crossfortune: mikleo, tales of zestiria (for the sake of protecting you)
the androgynous keeper of plushfrogs ([personal profile] crossfortune) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2017-07-17 03:59 am

reflections at the end

Name: Mischa
Story: tales from the drowned world
Colors: vienna orange (the story is not for anyone else to tell), spark (but what if I'm a mermaid), elvish green (I suppose you think that was terribly clever)
Supplies and Styles: seed beads, pastels (origific bingo, prompt "memories")
Word Count: 651
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none, I think?
Summary: Near to the end of all things, the High Lord of House Valeth reflects.
Notes: Incomplete and rough: I want to revisit this piece later.

To those who much is given, much is also is expected.

So spoke the first High Lord of House Valeth, in days before living memory, and our lives have always been bound by those words, those expectations. Our father walked and walks the crossroads, knower of all hidden and unhidden, and in our veins run prophecies and secrets, our gift from our moon-mad, broken father.

(we have always known too much, seen too much, too far-)

When I was a child, years ago, I listened to the stories every child knows by heart, of the breaking of the world, the sacrifices of the first war: how the Watchful Sword tore out his eye and cast it away, how even the Ever-Merciful rose at last, slender in white, mace in hand, how our father, the Changer of Ways, laughed and cast his old self away. Love is sacrifice.

Every noble descended from one of the gods, from the least child with the barest drops of divine blood in their veins to the Empress on the Shining Throne, knows their duty: we have been given power and set above the people to rule, but in return, we must sacrifice in order to hold back the sea.

I thought, as children do, that whatever sacrifice I would be called to make would be straightforward: that, like something out of a story, it would be swift, clean, and final, a noble, good death in the service of a selfless cause. Death is clean and an ending, and our scions die like the others, if need be, if that is what they are called to do, but-

(our sacrifices take a different shape.)

We take our secrets with us to the grave and to the river, past all knowledge and recall: our gift and our curse, and not even the children of the Lord of the River can call our ghosts to account. We die, we die, but we are meant to live and use our secrets until the bitter end: bitter and broken -

(and the end is what we see, a thousand facets of calamity and silence in the wake of water-)

I am the High Lord of House Valeth, and my sacrifices have never been clean. I have bent my entire life around the futures that we see, carved away my name and my identity and let the shadows and silence and secrets of my House sink into my very bones until I was nothing more than the embodied sum of it all, as my predecessors have done. I have given up everything I was and could have been to try to avert the rising tide: I have done and given my best, for years beyond counting, and my best was not enough.

I have failed, and I have paid, and we will all pay. And here, where we stand at the end of all roads, or close enough to be almost the end, I ask myself what I could have done differently. Symeon, blood of my blood but not born from my bones, betrayer of our House, priest of the Nameless, who stands at the heart of this disaster, my greatest failure: should I have killed him, the moment I saw his futures spread out before him? Should I have sent him away, the moment I realized where his obsessed, unrequited heart lay, instead of wanting to keep him close and watched? Should I, should I, should I?

(I made my choices: we made our choices, him and I. I did not do enough to turn him from that road, to silence the voice that called hollowly to him in his dreams each night. But it was his choice to step onto that tide-washed road from which there is no return, and his choice alone-)

A reckoning is due, and a storm comes. And, in the end, I will face that reckoning alone.