a lot has happened lately but i don’t think i’m allowed to talk about it.
a lot has happened lately but i don’t think i’m allowed to talk about it.
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.
If you are a monster, stand up.
If you are a monster, a trickster, a fiend,
If you’ve built a steam-powered wishing machine
If you have a secret, a dark past, a scheme,
If you kidnap maidens or dabble in dreams
Come stand by me.
If you have been broken, stand up.
“i will take her.”
they smirked at me and i knew what they were thinking. i’m just a child, i’m weak, i could not possibly complete this task that they themselves were unwilling to do. too difficult, too dangerous. i knew that it wasn’t really that important. nothing horrible would happen if everyone dropped the issue. but i knew that they wanted to see what i would do.
at this point i am so fucking sick of all these tests that i’m willing to throw myself into anything to prove something. anything. i still don’t know what my reward will be.
i think i know but i’m not sure i’m willing to accept it. i’ll fight for it anyway.
so i took the hare’s head. i put her in a little wicker basket with a long leather strap, hung it over my shoulder, called my horse and left.
the horse was another test too. at least i got something out of it.
i could hear the head panting. her blood soaked through the basket and onto my saddle. we left the group in their little glass tower and rode out to cross the plain. that was the goal. i had to get her to the other side safely.
the grass came up almost to my horse’s belly, with tiny multicolored flowers everywhere. there was no wind. everything was silent.
but there were dozens of wolves hiding in the grass and they attacked as soon as i lost sight of the building i left. there were more structures scattered around, long low glass boxes. useless for hiding in but whenever we had enough of a lead to feel safe we stopped to rest.
the hare’s body was growing back slowly. she was still bleeding terribly and looked like she was in so much pain. i held her whenever we stopped, stroked her ears until she closed her eyes.
we rode for a day and a night and into a second day. the wolves were huge and great in number. they snapped and jumped but my warhorse was stronger and faster and knew what to do. we were covered in bruises and bites but we were making good progress and i thought we might be okay.
and finally we came to the end. the plain dropped sharply into a huge hill and i knew our goal was at the bottom. we were so tired but we were almost there. the wolves gathered behind us, silent, an army waiting to charge. but we moved first, so quickly over such steep ground that i thought my horse would flip over forwards, fall down the hill, kill us all. but we made it.
the ground at the bottom changed to bare dirt and the wolves turned back there. we came to a house and a man walked out, huge and pale with strange oval eyes. his skin seemed too tight. i knew he was a friend. we went inside and i let the hare out of her basket. she was still missing her back legs but she was alert and well enough to drag herself around the room. i collapsed on the floor. the man gave me strips of some raw red meat and i ate them gratefully.
“are you ready for what comes next?”
and i wasn’t, i could barely walk, but he knew i would say yes. he sat down next to me on the floor and took me into his arms. i fell asleep tracing his tattoos, rows and rows of tiny black symbols i couldn’t read.
my sister was there when i woke.
“am i worthy?”
and she answered,
“you will be.”
the house has been very hostile to my friend and i don’t know how to get it to stop.
she told me that she’s dreamed of it since she was very small, always terrible scary dreams. all the details she mentioned are perfect. it is my house, exactly as i see it, but it is protected by things i’ve never met.
i killed one of the creatures she described between the time she met it and when she told me about it. i don’t know if that was a guardian. i met it somewhere else entirely and it wasn’t really a positive experience.
the house has always welcomed me. i’ve never seen anything. it’s inherited and i suppose these wards came along with it and it bothers me that i don’t know how to alter them.
i am not nearly as knowledgeable or powerful as i should be.
‘the boar was mine.’
‘did you send it?’
‘yes. another test. you did very well.’
‘did i kill it?’
‘no. he will not trouble you again.’
‘what are you offering?’
‘i will protect and teach you as best i can. i will give you use of my lands if you wish.’
‘…where am i usually? whose lands?’
