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Re: Knowledge Like Trophies

Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:07 am


We will return to these things. I think it will be important for us moving forward to continue to communicate, even if it is frustrating. I'm sure we would both rather be writing to Sylvius, for instance, but you have me and I you and neither of us much of him, and it is best that we continue to work at this and put effort into it as opposed to simply seek escapism. I've learned over the years how to distill something moderately interesting out of Aloisius, believe it or not. If i wanted the most pain I could currently endure, I would force my way into Agnieszka's life. That is an open wound and I will not touch it yet. So you are more pleasant than Agony and less escapist than Treadwell. What boundaries we find here in Myrken.

So we will return to these things. Hold me to them. For now, you mentioning hoarding information and sharing it. Let me share. Perhaps this will help you in one of your tasks.

The matter of Elliot Brown.

Please know that sharing this bit is difficult for me and I do not do it lightly and I also do not do it completely, but what I do of it, I do honestly.

As you know, I shared a mind with Rhaena Olwak. She shut me out in the weeks before sending Guiseppe to betray me. After that, it was Golben that blocked her off from me. By that point, however, we were too deeply interconnected for any fell magic to keep us apart. Instead, it was my perception of her mind that was blocked. We were connected but I was unable to realize this, was unable to see or feel the connection. I suspect she couldn't see or feel it either. That did not make it any less true.

Due to a mishap a year or two back, those memories, the ones of the last six months of Rhaena's life were revealed to me. They brought me no joy.

Elliot Brown was, to her, a nuisance, and a test case for what she would ultimately try to do to Ariane. She saw it like planting a garden, not that she ever had much of an honest interest in such a thing. A seed planted that took nutrient from the ground of a person, all of his memories, all of his past. She saw it as a flower, but it was surely a weed, invasive, invading, parasitic. It took the entirety of a person and took them down a different path, choking out the old version. She'd give the broad strokes and they'd use the memories they had to prop it up, use them all up as a finite resource to serve her purpose. It was disrupted with Ariane. It was not with Elliot Brown. A strong enough mentalist could perhaps repeat the procedure into some simulacrum of who he had been, some of those key touchstones in his life, if they were well enough known, but it wouldn't truly be the same person, just a poorly drawn image of him.

It is good she was stopped, for otherwise, her weeds would have choked out the whole world.

Your hope is valuable. Put it to the best use.


Re: Knowledge Like Trophies

Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:22 am


I take a very great care in composing this response, perhaps more care than I have ever took with a letter—

It is perhaps me at my most impossible and agitated when I think too greatly of that past you describe. For it hurts very much to think of it. This is not a statement made to devallue your plight or discomfort or tru tro tramma from that time for I know that you lost your very dear love and I shall never possibly imagine that torment. But as always our letters find their way to this moment, and simultaneously, it is the moment we begin to turn claws upon one another.

If you remember it was I, with instinct intent to betray, that disruppted Ariane's entanglement. It was not merely breaking a spell: I developed, befriended, and then willfully destroyed the sense of reality possessed by someone else. Not Ariane, but her Counterfeit Self. She was a kind and yet misguided lady; she was a very impatient but very sweet soul. But most importantly, she was. Freeing Ariane from that prison using contradictions and her own rage and confusion also meant killing that Counterfeit Self, and it was a cruel thing I did. Sometimes I wake thinking of that moment when her belief was shattered; sometimes I think about how Syl was so patient and yet still loving of her; sometimes I drive myself to sickness thinking of it, because of all things that hurt, to be hated, truly hated as I was in that moment of her Counterfeit Self's breaking, is the most damaging.

And yet I hated Elliot Gahald. Because he was a Counterfeit Self and yet a real thing, too. One I could not shatter. One done too well.

It is very painful to recollect on that time of Rhaena's wrath. I lost many things. I was already a very lonely soul driven to greater loneliness. I performed destructive, damaging, and damning things simply so the world could hear me scream.

Then I went into the Golben because there was no one else to go into it save for those of us who did. Partially I hoped I would not come out of it.

