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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24. Promises Are Always Told From the Past

“Promise you won’t eat anyone on the way.”

    Ichais looked away, hissing through your teeth.

    “If you don’t stop sucking through those fangs at me, I’ll knock them out.

    She stopped.

    “Please,” Estha said, trying to grab ahold of her hands, “Please, I can’t stand seeing one more person die in front of me.”

    “I don’t usually kill them, Estha.”

    “Oh, and the preacher?”

    She hissed again, “He was irritating me.”

    “Just please promise me?”

    Ichais knew Estha was too good to stop her if she did rip someone open and begin devouring them, organ by organ.  She knew she could survive the trip on nothing more than the sweet blood she gave her.  But she could ask politely and hope that Ichais would find it in herself to be kind enough to not show her another one of the ghosts that haunted the baobhan.

    Estha looked up at her, her eyes as large and soft as a pale reflection.  Her thumb rubbed lazy circles into the back of Ichais’ hand, and perhaps she already knew that she couldn’t say no.

    “Okay,” she said, “I won’t. I promise.

    And that was how they felt their story began, not asking once whether they should part ways.  Instead Ichais deciding that she would take her collection from the king, and nodding along to each of Estha’s plans to reach the ocean, sparing information about it where she could.

    “So there are two seas?”

    “Yes?”

    “Which is larger?”

    She thought for a moment, “The Lapalpa, to the east.”

    “Which is closer?”

    “Ocean Pahned.”

    “Pahned?”

    “Named after Gods, I think.  Or maybe named after a God who loved another, I can’t be sure.”

    “Which is more beautiful?”

    “I would say Lapalpa, but the towns there are rich.  You would love the flowers that grow around Pahned.”

    “Which is bluer?”

    Ichais laughed, “They’re both as blue, Estha.”

    “Then how will I know which to go to?”

    “I’ll bring you to one, that’s how you’ll know.”

    “Really?” Estha said, You’ll come with me?

    “Yes, of course,” I’d follow you to the end of the world.

    So they set off in the direction of the castle once more, the hunger in Ichais suppressed for now.  The walked for many nights, spending most days in the blazing sun not speaking much, and pressed together for warmth in the evenings, each laugh a puff of mist shared.

    They found their way into the storms, each step heavier than the last.  The stopped at taverns and hostels and family homes, sometimes for days at a time.  Each night Estha rung out her scarf of rain and Ichais lay in bed, her feet tapping together like the broken hands of a clock, nervous, shivering.  Goosebumps lined her skin, her back wet with the sweat she kept to the mattress, praying Estha wouldn’t notice, and for a while, she didn’t.  She was starving, and it was starting to show.

    They walked over hills, Estha’s heavyset body leaving them sitting on rocks until it was nearly impossibly to climb higher, her thin lungs not adjusting to the altitude.  They found refuge under thick branches and under roots tied up with their blankets.  They told each other stories and sang songs their families knew.  Ichais spoke in her sleep of the man that had turned her, Estha fell into panics over the family she had left behind.  They were chipped and cracked, and they fit together in that way.

    Broken makes pieces in which others can fill, if you are willing to take their space equally.

    It also makes edges so sharp, they’ll make you bleed.

 

    Estha was awake, the moonlight catching on the roof, leaving patterns like scars across the tiles above her.  She felt her stomach churn.  Beside her, Ichais was asleep, her eyes flickering, her eyes searching for something even within her dreams.  

    “Dis-disgusting,” she said, not a mumble, nor a scream, but something that left Estha bruising her bottom lip to stop herself from making a single noise, “B...But she knows it.”

    Ichais always spoke when she didn’t mean to.  Deep in thought, in the dead of night.  She always spoke her mind, and despite how hard Estha tried to make believe and pretend that she didn’t know what she really thought, deep down inside of her where the truth could never be altered, she knew.

