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What Happened Next [Story for rasielle] [Story by] 
18th-Jan-2007 11:14 pm
A_ficathon
Ficathon Story for rasielle.

Title: What Happened Next
Author:
Prompt: old lore; sea and sun and sky
Genre Preferred: romance, maybe gen
Ships Preferred: preferably Oma/Shu; Zutara wouldn't go amiss, either.
Rating Preferred: PG-R
Author's notes: At the beginning
Appearing Theme:

What Happened Next




Being a brief selection of excerpts regarding the legend of Oma and Shu.



*



Taken from a scroll in the private collection of Ba Sing Se's Chang Tian family:


    Again he came to her as she slept. Into her ear he whispered, Darling, I have waited thirty years for you beside the shore and I will wait thirty more, but please, please, do not make me. And when she woke, again he was gone, replaced with the light of the rising sun. Twelve nights he came to her, then twelve more, and then he did not come again.


    Another thirty years passed. Oma's hair turned white, her fingers knotting up into claws. Her bones ached when she moved and when she was still, and even the earth grew silent to her.


    He came to her then, as she slept, to smooth her hair and kiss her brow and whisper, Darling, I have waited thirty years for you and I have waited thirty more, but I cannot wait any longer and you will not last. And when she woke, he was still there; all the room was filled with his ghost.


    At that moment she knew a sudden, great peacefulness. What did it matter if she left? She was old and tired. The city had a king now; its people had peace. They did not need her.


    Darling, he said.


    So she left.


*



In the desert of ghosts, the nomads sing for Shu:


    Beloved, when I am gone and you remain,

    I shall remain, too.

    Beloved, wherever you shall go,

    I shall go, too.

    In this manner we shall always be,

    me together with you.


*



From a tale common in the mountains of Du Zan:


    So having caught her, the young badgermole brought Oma down into the darkness. There the great spirit of the earth waited, for all caves are shrines to the earth and the earth resides in all her shrines.


    "O, Mother," said the young badgermole into the darkness, "it is Lai Xi, son of your ninth son. I have come to beg a favor."


    There was a great rasping of stone against stone. Then a voice like rocks splitting came out from the darkness: "Who comes with you into my sanctuary, grandson?"


    "O, Mother," said the young badgermole, "she is a daughter of men, noble in spirit and strong of heart. It is for her sake that I come to you."


    "I am Oma, Earth Mother," said Oma, for she was not afraid.


    At this, the cave was silent. Then the earth spoke again: "What is it you desire, grandson?"


    The young badgermole began: "O, Mother, just two years past my sisters taught the ways of our kind to this daughter of men and her lover, for it is ours to keep and ours to teach."


    "This I know," said the earth.


    The young badgermole continued: "But their people warred with one another, as people always war, and she saw her lover fall."


    "This I know," said the earth.


    The young badgermole continued: "So filled with rage was she that she thought of striking those who warred without care for those who died. But she did not, for war begets war and death begets death, and her sorrow was greater than her hate."


    "This I know," said the earth.


    The young badgermole continued: "She chose instead to bear up a city from the mountain and bring the war of their people to an end. She bade them lay down their weapons and their shields. She brought them up from the plains and into the city. She stays with them that they might continue to know peace."


    "This I know," said the earth.


    The young badgermole continued: "But she is not happy. She toils tirelessly so the people of her city will not war again, but she is not at peace. She is loved by her people, but she is alone. In the day she thinks only of others. At night she dreams of walking once more with her lover. For this I have brought her to you, O, Mother."


    "What do you ask of me?" said the earth.


    The young badgermole bowed so his snout pressed into the dirt. "O, Mother," he said, "I ask that you make her a spirit, like your children."


    Now Oma had carefully listened to him speak, for she did not know why he had carried her into the darkness. At this she cried out. "A spirit!"


    The earth rumbled and shook and made a sound like thunder. Then she said, "Grandson, I wish to speak to this daughter of men."


    "O, Mother," he began, but the earth rumbled again and made another sound like thunder that rattled in his bones, and so he bowed again and stepped away.


    In the darkness Oma was small. She heard the wind in the caves. She smelt the water. All around her was the black and the sound of the earth's breath.


    Then the earth spoke to her. "Do you ask this of me as well, daughter of men?"


    "No," said Oma and her voice was small in the wake of the earth's great rumble.


    From the darkness came the harsh sound of rocks scraping across one another. Then the earth said, "Do you wish to walk with your lover again?"


    And though she thought she might, she could not lie. "Yes," said Oma.


    "If I should make you my daughter, you would dwell in the spirit world and there you would walk with him again. Do you desire this?"


    Oma did not speak for some time. Then she said, "I do not.


    "O, Earth Mother," she said, "it is true I wish to walk with him again. It is true I dream of him still. But it is a selfish desire.


