glitter mosaics

Small Messages (bou din waa zuk)

Last fic for SpiritAssassin Week. Late as usual, because I kinda burned out yesterday & the day before, lol

Thank you everyone for reading. & many thanks to @fyeahspiritassassin for hosting. I had great fun doing this but man I’m so relieved it’s over. this was hands down the most difficult writing thing i’ve done lately.


SpiritAssassin Week 2017
Last prompt: celebrations


There are ghosts in Chirrut’s eyes.

He sees:

colour mostly, or the memory of colour. Jedha City, or the memory of it. When his eyes were still functional, when the world pin-bright broke into seven colours and flipped upright on the screen of his retinas. And that was sight for him.

Nowadays the only eyesight he has are old visuals. He sees with ghost eyes. Useless.

He remembers:

when he was still a novice at the Temple, when the Temple still stood, when his eyesight worked fine, and yet he kept missing things. Muddling up. And Baze would tell him where everything was, where to look.

Where are my prayer beads? In front of you.

Where is the datapad? You’ve been looking right at it for ten minutes.

Where did I put my shoes? You’re practically stepping on them.

I know I left my prayer beads here! You did, and they are still there. What is that saying you always use?

Gwai am ngaan! Ghosts covering  eyes.

When Chirrut lost his eyesight, he said: “Remember what I used to say?”

Baze never found it funny again.


***


The holopad powers up. A buzz. The harsh phosphorescence of the screen makes shadows spatter onto his grey featureless vision. Incoming message.

There is a crackle of interference and then the steady hum of a line. Connection. Nobody speaks. The silence is heavy with a familiar presence.

“You can start,” says Chirrut gently, “by telling me the time.”

“It’s early,” Baze answers. “Your time, that is.”

It’s strange that they’re far enough apart that they can split time between them. Yours and mine. Your half and mine.

“Have you eaten?” says Baze.

Chirrut remembers that he hasn’t. He hums a note in both reply and dismissal.

“Just because I’m not there,” says Baze, testily, “doesn’t mean you can forget to eat. Don’t pine too hard for me.”

“I was going to meditate,” Chirrut says. “There are other types of hunger besides the one that you speak of.”

“Who said anything about hunger? It’s basic self-care. But I forgot you know nothing about that.” There is a clatter of movement from the other side. A hiss and a sputter. Clacking. Something being dismantled. For cleaning. Perhaps a weapon. A shush of air, like an exhaust pipe.

“The Force–,” Chirrut begins.

“–will not feed you. You should eat something.”

Chirrut sighs. “It’s been three years. And you’re halfway somewhere across the galaxy. And you’ve gone right back to your nagging self.”

“I’ve lost count of the years,” Baze says. There is a lie in the falter of his voice. A flinty note of defiance.

“I’m going to meditate.”

“Wait,” says Baze.

Chirrut waits.

“Leave the connection running.”

“I don’t talk much when I meditate.”

“You don’t have to.”


***


There is a festival (there is always a festival) going on in Jedha City and people have begun lighting tapers and burning sticks of incense in the many street braziers.

You’re supposed to do acts of compassion. Pray for the dead. Feed the hungry. People bake bread, boil vats of porridge, distribute food to the homeless, to the pilgrims, to anyone who asks for food.

Chirrut sits beneath an archway on a back lane, running his fingers along the worn beads of his prayer necklace. Sandals shuffle, the scrape of fraying leather. The hems of robes touch his knees and ankles, stray butterflies of fabric. The crowds move and he feels their wingbeats and their edges. The wake of their movement. The rotund vowels of a muezzin’s call. A minaret in the distance. The wind snapping the tarp. The souk, a heaving organic entity of commerce.

There are more unwelcome sounds now. Heavy boots. The presence of Imperials, their conversations in staccato, voices standardised into a nasal flatness by the inbuilt vocoders in their helmets.

Someone presses a roll into his hands and a flask.

“Eat and drink, uncle,” someone says, performing their act of compassion for the day.

Chirrut thinks of Baze. Of course he does.


***


“Are you asleep?” says Baze.

“What do you think?”

“Sorry,” Baze says. “I need sleep.”

His voice is thick, like textile, as though he’s lying in bed somewhere, one corner of his mouth pressed against rough sheets. Perhaps he has lain awake all night. Is it night where he is?

