A Simple Life (pt1)

Emil once mentioned something about a simple life. It was funny, considering how he could never have had one. Not from being a slave, then the chosen, then immortal.

“There was a sale on apples at the market. I think there is always some sale on fruit.”

But he had mentioned something about a simple life and Coleen had thought for a moment he believed what he was saying. Not that it mattered. Whether or not he believed in what he said, whether or not he knew what he spoke of, the simple life was never something Coleen had to endure. And it would be endured as Coleen was not the type to enjoy something that simple. Not anymore. Not since the days with she and her sister and her parents… not since before Coleen was too young to understand things.

“You cleaned again. You just cleaned up yesterday.”

She had grown up just fast enough to deal with these things all on her own. She was all grown up (in her mind) by the time she had been sent away. Out of the way. Since mother died there had been no simple life.

“Honestly, you are a glutton for punishment.”

Now there were no simple memories. There could not be. Everything of her family had been a lie. Those simple days were now tainted. They had not cared as she had thought. Everything was tainted except for her sister. Except for Ami.

“Give me that.”

But even her memories of Ami were now surrounded in taint. Not her, of course, Ami was not tainted. Just everything around her. Including Coleen. Especially Coleen.

A simple life. What was it Emil had said?

Champion of the Gods (pt12)

“My next battle will not be my choice.”

“Let me remind you why it should!”

With a roar, War came at her. Shu-fang dodged to the side – perhaps one of the few people, mortal or otherwise, who could do such a thing. War still struck out to the side as she came and Shu-fang ducked down, kicking up dirt at War’s face.

There was no winning this confrontation. One never won against War. One did not win a contest of strength, one did not win a battle in cunning. She had disengage.

War would never run away, so Shu-fang would have to.

With both hands, War grabbed her. Shu-fang let her, partially because she knew she couldn’t avoid it and partially because it gave her a chance to think about what she needed to do next. War flung her down, landing on top of her. Through the pain (which she had long since become desensitized to), Shu-fang simply rolled the both of them further down a slope. If she stopped or agreed, War would drag her away as prisoner. Shu-fang supposed she could handle the years of torture that might come from that. Not torture by War, just by being around the Gods.

Yet she didn’t want to give in yet. Not yet. She had just started. There was so much time to solve this.

Flowering

Colours of the masses, splashed upon the hills
It is spring and they have come once again
Nothing will stop them (one can hope)
And all summer we watch the flowers sway in the wind
Fingers grazing petals, one can’t understand
What special life enters through the roots
As autumn falls and the colours stain
Another canvas of matching hues
When winter comes and takes it all away
Hands reaching out, one can’t understand
The time until the colours come again

A Gift for Life and Death (pt28)

Death said nothing. He did not reach out, but Forgiveness didn’t back off. They waited for him.

Finally, Death reached out one hand, palm upward, and waited. Forgiveness felt it, felt what it was that Death was trying to avoid, even if no part of their body reacted in the way that one might have expected. Forgiveness dropped flame into his hand.

Neither of them said anything. There was nothing to say, it seemed. Forgiveness looked up into Death’s face. Death did not look back, not immediately, but eventually Forgiveness could tell that Death was staring them back. Two abysses in his face, calling to them. A call Death couldn’t stop, but one that he always gave.

Forgiveness stayed put, but smiled tiredly up at him.

“Take the angel back to her, Pup,” Death said, fingers closing around the fire. “Before they get into more trouble.”

Before Forgiveness could do or say anything more, the hound picked them up by the scruff of their shirt and placed them back on his spine.

There was something they had needed to say, a word to Death about the gift, even if they had no need to explain the reason behind it. Death knew what this had been brought for, didn’t he?

The angel wondered about this. The rhythmic motion of the hound, moving along back to home. Back to Life. The warmth pressed up against their chest. They wondered what Life’s reaction would be, if she would have a word to say about it. If she would understand as quickly as Death had.

Whether or not either would then… return to acceptance.

Forgiveness, with a smile upon their face, drifted off to sleep.

Champion of the Gods (pt11)

Shu-fang kept herself calm, muscles lax.

“There will always be something to fight! You know this better than the other humans who still easily throw their lives away for that fight. You are my Champion, Shu-fang, no matter who you choose to back. You are another facet of the battle. No matter where you go, what you do, you will find yourself there once more. And so you will Champion me and present me to the world with your victories!”

Shu-fang’s eyes flickered downward against her will. The dirt was peaceful, despite War’s presence. It didn’t feel apt to rise up and attack. That was why the dead usually ended up wrapped away within it. “I’m tired,” she admitted.

What would War say to that? Might War have a word or two that would help her cope with these feelings? That could be all she needed, the ability to cope with this fatigue and move on.

War’s expression told her all, even before the goddess spoke. “There is always more! More to do, more blood to spill! Fatigue passes, but the battle rages on!”

Shu-fang brought her gaze back up. War had never been tired. She never would. There was nothing more for Shu-fang to take from this conversation. No more reason to stay here, other than the fact that War had prompted this situation. Now she had to get away from her.

Perhaps she should have lied, but Shu-fang would not.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt27)

Even the flames of the phoenix could only give Forgiveness so much energy. They really wished to sleep, nestled in that little house they had made, with Life watching them with such curiosity, as though she had never seen someone make a house before. Which was untrue, she had seen it so many times. She had helped them, with walls made out of trees, with carpets made out of moss, until Forgiveness had fixed everything to what would be good for them.

It was as though Life had learnt so much that day. Something Forgiveness was happy to teach her.

Forgiveness had stopped to rest after making some distance, when they heard the sound of the wind. It brought with it the pretend panting of the hound, who hadn’t actually broken a sweat to catch up with them. Figuratively, of course.

A low whine came from his throat. Forgiveness reached up to climb up the bones, settling themselves on to the hound’s back. They would have asked to go home, but Pup already shot off as soon as Forgiveness had gotten into the best position. They pressed down against the bone, the warmth from the flame keeping the wind at bay as they shot through the world, back to home.

Or, at least, to Death.

The angel couldn’t help but pay rapt attention when Pup slowed down, looking at the charred remains of the large building that Death was sifting through. He knocked the occasional thing aside with his scythe, not bothering to look up until hearing Pup’s whine. His head didn’t move and he didn’t stop his seemingly random behavior.

“Where have you been, angel?”

Forgiveness sat up, before Death might actually note anything about them. They didn’t know how much Death might be aware, especially with what they held on them, but they wanted to make sure it was still as much a surprise as possible. Separating part of the fire from the other piece, they placed part of it back in their shirt as they slipped down from Pup.

Death turned to them, but before an inquisition could begin, Forgiveness held out the flame to Death.