[identity profile] lord-icelus.livejournal.com
Some time, in a place that was and is the abbey, that is in this world and in Dream

She is coming.

I can feel her, that nasty bitch, like a tooth ache or a splinter. She nearly killed me, and I still suffer for it. Partly it was my own fault, for not remembering that silly service gods like her love to throw themselves on their own swords to look after their people. As if we should be in service to them!

I want her to get here. I want to kill her slowly, and lick her bones clean, and then I want to dance as the new king of this little town. A nasty pisspot of a place, it is, but it's better than oblivion, yes. They may not worship me, here, but they'd fear me: and for a god of nightmare, that's really good enough.

She's bringing friends, though. I disliked that last time. And so I conjure up a labyrinth, turning the stone of this abbey into twisting pathways of dead ends and trap doors. She'll lose some along the way. And then I will tear out her heart.

[OPEN]
[identity profile] goddessnanshe.livejournal.com
Early morning, Wednesday

My arms and legs are bleeding, my ceremonial dress ripped and stained. It has taken me hours to get free of the abbey and stumble onto Main Street. My hair smells of soot. I can manipulate dream, but now there is another here who can, too, and the dreams he has sent for me are full of fire and thorns. And he does not tire, as I do. His body is not mortal.

I stumble up to the sheriff's office and knock hard on the door.

[Open to JACK, and then to others who might be nearby]
[At sheriff's office; moving to the LIBRARY]
[identity profile] gaueko-erebus.livejournal.com
[Near midnight, Saturday, August 7th]
[Day 433]


I felt it last night, as I stalked the woods and tore into the heart of a young stag. Something powerful in the streets of the town, bloody and bright. I raised my jaws, dripping, from the steaming hole in my prey's side, and I grinned at the sky. A new player in town? Or an old player rising to new heights? Anything can happen here, and things are accelerating.

The stag moaned and kicked me in the side, and that brought me back to what I was doing. But I didn't forget. Not once the stag was down to antlers and bones and hair, and not now, as I walk the alley where it happened.

There's still blood soaked into the cobbles, staining the dust in between the stones. I taste the blood and grin again. This one. I remember this one. I can taste Sugaar in him, not strongly, but there. He smells of chemicals, hair oil, clean fingernails, and death.

The blood trail leads off towards the brothel, and if I cared enough, I could follow. But the victim isn't what interests me; the other, now, the other who smells of leather and bruised flesh. I am a hunter, and a hunter should know all his rivals. I sniff hard enough to draw dust up my nose, and then sneeze blood across the alley, but I can't find any more clues.

My tail is wagging. This should be fun.

[OPEN]
[identity profile] goddessnanshe.livejournal.com
Mid-afternoon of Tuesday, 29th June
The Abbey


It's a bright warm day, and the church, my church, rings with the sound of a community in song. Every pew is filled, and there are even people standing at the back of the church and spilling onto the porch, leaning into the doorway to hear Ash's words, and singing out familiar hymns of summer and farmwork through the stone of the church and out into the bright air. Some of our farmers - I know them all by name, John Hale, Jasper Thornton, Lucille Cliff, Alex Brown, their dreams familiar to me as neighbours - bring a bale of new hay to the altar in offering, and my throat is tight.

Please, I pray. Please let their prayers be granted. May I still be able to do some good.

It's strange, to be able to feel such joy and such grief at once. I have such pride in my people, and such helpless frustration at what I have become.

The service ends, and everyone goes into the fresh air. Tonight they will dance together at the new hall, kick up tired heels and shake out aching muscles into new, pleasanter aches of dancing and socialising and celebrating after hard labour. For now, our community here has moved tables out from the dining hall into the yard, and the congregation has brought pies and cider to share. Children run giggling between the tables, hay in their hair, and I laugh looking at them, and feel a terrible tender pain in my heart, wanting them to be as safe as this always.

[open]
[identity profile] goddessnanshe.livejournal.com
Mid-afternoon of Tuesday, 29th June
The Abbey


It's a bright warm day, and the church, my church, rings with the sound of a community in song. Every pew is filled, and there are even people standing at the back of the church and spilling onto the porch, leaning into the doorway to hear Ash's words, and singing out familiar hymns of summer and farmwork through the stone of the church and out into the bright air. Some of our farmers - I know them all by name, John Hale, Jasper Thornton, Lucille Cliff, Alex Brown, their dreams familiar to me as neighbours - bring a bale of new hay to the altar in offering, and my throat is tight.

