The Cursed – Excerpt: Nova

(c)

The ground trembled beneath them again. Yonas ran through the carnage, pushing his red hair out of his eyes as he craned his neck, trying to locate any of the Nine. To his right, he could see the brave Sir Richmond battling two creeps all by himself. He tried to catch his eye as he passed, but did not dare to linger. Ahead, in the mass of dust and sweat and blood, something bright and white caught his eye. The Queen of the Lost! He rushed forward, darting through the feet of men and beast caught up in a lust for battle that his young mind could not yet fathom.

He struggled to keep her in his sight, heart soaring with pride as he saw the Lord Shade and his young squire flanking her as she cast devastating spell after spell at the charging enemy lines, only pausing to summon up protective shields around her friends. The elven archer grinned as he spotted the boy, and yelled out to the Queen. But he need not have bothered, for she was already looking at him, a worried smile lighting up her tired features. She swayed, and the Knight and his squire simultaneously leapt forward to catch her, swords at the ready in their free hands, daring anyone around them to come seek a challenge. She smiled at them reassuringly and steadied herself on the forest floor, preparing to cast once again.

Suddenly, a sharp pain stabbed through his spine, and he dropped to the trampled grass, confused. He could barely make out the Queen’s distant screams as she lunged forward, only to be held back by Ether, even as Janek and Shgyar moved in closer and assumed defensive positions. Lord Shade and the Mhak man charged forward, but a tightening feeling in the pit of his stomach brought forth the sudden realization. He had been stabbed. And he was dying.

He could hear the Queen calling out to him, much like the first time he had met her on the bridge outside the town, her dark hair blowing about her pale face, even as Lord Shade spoke to her in low urgent tones. She had caught sight of Yonas perched on the tree growing on the riverbank, and she had smiled at him causing Lord Shade to turn about to investigate the source of her humor. For some inexplicable reason, he left his hands and hung upside down from the tree, reveling in her gasp and the pretty laugh that followed. She was the most beautiful lady he had ever seen. And, as he swung upside down on the tree, offering to pluck her some fruit for one of the pretty stones around her neck, he noticed the Lord watching her as she fingered the green gems about her neck, and when she screamed in delight at the berries Yonas tossed her, he saw that the Lord was smiling. Yonas had never before then even seen the Lord of Shade smile since he returned from the first Crusades.

But now she was crumbling to the floor, eyes wide and unseeing and pointed at him. He wanted to reassure her about his place in the palace of God, but did not know how to. He shivered violently, and felt rather than saw her helplessness and fear.

Another tremble took over the ground, and the last thing Yonas saw was the Mhak man peering down at him intently, even as Lord Shade cursed out loud. The trembling intensified, and the two sword wielding men turned just in time to see the burst of flames heading out towards them at a rapid speed.

“Nova”

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The End

Sorrow, like an albatross
hangs about my throat
Watching with possessive eyes
as on my own words, I choke.

I have always said I craved to be
at the least, more than free
But freedom is its strongest chain
So much larger than me

Yes, we do what we must
that alone is true
And you don’t love me
But I’ll always love you.

So, I hold you no ill will
No wishes of regret
Just promise me one thing,
that you will never forget..

Songs of light, chains of gold
And flowers of twisted steel
A seashore that weeps and weeps
And things that time can never heal

I know, you did what you had to
so that you could be free
Now, darling, be reasonable
And expect no lesser from me

I have loved you for ages
And never thought I’d find thee
here of all places,
quietly waiting for me

So forgive me for not taking the hint
Forgive me for being unable to flee
Forgive me for bothering you with the truth
But I cannot go, and I will not leave

And as the sun rises on my setting heart
I know this burden is mine alone to bear
How long, how long, will I slide?
I do not know, and you cannot care

Dreaming of the Past

One night, I dreamed a dream of paradise
and now there is nothing I can do to forget
I wake in the guilt of sins that are not mine
unreleased from this adopted regret

And even my oldest comrade now lies blue
In this world of sleeplessness’ solitude
So cold in the sky, so distant and cruel
But, always, mine, and forever, true

Like the color of someone’s eyes
when he turned to look into mine
on a moonlit winter evening
lost, now, in space and time

Let me in, I whisper quietly
But there’s no one left to hear my plea
The cold chased away all those memories
Like goldfishes swimming off to sea..

