Body

This poem is mine. If you like it, you’re welcome to share it, as long as you acknowledge it as mine.

Your body is a poem
A storm in a foreign language,
A tangle of tongues,
Swift sibilant heat,
Your body is a poem
A strong line that holds mine
Generous in nature,
Fearless courage
That brings the walls down.
Your body is a poem
That tumbles me thoughtless,
Breathless,
Crashing into wordless wonder.
Your body is a poem
To shatter minds
And make the heart to beat.
You speak the song
Of my own.

K. Christmas

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Glamourie

The first time I saw him with pixie wings, he was looking over his shoulder at them, irritable and swearing – "… Fucking faerie!" A year later, and I still don’t know how that sentence started. The two wings are long – fully two-thirds his body height, and thin, each only about two hands wide at the widest point, oval-shaped, almost like a wasp’s wings, but with more veins, like a cicada or a dragonfly, and are black, like his hair and his claws. Black with red highlights, the opposite of his skin.  He was… a little upset. He took it as absolute proof he wasn’t himself, anymore, not the person he’d been for more than 6000 years. 
My wings are whatever I choose them to be. In this, I am truly fae. I might even choose them to not be at all. Desire’s wings are not like mine, for all that we share power and essence. Incubi have wings of their own, large as angel wings, but more like bat wings or dragon wings, but when we blended, I wasn’t the only one who changed. He gained faerie, and his wings changed shape, but unlike mine, they never shift. Mine might be feathered like an angel, or fuzzy like a moth or butterfly. They might be veined, iridescent and transparent, like a cicada or a dragonfly, a wasp or a bee. His are always as they are. 

I taught him how to use glamour to hide the alteration, though once I’d given him the basics, he took some time to study with the purely fae as well. I’m not even sure, now, why I thought that because of the wings, he’d be able to use glamour at all, but I was glad to be right, given how upset about the wings he’d been. 

The proof of his perfected skills at glamour was not actually that I could not see his wings. Instead, it lay cupped in his hands, held out for my inspection now. A ball of golden light, shifting, shifting, until it settled to became a flower. It was so real that, for an instant, even I was fooled. A daffodil, for chivalry, until it shifted again – now a forget-me-not, a reminder to remember him always; and then a peony – a wish for healing, whether for him or me I could not yet say. And then finally a white rose for purity that shifted to blue, a color that has no meaning on Earth. I think he chose that color because blue is my favorite color. He never took his eyes off my face, never once looked at what lay in his hands as it flickered from shape to shape, color to color, flower to flower, each one perfect in mimicry from the stamens out, beautiful works of art offered to me, though should I touch them they would vanish. I kept my hands behind my back, until he spoke. "Does it not please you?" I had thought he was only displaying the skill, not offering a gift.

"Oh, Desire, it’s beautiful… but if I take it, it will vanish. Your finest work." 

He smiled. "Try, and see." I knew that impish look. He was pleased about something, excited about the gift, I assumed. It made me a little bit excited, too. His first smile in over a month. I had a nightmare, one of many, and the next day, he was gone. Now he was back, and something had changed. He was less intense, less dour, less about security and more about fun. It was new, and I wasn’t sure I trusted it. 

But you can’t win if you won’t play. I wanted to know what was different, so I reached out, and let him place the now-golden rose into my waiting hands. As I expected, it flickered, and blinked, and vanished. But in its place came a weight, and when I looked closer, it resolved into a heavy gold ring, covered with thick, dark red lines. I blanched. He’d given me a ring covered in blood. A ring I knew. 

"Desire, what have you done?" I prayed, silently, for a moment, forgetting that he would hear my thoughts. Please, Goddess, let this not mean war. 

"I took his other arm. For your dreams, I took his other arm. I challenged him to single combat, before the others, and took his arm by right of conquest. I took his ring so that you would know peace." 

Slowly, I looked up into his face. I stared at those uncanny eyes, and the expression was one of need. He needed me to be safe, and he needed my approval. I’m not sure why someone as old as he is needs such surety from me, but he loves me, and that I see these actions as a form of his devotion is important to him. He needed my dreams, the nightmares of that beating, to stop… so he went and took the weapon that created them away from the entity that owned it. But he made sure that I knew, having heard my prayer when I recognized the ring, that we had nothing to fear. Single combat. No reprisals. I sighed in relief, and closed my fist around the ring. 

"Let me show you a new trick." I smiled up at him. "Put your hand over mine, and feel what I do now," I said, and when he had done so, with that careful, listening look on his face as he payed sharp attention to what I would do, I called the power, and altered the dimensions of the ring, shrinking it until it fit the finger he chose. When it was the right size, I let him take it from my hand, and slip it, smiling, onto the index finger of my left hand.

Yeah. We’re silly like that.

The Science of Truth and Lies

We all know that truth is stranger than fiction. We know this, but we seldom believe it. When I tell you the truth, your first reaction will be "Oh, you poor, sad, deranged little girl," because it’s easier to say that I’m unhinged than it is to believe me. So when I say to you, "I’m sorry. I blended my essence with that which is not me, and now I am different than I was;" in fact when I say to you "This attraction you feel, it came on suddenly, and now you explore passion with me, because I am ubi, not because I am Kat;" you think, it’s a nice allegory, a pretty piece of fiction. A way for me to say, "You’re not really attracted to me," because I have low self-esteem. 

And if it helps you to do so, I would let you. I truly would. Because I know people have desired me before, and will again. Before February of last year, people desired me, even if I didn’t notice. But I have to ask… if you still desire me, has anything about that desire changed? And if you didn’t desire me… do you now? And is it because I am, even if not strictly, partially Ubi?

I would let you believe the lie. I would love to – because I fear the hate that truth can bring. Except for one thing. 

I promised myself, when I blended my essences with my guide, the Incubus named Desire, that I would not eat my friends. Being fed on is, by design, addictive… and with limited food-sources, it can be deadly. So, I feed in the Astral, and I never feed on the same person twice in the same week. 

I made a promise, and I thought that I had kept it… 

Until the day I realized the hunger had made a liar out of me. 

He’s a friend. And he’s lonely. And when he shared the things he was most passionate about, I didn’t always understand, but I accepted them, because he is my friend. 

And for almost exactly one year, things have been different. It seems he needs me more now than before… even he admits his feelings are different. February 16, 2010. That’s when I changed. And the next time he and I contacted each other, so did we. 

A month ago, I finally felt it. I realized what was happening. I realized the broken promise. 

I admit… I felt horribly guilty, and afraid. I wanted to tell him – but I was sure he would think I was nuts, and reject me. I tried hints, but they were too subtle. I told him again and again that he was sharing his passions with me, that I was drinking in his desires… but I can be a very poetic person, and he took my words as metaphorical. 

Finally, today, I said it – I got it off my chest… I wrote him a poem, first – a last ditch effort to explain… 

Passion is food and drink –
the finest wine –
it falls into the well of my hunger,
it soothes that emptiness…
desire,
made into the strongest shield
which I hold dearest to my heart,
for it is my survival. 

And then I told him what it meant, that it was pure truth. But I also told him when the difference happened, and how I felt, when I realized a month ago that I was feeding on him – how I was afraid to tell him, afraid to be hurt. I told him everything. 

His reply? "Again, I submit, blissfully." 

