10 October 2011

quork: Color painting of woman with raven wings sitting beside an icy river (icy river)
She feels wrong.

Before she drifts off into a thin and rocky sleep, she is overly aware of her form and she feels wrong. Her body is too large, too long, too heavy, awkwardly curled up there on the rough wooden floor. All of this sudden new flesh tingles and aches and throbs, each sensation different, each sensation unpleasantly out of time with the others. She shifts, twists, twitches under her scrap of blanket, its coarse woolen texture utterly alien against her skin. She mutters, words of anger and confusion and displacement in her mother tongue, words unspoken with lips and teeth and tongue for over five hundred years. Eventually, raw exhaustion drags her down through the gray nullspace before sleep, quieting her mutters but not stilling her restless body.

Because she is running through the pillowy grey fog, swift as a doe, sure in her skin. It is Before, and she understands this in a very basic way beneath the gossamer fabric of the dream. It is Before, and she is running, dodging thick black tree trunks as they materialize in the fog. Her feet know the path as well as she knows the elder legends of her tribe, the symbols that spell her name, the faces of her brothers and sisters. Here, a moss-slick stone, there an ancient fallen log, here a snarled patch of nettles. She is running, and she is laughing, looking back over her shoulder, looking back through the thick black tangle of her hair, thinking that today, she just might allow him to catch her.

The thought quickens her blood and she changes course, her bare feet digging confidently into the soft dark mud. The trees have thinned out around this narrow, burbling stream but she remains no less adroit than before, leaping where she must over the natural detritus of her unspoiled forest. It is quiet; beneath the obscuring veil of fog she can only hear her own breathing, the impatient thunder of her pulse, the small trickle of the stream, the faint call of her name from somewhere behind. Closer, now. A half-grin; yes, she might well be caught but she saw no reason to make it easy for him.

Ahead, the land begins to slope downward and the stream crescendos, meeting a deep, clear pool about six feet below in a modest spray of water. She does not slow - she cannot slow - not now that her goal is so tantalizingly near. Anticipation swirls low in her belly. She is running, her body gathering the necessary will and energy. She is laughing as she springs up and out and forward, feet leaving the good strong earth, the heady exhilaration of flight singing true, pure notes in her every cell. She is laughing as she reaches her arms above her head, as her form cuts through the fog in a white arc, as she begins to fall..

But the fog clears in an instant.

And her reflection in the pool twists.

She sees not a healthy young woman but a great black raven, spreading its dark wings wide. She has only a moment to scream her confusion - in a rusty, birdy voice that couldn't possibly be her own but she knows it, somehow she knows it, of course it is her own - before she smashes violently into the pool.

The impact awakens her with a startled, choked gasp, and she is again an awkward pile of legs that are too long and arms that refuse to fly and a body that feels entirely wrong. Shuddering and bewildered, she scrabbles into the nearest corner and huddles there until dawn.


quork: A sketch of a raven, black on white. (Default)
Croárc ná Corvain

May 2012

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