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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74. Leave The Key

Samhain told him everything, from the beginning.

    How Appalla had seen Daphne’s soul and fallen for her, and how she had taken her back and hunted the wizard who had claimed her heart as his own.  How Daphne suddenly disappeared.  How the flowers had stopped growing.  How, at night when it was still, you could hear the screams from under her house.  Everything.

    And Jinmi sat there, and listened, and when she was finished he said, “I have to chose.”

    “Do you want to think for a while.”

    He shook his head.  He knew what he had to do.  

    “I have left her,” he decided, “For months.  She needs me, and although I love Samhain dearly, I left her, and that was wrong of me.”

    “It wasn’t your fault.” the angel said.

    “But now it will be,” he stood up, and brushed off his trousers.  It was almost their natural night, and it was hot, scorching, nearly.

    “You have to do what your heart tells you to.”

    He sighed, “I know that he means the world to you, and I feel the same, but you understand, this is the right thing.  I won’t forget him, I’ll bring him the spell, of course I will.”

    She looked up, “Promise?”

    “I always do,” he smiled, “But you could help?”

    “How?”

    He looked around.  In the dark, it became clearer.  They were atop a hill, and he could swear that he noticed lights in the distance.

    “Show me where she is,” he said, “That’s all I need.”

    She thought, and said, “I’m no longer Samhain’s angel, if I was I would force you to bring the spell to him.” her nails were biting into the marble bench.

    “But you don’t have to help me, angel or not.” he said.

    She fidgeted more, and bit her lip, and her nails, and her wings shed like forget-me-nots, leaving her feathers ruffled and white and lost in the ground, “But I loved Eros, and I’ll do this for him.”

    Guilt ate into his stomach, “I had thought he had betrayed me.”

    She smiled, “We all think love does that sometimes.  Come with me,”

 

    The walk was short but consumed with the distraction of Eros, the God he had left to die.  It was his fault, not even just partially.  Through and through it was his fault.  He helped him and then Jinmi abandoned him while he was being hunted.  He had given his life for one love, and Jinmi hadn’t even the sense to think of him once, and instead judged him from the last time he saw his golden eyes slip away through the cracks.

    Samhain stopped, and Jinmi, consumed by though, bumped into her.  She pointed to a building in the square, a sort of town hall, one he could see mortals building.

    “It’s-”

    “Shush.”

    Every other being known to be was inside, hiding, watching the mad few who dared approach Appalla’s home  No one had been brave enough to move, not since that girl had come back home.  “Home” - that’s what Appalla called it.

    Just like at that moment, most nights you could hear the screams.  They were shorter, and fewer, and sometimes there were no screams at all and every God in the realm would thank the stars that they could rest peacefully for once, but they were there, living under the mansion, praying for someone.  Gods who would never help.

    This story seems to favour this, doesn’t it?  But you keep praying, it’s what mortals do best.

    Jinmi clenched his jaw to keep from screaming back, “That’s her?”

    Samhain nodded.

    “How long has this happened?”

    “Since Eros’ death, or thereabouts,” she sighed, “I’m sorry, Jinmi, I should have taken you here during the day.”

    “No, no, it’s okay.”

    He pressed his hand to the walls.  It vibrated with life, Daphne.  She was alive.  That should have been enough.  It should have been.

    He turned to her, “I’m going to do something very bad, and very evil and her house will always be stained black, but it’s what I have to do.”

    “Ends justifying the means?”

    Jinmi looked at the house, it’s titanic roof, a million windows, made to give Daphne light, and now she lived underground like a prisoner, “The ends may be me dead, and her by my side, but that’s enough for me.”

    “You won’t die,” Samhain said.

    “You sound sure?”

    She grabbed his hand that was already lifting a position from his belt, one of the few he had left, and he hadn’t wasted showing Samhain tricks, “If you die I will make you immortal just so that you can find that spell for Samhain.  He asks for nothing, you will bring him this.”

