Thursday, August 30, 2007

and you, false love, will weep for me, when I'm gone, when I'm gone, when I'm gone


Tch. Little girl so lost, will she ever find her way home...

I remember the ritual that joined us. Her unfortunate once-swain decided to travel homeward, and found someone just young enough, just hungry enough, to make any bargain to get out of the pit. That someone was me, of the Lilitu, demonesses, succubi and sirens, and Lilit serves well enough for a name.

The ritual was arduous, tortuous, convoluted and long. It was meant to empty her, make her a vessel, soul set free and body waiting. But...either she doesn't have a soul, as the traditions understand, or it's bound to her, flesh, bone and skin, because she was not an empty shell when I arrived. She was very much there. And she very much fought back, tooth and nail, and--only through my utter surprise, but still--managed to cage me, deep within her mind, set me to sleeping that lasted years.

I might never have awoken at all had it not been for that spur-of-the-moment curse, so casually tossed from the lips of the departing monk, sent with a breath of his essence and his power. That power called to me, woke me, pulled me up and out to the very limits of her form, and poured my awakened energy, raw and undiluted, into her body, into the body of the young Hunter in her arms, and the strange combination of her shapeshifting ability, and my energy manipulations, compelled to curse him as well, to be partially neko, as she was.

Wonderful. As if there wasn't drama enough in her life.

We fought, at first. Of course we did. She feared me, I resented her...she wanted me gone, I wanted her dead. Of course we fought.

Once in Lumindor, long ago, she'd taken as much pain as she could, been turned from too many doors, been denied by those she adored...She gave up, and I took over, using her knowledge of the world beyond Lumindor's shores to contact my once-love, flying to his side in the deeps of the tunnels he lived in. We shared...what only two demons can share, who are not engaged in battles to the death, but...what I had of his heart had turned from me, and from her, for all my efforts elsewise.

So I returned, and let her live her life. Slowly, the fighting stopped. I maintain I've been incarnate in her flesh for too long, I'm...tainted by her emotional state. But even with that uncomfortable knowledge, I find I spite of things.

In spite of everything.

This morning, she awoke under a bush by the garden gates in Lumindor. She heard a voice she recognized but grew distracted before she found him. She laid down by the wooden sign, gently petting baby bunnies on the grass. And Death found her.

I knew him, old adversary, and it's no disservice to say even I trembled at his nearness. But he said it was not my time, and pulled away. Then she heard the Eastern lad's voice again. She rose, trembling, and flew to his side, stopping just short of contact, and held herself there, wary, uneasy.

She had never been uneasy around him before, and I could not ascertain why, until the demon he carried smiled with the lad's mouth, enticing her through casual cruelty, tears in the lad's flesh that drew her on with the addiction raging within her. She still remembered enough of plant and leaf, flower and vine, she held back. Until he dripped blood from a wound onto the back of her hand, and...

...I had to take over, the despair in her was too great.

I begin to think Valruna is doing a damage to her, beyond the toxins in the air. I begin to wonder how long she can remain in that tainted land, where time runs faster, where the streets echo with emptiness and faint screams.

I begin to wonder how long I'll have to live her life for her, until she is ready to stand on her own again. I wasn't designed to be her. I was pulled in to be a demon Queen, chief among the clan, strong by the side of my King.

I was never meant to be the little phouka, the shifting fae.

I worry for her.

And I was never meant to feel worry for her. So...I worry for me, too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

fine laurel, fine floral, you've proved all unkind


The voices eat at her, the shrill calls, the wails, the murmurs, the growls. The need eats at her too, until she can't breathe with it, and all she can do is clutch the empty vial around her neck. She flees to the shore, breathing in the sharp salt air, shuddering on the sand.

Something must change. Something
needs to change. She lifts a hand, staring at it in horror, her attention lengthening the fingers.

She must change. She must have a form that doesn't feel the bite of this need, the pain of this hunger.

She must grow in a new place.

