if I were the night sky

POSTED: Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:08 am

It wasn't the first time he wondered what he was doing here. Not just at the bar, which is where he went after the love of his life kissed the spirit out of him, but here, four winters into his life and nothing to show for it. He had been a ship captain, and he had a loyal crew, and he had given it all away for the chance at a dream. They said that sailors could only love the sea, and that was true - Tiamat had been his sea, with all the swells of her dark, tenebrous hair and those beautiful blue eyes. He wished he could have drowned in her, but he never did.

So liquor came to fill his empty vessel, but it wasn't as good and he felt like shit.

Something like a gasp came out of him, or maybe a sob. Maybe he laughed? He didn't know what to think or feel anymore. Something would have to happen next, because that was how time worked (he was mostly sure of this), but that moment of anguish seemed endless. Occasionally a stranger would clap a hand on his shoulder and ask if he was alright, and he'd slur something at them. Go away, was what he tried to say and they would oblige, until the bar closed and they tossed him into a bank of snow.

Griffin rolled onto his back, like he had once been told to do if he fell overboard. He didn't know how to swim, but Tiamat once held him up in a river and he'd never felt more at peace. Their conversation was lost to him now, lost among the starlight and fireflies of that memory, but he remembered looking at her and thinking that as long as she was there, he was happy.

This is for your own good, he said with the moon as his only witness. It was late enough that even the Portlanders had already slunk to their hovels. He quite liked the winters here, and how the cold hurried them all to sleep.

Guess I'll swim, he resolved, and with a feeble flail, promptly gave up. The snow was cold but he was much too hot, and the day would be there in a couple hours.

God, he missed her. He always would.

POSTED: Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:54 pm

the highlands are not a suitable place for sleeping

He dreamt that the winter was over, that the skies stretched on until they kissed rolling plains and wind tugged at his thick hair.

And then he woke, to the dark cabin below, quiet and silent as everyone up and scattered to that western wind. At some point, he had fallen out of his hammock, and was all the more stiff for it, and copper fingers rubbed the aches in his jaw while he pushed himself up, and rolled feeling back into his shoulders and the crick of his hip with a grunt. Fingers fetched one of those water skins and he poured a bottle into it, feeling a comfort in the weight against his palm, before simply slinging it over his shoulder. Tsolin felt like shit, pulled his hair back and away from his face, and set out into the cold Portland air. Vapor ripped from his dark nose and up and away into the filmy night sky, and set out through the godless morning hours in town.

It was quiet here, too.

At least, until he saw arms flap up into the air, along with legs, before flopping back down into the snowbank, and Tsolin came upon one Griffin Winsor, once again down on himself and the liquor. Then again, the Mongol did not blame him, and wordlessly he put out a hand to grab that arm, trying to urge the ruddy dog to sit upright.

"You will get ill," came the quiet, admonishing tone, though it lacked his characteristic firmness, and the moment Griffin was upright, the foreigner took a seat in the snowbank at his side, and uncapped the skin to take a drink, before offering over the sharp and somewhat bitter drink. "Have some."

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POSTED: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:16 pm

i kissed a boy (indirectly) and i liked it

Someone reeled him back up, and thank god they did because his whole body was starting to go numb. Upright, the feeling return to his arms and digits, but the downside was that the feeling of utter sorrow came flooding back too.

Griffin looked at his savior and just sighed. He didn't even have it in him anymore to be jealous of Tsolin. Defeated, through and through on every count, he accepted that this man would be his better in all things and that was all. He didn't even mind the gall the man had, propping him up only to supply him with another drink. He took a taste without smelling first, and had his senses not already been compromised by the sea grog, he might have enjoyed the strange flavor. He wiped his mouth and made an attempt to hand the wineskin back to Tsolin, though it mostly just fell from his limp fingers.

It wasn't the first time Tsolin came to clean up his mess, but this time around he seemed unusually complacent with the wallowing. Slowly, the conversation before his collision with Tiamat staggered to the forefront of his mind like a vision of the undead. They were two men who had kissed the same woman. For some reason, the only thought that came after this revelation was a question: did that mean they had, indirectly, kissed each other?

Griffin laughed to himself.

Is this where you thought you'd be, Tsolin? he asked when the misery set back in again. Griffin hadn't grown up with many prospects in his life. For all the traveling that they did, the ship was a tiny, insular world. He had no mother and no connection to her family, and the men who raised him had long before abandoned their pasts to make a new family with each other. His only ambition was to de-seat his monstrous father and then take his place as Captain, because that was the highest he could go. Then Tiamat came tumbling into his life, quite literally, and everything was different. What would have happened, he wondered, if Langston had dragged her up on that rope instead of him?

He was thankful she'd smashed open his tiny ship and carried him out to sea, but then she'd stranded him out in the cold and nowhere. No, that wasn't right. She kept him afloat, and he left her so that she could swim, and he could drown.

Nothing lasted, that was all he knew.

POSTED: Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:26 pm

the highlands are not a suitable place for sleeping

What very well should have sparked a bitter competitiveness somehow had not manifested as such - for all purposes, he had known Griffin as a persnickity fellow - but he was hardly the vicious type. His japes were stunted, his masculinity overstuffed, and while Tsolin should have very well considered it irritating above all things, it instead came across as... Endearing, to a point. Mist eyes watched as fingers tried to offer the skin back, and instead came to drop (almost into the snow), into a waiting palm.

The laughter was met with a look of surprise.

