the_shaper: (Default)
Dream of the Endless ([personal profile] the_shaper) wrote2012-07-17 09:39 pm

(no subject)

The forest contains mystery, magic, chaos.

Baba Yaga wanders the forests of Eastern Europe. Natty Bumppo (Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett) roams the colonies of what will become the United States. Hermia and Helena, Lysander and Demetrius, all take to the wood outside Athens, where things change. Young Tim Stoutheart, Tim son of Jack, takes to the Great Forest beyond Tree, beyond where the blossies grow and where the ironwoods -- and the dragons -- keep their silence, to avenge his father and save his mother.

And in Washington, the Douglas firs can and do hide any number of mysteries and sins. In the forests of Washington, the owls are not what they seem. In the forests of Washington, the Black Lodge lives.

(So does the White Lodge, but no one ever wants to know much about the White Lodge.)

It is easier -- it is often easier -- in the cities and towns carved and claimed out of the forest. Less chaos, more order. And when the trees are Douglas firs, the sweet scent carries through an open window, bringing with it dreams.

No one ever promises those dreams will be sweet.

***


There is history, in this place, and so the manifestation is as pleasant, as ordered, as it can be: a path laid out in gray flagstones (with the stones arranged in sizes according to the Golden Ratio), with young Douglas firs lining it, leading to a small fountain where black and white koi swim, one of each, chasing each other.

The firs give way, around the fountain; they are replaced by bushes blooming with white roses, scentless. (The only scent on the air is fir; that is very important.)

Two chairs sit beside the fountain, a small table between them, a table with a white cloth and a tea service waiting.

And with his back to the path, observing the koi, stands a tall, thin man, with wild black hair, wearing a robe that pools gracefully around his invisible feet. The hands clasped behind him have the whiteness of alabaster, and seem just as carved.
blue_ajah: (walking in dreams)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-18 04:31 am (UTC)(link)
The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again...

Moiraine stands very still at the end of the path, amid the Douglas firs. A wind rises in the trees around her, stirring the branches and carrying the crisp scent on the cool air.

(The wind is not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time. But it is a beginning.)

The wind blows steadily onward, sweeping through the trees and over the path. It settles into a soft breeze that flutters the edges of the robes worn by the man who waits by the fountain.

The breath Moiraine takes is as soft as the breeze itself. A moment more passes, and then she steps onto the gray stone path and glides forward, following its arc, until she comes to stand across from him.

"Morpheus."

Her manner is serene, and her voice does not shake.

She has been Aes Sedai long enough to manage that, at least.

"I must confess myself surprised."
blue_ajah: (the flame and the tear)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-18 04:53 am (UTC)(link)
She glances down at the koi -- black and white, circling, ever circling, evoking a familiar image in her mind -- and then back up at him with a faint smile.

"It is a gracious offer," she murmurs. "But as it happens, for all my surprise, I am pleased to see you."
blue_ajah: (considering)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 02:59 am (UTC)(link)
"I will."

It is truly amazing how two small words can convey so much.

She glides a step or two closer, toward the nearest chair, and tilts her head back in order to look up at him.

"Shall I pour for us?"
blue_ajah: (walking in dreams)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:05 am (UTC)(link)
She does not startle, although a part of her dimly feels as though she should; however, that part is small and distant and easily overridden by both long years of training and a much deeper subconscious awareness that she could not explain even if she tried.

Gracefully, she seats herself in the chair Dream holds, and waits until he moves to his own seat before reaching for the service in the center of the table. As steam begins to rise from the mouth of the teapot, she looks up at him once more.

"It has been a long time."

As most mortals measure the passing of time, that is.
blue_ajah: (moiraine and dream)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:06 am (UTC)(link)
"Some years," she murmurs. "Not all that many, as those who are Aes Sedai mark them, but some few all the same."

She fills his cup first, then her own, returning the pot to the table with graceful deftness.

Moiraine lifts the delicate porcelain cup and curves her fingers around it, absorbing the subtle warmth.

"I have been well enough. More than 'as well as might be expected,' I think."

Dark eyes meet star-filled ones.

"And you?"
blue_ajah: (snow in tar valon)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:10 am (UTC)(link)
"I see."

She takes a careful sip of her tea.

I am sorry. The Aes Sedai does not speak the words; she does not even try. For all that she never wished to cause him pain, the circumstances were as they were, and she has never turned from the even hardest prices when they were required in doing what she had needed to do.

Death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain, it is said, after all.

Instead, after taking a moment to be certain of that which lies beneath what he has said, Moiraine smiles.

"I am glad to hear it," she murmurs, meaning every word.
blue_ajah: (headtilt)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:10 am (UTC)(link)
She inclines her head to him in acknowledgement, even as curiosity sparks in her glance.

