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Rosemary, Pansy, Columbine, Rue

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"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference." - Ophelia, Hamlet Act IV scene V

> Be the garden girl, a half an hour ago.

"Shut up!"

You cannot be the garden girl, as she is currently fighting off the unwanted attentions of a creepy half-dead girl.


> Be the creepy half-dead girl instead.

Soon.

Soon you'll get to rest.

You're so fucking tired. You've worked really hard for all this, you know. You let yourself be tugged along by the dead and damned and it was fun at first, and soon you'll have your final vengeance.

Soon they'll all be at peace. All... but a few.

You're sorry to Karkat. He's going to have to suffer a while longer, and you don't know when he finally goes (he'll go eventually - everyone does. Even gods. It's a matter of odds - on a long enough timescale, everyone's dust). You know that before he does you'll lose him, but you never had him in the first place.

You're okay with that. You're okay with a lot of things.

But before you - and everyone else - can rest, you have to make her see.

You laugh, a lilting, hoarse tone, and you kick your legs back and forth. You can only really see her as a greenish blur in your peripherals and only hear her as the whisper of autumn oak leaves.

But the girl before you is herself singing into your ears about where she is; and those beyond the veil already stand with you. In fact, one is here now, hands on your shoulders, an old friend of a sort.  

It'll be okay. Soon you can be with her properly, and you can both play like you've always wanted.

But first things first.

"What can you do? All your plants are dead and everyone you know is suffering. You couldn't change anything about the caste system and you can't change anything about how much everyone's going to hurt before they die! The demon's going to camp out there until he finds us, and then it'll be just like in our dreams - splutch! Whack! All in pretty gurgling bits and pieces. It'll be almost musical, I think."

It's not really enough. She's just sitting down there, rocking back and forth, hands over her ears, whimpering. Dammit. Where's that rage from before? Where's the doom you were promised? You wish you had a better sense of people's minds. You wish Aradia were actually dead, so she could stand here too, and whisper.

Well, there's always that method.

"And there's Sollux, of course."

"... what."

Ah. There it is. You grin even wider than usual, and your laughter seems to come from all directions. You jump down from your perch and walk towards the girl.

"He's going to beg for death in the end! It's going to be so horrible, you have noooo idea~ I can hear him now if I close my eyes" you say, doing so. "It's like breaking mirrors."

"Shut up! No, Sollux is fine, he'll be fine, we're all going to be..."

You approach close, and you take her chin in your hand (almost missing at first, but one of your friends redirects you, gently.)

"Nobody's fine, Feferi~ Least of all you, with your leaves and your boughs and your creaking inside. Nobody's fine at all. We can't win. The demon's here. The world's closed to us and the kids? Well we know they're going to die - they Scratch, that's it, the end, bam done dead!"

You can hear it and see it now, the idea whispered and shown of bright teal streaks down her face. And something else. A darker growl.

"The only time we're ever going to be fine is when we're all dead. Why don't you ask your friends, Fef? They know."

She starts to shake her head in protest, but when you mention her friends, she stops. Someone says she gives you a determined glare. She tilts her head, and that growl gets louder.

d͙̺͚̅̆̀̾̐ͥǝͣͥͩ̃ͣ͆̽҉͍̲͎ǝ͙̫͇̪͇͚̲̘̇ͪͨ̇͡ןṥ̪̤̺͓̺͈ͤ̒̑ͬ̄ͪ͝ ̵̸̶͇̹̬̮̥̇̍ͦͪɯ̭̮̲͕̊ͤ͑̄̽̊ͫǝ̩̻̣̦̓͠ɥ͖̟͓͐͜ʇ̴̶̴̘͍̳͎̲̙̈̐͂̍̈̄ ̥͓̮̠͈̙͐̽͐ͬͪ̅ͦ͝ʇ̣̙̠͎̘̟̳̎͒͆̈̔̃̒ǝ̴̗̥̝̰̲̬̱͍̍ͪͪ͡ͅן ̹͔͇͈̂͌̎̾̉̚̕͟o̜͍̞̪͕̎͛̊͆̀́s̢͔̩̥̥̣̤͙̱̓̎̂̃̀ͅ

"Do it, Fef. Set me free."

