Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

Postby Niabh » Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:42 am

Five days later, on a morning when an early drizzle gave way to a crisp, cold, clear sky, a raven arrived with its wings banded in blue and white. It blinked curious amber eyes as it turned its head to take in the peculiarities of Glenn’s home, then turned to Glenn himself, unafraid, but maintaining a distance a fraction too distant to be only politeness. The letter was new hide, bone-white, with no ghost of previous words hidden in its grain. The ink was metallic blue, and caught the lamplight in glints of sapphire.


From Moirin Brennan, High Bard of the Bard’s College, to Glenn of the mortal lands, well-met.

It is unusual that one of my bard would recommend me to you without recommending you to me, though the vagaries of the dreaming realm are known to be unreliable. Nevertheless, ventures into that realm are recorded, when possible, and those prone to wander are well-known, so there may be some documentation of your interaction. I make note that your raven bears the Niall colors and wonder if there is an association to that house that may provide a clue. But this need not delay us in the present.

Word of your people does reach us with some regularity, but always so little that it is picked to bits in days and leaves one dissatisfied. An established fact seems that your people are much more far-flung and diverse than our own, that mortal men of the North may not be at all as they are in the South, and what holds true with one faction may be reversed in the next or absent in another, but that these are largely matters of manners and customs and different gods and are not born in them.

Among your people I have seen a certain hunger for what is outside themselves. I have wondered if that is the true difference between us. The Tuatha have no such hunger nor such longing. We who claim our line from the Mother were born of a mystery, and the mystery is no different flesh to us. You who claim your lineage from the earth are born of only clay. On some points we cannot ever touch, and this is one. There is sorrow in each of us for that loss, but only in lacking it do we find our possibility. For your kind, it propels. In your efforts to grasp the mystery, you create. The mortal kind creates all things in abundance, things found in every common hand and things unique in all the world, to possess in part the one thing your kind will always lack: the true magic. And like every mortal cursed to blindness, you do not see that creation is your measure of that magic. Perhaps that conjecture does not satisfy. Perhaps you thought it would be different. Perhaps you take your gift for granted. Now you understand how we feel about glamourie.

For us, the glamourie is a pursuit, ever to be true, to be truer than truth, to be the very thing itself, to be the epitome of what that thing may be. It is to blur the boundaries of what is and what could be, to come as close as one may be to making substance from nothing, to compress the measure between ideation and manifestation to a thought, a gesture, to instinct. It is an art, the only art. Through it, we seek the limits of what is possible. There are those who protest this interpretation, as I am sure you may object to the summation of humanity above. I’m not entirely convinced myself, but it is as near to the truth as I may understand it. My path toward that truth is to wring meaning for meaning, to rake the past for clues, to peer into the future so far as it presents itself, to seek absolutes in the understanding that there may be none. In any case, rest assured that there are many quarreling factions over the matter, though the belief grows especially amongst aesthetics, of which there are many among us, as you might expect. You are perhaps fortunate that the College draws few aesthetics and more philosophers. Aesthetics revel in the beauty of the possible for its own sake, and as its own end, but we of the College are more prone to define it.

Write again and tell me what you were born to and what calls you to the mystery.
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
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Re: Out of the Blue

Postby Glenn » Thu Feb 15, 2024 1:30 am

"Raisins." This was to the raven, a herald to an offering of twenty upon a small plate. "If you prefer rumcakes, I can arrange it next time. I'm working on rumcakes with raisins but I'm mostly acquainted with very stubborn bakers. You only want to buy pastries from bakers who see themselves as artists as much as they do businessmen; you can taste the passion. Stubbornness comes into play though." With a wane smile, he looked back down to the letter and prepared to compose a response.

Moirin Brennan,

I am a Tulthurian of no small ego, but I have learned my lessons well, even if I do not always abide by such learning. In letters, I am one of very careful boundaries. I am discreet above all else. Still, I make no attempt to fool you or misguide you. I am of no illusion that I will be able to hide a great many things from you if these are things you truly wish to learn. Because I act in good faith, I anticipate the same. When relevant, all manner of things may be discussed. We are quite a ways away from any of that, however. Hopefully, this is but the start of a story between you and I. So at times, I shall be vague, but I will not attempt to deceive. I suppose I shall also attempt promptness for reasons that are self-explanatory.

