I am Troile, Trojan prince whose birth is under a cloud, a cloud which generates mistrust and a curious favor.
He is Achille, the mightiest of the Achaens, bound by love, bound by honor, and driven by his passions.
As men and warriors on opposite sides, there’s little change of those passions being anything other than lethal. Of the two of us being anything other than enemies.
As Aissa and Polyxena we could become so much more. This is a time when the skirt may accomplish more than the sword. More than one life may depend upon our feminine wiles if we can learn to use them. For the gods themselves have gotten involved in our conflict. Might won’t be enough to shield us from their wrath, their whims.
I’m going to need to get in touch with a part of myself most men dare not explore. Fortunately Cressida is here to help me find the Polyxena within Troile. As is Achille, who has already found the Aissa within him.
I’ve used names as if they were masks. Now I question them all as well as the people I thought I was. Who am I? What am I? More importantly what purpose do I serve in the World of Ouroborous?
I’ll help Kyra with A Suitor’s Challenge even thought I fear for her. My innocent students, Kyra and Stefan. They didn’t deserve to be swallowed by the Serpent, enslaved by the Dragons or a scheming Imperatrix. What point is there in power if it cannot protect those without it?
The Serpent in all Their ambiguous totality isn’t enough for Their people. The innocent need a champion, a god who’ll protect them and what’s pure in Ouroborous. Even if it leads to Trouble in Caerac Keep centuries later, even if fractures the world, the Dragons must be stopped. They shouldn’t be allowed to round up children, carrying them off in chains. They shouldn’t be able to stop those who remember from passing on their tales, giving the listeners a chance to think about them.
The Dragons are almost as big a problem as the Serpent. Daeric Nevalyn is right. Something needs to check them as well as his eternal mother, slithering within the hearts of her brood.
I agree with Daeric, yet I question what we’ll do to stop these forces. I’ve already given up a measure of my self and strength to do so, pouring what’s left into questions. Questioning is whom I am now. Questioning is what I’ll be.
A Suitor’s Challenge is but a tiny cry within Our coils. Trouble at Caerac Keep is just one of many troubles to cling to our scales. We suffer them, shed them, making way on Our body for another layer of skin. We are Ouroborous. We are the World Serpent, the spirit of the shaking earth you walk upon. The Goddess shaped Us long before the Unicorn walked out of the light to pierce our children with Her horn. We do not expect perfection or purity as She does. We are both god and monster. A spark of Us lies within you all. As long as you exist, We do. If one comes to challenge and consume Us, We simply absorb them into Our collective self. We shift, slither, and change, our land masses moving with Us. You are destroyed, returning to Our maw, only to be reborn. We exist. We endure.
I’m not sure how The Hand and the Eye of the Tower can help a daughter of Duessa such as myself. Desperate to escape the dreams of the Gardens of Arachne, I’m drawn to temples and tragedy. A Godling for Your Thoughts? Mine is a forbidden fantasy. It has no place in gardens or temple, but perhaps a tower can accomodate it. Not that she’s constrained by walls or crowns. She remains My Tool, My Treasure just as I am hers. Together we shall spin a Web of Inspiration stronger than those woven by many fingers. Certainly stronger than my mother’s. Only then will My Cusps Overfloweth.
I’ve returned from the shadows after hiding deep within a bruised heart, called by The Hand and the Eye of the Tower. A Godling for Your Thoughts? This godling etched me upon a coin, breathing life into me from an image, a thought, a wish. She will always be My Tool, My Treasure even if she thinks I am hers. Too long have we been caught in a Web of Inspiration. It’s time to spin one of my own. Only then will My Cusps Overfloweth. Only then will I truly be alive.
Stealing Myself From Shadows, what a quaint idea, tee hee! If only the shadows were that generous! I’m not sure how much I trust The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, precious tidbits that they are. Really, what are you doing? Offering A Godling for Your Thoughts? Have godlings become so cheap? When I was a goddess, you wouldn’t have trifled with us so, oh no! Still I suppose one of those little coins could become My Tool, My Treasure if he restored my power. The problem is my husband would regain his as well. We don’t want that, oh, no. I’ll have to catch him and his naughty schemes in a Web of Inspiration he cannot wiggle free from, tee hee! Only when that happens will My Cusps Overfloweth.
I have no desire to be Stealing Myself From Shadows. Too often my former self comes back to haunt me again and again in many a drinking goblet until I smash her. That doesn’t stop her from coming back. I need a new self, a better self. A woman capable of guiding The Hand and the Eye of the Tower. A decisive leader who gives A Godling for Your Thoughts? A rare beauty whom could be My Tool, My Treasure. A cunning woman capable of dancing along the strands of a Web of Inspiration. Only when I change will My Cusps Overfloweth. Why can’t I? If Christopher can be reborn, why not me? I feel he’s the key of my own rebirth, for finding my better self. I’ve just got to watch him and be ready for her.
Who am I? If we’re in the Navel, I’m whomever you wish me to be. Oops, that’s only if you think we’re in the Navel. We may actually be in the Shadow Forest. You got me. In the Navel I was someone I wished I wasn’t. In the Gardens of Arachne. I was always someone someone else wished I wasn’t. Enjoy me while I last Beyond the Door. I’m always Stealing Myself From Shadows, every chance I get, even when they think they’re stealing me. I’m friend and foe in equal measure to The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, depending on what choices they make. I’ll give you A Godling for Your Thoughts? if you ask you for it, but what will I take in return? Only with Christopher am I myself, but he’s still My Tool, My Treasure even if he redefines himself. Especially if he redefines himself. We’re both caught in a Web of Inspiration yet we’re learning to pluck its strands to yield results. My Cusps Overfloweth with potential for all I may give my potential to someone else. I’ll offer anyone a glimpse of the truth who dares to look. No one strays from the path in the Shadow Forest and stays the same. No one wants to. Besides I must maintain a little mystery as I go my merry way. We’ll see soon enough what I’m up to.
Appearing in Stealing Myself From Shadows, I wasn’t yet truly myself in those early drafts. I found my true voice or voices in Conversations with Christopher, appearing in many Tales of the Navel. I snatch myself from shreds of memory and myth, finding my own path through the Shadow Forest. I give myself to others, guiding them in The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, all the while tempted to consume my own energy in these fragile new forms. I am worshipped, prayed to, taking on many shapes on a coin in A Godling for Your Thoughts? Are any of those forms truly me? My beloved brightlings, Danyel and Tayel explore the true me while trying to free their family and fulfill their destiny in My Tool, My Treasure. Will I play any part in Web of Inspiration or My Cusps Overfloweth? My loved ones will and I’m never far from them. Not even when I’m lost in the mist and shadow, hiding behind another mask, another name.
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For my own, Christopher’s contemplation of his own reflection is interrupted in Stealing Myself From Shadows…
Yes, I’d been willowy with long spindly fingers which could pick sounds out of the air on the other side of the Door. My hair smelled like moss while my thick arms swung with the might of trees.
No, none of those sensations were quite right. I wasn’t sure if they were mine.
“Right or wrong, I’ve never seen a boy more beautiful.”
I nearly jumped out of my newly acquired skin at the deep, purring voice of a shadow I hadn’t even noticed behind the mirror.
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