[identity profile] gaueko-erebus.livejournal.com
[Afternoon, Thursday, December 31st, day 214]
[The Dreaming]



I don't dream at night. Which I suppose is no surprise, given that I don't sleep. Why the fuck would I sleep at night when there's so much else to do? There is prey to hunt and shadows to walk, dreams to haunt and blood to spill. Who can sleep when the night sky is running through your veins and the shadows sing in your mind?

During the day, though. I don't really need to sleep, whether man or dog or god, but during the day (when I have enough fucking sense to stay in my room) it's not like there's much else to do. When I was living at the manor, well, that was one thing. I almost came to enjoy paging through the crumbling books, or watching Anushka cast her bones, or just walking the halls and seeing the way they looked in the light. But here...here I can sit in my room, or I can go downstairs and eat, and that's about all that there is. My temple is ash, and I don't know that even my she-wolf could have turned this place into another.

So I sleep. But even then I don't tend to dream. I'm not entirely sure why...at night I can walk through the dreams of others, I used to give dreams, taking them from a sack over my shoulder and casting them into sleeping minds. But these days I rarely dream. It worries me sometimes, when I care to think about it.

So today, when I sink into the dreaming, I suppose that I should be surprised. Or at least revel in the novelty. But I walk the mists on men's feet and dog's paws, and it seems to me that I am just where I should be. Sometimes that's how dreams are, and it's best to sit back and enjoy the ride.

The dreamsstuff under my paws yields like soil, and cold air stings my wet nose. But when I turn to look it is with a man's eyes, and I feel the weight of my coat on my shoulders. Her last offering.

I turn, and I smile.

"Hello, sweet."


[OPEN to....]
[CLOSED]
[identity profile] gaueko-erebus.livejournal.com
[Afternoon, Thursday, December 31st, day 214]
[The Dreaming]



I don't dream at night. Which I suppose is no surprise, given that I don't sleep. Why the fuck would I sleep at night when there's so much else to do? There is prey to hunt and shadows to walk, dreams to haunt and blood to spill. Who can sleep when the night sky is running through your veins and the shadows sing in your mind?

During the day, though. I don't really need to sleep, whether man or dog or god, but during the day (when I have enough fucking sense to stay in my room) it's not like there's much else to do. When I was living at the manor, well, that was one thing. I almost came to enjoy paging through the crumbling books, or watching Anushka cast her bones, or just walking the halls and seeing the way they looked in the light. But here...here I can sit in my room, or I can go downstairs and eat, and that's about all that there is. My temple is ash, and I don't know that even my she-wolf could have turned this place into another.

So I sleep. But even then I don't tend to dream. I'm not entirely sure why...at night I can walk through the dreams of others, I used to give dreams, taking them from a sack over my shoulder and casting them into sleeping minds. But these days I rarely dream. It worries me sometimes, when I care to think about it.

So today, when I sink into the dreaming, I suppose that I should be surprised. Or at least revel in the novelty. But I walk the mists on men's feet and dog's paws, and it seems to me that I am just where I should be. Sometimes that's how dreams are, and it's best to sit back and enjoy the ride.

The dreamsstuff under my paws yields like soil, and cold air stings my wet nose. But when I turn to look it is with a man's eyes, and I feel the weight of my coat on my shoulders. Her last offering.

I turn, and I smile.

"Hello, sweet."


[OPEN to....]
[CLOSED]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
Voronin Manor, Wednesday, October 14th, Mid morning

I know it when I wake. The beat of it thudding all through me. It is today. It is today. I know it with blood and bones and flesh and fire. I know it with the gauze of thought. I know it as the pale fish know the sun: filtered through darkness but unmistakable.

Oh hush. Oh, hush.

