An saighdiúir fuála

An saighdiúir fuála

Postby Galacia Tarin » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:45 pm

(The Sewing Soldier)

"Gloria. Gloria!"

Under normal circumstance she would have been quiet, shadowed. Perhaps even waited for the seamstress to drift further into the dreaming. She would not have barged to the front of what looked like a pleasant dream. It was the Dagger on a cold Winter night. Gloria's satchel was by the hearth with a cup of her sugared broth and a pile of books. Cherny and Catch were talking at a corner table. It would have been a night of talking and laughing and play fighting. But not tonight, not this dream.

"Gloria!"

Galacia paced the floor of the Dream-Dagger, crimson silk skirts rustling over the dirty floor as she hissed softly under her breath. It was time she spoke to the one girl who might be able to find answers in the waking world.
"I didn't really love you baby
I didn't really love you
I didn't really love you
But I'm pretty when I lie"
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Re: An saighdiúir fuála

Postby Rance » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:30 pm

Cherny was showing Mister Catch the walnut game -- his hands moved faster than they ever had before, scraping the half-shells across the tabletop. But the secret was that there was a bean under each one, a kindness from the boy. Catch was brilliant, so very brilliant; they were both laughing over there while she read her books, a hundred books, a thousand books. She knew all the languages, she was so very smart in this place. She drank her broth and there was no sugar in it at all.

The seamstress' hair was a wild tumble of blond, a whole mane of heather and flax, bright and Myrkener, nothing Jerno, nothing filled with flecks of blood or scabs. Its threads and braids were the sun but not the Glass Sun. Her favorite boys were laughing, a wise child and child-man in the throes of mirth, and yet--

Pacing. Pacing.

(Dreams? She knew one Dream -- she did not know this was a dream, too, an errant fancy in her mind planted by invisible fingers, a delicate stitching of the composite memories and wild desires laced through her sleeping thoughts, rare as sleep was for her. And not all things could she explain, neither actions nor compulsions. Not here, not where even the strangest reaction seemed so natural, so normal and right--)

"Your daughter gave me soap," said the seamstress trilled. She was squatted on the floor in front of Galacia in the next moment, her hands crawling across the floorboards to find those drumming feet, trying to stop them, silence them.

(What daughter, what woman did she even speak of. She barely remembered. Tennant taught her how to better smoke her little clay pipe that night. Here, though, it was important -- the gift was precious, necessary to recall--)

"The fat of animals," she clarified, prostrated before the woman who shouted her name. Her sun-starling hair was so straight and perfect and spilled like golden water; it wore a smart, black hairpin, angled just right to keep the hair out of her blue, blue, blue, blue eyes. "The blubber of bodies broken down to its base parts, refined with trickles of flower-buds, scented with the careful addition of herbs. So I might not smell so badly. Scrub the black sweat away, scrub it right off my skin; I was an offensive girl, I was a Jerno, I reeked so rancidly that she must give me soap. You see?

"Shall I wash your feet? Sit, let me wash your feet. I am a good girl, a very good girl. Born in Myrkentown, my mother was a bladderwoman and my father was a cobbler--"

(No, that wasn't right, it was only half-a-truth.)

The name fell off her lips like leaves shaken from autumn trees.

"Galacia," the kneeling seamstress whispered. A recognition. "Why are you shouting my name? I am with my friends. You might break all of our smiles."
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Re: An saighdiúir fuála

Postby Galacia Tarin » Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:05 pm

The girl's dream was a more elaborate fantasy than she had seen in some time. It was curious to here how vivid the images were. It was almost as if the girl had created her own little world, a place she could visit, intentionally, to avoid the horror that is Myrken.

Gloria's vision of herself was the most striking. She saw herself as an ideal set by others. What she must look like to be a good Myrkenite. To be accepted, perhaps even loved, by those who lived in her world.

"No Gloria, I do not wish you to wash my feet. Though it would be just like Arcana to offer you soap and call it a gift. She is an even stranger child than you."

