willow bough

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For @dadrunkwriting​. Pairing: Solavellan (semi-NSFW)


The first time she danced for him, they were alone. And he was unprepared, and drunk on wine and regrets, and he leaned back - sprawled, really - in the chair in front of the fire in her quarters. Yarn mountained around in baskets of all sizes. The brown fur of the rug was warm under his toes. Something - a knitting needle, he ventured to guess - dug into his hip, but he didn’t dare move.

He couldn’t move because he did not want to distract her. Because he knew, instinctively, that moving would pull her to him, like a hunter circling close to shifting prey.

And he couldn’t have her drawn to him. He couldn’t watch her slink up to him on her hands and knees, have her climb up his lap, feel her pressing her hands up his thighs. He couldn’t watch her toss her head; if she looked up at him, if her eyes met his… if she did that, he would lunge… 

He fought just such an urge now as she pressed her ass, sultry, snake-like, up and back until she was upright, her knees spread far apart, her feet touching in a point, her toes curling and overlapping one another. She pressed her hips forward, then she dropped them to one side, and pulled them back: swivel, circle, thrust, while her hands played over her thighs. They bunched in her shirt to tease glimpses of her stomach. They pushed meaningfully over the rise of her breasts; she explored her curves, undulating, her body always in motion: becoming motion. He closed his mouth. She moved however she wished, taking only occasional queues from the music drifting up from the training yard. Solas heard his heart drumming with the intoxicating rhythm of her body: circling, dizzying, slow - sensual.

It was not the first time he had seen Pangara dance. So he had known she had musicality, power; she’d spoken of the traditions of dance in her clan. Shown him some of what had survived. 

But this… this confidence. Intimacy. It was the first time he had seen her dance like this.

Her eyes were closed. She hadn’t looked at him since she had first uncurled on the pelt, dragging her slow touch. She didn’t seem to care whether he stayed or went. He clenched the rim of his cup, hanging empty from the tips of his fingers. His throat felt dry. He cast his mind back furiously, his brow hot, his other fist clenched on his knee, trying to think. But nothing that he could bring to mind had taken place to prompt this. To prompt this.

Just the music, swaying melancholy in the night - a few faint notes curling up with the draft.

She gathered her short hair in her hands and twisted her fingers. Thrusting up, she tugged her head back to expose her neck. Her shirt pulled up as she raised her arms, teasing the pale line of her belly in the firelight again.

When he remembered to breath again it was a loud, desperate gulp for air, embarrassing only because she noticed. Her lip twitched in just the barest acknowledgement. He swallowed. Then he lost sight of her face as she extended her arm overhead and dipped back, back… back - her hips thrust forward, her soft stomach fully exposed. He hungrily, guiltily traced the length of her arched body with his eyes, poetry comparing her to the arc of the moon, to the hanging willow bough, dying on his tongue as he lost all ability to speak. The cup trembled in his grasp.

Arms reaching, she slid onto the back of her head, feet arching to lift her from the ground and then somehow she was backflipping over one shoulder, fluid. She hunched over her knees. She extended her legs up, out, over, like a fan, or the beat of a butterfly’s wings. Her eyes were still closed, her face peaceful, and he felt his own mounting arousal pressing in his breeches. But he would not interrupt her for the world, for any world.

He could hear it when she breathed in. Her breathes punctuated her form - when twisting, her exhale was loud, when stretching, she breathed in. It felt like she took all the air in the room into her body. He felt himself bulging, felt the restraint of the fabric of his breeches. He tried to steady his breath, tried to close his eyes - but he couldn’t look away from her. His breath came quick, shallow. He realized he almost felt like crying, but the moment he became aware of this his heart iced over and he clenched the fist resting on his knee.

Still, she danced - and he fell in love with everything she was without him. He loved the firmament she traced with her body; the solid weight of her limbs and the atmosphere she set on fire with her breath: in, out - the whole room breathing with her. The night breathing and moving in the slow, hypnotizing ways she moved. She made the fire her echo. She made herself into something older, stranger, more wild than any god.

He watched her dance on her knees, and when she told him to come he did, and he knelt to touch her lips.


Later, when he would take her hand in Val Royeaux, he would put his fingers on her chin. He would shield her moment of self-doubt from the rest of the party (she would not want them to see her cry). 

He would say to her, low and intense, “I have faith in you.”

And she would not know what he really meant. She would not be able to hear his words like a confession, would not remember this conversion, would not see the yearning, hot like worship, in his eyes.

Instead, she would look at the rift in her hand and say, bitterly, “But I don’t.”

But he would remember this, and he would know it was a lie.

in muted light

@summonerskies prompted azalea, fragile and ephemeral passion, for Perc’ahlia, pre-68

Syngorn was a tangled mess of memories and pain. A dull, throbbing ache that wouldn’t let loose its stranglehold no matter how much Vex tried to tell herself she’d moved past it, she’d grown stronger. It was a part of her, even if she wanted to dig it out with her dirty, chipped nails and scarred hands. Hands that didn’t belong to a proper elven lady, whatever the fuck that meant.

No, the second she walked through those gates and saw the familiar elegant streets and fine armor of the Syngorn Guard, she was fourteen and angry. Angry, and embarrassed, and desperately trying not to want their attention or approval. She was a frightened girl, not the slayer of dragons, not the woman who’d been to hell and back, almost literally.

