Scarred Temple - Ciellen

POSTED: Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:36 pm

With morning glow singing across her eyelids, Genova breathed deep the winter air and found her center amongst the foothills of the immense Halcyon Mountains. Culture shock had begun wearing from her new life in AniWaya, but it was still an immeasurable treat to get away for a couple of days. Life had never been what you would call stable for her, at least not for a long time, but the smoke stained woman was still a creature of habit at her core. Solitude was her tradition. Seeking out those places untouched for seasons was her routine, to haunt those quietly spirited and unusual nooks of the world. This place especially seemed to suit her, another ethereal relic left over from an alien reign. Once it had been a gathering point for hikers. The veins of trails and bike paths around it had long ago worn away, but the simple stone gazebo that had been its heart remained, enshrined in dry vines that whispered to one another in the soft, chilled breeze.

Lilac fire enveloped her eyes against the new light of day as she opened them to her surroundings. A medium fire with a growing bed of coals stood several feet off of the gazebo’s stairs. Two small but tender white hares hung from the stone railing near where her spear and leather bag were leaned. A frost edged creek gurgled down the hill a few yards away, undoubtedly a pretty attraction to the vain species gone the way of so many extinct creatures before them. They must have had so little foresight. The washing and wearing of running water that was wont to occasionally slip from its bed had tested the stone structure over the years, and Genova doubted it would be here much longer. Deep cracks ran across the floor, forking suddenly and violently into new paths of damage. Absently she ran her finger across one of the lines and thought of her own body, tested and stressed by this world until she was visibly cracked.

With a sigh, she pushed away from the stone steps, a little stiff in her rising. Her skin still felt too tight as if someone had sewn her up in a smaller woman’s skin when she wasn’t paying attention. She unbuckled her belt and slung it over the rail before gingerly working off the simple, steel grey dress. The only way Jo had agreed not to trail her out here was a promise to look after her wounds. If Genova didn’t do that and they showed the slightest signs of infection, she’d likely never get a moment of peace from the nosy giant again.

Clutching a scrap of cloth from her bag, Genova went to the creek. It moved swiftly with recent snow melt, clean and clear water. Kneeling at the water’s edge, Genova cupped a cold drink in her hands and brought it to her muzzle before wetting the cloth. She looked back across her left shoulder, arching her back as much as the constricting skin and delicate new tissue would allow. She could still only see pieces of the damage from the corner of her eye. Her back was lined with healing lacerations, now a deep burgundy as most of them were sealing with scab tissue. It gave the impression of deep red willow arms reaching down her back. A few closer to her sides stubbornly refused to heal completely, breaking open just a little any time she reached too far or pulled too much. She dabbed at these troublesome spots gently, jumping at the icy touch of the creek water on the sensitive new skin.

“I’ll be a road map when they bury me,” she sighed, her voice half irritated, half disappointed. The muscles of her sides burned, and she momentarily dropped her hands into her lap and relaxed, gazing across the wild terrain to the increasingly colorful horizon. It was worth the trouble for another sunrise.

Word Count: 659
Set Jan 24

POSTED: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:17 am

OOC| Ahahah *shamefully slow* Sorry for the wait. I kept revising this because it feels awkward. I think I'll have to settle for awkward. Sorry!!

IC|

Ciellen had struggled to move on after his mistaken discovery. For days he laid beside the cold body, curled in the form of his ancestors. As gulls came to investigate the available flesh, he would aggress them with sharp teeth and a sound that would scatter them. Then he settled to wait for their return. The monks had always insisted that life was movement, that death was movement, but in this time Ciellen only knew winter's frozen palette and the unchanging metronome of the ocean. Hours passed across the winter sky, and he would study the muted color weaving through gathering clouds and distant light. Eventually the tide came, and he stood at the shore's edge to watch. Frothy hands picked the body up, and gulls cried as they followed it out. Once more he was abandoned by the waterside, left to wonder at the circumstances of his life.

He traveled simply from there. Bones and flesh reorganized into their primordial figure, something between beast and man, to forsake the attachments of either. The length of strong arms and legs took him deep into the valleys, the woods, into the rich and frozen earth where hands could reach the soil and think of distant spring. He drank from bending rivers and clawed at the boughs of trees. He followed the passage of prey until his attempt yielded meat. There was no time in the flow of nature. An eternity existed in the rhythms of animals and plants, void of thought, void of past or future. Somewhere in the shadows of the rocky shore his belongings waited for him.

