#SunSchion Tweeter Update 11.01.10

#SunSchion

Perhaps Peneus’ Daughter had it wrong.   Yet are there any happy tales amongst our blood?  From the pinnacle to the pit, it seems all hearts blacken and rot.  Is Persephone’s Bargain the best anyone can do?

  

     

~T.L.~

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Fate, Up Against Her Will

(Originally Posted 10.02.10)

Even in the witch’s hours, the sprawling, floating city teemed with life, a brilliant, glittering beacon adrift upon a vast black plain. 

The crowds wandering the open spaces had thinned enough that a lone, dark-clad figure slipped easily from deck to deck, unhurriedly navigating dozens of stairways and through as many corridors in pursuit of her destination.

When she could ascend no farther, she at last came to rest, waiting at the railing of the uppermost deck.  Her hollow golden gaze, barely muted by the glasses perched at the end of her nose, lingered sullenly upon happier passengers.  The ocean surrounding them on all sides seemed nothing but a vast matte abyss, the light of stars and other heavenly bodies obscured by the thick veneer of ash and dust that had taken up permanent residence in the sky the day the Jotunhammer had fallen upon the World.  Only the moon broke the relentless emptiness above, although even her grand pale face was a smudge of obstinate light upon the otherwise unbroken night.   In pairs, trios, and groups, the last of the late night crowd dwindled, until there was no one left to stand witness to the presence or actions of the young woman.

One final, fast, furtive glance confirmed her solitude, her muscles tensing briefly, gaze lifted to the enclosed bridge and sections of the ship that stood as the highest pinnacle she could strive to reach.  A simple motion, her knees bent only momentarily, the still wind briefly seeming to embrace her, lifting her to soar half the vessel’s own height above the boat before the natural arc of the leap brought her down upon the rooftop.  The force of the motion, in addition to her own weight and her chosen footwear, proved no hindrance to a silent, nimble landing, laughing in the face of any sane laws of physics.

Turning her face upward to bask in the glow of the barely present moon, Jocasta Tamas’ eyes slid slowly closed.

Removed at last from all company, the mortal and not completely so, she was finally, totally alone.  Exhaling a long, shuddering breath, her slender, muscular arms wrapped around her trembling torso, the tears shed in silence leaving a shining trail down her cheeks.

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Conflict Resolution, the Tamas Way

(Originally Posted 09.26.10)

Ignoring the startled cry of the man left behind in her wake, Jocasta Tamas tore away and down the cruise liner’s corridors, a smattering of Greek curses, jostled, disheveled and grumbling fellow passengers marking her trail.  Thunderstruck, Thomas stared after the young woman, reviving partially when she rounded a corner and disappeared from sight, gathering his wits once more and moving in the same direction she had fled, at a somewhat saner pace.

Heavy, thick-soled boots pounded up and down stairways and passages as she made her way across the massive ship, the gothicly made up woman at least having the wherewithal to appear out of breath as she finally came to a halt in front of one of the boat’s smaller gyms, the sign on the door indicating that it had been reserved for the better part of the day.  Leaning against the door with a huff, she tapped her knuckles on the wood barring her passage in a rapid, staccato rhythm.  The lock turned with a soft, rasping metal-on-metal sound, and something shifted away from a position directly behind the door.  Turning the knob and slipping inside, the lock turned again a moment later as she moved deeper within, sealing her in with the other current residents of the open space. 

  

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After the Hammer Drops

(Originally Posted 09.06.10)

The glance they exchanged as Jo stepped back into the common area of the lodge told Chrysander all he needed to know. His stance relaxed almost imperceptibly, even as he braced for a war of a different sort. Even while listening to her tearful conversation he had explained to the Atzlanti scion the pain she often endured doing what he was now faced with requesting of her.

Offering polite farewells to those of the Band who still lingered with wakefulness, he moved towards his sibling, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and leading her away toward the room he had been instructed by Auric, had been set aside for their use during their stay on Yggdrassil. An enormous, fluffy silver shadow trotted along at their heels.

Their arms flew around each other the moment the door to the small, rusticly appointed suite was closed and locked behind them, sharing in silent tears of relief and sorrow, each clinging to the other desperately. When they finally withdrew, Chrys brushed her hair gently away from from her face, hands falling to rest on his shoulders. “She sounded good.”

Offering him a baleful glower that made him grin, she sniffled softly. “So rude.” She shook her head lightly, fine dark hair swaying back and forth as she looked up at him with over-full amber eyes. “You know her. What’s a little end of the world after you reared a pair of rambunctious god-blooded pups?”

