BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

BYTEMITE

Eidolon (Chapter 29)
Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The snow dwindled and the lull of darkness enveloped her again, unexpectedly warm, consoling and soothing. She let it carry her away from her regrets and anxieties, the memories and pain fading with it. Her limbs grew heavy and then only her breath remained, until she forgot even that. (Dreams)


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 978    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

A spot of cold kissed her brow, drawing Inara out from the soft black behind her eyelids and into the quiet of night. The change seemed little different; the world was muffled, all sensations dampened. She couldn't see anything, suspended between and outside her own awareness, at one with everything and nothing without distinction. Scattered stars appeared above her, first a few, then many, until they filled the entire sky. Inara admired them, shining across the distance, spiraling down towards her as she stood looking up.

Slowly features began to emerge, a sense of herself then her surroundings. An elegant marble bridge over a koi pond in a frozen garden, leaves and branches glittering and fragile, like glass. The frost had traced beaded swirls over everything, over her skin, patterns over the long skirt of her powder blue dress.

She had walked this path before, during her training days. Her students would have loved this. Girls and boys conversing like adults under the cherry blossoms about their studies, about art, music, theatre, philosophy, skills they were practicing; chattering like children about teachers and companions they admired, the whispers of intrigues they had overheard. The Guild taught acolytes self-control from the time they were twelve, but some took more to those lessons than others. Inara had primly declined to engage in such sport, but her friend Nandi had an enthusiasm for gossip, and made a game of getting Inara to blush.

Nandi would always sneak the acolytes up to an unused balcony in the Summer Temple to watch the the Kunlun Gala, a whirling masquerade of feathers, gemstones, and colour against a backdrop of gilded murals and flowing calligraphy. There they would speculate about which of the debutants would approach each habitue - long time clients and former companions selected for the honour by the chaperones. The habitue were relatively unchanging year to year, chosen for patience and tenderness to ease new companions into the rites, and most of her friends had their own favourites. Invariably, some of the other students would share an interest, or disagree about suitability, and the resulting argument would result in the concierge finding them and chasing them back to the dormitories.

Everything was just as she remembered, like a painting in a museum. This was House Madrassa, or Sihnon, or maybe an approximation at Sheydra's Training House on Burnet. Perfect. Beautiful. Lonely. They'd both left for the Rim and it had been years before they'd seen each other again, and by then, Nandi had been in trouble, and then it had been too late. Inara no longer belonged here. Maybe, for all she had tried to follow her mother's example, she never really had.

The snow dwindled and the lull of darkness enveloped her again, unexpectedly warm, consoling and soothing. She let it carry her away from her regrets and anxieties, the memories and pain fading with it. Her limbs grew heavy and then only her breath remained, until she forgot even that.

Some duration passed unmarked by time or conscious notice, and then someone rolled half on top of her. She blinked, immediately taking in the sight of her curtains in Serenity's shuttle, the elaborate fretwork of her cabinet, the floral motif of her empty flower vase and the little clock arranged on top of it. Whoever was nestled against her shifted again with a masculine grunt and pressed their face into her shoulder, one arm thrown over her waist, then stilled again. She considered her options. He might have rudely jolted her, but a companion was always discreet. She eased herself away from the body against her back and the hot air against her neck, then raised herself up on her hands to survey her visitor.

Oh. Long eyelashes beside a proud aquiline nose, a mess of sleep-tussled hair... Mal, lightly bronzed and shirtless, dozing in her bed beside her, laying under her scarlet quilt. Or rather not quite under, her movement had pulled the covers to his waist. As her gaze trailed over the muscles of his broad shoulders then down his chest and stomach and lower, she started to wonder less than chaste thoughts and turned away quickly, cheeks burning. She couldn't help glancing back. There was nowhere safe to rest her sight without wanting to scrape her teeth along his neck and press her lips against the stubble of his jaw, not even his sweetly unguarded face, normally so tense.

Mal woke then, his blue eyes suddenly on her, tired but bright and alert. He raised his head and reached out to lay a reassuring hand on her shoulder, squinting as he automatically searched around for threats, his mind not quite so aware as his startle response. An inarticulate question, asking if anything was wrong. The man could be sprawled out in the infirmary, Simon holding up the newest extracted addition to the captain's lead collection, and his first thought would still be for whether everyone else was all right.

