Adventuring through twisted time.
Alright and… we are all set! Thank you for your purchase Monsieur.” With a graceful smile, Madeline’s charming and naturally raspy voice penetrated the air, her pure blue gaze that was slightly tainted with the colour of grey smoke close her pupil and scattered throughout the rest of her iris, stayed glued to the table monitoring the transaction and waiting for the receipt to print. “So now that this is done…” the man who had just purchased hers fathers painting began to speak “… maybe we can go out for a drink or something.” He offered as he approached her. Madeline was, special, different from most ladies, she had the innate ability to avoid people, being anti-social, and physically distancing herself from people without them getting offended. So as he stepped towards her, she stepped away in such a way he did not even catch on to the fact that she was putting space between them both.
“I..” I ripped the receipt from the attachable printer on my tablet and handed it to him “… am too young to drink Monsieur but thank you for the offer.” I offered him a smile with my lie because I was, in fact, older than him by at the very least a hundred years. ‘Tea, or coffee then’ He insisted but I just shook my head gently “I do apologize Monsieur but I am here for business not pleasure; I do not fraternize with my father's buyers.” I locked eyes with him at last and though I could see his disappointment I could also see his understanding ‘So what do you plan to do here during your free time?’ I looked around the art studio I had rented for my time here thinking, debating on if I should share. “I thought I might explore Thistlemoon Forest.” I glanced to him from the corner of my eyes a faint smirk growing on my lips as he just seemed to deflate ‘No one dares go in there unless they want to contract some sort of sickness.’ And that was exactly why I was going.
There was a spark in her eyes that seemed to catch the mans attention for a moment and mesmerize him as she closed her eyes and let a very faint laugh escape her lips. He cautioned, begged and pleaded with her not to go, telling her all the tales of the people in the past who ventured out and came back all the more worse for wear. Though she listened or entertained his words really her heart was set, it had been for many years now, so with grace, she walked him to the door “Your concern is truly endearing Monsieur but I have to go. "She said before bidding him adieu and shutting the door behind him. It took hours to get from the studio to the forest but she still had the whole rest of the day as she had met with the man at dawn, just as the sun was rising. So now she stood at the threshold of the forest clutching a mason jar to her belly as she stared in before at last trekking in.
It was beautiful here, hard not to stop every few steps, close my eyes and just take in the sounds and smells, and cool summer breeze that passed by ever so often. It was peaceful here for me, which for me was an enigma as I was the peace for everything and one else. It was nice to find my own form of peace; I took a deep breath at that thought, a breath I never thought I would be able to take. For the first time in my life, I felt free of the chaos I called a life. But, I was here for a purpose and I would not let myself fully enjoy the forest until I was successful in said purpose. I peered into the mason jar I had been holding to my belly, gazed at the flower floating atop the water I had inside with it, letting my eyes trail down to the vine-like roots that grew beneath the water. I got this flower from my father the day of my birth; he plucked it right from these woods. For decades I watched as it adapted to its different environments much like myself but now it was time to return it home because every living thing deserves a home, deserves freedom.
She wandered around for a long while, only stopping to compare her flower to others, realizing she was taking a risk here as her flower was a century and just a few years shy of two decades old as here plant was just a bud when her father gave it to her, much like her herself. She often wondered throughout the years on whether these flowers still grew or if they did and she made it here if she would find this flowers family. She often tried to recall what her father had told her of this place, hoping that somewhere hidden in his vivid description of Thistlemoons beauty hid a clue as to where this flower belonged. Yet, the hours passed and the sun reached its highest point and her search had come to no avail. She let a breath vibrate passed her lips as she sat down at a pond she had stumbled upon, sitting right in the suns rays that peeked through the trees above. She held the jar to her lips, silently praying, hoping she would find where her flower belonged, promising herself that she would return whenever she had the chance to return it if she had to.
I set the jar down before I nervously began to play with the necklace I wore taking the rings that hung from the rawhide string and gently brushing them against my lips. I soon caught myself in this act and dropped the rings, letting them fall back to the hang around my neck, it was just an old habit I had, one I mostly never caught or realized I did. I stared out at the water, taking in the beauty of the water glistening in the sun. At that moment I forwarded my brow as I caught a glimpse of something near the water’s edge, slowly rising and approaching and squaring down above it to get a better look. I could not help the buoyant laughter that fluttered out of me. I rose and trotted back to my mason jar only to return to the spit by the pond seconds later, quickly opening my jar and gently removing the flower. I knelt down and held my flower in my hand comparing it to the flowers at the water’s edge “I found them…” I stated to myself in pride but mostly relief in disbelief, carefully I dug in the moist dirt a hole big and vast enough for the roots of the flower that had grown with me. Planting it, returning it home as I now patted the dirt back on top of it.
