(Disclaimer: Some of you who know me on social media may have seen me talk about Kaspar. I’ll continue to do so, as I’m thrilled to be able to speak of them while explaining how we’re able to confer in person, despite the apparent long distance of our relationship. However, upon realising that they’re an alter, I’ve realised I can no longer refer to their intersexism in regard to the outerworld. Kaspar knows that they cannot take up outerworld intersex spaces, and my anecdotes of their experience should therefore remove themselves from the same spaces. I’m sorry for the inferences I’ve so far made, for I assumed the experiences took place in the outerworld. The minorities and social challenges of my alters only apply to my inworld.)
“My partner recently started identifying as gender-fluid. I was never raised with gender, due to my assigned-ambiguous condition.” Kaspar wrote. “I’m supposed to tell whether they’re Lee, Leah, or Leon on any given day and supposed to act accordingly. They wear these bracelets. Green, blue, and pink. I don’t know which colour means he or she or they. I didn’t know paying for their dinner was offensive on a ‘boy day.’ I didn’t know I was supposed to lead a dance on a ‘girl’ day. This is all very frustrating for me. I don’t understand the rules.”
Chaotics Threads take Apprentices every four years. Their newest member would choose a trusted friend to teach the mythology to. By this time, I had left Neb’s old Thread under the technicality of… Well, not being Neb. So, I joined Alcaeus’ Thread. Alcaeus is Vex’s older brother– I’ll explain more about him later on down the road.
But what you should know of him right now is that he is a Demi-God, literally the son of the Air Chaos God, and couldn’t relate to any human pursuits. Materialism, economical pursuits– if you explained Capitalism to him, he would have looked at you as if you were actively bleeding on the floor to save up for a virtual unicorn.
That’s not a criticism of him, by the way, that’s a criticism of capitalism.
And he had his eye on Kaspar, born and raised in Prague, to be the newest member of the Thread. And, in Alcaeus’ calculating, opportunistic mind, a desperate situation was the perfect time to invite Kaspar into the Thread.
If it offers any kind of reference, Children of Chaos, in my world, are a bit like Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s world. The leadership can be corrupt, your life is always exciting, and you’re pre-determined to think yourselves the good guys out of sheer doctrine. After all, Chaotics can’t see gender or race. The ancient ones aren’t even quite sure when one misgenders them– they’ve no concept of it. Gender wasn’t even a thing in Atlantis.
Anyway, it was after Kaspar and I had struck up an intimate friendship through being penpals. They’d found Xhax’s old anti-label Tumblr and, while they were with their sexist and gender-fluid partner, I’d struck a cord with them. We exchanged weekly letters since. And since Alcaeus had intel that Kaspar’s spouse was about to kill them in order to gain Kaspar’s inheritance– and to stop Kaspar from being polyamorous.
What a coincidence that their abusive partner was in conflict with polyamory as well! I’m Shocked that it ended up as a parallel to my own struggle. What are the odds? Right? Right???
And I was to save them in the nick of time. And I did, in a tense battle on the high-floor balcony of Kaspar’s flat. Gods, that must’ve looked wonderfully cinematic. Me, fighting an armed would-be murderer with only my blue-gem walking stick, with the grand city of Prague as my dramatic backdrop. It was snowing, that early November night.
Vex has a limited ability to ‘teleport’ in the inworld. We essentially go through a mirror that takes us to this weird time river in an alternate dimension, and we can emerge on the other side. And that’s what we did– crawled out of the bathroom mirror like an ill-aimed Samara, then confronted Lee, who was in the middle of screaming at Kaspar in Czech and holding a pistol.
I remember very specifically the sort of astonishment in Kaspar’s features. The sort that, even though the unexplained presence of a stranger in its apartment was startling, it was still a welcome intervention into its spouse’s tantrum.
I could relate.
I remember that Lee was limited on his English, but when Kaspar called my name, they were clearly under the impression that their polyamorous harlot of a partner was shacking up with me. There was a lot of waving the gun towards me, with Kaspar speaking in pleading tones and shaking its head.
There was something… so familiar in the way Kaspar was trying to talk Lee down and plead with them. Something that made a righteous, protective rage whirl in my gut. I grabbed for the gun, caught it, and wrenched open the balcony door, meaning to toss the gun away, but Lee caught me.
Thus, the battle began.
Lee had wrestled my cane from me and I twisted it, and managed to hit them in the face a couple of times with swinging blows, before pushing them over the banister and into the streets below. That’s right, I killed an abuser! And now that I realised this happened within my consciousness, I can admit to it. This person was actively beating my partner-to-be, had a pistol on them, and I killed them out of self-defense!
Taking ‘Be gay, do crime’ to quite the extreme, this was the first night Kaspar and I had ever met in person.
Then the Czech police were called and all that general nonsense. Vex and I followed Kaspar to the ground floor and stood halfway down the block, out of sight without trying to be conspicuous about it.
Come to think of it, I was still holding the murder weapon. Thank gods this didn’t happen in the outerworld, my dumbass never would’ve gotten away with it.
