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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45. The Last Key

“Samhain?”

    His head broke the surface, panting, and alive.  Despite everything - he was alive.

 

    “Samhain?”

    He grunted, and rolled onto his back, yawning.  For once, he was rested, happy - almost.

    He looked up, and Jinmi’s worried face.  Not worry, no, but disgust, terror.  He had forgotten about him.

    “Jinmi, are you okay?”

    “Are you?  You were writhing in your sleep, it wasn’t until you fell against me that you were still.  Almost overly so, you worried me.”

    “I didn’t want you to see that, I can’t help it though, I just fall asleep like that,” he frowned, “Did you say I was still?”

    “Completely.”

    “I haven’t slept like that in… I don’t think I ever have, actually.  You did that?”

    “I…” Jinmi blushed, “I don’t know.”

    “That explains why I feel awake for once, finally.  And I didn’t scratch myself?”

    “Well, no,”

    He noticed his ankles.  The air alone stung them, bracelets of slashes so deep you’d swear that you could see his bone.  He winced, gingerly tapping them with the corner of a blanket that had fallen on the floor.  The blood vanished from it instantaneously.

    “Thank you for staying, even after you saw that,”

    Jinmi moved to take back his blanket, but Samhain took his hand instead.  He froze, but noticed that the grooves in his skin from Jinmi’s fingernails had now vanished.  People love to bury things behind them, so he relaxed against him again, and allowed him to lean back in return.

    “I’d never mind that.  And besides, I have one more question I’d like to ask you, if I can?”

    One more question meant a lot.  It meant sitting up straight, pulling quivering lips into a thin line.  It meant that this was the last of few words spoken to each other, that after this was said and done Jinmi would go, Samhain becoming a story for Daphne, and their children, and grandchildren.  The little dreamer boy who ate up your nightmares for you, and who slipped into nothing more than fantasy, and story morphed from truth, not a memory - a legend, nothing more.

    “Okay,” was what he was made to say.

    Jinmi said, “That song you sang, do you know it all?  I feel like it’s important, do you remember more of it?”

    “Oh, yes, I think so?” Samhain said, putting his selfish thoughts aside.  People like him didn’t get to be selfish.

    Jinmi nodded, listening closely, as if the words were coming from his love’s lips themselves.

    “Take my end, tie to ships and to trees.  Tear yourself open to let yourself free.  And if at the end, you still miss me, then follow the line, still death do we meet.  Tied by strings, cords of fate.  Anchors, and buoys, and clouds, and weights.  Take my end, love, tear one apart, meet at the border, meet heart to heart.  Meet at the border, meet heart to heart.”

    He thought for a minute, “Appalla sang me that.”

    “She did?”

    “And Eros told me to remember it, but I can’t tell why.”

    But Samhain knew, and he smiled, “Whose heart do you want to meet again?”

    He looked up, eyes wide, glistening.

    Samhain laughed, and saw how much it raised within Jinmi.  For that alone he was happy.  For that alone.  Alone.

    “I suppose,” he settled back, “You’ll be leaving now, huh?”

Jinmi smiled, “Thanks to you, I feel like I’m not as lost anymore.  I don’t know what I’ll do without you.”

“You’ll be okay,”

“I know but-”

He didn’t say it.  He didn’t say that he didn’t want to go on without Samhain.  The God of kindness, of night, of dreams, of health.  But so much more, the soft boy who lived alone in the clouds and sang to himself and saved chocolate and made pillows out of what felt he found in his tower.  The boy who still twisted his braids as his mother used to, who painted his father in pastel chalk and watched it wash away in the rain, and who took the name of his guardian angel who sent him to live alone indubitably, Samhain.

“I’ll be okay,” Samhain said, of course he did, he lets others be happier at cost to himself, it’s what he does, “Go on, find her.”

“I…”

 

Eros was dragged to the market square where all roads crossed into the second realm, pushed to his knees.  Angels and Gods alike gasped at the horror, the man who spun their lives together, each love they knew - so bruised he was almost unrecognisable.

Osir swung around the crowd, grabbing a cherub, a girl not older than a century and pressing a knife to her neck, “Stay back.”

Brizo stepped forward from the crowd, “Eros, let him go, you monster!”

But Mars pushed him to the ground, his head smacking against the solid floor and red falling to the land below like a curse.

Appalla laughed, “Eros, your friends think so highly of you.  I must admit - I did too.  Before I realised that you were a traitor.”

The crowd screamed, and was silenced by Appalla dragging her blade across Eros’ scalp.  He cried out, and all heard, but no one helped.

“If you were my friend,” she taunted, “You would have brought Daphne to me, you would have brought my love home.  But no, no, no.”

She slit along his shoulder, his white shirt now drenched through.  The smell of the God’s blood was thick in the air.  A blanket smothering the helpless crowd as they reached open hands for their friend who sat, bleeding out on the cobblestones of Heaven.

“You kept her from me!” Appalla was screeching now, a banshee in halos.

“She is not yours,” he hissed through clenched teeth.

“She was made to be mine!  My soul, my Goddess, mine!”

He laughed, the knife at his throat no longer a threat but a fortune met with joy, and pride, and fearlessness - what love always is.

“You cannot trick love.  You will not make her fall for you, not matter how long you keep her trapped above this world.  She will run again and again and always find her way back to those who treat her well.  She knows who she is, what she deserves, and it is no more you than it is the torture you put her through.  She is in love, Appalla, and love is undying, unchanging.  Love is never trapped, and you are not in l-”

She dug the knife through his stomach, her spit rolling along his face.  Their audience screamed, pushing forward before seeing the knife raise again to the hostages.  They settled, and eery silence filling the four realms as Eros, God of Love, gawked and gasped and the rip in his heart, and fell to his death, Heaven basking in the blood of his unjust, undefended murder.

Lovers looked to one another like strangers.

Appalla squealed and clapped loudly in the dead air, crouching over him and propping open his eyelids with her curled nails, “Pretty.  Take him away, drop him to Cardeni.  Let the sirens picking him bit for bit for spells and jewelery.  But the eyes - put them in a box of lead, and give them to my love.  Tonight, we’ll send cupid’s in a box of silver, and then before the week is out the wizard’s in gold.”

    

    “I’ll stay.” Jinmi said.

    Samhain frowned, “What?”

    “I’ll stay, if you’ll let me.  Something’s changed, I don’t know, but I just remembered what I had seen.  Her so happy at the flower festival.  I’ve never seen her like that, why should I ruin it?  You have no one and she had the realm at her feet for her.  I’ll stay.  You need me, and I need you.”

    Something had changed, Samhain knew, but he did not know what.

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