Tuesday, 18 June 2013
When Shugo met Azura.
Shugo wheeled around when he felt eyes boring into his back. He wasn’t often caught unaware and it made him uneasy to be so now in vampire country. The woman from earlier was standing there regarding him with red eyes through the curtain of her raven hair. Shugo got up quickly, brushing dirt from his pants legs as he went. It struck him as absurd that he cared what a vampire thought of dirty clothes, but all the same, he cared. Silence lingered between them as they each regarded the other, contemplating the best way to start a conversation. It was Azura who broke the silence.
“Who are you?” she asked with suspicion and the briefest narrowing of her eyes.
Shugo smiled at the sound of her voice, he really couldn’t help himself, her voice was lovely. “I could ask the same of you.”
“Well, considering you’re the stranger here, I think you should answer the question first.” Azura retorted.
“Fair enough, I’m Shugo.” he replied.
Azura considered the name for a moment before offering her own.
“So what are you doing here?” Azura asked crossing her arms over her chest, her eyes falling to the sword sheathed at Shugo’s hip. Both of them had acknowledged the sword on the other’s hip, but there were a lot of reasons for carrying a weapon in this part of the world. Still, it didn’t inspire much confidence in the other. Shugo’s face never revealed anything as he considered her question a moment before answering. His face was like marble, expressing nothing.
“I have business to attend to here.” Shugo said cryptically.
“What kind of business?” Azura asked, her tone challenging.
“I don’t feel obligated to share that.” Shugo replied as his hand fell upon the hilt of his sheathed sword. Azura took that movement as a threat and responded in kind.
“If you won’t tell me why you’re here I can only assume it’s for nefarious purposes.”
“Assume away,” Shugo replied nonchalantly.
Silence followed his statement momentarily as Azura regarded it with interest. She didn’t know what to make of this stranger and his odd behavior.
“So, if you’re here on business, what are you doing sitting beside the creek?”
Shugo smiled and it leveled Azura’s defenses. There was something in that smile she felt in her bones that she could trust. She didn’t know why she felt that way, but she did.
“I was…thinking,” Shugo finished after a brief pause contemplating the correct word to describe exactly what he had been doing.
“What were you thinking about?” Azura asked automatically, her arms crossing over her chest again unconsciously as she leaned her left shoulder against the nearest tree.
“I was thinking about what I’m going to do,” Shugo replied taking a few steps forward and leaning his right shoulder against a tree.
“About what?” Azura asked.
The left side of Shugo’s face curled up into a half smile; Azura found herself watching every movement he made with unconscious intent. “You ask a lot of questions,” Shugo replied.
Azura shrugged, “Call me curious.”
“Okay, Curious, what are you doing out here?” Shugo asked.
It was Azura’s turn to smile. She shifted her weight from her shoulder leaning against the tree to her feet and walked towards the creek. Shugo watched her carefully, both in caution and awe.
“I’m out here because you’re out here.” Azura replied taking a seat on the bank of the creek. She looked over her left shoulder at him, waiting for him to sit with her. After a moment of consideration he did just that.
“How did you know I’d be out here?” Shugo asked.
Azura smirked, “Let’s cut the crap, okay? You know I’m a vampire and I know you’re an angel. That’s how I knew you were out here.”
“Why did you come, then?” Shugo asked instead.
Azura shook her head as she glanced around at the trees across the creek bed. “Because angels don’t come here unless they have a reason,” Azura said the last turning a hard gaze upon him. Shugo nodded to say he understood.
“You’re not going to tell me why you’re here, are you?” Azura asked a little disbelievingly.
“Sorry,” Shugo replied and the tone in his voice told her he was sincere.
“Why are you here?” Shugo asked suddenly, and the question caught Azura off guard.
“What do you mean? I live here. Why wouldn’t I be here?” Azura asked quizzically.
Shugo shrugged, “You don’t live up to my expectations.”
Azura’s brow furrowed at that statement. “Sorry to disappoint you, then” she replied sarcastically.
Shugo laughed, “No, that’s not what I meant; it’s a good thing. You’re better than I expected you to be, for a vampire I mean.”
“You don’t get out much, do you?” Azura asked.
