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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44. Sleep, it is Kind, and it is Better Than Waking

It wasn’t long before he was shivering, though it wasn’t cold.  Jinmi threw his blanket over him, afraid of what happened if he was woken during a nightmare.  He was murmuring, names.  Ta Oaka, over and over like a holy chant.  The prince and princesses of the elven people.  

    He pulled his hair, his skin, scratching as if it could free him of whatever lived within, to stop the cycle.  Waking, sleeping, dreaming, dying without opening your eyes.  A lump of hair tangled between his fingers, the scalp prickling with blood already as he pulled, but Samhain hardly said more than the names, Ta Oaka.

    He was gasping, as if for air, clawing at his throat, his ankles.  He was choking, in midair, he was unable to breathe.  He struggled, snapping forward and backwards, bashing his head off of the basket.  Jinmi pushed a pillow up the length of his back, careful to not touch him, but it did little good.

    He heard him mumbling, that he would, he would.  But the dreamer didn’t seem so sure.  He pulled at the skin around his ankles where it was thin and ripped open like each strand of a feather, stuck in the rain, splitting into a million pieces, each deeper than the last.  The chains were tight in his mind, and they held him under.

    He sat forward, screaming.  Jinmi jumped back in sheer terror as the boy bent over, his mouth a circle, begging to free his lungs of water that did not exist, his eyes rolling into his head, white, red, bulging from the pressure of being one hundred feet deep in the sea only two men knew, him and the dreamer who had given this to him.

But every nightmare Jinmi had ever known, every moment of anguish twisted into a sleeping ghost that tainted his nights in chases and gore, had Samhain not given his afterlife for that too?  For him?  And no one even knew.

Samhain sat back, his back arched away from the bed, his hands still itching to free him of his chains.

    Jinmi had enough.  He took his hands, pulling them away from his skin, red under his nails now.  Samhain slumped against Jinmi.

    For a moment he was afraid of what he had done, messing with the Gods as a mortal and a sinner at that, but Samhain only shifted and pressed his lips against Jinmi’s shoulder, resting his head back against him, holding his hands, his grip bone-crushing, the blood from under his nails leaving late crescent moons on the back of each of his hands.

He was still, his breathing even.  He was breathing once again.

 

His cuffs came free, a voice calling him up.

“Gomez!” louder now, “Samhain?”

He swam, with whatever was left in his body, he thrashed his legs and arms wildly, the sun above his compass.  The voice grew louder, bubbles catching his nose, air.  He found them carrying him, bringing him to the calls, as kind as breathing once more.

“Gomez!”

 

He opened his eyes, blinking once, twice, and sat up, keeping Chene at arms length.

“I can see.” was the first thing he said.

Chene was ashamed initially, “My powers have been strong ever since I let that beast free.  I just… Healed you.  It’s nothing to me, and you said that no one else could.”

“Thank you,”

“You’re-”

The horn bellowed again, louder now.  Either closer, or clearer while he was awake and above water, but he wasn’t sure and it panicked him.

“I had a dream he said,” prying free from Chene’s arms.

“A dream?” he was as afraid, although waited in the silence between the calls to ask, “What of?”

“I don’t remember b-but…”

“Can it wait?  I’m sorry, Gomez, that’s an elven horn, I-”

He took his shoulders as he slid from the branch, pulling him along.  He ran backwards, speaking to Chene, and then yelling over the horn.  Louder still.  Their hands were together this time.

“I don’t remember it,” Gomez said.

“You don’t remember?”

“But I was about to die, Chene, and you brought me back.” he was screaming now, and whoever blew the horn must have been able to hear them.  Always like Gomez, too loud for the trees to not fall if not heard.  He would always be heard, and Chene was afraid that that would be his downfall.

“I gave you more strength potions like the one in your pocket, that’s why.”

“No, but I heard you calling to me.  I don’t know what it means but… Chene, I’m afraid you’ll leave me.”

Chene stopped, locking their fingers together in a trap.   Gomez spun around, Chene catching him by the waist to restore his balance.  

“Wh-”

“I won’t.”

“We need to go, Chene,” he said, pulling at his hand.

“I won’t leave you.”

Gomez grinned, licking his lips.  They were no longer cracked, his face now alive again, reds, golds.  He was back.

“I know you won’t.” he said, hushed, and kept running.

They ran down the riverbank, birds waking and answering the elf’s howls.  Gaining on them, the distance closing fast.

The stopped at a bridge, fireflies keeping it visible in the ending twilight.  It was rickety, old, but the only connection between the elves and jinn.  Gomez pushed him towards it , not daring cross himself.

“Go, I’ll see you again.”

“When?”

“A day like this,” he whispered, barely audible over the snaps of soldiers boots, their whistles, their blood-hungry, grinding swords, “Whenever we are meant to meet again.  If you promise that you won’t leave me, then I’ll promise too, and fate will do the rest.  Go, now, and I’ll see you after all this war is finally over.”

