Plugging along at a good pace today. Strung together some older scenes, wrote new ones to join them, feeling good about everything over all. Some of this you may have already read, but I didn’t care to cut out things and post just what I wrote today.
Cutting scenes written in November now, trying to lace it all together
(I think these scene should come before the necklace stuff with Myles, right after Zig takes her home.)
“You’ve got to let her do this at her own pace, Rook.”
He turned away from Jon, arms crossed over his chest. Rook knew he was right, but he just wasn’t ready to admit it yet.
“She’s got to want this life, or she’ll never stand against Moira’s Death.”
“I know!” he snapped, spinning around. “I know how much is at stake, ok? Just back off!”
He stormed toward the door, not knowing where he was going, but knowing he was going to hit something if he didn’t move.
“So hit me,” Jon said, reading his emotions off the taste of them in the air.
Rook’s shoulders slumped and he stopped when he got to the door, hand resting on the polished wood. “That won’t help anything. If anything, it’ll prove they’ve always been right.”
He was quiet for long enough that someone else would have thought he wouldn’t speak again, but Jon had known him too long for that.
“I just can’t stand all this waiting. What good is reality shattering power if you have to pick your battles and retreat all the time?”
He turned around and leaned against the door, sliding down it to hug his knees. “Will I ever stop being this Jon? Will I ever get over the need to press a tactical advantage, to destroy my enemies so thoroughly that they can’t possibly touch me again?”
He raised his face, wide green eyes looking lost and oh so young. Jon let out a long breath and tucked his own arms across his chest.
“I don’t know, carid. I’ve never been an avatar of death. You tell me.”
Rook threw back his head and laughed and laughed and laughed.
She hadn’t moved from her garden in days. It wasn’t really all that unusual for her, but as a moon began to rise from a stone just down the path, time caught up with Meliki in a sudden rush. The small moon burst forth, silvery light giving way to a four-legged shape that was hard to define. As the glow settled, Meliki realized why there were called the Shining Ones. Something about this man’s shape defied seeing. He was neither a man nor a wolf at all. He was both, and somehow more. He was most definitely not of this world.
Meliki rolled from a seated position to a kneeling one, spreading her arms wide as she bowed her lower half. “Greetings, Ancient One. You are in the garden of Kuloa’na’Meliki-ka, leader of the Upper Lakes Kui-Kui fey, and servent of Lady Keyiki (ok Mel, you’re gonna have to fill me in on all that later, ok?). Are you the one who has answered my call?”
The man/wolf nodded, sliding more towards his humanoid form. “I am called Frost. I hail from the White Forest, and have come to do what must be done with the child of Death.”
Mel was taken aback by his declaration, but did her best to give no outward signs. She wasn’t sure exactly what she’d been expected when she’d called on the Old Ones to help, but something about his tone just sounded so …final.
She tried to tell herself it wasn’t any of her business, that death magic was way out of her league, and that she should simply hand the girl over and be done with it. But her daughters had taken a liking to the girl, and their affections for her made Meliki hesitate.
“And what must be done with her?” she asked, somewhat defiantly. She couldn’t help it, arrogance was her nature. And besides, it never hurt to act confidently.
Frost turned and looked at her, eyes coming more sharply into focus. It was as if his form were responding to the focus of his attentions- the rest of his body was blurring back and forth between man and wolf, as it had done when he’d first arrived.
“I cannot say, until I have seen her.”
Meliki blinked slowly, saying nothing. They stared at each other for a long moment, until he asked, “Is she here?”
Frost folded his legs up underneath himself, settling onto the ground as Meliki had been before rising to her knees. “Then I will wait.” He closed his eyes, form going misty again, and Meliki stared at him a moment, trying to make sense of what she was seeing.
“You need not waste any hospitality on me,” Frost added, the faintest of smiles touching his lips.
Meliki knew when she was being dismissed. From her own garden, even. Still, his presence was rather unsettling, and she was more than relieved to leave it. As she stepped through the gazebo, she made a point of closing the gate behind her, and locking it so that no one wandered in in her absence.
Rook woke from a dead sleep, sword in hand. His wings were around him and he was setting spells of protection before he was even fully out of bed. Part of him was cursing his own paranoia, but most of him was on high alert for whatever had woken him. Tentatively, he lowered his shields, casting about the city for anything-
The wall of power slammed into him like a wave of icy water. Though he had no name for it, he knew that chill, and knew that it was Death. More than Death, Rook himself was Death, and he knew better than to fear something so trivial. No, this power was Undoing, the very opposite of existence itself.
Somewhere in this town, there was a Destroyer.
Rook felt flashes of memory tugging at the edges of his mind, but he turned away. Like he always did. He couldn’t remember why, but he knew it was his duty not to remember. He’d sworn he would forget, and in returned, they’d granted him his life. His existence.
Rook had tangled with Destroyers before. He was sure of it.
With a sound of disgust, Rook sheathed his sword back into the ether and drew his protective wards back into himself. Door finally clear of the spells blocking it closed, Jon burst into the room, cool and collected as always.
“So?” he asked, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the door. With Rook not in any obvious danger, Jon waited for an explanation.
“Oh good, you’re already dressed. Pull the car around Sergi, we’re going for a ride.”
Rook swept from the room, trailing the smell of rain and moss and blood behind him. Jon just sighed and followed.
Meliki wasn’t actually all that surprised when Rook swept into her parlor. She’d taken time to put on a kettle before dialing him, using the steeping tea leaves to draw some of the tension out of herself. The lavender and chamomile drank up her nervous energy, thriving on her exhilaration and giving her a sense of calm and peace in return. Meliki loved the beautiful balance of Nature, the way everything came together to turn one man’s sorrow into another’s joy.
And then the bird burst in and ruined it all.
