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by darf

Chapter 1: At Rising of Dawn


At Rising of Dawn

A form at fall — a fitting wake — a format for waking in good form. Aspirational astringencies and vestiges of overnight mindseye emulsification. Clouded head rest in bed-rest until waking and unobfuscation emergent in contemplation from a valley fog. Sheets shifted in the night, like a coil of serpent’s wings.

    —Mrrnh.

    Spent the night in too many pages. That old one, cracking. Spine needs rebinding. Respineding? The night’s savings, returning with interest.

    Around this hour — what hour — when the window light is in. Eyes burn. Buried down face first. Come on and face the world.

    There was no breakfast upon a waking a rising a tension to surrounding. Twilight Sparkle raised both hooves to both eyes and rubbed both with both sighs of a passing night and a heavy morning. Arduously, she circumspied the room to remind that it was still there.

    Breakfast.

    Good days are unurgent. Go to get up and the world is inside. Cereal and toast on a platter. Bringing by that rye-bread again. Mrs. Cake makes it sometimes. Too much time to pick up, when it’s talk always on here-nor-there, sending him instead. Little claw marks on the time. Can’t count the change. Otherwise fine.

    —Lnnnmmmnuuhhh.

    Vessels and vestiges opened with Twilight’s daybreak locomotion yawning. The whole world regrew at night, and her in bed with it. She was a purple speckled egg rested in a bed-nestle. Felt like she had sprouted limbs in sleeping. Streeeeeetch.

    You’re shorter in the morning. Where did I read that? An Illustrated no Encyclopedia of no On the Science of no overheard it. Remember Dash saying it. Test for veracity later. Liked smiling when she told me something. Smiles that start anew like cheerful eggs...

    Eggs. Toast?

    Clophooves on bareboard clattered in announcement as Twilight took form from her cocoon. The light speckled the room, separate from the darkness, and lit doting motes of dirty air as they tumbled downwards. Little flecks. Sour morning on her teeth. How much dust, and how it would return.

    Though it was well into morning, measured steps on the staircase kept downturn silent. No sense in waking him if he wasn’t up. He liked to sleep in just as much, if not more. Still so small, there’d be no room of him left in the mornings. Have to measure the next day.

    Quiet. The kitchen was quiet.

    —Crrrrrnnnngggk.

    The drawer at the covered counter crooned of the close-by cupboard when Twilight pried it open. Something aside toast. Frying. Working with hot things still asleep. Maybe a drink.

    —Clunk.

    Shut.

    The fridge revealed the spoils of its plundery, awaiting the raiding party expectant for the excavating of its treasures. Twilight wished afternoon to grow there, but none came. A head of lettuce looked at her threateningly, ready to roll in any direction.

    The fridge fell shut with a sigh. Twilight breathed with it, soaking the kitchen air in her discontent.

    Could go out. Might find an unpleasantness in the hour, but the air outside would be waking. Who decided that? Emergent properties of uncirculated oxygen — temperature — may as well douse myself in a sinkstream. Not very refreshing. Go for coffee.

    The hooded jacket in the clothes-closet draped its way toward selection, but Twilight pushed it to the back of consideration. Too ripe a weather for that sort of thing. Defeating the perk in purpose exception percolation oh a propensity for these things this morning heh. Maybe there’s no need for coffee. That’s practically a cardinal utterance.

Twilight yanked the door open and squinted away the sun. No child in its right mind should be up this early. How does the princess feel about coffee? Step, cold steps. Kerthump. Shut.

    Townsound in stasis around now. Waking taking too much out of folks. I’m the only one up in the world. If the world was empty, would I find myself in it? Need provisions. Organization doesn’t do when there’s nothing and no one to organize. Can’t bring back the dead by counting rocks. What a lovely start to the morning. Back to coffee.

    Little bit of dew on the sole. Perks up the sole. Immortal sole. Feel more less-asleep already.

    Room for a few more at this hour on the way not only there’s a pony. Nod hello ohwaveyes there you are. Can’t remember something with an ‘S’ Star Shimmer Shine Swirl no that’s last night walking by now.