She couldn't help teasing him, not when he was like this. "You're in my bed," she observed.

No danger here. The anxiety left him, and so did the underlying drowsiness when he found her again. He studied her, a different kind of intensity, then he looked around her shuttle again with faked surprise. A nod. "Seems right to me," he smirked, and sat up against her pillows, tucking his hands behind his head.

Some of her amusement faded at his show of self-satisfaction. Careful. She must not show how she enjoyed his good moods, his company and banter. If he felt too welcome, he'd take that as an all-hours invitation to burst into her life and love her. And then he might never want her to leave. "Why are you in my bed?" she asked.

He kicked his legs (disappointingly clothed, she noticed) out onto her sheets in an infuriatingly smug and endearing way. "Couldn't withstand my charms no more," he guessed.

Inara rolled her eyes at the suggestion. "Yes, that's it exactly. Only entirely backwards." She reached for a long cerulean robe, hung unobtrusively behind her drapery by her bedpost. An extra layer of defense and distance was needed if they were about to start another fight. Or if he was going to continue being so irresistibly winsome.

A shrug, a flash of hurt before he looked elsewhere. "You tell me. It's your bed, up to you whether you lie in it."

There were a number of reasons, none of them really voiceable - Because so many people are gone. Because my idealism was untrue. Because I feel lost, and we could find our way together. Because I don't want to hurt you, but I need you. Inara sighed and gave up. "I don't think either of us know why we're here," she answered, her bare feet cold on her rug as she slipped into the ribbon sandals from beside her nightstand.

She began tidying, self-conscious under his scrutiny as he watched her, bells chiming at her ankles. There was nothing out of place to occupy her. Normally she'd prepare her morning infusion, then dress, style her hair, and apply her makeup, none of which she could do while Mal was in the same room, not without his commentary about her companion wiles. She turned to him, about to make a futile offer of refreshments despite herself, to find he had followed her. He was much nearer than she expected - she had to tilt her head back to look up at him, his eyes half-lidded, tracing her startled face, her parted lips. "I'm glad you are," he said, finally.

Her heart did a strange leap, fluttering, a shiver traveling over her skin where the breath of his words swept over her. A half step towards the tea set on her end table and familiar ceremony and ritual. He caught her around her bicep, stopped her.

"Here's what I don't understand," he murmured, low and resonating. "There's nobody lives forever, there's just making the most of our time." His expression was without any bitterness; curious, sincere, concerned. "So why are you always pushing me away?"

An ache crept through her, a pang of grief and longing. He'd lost so much already. "I'd only hurt you," she told him. She already had.

He was altogether too interested in that offer. "Like with leather and collars?" Mal gave her a crooked smile, something very like desire underneath. "I could be into that." She sent him an exasperated glare over her shoulder, and he pulled his hand back, regretful, before she could snap at him. "I'm not exactly blameless myself. We do both like to rile each other." They each had their troubles and secrets, were sometimes taciturn and defensive. Not always, of course. Certainly not at the moment. There was a connection between them that defied all their attempts at distance. A truth, an admission she so wanted to hear, and she could not bring herself to interrupt him this time. He drew closer still. "And I'll take that," he asserted. "A day, a night, several, a lifetime. Even when all I have is the memory of you." A plea, an oath, the last part rough, whispered. "It'd be worth it."

Her resolve broke, and she as much reached for him as he pulled her against him, as he wrapped his arms around her, as she stretched up to touch his jaw, his cheek.

Someone sighed in impatience at them, and they broke apart. River! Standing not three feet away from them. How much had she seen? They were in the galley somehow, in the lounge off to the side, standing among their choice of furniture and cushions. Everything was bright, golden, too warm. The everyone was at the table, and apparently hadn't noticed their sudden lapse from sanity, Wash telling a joke while Book approached with a pot of breakfast. Not just the crew - Nandi and her mother were seated among them, enjoying the morning antics on Serenity. Children were underfoot, playing around the legs of the adults and ducking under the chairs, one a little girl with her own colouration, clutching a stuffed unicorn.

"I promised," River told her, dark eyes flicking past Mal, inspecting Kaylee's stenciled vines curling up the support beam. "Somewhere always summer." She shook her head. "I promised, but we have to go."

