To the Sky
Ashley Cope


        "Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
        Take him and cut him out in little stars,
        And he will make the face of heaven so fine
        That all the world will be in love with night
        And pay no worship to the garish sun."


        I thought I knew him.
        But then, I thought I knew that God was Eternal and that faith kept me safe. I thought I knew of happy endings and cheating the cutting cruelty of fate.
        I thought I knew love.
        The rain is striking my face so gently now; sky-kisses on my brow and lips. It hurt at first, cold and heavy storm, just as his touch used to hurt me, brutal and careless, before I became accustomed. My skin grows used to this rain's callousness just as my fingers have grown use to the feel of the blood wetting my gloves. The rain is like the sky's blood, mm? What must it be like to have veins full of such chill; skin of gauzy clouds and a heart of air, brain of air, bones of air...
        Is the entire sky a soul, unbound? Did it ever have a body? Perhaps the earth we tread upon, the grass so green, perhaps it is the corpse and the sky is its soul, staring down forever, longingly, at flesh it mayn't have anymore. This rain... this rain is tears, not blood. The heavens cry upon me and that's enough. How kind of it. I haven't any tears to shed for a little girl so foolish...
        He cut me.
        Nay, not only cut me, he felt upon my stomach for a moment to be sure of the spot he would jab the dagger and then he plunged it in, that cultist's skin on his back like a great leech sucking away at anything that was ever my darling Romeo.
        Then he let me fall.
        Far, far, far from the rooftops where the thick sludge of Leá Monde had seemed so distant and there he and I had been, the King and Queen of all we'd sought after, enthroned in the sky. Why didn't I see then that the sky was nothing but a dead, lamenting soul and anyone who thought to find majesty there is a fool, a fool, a fool..?
        Oh, here are the tears at last but the rain's tears wash them from my eyes. Oh God in Heaven, must I die here like this? Romeo, must you stay perched on that throne alone? Fall here, fall to me and I'll tell you who you are again. I love you. I'll say it to you not as a way of apology as you did to me moments ago but I'll offer it to you like a gift, expecting nothing in return.
        I love you.
        Ah, I'm dying. The fool dies here in the rain, bleeding blood and tears onto the dark roads that gladly smashed her body to ruin. I would have been dead already if not for the rough but caring arms of the wooden balcony above. It tried to catch me, yes it did, the very cathedral that damned me attempted recompense near the end. But my saviour shuddered, the wood shattered, let me fall, and here I lay, the broken, bleeding Juliet. Dying. I hate to say it like that. The words ring harsh, even in my head. I'm so scared to die. I know I've sinned and God will not take what I've become. He'll let me rattle the gates of Paradise but he'll keep them latched fast. But then, I suppose my soul shan't ascend to God now, shall it? I've this city to wander in, these walls to bow to, and I'll sing my hymns to the Dark. Does this Dark religion that the cultists practice have angels? For 'tis the angels I love and the sweet cherubim I cherish. Perhaps I've become devote for the wrong reasons.
        What reasons were there ever? I became devote because the stained glass glittered like coloured gold in the sunlight of Valnain's cathedral. And the man inside the glass, the illusion that I was so sure was as real as my own breaths... he sparkled and shone and called me to him. 'Samantha...' My name held a significance when he uttered it. Was that love? That transformation of the banal into the immaculate? Ah, Romeo, you could do that so well. Who's to say the dagger you gave me was naught but a final farewell? I can think of it as thus. You knew I could never shine as you shine now on the cathedral, heir to the Dark and tormentor to the sinful. Your Samantha, in the end, was unworthy. And rather than let her watch from the shadows as you grew your wings and took flight... you decided to let me die. It was merciful, wasn't it, love? Mercy, that's all.
        I suppose I should thank you... I'd speak my gratitude aloud but the breaths are hard now and words seem ephemeral, out of reach. Besides... the sky would cry them from the air and you're too preoccupied with your new-found divinity to hear. Ach, with everything I was, I loved you...
        .... ha... listen to the past tense I use. I've no petty thoughts that there'll be a tomorrow for me. Or us. The farewell was harsh and final, the dagger is coaxing me to sleep. I'm dying.
