blue-tide

Skies of Water; Ocean of Air

Here’s a little (long) fanfic/wingfic I wrote. Today… I have way too much time on my hands honestly. I swear to god. Either way! Enjoy the minor Shklance! Enjoy the Langst! And mostly! Please enjoy my shitty writing abilities!

Lance knew from a young age that he was different. Even with no one to guide him or explain it to him he knew. Maybe it was extinct. Maybe it was in the way people skirted around him. Or in the way he saw things as a child. He had always been a little different in a way. And not just the physical signs, but in himself as a person as well. The way he saw the world was a lot bigger than how his siblings saw it. He saw more than just the skies and a land to look down upon. He saw the oceans they couldn’t swim in, full of gorgeous fish and beautiful vibrant colors no paint could ever match, the mountains they didn’t bother to climb, seeing the view from a bright side, with the rust colored dust of the earth staining his clawed hands, saw the skitter of wildlife in a forest too thick with trees to move around in, the sight they ignored because they couldn’t grasp a place where the sky was not seen and the wind was silent for the sounds of nature singing. Lance saw the world with a different view.

Not everyone liked that view.

The way their words would sting him, lash out at him like a poisoned whip reminded him of that without them having to out rightly state it. Leaving marks much farther than skin deep on his young mind. Their backs, always turned away from him, shunning him away from where he wanted to be in their family. The way their wings would always taunt him. Show him the life he couldn’t have. The beauty he’d never have. The love he’d never feel. Not even the woman who breathed life into him could love the way he saw the world. The only love he could feel was in the hidden alcoves of the ocean. Small shelters carved through the years by the sea itself.

In a way, Lance connected with the ocean. The ocean was so old, wise, and strong, different from the free, young sky. So liberal and wild in youth. Innocent in its fast winds. Lance was young, weak, but no long naive nor innocent like the sky. He was jaded like the ocean in his eyes and on the horizon. Balancing between two worlds. One which was his own by blood, and another which was his own by outcast and adopted love. The sky rejected him. But the ocean called to him. Blue waves with cutting forces were terrifying, like their voices, like their fists raised in disgusted fury. But the teal lapping waters were also a calm reassurance, isolated. And when Lance’s head would submerge. He would not be afraid. He didn’t have to be afraid of the water over his head. There were no feathers to get wet and weigh him down like dead weights He could open his eyes, and see the fish flying through the new world. The land was just an ocean of air after all. If Lance didn’t have wings to fly, then he could have a sky of water to swim.

The ocean was calling his name. A name they never gave him. A name that was his own.

Lance…

Not a single person could take that away from him.

That made him strong. Many thought wingless would always be weak, they couldn’t fight, couldn’t gain strength with wings they were not gifted with. Couldn’t compete. Couldn’t survive in the world without feathers and blood on their back. But the ocean made him strong. The currents would spar against him, like head strong winds for his arms and legs. Flying underwater. The rocks in the ocean would test him. Sharping the claws of his hands. Teaching him to climb higher and reach for the sky in ways that those he knew would not think of. Would look at with disgust.

Just because he didn’t have wings didn’t mean he didn’t know the world. Lance probably knew more of it than anyone with wings. He felt the sting of wind in his face, the heights of a large mountain he’d conquered through reaching claws and hard effort. But he’d also felt the sting of ocean water on his face. Warm lapping salt water, reaching for him. Like it was calling him to come home to it. Once and for all.

The sky was their home. The shores and the ocean was his home.

Now, however, he was far away from his home.

He wanted to go home.

Lance sighed, looking at the soft pliant skin on his hands from the rafters of the castle. The way their shifted from soft skin, to hard claws without Lance even blinking. It had hurt the first time. But, now it was instinct. All good things had to hurt, right? Bad things hurt too he guessed however.

Long cold nights away from a happy nest. Watching them fly together with bright smiles, as if they were urging him to join them in the happy games. But he could not join them. He never told them. And they never asked anything different. It was assumed.

Lance was assumed to have wings like them.

Assumed to just be shy with his wings.

Assumed to be a loner.

Rather than asked.

It was alright thought, they weren’t far off from assuming that he preferred to be alone. Honestly, he did prefer the quiet nights. But these weren’t quiet nights. Nights in a place with no pool, no water, no sand. These were just lonely nights. Nights away from the one place he could forever call home.

He missed the rock walls, rough against his skin. The way it would vibrate on stormy nights when his family would and lock him out of the house. Protect him from the rampaging clouds and crashing thunder. The way the water would splash up against his ankles. Cold in the storms, but cold in the best ways. The sea foam tickling his tan skin. He missed the slight burn and tingle of salt water on his skin. The way the water would look when the storm would break, the silver moon light and peace the cold waves would bring to him. The ocean was old, yet full of vigor. It could’ve kill Lance without thought when he was smaller, yet it didn’t. The moons pull on the waves of the ocean, sparing his wide eyes full of wonder, and showing him a new world, a home. Letting Lance see the way the sun would rise over the ocean. Glimmering red, yellow, and orange on the waves of a warming blue sea. Glittering and beautiful in a way that no one ever stopped to appreciate. The sea let Lance appreciate its beauty, let him watch night after day and after another night. Let him live to breathe the salt in the sky of dark blue tides. The smell of salt on the breeze. No one liked the ocean. Like no one liked the real Lance.

He missed the ocean.

He still heard it’s call.

Beckoning him home.

A presence to his side jolted Lance out of his thoughts, turning his long and sharp salt stained claws back into smooth flawless skin and fingers as Lance twisted his body. Greeting the new person with a wide smile. The leader of their impromptu flock, Shiro.

Honestly speaking Shiro really was a sight to behold, and even with the hopelessness that accompanied seeing such majestic wings, Lance’s smile was real. Because with Lance’s view of the world. Even in pain and in hiding. He still saw the big world and everything in it as beautiful. Including Shiro with his broad body and even sturdier wings. Darker than the night sky with flecks of white. No midnight blues however. The ocean wasn’t in anyone’s wings. Just his own eyes. Shiro’s eyes were battle hardened, but still kind. And his smile was gentle. Like the nudging of the schools of fish that would nibble at his skin, brush their scales against his fingertips as they dared to get closer to the familiar being. Shiro smiled just like that this time.

“Hey Lance, we missed you preening yesterday, and flying today. Are you feeling alright?” Lance smiled. Assumptions. As-sump-tions. Such a simple word. With so much meaning. So much ability to alter and change a person’s view. Lance never assumed anything. Then again, he also assumed everything. He had a different view of the word.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just relaxing.” Shiro’s wings fluttered, an obvious show of unsettlement or awkwardness. As if Shiro was trying to build up courage to ask the withdrawn flock member something. Lance watched. Even without wings Lance could read the emotions displayed on others. He had to learn how to read people to avoid their worse moods normally. Wings were how people told emotions from other people, being the most obvious sign of body language. Lance could read moods well. Seeing his sister shift from calm, to annoy at just the mere sound of his breath. His father turn from pride to rage at a single speck of his existence. Being the outlet of anger was normal for him. Taught him many things in life, but sometimes even Lance knew that he had to escape and wait. Sometimes Lance would disappear to the ocean for weeks at a time. Only coming home so that he wouldn’t be deemed a ‘flight risk’. Heh. A flightless flight risk. Wasn’t there a joke in that somewhere?