Inara worked to steady her breathing, to find her control. She was burning, trembling. The captain exchanged a glance with her, then moved away to mingle with his crew, nonchalant. Saohuò bùyàolian de dongxi! How could he leave her as if nothing had just happened?

"This is important," River interrupted again, demanding her attention. The teenager scanned her face. "All responses normal. No permanent damage," she assessed. "Reestablish equilibrium to restore full function."

She didn't know what that meant. "River, you aren't damaged," Inara tried, guessing, an attempt to reassure the girl. She tucked some of the long straight strands of dark brown hair behind River's ear.

"You have to understand," she insisted, grabbing her hand, pulling her out from the sofas and towards the passage to the dimly-lit back corridor. "You'd die to save him."

Mal returned, sensing something wrong. "What's going on?" he asked, eyes sliding between them.

"He'd do the same," the psychic told her. "You'll see." She looked apologetic. "It won't be painless."

They plunged into the darkness beyond.

COMMENTS

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 7:58 AM

BYTEMITE


Haven't posted one of these in a while. Still working on new chapters. Lot of my time has been eaten up lately, but I'm implementing some plans to try to reclaim some time for writing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:17 PM

AMDOBELL


Beautifully written but with an underlying air of sadness. So good to see another chapter posted, Bytemite, but am also hoping for some happy. Looking forward to the next part, Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:18 PM

BYTEMITE


Thanks. We've got a ways yet to go, but I'm slowly plodding along.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 2:12 PM

GILLIANROSE


Such a treat to find this! It's just gorgeous, I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to read your writing :) I like how in the first part, she's aware of being outside of herself, of revisiting a memory, but in the second, with Mal, it's as if she's completely inhabiting the dream state. I liked the little nods to different stories (our dreams of her - especially the stuffed unicorn! yay!)

Is the last part with River an actual communication?

More, please, more!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 2:14 PM

GILLIANROSE


Back again to say I loved the part about the Gala, the debutants and the habitue, elegantly revealed within the little bit about rascally Nandi :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 4:13 PM

BYTEMITE


Inara fantasizes about Mal. Probably a lot. Maybe as much as he does about her? We don't actually see him fantasize, but I think we know he does.

I was happy about the Gala too. With the Guild I would think that they would make the companion's first time something to look forward to. A big party, nice people deliberately screened for their good nature, and the companions get to choose who they want to be with. It's the only way I could think of that wouldn't be morally questionable on the part of the Guild. The Guild is intended to protect it's members from exploitation, otherwise what's it's purpose and why would people want to become members?

Something I was writing that didn't get into this section is that companions advertise themselves by picking a flower that represents their personality and the kinds of services they offer. Some companions naturally are just cheerful people, some are shy and sweet, some are graceful and mysterious, and some are funny loving with a sense of humour. There would be a market for all of them, and generally it's considered beneath companions to compete for a client (the companions above are young and still growing into their role).

Nandi's flower would have been the wild rose, I think.

About River, you're on the right track.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 4:04 PM

GILLIANROSE


I agree about the Guild. It's a union, an organization of highly trained professionals, involved in training and continuing education as well as facilitating management of each Companion's business. I always thought that Inara's bearing is similar to an opera singer or some other classically trained performing artist. This, along with the fact that schools - especially Training Houses like the one we saw in the BDM - are expensive, led me to imagine the Guild as, on Sihnon, a cultural institution similar to a very prestigious theater or opera house. I imagined high profile patrons of the arts who give very large charitable contributions, year after year, who bequeath assets to the Guild/Training Houses in their estates, etc., the way patrons of the arts do here. There might be families who have been supporters of the Guild/Training Houses for generations. And these most dedicated patrons participate in salons - a series of evenings of conversation and entertainment that give the senior students a chance to practice being in very refined society in a protected and controlled environment. These evenings allow the students to grow in confidence and poise - and the patrons work very closely with the students' faculty advisors, noticing weaknesses (a provincial accent, a too-abrupt turn in conversation) and giving input. And, as with your vision, it is during these salons that the students become acquainted with and typically pick a first client for their premiere, their first appointment, after which the Companion initiates her eligibility for subscription.

I love that in your 'verse the language of flowers has survived. I am sure Companions would take advantage of such a way of communicating :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 4:42 PM

BYTEMITE


:o I love the salons idea. It would be an excellent way to lead up to a formal event while both gradually introducing them to the scene and subtly instructing them on the last fine points of their art and practice. It also would allow the newly fledged companions to develop a rapport with their first client before they take the plunge, so to speak.

