Genre: Fairy Story/Myth
A/N: This is the first piece of non fanfic fic I have ever posted. It's pretty scary doing it, I have to say, and i'm a bit frightened especially as this story is deeply personal. It's essentially a fairy story, written in what I hope is a mythic style. Feedback is appreciated.
Summary: Once, in this older world of not very long ago, lived a girl. She was a girl who was made both of fire and of the earth, and she lived in a little house of rock, wood and moss at the centre of a forest by the sea.
Once, long ago, the veils between the worlds were thinner than they are today. Spirits came and went freely from the world of men and women, moving from one place to the next like wind, passing through the doorways between the worlds of night and day. The spirits wandered through the worlds leaving tracks where they went, pressing themselves into places, leaving marks, wounds, memories and gifts.
In this time of long ago, the Gods were young and they strode their way across the night sky as great shadows, blacker even than the deep blue of the night, spitting out stars as they went and leaving them streaked across the sky. They raced across the daytime sky as great grey storms, gathering to brood at the tops of mountains and lonely moors. Back then, the Gods owned time and bent space to their will.
Later, the doors between the worlds closed to all but those few who knew how to open them. Then, the spirits wandered only between the walls of their own world and the Gods fell into a deep slumber.
Time passed. The world became older.
Once, in this older world of not very long ago, lived a girl. She was a girl who was made both of fire and of the earth, and she lived in a little house of rock, wood and moss at the centre of a forest by the sea.
This is her story.
The girl had lived alone for longer than she could remember. Perhaps she had always lived alone, only sharing her home for a short time with the occasional traveller passing through. She became friends with the forest around her and learned how to track the growth of trees, flowers and ferns through the year; how to follow the pathways of sun and moon across the sky. She knew how to sing the secret songs of the moths and the toadstools, and she learned how to spin the silk of the spider’s webs that hung from the forest trees.
The roots and the rocks which sank down into the green mossy ground were her companions, and the hearth which always burned at the centre of her home kept her warm.
But the girl was restless. Because beyond the deep shadowed canopy of the trees, out in the light where she didn’t often venture was the wide, wild sea, and the endless sky, both of them stretching out for miles. When the wind was low, she could hear the sea whispering from beyond the boundaries of the forest, wrapping itself around both her day and night dreams. And after time it became so that the ebb and flow of the tides, and the rise and fall of the waves seemed to fill both her waking and sleeping hours, calling to a part of her that was both wild and lonely.
So one day, the girl decided to leave her home and her hearth and to venture out over the roots of the huge trees, past the moss covered green rocks, outwards and onwards to the edge of the forest. And when she reached the edge where the huge gnarled trunks thinned then stopped, and the canopy broke, there stretched away in front of her a
Beyond that sand was the ocean, a deep green cauldron of movement filled with white horses that rushed towards and broke onto the shore, before sinking back down to be swallowed into the water. Ancient sea rocks covered in barnacles rose up out of the green-blue, and huge ancient boulders were littered through the sea as if a giant had thrown them carelessly into the water.
The sun was shining hot into the girl’s eyes, but she could just make out that next to one of these rocks stood a boy. The water swirled round his knees, gathering to him and then pushing away again and his form seemed to shift and change as she squinted in the sun. He looked as different from one moment to the next as the movement of the waves.
As the girl left the canopy of the forest, cautiously making her way onto the hot sand of the beach, so the boy too began to make his way out of the sea. When they drew closer together, she could see that the boy had hair the colour of mottled drift wood, and eyes as dark as the deepest brown soil in the woods. They met on the beach, in-between the woods and the sea, the ocean at his back and the trees at hers; and the girl knew then that this was the reason that the sea had been calling to her for so long. Night and day she had heard it, never until now noticing the spaces inside her, the gaps in-between her bones that the salty water had sought to flow into.
The girl looked at the boy and he looked back at her, and they smiled.
