She's Like The Wind

Chosen song: "She's like the wind" by Vibekingz

She's like the wind through my tree.
She rides the night next to me.

Tal slipped into much needed sleep and found that his dreams took him back to Aenir, the place on the other side of the Veil. The place where he remembered bits and pieces of his previous life. He remembered how he had enjoyed it there during his childhood. He remembered the sun and the moon. He remembered the stars and the clouds. He remembered the trees and the flora and fauna. However, he mostly remembered the one thing he could not forget…Milla.

He remembered how she had looked the first time she had arrived in Aenir. She had looked like an angel. With the sun behind her, it looked like she had a halo. Tal remembered how she looked on Ayster's Ship too. She had such a commanding presence it was hard to speak freely around her.

She leads me through moonlight only to burn me with the sun.
She's taken my heart.

She doesn't know what she's done.

Waking with a start, Tal shot straight up knocking over quills and ink all over his desk. Cursing silently, he noticed that he had spilt ink all over his draft of the peace treaty he was writing up. All that hard work ruined all because he decided to have a fantasy of the only girl he ever thought of as anything more as a friend.

If Milla were there, she would definitely be berating him over such an irrational weakness. Although Tal never told anyone about his feelings, he was sure that he was beginning to let them slip. He couldn't keep such feelings bottled up for long. It would ruin him for sure. On several occasions, he had been caught staring at Milla on her occasional visits up to the Castle. They rarely met unless they had to work on the peace treaty but when they did, Tal became clumsier than usual. Such behaviour couldn't go unnoticed for long.

Milla had to be suspicious by now. Tal wondered if she suspected his hidden feelings for her. Surely not. She was too much an Icecarl to understand those types of feelings. Besides, if she did know of Tal's feelings, it would only be met with her usual logical and cool attitude. Tal sighed in defeat as thought up remarks she would reply with if he had confessed his feelings to her.

Pulling out a new piece of parchment, he decided to focus on the treaty. Thinking about his feelings weren't going to help him in his work. Taking a breath, he shoved his feelings back into the back of his mind.

To feel her breath on my face.
Her body close to me.
Can't look in her eyes.

When it came time to meet once more to put the final additions on the treaty, Tal could barely get by without noticing the small things about Milla that he loved. She looked more feminine now; proof that she was no longer the girl she had been. Her hair was longer but still the same beautiful ashen hue. During their stay at the Castle, most Icecarls wore fewer furs. The heat in the Castle was almost stifling to them. An issue that made the meeting worse for Tal.

Milla sat close to Tal as she recorded the treaty as Tal recited it. The selski hide armour the only thing hiding her real physique. Her stomach bare but for the weapons belt she wore. From his vantage point, Tal had a hard time controlling his wandering gaze. He struggled fiercely to keep his eyes on the parchment in front of him. He wanted to desperately to look into her eyes without seeing that look of criticism.

She's out of my league.
Just a fool to believe I have anything she needs.
She's like the wind.

The meeting went well enough without too many blunders. Yet Tal just couldn't help but fall into yet another strop of depression as the truth hit him as he tried to sleep that night. She was the War Chief the chosen beacon to her people. She was someone that was out of his league. How could he even think of having a relationship with her?

He knew that she loved her people beyond herself. He knew that she was for Icecarls only. Milla was untouchable from the likes of him. Tal's view of a man was also skewed as he realised that Icecarl women were more like providers in their culture. They got what they needed without help. If Tal could not give anything to Milla, what use to her was he?

All he had was his love and fidelity. What was that to an Icecarl? Icecarl's were creatures of practicality and didn't concern themselves with anything unless they deemed it necessary to prolong their life. In short, Tal was nothing more than an ambassador for his people. A fact that kept the peace between their people and sadly the only real connection they shared. Tal tossed under his bed sheets, scrunching them up repeatedly until he was entangled in them. He sighed as consoled himself over another sleepless night.

I look in the mirror and all I see is a young old man with only a dream.
Am I just fooling myself?
That she'll stop the pain.
Living without her…I'd go insane.

Splashing cold water on his face, Tal looked at his reflection in the rippling surface on his washbasin. He had deep bags under his eyes. The dark shadow of a looming beard grew. Barely visible lines of silver hair were standing out to him. A sure sign of his stress and fatigue. How could one woman do this to him?

He was the Emperor for Light's sake! He had a responsibility to his people! How could he serve them if he was hung up over something as trivial as his feelings? It had to stop. He wasn't the young and naïve child anymore. He couldn't trust to hope like a foolish dreamer. No…it had to end. His health was a necessary requirement for his job.

Taking one more look at himself in the washbasin. Tal realised he was tearing and gripping the bowl. His knuckles were white. Sighing in frustration he violently knocked the bowl aside in a sudden rage. Water splattered everywhere. The golden bowl clattered loudly to the ground on the far side of the room. The sound echoing around his huge bedchamber. It was nothing compared to the rage deafening him and growing deep from within the pit of his stomach.

Even without her presence. She tortured him endlessly. What did he have to do to stop the pain and frustration of unrequited love? Was it as simple as confessing and hearing her rejection? At least that way he could be clear on where she stood. If he did confess would he be free of his debilitating expectations?

Can't look in her eyes. To feel her breath on my face.
Her body close to me.

She's out of my league.
Just a fool to believe I have anything she needs.

Sliding back under his covers, Tal tried to sleep at the same time he tried to think of ways to tell Milla his feelings. That night was going to be his last restless night. He had to think of a way to free himself from her hold. Tal thought of ways he could tell her. He knew it had to be in a place where it was significant to both of them. The setting had to be right. It couldn't just be anywhere.

