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I N   M E M O R I A M   M E I :   V I I

Completed January 26, 2021 (♒)


It was the stupidest, most pathetic notion he had ever had, but Wiegraf sometimes remembered daydreaming that morning when he first woke up. Zalbag had been stretched out like some great cat in the little patch of sunlight that framed them, and Wiegraf thought that if they did not die, it would mean that the world had been set out of its natural order to grant men miracles. If something as absurd as their eleventh hour salvation came for them, why not take it further? Why not just tell the general’s son, heir to House Beoulve and its illustrious three centuries of history, that they had both been betrayed and ill-used and that it would be fair for them to desert—that they should go off together somewhere and let Ivalice keep killing her sons without them?

Why not just tell him they could leave?

And yet, as that fantasy of desertion had played through his head, in that mottled, dusty morning light, he could not bring himself to imagine what would happen after that. When he tried to envision where he would take Zalbag away to, his thoughts could not get farther than the room he was in: where two hungry, doomed boys had tried again to steal what comfort they could from one another’s bodies.

It hit him again then: that sense that Riovanes would close around him like an open mouth—that unwavering conviction he had in those days that he must die there. He had given his ration to Miluda the night prior despite her protests that she was smaller and didn’t have to move about much. He was dizzy now that it was well past dawn.

When Zalbag began to stir, he'd considered leaving. Instead, he’d watched him closely: the rise and fall of his chest, the swell of his throat as he swallowed, the sighing trill of his breath. He watched him until he laid down beside him again, and closing his eyes, he dragged Zalbag’s body against his once more, hoping foolishly that he would have no recollection of this moment when next he awakened.


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