[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] estdeus_innobis
[The morning after the dream of Nanshe]

Dear Ms. Thorn,

I apologize for the suddenness of this letter, and hope that you will understand that I would not write so abruptly if it were not a very urgent matter.

I need your help - or, rather, I know that we need to work together - on something vitally important. It is related to what we did together three years ago, at the water's edge. The need is even greater now than it is then.

Please meet me at your earliest convenience in the garden behind the Whitechapel on Silk Road. I will be there working.

Yours,

Hermia Stephanides


--
The letter was the fourth thing that I did after I awoke, with the taste of seafoam on my lips. The first was to curl myself close to Valmont, embracing him so tightly that he awoke too. I told him everything as I held him close, listening to the steady beat of his heart and feeling his warm presence next to me.

The second was to hug the children. (It is still a marvel, to think 'children' and not 'child.') For once, Luc stayed asleep - he murmured and squirmed in his dreams, his little mind working hard even in slumber, but he did not wake.

The third was to send a message to Chester, a tiny flare of magic sent into the ether. I know he will answer when he can, and I hope that it is soon, for I will need his help. I will need everyone's help.

The fourth was the letter, sent off with Adam as he finished the night's cleaning to head home. He was startled to see me awake, and even more so to see me sending a note to the Carnival, but he agreed to do what I asked.

And the fifth was to get to work.

I stay in the garden all morning, Marie sleeping beside me as the pale-purple stillness of dawn brightens into full day. Sorting herbs and sketching diagrams, plucking at the threads of Power to see what shapes I can weave them into, trying to find the sparks of divinity that Nanshe left behind.

Working and waiting.

[Open to Syl]

Date: 2014-01-05 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
Three fuckin' years. Three fuckin' years away from'is town, 'way from th'psyho monster, an', fer me, 'way from Tez. More grey'n m'hair, more wrinkles 'round m'mouth, an' lately m'monthlies 've been skippin' months. Th'witch act's movin' from slinky older lady t'bent ol' crone, which frankly I think'll be eas'er fer me t'pull off. But bizness' still good, I c'n still dance wit' th'best ovvem, an' th'magic still comes t'm'hand like a huntin' hawk.

Still, when I find a note at m'door'is mornin' when I stepped out fer m'first cig, had t'raise 'n eyebrow. Most folks knock on m'door, 'r come t'm'tent, not leave notes written all pretty'n sealed wit' wax. Takes me some time t'place th'name. Hermia...yeah, we worked t'gether, we took Nanshe from'er skin an' back inta th'town. All I really know 'bout'er other'n at's she wuzzat chick't th'lib'rary, th'one't'd rather watch'er man risk death 'n tell'er ex t'fuck off. Might be inclined t'let't go...but Nanshe knew'er, Nanshe liked'er, an' she did have power. I might not like'er allat much, but she worked wit' me, annat makes'er a sister.

So, I swig some coffee, wander inta town, trailin' cigarette smoke b'hind me. Th'Whitechapel ain't m'fav'rite place, but seems like't's cleaned up'n th'past three years. Even a nice garden'n the back; I smell herbs'n flowers. An'ere she is, hands workin' th'earth, green under'er nails, fat baby onna blanket b'side'er an'I can hear'er power singin'n th'wind. She's gotten better.

Crone'n mother, jes' missin' a maid now.

Wait for'er power t'ebb...y'don't never interrupt a caster, not never...An'en stub m'cig out 'gainst th'wall. "So, said y'needed help?"

Date: 2014-01-06 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
She says m'name, an' there's a twang deep inside'a me. Once ye've worked wit' someone, fer better'r worse, there's always a c'nnection. Reckon she coulda called me wit' no need fer pen'n ink, if'n she'd thought 'bout't. "Forgive me - I would have come to you, but I didn't want to leave Marie for that long."

"Y'could'a brought'er," I says, steppin' inta th'garden. 'er power's hangin'n th'air like mist waitin' fer th'sun t'burn't off. "D'spite whatcha may've heard, we don't eat babies." Smile a bit, but don't really feel't. Th'scars on m'belly still give me trouble'n th'cold, an'I ain't fergotten.