Please, I pray. Please let their prayers be granted. May I still be able to do some good.

It's strange, to be able to feel such joy and such grief at once. I have such pride in my people, and such helpless frustration at what I have become.

The service ends, and everyone goes into the fresh air. Tonight they will dance together at the new hall, kick up tired heels and shake out aching muscles into new, pleasanter aches of dancing and socialising and celebrating after hard labour. For now, our community here has moved tables out from the dining hall into the yard, and the congregation has brought pies and cider to share. Children run giggling between the tables, hay in their hair, and I laugh looking at them, and feel a terrible tender pain in my heart, wanting them to be as safe as this always.

[open]
[identity profile] goddessnanshe.livejournal.com
Morning of 21st June

It's still raining, though not as heavily as earlier, but I couldn't wait any longer to come out here and see what has happened. I was wakened in the early hours of Sunday by a strange feeling of pressure and brilliant light, but my cell was completely dark. I walked through the abbey, and all was still and shadowed. Anyone else would say I had just had a dream - but I know there is no just to dreams.

In the afternoon, one of the novices came back from gathering in the woods to say that there was the strangest sight: a charred circle, as if lightning had struck and destroyed a neat section of the forest. Something about this oddity set my teeth on edge, and I was resolved to see it; but I had duties at the abbey in the evening, and I would not shirk them.

Today I woke to a downpour, but I have borrowed a raincoat from Sister Dove - she is slighter than me, and so it is a little tight, but it will do - and wrapped up my hair with a scarf to help shield it from the rain, since carrying an umbrella into the woods seems foolish - and I start walking the couple of miles to where Novice Diana said she saw the circle.

[OPEN][closed]
[identity profile] goddessnanshe.livejournal.com
Morning of 21st June

It's still raining, though not as heavily as earlier, but I couldn't wait any longer to come out here and see what has happened. I was wakened in the early hours of Sunday by a strange feeling of pressure and brilliant light, but my cell was completely dark. I walked through the abbey, and all was still and shadowed. Anyone else would say I had just had a dream - but I know there is no just to dreams.

In the afternoon, one of the novices came back from gathering in the woods to say that there was the strangest sight: a charred circle, as if lightning had struck and destroyed a neat section of the forest. Something about this oddity set my teeth on edge, and I was resolved to see it; but I had duties at the abbey in the evening, and I would not shirk them.

Today I woke to a downpour, but I have borrowed a raincoat from Sister Dove - she is slighter than me, and so it is a little tight, but it will do - and wrapped up my hair with a scarf to help shield it from the rain, since carrying an umbrella into the woods seems foolish - and I start walking the couple of miles to where Novice Diana said she saw the circle.

[OPEN][closed]
[identity profile] samuel-durand.livejournal.com

[location; 7 miles from Excolo]
[Wednesday, June 9th, Day 374]

I sit sketching in the dying light, adding the ground covered in the day’s ride to maps of my own devising.  I note the topography, water sources, points of interest.  Wildlife. Plants and trees. There are no hesitations or wasted strokes.

Later I can feel the ground cooling beneath my back while I watch the sky fade from blue to black. To someone watching from between the stars, did the planet Earth’s end of days register as anything more than a sparkle in the great celestial eye?  I decide that a new world needs a new name, and smile.

If the tanner told the truth, I’ll reach the next settlement by mid-morning. Excolo.

After all these years of wandering, I’ve learned not to light fires when I bed down for the night unless it’s truly a matter of life and death.  Fire warms, but fire blinds.  In exchange for bodily comfort, you announce your presence to anyone and anything with eyes to see and a nose for scent, and blind yourself to their approach.  I check the pistol underneath the jacket I use for a pillow, the knife in its sheath nestled against my breastbone, and settle deeper under the blanket.  The restive animals will wake me if anyone nears.  I will sleep the sounder for being invisible.

And I do sleep soundly.  But sleeping, I dream of fire, and of fever-bright eyes that are more uncomprehending than afraid.