           Maybe that’s why people were so wary and awkward with him before they knew. Most people kept their wings out to show emotion. Most people couldn’t tell emotion without seeing someone’s wings. Lance was probably a husk to them. Emotionless. Like the porcelain mask of a doll. Not showing off your wings meant discomfort, distrust in your surroundings. Lance was probably just one giant enigma to them. A hard shell that didn’t look one second closer to opening up then when they had begun to form a flock in space so long ago.

           At least Lance could make them assume he had wings. Using his claws and climbing skills to reach high places. Climbing wasn’t a well-known or practiced skill after all. Lance hadn’t even known it had a name until he found an old history book from before humans had formed wings. When Lance could’ve been considered normal. So even if they didn’t see his wings, they’d see him lazily resting in the rafters and assume he’d gone up there to stare at the stars and enjoy the silence as he often did. The clearing of Shiro’s thought gathered Lance’s wondering thoughts again. Making Lance look at him with those wide eyes that had Shiro lost.

           To Shiro they were like the deepest galaxy imaginable. Dark blues and light blues, white and black. Swirling. With ferocity and gentleness. Like the ocean Lance always described. Lance’s eyes were like both their homes. Shiro’s home in Lance was the night sky. Lance’s, the reflection of the only home he ever loved.

           “Lance, why don’t you come fly with me? We could go to my nest if you’d like? You probably could use a good preening, I could help if you’d like? Straighten out your feathers while we watch some old movies?” Lance gave Shiro another ambiguous smile. Confusing Shiro greatly as Lance declined gently.

           It was difficult. Leading a flock. But what was harder was knowing that one of the people in his flock that he cared about so much was still distrusting of him. Still hiding the wings Shiro knew would be gorgeous. Still hiding the thing that would tell Shiro exactly what those distant eyes and smiles that tugged at his chest meant.

           Shiro would often find himself wondering what Lance’s wings could be like. Would they be brown like Hunk’s? Dark and powerful? Or would they be so black they were almost blue? Like the starry sky that Shiro saw in his eyes with every passing glance. Were they built for power or speed? Or were they built for neither? Were they an ivory color to give a beautiful contrast to his caramel colored skin? How would they react? Would they express the emotions that Lance never spoke? Childishly expressive. Or were they like Lance’s body, slim, lean, and closed off. Revealing nothing more than what he was willingly to show.

           Shiro didn’t know. And it was killing him slowly.

           Shiro didn’t know how Lance felt and it hurt him. Him and Keith. Him and the flock.

           Lance would always smile, ruffle Pidge’s hair. Give Hunk big hugs and large grins to reassure him. But he’d never show them his wings. His most telling part of himself. Nor would he touch theirs. He would glance at them. Shiro and everyone else could see the glances, the lingering gazes on their wings. They knew that Lance was gifted with people, and very wary of them. He could read their every mood like a book. But no one could tell what was in his eyes. Not even the Alteans could. Not even Coran, who was very obvious in his favoritism towards the blue paladin, could tell what was hidden in those royal blues eyes.

           Hunk had never even noticed until they had pointed it out to him. Shiro asking what Lance’s wings were like. Hunk had been his roommate after all. Sharing a living space for so long and being such close friends. But Hunk hadn’t known a thing. Hunk said that the Garrison hadn’t been very active with their flight training besides piloting, as many were obsessed with flying in their free time. Hunk had just assumed Lance was just one of those people who liked to relax without his wings out. There were few people who didn’t like to stretch out their wings at every chance. Feeling shy of how their wings reacted or moved. And just kept them to themselves. And Shiro accepted that excuse for a while.

           But then the months had dragged on. Bonding sessions. And mind melding. The link between paladins were everything was supposed to be visible, the moment Shiro tried to pry into the Blue paladin’s mind, it changed from pure clarity, to a haze. Only now and again he’d see flashes of the water and sand. Wet skin. And it always scared and fascinated him when he saw the rare sight of the water below its surface. Bright almost teal colors water, beige sand like silk on ‘his’ feet. The schools of fish swimming in front of him. Around him. Sometimes tickling his skin. It scared him because as beautiful as the ocean and water was. It was so quick to kill those of the sky. Leaving that place in Lance’s mind always made him wander if want he was seeing was a memory or a fantasy. Whether the fantasy was the beauty of an ocean he couldn’t touch living apparently on a beach in Cuba with his family. Or if it was a fantasy of wanting to drown in those beautiful waves. The linger taste of salt and the feeling of being washed away onto the shore of reality after these mind drifts left the bad taste of doubt in his mouth. It scared the others too when Shiro convinced them to visit the strange world. The scariest of all their reactions being Allura’s, who was tuned to the emotions of mind melding and said with certainty, that what Lance felt in those moments was a longing. A call for home in the water.

           It terrified Shiro.

           But also confused him when he considered the other’s minds. The clarity of the skies in their minds. From city skylines and buildings, to the red of the desert sunsets, and the night sky of his own mind. Smiling faces of family. And Lance’s was a foggy foundation of cold grasping tides at his ankles. Seemingly lying in wait to grab and snuff out the gorgeous light that Shiro called Lance.

           Shiro just wanted to know Lance. Get to know his moods, the way his eyes would glide over everyone. As if gauging damage, how to help them, how to smile at them and make them feel better. How to fix the castle. How to make Hunk’s anxiety lessen or how to drag Pidge away from her computer gremlin ways. The way Lance almost glided through the air, on his feet not his wings. Shiro could only imagine how graceful Lance would be in his own sky. The sky that they could never find inside his mind.

           There was only one time, when Shiro had felt like they had maybe taken a step closer to Lance as a team. Pulled the Hispanic teenager a little closer to their hearts and to their home. It was when Allura had insisted they learned a thing called climbing. A way to scale into the air, without wings. Allura had said it was for an emergency if their wings were injured, but Shiro had always wondered if it was a way of training that they could finally include Lance in.

           Though, for Lance it was barely training as it was total slaughter. It turned out that Lance was extremely good at climbing. Almost vibrating in visible excitement at the task as soon as Allura described it to everyone’s surprise. Finding nicks and crannies to dig his fingers into to lift him higher. While Keith had climbed the valiant height of ten feet, the highest of all the first four paladins so far. Lance had taken one glance at the wall. And scaled it in mere seconds. A flash of brown hair and then he was there. Sitting at the top. Head tilted up and his body straight, looking completely at peace, unobtainable. A boy in the rafters. A boy too high to reach. Too far away to even touch.

           It was then that Shiro had learned about Lance, and both him and his mate Keith’s budding interest in the mysterious goofy brunette. As Lance sat there at the top. Beating Shiro and Keith in every race they challenged him to on the rock wall. The other flock members giving up after a while of reaching for the inaccessible boy’s hand. Failing to grab the lifeline that tried to grab onto them and teach them by even the full length of their wingspan. Not a feather could touch.

           Lance had been sitting there at the edge. His legs dangling down, the ships lights were soft in the evening glow. Reflecting off Lance’s skin and giving him an almost shuddering and unearthly radiance. Shiro saw the boy in a new light, not the distrustful boy that was closed off. But the strong boy beneath it all. With broad shoulders and strong arms that pulled him closer toward whatever height he reached for. The curve and curl of his muscles and spine. Flexible. Durable. Stunning. It was then that Lance had spoken to them for the first time about himself. Not a joke. Not playful flirting.

