Tuesday, February 26, 2013

~~To an Innocent Girl~~

Hey there, pretty one, listen to me
Listen to me, there's so much I need to say
There's going to be agony
And they'll break your heart one day

Girls like me, and you
End up getting hurt a lot
I know you'll hate them for it through and through
But, trust me, that's not worth a lot

Hatred means nothing
When choices are being made
You make a choice for the good of recovering
From the knowledge you were played

I know it's going to hurt
I'd have to lie if I said it was alright
They're going to rip off your shirt
And take you on a ride for a night

And I can't say all men will be there in the morning
I can't say all men are good
I can't say that they'll care when you're crying
But I can say that some will love more than others ever could

Have faith in love; please, cling to it
The second you lose faith, it will go
And I know better than most how hard it is to reclaim it
Love is the best and worst thing you'll ever know

The scars you'll bear
Will go on with you for life
They'll be like the clothes you wear
But they're harder to ruin with a knife

A scar can be good
If you let it be a lesson to you
Learn from it, it'll teach more than a book could
But just remember some are true

Some people say what they mean
And mean what they say
Some people's eyes glint with an evil gleam
While others will love you forever and a day

I can't say your road will be easy
But I can say it will be worth it
Your life will get better, just listen to me
You'll recover from all of it.

~~Holding a Red, Red Rose~~

Standing here, I dream
Of the way we were
My bitter innocence and I
My bitter love and I

Standing here, I forget
How much I missed you
On the times we were apart
On the times I ran away

Standing here, I long
To say I'm sorry one last time
To get over myself and just apologize
Just recover my dignity and say sorry

Standing here, I beg
To know that you're okay
Because in the end I miss you
Because in the end I hate you

Standing here, I cry
For the life I lost
For the parts of me you broke
For the parts of me you took

Standing here, I scream
Hating you for it all
All the things I can't say
All the moments I can't believe

Standing here, I dream
Of a life where I don't miss you
Of a life where I don't hate you
Of a life where you never hurt me....


Dedicated to the ones I loved, to the ones I lost, to the ones that killed me, and to the ones I killed.

~~I Just Know I Will~~

Please understand the words I speak
When I am crying out in shame
Please understand I don't mean for you to hear
I just need to know I'm speaking them for once
Please believe me when I say
I wish I could overcome the things
That haunt me to this day
I wish I could believe
That this would be over soon
And it is just a phase
But the actions I make
Have reactions later on
And they will change the way I live
I wonder if I can escape
From the memories I used to have
And from the people I used to know
I wish I could know
How long it will take
For me to move on
And live my life
I wish I could know
I wish I could tell you
But it's a mystery to me
And it's a mystery to you
So let's just have hope
That I will heal
That I will grow
And that I will overcome
All the hell I live
All the love I fake
All the things that hurt me still
I'll get over it one day though....
I just know I will~

~~Leave Me Here with Ian~~

Go away, go away, go away, go away!
Don't you see I don't want to play?
Go away, go away, go away!
Don't you see I said, "Not today"?

Forget me, please, I beg. No, I demand
This is the only way, I don't care if you understand
Forget me, please, I beg. No, I demand
I've died so much at the touch of your hand

I've drowned in sorrow enough
It's time for you to die at my touch
I've drowned in sorrow enough
Now it's time to see who has it tough

You say you want me so bad
Then I wonder how you feel when you see you've been had
You say you want me so bad
I bet your cellmates will be glad

This is the last time I play
Won't be a final run, this is today
This is the last time I play
I'm done. I'll be okay.

Why? For once, I'm not running away into isolation
For once, I've taken love into consideration
Why? For once, I'm not running away into isolation
This time, Ian will be more than conversation

He will be the one to save me
He will be the one to hold me
He will be the one to save me
He will be the one to be loved by me.

~~Thoughts and Musings on the Movie 'Hard Candy'--Life and Thoughts Post~~


“Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman, does NOT mean she's ready to do what a woman does…..I mean, you're the grown up here. If a kid is experimenting and says something flirtatious, you ignore it, you don't encourage it! If a kid says 'Hey, let's make screwdrivers!' You take the alcohol away, and you don't race them to the next drink!” Haley Stark, Hard Candy.

That, my loves, is the general tone for this little post of mine. You guys should know rather well by now that I have experience. Experience I am NOT ready to have. The cam slut past. All of it. I’m not ready for any of it. Just because I act older, look older, talk older, think older, and feel older than I am does NOT mean I am not an almost-sixteen-year-old girl! Get that through your heads, the many fools who believe I’m ready for it. Just because I’m experienced doesn’t mean I’m not na├»ve. Just because I flirt doesn’t mean I mean to. Just because I want to doesn’t mean I should.

Back off. Lovely blog, you guys know I’m shit at hurting people for my own benefit. Even if it’s something as truly simple as saying NO, don’t do that to me. No, don’t touch me. No, don’t go that far. I can’t do that because I’m a fool. I’m a fool with self-esteem issues, trust issues, and such low self-worth I can be valued at absolutely nothing. I cannot say no. I’m sick and tired of doing this to myself. I wish I could just get out of here. Stop living like this. I’m not ready for this.

I’m. Not. Ready.

Do you hear me? I’m not ready. I’m a kid. I don’t care how you see me but I am a kid. So lay off. I don’t want to do what you want me to do, and so you should just back off.

And guess what, all you creeps? I don’t give a shit about you. I love Ian and he matters to me. You do not.

Remember, loves, the life I lead is a hard one. And the desire for revenge and the need to hate is there, too. I don’t know if I will ever forgive for the things I allowed people to do. The loss of dignity. So much lost self-worth. All of the things I went through. Dear god, all the things I’m still going through….

I’m not healthy. I’m amazed I’m alive. I’m amazed I’m alive….

