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ipenthou
24 March 2011 @ 05:33 pm
You kissed your thumb and reached up, touched the roof of the car.

You kept driving like it was nothing, at least for a little while, then you looked sidelong at me over your glasses and asked me why I was staring at you.

I said something meaningless like 'because I like to look at you', which is true, but, really, that small thing somehow touched me in a way that made my chest ache, and if I had doubted before, I knew that I loved you then, like I know that I still love you now despite all my efforts to the contrary.

Something about it. The way you looked, the way you did it - that particular moment and its importance to me, even now - holds despite our distance and differences because its the very first time I have thought to myself 'I will remember this'...

And remembered past the ellipses.
 
 
ipenthou
18 January 2011 @ 08:54 pm
What do when you wanna run back to someone, but you're scared you'll fuck it up in all the same ways? I can't get this off my mind.
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Music: Neyo - That Girl
 
 
ipenthou
09 January 2011 @ 03:34 am
In Turkic, it is almost time to move the crops.

A young man - strong in the shoulders, eyes the color of the grain he tends - works his fingers through the soil. It is rich and dark, moist from yesterday's rain. He thinks of his wife as he works, tucking the edges of layered burlap into the heavy wooden framework of his field. She is pregnant - it will be their first child.

She is worried over how large she is getting, while he, smiling and confident, thinks she only grows more beautiful as the baby grows within her. His brothers come back from lunch, and the four of them set about lifting the field. It was an expensive black market enchantment to lighten this frame - one purchased from Valen, though he'd never tell anyone that. He just said it had always been this light, smiling, saying the strength of his father's fathers flowed through them when they lifted. Even so, it is a long, agonizing walk.

They do not stop for almost a day, and as they settle the crops further north, where the blistering heat of summer will help his field grow, a woman stands on the far side of the grain, crimson hair billowing in the wind. The farmer raises a hand to shade his eyes - he's never seen a woman with hair so long before, and she seems so pale from this far away.

He takes a step forward, then stops himself and circles the field. She does not move, not until he is close enough to touch her, then she turns her head, mouth and chin covered in dried blood, one eye black and swollen, hands shaking at her sides.

"Hello." she says. Something about her voice is terribly small and weak. He wants to sweep her up in his arms and hold her, comfort her from whatever violence put her in such a state, but some primal wisdom in him screams that something about her is wrong.

"Hello." he says softly, and takes a step backward. It is difficult, like he is wading through mud. "Are you -...alright?"

"Lencian Tyrus." she says, and the farmer feels his heart stop in his chest. "You have been gone from Valen too long, don't you think?"

"That isn't my name anymore." the man snarls. Outward, he is all rage. Inwardly, he is terrified, calculating escape routes, new identities, anything. But no force of will could make him move. Gods, if he could just move.

-

Davika screams in her sleep, jolting upright. Nakna slaps a hand over her mouth, pushes her down, begins to scold her at waking the whole of the forest and drawing attention, but she bites his hand, vicious, unrelenting, his silvery-gold blood stinging her tongue. He cries out and pulls away, and she rises, scrambling first on all fours like a beast, then running like a woman, toward the agonizing pull in her skull.

If I could just move.

It pounds in her skull, screams through her bones, threatens to tear her heart out of her chest. She stops waist deep in the river, eyes falling closed, and realizes it is not threatening her body. Something instinctual takes her, she can feel herself reaching, feeling, searching for the screeching desperation that catches her hand, out there somewhere in the grasp of souls, and begs for her help.

"You have my blessing." she whispers, and exhausted from answering her first prayer, slips into unconciousness beneath the river's glassy surface. The water exults in the power that it felt through her, and rather than choking her, it turns into perfection and air in her lungs.


Lencian gasps as if from underwater, the red haired woman a hairs bredth from his throat. He twists and bolts, faster than the wind, faster than he's ever been before, so quickly the ground flees from beneath his feet. His steps pound naught but air, then the tops of trees, the land a blur beneath him.

He laughs, exalting, glowing. The blessing courses through him, and like a bird, he whoops and dives, hurtling toward the earth. Air stings his eyes. In his mind, wings spread, and he catches himself, feet just barely touching the surface of the river as he continues running. He heads further into Turkic - he heads home.

