[Poem][Strings]

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Strings

With life pulling at my strings,

Pulling me every which way.

These strings, my strings, are tangled up,

The strings that should be straight and free to fly.

The ones that should be tangled, up with someone else’s,

Are straight but not free.

They are reaching out like they should be,

But no longer in the right direction.

My strings are fighting the natural winds of life,

To the wrong person they want to be tangled up in.

Life should be pulling my strings but in the right direction?

Pulling me every which way but in the right way?

These strings of mine are tangled up but tangled wrong?

My strings need to be free and straight from other strings,

Now or when they become free I don’t know.

But they need to be freed soon,

Before it’s too much and break.

[War of the Seasons][Part 7]

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The battles for the day had ended and the suspension of any further battle was announced soon after the defeat of Tracede. It was the only logical step once the length of Aeron’s match caused those that had been in line behind him to abandon their positions to watch the historic fight. No one wanted to fight after what they saw. The shock of what has occurred was still sinking in as the audience took their time vacating the stands of the Coliseum.

Soon after leaving the arena, Tracede was taken to the infirmary and had the ancient sword removed from his old injury. His new wound had been stitched and dressed as Susanda stood silently by, watching, making sure Tracede was receiving the best care possible. They may have been immortal but that did not mean they could not experience great pain. Now removed to his own chamber, he laid upright in bed, leg elevated, still under the watchful cool eyes of Susanda. Tracede was fighting sleep, having been told by the healers to remain awake at least until nightfall.

“Was a darn good plunge, I’ll give him that,” Tracede mumbled under his breath. “Right in the sweet spot, very good aim. I don’t think I’ll even have a fresh scar, the new one landed right over the old.”

Susanda because slightly livid, “’a good plunge?’ ‘Right in the sweet spot’? He could have killed you. He was trying to kill you, after all that was entirely the point of what we do here.”

A little groggy but no longer sleepy from Susanda’s outburst, Tracede smiled his goofy smile at her, trying to melt that icy exterior of hers. “But he didn’t. He could have easily aimed straight and plunged the blade in to my chest or could have pulled the blade out and cause me to bleed out. But he didn’t. He willingly did what he did, with the intention of preserving my life, and then aided me back for aid. You can be angry that he injured me, that he defeated me if you like, but don’t think h did it because he wanted to, sweetheart.”

Susanda’s posture stiffened slightly at something he said and knew he meant what he said, “perhaps, but do not feel the need to call me that again, ever.”

Tracede laughed, ending abruptly due to wincing in pain but looked back at his sultry friend anyways, lovingly, “we’ll chalk it up to the pain. But Susanda, not ever?”

To the untrained eye, her facial expression did not move a fraction of an inch, but Tracede could tell she smiled, if only on the most minimal scale. He decided to change the subject in case she changed her mind in keeping him company. “Did you bring the blade with you here? I’d be very interested in having a look at the weapon that nearly killed me.”

Susanda made no motion to move or speak, but simply gave him the look of all looks and remained silent. She had brought the blade with her and had already examined it during a short period of time that Tracede was unconscious. Her eyes moved to where she had place it but still made no motion towards it. He was about to ask again when she raised her hand to silence him, “there is nothing about it that cannot wait until you are rested, which you should be doing now. Besides, Caranne mentioned wanting to speak with you when you were up to it. To check on you, I supposed and probably ask what happened out there.” There was momentary quiet as the overwhelming obviousness of what Susanda wanted to know herself lingered in her previous statement.

“You’re adorable when you’re curious, you know that? You want to know what happened too, don’t you? I can tell you, if you like, but you have to allow me to call you ‘sweetheart’ from now on.” Tracede teased her, knowing she would either concede in order to learn what happened or simply leave, and he did not imagine her doing the latter in his current condition.

Susanda turned to Tracede and gave him a legitimate smile, “or I could wait until Caranne arrives and she asks you. Would you give her the same ultimatum as well? Do you want to call her ‘sweetheart’?”

Tracede laughed through his pain, relinquishing to her sunning revelation and enjoying seeing her smile. “Oh no Susanda, you’re the only soul I’d ever wish to call that, even though you don’t want me to.”

