The Spirit is Willing

Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Wed Nov 15, 2023 1:35 am

Twelve letters. Six exchanges. If not exactly that, then close. The two of them could cover much ground in twelve letters. Here they had either covered far less than usual or far more, depending upon one's point of view. Time had passed but not much. He knew little of her recovery for she only mentioned it as an excuse for replying to him at all at first. His own recovery was coming along, for he had the best ministrations available, at least for a certain sort of being. Flesh was flesh and bone was bone and tissue, tissue. Where there were differences, care was taken. Strength and stamina evaded him still, but mobility, especially of the ambulatory sort, had been achieved. He could get around. He could even travel distances. How much of that second "could" seemed to be based on stubbornness was a fair question, however, and it created a gap between itself and "should."

So now he was dressed and he was seated at a desk instead of bedridden. His clothes had always been baggy, traditionally a particular Myrken affectation to hide unexpected muscle and make others underestimate him. Now they were all the more so due to the weight he had lost. If asked, his recovery would move faster without said ministrations, for he would push himself harder. While not as young as he once was, this was not the first time he had recovered from so debilitating an ailment or encounter or outright horror, and he knew the swiftest path to restoration. But then no one asked so he had surprisingly little say in the matter.

This letter had sat before him for longer than usual. He was one to know his response immediately and to jot it down with precision and no hesitation. Of all the letters he had exchanged with her, this was perhaps the most dangerous. Or it might be one of the least. Despite the pressure of it (or maybe because of it, for Glenn was who he was), his current inaction's current company was a small smile. "Benedict," he spoke instead of writing. "You've had six or so changes with her now. I'd hope more than just my relationship with her may be mended. Have you spoken? How does she seem?"
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Niabh » Wed Nov 15, 2023 2:19 am

"Annoyed," replied the raven. "Busy. Communicating via withering looks and raised eyebrows, mostly. At least with me." He sounded sad. "Kind of...um, what's the word? Like she's holding herself back. I been mostly relying on formality. By the Law, you know? All that's designed so that everyone involved gives away as little as possible. Like, I been announcing your letters like she don't already know who they're from. She gives me the little nod and I leave again."

In truth, going to camp these days reminded him of the days of being a Niall raven in someone else's camp, delivering messages that might or might not be entirely welcome. It hurt that not even the other ravens would interact with him. Of course, one was the bard's raven, and College ravens always thought they were better than everyone else, trying to cultivate an air of mystery. Buncha snobs.

You're as much a Niall as the rest of them, the raven's mother told him long ago. But it didn't feel like he was anything at all now. Just a raven without his mistress. He could not completely sell himself to Glenn simply because Glenn didn't truck much with that sort of relationship, and the raven was unfamiliar with the less formal but more complex bonds of friendship. He also suspected that Glenn might not be the best example. Glenn always seemed to be in the middle of something, and things were never quite as warm and easy as it had been with her. In many ways, it was a lonely friendship, which struck him as a contradiction in terms, but maybe humans were just like that. They always struck him as a little grim and preoccupied, as if by all the many tasks they must accomplish in the brief time allotted them.

"I mean, she looks all right. Between the glam and the jewelry, you probably wouldn't recognize her these days. She's covered up the scars. It's just...it's not like it was anymore." He peeked hopefully at Glenn. "I was kind of hopin' maybe you knew more about that. Maybe she gives you more than she gives me. But I guess if you're askin', she's not."

He hopped a little nearer, cautiously. "Listen, I been meaning to ask. Do you have, like, a plan for all this? Because I've been goin' along with things because I assumed you had one. I kinda thought maybe you were just holdin' off until you felt better, and you're better now. Meg says she's ready to return to camp because she's just bein' your housemaid now and she's sick of burning herself on all the iron stuff."
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Wed Nov 15, 2023 6:21 am

Occasionally he could adapt to the temperament of his partner and friend. That meant less vague sentences at times, even when the vagueness was the truth. What did he know? He knew what he knew. It was more than a little but less than a lot. It raised as many questions as it did answers. Were someone to say such a thing to Burnie, he would understand the meaning immediately. To Benedict, it would be a point of annoyance. They had their rhythms, the two of them, but they were not necessarily based around communication, perhaps ironic since both were so adept in that particular thing in their respective spheres. Maybe that was part of the problem.

