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ysonesse ([personal profile] ysonesse) wrote2013-07-26 08:46 am

Myths and Metsima

Real World: Aeithera

Their last night of freedom...tomorrow would begin yet another semester, with more required classes and overpriced lunches from the cafeteria to endure. A brutal slap of reality.

But for tonight, there was nothing to do but sit on the front porch of Nalieza's house and drink metsima. Nothing to worry about...just moments to be enjoyed.

At least, that was the intention. But Nalieza couldn't let it go. Trying to escape the dreams was impossible. She was trapped within another person's tragedy now, and she didn't know what a normal life was supposed to be like anymore. It had been an uneasy balance these last few months, trying to live within her reality by day, then descending into sleep at night, and entering a peculiar kind of reality that wasn't completely real. She had managed to hold both states together in some kind of odd balance. At least, she had convinced herself that was true. But now...nothing was certain anymore.

"Zhir was offered up as a sacrifice by the village. He was bound up in a paeta, then tossed out from the cliffs at Monjoi into the sea.."

Civriel stood at the bottom of the steps holding a small tumbler of metsima in one hand, while using the other to demonstrate the imaginary sight of a bound and helpless victim descending from a cliff into the sea. They were halfway into the first of two bottles of wine he had brought back from home during the semester break. And the spirits of the spirit were slowly releasing things usually held in check by normal standards of behavior. Civriel's usual state of quiet was rapidly dissolving, to be replaced by a more animated state, as shown by his current foray into telling the story of Zhir, one of the ancient myths from his homeworld. Even Meaithe was letting down some of her guard, at least a little. She was smiling, and hadn't reached for a cret in over ninety minutes. Josym's nature was simply heightened, since he was normally kinetic. As for herself...the walls were coming down, stone by stone. Which was not needed to happen right now.

"...he was trapped in a bag with his hands tied. Drifting along on the surface of the ocean for what seemed like an eternity."

Nalieza swirled the full glass in her hand, staring into the ultramarine colored liquid as if trying to divine some great secret of the universe. To be cast alone out in the middle of an open and dark sea...well, that seems familiar.

"The bundle was caught up in a tempest, which made it sink to the bottom. By some divine act, it burst open, and tossed Zhir out. He struggled about until he managed to release himself from the bonds. Then he wandered through the deep, trying to find a way out of his predicament..."

Swallowed by the abyss...but in Han's case, he did not descend completely into the blackness. To do so would have overtaken his awareness completely, which would have been small blessing. Because he had recently begun to have some frightening moments...instead of the never-ending flow of memories, which were terrible but at least provided some respite from the knowledge of being carbon frozen. But now, he had random moments of clarity, pure and terrifying...the feeling of being trapped in carbonite...not being able to move...smothered by a wall of ice...pushing him down, taking away his breath. All was cold and dark...what had originally caused his mind to retreat was now resurfacing. He never told her these feelings were coming over him. Just like that night when the dreams began...she could feel everything he felt.

"A wombfish swallowed him whole. When Zhir awoke and found himself inside the thing's stomach, he was more astounded to find he was still alive than the fact he happened to be inside a sea creature." Civriel paused to finish the rest of his metsima. Then he bowed as if at the end of a performance in front of an audience.

Josym and Meaithe burst into a round of applause. They were sitting on the porch, placed casually upon the settee. From her vantage point at the opposite end of the porch, seated in the overstuffed mita chair, Nalieza watched the scene. Present, yet not present.

"You know, I'd find it amazing to still be alive after I got swallowed by a fish," Josym said.

"Perhaps. But it is still rather odd to think 'I'm alive' instead of 'Now, how did I wind up here?'" Civriel replied.

Josym and Meaithe both laughed at this comment. But Nalieza could not react to it. There was simply no capacity for mirth or enjoyment within her at the moment.

"Nali, hey, are you here with us?" Meaithe called out.

She looked up. Not an easy question to answer under the circumstances...best thing to do was try and put on a brave and convincing face. In other words, lie. "Sure I'm here. Just let my mind wander there for a minute." She took a large swallow of metsima. "This is pretty good, Civ. Your father must have had some luck with the growing season this year."

Civriel glanced at the other two. "Yes, the weather was more fair than usual. That encourages the metsimes to interact better with the soil."

Nalieza stared at her friends. Even if they didn't possess one drop of Force sensitivity, they could tell she was trying to hide something. She was a good actress in front of holocameras, but terrible when it came to hiding her feelings from others in real life.

"It's the dreams again," Josym stated, putting his empty glass down on the table next to the settee.

