of everything that was happening, a broken phrase is uttered, by a broken man, who speaks with a crackling voice as he cuts her down with arms that barely work, hardly able to even see her through his blood and tears as he cries his heart out.
  588.  
  589. "I love you."
  590.  
  591. (Siegfried)
  592.  
  593. She pushed on, through those tears there streamed down her marred cheeks and through the blood that was dripping down her cheek in a macabre fashion. His sword tore into her form, over and over again. Her water robbed him of his breath, but he was merciless in this march towards her own second death.
  594.  
  595. He was an efficient swordsman, and it was frightening to be on the receiving end of those blows. Lacar had no idea that Taiga Rowan fought with him on this darkest of nights, where blood mingled with snow and stained it perhaps forever. All she cared about was possibly surviving and...
  596.  
  597. Hiding away, in the house. To cry. To tell Nym and Adonis and the others what had transpired. That the person she trusted above all else, the person she believed in, the person she loved… Had tried to kill her. To write more. To write her woes away and hide in a bed somewhere. But there would be none of that.
  598.  
  599. His sword goes into her gut, and she pauses, sienna eyes staring up into his own with a pained expression. A hand reaches out, they were so close... And a hand strokes against his cheek, before it drops away limply. Fingertips barely grazed his battered visage, as the sword was yanked out of her sternum. There was no more fight in her; she had tried her hardest, in both life and death. But the hand of fate dealt a cruel deck to someone who should have been so much more, than just a passing, and now faded memory.
  600.  
  601. The words he speaks hit her, as the sword cuts into her, and what one untrained in the field of medicine would presume is gallons of blood spill from that opened side. She falls, near lifelessly against the snow, by the Snowman they had built. Together. The haphazardly set buttons for his shirt, and the slightly imperfect and crooked nose for his face. It's marred with her blood, for eternity.
  602.  
  603. I love you, he said, and for a while, before the blackness takes her and she's nothing more than truly a rotting corpse, lifeless, she manages to speak. It's choked out, and in sobs, but she manages somehow,
  604.  
  605. "... I know." Came the broken reply. He had done it to save her a life of being perpetually hunted down. Of rotting away. But it had been right there - around his neck. She speaks again, and perhaps it was the saddest thing one would hear, "W-We.... We never got... The cat...."
  606.  
  607. In the end, Clara Ultovex was still a lover of animals.
  608.  
  609. And now, she was dead.
  610. (Lacar Ultovex)
  611.  
  612. Lacar Ultovex was killed by Siegfried on the year 1559AC.
  613.  
  614. https://gyazo.com/9aae455cba0b4f5f13d32f27b5d8ab9e
  615.  
  616.  
  617.  
  618. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egn_VNVKzI4
  619.  
  620. Even now, as Siegfried's blade buries itself within Clara Ultovex, those eyes, the eyes he'd fallen in love with, they lock onto his. Her hands, cold, clammy, those of an undead, move with an innocence, a love that could not be understood. That makes no sense, given what he has done today. A love that cannot be taken back. A love that belonged to him forever. That love leads her undead, withering hand to his cheek, rubbing it up and down, and his eyes cannot tear away from her, at that moment.
  621.  
  622. Was it too late to take it back?
  623.  
  624. She was falling.
  625.  
  626. In reality, it only took seconds for her to hit the ground, bleeding, impaled, their love defiled. To Siegfried?
  627.  
  628. An eternity passes, and in those impossible, breathless moments, he sees a whole other life.
  629.  
  630. ---
  631.  
  632. Siegfried holds her up high, in some grassy meadow, twirling her about in circles. She wears a white wedding dress, in such complete contrast to that black hair, and the dark clothing that she insisted on. She has never looked more beautiful. The two of them collapse into the grass, a newlywed couple.
  633.  
  634. ---
  635.  
  636. They'd never gotten that cat she wanted, the one he promised her he'd get, Clara Ultovex reminds the boy she'd loved as he murders her.
  637.  
  638. ---
  639.  
  640. Siegfried holds a baby, and Clara another. A boy, and a girl. One's hair white, like his, another one's dark, like hers. Sors's grandchildren. Emiri's grandchildren. They don't care about any of that. Clara nurses their daughter, and Siegfried holds his son up to the sky, laughing, laughing, making faces at the little man who was his splitting image.
