Iain Thomas had once written a significant sentence that rattled Daralis to her core – all the hardest, coldest people you meet were once as soft as water.
And that’s the tragedy of living. For when the immortal came into the world as a wailing child, she had not been born a weapon. And yet, as the golden valkyrie stood in the battlefield with her teeth stained with terrible crimson and the gore of men at her feet, there was no question she was anything but. Creatures of the night tore her mother’s body apart, dropped her on the cold ground, turned and told her to hush.
As the story went, she abandoned her childhood notions and fell in love with war. And to be so devastatingly comfortable with something as monstrous as the bloodshed of men was a lonely existence. And then she met James Thatch. They were the wolves of this fairy tale, the same who made kings scream for mercy and brought them to their knees, their names were spoken in hushed whispers. Having resonated so deeply with the man, when the time came to say farewell, Daralis could not and found herself proclaiming – there is a world of hate, and it lives in the cracks of my bones. I am a monster through and through and I have a war to fight. Will you join me? Soon enough, James had become her equal. For the man, a werewolf then was not just her right hand, Daralis realized she was bonded to him by body and soul.
And she swore that their hearts in battle beat the same rhythm and he saved her in more ways than one. Even when he drew his last breath, she could not let him go, she couldn’t blow that final kiss of death that she had offered so many vampires before him. Was that resentment or bitterness in those tired hues of his? Perhaps both. She nearly flinches as he spoke. He doesn’t finish and he doesn’t have to it because she knew. The General owed him so much more than five years.
She did. That was the simple truth. She knew he would’ve came for her. And if he couldn’t walk, he’d crawl because no matter how broken they were, they’d fight their way out together – knives drawn, pistols blazing.
Because that’s what they did. They never stopped fighting. But she did. She picked herself, turned her back on the supernatural world and in turn damned him. How the fuck do you live with yourself?The voice inside her screams as unbidden tears threaten to fall. The day the witches came and went, Daralis remembered her fury. After all, anger was better than tears, better than grief, better than guilt. And for the longest time, it was all she had left of him.
The immortal believed she could never have him again except in the smudging carbon copy of memory. The endless passage of day dulls the sharpness of pain, but it never wore out – failing James was something hard and cold, like an unlosable souvenir. She had let him go that day because she couldn’t bare the possibility that he was still waiting for her. But he was – at least until holding his hope was too painful. I don’t know how to trust you again. Fuck, that hurt. Maybe this is what they were meant to be, two souls, neither dead nor alive, just broken. Just another lesson, another example, just one more moral of one more story that doesn’t have a happy ending.
She finds herself realizing that being struck would’ve been easier than listening. For a second, she could’ve swore her demons were crawling inside her screaming this is what you get and it dawned on her that she had become the villain. She had become the blackguard of his story and it broke her heart. Once upon a time, she had asked the impossible of her parabatai and breathed a promise in hopes of reconciliation and she had failed. And this was the consequence.
He’s a man that had every reason to hate her with every fiber of his being and perhaps he did. And she swore, it stung worse than any open wound because at least that would heal. Daralis had come to the realization that the greatest tragedy is not losing the person you love – it’s for them to not even be able to handle the sight of you and to feel the distance like a pain that will never go away. The General realized there was no retreat in sight and if this was real then it was going to be real. She swallows but yet, her voice cracks. “By now, it’s dawned on me the reality that I might very well be alive until the oceans run dry and the sun burns this Earth into oblivion. And on most days, I try to make peace with that when in reality, it scares me more than anything in this world.
But here you are, looking at me like that, for the first time in nearly eighty something years and it hurts me more – the thought that might hate me for the rest of my life.” She didn’t blame him for that but it didn’t mean it didn’t scald her. She had walked away when their supernatural world needed her most – when perhaps he needed her most. And she could blame her insanity and the ghosts. All those little voices that whispered she wasn’t good enough, wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t fast enough or brave enough. Or perhaps was it the voice that screamed she was a God more destructive? That you walk, beautiful and glorious with the strength of a thousand men and you still can’t save them.
In her flawed, fucked up and self-sacrificing way, she tried to do what she thought was right. Maybe the only reason anyone needed to be protected, was because she was trying to protect them or they were paying for sins she didn’t regret. Maybe the entire world needed to be saved from her aptitude for failure; from her. “I don’t deserve your forgiveness, Because my words will never take away what happened to you and I know that.
So I won’t ask for it but know that I am sorry, James.” Sincerity flooded her voice although she knew it held little merit to the vampire. Her voice cracked desperation, “I am so fucking sorry, no amount of action can take away what you went through. And I am not a fool to sit here and ask you for something you cannot give me.” She paused, “What I’m trying to say is – you mattered to me. I have known you like no other and I loved you like no other. You weren’t disposable, you weren’t nothing, you weren’t just a soldier.
And I know that’s hard to hear because of what I didn’t do and that will forever haunt me. So tell me how do I make this right, Jamie. I will do anything. Anything you feel like I deserve, you can give to me. And I will not question it.
Berate me, wish me ill, curse me if it soothes you and I will bear it. Because for some reason, you’re here. You’re still here, alive in the world, and that is something. We have been apart for decades. You survived what they put you through, you didn’t give up and that sounds a lot like the person I knew. You were worth more than just five years and if it takes a lifetime, I will give you just that. Just tell me how.
” And she knew very well knew, the pirate could say there was nothing to do, turn his back, get on his ship and she would have to live with the reality that she lost him for a second time.