[June 10th, Day 375]
[Location: Southwestern Entrance to Excolo]

First light finds me changing into the faded habit of my old order and removing the hobbles from my pack animals.  I take special care to check the straps that secure my bundles of leatherbound notebooks to the mule, and to make sure the oilcloth is keeping them properly dry.  My only truly valuable possessions, more valuable than diamonds, though they would not seem so to thieves.  All the better. 

Breaking my fast on dried fruit and salted meat, I rein Memory to a halt when the town first comes into view midst forest and field.  She tosses her head angrily, and I quiet her with a hand on her dappled neck.  Spirited.  Fights me every step of the way, sometimes.  It’s why I chose her, why I named her. There are days she’d kill me if she could.  The nameless mule merely waits, glumly, mute as meat.

It is important to me that my mount never be capable of true domestication, so that I can never be deceived as to the nature of our relationship.  A symbiosis of force, my will and her resisting spirit.  In the naked use of force there is at least respect for the separateness of that which you dominate.  The truly domesticated creature has been emptied of all it has to give, and is not even worthy of the lash.

I'll sell the mule as soon as I can find a place to stow my things.

A squeeze of my knees and Memory is moving again, taking me toward the town.  I stop well short, though, and dismount.  I always dismount before entering a new place. Better to enter such a place on foot, pulling the animals behind me on leads.

Smiling gently, as I do now. A humble man of the cloth.  

[Open to all]

[identity profile] samuel-durand.livejournal.com

[location; 7 miles from Excolo]
[Wednesday, June 9th, Day 374]

I sit sketching in the dying light, adding the ground covered in the day’s ride to maps of my own devising.  I note the topography, water sources, points of interest.  Wildlife. Plants and trees. There are no hesitations or wasted strokes.

Later I can feel the ground cooling beneath my back while I watch the sky fade from blue to black. To someone watching from between the stars, did the planet Earth’s end of days register as anything more than a sparkle in the great celestial eye?  I decide that a new world needs a new name, and smile.

If the tanner told the truth, I’ll reach the next settlement by mid-morning. Excolo.

After all these years of wandering, I’ve learned not to light fires when I bed down for the night unless it’s truly a matter of life and death.  Fire warms, but fire blinds.  In exchange for bodily comfort, you announce your presence to anyone and anything with eyes to see and a nose for scent, and blind yourself to their approach.  I check the pistol underneath the jacket I use for a pillow, the knife in its sheath nestled against my breastbone, and settle deeper under the blanket.  The restive animals will wake me if anyone nears.  I will sleep the sounder for being invisible.

And I do sleep soundly.  But sleeping, I dream of fire, and of fever-bright eyes that are more uncomprehending than afraid.

[June 10th, Day 375]
[Location: Southwestern Entrance to Excolo]

First light finds me changing into the faded habit of my old order and removing the hobbles from my pack animals.  I take special care to check the straps that secure my bundles of leatherbound notebooks to the mule, and to make sure the oilcloth is keeping them properly dry.  My only truly valuable possessions, more valuable than diamonds, though they would not seem so to thieves.  All the better. 

Breaking my fast on dried fruit and salted meat, I rein Memory to a halt when the town first comes into view midst forest and field.  She tosses her head angrily, and I quiet her with a hand on her dappled neck.  Spirited.  Fights me every step of the way, sometimes.  It’s why I chose her, why I named her. There are days she’d kill me if she could.  The nameless mule merely waits, glumly, mute as meat.

It is important to me that my mount never be capable of true domestication, so that I can never be deceived as to the nature of our relationship.  A symbiosis of force, my will and her resisting spirit.  In the naked use of force there is at least respect for the separateness of that which you dominate.  The truly domesticated creature has been emptied of all it has to give, and is not even worthy of the lash.

I'll sell the mule as soon as I can find a place to stow my things.

A squeeze of my knees and Memory is moving again, taking me toward the town.  I stop well short, though, and dismount.  I always dismount before entering a new place. Better to enter such a place on foot, pulling the animals behind me on leads.

Smiling gently, as I do now. A humble man of the cloth.  