  641.  
  642. "Hey, Taiga," Siegfried lovingly says to his one month old son, "I'm gonna take you with me today."
  643.  
  644. Behind them, Clara smiles.
  645.  
  646. ---
  647.  
  648. Clara Ultovex had been born the daughter of Sors Ultovex. Pressured to become a necromancer, burdened to be strong by everyone around her, even her black sheep little sister. She had tried her hardest, but, just like Siegfried, fallen short at many twists and turns. It'd made them kindred spirits. Despite how she could not win, she tried, never shying away from the expectations, never able to stay running from her fate for long. Just like him.
  649.  
  650. That devotion to her father and to Dawn had killed her.
  651.  
  652. And now, he'd killed her again.
  653.  
  654. ---
  655.  
  656. An elderly, grey-haired man as opposed to a bouncy, youthful, white-haired man who'd been known as Siegfried a long, long time ago, clutches his wife, Clara Taiyang. Shirou Taiyang, the name he was known by these days, watched his brother's children, and then their children, grow up. He watches Lea's children grow up, and he livesa long, fulfilling life. Long ago, he'd put down Blessings of Nadir, Taiga's sword, and it now hung on the mantle, above the fireplace.
  657.  
  658. His son Godfrey and his son Taiga are getting up there in years. Two powerful magi in their own right, who pursue whatever it is their hearts desire, at the yearning of their father. It's rare to see them both in the same room...they'd gotten that from their dad, always on the road. All over the place. But they were both here, for this.
  659.  
  660. At the age of seventy two, due to complications from a lifetime of combat, Siegfried...Shirou was dying. His family surrounds him. His friends are there. They say it is not his time. He shushes them.
  661.  
  662. Clara, the older woman she has become, is crying, and he squeezes her hand, one last time.
  663.  
  664. And then he dies, peacefully, in his sleep, surrounded by loved ones.
  665.  
  666. ---
  667.  
  668. But none of that had ever happened. None of it ever could happen.
  669.  
  670. He is twenty-six years old. His body has a lifetime of scarring. Many of Siegfried's injuries are permanent, untreatable, and he'd turned away his chance at a miracle cure. Like a bag of meat, Clara flops lifelessly from the end of his sword, those beautiful eyes of hers losing all color as she slumps to the ground, hitting it, hard. She is sprawled out before him, lifeless, next to the only normal thing they have made together since she died.
  671.  
  672. A blood-stained snowman, with a crooked smile, and buttons that didn't line up, tilted on the side, his carrot nose bent, soggy from the snow and crumpled from being in his pocket.
  673.  
  674. The Energy Magic that Siegfried had set out to master in order to protect his lover had been utilized at the pinnacle of it's development to take her life instead.
  675.  
  676. The Mythril Valmasian sword that he'd bought in Dawn to protect Clara is left behind. It'd never been able to serve its purpose.
  677.  
  678. On his back the bloody blade of a Gehennan Chieftain, the very same one Quincy'd obtained through slaughter, the one which'd just ran through the only woman he'd ever love, he leaves her corpse there to be swept up in the blizzard. Swept away with his tears, and with his blood, hiding the stench of decay, and death.
  679.  
  680. Everything betrays you in the end.
  681.  
  682. ________________________________________________
  683.  
  684. Siegfried walks all the way to Aurum. He takes no breaks along the way. He leaves blood in his wake as he walks. He knows where he is going. There is no need to stop. Drenched in his own blood, and the blood of his lover, he seats himself within the tavern in the town which is occupied by many of the only people left who remembered Clara Ultovex. One who sees the way he walks, swaying from side to side, seemingly like any minute, he could collapse, might mistake him for a homeless vagabond, who'd just lost a fight, or something. They wouldn't be too far off.
  685.  
  686. But Siegfried has come for a reason.
  687.  
  688. The white-haired boy's sleeves are rolled up. He is smiling. He seats himself at the piano.
  689.  
  690. ---
  691.  
  692. "I don't want to talk about bad things tonight," he says softly, given the drama that unfolds around the two of them, all of the expectations...
  693.  
  694. "You don't either, do you?"
  695. (Siegfried)
  696. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  697.  
