Krypton - 488 AD
Kara found her weeping in a meadow, her shoulders hunched and shaking as she sobbed, dark head bowed in sorrow as her hair cascaded down her back and fell around her face, creating a dark curtain. Pausing in shock, Kara stared at her in surprise, her bare feet settling into the white sand beneath her, the skirts of her thin cotton dress fluttering around her ankles. She’d never seen a Kryptonian cry before - they weren’t an emotional race, and their planet prospered, so why would they even need to cry? - and she was struck by the quiet hitching sobs drifting towards her. It was a sunny day, the sky the palest shade of blue, and a yellow sunlight that seemed to radiate from everywhere. The white sand gave way to sparse grass, almost completely leached of its green colour, growing thicker as it spread, until it was a lush long carpet where the woman knelt. Her pale skin seemed to glow in the sunlight, and her hands were clutching the thin white skirts of her own dress. Hesitating for a moment, wondering if she should approach her or not, Kara swallowed the lump in her throat and stepped onto the grass, careful not to trample the washed out violets and buttercups, motes of pollen swirling around her in the gentle breeze. She knew who the woman was on sight - anyone would - and she approached with wary caution in her blue eyes, looking at the bowed figure, all monochrome and sharp edges. But then, as the long waving grass and heather rustled at her approach, the woman’s head snapped up, and as green eyes penetrated her very soul, Kara paused. Within those green eyes lived an ocean of sadness, swimming with tears, speaking of loneliness and heartache, and Kara was struck by the raw emotions so clearly written into the lines of her face, even as she reached up to wipe her pale cheeks, her eyebrows furrowed down low over her eyes.
“It’s rude to stare,” the woman tersely told her, her cheeks colouring slightly at being caught showing such strong emotions.
“I’m sorry,” Kara murmured an apology, taking a few steps closer and dropping to her knees, leaving a spacious gap between the two of them. Her golden hair had shadowed sunbeams in it, and the long waving grass tickled her cheeks as she was enveloped by the smell of flowers. “What’s wrong? I should hate to see Rao’s second most treasured so upset.”
Letting out a strangled laugh, the woman - Lena - sat back, drawing her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them as she stared at Kara, her head tilting to the side as she observed her, sitting amongst the heather and looking at her with such concern. Drawing in a shuddering breath, Lena’s eyes fluttered closed for a moment, her dark lashes dusting her cheeks as she breathed evenly. “I am in love.”
Kara let out a surprised laugh, her forehead screwing up with confusion as she looked at the woman, beautiful even in her sadness. “Love? We don’t love.”
“But I am,” Lena groaned, running a hand through her dark hair, “I didn’t want to be. She has tricked me into it, and I couldn’t help it. Adoration was for Rao only, but she kissed me and taught me how to love. She has tricked me into loving her, whispering that together we shall be greater than anyone else. Her pride has grown too much; she is Rao’s most beloved, and I’m afraid of what Rao will do to her in he learns of her pride. I’m afraid for myself too. She will not let me leave, and I’m afraid that I am losing my light. She is consuming me.”
Kara blinked in surprise, quickly trying to connect the dots. There was only one who stood above Lena, only one more cherished by Rao, and Kara thought about the soft brown hair and eyes that held so much kindness of the woman - Samantha, next in line for Rao’s throne - and found it hard to reconcile that with the tale that Lena wove to her, her bottom lip trembling and her face etched with fear. Yet, Kara couldn’t help feel her own eyes prickle, and she gave Lena a grim smile, reaching out to take one pale hand in her own golden one. “This love you describe does not sound very beautiful,” Kara gently told her, “you should not have to change yourself to love someone else. You should not have to set aside your adoration for Rao, because it is our adoration for him that encourages us to be great. If you were mine and I were yours, I would not ask you to change who you are. I would want you exactly as you are. I would not try to eclipse you with my desires.”
Blinking in surprise at the gentle counsel from the delicate Kryptonian who shone with a golden light, who had earned the title Morning Star and keeper of lost souls, Lena felt her heart yearn with a longing for the woman, thinking that perhaps she could be another lost soul the golden haired woman kept safe. Surprising them both, she leant forward, crossing the gap between them and pausing for a moment, and Kara could do nothing but stare into those green eyes, and down at the slightly parted lips, just inches from her own, before she leant forward, closing the distance between them as her eyes fluttered closed. They softly kissed, and Kara tangled her thin fingers in Lena’s dark hair, marvelling at the warmth of the full, gentle lips beneath her own, and when they broke apart, they both knew that the other had stolen their heart with a single kiss.
Time passed by with their love held a secret, a secret that they kept hidden between the two of them, in stolen moments in their secret field, the warmth of the neverending spring surrounding them as they lounged amongst the butter yellow daisies and blue cornflowers, plucking dandelions and blowing the seeds as they made wishes, their laughs of delight echoing around them as the tiny seeds drifted along on the breeze. The more time they spent together, the more they grew to know each other, and the deeper in love they fell. Long days of sunlight and gentle kisses on bronzed skin, the heady smell of flowers surrounding them as they told stories and basked in each other’s presence. It was everything and more than what either of them had ever imagined, and every time Kara laid eyes upon her, she was floored by the beauty that Lena radiated - no longer a tearful, wounded woman, but a warm and loving one, with a laugh that sent a thrill through Kara whenever she heard it.
