A poetic journey through my mind

myths and fae

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Brother to brother,

Memory to thought,

Tasting the stories

that old one-eye sought,

Storing them safely

in the heart of a cloud,

Mythos eternal,

Never spoken aloud.IMG_2279


The Dance

Liminal, the place between, between the seen and the unseen, the corner view, the edge of sight, the distance between wrong and right, the gap that lies between the worlds, where all the dragons sleep, tight-curled, from page to page, from left to right, in and out and day and night, all the spaces in between, where the tricksters dance unseen, in whirling steps of green and blue, and dancing, make the world anew, in colors of the brightest sheen, to decorate the place between.


Puzzle

bright and quick or dark and scary,  she’s the woodlands favorite faery, flitting from her treetop aerie to the forest floor below.  Try to catch her, beam of sunlight, or at night a falling star, laughter ringing, high voice singing, soon you won’t know where you are.  bright and quick or dark and scary, she’s the woodlands favorite faery, flitting from her treetop aerie to the forest floor below.  Follow her through shifting shadows, bright and dark at once is she, as she leads you, you will follow, and your home you’ll never see.  bright and quick or dark and scary, she’s the woodlands favorite faery, flitting from her treetop aerie to the forest floor below.


Mirrorrim

 

Mirror mirror on the wall, hanging there so silently, can you see me here at all, or do you stand in awe of me?

See my skin as white as snow, see my smile as sharp as thorn, behind my lips so rosy red, a beauty grown, but never born.

My people love me, as they might, they laud my beauty and my grace, adore my hair as black as night, and see in me my mother’s face.

Mothers ash is buried deep, beneath the sacred Rowan tree, but should I cry beneath its shade, I hear her voice still speak to me.

Blood red tears soak through the ground, nourishing the thirsty earth, and whispering the leaves take voice, echoes of her cruel mirth.

Stepmother, fear me as you should, for though you may have fathers ring, tis I who owns his beating heart…in me, the conscience of the king.

Huntsman with your sharpened knife, you track me for the queen so good, a single kiss and you are mine, amazed amidst the darkened wood.

The beating heart, unlike my own, ensconced within a box of gold, and carried to stepmother dear, a tragic tale will soon be told.

By animals in forest deep, my body torn too much to save, the heart the only evidence, to lay beside my mother’s grave.

From kitchen knave to scullery maid, soon all in mourning deep will be, whilst I move through them whisper soft, feeding on the tragedy.

And then, replete, I’ll slip away, down to the caverns dark and deep, far from the biting of the sun, where spirits howl and duergar creep.

There among the little men, I’ll sleep until I thirst again, then waken, smiling in my bliss, to share again my blood red kiss.


Edit: Very Important Question

 

(Hmm.  8 “likes” and no comments.  Guess that’s a “no thanks” to Patreon for now.  🙂

Okies, back to  “work”…maybe something will be worth supporting in the future.)

Heya! Got a question for y’all. Ever heard of a thing called “Patreon”? It’s part of the whole crowd funding scene, a place kinda like Kickstarter but with two notable differences: A) It’s just for artists, but for artists of all stripes and types…and B) Instead of one time donations, it’s a recurring thing, allowing folks to be, basically, patrons of the arts…at whatever level is possible for them. From a dollar a month to…well, as far as you wanna go.

The fun thing is the reward system. For each level of payment there’s a reward, contingent on the particular artists choice and type of art.

For instance, for visual arts it might be anything from being able to see works in progress before anyone else, to being entered into a monthly drawing for an original piece!

Also, like Kickstarter, there may be goals to be reached, depending on the artist in question and their needs.

I’m seriously considering starting a page, for two purposes. I’m still really intent on organizing my stuff into book form, or maybe even two…one for the “social commentary”/awareness sort of ones (that one will be a not for profit project, but it won’t, unfortunately, be free to make…) and one for my mythology based work, both the poetry and maybe even some short stories.

