Vision in Stone

by Earl Livings

Watch. Cunning and muscle haven’t been enough. I am about to die.

There are only six soldiers left. We all bleed, though my wounds are far worse, for I have no armour. Still, I’ll take even more of them with me rather than be mutilated while I’m alive, as is their intention.

‘Who’s next?’ I shout.

They laugh.

‘You’re the one bleeding to death,’ says Darax. As always, he’s using his imitation command voice, a gruff tone that always becomes a rushed whine as he tries to finish his sentences without taking another breath. He’ll never make Captain, no matter how hard he tries. See, he stays in the middle of the pack. Typical.

‘Where’s that great warrior god you kept boasting about in the barracks?’ he says. ‘Probably snivelling under a rock somewhere.’

I point to the bodies lying nearby. ‘Valkor is feasting on their souls. And waiting for more.’ I gesture rudely. ‘So come on, you dog-brain cowards.’

Now comes a voice I don’t recognise, someone at the back. ‘Your god will have your soul soon, and the buzzards will have what’s left of your body after we’re done. Not even your mountain-goat mother will be able to recognise you. So say the Tablets of Thexlan.’

What would he know? Nobody has seen even a fragment for centuries.

‘Good one, Lors,’ Gerrot says. He’s their captain. His bellow stirs them: ‘But enough now.’

The laughter stops. The silence is of wind swirling dust around our boots.

I channel my rage, disregard my wounds and sink what breath I have into battle alertness: looking and listening without concentrating on anything other than being open. Relaxed eyes can quickly detect changes in opponent’s breath or movement in hip or sword-arm. Relaxed muscles can dodge, parry and strike more swiftly. With little fingers firm, other fingers like soft coils around the hilt, my elbows and wrists extend Firelash, my two-handed sword. Watch how I slant its tip towards Darax’s eyes. He won’t see the blow coming.

Lacquered joints of their armour clink as the soldiers spread out. I turn with Darax. No one is smiling. Everyone but me takes deep breaths. My breath slithers through my body.

Now comes music. Listen. The melody rends the air like a fatal wound.
Hear that grim voice, in a rising strain:

She haunts my days and steals my dreams,
The wheel of stars is her domain…

My mind shuffles memories: my mother bathing me as a child; my first night with a woman and her leaving me before I awoke; my first battle, and dying men calling for their lovers or their mothers; the first time I was badly wounded and I raged against death; the last time I closed my lover’s eyes.

Note the traces of tears in all our eyes.

Nobody moves. Everyone turns in the direction of the voice. We have no choice.

His shadow lunges down the dune I’d hoped earlier would hide me from the guards when my mount died. Unlucky in love, unlucky in war—this first time anyway, likely my last. His silhouette splits the sinking sun.
The guards gasp. I don’t have enough breath.

He isn’t mounted on a taor, the horse-like creature with wide webbed feet, bred by the Ancients to travel the desert of Chos. Here the sands are forever loose and swallow everything. See how the stranger’s footprints gape and fill instantly. Notice how the wind dies when it touches the flank of that dune. Nothing can survive here. No one can travel here, unless on a taor, or along one of the dried-up watercourses like the one we stand in. Unless one has Power.

He doesn’t stumble or hurry. He isn’t tall, is of slight build, and wears a dark travel-cloak pinned at the collar by a jewelled broach. There’s a long sword strapped to his back—see that eagle-hilt over his left shoulder. I wonder if he will help and, if so, which side. But something about the coldness in those dark eyes tells me he likes to watch.

His arrival gives me respite. My sword drops point first to the ground. I drop to my haunches, rest my head on the hilt, hands gripping the cross-arms.

The stranger’s muted footsteps stop about ten paces away. He strums the instrument half-hidden by his cloak and the sound chills me like the moment of orgasm when the woman and I seem to shatter and smother each other. Notice that smell like air after lightning.

The notes fade abnormally quickly and he speaks. ‘What have we here?’

I knew his voice would sound casual, had hoped for some steeliness, but am surprised by its detachment.

‘None of your business,’ Gerrot says. Notice the smarmy tone and the swagger as he faces the stranger, so typical of someone who has risen through the ranks to become commander of Valira’s private guard—by skill, of course; the quick stab from behind in a dark alley works wonders for one’s promotion prospects. I’ve never liked him, and was glad of the chance to join the royal guard, though I doubt now I’ll be able to show my skills there.

