Waiting For The Windflowers (AU,Kh,YTEEN) - (COMPLETE)

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cherie
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Waiting For The Windflowers (AU,Kh,YTEEN) - (COMPLETE)

Post by cherie » Wed Nov 05, 2003 5:46 pm

Title:Waiting For The Windflowers (A Mother's Story)
Author: Cherie
Rating: YTEEN
Disclaimer: I own nothing but a twisted mind.
Summary: Set on Antar when Khivar was a child


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Waiting For The Windflowers


Once I had escaped, I found a small cubicle on a street with no name.
Druce, the Land Agent, calls it his street. He is the village despot, and he plays his role with shrewdness and devotion. He is my only friend and he holds my secrets well. He was suspicious at first when I turned up in the middle of the night with Khivar and two small bags of belongings. But money has a way of pulling a veil over suspicion's eyes, and greed being what it is made him no exception. Patting Khivar on the head, he took the money and rented us the small cubicle.

We live in what was once a House of Pleasure and Joy. It consists of three cubicles on each of the four floors. Ours is on the third floor. Since Antar is no longer on the route of the star paths because of the war, there are few tourists, and even fewer natives. They have followed the starships to the other four worlds in our system. The Skins seldom come here anymore. That may be my only salvation for awhile. Eventually, they will come again. For me. For Khivar.

There are two sleeping compartments, seperated by a small partition, a small lounging area, and a tiny kitchen with a table that folds into the wall.
There is a lasar range for cooking and a cooler for food storage. There is one window in the lounging area. It faces the stone wall of the next building. The wind of Antar howls down between that small space, rattles the window, then whips around the corner. I often measure my state of mind against that eerie screaming wind.

The first morning we were here, I scraped winter frost off the windowsill and let it melt in my mouth. It was cold and slid icily over my shrieking nerves. Khivar and I laughed together, and I let myself relax a bit. I had bought us a little time. I didn't know how much, but we were safe for a while.

I had laid out all the plans by myself, gathered all the things that we would need, stepped over my lover's body and never looked back. The money I had taken from his pockets would be enough for a long time. Getting a shuttle for Antar had been easy. The Captain was a friend and a former lover. I told him Khivar and I were going on a short trip to search for windflowers.

"Trying to change the prophecy?" he asked, with amusement in his voice.

I nodded, lowering my eyes as he laughed.

He accepted my body as payment, casually mistaking my hysteria for good humor.

And all the while his friend, Khivar's Father, Alron the Highborn lay dead on the floor of the quarters we had once shared, blasted by the laser gun I had hidden in my boot. I hoped it would be a long time before his body was discovered. Since the Highborn are loners and known to disappear for long periods of time to meditate, his presence, or lack of it, would not be questioned until a meeting of the Highborn was called. That could be tomorrow or a year from now.

In this hiding out deserted place, there is no communophone, and I have never bothered to secure a power pack for the range or lighting. Druce provided me with two phospholamps, and Khivar and I eat only little things that require no cooking or cooler storage. Small snacks and rations that are quick and easy. Sometimes Druce brings us little treats.

Even though I have fashioned a makeshift prison, I still feel a sense of freedom inside these walls. Sometimes the days are long and hungry, and I watch from the window how the wind of Antar eats up the clouds that hurry across the sky. And I listen when it rains. Little drops of crystal touch the ground and shatter into countless pieces. My heart follows them down and breaks the same way. Druce brings me books to read and I play the ancient game of telling my own fortune. I always laugh when the stones give me a good sign.

I shop for food only at night. I wrap us up in heavy garb before we venture out. Sometimes we run and let the winter frost melt on our tongues. Khivar's laughter is young and glorious. Mine hurts my ears like the icy air.

Two years have passed. Khivar is in his ninth year. There are lines on my face now, and in the mirror my smile looks bruised and demented.
And I see it all behind my eyes--the ugliness, the shame, the knowing what is to come. I am becoming a master at self delusion. I tell myself that my Father had every right to sell me to the Highborn. The price for females was high, and the war had left my family starving. My body brought much fortune, and I no longer question his decision or reasons. Nor do I pass judgement. It is the way of my people.