Dawn found the wanderer fast along the abandoned trails, panting in pursuit. The goat had run quickly at first, but the efficiency of secui had him keeping pace. A trail of breath and bleats exposed its tire, but still it stumbled forward in desperate inertia. Renewed urgency sparked its limbs and the scatter of clumsy hooves shot left, down an incline and through the depth of snow. He tore after it, large paws parting the icy barricade with familiarity and patience. A loud crack sounded through the foothill, and by the end of their descent only Ciellen kept moving.

Steam and breath met in the morning light as he dragged the limp goat down to the creek. Against the cool tones of the thawing water and breaking skies, the red was like the arctic sun. Sore jaws dropped the body at the bank and drank deep into the darkness, submerging his face until he felt as though he and the ice had become one. His chest filled with the cool of a winter he had long missed. As he rose, the sound of the world returned to him. Blue eyes, the warm of summers gone, pulled the view together, and at once he was overcome by the vastness of the creek and the foothills and mountains that shouldered them, and silenced by the figure kneeling at the edge. Wind would try to coax movement from the thick of his form but he would keep still, quiet and immovable as the glaciers of his home. Water and blood pooled along his throat, down his chest, dripping to the earth in steady rhythm. He watched her there, cared by tender fingers once held in his palm. He began towards her, paws spreading along the slick bank, the mass of muscle moving and growing until he was himself again. Ciellen again.

"Genova!" he called her.

He approached with caution, his figure bowed and open so as not to seem so imposing. Eyes lit along the fire of her wounds as they bloomed in his view, and he looked to her with desperate concern. A hand strayed out but lingered in the air, hesitant to connect. He breathed. "Genova.."
Code by Raze     Avatar by San

POSTED: Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:49 pm

ooc: Not awkward at all! And don’t feel like you’re making me wait. I’m in no hurry, and I always enjoy your posts. ^^

The bleat of goats and the sliding of rocks was something Genova had quickly grown accustomed to as she explored the edge of the mountain range and tried to forget herself. Her charcoal ears were aware of the animal’s distant pleas, but they were nothing unusual to the area and she paid the background noise little mind. Her eyes were preoccupied with sunrise, watching how the reds washed to pink amongst the ice and rocky terrain. The image of blood on snow flickered before her eyes, momentarily blotting out the beautiful landscape, and Genova shook her head lightly before the memories could offer her more scenes she wished to forget. She hardly realized the woods surrounding her little gazebo had gone quiet until they weren’t.

The call of her own name was not something Genova often listened for. There were few who knew her after all, and that handful of individuals was scattered across a continent. The sound of her name in his soothing voice was perhaps the last thing she expected. She startled like a child caught doing something naughty, as if someone might see her ugly and encroaching memories of Halifax. The flinch of surprise reverberated through her abused hide in a mild burn, but it was nothing like it had felt when the wounds were fresh and electric with pain. One eye squeezed shut in an expression of bearable ache that would have seemed funny if not for the obvious viciousness that had been visited upon her. The graceful creature made of shimmering movement that he had met by the sea was temporarily gone, and she turned somewhat stiffly to see him least she open another wound.

Breathe seemed to abandon her as Genova’s eyes roamed across his noble face, reacquainting her with the features of the male she had thought of more than once since their strange meeting at the end of the world. He had inspired some long dormant feeling in her then, though she could not quite place her finger on it. Mystery? Faith perhaps? She had wondered what they would say in the unlikely event that they met again, hoped for that chance even, but not like this. Her eyes flickered from his carefully approaching form to her dress, desperate to cover the shameful marks, but she was still slowed by the harm the cruel stranger had done to her body. Besides that, the damage was done. She could tell by the troubled expression he wore as his winter blue eyes gathered the new details of her form. Uncertain and a little disgraced, Genova looked at her lap and fidgeted with the wet cloth in her hands.

When he spoke her name again, softer this time, he drew her gaze back effortlessly. She was reminded how he addressed the scars from her lightning strike so unlike the rest of the world, examining her with mildness and intrigue. These scars would not be so remarkable and unique, but she was somewhat comforted. “Ciellen, do not look so tender. The trees will spread rumors about us,” she softly teased, a hesitant but warm smile surfacing subtly on her mouth. After all, she was still so glad to see him again. She reached out and met his extended hand, fingertip to fingertip, before pressing the pads of their hands together.