I’m also moving, soon, from Florida back out West, to Salt Lake…and I want to build a tiny home. My severely limited mobility really cuts into my creativity, as chronic pain leads to depression and anxiety. I’m basically living in one room now, and one under 400 sq. ft. space with no doors or stairs or other nonsense sounds like my idea of paradise…not to mention it would be my first actual space entirely of my own…at 47, that makes it about time.

So I guess I’m asking for advice…does it sound like something worth doing, and should I put the effort into it?

Don’t worry, my new stuff will still come here (hopefully more often than recently…the more I write the more they come, I’ve found.) and it will be free as always.

But folks who want to follow me over to Patreon will have to let me know what sort of thing you might like for a reward…some of the ideas I’ve had are a chat/text group just for y’all, to talk about whatever…(in case you missed it, I LOVE to talk…😝) or maybe personal suggestions/requests for poems, toss me a random poem prompt, stuff like that? I’m even up for challenges…give me (almost) any three words and an adjective (funny, horrific, romantic, etc) and I’ll find/construct a piece for you. If any of these sounds good, just leave me a note in the usual place, and maybe we can make this happen!

Love,
KC


Two Sisters

sister, sister, tell me true,
what I ever did to you,
stretch your hand to save me here,
and you may have my sweetheart dear.

I will have your sweetheart, true,
but never will I rescue you,
my hand outstretched will never be,
for sake of what you’ve done to me.

sister, sister, tell me why,
I see my murder in your eye,
what e’er I’ve done I’ll make amends,
and you and I shall live as friends.

Never shall I stretch my hand,
to help you safe up to dry land,
though it may be hard to see,
I’ll think of what you’ve done to me.

sister, sister, tell me here,
is it of my sweetheart dear,
I will forsake him, for your sake,
and you his hand may surely take.

it is about your sweetheart, aye,
whom you love half as much as I,
and though on me he has yet frowned,
he’ll turn to me once you are drowned.

sister, sister, save me, please,
and I will swear on bended knees,
that you a bride will shortly be,
and I no more shall envy thee.

I will not save thee, sister mine,
though your prayers are sweet and fine,
this stream will bear you out to sea,
and you no more will bother me.

sister, sister, hear me now,
my curse on you I hereby vow,
you may well have my sweetheart true,
but this black deed you soon will rue.
sister, when you take my man,
try to hold him if you can,
his faithless heart will ne’er be true,
and this last thing I do to you.


Reply

Little sister, small and fair,
why ask for knowledge you will rue?
But, for the Oaths that we did swear,
three times three I’ll answer you.

One for Crow boys, tall and dear,
perched atop a garden wall,
I heard them laughing and crept near,
I heard his lies…I heard it all.

Little sister, small and fair,
why ask for knowledge you will rue?
But, for the Oaths that we did swear,
three times three I’ll answer you.

Second for the power that glows
within a tattered crow-black skin,
the skin our faithless crow boy chose
to keep his crow-shape safe within.

Little sister, small and fair,
why ask for knowledge you will rue?
But, for the Oaths that we did swear,
three times three I’ll answer you.

I’ve clipped his wings, no more he’ll fly,
the power mine now, strong and new,
and from my hand he will not die…
but only for our Oaths so true.

Little sister, small and fair,
why ask for knowledge you will rue?
But, for the Oaths that we did swear,
three times three I’ll answer you.


The Question

pooka girl, changeling girl,
foxes eyes, red mane acurl,
tell me, tell me, tell me true,
three times three I ask of you.

First is for the love we share,
his midnight eyes and crow-black hair,
his handsome face so fine and fair,
where have you taken him, fox-girl, where?

pooka girl, changeling girl,
foxes eyes, red mane acurl,
tell me, tell me, tell me true,
three times three I ask of you.

The second is for magic, deep,
that through our veins does rise and leap,
a power bought with price so steep
I feel it cry out, in my sleep.

pooka girl, changeling girl,
foxes eyes, red mane acurl,
tell me, tell me, tell me true,
three times three I ask of you.

The third time is for loyalty,
for oaths by moon and star and tree,
oaths of blood I shed for thee,
I ask you, sister, three times three.


