The low calls of the birds drifted gently through the air, and the quiet, babbling brook softly whispered a song. The trees sighed mildly as they rustled in the artificial breeze, their long branches sad and alone.
The boy stared silently at a spot across the stream, as he did everyday, subdued by the somber solitude of the place. His mind wandered absently, falling back to days both simple and glad, days now gone forever.
His dusky red eyes idled slowly across the thick, rich grass, their sanguine depths uncertain and heavy with thought. His contemplation failed once more to yield the answers he sought, however, and he rose with a sigh, turning away from his place by the little stream.
His eyes hardly widened in surprise when he discovered a woman standing before him, her blonde hair cascading gently to a point only several inches above the ground. "Teepo," she asked tenderly, her voice thick with concern. "Are you all right...? You've become so melancholy"
Softly, she placed a hand on his shoulder, but the boy shrugged away from the unwanted touch. His dusky gaze found its way to the ground, refusing to meet her eyes, and he fought the tears that threatened stubbornly.
"At least eat something," she told him gently. "You look awful." She paused a moment, searching his face, wanting to say more. Then she sighed, withdrawing.
Several moments later, his gaze found its way to where she'd been. He wanted to hate her. With all his heart, he wanted to despise her. But he couldn't. Not when he knew that she'd told him the truth. Not when he knew that the choices were so plain; stay here, alone, or live a normal life and kill countless innocents, people undeserving of being affected by the curse that he'd been born with.
It was not the Goddess' fault he'd been born a Brood. It was not her fault that she wished to keep him from causing others pain. It was not her fault that the best way to do so was to lock him away from the world, keep him from his friends, hold him in a false paradise...
It was then that the tears came, as they always did, trickling quietly down his cheeks. Tears for his friends, who he'd never see again. Tears for everything he'd wanted to do, now impossible. Tears for the life that he'd lost, and for the meaningless life he now had.
The thoughts that came with them were poignant ones, thoughts reminding him of a life in another world. He forced them back eventually, though, as he always did, and closed his eyes to stay the flow of tears.
A deep, shuddering breath returned him to his grey reality, and he opened dusky eyes to see Eden, spread before him in its forlorn beauty. With a quiet resignation, he turned again to his spot beside the brook and kneeled beneath a tree, eyes filled with a sad kind of calm.
He remained on the bank of the little stream for a long while, unmoving, as he contemplated his past life and tried to imagine what could have been. More and more frequently, however, he was beginning to discover that the life he'd lived before was slipping away, taking with it its promises, hopes, and ideals. In its place was left only the somber realization of what he had to look forward to-- a life alone in Eden.