ext_20269: (character - Solace)
[identity profile] annwfyn.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] writing_shadows
The Urdaga are different.

It didn’t stop me wanting to throw up when I found out about Michele and Tia. I mean, two Uratha? That’s disgusting. It’s wrong. It’s wrong on a spiritual level. It taints their sacred oath to Luna. It doesn’t just risk creating a monster. It makes _them_ monsters.

I refused to believe I had understood at first. There must be some misunderstanding, some parsing of the words which I had misheard. I mean, Michele has always been bad with women, but I always thought he was a good man beneath it all. And Tia? I trusted Tia. I listened to her. I let her re-shape me. I looked to her to give me a new path. I gave that to both of them. And now?

That was when I realized I was shaking.

There is no altar in the garden. I wanted to set one up, but Wolfgang thought Sterrin would not like it, and after she died it felt wrong to do so. So there was nowhere for me to go. Instead, I walked until I could see the sea.

I didn’t cry. I am an Ivory Claw. We are Perfect and we are Pure and we do not weep for the dishonoured. I didn’t cry, although the sea sent salt water flying into my face and made my eyes sting. I didn’t cry for the good memories, because they were never real. I didn’t cry for the people I loved, because they never existed.

I stood there for a long time, until my face was wet with the spindrift from the sea, and then I went home.

When Wolfgang came home he didn’t ask about the small bonfire in the garden where I had burned every object which tied me to the Impure. He did raise an eyebrow when I asked if he would view it poorly if I shaved my head. My hair is long. There may be a part of me which Michele has touched which I haven’t burned yet.

I haven’t shaved my head. I suspect it wouldn’t help. I can’t summon my gods to cleanse me, I can’t pray without an altar. And, what’s worse, I can’t burn the thoughts inside my head.

I let Michele and Tia reshape me. I let them give me a new sense of what was right and what was wrong. I listened to them. I trusted them. The words I use now, the way I let people touch me, the fact that when a customer came to me to commission her wedding rings for the spring I was happy when she hugged me; those things are all twisted and tainted by the actions of the Sahu-Anzil now.

The Urdaga are different. For the last three years I’ve told myself that this is a good thing. I’ve dressed up for Halloween and embraced the touch of the dead. I’ve walked without my gods and I’ve addressed the Sons of Wolf by name and looked them in the eye. I took it on faith that my people had been wrong.

And I took it on faith that the Urdaga were wise.

Of course, some will tell me I can’t judge a whole people on a man and a woman and their lust addled choices. There is no Oath taken which has remained entirely unbroken. I should weep and mourn the loss of the people I loved. I should be glad I did not waste feathers on them and swear them as my family by choice and I should not think of them again. And then I should carry on. I have a mate, I have a family. I have friends who are not tainted by sick lust and I have a future. Why should Michele and Tia’s bad choices make me doubt everything?

Of course, those people would not have read the judgement of the Elodoth.

Michele and Tia lay together as lovers. They did something that was wrong. They broke their Oaths to Mother Luna and they did so willingly. They tried to cover it up with sophistry and then they used their own sins as a way to try and manipulate the Maeljin. They became a disease and a sickness and then it was found out. And, in the world as I understand it, retribution would have been terrible. I have heard of lovers who were castrated and mutilated, thrown out of tribe and of nation, given suicide missions to let them die honourably on. Those are how these stories end.

Instead, the judgement they were given was ‘you’ve been kind of bad. Can you not do it again?’

That isn’t a punishment! They did something as repugnant as Jay Pathfinder killing and devouring another Uratha – no – something worse, for Jay acted in a moment of madness, endlessly regretted. Their sins happened over months, maybe years (was it years?) and all in cold blood. Their breach of the oath was just as fundamental and the heavens themselves cried out against Jay Pathfinder.

When the Urdaga Elodoth sang her judgement to the skies, no one even passed comment.

And this, in my horribly aching head, means two things.

Firstly, it means that the Urdaga, the Forsaken, don’t care about their oaths. They don’t have a different way of living. They are the degenerates that I was always taught that they were. They can’t even keep their own oaths and don’t expect each other to do so. All the vaunted honour of the Storm Lords is a lie. The wisdom and spiritual understanding of the Bone Shadows is a lie. The savage retribution of the Blood Talons is a lie. It’s not real and they reject the gods so that no one can see but themselves and Mad Luna.

And that leads me onto the second realisation.

Mad Luna doesn’t care.

I have tried to love her. I have tried to take her on as my god. I have made my prayers in the pavilion beneath the moonlight, where I gave myself to Wolfgang for all eternity, and I once offered her a dozen silver butterflies, raised in a box and then opened before her stony face. I have accepted that my children will worship her and that for them, Father Wolf will be dead and they will never receive the succour of our own household gods.

I have wanted to love her. I don’t know if I can anymore.

Because she doesn’t care. She doesn’t notice what her children do, and if she does, her response is patchy and inconsistent. Some break the oath and are savaged for it, by spirit and song alike. Others walk unscathed. The Elodoth make random judgements which make no coherent sense and there is no right and no wrong.

The Urdaga are different.

At midnight I got out of bed and left the house. I walked in the garden a while, and then realized I had walked to the garden gate. I stood there a while.

I can’t go home anymore. The way back has been barred a long time ago. Somewhere inside Wolfgang is sleeping. What don’t I know about him? And that was when I realized I was crying.

I loved Michele. He was the first man who touched me after I left the Pure. I let him touch me first and I wanted him more than I knew how to express. Even when that faded, I still loved him. I still thought he was my friend. I respected Tia. She was smart and clever and everything I thought a Daughter of Wolf should be. I listened to her. I trusted her. And the whole fucking thing was a filthy lie.

I opened the garden gate. I didn’t go outside.

I love Wolfgang. I wanted to turn around, to climb into bed and shake him awake and make him explain. I wanted to scream at him, to call his people every name under the sun and tell him how much I hate them all right now. I wanted him to shout back, to tell me I was wrong, to explain how it’s all OK and I’m just misunderstanding everything again.

I don’t know if he can any more.

And so I stayed there, standing in the moonlight, with one foot staying in Urdaga territory and the other on the road…
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