Ian, if I could do one thing, it would be to make us perfect. It would be to bring you here so I can see you and hold you and touch you and know it’s not a lie. It would be to take away every shard of the wall that keeps me from you and make me love you. It would be to move on from every last bit of my past. It would be to embrace you, and by doing so, embracing love. Embracing love. Embracing life. If only I could. If only I was brave enough.

The things done to me caused this. Caused all the numbness and all the pain. It’s the reason I am this way. Society made me into this. Thank you for shattering me, beloved and hated world.

I want my innocence back. With it I want my joy. I want the parts of me you STOLE. I want the parts of me I GAVE. I want the parts of me you BARTERED FOR. I want the parts of me YOU DESTROYED!

Give it. Back. To me.

Give it back to me before I kick you out of my life for good. Because…..Unless I get to believing I’m whole again, I don’t think I can be enough for Ian. I won’t be good enough for Ian. I won’t feel good enough.

Please, help me.

Help me by leaving me the fuck alone. I’m not ready for what you want. I’m not ready. I’m not ready.

I’m not ready.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

~~Lonely, Loveless, Fulfilled, At Peace~~

I'm looking to try
And understand
The deeds that bring me here
The little lies
The bouquets of tears
The corset of chains
I'm looking to try
And forgive myself
For all the wrongs I've done
The little scars
The accumulation of secrets
The handcuffs of stars
I'm too used to it now
But it's still a mystery
What did come before?
What will come after?
I wish I knew, but in the end
I never will understand
And in truth I love the mystery
I'll spend my life deciphering
The reasons why we're here
And then I'll spend eternity
Knowing that you await me
One day, just over the rainbow....

~~Do You Know~~

Do you know how much
You're on my mind
When you are far away?

Do you know how much
I dream of you
When the night comes soaring in?

Do you know how much
I love you
When I feel so alone?

Do you know how much
It's annoying to write
When it's in this style?

Okay, I'm changing ideas
Midway through the poem
I'll pay for this later

Ian, I write this to you
Knowing you'll see it
And I hope you'll read it and smile

Because I love you
You jerk, damnable, loveable jerk
Every piece of you

I love you and I hope you know
How often I feel you here
Just out of my sight

You're the reason I can smile
When everything is wrong
I need you to know...

~~All a Matter of Perspective: Life and Thoughts Post~~


What is my idea of beauty, of reality, of light? What is good in my eyes? What do I see as noble, self-sacrificing, proud, strong?

What is my idea of horror, of delusion, of darkness? What is evil in my eyes? What do I see as tarnished, selfish, self-hating, weak?

So many questions, and the answers—like all important ones—can only be found within my very own shattered self. Everything in this world is based upon entirely nothing but perception. Perception, and judgment. The will that defines right from wrong. Measuring every action, every reaction, everything we see. Measure is unceasing, and it goes on long after we have become aware of it.

However, there is so much we DON’T see—the pregnant girl we call a slut, even though she was raped; the broken man weeping, who we insult even though he watched his son suicide; these tiny signs of weakness we exploit and exploit because it’s our only true strength. If everything is based upon perception, who then is right? Our choices reflect our past, and our past reflects our souls. But the world is not a mirror that everyone can see into—everyone only sees themselves reflected in it. Their choices changing it, not the choices of the man throwing himself off a bridge. Our lives may be changed, altered, by these choices but they do not change everything. And the echoes of action and reaction always stop after a certain point, every word ever spoken losing meaning as those who heard it move on with their lives.

You know some of what my eyes keep safe—the agonies, the bitter truths, the realities. But do you know of the laughter, the joy? The friends I make, the loves I treasure, the days and nights spent wandering in happiness brought on by companionship? Are you aware of the many nights I curl up in bed, freezing? Are you aware of the schedule I live by, the adoration I have of routine? I lose myself in routine actions—waking up, texting, sleeping, eating, learning, school, homework, and going to and from places? I might operate solely on the changing whims of my racing heart, but my whims these days seem to be to cling to routine. For within routine I can fall and keep up an easy Semblance, pretend Balance when there is none. And what of balance? How do I keep my life maintained, when there are those who seek to drag me to them and be only theirs?

I keep my life maintained by one simple thing: I never let it touch me. I know there are things I must do, and I handle them. I move on willingly with the things in my life that I consider inconsequential, but with the things I consider important give no time for. My life is odd. Is that because I make it odd, or because I simply live it this way?

I deal however I must, and who knows how wrong or right that is? I cope and I move on. I make no bones about being hurt, or saying I make no mistakes. I admit my agonies where they are. I move on as much as I can, even though I am weak at times. I make friends. I smile, I laugh. I get better. Is that so wrong? I know I relapse. I know I still make mistakes. But I'm trying. I'm going to be okay. Right?

I began this post asking you, and myself, what my idea of good and evil is.

I'm going to end it with an answer.

Good and evil are two sides of the same coin. What is good to one; is evil to another.

It's all a matter of perspective. Everything is relative. Nothing is true, loves. It all can be changed. It is never definite. It is never definite....

We live in a world we believe we know, but truly we don't....

Look deeper, dearhearts.

Stop.

And.

Think.

Monday, February 18, 2013

~~Um....: Life Post~~

Seeing as THAT long and kinda depressing post was out of the way, it's time for the Valentine's Day saga post~~~~

Which won't be that much better seeing as, well, it's me.

God I swear I'm not that depressing in real life! You guys just get the bad stuff.

I swear, I can be happy and funny and adorable and cute and bouncy and cheery and god kill me now this is an incredibly long sentence with horrific grammar dear god what am I doing.

Meow.

Why?

Because FUCK LOGIC, that's why!

I'm so weird.

