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Forum Bug

Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:18 am by Sentinel

Hi all,

We're aware of a peculiar forum glitch that's causing some subforums to be locked.

Due to the lateness at this time, it might be a while before the glitch can be remedied, because despite my best efforts and as far as I can tell, everything seems to be working fine admin-side. It may have …

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*wipes sweat from brow* Whew, political correctness is a lot of hard work. But it has to be done.

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Red Queen: Shatter the Mirror

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Red Queen: Shatter the Mirror

Post by WritingBookworm on Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:38 am

'Eeeeey. This is a thing for Kane's RPG. You can basically think of it as my super long pre-first post. Or something like that. It's 2AM, all right?

I had fun writing this. I hope you have as much fun reading it. Very Happy


Red Queen: Shatter the Mirror



The five year old boy, his skin as brown as the trees the other reds were chopping, shuddered, and huddled in closer to himself. Out there, in the snow-frosted landscape, Red laborers were working as hard as they could to chop trees from the field, even though frost encased the tree trunks and made it nearly impossible to sever trees from their roots. He listened, trying to hear if the overseer had noticed his absence. He didn't think he had. That was a relief.

The boy swallowed, and pressed his back deeper into the rock wall. It was a small hole, formed in a large, nearby boulder. Most men or women would have a hard time squeezing themselves inside. But he was small enough that the hole in the boulder fit him just right, making for a perfect hiding place.

He blew into his cupped hands, and then rubbed them together, trying to warm himself up. His mom said that would work sometimes. Why wasn't it working right now? He was so cold. He wanted to go back out there, and everyone out there that he could do it. He could work hard. But he'd been out there for so long that he didn't feel like his limbs were becoming icy so much as he was becoming ice itself.

He adjusted his position, trembling from both the cold and from the fear of being caught hiding. He closed his eyes, wishing that this would all just end, and that he could go home soon.

By the time he opened his eyes, a face was staring back at him.

He cried out in surprise. He jumped, like he could leap away from the face in front of him, but all that did was cause him to bump his head against the crevice ceiling.

"Hi," the other child said.

He just stared at her. Her clothes were coated in sequins of all the colors of the rainbow, throwing light every which way. Some blue sequined light blinded him for a moment before he also took in her red jacket, which looked like it was worth more than his family made in two years.

She was a Silver.

"Are you cold?" she asked.

He didn't answer. He wasn't supposed to talk to Silvers. His mom talked about them all the time, saying that they were mean and selfish and thought they were better than everyone else.

She didn't look mean, though.

Her big green eyes continued staring at him. Then, she got on her knees, and started taking her jacket off, sliding one arm free from each sleeve. She folded it as best as she knew how, and offered it to him.

"Here!"

He was unsure of what to think.

She inched the jacket further to him. "Take it," she said. "You need it more than I do."

He didn't think she would leave unless he took it. So he took the jacket from her. Curiously, he pressed his palm against it, feeling how soft the material was.

The girl glanced nervously behind her. "You know, you should probably get back out there soon. But hopefully, this way, you won't be cold anymore." Her face lit up for a moment, like she was just remembering something. "Oh! I'm Laureline. Laureline Aria Tyros."

She held out her hand.

When did Silvers give Red their hands?

And when did Red give Silvers their hands in return?

He wrapped his fingers around her palm. "Adam Rivers."


~  ~  ~


"But it's my birthday!"

"I know, Laureline. I know." In the halls of the their mansion, Silas Tyros, Laureline's brother, stood above her. Even though he was only a few years older than her, Silas was already going through an astonishing growth spurt, so he had to lower himself to one knee to make eye contact with her. "I'd love to be with you on your special day. But I have things I need to do. Dad said I still need to work on being able to use my abilities."

Laureline's heart dropped. She still didn't understand. He was her brother. He was supposed to spend time with her. Why wasn't anyone spending time with her? "I just want to see the stars with you."

"I know," Silas said again. He did that a lot, repeating things in a quiet, soft voice. He squeezed her hand affectionately. "Maybe tomorrow night?"