She offers me coffee, an'I nod. But b'fore she goes t'get't, she turns t'me. "Nanshe came to me in a dream last night. There is something vitally important that needs to be done."

Nanshe. Ain't heard'er voice since I cut'er throat, sent'er soul inta th'town. But she wuz m'friend. Start t'take out 'nother cig, then glance't th'baby'n put th'pack away. "Since y'came t'me, doubt she wants a wall built."

Date: 2014-01-06 06:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
See th'way she winces when I make th'crack 'bout eatin' babies, 'n m'mouth tightens a bit. Jes' cuz she's a sister don't mean I like'er, annis shows why.

She brings out coffee, made quick work ovva sling t'carry th'baby in, an'I give'er props ferrat. Seen many a woman'er age who gets so panicky witta baby she fergets how t'boil'n egg, let 'lone improvise a sling. But'en, she izza witch.

She also notices'n says thanks when I don't smoke. Shrug. "She yer first?"

When I ask 'bout Nanshe, she touches a pelican brooch at'er throat. "She said that the battle is coming. The one that has been on the horizon for years in this town. Nanshe can help fight off the darkness, if we can draw on her power. If we can call her forth."

Frown. "She di'n't have much idea how t'fight th'dark b'fore. She tell ya what's changed?" I liked Nanshe loads, but she did seem t'hang back some.

Date: 2014-01-07 04:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
Least we can talk 'bout'er kids. "Second. Our first is Luc - Lucien. He is two and a half. I - I was carrying him the last time you and I worked together."

"Right," I nod. "Thought I picked'at up from ya. Glad 'e's healthy." Lotta babies 'ese days don't make't outta th'womb, let 'lone live through th'first year. She's lucky t'have two.

"She…was not enough herself to give many details. But she did say that the Tower is going to attack. Sometime around the equinox, or just after. It is going to make the strike that it has been preparing for, these last four years. To stop it, Nanshe said that we need to draw forth her power. Three years ago, we sent Nanshe's divinity into the earth and water and fabric of Excolo. To fight the darkness this time, we need to draw her divinity into the people."

Quiet ferra minute, jes' th'sound'a th'birds 'til I says, "Hell." Take a mouthful'a coffee. Already m'mind's workin', tryin' t'imagine jes' how t'do'is, how t'work't. "That ain't gonna be easy." If'n't's even poss'ble..."She give ya any notion how?"

Date: 2014-01-08 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
"Not as much as I would have liked." I have to admit. "The brooch is part of it - it is a connection to her, and I can use it to call upon her. That will help us draw her forth. But the rest, I believe we have to figure out for ourselves. Not just the two of us, of course - it is too large a task for two people alone. But since we were the ones who worked the original spell, we are the ones who have the best chance of figuring this one out.".

Wave m'hand'n dismissal. "Callin'er's th'easy part. M'knife's tasted'er blood, we's shared breath'n spit. Won't be no problem callin'er. Trouble's gonna be diss'patin'er wit'out losin'er essence'in power, not t'mention gettin'er inta all th'people in town. Rit'al onnat scale, hundreds'a folks..." Shake m'head. Ain't never done a spell'at big b'fore. Ain't even sure'at's poss'ble. Mebbe ferra god, sure, but mebbe Nanshe's too weak t'remember we's jes' two human witches.
Edited Date: 2014-01-08 03:07 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-01-08 05:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
"It is an enormous task. We will have to get more people to help us. Chester will help, of course. And perhaps Nu, and Glass, and others who have strong power."

I nod. "Dunno if'n Tess's still'n town, but she has some chops t'er. An' Simon." Can't much think'f anyone else.

As for getting her essence into people…Well, she is already in the land, and that connects her to the people who live here - they eat what grows on the land, and they drink the water. Perhaps we could intensify that somehow? Put more of her in the water, so that her essence goes into everyone."