‘Leave while you can. We have a score to settle with this one.’

‘This looks like cruel sport.’

I’m preserving my strength, so I don’t look up; yet I’m certain his smile, like his voice, is of total disdain. See.

‘Yes, cruel sport. Six armoured men against one clad only in trousers.’

I look up, but can only muster a croak: ‘Nine.’

He laughs. ‘Yes, nine. Well done, Shareck. Your reputation does you a disservice. I would not have thought even one such as you would be still alive. I’m glad.’

Barely alive. Some wounds complain as I shift my stance to avoid muscles seizing up.

Boots scrape against pebbles. Gerrot stops a pace away from the musician, who hasn’t moved a muscle. The stranger wants this. Yet he hasn’t reached for his sword. He cradles his instrument, smiles, waits.

‘This man is a dangerous thief. He stole something from our mistress and must be punished.’

Valira liked having me around when her merchant father was away, and I was certainly willing at first. Yet my ambition being what it is, the opportunity to transfer to royal guard came just as I was getting bored with the lack of real action. I made the mistake of waiting to tell her my news after we were sweaty, was lucky to grab pants, boots and sword before her guards rushed into the room.

The stranger plucks a string and the watercourse shudders. I finally recognise what he’s playing: a mellamour, the triple-stringed instrument of travelling poets. Yet no mellamour I’d ever heard sounded as sorrowful as his.

‘What did he steal?’

‘What can’t be returned.’

I had to admire Gerrot; his tongue was quick when it needed to be. Another good skill for a gutter-climber.

The stranger emits a long belly laugh, though his eyes barely lose their gloom. ‘You are truly skilled. Warring and whoring.’

I can’t help but laugh also. ‘She’d lost it long ago.’ I cough out some blood.

‘And what is his punishment?’

See him adjust the tuning while watching Gerrot.

‘We are from Adiska and—’

‘Ah. I’ve seen enough one-handed pickpockets to know your laws. No wonder he chose to fight.’

Gerrot places his hand on the man’s chest. ‘So go! Or we’ll kill you too.’ He pushes.

The man has street-cunning, but lacks natural intelligence. He’s forgotten the sands of Chos.

The musician pivots his body and Gerrot lies sprawled on the ground. His men laugh. I laugh. The stranger smiles. That same smile, deadly because aloof.

Gerrot glares at his men and they quieten. I don’t, until I cough again.

See how the old riverbed pebbles beneath me are awash with a different liquid.

As the guard starts to scramble to his feet, his face the shade of bile mixed with blood, the musician throws him a bag that jingles.

‘I am sure you can arrange something that will satisfy your mistress. You have three bodies. Surely she would not know the difference.’

Not likely.

‘Why?’ Gerrot asks.

‘I belong to a sect that abhors violence. Let light embrace its own shadow first.’

That saying is from the ancient sect of Reverae. I had thought them long vanished, the Tablets with them, from what the tribal elders told me at my initiation.

I also know enough about the guard commander to realise that this act, though well meant, will cost both our lives. I push myself up and steady my stance.

Gerrot counts the glass tokens and grins. Here it comes.

He jumps back. Of course he would.

‘Kill them!’

He directs two men to him. Together they approach the stranger. The other three guards rush me.

Hwaert!’

With this sharp cry comes music. Hear it. The shriek of someone having molten glass poured over skin. I drop my sword and clamp hands over ears. No relief. The music rips through my skull, fetters me, twists me inside out. The sound accelerates, like a string being wound tighter and tighter, being plucked faster and faster. I pound at my head.

There is a touch at my forehead—feel it, cool like a balm during fever—and my screeching stops. See me on my knees.

The guards writhe on the ground, still screaming. I look up. The musician is beside me, still playing, still smiling. But see, is that a tear on his cheek? I can’t be sure. I breathe deeply, head right back. My throat is sore from my own screams.

The music stops and I sway a little as I stand. Though I am taller than my benefactor, broader too, I would never dare tackle him. I have confronted wizards before, but his Power is different. He is different. He knows it. It’s as if he scorns everything, including his own power and himself, making him more powerful because he does not care. I wonder what caused this.

What an ally. What an enemy.

‘Thanks,’ I whisper.

‘Not yet, Shareck.’

