Feathers

Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:24 am

Try to explain the finer matters of real estate holdings to the Tuatha. Of course, he knew this was something different, something that meant even more and even less, but he couldn't get her to understand either side of it. "Even were I not here, this would be yours. Even were I not to wish to allow you entrance, you would be able to enter. Even if I wished for you to leave, the choice would be yours, not mine, for while the rest of the house is mine, this, and the entry point to it, is yours. You need not knock. You need not ask favor."

He doubted it would help, but he could not give up the point yet, not when she was still at least somewhat interested and frustrated by it.

There were more important matters anyway.

"I think you are not well and that the cure comes at a cost, one that, if you were well, you could shoulder, that, if after recovery, you wish to shoulder again, should be your unquestionable right. I will defend your wishes against your people if it comes to that, but we cannot yet be sure of your wishes." That he did not seem disturbed by her scar meant little. He tended also not to be impressed by her beauty, natural or otherwise (and his caring about the otherwise was only in his appreciation of her imagination and skill, little more, for his own imagination seemed to be lacking).

Things were shifting quickly though, and it was not surprising she soon sake down in exhaustion or confusion or some related strain. He kept his distance now, did not reach out to her again, for she had already pulled away once. "Fionn, I do not yet fully understand what happened that night, but I do believe it is more complex than it first seems. In fact, I think there were multiple parties and even powers at play and much of what we saw was just kindling for that fire. On that night, we had to act in haste, in reaction. Now we can stop and examine things. Your health and recovery. What is to come. But you can't try to handle it all at once. We need take the smallest steps we can allowed to take. I worry that they won't be as small as we need, though."
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Re: Feathers

Postby Niabh » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:19 am

She felt herself sliding away this time and tried to put a stop to it. Her hand gripped down on the back of the chair until she could feel the bones of the wood beneath. Here was a chair. Scanning the floor, her gaze passed over Glenn’s feet and fixed on the smashed cup. She remembered breaking it. She could go on from there.

She swallowed hard and used her grip on the chair to brace herself and swing her head back upward. It kept her further in one place to be able to focus on him. “Glenn. These are my people. You should count yourself fortunate if all they do is laugh in your face. You can’t just…things are different between us; we’ve made it different.”

It was the whole point of giving her his name all over again. She had neither the strength nor the words to go through all that again. The little she had spoken already tired her. She slumped against the chair and sighed, “Now he’s gone and invented hospitality.”

That part she really hadn’t meant to say aloud. She looked back up at him, pained. “Good neighbor for your hospitality, mo sionnach. I do mean that.”

Somewhere beyond that statement was a tangle of troubles: getting into town at all, what with the way things were, and the pain of leaving Catch, however briefly. But there was some comfort in having a door where if she could but reach it, she would be let in. There weren’t many. Only one, really. Now two.

Now, by all rights, she owed him a door somewhere. A way inside. She sighed again and summoned it up, hard as it was to throw open. “I had to come this night…because I knew, after your letter, that if you had told me the truth there…if I had not come, everything would be over between us. I would be no friend to you had I not come. That is still worth something to me.”
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Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:06 am

She was struggling and he was not going to overcome that struggle, to push her through it, by drowning her in words. She had pulled the glam in once again; after his last encounter with Catch, he seemed less affected by it, or it could have been any dozen of other things at play, including whatever she, herself, had done to communicate with him in the midst of the moment that could have lasted forever, in the center of those ruined and unruined woods. Regardless, he was capable of restraint, and even though it pained him, his ego most of all for he was partially sure that he could push her through, he fought for brevity if nothing else. "Don't tell me what I just can't do, not here. Your bard broke me but that was a while ago now and I'm ready if I have to encounter them again. I've spent years preparing for them and they haven't given me a whit of consideration. If it comes to that, just watch what I do."

If he had to explain it to her, and explain it again, and explain it again, before she had come to an understanding, then well, obviously, he had to invent something, even if it was the correct explanation. Still, he didn't comment further. Sometimes the only way to achieve brevity was saying nothing at all.

That was, perhaps, why he paused for an extra moment after what she had said. Paused and nodded, but only once (the pause was longer than the nod). "I wrote the letter, true as it was, because having learned what I did, understanding what I did, with the best information I had at my disposal, were I not to write it, were I to wait longer, put my own suffering put aside as I wished to put it aside, were I to allow the events in motion, both internal and external, to reach their conclusion, there would soon enough be no friend left to come. It was a notion that even I could not endure."
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Re: Feathers

Postby Niabh » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:57 pm

“Even you,” she intoned after him, and nodded solemnly. It was both the most earnest he’d ever been and the silliest proclamation he’d ever made. The tultharian, as a rule, were a humorless lot, and their lack of humor left them curiously blind to themselves. Even him. As if no one could if he could not. She tried a good deal harder than he to hold back her smile, and did a poorer job of it. “Then it is well that I arrived in time.”