"Th'water." I muse. Well, I might not like'er, but she ain't stupid. "That could work. I work well wit' water, gotta good c'nnection wit't. But workin' witta river's tricky...y'gotta watch out, or yer magic lit'rally gets washed 'way." Still, wit' a river so c'nnected t'th'town, could work. "But dunno how long we'd b'able t'hold't. S'th'sorta thin't be easier if'n ev'ryone drank't th'same time, an' doubt'at's gonna happen."

Date: 2014-01-09 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
Nod when Hermia says she works best wit'air. She had th'feelin' ovvan air worker t'me, but't's int'restin'. Tradit'nally, air's a man's el'ment. Oh, known women who work wit' air, an' fire too, ferrat matter, jes' a bit less common.

I'm best with air, but water works well, too. So if the river is too precarious…what if we concentrated it in a well?" Nod slow, an' keep noddin's she suggests gath'rin' folk't th'abbey. "Getting everyone to drink at the same time would be difficult. But…what if we got everyone to gather in one place? At the abbey, even - if there is any place that would magnify Nanshe's power, it would be there. Then we could pass out water to everyone gathered? It wouldn't be the most subtle way of going about it, but it would be effective."

"Would be, sure," I says, drainin' m'cup, "but we'd hafta get ev'ryone'n town willin' t'join in'n drink. Not ev'ryone's so trustin'. Think th'local church's gonna go ferrit?" Find m'self doubtin'at. "But still, might work. D'y'know if'n th'abbey hazzit's own well? Be th'eas'est way t'draw'er power in."

Date: 2014-01-13 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
She admits't some folk won't go ferrit, but most will. "An'ose't won't? What happens t'em? Get th'feelin'ere won't be a rosy future forrem." Needs must, though. If'n we lose a third'a th'town but save th'rest, I'll count't azza win.

She agrees't th'Abbey likely hazza well, "A place as big as that - it would make sense for it to have its own water supply. We can easily check, of course, and if it doesn't, then we can try to find another place where there is a large well. But the abbey would be best, both because it is large enough to hold everyone and because it is the seat of Nanshe's power. If that plan doesn't work, though, what other ways do you think we might go about doing this?"

"Hell," I sigh. "Don't s'pose y'know where'er body's buried? Too late fer blood, but'er bones oughta be'ere. Bone meal c'n carry magic pretty well, an' c'n be mixed in wit' flour eas'ly 'nough. Don't s'pose y'c'n bake?"

Date: 2014-01-14 06:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syl-thorn.livejournal.com
"She didn't speak about it that way. She said that to save the town, we needed put her spirit into the people. She didn't say that those who refused would not be saved." Click m'tongue, soft. Don't doubt Nanshe intended t'save's many's she could, but also think Hermia's too soft t'see. Sometimes y'gotta save who y'can, an' most times'at ain't ev'rybody.

"And even if those who refuse are left out of it…" It pains me to say it, but I must. "Then that is the risk we must take. She said that…if Excolo falls, so does the world. So we must do whatever we can." Well, m'respect for'er goes up a notch, cuz if'n nothin' else, she sees't, but still can't be sure who meant what'n how. Guess'at ain't really our concern now.

She says she can't bake, an'I sigh. "Can you? I don't think any of the others in town who can work magic can bake. I could try if we need it very badly, but I would not want to make a mistake on this."

No, but I ain't th'one 't's playin' happy housewife. S'what I wanna say, but bite m'tongue. Won't do us no good t'argue, an' she's right onnis score; better't she not lie'n we both know the'score. "No. An' we'd want somethin't ev'rybody'd take, somethin' ev'rybody'd gladly swallow..."

Red rain is pouring down,
Pouring down all over me.


Hardly even notice when m'coffee cup slips from m'hands, rolls onta th'grass. So bloody simple, dunno why I din't' fuckin' see't b'fore. But'at's th'way'a witchin', y'think too hard annit'll pass y'by. "We make't rain," I says, lookin' up't th'sky, deep blue'n cloudless, an'en back't Hermia. "We need t'make't RAIN."

January 2014

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