After that first day, the girl returned every day to the golden sands between the edges of ocean and forest. Sometimes when she arrived, the boy was waiting for her, watching her emerge from shadows of the trees. Sometimes she waited for him, and watched as he rose shining from the deep blue, water covering him like skin.
The girl had heard stories of those like the boy; those who rightfully belonged to the sea and the winds. She knew somewhere inside her that he could not be tamed, that ocean and sky were so wide and wild that he must always return there in the end. She knew she was made of rock and fire, and he of the sea and the sky, but she could not help but fall in love with him despite this – and for this very reason.
He fell in love with her too. The girl could feel how he flowed into her, how his shifting shape filled the gaps between her bones, how she breathed him in and he filled her, becoming part of her breath and blood. He moulded himself to her, and in return she anchored his shifting shape and carried him carefully in her hands.
They showed each other things in that space between their two worlds.
The boy taught the girl about the depth of the ocean and its endless movement. He showed her how the ocean always moved within him and he cried tears of salt that welled up from the sea deep inside him. He taught her to feel and understand the ebb and the flow of the many different tides. He showed her how the ocean is never fixed in its form, how every ripple and current is unique and how it is all in a constant flux. He spoke to her about the wide sky that is the ocean’s mirror, and about the birds that fly through it. He put his fingers to his lips and whistled and a small bird came and landed on her outstretched hand.
The girl taught the boy how the roots of the trees and the plants sink down deep into the ground, how they grasp at the earth and all the warmth within it. She showed him how their roots anchored them and allowed them to grow. At first the boy was scared of the twisting roots, but the girl took him by the hand and led him from the sand to the edge of the forest. She showed him the great trees and all the roots webbing down into the ground. She showed him how to push his fingers and toes into the rich soil, how when he did, he could grow too. When he was less afraid, she showed him the mighty rocks and boulders that sat within the depths of the trees, cloaked in moss and as ancient and still as time. She taught him how to listen to the rocks, how to learn to fix movement into form. She showed him the fire and the flame of her, and how it could warm him through.
And in the end, the boy learned to love the forest as much as he loved the girl. So one day he decided to follow the girl into its heart, and into the little house made of rock and wood and moss with the ever burning hearth at its centre. The girl watched as he warmed himself by the fire, his face shifting and changing into the very face that she loved the most. The boy stayed there then from that day onwards, shaping himself to the trees and to the ancient stone that held the long secrets of time.
They did many things, those two, in the time that passed. There were nights where they would watch the stars and name them one by one as they passed through the sky. They ran through the woods, leaping and shrieking as they jumped over root and rock, chasing each other until they tangled together. They made nests to hold them safe against the winters that came, and wrapped themselves around each other for warmth. They visited the springs and the rivers in the forest, so that the boy would not grow lonely for the taste and the flow of the water, and he bathed his face in the springs and drank their water. He laid down in the rivers, letting them flow over him and listened to how they whispered of the sea.
Time passed and the world grew a little older.
The sun had risen and set hundreds of times, and the moon swelled and diminished in the sky many times since the girl had last heard the sea whispering in her dreams. But one night, when the stars were bright in the black sky, she dreamed of a tide flowing inwards and filling her with salt. She dreamed of how it cooled her flesh and her bones and stirred the places deep inside her. She woke in the middle of the night to an empty bed, and she could see the boy standing at the little window of her house, looking out at the moon through the trees and cocking his head as if he was listening.
From then on, every night as she slept, the tide would fill her, flowing through her, leaving salt on her tongue and brine in her hair. And every night she would wake to an empty bed to see the boy at the window, watching the moon, listening for the sea.
It became as if the girl could hear the crash and fold of the waves through the house day and night. However high or low the winds blew, its sound was always at the back of her mind, and it wove in and out of her ears continually. It curled its way into the forest, wrapping itself around tree and stone and – she knew – wrapping itself around him. He became obsessed with watching the flight of the birds through the sky. He went to the rivers and lay down in them more and more often. His face and his form began to shift and change again, no longer fixed by rock and root. His skin grew cold, and the ever burning hearth could not warm him.
