Seeing Red – a Blood Moon character study | SSS 2018 **_When the Blood Moon calls, it sings for death. Skies flooded with ravens and white whispers of breath._** **_When the Blood Moon calls, it yearns for red. A lost horizon to dawn timeless dread._** ______________ A soft drizzle has begun to fall. Its rhythmic crescendo lends a gentle beat, a morbid backdrop to the terrified screams echoing through the dense forest. From his perch in the treetops, Talon sits steadfast and lets the harmony sweep over him. Within him, a spark stirs like a fire on the cusp of igniting. Like he needs to resist the urge to lick his teeth. Finally, it's here. Over the years, his elusiveness has become something of myth. Sometimes, he’s just a wisp of shadow, a sense of foreboding in the dark depths of the mind. Other times, he’s entirely material, a burst of woven capes, glinting steel and imminent death. Unless it's the night of the Blood Moon. On this night, Talon is ever-present, hunger unfathomable. His unpredictability may have deemed him terrifying, but his lack thereof makes him a nightmare. He fervently awaits this night, when the warlock calls the lunar cycle to his bidding, and the glowing orb above lights the sky and damp ground awash with a sheen of red, conjoining the two into a single, bloody canvas. When the otherworldly sight sears itself into the corner of his vision and he can barely contain his erratically thudding pulse. When the cult devours the land as an entity, leaving shattered cobblestone and macabre calligraphy in their wake. He awaits this, because it’s the only thing he knows to do. The only time he has a chance to see. The only moment he feels _alive_. The rain grows heavier, raising an ominous fog that adds to the chill in the air and enhances the eeriness of the occasion. His gaze trails to the cool drops bouncing off the polished surfaced of his arm blade; each a miniscule, crystalline mirror tainted by his shadowy reflection. And in the distance, as if he’s detected Talon’s brief lapse of attention, Zilean raises both arms and brings forth a surge of crackling, raw magic, the hellish face of his mask grinning sinisterly as though alive. Searing heat flares in Talon. The force of it almost knocks him off the branch. He squeezes his eyes shut, steeling himself, willing any resolve he might have to take hold. Gloved fingers instinctively curl around his trio of circular daggers in their sheath and he shakes with the effort to be patient, to refrain from casting them out, raking them in, hearing the blood sing on his blade, inhaling the scent of fear and oh, watching as the life slowly seeps from – a vision of a different kind of knife abruptly cuts in and seizes his rampant mind. _Two blades, lethally curved, twirling in a graceful dance. Intricate carvings suggesting untold tales of their own, silver on the daggers mirroring the black on her skin. _ The memory flashes out as fast as it came, leaving behind only a plunging emptiness in the pit of his stomach. When he desperately tries to bring it back, it weaves tantalizingly at his fingertips, just out of grasp, before drifting away into the dark recesses. The incessant pounding in his ears overwhelms his senses. All of a sudden his mask, one of the few things he’s come to identify with, feels unbearably tight. _A gaze just as sharp as her weapons, unhindered by the dark slash marring one eye down the middle. A determined set of the mouth. Ruby lips move but make no sound. _ He needs more. He needs – _The slate is cold and unforgiving, but he doesn’t dare move. He acutely locates the target from under the veil of a hood. Using both of his eyes. _ Talon numbly realises he’s been gripping the daggers too tightly, the sharp edges now digging lacerations that drip dark fluid to the ground below. The pain astounds him, for he’d forgotten what pain was. _The starless sky is a rich shade of midnight, accenting her livid cerulean irises. Flowing red hair whips furiously around her face. Each fiery lock bolder than the blood in his past, and the moon in his present. _ He looks, and although the minor injuries on his hand have already stitched themselves back together, the weight on his chest grows heavier still. He bites down the bark of laughter bubbling in the back of his throat, dumbfounded by his earlier ignorance. _She’s swift, with feline litheness. But she’s also ruthless. Her vicious strength and deadly precision leave no room for mistakes. Once she begins, he knows at once there will be no stopping._ The demon Thresh roars in triumph, a noise that grates like splintering glass and snaps his mind back to the present. It appears in view, towing a horde of shrieking victims trapped in its chains. The sight makes Talon's hackles rise. He doesn’t have much time. _The corner of her mouth quirks, ever so slightly, yet it doesn’t reach the rest of her face. Her eyes hold an underlying current of sadness, only noticeable if she allows you close enough. Somehow, he always is._ The pain intensifies until he’s no longer sure he’s breathing. Until he remembers he _doesn’t _ remember the last time he needed to breathe. It screams of promises broken. It hits like one of her daggers is twisting in his chest. He misses her deeply, but he does not recall who she is or why. The deceptively pleasant melody of a bamboo flute resonates throughout the forest. Talon doesn’t need to see the malicious smirk hidden behind Jhin’s mask to know it’s there. He will never admit how much he envies the Master of Ceremonies and the way he savours each kill or delights over choosing candles for his rituals, all with such purpose. The Ink-mage saunters into view and mounts Whisper on his shoulder as the tune smoothly alters to a string accompaniment. He fires with relish. _One. _ The shot cracks like thunder, aimed directly for the prey enslaved in Thresh’s wall of spectral fire. With it, Talon is gone. _Two. _ His cloak is a swirl of dark reds and violets, catching in the wind as he leaps off the trees. His sole, seeing eye, lined with a faint wetness that he attributes to the rain, shines like a lonely, blue beacon in the mist. In that instant, he’s suddenly thankful for the mask again. Perhaps, in some inexplicable way, it's a safeguard that keeps his other half hidden, unaware of the horrors done by his hand, somewhat less demon and more... _Three._ And then the blue dissipates, and in bleeds the colour of the night. _Four. _ He strikes like a silent storm, a perfect circle of whirling double-edged blades that spin out silver and convene red, just in time with Jhin’s final, explosive shot. The effect is utterly devastating. “Curtain Call.” Jhin’s gravelly voice slurs as he flourishes a practised bow in his direction. Talon doesn't spare a look at him or the aftermath, instead making a running leap at the nearest trunk. Three ascending steps has him deftly vaulting back into the shadows. Without the Blood Moon, his days are all but lost to weary meandering, to mindlessly traversing the bounds of both realms, to seeking answers and never finding them. Only on this night, as he wavers on the edge of succumbing to an insatiable rage, do fragments of his past visit him. He hopes maybe one day he might remember her name. Maybe one day he’ll remember why he is what he is. Curtain call indeed, he thinks, to another act of the wondrous play that is his existence. A desolately meaningless charade, perhaps a delightful comedy for the twisted, that leaves him with nothing but to await the next time he sees red. __________________ **_When the Blood Moon calls, a sovereign deign. Through ravenous demons shall hellfire rain. _** **_When the Blood Moon calls, it turns a watchful eye. All hope cease beneath a crimson sky._**
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