A Brisk Autumn Harvest

A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:47 am

Some meetings belonged at the Inquisitory. It was a relatively new institution in Myrken and still finding its place in many ways, but no one could deny that it fit the province like a glove, or more accurately, like a missing puzzle piece. There were questions that needed answering and for the first time in the history of Myrken Wood, there was something that existed for no reason other than to find those answers. This was a fell meeting, one requested through subterfuge and secrecy.

It also was not at the Inquisitory at all. Governor Burnie, if he is still even Governor is not in any state for so public an appearance. The Inquisitors were all hand selected, save for one, and he knew what he had created. They were nosy and incessant in their duties. That's why he picked them. There were too many questions right now and that as well and fine so long as all of them were channeled in one direction, to one person, through one person.

No, they were in nicely furnished loft, one owned, as any Inquisitor worth her salt would know by the silent member of the Defense Committee, he who had not emerged during the recent troubles, perhaps because his own mind was so tumultuous a place and his own power had a history of such danger. He was the perfect person for the Governor to reach out to now, though, one hermit created by life to another.

That person had vacated now, so that this meeting could happen in private, if not in secret. Burnie sat at a lavish table, propped up by his elbow out of sheer necessity. He was gaunt, looking a few years older than he actually was. That was nothing new of course, but there was something in the mannerisms now to match it. She had been escorted inside by a servant (a replacement servant to one that had died a year or two hence) and the light was poor enough that while she could recognize that it was him and something about his condition, certainly, his expression would be lost to her. "Thank you for coming. It does mean something, but I would hope that you knew that. If not, we're off to a bad start already, and I think we've had too many bad starts lately, all of us. We can hardly afford one more."
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Tolleson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:13 am

There were too many questions, so many they had driven her mad over the last weeks. A short journey, as she had already stood at the precipice with the chaos that lingered from Ariane's tainted mind, the months of fruitless grasping at little more than shadows and smoke of Rhaena’s lacy decent, and worse yet, the squabbling and outright violence of once friends with altered minds.

It had not all fallen on her shoulders, thankfully, but it many ways it had felt that way. Weight of the responsibility a visible burden upon her, tired eyes and every breath drawn deep and long, more careful, more measured, more aware than the young woman Burnie had left. There were questions that needed answering and the only man who could answer them had summoned her here. So, it seemed to the contrary, if ever there were a meeting that did, in fact, fit so nicely within the parameters of the Inquisitory’s purpose, this was surely it. But for her admiration and the respect she held for the requestor, of course she had obliged; even if he hadn't seen the desperation that had grown from his absence or the tears shed for him, certainly he had known she would come.

The servant ushered a likewise, though not similarly, gaunt woman, a lean giant of a redhead into the lavish space. Awkward as ever in proportions and stature, her hair is neatly braided over the shoulder her simple and clean, grey dress. Almost military-like in appearance with the exception of the delicate white embroidery at the tails of the stark, black sash worn folded as a belt about her waist. But she is clearly herself and not so much has changed, a minor trip and tumble taken on the last steps leading to her company. A small thank you is offered and the servant, dismissing further assistance as she listens and watches the familiar stranger at the table.

“Of course,” sparse words behind which many unspoken ones swelled, and a bounty of meaning coalesced, predominately concern, not for Myrken, not for Rhaena, but for him. Her eyes did not leave the creature, who in appearance at least was so unlike the man she remembered. Time was taken to carefully step nearer and slide her hands over the chair back opposite. But it wasn’t a leisurely measure or unsure, it was the the months of tension in her muscles and the amassing frustration with the situation worn plainly, but not ungracefully, that restrained her. There were still duties, especially now that the political landscape of Myrken was so uncertain and it's people so scarred by the crumbling facade of all that Rhaena had built. It hadn't all been bad, though she did not dare say it aloud, there were merely lofty goals turned delusional.

