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How to neglect your heart

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Colette is seven when she learns the day she will die. 

It's bittersweet, really - she will lose her body, soul, and spirit for the sake of a world that needs her in a silent, graceful undoing. A single life for the lives of many. It makes sense, even if all of it is sick and cruel and makes her stomach twist in loops. 

She decides, then, to love Sylvarant more than she could ever love anything else, because if she loved no-one, they wouldn't have to hear the funeral hymn the day the Goddess took her life. 

Nobody ever told her the life of a chosen would be so terribly lonely. 

 

+

 

Colette plays with the village children but never lets them close, always reaching her hands in search of comfort-company-something but pulling away the moment any of them step into arms' reach. 

There's a hole in her life that she rolls her tongue against as if it's a missing tooth - the feeling of loving everything, and yet accepting nothing back in return, the martyrdom of an eight-year-old child on display like a doll. 

It isn't until she meets Lloyd that everything comes crashing down. Questioning herself enough to let someone in feels like failing. 

If only that were the last time she neglected her heart.

 

+

 

When Colette sleeps, she dreams about nothing and imagines what it might feel like to die. She talks to Lloyd about it one day, when they're both old enough to comprehend death, to really sit with it, soak in all of its cruel realities. Lloyd dreams of a world where everyone can be happy, where the grass is forever lush and the trees always emerald green. When he asks what she dreams of back, she does that silly, faux-giggle he hasn't quite deciphered yet and says she dreams of the same. 

She wonders what the world will look like once her soul leaves her body. In the end, she only wishes it looks like everything that makes Lloyd happy. 

 

+

 

The oracle comes the day of her birth, and she thinks she might like herself more had she been born into a body that wasn't fated to die at sixteen. Chosen steps in front of the altar. Chosen receives the Cruxis crystal. Chosen unlocks the first seal. Chosen forfeits a piece of her humanity so that everyone else may live instead. A chosen is as a chosen does. 

When she despairs, she knows she has Lloyd's warmth to bring back the part of her she fears will shrink before her eyes; Colette had found love , and she fears that he will love her too, only to watch her slip away. 

The thought alone was far more paralyzing than any transformation could have been.



+

 

The night before they would descend upon the Tower, Lloyd cradles her in his arms, voiceless in every sense of the word, and she only wishes she could cry. He tells her soothing stories from when they were young, and he says she'll regenerate the world and then everyone will live in peace, but it's so hard for her to put faith in happy endings when she knows she will never get one of her own. 

If only he knew. 

 

+

 

The day they reach the final altar, Colette approaches the angel with the evil eyes and feels it all slip away. Her friends speak unintelligible, strangled words and she looks down upon them like a corpse. She betrayed herself by letting them in, only to watch her life follow to its natural conclusion.

She hears Lloyd's voice, and she dreams about nothing.