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Rosa's Requiem
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"Have you ever heard of it?"

"A land of empty dreams, filled with the ashes of the past."

"The people there all reached for paradise, but found it was not a place meant for them."

"There's no Hope. No Happiness. No Solace."

"If I ever found it, I'd drag you there with me."

The girl found herself rested against a stone cliffside, her legs splayed out across the sand.

Her instrument was rested against her knees, her fingers strumming at the strings with no rhyme or melody, just idle plucks to go with a distant stare. It felt like it had been this way for years. Walking the world with no name, living a lie.

The truth was, she did have a name, but it had been taken from her so, so long ago.

"Ember.. Em, for short."

".. How about Redlyn?"

She could remember them, the times people had given her a name. None of it ever felt real, though. It wasn't her name, but she could never go back to it.

"Why would I bother to learn from the dead? They must not have been very good if they aren't alive anymore."

"You can still learn the lessons, so you don't share the same fate as they did."

It felt like a lie, too.

Just speaking the words brought her pain, knowing full well that all it was, was an attempt to run away.

Her eyes slowly close, drifting to the side to survey the girl next to her. A doriad, fresh to the world. Ignorant of how awful it could really be.

how awful...

She felt her eyes begin to close, even as she struggled against it.

"I don't want to go back."

But she never had a choice. No matter how hard she pushed herself.. she never had a choice.

Sleep always came, and with it, ashes.

She shifted her arms, feeling the soft ground beneath her.. and her eyes opened.

The smell of death lingered in the air, of fire and brimstone. A blackened sky overhead, burning embers drifting down like snowfall. She slowly lifted herself up, her hands pressing through the ashes. She sat there, for a while. The fields around her were pockmarked with burned roses. A memory of a better time, before the flames.

She stood up, tucking her hands in her pockets and started to walk. Her eyes had already glazed over, detached and dissociated from the remains of the carnage around her.

They were settled straight ahead, lingering on a patch of white flowers that had yet to be taken by the perdition around her. Two people sat on the patch of flowers.. a little girl with white hair.. and a sister. The two could have been twins, if it weren't for the difference in age.

She came to stop next to the little girl, staring forward at the young woman. 

".. It's been a while, Rosa. You never visit anymore."

".. There's nothing for me to say." 

Silence reigned between the two, and the young woman reached forward to pluck one of the flowers free. She leaned forward to hand it to Rosa.

".. Would you take this? I think the flowers are very beautiful. I imagine if there was a paradise.. these would be scattered all about."

Rosa reached forward, her hand drifting from her pocket. She cupped her hand.. letting the young woman place the flower in it. It began to wilt away, traces of orange and yellow lines running through it as the pristine white dulled to a ashen gray.

".. Sorry, Sis. The stain won't come out anymore. These hands aren't fit to hold something so innocent."

Rosa let the ashes drift away, her hand returning to her pocket.

"I can't go there, now. I wish that we could have, together.. but fate is not so kind."

"Can you promise me something, Rosalie?"

Rosa looked on, tears welling up in the corner of her eyes even as her face held a stone-like visage against the pleas of the woman.

".. Anything."

".. Find it for me, would you? I would love to see these flowers.. one last time."

".. Find them.. for me.."

The young woman tried to force a smile, but she couldn't. It was like something was coming.. and she knew what it was.

Rosa closed her eyes, drowning out the sight of the purgatory in front of her. The sound of a blade piercing a chest echoed out.

The child screamed, pain and anguish crossing her voice, uncontrollable and bottomless.

When Rosa opened her eyes, she saw her there. A woman with white hair and blue eyes, blood staining her blade as she stood over the young womans body.

Such a smile across her features, a pained smile.. but it was nothing compared to the pain Rosa felt.

".. I trusted you. We trusted you."

She could feel it again, a burning pain in her chest. It welled up like an inferno, the embers around her turning to a raging firestorm, enveloping the entire field.

The blood of the young woman stained those flowers red.. and that red lingered on in Rosa's eyes, even as they turned to ash beneath her feet.

The woman turned her back and started to leave, stepping into the firestorm, leaving Rosa with the pain.

She wanted to move. Wanted to attack her, but something inside her hesitated.

"You're weak. You were always weak, and that's why Rosemary is dead."

"You always had this fire in you. You could have used it to burn that woman to ashes.. but you didn't."

"You were afraid of it."

"Afraid it would take everything from you."

"But look now.. look at all that you've lost because of your fear."

Rosa let out a savage snarl, cutting the voice out of her head. The snarl turned to a scream, and that scream turned into a howl that tore at her throat.

She howled and howled, even after her voice had long given away.

".. Today.. Rosemary and Rosalie both died to those flames.."

"With everything I have left.. I swear I'll find you."

".. I will find you, and I'll take EVERYTHING from you."

".. I will drag you to hell, and that's where you will rot for the rest of eternity."

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"I'm sorry, Sis. There's no place in paradise for me."

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