"I... I am sorry, about Rhaena," the words came with genuine sympathy and solemn in tone, as she stared him down, out of respect and perhaps to gauge what he might say, as any Inquisitor might. She wasn't afraid to broach the topic either. For all the curses that had been uttered behind her name, Rhaena had been a generous teacher, a gentle friend, and Glenn's fiancée.
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:04 am

"I am too." The smile was a faint thing. His clothes were ill-fitting. He was always so neat, so put together. Now, everything he owned had either been changed by Rhaena or simply didn't fit anymore. There were clothes from wen he came back from Underdark, years out of fashion now and not his style anymore anyway. No, instead, he'd found something of Kerrak's to wear. Burnie was a few inches shorter and that was in normal times, when he had more meat on his bones to even it out. "No one else has said that to me though. Granted, I haven't spoken with many people. I was on bedrest until yesterday."

It meant that she was the first, or one of the first he had sought out. "I am sorry. For her, for Myrken. It's the problem with vision, Genevieve. If you look too far forward, you become blind to everything around you. I tried to insulate myself from that, but some of it is having faith in those around you. People think me anti-religious, and in truth, I believe in no One True God, save perhaps as a magical being out to bind all of us," the words came, not with his usual patter, but with something weaker, something more strained. Every syllable was an effort and suddenly, in the midst of it, they would fade. He would seem lost for a long moment, would shake his head.

"I was connected to her still when she died. I went a bit close to the light and not for the first time. It's been hard to pull myself back." Then, almost sadly, unable to continue upon his speech whatever it was. "Ask me a question, Genevieve. Ground me. You're here for so many reasons, but one is that I need an anchor. You have questions. Ask one and then I'll come back to you. Ask one and I'll be able to continue on." There was no element of pleading to this, nor was there much pressure to order. It was matter of fact. He needed this and on some level, so did she.
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Tolleson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:54 am

He says enough for her to understand that she is one of the first summoned to him. And it gives her pause, her eyes break away and find the grain of the wood at the back of the chair she clings to like a life preserver in the tide of words. This man is but a shadow of his former self and to hear him speak, to see him like this, it is painful in a way she hadn’t expected. His life had been spared, but only time would tell what else had been lost. She knew, better than most, that even the unseen wounds bore scars.

Apologies were offered and she remained silent, listening, letting the words sit, settle and sink. He went on about faith and religion, a topic charged to ignite even the most restrained. After all, he knew, or could at least surmise Genny’s alignment for how long he had known her. She signed her letters in the old way, a way once taught to her in Orvere, were all that could be asked was that the fickle Gods to be good. And still, silence. It seemed that vision alone was rarely the problem. Not now, hardly ever, it was power and corruption that so often polluted ideas of the rational with delusions of the possible, the ideal.

As he spoke of some magical creature, of unity, her eyes flickered back to him, as if about to reply. But to the weakening words and strain of his voice she is turned mute. Especially then, as she considers the gravity of what it means to be connected mentally, to bear first-hand witness at the moment of death. Glenn alone might yet have insight into how she died, who had killed her, but it was a subject unsuitable for this moment, even if the words to ask could somehow be summoned from the pit of her turning stomach. It isn’t until he asks it of her that she can will sound from her lips.

Why me? What reasons? How? A million selfish questions welled behind eyes grown wider at the request, darting anxiously and full of inquiry. At least a hundred more statements of disbelief, of relief, cursing his name and praising him, all of them internalized. And when it came time the words poured out of her, unintentional and out of necessity to reply.

“Do you… still dislike sweet t-things?”

It had nothing to do with anything, and yet it did. It was a question informed unconsciously from a memory. A recollection of the reason why she was here at all, an eager, and ambitious, girl from Thessilane in a dessert shop being asked to join the office of the man not yet then the governor. He was then little more than a successful man, still the mapmaker with big ideas to make Myrken a better place.

Regret instantly pinches the corners of her mouth and pulls her eyes away as her muscles relax in self-defeat. Stupid girl, so careful and yet her foot is in her mouth at it’s first opportunity. The shame is enough that she finally slides into the chair with a sigh, at a loss.