She doesn't need to be told twice. She stands up, as though in a trance, lifts her fork, and runs you through.

You smile. And for the first time in years, it's genuine. You look up at Feferi over your glasses.

"Now go avenge me."

You know she'll know what you mean. She twists her fork, and at last, you're

f r e e








> Be the garden girl.

Not yet. One moment. Just one moment more.

You hear -

The creaking of great TREE LIMBS
Your eyes open

w i d e

and you -
and I.

And I know.

I've known all along and allways all the
streeeeeetching
of the branches towards
tangled tumbling brambled bumbling
seeking solace in the blackened sky
they've sung to me
all told and all of them
but this one!
such a song I've never heard before
I hear her now
I hear her now

He'd told me of her song and I implored -
I sang to him to follow her
to listen to her shaking branches
He's with her now
I hear him sing
Down in the West Texas town of El-Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican Girl

He's lonely now but he'll be lonely no more
She's borrowed his shell
Wears it like a cast-off cloak
Not borrowed?
Taken.
But it's well and good
He sang for vengeance and she takes it for him
For he cannot
His limbs too heavy his branches break
So she lifts his arms
She takes his fight
To the GREEN SHADOW

But he's no matter no worry aye
Not to me
Not now

Rosemary, Pansy, Columbine, Rue
Some for me
And some for you
Rosemary, Pansy, Columbine, Rue

So now I seek the second coat of paint
Cook's Tussock or Muttonbird Poa
Slither to strike
My Toxicodendron radicans sliding searching for the sun
A sun? No – A Rogue
He stalks in the grass far below
Blissful and unaware
Just a Rogue of Void

A little Nepeta cataria to entice him...

ɐʇǝdǝN sɐʍ ʇı 'ǝqʎɐɯ 'ǝɟıl ɹǝ)(ʇouɐ uI
euop
justice sı ʇı sdɐ)(ɹǝԀ
ɹǝ)(ʇouɐ ɟo poolq ǝ)(ʇ uı ǝq oʇ
pǝsnɐɔ noʎ uıɐd ǝ)(ʇ ʍouʞ o┴

And of course he comes sniffing
Yowling
He wants to play
I'm more than willing
I laugh giggle and slide
He bats at my branches at first,
wiggling and pouncing,
tumbling and bouncing
I flee; he falls
His claws gouging the walls
I'm not afraid
Again – we're just playing, right?

He asks why
I never play, after all.
I answer.
Today's a day for play.

So we begin the hunt
He hides in the grass and I follow
I lead black trendils through and he bats at them
A playful cat indeed!
He screams and cries, animal cries
And I merely laugh
I tell him it will be safe again
I tell him he'll be whole again
As soon as he stops moving
Just as soon as he stops
Like a white oak cut down
He'll be remade
Into clocks, perhaps
Tables or chairs
Useful and peaceful
No more meows and no more fighting

At last I pin him down
He cries -- with joy, of course
And I begin to rip him open
To peel back his flesh
Piece by piece, bit by bit
And I paint the world grass-green
The dead grass I tried so hard to give life
Now glows the right color at last
I go slowly, to make it easier
Soon his soul will sleep with the trees
Soon he'll hear the creeeeeaaaaaking of great

t r e e - l i m b s

But I am interrupted --!
What miracle is this?
The Balancer calls to me
Says I've lost my way, I've lost my mind
He understands not! Only in oblivion
Do we find peace
The Balancer understands
He hears in part
I call to him

"Rosemary, Pansy, Columbine, Rue
Given for the heart that's true
Some for me, and some for you
Rosemary, Pansy, Columbine, Rue.
No rosemary for me, my love?
I'm hurt to the core; struck
To my very heart
I have a pansy for you, or two
No worries, you'll be with me soon
And then you too, will wear the rue.

"

I feel you now with me, my love
Time was once I had for you only hate
Carrion Flowers

climbing choking
It was your brother to whom I sent
My Yellow Tulips
But how times change - he had eyes
Only for blue, my own love spurned again
And at first you too only loved blue
Till she too turned away, her sight
Restored, her vision clear
But then you came to me once you heard
Their whispers, in the darkness
A comfort on the violet moon
We're two of a kind, you and I -
I bring justice, and you
Despair, destruction

I sing to you of justice, asking
Who will hang from the Willow Tree
And I already know your answer -

"The Rose-Blood first;
Carnation-Bright, defier of
The ancient precepts;
So tangled in her own despair
We'll set her free first
Justice for the blind-girl done
We'll move on
The Cornflower with crimes so long
We cannot list them all
The Pine-brown girl
To join with Red as Roses so
They shall not be alone, and last -
The Shrinking Violet goes."

