These are the years without summer, aren’t they? The Floralia without spring. Spatium, tempus. Serpentine. Places of night's amnion, cradling every broken ladder of Jacob. Dark, secret work. Full of changelings and grief, as the keepers of Absentia want it forever. But we were never the same, Kiskuh. I was only a boy. An innocent, and you mocked me terribly. Kasi will never be a bard of war despite those scars. Your favoured glories of the shattered trench are all your own. I want none of it. Bombed grammar and sinister psychologies. Divine fires, stolen. Always the appetites of the elect. Prometheus, Polidori, Vampyr. Such frightening decadence on these banks of the belle rive, my sister. But it takes no skill at all to detune the instruments of sky or storytelling. And yet, I'm still taken with the shining form you so brazenly stole from my fair one. My cherished. Blue of those eyes. Curve of that mouth and breast. Turn of those hips. I suppose it’s enough to give you a brief measure of my attention. Ever the pragmatist is this wilding wolf. I'm sure you understand, my red-robed wraith. But I do recall your true face. Winter, dark-haired. Beautiful and vicious. Like a king’s mistress. Oh, Kiskuh. I want to share something with you. Something you really should have grasped by now. Something you still haven't the heart nor wherewithal to understand on your own. The speaker will live unencumbered, eventually. She will heal from these ravages in a quieter, gentler place. A place of spring, and summer. I watch you and your acolytes flee from that place like cowards, because you are all dead. On the inside. And you’re running out of time. Do you even grasp this foretelling, daughter of rain? The struggles of my kith are private despite the horrors of your looking-glass. Abomination technologies. The petty, silvered skins of the half-light cults. My family shall not be robbed of their dignity, and my beloved is so much more than a living sacrifice. She is a shining spirit of the eternal hallow. Her tears are not a matter of state or celebration. We angels watch over all the kind ones, everywhere. I was never among your bitter poets of Los. Not even when we were lovers. Hear me, witch. Lillibeta has a garden grown. Bells and shells and pretty maids. A mother's magic, you might say. Fidelia, Speranza, Charissa. Guardians of the living Praesentiam. And what of Esme? Oh, she survived the fire and the humiliation. I told you, didn't I? I told you who I was even in the beginning. But you didn't really listen. You were prideful. Seduced. Blind and deaf. Mea Culpa, dark one. And I am laughing at you still. A thousand cuts were found upon my flesh, yet not a mark upon her beautiful spirit. Do you understand me now, elect of Vorteth? What I’m capable of? Incanto Dolorosa, my fallen Florentine. Like a black star. I want you to know that I shall meet you at the end of all things. Your executioner, upon cathedral stone. I shall be standing in the ashes of every divine fire. And you will know me at last. There shall be no mercy, or remorse. You're not the only pale raven of the hidden folk. Not by half. I too am a shapeshifter. There are still flowers on the shore of these thousand stars. There is still dancing in the distant fields, Kiskuh. Life belongs to love, and laughter. You know nothing of your Father, do you? Or your son.
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