It's not just her death that kills you.

That's part of it, of course. A lot of it, really. Because you can't get it out of your head, the image of her on that scaffold, still so brave and oh, so strong, her gaze showing no fear and no sadness but just pure determination, and- and her neck, stretched so vulnerable, and the clatter of her horns on the ground and-

(and why didn't she just let you die there because then you'd be dead and she'd be alive and, godstars, she was so lovely and so pure and she should be alive right now but)

And it's also going back, watching these people walk with heavy feet but no regrets, killing the chimaera that they think are beasts and, yes, perhaps they are, but they don't even think that it's possible for there to be peace, for this goddamned war to finally be over.

(but they are beasts, they have to be, they stood there and cheered and no one protested and no one said anything, they just stood and watched and didn't spare a thought)

And it's seeing how they look at you, how they know that something happened and how they ask but you can't tell them, because they'd surely not keep your secret and you don't think you could talk about it anyways, because you can't even think about it without digging your nails into you palm just to feelsomething.

(maybe she's alive maybe they found a way to resurrect her but no they couldn't she was a traitor, no one would ever do that)

And it's pretending that nothing changed but everything changed and going back into that life, that slavery in all but name, and killing chimaera again and watching the count piling up because you don't want to but you have to and they killed her, didn't they? They killed her and they deserve it and they were just beasts, after all, and there was no such thing as harmony with lesser beings like that because it would be worthless on them anyway.

(you don't feel much anymore, you try not to, because that's all that caring does. it makes you blind and stupid and all it does is rip up the shreds of a life that you might have had and turns your lungs to stones that don't extend and your heart to a crystal that doesn't even beat.)

they will burn.

it is all they deserve.