Saturday, June 30, 2007

I hear the drums echoing tonight

The job of a naturalist and observer of tribal cultures is not always easy. I would point your attention, gentles, towards my current exploration of the native cultures of exotic...Steelhead City.

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I arrive and the ritual is already in progress. I observe for some moments before I feel I properly understand the meaning beyond their strange and unusual movements.

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I watch them carefully, making no sudden moves, matching their dances to the best of my ability.

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Success! They seem to accept me! Perhaps I will be invited deeper into the heart of the tribe, to experience their exotic wonders, before returning to my homeland.

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My attention is briefly drawn by one of the village maids, who has apparently decided to wear strips of patterned cloth wound around her shapely form, in lieu of more understandable attire.

She has a firearm strapped to her thigh. I am vaguely disturbed by this. I wonder to myself where she acquired such weaponry.

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I believe then the priestess appeared, spinning in the center of the circle as we bowed and swayed, her servants in dance. Of course, I am not entirely sure of this, but it seems a most logical conclusion.

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My attention again wanders, to the side of the dancing floor, where a large stewpot is bubbling away over a blazing fire. My curiosity gets the better of me--I must investigate more closely.

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To my shock and horror, a pair of fellow naturalists have been captured and are being stewed alive! Savages!

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True Victorians born, they accept their fate with aplomb and utmost grace indeed, holding each other as the flesh boils from their bones.

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I do believe I shall depart before dinner is served...in case they had plans to have neko anthropologist for dessert!

Friday, June 29, 2007

as your worries crawl around inside your clothes

And your hands are really shakin’ somethin’ awful
As you light your twenty-seventh cigarette
Oh, how long have you been sittin’ in the darkness
You forget...


Patience. It's not one of my virtues. I saw an ex-lover tonight, ex-demon, now small and semi-helpless neko--the form chosen deliberately, to distance himself from the six feet of crimson he used to be--and I happened to mention the vacations, current and upcoming, of my loves. He told me he'd always be willing to play...and then said he had to leave.

Such is the way of the life, right now. Yes, I'm understanding the point, O my gods, you don't need to drum it in by mallet.

Oh, you know you’re gettin’ really hard to be with
And you’re cryin’ every time you turn around
And you wonder why you cannot pick your head up
Off the ground...


No tears, not now at least, not yet, but melancholy, we have in abundance...went dancing with a casual acquaintance in a new club this afternoon, as a break from building, as a way to connect with people...half an hour into dancing, he said we should probably move from slow dancing to something more active, like a salsa, or a tango...because otherwise people might think we were in love.

We weren't in love, he knew that, I knew that, but it still felt like a slap in the face. Yes, gods forbid, you should fall in love with me...even though you were talking about "Embracing" me the day previous, the "highest honor" an "ancient Vampyr" could bestow...

...on the other hand, I turned him down on that offer, because my shifter blood has enough problems...Maybe I deserved a slightly curt, 'we're only friends' answer...and be fair, we were...sort of...as friendly as I can be with someone I barely know...

Oh, my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh, my crazy baby
Don’t put out the light...
The light, the light, the light


Yesterday I carefully laid out twenty-eight prims, intricately turned, intricately patterned, whorls upon swirls upon twists, adding rotation scripts and light scripts and watching the structure, finished, as it cast light over my face in turning patterns.

Then I deleted the whole thing and went home to curl up in the laundry basket, watching the world go by until I fell asleep. Even now I don't feel any great pain of loss. I'll recreate it or I won't; I'll redo it or I won't; it's just a thing. I can remake it. If it crosses my mind.

And they look at you like they don’t speak your language
And you’re living at the bottom of a well
And you’ve swallowed all the awful bloody secrets
But you can’t tell...


He says he's there for me. I know he is, but...I fear asking. I fear hurting him again. So I talk to him across the miles, tentative conversation, learning to smile in his presence again, even if distantly. The heart may be healing, but the head still worries. It's always my way.

I don't even want someone to make my breath catch, pull me from slumbering senses into gasping, each inch of skin alive and aching, everything in me yearning for the other that brings me to such heights...not even that. I have this wistful little want of being held, because I think something in me feels it's all I deserve, and even that I do not, cannot, have, right now.

Oh, you know you ought to get yourself together
But you cannot bear to walk outside your door
No, you cannot bear to look into the mirror
Anymore...


And the leash for my pet trails on the ground, unhooked, because my pet is flipping in and out of limbo more than I do on high-limbo days. I am alone...again. As I apparently am meant to be.

I'll wait for him here, in this place where I am the only living thing until the waterline, but I don't hold out great hope.

Oh, my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh, my crazy baby
Don’t put out the light...
The light, the light, the light


And I am uninspired to finish the fifteen-piece outfit; I'll make an attempt again tomorrow. I'm uninspired to finish the skybox revision I'm currently working on; I'm pressing through because I feel if I don't, I'll have this hapless feeling of uselessness that will set in, and damn it, I'm not useless.

I'm just...getting towards depressed, and far past turning the corner on resigned, and...I may sleep in tomorrow. For hours.

And your hands are really shakin’ somethin’ awful
As your worries climb around inside your clothes
Oh, how long will you be sittin’ in the darkness
Heaven knows...