Laureline nodded, but without any excitement. Another thing Silas did a lot was say he'd do things the next day. But then he didn't. That was one more thing she didn't understand.

Silas gave her what he called "a great big bear hug" before leaving. Her head hung down, like a stormy cloud was hovering over her head and pouring rain down right on her. Without any real effort, she kicked at the rainbow carpet, sending non-existent dust flying.

Footsteps.

Laureline's head shot up, and she turned around.

She could have sworn she'd seen the boy she'd met earlier running away.


~  ~  ~


She couldn't sleep, even after her mom and dad had kissed her good night.

Laureline snuggled deeper into her mattress, and tried closing her eyes again. She did all of the things that her brother had told her would help her fall asleep quicker -- taking slow, deep breaths, not moving, keeping her mind free of any thoughts -- but sleep still eluded her like a mouse would from a cat. She groaned, sitting up for a moment to rearrange her countless fluffy pillows, and then lied down to try sleeping again.

Plink.

She heaved one eye open. Had that been . . . ?

Plink.

It was coming from the window. Like a rock had been thrown at it.

Laureline rubbed her eyes and picked her way through the dark to the window. She nudged the curtain to the side, and looked down to find none other than the Red boy from earlier. The one she'd given her jacket to.

Adam waved her down.  


~  ~  ~


Adam had been afraid that she would call for a guard, or mess this up in some other way that would land him with a punishment. But she appeared at the front lawn, padding over to him. And without any guards, either.

"It's you," she said. "What're you doing here?"

"I want to take you someplace," he said.

"Take me where?"

"Come on," he said, taking her wrist. "Let me show you!"

Laureline made a small sound of protest, but otherwise didn't resist as Adam led her away from the mansion and almost all the way to the gates that surrounded the entire estate. There, on a hill, away from the hubbub of the manor, was a blanket laid out on the grass, with a cupcake sitting atop of it.

"It has a good view of the stars," Adam explained as they hiked up to the top of the hill.

"Wait," Laureline said, "did you . . . "

"I heard you talking to someone," he admitted. "I know you wanted to see the stars, and that it was your birthday. So . . . " He took the cupcake, shoddily-frosted, from the blanket and offered it to her. "I hope you like chocolate."

She stared at him.

It was like the way he'd stared at her, after she'd offered him her jacket.

Thankfully, she took the cupcake from him before his arms could get too tired. "Why are you doing this?"

Adam shrugged. "You were nice to me. So I should be nice to you, right?"

That made her smile for some reason. She sat down on the blanket, crossing her legs, taking a bite of the cupcake before staring up at the stars.

"Woah," she said. "It all looks so big from up here!" She flopped down on the blanket, lying flat on her back.

Adam decided to try doing the same thing. He lied down, and his world was immersed by a blanket of a cloudless, black night sky, sprinkled with small lights. They would be impossible to count.

"If you look hard enough, they become shapes," Laureline said. "Like that one!" She pointed up to an arrangement of stars that, if Adam looked hard enough, looked a little like an archer. "I think my brother called that one . . . um . . . Saggit . . . Saga . . . Sagittarius!"

"Before now, I've only heard of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper."

"There are a lot more. I can show them to you. Oh! I can teach you to sing, too."

"Do you like singing?"

Laureline nodded. "What do you like to do?"

Adam thought about it for a second. "I don't have much free time," he said, "but I like running. I beat all the other boys in races."

"So you can teach me about running, and I can teach you about stars and singing!"

"Yeah!" Adam said. "You know, my mom likes to sing, too. She's pretty good."

Laureline beamed. "Can she teach me?"

"I don't think she'd want to," Adam admitted. "She doesn't like Silvers."

"My dad doesn't like Reds, either."

"That's lame."

"Yeah, it's lame."


~  ~  ~


When the two eight year olds finally found the time to be together, what else was there to do except to play outside?