Chuckling warmly, Chrys ruffled her hair before he stepped back, settling himself onto the edge of one of the beds, seeming focused on the floor for a moment before he raised troubled gray eyes to his twin. “Jo…” He paused momentarily both to watch her take a cross-legged seat on the bed opposite his, and to allow the massive hound that settled at his feet to rest his head across the young man’s legs. Fingers threading slowly over and through wild smoke-hued fur, along the long muzzle, he met and held Jocasta’s gaze. She watched him with the same seriousness that was reflected in his own eyes, handsome features schooled briefly into neutrality. “Our leads… on where to go from here… are almost non-existent. All we have is a challenge from the Lie-Smith to go running to his doorstep and probably straight into whatever trap that waits for us there. A few of the others have similar powers to yours, but.. with Ap… with your father, being who he is… your powers are…”

She was no longer meeting his eyes, having found a spot on the wall deserving of her glare, her jaw clenched and set in silent belligerence as he continued speaking with a heavy sigh. “We need you to stand central to some sort of… Oracular Convocation… they want to try.”

Honey-hued orbs flicked to the corners of her narrowed eyes, watching him sidelong. Her voice was low, and shook slightly, but he couldn’t tell if it was anger, pain, or something else that flavored her accusatory tone. “…We?”

His lower lip caught pensively between his teeth for a moment. “Me. The Band. Mom. The whole world, Jo. Like it or not, it’s not just us any more. Working together will be our salvation, or our doom.” Watching her rub her temples in her agitation, he stood, cautiously slipping out from beneath and stepping around the beast that had settled against him. He crossed the small space between them to kneel before her, gathering her hands in his, silently raising an eyebrow at the gauze wrapped around the hand she had sliced open to pay the Elder’s tithe. “You know I’d never ask unless I thought it was absolutely necessary. Whatever happens, I’ll be there.”

She shook her head softly, squeezing his fingers as she exhaled a slow breath. “I’ll do what needs to be done.” Releasing his hands, she laid back on the bed, her eyes finding the open window on the opposite wall and staring beyond it into the darkness as she curled onto her side. “My head hurts just thinking about it. Feel like… someone stuffed my skull with wool.” She sighed again, tucking her knees tightly to her chest. “Just… want to rest… for a while.”

“Anything you want, Jo.” Chrys rose, bending to brush a light kiss across one of her temples. “You might be more comfortable without the winter gear, though.”

Mumbling, she sat up again as he stepped back to the other bed, both silent as they worked first on the laces of their heavy boots, before moving to the rest of their clothing. When both were settled, their packs full of everything they now owned, Jo’s face scrubbed of makeup, her guitar resting gently against her stuffed rucksack, each offered the other a weary smile, before they laid back to pursue their own thoughts and dreams as sleep eventually took hold.

—–

They had risen with the shouts coming from the main hall with the others, and had watched both the combat between Norse and Celtic scions and the interruption thereof in their own silent, observatory manner. Without overt judgments made, they retreated back to the room their shared.

“Admit it,” Chrys murmured as they returned to their beds, watching her across the dark room with a faint smile. “There’s nothing you’d like more than to go at it a few rounds yourself.”

“True enough,” she responded as she tucked herself back beneath the warm bedding. “Certainly not like that,though. No need to make a spectacle of ourselves. But… I doubt we will be left to this complacence for much longer.”

He sighed, rolling towards the window himself, watching unfamiliar stars glitter in the night sky. “No,” he whispered to himself, “probably not.”

—–

Slipping back into the room with the closest thing she could manage to silence, Jocasta stopped as a familiar pair of storm-cloud gray eyes followed her movements, shining alertly in the darkness. A soft, annoyed snarl rose from her lips, and she forced herself to resist the urge to hurl something at his head. “You heard?” There was no familial tenderness to her tone; her golden eyes flashed in the darkness, the ire in her tone warning him against anything but the truth.

“I heard.” His whisper seemed to echo in the small room, his face lit as he lifted it by the light of distant stars. Hesitating, he watched her climb back into bed once again, following her troubled eyes and her glistening, tear-streaked face with his own eyes. “Do you believe him?”

The look she gave him in the moment before she rolled over, facing away from him, sent a shiver of terror down his spine. They were both capable of things great and terrible; in that moment, with any less control on her fiery temperament than she had, he knew she might have destroyed him as utterly as the Jotunhammer could.

In the moments that followed, just as he had decided she had fallen back to sleep and he ought to do the same, her voice, sharp, low, and bitter, drifted over her shoulder to greet his ears.

“Not a word.”