Shugo smiled and shook his head, “No, I guess not. This is really my first trip away from home.”
Azura’s face fell at that statement and her features hardened. “Must be nice to leave whenever you want.”
Shugo was disarmed by her statement, and then it clicked. “That’s right; you’re a prisoner here.”
Azura’s eyes rolled sarcastically, “Now he remembers how his people enslaved mine.”
Shugo smiled his small smile at that statement. “If you hate my kind so much, why are you even talking to me?”
Azura considered him a moment before answering, “Somehow you’re different. You’re not like the rest of your kind. At least that’s not my first impression of you anyway.” Azura finished with a shrug.
“So we’ve both been told wrong about the other. Seems kind of silly to me, don’t you think?” Shugo asked seriously.
Azura mulled it over and she in fact did find it ridiculous; maybe not so for all angels and vampires, but for the one sitting before her, yes. Azura turned to face him and their eyes locked—red on blue—and there was a feeling like an electrical current that stuttered down both their spines. They both looked away quickly. Azura endured the uncomfortable moment for a brief second before rising to her feet and making up an excuse about getting back and left without another word or glance back. Shugo watched her go with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He liked her and that was bad because he had a job to do, a job that would severely interfere with a friendship, or whatever kind of connection it was they had.
I'm writing bits and pieces of this story and not worrying about chronological order at this point. I've worried about it in the past and it hinders my writing process. I'm writing what comes to me and feels natural.
The following scene belongs to a story I've been working on for years. You may have read some of it before. It's undergone many revisions, and never really seen completion. There's a lot of ideas I'm playing around with to include in this story. It's a massive undertaking, one that may never be finished, but its something I enjoy working on here and there. I just wanted to share this bit of dialogue for shits and giggles. I've been watching the Vampire Diaries lately, and that put me in a vampire mindset, which automatically makes me think about Azura (considering she's a vampire).
This scene would take place in Kish after Azura has developed a reputation as a killer and has racked up a body count to rival her grandfather Larkin’s. This is the reason Azura returns to Sirian and Telio.
“This isn’t you.”
“Of course it is! I’m finally embracing the monster your kind has always made me out to be. I’m not human and to pretend otherwise is pointless. I’ve wasted precious years pretending to be someone I’m not when I should have been embracing my true nature: I’m a murderer.”
“You’re not, and you’re not a monster. You’re choosing to accept a label that doesn’t fit you. You are better than this because I couldn’t love a monster, and I love you.”
“Then you’re a fool.”
“Maybe I am, but I know one thing for certain: if you love me too then we can overcome whatever odds stand between us to make this work. I will never stop fighting for you, Azura.”
Silence fell between them as Azura and Shugo contemplated one another. He looked upon her longingly, hoping she would see he was sincere and accept his help. She looked upon him with conflicting emotions. Her head and her heart were waging a war for her soul. Her head told her that it was unreasonable to ever forgive him for the things he’d done: systematically murdering her family one by one (even though in their own ways they had each asked for it), but her heart knew that she would never spend a day not loving him, and it was because of her love for him and her loyalty to her family that she couldn’t reconcile the war inside her. She did the only thing she could think to do; she looked him in the eye and lied.
“You are a fool, Shugo, because I don’t love you. I can’t love you, not after everything that has happened between us. There’s too much blood in the water. I won’t kill you, but we are best parting ways and never seeing one another ever again.”
Shugo’s face turned to stone as his heart plummeted and began drowning in the acids in his stomach. His face tensed as he fought with his emotions: anger, despair, confusion. “You don’t mean that,” he finally said.
Azura nodded her head, “I do mean it, all of it. I don’t love you, Shugo. I never have.”
“That’s a lie. You want me to believe it because you think you’re doing the right thing by hurting me now instead of hurting me later, but the fact still remains: I am hurt, and it’s your doing.”
Azura fought to hold his steady gaze because to do anything else would admit weakness and insincerity. Her mind was racing with thoughts and retorts, none of which she could speak without giving away the truth of her heart, and that was something she just would not do. Silence thickened between them as they stared one another down until finally Shugo crossed the distance between them and grabbed her by the shoulders.
