A.N: I did quite a lot of research for this imagine and some of the ceremony I couldn’t find information on. But please don’t judge if some things are explained wrong. I just wanted to do this.)
“We come here this evening, to share our joy at the joining of this couple.” Ragnar looked at you and then Ivar. “Marriage is the joining of two people, the union of two hearts. We enter it joyfully and in the knowledge that love is both our highest achievement and life’s most precious gift.” He smiled.
Ivar was sitting on a chair on a platform slightly higher than you and you were looking him in the eye. Smiling ear to ear.
“Now we ask the Gods to be present in this union as we give them this sacrifice.” Ragnar looked on as someone brought forward a goat.
Ragnar went to his knees and held the goat at its neck. A bowl was placed under the goat. As Ragnar slit it’s throat, its warm blood pooling into the bowl. As the goat fell it was carried away. Ragnar placed the bowl on the horgr and dipped the hlaut-teinn into the blood. As he threw the blood onto you and the crowd he announced-
“This sacrifice is for Thor, son of Odin, God of thunder and guardian of my blessing! May you watch over this union and grant them your strength.” Ragnar walked back to you and Ivar and sprayed you both with the blood. He dipped his finger into the bowl and pressed it onto your forehead wiping blood down to your chin. Doing the same for Ivar, your soon to be husband smiled.
I have nothing to teach you. I never have. If you must have a moral, take this: notice. I don’t take my own advice. I pass from moment to moment and never see them. But you, you who are wiser than this poor poet, take note of the endless fall of seconds, see them either flowing like water or ticking off like gears. Look at things - I mean, really look - and see them not for what they are but for what they could be. The iridescence in the wing of a common housefly, or the care with which a spider strings her shining web. The kinship of the water in your shower with cleansing rain. We must compare small things with the great. I cannot invite the mountains into my room. But a rock, round, the size of my fist, smooth, warmed by the sun of my windowsill - that will fit, and when I touch it carelessly, it will recall the day when I took it from a hundred rocks like it, tumbled in a glacial stream, on the side of a peak that does not notice the hikers on its wooded flanks, and I will pause, and think I smell balsam, needling out into a room that has never seen a tree.
Summary: Mor/Azriel. Set in the middle of ACOMAF just before Azriel journeys to the mortal realm in an attempt to infiltrate the queens’ castle. Mor coaxes Azriel to come to Rita’s with her and even manages to get a dance out of him before he leaves.
The rich, heavy music of Rita’s envelopes him, a throbbing,
pulsing, warm embrace to contrast the cool, dark caress of his shadows. The
tips of his scarred, callused fingers run in endless circles around the lip of
his glass, the smooth material flowing like water beneath his touch. He raises
it to his lips and takes a sip of the velvet liquor within him, letting it blaze
through his system.
But even as he drinks then sets the glass on the table again
and allows his fingertip to continue its circuits around the rim his eyes never
once leave the dance floor. Laughter bubbles up from her lips, free and clear,
sweeter and more emotional than the music that lifts and drops and carries the
dancers along on its current because he knows the true depth of it.
He knows what they did to her. He knows how they hurt her,
how they tried to break her, to leave her nothing but a broken, empty shell.
His blood boils at the thought of it and the cold rage that’s been murmuring within
his bones for over five centuries.
But she laughs, so
bright and clear and free. The wildness they could never tame, the life they
could never kill, the laughter they could never steal from her. She laughs her
defiance at the darkness in this world and fills it with her light instead. She
wears her heart upon her sleeve, daring them to try and take it from her again.
She is a breath of sunlight in a cold dark place while he lurks in the shadows.
The dress she wears clings to her body and flows with her movements
like liquid silk, hugging every curve, rippling with every beat of the music
which she catches perfectly each time. He gets lost in her rhythm, transfixed
by the rise and fall of her hips, held prisoner in the way her body moves with
the music that surrounds her. It’s as though they’re one, as though they’re
connected, bound together. The threads of music, the flute and fiddle and drums
each were forming a string around her that moves her with them, as though the
melody is her puppeteer and she its marionette.
She throws her hands up above her head, leaning back as she
sways, her body flowing like water, her eyes closed. She is transported, and he
with her, though he remains so many agonizing feet from her. She gives herself
to the music that surrounds her; to the heat of the dance floor, the beckoning
call of the thick atmosphere that floods her lungs like opium smoke and carries
His mouth goes dry as he watches her and when her eyes open and
lock with his a shudder goes down him and his shadows seem to flee from him,
leaving him feeling oddly bare before her. A broad grin spreads across her lips as she looks at
him. She winks one of her big dark eyes at him and then breaks away from the
dancers around her, weaving fluidly between them until she stands before him.
