A Red Fall is a short story detailing initially what is a date between Rubelline, Crow, and General Syande. As the story progresses though, it becomes about the disconnect Syande feels from Rubelline, as well as the break up.
The story was written by Exotoro (t∣b∣c) with help from Athena Hawkins (t∣b∣c). It explains what happens to the three characters prior to Victory, as it takes place only a couple months before Victory during the fall of that year.
Rubelline left in the portal that Valerie had on her 42nd floor with Bang, dropping them both off to a set of cars that would take them home. Rubelline kissed Bang Crimson farewell before leaving in her car.
She was currently dating two women of sorts: Crow and Syande. Both were wonderful, spirited women and both of them really knew how to make her happy. If there was only a way for them to meet…
An idea flashed in her mind. She could set up a date for the three of them.
She knew Crow would be the hardest possibly to get ahold of seeing as she had no phone and no abode to visit, but Crow was coming more and more regularly to Rubelline's these days. Crow would never admit it but she liked Rubelline's place; it was the only place that wasn't the wild open expanse of the world that she felt herself in. Rubelline catered to Crow's needs the best she could, after all.
Syande would be the easier of the two to contact, having a cellphone and all. She had her over once for a date, so she had no worries with her. She did wonder if she would take the idea well or not- sharing a girlfriend on a date? She nervously called her up.
"Hey, is this S-Syande?" asked Rubelline, twirling her curled hair around her finger.
"Vhat's troublin' ya, hon?" Syande spoke on the other end, floating over the ground.
"Um… d-d-do you wanna go on a date with me and another girl named Crow? I was thinking a-about driving out somewhere nice to eat dinner with you two and maybe having some fun after that…" Rubelline spat out nervously.
"A girl named Crow? Mmm… sounds interestin', sure…" Syande stated as she got back onto the ground. "Vhere should I meet ya at?"
"Oh… my place should be g-good… see ya soon~" she purred. The car pulled up at her mansion and she climbed up. She hoped Crow was home or this whole thing was gonna fall apart.
Luckily for her, she was, pilfering through her garbage for something to eat. Rubelline giggled as she crouched to the cabinet, grabbing Crow some freshly killed pig. Crow tore into ravenously, Rubelline giggling as the pig pieces flew everywhere. She stopped and hugged Rubelline's leg, purring. Rubelline rubbed her head.
"Hey Crow, u-uh, do you wanna go on a date with me and another girl named Syande?" she stammered as Crow finished hugging her leg. Crow looked up at her. "You don't have to, but I really want you to."
"Is she gonna be okay with my whole… thing?" Crow asked, crossing her arms. Rubelline smiled.
"I'm sure she'll be fine with it." Rubelline wasn't actually sure but she had a gut feeling about being right. Syande was pretty accepting for the most part.
"Alright, I'll get dressed in something more 'formal' then." Crow said as she got up and headed for the stairs. Rubelline gave Crow her own closet of outfits she had taken, so she was excited to see what she was gonna wear. Rubelline headed to the spa to rest her nerves from last night.
Rubelline finished getting ready. She didn't wear anything fancier than a black sleeveless, backless, and strapless dress with a boob window, a gold necklace, and some gold and black boots, but she had her hair all nice and curled and in a nice little bun in the back with some gold earrings. She turned around to see her exposed back, purring and giggling.
She headed down stairs, where Crow was in a black silk kimono that was short cut, exposing her shoulders. "Too much?" Crow asked.
"Nah, you look perfect." Rubelline grinned. The door opened and Syande walked in with her normal dress and a leather jacket over it. "Oh my, we overdressed a bit, haha." Rubelline said, biting her lip.
"Eh, I just don't like gettin' all formal n' stuff. Ya two look fine… in both senses of dat vord…" purred Syande. She looked at Crow. "So dis is Crow, huh."
Crow bowed. Rubelline nervously tapped her fingers together. Syande held both of their hands. "Hey um… s-she does some pretty wild animalistic stuff, hopefully that's not a problem." Rubelline stated.
"Like vhat?" asked Syande, tilting her head.
"She to uh… do animalistic behaviours." Rubelline listed as a rough, course noise filled the room, with both Syande and Rubelline turning to see Crow on all fours, biting into the pig Rubelline had got her earlier. "...like that… uh, will that be a problem?"
"Nah… I'm okay vith dose kinds of dings. Kinda looks fun, if I ain't lying ter ya pretty little face." Syande giggled. Rubelline went red in the face.
"Well, I'll keep that in mind~" she purred as Crow crawled over to the two of them. Crow sniffed at Rubelline's leg, Syande purring as Rubelline nervously smiled.
"Look Rubelline, I'm not gonna judge you if dis goes poorly, don't even vorry 'bout dat, darling..." Syande stated. Rubelline nodded slowly. "...don't vorry so much, kay?"
She kissed Rubelline on the cheek, Rubelline's face awash in blush. Crow crawled out the door with the two as they jumped into Rubelline's limosine.
The limo ride gave Syande a lot of time to think. She felt almost left out at points, like when Crow laid down on Rubelline's lap and petted her white hair. She knew Rubelline was poly, but she just felt empty watching the two interact. Crow didn't seem nearly as interested in her as she was into Rubelline, and she stole time that Syande was trying to spend with her girlfriend. She felt bitter about it, betrayed almost.
Her feelings didn't fully subside when Rubelline tried to give her full attention either. They would laugh about stuff like what had happened to Unten at the farm when she visited Rachel last week, but even those conversations felt they were getting to be more about how nice Rachel looked in those jeans and tank top.
She knew about this getting into the relationship, but she never realized that it would bug her like this. She wished she had more than a leather jacket to hide behind, not that it really mattered because Rubelline was lost in Crow's eyes more often than not.
