Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Finally rest...
Lies. For Cayrimsa they were easy to tell. She had been telling them most of her life. As she grew her ability to weave them had improved through practice; just as her ability at the loom had improved. The problem with honing the skill of telling lies is that eventually it got harder and harder to tell the truth, it also got harder to know what was the truth and what was the lie.
Leaving the Hydra she had felt very alone. The heavens had suffered untold injuries and bled their pure elixir down upon the city. Every drop had soaked through her cloak, through her skin and to her soul until the cool liquid seemed to pull her down into the muck of Drasnia’s streets. Slowly she had lead her shadow back to her loft. He stayed under the spine of the stairs while she slinked up them and disappeared into the dark with a light jingle of bells.
The dress she had been wearing was now shoved into a bucket full of dark briny water. A puddle of heavenly elixir gathered under the cloak she had hung on a peg near the door. The canvas flap that covered the skylight was checked and secured, the corners still leaked down to the floor however. An oil lamp sat on the floor, positioned perfectly between several damp places to ensure its continued flame. Dim light fell gently on the figure hunched over the loom, now moved to a less damp place in the room than under the skylight.
Blankets wrapped around her damp curves. The yellowed sleeves of her oversized shirt caught now and then on the threads as she worked the loom. Even in the dim light her fingers moved with ease as she wove. Her mind surrendered to the loom. When nothing else could be trusted she could always trust the threads under her own fingers.
It was a compulsion she despised in so many ways. Weaving in itself was such an elven skill. It added unnecessary beauty to an otherwise utilitarian need. There was no strength in beauty. She would be better off focusing on her magic, tweaking old spells and learning new ones. It was more than her disgust at elven tradition though that made sitting before the loom so hated. When her fingers tired of their labor she would have to rise and cast her eyes upon what she had created. So many of her past creations has been ripped off the loom and burned to ashes immediately after their completion, some even before they had been finished.
In fact very few survived longer than a day. The tree hanging over her bed was one of those. One corner had a singed edge to it, not noticeable unless one looked for it, that spoke of the one time she had tried to light it but had broken down instead. She was the tree and she knew it; a rotten dead tree struggling to withstand the winds of the plains while it stood alone; stained to a bright red, the color of blood the color of ‘her’ people. A cloth immersed in a pot of dye for any length of time will take on the color of that dye, just as her own soul had taken on the color that surrounded her. Wearing other colors, chopping off her body parts, scrubbing at her skin would not change that.
She could always feel the pull from her differing blood lines. In this world the need to choose sides was important. Had things been different she might not have made the choice that she did. Had she been born into slavery, mitigated into a role of servitude for the round-ears perhaps she would have been more at ease choosing her elven heritage, bonding with those around her. Had the group of elves that took her in as an infant been more accepting of her, offered her love and support instead of forcing her to serve them for her meal and board as soon as she was old enough to walk, perhaps she would still be there. Maybe if she had found been found by a human couple, or if the woman with round blue eyes had taken her away as she had promised she would, she wouldn’t have cared about her elven blood. She might have been raised to consider herself human, enveloped in the security of the human society.
Things had not been like that though. Her heritage had always been rubbed in her face like fresh manure.
An hour of weaving and her fingers grew numb. The puddles around her grew, the colored threads, black, blue, yellow, white, red, twined together seamlessly, the heavens cried and her heart kept time.
Before she stood she closed her eyes and let her fingers wander over the design she had just laid out. The familiar ridges and canyons created with the joining of each thread seemed harmless enough. Not once did the image draw blood, perhaps when she opened her eyes and let them gaze upon the work it would not pierce at her soul for once.
With great trepidation she allowed her eyelids to drift apart. The work was not done yet, the image crafted before her was perhaps only half complete. What was there came to her in pieces, allowing it all to touch her soul at once had often caused it to bleed out across her floor.
An inky black sky dotted with stars filled the edges. A few of the stars seemed purposeful in their positioning, but they faded into the rest and drifted behind the objects that were much nearer than the stars so she did not allow herself to dwell on their positioning. Nearer to her was a bloated yellow orb that hung against the sky. In its center a rose had begun to bloom. Each petal was carefully detailed so that the base of it was a bright red and then faded toward the curled outer edge to a pure white. The yellow glare of the moon did not reflect off the rose, but instead surrounded it until Cay began to wonder if it protected the rose or consumed it. Two thirds of the way down the rose stopped abruptly in a string of loose threads. A breeze caught the threads and for a moment Cay considered picking them up and letting them guide her through the last few feet of the tapestry.
