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I create a world of finite somethings

Well, that was a little cathartic.

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
The Hawks lose in the last few seconds, Shigatsu ends, and then this. Although this probably came easy because of entirely different reasons. I was probably around the same age when I lost my father as Ruby was when she lost her mother.

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

They act like you don’t understand.

“She’s gone,” they tell you. “She’s not coming back.”

There is apology in their eyes, in their hugs. They pat your head. They give you a smile. A reminder that they will still be around, at least. Friends of the family. People you know and other people you don’t really. Some live nearby. Others don’t.

They are like that for a while, surrounding you as if you might break. Then they pull back. Maybe to give you space. Maybe thinking you need time. Maybe they’re afraid. You just don’t respond.

Eventually, they quit. Their voices fade into the background. You stop hearing them, then stop feeling them around. By then, it’s dark out.

“Dad’s in bed,” Yang tells you. She’s worried too, but is not so showy. She’s your sister. She doesn’t need to be. She knows you better than most, so maybe she gets some of it. “You should probably get some sleep too.”

You shrug, still with eyes out the window. The house where you live is still the same, even with the new absence to it. The visitors have gone as well. It is closer to normal. A light flickers. The fireplace is slowly burning out. It will get cold soon. You can see the fog from your breath on the glass in front of you.

“I want to stay here,” you say. The couch beneath your knees is still comfortable. The back of the seat is just the right height to prop your arms and chin up. With the lights in the house going out, you can see further into the world beyond.

You haven’t moved from that place all day. The visitors thought you were keeping watch. For her. Like she would return. Just show up on the doorstep like nothing had changed. They think you don’t understand.

Yang looks at you. You can kind of see it in the reflection. She stands out like that, like the light in the house. “Okay,” she says. No argument. Instead, she sits next to you, not looking out the window. Sitting like she’s supposed to. Watches in the other direction. She’s got your back.

Your mom is gone. You just had her funeral. You understand. It sunk in enough before today.

Still, you keep watch.

Not because you think she’ll come back. You get that. Even if the adults think differently.

You stare at the world beyond, the dark sky out there, because you understand.

It was out there she had gone, and out there she would never return from. You understand.

Out there was what, someday, you were going to fight. Because you can’t stand this understanding.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The world is a frightening place. There’s a lot out there you can’t see. Maybe you’ll never see it all. That’s scary.

“Will you teach me?” you ask.

He looks at you with a steady gaze. Maybe he understands a little more than the other adults. There are ones that still think you’re too young to get it. Others treat it as a touchy subject. More still probably think there’s nothing to it, that it happened when you were so young that you can’t remember a lot about it anyway.

But he’s different. Maybe because he’s family. Maybe because he has felt similar things. Or maybe, just maybe, because he sees it in you, that understanding.

He’s just a teacher now, just like dad. They don’t go out like they all used to, when mom was still around. When they were all together. Maybe it was because of you and Yang. There were fewer adventures to be had. There was just you and Yang now. So they stuck to teaching.

His desk looks like a normal teacher’s desk, not much more than a table with stuff on top. Some books. Some papers. A new-model scroll. Coffee thermos. Four magazines of Dust, mostly empty. You recognize the Dust containers. He and dad and mom used to each carry one. His has a black rim. Dad and mom’s are yellow and white. You don’t know where the red one came from.

“Yes.” He doesn’t ask why. He doesn’t say what you thought he would. Not even something about what dad would say. Maybe he gets it after all.

The desk is a teacher’s desk, but the underside is different. You remember seeing it there from before, when you were much younger, playing on the floor while he looked after you. It might be the first thing you remember, in fact. It’s why you’ve come to him, because it was always fascinating.

The world is a frightening place. Your uncle always seemed ready to fight it.
He pulls it out. It hangs there when he’s at school, under his desk, looking like an old man’s cane. With a flip of a switch it unfolds like a flower opens in daytime. He takes the black mag from atop his desk and plugs it in to one side.

Then, without a word, he hands it to you.

It’s heavy, and awkward in your arms. Unfolded, it’s way bigger than you, so the blade point drags along the floor as you step back. You’re not sure how to even hold it right.

But he knows. In fact, he seems to know the exact right words.

“Think of how she stood.”

It’s so weirdly right. Even though your mom didn’t use this weapon. That shouldn’t have done a thing to help you. Yet it does.

There’s one thing you always keep about her. There’s one thing that, even in the little bag of sad, full of memories mixed all up with the understanding of how they’ll never come again—

She was like a superhero. A super mom that took with her that feeling of always being safe.

She stood with the wind to her face into that dark and scary world. Yet she stood as if she were that flower, turning to the sun.

You lift your uncle’s scythe in that classroom, and it’s like you’ve always had it in you.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Like in some stories, she wanted to save the best for last.