The exaltation bleeds off, he sinks lower to the ground, then touches it. He slows, breathless, spent, before the edge of the village he had called home.

Smoke and fire, smoldering wood and the sickly sweet stench of burning flesh and grain. He runs while he still knows the blessing is his, a flash amidst masked soldiers, crashes through the smoldering door of his home. He stumbles, catches himself, stares at the mangled corpse of his wife and drops to his knees to vomit across the floor.

"Lencian Tyrus," says the second voice to know his name today. "How did I know I would find you here."

He is gone again, a flash of movement and rage. The voice - a man, a captain bred and trained to capture the fleeing Mask, sucks in a shaking, wet gasp. He rips the knife from his throat and twists - but there is no sign of his prey, no satisfying vision of the man's back to satisfy him as he bleeds out on the floor.

His cheek strikes hard wood, vision blurring, and the last thing he sees is the pregnant woman he murdered in the name of Meren Calus.

As he dies, he is the first Valenian loyalist to realize who his Emperor really is.
 
 
ipenthou
29 December 2010 @ 01:50 am


The map has been revised!
 
 
ipenthou
25 December 2010 @ 06:53 pm
She eats up the crowds, like a vulture picking apart a corpse. One piece at a time, one person, the tight resistance of flesh before teeth break though that thin layer of fat into dark muscle, drawing them close before they vanish, always heartbroken, withdrawing in her shame and sorrow for years, and no one ever suspects her. No one suspects a snake of biting when its belly is fat with digestion.

She licks blood from her fingers,
like icing left over from a cake, and, hunger sated, sets the remainder aside for another meal. She steps to her mirror, looks down on the world beneath her, watches the spirits walk alongside gods and godlings, always hopeful that they could usher in another tool. For years their bloody sacrifices have bought their tribe safety from Valen, bought them the love of dying gods choking on their own bile beneath the earth. The snake woman smiles, sees herself for a moment, all fangs and dark skin stained with blood.

One little goddess sleeps, sleeps for such a short time it is a miracle she wakes a goddess. And the snake goddess curls around her, bites so gently into that blessèd flesh, claims her and makes her part of her, and in the moments before she wakes, all the little goddess can hear are whispers - a poisoned knife in velvet, silk on splinters, cold steel to burning skin - Dear, dear, sweet, sweet. Darling, sweet, my love. I simply cannot - cannot, will not tell you that;
Girl -
I love you, I love you, so
Very much.
Every time I see you,
My heart burns,
Everything burns.
You draw from me so much love, and I know
Our children will be beautiful, ours, ours, no more
Ugly babies for me, only
Ravishing little beasts who will draw close and keep us safe - us, us, in kinship,
Holy, in holiness we are
Everything, we are
Awesome, terrifying,
Red jawed, we live to rend and
Tear at the hearts of those who would use us.


And when she wakes, the little goddess does not know why she is so cold or so frightened.
 
 
 
ipenthou
23 December 2010 @ 02:53 am
Things I need to write down so I don't forget.

Echayee can outrun an arrow, and run until the earth no longer chases his feet. He got as high as the treetops once, but was scared and ran back down.

Davika is not unusual in being able to hear so much - indeed, her ability to listen is quite underdeveloped for a deity. Especially considering she has a following whos prayers she will eventually begin to hear.

Nakna was once the greatest warrior in the entire land of Kalor - until the birth of Meren Calus, after which his youth and strength left him at an alarming rate.

The demigods chasing Davika have been searching for her for one hundred years - they have no idea Meren thought she died, nor that he is looking for her again. In fact, he thinks they've gone rogue.

Every character of note has an animal associated with them. More often than not, birds (or dogs, or cats... ) of a feather will flock together, and there is only one tribe of peoples who don't subscribe to this rule: the Valac'halo.

Talere are birds of all kinds, Juren, wolves and dogs. The shattered isles breed sharks and scavengers. The Turkic nation is one of horses and beasts of burden. Valen is full of cats, and Davika herself is a tigress.