“What would you have me do… what can I do? For you? For Myrken?”
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:25 pm

Inanity had its time and its place. It was one of Burnie's finest tools, to be used against the grandest of beings. It's how he faced off against the dreamwaker and the Ashfiend both. He paid for his insolence, but it was always worth it. If you stopped taking the horrors of this world seriously, they fell into the light. They were exposed for what they truly were. They only ever had what power you gave to them. No, it was the mass of humanity that was far more potent in the long run. It was the mass of humanity that now threatened to overturn all of his gains here in Myrken.

Inanity had its uses and it had its place and perhaps here it was wrong here, despite her efforts. "I think I could enjoy sweet things again, Genevieve, someday. For now, the taste of most things is bitter." There was a cost to every question and she had, despite her attempts after the fact, paid it for that.

The second question was direct, at least. "We're at a crossroads. No, I suppose I am. I and Myrken. I need to figure out what to do next. I need you for that. There's no one else suitable. I need you to sit in that chair and help me balance ideals with necessity." He hesitated then. Was it his weakness, the weight and the chains dragging him down or was it simply the gravitas of what he said, of what he implied. "We're about to walk dark roads, Genevieve. If you wished to leave now, I would not fault you. I would not forgive you either." The smile as he said that was both weak and wistful. "As I do not forgive myself for that very fact."
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Tolleson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:11 pm

True. But it was not a question for Myrken. As much as he may have hoped she would become him in his absence, she could not or would not. This was a question for his humanity. Inane questions were distractions, meant to pull the mind away from the dark recesses of the mind where the gravity was stronger and the darkness prolific, contagious, a disease that spread as visibly as a rash over flesh. Perhaps it was merely this newer understanding of how the mind of others looked, how it felt when it was sad, weak, alone, and afraid. Inane as the question would seem, it wasn’t entirely selfish and gave her insight. He had smiled, always smiling, cool and collected as he leaned on that cane, he didn’t enjoy sweets then either, but it was for a different reason.

Still, the words take their toll and her eyes squeeze close against the sound, against the memory for only a moment as her hands come over the table.

“I am sorry… I…”

Reopened, her eyes sought his. If his hand was there to cover or take, she would, just to hold in comfort or reassurance. Her mind is as a calm lake of tepid water, almost indistinguishable from the air itself, it doesn’t reach or seek, she doesn't dare go into his. If ever he had the power to know, he might see, for now, she was just a friend reaching to him, embracing him. A gesture far from leaving.

“T-this… I know, the path is not so different for us all… We are ever at crossroads. Be still and be well, Glenn.”

There is only a moment where her eyes flick away to some distant thought before returning again to find his. She knew well, if she left him the space to talk he would fill it with words.

“Perhaps… you feel responsible for all t-that has occurred, rightly or not… perhaps you feel repentance. Acknowledge… it’s importance in shaping what you must do… but know that it is an infection of the mind as sure as any festering wound, do not … do not linger t-there… do not dwell on t-the t-t-things t-that should or could have been and cannot be changed. T-the Gods, or God, even t-t-the creature… t-that you say may unify us all… whatever forgiveness t-they have for us, it will not liberate you. It is not t-their forgiveness… t-that you will need to earn.” And it certainly was not hers, but then again, she hadn’t asked all of her questions either. There may yet be good reason for apology.

“I am not… I cannot be you,” her voice though sweet, swelling with sympathy and admiration, held sadness too. She would have always walked that road, her trust in him implicit despite whatever she had found in his absence. “You… you have always been, t-t-to me, a… beacon,” the word didn’t seem right to her, even as she said it, so another phrased was offered, “a fixed point.”

There is a breath, deep, pausing, giving respect to his request and understanding the gravity of her agreement.

“I can be that, this chair and I… every day for as long as you like,” there is some small smile, somehow winning against the weight of the obligation. “So long as you are honest… you needn’t t-t-tell me your secrets Glenn… I…just… just the t-truth of t-things.”
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:37 pm

Did she understand?

