I thought he appeared as if from nowhere, but then I realised it was I who’d moved. All around me was a meadow, ringed by trees. I wore sunlight and gossamer. Everything felt poised, somehow, on the brink of something. He looked so familiar, I asked him if we’d met.
He reminded me: we’d met by the river, in Ardan’s shadow, and he taught me how to look for the Mother. I laughed then, for all that came back to me was how fascinated I’d been by his ears, ears with orbs that changed colour according to his mood.
And then things changed. Time began to ebb and flow. He told me he had called for his opposite, his equal. “Hail the Queen,” he said.
“I can’t be the Queen,” I said. For a moment, all I could remember was Gwythyr’s touch, freezing cold against me. Then his hand caught my chin; he told me to stop flitting. He called me Light One. For that moment, memories faded and all I could see were his golden eyes. “I asked the Mother to bring me my opposite…I asked her to bring me the Seelie Queen, for we have work to do…and Changes to bring about. She brought me you,” he said.
He kissed me.
He kissed me, and something awoke that it seemed I’d always known but had been sleeping for a little while. Ivy grew down my arms, my legs. I knew then the work we had to do.
“There are so few of us left,” I said. “We’ll have to grow what we have, plant what we can.”
Again, he said, “Hail the Queen,” as if he were waiting for the knowledge to sink in and take root in me. By this time, he was touching me, and so many things were beginning to take root in me it might have been confusing. It might have been. But everything was clear and it felt as if I could see forever, look into the future, see the land growing beneath us, around us, see us making it.
I will say that we danced, and as we danced, the trees grew green around us and flowers sprang out of the ground.
I will say that we danced, and as we danced, we spoke only riddles and poetry. I will say that a lake hollowed itself into the Land, that a mountain built itself as we danced, and I will say that we played a game.
I will say that we danced, and as we danced, he lifted me as if I were a fallen branch and brought me back to the tree from which I’d fallen. I will draw us dancing, me as the maiden of dawn and him as the man of twilight.
I asked three riddles, and he answered them. No maiden ever wins the riddle game; at least that’s what the ballads tell.
Around us all the flowers of spring blossomed in an instant, and there was birdsong and the smell of freshly-turned earth, cut grass, ozone. A mist rose, and then rain.
Roses twined around my body; vines twined around his, and they tied us together as he lifted me into another dance, the oldest dance there is. There was thunder, and a shaking in the ground, and everything seemed to be a wave. Day turned to night and then to day again.
Around us, the forest lit with life. The stream that fed the lake became a river, and we were clothed in spray and roses and the vines of old summer. We turned to light.
We turned to light, and for a moment it seemed as if his wings were on fire. Both our bodies glowed as if we were the sun and moon together.
Then, we slept, and his lap was the pillow of the earth’s bosom. When the vines released us and we could walk again, we found a meadow and slept, and sleeping was good. I have never slept so well or been so exhausted or felt so alive.
There is so much more work to do, but we have begun a rebuilding.
He sang me a song from Shakespeare, and how he knew it I don’t know, but it was the right song. I know the forest watched over us as we slept, and the Mother herself would not have disturbed us.
Can’t you see where memories are kept bright?
Tripping on the water like a laughing girl.
Time in her eyes is spawning past life,
One with the ocean and the woman unfurled,
Holding all the love that waits for you here.
Catch us now for I am your future.
A kiss on the wind and we’ll make the land.
Come over here to where When lingers,
Waiting in this empty world,
Waiting for Then, when the lifespray cools.
For Now does ride in on the curl of the wave,
And you will dance with me in the sunlit pools.
We are of the going water and the gone.
We are of water in the holy land of water
And all that’s to come runs in
With the thrust on the strand.
—John Carder Bush
[NSFW RP log follows]
Janus appears as if from no where, his dully gleaming gold widening for a slight moment before they go hooded again, the orbs seeming to be weigh down with a heavy sadness. The dried holly crown on his head seems to whisper as the winds blow through it, the summer air fluttering the vines and leaves that crawl up his back and merge to form a leafy array of wings, the seemingly thin membranes fluttering behind him. He bends down and scoops up a handful of dirt, letting it sift through his fingers and fall back to the ground “It is Gone” He says conversationally to nothing before he holds up the last few grains and blows them into the air, murmuring “I obey you my Queen, even onto death. Soil of the Mother, find my other half, for as I lead the Unseelie, there must be a leader of the Seelie, bring them to me, for things need to change” The dirt seems to shift and melds, growing hard as if into diamonds, wings sprouting from them in a bright clarity, their crystalline voices ringing through the air before the bow.
