Status: Complete (Unless I elaborate on my unnamed Sylph)
Summary: Banished to the world of humans in the middle of a filthy city, the nameless Sylph has grown bitter and corrupt.
Feedback: Comments are welcome; constructive and positive. Flames are nice too because they make for something to laugh at and keep my feet toasty.
Special Thanks: Kat for listening to me bounce ideas off her.
Warnings: None, unless excessive smoking bothers you ^_~
Notes: The idea for this came from The Book of Faeries by Francis Melville in which it quotes that Sylphs rulers of the sky and elemental spirits of the air) sometimes gather for "parties in the sky" with the Salamanders elemental fire spirits) to create ecstatic thunderstorms.
I just really liked the idea of two different elements coming together like that. The idea for the nameless Sylph sort of stuck out to me in my mind and I knew I had to write him. I really like this guy. I just like doing things my way, and they're usually smoking.
I've always felt I had an affinity with the air, so this was something I put a lot of thought into. I may be a Scorpio, but I have leanings to the wind spirits.
This is written for a contest that widdledragon is having over at her DA gallery that basically says "What element would you be?" It's an art contest, but she extended it to writing because I love wind and bugged her to let me play ^_^
Wind - On Bitter Wings
The Sylph relaxed in his chair and hunched over the patio table. The wicker seat creaked under his weight, although it did not move. He brought his drink up to his pale, white lips, tilting it back. The bourbon overwhelmed his pallet with its raw taste and he winced, pulling the glass away and drawing his cigarette up to replace the taste. He inhaled; the poisoned air filled his lungs to corrupt his being a little bit more.
The city corrupted him.
He exhaled and watched the smoke drift up and away from him. The air currents barely made it inside the damned city anymore and as he sat there, smoking and drinking, he could feel the stagnant repulsion he’d experienced when he’d discovered what the city had become. It was churning within his soul and he bit back the bile that he could taste at the back of his throat. He took another drink and bitterly thought back to the time before humans had come. Before they’d taken the land - his land - and transformed it into the monstrous maze of concrete and asphalt and poisoned the air with their metal machines. Everything before they’d come had been heaven, and by their mere presence they humans corrupted the most precious winds he’d known in his eternity of life.
Back then, before the first buildings had risen, he and his kinsmen had played in the breezes that ruffled the meadow grasses. There had been meadows and hills that had covered the land before humans had come to tear it apart. The gales and updrafts that gained strength along the ground basin had whistled up the inclines of the hills, and the Sylphs had played in these; flying along the currents and gaining momentum until they were launched into the sky to play in the cold, Northerly winds that never descended past the cloud line. The lands had been free, and he and his Sylph brethren had lived freely in them, riding the waves of the air.
The embers of his cigarette burned brightly.
The city had robbed him of that joy. The choking streets and buildings kept out the air and the wind. He hadn’t even noticed it happening! Before long, his beautiful, blue skin had washed out, leaving a dull, ashen colour to match the withered form that had once been free and full of life. The city had done this. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d breathed the free winds, let alone flown in them. The only air that remained was polluted and corrupt and it was the only air he could play around in. It was filthy and ruined, just like he was.
He took another drag - the ash grew longer from the cherry heater.
The days dragged along, now. Where once he’d looked forward to each sunrise, now he didn’t know it was morning until the sounds of the couple arguing in the apartment above his woke him. It just ate away at him as the years passed and he’d been forced to subsist in the human world, living as one of them. It became easier once his hue had dampened to a sickly white and his hair had bleached an even chalkier shade of the colour. He’d begun dressing himself in the repressive clothing as well; at first he’d been angry, although now he pulled on the dark pants and boots each day with the same resignation. His wings hung limp from his back, barely used in the centuries that he’d been there. Through no fault of his own he’d been corrupted and discarded, and now he was one of the few Sylphs who remained. Those left were marked outcast and condemned to play in the winds that were borne of the passages between the buildings, the smog mixing with it to create a morbid sort of beauty he’d have been loathe to play in before. Now he was used to it. He found beauty in the macabre, and the yellow-tinted air was as macabre as it got for a Sylph.
The wind may have been bad, but he was still a Sylph. Once born to play in the breeze and war with the Salamander-spirits of earth-fire to create storms and to skip between the crashing lightning bolts. The noxious cigarette smoke was fitting. It didn’t only poison him, but it filled air with toxins, which seemed to fulfill his bitter need to interact with his filthy environment. He looked up, almond-shaped eyes taking in the gathering clouds that hovered above the city skyline, inviting in their gloom. The Salamanders were taunting him, or maybe inviting him to play. He looked back to his empty glass and cigarette perched between two fingers; he might have cared once, a long time ago. But now?
The ember glowed bright red as he sucked on the filter.
He still did care… in a way, but it was beyond him to be able to do anything.
