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ḀḟṮḕṙṁḀṮḧ

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ḀḟṮḕṙṁḀṮḧ

===> Be John

You are now JOHN EGBERT. You stand in the bowels of LOWAS, well below the surface, more alone than you've ever been. For the last few hours, you zapped from place to place with no idea where you were next headed. It was the very ideal of Breath in form- freedom, travel, not knowing nor caring where you were going, acting as you felt you must in each moment. However, while you were away, everything fell apart. You returned to smashed planets, dying friends, and glitches rather than the gleeful reunion you had almost had. Almost everyone-certainly everyone you really knew- is gone.

Rose had been stabbed, died a Heroic death. Dave had likewise fallen trying to recover the dead body of Jade, whose death had been Just. Karkat had been thrown into lava, Kanaya killed by the Condesce, Dave Sprite likely dead in the crashing of planets, and Terezi had died of her wounds after giving you orders to save the rest- orders that you weren't sure you could follow.

===>


Those orders brought you here, to the palace of your Denizen: Typheus. You knew that another you, a younger you, had died here, killed by the very being you now sought out for aid. You would be lying if you said you weren't upset by what had happened to bring you here, or afraid of what would happen next. Yet...the girl you'd just met, Roxy. She depends on you to succeed. So do her friends who had fallen. Your friends, even after their deaths, depend on you. You can still save them. You press onwards. You have to.

===>


Your musings carry you to a chamber. Within, a massive instrument awaits you- a curious combination of piano and pipe organ. Your fingers move over the keys on instinct- not playing yet, but you know you can play it if you try. You don't know how you know this, nor how you know that you can't yet play the song you're meant to play, but you do.

You know you should keep going, but you linger. You decide to just try. To play something, even if it means nothing, just to remind yourself what playing feels like. It's been three years since you tried. You kind of miss it. You decide you'll play something hopeful, something to prelude the grand performance you know is on the way. But a melody of a different nature comes to mind and refuses to leave. Something you heard somewhere in one dream or another. A mournful tune, one meant to haunt the silence of a dreadful aftermath to...something. You suppose it's fitting.

===>

You begin to play. A song, a requiem for the lives just lost. No matter what happens, whether you succeed or not, your friends are still dead. You won't be saving them, but an alternate timeline of your own creation. You can do nothing to bring back the Rose that Roxy was forced to say goodbye to, nor the Dave or Jade slumped lifelessly upon the latter's Quest Bed.

You play, and briefly, for the first time since the Game began, you allow yourself to mourn.

===> Be Roxy

You are now ROXY LALONDE. You stand on the surface of LOWAS, awaiting whatever is going to happen. You're not really sure what. You sought your Denizen just as John did, but the only instruction Nix gave you was to return here.

You feel quite useless. Unlike John, you were present as everything happened, as every person you ever knew died one after the other. Yet all you managed to do was snag Rose, your mother and yet your daughter, from the path of an attack from the Condesce- and even that was for little gain. She died in your arms moments later. After that, you'd been ready to give in. You knew that this timeline was a doomed one- or at least in a twisted way you hoped it was. The Alpha Timeline couldn't be coming to ruin like this, could it? Only the arrival of Terezi had stopped you from laying down and waiting to die.

===>

Even now, all you can do is wait and hope. Hope with all your heart that John can bring your friends back to life, save them, save you from this timeline and this void session. Once upon a time, you might have laughed at these words because they reminded you of your friends. Now they just hurt for the same reason that they'd once made you smile.

Dirk might have appreciated the irony in that- or maybe he'd have said that it was only the base level of irony, and you had a long way to go yet. Jake might have smiled his silly smile as he almost always did. Jane, depending on when you told her, might have been completely clueless to the greater meaning-or rolled her eyes at your punnery. You don't know, because they're all gone.

===>

John told you Dirk flew into the glitches, too fast, too far, too suddenly for John to stop him.

The last words of a boy you foolishly loved were "I failed." You had no idea what had become of him. Had his death been ruled Heroic, as a sacrifice, or worse; Just, because of his own beliefs? Or was he alive, suffering who knows what at the mercy of the glitches?

Jake, on the other hand, was certainly dead. Impaled by a betrayer with a sword he created using his own power. Trying to save Jane, who might have been beyond saving as it was-and was killed by that same sword mere seconds later anyway. Heroic. Just. Dead for good. You even had to bury Rose only minutes after meeting her. All the waiting you'd done, all for nothing. You hoped John and his zapping could fix this- even though it probably entailed leaving you behind. After all, as far as you knew he could only zap himself.

===>

You sit, alone and waiting, when you hear it. The signature sounds of a piano carried through the great pipes that run throughout LOWAS. Muffled by oil, but recognizable, nonetheless. You know the song. A melody written by a different version of the person who is no doubt playing it, written in mourning for the fall of your world. Aftermath. A song played for the billions who would soon die when he wrote it- had died long before you ever heard the melody. You'd listened to it many times- first at Dirk's behest, and then your own whimsy. You tried to understand the emotion the song conveyed, but you struggled. You never had anyone to lose, never saw the world to understand the scope of what was lost.

===>

But now, you think you understand a little better. This song, played by someone who no doubt feels the same pain you do at recent events. Played by someone who does know what was lost, taken by this game you played and those who it created. You both lost your friends, your families, your entire worlds and everyone in them. There's nothing else to do- nothing else you can do- but grieve, and so you will. You slouch forwards, and you cry.