“There wasn’t another choice, was there?”
Aeris was still young in her years, but had already witnessed the omnipotent and unbreakable fetters which bound life to death, a presence insurmountable and imminent. There lay in her hands a single object; reminiscent of a blood relative who had given away her life in order to protect her loved one, who is only torn by a permanent loss.
The young girl sat down on the grassy earth, leaning back against a tree. The necklace she held so delicately in her palm contained a gem that shimmered with a deep, calming azure. She studied it carefully, but broke concentration after her sight became misty from tears.
As if it held some kind of immense pain, she tossed it off to the side before catching her breath. She did her best to relax by the large oak, soon submerging into slumber.
She dreamt of her life before this day, reminiscing about how she would greet Mari before she would leave to work. There Mari would take care of the public lake, ensuring peace and safety as she guards the outskirts of town. If any interlopers were to enter the premise from the desert below, it was her duty to expel them again.
Then, late at night she and Mari would sit at the balcony, and she would share all sorts of incredible stories with Aeris. For instance, she once told of a time when all land was surrounded by a massive body of water; if Aeris was remembering correctly, she would call it "ocean". Sometimes she would tell fantastic tales of simpler times, an era where everyone knew about the wide, open world and could come in touch with anyone. It all sounded like crazy talk to Aeris, but she still loved to hear about it from her sister.
Soon, it all fizzled away for young Aeris, quickly slipping into blank space. Certain unidentified voices would softly reverberate around her, only a couple sounding relatively familiar to her.
“You can’t join the front lines, you’re too weak!”
“That lake lady was such a sweetheart…”
“Death? In this world, it’s just a thing that happens!”
A sudden awakening, or was it? Aeris now stood before the deceased Mari, who appeared in the form of a semi-fluid blue spirit. She had a look of despair on her face, the look of an angel with her wings plucked off like that of a fly.
“Is… is that you, sis?” Aeris trembled, stepping back slowly.
"I gave everything for you; yet when I reached out my hand, you pulled back. Why?"
Mari had never told her such things, nor would she ever... right?
"I'm sorry! I was trying to help but I couldn't and I'm so so sorry!"
"Really? Were you EVER sorry? Could you possibly muster enough strength to?"
Aeris ran her fingers through her hair, crystal tears slowly leaking down her cheeks and dripping from her chin. Her voice was now raspy and timid, sounding as though she were half her age.
"I'm scared... please, there has to be hope!"
Quickly following Aeris's response, the spirit rapidly melted. The blue waters forming into sand, only leaving a heap of dry dust to be blown away by the wind.
Next thing she knew, Aeris had finally aw from her lucid dream. She cried a bit more, still feeling like a helpless child. As she ran dry from tears, she glanced back at the necklace. A sudden spark ignited inside her heart, as she slowly picked up the amulet again. It was held weakly in her hand, but then a stern expression dawned onto her as she clenched it firmly.
“If she can’t keep this town safe and healthy, I can! This place isn’t going down, not if I can do something about it.”
She stood up, determination surging through her veins. “There is still one thing that will stay with me, something that death can’t strip from me!” She put on the necklace. “I am Aeris Devanu, guardian of the green!”
Finally, she cupped her hand around the blue gem, which was hanging right over her breast.
“I know you’re still with me, and you always will be…"
"To the end of time, my love."