Note from the author: Here is my story, hope you like it. The passage tempted me to write. My first time ever to submit something.
Author email: email@example.com
Whys and Becauses
Early one morning, more or less a month and a half back, a Gelaming soldier in full regalia and riding a perfectly groomed sedu arrived at Forever. He had been specially sent from Phaonica to deliver an invitation addressed to ‘Cobweb har Parasiel and Family’, and that was how everything had started. In the blink of an eye Cobweb had turned from the cool, calm and collected being that everyhar cherished, into the sergeant major from hell. There and then the house had stopped being a home, to be turned into an army barrack, were orders, assignments and timetables were enforced with military precision. No effort was too big and no detail too small, in short nothing was spared to ensure that all and each one of them would be looking their best when the time came. One by one, they all had to go through a complete check-up and make-up, and nothing escaped Cobweb’s eagle eyes. As the days went by, the pressure became so bad, that, in desperation, he had gone into one of the unused bedrooms and lighted a couple of candles to beg his favourite Dehar to be spared having to go through such madness. Unfortunately, his prayers and begging had gone into deaf ears, his beloved deity had completely ignored him. So he was left alone to face the frenzy that had settled around him, to eventually give-in like everyhar else. As Swift had told him ‘Just go with the flow, it’s easier’, which in the end was not only an excellent suggestion, but the only alternative.
Finally, after a long month and a half of exhausting preparations, the time came to ride their sedim and head for Phaonica. And that was when his first headache stroke. By the time they arrived to Phaonica, it was in full blast and he could hardly keep his eyes open, to the extent that he nearly fell from his sedu as they emerged from the ethers. Thankfully, Swift had been riding right beside and was able to catch him just in time. Luckily, they had arrived to the palace two days earlier, as Caeru had organised, for what he now called ‘the family’, a kind of pre-reception only for them. So they had all gone to their rooms and relaxed for most of the day, which in his case was a real blessing as his headache was so bad that he could hardly stand up.
As he was lying in bed with a damp towel over his eyes, he heard a soft knocking at this door and before he had time to say anything Cow was sitting beside him. Although he had always been well aware of Cobweb’s reticence towards him, they had both been wise enough, thus, allowing their relationship to evolve into a practical and pacific tolerance of each other. As this silent truce had been based on their love for Swift and Azriel, life eventually settle down and everyhar carried on with their lives under the many circumstances they all had been forced to go through. But there and then, he was caught by surprise and was not sure what to say or do, as Cobweb was the last har he expected to see. Fortunately for him, Cow had immediately realised that he had a problem and so here he was, sitting beside him holding on his lap the famous medicine basket, thanks to which, shortly afterwards, he was able to arrive to the dinning hall, feeling quite himself and ready to have good time.
Having enjoyed himself at the party by the time he went to bed, he was nicely relaxed and also a bit drunk, which of course, helped to dull the headache completely allowing him a good night sleep. So when he woke the next morning he was quite amused as he realised he had no idea how or when he got to his quarters, how did he undress or anything else for that matter. The only thing he had clear was that he was famished and ready to eat whatever it was Swift had organised. By the time they finished eating, he was in a cuddling mood, that led to a heated session of aruna, followed by a shared shower that also ended in another very creative session of aruna, and by the time they finally made it out of the shower and were able to gather their thoughts, Swift had come down on him like a ton of bricks. The next conscious thought he had was of slow, wet, warm kisses and Swift’s voice prompting him back to reality, which, of course, was the last thing in the world he wanted to do.
In the end, after a lot of nagging, tickling, cuddling, pulling and general teasing, he once again made it to the shower and was eventually dressed and ready for the ‘real party’. By the time that him and Swift arrived, the majority of the guests were there. Unfortunately, the minute he walked into the big room, his headache return with vengeance. He felt it at the back of his head, kind of creeping up his neck, to finally explode behind his eyes, and something must have shown on his face, because Swift immediately took hold of his arm and led him to one of the balconies were they found a nice couch where his chesnari sat him promising to come back with some snacks, drinks and painkillers. So having been left alone, he did the only thing he could, he just laid back on the couch trying to relax as he watched the sky, as always, amazed by the its beauty. He was so engrossed in this, that he did not hear or notice the har until he spoke to him.
