Alouette, Gentille Alouette (Robin Sundance)
|Alouette, Gentille Alouette (Robin Sundance)|
|Date of Cutscene:||23 January 2021|
|Synopsis:||One of those apologies was legitimate.|
|Thanks to:||Eryl Fairfax, Penumbra|
|Cast of Characters:||7333|
No one came to this part of the Paris sewers. If the winding tunnels, the smell, and the monsters that made their home down here wasn't enough to keep people away, the crumbling walls and loose stones of this particular area certainly were. It was a place no one cared about anyway - some out-of-the-way corner of an out-of-the-way area with nothing interesting to scavenge and nowhere interesting to hide. PEACE already knew about this place.
That's why it was gone.
That's why, next to the word "L'Espoir" etched on the wall, some cruel, mocking beast had painted "Abandonnez."
Robin Sundance's finger brushed over the etching. There was no distant smile on his face. These were not happy memories to linger in. This was not a place to linger regardless.
But he had business here. Once a year. Without fail.
He walked amongst the fallen stones. Each one had been painstakingly carved out with names. Tomas. Germaine. Marie. They had ages writ upon them, all in their mid-twenties, all young and eager, all cut short. His fingers brushed across them one by one. The names brought faces. Smiling Marie and her giggle, everyone's little sister, suiting up with her shotgun. Big, heavy Germaine, who always swore he'd lose weight and yet when push came to shove threw that weight around to save the day more than once. Little Tomas, they'd called him, because he was big and spent all his time with Robin, and Robin had more than once joked that they could've been a couple had it not been for Alouette.
Her stone was the center of the lot. Robin had made sure of that. He knelt in front of it. Hers was more elaborate than theirs. She was older than they were, though not by much, twenty-nine carved under her name. Flower carvings adorned the sides. Rotting forget-me-nots sat sprinkled around the marker like roses on a bed of lovers. The kneel became a cross-legged sit. The distant gaze became a sad smile. Slowly, he cleared away the forget-me-nots, and he spoke to the dead.
"Alouette. I'm sorry."
He swept away the flowers gently. "Are you doing well, now? Beyond the world, is there happiness? Did you and the others find a kind God to love you? A cruel one to fight? Or nothing at all but peaceful rest?"
A brush against the dust on the grave. "I thought of you, yesterday. A whole new flower, unique in all this wide Multiverse. There are so many worlds. I wish you and the others could see them."
His fingers trembled against the name. He didn't dare touch that, not with his own palm. Carefully, he put on a black glove, and ran his fingers against it, feeling the impression of the stone as he pushed away the dust and grime. "Like stars in the sky full of hope and wonder. You were right, you know. There are better places. This world could be like those. It could be bright and wonderful. It could be free."
He sat back and stared up at the crumbling ceiling. "This place...will probably not last much longer, Alouette. I don't know if I'll be able to visit you again." Robin brought his knees against his chest and tugged on his scarf. "I wish you had never given me this albatross."
"That flower, that Alouette, isn't enough of an apology. Not for you. I miss you all terribly."
He did not offer her resting place a rose. They had not been in love, not really. Lovers, sometimes, but not in love. Comfort in the cold, nothing more. He had held her hand when she had cried for the fallen, and she had pushed him to be better than he was. Her stern blue eyes had been his strength. Her stern blue eyes had seen the way ahead. And when he had faltered, it was her stern blue eyes, bright, defiant, and full of will, that pushed him to take up the Vaulder.
She was his leader. She was his inspiration. But she had never been his love.
So there were no roses, here, not for this place. He scattered new forget-me-nots across the ground. He put on a second glove. With great care, tongue sticking out in concentration, he drew a new flower upon the rock. It was the best he could do to mimic Eryl's work - the best he could do to link them, to link that flower that he had given foundation and this person who had lifted him up from a darker path, to give some peace to the dead and bind it to the happy flower of new beginnings.
Robin stood. He stared at the place for a long time. He took in the smell of the decay, the stench of the sewer, the hellish dust. He drank it in with the memories. He pulled out his cell phone and began to snap pictures of every single gravestone, every single inch. He snapped a photo of the words at the front - Abandonnez L'Espoir.
And, last, he dug the Rifler into the wall and pried forth the stones that said Abandonnez. He walked away, leaving only L'Espoir.