And you know what? It didn’t matter that my friend had become an addict. I don’t think of it that way. I think of it as my gift to him, because when he’s sharing his passions with me, the things he desires, he feels less lonely, less alone – he feels wanted, needed, desired, accepted, and all those things are true.

My hunger broke my promises, made me a liar. 

And I don’t regret it one bit. 

But tell me, dear reader…. 

Are we different now, too?

Dinner (by Starlight) is Served

I paced the room, as I always do, like some kind of caged animal… back and forth, back and forth. I’ll look out the window, walk away, only to return and look again, as if I expect anything to be different. This time, I look out with a flash of victory – for the first time in over a month, there are stars. Hundreds. Thousands. Countless stars. Dinner is served. 

I may look human, but I’ve never been one – not truly. I wear a human suit, here, but my soul is of different make, and the blending of many kinds means the existence of many hungers. But, as you have said about yourself many times, I am not strictly Ubi. Or Fae. Or anything else… and because of this, my hungers are many – I did not lose the Fae hungers when I gained the Ubi, and I must feed both to survive, so I hunt in Astral for food that calls to both the unseelie and the carnal lusts, but I also feed here.

What exactly do I eat? A nibble of some causal shared lust here and there, offered up by a kind friend, and then the stars, and if I cannot reach them, the storm, the trees, the grasses. That part of me that hungers for the freedom of the night, the freedom of the sky, cannot be fed by any other way – only starlight can fill that particular empty space within me. Humans cannot fill it, nor animals – it is a thing of wild open spaces, vast reaches, solar and lunar emanations, and humans are none of those things anymore. That, and to the Fae, even the unseelie, humans taste disgusting – even when the Ubi lusts call for it, the Fae in me searches for better, and humans are, from that perspective, nothing better than junk food – that which one eats to still the hunger for a moment, but not a true feed unless the gift of a meal is offered freely with knowledge. 

Sometimes, the hungers become confused… the unseelie passions rule my lustful hunger, so that the more dangerous the prey, the more I want to fuck it – but I cannot feed the Fae hunger by such means.

When I saw the stars, I immediately began to gather up my coat, to dig out my shoes from the suitcase, to prepare to go out and feed. Of course, it wasn’t quite that simple, because I had begun to go through a classic human experience… my shell had come down with a cold. Of course, my healers were working on it, but while they can lessen the symptoms, and effect a cure in a couple of days, there are certain things that… make their job… difficult.

Such as taking a long walk under the stars when it’s 4 degrees outside.

“You realize this will slow down the healing, that this is a mistake?” came the flash of red and black… always so quick to point out when I’m about to do something… foolish.

“Desire,” I sigh, “if not tonight, then WHEN? We haven’t seen stars in a month, and tomorrow the clouds will be back, and I will still be starving. I need to feed.” Wisely, the voice was silent, and I finished my preparations, and decamped from the house in short order.

There is a price to going so long without feeding, even when it’s because there’s no other choice. Thus, it wasn’t until I was nearly to the road, fully 5 acres away from my parent’s house, that I was able to finally feed. I had to get far enough away from all the metal – when you’re as low on energy as I am, even in a human shell, your resistance to cold iron, to the metals of man, becomes significantly less, until it interferes with even the natural functions like feeding… having to walk so long in the cold was going to come back to bite me in the ass, later, but for now, I walked under the stars, until finally, that part of me that fed on starlight released, opened, relaxed, and from one moment to the next, filled – like gravity, like grounding, the energy from starlight simply filled me, the moment I unclenched that starving hole within me. I took time to revel in the feeling of the night, sharing that appreciation with the elements that fed me as a form of thanks, and finally, I turned and walked back towards the house.

The glittering snow, the glittering stars, my glittering eyes… all at peace, all full and happy, that trapped, caged, pacing part of me calmed… for a while.

It was totally worth it… Even if, the next day, I woke without a voice, for my pains.

Crew

 Sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in the crew of characters I work with, so I’ve decided to make a list, in the hopes of lessening the confusion. 

Gods (in order of importance): Themis, Hades, Quetzalcoatl (sporadic), Dian Cecht (sporadic)
Guides: Karl, Marie, Nathaniel 
Guardians: Desire, Gabriel (sporadic), The Wicked Truth (sporadic), Michael (sporadic) 
Healers: Marcus, Bryan, Mike, Guage (temporary)
Pet: James the Brand

  • Quetzal guards portals in my house and my Hall, so could be considered a guardian. 
  • Karl helps me in dealing with the dead, especially crossovers.
  • Marie is a Librarian and co-worker who deals in information.
  • Nathaniel is my own Librarian – he is in charge of my own Book of Lives. 
  • Gabriel was a personal protector for a time when I was carrying messages that needed to be protected. He is currently assigned elsewhere, but we have an option to rehire at any time. 
  • Wicked and Truth technically belong to another practitioner, but They’re not always needed there, so we tend to trade back and forth.
  • Michael has been my Family’s guardian for a very long time, and as such occasionally pops in to let me know when something I need to deal with is going to happen but my precognitive Gift hasn’t been triggered. Such visits are at His discretion, not mine.  
  • Marcus is the lead healer, and Mike’s teacher. He’s actually only been on my crew for about a year or so, and was hired during an emergency. He did so well, and fit in with the rest of the crew so seamlessly, we chose to keep him on. 
  • Bryan is actually a deceased blood-relative who was a doctor IRL, went to school after death to learn more about astral medicine, and came back to work with me in that capacity. He’s been with me for many years.
  • Mike is an apprentice – in other words, he’s still in school – we’re his Practical Experience Job. 
  • Guage is a specialist we hired for a temporary job. We probably won’t work with her for more than a couple of years IRL time. 
  • If you’ve been following my blog, you know about James. I still find it hard to deal with him – the majority of my problem with him has actually been fixed, and he’s finding a place of strength in my Household, but still not with me. My healers are working on that. 

Please note that these names are not necessarily True names, but simply the… nicknames that my crew go by. I’ve never asked about True names – while I don’t believe that True names give over power, I do feel that it’s rude to ask for them or share them, especially without permission. Nicknames I have permission to share, True names I do not.

Marry

Ancient alchemical term meaning (among other things not listed, being not pertinent):

Nautical To join (two ropes) end to end by interweaving their strands.
To unite in a close, usually permanent way.
To combine or blend agreeably.
To combine, connect, or join so as to make more efficient, attractive, or profitable.

There’s a blog in here that discusses this, but doesn’t go into depth about it. I thought I’d take the time to clear things up. 
This would be that blog.  I suggest you read the comments, because that’s where I discuss that blending. I also recommend that you read the two previous blogs and their comments, and possibly the blog posted directly after it. If you want to know. You’ve probably already read them, though, so you don’t really have to bother if you don’t feel like it.

First point to clear up – the goal of marriage is to literally take two people and make them one entity – one heart, one mind, one soul – the only thing this little bit of magick doesn’t do is to take two bodies and make them one. The reason the ancients were so into controlling sexual reproduction was because they truly believed, as people these days practicing Western sex magick or Eastern Tantra believe, that sex united body and soul, heart and mind; that the only path to God was through the body of a woman during sex; and that sex with too many partners fractured the soul. It was best to only have one partner, and that partner be the one you would want to be bonded to in such a way for the rest of your lives. 

