As the connection between the two characters evolves, the unexpected love glows in various colors inside them. The original drawing was made on paper with graphite and ink gel pen.Enjoy!
Winter was setting over the city step by step. The gloomy days of endless autumn rains were over. Day by day, frozen white stars showered from the skies, enveloping the surroundings in a blissful blanket of cold silver.
The shopping madness already erupted, the furious in and out sweeping through the city. Fuyuki’s works sold better than ever, raising his confidence and making his loved ones proud; yet the oncoming Christmas made the young man a little bit anxious. Like so many other things from everyday life, this particular event was a first for Fuyuki. Since Yoshiasu had a very crowded schedule at work he relied entirely on Angela. Luckily, she enjoyed doing things together with the young artist. She looked upon him like on a younger brother. So they bravely worked themselves through the necessary shopping and set all the details for their trip to the mountains. Fuyuki was more than happy to leave the city. The constant swarm of the town proved to be tiring. He needed a break and some personal time with Yoshiasu. And then, there was the problem of the Christmas presents; the small things for the others were already packed up. The butterfly necklace he had designed for Angela was almost ready. There was only one person left but it was the most important one for Fuyuki. He was at loss; he knew that Yoshiasu had everything money could buy, everything he needed. Well, Angela helped him pick a fine, warm pullover but it didn’t feel like a real gift. Fuyuki buried his worries deep inside, hoping that he would come up with something more personal until Christmas.
Days went by and the moment of the departure finally came. Everybody was excited. Yoshiasu was well aware that for him and Fuyuki this holiday could prove to be a real challenge. It was their first public appearance as a couple. It was also about assuming their identity while among their friends there were girls still holding some hope about handsome Yoshiasu. It was a big step for Fuyuki to meet so many strangers in such a particular moment of the year; Yoshiasu was determined to keep him safe from any harm or malicious pressure. He was happy that Angela would accompany them, despite the fact that her fiancé, George was stuck abroad and couldn’t join them. They were about to meet at the New Year’s Eve Party. George was a fine guy, reliable and open minded, deeply in love with Angela. Yoshiasu hoped that he’ll accept Fuyuki easily.
Yoshiasu and Fuyuki arrived at the inn at the early hours of the 24-th of December. The landscape was spectacular and the snow was sparkling and pristine. The morning chill put some color in their cheeks. After the heavy snowfall the day before, the morning was clear and sunny. Reflecting on the ocean of snow, the light was overwhelming, blurring all the contours, seeping into every crack and corner, chasing away the bluish shadows. Amazed by the sighting, Fuyuki watched in awe the unfolding of this natural beauty. His unusual lilac eyes captured the light like two translucent pools reflecting the endless skies.
They settled in their room and went out for a walk. The rest of the group was due to come in the afternoon. Angela was arriving with the crowd; she wanted to stop for a visit to her parents who lived in a small city nearby.
As they crossed the lobby, Fuyuki noticed the Christmas tree centered in the main room. It was a two meters high, richly decorated fir tree. Fuyuki walked closer and gently ran his fingers over the branches. Sudden memories clouded his face; Yoshiasu stepped behind him, touching his shoulder.
-Do you remember anything, Fuyuki?- he asked in a reassuring voice.
-I…I remember the excitement of the expectation and that…it felt good. My memories are mostly feelings, not facts. I was very young at that time…
-Don’t get upset-said Yoshiasu and took him by the hand. Let’s go out and I’ll tell you about my ups and downs with Santa.
Fuyuki shook away the setting gloom and followed his friend. The snowy landscape had a definite appeal for both of them. They roamed all around, stumbling from time to time over a lighter heap of frozen stars. They made snowballs and competed in throwing them faraway, they pushed each other down the small slopes and happily rolled over the fluffy sparkling blanket. They fooled around until they tired; they finally stopped, lying down in the snow, panting from exhaustion and excitement.
