Change

I am spitting words on paper bags, they beg

For change.

I have no power but words and phrases, right now, maybe only coins, some cents.

I give, the clatter of lonely quarters against plastic containers.

She came, dropping bills by carelessness, no shame.

Itching about her problems, void of friends or senses as she see them.

“Why can’t they look for a job?”

Ah, a modern Marie Antoinette, a marionette

Of Chinese parents who berate those born without a pair of golden chopsticks shoved in between their fat lips.

“You are making us look bad.”

Some of us have to stick for ourselves, and her words will get her head chopped off from her chubby neck.

But I am no Robespierre, before I shoot myself in the jaw, I’ll write,

Capture how wrong it is to see a squirrel and smile

While deeming men deprived of dignity and home vermin, vile

Is the one who defile characters and stories,

profiles waiting for change.

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Alley of College Life

You’ll be taking daily abuses.

They counting stars, but you tracing bruises.

You see how the rich kids cruises

Down their boulevard of life while you got

Your dark alley to climb

Alone

Up the valley of death, though no sin to confess

Through these words to digress, digest the pests

Of angst and thanks, collide.

You heard an accolade accumulated to last, of voices and choices you don’t regret.

So you come before Him, naked, shaken

and forsaking the notions, grammar-buried emotions to function

At this junction of life, riddled by examinations.

The only thing not examined was the time, heart, soul, the moment.

A simple panick, a crumpled nick of time, and you’re gone

Stumbling in the alley towards light.

What is this blight?

Housekeeping

Hey,

It’s been a while since I posted an announcement post. As you can see, I am nearing the end of my book, The Emperor and Her Assassin, and my first college semester. Yay? I’m going to whoop and pretend that I am not worried sick by finals.

As I have developed a more organized way of life, I have been writing more for the past weeks. I have also recently discovered that all comments from you guys go directly into spam (or perhaps the only comments I get are just spam. Now this is more probable). I have noticed that all the “spam”/comments accumulate in this random chapter of my book, so I just made this post as a new place to collect it.

If you have any GENERAL QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, PERSONAL ATTACKS TO LOWER MY NONEXISTENT SELF-ESTEEM, IDEAS, ADVICE, AND/OR PRAISE TO RAISE MY NONEXISTENT SELF-ESTEEM, please comment here on this post. Or, find the tab on the corner of your screen (or the bar on top if you are on your computer), and comment on the “About This Blog” page for general comments!

As always, thanks for dropping by. I would love to hear what you think of this site!

Cheers,

Meiko

LXX.

Even when she closed her eyes she saw him still, the paling skin, her hands soaked by his blood while his consciousness slipped through her fingers. Her brother was willing to save her at the cost of his own life even after what her had authored.

Then there was the human princess who she dismissed out of blind pride and jealousy: Lyra swept in like an angel, single-handedly breathed life back into her dearest brother. Of course, she saw now how the woman was his fated one, her beauty, prowess, strength…Eri felt dumb and useless. Her old self would have rushed to hide behind wrath-disguised shame, but the thorned vines of her contract was undone.

She had to make amends.

This was the thought drilling her in her place as the drone of old men’s bickering about the proper punishment for the rebels bled into eternity only quantified by the diminishing pots of tea served in dignified hurry of imperial servants. The affair gave her enough time to recite her plans: after she’s executed the deed, she aimed to fly home, assuming her brother and company went there. Even if she was to be banished from her people — if she was not, she would exile herself — she needed to see him, to tell her she was sorry, that she was thankful for his unwavering faith in her.

“I have reached an epitome with the experiment that I have previously disclosed with Sir Lawrence and Lord Paris; I believe that with Eridani’s help, I would be able to complete it in time,” The mention of her name raised alarm, she continued to watch the men and attempted to read Claud’s smile. “In fact, I ought to show you all now. Your lordships?”

A cacophony of pushed-back chairs, they followed the Priest towards the Eastern Wings to the Lesser Courts. The white marbles washed by sorrows of dethroned empresses or childless consorts was a perfect backdrop to his dark arts, Eridani recalled the sickly fascination and complete lack of sympathy when Claud first claimed the Palace as his own after he overran the place with an army possessed by sprites he summoned from some ungodly spell. No matter, she would avenge them soon enough tonight; she turned her attention back to the grassy knoll before her. The skies above was an oppressive orange: the conversation was longer than she expected, and that rendered her with less time than she would have liked for her escape, and more importantly, the assassination. The party stopped before a clearing, and she peeked between the cracks of each men standing before her.