    —Good morning, Twilight!

    —Good morning.

    Have an exit by forgetfulness. Wavewave and she’s vanishing into offstage with the grass in a path forward like it’s a direction. Going on getting opening the day and the rest of everything can wait.

    With a deft counterance of her own ambulatory preference, twofold walked on leftside, teacher and an unsure lightshade of underhoof. New, mark on her side, stringsomething—

    —Oh, good morning, Twilight. I didn’t expect to run into you this early.

    Let out inside a late-riser? Aside. Morning miss no miss.

    —I am up a bit earlier than usual, Twilight admitted with a dwindled grin, hoofrub onto spot of undermane. Just going to get some coffee to help me wake up.

    Cheerilee doffed her head in absence of a hat while her minted companion cooled on, as good as unblinking. Twilight’s smile wiggled.

    —I always find a nice strong tea to be a good pick-me-up in the morning, Cheerilee soothed.

    Of course she does did would does. Tea. Wigglemint to her side leaf-tea harpstrings. Blink. Smilenod.

    —I’ll keep that in mind.

    Beat. Still smiling. Wish to walk to ward to where she was wanting no tea there.

    —Oh! Forgive me, Cheerilee burbled with a chamomile intonement. I don’t think you two have met.

    Not in the least I can remember her more than somepony else in the background probably something insipid like Happy Harp okay hold your tongue that’s the sunblur and no caffeine.

    —No, I don’t think we have.

    Tipped to the touch of hoof hello say hello.

    —Hello.

    Nervous and nonchalant in avant don’t let that missing cup colour hoof-shake.

    —Twilight, this is Lyra. She’s the newest member of our book club.

    Our what hour our to dig for our now too bittersour. Twilight bit her tongue and dipped her smile to low-corners.

    —Book club?

    The light-specks in open air on dog-eared pages. Content-listings under eyelids. Only empty sentences staring back at her. Politeness our don’t.

    Cheerilee’s face recame as though she had recalled a regret imminent in her intonation. She hurried in a sudden display of recalcitrant disposition. Twilight eyed the annotated shifting and ascribed a foot-note into her mental appendix.

    —Oh, goodness. It just occurred to me — I have mentioned the book club, haven’t I?

    In a village in a house in a library, stewing away at night on just that sort of rumination, don’t think for a second not to inundate with reproach coming from outside coming from inside. Twilight prickled a bristle underneath a soft shiver of smile.

    —No, I don’t think you have.

    Cheerilee’s tea left recipe in lavender solution for a poor morning. She frowned.

    —I think you must be right. It always did seem strange to me when I thought about it, how a Ponyville Book Club could be missing the most well-read mare in the entire town.

    She had the sense to cover her typographical in a reprobate polish. Of course it was a truthful travesty, albeit one she had only unearthed now, to be in absentia the dialectic fortitude of unequivocal study, learned and versed manifestum indicium. Maybe it was a disdain for narrative, telling herself a story about somepony who didn’t care for story. That was no excuse. Books were books, amore librorum she was a perfect fit. What kind of a conduct was it to omit her from inclusion, taking into consideration at ever offer accounting for the sun was out for page turning, she had her figurative nose in a literal book enough to miss an oh that was it.

    Regress. She can’t read it. Afternoon, Twilight, she’d said: Afternoon Twilight, absurd. What are you up to, some assemblage of sentences and something book club that was it then, and here vaunted into victimhood, well, too deep into it to turn the other way now.

    —It’s not a big deal, Twilight deflected. It probably just slipped your mind.

    To absolve her forethought of its ponderous palpability, green onlooking, no ins.

    —Well, I suppose now is as good a time as any. Would you like to join us for our meeting tonight, Twilight?

Flicker of figuring was an inevitable eventuality why hadn’t she kept ahead? What was the evening out when the sun was gone when coffee was as much unnecessary as sleep elsewise she had one and not the other.

    —It’s a bit short notice, Twilight quibbled, leaning imperceptibly to the side. What’s the name of the book you’ll be discussing?