"I ask you because we're about to pass a point of no return," he tapped upon the letter as if that might help matters. That didn't. It was likely this would not either. "There is a plan for the moment, stemming from a need for the moment that is reliant upon yet another need and a related need. I need her to communicate with me. Therefore, I need her to forgive me. Therefore, I must be honestly apologetic. Because I do care for her, I think I managed that much."

He looked down at the letter once more and thought back to the previous one and the one before that. His expression was even though his voice just a little distant. "I muddled matters, three things at once. It helped speed things along, but now we're perhaps deeper along than we might be. As I said though, there is a need. I need to make an accord with her about the child. I needed to sell my silence for something of worth to create enough plausible deniability to keep me from going to Wynsee and starting a war." He had tried to explain this already but Benedict was of the opinion that one could simply not do something if it might cause a war and that wasn't the case at all.

Instead of litigating it once more, he drove on. "My silence wasn't enough though. Silence denotes finality, an excuse for an absence. She has many of those and no desire to listen to any of them. Giving her one more wouldn't have helped things. I had to give her the opposite. I'm about to agree to help her, along mutually accepted terms." That small smile returned; if it was meant to encourage Benedict, it was quite small indeed. "I am not sure how she will respond. It will give her a certain amount of power and leverage over our, shall we say friendship, that she has not had before. It could give her confidence and she may revel in the thought of finally having me as a conspirator. It may inspire coldness and distance and distrust as it could be seen as a business decision or perhaps an excuse to try to make me suffer more for my transgressions. We may both stumble in with abandon due to the nature of the pact. Or nothing may change at all as she is so consumed with being Queen and this accord being a more personal arrangement may manifest itself as far too great a distraction."

So he did not know, but at least he was open about it. "The immediate plan is at least make a full healing of the rift possible, to prevent a war, and to become a part of her life once more without being front and center at court. If these things are accomplished, there are always plans that are less immediate ahead of us."
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Niabh » Wed Nov 15, 2023 7:00 am

It was not the response he was expecting, and he found it unsettling. Ominous. The feathers raised around his neck like a High Sheriff's ruff. He shuttered, then smoothed himself down. "Look, are you in danger? Because just so you know, she's fine. This should be about the best she's been in years, now that the clan's here. So if you're doing this for her, you don't have to. And if she doesn't want you...maybe it's best, safest, for you, to just...let her go?"

He tap-danced from foot to foot, uncertain if he should even propose this. More than anything, he wanted to be back home in Court. He wanted the rift to heal so that he could slip back into his old position of courier and things would be as they were before. But now there was a human involved, and the human was Glenn, which presented its own set of complications.

"I mean, not for nothin', but you're gonner have to sooner or later. Probably sooner. I can't see any way for this to end but for them scooping her up and takin' her back to Cnoch-na-Niall. When she goes, she's not coming back."

No sooner than he spoke than he realized that Glenn could not but already know this. Maybe that was what spurred him. The raven simply could not tell.

"I guess if she's writing you at all she wants something. I don't know what, though." He stepped up boldly to the foot of Glenn's chair, craning his neck as if to peek at the Queen's letter. "She's always treated you different. She said once she had to be...ah fuck, what was the word? She had to be respectful with you. But she said it like it was something funny. Like it was a game you were playing and that was her rule: be respectful, whatever that means for her. But she is different with you. I don't think you understand how different. I was surprised how different she was with me. A Queen doesn't talk to a raven. Usually they don't even give orders to a raven; they give orders to the ravenmaster and the ravenmaster gives 'em to us. She's different enough that I don't like to think it was only because she was lonely away from the clan. I just...don't think she can fake that. Whatever she felt for you, it was real."
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Wed Nov 15, 2023 7:21 am

This was not a panicked Glenn Burnie. There were no feathers raised around his neck, literal or otherwise. He was serious. He was contemplative. He was not panicked. He was not in a rush. If he had been, and the bird had seen him in such a state, then he would have responded to the letter immediately. Here he had the luxury to pause and was taking it. So concerns were raised and that small smile stayed steady and not the least bit reassuring. Nor was his response. "Thank you, Benedict. I appreciate it."

