Story Time: The Summer Wife

The Summer Wife
by Mataoka
Wrapped in the arms of an ancient mountain, where a deep groove of water and time cut an entrenched scar, a secret valley nested.  Even the Wind had to correct its course, thinking it was lost whenever it wound through, like a confused serpent. So hidden was this valley from the world, the sun slanted in new tilts to reach the dark, green grasses, and give hope to the field flowers. The Mountain cast her shadows moving as clock hands around the circular valley face, so that there would always be one direction in full light, or full darkness. The Sun did not give up all of his power, though, and in the middle of the valley there would always be one shaft of light in the day, and one beam of moonlight at night.
A tossing of villagers lived in this pock-marked valley, this secret scar in the land. No sense of time snared them, for they had myths and legends about how they came to be there. And since new travelers were so seldom, their appearance edged on the mystical. No one ever left. The only fresh population spawned in the valley were these few travelers over time, but the longevity of the inhabitants is the only way they survived: they simply lived near immortal lives. Since Time shifted here, wobbly on its axis, they seemed unaware of this, and believed all others over the Mountain were the same as they.
From sun-slant dawns to early darkness nights, the villagers worked in the fields and tended to the disgruntled, but healthy livestock. Sheep, cows, oxen, fish and fowl were bred, lived, and died. The creatures seemed somehow annoyed to be trapped in this valley, as if they ever looked up from their grazing or pecking to see the sun or the moon overhead, and dream of other pastures. Bred into every feather, fiber, or fur contained the unwillingness or inability to look up.
One man in the village did look up however. He was not like the others, or an incurious sheep. Perhaps it was because his great-great-great-grandfather had been a seed seller and tinsmith, who had wandered over the Mountain’s soft edges long ago, and feel in love with one of the brown-eyed village women. He liked to believe he had something about him no one else did, an inexplicable desire. Maybe it was also because of his mother’s strange song: Ffrom the time he was a baby, each day his mother sang this song while hanging up the wash:
The spring wife is full of hope
Thinking marriage is gold and flowers
She quickly learns love is a rope
To hang up the dirty trousers…
The summer wife is young and quick
Will wrap her arms around you
Warmth and lust, but do not trust
The heat will dry up the dew
The autumn wife wants nothing amiss
And cans the harvest tight
She has no time to love or kiss
And will only sleep at night
The winter wife is the best of all
If you treated the others fair
Into a warm bed you’ll crawl
None of the others compare
Of all the women in the village, he was not sure why only his mother sang this song, or what it all meant. The different women in the song’s tale confused him. But a talon, a claw, stuck in his heart, tugging at him that his destiny might be different. He could not put it into words, and he was certain he was the only one to wake up with this pain, or dream about things going away: he would dream of horses galloping off, or chickens suddenly flying, bottom heavy and unnatural. Everyone else slept content, dreamless, of this he was certain.
What made him, on that one day, try to leave, he will never be able to answer. Just to see what was over there… 