Stretching out a hand, her face wild, breathless, breathing
hard she says, “Dance with me.”
“Mor,” he murmurs slowly, not moving though his body tenses.
She just leans down and takes both of his scarred hands in
his and gently tugs until he’s one his feet and his body is jolting lightly
against hers and it takes every bit of self control he has not to crush her
against him and kiss her while her eyes shine with that burning, wild light as
she gazes up at him, her eyes drinking him in like oxygen.
Slowly she presses her body against his and he closes his
eyes, not for the first time revelling in the way they fit together, how every
curve of her nestles in against his rigid muscles until there’s nothing
separating them but their skin and clothes and the same taut barriers that have
kept them apart for five hundred years. Standing on her toes she coils a hand
round behind his neck and murmurs in his ear, “Dance with me, Azriel,” the
shiver at those words travels through them both, “Please.”
He never could deny her anything if she said that word. That
one murmur from her and he was hers. Completely. A marionette all of his own
but tangled in her strings this time.
With a nod he acquiesces to her demand and the smile that
lights up her face in return, crinkling those warm, molten eyes of hers, could
bring peace to a land ravaged by war, he’s sure. She leads him to the fringes
of the floor, cast in the shadows of the lights that pulse and illuminate the
main space. She knows him, knows he doesn’t want to be in the thick of things;
knows that he’s doing this for her; that he doesn’t crave the heavy, pulsing
atmosphere that she does. He only craves this, this moment, this intimacy; her.
Mor deftly takes his hands in hers and places them where she
wants them, one around her waist, palm pressed flat against the small of her
back, the other she holds in hers, gently letting their fingers lace together.
Then she leans in and rests her head against his shoulder, their bodies
appearing in the darkness as one. And as one they move together. Her hips start
to sway, picking up the beat of this new piece and he follows her, half guided
by the music and half by her movements.
They know each other so well that their bodies take almost
non-existent cues from one another. Be they in the midst of battle, carnage
erupting constantly all around them or huddled together on the edge of a
crowded dance floor they move in perfect sync together. Every action of hers
causes a reaction from him, predictable as a tide, inevitable as night
following day. It’s not difficult to lose himself in it; to let himself become one
being with her.
Az rests his chin on the top of her head, tucking her in
even more tightly against him as the music begins to swell. He can feel her
enthusiasm, her love of this escape, this joy and he lets his guard down so as
to share it in her.
And he understands
when she looks up at him, her rich, velvet soft eyes filled with emotion why
she’d wanted this, wanted him to come, wanted him to hold her. This is her eye
of the deafening storm that rages around them and threatens to tear away
everything she holds dear. It’s safe and quiet and a place where she can forget
Hybern and the book and the queens and the chaos that looms ever closer. It’s
somewhere she can just dance, and smile, and laugh and hold him.
The music guiding them along shifts, becoming darker and
more intense and his grip on her tightens on some deep buried instinct. A small
gasp huffs from Mor but she doesn’t pull away, instead she slowly turns in his
arms until her back is pressed to him and then she starts to grind against him.
Az closes his eyes, pulling her close, both hands now on her body, roving over
the surface of her. The silk dress she has on is so sheer they might as well be
skimming over her naked skin.
The whole world shrinks to the space contained within his
arms. There was nothing and no-one but this, but them. They were eternity in a
moment. They were everything being swept away into nothing. They were the final
note of the last song ever played that continued to echo on long after the
death of the world. They were complete.
Desire flares in him as the heat swells and rises between
them and it takes every bit of self control he has to reign himself in. He
wants to kiss her. He wants to take her in his arms and kiss her until she’s
breathless. He wants to bury his hands in her thick, golden hair and press her
to him. He wants to caress her skin, wants to press his lips gently to every
scar, wants to find some lost light within himself and gild her in it until
she’s glowing and eternal. He wants to release the aching, unbearable tension
he feels in them. He wants her. He wants her.
But then the song ends and a new one begins, light and playful
and the spell that had been wrapping around them, intoxicating them, draining
them of air and all the sense that’s kept them from each other this long breaks
and they slowly and mutually part from one another, both breathing hard.
