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Songs Left Behind

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-The Devourers came to us like the ashen wings of the Nameless. They were dark and unforgiving, with the sole purpose of bringing nothing but death. Our entire race could not fight off the hoard of darkness and despair that poured in from the Waygate. So we flew away, we escaped.-

It had been a century since the Arcadians flew through the portal and into the core worlds. Years of disgrace, pain, anger, loss… Experiences that refused to show me anything in my future but how it was now. No great change, and certainly no going back to Arcadia to live our lives as we had.

There had been a time when I thought to fight back, to never let myself be dragged down. I’ve since realized that no hope can ever come from fighting against our fate, we can only ever run. Erris All-Singer had lost to the silent song of the Nameless. So I accepted -no, welcomed- the promise of death. I couldn’t fly away on broken wings anymore.

I found myself on the planet of Stray, and was quickly taken in by the church of the Nihilists’ words. Their leader had spoke as if he were beating drums upon my heart, bringing out my pain and singing of a way to quell it forever. So here I sat, waiting in peace with the other members for my end to come. My sick pain had been growing stronger each day as I grew weaker, and I knew it wouldn’t be long now before I was embraced by the Nameless.

Although I knew the dying were held in reverence, I tried not to let it show too much; for I knew if the doctor, Bren, found out he would not leave me alone. I wanted to die as I had been living, trusting no one, needing no one. Today he almost came my way, but I smiled wearily as he turned towards the church doors. More souls tired of running from their fate, more beaten down from fighting a losing battle...

-The darkness engulfed all that it touched, yet could not seem to be touched itself. I cringed at the shrill scream that was instantly silenced. How could this be happening? How were we not beating them back? This is our home, our strength...-

I watched with half-closed eyes as a young Arcadian lady walked in after Bren. She had unusually dark blonde hair, and even more rare was her dress; as she wore lovely clothes that contrasted with the reality of our poverty-stricken race. Throughout the hours and in between naps, I stared curiously at our new member. Besides being reasonably healthy, there was something else about her that I couldn’t let go of. The pain in her eyes, and the grim set of her face showed that she no more enjoyed life than I did, but it was because of the way she held herself that I found myself singing quietly of old memories. She held herself aloft with strong wings, ones that moved as if to taunt death, not let it simply grab her.

-“What are you doing?! We must hold our wings and fight! We can beat them back! We can save our world!” I screamed with what diminishing strength I had left, shocked.

“No child. Arcadia has fallen. We must go with our lives, now! There is nothing left for us to do...”-

I clenched my teeth and held my broken wings to me as I drifted back into a painful sleep. When I finally woke, coughing up blood, I noticed the lady perched up in the balcony as she surveyed the church. She was filthy and grimy, looking all too much like she had dug a new grave. I studied her face to distract myself from the icy stabs of pain, and saw that there was harsh determination in her eyes and lament hidden in her expression. With powerful wings and dark blonde hair, she leapt into the air and flew out of the church. As I watched this, my body losing the strength to hold my eyes open, I smiled and sang, “May the Nameless tremble to hear your song, honorable Knight of Arcadia!”

For that night, when the rough wings of the Nameless came at last, I knew that she flew away not to escape, but to keep fighting.

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