She said nothing. Keep it to yourself, girl.

"Do I have to come over there and drag it out of you?" Josym asked.
"You wouldn't dare," Nalieza responded. Yet she knew that was exactly what he would do.

And so he did. With a few quick steps, he came across the porch and sat on the left arm of the chair. "You haven't said anything about them for ages," he said, lightly touching her arm.
Nalieza moved away, just a little. She didn't want anyone's concern or pity right then.

"They still must be going on. You would have told us about them ending. Right?"

Just give him whatever he wants to hear. Then block up the rest. "Yes, they're still going on. But there's nothing to tell. I meet him in the dream world, in whatever setting his memory called up. We talk about stuff that happened to him. Eventually, I get the feeling it's time to wake up. And then every morning...I wake up." She balanced the empty glass in her lap, letting it tilt slightly along the edge of her right thigh. Like a tower slowly falling to the ground...and if she let the glass fall, it would shatter. Just like her sense of reality...just like Han's sense of hope.

Josym shook his head. "Sorry, none of us finds that convincing."

And they weren't. She could feel it plainly. It was usually pointless to lie to someone with Force sensitivity, especially if you happened to be one too. Even if they could not detect the true nature of what she was trying to suppress, they could certainly tell she was trying to cover up something. The peculiar quirks of metsima added to this element. Alcohol could make everything become revealed.

"Fine, if you really feel it's necessary to know about the dreams, then I'll tell you. For the past month, they've been getting worse. And honestly, this is all starting to drive me crazy." She placed her empty glass on the porch, then stood up and moved over to the porch railing. "It's ridiculous. I get a chance at going out in the world and having what passes for a normal life. I can come and go pretty much when and where I want. But he can't. It's not fair."

"How can you feel guilty for being alive? You can't help that he was carbon frozen, and it's not like you could have stopped it even if you were there when it was happening," Josym said, standing up and moving to stand next to her.

Nalieza looked up into the sky. It was black, with only the faintest hint of stars, and no moon. The absence of light to guide one's way through a dark night's journey. Something bad was coming on this path they were traveling.

"You've been doing the best you can under the circumstances. And you've handled this better than any of us probably could have," Meaithe said.

"Oh sure. I've been doing so great. I could have used some kind of handbook going into this, so I could know how to handle all of this better."

"Maybe we could try to help you," Civriel said.

She gave a short laugh, tinged with the flavor of tired bitterness. "How can anybody help now? I'm certainly not the one to do it. I can't even tell what in the hells reality is supposed to be." Nalieza turned her back from the railing to face them, even though she kept her eyes focused on her feet. "The dreams started out feeling real. I certainly don't know how or why I'd be making up. Let alone from where I might be drawing the places and situations from." She took in a deep breath, and then paused. Should she really tell them everything? Was it necessary to bring up the personal dream she had? The one where she wandered through a labyrinth of blinding white walls until she wound up in an empty morgue. All in the room was still and silent, cold and sterile. She tried to run from the room, but the door slammed shut, causing all of the slabs to burst forth from the walls. Each clear rectangle was empty, and lit up from within by twin golden stars. Blinking and pulsing, then finally fading away to nothingness, leaving the lucetene slabs transparent and devoid of illumination.

That dream had brought her quickly into an awakened state in the predawn hour. She hadn't worked up the nerve to attempt sleeping since that morning.

There was no point in bringing that dream up. It might help to dig some meaning out of the dream's ashes...no. Enough of that nonsense. Trying to find a meaning in every damned image that came up was impossible. The out of body experience held no significance. There was no meaning. No order...just random chaos.

Nalieza gazed up once more into the night sky. The stars still glittered, as if sending out messages to unknown and known worlds. So the stars talk. Are we supposed to listen? What could they possibly be saying that might make some difference now? All of the truths she had tried to comfort herself and Han with throughout this ordeal no longer mattered. In the end, only two truths ultimately existed: the overwhelming power of death, and its capacity to alter everything it encompassed. Everyone and everything was ultimately swallowed into the abyss, casting them into permanent darkness. Just like Zhir in the myth that Civriel had been telling them...

"Civ," she called out. "Did Zhir ever find his way out of the wombfish's belly?"

There were several seconds of tense silence, and then he answered her question. "Yes. Eventually. But first, he had to undergo another trial of will, one that required much physical and mental effort on his part."

Nalieza smiled. "Would you finish the rest of the story tonight?" Maybe some distraction is what I need right now. And just possibly, I might get at least one clue on if I should give up, or keep going.


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