"I got it." In the Tyros mansion gardens, where there were currently no gardeners to be seen, Adam clapped his hands once. "We can act out another role play! This time, dragons are invading the land, and burning villagers' crops. They need to be killed. This time, I'll be a knight, and you can be a princess!"

Laureline didn't look too eager. "But what if I want to kill dragons, too?"

"Then we kill dragons together!"

And just like that, the few pine trees scattered about the garden became a thick and treacherous forest, lurking with secrets at every turn, and the garden walkway transformed into a wide battlefield where Adam and Laureline killed every dragon in the world. They rescued damsels, saved falling kingdoms, and the world was made better by their hand.

It was only until they'd ran out of damsels to rescue and falling kingdoms to save that they at last paused. "What do we do now?" Laureline wondered. "What do the hero and the heroine even do, after they've saved the world?"

"Well," Adam said, "sometimes they get married."

"Do they always have to get married at the end?"

"Is it bad if they do get married? So long as they want to kiss each other?" Adam thought for a moment. Then, slowly, his mouth curled into an impish grin. "What if I want to kiss you?"

Laureline looked like she wanted to throw up. "What if I don't want to kiss you?"

"Let's play another game, then," Adam said. "Tag. You're it. If you catch me within two minutes, then I don't kiss you. But if you don't catch me . . . "  His grin got even bigger.

Despite the mischevious grin, Laureline seemed in for the challenge. "Deal!"

"One . . . two . . . go!"

Adam took off as fast as he could, already laughing to himself. He was faster than all of the other Reds in his neighborhood. There was no way Laureline would be able to catch him! So that meant that she would have to --

"Tag!"

A finger prodded his back, and Adam stopped to turn around. Sure enough, there was Laureline, right behind him.

He looked at her in confusion. She wasn't as fast as he was. There was no way she was. "How . . . ?"

And that's when he spotted red and gold clad Silver through the entrance, walking by. The Tyros House had guests today from the Nornus House. The Nornus House was made of . . .

Swifts, he realized.

"Hey, no fair!" So that was why Laureline had won -- she'd mimicked the Swift's ability to run faster. "You cheated!"

"No, I won." She folded her arms across her chest, giving him the smuggest grin in the world.

"Foul play!" Adam said. "I want to do that again!"

"Nope. Fair is fair."

"But you cheated!"

"You never said I couldn't use my powers. Only that, if I tagged you, you don't get to kiss me. So you don't get to kiss me."

With one more mischievous giggle, Laureline set off, with Adam chasing after her.

As he did so, Adam made a promise to himself.

One day, he would kiss Laureline Aria Tyros.


~  ~  ~


Years later, after they had both turned twelve years old, the blonde Silver girl sat at a window seat, watching the sheet of rain plummet from the gray skies and onto the ground below.

"She said I couldn't sing anymore," Laureline said softly.

Adam took a seat next to her. "Laur?" he asked, confused.

"My mother." She wouldn't look away from the rain. "There . . . there was a ball a few nights ago, at the House Viper manor. There was an old woman who was attending, and she looked so sad. She lost her son in the war. So . . . to cheer her up, I sang to her."

That was a good thing, wasn't it? "That was sweet of y-"

"It attracted attention."

Raindrops sprouted onto the glass window.

"I'm not supposed to attract attention," she said. "Everyone was looking at me that night, and they shouldn't have. I'm not supposed to stand out. Tristan, the Tyros Heir, is. So my mother pulled me aside this morning, and, to have Tristan more in the spotlight, she forbade me from singing in public."

"What? That's so stupid. She can't just forbid you from singing ever aga-"

"She didn't ban me from singing at all," Laureline said. "Just from singing in public. She'll still allow me to work on my voice in private, so I'll be able to serenade potential suitors and make myself more attractive to them." She gathered the cushion of the window seat in her suddenly-tight fist. "That's my ideal future, after all. Find an ideal, high-ranking husband, marry into their House, and produce a couple of male heirs with them. But until then, I'm to stay off to the side. Do what the court does, and be on my best behavior. Play my part as a mirror of the court."