B&B

the maze amazing blocks my sight,
with bright lit halls and rooms of night,
my heart beats fast and hard with fright,
I stumble, and my head feels light.

the path winds forward, north, then east,
with frozen fear I hear the beast,
he shambles, slow, like one deceased,
but still he comes, to make his feast.

I looked into his private wing,
not knowing what my choice would bring,
its beauty made my heart fair sing,
just like a castle for a king.

he sat, his back toward the door,
admiring the fires bright roar,
and spoke, as if his throat were sore…
“I’m certain that I locked that door.”

he turned around, I thought I’d scream,
so much the monster did he seem,
his eyes with yellow light did gleam,
I pinched myself, in case of dream.

I saw a passageway, and ran,
without a thought, without a plan,
away from beast that thought as man,
as fast as any rabbit can!

and now I’m lost, in caverns deep,
for days I’ve had no food or sleep,
while after me the beast does creep,
so on and on, my pace I keep.

still I wonder if I dream,
if things are not the way they seem,
I swallow scream on breathless scream,
and watch behind for the eyes that gleam.


Requiem for a State

Deep within the ferny swamp,

a mossy hillside beckons me,

beneath the fireflies that romp

and play about a great Oak tree.

Beneath the Oak, upon a stone,

a figure sits, form cloaked and still,

awaiting my approach, alone,

a statue, grey, upon the hill.

Gnarled knuckles grace the hands

that rise to lift the heavy cloak,

revealed, the spirit of the sands,

the Lady of the great Live Oak.

Tangled hair of spanish moss,

and eyes a deep palmetto green,

the scars of years lie mapped across

the softest skin I’ve ever seen.

She meets my gaze with patient eyes,

her smile as soft as summers hum,

her voice, so deep and old and wise,

whispers “Child, I’m glad you’ve come.”

 


Kitten Little

kitten little, sometimes big,
walking through the streets alone,
puddle water, garbage cans,
sometimes an abandoned bone.
boxes set for mornings haul,
make shelter from the freezing rain,
kicks and stones and shouted words,
she stumbles past, ignores the pain.
born into an alley, grown,
no memories to give her place,
her only clue a collar, red,
that takes her into kitten-space.
in form, a scrawny alley-cat,
black and white with bright green eyes,
the colors meld in formless shapes,
to make the shadows her disguise.
in kitten shape she eats and sleeps,
then grows again at each sunrise,
when big, she stands a scrawny teen,
with ebon hair and emerald eyes.
tail that hangs so limply down,
and ears that hear a mouses cry,
invisible, intangible, but present,
real, and not insanitys’ sweet lie.
her hair so long and tangled falls,
across her fearful, tearful eyes,
hiding the skin so ivory white,
torn by hate in loves disguise.
skin that’s never felt soft hand,
a mothers touch, a fathers love,
never felt a sweet caress,
just icy air and a strangers shove.
where will she end, this kitten, lost,
who is there to take her in,
how did she come, and at what cost,
what secrets lie beneath her skin?


Under Neath: A Kava continuation (rather long, so be warned. man this story is addictive. thanks again, trg!)

I woke up to a flash of red and the faintest whiff of that…literally, apparently…intoxicating scent. The red proved to be a little red hairbow in the gloss-black hair of what looked to be a child of 6 or 7. Her skin was dark, like a wet cardboard box, and her eyes were tilted just the tiniest bit and colored a gray so dark it might as well be black, if not for the tiny motes of gold that seemed to float there.

 
She was dressed all in grey except for the bow, with a soft tunic-like top over what looked like pajama pants. She was standing next to me, or rather next to the table I found myself strapped to, rocking back and forth on her heels and humming softly. Not considering her a threat, I looked away from her at the room around me…or at least that’s what I -tried- to do. As soon as I started to turn my eyes away, the humming got slightly louder, and I found myself staring into her eyes again.

 
Those eyes…the near-black iris surrounding the hypnotic ebony of the pupil seemed to fill the room, or at least my vision. The gold motes became tiny, perfectly formed koi, swimming happily in the black, black sea of those eyes. It became suddenly extremely important to me that I catch every detail of those beautiful fish, that I bring my focus deeper, and deeper…a harsh cough broke whatever was happening, and I was…released, as the girl turned to glare at the noisemaker.