It was only as he watched the bird crane over the letter that a hint of wryness creased at his lips. "Let me read it to you then. You'll like the beginning and hate the middle. And the end, either it will reassure you or it will not. I'm not sure if it reassures me or not after all." He took that luxury a step further. "I'll stop at the last line as that's more about her than it is me and her, despite what she says, and I would not share it without her permission, not even with you."

And with that, read he did. This was such a rare occurrence between the two of them that he even showed signs of being overly self-conscious. He kept a steady voice instead of forcing to assume one tone or another. He could not compete with the messenger in this area and would not even begin to try.
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Niabh » Wed Nov 15, 2023 11:47 am

When Glenn was done reading, the raven whistled quietly under his breath. "Must've been one doozy of an apology," he said. "Did you at least mean it?"

Talking from the floor was demeaning. With a soft flicker of wings, he roosted on the corner of the desk, glossy black and handsome by lamplight. He took up a bit too much real estate to be at home, and was conscious of stepping on things or knocking them over with a hastily spread wing, but he didn't plan to remain there long. His glass-bead eyes probed Glenn's, though with much blinking and edging backwards in mild discomfort. "So she is definitely treating you like a subject. That bit where she told you what you're gonner do and when you're allowed to do it? That's the Queen talkin'. I mean, also she kinda said she was considering getting rid of you without sayin' she was gonner get rid of you, and that's not what you want to hear, but I think she might've just been levelin' with you. Lettin' you know what the stakes are now. A Queen's domain is life and death."

The starkness of the raven's shadow against the wall towered over them both, lending the statement sepulchral gravitas. He shook his wings gently, and the lamp flickered.

"I guess this comes down to whether or not you believe she's honorable. The Queen is honorable, in that she'll do exactly what she says, only the Queen ain't gonner listen to you. Her? I don't know. Do you think she means it?"
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Fri Nov 17, 2023 9:39 am

They had their ways, their patterns, their comforts. They weren't particularly comforting, not like what the raven had with his Queen when she was not only his Queen, but they at least helped the two of them to avoid outright discomfort. One of these small mercies was that Burnie did not look directly at him as he might others. His focus was no meager thing and while it took great effort to aim it more indirectly, especially when he truly was interested in what his friend said, for Benedict, he managed. Here, though, he was tempted to do otherwise. The messenger had amazing recall, perfect recall. Yet he had forgotten something Glenn had just said. Was it a conscious effort then, something that needed to be prepared for? Was that the difference between messenger and spy? It might have been reassuring except for he wasn't worried in the first place and the need to repeat was an irritant given the subject matter. Still, no direct stares, little annoyance in his voice. "As I said, it was an honest effort." Just that, nothing more.

"I thought we had an agreement on this twice before," and just as there was little irritation in his voice a moment before, now there was little discernible hurt. "The first time, I can see how the confusion might have been my fault. I was not used to dealing with her along those lines. In the second, perhaps hers; she was very upset and I had forced her hand. There can be no misunderstanding this time. Here and now, it is not the actual arrangement that matters, but the good faith between she and I. She will have agreed to change her entire approach. That it might be reasonable considering she had been rebuffed is beside the point. I am going from tolerating her schemes or even opposing them to outright aiding her in them. That one could argue, and someday I will, that her now tempered approach is less odious and illegitimate than what she might do without me is also beside the point." No hurt, but little hope either, ju,st that steady evenness. "This will be something new and different, something between she and I," and Benedict of course, but that while not at all beside the point, went instead without saying.