The entire situation blinded Adam with rage. Who did Leandra Tyros think she was, preventing Laureline from expressing her talents? By only permitting her to pursue what she loved so she could appease others, and not for herself?

"Where is she?" Adam said. "I can kill her. I'll totally kill her." He was only half-joking. Probably not even joking at all, actually. "Tell me where she is, I'll totally go and teach her a -- "

"No, don't." This time, Laureline sounded more tired than angry. "Don't. It's not fair, but I know she's just trying to do what's best for me." She tried to summon a smile, which did nothing to assure Adam. "Who knows? Maybe it is what's best for me."

No, he thought. It wouldn't make you happy. So it's not what's best for you.

The rain picked up until he could swear that it was hail hitting the ground instead of raindrops. He put his hands in his lap, drummed his fingers, and dwelled on what to say. Then, as he thought back to a certain day in the Tyros gardens, it came to him.

"You know," he said all-too-casually, "I still want to kiss you."

"What?" Laureline's head whipped around from the window and to him, looking at him for the first time. "What does that even have to do with anything?"

"But I only want to kiss girls that I think are beautiful," Adam continued. "Girls who have the potential to shatter any mirror. That means you're not meant to be a mirror. You're meant to be what the mirror is dying to behold."

Laureline broke out into laughter. "If I didn't know you better, Adam, I would have sworn that you prepared this overnight."

Adam chuckled along with her, giving a helpless shrug.

I did it, he thought. I got her to smile again.

When she smiled, his whole world seemed to smile along with her.


~  ~  ~


When they were fifteen, neither Laureline nor Adam were smiling.

Laureline soaked the rag in the bucket of water, wrung it out, and then applied it to the bloody lashes that had been carved deep into Adam's back. Adam, lying face down on a table, grimaced, but otherwise didn't complain at the impact.

She and Adam's siblings worked methodically, dressing the wounds in the best way they knew how. If only they had a Skin Healer here. Adam's lashes would be mended within minutes. But after what Adam did to earn those lashes, there was no way anyone from House Skonos would offer their services.

Once they'd finished bandaging the wound, Laureline turned to Adam's siblings. "Could Adam and I have a moment alone?"

His siblings, Jason and Patricia, exchanged glances, obviously reluctant about leaving him alone with Laureline. Their mother didn't like her, after all. It was bad enough that their mother had to come home to see what had happened to Adam, and it would only be worse if she saw Laureline with him.

Laureline added, "Please?"

"Fine." Jason stood up, motioning for Patricia to follow him. "Two minutes," he said to Laureline.

She nodded. That would be all she needed. Jason and Patricia left, leaving the Silver and Red to themselves.

When she was sure that his brothers had walked far away enough to be unable to eavesdrop, Laureline said, "You shouldn't have punched that Silver."

Adam gritted his teeth. Whether it was from the pain or from frustration, she didn't know. "He insulted you."

"You still shouldn't have punched him. Twenty-five lashes was a mercy for what you did."

"What would you have me do?" Adam said, starting to sound annoyed. "Just stand by as others call you less than worthless?"

"That's exactly what I expect you to do," she said. "Stand by. I'm a Silver. I have to learn to fight my own battles. That means I can't have you fighting them for me."

Adam slowly heaved himself up from the table into a sitting position, careful not to antagonize his wounds terribly. "If I just do nothing while they insult you, I'd never forgive myself!"

"And I'm not going to let you get hurt on my watch!" she snapped, jumping up to her feet.

Silence.

Laureline took a deep breath. She should have seen it coming, back on the day he'd comforted her. He'd been willing to go toe-to-toe with her mother after she forbade her from singing in public. As he'd grown taller, and more hardy, he's also gained the confidence he needed to fight any Silver that so much as looked at her the wrong way. While this was the first time he'd physically hurt a Silver, this wasn't the first time he'd engaged in a shouting match with them. This behavior had to end, before the Silver Court decided to end him.