“Eridani,” The Priest beckoned, and she resigned to an act of obedience for now while her mind attempted to seek comfort in imagining her blade sinking into that disgusting man’s heart; she went forward, her eyes trained on the foreign symbols burnt into the ground.

“What is this?” She tried not to flinch as the Priest placed his hands upon her shoulders, her wings itched to spread and carry her to safety. “This spell…” It seemed familiar, a call to a distant past when a book fell from her mother’s shelf.

In hindsight, that seemingly random volume must have fell from a cruel tug of fate, the page she flipped to and stopped on made a deeper dent in her mind than the book made to the reading room’s floor, an image she now matched to the one upon the earth.

“No…that is impossible, you would ruin all of us…” She brushed off the vice upon her shoulders, incredulous, furious. “You knew what happened to the Fallen.You cannot possibly be so insane to think you can contain a spirit of that caliber –”

“– You are right, my dear, I do not expect myself to control it,” His smile stretched from ear to ear; she made to fly but strong hands seized her wings, arms, a kick elicited a wet crack from her leg. Blinded by a white flash of agony blinded, she fell too heavily into her captors’ grips.

“…No…”

“But you, my dear,” The Priest retrieved a dagger made of whatever poor beast’s bone offered by a silent servant. “I know that you.

She couldn’t see the blade fall. She could only hear the wet crunch as a cane crashed against her left side and wing. She couldn’t put strength in…anything, and she slumped into the blade that…disappeared to the hilt into her chest. Nauseatingly red, so much red, too much. She screamed out another spell between wet coughs that tasted of iron. A shock freed her momentarily from her captors, but that left her entire broken weight upon her legs. Her wings flapped helplessly like the clipped fledgling she was, the world spun, the sky a fiery red and her hands slicked scarlet to match. The crimson rivulets steadily seeped through her fingers, the river of time paused.

This…was the end.

Not even near two decades. She hated her life, but she was finally ready to change it. The rough grass felt harsh against her cheek. Her teeth buried into her lips. A goal, she found one, needed to go home, to see her brother, to tell…but she knew.

There was only one thing she could do. She had to stop this demented Priest. Her hand grasped at the handle of the dagger but her blood made her grip too slippery. When she finally forced the blade out, she was numb, cold. She blindly bashed the ceremonial blade against the dried earth now greedily drinking up her blood. Hollow thunks.

She had to break it.

She raised it again. But, before she could bring it down, a hand caught her arm. She wanted to see the face of the man she would spend eternity to haunt and torment, but all she saw was red, the boiling sky and roaring shadows flickering, casting her to the exile of hellish agony.

“Ah…ahyung,” She gasped her last, forsaken.

LXIX.

“This…is just wrong,” He was misguided perhaps, but not completely wrong.

“You don’t understand, child,” She was nearing the edge of irritation. “We cannot afford another confrontation.”

“But, we are not created for the purpose of wallowing in our sorrows and ignorant of the future,” He pleaded, as much as it was for his people, it was for Eridani, for her; his mother was trapped in a portraiture of fear and insecurities. “Imagine, our human charges would suffer the same if we are stuck in inaction!”

“We were slaughtered the first time, what makes you think we are in a position to defeat that demon this time?”

“We were surprised before, if we plan with the other clans and prepare –”

“– You are an image of your father, full of ideas and inexplicable assurance with no grasp of reality,“ She was exasperated, he knew, she only mention the comparison when she was truly upset. “Look what that led him, he defied the Creator, rendered his family fatherless with a poor excuse of a Nokshan in his place –”

Words crept up his throat before he checked them: her dismissive attitude towards his sister, her daughter, so he lashed out, “You cannot speak of Eri like that. She’s miserable because of your thick skull’s idea of respect for father that is in truth a parade of pointless mourning that kept our people in circles –”

His mother’s reputation as a fighter is not baseless, as even her reserved strength in the strike across his face made him question if his jaw stayed its ground before he drank in the sharp sting of iron pouring over his tongue from the inside of his cheek.

“You do not deserve the lordship with your brash, immature judgements,” She ruled, cold.

“And you,” He panted, though his jaw was fine. “You do not deserve to call yourself a mother if you blame your child for an incident she did not even witness.”

