Blue Rose Arena: Road to Havenstead

It’s March 8th, 2017, when I sat down to compose this post. It’s the hour before midnight. Because March 8th is Andrei’s birthday.

Me: What are your notions about the blue rose?
Andrei: Mysterious. Unpredictable. A journey. A goal. A dream. And something very real, even if it can’t be proven. And unconventional.

+ March 7th, 2017.

It’s now March 11th, 2017. Over the past few days, many versions of this post flitted to my mind. Then a crisis hit, and I felt I had to start over. Returning to square one over and over again.

But here’s the thing. Going to square one means I discount and rebuke all my efforts to express my sentiments on your birthday. Tomorrow, I’m coming over for a belated visit. My goal was to write you a post, one just for you, before you greet me at the bus stop we agreed upon as a meeting place. Apparently I’m bringing some bulky items, and we’ve been very mindful of my energy expenditure.

Meep! There goes Akari with a burst of flashing blue light. What the hell? Oh LOL it’s you. Seriously. How do you always know when I’m a little too distressed? Yeah, you, keep distracting me and you’ll be the one to receive discipline, not me. [insert evil laughter]

Anyway. So your birthday request was something akin to a Year in Review, in terms of our relationship. Okay, here I go!

This glancing life is like a morning star
A setting sun, or rolling waves at sea
A gentle breeze or lightning in a storm
A dancing dream of all eternity

Well, in this physical reality, the cray began when our mutual beloved elder told me about the remnants of a Cardfight!! Vanguard community in Kitchener-Waterloo. I was headed up to Anime North in Toronto anyway, so it wasn’t hard to meet up with Turtle. Especially when Kirari insisted on meeting Senpai. Turtle designed an entry Aqua Force based deck for her, and was interested in my collection. I didn’t have much to tempt him, but he was eyeing Raphael in particular. I said no, I didn’t have plenty of Angel Feather. Rare Hunter warning bells be ringing. 😉

Kirari had been shopping for hours, and when it came time to ahem, pay for her deck, she was short. By a lot. I spent my money buying gifts for my North American friends who couldn’t make it, and one of Kirari’s friends was so in love with a certain Figma that I couldn’t resist helping her out. So with great reluctance, there went Raphael. Turtle’s eyes were so gleeful that I didn’t regret my decision. He was raving about how a friend of his was in sore need of this particular unit, so I felt good. Three people would be happy. Yay.

The sand was shimmering in the morning light
And dancing off the dunes so far away
The night held music so sweet, so long
And there we lay until the break of day

Turtle proposed to me and Chizuru that we three, plus some other cardfighter friend of his, would hang out at a common area in my residence to play Vanguard, eat, chat, etc. I remember sitting on a rock. Sometimes my memory says Chi was with me, other times it doesn’t. I can’t properly recall. We know I’m not a humanoid computer, as much as my reputation precedes me. I miss that rock. I had some great moments with all of Quadrifolium (Q4) on that rock in dyads. Me and Chi, me and Turtle, me and you. Taco Man made it more oddball, but sure.

I recall sitting on that rock, my eyes wouldn’t leave the sight of you, random dude standing by the traffic post, with a backpack at your feet. Is that person lost or waiting for some epic moment to cross the road? Should I have Akumi ready to call EMS? Maybe he’s dangerous and I should go back inside where security is. I mean, I’m sitting out here, I keep staring, and the world keeps fading out. I think I’m dissociating but am so hyper focused on that person who’s just. standing. there. Well, I got fed up, and I don’t like people watching me, let alone me watching them. The least I could do to ease my anxiety was to ask if you were waiting on someone, because like, dude, it’s a bit dangerous standing by a traffic post. Pedestrians have rights as long as they too abide by the rules of the road.

So I skipped over – why the hell was I skipping over there, I’m wearing a short skirt (it was end of spring, it’s Waterloo, meh). My anxiety shot up more. I felt compelled to get in your face. Couldn’t stop myself. I popped into your visual field and you were evidently startled and I paused. Nah, had to be the Sun’s angle. I did not see a flash of white hair and a familiar gaze. Nope. “Hiya! Are you waiting for someone?”