           The faraway look in his eyes seemed softer, closer, almost vulnerable, it was the closest Shiro had felt to connecting with Lance’s emotions and knowing them without the crutch of wings. Lance’s full and pink lips recounting times of when he’d apparently climbed the rock structures around the beach of his home. Climbing them for fun and for a peaceful moment. Even Keith, the worst at reading people could hear the longing in Lance’s voice as he talked about the view. Seeing the sky and the ocean almost blending together on the horizon. With the wind in his hair and dust on his hands. He said the view was almost better when you had to work to get it. Keith, who’d be reluctant about the idea of climbing and weirded out by it, suddenly got exactly why Lance seemed to love it.

           Insecurities. Lance was the one with a home back on earth. Lance was the one that was in between, not new enough to shooting and training to make large progress, and not good enough to be seen at the highest levels like Shiro and Keith. He was the blurry and unrecognizable middle.

           Hazy.

           Like fog rolling over the ocean in the early morning when the sky was warming and the water was still cold.

           Climbing was something Lance was secure in. Familiar with. It was something that Lance could connect to his home with. Watching Lance close his eyes, almost looking like he was relishing the texture of rough and cool rock beneath his hands. Lance had admitted the other thing missing was the dust and taste of salt in the air.

           Salt.

           Like the taste of his deadly fantasy.

           Lance watched as Shiro pulled away slowly and reluctantly from his own thoughts. Spreading those raven black wings and flying away from the tan boy. The boy with the stars in his eyes and Shiro’s heart in his mercy. They had to get going to the planet’s surface soon, and Shiro knew that Lance wasn’t going to fly down to go to the team in view of his eyes. So he glided away, only glancing back once he was on the ground at the end of the hall. Seeing Lance still sitting there. A far away look and one leg dangling teasingly from the edge. So close. Yet so far.

           Unattainable.

           After a half an hour of rounding up rowdy flock members Shiro was able to explain the details of the planet and the mission they had to carry out. Shiro was both excited for the mission and anxious. It was actually a secret vacation day for the flock, to fly and relax on a planet was oxygen. But, there was one thing.

           It was an ocean planet.

           Beaches as far as they eye could see.

           With rowdy kids that couldn’t swim, and one that seemed to dream of going under the waves.

           Yeah, Shiro was a nervous wreck to say the least. But after seeing Lance’s excitement at hearing the words beach and sand. Shiro relaxed. Watching closely as Lance used wild hand gestures to describe how many things they could do on the beach. He even promised to show Pidge how to skip a rock past two skips. Demonstrating flicking wrist motions with vigor and a large grin on his face. And after about three hours on the beach, Shiro was fully confident and relaxed that everything would be fine.

           Except, that was exactly when shit hit the fan.

           Lance was sitting high up on one of the rocky cliffs, admiring the view and keeping an eye on Pidge and Hunk, who were both splashing and carefully flying over the ebb and flows of the planet’s deep blue marine. Of course, that mean he was the first one to see and react to Pidge losing control and falling into the water. Unable to fly away in time to stop herself from being grabbed and dragged under.

           It was like he was on autopilot and Hunk screamed Pidge’s name and Lance dove into the water. Ignoring Hunk’s scream of protest. The fear of losing two teammates, two best friends at once. But Lance wasn’t going to listen this time. Not when he could help Pidge. The girl he’d come to see as a little sister. A younger sibling.

           Someone he had to protect.

           The water was different here, but in many ways. It was exactly the same. The push and pull of the tide. Tugging his body in every which way. Yet still guiding him. Towards the sinking girl just barely in his reach. Her eyes were closed and she was limb, but Lance wasn’t afraid yet. The waves were helping him, giving him that final pull down to grab her, before the push came, dragging Lance and his friend towards the shore and the surface. Lance mourned the sight. He wanted to relish in the sight, the sounds, the feeling of being weightless. But this ocean was not his home. This ocean was trying to push him away, telling him this wasn’t home. But an outreach of it.

           Voices. The voice calling him home was never so urgent and loud in his mind than in that moment. But it wasn’t calling him into the depths. It was calling him out of these depths. Urging him to go towards the ocean of air. To give his friend the oxygen she needed. Life Lance craved for her to keep. Lance’s muscles didn’t strain in the water. Even with the added weight of his sodden friend. He broke the surface easily. Relieved as he shoved Pidge’s head above the water and heard her gasp and cough. It was wet sounding and sent shivers down his spine when he heard how close he’d been to failing her. But it was also a freeing sound. A sound that she was alive, as he held her close with one arm and used the other claw his way up the shore where the flock was gathered. Wing fluttering worriedly with various degrees of fear and relief on their faces. Lance’s claws elongated to dig into the solid earth beneath the loose sand to hoist Pidge up and shove her onto the dry said into their waiting arms as Lance’s head dropped. His arms spread in front of him in almost a push up position as he greedily gulped in air to replenish the energy he lost in carrying Pidge to shore. He didn’t notice them staring at the long black marble looking claws until it was too late. He was already in a sunk ship as they stared. Watching in horrific awe as Lance detached from the earth. Claws slipping easily through the sand with the lost tension and fluidly retracting and forming back into long fingers with soft tan skin as Lance sat up. His long limbs folding into his lap with one movement. Hands tucked into his sides protectively.

           He’d gotten them broken for his adaptation before. Hard rubber work boots, stomping and cruelly twisting into the flesh of his hands. Breaking bones and skin. He couldn’t even hold a skipping stone right for months after that. The pain being renewed and rebroken every time anyone in his family saw an inkling of tiny black kitten claws piercing his skin.

           What would they think over him now? Long, sharp, dangerous and war tore claws?

           Did he look like a monster now?

           Lance looked up nervously to them, still sitting on his knees as they stared. Until Coran kneeled in front of him. Holding out his hand for Lance to presumably place his own hand within as Coran smiled reassuringly.

           “Thank you for helping Pidge, can I see that your hands aren’t torn up from the currents?” Lance frowned for a fraction of a second. Body curling instinctively to protect his hands. But Coran didn’t back down. He cared for Lance. Very much. Lance reminded him of his own son, but also not. Lance was witty and funny, but even Coran could see that something was not clicking with the paladin. There was always something just a little, off. The way Lance would move, the way he’d act. Keeping everything he didn’t initiate at arm’s length. Avoiding bonding sessions or showing everyone his mind and his body. Coran felt the need to shield Lance from the harsh reality of the world that Lance had already suffered. And with this new development surfacing, Coran was not going to back down on his small bit of progress. It wasn’t the lad’s wings, but it obviously was a sensitive piece of him. A private and more personal side of him. The instincts and tools of a predator. But also not dangerous at all, as Pidge had been held by these same weapons, and had not been scratched in the slightest. Eventually Lance caved in, hand shaking as he gave Coran one of his hands. His arm trembling fiercely as he did so, the stares of the others and Coran’s touch seeming to make his anxiety worse as his arm tried to tug itself away as Coran was able to get a small grip. But Coran didn’t let him. Studying the smooth skin, and watching as it formed into the claws they’d just seen. They were blackish grey, like the rocks on the sand. With white scratches on their hard surface. Probably from the rocks. Coran gently traced the scratches. Lance didn’t flinch, rather, he stared at Coran curiously, relaxing as no threatening move was made against his hands. Even handing Coran his other hand with no resistance. Letting it shift immediately as soon as Coran’s skin touched his hand.

