quork: Color painting of woman with raven wings sitting beside an icy river (icy river)
Her brain felt like a shattered picture, uneasy fragments of five hundred years of memory and experience and dream, the pieces ill-fitted and unpleasant to the eye. People - her friends, she was sure, but how could she really know? - surrounded her, talking of this and that, but the tide of the conversation rarely washed up on her shores in any way that she could understand. Comprehension seemed to peak at flickering, a sickly light that made recognition a difficult task. She had traveled with these people for some time, why did their faces not look right?

She thought she might be able to go back to what she had been. It has something to do with the dagger, of that she was certain, and she was not willing to part with it for long. What if.. what if she disappeared, were the blade not returned to her hand in a timely fashion? What if she simply ceased to exist? Her stomach roiled at the very idea. Her back muscles twitched in response. Would that ever stop? She exhaled huffily, blowing a tangle of hair from her eyes.

Everything she perceived was tinted with confusion. Just when she thought something might be right, the color tilted and the picture was awash in doubt and uncertainty. Things had come out, today. A flash of ancient memory, nothing more, triggered by the unsettling nearness of the Priest-Man. It had seemed - just for a moment- that she had slipped out of her ungainly body, slipped out of time, and she was back there, in the deep dark of the solstice, restrained, surrounded by dire, painted chanting faces, their rings of torches lurid and flickering, the frigid air pebbling her naked white skin, her shouts swallowed by the endless rhythmic chanting-

They were before me and above me and they were chanting!

But she was pulled away, back to the present (or at least she thought, at least she hoped), the Priest-Man's deathly cold hand cupped around her breast. Was she even real? The Priest-Man's disturbing, predatory charisma was real enough - she felt equally drawn and repelled by the touch, nearly consumed by need and disgust. And then they had moved on, and she was grateful for the good, clean air outside, grateful for its natural dispelling qualities.

Within the inn's common room, the other patrons actively avoided the party but she was only peripherally aware of that. She was with them, they were hers, she would go where they went and fight what they fought if only because she knew of nothing else to do. Deep beneath the darkest waters of her memory, she seemed to remember fighting in a body like this, and she seemed to remember liking it. Her left hand tightened around the dagger. An important dagger, she knew it. Her right hand slipped between the folds of her borrowed cloak to absently fuss at the scar on her chest. It had felt.. flexible, hadn't it? That first night in her new-old skin she had thrashed wildly, slashing out with the blade, clumsily moving as if to stab herself in the heart, and it had felt.. flexible. It was important. But was she ready to try it? Nothing to say that it might work and quite a lot to risk. That seemed familiar, as if it might have been an underpinning of the person she had been.

The alcohol she drank had the happy effect of stilling her body; she no longer shrugged to right wings that simply were not there, there were no more twitches intended to ruffle feathers. She remembered ales and beers and wines and sacred nectars. She remembered drinking them for important festivals and ceremonies and she remembered drinking them with most meals and she remembered through this what it was to relax.

And then the Cowboy-Man - (Quincey, part of her mind whispered) - proposed a swap of knives. At first she could not do it; it was too important! What if she disappeared? She was just relaxed enough to be persuaded, enough to feel trust. The blade would not be far. If she felt like she was coming undone, being unmade, she would just leap for the dagger. That resolved, she took Quincey's great Bowie knife into her hands - and it had to be hands, for it was much larger than her own blade. It had seen a lot of blood, he said. She could feel that. What, she wondered, would he glean from her own?

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

May 2012

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