Cheerilee moved her mouth to manifest the behest of Twilight’s request for information, but Lyra’s first indication of presence presented itself in an interruption.

    —The Days and Dalliances of a Fortunate Foal, Lyra loquated lyrically. It’s an inspirational autobiography from a local pony. Probably my favorite read of the year!

    Umbrage. Verbal pulp. Twilight bittered. She had mulch more cogent literary. Some mare from Ponyville, Cloudsdale or other had visited it on the world. Twilight’s lips threatened to let her hushwords out, but politeness overbeared.

    —I don’t think I’ve read that one yet, so I probably wouldn’t have much to contribute to a discussion. Maybe next time though?

    Cheerilee warmsmiled blithely. Lyra mimicked, oblivious. Twilight manifest a shadow of discontent.

    —Yes, of course. I’ll be sure to give you enough notice so you can come to the next meeting.

    It was a token of relevance, and now enough. To be buried in a keepsake drawer somewhere. What if recumbered, book nose? No thank you.

    —For sure. Feel free to drop in and give me a heads-up.

    Sideways slanting and still three of them, now just standing. No tea.

    —Well, I’d better get going. Tough to keep my eyes open without my coffee in the mornings.

    That was why mornings were afternoons or cups were brewed hoof claw-brewed and brought up with breakfast. Lyra looked on.

    —Oh, of course, Cheerilee assured, holding a hoof sweetly to her chest. Don’t let me keep you then.

    Bob-bob, bobbed back.

    —It was nice meeting you.

    —You too.

    There was air in there, no doubt. Mutey. Hollow Harp. The Days and Dalliances of a Silent Soul. Albeit endearing green. Twilight swayed brashly in either direction, sun in her head.

    —Bye for now, she said, already assuming the motion of her morning expedition.

    Unheard goodbyes in passed-by. Practically a barrier to proper progression of the day. At least she was polite. An instant was more than enough time to spend on digressions. Politeness: a preponderance in paltry exchange. A necessary nicety to keep conduct superficial. Not to say there’s no need for niceness. Morning muttering again. Best to keep moving.

    At the halfway juncture marking the separation of returnpoint, a large statue crested the sideways of Twilight’s periphery. Turning her head towards it, the monument bloomed forthright in a familiar face’s majestic formation, emblazoned in announcement by the pronouncement of the sun behind. Skyfire from rising weary and dewdrops given from shielding condensed overhead. Twilight was struck in momentorary reverence.

    The sun was beautiful.

    Too simple a summation. Something that brings life. Light-orb of keeping ever all casting from heaven’s reaches outward into forever. Principle of Celestial benevolence. Bringing warmth out in cold, revitalizing all things in remembrance of purpose. Waking sleep from circumstance and dusk butterflies from their beds.

    That statue. What does it mean to have your likeness at leisure in every prefecture? The humbling of reverence is too heady for mortality.

    The sunlight lit aside for a moment and Twilight collected her bearings, bearing a sudden clarity for her solar idolatry. Books leave a bad taste in the mouth; maybe something simple would be more beneficial.

    Walking, Twilight watched the sunbeams wind themselves into spiral curls of atmospheric refraction. Too convoluted. Where’s the inspiration in saying something looks pretty?

    I awoke to the sun, and it looked nice.

    The morning felt good, though I was tired.

    Twilight moved forward, rolling words around in her head. Simple. Sun. Sum. Building up of expectation. Adoration. Something nice. Something something keeping warm? No more trying that on for size. The best thoughts are the ones that make themselves.What meaning can we have for something so great when its ambulation is a concentration for a living entity?

Twilight lifted a hoof over a four-eyed insect, wiggling its spindly stalks as it watched her go past.

    Whereupon is the significance of life if it is transient? Walking a pending stretch of town would compound to the same solution. Coffee or no coffee. X or Y. Variables are unchanging of the equation’s resolution. Coffee, and then you die. Unless you don’t. Have to ask her sometime.

    The moon lends itself better to something stronger. Jitter or mouthful with hidden things inside to keep your brain awake. We don’t see the agents of eye-opening as they work, but we know they’re there. Celestial affordance has no need — sleep when sleeping, and not otherwise. Have to ask.

