We continue Black Blossom, the novel that follows The Aphorisms of Kherishdar and The Admonishments of Kherishdar. It is a form of quasi-communal storytelling, as described here. Feel free to ask questions, converse or react as you wish in the comments; the Calligrapher and I are at your disposal, as time permits us both. And don’t fear… your questions are shaping the narrative. Read closely in the future and you may see yourself referred to there.
Black Blossom, Part 77
A Story of Kherishdar as Translated by M.C.A. Hogarth
We did try, though neither of us managed very well. The matter of the aunera remained with us like a lingering incense. Afterwards, when Kor took my latest painting away, I allowed it; I had become accustomed to him standing guard over the evidence of my grief. Perhaps that was a form of Correction itself: a gentle reminder that the alchemy that transforms pain into wisdom and growth does not happen on its own, that it must undergo a process and that this process has worth… and that the evidence of the process might itself trigger the same alchemy in someone else. It has taken me a great deal of time to truly accept that Kor was right to preserve my uglier works. At times, it is only by seeing the footsteps of others on the path that we know to keep walking… or that any journey is possible at all.
So, he spirited away the painting, and we prepared for bed. As I slipped under the hissing sheets—now clean of the scent of Ajan—I said, “Do you miss him?”
“Of course,” Kor said. “But we have time, Farren.”
Oh aunera. Such infamous words. Never again did I hear a similar sentiment from Shame.
“I don’t mind, you know,” I said. “Being displaced from bed for it. Any time.”
His fingers were spread on my solar plexus, and had seemed very relaxed there. He chafed the thumb against my fur, distracting me, then said, “Actually, he said he would be honored if you would be ajzelin-jzene.”
When I answered with absolute stillness, he finished, voice low, “I would be, also.”
Truly there are moments when the silence that follows words seems to echo all the way into the heart.
Among us the role of witness is sacred. Perhaps this is because in our society we truly rise and fall by our relationships with others, and so to see and speak the truth we have seen is important. Earlier in this account I mentioned how harshly we punish false witness in Kherishdar. But we also enshrine the role of those who stand outside and watch, so that it can be told how it was… indeed, some of you know the name of our most famous witness, the Exception.
It is true, also, aunera, that to see truth so clearly brings with it an element of awe and fear. But if the Exception is notorious, she is also revered. Even one who stands outside society can be lauded for service, if their service is to bear witness.
To be ajzelin-jzene, touch-lover witness, meant that Ajan and Kor were willing to have me with them when they were together. It is not a usual thing, but when it is possible, when it happens… those moments are the subject of verses of poetry—both romantic and spiritual.
“You don’t have to,” Kor murmured against my shoulder. “Though if you do, we would welcome you.”
“Thank you,” I said softly, and brought his hand up so I could kiss the back.
I did not give him an answer then. I wish I had. But I am also grateful that I was not punished irrevocably for my hesitation, no matter what I would feel in the days that followed.
Some say that we are vessels, and that we must make ourselves empty in order to be filled with all that is good and worthy. That there can be no love without an attempt at perfection of self: that a cracked pot cannot hold, and that this is the reason we have loss and jealousy and fear.
But I believe that love is the vessel, and we are the thing formed by it. Love is always perfect. If there is loss and jealousy and fear, it is because we have not allowed the pot to shape us, but have in our hubris decided that we know better how to fill the empty spaces.
—Ereseya, Observations from the End of a Life
I would like to say I slept well, that Kor’s presence and the newness of being ajzelin were sufficient to soothe any troubles I might entertain. But while I hesitate to use the word ‘torture,’ my dreams wrenched me from sleep several times that night, and they were not deep-dreams, what we call yulun, the voice of the spirit as it makes sense of the world, the day and one’s place in it… but rather jiliqil, the restless almost-dreams of a mind that cannot settle, the hateful ones that make one feel as if one has not slept at all.
And all my jiliqil were of the aunera… of the female’s haunted eyes, and the stern mask of the male’s face.
I was not the only one disturbed, for when I sat up at last in the morning, even more exhausted than I had been before lying down, Kor remained lying on his back, one hand on his chest and his eyes on the ceiling.
“I’ll run you a bath when I’m done,” he said at last.
“Thank you,” I said.
We broke our fast in silence, and again he checked on the others. When he returned it was to take his stole off and carefully fold it before setting it on the table. “I think,” he said, “I will go for a walk.”
“All right,” I said. “The others…?”
“As well as can be expected,” he said. “You might check, if you wish.”
“I think I will,” I said.
“I’ll be back for the dareleni,” he said, and left. I looked at the stole for quite some time before rising myself. I did not begrudge him the setting aside of his mantle, not at all. But it concerned me that he felt the need, for it was very much not like him. We were all sorely afflicted, I thought, by these matters. I prayed Thirukedi’s message would arrive soon.
What foreshadowing? >.>
Also, Ereseya returns. She is very vocal lately.
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Mirrored from MCAH Online.