I look at the guards. Two of them are motionless on the ground; one of these is Darax. A pity. I would’ve delighted in sending him to Valkor. The other guards, Gerrot included—trust that bullish vitality —are struggling to their feet, weapons in hand.

‘Any more tricks, priest?’ Gerrot spits out. His face is milk-white, but anger and embarrassment return colour.

That smile again.

Gerrot waves over two men, leaving the reluctant last guard to me.

Our duel lasts only a few seconds. See my lunge, parry, overhead strike, underhand sweep that cuts his side (he’s only wearing leather armour) and the return thrust between ribs that finishes him off. He must have been more distressed by the music than I was. Or maybe the priest’s touch had healed my wounds a little. Or maybe the guard was inexperienced, for, as I stamp a foot on his chest, grab my sword and tug—hear the squelch of torn flesh and the grinding of sword on bone—I see that he is young, probably the one called Lors. Probably his first mission, too. Such is the warrior’s lot. Unlucky in war, probably too young for love.

I slump across his body. My wounds have opened up and I don’t have the strength to completely pull out my sword. I curse Valkor, my tribe’s god of strength and cunning, for failing me. I curse all gods and ancestors for failing me, because now I’m failing my ally. All I can do is watch, but not before I close the youth’s eyes. So much for Lors’ invocation of the Tablets of Thexlan, which are said not only to record history, but also somehow cause it.

‘So it is three,’ the priest says to no one in particular. ‘Always your influence, my rose.’

The guards circle him. The mellamour hangs by his left side. His sword is still sheathed. He turns slowly, always facing Gerrot. See me smile. This stranger knows men and combat.

A flick of a hand and I yell a warning.

The two guards charge, but meet only air. Their foe has leapt sideways between them, weapon in hand. Has a sword ever been drawn so fast? One guard sprays red onto sand. His upper half topples away from his lower half. Before the second one can turn, the point of the sword sticks out through his chest. The guard looks over his shoulder, mouths a word, then collapses to the ground.

The stranger turns towards Gerrot, sword held high. Blood slowly drips to the ground.

I shield my eyes from the crimson glare of sunlight about the weapon.

‘By the Tablets.’

See, the sword is made of glass. Yet no ordinary glass weapon could stand against a fire-hardened wooden sword, let alone the wizard-blessed weapon I knew Gerrot to posses, which is similar to my own.

But no ordinary glass weapon could have sliced a body in two.

The silence is of dribbling body juices and last twitching of limbs.

Once more I begrudge some admiration for Gerrot. The prospect of death has finally found him without the protection of a dark doorway or a squad of men, yet he shackles his fear with grimace and war cry. He charges. The fighters part and Gerrot’s sword is notched.

Their second clash lasts several minutes as Gerrot tries to beat down his opponent’s defence with strength and every dirty trick he’s picked up in the back streets of Adiska. To no avail. Hear the ringing of the strange sword rising in tone with each thud against wood.

Now the musician tires of this game. He takes the attack up to the commander and cuts, through armour even, there, the forearm, there, the left breast, and there, the right cheek. Gerrot’s face is contorted, his eyes frantic as he searches for escape. But there’s no escape from death or from this agony before death. There, the right shoulder, there, under the chin, and there, a kick—where did that come from?—that cracks ribs. Though my strength is ebbing and I can hardly bear to watch this torture, the display is mesmerising.

Then the sword parries one of Gerrot’s desperate strokes, circles low and decaps one knee. The commander starts to fall. He screams his rage. See how his eyes plead for deliverance. It comes. Before Gerrot hits the ground, the stranger flicks the sword out of the commander’s hand and snaps his own right leg up, ball of foot smashing side of head. There is a loud crack that echoes like lightning splitting a tree.

Before the last twitch the musician has sheathed his sword, retrieved his purse, and begun bandaging my worst wounds.

We find the guards’ mounts and leave, but not before the man has blessed each body. We ride along the watercourse till we find a suitable campsite. He props me against a boulder, starts a fire, cooks me a spicy broth using supplies from the saddles and some herbs from his pack. The liquid both relaxes and invigorates me. It’s good to be alive, especially with everything intact.

During all this he doesn’t speak. It’s as if the whole affair has drained him. I remember that tear and the blessings, wonder about his past.
When I see his face has calmed, I decide to speak. What do you say to someone who has saved your life? The obvious, of course.

