Ian the Golem
"So I met Ian when I was about twelve, it was a year before I fully knew if I would come into my powers. Obviously I had little signs like we all do before we hit the right time in puberty but it wasn't enough to say for sure. Even a hedge could have the same signs a child does."
"A.... hedge?" I asked uncertainly since it wasn't a term I was familiar with.
"Oh yes I suppose you know them as the ungifted? We called them hedges not long ago. Not to say they were not good witches, they never get nearly enough credit. Some of them hear whispers of things in nature only a regular witch could dream of but without the gift their often over looked as normal humans in most coven's eyes. Anyways I met Ian in school back when we had just arrived in Virginia. He started bringing me flowers after the first day I helped bandage his knee he scraped on the way there. There was a ton of blood and I missed my first lesson.
"I wasn't supposed to socialize with him... it was improper not only for an upper class lady but for a witch to marry anyone outside of the coven's approval. It just wasn't done. The only acceptation was if you where fated of course. He was way to sweet though. The rules were very strict back then.
"We carried on with our relationship as just friends and when my mother asked me to end it I did... publicly. Even though we didn't see each other during the day we still exchanged letters and there also was a place we met up under a tree away from town."
She lay back in the sand lifting her arms over her head and her legs tucked around her dress that swayed occasionally in the wind. "I have the tree here still, but it's been so long that I can't remember the color of the leaves most days. I can't remember how the grass swayed exactly when the wind blew and I can't remember the colors of the sky. So no matter what I do I can't capture it here like I thought I could no matter how much I try."
I laid down next to her propping my head on a hand. "So you met in secret for how long exactly?" I asked- this sounded entirely romantic and it was starting to make me smile. Part of me wanted to be jealous and upset since I heard how fond she was in her voice; but her joy made me bury that feeling. Joy looked good written on her face.
"Until I turned seventeen. He was building houses- I had come into my powers. When I came into my powers it was while I was with him actually, I was fifteen nearly sixteen in the middle of summer... I had brought my paints to the tree and sat waiting for him. I painted a small frog- and I felt the magic at my finger tips. Then bursting with life it jumped from the canvas onto my hand.
"I was so scared that Ian had seen because he showed up right after that, and I was so scared about what I had done. It was three months before I even returned. He was still there." Her voice sounded in awe as she turned her head to look at me. "I didn't think anyone would stay that long. Would visit so long hoping. I missed him so much I started breaking down crying. He didn't say a word he just held me.
"I lost my virginity to him that night, I stayed there until the sun rose. Panicking I went home as fast as I could- and it was like my mother just knew. Or maybe it was time to start looking because I came into my powers. It's hard for me to say really.
"After coming home one day from class my parents both announced my engagement to me. I was horrified. My mother was furious and my dad even more so- he locked me in my room. I painted using magic in a way I never had before- all my anger and hope and passion thrown into a painting- the scene you first walked into. Somehow I created a place in the painting- a whole world that I stepped into.
"This place shouldn't exist, that magic should have ripped me apart but some part of me- it calls to the paint and morphs to my will. I stayed in here an entire week refusing to leave thinking I could sneak out and find Ian. That maybe he'd come to me in this world or I could make it like ours- anything to escape being married to someone else.
"When I came out it had only been maybe half a day? Less than that perhaps. My father was still furious with me. So that's when I decided to come up with a plan to try and meet Ian. I was going to bring my canvas and a few other things. My mistake was grabbing my grandmother's necklace. It contained the soul of the last descendant of the witch queen in it from her direct line. The Poison Princess' eldest brother passed down generation to generation so one day we might resurrect him.
"I only grabbed it because my grandmother had passed it on to me and if I was strong enough to make a place like this then maybe I was strong enough to bring him back too. Then everyone would let me be with Ian and we wouldn't have to hide. I was grasping at straws." Her face suddenly turned more serious her eyes clouding.
"I had no idea they would try to kill him- I knew something was wrong when for the circle that night we went around calling for our fated ones before I could go meet with him. It was to expand the coven, destroy arranged marriages. Liberation for many under the light of the full moon. Mine didn't appear."
"I wasn't born yet." I whispered frowning as I stared at her. "That must have felt awful."
"It did, I was sure he was my fated one. When I realized he wasn't my fated one they expected me to go home in defeat. Instead I became determined to run away with him. My father followed me." Her voice had become a bit more tense as she bit her lip a heavy sigh wracking her small frame. "He followed me to kill Ian. I defended him the best I could, pleading with my father to leave him alone. Ian just stood behind me wide eyed. Finally I had the sense to use one of my paint brushes and used some of the blood coming from my arm to shoot and arrow at him that broke through his barriers.
"It was to late though... one of the daggers my father threw had sliced Ian's throat. Even though I tried to stop the bleeding it just kept coming spilling through my fingers. He told me- that he had seen what I did; when I made the frog. He still loved me, so don't worry. So I did the only thing I could do... I saved his life. I destroyed the last of the Witch Queen's line to put Ian's human life in the necklace. Then when I stepped into the picture- I painted him a body and put him inside."
I blinked at her several times my mouth wide. He really was a golem- a spirit inside a vessel's body. Like full metal alchemist. Wicked. There was no way I could manage that kind of magic let alone anyone I had ever met. Still- there where good reasons not to put a spirit in a vessel. Over time it will start to wane and die. "So is he-"
"He seems mostly the same- and when we where first together it was bliss. I couldn't take him out of the painting though. The longer he was out the more the magic started to come undone and I couldn't risk losing his soul. I returned the necklace to the coven for safe keeping and to barter them caring for us. I was a powerful witch so they didn't refuse, plus my mother was the coven leader. She felt remorse for everything that had happened.
"The problem was though that all that magic comes with a price, and when I had fights with Ian I could always leave- he couldn't. I finally had enough when we had a discussion about the rooms. I let a lot of rooms fade saying I was tired before I had actually started feeling the aging effects. He looked right through me. Like he was clueless. Like nothing was wrong.
"I yelled at him, told him he was a shell and I should have let him die. I was horrible to him. Then when I was out of the painting I spent years trying to get on with my life, help my coven when the wars started. Finally be the witch my parents could have been proud of. Then I got scared...
"I was their strongest witch and everyone started dying around me. Nothing could save them and I was so afraid of getting sick, Ian wasn't what I was worried about. I felt so guilty when I went back... all he has is me. And he was sitting there- waiting under that faded fucking tree ... the one I can't even remember what it looks like-" Her voice cracked and tears began to stream down her cheeks.
Now I understood the guilt. She felt like she trapped him here- destroyed his soul and his life to fulfill her needs. She probably didn't even know how to destroy this place other than dying. This was big magic- and her whole life now became this place. He became her whole life- because she tried to save him.