    Jinmi pulled away, “I would do anything for him too, you have to know that.”

    She pressed her lips closed and nodded, letting him go on without another warning.  He knew her guilt already, there was nothing more to say.

    He began smearing the spell onto the wall, and it dripped down into the drains.  The house began to turn to molten plaster and brick, but only to him with his hands holding the spell.

    He glanced at Samhain, who took her nail from her mouth, to smile all she could, and he melted into the house, just like that, gone.

    His foot caught on something, and he found himself stepping down a level.  His head came through the other side.  A ghost’s room, empty, white.  Below a level, it was black, dark.  It took a moment for him to even catch his breath here.  It was cold, and yet the air was dense with what felt to his lungs like powder, or water.

    He took another step, and his eyes blinked heavily, looking for something, he wasn’t sure what, but he knew that he wasn’t afraid anymore.  He was a shell of the boy he had left in Mavros, the wanderer, the carer.  He was something new now, and all he could hope for was someone to be waiting for the lost boy when he found a place to call home.

    Another step, and his foot was submerged in water.

    The screaming had stopped, and turned into whimpers, a child, in the dark after a bad dream.

    “Hello?” his whisper cut the air like a knife.

    The noise stopped, and she said, “You’re a fool, Jinmi.”

    “Daphne?”

    For some reason, he didn’t move to hug her.  He didn’t long to pull her into his arms and hold her and make excuses why he had left her all this time.  He didn’t move.  And neither did hse.

    Eventually she her breathing evened, and the water around her splashed as she lit her lamps, eight, in a circle.  They showed her for what she was now.

    Her hair, for ease, had been cut off completely.  She was bone thin, underfed and her clothes hung from her sharp edges like flags caught in wind.  But he noticed her first, how she had decayed.  Her arms was split into three now, her ribs a mouth closed with rope, over biting, closing her lungs.  There was a bulge over her thigh as large as the torso of a child, one hand clubbed with the mould that had gathered under her skin.  Her spine bulged out from her body, her crown now just thorns in her skull.  Once flawless, her pores were disks in her face where puss leaked in ribbons, her eyes dipping, one so low on her face it took space up in her cheek and rolled back into her head.  Her teeth were scattered like an untame graveyard.  She did not smile, he wasn’t sure if she could anymore.  

    “Daphne.” he said this, and it was a question.  

    “You shouldn’t have come here,” she said.  Her lungs were filled with froth, and petals.

    “You were screaming.”

    “It’s… I don’t know what else to do.”

    He stepped closer, and she coward away.  He knelt outside her circle of light, “I’ve come to take you home.”

    “I don’t have a home anymore, Jinmi, it’s been so long...”

    “And neither do I,” he reached for her hand, which she did not pull away, until she felt the heat radiate from him, and she pulled away, as if it burned, “But I want to start again.  With you.”

    She wasn’t crying, he wasn’t sure if she could do that either, “Do you?”

    “Of course, Daphne.”

    “Even with me like this?”

Jinmi was many things now, but he did not lie, and he did not hesitate, “Yes.  I will always love you, no matter what that means.”

“B-But Eros…”

He smiled, and took her hand, “I love you still.”

She hugged him then, and for both their sakes, she pretended that she could feel how he pulled back before enveloping her again.  Her body was snapped, like the stem of a flower that had been trodden on time and time again.  She made a heart wrenching noise, grinding bone and the crushing of vessels in her blood.  But he held her, and she took the warmth from him that she had been starved of, even though each touch felt like fire.

“Please, take me away from here,” she said.  Starved of heat, and starved of love.

He brought her too her feet, and although she struggled, she could walk without a major limp, her legs tied in vines to keep them upright.  He rubbed the potion into her hands, and she saw the faded wall, teaming with dark curses.

He pushed her up first, and when he surfaced, he saw Samhain pulling a coat around her shoulders, Daphne muffling her cry in her sleeve.

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