It wasn't quite apparent how the cyborg had broken into her drawing-room that night. Well, one of her drawing rooms. Marivel had quite a few. A number housed age-worn collections of books from beyond revorded time. Some were a menagerie of the exotic and extinct, tokens of the past preserved as if in fine amber. Forgotten languages and dead cultures, fossils and relics and ruins and memories scrched into material subsance, fading into dust. They were all the kin that the Crimson Noble had.
They were also quite tastefully furnished, to the self-satisfaction of the owner.
But the matter at hand was not the interior decoration of the tombs of dead races. Nor was it a tall, willowy woman with unnaturally lustrous hair. The sickly-sweet scent of rotting flesh might be related, but certainly not the primary focus of things.
The matter at hand was a squealing infant in the woman's arms.
"Raypoint Muse didn't restore all the implants."
Parentage went unquestioned - the cyborg Kanon would never have taken in some mewling brat on her own with far greater tasks to complete. Thus, the question of conception's possibility had gone unsaid... wafting through the air as it danced from mind to mind. Attitude spoke louder then words, anyhow. Not that Marivel's look of shock could pass as a decent arrogant attitude, mind you. But then, for a Crimson Noble, Marivel had always been easily shocked.
"I... her name is Anna. Anna Rune Valeria," the memory of a smile graced lips too stiff to be flesh. But they were, they were most absolutely.. flesh corrupted by doctors too skilled in human mutilation for mother nature's good. And the doctors were competent, if shady. Their chemicals did excellent work.
Night's fading darkness couldn't hide their workings from vermillion eyes too used to candlelight. The implants were working perfectly - the only things propping up the poisoned, infected, too-soft flesh of Aisha Bernadette. Or what was once Aisha Bernadette.
The mind of living weapon was an entirely different entity from the body, however. Apparently it hadn't quite gone yet.
"Real subtle Kanon," the vampire drawled, "isn't she a little late to be Irving's, though? Unless there was someting going on I'd love to know about, human gestation is too brief to..."
"Not his," the cyborg cut her off, taken aback depite her anticipation of the question. "But Bernadette was nothing but a shadow of Valeria... that house died with my mother. The blood of the Sword Magess is what matters, isn't it? The blood that marks us. I'm assuming you can smell it."
So sad. So very, very sad. The noble should be more sad about this. But what was the point of being sad about fate? One to live the wasted years of scores of others, both doomed to the ultimate sacrifice. They were lucky not to have to shoulder the burdens of being rulers of the world. Their lives were too short for them to hate their sacrifice. Marivel... Marivel's had been too long. Too long for hat, but too long for Kanon's passion.
The possibility of being sad, Marivel concluded, was all Kanon's fault. The human had such a knack for melodramatics.
"Human," Marivel smirked - an unpleasantly disconcorting expression, once one's conciousness registered the slight presence of fangs. Smirking, the girl older than millenia shook her head, "You have no idea."
Skirts flounced in the moonlight, and Marivel rolled her eyes, "Always with the melodramatics, Kannon. You and your ramblings about exorcising evil. Hmph. And I suppose that you see no monsters here."
"Do you honestly think that I'd bring my daughter here if I thought that?"
"Come off it, Kanon," the deceptively petite girl snapped," Crimson Castle is the only shelter for miles. You mortals are so frail..."
Marivel's sparring partner faltered, near collapsing but for ramrod metal limbs. And just when they were having fun too.. was it that bad, then?
Hmph. Obviously, to the eye of a Crimson Noble.
That didn't mean she couldn't get upset. Shouldn't, of course, was quite another story. But who was to hold the rightful ruler of the world accountable?
"Kannon? Dammit... Kanon!?!... TONY! Get the empathite!" she tried, but really couldn't bring herself to a good wail. Not when she had been expecting this all along - the Valerias were so predicatable that way. Apathy was a lovely sort of morphine, when combined with a good dose of smug superiority and constant application of faded luxury. Comparable to the fine wine . Not that she'd ever tasted fine wine. It was simply assumed it might almost compare to a good swig of blood.
"No. Don't bother. Just...When I'm gone... don't take my blood," the cyborg croaked, shadow backlit by stars in a scene worth of any drama.
"I wasn't planning on it. Eating people you've worked with is .. well... distubing. And those implants don't make for a healthy treat, if you know what I mean."
An uncomfortable pause coiled it's way about them, luxuriating in Marivel's sumptuous crimson carpet. Soft to keep the cold from leeching it's way up through the stones.
"So it'll be soon then?" it was a statement in question's clothing.
"I'm going to die."
" No kidding," the vampire shot back, purposely obtuse. Alaetacia, Irving... Anastasia's brood all died so young. So fast. To think that the Winchester boy had told her, almost convinced her, that the Valerias would finally rest...
