Threads of Fate
I am travelling in France with a German woman and two Irishmen. I am doing do because I am a child of the goddess Sekhmet and the only reason this is acceptable is because I have lost my mind. In my grief I have relinquished all control and all sanity. The only thing I can do now is find Afzal and destroy him. It will give me no peace, but at least he will be gone so that he no longer be able to harm anyone.
Ciaran, Aednat and Ericka…I don’t really know what to think of them. The Irishmen seem to be getting along well enough – big surprize there. And Ericka…she reminds me of Lindsey. Accent’s different but same kinda mother-y ness. But I dunno – Lindsey would flit about and just shine…Erika seems broken. It’s like all that compassion just comes from sorrow.
No, I am not losing my mind. It is utterly destroyed. I relished the opportunity to destroy those walking corpses with my bare hands and I wanted…him. All power and death and most importantly he kept that mouth of his SHUT.
This just makes no sense.
And now we have some son of Poseidon here, Peter. Being around him just agitates me, like hearing nails on a chalkboard just under the tone of his voice. Is this what being a scion felt like for my brother? Dealing with this for a year…little wonder he went the way he did between this madness and his predisposition to selfishness.
I don’t know why Aednat seems to draw everyone’s ire. Suppose it’s fair though – she riles the scions and I rile the gods. I envy her a little. She’ll have better odds in the long run I think. Hard to tell though.
I am awake again… and I am afraid I am going to lose my mind permanently. Sleep does little to soothe and it wears on me. It seems that being a vivid dreamer is going to damn me to insanity faster than anything.
The dreams always start innocuous enough. I dream of sand and it blows, scorching hot from the midday sun and it burns as it whips past my skin. I taste blood on my tongue and hope there are more enemies to vanquish. They are faceless, formless – beyond where I wound them, anyway.
And oh, do I wound them.
Skulls cracking under my fist, a throat crushed under my heel. The screams never change, even as my fingernails break skin and I revel in the feel of warm blood under my fingers.
At it’s most feverish – the dream changes. The shift…that will be what drives me mad – more so than the violence. Gently the mood moves at first but the blood-lust transmutes. Maybe my mind thinks the tenderness is too close to weakness. That’s when I know it starts, my hair being pulled and teeth on my neck. It’s painful but I fight back – breath at my ear, the fingers on my spine.
Lindsey and I were like this, once.
It’s not her now, in these dreams – no matter how I try to rationalize in the dark hours of morning. I can’t soothe my mind into resting and I dare not try to hash out who my lust screams for.
I hate this.
I wonder if Afzal dreams of sand and death; of lording over corpses and making all he finds bow to his whims.
It’s funny. I pray for the strength to stop him, knowing full well I go unheard.
I just don’t want to I am no better than he. Surely father rolls in his grave- the son he never wanted destroying every life he touches. The daughter he wanted so badly to be something turned into a greedy moaning harlot at the sight of blood.
How long until Afzal and I are not so different?
He dug up father. The sight is burning through my memories, it feels like.
Everything still reels when I think of him. I can think of nothing else.
He will be without peace and I am powerless to stop it.
I can’t do this.
What have I been doing? Drowning everything I am under the standards every other person I have ever met has for me.
Who am I? Do I even know any more?
I am grateful for Aednat, now that I have had time to calm down. I don’t even know what I was thinking.
But I am … awake finally and I understand. The pain, the anger – it’s stripping everything unimportant away.
Things are moving along.
We have a new person travelling with us. His name is Isamu and I think he’s the closest to reasonable I am going to find in this group. He is very astute from what I can tell and he always seems to know what I need. I’ve known him less than two days and we’re already getting on like we actually know each other.
We went drinking in this club in Germany and we talked to Loki and one of his sons. They both strike me as being vaguely insufferable and to help soothe my temper – yet again I drank.
Well, that was unwise.
Apparently it was divine stuff and made me sick as a dog. Woke up next to Isamu in the morning. Not something…
I don’t know what to think. Especial-
Well, regardless of what I think – I am relieved nothing actually happened.
Spending better part of the day hungover is not something I am really willing to have happen twice – especially not in France.
Afzal is there and we are going to see him. I am …I feel a great many things about this. But regardless of how he grew, it matters little. He is a monster now and no amount of grief will ever change that.
