[personal profile] quechian
I was lying on my back hearing sounds of battle all around. My eyes fluttered, and I took a moment to adjust, as if my vision were coming clear. Directly above me was a huge beast with its belly over me, birdlike legs around me, and it was chomping on something. I remembered that it was the creature my former me generated from herself (myself?), Meenakeekath. All around, there were struggles of combat. On either side of me were two blades, that were obviously mine. My guess is that I was knocked on my back, and Meenatkeekath may have knocked me over to protect me. Former me, that is. There were a lot of animal noises, like bears or lions or other kinds of beasts battling, even though I could see mostly Kafke and some human forms. And I heard my name being shouted. It was Orashura, calling desperately. I could see that the figures Meenakekath had been fighting dropped, and it was a figure that was kafke but fused with a bear, so it seemed that we were fighting spiritualists who'd fused spirits with animals. I could see the orange and black livery of my army around me, and I knew it was mine; I was the general.

I shouted back to Orashura, hear calling back, but can't hear her words. It seemed to be an area that used to be forested, though now trampled by the battle. I decided to sit up (I couldn't stand and stay under Meenakekath, which was by far the best option). I wanted to move towards Orashura, with Meenakekath to move with me for protection. I tried to think at her, knowing she's of my blood, to tell her what I wanted. There was a pulse that came back at me, and was repulsed, then Meenakekath shriek in pain. She may be of my former-self's blood, but she's not exactly of mine, not in the same way, being a creature of savage war. Touching her likely wouldn't be a good idea either. So I shouted to Meenakekath, saying "Menakekath, moving to Orashura". And Meenakekath lifted herself up, turned, and headed off in a direction. I followed, keeping undernearth, crossing over bodies, mine and theirs.

I could see flying shapes dropping beings down below. When I saw this, a weird thing happened in my heart, with a rush of pleasure, and it's weird, but seems familiar.

On my right as we advanced, one of my soldiers put a hand on Meenakeekath, peering down as if to say something, then paused, not seeing who he'd expected. I told him that I was moving towards Orashura, trying to project calm authority, despite my lack of right-self. He seemed confused, then backed off. The rest of my forces were turning in the same direction as Meenakethath, starting to spearhead out. I hadn't heard her for a few moments, so I called to her. Meenakekath hit the line of battle, and I could feel the magic of savage war, with many warriors' blood seeping across their skin, but not bleeding, making them more invigorated.

In my mind, it didn't go this way. I remembered being knocked off, Meenakekath coming on top of me, then recovering, getting back on, and heading off. But I also remembered me, the now-me, here, as now, and neither option seemed more real than the other; both are true.

The line broke, I moved forward, and my heart tightened because I remembered what's already happened. Everything is real. It wasn't exactly the same, with different people here at this point, but still, the same enough.

Meenakekath surged forward, I went forward, and Orashura's here, grievously injured, all over, but not bleeding out from her wounds, which seem to be dry cuts. She recognized me, the me who is here, saying that I was back. I said yes, but I didn't know how. I asked if she was all right (it was clear she wasn't but what else to ask?), and she said that she'd burned all her blood. Which is when I remembered that we could use the blood to let loose, one's own or of others, to burn it, to use in battle, or even to heal. But she'd used all of that, and all of her blood was gone.

I thought about using my healing blessing on her, but I remembered that she died. I went on to finish the battle, to win. I had achieved my victory battle, but lost my love. I'd taken my final name from this battle, coming from her death, right now. But I also remembered that I came here as healer-me, and saved her. But that meant remembering forward, which is unusual, when not having visions, which this doesn't feel quite the same as, even though there's a similar sense of doing. If I healed her, then likely I wouldn't go into the woods, and wouldn't become the current-me, so wouldn't be with the rest of us in Wanderhold. But it is who I am now, to heal people. I didn't know what to do, with the paradox loops and odd memories.

So I thought to the Healer, asking for help. And then everything seemed to go still, as if into shadow, so only outlines of what was once there were visible. Which is not the usual battlefield way, naturally. The only thing that still had color was a lean, nude woman crouching down near me, with long beautiful hair and large turquoise eyes. She was smiling.

We exchanged greetings, and I asked who she was. She said that since I'd reached out for help, she figured she'd help. And how would she help? She said I was confused, and since we're friends or will be friends, she figured we could talk, and figure things out. And since she liked me or will like me, she wanted me to survive, and wanted to help. And I realized from how she talked that this was Murr. I said I understood, and she smiled. Still, I was confused about my options. She said that there's lots of options, and some usually happen, and some usually don't. But they all happen. Though it might matter to me which one happened now. When she comes up, she can only be in a particular way for that particular time, but then she loses tune with that time, which is why she meanders so.

She told me she'd like me to succeed, but given how we'd talked about her possible motives, I asked in which way she'd like me to succeed. She thinks that she's found the line that leads to her being sure, which I think is our line. I asked about loops, like the conundrum in which I'd found myself, and she said it doesn't really matter. I could make a choice that makes me a slightly different me. as a consequence of my choice. She said that I couldn't make a choice that would make me not be, just a choice that would make me different, somewhere else. and she asked about remembering what happened the first time, which I did, and then she asked if I remember this current time, and I thought, and now I did, with a sense of deja vu, this third layer of memory. I said I was concerned that I make it back to the group I left, and she said I need to follow the path that leads back to them. She asked my goal, and I said it was to get back to those in the party, get to the edge, and then I went vague, not sure what she wanted once we get there, but not wanting it too clear, in case she wanted something else.

