By David Schwager
The King's Justice was a popular bar. It wasn't busy this day, since most of its customers came during the night. However, it had a very distinguished honor that day, although nobody knew it. That day, they hosted a monster.
In a corner table, positioned to face the door, sat a lone warrior nursing a cup of wine. That was not entirely unusual. What was unusual was that the warrior was a woman. And her name was Rose.
She was dressed entirely in black armor. A short sword was propped against the side of the table, easily within her reach. She had already drawn it once, when a man became a little too insistent on sitting with her. She was in no mood to talk. She wanted to get drunk. She always did, on the day after.
Unfortunately, she couldn't. Not because of morals or the need to stay alert. She simply couldn't. The choker around her neck bound her body in a single state. It kept her immortal, but it wouldn't let her get drunk. Or drugged, for that matter. She even had a great resistance to poisons. Of course, that was hardly a great comfort at the moment.
At the table next to her, two merchants finished their deal and began idly chatting. She wouldn't have noticed, except for what they began chatting about. She always heard the same talk, the day after.
"Did you hear about Lexin?"
"Of course! No one can talk about anything else!"
"An entire boarder fort! Wiped out! What could have done it?"
"They say it was the Black Monster."
"That's just a myth. The Black Monster doesn't really exist."
"Say what you want. But last night, I saw the Moon That Never Sets glow red!"
"No, I'm not! I swear on my life, I did!"
"It's just coincidence. There was probably some bad lighting."
"No, it really did! Other people saw it too..."
She stopped listening. It was a skill necessary for these days. Every word cut to the bone. The memories would fade, thankfully. The screams and the blood. They always did. Absently, she pulled her calendar out of her pocket and opened it to the front page. It was scored with a tally. Only she knew what that tally meant. One mark for every town destroyed. One mark for every 108 years. She had already marked it last night. She always did after she finished.
She counted them up. Each number hurt. Not enough for her to stop, but it hurt. It came to 66. She was mildly surprised.
Has it really been that long? Over 7,000 years... I can still hear Zeig screaming like it was yesterday.
She could remember everything like it was yesterday. Another effect of the choker, freezing her mind in time as well as her body.
I'm the last of the Dragoons. In a way it's good. None of the others would have the strength to do what I'm doing. But I wish I didn't have to do it. I wish there was someone else. I wish I had died too.
The bar was filling up now, as people came in for a drink before heading home. It was late afternoon. Of course, there was only one topic of conversation.
"...The Black Monster..."
"...destroyed so many..."
"...husband is gone..."
"...he's dead now..."
"...what power could..."
The words flung at her like spikes. They all hurt, but she didn't flinch. She needed to hear these words, and to feel this pain. The night helped her hunt, but the day was her vindication. The day was when she renewed her belief that what she was doing was right.
She had sworn an oath to herself. The day she stopped feeling this pain, she would kill herself.
For then she would truly be a monster.
* * * * * * * * * *
That's my first piece on Rose. It's also my first time to add a little after-word like this. I normally don't like to do fics on newer games (out of the risk of getting drowned in similar pieces), but I just had to do one on Rose. She is SUCH a badass. It's nice to finally have a female as the dark, brooding character. The name of the fic got changed a few times, from "Just Yesterday" to "Binds of Fate," depending on which aspect of Rose I focused on at the time (they represent her memories of the war and the choker respectively), before finally settling on the "monster" aspect of her. Also, for those who might wonder, I purposefully made "day after" try to sound like "morning after" because I really like the contrast there. I might do another one on Rose if I get enough good feedback, so please e-mail!
I'd better quit now that this thing has more quotes than a Xenogears speech.