From the corner of his eyes Yoshiasu watched Fuyuki smiling happily. He rose, bent over the younger man and kissed him. Fuyuki encircled his neck with his arms and kissed him back. Yoshiasu’s hand moved along Fuyuki’s body as their kissing deepened. They fell back breathless and stood there, gaze lost in the endless azure above. Moments later they heard the sound of the arriving cars; they stood up, shook the excess of snow clinging to their clothes and returned to the inn hand in hand.
Angela was just stepping out of the car when they got there. She affectionately kissed them both and asked them playfully:
-Have you already started the party?
They laughed, picked up her luggage and followed her in. Everybody got their room and after a while the lobby filled with young men and women eager to relax and start the party. The food was already on display and it proved to be delicious. They were all hungry and slaloming with a plate in hand eased the connecting between the 30 some people.
Angela chuckled and kicked Yoshiasu with the elbow from time to time, as she caught various people staring at Fuyuki. Holding his loved one by his shoulders, the computer analyst introduced him to each and every one of his friends and their companions. He did it easily and naturally, without ostentation and even the most jealous girls had to admit that Yoshiasu’s choice was…charming. As things settled, fun took over. The laughter and joy bubbled and the party turned out to be a real success. It was well past midnight when they finally returned to their rooms.
Yoshiasu showered and sat on the top of the bed with a small glass of wine, waiting for Fuyuki to shower. The room was pleasantly warm as deep cold settled outside the windows. The night sky was teaming with stars, the light above mirroring the endless glitter of the ocean of snow below. Fuyuki sat next to Yoshiasu and took the other glass. He took a small sip and looked into his friend’s eyes. The older man furrowed his brows questioningly:
-What’s wrong, Fuyuki?
The younger man sighed.
-It’s about your Christmas present…
-I’m not a child, Fuyuki. You don’t have to worry…Besides, as long as I have you, I need nothing else.
Fuyuki put his glass aside and sat face to face with Yoshiasu.
-It’s all I can give you…-he said and his voice broke.
Yoshiasu watched him intently; there was a warm light glittering in the amethyst mirrors and a slight tremble in the young man’s body. Yoshiasu gently touched his face and the warmth of Fuyuki’s body seeped through his fingertips, making his heart run wild.
-Fuyuki, are you sure?-he asked in a restrained voice.
Fuyuki closed his eyes, letting the bathrobe slip off his shoulders. Yoshiasu laid him down and kissed him deeply. Fuyuki’s breath hitched as Yoshiasu moved down, kissing the soft curve of his neck. Senses and emotions flared up in their embrace and love moved forward, breaking down the barriers of painful memories. Fuyuki opened to Yoshiasu totally and unrestrained, seeking the magic of feelings he sought for so long. Their love making brought them high and when they reached the climax, it left them dizzy with elation.
Released from anxieties and overwhelmed by his feelings, Fuyuki was quietly sobbing, curled up in Yoshiasu’s arms. Yoshiasu squeezed him lovingly and caressed him until the tears dried and the younger man fell asleep, protected by his lover.
They woke up late, fulfilled and more in love than ever. They quickly showered and went downstairs where their friends were already opening the presents. As they were the last ones to descend, eyes turned towards them for a moment. Just like Angela, people noticed that there was a new light in Yoshiasu and Fuyuki’s eyes and a certain glow coming from inside. Even the most skeptical ones had to admit that the signs of LOVE were unmistakable in the appearance of the two young men.
So everyone returned to the unwrapping of packages and Angela greeted her two best friends.
-I have a feeling that you’ve already got your present-she chuckled.
-Do we have to admit on that?- asked Yoshiasu and they all laughed.
They sat on the floor together and started the unwrapping of the presents along with the others.
Writing Fantasy started with drawing and dreaming in my case. This is one of my few drawings where all has begun. In time, my pencil decided to write instead of drawing…
Lost in a world that lies inside, somewhere where dreams are born and fade away on the shore of bubbling light and inside the cracks where Reality seeps in, calling for me…
My characters constantly carry a certain melancholy , the yearning for faraway spaces, a feeling of lingering autumn mist.
Before I can verbalize my thoughts I have moods and feelings of something trying to get my attention. A moment of weirdness, definitely….