She stared at the flower for a moment before she felt the shift in the forest, like something, had been restored as if life had in some way returned to the already lively forest. She knew Love and Life would one day be her duty to uphold and restore so she adored this feeling, the feeling of all being right within the woods. Death and hate? Well, though those would someday be her duty as well she did not know that, nor would she accept it. In fact, she would hate having to be a reaper or provoking someone to hate so much they scream or cry or do anything to get the feeling out. Her father saw that darkness, but it was not his place to tell her and neither of them knew that it would take her mother nearly killing her to wake the angelic genes in her up fully. As far as she knew anyway her mother was dead, murdered the day she was born so, for now, she was kept in the dark about her future and what she would become, what her mother would be revived as.
I closed my eyes to the feeling of this newfound life around me and could not help but literally backflip, allowing myself to just plop back onto the grass beneath as I landed. I took in a deep breath of relief letting my eyes close once again, this time actually letting myself enjoy the forest. I enjoyed the breeze, the sun peeking down in streams on my skin, the wildlife I could hear running and flying all around, the sound of the water turning in the wind. That is when it hit me, my fatigue, my body suddenly realized I had been running and moving for decades and never truly got a moment to just unwind. I could feel my eyelids grow heavy even while they were closed, and how my body melted into the grass beneath me. I wish I could stay here forever in this moment but, I had some much to do and I should probably start my long drive back to the city. I opened my eyes with that thought and sat up with a burdened breath only to stop short so I would not bump heads with who was now right in front of me.
She swallowed hard as she came face to face with the King of the forest unbeknownst to that fact of course. Their faces so close to each other that her nose gently brushed against his as her eyes that showed the perfect balance of life and death living in harmony within her stared into his bright blue ones before she moved back. She forwarded her brow and blinked a few times while letting a sharp breath from her nose wondering if she had in fact fallen asleep and he was just apart of some odd dream, soon coming to realize she was in fact awake. A swirl of questions flooded her mind suddenly because she knew that no human could enter this forest unless they were like her or something even greater. She admired him or rather studied him for a second something telling her that somehow he belonged here and suddenly she swallowed hard again because now she felt as though she were trespassing. She opened her mouth to speak *Uhm…” she closed it again for a moment as nothing really came to her mind. “… Hello!?” she, at last, managed to say not wanting to be awkward or rude by just getting up and walking away.
Kyan poured more of the sap wine into his cup and took a sip while never turning his gaze from the prisoner that he was still intrigued by. Her story replayed in his thoughts that only brought more questions than complete answers. He slowly drank as he watched his sister inevitably treat the angel as a new play friend; tugging at Madeline's new dress and playing with her dark hair. The girl was just as fascinated as he, but could more easily show it unlike himself. It wasn't often that they got visitors to their realm and even less so of the mixed blood variety who unlawfully held the power of their land.
"I suppose I might need to have a little chat with your father then," Kyan said, getting her attention away from his nosy sister. His blue eyes seemed to glow in intensity just to see what her reaction would be as they met with hers. "It was your father who knew about my land, after all. I should like to know where he heard of us and our not-so-well kept secrets." The king's gaze casually moved away to one of the many platters to pick up a piece of bread before turning back to her.
"You go out of Thistle all the time, brother. Who knows what you might've said in the human world once you've had too much of their wine. You probably did it yourself." Doelynn stuck her tongue out at him which made him suck his teeth at her in return.
"Shouldn't you be with mother now doing your studies?" The king flicked his wrist and sent a gust of air at his sister and Madeline, creating space between them. He was suddenly feeling rather possessive of his angel. "I think you've had your fun. Gwainar!" The double doors to his room suddenly opened and he could hear the centaur entering his room without turning around as his hooves echoed on the floor. "My sister is late for her studies. Please see that she gets there immediately." Doelynn instantly made a sour face at him as his general beckoned for the princess to leave the room.