Catching each other’s eyes they agree silently and slowly
weave their way out of the packed place, Mor making easy, light excuses to what
feels like half the people there as she leaves. Azriel just trails quietly
along in her wake, the shadows that had faded and swept back as he’d danced
with Mor returning to wreathe his body in their darkness once more.
Breaking out into the
cool wash of Velaris, steeped in night and calm and quiet, they begin to move
away from Rita’s. Mor decides she wants to walk rather than have him fly her
home and he falls patiently into step beside her as they amble up the high
street, their bodies jostling occasionally against each other. But the tension
they found together in those few pulsing, lost moments in Rita’s, when they
were so intimately together they might have been in a new world that was
created for only them.
They arrive at her place, on a surprisingly quiet corner
removed from the general hum and rhythm of Velaris, set overlooking the river. Mor
turns on the spot and looks up at him. With a quiet, genuine smile, unlike the
broad, dazzling grin she so usually flashes, she stands on her toes and presses
a soft kiss to his cheek. “Thank you for coming with me tonight,” she murmurs,
taking his scarred, battered hand in her own perfect, soft smooth one and
squeezing. “Be careful tomorrow, in the mortal realm, okay?”
From anyone else he would have darkened at the fussing or
the coddling but from her…He understands her worry, the worry she so rarely
lets show through that bright, careless facade. But she feels it; she feels
everything so deeply for those she loves. So for her he only leans down and
presses a soft kiss to the top of her head and growls gently, “I will.”
A soft smile blooms on her lips again at that and his heart
lightens even as his shadows do at the sight of it.
“Goodnight, Az,” she murmurs softly as she turns and heads inside,
giving him that smile once more.
“Goodnight, Morrigan,” he whispers, his words stolen away by
the breeze and impossible to hear behind her closed door, where his eyes linger
for just a moment longer than necessary before he spreads his wings and
launches himself into the waiting sky.
You stood among the line of other
elves, gazing up at the sparkling king on his towering throne.
Thranduil sat dispensing some proclamation that you struggled to
focus on, his deep voice a drone in your head. You could feel the
bubble forming in your stomach, it was about to ascend and you were
not sure if you could hold it in.
I could write a poem
I could write a million poems
I can’t guarantee they all will be of value
Or if they’ll make you feel an emotion of some sort
But I could write a million poems if I wanted to
And those million poems could be about you
I could write about a few hundred epic poems of every adventure we had together
Turn every little trip to the store, or an hour in McDonald’s into Homer’s Odyssey
I could write poems about your body
A different rhyme for every bone, curve, crevice, of your body
I could probably write twenty, most likely more, about the way your eyes would light up when something made us laugh
The amount of words and adjectives you contain seem to be endless, just as a flowing water fall
With beauty comes flaws, and as stunning as you may be
You have a dark side, similar to the moon
You can be full of light, and beauty
Sadly, the moon has phases
And as a new night comes, your darkness overcomes you
Your generosity being taken over by your manipulative ways
Then it reappears
But the cycle doesn’t stop
It keeps going
You will always have two sides to you
Sides and changes I don’t have time for
However, I would like to think that instead of being made from rocks in outer space, that you’re made of clay
I’d like to think someone molded you this way
Against your own free will
But while you were shaped physically, forcefully by someone’s hands
You chose to build the walls to prevent you from viewing your errors
And that wall is of people
People you have linked together
Each link, an insecurity of them
An empty promise
A false hope you’ve given
They barricade around you similar to the police
They’re your own shield
I don’t entirely know from what
I may never know
It took me too damn long to detach myself from your wall
I hope that the wall you built is taken down just like Berlin
And you’ll be left empty, alone, defenseless
So yes, I will write a poem
I will write a million poems
I can’t guarantee they all will be of value
Or if they’ll make you feel an emotion of some sort
But I will write a million poems and I want to
And those million poems will be about you
I’ve walked a few kilometers, in a few different places on the earth, but none have destroyed me like this one did. 2,800 steps, just over 1km long, over 450 meters high, nowhere to go but keep going down and with 15kg packs on our backs trying to topple us over with each step. Muscles I never knew I had were born and died again……and I was only half way down,haha,:)).