‘So nice to see you Seel’ said a perfect voice ‘I’ve been really looking forward to seeing you tonight’ and that was how Seel knew why he had been having those headaches.
‘Thiede’ he answered in a low voice as he tried to hide his uneasiness.
‘What’s wrong, Swift? You don’t look well, you’re so pale’ asked Thiede
‘I’m fine, just a bit of a headache, it’ll pass’ he answered trying his best to be at ease, which of course was not true. Nobody in his right mind could ever feel ‘at ease’ near Thiede, that much he knew.
‘Shall I call for help, I’ve seen a couple of doctors’ offered Thiede
‘What do you want Thiede?’ he asked sounding anxious even to himself
‘I don’t want anything, Seel, I just wanted to talk with you like we have always done?’ ‘We used to have such a nice relationship you and I’
Maybe it was the headache, or maybe it was that his nerves were too tense or perhaps it was his fear of Thiede that gave him the courage to answer in the most unexpected way.
‘No Thiede, we were never able talk’ ‘As I recall you talked and I obeyed, that was the kind of relationship you and I had’ he said through clenched teeth.
‘Well, if that was the case, your obedience has made me very happy Seel’ ‘I can assure you that you have surpassed my highest expectations’.
‘Well, isn’t that just peachy’ he replied with as much irony as he could master
‘Oh come-on Seel, where did all this sarcasm come from?’ ‘I can assure you that I’ve always been truly grateful for all your help’
‘What can I say, Thiede’ he replied in his best mocking tone ‘We aim to please’
‘Of course you do, my dear’ said Thiede, as he stood up ‘That has always been your strongest quality and the one I cherish the most’
‘Cherished, Thiede?’ ‘The way I see it, it always felt more as used and abused to me’
‘Really?’ ‘Because the last thing you look like, is used or abused’ ‘Actually, you look like the kind of har that has a lot to be grateful for, wouldn’t you say?’ and with that last comment he walked back to the party leaving him, once again, alone in the balcony.
The conversation with Thiede left him so frightened, that the only thing he could think of was running away and hiding, but as he was about to stand up and leave, Swift came back with a tray full of snacks, drinks and some odd looking little bottles, the contents of which he mixed in an empty glass, forcing him to drink the concoction. Then between kisses and sweet words he convinced him to relax, and after a while he found himself sharing breath with his chesnari and slowly dancing in the privacy of the balcony. They never quite made it to the party, actually they only left the balcony to refill the tray and check on their son and his chesnari whom, by now, although painfully slowly were doing their best to recover the ability of enjoying the everyday things of life, like going to a party.
Finally, the time came for them to return to Forever. He was not quite sure when or how they managed to organise themselves, but eventually they were on their sedim and ready to leave. After the last good-byes, the sedim started their easy gallop that shortly afterward sent them into the ethers. He tried his best to remain at all times next to Swift, he was not sure why, but seeing him, knowing he was right by his side, reassured and settled him like nothing else could. By the time they arrived home, they were all tiered, hungry and in need of a bath. Slowly one by one they went into their bedrooms, to emerge much later when Bryony call them for a light supper, after that, they all returned to their rooms and collapsed in their beds.
Him and Swift had been one of the first couples to retire, as he had been too tiered to do anything else. They barely made it to bed and after a hug and a kiss they were both fast asleep. Sadly, in his case, sleep did not last long, he woke up at around one o’clock and even though he had tried every trick he could think of, he was not able to go back to sleep. So he forced himself to lay still as he did not want to wake his chesnari, but after a while his left foot began to itch, then when he solved that problem his right arm went numb and when he moved it the feeling of pins-and-needles nearly made him scream in frustration. So after nearly an hour of twitching, itching and scratching he admitted defeat and stood up. He knew that if he remained in bed, the only thing he would accomplish would be waking Swift up. So very slowly and as quietly as he could, he found his robe, his slippers and walked out of the room.