 
I found myself panting, out of breath, with the slight headache of oxygen deprivation…and very confused. Lacking anything else to do, I also turned to look at the woman in the doorway. And the doorway. And every other detail of the room that I could take in, in that sweep. I locked it all away for later, aware that I had narrowly survived something dangerous, and needed to pay attention.

 
When the little one saw just who had coughed, her glare turned into a grimace, then a pout, as her head dropped so that she looked up through a waterfall of black. The woman in the doorway, leaning on the door frame as if too weak to stand, was the owner of the gorgeous ankles and lipstick red stilts I’d seen back at the bar.
All things considered, the rest of her fulfilled the promise made by her legs…all things being that she looked completely exhausted and the black circles under her eyes weren’t carry-on bags but full suitcases. She coughed again, and shook her head at the little one. Her voice was that of one accustomed to command, but tired and roughened by whatever was wrong with her.

 
She looked at the little one and let loose with a flow of sound, almost like water or birdsong or both or all, all combined into a beautiful whole that I wished I could record and keep, just to hear again and again…I shook my head again, and the sound was back to what it had started as, the work-roughened voice of command. Whatever she’d said to the little one had her wringing her little hands in distress, and whispering through her hair in that same trickle-whisper-purr, but it didn’t affect me the way it had from Her.

 
Finally, with a jerk of the head from the Woman in red, the little one scuttled from the room, her sparkling red hair bow falling from her hair to the floor by the Womans feet. With a tired sigh, she bent to pick it up, long beautiful fingers fidgeting with it as she slowly walked across the room toward me. A smile quirked the corners of her lips for a moment, until another cough racked her body, and she crumpled into a chair that I hadn’t noticed sitting there, like a string-cut puppet. After a series of coughs, she slowly straightened, fingers clenched so tightly around the little bow that her knuckles were white…which was some trick, considering her skin was somewhere between new-snow and ice—blue already.

 
Once she sat up, platinum-white hair falling off her shoulders like water over crystal boulders, she closed her quartz blue eyes for a moment, and then opened them and her fingers, tucking the little bow away in a pocket of the red power suit she wore.

 
Being ever considerate, I decided to speak first, to save her voice…or something like that, anyway. “Hi! Nice to finally meet you…how much did you say your name was?” Alright, so I’m a smart-ass, no surprise there. Again that tiny smile, the barest quirk of those beautiful lips.

 
“As it is “nice” to meet you, as well, Mr. Blake. Although one -could- wish for more congenial surroundings, I’m afraid you’ll have to make do, for now. Perhaps later, when you understand a bit more…we can be a bit more…accommodating.”


Another Day Another Dollar (part one-and-a-half of the Kava Saga)

Buddys indrawn breath whistled in my ears, as the three of us bellied up side by side to look over the edge of the roof. Grinning, Buddy rolled over to look back to Prof, who simply raised a brow. Buddy laughed, his voice a hoarse whisper. “I can’t believe it! It’s really here…I thought you were shitting me.” Prof snorted. “I -do- occasionally know whereof I speak. Not, I’ll be the first to mention, often, but…”

I listened to them banter behind me, but couldn’t tear my eyes from the beautiful sight that lay in the courtyard below…long and sleek, with the angles and curves of some ’60’s idea of a spaceship, the extravagant sports car looked designed for stranger worlds than these. Her amber-red tail lights were slanted, like flirting eyes, and I knew there was nothing more beautiful in the world…I -would- drive that car. At least, I’d drive it when we delivered it…had a well-heeled enthusiast already lined up, waiting.

Gravel bit into my arms as I carefully backed away from the edge, toward my two temporary partners. Once I was sure it was safe, I sat up, shrugging one shoulder. “Uh-huh. It’s a real nice car. You sure we can get it out of there?” Buddy blinked, shaking his head disbelievingly. “You are one cold fish…”nice car”…” He snorted, still shaking his head.

