Author's Note: I very rarely write tragedy, but shortly after my car accident and before my hordes of cousins descended on me, I hit one of my all-time emotional lows and wrote this piece. I debated over whether or not to post it for a long time, but then I figured - why not? If it's not your cup of tea, you don't have to read it. I will warn any potential readers: when I say tragedy, I mean tragedy. Don't read this unless you are prepared for character death x2 and general all-around depression.
Warnings: Character death, angst, tragedy, misery, suicide, and complete heartbreakingness.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Coldfire Trilogy, or there would be no need for this because Gerald would never have died in the first place.
Karril had mourned for a time, of course. He had known Gerald for almost eight hundred years, how could he not mourn the death of such a dear friend? But Iezu were not made for emotions beyond their aspect, and so he moved on, losing memories of Gerald in the simple, transient pleasure of his temple.
He was only an Iezu. Human in guise, but far from human in his heart. He had no tears to shed for his fallen friend.
One month after the Hunter's death at the Keep, Karril was in his temple basking in the waves of pleasure emanating from his worshippers when a scream ripped through the fae, a voice he knew only too well.
Karril! It was Lady Ciani, her fae-call tainted with carmine and deep, deep blue: anger, and heart-wrenching grief. Without a second thought, Karril willed himself to the site of the newly rebuilt Fae Shoppe, to the flat above the shop where the loremaster lived.
He found Ciani curled up on the middle of her living room floor, sobbing as though her heart had broken. That morning's newspaper lay on the carpet in front of her, glowing faintly with the imprint of her wild emotions. Bewildered, Karril knelt down and gently stroked the loremaster's hair.
"Ciani, calm down, it's all right... what happened?"
Still crying too hard to speak, Ciani gestured helplessly to the paper. Dread clutching at him with cold talons, Karril picked up the paper and looked at the article plastered across the front page.
Church Knight Takes Own Life
Early this morning the body of Reverend Damien Kilcannon Vryce, former Knight of the Golden Flame, ex-Priest of the Church of Unification, was found in his Pinecrest Avenue apartment. According to preliminary police reports, the death was clearly a suicide.
Reverend Vryce was recently hailed as the 'Man Who Saved The World', after details came to light of his larger-than-life quest to destroy a demon bent on world domination. His partner in this endeavour, a northern adept whose name has not been released, is said to have died in the final confrontation at Mount Shaitan: already speculation is rife that this previous tragedy influenced the clearly depressed hero.
After a summons to the Great Cathedral went unanswered this morning, representatives of the Church went to Reverend Vryce's apartment, discovering his body. According to initial reports, the former Knight of the Flame committed ritual suicide by means of his ceremonial sword: it is unclear if there was a deeper symbolism attached to his choice of method. It is also unknown if there was any note left, or any explanation for this sudden, shocking tragedy.
Whatever the reasons behind his actions, Damien Vryce will be deeply missed.
After calming Ciani somewhat, Karril transported himself to the late priest's apartment, some strange need for closure drawing him like a moth to the flame. The apartment was small and sparsely furnished: Damien's body was long gone, but the crimson stain on the threadbare carpet left no doubt as to where his life had ended.
On a small desk next to the window, Karril found a note in the priest's writing. The letters were twisted and uncertain, as though his hand had been shaking when he wrote. It was only a few lines of poetry, yet it made something unfamiliar and painful stir within the Iezu. He knew those words: he had heard Gerald recite them once. It was part of a work by a Terran poet, one of the Hunter's favorites despite - or perhaps because of - its bitter sadness.
So we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And Love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.
At the bottom, these words were written separately.
Forgive me, love, for taking the easy way out. I know you're waiting for me, though. You always did know my choice, even before I made it.
Understanding came then, the answer to a question the Iezu hadn't even thought to ask. He had wondered, once or twice, just what had passed between the two men in those last, desperate nights on the slopes of Mount Shaitan. What had kept Damien at the Hunter's side even in the face of certain death... and what had convinced Gerald to allow Damien to witness his final, irrevocable defeat.
And at that moment, Karril felt something he had never felt before: true sorrow. Not for himself or his own loss, but for the priest who had lost everything, given everything he had for the sake of his cause. The knight who had lost everything that fateful day in the Hunter's Keep.
For the first time since his creation, Karril wept.
The poem is So We'll Go No More A-Roving, by Lord Byron. This poem made me cry more than once when I was younger, and it still makes me choke up. Again, I'm not a huge fan of tragedy and I normally wouldn't read it or write it, but this needed to get out of my head and it wouldn't leave me alone until I published it.