by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold
They called him Lavaglut for the fire that burned within him. He was the accidental knight, come among the roses late and without purpose, and so they gave him the most generic of red for his colors.
Lavaglut had passed much of his life in a sort of walking sleep, awakened by the Rose fire, or perhaps awakening it, in his thirty-seventh year. He fought against it for a while, before surrendering himself to the course and manner of the passions he'd never known, unfolding from an ordinary man into a Rose Knight without ever understanding why or how.
He nearly met his end over a woman. She was a courier who crossed the lines of the Armies of the Sun and the Armies of the Moon with the impunity of her station. Lavaglut had fallen in with her on the trail, and fallen in love with her not long after, but she just danced and talked her way ahead of him, leading him deeper into the fire within until his every movement and thought were white pain against the glory that was her.
There came a day when he felt he must either declare his love or abandon her side. The decision was hard enough to freeze his joints and clutch at his words, so that he was left motionless and silent. She kissed him on the forehead, laughed with a sound as startling and pleasing as an explosion of quail and went on her way.
No, I lie.