There are no more photographs to be burned. Winter creeps in across the town and the apples are drying in cellars. Starlings flock across the bare fields. Think of all these things before they are gone. Know them for one last time. The smell of cold earth and old wood. The way flames are bleached of colour in the daylight. So much, so much. The way the fairground rides are sinking into the damp earth down at the Carnival, the way grass grows up around them. Think of the photograph of Anton and Konrad and Anushka. Think of how happy they were on the shore.

Think of Monster waking in the library attic. Think of Wanda in her cellar, and Glass with her dead, and the candle which has not gone out, and Mab working at her desk, and Valmont's careful handwriting, and Gaueko, and his smile, and Verdandi at her still, and Reed in the shadows of the Boy, and the smith with his scent of metal, and Miao there with her diamond feet, and Kate stacking the shelves of the store, and the teacher at the school, and the boys at the bakery, and the carnies taking breakfast in the cook tent. I watch you all. It is all so beautiful. It is all right.

Turn away from the window. Let the garden gate stand open. Today. Let those animals which have crept back into the garden turn away. Steer the people who stray this way back into the town. Today. Steady your hands. Close all the doors. Remember what it was to be a woman once, what it was to bleed and to hurt and to love. Remember what it meant to be Anushka.

Now let these things go. Do not be afraid. Today. Today.

I grasp the wargod's mind and I drag him to me.

[closed]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
Voronin Manor, Wednesday, October 14th, Mid morning



[closed]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
Monday October 12th, dusk, the Voronin Manor.

By now they have found the body and the sheriff is seeing that Glass is told. By now the whore who wants to be mayor is beginning to miss her dreams. I see them, even if she does not. By now Gaueko will be settled at the Whitechapel. The house is silent. I sit on the great swoop of the staircase and listen to the thoughts of the town. It does not block out my own so well as I would like.

Does Iblis think his un-flesh bestows the same power that humans have forged gods with? It does not. It is something altered, whether he and Gaueko see it or not. It is a smooth marble statue carved with a bright chisel, where humans weather their gods to shape over centuries, each whisper of their name, each prayer or moment of fright a drop of water, and the stone grows into wild and terrible shapes, wonderful shapes, beautiful strong shapes.

But the end times smashed all those stones to rubble and they can never be rebuilt, never mind the darting dogs in the night time woods, never mind the crunch of bones. Perhaps some part of me still hoped for Gaueko when he came back that night, dragged his broken self across the marble hall and lay there knitting himself back towards wholeness slowly. I helped him into my bed, though I do not sleep in it now. There was something right about the way he healed himself, the way his great body grew to know its own hurt and accepted it.

Perhaps a part of me thought, however briefly, that there was a sliver of hope for the gods, if they could take their own fall with such acceptance, such dignity in their lack of dignity, if they did not shy from the long process of power seeping back into them.

Then Iblis, and his quick fix. I could have wept, but it was not in me. I was right to despair of the gods. And the night was ringing like a bell with Wanda's white shape darting through the woods, laughing and kneeling and screaming, and with Iblis with his heart and his tears and his girlish sighs, and the war god spilling his own blood to ease the ache of sadness in him. I sat in the house and I wished I could not see. I am tired with this town. What a fool I have been.

[closed]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
Voronin Manor, just after dusk

The thing that came back was not Gaueko. It was just a dog - bleeding, stinking of cat piss, wracked with a tired pain and coughing blood onto the marble. I lay in the bathtub watching it against the dim warmth of my closed eyes, but once its legs had buckled under it and it had dragged itself as far as it could manage, it did not move again.

The dog did not move for three days and three nights. Blood spread on the floor beneath it, and then dried, and then darkened. Too cold for flies. It lay as though dead, and sometimes shadows claimed it, and sometimes in the pale shafts of morning light it seemed a faded thing, like a half-developed photograph, a water stain in old wallpaper: a thing being forgotten in the clamour of the world. I could barely hear it breathing.

On the fourth day I thought it looked cold, so I gathered Gaueko's coat from where he had left it in the chair, and I put it on the creature on the hallway floor, wrestled its paws through the sleeves, tugged its massive bulk over. But it was not so heavy as one might think. Not so immovable.