My usefullness to the Highborn, the Antarian elite, was my only means of survival. I was passed from man to man until Alron took me for his own.
When Khivar was born, Alron was pleased. He bought me a silver chain from the star system Velon, a priceless gift. I wear it still, but it is cold and no longer brings me pleasure.

"Khivar will one day rule Antar." Alron once told me, his voice full of pride.

May the Makers forgive me, but I smiled when he said it.

And it is true. My son is Highborn. I cannot save him. But I can keep him for a while longer. I watch him now through misty eyes. I weep for Antar. I weep for the son of Alron.

Khivar is unconcerned with my sadness. He is building a small city on the floor with empty cans and cartons. The tiny bird that Druce gave him twills a sweet melody inside it's cage. I feel a pang of guilt. The boy seems so far away from me, like he isn't really mine. I can't remember when the distance between us began, but I try still to take good care of him, limited as I am. I read to him, and we exchange small smiles. I put him to bed, running my fingers through his soft dark hair, catching my disheveled image looking back at me through his steel grey eyes. I kiss his cheek, but I am somewhere else when I do. Things are not the same, and I feel the change.

Antar has a legend. If one finds the windflower, a rare and precious blossom with all the colors of the rainbow, all sins may be forgiven. But most important, the prophecy of death for the Royals could be altered with just one wish. The possession of an Antarian windflower is a gift from the Makers. A clutch of hope in a world full of despair and chaos.

I had a dream not long ago. A phantom lover came to me, a leftover essence of the customers that once traded here, I imagined. He crept into my bed and took me with gentle caresses and fleeting kisses. His face was hidden by a shadow and in his hand he held the windflower. The blossom threw out a radiant light, and the face became clear. It was the face of Khivar's Father.

I woke up screaming, afraid for a long time to go to sleep again. But I reflect upon the dream often. Sometimes I even wish for it's return. The loving part, anyway. I am lonely.

I feel it in my bones. Time is short. I put another bolt lock on the door, and hang a covering over the howling window. The world is getting darker.There is no way to stop the pain, to buy more time or save my sanity. There is no real distinction now between fantasy and reality. I see myself as a puzzle searching for lost pieces that will never fit again because my shape has changed. I pray for the screaming wind to blow my bones away.

I am trying very hard to set that last scene. What I was wearing, where Alron was standing. I can remember all that, but not what the arguement was about. Meaningless curses and threats. I can see his back stiffen, hear the tone of my voice--shrill and irrational, out of control. I feel the sting of the blow he gave me. I recall the fear that fell across his face and how I thought it odd that a Highborn could look frightened. The lasar hiss, Khivar screaming..and the calmness afterwards.

I jerk my eyes up. Khivar's bird is dead. I reach inside the cage and hold the tiny limp body in my hand. The rage is surfacing again. My son wraps the lifeless bird in a small rag, and places it in the cooler. We were cautious of one another for awhile, Khivar building his city, and the wind grasping at my skin with icy fingers.

Druce keeps knocking at the door. My head is hurting from the pounding. He is trying to tell me something, but I have shut him out. Suddenly I hear the sound of heavy footsteps, the familiar beat of soldiers marching in cadence. The Skins have come for us. My time is up. In this last moment, perhaps I can save my son. I reach for the laser in my boot, but it is gone. I watch as Khivar slowly raises his hand, the silver glint of steel aimed at my chest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Someone is holding my head. It is Druce. I am lying by the howling window, the covering has fallen and the sun is screaming in. The light hurts my eyes. There is a hole where my heart should be, but there is no pain. I watch my life flow out onto the dirty carpet. It is done. Khivar has dispatched with me as easily as he did his Father. And the tiny bird.

"Forgive me." I say to Druce. But he does not hear me. No one hears me. It is getting dark. And through my tears I see Khivar standing between two Skins. Full of rage and murder, he smiles up at them. True son of his Father. My secret shame, my gift of evil to Antar. An enigma from the darkness of my womb, he stands golden in the sun. I turn my head away.

The light burns. And on the windowsill a burst of color, just out of reach. A shimmering windflower sways in the breeze. I failed to kill my own son, to save him from his destiny, failed Antar. Prince Zan will die. The future cannot be altered. I waited for the windflowers too long.


the end
cherie

If all is not lost, then where is it?

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