Everything else was more silliness. More of Glenn believing he had more power than she. He spoke as if it were a foregone conclusion that they would come, and that he would be the one to deal with them.

She closed her eyes and blew out a long breath, murmuring, “Tricky, tricky.” Her hand rubbed the still-alien patch of scar on her cheek, then dropped to the terminal of her torc, her thumb rolling around the garnet the way she’d done since she was a child. Tricky of him, trying to get her to think ahead, in spite of everything he’d claimed about leaving tomorrow to him. Leave tomorrow to him, aye, and where will the Queen be?

Her finger ceased its tapping. She looked back at him, calm, but yet sad. “You are going to disappoint me soon. You’re fair squeezing out of your own seams, holding it all in. It was kind of you to try so long.”

But reaching for the torc made her notice she’d lost the blanket. By now, she was thawed enough to feel both exasperated and vulnerable about it. She turned away to scoop the blanket off the floor and was granted a blessed moment’s reprieve in the act of straightening it out and draping it over her shoulders, turning her hair over the makeshift collar. Awkward as it was, it felt ordinary.

“Could…could you suffer a glam? I’d feel a bit less self-conscious with…” She dipped her chin and made a decorous, circular gesture toward her chest. “Something.”
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Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:46 am

He didn't contest her, not on her smile, certainly rude but welcomed nonetheless; not on her noting of trickiness, which he did not deny; not even on her claim of disappointment, which may have been telling in its own right. "I'd give you something of mine but you're entirely the wrong size and shape for it. And you'd hate the colors," or lack thereof.

"Do what makes you most comfortable. This room was made for it and it's certainly lacking without," Still, he would brace himself just a little, a shift of his body's posture this way to that. He had reason to think that he was much improved, but there was no true way of knowing until you dove straight down the dragon's maw. Then, with a little pause, he added. "This is a room, above all other places, where I can trust you and you can trust me. I trust you now. I meant it. Make yourself comfortable."
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Re: Feathers

Postby Niabh » Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:14 am

She considered him a moment, frowning. Yet again, his answer was for a question she had not asked, then he braced himself as if she’d challenged him to a punch in the stomach, which in her mind was as good as answering aloud: he wasn’t sure. “If you trusted me,” she said slowly, “a simple aye or nay would not be so hard to say.”

Her outline rippled, then smoothed into something closer to her old form, as ever giving the impression that the cold, thin version had been the illusion and this was now the truth. The tips of her ears peeked through her loose curls, and an odd choice of gown—mauve, diaphanous and faintly shimmering, something a storybook fairy might wear—bared the unmarred line of her shoulders and settled in pretty creases atop her feet. She folded herself on the hearthstone again.

“I feel we’ve done this before.” She caught herself, with a soft laugh. “But then of late I cannot much tell what I’ve done before and what I’m doing now. Mayhap it is because we do it every time, you and I. At the beginning. Whenever we meet. We test where all the lines are. Do you feel that?”
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Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:37 am

"Finn," Now it was his turn to smile, or not smile, or whatever it had been she had been doing. She hadn't been trying very hard. He tried harder. "When have I ever said yes or no to anything in my life? That's nothing to do with you. We've played a game of unconditional trust and it always comes off like toil and punishment. You ask me a question and you'll get words. I trust you. I don't trust my own body's reaction to it," his mind's reaction, the feeling of his stomach dropping out and the world going along with it. Then, just to be even more helpful, he continued. "I don't trust the very notion of glamourie, either, but that's beside the point. Perception as the root of my entire way of engaging with the world, remember? I trust you as an actor, however. Did you really need me to elaborate all that of to you?"

She asked a real question however, and he was tempted to give her a one word answer (even a yes or a no), but that would be a bit too laden in spite at worst and it was hardly his sort of humor at best. "We never had a chance to figure out what normalcy might look like. That was part of my letter's lament. We know what it looks like in a letter, but we've spent so little time together."
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Re: Feathers

Postby Niabh » Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:44 am

“I ask because you go all spoggly and I know you don’t care for it,” she said, matter-of-factly. “You don’t like it because it makes you doubt your reason, and your reason is all you are, and you do not like to doubt yourself. That is one of your lines. I have not seen you of late, and I don’t know how you are keeping so I don’t know if you’ll be better or worse. Therefore, I ask. Call it consideration, more than trust.”

