((RP mode...to a point))
I'm gonna fight 'em all
A seven-nation army couldn't hold me back
They're gonna rip it off
Takin' their time right behind my back
It's like watching gathering storm clouds. It's like watching the armies gather on the field in the early morning, men yawning to stay awake, the restlessness before the swords start to ring. Get on with it, she hears a thread of voice say, and can't determine where it's from.
But the first blow was struck far from the fields she knows, the blow that nearly took her down, the blow that weakened her beyond all bearing. The conflict she so anticipated, so planned for...doesn't seem to matter much in the face of it.
And I'm talking to myself at night
Because I can't forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette
And the message coming from my eyes
Says leave it alone...
She went traveling of an afternoon, far from fae lands, far from her lands. Even the thought makes her smile, but there's little humor in the look. Fae lands? Her lands? Where are those? The sithen is no more, the sithen is taken, the sithen holds human fates now. Her lands do not feel like home anymore.
She lies by the fire, concentrating on breathing. The horse lord speaks to her in her musings, speaks of confusion, speaks of endings. She can tell him only what she's told others--she is hurt; she is wounded; she will recover. He speaks of letting go.
She lets him.
Don't want to hear about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell
One thing after another drops away. Ground gained, ground lost, men and women choosing sides. She watches. She hasn't yet begun her battle, she's been distracted elsewhere, and yet it's begun for her. Her private little war gone public, when all she wanted was an accord of terms.
She never meant for things to get this out of hand. But then, she never does, and it does. She never wanted anyone to feel they had to choose. They chose anyway.
She never asked anyone to help her fight. They decided that on their own.
She's too tired to care.
And it would be so easy to give up, so easy to give in. The pain at times, it's overwhelming. All the work she's done to keep her heart open, and the first serious strike goes right through those open gates, and sets her heart ablaze. Irony nearly too rich to swallow, there. She swallows it anyway. Irony's supposed to be good for the blood, or something.
Everything I've done I've done for you...I move the stars for no one.
She never asked.
She wanders the grounds of land not hers, alone, her loves far away in places she can't reach. That's fine for now; she's not good at being alone, but she's learning. She's learning she'll have to heal this one in stages, and some of the stages have to be solitary.
And if I catch it coming back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
She's always been too stubborn for her own good. She's never learned in all her years to submit with grace. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, now. Maybe with this blow, she has to struggle a bit. It wouldn't feel like a lesson, otherwise. Lessoning's supposed to come with effort, like medicine's supposed to taste bad.
If it doesn't taste bad, how else would people know it's meant to heal? And this one tastes of bitter on the tongue, futility and loss. She needs these feelings, she needs to accept them, or it will happen again. That she's accepting with ill grace, well, that's just her nature.
She's never made things easy on anyone, least of all herself.
It's awful quiet here, since love fell asleep.
At least it sleeps, and wakes, and sleeps again. It's not missing. That's an unanticipated blessing, and it's what makes her able to heal at all.
But oh, she's so slow. She's not used to feeling this slow. Changing takes effort, now, energies she hasn't had to use in decades used to alter her flesh, change her patterns. Because of the blow, everything lags behind. Char around her heart like burnt linen, the edges crisping and flaking away to even casual touch.
She deals with that too. It's like learning to walk again, moving across the floor, resting her weight differently, grimacing at the pain. The hours spent in the healing pool, water hot as blood, hot as skin, around her. Walking back and forth against the giving pressure. Arch and release. Pull and push. Move, keep moving. Tread water and start it all over again.
She's so tired.
And the feeling coming from my bones
Says find a home...
She wanders the place where the eyes used to be, finding only trees. It's a curious reversal from most of her wanderings--finding nature where she expected commerce. Normally it's the other way around. For all that it's pretty, for all that it has its own form of healing for her, like the pretty temple before, like the fae isle before that...she'd rather have the eye shop.
If pain could be seen... But she knows the answer to that one. Few would want to see her then, or themselves. She's been blessed of late with people who understand, people who bear their own wounds, and working to heal those, helps her heal her own. Wired in circuit, she is, forming bonds, forming alliances, but not for the battlefield, not for the fight.
These bonds, these bindings, she's chosen. Love, not apathy. Friendship, true friendship, amicus, amare...over hate and mistrust. Maybe that's why she had to shred her wings, maybe that's why she had to be brought to ground.
Relearning. Repatterning. Reforging her soul.
She's so tired of life in the crucible, as well, but she does keep breaking. Maybe this time, the casting will hold true.
I'm going to Wichita
Far from this opera forevermore
I'm gonna work the straw
Make the sweat drip out of every pore
She returns to her first home, her feet able to find it even sleeping, even wounded. Snow still lays heavy on the ground and the cold is bitter. She sits for a while at the base of her tree anyway, breathing it in. It's home after all, cold and pale, as she is currently. It seems to suit.
It will be warmer upstairs, she knows, surrounded by visions of another forest, far from where she sits. But she prefers a more human reality, for just a bit--winter, and chill, droplets of dark blood like ink dripping from her wounded wings.
Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in.
And I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding
Right before the Lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me
And I will sing no more
There is an old story, and she finds more relevance in it, the more the years scroll by. There was a woman, it begins, who had a love and had a life she adored. She had home and hearth, support and shelter. Food in plenty and love in plenty, and she thought it was enough.
But illness came in the window like a thief, like a warrior. It stole her love and she was left alone, to heal. She healed as well as she could but the effort hardened her heart. She grew afraid, she became bitter, she pushed everyone away, she did not want to hurt again.
She stayed alone for many years, until she met one who brought her love unasked, one who wished to love her. And slowly, slowly, she thawed. She allowed this one into her heart, into her home, and it was nearly as it was.
And then a storm came, wind and water, lashing at her home, her garden, her love who left to try to save the land. Her love, the land, washed away, and her heart broke a second time.
She could not bear it, she thought, not again, and when she was well enough to travel, she went to the nearest temple. She lit incense before the Goddess of that place and spoke words in anger.
Why did You do this to me again, she asked, over and over. Why? Why did I have to lose love twice? What possible lesson is in this?
And the voice of her Goddess, gentle as rain, implacable as loss, came to her ears.
Your heart broke the first time, too. And it healed. But it didn't heal right. So it had to be broken again, so it will heal strong and true.
And the stains comin' from my blood
Tell me go back home...
She didn't understand the story, when she first heard it. She thinks she may now. Her heart, her wounded heart, it hadn't healed right, either. But she thought it had.
So she was wrong. It had to be broken again, so it can heal right this time. So it will heal strong and true.
She curls up inside her tree, warm and safe and in love's arms. She talks more now, she blindly reacts less, and she may walk out of all of this vastly changed.
But she will walk out of this. She has no doubt of it. She will stand, and she will stand supported, and she will love again. She does already.
And the still small voice inside of her smiles, and says she's finally learning. For all that she's the most stubborn student in the class.
So she'll be slow. So she'll be stubborn. But she will learn from this.
Hold on to yourself. This is gonna hurt like hell.
It already does. But it's supposed to. How else would she know she's wounded, and be forced to take care of herself?
(Main lyrics are "Seven Nation Army" from the White Stripes.)