Maybe tomorrow I'll work on the new house more. All I have inside are cushions, and all of them on the upper level, though I did put out the well-armed welcome mat, so to speak...big gold pentacle with all the guns in the universe, tucked inside. It still makes me smile.

And I have the autumn trees, and the sapphire ball of glowing light, and maybe I'll set out some tombstones, depending. Don't know.

It's very odd, this mood. It's depressive, but it doesn't feel half so dark; it's contemplative, but I don't necessarily care about the outcome.

The Hanged Man
Card Number:
XII
Key Number: 23
Rulership: Water
Hebrew Letter: Mem
Translation: Water
Numerical Value: 3

"The devotion to worthwhile causes, the life in suspension, the willingness to wait and listen. Sacrifice in the present for benefit in future. The period of waiting. Necessary cessation. Rebirth, transformation, change in circumstance.

Sacrifice of one thing to gain another.

To stop resisting, to make oneself vulnerable, to exist at the whim of the higher mind and trust the universe will respond. A time of trial, meditation, selflessness, sacrifice, to gain enlightenment, intuitive understanding, and prophecy.

Answers that eluded comprehension will become clear in time. Solutions to problems will be found. All things in time, all things to those who wait, suspended, existing on breath and lack of desire.

Timelessless. Suspension. The feel of the frozen spaces and the lack of change."


That's where I am.

Oh, my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh, my crazy baby
Don’t put out the light...
The light, the light, the light
The light...


Frozen between the human face and the pale kitten and never another form explored. Frozen between wanting and not wanting. Frozen between reaching out and pulling back. Frozen between waiting and giving up. Frozen between creation and stagnation.

That's where I am. How long it lasts...is up to the universe.

(Song is Joan Osborne's "Crazy Baby".)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

in this dangerous world, there's an art to growing old

At least I got to hold him once, before he drifted farther away...

It's an odd thing. The universe rarely has clear-cut signals for me, but I can't think but that this one's unequivocal: I need to be alone for a bit. The statue's gone far from my shores; the wandering satellite has found his orbit again, and is far out on the elliptic; and tonight, the neko lad I had left told me he was leaving.

He will return...they will all return...but not now. It won't be now.

I guess we've hit that point. Because the other thing I know? Is I don't do alone well...

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Welcome to Valruna.

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I wonder where the half-Drow is living these days...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

and don't you know, it's a beautiful new day

*chhhz!* "This is the conductor of the Orr Express, please brace yourselves for hairpin curves ahead..." *chhhz!*

When I started the day, this afternoon (and far too late besides), I was here:

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Oh, not literally--literally, I was wandering around some tropical area behind a screen of silver mist, wondering where the industrial grime and metal of Goth1c0 had gotten to...

...but metaphorically, so to speak. I was braced for disaster. Tragedy was on the horizon, I knew it to my bones.

*chhzzrt!* "Conductor! There is no fire in the crew compartment! I repeat, there is NO FIRE! What do we do?"

*chhhz!* "Relax."

*chhzz!* "...what? Uh, repeat, sir, we don't know how to do that--"

*chhzzrt!* "Then you'll LEARN, won't you?"


And that one spoke up. And we talked. And I made a deal with myself--good or bad, over or not, you will not shade the truth today. You will not angle, you will not slide away, you will not misdirect, you will not treat conversation as a series of glancing blows and painful interchanges. You will stand there, and you will speak truth, and you will LISTEN, damn it, and you will stop mucking about.

And I didn't hold back. I told him that yes, that lad in the corset was something akin to a drug, and I had yet to figure out if it was an addiction I needed to break, or more, as I'm beginning to suspect, a necessary replacement for something my heart sorely lacked...and that yes, I'd shown preference, and yes, I'd neglected my loves, and no, I didn't know how to fix it...

...but that yes, I still loved him, and no, I hadn't turned away, and yes, I'd understand if he had, and yes, in the long run, I think we're bad for each other, and yes, I can see this happening again, even if I'm careful. And I apologized.

Around every conversational turn, it felt like.

And we kept talking. Staggering a bit, here and there, in the midst of a skin designer flinging demo skins at me to wear and decide over, in the midst of picking and choosing which of her drop-dead gorgeous gowns I thought would go with her skins and her hair (I'm telling you now: sachi Vixen's Venetia gown at Adam & Eve. Save up for it. Buy it. Adore it. It is. The prettiest. Gown. EVER)...we kept talking. Long past the point that limbo, by design, should have swallowed me.

And he told me a thing, which also is bound into the silence of the rest of it, but...I felt such a weight lift, it was astounding the freedom I felt in that single moment. I could breathe again. I could move again. My heart burned like a silver lamp in my chest. We'd be fine.

And more, even more incredible...I know now we'll be fine even if he leaves me. How often has that happened? Let me say that again, because it sounds vaguely important.

I know, I know, to the soul of me, to the center of my bones, with every fiber of my being...that if he says goodbye, or if I do, it will not ruin us. We will be friends, we will still care, I'll still love him.

That's happened...twice. Twice. In all my years. I can be acquaintances after, I can be friends, once or twice, as said, close friends...but it's far from the usual pattern. Far from what my brain typically understands.

Now I fling off into limbo to spend the rest of the night, and part of tomorrow, and I'm here:

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Such a vast difference. Such a relief. Such a balm forgiveness is.

