Season: Month: Weather: 67th HG Champion: Leon Krigel, District Four
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Hippie Earth Mother? Modern-day Gypsy? Reads oracle cards and palms, tells fortunes and such? Vegitarian? Pacifist? Constant state of dreaminess? Yes please. Now let's all go meditate and hug some trees.
"You don't seem to understand. I'm not running from anyone, dear child. Nature is my home. It always has been."
Codeword: What is this woman smoking? Comments/Other:
Post by Die Flügel Der Freiheit on May 29, 2011 22:51:24 GMT -5
~Name~ Tiva Jaelle Aishe
~/*\~ All the colors Of the rainbow Hidden 'neath my skin ~\*/~
Something's about to happen. I can hear it on the breeze, feel it in the soil beneath my feet. Mother Nature has a way of telling us things if we know how to listen to her, an ability that has been handed down through my people for as long as anyone can remember. Sometimes I wonder if I am the last one, the rest wiped out by Peacekeepers and starvation and disease, but the thought makes me ache inside and negative energy will only disturb the balance of light and dark in this fragile world, so I push the thought away and continue my progress into the clearing I have become so familiar with. This is a special place, calm and peaceful, especially good for clearing the mind and becoming one with the universe (I need this place today, this turbulent feeling that something's coming threatens to overwhelm me).
There's a swiftly-moving little stream that cuts through the verdant ground in a sparkling ribbon, and I feel myself being drawn to it, keeling down in the soft grass and trailing long, callused fingers through the cool water. A lifetime of living off the land has made me strong, with wiry musculature that can be felt in my limbs and the compact structure of my torso. I can count the time's I've seen myself in detail on one hand, so the proximity of the brook takes its toll on my curiosity, and for the briefest second I take time to study the wavering picture that the water presents to me.
I've never been one to study my reflection all that closely, but when I was younger Tată always said that I was the embodiment of my mother. And I suppose I am to some degree, judging from the blurry glimpses I occasionally catch of myself in creeks and streams. I share Mama's features for the most part; Thick, brown-black hair falling in subtle waves to just past my shoulderblades, a heart-shaped face ending in a pointed chin, wide, innocent doe eyes so brown that the pupils can sometimes disappear into them, smooth café au lait skin that bakes to a darker, swarthy tan in the summer. Yes, there was no doubt that in my childhood I was every inch my mother's daughter.
But as the years went by, bits of Tată began to make an appearance as well - high, defined cheekbones, the slight bump in the bridge of my nose, heavy, dark eyebrows with a tendency to arch up in curiosity or bemused elation. But perhaps the most noticeable trait that I inherited from my father was my height. While I've never had much contact with other people, I've seen enough of mankind to know that most females don't stand at six feet and one inch tall precisely, and the surprised stares I've been getting from the rare new acquaintance since age sixteen are testament enough to the fact that I am abnormal, at least in the area of physical stature. Stares like the identical ones I receive when the haggard-looking boy and girl come crashing into the clearing, interrupting my thoughts.
Everything about the pair of them screams alert fear and barely-concealed exhaustion, marking them as newcomers to the wilderness with easily-readable labels of jumpy glances and emaciated bodies. For a moment is seems that they're going to bolt away with as much speed as they appeared with, but I manage to lock eyes with the girl (hers are so blue, they'd be like an autumn sky if they weren't so clouded with fear and something else I can't quite place), giving her a warm smile that reveals even although somewhat yellowed teeth.
"Oh, hello there. I could feel that you two were coming. You look hungry; would you like something to eat?"
~/*\~ Hearts have colors Don't we all know? Red runs through our veins ~\*/~
Their names are Ella and Zane, I learn within the next few minutes, and over the next three or four weeks I learn much more about the pair of them. They fled from the First District as a result of something that they both refuse to speak of, something that haunts their eyes with a heavy oppressiveness that weighs me down even though I have not experienced their untold horrors firsthand. I've always felt the suffering of others far more acutely than that of my own, and some would call that sort of empathy a curse. I prefer to view it as an opportunity. I have been put on this Earth to take away as much pain as possible.
It proves to be a difficult task with these two. Despite my best efforts the hurt continues to emanate from them in waves, especially the dark-haired girl with the haunted blue eyes. I feel that I might have better luck with Ella since her companion derisively muttered something about "tree-hugging malarkey" when I attempted to explain the consequences of negative energy when it is too heavily concentrated. She, however, seems to sit back and watch with a disjointed sort of interest as I go through my daily routine - meditating, gathering herbs, taking time to commune with nature in all its glory - so I can only hope that she will be a little more receptive.
I know that I'm making progress when she agrees to let me do a little work on her disheveled hair, carefully trimming away at the damaged ends and combing through the tangled strands until they lay in shining waves that gleam a warm mahogany color in the sunlight.
"I worry about you and Zane, dear," I muse quietly as my fingers weave through chocolate-colored strands, separating the frayed edges. The scissors make a soft shushing noise as the sever the old growth, leaving the pair of us in the midst of a growing nest of downy brown wisps. "The energy surrounding you two... it's incredibly negative."
Of course, my definition of worrying is far different from the all-consuming tension that hangs around Ella and Zane in palpable auras that obscure them almost entirely. I live in a constant state of serenity, although the blissful calm is sometimes interrupted by mild, nearly-unnoticeable concern like the slight edge to my voice as I continue to cut away the split ends of Ella's hair, the fleeting moment where my eyebrows knit slightly together as I think of the oppressive energy that drapes the two children in a heavy, dusky cloak when they deserve to soar into the light. "If you want to talk, dragă mea, my ears are open."
“We’re fine,” she all but hisses in reply, barely-concealed hurt shining in sky-blue orbs that hold far more weight behind them than anyone should have to bear. Ella is nothing if not secretive and this much I already knew, but I was not expecting a reaction from her that borders on hostility at the mere mention of her untold past. “I don’t want to talk about it, Tiva. Just drop it.”
I nod slowly, serene smile still painting my features even though I suppose I should feel hurt by her rejection (hurt is something I almost never feel anymore. After a lifetime of it I have become desensitized). But the only thing I feel is a pang of remorse for the poor child as I trim away the last frayed ends of her hair, gently brushing a few stray snippets of dark filaments away from her neck with careful fingers. “I understand. But at least let me give you something, dear.”
It takes a while to find them, floating in a worn pile bound by a faded piece of ribbon, lost in the midst of bundles of herbs and the other contents of my bag. But eventually my fingers close around the small bundle, drawing them forth into the light, pulling the ribbon away and letting them fan out in my palm. “Hand-painted oracle cards. My mother made these for me when I was younger. If you know how to listen to them, they tell you the future.”
Ella’s eyebrows shoot skyward but she remains silent, slightly widened orbs drinking in the faded paintings of whimsical creatures and long-forgotten ancient runes. Taking this as a sign of something other than complete unreceptiveness, my smile widens, and I find a single card from among the thick stack, pulling it out and leaning forward to show her the illustration.
“This is you. The Barefoot Whale Rider. It shows that although you’ve been displaced from your home, you’re still a survivor. No matter what is taken from you, Ella, you will find a way to continue on. If ever you can’t, you will create a new way.”
I press the bundle of cards into her palm and turn away, walking a few paces behind her to delicately pluck a handful of wildflowers from the ground. The faint shuffle of paper on paper is an indication that Ella is at least looking at the cards (little victories always seem to be the sweetest), a fact that makes my heart glow as brightly as the midafternoon sun. Purple and pink and yellow blooms converge into one fragrant starburst of color in my hand, and, deciding that I have taken enough, I quietly thank the verdant patch of earth for her sacrifice and turn back to Ella, grasping the flowers carefully.
“How do they work?” Confusion is palpable in her voice and for a moment I wonder if the gift was a good idea in her fragile state, but rather than answer her right away I simply take her newly-trimmed hair between my fingers and begin to weave brightly-colored flowers into the dark strands. With the help of careful hands and the beautiful blossoms, in a few minutes’ time she is as radiant as any mythological goddess, the braids and petals playing up an astonishing beauty that had previously hidden beneath fear and pain. And in this moment I find myself thinking that maybe, just maybe, Ella can begin to heal.
“Don’t ask me, dragă, ask nature. Look within yourself. Your own negativity bars you from discovering your inner truths.”
~/*\~ Feel the fire burning up Inspire me with blood Of blue and green ~\*/~
“Tiva… what is that?”
Some time after our moment with the flowers and the cards, I have made significant headway with Ella. Although she remains haunted by demons she refuses to discuss, when she wakes up screaming most nights she will allow me to wrap my arms around her and hum old lullabies that I have long since forgotten the words to until she is lulled back into fitful rest. Zane, however… this two-word question is the most he’s said to me in days that hasn’t been full to the brim with negativity and secrecy.
Lifting my eyes up from the basket that is slowly beginning to take shape in my hands, I glance in the direction of his inquiry and am met with the carefully wrapped parcel that sits in its place of honor just inside the lean-to I wove out of some rushes a few weeks ago. I usually move every month or so, but for the children’s sake and given the fact that there has been no noticeable human activity around the forest recently, I judged it both safe and prudent to stay in my current camp for a bit longer than I normally would.
“Oh, it’s a guitar. It was my father’s,” I reply, smiling softly and shifting my gaze back to the unfinished basket in my lap. “It’s silly that I carry it around, really. I have no idea how to play it.”
The shift in Zane’s demeanor is almost enough to throw even my well-grounded spirit off balance. His face lights up, dark eyes glimmering in contrast to their usual dullness, the ghost of a smile playing at the corners of his lips. In a split second he is kneeling over the crudely sewn carrying case, fingers brushing over the worn fabric reverently before he looks back in my direction. “Can I?”
“By all means, dear, go ahead –“ Before I’ve even finished speaking the instrument has been removed from its place, now cradled carefully in Zane’s hands while he looks at it like it’s a holy relic rather than a weather-beaten guitar that’s certainly seen better days. Looking for all the world like an elated child in comparison to his normal scowling self, he sits down on a nearby patch of ground and begins to pluck gently at the strings, adjusting metal pegs and pursing his lips in speculation until he hears some innocuous (at least to me) sound that validates the instrument’s usefulness. Satisfied with the adjusted tones, tentative chords begin to float into the air, followed by an even more reluctant voice that surprises me with such astonishing beauty that I’m swept away to an entirely different place and time, where different hands played over the strings and a different voice sang old songs into the night.
Unlike Zane or Ella or any of the other people I have encountered on my travels, I do not come from a District. No one ever seems to understand the fact that this wide, sprawling expanse of forest has been my home for twenty-three years, that it was my parents’ and grandparents’ home for many years before my time, but I never hesitate to tell the more pleasant part of my story to anyone who cares to listen. After all, my people deserve to be remembered by someone other than the dwindling remnants of a once-thriving civilization.
Gypsies. I’ve heard the description more than once, and it certainly seems to fit what was once my way of life. People tend to forget that there was once a Panem without fences and tyranny and awful annual events that senselessly murder scores of children. It was in that Panem that my people thrived, my grandparents’ generation roaming the land and traveling from District to District, telling fortunes and performing music and magic to earn a living. It was only after the Dark Days, after fences and hovercraft and cele albe, the white ones, men with deadly weapons who sought to murder anyone outside the newly-raised metallic barriers, that the larger tribe split off into smaller sections, a few families banding together for survival.
Even though our way of life was inherently dangerous, every breath we took potentially our last, I had a happy childhood. I was the apple of my father’s eye, my mother’s pride and joy, the only child after countless miscarriages and older siblings who never made it past infancy. Mama taught me ancient secrets passed down from her mother’s mother and even farther back, showing me how the lines of my palm whispered my future to trained ears (your heart line is long, dragă, it means you think with your heart before your head) and how to read fate in the bright pictures of a deck of oracle cards. It was from my father that I learned the ways of nature, what herbs could heal sicknesses and how to find my way through the wilderness with the stars as my guide. For many years, my life was a pleasant one.
I was sixteen when they came, the cele albe, the men in white who I had been taught from a young age to fear and flee from. It was the middle of the night and the darkness was the only thing that saved me, shielding me from view as I hunkered down in the bushes and watched them all – my parents, my friends, the only community I had ever known – fall one by one. When they were gone I took precious minutes and wasted them sobbing, shaking, staring numbly at the carnage around me until some unknown impetus spurred me into action, grabbing a bag of supplies and Tată’s guitar before running for days, weeks, months, trying to clear the smell and sight and feel of all that blood from my consciousness.
One could say truthfully that I initially did not do well with the trauma. My waking horrors gave way to nightmares and an uncharacteristic edginess that plagued me for a number of years, assuaged only by a carefully structured regimen of meditation and an avoidance of blood at all costs (I haven’t eaten meat in seven years and the very thought of it turns my stomach). It is because of these all-but-forgotten days that I feel the need to reach out to Zane and Ella, to wipe away the memory of my own haunted gaze that stares back at me from within their eyes.
The last notes of Zane’s song hang heavily in the air and for a moment I feel like the memories are suffocating me, dragging me back down to that dark place after all these years of living as a creature of the light. But then he grins and the negative energy dissipates, leaving me beaming in return as I reach out and close his hand around the neck of the instrument. ”If it brings you this much joy, dear, it’s yours. I have no use for it.”
He opens his mouth and I will never be sure if it’s to thank me or to say something else, because before his voice forms a word Ella comes crashing into the clearing, eyes wide and shocked. ”Zane, you need to come look at this.”
An hour later they return with an unexpected surprise, Zane carrying a limp female form with tousled blonde tresses and an awful looking burn covering the surface of her arm. All it takes is that desperate glance from him that says help, this is beyond me and I spring into a flurry of activity, showing them where and how to lay the unconscious girl down so as not to damage her any further, throwing together an herbal salve for the burn and sending Ella after fresh water, not missing the resentment etched into her face as she watches Zane fret over this new discovery.
It takes longer than expected for her to regain consciousness, and for a few brief minutes I am left with the fear that the girl is beyond help. But then her eyes open, a clouded oceanic blue that is several shades darker than Ella’s, the color of the sky at dusk on a summer evening. I smile, putting the finishing touches on her bandages before turning to her. “Well hello there. You had us all worried. What on earth happened to you, darling?”
“My name is Lydia Emmeline Samuels. There was a fire…” She blinks once, twice, golden brows knitting together in confusion. “That’s all I remember. There’s nothing else.”
A girl with no memory. The very concept makes me instantly committed to helping her, grinning reassuringly and making introductions, acquainting her with myself and Zane with his relived expression and sharp-featured Ella who looks to be hovering just below combustion level. Some people would say that I am too dedicated to fixing things, and maybe those people are right, but I know now that my mission not only includes the healing of my two haunted refugees from the First District but now the fate of this girl with no recollection of the life she once knew. Lydia must regain her memory, every bit as much as Zane and Ella must let the pain and suffering that grips them in a tight hold wash away.
It certainly looks like I have my work cut out for me.
~/*\~ I have hope Inside is not a heart But a kaleidoscope ~\*/~