UnContainable

 

If I knew
how to contain this
the feeling of falling endlessly
I would not need you
to be an echo

An echo of
both the heights
and the depths
that I have only
dreamed of

Of heights and depths
that I have only
ever seen
in hues
of you.

My World
does not revolve
around you
but, sometimes
how I wish that
it would.

Because you’re all
I want to see
and touch
and know
and feel..

And because
everything else
is drenched in evil
and sin..
but you,
You will always be the good.

Even if
you do choose
to exist as a blade
without a handle
buried in my throat.

Yes, even then.

Storms and Cottages

He woke up with a start upon hearing the heavy wooden door to the cottage swing open, drenched in sweat, and his hair all disheveled, yet instinctively reaching out for the sword. Before remembering that he had lent it to her.

It was hers in the first place, said a niggling voice at the back of his mind.

“It’s just me”, she whispered to him, the quietness of the cottage hidden away from the snowstorm outside suddenly too much to bear. Her eyes drifted to his slowly healing bruises and he looked away, scowling. He waited until she had knelt by the fire to stoke it before risking another glance at her. She appeared alright, he thought, as she placed the sword beside the door.

It was much too large for her anyway.

“Why are you smiling?”, she asked, curious. He blinked at her blankly for a second, before giving her a curt nod and gingerly laying himself down again, even as she turned to unpack the medicinal herbs and plants that she had been out collecting, wary yet hopeful that they would suffice.

“Did you run into any trouble?”, he asked, and her hands shook as she remembered the horrors of a nearby village she had stumbled upon, terrorized by a pack of vicious dogs, and their even crueler masters. They had followed her into the forest,barking and laughing as she had stumbled along with the village’s orphans. A year ago, they would have hunted her down and killed her, laughing as their beasts tore her apart. But the year had been a long one, and it had changed her.

Her voice was steady when she turned to answer him, “Just some hungry dogs. But I took care of it.”

The smile on her face was a new one.

One that hadn’t been there before. And he didn’t know what it meant.

Nevertheless, he nodded in a way she had begun to interpret as relieved, and in turn, she was glad that the darkening evening kept the blood spattered sword hidden from his sight. At least until she had had the time to polish it, and feel the sharp edge of its steel, light against her skin. Just once more, and then she would return it.

She was only its guardian. It was time to let go.

He watched her gaze drift to the sword by the door, eyes full of emotions he couldn’t begin to decode. He wondered if she had been living by this underground lake for the entire year that she had been missing. He thought of telling her how he had looked for her. How far and low he had searched. How desperately he had hoped and prayed.. How hollow everything in the world had suddenly seemed to be. How he had learnt what it meant to be drowning in despair, feeling insanity clambering on to the sides of his mind; the absence of her, a raw wound that never learned to heal.

But he was not the same.

And, neither was she.

By choosing exile, by choosing this, by leaving when the war broke out, she had made a choice. Abandoning him, but also saving him from having to make any sort of choice himself. They would have never trusted him as long as she was around. Her hair was too wild, and her skin wasn’t pale enough. She would never be one of them. He would have had to make a choice..

“I can mend your weapon, you know”, he said quietly, and watched as she whirled around to face him, body taut and disbelieving, eyes boring into his, searching him for any sign of deception, or doubt.

He showed none.

“You”, she whispered. “You can fix Estel?”

He nodded, then pushed himself off the bed, swaying as his feet hit the ground. She rushed forward, her small cold hands reaching around him, steadying him as he gritted his teeth and shook his head. The Winter had hit him hard. He would need some time to recover before going ahead with his plans.

He glanced down at her worried expression, before letting his eyes drift to where her pale hands rested against his bruised skin, causing her to blush and look away. He leaned forward and closed his eyes, taking in the scent of the forest from her hair and clothes, trying to figure out where exactly they were, and how he would get them out of there. His eyes snapped open and fixed themselves on hers as he smelt the blood on her clothes, not her own, and that on her scratched and swollen wrist, her own.

She looked back at him in a confused mixture of fear and raw, aching desire.

“I can fix Estel”, he said.

The Princess and the Blind

She walked up the narrow path, her long dark hair billowing in the wind behind her.

It was black once. But that was before the curse. And before everything in her life turned into the color of fire.

“Are you okay?”, asked the little blind boy. She nodded, and then feeling stupid, said, “Yes.. The path is just longer than I remember.”