“Being around crying people always makes me feel awkward,” I confessed to her. “I think it’s because I can’t cry? I think I preferred the struggle for my life over this.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry tears make you uncomfortable.” The bite was plain in the Vex’s voice beside me. “Meanwhile, my child was putting themself between a pistol and its target!”
“There was a pistol?” I flashed a grin when she glared at me. Something about danger always sent me into giggles.
I could just catch sight of Lee’s brunette head, split down the center by a glittering garnet canyon. I wrinkled my nose and glanced away just before the body was covered by a sheet. Living things? Full of blood and nerve-endings? Gross.
Poor Vex had seen my swallow-tailed and be-hatted form struggling with the assailant; the passionate, thrashing, maddened assailant. The pistol flashing in the moonlight seemed like a neon sign to the ancient Atlantean. Was it the presence of the pistol I chose to ignore? Or my own mortality?
I’ll give you a hint; corvids can never ignore something shiny.
Kaspar seemed the very picture of mortality at the moment; proof that all was temporary and gorgeous like a bloom. It had once, Vex told me, had long and wavy white-golden hair; forced to be cut short by that irrational lover. Apparently Lee had accused Kaspar of loving their hair more than Lee themself. One life and one beautiful head of hair cut short. I knew which one I would be mourning.
I noticed Kaspar had finished its tearful interview with the police. Vex caught my arm to hold me in place as the potential Apprentice moved forward, sniffling and wiping its eyes, to its unlikely savior. We three blondes stood facing one another in the narrow, secluded alley between the thin buildings before Kaspar spoke English with a thin, musically Czech accent.
“What is it I owe you?”
This gave me pause. Just like that, Kaspar’s voice had stopped shaking. Its eyes were red still, but dry and firm as it gazed upon the rich eyes of its acquaintance. “You’re invited to the original Children of Chaos Thread, the religion I spoke to you of in our letters.” I tried to make my voice formal.
Kaspar narrowed its grey eyes. “In exchange for?”
Vex actually talked next, which was rare for her. She apparently admired Kaspar’s knee-jerk pragmaticism, and had since admitted to doing so. “You’ll leave this life behind, unfortunately. But we’ll—“
But I interrupted her. “You’ll give up nothing but your trust.”
Vex gave me a look. See, Alcaeus liked his Thread members to be unattached to such material things as money, property, social status, etc. The general exception was Vex’s child, yours truly.
“I’ve no more of that to give.” Kaspar said tartly, tilting its head back at the stained spot on the road where Lee had been lifted from.
I remember that I smiled at the sense of defiance. “Raincheque. We’ll start by helping to rebuild your human life firstly.”
Vex raised her eyebrow, but said nothing. Ah, the irreverent Zeitstuck, who would answer to no god nor king– pretty much my consistent role in the whole system. “You’ve your inheritance from your grandmother to look forward to! You can have her old mansion! You can live easily on your own, build a support circle. Perhaps rent out wings of the estate to others to have a steady income. We’ve a lot to work with, Kaspar. And I intend to help you with all that I can.”
Kaspar was apparently a fellow pro at going with the flow. The poor thing, after being isolated with Lee so long, was more than thrilled that it was going to have a guest for an extended stay. It invited Vex and I both to its grandmother’s historic mansion the next night, a jewel of a home built in 1733. “Oh, I have so wanted to meet you, Xanthe! My faux-Brit penpal living in the deep south! How novel of a concept you are! Well, literally, I suppose. Now, you must forgive my rudeness today, but I will simply die if I don’t get my hair sorted.” I saw Kaspar twitchily run its fingers through its impeccably blonde hair, cut short to appease that abominable late Lee. “I almost don’t recognize myself in the mirror these days; it’s absurd!” At this, its voice shook, but it managed a small smile.
I remember that I stood in the golden candle light, cup of tea firmly in my hand and only half-dressed; in trousers, a cotton shirt, and an open vest. As Kasper wrapped its thin arms around me, I watched the sunlight dance off the chartreuse fabric of its embroidered Georgian cut-away coat and experienced the rare feeling of being under-dressed. “I’m so glad I got to meet my Lord Henry Wotton,” Kaspar purred.
“Your Lord Henry?” I repeated, with a half-smile. “From the Picture of Dorian Gray? Would that make you Dorian himself, then?”
Kaspar beamed. “Well, that depends. Am I so full of youthful, innocent beauty that you’d like nothing more to taint me with your dangerous paradoxes and your fleurs du mal? Your converting myself into your religion and your supernatural brethren ought to grant my absence from ageing, would it not?”
It was hard to believe that the night before, Kaspar had been sobbing over a dead lover. “You certainly are lovely enough. And we’ll get you sorted in time, with all that your genesis has to offer.”
Almost immediately, a blush colored that churlish face. Of course, my brief allusion to a delay meant that it would take at least that long to convince King Alcaeus to let someone still materialistically attached to this realm join his Thread without leaving it all behind. But I was sure I would convince him. And I did– in a situation full of chaos that I pointed to and declared, “I meant to do that.” But that would happen much later on.