Still, she was grateful to be spared the awkward conversation of asking him to come down and speak with the Ancient One she’d tattled on him to. She figured it was the least she could do to give him time to sort it all out on his own terms. She didn’t understand how he was responsible for the girl, only that he was. And that he hadn’t been doing a good enough job for her and hers to feel safe. She would not feel guilty over this. She would not.
“Tea?” she asked mildly, gesturing to the pot and empty cups she’d brought with her.
Rook pursed his lips and rolled his eyes, but Jon stepped forward and took a cup with a nod of thanks.
“You know you’ll want it Rook. Fey magic always turns our stomachs.”
“It’s not the fey here I’m worried about,” he spat back, but he took the cup Jon handed him anyways.
They passed through the side door and into the back garden, Rook slamming down his tea as they did so. Jon had been right – the instant they passed into Meliki’s territory, Rook’s belly had started to roll. As much as it annoyed him to lean on the earth fey’s magic, he would not face down a Destroyer with a sour stomach. This was going to be bad enough as it was. 5:07
He was undoubtedly here for Rain, as would be the rest of the world, once word got out. It had happened this way time and time again, people beating him to scene and ruining things before he could ever get his hands on her. Granted, it had never been so bad as call down an actual Kalean, and a Destroyer at that, but still. Things were going rather well, considering.
He was hesitant to say anything to Rain, he didn’t know how much was too fast but Jon was right – this needed to be her decision. Part of what kept him from succumbing to their power was the force of his own personality – he wanted to stay Rook. If Rain didn’t know who she was or what she wanted out of life, the Death would take her over, eat her alive in her own head. They had to be partners, or she’d go just as mad as Moira had. (Moira? Not Morgana?)
So he started down the giant wolf that stood in Meliki’s garden, the Kalean that had answered the fey’s requests for guidance.
“We can’t just force this on her, you know.”
The great wolf tilted his shaggy head, as if he didn’t understand.
“You know there’s no damned reason to wear that form around me, I’ve started my Undoing in the face before. Face me now, and let us talk about this.”
The wolf shook, like a dog spilling water from its coat, and ice crystals flew in every direction. When the small snow cloud settled, a small figure was left standing in the wolf’s place, just a normal man, albeit one far too pale. He was not much taller than Rook, lean muscles and hard lines, icy blue eyes starting out of a painfully angular face. His expression was utterly calm, and utterly alien. There was nothing at home here that could be bargained with, not really.
Rook remembered staring down such a face, and being offered a choice – a choice to remember no more. Now and again, something would strain at that choice, remind him of things he was meant to have forgotten. Looking into the face of a man that would have killed him, no, annihilated him from existence- even if this wasn’t the same Destroyer that had bested him in the Purging, they all had that same look about them. And they all had the power to remind him of things his soul could never forget, even after it had been erased from his mind.
A long moment passed between them, until finally broke the silence. “I am here, little bird. So talk.”
Zig had seen the glowing out in the garden, but had chosen to ignore it. He knew no one else would see – that part of the garden existed in a different part of space and time, and it was almost closing time anyways- and more importantly, he knew it wasn’t any of his damned business. At least, he hoped it wasn’t. He had a sick feeling that he would find out all too soon.
Sure enough, after the parlor had shut down for the night, he heard Meliki come in from the garden door and put the kettle on in the kitchen. Not long after that, he heard Rook making an ass of himself, and then all fell quiet as they went outside.
Zig lay there, staring at the ceiling, trying to sleep. It wasn’t any of his business, it really wasn’t, and whatever they were talking about, surely they would have Rain’s best interests at heart.
Damn. He hadn’t wanted to admit to himself that he was worried about Rain. He gave up, rolled over onto his side and reached for a book.
Zig wasn’t surprised when Meliki “called” him into the kitchen. However, he was rather shocked to see Rook sitting at the table, alone.
“Hey there, sweetie,” he said softly, completely lacking his usual tease.
The apprehension was clear in Zig’s voice, but he pulled up a chair anyways. Rook sighed and stared into his tea cup, voice low when he finally spoke again.
“I need you to bring Rain here. Tomorrow, if you can.”
Zig remained silent, waiting for Rook to continue. He didn’t like the way Rook sounded, too much like he were at a funeral.
“I hate to ask you to do this. But …please.”
And that was all he was gonna get. Zig nodded and stood up, not caring to hang around in all the doom and gloom. Rook stood as well, taking the back stairs to where Jon was waiting outside.
Meliki stood watch over her garden for the rest of the night.
[Sometime on Sunday]
Rain woke late the next morning, feeling clearer than she had all week. Maybe it was the house. Maybe leaving in the middle of the night had helped. She waffled about going downstairs, smelling breakfast, but wanting to take advantage of this moment of clarity. Not bothering to waste the time looking for a notebook, Rain fired up her laptop and added to the notes she’d already made.
-What happened today?
Still not sure. People to ask: Zig, Jon.
Death Magic? Myles magic? What was I referencing here? Either way, she’ll feel this:
She shuddered at the thought of that, but pressed on. She wasn’t sure how much time she had.
-Will it happen again?
Yes, according to ..well, everyone
Not a whole she could do about that one, and no one had really seemed too concerned. Mostly everyone was worried about her inability to shield. Which brought her to:
-What do I need watch out for?
Good question- get on that. Maybe Jon?
God, that was a depressing answer. Still, she added a note to practice shielding- being able to keep people out of her head could only be a good thing, right?
-What am I?
She hesitated over this one. She didn’t know, but she’d gotten some clues from her talk with Rook. Still, it hadn’t made much sense, and more importantly, she wasn’t really ready to face it. The idea that the characters in her stories had been real people, had really died..
She shut her laptop and ran downstairs to have breakfast with her mom.