Caranthir Romance Drabble Day!
So today, I have written two Caranthir romances, each five hundred words (though slightly different formats) and each a different pairing. The first is dedicated to Kasiopea, who is always such a help and inspiration to my work. A while back, she asked for a short story about Caranthir’s betrothal to his wife, and the story is in progress and forever unfinished. One day (soon, I hope), I will finally finish putting all of the words in my mind onto paper.
“Falling/Forever” is about Caranthir during the days of his father’s exile in Formenos when—according to my Felakverse—he first fell in love with his eventual wife Taryindë.
She loves purple.
She lifts an orchid to brush against her face, smiling, savoring. Or stares into the east, where the black sky and silver Treelight and reflection from the sea made a purplish hue along the horizon.
I lie upon my back and count the numberless stars overhead—or at least I pretend to. Really I am watching her.
A slender hand extends to the east, as though she can gather that purple sky and bring it to her. I think of armfuls of purple flowers bound in ribbons of the same and wonder….
But no. I don’t dare.
II. Unsound Emotion
I tease her about it because she is not the sort to adore such a dainty color, preferring to ride hard alongside her brothers during the Spring Hunt to sitting primly like the ladies in Tirion, drinking spiced tea from mugs trimmed in purple.
She punches me for my insolence, hard jabs delivered to my side, knuckles and ribs. Bone and bone. It hurts and leaves bruises spreading beneath my skin, blue edged in purple.
“Look,” I say, lifting my shirt. “Your favorite color!” and this time, she pinches me under the arm.
“That mark,” she explains, “will be red.”
“Purple,” she tells me, “is better than black.”
For I adore black and wear little else. “It is easy to match clothes in the morning,” I explain, “and I don’t have to worry about stains.”
But purple, she says, is the color of nobility. Of honor and courage. And of proper love, not the sort defined by red and ruled by unsound emotions but the kind that lasts over ages, as trusty as a heartbeat.
Purple is the color of beauty—not youthful, frivolous beauty—but the kind that doesn’t fade.
And at last: Purple is the color of forever.
“Then what is black?” I ask her.
She answers: darkness, nightmares, the end of the world. Black is the color of falling.
“Nonetheless,” I tell her, daringly, “I think that you would look nice in black.”
Both of our faces turn red: the color of unsound emotion.
There is a festival coming up in celebration of spring. The beginning of spring or—she says—maybe the ending of winter. “Are they different?” I ask, and she shrugs.
Though winter lingers, flowers are already emerging from the soil, and I am careful not to tread them. Especially the purple ones.
I dally long before making an appearance at the festival, for I feel silly. And I look silly too, judging by the way my brothers glance quickly at me and look away, careful not to laugh.
I suppose that purple is just not my color.
And the one for whom I wear it is not even here.
I am about to return to my chambers and exchange the purple tunic for a black one when I see her. Her face is reddened, like mine, and she wears a black gown with purple flowers affixed.
The colors of falling. And forever.
For atanwende is a quibble about Caranthir and Haleth. Heroine has written such beautiful stories about this pairing that it is sometimes hard to force my mind back to my own verse and remember that Haleth/Caranthir is not really canon. This piece is set before their romance escalates, when Caranthir is still having naughty thoughts about his companion under the pretense of teaching her how to properly defend herself with a sword.
This quibble does contain mild sexuality but should be suitable for teenaged and adult audiences.
I gave her a sword and taught her how to use it. Because I feared for her, I said, and her safety as the chief defender of her people. Folding my hand over hers, adjusting her grip in the hilt. “That is correct,” I said, yet I did not want to let go, for I loved the touch of her skin. Her pale hair, eager face turned to mine. Freckles across her nose, giving an illusion of perpetual youth but for her gray eyes far too grave.
“Once,” she told me, “my eyes were blue.
“Then my father and my brother died.”
Yet it was a midsummer’s day, beautiful, with a sky so blue and untroubled as to sear the eyes of one who gazed too long upon it. “Today is a day full of hope,” I told her, tightening my hand on hers, “and thoughts only of the future.”
How I longed to see her turn to me and smile as her eyes met mine. Blue eyes met mine. I adjusted her stance. She resisted my touch, then succumbed. She moved with me, flesh no longer resisting the touch of flesh. Slowly, she parried with me. Like dancing, I longed to tell her, but I suspected that she knew nothing of that.
She was but twenty years old—young in the years of her people and a mere babe in the years of mine—yet there were lines beside her mouth from too much frowning.
I counted carefully, and she matched her steps to my voice. For each count, my heart pounded hard against my chest, three times. Sweat prickled beneath my light armor. Yet her movements were careful and studied, and I knew that she was not watching the way that my body danced so perfectly through the air, as light and graceful as a breeze. Our blades knocked together in an awkward, reluctant rhythm.
Her lips followed my count—one, two, three—but she spoke no word.
Her people had come with crude weapons: knives chipped from stone and heavy hammers that wearied one’s arm to wield. Nay, a sword suited her better: a beautiful weapon that complimented her grace and intensity. We began to move faster. She was seamless, boneless. Beautiful.
Yet no match for my skill. When the pace quickened yet again, I easily disarmed her and stood upon her blade in the dust, watching the way that her chest rose and fell rapidly inside her leather armor. The sheen of sweat on her skin. Her eyes turned to mine and reflected the blue sky, and for a moment—
Quavering fingers touched my face, a thumb tracing the contour of my cheek. Her lips were damp and slightly parted, and I lowered my face to hers for a kiss.
I felt it then: a jolt as her lips met mine and the kiss of stone, having cut through my armor in a single swift stroke and coming to rest—cold—against my bare skin beneath.