‘Thanks for that. It was lucky you came or else I’d be feeding the buzzards.’ Most of me anyway. I shudder to think of what Valira would have done with her prize. She considers herself a gourmet.

‘It wasn’t chance that brought me here, Shareck. I’ve been hunting you a long time.’

See how my nape hairs bristle. I recall moments during the few months before arriving in Adiska when my spine tingled like internal goose-bumps. Why hadn’t I listened to those warnings? Probably because I’d thought them merely the thief’s or mercenary’s feelings of guilt. Why hadn’t I realised the stranger had used my name during the confrontation with the guards? Pain and fatigue, obviously.

I remember my sword is still in that youth’s body.

I grab the musician’s arm.

‘Who are you and why do you hunt me?’

‘I am known as Raeka.’ He shifts his arm and I am too weak to retain my grip. ‘I need your services. And, since I’ve just saved your life, you could not possibly deny me a bargain.’

Feel that tingle coursing through my body. I slump against the boulder.

‘I’ve used my skills in exchange for gold, food, whatever I’ve needed, but I don’t see what I could have that would be useful to someone like you.’

‘I’m talking about your fighting spirit, not your fighting skills, though the two are related. However, the place I’ll be sending you to is a place of spirit, and yours will be measured there.’

‘Why me?’

‘Since your departure from the southern mountains, your fame has grown. You have achieved much in your short life. You might have achieved much more.’

I don’t like the way he says that and try to move. Nothing. What was in that broth?

‘It’s no use struggling. Your journey has begun.’

‘Where?’

‘To meet someone. Someone I wish to see again.’

‘Who?’

‘My muse. She will like you. Strong. Fierce. Arrogant. Yes, she will like this offering.’

I will my body to move. Nothing.

‘But you spoke of a bargain.’

Raeka nods.

‘You will enjoy your reward before you die. If not for me you would not be alive to enjoy her. Look at it as a few extra hours you would not have had.’ He twists his brooch. ‘Delight in those hours. They will be beyond compare. In death you will be content.’

He picks up the mellamour. As he begins to tune it I recognise snatches of joyous love songs that in his hands become twisted with despair. Listen. Is that sorrow, which is like a bird with a broken wing falling to the ground, a result of his playing, of the instrument, or of both?

I notice the strings are different from what I expect. Other instruments traditionally use gut for their strings, but never the mellamour. Yet, instead of pliable wizard glass, his strings are woven strands of black hair.

‘Why hair?’ Keep him talking long enough and the drug might wear off. Whatever his martial prowess, I wasn’t going to die easily. My fighting spirit, he’d called it.

He unpins his cloak and stares at the broach for a long moment.

‘It’s all I have left of my beloved.’

He closes his eyes, as if recalling something. I focus my willpower and feel a slight movement in my left foot. More time needed.

I look up and see he hasn’t moved. He’s breathing heavily. See that furrowed brow. No simple act of remembrance this. He’s preparing for something arduous.

‘Why didn’t you kill Gerrot with your sword?’

His eyes snap open. He gives me that smile and my body, what I can feel of it, splits into thousands of tiny spinning daggers that shred each other. He knows my game.

‘He was not worthy of the Thulblade. Neither were the others, but at least they were honest soldiers. He was an arrogant fool.’

I can’t disagree with his logic.

‘So, who’s worthy of the sword?’

‘Arteoz.’

‘Who?’

‘The first Dremaan. An Ancient.’

‘Then he’s long dead.’

‘I have to be sure.’

‘What’s a Dremaan?’

‘One who fashions worlds.’

Two toes now.

‘Why kill someone so gifted?’

‘My business.’

‘But I thought your sect abhorred killing?’

‘I belong to many sects. Many belong to me.’

Puzzled, I hesitate a moment. One foot now. I have to go on, even at risk of annoying him.

‘What does Thulblade mean?’

‘I don’t know. I will discover that when I find Arteoz.’

‘What is it made of?’

‘A rare hardened crystal of the Ancients. I don’t know its purpose, though I have discovered some of its abilities.’

Both feet. ‘And what . . .’

Again that smile.

‘She is ready for you. No more time wasting. I admire your stubbornness, yet not even your famous vitality could dissipate the effects of the drug for another hour at least.’

He strums the mellamour and the chord seems to cocoon my body. I try to move. Nothing.