Whilst he was going down the stairs he could have sworn that he felt something like a cold breeze pass him by. Although it did not frighten him, it was an odd feeling that confirmed one of the many suspicious he had about Forever. He sensed that at some level the house was alive, ‘the soul of all things’ they called it. And if there was a place in the world that could have a soul, he knew it would be this house. Too many things had happened, too many things kept on happening, but more importantly, too many things will happen in the years to come. As he reached the end of the stairs, he said a silent prayer to his Dehar asking for guidance and protection, as he was well aware that Forever housed too many ghosts, some of which were very much alive alive. By the time he reached the study, he was shivering with a mixture of cold and fear. ‘Hell!!’ he admonished himself, ‘Get a grip you moron, this is ridiculous, you can’t let it affect you this much’ but reality said otherwise, seeing Thiede had completely unsettled him. He knew how to manipulate him, how to pull his string. In short, how to turn him into a doddering idiot without self-determination, always ready to do his bidding, as and when it suited him best, like the past could attest for.
By now he was feeling cold and frightened. He kept replaying in his mind the conversation that Thiede and him had. ‘Why did he said the things he said’ ‘Was there a hidden meaning in his words’. One after another the questions came to his mind, but he was alone, nohar to talk to, nohar to share his worries, just him and the memory of that short moment with Thiede. To make matters worst a feeling of being trapped started to take hold of him, so he did the only thing he could think of, he grabbed a bottle of something that was on the desk and quickly left the house. Once outside the cold of the night acted as a sedative and after a couple of drinks from the bottle, his felt some of his self-control return to him.
Without thinking, he started walking into the garden ignoring the chill of the night, as he enjoyed the fragrance of all the plants and the peace of the place. When he looked up, what he saw took his breath away; it was a perfect black sky, with its even more perfect myriad of stars and a moon that only the aestival season could conjure. So he just stood there, like the village’s idiot, looking at the sky as he took the occasional sip from the bottle. Maybe it was the beauty of what he was seeing, maybe it was the liquor, maybe it was his exhaustion, or maybe it was just the combination of all of it, but he found himself smiling and content. He also didn’t realise that by now he was beside the famous fountain of Forever. This was a landmark that had somehow a bad vibe for him, ‘the soul’ of the fountain seemed to reject him so he just avoided the place. But this night he felt lured there, he could have sworn he heard voices calling him.
‘For crying out loud’ he shouted to the empty garden ‘Please, go away, leave me alone’ he begged
But silence was all the reply he got, so after a few uncertain steps he eventually ended up sitting against the fountain, and the warmth of the marble against his back brought him an unexpected source of comfort. It felt so nice almost like a caress. Which in turn helped him to calm-down enough, to realise that he was getting drunk,
‘Maybe’ he said out loud ‘If I just sit here and relax, I will fall asleep, there’s nothing like sleeping in the open under the full moon’ he explained to himself,
Then he very carefully laid-down in the grass making sure that, once again, his back was against the warmth of fountain. He was starting to fall asleep, when he heard his name being called, at first he did not pay any attention convinced that it was just his imagination, he was sure that it was all a dream, but then he felt a soft hand gently shaking his arm. That was when he realised that it was not a dream, somehar was there beside him.
‘Seel, Seel, come-on love, please wake up’ said the voice
He tried to open his eyes, but whatever it was that he had been drinking had mellow his reactions, and so all that he could do was remain laying against the fountain, which of course worried Swift so much that he took hold of his arms and force him to sit down, whilst gently slapping his face.
‘Seel, please love, come-on wake up’ ‘You can’t stay here, it’s cold and damp’ but he was too tiered and a bit drunk to be able to move. Eventually, summoning as much strength as he could he was able to speak, his voice sounded hoarse and his mouth felt as if he had been liking a toilet, a thought which of course made him giggle somewhat insanely
‘I’m so sorry’ he said ‘I just couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to wake you up, so I came out for a bit of fresh air’
‘I see, and the bottle, what was it for?’
‘It was for medicinal purposes’ he managed to reply in between more giggles.
‘So, are you cured?’
‘Yes, having you with me has cured me of everything’ he managed to answer as he gave Swift and adoring look.