To my surprise, Kaspar wasn’t at all disappointed by delay. “Oh, such a relief. If I’m to have a coming out party into the supernatural world, I naturally have to plan!”
“Coming out party?”
Kaspar stood on the very tips of its toes to kiss my cheek, then, surprisingly, Vex’s cheek goodbye before sashaying to their front door. “Of course. Any well-bred youth must have a party to announce their arrival in a new life!” It winked and flounced away. “Goodbye, you two! Make yourself at home when I’m gone! If you’re going out, be sure to lock the door behind you, now!”
The ancient house, something that could’ve been built by the time my author had started talking, rattled as the huge door slammed shut with a thunderous boom. Vex lit the fireplace and we helped ourselves to Kaspar’s brandy– some sort of Czech brand that has plum and spice in it. I don’t know if that’s an exclusive product of my mind or not.
It was lightly snowing outside; Kaspar’s favourite weather. It still tends to come out when snow is fluttering from the sky and gleaming in the frigid breeze. Its windows stretched from about knee-height to the ceiling, 10 metres up. Vex and I listened to the wind howling outside and made occasional comments and conversations while Kaspar applied its psychologically-imperative hair extensions.
One brilliant thing about helping Kaspar– I was out of reach of April’s nonsense. I thought it was because I was in the Czech Republic and out of Sprint’s service range, but apparently my brain found my phone so much a nuisance that it grounded me from it. I spent the next several days in Kaspar’s unofficial employ. Someone– I’m not sure who– was handling work. I received only glimpses of the inn, as if in a dream.
I feel like Kaspar wanted to maintain the illusion of a cold heart, irreverently free from their ex, but I did see how much it weighed on them–how long the pause was before changing the subject, as if Kaspar were glitching.
Eventually, I took it upon myself to raise morale for my new companion. The next time I caught it trying to skirt the issue, running its fingers self-consciously through its hair in the upper hallway just before breakfast, I told it; “Kaspar, I can only imagine how hard all of this must be. Such a hassle resulting from nothing more than a bounced Czech.”
Kaspar paused and stared at me. At first, its brows furrowed in confusion. Then it began to laugh. Its hand flew up to its mouth to cover it, at first, then it relented in small giggles. “A bounced Czech?”
Mates, I was ready. For Kaspar had already had me smitten, and I was on my bloody game. “Well, you don’t suppose they’ve stuck the landing, do you?”
Those giggles became a cathartic cacophony. It actually doubled over, cackling. Cackling! At the awful pun I’ve just made at its spouse’s demise. “You– You can’t– Oh, you shouldn’t–! You– scoundrel.”
That’s the precise moment we fell in love. Not when we started dating, certainly. I still had a tragically monogamous attachment to throw off and Kaspar had yet to establish itself as polyamorous in the first place. Now that I look back at it, I marvel at The Brain’s plots to comfort its inhabitants. Kaspar exactly what I needed at the time. And as years have gone by, they’re able to give me the comforts of frivolity, of pretending nothing can touch us, the strength of being in an aesthetic power-couple that we are.
I asked it out with a letter, containing the following poem in January of 2016.
I’m Ready for the Czech
As a lover of fantasy, my dear, I feel I must confess.
And I only admit this weakness of mine under great duress.
But I love your flourished charm and the way you dress.
You steal the hearts around you the way one might play chess.
You’re a spectre, a phenomena, one can never possess.
But as I stare into your warm grey eyes, my love, I do digress.
See, I live for the defiant revolution that is your personal success.
The way you dusted yourself off and shined under stress.
Over-educated and by all accounts, over-dressed.
It’s a lunacy of mine that it is you I want to impress.
In fashion, in etiquette, in all things you profess.
You’re my lord and lady, my Czech baronex.
The ruler of propriety, the monarch of finesse!
For these reasons, I feel I must confess.
It is your sharp tongue and mind that I wish to caress.
I feel your kingdom and mine could really coalesce.
Your standards are high, so it may just be best.
If you let me ramble on; and don’t you dare say yes.
I still remember the exalted feeling of seeing Kaspar video-calling me through Skype, its eyes shining in the unnatural monitor light, letter-in-hand. “Oh, how charming it is that you think you can tell me what to do!” I smile even now as I type it. And true, Kaspar’s love language isn’t too much like anyone else’s.
I remember first realising it was comfortable with me when it wore a housecoat in front of me. I remember knowing it was showing love when it coordinated its outfit to match mine. I remember feeling seen and known when it knew the exact day of the week I would be at a sushi restaurant and the exact time I would be on my third glass of wine so it could call me and ask about my life; seeking a less deflective answer than usual.
I manage to get ahold of Kaspar about every week now. We listened to the “Gone Girl” audiobook together. I’m showing it the Bioshock games, though it usually falls asleep early and it’s left to Aberle and I to use Plasmids on the Spider Splicers. I love Kaspar very dearly. It’s like if Freddie Mercury were more femme and decided to get into Rococo fashion.
Someone has suggested that it may be my DID’s way of tricking me into loving myself. And I have to say– well done.