I'm RPing with a friend I kind of sort of know. I feel odd. Especially because he's one of the now numerous people who know about my Figments and accept them.

It's weird.

I like it but it's weird.

Wasn't this supposed to be about Valentine's day?

What was the point of all of this?

HELP!

I have lost the point!

There was a point?

But...I don't think I wanna stop this post. It always feels so good after a blog post like the one I just ended....

To coast, no longer having the worries over my head, clinging to a fragile illusion of sanity and happiness....

Aaand now the illusion is very close to bursting.

God.

Okay, Valentine's day was shit.

Absolute...shit.

People hit on me and I was sad and alone and...and...

But it was alright.

It was another day.

~~Shattering Again, So Long a Fall....:Life Post~~

Atonement. Attempting to recover the part of me that's good, and bare it to your judging gaze. Tearing open a vein with shattered teeth, just to pour out the diamond-encased, diseased blood. Revealing everything, and yet hiding the very part of me that MUST be let out if I am to recover...Saying things I would never say, but saying them all to the one person I know must read this if..if I am to make it out alive. And...that should be obvious, but I'll say that anyways: Ian.

I know I....I know I SHOULDN'T do this, but I have to post this. I have to say this. I have...to atone, and breaking myself down and showing myself to you is the only way I know. I have done you wrong by doing myself wrong. Slowing down my recovery when I should be running ahead with it. Damaging...Damaging myself, when I could be doing no harm.

It's all my fault.

Damn this....

Damn this cold, fragile world! Damn this fickle, fragile, foolish heart of mine...

Get away wall, get away from me~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Get away coldness, get awaygetawaygetawayHELP!getawaygetawaygetaway.......

I'm going mad, so close to....so close to it.

But yet I'm not. A curious cold, a curious desire to go on makes me cling to the edge even though the abyss calls me so. If I throw myself off, instead of accepting your hand....

Don't swim, and keep going with the flow of life...

How long until I hit the rocks and spikes, previously hidden by the welcome black?

How long until I pirouette, a broken ballerina, spiralling into oblivion, my staccato shrieks lost to the roar of the water?

How long would it take?

I'm camming again, okay? I'm doing all of it...again.

And not because I expect a different result.

Not..because I know this time it won't hurt me; that this time I can control it.

Those are just lies. I expect nothing more than the bullshit and the ache in my chest from guilt and shame. I know this time it's going to kill me if I don't stop it. I know this time....I know I NEVER had any control over this demon of mine.

I wonder so much at my character. I do so much, beg for attention, for affection....

For someone to love me even though I cannot love them back.

And why can't I love them? Simple....Because there are so many who offer me love. Who offer me kindness. So many treat me so well, so nice....They're so good to me....

But yet they aren't.

They try so hard, and if...if they were different, they could probably help right? Right?

They could, but I can place no faith in the many who seek my heart. I place no faith in them.

I put everything I had into the relationships I was with before, and I'm not even going to bother listing them now. I was foolish, and I put my faith in fickle fools no better--but yet no worse--than I. I relied on the ordinary, hoping for the extraordinary thing that will wrench me out of my self-imposed exile and hurl me bodily into the all consuming light of day.

No more secrets....

No more secrets, except the ones I know I should be telling.

Maybe.....If I was better....I could handle what Ian is prepared to give me. If I could put my faith in something, maybe it could be him? I've.....I've never believed in anything, you know that right? There is no God. No Allah. No flying pink stick of butter with telekinetic powers. There's an after life in the Figment beliefs, which I say I follow--and by the Gods, I created them--but I don't even believe in that! I have NEVER put my faith in anything. In anyone. And the idea terrifies the living hell out of me.

How do I rely on people that have never been there for me?

People who let me get bullied all my life and never did anything?

People who WATCHED me get hit with a stick and never stopped it?

How do I rely on people who never knew what was going on?

How couldn't they see.....

How CAN'T they see how far gone I am, and how long I've been running on empty?

I'm going on fumes of someone who used to be, clinging....Clinging to an idea. An idea of life, of love, of recovery. I want to recover! I want to get out, I want to find a light, I want....

I want to feel love in a way that isn't an ache in my chest.

I want to feel like I'm flying....

I want to feel good enough for this, because I don't feel good enough for it and if only.....If only I knew how to fix it!

Ian...He's helping me as much as he can. But he's right--this has to be me.

What should I do?

Make it a mantra, repeat to myself that I am good enough and that I am...that I am deserving of everything he gives me? And that I can recover from...what I have done to me?

I allowed them to hurt me, however unintentionally. Many never meant to tear me in two, but the deed was done and my life was won to them.

I lost...my innocence.

I wish I could keep it. I wish I could get it back. Because I...I liked being young, even if my childhood wasn't that great. At least I wasn't as scarred as I am now....

At least I could love.

I'm so tired of all this....

Of people falling for me, caring about me....

Why won't you just leave me alone?

I'm with IAN.

And Ted, but with IAN!

And I'm not going anywhere.

I'm not...going...ANY-FUCKING-WHERE!

And now I'm assuring myself.

God, I suck at lying to both myself AND him.....Okay, well, how should I start all this?

I'll start with what..what he said to me. He asked me this: "How long until the words I speak become empty to you?"

How long....

How long until I hurl him away?

How long...until I pitch myself off that cliff?

I'm afraid I'm slipping, guys. I can't cling to this cliff any more; my hands are bleeding from the rocks, and he's so far....

He's so far....

But yet, he's not.

I sense him here, watching over me closely. Lovingly. He's so proud of me.....

So proud of me, for getting so far....

Even though I trip more than I should, I have gotten far.

I'm okay.

I'm......I'm okay.

I'm going to let him pull me up now.

It's time to end....this post.

I love you.

