By surreal_rebirth - all the colors of the Dasaroi, and then some.
Made with a wool/nylon blend yarn. About forty-five inches long and 12 inches wide. A very wavy, textured stitch pattern. Machine washable/line dry.
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Victor sat beside Joseph and Sara on what could only charitably be called a hill - the park was fairly level - and surveyed the celebration. "You guys danced yet?"
Sara Tallart smiled, leaning over a little more - she sat between Joseph's legs, having her light brown hair braided with ribbons of Tallart gold and Keleyn silver. "Not yet. Waiting for him to finish!"
Joseph nudged her with his foot, a hands-free version of a friendly swat. "Your hair gets longer every year, y'know."
"What, you want me to cut it?"
"Hell no." He kissed her cheek as he tied off the braid. "My turn." They switched positions, and Sara began to do her best to sort out his unruly curls.
Victor eyed his handful of red ribbons and looked back down at the bonfire. Dasaroi whirled around it in ancient pattern-dances or in patternless glee, ribbons flowing from hair - every ribbon its own shade of meaning. Sara's ribbons, House colors of her and her partner intertwined in one thick braid, signified that she was married or otherwise very taken. Kieran, on the other hand -
As usual, Victor could not stop watching Kieran.
Kieran was gorgeous on any day, but today - clad in a casual version of his Court garb, intricately-embroidered deep red vest and all - he was breathtaking. Three slender braids in his long dark hair: one Lhri'nahri grey, one in Bartomni blue (causing wild speculation on those not in the know) and one, optimistically, in Tamrani green - green for the lost Lishaya, his kiri'totharan. The rest of his hair hung free, knotted here and there with loose-flowing Narsani-red ribbons signifying his willingness to dance. And he had been dancing for much of the afternoon, slipping ribbons from his hair and tying them into the hair of partner after partner with a courtly kiss on hand or cheek.
Sara nudged him with her elbow. "You should ask him."
Victor laughed nervously. "He wouldn't."
"He might. Victor, you know you're adorable, right?"
Joseph snorted. "Oh, he knows. Trust me, he knows."
Victor rolled his eyes. "Kieran's different."
"Here we go."
"What's the deal?" Sara finished Joseph's braid and patted him on the shoulder.
“He’s my Kithrayn.”
“And that means you’re not allowed to want him?”
Sara leaned forward, frowning. “You seriously think that?”
“Well – yeah.”
Victor gestured, frustrated. “He’s… he’s Kithrayna, Sara. They are more than us. They’re next only to the gods.”
“Do you think he sees it that way?”
“I’m sure he does. How could he not?”
“I don’t see how he could. If he did, he’d be insufferable – and he seems like a pretty nice guy.”
“He is nice,” Victor said softly. “He really – yeah. I mean – I’m lucky. House Narsan is lucky. To have him.”
“But you don’t think you could get lucky, so to speak?”
“He’s my Kithrayn!”
Joseph sighed. “Okay. What does that mean to you? Why is it such an insurmountable barrier?”
“Like I said, man. They’re more than us. Almost a different race.”
“Just in terms of the magnitude of their powers, is all.”
“Why would he want someone so… beneath him?”
“Okay, for one thing – you’re not. For another, Kithrayna date non-Kithrayna all the time. There aren’t enough Kithrayna for them to only date each other, after all. And truly, Vic, I don’t think they see people like us the way you think they do. I’ve never gotten the impression that Jana thinks of me as being in any way inferior. And her husband is about the same strength as me.”
“Jana’s different. Second Circle is different. Kieran is blood of the Firstborn.”
Joseph cocked an eyebrow. “You trying to tell me I’m inferior?”
“No! No, man. Just – the seven Kithrayna were first. For gods know how long, they were the only Dasaroi. Who knows what bonds they have? They’re just different. And Kieran… Jana may have married someone not on her level, but Kieran is the soulbonded of the Lishaya. And he’s dating Ryan. Kieran… wouldn’t be interested in some grubby Kirayth kid.”
“If you say so. But I think you should talk to him.” Joseph stood and pulled Sara to her feet; they headed down the hill, toward the fire, half-dancing already.
Victor eyed the little nest of ribbons in his hand and looked back down at the dancers. Seemed like the whole city was down there, having fun - save only Fenris, who hadn't danced since the Purges, and a few other on-duty Kirayth. Save Alanna, the Hounds, and most of the Council. Save one girl in a tower clear across the city. I hope you can hear the music, little one.
She would want me to dance.
Shaking his head ruefully, he knotted ribbons into his thick, wavy hair. He'd ask Leah Tallart for a dance. Perhaps Lily ni'Tarak, too. He scanned the crowd for them as he walked into the thick of things - and was surprised by a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Kieran, slightly out of breath, blue eyes sparkling, sliding a ribbon from his hair. "May I have this dance, my ki'anthra?" he asked with a small bow.
Victor answered him with a deeper bow and a foolish grin. "It would be my honor, my Kithrayn."
Kieran grinned and tied his ribbon into Victor's hair. "Oh, good," he purred. He ran his hands through hair and ribbon, letting the ends of the ribbon fall against Victor's neck. Letting Victor feel the cool metal at the end of the ribbon. Kieran's token. Not just a dance, Victor realized. An invitation. "I've been waiting all day for you to put those ribbons in your hair..."
(Ribbon by charitypomaybo.)
Each of the Houses has a traditional color; this scarf put me in mind of Shayara because it has just about all of the colors of the seven Great Houses, and then some.
Yes, Victor has a bit on a complex about the idea of setting his sights too highly. There's a reason.
One of these days, I'm totally dancing with ribbons in my hair, just like this.
Me: "I am willing to swallow my... whatever. Yes. I am willing to swallow whatever."
There will soon be a video up of me showcasing Elayna's cat's lack of dignity.
I hope this isn't too personal, but as a survivor, what's your personal coping technique?
Hm. It's definitely not too personal, but it's... a very large question! There are so many things to cope with and so many techniques that get used. I could talk about nothing but that.
One thing that was very important to me was dismantling triggers. I did not enjoy the PTSD freakouts. Oh, no. So I examined them, when I was able, and... well, basically took them apart. A combination of relentless application of logic and confrontation self-therapy. One of the first things I did was start walking at night again - I stopped for a long time after the rape, but it was important to me to get that back. Walking is my stress release! So I started taking short walks without my Walkman, in areas I knew were safe. Then longer walks. The I got my music back. And it's fifteen years now, and I have not had any trouble during a walk since.
But it was very much a gradual, methodical process, with that and with working through all of my triggers.
One thing that's really important = talking to your loved ones about this. Because if you have a flashback during sex and tense up and panic... you want your partner to know what's going on. You want them to be able to help you, not freak out because their partner is suddenly having a breakdown. And your loved ones can be a tremendously helpful resource. They want to help you.
And that's a big thing right there: they want to help you. And you are not alone.