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.


21. Lies Make Strangers of Brothers

Jinmi had been alone for many nights before his fate changed, as sometimes is the way.  You can live in bitter silence for months before you even find that your life has been changed.

    He spent the painfully abandoned nights using his magic, summoning pocket demons and making apple trees smaller than sunflowers.  He would cut faces into the fruit and toss them to Ruby, who slept most days away and was little to no company at all.

    It was one of these evenings where he spent the sunset watching the sirens not but seconds away below him practicing songs and combing their hair.  Sometimes they would fight among themselves, but mostly they sang in harmony and talked about dreams if only they were to have the magic to walk.  They were starving too, but at least they had each other.

    Jinmi leaned against Ruby’s heaving, sleeping chest as he summoned small creatures.  Lizards that turned inside out depending on what direction they ran, small tumbleweeds that coward around heat that immediately rolled into his hastily made fire, and floating eyes that reminded him of the day before Daphne had left, when he had ran away from whoever he had stolen the spellbooks from.  But this time something was different.  Instead of glassy, monochrome orbs that could hardly blink, they were perfectly detailed jems, as golden as sunstone.

    “Nice of you to join us,” he said to them, and they blinked back somewhat somber.

    Jinmi sighed and knocked his head back.  Ruby stirred in her sleep, and the three eyes circled his head like a tornado.  

    He swatted at them, “You’ll give me a headache like that.  Is there any news on the others I’m supposed to meet here?”

    The eyes looked to each other awkwardly.


    They began circling him again, unable to explain, trying to distract.

    “They’re nowhere near here, are they?”

    The eyes, caught out, could only shake now and perch on his knees and the toes of his boots.  He clicked his heels, and they blinked empathetically at him.

    “So what do I do?” he said, closing his eyes, as if this pained him.  He lay in silence, not thinking about her.  Not wondering if Daphne was okay, if they had stocks in Heaven, if they had angels as dark as they say that would throw her away and laugh and forget her behind forever in the darkest end of the second realm, far, far from the lake at which Jinmi just sat and waited for someone to come for him too that never would, he knew.

    He looked back up, blinking once or twice to her his vision back.  

    The eyes watched over him, but couldn’t help.  The Gods saw on, but never came.  He felt as though he was drowning in time, falling under waves he couldn’t see, let alone control, and he felt as though he were doing nothing, not swimming back but instead being drawn out away from the sea, away from her.

    “I-” he cleared his throat, “I’m going to have to go.  I-I have to leave.”

    The eyes looked around, down to the forest, over to the riverbend.

    “I’ll go anywhere, I don’t care, I just can’t leave her any longer.”

    But when he tried to stand they pushed him back, shaking and flying like wasps around him in desperate warning.

    “What?  They’re not coming right?”

    The eyes knew Ichais and Esther were laughing in love, and they shook slightly.

    “Then why am I waiting?  What for?”

    The eyes had nothing to say to him, even if they could.

    He almost laughed, and stopped with his face made of stone, almost smiling, crying, “Is she happy?”

    The eyes almost cried.

    “Is she happy wherever she is?  Do they care for her, can she finally see the sun?” he laughed maliciously, “Did she forget me?”

    The eyes flickered in and out of existence, his magic fading as he lost control.  Ruby lifted her head and nudged under his chin, crooning as he fell against her, the eyes lifting under his hands, begging him to keep them alive.

    He looked away, flashes of colour catching his eye.  Flowers bloomed on the encove wall, tulips hanging like drying skirts, red and pink pastels.  They were so beautiful, and they grew in the dark, in the damp of their hiding place, amazing and impossible.


    The eyes followed him to where they grew, blinding, scaling flowers.  Either reminders or taunts.

    “She’s happy, isn’t she?”

    And although the eyes couldn’t answer, they didn’t need to.  He saw them look away, at something else, at something more important.  Down the lake and across the way there was a storm of mist, swirling, building and so unimportant but only to those who know nothing.  The eyes trailed off so far they disappeared and circled back, beckoning him out to the sea.

    “You want me to follow?”

    All three headed out into the open air again, turning like vultures.

“And what?  Find her, ask her to come back in Mavros where she could hardly keep herself either awake or alive?  Turn away from the sun and come back with some wizard boy to a sewer he could hardly keep for her?” he picked a single flower from the crack in the roof, watching the leaves turn from green to white and fall to dust, “She wasn’t meant to grow in the darkness I gave her.”

Before the eyes could think of anymore to say, he swept them away with the back of his hand, turning back into the clay he’d moulded them from.

He packed his bags, and pulled Ruby the rest of the way to her feet.  She nudged him, reluctant to leave, but he scratched behind her ears as if it could console her, as if his crying eyes weren’t obvious to her.