           Lance had never looked so calm then in that moment. Even Pidge who’d begun to breathe properly ventured closer, not even the least bit afraid as she practically sat on Lance and grabbed his hands. Studying them for herself. Pressing her fingers against the sharp edges with the pads of her fingers. Marveling that even when they looked like they could slice her skin easily they didn’t even leave a mark. Lance answered the silent question.

           “They’re for digging into rock. They won’t hurt you unless you apply force to it.” Pidge slid her finger against the claw, her skin curved around the smooth yet hard nails. But didn’t get cut.

           “When did you get these?” Lance shrugged.

           “I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. They make climbing and swimming easier.” Shiro injected himself into the conversation.

           “You can swim? How do you not drown?” Images of the ocean bubble back to the front of Shiro’s mind. Not a fantasy. A memory. Lance can swim. That’s amazing. It’s practically unheard of. Lance looked down sheepishly.

           “I just do I guess. I lived on the beach my whole life. I knew how to swim before I knew how to climb or say my alphabet honestly.” Shiro’s eyes were locked on Lance’s wet form, his brown hair was curling with the water in it and sticking to his face. Lance looked up at him and their eyes met. Shiro hadn’t seen a look like that on Lance ever. He looked so at home, kneeling in the sand and the water. Pidge hanging onto him like a lifeline as he held her up on his lap, hesitantly letting Pidge wrap her wings around him. He looked a little uncomfortable, but not about to deny the girl who still probably shaken up for her near-death experience. They all filed back into the castle shortly after that. Allura smiling as she immediately demanded they learn to swim from Lance. Everyone smiling at the joy apparent on Lance’s face when he saw the salt water pool. It was no beach, but it was something at least. And Shiro was happy to say that he seemed to be getting better at reading Lance. Not quite good. But no longer completely clueless. Just. In the middle.

           Though Shiro had to admit, it was nice to see Lance so happy and in his element, the swim shirts and shorts they had to wear were suffocation. The males in the group even stripped off the swimming shirt, just deciding to preen out the water after every lesson. Though, Lance seemed happy enough to wear the suffocating material. Shiro guessed it was how he grew up. Parent’s doting over his wings, placing a shirt on him to make sure the currents and salt didn’t rip away or ruin his feathers.

           Shiro wondered why he’d never heard of people swimming if that’s what Lance had grown up with on the coast. He’d visited the east coast after all. The closet he’d seen to swimming was boating. And that was a completely waterless sport if you were talking about getting yourself soaked in water and not machinery meant to withstand it.

           Lance was proving himself to be a man of many very odd talents and surprises. And it wasn’t a surprise to Shiro that it only intrigued him and made both him and Keith want the Cuban boy more than before. Longing to hold onto that tan skin, feel it underneath their hands, their lips. Feel soft hair and soft feathers. Even Lance’s odd shifting claws were perfect. Scratched up with ‘scars’, but so beautiful in their own way. Having a destructive power, yet grace to not breach skin and blood unless intentioned that way.

           Either way, Lance was happy with the outcome of the days. Shiro and Keith were ecstatic too as Lance began to grow closer. Hiding away less. Letting himself occasionally be held by them, letting them wrap their wings around him like a tight cocoon. Lance finally joining the cuddle sessions. Even without showing his own wings. It was progress. Progress like reading Lance’s moods. It made the two so happy. Lance was happy too.

           His truth was safe. Hidden.

           Until later on, it wasn’t.

           Shiro also wondered why he didn’t see it coming when the truth did come out.

           Lance flopped to the ground, back smacking on the metal loudly. Making Keith wince and panic. Back shots were forbidden in training as they often caused wing injuries. Hell, no one could ever sleep or rest on their backs without being uncomfortable. Keith was immediately kneeling on the ground, pulling Lance up and reaching for his back to check before Lance jerked away from him. Keith immediately backing down even when Shiro’s and probably Keith’s instincts too, were screaming at him to put his hand on Lance’s back and check the health of his wings. But Shiro hesitated. Lance hadn’t even shown them a feather. Touching them was probably a very off limits thing to do. Lance proved that right as he ducked into his room, promising Coran to check his wings, before coming out ten minutes later, smiling and saying it was just a little sore. Though they wanted to look and check for themselves, Coran simply told Lance to take it easy for the rest of the day. Lance had smiled at them and nodded. Going with what they said easily.

           If only Shiro had insisted on seeing Lance’s wings that day. Maybe he wouldn’t have been this way. Maybe Shiro wouldn’t have sent him on this mission. Either way, even possible different solution or way didn’t end with Shiro pacing in front of a healing pod that contained Lance after a mission gone wrong. Lance needing it after trapped in a crevice deep in the planet’s earth. The crevice was large enough for Pidge to fly in, but not Hunk or Shiro. But Lance wasn’t flying out. Keith and Pidge had to go down to get him. Finding Lance bloody and unconscious on the ground, but thankfully still breathing.

           Though nothing was more shocking then when Keith finally said fuck it to Lance’s privacy after dragging the injured boy out of the earth and lifted his shirt to make sure there was no damage. And there were some bruises, some gashes, not surprising to see after such a fall. The real surprise, is what they didn’t see.

           Wings.

           Lance’s back was muscular, but smooth, there was no protruding muscles or slit where his wings could tuck themselves in for protection. There was nothing to indicate Lance was even supposed to have wings on his back. It was bare. But oh god were there scars.

           Lash marks lined Lance’s back like tally marks on an elementary school chalk bored. Long slashes of thick scar tissue on Lance’s back that went in every direction. Shiro knew exactly what caused marks like that. Belts. Whips. He’d felt their sting before. It was a normal sight on him. He’d grown used to the sight of scars on himself.

           But god if the sight of scars on Lance didn’t make him sick with anger. How dare anyone put someone like Lance. Someone so self-sacrificing and pure through pain like that? How dare anyone touch the one he and his mate were hoping to claim. How. Dare. They. Even Keith had bristled at the sight. Wings stiffening and puffing up in a threatening pose to make everyone aware of his anger. Shiro’s own wings had a similar response. While Pidge cowered. Pressing her wings against her back to make herself smaller as she pressed herself into Allura’s side. As if she were hoping to disappear into the princess. Hunk looked like he wanted to throw up.

           Lance was a wingless.

           An abused, and mistreated boy.

           He swam and climbed, and did all of these amazing things, because he had no escape besides hiding into the waves of the ocean or the rocks of the shore. Having claws and ways to survive in a world that rejected him. Treated him as if he were a plague.

           Lance had been afraid of them.

           Afraid to tell them.

           Because he was hurt so badly before that he didn’t see any mercy. Probably didn’t think he was worthy of mercy. Only knowing hands raised to hurt him. Voice raised to yell. Shunned from affection. Preening sessions. Home. The beach was his home. The fantasy of being called home.

           The ocean called for him like the sky called for them.

           Shiro could understand it now, why Lance didn’t trust them. Why he was in pain.

           But that was over now.

           Royal blue eyes, dark and light as the ocean. With kindess and gentle waves, as well as storm and raging waters opened to them as the tan boy felt out of the pod and into their arms. Hands pressing flat against his back in a silent telling that they knew. Yet still held him close. And Lance closed his eyes. Letting himself be held by the two males. Held in their wings. Lance opened in his eyes, and in his mind he say the ocean. The pull of the tides pulling at his mind. Calling him home. And he closed his eyes with a smile. Holding on tighter.