Did she understand just how much Glenn Burnie needed to speak? He liked to speak, yes, and he liked to hear the sound of his own voice. Words came easy for him as pictures or sport or swordsplay came easy to others. He had to work at all of those things and in some cases, could not improve no matter how hard he worked. He had a brother who had been famous in his homeland, an athlete, a polo player. Burnie envied him though they never met, though he never laid eyes upon him. No, what Burnie could do was think and give voice to those thoughts. When he was young, it allowed him a sense of self. When he was a teenager, it allowed him a chance to make a difference. After that, it was his lever to push upon the world itself.

If she understood that at all, did she realize what he was giving her here, either through regard or necessity?

She spoke. She stumbled. She hesitated. Her words were a brook that bubbled this way and that, a tiny, but deep river that winded this way and that towards its eventual destination. She spoke and he listened. Was it a mercy or the very opposite?

"I need help, Genevieve." He would finally speak, would finally respond, when she had said all she had meant to. "to even examine whether forgiveness is on the table. I need help to judge whether what I did was wrong in the first place. I need help to work out whether that even matters now. It's been done. Even worse has been done to follow it. A few months ago, changing paths and changing means may have likely been disastrous Now? Now could it be anything but worse?"

She had made one request: the truth of things. "I'll tell you what you need to know to help, Genevieve. It will be more than you want to know. But if I had that every day you speak of, every day for as long as I like. For me to take every day would be for people to die for my indulgence. It is today, Genevieve. This is a day of dreams dying or people being hurt. It's our day and I'm sorry for it. If you were to flee now, I would not have the strength to give chase." For what had to be a humorous comment, there was no smile of accompaniment.
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Tolleson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:57 pm

Did she understand? His need to speak, yes. But the whole cumbersome and meandering reasons why, she might never. Not without witness to the envy in his head, perhaps quite similar to feelings she harbored towards her own brother. Though words aloud were never her strongest suit, not before, not now. And just when she thinks he ought to conserve his energy, not waste it on words with her, he continues. So much for mercy, still she had said what was on her mind. She had even begun to address the real problems she had faced with the governor gone. A distinct lack of information.

Could it be anything but worse, he asks and an eyebrow is lifted with some smart-mouthed response, a trait so similar to her brother, and different in that she doesn’t say aloud.

She thought then, he under estimated just how much she wanted to know. Though the words were not said aloud, perhaps she would truly be surprised in all that he had seen. A humorous comment, her smile is barely wry. “Do you mean t-to frighten me?” Calm as before there is the slightest tinge of offense taken, steadied anger that he even jokingly doubts her. She who had waited, done her job, had been clever and quiet for so long. Even with her hand left open and across the table she does not slouch, her limbs are long and her posture is straight, tall. Every ounce of her sitting before him exuded confidence in this regard, confidence that said, I have fought nightmares and madness from within, I have traversed broken minds and you think I cannot bear witness to this?

“I do not… I have no intent t-to abandon you or Myrken,” a curious choice of words, though the guilt that informed it suggested how she felt about her own failure to find him. Even as the one to fetch Calomel, to investigate the Golben and what it truly was beyond a pit, she remained safe and untouched in town. Now that he understood and even shrugged off her attempt to approach more gently, she cannot help but be more brash. “The questions I have… Rhaena’s death is yet unsolved and all t-that I have gathered on the Golben, t-the less than upstanding councilor Berdini. I have only questions… t-that will not help make Myrken, or you, any better with the knowledge of t-their answers.” They were questions for justice, not balance. And yet, here she is ready to consider the questions of morality he faces for the good of Myrken, whether it cared or not.
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:05 pm

There were broken minds and then there was broken faith. The governor seemed to gravitate somewhere in the middle between the two. "I returned from Underdark triumphant. The details do not truly matter. the would distract and frankly, Genevieve, I only have so many words within me right now. It's a fool's errand to try to gain as much ground as possible in one day, but I'm fool enough to know when an errand is necessary. You'll suffer a lack of details when the big picture is enough."

He took liberties because he could, because she always allowed it, because he had to. Perhaps that's why he had chosen her instead of Ariane, instead of Calomel, instead of even Wynsee. One could make that argument. One could dangling that nagging doubt before the piemaking Inquisitor. Yet here she was and here he was and he was pushing forward.