"And then we follow!"
I sing in joy, spinning in a circle.
"We follow, to peace, to a place
Where there is no more strife
No struggle, only death
Only peace, only sleep
Eternal


We go together."


I take your hand in mine
And like twin Destroying Angels
Our hunt beings
There


she

stands!
Defiant and proud
Tall and strong
We smile at each other,
Then at her.

"Don't be afraid," we say
"You'll be at peace soon.
Don't resist.
Follow us. We bring peace.
Only peace."

She resists, of course.
But not for long...

> Be the bifurcated nutcase

You can only be one half of the bifurcated nutcase.

> Be Sollux, fifteen minutes ago.

You are taking a meditative jaunt through the lower bowels of the asteroid. The solemn mood of your companions has been troubling to you of late. You've done your best to do the Page of Hope thing for them, but it doesn't seem to be working out. Despite your best efforts, none of them have listened to your pleas. Not Karkat. Feferi did, but you suspected that there was an edge to her voice, a kind of weariness that belied her true feelings.

And then there was Aradia... you were only confused by her, now. You'd thought her flushed for Captor, not you. And yet her actions there... you cannot deny that she seemed to have changed her ways.

Perhaps her title had taught her something after all? She did seem to feel more for others now, to truly know with the mind.

And then... Captor. Always that lurking shadow in your mind. You can feel him now, pacing at the edge of his cage like a tiger, ready to escape. You are not sure how much longer you can stand it -- you've always wondered when the day would come when you woud come to blows with your other half, but it seems to grow ever closer now. You miss when both your dreamselves were alive. In sleep, you were your own person, alone and whole. You danced through golden streets and worked with the people of Prospit as best you could, while your counterpart screamed at the horrifying voices he heard echoing from the heavens, while he abused the Dersites and at one point even arranged for them to carry him about on a planquin. Not your concern; what he did in his sleep was his own problem. You were content to be alone, and so you slept as much as you could. In hindsight? A poor idea, since nothing said that Captor could not be awake when you were sleeping too.

You are so lost in your thoughts that you barely notice when you step in the dark red blood staining the floor.

Leaping backwards, you yelp in surprise and horror. Terezi's blood...? Who could have done this? You take a deep breath and start forward.

In the back of your mind, Captor stirrs, woken by the thought of blood. He claws his way towards waking but you shove him back down. He laughs at you. Terezi? Why so worked up, Sollux? She deserved it. Fucking creepy doomsaying rustblood. You studiously ignore him as you walk forward. Your boots crush the brittle remains of plants as you kneel to investigate the grisly scene.

Three puncture wounds, evenly spaced. One through the vascular pumping organ, the other two neatly through the lungs. A quick death? Not for a troll. You do her the kindness of closing her eyes.

So who, then? Kanaya? No, Kanaya's weapon of choice was the chainsaw, and while you certainly think she's capable of it, the wound pattern would be completely different. Suicide? Maybe, but that would be an awfully difficult way to go. Vriska? HAH. The very thought. Gamzee... perhaps. Gamzee was always feral, and you suspected that his posturing was an act.

You rub your chin, frowning. No, that doesn't seem right either. What would your ancestor have done? Balancer Twinsight and Balancer Twinblade were the right and left claws of the Empress, one a Detectisector and justice with contacts among the Legislacerators; the other a feared assassin who destroyed all who opposed Her Imperial Condescation. And both were, like you, one and the same.

Your particular ancestor -- Twinsight -- would more deeply consider the matter. Not Gamzee then. And not Equius, though it could have been three arrows. You follow the blood trail, disturbed by the idea of a murderer here. It is, after all, your job to keep hope alive, and if death has come to this place you've clearly failed in your task.

Tavros?