I do believe that sex creates a kind of bond that is extremely difficult to excise, though not quite as strong a bond as the ancients thought it to be. I also believe that marriage, when done right, may do exactly what the ancients intended… and I honestly have enough people from my past lives, and this present one, that I am bonded to in strange ways. I have no desire to bond myself to another person, marry our souls and make ourselves one being with two bodies, ever. I find the idea personally repugnant, though I can see that it works well for twin-souls and other forms of married partnerships. For myself, I prefer loose relationships that allow me to have my spiritual freedom. If marriage ever becomes a question in my life, which I highly doubt, you can rest assured I will be extremely picky. I have grown up, somewhat, in this respect – or perhaps just become more cynical.

Blending myself with someone else’s essence is not something to be undertaken lightly, and if there’s something about you that I see as unpleasant or I cannot stand, it’s not going to happen – with three exceptions, I have held to this belief my whole life. Those three were my first husband, who was threatening the life of my best friend unless I married him; my second husband, because I was pregnant with his son and wanted the child to be born honorably, no matter the way he was created; and Desire, with whom I bonded for several reasons, but truly without thought for what it might mean later.

Weirdly, I do actually believe in marriage for life. I don’t believe that divorce could be an option unless there is abuse or some other action that completely destroys trust forever, such as cheating. Barring those events, there’s no trouble that a true partnership cannot overcome together. If I ever found someone that matched me well enough that I would not be adverse to blending essences with them, and if Desire, the entity I have already blended with had no objections, it’s possible that marriage would be an option. Of course, it wouldn’t happen at all unless everyone knew the score about my spiritual life, and found it all acceptable – I’ve already been told by one lover that my relationships with Gabe, Truth, and Desire during our affiliation was a form of cheating. However, my current feelings about marriage are along the lines of finding something on the bottom of my shoe and feeling rather irritated that that nastiness now has to be cleaned off, Desire notwithstanding. 

I am finding the blending with Desire to be… what a blending should be, and seldom is, and I consider myself truly fortunate in him. It may be that this will be the only marriage I enter into this life. I am not unhappy with this possibility. 

Screwball

Note To Self – 
Do not ask the drug addict to help you sort out your mess.
Do not ask to tell him the crazy you discovered because of him.
Do not try to show him the rabbit-hole of the last year and a half.
Do not expect, or even hope to get, an outside opinion on the veracity of your life, or attempt to get various people in your head to talk to him. 
He will be too high to follow this sentence from beginning to end.
He will pick a fight.
He will be a dick and a jackass, 
And tomorrow he won’t remember any of it. 

I know Desire is real… But the rest is up for grabs. 
Will someone corporeal please tell me I’m not nuts? Will you offer me proof?

The Beginning

He looked at me, a little nervous. I can always tell when he’s starting to freak out, because his skin gets black highlights on it. I sigh, because I know we don’t have to have this discussion YET AGAIN, but it’s going to happen. I try to keep him happy, usually, but this is too important, so I’m left with letting him twitch, replaying verbal discussions he knows he won’t win because I’ve seen them all before he’s even thought of them.

"Are you SURE this is necessary?"

"She needs to know. What better way than to show her? She has to be given the CHOICE. As much of one as the two of us ever get. It’s that simple, and I’m going. This is too important. And she won’t cope with it without someone to sit with her."

"Why are you chosing me? You don’t trust me."

"In this, I do. Leave the personal shit alone." 

"No. If you want this, you will talk about it NOW. Or I will not go."

"There isn’t time, Desire. Look. I promise when I bring you back, I will talk about my trust issues, but I’m not discussing it now. I would rather not discuss it at all, because if I’m not your foodsource, then someone else is – and either answer is going to upset me, in different ways, and I’d really rather not talk about any of it until I know how I’m going to react other than to just squelch it all down. And any answer you give me changes nothing at all, so why even go there? Are you going to help me, or do I have to leave her there alone? You know she can’t help but touch things… and that far back, we might end up with no Jupiter… or something even worse. Someone has to babysit her and keep her occupied so she doesn’t go stircrazy."

"And you’re choosing me, and not Gabe. For what reason?"

"I trust you to keep her safe, and I know you have a healthy respect for her. Gabe would set her teeth on edge and get her actively trying to screw things up, if only to piss him off. Sooner or later, they’d end up fighting… and by the time they were done, we’d be down a universe. I need you. You, she at least understands and sometimes likes."

He frowned, but behind the expression, I could see him thinking it through. It didn’t take long. "Fine. But when we come back, you will have this talk. No more avoiding me."

I heaved a sigh. "Fine. Let’s go."

****

The landing was a little awkward. I’m not used to shifting more than myself, and we were moving through dimensions, through time, and through space, which is fun in a lab, but gave me an odd frission of fear when I realized that if I miscalculated, Desire would be at risk. We stepped back into normal space inside her atrium. While he considered the roses climbing on the back wall, I strode off towards the private areas – the roses were new, but I was too intent to admire the changes.

I took a moment to look forward, searching for her – in her own place, I didn’t truly expect to be able to do so, but we’ve always had an odd… echo of each other… sometimes rules made for everyone else didn’t include each other. I found her in the lab – she had a stick in her mouth and was glowering at the tech… I wasn’t sure which one it was, but he identified himself in his mind as Dayvid. When he looked up and saw me, he took the stick away, and left the room as quickly as he could, without running. I wondered if that was a bad sign, but wasn’t too worried.

"Hello, love."

"Hey. How’d you get in here?"

"Same way I always do. I walked." We smirk at the joke. "I actually came for you, this time. I want to show you something, in honor of your birthday," I smile. She isn’t fooled.

"It’s not my birthday. What are you really here for?" She’s got a look of frank appraisal on her face… clearly waiting for the bill.

"No, but it will be. Want to come see?" Ah… interest now. I smile, and hold out my hand. She looks at me a few seconds more… and then shrugs.

"Whatever… I’m bored here anyway." 

"Then I’m your girl. This will be the least-boring day of your lives." 

"Just us on this wander?" 

"Nah, I brought Desire. He said something about your birthday suit, so I let him come."

"Really?" she asked dryly. I could tell she knew I was putting her on… the last time she saw him, he had scuttled backwards in horror and crab-walked away, shrieking, sure she was there to take my head. It still made me giggle a little.

We swung by the atrium to pick him up – very respectfully, he bowed over her hand and called her Lady… why any of them call either of us that still boggles my mind… I roll my eyes and laugh when he bats his eyes at her – I don’t think she knows he’s being silly at all, but she catches on when she hears me snickering at him. "Do I follow you on my own?" She’s smiling now, the byplay amusing her, too. There’s a relaxed comraderie between us – it snaps in so easily – the gifts of a long line of friendships.

"No, I’m going to take us all. It’s probably safer that way." She shrugs – I can’t tell if she’s wondering how she’ll get home when she gets bored, or if she’s just accepting of my statement… she didn’t used to hide so much, but it’s been a long break between get-togethers.

I take a moment to drop ahead of them into the stream – physically I’m holding their hands to make sure they’ll be carried in my wake. When I’m ready, I reach back through time, space, and dimensions… I hook the moment I want… and PULL.