She could have sworn she had a mug of coffee somewhere around here. She glanced left, glanced right, on the hearthstone, then looked to the narrow table under the window to see if she’d left it there, adding archly, “Benedict keeps an eye on you for me, but Benedict keeps an eye on me for you, too, I gather. That bird has more eyes than is common.”

Under ordinary circumstances, a mislaid cup of coffee would not have been so dire; she would have gone to fetch more. That she could remember it but couldn’t find it made her wonder if she ever had it. She shifted uncomfortably, tucking her skirts under her hip. “Moreover, I have always thought this is our normal. We could do one another harm. We do not wish to. We mitigate. My gentleman and I were much the same. I do the same with Catch. And with you, when I try not to speak of Rhaena.” Her voice softened at the name. “Mayhap it is not the normal we would wish, but it is our own.”
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Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Wed Mar 31, 2021 10:51 am

Spoggly. That earned her a look, no sound, for he wasn't currently spoggly at all, but a look. A definite look. And words. Words that weren't for now. "Consideration works both ways. I respect that it's the way your people communicate and to deny you it is unfair, unkind, maybe even cruel. You're, of course, free to wear a glamourie over yourself. It's no different than clothes, not really. The material is just different. If you let me know you're about to do it, you're free to lay a glamourie over the area around us. I can, however, think of no situation where you would have to place a direct glamourie upon me. Even if you were sneaking me past guards or some such, it would likely be enough to place a glamourie over the others that we're trying to sneak past. On the air between us and them, anything else; not easier but enough."

She was uncomfortable, and he had no idea if those words would help or not. That was part of what made this so interesting though. He had a good idea how she might be moved by his letters, but things were different in person, different for both of them. "That is a normal for us, but not this normal. We haven't ever talked much like this. With letters we have to wait for a response. We can only get so far so soon. Here we could talk about anything for hours. It means we don't have to choose our topics so carefully. It means we can be spontaneous and irreverent at an entirely different cost. It means we can better face hard topics together if we must. We have the luxury. I don't know," he finally admitted, "but I wanted badly to find out. I still do," despite it all, even the hard topics, even the hardest one before them.

For now, he had pushed Benedict aside, but he couldn't keep him there forever or else that, in and of itself, would have been suspicious. "Benedict cares a great deal, about me, about you. It's professional, but it's far more than that. We'd both do well to heed him. We both so rarely do."
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Re: Feathers

Postby Niabh » Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:53 am

She didn’t even see the look. Her eyes were closed, her fists squeezed in her lap like a child forced to sit through an unjust scolding. So many words jammed together behind her teeth that her lower jaw shook.

In a flash of glamourie sharp as a migraine, she was standing behind him, her piercing glare boring into the back of his head like a pair of iron nails. “You,” she said quietly, “do not dictate my glamourie to me. Ever.”

Before he could turn back toward her, she was in front of him again, perched on the wobbly arm of the overstuffed chair with her toes pushing into the carpet to keep her weight from collapsing the whole precarious thing.

“I know not how we intend to go on,” she said, “but it will not be like this. Going behind my back to find out learn whatever you can and then…putting it away in boxes, in case you can make use of it later.” She gestured around the room: four walls, one more box. “Do you expect me to let you go on doing it because once in a blue moon, you make the effort of proving you’ve paid attention?”
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Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:01 am

Was she looking at him now? The glamourie had hit like a brick, but his gaze did not lose its focus. He swallowed, stretched his neck a bit, as if he'd removed three or four layers of clothing (he had not), but he did not in the least relax. He had been tensed before and he was tensed now, even if the sides of his lips tugged ever so slightly, even if there was a sparkle, though not a flash, in his eyes. "Consideration is not consideration without some form of compromise. Otherwise, it is but a queen's mercy, a sure sign of the imbalance, and that's a shoddy foundation for any friendship." The words came quick, too quickly, but there wasn't any wrath to them, an almost lyrical bound, perhaps, but no wrath.

"There's nothing to be found behind your back, Finn. Nothing worth finding. Not from any source you're thinking of. I am the box. You understand that, don't you? I'm the box and everything within it is from paying attention to you. Everything else, every story and every tale and every report and every recollection? They're dreams and wishes and looking for someone to blame. Any advice I would have gotten from them, I ignored every time I return one of your letters, and never do I regret that action." He took a step forward then. If there was a change in him, it was a restoration to the mean. He had been showing restraint before, showing care, showing hesitation; simple sentences, a gingerly touch. This was much more of what she was used to out of him, for good or ill. Before he had been showing consideration. Before. "You are no story. You are no tale. You are no dream. You are no wish. You are no thing. You are a person with stories and tales, with wishes and hopes," even if rarely dreams, "as real as anyone I have ever met."
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Re: Feathers

Postby Niabh » Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:34 pm

Of course it’s by my mercy,” she spat back. “To truly balance us would mean iron shackles on my wrists whenever we shared the same space. I’ve done everything shy of it. You count on me wanting to play fairly with you, as much as you counted on me coming here this night. Aye, you count on me wanting to prove that I can play fairly, because you’ve pressed upon me that to do anything else is to take some advantage, all while you take every advantage that presents itself and call it your due. It will never be equal between us because you never wanted an equal.”