“Come on, girl, we should go.  We’re going back to Mavros.” he said, but Ruby pulled back against her reigns, “There’s bound to be black magic made for finding the gates to the second realm.  I can’t wait any longer.  I can’t wait for her to forget me like this.”

Ruby then followed, rubbing up the underside of his neck, but he pushed her away by the muzzle, mumbling something about some other time.  If she was in danger of forgetting him, he equally was in danger of going numb and cold, of forgetting her even.  He may know the name, but it was obvious to all - never mind the sun, but she had taken all of his warmth with her.

He hopped from the ledge, Ruby stumbling down after him.  He pulled her along, towards the bay.  Even the darkness of the sky reflected on the water, what stars could be seen watching on in dazzling spirits that danced on the lake surface, not coming any closer to him then they had to, helpless to the blinded boy that walked searching for someone he was forgetting.

Before he had time to be shocked, or even to lift his heavy eyes, a siren appeared, seemingly from the sand itself, her skin olive, her hair as green as seaweed, her eyes gold, far too gold, melted and sinking.

“Stay,” she sang, “Stay.”

He didn’t so much as let her beg, “Why?  Tell me, why should I bother?  I’ll end up with my soul stolen from me, yes, but she will be safe at home again and it would be worth my death.”

“Something is coming, but not here, stay, stay,” her voice was far too high and most words whistled, thinning and going out like lights.

“Will it help me find her?”

She shook her head, “N-No, it will kill-”

“Liar.  First you try to make me happy to let me forget, and then torture me?  Leave me alone, seeing her flowers, but not her?  Just to remind me, lure me away?  What is it that you want?”

She hacked up sounds, but her words failed her.  The scene of her keeping him rooted, Jinmi pushing her back and away, Ruby backing into the water, kicking back onto her hind legs, calling out for help, roused the attention of a few sirens not far from them.  They were starving, and they could smell Jinmi and his loose love not but metres away.

The crept closer, listening in, singing so high there was nothing to discuss as Jinmi faded in and out of blinding anger and the far more desirable harmonies, songs made of fishing lines and the girls that crawled into the water, their tails catching what was left of the star’s spirits and glowing like lanterns.  They looked so beautiful in the lake, their teeth as sharp as needles, their eyes piercing and tempting.

    “Jinm’, plea-” she said, her voice cracking.  She had a hold on both of his wrists, but he was drawn into the water until it was at his knees, so cold it made his bones ache.  The song ran in spirals, dragging his head down.  Falling scales, words he didn’t need to know.  The girls took his hands from her’s, pulling him in.  Their bodies were so cold, and it was all he could feel and for a reason I to this day do not understand, he welcomed it.

    “They- They’ll kill ‘s-” she grabbed ahold of his waist, pulling him back, but he was an anchor doomed to be pulled to the bottom of the lakebed.  The song grew, so loud it made his ears fill with blood, like static, ringing, climbing progressions, words now seeming clear.  Motherless men, boats astray, washed up bones on dagged rocked seashores.  The smell of blood filled his nose, blood and lipstick, which he welcomed as he fell into the arms of demons that snapped at his skin and tore his clothes from his back.  Ruby thrashed, her tough coat broken too, greedy sirens bending into feast on all the meat they could get.  The water lifted them out, waves as large as houses taking him under, the storm settling on him eyes, the wet wind leaving him breathless and stumbling blind.  She pulled him, back, back - but she could only do so much.

    “I’m sorry, Jinmi,” she whispered below the howl of angry winds and screeching banshee songs.  She reached to the Gods, a prayer invisible on her lips, her eyes set forward, down the river ahead.  The sirens cursed and screamed and scattered as light erupted from the sky, the Mavros protection broken above their heads.  The sun came in like rays of magic, so bright it left Jinmi struggling to readjust.  He did so with the remaining siren’s arm around his waist, keeping him standing under wreaking waves on weak knees.

The light centred, shining each colour both seen by God and not yet before, clouded like a memory and Jinmi only knew to well that it was the present.

She sat on a fountain, the petals falling from her back like shooting stars.  Flowers she had never bloomed with him.  Blushing sunflowers and daisies with silver tips and some varieties only she could have the power to create.  They were swept up in gentle wind and she smiled as children from the third realm threw them to each other.  She was happy, and warm, and her skin glowed with all of the light she once held like a torch in their cavern, one that had almost died out, he could see now.

“Why did you show me this?” he whispered.

“You need to see something else.”

“I don’t want to.”

The siren took his wrist, “Jinmi, fate isn’t what you want to see and what you want to live without.  Fate is what is to come, the future is who you become to meet that.”

“I can’t watch her like this.”

She stopped for a moment, knowing better than to ask, like what?  Happy?

If he could, he would watch her in Heaven love and be loved in return his whole life, but not when he was so completely and utterly alone.

