She hears it. A phantom hum of a River that isn't here. An illusion that murmurs in her silver ears about something gone and that she (stubbornly) refuses to forget. The ancient valley that Aletta once called home no longer exists but she still hears it from time to time - the ghost song of a waterfall that ushered in the happiest chapters of her life. Echoes of a life well-lived that she carries with her.
(A love. Children. And she - she! - a Regent to a kingdom.)
When dawn breaks in Nerine, the light dances with the gray stone and the autumn fog. Not the most illuminating view, she has come to learn but still; the mist invites her to explore.
There are very few times that Aletta can recall being made to feel as small as she does when she stands beneath the Taigan canopy. The feeling that arises is similar to a few moments - having her breath stolen standing atop a particularly proud mountain, a peak that kept company with the clouds. A wide, beautiful beach that when she (a horse of no powers) waded in, the water was such of striking clarity that she could see the bottom. The vibrant green of aquatic plants, the tropical splash of color that came from the schools of fish. The feeling doesn't come often but when it does, the wanderer calls and Aletta answers.
The years fall away when it does. It's easier to remember who she was before; the pull and the tug of traveling have come easier than she thought they would. Years of staying in the same place - of waiting - have perhaps made her spirit more eager to move. (Perhaps, the gray mare is not as immovable as she once thought she was.)
Aletta hears it, though. The call of the River is louder and more profound than the stirring in her chest. As daybreak reveals an afternoon, the wanderer moves through the imperial trees of Taiga (though she takes her time, a few trees give her pause to admire their age and height). The sound of the rushing water feels like an apparition; when the wind blows one way, it comes. The small mare would follow it, turn a corner of a trail and the noise would disappear. Rivers aren't apparitions though, she knows. They weave and wind and cut through landscapes just as her Mountains rise and fall to valleys.
A river is not a ghost.
When the might of Taiga's trees grow smaller, the River grows louder. (Proving her right - streams do not haunt.) It's not only the voice of the rushing rapids she hears, though. A younger, brighter one that belongs to a gleaming youth who shines almost too intensely in the autumn sunlight. (He could be a dazzling leaf himself, part of some proud Oak or Dogwood on display for the season.) The older mare stops, blinking once to adjust to the sight of him. The horns, a gleaming star on his chest, his (glowing?) flaxen mane and tufted tail. Aletta quirks her brow slightly to the patrolling Taigan, thinking she caught the last of his words.
"Cursing in company?"
Briefly, she looks away from him to admire what the growing youth had been looking at. Mountains, not so different from the ones that the storyteller had left behind, pierces the veil of Aletta's memories and softens her face as she regards the view.
we turned our back on ordinary from the start
show me the sky falling down
photo credit to charlie---x