Gwyneth finds herself in a meadow and clothes herself with sunlight, bringing down the breath of spring as she lets her bare feet touch the earth from time to time. There is a music about her, a dancing, and her hair like a crown of snow poised to melt. Where she’s going, she couldn’t say; how she got here is a bit blurry as well. But there in front of her… she tilts her head. “Have we– have we met?” Her eyes narrow, but only a little bit. “I can’t think how I came to — you certainly do look familiar.” Despite the confusion in the words themselves, the voice behind them seems incapable of producing anything but music.
Janus looks at the young fae woman who has been brought before him into the Summerlands, a space between themselves, the Season both for him and her. He is still, so still that he almost appears to be a statue, a handsomely carved wooden statues who’s eyes start to glow the deep burnished cold as he reacts to her power with his own. His voices when he finally speaks is deeps, so deep that it ripples and vibrates the marrow of the bones, a full sound that makes one feel as if they are wrapped up tight in a warm embrace, letting the sounds echo “We have. In a time that is not now in bodies that are not these we met. I taught you to look for the mother while sitting under a tree by the river” The little diamons come trickling back to him, snuggling against the rich warmth of his body before they fall to the ground, lifeless
Gwyneth laughs. “Oh, you!” She comes a few steps closer. “With the ears!” In contrast to his stillness, she seems never to stop moving; she steps round the meadow as if there’s a pattern to it, one she can sense with her feet but could never explain out loud. A few steps closer. “But you’re different. Very different. Or a little different, and I am very different. Who can tell?” Her laughter’s lagniappe, and it flows from her lips like water. “Yes, and Ren came, and she was sleepwalking, and then I had to take her home.” She tilts her head. “And I never saw you after that.” Two more steps. “But what bright eyes you have.”
Janus watches her move closer to him, the closer she gets, the more he seems to glow, heat rolling off his body in waves. There is no expression on his face, he truly might be carved as he spoke “I was Faermorn’s Rook of her Ravens. Shortly after we last spoke Lively One, Our realm started to shift and change and I had no more time to wander our land and watch over young fae who wandered to far” The scent of dry leaves and almost smoke ripples around him as his wings lazily move “And now we are changed. I am no longer merely Janus, I am Janus of Living Death, King of the Seelie as her majesty made me” His eyes seem to hold an unending loneliness and sorrow, those gold orbs nearly solid as they glance down upon her
Gwyneth has a glow about her as well, but it carries no heat, or it doesn’t yet, at least. “Well, fancy that,” she says, and that might be a coy note in her voice, or it might just be a little trill; but her hips sway ever so gently as she looks upon him. “I was asked to lead the Seelie through the darkness and into the light, but nobody has crowned me Queen…” she tilts her head again… “that I know of, anyway. Do I look Queenly to you?” Oh, and that was coy, that last. “You don’t look much like the last Unseelie King I met,” she says. Behind that, there’s a gash of sorrow, a glimmer of pain, a hint of a bad memory, but nothing more, and she corrects for it in a moment, an instant: her glimmering wings glow incandescent in the gloaming light, bright and brighter. “You really don’t.”
Janus seems as immoveable as rock as she flits and sways around him, his eyes tracing slowly down her body, appreciating the lovely form that is before him. Once she is in arms reach, his hand darts out and grips her chin in a gentle but immovable grip “Stop flitting Light One.” He says in that deep almost painful rumble. His thumb caresses her lips before he finally moves forward, her slender frame pressed against the solidness of him “I called for my opposite, my equal. And you appeared” He says slowly, as if explaining to a child, his eyes patient but oh so sad. His power ripples around them, vines creeping up her face and starting to twine into a crown of primroses, violets and ivy, a gentle spring crown “Hail the Queen” He says softly.
Gwyneth’s lips part involuntarily at that touch: she trembles; her wings flutter as if a wind stirred through dogwoods. Her own hand goes to her face. “What are you doing?” So young and so newly born in her little dress she does not dance away from him, not this time. “I can’t be the Queen,” she says in a reasonable tone of voice, a reasonable tone of voice that sings: ‘love me’. “I’m only the Princess. And the King….” again, that shudder of recently-bandaged terror. Her eyes widen, though, looking at him. “How did you call me?”
