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The Bloodless Queen

Once upon a time, there was a queen whose blood had all been drained. This made her feel weak, but she was glad for it, because she believed her blood was impure. She had been born in a distant kingdom to a princess without a prince—to a princess who surely must have come to death for this. But the Queen could not be sure because she had been sent away as soon as she was born. This Bloodless was raised by another queen who, soon, lost her blood as well. This queen’s blood dripped slowly from her womb, but never could form bone. It dripped for years and years until, finally, she went mad.

The Bloodless Queen grew up and married a king and they had a child. However, a child cannot be born without a mother’s blood and the Queen had no blood to give. So, when the baby was born, moonlight surged into her empty veins and her father’s blood covered her skin. This Moon in body was imperfect, both as a human and as a god. Her flesh body was twisted and she was born with one eye looking out and one eye looking in. The eye that looked in saw things that a princess should never see, so they covered both of her eyes. The baby was also born holding two long swords and she had to be careful not to cut her mother as she came out. The Bloodless Queen believed that, her own body must contain at least one drop of human blood, or else she wouldn’t be living. As the Moon grew up, the Bloodless Queen begged her not to knick her with the swords because, if she lost her last drop of blood, she would die. The Moon held the swords carefully and hid them whenever she could.

“Why has this cursed child come to my kingdom?”, her father would lament. “Her body is broken, she is blind to our world, and she will not lay down her swords”. The royal family tried to fix the little Moon’s body. They tried to make her body more normal, but their cures just made her afraid. Her fear reminded the King and his family of things they wished they could forget. They were Holy, but she saw darkness. They had a beautiful kingdom, but her swords would slice it to shreds. They were royal and stronger than anything, but she was afraid and she would cry. She was very, very different. They commanded her to look, but she could not see. She was blind to their world, and the world she saw became more and more crowded with ghosts until she could not look at it either. The more frustrated the King became, the more the child would cry. She cried the tears of the whole family. She cried an ocean that sat in the middle of the kingdom and watered seeds that grew into magical flowers that had not been seen for generations.

Before the Moon-child was born, the King had looked to the moon in the sky at least once. And so now he could see the beauty in this ocean, though he would not dare admit it. As the moon in the sky went down, and before the sun came up, in the spark where light is both ending and beginning, the King would go walk on this ocean. Part of him loved this ocean; he knew it was more real than anything else. But he hated himself for knowing it so well. Each time he returned, he would take the Moon in private and tell her where he had been. He told her that, one day, her ocean would consume him.

The King believed that, in order to save his family, he must fill his empty wife with her true blood. He journeyed and found the distant land that the Bloodless Queen had been sent from. He found out that her mother was still alive. The Bloodless Queen was so happy to know her family, but she learned that they did not follow her kingdom’s code. When they offered her her blood, she could not take it. That night, a crescent moon sat low in a muddy sky. In the middle of the night, the King left to walk on the ocean, but this time, he either fell or dove to its bottom.

The royal family was angry at the Moon because she had cried that ocean. It was terrible that she had taken away their king. The Moon knew that the waters of the ocean had taken on their own life. Storms had been driving the waves bigger and bigger between the poles of the moon and the earth. Eventually, it was bound to consume one of them. The Moon wondered why the ocean had not chosen her and the royal family wondered this as well.

So the Moon left her family. She traveled in spirals, looping back, but never returning to quite the same place. Even though the Moon traveled alone, everywhere she went, tiny stars would surround her. She would reflect their light and they would glow even more brightly. Each time, she would fall in love, but then she would have to move on. The Moon was so much like water that she flowed easily through many beautiful towns and families and loved them deeply. She often felt that she flowed too quickly and she wished for something that she would never have to lose. The Moon knew that love was the most important thing. However, she was still afraid to open her eyes. In order to love, one must be willing to see what she is loving. Otherwise, it is merely a fantasy. The Moon had many fantasies, but longed for someone that she could love and be loved by completely.

