He had tried to save her. Again and again he had tried to save her.
It just wasn’t possible. He had infinity to derive a way to save her, to keep her his, at his side, forever.
He wanted her. He needed her in a way no mortal mind could possibly comprehend. The lesser races had stumbled upon emotions such as “lust” and “love”, assigned words to them and claimed to experience them.
Such notions were ridiculous to the immortals. How could the mortal races understand? How could they even begin to grasp the enormity of the emotions they professed to possess? How could they understand lust when their natural lives rarely exceeded a century? How could they claim to understand love?
In a way, Euripedes pitied them. A mortal might feel his lust build over days, weeks, perhaps months or even years if he was especially unlucky. He would never experience the anticipation of five centuries, nor the release such a build up causes.
A mortal might find their “soul mate” (utterly preposterous, that), and decide to spend the rest of their lives with their “true” love. These people would never experience real love, the love that comes from knowing all eternity stretches out before you, and knowing, really knowing, that you wish to share this eternity.
‘Till death do us part, as the humans say. They need only commit for half a century, maybe less. An immortal commits until time itself unravels. A mortal could never understand that joy, that crushing despair.
For love amongst the immortals never dies. It is both a curse and a blessing, neither of which a mortal could truly experience.
Knowing that you will always be at your beloved’s side. That they will always be at yours.
Even ten thousand years after your death, their love for you will not dim, it will not falter for an instant. Immortals only have one heart. Once it is given, it is given for all eternity.
The mortal races cannot comprehend this. They have no basis for it. They grow, they age, they watch their parents die, produce children of their own, and the cycle repeats. Possessing multiple lovers is not only common, but expected amongst the lesser races.
The obvious problem presents itself. What happens when an immortal gifts their heart to one who is not?
In no other situation is the pain of immortality more apparent. Mortals die. Immortals don’t. Twenty thousand years after the mortal has died, the immortal will love them still. The stars may wither and die billions of years hence, while the passion of the immortal for their dead beloved will burn as hot as ever.
Immortals, by their very nature, cannot “let go”. They cannot “move on”. It is literally impossible.
He tried, hundreds of thousands of times, to explain this to Ariel. She did not understand. She couldn’t understand, being born of a lesser race.
He knew this. He tried anyway. Over and over again.
Every time he arrived in the Legerdemain, every time he opened the door, every time he conversed with her, he tried to keep her.
Sometimes he convinced her, she reformed the link, and they spent centuries together. Centuries of watching her wither, watching her fade, watching as everything he loved slowly dissipated until he was left with nothing but an empty husk named Ariel.
Sometimes he failed, words were left unsaid, words said in anger. She spent her night alone. Sometimes she died the next day, sometimes survived, for a time. He never saw her again.
Sometimes he refused to kill her. She died anyway. Sometimes random gunfire killed her, sometimes falling rubble, sometimes another warrior cut her down. Sometimes she was pinned or wounded, then turned into a bloody paste as a siege engine ground over her. Sometimes she lived for a century or two longer. Inevitably she died.
She always died.
He could not stop it.
Anything he did, it mattered not. She died.
He could not save her.
But he could keep her.
He suspected the only reason the Bronze Dragonflight allowed him to repeat this day was due to its inconsequential nature. Whether his Ariel lived or died, the time line did not care.
She always died, sometimes immediately, sometimes days or weeks later, sometimes centuries later. She died.
He always loved her, forever, for all eternity. No matter how long he lived, whether it would be decades, centuries, or millenia. His love could not die.
So he arrived at the Legerdemain. He arrived at the room. He spoke with her. He made love to her.
The next day he killed her. He did not repeat this part.
With her dead, he returned to his own time, resuming whatever duties, wars or plans were in effect. Maybe a few weeks would pass, a few years, it didn’t matter. He always returned.
He arrived at the Legerdemain. The room. Her. One last glorious night.
Relived for eternity.