The moonless night opened its velvet wings over the land, muffling sounds and filling every corner with shapeless, crawling shadows. In the dim light of the stars, the groups were gathering in the specially chosen points outside the Citadel. The earth was trembling imperceptibly under their feet as the Moon-thorn bushes were pushing towards the surface.
When the night reached its apex, the powerful vegetal hands dislodged chunks of the white walls, opening the way for the outcasts. They quickly spread on the streets, trying to go unnoticed as far as they could . The aim of the group lead by Satoru, which comprised Cora too, was to reach the Sanctuary and save the Silver Tree. They managed to get far enough when they bumped into the White Guards. After the first moments of shock, both sides engaged in bitter fight and chase in the streets of the City.
People woke up to the noise of the battle and running. At first, they weren’t keen to intervene; but soon, some of them decided to help one side or the other and step into the fight. Above them all, the angry growl of clashing Shadowcats and ferdogs filled the air with chilling sounds…
Up in his residence, Asterius woke up to the sound of a heavy fist knocking on his door. He jumped out of his bed and listened intently: there was a strong rumor coming from the streets.
-Commander!-shouted Rolf Asterianus, knocking nervously at the door of the main entrance. We’re attacked by the outcasts! They are everywhere in the streets!
Asterius opened the door with an angry move and grabbed the young man.
-How could that happen?! Were you all sleeping in your posts?!!! Incompetent fools! You practically invited them in! What is your excuse, you…you idiot!!!?
But the young commander was not keen to take the bash and he dismissed the angry shouts of his uncle.
-We were not sleeping! They broke into the city by the breaches in the wall opened by the thorn bushes that grew overnight! There was no sign of them yesterday evening! You know very well that we had burn them to the ground. How could I know that they can grow at such speed and damage the walls?!
Listening to him, Asterius calmed down instantly. He already knew where his true enemy was lying: in the Sanctuary.
-The Tree…..-he growled. The Silver Tree…
But Rolf misunderstood his words and he quickly reassured his uncle.
-No, no, don’t worry! The Silver Tree is safe. I’ve placed my best squadron there to protect it.
-The bastard….-Asterius spew the word, without further explanation. He opened the drawer of his desk and took out a vial. He slipped it in his pocket with a smirk; the Silver Tree was as good as dead. He then turned to the young commander and barked a few orders, then dismissed him. Rolf Asterianus left in a hurry.
-So you are here, my rebellious son!-murmured Asterius , looking outside.
Soon it would be dawn and he had to go and reach the Sanctuary. He has ordered Rolf to move away the squadron of White Guards and send them to protect the Council of Elders. He needed to get to the Silver Tree undetected, if he wanted to finish his work. He took his hooded cape and left the house.
At the same time, Gondwana was ferociously opening way for Satoru’s team. The young leader knew that his father was not sleeping peacefully in his bed. Oh, no! He was sneaking somewhere in the streets, trying to do as much harm as he could. Cora was focusing on both the dangers of the battle and the faint call of the Silver Tree. Ogren was backing them up, pushing back any attempt of hurt against his friends. In the heat of the action, he sometimes changed into a big brown bear, sending the attackers to the ground with one hit of his large paws. They’ve got at the Sanctuary at the same time with Asterius.
Satoru and Cora confronted Asterius atop of the circular row of stairs. They have cornered the self-appointed ruler of the Citadel and he was enraged. Where was that stupid nephew of his when he was needed?! The White Guardians were fighting the Invisibles in the streets and the members of the Council were hiding, waiting for the outcome of the battle. Satoru and Asterius were facing each other for the first time after many years. Despite the strong, slender features of his son, the cold hearted father could see only a crippled youth challenging his authority. The veins of his neck were bulging of fury as he spat his words towards Satoru:
-You!!…You’re nothing but a petty criminal in cahoots with the enemies of your own people! These freaks of Nature have poisoned and almost destroyed the Silver Tree that is safe-guarding our lives!
-That’s a lie!-shouted Cora.
-How do you know?-sneered Asterius, turning to her. You’re a foreigner in this land! What do you know about us?!