He will continue to destroy unless I …we stop him. This is no longer just my fight. I would do well to remember that.
I think I will do well to remember a lot of things.
Well, there it is then.
The truth of it all is that we were all connected long before we all knew each other. It’s…an odd relief, to know that this is not simply some sort of perverse enaction of Murphy’s Law.
Just knowing that my brother is responsible for more than my own pain -it’s jarring. Amarante lost her sister – they all clearly lost a friend. More than that in Isamu’s case, if he’s calling her dove. Now it’s been confirmed that Afzal has been a killer for much longer than I’ve known. I think I’ve always known.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed or disappointed in my life. I know that his actions are his own, but …
I am so very, very tired of not being good enough.
Peter, for all of his damned floundering, was accurate.
I am supposed to be grateful for this world and the life I have. I am supposed to be stronger than this, I am supposed to be a warrior and I am supposed be better than this.
My enemies know this and they make me a fool. They make me choke and vomit on my weakness.
So the only way to combat this is to accept reality and find joy in it.
But how can I?
How can I find joy in all of this madness?
If this I am to speak of my family – I loved them, all of them. My step-mother and I were close, closer than I think I can ever really be with anyone ever again. She was strong without having to destroy and
I wish I was hers I wish I was so much more like her. My father was a harsh man and I made nothing easy for him. Even at my most honest, my most sincere I did nothing but embarrass him. Afzal is our greatest sin. I can’t claim that he would have been different – but I can’t claim how he was treated was right. We all failed him and we have paid and will continue to pay for it.
And my mother – as such as she is. Fearsome, violent, deadly – I know my life hangs each time we speak and yet I am expected to revel in the bloodlust we share. I am expected to simply accept our bad temper and taste for excess – to move on as if there is nothing wrong. In her duty, she is amazing but am not HER. I don’t want to be her!
What about my near miss?
Hassan was the first person that knew me as I truly was. For all of my faults and all of my talents – he was my closest friend. We were a good match, I know this. Talking to him eased my anger often and I kept him from becoming too complacent with his surroundings. He would have been an excellent husband. I should have been happy.
But I could not endure. I loved him, but did not want him. I would never be to stand to touch him, much less give him children. When I told him, he looked relieved. I can’t even fathom that. He said that he had seen something very wrong in how I acted about our arrangement but he didn’t want to upset me. He was kind and forgiving and even took the blame when the engagement was broken. He destroyed his reputation so that no one would know the truth. And I lost him over my temper.
As much as it pains me, Hassan was right about Lindsey. She wanted everything I couldn’t give her and I refused to admit it- especially when it was too late to matter.
I loved her and she haunts me still sometimes, almost as badly as my father does.
She was the first person who I ever wanted to impress. I knew I was strong and fairly smart, but I wanted her to notice. Got exactly what I wished for. She smiled at me once and I knew I was damned. Her kisses were sweet, her affections intense. Soon after, I guess she realised that I was serious and soon after hell began.
I wasn’t affectionate enough in public, no matter how I adjusted, no how much it was no one else’s business. When she introduced me to her family – she expected reciprocation immediately. She pressed even after I explained that only one person knew the truth about me. We made a deal finally, she wasn’t to ask about meeting my family until I had told them the truth – it was only fair for both of us.
When I did, when I finally faced my family – I thought I was going to be homeless. My father and Fahima fought into the night and she advised that I not be present for the worst of it. Linds comforted me and when I returned home-
It was as if I had said nothing. I wasn’t about to look this gift in the mouth but to Lindsey I was a coward. I did not love her because I valued a strained peace in my house and a roof over my head more than her affections. I was playing games because I wasn’t willing to throw the life I had away for the vision she had for the two of us.
She was being selfish. I told her as such. Since she was foolish enough to ignore what I had to deal with, I didn’t bother with restraint. I almost wish I’d hit her. Maybe then I feel like I earned the look she gave me.
When I spoke to Hassan about it, he was…less than sympathetic. I raged and threatened and he refused to placate me. I know he was right – but she had hurt me, we could least agree on that. He said I was no better. I stormed out. We’ve barely spoken since – few emails, phone calls on birthdays early on. But we’re broken now. And I sure as hell can’t go talk to him now.
