When our bodies retire, we put them to rest in the soils beneath our feet. Forests of bodies smothered in dirt, decay, and rot. Trees rooted in death become the air we breathe; cut down for our comfort.
We splash our ink across their pages, like blood stains on soil. Stories embedded in veins pour through intertwining roots; weaving through binded pages, and binded wounds.
Permanent words permeate skin; protection from impending wars.
Books served as temporary sanctuary from the turmoil outside; their edges tattered and worn like the armor that guarded my flesh. Words inhaled, forged into weapons. Words exhaled, fastened into endless futures.
It wasn’t long before you sent your soldiers to tear down my haven; the earth rattled as they marched in my direction.
Remnants of fallen trees lie broken like soldiers fallen in battle; another casualty.
A father shouldn’t be the first man to break his daughter’s heart; nor should a king destroy his own kingdom to prove his power. But power doesn’t come to those pure of heart, and the heart you carried inside your chest was as barren as the lands you ruled.
The world around me was up in flames, and as my lungs filled with ash, my breathing faltered. I could feel the foundations crack as your men dragged my mother away; the only evidence was that which you forged.
Smoke outlined your silhouette, and your grin grew with the destruction. You were born in chaos, and that’s where you thrive, but you may have forgotten, I was Battle Born, and you taught me how to survive.
The pages once pure, now coated with ink. Letters and lines, sunken in, like scars on skin. Pain is deeply rooted in all of us. Its growth transcends distance and difference. We carve pain into fragile paper and fragile skin.
The experience we endure is cataloged for those who follow. We must endure pain, to learn from it. We wrap ourselves in the pages of every story we see ourselves in, of the characters we could become.
We all fight in the unwinnable war: the war of time. Though death conquers all in the end, foliage forms from bodies buried. We lace our legacies with the roots of stories left behind. We forge paper swords from the memories that cut our paper skin. We use them to defend ourselves from paper worlds and paper kings. We suit up, paper shield in hand.