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* * *

The woman walks with her face down, avoiding the glare of the morning sun. Cars speed past her on one side and pedestrians overtake on the other - all with the same purpose as her... to get to work. But she does not see them, pretends they are not there, taht she is not there. Instead she imagines herself elsewhere; a different country, time, even galaxy, she pretends that she isn't walking the same route alone, but she is walking somewhere different, more interesting with a better destination whilst surrounded by close friends... she never wanted to be yet one more face that easily blended into the grey normality of the flock, and as a child and a teenager she desperately rebelled against it until the enemy took over, pounded into her about not raising eyebrows, earning money, having a job... just being normal. And so she succumbed, only talking of the achievable dreams that are shared by many, her slightly romanticised views of love the only step outside the line that's allowed - for there are others who still wear those tinted glasses and she refuses to remove them for society.

Her dreams of a different existence pound wildly on the lid of the box in which they are stored - only allowed out to play when she is certain she is alone, unjudged or at least unnoticed by others... who, as far as she is concerned are doing exactly the same thing as her... for she cannot bear the thought of being the only one who still holds on to these dreams, but who, everday,  has to be faced with the reality that she is not the exception to the rule, if anything she is there to prove it.

Reality and normal life must take precedence over the unachievable dream. Childlike wishes and thoughts for a brighter future must be put away eventually in order for a person to exist in society without raising eyebrows.


Current Mood:
contemplative
* * *

 

 The sun shone brightly as Gabby dodged through the rush hour crowds in a vain attempt to get home faster.


With a steady office job and the constant hope of promotion Gabby thought she ought to be happy. She didn't even mind the fact that she had been single for almost a year now and didn't even believe in one night stands. However, with the stress and monotony of constantly trying to outdo the other people in the office in order to catch someone's passing attention, she had sensed the creative side of her start to wither away as she only used it to ensure that other people were fired instead of her. It was when she had found herself smiling as yet another colleague started clearing their desk that she knew she was close to becoming a lost cause.


By now Gabby had reached the foot of the stairs leading up to her third floor flat. Although the building itself was in a high class neighbourhood, it was still old and minus any elevators. The stairs themselves were as old as the building and constructed of, now rickety, wood with banisters that seemed to be almost about to fall away from the walls.


As she approached the second floor she was not surprised to hear that the couple who lived there were having yet another argument. It had become a regular occurence that usually occurred due to some slight mistake made by the wife that, in turn, would make the husband angry. This time, however, Gabby was shocked to see the woman come rushing out of the door and head for the stairs. She was even more suprised when the lady, by now in tears, didn't even try to move past her, instead barging into Gabby and making her lose her balance.


Her feet tried to steady her but all they felt was the air behind her as she started to fall down the long, unsteady staircase. In an subconcious effort to stop the fall her hands reached out to grab the banisters. Her feeling of elation when her hands grabbed onto something solid was shortlived however, as she felt the wood almost crumble away in her hands. She was almost at the bottom when, her head having been struck by the stairs too many times, she finally succumbed to the darkness, her body becoming as limp as a rag doll's as it bounced the rest of the way.


*****************************************************


Reigan sat down at the worn, unsteady table closest to the door. It was conveniently placed in the corner of the old inn, thus giving him the ability to not only look out over the entire room as well as inspect any customers walking through the front door but it was also placed next to a window, allowing him to keep an eye on the outside of the inn for anyone, or thing that may be loitering in the dark. This choice of seating was not deliberate, as he was not expecting trouble, it was merely a subconcious act that he had taken to since being driven out of his homeland as a child.


Looking round at the inhabitants of the inn he took in all their red, blotchy faces, their minds addled by the copious amounts of ale now in their bodies, 'I suppose they do have every right to drink.' he decided, considering the fact that it was the Festival of the Sun, which lasted for three days and nights, tonight being the last night. The Festival was a time to mourn the end of Summer, when there was occasionally no darkness at all during the mid-months, and the coming of Winter, when, starting tomorrow, the days would become so short that people would hardly see the Sun at all and in the mid-months of the season they would see no natural light whatsoever.