‘your own. stay there. you strayed too far last night and i do not wish that to happen again.’
‘why do you care what happens to me?’
‘because, little brother, you are capable of more than you think.’
this is rambling and horrible but i do not often talk about things like this and probably only one person’s going to read it anyway.
i have heard that lucid dreaming is easiest after a gap in sleep- sleep, wake up, go directly into a dream. i did not sleep well last night and passed out today just after getting home and landed in one of the most powerful and controlled experiences i’ve had in a long time. so maybe that’s true.
it has been really hard lately. something’s blocking me and every time i manage to cross over there are trials set for me, like i need to prove that i have a right to be there. there have been mentions of ‘father’- not my father here or on the other side. i really don’t get involved with gods but that’s what i’m suspecting here. after recent experiences with aengus i’m tentatively assuming it’s the dagda. i don’t know what he wants with me. but i think this was important. i think this was progress.
but this was entirely different. i was in a tower room, but not my tower, not anywhere i’ve been before. it was full of animals. foxes, leopard cubs, bright lizards, some caged, some just running around.
one cage was stuffed full of doves, so tightly packed they were stacked on top of each other, gasping, some already dead. i wandered around for a bit, played with a leopard, didn’t really see any of it as strange.
there was a cage set into the wall with its floor at about eye level, holding a boar. i knew i had seen it before and it wanted to hurt me. i walked past it as slowly and deliberately as i could because drawing its attention would be a bad thing.
it pushed though the bars and gored me in the back. i fell. it hurt. all the animals starting making all the noise they could.
i snapped back to my physical body and sat up. i could still feel my back, could still hear the animals. and i remembered that i have some power and i went back.
i’ve never done that before, never snapped between worlds so deliberately. i was very proud of myself but i was also lying facedown in a pool of my own blood with a goddamn boar attempting to eat my heart.
i shoved it back. it hit the cage of doves, breaking it open, feathers everywhere.
feathers are incredibly important to me in this place. i’ll take some time to explain it later, maybe.
i was able to close my wound and grow my wings with the least effort it’s ever taken. i didn’t even feel it.
i gave myself new clothes just for the hell of it, just because everything was easy. the only way i can describe the conjuring sort of glamour is a pulling feeling, drawing something out of my skin and giving it a form. toying with it between fingertips is the easiest way. i didn’t need to even think about it this time.
flying clothes, loose open-backed shirt, tight embroidered pants that i’m sure are traditional somewhere.
i jumped out the window, landed in the middle of a street, hid my wings because they freak people out. there was a boy pushing a wheeled cage over to the tower, another animal for the collection, probably. i was too happy to care about specifics. i was fine and strong and powerful and here was someone to share it with. i grabbed him and led him through a gate and underground.
he was dark-haired and looked about fifteen. we ran around the tunnels for a while and eventually found ourselves under the tower we started at. the floor there was covered in tiny bones and shards of glass. i asked why the animals were there.
“she killed a man for them.”
okay. i don’t know what that meant. but he hadn’t been in the room before and wanted to see them all. we found ladders that would reach the window i jumped from.
it wasn’t that high up from the ground, but as we climbed the window seemed to retreat upwards. very soon we were incredibly high off the ground but no closer to the window.
a strong wind picked up and the boy started to panic. the wind was lifting my ladder away from the wall and he was trying to reach over and push it back. it fell. but i have motherfucking wings and for once it was a helpful wind.
flying is the best thing when it works and the most frustrating when it doesn’t. this was perfect.
i landed hours, maybe days later, very far away in a village covered in snow. i found a cigarette somehow and set off exploring. it was night. it was very still and quiet. the streets were very narrow. everything was pale grey stone.
and there was a wall at the end of a street with faces painted on it and one of them was mine.
a tiny old woman walked by with about six knee-high ponies on leashes like dogs. she stopped and stood next to me and we stared at the wall together. after a minute she turned to me and smiled and said
“the queen must be very old now, mustn’t she?”