Janus merely moves hand, cupping her cheek within his palm, the other shifting up to cradle the opposite site. His skin feels like the sun on a warm autumn day, not burning but just a firm solid warmth, the skin callused and scarred from years of holding a weapon “The King is dead, long live the King,” He says back to her, his crown of dried holly and leaves whispering at the words, acknowledging them with truth. He tilts her head up and looks into her with his old gold gaze, tired beyond the apparent age that he looks. His head lowers and he brushes the gentlest of kisses against her lips, the power rippling around them, the scent of flowers and leaves combining. “I asked the Mother to bring me my opposite.. I asked her to bring to me the Seelie Queen, for we have work to do…and Changes to bring about” The orbs on his ears are glowing as bright a gold as his eyes, almost creating a halo around him “She brought me you”
Oh, such a tiny kiss, and spring hurtles into autumn. Years go by in Gwyneth’s eyes in an instant. “Long live the King,” she repeats. Ivy twines in her hair and down her arms; lavender and lilacs scent the air and mingle with the earthy smell of leaves and wet ground. She blinks once, twice, and the sun slants across her hair to halo her. A wordless acknowledgement settles in her eyes. “We do,” she says, accepting. “So much work to do.” For a moment, she glances above his shoulder to the land around them, the trees, the meadow. “There are so few of us. We’ll have to grow what we have, plant what we can.” Her hips move gently against the warmth of him; her skin is cool and fresh to the touch. “Her Kiss is Grace, and she does only Good,” Gwyneth says. “What a tree you are,” and her fingers flicker over his chin, his cheek. “Root and rain.”
Janus watches the knowledge fill her eyes, the years passing through her as the mantle settles. His hands remain gentle upon her cheek as the ivy climbs down her frame, the crown nearly twinkling as her power ripples out amongst them “Hail the Queen” He responds, his voice booming as it fills the air. They stand there, frames pressed together as one, hands touching the other for several long moments, moments that feel like hours, like days, like years, all combined into one span of time. Eventually his right hand drops, sliding down from her cheek, overs her shoulder, down her arm until his fingers twine against her own. As she moves upon him, he presses back, the sheer masculinity of him nearly overwhelming “His Touch is Strength, and he does only Right” He murmurs to her in response before his body pulls away “It is time to rebuild anew, for we have shattered and fell…we have broken but not beyond being fixed. It’s time to turn Winter into Summer, Fall into Spring, one that cannot exist without the other, two halves of a whole” His full lips tilt as he bows his head to kiss her fingers, moving down so he presses a warm soft caress into her palm “I am the Tree of Life and Death. All things come and all things go, the harvest is reaped so life may begin anew” His golden gaze watches her “A breath of newness, a little Shining Flower that takes to the ground and creates light….It is time Queen of Mine”
Gwyneth looks up into the golden eyes, then watches him as he bends to kiss her fingers. Her breath quickens, and the pulse in her throat is visible. Rose-tipped nipples protrude from beneath the translucent fabric of her dress. With her unencumbered hand, she reaches up to stroke long fingers through his bark-brown hair. “I am the maiden of dawn, and I bring things forth where before there was nothing,” she says, and there’d be surprise there, except her voice seems incapable of producing anything but music. “Time?” she asks. “Beginning and ending is all there is, My King. We can begin with every moment,” Her iridescent eyes twinkle bright in the golden light, a light that seems to flow down now, into her hand, painting the halo of the sun all round his head where her fingers stroke. “Time,” she repeats, and she lifts her hand to stroke again and again. “Time for what?” But she knows: she knows. “We should play a game.”
Janus gives a gravely low chuckles, sliding his other hand down from her face, taking great care to let his warmth linger in the hollow of her neck, the crook of her arm, before it settles like a warm brand around her back, pulling her close to him, bending his head slowly down so that his hair makes a curtain between them, his warm breath ghosting over her lips as he speaks “A game My Queen, Yes a Game shall be good for time is all that we now have” His tongue slips out and slowly dampens her lower lip in a soft suggestive motion, his power starting to creep back around them and pulsate, ripple through them, all sensuous warmth and heat,his erection slowly starting to grind into her, hips pulsating with the beat of the power before he brings their intertwined hand up and begins to dance, a slow dance, body to body, his eyes challenging her to take the next step
Gwyneth presses up against him, then pulls away, her hips mirroring his movements as she lets him lead, though not for want of wanting. Her breath is audible now, and the scent of lavender grows in the air. She giggles like a girl just turned woman when he licks at her lip, and the sound’s like a rushing thaw, like water bursting. The quick catch of breath, after: that’s the tell. The wide eyes. The open mouth. “We can play.” But her cheeks are flushed. “We can play a riddle game, if you like,” and the words come in a rush. “What,” she asks, “is rounder than a ring?” Half-closed, her eyes are, though. “What is rounder than a ring?” And if she leans forward now, just an inch, to catch a little more of his sweet tongue against her lips, well. One more step in the dance.
