Exalted: The Sun Also Rises

Dona Dona

On a wagon bound for market
There’s a calf with a mournful eye.
High above him there’s a swallow
Winging swiftly through the sky.

Since I saw Dahlia, I can’t stop thinking about that song. I’d stopped thinking of it a long time ago, when I stopped being Hyacinth. I used to sing it all the time back in White Stones; I heard it first there, it was popular at the time, women singing as they went about their business. A sad song, but I loved it.

How the winds are laughing
They laugh with all their might
Laugh and laugh the whole day through
And half the summer’s night.

Even in Nexus, it was my favorite song. Few had heard it, since it came from so far north. Skytongue sounded exotic, so I was often asked to sing it when I performed. It was my favorite, so I never minded.

Dona, dona, dona, dona,
Dona, dona, dona, do,
Dona, dona, dona, dona,
Dona, dona, dona, do.

Dahlia would always tease me. She always asked when I was going to get tired of that song. She didn’t really mean it. She enjoyed hearing me sing, I think. While we were doing chores in the house, or out in her gardens, I’d find myself at least humming.

“Stop complaining,” said the farmer,
“Who told you a calf to be?
Why don’t you have wings to fly with
Like the swallow so proud and free?”

I never thought much about the words, then. The song’s beauty overshadowed whatever other tone the song had. I hadn’t heard it, hadn’t thought of it, until I saw Dahlia again.

How the winds are laughing
They laugh with all their might
Laugh and laugh the whole day through
And half the summer’s night.

Part of me wants to hear it again. Something familiar, something that reminds me of home and happier times. I cannot sing anymore, not since I died. My voice was ruined, like everything else. They didn’t even leave me that, though perhaps it’s a mercy, I can’t even pretend to be Hyacinth anymore.

Calves are easily bound and slaughtered
Never knowing the reason why.
But whoever treasures freedom,
Like the swallow has learned to fly.

Still, part of me wishes I could hear that song again. Irrationally, foolishly. I’m not even certain what I think I would gain from it. A bit of useless nostalgia, a memory, a distraction. Even so, I cannot seem to dismiss it, I find myself thinking of it of late, even as things spin out of control. Something better left to the past. Still, I find myself humming…

How the winds are laughing
They laugh with all their might
Laugh and laugh the whole day through
And half the summer’s night.

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