But the Mountain had other ideas. She loved her villagers, protecting and providing for them. If there needed to be a baby born, every so many hundred years, and new blood desired to bring vitality to the village, she would send a crow to find a traveler and bring him or her over the side. Once fallen into the valley, it was nearly impossible to get out. The food they ate, and the way of life, was routine. They could want for nothing more.
This one man, though: she felt uneasy about this one. Every time he tried to move to the north, the cold winds blew him back. On sapphire autumnal days he tried to head east, but the morning sun betrayed him. To the south, the warm, salted air dried his eyes, and the west shunned her back on him every night. The Mountain did not cradle him, but trapped him where he stood. Once he believed the stone stood sentinel, guarding him, but now the slate and slag imprisoned. He sought passage through the mountains, burrow under, or switchback through a cave to find a way: the Mountain always pushed back. If he climbed over, footing would slip, and this brought debris of rocks and gravel down on everyone in the village, with his friends and family protesting over his selfishness.
Since the north, east, south, and west did not care which direction he went, he did not move. Neither over the top nor through the heart of the Mountain could he move. In the deep valley he stayed, praying the snow would stay frozen on the mountaintops so there would never be flooding: nonetheless he drowned. He drowned in the dawn when he did not see the sun till it was almost noon, and he drowned in the moon when she would not show her face. If he kept his eyes straight ahead he saw the sides of the mountain, and if he looked up, celestial treasures on display for others in the world, but not for him. Always out of reach.
One day, in the middle of the year, in the middle of the field, in the pinnacle of the day, he prayed. “Dear gods, I am a simple man. I only wish to see the world.”
Nothing.
The moon hid, and the sun coy. He tried again.
This time, an odd breeze chucked him under his chin, tickling the whiskers on his face.
But the moon hid, and the sun coy. He tried again.
On the third day, he felt the breeze tickling his whiskers, and a voice in his ear. “Turn around, man.”
Behind him grew a field of daisies and poppies as far as the eye could behold. The pleated perfection of daisy petal, and sultry sirens of poppies made for a wondrous sight. As if to guard the two and prevent flower class warfare, hedges of lavender provided bees and breezes delights. The man gathered some of the flowers, and took them home and put them in a mug of water.
That night he went to sleep as normal, but his dreams were etched green and gold. Something luscious came uncomfortably in the house, unsure of itself: he sensed it. This was a dream of return, not departure. Eyes opening, the dark huddle before dawn, and silent–whatever came in, he wanted it to stay.
He overslept. Awoken by heat and sun, he lumbered to the kitchen for fresh water. There on the oak table, wrapped in her own arms, protective, delicate and thorny, was a Summer Wife. He had no idea how he knew this, but it was the woman from his mother’s song. She could be no other. Why this nymph chose his kitchen table, on this morning, in the heat and sun, he believed his prayers had been answered, a wish granted. Her hair was long, sunflower gold, curly, with a hopeless velvet green ribbon ineffectively trying to police the curls, eyes as green-blue as a robin’s egg, sun washed blue, and skin that made his ribcage ache, as if he had been running for hours, and couldn’t catch his breath. The time she spent with him, he never got over that sensation. Seeing him, she unfolded herself, opening, arms outstretched for an embrace. She didn’t say a word, but her lips broke into a wide smile, as if she had just returned home from a journey, and was expecting an unhesitant welcome. He obliged, forgetting how thirsty he was from his dreaming, and returned the embrace.
The villagers did not see him again for weeks.
They would come to the door, asking if he was sick or needed help, but he looked well enough, and said no, he was fine, thank you. His neighbor would hear giggling coming from the back room, nearly exhausting himself with curiosity to figure out which of the other village girls was visiting the man, straining neck and ears to peek or listen through shuttered windows. But the nature of the village was to mind one’s business, and though the man’s behavior was odd, no one seemed to be getting hurt, so they left him alone. The Mountain was peaceful, and since she provided all, perhaps this was her doing as well. Things would get back to normal.
No one had prepared the man for the care and nurturing of a Summer Wife, though. No mother’s song, no careful advice could have prepared him for life with this entity. The heat, the intensity they crave, is boundless. Summer has no concern for past or future, by nature impulsive and squandering gives it its beauty but exacts a price. For she was a thing, an object: the more he craved her, gave into her tantrums, the more depleted he became. His animals, forced by neglect, wandered over to neighbors’ homes for food and shelter. He forgot to move the water barrels to capture the rainwater for his crops. His laughter dried up, and he always felt parched. The grass fried brown, and the moon dripped greasy oil, smothering the once sweet air.
The Mountain noticed, and felt uncomfortable regret. She had sent the man the Summer Wife to keep him company, so he would not leave. Regret was unknown to the Mountain—since she was always as she was, how could she move to make a mistake? But she had, and it was now her business to correct it. She had no guidance, though, she believed: she was the Mountain, and asking for council was unthinkable.
One night, riding on the lost wind, she heard crying. She could not tell if it was the man or the creature of light and gold: in desperation, she asked the North Star, just over there, for help: he replied with a mirror. She spoke to the lake, and again, the lake looked back at her. Confused, once more she spoke to the sun, and the light reflected off of her face. She finally understood: she shook some dirt and soil loose, and held onto the forest trees’ roots, and wished for Summer to go, and give the man a happy home with Autumn, and then Winter. Spring Wife would simply not do: she always brings her sister Summer with her.
Uprooted and unbound, Summer sat up in bed, kissed the man while he slept, slipped out without a sound: when he awoke, he felt he had had a bittersweet dream, but could not remember the details. Something hurt, but something else felt necessary. In his kitchen, jars of fresh fruits, vegetables, and pickled delicacies stocked the larder. The yard was full of clucking chickens, and stalking kittens. All seemed right again, put back in order. He saw the backside of a tightly-dressed woman dash through his back door, and fresh laundry pinned to the clothesline. Autumn had tidied up.
Months later, on a cold night, the Mountain covered in fresh snow on her peaks, the stars drawing down to be touched, and the moon feeling self-important, the man felt warm arms hold him under the covers: Winter Wife held him like a fire, more welcome than fleeting summer, and he treated her as the beautiful warmth she was, the heart of the house.

Dead Man’s Party..

Having this overwhelming sense of deja-vu, as if I’ve dug up this before, in a former life (or post), but it just won’t stay buried…

While leveling a warlock on a PvP server to see how fast I could get to level 10 with no heirlooms, money, or assistance (2.5 hours) this morose ‘lock came across a merry group of clever cleaver-weilding souls, and she’s pretty sure one of them..Daniel Ulfman, may have been related to one real-world Danny Elfman of Oingo-Boingo, and the Mystic Knights

Sure enough, her suspicions proved correct. CD Rogue was a huge fan of Oingo back in the day, and I myself cannot get enough of Danny Elfman’s work on soundtracks for movies, television, and video games, including the theme song for the Simpsons.

There are too many favorites to choose from, but this one always gets me singing along melodramtically:

There are many ‘celebrity’ sightings in Azeroth, but few get such a fan-girl reaction than meeting Danny Elfman’s counterpart…which celebrity sighting as meant the most to you? We need a WoW Autograph book achievement! When we spot a reference, just like spotting a rare, we can put that in our book, and then as a reward get really cool shades to wear!

Sticky posts-post: Challenge Accepted

Okay, I am sorry about the previous post. It made me laugh. But then again, I am not built with the same parts as men are, and I shouldn’t have giggled. I am sorry. Truly. Friends again?

This idea comes from Tycertank, by way of Erinys, and Ababeko’s. Screenshot-A-Day Challenge.

Click for Challenge Info



Day One: N

“Naked.”

As in – naked, scared, and alone alt:

Recha is a Draenei monk who can’t keep her heirlooms on her frame – she’s given them all to Luckycricket, who is also floundering in Western Plaguelands, drinking with Argent Dawn soldiers or some such nonsense.

Another ‘n’ word: neglect, and lots of it.

Day Two: Incomplete:

The Wrathion questline:

Please, Mr. Tiger Sir, please, I appreciate your coaching from the sidelines, but could you do something about those bubbles of boiling hot dragon blood? Having more RAM has helped a lot – I died in forty seconds, not twenty, so there’s progress!