And what have I done since. Even before this I was lost. Abandoning law – why because the system was corrupt? If I was half of what I claimed to be – I would have done better. I would have made those around me do better. Afzal wasn’t baiting me. Peter did not have a slip of the tongue. I failed.
I failed and now I have done nothing but cling to the past. I all I do is curl in and seethe and scream for the world to be better and I can’t even be better. I can’t even look myself in the eye any more.
All I see is what should have been and what I am.
Baysan bint Faizah. “She who walks proudly, Daughter of the victorious”
Childish. Selfish. Weak. What do I have to be proud of? What victory is there in this?
The Truth has come from your Lord. Let him who will, believe it, and let him who will, reject it.[18: 29]
I have known every expectation I have ever had thrust upon me. I know where I have succeeded, I know where I have failed – but above all, I know what I have done.
I’ve been running from myself for so long and now that none of what I was running from matters – what am I left with? Nothing but ammunition for my enemies.
God, it’s like waking up after a nightmare. I forgot how clear everything is after you’ve lost.
So, truth then.
I feel so uncomfortable in my skin. The only thing that does make sense is fighting and even then it’s like jumping from flame to ice water. Even dancing doesn’t feel the way it used to and to be honest it does little more than remind me of Lindsey. Everything feels so unfamiliar, like I’m walking in a damned straight jacket.
I miss Hassan. I miss his teasing and I miss how he didn’t judge me, even in the end he was tired of me behaving poorly and my acting like I had done nothing.
I regret not making my parents face the reality that their daughter was never going to give them grandchildren or become a good wife.
I still feel like Afzal is somewhat my fault – but in the end he made his choices. Regardless of how I affected him, he still made the choice to do wrong. Just like I am making the choice to stop him. I just have to remember that.
I am mostly sure I am projecting on to Ciaran. He fights how I used to. The thought of it makes my blood run hot, and it’s not his fucking stupid face. I mean I am not going to kid myself and call him unattractive. But want to feel that rush again – the pulse of blood racing against my skin, rapid heartbeat. I want to beat the ever loving FUCK out of someone, make them regret challenging me. I guess the fact that he is objectively attractive and that the physical sensations that occur in a fight are really close to what happens to the body during sex I have to assume that the combination is what is so painfully awkward. I hope.
Peter is smart and pisses me the fuck off because for how damned smart he is, he doesn’t seem to have any fucking answers. That’s mainly it. I mean he is kind of insufferable, but really no one is perfect. I just wish he didn’t like to hear himself talk so much.
Aednat…is Aednat. At my lowest she tried to give me some sense of normalcy and for that I will always be grateful. I worry sometimes that she will say something and get herself killed, but don’t let me be there if someone wants to try. She’s never made any pretensions about who she is and that’s damn better than anyone else in this house. I hope with all these revelations everyone stops riding her so hard.
Erika ..is beautiful. Sometimes I wonder what thing Ciaran sold his soul to in order to get that close to her. I wonder if I can beat his deal. It terrifies me because she just…looks like Lindsey. But she’s so sad, I can practically feel it for her. She takes care of everyone around her and I don’t think anyone is taking care of her. I don’t know if anyone can with the way she talks but Lord do I want try. I want to make her smile, make her laugh, make her scream even – I don’t care I just don’t want to see her so broken. I know I don’t know her, I know I’m probably beautifying her and it’s probably because I want…
I want to do for for her, what I couldn’t do for Lindsey.
The truth is, for how beautiful nostalgia makes our memories, Linds and I were probably very bad for each other. And now I’m tangling what I want up with my regret and it does nothing but taste bitter.
Isamu is a different matter entirely. Well, sort of. I think. He reminds me of Hassan. He is a gentleman and strong without being overbearing. But that is where the similarities end. His passions very plainly run deeper than Hassan’s ever did – you can see it when he gets offended especially. I am curious about him. And if we’re being totally honest, I shared a bed with him when the last person I’ve done that with is Lindsey. I don’t like sharing my bed, even when I’m am just sleeping. It feels too intimate to wake up next to another person, knowing that I was completely vulnerable a scant few moments prior.
I am also worried that he sees a dead woman when he looks at me. Sometimes I wake up at night and I can feel his arms wrapped around me, like he is terrified to let me go. I know he probably cared very deeply for her, but I just… if he going to make it a point to protect me and call me nicknames – I want him to see me, I want him to want me.
