Fen of Tales Untold

Wheresoever life blooms still in the Lhann’shoay, the ghosts of unsung sagas hold it close.
On the edge of all edges, in the sleet-white scythe that splits the green of the earth from the blueyellow of the sky they dwell, groping for a place beside younger sisters whom Time the Inexorable Sculptor has not yet finished chiseling. They struggle on, fettered to this earth yet hovering wraith-like above it.

Petty and powerful, merry and bitterly vengeful, drifting solitary or entwined so utterly that the keenest can scarcely detect the alloy, they are petrified into cold, indifferent, moulding oblivion.

The same doom is laid upon them all: to perish and be forgotten. Or so Men deem.

Truly, in the fickle memories of men, writ in fleeting words that fade ere they form, they leave only a wistful shadow … but words have power. Words have meaning. Words can save stories.

In the gnarled old hands of the Time that tended them they all return to nestle, guarded there for all eternity beyond the ken of Men, while the vessels from which they were once fashioned are poured soulless into the earth by the ravages of the selfsame Tyrant, sunk into decay and loathsomeness and finally to Nothing.

The souls and stories of the dead endure. Some of them are lived anew, by Time’s sculptures of flesh and blood. Some become the sagas of the Inkshadow people, of that curious limbo-race that is born of dreams and wilts under Reality’s gouging gaze.

All words tell stories, but we cannot read them all.
All stories need words, but we cannot feed them all.

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A Feather from a Secret World

Before it can be written as a seamless whole, every snippet of its shadow that can be caught must be pinned to paper. Nakushita. The Land of the Lost…You’re wrong there. Lose yourself it, and you’ll find your way through. But can you do it? Can you trust, you who lie hourly to yourself and all the world besides? Can you, do have faith enough to let go? To not be in control?

Set a trap for the phoenix, the Simurgh, the Soulbird, who dwell higher than the arc of mortal bows… String the net of words, warp and weft… and watch over the trap, hour after hour. Watch it wear out and decay, ever empty.

For many years they came, uncalled and ever welcome. The Eyrie was your home then, and the dovecote too. For you loved beauty and did not covet it…

God loved birds. He made trees. Man loved birds. He made cages…
All lands were yours, because you did not own any of them.

It had to end. Time would not stay at the behest of joy, any more than it will fly faster for sorrow… Thus the mad, eternally doomed chase, with the many-stringed net of words.

Now wuthering, now silent, the phoenix hovers… ever, ever, will it elude thee, poor hunter. When your despair is at its darkest, your anguish nigh beyond bearing, it will gently let fall one feather. One splendid, glorious feather that you have leave to carry into your own world, to call your own.

A feather from a phoenix from a secret world.
Aye. You can see it. Feel it. Bury it. Burn it.

The feather. You can buy it, sell it, use it to mop spilt ink. Or you can dream the dream every silken leaf ,quivers with… and yearn anew for the phoenix never to be yours.

You cannot catch him, or sway his will
You cannot reach him

You can only hunt and pray and wait. Wait for the pan to extinguish and the feather to light the candle-flame of hope in your heart again… Search, little bird. Search, for what art thou but the search?

Yes-Person

All the long merry days of thy life, child
Shalt evermore do as thou art bid;
Lay aside now these fancies wild,
Else shalt cringe when thou art chid!
For the yoke upon thy fluttering heart,
Comes not from the censure of the world;
Were this cool defiance thy natural part,
Wouldst tremble so as it unfurled?

Free, free as yon great bird am I
To soar towards that blue, blue sky
Do eaglets not come to their wings atrembling?
My heart too has courage; behold it assembling!
I am the purple thread ‘pon the world’s white robe
An the pale-dyeing traitor lives within me,
Does it not then more earnestly behove
Me to cast it forth and my true self be?

Thy true self? Faugh! Blasphemy! Arrant knavery!
Wast born to crawl humbly upon the earth
Clip thy false wings! Return! Now be
As beseems one who knows her meagre worth.
Child, all I now in seeming cruelty say
I say for the good of thee and thine;
Wouldst from the creed of all our kind stray,
Lay ‘pon us the pall of ruin, shame me and mine?

No! Mother, no! Rather my right hand would I give
To spare thee a moment’s pain while I yet live!
Yet whither shall the tempest within me turn?
An I yield not, ye hurt; an I yield, I burn!
The salt and the scum of the earth am I
Oh Mother! Hast other daughters, a dozen sons
Set me free to soar wild and high
My fate was not written in thy buttered buns!

Hold! Set thee free! Never! Oh, God forfend!
Set thee free to err in thy wilful way!
Stay! With all my power do I thee defend
To transgress my law for a single day!
Go then! Follow thy brazen will an ye list
I cast thee forth from my heart and my home –
Else return my darling daughter; but then, desist!
Forbid thy vagrant fancy evermore to roam!

Thou hast reason, Mother, the fault is mine
If I cannot be as other maidens are;
I doubt not, Mother, the true course is thine –
Let thy gentle love not suffer me to wander far!
All thy days of my life I yoke to thy law,
Yes-person of a long race of yes-persons am I,
I will obey thee evermore with trembling awe!
Yes, I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I –

O Ye Scum of the Earth…

I’m an unknown new writer, but then
I’ve written stories since I turned ten
Here’s the ripping tale of a grey-winged hen
Will you publish it for me, please?
Back! Scum of the earth, I bid ye cease!
Begone! O ye scum of the earth, avaunt!

I’ve a DELF a DALF, a TOEFL to match
A sample of my translation I hereby attach
But a native I’m not – there’s the catch
Will you publish it for me, please?
Back! Scum of the earth, I bid ye cease!
Begone! O ye scum of the earth, avaunt!

I have no diploma, no job, no PhD
But I’ve got ‘geek’ written all over me
I’ve written an article, a beauty,
Will you publish it for me, please?
Back! Scum of the earth, I bid ye cease!
Begone! O ye scum of the earth, avaunt!

I’m here to study, to learn how to be
Tagged and labelled so they’ll listen to me
I’ve written a thesis, I’d like a degree,
Will you publish it for me, please
Back! Scum of the earth, I bid ye cease!
Begone! O ye scum of the earth, avaunt!