Chapter 53:

Plagued by Guilt

Red is the Color of You

     All that remained of her predecessor was her wardrobe. Not her home. Not her followers. Not her legacy. Madeline and many others would note that Ianthe always seemed proud of her wardrobe, so something is better than nothing she supposed. Although, the thought was terrifying to say the least. When a specter dies, everything that they built is always left behind for their successor to continue—after The Great War that is. Before then is what Thia was seeing now. Nothing. Before and during the war, when a specter would die, the one who killed them would take over everything, leaving nothing for whatever specter came after. But, at least she had the wardrobe. An extensive amount of dresses, shoes, and the like. But mainly dresses. In fact, Madeline coined one dress to be Ianthe’s favorite, which has apparently been worn by the specters of guilt before her. It was black and had a strange arrangement of beads and feathers, yet it was incredibly alluring to the eye. She had worn it to her welcoming party in which most seemed to recognize its origin.

Madeline was a kind soul. Being the specter of merriment suit her well. The only specter to offer a home to Thia was her. The only specter to offer her guidance was her. Otherwise, she would have to navigate the complex world of the unknown on her own.


All the specters of guilt seemed to be some variation in name of each other.

Reportedly they were the only ones who did so.



It was almost interchangeable.

Some part of her disliked that. Everyone always compared them. Did her predecessors have to go through this too?

Apparently they’ve been the only line of specters to stay somewhat consistent both in appearance and mannerisms.

Usually standoffish, prideful, strict, but with a soft and merciful side.

Thia was all soft. No pride. No bone. She couldn’t stand her own ground even if it would kill her to do so.

People always pointed that out to her. Told her that she was a push around.

Some part of her hated it.

But they were right.

Wraith didn’t even do anything to her and she cowered in fear of him. Not just from the stories about him, but from what he had done to her predecessor.

How could he love someone? She didn’t understand.

The man is a monster. Or so she heard.

So how could he love someone?

Wraith had come by one day to ask Madeline for help. Apparently he wanted to know how to grow plants. A garden, is what he wanted.

A garden?

That didn’t seem right.

Why would a man like him want a garden?

His partner, he claimed.

A garden? For his partner?

That couldn’t be right.

Everyone told her that he couldn’t be trusted, that he had killed her in a past life. He was a detestable beast they all said. A repugnant savage who killed for sport.

Then why would he want a garden for a boy who seemed just as soft as the plants around him?

She didn’t understand.

A lot of things she didn’t understand.

Thia would often sob in the seemingly endless wardrobe in confusion.

Nothing ever made sense to her. She was always frustrated with it all. The people. The gatherings. Wraith. The confusion. But most of all, herself.

What was she supposed to do?

Ianthe’s prized dress called out to her once when her tears gleamed in the moonlight which peered through the wardrobe’s singular window. The tears moistened the feathers of the dress and from them,

A note emerged.

Several in fact.

Some seemed quite old. The handwriting was faded but someone clearly tried to trace over them to preserve the content.

The notes could be organized by handwriting, as it seemed to be a few different people who wrote them. Though, their content was almost identical. It traced the history of one man, or beast, or both, dating back to his origins about two thousand years ago. Once a wandering pitiful creature, a shell of a specter, who suddenly went mad and killed another, sparking The Great War. The madness was a theory, the document clarified at a later point. Another theory was out of thrill, but that was the weaker of them. A third stated that perhaps the opposing specter had stumbled into its destructive path. The only way to know for sure would be to simply ask, but that was out of the question.

And while every shade, spirit, and specter fought for their lives, their homes, their peers, their followers, their families, their loved ones, their friends, there he was. Or it was. Or both. Leeching off of the madness that they had started. The chaos of war.

With each consumption of a specter, be it something as small as blood or as great as their entire self, they would grow stronger.

Their first murdered victim was only a taste. Then, they desired the rest.

The casualties of war didn’t bother them. After all, they had nothing to lose. No friends, no family, no loved ones, no home, and no followers. If they died, then so be it. Death didn’t bother them. After all, they had died more than once before. To them, if fate was so cruel to make them bear the pain of dying so many times, then is it not just to bring it onto others? Is it not just to attack the world which wanted them dead?

And so, they ate. And devoured. And consumed. Let them be revived as another. They didn’t care. To them, it was just more fodder. Let the war continue. To them, they’d always have more to ingest.

And if they died? Then let it be. Whether they are revived or not, they didn’t care. So long as life will have me, I will reap another's.

That seemed to change one day, however.

Something changed in the beast’s heart.

A woman had changed the beast’s heart.

They didn’t believe it so either. But, overtime, they learned. Learned what it was like to be a person. And so, they changed.

The war must end, they thought.

And so, they ended the war the same way they started it. By devouring all the pieces at play. With no specters, how can there be a war? With no leaders, who will the spirits follow to battle?

Now, they had loved ones. A family. Friends. Followers. They understood the destruction of war, and decided to change.

But to change, they had to have the world forget.

After all, if any knew of their origins, what would they think? What would their friends think? Their family? Their loved ones? Their followers? What would they do if they knew that he was the cause of their strife?


No one can know.


This, the notes delivered by the feather’s of her ancestor’s gown conveyed.

And now,

She knew.

They knew.

Thia was only more confused. She sobbed more.

Did Ianthe try to stop him?

But how can he love?

But how can he care for another?

But how can he change?

What was she supposed to do?

Is it her responsibility to tell the world?

Is it her responsibility to keep the record?

If only the feathers conveyed directions.

How did the other’s know what to do?

She was only more confused.

Vahan seemed to know that she is aware of something. He doesn’t seem to know what.

What does she do?

What’s the correct path?

What is he truly?

What is she supposed to do?

What is she supposed to do?

What is she supposed to do?

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