He had avoided a direct gaze when it came to annoyance or irritation or frustration. Now, however, he did look right to Benedict. "I appreciate your concern. I understand that this, even if successful, will be but borrowed time, and with both cost and danger. Part of the plan, so much as we have one, will be to prepare for the future; that means setting some things right, setting some things wrong. It means valuing as much as possible the time we have and admitting, in the face of what we're going through, that we must prepare for a future without." Ah, there was the smile. It wasn't out of appreciation; that had been the look and the words that had started this thought. This was far too wry for that. "And we start now. We move forward assuming she means it, but we prepare our hearts for in case she doesn't." That, in and of itself, might poison the effort, but the effort was so monumental, crossed so many lines, involved a lift so mighty, that no toxin in the world could taint it, none save, of course, for betrayal.
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Niabh » Mon Nov 20, 2023 8:04 am

“Lugh’s balls, I told you this was gonner happen! I said for all you acted like every moral point was a matter of life and death, if you two kept peckin’ at each other then some day it was gonner be a matter of life and death. I told both of you. Now someday’s here.” In a burst of agitation, he twisted to stalk somewhere else, finally gathering himself in the last dark corner of the desk where the lamplight never quite reached. “I hope you like Court, that’s all, because that whole arrangement? That’s Court, through and through.”

He concluded with a triumphant, defiant little bob of his head, even though it was not, not quite yet, Court. As far as the raven could tell, the lady was trying to come to some sort of private agreement to contain Glenn, or to protect him, or both. If Glenn understood that, he’d never acknowledge it, but he was, at least on the surface of things, willing to go along with it. Maybe that was the best they could do.

He just wished he knew more, was all. Court to him was like flying through a snowstorm, flicks and swirls of comprehension surrounding him but no way to get a full clear view of the landscape. He knew that the Queen did things, but exactly why she did those things, or the logic behind them, was all wrapped up in a larger picture of which he would never be a part. For a moment, he was both annoyed and frustrated by his own small status. He couldn’t help. He could barely even explain.

He sighed. “So she thinks you’re enough of a threat to bother negotiating with you. That’s…something, I guess. I say go with it. This is progress, anyway. I just want one of you to agree with something so that we're not stuck in this stalemate anymore, because the alternatives to the stalemate are lookin’ pretty grim. Fuck your heart. You worry about your head, mate.”
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Mon Dec 11, 2023 1:39 am

Silence, then. "Thank you, Benedict." The raven had been all emotion and declarations. Exaltation. Burnie had become disturbingly calm. "Past the point of no return then." Calmness did not preclude a smile and one was provided, one full of something that looked more like relief than resignation.

Dear Finn,

Let us be clear. Let us reiterate.

You will resolve to win the child's favor by your merits. You will make no attempts to outright sabotage your rival.

In return, you have my support and discretion in the matter of the child. So long as you act in good faith, I will act in good faith. You may confide in me, may plot and plan with me, may trust me in this. Support is not obedience but then you know me. As I get further invested, I will likely get more enthusiastic as well.

In all other matters, including your current difficulty with your own regality, I will be your friend. You will confide in me when appropriate. I will ask questions when curious. I will forgive you when you do not answer some. You will forgive me when I am crafty and persistent. We will find a balance. Otherwise, in these other matters, you owe me nothing and I owe you nothing, yet we are free to give one another whatever we wish and whatever we can.

I will take no premeditated risk that involves you without first informing you. You will admonish my impulsiveness and I will admonish yours.

I will be at arm's length with the Court so long as it is here and so long as that is possible.

All that said, here is a bit of impertinence, the sort you expect from me despite your current situation; it is not unimportant for it is never unimportant: Had you been able to procure the child as initially planned. Had the child accepted the name you offered. Had the child accepted you... had you meant for this child to be an heir as unusual and unlikely as that may be but perhaps possible given her unique pedigree? If so, shall I assume that is no longer possible, due to the age of the child and her temperament? You see how that might be Court business. I would take back none of my promises above even were it the case, but it would make my very last one more difficult.

