Characters: Bridget, Cynthia
: It bothers her nonetheless.
: None
: I don't own Record of a Fallen Vampire.

It's not hard to keep the girl at arm's length emotionally. Bridget doesn't like to let anyone close and Cynthia's own personality does the same. Cynthia is stoic, quiet, self-sufficient. She says little during their snowbound travels and Bridget doesn't try to encourage conversation.

Eventually though, they did get to know each other just a little bit.

"So you don't like apples."

Huddled in front of the fire, holding her thick white cloak close about her, Cynthia looks up suddenly, a flicker of surprise passing over her chapped, dispassionate face before it vanishes. "What do you mean by that, my Lady?"

They've been traveling by night for two reasons. The roads are more deserted at night and the two women are less likely to encounter unwanted company (Not that anyone could have stood against them). Second, Bridget's better off at night; it's a fact of life. If Cynthia doesn't like it she's not complaining. As such, they've made camp during the middle of the day, though no one could tell it was anything but twilight from the coal gray sky.

Bridget rubs her cold fingers and digs them up her sleeves again. "When we stayed at that last house you ate everything you were offered except the dried apples."

Cynthia nods slowly. "It is considered a transgression for a member of my order to eat apples. They have long been considered a symbol of sin."

To this, Bridget can only let out a harsh, barking laugh.

It was inevitable, Bridget supposes. Two women can't travel together for a year and not find out anything about each other; they had to start talking to each other eventually.

It's summer, and they've both stripped of their thick winter cloaks. Bridget wears her normal dark outfit under any weather but Cynthia's thin linen dress is definitely not something that could be worn all year long.

"What do you think you're going to be able to accomplish?"

Bridget's sharp, incisive question makes Cynthia look up; the girl was crouched at the stream, filling her goatskin full of water. Her long black hair's pinned high on her head and looking at her now, if it wasn't for those stark black patterns on her forearms Bridget could mistake her for any normal peasant girl.

Cynthia's expression is just as calm as ever. "Little. I will die and the Black Swan will find a new host. All I can hope for is that eventually the host of the Black Swan will be strong enough to vanquish the Vampire King."

Blonde eyebrows disappear into an equally blonde fringe. Bridget doesn't want to admit it, but she is just a little impressed. There are few she knows of who can speak of their death with the sort of equanimity of Cynthia Saverhagen.

Bridget could still keep her at arm's length. Cynthia didn't particularly want to grow close to anyone and neither did Bridget. Bridget maintained her objectivity with ease—The girl will die, she tells herself and this, of course, doesn't bother her at all. Such sacrifices are necessary in order to defeat Strauss. This girl will die in order for the Black Swan to grow stronger.

So she keeps telling herself, and so Bridget keeps calm. Don't get too close. If you like her, if you care for her even a little bit you'll want her to live. She can't live; a sacrificial lamb can not be steered away from the altar.

In due course, Cynthia does die, just like Bridget and the Infinite Cross herself had predicted. The girl is a fine warrior but she was no match for a specimen such as Strauss.

Looking down at her body, Bridget does not feel satisfaction, fulfillment or even the cold knowing feeling she'd expected. Cynthia is dead and Bridget just feels empty. She kept her at arm's length, and somehow, this still bothers her.

Another victim of the Vampire King, and this one needed to die. I knew this, and still it bothers me.

Why couldn't I just see her as an object, as I hoped I would?


With the next Black Swan, Bridget has no trouble looking at her corpse with satisfaction. Maybe it was because Emily was a truly stupid girl, but it's more that this time, she knows she has full control over herself, just as she had hoped.

No more does her heart trouble her over sacrificial lambs.