It's good to be here.

if you want me, you can find me, left of center, wondering about you

Still wandering the grid, still building, still thinking in the interim moments. Beginning to feel very much as if I have painted myself into a metaphoric corner, but I still can't see any other way I had to get from there to here. So here I wait, until the paint dries.

Joy, I get to think more.

In the meantime, I went to Sector 7, at long last, and looked around.

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Welcome to Hoover Dam. This is, start to finish, I should tell you, an amazing build. The detail is phenomenal, all the small pictures lead to much larger ones so you can really see what I'm talking about. As I stood on the upper road running across the dam, fog kept drifting in and drifting away.

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Two ways to get downstairs--elevator, or stairs. Both are on my left from where I stand in the first shot. The initial downstairs space is insanely yellow, but again, richly textured, vibrant and realistic. Every door leads to something, and I didn't go into them all--I had another goal.

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The elevator was simple to operate and very industrial. Obviously intended to move heavy machinery, not people, and you could tell by the heavy vibration of operation that had me jumping and dancing in place. Fun.

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Down in Sector 7, next to the power stations. I felt so out of place, I really needed the all-in-one coverall from the Die Hard build, but I haven't gone yet, I'm not sure it's still there. There's a set of t-shirts on this level, by the way...somewhere.

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On the far side of the power station, two tunnels that lead to another room, and the free Bumblebee avatar Silverscreen is offering. I stood there for a while, watching people come in, see the avatar box, unpack it, sort out the instructions, and unfold into bright yellow mechs before my eyes. Fun fun stuph.

(Note the reflection of the tunnel on the floor...)

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And this was another wonderfully detailed little room, just off the media center...I can't even count the insane number of prims it must have taken, to lovingly craft each bit of this medical office, but it's staggering, the attention to detail, the intense texturing. Amazing.

I must go back and look around more, I think. I think I've only just touched on the surface of how cool this is. Look for Sector 7, or the Transformers build on Silverscreen, or hells, IM me. I've got the landmark.

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And full circle stop again, at the old same place. This time...I think I'm going to haunt my parcel. I have a little Gothic house in mind...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

but why do I need you to love me, when you can't hold what I hold dear?



He came, and we danced. We held each other close, staring into each others' eyes. We swayed in autumn night air, the fire in the open hearth crackling behind us, the sound of the ocean before us soothing our tender nerves. We talked about loss, and pain, and consequences, and reaffirmed love, and admitted fear.

We danced for over an hour, just holding each other, the dark energy in his hands sinking through me, into me, prickling along my skin. And then...he was gone.




And then...the talk began. And the talk went on for some hours. And the talk...did not go well. I needed to go off and contemplate mortality, and inattention, and mistakes, and general cluelessness, whispered truths and spoken confidences, and all that I now cannot speak of. After wandering the graveyard off the dance square, I discovered an inlet of sea, and rather than change, I just sank to the bottom, steadily inhaling water. It didn't kill me; I didn't expect it to. But it wasn't comfortable.

I didn't want to be comfortable.

Then I sat and watched the moon rise, feeling never so comforted as before. I'll have to get used to that...

with her hooks and her grace

Did a bit of digging through past history today. Still working on occupying the mind, you see, and it's being a tad disobedient. But I read through a lot of old posts, and...

...it's morbidly amusing. Again, appreciate the irony here. The last time I felt like this? It was February. February.

February was such an intense point. Limbo? Forget it, I was too busy for limbo. I was founding relationships, working two careers, living in two different sims, and picked up what will eventually be a slightly lucrative gig, working to bring 300 into the world. I was on the ground running, chasing down leads, talking to virtually everyone I could think of, flying back and forth across the whole of the grid seeking out products that might hopefully work...and in the middle of all of it, in the middle of the month, tragedy struck. And it kept up, ungentle simmering, until the end of the month, when complete emotional breakdown occcurred. And it staggered me more than I ever admitted, to my employers, to most of my friends, at the time.

Oh, the denizens of Steelhead City knew. Whether they'd connected the dots or not, the day it happened, I showed up dead and autopsied, and the demon showed up human, and...there's really not much more to say, there. It was pretty obvious. I tried, I tried to change and look normal, and I'd just...frozen in that form, I couldn't leave it. So...subtle? It wasn't.

But these four intervening months, I've been steadily climbing away from that frozen dead feeling, and I thought I'd finally achieved it. Now I'm right back where I was four months back.

On the plus side, the 'form freezing' this time around seems to be limited to my pale kitten. Which obscurely flashes me back to the mourning days, over the lost princeling.

Schmuck that his current flavor can be at times...

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...oh, that? Yeah, that's a work in progress. That's my first ever coin belt, and it will be made into, once I'm done, a fifteen-piece outfit.

It's easily the most complicated piece of attire I've ever put together. And I really don't think I can list it for more than $L250.

My own insecurities as a designer notwithstanding, however, still wrestling with ephemera. Oddly.

Oh, and the Upstairs at Dorian Gray's opened.

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It's actually not a bad little set-up. Of course there were technical glitches, and the space is still much too white, but..my boss did a fabulous job of putting up bright, vibrant portraits, throw rugs in warm jewel tones, a cosy little bar area, tropical plants, a slideshow painting with images of the dancers...

Plus, upstairs, there's a big changing room, there's a training room, and there's two private dance rooms. What more can a gentlemens' club want?