Tavros was descended from the Grand Highblood after all. This is something you learned from Aradia -- or rather, that Captor learned from Aradia. Dangerous. And he hadn't had access to his sopor slime here. You, personally, had done your best to keep him medicated, but the alchemized slime didn't seem to be doing the trick as well as it should. And the wounds could be from three precise stabs from his lance...

Yes. It must be the descendant of the Grand Highblood. Which means his next target must surely be Gamzee. It would follow the legend Aradia discovered. There can be no other option. You had suspected it would come to this for years, and it only pains you that you must bring justice now. Twinblade allied with the highbloods, but in the end Twinsight rebelled, only to be cut down by Twinblade's former lover, the Archivist.

You resolve then to find the Highblood. You take your weapon in hand and go to hunt him down. You will defy the march of History (we are inhabited by History) and prevent the dark Sidhe from rising again, from bringing the march of Winter's Court.

You dive deeper into the bowels of the meteor, past more of dear Feferi's failed attempts at bringing a little greenery to the station. Dead grasses fill this level, and you find more blood, along with a sticky black stubstance (tar? but there are no imps here...). And then you find it. Bits of grass green blood. As you suspected -- the Highblood is playing with his victim first. Your grip tightens on the Debunkinator and you try to hold your resolve. You are the Page of Hope, long descendant of Balancer Twinsight. You can survive this. You will survive this.

> Sollux: Go into the long grass.

You swish through the grass, and you hear it then -- the sound of crying and screaming.

"No! I don't want to purrlay this game, chica! This isn't -- "

The sound is cut off in a horrifying scream, like a dying animal. You run forward, determined to catch the highblood in the --

> Sollux: Break.

It can't. It can't. It can't. No. No.

She turns to face you and her face is empty, her eyes like empty windows, her mouth too wide for her face. You lift your weapon and step back.

"S-stay back! What... whatever you are, you're not Feferi. Stay back!"

Then she śp̷eak
and͘ ỳou ̶ţhn͢k ͘ ý͢o̕u͏͜͟ mí̸̸gh̸͜͝t͘͘ g͞҉͜͠ò̸͞ ̕͝͏͞m̵̨͞͝͝a͏̡͏̵d