    “Dis… You’re revolting.  I’m… I-I-” Ichais snapped up in the bed, the springs moaning under her.  Estha shut her eyes but knew that she was still watching.

    She was disgusting.  She was revolting.  Nothing new, and yet how she said it?  The acid on her tongue, the pure hatred?  Estha was raised knowing that she was ugly, she should have expected this, Ichais was gorgeous - she had never known ugly a day in her life.  Did she not remember the horror on her face when she first peeled back the mask?  There was no use in hiding it, clearly, she was disgusting and there was nothing she could do about it but step back and not let the edges grow too close.

    Ichais moved to the edge of the bed, her eyes lifted to the light shining through the panels on the door.  She slid on her coat and Estha watched her go, her mouth moving, spitting, cursing.

    Estha slid to the floor, and pressed her ear against the cool ground.  She heard it all.  The crack in the hostess’ neck, the muffled gasp and gag of pumping blood.  She could almost hear Ichais standing above the girl, the lilt in her voice as she hummed the girl off to sleep for good, how she tore through muscle with learned fingers, how the blood dribbled from her eager lips.  She could hear the girl’s heart stop, and come back to life.  Or maybe that was her own, amplified in the ground.

    Sometimes being around her grew to be too much, it proved.

    She slid back through the door, finding Estha still asleep.  She shrugged off the bloody clothes, falling with a thoughtless clatter.  Ichais pulled the covers back over them both.  She turned to drag Estha back into her hold, but she turned away instead.  The hand waited above her for a moment, the blood of the other girl radiating warm under her skin, Estha could feel it under her closer, under her bone.  The hand fell, but not on her waist like before.  Instead the pillow stolen from her side, and Ichais fell back asleep, now soundless, peaceful, simply full.

    The next morning Estha asked if they should thank the host.

    “No, let’s just… Go.” she said

    But the girl thought the same and waited for them by the door, Ichais’ coat already washed and dried, the stains gone, the blood hidden in the black.  The girl seemed even more alive than before, her eyes glowing, her cheeks flushed, her smile pink and perfect and made to fit against Ichais’.

    “Have a safe trip,” she said.  

    Ichais took her coat, not saying a thing.  The girl looked Estha up and down.  She realised she had forgotten to put on her mask.  The girl then leaned in to whisper something to Ichais, but she pushed her away before she could finish.

    “Thank you for letting us in your home, miss, and for the food.”

    The girl giggled, skin between her teeth, “You’re always welcome here, Ichais.”

    Outside, Estha asked, “Are you okay?”

    “Why do you ask?” Ichais both answered and didn’t, not sparing a glance to anything but their map.

    “You seem on edge.”

    “Blood loss,” she lied.

    “Do-” Estha sighed, “Would you like some of…”

    Ichais turned around, her eyes flaming, her skin blushing, alive again, “From you?”

    “I-” Estha felt the colour wash from her own face.

    Ichais didn’t say anymore, but pointed down a path in the clearing, and they began walking.

    The girl had known the Ichais loved Estha, as the preacher had known before, but this time the girl had said, “You’re far too pretty for her.  Stay with me, instead.”

    “And why would I do that?”

    “Because,” she said, crawling towards her, “I’m beautiful, Ichais.  And that girl - she knows you’re a monster as much as I do.  But I’ll love you for it.  She’ll take your gold and leave you to some town that will turn your bones to jewelry, and your face is too nice for that.  There’s evil within your heart, but your face?  Now that’s something.”

    “You’re wicked.”

    The girl pressed her bloody lips to the scar on Ichais’ throat, “No less than you are, and more than she could ever be for you.”

 

    Edges may not hurt you, but instead pull at the stitching of fabric, pulling apart old ties.  You may not even bleed before you see the cuts, but instead you will loose all of what you once had, lost to a razor that swore it's love, and did not lie.  If you love that which hurts, you must be the same yourself to fall for it.

    And that is how they fell apart, by tearing into one another in a hopeless need to fit together.

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