-I know because I am an Arberian and my people has its own Tree Guardian. There are many such trees in the lands around us and they are all connected through their roots. I am a chosen ambassador of my people and I was taught to connect to the Tree so yes, I know that you are lying! The Silver Tree has finally shown me the face of its longtime tormentor and that face belongs to you, Asterius! You are the one causing the demise of your Tree!!!
Cora pointed her finger to the Chief Guardian and suddenly, everyone in the City Square froze in action,turning their attention to him. Asterius reddened in anger and with an inhuman cry, he jumped forward to slay the girl defying him. But Satoru lunged swiftly in his way and took the blow without blinking. He fell to the ground, heavily bleeding while in her rage, Gondwana, the Shadowcat mauled Asterius to death. As Cora was kneeling, holding Satoru in her arms, the fight around them ended and citizens, Changers and White Guardians gathered in silence, forming a large circle around them. Ogden was shattered by pain while Cora was choking on her streaming tears.
-Don’t leave me, my love…-she whispered. Please…I need you by my side. How can I go on without you?
-I’m…not…leaving you….- Satoru articulated the words in pain. You’ll see….I’ll be with you…always…just call me…when you need me….
She caught his last breath was caught in a kiss. Releasing her beloved, Cora stood up silent, numbed by the pain. How was she supposed to move forward? How can anyone live with such a hole in the heart, such throbbing void of loss? All of a sudden she felt the need to run wild and never stop…Run, run till she would drown in her tears ! She choked on the pressure of the tears left uncried….OH!!!!
She felt the warmth of a tiny hand trying to cuddle inside her closed fist; it was Avik. Left with Petunia in the safety of the forest camp,he could feel her pain. Cora sighed and sent him a reassuring smile. The moment of personal anguish was over. The Invisibles were waiting for her to lead them and she wasn’t going to let them down. So she bent over Satoru and kissed him once more, then cut a strand of his hair, hiding it next to her heart.
The Invisibles took Satoru to the Sanctuary while Cora and Ogden followed them in silence. Moments later, Elders of the City arrived in the square and Rolf Asterianus joined them. They entered in the Sanctuary to talk with the leaders of the Insurgents, while outside the people were slowly assessing the damages, some of them emerging from the houses, looking for their long lost relatives among the Invisibles. Despite the tragic end of the clash, the moment Asterius met his demise under the paw of the Shadowcat, the spell making the Changers invisible broke, and those unjustly torn away from their loved ones could be seen and see each other. Sounds of joy, sighs, cries and tears filled the air as people embraced and kissed.
Inside the Sanctuary, the Elders, Cora and Ogden, the Changers and Rolf Asterianus were facing each other. The young Captain of the White Guards was torn between his duty towards his uncle and the feeling that the ugly facts delivered by the girl before him were true. Nonetheless, he challenged her:
-Why would we trust your words, young lady? Your claims about our respected leader Asterius have no proof!
Cora took a deep breath before answering him; this young man was both the aid of a man she loathed and the close relative of the man she loved.
-Revered Elders and Commander Asterianus! I have been in contact with the Silver Tree ever since I was in my own country. She has sent out a call for help and I have followed it until I got here. You can believe me or not. But I know that the custom of this land is that before dying, the Tree leaves behind a seed and only her Trusted One can find it. I will step back and leave it to you to find that seed. If you fail, it will be my turn to do the search.
She bowed and joined the ranks of the Changers, next to Ogden. On the other side of the chamber,the Elders and Rolf were having an animated.talk.
-The girl is right, Commander-said Matriarch Arantha, one of the Elders. Only the Chosen One can find the seed of the dying Tree.
-But how do we know our Tree is dead? I see it standing!-protested Rolf.
-You have a point, Commander-replied Elder Comino, head of the Council. As the closest person to Asterius, we appoint you to do the search. If you fail, we will allow the foreign girl to try her luck. May Truth and Justice be with you!