[Open to all]

[identity profile] jack-hollow.livejournal.com
[Afternoon of Thursday, June 10 (day 375)]
[Walkin' the beat]


Gotta say that if we're gonna get two days of snow in summer, the two we had were about the pleasantest you could expect. I didn't even hardly have ta shovel, an' think the worst winter brought on was snowballs. Don't even look like the crops are gonna have a particular hard time of it, which I am damn grateful for.

Hell, I walked through a coupla flurries and was in the park fer a bit, an' I didn't even get damp.

Find I'm humming a bit as I cut up away from Saint Willigis and stroll back on down the road. All glory be to God on high,/And to the earth be peace;/Good-will henceforth from Heaven to men/Begin and never cease. Tomorrow afternoon'll be busier, what with folk comin' in ta market, an' then I'll be glad I don't need ta sleep. Today... well, I'm just gonna be glad it's seemin' a pretty quiet day, all told.

[Open]
[Closed]
[identity profile] jack-hollow.livejournal.com
[Afternoon of Thursday, June 10 (day 375)]
[Walkin' the beat]


Gotta say that if we're gonna get two days of snow in summer, the two we had were about the pleasantest you could expect. I didn't even hardly have ta shovel, an' think the worst winter brought on was snowballs. Don't even look like the crops are gonna have a particular hard time of it, which I am damn grateful for.

Hell, I walked through a coupla flurries and was in the park fer a bit, an' I didn't even get damp.

Find I'm humming a bit as I cut up away from Saint Willigis and stroll back on down the road. All glory be to God on high,/And to the earth be peace;/Good-will henceforth from Heaven to men/Begin and never cease. Tomorrow afternoon'll be busier, what with folk comin' in ta market, an' then I'll be glad I don't need ta sleep. Today... well, I'm just gonna be glad it's seemin' a pretty quiet day, all told.

[Open]
[Closed]
[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Saturday, June 5th
The Dormouse, just after the lunch rush


Rose gurgles and coo's happily in her basket, entertaining herself with my wedding necklace dangling just above her little hands.  The diamonds catch the sunlight, and rainbows dance across the walls everytime it spins.  When that fails to amuse her, there is always her own toes.  Or Flopsy, which is a perfect match for the dress Dorian sent over just the other day.  I have to admit it's a perfect coour on her, and maybe I should take her over later today so he can see it on her.

Later though.  Romana has off today, and I can't blame her.  It's a beautiful Saturday, and if I were young and lovely and single, I wouldn't want to be stuck at work either.  At least it's slowed down now, and only one table lingers, chatting over tea.  I have most of the dishes done, so there's nothing to do but wait to see if they need anything else, talk to Rose, and keep reading my library book about Green Mythology.  The task ahead is daunting to say the least, and I don't want to rush into it without as much information as I can possibly have.

I flip the page and take a sip of strawberry tea as Rose giggles as the jewel spins at her touch.  "Very pretty, Sweetling."  I murmur, reaching in to tickle her toes.

(Open)
[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Saturday, June 5th
The Dormouse, just after the lunch rush


Rose gurgles and coo's happily in her basket, entertaining herself with my wedding necklace dangling just above her little hands.  The diamonds catch the sunlight, and rainbows dance across the walls everytime it spins.  When that fails to amuse her, there is always her own toes.  Or Flopsy, which is a perfect match for the dress Dorian sent over just the other day.  I have to admit it's a perfect coour on her, and maybe I should take her over later today so he can see it on her.

Later though.  Romana has off today, and I can't blame her.  It's a beautiful Saturday, and if I were young and lovely and single, I wouldn't want to be stuck at work either.  At least it's slowed down now, and only one table lingers, chatting over tea.  I have most of the dishes done, so there's nothing to do but wait to see if they need anything else, talk to Rose, and keep reading my library book about Green Mythology.  The task ahead is daunting to say the least, and I don't want to rush into it without as much information as I can possibly have.

I flip the page and take a sip of strawberry tea as Rose giggles as the jewel spins at her touch.  "Very pretty, Sweetling."  I murmur, reaching in to tickle her toes.

(Open)
[identity profile] jack-hollow.livejournal.com
Noon, Wednesday, May 19 (day 353)]
[Sheriff's Office]


Admit that after the fight with Thiess, Durant's bin a lot less trouble. Think nearly having his skull cracked open had him stop and think over a coupla things. So when he was splitting a pitcher with one of the drift trade that came through town last year and they got onta exactly how bad it got last summer, and the man actually had somethin' useful ta say, Durant talked him inta sobering up and coming down. Told me'n Mab what he'd seen down in the old apartments, the night that poor bastard was nailed up ta the town sign.

