Heh, isn’t she nervous. At supper, no less. The scenery shifts and bends in reply, a ray of light filters into the banquet hall. Telling her to relax would worsen the dread she’s feeling.
I arrange myself at ease, peace in my calm as she inwardly frets, panicking – as if she believes I take no notice. With time, she’ll find her serenity. She hadn’t assumed Phoenix for a year yet. Her thoughts race and collide and implode and strive, I smile.
“Speaking of time,” I say with sly, “it is moments before the Timekeeper comes by.” Her eyes light a little, and they dim upon a code to realize. I pour another round of frothing drink. She stares at it. Contemplating.
“I’m not kind.”
Here is my involuntary sigh, and her heart curls into herself. Vicious self-criticism earned her this length in life. “You’ve got to let that die.” Her hands grip the mug with tamed, compelling ferocity. I glance to her side.
I missed her vivacity. Forest child lighting this night with stars for tears, voice as fireflies, movement in lives. Mayli. Changed her names to serve, changed the Dream for her sanctuary. I didn’t enjoy May-Emily. Alien as Heart.
It’s nearly amusing. She’s rolling his name around her tongue, trying to capture its sound, desperate to articulate what it means to her. Ah, now she looks to me pleadingly. “Please, Theta. Teach me to say this properly.”
The trouble for Terrans with Na’tura, our celestial dialect in Dre’mael. Sound is articulation. Sound is the vessel, the movement, the impulse. The soundscapes of our Names bespeak of all we convey, the language a tool to communicate as the music of the spheres. Perception, observation, participation, set and rank, ebb and flow. She can’t speak like I do. That lesson shall not see the morrow.
When she begs to learn to pronounce it properly, she asks to say it the way she feels is safest and least offensive to him.
“Mayhap the pleasure of you saying it is reason enough,” I tell her, and set my drink to my lips. My quadrifolia bore into her morn. I need a mere ten thousand tones to sing my love to Ama’tialle. She believes in a million for Innae’tyl.
Footsteps, padded and stealthily soft, break her vow to silence. “Ah, Eririn! A good evening to you, Timekeeper.” Ama’tialle narrows one eye with playful disgrace. “Oh, isn’t it my lord! How has the Puppy dragged the Great Cat in?”
Eririn barks out a laughter for influence, Ama’tialle indulged this greenhorn well. Mayli, accustomed to her skill, angled herself to me where Eririn could not assess her visuals immediately. She’s forgotten the years of practice he’s had hiding from her notice in forestry. She’ll remember again, soon enough.
I nudge her as the Timekeepers, past and present, make way to this table of our own. “This is poor form, Chloen’tyl.”
To choose amongst the fruits of history is to deny the trees of history.
“I’m horrible,” she chokes back, racing herself to collect into a presentable Phoenix. She’s not fooling any soul here, not now, not ever. Eririn quickens his flow. Mayli’s training to hide crumbles before our spirits that love her. He shall know.
“Kira’yoro’na!” And there he is, with sound he asks her to look at him, to see him, to acknowledge him. Her hands clutch the mug tighter. She wants to say it. Just let your feelings be, I desire to tell her. Say how you need.
Stars in her eyes, she lifts her mug in greeting. “No worries, me and Theta’daison weren’t waiting long!” Ah, I see. She spoke my Name to prepare herself for his. “Here’s bread and cheese and meat and mead … [falters] Sha … [breathe] Shal’lyn [catching herself steered for abysmal silences] Ha’rah’yae.” She permits her troubles this drawn out, quiet, slow breath of exhale, held back from embracing his ever-changing chroma.
Thoughts and feelings flicker through his colours’ shifts and bends, racing and colliding and imploding and striving. When she gathers her courage to look at him, he’s gentle and patient and assumes his ease. “Mayli.”
Ama’tialle openly leans to my left and sighed into my horned ear. “Were we this way in our beginning?”
My heart swells towards Eririn and Mayli. “The former Timekeeper asks for my reminder?”
“Please,” he smirks, tasting and teasing, “you wouldn’t speak with me. I had to write you letters.”
“I used them to start my hearth-fires.”
He pulls from my ear most comically. “You did no such thing.”
“You are right,” I confessed, floating into our dialogue. “I ate them instead. Baa!”
Eririn must’ve commented; Mayli avoids looking at us and tries not to giggle. A moment most opportune, he reached for her hair, raises two handfuls. Revealing the Bunny for our witness. The hall brightens as her fears in solitude lifts with her life, blindingly at once to soften by love and trust – illuminare.
Ama’tialle sighs. “Self-criticism does not become her.”
I smile. “A method dangerous, indeed. When she’s lost in herself, alone, it reveals her need.”
“What do you mean? Self-hatred ruins her.”
“Nah,” I lean on to my mate’s shoulder. “Such hatred taught us that her love is far stronger.“
INSPIRATION + DEDICATION