If he was to confess, he needed to be confident too. There was nothing worse than stumbling through a profession of love. He mentally noted to practice what he would say and how he would say it. The next day he held off his engagements just to practice his speech. Milla was scheduled to meet him in a few hours and he needed to be sure that he could tell her in the best way possible and that had to be without error.

Tal looked into the full-length mirror and stared directly at it. He tried to picture her and was cautious to protect himself from her bewitching charms. He spoke to his reflection as if he was speaking to her. He could almost picture her image so it was easy enough to avoid eye contact with places his eyes would normally wander. As his lips moved, he couldn't help but think of the way she graced the air about her with her commanding presence.

She's like the wind.

Focused on her features, the words just spilled forth from him. He didn't know what he had said by the end of the session. He cursed as he realised that he had not recorded anything down! Checking his sunstone for the time he cursed again as he realised he had used up his time already. Quickly jotting down a quick message, Tal wrote down instructions to meet him in the throne room. Calling for a messenger, Tal sent the messenger to the Icecarl Embassy where she was staying hoping she would get his message.

Rushing to the Throne Room, Tal sat in the throne and waited for her. Anxiety ate at him as the minutes ticked away. He started to pace nervously as he checked himself for the tenth time when Milla waltzed into the room.

"Tal? Why have you summoned me here?" Milla asked in a suspicious tone.

"Forgive me for the last minute changes but I have something to say to you and it's of a sensitive nature. I wanted to make sure we were alone," Tal said gesturing for Milla to take a seat on the throne.

"That's your seat. I cannot sit there," she bluntly pointed out.

"It's just a chair Milla. Just sit there please…" Tal pleaded.

"I will stand," Milla replied ignoring his request.

She's like the wind…

"Fine…" Tal said running a hand through his hair.

After a few uncomfortable moments of silence Milla probed.

"Just say what you have to say Tal," she said.

Just a fool to believe…

"Milla I know you've noticed how clumsy I've been the past few days. I would say that I haven't been myself but the truth is much more troublesome," Tal started.

"I have noticed that you look like you have lost sleep," Milla said.

"I've had restless nights and all because I have a not been true to myself," Tal continued.

"What could you have possibly done to feel guilty enough to lose rest?" Milla asked suddenly concerned.

"It's nothing dangerous…you can relax," Tal said noticing her masked panic.

"Then what is it Tal? Just say it. We are wasting time," Milla said masking her irritation.

Tal frowned slightly as he tried to form the next words delicately. When he couldn't he just braced himself and spoke freely.

"Milla I've lost sleep and I've made a fool of myself because of the feelings that I feel towards you," Tal said moving closer to her and taking her hands in his.

Milla stood placidly but Tal could see that she was uncomfortable with how close he was. She didn't flinch which was a good sign.

"What are you trying to say Tal?" Milla asked not masking her confusion well.

"I love you. I've thought that it was just a fleeting attraction but when I'm not near you, I think of you. When I am near you, I can't concentrate on anything else," Tal said taking her hand and kissing it.

He could no longer hold back.

"Tal you can't…love me," she said weakly as she took her hand away and for the first time since he knew her she looked away.

She's like the wind…

Tal sighed and nodded feeling that familiar feeling of reality hit him. His mind flew towards those reasons of why they could not be together. They passed through him reopening closed wounds.

"I know…I can't love you for so many reasons. I called you here today to end these feelings of mine. Just look at me and tell me truthfully that you don't love me and I'll be rid of your invisible hold on me…" Tal said.

Milla stiffened as Tal held her shoulders and held her at arms length as he stared deep into her eyes awaiting a cold answer that would free him of his bondage to her. What he got was a complete surprise.

Just a fool to believe…

"Tal I can't say what you want me to say. I can't say it truthfully…I can only tell you that we cannot be together," she said completely surprising Tal.

Tal released his grip on her and turned away in frustration and astonishment. How could she be saying these things? She was supposed to be rejecting him! She was supposed to hurt him by telling him that he was foolish to feel for her in such a way. Instead she was giving him more hope. The very thing he had grown to despise in the last few days.

He turned and took her hands in his. He fell to his knees before her and kissed her hands.

"Then tell me one more thing Milla. Tell me what to do. Please I can't go on like this…" he pleaded.

Milla was at a loss of words and her face was no longer expressionless. Tal saw the same confusion, frustration, and sadness he was feeling, fleeting across her beautiful face. Milla stood in silence as she looked down at Tal's sad and pleading eyes. Tears welled up at the corners of his eyes as he continued to look to her for an answer. The same tears fell down from her to join his as she bent to place a kiss on his lips.

"You suffer much for something that can never be. For that I am partly responsible. I am sorry but I cannot be selfish to my people. I may be War Chief but I am also human. I have wants and needs too. What we want we cannot have but when we find time to be alone, we must look to our needs," Milla said cupping Tal's face in her hands.

"What are you saying?" Tal asked as his voice cracked.

"Be at your chambers tonight when your work is done. I will be there waiting," she said placing another gentle kiss on his lips before leaving.

Just a fool to believe…She's like the wind…

That night Tal and Milla cured themselves of that hateful yearning. That night they let their eyes and hands wonder where they wished without reserve as they became one. Melting into one another repeatedly, knowing nothing but each other's love. When they slipped into blissful sleep, Tal felt his spirit and body reviving back to health.

When he awoke she was gone. Tal knew that she would be for she was like the wind. She came and went as she pleased. She was untameable and untouchable just like the wind. However, occasionally the wind would linger and enthral itself with its surroundings before it went away again. This was a fact that Tal found comforting.

"She's like the wind…" he thought as he slipped off to dreams of her.