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Fanfiction ► Red Ribbons

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Darkrooms and safelights
Mar 19, 2005
Sitting inside the viewfinder of a camera, watchin
[original one-shot. basically plotless. I hate it. enjoy]​

Bleeding, panting, and despairing on the grimy battlefield, sixteen year-old Raothel Taenwin was helpless to stop the red-stained sword that was raised above him by an anonymous soldier, ready to end his life before he could draw another breath. His vision, darkened by blood-loss, and the world itself, darkened by the carrion birds of war, narrowed down to the glint of dim light on the cold steel of the blade, and time seemed to slow. Through his incoherent panic, a single clear thought emerged, and Raothel wondered how exactly he had gotten here....

His parents had been proud of him, when he told them he had decided to become a soldier and fight for Teratarol in the war against their neighboring kingdom. His mother and father were craftspeople, a woodcarver and weaver, respectively
. Theirs were humble callings, isolated as they were in a little village, but knighthood was an honorable future.

When he’d announced it after dinner, his mother had become teary-eyed and busied herself with the dishes; his father had turned away from the hearth and studied him in silence. Both had regained their composure enough to embrace him (his mother) and tell him how proud they were (his father). They had been shaken, he could tell, but given him their blessings to leave.

Not his fourteen year-old sister. Without a word, Taosha had bolted outside and slammed the door behind her
. She had refused to speak to Raothel after she’d come back, and stayed in her room the morning he left.

Though he wouldn’t admit it, her actions had hurt him more than
his mother’s tears or his father’s grim silence. That day, as he shouldered his shield and started down the dusty road, he was sad to think of going to war without saying goodbye to his little sister.

He’d be back, of course. There was no doubt about that. But he would have liked to hug her one more time....

Light, familiar footfalls behind him had caught his attention: heartened, Raothel had turned to see Taosha run up behind him. She stopped but wouldn’t meet his eye.


She ignored his inquiry but started to walk. Used to her moods, he had kept pace beside her, patiently waiting for her to acknowledge him, even as they traveled side by side.

Out of the corner of his eye, he’d glanced at her from time to time, trying to gauge her expression. Her eyes were red-rimmed, but her cheeks were dry, her features stony. She marched on, tight-lipped, as if he wasn’t even there.

Finally, after ten minutes, Taosha had stopped dead in her tracks, and Raothel had done the same, standing so that he faced her.

She’d looked up, eyes like daggers.

"Stop being stupid, Rao."

Those were not the words he had hoped to hear from his sister.

"C’mon, Tao," he said, using his nickname for her in turn. "I’m not being stupid. This is my big chance!" He tried to wrap an arm around her shoulders, but she pushed him off and darted to the side, her glare undiminished.

"Your chance to be stupid!" she insisted stubbornly. "You’re not going to get any honor in a battle! You know why? Because it doesn’t matter when you’re dead!" she spat that last word out like a curse, kicking at a rock and watching it arc down the road, as though wishing she could knock the same sense into her older brother.

Raothel studied her face for a long time, realizing how upset she was. He’d seen Taosha angry before- for her temper was like wildfire -but he’d never seen her so sad. Because that was the root of the problem, he realized.

He just wished she’d say it. Wished she’d admit that she loved him.

It’d be a nice thought to take into battle with him....

"I don’t expect you to understand, Taosha," he said sternly, a little angry himself at her obstinance, "but what I’m doing is important. Not only am I helping to stop Teratarol from being invaded, but I’ll be bringing glory to the Taenwin family."

"By dying. You weren’t even drafted, you didn’t have to sign up!" Taosha rubbed at her eyes suddenly, trying to stop fresh tears from staining her cheeks. Like most Taenwin girls, she had light blue eyes and a gently tanned complexion. Now, with translucent tears clinging to her lashes, they seemed almost luminous, but their light was now from fire, not joy.

"I’m not going to die, Tao," Raothel said quietly. His sister merely tossed back her tangled brown hair and stomped her foot.

"Yes you are! You’re going off to your death, and leaving me! You don’t even care, and when you die, I’ll wear red to your funeral, Raothel!"

He winced, taken aback by this sudden blow. In Teratarol, it was as funeral custom that you wore white if the deceased died of natural causes, black if it was murder, and red if it was suicide.

"Please, Tao...."

Crying openly now, Taosha turned on her heel and ran, her long hair catching the sunlight in the same way a standard of war might flutter in the breeze. Watching her run away, without looking back, made him long to follow after her, just so he could say he was sorry and ask her to wear white for him....

All this flashed through his mind in that split second before the sword came down. The cruelly sharpened blade pierced through his weak armour, didn’t stop as it tore through flesh and broke bone, coming out in his back. Raothel sucked in a last, rasping breath, eyes rolling, barely aware of the pain as his life’s blood stained the ground. The sword was pulled easily from his chest, and the enemy solider moved on.

With his last thought, Raothel couldn’t help but imagine Taosha, standing in the sunlight and twining red, red ribbons in her hair....
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Vampire Fish
Jan 1, 2005
Fleet Street
Amme, you need help if you think this is bad. ._.

Seriously. It pwns in such a way that...-makes gestures- It cannot be explained. The imagery and sorrowful writing was beautiful, especially the red dress idea. Beautimous, Amme. I SALUTE YOU. ^0^


A Chagrined Fool.
Aug 3, 2005
People's Fragile Dreams, Relinquished from Anixiet

I'm only a month late to saying anything but... The story was well done! ^-^

Like others have said, the clothing idea for people was rather a nice touch and I liked how it ended for some reason, then again, it was after all about his death that could not be ignored, neh?

It somewhat caught me by surprise her nickname being Tao, actually. o.o
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