The silence that preceded was not awkward but comfortable. Each knowing the other, nothing else needed to be said at that point. The timing was perfect though because only a few minutes passed before a knock came at the door. Caranne entered in all her mild glory carrying a platter of food, drink, and fresh dressings. Tracede and Susanda nodded in her direction in quiet respect for the woman who was essentially their employer, but most certainly their superior. Regardless of her elevated position, she was also their friend and did in fact hold an enormous degree of care for them. However, she may have been considerate in bringing in fresh dressings for his wounds, but nothing would compel her to change them for him. “I was told you look as though you will live to fight again Tracede, but how are you feeling? It’s not every day we see a defeat occur of one of our own, let alone experience it personally.”

“Well, as long as I don’t laugh or move or breathe too much, I’m right as rain,” Tracede jested, wanting to show his worried friend that he was still in good spirits. He knew she came in to the room as a worried friend first and a concerned employer second because she had asked after him first and not about what happened immediately. That was the largest misconception the mortals had about them; that they were immovable forces that had not a care about anyone or anything that did not improve their personal will. Just because they were gods and had the potential to live forever did not mean they had no knowledge of what it was like to be human, after all many of them were one at some point. “Have you seen him yet? He hasn’t passed because of his chest wound had he? I couldn’t imagine having accomplished all that he did only to…”

“Be calm, I have not received news of any decline of his current condition. I have not gone to see the mortal in person yet because he had remained unconscious at this time. I knew you were awake so I came here first, and knowing you, you would be hungry of all things.”

Tracede propped himself higher on his pillows and reached a hand out towards Caranne to accept the platter she had carried into the room, “right as always, wonderful lady. The only thing that could hurt more than my leg is the insatiable pain of my empty stomach.” Accepting the platter on to his lap he began devouring its contents, but not before giving Caranne a look so she would understand he knew her other motive for visiting his so soon.

A mortal challenger had won, and not only that but had spared the life of his opponent even though in changed positions Tracede would have taken his. Tracede’s mouth was full and Susanda was unlikely to say much while she knew Caranne had questions to ask, so Caranne broke the silence, “certainly something none of us have experience before. Every seasons when the weather, temperatures, and conditions change and the first Champion that these mortals face is refreshed, all come with the certainty that they must kill to achieve victory. This mortal’s actions completely contradict what mortals know and expect, so it leave me to wonder if this young mortal…for lack of a better work, has perhaps found a means of cheating. Maybe we should have the chemists have a look at you Tracede and his blade for any signs of poisoning.” Slightly anxious due to the situation, Caranne had begun slowly walking the length of the room.

“Maybe that’s why he won though,” Tracede managed to voice, mouth full of fresh bread.

“Do you feel more poorly? Do you think you have been poisoned? Do you feel feverish or chilled? Are you having any chest pains or pain in your arm?” Susanda began to panic at the notion that Tracede could have been poisoned and sat untreated while all he did was continue eating. “It was probably that old blade and those etchings; maybe they were made with something laced with poisoned, with or without the mortal’s knowledge. But then, who would have willingly used an aged blade among so many finer, newer blades…”

Tracede quickly cleared this throat, “no, no, sweetheart, I don’t mean the poison part. Maybe Aeron won because he didn’t come ready to kill his opponent but because he came prepared to win or die but not to kill. You said yourself Caranne, he’s acted completely contrary to what every pervious combatant has acted. Unlike them, unlike all others, literally all others, he was victorious.”

[Poem][I’d Like]

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I’d Like

I’d like to be thinner, healthier, more active

I’d like to be more adventurous, travel more, be more willing

I’d like to find that special someone, someone to love, someone to share with

I should probably be more realistic, more practical, more logical

But most of all, I want myself, to find myself, to finally enjoy Me

That may take some time, a lot of time, perhaps all year, all my life

This year, I want the real Me

[Poem][Ever So Wrong]

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Ever So Wrong

I don’t think I have ever been so wrong,

About someone who has become so important to me.

He saw me for everything that I am,

And I saw all of him and accepted it.

From that first sit-down, that first coffee,

When I laid everything out to you so you could see me.

It felt so right and so easy and so effortless,

I felt it was meant to be something special that two people could share.

