Salt all around, in heaps and piles shrouded by raiments fair. White crystals floated on the wind, no blood to brighten the pale. Stand, slender monuments to progress, forever halting the traffic of lesser wills.

Albedo stood in the center of the ruined street, and marveled at the puerile attempts at betterment by his inferiors. Little good it did them, their banners hanging limp from fortresses ineffective at holding back the damage of Entropy's claws.

White trampled black, smothered it as red disappeared its vibrancy behind shadowy veils. Where now the crimson, the true shade, only color considered in the spectrum of the world?

Where hid the dragon, licking salt into the wounds he left behind?

Are you worth your own salt, precious snake?

There was so much salt in the street that Albedo could lay in it and form angels. It was too bad that real angels never came to this place, but the ones that the angels failed gave scant amusement.

But he would deal with an angel when the time came.

He scooped the crystals into his hands and let them drift away like snow, like dandelion seeds that would never germinate. How useless they were, but for the dust that stung his eyes and made him cry rubies.

More tears. He took his salt-crusted fingertips and pressed them against his irises until liquid flowed, blood or not. There were cracks in eyes like the cracks in his mind, and red rushed to fill them both.

Now red only came from within, when once he had been surrounded by its blaze. But the fire was quenched by the dragon that belched it, and the cursed creature hid in its lair. Only in Albedo's memory did those old embers give off any heat.

But what heat they gave, those flames of betrayal and rage. Albedo wept that had things gone better, he would be bereft of their warmth.

His sight cleared, wretched healing. Let him see the world ruined through ruined eyes.

He was ruined, his cheeks already dry of the ruddy tears. So much salt and no wound to rub them in.

No wound, no wound, the salt would wound him. This time his palms not his fingertips were mounded in crystals, and he rubbed at his face until his white skin was as fine and powdery as the salt mounds, and it too drifted on the breeze.

Too bad there was no mirror to see the red within, except for what coated his hands and slipped down his neck and chest, and splattered on the ground, dissolving white where it touched.

Red dissolved white and white shrouded red. Wounds? What wounds? Who believes what they cannot see? No tears were wept over the corpseless dead, none for the wounded of spent dragons, none for the treacherous snake himself.

The salt would drift away on the wind, but white would always be left behind, to remember where red had caressed it.

That red ever ravaged white.