I don’t quite have a place for this one (maybe an idea, but it’s an arc I’ve never mentioned anywhere before so it won’t do you any good to say “The Arches” but I will anyways just for me if nothing else) But I like it anyways, and it involves shifters, so it goes here. Enjoy!
There was no way she was going to be able to focus today.
A warm summer breeze drifted in from the open window, carrying with it the first few disjointed notes of an orchestra warming up. The Queen’s birthday celebrations began tonight at sundown, and the musicians would play well into the night. She couldn’t imagine starting practice now, with the sun barely past its zenith—but then, it was the Queen’s birthday. She couldn’t imagine not practicing right up until the last moment.
But what she absolutely could not imagine was how she was going to get through any of her work today. It was sticky, stiflingly hot up in the rookery, and the faint breeze did little good, and anyways it was the Queen’s birthday, how could anyone be expected to focus?
She stared at her lines, all chicken scrawl, all useless drivel. Write a theme on your hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. What a task! What was anyone supposed to do with this? It was clearly busywork.
The first strains of actual music swelled up from courtyard below. She recognized the refrain from one of her favorites, “Upward and Onward”. Apparently, it was one of the band’s favorites, too, because the drums rang out with the first few beats of it, and soon everyone was playing in unison.
She turned over her paper and began to scratch out the first words that came to her head, trying to lose herself in the music. Just a few lines, just long enough to clear her head. And besides, wasn’t poetry the greatest form that words could achieve? Let her make art, and then she would return to making busyreading for her professors.
Up. Soar. Rosey dusted clouds, puffy and pink with the coming night. Soaring. Up up up.
Ugh. So dropped her pen in disguist. This feeling was incapturable. She tried, gods did she try, but it was trying to capture the wind. Someone had already done it, had already framed this feeling in song, and trying to frame it again in words just… didn’t work.
But she wanted to try.
Flying. It was so much like flying. The notes danced and soared, so much emotion without any words, why was she trying to do this with words? If she could just spread her winds and let the winds lift her up—that was the feeling. This song was like wind under the wings. Even that quiet moment in between, where the clouds were far below, and the sun a distant dot on the horizon… If she could just stay up there, everything would be peaceful forever.
Not like down below.
No. She was not going to ruin this. She was not going to let thoughts of tomorrow hold down today.
The strings picked back up, driving the music to a frenzied return to drums and horns. It was like a battle march, but the way that battle is glorified and romanticized by tired old men who wouldn’t be asked to fight. Not the grim reality of the young who carried their hopes and dreams in their back pockets, waiting for their turn to call the shots.
Turn away. This isn’t the feeling.
But turning away didn’t make it go away.
Pen returned to paper, and she did her best to keep her thoughts light and loose, not to hold on to anything too tightly. She could read it when it was finished. If she read it now, the spell would be broken, and the words would crumble into useless, tasteless ash.
The music broke and band continued on to other pieces, but still she wrote. Distantly, she knew she would have to talk to Halea for help with the music, but this song—this song, skies above she was writing a song!–was too important to break from now. Get it out, get it all down, then start tearing it apart. Just get it out first, drag this stupid thing into the universe kicking and screaming if she had to, just get it all out–
A knock at the door, and she nearly shrieked in her frustration. Grinding her anger between her teeth, she turned slowly toward the intrusion and called, “Come in.” It almost sounded polite. Almost.
The last breath of the song flitted away on the shifting summer winds.