“Jinmi, something very bad is coming for us.”

He nodded, his heart taking most of the room in his throat.

She continues, “Appalla, she knows that I’m helping you.  I was too afraid to disappoint her by not coming to you for her, if she knew that I’m leading you-”

“What would she do, tell me?”

“She would kill me.”

He laughed, as cruel as it was, it was disbelieving, “How does one kill a God like you?”

“Please, stay here.”

He turned to her, holding her wrists as she did his while she had dragged him to the cave, underwater, across icy cold mountains.  Until he was alone and far from home and so without care.

But Jinmi simply sighed, “You don’t want me happy, nor sad.  I can’t stay, and you want me to wait?  Why did you lie to me?”


The sirens, recovering from the blanket of light that was once more lifted, returned from the water.  Their song was now falling, angry, closer than before to start ripping into his flesh.

    “Jinmi, they’re coming.”

    “I have to go.”


    “Then what?” his voice wavered, his bones cramping in cold, skin cracking and salt flooding his blood.  The scent riled up the beasts in the lake, more growing, their teeth now arrows, their tails ropes for hanging, “Stay?”

    “Yes.  No-”

    “I’ll die here.”

    “But you don’t know what’s coming, Jinmi, it-” she finished, swept under the water by jealous suitors.  Her head cracked against stone, and she disappeared into grit again.  The sirens, outraged at the illusion that had kept them at bay, now hissed a tune into Jinmi’s skull.  He covered his ears, bowing in pain, Ruby running circles in the sand, unable to do more than watch.

    One of the sirens, stronger than the others, leaped from the water like a fish for bait, and grabbed three of his fingers by the teeth, pulling him down and the outer layer of skin with it.  His scream was lost in the flooding sonnets of desperate creatures.  There were no longer words at all, just calls for bloodshed, for a meal made of torn boy.

    In the distance, just as another siren lunged for his kneecaps, he spotted a rowboat tied loosely to the shore.  It seemed to radiate in light, and he ran to it as fast as he could between towering carnists.

    He cut the rope with the fire from his fingertips, jumping into the boat.  He looked back at Ruby who stood watching him and the woods behind her.

    “I’m sorry,” he shouted, hoping that she could hear him, least understand, “Run, girl, and live!”

    And like that she turned and ran into the remaining shadows of the forest.  The sirens let her go, focusing on the creature that stowed away on a boat now surrounded on all sides by tooth and claw.

    He pulled a sail from the base of the boat.  It caught wind in the hectic storm, and he used what power he could muster to push himself away from the docks.  The sirens followed, but if he ran he couldn’t be sure that he would make it through their woods.

    He pushed harder, sweat lining his brow and upper lip, everything stained with salt from both him and the vicious sea.  The shore was only ten metres away when he saw it.  Fish, golden eyed, swimming by his side.  He wasn’t sure what they did, but the sirens seemed to be fleeing from them and the poison that oozed from their scales.

    He pulled the boat as hard as he could, the fish gaining on him.  The sirens, both starving and unable to leach through the boat, fell behind somewhat.

    “Leave me!” he said, “I can’t go back to that shore,”

    But nevertheless, they swam until they were on top of him.  A mocking shadow of an insect above, a beetle ready to pounce on him resembled in the school of fish below the tides.

    “Leave me!” he cried out once more, reaching into the water and grabbing one.  In the air, it turned to stardust that rolled dry from his fingers and into the boat.  It turned into a tulip as red as blood, pulsing, beating.

    The fish died off one by one, the hole in their formation the cause and root.  As they died, the poison leaked into the water, sparkling like planets, the sirens all retreating once again.  Finally, he was free from them, and it wasn’t long before he noticed that the water had gone calm again.

    Not much longer until he realised exactly how fast he was going.  The bay was now nowhere to be seen, the mist too thick.  The stars came out once more, and he quickly realised that he was no longer in Mavros.

    He swore, bracing his feet at both sides of the ship and pulling at the sail, but it was no use.  He used the final drop of his magic turning the wind, but it was if someone else had another agenda, and instead it blew harder in the same direction.  The boat was buckling over waves, struggling to keep upright.  He knelt on the deck, clutching onto the ropes for dear life, but it was no use.  He was going to fast, and the wind just blew harder, unnaturally so in such a clear night.

    He realised then, “Eros.”

    But before he could pray or ask or condemn him once more, he fell.  The ship toppled and down, down the waterfall he went.  A hole in the expanse of the ocean where no light shone, something unexpected and pure white magic.  He only had time to grab the flower and tie himself down before the boat was underwater, down under the world itself in a place that never could have existed - never should have existed, down a rabbithole that held a single gold light at the end of the fall.

    It was here that the second realm was to be found.

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