           One day, he’d be a part of the ocean. One day, he’d get to go home. But today wasn’t the day for Lance to go marching home. Not yet. His sky of water had to wait for him, there was still the ocean of air for him to learn.

           He didn’t think his home minded waiting just a little bit longer.

           He’d be welcomed when the tide came all the same.

           Just, not now.

2

Today’s practice was Distance.  Nothing about it excited or thrilled me - was just mostly a boring routine.  But I went back to practice after a week away, so that is all that really matters.

Would I have gone on my own?  Not sure seeing the workout.  But  @marymack1 needed me to drop her off after practice so I had to be there.  I am still thinking it was just part of her master plan to help me get back on track after last week.  Hmmmmmmmmm - Ha!

Also I think I completely forgot to post about this here.  But last week a package from Aqua Sphere arrived with a nice note thanking me for my post about the extended size swim jammers and how important they were to me.  The package had one of their ErgoBoards and they said they hopes this helps me in my swimming fitness journey.  Pretty awesome right?

Speaking of those jammers - I got a few more compliments on them at the pool today.  I told you I feel so much better in them - true game changer for me.

100 warm up

7 swims on 5:00

  • (Each lane does their given distance on 5:00, so everyone starts together on each swim.)
  • Lane 8 - 200

8 minute kick

  • 10 sec vertical
  • 25 burst half way, then cruise
  • 25 dolphin
  • 10 sec rest

9x25 on coach sendoff

  1. 0,1 or 2 breaths
  2. sprint
  3. easy

75 easy cool down

2250/226,150/173,850

Liberty Pt.8

Originally posted by enchanted-forests

Pairings: Bucky Barnes x Reader, Peggy x Steve, Wanda x Sam

AU: Pirates of the Caribbean Universe

Characters: Bucky Barnes, Wanda Maximoff, Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter, Sam Wilson, Peter Parker, Baron Zemo, Alexander Pierce, Blackbeard

Warnings for this fic: Angst, smut, running away, profanity, violence, self defense practicing, injury, alcohol.

Warnings for this chapter: Waking up disorientated, hella crying, sexual assault mention, bodily harm, flashbacks and nightmares, fluff, sam and wanda fluff. Interrogation, Pierce being an asshole.
Smut, not full blown tho, thigh riding, please tell me if i’ve forgotton anything

Word Count: 3861

A/N: I hope everyone likes this chapter, it’s taken me like a week, i hope its not too bad. though there are some sensitive subjects listen in the warnings. Just to say, if anyone has suffered any form of assault, people are willing to listen and my ask/message box is always open. Stay strong guys n dolls.
I’m also very effing tired so sorry if there are any mistakes

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7


Your world had stopped. Your hair and skin was stained with the blood of a man you had never provoked, you were a statue, stuck, unwilling to move, the stench of iron in your lungs.

And then everything was black.


A sharp tingling in his fingers was all Bucky could feel as he made way from his spot on the quarterdeck.

Shit, shit, shit.” Bucky seethed. He scrambled towards your unconscious body. Wanda was shifting you into the safety position, gently moving your dead-weight limbs in the correct way.

As Bucky approached you, he took your tired body into his arms, carrying you bridal into his cabin, “Wanda, I’d like you to tend to Y/N, please, in case there’s anything wrong with her. I need to sort out Rumlow and Pierce.” His voice was gruff and worn.

‘Course, Captain.

After gently resting you on the bed, Bucky stormed out of the cabin in haste. As he approached Rumlow’s lifeless body, he gave it a swift kick in the head with his right foot, earning a sharp crack of the bones within.

That’s what you get for fucking with my patience, prick.

Bucky, what are we gonna do with Pierce?” Sam grumbled as he hid the dead body behind a crate, grimacing.

He’s going to clean up this mess.” Bucky scowled, pointing down at the blood and tissue slapped against the decking.

Sam scurried towards the hatch that opened to the bottom deck, holding his pistol in a white-knuckled fist.

Pierce, Captain Barnes wants you.” Sam earned a huff and a disheveled man approaching from the dark shadows of the decks below. “Now!


Is there something you need, Captain?” Alexander rolled his eyes.

Ah! Pierce! Just the man I needed, I need you to clean this mess up,” Bucky commented, his dramatic gesture towards the dark trail dripping with sarcasm.

As Alexander grabbed the mop and bucket from the side of the ship, he began to mop what he thought was vomit, but when the stench of iron filled his withering lungs, he wondered why Brock hadn’t come back from…

Where’s Rumlow?” Alexander asked shakily, not full of fear but anger.

If thou looks thou shalt find,” Bucky mumbled matter-of-factly whilst pretending to pick at his nails.

As the elder man followed the crimson trail he found the deceased body of Brock.

What on earth-

Tell me what he was planning.” Scowl, jaw clenching, brows furrowing.

I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Alexander exclaimed, practically shaking in his worn leather boots as Sam held the barrel against his matted grey hair.

Bull-fucking-shit, Pierce, tell me what Brock was doing, what he was planning against Y/N, or even me for all I know, or I promise Sam will put a bullet in that thick skull of yours just like I did to your little partner in crime.” Bucky was full of wrath, but he kept his voice low so he didn’t wake up his crew.

We targeted her because… She’s young a-and pretty and-

“Because you’re both disgusting pigs that objectify women and try to force them to satisfy your needs. Let me enlighten you, on your future journey aboard my ship,” Bucky sauntered closer to the disheveled man in front of him and continued in a low whisper, “now that your little friend has tried my patience and trust and I have had to waste a bullet, you will do as I say until I am done with you, you will not lay a finger on anyone, including myself and Y/N. I’m taking your firearms and weapons, henceforth taking your dignity. Consider yourself a man of the brig, Mr. Pierce.

Sam lowered his pistol and stuffed it into his belt, keeping a watchful eye on Pierce as he continued to clean up the bloody mess on the brown flooring.

I’ve got my eyes on you. Keep on cleanin’, white boy.

~

Who’s going to get rid of the body?” Wanda asked, biting her fingernails.

She had tucked you into bed once she finished cleaning the cut on your throat and the blood from your sweat sodden skin. She had the decency to change you out of your confinements too, the fabrics were chucked into a metal bucket full of hot water so the blood wouldn’t stain. Your limp body had made it hard for Wanda to dress you in a spare blouse, but the hard work had paid off.

I was the one to kill him and I think I should be the one to chuck him overboard. Sam, would you think strapping a pair of boons to his feet would make him sink?

I think it would, Buck.” Sam snorted.

Well then, I’ll be back shortly.

With that, Bucky made his way to the main deck. He never intended to kill anyone, but when someone threatens someone he cares about most dear, his simmering anger turns to an over-boiled rage that cannot be contained. Sometimes he could control it, sometimes he couldn’t. Not this time, anyway. Shooting Brock Rumlow’s brains out was a rational thing to do, seeing as he was holding a very sharp dagger to his lady’s throat.

What he didn’t understand was why. Why? Why did he target you? Was there something Pierce wasn’t confessing? Was it something else?

He would never know now unless Pierce spilled his guts, and that’s why unwanted guilt washed over him like cold water as he steadied the dead body over the edge of the ship.