An ya don't take someone's word fer somethin' like that. So I went down an' looked 'round again, twice over this time, an' found the bullet. Musta gone right between the lath neat as you please, an' so spent by the time it hit the far room it just dropped down. Mab never really did feel entirely sure 'bout Maryk, and what with the bullet an' all it's worth takin' another look, an'...

Found the bloody shirt, half of a very sleepy rat's nest.

Found the tent peg and chain in the room under the one where he was hangin'.

Found, thank you Christ the Carpenter, prints. Woulda sworn you can't, not after so long. Mab got Bluebeard ta do something to them, an', well, between that an' the description we got enough ta ask some real pointed questions and give the pair a'them room and board. Feel kinda sick thinking of all the times I spoke ta them. And really goddamn glad she never got elected.

Not sure what Miss Leah's gonna do. The kinda people that beat and stab a man ta death for no particular reason ain't the kinda people you wanna be sharing a house with. Lettin' her stay there, a' course, but not sure she'll want to. Chills me ta wonder how close she might a' come to getting beaten boneless and nailed up somewhere.

I put them in the downstairs cells. Left the light on an' all, but... Well. Bin a while, but people're still pretty disgusted with that whole crucifying a battered corpse on the town sign thing. No reason, no reason at all except that they wanted ta brag about what they'd done. Brag. So'm thinking out of sight ain't gonna get them all the way outta mind, but it'd help.

Just let's please not have another mob get worked up. Stopping by the 'Boy a bit more often yesterday an' today, but leastways Bathory ain't bin associated with it in a while. For now'm just writing up the report and tryin' ta make sense of it all.

[Open]
[identity profile] jack-hollow.livejournal.com
Noon, Wednesday, May 19 (day 353)]
[Sheriff's Office]


Admit that after the fight with Thiess, Durant's bin a lot less trouble. Think nearly having his skull cracked open had him stop and think over a coupla things. So when he was splitting a pitcher with one of the drift trade that came through town last year and they got onta exactly how bad it got last summer, and the man actually had somethin' useful ta say, Durant talked him inta sobering up and coming down. Told me'n Mab what he'd seen down in the old apartments, the night that poor bastard was nailed up ta the town sign.

An ya don't take someone's word fer somethin' like that. So I went down an' looked 'round again, twice over this time, an' found the bullet. Musta gone right between the lath neat as you please, an' so spent by the time it hit the far room it just dropped down. Mab never really did feel entirely sure 'bout Maryk, and what with the bullet an' all it's worth takin' another look, an'...

Found the bloody shirt, half of a very sleepy rat's nest.

Found the tent peg and chain in the room under the one where he was hangin'.

Found, thank you Christ the Carpenter, prints. Woulda sworn you can't, not after so long. Mab got Bluebeard ta do something to them, an', well, between that an' the description we got enough ta ask some real pointed questions and give the pair a'them room and board. Feel kinda sick thinking of all the times I spoke ta them. And really goddamn glad she never got elected.

Not sure what Miss Leah's gonna do. The kinda people that beat and stab a man ta death for no particular reason ain't the kinda people you wanna be sharing a house with. Lettin' her stay there, a' course, but not sure she'll want to. Chills me ta wonder how close she might a' come to getting beaten boneless and nailed up somewhere.

I put them in the downstairs cells. Left the light on an' all, but... Well. Bin a while, but people're still pretty disgusted with that whole crucifying a battered corpse on the town sign thing. No reason, no reason at all except that they wanted ta brag about what they'd done. Brag. So'm thinking out of sight ain't gonna get them all the way outta mind, but it'd help.

Just let's please not have another mob get worked up. Stopping by the 'Boy a bit more often yesterday an' today, but leastways Bathory ain't bin associated with it in a while. For now'm just writing up the report and tryin' ta make sense of it all.

