"It's mine," he says, in a voice that rings with new clarity, and steps forward from the shadows of the throne room with a fire blazing in his eyes. Gone is the child who fought his sister over the best toys with the meaty hands of a toddler -(more) this man has cradled the world in his palms, and wears it on a chain around his bent, tired neck. "And I will take it back."(less)
Zuko's eyes flitted up into the night sky, his vision blurring slightly as his breathing started to quicken in pace. A faint voice was heard in the background as footsteps padded the cement, rushing towards the fallen firebender.
(more) "Zuko!" Katara sprinted towards the firebender, sending a water whip flying in the direction of the assassin as he made a quick getaway. Aang followed close behind, his eyes widening with fear as Suki, Sokka, and Toph rushed towards the injured firelord.
All of the distressed faces turned to watch Katara struggling to use her healing abilities on Zuko. Her efforts weren't going to be enough, though, as the color in Zuko's face started to drain. Warm blood gurgled up into his mouth; the gash in his neck far beyond repair.
"You all need to go..." Zuko managed to choke out, taking his time to glance at each and every member of the Gaang. He knew it must've been hard for them, but he wanted them to know how much he appreciated their undying friendship.
And how he was going to miss it so much.
"Thank you, all of you. " Tiny splashes of blood spewed from his lips as he coughed uncontrollably, his body getting weaker as time slowly faded away. Tears welled up in everyone's eyes, most of them refusing to believe that Zuko could be gone forever while others tried to stay strong for his last few seconds.
"I'm incredibly lucky to have such amazing friends..." The rasp of his voice was barely above a whisper now, his eyelids slowly closing.
Blood is thicker than water, is thicker than air, is thicker than ink.
Unless, of course, you bleed ink, like me. Then I'm not sure where those defining lines are or what the hell that even means.
I could draw those lines, I suppose. With pencil, not(more) ink, because I'm left-handed and the ink will only smudge and smear and leave spidery trails of blue down my arms. Or maybe that's blood. You never know.
But here's the catch. You have to stay on your side of the line. Honor the sacred marks, because you won't know if it's ink or blood and that is something you cannot take chances with.
I never understood what drove Mace and her friends. I never understood until it happened to me.
Mace joined the gang that controlled our street when she was fifteen and I was twelve. At the time, I didn't know that the stories of blood and honor Mace told me(more) were real. I didn't know the gun under her mattress was real. I didn't know she smoked joints on the rooftops at midnight. I didn't know she got a tattoo of a knife, the gang symbol, until I had to identify her body at the morgue. Even then, I didn't know that the dried blood in her eyelashes was real.
Only after the funeral did I realize that it was all reality. Mace's reality.
Mace's gang friend, Kiki, told me more after I left the morgue.
"She was murdered because she killed a man," Kiki explained when she met me outside.
"Why?" I asked numbly, the sight of my sister's knife tattoo still branded into my eyes.
"She killed the man that raped me," Kiki said matter-of-factly.
"Why?" I demanded again.
Kiki shrugged. "Blood and honor. One gang, one blood. Someone hurt me, so Mace hurt them."
"Are you going to kill the man that killed Mace?" I whispered.
"Not if you get to him first," Kiki said. "You're more of Mace's blood than I am."
She left, and I still didn't understand. Mace lived in a world that took an eye for an eye and blood for blood. Blood for honor. I didn't understand until after the funeral, when Mace didn't come back. I didn't understand blood and honor until I walked into Mace's room and picked up the gun. I didn't understand blood and honor until it happened to me.(less)
All I could feel was the warmth. I knew body temperature was 98.6, but I never realized I was boiling inside. Or maybe I did. Maybe this was boiling over.
I thought of my face on the obituary, which picture they would use. One with a smile, I hoped(more). I hoped they understood. I was just quitting while I was ahead. (less)
Blood and honour. I don't, when it comes to it, have much time for either. It all seems like a tedious struggle to wave one's dick about and proposition your flesh and fluids to the world as valid, wholesome and righteous. Just stop that shit for a minute, stop(more) jabbering like primates defending your corner of the monkey cage.(less)
"The world is ultimately divided into two groups- those who yearn for power, and those too weak to seek it. And in civilized circles, being weak amounts to social death."
Just a child, Annabeth had taken her mother's words to heart, and determined to herself that she would make(more) the best of herself. And, ten years later, the fruits of countless ties accumulated over tea, of pheasant hunts and quiet discussion finally showed themselves; but instead of another parcel of land, this time, her endeavors had granted her a husband.
He was calm, quiet, relaxed, and all the other attributes looked for in the ruling class. She thought that if she had been in his position, raised second-class and useful only for political ties, she would have been quite upset at the cards she had been dealt. Luckily, women were seen with far more understanding eyes than men.
The ties that bound her to the queens of the past, to the current aristocracy, would be passed on through the sharing of her bloodline. The prestige of her family would be continued long after she was gone. The long-standing, eternal honor of the elite class would flow through the veins of their descendants long after the matriarchs themselves were gone.
And yet, the men of the line had no say in their affairs.