The first thread her finger brushed was one of the bright yellow ones that had been building the moon. With a gasp she wrapped it around her palm and pulled it tight instead of looping it over the cross threads. A few rows pulled out as she did and the ones above it strained. The rose warped and several petals appeared to wilt with the tug. Thorns hidden under its beautiful spread dug into her soul.
Her stool crashed to the floor as she pulled back and released her grip on the yellow thread. Sparks flying from the fires burning in her eyes nearly caught the tapestry aflame while it still rested on the loom. Quickly she closed her eyes and tried to remove the image from her mind as she collapsed upon her pallet.
If you don’t do something with it he will see it tomorrow morning…
“Just let me sleep…” she muttered into her pillow as the blankets cocooned around her. “Just… let… me… be…”
The trees again. Under her feet the ground was hard and pounded up into her joints as she ran through the forest. Aspens and great elms drifted past her field of vision quickly. The branches reached out for her, scraping along her skin, throwing her off balance and making her redirect her path.
What that path might be, however, was still unclear to her. The sky above was dark, black as the ink that had darkened her dress. Her dress… her eyes moved over her surroundings at the thought. He should be here, in the forest. Only the trees surrounded her, only the trees and no sign that they would ever end. Her eyes moved to the sky again. There should be stars, if he was not here there should be stars twinkling above, guiding her.
Nothing but ink greeted her from above. Tree’s below and heavy ink above. She closed her eyes and grimaced. Her foot caught and she felt herself falling. Forward she tumbled, eyes closed tightly against what met her when she landed.
She was on her back, the ground mossy and cool against her bare skin. Slowly her eyes opened and stared up into the inky blackness that pierced through the tree limbs. The world spun around her, quickening by the minute. To her left, and then at her feet, her right and then just above her head a yellow ball had begun to rise beyond the tree limbs. As it pulled further into the sky the spinning slowed and then stopped as it nested above her.
He had come as he had promised. The moonlight bathed her naked form and she began to breathe heavily. Something wet hit her stomach and she lifted her head to look down her body. Already the single drop of blood had begun to trail down her moonlit skin. She watched, transfixed as it left a red trail along the curve of her torso, edging toward her back before it fell out of vision. It was followed by another drop on her thigh, and another on her arm.
From where? Quickly she turned to look, the moon shone on the tree branches that separated her own body from his. The branches were bleeding. Around her the scent of human and elven blood mingled as the blood drained out of the bark and fell toward her. In the distance she could hear gurgled screams.
The trees drained themselves of their blood. They bent under the strain cracking and breaking with brittleness. A branch fell to her right. It bounced and splashed the blood that had soaked into the mossy ground into her hair. Her hands moved to her cheeks and felt the sticky liquid slide between her fingers.
“Please… make it stop Nyx… please!” She cried out, letting her eyes close tightly as she called out to the moon above her.
A sudden heat welling up around her made her open her eyes. The moon seemed to have grown in the few seconds she had shut her eyes to it, grown or moved closer. Its light beat upon her heavily, warmly. No… that was wrong. It was not the light or the warmth of the moon, but the trees. The trees were on fire. Laying there in the midst of a burning forest she trembled but kept her eyes on the orb above her.
The flames did not touch her, the blood that had fallen off the trees no longer stained her perfect skin, only the moonlight graced over her while she lay there. In its radiance she was safe. As the trees were consumed by fire she found herself relaxing.
She had no idea how long the forest burned she was only vaguely aware of it. The moon had her full attention, it swelled brightly in the sky. As the trees burned they fell and the branches cleared out of the space between her and the celestial body. The closer it got the more relaxed she felt and the more certain she was that she heard a whisper in elven move over her. Words were but mere sounds with a cadence like elven speak, but indeterminable in their precise meanings.
Smoke filled the air. Without looking she knew the forest had been reduced to ashes, all that was left was her and the moon. The words that before were only cadence suddenly took on meaning.
“It is done, melamin,.. I shall seek you out beneath your tree thereafter.”
“I await you…” she whispered back as the moon faded. Sitting up she looked across the ruins of the forest, before her a single tree had survived the flames. A bright red tree rose high into the night, arching its branches up toward the heavens where the moon had just been. With a sigh she closed her eyes.
In the early hours of the morning Cay slept soundly. Wrapped in the blankets she curled up close to the wall, one hand stretched out and touching the roots of the tree hung on the wall. Nearby the loom still displayed the rose blooming in the embrace of a yellow moon.
Posted on 2010-01-09 at 04:56:15.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 12:33:04 by Eol Fefalas