Once the door had closed, the silence in the room was palpable. Kyan continued sipping from his chalice and watching his prisoner's face. He could tell Madeline had much to say, but she refrained from doing so. Of course he was very used to that. He was king after all and anyone who had an ounce of sense would carefully watch what they said to him. He suddenly had the strong urge to read her future as was his unique power gifted to his family by the Gods. What would ultimately be his decision on Madeline's remaining life? The idea quickly vanished, however. Kyan knew full and well that he wasn't even sure what he wanted to do with her and so the vision would be hazy and incomplete. "Speak your mind," he said firmly, placing the cup down and interlacing his fingers together while slouching back against his chair to give her the floor. A smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth as this was quite the request and one wrong word could prove damning to her possible well-being; or at least that's what he imagined she would believe. That was by all means fine with him. The jury was still out on whether or not he would punish her for her spoken thoughts.
She was used to children and their fascination with her, all of them sneaking around whenever they would spot her and peeking around corners just to scatter when she would see them and smile. Doelynn, being so close was a sense of something familiar, she enjoyed the young girl’s closeness, it made her feel a little bit more comfortable given the circumstances, she was not even phased by her playing with her hair. That comfort began to fade though as Kyan spoke, and when she looked into his eyes as they glowed that comfort was completely gone and she found herself locked in a confliction somewhere between enticement and fear which the latter won and she looked down and away from him. When the wind pushed her and Doelynn apart, her first instinct was not for herself but for the girl, her head shooting to look to her and her arms partially darting towards Doelynn to be sure she was alright before she stopped herself realising, within seconds, it was Kyan's doing.
I sank a little once Doelynn was being taken away by Gwainar and a little more when it was just the king and I once more, the weight of our heavy silence settling on me and pushing me down. I had a daunting mater to discuss already but after his words about my father, I now had two although I realise many others with the relationship, I have with my father would not care as I did. “It started with a rumour in Paris.” My eyes searched around trying to recall a fuzzy memory that was not even mine to begin with, the rasp of my voice always caused my voice to crack when I spoke low so I sat up and took a quick deep breath. “A “End is Nigh” radical who spoke about the undead in N'awlins... gods walking among us... Dragons now being fused with their riders... Or the fountain of youth really just being a magical forest. No one listened, my dad kept walking that day but he heard him and that one thing sent him on a manic hunt.” I took a deep breath this time and sank again as I struggled to remember “From a rumour to storybooks; The Little White Bird, A Midsummer Night’s Dream... The King Killer Chronicles: The name of The Wind...” my voice began to crack again as my words slowly faded “the only type of books I could read when I was not studying.” I said to myself under my breath as this disappointing and angering revelation hit.
She closed her eyes as that anger quickly rose but it faded as soon as it showed up across her features because she swallowed it. She always swallowed it, her anger and pride and just about anything else that no one really liked seeing or caused arguments, fights, anything negative. She opened her eyes blinking a few times to get them to focus as she slowly looked up into his eyes again that fear from before still present. “Researching to searching coupled with manic and desperation he eventually found Thistlemoon and with me in his arms taking my last few breaths he grabbed the one thing my body naturally responded to. Slowly he would begin to forget through the decades and the one person he told all of this to is sitting right in front of you.” She looked away to think closing her eyes once again really trying to recall one thing “He did not know about you, or your people, or your kingdom.” She opened her eyes slow “I know for a fact he did not.”
I huffed after a moment looking down at my hands on my lap, I needed to shift the gears of the conversation now and what I need to ask was harder than what I had already said. Saying anything in this situation was hard enough because he could decide he did not like one simple thing I had or may say and well then decide to kill or torture me. “It may seem odd to say but that fire flower has been my dearest friend my whole life.” I looked up to him a little embarrassed “Or maybe to you and your people it is not that odd but...” I looked away to think letting my eyes aimlessly search the room. “that flower has saved my life more times than I wanted it to and more times than I could stop it.” I froze, I had never said that out loud before and the admission of those words caused a swirl of tangented thoughts, that I essentially had to keep to myself. “ I have to go back to the world before this day ends...” I finally built up the courage to say” If I do not go back and end things properly people of all kinds, not just humans will come looking and I owe it to my flo” I stopped myself and swallowed hard “The flower to not have people flouncing into your forest for me...“ I inhaled and looked at him “... I am not asking that I go alone that would be incredibly stupid and disrespectful. I am asking that you come with me? Bear witness to me burn all my bridges down and set fire to...my entire life as I know it?“ I let the rest of my breath out, at last, looking away and down again, playing with the rings on my necklace and rubbing them against my lips. “If... For some reason my motive is not enough for you then... Give me an ultimatum you that you can not resist.” I regretted those words as soon as they left my lips, shutting my eyes but I owed the fire flower my life so I would do anything.
