Winter of the Heart
by DomaDragoon

A seagull shrieks its shrill cry as it glides along the coast. I don't like it. It's far too similar to another, one that brought death and sadness and loss whenever it sounded. I lazily lift my hand, pointing it at the bird. If it notices, it makes no indication of it. That is its fatal mistake.

"Flamis maledictus."

Even before I finish my incantation, the bird senses the air around it warming, but it is too late. As the last hiss of the words leaves my lips, a searing flame erupts from the center of the flying pest. The charred corpse quickly plummets to the frigid waters below.

Relief from the heat will come too late for it.

I watch with disinterest on the outside, but the glimmer of a soul that still remains in my corporeal shell winces at the cruelty I display. As annoying as it is, I still value my weakness from within. Mother would not have winced. There is hope yet that she and I are not as similar as she once claimed.

I clutch my scythe with momentary rage. I must not continue to dwell on that! There is no time to waste with such matters. There is only one thing, one purpose, one goal - vengeance. Vengeance against the one who destroyed my life.

The Black Wind begins to blow, gently tugging at my cloak. I don't need to hear the whisper of the damned to know what has happened - the Blackbird, the supposed "Iron Fortress", is hurtling towards the ocean. All hands will be lost to the murky depths. It will be, for I have foreseen it. I pause for a moment of silence, although noone on the ship deserves it. A Reaper causes death, revels in it, but also learns to respect it above all else.

The moment passes, and once more the voices of the dead are hushed. A brisk north wind starts up, sending the drifts of snow below to reform elsewhere. I do not know what drove me here, to this spot, at this time. As well, I see no reason to stay.

I chant in tongues that no other living Zealian has ever heard, words flowing with but a simple thought. I doubt even Mother could do what I have done. Even then, the spell is nowhere near the proficiency that I would like. There is still the slight thought that I must put into it. I am one of the Reapers, a Magi, but that is no reason to ignore the quest for improvement. I am not strong enough to destroy the Destroyer... not yet. But rest assured, Lavos, your death will come at my hand.

Once again, I chide myself for allowing distraction when there should be none. Such a thing occurred when I first attempted to traverse the timestream, and the result was nearly fatal. To do so now, when I feel I am so close to my goal, would be unforgivable. Under my cloak lies an amulet, that I have not taken off since the day it was put on me. I take it off now. Somewhere, its' twin exists, and I will find it. Until then, it serves as little more than another distraction towards my final goal. I cast it to the ground, more out of a irrational whim than a conscious desire.

Today will mark a new beginning. I will not rest until the monster Lavos is defeated. And then... and then, I will not be content until I find the other amulet, upon the neck of my brother. He is lost, but will be found. I swear to it, even as the portal closes behind me, and I am enveloped in the temporal path.