Janus twirls her around, his smile slow and heated as he tugs her back to his chest, sliding one hand up to her neck, tilting her head so that her neck is bared to his wicked lips and teeth, the dull edges pressing down on the long slender tendon, his words muffled against the column “What is rounder than a ring…hmnnn The Planet” His mouth is warmer, warmer than any human’s mouth could be and where he touches there is sensations of heat spreading through the body from those locales. His hips grind into her pert soft rear, slowing the dance as the heat raises around them. His whole body is tense and prepared to move, the lavender in the air matching the dry earthy scent that fills them both. If she’s the melting thaw, than he is the crinkling of dry leaves under one’s feet
Gwyneth moans softly as she’s pulled to him; her body shivers against his teeth and goosebumps rise along her shoulder, her neck. “Correct,” she says. “Two more to go.” Her skin, soft, pliable, and unmarked, comes alive beneath his lips. Softly, “What is deeper than the sea?” But involuntarily, she arches back into him, legging that hardness find a place to rest between her soft bottom cheeks, just a thin layer of gossamer fabric barring her skin. She bends reedlike back into his body, her hands grasp for his hands, and there is the sense, for her, of their fingers growing together like vines, like ivy, like holly, like the roots of all the trees in the wood.
Janus holds onto her with a low almost growl sound, his wings shifting to wrap around her frame, their slow dancing and grinding together. His hand shifting, moving to presses palmwise against her belly, sliding up and up, tips of fingers caressing the underside of her breasts, turning up to cup the heavy globes, no moving any higher. They are glowing together, warm and bright, him darker than her. If there had been observers, they would see the metaphysical and physical roots crawling up his legs, and ivy moving around hers, mingling to form a combined plant “Thought” is his low answer, his tongue tracing delicate designs upon her pliable flesh
“Oh,” Gwyneth says, her musical voice rising and falling with his breath, her body arching upward. She is a vine, clinging and grasping at his hands, pressure from her fingertips saying what her lips will not, not yet. She gives voice to her breath now, each exhalation a little moan, “Not… oh. Not traditional, but… mm. Correct. Where…” her body twists as she tries to twine and turn in his arms, longs to see as well as feel, “Oh. Where does the dew fall?” Tightening her hands around his hands to pry them apart so she can move, she presses herself yet more tightly against his solid body, and her flesh glows summerwarm and golden. “Last. Last, oh. Last one.”
Janus keeps her pinned against his body, a low groan of pleasure echoing against her skin. One of his hands moves up and cups her breast fully, his rough sword-callused hand scrapping against the hard nipple underneath the thin bodice. He rubs in slow deliberate circles gently abrading the flesh before he takes the hard nub between his fingers and pinches it. He is overloading her with his heat, filling and brushing against her without physically penetrating her. His other hand busies itself, sliding down her belly, to the hem of her dress, catching it and rising it up, lifting and lifting until his palm suddenly cups her sex like it’s meant to fit there, warm, rough and large “Here” He answers her riddle, not the proper answer but what he wants, a conquering Warrior King
Gwyneth moans when his fingers reach her nipple, cries out when he pinches, heady with the intermingling of pleasure and the edge of pain. She grinds her buttocks against him now, and it doesn’t matter what else might be waking in the sleeping land; there is only she and he, the flower and the tree, playing out an ageless story on the eve of Ostara. Mist rises all round them as her desire translates into the air and the ground, and his answer to the riddle makes it true. She is dripping wet by the time his hand finds her, dewy with wanting. Her head arches back, her hands reach back: she seeks every point of touch she can find. Around them bluebells, primroses, daffodils spring from the glistening ground fully formed, and though the sun slants golden everywhere and anoints them both with light and warmth, the mist does not, cannot, will not clear: it threatens to become rain, it’s so full.