With every piece of broken me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

~~Let Me Show You~~

Let me show you the world we live in
It's beautiful and it's hard but it's real
And god it's oh so right
And hell it's oh so wrong
I never make claims to it being good
I just make claim to it being home
We belong here, all of us, for a reason
There is forever a cause
Forever a reason
And we're meant to be here. I swear this
I swear we're real
I need it, I love it, I desire it
You are my love, you are mine
I swear this world we embrace
Will be entirely kind to us
Even if it hurts us
This life will forever be ours
This life will forever be ours
Don't ever think it different
I will show you this
I will take your hand
I may be blind, but you
You make me able to see
I feel your hand in mine, and how
How it makes my heart race...
How it makes my heart race

Monday, February 4, 2013

~~Defiant Lover~~

I choose to live, I choose to laugh
I choose to dance, in defiance
I know the going's tough
I'll stand tall, in my self-reliance

I need no more than me
But I will cling to you
You keep away my agony
And you've been here through and through

My beloved, do you know?
How strongly I feel inside
Whenever you say you must go
And I know I'll need to hide..

Hide how much the loneliness hurts
When you're so far but so close
The tears always fall, like raindrops in spurts
Between the lightning that shows

The truth of it all, the natural wild light
Revealing the broken grin
And the eternal shame, clutched close at night
The knowledge of one being damned because of sin

And damned I am, and damned I'll ever be
Through what I let you do
Do to me
I promised you me, and I'll follow through

I'll give you my anger, and my love
I'll keep you safe, forever until the end
I'll watch over from above
Keep you close, my broken friend

You are the one I choose
You are the one I'll keep by my side
I'll never let go, never lose
The one who never makes me hide....

~~Was it the Labyrinth, or Was It Me?--Thoughts Post~~

Note: Before you read this post, make sure you've read it's predecessor. Not the Stone Gate chapters, but the other post on the labyrinth found further down.

Yes, yes I did just post a few minutes ago.

Yes I did just say I was done and making coffee.

I didn't, and instead I stayed. I spoke with Dylan, who swears he loves me still, despite it being years since we dated. He swears he loves me, despite the scars he made me bear. Despite the wounds he forced into me. He says he's always there for support, and he might be, but...Why can I not feel it? Is it what he did to me, or how he clings to me?

Please...

I moved on.

I moved on through all my broken hearts.

You're scarred worse than I, yet a lot less than others, and the trouble you cause is not worth it.

You are a friend until the end, but...No.

Please no more.

Please.

You've dragged me through turn after turn.

I can't make another move.

Not in your labyrinth.

~~WILL BE CONTINUED AFTER PIZZA~~

After pizza....I'm still thinking.

I'm still thinking about a lot.

This is the soundtrack for this post, while this is the soundtrack for the post I posted earlier on the labyrinth. I know, it's quite the change. It's not going to be happy loves, but what can you expect?

Ian raised some interesting points earlier. About how the labyrinth has no will of its own, but we do. We did everything to ourselves. Every part of us. Every part of this hell we survive was done through our own choices. We make the same turns in the labyrinth not because it's what was going to happen anyways, but because we choose to.

Do any of us learn? I went time and time again, through and through, with Adam. Repetition and continued company, instead of instilling love, only cause boredom. I didn't learn he wasn't worth it until I forced myself to.

We need to learn to stop repeating our mistakes....Because otherwise we'll never find our way into a new labyrinth. We'll keep wandering the same one. I beg of you all, be aware of the choices you make. Because we're gonna die, we're all gonna die...Could be twenty years, could be tonight....

Accept that and let the shadows embrace you. Accept it and live, not because you only live once, but because life......Life is to be treasured. Abandon the ones who aren't good enough. Move on. Please, move on.

Don't waste your life on someone who isn't worth it.

Life always has a time limit...

