|4242637946||Retrocausality||"I'm not sure I can do this anymore," I say to her, weary and drained. It took so much convincing to get her to believe me. I can hardly make eye contact, so I study the intricate stitching on her robe.
"From what you've told me, I do not believe you have a choice," she replies earnestly. "But your path isn't as predetermined as it seems. I am here now, after all."
It feels like a gift to have her standing beside me this time. To hear her voice finally. It's soft and reassuring.
"You're making a difference," she continues. "Little by little. This is a battle of attrition. You're chipping away until you find the core, the heart. The event you can prevent."
"You don't know what this is like," I say and break down, and putting my head in my hands. "Every mistake costs years that I have to see through."
"I believe you have the strength to do it, Elsie. If you alone are caught in this, then it's you alone who will break the cycle."
I look up to meet her eyes. There is a fire behind them. A fervor that fills me with hope.
"This is your charge. You are in control. I have nothing but faith in you." She places her hand on my shoulder and that familiar feeling of warmth returns.
"Thank you. I'm… ready now."
"Then it's time to pay Eris a visit," she says firmly before stopping me. "Just out of curiosity, how many times is this?"
"Perhaps this is the one," Ikora says with such optimism, I almost believe her.
It's not. We're all dead in a week. Now she'll never remember me, or how close we grew.
But I will carry her words with me until my mission is complete.|
|201476722||No Love Lost||I'm living the definition of insanity. Repeating myself over and over, hoping something will change, but I know it's coming. Blood and betrayal. I've learned not to be fooled anymore. In any other circumstance, this mission would be hopeless, and I, a failure. Yet every time I come to that bitter end, I see a glimmer of who she was in her eyes. I know she's in there. I know that if I can keep her out of this, shield her from this world, I can save her. I can stop this madness.
At least that's what I tell myself these days. I thought I would grow numb, going through the motions. I'm not. It's always painful. Sometimes, I'm so angry at her for putting me in this position. There are times I want to end it all as soon as she finds me. Take her out and turn over in my cot, hoping this is all a dream. Save us all the trouble and heartbreak. But then we get there, and I see that look in her eyes—the one that tells me she's sorry—and I have to try again.
Then there were times I was weak. Gave in, hoping it would change the outcome. I thought it might save the world if we were a family again… It didn't. I couldn't live with the choices I'd made.
Then I'm right back where I started.
This time, I know what to do. The Vanguard has been keeping secrets. I was foolish to take them at face value. Clandestine missions to Mars… and beyond. Realms outside the boundaries of time. The Black Garden they call it. Darkness lives inside, beating, and pulsing. I believe it is the source of our misery. I'll see to its destruction… and I won't have to kill my sister ever again.|