“I’m okay,” she promised firmly as she had promised everyone since she was attacked, protecting them from the horror she endured until it drug her kicking and screaming from fitful dreams. Her hand fell away, and Genova rinsed her cloth in the cold water again. “Just a bit of an inconvenient reach is all. Would you?” She wrung most of the water out between her long fingers and held the cloth out toward the gentle giant.

POSTED: Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:18 am

Her movements broke with the familiar hitch of injury, and he knew it was not all well. Instinctively he sought the weight of his satchel, only to realize that it was absent this day. It was absent for many days. Abandoned far in the shadow of a forgotten shore were his notes, his stones, his soothing balms and dried herbs he had so carefully selected and picked on his journey here. His eyes closed in patience as the waves of regret and admonishment washed over his thoughts. He had been so absorbed in his own suffering that he did not once think of the consequences or the importance of his items. All he could think about was how heavy they were, and how much he just wanted to run with his hands in the soil and swim in cold streams. Blue eyes returned to the sight of her dejection, and he knew that there could be no more running.

"Ciellen, do not look so tender. The trees will spread rumors about us," He forgot the cadence of her voice, the soft and elegant pull of languid pattern, suggestive, exposing her strength and frailty. Ears stammered on his head as he withdrew, the deep worry of his expression momentarily abated. But then he returned, his knees bent to the soil. "Let them whisper," he smiled, though the knots of his concerned brow did not release their tension. He was glad to see her, but not this way. Summer skies pooled in the ridges of her torn flesh, attempting to identify their source. Her stiff manner was a direct result of her affliction, but something else had turned her gaze to her lap before, where the cloth was twisted like bothersome thought. His mind scattered as her hand met his own, and he watched the morning light tenderly cup her face, kiss upon her stormy eyes in electric sparks. "I'm okay,"

"Of course," Large hands carefully took the cloth, but he stared at her very plainly. Her explanation addressed another question and not the one most pressing. It was clear he wanted to say something about it, but it was also very clear to him that she did not want to discuss it. And he would respect that, of course. But the part of him that jumped into frigid oceans and ran on four legs made a very good case otherwise, sometimes. He placed the cloth on the bank as he washed his hands in the cold of the creek, ridding them of their dirt and early morning toil. The goat would wait. Then he adjusted himself closer and to a better angle, where he might more fully examine her wounds. For a moment he was lost in their sprawl, a hand gingerly hovering along them in familiar assessment. Following their depth he could see where some began and ended. It was not uniform in expected ways. It was not like the cuts of the villagers that fell on mountainous paths. Gathering the cloth, he gently tapped it along a breaking scab between her shoulders. His other hand removed the tangle of hair from his path, absently placed it along her neck and held it there. It was soft and smooth in his palm, and his hand felt warm in the nest of her shoulder. "Must have been quite the thunderstorm," he said softly. "I wish I had been there."
Code by Raze     Avatar by San

POSTED: Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:07 am

Since the beating and the violent scarification ritual, Genova had felt the rising prickle of that familiar self she was trying to leave behind. More guarded and suspicious, she knew how the attack was working to undo all the good AniWaya had done for her, and she felt helpless to stop it. Strangers and pack alike had been largely avoided. Jo particularly seemed to sense the isolation about her and had grown anxious and morose in his inability to fix her. She secluded herself in the woods, looking for some semblance of routine as she tried to sort herself out again. Nova had started to believe the backslide was inevitable, that she would only ever be able to endure company rather than enjoy it. Some part of her expected that every interaction would be a tightly wrapped knot of nerves, and yet as Ciellen settled close behind her, Nova felt tension easing from muscles that had been taut for weeks. Something about him defied the conflict in her nature, refusing to take part in her cagey struggle. Something about him was inexplicably soothing to her unseen wounds without the aid of any salve.

With bated breath, she waited for the icy touch of the cloth, but his hands were warm and gentle behind the cold dampness. The ache of her wounds began to ease, lulled between the numbing cold and his comforting heat. She had seen the question in his eyes but let it dissipate in the morning sun in favor of savoring the relief. A hand wove through the disheveled waves and curls of her mane, drawing them away from her neck to rest on her shoulder. In a moment of weakness for this rare contact, she leaned her head to rest a cheek against his paw. She closed her eyes and let her shadowed memories dissolve in the measure of his breath and the scent of earth and wandering still lingering on his hand. His quiet comment did not stir her from her repose, and instead she focused on the deep and honest tones of his voice.