[Open]
[identity profile] jack-hollow.livejournal.com
[Early afternoon of Wednesday, April 21 (day 325)]
[Sitting in the Sheriff's Office]


It's a damn nice day. Tiny bit cool, with the clouds scudding across the sky, but it just makes the sun warmer when it comes out. Left the front door open, an' there's a bit of a breeze. Kit's hunting what's apparently a very dangerous dust bunny.

Wish Mrs. Wilson a lovely afternoon an' stand as she does, walk her ta the door. Guess that I'll go by'n talk ta Hathaway, but I think it c'n wait a day. She stops by pretty often, now, an'... well. A lotta the time she comes in just ta talk, an' this was one a them. If it's still buggin' her tomorrow, I'll hear about it.

Still, I'm about all caught up on the filin', no reason ta fall behind. So I sit back down'n start copying out the complaint, keepin' an eye on the door.

[Open]
[Closed]
[identity profile] jack-hollow.livejournal.com
[Early afternoon of Wednesday, April 21 (day 325)]
[Sitting in the Sheriff's Office]


It's a damn nice day. Tiny bit cool, with the clouds scudding across the sky, but it just makes the sun warmer when it comes out. Left the front door open, an' there's a bit of a breeze. Kit's hunting what's apparently a very dangerous dust bunny.

Wish Mrs. Wilson a lovely afternoon an' stand as she does, walk her ta the door. Guess that I'll go by'n talk ta Hathaway, but I think it c'n wait a day. She stops by pretty often, now, an'... well. A lotta the time she comes in just ta talk, an' this was one a them. If it's still buggin' her tomorrow, I'll hear about it.

Still, I'm about all caught up on the filin', no reason ta fall behind. So I sit back down'n start copying out the complaint, keepin' an eye on the door.

[Open]
[Closed]
[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com
Sunday, April 4
The garden behind the Whitechapel Inn

We awoke in each other's arms, both terrified. Valmont, because he feared that I was being attacked; I because I felt something wrong in the world, something beyond the long sleep and painful thirst and weakness. Some ripple of Power that was twisted and wrong. But under it all I could sense Nanshe's presence helping to set the dream-world right again. And Valmont and I had each other, and we were safe, and despite everything, that makes the waking world right.

And neither of us wanted to postpone the ceremony. We wanted - no, needed to continue. Needed to make some new beginning, needed to make life go on as it was supposed to.

And so, still shaky, we went to the abbey this morning at dawn.

Valmont said that I was the one guiding this part of our wedding solemnities, for I was the one closer to the gods. So I arranged the offerings for us to burn on Nanshe's altar: two little bundles, both the same. Not hair. Not incense. Not anything that would be in an Athenian wedding offering to the gods. We are making our own way, here.

So there are herbs from the garden that I planted and he cooks from. The first lilacs that Valmont gave me, and the lilies I gave him, both now dried into fragrant shadows of themselves. Splinters of wood from an empty keg for his profession; scraps of paper from an old book for mine. (Lydia offered me a book that was falling apart anyway; I would never have taken a page from a book otherwise! She gave us a gift, too: a lovely leather-bound and gilt-edged volume of Yeats.) And cotton candy - even though it made everything terribly sticky and I feared it would melt, I had to put cotton candy in there, for the memory of that first night that we soared above Excolo on the ferris wheel and felt as if we were flying. And because it made both of us laugh when I put it in, and we should begin our life together with laughter.

We smile as we light our offerings, and as we smell the fragrance as it floats up to the heavens.

Now, back in the garden behind the inn, I smile again as I wait to take my place next to Valmont and in front of Mab. I've found more lilacs for the bouquet, white and purple both, standing out against the shimmering deep blue fabric of my gown.

I have no parents to bring me to the altar, and neither does Valmont. We just have ourselves, and are giving ourselves to each other.

There they all are. Our friends - all of the people who have grown dear to us in the last year. Our Alice, looking lovely and more grown-up than ever. Mab, tall and serious. And Valmont, who looks so magnificent that my heart leaps at the sight.

I feel a nervous thrill run through me as I step out. Dear gods, I'm getting married! For an instant, I'm terrified, as I stare down that long aisle. But then I realize, why should I be afraid? At the end of the aisle is Valmont. I have nothing to fear as long as he is there.

At the end of my long journey, he was here waiting for me.

So I take a deep breath and step forward, towards my new life.