In the end, one day the boy told her that he needed to return to the sea, that the width and the depth of the green and blue was calling to him. He wanted to swim and dive free far out in the waters, to move through the shifting rays of sun as they plunged down into the blue, to chase them to see how far they reached. He wanted to dive deep to discover the treasure that lay buried on the sea bed. He wanted to catch a bird as it flew and let it lift him from the ocean and into the wide sky, to journey far, to try and discover how far the waters went. He wanted to move and to be moved by the tides.
And because the girl had heard the tales and the legends of those who belong to both sea and sky, because she knew he was of water and wind, and she of rock and flame, she knew then that she could no longer hold him, no longer tame him.
So she let him go.
She took him from her little house of stone, coated in moss and stick and mud, with roots that grew deep down into the earth and its ever burning hearth. She walked with him round giant trees, past rocks and boulders, over huge roots. Her bare feet were solid on the ground, leaving prints on the forest floor as she walked and the smell of fire smoke hung in her hair. But he moved next to her quick as the river, and in the places that he walked, he left no footprints. Birds followed his path from overhead, wheeling and singing in the sky as the sea grew nearer, and the scent of brine drifted in on the breeze.
When they reached the sands between forest and sea, the girl turned to him, and saw that his shifting changing face was as unfamiliar to her now as the deeps of the ocean. She lifted her hand to him, and he lifted his to her. But when they reached out towards each other, his hand fell through hers like water and she could no longer feel his touch - just cold saltwater rushing over her fingers and gathering in her palms.
She smiled at him sadly, and he smiled back at her. She could see the sea inside his eyes, and she could feel the sea moving inside hers too, tilting and tipping its way out from her. Saltwater welled and ran down her face, the very last small bits of him leaving her, to be claimed by the sea air. The drops of water left tracks on her face as they went, lines which cooled in the winds blowing in from the sea, and they ached like the cry of the seabirds.
Eventually, he turned from her and walked away across the sand, his body drawn onwards like an ebb tide caught by the irresistible pull of the moon. He moved quickly across stone, sand and shell, his movements a swaying ripple as he went. She could see that although his feet had left no impression on the soft muddy floor of the forest, his footprints were clearly marked out now in the wet sand and they created a pathway that spun out behind him and ended at her own feet. He moved onwards into the sea, the swell lapping and eddying around him, and where the waves broke white horses parted before him.
He did not look back.
In the end, the girl watched him sink under the water. The locks of his hair lay upon the skin of the sea for a moment, and they looked like driftwood being carried out by the tide. Eventually though, they slipped from view, and there was nothing but the white water, the blue waves and the glance of the sun from the movement of the sea.
Now, in this world of not very long ago at all, in the world that came long after the closing of the doors, after the slumber of the gods and after the story of the boy from the sea - there lives a girl. She is a girl of both fire and earth, who lives in a little house of rock, wood and moss in the middle of a forest. The knowledge of the stones sleeps inside her bones, and she knows the secrets of bark and root, of spark and flame.
She lives alone in her little house now, spinning the silk of the spider webs that hang from the forest trees, singing the secret songs of the moths and the toadstools. She tracks the growth of flowers and ferns through the year, and she follows the pathways of the sun and moon across the sky. She has lived alone for longer than she can remember, and perhaps one day it will seem as if she has always lived alone, only sharing her home with the occasional traveller passing through.
But, the girl knows deep down that out beyond the deep shadowed canopy of the trees, beyond the forest and in the light where she doesn’t often venture, is a world. The trees whisper to her of this world when the winds move through them; the slow hum of the stones speak of its shape and pattern when she presses her hand to them. At night, when she watches the flames of her ever burning hearth twist and dance, she can see glimpses of it in their movement.
One day soon, she will feel restless enough to wish to know this world again.
This is her story.
This entry was originally posted at http://lonewytch.dreamwidth.org/12660.html You can comment here or there, i watch both.