I said, do you remember when we would lie together before the fire, you and I? And I would rest my head on you and sleep, or else I would pet you? But the creature did not answer. Of course, for it was just a dog. I left again, but later came back, drawn there by the sad silence and the smell of old blood and sickness. I could feel darkness calling to it. I thought, I should send him in. I sat on the bottom stair and watched the dog lie there still as a corpse in its dull-buttoned greatcoat, and the hours ticked by, and the moon slid across the sky, and the house was silent. Oh, Monster. Did you have to leave him so, lumpen and sprawled helpless between the worlds?

I could have gone with him into the darkness, but instead I gathered old broken wood from the garden and lit a fire in the hallway fireplace. I had not done so for years, and smoke clogged the room at first, where the rooks had built their knotty nests in the chimney. Five days, dog, I said, poking at the blaze with a serving spoon from the kitchen. I am beginning to think you are lazy. I thought of Gaueko laughing. I put laughter in the mouths of the men of Excolo, rough and heartfelt, spilling from houses and shops and the banks of the river.

On the sixth day I lay out photographs before his nose. Anton, and Konrad, and Anushka. I said their names. I stroked my fingers across their slick, monochrome surfaces, and they curled and died like autumn leaves with a small flash of flame. The dog opened its eyes and looked at me. I looked back. Later, when it was asleep, I washed the wound in its side. I supposed I should be angry.

At first he was too weak to eat, so I let him lick broth from my fingers. There was no man left in him, barely any godhood, a low ebb of power subsiding into shadows. Then, when he could walk, he dragged his great paws to my father's chair in the empty parlour, and collapsed into it, a man again. I brought him a rabbit, a little velvety thing, blood still trickling from its nose, and I dropped it into his lap.

[Open to Gaueko]
[identity profile] tereixa-zann.livejournal.com
[Morning of Saturday, September 19 (day 111)]
[Out by the Voronin Estate]


Management, oh, hey, Management. It felt so good to hear back from them, it really really did. I mean--look, hey, I know Management aren't saints, but they're--hell. They're family. Not in the real close way, but in a true way. I missed being sure that they knew, you know? Feels like maybe things are a little steadier here, and now I've got a chance to go out and take a look at a few things. It's Saturday, so market's on and I'll need to be back for the afternoon and evening, but right now I've got time.

Get up early in the cold morning and get dressed, jeans and warm socks under my shoes and a T-shirt and a shirt over that and my jacket, and I head out over the Pontarlier into town, and the air's chilly enough to make me notice all the soft baffle of my clothes, holding my own little bubble of warmth steady against the air running quick and cold all around. Not a lot of people around, and my feet are clacking over the bridge and down the stones and hard dirt of the roads until I reach the tall iron gates, edges of rust and the smell of cold cold metal.

And I stop a minute and curl my fingers around the uprights of fence and gate and stand there, feeling the metal press into my hands and breathing in a hint of old smoke, like a long-dead campfire, and I start to worry. Anushka, lovely lovely psychokine wonder, touching and seeing and holding out the wonder of the world like a clock winding up and measuring golden time--no-one from town would've come to hurt her, would they? Running scared and looking for something to blame, missing the wonder and sweep of her and seeing only the strangeness?

Swallow once and slip through the gate and listen to the early-morning silence.

"Lady Voronin?"

[Open to Anushka]
[Closed]
[identity profile] tereixa-zann.livejournal.com
[Morning of Saturday, September 19 (day 111)]
[Out by the Voronin Estate]


Management, oh, hey, Management. It felt so good to hear back from them, it really really did. I mean--look, hey, I know Management aren't saints, but they're--hell. They're family. Not in the real close way, but in a true way. I missed being sure that they knew, you know? Feels like maybe things are a little steadier here, and now I've got a chance to go out and take a look at a few things. It's Saturday, so market's on and I'll need to be back for the afternoon and evening, but right now I've got time.