May the gods have mercy on your soul Brock Rumlow, because I fucking won’t.


As you woke up, you realised it was far from dawn due to the faint white rays of moonlight pouring through the small windows. Through tired, cloudy eyes you looked at your surroundings. You were in yours and Bucky’s shared bedchamber, though he was nowhere in sight. Glancing up at the clock, you noticed the large hand on the eleven and the smaller hand near the twelve.

How long had you been out for?

You looked down your body to find that you were dressed in one of Bucky’s worn blouses, who dressed you? Who cleaned you? Was Brock dead? Was everyone OK?

You had so many questions.

You carefully slipped from beneath the silk sheets of the warm bed and tiptoed towards the cabin.

Bucky?” You called, your vision was still foggy from sleep, and you felt a throbbing sensation on the side of your throat. You peered into a nearby mirror and discovered you had a small gash on the side of your neck from where Brock had fallen behind you, his dagger had obviously caught but you were lucky it was just a small cut and no a full slice across the front.

Y/N? How are you feeling?” Bucky’s voice broke you out of your thoughts, his hands gently resting on your shoulders.

“I, er, I don’t know really,” You gulped, tears formed in the corner of your eyes as you spoke, “Everything… Everything is just… Lord, I’m sorry Bucky-

Hey- no need for that, my love, none of this- NONE, of this is your fault. You’ve just been the victim of a very fucked up person, this was all HIS doing, not yours, don’t you even dare, for a second, think that you should blame yourself.” Bucky then tugged you to his chest as you let a few tears slip, you felt strong hands rub your back and stroke your hair as you breathed deep breaths.

He said… He said he would have slit my throat, d-drained me and t-then used my body as a toy or s-something,” you hiccuped then, wincing as the scene replayed in your head, “and he said Pierce would be in on it too- and he said something about not risking Blackbeard- my father’s blade again.

Listen, you’re safe now, I… You know what I’ve done to Rumlow, he’s long gone, probably eaten by a shark or stolen by a siren by now. Though, Pierce is being kept in the brig behind bars, away from everyone else.” You furrowed your brows then, but before you could speak Bucky finished his sentence.  “I’ll let you kick his ass soon, maybe shoot him in the foot.” You let out a watery giggle then, sniffling slightly. You saw the devotion in Bucky’s soft eyes then, along with his loving smile.

You realised then, that you loved this man, this big soft soul wrapped in steel skin, with silky brown hair and eyes as blue as the ocean tides. You didn’t want to say it so soon- so you just tugged his head down to yours so you could press a tender kiss to his lips. It was a passionate kiss, but there was no tongue, or groans or moans. Sheer bliss and you pulled away only slightly, your lips ghosting over his.

May I ask who took care of me whilst you done whatever you did?

It was Wanda, I-I didn’t know whether you would have wanted I, a male, to touch you whilst unconscious, so I asked Wanda, a female, and your friend, to help you. Seeing as she’s uh… tended to your… womanly needs before-

Hush, James, I know what you mean. Thank you for respecting me.” You press a soft kiss to his lips, inwardly sighing at the warm contact as his hands cupped your jaw. “I’m hungry, but… I think I should get some clothes on first.


What do you think will happen?” Sam asked quietly as he stood behind his love, head resting his head on her shoulder.

I don’t know, Sam, just know, that whatever happens, we’ll find a way out of it, we always do.” Wanda murmured, her hands resting on the ones draped gently across her shoulders, stroking his knuckles softly.

Hey, look up, see that? Shooting star, better make a wish, darlin’.” Sam chuckled, his eyes stuck on the beautiful lass in front of him, she was his wish come true, so he didn’t have to ask for anything more.

I couldn’t wish for anything more than you, Sam.


You had spent the hour with Bucky in the main area of the cabin, you hadn’t exited the large room, therefore, you didn’t have to change. Bucky had kindly gone to the galley and fetched some bread, fruit and wine for you. You both sat by his desk, munching away.

As the clock chimed one, you and Bucky both bid goodnight to Wanda and Sam once they popped their heads through the door to do the same. As you both got comfortable in bed, you shuffled closer to one another, basking in each other's’ warmth and company. You felt Bucky yawn, his hard chest heaving against your cheek, causing you to yawn also.

Yawning is as contagious as the black death, dare I say,” Bucky muttered tiredly, the vibrations of his voice relaxing you. His hands absentmindedly delved underneath the loose fabric of the baggy blouse that adorned your frame. His fingers traced light lines from your waist to your shoulder, slightly edging the blouse further and further up, the sound of even breathing and steady ocean waves lulled you to sleep.


During the early hours of the morning, you were jolted out of your sleep. Bucky had awoken too - having the ability to feel what you’re feeling - he felt the sweat roll down your temple, your erratic breathing and the tears burning in your eyes.

You were on high alert, you felt so panicked and scared. It hadn’t been a whole day and you were already having night terrors, Brock’s disfigured face haunted and tormented the insides of your eyelids, screaming into your dreaming ears, the feeling of cold steel still against your throat and sticky blood coating your skin like thick paint.

Bucky could feel you going into an erratic, panicked state and he shuffled closer to you to try and make you feel his gentle, calming touch. As his calloused hands made contact with yours, you looked at him with wide eyes. It felt like you were drowning, you couldn’t breathe and your head felt too heavy for your body like a siren out of the water.

Shh, Y/N, it’s okay, he’s not here, he can’t touch you anymore, he’s dead, he’s gone, long gone. Breathe with me, darling, breathe nice and deep, there we go,” You shuffled closer to him and rested your head on his shoulder, nuzzling your face into his neck whilst your shoulders heaved with muscle-straining sobs. Bucky’s voice alone eased you to calmness again, and you slumped against him, tired and spent from the panic attack.

I hope God has no mercy on that wretched man because I certainly won’t.” You groaned. You felt your head throb with pain from a number of tears you had shed now and then.

I said the exact same thing, doll, I said the exact same thing. But just remember that I’m here for you, Wanda is here for you, so is Sam. You’re welcome to jump aboard Steve’s ship and talk to him or Peggy as well, they’re basically… only next door.” He finished his words with a firm kiss on your forehead. You snorted a little, rubbing your tired eyes.

You twisted your head to look at the large grandfather clock, it was only three in the morning and you still had time to rest but you were so, so petrified of the pictures flashing behind your eyelids again.

Then the reality of this whole situation combusted inside your chest, the realisation that your father, the most feared pirate in all continents, was probably out roaming the seas looking for you. What if he was angry? You shook the thought from your mind when you realized that you never owed him any explanation; he had tried courting you off with a strange man that was only interested in sex and breeding to keep his bloodline going, he paid barely any attention to you and he shrugged you off most of the time.

Bucky, Wanda, Sam, Steve, Peggy… They were your home now, not Port Royal. Your father could attempt to steal you away from the man you love and take you back to the island but there was a high chance of him being at the pointy end of everyone’s swords.

Most of the crew had taken a liking to you, apart from Pierce and the late Brock Rumlow, obviously, the thought made you shudder again.

Y/N, darling, please rest -” Bucky whispered, his fingers gently ghosting against the skin of your neck. His large hand gently cradled your head as his thumb soothed over your earlobe, making you relax into his touch. You peered down to see the covers tangled between both your legs, putting them on show.