"R̸͙̱ǫ͈s̥̅̐ͭ͌̎e̦̫̙͉͆ͬm̼̪̝̱̱̂ͤ͠a̻̫̻͒̏̾̔̋͐ͨr͉͈͈̜̹̻̬y̆̀͏̰̜̹,ͪ͌͡ ̳̖̔͌ͪP̶̳͖͉̜̭͖̆ͮͦ̇͗ͬ̽a̮͓̩̯̯̣͠n͈͔̓s̓ͯͯ͂͗ͭ̊ý͕̯̘,̗͕̺̼̩͙ͪ̌ͦ́ͮ͊̚ ͭ̏ͧ̑̈́͐Cő̠͎̜̺̰͇̇͜l͍͍̗͇̜̈ͨ͋úm̝̞̑̌̚͜b̮͕͙͗̊̐ͭ̈ͅi̯̖̣͋̿͢n̛͖̱͎̻̘̒͊͐e̟̪̟͚͓̒ͭ̄ͪ͜,̡̹̩̳͉̬̱̞ ͏R̯̤̺͖͕̈́̽͑͗͜u̮͇͇̟̤ͯe͇̼̺̮͓͇͇ͫͨ͊ͤ̈́͟
̨̲͚̣͇̩ͨ̍ͣ̂͋G͒̄̓ͪ̉̔͏̝̣̼̙iͤ̀͐̚͟v̟͙̞̠̌̆ͩ̎͑͊͒͜eḙ̯͚͉̈ͅ ͭͯ̓h͓͓͉͆ḛ̼̻̒͐̽̏a͈̼̒̽̑r͒̋ͫͨ͢t̻̣̥̝̓ͥ̉̈́ͨͦ ̦̟͓͕ͅtͩ͒̒ͬ̊ͨh̗̥͓͕̟͓͔a̧̦̘̻̪t͎ͯ'͈̟̹̰͠ŝ̰͈͔̏ ͎̮̜͉͛͐ͦ͝ͅt͇̣͔̠̲̂̾̐̍r͖̰̗̝̺̠̂ͧu͎̩̻͚̺̔̅ͪ́ẹ̆̔͑ͯͨͅ
͖̤̠̣̠̩̭S̔̓͢o̠̟̞͉̱̫͊̃̈́̾̔ͧ͘m͙̤͚̙ͩ̽̋̈́̾͘ë̇̎́̂͆ͪ̀ ̡̰̣̠̖̌͌̽̓́f̩ͫ̽͢o̶̘̜ͮ͂ͦͣͦͅr̺͇̝͖ͪ͂ ̹̞̙ͧ͆̃̇m͎̭̜̓̇͡e̡̜͈̼͚̟̻̭̽̐ͨ͊̌,͛ͯͨ͆͆ ̳̖̫̤̫̙́̀ͦ͋͆ͫą͍̟͚̜̬̯̎ñ́͒̐̃d̰̝̩ͮ͊̑ͦ͐̈ ̮͓̆̽̑̂̾͑s̠̭͍̑̈́̕o̮̻̺ͪ͊͑̑͐m̡͉̟̤͎ͮ̄ͅe͈̞̟͈̪̼ͦ ̼̭̣̺͡f̝̹͓̰̎̀̎ͦ̀͊̆o̴̤̫̠͇̞̯̒̆̏̏̚ͅr͇̲̭͒̕ ̤̆̇̒̓̏y̺̑̃͑̾̈̃o̯̊̔͗̎͊͗̃u̽҉̝̦
͇̜̜͉R̞̟̲͉̟̔̉͆ͨͤͯ͝oͫ̀͐ͬ̄̉͂s̺̱̥̪̬̾͌͐ͅe̤̞͇̫m̶̻ͪ̄̋͊ąͮ̃͊̂̀̽͌ȑ̦̣̩̩͇̻͗̄ͯý̘͈̬̗̳͓̝̌̇̕,̰̫ͮ ̶͍̏̇Ṗ̩͌̈́̎ͣ͘ȃ͑ͫn̜̺͇̳̬ͥ̀s̘̳̝̙͍̋̒͑ͨͧ̅y͓̰̼͂͠ͅ,̘̝̱̫̖͂ͨͮ͛̇́ ̾ͫͧ̿̚C͙̣̖̦͖̺̟̐̃̉̕o̳̦͂͂́̏̏̽ͥl̘̘͖̤̜̙̆̀u͉̯̟ͪͮ͊̀̏̍̎͝m̫͉̰̳͋b̍ͯͯ҉̱̫̪i̋͋͌͂͛͋̅͢n̗͉̻̜͐͆͐e̡ͤ,̹̥͍̈́ͤ ̭̥͈R̤̱̘̠̈́ͮ̉̎͋̆u̦͙̦̔̊̉̉ͯ͗͒ë̷̖̭̳̻̺̬́͆͂.̞͖̞̠̀ͤͮ͐
̿̈́͏̖N̵͑̌ͨ̃̔o̧̙̝̺͔͇͐ͣ̄̋ͬͬ͑ ̣̥̭͛ͩ̇͋͗̈͋r̟ͥͯ͡o̤͚̺͔̯̟̲̽͂̿ͣ̂̕ṡ̗̲͉̇ͧ̓͑ͤͅḛ͈͎͛͌̽ͅṁͧͦͦä̙̖́̋ͯr̞͔̋͂͐́ͩỳ̥̯̱͂́ ̖̹̣͔ͣ͌͊́̑ͨͪḟ̱̭̳̮̱͂ͩ̒͡o̲̤̩̙̝ͣ̏ͧͬr̡̤͋ͨ̂̊̅̓͊ ̈̃͑m̷̳̣̰͇̃̾ę̞͕͖̒͐́ͮ̉,̡̗ͪ̓ͮ̅ͯ̈́͒ ̱͉͗̚͡m̶̠̜̬͎̘̔̂ͤy͈̹͔͚̝͓̆ͣͤ͠ ̷͖̼̘͓̹̊̏ͅl̵͈̊ŏ̱͍̩͔̻̻̖v̼̎̂ͧ͋́ͅe̔̍?͓̰̝͔̙͐̓̔ͮ͠