Things weren’t all well on Krypton though, and with Rao’s absence, the Kryptonians started to feel like they had been abandoned, with no one left to worship, and they began to fear that his newest creation - the humans - would replace them. The others grew lonely, feeling useless as they were left to their own devices, with no other purpose but to worship Rao on their paradise planet - all except for Kara and Lena. Their love was forbidden, but it didn’t stop them from loving each other in spite of that, and those stolen moments together quickly chased away the loneliness, filling them with a lightness that rivaled the weightlessness of flying. They would’ve been happy to stay that way forever, but it didn’t last long, no matter how many wishes they made on dandelions.
It started going downhill when Sam rebelled, turning against Rao and declaring herself as the new ruler, as the one who should reign, and all of the Kryptonians were brought together and forced to choose. From the lowest ranking Kryptonians, to the most revered, all were gathered together and asked to choose between Rao and their home planet of Krypton, or Sam, with her hatred for Krypton and her new planet - one she’d made in stark contrast to Rao’s ideology. It was ice and death, a frozen wasteland, situated universes away, and she planted her seeds of doubt in the minds of those present, poisoning their minds against the God who had created them, wooing them to her side.
Radiant in her white silk dress, her hair a golden halo around her head, Kara elbowed her way to the front, facing Sam, who was dressed in black, which made Kara’s skin crawl as she looked into the dark eyes hidden behind a mask. She’d always thought the other woman kind and warm, but there was nothing of that old woman left as she stood before her, beside the Voice of Rao, with the golden mask and blindingly bright robes of white. A huge golden throne sat empty upon the dias, and the crowd gathered around the base of it was split, with a dozen Kryptonians gathered off to one side, their faces stubbornly set as they sided with Sam, while a few apprehensive ones lingered in between, unsure about where to cast their vote.
“This is foolish,” Kara shouted, scowling up at them both, “you cannot make us choose between blind devotion and chaos. Both are wrong, and we deserve more than living empty lives. To live selflessly or selfishly is not living a full life. There is more out there for us. There is love. I choose love.”
“Love?” Sam scoffed, “you cannot choose love and side with Rao. There is no love here.”
“I don’t side with Rao, and I don’t side with you either. I choose Lena.”
The Voice of Rao stared straight at her, the golden mask catching the rays of sunlight, and Kara swallowed the lump in her throat as she stubbornly jutted her chin forward, refusing to back down. A ripple ran through the crowd at Kara’s words, and she heard footsteps behind her, turning to find Lena detaching from the crowd, her raven hair falling down her back in gentle waves as she rushed to Kara’s side, reaching out to cup her face in a slender hand, her forehead briefly touching against Kara’s, before she let their fingers lace together.
“The Morning Star and Evening Light,” Sam sneered as she looked at the two women, hand in hand and in stark contrast to each other, like the moon and the sun, “how fitting.”
“You would pick her over choosing a side?” the Voice of Rao said, and Kara stiffly nodded, “then you are a coward. There can be no place for you on Krypton if you are not loyal to Rao. There can be no place for any of those who are unwilling to side with him.”
Kara’s eyes darted to Lena, and she gave her hand a quick squeeze, watching as Lena frowned up at Sam, whose eyes were blazing with anger as she took in the tender way she held Kara’s hand, clearly enraged that her hold over Lena had loosened, and her lover had moved on. There was movement off to Kara’s left, and she watched as a dark haired woman pushed through the crowd, her white dress rippling behind her and a stubborn set to her jaw as she gave Kara a curt nod, the hilt of a golden sword peeking over her shoulder. Alexandra. She was like a sister to Kara - one she trusted above anyone else, except with her secret love - and the other Kryptonian defensively stood beside Kara, and a few other familiar faces joined her. “What of those who do not pick at all?”
“Then you will all fall. And you, Morning Star and Evening Light … you speak of love, but you shall never truly have it. You shall never truly be together for this treachery you have shown Rao.”
“You would turn your back on our love?” Sam hotly asked Lena, her dark eyes staring at her with betrayal and a seething rage simmering underneath it, “I curse you. I curse you both . You’ll fall with the rest of us, but you’ll never be together.”
“Wait!” Kara yelled, stepping in front of Lena and shielding her with her body, a hand outstretched towards the two Kryptonians standing on the dias, a panicked look in her blue eyes as she opened her mouth to beg them not to do this.
She was too late though, and the sudden feeling of weightlessness filled her, as if the floor had disappeared beneath her feet, and Kara’s vision darkened as fear took hold in her heart - fear for Lena - and she tried to turn and reach for her, but found herself surrounded by darkness. The sensation of falling filled her, and then she was tumbling through endless nothingness, air rushing past her face as she stared blindly into the void of darkness. She couldn’t make out anything else; it was like she was alone in a vast open space, as the suffocating blackness pressed in on all sides, and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to stem the feelings of claustrophobia as she fell, arms and legs flailing as she tried to touch anything in the dark, to know she wasn't alone. At one point she could’ve sworn she heard the faint sound of her name being called, and another time she thought her hand grazed someone else, but in the end, she fell alone. It felt like she fell for an eternity, the blackness never ending, and the loneliness all-consuming, and Kara couldn’t help but think that this was her punishment. This was her curse for loving Lena.
The reality of it was so much worse.