Bucky- you never told me about that scar -” You ran your finger lightly over the thick scar on thigh, the tissue was painted in pinks and whites small tinges of red, the pattern almost resembled that of a map, like it was a guide to his soul. The thought made you smile a little and Bucky’s hand came to rest on yours as you traced the jagged edges of the memory etched upon his skin.

“I was a boy- probably about nine or ten years old, I had knocked over an oil lamp on my father’s ship and where the flame had caught my trousers the oil seeped straight through, I was running around like a lunatic, shouting for my father and the fire didn’t stop,” You peered up at Bucky to see him smiling, as if it was one of his fondest memories. “one jackass decided to pour rum on my leg, yeah, rum. The asshole thought it would extinguish the flames but alas, it did not. By then the mixed chemicals were already singing off my skin and I ended up with a third-degree burn, it was much bigger what it seems now, much bigger, it was so, so painful, as well.” Bucky grimaced as he looked down at the scarring.

Well, Bucky, it definitely isn’t ugly, I assure you that.” You smiled up at him, your fingers still dancing around the seams of his beautiful flaw, and you felt him shiver at the contact. You pressed a light kiss on his jawline, lingering a bit longer than usual.

Are you trying to give me a love bite, Miss L/N?” Bucky teased, his voice low and drawn out as his head tilted sideways, giving you access to the soft and stubble skin of his neck and jaw.

Hmm, maybe, Captain Barnes, though one does not know how to do such a thing.” Your comment didn’t surprise him, but he pulled back to look at you anyway.

Would you like me to show you, angel?” His blue eyes gazed down upon yours as he spoke his words, his tantalizing bottom lip pulled between his teeth.

You were unsure of what was to come, but you nodded your head anyway. You knew Bucky could sense your nervousness, as he pulled your face closer to his and took your lips in a passionate kiss.

“I’m gonna kiss you here,” one short kiss to your jaw, “here,” a lingering kiss to the area underneath your ear, which made you sigh only slightly, “and all round here, angel.

Bucky began to lather your neck with kisses filled with lips teeth and tongue, Bucky worked his mouth over the soft flesh, earning a sharp moan to leave your throat as you felt a wonderful feeling between pain and pleasure envelope your mind. He nibbled softly, his tongue soothing over the spots almost instantly, but you moaned aloud when he blew cool onto the dampened spot, and you subconsciously hiked your thigh upwards and over his strong one.

Bucky shifted and grabbed a hand-mirror from the nightstand and pointed it at you, gently tilting your head. Your jaw went slack when you saw a pinky-purple splotch on the side of your neck, though you didn’t get a chance to react because Bucky had gone back to attacking your neck with more and more kisses.

He bit down a harder on the spot over your jugular as your cloth covered heat made contact with his thigh. Bucky’s large hands left your hips and neck to grasp your bum, making you straddle his thick thigh.

You wanna rock them pretty hips against my thigh, my love? Hmm?” Bucky’s gravelly voice sent shocks right through you. “Let me show you how useful this big ol’ scar can be sweetheart.” His words could be deceived as innocent if spoken in a different manner, but they were so erotic you couldn’t help but moan into his mouth.

Oh, Bucky, I- how does this feel so g-good?” You dropped your head to his broad shoulder as his hands found your bum, his fingers digging into the soft flesh, kneading and spreading your cheeks so you ground down harder onto him and so he could feel almost all of your heat against the sensitive skin of his scarred thigh. He paid no attention to the erection that tented against the large blouse adorning his body, his focus was on you, your body, your facial expressions, and most of all, the feeling of your damp little pussy grinding against him through a barrier of thin cotton.

You felt the pressure on your clothed clit as it dragged against the rough skin of his thigh, the knot in your stomach tightened further and further, making your legs quiver over his and your hips stuttered so badly that Bucky had to guide you himself, pushing you down a little bit harder, making you splutter out a moan.

Bucky’s eyes met yours and he could see that there was no colour left - your pupil had blown so wide he could barely see any of the pretty Y/E/C that usually resided there.

Mhmm, keep rocking your hips my love - the contact of your pussy against me might just send me over the edge alone, God.” He pulled your neck down so he could press his mouth to yours again, your moans and gasps giving him access to explore your lips and tongue with his tongue.

One of his hands drifted over your loose blouse and cupped your breast, squeezing it gently and his thumb grazed over your nipple through the thin fabric.

Are you gonna cum, angel?” You hummed against his mouth, overridden with euphoria and pleasure. Bucky took a moment before using his hand that was on your breast to part your lips, his tongue brushed against yours and he sucked it slightly, making you grind your hips hard into him, resulting in that final tug in the knot of your stomach to release.

Unngh, Bucky- Fuck- Captain-” You groaned loudly, you swore the ship rocked again as you threw your head back in ecstasy.

That’s it, kitten, just ride it out. Such a good girl for me, aren’t you? Did it feel good, my love?” Bucky’s voice was hoarse from arousal and it made the slick wetness of your heat coat the insides of your thighs.

Mmm, yes, B-Bucky it was… wow.

Do you feel a bit better now? A bit sleepy?” He shifted your legs so they were fully straddling his waist, you felt his hard erection press against your stomach and sighed. Nuzzling into his shoulder, you mumbled in thanks and pressed a lazy open-mouthed kiss on his neck, sucking slightly.

Bucky gasped at your bold movements, feeling your soft plump lips suck at his neck, then your teeth nipping gently and your tongue darting out to sooth the red skin in little strokes.

You raised your head to him, lids heavy with post-pleasure. “Mhmm, I just gave you a love-bite Captain Barnes, and it’s almost as pretty as you.

Your arms hooked around his broad shoulders again, trying to bring yourself closer to him, you kissed him slowly and softly, but your clumsiness got the better of you, making you fall down on top of him, your chest pushing against his firm one as you sat on his waist. With this angle, you felt his hardness completely against you, but you were so tired you hadn’t caught yourself falling asleep on top of him, your wild hair fanning behind you.

Bucky chuckled at your sleeping state, fairly pleased with himself. He had managed to calm you down, make you sleepy again and distracted you so you wouldn’t have any nightmares about the previous night.

Mmm, ahluhyou Buck.


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When I fly I always want the window seat;
so I can watch city streets hum with headlights at night like haemoglobin flowing through veins. So I can look out and see the vast horizon quivering in the haze of summer heat. So I can see the shorelines of this land meeting the brine of the great blue ocean tides; little miniature white ripples breaking out on the boundless glimmering water - boats carving out ephemeral trails on their journeys. So I can see rivers and tributaries turn into estuaries and meet the sea like ancient friends joining hands. So I can see the glow of a sunrise or a sunset light a fire in the sky with its warm tones - painting the world with the most heartbreakingly exquisite pastels. So I can see the vast and colourful countryside divided into patchwork, like a quilt stitched from the hands of god, or some divine force bigger than we could possibly conceive. So I can see the mountains of green and brown erupting from the ground, casting darkly mysterious shadows into divots and gullies. So I can rise above the clouds and gaze upon the endless azure sky that overwhelms me with its brilliance and reminds me how infinitesimal I really am.
I always want the window seat;
So I can realise the complete majesty that surrounds me, and so that I can see -
So that I can see that while I’m not religious - there is clearly something greater than mere humanity, and it has given us the most wondrous of gifts; simply to exist here in this miraculous realm.
—  “So I can see” // @rarasworldbro
3

You know those new swim jammers I got the other day.  A-MAZ-ING!