****

When we arrive, we arrive in darkness. No stars. No planets. Nothing larger than bits and pieces of leftover atoms. Her irises swell, and I know she can feel it, all around her. The death of a universe is a small moment – but of course she would know it for what it was. "What have you… SHIT! Where are we? WHEN are we?" 

"Chill, sister mine… you’re fine. Just breathe. It’s all OK. We’ve been here before. We will be again. What do you think Death and Time ARE? We’re the sisters of entropy. And this is your big moment. Well… one of them, anyway."

She frowns at my casualness, drowning in the feeling of the last quark dying. The silence and the darkness is… amazingly beautiful. I never get tired of the peacefulness… even though I know it won’t last… or perhaps BECAUSE.

That moment comes… and then there is nothing. I let her catch her breath. When she gets a little calmer and starts thinking of questions, I know it’s time to skip us forward. I bring them out at the perfect moment. You can feel it, like a gathering storm. All around, the flare of the tiniest elements of creation are gathering – you can almost SMELL the tipping point.

That’s the amazing thing… I never get tired of both… the end, and the beginning that arises from it. Entropy and creation… TIME… is a circle. It never ends. WE never end. We come apart, and then we are nothing. And then we are something… and then we are everything. It’s such a beautiful dance…

If it happens in the right order.

If it happens when it’s supposed to.

And then, without any preamble, with the suddeness that all momentous events have, there it is. That flare. The bang that starts it all, is a dark one. Light doesn’t happen until it gets far enough away from the singularity to catch on fire. And that is the moment I’m waiting for. The moment she was born. Or died. Or both.

The very moment the flare catches alight, the moment that streak of fire escapes the primordial gas that is the new universe, off to live, learn, grow, and return, she turns to look at me… a perfect expression on her face, and the echo of fire in her silver eyes.

I leave them there, Desire and Death… watching the new universe rise. I leave her thinking thoughts, remembering the circle… I leave her alone because there’re some things that are just too personal to share… even if I’ve been there before. 

I’ll tell her, later, about the O in her name. I’ll tell her how she has a choice. That if she goes home as she wishes, she’ll end… how if she waits for that perfect moment, just like me, she is an egg… the beginning held encapsulated within the end… I’ll tell her about Death and Time, the Sisters of Entropy. I’ll tell her about their husbands, Desire and Temptation. I think she’ll love that most of all.

But for now… I leave her, thoughtful and watchful, dreaming the dreams of the beauty and destruction around her.

But I’m the same way… it hypnotized me, the first time I saw it. It’s worth a second look.

Claws

 "What you know about war wouldn’t fit in a teaspoon. And you know even less about weapons." 

I turned and regarded him carefully. "I know which end goes bang. And I know that with the right ammo in a shotgun, it doesn’t matter if you can’t aim. And really, that’s all I NEED to know." I gave him that slow, bitter, hunting smile – the smile the leopard gets, right before it drops on the prey.

"We can discuss all the arts you’ve learned in your few centuries of war, and he can keep trying to teach me how to move my body or a weapon, but the fact remains that I don’t need any of it. A single touch, a focused intent.. hell, even the right Voice, and there’s nothing left TO fight. And manipulating the timelines give me even more of an edge. He’s agreed… that’s where we need to focus our efforts… not here." 

His dark curls rippled as he bridled in irritation. "You need to know how to use a blade. You need to know how to move. You don’t bring the big guns to a spat." 

"Truth, I’m telling you I don’t need it. Desire agrees." 

"Fine. Prove it." He pushed away from the wall, and came at me.

In an instant, I dropped into the time stream, extrapolated all potentials, chose the most likely position, placed my body just so, popped out, and pushed the heal of my hand up… a perfect upper cut. He dropped to the floor, momentarily stunned. I smiled that cold, hunting smile… I have to admit, it’s my favorite expression. My eyes bled to gold, the lupine color of the beast, though I’m not a wolf… and I looked down on him with that slow predatory look, my every muscle going boneless and ready. He shook his head and backed away… stalking forward, I followed him to the wall. For a moment…. just a moment, I looked at him, knowing the kill would be mine. 

"Christ, kitten… when was the last time you fed?" He shivered, and I sank backwards through the moment, shifting to the center of the room before flickering back in again, smiling a genuine smile, now… pleased I’d proved my point. 

Desire looked at him and snorted. "We did tell you she probably didn’t need anything more. Admittedly she’s a bit… overzealous about it, but in a hairy situation, it’s probably a good idea…" 

"You’ve made her downright scary is what you’ve done… what happened to my kitten?" 

Desire laughed… "We gave her claws."

Challenge

*NOTE: This actually happened about a week ago, but I’ve been so busy I’m only now getting to it. Sorry about the delay, but I really didn’t want to write this… it was… ugly, painful, and… when it was over, everything was  the same, but everything was different. 

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Red Man

His name is Desire. Go figure. lol

The hint he gave me to find his name? "It means Red."

Oh, and for an added giggle… here’s proof of synchronicity, because this particular horoscope is NEVER right: 

Daily Horoscope: February 18, 2010

You bond with someone — maybe someone new, maybe someone you don’t see all that often — over a shared interest that surprises each of you. Your easy energy makes social connections a snap.
  • Compatibility: Scorpio
  • Mood: Social
  • Lucky Color: Red
  • Lucky Number: 23
  • Lucky Time of Day: 6pm

Samurai Sticks

So Green Giant has these nifty new vegetable steamer things. They’re blends for specific things… several for immune support, one to support a healthy heart, one for digestive health… the blends have herbs included, some have light sauces… and you just… throw them into the microwave, steam them, pour them into a bowl, and voila! Instant vegan dinner. And they are AWESOME. I have one or two a week. They’re not that expensive, but they’re really only a single serving, so I suspect they might be expensive for a family, but that’s really the only drawback.

But that’s not what this is about. Not really.

I was making one this evening, and when it was finished cooking, I carefully pulled the package apart and poured the veggies into a bowl. As I was opening the silverware drawer, I was debating forks or sticks, this being a veggie blend I COULD eat with sticks. Naturally, the sticks won out. I pick sticks every time I can.
Having pulled a pair out of the drawer, I was heading back to the table to eat when I heard "So what’s your deal with sticks, anyway? Do you always eat with them?"
"Of course, I do! As much as possible. Doesn’t work out for somethings… like mashed potatoes, but… when I can, I do." I say. "You see, the way I figure it, I can either eat like a barbarian…" (which you are, he tells me, alluding to my Saxon/Keltoi blood…) "Yes, I am. Or I can eat like a civilized person,." (which you are NOT, he adds, grinning) "True. But at least when I’m eating I can PRETEND to be civilized. I LIKE sticks. It’s a skill, and I’m good with them." (ahhh… so it’s a pride thing….) "No. Not a pride thing. My dad taught me. It was one of the few things he showed me how to do. It was one of the few moments he was… well-behaved and I actually felt a connection, felt loved. So I love sticks. And if you’re really sticking around… you’d better get used to it." I stuck my tongue out at the air. He chuckled, and I got an image of him, sticks held in samurai-sword high position, preparing to stab a target filled with rice. I nearly choked on a carrot, I laughed so hard.