She felt winded, clutching her chest after so many words, stunned and surprised at herself, and confused that she did not even feel particularly angry about it all.
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Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:00 am

Past experience, both hers and reports from Benedict, might indicate that he was currently simply incapable of hesitation. He called it an affliction, and of course he would call it that, because measured thought as opposed to some sort of emotional, passionate action was how he generally lived his life, generally what he valued. At least it was what he claimed to value (though not in those exact words). Reason. It wasn't about being genuine, but about expressing control and measured reason.

While he had not seemed quite as 'afflicted' during this exchange as before the events in the woods, there had been a change, an obvious change, and that, in and of itself, made the fact no immediate retort followed her words potentially surprising.

She had drawn inwards physically, increasingly cocooned by a chair, but her expressiveness had been wholly outward. He did not look away but there was less fight in his eyes than normal, certainly less than was to be expected. "What," he finally said, though it was all he said before overcome by another (small, only small) pause, as if he was decided between different words, perhaps different questions entirely. "would be better? What would you rather me do?" The second question came more quickly, but then found itself immediately repeated as it had been incomplete. "What would you rather me do that would work..?" and if he meant to say more there, for the question was still compete, a dangling clause without direction. Too broad, but then maybe it had to be considering those lingering issues for tomorrow that he had pushed aside for now. But then, how could they move forward to deal with the challenges ahead if they were standing on already unstable ground?
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Re: Feathers

Postby Niabh » Fri Apr 02, 2021 2:57 pm

It was the pause. The pause, like the single fault in a frozen river that is no longer safe to walk across. If it had been just a little longer, or shorter, it might not have seemed calculated. She held out both cupped hands, palm upward, and seemed to weigh an invisible measure between the two. Or to pass something between them. A decision. An odd, mystical gesture, unreadable.

He wondered what would work. Of course he would. What would fit, what would plug the hole in the dyke, what would work, because for him it was about making whole again. Functional. Serviceable. To make it work again, as though it were all a mere malfunction.

There was a thought in her head, nebulous, the sort of observation she might have like to write to him: there was patching and repairing, and there was acknowledging and accepting, moving beyond. Somewhere beyond on either side was revenge, where nothing was mended or forgiven, only punished. Then there was what Catch did: erasing. As if the damage had never been done. The tingling in the palm of her hand reminded her how beautiful it was to erase, how beautiful the world could be if all the damage could simply be made not to have happened.

Somewhere among them was a tenebrous fifth. Her path. The path of glamourie. To change.

Her hands flexed, silently, then fell still.

“What could you do?” Her voice sounded flat, but hollow; it echoed in ways all out of proportion to the size of the room. “What is there that could convince me that it isn’t the same game starting over? What would convince you, Glenn Burnie, were you I?”
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Re: Feathers

Postby Glenn » Sat Apr 03, 2021 1:06 pm

Were he her? That was a rare notion. It brought him to pause once more, thinking, a difficult thing given his current state, when there were so many words about so many things that wanted to flood out of him.

When he spoke, it was with a wry undertone but no wry smile, no smile at all. "You may think this unimaginative, but it's not. It was the full use of my imagination to put myself in your place, to think through every option and every possibility. The answer is nothing. There's nothing I can say and nothing I can do. You do not want my promises. You've seen my gestures," he gave a nod around the room, which other than a colorful shirt and a doomed carriage ride, was about as good as he had been capable of with her, "and you know what to expect, good and ill. "It's not that I cannot think of the thing. It is that there is no thing. If I put myself in your place, there is nothing that can be said or that could be done."

Which was a rather fatalistic way to leave it, if that was where he meant to leave it. It was not. "Except, it has all been letters for us. The meetings so far? Postscripts to the letters, consequences of the letters. Save for the night I returned to Myrken. That was something else, a prelude. It was still me and it was still you, so there was pride. What I know is this, for you've said it and I know it anyway; you are different in letters. A different flavor, a different color, a different season, a different shade. There are ways which I am sure to be different as well, as I was different in our first letter to our hundredth to our last. Ways that have to do with modality and ways that have to do with our interaction over time. We've gotten this far, Fionn."
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