Get up early in the cold morning and get dressed, jeans and warm socks under my shoes and a T-shirt and a shirt over that and my jacket, and I head out over the Pontarlier into town, and the air's chilly enough to make me notice all the soft baffle of my clothes, holding my own little bubble of warmth steady against the air running quick and cold all around. Not a lot of people around, and my feet are clacking over the bridge and down the stones and hard dirt of the roads until I reach the tall iron gates, edges of rust and the smell of cold cold metal.

And I stop a minute and curl my fingers around the uprights of fence and gate and stand there, feeling the metal press into my hands and breathing in a hint of old smoke, like a long-dead campfire, and I start to worry. Anushka, lovely lovely psychokine wonder, touching and seeing and holding out the wonder of the world like a clock winding up and measuring golden time--no-one from town would've come to hurt her, would they? Running scared and looking for something to blame, missing the wonder and sweep of her and seeing only the strangeness?

Swallow once and slip through the gate and listen to the early-morning silence.

"Lady Voronin?"

[Open to Anushka]
[Closed]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
Voronin estate, yesterday and today and tomorrow

The bones throw themselves.

I could not love him as a woman, for I was not a woman, and he could not love me as a man, for he was never a man. There is no sadness in being the things we are meant to be. There is no sadness in becoming the things we are destined to become, Gaueko. There is no sadness, and yet:

The locked door, and the broken windows, and the coat left upon the chair. The empty halls, and the vacant dust in slanted shafts of light, and the house breaching the future like a great creaking ship which shatters ice like breaking bread. There were photographs here, but they have mostly burnt. And the night roaring on above me, and the stars moving like they have always moved, like they will always move, and animals deserting the gardens, until not even the ghosts of mice move in the long grass. The damp white blooms have dried and fallen from their thorny stems.

That final stillness when meaning is removed and all that is left is the bones of things, the simple of fact of is, and the cards falling one by one as they were always going to fall, and the clocks ticking on and on and on. It is enough. It has always been enough, but we could not see it.

There is no fire here unless I will it. The night roars on above me, and I hear him, out in the woods, with his monstrous howls ripped from the mouth of the night itself, I hear him calling with only terror as his answer. Nights in the failing garden, where the weeds die back into kindling beneath my feet, I listen to that grief unspooling into the night. The terror of the world shrinking back from me. The stars flinging themselves apart.

The bones throw themselves, now. I know what is coming. Gaueko, once I would have been sorry.

[closed]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
Voronin estate, yesterday and today and tomorrow



[closed]
[identity profile] gaueko-erebus.livejournal.com
[Late night, Thursday September 17, Day 109]
[Anushka's manor]



There's a strange feeling in the air tonight.

I've been wandering the woods for most of the evening, but game has been scarce. Animals seem to have retreated to their burrows, deer bedding down in thick hollows...even beasts that usually thrive in the night are hiding themselves. I don't hear so much as an owl hooting. You get nights like this sometimes...but tonight, for some reason, I'm already uneasy. The whole thing makes me want to snap and rend.

Eventually I leave the woods behind. Tempting though it is to wander into the farmlands or even the town and find something worth killing there, I don't. Verdandi and I have caused enough trouble for a little while, and Sugaar still wants me to stay relatively low-key. So no, no more people. I go home instead...maybe wandering the halls of my temple, among the ghosts and the shadows and the spiders that know me will be soothing.

But the feeling just grows worse as I pad through the gate. A slow, crawling tension that makes my fur stand on end and my lips curl from my teeth. Something's changed. And there's a scent on the wind...ash and dead fire and the faintest taint of scorched meat. Djinn. No, Anushka would have called me if he'd been here. I'd have heard her. And if he'd hurt her I'd have known that too. But it has all the earmarks of his magic, and that makes me bristle.

I shift to man as I step up onto the porch. The door is open, to me and to the night wind, as it always is. "Anushka?"