Peanuts

Ankharra, a friend and student of mine IRL, just brought me every Laurell K. Hamilton book she has. Nothing like smut to make it all better when you’re sick.
Truth and Wicked are sneeringly disgusted in my choice of literature. Aparently they DO have to listen to it., and "Thats NOT the way it happened." No kidding.. lol 😛
The incubus is laughing at me. And them. A lot. And he agrees with me that at least the first few books were well-written, and the smut in the later books isn’t badly done. Nor are the explanations of love as a many-spendered thing (his words, not mine) poorly executed. He can think of worse ways for me to spend my time.
Gabriel is still rather shaken up, so he hasn’t gotten his sense of humor back. He’s looking for an asignment that involves blade work to distract him, at least until they move me. He WILL be helping with the move. I’m not sure how, but he was very insistant about not letting me out of his sight.
Marcus is away garnering information about my current difficulties, as per your own suggestions, May – and says thank you very much for the advice.

OH – it should be noted that I do not consider Astral Life to be unreal. Sometimes for me it’s actually MORE real. But unless you’re like me, walking between the worlds, you, my reader, probably don’t feel that way. In deference to your singular vision, if it happens on your plane of existence, I call it Real Life (IRL for short). If it happens in dreams or visions/meditations of the Astral… I’ll try from now on to say so if it’s not obvious just from the content. I hope that helps lessen the confusion for you as my readers. (All four of you. Thank you. I love you all.)

Last thing – for May – www.youtube.com/watch

I think that’s everything for now – all the comments from the peanut gallery. I might add to this later, but for now, I have a game-and-puzzle community night to go to… and I’m the one with the puzzles… so it’s off to the shower for me to get presentable.

Kitty Go Splodie

So with a bit of growing back together, it’s easier to be conscious for longer periods of time. Of course my physical body feels like crap – but at least my astral body is under the influence of so many pain blocks that I’m practically paralyzed.. or is that the straps? I’m not allowed to move around at all (with good reason, as I’m not all grown back together yet) and they still can’t put me in the tank yet either. Still.. I can move my head. And my fingers. And my power. Which is new. I never knew I had that much power. I had no idea how much I was holding back.
But you’re probably confused. Mostly because… when it happened, I was too.
I don’t completely remember what happened, but they told me enough of it that I can unravel it for your viewing pleasure… if you like that kind of thing.

Firstly, having spoken with my combat teacher, I went and had a long thought. What he said bothered me, quite deeply. I’m not the kind of person who enjoys hurting others, and when someone shows me something I’m doing that’s wrong, I do my best to fix it. I’m a healer. If I’m part of the problem, I have to repair the damage… and then make sure that I never do whatever it is, ever again. So when he told me how much I was harming everyone by keeping them at arms length, by not trusting them or myself, by not letting them in, I had to fix it if I could.
So I went to Gabriel, and talked to him. I asked him if he agreed with the incubus, and he admitted that he did. Truth, who was in the room at the time, also agreed. Now deeply disturbed, I decided right then and there that I needed to do something about the problem, and asked Gabriel to help me open up a little, so that I COULD let them in. Now, I’m not quite sure why, but Truth decided he needed to stick around to watch my back. It’s possible that the work was going to be so delicate that neither Gabriel nor I would be able to spare any attention towards watching our backs. What I know for sure is that, even with the combat training I’m receiving, I’m not allowed to be left alone lately. There is ALWAYS someone watching my back.
But that isn’t really essential to know. It just explains why he was there.
So. There we are, in Gabriel’s hall, sitting Indian-style on the floor, and I’m sending my attention deep within myself as Gabriel guides me into opening up, just a bit, just enough, for now, to let them bond with me in a deeper way. Just enough to let them in.
So. I opened up a crack… and all the power I’ve been swallowing for who can count how many lifetimes.. all the emotions I’ve been suppressing ever since that first lifetime… it all came out at once… and it blew my body apart.
It threw Truth back against the far wall, giving him one hell of a crack on the head – but at least he was slightly off to the side when the blast occurred. He only got slightly singed. He’s going to be in bed for about a week… when he tries to sit up, he gets dizzy. But… it could have been worse.
He’s not a very good patient. He’s irritable and frustrated and bored and cranky. When it gets really bad, Wicked sits with him and makes jokes.
Gabriel… well, he has EXTREMELY fast reflexes… or the blast would have caught him full in the face. He’s still a little freaked out – he helped pick my pieces up to take me to the healers. I don’t think he blames himself – but I did hear him mumble something about channeling the blast and not being fast enough… so I’m probably going to have to talk to him soon.
The truth was, it’s no one’s fault.
It’s not Gabe’s fault. After all… he had no way of knowing it would be that bad. Nor did he know that there was a weakness, a fault line, already there, as a result of reliving the life and times of May as her librarian.
It’s not May’s fault for getting her own gaping chest wounds.
It’s not the Incubus’s fault for not knowing I needed to be protected from myself.
It’s not anyone’s fault… except mine. And even there… I don’t think anyone could blame me for not trusting myself. Not trusting my power. Not trusting my heart. Not trusting anyone else. Not after what happened the first time I ever trusted or loved. He burned my planet, and everyone and everything on it. He put out the sun and my planet froze. And then he obliterated it all – the whole solar system. Mad on power, poisoned at the very root of his being by his own magnitude.
But he didn’t stop there.
He destroyed every place I’d ever been, ever planet, every solar system.
And every soul he took, he obliterated… so that none of them could come back. He left nothing behind him but dust.
And in order to take him down, because I was the only one who could, because I was the only one who could get close to him, get INTO him… in order to take him down, I destroyed myself. I became nothing but the arm of knowledge, the arm of the Library. No thoughts of my own… possessed by the information, possessed by the Library…
And in taking him down, in the fight that ensued, the energy released in the battle to destroy him as he had done to so many others, well… that little universe went nova. It is no more. And I’m the only one left, I think, that remembers.
And the memory is a bitch.
So I stopped trusting. I stopped letting anyone in. I killed every emotion that might force me to let someone get close. And because my powers, ALL of them, channel through the empathy, that meant that I was swallowing my power. All of it.
So when I tried to change… well… Kitty go splodie.

Marcus says that when I’m finished regrowing my chest, and the energetic channels and chakras etc… that they will be reprogramming my reactions – the energetic as well as the psychological – so that this never happens again.
It’s just as well…
If I keep bottling everything in… sooner or later… someone’s going to die.
Sucks I had to learn it by blowing myself to smithereens. My chest and throat hurt like hell.

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Valentines Day – Now With Explosive Chest Wounds

So I went for a walk tonight, while it was snowing. There was about a quarter of an inch on the ground, and it was VERY cold, but… I couldn’t stay indoors.

He won’t call me Kat. He keeps calling me Katherine. “You need to remember, now, Katherine. It’s time to put it all together.”
I tell him to call me Kat, if he won’t call me anything else, but… “That’s who you WERE. That’s not who you are now. You can’t stay in the past. You haven’t been Kat since your planet burned. You know that. REMEMBER, Katherine. REMEMBER!”
I do my best to ignore him, because I don’t like cryptic crap. This Sensei thing is getting old.
Do you know what I figured out today? I figured out that the reason everything is temporary is because, if he doesn’t bond when it’s time to renew himself, he will ROT in that shell.