"I tell you just enough of the past for you to understand. I came out of Underdark triumphant but it cost me my soul," and here, a look of weary distaste would overlook his face. "There's no better word for it. I hate that word, Genevieve. It's unscientific certainly. Some part of me was lost. Some element of my humanity was cut off from my mind and my heart. Call it what you will, but soul is appropriate. It was lost in a magic ritual that I had underestimated. You win a battle and then find yourself lost at the celebration afterwards. You spend all you have to win a war only to find yourself ruined by the territory you've gained. This was what happened. I beat every odd and was blind to the consequences of my victory. I returned to Myrken intent on bettering my land, of enriching my people, of ending the cycle of tragedy and pain. So long as I achieved those goals, no cost would be too high." The weariness was starting to overtake him again but he would drive on to make his point. "Those goals, they were untaintable. They could not be corrupted. There's speak of ends justifying means, but those ends defined the means. I could not act in a way that would outright harm my people. That defined my limits, that but nothing else. Do you see?"
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Tolleson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:27 pm

“I do,” she saw, she understood, and even if some details were now revealed, it was an essence of the man she had always known. And as for his soul, the revelation doesn't seem to surprise her, or rather, it does, but not nearly as much as it ought to. Perhaps in some way she had already known? She was not blind to the physical aspects, the changes were dramatic from the young man she had met first, years ago and the man she had come to know as her employer.

Rhaena had been careful, practiced, and guarded, she would not have willingly or even accidentally shared a piece of Glenn, even with all of Genny in her head. Though conversely, Rhaena’s remembered presence lingered, the path she had come bore her footprints, from a memory her voice whispered and her perfume drifted through the redhead’s mind. Like all those who had come before and after, fragments of their presence remained, sometimes more than their visage; their ambitions, fears, even unfamiliar nightmares and dreams, fully formed populating her head as if she shared the minds of many in the space of one.

With Ariane, however, their link had been hasty and sloppy. Vast swaths of conflicting memories of everything and everyone had collided with Genny as the Marshall recoiled, breaking their last connection.

Despite the fragments and shattered bits she had collected, arranged together like some awful puzzle; it was good to hear what Glenn would say.

“Rhaena would not… she would have never harmed anyone,” not outright, not even as the villain so many might paint her to be. Pausing she considers what she had just said, but Glenn knew, he knew her better than anyone and so there is no point to explain herself as she might have to with anyone else.

“I spoke once… at your behest, with Mister Calomel. We spoke of our dear friend, Catch and t-the nature of our t-talk was precisely t-this… t-t-there cannot be this mentality of an end that justifies the means, nor the other way round as… you may be inclined to consider. At it’s conclusion we agreed… a balance would be struck. It must.”

A breath is taken, the gaze broken and her hand retracts from the abandoned offer. For a moment she stares down at the empty, upward turned palm as if she holds some invisible treasure. Another breath, deeper this time, perhaps as words are composed and thoughts examined.

“She. You both saw an end for Myrken t-that was and would have been beautiful, but without t-the will of it, t-the work for it, t-t-there is no room in t-the hearts of it’s people t-to appreciate it. As lovely a sight as it might be t-to behold, it was not my end, or Elliot’s, or Catch, or even yours… If you forget t-that each of us has… our own end in mind, our own goal to strive for, t-the harm you bring does not draw blood, it is misery and unrest, it is slavery t-t-to an idea… t-to someone else’s happiness.”

Her fingers curled, a stiff joint popping as she made a fist and released it. Her hands then came together, fingers intertwining and set as a small, curved wall between them.

“…I t-think it unwise to... assume it is your responsibility to fix t-the t-things you… cannot control. T-to work so t-t-tirelessly. I… I am no visionary, Glenn, but… surely t-there is balance to be found.”
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:36 am

"Balance."

It was a a song, her stumbles and her stutters. For an orator, for a man of thought and deliberation, it was a song, and the song's refrain, repeated again and again, was balance. It was a daring little refrain too, one that caught the attention, one that resonated on multiple levels.