Reigan himself treated the Festival as a time for celebration, for he preferred the Winter, when he could blend into the background shadows and not feel as if people were constantly staring at his strange appearance.


Pulling his dark green cloak tighter around him he leaned further back into the dark corner, nursing his mug of ale, and glared at anyone who dared to even consider approaching him. These were mainly the bar maids looking to improve upon their meagre wages. Usually a glare was all it took for him to discourage any unwanted attention and send the hapless girl scurrying in fear towards a more eager drunk. Although Reigan was not ugly, his facial features were stern and his looks were noticeably different from those expected in this land.


Where most of the men and women had fair hair and light eyes, his hair was jet black with dark obsidian pools to match. These people had tanned skin from working outside in the fields all day, his was pale from sticking to the shadows of walls and forests when he travelled. These people were short and stocky, built for farming whereas he was taller than most of the men he had ever met by at least a head's height.


Gazing out of the window he saw an unexpected flash of light with what looked to be a large object falling from it onto the cobbled street. In shock he looked around the rest of the room to see if anyone else had noticed but clearly no one else seemed to have seen anything unusual, 'All to busy looking for the bottom of their mugs.' Pulling his cloak around him he slowly stood up, ensuring his sword would remain out of sight, and cautiously made his way out of the inn and towards the crumpled heap on the ground. As he drew closer, with his hand still resting on the hilt of his blade, he could make out the fact that the figure was badly injured, with one of their legs twisted into an impossible angle. Reigan warily moved closer to the figure whilst considering all the possibilities in his head, 'For all I know this could be one of Malephar's traps, it'll be just my luck to walk straight into it.' His attention was drawn back to the figure as it let out a pained moan and moved slightly. As he took in the new position he noticed two things; the first being that 'it' was actually a woman, the second being that she was wearing strange male clothing. It took the flickering of a torch for him to notice a third, more worrying, point about the unconcious woman; she was bleeding from a large wound on the back of her head and the pool of blood was quickly increasing. It was this last fact that finally helped him make up his mind. Moving quickly he wrapped his cloak around the prone woman and gently lifted her into his arms, carrying her back to the inn.


Kicking the door open, it seemed that everyone's gaze immediately settled on the unusual sight of the large, imposing stranger gently cradling a bleeding woman in his arms. He glared around the crowded room, daring anyone to make a comment as the landlord rushed over to offer assistance.


"Give me your best room" he growled "and a bowl of hot water with some clean cloths." He could feel the woman's faint heartbeat as he held her closer to his chest, making his way up the stairs behind the innkeeper, who was barking out orders as he went. The land lord was a short, plump man with close cut hair which he habitually ran his hand over when he was stressed. His face was thick set and pock marked, yet his eyes were bright and sharp. None of the people who worked for him were able to sneak away with more than their fair share of tips, although Reigan had spotted many get caught trying. Soon he found himself being shown into a large room by the still curious innkeeper.


"Will you be alright, sir? I can have my wife sent up if you so wish, she is good at treating injuries."


Reigan nodded his appreciation, moving towards the large, double bed that was stood in the centre of the room. "Have your wife sent up with the proper equipment. I shall be needing this room for a while, but I give you my word that you shall be fully reimbursed." At this, the innkeeper visibly brightened up, "However, if I hear of you having let word get out about what is happening then I also give you my word that I shall make you very sorry indeed, is that clear?" Glowering at this last remark, Reigan watched the quivering man almost trip over himself as he ran downstairs for his wife.


Making his way over to the bed he noticed that an errand boy had already placed a bowl of hot water and a pile of cloths onto the side table. Laying the woman in the centre of the bed he picked up one of the cloths and began to methodically clean her, starting with her head wounds. This action gave him plenty of time to observe this strange woman who had just magically appeared. It was her hair that drew his immediate attention though, for where as it looked black in most instances when the candle flickered or he moved away slightly, it showed itself to be tinged with a dark shade of blue. This aspect fascinated Reigan and he found his eyes being drawn back to her hair as he continued his study of the prone figure.