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Dimly, she remembers meeting a dryad in the woods. Birch maiden, she thinks it was, and when she tried to imitate what she remembered, she somehow switched trees, and grew maple leaves instead. It was an unsuccessful attempt, and she abandoned the fibrous life of trees.

Now, she has better impetus behind her to succeed. And there's a wider world of life out there than just birches and maples.

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She breathes in this form, the voices still there, but acceptable, the greening of her skin making her turn her new petals to the light that dimly filters through the smog of industry. She walks slowly from the shore to the city, and flinches away, choking. Her mind reaches for her lost Lumindor, and in a flash, she finds herself kneeling on the cool grass, panting, and voices from the gentle gardens ahead.

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She cannot help but creep forward, listening, and of course the sunflower of her presence attracts attention. Within moments, she's surrounded, and she must concentrate to make the words she hears make sense. But it's good, she's willing to listen, she's willing to be least until the voices she hears lead her within a small building, and hand her a glass of something that is nearly enough for her hunger.

She looks down at the crimson fluid in the glass and sighs. She'll need flesh again for this. And then the hunger returns in force.

But she will remember. She will remember the way of plant and frond, fiber and petal. She will stave this hunger off. She will leave it behind and walk strongly on the streets, be they cobbled or tarred. She
will do this. She will leave herself no other choice...

Monday, August 27, 2007

one misty moisty morning when cloudy was the weather

A friend found a list of magic mushrooms! Yay!

Last night was the Civil War ball in Steelhead. I have no pictorial evidence of this; I'm hoping other contributors to the aether will. There was such a spate of lag on the grid last was very similar to walking through oatmeal, in the winter, whilst wearing heavy lead plates.

Actually, no, I could have moved with alacrity had I been wearing lead plates.

I ended up spending much of the dance reclined on the far couch in the hotel, next to the fire. I was not the only damsel so afflicted; some were struck more fiercely than I was, for I at least could talk and type--one young miss crashed off the grid every time she tried!

It was a lovely dance, though, in spite of everything. The brave souls facing the lag were courageous indeed; Steelhead's first exposure to the Dance Card system was well received, though mayhap not completely understood. And I actually found a real Civil War-era ballgown, designed by the innovative RaudF Fox, so I was well pleased with my attire.

All in all, while lag certainly could have been better, spirits were reasonably high in spite of it, and the dance went on. And in the end, that's the best anyone can expect--with fortitude and stubborn will, good cheer and conversation, virtually any obstacle can be overcome.

Well, I still personally believe there are few personal problems that cannot be solved by high explosives...but I am trying to be better. And the application of fortitude, integrity and high spirits means Sheriff Ortega won't show up on my doorstep, tapping his foot. That's all to the good as well.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

gonna take your mama out all night, yeah, we'll show her what it's all about

There is a hunt ongoing, throughout the grid, celebrating the SLCC convention. There are glowing mushrooms containing work of top SL designers, squirreled away in diverse locations. They look like this:

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Go find them.


(Oh--the ladies, in the picture? Ah, well, the one on the left is me, in my rarely-seen Arctic fox form, and the one on the right with the world's known allocation of straps is Miss Neome Graves. She doesn't get badly anonymized in these pages because I'm going to be doing my best to drag her to things. She knows little about Victoriana, but is fascinated by the concept of steampunk. So I'm hoping to bring her 'round and about and introduce her to some of my favorite Caledonians. Which--to be honest--is most of them.)

In other news, today--well, yesterday, more precisely--was Lady Christine McAllister-Pearse's rez day! So her friends threw her a party.

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Of course Radio Riel sponsored the event, it was held in Carntaigh.

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Very nearly everyone was there--at least, that I know, or have heard of. So many people came, even if they could only come briefly, to wish Lady Christine well. Lady Amber, Duchess Gabrielle, Colonels Hotspur O'Toole and Exrex Somme, Lord Bardhaven, Miss Terry Lightfoot, Miss Hypatia Callisto. Mr. Telemachus Dean, Sir JJ Drinkwater, Mr. Nix Sands, Mr. Puck Goodliffe, Mr. TotalLunar Eclipse, Miss Tensai Hilra, Miss Addison Barrymore...Mr. Trevor Rowlands, Mr. Mavromichali Szondi...I know I'm forgetting people, hordes of people came.