He'd not taken her hand. It was offered freely, yes, but such an offer was always bilateral. She offered it to him, but he had to offer it to himself as well. Admist this talk of balance and of mentalities, he was not yet ready to accept it. It was no slight against her but there was no room in this discussion to indicate that.

"My work was to be over generations. That was my pretention. In her madness, her pretention was to find that unacceptable. That's the bridge you may have missed. What she was trying to do was to reach that point without the work, to locate a promised land and not be left far outside due to the weight of necessary sacrifices and the unyielding torrent of time." So that was that, Rhaena's fault, the lodestone moralizing her madness. "She couldn't bear to see me work so hard for something I'd never have. She lost sight of the meaning behind it all, of the humanity at the heart of it all."

That led them back to his own vision, his own attempts. "I was not unaware, Genevieve. I was trying to redirect the emptiness inside of me, to drive it towards something that mattered. I was trying to find balance." That was the tragedy of it all. The best balance he could find was not between ends and means, not even between what he could control and what he could not. The balance was in driving the darkness inside of him towards something that would not harm those things he had cared about most.

The weariness in his voice was obvious. The starvation had taken it toll. The taste of death from his link to Rhaena had as well. He could still feel it upon his lips, a kiss that no man should ever experience save for in his final moments. "At every point," the words were hard to find, "I found myself at that crossroads, Genevieve. Either I could take the repercussions of my actions and of all of those things I could not control and drive forward with them, to use them how I could and climb up upon their bony shoulders, to redirect the tide itself towards a brighter future, or I could try to push back against it and watch us all be swept away. With every capitulation, with every redirection, the destination shifted a bit. I accepted Berdini as a Counselor. I became Governor when I never wanted it. I turned investigation into inquisition. I revitalized Rhaena without her consent and then watched her become a simple-minded creature against all of my wishes," and this was painful. She could hear it in his voice, see it in his eyes, a sunken flow of emotion that had been not just recessed deep within him before, but almost non-existent given the state of his being. "And i used her, like I used everything else that came my way, because if we stopped and tried to fix it all, everything would have been lost."

Then, staring her down, his voice more of a rasp than anything else, he forced his words onward. "What you say is well and good theoretically, but theory never works here. Had I the resources and had i not the need, I would send you to some far off academy and you would write treatises and do good work. We never have the resources and we always have the need, Genevieve. The tide has only grown stronger. What I just said is still true." Stopping had the same consequences as before. "The only thing that's changed is me."
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Tolleson » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:45 am

It was no slight against her, that he didn’t take her hand, nor would she take it as such. No, it had been offered as empathy for a friend, for a shared loss and as sympathy for a pain beyond starvation, a pain she might never understand. Rather, it meant to her that he was strong, or wanted to seem that way. Then again, perhaps he was afraid, not that she would have blamed him given the reactions she had encountered of late. She knew better than to go in his head, not then, not now, perhaps not ever.

The redhead shifted uncomfortably, her eyes refocusing on the man beyond the wall of her stacked fingers. Some piece of her, well restrained, wanted desperately to take hold of the fragile man, to somehow lift whatever pain he felt, to offer whatever piece of her content existence she could as a sacrifice to ease his suffering. Reigned in by his stare and his rasping voice, she listened; pulled from whatever distant place she had gone to before, when she spoke of the theories and ideas, as stale and useless to him, perhaps, as the book they’d come from. And she listened carefully.

It seemed to her that he felt a need to explain a situation she already understood, at least, as he might say, the parts that needed to be understood. He needn’t defend himself or explain away what went wrong, she knew why Rhaena had done what she had. She knew why Glenn did it, albeit a thousand times more slowly. She even understood the necessity of Berdini’s crafty mind, manipulating and using resources as necessary, not that she condoned it in the least. On all that he said she seemed to very passively listen and placidly agree. Perhaps this was the best medicine for the effusive orator, even as he suffered through it and it was painful to watch.

“I don’t… presume t-to know. I… I am certain you are right, so please… do not mistake my words for argument. I understand it was t-to be … a grand work over many seasons or generations. I… I do understand.”

