Ok, so, hi!!! I have a bit of writing for you (jk it's three and a half pages with google docs), and I hope that you like it. It's based on the (I think Mexican or Venezuelan. Idk, I'm Puerto Rican and stupid as fuck) legend of La Llorona. Put simply, one woman lost her kids while she was alive and ended up wandering the streets of Mexico or Venezuela after she died, looking for them. The name "La Llorona" means the Weeping Woman, but she's also called the White Woman, or her human name, which I'm pretty sure was Maria.
TW: Death, rape, suicide, drowning...? I don't really know, but this might be triggering. Please be careful!
Señora María walks at night.
Señora María thinks that you're hers.
Señora María is dangerous. Muy, muy peligrosa. La Llorona -- The Weeping Woman, The White Woman, Señora María -- will take you, and you won't know your own mother after that. Your body will be found on the river bank.
They say that Señora María married un ranchero while she lived, and a rich one at that. She thought that she loved him for a while, but she was fooling no one. It was an arranged marriage to begin with, and Alfonso, her husband, didn't care for her. Why would he? She was only married off to him so that she could do his work. Cooking and cleaning and tending their garden were her responsibilities. Love was a luxury that she could not afford.
That was what she thought, at least, before she had her children. Esperanza y Arturo were beautiful babies, born with her wide, dark eyes and their father's mouth.
Not her husband's features.
One of the ranch hands, Alejandro, had taken an interest in María the day that she arrived. As charming as he was, with wildflowers and sweet words, María never trusted him. She hated the feel of his eyes on her as he leaned against their fence while she tended the plants. She avoided him as much as she could. She couldn't always, though.
One day, Alejandro appeared behind her as she pulled water from the well. She almost shouted when she saw him, but he clamped a hand over her mouth and her knees went weak.
"Hola, bonita," he murmured. "Where is your husband? Do you know?" From her face, it was plain that she had no idea. Alejandro knew that. "I'll tell you where he is, tesora. He's on a ride with Señor Perez, from town. Do you know what that means?"
It meant that he could do what he liked with María. He reached beneath her skirts.
When he left her, weeping on the ground, it was with the intention of leaving the ranch that day. Señor Alfonso came home that day to a quitting hand and an unusually quiet wife.
A few months later, Señora María knew that something was different. Down the road, she gave birth to two children, a boy and a girl. She named him Arturo, meaning courage and strength, and la niña, Esperanza, meaning hope. That was what they meant to her. Though she knew that her husband would be horrible if he ever found out that they were not his, she lived hoping that he would not. She watched her children grow, loving them and fearing for them. Eight years later, Señora Maria had done her best to protect her children from Alfonso, and he had been duped into believing that they were his children.
Until Alejandro returned.
María stepped outside of her house one day in late summer to hear shouts coming from the front. She hurried around, but her blood ran cold when she saw who it was.
Alfonso was trying to shoo Alejandro down the road and back to where he came from, but Alejandro insisted that he had to stay, and that he had to see his children. Alfonso was baffled and told him that no child of his had ever set foot on their property. Alejandro shouted "Ask your wife! She'll tell you that you see them every day." He caught sight of María and grinned nastily. "Ay, there she is now! Ask her!"
Alfonso turned to catch sight of his wife's ashen face, and Esperanza and Arturo clinging to her legs. It dawned on him that their faces bore a striking resemblance to the man before him.
"Eh? María? What does he say? Where are his children?" he asked, knowing the answer to come. María could only shake her head.
"La niña is just as beautiful as her mother, but el niño looks more like me, no?" Alejandro sneered.
Alfonso had his answer, and he drove Alejandro off. He marched over to María. Snatching up her braids and both of the children, he rushed them all into the house, then went to the stables and took a rope off of a hook on the wall. María was huddled in the kitchen, clutching her trembling children, when he came back.
"Come. Now," he barked, and María hurried them all outside. Alfonso strode ahead, not looking back at them. María held the children's hands, and reassured them quietly. In truth, she was terrified.
They reached the bottom of a hill, and they were staring into a river. Señora felt her stomach plummet to her shoes when she saw it.
"This is what happens when you disrespect me," Alfonso told her, and yanked Esperanza from María. María screamed and pleaded with him. She told him that she would do anything for him, but Alfonso was seeing red. His wife had been unfaithful, and she had lied to him about the children's father for eight years. Alfonso bound Esperanza's feet and wrists together. María was beside herself. She tried to push Arturo back up the slope and told him to run, but Alfonso pulled him back down and slapped María across the face.
Esperanza was pushed into the roaring water. Arturo followed.