Janus finally drags both of his hands to her hips and picks her up as if she is lighter than the mist that surrounds them both, his eyes glowing and swirly with his power as his vines shred the gossamer dress from her, wrapping her legs around his waist while his roots crawl up him, sturdying himself into the ground while the vines tear open the front of his breeches, his cock rubbing against her wet dewey sex “Queen to my King, we heal the land, From Two become one” HE groans out, his mouth finding her throat, biting down and leaving dark hickeys upon the pale flesh. He is posed to push into her and the earth itself seems to hold still, seems to draw a breath as if it’s waiting for the completion to occur. He doesn’t push in though, waiting for her to indicate she wants this, enough of his mind still there to be gentle with her. Along with her flowers, dark saplings start to spring forth, their bard the color of the night’s sky, climbing ivy creeping around them as briar roses start to fill in the spaces, their heady smell creeping as they wait
Gwyneth feels the rose thorns prick her skin, feels the vines that tie them together, does not even watch as the fabric of her dress floats away into the mist. Her hands grasp at his hair, taking handfuls and pulling him closer in, aching for the touch of his tongue, his teeth, even as her ankles twine together, and the vines and the rose of sharon braid together to hold her in place. “King to my Queen,” she echoes, “we make the land.” For her, there is no moment of stillness, only the gripping, aching want in her belly and below. She is Spring, rushing headlong into the arms of Autumn, and so she tilts her pelvis forward, until his cock rests between her pussy lips, wriggles forward slowly until it’s in just the right spot. And then, she does pause. She clutches at his shoulders; her nails dig in like little nettles. “Yes, you are my King.” It’s guttural, a moan. She tightens her legs around his waist, bears down, and pushes, her heels tight against the small of his back.
Janus shouts out as her tight wet heat wraps around his cock,his fingers near to bruising on her hips as he thrusts upwards, filling her in one fell swoop. The heat from Autumn and Spring mingle together, bursting out of them. All through the air, light sparkles, mists become heavier and the land shakes under their feet, tearing and bursting anew, filling in with the rain showers that finally spring down, Spring Showers will grow the flowers, Autumn’s breath will remind them of their mortality. He covers her lips his his own, kissing her as if his life depends on him feeding from her very breath, giving back to her just as much as he takes, their crowns of ivy and flowers and dried leaves merging together, linking them as one. For this is a true joining, pure of any intention other than sheer need and the rightness of the land. His hips piston up into her as he holds her close, burning eyes staring right into hers
Gwyneth moans into his mouth as he fills her, seeking that kiss as much as he does. Thunder rolls as the ground transforms around them, an answering to the land’s own thunder as a lake is born, a meadow, a forest. She tightens her grip on his shoulders, squeezing and releasing with his thrusts. And while her eyes never leave his, her lips seek his lips, again and again. Vaguely, she is aware of the flowering trees that spring up behind her, the grove of oak trees over his shoulder, the sun sinking and the wood all around them alive with nightingales, frogs, foxes. Their bodies, the cocoon of vines and leaves that now surrounds them and cups them like a living blanket, are at the centre of it all. Her face turns pink in the deepening light, and her breath comes in gasps and moans.
Janus hollers out as the the land ripples and forms around them, holding her close, pressed fully inside her body, his seed and power spilling forth to fill her. His wings around her and holds her close while the rain spills around them, tears ripple down his cheek though he smiles as he kisses her, his hand slipping down to rub her clit to completion, his cock still firm and full within her “Spring and Fall have lain together, The cycle of life and death continues, for thine are my queen and I am your king”
Gwyneth screams her own release, completely oblivious to the geyser that bursts just yards away and feeds the new lake before bubbling back down. She clutches him tight with arms and legs, hoping to make it all last just a little longer, her body heaving with spasm long after the exterior palpitations cease. When she finally opens her eyes, there is nowhere to look but at him. “My lord, my king.” She giggles. “You are such a good king!”
Janus gives a slow deep chuckle and bends his head to kiss her long and slow, his arms wrapped around her firmly to keep her up and safe “I but try to be my Queen” He says as the roots start to unravel from around his legs, allowing him to walk to where a bower of soft grass, sapling trees that have grown together awaits them. He softly lays her down, his lap becoming her pillow while his fingers light ghost through her hair “Rest my Queen, Rest Gwyneth…we have so much more to do but it can hold while you sleep”
Like a child, Gwyneth curls up, knees against his back, pillows of white hair framing her flushed face. The flowers stay etched into her skin, their colours fading with her consciousness as she drifts into sleep, smiling against his belly, arms splayed out catlike to claim as much royal real estate as possible. It’s hard to say how long she will sleep: the trees, the meadow, the lake, the meadows of flowers are all solid representations of the building they’ve done together, and her magical energy needs time to recover before the next phase of building.
Janus looks down at her with a sad smile before his golden glow starts to fade. The roots of the land feed from the energy that leeches from him. He doesn’t seem to mind her clinging to him , his fingers trailing over and over her skin, unable to stop touching her “If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended- that you’ve but slumbered here while these visions did appear” His lips curve up in a faint smile before he bends to kiss her forehead like he has all the other before he closes his eyes to slumber as well “So goodnight onto you all. Give me your hands if we be friends, and I shall restore amends”