And she truly did, though her voice trailed off. Suddenly self-aware, given his praise, even if it was in passing, she doubted her words. His vision had been inspiring, it had been the very reason she rallied to his cause and had been so eager to come and work for him at the outset. But that was how it ought to be, not forced upon people or the people changed into being willing supporters.

“It… I do not care who is t-t-to blame… and I do not… discount the importance of what has happened…, it is t-time to mend t-the t-t-town and we will need your help… when you’re able…” She paused, raising a brow ever so slightly then.

“You… you are not so different. At least as stubborn as I recall,” she sighed some, these useless words spoken so easily, unlike whatever reply he would offer. It made her feel guilty for the unfair exchange rate, the enormous cost of words.

“The university would show me little more t-than where Myrken lies on a map.” An ironic statement, she seemed quite aware of it too, given Glenn’s former vocation. “You know it’s heart better t-than most. And you will t-t-teach me, I’m certain, some day,” the attempt at a smile was pathetic, she was no more successful at being devoid of emotion as she was conservative with words, or making complete sentences. Still, she was a captive audience that wordlessly egged him on, begged him forward.
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:00 am

Weariness. It struck not suddenly but thoroughly, unmistakably. His hand went not to her but to his own head, palm rubbing down over his eyes. Finally, through fingers and teeth, he would speak. "Presume." His tone was ragged. He had been putting on a better face for her than for others and it had taxed him. "Care." Cinnabar had seen something raw and she could practically taste it wafting off of his tone now. It was not cold, but it was desperate. "Argue."

The hand dropped and he stared her straight on. His eyes were milky but not bloodshot. He was still far, far too gaunt. It made for a severity that he may not have intended. Or he may have after all.

"You're not some girl run away from home, Genny. We know that. You care. You presume, and you'll argue. If not, then we're just going to go in a circle. I need to know what to do. I need to know how far to go. I need to go out there and stop the bleeding." His words were gaining strength as he stared her down. He was able to go through bursts like this. "You follow behind me on my path, not one of your making. You walk it without plowing. You march over bones beneath your feet, but none of that loss is on your hands. You bear witness. Do I find another path or is it too late? Are we too far gone? There's a cost to my path but is the cost to turning away from it far, far worse now, after all this has happened."

Both hands went to the table before him, as if he was attempting to steady himself. "You're no little girl lost, Genevieve. Make a stand now, one way or the other. Know that I will argue it, no matter what you say. Know that there'll be blood on your hands no matter what happens tomorrow," and if he was sorry, he did not say so. They were gauging necessities here and this was the very least of them. "Make a stand."
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Tolleson » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:24 am

For a long while she was quiet. The pleasant and supportive line, the not-quite-smile between her lips, was now downturned, doubtful. She had never been good at hiding her emotions and he was goading her; for as many questions that clouded her mind, as much guilt the boiled in the pit of her stomach, and as persevering as she had been, she was also angry. The frown was not one of outright rage, it was not blind to reason or without remorse. It went against her nature, it always had, and even though there is a glimpse, the whole of her is a restrained storm. Troubles of every variety were bottled, a cornucopia of emotions, perhaps some that were not even her own, lay just beyond her equally piercing stare.

Here he was, the governor, a friend, a man who had, in truth, disappointed her. He hadn’t disappointed her with his failure to build a perfect town, nor his less than noble acquaintances, not even the downright shady actions. It was more primal, it was frustrating, it was an emotion defied reason and logic. Months it had been, of tormenting guilt, silent outage, and bouts of self-pity wherein feelings of abandonment embraced her so readily. She was disappointed because he wasn’t there and she had needed him. They all had. For this, was she not a child? Was she not lost?

“T-t-there is blood on my hands even now, your absence saw to t-that,” the words were curt, cruel, cold, and as soon as they’d left her lips she regretted them. Her eyes broke away and she shook her head, some measure of unspoken apology though she did not offer one yet.

"A stand," she repeated quietly, her brow dug to a pensive furrow. Then she drew a breath, long and deep as a bellow’s, and when it let free the anger seemed absolved. As if release were so easy. After all, who was she to tell him what to do, he, the scholar, the governor, the mapmaker and manipulator, the man who had saved her once?