Alfonso dragged María back to the house and threw her into her room. He locked the door behind him and ignored her begging and wailing. She would leave over his dead body, he thought. María was smarter, though, and desperate for a chance to look for her children. That night, she managed to sneak out of the room and the house without him knowing. She spent every hour until the dawn running up and down by the running water, calling their names. After finding nothing, she slipped back into her place before Alfonso woke.
She did this every night for years. It ended up driving her mad. She spent the days sleeping and eating the meager food that her husband provided, and wishing for her children. She searched whenever she could, as any mother would do if her child was taken.
After Alfonso died forty years later, María left her room in the daylight, but only once. She went out to search for her children, one last time. When she found no trace of them in the running water, she sank down to her knees on the bank, and spoke to the heavens.
"Ay, dios mio, dios mio," she cried. "Dios te salve, María, llena eres de gracia, el Señor es contigo; Bendita tú entre todas las mujeres, y bendito el fruto de tu vientre, Jesús. Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores, ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. Amén."
The Hail Mary soothed her, but she still ached, deep inside. She wept as she pulled a curved knife from her belt.
María spilled her own blood by the same river that had taken her children, but the earth did not claim her as it had with them. Her blood soaked into the ground, and it changed her then. Her dress was bleached white. She stood again.
Today, the White Woman is still seen in the streets at night. Briefly seen, but seen nonetheless. Every mother dreads the day when her children spot the walking cloud, so they keep their children tucked in tight after dark, hoping that they will be forever spared.
But, if you are out at night and you see Señora María, it will go something like this:
You'll see an old woman in the street, wearing her white dress y chanclas. If she isn't facing you, this is your chance to run. She's beautiful, but her face is weary and paralyzing, and this might be your last chance to leave her. But, if she hears or sees you, you have no hope. Her face will light up.
"Ay, amor," she'll call. "Join me, angelito. Walk with me."
Your end will come much faster if you refuse, so it is always better to go with The Weeping Woman. Who knows- you may end up being the first to escape her when she calls you.
"I had niños mucho como tù, much like you," she'll say. "Gemelos. My beautiful, beautiful twins." She'll squeeze your hand in hers. "They were so much like their Papa, and my husband did not like that. He found out that they were not his one day, and he drowned them." Her face will twist, and if there is a moon out, you will be able to see the shine on her cheeks. "He drowned mis hijos. He drowned them." She'll whirl around to peer into your eyes, and hers will be cold, and empty, and broken. "I can't find them, angelito. I can't find them, and it isn't fair. Las madres en el pueblo have their children, pero yo no tengo mis hijos. I don't have my children." Her eyes will go blank and search yours one final time. "Are you mine, angelito?"
When Señora comes to realize that you, like every other child that she's lured with her, are not hers, she'll grow angry.
"You tricked me," she'll hiss. "You're not my child."
La Llorona turns wicked now. She'll grab you by your neck, or your hair, or your wrist, and she'll drag you behind her. All of a sudden, you'll find yourself on the bank of a rushing river. One that looks like it has seen far too much. You can shout and scream as much as you like, but La Llorona has isolated you both, and taken you through space and time. Her face will grow younger, and the hurt in her eyes will be raw again.
"Miserable metiroso," she'll spit. "You miserable, lying wretch. You lied to me. You are not my child. Mis hijos estan desaparecidas, they're missing."
La Llorona will drown you in that river, and you'll be found there after she disappears from the scene. The hem of her dress will be soaking wet, and it'll trail behind her in the dust, but it will forever remain spotlessly white. After all, she's the White Woman. She's the woman who'll appear in your mother's dream that night, wailing her broken siren song. It tells of pain, and a mother's loss.
A mother's love.
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Tangled Paths Pt 27
[A day of work, some talking, and a night of rest. Also on AO3]
The sun is just beginning to rise as they fly up and over the cliff leading to the Arkjok Farmlands, making Braham squint against the brightness.
Terra says something he doesn’t catch, her grip on the reigns shifting, and Swiftwing does a quick circle over the main crops, giving them time to see and be seen.
Farmers are already out and about, which isn’t a surprise - he’s sure they rise early everyday, especially in lands that have been under Joko’s harsh rule - pausing to stare up at them as they do one more circle and then glide off to the edge of the patch, landing safely away from the crops.
Braham slips off and reaches up to lift Terra down, and again the Sylvari only gives him a weary look before making her way down into the fields.
Oo-kay, that’s concerning. Frowning, Braham reaches up to pat Swiftwing on the head before following after the Commander, the rustle of feathers behind him telling him she’s left to roost on a roof while they’re busy. Definitely having nightmares again, no doubt about it.
A flash of blue in the sky tells him Aurene is staying near, too; a good thing, he thinks. He hopes.
