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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11. Some Moments are Needless but Still Remain Ours

There is a boy whose name you’ve heard and forgotten, isn’t there?

    Samhain woke in blind panic.  He was drenched in sweat, the cool air from the clouds doing little to help the fiery heat of his nightmares.  He had been crying, as he so often did, and the tears made the trail of a noose around his neck that he had tangled from in the home of a stepfather that was not his just moments ago with his eyes glued shut.  Not his nightmare, not his life.  And yet, it terrified him.

    He scrubbed his throat with the back of his sleeves, sniffling into his blankets and they made his skin burn once more.  Once comforts, the cotton now felt like sandpaper, scratching at his skin, his cot now a prison and the pillows his binds.

    He was a God of unordinary sorts.  He was born mortal, and made a dreamer by some turn of fates that was not his fault.  Though his does not remember a home he knows mother’s touch, and though he is without a father he knows that he has his smile and he has his skin.

    He scratched at the back of his hands, across his cheeks.  His skin, once folded sheets of brown velvet and polished cherrywood and chocolate paints, now barren and bare wastelands that had not been walked in lifetimes, fingers dragged through the trusting, soft complexion of his surface.  He dried his tears once more, the spell returning with the mind of another child falling asleep.  They dreamed of a beast in the shape of an uncle tearing them to pieces in their bed, but they woke unafraid, as Samhain shook through the night keeping their mind clear of the dreaded thoughts that had plagued so many before he had freed them.

    He was the child of Omelas, but no one even knew that he was trapped, half asleep, half alive, and so completely alone.

 

    “Are you not afraid to die?” Ichais asked, not helping Estha stir as much as she was keeping the girl upright, and breathing.

    She sighed softly, and for a moment Ichais wasn’t sure if she had heard her.

    “Should I be?”

    “Even I’m afraid of death.”

    “Really?”

    Estha turned her head despite her muscles screaming at her to stop, and stayed long enough to watch her nod, somewhat solemnly.

    “Are you afraid to watch me die?”

    Ichais swallowed a secret down with the lump in her throat, and nodded again.  Estha considered this, and turned back, resting her weight back against her shoulder.

    “I wrote my mother letters from each new place I found.  I told her that I had never hidden since I left, never spent the night beneath mud but instead the stars,” she smiled to herself, “She used to tell me that I had lived twice the life she had, and was always grateful when I told her all of the adventures I’d passed in my time.  She used to sing to me about the places in this world, and I made it my responsibility to not forget what she had taught me.  I suppose I also have a God complex at times as well.  I say that I’m not afraid because even when the thought crossed my mind, I decide that I probably won’t die today.”

    “Even now, when you’re half gone?”

“Of course.  And I’ve come to close to death so many times,” Estha’s laugh rang from the top of her lung, “Would it really matter if I did?  At least I’ve lived.  Only few can say that.”

Ichais opened her mouth, but quickly screwed it shut before she said something she didn’t mean to.  Instead, she let Estha’s hands fall into her lap and Ichais stirred the potion herself.

“You look like a doll like that,” she thought absentmindedly.

Estha grinned and tossed another pinch of pollen in, the liquid switching between black and blue and back again.

“I’d hate to see the dolls you were born with, in that case,”

“Can I ask another question?” she said, and waited for a soft hum to respond, “Where did you learn witchcraft?”

“Nowhere I can name.  Mostly by just picking up tips and tricks from passerbys.  They’ve taught me a few reforming spells to mask my face, as well as food and healer spells.  I had a siren friend once, she taught me to gather and boil, and I’ve been on my own ever since.”

“You’ve been alone?”

“Have you not been alone too?”

Ichais bit her lip, “I hate witches.”

“How old fashioned,”

“No,” she corrected, her eyebrows knitting together, “Just cautious.”

“You keep oppressing them in fear of war and there’ll be trenches sprouting where you walk,’ Estha noted, “And anyway, I don’t have wicca blood so you needn't be afraid of me.”

Ichais groaned dramatically and dropped the spoon to the side of the pot, looked wistfully off into the distance where the sun began to set, “Don’t mention blood to me, please.”

Estha tutted, and drew enough energy to pierce her thumb with her pointed canines, before pushing her finger across Ichais’ lips.

She struggled for a moment, trying to bat her hand away without hurting her.  Eventually she gave in, allowing her to rub the blood along the roof of her mouth.  Estha felt the sharp teeth graze her skin, but the shiver that traveled up her spine was disguised by the common twitch of pain or cold.  

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t listen to you complain any longer,” she said, blushing an angry red under green skin.

Ichais pressed her thumb into the inside of her cheek to complain around it, “It’s too sweet.”

    “Sweet?”

    She turned to find her reaction, and was surprised to see that there was none, but instead Ichais staring straight ahead, unmoving, a single drop of blood rolling from her chin and falling to Estha’s exposed shoulder, ignored.

 

    I can tell you of the moment when Estha dies, but I’m sure it would not a tale you’d care to hear just yet.  I know that the cold from her bones stirred even the Heavens, and they said into the darkness that they had never known that that girl’s soul held so much anger and so many regrets, and just those words alone would have sent Eros into fits of rejoice, as love changed who the anger could have made her.  Of course, if not for the fact he had died not long before Estha had, at the hands of a wizard who did not mean to lie to his friend.

    But you wouldn’t want to hear of that yet, would you?

    Instead I will tell of the dream that found Samhain’s mind that night, as a carriage far from home slid silently into the night with an army following its rickety tracks.  It came to the boy as he turned to face another sleeping creature, whose tired mind allowed all of the darkness in his body to press from his hands and throat and circle their feet like a flood.  The other rider dragged his fingertips through the suffocating cloud and swore that he watched it eat his flesh, ripped to pieces and torn from the bone like feathers from wings, eaten alive by thousands of tiny insects, black like beetles but with teeth as sharp as a million needles.

    He covered his mouth with the back of his hand and screamed into the fabric of his gloves, but nevertheless the other man woke and the shadows disappeared like ash in gales.

    “What is it?” he said, suddenly alert, “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing, a nightmare, that’s all,” he lied, staring at the unharmed skin, the invisible cuts still hot but fading fast.  He pulled his legs up around him, and urged the other to fall asleep again, that they would be arriving soon enough.

    But when he slept he sent the most horrid visions to the young God, Samhain.  Dreams of his skin peeling like white bark from rotting trees, the insects consuming him as large as knives.   In fact not insects at all but monsters that only a powerful wizard with the longing to destroy could create.  And though Samhain tried to claw his eyes open as they laid waste to his ruined skin, he was dragged deeper and deeper into the nightmare, the world changing, a light growing, but instead of a point of hope it drew him in like a moth to be met with the cruel eyes of scared man with the name of a hero and the hands of a murder.

    When Gomez awoke his body was stiff and still feeling as if it were mortally wounded.  And as the sun shone through homebound trees, Chene awoke, the demons his body summoned each night finally leaving for the time being.

    Samhain rose in a state of panic, his skin back and stitched together but raging claw marks of his own doing littering his flesh like the lines of a map, leading the path of fates closer together - and mimicking the route the Jinmi took on the first day he set out to find the second realm.

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