    Approaching closer the coffee-shop, unassailed by distractions outside her own head, Twilight cast one more consideration skyward. The luminescence of the sun’s presence loomed back at her.

    The other agent of harmony is equilibrium. Compassion is equidistance preservation proportion of proximity peh peh peh. Sound that gets in your head. If there’s room in even stride for one on either side, do they turn together? How does that dictate an eternal cycle? The day is longer than the night. There’s a whole resentment about it. Must like coffee. Bitterant. Staying awake for one thousand years at least. Have to ask.

    This early and there’s no line. Must be at least one inside. Even rising with the sun, there’s somepony up earlier. Must make her own. If she does. Have to ask. Wish I had a list.

    As the store’s front approached, Twilight searched her saddlebags for an errant scrap of paper, aside the preparatory collection of currency she would need to purchase her drink. The saddlebags whizzed by, avoiding her sides through memory in omission. At home with the jacket, no doubt. In the closet where they fell. Sky-strike. Meteor debris. Drat.

    Twilight’s hoof found the door handle in hesitation. Her mind flickered in search of a circumnavigation to her emerging frustration. Teleportation might do, but coffee acquisition was no suitable application for her magic. If it was that simple, she’d have’d one brought over herself. Drat.

    With a defeated dejection, Twilight frowned and turned from her morning animus.

    A shoulder introduced itself. Tounge on teeth oof. Rubbing of the forehead.

    —Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were opening the door to go in.

    Know that voice. A higher tenor register alphabetum vocalis. Seeds, something something. Twilight opened her eyes light-wood and auburn.

    —Sorry, it’s my fault. I didn’t look when I turned around.

    A mop like painted on polish mop mane and eyes that seemed a little sad. Twilight abashed.

    —That’s okay. You were just leaving then?

    More conversational than I remember. Maybe I’m misremembering. Had an air about him, in the library. Leaned on a stack of books that went flying. Turned red from yellow. Bit of a tingle.

    —Yeah. I, uh, came to get a drink, but I just realized I left all my bits at home.

    He smiled. Weak wobble. Need to remember now, nothing for names unless they’re literary or dead. Something sweet. Candy Trickle Treacle Sweet-Tooth why am I leaning on a sugar-strand when he’s only just smiling Caramel.

    —That’s awful! I can’t imagine getting through the morning with no coffee.

    Caramel if it was is bittersweet smile offered an extension of exchange with his eyes. Twilight was unprepared to proffer her parlance, and stammered on silence.

    —Yeah...

    —Well, Caramel dazzled forfeit of intention, would you like me to cover you this morning?

Hot creeping in her cheeks the sun couldn’t swelter that simply. Swallow, only air.

    —Oh, I couldn’t...

    —I insist, he said with a nudge open of the waiting ostium ecclesiae.

    Twilight stepped over the threshold, awash in self-ascriptive internal portension.

    At once, the aroma of invigoring — vitae non vitae. Vitae capulus roborante. Breathing, and being reborn. Hiss, steam, cupful. Fabarum vitae. Ahh.

    —Smells good, doesn’t it? dulcet percepted to her left.

    Too early to be at wits with suspicion of magnetism. Smile past the bloom.

    —Yes, definitely, she said in allowance of her unpreparedness. You’re sure you don’t mind? I could go back home and get some money.

    The apostolate at work behind his sūtra machination ushered a rhapsody of steam into cup over counter. His coat matched his procurement, and nodding of his brow signalled an acknowledgement from his discipline.

    —Be with you in a moment, he mumbled monkshodden over emerging elixir.

    —It’s fine, Caramel said in either direction.

    Caramel approached the collection altar, rendering his offering from a pouch slung over his shoulder. Surely the brew of the morning, all things ritual in rising as the sun. Have to ask her.

    —What can I get you? asked behind the counter in a near-non-monotone.

    —Just a small coffee for me, please. One cream, two sugar, Caramel exuded, saccharine.

    Smiled.

    —A la—small coffee for me, thanks. Black.