‘I’m not lying, it’s true, I’m fine’ he insisted stubbornly
‘The only truth is that you are drunk’ said Swift in between chuckles
‘I’m not drunk!’ ‘I’m just relaxed’ he replied sounding slurred
So seeing that he could not make Seek stand up, Swift sat beside him and demanded and explanation
‘OK tiahaar, out with it’ ‘I had it with you, your headaches and the weird way you’ve been behaving lately, come-on spill it out!’
For a moment it seemed as if Seel was going to try to evade the question, but then he just gave in, as he knew that sooner or later he would have to tell Swift.
‘Thiede came to talk to me when I was at the balcony’ he managed to explain.
‘So?’ ‘Weren’t you happy that he took the time to talk to you?’
‘Me, happy?’ ‘Why would I be happy?’ he answered noticing the panic in his own voice.
‘Well, I don’t know, you were his friend and confidant, you always enjoyed talking to him’
‘Swift my love’ he said trying to stand up, but without any success, ‘As I pointed out to our illustrious Aghama, he talked, I obeyed’ ‘Hell, by the time I realised how much he had used me, it was too late for me to do anything about it’ ‘All I could do was say yes Thiede, and keep on obeying’ ‘Our son was his last request, and even to that I said yes Thiede’.
‘I love our son, Seel, I don’t care how he came to be and I don’t regret a second of his existence’
‘That’s not the point, Swift’ he replied s feeling even more tiered and depressed.
‘Then what is the point?’
‘The point is that I always end following his orders, regardless of everything’ ‘You know, like when he ordered me to … well … you know’
‘What about it?’
‘He had the chick to tell me that although I couldn’t see it there and then, in the end I would forgive him and thank him’
‘And, have you forgiven him?’
‘No, I haven’t forgiven him’ ‘How could I?’ ‘He took away from me the most sacred right of all hara’ ‘He took away from me the right to choose my soul-mate!’ he said almost with a sob.
‘What about the gratitude?’
‘Since then I’ve thank every Dehar in the Universe for the privilege of being with you’ ‘But not him’ ‘Never him, it cheapens our relationship to allow him to be part of it’
‘I see’ ‘Some harsh words, don’t you think?’ he asked
‘No Swift, I don’t think so’ ‘Thiede is like a giant sponge, he sucks the life out of everyone around him, and then when there is nothing left, he throws you away without a thought.
‘It’s that what happened to you?’
‘Because I was young, I was in love and I was jealous. So it was easy for me to believed him, when he told me that sacrifices must be made for the greater good’
‘And of course, now you are not so sure’
‘Of the only thing that I am sure, is that I love you’ ‘And I don’t want him around to endanger what you and I have, you’re my life Swift’
Swift stayed for a moment very still holding Seel’s hands. Worried showed all over his face, suddenly old fears came back to him like an avalanche.
‘Are you afraid of him?’
‘Yes, very much and he knows it’
‘Because he is too powerful’ ‘Because picking-up feelings from every har around him is his favourite pastime’ ‘Because that’s how he managed to get me to do many of the things I’ve done and of which I’m not proud of, by manipulating my fears’
‘You are thinking too much about the past, stop worrying about it ‘It’s done, it’s over, we must move on, it’s the only way, my love’
As he didn’t know how to express the magnitude of his fears, he gave Swift a crushing hug that left his chesnari breathless. Finally he dared to ask
‘What about you Swift, how do you feel about the past. ‘Did you forgive him?’
The answer came out dry, almost like an insult and charged with such terrible anger that left Seel completely stunned.
‘I see’ he said before he could stop himself.
And so it was Swift turn to say
‘No, you don’t see, Seel’ ‘How could you possibly see’
‘Well, you have always been so accepting about everything’ ‘I just thought that, well …. you know … that you were … I don’t know….’
‘That I was what?’ ‘Content?’ ‘Maybe proud of myself?’
He had no answer for those questions, all he could do was to carry on hugging Swift very tight in the hope that his chesnari would sense what he was trying to say, but couldn’t express with words.
‘You want to know a secret?’ he asked to Seel
‘I always saw Thiede as a necessary evil’
‘I like that description’ he replied, and they both sat there hugging each other and giggling for a short while. But as their laughter died away, Swift continued talking.