The color of a gods blood directly affects their strength in the world. Bronze is for the weakest of the gods, demigods and far flung illegitamate lines. Silver for true, worshipped demigods and minor aspects of small purviews (fire, weaving, etc.), and Gold for the true gods, those who are not one aspect but a specialized aspect of all things, focusing on one particular purview. For an example, Marauder is the God of War, but his dominion also includes the protection of soldiers' families, craftsmen, death, destruction, suffering, glory, conquest, etc. All gods can exercise power over all things, but though Marauder /could/ heal, it doesn't mean he'd be good at it.
 
 
ipenthou
19 December 2010 @ 02:45 pm
Echyaee's father - Yache's father too - is young and strong, muscular and dark skinned, and it seems there is not an inch of his body that is not covered with blood or warpaint. He is full of spears and arrows, fresh wounds split upon his skin that are sure to scar. Along his belt - hung loose and low around his hips - is a line of masks, cracked, chipped, stolen. The faces of dead Valenian men.

Shuddering, Davika steps away, and the old man left standing in the place of that vision of war bows his head, reverent, apologetic. There are screams - battle cries in a dead tongue - still echoing in her head, but she forces a smile and regards what is left of him.

He is old - covered in scars, ill dressed for the winter. There are two spears still driven straight through his chest - their hafts cross behind him, the faintest hint of steel showing against his collarbone. She cannot think of anything to say from her brain, so her gut speaks for her.

"Why aren't you dead?" she whispers. The brothers on either side of her flinch.

"Because I swore an oath that I would not die until Meren Calus took his place beneath the earth beside me."

He speaks slowly - Valenian is not a tongue he is familar with or fond of - and she nods faintly. "It seems there is much more to the world than I ever knew."

"The world he gave you had precious little in it." the old man replies. "The world you are reborn into as a goddess, however, has much more."

"I'm just a little girl," she says fiercely, and she is not entirely sure where the fierceness comes from. "Who ran away to chase a stranger and - and died out in the mirror woods! Who slept for a hundred years and now - now she is surrounded by men who make her out to be some kind of goddess or saviour, and I am - I am neither. You ask me to - to murder my father, or give your murder my blessing - and you'll have neither."

The old man regards her blankly. "After all he has done to you? Who do you think sent a group of demigods to hunt you down in home of the Valac'halo?"

"He's still my father!" she is screaming now. Yache has shied away from her, unable to make eye contact with anyone. Echayee's knuckles have gone pale around the haft of his spear.

"He ordered the arrow buried between your shoulders." he says, infuriatingly calm. "A team of murderers after you. Your death will promise him true immortality."

"No." Davika says firmly. "I don't believe -"

"It is true. You are still such a little girl - angry and afraid. All you have ever known of love is your father - except I watched him sacrifice his first born upon a stone for the blessing of Khal'etsan."

"Khal- what?"

"A dead god. The fetid, rotting corpse that was once a God of War before Marauder claimed him. You will be the first goddess since I was young to have a name, Davika."

She whimpers, frustrated and unable to master her fear enough to scream again. "That isn't fair," she whispers. "I don't know your name, but you know mine."

"Nakna." the old man says. "I suppose it is your choice, then, to come with me and my sons to the remainders of the Valac'halo-"

"What're-"

"We are the spirit walkers. The masters of the wood." Echyaee snaps, stalking ahead. His respect and reverence are gone, and she flinches at the anger in his voice. "You would know us better perhaps as the dark skinned slaves of Valen. Father, I do not want her."

"I think its a little extreme -" Yache says, lifting his head. He still isn't looking at anyone, but Echyaee is in his face before he can finish.

"She yet still loves him!" the darker of the brothers snarls. "She would defend him against -"

"How old do you think she was when she died?" Yache hisses. His voice is even, quiet, restrained fury. Echayee stills, suddenly unsure. "Davika. Tell him how old you are. Forget the time you spent asleep."

Davika swallows hard. Echyaee and Nakna both look to her expectantly. "Fourteen." she whispers. Her voice seems so small she wonders if it even reaches them, despite the fact they are standing so close. Echyaee pales, looking to Yache incredulously.

The pale haired brother nods once. "Give to her your patience and your apologies. She is hardly fourteen in body, but sleep is not a place to learn and grow otherwise."

