Another Island

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A hard shake? Naw, mon! I just go with the flow, ya know?

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In a dash of wings and a flash of claws, a shuffling of feet and gnashing of jaws, Cielo and his allies fight. The enemy, a group of two two-headed dogs with malice on all their minds, falls quickly and without incident. They had a glaring weakness, one that begged to be exploited. That one acute, regrettable weakness turned into their demise, and now they were no longer of this world, becoming part of whatever 'demons' became after they died.

Are we…are we gonna end up the same way?

Cielo walks behind the rest of them- Serph, Gale, Sera, Heat, all his friends. He's so happy being around them; after all, being in a group beats being alone by a longshot. Cielo has been alone before, and he could almost feel himself, that one time, slipping away…

"Heeey! Hold up, mon!" Cielo yells, realizing he's in jeopardy of being left far behind. So he dashes as fast as he can, his flavorful purple and blue hair of celebration and beads flowing behind him. "Hey, wait up! Don't leave me behind!"

The group ahead stops in their tracks to wait for the wanderer, who waves his hand jovially and flourishes his step. Seeing Cielo's wide smile, the group can't help but smile themselves. In fact, Cielo can barely stop himself from breaking into casual laughter.

That, above all else, is the quintessential image of Cielo the group keeps with them: one of a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, optimistic guy. He's all right. He's okay.

But there is a cat ever watching him, and them, and sure as there is a cat watching them, there comes times when even Cielo looks out onto the horizon and sees only darkness and hate.

-

Cielo remembers those darker times. He remembers, not because he wants to, but because it would be even worse to forget. In all those times of suffering, Cielo was a person who never gave up, under any circumstances. He remembers with sadness the times he has been alone, with nobody to stand there at his side. It's a horrible, indescribable feeling, being alone: like a circle of blackness swallowing you whole and eating you alive. For those who have spent no time alone, it is easy to say, "I can spend my life alone, easy!" But there is good reason solitude is given as a punishment.

Cielo in particular had felt this loneliness digging at his heart, and it drove him mad.

I don't want to have to be alone again, mon! That being alone stuff made me crazy! I thought I'd never get back to my old self!

The next battle doesn't go quite as planned. The multi-headed beasts assail the group with a barrage of poison. The immunity to ailments Dyaus possesses is weak- the poison spreads through his system and drags him down, his wings scraping against the ground. His every pore screams and groans in weakness, but Dyaus merely grunts and suppresses the pain. Spurned by their advantage, and driven to stomping and crying out in dominance, the beasts attack with waves of biting chill and bitter flame. Through the pain and the blatant illness, Cielo raises his wings and sends bolts of lightning surging through the beasts' bodies, eventually slaying them and spilling their blood over the ground.

The battle is over; a simple treatment purges his body of the poison, a healing spell takes his pain away. But the memories remain, and the sight never leaves his eyes.

In some ways, all of dese guys were like us, eh? Cursed with the same hunger we have to live with day in and day out…

Sometimes, Cielo wants to scream like Dyaus does, his outrage and emotion echoing upwards into the heavens. It doesn't have to be this way, he wants to scream, we can all still get along! But it isn't always true- not in this world, not in the last, and given the circumstances, maybe not in the next either.

And sometimes, Cielo feels like he is trapped on an island of concrete, where the walls jut in toward him at a 90-degree angle and the ceiling rises up to meet him: a place where not even his wings can let him fly up and away.

-

But it's all okay, it's all gonna be okay. There's nothing better than just being here living, he rationalizes with his heart of hearts. As long as yesterday was and today is, tomorrow always will be. And that's a far better thing to fight for than he could have ever thought of with that mind of his.

Cielo knows the darkness chases him- that the rain looms high on billowing, overlapping clouds above. He knows the horizon is dreary and gray and moves in fast to meet him. But it's all right, it's okay; he knows it and he knows it well. But he dances to shake the rain off him, and he banters to banish the shadows from him, and he flies to free him of his binds to the earth. Because it's okay, it's all right, it's just fine.

There's a kind of reason behind his madness, a quiet lying in wait underneath his energy: one that understands the reasons why his comrades still are, and not yet turned to food. He's hopelessly loyal to his friends, as they always are for him, and that's what sets him apart from everyone else. He knows that surely a time will come where he chooses between his friends and himself, and he'd gladly spiral downwards into the gray fog of uncertainty and death for their sakes.

So dance!

So he dances, so he dances; it's all right, it's okay. He dances, he flies, he loves and lives, and that's just fine, because that's who he is. And no one stops him and asks him "why are you that way?" or asks "why don't you change who you are?" because that's who he is, and that's who he should be. And that's all right.

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"I'll see you in Nirvana, ja?"

Cielo flies upwards, backwards, away from them, towards them, like a missile toward its ultimate target, like a star making its last burn through the sky on its way to the graveyard where all good stars go to die.

He flies out looking for another island, one where the walls don't crash in around him and the ceiling doesn't rise upward to meet him: one where he can fly free. But he keeps looking for the same old friends.