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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34. If You Don’t Stop Falling, They’ll Start to Call it Soaring

Jinmi’s head still spun from the crash down.  His memory failed him, and yet somehow we remembered seeing ghosts of drowned sailors pulling him under, white skinned, blue faced spirits and sparks and stars.  All he remembers was the fall, and before long, he was knocked back to ground, a world so white it made it difficult for his mortal eyes to adjust.

    He was on a staircase, and behind him, he saw a world so dark he knew exactly what it was.  He decided that this was the second realm.  Despite Eros being a fraud and a fake, he had lead him to the next realm, although roughly, he supposed.

    I am not the narrator my sister is, so I will break to say that Eros was neither a fraud nor a fake, although Jinmi did not know this yet.  And, in fact, he never would.

    He crept around the border of the land.  Below, he could see two ocean, the deserts north and south of them, the mountain ranges and castle towns - and if he didn’t blink or move, he could even see the band of rising black ash that tied around Cardeni, binding it together like a wedding ring.  He had never realised how large Mavros was before, how much land the dark magic swallowed up.

    He slipped, his heart unmoving as he did and clogging his throat.  He hung from the world by one hand, his grip slipping.  There was nothing underneath him for miles, and no one above him willing to help.

    He used his free hand to grab a bottle from his back pocket, his fingers somehow healed fully from the siren’s bite, and dropped it to the world below, his one chance to get a stronger grip.  Just as he felt his fingers give out, a gust of wind shot up like bullets from the storm he had created, and lifted him up until he was half hanging on to the world.  He grunted, his arms quivering in just an attempt to pull the rest of his body up.  He swept a leg up, kicking wildly, loosening his hold.  The storm he had created blasted a horrible cold chill, laced with hail, that pushed up his back like a blinding gust of marbles as cold as the sea.  He made one last effort to hook his leg up, the hail at least pushing him that far.  He got ahold, digging his fingers into what seemed to be nothing more than white smoke, as dense as clay, and heaved his body forward until his knees felt the solid land again.

    He panted, unclogging the lump from his throat.  He could still see the wind push up from below, giving of an ugly black glow.  His magic was visible here, even basic spells swallowing the light around it.  He stood up as quickly as he could, looking around and slipping between two fine marble pillars.  It wouldn’t be long before someone noticed the black magic he used, and if their creations were anything to go by, they would not take kindly to wizards being their world.

    He tapped the sides of his face with the back of his hand.  He was blushing so hard that it burned through his skin like wildfire.  He scoffed to himself, climbing under a bridge, the water below falling from the side and rising up into the pale blue expanse above.  

    He cursed them, the Gods that seemed to want him dead for no good reason.  First, allowing the world to turn on wizards?  For what, dark magic?  As if there weren’t people far darker than him in world allowed to live in the light, and rule kingdoms, and start wars for no good reason.  

    His great grandfather had been a wizard, and had been the one to stop the witch that started the great war and killed unimaginable numbers and cursed the land to hold a certain hatred in its hearts for the rest of time, and yet he was forgotten in time, as who could care for a wizard?  And what wizard would risk his life to help anyone other than themselves?

    The Gods took her from him, and never did as much as apologize more than once.  He could still see how she screamed and struggled to free herself in the God’s coarse grip, and still could see what Eros had showed him.  A flower festival in herself, how happy she seemed in the sunlight she’d never known with him.  She was so beautiful, and he realised that might never see her like that ever, spinning, singing, sunny.  He might never see her again at all.

    He stopped.  What made him think she wanted to be found?

    “Jinmi!” he heard it in the distance, carried on the wind.  For a moment, it could have been a hiss from the third realm, or one of the angel children playing, or a just the turn of the wind in the clouds.  It could have been anything.

    “Jinmi, here,” but it wasn’t.  He turned around, and there was Eros, standing by a pillar of gold, his eyes to match, a scar tracing over his cheek like a kiss.  Jinmi didn’t even think Gods could bleed, “I knew I’d see you again!”

    For some reason, a reason Jinmi would grow to be ashamed of although he didn’t know exactly what it was, he turned away.  The sight of Eros did not mean friendship.  To him, it meant nothing more to him than the fact that he wasn’t welcome here and she was, that he was never meant to find her, she was happy, and probably better off without him around her.  The wizard, the devil-blooded.  It was Eros that reminded him of that in Cardeni, and for that he turned, and ran as fast as he could anywhere other than the courtyard, where more voices grew around him, more hissing and shouting.

    He knew Eros followed, of course.  He pulled a small tin from his belt, and tore it open with his teeth.  It made a horrible metallic grinding noise, two swords sharpening and blunting off of one another, and gave the white away to a rusty glow that coated his entire body.  The hex was strong enough to stop Eros from turning into one of his beasts anywhere near him, but not enough to block out his voice, only to send it under cotton wool, or water.