He sings, the notes precise like a child skipping down a cobbled street. His voice seems to echo itself:

I have scoured the silent seasons,
I have drenched myself in dreams,
I have stared through dead men’s eyes,
And found you always before me . . .

I become disembodied. There’s nothing for my will to touch. I drift on the waves of his magic.

He sings, and I feel a presence in the song. The moment I sense this, I become substantial again, but only in spirit form. See me floating above my body. See my body and the desert of Chos disappear. See my spirit flung high on the crescendo of Raeka’s song.

Then I see her. Look. Pillow breasts. Thighs curving to the dark flower under her belly. Long pale arms that reach out for me. Cropped hair. Eyes a brilliant blue and as large as two moons. Lips red as blood and parted a little. I want her to moan.

I grasp what little hair she has and twist her beneath me. My hands explore her as hers explore me, then I am sliding into her as if I’ve always been there. She rakes my spirit-back with nails like rose-thorns and the pain drives me harder. Her teeth and tongue nip and heal countless times and I return like for like. I thrust and arch. She arches and thrusts and wraps arms and legs around me, pulling me deeper, holding me tighter. I do not know if she’s the singer’s muse, the summoned spirit of his beloved, if they be two different beings, or some spirit woman he has conjured from moonlight and desert dust.

She yearns for me and I crave everything of and from her. Nothing else matters. Watch. I am a demi-god loving a goddess and the universe is our bed, the energies of each orgasm flinging new worlds into the immense star-spaces about us, within us. And it seems with each orgasm that my spirit is being refined, that I’m becoming more of a god the more I drive myself into her, the more worlds I father with my essence.

In the midst of such ecstasy I dimly sense another entity. The singer.

Through me he has become part of us. It is as if he were borrowing those things from me he could not supply himself, some sort of yearning for life, for living it, for creating it.

Anger fires my being, and I realise my spirit is in danger of completely vanishing. No more would I let his music thrill me and chill me. No more would I let him use me. No more would I allow myself to enjoy the goddess, no matter how blissful these last moments. No more would I let them use me.

Her lips and tongue seek mine. She wraps her arms and legs tighter. Her teeth clamp onto my shoulder. She locks her groin to mine. But my anger erupts like a boiling sun, and all the deep spaces about us, within us, are scattered. I wrench myself away from her. She hisses her displeasure. I know not to glance back at her, know somehow that her look would destroy.

Somewhere far below I feel my mortal legs move. See.

I find myself tumbling in a void that is churning with her wrath. I dive through jagged laceworks of crimson incandescence that I know would blister me, if not incinerate me, were I to touch them. The air between shuffles planes of heat and light, the energies threatening to spin me out of control or shred me. I see a bright shape below me as I twist to avoid a laceration of space. I summon up the last vestiges of will and anger and burst towards the descending form. I grasp the sheath of music that protects the singer and ride it back to my waiting body. I hear a screech of outrage from behind me. Hear it, an immortal woman scorned. I know she’ll seek retribution. Whether it will be from the singer or from me I don’t know.

Slowly I become conscious of my body. I hear Raeka packing his things. Let him think me dead or so enamoured of the goddess I am no danger to him.

I test each of my limbs. They move, see, but not freely enough yet. I must rest more, must time my one chance for revenge. Then I remember my sword stuck in that guard’s body.

I peer through slit eyes. Raeka is turned away from me. Is that sobbing? See how his body shudders. This man perplexes me, but I must have his death.

Behind him is his blade. The mellamour is off to the side, too far away for him to strike a mind-numbing chord. I count to a hundred as he sobs intermittently.

I take a deep breath, relax completely, and spring.

My hand grasps the hilt of the ancient weapon and whips it from the scabbard. Raeka begins to dive away. What incredible reflexes. He’s almost out of range when I ram the sword through his back. He makes no sound. I fall to my knees, but have enough strength to thrust my arms in the air and howl my war cry to Valkor and the stars. No goddess will take revenge on me now. Let her have her former lover, no matter how unsuitable he was first time around.

I gulp cool night air. I thank Valkor for my birthright of strength and courage. Now, no ambition will be too small for me. See that triumphant face, that emperor’s face.

I choke as something hard edges my throat. Hear that dead man’s rasping breath at my ear, his sword pressed hard. See my eyes open wider and wider to find him there.

‘How?’ I gurgle.

‘This blade cannot kill a Dremaan. That is the test and the curse.’

