Erosion

Three Virtues in Darkness had always hated Davros.

He hated him even more now that he had to listen to the Augmenticist’s self righteous accusations that were disturbing his vigil. He didn’t remember how long he had been kneeling beside the coffin of orichalchum, his body draped over it like a funeral shroud.

“Did you kill her?” Davros said. Sunlight filtered in the large oval windows of the great sky Cathedral and glinted off the mechanisms that adorned Davros’ body as if they were fused to his flesh. Though he claimed he had come to talk, Three Virtues in Darkness noted that the Twilight had brought some of his more deadly toys with him.

Three Virtues in Darkness once again ignored the question. He closed his eyes and listened for a heartbeat that was no longer there. Davros kept talking and the sound of the elder’s voice began to scratch the inside of his head like a buzzing insect. He wanted, so badly, to rip out the Twilight’s wretched tongue and then feed it to him. Instead he struggled to mentally recite the old, familiar mantra that he always had to force to his mind when he was around this particular man.

Do not attack your Circlemates. Do not attack your Circlemates. Do not -

“I was there when we found the body,” Davros said. “I saw.”

Three Virtues in Darkness growled and scraped the clawed armor on his fingers across the coffin’s side, creating dissonant screeching, but it still did not drown out the Augmenticist’s words.

“You were covered in her blood,” Davros said.

He remembers two rings exchanged in pre-dawn darkness. He remembers promising: Forever.

“Had she finally rejected you? Had she finally seen you for what you really were?”

He slowly turned his fever-mad gaze to Davros.

“And what am I, Davros?” he hissed.

He remembers her last words, whispered in his ear -

“A monster.” said Davros.

He began laughing, then, rocking back onto his heels as he cackled up at the stained glass dome that was the Cathedral’s ceiling. The light that filtered in seemed less warm without her, and he began to shiver and tremble violently.

“Yes,” he said, growing hysterical. “Yes. Yes! I killed her.

++++

When the Storm Light is finally alerted to destruction taking place at the Cathedral, it was too late to save it. They arrived to see all of its sanctified windows shattered, including the great sky dome that once welcomed in the light of the Unconquered Sun. Red Sky at Night could say nothing to calm Relentless Tempest, who stalked the deck of the ship and cursed the Dragonblooded warriors under his command. None of the patrols had reported that an enemy had breached their territory, and it was not until they saw the two men fighting in the crumbling debris of the Cathedral’s ruins that they realized the threat had come from within.

As the two Solars fought, chunks of stone and metal tore away and fell from the Cathedral, and they battled upon them until the descent began to carry them too far down. Three Virtues in Darkness would then leap high again to the ruins, and Davros would follow, carried by large oricalchum wings that mimicked those of his People of the Air.

Once again, Red Sky at Night’s usual eloquence failed him. He could only stare and mutter obscenities, wringing his hands as he debated the of wisdom of letting his beloved ship get any closer to Exalts battling beneath them. Relentless Tempest knew that his friend’s respect and fear of both Davros and Three Virtues in Darkness conflicted him, and he would not intervene. The Dawn, however, had a duty to protect the sky cities no matter who threatened them. He raised Lightning Strike high and with a bellow jumped from the ship to join the fray below.

He landed, as always, perfectly on target. The impact left a crater as he came to a landing between the Twilight and the Night, and the force flung them apart. He was about to speak and demand a cessation of the combat, but Davros was too quick. The elder took advantage of the confusion and before the two younger Exalts knew what was happening, Davros had Three Virtues in Darkness pinned to one of the destroyed walls with a blade at his throat.

Three Virtues in Darkness giggled, and his tongue lolled from his mouth to make obscene gestures at the Twilight. Davros’ gaze remained cold and impervious even as he raised his arm to deliver the final deathblow.

It was perfect, the Night thought. The chaos was beautiful. Relentless Tempest’s shouting, the sound of the Cathedral crumbling and crashing around them, the whir of Davros’ machines, the shattering of glass and Red Sky at Night’s shrieking from above -

“Stop.”

Zastruga’s clear, soft voice cut through the discord with a force stronger that any of the blows that been dealt that day. The blade froze in Davros’ hand as he turned his head to meet her eyes.

None could decipher whatever silent exchange went on between them, for their expressions betrayed nothing. Three Virtues in Darkness impatiently waited for his end to come, because he himself would never take orders from a Lunar bitch and expected the Augmenticist to feel the same.

He was disappointed when Davros threw his weapon to the ground – the greatest display of anger he had ever shown in the presence of his mate – and stalked away without a word. Now free, Three Virtues in Darkness slumped down against the wall and clutched at his head.

“Are you sure that’s wise?” Relentless Tempest asked. He pointed to where the Night now lay rocking back and forth on the ground, muttering what sounded to be broken, undecipherable prayer. “Look. Maybe Davros is right. Maybe he really is mad.”

“Leave him.” she said. “The only thing he is mad with is grief.”

Erosion

Exalted: Northern Skies Jehzavere