“I’m glad you weren’t,” she murmured, regret furrowed across her expressive brow. “I was not my best.” Just as she had refused to call for Octavius for fear of him being maimed by her boogeyman, the thought of Ciellen being there and getting hurt to save her from her foolishness was not acceptable. “How about we wish we had both been back on the beach instead? And that it was summer and the waters were warm,” she compromised, a faint smile smoothing over her troubled look. She lifted her head and turned to watch him over her shoulder. “And that I hadn’t left without saying goodbye. You found me anyway though. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were following me.”

POSTED: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:05 pm

OOC| I'm sorry it got too long!! And gosh. You write so well. x)

IC|

He remembered the night Lenore died with perfect clarity. It was the phantom of his sleep for months, and some nights he thought of his brother's face, still and untouchable in the blazing light. How his eyes seemed to burn through eons of agony and ineffable sorrow, smoldering in the isolation of his experience. Festivals and tales had informed the young boys of a different world, one with orchestrated gestures and sweeping emotive notes that compelled him and his brothers to their feet at times, leaning forward with captive eyes to a believable and supposedly honest existence. But that night he witnessed a reality which moved in terrifying silence, and he saw it in his brother's arms, in the smooth tension of winding muscle, flexing and shifting and separating bodies with mechanical efficiency. There was no warning to his violence. People gathered to tame his brother's inferno, but he seared through their childhood and through the pasts of many men. That night Relaic left them with pieces of the void, the one that had consumed him when Lenore was lost.

He remembered this when red spread upon the cloth, and his chest grew hot and his mind opened to a savagery he knew only by hunting. It was frightening what events could shake loose a brutality he was convinced would never possess him. Large hands paused their course as he summoned the will to peace. Part of him needed to find the perpetrator, though he could barely conceive of enacting punishment or retribution. Relaic's episode still resonated deeply in his heart. He had made a commitment to the ill, to soothe all suffering and ease pain. Anger was not an option to him. Neither was remorse, but it seemed to him the only reasonable alternative if emotion could not be helped. There was more time in his hide, to bind and tense and make a wall to the cruelty of their kind. He could take infinite lashings, so long as Genova could walk with the wind in her wild hair and the sun to warm her unbroken back. He should have been there.

His chest filled with a different warmth as her cheek turned onto his hand, and for a moment he was lost in the waves of her dark tangles. He thought they could find solace in the braided darkness of summer storms, buried in the rich earth and listening to the eclectic rhythms of rainfall and shattered air. The currents of her movements drew him in like the sea, and it took all of his strength to swim against it. He was determined to be contented by the connection she offered, and not think more of it.

Her words were a welcome distraction, and with its focus he moved more attentively to the task. A smile opened along his muzzle as he envisioned the warm ocean and a more lively camp of laughter and charming stories. It was the memory shared by all travelers, of a fonder time and seasons, of a better version of the things they lived. She shifted to address him and the coincidence of their meeting, and the quiet blue flicked up briefly to greet her gaze. "Oh," he grinned, "I thought the absence of a goodbye had been an invitation."

Curls of hair fell back into place as he finished tending to her wounds. His hand lingered along her shoulder, trapped in hesitation, before quickly giving it a small squeeze and relinquishing contact. Stretching out the stiffness from his position, the wanderer moved beside her at the water’s edge. He bent forward and dipped the cloth into the coldness. There was something satisfying about breaking the smooth seal of its surface. “I should have followed you,” he confessed, and noticed that the rippled tension of the waters formed dark circles around the eyes of his reflection. He looked up instead, toward the hills and trees and distant mountains now washed in sunlight and morning activity. His hands began to thoughtlessly turn and rinse the cloth. “But you’ll have to forgive me, I was convinced you were a specter,” the warmth of his laughter caught in the golden air, a fine mist around his muzzle. “I don’t think of myself as superstitious, but I have heard enough from the portsmen to be open to the idea. You know, of people from the waves, those that disappear by the morning light. Maybe I was too excited to have genuinely experienced something supernatural.” He looked at her over his shoulder, and saw the edges of her contour brimming in the glow of dawn. He smiled. “Although, I don't think I was all wrong.”
Code by Raze     Avatar by San