And then, they celebrate.

Friday, May 4, 2012 7:11 AM

EBFIDDLER


Love this chapter. The Companion Academy scene is beautifully written (again with the excellent painting of the scene with words) and I like the backstory elements, especially the view of Nandi and Inara in their younger years. The Mal and Inara scene -- love it. I especially like the part showing that Mal's first instinct is to check on everyone else, and most particularly like the line: "The man could be sprawled out in the infirmary, Simon holding up the newest extracted addition to the captain's lead collection, and his first thought would still be for whether everyone else was all right." I also really like the line: "It's your bed, up to you whether you lie in it." Layers of meaning there. Also enjoyed the discussion in the commentary, BTW. Also, Foreshadowing!

Friday, May 4, 2012 7:37 AM

BYTEMITE


Nandi never did temperance very well. Her wild playfulness did attract clients, so the guild did tolerate her behaviour somewhat, but eventually it became too restrictive and she left. I think that the Guild suggested the shunning more to protect students or other companions from following Nandi's example/behaviour more than it was really intended as a punishment for Nandi.

Because if they punish companions for leaving, and Nandi's options were so few that she had to resort to whoring with women who were abused and deliberately strung out by the brothel owner on addictive drugs, it's starts to raise questions again about why the guild even exists and why people would join. I'd prefer to think that Nandi ended up out there through her own (sometimes bad) decisions and choices than I'd believe that someone as indomitable as Nandi would let herself be reduced to that by order of a bunch of bureaucrats.

I'd also like to think that if Nandi had gone back, the Guild would have welcomed her... Although they probably wouldn't have let her teach. Not that she would have wanted to anyway.

Underneath the layers and layers of screwed up bitterness and anger, Mal's actually a sweet guy. Sometimes it even shows through.

Saturday, May 5, 2012 7:58 AM

GILLIANROSE


Here's me, chiming in! I too loved the "it's your bed" line and all the ways in which it resonates - I think Joss would approve of that one :)

Byte, very interesting thoughts about Nandi, it would be worthwhile to delve into the "shunning" decision. Also, what did Nandi do right after she broke the dulcimer and stormed out? You're right, she's a smart, educated, beautiful and resourceful woman - and she must have had contacts too - what transpired after she left, what were her first steps, what were her missteps, what deepened the alienation between her and the Guild? I am inclined to think there were wrong reactions on both parts, and they had come to some kind of impasse. I doubt she would be shunned for rebelling and being unconventional. After all, it's the Guild's professional business to understand and deal with the most idiosyncratic, personal, and compelling drives that human beings have - human sexuality is endlessly complicated. I refuse to believe that a mildly rebellious Companion would be immediately ostracized.

Imagine Nandi having some job, maybe on one of the huge, cushy intergalactic transports, and she's making good money and she's nice and safe, but bored as hell. And she stops dirtside on some Rim world, maybe not even the world where Heart of Gold is, but what she sees gets her thinking and sets her on a new path. Maybe she wanted and found a place where she was really needed.

And your comment about teaching now makes me convinced that the Guild would shock the hell out of her by offering her a teaching job, maybe at one of the oldest and most established Houses in the system. It would be a very Joss-like twist I think. As Sheydra wanted Inara to enlighten the students on how far from romantic a Companion's life is, someone in the Guild might have seen value in the wisdom Nandi has gained having lived through everything she did, and having no illusions about the Guild but valuing its lessons just the same. Joss is all about people who love each other having terrible strife, having things between them that are nearly impossible to forgive, but the love is there and they overcome it. I'm thinking specifically of Buffy and Willow, as well as Faith and Wesley.

Saturday, May 5, 2012 9:10 AM

BYTEMITE


"After all, it's the Guild's professional business to understand and deal with the most idiosyncratic, personal, and compelling drives that human beings have - human sexuality is endlessly complicated. I refuse to believe that a mildly rebellious Companion would be immediately ostracized."

Oh yes, especially because there'd almost certainly be a market for that, there's plenty of clients who would go for the fun-loving outgoing type. I can't believe that the Guild is just mass producing all these companions and that the training destroys every bit of their individuality. Somehow someone as wild as Nandi managed to graduate and get guild certified, and it seems impossible to me that Nandi somehow hid that untamed side of her personality. No, the guild must make some allowances or even have some various niche markets so that it can work best for the men and women who represent the guild and the clients that seek them.