She moved toward the hearth, sitting next to a fire which burned bright in the dream, despite the sun that seemed to gleam outside the tavern windows. She patted the hearth stones, bidding the seamstress to join her.

"Gloria...I have a task for you."

Her dark gaze drawn to the pin in the almost disturbingly blond tresses. It made her smile an almost human smile.

"Tell me all about Elliot, and the new Ariane. And tell me, if you have seen either of them, with this."

The necklace she pulled free from her blouse was a simple triangular black stone. It matched one Elliot used to wear, and the stone on her own hairclip.
"I didn't really love you baby
I didn't really love you
I didn't really love you
But I'm pretty when I lie"
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Re: An saighdiúir fuála

Postby Rance » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:15 pm

"Strange girl as she might have been, I was stranger. Your daughter was beautiful. Age in her eyes, but youth in her cheeks, poise in her motions. Soap," she repeated -- a laugh, a smooth laugh, tattered in no way by alien accent or mismatched culture. "I might have thought there'd be a lesson in that.

"But there are lessons all around us in Myrken Wood. I should know; I've grown here, shared laughter here. Tears, too. There are enough tears you could ply a river through the mountains with them."

(Some amalgamation of pleasantry and simplicity. This was not a Myrken Wood with the Lady, but one with ladies nonetheless, a flat an unchanging world pieced together from the chivalry of old poems and the desires for peace and confidence. No stutter, not even a foreign lilt in her voice. She was indigenous, natural, not a beauty, but not an imposition on the common order, either--)

No washing of the feet, no simple peasant courtesy. As Galacia glided toward the hearth, the seamstress was at her heels. She was still an earthy young woman, barrel-round and stout, her teeth cork-brown and her manners stiff, wanting for the demure but lacking it. She sat beside Galacia, the smallest finger of her left hand raising so she could chew upon the edge of a nail.

"A task. I can perform tasks," Gloria said. "Brocade on the cuffs, starching of the collars. Should you wish a letter written, I might take--"

Tell me all about Elliot, and the new Ariane.

(There were moments when reality bled into dreams, when the most fragile illusion could be shattered by either a sense of falling or a droplet of black sweat crawling down the collar and into the pit of the arm. And while this was not a tangible interruption, it disrupted the barrier between this simple knave-dream and the frightful misanthropy of the waking Myrken Wood)

Black hair. Black and ash. Sun-strangled eyes, burnt from youthful color to a dull, witless gray by thirteen years in the bone-cracking heat--

The stammer returned. The unease, the discomfort of being real. The sulfuric stink of Jerno sweat, the gleam of wet oil smeared across her forehead.

"I put a horse's bit into Elliot's mouth. I screamed my -- my rage at him. I inspired in Niall a want for death, that her demise might convince him that -- that what he believed he knew was a lie. I drew Ariane's fealty and respect with lies; I succeeded in lying too much. Drawing her ire. Her hate. I will cut you from crotch to throat and leave you to die."

(Truth bobbed on the surface in sleep; those would have been ironclad secrets anywhere else, but while she slept, they were her nightmares, her fears and regrets--)

Her gaze was lost in the stone, the sharp angles of its edges, the opaque nothingness inside its core.

"No, Menna. I've not seen that artifact anywhere. Elliot cleaves to his armor as a proud knight; Ariane is the Lady Marshall, who -- who might rather sip a tea than wield a blade. A -- a task?" A glance to Cherny, to Catch, a thousand leagues away. But so near, so tangible, so alive.

"My fingers are hammers. I shatter every piece of glass I touch. I am a maggot."
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Re: An saighdiúir fuála

Postby Galacia Tarin » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:05 pm

It had been such a simple thing to come here. to walk in the dreams of the chubby little Jerno seamstress. She had so easily taken the clip, which allowed her entry to her dreams, to her mind, asleep or not, whenever she wished. The task was to learn about Elliot and Ariane, and something else entirely was happening.

