Lacrimosa Dies Illa
Summary: Devon has a third moment with her husband since his death.
Date: 21 July 2013
Related: Ashen Hearts
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July 21, 3013 — The Red House, Ignis


They lay next to one another beneath the soaring, cathedral-like ceilings of the atrium of the Red House. The floors are warm, radiating with the heat of unseen pipes that snake artesian-like flows of lava through the interior structures of the Pit. Zayne is dressed in the same clothes she last saw him in before his untimely death — a pair of soft athletic pants matched with an equally soft t-shirt. His feet are bare, though there is still that small wrap of medical tape around his second toe of his right foot. Devon is dressed similarly, and her pale hair is left its natural white gold. They are both looking up through the translucent composite ceiling where the stars strain through the cloudy blot that is the Ignis sky.

"That wasn’t me, you know," Zayne says to her, his perfectly pale blue eyes glancing over toward Devon even while his face remains turned toward the ceiling, "when you were hearing those voices at D-4." He breathes out a heavy sigh, folding one of his arms under his head. He starts to rub a bit at the center of his chest over where an old scar lays — a knot of tissue that has always bothered him.

"I know," Devon says quietly after a heartbeat of thought. "You were never really much one for excessive profanity." And she casts him a wry smile before her attention returns to the hapless fight of starlight and ash clouds. Both of them share a length of silence before the fair Volen daughter continues. "You’ve only come to see me thrice now since your death, Zayne… what brought you to my dreams tonight?"

"Three is a powerful number," Zayne replies, his bearded smile cracking wide across his youthful face. He continues to scratch at that deep center of his chest. Patches of blackened skin slowly start to emerge on his otherwise pale canvas, though they don’t spread as nearly as fast as they did in previous interludes. "You asked for me to come see you, and I was permitted to oblige."

"I will thank the Crone for such allowances," Devon remarks dryly, her eyes dancing with unheard laughter. Zayne does not reply so jovially, his expression sober as he regards his widow with a tilt of his head.

"This will be the last time, though, Dev," he says softly, meeting her gaze once more as she turns to face him at that news. A charring hole slowly blooms on his cheek, revealing a bit of white bone and thick tendon as the skin and muscle turn to ash. She frowns, not at the sight, but at the words. "They will let me come see you just three times before I must finally rest… and you must finally let me go."

"Zayne," she whispers to him, that simple recitation of his name drawing him onto his side as he scoots up beside her. He draws her hand into his, but all she can feel is the bones as the patches of burns spread up his arm, consuming the soft tissue of his fingers. She draws his palm up to her cheek, rubbing her soft skin against what remains of his own. "Zayne… I don't know what to do."

"Yes, you do," Zayne murmurs in return as he leans toward her, pressing his forehead against hers. "You've always known where your calling is, Devon. You have dreamed it dozens of times since my death. You know… still your mind, listen to your heart." He presses the skeletal remains of his right hand over her left breast where her heart thunders in the cage of her ribs. He finally lifts his lips to hers, and they share what will be their last kiss.

There is fire deep within that embrace — literal and emotional. Passions that have gone long buried, hidden beneath grief, rise to the forefront as he slides his slowly burning frame across hers. Fire consumes his feet, spreading up his legs as he straddles her hips. Skeleton fingers wind their ways through her hair with his other hand presses her hip down against the floor, earning a slight gasp from his widow. Still the fire moves up his body, licking up her skin in turn.

Their passions turn aggressive and desperate, and just before they both become completely consumed by the flames, Zayne pulls his head back to look down at his once-wife. The fire has eaten away half of his face, his hair nothing but wisps of ash as the fire wraps around his skull. Devon has no fear, does not shy away, she touches what is left of his flesh and blood cheek with affection. No words are exchanged as together they burn into nothingness.


Devon wakes with a start, sitting upright in her bed — in their bed. Sweat covers her body from head to toe, the soft jersey fabric of the sheets sticking to the dank canvas of her skin. She can still taste his fire on her lips, feel his body rolling with a passionate remembrance against her own.

She slowly swings her legs over the side of the bed, touching her bare feet to the warm floors. She bends over her knees, drawing up her hands to brace her forehead. There she remains for several long minutes, breathing in and out in a slow and methodical rhythm. And then a soft, familiar whisper touches her mind.

Devon…

She draws her head up sharply, eyes searching around her abandoned rooms. It is then that her gaze falls on the panoramic composite window that looks out over the volcanic sprawl of the Black Valley. It is not what is outside the window that startles her, but what is on the window. Scrawled in her own handwriting, black and stark against the red-lit glass reads four simple words:

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