Little glass shards in my head. You know… I’ve never had a quiet day in my life. I’m not a normal empath, you know. I tell people I’m an empath, because that’s easy, and they don’t have to be afraid. Every now and then, though… I slip. I actually answer them before they open their mouths. I know things that no one could possibly know. I know their deep dark selves.
It’s very lonely there, down in the dark. It’s empty and raw, and will cut you to ribbons.
So of course I never trusted anyone. They’re all animals there.
Not that it matters. 

“Have you remembered yet? Have you remembered who you are?”

I sigh, and turn the corner. The light above my head goes out. Blessed darkness. Nothing but snow, and ice, and wind. Numbing bliss. Everyone fast asleep… it’s so much more peaceful at night. Sleepy dreaming mumbles as far as the mind can feel. I get to be ME in the dark. Not pulled and pushed and manipulated by all their broken hearts and shredded thoughts.
Only now I’m never alone, even in the dark. I asked for a Crew. I asked for a Patron. And now I’m never alone at all.

“We’re going to end up tanking her if you can’t get through, you know that, don’t you? If you push her too far, she’ll be tanked for months.”
“She’s got to know – we can’t leave it any longer. If she doesn’t remember, when she gets on the ground there…”
“I KNOW THAT… but LOOK AT HER… it’s KILLING HER!”
Everything is kaleidoscopic now… here, there, past, present, future… all of it spinning… why am I covered in blood? Oh. That’s right. I tried to swallow the song. We always hurt the ones we love.
“Wicked?” I try to say it… it’s a mumble, like I’m missing teeth… “Wicked, where… mmm,” his face in mine… I try to back away. “Where is Truth?” I’m crying, now. Because if Wicked is crying, there must be a reason to. “Is he… Wicked!” I try to grab him, but my hand won’t move. I’m starting to panic now. “Where is TRUTH?!”
“Katherine. You have to remember what happened.” He’s… crying? No, not Wicked. He never cries. Like me. Oh… why am I hurting.I’m glowing… I’m all golden… But… where did all this blood come from? My chest? OH SHIT! The Library! Oh SHIT!
And then I remember it all.

I lived your life. But that’s not all. Because I lived MY life, too.

Did you never wonder? Do you know that most psychics only have one major gift. Rare ones, like you, have more than one.
I am a telepath – receiver and sender. I have to be, as an Akashic Librarian. And I’m an empath, one who can read right down to the soul – and I’m a sender there, too. I’m a geomance. And a cognitive… pre and post. I’m a microkinetic. I’m a medium. I’m a weather witch. I’m a hypnotist – when I choose to put power in my voice, EVERYONE listens – they go where I tell them to, do what I tell them to. I’m a prophet. I’m a little bit of everything. I can even channel other people’s gifts away from them if I have to. When your mother burned the table, if I had had my memories, I could have grabbed it, and channeled it away until she calmed down. And anything I don’t have that I might need, I can practically photo-copy it and reproduce it once I see it used one time. 

It’s all in bits and pieces. Do you know why? No… it has nothing to do with following you around for the last 700 years. I swallowed the library. Only certain books, but I did it.
That’s what made me The Voice.
I’m an information specialist.
When my planet burned at the hands of a madman, when my lover destroyed my home… I had to fight back. I had to stop him… it was my fault, you see.
Once, there was a man who was… so powerful. He could raise his hand, and the mountains themselves would answer.And I loved him. No… love is not strong enough. I worshipped him. You know how our familiars feel about us – how much they NEED us? That was how I felt. He was my sun, my air, my heartbeat. Until I saw him cause the sun to rise. In that bragging moment, I saw to the heart of him, and it was nothing but darkness. A cancer at the root of his soul. Power, for power’s sake. And in my fear of him, my fear of my own death… I turned my back on my duty. I walked away. I LEFT HIM ALIVE. And he destroyed my home. He put out the sun. He tore up the solar systems searching for me. So I went to the library. I told them, and the council agreed, that he needed to be stopped. That it was my place to do it. But that I could not do it alone. And so they gave me the books. And I swallowed them whole. So many, many books…
It changed me. It changed me so much. I am not the Cat I was. I have no name, did you know? The books destroyed me. They took my name. They took my will. The books acted through me. The mouthpiece of the Gods. The mouthpiece of the Library.
And when the war was over, and that universe destroyed, I returned to the Library. Alone.
I lost everything. Everything that mattered.

So when they tell me go, I go. When they tell me die, I die. When they tell me speak, I speak. I have had no name for a very long time.

I thought you should know.
They’re trying to fix me right now. Marcus says something about the emotions cutting me up from the inside. So it’s not really your wounds. That was just… the precipitating event. Me dreaming your life and remembering that I work in the Library – that just created a weakness in the right spot… and the emotions – everyone’s, not just mine… they just… tore open my chest.
I’m bleeding light, all gold all over. I’m bleeeding time, too. Everywhere I walked tonight, all of it gold, I saw too much. I saw an ice age in the wind. Coming or gone, doesn’t matter… all ice ages look the same. The winds whip the snow across the ground, but it doesn’t stick. There’s not enough moisture there.
At least I didn’t have to feel that horrid snow-fear… I hate the way humans react to snow. It’s just… unbearable. Like my insides are trying to crawl out in anxiety… that instinctive… terror… of being trapped by the snow forever, of starvation, of so many other things all tied up together. I HATE how people feel before the snow hits.

I hope he doesn’t die. I don’t know if his species can be reborn. Then again… he’s hurting as much as I am. Maybe death would be kinder. I was going to talk to Themis tonight, to see if she would be willing to find another of his species that’s unmated like him, with the idea of rebonding. But… he was with her for so long. I don’t know anymore if that’s a good idea. He is grief, like me. And sometimes, death is peace. Death is the absence of pain, for most people.
So I haven’t brought it up. I thought… I would ask him what he wants, first. But not tonight.
Wicked was crying, I’m covered in blood, and somewhere, there’s a burn scar and a pocket of… nothingness. I’m told the force of the explosion when my chest caved was… spectacular. Gabriel is white as a ghost – I thought he was going to faint, and he kept swearing in… I lost count of how many languages. It’s hard to count these things when you keep passing out. Truth… Truth is in the Infirmery. They won’t let me see him, and they won’t tell me anything other than he’s resting… and that he didn’t get the full effect of the blast.
On the bright side… no combat training for a few days. That’ll be nice. I’m tired of waking up, getting out of bed, and discovering a new batch of bruises. Yesterday morning I discovered that he’d left fingerprints on the upper part of my right arm.

He left when I was conscious again. I think… I think I scared him. He swore at Wicked and said as he left “How was I supposed to know the person i was training her to protect herself from was herself?!” He seemed a little upset. Said something about going to meditate. But I know what he’ll do. He’ll go sit in the middle of the room, with his blades in front of him. He’ll stare at them for a few hours, like he’s meditating. Then he’ll pull out the cloths, and clean each one, sharpen each one. All but the small one. That one he leaves alone.
That one has a black spot on the handle wrappings. And he never touches it.

I was going to call you tomorrow, but… I still have a job to do. I have two students to continue training, and I’ve got to work with both of them tomorrow.
I guess… I’ll call you Wednesday. I’ll have time then.

Sorry I threw up on your valentines day.