    Twilight sparkled of the night sky in daybreak. She blushed and looked toward the high-rise of the chapel ceiling. Verium in ánimam. Pervigilium. Smile, softly.

    —And a large black coffee, Caramel said, languish with the reluctant acceptance on the tip of Twilight’s tongue.

    Bashfully, she blushed, but beamed behind star-shimmer eyes..

    —Thank you again.

    —No problem.

    The two stood in tandem solitude while the apostle applied his ministration to the preparation of their morning appetites. High sermon. Sup of the sacrament. Bitter like an unloved child, sweetened with sacred remembrance. Can’t let the mouth water at something like that. Sacrilege. Deity is consul in suppression saturnalia, solar, not sleep-alleviate supplement. Have to ask her.

    Two drinks tendered on the counter, brimming with expectation. Either hoof took up, and supped, un-leery of scalding.

    All at once

    an exaltation of flash-flood inundation with vigor over buds in a riverrun of ecstasy of black-hot heraldry for ever-over rising solaris sip of solemn holding ceremony for slumber washed over by rapid firewaves of far-away cultivate crops diluted essence of insight inviting to evidence of inspirational vocational scriptural volition brimming over with light shut by seeds soaked in ground ray refraction catalyst let out and release to reprieve from un-waking opening onward and breathing back life into open eyes like skyfire causing them a light a minister a drip to the tongue and let an overflow of awareness come forward

All at once

    Ahhhh.

    First sip sweltering on her palette, Twilight lowered her cup. Caramel, taking longer with beginnings, held his head back as he drank, giving Twilight opportunity to imbibe the sight of him a second time, fully. The heady aroma of her mouthful ebon communion made her vision tremble at the corners. Black sweeter than normal.

    Sated with his cup-pour, Caramel returned stately to staring forward, newly bearing a grin shined by stimulant.

    —Good, huh?

    Bluster over beauty in the simple over-thinking leads to overspeaking still and hold for a second to push back too many syllables.

    Twilight respectfully took a second draught from her coffee. Sunsphere withholding bitterness beholding bashfulness at unsure something. Ever smiling.

    —Yeah.

    Politeness in stead of pontification. Always too easy to be caught up in overdiction. Coffee is the supplicant of hyperplation, why was this a good idea. To find the end of verse at morning coffee. Sip and try to think less.

    Unspeaking, as if in a dream, Caramel gestured in soft assurance, leading to a nearby table lined over with the washed away zen garden trembles of ages past saucers and spoons. Twilight took seat with obligatory hesitance, betrayed by her blush and Caramel’s gentlecolt smile. Both of them breathed the smell of gold-paper and faintly smelting sugar before sharing their next sip. The unrobed observer counterside nodded knowingly before attending further to his cultivation of the sacred press.

    —So, Caramel said with an eye-sky shine belying more confidence than trepidation. What are your plans for the rest of the day?

    Unsurer floating than a cliffside lacquered with slipping stone. Hot breath. The warming on the tongue rendering it mute. Quick swish of agitating particles hurrying the brain into discombobulation. If the mouth opens in absence of ingestments there must be something worth saying. Sweating from the inside.

    —Uh... nothing, really. Maybe some studying. I’m uh... I don’t usually have a very exciting agenda.

    Sip. Wish it would burn away my mouth. Why is he still smiling.

    —You really like reading, don’t you?

    Caramel’s cup sat wayside, planted by interest more in conversation than caffeination.

    Hot. Unreasonably sweltering melting if one more thing assist emptying what little composure is left there. Drat.

    —Yes, I do. I guess I just find books fascinating. They’re filled with facts and stories and so much to learn, all of it just waiting to be discovered.

    He didn't ask a wrinkle in his smile oh bitterness take it back sip.

    —That’s really cool.

    So many stories and mine an ill-transplanted wallflower growing in sun-soil. Spring free onto new pages, Goddess willing.

    A narrative appropriate length of time passed in a beat.* [Addendum — supplementum post descriptionem.]

    —There’s this book club in town—

    Oh, circumlocution, there is no convolution to be spared to deliver me from snowflake spectra plot resolution and lonely halls of frozen snow—

    —and we’re having a meeting tonight. You should come, if you’re not doing anything else.