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Sir Edward was having great fun poring through his collection of photographs of Lady Christine, salacious and otherwise. I briefly turned on the sun, hoping no one would notice, so I could get a better photograph myself!

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And then...the Daleks invaded.

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Don't ask me why this sort of thing keeps happening in Caledon. All I know is, I got caught in the crossfire one too many times, and am very glad I'm a shapeshifter, all things considered!

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The brave ladies of Caledon soon figured out that if they perched atop the Daleks, their voluminous skirts prevented the firing of their forward lasers, and seemed to impair their servos, besides.

Soon, it was a rout--Daleks, 0, Caledonians 1! HUZZAH!

All in all, it was a lovely party, full of high spirits and conviviality, and I do believe our one purpose--to show Lady Christine how much she is appreciated, and by how many--was well and ably served. Happy Rez Day, Christine!

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Then, I went shopping with friends afterwards in Avaria Tor, and...this happened.

You know, this just isn't the sort of thing you see every day. Unless you're me.


Friday, August 24, 2007

it is the dawning of the age of aquarius

Oh, man...groovy time tonight. We had the Steelhead experience. You had to be there, man....the colors...

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Hotspur O'Toole showing his colors...

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Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega afraid to move. (Get that new computer soon, Fuzz!)

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Tensai Hilra, by the VW microbus. Trippy, man. She's got a tail. (She was also one of the two Grooviest Chicks of the evening...)

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Lumina, Tensai bouncing to her left. She was hard to catch, she was slinky.

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DJ Edward, in the shirt we all fell into for miles. He played all the grooviest tunes...the Archies...David Cassidy...Sonny & Cher...the Doors...the Animals...the Fifth was beautiful, man, just beautiful.

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AzA Zymurgy, new resident to Steelhead. Very nearly won with this outfit...which Lumina tells me is his everyday togs. Groovy.

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Winner of the Grooviest Guy contest (with one vote for Grooviest Chick), Fawkes. When you come to Steelhead, be sure to wear flowers in your hair...

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Miss Kristin, Bogarting the joint. (She was the other one of the two Grooviest Chicks of the evening...)

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Etty Epoch came by from the circus. We're glad she did.

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I couldn't get a really good snap of Puck, man...he kept falling down!

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And Graceful Gabi...her dress had so much going on, my Instamatic kept blurring out! Such a pity...

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From left to right: Lumi with her hula hoop, your purple hostess, Dirk DaSilva, Lunar, Asiyah, and Puck (amazingly upright!).

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From left to right: Lumi, AzA, Tensai, Dirk, Lunar, me again, Puck and Kristen with her bong.

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From left to right: Kattrynn, Lumi, Dirk, me, Asiyah again, and Lunar spiraling around from the back.

Check out that sky, man...isn't it beautiful?

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Groovy night, really an experience. Tune in, turn on, and we all danced the night away. The universe spun and we were there, you know, really...just...there...

Well, y'know how it goes.

Now to get back in world and dress in something a little less...psychedelic.

now there’s nothing left between us, as the fear becomes a roar (part II)


I unwrapped the wire from the crystal, slowly worked out the wooden cork, breaking the seal on the vial. The scent of the blood and essence within hit me like a hammer, and I fell to my knees. I fought to cling to the memory of my Raven, the memory of one who'd loved me once...anything I could do, to stave off the need to drink.

I recapped the vial with shaking hands, and fell asleep curled up in the weeds, huddled next to the old stone grave beside the crypt.

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I woke, shaking, trembling, the vial clenched in one pale hand. I thumbed out the stopper in the vial, my frame slowly uncurling. I raised the vial to my lips.

Gods help Raven Queen gone Eastern lad traveling far on errands his demon within compels him to achieve, to keep him from my side...