Prof just nodded. “Got the owner-mans’ schedule by heart…he’s a man of routine, hasn’t moved from his safe little path in the three months I’ve been watching him. And this weekend he’ll be safely off to Bermuda with the missus…”

I nodded, turning to Buddy. “And you’re sure you can get the equipment? Tent and all?” He shrugged. “Sure…my cousins rig’s been sittin’ idle for a month now, he ain’t gonna notice if I borrow it a little. How we gonna get’em to believe the note’s from him, anyway?”

I looked to Prof. This part was his baby. He grinned, holding up a folder full of paper. “Owner-mans own stationery, already signed…he makes up a handful of these before he leaves, in case “anything happens”…isn’t that clever of him?” He chuckled, as Buddys grin got even wider. “Nice…”

I nodded, thinking to myself that the better part of this occupation wouldn’t be possible if the world were to get a sudden shot of smarts. “Ok, then. 7 sharp, outside the warehouse, tomorrow. See you both there.” They nodded, then turned back to their bragging conversation before I’d even made my way down from the roof. Once again I reflected how glad I was I’d never bothered with steady partners…enough time with idiots like these, and anyone’d lose a permanent point of intelligence.

Driving my little Accord home, like any law abiding citizen, I stopped for gas and ran her through the car wash…using the slow passage through the dark, wet, soapy tunnel to relax, like always. The soap froth made pictures on the windshield, formed and faded and formed again, and I zoned out to the sound of Tom Petty on the radio, till we emerged into the bright dark of a Seattle night.

Stopping only to grab a fat steak for the grill, I drove home at a “safe” pace, no more visibly conscious of the police presence on the highways than anyone. Steak, salad, and two carefully tended beers later, my head hit the pillow and the world went away.

If I dreamed that night, it was no more than a news report…”This was Your day, and You were There!” I hadn’t had what I would call a “real” dream since I was a kid. Of course, there was a -lot- that I hadn’t done since I was a kid. And a lot I had.

Bonnie Tyler was belting out “I Need A Hero” when the radio cut on that evening. I grinned to myself, swinging my legs over the side of the bed. Heroism was a self-correcting problem, as far as I was concerned. Grabbing the clean t-shirt and jeans off the ladderback chair by the window, I headed for the shower as the announcer began the rush-hour newsbreak.

A twenty minute walk later, I slipped behind the bar, giving a nod to the harried ‘tender already on shift. May rolled her eyes out of sight of the crowd, and I tossed her a sympathetic grin and slipped back into the familiar routine. My hands poured, opened, built and filled, working almost independently of my mind, till the Friday happy-hour crowd finally thinned, and I could afford to slump back and shake my head at Mays’ offer of a break. “You go ahead. I’m wired, tonight.” She just shrugged, and slipped out the pass-through with a grateful sigh.

I occupied myself wiping down the bar, stacking glasses, all the little crap that needed done before closing. The Queens Head was a nice enough place for the neighborhood, and the fact that it was in walking distance of home made it ideal for me as a base of operations. I checked my watch, glanced at the door, and rolled my eyes. Of course they were late. Probably stopped to take candy from some kid and got arrested. I was really going to have to look harder for good help, next time. And where was May? She should’ve been back in to take over for me…what…20 minutes ago now?

Signaling one of the servers to grab the bar for a minute, I headed toward the break room/storage area…and to the door into the not-quite-an-alley behind the bar. May always went out there to smoke, even though it was allowed inside. Said it didn’t feel right. But I didn’t smell cloves, and the door was open a bit. “May?” I moved cautiously toward the door, predator senses on alert. “May? Y’done yet? C’mon, honey, I want a break -sometime- tonight…” When I reached the door I threw it open, quickly jumping to one side…but nothing happened. More than nothing. It was dead quiet out there. No traffic sounds, no sirens, no usual music-played-too-loudly-through-bad-speakers from the local raver/skater punks…nothing. No. Not quite nothing…

A chill fog drifted silently through the door, sliding across the cement floor to pool around my feet. I caught a whiff of something…like perfume, but thicker. I shook my head. What the -hades- was going on here? I…I was looking for…someone. Someone who…who smelled like…cloves? No…like perfume. Like…this… I shook my head, harder, a low growl starting in the bottom of my throat. No…not right. Not at work…not here. I swallowed the growl, or tried to, but it came out more like a whine, as my knees buckled…and my head hit the floor. As my eyes closed, the last sight I saw was a gorgeous pair of ankles in mile-high red stilts. What? I’m a guy!


