In Carnage We Bloom

Aria Davar weaved her way around the crowded city mobs, hurrying towards the watchtower as she carefully navigated the concrete streets, occasionally pausing to spew a greeting. Curse these formalities, Aria thought, increasing her pace. Passing a flowery intersection, she caught the eyes of the towns smith.

He scanned her attire. “Good to see you Aria! Who’s the lucky man?” he said, smirking.

She blushed, tucking a strand of brown hair behind her ear. “It’s just a date Tom!”

Reaching the outskirts of the city, Aria turned towards a path that offered a clear view of the looming tower. As she neared, she noticed that it was made of wood and reinforced steel that twisted into a brilliant structure that towered its surroundings. Rumours said it could withstand a bomb. She believed them.

Aria entered the tower and glanced around it’s tarnished interior and bottomless ceiling, looking for a way up. After a few minutes of searching she spied a rusty ladder amongst the salvage and began to climb, flinching at each creak as she ascended it’s length.

Halfway through the climb she noticed a flash of orange hair above. Malz.

“Enjoying the climb?” Malz asked.

Her eyes narrowed. “If I fall… expect a bounty on your head.”

He grinned, green eyes flashing. “Oh, don’t worry, I’ve only fallen what? Twice?”

Aria scowled upwards, clutching the ladder with a death grip. “Malz!? MALZ!”

No response. Great.

~

Malz was leaning against the towers wooden frame. “Took you long enough.”

An innocent smile fashioned Aria’s face. “About that bounty...”

Malz laughed. “Don’t kill me just yet. There’s something you have to see…”

He gestured towards a small iron airduct, one that appeared to lead to the outer exterior of the tower.

Aria paled. “An airduct, REALLY? There’s no way I’m going anywhere outside this blasted tower!”

Malz smiled mischievously, offering a calloused hand. “Just shut your eyes, I’ll lead the way”

Aria hesitantly shut her eyes, mumbling a quick curse as she took his hand. Was she really doing this, venturing into an unknown airduct. Fantastic. He led her through the maze like airduct until they finally stopped. Aria paused, feeling a gentle breeze hit her face, beckoning her eyes open.

Aria gaped.

Vast elegant buildings of smooth grey stone, mist reflecting afternoon brilliance, windows full of colours of splendour.

She clasped her mouth. “Malz… this is…”

To her surprise Malz kneeled down, looking unusually flustered as he pulled out a small fancy box.

“Aria… will y-“

His voice cut off, replaced with a deafening blast that sent the entire tower shuddering. She glanced around, spotting a glowing red light emanating from the city.

Time slowed. Her breath catching.

Click...

Click...

Click…

“ARIA!”

A bloom of flames elapsed her vision; a scarlet flower that was followed by a sweltering wave of heat, leaving a patchwork of sights left for her to sort.

The watchtower crumbled.

Malz was shaking her.

Oblivion shone from the city.

A beautiful garden.

Her parents dead.

Darkness.

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