So they returned to the Changers with the offer and Cora and Ogren agreed, opening the way for Rolf Asterianus to do his search. The young man approached the battered Tree with deep emotion. There was so much at stake…and even his own peace of mind stood in the outcome of this task. He stopped before the huge trunk and touched it gingerly. In a fraction of a moment, the Silver Tree disintegrated, turning into a dense mist spreading under the dome of the Sanctuary. When it finally condensed, it became a silver cloud, levitating far beyond reach. In the place where the Tree once stood nothing was left, except for the barren soil. A murmur of surprise erupted from the audience and Rolf staggered, emotionally shaken.Resonating to his inner turmoil, Cora touched his shoulder.
-It’s not your fault, Commander. The Tree has gone through much lately and it has put its trust in me. It’s nothing personal in its reaction.
She stepped forward, eyes closed and the palms of her hands open. She focused on the search for the small voice of the Spirit in the Seed. The cloud of silver dust descended upon her, shrouding Cora in a glowing cocoon.
“ I’m here…”-said the little voice and the seed materialized in the palms of the girl. It was warm and silky, with the rhythm of life throbbing inside it, like a heart.
“ You’re safe with me.”-murmured Cora and she opened her eyes, then turned to the others around. She showed the heart shaped seed, then walked out the sanctuary and stood on the top of the stairs:
-Citizens of the Silver Tree Citadel! I stand here before you, holding the seed of your future Tree, as it was handed out to me by the one that has guarded your life for such a long time. This seed is the promise of a new era, one where there’s no place for division and suffering! You have been cheated and lied and driven to hate your own kin. The Silver Tree died of broken heart and before that, I made a promise that I would protect its child and its beloved people from repeating such a sad history!
No one should be invisible ever again! No one should be denied the beauty of itself! No one should become an outcast for being different! Hate breeds only more hate and that endless spiral of hatred would eventually bring down and destroy us all! We cannot build our happiness on the misery inflicted to others! Such an edifice will only fall to pieces eventually.
You have built such a magnificent city, you have poured the beauty of your souls into the magic of your creation. But once you have allowed fear to live inside its walls, you’ve stripped of the beauty, emptied your lives and deprived the Silver Tree from the wonderful emotions that kept it alive and healthy. The Changers were your beautiful, unique children, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors and you allowed a hateful, maddened individual to trash them, to wrongly accuse them, to demonize them! But not all of you….
Luckily there were those who saw that this is terribly wrong. They have put their lives in jeopardy to save the innocents and ultimately to save you all from becoming the real monsters. I bow before them and I bow before you all. Please accept my humble offer of help in healing your wounds and in rebuilding your lives!
Finishing her speech, she looked around, trying to read the faces of people listening to her. She saw hope and support, she saw acceptance and deep relief. Some of the bystanders started to cheer and soon, the whole city square was booming of the joyful voices. That evening, the former Invisibles took Satoru’s body to their camp in the forest and incinerated their beloved leader under the moonlight. Cora stood there, holding Avik’s hand, supported by her friends, Petunia and Ogren, Savian and all the others. Satoru’s Shadowcat was sitting at Avik’s feet, guarding him closely. Cora took Satoru’s ashes and the next morning, she travelled to the highest point of the region to plant the Silver Seed.
She took out her knife and dug a hole in the ground. When it was deep enough, she took out the small box from her pocket and opened it. The Silver Seed was softly shimmering in the morning light. Cora carefully removed it from the box and gently placed it at the bottom of the hole, like she was laying a child to sleep. She then wiped clean the crystal knife and made a small cut on her palm. Three drops of blood sealed the connection between the young Queenie and the future Tree. But there was yet something else to do. She took out another little box and removed the strand of black hair from inside. She closed her eyes and kissed it, breathing in the painfully familiar scent, then placed the final gift next to the magical seed. With a quick move of her wrist, she cut her long , braided tail and placed the fiery-gold strands next to Satoru’s. She sprinkled the ashes of her beloved in the hole, then fill it up with soil.
“ Farewell, my love…”-she whispered as she pressed the ground firmly. She stood up, drew a protective circle around the place and walked away slowly. She has buried her heart along with seed of the new Tree that would grow and protect from now on the Land of the Invisibles.