“Will you tell me where you are?”

“On a planet. There’s a lot of water here. Marshes. The speeders here are shaped like dragonflies. I haven’t been dry in days. When I took the job I didn’t know I’d have to become amphibious.”

“The job?”

“Like any other job,” Baze says, evasive.

The connection sputters. But it holds.

“Night time on this planet is longer than Jedha’s nights. About three times as long. People sleep three times as long, too.”

“You should get some now.”

“What is that?” Baze says suddenly. “There, on the side of your face. Turn your face to the left.”

It’s a cut. Healing, though. It must have been just a thin smudge in the holographic display of his face, but Baze’s sharp eyes had caught it.

“I was cornered,” Chirrut admits. “In a cul-de-sac. By five Imperials.”

Baze swears. “You took on five Imperials without backup?”

“The Force was with me.”

“Of course it was.” Baze scoffs. “So you had no backup. You idiot.”

“So says the true fool, who is faithless,” Chirrut shoots back. “So gwaa.”


***


Chirrut passes through the forms of zama-shiwo, ghost-eyed, with the slow silk movement of his arms and legs. There is no end or beginning to the forms. Perpetual transition. Keep your mind still. Absolute. Nucleatic. The body is not yours. The body is your environment. You are part of a larger body. Only the negligible pinprick of Chirrut’s mind shimmers, edged with feelers, hungry for messages, for a grid of sense.

The sun, he remembers, is frail and dewy, angling away like errant vapour from the domes and the glittering mosaics in the murals. Useless light:  the city’s solar dishes had to coax heat out of it, old, old dying light.

But now that his mind and his body are sharp with the recent practice of zama-shiwo, he can feel the sun’s heat, amplified. The sun is a hot salty coin at the back of his throat when he tips his face upward. Sunlight is swallowing metal. The scrape of thirst.

Where Chirrut is standing on this rooftop, he should not be able to feel this much warmth. Not at this time of the day, because this time of the day, the shadow of the Temple would have stretched over it, blotted out the sun.

The spire of the Temple is no more, though. And its shadow fled with it.


***


The holopad buzzes as Chirrut puts the porridge to boil on the portable stove.

“Look,” Chirrut says when the transmission comes through, “I’m eating. Or at least I’m going to.”

Baze makes a noise of approval on the other end. There’s silence for a bit.

“There was–” Baze begins. And then changes his mind. “This marshland planet, it’s got a very high evaporation capacity. Whole lakes can vanish in days. Then it will rain and rain somewhere else until there are floods, and there’ll be a new lake. All within such a short span of time. They call this the planet of Leaping Lakes.”

Chirrut imagines it. The transient landscape of it. The lakes leap faster in his mind, faster than Baze, slogging through marshes that dry out as he walks, his skin old and cracked from sand. Unamphibious. Dragonfly speeders zipping over dead reed beds.

“I had to–the job involved–,” Baze begins.

“You don’t have to tell me,” Chirrut says. “About the jobs that you do. I can hazard a guess. Or three.”

“What if I want to talk about them?”

“Then tell me how you’ve changed. How they’ve changed you.”

The porridge boils over. Chirrut hisses and Baze lets out a long, slow sigh. Too long and slow to be sincere.

“Your fault,” says Chirrut testily. The porridge has thickened into a layer that clings to the bottom of the pot. A skin of rice. Carbon bitter.


***


Baze fled not long after the Temple was sacked.

“I will never put on those vestments again,” Baze told Chirrut all those years ago. “They have been burnt.”

Chirrut reeled. He’d known the slow crumble of Baze’s faith. But still. “I won’t let you. You can’t go. You are the most devoted of all the Guardians.”

The words broke out of him, splinters of pleas.

“Then come with me,” said Baze. “The Temple is gone. The kyber crystals are gone. There’s nothing sacred here any longer.”

“The Force is still here.”

“Yes it is,” Baze started to walk towards the gates of the Temple. Across the half-uprooted courtyard. “The Force is here and there and everywhere and it is dead. We breathe in its deadness every day. We celebrate its death in the deaths of everyone else. So. Are you coming?”

Chirrut steeled himself. “A match.”

Baze laughed. “I’m not a Guardian. I don’t play with sticks any longer.”

“If you beat me, you can go. You can leave.”

“And you’ll come with me.”