It is wrong to think of this, as we so often do, in terms of strength and weakness. We are short-lived, vulnerable; we lack the ability or the luxury, perhaps, to have a true accord with Nature. We redirect it and endure it and mitigate for it. We try to measure it and understand it through the studying of its patterns, but each of us only has so many years to work with. Moreover, beset by the consequences that comes from our lack of understanding and the need to survive nonetheless, people choose shortsighted and selfish paths. Yet this friction, and the differences you have mentioned, create growth and progress even within ourselves. We are constantly exposed to different ideas, different mindsets, different competing goals. All too often, this creates an imbalanced distribution of resources where the mightiest are able to convince the few to oppress the many, but still we, both the oppressor and the oppressed, create. There must be a way to keep the fire of creation burning bright without such unjust kindling but it is endlessly intertwined with our freedom, including our freedom put the singular needs in front of the collective, to prize the short-term over the long term, to oppress one another. I imagine you will find this as disappointing as I do, though maybe not as heartbreaking, but having been in power and out of it, and having met so many of my own people and others, I have yet to even begin to work out a solution. Instead, it is a matter of doing good at the margins and over time, of decreasing want and need as much as possible, of valuing and disseminating art and culture in clever ways, of convincing people of their own worth and the worth of their fellows, even those different than them. It is a work bigger than me, the work of generations, for our time is so short.

To learn of you is to explore the idea of glamourie. It took me quite a while to realize this. To know any people is to understand how they communicate with one another and with themselves. In some ways, the glamourie makes you unknowable to an outsider. It is a language I can never learn to translate for it is mutable and shifting. I suspect I would find patterns within one person's glamourie over time, but another person would have completely different patterns. I can understand it symbolically, admitting that it will be a superficial understanding at best. But then, my understanding of it up until now, was always as a practical thing (not without artistry, of course), whereas you present a much more spiritual explanation. And here I must caution myself to start slowly and move methodologically. In the future, I will contrast it with our own writing, something that can be an art as well, and perhaps spiritual as well, but that creates its own sort of permanence. I am very appreciative that you are willing to communicate with me in this way for I can imagine now that it might almost feel blasphemous.

I was sold in the womb. The written word showed me the possibilities of my world so that I might escape to live in it. My people spend so much of their brief existences simply staving off their own premature end. I strive for something more than survival. As of late, the only more that I have managed is the striving itself. In those terms, it is hardly better. I wish to be better once again.

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Re: Out of the Blue

Postby Niabh » Wed Feb 21, 2024 6:12 am

From Moirin Brennan to Glenn, greetings.

In all your explanation of the ways of humanity, for all its short-sightedness and self-interest, you mention no mitigation by either gods or governance. Is there no such authority among you? For it is evident that you, being many and far-ranging, would follow various gods and leaders, and that by their natures these forces might be in opposition to one another, so that each is apart from the others and may have no interest in their neighbors’ welfare. But if their governance is of no use to conquer the misery of the people, what hold have they, that you could not overturn them and seek better? Here we say, “The belly does not abide by law,” meaning that if a queen cannot keep her people from desperation, there is no reason for them to obey her. So diverse and numerous a people cannot be expected to be in concord, particularly if they are rendered desperate by need. If there be no unifying force above them, no one they may rely upon for their well-being, then by nature they turn to selfishness to survive, and there is no judging that. It is the will of no good god that their people should suffer, and if a good queen finds she follows an ill god, she should turn against it, and if she refuses to turn against it, then her people will turn against her.

It is a paradox that all liberty must be found within the Law. The Law must serve as a limit for those who cannot see beyond it. It provides structure and purpose for those who without it would be guided by self-interest. It guarantees surety for those who are weakest and places checks on those with the most power. In doing so, it creates a baseline equality that none may fall below or rise above. My people have known always that we are blessed by Law and that by virtue of this blessing, we are obligated to uphold it. In truth I must wonder now if the human notion of freedom is different to our own, for it seems that humans regard freedom as the liberty to do pursue whatever they may conceive, and, as your minds be given to creation, you conceive horrors. Here, creation is the domain of the Mother, and is held sacred. We do not let ourselves forget that we, too, are her creations, and that she formed us most wonderfully to be her example.

To understand glamourie, you must understand that the gifts of the Mother were given us for the purpose of creating joy. We have found its other uses, but its primary function is the delight of beauty and variety, that each may seek their own expression of this joy both for their own delight and that of others. Then, too, there may be delight in confusion, in the unexpected, in the sudden twist, but only that the truth may be revealed in the end, for there can be no confusion without there also be revelation, lest that confusion sour to betrayal. There can be no selfishness in glamourie, for it is bestowed upon all equally, therefore we are free to please ourselves and others and to challenge ourselves in our artistry, always to the end of creating a perfection of seeming that can only bring more joy to all. Because of it I believe we have come to value joy above all things, and to abhor that which does not engender it. For this reason, the Law becomes part of our joy, for within it, we have freedom and stability enough to pursue the better parts of life. It is why I wonder that your own people do not use your varied gifts to create more things of beauty, that all may be delighted by them.

What would you say is the best thing your people have made? What things would you wish there to be more? What is it that you would create, if there were stability enough to pursue it? What is the law for you, and does it allow for joy?
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
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