He knelt down low beside the spring. it bubbled and spat, gurgling.
The ground was rocky, some kind of dried out quartz. It was cold. She didn't feel invited to rest upon it. It did not sway to the breeze, no matter how strong. it did not dance as the grasses did at home. It did not breathe and grow and die as the plants of the feilds.
The rock stood firm. The rock was ever slow to change; but change it did. The ages that the spring had pulsed, it wore away the stone to a smooth pool of crystal glass. She felt it, wet and icey, but perfectly smooth and glistening. The moonlight hopped accross the moving waters. It's silvery light dulled by the pre-dawn sunglow behind the horizon's edge.
The sun that never rose. It never reached above those white peaks, but always cast a golden edge to them and a yellowish blush to the dark grey clouds overhead.
The land which never saw full day or full night. Where the sun hid always from view and the moon came and went as it pleased. This land where the grass could not grow. Only the moss grew. Grew on the cold rock crystal where it lapped up the freezing spring waters which churned below ground.
His eyes drank it in, reflected it back. The silvery orbs which seemed both to be endless pupils and yet pupiless. Silvery like their moon. The other nations did not understand such a race who lived under paleness and praised water and sky as perfection. They judge what they do not understand.
He sat down on the rock, exhaled. The warm southern wind was rising up over the hills and tossing the seas beyond. Those seas that were so dark and full. So different from this creek of clear water flowing down over rock of white with nothing to slow or touch it but the moss. There is a kind of purity which comes with such thing, lonely and forsaken things, things yet untouched and unbroken. Something cold and lost and not amongst the living.
There was a beauty in the creek, in the spring, in the rock. If one looked close enough, there might be a string of agate with dendritic veins coursing underfoot the moss, tying the living to it. And when one looked into the crystal rocks, worn away by the streams, he could see that little peice of encapsulated wonder. Even amongst the rock there was life. There was change, there was beauty.
But one did not have to come to the secluded springs to find that beauty. It was an empty palatte for life to be written on, a place to clear the mind and start a new, to remind oneself that beauty does not really live in the cold spring at all. the spring could purify, but the holiness of the spring was not enough to satisfy the soul. There was something more. Something warm, filling, and wondorous. The dendrite was still locked away within the stone and needed to be found, to be freed of it's shell.
Purification did not come through seeking vanities in life. But beauty and joy did not come through solitude within oneself, either.
"I wonder if she ever longs for something beyond purity? Does the purification strengthen or wear away the soul as the waters beat down year after year...?"
They said she was the wanderer of the waters, the one kept from the bariers of land and life. But they also say that she appeared there, at the side of the fallen Aodh, as if a ghost. The only weeper at his doom.
"If she is a ghost, I wonder why she still lingers there...?"
A ghost. A spirit. A wind. A voiceless cry which is felt but unheedable by its very nature.
That's what happens to a person too obsessed with the dead.
But she is also keeper of the dead. Lady Fabia. And yet Lady Ceile and Lady Fabia were in no way alie, except in their veneration. But where Lady Ceile had only mourning and no power to aid, Lady Fabia was the attendant of the shrine on top of the hill in Farpass. She wasn't a legend, though. She had such a warm smile. Warm. It glowed. And when she prayed, it was as if all the peace on the world descended and blazened the candles in the dim icon-filled room. In such a place surrounded by death, she was more alive than the living.
How did she do that?
How did she come to sympathize with the grey-eyed, pale Aestalians who dwell by the moss encrusted rcks of white and silver moon-glow? When all the others in her land made war against such a race, she looked kindly upon them and prayed for them.
What was this? These times in which sun and moon collided in the sky and sent them into war...
...Back to war.