Terra’s already talking to what seems to be the head Farmer by the time he makes his way down, coming up behind her and letting her be the voice. He’s happy to be her backup right now, really - or that’s the excuse he’d give, if anyone questioned his reasoning.
Please, Dragon’s Watch knows. Er, well, they know parts.
“We’ll be here a couple of extra days, tying up loose ends.” Terra’s saying, hands clasped in front of her, “I’d like to do my best to exterminate any remaining Scarabs, if you’re alright with me having access to your crops for a bit longer. I can do a bit of minor healing, as well.”
Minor? Underestimating yourself again, Ter…
“That would be appreciated, Commander. I’ll tell my farmhands to leave the crops to you and your companion, today.”
“I’ll do my best, sir.”
Terra turns to him once the man’s stepped away to do as he’d said, head tilting back to lift her brows at him. “You’re standing awfully close, Braham - are you playing bodyguard today?”
“Maybe I just like being close to you, Terra.” Braham grins, watches the flush rise in her cheeks, and then reaches out to ruffle her petals with a chuckle, “But I am also watching your back - making up for the times I wasn’t there, I guess.”
Terra’s expression softens, hand coming up to grip his for a moment. “You’re here, now. That’s what matters.”
She releases him before he can respond, pulling her staff from it’s straps as she turns. “Can you keep an eye out for any full-grown Scarabs? Or rats… I don’t know if they’re still having a food shortage, but can’t hurt.”
“Can do, Commander.”
Terra flashes him a grin and then wades deeper into the field, fire spiraling around her staff as she sets to work.
Braham watches for a moment, transfixed as he always is by her magic - the easy way she manipulates elements, even smoother now that she’s a weaver, to do what she wants - fire engulfing any scarab nests and sending puffs of smoke up into the air.
He draws his bow once she’s moved onto the next batch, climbing up onto a stack of boxes for a better vantage point and settling in to wait.
Time passes easily as they work - Swiftwing lets out a triumphant trill everytime he strikes a scarab or a rat, and Aurene echoes with pleased chirps from somewhere across the fields.
Braham draws his bow back for another strike only to stop at the touch of something cool and wet on his face, pausing to look up at the sky.
It’s an elemental rain cloud - clear and white, raining down soothing, healing drops of water.
Terra stands in the middle of the field, staff at her side, face tilted up to the sky as the rain falls over the crops - smiling, so softly, such a gentle expression he’s afraid a word might ruin it.
Braham nearly falls off his perch when she turns that smile on him, flustered, suddenly, by the realization that he is part of that smile, part of the cause.
Spirits, if I can make her smile like that more…
Right now, all he can really do is keep her safe… and try to have moments like this, when they can run away from the stress.
“Oof, I’m beat.” Braham smothers a yawn with his hand, trailing up the stairs, “I think we’ll sleep good tonight.”
Terra rolls her eyes, placing the key they’d been given in the keyhole, “Let’s see what the bed looks like before we make any final judgements.”
They’d spent most of the day working away at clearing the farmlands of any remaining Scarabs - by the time the sun had begun to dip, they’d both been pleased with the progress, but exhausted.
Thankfully, word of what they’d been doing had spread to the Clan Marshall, and he’d come to meet them at the fields with an offer of dinner and a room for the night.
“It’s the least we can do, Commander. You’ve done so much for my people without asking for anything in return; please, come and rest for the night.”
Dinner had been simple but filling, neither of them about to complain about a warm meal served at a proper table.
And now, maybe before they sleep, they can talk. At least a bit. He knows Terra’s still exhausted, but there’s at least a couple of things he’d like to ask her about.
Like her wings. And her nightmares.
“So… there’s only one bed. Hopefully you don’t roll too much in your sleep, Braham.”
Braham snaps from his thoughts at the question, blinking down at her for a moment.
Then he grins wolfishy. “I’ll do my best not to squash you in my sleep.”
Terra laughs, and he relaxes, watching as she moves further into the room and sets her satchel down on the edge of the bed.
He locks the door - just to be safe - and then steps further into the space as well, shrugging out of his overcoat and setting it and his mask down on a chair in the corner.
Braham catches Terra watching him from the corner of his eye, purposely lifting his arms back to stretch, flexing the muscles of his back as he does and grinning at the sudden little spark that hits him through the Bond in response.
“Stay over there for a moment, I need to get changed.” she commands, but there’s the slightest tremor in her voice that piques his interest.
“What, I don’t get to watch?” he grumbles jokingly, the Bond flaring again.
“Maybe later.” Terra answers after a moment’s pause, making him flush, mind snapping right back to the night before, naked and pressed together in the bathtub-
Woah, Braham, easy. Dangerous territory, there.
