Lakes of Blood and Ash
It Bears Repeating
He had always been of easy provocation. Quick to charge in, stubborn to back off – always. The decades had really done nothing to change that, and while the edges were perhaps softer, it seemed even Ingosh’s attack could not pierce the core of the man.
So it followed that it was only a matter of time before his patience with Eugenie’s barbs ran out.
My mistake, maybe, that in trying to learn what he had become I decided to sit back and observe the eventual clash. More than ever, besides, he must learn self-sufficiency.
In hindsight, I fear I taught him the spirit of his approach – to advance on one’s opponent in full impetuosite, baring one’s chest to the sword, calling their bluff – but Tenya, ah, the fool! – with his own irrepressible twist, always, always – flays himself open to the bones, and this I could not abide.
His point failed to drive anything save gossip from the sight of him stood there, torn open upon the bloodied lawn above the swooning diva. In all, a loss, the debate in dire need of intervention and while the instigateur was, somehow, steady on his hooves it fell to me to take command. Swimming as my head was, I managed to keep hold of myself well enough to lay hands on him.
I can’t begin to know what possessed him to do it – scarce had the scars of our battle faded from his flesh, and he willingly tears them again at no more provocation than the heart-sick threats of a young girl.
I did what I could in the moment – covering him with my coat. I had seen this once before, more than enough – and all of that blood, it took all that I had to stay composed. I marched him indoors – miraculously, he did not collapse, or I’d have gone apart – this again! My god, how he does not think!
For all that he caused it, though, it was he who shattered the frozen moment – out of sight of the others, his shoulders slumped beneath my grasping hands, and he shook.
I know him well. The goat fights, indomitable, swept away by the headiness of strength and blood, but the fear always catches him in the end. I can guess, maybe, that our separation made him defensive, possessive, spurring such an overreaction – but it is no excuse at all to lash out at a silly girl, baring my own heart as though I had signed my name to this thing, and beyond that! – abominably cruel of him to again show me these scenes of his death when he had only just returned to life!
I could not suffer these actions, could hardly remember ever having been so upset with him. He put himself away, like a child who knows they have done wrong, and so I suppose we shall both take a moment to catch our breath.