The silence was extremely awkward because I was distracted by how weird the scene must look to passerby. You answered (eventually) my question with a question, confirming you as the second guest, now I had to wait on Turtle. And maybe Chi as well, but I still can’t pin down if she was with me on/near that rock in that moment. I skipped back to the rock – what the hell, Kariel – not bothering to check if you followed, because my mind was calm although my brain was racing. “WTF?” kept going through my inner reel. Yeah, I wanted to hug you because you looked lost for a minute there, yeah that made sense. I am known for my compassion. Yeah, I was excitable because whee more friends and people who actually enjoy trading card games. I was making friends as Haruka instructed. Yep, that explained the whole scenario. Time to talk cards!

Ensue an explosion when everyone was assembled and the new master of Raphael turned out to be you.

Spring 2016

  • Gains: Friends! Rivals! No more being socially isolated! Another mark of approval from Haruka! A club of mutual bonds, we are Quadrifolium, we are Q4!
  • Losses: Shit’s gonna fly, somehow. Being near Andrei has me remembering things, things I’m told to forget and leave behind. I’m scared that my carefully constructed illusion is going to shatter violently.
  • Goals: Work harder on my relationship with Haruka. Continue plans of leaving family of origin. Hide inner distress with more effort or everyone will leave me because one peep and I’m some kind of epic drama queen. Achieve enough independence to prove that my disability doesn’t mean I’ll always be burdensome.

We woke that morning at the onward call
Our camels bridled up, our howdahs full
The sun was rising in the eastern sky
Just as we set out to the desert’s cry

After a reunion with Yahaya Baruwa (shoutout to you, man, you’re awesomesauce and I love that we can chat about pretty much anything), that dude personally challenged me to #TheReal30. A series of video blogs (vlogs?), two minutes, for thirty days straight. I’m camera-shy. I’m not photogenic. Yahaya, you cruel, cruel man. 😉 But I took his direct challenge on, because just like I defied my medical care team by taking on Kingda Ka three times, I could prove myself worthy of Haruka. Of myself. Of a reason to exist.

Q4 took on learning esoteric topics. Chi held her ground as our specialist in tarot, astrology, and numerology. I brought in ATP® teachings to share informally. You offered your overwhelmingly powerful intuition and disdain for structure and rigidity in esoteric and magical studies. Turtle was fascinated and while Q4 knew of his potential and worth as friend, companion, and mage, he struggled to keep pace. But he contributed in ways he chose, ways he was comfortable with, and I’m grateful for his continued presence and being a friend when I too, needed someone in that role.

The tents grew smaller as we rode away
On earth that tells of many passing days
The months of peace and all the years of war
The lives of love and all the lives of fears

Something happened that I wasn’t expecting. Haruka was regressing, and my latest construction of reality was making little sense when you shot past the rest of Q4 in terms of “awakening.” My world was getting rocked way too hard by the sheer battle of wills between you and Haruka. I kept getting tossed around with only Chi and Turtle to cling to.

Do I report everything to Haruka as she demanded of me, lest I be accused of sinning against her, God, and her interpretations of angelology, magic, and Christianity?

Do I protect Q4 on ethical grounds, or lose my chance at having stability while continuing to fight for my undergraduate degree? Lose these three people I’ve come to view as family, who treat me with more love and respect and value than many others throughout my life?

Haruka gave me her next ultimatum. One that strikes against all my morals, ethics, and passion for spirituality, for teaching, for life, for love of humanity. She judged you a threat to me, the overlay, but most importantly to her authority.

My choice was as clear as purified waters. Dead waters.

The aftermath was rough. My wind sail detached from my little wooden raft as the seas churned around me. Q4 paddled towards me in a boat, with you stretching out an arm to haul my soaked body on board. “How long can I stay?” I asked, teeth chattering with cold as you wrapped a blanket around me, and everyone lent their bodies’ warmth by taking turns to hold me.

“As long as you want,” you replied, not holding my gaze. How did things get so awkward between you and me? Weren’t we good friends? Wasn’t I helping you with your pain? Then you’d go sit with Chi, asking her, “What am I supposed to do?”

