Tossed

Jun. 27th, 2007 11:04 pm
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
Light pours from under the white marble lintel of the Great Seeming, stretching bands of rare daylight down the hallway. The Shadows wince and squint, muttering among themselves.

What isssss it?
Don't know?
Issss Sssshe insssside?
Think sssso. Yesssss.
Did Ssssshe sssssay anything?
Nothing, Ssssshe jussssst vanissssshed.
The door isssss open...
Sssssshe left it that way.
On purposssse?
Don't know.
Look! There Ssshe isss! Yessss?


Through the door comes the sound of the sea; not the calming sound of the heartbeat of the World, but the roar of the beast enraged, of storm tossed breakers and whitecaps beating themselves furiously against cliffs. And beyond the blinding light of the Seeming is ragged rock, black and jagged, strips of black fabric caught in every other crevasse. A figure in tattered black stands at the cliff's edge, staring out into the dark clouds that the storm tossed sea rises to meet. And tracing from the door of the Seeming to the figure, a line of imprints on the rock like a line of distorted capital Cs, sans serif; the print of the left arch of a foot, outlined in blood. The wind rises, and the salt spray rises with it, casting flecks of sand and foam and sea torn kelp through the door of the Seeming to puddle at the feet of the uneasy Shadows. The figure stands before it, impassive, self-flagellatory. Where the red trickles from her ankle and touches water it turns hard and black, droplets of corroded silver clinging to the cliff face. She raises her bared arms above her head, and outside the Seeming the Shadows cringe.

And then there is nothing.

The dazzle fades from the doorway, and the Seeming is but a room again, a plain room of pure white marble. Seaweed and sand fleck the threshold, along with tiny droplets of blood.

When he finds her, she is unsurprisingly abed. Eddie sets the mug of tea on the nightstand, next to an uncorked and now quarter-full bottle of clear liquid swimming with glimmering blue lights. Her pillow is wet and she does not turn, one hand trembling drunkenly over her eyes.

"The Sea has no remorse, no emotion; She would not take me. For-" she trembles, curling tiredly around herself as the tears start afresh, "we all know that I have far too much of both."
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
The salty air whips by her, tossing her hair back from her face in purple waves that undulate like the ocean before her. The sunlight beats down on her brow and glitters on the water, reflecting and refracting a thousand tiny suns to beat against the cliffside. The girl is at peace here, with nothing but the roar of the sea and the smell of salt air, the flutter of the sun's reflection and the faint pressure of its warmth on her skin and the black trousers and black sweater she wears. Here she need not think, here she need only be. The rock she perches on is decidedly cold, despite the sun, and she shifts almost imperceptibly.

There are voices. They are the faint rasping ones of her shadow servants, and they intrude into her mind like the sound of dry leaves scratching across pavement.

"Issss Sssssshe in here?"
"Yesss, I think sssso."
"Ssssshould we disssturb her?"
"Sssshe did not leave any insstructionss that Ssshe ssssshould not be bothered."
"Well then...?"

One of the voices grows louder, questioning. "My Lady?"

With a near-audible "pop" the scene disappears, and the girl is left sitting on the cold floor of the Great Seeming, the white marble gleaming blankly up at her almost questioningly. She sighs, and her crinolines rustle around her with the movement as she stands, stretching cold muscles back to life, and tucks wayward strands of auburn-brown hair back behind her ears.

"I am here. What news have you for me, that it cannot wait for my leisure?"

One of the shadows cringes visibly, and she sighs again, making a mental note to skip over that detail in the future. "My Lady, there isss sssomeone here to sssee you."

A tall figure in a black cowl steps slowly though the door, a tall scythe grasped loosely in one bony hand. The shadows retreat in fear, and the girl blinks in a mixture of horror and surprise.

"HELLO."

The word drops like an iron weight, resonating in the cold marble halls like the stroke of a gong. An upwelling of giggles follows it, and from deep within the cowl emerges a head of tousled black hair and a pair of smiling eyes. The girl staggers in relief. "Oh, sweet gods, you gave me a turn." The owner of the eyes giggles again, shedding the cowl and scythe which disappear on the floor, and taking one of the girl's clenched hands in her own pale, cool one. "We should talk," Death says, her silver ankh gleaming as she looks around, "Though, maybe not here, unless you really want to."

The room stills for a moment, and then fills with the pungent smell of eucalyptus, mud, and the fluttering of orange and black striped wings.
"Oh please," the girl gasps from behind the rising lump in her throat and tears in her eyes, "Please, not here. I can't..."

Suddenly they are at the cliff again, and she is perched on her rock as before, with the wind and the sun upon her. Huddled close is the other figure, and they spend a moment like that, black clad arms entwined in companionable silence while the girl calms her racing heart.

"You come here to forget them."
"True. But also to remember. These places... These places become the only things I have left of them."
"That's funny, you know. He does the same thing in a place similar to this."
The girl's smile is bitter. "I hadn't expected you to come. He claimed you, you know, and I hadn't expected you to visit the... warring kingdom, as it were."
Death's face stills for a moment, her expression blank behind her dark sunglasses.
"I am everywhere you know. I come for all but I belong to none."
"Forgive me, I didn't mean..."
Death smiles suddenly. "I know. It just seems like you forget sometimes. Like you forget other things."
The girl looks down at her feet on the rock, and notices that blood trickles from her left ankle. She winces guiltily.
"I know. It's been a long time since I needed to do that. It wasn't the same though. I wasn't angry this time, I was just... despairing. I had to do something to express that great pain, to make its mark on the world so I could convince myself it was real. And to remind me that I was still here, still alive."
"Lest you forget," Death whispers. "And did it work?"
"For a time."
There is a long moment of silence, and then Death sighs. "I won't talk down to you, and I'll say it plainly. You are walking perilously close to something that could lead you to my realm by a shorter path than any of us like. We will not tell you what to do, but for your sake" she gestures at the girl's ankle and the trickle of blood that has begun to crawl down the side of the rock "we do ask that you stop. We didn't save you the first time to lose you so soon."
The girl looks down. "I wasn't planning... I... I hadnt... Thank you. Thank you for the warning. I will do my best so that all of your works are not in vain."
Death musses the girl's purple hair with a smile. "Little sister, you know that's all we ask."

Out on the sea a large bird takes flight as the two watch. From somewhere outside the Great Seeming comes the faint sound of axes.

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