Author: Keeper of Tomes PM
19 of the 100 Challenge. “They left her here, in the ruins of her empire, to molder and grow old with no one save her many, many ghosts.” There is no forgiveness in mercy.Rated: Fiction K - English - Supernatural/Romance - Cyclonis - Words: 838 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 09-12-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5371273
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author: Keeper of Tomes
Song: "The Girl and the Ghost," KT Tunstall, "Giving It Up For You," Holly Brook
Summary: 19 of the 100 Challenge. "They left her here, in the ruins of her empire, to molder and grow old with no one save her many, many ghosts." There is no forgiveness in mercy.
The moon is made of wax paper.
Two pairs of hands are resting calmly on the cold marble of a chess board. One is waiting, the other is anticipating, and both are playing games. Mind games, board games.
In chess, white always moves first.
Didn't you know?
When she was young and had a world to conquer, Lark Cyclonis had sat upon her throne most casually, body draped like a robe over the metal. She acted as if she belonged where she was.
A thin smile had peppered her features as she ordered her servants around.
Now she is straight-backed and quiet, face grim. There is no one to order, not anymore, no one save the darkness and the presence of all she had killed in her rash youth.
She buttons herself up close, tight, somewhat warm in the cold.
"You look like your grandmother," she's told.
Lark Cyclonis, being who she is, takes this comment as a compliment whenever she hears it spoken.
There is a perforated sky, a smooth gradient from dirty orange to filthy blue.
And sometimes the stars twinkle through the smog. Sometimes.
Gloved fingers lace themselves together, and a chair creaks stiffly as its occupant leans back.
She did not like war.
Who in their right mind can love a war?
But she did love the power.
She'll miss it when she's older. No doubt, she misses it now.
Lark Cyclonis smiles thinly and moves her piece across the board decisively.
"Black knight takes white knight."
And her companion places his finger on his chin and leans forward thoughtfully.
If she were young again, she might have grinned, smug.
As it is, she crosses her arms and calculates.
After the war and her humble return from far places, Lark had slowly grown accustomed to her fate.
Anything to keep solid, Atmosian terra beneath her feet. Anything.
Sometimes the red sky above what once was Cyclonia will dissapate, and she will see threads of glorious blue.
She cannot say she was over forgiven, but she was not persecuted either. Perhaps because they were tired of chasing. She is definitely tired of running.
They left her here, in the ruins of her empire, to molder and grow old with no one save her many, many ghosts.
She is thirty-something and feels absolutely ancient in her own skin.
The cold pieces are guided by shivering hands.
He deftly moves his king to safety.
She narrows her eyes to thin slits and sees the world through another vision.
She used to contemplate the existence of higher dimensions. Somewhere where each line is perfectly straight and the circles are exactly three-sixty, all around and everywhere.
Every night, now, she plays with him.
He'll appear in her room, quiet, and all the pieces will be arranged in perfect order, white pawns facing black.
She'll sit across from him and say hello.
Never once has she apologized for what she did. She never had to.
"How goes the alliance?"
She chooses deliberately not to answer the question, fiddling instead with the finely chiseled cross atop the king's head.
"Would you believe me," she whispers at last, "If I were to tell you it's summer in Atmosia?"
They both turn outside and look into the cold.
She returns to the board first. Slides her black queen towards him.
He does not notice her unexpected gift until later, when he wins for the first time. And when he looks up, questioning, she smiles and shrugs her bony shoulders, wondering if he wishes them bare.
"Come with me?" he asks, standing.
The moon has set.
"Not tonight," she says, and then he's gone.
She plays games now with her ghosts, with whom she has been left to rot.
The skeletal remains of her kingdom jut from the ground around her.
Miss me, do you?
"Oh, yes. So much."
Alone in an empty room, the voices often come to haunt her, and they always ask her why. Whispering, cajoling, pleading, every voice rising and swollen, growing, pounding, ceaseless.
"Go away, leave me alone… GO!"
Sometimes they'll hear her scream, sometimes they won't.
Either way, she wishes she'd taken him up on his offer.
The moon is made of paper, dirty. Streaked. Torn.
She whispers his name and there he is, right beside her, wishing her shoulders bare.
"I thought you'd call," he says, unsmiling.
On the table, the fallen black queen rolls.
tell me what do you think of me now
that i've traded all of my armor for a crown?