Melanion blinked, unable to shake the murky haze from his head. He numbly stood, feeling dizzy and light, as if only a feather or an inanimate being made simply of air. Blindly he stumbled to the wall, crunching over shards of bloodied glass. He panted shallowly and closed his eyes against the bright smog, surrounding himself in the darkness - the safety - of his mind.
Some strength then renewed, he slowly opened his eyes, still heavily reliant on the wall's support. The tower room was a sickly pool of blood. Deadly spears dyed crimson were the shattered remnants of Aura's crystal coffin, stars twinkling with merciless red brilliance. Among the chaos she lay peacefully slumbering. Sleeping in blood she was untouched by the fatal stain; even the bloody hand that had earlier taken hold of her, spreading its lethal roots, was no longer existent - all washed away. She was unbound by the casket's constraint; freely perched a perfect, careless being amid the horrors of the appalling scene, light strongly radiating from within her clean white skin.
The most terrible aspect of the landscape before him was the rays of untarnished white falling lastingly from above, through the tower windows.
Melanion, in a sudden rush of realization, hastily grappled for his rusty timepiece, holding it close to his face.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick....It murmured, grabbing hold of his heart, freezing his blood.
He clenched the little face in his hand and, screaming, threw it across the room, where it lay unbroken in the dark blood. He waded through the nauseating puddles and took Aura tightly around the neck. Lifting her in a threat of a similar fate, he shook her madly, imploring, "What has happened! What have you done! Witless, mindless Witch - answer me!"
A faint smile tinged her lips, silent mockery; her eyes still drooped closed, her body unaffected by his rough handling. Furious, he let her tumble like a helpless doll at his feet, crumpled in her silken skirts.
The clock had begun once more. It was the first morning of Year One.
And at nightfall, the Knight of Shadow would make his move. This first dawn would be the last.