POSTED: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:09 am

ooc: Lol, thank you! I feel like my writing has been rushed as of late, but I try to match your detail. Speaking of long posts. ><

In an instance of shifting blue eyes and flashing grin, Genova decided this was a wolf she always wanted to know somehow, in some way. It was unlikely. Duty pushed him across the land steadily, and she was pulled by haphazard winds, uncertain breezes kissing against a determined glacier in passing. Improbability was not her concern, however, not for one who had defeated the odds and survived heaven’s fire, and she allowed herself to wish to know him better. He encouraged forgotten pieces of her, waking frozen roots of grace and humor that had known long winters. Even as his gaze returned to her injuries, her eyes lingered on his face. The eager morning sun revealed details she had not known in the murky hues of evening and firelight. Pink stained his chin and patterned his chest, diluted marks of his forgotten kill. As she followed the pooled color, her eyes ran against subtler tones of his own, a rich mane of off white so restrained in difference that she could not quite pin down its borders. And for the briefest moment, she fought the urge to turn and bury her face in the thick fur of his neck, to confess the entire horrible tale, to be absolved and unburdened.

With the practice of one who had denied herself much, Nova smothered the urge and locked it away. It was part of her old self, a nature that had been broken down and reassembled to suit survival. Instead she latched onto the warmth of their conversation. She watched the distracted motion of his hands as he moved beside her and rinsed her blood into the swollen creek. It dissolved almost immediately, and she wondered at how insignificant it suddenly seemed. She had to laugh out loud at his initial impression of her, face tilted into the spilled pastels of daylight. “A white lady, hmm?” she mused. She had heard stories as well, tall tales of maidens encountered along abandoned paths who disappeared into the winds just before they were escorted home. “I would have figured the ratty bag and the thread bare clothes would have given me away for mortal. At least I hope spirits don’t still have to worry about nibbling moths.” Nova chuckled, but his last comment sent a blush creeping beneath the fur of her cheeks, brightening the pink web of older scars there. She had never felt like a supernatural being. If anything she felt utterly natural, usually grimy from the road, satisfied with the fatigue of her body and the burn of exerted muscles. For the moment, however, she felt revived.

“You’re a bit haunting yourself,” she admitted softly, a thoughtful smile surfacing on her dark mouth. “In the best way, of course.” She idly flicked a twig into the water and watched it drift on the current until she was reminded of something. She straightened with a soft noise of sudden realization. “I have something for you. Wait here,” she appealed, moving slowly to her feet. Once standing, some of her poise seemed to return, and she crossed to the gazebo gracefully if straight backed. She paused to pull her dress on again, covering the marks. Out of sight, out of mind. Then she dug some hand sized object from her pack and returned to him, easing carefully back into her seat.

“It’s the wood from our fire,” she explained, passing the token to him. From the burned driftwood, she had carved the figure of a bear standing on his hind legs with relaxed shoulders and deep, patient eyes. Its hind paws were obscured in charcoal as if it rose up from ashes, and some of the coal dust had transferred to the figurine’s profound eyes as she deepened them. For the life of her, Genova could not say why she still had it. It was some of her finer work with details expounded over weeks in windswept tufts of fur and miniscule claws. It would have traded well, but she had not found it in her to part with it until now. Reaching to turn the carving in his hands, she pointed out a thumb pad sized traveler’s mark.

“It means ‘A good man lives here…’”

POSTED: Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:11 am

OOC| more action in the next post! I promise!! Also please don't worry about matching!! You write beautifully and any amount is wonderful, and I know I don't always offer a lot to respond to x_o; I keep trying to write shorter posts but I have no self control lol

IC|

Her laughter was alive in the air, a whirl of golden light spinning into nothingness. He stole a glance just to see the sun pick her up in its heavenly ascent. And like an open palm, her words had lifted from him a gentle laugh. Perhaps they were just clumsy flesh and forgotten scars, but for a time they had found a light, and sometimes he saw it flickering, spinning in the dark. The material world wanted to convince them of their hardship, but they could always close their eyes and see it all undone.