Someone came out of the bar to lower the umbrellas on the patio tables. The storm was expected and the rumbling thunder promised quite the show. The humans around him retreated inside the building as the rain began, but he stayed put in his chair, neither leaving nor snubbing out his smoke that had burned down to the filter. The first droplets of rain fell and he let them roll over him, seeping through his matted, white hair and following the black mark on his cheek that marred his otherwise pristine features. Tattoos were supposed to be forever, as was his position in the city. Despite the fact that it was not something he’d marked himself with willingly – exiles rarely chose to brand themselves as such – since it was meant to ensure that he’d never leave, it didn’t seem to bother the humans much. It wasn’t a symbol they recognized, and because of their ignorance he didn’t meet with the same harsh welcome that he’d get at the hands of his own, purer kinsmen. Although it still made life annoying to feel the looks of wonderment or disgust he got from the other city dwellers, for the most part he ignored their attention. Why should he care what humans thought of him?
He didn’t care about much anymore.
He angrily stood as the downpour grew in intensity, soaking the filthy bills that he slapped on the table before he left. His hair grew tangled as it was drenched, clinging to his face and he pulled his black collar up around his neck to protect against the chill. His old life mocked him as it blew fresh, fleeting gusts of wind down upon him before becoming corrupt as it mingled with the smoggy, city air.
The Sylph crossed the street, absently stepping through a puddle as he lit his last cigarette. The white cylinder dampened in the rain and he ducked his head to protect it with his body and grumbled under his breath as he crush the now-empty pack in his hand and threw it towards a garbage bin. He might as well have pitched it to the road for all the good it did. He blew out a puff, the smoke caught by the air and his gaze followed its poisoned trail up into the sky. His wings shifted under his soaked coat, uncomfortable in their confines and eager to become filled with the force of the powerful storm that had beset him. The Sylph grunted around his cigarette and hunched his shoulders as he walked up the steps to his cold-water flat.
The storm raged outside as the front door shut behind him.
The inside light flickered to life, illuminating the small, old apartment and he closed the door behind him, sliding the deadbolts into place with a familiar clink and the wind beat at the windowpane for his attention. His wings twitched as he lifted the coat from his back and they spread out behind him, stretching luxuriously after being kept under the oppressive fabric. He shook his coat before hanging it up, fluttering his wings to dry them before folding them at his back. He kicked his boots off as he paced down the hallway to his bedroom, digging another pack of cigarettes out of a box in the corner of the room. He ignored the storm that rattled loudly outside as he lit another cigarette and pulled a deep breath through it.
The wind protested the corruption.
He walked to the window and rested against the frame, slowly smoking as he watched his kinsmen rolling about on the storm like ships on the sea. He pressed his cheek against the glass and exhaled. The glass was cold and sent a chill through him; he’d been living with humans for too long. His tattoo had been the final, perduring seal that marked him as outcast from his kind - as if his disgrace were not visible enough! Though, he noticed the wind-spirits outside his seemed to care little for it, despite what it symbolized.
The mark of an outcast; a pariah.
In the dark the other Sylphs hovered in the wind currents, their blue wings keeping them steady amidst the storm and they beckoned to him.
He furrowed his brow and took another drag from his cigarette. What did they want?
The beings outside seemed to sadden at his action, but remained persistent in motioning for him to come out and join them.
He pulled away from the window, unsure of what was happening. It had been so long since he’d seen that shade of blue… their pure wings… he was surprised to find his hand shaking as he lifted it up to the window latch, gently touching the cold metal before they curled under and flicked the lock open.
The first gusts of air seeped in through the crack at the bottom; sour, like the city air was, but it held a distant crispness that he’d almost forgotten. He could taste the sweet nectar that flowed inside; mixed with the sulphuric smell he’d immersed himself in. Almost as if he was moving without thought, he lifted the window fully and he was pushed back by the force of the gales that blew inside. The room filled with the wind’s fury and sorrow and accusations, although he did not feel these as strongly as he did the welcoming embrace that it wrapped him in and he allowed it to fully encompass him as it had years past. The bookshelves rattled and their contents flew free, giving a physical presence to the wind in the form of a scattered, paper body. The fallen Sylph closed his tired eyes, falling into the turbulent airs that carried him up, his ill-used wings spread out to return the embrace and he lifted off the floor. His pale form was like a whisp of cigarette smoke mingling in the tainted airs and blue forms of his former comrades.
He may have been tarnished, and displaced from his former glory, but he was still a Sylph at his core and all his pent-up tears and frustrations were released as he once more felt the wind beneath his dragonfly wings and was carried out on its erratic currents. The bitter spite he’d filled his lungs with no-longer held him down and he let the gales pull him outside and high into the sky to play with his brethren in the clouds. The Salamander fire-spirits joined in with the Sylphs’ games and the storm grew in intensity, beauty incarnate. Though he was corrupt and left to the stale air of the city and all the pollutions that would continue to diminish him, he was still a creature of the wind, and could not so easily be forgotten or cast aside.
He flew high amongst his brethren and the rain became tinged with acid.