He opened his eyes from the memory then, saw instead of the stormy night the welcoming, warm sunlight pouring in through the half-opened window, falling upon the plants he used to raise and a few books in neat clusters upon his writing desk; his hand darted to his side as he shifted against the comforting weight of blankets, found the wound well on the way to scar and leaving nothing but numbness in its wake. Then he realized he wasn’t alone, turned to his bedstead and met the calm eyes he spited in his nightmare.

“Mother,” He muttered, wondered if the Creator imparted his dream for the sake of making this meeting even more difficult than it already was. “I…”

“I’ve missed you,” She took his hand in hers, read his mind. “Forget about all that.”

“I…should not have said such a thing,” He mumbled, realizing for the first time how dry his throat was. “I am sorry.”

She bowed her head in silent agreement, never expected her pride to allow her the utterance of a direct apology, “You have a firm grasp of our people’s purpose at such a young age, you are more than deserving of the title.” He felt the gentle squeeze on his hand. “In an attempt to save myself from my own fears, I have trapped you in them.”

She let go, and he managed a smile, “Is this another dream? It’s quite a sudden change of heart now that you are blessing me,” He jested, she smiled before embracing him.

Then a polite knock interrupted, knowing it was one she summoned, Alvenia sprung up and answered.

Lyra stepped into view, scanned the simple decor before her eyes settled upon him. She smiled so brightly, it didn’t help him feel less dream-like.

“I have some business to attend to,” Alvenia left with a purposeful expressionlessness that made her son shake his head.

“I brought you some water,” She offered as she plopped down on the edge of the bed. “How are you feeling?”

“Significantly better, thank you,” He accepted the wooden cup, sipped as his groggy brain stumbled for a word.

Lyra wasn’t sure what to do with her hands again once they were free of the water cup, and questions boiled over relief as she contemplated if he remembered the little moment his feverish self instigated. Part of her demanded that such improper interactions remain in her memory alone, though a larger part of her wanted to feel his arms about her again, the warmth of his wings protectively draped about her.

What did she just…imagine?

She shook her head to clear her mind, and as though the thought left her mind and landed on his with the motion, a dull thud of wooden cup on wooden bedsteads, “I vaguely remember….some impropriety on my part, I am sorry…”

“…No, no, don’t worry about it. I would have caught a cold otherwise.”

Silence fell, she thought to leave, but he cleared his throat, “Lyra.”

“Yes?”

“…Thank you…you…saved my life, you defeated the Fallen. You undid the contract: I am…amazed…” Once the silence was broken, he wanted it back to save his rambling mess. “I was just trying to say that…I am infinitely grateful, and despite the fact that I am no longer obliged to help you out of the constraints of the contract, I want to stay by your side –”

She pulled him into a tight embrace, pressing her ear against the racing drum of his heart. She felt the clumsy, shaking touch brushing her cheeks and strands of her hair, smoothed the ruffled feathers beneath her fingers.

She shifted back only enough to meet his eyes, “I love you.”

She felt her short breaths merging with his as she squeezed her eyes closed.

He rested his forehead against hers as though to convey the thought he declared aloud regardless, “I love you, too.”

She nearly froze, felt him lean forward while she tried not to burst into a happy ball of flames.

LXVIII.

They stopped just shy of the edge of their goal, uncertain.

“We don’t have any idea of how to enter their realm: there must be a barrier of some sort for their presence to be so mythified,” Horatio spoke to the pointless lines his beloved was drawing in the sand where they settled briefly.

Lyra figured from Jiube’s hoots that they were a day’s journey away from its home.

They had to: Alde needed rest, they needed help. Horatio rejected the idea of returning to Etzion, Arkmend was too far, the capital was gone, leaving the Nokshan realm as the sole option, though she still dreaded it. Not only was the only conscious being in their party remotely familiar with the realm the chirping familiar, she knew so little of anything Nokshan beyond Aldebaran.

But, as unreliable as the beast was, it had been a reliable guide — Lyra recognize the field of greens where they once came to retrieve a root for her uncle — and as glad as she was to help Alde, she was mostly lost in speculations and concerns. Athlem easily read her unease and drew in the dirt with added urgency.

“I am sure they will welcome you,” She muttered to the girl as the latter sat down next her, a slight smile of reassurance.

“Your baseless assumptions comfort me not,” Lyra rebutted, checked for the hundredth time if Alde was still comfortably tugged under his familiar’s wing. “I know, you are going to argue that your assumptions are not baseless.”