That's just business sense. It can't be any other way really, I don't see it working if it were.

"someone in the Guild might have seen value in the wisdom Nandi has gained having lived through everything she did, and having no illusions about the Guild but valuing its lessons just the same."

Huh. Yeah, maybe you have a point. I mean if MAL can sometimes impart pearls of wisdom on Serenity, there's no reason to imagine Nandi couldn't teach a bunch of guild students. Just because someone is wild and independent doesn't mean they don't also have any ability to help people through their struggles. Nandi clearly taught her girls in the Heart of Gold well, after all, and they could more act like companions, like they didn't have to be desperate and stoop to taking abuse, that they had value and self-worth as people even if a lot of the rim and their customers didn't want to give them their value.

Something else that didn't get in here but I thought Inara's first client might actually have been a woman and a former companion. I can actually imagine Inara being somewhat nervous and uncertain, because she is naturally a somewhat private person, and another companion really helping her though that, helping Inara see that her job really is a gift and a service to people.

Inara might always have problems with uncertainty that crop up, every time a client is rude to her on the rim, but Inara always has that first lovely session with and equally lovely person to fall back on and remember, to bolster her in times that she gets to questioning herself again.

Saturday, May 5, 2012 9:44 AM

GILLIANROSE


Very interesting - especially in context of what she says, that when she chooses female clients they are always extraordinary - maybe she had a very significant early experience and that still resonates with her.

I see Nandi as a teacher best being suited for the older students, or maybe for continuing ed/mentoring sessions with Companions in their first few years of work, coming to terms with the realities of professional life, the complications and frustrations that maybe they discussed in class, but that need exploration on a different level once they are real and not only theoretical.

Saturday, May 5, 2012 9:54 AM

GILLIANROSE


Very interesting - especially in context of what she says, that when she chooses female clients they are always extraordinary - maybe she had a very significant early experience and that still resonates with her.

I see Nandi as a teacher best being suited for the older students, or maybe for continuing ed/mentoring sessions with Companions in their first few years of work, coming to terms with the realities of professional life, the complications and frustrations that maybe they discussed in class, but that need exploration on a different level once they are real and not only theoretical.

Saturday, May 5, 2012 10:24 AM

BYTEMITE


I like to think so. Hard to imagine Inara would have stuck with the profession if even her first experience was bad. And while that doesn't necessarily mean she had to have had a lady client, it's kind of a nice surprise twist.

It's too bad Joss got rid of Nandi so soon. While I wouldn't necessarily have liked Nandi to oust Inara as the easier and more convenient and philosophically similar love interest, because that doesn't lend enough credit to the issues Inara's dealing with and the feelings she and Mal do have, but I'd have enjoyed seeing Nandi serve as a catalyst or her become good friends with both of them. Or maybe a twist on the usual triangle, Inara has an unrequited crush on Nandi and she always has? Maybe even vice versa.

Saturday, May 5, 2012 11:59 AM

BYTEMITE


Not too say that her experiences with her lady client are all self-affirming and wonderful too... But just saying.

Sunday, June 10, 2012 11:55 AM

ALIASSE


I got distracted reading yours and GR's discussion about Nandi! Very interesting, always amazed by the detail and depth that you both imagine in.

I can see Nandi being a very popular Companion, from the client point of view, once she returned from the Rim!

Byte, this is such a beautiful chapter. Typically subtle treatment of a Mal/Inara coming together - it's in the form of a Pax-induced dream, but is utterly plausible as something that could happen in reality. Makes me think that all those people who died on Miranda died happy. From a Jungian point of view, these dreams of union with a member of the opposite sex - even if someone known - are key in the process of self-acceptance and realisation. Also, the part in the galley - can be seen as a series of symbols of union. Did everyone on Miranda have dreams like that before they died?

Sunday, June 10, 2012 12:29 PM

BYTEMITE


There is so much Jungian stuff in here. SO MUCH. Just wait until I mention shadow archetypes in a chapter... That I haven't posted yet? Hmm. Maybe I should change that.