“Alright, I’m changed. I’m glad the Clan Marshall offered us the room… I hadn’t really thought that far ahead.”
“What, you? Unprepared? I’m shocked.” Braham kicks his boots off, undoing his belts to drop them with his coat.
“No need to be sassy.”
“What? No, I’m serious-” Braham turns, swallowing harshly when his eyes find her on the bed - wearing a baggy sleep shirt that’s hanging off one slim shoulder and a tiny pair of sleep shorts and… nothing else.
Spirits, Ter, you are trying my self-control right now.
Terra shoots him a look - like she knows what he’s thinking - and he takes a deep breath, shaking the thoughts away and focusing on making sure his pants don’t have any visible dirt on them before crossing to flop face-first on the bed.
The Sylvari snorts, a quiet sound of amusement that lifts his spirits, and when he turns his head she has her cheek resting on her knees, eyeing him quietly.
They watch each other for a few moments, quiet and content in the fragile peace of the evening, before the questions that have been nagging at him push through.
“Can I ask you something?” he says, hating to break the silence, “A couple of things, actually.”
Braham pushes himself up, debating. He wants to ask her about the Nightmares, but… one other thing’s been nagging at him.
“So… I noticed you have wings, now.” Braham accents the words with a brow lift, “When did that happen?”
“Oh. They… after I came back. But I think they’d been forming ever since Aurene hatched.” Terra flicks her gaze away, chewing her lip, “I may have… fallen off a tower. They materialized for the first time, then.”
“Good timing.” her words process after a seconds pause, eyes snapping back to hers, “Wait, hold on, you what?!”
“I’m fine, obviously, don’t worry about it - I lived.”
“Yeah, that’s really reassuring.” Braham glowers for a moment, then sighs. “Can I see them?”
She looks startled. “Right now?”
“Sure. Why not? If it doesn’t uh, hurt you or anything.”
“No no, it doesn’t… hurt.” Terra stares at him, lips pursed, then nods, “Alright…. Sit back a bit, please.”
Braham does as asked, scooting further down the end of the bed.
Terra waits until he’s clear before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, expression sort of closing in - and then there’s a brief flash of light, and the wings unfurl.
He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t impressed, and maybe the tiniest bit intimidated - she has them half-spread, and he can tell they’re longer then she is tall, cascading masses of crystals that gleam even in the faint light of the room.
“I’m still getting used to them.” she mumbles, self-conscious, and Braham crawls a bit closer, watching the shimmering of the interlocking crystals.
“They’re beautiful, Ter. Seriously.” he licks his lips, watches her face, “Can I touch them?”
Slowly, giving her every chance to pull away, Braham reaches out - carefully running a hand over the top edge of one wing, marvelling at how smooth it is - freezing when she sucks in a breath, her body tensing.
“Did that hurt you?”
“N-No, it didn’t hurt…” Terra’s voice is breathy suddenly, her eyes half lidded as she watches him, and the surge of emotion through their Bond heats his blood, “They’re… sensitive, it seems. Like the Marks.”
That does nothing to quell the heat now building between them, knowing just how he’s effecting her - but he can still see the exhaustion hovering close beneath the surface, and shoves the desire away.
Tone it down, Braham. Later.
“Much as I did make a promise, last night.” he mumbles, seeing her eyes widen a bit in remembrance, “I know you need sleep, Ter.”
“Taimi’s snoring didn’t wake me up.” Braham allows himself to ghost one last touch over her wing before withdrawing, shimmying closer to her small form on the bed, “The Bond did - a flash of terror hit me through it. I figured you’d been woken up again.”
Terra flinches, looking down at the bed as the wings tuck in and vanish, expression closing. “Ah. I’d hoped you wouldn’t feel that.”
“You’re having nightmares again.” it’s not a question, and Terra doesn’t argue. “Is it still Mordremoth?”
She shakes her head, “Night after night… I see flames. I feel myself burning to death, over and over. I hear Aurene crying out as she’s captured. Sometimes I can force myself awake… other times…”
Braham curses softly, reaching out to pull her into his lap. Terra doesn’t protest the movement - only curls close to his chest, a ball of warmth and life that he’d almost lost.
“I should have been there.”
“Braham, I told you before, you couldn’t have-”
“Just let me be sorry, okay?” he mutters, holding her tighter - and Terra seems to understand, nestling herself more comfortably in his hold.
They sit like that for a while, content in each other’s grasp - and it hits Braham just how much he’d missed her. How just having her near seems to calm him down.
Terra makes a soft noise, and he realizes she’s fallen asleep tucked against him - glow pulsing faintly in the dim light of the room, expression peaceful.
“I’m not leaving you again.” Braham whispers, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “Sleep - may the Spirits help keep the nightmares away, tonight.”
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