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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Niabh » Fri Dec 15, 2023 10:43 am

The black cloud seeped through the window panes like the steam off a roiling cauldron and collected itself into a black fist that became the living raven, fuming. “That son-of-a-bitch robbed me! His Lordship! He blindsided me! He tried to rip it up but the guard piled on him—four deep, buried him right into the mud—and then the Lady swooped in at her most Lady-like and she was pissed. It was magnificent! You should’ve been there!”

He paused long enough to gather himself for a hop, fluttering in the tighter, enclosed space of the room—he always felt a bit dainty and sparrowlike and stupid, trying to navigate indoors—to deposit the Queen’s hard-won letter, with a surge of triumph, upon the corner of Glenn’s desk, puffing out his breast with pride.

In an excess of energy, he roamed the room restlessly, jumping up, jumping down, finding a perch only to spot a better one and making wing for it, only to dance impatiently from foot to foot once he was there, until one would be hard-pressed to tell if there were but one raven or at least three. “That was fun,” he burbled. “Almost like old times.”




Glenn,

Due to circumstances beyond my control (these being His Lordship, who has never been in my control), I received only one half of your letter. Judging from the portion that remains, there is little hope that the lower half would have redeemed the upper. Still, the interference was an offense against myself and a discourtesy to you, for which I do most sincerely apologize. His Lordship is even now answering for his impudence, and in the future, I avow and assure safeguard for both the raven and his messages.

Such for formalities. I must say all that, you see, as Father has now made it an incident worth a Queen’s notice, and amends must be made. Meanwhile I am quite cross about it (the incident, not the amends), not the least reason being that nothing you have ever written has compelled me more than this portion that is missing. I shall have to struggle along with what I have, which is all the best of us can ever do.

Your insistence makes it seem that you doubt my word. (You
do enjoy reiterating, don’t you?) Fortunate you are that it is my word, and not the Queen’s, for to doubt the Queen when she gives her word is a grave offense—but as well, the Queen would have rejected your terms outright. I shall keep my word as I have given it, and you may doubt me or don’t, but I will not be double-sworn. Anticipation of whether I shall break faith should give you something to occupy your mind.

Perhaps you are too unfamiliar with friendships to understand that it is itself a debt. Like it or not, admit it or not, certain obligations are incurred and can never be discharged. Things may end, but they can never be undone, like these scars of mine, still present beneath the glam. It would take the dust of centuries to dull what has passed between us, Glenn Burnie, and of the two of us, I will be the one to bear them longest. Therefore, I am obliged to uphold the rites. Perhaps this is not the way with your folk, who have no obligations to anything you do not choose. I have come to realize that of all your people, you are the one I know best, and you are, by your own admission, a poor example. Whether or not this is your own fault, or if it may be hoped you will improve, I have yet to decide. Still and all, it scarce matters. I am not saying it to instruct you.

What letter there is left ends with a promise to seek balance. What would that balance mean to you? If balance is what we had before, it has been upended. You know it, too. You sense the shift. Perhaps that is my doing. In truth, I would not wish for it again. I have seen the end of that path and all that awaits us there is more of the same.

But I feel as well that the stars compel us to change course. If a Tuatha clings to the old path when a new one comes before them, they rot in the spot where they stand. I must go where this path leads.

I would you come with me, though the way may be unfamiliar.

Finn

Post scriptum: I made amends to the Raven, too.
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Fri Dec 15, 2023 11:21 am

Despite all of the raven's exuberance, Burnie's initial reaction was one of alarm. Obviously this was a unique event for all parties involved, even if it was likened to some sort of old time with chaotic intrigue, bold action, and harsh punishment, but he was familiar with little of that. Of all their letters, this was the first to be intercepted (or at least one of the first as there might have been another raven involved at some point). Of all their letters, this was arguably the most important. In some ways, it was one of the most sensitive. He listened to the story but asked no queries. Instead, he raised his hand for silence as soon as it was polite to do so and read the letter.

Upon completion, he began to write himself.