In any case, dreams are very interesting to write, because for me, >_> dreams actually often aren't like this, as in representing things that are happening in my life. In fact, I'm usually not even IN my dreams. I'm not sure if this is normal or if it's not, so I tried to justify this a little with River's presence here. There are a number of ways that Inara's dream here, and another section of the dream coming up, parallel the dream Mal had where River was talking to him in his sleep and influencing the dream. Which is very important, I can't emphasize that enough. These dreams are full of symbolism and foreshadowing, and are also plot essential.

As for the Pax, I tried to do as much research as I could about people who are in a catatonic state. And it seems that they do dream, and feel emotions - and since in some cases and certainly in this case it's involving various chemicals and neurotransmitters, I'd say they might even feel some things very strongly.

So, just before Inara was put into cryo, Mal has there with her, trying to talk to her and comfort her, and in the dream here there's some hints of being taken out of cryo, and a kind of carry-over from that experience with Mal. That's my best explanation here. But, I also think that in Inara's condition, she might also be very prone to some more negative emotions as well.

I can't speak for everyone on Miranda who were pacified, but whatever version of Pax they used did seem to sedate them as well as put them into a catatonic state, so maybe.

Sunday, June 17, 2012 6:34 AM

AGENTROUKA


This was fantastic. I'm rereading the chapters and all the ones I haven't caught until now and this is particularly beautiful. You have such a rare and delicate hand with Inara. It's self-deprecating and tender and sensual and tragic. Similarly to River and perhaps Mal, her background makes her particularly suited for the poetry that is a well-done dream sequence and this was certainly well done, this seamless weaving between unreality and memory. Loved the positive light of House Madrassa and the sting of sadness as Inara takes account of where she came from and what became of herself and who she thought she was. And Nandi.

And then the Mal bit. Inara is an idealist but not so much that she could dream a scene with Mal that isn't snark-filled. And wow, those are the words she longs to hear from him, aren't they? That it'd be enough, and worth it, too. Break my heart.

And then... River! Cannot wait to see what "not painless" fate they are plunging toward. And Nandi and Wash and a little unicorn-bearing girl...

Sunday, June 17, 2012 2:45 PM

BYTEMITE


Little hints in here of things she knows but Mal doesn't, but that her dream-Mal understands and is willing to work through anyway. Perhaps in her dreams, she's already told him, or perhaps he's already figured it out, which is actually not so different from reality.

Inara and her world have also changed in some ways. The guild isn't bad, but Inara also sees a bigger picture, with what happened with Nandi, with what has happened to her in this story.

But, just so you know, this dreaminess won't last. I'm completely unable to hold on to anything heartwarming in my writing


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OTHER FANFICS BY AUTHOR

Eidolon (Epilogue)
Someday, she knew they would visit the graves of Serenity Valley and not hear the howl of the ghosts. Someday, they would walk across the green prairie of a restored world and watch the rain. (Glimpses)

Eidolon (Chapter 40)
Clouds were blossoming in the distance, promising rain for the city later. The crew of Serenity and the badlands around Eavesdown Docks to the south would probably see only a harsh windstorm. Two different worlds, she mused, caught between them. (Deliverance)

Eidolon (Chapter 39)
The question seemed to hit her hard. In the mirrors of her eyes, he saw himself, forced to see her lose more ground every day. Hurt more, because of him. Saw her watching him back as she pulled him out of a nightmare. (Try)

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They don't have much. But they have each other. (Just a little holiday story from the Firefly verse. Belongs to Joss)

Eidolon (Chapter 38)
The girl processed that response. "He brought the medicine? He saved us?" Inara nodded, considering her own inclusion in the question. (Renewed)

Eidolon (Chapter 37)
A wind clear and sweet stirred the air, humming as a shimmering, ever-shifting blaze of color flashed from one horizon to another. The breeze carried with it a distant song, rising over the hills and through the vales like a soulful hymn from his childhood. (Flight)

Eidolon (Chapter 36)
"I cut the strings. They were never yours anyway.”(Liberation)

Eidolon (Chapter 35)
A few twists of a little turnscrew and the mechanic was stripping wires and rerouting circuits in moments. (Break)

Eidolon (Chapter 34)
Stars scattered in the night, coalesced from the stellar dust from a far away sun and others that came before. A spark, scintillating into a network, a stream, like the lights and streets of a city. (Cascade)

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"Put me back in that place," River said, "Little bluebird singing in a cage, puppet on broken strings." (Capture)


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