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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84. Philotes' Ballad

Jinmi and Daphne were the first, and Ichais and Estha came after.

    They felt odd, as if they had moved in time or place, as if they weren’t exactly in their bodies anymore, a new realm.  Their skin was electric, their hair on end, and their blood stilled and stopped without them feeling it at all.  Their new bodies felt young, although somewhat the same.

    It wasn’t until Jinmi saw her that he could realise, “Your hair, it’s back.”

    Daphne grabbed at the gold halo by her face, and found her neck littered with daisies and poppies.

    “They’re… Growing again.” he saw her begin to cry, and when he touched her,she was light, soft, and moved like shreds in wind.  His skin was tight, his veins loose.  They were young, as young as they were before all this had happened.

    Estha stopped when she saw them, and they saw how this stranger flickered, her eyes sullen, and her dress now ill-fitting on her body, pumped with broken bone and sage skin.

    Ichais stepped forward, wrapping her arm around the girl, beautiful, protective, scowling.

    “It’s okay,” Daphne said, her skin radiant, her smile pure, “Come here.”

    She pulled her scarf over her face, only moving closer to let the other relax.  She didn’t, and only gripped her friend tighter.

    Daphne, despite Jinmi’s warning of spotting sharp teeth under her lips, took Estha’s hand, and said, “I look just like you, my body is morphed and I’m always afraid of that, of people hurting me.  But not only that, we  glow the same.  So you see it?”

    “You’re so bright,” Estha muttered, her eyes wide, in awe.  Daphne was no longer a naiad hidden from the skies.  She bloomed, and moved in the world and let it fall down for her, a crown on her head, life in her touch.

    Jinmi found himself staring at her too, knowing that  when they left this place she would sit on the swing he’d build her and drink in the cottage and he’d sit by her feet, and she’d grow and grow and never stop, and they’d be happy like that,  - immortals, but together.

    He didn’t even notice the other girl press up behind him, until she said, “What is this place?”
    “I don’t know, but why are you here?” he said, flustered.

    Ichais stepped forward, and took Estha by her hand, “We’re looking for a spell.”

    “A spell? Do you know which one?” Daphne said.

    “A song, we think, one that we are selling.  Do you know it?”

    “You’re selling it?” Jinmi said, “Why?”

    “We were just asked to find it, but you sound like you know it already?”

    Jinmi looked around, at the light that made his eyes want to close, that made his heart want to race, even when it couldn’t.

    “We know of it,” Daphne said.

    “But we don’t know where it could be, not in a place like this.”

    Estha looked over the Goddess, and said, “You must have a reason to be looking for it?”

    “I don’t, although I could think of my own use for it,” her laughter shallow, “It’s for his… Friend.”

    Ichais shrugged, and it took everything Estha had to not shake her, and ask her to behave.  But she couldn’t see her resting face and the creases in her eyebrows, she couldn’t see how it was cruel because how would Ichais know what people counted as kind.

    “If you’re giving it away, aren’t we going the same thing?” she said.

    “He needs it.”

    “A war spell?” Estha cut across, “For what?”

    Daphne frowned, “It’s not a spell for war, is it?”

    “That’s what we… Well, it’s what we presumed, we weren’t told anything by the king.”

    “Dyrad?”

    She nodded.

    Jinmi’s eyes burst wide, “Please, don’t give it to him.”

    “Why not?” Estha said, keeping her grip tight to stop Ichais from running her tongue.

    “That war isn’t something that will end with most still together, and I’m wicca, it will mean the slaughter of my brothers, I know.”

    Ichais tensed, “You’re wicca?”

    “Yes, why?”

    She clenched her jaw, “Why does your friend need the spell?”

    “He’s a God, one cursed to live alone.  This spell is of companionship, and I can’t be the reason why he’s alone for eternity.”

    Estha tugged at Ichais’ hand, “Did you say companionship?  What does that mean?”

    “I don’t know, it’s vague,”

    “But we think it means that who ever the song is played for will from that second forward, never be hurt and left by others.” Daphne supplied.

    They shared a look, one that read as - we play it for each other will we be hurt in Cardeni?  Or will this be what the fates want, for us to finally have a way to live free?

    The fates wanted nothing, from the moment they left this realm.

    “So who gets it?” Ichais said bluntly.

    Daphne, who could imagine what life would be like if that song kept her flowers under her skin, said nothing.

    “I promised him,” Jinmi said.

    “But…” Estha said, looking to Ichais, thinking of what they could be together, “What if…”

    This is the moment where Chene found himself in their realm.

    His scars did not heal, but his shoulders weren’t so weighed down, and he did not trudge with such a pain in his chest, Gomez’s pain living on through him.  He felt himself buckle, the darkness burrowing into his heart again, his magic stilling, stopped.

    He saw them, the four waiting in the light.  Their faces came into view one by one, first a beautiful girl who spat black blood, her love, a deformed, soft hearted woman who wore hood down.  A Goddess whose body contorted with nature and neglect, and a boy who seemed to flicker for him, drawing in the light and leaving it voided.

    “You’re here to find the spell too?” one of them said.

    He nodded, and took his place in the light.  The realm started their hearts, and although they hadn’t noticed, something extraordinary happened, something no one has lived to tell of.

    “Do you know what it is?”

    “War?” he said.  His voice was coarse from so long staying silent.

    Ichais nodded to Jinmi, who rolled his eyes.

    “It’s a companionship spell,” Daphne said, “But if neither of you came for it by name, maybe that it is fair that Jinmi take it?”

