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Absence.

No matter the direction we turn, all that meets our gaze is the endless void.

We knew companionship once, but we have helplessly watched them rot like a derilict vessel, abandoned by its ship hands.

Even the Solitude and Spectre have departed.

Alone do we wander the absence endlessly, our pendulum shackled to our heart with a weight so mighty it bores our very feet into the ground.

We once caught a glimpse of hope; a silhouette crossing our path.

But she did not return our gaze, only continued to walk on, unheeded.

She was merely an invention of our heart, colored by the longing in our mind.

We were foolish to believe.

Yet we cannot help but yearn for one who would walk alongside us, to provide some solace in this absence.

One who can provide warmth in the cold abyss that surrounds us.

Absence.

No matter the direction that we turn, all that meets our gaze is the endless void.

**And I'm so very cold.
There is a weight that is chained to our fractured heart.

It is filled by our worst failures, and emptied by our greatest triumphs.

We wish nothing more than to be rid of this cursed pendulum, that swings to and fro as it deepens the fissures in our heart to reach our very soul.

All around us we see those whose hearts are joined with a kindred, like the morning rays in the night sky.

And the pendulum continues to swing.

We see their faces smiling, as their hearts beat in perfect harmony, a symphony of resonance with complexity and depth.

All the while our heart exudes a lonely note, sharp and unanswered.

And the pendulum continues to swing.

Our efforts to remove it have been in vain.

Our triumphs are few, and our defeats plenty, and with it, its burden grows.

*And the pendulum continues to swing.
They say there is a stone that tethers the heart.

A stone that calms the mind, even in the most horrendous of storms.

A serenity stone.

We have spent centuries searching for this stone.

We have written letters of hope, expecting word on its whereabouts.

We have chased after those who appeared to be the stone, but they only proved to be jagged daggers of glass, white hot and coated in venom.

They break at the slightest touch.

Yet they say there is a stone, one that is unshakeable, immovable.

A serenity stone.

We are in dire need of this stone, but with each passing day we believe that these tales are mere fantasy.

Where we believe there to be hope, we find only torment.

Where we believe there to be solace, we find only cold abandonment.

As time marches forth, we are surrounded by those who have found their stone, and our mind grows darker, and hope withers away.

They say there is a stone, one that will not abandon you.

A serenity stone.

But we cannot find her, **and we are slipping into madness.
For those who have found their serenity stone in their partner, I applaud you. Perhaps someday I will find mine.
We have gone against the counsel of the Spectre.

It warned us of the dangers of succumbing to temptation.

But we did not heed its words.

She came to us, eyes filled with tears, reciting words we thought we would never hear again.

How could we refuse her?

She, who held our future in her emerald eyes?

She, who banished the Solitude that plagued us so?

She, who stole our heart before we knew it was missing?

How could we refuse her?

Yet it was those same emerald eyes that we saw when she departed once more towards the same arms as before.

And we wanted to engrave our anger with crimson ink.

We screamed at the Spectre, demanding vindiction.

And the Spectre listened.

We spat and cursed at it, our tongue spilling rage like a torrential downpour.

And the Spectre spoke.

I am the warden of your lucidity. I am not your enemy. It is you who deviated from my guidance.

Through gritted teeth we ask why we are tormented so?

The Spectre's response was simple:

*For you continue to dance with the devil, then wonder why you burn.
What have I done?

A calamity has befallen me.

My heart lies impaled by a blade of my own design, beating in agony.

Across from me I see her, huddled over the blade, her hands crimson from its edge.

Her tears descend upon my heart like broken stars, burning into the flesh, down to its very core.

What have I done?

Amid her shrieks of pain, I speak words of remorse.

Amid her words of sorrow, I try to mend what has been broken.

But I have exhausted myself. I haven't the strength to lift my heart off of the blade.

In the midst of my struggle, I see a figure, one who I believe at first to be the Solitude, come to torment me with my failures.

But it does not speak.

Where the Solitude mocks me, the figure remains silent.

Where the Solitude glares harshly into my soul, the figure merely gazes.

It does not show its face, but it breeds a sense of familiarity.

A Spectre, in my own image.

With ease it lifts my heart from the blade, but with its touch the heart turns black.

It is devoid of any other hue, engulfing the cracks and scars that plagued its surface, it is unified by darkness.

It is beyond recognition.

The Spectre extends the beating void to me, in silent offering.

But I refuse.

I shall not allow myself to succumb to the cold absence it will bring.

I would rather endure, if only barely.

Yet, as I turn away, I see her. The one who once held my affection.

The one who tore down my fortress. The one who showed my future in her eyes. The one who left laughter and serenity in her wake.

With another.

Turning back, I take the creation of the Spectre, without hesitation.

As it takes its place, I hear the echoes of all the tender words she once spoke to me, yet they carry a harsh timbre.

I feel the fire of passion I once carried, yet it creates only ice.

I see the memories once cherished, but they have become pale and morbid.

"What is this feeling?" I ask the Spectre.

I cannot see its lips, but I know it smiles at the inquiry, before uttering a single word:

*Hate.
Our words were once kind, but they have since been laced with venom.

Our heart was once warm, but it now only burns from the ice it pumps through our veins.

Our pen once wrote praises, but now only blood spills upon the page.

Our smile was once gentle, but we have filed our teeth to fangs with our failures.

Our soul once knew love.

But it was only pretend.

Our resolve was once mighty, but it has been broken by shattering defeats, poisoned by false loyalties.

We wish to speak, but even our words have abandoned us, just as lovers past.

We wish to scream, but we will only be answered by the echoes of our fortress.

We wish to write, but cannot bear the pain to lift the pen.

We wish to have her.

But she has ran to the arms of another.

She once gave us serenity, but now only provides torment.

She once illuminated the skies above, but now we only cower in darkness.

She once held our heart, but now our hands bleed as we hold the jagged pieces together.

We were once hopeful to find solace in companionship.

*What a fool I am.
You made us bleed.*

Bleed from a place deep within us. Where it does not appear as a light red, or even crimson.

But a dark scarlet.

Darker than the void you so carelessly cast us in.

You left us with nothing but the company of the Solitude, who recites our failures to us with each nightfall like songs of victory.

Our only food was the shattered promises that you left behind with your departure, as they shred our tongue which spoke only words of affection and adoration to you.

Our only drink was the burning passion we once used to keep you warm during your cold isolation, which has now festered and rotted, tasting only of boiling venom now.

Yet despite this diet of agony and woe, we cannot help but love you.

But you do not reciprocate these feelings which we hold, you merely mocked them by filling our ears with fantasies and false assurances.

So we have grown tentative.

We have forged a fortress from the flesh of the fetid Solitude, to safeguard that which you have left in fine fragments.

From its bones we have constructed monolithic walls and barriers.

From its soul we have crafted chains and blades, to stave off those who would seek to destroy what is left of it.

We have assured ourselves that none shall have safe passage within, unless we so willed.

And yet when you return after months of silence with nothing more than your beautiful sapphire eyes, and your lips curled into a gentle smile, you have shaken the very foundation of our fortress.

Even the sight of your very name causes the whispers of the Solitude to echo in its halls.

We do not know what has brought you back to our tormented path, but know that it will not be as welcoming as it once was.

There will not be any words of gentleness or amour as before, but rather a single, bitter phrase.

*En garde.
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