andhiswife: (what was that)
She returns to Cabeswater, though she tells herself nothing will come of it. She believes nothing will come of it, and berates herself for even bothering right up until she steps over that invisible border between woods and Woods. Then it gets a bit harder to convince herself that anything is impossible. Cabeswater, much like the Woods she came from, has a very Possible sort of feeling to it.

Which is precisely why it's dangerous, but here she is.

She's not even sure why she felt compelled to visit today. Tromping around the forest never sent her home the first few times she tried it, and she can't bring herself to wish for her family's arrival. Maybe it's just been too long, part of her worried that she might forget the way back to the spot where she arrived. Maybe Darrow's starting to feel just a little bit too comfortable, and she wants to remind herself of where she really came from.

At any rate, it's peaceful and quiet out here. Darrow is so loud, and there's a difference between growing accustomed to it and liking it. Aside from birds, her own footsteps, and the paces she's counting under her breath, there's nothing - no traffic, no machinery, no snatches of overheard conversation. No tell-tale snapping twigs, either, so a flash of white out of the corner of her eye is the only hint that she might not be alone.

Greta stops in her tracks with a sharp, startled inhalation, peering through the trees. She can't help but wonder if it might be the white of a cow, or a steed fit for a Prince, though it's probably neither. "Hello?" she calls out uncertainly, then winces, immediately regretting the outburst. She's alone in a magical forest; maybe she shouldn't be drawing attention to herself.

Date: 2017-02-20 01:52 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
Far too delicate to be a cow or even a horse; the unicorn turned her head toward the voice. She stood in a broken beam of sunlight, dappled by the shadows of the branches and leaves above. She was the color of snow falling on a moonlit night.

She moved nothing like a cow or a horse, possessing the oldest, wildest grace that horses never had and that deer had only in a shy imitation.

Something about the woman's voice made her want to see. She thought of Molly, but surely she would have known if it was her. She stood at last before the woman, studying her with eyes that were dark and deep, like the furthest parts of the sea man has never touched.

Date: 2017-02-20 03:31 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
Somehow, even without a human face, the unicorn gave her a kind look. Molly had curtsied to her too, just as trembling. "I have thought much the same since I arrived here," she admitted. "I don't know what the story is anymore."

She stayed where she was, not wanting to startle the woman any more than she already had. Here she felt more patient; here she felt as though she had nothing but time. It was much easier to stand still.

Date: 2017-02-21 03:21 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
"Yes, it did. I was going home and I fell asleep. When I woke, I was here, and a girl." The unicorn shook herself as if to banish that memory. "Cabeswater is the only place I can be my true self."

She looked at the woman, studying her. There was something achingly familiar about her. "You come from a place of stories, too?"

Date: 2017-02-21 08:03 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
She noticed the lifting hand and for a moment she considered. The unicorn moved forward slowly, as if she might be concerned about startling the poor woman. She closed the distance between them and stretched her neck out, her muzzle right near the hand now clutched in her skirt. Molly had been brave enough to touch her; a part of her missed it very much. And this woman made her thinking achingly of Molly.

"There is no one here from my story," she said quietly, sadly. "But you remind me of someone."

Date: 2017-02-23 01:23 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
The unicorn closed her eyes for a moment, appreciating the soft touch. She stayed where she was, allowing the gentle brush of fingers over her cheek. "Yes," she answered. "Their stories... I think I have seen people with similar stories here. But no one that I know. And so few that know me for what I am."

She lifted her head slowly, careful not to knock the woman with her horn. She looked at her face. "A woman called Molly Grue. She traveled with me and the magician, Schmendrick. She was kind to me when the magician turned me into a girl."

Date: 2017-02-26 02:07 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
The unicorn did not introduce herself; unicorns did not have names, and though she did as a girl, she was not a girl right now. It simply didn't occur to her.

"Yes," she answered, tossing her head a bit, as if in disdain. "He thought he was rescuing me. I think magicians tend to think they know better than all other folk. It was terrible. It was worse, somehow, to wake up in Darrow turned into a girl again. No well-meaning magician that might fix it here." Though she had met plenty of magic users, none seemed eager to take up the task.

Date: 2017-02-28 07:17 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
"Cabeswater has been kind to me. But it is not my forest; it belongs to itself. If I stay here too long I don't know what my magic would do to it, or what its magic would do to me. I think it might be better if we respected each others boundaries."

She liked this forest but it was not just a normal forest; just as her forest had not been like any other after she lived in it long enough. Cabeswater already had its own magic, its own power. It did not need her; it allowed her. She could survive outside it; she did not need it in quite the same way Verity might someday.

Date: 2017-03-08 04:23 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
"No, I don't think so. Not if you've been able to come back to it. I imagine Cabeswater would simply... not be here if it didn't want someone to visit," she admitted, looking up at the branches above them. "Or it would make itself quite clear. I cannot quite speak to it the way those more deeply connected to it can... but it makes itself understood."

