“You are my temperance and he is my conviction.”

Love is vastly complicated and terribly simple at the same time. I weigh every interaction I have constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Careful considerations about longevity and trust wrapped up in self doubt and insecurity. The butterflies and pleasures of lust make convincing points in the moment but true commitment is something else entirely. It’s the forming of one soul, in all its flaws and indiscretions. The assumption of aligned ambitions on the things that drive you both. And beyond that, it’s the continuous active choice to consider the happiness of someone else alongside your own, a commitment to the endless effort to maintain a relationship when things are rougher than one hopes.

I was surprised when Milo asked if I would marry them. The jokes based on the rumors had somewhere along the line become, not a joke.

I’d be lying if I didn’t have feelings for them before this. That I had hoped it wasn’t just a fleeting joke but happy at the laughs none the less. But my feelings were not the feelings of a giddy school girl. This became extremely apparent when standing in front of Henri before our chosen family. I do not stand there smiling and giddy but rather concerned with my decision and slightly guilty for the burdens we will now share. But I am satisfied that I have made the right choice. I am happy and content. It’s a deeper love, something core to who I am, an endless spring of compassion for this person.

My love is that of respect, trust, and conviction. It’s the moment when I feel doubt when facing a foe only to turn to see him beside me. The feeling of safety washing over me as we step forward together. It’s the way he is always there when I am exhausted about to give it all up. Sitting beside me uneasy in the tavern for my sake. The way they say they believe in me when I feel unsure about my path forward.

I meant to say much more at our continuously postponed wedding. I wanted to say how I trust them, how I offer them my loyalty and how I will always be there when they need me. That we together are better than we will ever be apart.

Later, my oaths clash as I walk down these tunnels made of ribs. I worry that I will break my vows, that I will fall in battle and leave my family alone to pick up the pieces. That Henri will sacrifice too much without me. Alphonse won’t continue towards the person I know he can be. And that Milo will lose himself trying to finish what I started.

We speak about self sacrifice as though it’s easy and maybe it is when it is just us that we are sacrificing. When we don’t stop to think about the despair and void we will leave behind with our departure.

As the skulled face bites through my armor attempting to tear away my flesh while I can not pull away I realize I may have misjudged the situation, have I broken all of my vows so quickly? The world stops for the briefest surreal moment and I can hear the words,

“Spurn a man who would lie, who is lax, who is lazy; any man or woman who abandons a sworn oath is a coward and base; and shun he who rejects responsibility, and shun he who allows injustice to transgress unchallenged.”

So I plunged the dagger that Lysenna, who somehow must have foreseen this moment, gifted to me into its side unwilling to leave this injustice to my family unchallenged.

As the creature drops to the ground, he is standing there, my conviction, asking if I am okay.

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