    “Jinmi, they know,” he thought he heard him say, as he ran up what looked to be a hill in the middle of a forest of nothing but beams of light.  Crows hung from them, or maybe bats.  Perhaps there wasn’t a single thing there, but he couldn’t see if he tried, the garnet hellfire of his curse too heavy on him now, a burden made to protect him.

    The hill became flat, and infinite, and for a second only he felt the dirt underneath his fingernails.  Not much ahead, a tower rose from the ground, the door at least ten feet in the air and seemingly not a part of the structure at all.

    “Listen to me, would you?” he heard.  When he looked back, all he saw was his trail of darkness, a cloak and veil that made blood rush to his face once more.  He had ruined the balance in the second realm, a pathway he had carved in sin and hatred and that would always show where the unwelcome wizard had been.

    It would show where he was, in fact, and he saw Eros’ wavering figure follow him through the smog, his eyes trailing it as if it were a trail of blood and gore, not just light, or rather simply the lack of their heavenly glow.

    “Jinmi!” he said, spotting him with his back pressed against the tower.  

    “Please, Eros, let me find her.”

    “Not now, there’s no time-”

    “Eros,” he stepped forward, unnamed courage surging from within him, “You can’t keep me from her.  I… I won’t let her forget me yet, I have to at least say goodbye, no matter how selfish it seems to you.”

    “You can, and you will, but not now.”

    “If not now then when?”

    Eros looked back the way he had came, bells chiming out as sweetly as sighs carried along in the wind.  Jinmi saw how his eyes were blown wide with terror, “In a few months, okay?  I know your fate, Jinmi, I’ve seen it, but right now we need to leave.”

    “Leave without me.”

    “What?”

    “I can’t wait that long, Eros,” he said, turning back to the wall, “I’m sorry.”

    “They’ll kill you, Jinmi, they’ll… They’ll-”

    “I know, I get it,” he said, not facing him, his teeth grinding together, making his jaw ache as a vein pressed its head to his surface.  He felt as though his body was being kept standing with poison, running through his blood, carving into his mind, killing him, “I shouldn’t be here, never mind using hexes.  It’s your perfect world - I understand that, but this is something I need to do.  If they kill me - fine but at least I can die with her.”

    “I tried,” he hadn’t noticed that Eros had been shaking before, his lips quivering like that of a child, “I tried so hard to bring you to her.”

    “And just as hard to push me away.”

    “I did.”

    “Why, Eros?”

    “Because I knew that they would kill you here, and I couldn’t let that happen.”

    “I would have been okay.”

    Eros laughed, airy, shivering, “You can’t change your fate, Jinmi.  I am so, so sorry, my friend, but you will be a long time waiting before you meet her again, and I can’t promise a thing from then on.  Please, don’t go.  Turn back, we can find another way to bring her to you.”

    “She won’t want to see me.”

    “She-” but Eros stopped.  The God of Love himself had nothing more to say.

    Jinmi scoffed, and shook his head, as if he were little more than disappointed, “I’m sorry, Eros.  You’ve been a good friend.”

    “Wait!”

    But when Eros took another step, pillars grey in colour and unfitting in their realm sprung from the ground like spears.  They smashed against Jinmi’s elbow, but left him unscalthed.  Instead, they trapped him with his back to the tower, dozens of them scattered like clawed hands, Eros behind them, nothing of him to be seen but his eyes in the cracks and his words, now drowning in the hex, the water which Jinmi had left them in.

    “Jinmi, don’t let them hurt you!  Don’t let them keep you from her, please just promise me that!”

    “I…” now he was shaking, pinned against the tower like an animal, the hex building in the tight space and suffocating him, the darkness pulling away at his heartstrings, snapping them like loose threads, “Tell Daphne that I’ll see her soon, won’t you?”

    “Promise me you’ll be safe.”

    “I will, I swear!”

    “Then, of course,” Eros said, his fingers vanishing from the space, a single golden eye the last sight before he ran from the bells again, “I’ll tell her Jinmi, and good luck.”

    He pressed his back to the pillar and pulled himself up the tower.  Pressed back, his knees slid below him and allowed him to move almost three feet off of the ground.  He moved his knee forward, then his hands.  It was only then that he realised that he was not climbing at all, but crawling.  He reached the door and fell once more, up and up until he found himself standing on what should have been the roof.

    Now, the floor seemed so close, almost as if this weren’t a tower at all, but an empty cottage or hollow.  There was nothing of interest, but a latch on the door, almost like a mouse hole.  He opened it, and placed a foot over the small opening.  He almost tripped forward, his eyes deceiving him entirely.  The door was almost as large as the floor, although it didn’t seem so.  He sat on the edge, and pushed his body forward, nothing to see below but more sky than he had seen in his entire life.

    He was sitting on the roof of the tower now, the latch gone, and in its place was a shadow, equally as square and of similar size, but swaying in the gentle breeze.

    He looked above him and saw a hammock, hanging from the air as if it were flying without wings, holding the most beautiful boy he had seen in his entire life, and Samhain, in turn, dreamt of him, upside down, screaming, strangled.

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