‘I am also afraid of him’ ‘Nothing really good has ever come out for my family or me when he’s around’
‘What do you mean?’
After a long sigh, Swift’s answer came out in a low monotone voice, almost childlike. It sounded as if he was reciting a sad poem.
‘He killed my father in a very cruel way; he took away his wish to live’
‘When we most needed him, he imprisoned my brother’s host for twenty years, and nearly killed him’.
‘He tampered with my brain and my emotions, so that I would fall in love with you’
‘In the name of the greater good he forced me to choose between my duty, my people and my family’
Swift stopped talking, as if he had forgotten the rest of the lines in the poem. He gave a soft sigh and then said
‘And that my love, is only the tip of the iceberg’
‘You know, sometimes is difficult for me to believe that you all love Cal so much’ ‘After all, he complicated all your lives’
‘Yes and no’ ‘You have to understand that he is family’ ‘And in that insane way of his, he brought passion to our lives, he made us feel alive again, for better or worse, he managed to give each one of us a special gift, something that we will carry to the end of our days’
‘Wow! you really love him’ he said unable to hide his surprise and jealousy.
‘Yes, I love him’ ‘But I am not, and have never been in love with him’ replied Swift very calmly
‘How come?’ ‘You and him are very close’ ‘Wasn’t him your first
‘Yes, we are close and yes, he was my first’ ‘But that’s not what’s important’
‘If that is not important, what is?’
‘What is important is that you are my last, that you are the har I fell in love with, that you are the father or our son, that you are the only har in the whole world with whom I share my fears, my tears, my pain, but most importantly, my hope’ ‘Now, do you understand?
‘Yes’ he answered very softly, almost ashamed.
What his chesnari had said was very short, very to the point and most importantly, painfully accurate. And so he remembered something he had read once, long, long ago. In another time, in another world, but it made the same sense now that it did then
‘It means that you and I are bound by the best and worst things’ ‘We are bound by blood, sweat and tears’ ‘And we are bound for life’ ‘So yes, I get it, that’s what really is important’
‘Glad to hear you got it’ replied Swift cheerfully
‘I want you to tell me something’ ‘But I want the truth, no mater how bad it may be’
‘Have I ever lied to you?’
‘So, what do you want to know?’ asked Swift kindly
‘Did you really know they were tampering with your mind and your emotions?’
The question made Swift chuckle for a while. For all he had been thru, seen and done, Seel was still an innocent, he told himself.
‘Oh yes!’ ‘I most definitely did’
‘But how?’ ‘They were the best at what they did’ he said sounding completely surprised.
‘Seel, my love’ ‘You seem to forget something very important’
‘You forget that I’m only half Varr’ ‘The other half is Colurastes like Cobweb, and I can assure that my host raised no fool’ answered Swift with pride in his voice ‘You know, I think the minute I was out of my pearl Cobweb began teaching me the ways of his people and the ways of their magic’ ‘Although I must confess that I was not always a good student’
Seel’s expression was worth a million words, he couldn’t believe what he had just heard.
‘Of course, of course’ he kept repeating ‘But hold a second, if you knew, why did you keep it to yourself?’
‘Two reasons, my love’ ‘If I hadn’t join them the horror of that war would have lasted much longer, with the logic consequences’
‘And the other reason’
‘They could only tamper with my emotions up to a point’
‘What do you mean’ he asked eagerly
‘I means that falling head over hills for your, was something that I did all by myself, Seel’
‘I don’t get it’
‘It’s simple Seel, my soul found it’s mate and was not prepared to let go’ ‘So, like with everything else in my life, I took the good, you, together with the bad, them, because I knew that in the end you and I being together was the only thing that mattered’ ‘Happy now?’
