kiss with a mouth of shooting starsof lost & broken hearts
"A long time ago, when the world was new, the night was an endless dark abyss. It was lit only by the light of the moon, which, mind, was not very much light at all. And for years and years and years, no creature of Subeta questioned it. And for years and years, not one creature of Subeta would stir during the night."
Night responded, 'No, I cannot.'
The Jollin pondered Night's response, and then he asked, 'But, might there be something I could do?'
Upon hearing this, Night laughed and laughed and laughed so violently that the Jollin was afraid the sky would fall down. But he stood his ground and waited patiently for Night to stop mocking him, and Night, feeling a little pity for the young Jollin, said to him, 'Carry something bright to the edge of the world, where I touch it, and perhaps I will let you climb up and spread the bright thing out into the sky.'
The Jollin thanked Night and did as he was told. He asked a human to fashion him a jar with a handle he could carry in his mouth. In this jar, he caught fireflies. And after that, with his jar of fireflies, he ran. He ran and he ran and he ran and he ran.
He ran so far, so fast and for so long that one day, he simply left his body behind, lying there in the dust with an empty jar. He ran on and on until he finally reached the edge of the world, where Night touched the earth.
'I am here!' cried the Jollin joyfully, stopping. But upon stopping, he finally noticed his jar of bright things had been left behind, and he wept bitterly.
Night spoke to him, and asked him why he wept.
'I have lost my jar of bright things,' sobbed the Jollin, 'And it is too far for me to go back. Now we shall never see through your darkness.'
But Night told the Jollin to stop his crying and to look around.
The Jollin did as Night said. He obediently looked around him, and he realised that Night was not so dark. It was not so dark because there were stars in the sky.
The Jollin had thought of nothing except reaching the edge of the world, and thus, he had not noticed when he had begun to climb into the sky. He had not noticed when the lid of his jar had come away and the fireflies had scattered as he run, and, with nowhere else to go, scattered themselves across the vast canvas of Night's sky. He had not noticed that he had run so swiftly at times that his paws would catch fire, lighting up the night as he shot for one brief moment across the sky.
To this day, when Jollins spy a meteor, they say that he is still running across the sky.
Zip skidded into place, kicking up clods of dirt and grass in his wake. However - like always - he was too late.
'Last place again?' asked a smug, lightfooted Jollin who had placed first in the race. 'I don't know why you keep embarrassing yourself like this, Zip,' he continued to drawl, 'though by no means am I asking you to stop. You make the rest of us look better, after all!'
A smattering of laughter broke out amongst the group of Jollins. Zip turned down his ears and pulled back his lips into a snarl before turning away. These Jollins just weren't worth his time, though every word they said stung.
Each year, on the Winter Solstice, Jollins hold a traditional ritual that honours one of their fables. For months beforehand, they hold races between Jollins who race for the title of Starbringer. As evening descends, Jollins gather at the Arctic Frost to watch the Starbringer take a glass jar filled with fireflies as he (or she!) races across the vast expanse of ice towards the setting sun. The Starbringer is meant to run as far and as fast as he can until the sun sets and true night approaches. There are records for how far Starbringers in the past have run. Zip's father, incidentally, holds the current record.
Zip races each year for the title, but is invariably beaten by Jollins fleeter of foot. He becomes a little better each year, but not enough to best the faster of the Jollin, and as time goes on, he is becoming more desperate but less motivated. He dreads the beginning of Autumn (from which the races are held) as he finds no choice but to partake in the races, losing almost every time. He has not even come close in all the years he has chosen to race.
Zip can barely hide his disgust at the Starbringer for the 350th annual Starbringer festival; it is the Jollin that mocked him when he had beaten him. Generally Zip avoids travelling all the way to the Arctic Frost for the Starbringer festival (too much like rubbing salt into a wound), but his friends - Isobelle, Marlow & Jacinta - had insisted on going this year.
'There's always next year,' says Isobelle quietly to him. Zip is in a sour mood, too bitter to respond to Isobelle, so he responds only with a noncommital grunt. He ignores the delighted shrieks of Marlow and Jacinta, who are in the midst of having a snowball fight with the ample amounts of snow available all around them. He doesn't even move when a missent snowball bounces off his head.
It's evening, the sky tinged with purple hues as the sun is beginning to set. Zip watches as the proud Starbringer struts across the snow to accept the firefly glass lantern. An older Jollin tells the Starbringer to take his place ... get ready ... and ...
At the word 'Go', Zip is the one sprinting across the ice, making his course right for the Starbringer, knocking Jollins clean out of his way in his rush.
'Zip!' calls Isobelle in surprise, though her voice is drowned out by Jacinta, who has halfway scampered up her friend and is now shrieking at the top of her lungs, 'Go Zip! Go!'
The Starbringer is confused and surprised as he watches Zip making his beeline towards him. Zip hurtles into him, snatches the lantern out of his mouth with his own jaws, and begins to sprint away across the vast expanse of the Ice Fields. The other Jollin recovers and begins to run after him, closing the distance, until Zip looks behind him, realises what is happening, and somehow, puts on a burst of speed that allows him to outrun the Jollin. He will hear retellings of his story by onlookers who said that they swore they saw sparks fly from his feet. He runs and he runs and he runs until the crowd of Jollin that were watching become a blurry mass behind him. The sun had not even managed to set yet.
A record was set at the 350th annual Starbringer festival. The Jollin returned with the rising dawn, still running with the jar clutched between his teeth. Out on the ice were three Jollin waiting for him; two curled asleep, but one was sitting up, looking straight at him. In years to come they would say that he had been running away at the start, but in the end he came running home.
adopted from Meow
overlay by Moira from Jen