She said she knew why she likes me. I asked why, and she said that I have a thread that is near hers through many many times, spiraling near her, and she liked that. So as much as she can, she tries to keep me from spiraling away. She used to think she'd lost me, but she could back up to a place where that didn't happen, or won't happen, or doesn't happen much. And she remembered me getting to understand. She hoped that the friend that is her in our party makes it right this time. I hope so too.

I tried thinking of the different paths, to see which seemed right. She laughed, says it wasn't in there, in the head. I looked, and everything still seemed prismatic. She said, no not that way; just let it go, let everything go, and let it happen. T made me think of rainbows taking over, which I was leery of, and possibly too nervous about, but it could be a trick. I asked her how I could do one or the other if I let it all go. She said that it was like when she's lost a word, and later it jumps up out of her memory. She suggested I just let it be, and whatever should happen will jump to my mouth, as it were. And she smiled.

She said that I was trying to find a path, a particular path I wanted. She could help, but I was going to need to learn. And I said I wanted to learn, asking where we were now. She described it as shadows, just below, but it was not Jack's shadow realm, which she said was a pool, as the Allwood and the Allstone are pools too, not large ones, though they seem large to me. This was the shadows just below, and we couldn't be too much farther below or we couldn't see what was happening.

I asked if she remembered her first time, and she did - it was complicated, and she got help.

She said that she wanted to see Thymelisen, and there's not a long time for that to happen, for him to see this her. She can't always be where she wants to be. She sent Yallow, but he doesn't always follow orders, and she warned that Thymelixsen might not be able to handle Yallow, not knowing enough about him, and asked me to pass on the message, which I agreed to do.

She got closer, and told me that what I needed to do was not think hard about the different paths, because the noisy paths will be loud, but if I didn't think about it, what I needed to do would become clear. If I changed something substantially, I wouldn't go back to where i came from.

I asked her if she knew why I always seem to come back to this, while the others swap with other selves, not previous selves. And she said that it was because it rings so hard, that I let it draw me back. It's part of my design, to forget, but this still troubled me. Death also cleans, but she said that's not the way of your people. Which startled me. "Ever?" She said she saw no sign of it in my design. (Which is also interesting, because, at least in the me that I'm current with, it's part of her design too, but that him has changed to her and human, so who knows.)

She looked around, and told me that I had to pay attention; voices carry down here. There are those who could come and eat me up: others who can come here, and things that live here, strange, machine-like things, that might be coming to clean us up, since we're not supposed to be here. Or that's how she thinks of it.

I tried to tell her how hard it was to clear my mind: 'it's very hard not to think of pink dolo'. She told me to clear my mind, and just remember which way took me home. I tried to relax and think about being home, then try relaxing again, not fantasizing of being home. Then there was a teasing sense of being home. She touched my shoulder, telling me I was getting it.

And then color and sound and presence surged back. And I have to let her die, to get back home. And I'm holding her, wishing I could say the right things, but knowing that I'd likely just say something wrong, which I don't want at all. "Oh, my dear" was all I could manage, holding her tightly, looking straight into her eyes. I didn't want to say anything that would be too much not like her Quechian, I just wanted to hold her and look at her. And she looked at me. And I saw when she died, and her spirit leaked out. And she's gone.

And then I was back in Wanderhold, all tied up, and very very sad.

Apparently former-me showed up in battle form, desperate to get back to the battle, and there had been blood all over, but all that went back with her. She went back too late, and that grieved me. (Though I also noticed that I hadn't moved as far in the room as I had in the battle, unlike when others have moved in space in other layers.)

Two people came into the room. One had a rod, and one had a footed staff. May told them that the possibility had gone away. They came over and did some test, to see if things had stabilized or there was a permanent tear. They checked all around, pointing the rod at me, then Thymelixsen, then the others. The other one touched the post. They said there was no permanent damage, but did suggest working on stabilizing. He said that Thymelixsen and I were more likely to fall out, and would have a harder time staying local. They left the post in the room to help stabilize things, and told us that most buildings have shelters, if we felt like we needed more stability (the shelters we'd gone to during the possibility storm). He said that if the post stopped making the lights it was making, we should let someone know. And then they left.

I saw that Cor was out of the blue bands, and asked about him getting back in. He did it himself, by thinking about it.

I told the others about the battle, and how Murr had come, and the message for Thymelixsen about meeting and about Yallow. Thymelixsen said that Murr wants to help us get to the edge. Cor was more leery of her, saying that anyone who comes for just one of us we should be particularly careful of. He's not convinced that she has our best interest at heart, particularly, other than what she wants. I told him she seemed quite helpful this time, but he's not impressed.

We went back to sleep, with Cor on watch, and in the morning, had breakfast and noticed when more gulwarn appeared. The entity specialist arrived when it was still blue, and Cor found out that he'd likely be back to himself sufficiently if he sleeps in the blue bands for one more night, or he might get back after four days without the bands. Cor would much rather use the bands one more night and be sure, and I agreed. Thymelixsen thought that we should get moving, going to the Edge Hammers for evaluation, then on to the Ults. But Jack still has more he wants to learn at his temple, Cor and I want to go back to our temple, Thymelixsen wants to learn more. And we can't stay at the temple after the Edge Hammers have examined us.

There started to be a big conversation between Jack and Thymelixsen about whether we should stay another night (especially since we'd sent a message saying we'd be ready to go to the Edge Hammers today, and didn't want to seem too rude by changing our minds to add a day), and I realized they could go round and round about it for ages, so I suggested to Cor that we go to the temple, since it would only take transit time there and back, and at least we'd get something useful done. So we did.



September 2010

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