Dear Finn,

I need time to consult Benedict on what occurred and to think through exactly what I said and what must be repeated. Thank you for providing a guidepost for where the letter was cut off. Still, I felt the need to respond to you as quickly as possible given the disruption of the sanctity of our correspondence and the importance of this particular moment for yourself and myself.

In short,

I reiterate not due to a lack of faith in you but to a universally accepted lack of faith in myself held not necessarily by you or by myself in particular; it is universal as I said. This is a large step for me and for us. It is a step that comes a year too late perhaps, and as such, feels less important relative to the events of the day. That does not do it justice. I reiterate to reassure you of my intention not to bind your own even tighter. I reiterate to steel my own resolve to play this new role.

Along similar lines, I will walk this new path with you. We will face whatever comes together. Let us hope that such an arrangement is one of grace and easy cooperation and we don't consistently trip over one another farcically.

More to come later


"Benedict," he said looking up, "I have questions about what happened and may need your advice in how to let her know what was lost, but for now, would you please get this to her? For me to ask these questions would just delay things further and it's important that she sees this much at least."
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Niabh » Fri Dec 15, 2023 1:29 pm

The letter that came back was carved into white hide shaved thin, bound shut with a ribbon of braided horsehair dyed scarlet, with gold beads small as roe swinging from the tips. On that snowy expanse was a single line.

Tell me what you mean by balance.

The raven had more to report: “She had His Lordship scourged before the court. She kinda had to. Meg says he just came off escort for shooting his mouth off or some feckin’ thing and arguably he did commit a felony. So.” He puffed himself a bit to be considered a felonious offense. “Meg knows cos she looked after his back, after. They’ve got ’im in gaol now. I dunno if they’re keepin’ him there for the duration or what. I don’t even know what the duration is. Either way, he got off with most of his skin intact. Again. Still can’t believe he blindsided me. See, as a scavenger, my eyes are close to the front of my head, like a human’s, giving me monocular vision—you don’t need to hear all this, right? What did you want to know?”
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Sun Dec 17, 2023 3:01 am

"Monocular vision," this was said idly, distracted, for Burnie's eyes were still down upon the hide before him. It was one sentence. How long could one truly stare at it? While they were fast friends, certainly, the only thing that ever seemed to truly take the human's attention away from proper and civil conversation about such obviously interesting things was the Queen. Surely it was hard to blame him for that; easy to be irritated, but hard to blame.

So when he did look to Benedict, it was not with monocular vision in mind. "She challenges me, you know." To call it a change of subject would be imprecise for they had never settled on that one subject to begin with. It was more of a monocular monologue, well within the raven's right (for all the good it did him). "Of course you know that. In so many ways, I can predict her. In so many ways, I know her so well. But her perspective is not my own and not that of my people. She surprises me by focusing on things that I would neglect in passing, and then she presses with such force because of her bearing, and quite honestly, the entitlement that comes with it. I rushed to send her certainties given what had occurred and this was her response." He tapped at it once, twice, thrice, with some force himself, before shaking his head.

"No matter," imprecise as well, but at least it came with more regard for his companion. "Yes, I'll deal with this, but no matter what she thinks, more important is the following: When he grabbed the letter, when he tore at it, do you think he might have been able to read any of it, especially that part he destroyed?"
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Niabh » Sun Dec 17, 2023 4:14 am

As much as the raven would like to talk about his monocular vision (which he privately considered vastly superior to lesser birds with their eyes on the sides of their heads), Glenn clearly didn’t want to hear about it, which sobered him considerably. Finally he settled on a sturdy chair back, rocking gently, as though it were a branch swayed by a breeze. His twitches and flutters resolved themselves into steadiness.

“Um. I’m not so sure he can read? At least not tultharian talk. I guess that’s what you two use. But he kind of flipped it open and glanced at it for a heartbeat. Not long. He didn’t have very long. As soon as I felt someone grab it, I raised the hue and cry. We’re not supposed to attack anyone who interferes with a delivery, but they train us to summon help. We have our ways.” He didn’t have much hope that Glenn would care about their ways, either, but still he managed to add a note of smug mystery to the sentence. “That Galanta girl was right there and she clubbed him almost at once, so…I guess he looked at it for as long as it took her to sprint thirty paces. She tried to take it from him and it tore, and he managed to sizzle the rest before they took him down. I told the Lady much the same when I had to make report, but she didn’t seem concerned about whether he read it or not.”

