The Loneliest Traid

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  • Published: 2 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 13 May 2017
  • Status: Complete
Love and death and war and Gods and blood and magic and dancing and rest and revenge and kings and fate.
Don't worry, within these three stories you'll know yourself,
And I will put you back together again.

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18. A Mind Does Wander

The market square was packed, Ichais and Estha gluing together at the hip to avoid being swept away in the fluttering of moving trolleys and animal parades.  Despite both girls having problems with the other that neither realised nor cared to share, they decided that it was better to have each other than no one at all, so they kept on walking, the city gates only a few moments walk, even through crowded streets.

Ichais had stolen the preachers long black coat with a pocketed white lining.  She said that she figured he didn’t need it anymore, and left her long coat in its place.  Estha had her scarf pulled tight until her nose was flattened, her hood drawn over her wild hair.  Though she was short, she passed as a dwarven woman, or as any sort of goblin or elf.  Most didn’t spare her a glance, but those who did felt too rude to ask about what could have been two kicks in the eyes, her skull broken and repaired, her skin drooping and black and blue.

Estha looked up at her.  She had her mask pulled low, her teeth open for all to see.  Most who caught a glimpse of that kept walking, quickly, loved ones under their arms.

“Does the sun not hurt you?” she said quietly.

“Huh?”

“The sun,” Estha said, gesturing to her hidden skin, “Does it not burn?”

Ichais rolled her eyes, “Yes, which is why I’m standing in direct sunlight.”

“Just thought I’d ask,” she mumbled, stepping just an inch away from Ichais, someone immediately pushing their way through whatever space they saw.

Ichais felt guilt gnaw at her again, “It should, but you can buy spells to stop the sun’s effect.  It isn’t like our parent’s days anymore, we can stop some stereotypical things.”

“Parents?  Is being a baobhan inherited?  I thought it was-”

She stopped for a minute, just a stumble in her walking, but Estha saw.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to ask if-”

“It’s okay,” Ichais took a deep breath to even herself out once more, “No, my blood was that of magic once, but I’ve lost my powers.”

“I’m so sorry, Ichais,” she said.

“I don’t mind it.  I used to be able to control coins once.”

“Control coins?”

“Turn coppers into gold and visa versa.  It doesn’t last long, but it was fun while it did.”

Estha smiled, “And you can’t do that at all anymore?”

She saw something flicker again, something mischievous.  If her hair was her natural brown and her teeth weren’t pointed she could easily still pass as magic, it explained the sense of drama that she had.

“Do you have a copper on you?”

Estha reached into her coin purse and pressed the coin into Ichais’ palm, who in a second flat, bit down on the hard metal successfully turning it a dented grey.

“Not as good as I once was,” she noted, handing it back to Estha, “You have a minute at most, use it and let’s go.”

She left Ichais’ side for only a second, stopping at the closest mart.  Under the tent’s roof was a single dresser and lantern, the tablecloth covered in fine chain and rope bracelets.

“Half a gold for chain, three silver for rope she said,” the shopkeeper, a stitching elf from the hot south said.

“Do you have anything for one silver?” she asked.

The woman gave her a once over, and pointed to a second table pressed against the tent flap.  There were a selection of bracelets made of varnished flower stems.

“Two for one silver, fifth for free - hurry up, hurry on.”

Feeling the dent in the coin already stretching back out, she tossed it to the lady, snatching up two red bracelets, “Thank you!”

She ran out the door, slamming into Ichais’ chest just in time to hear an exclamation and an explicit from the shopkeeper.

Ichais took her by the hand and they began running, pushing their way through people, elbowing their ways to the front.  They rested against the gates of town, the guards looking both girls up and down, watching for the press in their clothes were their daggers were kept.  They panted, too busy to notice.  One of the men leaned closer, but when he saw the glimmer of fang in Ichais’ mouth, he grew quiet.

“I can’t believe I stole that,” Estha said, giggling into her mask.

“What did you buy?”

“Two bracelets, red ones, so that we don’t lose each other,”

Ichais knew exactly what that meant, and what fate she implied, but both girls pretended that they didn’t so that Estha could tie the loop around her wrist and her smallest finger.

“Thank you, Estha, no one has ever bought be anything before.”

She smiled, “No one has ever forced me to scam with magic before, it is the day of new things.”

“Does new things include food?”

“Of course, let’s go.”

 

    Fate, again, is mysterious and has ruined more than it has reclaimed.

    Due to a very small change in the world, soulmate ties and sleep ins, Ichais and Estha found themselves on a very different route to the one before.  

    In a different twist of tale,  Estha and Ichais had agreed to go straight through the enchanted woods to find the closest ocean.  They would have been caught in confusion due to the bickering that is hardwired in both, and not noticed that it was in fact a lake that they were at.  Ichais, who had so often been a wicca hunter in her quests, would see something strange, even for the Mavros border.  That would be the vanishing light, the matches that could be tossed into the air, and the dim glow of it going out in his space.  Then, her heart still enraged at wizards and witches alike, Ichais would have stormed into where Jinmi slept and he would have had one moment to explain everything that I have to you so far in our tale.