    “I might need it the same as his friend does?”

    “And us?  Do you know what we’ve been though?”

    “I can imagine I’ve seen worse, trust me.”

    “Don’t pretend that you know me.”

    “Blood sucker.”

    “Wicca.”

    “Rotten.”

    Chene laughed.  He hadn’t laughed in a long while, and it burst forward from him with every quip over and back.  They stopped bickering, as if they’d only remembered him now, and they shut their mouths.

    “I have seen someone I love very much die,” he said plainly, “I know that I can never be the same again without him.  If this will bring him back, this is what I have to do.”

    “I am leaving who I love to suffer without it,” Jinmi said, Daphne flushing red at the word “love”.

    “And it’s okay for us to die because who would want us if even the Gods.” Ichais snapped at them.

    “But you all have each other,” Chene said, weighing his heavy words with a throbbing in his head.  He was right, as much as the others would scream and kick, they were standing by those they loved.  He wasn’t. “I have no one I love left.”

    They all sighed, and kicked their boots, and watched the realm fizzle like bubbles, like sea foam around their heads.  Nothing changed in this world, nothing rose or set.  There was no bad, but there was no good.  Nothing is fine, it works, but nothing comes from it either.  People can’t live in a world like that.

    “It’s funny,” Chene said, pulling at Noom’s scales as she lickd Jinmi’s hand, leaving little red streaks, “How we all met here at once?”

    “And how we look the same,” Daphne said, taking Estha’s arm.

    “And we’re both fae, right?” Ichais provided.

    “Aren’t you wicca?” Jinmi said to Chene, “Maybe - maybe we aren’t so different?”

    Chene remembered what Gomez had always thought, that that were meant to be, “No,  I suppose not.”

    “Maybe it’s fate?” Ichais said, smiling when Estha looked at her with such admiration for how she took after her words.  Meant to be.  They giggled at each other, like children, together.

    “You know what they’ve said,” Daphne said, nonchalant, “In those lullabies?”

    No one knew what she meant, but the world is clever and delivers what it must, “Do you mean “tied by strings, cords of fate”, that line?”

    “How do you know that?” he said.

    She shook her head, “That’s all I know.”

    “Take my end, love, tear one apart, meet at the border, meet heart to heart,” he sang, and he saw Estha’s eyes light up, “Meet at the border, meet heart to heart.”

    “That’s…” she gawked at him, “That’s the song my mother used to see me, but the words are different.”

    “And what were yours?”

    She sang quietly, waiting for Chene’s eyes to lift, “Darling, don’t look, don’t try hide your eyes.  Your chin held to Gods, your smile held to skies.  Born from embraces, made by the love.  Shine ‘til tomorrow and you’ll shine above.”

    “Soldiers find homes in moving stones, wars move like roaming lones, and at the end of the day, the sons stay away, and they stay still for once as resting bones.”

    Before Jinmi could ask what that could possibly mean, they felt it, a tug.  What they mistook for heart strings, but we knew better.

    They looked to each other, and Chene felt something pull again.  This was what Gomez knew all along, he felt it now.

    “Away and away,” he began.

    “One foot to the morning, one hand to the night.”

    “Tied by strings, cords of fate,”

    “Until away they’re blown.”

    She glowed, like the Heavens themselves, they saw her face in all of the corrupt lies of the powers.  She was so lovely, and she smiled when they sang together.  They felt themselves soak into her touch, tugged, pulled, drawn in by us.

“Your heart home,”

“And are lost on the way,”

“Like roaming lones,”

“And love all you can.”

“Away and away.”

“Take my end,”

“At the end of the day,”

“And if you grow weary, I rest by your side.”

“Meet heart to heart,”

“For me, never hide.”

“Tear one apart,”

“And are lost on the way,”

“For me, never hide.”

“For the sake of a stay.”

Her voice fairy, light.  Banging, crashing, forming, breaking, rebuilding, loud, lovely, love.

    I cannot possibly ask you to imagine this, but scream within your own head and feel your joints pull free and let yourself be loved.  And raise the ceiling in a crowd of mist of stolen memories and feel all you know and see, all you’ve earned and scream into the night that you are alive and feel the night surround you in kisses and cuts and then you will come close to hearing the ballad.

    Love.  That’s what it was.  Knowing love.

    “For me-”

    “-Meet me-”

    “-And find home.”

    The realm erupted into light, and they saw the Goddess wrap her arms around them and scream those final words.  My sisters and I plucked their rhythm, but no one but Philotes knows how they knew the song.  Maybe they were born with knowing, maybe they were always meant to be tied, our fate controlled by someone more that us even.  

    They were together then, and no where they knew.  There was land, and grass, and their hearts beat so loudly it seemed as though they couldn’t hear the song.  But it was in them then, they knew who they were meant to be.  That was enough.

    “I think, despite us being strangers,” Ichais said slowly after a very long time standing in the silent aftermath, “We are apart of a bigger story.”

    And that is life, that’s what this has all lead to, the pull of their strings, the tug of the rope.

    You are much bigger than you think, and once you are tied, you’ll find yourself becoming who the fates always knew who you’d be.  

That, is life.  And that is our story.

And you will never hear Philotes’ Ballad, and you will never feel the pull of fate - even though I tug you on now.  But you will be loved, from now to forever, and all I ask is that you love in return.

    This is a part of a bigger story, and here is how they were tied, our heroes, our lovers, our bloodsuckers.  

Here is how life makes everything from nothing.

Here, is the end.

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