It felt a bit queer, actually, reporting to Glenn in the same manner as making a formal plaint to the Queen. In fact, it felt a bit more comfortable make report to someone who wasn’t the Queen, since normally, he’d be reporting to whoever was serving as her justice rather than Herself, but Glenn was so clearly not a member of Court—and so plainly wanted nothing to do with the role—that it felt a little sneaky. With an inward chill, he remembered how the Lady detested people talking behind her back.

“Look, she’s pissed with you. And she’s a Niall. They don’t get un-pissed overnight. Now she’s got mouths to feed and face to save. The whole Court knows about this, at least the ones here, and as far as they know, the Queen got bearded by a tultharian and she’s still in communication with it and she hasn’t had it assassinated. Not it, him. You. Sorry.” He let his neck droop in his best parody of human contrition but cut the gesture so short that it seemed more like poor puppetry, a toy raven with its head on a string, before bobbing back up as if nothing happened. “They do refer to you as ‘it’ in Court, and…well, you know, I explained what they’re like with naming people.”

In the aftermath, the raven held enough heroic status that the Court raven deigned to converse with him. They’d turned out to be related—the raven’s nestmate’s hatchling’s mate’s nestmate—and the raven unwittingly found himself playing Court, using the connection to score some gossip. The Court raven regarded the matter of the tultharian with a mixture of disgust and wonder, as if the Lady had turned her back to her steed to dote upon a broken-down nag rescued from slaughter. The general consensus among the small collection of ravens was that the Queen had crossed swords with a wizard. He wondered if Glenn would find that funny or irritating.

He concluded, more gently, “My point is, you can ignore Court but she’s swimming in it.” He cocked his head in a more natural expression, sharp and curious and shrewd as a wizened old man, with an animal’s sheer alienness. “Anyway, don’t tell me you don’t like a challenge.”
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
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Re: The Spirit is Willing

Postby Glenn » Sun Dec 17, 2023 9:41 am

It wasn't that he was afraid to let his guard down with Benedict or that he didn't trust him. Burnie simply did not let his guard down at all, not really, not unless things were very very bad indeed or not bad in the least. This was more of a grey period, neither horror nor honeymoon. Still, it was not hard to discern just a little relief at the idea that 'his lordship' likely would have been unable to understand the letter. The raven would not year know that for sure as he instead chose to continue on, recounting heroic action, the Queen's disposition, and the all-consuming pull of the Court as it pertained to the two of them.

"Of course," he began, still occasionally tapping the one sentence before him, though not with any particular pattern or predictability, "I do not wish to cause her difficulties with her duties, social or judicial or whatever they may be. We both know I'll cause her less trouble if I keep my distance. Better for people to suspect anything may be the truth than to hear one actual word out of my mouth." There were so many ways for that statement to be taken and more than one could be true. "She can navigate it."

Once again, he looked up from the sentence to the raven, his gaze entirely lacking the usual cooperative and considerate good grace not to stare directly. "That's her. Then there's the matter of you. I might imagine that you truly do feel like the only chance I have to achieve my ends is to be right at the center of it all, and furthermore," this with a tone of certainty that Benedict would have good reason to dislike; he'd heard it well enough at all the worst times, after all, and it was even worse when Burnie was actually right about what he spoke, "you may be feel like there is no point in trying to dissuade me more than you have. I wonder," thoughtful, pensive, curious even, "if you have finally surrendered to the notion that I will never simply walk away. That would be uncharacteristic. My friend," He placed a hand down onto his desk over that sentence, as if taking in the curvature of her written letters somehow, "why do you want me at Court so badly? What does it mean for you? If there is opportunity for you or it might bring you a modicum of peace and serenity instead of the endless grief I had expected, my regard for you would impact my decisions."
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