~~STONE GATE: Chapter Five--Past Lives~~


          I led the way into the sickroom. Seeing my approach, Shevre rose from a stool he had set up beside the bed where a covered figure lay. “Is he….” Liandros murmurs, almost shoving me towards the bed.
          Shevre ignores him, instead moving to clasp me on my shoulder. “He lives. He will wake up soon—that is, if I got the measurements right.  If I didn’t….” The elf shrugs, his smile grim.
          At that moment, the bed sheets shift in a rush, as the occupant of the bed fights to escape the entanglement of blankets, soft cries of shock and struggle sounding on our ears.
          I beat the healer and the human both to the bed, and tear the blankets with my hands as I free my brother’s face from the blankets.
          I stop, and I feel my knees go weak as recognition floods my soul as I stare into my brother’s eyes. His pine-green eyes widen, as do mine, as his thin onyx eyebrows raising to accommodate the widening of his eyes.
          After a moment of silence, we whisper together, “Brother?”
          Laughing softly, our melodic voices reply like a gentle bird cooing to its young in perfect synchronicity: “Yes.”
          “Are you the one who found me?” he asks, softly. “All I remember is the crash and receiving a knock to the head courtesy of the wheel, except for a single moment of consciousness when I felt someone pulling me in.”
          “I am, and so did Liandros over here,” I told him, gesturing to Liandros who stood beside me, watching as we talked.
          “I, for one, would like to know just who I saved.” Liandros stated, his voice challenging. He clearly was not willing to trust my brother, and I found that I couldn’t, either.
          “My name is Ari, Archer of the Eastern Woods, Defender of the Dragon,” Ari replied calmly, naming himself as one of the most brilliant elven fighters in existence.
          “I am Kelree, Pirate Hunter.”
          Ari and I eye each other, weighing each other carefully, looking for signs of weakness, judging the other warily.
          Deciding he didn’t feel like being left out of things, Liandros threw his hat in the ring as well: “And I am Liandros, nothing at all to be said but that.”
          The tension dissolved, Ari and I looked each other in the eyes and laughed.
          ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~
          For the next few days, as Ari’s strength grew due to Orpodah’s remedies (and, of course, the remedies to those remedies supplied by Shevre) the crew adjusted to having a new member. The Captain grew rather fond of the young elf, in fact, telling him of the kind of life his brother had been living. I told him as much as I could, but during those days of healing not only Ari gained strength: So did Akalioa.
          Occurrences happened more and more frequently—once, Larind was thrown into the sea from the cliffs when she and him had crossed paths, her guards too busy with Ari to watch her very closely.
          Ari likely knew of her, but he had not yet asked. Maybe he was afraid to.
          But, all too quickly, the day comes when Ari is fully healed, and impatient to see the island for himself.         
          On that day, Liandros and I guide him outside, watching the smile grow on his face on seeing and feeling the light of day again.
          “You haven’t asked me yet,” Ari remarks as we are resting on the cliffs, overlooking where we had found him. “About why I left the forest, and my people, behind. Nor have you asked about my parents—your parents.”
          “I felt it best to give you time to think it over for yourself.”
          “I’m full to bursting of tales you need to hear,” Ari says, and from the tone of his voice I know what his next words will be, “Tales my brother, and my brother alone, need to hear.”
          Liandros’ eyes flash, but he gives a nod and a smile, departing with grace to return to his cabin where he will yell and scream at being left out.
          “He really loves you, doesn’t he.” Ari murmurs, watching Liandros’ departing back.
          “What do you mean?” I ask, dread flooding my voice. If he knew he was gay, then who else knew?
          “Relax, Kelree, I won’t tell anyone. I knew from the way he looked at me when we first met that he was gay, and that he loves you so much he views anyone else as competition, and that I have a better chance at winning.
          “Shall I begin?”
          I nodded, my heart in my throat again.
          “I was born on the same day you were, to the same parents: Liorannet and Jalarkai. Akalioa was born two years later. That was a time of war, however, as we elves abandoned our homes in the valleys and plains among the humans and returned home. Many of the humans demanded that we stay, some even imprisoning us and hoping that we would fight in their wars for them. Many of the elves were not able to bring their children with them—our parents had to leave you and Akalioa behind with friends, and they had to promise to tell you nothing of your parents so you would not feel that you had been abandoned.
          “For years, as memory of you faded, I began to search for you less and less, my forays into civilization growing rarer and rarer as time goes on. And now I wish that they had not.
          “I finally joined the Defenders of the Dragon and defended the forest from the onset of the orcs seeking new land to the north, east, and even some traveling across the seas to the west and south. I became one of the very best, and I myself killed the general of one of the armies.
          “But I soon realized I was not meant to be a soldier. For years I hated myself, remembering all the people that I had killed, and then when the day came that I killed a youth no more than ten years of age when I stormed a camp of orcs alone—they had had prisoners to ensure that their supply of food didn’t run out any time soon.
          “And so I left the forest, tired of watching my people degenerate from lovers of the wild to nothing better than humans.
          “I took to the sea, hoping to find some freedom there. I was out in a small canoe alone, fishing far off in the sea, looking for signs of friends of mine who had not yet returned home.         
          “I found them, unfortunately, in the hold of a pirate ship. When the Water Patrol sank it—as it usually does, when it isn’t making deals with the pirates—I was one of the ten people who survived. Over the next eight hours, however, I became the only one. Sharks are fun swimming companions.” My brother lapsed into silence, and we watched the birds sing overhead.
          Finally, turning to face me, he asked, “Where’s Akalioa?”
          Before I could stop myself, I had replied: “Dead. Sort of, at least.”
          Ari stiffened, his eyes narrowing. “What do you mean?”
          Surprised by his reaction, I take a brief moment to reply. “She isn’t normal anymore.”
          Ari covered his face with his hands, groaning in exhaustion.
          It was then that I noticed what he wore upon his right wrist:        A bracelet made of pure, bright gold and diamonds scattered around, whenever the braids join. It was an exact duplicate of the one my sister wore upon her wrist.
          I looked at my brother in shock, and he raised his head, before following my eyes to the bracelet.
          His eyes darkened, as did his face. “Your eyes have recognition in them,” he states flatly. “I have seen no signs of the Source on you—but you have mentioned that there is a change in our sister. I take it she bears a bracelet much like this one, does she not?”
          “Why does it matter? I’ve had enough talk of bracelets and the end of the world and death—first Larind, now my own long-lost brother I never knew existed! I….”