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And at the end of the day? The "DG Head Kitten" became one in truth. This is never not going to be funny.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I went off to fight some battle that I'd invented inside my head

Last night, I tried to make a dress. I got farther than I'd gotten previously, I still have the skirt to do, but...my concentration was flawed. I spoke with that one, and...we are not yet dead, we are not dead, we are...still postponing, but that still makes it hurt to breathe.

I needed to speak openly, something I can now not do with my friends, with those closest to me, something I cannot do with friends of his, and not because I fear tainting them, but because I have been bound from speech at all.

I thought it was time. I needed to return once more to the crypt of my fallen princeling, speak to his brittle bones, rant my pain to the universe...but he has been unearthed.

Literally.

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When I arrived at the home of the Transylvanians, the Forsaken family crypt, I found myself standing on sharp dark stones, staring at a river of lava pouring from the mountains' heights. This was not the cool dark undertunnels of the family home I remembered, the Italianate manse built over the old pirates' smuggling bay, cool lapping of distant water in the subbasements, as I meandered my way to the bones of my lost love.

This was...frightening, in a way. Had the manse been moved? Was that it?

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I descended, carefully hovering, from the heights down the side, where I could dimly see structures, and...now my heart was in my throat. They'd all been slain, I knew this now, because...those were palm trees, goddamn it. Palm trees and tiki huts and what in the seven hells was going on???

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I descended further, following little pools of gleaming blue water over glimmering pink--pink! PINK!!--sands, to the largest of the tiki huts I could see. There were surfboards in front of it. My heart sank. I knew I was in the Forsaken sim. What on earth had happened?

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Hovering further down the beach, flinching at the beach towels and the fishing competition rods and the pale marble wedding pavilion...I find something that resembles the Forsaken manse I'd known. Italianate...vaguely...and open-air, but...it was something. I made for it, intending to track down secret passages inside.

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It was a ballroom. The stairs up led upstairs. There was...nothing else, nothing underneath, nothing but more sand and the foundation.

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I looked. I sent my consciousness out, forth, descending below the level of the marble tiles, and stared in numb incomprehension at the blue blue water lapping at the pink sands of the foundation under the ballroom stones.

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I tracked down a teleportation hub, and spent some time traveling to every location listed. My lost princeling's remains were in none of them. Finally, I took courage in hand and went to the cave I'd noticed under the river of lava. It was guarded by some dark creature indeed, and I had to narrowly edge past the burning brands of his eyes.

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It was hot, in the cave under the river of lava. That's an understatement, really, but it's true--the floor was slowly cooling lava, the stereo system and furnishings scattered about on the burning stones mystically enchanted not to burn. I touched foot to floor once, thinking I was wrong, and quickly shot to hovering distance again.

I'll regrow that, but I do not like the smell of me burning.

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I'd done everything I could to find him. I sent a mental message, resonating with shock, to the head of the Forsaken clan, the Transylvanians now ensconced in their cosy pink-sand abode. She sent back word to me that the current flavor of my lost prince had wronged her, deeply, and she had destroyed his crypt because she would never, never forgive him.

*hangs her head*

Seems to be a lot of that going around...

I still have his soul. I have some small few other items remaining. I may make my own reliquary, but...it will not be the same. It will not have the impact of scenting his bones on the air, the ash and the calcium slowly falling to dust. It will not be the same at all...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

to carry the weight of unravelling where we went wrong

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got enough guilt to start my own religion

Sometimes we got lost in love
Sometimes we got lost in our lives
But I, I didn't want to lose you...


Not lost yet, I tell myself. Not lost yet. But me, I don't know what it will take to save it. And I do not know, after hours of contemplation, if trying to save it is the best thing to do...

So now the hard work begins. My mind still searches for busywork to take me away from it, but in the still moments, in the quiet moments, I have to think, and I have to let myself think, about what I don't want to think about. About what's best. About what's going to work. About love, and loss, and...saying goodbye.

I've been raising up my hands--drive another nail in
Where are those angels when you need them?


The ultimate question is, can I salvage the friendship? That's paramount. I do not want to lose him in all parts of my life, it will be...unbearable. Besides, I've done that once, and the terror of trying to rebuild a friendship on the ashes of a love...it didn't work. It's only now that maybe, maybe, there's hope, and...even that took making some fairly severe mistakes I don't like to contemplate.

But the rest of it...I've said before I don't fight well for love. I talk, I try to persuade, I try to cajole, I do my best not to manipulate or deceive to keep, but...that's when others wish to leave me. And I can't fight at all when the other wishes to seek another love, not me, and move on.

But this isn't that. This is the other wishing me to let them go. And the question nagging at the back of the brain is, am I hurting them by trying to keep them? Have I made too many mistakes? Is what we have, what we had, before now, salvageable at all, in any wise?

Is it already over?

Is it still me that makes you sweat?
Am I who you think about in bed?
When the lights are dim and your hands are shaking as you're sliding off your dress?
Then think of what you did
And how I hope to God he was worth it...


Was it all meeting the one that threw it all away? Everything I've gone through here, everything I've carefully built and tended, thrown away because of inattention, because of distraction, because of...was it all that, was that one the final straw, was there no going back past the point of...did the fire start to burn out then?