When they got to the restaurant, her feelings only worsened. She felt she didn't really belong with the two, who obviously dressed to impress each other. They all ordered the same thing: a medium rare steak. She was finding Crow's behavior childish to say the least, but Rubelline just kept defending her, saying that she knew the right way to cut up a steak; she just didn't care for it.
The whole evening just went in a blur- nothing registered with her. She didn't even finish her steak. Rubelline paid for the meal, and headed back to her limo, although she could tell something was off with Syande. Crow waited in the limo as Rubelline took her by the side, sitting on the curb, holding her hand.
"Hey… you feeling alright?" Rubelline asked.
"...yeah, I'm fine." Syande forced her lie out. Of course she was fine. She was with her girlfriend, isn't that enough? She was still intact. She was fine.
Rubelline looked out at the stars. "You can tell me if something's wrong."
"Everythin's okay- look, I dink I feel a lil sick from, I guess, somethin' earlier. Mebbe it's dem late-summer allergies or somethin'. Mebbe I got dat ding ye got sick from." Syande rationalized with herself. It had to be something else, not these dumb feelings.
"We can send you home if you want." Rubelline said. Syande didn't like the sound of that personally; it just gave her and Crow more time to themselves. Maybe it wasn't a coincidence that she picked someone with white hair to tag along- to show her just how little she cared…
She had to push the stupid thoughts out of her head. Rubelline wasn't that. At the same time though, uncertainty abounded in her head. "...yeah, just take me home after ye drop Crow off."
The two looked at the limo to see that while Crow's dress was in there, Crow was physically not there.
"Oh… never mind den." Syande said. "...just take me home, I'm really not feelin' dat great." Rubelline nodded and held her hand tight.
"Alright, tell me when you feel better, Smartie!" she beamed as the limo took off. Syande cracked a small smile, but her heart took a battering tonight.
Syande really didn't want to do this. She trusted Rubelline a lot with some really personal stuff, and Rubelline really was a nice girl. Syande felt very confident in her arms, especially with the meeker Rubelline holding her tightly. She knew it was going to be incredibly tough.
She had to do it though. The feelings of envy were too much on her. Rubelline told her this was what her deal was, she only had herself to blame for it. The jealousy tore about the feelings she had with Rubelline, the trust she had with her. She really wanted this to work, but it couldn't. She couldn't keep hiding this from Rubelline anymore.
She couldn't be in this relationship anymore.
She pulled out her phone and called Rubelline. She didn't want to meet her in person, because that might convince her to keep up the charade she had been miserably putting up. She took a deep sigh as she called Rubelline.
"Ruby, honey?" she opened the call as the buzzing stopped.
"Oh hi, Sy-Sy! You feeling better?" Rubelline's bubbly voice responded. Syande took a uncharacteristic deep breath. Rubelline's smile faded. "...is something wrong…? I…"
"Look, I really didn't vanna make dis call…" Syande said. "A-and it really hurts ter say dis 'cause I thought- I vanted dis ter verk…"
Rubelline tensed up. She was expecting a misdirection but Syande barely stuttered, as much as she found it cute when Rubelline did it. "Are you…?"
Syande croaked. "Look, ye know vot's 'bout ter happen…" Syande held her own wrist tight. "It's my fault, okay? I just… I'm sure Crow's a great person but I can't… can't be in dis relationship vithout tearing myself apart anymore. Questions keep popping up… do you still love me ven ye kiss her? Does she do somethin' I don't? Why did ye build some of your mansion to vhatever she does…? I just- I know vot the answers are ter dose questions. I can't believe them."
Rubelline breathed quietly, her eyes welling up with tears. "W-why?"
Syande pressed forward, as hard as it was. "Because… I can't help myself from feelin' jealous. And dat... leads… ter vell…" she sighed again. "Dis is my fault, please don't blame yer little heart on it."
"I'm trying…" Rubelline breathed hard. "...It's hard to just… process this just now… all of the sudden."
Syande nodded, even though Rubelline couldn't see her. "I'm so sorry…" Syande pressed her head upwards as she tensed her muscles in her body. "I really vanted dis to verk… but I'm da one vho doesn't. I…. have ter go."
"P-please don't..." whimpered Rubelline. Syande couldn't bear to hear her voice in this state, but she willed herself to hear through. After some quick crying, Rubelline cleared her throat. "I… get where you're coming f-from… I d-do. I really do love you though… but, if this is how you truly f-feel, I-i-i… should let you g-go." Rubelline stuttered as the tears came down her face. Syande took a long sigh as she wiped the tears away from her face.
"Alright." she said. She put the phone down and bawled onto the couch. She felt she was running out of time to find happiness. At least Rubelline had Crow... who did she have? She knew she couldn't take Rubelline back. She knew better than that, to go back to something that didn't work.
She figured she'd just spend her time in Valerie's Casino tonight, try her luck at something else.
- The story began to be written shortly after Athena revealed that Syande had broken up with Rubelline on her page.
- A Red Fall mentions the events of Dr. Needlenam RX in a throwaway dialogue from Syande, who mentions the virus Rubelline had in that game as a patient.
- Chronologically, this means that The Coffin Year takes place first in the year that Victory is taking place in, with Beorn Hallow and Boare: Savior of Xellantran (which occur almost simultaneously) happening sometime after, and Strafe: Dictator starting almost directly after. Dr. Needlenam RX and FantendoQuest take place in the summer. A Red Fall, as the title alludes to, takes place during the fall. while Fantendo Smash Bros. Victory finishes off this hectic year. As a nod to this story, Exotoro has sometimes referred to Victory as "A Purple Winter".