Maybe it’s not love, that it’s never meant to go that way,

But how can Fate decide if a chance isn’t given?

Everything that’s happened, I don’t think I could ever have been so wrong,

About someone who is…

Who was so important to me.

[Poem][Just Yet]

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Just Yet

I can’t tell you how I feel yet because I don’t quite know how I feel, just yet.

It’s inescapable and worrisome and draining on all my senses at once.

There isn’t time to relax just yet and knowing that makes it more tiresome, just yet.

A light at the end of the tunnel would be nice but what would that mean exactly?

Would it be an end to the journey just yet but what if I’m not prepared for that, just yet?

Would it feel like an absence in my life, like a long time friend or illness suddenly vanishing?

Just yet, I don’t think I’m ready to end this feeling.

Just yet, I want to explore and understand it more.

Just yet, I’m ready to take control and own this feeling.

Just yet, I’m ready to be my own again.

[War of the Seasons][Part 6]

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The sword in Aeron’s hand seemed only to lighten as the battle went on, having lasted longer than anyone had thought possible. He assumed the swords lightness in weight was because he was tiring, that his body and mind were beginning to become effected by the immense fatigue that he should have been feeling. Blocking the lunging at his skilled opponent, he noticed that Tracede also showed signs of fatigue, and equal surprise that the youth before him was capable of continuing for this long. Tracede also showed a sort of intrigued enjoyment that he was finally matched against someone that was truly dedicated to winning and not just to have his name among the fallen mortals before him.

Muscled bodies quivering in their fluid movement of battle, drenched in sweat from the exertion and sheet heat from the boiling midday sun. The entire Coliseum cheered for both men but only a dull roar reached them down in the arena because their intense focus was solely fixed upon the single man that was before them. Both combatants were bleeding, having their skin brushed by the steel of the others weapon with neither having landed a fatal blow yet. It was with those glances though that Aeron identified his point of victory.

Aeron had not only spent his time training his body, mind, and skill with any weapon he may have been required to use. He and his trainers concocted numerous situations and circumstances that could be presented against him in his battles with each Champion. He also spent hours, days even, at a time learning all he could about those he would face. He read every story, listened to every legend the elders could remember with their many years of knowledge, and absorbed it all disregarding nothing. No matter how small the detail or how farfetched an account was, Aeron committed all he could learn to memory, and to heart, in order to give him the greatest chance of success. This was how he knew what to look for.

The most widespread tale of Tracede was how the day the Spring Trident was found it had sliced open his leg, nearly killing him. What could have been a fatal injury then was a weakness now, and Aeron could see that Tracede was in fact favouring his uninjured leg now that fatigue was setting in. Only through his own endurance could Aeron have discovered this to be true and an advantage against the Champion. He knew what he had to do now in order to be victorious, but it would also mean opening his own defenses and exposing the center mass of his body. He knew the risk and he knew he was not here to play it safe.

The moment was now.

Tracede had lunged with his Trident at the center of Aeron’s body, expecting either to hit his mark or be blocked by the ancient-looking sword his opponent held. Instead of blocking though, Aeron lunged directly at Tracede as well, turning his body just enough to only be grazed by the Spring Trident, his own blade smoothly sliding through the empty space between Tracede’s arm and knee. Aeron’s blade hit home in Tracede’s weaker left leg, entering through the thigh and hitting the trampled, sweat and blood soaked dirt ground beneath them.

The longest moment of both their lives past until the Spring Trident wavered, its tip hitting the ground, the small amount of Aeron’s blood rolling down the blades in to the ground. The silence was deafening, the crowd having gone silent in disbelief of what their eyes had never seen before. A mortal had finally won and yet there were no cheers as the two fighters had still not moved from their extended positions. Aeron did not move to pull out his sword from Tracede’s leg, but instead he placed a hand on his shoulder and sought eye-contact. On Tracede’s face was an expression that nearly made them both laugh because it was one of pain, disbelief, and enjoyment at the unexpected.

“If we pull the blade out, you may bleed to death. Please, it would be my honour to escort you to the infirmary,” Aeron offered. “Let us not test your immortality today.”