And we're back to the main, of doing what's best for him, forget about me...me, I know, I bounce, it's what I do. I get wounded, I get more scars, I get more wary...pattern of a life, why does it matter? I don't want to drag the one I love farther down than they have to go...I don't want to be the desperate clinging vine. Even if it's what my heart is screaming, I don't want need to override reason, fear to override understanding.

Am I saying he's more important than I am? Probably.

Cool waves wash over
and drift away with dreams of youth
so time is stolen
I cannot hold you long enough...


But where's the line between what's good for me and what's best for them, and is what I want good for me, for either of us? What the hell do I want, while we're asking? I say I want what I have, but if I did really want that, we wouldn't have come to this point. I say I don't want things to change, but chaos fuels me, powers me, sends me spinning out into the world, and my bones are wrapped in winds of alteration. I mean, really, think of the irony--the shapeshifter wants things to stay the same. Come on, now. Any more irony and I'd be pressed flat by the weight of it.

Tell me what it takes to let you go
Tell me how the pain's supposed to go
Tell me how it is that you can sleep in the night
Without thinking you lost everything that was good in your life to the toss of the dice?
Tell me what it takes to let you go...


And I keep spinning in circles, trying to find the way through the brambles. Any way I choose I get pierced on the thorns, and here I am again, and how does this keep happening? And all I want is a simple solution...that doesn't end with farewell, and maybe that's the point of it, the point of all the pain of contemplation, to force me to see there may not be another way.

It's hard. It's not the hardest thing I've ever done, here--I think that will ever be, my dance with the demon--but gods, it's closer than I want to come. And I never meant to hurt either of them, but especially, not this one. Never wanted any hurt to be dealt by my hands, and I have dealt such grievous hurt as I never knew I could, and the wounds will not heal easily. I want to deny. I want to turn away. I can't do either, because I did this, I am responsible. I have to stay aware of that.

Just tell me what you've got to say to me
I've been waiting for so long to hear the truth
It comes as no surprise at all you see
So cut the crap and tell me that we're through...


And I shy away from this so hard...part of me, as ever, wants to resolve this, solve it, make it done, tuck it away, have it be over, good or bad, right or wrong...my solution to the Gordian knot frequently being to take the damned sword and cut through all the multiwoven strands. But I tremble every time I think of this approach, because it could go so very, very wrong...

On the other hand, will waiting make it better? We are here now, we have all but spoken the words of leavetaking, the words I can't go back on, as much as now, my traitor heart is considering loopholes in the system...and I know it's only due to the potential loss stealing my breath that I'm even considering going back, to anyone I've lost...

...but...will it be worse, stretched out over a week, two weeks, a month, more? Will it be easier to say the words and end things? Will it be harder? It leaves me, it leaves them, trapped in the limbo of my own indecision, and is that wise in the long run? How much pain am I willing to deal before I finally admit there's too much heart's blood on my hands?

How much will I make them endure until I finally gain the courage to say the words I never want to hear?

(Lyric section from the top taken from Tia Carrere's "Why You Wanna Break My Heart". Second segment from Tori Amos' "Crucify". Third stanza from Panic! At the Disco's "Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off". Fourth stanza is from Enya's "On Your Shore". Next-to-the-end chorus from Aerosmith's "What It Takes". Last capture from White Town's "Your Woman". Before anyone goes into overanalysis mode on the song choices...they're all pointed at me, not him.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

don't want to be around when this gets out

We dance. We dance because she's hurting, and she needs help to keep from tears. We dance because we're her friends, and because she asked us. We dance because she's playing tunes, for us, for herself, for the one she lost.

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Now I wonder about the timing; the universe is frequently random, but it touches base quite often with intentioned action. My neko lad says we've lost the sense of intimacy, and I wonder if he's right. My wandering satellite feels he's been supplanted. And I wonder on that, too.

We do not know how or why, we don't know if it's important enough to ask. He is gone and we are here; that seems to be all we need to know. He is gone and we dance at her behest; so we stay and dance.

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She is nothing like me, but I like her. Were I possessed of a magic potion to spare her this pain, I would use it. But pain is another constant of the universe, and pain is apparently coin of my realm--I respond to it, always, and I deal it deliberately, on occasion, but far too often I deal it unconsciously, sleight of hand that tricks even me, unknowing, unplotted, unforeseen. How do I stop being who my life has made me?

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She has a lovely dwelling, light and airy. She doesn't mind meeting the circus that is, on occasion, my life and my friends. She lives beside a beach and an occasionally floating tiki bar and loves to play music in various clubs. She loves to dance, like I love to dance, and some nights, it's the only thing that cheers her. As I.

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He doesn't know how to tell me of good things; he doesn't know how to tell me I've hurt him; and I can only do my best not to do it again, and know I will, and cringe well in advance of future hurt dealt. Why is it so hard, I keep thinking, but I know it's not just him, that in large part it's me...and I don't know how to learn from this to avoid hurting him, hurting others, in future...

She laughs when he jumps on the pole in her living room, but he does it partially to cheer her. I watch him out of the corner of my eye, as I dance with her, as I make idle banter designed to engage the surface of her mind away from mourning, idle chatter designed to make her laugh, myself. It may not last, the light mood coming over her, but for now, for this small while...she can laugh, and maybe that's the point.

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There are things, private things, things that cut to the very core of me, and I'm told these are the things that I should share with those I love. But how do I know, just facing them on the surface? I don't let some things slip my lips for any reason; some secrets my heart keeps simply because it can. How do I know the difference between 'must be shared' and 'must be secret' overall?