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Determination and Fear

I walked into the room, carrying sushi. It’s a nice room, done in rosy wood, with skylights that emit, rather than the usual misty gray-white dawn-y light of astral, a golden glow that suits the wood. It’s an airy room, with plenty of space to work in. I’m supposed to call it a salle – but I call it the Combat room, because that’s what we do here. Well, that’s what HE does here… I just try to keep up and hope I don’t end up with another set of bruises.
Speaking of… there he is, standing at the ready, in the middle of the room with his back to me. Seeing as he’s not looking, I indulge myself. He really is very pretty to look at. I grit my teeth and stop looking, instead speaking.
“I’ve brought sushi,” I say in a very determinedly chipper way, and paste my smile on, tightly as he turns to face me.
“Sushi?”
“Yes. I had a talk with May. Now I’m going to have a talk with you.” I heft the bags. “See? Sushi. I even brought chopsticks so we don’t have to eat like barbarians. And I got that green stuff that’s deadly, if you want it. I got something of everything. Because I wasn’t sure what you’d like. Only, now I feel silly, because I don’t even know if you CAN eat solids.” My smile slips a bit, as he crosses the room, pacing like a very fluid, dangerous tiger, grinning at me. All those really pointy teeth. I stood very still.
When he reached me, he took the bag out of my hand. It took me a moment to unclench my fingers so he could, but he didn’t comment. instead, he moved to the middle of the room again, saying as he walked away from me, “There’s a breakfast table in my room. We can eat on that.”
Having something to do helps. I walk to the back of the… salle (salle, salle, salle I remind myself)… to the open doorway, and into his private quarters. I haven’t been back here before, and I stop in surprise. He hasn’t made any attempt to make it very homely… further proof that this is temporary. A long black glossy table on one wall, a matching full-sized bed on the other. The table has three swords on a stand – samurai sword and set. At the end of his bed is a low wicker table that appears to be made for breakfasts in bed. Everything is monochromatic and very utilitarian. My smile slips a bit further – because it’s not a happy room.
I take a deep breath, determined to be happy, to make a friend, to learn something new. When I’m smiling a happy grin and it’s reached my eyes, I grab the table from the bed, and leave his quarters for the combat room. He’s been busy – with those economical movements that are so sure, he’s unpacked the bags. I put the table down between us when I reach him. There are plates tied to the underneath of the table as if it were a picnic basket. I pull them out and set them up, one on the floor in front of him, one in front of me, while he transfers the dishes of sushi to the table. Kindly, he puts the California roles on my side, and keeps the actual raw-fish stuff for himself… reminding me that he’s telepathic… which means it’s pointless to pretend he doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I sigh, starting to think this was a really bad idea. Before I start looking for a way to back out gracefully, he looks up. “You wanted to talk. So talk.”
Well, that’s done it. I take another deep breath (I’m so going to end up lightheaded over this conversation), and screw up my courage while he’s calmly pinching some weird kind of pale-yellow bean-thing into his mouth. “I don’t know you. You work here – you have a room here so you probably LIVE here, and I don’t know anything about you. And I haven’t TRIED to know you. I come here at the appointed times, and you do your best to teach me how to protect myself, and I know I’m not a very good student, and the way you move, the speed of it, you scare the crap out of me… so I haven’t tried. And that’s not very fair of me.” By the end of my little, fumbling speech, I’m staring at the floor and pretending to be really interested in my sticks.
“No.” I look up, surprised at the word, and not understanding. “No?”
“No,” he says again. “You’re not afraid of me because of how I move. You are not afraid of ME at all. You are afraid of YOU.”
I blink. “If we’re going to have a Mr. Miagi moment, I need to be wearing a different outfit,” I say jokingly, feeling a tad bit defensive.
He sighs. It’s one of those world-weary sighs that says to the Universe “I know what I did to deserve this, but did it have to arrive on a Monday?” But he doesn’t let me off the hook. “You are like a Vestal Virgin – you never let anyone touch you. You don’t see yourself. You see your body as imperfect, and your heart is scarred. You have never understood why others love you, find you desirable. You strangle your needs, and never let anyone in. You’re not afraid of me, but what I represent. You’re afraid to love. Lust is easy – but to love, truly, deeply LOVE means being open to being broken, truly, deeply wounded. And you’re already hemorrhaging. You think you’re afraid of me, but you don’t know how to be afraid of anyone other than yourself. You don’t know how to let anyone in enough to fear them. And you haven’t tried to get to know me because you don’t want to know how frightening YOU are.”
“How frightening I am? What could I possibly do that would scare YOU?”
“You are The Voice. One word from you, and I am dust. And I am already alone. I have already lost everything else that matters. You could take my self – and you would do it by ACCIDENT. And you ran from me!” He laughed… it was a bitter, hacking cough.
“I am not Lust, Lady. And I am not immune to love. Do you think the tiger does not love the doe? I eat to live – but that does not mean I have no needs. But you… you deny everything you need. You refuse to need anyone at all.. even yourself! You are a citadel, crumbling to dust beneath the cares and needs of everyone around you, because you will not admit your OWN. You think that I am sad – but you are no stranger to sorrow. You know nothing else.
“That is why you fear me. It’s easier to admit that, than to say you fear yourself.”
I look at him for a moment. My cheeks are cold. “That is not true. I do have people I trust. And I have let them in.”
“Hah! Truth is your knight, pedestal-bright. Wicked is a friend, a comrade, your bad boy with the heart of gold. Gabriel is your mystic and protector. And they LOVE you… more than they should. You were born to be loved. You instill it in everyone you see. They can’t help themselves but love you. And for that reason you will let them in only so far. You love them only as much as you are willing to let them hurt you… which is not at all. It’s not real, and they will never be what you need. Not in the end. All you have is mental masturbation – and you can’t live like that. THEY can’t live like that. And neither can I.
“Lady, you need someone real. But real people mean real pain. So we’re tied to you, but you won’t let us be real. We need you, but you don’t need us. You don’t WANT us.
“You want to know my name, but it’s the only thing I have that’s MINE. So that you cannot have.
“You give everything you have, everything you are, without thought. You swallow everything you feel, hide everything you think, so that you can be what everyone else needs. Until you learn to be real, until you learn to say what you think, feel what you feel, show yourself to the world, and let that world in, where it could cut you as deeply as you cut it… until you know your own name, you cannot have mine.” 
I sit there for a moment with my eyes on the floor. It’s a struggle. I take a few deep breaths through my nose, slowly, quietly. I blink a few times. It only takes a moment, and I’m back under my control. The feelings are gone, the burning in my eyes a memory. I look him in the eye. “Thank you for your wisdom.” It’s the only thing I can think to say. 
Slowly, feeling like a very, very old woman, I get up from the floor. I have to leave. I have to get out of there. I can’t stay. “Enjoy your dinner,” I say to him. And then I flee.

Unfortunately… there’s no place to run to.