̦̜͉̰̊ͫͬͪͭI̤̱̦̬̺̥'̋̂̑ͯm̹̘̮̝̗̆̈ͮ ͉̙̳̔̇ͪ͑h̙̙̱͔ͮ͆̒͛ͦ̎uͬ̅̐̓ͩ͛ͦ͏͓͓ȑ̟̩͙͔̼̘ͧ͒̊̓̇̆ͅt̖̺̘̻̤̥̎ͥͪ̀͟ ̲͕͔̥̕t̶͎͉̳͓̰̣o̪̯͙̯͚͔̊ ̋ͥ͌̋̇̚t̺͔̖̃ͫ͛̆h̛̼͗ͩ̒e̪̗͗ͨ̑ͅ ͙̩͈̠̟ͮͅc̎͌͂͘o̸ͩͅr̹̺͐̄e̦̱̥͕̒̐͗͐̓̈́;̳̭̱̖̕ͅ ̵̣̤ş̱͍͕͈̲̳̮̏͗͑ͭ̂̊t̛͔̪͇̺͒̄̿ͤͬͦ̐r͉̥ư͎̠̊ͫ̀̈͆̐ͅc̬̩͐ͥ̓ͯ̂̾̔kͯ̀ ̢̳ͭ̒ͫ̀̎͑
͉̼͟T͙͕ͮ͋o̎̾͂͌̓͏͔̼͔ ̴̍m̒ͫͦ̏͊͞y̗͚̲̝̰̖̋͜ͅ ̞̍̚̚v̜̺̫͚̙̬̱̑ͤë͎̬̭́ͥ̓͌r̟̱͔̥̔̉y̨̳̬̥̥͔̖̼͒̑ ̦̼͉̲̺̩̽̒͐̈́̐͘h̗̥͌͝ȅ͔͈ā̯̀ͪ͐̊̐͘r͚͔͉͖͝t̠̠̥̳̥̙̺ͪ͛ͨ͞
̮̗̭̥̓͛̄ͅĮ̱̘̔͛ͥͣ ͣ̒ͭ҉͕̬͕h͙̻̱͑̾ả̻͕͊ͧ͑ͬͦv̟e̳͎̦̥̯̤̝̎͋ͣͫ͛̋̏ ͔̳͚ͤ͋a͕̤̻̮͒ ͕͚̥̅ͦ͑̎̇̚͠p͖̰͎̣̹̬̜̓́͐̍͝ȧ̗͟n̼ͫͥsͥ̉̀ͧͥ̐͜y̛̝͖̮̲̫̻̎ ͌̀̅́ͭ͛ͬf̬͚͚͙̥͡o͈̙ͤ̅ͥ̇̑ͅr̷͖ͩ̏̐̔ ̴͋̍̏̇̈́y̭̤̲̯̤̫͙ŏ̴̗̣̹̂̊̋̿̊ͩu̺͍͖͕ͦͯ̆,̴̗̞̦̱͒̍͗ͭ̽͌ ̭̺̮̀̂̄̓̏̌͟ò̯̳͇̥͇̱ͭ̿ͩ̀̑̚͠r̟͎̟̠̞̍̑̽ͅ ̵̓́̎ͧͧt̜̠͙̥ͥ͆̅ͅw̰̣̙͓ͫͩ͟ō͙͈ͭ
̤̹͚̓N̸͔͛̈́o̺̙̙̼͖ ̼̻̗̩̿͑ͯ̍̓̉̌͢ͅw͚̦ͫ̚͡õ̜͔̆ͣ̚ͅr̖ͨ͛̀̑̋r͂͐̀̌̆̊͘i̵͐̽ę̫̪ͭs̬̗͉̭͙ͤ̍̅̃ͪ́͞,̶̭̫̩̖̣͗ ̟̑̄́ͭ̉̑̑y̴͓̞̗̲͕o͈̥̜̘̪̣̊ͮͯ͛ͫ̚u͇̒'̣͇̥̥̻̬͒̊̽ͦ̆̉͟l̛̹͈̹̯͉̖̫ͩ͆ͥ̒̎͗̉l͊̎̅̌̀̏́ ͗̐̏͏͙̭̘͕̠b̷͙̙̻̲̥̣̅ͯͭ̀͊ͅe͙͖̙͎̬͊ͬ̅ ̴͖͚̘̩̼̠̌ͨͯ̿̽́̀w̠̞̠͔i̪͔̪̙̻̥ͦt̙͐ͭ̀h̲ͫ̊̾̿̿ͨ̀ ̫̟̯͓̝̤̗͌͊͛ͯm̠̮͕͛͗͢e͚ͦ͋̄̽ͧ́̐ ̺̣̥̹̅̋̿́s̖̯̹͍̺̘̫̉̾õ͘o̧̰͋ͪͤ͊̈̽ͣn͙͇̈̎͗ͫ̌̔̒͠
̦͎̽ͯ̌ͪ͒A̲̹̺̟̞͒̐ͦͨ̽͒́͝n̛̲̻̩̼̻͚͕͌̓̽̍ͥ̓ď̙̪ͮ ̠̫͈̙͇̀ͪ͆̈̀ͬ̈ṯ̞͖̱̰̹ḥ͖̬̱͌͑ë̻̺ͥͨ̿ͥ͋́n̔̇͗̽ͮ҉ ̱̊̏͊̿̎̈́͘ẙo̟͓̭̣̽͆ͨ͌u͑͛̄͊̆̅ ̟̄̈t͓̦ͥͬ͌͗ò̥͔̞̭̫o̫̩͙͉̳͒,̼ͥ ̋ͬ̐͒̒̀ͩ҉̖̭̪͖͉̩w̞̻̹̪̾ͧͯi̘ͯͮ̓̄̄̇̃ĺ̛̼̤̦̆ͧ̊́̀ḽ̫̫͚͇͉̹ͨ̑̔ͨͭ́̕ ̇ͭ̌̂̀̌̕ẘ̻͙͕̘ͮ͌e̹̣͓̘̟͎͛͞a̬͔͓̮͕̥̤͑ͯ̈̄̈r̵̳̙̙͈͒͊ ̐̓ͯ̃ͣ̌t̡͎̞̭͔͚̤͒h̟̻̫͉̬̟͌͊͆̏̄̐ͅeͯ̇̉ ̛͚͌͐̃̐r̪̣̱͗͂̆̉̐ͤͭ͡u̪̼̘̬̦̱͖ě̝̪̦̤̑̄ ̷̵̢̢"

