||I honestly don't have much idea if I managed to make it to the deadline, hopefully I did, but if I didn't it's okay~ XD Credits to Gleeon as well, for character mentions ||
For the supposedly perpetual ones whose time had stopped ticking, whose grace took the turn for the infinite, time can be one’s sweet ally. Or sometimes, one’s greatest adversary.
Every elder that she once looked up to used to say that the only eternal thing in this world was change. Some changes took its turn for the worse.
This was something that Exoria already knew and still learned the hard way.
Years gradually spun into decades. Decades dragged into centuries. As the most destructive beings pronounced their rule, heedlessly fought their wars and made promising feats for their civilization’s sake, greed wrapped its filthy hands on whatever it can reach, polluting everything that it ever touched. It plagued the earth, leaving a trail of destruction and wrath in its wake. It scourged the oceans, leaving profound traces of crimson and anguish in its path. It tormented the skies, veiling away the stars in the atmosphere that it sullied. With each mutinous battle that was valiantly fought for and lost, she watched the world crumble into an irredeemable mess before her very eyes.
Her body gradually deteriorated with it, like a punishment from a dying god. It was an appropriate retribution for a failure. A proper consequence for not trying hard enough, for not trying soon enough.
But there were things that remained, the only things that she lived for.
She lived for the love of siblinghood, of sirens and their tenacious family ties. The love of the silhouettes that anxiously loomed above, faces that she can no longer recognize with her blinded eyes. The love of a family that she countlessly apologized to, wondering if she ever did enough, if she ever deserved their forgiveness for failing them this way without any hope for redemption. They absolved her, over and over, even though no words can convince her otherwise.
She lived for the endearment of a man who painstakingly changed the course of her vicious world, he who was out there, defying the regime, still relentlessly fighting for their cause. Her muse, her fabled Wind Warrior, her poor, afflicted beloved who equally blamed himself for this inevitable disaster.
He was a comforting familiar face that she always wanted to see. Hands that she held for countless times before, each arch of the finger that she already memorized, the warmth that she wished to feel for the last time. A thing that circumstance will no longer allow.
But that’s okay.
To say that she loved him, she loves him, and she will love him was already an honor.
Having the chance to say those words more than once was already something more than what she deserved.
Even at her last, rasping breath, she uttered those unheard promises--her old matrimony vows, with the fervor that her failing body and strength already denied.
Love alone cannot save an ailing monster, she knew that all too well. But perhaps, the greatest tragedy belonged to those who never truly loved at all... those who never had the glimpse, those who never gave it a chance.
There were things that remained, indeed.
The things that wouldn’t change. The things that greed will never take away.
The yearning love of the beings that they once held.
The grieving love for the world that they relentlessly ruined.
The enduring love of those who tried, those who failed, and the promises that went unheard.
In the midst of the agony, the grief and regret, oblivion will never scare her.