quork: A sketch of a raven, black on white. (Default)
The thing was free. "Loose" or "amok", some might say, but perspective is a fickle thing. Matters were different here, the grasping draw of the earth's bulk less oppressive. Out here the air was thin and clear and gratifyingly motile. Perhaps it was a good thing to be out of that hole. While the mountain had been a protection for some centuries, fleshy little vertebrates had wormed their way down into the thing's lair, disturbing the silence of the ages. It was not the first time they had been drawn below; the place's distinctive energy [and free flow of the same] often attracted them. This time, however, it was not a few respectful antlings, wrapped in their dried mammal-husks, here to vibrate the air and writhe about for a few short days before creeping back upwards... this time had been different. These antlings brought metal, brought sharp-smelling earthsblood, brought sand seared into crystalline tubes and bulbous shapes. These antlings itched and burned like biting insects. They had woken the thing; gotten its attention; tried, at some point, to communicate with it -- though their thoughts were too disorganized, too alogical, to succeed; only the barest shreds of equations of to them! -- and they merely irritated, an abrasion at the periphery of the thing's awareness.

And then they had come. They spoke not true language; no, their thought-ripples were as chaotic as their antecedents', but they sang against the grain of the world, etching their personalities' signatures 'cross the weft of the cosmos, and through those grooves had the thing stretched out and spread its mind to fly...

And so it flew. Things were thinning here, at the edge of the Tellurian. Fewer particulates bouncing noisily off its carapace, though that made it harder to maneuver. Ahead of it, a void; perhaps it would prove an interesting place to explore. Perhaps there could be other beings of logic to find, out here, out here where no air pattered against the brain and where no stone crowded overhead. Perhaps it would be different.
quork: A sketch of a woman on a raven, white on black. (cosmic flight)
There were horrors in the room, but the girl wouldn't - couldn't - let that distract her from the business at hand.

It was a sticky, icky business. Her eyes were wide, the whites fully visible around the dark blue irises. Her face was filthy with unholy muck from another not-realm. But she was set and ready to extract Sir Callum from the grotesquely squicking eel that had swallowed him. The battlelust drenched her vision: all she could see was her knife sliding through unspeakable viscera and slimy, squiggly skin, freeing her friend from his tubular prison, the knife, the slice, the freedom.

So intent was she on her plan that she saw it too late; another of the monstrous eels vaulted toward her.

She had only a moment to scream before its terrible mouth came down on her.


Everywhere. All around. Unrelenting pressure. Pushing. Crushing. Swallowing.

Her arms were smashed up against her chest, bent at awkward angles. She could faintly - very faintly! - feel the knife in her left hand. The eel's body hardened around her; the contraction pulled her deeper into its hateful body. Her legs were bound together, knees knocking, joints straining. She tried to kick and could not! Foul, viscous slime slipped down her throat. She could feel the thing's sick heartbeat, thumping in counterpoint to her own high, thin pulse. She thought the dissonance might drive her mad.

Her chest was compressed. She could not breathe! Her air was running out. Push. A little further down the tract. Red threads of panic began to weave a complex course behind her eyelids. At the edge of her awareness she felt the burn of the monstrosity's digestive juices, a distant pain that slowly began to flare. She had to get out!

The girl focused her will, the will that had kept her alive for more than five hundred years. The will that had helped her reconcile with her animal nature, the will to fluidly move between those worlds. She would not die as this abomination's dinner. There were more battles in her future, this was not her end.

She twisted her left wrist, accepting the sharp pain of the small bones grinding together. The blade came up, and she thought it was just enough. And that was good. Suffocation. Pressure. Time was running out. The first black blooms of unconsciousness appeared as she pushed with all her gathered might, pushed out with the blade in a savage, ripping arc.

The knife slid through the eel's revolting skin like butter, and with a few determined thrusts of her legs and arms, the girl splumped out of the writhing body. Endless gobbets of stringy, sticky guck poured out around her. With a great wrenching glurt, she ejected an alarming quantity of slimy goo, coughing and choking.

For a moment, she lay on the floor in her puddle of eel slime, trying to gather herself before she took up the fight again. It would not do for this to happen again.
quork: A sketch of a raven, black on white. (Default)
It was.. glorious to fly again.

Up and up he went, great black wings working the wind like clay, creating fanciful not-shapes that blended into the soft grey down of the clouds. Still the rain fell in a capricious mist, but it was certainly no trouble for a knowledgeable bird. No, the sky was far too open to ignore; the clouds parted before him like a lover's arms and he rushed headlong, heedless, into that embrace.

It had been far too long.

The land spread below him, a pastoral quilt of muted greens and browns, now that he was well away from the city. Here and there were cottages and patches of trees, noted but fairly insignificant from this height. He wanted to soar, to drift, to glide - he did not want to be bogged down by thoughts of earth and stone and noise.

So for the moment there was only the great rush of the wind, the gentle whisper of the rain and the disapproving grumble of thunder, somewhere far off to the northwest.

He flew. And began to shed the stresses and shocks of the past few weeks. In the body of the bird, his thoughts were swift and abbreviated, jittering from point to point with the tiny thunder of his pulse. He felt relief in the shape of his wings, the pattern of his sooty black feathers. This felt right, this felt pure. But the image of the woman - the woman he knew he was, just as the woman knew she was the bird - pestered him, returning just as he would lull, gliding in a lazy circle before pressing harder and faster through the low clouds. He had spent so long as the woman. For now, he wanted to forget that. He wanted to fly.

He thought about the things that had happened, the conflicts, his new mates. He was disturbed that the images of his mates came from the perspective of the woman, when it had always been the other way around. He thought about how satisfying it had been to wrest that unholy creature from the water, how it had felt to cling to it with his - her, his traitor mind whispered, but they were layered together, one and the same - human body as it burned in the strange sunlight of a late Budapest afternoon. He dropped a dozen meters, well below the cloud line. These thoughts were so strong that his form felt insubstantial. It felt weak.

It simply wouldn't do to fall from the sky as a naked, wingless, awkward-bodied creature. His great pride existed no matter what shape he wore, always a little larger, always a little brighter. He spiraled down, wings shamefully wobbling as the rain thickened. There was a likely field just over that narrow line of trees. A twitch of his wings steadied his course, which sent a short shower of feathers drifting toward the ground.

The field was soft green grass, silvered with moisture. He landed, hopped twice, little birdy feet slipping through the dew, and croaked out a phrase in a tongue long dead. The bird strained, wings arching out and up, head curling in to his feathered chest.

In the bird's place lay a naked woman flushed with the ecstasy of flight, her coarse black hair damp and heavy as it tumbled over her shoulders. Her left arm was extended, bent over her head, and in its fist was a hornbeam dagger. She twitched once, a violent spasm, and for a moment lay still, reacquainting herself with her human body.

She had to acclimate herself to it, she could not change who and what she was. As she lay there, face down in the freshened wet grass, it came to her that she could perhaps cope by accepting that being both was now her truth. But she knew that she could be even more than just both.

And for the first time since her initial transformation, she began to feel something akin to hope about the life that now stretched in front of her. She could be one, or both, or many. Her chin came up defiantly. There was nothing that could tell her otherwise.

She stretched out in the grass, fingers combing through the damp blades. In the distance, she could hear a herd of animals bleating. It was a familiar sound; she had tended sheep with her people, long and long ago. It was time to see about moving on. She was halfway to her feet when she was startled by a sharp whistle.

"An' what's this, then?" barked out a gruff woman's voice. "Yer as naked as th' day ye slid from yer mother! Can't see much these days but I can see that. Mind tellin' me what yer doin' on me patch o' earth?"


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

May 2012

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