The One Thing

Is it really so difficult to do?
The one thing I truly ask of you?
Anything for me, you’d always say
So please leave me alone, get out of my way.

There’s nothing for you here,
and my patience is thinning.
I’m tired of your lies,
this cycle of atonement and sinning.
Go where you must,
you know i will not stop you,
turn into fire or dust,
there’s nothing left to be true to.
Continue or cease breathing,
Just leave me alone.
Your heart may be bleeding,
but mine has turned to stone.

And i shall not ask again
so don’t mistake this for a request
You may want to haunt the city of men,
but, leave me to find my rest.
And, so, don’t come knocking on my door.
for if you do, you’ll find it barred.
You may delight in sleeping on the cold hard floor,
but i’ve had my fill of scars.
And, i know you think, you truly believe
that my hatred will come to an end,
but what you want, you will never receive
And you will think thrice before calling me a friend.

So, please, leave me alone and get out of my way.
Anything for me, you would always say
Then why is it so hard for you to do
the one thing that i truly ask of you?

.
Prompt: First three lines from 14.03.2013

Molten

I cannot hold you in my hands anymore
Flowing out of my veins, like lava in flames
Shining like an intense ocean of red and gold
if I choose to burn, is it not only I who is to blame?

Though sometimes I still dream of that very first time
That my ice-cold soul felt the burn of your skin
Around your fingers, you wrapped my reeling mind
Leaving my edges on steam, and my core, molten.

And you should know I’ve been melting ever since
First in cracks that trickled, then in streams that screamed
And I wonder if you ever truly were the lost prince
Or simply a lord from some nightmarish tale I once dreamed.

My love, how can I follow you any further into this night?
When I know not the way through the depths of your mind
I set out following the treacherous moon and its light
Only to leave myself somewhere too far behind.

And now the embers falling from my skin
from all the places we have touched
are all I have to light my way of sin
Not enough, but always too much

I like to believe I’ll catch up with you sometime
Before going up in flames, or melting out of sight
And if being too weak to help you was my only crime
Then I hope at least my pyre provides you with light.

 

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 Lost

Yesterday drifts through the mind
With memories of winter and frost
The signposts have been left behind,
But not the anguish of the lost

I knew a man, who had sailed the sea
and I asked him to be my guide
He told me of a better World
But I think he may have lied

For I live in palaces, always golden
but the real World waits just outside
Where poverty is bought and stolen
and it’s justice that’s denied.

All by myself, what is it I can do?
I asked both the brave and wise
You do what you can, you do what you must
But first you must survive.

Ah, surviving is half the war
That much, I swear, is true
And what mountains will I ever scale,
If that alone is too much to do?

And it was in those trials of ice and fire
That I first met the One I desired
And it was in those trials of fire and ice
That I lost not just once, but also twice

But that is a story for a different day
for first he showed me what I must do
It’s true, my Lord must have his way
But, my lonely soul, you must, too

So I walked on edges, watched and guided
Like a princess of Blood and Fire
Until the kingdom burned, and my Lord decided
that my feet deserved glass and wire

And it was I who hung up my dreams
In strings and strings of rope
It was I who set my kingdom on fire
It was I who strangled hope

Forgive me, forgive this dithering child
Every step I take turns into a mistake
I loved you, and the way you smiled
And it’s my own heart I most callously break

For now you no longer smile for me
I have transformed into all that is wrong
In breaking vows to reach where you sleep
I am no longer worthy of your song.

In colder times, you held my hand
You walked me home, said you understand
I remember winters, white, covered in frost
Ice and Fire, and the things that I have lost.

You will always mean, what you did to me
On that morning so old and golden
Before you could tell, and before I could see
just how irreparably I lay broken.

The Ninth Crime

In the painted red dawn
of the year most recently new,
I confess I lost sight
of the way that was you.
But, after years and months,
maybe it was the least I could do..
Even if you promised no lies,
your silence speaks no truth.

And, I watched and I waited
to earn my way back into your grace
Even as my words, fated,
dissolved into your lonely space.
And, I waited until all
the colors had turned out this way.
But, the color of blood
leads even the purest astray.

And, I never was angelic,
despite what you tell yourself at night
I waited through your darkest,
but turned away moments from your light.
The smallest crimson crime,
but I know I have no excuse
The smallest, most frightened lie
Is it all still for you?

I woke up in a place
I’ve never been to before
I ran away from the windows
only to stumble through your door.
And now I’m on the outside,
locked out forever in your cold
With the sympathizing moon, the wolves
and everywhere left to go..

For All the Reasons in the World

They told me this was the wrong direction
that I was headed in.
They shouted out in commemoration,
but whispered persistently of sin.
They said that if I turned around,
maybe my soul could still be saved
With promises of jeweled coffins,
they tried to lead me to my grave.

But, I’ve always been a conscientious objector,
if such a thing there ever was
And what’s more important than all their rules
is your own code of laws.
So, when they sent their men to help me
dismount from my trusted steed,
I spun and spurned it forward
paying their surprised cries no heed.

And, now I’ve been riding North for days,
without a map or a clue
Taking the shortest route I can find
to get the furthest away from you.
The moon is my only companion,
though she brings out the wolves at night
Yet, somehow I feel safer around them
than I ever did in day-light.

There are things I should have told you,
and things that should never have been said
But, in the silence of the dark,
they battle endlessly in my head
Still, if you were to ever need me, darling
If you cannot think of any other possible way
Look for me by the moonlight
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way..

The Lost Archers – I

Later, he would recall how the sun had nearly set when she had walked into his office; her slender frame fraught with a sort of tension that echoed in the sharp noise her shoes made against his polished stone floor; as it did in the relentless way she clutched at her deceptively delicate bag, even as she closed the too-large door softly behind her.

And he waited, silently, for her to set the tone of their meeting.

She took a step forward, taking a moment to focus, in the relative gloom of the room, and he waited, patiently, for that familiar look of pain and desperation that always danced just beneath the surface of the mask she had painstakingly perfected, always crumbling fascinatingly under some sorrow that she could no longer tolerate. Only for him.

She never came to him any other way. Not anymore.

But, she did not look at him as she made her way in. And the cruelest, hardest part of him wanted to laugh as he remembered their last meeting. No… if he were being honest, he’d have to say that she hadn’t really looked at him since the day they had said that they were going to vote in the new Constitution, and he had chosen to leave their little syndicate..

It hadn’t even been a minute since she walked through his door, and his peace of mind was already in pieces, but this was no surprise; and though he hadn’t moved a muscle since he caught sight of her, his narrowed eyes followed her across the room,  until she stood in front of him, with only his large wooden desk in the way. And, in the cold harsh light of his sunless room, he wished that the ridiculous ring on her finger would stop distracting him from those dark eyes she had on, and then wished those damned eyes of hers would stop distracting him from the edges of the worn out, ornate dress that was wrapped around her; but he knew what he really wanted: to reach out and undo it. Her. Them.

He motioned for her to take a seat, she graciously accepted, and he waited.

No one can understand me the way you do…

Mido.., she began, hesitantly, and he started at the softness of her voice. Surely it hadn’t always been this frail…

But, the war.. It changes people. Sometimes it destroys them.

And maybe he had forgotten.

She still hadn’t looked him in the eye.

Sūtra?

She lifted her gaze then, to meet his, even as he savored the aftertaste of her name. And, for the tiniest moment, nothing had ever changed.

It’s Agni, Ban, she said, frowning slightly.

He looked about them, and allowed a small smirk upon his face, “And, who are you performing for now?

She took  a deep, calming, breath of air, even as he laughed and leaned back in his chair,So, what’s the plan? Storm out again? Maybe disappear for another few years?

He was still smiling at her, but his eyes were hard.

You know I wouldn’t be here if I had any other choice.

So you keep telling me.

I -‘, she stopped to glare at him, her hands clenched tightly at her sides.

Why don’t we get you something to drink?, he said, making his way to the bar.Maybe it’ll help us…”, he paused as he opened up a new bottle of Scotch, “talk.

She shook her head, and he watched her bare wrists as she pushed back at stray strands of her long dark hair, clearly frustrated.A bar inside your office?“, her eyes flashed dangerously,Real classy, Mido. Must help with the ladies.

You’re one to talk.

I’m not the alcoholic slut.

He chuckled, “It‘s funny you would say so, because that’s not the version of events I remember.

“Shut up“, she said, through clenched teeth.

Why don’t you make me, Princess? I’m sure you’ve learned another trick or two since we’ve last met.

You’re disgusting.

He laughed again, “And yet, here you are. Again.

I- Yes.

She looked away from him, then.. and he followed her gaze as it fell on her ostentatious ring.

Why?

He knew why.

You know why.

It’s always nicer to hear you say it.

It was her turn to laugh, now. But, he intensely disliked the new way her voice drowned into corners rather than bounced off of them, and he waited, silently, patiently, for the mask to crack.

But, she wasn’t looking at him again..

“…I need your help…”