"Indeed you do," she agrees, and takes another sip of tea. "Do you speak of any in particular?"
blue_ajah: (what once was woven)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:11 am (UTC)(link)
The Aes Sedai blinks.


Only once, but the unguarded reaction in and of itself indicates volumes.



"Do you?"
blue_ajah: (moiraine and dream)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:12 am (UTC)(link)
"... yes."

She cannot keep the slightest hint of wary uncertainty from her tone, and the glance that she gives him is searching.

"Of that, I was aware." She gestures toward the fountain with its black-and white koi, to the white roses, and to the trees standing beyond. "It is similar, of course, and very familiar; but it is in Twin Peaks that I am asleep and where I am dreaming, this I know as well."

She hesitates, then adds, "In the year nineteen hundred and ninety-two, which... explains certain possibilities, or so I had thought."
blue_ajah: (what once was woven)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:17 am (UTC)(link)
The Aes Sedai grows very still, save for the widening of her dark eyes.


"I... had not realized."
blue_ajah: (considering)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
"You discovered... I see."

She has, after all, known him for long enough and well enough to have more than a mere inkling of how such things might come to pass.

Moiraine returns her teacup to its saucer with care, and studies him.

"Considerations?"
blue_ajah: (focused in blue)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 05:55 am (UTC)(link)
The Aes Sedai stares at him.

--a woman out of your world and out of your time--

When she speaks again, her tone is crisp indeed.

"It would appear that the time you have been gone, although not all that long in mortal years, has been quite sufficient for you to miss certain matters."

A brief, precise pause.

"The Last Battle has been fought, and won. I have done what I long intended to do. And as it happens, the world which was once mine has been lost to me in the process."

Only at the last does her tone gentle somewhat.

"Lighter than a feather, heavier than a mountain. I merely paid the price that was required."

They both know that she always has.
blue_ajah: (shadowed serene)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 06:08 am (UTC)(link)
A beat of silence passes, and then she lets out her breath in a soft sigh.

"I know," she tells him. "There was no reason that you should have known, considering."

A faint, wry smile flickers into being.

"Do not be troubled over it. It is all right."
blue_ajah: (the wheel of time turns)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-19 06:23 am (UTC)(link)
"One might call it so," Moiraine replies. "I am assured that there is a place for me here, and that I am welcome in it."

She gives a slight shrug.

"I admit that I had not given thought to what might come after, as I did not expect to survive Tarmon Gaidon, but the Wheel weaves, and I am far from unhappy."
blue_ajah: (serene smile)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
Her answering smile is gentle, and warm, and familiar in a way that he has not seen in person for some years.

"I would," she says, simply. "Thank you, for that."
blue_ajah: (court of cairhien)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 02:36 am (UTC)(link)
"I shall consider," she promises, and gives him the courtesy of taking a moment to look up at the trees around them, enjoying the peace of this garden.

"The roses are lovely."
blue_ajah: (considering)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 02:58 am (UTC)(link)
"Persia. I do not believe that I am familiar with it."

And yet it will not be a surprise to either of them that she will soon seek out and learn what she can of it; her curiosity remains a constant.

blue_ajah: (headtilt)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 03:12 am (UTC)(link)
She tilts her head ever so slightly to the side as she studies him.

"Yes," she replies. "It is indeed; very much so, as it happens."
blue_ajah: (what did you say?)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 03:22 am (UTC)(link)




"... my leave?"

She sounds no little surprised, and somehow very uncertain.

blue_ajah: (the wheel of time turns)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
"I do have those there who I call friends," she murmurs. "You are right about that. Some of them are very precious to me, as is Milliways itself, in its way. And it has been long since I have seen you there, you are right about that as well, and I had come to terms with that."

Dark eyes meet starry ones once more, and her steady gaze is clear and direct.

"It is kind of you to offer, Morpheus. It would be cruel of me to accept."

A bare second's pause, as a faint smile curves her lips.

"But the Wheel weaves, and as it happens, I have no wish to accept. And so you have my leave, and I hope that I may look forward to seeing you again in Milliways."
blue_ajah: (moiraine and dream)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 04:07 am (UTC)(link)
"You are welcome," she murmurs, and a sudden flicker of amusement sparks.

"Both in response to your thanks, and at the end of the universe as well."
blue_ajah: (in the garden)

[personal profile] blue_ajah 2012-07-20 04:21 am (UTC)(link)
"Fare well, Morpheus," the Aes Sedai answers softly, her gaze fixed on the space where he was seated and is no longer.

It does not matter, not really. In this dream, this small space of time out of time where she sits in the garden once more for a last hour before waking, she knows that Dream will hear her all the same.

"Light illumine and protect you, no matter where you may be."