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Title: The End In Sight
Author: themirr
'Verse: Shadow of the Colossus
Characters: Wander
Rating: PG13 for subject matter
Warnings: blood and Mono's death
Disclaimer: I'm not making money off of this, and I don't own the characters or universe.
Summary: Wander's thoughts on the eve of the battle with the final colossus.
Table/Prompt: Unthemed #6/6. Desperate

Fifteen colossi. Now there was only the last.

Wander didn't know what to expect from the final obstacle between him and Mono. The fourteenth had nearly killed him; only Dormin's power to heal wounds and restore blood to the body had saved him. The fifteenth was more an annoyance than a true adversary. He had fought three warrior colossi before him.

He only hoped he would be able to fight the colossus at all.

Wander spat out the foul taste of bile from his mouth. After the twelfth, all he had known was nausea, sometimes strong enough to make him vomit, dizziness, a growing sense of pressure in his body... as if there wasn't enough of his skin to contain him. And crowning it all, a slow, dull headache that wouldn't leave him in peace. After the fifteenth it had gotten even worse.

A warm nose nudged his shoulder. He looked up at Agro. Funny how long being entirely alone had left him yearning for some hint of emotion from even rocks and trees. Coming from Agro, it may as well have been Mono herself who came up to him just then. He smiled and ran his fingers down the mare's forehead. "At least I'll always have you, right Agro?"

He straightened finally, the nausea having wound down for now. Dry retching was never a comfortable experience. Even worse when it was getting constant. But he had to eat and rest. They would ride out for the final colossus afterwards. "Afterwards" was so vague, and he hated it.

But what could he do? Dormin's power was everywhere in this land. There was always light, and no darkness. It might have been a blessing to those whose ruins dotted the landscape, but to Wander it had been difficult to adjust to. Day, night... they had no more meaning to him now than the vibrant greenness that took over the lairs of the colossi, leaving nothing of the desolation but a clump of rocks and earth where the colossus' body fell.

Wander made his way to the pool of clean water nearby and sank to his knees. His own reflection made him flinch. His hair had never been that dark, even when wet. And his eyes...they certainly weren't blue. No. Not blue. It reminded him of ice. It didn't frighten him, strange as it sounded even to himself. Dormin had told him there would be a price. If that price was to look like a man possessed for the rest of his life, or even take Mono's place in Dyrkuur, then so be it.

He deserved nothing less.

"Do it."

Mono looked terrible in the sacrificial robe. It didn't suit her. She was crying, her hands and feet bound, her mouth gagged. But her eyes spoke to him, those same eyes that he had wished and hoped for so long would turn to him in the same love and admiration he had for her. His grip on the ceremonial knife slipped.

"Wander! End it now. The lunar eclipse won't last for long!"

"I can't..."

"You must end her life. For the good of this village, for every soul within, she must be sacrificed!"

"Here. I will help him."

"N-no, don't--"

Strong hands gripping his own, forcing the movement out of him in one quick thrust. He watched in horror as Mono's blood pooled around his hands and the life bled out of her.

"Her fate was cursed. This is for the good of the village."

He stared at his hands. Mono's blood had long since washed away, but his guilt remained. He knew, of course. She was born in the dark year, on midwinter, in the dead of night. A creature of darkness, they said. She would bring evil on all of them if she weren't sacrificed in her twentieth year. But that's not what he saw in Mono. He saw a beautiful woman, kind and gentle, who never had anything but smiles, even for those who shunned her. She first caught his attention when they were sixteen. But he'd always been too afraid to approach her. Too afraid of what others might say or think.

She was never a creature of darkness. She was like the Dormin, a being of light and life.

So if the price he had to pay was to become a creature of darkness, it was a small one. The world needed more of Mono, and less of a man who would kill the woman he loved over some "omen" interpreted by a senile old man.

Wander dipped his hands beneath the surface of the pool, distorting the twisted reflection beyond recognition.
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