Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:41 am
"I do appreciate this." Glenn Burnie was rarely the sort to ask anything of anyone. More frequently, he went out of his way, far out of his way, out of everyone else's way as well, to try to convince a subject that it was within his best interest to do what Burnie wanted. There had to be some level of mutual gain, or even the sort of gain that left Burnie inconvenienced. By getting what he wanted, he did everyone a favor. If that was not the case, then he wouldn't have even wanted whatever he wanted in the first place, no?
How many red flags were raised (red, black, white?) in Burnie not just asking for a favor, but noting actual appreciation for the act.
"Haste matters in this. Haste and corroboration." He had not been what 'Benedict' might see as 'himself' ever since the last visit from the raven's mistress. This, however, was something else entirely, a combination of uncomfortable energy and focused overcompensation which instead of balancing the first, somehow managed to overturn the boat twice so that it was back afloat once more but with everyone and everything thoroughly soaked. "I know you offered silence, but whatever I write will be suspect and you are nothing if not genuine. Most of all, be yourself. She'll encounter you before she reads the letter."
So that was that, then. A favor. Gratitude or at least appreciation. Fionnuala had so recently sent the bird back in to him without any warning at all. Could Burnie be blamed for doing the same? It was an occupational hazard for the bird, no? Moreover, there were longstanding promises of discretion to think about. For the first time in many months, he looked up to his roof, stared at it, for it was an easier course than providing an answer. Too much dust and grime. This is why one ought to never look or down. Burnie exhaled and looked to his fully feathered friend. "There are things you ought to know, but don't repeat any of them. She is hard, harsh, but inquisitive and given to wonder and delight when she deems it possible. She is ruled by necessity, imprisoned by it, but when pardoned, even for a time, appreciates the world in ways that the likes of you and I cannot. Be specific with your words, but then you mostly are. Be honest (for her own good and yours, mine too I suppose) but remember what I've told you. I do not think myself under a spell and while you're familiar with spells, as such, you're less familiar with who I once was. A little trust would be nice. I do know myself, Benedict."
That had been as exhausting a series of statements as any he had told the raven. The proverbial boat had overturned at least once more in the midst of all of it. Best to just dry himself off and pretend that they were never wet in the first place. "Any questions?"
Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:36 am
He had plenty of questions, few of which related to the actual instructions: just who are you trying to convince here? was one. The instructions themselves were clear, if convoluted; the wanker would never constrain himself to three simple words when he had twenty vague ones in reserve to muddy the waters further. Benedict wasn't used to it. Usually when someone gave him these kind of detailed instructions, it meant they were sending him into a situation where precision was vital for safety. With Glenn, you never knew.
About halfway through the speech, the raven began shifting from foot to foot in an effort to match Glenn's restlessness. "Look, I been at this a while, what? I got it. So long as she doesn't fall apart screaming because she thinks I'm some kinda talking demon-raven and nobody throws books at me, Glenn, it'll be fine."
The one word that had prickled all his warning instinct had come so close to the beginning that he wondered if Glenn even remembered he had said it. Corroboration. Corroborating sounded enough like spying--confirming information for another--to make him uncomfortable. "Are you nervous? You act nervous."
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:14 am
"I entreat with a fairy queen. I make deals with one. I've traded names with one. When, in the midst of all of that, have you ever seen me nervous, Benedict? I negotiate for the entirety of my people, with the hounds of the hunt, with inevitability itself, snarling and chomping at their ever withering ankles." Rarely was his particular brand of wank this unfiltered. He didn't answer the question in the least and they both knew it. Instead, he moved forward, his body becoming steady enough even if his spirit might not have been. "The letter will do most of the work anyway."
He thought through the rest of the raven's words. "She's kinder to books than I am. With her, more of what's in them stays in the book. For me, it all ends up in my head. Entirely different sort of resources." Then, not in the least helpful at all. "If she wants to throw something, she's liable to throw you, not a book." He threw a book at Fionn because of her completely erroneous demand that he kiss her. He offered her many pounds of pages and spine instead of one simple pound of flesh. "She wouldn't do it lightly though."
Some of it was his nature yes, but some of it was the nature of this errand. Burnie wasn't looking for precision. He was looking for the particular and peculiar brand of obfuscation that came with its opposite.
Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:01 am
"I'll just be grateful you don't hurl your head at me, then," the raven replied, deadpan. "Fine, fine. Letter will get delivered. I'll shoot straight with her if she asks me about anything and keep my mouth shut if she doesn't. I'm not gonner try to convince her all is well here, though. All is not feckin' well, as far as I'm concerned."
He would rather play all of this straight, if he had his own preferences. Get in there, deliver the letter, get dismissed, never say anything. Here was the potential for too many awkward questions: where did you come from, how is it that you can talk, where did Glenn Burnie acquire himself a talking raven, are there any more to be had.
Moreover, he had the distinct sense that Glenn was trying to pull something over on someone. It wouldn't be the first time someone had employed a raven for subterfuge.
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:41 am
The raven's snide statement bought him a moment of silence. Was it worth it? Probably. Burnie stopped looking upwards for a moment and allowed for his gaze to take the bird in as a whole; by now he knew better than to stare down its eyes. "She knows you can speak. She'll speak to you. That you speak back will be reassuring enough. What you say? She'll judge that how she judges it." His stare intensified, the stillness moving from his body into the rest of him. He was looking past Benedict now, towards the wall, thinking. "It's a gambit. Whatever she's doing and whoever she's doing it for, it's important. Her storming down from the north, proverbially since she's not actually north, mind you," though of course it was always about minding Burnie and never about minding the person he spoke to, "to save me, while appreciated on sentimental grounds and certainly needed in times previous, would not help now. Not her, not me, not Finn, not our people. Not her charge. Not this time. Which isn't to say I don't want to see her. I think we can cover a good deal more ground with letters first to the benefit of all." It was always to the benefit of all, wasn't it?
Speaking of that, and the one person he didn't mention. "Anyway, it'll be good for you to meet her. That's not true for everyone, but it's true for you, and true for her."
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:58 am
He had a sense that Glenn was only explaining--perhaps even rationalizing--to himself, and listened patiently while waiting for him to be done. "Yeah, well. I hope you bothered to tell her some of that, whoever she is, since that actually seems like the most important stuff." Way more important than the initial deluge of wank, though he managed to keep that sentiment to himself. "Not that I believe it. I personally think you need all the help you can get, but maybe not boots-on-the-ground sort of help. I think you can sort this out."
He did in fact believe this, but there was an underlying motivation: he'd like for the queen to be kept well out of the way of any of Glenn's potentially explosive associates. Particularly the ones who might come charging out of the north--or any other cardinal direction--to rescue him.
At the last statement, though, the raven perked up, shaking his feathers straight, preening back his wings like a young courtier preparing to meet an eligible damsel. His smooth purple-blackness even had the advantage of looking very much like a formal suit, lacking only a starched white ruff. "But yeah. It'll be fine. I like meeting people. This one sounds interesting. Or at least mysterious, but that's mostly you playin' it up."
The raven had a feeling that what Glenn Burnie boasted of as being "good for" someone was ultimately mostly good for Glenn Burnie. Still, the enthusiasm was genuine.
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:47 am
For someone who was almost always forthcoming, this restraint had to be unsettling to witness. Glenn had been even more so after whatever Fionn had done, but even before, there was no hesitation to his litanies of exposition, explanation, context, hedging, sophistry, and outright manipulation of the truth. Now he was showing hesitation, discretion even. When one wouldn't even do that for a fairy queen, it must have made a bird wonder. "I told her most of what I had to tell her." But then there was the bit of praise to Benedict and his not unexpected response. "She'll be driven by concern but don't let her walk all over you. You a lot to offer anyway. Not everything has to be completely about me all the time."
Then, finally, with a lingering look not to the ceiling but to the nearest window. "And thank you, again."
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:12 am
"Hey, no problem." Since the direction of Glenn's gaze made it seem understood that he was expected to depart via window, he fluttered to the narrow ledge, twisting himself sidelong to give himself enough room to perch. The odd pale paintdrop eyes blinked. "I know you're probably not much into reassurances but this is no big deal, really. I'll report back here soon as it's done." Confident, casual, he gave Glenn a friendly bob in parting.
The bird spread his black wings as best he could. The feathers seemed to separate and float, describing a hollow space sculpted as a raven, before scattering into so many black smoky wisps and seeping through the gaps in the frame, the cracks in the window putty. A black puff as the wisps sucked themselves together on the opposite side, reforming a whole bird before his wings billowed fully and he took to the air. Destination: not north.
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