Even though she was lying down he could tell that she was a reasonably tall woman with skin not much darker than his own. It was as Reigan was checking her body for further injuries that he caught sight of something marring her skin, with a grimace he pulled the bed cover back over her and sat back, waiting for the innkeeper's wife to arrive.


Whilst he was waiting, Reigan found himself debating whether he should stay and care for the woman himself or allow the couple who owned this inn to take care of her, thus giving him the opportunity to leave this town and continue his wanderings. He had never before felt an urge to be kept in one place by anyone, and he had had a few women try, and he had definitely never allowed anyone to travel with him. However, this woman had been brought here by magical forces, and he believed in fate enough to know that it would be foolish to leave her. After all, he was the only one who had seen her, despite the bright flash of light directly outside a busy inn. Having made up his mind to stay with her, at least until she had fully healed, Reigan sat back in the chair and waited for the innkeeper's wife to arrive. He did not have to wait long before a short, plump woman walked into the room, her arms full of bandages, cloths and many jars of pastes that he was sure he'd be able to smell from afar. With a quiet professionalism that he wasn't expecting, the woman set everything down in order and then started to work on her patient, Reigan only using his natural abilities to assist when he was sure she wasn't watching.


**********************************************************


Gabby awoke to the feeling of a cool, damp flannel resting on her forehead. Her eyes still closed she couldn't remember how she had become unconcious, but she did know that she was in pain, a lot of it. Straining her ears, she realised that she was unable to hear the normal, expected sound of hospital machines. Instead she was able to make out the sound of deep breathing from close by, it was deep enough to convince her that whoever was there was definitely asleep.


Slowly opening her eyes, the first sight that greeted her was that of an old, slightly warped, wooden beamed ceiling. Moving her eyes to face the direction of the sleeper Gabby felt the breath catch at the back of her throat. There, at the side of the bed, a tall, dark haired man was sleeping in what looked to be a rather uncomfortable chair. However, as disconcerting as it was to be staring at a strange man by her bed, what really took her breath away was the way he looked and the clothing he wore. It was like nothing she had seen before outside of old paintings and fancy dress parties.


The man across from her was wearing an, obviously old pair of black trousers with a matching pair of worn, muddy, black boots. He had on a white, buccaneer style shirt with the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. Gabby's eyes moved up to his face, it was pale and well defined, framed by a mane of jet black hair. The flickering candlelight only seemed to emphasise his sharp features. Giving up on him waking up, Gabby made to turn over in order to get more comfortable when she was startled by a low voic,


"Weren't you ever taught that it's rude to stare?" At this question Gabby felt herself blush , this was only made worse when she noticed a smirk making it's way onto his lips.


Reigan had been dozing off in the only, very uncomfortable chair in the room when he had heard the woman in the bed move. Using his heightened senses he could almost feel her gaze making it's way up his body and rest on his face, in what he hoped held some admiration. After waiting for what seemed like an age he heard her start to move again before letting her know that he was awake, his eyes meeting with her surprised green ones. He felt himself start to smile as he watched her become more flustered thinking of a reply.


"Yes, but that's beside the point!" Gabby felt herself become redder in embarrassment, " Who are you and where the heck am I?"


"My name is Reigan Gerr'a'Han. You are at an inn in one of the main villages of Khariziat. Now it's my turn to ask the questions I believe. Who are you madame and what sort of magic did you cast to bring yourself to this place? Do you not realise the danger that you have placed everyone in the village in?"


Gabby felt shocked. She had woken up expecting to find herself in a hospital attached to  number of machines, instead  she was lying in an uncomfortable bed with a strange man accusing her of using magic of all things.