[OPEN to Anushka]
[CLOSED]
[identity profile] gaueko-erebus.livejournal.com
[Late night, Thursday September 17, Day 109]
[Anushka's manor]



There's a strange feeling in the air tonight.

I've been wandering the woods for most of the evening, but game has been scarce. Animals seem to have retreated to their burrows, deer bedding down in thick hollows...even beasts that usually thrive in the night are hiding themselves. I don't hear so much as an owl hooting. You get nights like this sometimes...but tonight, for some reason, I'm already uneasy. The whole thing makes me want to snap and rend.

Eventually I leave the woods behind. Tempting though it is to wander into the farmlands or even the town and find something worth killing there, I don't. Verdandi and I have caused enough trouble for a little while, and Sugaar still wants me to stay relatively low-key. So no, no more people. I go home instead...maybe wandering the halls of my temple, among the ghosts and the shadows and the spiders that know me will be soothing.

But the feeling just grows worse as I pad through the gate. A slow, crawling tension that makes my fur stand on end and my lips curl from my teeth. Something's changed. And there's a scent on the wind...ash and dead fire and the faintest taint of scorched meat. Djinn. No, Anushka would have called me if he'd been here. I'd have heard her. And if he'd hurt her I'd have known that too. But it has all the earmarks of his magic, and that makes me bristle.

I shift to man as I step up onto the porch. The door is open, to me and to the night wind, as it always is. "Anushka?"


[OPEN to Anushka]
[CLOSED]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
tuesday, late night

In the dream the hand that catches me burns through my skin and my flesh until it is holding charred bone. Then my own face, mouth open, my hand curling into the war god's hair, and the boy waking into his narrow bed and Iblis smiling across the table at me, and the room sifts suddenly into a storm of dust and blows up around us and catches light and swallows me in flame.

I wake spitting white petals like words onto the carpet, or words like white petals, and the world is spinning once more. It's night, and Gaueko is hunting. Moonlight is strung through the house like the last note of a sad song, moonlight and the smell of white jasmine, and spilled perfumes, and pearls, and beneath that something waiting, something always waiting.

Bare feet; moonlit grass; the moon shivering in the eyes of the puddles on Silk Road. I too have waited. Think of it as a means to an end, but the end has got lost, and the sequence is muddled, and I cannot tell means from end any longer. One must be resolute. One must see and know the truth. One must look into the burning face of the sun until sight is burned into and away. Think of all these threads and the women weaving and cutting them short who have done so for millennia. Think of them with their silver shears and the threads all singing like wire on a fence. I see you three sisters there. I see you three, and I dance across your cloth spilling fire from my skirts.

Through the town with its dim windows and its broken streets and its sleeping children. Through the town and over the bridge, and the scent of blossoms and heavy vines and long grasses beckons me. The night ushers me there.

I woke with an idea, you see. I woke with it ringing all through me. Maybe the gods worship us when they are themselves, just as we worshipped them into being. But what happens when they are no longer themselves? The deal is broken. The cloth burns. The deal is broken. "Lilith," I say into the night. Flowers stroke my skin. "Lilith."

[closed]
[identity profile] gaueko-erebus.livejournal.com
[Evening, Sunday September 13th]
[The Whitechapel Inn]



Good few days. I really have to visit that little redhead more often...welcoming, willing and screams like a bloody banshee. Can't ask for much more in a lady. And I should really do something nice for her for taking me home after the picnic...not to mention the amount of her food that I ate. Oh, well, maybe later.

Most other nights were spent out in the woods, roaming and hunting. And it's heartily enjoyable...but it occurs to me as night falls that I have been sorely neglecting my Anushka. She doesn't complain, but it occurs to me that I have been spending little time with her lately, and she deserves some attention. So once the sun sets I find her wandering the house, and ask if she would like to go out.