Kyan sat unmoving, never wavering his piercing blue gaze as it stayed transfixed on the raven haired woman sitting across from him. The story of how her father came to Thistle was only getting more interesting as the words continued to flow over her lips, where he could feel the deep pang of emotion that seemed to be attached to them. The rumors of this radical seemed to be the key on how all of this had started for Madeline and her father. Of course, this radical wasn't so radical at all, but spoke the truths that had turned into legends and myths among men through their literature that continued to intrigue their cultures even to this day. Her father was clearly intrigued by whoever this person had been and the king wondered if whoever it was had not been human. One of his eyebrows rose in bemusement hearing that he had given his daughter those specifics titles to read growing up. How very interesting.
The king reached for the wine and poured more into his chalice before leaning back and tipping his chin to her as he continued listening. It was fascinating to watch the range of emotions that quickly flashed over her face and dissipated just as quickly. Still, his eyes never moved from Madeline as he continued listening quietly and sipped from his cup just as she confidently and foolishly tried to confirm that her father never knew of the fae kingdom. Had he not known something, the man would've never ventured into his home in the first place. It also annoyed him to no end knowing that the magical barrier had done little to keep them out as it was meant to, though it was for humans mostly, and other supernatural beings who wandered into the kingdom sometimes wouldn't feel the full affects of its workings. For it to do nothing to her father and for her to so easily pass through, Kyan was starting to find this whole situation more and more intriguing, especially with the few specific words that were confirming his suspicions. 'He would begin to forget.'
While this new information and excitement rose within him, knowing that he was possibly on the verge of some rather fortuitous news, Kyan was suddenly taken aback by her very brave request to venture back into the human world for her own selfish reasons. Not that it would've been noticeable by any change on his expression. No, he was still locked on her as if she were the only thing in the world that deserved his attention. Kyan took another large drink of the wine before slowly standing and airily walking towards her. He sat on the edge of the table, leaning slightly on the leg that propped him up there and chuckled a bit darkly. "You ask too much." The king looked down on her from his seated position only a foot or so apart to mostly make her feel intimidated as he sighed rather dramatically and then finally broke his gaze to glance out of the window. He let the heavy silence sit in the large space for more than a few moments which would have certainly made her worry what his response would be, just as he wanted it. "Fine."
Kyan finished the wine as he stood then and walked over to his large wardrobe to peer at the massive collection that spanned the centuries with clothing which changed along with the times. "We'll go into the world," he started while pulling the options he considered for this new adventure, "but only to see you.. what was it? Burn all your bridges and set fire to your entire life? That does sound rather enjoyable." He tilted his head to the side and suddenly became rather frustrated as he spun around to face Madeline with a slight pout. "I have nothing to wear."
It had been nearly an hour while the staff went about in a whirl, trying to find something that would appease Kyan. In the end he had settled on the most modest of choices; a pair of black trousers coupled with a few layered shirts of a light fabric and black boots. He placed his many necklaces back over his head, instantly feeling the comforting weight of them before glancing over to Madeline as she was allowed to change back into the clothing she’d worn when originally entering his domain. “Frankly, the dress suits you better.”
He’d informed the general of his intentions to take Madeline out of Thistle and the centaur was none too pleased. Not that it would matter in the end. The king was going to do as he pleased and soon it was only him and Madeline walking through the forest alone, heading towards the human world. “Tell me, Madeline,” he began, folding his arms behind him as he walked through his home, admiring the beauty as always, “What made you turn your back on your dearest friend when you no longer wanted it to save your life? What could be such a darkness for you that you felt as if you should forfeit your own existence?”
Madeleine's eyes might not have ever wavered from his but she was extremely terrified. She gulped as he moved closer to her and sank into her seat while he stared down at her. Her heart was beating so hard and fast that that was all she could hear as it boomed through her ears; She did not even realize she was not breathing as the silence around them thickened further and sat on her shoulders, and further into the chair, she sank. She still held his gaze despite being afraid and remaining perfectly still as she laid in wait for an answer. Only when the answer did come and he moved away from her did she release her breath and realise that she was not breathing, to begin with. Madeline closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths hoping to calm down, get her heart to slow and her body to relax... It did not really work.