But for all its shadowy drag on the memories she’d locked tight behind a veil of winks and sarcasm, building her own armor out of shoddy confidence and charm, it was a damn beautiful city.

Keep reading

“The melancholy river bears us on. When the moon comes through the trailing willow boughs, I see your face, I hear your voice and the bird singing as we pass the osier bed. What are you whispering? Sorrow, sorrow. Joy, joy. Woven together, like reeds in moonlight.”
― Virginia Woolf

“Red Maples” - Sara Teasdale

In the last year I have learned
How few men are worth my trust;
I have seen the friend I loved
Struck by death into the dust,
And fears I never knew before
Have knocked and knocked upon my door —
“I shall hope little and ask for less,”
I said, “There is no happiness.”

I have grown wise at last — but how
Can I hide the gleam on the willow-bough,
Or keep the fragrance out of the rain
Now that April is here again?
When maples stand in a haze of fire
What can I say to the old desire,
What shall I do with the joy in me
That is born out of agony?

The melancholy river bears us on. When the moon comes through the trailing willow boughs, I see your face, I hear your voice and the bird singing as we pass the osier bed. What are you whispering? Sorrow, sorrow. Joy, joy. Woven together, like reeds in moonlight.
3

Black and white silk houmongi with weeping willow and stream, from my personal collection. This is the third kimono I bought and by then I already knew what I wanted in a kimono: bold yet elegant, with an interesting motif and a “plot twist.” In this case, the striking black and white with the willow boughs running ramshackle across the entire kimono and an asymmetrically dyed smoky lavender lining. 

The melancholy river bears us on. When the moon comes through the trailing willow boughs, I see your face, I hear your voice and the bird singing as we pass the osier bed. What are you whispering? Sorrow, sorrow. Joy, joy.
—  Virginia Woolf, “The String Quartet”

To This Brook Ophelia Came. Arthur Rackham. From Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb, 1909.

“To this brook she came one day when she was unwatched, with garlands she had been making, mixed up of daisies and nettles, flowers and weeds together, and clambering up to hang her garland upon the boughs of the willow, a bough broke, and precipitated this fair young maid, garland, and all that she had gathered, into the water…”

The melancholy river bears us on. When the moon comes through the trailing willow boughs, I see your face, I hear your voice and the bird singing as we pass the osier bed. What are you whispering? Sorrow, sorrow. Joy, joy. Woven together, like reeds in moonlight.
—  Virginia Woolf, The String Quartet

Alban Elfed (The Light of the Water)

The Autumn Equinox for three days from the sunset around September 23rd, a festival of abundance and of balancing gain and loss.

Animal Salmon.

Tree White poplar and Hazel.

Herbs and incenses Ferns, geranium, myrrh, pines and Solomon’s seal.

Candle colours Blue for autumn rain and green for Earth Mother

Crystals Soft blue crystals, such as blue lace agate, blue beryl and azurite.

Symbols Chooses coppery, yellow or orange leaves, willow boughs. harvest fruits such as apples, nuts, root vegetables, and pottery or china geese. Also use as a focus knots of corn, wheat or barley from the early harvest, and copper or bronze coins to ensure enough money and happy family relationships.

Autumn Equinox rituals are for mending quarrels, for the fruition of long-term goals, for reaping the benefits of earlier input, for love and relationships, especially concerning the family, adult children, brothers and sisters, for friendship and for issues of material security for the months ahead.

Personal Activities

  • Work by the sea at sunset and cast as pebbles into the dying light of the water all regrets, resentments, sorrows, failures and unfinished business from previous months that you do not wish to carry forward into winter. (If you can’t go to the sea, perhaps using a bowl or cauldron to represent the sea, standing in your garden or balcony or by a window at sunset cast the pebbles into your vessel of water. Then dispose of the water and it’s contents off your property)
  • Take a bowl containing equal numbers of nuts and seeds and work outdoors. Name a success or achievement that has materialised by the Autumn Equinox and eat the nut (use something else if you can’t eat nuts like berries for example, whatever works for you); then name a failure or loss and cast a seed into the ground. Continue until you have eaten and shed the same number and can think of no more; bury the rest beneath a fruit- or nut-bearing tree.
  • Sweep up autumn leaves into a pile; jump up and down in it as you did when you were a child, expressing joy at the promise of the coming days, and naming opportunities and all you can achieve in the winter. Finally scatter the leaves and let the good and the bad, the gains and the losses, be carries equally on the wind.
  • Prepare a feast of fruits and vegetables, of bread, cider and barley wine, or fruit cup, and warming soups, and hold an equinox party. Make an offering to the land of barley wine, ale or mead, and bread, as you pass around a communal cup, send individual blessings to people and places where there is dearth.
  • Donate old clothes and food to homeless shelters. Give away possession you no longer need to friends or thrifts shops.
  • Contact anyone from whom you are estranged, sending autumn flowers or a plant you have nurtured, or a basket of produce as a peace offering if your reconciliatory gesture are rejected, at least you can move forward knowing you tried. Alternatively, help an organisation  concerned with peace.

Source The Modern-Day Druidess by Cassandra Eason

The melancholy river bears us on. When the moon comes through the trailing willow boughs, I see your face, I hear your voice and the bird singing as we pass the osier bed. What are you whispering? Sorrow, sorrow. Joy, joy. Woven together, like reeds in moonlight.
—  Virginia Woolf