 

 

~T.L.~

At the Foot of the Mountain

(Originally Posted 08.29.10)

Working in silence, Jocasta opened the XTerra’s rear passenger doors as well as the back hatch, nudging her brother out of the way in order to do so. Once she had folded down the back seat and rolled out a pair of sleeping bags, she joined the young man resting against the body of the vehicle.

“What do you see?”

Exhaling slowly, Chrysander Tamas finally tore his gaze from the brilliant silver disc that hung low still in the darkening sky. “Only the usual.”

“He wouldn’t have understood, then.”

“No.”

Pressing him softly towards the tail of the SUV and its open rear door, Jo sighed heavily. “Did you hear him? ‘Our orders remain in effect. Compliance is expected.’ Can you even fathom unswerving obedience of that caliber?”

Chrys shuddered as he climbed into the back of the vehicle and squirmed into the heavy, mummy-style quilted bedroll that waited for him there. “No.” Snug inside the sleeping bag, he pillowed his head in his hands and returned his gaze to the chill, starry sky, the shining satellite not yet entered into the view framed by the XTerra’s open moon-roof. “Maybe it’s cultural. The others don’t seem to mind that much.”

“Oliver does.”

Oliver?!” Chrys smirked at her as she settled into her own sleeping quarters, as they were, her head facing the opposite direction. “What happened to ‘Boy Scout,’ ‘Clueless Suit,’ ‘Barely Moving Target,’ and, dare I say it- my absolute favorite- ‘Detriment to unit cohesion’?” He laughed, raising an arm just in time to block the double-limbed mummy kick she aimed for his head. “The newest addition, the little tattooed Irish filly, doesn’t seem the type either, to… ‘comply’.”

Filly?!” Jocasta managed to precisely duplicate the horrified repulsion his tone had held a few moments before, grinning as she reached to close the vehicle’s rear door. “I dare you to say that to her face in the morning.”

“Done,” he responded so quickly that she regretted offering the challenge immediately. “After I do, you have to promise to be nice to the Boy Scout for twenty-four hours- a period which I shall designate as I desire- or, if he ever tries to kiss you- applicable for the first attempt only- you have to let him. No murder. Or castration.” His tone left some doubt regarding which the young man considered worse.

“You’re the only one in danger of that at the moment. I wasn’t aware Cupid had started taking on Scions these days.” Keeping her tone carefully light, she skirted the delicate issue with gentle mirth.

One hand extending towards her, he lifted his head, his smile wicked and his gray eyes dancing with laughter as he watched her. “You can decide which when I decide when you have to be a good little girl. Deal, or no deal?”

Heaving a great, exaggerated sigh, Jo slid her had into her brother’s and squeezed, shaking it once firmly. “D’you know if there’s a form I can fill out to apply for a new sibling? Mine’s defective.” She laughed as he punched her legs through the padded fabric with a loose fist.

“You simply aren’t cultured enough to understand the difference between perfection and…” A quick, two-fingered gesture flicked from her feet to her head. “…flawed design.”

Before they could argue their points further, with words or blows, the hatch opened suddenly, and an enormous furry body leapt between them, shoving each a little further to the side as he snuggled down, slurping one face adoringly as his wagging tail repeatedly smacked the other.

“Ughhhh.” Swatting at the wildly flailing appendage, Jocasta shoved at the hound’s haunches as she lifted herself enough to close the door behind the animal. Under her breath, she muttered without malice, “Bad dog.”

Chuckling, Chrys ruffled Delos’ fur, scratching his ears and under his chin, praising him quietly as all three settled down for the evening. Each of the twins freed an arm to drape over the bestial mountain that had made his place between them, fingers idly stroking thick, wavy fur as each let their thoughts wander and drift towards sleep.

Long past when it seemed both should have succumbed to slumber, Chrys’ voice rose from amongst the darkness, a soft whisper meant to only just reach its intended subject. “Do you think we’ll be too late?”

A soft shudder passed through her, and she drew herself a little closer to the warm, fluffy body beside her. “I don’t know. But I fear we’ll find out sooner than we’ll like.” Her eyes still closed, she purposefully turned their thoughts away from the futures that awaited them. “I’m glad they didn’t make a fuss.”

“If they noticed at all.” The smile that played briefly over his lips was quietly bitter. “Better they believe us strange than confronted with the truth.”

She made a soft sound of agreement as she tucked her arm back into the sleeping bag, exhaling slowly as she left exhaustion take hold of her.

“Easier, at least.” Chrys finally took his eyes from the diamond-dusted black canvas sky above, rolling over and shutting the storm-filled orbs away from the rest of the world. Soon enough, he joined his twin sister in light, fitful slumber.

 

 

~T.L.~