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Strange

Here’s the skinny. Incubi and Succubi are gender neutral bonded mating pairs. They are hatched together, and they live a very long time – a four-thousand year old Incubus is still mostly a gangly teenager. They eat the life-energy of humans, usually by inducing a sexual heat in their prey – probably so that their pray will not be afraid, not fight back, but actually welcome the attacks, and come to desire, NEED the attacks, to the point of addiction.
Incubi and Succubi are hermaphrodites – thus the gender neutral designation – though as there’s no designation within English, I’ll stick to the usual habit of labeling one that is currently eating a human female as He, and one that is currently eating a human male as She. They can only breed with their bonded mate, and breeding with the mate induces an eventual torpor. The bodies in torpor become nothing more than eggshells for the renewal of the breeding pair… sort of like a snake shedding it’s skin. Right after hatching, they breed, so that when they have amassed enough energy from their food sources, they can enter torpor to build new bodies. They are shape-shifters and posses something that, for lack of a better term, could be considered a form of empathy… again, it’s relative. They have no sympathy for their meals, rather like cats, but they can induce strong emotions in their victims, and are able to read their prey deeply in order to take on both shape and attributes to encourage addiction and production of the energy they eat. In other words, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Just because you’re sleeping with one does not mean that you’re in a relationship with it, nor does it mean that it loves you, cherishes you, wants to have children with you, or any other such romantic, idiotic nonsense. It means you are food. Your type of sexual energy is the kind that it prefers, and it does indeed wish to spend the rest of your life with you… but only in the same way that a lion wishes to spend the rest of the life of an ibex with said antelope. You are FOOD. Don’t romanticize the fact that you enjoy being eaten alive. That just makes you stupid.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

I happen to work with an Incubus… he’s teaching me astral combat. We are not friends. We are not lovers. He is a teacher, and I the student. To be honest, he’s more deadly than me, and he scares the crap out of me regularly, and I’m not too proud to admit it.

He takes his job of sparring with me very seriously, though – he’s extremely responsible, very controlled… and he’s a workaholic, like myself. In fact, until this evening, I’ve never seen him relax at all… the one moment he ALMOST relaxed around me, he nearly ate me, and only my running away and his iron-clad self-control prevented the disaster. Since then, he’s always been careful to feed before we work together, because the exercise is, to our mutual irritation, enough to bring on the Heat… which neither of us considers to be a good thing.
This evening, however, he was feeling somewhat playful after our match, and I got to watch him dancing with a quarter-staff while he sang Highway to Hell – projecting images on the walls and shifting shape to suit the words, and even making up some new verses… 
It was hilarious… and proved he actually DOES have a sense of humor…
That was something that before that moment, I have to admit I had doubts about. If he can be silly, then he can laugh. Not that silliness OR laughing will change my wary feelings about him… there’s no way I’ll ever trust him. It doesn’t matter what shape my soul takes, the fact is that at the moment, I happen to be using a human shell… The fact that he’s temporary Crew does not mean I trust him. I know I’m dinner that he just can’t get to right now.

Hmmm… I wonder if I can get him to do anything by Jim Morrison? How about Strange?

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Blow for Blow

In the end, sometimes it’s not about whether you win or lose, but instead about whether you survive and prove you’re willing to stand up for yourself and your people. Neutral or not, this was the time for me to make my presence known.

His hand slid gently down my naked back, skin on skin, and his breath touched my neck. It was a moment before I realized he wasn’t who I thought he was, and that he had no right to be so familiar. Cloth rippled where feathers had draped, and I turned – but I knew who it was before I looked – not many had permission to approach, let alone touch me. Looking frankly into his face, I found my old friend wearing a strangely wistful smile.
My own expression was much sadder, but… he wasn’t given to sorrow. It wasn’t in his nature. “G.___. You honor me. It has been many months since last we spoke.”
“I would have come sooner, Lady, but I could not. I regret that I come now not in joy but on business.” He reached out and caressed my face, thumb brushing my lips before I could step away. He seemed disconcerted when I did so. As for myself, my insides felt like they would shake apart. Hidden in my clenched fists, my claws crested, dripping silver venom. It was the first time I was glad of the alteration that had given me venom-veined claws in place of leaking light and gold dust in times of stress, instead of ashamed. However, it didn’t keep the tear off my cheek.
“No, G.___. No.”
“No?”
“No. Not in joy, but on business? You come as suitor not personally, but for Him. After everything He did, He sends you in hopes that I will be tempted into agreeing to a contract in exchange for sex??? Do you think this is fair? My friend, I would not lose my shield-mate, my brother in arms, for any reason. He should not have sent you.”
He sighed, full of many mixed emotions. Feeling them, I looked back at him somewhat stunned. “You bear His message, but you came for yourself?” For a moment I was more stunned than I had ever been, but it was only for a moment. Then my brain kicked into hyper-speed, and in a flash I knew without a doubt that we were being watched. In my mind, the thunder rolled.
“No, never mind… I know you cannot answer that without more trouble coming for you. Oh, my friend, most worthy one, I am truly sorry. I cannot give you what you seek… I would give Him everything he desires, and make you more a tool than you are. I cannot do that to us. And though I love you and we are battle brothers, I am promised to T. at this time.” I bit my lip… the thunder was growing louder and more violent. I was going to need help – there was no other solution… I had to call T – I knew he’d understand but I did wish it wasn’t such short notice. G.___ had been my Warrior for so long… he deserved any chance at freedom I could give him… he had been my friend for so many years now. When someone keeps you alive, you give them life in return. It’s all you can do.
T. answered my silent summons. He and his brother were neck deep in… well, things without a name here, but they look like the cross between a goblin and a troll and they live in caves. He didn’t think they’d be too long. I called A., and sent for Mike, my healer – who grumbled that this wasn’t in his job description but went in search of a stimulant and a hacksaw. My servant was thrilled to be called, though technically he’s not my servant anymore and is apparently suffering from boredom – which makes for sloppiness in war, but at least he came. I reached further, trying to find the one person who would help the most. She’d have my back as long as it wasn’t for some stupid crap (although the definition of stupid is redefined frequently by both of us, and possibly this was it), but for general joyous mayhem, you can always count on her. I found myself vaguely wondering whether, when we were done, we would be able to tell the difference between her blood and mine – silver being silver all in all. Hopefully she would hear and come, though that was unlikely. She didn’t owe me anything, nor I her, and I no longer had any rights to call on her – nor any way to pay the fee if I could. Friends are friends, but business is business. I reminded everyone to bring their earplugs. Twice.
All this, silently and in an instant and, at the moment the storm broke in my head and the heavens split open wide, I looked at G.___ and said to him, “As your God is my witness, G.______ I will not work for him again this life as I can help it, but I will fight for you to keep you safe as I can, come what may. Before your gods and mine, I claim you, from this time onward, by my name. He screwed me over, but you never did.” I reached forward, took his hand, and placed it over my heart and said the final words to bind us, and then, because I am a practical sort of cat, I handed him some earplugs. I keep several pairs on me at all times now, things being the way they are.
There was a moment of silence, and then the wind hit, and the universe exploded.

I should mention that my servant, before leaving to go back to, as he called it, Granny-sitting, suggested that now, no matter what, I am bound to get a very good contract – partly because we did eventually decide, having counted coup, to let that bastard (yes, I do mean it in the literal sense) win, but also because G.___ belonged to us now.
I’m not sure what I think of that… I don’t think of myself as owning G.___. I don’t really know what to do with him – I just… didn’t want him being used in that way. There’s a part of me right now kicking its self – a tool, a slave, must be used. You cannot let it sit idle. For the moment, I’m letting him work with T. and his brother – it won’t keep him out of mischief but at least he won’t be board or stircrazy.

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