“I bear witness indeed, t-to a man shouldering t-the burden of an entire t-t-t... town.” The heat of anger crept back into her voice, though sympathy for his pain and his condition lingered in some small measure. “You wish t-to argue, for me t-to speak so freely? My stand will be t-this, Glenn, to give you peace as you need it – to mourn, to mend.” She said the last bit painfully. “You alone are not to blame, not for the happiness or peace in your presence nor the blood and tears in your absence. T-t-the fact that you t-try to do this alone is what has crippled us.” There had been no structure in place to deny Rhaena, despite Agnie’s best efforts, to manipulate the system. And even after the storm of her reign had passed there was left a field of wreckage, a gaping void of leadership.

Hands shifted, the wall between them crumbled and the edge of the table was grasped as if it gave her support as she spoke.

“Mister Calomel is your friend, just as I am, and Mister T-t-treadwell, Mrs. Ka..River, Marshall Emory, but we are also here t-to serve Myrken. T-together we all will lead… not the t-tax collector alone and certainly, not I. We will not lay waste or abandon what has been done, but learn from it,” that is what he would have told her, whether he believed it or not. “With or without your help... we will learn the truth of Rhaena’s murder just as Ariane will keep and defend the peace and Mister T-treadwell will manage t-taxes and until you... or someone else who is able, will quell and lead the public.” It was already being done, though not as well or as seamlessly as it had before.

“We… we are not t-too far gone, t-the path will be the same but how we t-t-travel will be different. Myrken will do as it does best. It will survive.” Her face relaxed slightly, though it took a great effort of some internal persuasion. The mental gears were already turning as to what had to be done to achieve even this, hardly small feat. Survive. Winter was upon them and the crops had not yielded, people were not only disappointed with the leadership but with one another.

Seeing the weariness, even as it only showed true between great outbursts of his typical loquaciousness, she slid off of the chair and stood as if preparing to depart.

“You… are but a man, wounded at t-that,” her tone was far more sympathetic than impassioned now, though she intended to be frank. “Lend us your t-trust, … keep fewer secrets and I am certain Myrken will t-thrive.”
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Re: A Brisk Autumn Harvest

Postby Glenn » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:27 am

They were all his children. He and Rhaena had not talked of actual children. They were racially different in slight ways, yes, so there were risks, but more than that, it never seemed to be something that interested him. In the beginning, there was the adventure. Then there was always one crisis or another, never a minor thing, always an Ashfiend and a Drow, and once they climbed up out of the darkness, both of them in the most twisted of ways, there were her students and there was his flock.

Of all he had done to Genny, this might have been the most unfair. Of all he had done to her, this might have been the only thing that even was unfair. He had pushed her. He had chided her. He had made her leave her comfort zone again and again. She could have been a fairly successful baker. She could have worried about things more mundane. She might have had a husband now, a life of her own, maybe even with that guard of hers. Instead she was in this room, tempered by hardships and hard decisions and as she said, with blood on her hands.

One necessity out of a hundred, and wasn't that why she was here? She was a living testament to the cost of those necessities. There were dead ones as well.

Yet she told him that Myrken had to walk the same road as before, the road through the darkness, one that veered into it instead of shying back, a road that moved forward instead of hedging around and spiraling off towards the illusion of safety and a paucity of growth. He had asked questions without forming what should have been necessary words. She had answered perhaps without knowing the weight behind it.

"No, we endure. That's not enough." They would move forward. The only difference was that he would walk with them, not far out in front. "We need to be better than that. There needs to be more in life than just survival." For a moment, he seems as if he was going to say something else to her, was going to stall her departure and begin this new path of sharing burdens and plans. There was blood on her hands already. She wanted this, or at least saw it as a right and true thing, no matter how horrible. One could not change his entire being in a fell swoop, though.

Some things were just too personal. "We can figure it out together though, the path forward, all of us."

Just after he carried one last burden, that was.He did not call her back. He would let her go.
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