Even after the end of it all, it stayed alive in my mind, Rhaena's rule. To compensate for what I had done in the Golben and elsewhere I did other terrible things. And only one other knows know this, but twice I deeply considered an Ending for myself, and once attempted, but proved too cowardly to seek out so full a freedom from this world. For I feared even in death I would painfully miss some good souls I had met, even if they did not miss me. But to reflect on this is self-indulgence, and I thank you for permitting it me; let us return moreso to the matter.

Why is talk of Rhaena's damage to Myrken Wood the point where our amiability breaks? Because it is a mirror through which you reflect for the future, and for me, a mirror which shows me only the past. I dread to think of it. I hate to think of it.

It is why I hate fae.

It is why I hate myself.

And then by your words and your actions you demand that I and the rest of Myrken Wood continuously reflect on it, as though There Is Something To Be Learned. But hear this, Glenn Burnie: there is nothing more to be learned by Rhaena and what she did and what we did and did not do and what you did and did not do. It is why I will let Elliot Brown fade into whatever half-life wonder he has found, for if he wishes to escape, then how dare I tether him here. Gods, what cruelty that is. What selfishness, what fucking selfishness.

And so it repeats. You know I believe you to be dangerously repeating your earlier habits, and should you repeat yours, then I shall surely repeat mine; I shall kill and destroy and damage some part of the world and some part of me and this time I do not think I can survive it within myself—

I have just recently found someone worth bettering myself for, and you in your endless search for levity and balance and reason and logic and pattern, intwining yourself with yet another witch of the mind, you would dare to threaten the first manner of my happiness in forever.

Do you love her, Glenn Burnie? Is she your friend?

Re: Knowledge Like Trophies

Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:17 am


I say this not to belittle your efforts, which were worthwhile and difficult and absolutely necessary, but to dissuade you from further hatred both of yourself and of him. Her process was inexorable. I do not use that word for effect or to try to bully you. It is the only word that could possibly work. Her process created something real, something that was, only by destroying everything that had been and using it as raw materials. The process could be repeated, imperfectly, but not undone. With Ariane, her process was disrupted in the placing and that provided you the opening that you used to achieve your ends. With the boy, that does not exist. He was gone in a way that she had not been. It's as simple as that. There's nothing left of him save for the pieces that were used to build anew.

I know it was a summer, a year if you include the Storyteller at the start and famine at the end, of great suffering and great sacrifice. Having her memories now, when I did not before, lets me see more of it first hand, lets me understand certain things that all others had forgotten.

It is good for Myrken, the world, and yes, myself, that you are still here, for we would all be less without you and your efforts and your standards.

I wished to share this to you solely so you could have missing context to assist you with one of your goals. I had no other reason behind it. I wished for it to provide a path towards resolving your pain in the matter, not to expose you to pain all the more.

Here though, I have to wonder. When you say my actions, just what do you mean? Specificity is important here. I am not about to enter into a relationship with her or anyone else. I am not about to seize power here in Myrken. I've told you this. I never pointed Rhaena at the populace, even at the height of my affliction, for the idea of it went against my entire ethos for other people, even twisted as everything else around it might have been. I admit to encouraging occasional surgical uses of her power against those who could and would harm Myrken, the Ashfiend and the sort, usually in the pursuit of information to stop such beings, but to take an easy option and change minds would be create a world lacking worth and value and meaning. Our shared norms and agreement upon the simple truths of the world, our free will and ability to argue with one another, these things are the basis of our society and our very humanity. Rhaena put me in Golben because she knew I'd never go along with her plans and to change me so that I might would be akin to killing me for it would be destroying the most central aspect of me. (And by that point, she did want to kill Ariane, but was always too afraid).

Please answer my question with some specificity, but I will say this much.

The most dangerous thing about Rhaena was her power, but that would have been meaningless without her organizational skills. The most dangerous thing about Catch is the inevitability of his cycle and the bottomless expanse of his love. The most dangerous thing about her is not her power. If I've learned anything over these long years, it's that it's never about the what. Fae, human, vampire, ghoul, dark elf, Jerno, orphan. Patterns to be found, maybe, but the patterns are ultimately a means. They show you the exceptions and the exceptions are the bridge. It's not about the what. It's about the who.

Re: Knowledge Like Trophies

Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:35 am

But is it truly about the who for you, Glenn?