Maybe it was because they were both fools, kissing a wild woman who's fickle affections were given only sparingly. Up and like the current, she swept them in her undertow, only to wash them up on the shore.

He did not blame her.

He could not blame her.

Instead, he took another drink, cloying, warm, and his brow twitched a little at Griffin's posed question - did Griffin think he'd end up here? Was he a restless soul all the same as the others?

"No," he answered, thumb tracing the stitching of the wine skin slowly, as one would the lip of a lover, before the sigh that left him up and tugged away on a passing breeze. Perhaps Griffin and him were the same - passing fancies and placeholders until the real thing came along. It wasn't really fair - then again, nothing was.

"Did you?" he prompted back, finally placing his eyes on the sailor's face, sympathetic and sore alike, before dark lips twitched upwards in a dry smile.

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POSTED: Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:01 am

woops this is ROUGH

Fuck no, he laughed, loudly, bitterly.

No one wants to be in this fucking dump, he gestured around emphatically at the muddy streets and the homes practically melting into them. Not when there's places like Onuba out there, or Barbados. You ever been to Barbados, Tsolin? I bet you'd like it. He had no idea if Tsolin would fit in with the islanders, but the thought of it made him laugh. Maybe Tsolin was too cool for the warm-blooded people down there, but then again, he probably would have done well just because he was always effortlessly attractive. No wonder Tiamat kissed him.

And she'd kissed him too, and he had her in his arms and why didn't he just keep her there? Why didn't he just hold her tight and never let go?

I would have gone anywhere with her. He groaned and rubbed his face. He could feel the futility of the words even as he spoke them. It had been an illusion, a mirage, a drink of saltwater while he died of thirst. She would have woken up and realized what he kept realizing, over and over: she didn't love him.

Except, he wasn't so sure.

Once, I was taking a nap in the cabin, he started rambling, and Tia came in. I woke up, but I wanted to see what she'd do, so I pretended to be asleep. She sat on the edge of the hammock, and it was - he started laughing, - it was really hard to keep pretending to be asleep. Like, anyone would fucking wake up, you know? But she's, you know, she's Tia, so she just believed it 'cause why would I pretend? Or maybe she knew. He scratched his head. But I don't think so, because then she took my hand and she just held it. And I thought, shit, something must have happened, so I put on this act of being groggy and waking up, he laughed again. And then, I asked her what's wrong? And she apologized, and she told me, 'Sometimes, I just want to feel like I'm home.' And like, fuck, Tsolin, I thought about that for so long.

He sucked in the cold air and threw his head back. The sky was clear for once, and he could see how all the stars were watching, their flicker like laughter. But you know what I finally realized? I must be the most consistent thing in her whole life. She's been running since the day we met, and I'm the idiot who keeps fuckin' chasing her.

POSTED: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:39 am

the highlands are not a suitable place for sleeping

His ears folded back abruptly into the dark mane of his hair at the sudden, broken and sharp edge of Griffin's words once he started. It was raw, bitter and caustic, dripping from teeth and dropping heavy stones on his toes with the too-loud manner in which the sailor spoke, but eyes simply stared to the man as he went on, utterly exasperated.

"Where is Barbados?" he had asked, softer than he had intended it to sound before he took another pull off his wineskin. Griffin's mind was churning, mulling, angrily tossing on tropic storms. He could hear his pulse in his ears, and it almost washed out the following lines the defeated Winsor man murmured, and relented his woes.

Each sentence twisted something in him, compressed it and pushed and pulled until Tsolin could not recognize its shape, and his dark lips were a tight, tight line. His eyes were hard, but not calloused - no, those shallow-blue sights reflected something of an awkward, wrenching pain, before he finally pulled them off Griffin, and fingers threaded through his dark hair as he blew out the air past his lips, his throat too tight for words.

He'd interfered.

Back then, back when he had met that ragtag band, he had figured he had found something suitable to replace what he had left - he embraced the wandering warrior mantle well, but he didn't want it before. He certainly didn't seem to want it then - but he drifted, drifted, drifted, and built himself something of a surrogate home where he must not have belonged.

It was right, for Griffin to dislike him - hell, maybe even hate him, logically at least. A damnable pride, vicious and crude, wanted to snap right back at him though, conflicted deeply with an ugly but ultimately misguided regret that festered and bubbled, but that was not the correct response either.

After all, she had not chosen either of them. They were bitter, kindred spirits, marooned. A long drawn silence stretched between them while he tried to find his voice, suddenly and quite thoroughly lost through the torrent of Griffin's suffocating grief.

"I am sorry," was all he could croak, after another beat of painful quiet. He did not like this subject. He did not like how often he lacked the proper words for his current company, how hard it had been to grasp foreign tongues when he first met them, but still lack the communication and fluency. Starlight glittered off the snow, drawing in his gaze.

"Some of the times, I think of what I left back home," he started, conceding to a creeping exhaustion as he drifted back to lay on the bank as he had found the sailor. "I think of the green springs. Brothers," there was a pause, a breathy and somewhat weak sounding laugh, "Getting my ass caught in eagle-feet."

He made a hooked claw motion into the air, before his hand fell back against his chest. "If Hyunyu had not-- if it did not--"

Finally, he leveled his eyes again, and looked over to the sailor at his side. "If you had not met her, do you think you would be happy?"

There was a quiet, dry and rumbling laugh, though it lacked humor.

< - I am tired, -> he mumbled to himself. "I do not like being pulled apart by horses."

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