Chirrut didn’t say anything.

“Fine. Just to humour you, then,” Baze said.

They sparred in that ruined courtyard and Chirrut won.

He brought Baze to the ground, kicked his knees in, elbowed his throat and slammed his staff into Baze’s abdomen.

Baze lay on the ground, panting. How Chirrut would have liked to straddle him, lick away the blood from his teeth. He’d hit Baze on the jaw.

“Well,” said Baze. “I guess I stay, then.”

Chirrut hated the hostility of his laughter. He put the end of his staff at Baze’s neck, tipped his chin upwards.

“No,” Chirrut said.


***


“Are you still angry at me?” Baze asks. The sound of thunder in the background. But not thunder. Just a downpour in the marsh planet, in some distant corner of the galaxy.

The generator in the room that he lives in is old. It rattles. It smells like breath. There are probably small dead things caught beneath its casing, things like rodents and moths, fossilised inside.

“No,” Chirrut says. “Are you?”

“Not at you. Never at you.”


***


There are countless things to be celebrated in Jedha City. Apart from the big festivals. There are weddings, births, engagements, various milestones of growth. Deaths, sometimes, depending on what you believe in. Seasonal shifts. Phenomena like rain.

The Imperials have put a damper on many of the Holy City’s festivals, and declared that permits need to be granted for the rest.

But here’s the thing about people: they remember. They remember when celebrations are due, when rituals start calling to them, feast days notched into their internal calendars. The secret way which they measure time within themselves.

And so people find other reasons for celebration. New acquaintances. Extra rations. Finding lost things. Finding lost people. And so on.

The reasons for celebrating anything become smaller and smaller. Until Chirrut finds himself rejoicing at coins on the street. Or coins in an alms bowl. A call of a bird far out beyond the city walls. Clean washing brushing against his face as he wanders through the alleyways and courtyards. A day without the sound of blaster fire in some quarter of the city or other. A memory, an old visual of the inner sanctum of the Temple, stored in his ghost eyes. Still vivid. Preserved even after the destruction of the building.

He goes home in the evening, his stomach a whorl of hunger. The pot with the burnt crust of porridge is still sitting on the stove. The smell is thick and disheartening. Outside, wind. Sand scours the window.

The sting of saline. There are ghosts in his eyes. And sometimes they weep.

But then. Then he remembers something. He reaches for the holopad. Trusts in the Force. Prays for connection.

A crackle and a hum. There is transmission. There is a line, the thinnest thread across the galaxy, but steady. It feels like a celebration.


***


“I was finally getting some sleep,” Baze grumbles. But it’s a glad sound. Relief to be woken from the lonely press of sleep.

“So,” says Chirrut, “when are you coming home?”

.

.

.


bou din waa zuk - literally translates to ‘boil telephone porridge’. means when you talk for hours on the phone. except there are probably no phones in R1

my family is, all at the same time and without contradicting itself: condensed, compressed, the consistent core tiny and strange; sprawling and multi-limbed, amorphously shaped and indeterminately numbered. it’s got clockwork minds and pretty good monsters; terrible muppets (under a variety of adjectives); nerdbuckets and sole survivors and all-star heroes. by definition it’s queer as hell (if not particularly gay), and it’s somewhat inconsistently held together: in places it’s by blood, or ties legally bound; others, by loyalty, and (ugh) love alone.

it *shines*, though, my collection of familial acquisition: a glittering, dazzling mosaic of broken edges that very nearly (not so neatly) fit together. it’s a beacon, eye-catching and compelling, lit up like captive galaxies exist within. it’s more base than that, though, this earth-bound intensity that mimics starshine. because here, the antithesis of having good heart is ambivalence, not being a trash fire; it’s that light (and warmth) that reflects, in unquantifiable measure.

but beyond all of that imagery: it is *good*. it is good, and it is mine, and i couldn’t love a (tiny, defined; rambling, unlabeled) thing more.

They say I have a filthy mouth though I am poet with a broken heart; lust still bleeds through the cracks. A filthy mouth with an aurous tone to it makes my lovers moan for words made of love songs and pink sugar. My generation talks dirty baby, and money is the only paper we write on now, and we slow dance to those graffiti lyrics.

