Black Dahlia

A long, ragged sigh escaped from Patches’ mouth.  “Even though Belladonna and Christopher were probably my biggest mistakes, Dahlia is most definitely my biggest regret.”

A soft, gentle “sorry” drifted through the din of the other apprentices from a small, frail looking girl in the back.  An aura of darkness shrouded her form, but I could definitely see tears dripping down her porcelain face from her pure ebony eyes.  She looked tattered and frayed, her blonde hair unkempt and dirty, her white dress stained an ugly gray, mascara dripped down her face.

Patches continued on.  “Dahlia was apprenticed under me as merely a seamstress when she turned eighteen.  She already had talent, but her mother thought that maybe she would come out of her shell a bit if I took her under my wing.  And by the gods was she an immaculate seamstress.  Her talents far outweighed mine, and she often made fabrics that were as good or even better than my magically imbued ones.

“She was beautiful, too.  Soft, fair skin like satin.  Pale, almost white blonde hair.  Eyes as blue as indigo.  She always had an air of innocence.  She dressed simply, often in a white sundress.  Her touch and her threads were light, gentle.  Her needle was merely an extension of her hand.

“We soon became more than just student and teacher.  We were inseparable, the best of friends.” A smile crept across Patches’ face.  “Some would say we were more than friends.  And after a couple years of prodding, I finally got her to agree to learn patch magic.

“Her first patch went well.  We started with feather fall.  Something light and simple, like her.  The patching went well, but it took some time for her to figure out how to use it.  She wasn’t at all confident in her ability and often gave up out of fear and frustration.  But still, I pushed her, and eventually she learned to harness the power of the patch.

“After watching how she reacted to the first patch, I should have probably delayed the second, if not just stopped at one.  But I kept pushing her, and she begrudgingly agreed to get her Tailor’s Touch patch.  We decided on her twenty-first birthday as my gift to her.”

A single pink-hued tear dripped from Patches’ eye.  “I should have held off, but I was too damn stubborn.  The stitching went off without a hitch.  The patch took, and she passed out from exhaustion.  There was a little extra scarring around the edges, but I ignored it.  Exhausted myself, I fell asleep next to her side without a second thought.

“When I woke up the next morning, Dahlia was still asleep and now had a fever.  The patch was still fighting against her self, and it was taking it’s toll on her.  The scarring around the patch had become more pronounced and darker, staining her porcelain skin.  Her hair was beginning to fray and darken.  Her face had turned an ashy gray.  Her aura of innocence and purity was slowly seeping away, now tainted by the dark fear of self-doubt.

“She lasted a couple more days, but the patch finally gave up and rejected her.  At this point her whole being had turned a dull grey, a far cry from the bright, fair girl who had first walked through my door.  A short time before she passed, she did wake up; a tear dripped from her eye and the single word ‘sorry’ escaped from her before she went back under.”  Patches looked over at the dark husk of the apprentice now crouched in the corner.  “We’ve been apologizing to each other ever since, neither of us capable of completely letting go.

“And that’s how I lost my dear white Dahlia, the love of my life, to the third tenet.”