          My brother cuts me off, his voice frantic with shock, “Larind? Larind the Archer? Are you sure that’s his name?”
          “Yes, I’m sure! I’ve known him for two years now!”
          “Two years? That leaves about thirty to forty days—limping, badly wounded, elven which ensures that he is denied any other modes of transport—that should mean that he gets there in time. He is talented and resourceful—maybe boats could have meant faster travel, for forty days is the average amount of time people need to get from the forest to Stavaks, which is where he must have gone to get on board a ship of any importance,” Ari remarked, tapping his fingers out on his leg. “What day did he arrive, exactly?”
          “It was the Month of Sacrifice—pretty late in, because I remember the Festival soon after his arrival.”
          “Hmmm. The time works. Which leg is injured?”
          “His right leg. Why does this matter?”
          “Because he’s the one I took the Source from. If he survived all this time, then he’s stronger than all of us thought. Most people last only a month after they lose the Source—either they take their own lives in grief at losing so much, or they collapse from exhaustion from the loss of energy after using so much of the Source and relying on its power for as long as Larind has.”
          I look at him for a while, shaking my head. “He told me he knew the day I would die, along with the day the world ended.”
          Ari nodded. “I do, too. I know the day I die as well, and it’s a few months before you do. That is, if everything goes the way it should. If it goes wrong, I die four centuries from now, of old age.”
          I looked at him. “Are you sure you didn’t get those two mixed up?”
          “Yes, I’m certain. I have known since the instant I put on the Source my lifespan, and the kind of life I would have to live. I do this all willingly—my death has been predetermined, and if I fight it I send the very world off course.”
          Now, I was only a bit over my head by this point, dearest Liana. Okay, okay, I was way over my head by this point. So far I have received nothing that wasn’t cryptic and vague and made no sense at all, but yet I had the feeling I would know a lot more by the time this was over.
          And I wanted to know it now.
          “So, can you tell me what the Source is before we head off to find Larind?”
          “Certainly. If you would just place a finger upon my bracelet for a second, it will show you on its own.”
          Swallowing, I held out my hand, and touched my brother’s wrist.
           I felt something more than I heard it, but a voice spoke to me nonetheless. We are the Source. We are power. We are infinite.
          And we will see the world destroyed.
          Euphoria at the thought of complete and total nothingness flooded my veins, and I snatched my hand away.
          Ari met my eyes, and nodded. “The Source is, at its heart, evil. It desires nothing but the end of the world itself, but it is power can be controlled. It tempts its bearer every moment, with dreams of ultimate control over life and death. It shows me images even now of a greater world, a better world, that I could create if I let go and let it control me. The instant you put on the Source, you are trained to control it, trained to use it, trained to keep it at bay. If one of us Sourcerors lost control of it for just a heartbeat of time, the entire world would fall.
          “But its power cannot be overrated. With a single bracelet, you can unite an army to smash your enemies to pulp, you can save millions of lives, but with every usage of power your resistance becomes weaker, the Source’s pull on your soul stronger.
          “But there is a failsafe. If a Sourceror is to fall, his last great act will be to take his own life in a single burst of power from the Source, annihilating his every trace.”
          I was more confused than ever.
          Ari sighed, grasped me by my shoulder, and led me away from the cliffs.
          ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~
          Larind almost fell of his chair when Ari and I entered Larind’s cabin. He had not gone to visit Ari because of his leg, and he had not been told he even was here.
          His gold eyes looked Ari up and down, his mouth hanging open, his hand rubbing his bad leg. “Get out of here.”
          Ari gave him a quiet, courteous nod, his lips clenched tight. “Good to see you again too, old friend.”
          Larind exploded, snatching his rapier from its sheath and rising to his feet with as much grace as he could muster. “’Old friend’? The last time I saw you, you snapped my leg in two with a tree! And you tried to kill me! How dare you come near me again.” Deciding a sword might be too easy, he shoves his cloak aside, strings his bow and sets an arrow to it in a single motion, takes aim in a heartbeat, and fires.
          The arrow halts mid-flight, an inch from Ari’s chest. A dark look overcomes his face, his eyes narrowing in concentration.
          Slowly, the arrow turns in the air, until it points right back at Larind’s throat. With a mere twitch of a single finger on Ari’s raised left hand, the arrow streaks through the air, halting so that it just kisses Larind’s neck, drawing a single drop of blood.
          “I come here in peace and apology, Archer. Not to kill you, nor to draw blood.” Ari declares, watching the arrow as it slowly twirls in the wound, Larind flinching reflexively at the pain.
          “So why are you doing this?” Larind asks, his hand resting still on the hilt of his rapier, his bow still in his right hand.
          “Because I hate it when old friends of mine don’t hug me after they haven’t seen me in years.”
          Slowly, Larind smiles, and the arrow falls to the ground, the wound sealing. Larind opens his arms, and Ari hugs him, as if searching for a part of himself in the comfort of a friend’s arms.
          “I am sorry, my friend. The Source….”
          “It wants me dead, I know. I was its greatest weapon, but I was also the most rebellious. I gave it to you, and because of that it wants me dead, its sole user that escaped from it alive. I don’t blame you for doing what you did; I remember all too well the power of the Source, the temptations it gave.”
          Ari pulled back to arm’s length and searched his friend’s eyes, Larind searching them in return.
          “There are other reasons why I held an arrow to your neck, remember?”
          Larind pulled away, settling back in his chair and covering his face with his hands, his elbows resting on the table. “I’d hoped you’d forgotten.”
          “The King demands that every elf still walking the plains return all escaped traitors if they are found, and my first and foremost duty is to my King and the betterment of the world.” Ari, looking at him grimly, pulls a sword from the sheath at his hip.
          “Those two desires contradict, don’t they?” Larind asks, seizing upon an advantage.
          Ari opens his mouth to reply, but then a frown creases his forehead and he pauses, regarding the elf.
          “Look within the Shadow, Ari. Look within the Shadow and find the Thread, and follow its path to where the world belongs. Am I in it?”
          The sword slides back into its sheath. “But not for much longer, my friend. Not for much longer.”
          “Is that not true about all of us?”
          Ari nods, and smiles.
          “I feel very loved,” I comment dryly, feeling more confused than ever. “And well-informed.”
          They just laugh, and wave to the Captain as he walked in to see what all the fuss was about.