Follow up on the Reblog (warning, belief systems enumerated)

photoIf this makes anyone stop following me, I understand. I’m a very open-minded person, so much so that things fall out sometimes, but I hate negative emotions because I have so many of them. Hate, guilt, shame, anger, pain, loneliness, etc.etc.etc. So, that over, on to what I wanted to say.

The card is basically Eve and the Snake, but in a good way, a life-affirming non-guilt-ridden don’t be afraid of the Snake because she/he is only one path to power, way. And I like this, because in the story, it was the power of knowledge, the loss of innocence, that got them “kicked out” in the first place. I prefer to think of them as “released” once they had the tools it took to live out here. To live and breed and hurt and die…and in doing so, become one with the One.

And to answer a question in my mind, here is what I believe. I believe that -all- the stories, of gods and Gods, Godess’ and godess’, spirits, creatures, etc. are true. If the God/ess is all-knowing, all-encompassing, all-powerful…why couldn’t he/she be whatever he/she needed to at the moment?


Stuff and Nonsense

Perspective

milk in a cup

happy cats

unhappy cows 

Captain Jane

in my dream

a sea of rubber ducks

and a soap iceberg 

Playmancy?

a way to tell the future

tossing bones

are dogs soothsayers?

Triple Threat 

fleas in summer

on one tail, an itch unending

on three tails, hell on earth

Kamikaze 

trees in the wind

throwing sticks

for me to chase

Kitsune-na-shiteki


On Having (and keeping) Three Tails

 

Inari

 

Upon my birth, a tiny kit, my mothers tail I turned and bit, and snarling once and then again, she pushed me just outside the den. I blinked, and stood, on all fours first, then straightened, with a sake thirst, I wandered forth a while and then I joined the world of learned men. Soon I learned the ways and habits of tengu and poetic rabbits, tanuki tricks and bake-neko, and though lesser known, the bake-gecko. I practiced magic, Inari‘s gift, and learned to run, both straight and swift, the river gods had naught on me, my pride grew great as any tree…and soon, my tails they numbered three.

 

But then I met the inugami, a doggish, loyal sort of kami, and from him learned that tricks have prices, as I lost one tail to his mochi’s slices, and slunk in shame back to Inari, to bow to her and to say sorry. I asked her to forgive me, please, my eyes cast down and on my knees, she laughed and laughed and touched my head, and gave to me a quest instead, to save a village from the plight of oni stalking in the night and shrieking till men died of fright..

 

So back I went onto all fours, and to the village on the shores I ran and changing as I went I came as inugami, sent to save a loyal family who made their living from the sea. They welcomed me with tears of joy, and then I turned into a boy, and smiled at them and bowed so low and vowed that to the shore I’d go, and face the oni without fear, and scare them from their visits here. So down I went, at evenings tide, the fisherman right by my side, his fishing hook in one strong hand, we walked together down the sand. The rest I’ll tell another night, but my it was a lovely fight, and with the oni leader slain, I headed back, my tail to gain…and as I went down came the rain…

 

 

Kitsune-na-shiteki

 

 

 


The Red Hood

She tucks her hair into her hood, tugging the fabric forward to shade her face. Kneeling, she opens the bag at her feet, checking that all within is as it should be. Satisfied, she stands, bag in hand, and without a further glance behind, sets out on her journey.

red as blood, black as night,
shadows shield me from her sight,
lead me when I start to stray,
that I might live another day.

mother moon hearken to me,
father darkness hear my plea,
hold me safe and free from harm,
and shield me under sheltering arm.