“And I would be right, supported by the numerous times from which you rudely averted your eyes from mine just to blush and check on your beloved,” Athlem raised her chin and commanded her words with her stick like a queen’s scepter.

Lyra laughed it off.

They soon continued their journey, stopping occasionally to pass the night. Their trek took a continuous incline, passed the tangled branches and grass until they met a cliff of broken rocks seemingly stretching into the skies. It was chiseled by time and a shroud of mystery materialized in thin mists. She was suspicious. The rustle of leaves whispered, emitted energy pure yet potent. Intent eyes matched drawn bows, silent breathes melting harmoniously into nature in imperceptible disguise she only learned to recognized from the best.

The Nokshans were here.

While Athlem observed the energy and the plants crawling over the cliffs and Horatio scrutinized unworldly auras with watchful paranoia, Lyra was certain enough to speak aloud, “We are here with your King, not ill intentions.”

The two were slightly startled by her assurance, silence answered before wisps of air introduced five Nokshans. She immediately recognized the woman before her, the ageless facade of royal impassiveness masking unspeakable sorrows of losing half of her soul. Lyra recalled the eyes, fearless in the face of the mercenary, so identical to the Nokshan she had come to love.

“Lady Alvenia,” She made to bow, but felt gentle hands upon her arms and a musical voice poured forth in an ocean of peace.

“Lyra, my daughter,” — oh, Athlem won’t let her live that down — “my warmest welcome and my deepest thanks.”

She looked into those eyes studying her, met the aura of ungodly power reserved for the Nokshan lord; Alvenia nodded and went to personally greet Horatio and Athlem, while Lyra noticed from the corner of her eyes Jiube snapping at a poor kinsman of its master that was trying to retrieve their prodigal prince to rush him to the treatment he needed.

“Jiube, no,” She whispered, and the familiar froze, mortified, retreated to her side in its full size to beg for forgiveness.

The congratulations and blessings were interrupted as Alvenia erupted into laughter behind her, “Of course, if you are capable of taming the Fallen, Jiube is no challenge.”

Lyra managed a grin of embarrassment checked by pride before Alvenia glided to her side, guiding her by an arm towards the cliff, “I am sure all of you are exhausted and famished by your travels, it is rude of me to have kept you here.”

Hearing no protest, the Nokshan Lord guided her towards the stone wall, raised a hand. Runes illuminated the aged rocks under hushed utterance, and when Lyra blinked again she found herself in a forest dotted by gems of light falling in lazy rays illuminating young grass splattered with wild flowers. Some Nokshans had assembled in a graceful symphony of curiosity lining the paths, making each step a chore as she weighed the eyes watching her every breath.

As they walked down what must have been their town — the houses lodged between the strongest branches of ancient trees hid fledglings peeking from round windows — Lyra held her breath as a familiar tree emerged to view. The trunk was more weathered and broader than before, its roots a web of stairs spanning the size of any Lunzeldine city squares collecting tranquil ponds mirroring the sparkles of recent rain.

It was here, those small mirrors once tainted scarlet with greed and hate. All because of her father, his monster, the demon she came to possess.

“Lyra,” She didn’t notice that Alvenia was watching her contemplation until she felt the gentle hand brushing a wayward tear that rolled down her cheek without her knowledge. “We do not remember to hate, but so we can love.”

No one ever think like that around her, and its ring of forgiveness undid her. As Alvenia embraced her and shielded her in her raven wings, she didn’t know why the tears fell forth.

No, she knew why: she wept for the crimes this tree stood witness to, the blood her blood shed, the years leading up to this day when she couldn’t fathom anything but hate for her father. She wept for her, for him.

The rivulets of time seemed to pause until a gentle voice coaxed her to give into fatigue.

For the first in the longest time, she didn’t dream and just slept.

LXVII.

Something was…off.

As skies crackled with lightning and thunder cackled beyond the dull roar of rain, she made a blunder. If only she still had her dagger, then she could have seen their progress, sense them better. But, it made sense, the gradual tumble of the dense grey clumps of storm characteristic of the region, the unrelenting, patient drum of water against faltering wills spanning over the last week.

This could very well be her uncle’s doing.

The rebels did not seem to have caught on yet, inexperienced with illusionary crafts that only the imperial advisor was known to wield. But as Jiube hopped in and out of the mouth of the tent to tease the rain in an almost ritualistic jubilation, she realized that it was not as much as the rebels are inexperienced as it was her becoming more susceptible to these things.