* * *

You sit at a table, your drink in front of you, watching as the people await the opening of stores. You watch the people you have befriended in the long, caffeine addicted queue pass you by - now ready to face the coming onslaught of the sales crowd that you yourself was oblivious to until it was too late to turn back. You left the house, on a scouting mission for when your next paycheque comes through, and soon found yourself facing a battle. he unmoving crowds resisting your every twist and turn, causing your face to frown and your mind to wish you were in a wide, open space; anywhere but here. You begin to wonder if Dorothy's magical shoes are being sold at a cut down, unmissable price.

 

Your hand reaches for the coffee mug, fingers just covering the well-known logo as the drink in the heat, and as you take a sip your eyes glance round. By now the shops have opened and the crowd has been torn apart by the different dooorways with their different 'unmissable' offers. However, your eyes do not rest on the near violence that occurs, instead finding the peace that many cannot see: the couple that stand out of the way, sharing a chaste, public-friendly kiss, whilst another couple watch their young girls run off past you, begging to be allowed to purchase a bear from the large toyshop opposite, or maybe the older two, sitting on a bench still with plenty to say to each other, ignoring the rest of the world go by.

 

By now the coffee has finished, and the heat from the mug is dwindling, you stand up to leave, your plan of action already in your head, you go through your list one more time and then head off into the battlefield, making one small amend to the bottom of the mental note: 'Ruby red slippers'.

* * *
Where do we stand in all that occurs?
Do we not wish to be at the centre, strive to be known and looke at by all, envy or look up to those who outshine us. For at the centre lies all that we desire, does it not? For in the centre of our universe lies happiness, joy, love, friendship, jealousy, greed,  falseness, insincerity and other traps to line the way. But one cannot experience the pitfalls without enjoying the greatness of feeling loved and admired. Can the good outweigh the bad enough for us to still see the point in our ever steady strive for greatness; and what is to be done once we reach it, sit back on our laurels and enjoy the fruits of our labours or carry on our path, never to be outdone by others, always trying to beat the best, even if that is us.

What about the other people that are also trying to do the same, for in order for us to achieve we need others, do we help or heed? Are we selfless or selfish? Our conscience says that we must help others, yet our mind states that we must step on them now in order to succeed ourselves. Is it best to be the selfless friend in the wings, behind the spotlight - always thought well of yet never seen as successful? Or be the successful person, well known and admired yet never alone or possessing true friendship, yet still having achieved the highest possible stature that you ever can?
* * *
Sitting in the sun, thinking random thoughts brought me to this...

You are a miracle in your own right. You have survived through your own many hardships, starting from the get go. No matter what your beliefs are, you are precious, special and always unique. You should not rely on others to tell you who you are, they will never get it right, merely state glimpses of what you yourself already know, and only of what you are willing to share.
You have drawn sources from those around you, whether it was the good or the bad, it will all continuously mold you into what you shall become. No two people will think of you in exactly the same way as you have so much of yourself to share with others, that you cannot possibly give exactly the same thing to more than one person.
You will react differently in the same situation in different times. Even if they occur minutes apart from each other, you will have changed enough to create a new, unique reaction.
You use other people's reactions and actions to mold yourself and yet, at the same time, you are helping mold someone else.
You are you, constantly changing, always unique, always shifting people's perceptions. The miracle of living and evolving.


You are special.
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* * *

Time is a measurement, thus implying that time is constant and does not change.

Time is our slave, to be dealt with and organised as we wish or is dependent on our emotions and feelings at the time. When we have fun, we believe it to speed up. When we are bored or scared it will slow down and even stop.

Yet it is also our captor. We are ruled by it, we govern meetings with other people using it. When we do not have it with us on a holiday  we feel free and laid back. If we lose track of it during our everyday we feel lost and annoyed.

What is this thing we call time, it is a constant but is not. It is a small sound in the background, a circular object on the wall. It is always with us in our mind and in the sight of those 12 numbers hanging above our heads, always there, reminding us of it's presence.

We name breaks after it; lunch times, break times, work times. Yet, as much as we know about it, we do not know it. Time defies it's pigeon holes that people put it in. The smart people can use science to explain it, yet they will never quite grasp it, it shall always elude, never be a constant so long as our minds allow it to enslave and serve us in it's own elusive way.

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