I swore it. With my hand as tight on my sword then as my heart is in my chest now, I swore. Not thinking, still thinking, breathless and desperate, I stood and cried to the gods and the world. Burning my voice forever in the universe. I can hear it still, swelling and rising, unbreakable. The clang of metal, the roar of fire, it all meant the same thing. Death.

It comes to everyone now. But I bring it to you. Do you laugh when I tell you that I will, not believing what you hear? Is that your smile before me, tempting? Do you cry? Begging a friend for mercy. Are those your tears I taste? Salt on my wet tongue. They mean nothing.

Scream now. You held it from me. My sword, my knife, my hands – there are many ways to die. And there is no way around it. To hurt, to maim, to kill. I swore it. You have nothing left to save you, and your hope is vain. For I have nothing left to save me, and my heart is bitter. I will not hear your scream.

Yet your screams echo in my head, filling my ears. There is nothing but your cry and the darkness around us. It is already a part of me that I can never escape. And so I pull, and so I tear, removing your fingers from my father's gem. I tear your fingers backwards until your scarlet blood falls from your broken hand, washing this holy jewel.

It is only one. And yet I would take your life for it. You lie at my feet, trying to stand, your hand held up to me, but the fingers are gone. Blood falls on your white shirt, my feet, your face. It drips down your pale cheeks like tears, and I bend to kiss them away.

But I should show you no mercy. I should show you no love. I am bound to an oath. An oath I swore from love. But you do not understand that in your troubled heart. All you understand is the pain that I have given you, which I will soon take away.

Here. Feel my hand on your neck; it is gentle. There is no reason to harm you. Except that you did not answer my pleas. So it will come to this. Everyone is my enemy who does not understand what I am vowed to do. Or understands. It no longer matters. A vow is unbreakable. But your neck…

It will just be like dancing, swaying. You remember. My hands around your neck. But that was different, you were not sobbing then, kneeling before me. It's too late already. Everything has taken me; I have taken everything. Do not cry; do not scream. It will all be over. My hands are strong; you'll be safe. Do you feel me? I hold you tighter, tighter; I will never let go. It is better this way. Don't you know? You've stopped screaming already; that is a start.