The girl knew much, but it was wrapped in riddles and tales. It would take time to untangle what she knew. The poor dear was so eager. So eager to show she was one of them, that she belonged. That she was not outside, but entwined in this place, part of it's very heart.

"Gloria...you are not a maggot, darling."

Her voice was soft. Sweet as honey, smooth as silk. Her eyes were no longer the deep black that everyone knew, but the sparkling and deep emerald she had been born with. She smiled kindly to the girl, offering a place at her knee, to lean against the voluminous skirts and be part of the pair, not the girl outside.

"You are strong and brave and do what you must to help Myrken, is that not so? I have seen all that you do to help them, and still they tease and point and treat you poorly. Help me help them, Gloria. Help me make you their hero."

So sweet, so caring, her hand outstretched to stroke the girl's hair as she spoke. Offering something close to the affection of a mother, the pride of a friend.
"I didn't really love you baby
I didn't really love you
I didn't really love you
But I'm pretty when I lie"
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Re: An saighdiúir fuála

Postby Rance » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:10 pm

"What do you know of maggots? What do you know of -- of a maggot like me?"

It was a word she'd taken as her own, as dear to her heart for its clarity of definition as Jerno or seamstress. Her tone lanced with sudden defense -- I have broken so much glass, I have chewed apart so many things, I have rotted everything -- before her chin promptly lowered, and she directed her gaze toward her palms. One gloved. One bare.

(Even in a dream, there were roots of one's identity which could not be unearthed or dispersed; the glove was one of them, along with this desperation to defend the title she'd been given. Maggot, maggot, maggot. Her hair could be anyone's hair; her dress could be anyone's dress--)

Had there, long ago, not been reasons why they'd such a tension between them? Or had it only been a natural discrepancy, a dislike shared between Jerno and witch. But days and months and aeons had passed, chiseled away by the ill deeds of those who'd scoured the minds of those she loved, those she cherished, those she yearned to be.

(And without her idol Marshall, what could she become? Nothing, nothing -- in a dream, the mind was so liable to create its own comforts. In this fortress of the subconscious, she ran from waking nightmares. The other entity dripped misguided maternity, a willingness to comfort a girl who thought she was harder than sandstone and diamond--)

Her golden-haired head sagged, her sharp tone forgotten beneath the woman's quiet compliments. It could have been manipulation, it might have been deceit -- but Catch and Cherny were so near, so close, and they'd let no ill befall her. The clapping of walnuts, the comfort of their stutters, the warmth of the fire...

"My mother," the girl repeated as she slumped like a fallen totem against those dusky skirts and that firm knee, "was a bladderwoman, a waterwoman. She blew the glass into hair-thin needles and soothed the drugged jah'zoon with wildtognue. She pierced the beasts in the sides with the tubes of glass she fashioned." She lay her cheek against Galaica's knee--

(This is not the Dream, Glour'eya. This place could never be so vivid if it was only yours)

--and probed a finger at her own ribs, as if to show exactly where. "She siphoned the dormant urine from their bladders, filtered it into fine glass bottles, and boiled it in the Sun so that we all might drink, be refreshed, have our thirst quenched. The smokeroot soiled her mind, though. Drove her to the brink. We lost her years before her body decided it was no longer prudent to retain the illusion of life."

Galacia's fingers danced through her hair. For a few flickering moments, the strands were black, Sun-brittle, natural. Hers.

"I -- I want to help. Else I'll go mad, else my mind will -- will be soiled. You are a mother, aren't you," Gloria asked. "I know from the soap; I know, for you've a daughter. Fill me with heroism. Show me how to help."

(There were no subtleties in dreams and sleep. Sometimes confusion. Sometimes the mixing of roles and identities. All it took was the closeness of that knee, the touch of fingers in hair, the one word: darling--)

"Did you speak sweetly to the jah'zoon today, Mar'dak? Did you get us our water. How may I help? How may I, too, be a hero?"
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