And, it had been. The last time she had run up this path, she had been just a little girl, glad to finally be home, away from all of the horrors in the wide world outside. ..That was before she had taken the vow, and before she had worn the black. Now, she was just another passer-by. And the house was supposed to mean nothing.

“It’s time”, said the boy, and she nodded again, her gaze shifting to the ruins towering over them. It was.

~~~

The raven haired princess laughed delightedly as the knight pierced seven flying cards with his sword. And watching her smile set off a smile of his own.

“Would you like me to do that again, Princess?”

She nodded, and the knight watched her messy hair bob up and down with her head in rapt attention. Oh, how he longed to twirl a strand of that dark hair around his fingers. But, instead, he settled for piercing another seven cards of her new deck, losing himself in the tilt of her pale throat as she threw her head back and clapped at his boyish antics. If it were up to him, they would never march back into war. He had found himself a part of the heaven promised to them all in the name of their victory, and it was hidden somewhere along the contours of her narrow girlish waist.

~~~

“You still love him”, he said.

And she was surprised at the anger in his voice. Though she then realized that it was not so strange that he sounded so.. jealous. They had kept no company but each others’ in the last six months. Counseled none but each other. And the only time that she had gotten drunk in the last six months was in his company, when she had ended up revealing more than she ever intended.

“It does not matter whether I do”, she replied, wearily.

“He brings you nothing but pain”, he hissed, suddenly persistent.

She glanced at him sharply, and then turned away to watch the changing skies.

He dropped his gaze, and shuffled his feet forlornly, until she turned to face him again, the wind setting free strands of her tightly tied hair.

“I’m sorry, princess. That was out of line.”

~~~

He yanked her to himself, and laughed as she stumbled, his arms already enclosing her. She turned up to say something, but he had captured her lips in a searing kiss, and she wondered how she was going to walk away unscathed from this life lesson, even as his voice drifted into her aching mind.

“Are you okay, princess?”

“What– what are you doing?”

“I’m sorry, princess. That was out of line.”

“But.. wait! You said you had something to say.. What was it?”

“I don’t like repeating myself”

“But what did you say”

“Does it matter?”

“It does.. to me.”

He smiled at her confused expression, before kissing her forehead gently.

“You will always be mine.”

~~~

“Don’t worry about it”, she said, as kindly as she could muster, fingering the scar he had left her, flinching as she remembered the night he had given it to her. Perhaps things were never golden.. except until she thought about him. And then, it didn’t matter what precipice she thought of; all were achingly beautiful to her.

The little blind boy felt the expressions change upon her face, and knew that if he knew how to cry, he would, for her. For himself, too, as the princess was clearly never going to think of him in the way she thought of the fallen knight. But, mostly, his unshed tears were for the princess, because they would never find the knight of her dreams, and he did not know how to tell her this. Especially when she whimpered in her sleep.

The knight didn’t want to be found by anyone.

And two lost children, one of whom called out his name in her sleep, would not find him unless he wanted them to find him.

And it was in this perpetual fear that the little blind boy slept and awoke; that she would find him, and he would take her away.

Forever.

~~~

It’s cold, don’t you think?”

“Not if you come a little closer.”

“But you scare me.”

“No, I don’t. I only want to protect you!”

“From what?”

“Everything!”

“And what about you, yourself?”

“…No One can protect you from me, love.

The Price of Innocence

It is a trick
that they don’t want you to learn,
because once you know it,
and it has learned you,
you shall know that you can leave
anytime you want to.

It is a secret
that no one wants to tell
coz two can keep a secret
only if one of them is dead.
And the price of Freedom
is Eternal Vigilance.

It is a shame
that only a child would dare ask
the question that is just as controversial,
but in a nobler, quieter way.
“What is the price of Forgiveness?”

Unfortunately,
I think we led our answer
in a long and winding line
all the way up the Pied Piper’s lair
in the name of misguided sacrifices,

Now, only the bluest skies
can hear the infant’s cries
as it wails out the answer
before his heart is ripped out
as his mother watches on silently
from her own tailor-made cage
And father is sent to fight in a futile war
and the only one enraged
is the little boy spying in on the murder
even as his sister asks him if he’s okay,
but he only shakes his head
for all the grown-ups are really
too irresponsible to be trusted,
And they like to act like sheep.