  698. [22:40] There's a slight exhale, as he mentions avoiding speaking of bad things. She shakes her head just slightly as she murmurs her answer,
  699.  
  700. "No," She said. She allowed him to tap at a key occasionally, to ruin the beautiful song she was tapping out all on her own, her affinity for sound magic giving her the influence to create something that sounded like a song even off the top of her head. It was a useless ability, but one she cherished. His head nuzzled into the crook of her shoulder relaxes her, and for a time she pauses - only to start up again seconds later.
  701.  
  702. "I don't," She added, her fingers working faster. They danced up and down the length of the keys, her hands falling in places blindly yet hitting the proper keys for the song to not have a single note out of tune. Her playing began to grow frantic now, hyperactive almost before she scaled the length of the piano itself back and forth, before focusing her attention directly in the center. Up and down, the notes played themselves out.
  703.  
  704. "What have you done...? Has anything fascinating happened?" She asked now.
  705. (Clara Ultovex)
  706.  
  707. ---
  708.  
  709. And Siegfried plays. And he plays. And he plays. That very song that Clara had played that day, on the dawn of the war, the day before the battle had begun that had kept them separated for over a year. The last night they'd spend together alone, all night long, as for the next few years, circumstance would keep them apart, and then Isaac would ultimately kill her, and then him.
  710.  
  711. Siegfried lacks her affinity for sound magic, but he has love, and dedication, and he has had time. The beautiful song she'd played on the piano, he is able to recreate, flawlessly. There are no additional touches. There is no twist. It is a soulful ballad composed by a woman who'd loved him, and he plays it back, knowing that now, somewhere, Clara's soul was in the stars. He is at peace. There is no panic, no mania, no guilt, no terror, no fear. Siegfried has attained resolution. The spiritual presence he emits, the very same with which he now fights, has ironed and tempered his resolve into something you could not understand.
  712.  
  713. Soon, after his final battle, star-crossed lovers would be reunited forever, at last, in the very stars that'd long kept them apart.
  714.  
  715. He succumbs to unconsciousness from blood loss while playing the piano. His head bangs into the keys, making a very ugly sound.
  716.  
  717. It is only the superhuman vitality bestowed to him by being a magus, elevated to these extreme degrees by the trials along the way that kept him alive. His suffering had made him strong, and the spirits would not let him die yet.
  718.  
  719. No.
  720.  
  721. There was still something for him to live for. And the Spire Shard around his neck was proof of what he could still do, of what he was still capable.
  722.  
  723. One of the fabled Spire shards of Agartha tied on a pendant that allowed the memory of his deceased father, Taiga, to hold him now, as his weary head rests, in preparation for what he must go do, with or without the allies and resources.
  724.  
  725. ---
  726.  
  727. I measure every Grief I meet
  728. With narrow, probing, eyes –
  729. I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
  730. Or has an Easier size.
  731.  
  732. I wonder if They bore it long –
  733. Or did it just begin –
  734. I could not tell the Date of Mine –
  735. It feels so old a pain –
  736.  
  737. I wonder if it hurts to live –
  738. And if They have to try –
  739. And whether – could They choose between –
  740. It would not be – to die –
  741.  
  742. I note that Some – gone patient long –
  743. At length, renew their smile –
  744. An imitation of a Light
  745. That has so little Oil –
  746.  
  747. I wonder if when Years have piled –
  748. Some Thousands – on the Harm –
  749. That hurt them early – such a lapse
  750. Could give them any Balm –
  751.  
  752. Or would they go on aching still
  753. Through Centuries of Nerve –
  754. Enlightened to a larger Pain –
  755. In Contrast with the Love –
  756.  
  757. The Grieved – are many – I am told –
  758. There is the various Cause –
  759. Death – is but one – and comes but once –
  760. And only nails the eyes –
  761.  
  762. There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
  763. A sort they call "Despair" –
  764. There's Banishment from native Eyes –
  765. In sight of Native Air –
  766.  
  767. And though I may not guess the kind –
  768. Correctly – yet to me
  769. A piercing Comfort it affords
  770. In passing Calvary –
  771.  
  772. To note the fashions – of the Cross –
  773. And how they're mostly worn –
  774. Still fascinated to presume
  775. That Some – are like my own –.
  776.  
  777. (Siegfried)
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