I inevitably opened my eyes and returned my attention to him though I was still actively trying to quietly catch my breath. I froze a faint second when he began to speak because I suddenly realised I might have to explain there would not be real fire or actual bridges falling down. I opened my mouth to speak but held my tongue with my words on its tip, what if my saying these were just a figure of speech caused him to change his mind? If I did not go and end things the right way who would come in search of me? What god or man? Monster or angel? Who would die for no reason? The right thing would be to at least make it clear about what he should expect but before I could get a word in I heard Kyan, then saw his pout. I closed my mouth as the faintest of chuckles left me and I felt a very small smile curl at the edges of my lips; I was genuinely but pleasantly surprised.
Madeline got swept up in the wave of motion that came into the room at the King's command but this chaos she was used to. In fact, she was comfortable with this type of chaos in particular and it made her miss the days she worked in the fashion industry. For a moment she watched as the staff toiled over their king and once she was allowed to put her original outfit back on she took his distraction as the opportunity to change. Her clothes had been shredded by the pixies earlier but fortunately enough, her pants just looked purposely ripped, unfortunately enough her shirt was quite tattered but she managed to make do and quite literally tie it around her fashionably. Once they were finally on their way Madeline was having a rather hard time focusing on Kyan, looking around with a bright shine in her eyes. She continuously trotted to catch up with him when she fell behind from unconsciously stopping to admire Thistle. She went from walking normally to not walking at all to walking backwards to keep up with him. She was smiling so peacefully at the beauty surrounding them and it genuinely took her time to hear and process what Kyan had said and her smile slowly faded to just a smirk.
My eyes slowly trailed to Kyan yet again; oh darkness my old friend why can I not escape you? I exhaled an audible heavy breath from my nose alone that ended with a small tsk of my tongue as I shook my head. I actually had to think of this question but because I did not see it the same way. "Of all the darkness in my life, I do n-" suddenly I stopped and gasped. My words caught at the back of my throat and my breath hitched. We had just passed out of Thistle and the only reason I knew was due to this sudden feeling gripping my very soul. Everything about me just stopped as my back straightened and I stumbled back a step or two. I felt like I was at the end of a bungee cord or in the loop of a rubber band being pulled back to where we came. Except what was pulling me? I spun to look back at Thistle, I had only felt this twice in my life which told me this was the Tree again. It was the only answer that made sense; I stumbled forward towards this pull but I dug the heels of boots into the ground to catch myself. I grit my teeth, swallowed hard and stiffened up just to fight this beautiful and strong feeling pulling me back; this feeling of being wanted is all I ever wanted and it was extremely relieving that it was not from darkness come to drag me back and leave me knocking at death's door.
"Uhm.." Madeline's voice cracked while she forced herself to focus back on Kyan and quickly tried to recall what she was saying before being lassoed. Clearing her throat and shaking her head extremely faint tears billowed at the brim of her eyes but once she huffed they were gone. "I always hated seeing my friend locked away in a jar with no real purpose anymore. Friendships or any relationship are a two-way street, I got tired of this flower pouring its very life into me and all I could do was make sure it had clean water or that its jar did not break. To me, that is like telling someone you love them just to have them reply with a Thank you and a pat on the shoulder." She dropped her head and shook it before looking Kyan right in the eyes. "You call it turning my back but I do not see it that way at all. I see it as making things right... Or trying to... even at the threat of death." She let her words set before she scanned her surroundings "the car is this way." She hesitated before walking because she still felt like she was being pulled back into Thistle, it got easier though the farther they got.
The car was not parked too far but far enough so that if someone stumbled upon it they would not automatically assume I had gone into Thistlemoon. I unlocked the car but did not immediately get in, instead, I began to check the engine and wheels for any animals that might have tried to make their home there in the hours I had been gone. After finding a bunny on one of the wheels I got in and the smooth New Orleans Jazz riddled to life through the radio as the car revved to a start. My eyes immediately closed at that and my hand rested on the speaker in the driver's door so I could feel the vibrations and at last my body relaxed. It was not until I remembered I was not alone that my eyes fluttered back open and I glanced to Kyan quickly before putting the car in reverse. Delicately I brought my hand to the headrest of Kyan's seat and turned to look out the rear window as I backed up. "Doelynn mentioned you leave Thistle all the time when was the last time? And when was the last you were in a car?"