Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

#FridayFlash 57: When a warm wind blows

A warm wind blew on a cold night right before I died.

It was time. I'd lived long enough to see the rise and fall of an empire. Or four. I'd learned a dozen languages, traveled around the world and through time. I'd even managed to fulfill my childhood fantasy of being a princess. Ugh, what a mistake that was - let me tell you girls, there are much better fantasies out there! Tiaras are just not worth the publicity.

My life was, and I say this in all humility, the thing of stories. I kind of wish somebody cared enough to write it down; it would make the kind of epic tale that would gain a cult following from the fantasy types and puzzled disdain from all the normal people - but it would definitely stir up talk.

The problem, as I see it, is that I've always been a secondary character. And nobody writes about secondary characters - not even me.

I was born to the Aldmere family; ever heard of us? Yeah, I thought not. Like I said, secondary characters. And I was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter -- I know, cliche right? But it's a cliche for a reason. The whys and the hows were lost before they were ever known, but the end result is the Aldmere family are chroniclers. We provide an unbiased report of all items of importance throughout time -- albeit the definitions of both unbiased and importance are ummm sometimes open to interpretation. And in return, we live long enough to experience things worth recording. Some, like my cousin Agyfen, follow the rise and fall of an entire culture. He did his job exceptionally well! Academics still discuss his work. But sadly the anglo-saxons cared little for the names of their scribes, and so he remains anonymous. Then there are others, especially more recently, who live only long enough for a specific event. And then there are the sevens - of which I'm one. We are to oversee the greater picture - or so I was raised to believe. For me though, the picture's always been rather fuzzy - like those first black and white tvs. So I've always felt I had no real job to do. All the important details had their own chroniclers - cousins of mine mostly. Every time I found something exciting to chronicle it'd already been claimed. And while sevens are overseers, we also only get to write that which goes unclaimed.

To be honest, the only thing I've done that I felt worth recording, was dying. Now *that* was interesting. And I still don't entirely understand how it happened. It was night - the kind of night that's so dark you cannot see your hand in front of your face. No matter how wildly you wave it around in front of you! Not that I did that of course. And it was cold - appropriate for winter. But what was disconcerting was the wind. It had a Caribbean warmth to it - and I was far too far away for that to make any sense at all. I remember wondering if maybe it was a time storm; I'd experienced one of those as a teenager (volatile emotions and all that) - was how I came to know Agyfen. But my brother was three years ahead of me and he claimed story rights to time storms so I couldn't even chronicle that. Not that I'm bitter or anything - just letting you know how it came to be that in an entire life dedicated to telling stories, I have yet to write a word.

Anyways - it wasn't a time storm. I was way too old, and I didn't end up somewhere else in time, so clearly that was not the issue. Wasn't even a storm - no rain, sleet, snow, hail, or anything else. Just the eerily warm wind.

I was there - muttering about the folly of being out without a light - and then... I wasn't. The simplicity of it astounded me. Other chroniclers have covered death before; they come out with stories of bright lights and feelings of love. People love those stories. Some of their names even get remembered! Have to admit, I've always been slightly jealous of those who star in their own stories. I think I'd hoped to do that with the princess stint, but I got covered by a pop-fiction chronicler. It was a sadly embarrassing moment.

But right - exciting death's been done, so a seven cannot repeat it. But I really don't think my death, or any like it, has ever been properly recorded. Just going about the minutia of my boring day-to-day life and then suddenly I wasn't. And there was something reasonably exciting about that. I certainly wasn't bored anymore. And I no longer had to stress about what I was supposed to do with my life. But now, through my death, I know exactly what purpose my life has served. I was supposed to be a below-average quasi-failure... The running joke of the family really. Because, let's be honest here, fifty percent of us ARE below average and usually their stories do not get chronicled.

I, the ultimate secondary character, was supposed to chronicle the lives of secondary characters. A perfect fit really. Obviously I didn't figure it out in time to do anything about it, because as soon as a secondary character gets written about, well then they're no longer secondary and thus somebody else's job. A vicious cycle that. And death's already been done.

But there's one part of my story that to the best of my knowledge has never been chronicled. And from that I leave you with one simple warning:

Beware the warm wind.

You're welcome.


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