"I need you to promise me you won't ever try to come to my rescue again," she said.

Adam shook his head. "I can't promise that. I'm sorry."

No. He really couldn't promise that, could he?

He loved her too much. It could get him killed.

They couldn't keep this up forever. Adam had to start treating her like a Silver. The only way that would happen was if she treated him like a Red.

"Then I'm done here." Laureline turned and began to walk out.

Adam could sense her sudden change in demeanor, the frosty tone she'd adopted. "Laureline?"

His voice sounded so broken, so hurt, that she had to refrain from doubling over. It seemed to crack her ribs -- no, it cracked something behind her ribs, something softer, something that cared for Adam very much.

"Don't speak to me, Red."

Laureline left before Adam could even know what to say.


~  ~  ~


A week passed before Adam tried to make contact with her again.

Plink.

Even though it had been ten years since she had heard it, Laureline recognized the sound as though she'd heard it only yesterday. Blearily, and already dreading the prospect of discovering who had thrown that pebble at her window, she reluctantly parted the curtains, and looked down her bedroom window.

Adam stood at the bottom, his eyes wide, his hair a mess. Frantically, he waved her down.

Laureline shook her head.

He clasped his hands in front of him, and shook it. He was begging her to come down.

He looked . . . vulnerable. Vulnerable in a way she hadn't seen since she'd first seen him. Something was wrong.

It didn't matter. Adam had to learn how to live his life without her. That meant he couldn't rely on her for support.

Laureline shook her head again, and drew the curtains closed.

She sighed, shutting her eyes.

It's for the best, she told herself.


~  ~  ~


The next morning, her feet were flying over to the Rivers household.

Did you hear? she'd overheard at the manor. Apparently the war's getting worse.

In her haste, her unbound hair snagged on a tree branch. Laureline pulled it free, and kept going.

They needed more foot soldiers.

There. The house was within sight.

So they lowered the Red conscription age from eighteen to fifteen.

Adam, Laureline thought. Adam's fifteen.

Jason was eighteen. She'd known that he would get conscripted this year. But Adam . . .

She skidded to a halt in front of the door, and pounded her fist on it. Please, God, tell me that I'm not too late.

The door opened, and Patricia's curious eyes stared back at her. If she looked a bit past Adam's sister, she could also see Adam's mother, Adelina Rivers, drying dinner plates with a rag.

"Adam," Laureline breathed. "Is he . . . "

The way they didn't answer told her enough.

"Two." Patricia meekly stepped to the side as Adelina Rivers lifted her voice, just enough so Laureline could hear her. "Two of my children are gone today." Her eyes narrowed. "And it's all because of you and the rest of the Silvers."

Laureline bristled. Didn't Ms. Rivers see that she cared for Adam just as much as she did? "I didn't ask for any of this to happen!"

"And have you asked for any of this to stop?"

"I . . . I . . . "

Adelina shook her head. "You know, I'm not sure which is worse -- those who create injustice, like the Calores . . . or those who recognize injustice and do nothing about it, like you."

Laureline just shook her head, and decided to leave before she could say something she'd later regret.

As she walked away, her worry caught up with her. Adam couldn't go to war. He could die. Sure, she wasn't as worried as Silas being out on the front lines, but Silas was a Silver. He was smart, and adaptable, and skilled. Adam, on the other hand . . . all he knew how to do was how to take a hit. And he'd been still recovering from those lashes when he'd been sent away.

She thought back to the night before, when Adam had thrown that pebble at her window. How he'd looked so scared, begging for her to come down.

He'd been wanting to tell her goodbye, hadn't he?

Whenever she was hurting, Adam had always been there to make it better. And then, when Adam had needed her most, she'd shut him out.

"Don't speak to me, Red," she'd said the last time she conversed with him.

What if that was the last thing she ever said to him?


~  ~  ~


Three weeks went by.

Three achingly long weeks, filled with dread and fear and worry.

But when the day came, Laureline couldn't help but be grateful for those weeks. Enduring those days beforehand, preparing herself for the blow, helped soften it when it finally did come.