The moons light filters sparsely through the trees, causing more shadows than she relieves. The girl in the hood slips silently among the shifting shades, all senses alert and poised for action. A tiny far off squeak is heard and dismissed. The death cry of some small prey, most likely. A moment later, she drops lithely to one knee, hand going out to hover over the damp leaf covered ground. Her sharp eyes scan the leaves, then move to a nearby bush…and she nods, decisively. Standing again, she moves off in a different direction, eyes scanning the ground in front of her intently.

a howl of warning fills the air
a cry of mourning and despair
the red ones hunt! the speaker cries
and gulping, hard, I close my eyes

a shifting perfume on the wind
one testing sniff and it is pinned
closer than I like to see
the red hood knight still follows me

Shrugging to adjust her armor under her bright scarlet tabard and hood, she follows the trail, eyes intent and almost glowing with excitement and eagerness. Getting close now…she can almost taste the sour-sweat-and-blood that is the mark of the Beast she hunts. A howl rings out through the forest, and she snarls under her breath, eyes touched with disgust. Filthy murdering beasts. Momentarily, her senses are filled with the scent/taste/sight of hot apple pastries cooling on her Nona’s counter. She snarls again, and shakes her head, dispelling the image. No time for sentiment…it’s killing time.

running hard through forests deep
I dream of home, and warmth, and sleep
of friendly faces in firelight
anything but this cold flight

my heartbeat pounds within my chest
as if a bird fought in my breast
my legs are made for running far
but now each footfall seems to jar

Her breath quickens, along with her pace, as she feels the trail grow more obvious, easier to follow. The beast panics, running blind. Her grin is feral beneath the scarlet hood. Soon it will fall, and then it will end. Ever vigilant, she watches for an ambush, although she doubts there will be one. The beast is alone.

my breath is shallow, eyes are glazed
yet still I run. I am amazed
a-mazed I am, a mouseling, trapped
in territory long unmapped

I dare not turn my head for fear
of red-crossed knight who runs so near
I know she comes, I feel her eyes
I know her ears can hear my sighs

She shrugs her shoulders again to loosen the strap of the bag on her back, letting it slip into her hand as she runs. Reaching within she withdraws a gleaming silver knife with an enameled red cross for pommel, and a scarlet thong with a small glass flask hanging from it. Slipping the bag back behind her, the knife into a specially made pocket, and the thong around her neck under the hood, she continues forward, cautiously.

I stumble onwards through the night
my heart beats like a bird in flight
my ears hear running footsteps, nigh
as moonlight beams down from on high

one more stumble and I’m done
my traitor legs refuse to run
I crumple to the forest floor
let death come, I’ll run no more

She hears the dull thud of a large body hitting the ground ahead of her, and she hurries forward, ears alert to any further sound of movement. None comes, and she grins as she pulls the gleaming knife from its holder. Moving cautiously into the clearing, she sees the beast lying with its back to her, curled into itself, shaking with fear and exhaustion. The long grey tail matted with blood and sweat, the fur-covered ribs heaving with each panicked breath…it is harmless now. Only prey for the taking. With a quick prayer, she drips a bit of consecrated oil from the flask at her throat onto the blade, and shaking her head so that her hood falls back, she steps toward her prize. She will stare into its eyes as she…

moonlight shines on midnight black
the fall of hair hangs down her back
her deep brown eyes look shocked, afraid
as she stands before me, scarlet arrayed

a tear runs down through matted fur
as overcome, I stare at her
she drops the knife from open hand
and weaves as if she cannot stand

I close my fear glazed eyes and wait
I know full well my future fate
I hear her drop down to her knees
in the clearing, beneath the trees

her words are shaky and unclear
her voice a ringing in my ear
I grit my teeth, and wait for death
each breath I take is my last breath

I feel her hand upon my face
I feel her fingers move, and trace
I hear her voice, and my heart shivers
with the pain and sorrow it delivers

She stares at the beast as she lies before her, oh-so-familiar features made strange and warped. But oh, those eyes. Those soft brown eyes that she had seen all her young life, that she had thought gone forever. With one shaking hand, she reaches forward, turning the creatures muzzle and leaning down to lay her cheek against the sweat-matted fur. Cautiously, a long grey arm moves to hold her close…and she weeps. For the one before her…for herself…for the long wasted years. Curled up on the forest floor, the moonlight streaming down on them, she weeps.
“Ohhh…oh, Nona!”