I had no resistance left.

I drank.

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Thunder rolled, the sky grew dark. Pain, such as I have never known, ripped through me. I screamed, my back arched nearly to snapping, actinic fire tearing through my muscles, through my belly, through the center of me.

Wild winds howled outside my sanctuary, and slowly I rose, my tricolor fae eyes spiralling in tones of blood scarlet, bright crimson and silverglow. I staggered through the hole in the wooden gate, making my way down the hard-packed road. Thunder still rolled beyond my wall, the sky still swirling and dark.

Something else was happening. But I could barely concentrate. The road rose and fell before me, the walls on either side of the black lowering over me, making me tremble and flinch.

Someone I barely remembered found me. I do not remember what I said, but she grabbed my shoulders, shaking me.

"Girl, what have you done? What have you summoned?"

I looked around, blinking. THis was my fault? The wine-dark sky, the thunder, the strikes of lightning?

I turned at the sound of a scream, and one of the new enforcers of the city ran by, looking somewhat panicked. he herded all on the streets towards the old inn, the new bright club.

I slunk inside, cowering, curling up as soon as possible on a cushioned seat. The voices grew louder, returned, fighting for dominance with the sound of the crackling hum of equipment I barely understood. I wrapped my arms around my head, keening, and felt a gentle touch.

Between my fingers I peered out, breathing unsteadily. Fellow Sidhe. Unseelie born. Tentacles like rubies made flesh whipped from her back, and my jaw dropped open.

Queen's Consort. How she had changed...

She stroked my hair, and I calmed somewhat, as the word went out. There was a cursed beast in town, attacking the citizens. We must band together and fight.

I walked to my last place of enclosure, a ramshackle dwelling raised on the site. I crouched, reaching underneath the slate still by the side of the hut, and smiled, pulling out my tarnished bronze sword. I strapped the sheath to my side, tearing off my voluminous skirts, and drew the blade. I ran to the source of the conflict.

The beast was massive. Black as night, black as the heart of hate, moonsilver hooves as large as my head, black arching wings from the half-equine form. A glittering ebony horn rose from the skull between eyes of burning red. He spun and whirled, appearing and disappearing, wielding a dull red blade longer than I was.

I tried to attack and was struck down. I rose, leaping into the air, catching a stray bullet from one of the enforcer's guns as I did. I came down, slashing across the back of the beast, and he threw me into the wall.

Dazed, I crumpled, and the fight skirled on, a whirlwind made of flesh and air. I staggered back to the inn, and collapsed in the doorway, blood seeping onto the blue flooring. They cried out for a medic, and soon, a man in white knelt at my side, bandaging the most obvious of the wounds. I drifted in and out of consciousness, as one of the D'Agostinos relayed how this was a curse on the town, ancient of days, from before the time I remembered. How we would need to find a series of riddles, to solve how to slay the beast.

The next few hours were comprised of pain and dull horror, plodding weariness, bouts of unconsciousness. Wherever I went, the beast seemed to find me, slashing at me, until I wore more blood than fabric, and even my healing abilities stopped functioning.

The riddles were found, I remember that. I remember one time facing the beast, in a place of water, holding out my hands, my sleeves drifting under the deep. I remember speaking in a series of bubbles, that I was unweaponed, that I had lost it somewhen back in some then-forgotten melee.

He looked at me, this beast, wry intelligence filling his rugose eyen. "Then you are a fool..." he told me.

Aye, indeed, I agreed with him, as he cut me down yet another time.

Finally it was over. I had fallen as the battle raged beyond me, and took some time to recover. I staggered to the city's park, needing the healing of the sithen. As I stepped through the iron gates the sky cleared, sunlight poured down in golden sheafs, and I met with the D'Agostinos and the woman who'd confronted me, early on.

Their words washed over me, a babble of sound I should have paid attention to, but could not. One thing stuck with me--the lady of the D'Agostinos wished me to find her, somewhen to come. I promised to do so, and touched the rock, staggering through the stone, and fell insensate to the emerald moss.

