See it as she saw it: wounded fae fluttering too near the winter span of branches. Not paying attention the way she should have been. Backdraft knocks her out of the slow orbit she'd been in, trying yet again to figure out where she was, how she got there. Wings now tangled hopelessly in clawed barked tree-fingers and she's tangled.
There's a metaphor in this, she thinks.
She patiently untangles her bright butterfly span, watching them tatter to shifting shreds, sighing as she realizes how she'll be getting down. She reaches out, seeing if there's anyone she knows from the Court in the area.
It's a long shot, these days. The Court is so scattered. So many have left, and the Queen has not yet sent out another Call. She hasn't been back to the Land since...since...
Since the lad from the East left, she thinks, and feels him. Somewhere. Close by.
'Close' being relative...
She swallows, the thought sent nearly before she thinks to think it, and feels his attention turn to her, stuck fast in the winter tree. He is wary now, her Eastern lad. She has made him wary, then? She waits, tearing through glimmer and dust, freeing another section from another branch, pain now in the motions, in the tearing, and hears him, listening for her.
Only...not her. Not her, no longer. Listening for chimes in her sent 'voice'.
She sighs softly. Works at the last branch holding her fast.
"There are no chimes," she sends, even her mental voice quiet. "She's left me."
There's a pause at that, distracting her--does he mourn, a little, as she does? Does he wish her succubus remained? Is he relieved? The fact she cannot tell bothers her.
A moment of distraction is all it takes, and even knowing she'd end up this way, she cries out, annoyed and surprised as she tears free of the last branch holding her, and subsequently falls, dark waters below the tree closing over her head, chilling her intensely.
When she rises, she's blue, literally--hair, eyes, skin. Spontaneous change from fae to...whatever, the wings absorbed back into her form as useless, until they heal. She staggers across the stones of the abandoned keep, goggling faintly at the huge winged statues she finds, blinking near-ice water from her eyes as she stares at an arrangement of chairs, on a raised dais.
She curls up on one, thinking, any punishment, she'll accept, but she'll at least die warm, tucking her hands underneath her arms, pulling her legs up against her torso, shivering for a long moment. When she can think again, she unkinks, wringing out her hair, and switches, form to form to form, keeping the blue but changing hair, and digging out an emergency outfit she keeps near at hand.
She changes while she considers what else to say. They send idle quiet thoughts, back and forth, and then he asks. Of the Land, of people they knew, of the Court.
And she can't find words to answer at first, but finally, she sighs once more, pausing against one of the giant, windworn statues.
"I haven't been back to the Land," she sends, "since..." She thinks. She casts her mind back. When was the last time she was in Lumindor?
She sighs again. "Since...you went...wherever it was you went," she sends softly. Gods. So much time away from the source of magic, of life...no wonder she's finding it hard to breathe.
She hears him sigh, and she hangs her head, impressions drifting through her of his form trudging through snow, ice on branches, lowering clouds in a darkened sky. Feels the pain of it as his hands press against the spikes implanted under his flesh.
She listens to him send apologies, and her eyes open wide. Her Eastern lad, apologizing? For...what 'had to be done'? What had to be done? What could possibly....
"He was growing so...loud...Things needed silenced," he sends, and she reels a bit, back pressed to one dark-carved wing. This lad, this boy...she'd unthinkingly dismissed on occasion...had severed his tie, his supposedly life-long tie, to the incubus within him...and...then...
She turned the thought to him, but could no longer find him, his mind out of reach of her weakened abilities. She slumped to the ground, mind whirring in off-kilter patterns. Her demoness had departed, separating from her while they both still abided in Hell, all that she truly remembered of that mad time, until she was forced back to the surface, back to the light.
While...somewhere, at some time...her Eastern lad had found a way to do the same thing, to his demon. How...And more to the point, why...
She shook her head. No, it was too much for her to comprehend, just now. She drew in a shaky breath, forced her body's limited resources to grow a new set of wings, and shot up like a sail caught by wind, freed from tether--miles above the ground before she managed to slow down, gasping in the thin air.
She had to press on, she had to find shelter before dark. Those were her imperatives now. The rest...
...the rest, well, she'd think on later. Depending. She'd regrown bone of leg, of arm, and lost enough blood to turn her ice-white; she'd survived (very well, with help) nigh a dozen iron-tipp'd arrows piercing her flesh. She could manage to survive the cleaving of one soul.
After all, she was fae. Unseelie, Sidhe-sided, shifter true...wasn't that what she'd always said? What's one soul wound to one such as her? She wasn't supposed to have a soul anyway...
...Mayhap that was the problem, she thought, as she flew off towards what passed for home. She pressed a small hand against her chest, breathing. For was it soul that bled and hurt for the loss of the thing she'd never asked to be? Or was it her? In which case, the wound was physical, not metaphoric...wasn't it?
Starshine glittered across her wide eyes as she flew, horizon line dipping as she struggled to fly true.