This is where happy endings go to die. And it's gory, bloody, and full of severed arms. Written while jetlagged and unbeta'd. Warnings for blood and gore, dark AU, character death, amputation.

Ragnarok's blade rings through the air with a single, clear chime as it slices clean through. For a sword forged from the fang of Solaris and made to cut through dragonscale, human flesh is nothing. Garuga watches with wide eyes as the Brand of the Exalt drops to the ground with a wet thud, and a severed arm along with it.

The Princeling of Delyra, Solaris's appointed herald and would-be Hero, looks up to the Titan Hydra Dragon and gives a sickeningly sweet smile as he drops Ragnarok with a bitter clang, as if he's unaware, uncaring of the weight that it holds. Although she could crush him with no more than a word, Garuga doesn't move as this man approaches her in limping, unbalanced steps, clutching the bleeding stump of his arm with his remaining hand. There is no need to do anything to him anymore, not after what he's already done to himself. She didn't even have to try. She stays still as he raises his ruby-stained glove and cups her cheek. She can smell the iron, feel it seeping into her robes as he holds her close.

"Marco," He whispers, his breath brushing against her ear, and she can hear the strength sapping from his voice with every drop of ichor that trickles from his gory wound. "Marco."

The name rings hollow, as if she's hearing it echo from a distance, and it takes several moments for the syllables to register and sink in. Her name from a life left behind, the moniker adopted by this vessel, as if the soul of the Titan Hydra Dragon were anything alike to a flittering little bird. But even at a time like this, when the word is falling to dust around them, and his branded sword arm is lying on the ground, he does nothing but embrace her. Instead of curses or cries of anguished for his doomed people, her name is the only word on his lips. Garuga blinks slowly, her six eyes closing and opening in unison, and marvels at the folly of mankind. Sokara, Garuga remembers. His name is Sokara, and he's supposed to be the Savior of the World.

The Princeling's name is Sokara, and he loves her. She is Garuga, and he loves her still.

She is not alone in this stunned silence. The rest of his army stands some distance off, slack-jawed and teary eyed, swords and lances gripped tightly in white-knuckled hands. They watch the ultimate betrayal of their General and Exalt as he forsakes own bloodline to stand at the side of what was once their greatest blessing but is now their undoing. And as public as it is, open to an audience of the world, Sokara acts with an intimacy that is better suited to private quarters, behind closed tent flaps and beneath the cover of royal canopy beds.

He strokes her cheek with his thumb, and now has to lean his weight on her, for his knees are shaking and too weak to hold him up. His breath trembles against her ear, no doubt filled with exaltations and explanations for why he's thrown the world away for her, no longer the woman he knew, but still beloved by him. He could say all this and more, but it is already clear to her and everyone watching that he did this out of love. It's love that seeps out red and raw from his torn flesh to pool at the ground, and as selfless as his ideals tried to be, he could not survive anywhere but her side. All this goes without saying, and the only thing left worth saying is her name, choked and gasped again and again. "Rubio, Rubio, Rubio."

A prayer to Garuga.

Garuga's metallic tail lashes with electrifying confusion behind her as the man in her arms sags to his knees, clinging to the sleeve of her robes by his fingertips and still professing his devotion. He won't live long, not with the way he's bleeding out, but Garuga still feels nothing. Solaris's chosen hero, the one man who had a chance at postponing her destruction, is dying at her feet, but she feels nothing. Then again, he isn't really Solaris's anymore, is he? If the limp arm lying several feet away is any indication, then he's abandoned that path along with the world that he'd vowed to save. Sokara is now Garuga's, now Rubio's. Completely and unequivocally hers. And perhaps that's the way it's always been.

Garuga crouches down to touch the dying man's hand, her clawed fingers digging into his war-callused palm. She is no longer to woman that he knew, was never meant to be in the first place, but there is a part of Rubio that clings onto this failure of a princeling, just as he's clinging onto her.

The Princeling's name is Sokara, and he will be remembered as the man who threw away the salvation of the world for a vestige of his queen. Just as Rubio was too weak to resist the call of the Titan Hydra Dragon, he is powerless to oppose her, and in doing so, has doomed the world that Marco loved so much. And yet, the dracoknight-

And yet, Garuga, with whatever remnant of feeling that has survived inside of her, loves him still.

Sokara kisses her fingertips as he leaves the world, and Garuga crouches by his side for several moments. The Titan Hydra Dragon does not mourn, not even for the man who loved her so dearly that he forsook everything he stood for. She rises to her full height, horns towering above and fangs bared in a snarl, and Garuga surveys the world with eyes of flaming crimson, red as the ichor that pools at her feet.

Garuga will destroy. And Rubio will be Judgement for a world without her, Sokara.

At least he won't have to get rid of an extra sleeve on all his outfits, eh?