    "O, Earth Mother," she said, "who will guide my people if I am gone? I have given them peace, but there are those who remember war and find pleasure in the remembrance. Would they not return to the comfort of war if I did not lead them from it? Would they not turn the city against itself?


    "O, Earth Mother," she said, "I have been given a great gift by the children of your ninth son. They have taught me to shape the earth and hear its songs. I walk and know the whispers of your children. I run and know the movements of your beauty. I breathe and know the dust breathes with me. Do my people not deserve to be given this joy as well? Would they not know the same peace I know?


    "O, Earth Mother," she said, "I am no better than my people. I feel the same hate. I feel the same rage. My prejudices are no different than theirs. I have spilled blood as they have spilled blood, and I have regretted it as they have regretted it. There is nothing within me that marks me different but the gifts I have been given by your children.


    "But O, Earth Mother," she said, "I cannot leave them."


    "You choose to walk with them instead?" said the earth.


    "I will die soon enough," said Oma, "and I will walk with him then. But while I am alive, I will walk with my people and I will do what I can to show them where to walk as well."


    This answer pleased the earth and thus satisfied, she bade Lai Xi take Oma back to her city.


    So it was Oma chose the passing life of a mortal over the endless life of a spirit.


*



Only fragments remain of a short play, a courtly romance by name of The Love Song of Omashu, once popular in the Fire Nation. Like so many other works of art in the great war, it was deemed dangerous to the national identity and subsequently destroyed. But the fragments remain, brief and fragile. They read:


    Do not forget


    my lover


    The ashes of our war line the mountains black and


    if there is no one left to mourn you


    I wander still.


*



Records in Omashu's Royal Library hold the following to be true:


    Having overseen the governing of the city of Omashu for nigh on twenty years, the lady Oma retired to a small estate on the mountain a short distance from the city's walls. It is said she led a long and happy life in the shadow of her legacy before succumbing to an illness of the lungs late in her sixtieth year.


(It isn't terribly romantic, but likely she didn't mind.)




If you would like to comment after reading, ALL COMMENTS MUST BE ANONYMOUS,, except in the case of rasielle.
Comments 
19th-Jan-2007 04:31 am (UTC) - *speechless*
Anonymous
...

Wow.

I can't believe this is an entry. Totally unexpected and quite amazing. Even the format! --they even remind me of scrolls and such. You really make the reader feel as if it trully lore and ancient and old, as the story of Oma and Shu was requested to be. Touche on hitting the prompt perfectly. I envy the recipient's fic and can only hope for such excellency in my own when it eventually comes.

Touche mystery author, touche.
19th-Jan-2007 11:24 am (UTC)
Anonymous
My goodness, this was good...
19th-Jan-2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Oh my god, this was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. It captures the prompts so perfectly, and I love how you had that sort of ancient voice filling and narrating the whole thing. ♥ I particularly liked this part:

Do not forget
my lover
The ashes of our war line the mountains black and
if there is no one left to mourn you
I wander still.


Utterly amazing. I'm so jealous of rasielle ;_;

Oh, and listening to Gregorian chants (completely by chance) while listening to this gave me goosebumps because it just added that extra punch to the atmosphere XD
20th-Jan-2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
*is speechless*

...and I think that pretty much sums it up.
23rd-Jan-2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
My favorite is the first segment.
27th-Jan-2007 01:38 am (UTC) - <--- see icon
...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Now THIS is what someone wants to sit down to, after weeks of cramming. I can only apologize that it took me so long (I'm so, so sorry...!!) to find this, but rest assured that it need not be any more romantic. It is perfect the way it is, and I have no words...

Ah, you've pulled together everything I hoped for when I chose the prompt; something wistful and ancient, and what's more, poetic. Reading this was a delight; it is not like other stories, and it actually feels pulled out of its time, maybe found out of its time. ILOVEIT! And your prose...! Especially the lines out of that play! Even your narration felt rhythmic, and lingering, and if I read "I wander still" one more time, my heart is going to burst.

I love it, I love it so much, and I wish I could've said so the day you posted. I am sooo sorry for the delay, but it was out of my hands. Thank you for writing it the way you did.

Be aware, also, that I am completely taken by your mastery of words, so beautiful in its surreality and concision, and there is no hope for you when I find out who you are. I will kill you ded with love and hearts and stalkering.
27th-Jan-2007 01:41 am (UTC) - LYN!
Oh, ohmygosh, what if the writer of this doesn't check this anymore?? Lyn, can you please let her know I've finally replied? Please??
29th-Jan-2007 03:16 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. Thank you for such a lovely comment. :)

(And don't worry about commenting so late! Life can be crazy sometimes and anyway, I didn't even realize my story had been posted until a few days ago. *g*)
1st-Feb-2007 12:55 am (UTC)
Hmmm... by the way, if you ever get this, I think I know who you are. Just a guess.
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