We dance, and I envy her dances, and I vow at some point to learn her steps. I know where she learned, so I know where to go, it's just affording the class fees. I tire of lifting dances back out of my dance bracelet's memory, to perform, too, and I wonder about investing in one of those happy little machines, like she has, to invite others to dance with me, move with my moves, move in synchronous orbit around whatever floor we take over to spin, to pivot, to circle in motion.

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There's nothing I know to erase the pain already dealt. I wish to the soul of me there was. There's nothing I can do but be sorry, and be sorry again, and be sorry to need to be sorry a third time. There's nothing I can do but try to do better, and wonder how often I'll fail. I denied things that caused him pain because I wished to deny things; on some level, even if it was not a conscious one, I made the choice to deny such knowledge. How often will I do that in future? How often now am I blind to the results of my choices?

She changes into a Spice Girls outfit and it makes me laugh; the club she greets at frequently has amusing themes and I miss that, some part of me--finding themes, dressing for them, giving my best effort, and dancing the night away. I think it's why I'm so ardent for the themed dances in Steelhead, because it's the same thing--dress up and go play, though I rarely go expecting to win.

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And even this memory, this night, this necessary aiding of a friend in pain...was at the expense of someone else's feelings, and...how can I make that add up? And how many times is he free, and I don't invite him to where I am, because I think he's busy, because I think he won't want to come, without ever simply asking him? And how many times are we going to reach this point of pain and suffering? How many times before one or both of us decides the pain is too heavy to be borne?

She turns from me and now I am her shadowed reflection, matching her moves not mirror, but echo, and this amuses me far too much. Those I came with are still across the floor, talking in quiet voices; she and I dance and talk about inconsequentials that women know are still vital: tell me where you found your hair, that dress is lovely, let me talk about this manufacturer, let me show you my latest style. Things that can and do drive most men completely out of their minds, we willingly engage in, because on some level it means, the other is paying attention, devoted to us, picking out details to comment on, and sometimes, that's all we need, good or bad.

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And in the days preceding and following, the short span of time, I found myself doing things I'd never thought to do again, like shopping for the demon; I found myself doing things I'd never thought to do at all, like spinning in a stone pavilion in the doctor's arms. And in between the mundane and the surreal, pain. Pain I can't deny, pain I can't fix. How can I mend the heart I broke? Some things take time, and sometimes, time is not what I have.

Now I dance to match her moves, step by step, before the frenzy that is my life picks up again, and I am precise, I am her echo, muscle by extended muscle, step by swirling step, and the smell of the ocean, the bamboo slats, the heat of bodies in the room not mine...for this form is my succubus after all, the senses, though muted, are keener for some things...I dismiss it all with a wave of my hand as immaterial, and continue dancing.

At some point, she will go to bed, and I think now she will go to bed with some ease in her heart; a glad memory to balance pain, and really, some nights, that's all we have to offer. It's in the nature of a good deed, mayhap, to begin to outweigh all the ill dealt. It's something, at least. It's all I have.

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Sometimes I don't even have that. Sometimes I can do nothing at all, and rail at the universe for giving me no visible options. It's not what I wanted, never what I wanted, to hurt him so...and knowing it was my own actions hurt him, not some invention that I could then play down, discount, dismiss as immaterial...this is material. This is pain inflicted from my own hands, the blood on them never mine. And it's not the first time I've done it, and when do I stop?

I think I tire of this dance, too...and I can't seem to be able to stop on my own.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

so what's it gonna take, silver shadow believer?

[This journal has never been a place where I address concerns of the larger world, by and large. On rare occasion, it does happen. This might be one of those occasions...]

So, moving towards yesterday, I was keeping a thing mostly private. In this second life, on the grid, the date I arrived is July 10th--which is coming up in less than a month, and yes, there will be a party, I just have to decide whether or not it's going to also announce the opening of Taiyou in Steelhead.

But off the grid, just a little past limbo, I have another arrival date, which was yesterday. For personal reasons--some of them centering on the fact that off the grid, in that first life, it wasn't expected I'd survive to this age--I hadn't made a large deal about announcing this day of birth. I was...somewhat completely whelmed...that I was walking around at all.

That, in itself, was celebration enough, I felt.

But--in the course of conversation with certain individuals--I did mention it, now and again. And here's how it plays out from there.

I told Sir Edward Pearse. He is a very close friend, I was witness and 'best man' at his wedding, we talk a great deal about virtually everything. He thought about it, and thought, yes, this deserves wider exposure. So he told his new bride, the Lady Christine McAllister Pearse.

She thought about it, and thought, yes, this deserves wider exposure still. So she told the Sheriff of Steelhead, Fuzzball Ortega.

Fuzzball thought about it, and told every citizen of Steelhead.

::laughs::

So all day long, I kept hearing from close friends, Steelhead citizens, Caledon citizens, getting well wishes, gifts, and compliments I'd never anticipated receiving. I was more than whelmed by this, I still am.

Among the many gifts I received, some few did stand out, as always. Lady Christine gave me a lovely ornate vase full nearly to bursting with tea roses, and I'm currently plotting whether that's going on the mantel of my home, or the mantel of Taiyou. Mr. Gnarlihotep Abel found a lovely vintage chaise lounge in antique rose velvet with gilt trim, and it's so very plush and comfortable.

