You were in a bubble again.
It had been a long time since you had last visited one, but you knew the tell tale signs. Stagnant white outside the windows. A neat room that looked exactly as it had in life, before it had sunk into the river. A dead woman, risen once more.
The Second Saint to serve the King Undying, the Saint of Joy, Mercymorn the First stared at you, with dark brown eyes that matched her face.
“You.” She said, but her voice was soft, almost sad. You had no illusions of pity for this woman, she had asked the Saint of Duty to kill you outside of her periphery, but in this moment you felt sorry for you. She looked utterly destroyed. Just as she had been utterly destroyed by your ex Lord and Savior.
“You tried to stop it, didn’t you.” She continued, rhetorically. “That’s why you tampered with your temporal lobe. You wanted to save her.”
You did not remark that you had, in fact, saved her. This seemed unnecessarily cruel. You had once been unnecessarily cruel, to the beautiful and perfect Gideon Nav. You were trying to fix that.
“Yes.” You said, and you said it awkwardly. (What? I’m right, it was weird.)
“I thought maybe...no, I didn’t believe myself, but I wanted her to be here.” Mercymorn said and those eyes of hers were so sad.
It was odd seeing her with eyes that were her own. In life she had had beautiful dust storm eyes that sparkled in a way her personality didn’t. You wondered if those eyes had been returned to the soul of Cristabel Oct.
You registered that Mercy had practically answered that question. There was no Cristabel Oct in the river. Her cavalier had been consumed.
“How God takes and takes.” You said, quoting another conversation from another bubble.
Mercy’s face scrunched up and you were worried she was going to start yelling. She had yelled a lot in your time together. She should have been called the Saint of Anger. (Harrow! Stop kicking me. I’m telling this story.)
Instead she started to cry. This was decidedly worst. You did not know what to do when someone cried, especially not a slightly cruel, very screechy, long dead Lyctor who had hated you in life.
So you watched her cry. It lasted longer then the previous time she had cried. You had not been there for it, though your brilliant and sexy cavalier had filled you in.
No, this was a self indulgent cry. It was the type you knew so well, the type over killed cavaliers.
You realized then, that if things had gone differently, you would have been in a very similar position to her.
“Did you love her?” You asked and this was definitely the wrong thing to say.
Before she could answer, you followed up with, “In a romantic sense. I’m asking only because I loved my cavalier romantically.” The past tense was for her sake. Your cavalier was at home, waiting for you. The word jumble was pure nerves and uncomfortableness.
She stared at you. Her eyes were so large and broken. They looked like they had seen a million futures for themselves and found them all lacking. “You have her eyes.” She said, absently.
“Yes.” It was then that you decided to fess up. It was stupid of you to pretend to have killed your cavalier completely. You did not owe this woman anything. “We traded.” You said. “It worked; my temporal lobe destruction, combined with her Godly genetics.”
Mercy was still staring at you. She seemed at a loss of words, something that hadn’t been true in life. Then she said, “Good. I’m glad one of us got to save them.”
You felt pity for her. God, did you pity her then. She was another version of yourself, devoted to the God that told her to kill her cavalier while holding onto his tightly. She had spent 10,000 years missing the one person she could not have and it had destroyed her.
You sat besides her. You were in God’s chambers, last place before death.
“We killed him.” You said, because you found ghosts liked to hear their murderers were gone. “We saved Augustine and Ulysses from hell.” You realized half heartedly that this might not be comforting in the slightest. “The resurrection beasts are gone. The houses are no more.”
She was staring out the window at the blank whiteness. You realized she must have been in here for years, six and a half by your count. She had lived for 10,000 years before this. Six years seemed like very little in comparison.
It was probably still hell.
“She gave herself willingly.” Mercymorn said. “She wanted to help John restore our people however she could. She thought that it was the best thing she could do with her life. Augustine agreed.” Her voice became ragged here. “I needed her. A world without her was no world at all. She thought the only way she could be useful was being consumed. I was destroyed by her.”
You listened. You had listened to a lot of ghosts these days. Abigail Pent had been teaching you. It was the opposite of your time as the Reverend Daughter. The dying wanted to be told niceties. Ghosts just wanted to be heard.
“We had spent hundreds of years learning how to work hand in hand. She knew my every gesture, my every expression. She was my every gesture. She understood me in totality. I’m not sure anyone else has ever even tried. Certainly no one has succeeded. There were so few of us then, but she had been more alive than an entire civilization. It wasn’t till later that she... with Alfred... but those early years. Those early years were the best. We thought that we could rule the world. How wrong we had been. If only I had told her, Cristabel, I want nothing more than your happiness. I don’t think she would have been happy if I chose her over ascension. She supported me. She was my blood and bones and she supported me. They say that I cannot love anyone. That I do not understand. I loved her. I love her.”
“I hoped she would be here.” Mercymorn repeated from earlier. “But I consumed her in totality.”
You did not know where to go from there. Neither did she, it seemed. She gave you once last look, then faded away.
The bubble broke around you. You swam back to your soul.