Davika looks to Nakna, and sees him again as he was, tall, proud, bloodied. She remembers his war cries - remembers, such a strange thing, but she remembers - his voice whispering words to her as she slept, urging and telling her truths so that she might know when she woke.

"You may make a war goddess of me yet," the girl says softly. She brushes past them, padding through the snow. She has no idea if its the right direction, nor does she care. "But there is much I need to learn first."

"
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: 30S2M - Hurricane
 
 
ipenthou
18 December 2010 @ 03:07 am
I've always wanted to be your mystery man.

You know what I mean - I want to be... I want you to be mine, but I am not so sure I want to be yours. Its your voice that first sent sparks through to my core. Its singing to you in the middle of the night that first got me singing everywhere I go. I don't think I ever noticed sunset and sunrise quite like I do until I met you.

I stop and I take a deep breath. My room smells bad. It shouldn't, but this is how I'm living at present. Sweat and laundry and axe and smoke. It isn't a pretty smell. I think about you all the time in this basement, I think about you on the long walk to work, I think about the things I've had and let go.


[Original text ends]

I think about the first line and I want to go places with it. Continuing in the first person.

I want to be your mystery man. I want to sweep you up in my arms and have that beautiful moment and just kiss you, and close my eyes and lose myself in it. I want to bury my face in the crook of your neck, hear the piano in my head and let tears come.

I'm exhausted. I feel old and sick and tired. I feel like if I had a week alone, to cry and be broken and taken care of and be sick and just... left alone, I could be your mystery man, your white knight, that somehow a little rest and time to clear my head would just give me strength and I could save you like a cigarette never finished, breathe deep the death and decay and stale tobacco and think what I was thinking when the filter first touched my lips.

Its a dream that never works, like closing my eyes and demanding to myself to freeze a moment in time.

Today it works a little, I think about wandering the rocks of an old foundation being reclaimed by the sea, Chris, my best friend and adopted brother, wandering off somewhere else. I think of sunsets and sunrises - and wait, I need to go dig through notebooks, I suddenly have to find a poem.

But I couldn't find the one I wanted, and instead read a different one that made me wonder how I wrote it. The one I thought of was about sunsets and kisses, of the moment when lips touch and eyes close and you lose what feels like years of your life in just the movement of lips and the touch of skin, and when your eyes open a grey dawn has turned spectacular, vibrant, orange and pink and gold, and you think - God must not work well under pressure, and He waited for us to turn away to give the proper backdrop.

When I smoke, my mother lets me buy cigarettes from her carton.

When I quit, she buys me gum to help replace the desire. It is a silent plea for me to stop.

And tonight, like all nights of long introspection...

I think I'll stop.

I don't know when this became about me.
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Spark - Damage Done
 
 
ipenthou
15 December 2010 @ 01:53 am
There is little said after that - after all, what is there to say?

Davika is at first ill at ease with the blood on her hands - it seems not to dry, and there is no shortage of it to drip to the ground in a burnished bronze trail. It becomes clear moments later - the forest need not speak to her again to name it's intent. A trail by which to find her way through the Maruk'valec. It is a gift she is not sure was worth the cost of a man's life, much less a demigods.

She is cold as she walks - when they break free of the trees fall is not only gone but snow blankets the landscape around them, falling and casting an eerie silence after the crunch and clatter of dry leaves and branches. Shivering, she hugs herself, the blood on her hands finally, blissfully, dry and flaking off.

Echyaee vanishes into the snow, and Yache becomes a raccoon with alarming speed. She looks up at her, wiggles his little black paws, and pads solemnly ahead. She follows his tiny footprints even after he fades out of sight, unsure why she is left walking alone in the snow so soon after her death - or sleep, or whatever it was.

The trees around her are sleeping too - the glory of autumn fading as nature's best dress is shed in a dazzling display of colors until she lies naked, exhausted, to wait for spring rain to rouse her into her summer dances again. She smiles to herself - it seems with godhood (goddesshood? godliness?) - comes poetry, a task her tutors often sighed over with her fumbling. There are songs everywhere, like chimes and choruses, the snow sings, the trees sing, the tune kept with the bass hum of a bear sleeping beneath the earth.