Yes, if their positions were swapped, she would be most put out, and rightly so. 'No woman deserves to be under a man's thumb,' she reflected.(less)
As the knight's final breath was drawn, the arrow sliding gracefully from his bow, he collapsed to the ground unceremoniously. No, not like the movies where everyone holds their breath, and there is a mother with a newborn cradled in her arms, crying. There was simply a resume of(more) violence all around, the loud clashes muffling his final fall, and the thud of the arrow recognizing it's final victim. (less)
I need to reach the diadem. I feel my heart race, the blood pound through my veins. If I don't reach the diadem, my honor will never be restored. I will never return home.
I step onto the platform, the diadem inches away. I reach out my hand an(more)d touch it, my fingers lightly rubbing the smooth surface.
Suddenly, I feel a stabbing pain in my chest. I look down and see a small arrow launcher cleverly concealed beneath the pedestal for the diadem. I look more carefully at myself through my blurring vision and see crimson slowly leaking from my chest, a small arrow deeply embedded into me.
Strangely, I don't feel panicked. Perhaps it is a sleeping poison in the arrow that keeps me at ease, one that will never allow me to wake again. But perhaps I didn't want to return home at all. Perhaps...I didn't want the honor.
I shake my head and begin to stride out, but I immediately trip over my own feet and fall face-flat on the floor. I struggle to pull myself up, but my arms refuse to move.
Paralysis, I think. A drug was inside of the arrow. Laced with...poison? My head is foggy. I am not thinking clearly.
I see the doorway, see...figures? People are coming.
I try to crawl, but the paralysis has already taken effect. I lay stock-still on the ground, getting drowsier and drowsier by the second.
Someone wrenches the diadem from my grip, which is loose due to the paralysis...or is it? I can't tell what is real and what isn't anymore.
I see him come to me, see him stroke the sword he brandishes out of his pocket, and I pray that this is real as the sword goes through my body and ends me.(less)
In utterly mock subservience, I drop a deep curtsy towards the stone floor, but my eyes never leave her face.
"Mami," I say, and I don't know why I do, because she never did a single thing to deserve that title. "Mami, why did you send me away,(more) all those years ago? Is my being an Adept really such a horrible, terrible thing, that you could not find the strength to face me each day?"
"I did what was necessary, Melilla," says the Queen, her gaze holding mine with matchless gravity. But her eyes are like cold pits, black holes that suck away everything in their proximity, even the stark reflections of the electrickals overhead. "I preserved the honor of the Borbón throne! You would not understand, child. You will never be ruler, never be a sovereign figure! You would never know--"
I cannot help but to shake my head, and I believe that my defiance startles her, because no one in their right mind would challenge the empty Queen atop her iron throne. "Mami. May I tell you something that you will probably not listen to, but I would at least like you to hear?"
Her eyes narrow. For the tiniest second, I see her mouth gapes open like a fish's, but then closes. She's curious. "By all means," she says, her face expressionless once more.
"You speak of honor. You were afraid that that my Adeptuality would bring shame to the throne. Well..." I pause. "Pues, you forgot to consider one thing. Blood is much more important than honor will ever be."
I've caught her, and she knows it. She knows that I've finally untangled her vast web of lies.
It was hard enough realizing Sephiroth once had friends in the first place, and looking at Genesis and Angeal, Cloud wondered how Sephiroth had become friends with them in the first place - besides the obvious fact of the trio being at such a higher level than the rest(more) of the First Classes.
Sephiroth's friendship with Genesis was a little easier to understand - while the two men were very different in everything from how they responded to attention lavished on them by fanclubs to the sharp difference in fighting styles, they still could find a certain camaraderie in the enjoyment of battle that many Soldiers seemed to share. Hell, there were even times when Cloud wondered in Sephiroth's choice of fire for Nibelheim's destruction was subconsciously influenced by his having been friends with Genesis. Though Cloud often wondered how the hell Sephiroth put up with the man's constant recitations of Loveless and the not-so-subtle desire to be as beloved a hero as him.
But truth be told, he didn't understand how Sephiroth and Angeal became friends. Some part of his mind knew why - Angeal was far more subdued than his childhood friend and did appreciate not wanting the spotlight on him 24/7. But whenever Cloud overheard Angeal lecturing Thirds, Seconds, or infantry on Honor and Pride, Cloud couldn't help but juxtapose Sephiroth and Angeal's interactions with that of the Sephiroth he'd been familiar with since Nibelheim and wonder how someone who'd clearly overheard more than his fair share of those speeches had changed into that villain who'd summoned Meteor. (less)
John, Nick, and Adam sat in the ruined building and drank from their canteens as they looked at the four bodies strewn across the floor.
"This one looks like a girl," said Nick as he pulled the man by his hair and inspected his face. "Should I fuck it?(more)"
"You make me sick," said Adam. "I'm gonna go take a piss."
"Look," said Nick. "Look John, I'm fucking her."
John pulled out his cigarettes and the click of his lighter matched a hollow clink against the wall of the building. He saw Nick still holding the limp body and a gray oval on the floor opposite the wall with the only window. The cigarette fell to the floor.
Adam heard the bang from the back of the building and rushed back in. When he was on the floor, one of the men noticed his smooth face and feminine features, and laughed as he said Adam looked like a girl.