fingerpaint the sky

till everything shines

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[misc] dreamers
genarti
I keep prodding at Blodwen, it seems. A different perspective, this time. Why am I apparently incapable of non-angsty The Dark Is Rising stories?

Points to those of you who catch the reference in the title, by the way. And many thanks to gehayi for mentioning the Blodeuwedd myth earlier today, which is what gave me the whole idea for this.


Flowers of the Forest

John Rowlands rises early, before the dawn. In the faint grey light before sunrise he gets up, dresses, puts the kettle on. Later he will have a proper breakfast of Jen Evans' good cooking, but for now it is tea only. The first cup he drinks standing by the sink in his small empty kitchen, with sugar and a splash of milk, and the second. The rest, when it has brewed strong and bitter, will go into a thermos flask for the day's work.

Outside an owl calls, soft and echoing. John, who knows the old stories, thinks of Blodeuwedd, the maiden of flowers, who deceived her husband and sought his death. She was not killed, lovely false Blodeuwedd, but was turned into an owl, to wander forever outcast from all humanity and all her fellow birds, hooting her shame in the night.

His own white flower, his own Blodwen, did nothing of the sort. She was good and true and kind, and still she was taken from him in a train crash, and his kitchen and house and heart are empty and echoing in the pale predawn light. He turns from the window, face crumpling in pain, and it is several long minutes before he can rinse out his tea cup mechanically, set it on the draining-board, and leave for the fields. Shearing it will be today, work for strong arms and calm steady hands.

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"I've heard the lilting, at the yowe-milking,
Lasses a-lilting before dawn o' day;
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning;
'The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away'."

Lovely piece. Have you read Alan Garner's The Owl Service?

You get points! I do love that tune, and the words as well.

I have not, though I've heard the title. Should I?

The Owl Service is centred around the same myth; it's also a brilliant book. Well worth reading.

Ooh. Very neat!

I shall have to investigate the library posthaste.

(You get more points for the icon, by the way. River rocks my world.)

*reads*

*chokes*

Okay, I have fear now.

Icon love!

The drabbles really are disturbingly similar, and not just because of the the Blodwen/Blodeuedd play. Until I read mine over again, and yours over again, and mine over again, it didn't occur to me that we were both writing about John, post-Blodwen's death, remembering Blodwen in the predawn hours. Wow.

It just shows we were made to play opposite each other. Am finishing a paper now, which means I'll be absolutely brainless tomorrow night and will need to take time off. See you at Milliways? :)

*giggles* Saph made it, and I feel in love.

And, yes, they really are. I reread yours in showing it to Gehayi, and realized that. Same point of view, same myth, same setting...

It's a date! Whee. :)

Ooh, that's lovely. Very poignant.

(And I read your review of Tân, and I love you for it, because you broke my brain with the last analogy you made. Just wanted to let you know.)

I saw! (She replies belatedly.) And it rather broke my brain when I wrote it, too. And I love you for the story, and for the fact that it fits.

Ow. This is what was chosen for him, then, mourning a woman who both was and never was -- but the memory is as real as anything else, and it is what he has left.

Er, right. So obviously, I enjoyed this. :)

And I have icon love, although your icon did make me wibble.

I too have icon love. That icon in this context... *wibbles*

And. Yes. There is heartbreak for John either way, in this, and there is no way he can avoid paying the price somehow for what his wife was. For what the Dark did, and the Light, and he the human caught between all unknowing.

And truth, even in forgetting. Just as John's the only one who's given a real choice -- even if he chooses to let someone else make the decision for him -- so he is in some ways the only one who has real truth no matter whether he remembers or forgets. (Well, Bran too, perhaps. Since his life as the son of Owen Davies had truth to it as well, and his high heritage is no longer his.)

That icon in this context...

Blame (er, credit) shati, as she made it and graciously allowed me to adopt it. Although I admit it was no accident that I chose to use it here.

It is real truth, in that in a very real sense reality is what we perceive, and this is what he knows and experiences. For John Rowlands, this given "memory" is his truth and reality both.

Oo, oo, gorgeous.

*sniffles*

This hurts, in what I must identify as a good way. It makes me want to find a way to fix John Rowlands, or change the Lady's mind.

Thanks. :)

The heartbreaking thing about John Rowlands, though, is that there's grief either way for him. If he remembered all the truth, he would have to deal with the loss of his Blodwen just the same, but this time with the knowledge that the woman he loved, to his way of thinking, never truly existed except as a pretty laughing lie. Maybe he would eventually come to terms with it, as he will in time come to terms with her death, but it would be at least as hard a process. Because John is a bard and a wise man and a good man, bone-deep, but he is still a man and he can't reconcile her two selves the way an Old One can.

Time will "fix" him, though; or, at least, the grief will fade to a wistful memory, as it does for any widower. I'm just mean enough to write about the early days. *grin*

OUch. That was sweet and sad.

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