Not sure it'll go anywhere, but since I've been spending unholy amounts of time
I think. Maybe.
Though its actually some sort of patchwork thing made with elements from the Kencyrath universe, Aleran furies and my own Arthurian preferences... good luck, ye who enter here.
Whatever, I'm happy with it. Thoroughly unbeta'd as I just finished it and HAD TO TELL SOMEBODY.
In the beginning there was light and water. She’s been told. Then, there was air, and when there was air, there was earth. On the earth fire was found. And metal.
All this she’s been told. Some she’s seen when she closes her eyes, inhales the scented smoke inside the temple and sends her soul back. Most of it she doesn’t care for. Water runs through her, her strength comes from it.
And her weakness.
Not enough metal to fortify herself with. Against.
And so the boy runs and runs and runs. Always in circles that close in on themselves, becoming tighter loops that impossibly end up right where they began (like all circles do). The world shrinks, the sky hangs lower, and this is how she knows its all a dream. She watches the boy’s wide eyes from afar, and she watches the ground under his feet through them, she feels the burn of the muscles of his legs, her skin is hot with his fear and her heart matches the accelerated rhythm of his breathing. She is him and he is she. When he stumbles and falls, they both do, this single entity they’ve become beneath her eyelids (she cannot open her eyes). The ground rushed up to him (them) with unexpected softness, braking his fall and then giving in, swamping around his knees, his wrists, she can feel the viscous quality of the mud, the cold and the unpleasant idea of living things swarming just under it, waiting. The boy does not struggle, he gives up and she can feel his thoughts, his silent goodbyes and his quiet fear. The scent of jasmines suddenly weights the air around her (not them), cloyingly sweet, and right before she wakes up, Morgana sees a flash of blonde curls bouncing right at the edge of her vision.
Cold air clashes with her sweaty skin, rushes into her lungs and tells her there are tears on her cheeks. Morgana scrabbles out of her cot, becomes entangled in the thin sheets and lands on her knees. The ground does not yield under her. It was all a dream.
She’s heaving dry coughs when Gwen runs in, skirts held up in one hand, the other already reaching out to Morgana. She wills the tears away before Gwen gets a chance to see them. The open flap of the tent lets through a beam of moonlight and a vague scent of embers riding a cold breeze. Late night then. And Gwen had been nearby. Awake and nearby.
‘She swallowed him’, Morgana whispers, voice cracked and unsteady. Gwen’s hands are sweat-warm and solid against Morgana’s forehead. She steadies herself on that contact. This is real. Gwen’s worry hangs about her like heat rising from a rock on a hot day, Morgana feels it like a blanket that smothers her. This is real.
‘Who?’ comes the question and Morgana is grateful for the ambiguousness of it. Even though she knows whom Gwen is actually asking about, they both know, but Morgana appreciates the possibility to wiggle out of the answer just the same. She doesn’t.
Gwen sighs and sits on the ground next to Morgana, letting her pull herself together. There’s a brass water basin sitting in a corner of her tent and Morgana reaches out to it, imagines her fingers elongating, her hair splaying out, her very skin stretching itself toward the pull of the metal, the promise of solidity it carries, sees herself becoming ochre with her borrowed strength, becoming tough and poreless, shielded in impenetrable metal.
‘I’m fine, Gwen’, and her voice sounds steadier. ‘I’m fine now’.
‘Good. Come on, then. Up’, Gwen says as she hauls Morgana back up onto the cot, entangled sheets and all. ‘You’ll catch a cold, sitting there on the dirt’.
Gwen fusses over her some more, combing her hair away from her face and dusting off the edges of her nightgown. Morgana lets her.
‘It was Caius, Gwen’.
Silence. The wind stirs the leaves outside making brush against one another, whisper little secrets into the night, the tent’s walls swell and flap. But the silence remains heavy inside. Then Gwen says ‘He’s still back at his father’s home. Surely there he is as safe from harm… from Morgause, as anyone can ever expect to be’.
She sounds reasonable and covered in her brass shield as she is, this is what tells Morgana that Gwen’s actually trying to convince herself of this. Useless exercise anyway. They both know there is no such place.
More silence. Morgana finds Gwen’s hand and clasps it with her own, fingers intertwined. Like they used to do when they were small and the thunderstorms seemed too big.
Gwen breathes deeply. Morgana shifts. Someone stops just outside the tent’s entry, hesitating. Beside her Morgana feels Gwen tense, though her fingers remains gentle between Morgana’s. So she lets her shield fade a bit, just enough to reach out with her mind, stretch herself until she can touch the bundle of dread standing in the cold, he’s wearing a chainmail and there’s anger and uncertainty pouring out him in waves. Careful, controlled waves. Lancelot, then.
Gwen had been nearby and awake.
OMG I WROTE SOMETHING! Thanks for inspiration, man. Really.