"O great gods above, why have you forsaken me? My mind is strong but my heart is empty."
The skies are sending a downpour tonight.

I struggle through the cascading water that run harsh and freezing down my spine. The wind rips at my scales and batters my wings.

The night is weeping.

A cacophony of wailing thunder and jagged lightning, as I drown under its muffled and gloomy darkness.

Tears I could not cry.

I could only watch, held back by a barricade of sweeping rain. Watch her fall, her wings flailing, her body twisting…

I love making others smile. Ever since I was a hatchling, the other dragons around me would loiter around and throw cheerful comments, and I would grin and retort, cheekily. A back and forth game of ripostes.

As I grew, my smiles grew with me. They call me a carefree, gentle soul. Though I let that wash over me like everything else. I live my life without holding on to anything. Things come and go, and I thrive in the moment, like the little breezes that I so delight in riding on, to fly on. My invisible wings.

When raiders bulldozed through and stole all the jewels and treasure I spent my life collecting, what could I do but shrug, and smile. After all, no use getting upset about the past right?

My clan mates often ask about my 'secret' to being happy, their gazes wide with admiration or narrowed with envy. I never really understood the question, but I must be doing something right, otherwise why would they crave it so?

"There is nothing to be upset about." I always say. Yes, I have said this so often and at so many places that for all I know, it might even be true.

… It has been so long I worry I might have forgotten how to feel sorrow.

My body is soaking, and yet, my eyes remain dry.

My Clanmates approach, their brows steepened in worry, meaningless comfort prepared on their lips. I see them hesitate, and mill about in careful confusion.

It is a Guardian's sacred duty to defend their charge, against anyone and anything that might harm them. We serve for life. Only by my death am I freed of this hallowed pact. A Guardian shouldn't survive one charge, let alone two.

I try to force my face into what I hope can pass for a frown. I feel my muscles twitch, contorting into shapes so unfamiliar it's as if my body is not my own.

"Why are you smirking?" A quiet murmur passes my ear.

My face feels stiff, as if being clamped by some cruel iron, and try as I might, I can't think of a single thing to say.

They give me a wide berth, watching with uncertainty and poorly concealed judgement. Am I heartless, to not know sadness? I don't know if I can even recognise it in myself any more.

But this, too, will pass. And so she falls, and I do not cry.

The apathetic waters presses down still, and I watch it wash away the mud-soaked branches, dragging away the evidence of this night deep into some hidden earthen cradle.

The curtain closes, and the world spins on.

"These masks that Brume wears... they betray her. They reveal her. Anger and grief are solid, they have weight. You can beat your fists against them. Contentment and apathy are a fog to become lost within. Brume is so far lost, there is no turning back anymore. There is nothing ahead nor behind, just the same, mistbound place. Dozens of times now I have seen Parhelion, the Silent Lamb, tracing her footsteps, a constant in her shadow. Parhelion's presence isn’t a warning, it’s a promise of her future. Life never gave Brume a choice in how she'll live it. If this isn’t hell, the devil is surely taking notes." - Vitiligo

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