My heart sank in despair. Did I just make everything worse? It clicked as I took in a shuddering breath. You were in love with someone whom you and Chi referred to as Knight Queen, sometimes Night Queen. That’s right, you were dealing with your fears regarding this mysterious female, and last time we talked of your relationship, you were indecisive about approaching her. You decided to write her a letter, and wait for her decision of if she’d tolerate your presence should she refuse you. You seemed so set on your prediction that she’d spurn you and cast you aside as a trusted friend, let alone as a lover.

I looked at Midsummer, the fairy based BFA Arla deck you designed for me to play in Force of Will. My maternal grandfather had an obsession with A Midsummer’s Night Dream, so I loved the deck more because of him. He died before my birth, Mother threw away his ancient, note scribbled copy of the play. At least this deck was my one remaining link to him. I was sure he’d be pleased to see Oberon drawing Titania back to him, away from Lapis, the fairies reminding their Queen of their admiration for her. For a moment I was angry that you kept my full art Titania, but it was a fair price for this deck. I needed three more cards, and it would be completed. Maybe I’d tweak it by adding Viviane, but I wanted to at least finish your design.

Yeah, I’ve known for a long time that Grandfather called me his Titania. I mean, it was frequently noted in his billions of scribbles all over the play. So many scribbles that all you could read were his notes and maps, barely much of the original text itself. Haruka and these really annoying angels spoke of you as Oberon, so I found the whole thing depressing.

What did it matter anyway? You were in such turmoil about this Knight/Night Queen person, so all that revelation didn’t have any purpose besides repeating to me about my ignorance and stupidity and pride and whatever. I continued my prayers and efforts for everyone whose lives I infected like the poison I was told I am. I turned cold at you, insisting you stop trying to help me, you should be directing all this effort towards your beloved and not a friend/wife-from-a-bajillion-years-ago who proved that she could take care of herself.

And of course, like a stupid romance novel where the annoying wife gets shown the exit on some significant couple event so exhausted husband could have the release he needed to move on with life already … Turtle had an a cappella concert hovering oh so close to Midsummer, Chi conveniently couldn’t make it, and you had some epic shit to reveal and then Hell could break loose because Heaven would be pissed off. Meh, all in a day’s work of a mage tied to the celestial realms, I told myself. At least I’d have food in my belly, and a couch to sleep on for a night without listening to the roommate complain about me (the walls are thin enough for me to hear you like you hear me) and my nightly crying. Since I returned from New York that May or whatever, I cried many nights and the roommate wasn’t cool about that.

I remembered how much I loved flora and fauna that day. I’m surprised I didn’t make us late for the concert with my nagging about wanting to be around the trees and gardens all over UW. I’m so sorry, I whispered to the flowers, trees, earth, squirrels, hell even the geese. I was ready to give up my need to be with the natural world in exchange for security in a cold concrete city. I was going to throw all of my fey friends away to make angels trapped in mountains of metal like me. I was about to put aside my dreams, wishes, and hopes for a story crafted by a lust for power to rewrite the world narratives.

No wonder person after person would attempt to steal my personal power from me. I wasn’t capable of wielding it. I was a loose cannon, a wild mare, dangerous unless restrained. After all, submission was the same as servitude, enslavement, and bondage, right? Isn’t that what women who identify as female/feminine get told all the time?

My clairaudience was giving me so many messages during that concert that I had to resort to staring at your hand at times to stay grounded. So close, yet so far away. I didn’t dare touch you, even when the messages were powerful enough to summon my tears. All I had to do was touch the edge of any of your clothing. Something tangible, something physical enough to keep me here. Instead I relied on overlay, allowing my signature to brush yours ever so slightly – a mistake since my body responded by impersonating a furnace. I loved the performance, loved being around so many people who were gathered to just enjoy a show, felt good supporting Turtle, but it was torture. I couldn’t dissociate. Couldn’t pass out. The show was so gripping that I was compelled to remain present.

It was blessed relief to be out in the night air. I paid for it with a painful bruised thumb from it getting caught by a closing car door, but that sweet sweet wind and being with trees again was so refreshing.


  • “Caravanserai” by Loreena McKennitt; on An Ancient Muse.