‘I love you Swift, and I always will ‘No matter what, no matter who, I love you’
‘I love you Seel, and I always will’ ‘No matter what, no matter who, I love you’
It felt good, actually it felt very good to say and hear those words. But what felt even better was to undress each other. To reach for his chesnari’s body, to trace patterns on his skin. To enjoy the pleasure of being kissed and kiss back. To open himself completely as they shared breath and ravish in the feeling of being invaded so intimately. Yes, Seel was right, the only important thing was them, together, being part of each other. And as he embraced the magic of the full moon which made their aruna even more breathtaking, his mind was free of all thoughts, allowing him to completely drown in love and pleasure.
The noise was soft enough but at the same time loud enough to be irritating, so he ignored it in the hope that it would go away. He also forced himself to be very still convinced that if he didn’t move the noise would stop. Sadly, it didn’t work. Worst still, his source of warmth was getting way from him. Eventually, he managed to move his head and open his eyes just enough to see what was going on. For starters everything was too bright around him. Then he felt a slight cold breeze that make him shiver. Then he identified the source of the noise and he literally froze. Standing almost on top of him and his chesnari was Cobweb. He was tapping his foot and looking at them in a menacing manner. To make matters worst his body language clearly indicated that he was far from amused.
‘And what, exactly, do you two think you are doing?’ ‘Have the two you completely lost your minds?’
Swift was the first to react. He sort of tried to gather as much clothing as he could to cover both of them, whilst at the same time come up with an answer.
‘Good morning Cobweb’ ‘Umm …. yes …. ah well, nice day?
‘Don’t you Cobweb me Swift’ ‘How dare you!!’ screamed his host at the top of his voice.
What seemed like a lost battle, a few seconds latter proved to be precisely that. Cobweb, for some reason that neither one of them could figure out, was fuming. So he decided to be brave and try and find out what was going on, which of course was easier said than done, as Cobweb was now bending over them and looking even more menacing than before.
‘Cobweb, you look very upset, what’s wrong?’
‘What’s wrong?’ ‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong’ replied Cobweb his face getting even closer.
‘For starters the whole household has been looking for the two of you for the last three hours’ ‘By now Azriel and Aleeme are scared out of their mind because nohar has been able to find you’ ‘And last but not least I find the two you sleeping naked by the fountain’ ‘Is that enough for you!!!’
Always the conciliatory har, Swift tried to say something, but before he could open his mouth, Cobweb saw the bottle kind of floating in the fountain’s water, and that was when thing really go bad.
‘And what is that doing in the fountain?’ he said pointing to the bottle.
Again Swift tried for the amicable approach
‘Well … Umm … I … well … see your point … but the thing is … Well, you know it was sort of nippy and we had a drink or two and then … well … maybe by mistake … Umm … I can assure you … we would never …. you know …no, no never’ he mumbled as the implication of what he just said dawn on him.
Whatever Swift tried to do or say, was completely lost in Cobweb as he slowly stood up straight, he then took three steps backwards and then proceeded to speak to them in the same way he did when Swift and Tyson, had been very young, and he wanted to scare the living daylights out of them.
‘I want the two of you to listen very carefully, understood?’
‘Yes Cobweb’ they both rely at the same time
‘One, you are going to stand up and get dressed’ ‘Two, you are going to get that bottle out of the fountain’ ‘Three, you are going to go inside and apologise to everyhar for the scare you gave them’ ‘Four, you are going to pray very hard for the fountain to be clean and in perfect order’ ‘Are we Clear?’
‘Because if I even remotely, think that there is something wrong with the fountain’s water, the two of you will be back here faster than you can say I’m sorry’ ‘‘Understood?’
‘At which point, you will empty the fountain, and clean every inch of it with a toothbrush, until everything is immaculate and shinny’ ‘Any questions?’
‘Good, I see we have reached a clear understanding’ and with that he turned around and was gone.
‘Was he always this scarier?’
‘This is nothing, you should have seen him in the days I was a harling’
‘Oh yes!’ ‘But then again, this is what being a family it’s all about’
‘We better hurry’
‘Yea, you’re right’
‘Don’t forget the bottle’
‘Yea, I’m on it’
So they fished the bottle out of the fountain, got dressed, share a last kiss and then started running towards the house laughing and teasing each other, knowing that, although you cannot change the past, you most definitely can do something about the present and the future. Both of which (fountain aside) were looking good, actually, very good, indeed.