The surge of essence within me rose and fell. My last thought before unconsciousness claimed me was to wonder, in dull panic, what I'd done....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

moonlight on the soft brown earth, it leads me to where you lay

Steelhead's new train station is finally finished. Appropriately, it has the town picture Sir Edward took when my camera failed, of the residents visitors are likely to meet.

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From left to right, Miss Qlippothic Projects, Captain Midnight Bohemia, Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega, Lady Primbroke, Christine McAllister-Pearse, Warrior Goddess (and sim manager) Tensai Hilra, Miss Kattrynn Severine (owner of the sim), Earl of Primbroke, Sir Edward Pearse, Bloodwing Dragonash (then still possessing Dr. Darien Mason), your capable chronicler in lavender fur, Miss Lumina Elvehjem (designer of the Steelhead Public Gardens), Mr. Finnian Fitzgerald (founder of the Steelhead Gun Club), and Mr. TotalLunar Eclipse (capable sim manager himself, and builder of the new train station, in addition to many other structures).

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Outside the train station, even the 5:15 just pulling in looks a little more exotic, against the backdrop of Tensai and Lunar's new store.

Actually, over the past six months, the character of Steelhead, while remaining true to its nature, has changed significantly in appearance. Now it's really more San Francisco gold coast, less Boot Hill. And considering Steelhead City is in Oregon...that's no bad thing.

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And then there's the Taiyou.

I still look at her and she takes my breath away. Taiyou House. The palace. Largest thing anyone's ever built for me.

She's going away.

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It was a mutual decision, I want no one to go to the management of Steelhead and accuse them of wrongdoing. I was involved, I was part of why it's going away.

Why is it going away? Combination of factors, really. It was beautiful but it was huge. It wasn't well utilized. Delay in getting it up and open, combined with, if I'm to be honest, managerial misconduct...I claim my faults in this, I could have done better.

But more, while a place for Companions is wanted in Steelhead...we can do better, go smaller. Utilise the space we've got more effectively.

Save prims in the process.

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Plus, the saloon is finally going to be rebuilt, saving even more prims. We'll be using the upstairs of the saloon, the first floor still being, well, saloon. Just can't have a Western town without a saloon, after all.

Then the large footprint the Taiyou had can be turned over to vendor stalls, merchants, rental market...whatever.

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This still makes me giggle, somewhat--I saw Miss Terry Lightfoot for the first time from the balcony of the Taiyou. In an hour of talking, I setting up various poses, Miss Lightfoot on the roof of the then-new business of Avalanche, Sputnik and Lightfoot, we became friends.

Reminds me, I should write her soon. Perhaps go visit Professor Sputnik again--after all, I haven't seen him since the change.

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I won't say I won't miss seeing the Taiyou of an evening. I did so want it to succeed. And it didn't precisely fail--it staggered, it stumbled, but it wasn't a complete disappointment. I hold to that. And I'll still have access to everything that went into it, and some--though far from all!--can go back in the upstairs of the new saloon.

For that matter, since it will be a saloon, I have some lovely Victorian settees I can put out...that could work better.

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Goodbye, old girl. I may be the only one, but I'll miss you. And if you did nothing else, you taught me the value of attention, and gave a new builder much-needed confidence in his skills. For that alone, you were a worthy structure indeed.

But trust me, the ladies of the Taiyou? We aren't going away.

Now, if I can just find more of them...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

now there’s nothing left between us, as the fear becomes a roar (part I)


I awoke, shivering, in the sithen, and the whispers of words I could barely understand drove me from the comforts of that near-home. I sought the heights, but the heights had changed; again, the incursions of the humans, again, the rape of the land.

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I fell, and panicked, and my panic propelled me upward, searing my back from the friction as I was pulled up the mountainside. I became wedged, whimpering in distress, between a new stone abode and an outcropping of pale stone. I had to summon all the concentration I had left, burning precious and diminishing energy reserves, to will myself elsewhere in Valruna.