        You too, mm, love? Rise. You rise and are the angelic God I thought I'd found in the cathedral that day. Why did you forsake my worship? Why did you cut me and let me fall?
        Curse these damned tears. I'd cry a river now for the love you cut from you, Romeo. These selfish, God-awful tears are as meaningless as my life ever was. So many have died for you, my love, you and your Cardinal's desires have swallowed everyone I ever called a companion. Dead, all my friends are dead. You, my lover are dead, though I see you now upon that Cathedral and the Riskbreaker's there with his sword and his confusion that I've seen turn so quickly to anger. Look at you now, the cocky little boy who's found the frog that's eluded his jar all afternoon. You've got it now, haven't you? Your key, your power, your true love. Was I a substitute during our short, short days? Or was the love real and has merely been replaced now for something better? I could stand that, I think. I don't mind being replaced if I can at least know that it was real for that time we had.
        My friend the dagger doesn't hurt me. I think my neck's broken, is that why? I should have paid more attention in the Academy, I might now know these things, or even how to save myself. I don't believe the sky thinks I'll survive this. It might quit its tears if it did. I might quit mine.
        I don't want to die. I don't truly believe that there'll be a light or a heaven or a God after I have. That doubt there, that lack of faith, that's enough to damn me. Mustn't the faith be pure and the conviction unwavering for we to find Him? I never had true faith in anyone but you. You've proven yourself false so I'll assume all else is false. God is false and so is Heaven. There is only we and the world. Love, sacrifice, hate, anger... they are the only intangible things that bear any meaning.
        Sydney called me a lamb. But a lamb is a babe. I can't blame this on innocence or naiveté, only blindness. What made me blind? Passion? Or maybe it was the fear all along that your words were as hollow as the body of the earth with its soul locked in the sky? The night you kissed me under the willows in the courtyard was the first time I felt worth in years and years. You said I'd always be at your side and like a fool I listened and believed and was blind to the snake in your smile.
        No, no... Samantha, you whore. You'd say he has a snake in his smile? How quick you are to turn, so fickle. He has only said goodbye for a while is all. You'll be his Queen even yet. Your Romeo is the only pure man left in the world. The others proved so fleeting, so vicious. They used you and left you crying on your bed with mother click-clacking her tongue and calling you a child. Romeo wouldn't use you like that. He loves you. He's only a man, distracted for a while by a new toy, a new concept that catches his fancy the way a woman cannot. Men are always like that. They've short attentions and a lust a woman can't know for powerful things. In the end, they always run back and lay their heads against the breasts of the women they've abandoned. And the women always welcome them back, chiding them gently for their brief disinterest. It will be like that now. When father beat mother, he'd always return with flowers and she'd smile and make light of the bruises on her eyes and the marks upon her brittle wrists. If mother could bear the brunt of a capricious husband, so may you endure your Romeo's turn.
        I will bear this now because I love you, dear Knight. You love me too. You said so as I fell. I heard you. I'll wait.
        Ah... the lights are so pretty shining through the rain's tears. Look at them glimmer and catch the droplets before they die. Reach a hand up and catch the diamond drops, don't let them touch the ground, don't let them become mud in the road. Look at the blood on my hands. Ha ha! My neck's not broken, I can move my arms. Look at me, I'll survive this night yet! Oh, Leá Monde, you wicked thing! You haven't lain a finger on little Samantha! I could walk if I wanted, I could dance in the streets!
        But I'm a little too weary for such things. And the road with its scattered bits of wood beneath my back from my would-be rescuer the balcony, is a comfortable couch. Ah, the dagger in my belly is as pretty as the coloured raindrops. My Romeo's bright lights shine 'gainst the hilt and everything swims... everything's so lovely...
        So is he... look, silhouetted black against the moon I see him and he's as beautiful as he ever was to me. Oh, look at my arms reached out to you! Won't you descend from your Olympus and bless me? Let me be an acolyte, let me be your angel. I'll die and become your angel, Romeo. Give me wings and my halo, let me fly with you. The dagger wasn't farewell, it was, it was--
        Oh, God in Heaven, I understand now! You've made an angel of me! I'm to be baptised by this blood and the tears of this storm to be your angel forever and ever! Such a sweet sentiment...full of your precious poetry...
