Death. It had always been in the cards for Victoria Dahlia. Ever since her first ill-fated journey from Valley Station, Kentucky to her home in Washington D.C., she knew that death was an inherent possibility. The idea itself was hopeful at best and terrifyingly impossible at worst. If she would succeed, her life would mean nothing. If she failed… then she was ready to die. Victoria was torn, you see. Torn between the family that she had made throughout the outbreak, and the family that held a blood bond deeper than any oath or pact. It was her duty to extend the bloodline and yet, as though the heavens above had cursed her, she was forever unable to do so herself. The only path forward in her mind was to revive a dying rose; to reanimate and cure those who could do what she could not. Perhaps, in the back of her mind, she had hoped the reanimation would fail. That her plans would be dashed—dead on arrival. But this was not the case. It worked. And so, her journey back to Valley Station began. The pleasantries only made it worse. The nagging guilt biting away at her insides would never end. Not until she had performed her duty. The night of the attack, Victoria Dahlia would confront Don Jones in his bedroom. The cure. The cure was what she sought. How simple it would have been to find something of such value, only to declare it did not exist? To lie? Victoria could not deny the possibility. Her demand was a simple one: the cure, or the lives of those Don loved. When the fighting began, the pair were taken off guard. Don used the momentary distraction to overpower Dahlia, keeping her cuffed away while he left to assist with the assault. When the enemies retreated, Don returned with an ultimatum. He explained that he could leave her behind, that he could kill her, or that the two could pretend what had just transpired, had in fact not. That they would discover a solution to her problem together. Victoria knew that her decision here would decide everything for herself, but how could she possibly find a cure on her own? The mall had been her only lead. Her only option was to go with Don—the man she had threatened not an hour prior. However, as what was left of the mall’s inhabitants raced for safety—for freedom—Don made the decision to stay behind and hold off those who would stop their efforts. Perhaps he had told someone else of his promise, to uphold it even after he was gone? Perhaps he had lied about it all. Victoria could not believe her eyes when he stood below the rails. As the ship pulled away, she desperately flung herself over to… save him? To pull him back aboard? To die with him? She didn’t know, but it would not be long before she did. The ill-fated struggle between Don, herself and Sylas resulted in no one’s victory. As those remaining on the ship sailed away, the only movement that would be left on the docks would be the pooling of blood between the three. In the end, Victoria Dahlia had followed through with exactly what she had planned since the beginning. Don’s sacrifice had become her own sacrifice. If she could not save her family… … then she deserved to die. B. R. R.