“Look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t love me, and I’ll believe it. I’ll walk away from you forever, and you can always wonder what could have been, but you have to look me in the eye and tell me you don’t love me.”
Azura did exactly what he asked her to do: “I don’t love you.”
They stood together a moment longer, Shugo with his hands on Azura’s shoulders, until her words finally sunk in and his hands fell to his sides slowly, as if they too dared not believe her words. It was the stony expression upon her face that sold him, even though a part of him still blatantly refused to believe her words, he let his heart be hurt and let that emotion turn him away from her and walked out of the clearing.
Azura stood in the clearing alone holding her breath against the sobs and tears that wished to ravage her. In her mind she repeatedly told herself not to break, to keep herself together for the sake of the lie—that the wound would heal eventually with time. In the end she broke anyway and collapsed to her knees in the dirt, curled into a ball, and cried herself numb.
I decided to include a basic outline so you get an idea of where this story is supposed to go. I'm not sure you really care, but for shits and giggles I said what the hell and went ahead and did this. Maybe now this story has a real chance of being written.
Azura and Shugo Basic Plot Outline
1. Azura and Shugo meet and despite their family’s histories they fall in love.
2. Their love is tested when Shugo must kill Azura’s father which he succeeds in doing.
3. This creates a rift between the two of them, and a duality inside of Azura. She cannot reconcile her loyalty to her family and her love of Shugo, so she chooses neither and runs away to Sirian.
4. There she meets Telio and Razul, the demonic angel and vampire who teach Azura to simply enjoy life; eternity is too long to be caught up in family feuds.
5. Kylu and Weifron find Azura in Sirian and convince her to return to her family; neither of them know she saw Shugo kill their father and let him go.
6. Azura returns to her family which has taken up residency in Kish after their family home in Aridact was burned.
7. While living in Kish Azura attempts to reconcile the differences between the two people she seems to be: the one who was care-free and happy with Telio and Razul, and the angry violent person she is with her brothers hell bent on revenge against Shugo Tenshi.
8. Azura gets out of control and goes on a killing spree in Kish for which she becomes notorious and Shugo takes it upon himself (because he’s no longer associated with the angels of Gwithyn) to put a stop to her behavior.
9. The resulting meeting between the two is tense: Shugo tries to talk sense into Azura who puts on a show of hating him. A fight between the two of them results and Azura loses, which hurts her pride. The fight ends with Shugo threatening to end her life if she doesn’t change her ways.
10. Azura disappears for a few days to lick her wounds and figure out who she really is and who she really wants to be. In the meantime Shugo has stayed in Kish to keep an eye on the situation and Weifron finds him and picks a fight which results in Weifron’s death. Shugo leaves Kish just as Azura returns to find out what has happened. Prior to finding out about Weifron’s death Azura had intended to return to Kish and tell Shugo that she had lied before, that she always loved him and always would. Weifron’s death changes those plans.
11. Shugo hides out in Slithandu where he meets Salena Ventros, the human he makes his wife. Together they have a son of angel and human blood:
12. In the meantime Azura takes up her time “hunting” Shugo and feeling lost in the world. She ends up in Sirian with Telio and Razul again. For a while the three of them become a family again, but it isn’t enough for Azura.
13. Azura disappears to wander Sirian for a while and meets a werewolf, Lengyll. They develop a friends-with-benefits relationship and Azura is jealous of the family-atmosphere of Lengyll’s pack, which is at first suspicious of a vampire interested in a werewolf pack, but they eventually accept her.
14. The pack has both children adopted and born into the pack. They adopt (or steal) children from the streets or orphanages and give them a better life with the pack. Once they reach a certain age they are bitten and turned into a werewolf (much like Triyel and Fay did with their children). Azura decides that she wants a child, but she doesn’t trust herself to raise a human child. One of the children, a little blonde girl named Kiana, has taken a special liking to Azura. Azura bites Kiana as a child which turns her into a vampire. The pack doesn’t accept this behavior and shuns them both.
15. Azura and Kiana return to Telio and Razul and for a while they become a happy family. After a while Kiana (who doesn’t age) begins to ask why she doesn’t get a father (as she calls Telio uncle and Razul aunt). This prompts Azura to seek out Shugo in Slithandu.