        But please be with me as I die.
        I can-- I can f-feel friend dagger now, cold in my stomach and the rain has started hurting again. The giddiness of the landing has left me now and... I've remembered that there is pain in a dagger through the ribs. Oh, new tears, more meaningless than the last because it is so very meaningless to cry out of pain. Romeo... lay with me as I die-- don't rise away before I'm able to wrap my sin-soaked and bloody hands 'round your robe. I need you to take me with you into Heaven. I'm too timid to make it on my own.
        Riskbreaker, be easy on my God. Put away your sword and let him be. Can't you see he cries out for his angel? Riskbreaker, he isn't so hideous. If you'd known him before you'd weep for him now. If you'd known him under the willows or known him in the Cardinal's presence when the loyalty and the piety were like his armour 'gainst the world... you'd embrace him now and tear away the Blood-Sin that seems so out of place on his beautiful back. I wish I hadn't put it there, but I've never been able to refuse his requests...
        I see roses in the stormclouds. The storm's tears are indistinct. My own tears obscure my sight. Beautiful soul without a body, don't cry for me. The Riskbreaker cuts away the evil and the light is fading. Ashley's sending my love home to me. The light was wrong, it should not be so bright in the eventide. Romeo, Romeo, remember the night and the willows. Come back. I'll wash your wounds with my tears. Let the Riskbreaker have it. It doesn't matter anymore.
        The world trembles. The earth moves. I'm jarred without care by the quakes and I think I'll die now, the dagger isn't steel but a living arm through my stomach, clawing my insides, causing me agony. Are all angels born in such pain?
        Aah... he cuts you. I'm so sorry, my love. But surely you knew even a King is vulnerable.
        Fall to me... fall with your butchered wings and let me be your angel. I'll soar you into the sky again.
        We'll be two more souls... leaving our bodies with the corpse of the earth. We never belonged here. None of us ever do. Back to the sky, my love...
        ... here you are at last, fallen with the rubble as the city falls now. It threw you away, the careless walls, the fickle Dark; it stole your limbs but you've still your head, your heart. The only things I ever needed of yours. Mine now. I hold you to me... so cold but you roll into my arms and fit my contours as you always have.... Let me wrap my arms around you, keep you warm, protect you from the sky's tears... let me run my wet fingers through your beard. How easily you let me do it now when you always scolded me before. Kiss me back... move your lips under mine... run your hand along my throat and trail your mouth upon my cheek... Romeo... you are here and I love you...
        Lie still then... here, I'll lay atop you and shelter your poor body from these falling stones. Fear not for me, my love. You've made an angel of me and nothing can hurt me anymore.
        Ah, the d-dagger... ah... the pretty dagger... I must be still, I must rest... may I rest my head upon your chest and hear your heart? Ah, you're still warm, my love, warm as a summer afternoon though your heart has quit, I fear, and you've left me already, left me... me alone to d-die--
        N-no!! I'm so frightened of the city's roaring for it's dying with me! No! Things fall apart, let me die! I don't want to watch! Oh God! Oh, Romeo, please! I want to touch the sky with you! I want to hold your hand in the clouds! No, don't leave me alone...
        I'll twist the dagger!! I'll come to you, I'll f-fly y-yet...
        A scream. There's another scream for your collection, Leá Monde.
        Here are more tears. Genuine as bar silver.
        Here is another shattered heart... gobble it up and drink my blood.
        Th-thank you for the pretty dagger, Romeo... lie still, do as you will... let the earth rock us as the city falls... I fall asleep 'gainst your warmth, my red fingers in your sandy hair... here, I'll shut your eyes for you... I'll shut my own...
        ...mmm... love... to the sky, to the sky... you rest... you sleep... I shall fly us there...


        None of the Crimson Blades were truly evil per se (with the exception of Guildenstern :P) and Samantha really stuck with me. I know what it's like to love someone so much you overlook their every shortcoming and make a god of them. You don't always wind up with a dagger in your stomach, but it's likely to come to a bad end, whatever form that takes. *gets off her soapbox*