"Lady Tyros."

Dressed in a magnificent gown, looking out of a window, Laureline turned to the room's double doors. Standing outside was a butler, and . . .

Adelina Rivers, she identified. She looked somber, and held a bag in her hands.

"Someone requested to see you," the butler said.

Laureline nodded. "Thank you. Leave us, please."

The butler shut the door behind him. Laureline wasn't quite sure what to say to Adam's mother.

So Adelina spoke first.

Laureline knew what was coming before it did.

"He's gone," Adelina said.

Laureline closed her eyes.

"Jason, too," she continued. "They were . . . a soldier saw them both go down. Snipers hit them both in the chest. Reportedly, Adam shoved Jason out of the way, taking a bullet for him. Jason was hit again shortly afterwards."

In her mind, she could still see Adam. He was next to her, and had some sort of weird but hilarious comment in hand, ready to cheer her up, play with her, do whatever she needed. It was hard to picture him not being by her side.

Adam's death wasn't clicking, she knew. It wouldn't register for a while yet. But it when finally did, it would cripple her.

"Here."

Only then did she open her eyes again. Adelina was offering the bag to her. Reluctantly, she accepted it. She slid her hand into the bag, and when she brought it back up, she was surprised to see a soft red scarf in hand. Laureline wasn't quite sure why, but for some reason, it seemed familiar to her . . .

"It's the jacket," Adelina explained. "The jacket that you gave to him, all those years ago. He never got rid of it. He obviously outgrew it, though, so he asked Patricia to refashion the fabric into a scarf. It . . . he left before it could be completed. Patricia and I agreed that he would have wanted you to have it."

Laureline nodded. The movement felt mechanical to her. "Thank you," she said. "Truly."

Adelina then looked behind her, the way most people did when they didn't want anyone else to overhear what they were going to say next. She met Laureline's eyes.

Adelina hated her. She might always hate her. But, for Adam, Adelina was willing to trust her.

Laureline crossed her heart, promising she wouldn't tell anyone what Adelina would say to her next.

"I can't lose another child to the war," she said quietly. "I'm leaving. I'm taking Patricia with me. We want to rise as red as the dawn."

Rise as red as the dawn. The Scarlet Guard. She didn't know much about them, but she knew enough to know that was the rebel group's mantra.

Because of that, she understood what Adelina was trying to say. "Be safe," she said.

Adelina smiled wearily.

Not knowing what else to do, Laureline stepped forward and wrapped her arms around her, the mother who had lost so much. Only a second passed before Adelina returned the hug. Softly, at first, and then like she never wanted to let go.


~  ~  ~  


A day passed. A night passed. Another day passed, and faded into another night.

Drowning in thick blankets and cushy pillows, Laureline lied down in her bed. She hadn't been able to go to sleep for the last two hours. She felt like . . . almost like she was waiting for something. She wasn't sure what, but something had to happen before she fell asleep.

It wasn't until a while had passed that she realized she was waiting for another plink. Another pebble, cast at the window.

She never heard that plink.

Laureline turned over in bed. Resting on her nightstand was the lonely red scarf. It had gone untouched the past few days.

She reached out and took it. Still lying down, she held it above her head.

It clicked.

Adam wasn't going to come back.

"If you wanted to kiss me," she said into the dark, "then why'd you die?"

She choked on the last word, and brought her arms down, clutching the red scarf to her chest as tightly as she could.

Laureline lost track of how long she sobbed into the scarf.


~  ~  ~  


Laureline sat despondently in the halls, her legs close to her chest. She did that a lot these days, sitting despondently. Not even the news of Silas's return from the war had been enough to get her to smile.

The Silvers don't care about the Reds, she thought miserably. Not even enough to collect Adam and Jason's bodies. What would have happened, if they didn't send Reds to war like lambs to the slaughter? Adam would still be alive, right?

What would have happened, if I hadn't rejected him when he was trying to say goodbye?


