First family member dying. It was a good event. Prompts from E11 Summer Solstice, 2015.

Curses

Tonight, the Spurned Lover has been invoked, and the Spurned Lover holds sway.

Her whole being was humming, her heart racing, contained inside a mask of calm indifference as she listens to the political discussions around her. Her lips smile, she nods at the appropriate times, and her gaze drifts –naturally– across the tent.

There he is. Unknowing. Unsuspecting. How easy would it be, to curl a finger at him, smile seductively, arrange a meeting in the shadows, promise to teach him the pleasures a true cicisbeo could provide…

She listens to the whispers, turns back to the conversation and makes some vague approving comment about the best way to merge religion and politics.

Just think of the warmth you could provide, entice him with, ensnare him within. When flesh is intertwined, when the sweat beads, when he thinks he is in control, when he loses control. The heat of the moment, when passion reaches its heights…

She takes a deep breath, and listens to the three conversations around her.

Think of his eyes, when the pleasure turns to surprise, when he gasps, fights for air, when the hot gush of his blood flows over your hands, down your entwined bodies. How in control you would finally feel, then, with the knife in your hands…

She flinches back, the spell broken; a hand has touched her face, and the blood dripping down it. She can’t remember when the injury happened. The hand –surprisingly tender, unnervingly gentle– cups her cheek, checks the wound, and offers to heal her. The eyes are kind, and she cannot remember when the last time was that she was looked at kindly.

For a moment, the voice halts, the seductive whispering gone, and the persona reverts to its lighter side, the Witch. She is entirely thrown, by the face before her, the kindness of one who has only ever been nice to her, hidden agendas aside; the Witch reminds her of the romance and politics and alliances they had discussed, which were healthier, better than the darker trappings that held sway tonight if she would only fight its influence a little more—

You cannot earn your Reckoning this way… But with me, little one, oh! I have much to teach you…

It takes a moment, a glance across the tent, and the Spurned Lover reverts, assumes control and reminds her of the plans to be formed. She smiles pleasantly, declines the healing magic offered (for her ally reminds her just how it would encourage the taint to spread). She changes the topic, and listens; listens to all the wonderful ideas her co-conspirator whispers to her. She takes a sip of her drink, and continues to let the poison be poured into her ears, drop by drop.

Tonight, she embraces the curse.

Tonight, the Spurned Lover holds sway.

Passed Notes and Final Messages

The paper is slipped into my hand before I really know what’s going on, as I stare up at Zanterr in confusion. In my confusion I cannot fathom why he’d be passing this to me, why he looks chagrined at the duty.

The words, so few? They don’t sink in right away, and I force myself to read it twice, before it dawns on me fully, why there are so few. This isn’t a message, this is a final message. Perhaps more than anyone else got, more than I would have thought possible if…

I’m humbled. I’m touched. I don’t want to understand. I want to cry. I am so close to screaming, my hands shake. There’s noise in my ears, a question that Livia directs at me that I don’t hear. I had forgot everyone else there, Gabriel, Virtue; Zanterr is gone, when did he leave?

Except Tess, whom I can’t forget. Whose eyes are surprised, but calm, understanding. Tonight, I can mimic her — wintertouched, draughir, someone to rely on. There will be a time to scream later.

Beloved Fox

She leans heavily against the arms holding her up, her eyes so tiredly looking into mine as she asks, in pain, “Can you make it easier?”

There’s fear in her eyes, and I want to kiss it better, but there’s fear in mine, too–fear at being unable to do anything against this. My beloved cousin, my confidante, my closest friend is dying before me and I can do nothing. My mind searches anointings, discards them as useless, temporary things and what comfort can they be when faced with the Gates of the Labyrinth?

“I c-could…. would you like a testimony?” She makes a little nod with a whimper, and my hand shakes as I fumble for my liao.

What words
WHAT WORDS
COULD EVER SUM UP
what would comfort her
what would stay with her forever
what would guide her back to us

I lean forward, cup her cheeks in my palms, and lean my forehead to her scales. With the purple fire in my veins, I press the words into her soul and feel them bind. I am fervent as I affirm, my voice raising, just how loved she is, and how she will always be ours, and how we will find her, until—

The fear disappears from her eyes, and she looks comforted, and I can only pray it’s enough for her. My ‘Beloved Fox.’

Moral Support

My voice is caught in my throat, cracking, and this must be the worst performance I’ve ever given. This is the most important performance I’ve ever given. I made a promise to sing Felice into the Labyrinth when she died and I am going to keep it if it kills me.

But I can feel the marrowort starting to wear off,
and it’s getting harder to breathe,
and my heart is racing furiously in my chest,
and I don’t know how I can handle—

–and your hand touches mine, so lightly, and I can’t turn and face you because if I do, I won’t be facing the audience and they won’t be able to hear the music that I promised them. But you’re here beside me, and I can at least squeeze out one more refrain before the blackness in my vision erases the rest of the song from my memory.

I didn’t have to ask
but you’re here
and you understand
and you stay by my side
as the blood starts to drip faster.

Pilgrims

She wasn’t superstitious. But she couldn’t ignore the pattern that was developing.

Welcome your pilgrim into the fold, and death follows.

The first; could have been just chance, wrong place and wrong time; it was Anvil, sometimes people didn’t make it back. She didn’t know how, she needed to find out why.

Welcome your pilgrim into the fold, and death follows.

Her second; her oldest, closest friend and cousin, poisoned and tortured; when all you can do is bring them home, and surround them with love and music for their passing, then that is what you do. You take their soul to the Labyrinth, and you ignore just how dangerous it is, to try and go the whole road with them.

Welcome your pilgrim into the fold, death would follow.

Her third, the only one she has left, and the one that she feels singularly unable to help, whom she knows she’s way over her head with. She wonders if being dedicated to Loyalty is a death sentence, or it’s just being dedicated by her, but it’s very hard for her to feel her feet on the path anymore.

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