>Sollux: ABSCOND

Way ahead of you! You run as fast as you can, unable to breathe. Holy shit! What happened to you, Feferi?

(The voice inside you laughs a mad laugh, and bides his time)

You go in search of Eridan, in the hopes that as her formal moirail, he can do something about this. You proceed to go through a lot of awful stuff that we've already seen.

> Be the other half of the bifurcated nutcase

You hear -

The creaking of great TREE LIMBS

Your eyes open

w i d e

and you -

and I.

And I know.

I've known all along and allways all the
streeeeeetching
of the seaweed towards
slithering sliding slurping diving
seeking solace in the darkened deep
they've sung to me
all told and all of them
but this one!
such a song I've never heard before
I hear her now
I hear her now

She takes my hand, and we tangle
the Squid Suckers of her master twisting in me
and I sing a new song to her masters
Such clarity!
Such purpose.
Where before I was only arrogance
Now I am found, now I am made
Given new purpose -- and that purpose is justice
Justice in your name
Justice in Her name.

I sing of despair
And I ask her
Who will hang by the Barnacle rocks
And I already know her answer:

"The Red Snapper first;
Red Anenome, defier of
The ancient precepts;
So tangled in her own despair
We'll set her free first
Justice for the blind-girl done
We'll move on
The Spider Crab with crimes so long
We cannot list them all
The Sand Piper girl
To join with Vampire Squid (I jest; her fangs are false) so
They shall not be alone, and last -
The Sea Urchin goes."

"And then we follow,"
I purr, grinning like a Bull Shark
"To a land of plenty; without strife
Where we may rule together, forever
In the lands of the dead beyond

We go together"

I take her hand in mine
And like twin Tiger Sharks
Our hunt beings
There

she
stands!
Defiant and proud
Tall and strong
We smile at each other,
Then at her.

"Don't be afraid," we say
"You'll be at peace soon.
Don't resist.
Follow us. We bring peace.
Only peace."

She resists, of course.

But not for long...

.