~~STONE GATE: Chapter Four--Trust~~


          I walked with Liandros towards the sickroom, avoiding his smug and smirking look. I knew he was, at heart, a good man who would never harm me or any other without due cause, but on the outside he was loyal in a strange way that made sense to only those he was loyal to, he was sarcastic, swift to anger, and at oftentimes a bit too crude for the liking of many of those on board. But all of that was tempered with a deep and enduring affection and love for those he cared for, and while I knew he cared for me I did not know the extent to which he cared for me, nor in what way.
          As I walked beside him, his arm slung restfully ‘cross my shoulders, his expression making the gesture seem concerned but what I knew of him made the gesture seem loving.
          At that moment, I felt an urge I could feel rebounding through my every limb and nerve: An urge to escape from my best friend in the world.
          I fought that urge away, but Liandros felt my shoulders stiffen, and le let me go and walked along beside me, his expression shifting from one of smug concern to one of exhaustion and sorrowful understanding.  “Did I frighten you?” he asks, soft as the wind drifting against the bare skin of our arms and calves.
          I halt, and he turns to regard me a step later, sidestepping so we were looking eye-to-eye, even though he was bent at the knees so he was almost kneeling to make up for the height difference between us.
          Unable to form an answer, I turned and gazed out. We were standing on a cliff now, the trees around us, the birds singing, as if mocking us for our grim silence. I stared at the rough waves of the ocean; a storm would arrive at the island soon. Liandros turned as well, giving me a moment of silence and accepting peace.
          Which was not his usual behavior.
          Turning again to regard him, I saw him fighting a wave of anger at my failure to answer. When I met his eyes, he flinched back visibly, a look of shame crossing his face. Rarely has he lost his temper around me, and never, ever was the anger he failed to control directed at me.
          And then I thought of the tales the crew had woven about what Liandros was like before we met: Angry and with a sharp tongue, even the Captain was afraid to deal with him. He was a fierce fighter, one that had everyone on the sea wary of his sash of daggers forever slung over his torso from his right shoulder to his left hip, and even more frightened of the rapier he wears at his waist.
          And then I arrived, and when no other cabins were available and (as Akalioa had been his lover for many nights to secure his place on the ship) Akalioa refused to allow me to share hers, Captain Arrisandos had given me a dagger to place underneath my pillow and told me to sleep with one eye open, and arranged to have someone wander by the cabin every few hours, listening for signs of anger within.
          After two nights spent in the cabin with Liandros, these precautions were no longer needed, as on the first night we spent as roommates he had drawn his rapier while I slept, and stood at my bedside and waited for me to awake. He looked at me, and I at him, and an understanding passed between us as he raised his rapier to his own throat. Then, he sheathed it, and returned to his bed.
          I knew the message he had given me: I would rather kill myself than kill you.
          I never understood the reason why he had not treated me the way he treated the others, but ever since that first night I knew I would never be any place safer.
          And so slowly, over the passage of weeks that turned to months, Liandros and I spent many nights out on watch together, listening to the sounds of the waves and trading stories. I would tell him of Jerrivia Forest, the last great citadel of the elves. My kind was swiftly retreating from the world that was swiftly transferring from one of spells and magic to one of modern times, and even though our world was far from over parents were halting their children from leaving the forest, seeking to save their children from the pain of letting go of the world they had known.
          I told him also of the merchants I had lived with for most of my life, a kind human family who had taken me in, unquestioning, doing their very best to fill my need for love.
          Liandros’ tales were of his small village east of Graceling, one of only fifty inhabitants, so small it does not even appear on the map. He told me of school, one of his better memories, for during those long difficult years Liandros has taught himself how to fight, and fight better than anyone else in the area. He told me of the girl he had known there, but his tales of her were always incomplete—there was no end to them. He always refused to tell me why he had left his home to go off to be a sailor hunting pirates on the Sea of Tears,  and after a few attempts at getting the story out of him I resigned myself to a state of faint distrust and more than faint curiosity.
          No secrets did I hide from him—every painful memory, every shameful secret from my past was known to him.
          Why, you ask?
          The answer is simple: I do not wish to go into the dark without a record of my life to leave behind. I do not wish to leave this world without ways to tell my family where I had gone, what I had done, and how I had died.
          But, now, as I stood and looked into the eyes of the man I had come to know as my greatest friend—my legacy if I was to fall, and my death if danger was to come to him and I was to take the killing blow in his stead—I wondered if the trust I had placed in him had been misplaced.  
          If I had done wrong in baring my soul to him, and commanding him that he judge it.
          But then I remembered the weeks of work it had taken me to trust him so fully, the conversations that slowly turned from awkwardness to familiarity and finally to the ease of friendship, free of judgment.
          And now I was judging him unworthy.
          What was I doing?
          Fighting back the thoughts, the tide of doubt, I told him simply, “You did not frighten me, my friend. You never did, and you never will.”
          Liandros smiled then, and the anger disappeared.
          It was then that I realized that the thought of my willingly dying in his stead changed to one of: Not only would I lie down my life for him, but he would do the same for me.
          How deeply did he care for me?
          It was only when his face changed, his smile dimming faintly, that I realized I had spoken these words aloud. “Very deeply,” he murmured, more to himself than to me. “More than I care for my own life.”
          Then, he smiled again, and lightly grabbed my shoulder.
          “Come on, elf boy. Let’s go meet your brother.”
          Walking along the edge of the rocky cliffs, my best friend in all the world and I loped our easy way in companionable silence, our every thought, if not our every secret, known.
          Still the birds sang overheard, chirping and whistling, their songs rendered silent compared to the silent communication that passed between Liandros and I as we walked off to meet my fate.
          Just as we were nearing the sickroom, from her side of the island Akalioa sent a single spell soaring into the sky, striking down a seagull  as it soared high with its friend, sending it to fall to land at our feet.
          Feeling as if someone had just danced their way across our graves, my friend and I skirt the smoking corpse of the bird, Liandros’ hand tightening its grasp on my shoulder, as if he was praying he would never have to let go.