The rightful ruler of the world knew better than that. Which was, of course, exactly why she was the rightful ruler of the world. Stupid humans.
"I trusted you to be more sensible."
The vampire nodded, slightly. As a blatantly superior being she must consider cumulative knowledge over Winchester's blind optimism. Skulking in the shadows, draining lives away, and always watching... always watching them... The Crimson Noble was more experienced than her actions were giving her credit for. Hph. Almost acting like a human, in fact. Death was so much less of a fact to them, shrouded as destiny in their most guarded of fears.
At least, the tomes in the castle said so.
"The metal in your blood has, I assume, reached toxic levels."
Kannon nodded, "My sensors give me an hour. Maximum."
"I'm sorry," Marivel commented, almost offhand. The Valerias despised pity - she'd learned that with the first.
"Don't be. I've been counting down since the Raypoint Muse enhanced my sensors," the cyborg shrugged stiffly. " The blood of the Sword Magess... this is meant to be and you know it. Just like Irving and Altaecia knew it. You know why I'm here..."
Reason cut the vampire like a knife, " You don't actually mean that..."
She'd forgotten the now-sleeping infanct, swaddled in bloostained cloth. Somewhat inappropriate clothing for a child... but most everything about their brood was bloodstained. Just as with Marivel. Bloodstained was underrated, and somewhat pretty in the fading moonlight. Considering their location, it was even strangely appropriate.
"You should be the one to raise her. Or at least watch over her."
"But I can't..."
"Yes you can. Winchester already has children, and he rejects the power of Anastasia's blood in any case. You know he won't raise her to be what she has to be. Tim... is young. And so is Lilurka. They both believe him." Matter of fact, with a clipped tounge when she wasn't about to launch off into one of her speeches. The woman had always been like that. Perhaps with anyone else Marivel would have expected hysterics.. but Kanon was betrothed to dignity.
Mind racing, Marivel began the inevitable grasping at of straws, " Brad?"
"Brad's not what he thought he was. He... doesn't want to understand," Kanons' voice, the vampire noted, was a little more metallic than usual. Distorted through a cybernetic filter. The machines were taking over, giving her power as they drew it away... a horrible sort of death. No heroism to it. Mayhaps the vampire could do something about that....
Marivel had never regretted councelling Irving against similar measures after his accident. The poor boy would have been crushed to lose his life that way. They always did like to die well.
"No, I suppose Brad doesn't understand. Very well," the vampire took Kannon's too-small bundle warily - perhaps even gently in her own fashion.
"Tony! Get over here! I have something for you to take care of," He would hear her, she knew. He always did somehow. Stupid kid.
Kanon shakily raised her own brow in parody. Muscle was already eluding her grasp.
Said cyborg's benefactor shrugged.
"He amuses me. As rightful ruler of the world, I do have the privelege of entertaining myself beyond acting as the Valerias' fairy godmother, you know."
"I should go now. I'm not supposed to die this way.... You'll tell her that, won't you? How we all die? Lie for me, Marivel. Death should be dignified, in battle. That or unkno..." Kanon's voice trailed away, once more showing a tinge of the old passion over silicon noise.
"Human... don't worry about her. I'll make sure she's alright. I've always made sure that the Valerias were alright."
The words 'for Anastasia' didn't need to be spoken. Neither did those outlining her own desperate clinging to a purpose, any purpose...
Feh. The Valerias were far too much like their betters for their own good. Well, 'better' . Whatever. There was no point in rehashing that old angst. There was a small child to pawn off on Tony... amusing possibilities concerning the pawning off of said child on Tony...
"I know. You'll move her past my death. You'll take to the cathedral, to the Chateau. Goodbye"
Ah. The cyborg had come in through the window. Tony would have to buy her better bolts, once they'd found a place for this little black-eyed thing. It would only be a few years, anyhow. Enough to see if this would break in Tony for her.
Poor child. She was so lucky, to have a hero's blood.
I am, I have just realized, perched on a cliff by the seaside at the edge of the world. Fengalon has sent a wind to set my cloak to flowing, stretched out to welcome the dawn. Or maybe just to impress the grim reaper... it doesn't matter. I know everything, with the same purity of purpose that gripped me during my first operation in the alleyways of Guild Galad. That was painful. I lived. Neither is important. For now nothing is refracted anymore... not by Winchester and not by Rhymeless. No demon sky waits to be illuminated by the righteous.
Waiting to die has cleared my senses. I don't mind dying, not really. I knew that this would be my fate the day I lost my eye to the wires.