The change was evident, her nightmarish, dream of an encounter with the Fallen silenced the noises tearing at her mind. She even tried to call for them, only to find blessed silence. So this was it, she boldly assumed. The end of the reign of the Fallen.

Still, the skies were solemn, even as her powers blossom she could hardly take risks: she sat on edge of the makeshift bedding, cursing inwardly at the cold as she stayed her dutiful watch over Alde, who, she observed, was thankfully well enough to mutter phrases teetering on the edge of comprehensibility on sporadic occasions, the last blur of which begged her to stay with him.

Who could have the heart to refuse the simple, feverish plea?

Her post was more difficult than she could’ve imagined: as soon as the rain dropped the temperature did as well, and her blankets, thin slices of canvas and sackcloth haphazardly stitched together, are more apt at containing fleas than heat. The bedding shuffled beneath her; he was flattening his feather cocoon, shivered.

She buried her teeth into her lips to stop their chattering, cursed Horatio under her breath before decidedly casting her canvas-cloth-blanket onto Alde instead. Immediately the cold rushed in and made her pores scream, and she hugged herself in an attempt to rub her numbing arms back to senses.

After what must have been two years of suppressed cold a miracle happened, a slight groan, the relent of lead eyelids followed by a stir. She turned to him, met his groggy eyes squinting in confused disbelief as he tried to decide what was more improbable, his survival or her presence in whatever special hell the Creator would concoct for him.

“Ly…?” He sat up against all odds, winced a little at his side; his wings were an abominable mess and incredibly awkward and stiff. Their attempts at hiding behind him remained as nothing but attempts.

“Does it kill you to stay still?” She smiled with bitterness masking sheer relief, then her teeth remembered and chattered again.

He frowned, seemingly noticing for the first time the rain outside, saw her miserably cold.

“I shall bring you water,” she decided that water was a good enough distraction, but she heard a small shuffle, a coarse warmth clasped her hand, drew her back.

His chin rested upon her shoulder, cold crept over her arms as he instinctively embraced her, invited her into the cocoon of his wings and she gladly accepted.

She felt her fingers and toes’ blood vessels roar back to life, the tickle of subtle stubbles against her neck was embarrassing to sear the tips of her ears. She felt like she should be more bothered, but she felt so…safe. The uncertainties of her powers, the murderous apprehension interpreting Horatio’s spell, melted away. Then she felt his breath against her collar, even, deep. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

She woke to a cough at the mouth of the tent, strange that Jiube should have remained so quiet, and she nearly fell from her perch. A rebel officer, his face covered. One of their spies, perhaps? She straightened her back, though still didn’t have the heart to move the peacefully sleeping Nokshan.

The spy stepped in, looked about, a thin hand wrenched off the veil, “Lyra, dear, collect your raven and let us be off.”

She suppressed her yelp of joy to a hushed excitement, “Aunty!”

The addressed assessed her beloved niece and the Nokshan draped across her shoulders in protective sleepiness, “Am I interrupting?”

“No, no, but how did you know…”

“I never knew bluejays can be messengers, either, but she delivered.”

“Where is she now?”

Athlem bit her lips out of unbreakable habit, “She said she had unfinished business with Lord Claud.”

“Ah,” Lyra stated flatly, felt a wriggle at her shoulder: someone seemed to be unhappy with the noise of whispered conversations and was burrowing into the crook of her neck. “We ought to go, I assume uncle took care of the guards?”

“Of course, they think themselves drowning…but, surely they won’t be very happy once they came about. Shall we?”

Before Lyra can blush again they were half way across the mountains on the back of trusty steeds, when Athlem jested about her excitement for winged grandchildren. She was so tempted to elbow the older woman, but the slight hill of the doctor’s stomach convinced Lyra to let the mother have some fun.

Besides, she was past the point of denial, she loves him and he loves her. And just stating this phrase in her mind filled in the blanks he drew that starry night, when she ventured to ask of his mate and he could only turned away in what she initially thought was annoyance, but now realized was just to hide the tell-tale pink that conquered his cheeks.

She tugged a strand of midnight hair behind his ear, fingers lingered to trace his jaw and paused. She dropped the idea along with her hand, scoffed at her own pathetic self, and looked on to the brightening skies instead.