[personal profile] project2501

I howl like the wind across the desolate tundras of her planet. I tear in anguish through the snowbound mountain passes. I scream my loneliness to the frozen ocean and the silent stars. But always, in the end, I return to the Palace, to remember.

My kind left here long ago, abandoned me to my love and her fate. Without them, the winters grew steadily colder. Soon, her people began to suffer. Every spring, there were fewer. Fewer women with her high cheekbones. Fewer men with her dark, fierce eyes. Fewer children to echo her laughter from the icy peaks. And one chill spring (before our inexorable spin into nothingness had culminated in this seasonless, unending night)... one chill spring, I found that the last few had died. My tears turned to ice on their frozen skin.

Always, in the end, I return to the Palace. The very face of her planet has been scarred by my rage and my sorrow; but here, I walk softly through the crumbling rooms. The carved ivory walls, worn smooth by so many centuries of icy wind, are finally beginning to crack. The gaping hole of sky that was the Great Window has become a mouth of shattered glass, twisted teeth of metal lattice jutting up into the perpetual night. The glittering glass fragments crunch as I kneel, running them through my fingers like gems. Here she stood, and here she spun, and

the moon silvered her silhouette as she turned her face toward the heavens. She waited for me on the highest deck of the Star Chamber -- a circular platform of polished ivory set high up near the Window. I could have come in through the glass, descending like her angel; instead, I entered silently from below, so I could watch her.

The warnings of my kin meant nothing to me, not then. What power have words in the face of a love so true? She took me for an angel, yet I lack the power of divination. Had I been able to foretell all that would happen; had I seen, then, the illness that would take her people, the unending night, the ice-crystals on her eyelashes; then, perhaps, I would not have

stood there watching her, entranced. Her alabaster skin glowed in the moonlight as she spun. She wore a cloak of white feathers; it spread out behind her like a wing. Behind her, the stars glowed, preternaturally bright and clear in that winter cold. The Window filled all the ceiling and most of the walls. The moon was huge and silver, almost directly overhead. And she stood, and she spun, and I have never seen anything as beautiful.

I ascended the ivory steps, one after the other, until I reached the highest platform, there under the Window. She was so small and white and mortal, standing there under that infinity of stars. So I took her in my arms, and I flew us (on wings of white feather, exactly as she wanted) up, up into that sky. I flew us above the ragged streamers of even the highest clouds; I took her as close to the stars as I dared. Her dark eyes glittered like shards of glass.

And so, without a hint of remorse, my own kin carried out my sentence. "You have chosen your prison," they said, as they tied me with the only chains that would hold. We do not regret, we do what must be done. They left me here, left me to spend a lifetime wandering a frozen planet, alternating between prayers and imprecations. The heavens are empty now, in any case; and a lifetime, for us, is a very, very long time.

I lay bound and helpless for a short time -- only her entire lifetime, and most of her children's. Time passed, and the chains melted away. Now I have my freedom, if only that. I am free to howl across the desolate tundra, to wander the echoing hallways of the Palace, to visit the frozen corpses of her descendents in their tombs of ivory and ice.

My kin have left me to my folly; my beloved and all her people have become but memory. But the stars glitter, as ever -- in the sky, and on the floor of the Star Chamber, where I kneel to remember her. My hands are bleeding. My hands are full of stars.
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