16. Azura discovers Shugo is married and happy with his wife and child. She never makes her presence known, only leaves quietly and returns to Sirian.
17. Azura tires of her make-shift family with Telio and Razul and takes Kiana to Kish in search of her real family. She discovers that Kylu is married to Kelsa and has a son named Ker and that Fay and Janza are running their own orphanage. Azura stays with Fay and Janza for a while.
18. Azura and Janza have a heart to heart one night where Janza reveals to Azura that she never wanted to be a vampire. She wanted to grow up and be a mother someday, to have children of her own. Running the orphanage is the closest she will ever come to having that family. Azura doesn’t want to live the rest of her life empty and devoid of meaning so she leaves Kish without saying anything to anyone, and leaves Kiana in Janza’s care.
19. Azura returns to Aridact, where her life began and ended. Sitting at her father’s grave she decides eternity is a punishment rather than a gift as her father had told her before he turned her into a vampire. She wants to give the gift back because nothing in her life matters without the one she truly loves: Shugo. She asks her father’s sword (which acts as his gravestone) why he couldn’t just accept their love and leave it at that? Didn’t he once love her mother? Of course she gets no answer and decides she would rather die than live another day as an immortal. Azura digs a grave beside her father’s for herself. She climbs in, lies down, and refuses to drink blood until her body petrifies.
20. Telio is the one who finds Azura petrified in an open grave beside her father’s and he’s the one who shovels the dirt in over her head. He finds her because after she left Sirian with Kiana he couldn’t bear to let her leave; he has always loved her the way she loves Shugo. He could revive her with blood but he knows that’s not what she wishes, so he buries her instead with her own sword at the head of her grave, marking its place.
Thursday, 13 June 2013
I'm ambivalent about posting this for a long list of reasons, but this close to the end I'm not going to continue censoring myself. I've done that enough in the last eight years. I'll begin again when this phase is over, but until then...
Don’t tell me you know what it’s like
because you don’t know what it’s like
until you have to cut yourself open just to feel.
you don’t know until you feed the need to bleed.
but who are you kidding, dear?
you don’t know either
because you’ve never carved yourself up
like a Thanksgiving turkey.
the only blood you’ve ever shed
was from a scraped knee,
so don’t pretend you understand
because you don’t know what it’s like,
you won’t know what it’s like
because you’re not brave enough.
don’t tell me I don’t know what it’s like
don’t tell me—
but who are you kidding dear?
you’re only fooling yourself.
Don’t tell me you know what it’s like
because you don’t know what it’s like,
and you’ll never know what it’s like
because I’ll never let you know.
I’m afraid to write because it feels like saying goodbye to this place my writing calls home. Part of me thinks that if I just don’t write the future won’t come to pass, but I know that isn’t true. Once again the world is out of my control, and I don’t like it anymore at twenty-three as I did when I was sixteen and discovered I couldn’t keep my parents from divorcing. It took me about six years to realize that their divorce and everything that has happened in my life up until this point was necessary, not just because it was unavoidable, but because it’s made me the person I am today, and I wouldn't want to be anyone else other than who I am now.
I cannot control the fate of Xanga, but I can control how I react to what’s happening here and within myself. I will always write, it’s simply who I am, a part of me I can’t give up without giving up my ability to breathe. Everything I’ve experienced while here has helped shape me into who I am today, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I am a better write because of the last eight years I’ve spent here, and a better person. I thank you for that, the one reading this. It’s because of your support of my work and this place that I got to spend the last eight years doing something I love for people who appreciate it. It’s because of you that I found my way out of the dark and into the light. Thank you. I know those words aren’t much, but they mean everything to me.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
So I finally got the June 2013 XWS feature put together. Check it out here. There will be one more in July for certain. After that I can't say, but we'll just see how things go, okay? I've enjoyed writing these features and getting to know all the wonderful people I have because of it. Even if these are the last two XWS features I ever write, I'm honored to have been able to do this while I could. My goal was to add a little more positivity to the Xanga atmosphere and showcase writers whose work I admired and felt deserved more recognition. I hope on some level I achieved that goal. Thanks for bearing with me over the last two years and providing feedback and support. I couldn't have done any of this without the community I love so much.
As always, keep writing.