41:  Sleep, it is Kind, and it is Better Than Waking

 

    It wasn’t long before he was shivering, though it wasn’t cold.  Jinmi threw his blanket over him, afraid of what happened if he was woken during a nightmare.  He was murmuring, names.  Ta Oaka, over and over like a holy chant.  The prince and princesses of the elven people.  

    He pulled his hair, his skin, scratching as if it could free him of whatever lived within, to stop the cycle.  Waking, sleeping, dreaming, dying without opening your eyes.  A lump of hair tangled between his fingers, the scalp prickling with blood already as he pulled, but Samhain hardly said more than the names, Ta Oaka.

    He was gasping, as if for air, clawing at his throat, his ankles.  He was choking, in midair, he was unable to breathe.  He struggled, snapping forward and backwards, bashing his head off of the basket.  Jinmi pushed a pillow up the length of his back, careful to not touch him, but it did little good.

    He heard him mumbling, that he would, he would.  But the dreamer didn’t seem so sure.  He pulled at the skin around his ankles where it was thin and ripped open like each strand of a feather, stuck in the rain, splitting into a million pieces, each deeper than the last.  The chains were tight in his mind, and they held him under.

    He sat forward, screaming.  Jinmi jumped back in sheer terror as the boy bent over, his mouth a circle, begging to free his lungs of water that did not exist, his eyes rolling into his head, white, red, bulging from the pressure of being one hundred feet deep in the sea only two men knew, him and the dreamer who had given this to him.

But every nightmare Jinmi had ever known, every moment of anguish twisted into a sleeping ghost that tainted his nights in chases and gore, had Samhain not given his afterlife for that too?  For him?  And no one even knew.

Samhain sat back, his back arched away from the bed, his hands still itching to free him of his chains.

    Jinmi had enough.  He took his hands, pulling them away from his skin, red under his nails now.  Samhain slumped against Jinmi.

    For a moment he was afraid of what he had done, messing with the Gods as a mortal and a sinner at that, but Samhain only shifted and pressed his lips against Jinmi’s shoulder, resting his head back against him, holding his hands, his grip bone-crushing, the blood from under his nails leaving late crescent moons on the back of each of his hands.

He was still, his breathing even.  He was breathing once again.

 

His cuffs came free, a voice calling him up.

“Gomez!” louder now, “Samhain?”

He swam, with whatever was left in his body, he thrashed his legs and arms wildly, the sun above his compass.  The voice grew louder, bubbles catching his nose, air.  He found them carrying him, bringing him to the calls, as kind as breathing once more.

“Gomez!”

 

He opened his eyes, blinking once, twice, and sat up, keeping Chene at arms length.

“I can see.” was the first thing he said.

Chene was ashamed initially, “My powers have been strong ever since I let that beast free.  I just… Healed you.  It’s nothing to me, and you said that no one else could.”

“Thank you,”

“You’re-”

The horn bellowed again, louder now.  Either closer, or clearer while he was awake and above water, but he wasn’t sure and it panicked him.

“I had a dream he said,” prying free from Chene’s arms.

“A dream?” he was as afraid, although waited in the silence between the calls to ask, “What of?”

“I don’t remember b-but…”

“Can it wait?  I’m sorry, Gomez, that’s an elven horn, I-”

He took his shoulders as he slid from the branch, pulling him along.  He ran backwards, speaking to Chene, and then yelling over the horn.  Louder still.  Their hands were together this time.

“I don’t remember it,” Gomez said.

“You don’t remember?”

“But I was about to die, Chene, and you brought me back.” he was screaming now, and whoever blew the horn must have been able to hear them.  Always like Gomez, too loud for the trees to not fall if not heard.  He would always be heard, and Chene was afraid that that would be his downfall.

“I gave you more strength potions like the one in your pocket, that’s why.”

“No, but I heard you calling to me.  I don’t know what it means but… Chene, I’m afraid you’ll leave me.”

Chene stopped, locking their fingers together in a trap.   Gomez spun around, Chene catching him by the waist to restore his balance.  

“Wh-”

“I won’t.”

“We need to go, Chene,” he said, pulling at his hand.

“I won’t leave you.”

Gomez grinned, licking his lips.  They were no longer cracked, his face now alive again, reds, golds.  He was back.

“I know you won’t.” he said, hushed, and kept running.

They ran down the riverbank, birds waking and answering the elf’s howls.  Gaining on them, the distance closing fast.

The stopped at a bridge, fireflies keeping it visible in the ending twilight.  It was rickety, old, but the only connection between the elves and jinn.  Gomez pushed him towards it , not daring cross himself.

“Go, I’ll see you again.”

“When?”

“A day like this,” he whispered, barely audible over the snaps of soldiers boots, their whistles, their blood-hungry, grinding swords, “Whenever we are meant to meet again.  If you promise that you won’t leave me, then I’ll promise too, and fate will do the rest.  Go, now, and I’ll see you after all this war is finally over.”

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