Ash went back to her room, not sleeping, and not awake, but somewhere in between. An apt metaphor for herself, she thought. In the meditative state she was in, she focused on what it was that she was intended to be, and should still be: a weapon. She thought of her focus: Carrion’s Decay. The weapons she wields.
My job is to end life. I am the decay that wracks the body. Everything ages, everything that ages dies.
It felt, different. As though her own mind rebelled against her will. She repeated her mantra. This time images began to fill her head. Basu-Maru, the Dawn Caste. Fighting non-stop against a horde of…anything. Dragonbloods, Abyssals, in the end the horde he was fighting didn’t matter. He was just fighting, taking a stand for what he believes in: Justice…and swords. How odd then, that she should be here, fighting beside him, anathema to everything she is. She didn’t force the images from her mind, but let them drift away. Once more she repeated her mantra.
Dreams was there. Looking at a small bird under glass, barely alive. “Strange isn’t it?” Dreams was talking to her, but She-Who-Flies-On-The-Ash-Born-Wings-Of-Decay said nothing. “It’s so close to death, a fraction of an inch on a scale we are too large to be calibrated for, and yet it fights to survive, to…live, at any cost.” Dreams lifted the glass and handed the bird gently, with reverence to her. Taking it in her hand she glanced down to notice the fresh wounds on it’s back, something small had punctured the back of this small bird. Blood was dripping out of the fresh wounds of the…Nightingale? “Why did you give up on that which to bargained to keep?” Dreams was still talking to her, but she was too shocked to do anything. She took a step back as was again sitting in the void that was her meditation. Once again she repeated her mantra.
Taki was a short ways off, sitting with Sorrel, not fighting, not close to death. Just watching the sunset, the beginning of twilight. She recognized that look on Taki’s face: love. Something so familiar, and now so distant. They were talking, sharing something intimate, secret, but the emotion and the sentiment was clear. Expressions of feeling. The two of them ignored her as she walked forward. What is this? In the end the moment was all too…human. The sun began to move faster and faster, days were passing by in what would be mere moments. Years in the day. Taki remained static: forever his age, but time was not so kind to Sorrel. Each tick of the seconds decades were added to his age. Until he was simply ash, a tombstone marked where he had sat. “Everything ages,” she heard Taki say, “Everything that ages dies.” There were sections of dampness on the ground, “I wouldn’t have traded anything for the few short years we had. I was at my happiest then.” She looked at the small memorial that marked their spot. That image too, faded away. She-Who-Flies-On-The-Ash-Born-Wings-Of-Decay didn’t know what to make of any of this. Once more she repeated her mantra.
She was kneeling before her Deathlord. He towered over her, shadows made up his features. This wasn’t the lord she served, this was something else. Something commanding her, but not her lord. He could feel her heart beating quickly, she was sweating, she was afraid. Fear, panic, terror where she should feel the most at home, and safe. She ran, ran until she could see the void, the gaping maw that wished to devour everything in and that made up Creation, giving Those-that-were-never-born a final death, an end to those-that-never-began. She looked over her shoulder, there was the thing pretending to be her lord. She stood, if she were to be ended: it would be on her terms. Turning around she crossed her arms and fell back: falling into the void of her undoing. For the last time her visions melted away. She took a deep breath, repeating her mantra a final time.
Her mind sumbited to the will of it’s owner, giving her the visions and foci she requested. The bodies of the slain left rotting where they fell, the slow decay of nature, time claims all in the end.
My job is to end life. I am the decay that wracks the body. Everything ages, everything that ages dies. She-Who-Flies-On-The-Ash-Born-Wings-Of-Decay stated the words in her mind, and Ash wondered, somewhere in the back of her mind, unknown to the one thinking them: did they hold any meaning. Nightingale in the Meadow rethought the last choice she had ever made. She-Who-Flies-On-The-Ash-Born-Wings-Of-Decay was at last able to return to her duties.