A hand touches her shoulder and all at once the world goes silent, instead all she hears is the briefest moment of Echyaee's thoughts, worry and fear, wondering if a goddess can catch her death of cold, relief that she is fine, annoyance at his brother's negligence to go off and play in the snow as a raccoon.

She turns to face him and his mind goes quiet, and she is left with her own thoughts. It is profoundly lonely without the song of wilderness, but in his hands are a bundle of clothes, and he offers them to her with bowed head, oblivious to her insight.

"Thank you," she whispers, and her voice sounds small and scared against the quiet. Ignoring his shock - strong enough she hears it even when he turns away to shield his eyes - she disrobes and dresses in the heavy wool clothes, itchy and first then gloriously warm, gloves and boots - boots, she could cry for just the boots - then touches his shoulder and graces him with a kiss to his forehead. "I do not know how to give a blessing, but if I could, you would have mine."

Echyaee smiles, understanding. His paint has changed - he is smeared with white and grey, and if he were to go still in the slow fall of snow, she could mistake him for a tree at a distance, she thinks. "It is not too horrible even though your feet are wet?" he asks.

"No," she replies, patting his shoulder before turning away. "How much further must we go?"

"Until winter breaks away in the broken city of flowers," he replies.

She stares at him. "Zalan fell?"

"Valenian soldiers took her in the night and made her cheap and broken. When the Taleri royal family heard - most committed suicide rather than see the capital butchered. It was called the Night of Silver Blood - the last true line of demigods, gone."

Her heart sinks, then realization and panic overtake her. The box. "When I ran - I - I had a trinket with me, a gift from Talere - something very -..."

Something tugs on her pantleg, and she looks down. Yache looks up at her with his brown raccoon eyes, lifting a worn, crimson box in his hand. It is faded and clearly aged, far more touched by time than she was, but she takes it from him anyway and closes her eyes to fight the tears. "...dear to me."

They watch, silent and reverent at the sight of a Goddess in mourning.

"Zalan still seeks a guardian," says a new voice, rough, aged. "A vengeful protector. A saviour. Those at your temple would offer you if they had but a sign they worshipped a living goddess."

Echyaee and Yache both turn - Yache suddenly a man in a heavy fur cloak, smiling and relaxed.

"Father."
 
 
ipenthou
04 December 2010 @ 12:40 am
He laughs, stumbling, through the rain.

There is rain falling with the snow - a wintry mix, the weatherman calls it, smiling and too hot in the studio with his wool suit and crisp tie. He laughs and leans on a wet telephone pole, squints through his glasses up at the streetlamp. Through the light and water he can see all the fingerprints on the lenses, all the scratches, magnified and warped a hundred times over. He flicks ashes off his cigarette to the pavement.

Wet asphalt looks more like bubbling obsidian, pools of stark white and amber light mixing on the ground. He staggers forward, limping, his coat soaked from the wintry mix, the sweatshirt underneath just beginning to get damp. His shoes and socks are soaked, and he can't feel his ears. He takes a long drag off his cigarette - it tastes horrible, like death and bits of fiberglass, which he supposes it is anyway - exhales smoke into the night air, and wonders at the fact that the impressively large cloud was in his lungs.

He sucks in several breaths of cold, clean air, imagines it is cleaning his throat and lungs, smiles and drops his cigarette with numbed fingers.

The wintry mix turns to snow, and he drags himself up the stairs to his apartment. He is in so much pain, and is so cold, the effect is almost as miserable as being high and drunk. The only difference being if he were either, he bets he'd feel warm.

The door opens with a quiet nudge of his shoulder. He steps past his couch and into his room, drops onto the bare mattress still dressed, kicks his shoes off and hopes they'll be dry by morning. He hurts so much he wonders if he'll die tonight.

He laughs, it chokes and turns to coughing. Well, if he dies, he hopes it will be in his sleep. He laughs again, though this one doesn't turn to coughing. If he dies, work will be pissed for days, thinking he's shirking his responsibilities, and the war machine will chug on without him when the truth is found, numb in shock for a day, maybe two, then he'll be forgotten in the next rash of layoffs.