A subdued smile revealed little of his rapid heart, or the warmth he felt at her confession, or how it all threatened to stumble into something he had long abandoned. Her amendment was a perfect distraction, and he laughed with a little more relief and gratitude than was probably necessary. "Of course," he echoed, though she was up on her feet, struck by a thought. "Wait here," she instructed, but curious blues followed her into the shadows of the gazebo, only noticing for the first time her various belongings. His gaze lingered on the hares, and for a moment his mind was back to the goat and his empty stomach. But then she was quickly returning, and guilty blues retreated to the cloth, now mostly rinsed of its burden. He wondered briefly if the waters of the creek could carry away their burdens, too. He squeezed what seemed a river from the fabric before folding it and placing it neatly on the bank. She was back in that time, placing something into his hand that despite its small size commanded his full attention.

He looked at the token and saw the winding road. It spanned back into the time of smaller hands and feet, into the arms of dreams and days of languid wondering. When youth brimmed of absence, and their searing boredom sought absorption in activity. He wondered of her idle hands discovering the give of wood, and the days of when she learned to love its yielding skin. The bear was a map, guiding his course to the present. His gaze fumbled over the object at first, unable to see her work in its flesh, but then he did and it was a warm surprise. Unlike the kind of her back, the strokes were a deliberate force of good. The wood had unraveled within her palms, opened to her vision with all reluctance and heart. All that give and take.

Patient eyes met their matching stare, until she gently turned it to a particular mark. He ran a thumb over it, quiet and wondering. A tension built along his brow, his mind untangling what felt like an infinite web of thought and feeling. The satchel at the shore, the white body gone out to sea, the wings stretched too crudely and too forcefully over such soft, beautiful skin. Eventually he looked up toward Genova, and for one silent second he held the world still, the light and the water and the waves of her dark tangles and the depth of her eyes. And he realized he wanted to hold her cheek in his hand. He wanted to trace along the stain of summer storms, soothe its trembling chaos into a murmur of relief. He wanted to gather her close and let her tousled locks slip through his fingers like rainwater. Most of all, he wanted to be as the warm and gentle sun upon her face, and kiss her.

He quickly averted his gaze back to the bear and prayed she could not hear the thoughts that shocked him. "A good man, indeed. This is perhaps the only bear I would like to meet," he spoke, finally. A smile broke along his muzzle, genuine in its appreciation. "You have a remarkable gift." He turned the bear in his palm, "This wood spent an eternity adrift, moved across seas and storms and then stranded upon our shore. And," he laughed, "we gathered it all to set ablaze, after everything it had been through!" He paused as the mirth settled to a small smile. "When all was lost for our small friend, you breathed into it a new life."

"I have seen wooden figures stiff in their posture, frozen in the moment of their death. But this bear lives in my hand, as though this is the form it had been waiting to receive. It is a gift just to witness this once in my life."

He grinned up at her. "Have I gone too far?"
Code by Raze     Avatar by San

POSTED: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:52 pm

ooc: You offer plenty! And long posts are fine, I enjoy reading them. :)

A rare eagerness bloomed in her expression as he grasped the figurine, poorly disguised in the softening of those often sharp eyes and the lightening of shadowed angles on her lean face. She anticipated so much of life, facing the march of days with set masks of resilience and defiance. It was unusual to catch Genova in a moment of unknowing excitement as when she looked for a reaction to her work. The pads of his fingers passed over smoothed wood, but her eyes could still remember the path of her blade. She remembered where she was as she shaped the bear’s powerful shoulders and how thoughts of Ciellen seemed to kick up from each cut to settle across her lonesome camp like a blanket of glittering snow and memory. Nova thought of coaxing the shape of the animal’s muzzle from a stubborn knot, how she envisioned it as strong and humble and familiar, shaving a hair’s breadth with each stroke until her vision emerged.

Gaze flickering between the figurine and his face, Nova found herself leaning forward keenly. His expression seemed favorable, and she was foolishly pleased, so much so that when his thoughtful attention returned to her she was caught off guard. She had thought he was all winter, but she realized suddenly that a bit of her summer lived in him when his warm, blue eyes captured her. Effortlessly he commanded stillness from her, a creature of spinning entropy and restless motion. Even the gentle tide of breath abandoned her for a moment. She could not hear his thoughts, nor would a castaway like Genova ever dream that a male like Ciellen would pay her such attention, but for a moment, she could almost feel his hand on her cheek and an idle thumb following the line of her lips.

Then his gaze broke away, unaware of the effect he had held on her, leaving her somewhat dazed. Breath returned to her, and Nova smiled as he praised her craftsmanship, but her mind was racing back across miles and seasons as she tried to remember ever feeling this particular, dizzying feeling. She had spent time with other men when she was younger and softer, looking for romance and finding only disappointment. She had been foolish enough to think she could shape from them an ideal image of passion as she shaped her trinkets and figurines. After a few regretful encounters, she had quietly packed away her wants as girlish fantasy.