So we dress, and I take up my cane (these days I only take it when she and I go out together) and we walk into town, arm in arm. Not the tavern, I don't think...Verdandi might be there, and while I wouldn't mind seeing my Verdi again I don't know how Anushka feels about it. And anyway, Verdandi does tend to be a bit distracting. But the Whitechapel....as far as I know, Anushka hasn't been there since the night we met. It seems appropriate.

So I lead her inside, and we find a table. I'm inclined to play the gentleman for her tonight, and so I pull out her chair for her, get her settled before signaling the barman. It's amusing to me to play such roles sometimes.

"Whiskey, gauekoentzat?" I ask her jovially as I sit myself down. "For old times' sake?"


[OPEN primarily to Anushka and Iblis, but others may join if they are so inclined...]
[identity profile] gaueko-erebus.livejournal.com
[Evening, Sunday September 13th]
[The Whitechapel Inn]



Good few days. I really have to visit that little redhead more often...welcoming, willing and screams like a bloody banshee. Can't ask for much more in a lady. And I should really do something nice for her for taking me home after the picnic...not to mention the amount of her food that I ate. Oh, well, maybe later.

Most other nights were spent out in the woods, roaming and hunting. And it's heartily enjoyable...but it occurs to me as night falls that I have been sorely neglecting my Anushka. She doesn't complain, but it occurs to me that I have been spending little time with her lately, and she deserves some attention. So once the sun sets I find her wandering the house, and ask if she would like to go out.

So we dress, and I take up my cane (these days I only take it when she and I go out together) and we walk into town, arm in arm. Not the tavern, I don't think...Verdandi might be there, and while I wouldn't mind seeing my Verdi again I don't know how Anushka feels about it. And anyway, Verdandi does tend to be a bit distracting. But the Whitechapel....as far as I know, Anushka hasn't been there since the night we met. It seems appropriate.

So I lead her inside, and we find a table. I'm inclined to play the gentleman for her tonight, and so I pull out her chair for her, get her settled before signaling the barman. It's amusing to me to play such roles sometimes.

"Whiskey, gauekoentzat?" I ask her jovially as I sit myself down. "For old times' sake?"


[OPEN primarily to Anushka and Iblis, but others may join if they are so inclined...]
[identity profile] anushka-excolo.livejournal.com
These are the times when dawn chips itself from the edge of the world like slices of knapped flint casting reckless sparks against the sky. What is it that change means when the world stands still as ours does? Are we only running towards ourselves, fit to fling our bony souls back into bodies which will welcome us as aging twins? Listen, my love, to the stories left upon the earth. These footsteps, their confused glyphs, the way wind worries at everything until even the hills are worn away to nothing--

Anton, oh Anton, is he with you? You were a good man, I think, but were you good enough to keep his hand in yours past that flare of light? Good enough to stay with him where he wonders off the maps of things, in the hinterlands of joy so pure it feels empty as water? I would not call him back into this, this mire of words and words and words and concrete breaking under the sun and the turbines always turning on the hills. I would not call him back into fever and the empty room and the fire and the birds and their empty noise. He was birthed into that place of the bright unknown long before death took him. Children are like that, burning up with their own knowledge, the little kindling bundles of their bodies. These things I remember and accept.

One wish, Anton. Monster said: what is it you reach for, now? One wish. Would I wish for you, Anton? So long since I've thought of you, why is it my mind shores up against you now? Pack the cupboards for a long winter, you said. You lay on the sofa with your leg tied off and your trousers hardening with blood. Promise me you will eat, Anushka, you said. I said I would eat. Promise me you will not forget him, you said. I said, how could I forget what I have pulled from my own body? I said, I will not forget you, Anton. I will always remember. You said, it will be alright.

Even now, I have not forgotten. You never met a god, Anton. Anton, I am dreaming of you more and more. I am dreaming of you every night, Anton, but I cannot tell the future from the past. You said, it will be alright. I will wait for you. Are you waiting there still, Anton? Will I see you soon?

[closed]

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