Smiling at the humour, Tracede knew that this day would not be his last, even though this would have been a fine battle to have made his final bow. But today was not that day and this battle would not be the last by any means. “Lucky I wasn’t wrong about your honesty in having honourable intentions for fighting here today. Lucky I lunged when I did or one of us may not be here altogether.” With the aid of Aeron’s own fleeting strength, Tracede rose with the ancient blade still puncturing his leg. He motioned towards another entrance to the arena, most likely the one he had entered by earlier that morning, before any blood had ben shed.

“Luck seemed to be on both our sides fortunately. If you had wounded my any more deeply, we would both be bleeding out in front of all these eyes. The last one conscious would not in good conscious call that an honourable victory,” Aeron added, saying only what came to mind, struggling to remain awake. The wound in his chest was deeper than he though was the vibrant life-blood of his mortal body continued to flow heavily down his abdomen, the stream reaching down his thigh to his knee. Aeron could not help but weaver slightly as they neared the second hallway leading beneath the Coliseum walls.

Tracede’s grip on his new friend tightened, purposely causing pain to shoot through his body, front to back. “You’re a strong man, young Aeron. Victory is yours today so do not allow these mortals to see you weaken. Let the see a new hero, a new Mortal Champion that they can place faith in and use to motivate them to become more than what they are now. Let them see the mortal carry the god while giving in can come later, behind closed doors. See? Physicians just beyond the darkness of the stone.”

Aeron nodded, no longer able to spare the energy to speak on audible response. He pushed his sore and tired muscles to their known limit in order to fulfill the requests of the wounded Champion. Though he did not expect such advice from someone who minutes before was set on taking his life, he understood now why so many of the Floating Isle’s inhabitants chose to continue to remain here, and why they spent hours, days, attending the unmatched battles between mortals and gods. It was for hope and faith in their own mortality; they wanted to know that they could be capable of more if they attempted to be. They were frightened of death, so sought their own bravery in the bravery of the young and old that walked out in to the arena. They lingered day in and day out because they had yet to see anyone even come close to achieving what they thought they needed to see.

Could anyone blame them though for looking somewhere other than the gods for support in their daily lives? The gods were on an entirely different plain than mortals that it was impossible to look up to them for anything other than the impossible. If mortal needed someone to eclipse the sun or send waves crashing in the opposite direction or even someone to be turned to stone, a god could only accomplish those. But what about hope that a poor farmer could endure harsh season conditions and still produce a plentiful harvest or that a sickness in the family could be cured through knowledge rather than through an unpayable price to be cured by magic? Faith in mortality was weak but could be restored via a sole individual who could be worthy of reinforcing that faith. It could not be just any mortal though and that was what Tracede desired by continuing to be a Champion of the Coliseum.

He had been waiting for a young man like Aeron who not just showed promise for the future but showed it now. Tracede saw what he needed to when Aeron had spoken his presence at the Coliseum; he was there for the betterment of his family and for no other reason that could actually benefit himself. The idea was completely ludicrous to any other previous combatant and to nearly all who sat and watched each battle every day. Tracede’s only true fear now was that he was wrong. What if Aeron changed because of his victory?

No, no his heart and motives were true and will remain so,” Tracede reasoned as Aeron and he reached the waiting beds beyond the dark hallway.

Tracede remained conscious just long enough to see Aeron collapse in unconsciousness into the arms of Caranne who had appeared to make sure no one lost their lives.

Hmm, they look pretty good together.

[Poem][This Feeling]

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This Feeling

The feeling is lost on me, I can assure you on that

A hundred different ways your voice could tell me

It will not get through, this way, that way, or another

That feeling is one I just cannot cherish.

It’s tiresome, it aches in joints not used to holding still

It’s an all over pain that does not cease, for a lifetime it seems

Anything but that feeling, would be a pleasure in comparison

That feeling without you, that feeling with you does not change.

You’re in my life for one reason or another

Granted, you have not been there long

But now that you’re here

Do I want to risk not having you?

I do not know if you’re for me, though I seem to be for you

I’m worried and scared, my mind feels ill with uncertainty

This feeling… I just don’t know

I just don’t know…

But I think I am fine with that.