For Catch is more than inevitable cycles. I have seen him at joy and at play, have seen him driven by curiosities suited an infant and engaged with matters well beyond his and my capacity to understand. Catch is far more than a cycle; he is a living being, confused and selfish and charitable and prafoundly driven by impulse and he is flawed and requires comfort and possesses rage.

You did not answer my question, and without an answer I have every answer I require.

Before love and friendship the Fae is a stepping stone to progress and prosperity for you, and while you will deny this (I look forward to the letter) wholeheartedly, you cannot help but avoid all easy talk of friendship and heart and passion and compassion; to say "Yes she is my friend," or "Yes I love her." In this I feel poorly for her: a being, to be a who and not a what, needs first and foremost the confirmation from those around them that they possess value beyond the mere advancement of others or a race. For anything to be a who it must be separated from its component qualities and seen the same as all else; it must not exist as both a beloved entity and a method for buearacracie, for the latter will always overwhelm the former.

You possess too many grand schemes for the future and abjure anything which does not directly feed into them.

I am regularly possessed of thoughts of Genevieve. Almost at times these thoughts overweigh me. While she is away I write her letters I shall never give a courier, I try my hand at poor drawings to remember her face and its smallest features, I drink her favorite wine (it is a Derry Red, slightly cooler than a night's air), I badly try my hand at pies of meat and fruit (they are ashamed to be considered food), I organize and reorganize her books in their disarray, I know her laughter is higher-pitched than her voice, I think of how if she opens a book to find a page-bug she will howl like the dickens and then laugh herself half-ill; I know that she fears, distinctly, seeing all which exists in my unspoken thoughts not because of what she will find but because she is afraid she will take it without permission; I know she likes the color gray beyond most others because it is studious and sharp and handsome and yet requires none of this paltry worry about whether it shall clash with or highlight her hair or skin; I lose myself, I lose myself—

Who is your Fae? What is her favorite story, what is her most coveted food, what are her smallest fears (beyond iron of course) for which you will offer her endless protection, and what things in this world or hers force her to forget her own ambitions and return her to the state of a little girl? What dreams does she possess, what wonders empower her, what weaknesses of her mind must you be ready to lift? What insecurities broke her as a child, and what hopes warm her in her adutlhood? What drinks bring her comfort when she is enmired in frustration? What words does she hate beyond all others, simply because they sound infantile?

Are you her friend if you cannot fill pages with your praise of her and your wonderful frustration of her? Only her?

And if you cannot, then how could you ever expect to grow any new world at her side?

For you, the who is a matter of pageantrie alone; you have only ever cared about the what, about the fruits of knowledge not simply for knowing, but for how that knowledge shall benefit. And people very, very quickly tire of being commodities.

Re: Knowledge Like Trophies

Tue Mar 30, 2021 6:55 am

Ah but Gloria,

Your letter, I think, can be one of two things. It cannot be both. I find one remarkable and the other wholly unfortunate, and again, they cannot be both. Were it a little less of the latter, I would not even begin to suspect it might be the former. As it is, all evidence points towards the latter.

Remarkable would be this: you goading me to get me to write down secrets not at all my own. If this is the case, it's fairly elaborate work. I choose to believe it isn't, however.

Oh, I don't know, Gloria. I know there's a sense of drama to it and of narrative build, but if you want me to answer specific questions, lead with them instead of burying them at the end. There was so much to cover before reaching that point that I didn't even get there.

Early on, we spent a lot of time discussing tears, for her people do not cry.

Quite a bit of time on the relative disadvantages of immortality, though it's likely not a sort of malaise that imperils her people in the long term. You'd think it would be, but we've more or less been able to push that aside.

There's the idea of written record as opposed to a more oral tradition, as written record is entirely new to her and goes against her cultural identity in ways you'd find surprising at first but that makes complete sense in the end.

While I'm sure she'd love to discuss flowers or dishes or minstrels, I usually push it in the direction of all those things you'd rather me not teach children.

You may pity her for that accordingly.

It's certainly not all plots and plans.

Re: Knowledge Like Trophies

Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:22 am


Every time I write I tell myself I will be kinder to you and more agreeable; I tell myself I shall put upon a smile on the page and begin fresh and new. But then I am reminded I have not got any necessity to please you or diminish the value of my own sentiment for the sake of your comfort, so alas, I say this with full satisfaction:

You are by far the most profound idiot I have ever met.