My landlord and dear friend gave me a large card that plays the Beatles song "Happy Birthday". This tickles me. His lady wife offered a scary number of sculpt maps which I will now have to play with. My boss at Amat needed my presence at the club, and, when I did let it slip about the birthday thing, she graciously allowed me to dance there--as neko, not human.

And Lord Bardhaven and my neko lad both gave me beautiful items of attire...that I cannot wear in public.

::laughs again::

Thank you. Thank you all. I am humbled and astounded, and deeply touched, and you made a day that I spent with my heart in my throat not only full of care and wonder, but very, very fun. Here's to many more "birthdays"--and rez days! to come.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

and the broken glass and the dead dead trees

Just seat me in the vivisection, guys, it should be interesting from here on out...

((RP Mode....I guess))

Went to the pirate event tonight, in Steelhead. Danced overlong at Dorian's, trying to make some Lindens for the desperate need for rent, and ended up combining bits of three store-bought outfits into one wearable--if slightly licentious--one, and fairly flew to Steelhead, nearly twenty minutes late. Lunar rushed to my side when I climbed aboard ship, pulling me to the foredeck, whispering that Miss Qlippothic was mysteriously delayed, and there was no one to host, and please, could I?

So...what was I to do? I took over, organizing as quickly as I could, Fawkes grabbing my arm as I went by after setting out my tip jar, grinning and pulling me into a dance...and what was I to say then, too? No?

No.

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Of course I danced, but I also welcomed people aboard, reminding everyone of the fact that the dance prizes were donated (by Miss Abby Coalcliff of Devilish Cupcake, so sweet of her!), and our DJ Fuzzball Ortega worked hard serving up our very odd requests, and deserved tipping, and in the meantime people are tipping me...

...and twenty minutes later, Miss Qli shows up.

I bespeak her quickly, mind to mind--once a member of the Unseelie, always, and it was convenient--and explain the situation. I'm rushed, perhaps tactless, and I did not mean to be--I meant to ask if she wished to take over, and I think I more implied I'd taken over, but either way, the words were out, and she...shrugged. Released her chosen duty. Said she'd have to get used to not hosting anyway...

While I was puzzling over her unexpected change in attitude, my friend Midnight, now a pirate Captain in her own right, came aboard ship, saw her clockwork damsel in distress, and swept her away to the islands, most likely, while the rest of us spun and whirled. And the night went on, but my mind went into overdrive. Something was wrong.

Much as I didn't want to admit it, something was wrong with this. And much as I didn't want the responsibility, I had to change it.

A few hours went by, the ones I kept company with unknowing as I carefully constructed a spell I'd only used once before. Precarious to build, precarious to fuel, it would allow me to walk at a distance, speak and be heard, see and be seen...all while remaining in my own location, far away. I do believe, now and ever, Dr. Mason is absolutely trustworthy with my person...but it wasn't the doctor I was after.

While the physical portion of me danced on a distant island, my shade stalked Steelhead, walking up to the Bloodwing Foundation, ghosting through the front door. I noticed my picture on the wall of the front room as I passed, and it steeled my resolve. I followed the faint energy traces of the Doctor--and the scent of formaldehyde even my shade could pick up--until I found him, taking a break in his laboratory.

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I sighed behind him. "Darien..." I began.

He turned, removing his goggles, eyebrows raising. "Yes Miss Orr?"

And the distant pose, I thought, we had no time for, and he wasn't the one I wanted to talk to anyway. I strode closer to him, leaning down, looking in his eyes, calling up every memory I had of the incubus, good and bad, and called his name again. An answering flicker of flame, deep in the Doctor's blue eyes, and I knew there was some sort of connection.

"You do realize how happy you made Darkling, when you--demonic you--showed up at that hotel?"

"And Lumina," the distant, dark voice said, and I nodded. And Lumina. How could he not?

And I talked. Slightly angry, slightly frustrated, slightly confused, and I won't say I haven't missed talking to the demon, on occasion, as much as I've held myself away. We discussed changes in his daughter, changes in the Doctor, good and bad and indifferent, and changes in the town.

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I remembered the outfit I'd worn the night of the slave auction in Lumindor, that started the leavetaking. Unwilling, but it seemed to strengthen the connection. And we kept talking, instruments ticking around us, the rest of Steelhead asleep.

We talked of daughters growing up, and growing pains, and heartache. We talked of punishment and employment and consequence. I talked about the Steelhead host position, and how he'd be very nearly perfect for it--the demon's silver tongue, his love of dancing, his odd charisma, and his perfect web of contacts across the grid...and we finally came to his banishment, and the reasons for it.

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Memories kept flooding back, as if the floodgates, once released, would never close. I remembered walking around dead the day he said goodbye, because I felt dead inside. I remembered not being able to change before I went to the town meeting, and shocking all those who saw me, skin stretched and stitched, hair grey straw, smile sutured in place.

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And all the memories in between...watching Taiyou go up, day by day, marveling at the structure, at Lunar's skill as builder. Knowing he was building it for me as much as for the town, and being astounded he'd go so far just for an employment opportunity.

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I remembered the winter that I started working at Le Jardin, and wandering the world away from Steelhead...it nearly felt as if I were two people, one little shifter in tatterdemalian Victorian dress, and the older neko in mourning, wandering the odd places across the grid, because she only felt at home with oddity, until she recovered from the loss of her prince.