    Grand fortune in the footsteps of self-defeat. Too oblique to tip my hand, not awake enough for coy when have I ever been coy certainly if ever least of all now. Say something.

    —Oh?

    Something.

    Interference before the bridging is barricaded.

    —That sounds interesting. What book are you reading?

    Coy. She’d never been coy. He’d already bought one thing though. Sip.

    Caramel awashed the frenzy of Twilight’s agitated contemplation unknowingly, with a smile softer than the fallen-leaves of his coat. Heavy in both hooves, Twilight held her cup, daring it to escape.

    —We just finished The Days and Dalliances of a Fortunate Foal. It’s a biography from a local mare in Cloudsdale.

     Sip.

    —Have you read it?

    Light-auburn lancet between the crack of Twilight’s drink-plate armor. A spear-tip tickled the center of her sensibility, enough to trigger a response.

    —I have, actually, Twilight quipped demurely, feeling the brew in her head.

    —Oh? What did you think of it?

    Kinship. Courtship. An idealistic imagery, fanciful but potential. Vault forward. He’s shown his appreciation — no sense in pretending to be soft-spoken — swear spied enough of a sneer — said reading was ‘cool’ — never cool nor coy — a covered coffee shouldn’t incite this degree of existentialism — going and Celestia spare my soul.

    —Well, Twilight precipitated, I’d have to say I didn’t really care for it.

    A sip once from Caramel’s end. The trickle of one cream two sugar dwindled. Before an opening, Twilight took up her foil and pressed onward.

    —The whole thing felt like an exercise in hubris. I mean, does anyone really believe half the things in that book? Not to mention the style of the prose in the first place. Every chapter is some kind of pompous presumption playing on simpleponies and their propensity for appreciation of appallingly pulchritudinous platitudes.

    Peh peh peh I’ve done it mouth won’t stop.

    She could see the ebb of his honeystare, but her hoof-in-mouth fell only forward.

    —The book reeks of exaggeration and childish wish-fulfillment. The stories are barely even readable. I could practically feel the elementary-level writing courses rubbing off on my hooves every time I turned to the next page. And to top it off, it’s not even a bearable length — by the time I managed to slog my way through it, I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a fountain pen.

    The air decompressed around the lingering remnants of Twilight’s sermon. Where sacred relativity had hummed, only profane silence remained, the holy interior scoured by the force of Twilight’s ire.

    Twilight breathed and carried a wish on her breath to still her heart, already overbearing in its beating.

    Blink. He blinked, and I’ve undone.

    —Well, Caramel said. I guess you wouldn’t enjoy discussing it much, then.

    Bring up, rejoinder. Say something. Anything. Burning too hot on the tongue take this sour taste away.

    —I’d better let you get to your studying then, Caramel reducted, rising from his chair.

    Twilight held out a hoof as though she might hold him through the landscar strip-mine of her roaring wake.

    —Wait... don’t you want to tell me what you think about the book?

    At a gather of an invisible coat, Caramel lashed a glare through the swimfire now of his own accord. Twilight felt the sear on her skin.

    —Cloudkicker is my cousin, he said simply, letting the punctuation of the transcendent storebell herald his departure.

    There were no survivors in the exodus.

    Alone with her heretic goblet, Twilight let the black wash over her tongue, impure, staining it irremovably. Oil supplement, more bitter than the ashen compress of coin. Most abhorrent is the vaccuum interned. At last, ascendant and alone.

    Sip.

* * *

    The walk home was uneventful. In sections, the sky was blanketed with flocks of free-range grey clouds, but elsewhere the sun shone, if caught only in the distance.

    No need for dwelling on squandrance. Hold to the future of occasional enlightenment. A pacified tongue is an opportunity for others to set foot in the tar pit and be pulled out. All in lieu of a jacket. My kingdom for a jacket. Half a mind to buy a coffee-maker.