They say I talk dirty because honesty is a sin when you are in your blossom years. Scarlet cheeks, lips of glitter, and eyes of mosaic, baby this is how my age looks like. My lovers say I am brilliant and someday I might even own the world. However, every time they preached, they would look at my hands to see if I was scribbling their words down in poetry.

I dress my words provocative and sexy but my god, they are so innocent and pure.

—  Exotic, Erotic, Poetic by Royla Asghar
6

TBG TRAVELS : SHIRAZ

After a 14 hour journey from Tehran, we arrive in Shiraz shattered, but curious. As the home of Persian poets Hafiz and Saa'di, we notice that the city is beautifully adorned with their couplets on walls, buildings and shutters. 


At first glance, Shiraz’s streets are dusty, and in comparison to the bright & bustly vibe of Tehran, Shiraz seems tired. We visit the tombs of Hafez and Saa'di during the day and head to the mountains in the evening, like the majority of Shiraz’s residents, for an evening of good food and beautiful views. Once isha comes in (the night prayer) we decide to check out Shah -e-Cheragh (Farsi for King of Lights) - the masjid and tomb of the 7th Shia Imam’s sons.


The beautiful masjid grounds are lit up in bright colours, with crowds of people sitting, relaxing and praying - the vibe is akin to the lively atmosphere of Medina and Makkah in the late hours. Inside the mosque, the walls glitter with mosaics. The mosques in Shiraz are equally as magnificent. From the Masjid - e - Vakil which is grand in it’s minarets and prayer hall to the famous Nasr - e - Molk where light and glass dance together to create a serene & surreal experience for the worshipper.


Shiraz is poetry.

2/3

- A x 

OOC: Whispered Confessions in Whispering Galleries

Written with @accio-ogdens, who I would love to whisper secrets to in holy places


Draco’s sprawled out on his bed, Harry’s cheek resting on his chest as Draco plays with his hair. They’ve had a lazy Saturday morning, and haven’t yet decided what they will do today. His voice still rough from sucking Harry off in the shower earlier, Draco asks, “How would you feel about going back to London?“ 

Harry sets his chin on Draco to smile up at him. "I’d definitely feel good about that.” Trailing his fingers over Draco’s ribs, he asks, “Anything particular in mind?”

Draco smiles and tugs one of Harry’s curls. “Well, we missed a lot of the more iconic London places last time, so I thought we could go to central London. Admire the architecture, do some shopping, fuck in front of some Muggles. That sort of thing.”

Letting out a peal of laughter, Harry nods against Draco’s chest happily. “Sounds absolutely perfect.” He slaps Draco’s flank lightly and pushes himself up onto his knees, pouting down at Draco’s stretched out form. “Other than it meaning we’ll have to get dressed.”

“We don’t have to. We could go like this, cause a riot.”

The corner of Harry’s mouth quirks up. "On second thought, let’s get dressed.” He leans down to press a quick kiss to Draco’s sternum before pushing himself off the bed. “I’m not keen on the idea of letting everyone look at you.”

“Oh?” asks Draco slyly, sitting up to watch Harry’s arse sway as he walks over to his trunk. “And why is that?”

Harry picks up a pair of jeans and steps into them, turning around to cock an eyebrow at Draco as he zips himself up. “Because you’re mine,” he says simply.

Draco’s smile spreads across his face, and he glances down as he tries to collect himself. “I am,” he agrees, voice soft. “Absolutely.” He slides off his bed, moving over to kiss Harry’s shoulder before heading to his own trunk and frowning at the contents. After much speculation, he settles for skinny black trousers, a grey sweater, and his favorite leather jacket. He sits on top of his trunk as he tugs on his combat boots, saying conversationally, “Personally, I don’t mind if people get a look at you. I like to show off my assets.” 

Flushing, Harry shakes his head. “You have better assets,” he mutters, pulling on a black v-neck and a charcoal jumper. His eyes widen as he glances back at Draco. “How is it you always look so bloody hot?”

Draco grins, jumping to his feet and tugging Harry in for a hard kiss. “Because I am so bloody hot,” he murmurs, sucking enthusiastically on Harry’s tongue. “And don’t disparage your assets. They’ve been very good to me.” Draco smacks Harry’s arse sharply.

Keep reading

A glittering feather mosaic made in Mexico around 1590 which probably hung in a roomful of exotic treasures owned by the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, in Prague.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston