Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time 7 tomes as paintings.
“But sometimes illumination comes to our rescue at the very moment when all seems lost; we have knocked at every door and they open on nothing until, at last, we stumble unconsciously against the only one through which we can enter the kingdom we have sought in vain a hundred years - and it opens.”
Part two of my request from @lyra-stark99 about Ivar meeting a mythological creature in the woods as a child. Apparently I can’t contain this and there will be a part 3. I did my best with the mythology but if it’s inaccurate I apologize!
And as he grew, he learned. He learned about his gods, how to please them and honor them. He learned how to use a sword and a bow. He learned how to sit back and observe, to store up information and then best decide how to use it to his advantage. Most important of all, he learned what it was like to have a friend.
For that is was Aoife came to be to him, over the years. Always by his side, in public as a cat and in private as whatever form she chose. She talked to him of many things, of creatures and gods and a world so very different from his own.
“I am called a puca,” she told him one day, not long after she had first come to him. He had scrunched up his nose at the funny word.
“A puca. A spirit, a shapeshifter. I can choose my form, whatever I please. In my land, Eire, there are many of us. Some choose to harm humans, others, like me, choose to help them.”
“So you are here to help me?” Ivar had frowned. “With what? Who sent you? Are the gods in Eire? Did Odin send you?”
Aoife had laughed. “Does your All-Father bless the people of the Green Isle? No, he cares only for the Northmen. As he should. My people are cared for by their own gods. I will teach you about them. Along with many other things. It will do good for you to know.”
Ivar had asked why, but all she had said was he would find out when he was ready. He did not particularly care to know about other gods, but he was desperate to know what secrets she was keeping from him. So he listened.
She taught him of the Morrigna, of the three sisters called The Morrigan, Babda Catha, and Macha, who gave prophecies and determined battles. She taught him of The Dagda, the “good god”, who fathered the beloved Brigit, lady of poetry. She taught him of Eriu, Mother of the Land. She spun stories of kelpies, leprechauns and fairies. He did not want to be interested, but he found himself captivated by her tales. Eire seemed like such a lush place, a place of old power and strong blood. He longed to see it with his own eyes. He was surprised to find it was easy to believe there was more than just his gods. Of course, the gods of his people were superior. But he supposed it was plausible every people had their own gods to look after them.
She also taught him her lilting language, the strange words heavy on his tongue at first, but gradually getting easier. They spend many afternoons in the forest, Aoife patient as he attempted to make conversation in what she called Gaeilge. He was surprised he liked the way the words sounded from his mouth. He found himself speaking Gaeilge to himself when he was at home, Aoife purring and batting her paws against him proudly when he would say things correctly.
She never left him, save for a short period about three years after she had decided to stay. She told him she had to return to Eire for a while, and was gone for almost a month. He felt morose while she was gone, and he was more snippy and angry than usual. It wasn’t the same without her constant presence, whether as a girl or cat. He was deeply afraid she would not return to him, that she had grown tired of his temper. It was then he realized that she had actually become a friend. His first friend. The thought made him almost….happy. When she was there, he no longer felt the weight of crushing loneliness, and on days when he just wanted the pain to end, her stories and her presence kept him from total darkness. When she finally came back, it felt as if a weight was lifted from him. She had returned. His friend. His companion. His Aoife.
“You will not leave me again,” he told her, eyes blazing. “You are my friend. No one else’s. If you have to go back to Eire, I will come with you.”
Aoife smiled at him, and something strange shone in her eyes. “Oh laoch beag, I cannot promise that I will not leave again. But I will say this: you will have a different companion one day, and the tether between your hearts will burn so hot and so bright the sun will pale in comparison.”
He did not know what to say, and she did not offer any more.
It was then, upon her return, that the dreams started. Dreams of crows and ravens, circling him. Of a terrifying but beautiful woman, covered in blood, crying out to him from amidst a desolate battlefield. An old man, shaking a maiden’s hand, dislike but understanding on both their faces. A pretty young girl, blue flowers in her hair and freckles across her nose, humming softly as she stirred a bubbling pot over a fire: He always awoke with a sense of longing in his chest, like he was aching for something but he did not know what. He asked Aoife what they meant, but she refused to tell him.
Until the day his father returned.
He was sitting out in the woods, contemplating what the return of his father meant. He hated the man, hated him for leaving. But yet he loved him, deep down within his often hurt heart. He wanted to go to England with him, to prove his worth to Ragnar, but he did not know if it was what he should do.
Aoife appeared then, in girl form. She never aged her appearance, always stayed the young girl of about six years old. The girl with the familiar face he still could not quite place. It was odd to think of himself keeping company with a child. But, then again, she was not really a child.
“You will go to England,” she said, without preamble. “You need to see what happens there. It was foretold.”
“You are always telling me things are foretold,” Ivar grumbled, not in the mood for her cryptic words. “Yet you never tell me what actually you mean. You have told me many times I will learn when I am ready. I am a man now, am I not ready? I grow tired of your riddles!”
Aoife sat beside him, her tail curling to brush his hand. “You have learned many things, laoch beag. You have conquered many fears and become a clever and sharp man. There is still a ways to go. But England will change that.” She sighed, suddenly looking very ancient despite her youthful face. “I think it is time.”
Ivar’s eyebrows shot up, surprise written across his features. “Time?”
“Yes, Ivar,” Aoife’s voice was steady, sure. “It is time you know what was foretold about you, why I came to you in the first place. In truth, I was sent by the one who forsees all, who looked into the future and saw a man with twisted legs and a keen mind. Who gazed across the sea and saw you.”
