After the winter's harsh gale,
Pale flowers open their arms.
The grass turns green,
And proves that life goes on.
I'm sorry, but what other choice was there?
Aquamarine water flowed over the pure white stone, spilling out of the crystalline horn in the stone maiden’s hands. The water bubbled and flowed in the pool, then spilled over into another basin. The fountain stood in the centre of a square, directly in front of a tall quartz building with huge wooden doors and Corinthian columns. A steady flood of citizens flowed in and out of the quartz building and the constant clamor of voices could be heard anywhere in the square.
Tarus watched the fountain, as he often did during afternoons. The sun, just barely to the right of the top of the sky, cast rays of light down into the water. The reflected light added a pale sheen to the water, as if it were glowing as it flowed from one basin to the next. The placid water calmed Tarus, as it always did after a morning of hard work.
Tarus was young, at least as centaurs counted. A mane of black hair tumbled over his shoulders in tangled curls, as dark as midnight. Round green eyes glowed brightly from underneath thick black brows and heavy lashes. His broad shoulders and chest were bare, in the centaurs’ traditional style, and tanned from long days spent in the sun without protection. The lower half of his body was the four muscular legs of a chestnut horse. In one hand he held an open book, and in the other was a large quill pen. He was rarely seen without his journal.
“Tarus,” someone said behind him. His younger sister Liya stood behind him, braiding a chain of flowers. Her blonde curls were cut short at her chin and her blue eyes sparkled. A loose white shirt covered her human body, flaring at the shoulders and draping over her arms. “There’s a stranger at the shop,” she whined, pouting.
He closed his book. The sun was no longer at that perfect angle to shine on the water. Liya was learning to run the shop from their mother, but she was always timid around strangers, especially when they weren’t centaurs. “Liya, I’m sure it’s nothing,” Tarus assured her. “You know that travellers come through all the time. It’s probably just some self-proclaimed adventurer buying supplies. It happens all the time, Liya.”
“No,” Liya whimpered. “It’s a real stranger. And he looks really suspicious.”
Tarus sighed as Liya grabbed his wrist and pulled him across the square. The shop stood on the far side of town, a small white building with no door and wooden crates stacked up on all sides of it. Behind the counter stood a centaur that looked strikingly like Liya, who seemed to be in a heated argument with a man leaning casually against one of the poles supporting the ceiling. His blonde hair fell to about his chin, and he wore a high-collared black tunic and tall black boots. When he looked up, his eyes met Tarus’s, bright blue and burning with anger. It seemed that without his extreme expression of rage, the man would be quite handsome.
Did you ever notice when I fell into darkness? Did you even try to help?
Too many things I fear,
But the worst must be failure,
Driving me mad, knowing that the smallest thing wrong
Will ruin the project - miss one comma and the whole meaning changes.
The slightest mistake and it will be no longer perfect,
And it must be perfect,
Or it is nothing at all.
Perfection, they say, is the enemy of good.
But I can't stop, no matter how I've tried,
Something's wrong, uneven, slightly amiss
And I panic and overcompensate,
I repeat and repeat until it's perfect.
To my demise.
So failure is the worst, the raging need for perfection,
The habit I just can't seem to break.
Everything must be perfect,
Or it is nothing at all.
If more people believed in the power of the word over that of the sword, salvation would be within reach.
Starlight in a Dark Night
Stars hang high above,
Lighting the path before us,
As we march to doom.
We're silent; although
Darkness pushes from all sides,
There's nowhere to hide.
No fear, no sorrow,
There can just be acceptance.
But the light is hope.
Two men lay dead and bleeding out beside their swords, yet the blades were clean.
Why did I leave? If I had stayed, I could have shone like the stars.
For years I've watched from the sidelines
Longing to be a part,
But always being apart,
Because one loophole makes me afraid.
But I won't do it, I can't, I won't,
No matter how much I want to be
One of them;
Be on the stage, feel the light.
They say I can do it anyway,
But whether I can I'll never say.
I cannot ask, though I have tried,
And now I'll never have the chance.
If I really wanted it, would I have done more?
But it's too late now, and I'll move on.
But still look back and wonder:
How would it have been
If I'd had the courage to speak up?