~~STONE GATE: Chapter Three--Family~~


          I woke up to the sight of my sister leaning over me. Really, they need better locks on the doors. “I heard about what happened. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t too badly injured.”    
          With that, Akalioa turns around and leaves me there in bed, wondering about what had just happened.
          My, don’t you just love family?
          Sighing, I yelled, “Liandros get your butt here, now!”
          Within a minute, Liandros was standing in front of me, rubbing sleep from his eyes. “It’s two in the morning, my friend. Why did you have to wake everyone on board?”
          “But….” I groaned, rubbing my eyes. “Where’s Akalioa?”
          “On watch with the Captain, as far as I know. We returned to the island for now—no reason to go on the hunt with the Patrol nearby,” Seeing my face go white, leaning down towards me, my friend cautiously took a seat on the foot of my bed. “What did she do to you?”
          “Nothing, but what’s important is what she did to the Captain!” Standing, ignoring the rush of dizziness, I led Liandros outside of the sickroom, searching for the Captain.
          “What do you mean? She wouldn’t have hurt him—could she?” Liandros asks, following along.
          “We don’t know anything about her anymore. For all we know, the girl we knew is gone. We can’t know anything anymore.” I grab Liandros’ hand, and drag him along behind me.
          “Um, Kelree? I think this is a good time to tell you something very important.” Liandros says nervously, his palm sweating in my grasp.
          “Not now. We need to find the Captain.”
          He wrenched back on my hand, halting me in my tracks. “Yes, now. It’s important, okay? I’ve been thinking of telling someone for years, but I didn’t trust anyone enough until you. Please, I just need to tell someone, in case things don’t go very well and we can’t find the Captain a…alive. I beg. Kelree, I beg.”
          I slip my hand from his grasp, and turn to face him. “What do you need me to hear?”
          “I…I’m a bender.”
          I backed away. “You’re gay.”
          “Yes.”
          “You never told me.”
          “Until now, I never told anyone.”
          “If I tell the Captain, he’ll kick you off the ship.”
          “You won’t tell him, will you?”
          I thought for a minute, looking at him. I had known him for nearly eight years now, and I would die for him with scarcely a thought. Could I say yes?
          Before I knew what I was doing, I was nodding.
          Smiling, Liandros Graceling took me by my shoulder, and walked with me. “Let’s go find the Captain.”
          For the next hour, Liandros and I searched the beach, the cabins, the caves. We searched and searched, before finally Liandros sighed and pointed to the last place we hadn’t looked yet: The sea.
          I followed him over to the nearest boat, and we set sail, Liandros paddling.
          The water was calm and easy, gently lapping at the edges of the canoe. “Liandros, if we find him out here, he won’t be alive, will he?”
          Liandros shook his head. “But at least we can give him a proper burial.”
          Grimly, we circled the island, watching the sea gulls soar in the sky overhead.
          I pay more careful attention to them when I see them gathered in a group.
          A shudder running up my spine as if a ghostly hand had just stroked my back, I pointed towards the group.
          We find him floating there, on his back, his face hidden by a rag thrown over it. “Captain?” I yell, grabbing a paddle from Liandros and applying my elven strength to the strokes. We pull aside and Liandros bends over the side, grabbing him by his belt. Groaning, Liandros hauls him in.
          “I don’t think I want to see,” I whisper, looking away. “If it’s the Captain, I don’t want to know what Akalioa did to him.
          “We have to know; whether it’s him or not, we have to know.”
          Taking my hand in his, he grasps the rag, and pulls it away from his face.
          It’s not the Captain.
          It’s someone hauntingly familiar, someone I know, but yet do not.
          Liandros looks from the body’s face to mine and back again, before asking me quietly, “Kelree, who were your parents?”
          “I never knew them. I told you this before, didn’t I? I was left on a street corner and raised by a family of merchants. Why is this important?”
          “Because he’s your brother.”
          A second passes, and then Liandros has someone else to fish out of the sea.
          I’d fainted, and fallen off the boat.
          ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~        ~       
          When I awake, I’m back in my cabin, Liandros whistling a cheery tune in the hammock slung beside my bunk, a cigar smoking in his fingers, “Morning, sleepy head.”
          “Morning. Mind if I have one of those?” I ask, holding my hand out for one. We weren’t expressly forbidden smoking on the island, but it was forbidden onboard, so I knew I wouldn’t have another chance for a while.
          Smiling, Liandros lights one off the end of his, before passing it to me carefully, winking when our hands touch. I shoot him a grin, and look around. “So, where’s my brother?”
          Liandros coughs out smoke. “Good…good news! He’s alive, and yes, he is your brother.  Orpodah checked using a spell, and you are related directly. He hasn’t woken up yet—Shevre says he might wake up sometime this afternoon He’s in the sickroom on the other side of the island.”
          “Where’s Akalioa?” I ask, the thought of my sister popping into my mind.
          “She’s in her cabin on the southern part of the island. Captain is having her watched.”
          “Is she…?” I swallow, unable to finish the question for fear of what the answer might be.
          “Normal? No. Quiet? Yes. She hasn’t done anything—the entire crew is avoiding her, and she it. The only person she gets within fifty feet of is the Captain when he comes over to visit—I’m just hoping he’s gotten over his fascination with her.
          “She didn’t do much of anything when she heard about the brand-new addition to the family. She just nodded, and retreated to her quarters.”
          “We should check on him. My brother, I mean.” I say, getting up.
          Liandros coughs out more smoke, turning his eyes away from me politely. “Er….You’re kinda, uh, naked.”
          My first thought was to grab the blankets and wrap them tightly around my waist. My second was to ask: “Who undressed me?”
          Liandros shoots me an appreciative look, eyeing my muscular chest. “For an elf, you’re a good size.”
          Groaning, I shove him out of the cabin, securely locking it behind him. Outside the door, Liandros laughs loud and long as I dress, and I swear I spy a gray eye looking through the keyhole.
          They really need to get better locks.
          Sighing and stretching, I leave my room, determined to go and meet my last remaining family member.