A White Rose

"So... what you're telling me is that... in giving me a dark mage's eye, I now am able to use their own dark magic whenever I wished?" Alexander said, completely annoyed that this was done without his knowledge.

"You were greatly wounded in that battle, Sir Kahner," the doctor answered back. "If we hadn't acted soon, then you would have been lost to us."

"But WHY a dark mage's eye? Surely you know how dangerous using this magic is?"

"Look at it from a different angle: do not think of this power as a curse, but as a blessing, but remember who you are, and do not relish your power. As long as you hold on to yourself, to your beliefs... surely there is something you cherish in this world?"

Alex thought about it, and shook his head. "I have nothing. I am alone. What do you suggest, doctor? If I have nothing, this dark magic is my only companion... and it will surely drive me insane..."

"Find a reason to fight. Find something to fill that void in your heart. If you look around enough... surely you'll find someone or something that can make that darkness back off."

---

Xeranad was furious. He couldn't believe he had been outwitted by some... THING. "Grr... the first chance I have, I will tear that Y'turo apart! I will not be made a fool out of!"

It was then that he looked at his surroundings and noticed that Y'turo had transported him into a field of white roses, and something inside him began to tug at his heart. "What... is... this?"

He gently picked one up, and his heart was suddenly filled with sorrow.

---

"Enough!" Alexander shouted at the mad crowd, seeing them torment a young woman by throwing rotten fruit at her. "Why do you hurt that woman's pride? What has she done to deserve this treatment?"

"She is an outcast, a witch who entrances the hearts of men with her beauty. She is a demon in the guise of a woman, and does not deserve sympathy!" One of them shouted, picking up a rock and throwing it at the woman, hitting her square in the forehead. Blood trickled from the wound, and mixed with the woman's tears of sadness and pain. Alex ran up to her and helped her up, then shot the crowd a menacing glance.

"Heed my words, all of you! Do you not see the blood dripping down her face, or the tears in her eyes? Would a demon bleed or cry? I think not!" He drew his sword and pointed it at the man who threw the rock. "I will kill you for hurting an innocent soul, you rotten-"

The woman grabbed his arm and shook her head. Alex looked deep into her sapphire eyes and for a second, lost himself within those lovely pools. He turned to the man in question and shook his head. "It seems she is willing to forgive you. If you feel grateful, say nothing and walk away... else she will not stay my hand a second time," The crowd simply turned and walked away, and Alex turned to the woman. "You are a very kind soul... may I ask of you your name?"

The woman blushed a bit, then nodded and answered in the loveliest voice he had ever heard: "Gwendolyn Winterhaven."

---

Beneath Xeranad's mask, tears streamed down his face. His heart was torn, his mind was shattered, his sanity and reason, gone... yet... why did that woman continue to haunt him? His body trembled with both sorrow and rage, one for the pain that he endured, the other for not understanding why he felt this way.

---

"Gwendolyn! I'm back!" Alex smiled, carrying with him the spoils of his hunt.

"Alex! How are you? No injuries, I hope?" Gwendolyn asked, a look of concern on her face.

"I'm fine, but I was worried about you too... dark mage activity is increasing... I'm beginning to wonder if we should move elsewhere."

"I'll be fine here. As long as you're here to protect me." Gwendolyn responded, and embraced Alex... then noticed his hands were behind his back.

"Gwendolyn... I... found this while I was out hunting... and..." Alex blushed, a bit embarrassed. "It... reminded me of you for some reason. I hope you like it." From behind his back he pulled out a single flower... a white rose. "Do you... like it?"

"I love it, Alex... thank you." Gwendolyn responded, and kissed him right on the cheek.

---

"Urrrrrrrrrraaaaaaagh!" Xeranad screamed. "Leave me alone! Just leave me alone! Why do you haunt my thoughts? My dreams? I don't need you anymore... I have my sister... so why do you linger? Why... why..."

Xeranad crushed the rose in his hands, and slammed his fist against the ground, killing every single flower in the field with a blast of dark magic... but it brought him no solace, no peace... his heart was just as broken as before.

He turned to his sister, who laid sleeping upon the now barren ground. A smiled spread itself upon his face beneath his mask. "I am not alone... I still have you, sister. As long as we are together, there is nothing that this world can do to stop us."

His smiled turned to a frown then. "Will destroying everything give me the peace I desire?"

The End

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