The Art of Dying Well

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Jumin, Vivere, Jihyun, and Rika were the original members of the alt rock band RFA: Risen from Aether. High school was hard but with each other, they would weather any storm. Eventually they gathered an eclectic group of friends, they took care of each other, loved each other when the adults in their lives all but abandoned them, and supported each other no matter what.

Everyone knew, even in high school, that Jumin and Vivere were a thing. Even they knew they had a thing, but it was nothing they could do about it since both of them were slated to be married off to someone of their parent's choosing.

Except when, a decade later, their parents decide to marry them off to each other. It's been so long... will they still feel the same?


[Ars Moriendi : The Art of Dying] is really a story about making choices. An Ars Moriendi is, historically, a book intended as a comfort for someone on their deathbed and their family. In the 1400s, when it was written, the Black Plague was rampant, it was inevitable that someone in your home would die of it. The Ars Moriendi presents the challenges and temptations of one waiting for death, reminds them that the choice is theirs to make, that one has the ability to be virtuous and kind even in a dire situation. It concludes showing the one who dies as someone who has persevered in the worst of times and is accepted into heaven. In this context, music is the comfort, and the origin of these songs is from the choice to love another, to persevere through challenges in this love, and earn your own version of heaven.

[Carpe Diem: Seize the Day] is a story about the growing relationship between the 2 main protagonists of Ars Moriendi, presented in the scope of their sexual relationship. Carpe Diem's meaning is lost without it's entire translation: pluck the fruit for it is ripe lest it rots. A warning and a demand in one, 'carpe diem' reminds us that we will lose an opportunity unless it is taken advantage of when it presents itself. Despite wanting to save face by attempting to preserve Vivere's 'purity', Jumin realizes he is presented an opportunity to solidify their relationship further through a physical connection, and the result is a bond that cannot be broken.

[Memento Mori: Remember You Will Die]explores the life of children who basically raise themselves, try their best to help each other and make mistakes, and watch them build irreplaceable relationships to help each other live a better life. It is a compilation of memories from the various members of the RFA while they were children / teens, primarily where the opening vignettes that did not find a home in the chapters of Ars Moriendi are gathered. A Momento Mori's macabre reputation comes from its dark depictions, especially in baroque paintings whose nature was more grotesque, but it's meaning is quite generous. It was a reminder (to those in positions of power and wealth especially) that death is the great equalizer, you would be judged by your actions, and you cannot 'buy your way into heaven'. It forces one to think about their place in the universe, what they are doing with themselves and how they can be a better person.


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