    Drudgery is meant to elongate approximate distance, but it’s circumvented by dwelling. No time passes inside your head. Losing a hoofstep on a path to nowhere gets you no more lost. The beacon of beckoning is hearth, leading forever away from the altar of sunlight. Cold front step, welcoming the fallen prodigal from her pilgrimage. Step. Cold steps. Kerthump. Shut.

    The door seemed louder this time as it announced Twilight’s arrival. Mid-morning and no sign of the risen dead. Time for testing if magic in the form of grounds-ground-syrup dilution can bring vitam to mortem. Wish I’d had toast.

    Sighing, Twilight parted the shades of the nearby window, pouring a fortune of rays onto the desk seated in the path of the cascade. Though possessed of onset humility, she allowed herself to rest. What is consequence if not the overcoming of one’s own adversity. No seeking the world to surmount but the self.

    The sun is beautiful.

    Twilight took seat at the desk, for once with no text to lay forward, nor agenda of annotation to keep her by the throes of bare-consciousness into her namesake, searching for the skeleton key to a new history. She let herself bathe in the holy body of the sun’s glow, soaking in every rivulet as it poured from the sky.

    On the surface of the sun, there must be no need for companionship, nor for earthly things. Necessity is obligation only for those conscious of requirement, and divinity irreverent of all material. No dance is more careful than bodies in darkness, forever only aware of themselves, turning and burning an unending brightness and yearning for no more than their position relative to all things, in place overhead like bearers for guidance of faltering and unsure.

    The structure of the stateness of the settled foundation inside was a sureness. A forest fortress. In oscillation there would be an epicenter, in turmoil there would be a tempering of the tempest, roundabout overswirl turning the great whirl of daymarch over equinox and solstice. The brash wood that grew walls and windows was carved in emptiness, in a full-felt conduct of emphasis, purpose purveyed as its plenary decayed. Filled to the brim with surroundings, invisible in the pages stacked ever to the ceiling. There would be steps ever leading down and up.

A glimmer of something sharper in the sunlight caught Twilight’s eye, and she flickered to it, adrift in a spotted mark on the breast of the fission dervish. Onward there was the sky, and there arising fingertips to meet the touch of dawn, growing in life the way surroundance grew or had grown now. Further, the crest of hills, far away and in construction, parapets and cultural teeming epithets for culture, burbling like the film on a pond below the canopy of watching eyes, two-sets, and further still the apex of that binary, peaked in pinnacle on the skyline, pointing upwards, to the horizon fading in the dwindling dawn, pink and blue and the white casting clericry of mountain ivory, draped over the boundary of envision shielding the sight from the self.

    Underneath her statement of stature, the chair creaked softly at Twilight’s posture, prompting a brief readjustment. Oblique in overhead, the sky still smiled, and Twilight peered graciously through the nearby glass. Awoken in her, the stir of morning at last took up its tender welcome in contemplation.

    Awaking. Turning to the sun in search of guidance — dictational of relative orientation, the moon of its brother the silver shimmer of the sea, the stars a company of courtesans attending the unending ceremony of life, showering from overhead life, falling in starlight moonlight warm running sunlight life, falling forever on the earth and underhoof and breathing the essence of divinity through material and ethereal, thought to action guiding in orbit of everlasting circulation, all lives caught as fragment melodies in the orchestra of fate, aware of the eons before them like specks of sunlight, catching dust and sky-shadow flowers dew and all words thoughts and other swirling into the black hole of tenuous significance, demanding, proving among emptiness and antiquity and abolishment of history a mark is more meaning than anything eternal, the countable nature of heaven and its players a faded blemish of never because unending means nothing to life, life in breath, dying and in bitterness, in teardrops and wasting away, in song and speech and someone in everyone, awash in the serenade spotlight of life, spiralling downward from relevance and reverence and remembrance to honest life, no form more fitting than to fall, to tumble, to crest the peak of nothing with stars and fall, falling until waking, and forming the feeling of us, opening our eyes for the first amid the wake and falling until we are real.

    Over the peaks so far into distance to be forever out of reach, a point of light shone, reaching from above to the smallest blade of grass on the ground below.

    Awake, Twilight smiled.

    The sun was beautiful.

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