[Open to wedding guests!]
[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com
Sunday, April 4
The garden behind the Whitechapel Inn

We awoke in each other's arms, both terrified. Valmont, because he feared that I was being attacked; I because I felt something wrong in the world, something beyond the long sleep and painful thirst and weakness. Some ripple of Power that was twisted and wrong. But under it all I could sense Nanshe's presence helping to set the dream-world right again. And Valmont and I had each other, and we were safe, and despite everything, that makes the waking world right.

And neither of us wanted to postpone the ceremony. We wanted - no, needed to continue. Needed to make some new beginning, needed to make life go on as it was supposed to.

And so, still shaky, we went to the abbey this morning at dawn.

Valmont said that I was the one guiding this part of our wedding solemnities, for I was the one closer to the gods. So I arranged the offerings for us to burn on Nanshe's altar: two little bundles, both the same. Not hair. Not incense. Not anything that would be in an Athenian wedding offering to the gods. We are making our own way, here.

So there are herbs from the garden that I planted and he cooks from. The first lilacs that Valmont gave me, and the lilies I gave him, both now dried into fragrant shadows of themselves. Splinters of wood from an empty keg for his profession; scraps of paper from an old book for mine. (Lydia offered me a book that was falling apart anyway; I would never have taken a page from a book otherwise! She gave us a gift, too: a lovely leather-bound and gilt-edged volume of Yeats.) And cotton candy - even though it made everything terribly sticky and I feared it would melt, I had to put cotton candy in there, for the memory of that first night that we soared above Excolo on the ferris wheel and felt as if we were flying. And because it made both of us laugh when I put it in, and we should begin our life together with laughter.

We smile as we light our offerings, and as we smell the fragrance as it floats up to the heavens.

Now, back in the garden behind the inn, I smile again as I wait to take my place next to Valmont and in front of Mab. I've found more lilacs for the bouquet, white and purple both, standing out against the shimmering deep blue fabric of my gown.

I have no parents to bring me to the altar, and neither does Valmont. We just have ourselves, and are giving ourselves to each other.

There they all are. Our friends - all of the people who have grown dear to us in the last year. Our Alice, looking lovely and more grown-up than ever. Mab, tall and serious. And Valmont, who looks so magnificent that my heart leaps at the sight.

I feel a nervous thrill run through me as I step out. Dear gods, I'm getting married! For an instant, I'm terrified, as I stare down that long aisle. But then I realize, why should I be afraid? At the end of the aisle is Valmont. I have nothing to fear as long as he is there.

At the end of my long journey, he was here waiting for me.

So I take a deep breath and step forward, towards my new life.

[Open to wedding guests!]
[identity profile] jack-hollow.livejournal.com
[Throughout the day, Wednesday, March 31 (day 304)]
[Somewhere that should be familiar]
For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
- Job 33:14-18, KJV

Pretty sure this ain't right.

Not seein' things way I'm used to. Think the sun's come up, but all there is is a singin' brightness lets me see the streets. The cobblestones a' the street are talking to me, singing Waterkey's name. Lydia coulda maybe helped, but all her books are leaves and the library's a great tree, ten thousand sheaves of inky green, an' she ain't there.

My...
town.    

I walk inta houses; I walk into mouths and look out of eyes, and inside those heads I find people still and sleeping, please Christ let them be sleeping. Their faces are feathers and stones. Once I find a shrieking bird and I pick it up and it scorches, and when I slap at its nest the twigs go black instead a' cherry-red.

Sometimes the street ain't where it should be. I look up and see a great long path of saffron silk in the sky, whipping in the wind with a sound like pigeon wings, and all the doors are gone. Go around the back way through gardens shaped like doors and arches of roses, and when I make my way through the buildings Silk Road is back, but the cobbles and windows are covered in salt.

I think I am doin' some right by people. I am sure I am not doing them wrong. Sometimes when I lift one of them to the basket or branch or cloud where they should be resting I see things clearer fer a second--thorns and shadows, or a cloudy sea rolling in. But it's gone again, and I'm left tryna move through the dazzle and dream.

Please God, let them wake up. I can't see things clearly now, whole town's dreaming and I I I am the town...
Please God, let them wake up.
Please God.

[Closed]

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