    Knowing Jinmi, it would have ended with Ichais’ knife at his spleen, but Eros would help him how he always did, defending him, point them once more in the direction that fate had brought them together for, and they would have found the waterfall that has been carved into the middle of this expansive lake, and that no one would have ever known anything about.  Time would not have stopped, fate would not have changed, my sister would not be laughing, and Chene and Gomez would simply have parted, never to meet again.

    But that is not the case.

    Because in the time between the elven king sending one soldier to the gallows to find the blood drainer, and sending the rest of his men to hunt the innocent, hideous thing, and the two eating slices of curd cake together in a park as the annual flower festival went ahead and they were covered in chains of aster flowers, laughing and picking loose petals from each other’s eyelashes, Ichais and Estha fell madly in love.

    And love, it is to be known, ruins all fates.

    So although Eros’ heart sensed a shift for the better, he didn’t know that his leads had been wrong until now, and that he was left holding strings like bouquets, leaving Jinmi with nothing but a growing anger in his heart.

    But it is to be said that neither knew of Daphne’s well being, and at that time, despite their worry and anguish, she was sitting at a dinner in the second realm, pearls around her neck like a collar, and crying into a tall glass of champagne.

 

    “So, what do you want?” Estha said, licking the glaze from her fingers.

    Ichais swatted at bees that circled their marble bench and empty pastry bags.  Estha tutted and held her wrist so that the insects could rest.  As soon as they took flight again Estha let go, not wanting to experience Ichais pulling away herself.

    “I want to finish my job,” Ichais decided, “I always finish each piece of work, I’ll spend my life with those spellbooks burning a hole in my pocket otherwise.”

    Estha thought for a minute more, watching mermaid children sit in the park fountain and throw water balls filled with wild candytuft flowers over at the young pixie and naiad children.  Some exploded, covering their hair in petals, and to retaliate the children dressed as pirates and thieves tossed mud and sticks into the fountain drains.  

A single ball rolled over the hill, resting against Etha’s feet.  The child, who spotted Estha and her bulging, smiling eyes, stopped and looked from the balloon to her, and then to Ichais who considerately hid her teeth.

Esther picked up the balloon and meant to gently toss it to the girl, but instead threw too hard, knocking the girl’s hands back and popping it against her stomach.

She looked up from her soaked dress, seemingly shocked.

“I’m so sorry!” Estha said, standing up, waving her hands in cowering innocence.  Ichais bit her tongue as to not laugh.

The girl then tightened the strings of her apron, turned to her friends and made an order in fluent naiadan.  The pirate children looked to them, and Ichais suddenly stood up too, almost alarmed.  A few parents and that looked too, at the strange girls covering their faces, in black hoods and ruffled collars, even in the splitting sun.

The girl then made a call out, and about a dozen children raced towards them, throwing balls and balloons and laughing as their midnight cloaks became littered in flowers.

Estha looked for a minute at her clothes, at the parents and children laughing at her.  All of a sudden she saw her aunt in her mind’s eye, crying, telling her children it was safer inside, that the others would hurt them otherwise.  

Ichais, on the other hand, shrugged the coat from her shoulders and grabbed the closest unpopped balloon, aiming straight for one of the mermaid boys, who screeched and ducked under water.  The rest retaliated, pulling out more and more balls, some just buckets of water full of white sands and primrose.

“Here, take this one,” Ichais said, tossing a ball to her.  Estha looked up into the glowing glass orb, at the creatures that swam around in it, flowers of all colours and sizes creating paintings of dyed ripples.

She threw it, hitting another fae at the side of her face.  The girl tossed a bucket of water over her head, and a thin layer of steam rose from the park as performers sang old festival tunes and played anthems on timpani drums.  They laughed, soaked, no one seeming to mind the print of Ichais’ knife that visible beneath the sticking cloth of her wet skirt.

Estha spotted one more balloon not far from her, and ran to it just as another pixie girl did.  They sped up, charging for it, the girl one step closer.

She grabbed it just before Estha, who laughed breathlessly, and looked back at the girl with the new breeze grazing her lips.

Her scarf had fallen down, her full face on show.  The girl stared on in shock, her eyes as wide as plates, her mouth popped open in a small hoop.  She didn’t scream, Estha was thankful for that at least.  She struggled to pull it back up around her face, the fabric sticking together with water.  

Before the panic in Estha could even let her turn and run before the girl called over the entire park to stare at the freak she was, the girl shut her mouth and handed her the balloon.

Estha looked at it in her hands, the floral fish that swam over clear light, and then at the girl who stayed silent, a smile on her face small and uneasy, but for that Estha could be grateful.

She turned back to Ichais, who had been watching her.  Her eyes lit up in surprise when she saw Estha’s face revealed, but she saw the ball in her hands and perhaps even the tear on her face she didn’t say another thing about it, and instead smiled back and threw her last balloon over Esther’s head instead, who gasped dramatically, swiping petals from her eyes.

“That’s it,” she said, grabbing a bucket from the fountain, “Come here, you’re dead!”

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