That is our car in the car park below, we left it there two nights ago. This old disused rail track is the last kilometer in a 22km round trip, 1,200 meters up into the mountains, to get on top of the fjord. It was brutal, it was barren and the sun raged at over 33 degrees for 16 hours a day without a cloud in the sky or a shadow for shade. I won’t lie, we weren’t prepared for such a harsh environment, but there was one thing that saved us. That was the endless supply of glacial melt water flowing in streams and waterfalls to fill our water bottles in. Even if you couldn’t see one, you could drink freely because you knew there was one around the next corner, or over the next ridge.
I have to admit though, it’s a cool feeling to know you’ve made a trek to see such an epic sight that not to many people have seen. It truly was an amazing experience, and I learned things about myself, but this last long walk, really gave me a kicking. :))
It began with the water. In 1861, Parisian workers attempting to lay the concrete foundations for a grand, 2,200-seat opera house in the centre of the city were baffled. The theatre had been commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III as part of his sweeping reconstruction of Paris, and 12,000 square metres of ground had been cleared. Yet a seemingly endless flow of water bubbled up from the swampy, newly cleared ground – and no one could do anything to stem it.
Thirteen years later, in 1874, architect Charles Garnier’s neo-baroque masterpiece, Le Palais Garnier, was finally complete. But rumours of a vast, fish-filled lake swirling beneath the building endured.
One Parisian who grew up with the rumour was the detective writer Gaston Leroux and in 1910 he would use it as the inspiration for his gothic love story The Phantom of The Opera.
In fact, historical and fictional events are so blurred in Leroux’s story that he was able to claim in his prologue (and on his death bed) that ‘the Opera ghost really existed’ – a claim that has left the Paris Opera, as it is now known, shrouded in mystery ever since.
Pierre Vidal, curator of the Palais Garnier’s museum and library, is more familiar than most with the myth of the Phantom’s watery lair but admits that the reality is rather less exciting.
He says the ‘lake’ is actually a huge, stone water tank created by the construction team after numerous failed attempts to pump the site dry. ‘The pressure of the water in the tank stops any more rising up the through the foundations, and the weight of the tank stabilises the building,’ he explains.
Today, the tank (which is covered, except for a small grate) is used by Paris’s fire fighters to practise swimming in the dark. And while Vidal concedes that the cellars are large enough to contain a makeshift home, they actually house the building’s technical rooms.
Olivia Temple, who looks after the archive of Maria Bjornson (the late designer of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original West End stage production), visited the Palais Garnier’s cellars in 2005 and understood immediately how they could have inspired Leroux. ‘It was completely convincing that somebody could have lived down there,’ she recalls.
‘There were alcoves and arches that I’m sure had passageways that very few people would have bothered to explore. And it’s bound to stretch out under the streets of Paris and join up with other watery cellars. Somebody like the Phantom could have had the run of it.’
But Temple admits they have lost a lot of their eeriness. ‘Because of health and safety rules, there are rather horrid bright lights down there now,’ she explains. ‘It has definitely washed away the gloom of those netherworld regions and you don’t get the feeling of what it must have been like when it was just lit with candles.’
Further inspiration for Leroux’s story came in 1896, when the counterweight from the building’s grand chandelier fell, killing a construction worker. Leroux wove the incident into the novel’s climactic moment, during which Erik (the Phantom) kills an audience member by causing a chandelier to fall during a performance and, in the furore that follows, kidnaps Christine, dragging her down to his underground home.
However, perhaps the most ingenious blending of fact and fiction in The Phantom of the Opera is in the prologue, when Leroux mentions the burying of phonographic recordings in the cellars of the opera house. He explains that, while the cellar is being prepared to house the recordings, a corpse is uncovered that is identified as Erik’s.
There may not have been a body, but the burying of recordings did take place. In 1907, the Gramophone Company sealed 24 records in two containers and locked them in the cellars of the opera house, to be opened 100 years later. In 2007, the containers were opened and the records digitised by EMI, which released the collection as Les Urnes de l’Opera.
Today, many remain unsure where the Palais Garnier’s history ends and Leroux’s story begins, and Vidal regularly receives calls asking him if the story is true. ‘We don’t like to break the illusion,’ he says, ‘but nobody has seen a ghost in the opera house. Although we do blame the “Phantom” as a joke if something inexplicable happens.’
There is, however, one element of Leroux’s story that holds some truth, and which Temple can bear witness to: the Palais Garnier’s water tank is home to a large, white catfish, which is fed by the opera house staff and can be spotted swimming past the open grate from time to time.