Speaking of want.
Amarante inspires the most embarrassing, soul-shattering cocktail of reactions I think I have ever felt at once. Afzal is the reason why her sister is dead and he was my responsibility. Awkward. I..she is dangerous and I would really, really like to feel her skin under my fingers – her lips under mine and a myriad of other emotions that I don’t really want to put words to. She is also a reminder that my bloodlust and …lust, I guess are connected in ways that make me never want to leave the shower. When Isamu he saw her put a stiletto through a man’s eye, I think I was about a hair’s breadth away from losing it. Just the thought of her legs and the ferocity and strength required to pull that off – makes my skin crawl. I can’t tell if it’s a good or bad thing yet. Logic dictates that this is probably a very, very bad sign.
I pray that I have the grace to face all of this when I am merely left with my own thoughts. I pray that I am not overcome by all of this, that by being honest in the face of my shortcomings that I can make them into strengths.
Honor to my Mother who bore me, Praise to the man who raised me in this world
I hear myself, voice echoed off of walls
Servant of divinity, Fate’s keening, desperate call
Bury all my past under stone
My precious little family, never one at all.
Can’t say I’m surprised. Rubaiyat was always step-mother’s strength.
We’re all talking of how different things are now, and all I can see is what is the same. The same thoughts in my head, the same blood in my veins, same chorus of instruction from everyone around me. First it was be a godly woman and now it’s become the goddess I am. It’s all more than a little maddening.
I don’t think my problems are that meaningful, all of us with so much work to do. Hunting down the next relic and hurtling down the path that fate is urging us to. But I can’t shake this feeling, this recoil every time someone tells me to be who I am and not let the past weigh me down. But the truth is our past is what makes us, isn’t it?I still feel shattered, I feel lost and I don’t see how giving in to everything I’ve been feeling will help me.
I still can’t believe she said I failed her. I didn’t think ‘myself’ would have been meaningful to her, not after all this. Learn something new every day, right? Just another thing to add to the pile, another thing to sort through, another fucking complication.
I have to keep going. I have to stop Afzal and I have to make sure this world is safe. That’s why we’re doing this right?
Sometimes the world will surprise you.
I think, in a lot of ways, this will be our last chance for frivolity like this. A small miracle in a sea of doubts and uncertainty.
But the reprieve is over. 6 relics and an entire opposing band.
The time for fear is over, it seems.
Tonight was the first night that I did not dream – at least in any memorable fashion.
Thankful for small miracles, I suppose.
I fear now that I’ve cleared some room in my head (mostly), new worries and doubts will come rushing in to replace them. It seems we have no shortage of them.
The how is not important, but why.
I can’t believe to talked to him, like we were mostly equals. Or Ciaran. Or Amarante. The whole day after the Jinn market was hazy. It’s like I could see everything. I know I’ve written of clarity, but the feeling truly pales in comparison. And Isamu…
Not forgetting that anytime ever
Thoughts turn to my brother and the other band and I sober slightly.
I try to remember what the Prophet said. Only the opposite, will be successful in defeating my brother. If that is the case, I may not be the right one for the job.
Few know this, but Set is also a defender of the sun and pharaohs – like my mother. Both fearsome, both with great and terrifying reputations before them.I don’t think I am as relieved to remember this. In fact that only raises more questions. And to be honest they haunt worse than the dreams do.
Why were we seven chosen?
I thought it was because a number fate likes but it may be more complicated. Why us seven, why a group that from what I have gleaned would not be ordinarily given a second chance by their parents? Why was Ericka able absorb the Grail when nothing like that had ever happened before? Why were those seven chosen?
On a more personal note – I know what my mother told me, as for why my father was chosen. I have little reason to doubt her. Why did Set choose Fahima? More importantly, why were we allowed to stay with each other for so long?
What is tying all this together?
He told me that Doubt was the nature of faith.
I’ve doubted for so long that it feels weird to be encouraged. I worry that he’s setting me up a bit. Aurora doubted, after all.
And now I’m going to be awake all night. Lovely.
I’m not worried about the instruction – per se. I was damn near a lawyer. Doubting will be second nature again before sun up.
I just pray we’ll find the answers we seek quickly.