He pauses, and I look for escape. There’s none. Unlucky in love, in war.
I remember Gerrot’s desperate eyes. See how I close mine, how I slow my breathing, how I wait.

I won’t beg.

‘I should kill you, but I tire of killing. Fate has decreed your escape from Her, but do not think it a kind fate. I know from experience.’

I see starlight swirl in the glass blade.

His voice is low and weary. ‘Mortal life is dull, once touched by Her. That will be Her revenge on you—to seek always that excitement in war and love that you had with Her, and never find it.’ The blade drops a little, but not enough for me to take advantage. ‘You may conquer the whole world, warrior—in fact, I know you will—but you will never be happy. See.’

He shows me the broach. Embedded in an intricate mesh of silver metal is a polished rock veined with crystal. It shimmers in brilliant violet as Raeka turns it. I see battle scenes and triumphant marches. Hear those screams swallowed by laughter and cheers. Is that me in half shadow accepting the roar of crowds and the offerings of countless cities? For a moment I am there. I smell sweat and perfume, taste the sweet dribble of wine on soft flesh, feel my hands plunging into the cold symmetry of jewels.

‘The Tablets do not lie’, he says. ‘But they can be cruel. Those visions were not there before.’

He lifts the sword from my throat and walks away. See no wound in his back.

‘I do not pity you,’ he says, after a pause. ‘I do not have enough for myself.’

‘Is that why you search for Arteoz?’

He shrugs. ‘I have searched for so long that my memory is dull.
Sometimes I think that Time has layered my memory so that I cannot recall what happened yesterday yet can sometimes remember what happened a century ago, but little beyond that.’

A century. See his unlined face, the tight skin on the back of his hands; he is no more than thirty. He is mad. From love, from weariness, from too many days staring into the cold furnace of the sands of Chos.

I remember something. ‘How do you expect to kill him, if the sword cannot kill any Dremaan?’

‘I’ll worry about that when we meet. The sword will tell me he is Dremaan. Maybe he constructed it. Maybe he can turn it against me. Maybe only a Dremaan wielding the sword can kill a Dremaan.’
He stares at the blade for a moment and shakes his head.

‘What’s wrong?’ I ask.

‘I suddenly recalled a dream, a memory—Or was it a vision?—in which this was broken and all the worlds were destroyed.’

He lifts it to catch moonlight along its length, and then sheathes it. ‘No matter. Until I find Arteoz, I seek my love, who may or may not be that goddess. I seek the secrets of this sword. I seek the truth of all, though philosophers hereabouts say there are no grand truths anymore. If Death finally changes its mind, maybe I will discover the answers, although all of Time has not given me one yet. Until then, I search.’

He buckles his sword and shoulders his mellamour.

Snatches of legends heard in the barsongs of a dozen cities in which I’ve thieved and soldiered come immediately to mind.

‘Who are you really?’

That smile. ‘I have had many names. Raeka, Myrthrax, El’Khestor. I will have many more.’

He leaves me to fading coals and music:

Our fate is love, our fate is death,
No fools deny the gifts of gods . . .

As with his other songs, I can’t resist tears. Though he tried to kill me, I see that it was from grief, anguish and a thousand other emotions I know nothing about for I haven’t lived long enough to experience them, won’t live long enough. I pity him and his quest, for I remember the chorus of a song I’d heard about this strange undying man. Some say the song is the doom an old witch-woman laid upon him; some say he wrote it himself. Others say the Old Gods sing it in their sleep:

Condemned to wander untold lands,
Forever seeking Lila’s Dance.

I pity Raeka and hope he finds Lila. Then I remember my dance with Her and know that pang he implied.

I consider for a moment the possibility of helping him find the answers to some of his questions, of helping him find the wisdom that will lessen the pain for both of us. Then I remember his broach. I have a different fate, so the Tablets say. They don’t lie, though often they hide the truth. Maybe one day I’ll find my own piece and discover how to forget Her, even if it means finding some way to kill Raeka.

Meanwhile, unlucky in love, and the whole world to conquer, I mount one of the taors and go back for my sword. Dawn is not yet a glimmer on the horizon. You cannot see my hands tremble even though I grip the reins tightly. But I can feel them.

You can feel them too as you hold my fragment and watch the rider glance up at the stars. But give it back quickly. I need to see it all again.

Watch.

The End