There is a monster somewhere near this place, I think. One of the few remaining. Marivel must have called it here for me... thoughtful of her. When it arrives the exorcist will be waiting. I'll have a proper death - ridding the world of one more scar, and causing another that it's citizens shall never see. If I could feel things like I used to, I would be releived beyond words. To a true descendant of the Sword Magess, that's the way of things. Even Winchester bloody saw it.
I think my mind is wandering. Not focused on the task at hand at all. Is it alright for me to be somewhat flighty in the hour of death? Shall I blame this lax demeanor on chemicals and hormone levels? The monster, my enemy, should be my one thought. My existance.
The righteous were my enemy. Not opposed by blood, or hate, or even ideology - but out of simple necessity. My kind had to survive. The righteous never would. And I don't blame them. Winchester and Rhymeless were not Valerias - the tidal lure of blood must be lost on them.
Their names, I think, will not survive out of the shadow of Anastasia's.
It's peaceful here. Quite peaceful. High perches always seemed more herioc, more right... and the dawn is a comfort to me when mated with the monster's wail.
The moment of my expiration will be heroic.
I supposed I should be more worried about my daughter. Maybe the overabundace of some ion or other inhibits my capacity for it. I'd like not to think so, but it's part of me. All of it is part of me. The hero named Kanon, who sacrificed her body for a second time at Raypoint Muse... that body is hers and she is I and all is as it was meant to be. This was all meant to be.
Maybe that's why I'm not worried. Yes, it must be.
From what Winchester said in the fever dreams, Anastasia didn't understand that. Anastasia was like him. But I know that, somewhere in that Hall of Memories, Irving and Altaecia are waiting and they know too. It will be nice to see them again. In... would it be called Valhalla? Perhaps my daughter will join us, once she's exorcised her own evil.
It will be the nicest to see her.
Her eyes were so pretty. Anna's. My Anna's. They lit up, when I left her... lit up like the sunrise oer the precepice I stand apon. But I didn't mind. Because I knew that she knew my destiny, and her destiny, and the truth of her own being.
The truth in all of us.
The righteous sing of peace, and peace they have. Winchester and Rymeless and Evans and Guardians' know who else think that they've evangelized the world
No more to do penance for, they said. No more guilt past that for Irving and Altaecia. I agreed with them, too.. until I realized that my thought was blasphemous to their memory. To Marivel's dark world. To... myself. Winchester refused to see it. He was no hero - I'd sacrifice the Valerias' glory for him too.
Valerias aren't supposed to mind things like that.
No more heroes? Hah. I knew what I was losing at Raypoint Muse. I knew that someone had to take the fall. A real hero, as I was meant to be.
Let Winchester have his unity. That's alright. Let him think that he did it without the indulging in the general population's most base of crimes. Let him think that I killed myself in despair, instead of taking up what is his unified world's cross to bear. Marviel and I will sacrifice that too... though we deserve their penace.
Let my daughter know a world without borders, without heroes. That's alright too. Sometimes I wish that Winchester was correct, for her sake. Maybe the whole world could be righteous, stay righteous, just as he thinks they will. Maybe I'm actually quite worried, and my mind is fading into ramblings just to keep her image at bay while the bellowing end approaches.
The righteous would think that I don't have to die. Blind sinners.
They do penance even now, for the poison in my blood. For those trapped in shadow in exchange for the power to save them. For gemini who took in a universe. But better the sinning righteous live then none at all. And we...... we wouldn't exist without them. I would be nothing, beggar snipe in the slums. The Sword Magess gave birth to our clan to be strong for the sinners. I enjoyed being strong for them. It made me strong. It shall make her strong too, despite Winchester's enviously pretty hope.
Because the righteous bleed. And corrupt. And die. And people like Winchester and his wife are few and far between. Which might make me sad, were I not of the Magess' blood.
For truly righteous ones like that can't do a damn thing for the rest of them, anyways.
I hope the monster comes soon, I want that end... Aisha wants that end...and we can be the same again....
The sun is rising. Pretty, in infared. Prettier than night vision.
My daughter lives, she lives.... and that is enough. My daughter lives and she'll know. She has to know - know the perfect death. Know the cause, and the anaesthetic peace of doing what must be done. Just like I did. And the twins did. And our grandfathers and their grandmothers and ancestors ad-infinitum.
She'll have to.
For the world is weak, and easily tempted into transgression.
And she's the last.
But don't worry - only for now.
There'll always be a monster, fangs bared and ready just behind.
And there'll always be a sin called Valeria.
Author's note: I have no idea what brought this on. No, really. I never write after-game fic. It just.. I don't know.. seemed like a good idea at the time. What can I say - it occured to me that Kanon was the only character in the game who wasn't given a happy ending.
Blame it on Mess, and her Generic Delusions