And maybe that’s all it is now, she told herself. Just an imprudent hunger that had surfaced in light of an attractive face and a kind personality. She did enjoy his company though, and Nova was already reluctant to let the shore have him back, to part so uncertainly as they had before. He finished his admiration with a grin that only seemed to strengthen that feeling.

“You know, I’m not much one for flattery, but you do it very well,” she admitted with a genuine chuckle that crinkled the corners of her eyes where weather and worries had begun etching fine lines. “But I see you have no bag with you today,” she continued, lighting on an idea that might return him to her at least once more. With agile motion, she attempted to playfully pluck the bear from his paws and cradle it carefully in her own. “I suppose you will have to come to AniWaya to claim your prize another day,” she teased.

POSTED: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:57 pm

Immersed in the lines of the figurine, he missed the reveal of her rare expression. But he felt her expectation hovering at the fringes of his view, and he made sure to exhibit his pleasure openly, in soft smiles and an inquisitive brow. He was struck by the familiarity of the item, though he had never seen anything like it before. With the exception of drawing, which he found to have such a practical application, most artistic endeavors fell beyond his range of comprehension. There were craftsmen in Tatkret whose deft hands made deities into whale bones, and there were grand, ancient things at the monastery, and Ciellen had looked upon them with a sober mouth, trying to imagine a life where there was none. But the weight of the bear drew him into another world, and the faint aroma of salt and seabreeze and dim firelight carried him in, to the stars and celestial paths and the gleaming backs of glaciers that hunched quietly on the horizon. He loved to imagine its journey, and its eventual arrival to the warm home made between the two of them. He wanted to sink deeper into those patient pools of darkness, and divine the reality from which it had emerged.

His ears stood to gather her message, and suddenly he was reeling at the thought of his bag, which in the moment he had entirely forgotten. He ran a restless hand through his hair, lost in waves of his situation. How could he hope to take care of her gift, when he could barely take care of what he already owned? He cast his gaze along the bank. A piece of irregular ice jutting from its formation caught his absent stare, and in its form he saw his satchel, stooped in neglect. How long would the tide lap at its sides before it decided to bite?

And suddenly, the weight was gone. He looked up in time to see it disappear into its mother's nest, where it would remain tucked away for good. His hand closed around the empty air with a sort of contemplative sadness, though the crinkle of gentle blue and a small grin revealed his delight in her actions. She had learned a thing or two from the wind, it seemed, whisking away man's thoughts and dreams to keep it safe from him. He wanted to lean forward and convince her that he would take very good care of the bear, that he could do that, you know, as he was a medic and was used to such sorts of delicate things. The thought flustered him, and so he banished it to a distant day.

Returning to the present did little to ease the chaos of his mind. The frame of her dark hair around the vivid light of her features, the sharpness of shadows and the lines of her lively expression revived an ache in him. He wished he could have his chalks and charcoal to capture it all. "Aniwaya?" he managed to ask. A smile returned a movement to his lips, though her presence demanded the stillness of admiration. "Have your wandering feet found a place they might actually rest?" he wondered with a soft laugh, "I would like to visit, if only to learn their secret. What would it take to keep you around?" As the words left him, he realized how they sounded in the morning air, how they lingered in the light. He turned away from her and out to the creek, where he hoped the drift of broken ice would soothe his hot expression. There had been many beautiful, enchanting women in his time, but like the statues frozen in their most ideal poses, they were inaccessible, they existed in a place he had decidedly left when the kayak took him out to the dark, dark sea. When he looked at her, his chest was sailing with every stone she had tossed into the wide ocean. Her wild hair in the wind, and an honest laugh, the kind that welcomed the world and its impossible might, the storms that had rocked him awake at night.

"I should go get it...with it, I could have helped you more." he said, rubbing at his mouth. Guilt had been eating at him before, and in light of her gift, its hunger had increased tenfold. He glanced at her, and then stood up. His body felt stiff and the soreness of his earlier pursuit was beginning to set in, but it was a pleasant experience compared to what she undoubtedly felt on her back. Thinking on it, he turned and extended a hand to her, "Before I go, is there anything else I can do for you?"
Code by Raze     Avatar by San

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