copse

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(via GATCOMBE, TOLT COPSE, CHILLERTON | Flickr)

2

You grew leaves on your skin and copse on each of your fingers. Your coffee colored skin seemed as if it loves the way the sun rays struck it while you feel the thick and fervent air to your bones. You acted as if you love the way this world molded you—just to be razed by hurricanes and thunderstorms. And then you realize: your roots are just feet; and you should have not apologized for being who you really are.

He’s only been walking for about a minute before something in the air changes. Frowning, Castiel Novak looks up from where he’s been watching his step to take a look at the copse of trees around him, shivering slightly against the wind. The rain has finally cleared to give way for sunset–gold light spilling across hill and rock. It’s beautiful in an ancient, abandoned sort of way… but something in the air has him alert and careful. 

This glen demands respect.

He pays special attention to his steps from then on, careful not to put his feet anywhere outside the marked paths. 

The more Castiel walks, the faster his heart beats and his body curls into itself, and suddenly, the nice Scottish man who picked him up on the side of the road and drove him to the fairie glen doesn’t seem so crazy.

“They’re there,” he’d said sagely, nodding up the road. “Ye canna see ‘em, but they are. And if they choose you, lad, well… ye best do whatever they want, because fairies are a fickle sort.“ 

Dunvegan, the faerie castle, is a big and imposing outcropping of rocks, and after seeing the old and new spirals on its other side, Cas carefully makes his way to the top. There are a couple of people making their way back down, and he nods to them as they pass. 

But to get to the top, he has to climb up a narrow passageway. He goes from thinking he can fit with his backpack, to being completely stuck.

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Leftovers by Lee Acaster
Via Flickr:
Knettishall Heath

Part one of my contribution to tonight’s Coran Week theme. Whether it’s fully poly or a shared relationship is up in the air (for reasons I can’t say without spoiling). Part two here.


“-ran? Coran!”

His head was throbbing when he cracked one eye open. But rather than searing pain he had been expecting, he felt… soft?

Coran weakly raised his head and found himself in what seemed to be a copse of some sort of flower vines. Bluish pollen dust coated his clothes and hair, and when he stirred more up trying to push himself up onto his knees, he sneezed.

Above him, laughter filtered through the noises of the birds in the trees.

He froze.

He hadn’t heard that laugh in-

A hand appeared in his field of vision to help him up, and he stared at it dumbly for several seconds before looking up.

“Are you just going to sit there in the lillika knots forever?”

She had more of the pale pink streaks that had sprouted in her hair after Allura had been born, and the markings under her eyes had evolved with age, changing shape slightly to something even more exotic. But… but it was her.

Even though it couldn’t be her.

“Illyere?” Coran asked, voice weak and barely audible even to his own ears. “How are you here?”

The vision in front of him arched an eyebrow, mouth quirking slightly in an expression he still knew so well. “We all got here with Yellow nine cycles ago dear; are you alright?”

Yellow? The Yellow Lion? Feeling sick with confusion, Coran raked a hand through his hair, trying to make sense of his thoughts. He remembered a maze of caves - the Paladins - Allura - a mission - … what had…

Illyere touched his shoulder with an expression of concern and, almost on reflex, he yanked her down, wrapping her in a fierce hug as he buried his face in her shoulder. “Illyere… am I dead? Is that where we are?”

“You’re starting to worry me, Coran,” she said, gently pushing him back to check his eyes. “Did you fall? Were there any pichal spores in the flowers?” She took off her gloves and cupped his chin in her hands, and he thought he might cry at the familiar prick of her sharp little claws. “You don’t feel feverish-”

“No,” he rasped. “I don’t- it was… just a nightmare, I think. It was just a nightmare.”

“All the same, might be best if you rest a bit and don’t go exploring again for awhile. Come on.” She stood, dusting pollen from her skirts and offered a hand again. “I’m sure Allura’s played herself into an appetite by now.”

He swallowed, still feeling strange and confused and kind of dizzy, but let her pull him up and link their arms together and they headed off, presumably back down the path she’d come to find him. A blur of bright green flashed past his vision, and he turned his head to see an Emerald Tirpaeki Bird land on a nearby branch, fluffing out its four wings at them in a threat display. “Arus? We’re back on Arus?”

“Oh, are you starting to get your bearings back?

Except… he was sure Tirpaeki of all colors were extinct now, weren’t they? The updated computer sweeps on Arus had said so. They had died out when…

When the…

“Aipa! Mama, you found him!”

The dizzy feeling washed back over him in force, making his legs buckle as Allura, looking barely as old as when she’d first begun her training, ran out from under an archway, a hard light miniature holo of Yellow on her heels.

Aipa… Second Father… What was going on…?

“Allura, sweetbug, go get your papa, would you? Aipa Coran came across something on his walkabout that left him not feeling well,” Illyere said, her hold on him subtly tightening to keep him on his feet.

The little princess -his little princess?- gave him a look of worried confusion, but nodded and vanished around a corner, and Illyere pulled him over to sit on a large chunk of stone.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” he mumbled weakly.

“What’s the matter, old man? You get attacked by marchak venom?” The question was joking, but the concern was real, and as another pair of hands -strong, warm, familiar hands that couldn’t be there- settled on his shoulders to hold him steady, it seemed like his mind was falling apart for a moment.

“Alfor?”

“I’m here. We’re all here. We’ve got you. Yellow, run a diagnostic on him, would you?”

The holo rumbled an affirmative, and Coran watched her as she sprouted several little screens, all of them directed at him. He did remember this protocol from medics, and let Illyere take off his left glove for a tiny blood sample.

“Looks like we were both off, darling,” Illyere said, reading the results screen. “It’s not pichal or marchak. A vikapal must have bitten him in his sleep.”

“Damn. Nothing to do for that but let it work its way out of the system. Sorry, old man. Looks like you’re going to be feeling rotten for awhile.”

“No, no, my own damn fault,” Coran said with a weak little laugh, relief washing through him sickly. The nightmares, the confusion, the memory dazes, it all made sense now. “Should have paid better attention to where I was going.”

“Does that mean we have to go home?” Allura asked, peeking over the rock he was resting on.

“After all the work it took to get us all a day off? Not a chance, dolly,” Alfor replied, ruffling her hair affectionately. “We’ll just have to change plans a bit.”

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Nostalgia by Lee Acaster
Via Flickr:

The Christmas Tree - Cecil Day-Lewis

Put out the lights now!
Look at the Tree, the rough tree dazzled
In oriole plumes of flame,
Tinselled with twinkling frost fire, tasselled
With stars and moons—the same
That yesterday hid in the spinney and had no fame
Till we put out the lights now.

Hard are the nights now:
The fields at moonrise turn to agate,
Shadows are cold as jet;
In dyke and furrow, in copse and faggot
The frost’s tooth is set;
And stars are the sparks whirled out by the north wind’s fret
On the flinty nights now.

So feast your eyes now
On mimic star and moon-cold bauble;
Worlds may wither unseen,
But the Christmas Tree is a tree of fable,
A phoenix in evergreen,
And the world cannot change or chill what its mysteries mean
To your hearts and eyes now.

The vision dies now
Candle by candle: the tree that embraced it
Returns to its own kind,
To be earthed again and weather as best it
May the frost and the wind.
Children, it too had its hour—you will not mind
If it lives or dies now.

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Helix by Lee Acaster
Via Flickr:
Another from yesterday afternoon