She tossed her head. "Was it daylight, still, when you came here to walk?" Perhaps it was a strange question, but she'd found she could not always quite trust the light in Cabeswater to reveal what time it might actually be in Darrow itself.

Date: 2017-03-09 06:15 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
"May I walk with you?" she asked. "I should go back as well. I work tomorrow and mustn't lose track of time."

The unicorn knew how strange all of that might sound coming from her; once upon a time, she had no job, no need to ever leave her forest, and no desire to. She longed for those days, longed for the uncounted measure of time that she'd spent content and alone and unaware of the world changing outside her forest, except for the gossip brought by butterflies and the odd hunter or wanderer that might pass through.

Date: 2017-03-10 02:08 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (unicorn)
"Yes, I arrange flowers," she answered as she started walking, picking her way toward the edge of the forest, where she'd hidden her clothes. She stayed close to Greta, not quite touching, as that might knock her off balance, but close enough that it was deliberate. She was grateful for the company; she often did this part alone, and it left her terribly sad, sitting at the edge of the forest by herself as she longed for a life that had been taken from her.

Perhaps if she had company it would be easier to make herself get up and continue back to the city or the farmhouse.

"I will change into a girl when we cross out of Cabeswater. Please don't be startled."

Date: 2017-03-10 03:23 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (hair in wind)
"Like being put in a cage," she answered, uncertain if that would tell Greta anything. "Unicorns are immortal, humans are not. Being an immortal trapped in a mortal body is... distressing."

When they reached the edge of Cabeswater it happened in a faint flash of light. One moment there was a unicorn moving forward, and the next there was a pale girl falling to her knees, only the fall of her long, white-blond hair offering any modesty. Amalthea curled her legs beneath her, hiding herself for a moment as she recovered from the change.

"I put clothes over there," she said with a faint point towards a rock; her voice was the same. There was a backpack there. Eventually she lifted her head, looking at Greta with the unicorn's eyes from the face of a girl.

Date: 2017-03-10 04:11 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (wistful profile)
Amalthea closed her eyes and leaned into the hug, tucking herself against the warmth of Greta's body. There was comfort to be had in the gesture and she would not shun it, not now when she knew what good it could do her.

"I'm called Amalthea," she said quietly, offering the name. Even her introduction made the name seem like a thing that had been foisted upon her, like this body; not truly her, but something given to her for a lack of anything else to call her.

She stayed as she was for a long moment, simply allowing Greta to hold her. Eventually she shivered and reached for the bag to at least pull on the leggings she'd brought with her, then the long-sleeved dress; the lilac color reflected in her eyes. "Thank you for your kindness, Greta."

Date: 2017-03-18 03:17 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (hair in wind)
"Thank you." She tucked her hair back and nodded to answer. "I'm alright," she assured. "It's always a bit strange for the first few moments - two legs instead of four. And everything else." Still, she moved closer to Greta, not quite touching but taking comfort in her nearness, in the support she offered even if Amalthea didn't take her up on it just then. It meant something to her.

"Changing back always makes me tired. Not like needing to sleep, but..." She trailed off, not entirely sure how to describe it. She looked at Greta, hoping she'd understand. Even as a human girl her eyes were the same: deep, fathomless, and rather than reflecting the world she saw, if one looked deep enough they might see a forest. The one she belonged in; the one she remembered.

Date: 2017-03-19 08:27 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (Default)
"What do you mean?" she asked, curious now that she was human again. Curious in a way she rarely was as a unicorn. She stayed close as they walked, remembering the way back well. She debated whether or not she wanted to return to the farm house and the familiarness of it and Biffy or if she wanted to go back to her apartment in the city. She felt lonely there. It wasn't as bad now that Daine and Kitten lived in the same building; she found the little dragonet delightful. But their presence also made her ache. They knew her. They knew her and could do nothing to change her back.

Date: 2017-03-20 02:06 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (hair in wind)
"No," she admitted. "I meant that time means nothing to a unicorn, but whenever I change, whenever I am human, I feel it. I feel it dragging on me, I feel it slipping by. I feel this body dying all around me." Amalthea shook her head, hugging herself as they walked.

"But I understand what you mean. I've felt that way before." Only as a human, though. Perhaps her life had been dull as a unicorn, but it was all her own, and she felt contentment. Time didn't touch her. "When I lived in Haggard's castle, I felt it. Like the days of my life were stretched out before me, and all of them seemed the same."

Date: 2017-03-23 06:54 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] on_mans_road
on_mans_road: (stare)
"Boredom is terrible," she counters. "I never really knew it until living in Haggard's keep. The endless passing of the days with nothing to change them. I would believe someone if they told me I'd been there for twenty years rather than a handful of weeks or months."

Amalthea looks at Greta, sincere. "Enduring mortality and boredom at the same time is something I should rather never do it again. I think I would so desperately want to run, wherever I could go."

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The Baker's Wife

July 2017

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