Title: This is Not the Story of How the Moon Lost Her Daughter
Day/Theme: August 27 / My poor little heart you have plundered
Character/Pairing: Yvaine, Dream (slight Tristran/Yvaine)
The Free Ship Perdita is elegant in a manner of dilapidated charm. "Character," one of her crew mutters when questioned, almost apologetically despite his gruff tone. "That's what she has, character."
But Yvaine believes that charm when she hangs low in the bow to brush against passing clouds, or high in the rigging of the crow's nest where she is closer to her siblings, where she hums softly to their song. Tristran cried out in horror the first time she climbed up in her beautiful new dress, but she has always had a head for heights, being, after all, a star.
One night the stars seemed nearer, and her sisters' song sounded out brighter. It put Yvaine in mind of days long before Tristran, or flung-up stones that knock unsuspecting stars from the sky, or even days before factories were built to manufacture weapons for war, and smog, and pollution. "Why," said she, "it almost seems a dream!"
"Yvaine the North Star," a voice behind her said, velvety and deep, and she spun around wildly to face the speaker. "You do not often visit my realm at this hour."
"My lord Morpheus," she gasped in pleasure, sketching a stumbling curtsey. "What is the hour?"
"Do you forget so quickly?" the Dream King asked, not quite unkindly. "Your mother sails the sky, at present."
"Night!" exclaimed Yvaine. "But that is imposs--" She stopped; a plethora of images scattered through her flustering mind -- the caravan, and oh, she would forever feel quite odd towards dormice now! Tristran knew, and his kiss...
"Oh," she said, her glow turning pink. "Oh."
"Indeed," said Morpheus.
"How extraordinary," Yvaine said in wonderment. "And--he loves me! Me, and not Victoria. Is love so very changing, always?" she asked, half to herself.
"Yes," said Morpheus, shattering her daze. "Love, in all its shapes. Did you not feel different when your siblings were born, Sol's sister? Does the love you stars bear for your mother the Moon not change the shape of the sky, though mortals do not perceive it?"
"Were you changed?" asked Yvaine quietly, as though half afraid, and half unable not to ask.
The Dream King paused. "Perhaps once I could have. But no longer."
"Then," asked Yvaine with a hint of temper, "what is endlessness without love -- of any kind? What is eternity alone?"
"Duty," Morpheus told her, with a chill in his voice. "The duty I was created specifically to perform. Do not presume to dictate love to me, Yvaine the North Star."
She held her glare a moment longer, then, recognising something in his eyes, dropped her gaze. "I apologise, my lord. I did not mean to offend."
Dream looked at her bowed head. "Perhaps," he said cryptically. "I accept your apology."
And Yvaine knew then, even as she murmured, "Thank you," that she would see less of Lord Morpheus, and she was sorry for it, though his remarks still rankled in her chest. "Will you tell me a story?" she asked in penitence.
"...Very well," said Morpheus. "Listen carefully.
"There once lived a man who wished to find his Heart's Desire. He did not know he had made the wish, but he had nevertheless made it, and an opportunity arose where it could be fulfilled, and it was. One night he met a gypsy girl at the market, and they parted after the night with no intent to meet again. A month later, he married his neighbour's daughter, and gave no thought to the gypsy girl until nine months after the night they spent together, when he received on his doorstep a child in a basket, and his name penned on a scrap of paper affixed to the basket. His father accepted him into the family until the boy grew to the age of eighteen, but that is another story altogether."
Yvaine, listening quietly, suddenly asked, "Didn't his wife resent the boy?"
"Yes," said Morpheus. "Though she loved him also, in her own way."
"That could almost be Tristran's story," said Yvaine thoughtfully, then she remembered the events of the night, and blushed again.
"It is not so uncommon a story," said the King of Dreams. "All matters have their consequences, Sol's sister, particularly matters that concern the heart and its desires. Not all are pleasant. But morning comes, and though I might wish for you to remember this dream, I fear you will forget, even with the aid of a draught from my realm..."
Before she awoke, the stars sang loud and clear, crystalline beauty unheard by mortal, human ears. The wind rocked her gently, and she tumbled back into her bed at the inn...
And when she opened her eyes, she did not remember what she had dreamt, so she said, "Do you know, this is the first time I have slept at night?" She could feel herself glowing, with shimmering little beads of light thrumming through her veins as sand, or stardust, through the hourglass and she felt that she could live forever on that happiness; but when she turned over to see his smile, he was no longer there.