Note: profound aught to be seen as a compliment on its own. A cut above the rest. It is on idiot I hope you linger, because to this I aught to also attach the word willing. Whether I did not see it as a younger girl or whether I have discovered enough of the world to see it now, you have grown increasingly daft, unseeing, and ignorant as I have grown jaded, morose, and impatient. I hold steadfast every letter that you may have a revelation, and having seen Something of note in our exchanges, perhaps extracted your head from your own ass.

But I know this is not and never will be the case when I open your seal.

Know this: if you committed any of her secrets to the page, I would take you for not just an idiot, but a truly untrustworthy one. We deserve to share with others only that which is ours, and likewise, I count myself at least honorable enough not to ply you for details of her through clandesstin means. What I would not do is betray your friendship to her. What I would not do is betray my own values to myself.

Glenn, I am not asking to know if you are friends or lovers for my own satisfaction.

I am asking you for once to admit to yourself a thing which may be defined simply.

For I believe you are wholley incapable of simplicity where simplicity is best, and yes, any girl or woman begs for simplicity sometimes. Sometimes we wished to be told that we are loved and that is it, or we wished to be told we are pretty or handsome; or we wished to be complimented upon our choice of a dress or the form of our hair or the astuteness of our minds or the way when we laugh one eye thins; we like these things for they remind us that our presence satisfies you beyond the commission of an act of bureaucros buearacracy.

But if you make these sentiments complex, then the sentiments become about you. They become about your ability to express them, not our ability to be felt.

Simplicity. Vulnerability. These are golden values.

The Nameless know, if I cannot inspire you to kill your initiatives for an interconnected future, I can at least instruct you on the proper ways to see another being instead of seeing them as the next distraction, the next engagement, the newest and most exciting Thing before the next newest and most exciting Thing comes into your space.

I believe Ariane would call you a fool. I do not speak for her, but I would cheerily take you up on this, were we to both present our sides to her.


Re: Knowledge Like Trophies

Sat Apr 03, 2021 3:19 am


Unfortunately, I have even less leave to discuss Ariane than I do others, so I cannot follow that line of reasoning. I've found, over the years, that martial competence, let alone excellence, costs a greater external price than other skills. Many other skills are paid through internal currency, you becoming more jaded, for instance.

By all means, do not force yourself to be kind and patient for the sake of being kind and patient. That serves no one. That's not true. It serves exactly those who we do not wish to be served. Understanding matters. Understanding leads to concessions, but that's hardly doing it for the sake of doing it or to assuage some of your own guilt. You unfortunately are lacking in that area (being understanding) as well (as am I in this case, admittedly, obviously; where I would be a fool would be to claim otherwise, as you do), no matter how loudly and bluntly you brandish your ideas about. That noted, I do not wish to dissuade you from doing just that with me. This is a relatively safe place for you to express yourself to your fullest. We will show a certain practicality with one another, to the best of our abilities of course, that is likely unaffected by our opinion of one another. That is to say, as it pertains to one another, we will do exactly as well for each other, those we care about, Myrken, in any given situation carrying animosity (for one another) as we would carrying affection (for one another). That's not some sort of value judgement, just a fact.

I can describe a situation genuinely, earnestly, honestly, but not simply.

Have you discussed this with Sylvius (for whom I do have more leave to discuss), I wonder? After years of toil and torture, after refining wisdom through experience and contemplation, that was his conclusion, that great value in life was to be found through simplicity. I respect the notion and maybe some day, in a pique of inevitable exhaustion and surrender, I will begrudgingly agree. It took a lifetime, and hardly a unique one at that, for him to come to the conclusion. I think you reached it much sooner.

What is simple is every lie we tell ourselves to make the world easier to understand. It is a gesture, and gestures have symbolic value, but I find myself incapable of it.

Yes, that means I think that Sylvius is ultimately lying to himself, though I am certain that you are far better at it than he is. With you, it will work, and while I do not envy you this success, I appreciate it nonetheless. He, on the other hand, will, in years to come, have moments in the dark and cold when he misses his desert sun when realization will be unavoidable and might bring him despair.

An inward price paid for the vaunted skill of self-delusion.
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