And here I looked into the eyes of another prince I'd lost.

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I couldn't be sure, but I was fairly convinced when I first met Darien, in the lobby of Le Jardin, I was still wearing the mourning band. I don't think I took it off until well into December, may in fact have had it on for our second meeting at the Enigma, Christmas night.

In fact...I'm sure of it.

I watched his eyes, watched the Doctor's mouth, and heard words I never thought I'd hear either of them speak.

"Well," the demon's voice said, "If you want to summon him yourself and forgive him, that would break the banishment..."

I blinked. That simple? Just that? Just...

...wait. What was it the rumors had said, in far places? I'd heard them, how did they go? I didn't realize I was speaking aloud until I heard the echo on the air.

"Say his name three times and he shall appear to satisfy your desires, and his own. Be warned..."

I looked up, meeting his eyes. I won't say he laughed; it was too serious a moment for that. But I definitely got the impression that I'd misunderstood.

"The desire," he said softly, "in this case, being forgiveness."

That simple, I thought again. Nothing was that simple. I looked warily at him.

"Well," he said, the flames dancing in the Doctor's eyes. "What would you say to undo 'no more demon, no more'?"

And I could have struck myself, in that moment, save my hand would have passed straight through my face. Words flung in anger by a woman hurt by his hand, bad enough, but--a shifter new to the Unseelie, named phouka and later succubus? What sort of power did such a being hold, unknowing or not?

I sighed, feeling abysmally out of my depth. "Universe took it that literally, did it?"

"Yep," he said. And waited. And I had to think about it.

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After all, I'd changed a lot in the months since he'd been gone. I'd left Lumindor, I'd pried the succubus out of Dark City, I'd made my peace with my demonic fledgling and we seemed to function more or less in synch. I'd discovered love unexpected, undreamt of, and walked away from so many in my life, in the meantime. I'd suffered additional heartbreak, suffered financial crisis, learned to build, learned to script, learned to make clothes, set up a small business...once everything was finally in place, I was in line to run Taiyou...I'd gotten back into dancing, and become a model, and...

Of course I didn't want to go back, but that wasn't what we were discussing. I wouldn't be asking the demon to return for me. Maybe I was just asking the demon to return, for I'd never meant to banish him in the first place.

Even the ticking of the lab's instruments fell still as I spoke.

"It was...never my intent, nor my will, to banish one I'd loved to such terrible punishment. It was never my will to remove one others loved from this plane. All I wanted, all I wanted, was an end to it..."

I trailed off as I watched him, realizing I meant that. An end to pain between us, an end to the games, an end to him trying to draw me back into his life...I left House Bloodwing because of it, I walked away from the demon entirely, and I very nearly left Steelhead...for memories, if nothing else, but because at one point, even seeing him was a a blow to my heart, making me wince and curl inward, and I'd grown long tired of flinching at the sight of horns.

"But through all of it," I continued, blinking my insubstantial lids, "...No, I never wanted the demon removed."

I took a deep and completely unnecessary breath, ghosting through the back wall, rising through the earth until I stood behind the house, listening to the call of the sea. It took some time, but I finally heard the creaking of the Doctor's wheeled chair moving around the foundation, out onto the grass. I turned, watching him approach, a wind I couldn't feel lifting strands of my dark red hair, sudden electricity raising my lilac fur, even as a shade. I waited until he was close enough to see his eyes clearly, once more. If I was to do this, I wanted it done right...and I wanted it done tonight.

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"Bloodwing, I forgive you. Bloodwing, I summon you back. Bloodwing, I break your banishment. Is it enough?"

Lightning struck the ground behind me, and I whirled. I saw Darien, winged, horned Darien, rise from the earth, form caked in hoarfrost, frost cloud billowing from the garments he wore. His fire eyes glowed first, unearthly, then his hands were lit with limbic glow, and soon, his entire form held its own nimbus, crackling with energy. Behind me, the Doctor said something, but I admit, I was too stunned to hear. Something in me honestly hadn't thought it would work...

The ice coating him shattered, and he dropped to the ground, his wings limp, and slowly, oh, so slowly, lifted to his feet. I felt him drift through me, sudden savage chill shaking me to the core, and he was behind me. His voice sounded frozen, as well, but it was gaining in strength.

"Thank you...Emilly..."

I nodded once, watching the waves, then turned, and watched the last of the Darien I remembered meld with the Doctor in the chair, as he stood on shaking legs.

"I never intended such pain," I said. "It was more than you dealt me. It's unfair. It's time it was over."

"It was the pain I felt I deserved. Threefold at the very least."

I watched him, tapping an extended claw against a lilac-furred arm, thinking.

"Do you still feel you deserve it? If so, the universe will find a way to act on your will again."

The demon sighed. "As long as I've learned my lesson...yes."

I squared my shoulders, nodded, and hoped it was enough. I dissipated the spell and watched Steelhead, and the demon, fade from view, and returned to my physical form--which immediately collapsed to the floor of the bamboo cabana Fawkes and I were dancing in.

He leaned over me, worried. I smiled with what energy I had, shrugging again.

"The demon," I whispered, "is back."

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Let's hope he has learned his lesson, in truth, or...the dance will continue. And this time, I go into the dance armed.