Tai Chi Straight Sword Love

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Mara

Colours of orange and gold streaked across the sky, shining brightly, then slowly fading away as the crimson ball of fire sank lower upon the horizon. A cool evening breeze brushed past, disturbing the fallen leaves of autumn. To her the breeze was the winter wind, cold and lifeless. Her eyes remained unseeing the beauty of the sunset. She hated sunsets. Every sunset made her feel as if her life were ending, that there was no hope for her. People thought her strange, strange that a girl of fifteen could have such gloomy thoughts, and so they kept away from her. She didn't mind, of course. She preferred to be alone, she had always been alone. They didn't know her, although they tried to guess her character. They said she was unsociable, rude - probably because she didn't have proper upbringing - and reserved. They didn't like her because she was different, because she didn't think the same way they did. In school she got good grades. She was very intelligent. She smiled and talked like everyone else, but it was just a mask. She was never personal, never talked about herself. She made sure that nobody would ever guess her secret. She had piercing black eyes and long, wavy, flowing black hair. Her skin was as pale as the moon. She was tall and slender, and glided as she walked. In short, she was hauntingly beautiful. Yet beauty meant nothing to her. She never showed any emotion. It was only through her eyes that you could sense the fire, the passion and ambition that she had hidden in her soul. There was a time when she used to love sunsets. It used to remind her of the brand new day. She had thought that, although the sun set everyday, it would rise to shine even brighter the next day. She used to think the sun shone for her. Now, she loved only the night and the moon, who seemed to share her loneliness. She closed her eyes and pictured the face in her mind. The face was beautiful, shining and bright with an unseen energy. She knew the face, and the face knew her. The face was her companion. They had been through a lot together. She remembered lying under the stars together, listening to the poetry being recited by her companion. She had pictured the images in her mind, listening with an innocent happiness. The words were beautiful, although she didn't always know what they meant. They danced in her mind, lingered there long afterwards. Even now, she could still hear them. But she was gone, her companion was gone, torn away from her forever. With her went a little piece of her soul.

The stranger called to her from inside the house. He acted as if her knew her, commanded her to come in. By then, the sky had already darkened to a navy blue. She lingered for a moment, enjoying the emptiness of the night, then went in. "Yes, I understand you" she answered silently, "my lover, the night. Wrap me in your cold embrace." She allowed her mind to drift for a while. She quickly went to her room. It was dangerous to stay out for long. She risked exposing herself to the stranger. She preferred her room, where she could explore the quiet emptiness of her thoughts. She used to spend her time worrying, wondering, fearing, and questioning everything. She gave that up. No more worries, no more pain, no more fear. Why worry when you can think about nothing? She didn't care anymore, everything was meaningless when she didn't feel alive.

From far away, she could hear the sound of the flute, and the sound of the angry waves crashing against the rocks. Was it her imagination? She didn't know, but she remembered the boy. She first met him on the rocks. He was playing his flute. A lonely, sad tune, but she liked it. He didn't notice her watching him until he had finished. He turned and looked in her direction; he wasn't surprised to find her standing there, watching him. His eyes were knowing, understanding. She didn't know who he was, just that he was alone, like her. When she had asked him who he was, he had said, "I am no one. I am the sea, the waves, I am the sound of the flute. I am the lone wolf that hunts in the night." She had told him of her loneliness, of the stranger, of her love for the moon and the night. He didn't answer, he only looked at her with his eyes full of sadness. His face showed regret. For months she kept returning. She listened to him play his flute, she sat by him and watched the sea. They hardly ever talked, they just sat silently by each other. The wind, the waves, the moon, and the night spoke for them. They expressed themselves without words. Words are empty, meaningless. Suddenly one day, he turned and spoke to her. His eyes were like fire and ice, like she had never seen before. He said, "Mara, you can still be free, you are still young. You are the eagle, if you spread your wings, you can fly! Free your spirit, let it soar, don't be like me. The wolf without his pack is destined to live his life in solitude, but the eagle can soar to greater heights alone." She had been shocked by his outburst, by his energy. She was frightened by him, and like a coward, she had run away. When she returned, he was gone. Shane - yes, that was his name, - he had gone. She stood there for minutes, hours, an eternity, staring at the sea. As she walked home, the waves, the flute, his words rang in her ears. She never saw him again. She had known him only for a while, and he was much older than she was, perhaps 25, but her heart had felt a longing deep inside, a sense of companionship that she never had before. Yes, the lone wolf is destined to live forever in solitude, and so is he. He had sealed his own fate by following that path. For a moment, she thought she understood him. He had created his own sadness, and it had become his cage for all eternity. "Chase after sadness, and you will find it." Her companion once said this to her, when she was still innocent. She had tried to warn her. A thought suddenly came to her, "Everyone and everything I love must be torn away from me." She had been left with no one but the stranger. Tears came to her eyes. Her hands went to her face. Tears! Were they really her own tears? She couldn't remember the last time she had cried. Perhaps her spirit was finally free. She let her tears flow and thought of her companion, and the boy. She was free, and she thanked them for it. She would forever hold them in her heart.