more ‘let me attempt to fake traditional medium with photoshop brushes’ experiments.
jowan is really fun to draw. :|
There’s a certain sort of sunlight they can’t hide from. It’s on the shields, on the chest, deeper than the heart in its place on the brow.
So many fools think the sun has no secrets. They always worry about the moon instead. But it’s what light the moon reflects that lends it danger, what it draws from the daylight hours that carry over past nightfall.
For all the dreams that’ve harbored him, Connor never harbors any in return—imagination rather than anger, possibility instead of frustration. He never puts himself to bed with the idea that he’ll be the one to heal a man whom he doesn’t, clearly, owe anything. Or of whom he doesn’t own anything, either. And he stops himself from thinking the one thought that ushered him from childhood into what came after more readily than any other lesson: it could’ve been me, and after that, only it wasn’t.
And then: next time I won’t be so lucky.
He’s enough bad dreams already. Making up new ones is gilding the Orlesian lily, waking to learn they haven’t passed beyond the Fade. Then there’s the possibility of not waking at all—and really, Connor’s had enough of sleeping, the sunlight on the heavy stone, and all the demons of the day.
The other ones invite themselves to his rest—they can’t resist a party—and Jowan’s there without the brand, a man with ambition and poison, though which came before the other Connor still can’t say. That Jowan holds a few kind words here and there, nervous eyes when he thinks no one’s looking, power enough to keep his shadows at bay, and reserves laughter for a child’s stupid jokes, as though he knew what it meant to have no one hear him at play.
It’s a close likeness, stolen from the heart of a closer memory.
But Connor knows a demon when he sees it. He trained himself to sniff a lie the way a mabari hounds a cat or rats always find the cheese. Whenever Father has no time for him, whenever Mother loses hope, he knows—and the same goes for camaraderie in a dream that means no more than echoes come morning.
When Connor wakes, Jowan knows—in his quiet grasp—that there weren’t any nightmares; not the sort that count, anyway. The sunlight frames him, all that sunlight, his own hand to his chest and his eyes closed. That’s a warmth he feels, a real one, on his cheeks and throat, beside the cold Connor guesses he feels everywhere else.
Connor knows that cold. He remembers it from late nights playing chess with his illicit tutor, feet wrapped in blankets. After all the pranks Connor played, all the times he thought his magic would leave if Jowan did and all the times he didn’t want them to go away, Jowan never let him win.
That was different.
Connor thought he hated it.
‘Let’s play,’ he says, steering Jowan from the sun, away from the shape of the window’s frame.
The least Connor can do is lose at another game of chess, memories stored as promises in the Fade, darkness to temper the light, with his laughter alone in the shadows, after making sure their feet are wrapped in blankets against the chill beneath.
Jowan makes no jokes, stupid or otherwise. But when he wins, he still knows how to play.
Wow, you know, I never made that connection before. But I suppose if you do send Jowan back to the Circle and Conner goes back to the Circle, they would have to meet up again. I just … never thought of that. *goes to think*