This mornings practice was the first time I got to try them out in the water.  (Yesterday I went to the gym, but I promised Mary that I would strength train and I only had time for that (not a swim after as well).  It pained me to be there and not swim but I am trying to do what will help me get stronger but more importantly leaner!

So anyway back to today - those jammers fit great, the inner lining makes all the difference in the world and I just dont feel so self conscious in them either. As a matter of fact I ordered a second pair in an alternate color scheme because you never know how many they have in the larger sizes and I dont want to risk not having two pairs to rotate between.

This mornings practice seemed daunting at first 15x100′s with speed increased.

But it was broken part into shorter and shorter segments which really mentally helped it go by rather quickly.  The final 100 was timed and I got a 1:41 - which I was pretty pleased with considering it was the 15th 100 and my fastest to date when I am fresh is 1:27 - so not bad at all for today.

200 warmup

15x100 on 2:20 (should be around +10 from test set)

  • 5 fast
  • 50 easy
  • 4 fast (hold faster average)
  • 50 easy
  • 3 fast (hold faster average)
  • 50 easy
  • 2 fast (hold faster average)
  • 50 easy
  • 1 fast (fastest one!)
  • 50 easy

200 kick  rest :20

  • 50 build
  • 25 easy
  • 25 sprint

50 easy cool down

2000/209,000/191,000

Religion in the world of Ranger’s Apprentice

In the world of Ranger’s Apprentice (and Brotherband), religion seems to hang in the background. Everyone knows it’s there, but religion is not a topic that is expressed on a constant basis unless it’s a cult or used in a curse. Despite this, however, there is often a gap between the ‘old’, or ancient, religions and the ‘new’, or monotheistic, religions.

Skandina

The Skandians are known as one of the most religious cultures in the RA series. The first instance we come into contact with their religion is when Erak, Will, and Evanlyn find out about the Vallasvow. The Vallas are the Skandian gods of vengeance, and are evoked in cases of murder or fraud. They can also be used in the way of an exclamation: “By the gods of the Vallas”. In conjunction with the Vallas, it is shown that the Skandians have other gods, like Loki and Gorlog, as well as possible Heroes, like Thaki and Loka. Connected to the gods is the Skandian heaven, although we’re never told its name. Ragnak is said to have been taken to the highest level of heaven due to having died in battle as a berserker, and it is feared that if a Skandian dies without a weapon in their hand their soul will wander for eternity.

The Skandians are also very superstitious, believing in forest spirits and ogres, and have many myths and legends that account for different environmental happenings, e.g. The Great Blue Whale and the tides.

Arrida

Arrida is an interesting country when it comes to religion. As far as the RA series goes, we only hear about their religion in terms of the Tualaghi or the desert. The Tualaghi are called the Forgotten of God, and Yusal admits that he doesn’t “pretend to know God’s will”. When it comes to the desert, they follow the Word of the Law, which states what one should do in the desert, such as leaving a man with water. This could be a parallel to Islam, but nothing is explicitly stated beyond this, so I am unwilling to state it outright.

More information is given in the Brotherband series. In Soccoro, a city on the north-western coast of Arrida, it is mentioned that the inhabitants worship three main gods: Hahmet (god of war), Jahmet (god of love), and Kaif (god of good harvests, fair weather, business success, and family matters). It is also stated that they have demigods, such as Ikbar. Later in the series, the Herons and Gilan come into contact with the Scorpion cult, who worship Imrika, the Scorpion goddess of death and destruction. It is said to have been based on a warped religious system, and it is possible that it is formed around the ‘old’, or ancient, religions.

Araluen

Araluen, like Arrida, is a complex mix of old and new religions. There are many instances of an Araluen using the phrase “God’s sake”, “my God” or other phrases with a capital ‘G’ in god. This seems to indicate a specific god, more than likely the one in Judeo-Christian beliefs. This is backed up by the statement by Cullum Gelderris in Sorcerer of the North about Orman: “Wears a black robe like a monk, although he is no man of the church”.  Like the use of a capital ‘G’, this indicates a connection to the Catholic Church, which was prevalent in 10th and 11th century Europe. In the same way, in Battle of Hackham Heath, it is pointed out that Woldon Abbey was a nursing order, not a religious one, meaning that there was some form of religious healing orders like the Catholic monasteries and nunneries.

The old religion is connected to the ancient beliefs of the country. Not only do many Araluens say “Thank the gods” or “May the gods bless you”, but a few of the old gods are mentioned by name. Such as Ergon, who is revealed to be an obscure Araluen god in Brotherband: Slaves of Soccoro, or the Black Troll of Balath in the Royal Ranger. Most – if not all – of the Araluen protagonists we know don’t follow these religions closely. This is why we can hear Halt curse someone with many gods and then later with only one God. Hibernia is no better, as an old lady in Mountshannon makes the distinction between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ gods. It’s an underrepresented conflict, but it’s there.

I hope you guys got all of that! Thanks to @when-there-is-a-will for giving me such an interesting topic to talk about! Join in the conversation by either sending us an ask, or by reblogging this analysis and tagging it #raanalysis with your thoughts. Do you have questions or thoughts on future analysis’? Please send us an ask or submit it to us.

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May your coffee be hot and your arrows sharp!

3

Had a productive weekend here.  As you know I am still working on the deck demo project of where it went around the pool.  I got it about as far as I can go on my own and I contacted a landscaping company who advertises that they specialize in pool/deck demo,haul away, backfill with dirt, grade it then seed or sod etc.  They came out and gave me a quote that I could not pass up, as I had done some research on pricing out things like a dumpster, a dirt order and those alone were adding up fast.  To have a crew with equipment that can easily get rid of the cement footings (30+) and handle the rest of this, for what they quoted was awesome. So I booked them and I am about a week or two out on their schedule.  So I wanted to get these planter boxes on  the main part of the deck demo’d so I could add the wood to the pile that they will be hauling away. 

While I liked the look of the plantar boxes, they have always been a challenge as wasps loved to nest inside of them, in a way you could not get rid of them.  So when you were sitting on the deck they would always be flying around.  It sucked. 

Sure enough as I began demo’ing (there were three of those planters total) each one had anywhere from 6-10 wasp nests inside some of which could have been old but others were definitely active.  So I know I made the right choice.  Plus now the deck itself looks/feels so much larger.

After this crew comes and goes, I will be saving up to get the supplies to do that Behr Restore on the floor of the deck.  Staining never seems to last long and that stuff is supposed to be really nice so hopefully early fall I can get that project checked off my never ending list!

Went to bed last night on time, but had a heck of a time waking up for swim today.  I snoozed until the last second and made it there just in the nick of time.  A batch of new (to the team) folks were there so that changed up some lane assignments etc.  Otherwise it was all business.  My shoulders (especially the right one) are tired now after this one.


150 warmup

Main set:

  • 400  rest :20
  • 2x50 on 1:00
  • 300  rest :20
  • 4x50 on 1:00
  • 200  rest :20
  • 6x50 on 1:00 *should get between 5 and 10 sec rest on the 50’s, may need to adjust after first round

Regroup and start everyone in your lane together:

6x100 with pull buoy, rest :15

  • 25 pull, evf!
  • 25 kick fast (hold pullbuoy in hands)
  • 25 skull
  • 25 blast kick to half, finish easy kick

2250/194,700/205,300