Dreams of Corant

Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 12:10 PM

More dream-experiences of Corant's life that Mearowyn got to enjoy after being horribly hurt by Corant's form of expression.


He told you, from the beginning, that you could not share what you knew.

“I trust you,” he said, the first night. “Keep what I tell you safe, and keep me safe.”

Each dark of the moon, you'd go out and meet him, and all night, he'd speak to you in his low, rich voice, telling you tales and poetry older than the White Tower at Kaylan. Sometimes he'd even show you dreams made real, sifting out of the shadows that always boiled around him. He wasn't like other teachers at all; he'd ask about your thoughts, and you lived for the moments when you surprised him with an observation or a comment. It would make him smile, and he might even touch your hand, stealing your breath away.

It was too much joy to bear, and when Lun got curious, you told her. She didn't believe you, so you told her to come with you, to hide and wait.

And so you wait, near the river, in the darkness, and you keep waiting, but he is not there. Your hands start to get numb, and you don't want to sit down. The time passes by like water slowly freezing solid, and you know you've started shuffling fitfully, but you can't help it. When Lun finally gets tired of the 'game' and leaves, you stay, hoping, pleading inside, please, please I won't do this again, just come back, please, I'm sorry.

It is late when he comes out, and suddenly you feel like a stupid little girl, thinking that you could fool him. He stands there and looks at you, unreadable like he usually is, and your shiver isn't just from the cold.

“I'm so sorry,” you say, barely, but he hears you.

“Corant,” he says, making paradise out of your name. “I trusted you.”

And that's when you can't help it, and burst into tears. This only makes it worse. You feel stupid and ugly when you cry, and you wanted everything to be perfect.

“It's all right,” he says, then, and you look at him. He does not say it like your parents do when you do something wrong. And then suddenly he's there and his arms and his shadows and his cloak all wrap around you like snow gone warm, and you start crying again as his perfect hand brushes against your hair, but now it is because you've always wanted him to do this and why why why did it have to be because you did something wrong?

“It's all right,” he whispers, steam from a warm teapot. “When you know enough, you can teach Lun and share with her. Until then, this was just a game. You can tell her that. Go home now, and I will be waiting for you next time.”

And then he's gone again, with only a memory of his cloud of darkness around you, and the faint, burning-wood smell he left behind.


Your parents want you to marry, but what do you care? Tobin is a good enough man, sweet, even, but you don't really notice him. You are too full of your stories and studies, and everyone wonders at your knowledge and skill these days. Eighteen now, and strong, and beautiful.

Over the years, you've made a little place for yourself where you meet your teacher, a camp site across the river. No one ever finds it; you know it has something to do with Him, but that's all you need to know.

He keeps it safe for you.

So, you sit and comb out your long, dark hair, wrapped in the blanket you wove last month to wait for him. A small fire burns nearby. It reminds you of him, the fire. It isn't that he is warm, but he makes you feel secure. He is strong, and his power can destroy, but it purifies; fire makes all things clean again, burns away impurities.

It also reminds you of him because of the baths, the long, scorching hot baths you take to wipe away all the sweat and dust of a long day. Resting there, lazy and immersed, it is easy to think of him as warm, enveloping. He's never held you like he did the one night, but he's touched you.

Your hands remember every moment of it.

And then, he arrives, the fire going eerie and blue for a moment, and you look up from braiding your hair. He emerges like a shadow lengthening, and there is the blazing white affection for you in his luminous eyes.

“Corant,” he says, like he always does, and you smile and get up to curtsy as he taught you. And then you both sit, and there are lessons. Lately it has been more and more about the power in experience, and the profound understanding that can change one's outlook or health or even the soul. He discusses quietly how pieces of disparate knowledge can be joined by a single thought, and this is often how magic works; the creation of a complete pattern where all the power can flow cleanly. And then he shocks you.

“You are ready,” he says softly, and the fire stutters. “Your thoughts and your will are trained, and waiting for wisdom that will grant you great power.” One of his dark, wrapped hands extends and gives you a folded piece of vellum.

“This is a credo for you. Live by it. Learn to understand it. Comprehend the secrets in the words. Finish the pattern, Corant, and then I will come back to you.”

Then your heart stops. “You are leaving,” you say. You've long since been able to speak with him openly. “Why are you leaving me?”

“Because the student must learn on their own. You can teach Lun what you know, now. Take her with you. There are so many keys to understanding this, and you sometimes you must travel to find them. I will only hinder your learning if I stay.”

But I love you, you want to say, and yet your tongue refuses. It isn't the right time. Instead, your mouth opens, and some resigned part of you says, “How long must I wait?”

“Until you have lived the credo, Corant. When you complete that pattern, I will come to you, and we will be together again. I know you will succeed in this.”

You take the paper, not looking, and you nod fiercely to belay the tears. “I will, I promise.”

Then he stands up, and offers a hand, which you take, readily, and then he pulls you in, easy as the wind nudges a leaf, and before you know it, your head is tilting up and your lips part and he kisses you, he drains the breath out of you with his cool mouth and threads of fire slip through your muscles and knot in your stomach. You know you make a sound, but you don't remember it, and then he's gone again, gone into the darkness where you know you can't follow.

But one day you will. You hold the paper in one hand and you swear one day you will.

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At May 28, 2009 9:58 PM, OpenID paulownia said...

This is a very 'soft' and sentimental bit that we don't see very often in your online writing. I like this because I think while a lot of your other samples betray sort of a "male" and somewhat clinical/evaluative thought process behind it, this breaks that stereotype.

Not that I'm saying you need to go here often as a writer, but it's nice to see these different facets every once in a while in your writer.


At May 28, 2009 9:59 PM, OpenID paulownia said...

ergh. writing.


At May 29, 2009 2:31 PM, Blogger C Hanson said...

What she said.

Most of your characters tend to come across as clear-headed, analytical, where any uncertainty is due either to the unpredictability of outside forces, or to an internal decision postponed. To have them decide and still be uncertain, to know and not-konw at the same time, as Corant knows and doesn't know the purpose of her teacher, is very rare. It leaves more possibilities open, the feeling that she might still choose to run away from it. Though of course, as a memory, we know she didn't.


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