Orison – 3

Continued from


Orison – 1

Orison – 2


Before a year had passed I was restless. Balsa knew before I did; I saw her watching, and was at first puzzled by the new lines around her eyes.

We were in the kitchen, peeling roots. I thanked her again for all that she had done for me, and asked how I might repay that debt; she replied that it was only right to settle debts before leaving a place. And she set me to bringing in the washing, and taking inventory in the cellar, and cleaning the baths.

It went on for some time. Until Balsa struggled to find new tasks for me, and wore an expression that made me sad and guilty.

I avoided her eyes and their lines. I wondered if it was wrong to go – I hoped that I might stay. But men had made roads that went north, and even had there been no roads I would have been forced to go that way, lest I live without deserving each breath.

Spring turned to summer, and one morning Balsa gave me a bag.

“It is best to go when it is warm.” She kept her face blank and I was torn. Continue reading “Orison – 3”

Orison – 2

Continued from


Orison – 1


In a room with white paper walls they asked me if I had any reason to live. If I had, what had I been doing during my time in the streets? What had I been doing with all that I knew and all that I did not know? Why had I not been seeking, tireless as the pole star, after some way – however despicable – to climb up from my impermanent place in the world?

Kneeling, head bowed, I begged their forgiveness.

When I woke I was the weakest I have ever been. I laid there and memorized the straw bed, and the bareness of the room. I could not see out the window. After some time a woman came, and she asked me how old I was. I did not know.

She was Balsa, wide and tall, who kept that inn with no one but her hired help, and who had an old sword hidden behind her bar. They said she had used it before. Continue reading “Orison – 2”

Orison – 1

You can find the Prologue here.

I was taken to the house of a relative, a narrow place with many staircases in the midst of the city. At first the bustle tossed me around, but then I learned to dart up and down the creaky wooden stairs, to hide in corners, and when I could not hide I learned how to run errands through streets that teemed with hands and smells and curses.

The meals I had once known were revealed to be elaborate, the rooms I had had played in were revealed to be clean and beautiful, and all was beyond reach.

They talked of money often, in that house with many staircases. By the end of that summer the yelling swelled and at night the air was heavy and unpleasant. As their resentment grew the meals became poorer and I ran more errands, hiding out of the house rather than within.

You could hear things in the streets. I listened, I learned who was safe to question, and I eventually began to ask. Continue reading “Orison – 1”


The night my life began was not the night I was born.

I had fallen asleep in the grip of that pox which almost all children catch; my face swollen and hot, finding no relief in cool sheets or in the hand and voice of my father. He had stayed long after the doctor came and went , stayed to repeat reassuring things and to draw my fingers away from my body when I might have scratched. The frustration of my hands above the sheets, while my skin writhed beneath, slowly exhausted me. I wept and thrashed my legs and closed my eyes.

That sleep was heavy and troubling, but seamless was my move from oblivion to sitting up against my pillows, and looking into the courtyard beyond my bedroom.

I saw the small flashes of silver in the moonlight, quick and perfect as fish in a night sea, a waking dream that drew me from my bed. Continue reading “Orison”

For Aurélie

Stay your course, now do not trim

Your sails to reach me drifting

I want neither warmth nor rescue

From the autumn waves’ crashing

But to know the great and empty cold

Of the sea seeping through my body

To look upon the final visage of

Heaven and water’s wedded unity

For my bridal suit is yellowing

In a chest of cedar, miles away

With flowers from my darling fair

Pressed and preserved against decay

I want neither warmth nor rescue

I have chosen the coffin of the sea

For there is no precious Aurélie

Waiting in the window for me

© 2012 Elizabeth Cook

Siren Song

Come stand close and follow me,

To where shells and sand

Embrace sunkissed seas.

Our hands touch where those two meet,

As the tides ebb and flow

Across the glittering beach.

Into the water, if you dare follow me

Ripples of light over skin,

And shells cold under feet.

Calm and quiet wait in the sea

Along the sandy floor

Move into the deep.

Surf overhead now farther away,

Drift below the coral reefs—

And stay forever beneath the waves.

© 2012, Elizabeth Cook


Man of the wind, my Ageha

Who in seeing sees from one

A jewel of grey as owl’s wing

From shoulder to skies above


His beauty clad in nomad’s blue

Of the hearts without hearths

He speaks as cruel as he is kind

For his gaze goes sweeping far


He with his splendid, silky halo

A veil bright as summer sun

He has known chains, my Ageha

And his smile is brittle-spun

Still he bends strong and fine

Winter fox in gauze and gold

A magnet in the fire’s glow

His secrets held untold


And in knowing of his end

He is not mine to touch or sway

Man of the wind, my Ageha

On the wind carried away.


Tags: Anime, Tamura Yumi, BASARA (Tamura Yumi), Ageha (BASARA), Sarasa (BASARA), Kagero (BASARA), Shinbashi

© 2012 Elizabeth Cook

Inspired by Basara, image from zerochan