Mom’s magazine of Dust. Dad’s. Uncle Qrow’s. The red one you don’t know. He lends them to you to use as you get used to it all. You quite like that. Red was always your favorite color. It was like you were the fourth part of that team.

You practice with a premade weapon. Your uncle can’t always lend you his. Someday soon, you’ll make your own. For now, the practice is enough. The connection to them is enough.

When you fire rounds at targets, it becomes a game. You use the different canisters for imagined situations.

Red for what’s normal. That’s you, after all.

Black when it’s best to be smart and tactical. Your uncle is like that. Even the things he has you do to train are kinda sneaky.

Yellow when things are desperate. You want to think of home, of dad and Yang, the things you’re defending. Who you want to see when you’re done for the day.

White when you’re invincible. Maybe that’s strange, since mom went out and never came back. But maybe that’s why. All the memories she left behind, good mixed in with the bad, they’re like stamped permanently there with you. Like when you close your eyes and the little flicks of light still sit in your eyelid.

“Fighting’s not like arranging candy to eat in a kind of order,” Yang tells you when she realizes what you are doing. Although she says it while grinning.

“No, it’s like saving up for a super-move,” you say. Like fighting back. Nobody messes with how you eat your candy. Not even your sister. Who saves up for her super-moves.

She’s of course in school ahead of you. A year away from going to Beacon, if she gets accepted. Of course she’ll get accepted, though, because she’s Yang. She rarely comes to the shooting range anymore, part because she’s out with friends more, part because she’s outgrown the need to use it.

But you come here anyway, sometimes frequently, because you like to imagine those scenarios.

“Just don’t stay out too late, okay?” Yang shakes her head. When it comes to the two of you, she mostly gets when to back down. Usually.

It was getting a little late. She did probably catch onto you because of the bright muzzle flashes out in the darkness. Nobody used the outdoor ranges at this time of night. You do because fighting isn’t gonna come in the middle of the day all the time.

You come out here to make flashes in that darkness. You come out here to unleash the crescent moon in your blade.

Yang probably knows that. It sounds like the kind of thing from one of her stories. It sounds a little silly now, but there’s no other way you know to say it.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

You wanted to show her. So you came to show her. Crescent Rose. Your baby, your little creation. Yang says you treat it like a child sometimes. But can children shoot targets dead to rights at a hundred paces?

Well, you suppose you could do that fairly young.

The gravestone is how you remember it. Looking out over a cliff into the vast beyond. Unlike other times you’ve come here, you get to feel accomplished. And maybe a little cold since it was winter.

It was just a little thing you wanted to show off. Maybe you’ll return again once you have some stuff under your belt. Graduation. Admission into Beacon. A lot of Grimm taken out. A warning when Yang found a boyfriend.

But maybe, unlike before, you took something with you in return.

You’d just gone over it at school. Some of the history of Dust. Some of the legends. People died, and their bodies became Dust. That was one of them. Dead people didn’t just transform into fuel, of course, but it was some kind of romantic idea. Legends. The things ancient people made up because it sounded good.

For you, maybe it sounds good too. Maybe in every shot you take, your mom is helping. Since returning the magazines to your uncle, you had to find some other way to think of those colors. Saying mom was in every shot was the answer. It also meant you didn’t have to coordinate candy eating with your strategies. Even if you do still eat candy that way.

“I’m off,” you say to the grave.

Even if she’s coming with you. Or whatever.

You didn’t stay long, but it did turn to night out. Maybe you were there longer than you thought. That did happen. Memories wrapped you up into your own world when you were there.

The walk back was a bit far. A bit of fog comes with each breath you exhale.
The world is a frightening place.

Grimm appear, howling mad. Darkness around you. They move as one. A surge of darkness.

You understand. Out there is out here. Stand like you remember. Unfold the rose to face the darkness as if it were light.

And make sure the story gets a happy ending.

Poem “Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

All the roses in the world couldn’t replace you, good sir. The best is lost. Rest in peace.

Updated February 3rd, 2015 at 02:30 AM by Arashi_Leonhart



  1. R.Lock's Avatar
    You're kidding. Am I not allowed to stop bawling my eyes out for a sec?
  2. Imperial's Avatar
    Jesus Christ

    Job well done, Arashi
  3. Renko's Avatar
    What a great piece. ;_;
  4. Tikigod784's Avatar
    A great sendoff to a great man.
  5. ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
    Godspeed, Monty. Words can't do you and your gifts to us justice. Thanks a million.
  6. Lycodrake's Avatar
    RIP Monty Oum, inspiration to many.
    This was a very apt and somber piece, Arashi. Thanks.
  7. Fafnir's Avatar
    Godspeed, Monty. ;_;
  8. Riven's Avatar
    I know this is little late, but thanks for writing this. It's equal parts emphatic, poignant, and solemn, which I have a hard time finding among RWBY fics.

    Rest in peace, Monty.