Ivar’s heart missed a beat. “The Morrigan.”
“Yes,” Aoife nodded. “The Morrigan.”
I looked into the future and saw him. A man without bones, but tall and proud. Blood in his teeth, fire in his heart. He will come with a vengeance, he will conquer and claim and make Eire his own. His All Father smiles upon him. We will meet him, and we will fall at his feet. We will give him our daughter, our Meara, blessed with the gift of the craft. His seed with quicken in her womb, and a child of great deeds and power will emerge. Two bloodlines, forged together. Strong. Iron clad and unbendable. The Northman and the Daughter of the Isle. Make the preparations. Speak to the All Father. Send the child a guide. He must grow and learn, he must endure and he must sail. I have seen it, and so it shall be.
We will await your coming, Ivar the Boneless.
Hope you enjoy! Have a good day or night, my dears ❤️
A random thought! In Finland it's tradition for young girls to collect flowers and put them under your pillow during midsummer, so in your dreams you'll meet your future husband! This but with SuFin ~
i’m gotta get unfollowed for this but whatever.
I can imagine NyoFinland doing this tbh. A girl full of dreams, waiting to meet the man that will stay with her for the rest of her life. So she does that, goes to sleep and in her dreams she sees Berwald.
Weeks later, she meets him in idk, a library or a coffee shop.
zelda sneaking away from the castle to spend time with link.
You didn’t specify a game so I’m going with my all time fave Twilight Princess (this turned out way longer than I expected so it’s under the cut forgive me)
Restful days and moments of silence were a rarity in the Princess of Hyrule’s life. Since the invasion and the subsequent rebuilding of Castle Town, the young monarch’s diary had been filled with council meetings and public engagements. The people of Hyrule were desperate and eager to see the woman who would become Queen
An abandoned building in Asheville, North Carolina was mysteriously flower bombed in the night with hundreds of marigolds. A poem left behind claims it was the bird of summer flowers who left the beautiful arrangement in the shape of a giant keyhole. If bought from a florist, the flowers would cost around $300 to $400.
“But it was especially by speaking of my inclinations as no longer liable to change and of what was destined to make my life a happy one that he awakened in me two terrible suspicions. The first was that (at a time when, every day, I regarded myself as standing on the threshold of a life that was still intact and would not enter on its course until the following morning) my existence was already begun, and that, furthermore, what was yet to follow would not be very different from what had preceded. The second suspicion, which was nothing more, really, than a variant of the first, was that I was not situated somewhere outside the realm of Time, but was subject to its laws, just like the people in novels who, for that reason, used to plunge me into such depression when I read about their lives, down at Combray, in the back of my wicker sentry box. In theory we know that the earth turns, but in fact we do not perceive it; the ground on which we tread seems not to move and we live undisturbed. So it is with Time in our life. And to make its flight perceptible novelists are obliged, by wildly accelerating the beat of the pendulum, to transport the reader in a couple of minutes over ten, twenty, or thirty years. At the top of one page we have left a lover full of hope; at the foot of the next we meet him again, an octogenarian, painfully dragging himself on his daily walk about the courtyard of a nursing home, scarcely replying to what is said to him, oblivious of the past. In saying of me, “He is no longer a child; his tastes will not change now, etc.,” my father had suddenly made me see myself in my position in Time, and caused me the same kind of depression as if I had been, not yet the demented old nursing home patient, but one of those heroes of whom the author, in a tone of indifference that is particularly cruel, says to us at the end of a book: “He very seldom comes up now from the country. He has finally decided to end his days there, etc.””
Μarcel Proust, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, In Search of Lost Time
“There comes a time (and this is a problem of consciousness) when “our days are numbered”: there begins a backwards count, vague yet irreversible. You knew you were mortal (everyone has told you so, ever since you had ears to hear); suddenly you feel mortal (this is not a natural feeling; the natural one is to believe yourself immortal; whence so many accidents due to carelessness).This evidence, once it is experienced, transforms the landscape: I must, imperatively, lodge my work in a compartment which has uncertain contours but which I know (new consciousness) are finite: the last compartment. Or rather, because the compartment is designated, because there are no longer any “outside-instances,” the work I am going to lodge there assumes a kind of formality, a solemn instance. Like Proust, ill, threatened by death (or believing himself so), we come back to the phrase of St. John quoted, approximately, in Contre SainteBeuve: “Work, while you still have the light.” And then a time also comes (the same time) when what you have done, worked, written, appears doomed to repetition: What! Until my death, to be writing articles, giving courses, lectures, on “subjects” which alone will vary, and so little! (It’s that “on” which bothers me.) This feeling is a cruel one; for it confronts me with the foreclosure of anything New or even of any Adventure (that which “advenes” which befalls me); I see my future, until death, as a series: when I’ve finished this text, this lecture, I’ll have nothing else to do but start again with another … Can this be all? No, Sisyphus is not happy: he is alienated, not by the effort of his labor, or even by its vanity, but by its repetition.”
Roland Barthes, Longtemps, je me suis couche de bonne heure …, The Rustle of Language
To begin with, part company forever with the word: art, and that other word: artist. Stop wallowing in these words and repeating them with such endless monotony. Isn’t everyone a bit of an artist? Isn’t it true that mankind creates art not only on paper or on canvas, but also in every moment of everyday life—when a young girl pins a flower in her hair, when in the course of conversation a little joke escapes your lips, when we melt with emotion at the beauty of twilight’s light and shadow, what is all this if not the practicing of art?