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The pain hit when the first wave of fog hit me, dropping me to my knees, hand clutched to my side. Pain of loss, pain of leaving Lumindor, the pain of addiction...nothing was like this. Nothing had hurt this much.

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I heard my voice, broken, shaking rasp, whispering on the drifting air.

"...Where, where is he, where is my Raven, where is my gentle lad, where, oh where..."

I turn, the pain not easing, the pressure building, making me nearly scream. What was happening, and why was I alone, yet again?

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The whispers crowd in again, and I cry out, striking against them, whispers and half-glimpsed figures, and no, no, stay back, STAY BACK--!

I collapse, panting, last of my energy gone, and where was my Raven, where was my lad, where, oh where...

"Can't trust demons," I whisper, shuddering, "can't trust, why did I, why did I again, can't trust, never trust, never works out..."

Never works out. Never...never...and the cliffside is so cold...

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Heart in my throat, I turn, I stumble, reluctant feet scraping over grass and stone, taking me step by step closer to doom. Standing on the crumbling cliff's edge, hearing each grain of sand shift beneath my slippers as if it struck sparks off bone. I hesitate, standing there, leaning forward.

**There is another way.**

This voice is clear, this voice is coherent. Unlike so many, voices of the living and the gone, voices of the present and the missing. This voice, I listen to.

I pause, breathing, listening.

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Another way...another way?

**Drink the vial.**

My hand raises, clenching around the enspelled crystal, watching the crimson liquid swirl. I shudder, bone-deep, wracked by spasms of doubt and fear.

But he said... I think. He said it would be dangerous. He said it would increase the hunger.

**It's all you have,** the voice says. And goes silent.

I writhe on the ground, pain mounting again, screaming to the city that cares not for magic, for nature, for aught but seeking its own oblivion. I cannot bear it, I cannot, I am not strong enough for this--

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My hand creeps to the vial, caressing the seal. One thin wire between me and what lies inside.

**Yes. Drink.**

No! I cannot!

**You have no choice.**

No choice...

No choice.

No choice.

I begin unwinding the wire around the seal...

((to be continued))

Monday, August 20, 2007

from the bowery to the brimstone I tried to find your heart


Word filtered down from the Queen to her Consort, and down through the Court--we had established a sithen in Valruna. I had not been since the last time, shuddering at the tainted odours of the air, the static hum across wires, the fitful flicker of too-bright lights, the metallic grinding sounds of the city. I crept in from the far reaches, moving with slitted eyes towards my goal--one of two places of green left from when the city changed, so drastically.

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I shuddered anew once I'd reached it--the human bastards had paved more of the green! They must pay for this, I heard myself mutter, over and again. But true words I spoke--they were violators, destroyers of the land, five times five times over, and they must be made to pay the price of such violation.

After all, the fae know how to exact the cost. I still bear blood on my hands from the last time...

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The hard, tacky substance spread out before me, smelling like broken dreams and tortured desperation, thick and oily on the night air. It was repellent. I could feel the small lives in the ground beneath pleading to see the moonlight. I started to twitch, panting slightly.

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Dimly, beyond the blackened trail, I can see the waterfall. It yet remains, there is hope, faint and flickering though it is.

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I follow the curve of the colored rocks, so like to Lumindor, around until I find the patch that speaks most of magic. I hope, in my blighted heart. I pray to gods I only dimly remember. I touch the rock and withdraw, waiting, my breath held fast.

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I exhale slowly when the section of rock fades enough to allow my entry. There is refuge. There is a home. There is our new sithen.

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It's on the small side...dripping with moss and grasses, but alight with the life of the small fae, and those forms of fungus that always grow around us, and trees that speak to us, not blunted and maddened and wracked by industrious ways. I begin to relax, my knotted soul uncurling, and stagger to the dark dais.

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It's small, the new home, but ours. I can live here. I can breathe here, free of the toxins outside. I can exist here, a spate of refuge, desperately needed.

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Yes. I can be here. I can rest at peace. It's good. It's time.

...Now, where the hell is my Raven?!?