One day, The Moon met Fire. Fire was fast and strong, but still soft. Fire turned matter into ether and, to The Moon, this felt like lightness. Fire lit up the world clearly enough and then encouraged the Moon to open her eyes. When she did, The Moon’s eyes met her first truth through the eyes of the Fire, and she was in love. The Moon decided to stay with the Fire. Fire would keep her warm and, it felt good to loved. But soon Fire’s passion turned to anger. Fire believed there were injustices and set out to change things. Sometimes, she would keep the Moon warm but, most of the time, she would burn her up. So, each night, after Fire was asleep, the Moon would go up to the sky.

Meanwhile, there was a Woman who lived on earth and who was also unhappy. This Woman was human but had magic in her. She had been living a human life, but her magic wanted more and her mortal life that did not know how to take care of this magic. She had three little stars that circled around her, but she had become too sad to see their light. Their gravity just made her feel heavy. So, each night, she would go outside and look at up the Moon. She gazed for a year, making wishes and watering her dreams.

The Moon listened to the Woman’s beautiful dreams. And, even though they sometimes came with tears, they made her happy. The Woman’s dreams grew stronger until, on one Spring night, she called to the moon. The Moon turned into a woman and they gently laid down on the cool damp dirt. Their skin hot and liquid, they melted through the ground and dove to hold each other at the center of the earth. They rested there until morning.

The next night they met as two lionesses by a pool on an African plain. The night after that, they were two white butterflies whose wings gently brushed together and stirred the sky. On the forth night, one was a lily and the other was the sweet wind that blew past her. And, on the fifth, one was the mountain range and, the other, the mist. On the sixth night, one was a song and the other the breath. On the seventh night, the Moon waited for the Woman, but she did not come.

The Woman had become lonely for her earth family—for all who lived on earth. It was so hard to live both on earth and in the sky. Sometimes, she even wished she had never seen the Moon. Weeks passed and, each night, the Moon called out for the Woman. She called her and called her, and she finally came. They met as two foxes in a forest clearing. But when the Moon-fox smelled the Woman-fox, she knew she was no longer hers. The Woman’s heart was somewhere else.

The Woman returned to her earth home to see what was left of her past. But the Moon had no past that she desired to go to. So she flew in to the place where the ocean turned into sky. She floated so far away that any human love she had felt faded like a mirage. She floated there in the distant memory of dreams, letting go of each thought at the tip of her tongue. She believed that finally grief had transformed her; she was everywhere and nowhere at once. She was the mountains and she was the stars. She was fire and she was ocean. She was the lily, the wind, the song, the breath, and the opening of an endless purple sky. But then she realized that she was thinking these thoughts. She realized that she was aware and so she must be something and she must be somewhere. She noticed that she was still holding her swords.

As she hung in her place in the sky, the Moon knew that the only thing she could not do was gaze to the moon for guidance. She began to despair that she could neither be empty nor full. At that moment, she looked down and saw her own reflection in her own ocean. She dove down, crashing through her reflection and through her bottomless depths. But the ocean would not receive her. She landed, in her human body, gasping on the banks. She was still holding her swords.

The Moon walked the ground of this kingdom that she had not touched for many years. She held one sword in each hand, passive at each side. The points carved lines in the dirt as she walked, but did not grow dull. The people she passed did not recognize her. She was naked and still dripping with ocean and moonlight, but they did not notice. She looked at each one once and, when their eyes did not find her, she looked ahead and kept walking. She kept walking until she was face to face with the queen.
The Moon’s mother cowered slightly at the swords, but this time just out of habit. She herself was by now so accustomed to loss that the last drop of blood that she believed kept her alive had become a burden. The Bloodless Queen stood calm and still as the Moon finally drew one sword and passed it straight through her mother’s heart. The Moon then took the other sword and plunged it into her self. The swords fell in the ocean where they dissolved and the Moon and the Bloodless Queen then stood still. Silently holding their wounds.

When their hands grew too tired to cover the cuts any longer, they let their hands fall. But just as they thought that the last drop of whatever was keeping them alive might drip out, instead the blood rushed in. It felt warm. The Moon’s body was now filled with moonlight and blood. And the once bloodless queen now felt herself full of everything she once had feared. The now human moon looked to her right and saw her mother. She looked to her left and saw the ocean. She looked down and saw the earth beneath her feet, and looked up to see the moon. She saw the world around her and could feel her own center and she took her first step forward from there. walking to flesh, to moonlight, to stars, and to space.

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