She buried her face into her knees. Her eyes pricked, and her face twisted and contorted in the effort to hold back tears.

Something soft prodded her ankle.

Her head felt heavy as she heaved it up to look at what was nearby. Standing nearby was a soft, Siamese cat. It meowed and sat down expectantly, its tail swishing back and forth.

Laureline recognized it. Sitting up a little straighter, she said, "Misty?"

"Laur!"

She tilted her head up. Walking her way, clad in green and black, was none other than Silas Viper, a soft smile on his face.

"Silas," Laureline said. "Visiting for the day?"

"Something like that." He took a seat next to her, face becoming serious. "You okay? You don't look so good."

"Things have been rough."

"Anything I can do to make it better?"

Laureline took a long look at him. He had changed so much throughout the years. His rounded, chubby face had become angular and strong, and the rainbow clothing switched out for House Viper's colors. More than that, he wasn't as uptight as he used to be. Before he discovered he'd inherited their mother's abilities, back when he was still trying to practice a mimicry power he never had, he'd always been so focused, rigid. And while he was still that way, there was something else that hadn't been there before; a desire to spend time with family he didn't get to see as often anymore.

He wanted to try and make amends, after neglecting their relationship for so many years. She didn't see how it would hurt to let him try.

Laureline scooted closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder. "Just stay with me."

She felt the motion of his head nodding. "I can do that."


~  ~  ~


Sleep never came easy for her these days.

How could it, when every time she closed her eyes, she could see a field splattered with blood? When she could see a bullet coming from nowhere, ready to take Jason's life with barely a sound? When she could see Adam taking the hit for him?

Even as the sun began to rise from the mountains, she couldn't find it in her to crawl back into her covers. Sitting at her window, Laureline stroked the red scarf, curled around her neck. For so long, she couldn't bear to look at it, let alone wear it. But as time passed, the more she recognized that, for as long as she had some remnant of Adam, she should cherish it. Hold it close, and never leave it.

Absently, she played with the end of the scarf. Adam had never mentioned that he'd asked Patricia to make the sweater into a scarf. He'd never even said that he kept the sweater itself. Laureline had always assumed that he'd thrown it out eventually, like any other article of old clothing.

It's such a deep shade of red, Laureline noted. She'd never noted how dark it was. Red like scarlet . . .

Scarlet.


Scarlet, like the Scarlet . . .

A thought hit her.

The thought was enough to make her freeze.

Laureline looked up from the scarf and to the dawn outside. The dawn was a beautiful arrangement of colors, with some vivid orange and pastel purple.

But for the most part, the dawn appeared to be red.

"I only want to kiss girls that I think are beautiful," Adam had said. "Girls who have the potential to shatter any mirror. That means you're not meant to be a mirror. You're meant to be what the mirror is dying to behold."

Girls who have the potential to shatter any mirror.

Shatter the mirror.


Adelina Rivers had said she'd seen injustice and didn't do anything about it. And she'd been right. Laureline had turned a blind eye to the Silvers' treatment of Reds, to their treatment of Adam.

But that was then.

This was now.

Shatter the mirror.

Laureline felt like she should feel more hesitation in coming down to this decision. Many of the Silvers the Scarlet Guard wanted to overthrow -- and perhaps kill -- were people she knew. People she'd grown up with. Some of them were kind, and didn't deserve for a war to be brought to their doorsteps.

But despite how much she loved her family, she couldn't let this continue. In the end, she wouldn't do what her parents wanted her to do. She wouldn't be who they wanted her to be.

Shatter the mirror.

She was more than a mirror of the court.

Shatter the mirror, and rise as red as the dawn.

Her decision was made.

Clutching the scarf close to her heart, Laureline rose, and faced the red dawn with no fear.

_________________
Credit to Hime for the drawing!





[Infinity's Row: Interlude l Anaphora: Pariah l Infinity's Row: Uncontrollable l Anaphora: Vengeance]
Currently Reading: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Currengly Binging: Basically every Disney movie ever
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