Acquaintances

Re: Acquaintances

Postby Glenn » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:20 am

There was a difference though. Genny and Gloria had each other, maybe not at first, but increasingly so. Who did Mary Ford have? A family she barely spoke of, a patron who she had done everything in her power to keep out of this conversation and presumably her future plans as well, Maxwell? They were not friends. The letter had even begun with an allowance for if Gloria had barely remembered her. She had remembered though, and through effort and boldness from both women, they were here now.

With a swallow, a new swallow it seemed, to force down hesitation for each and every new idea. How many swallows could one woman manage? How sore must her throat be. "I don't think the Inquisitory is the right idea. Maybe it was once or would have been. It tries to be too much. It makes it too easy to suspect one another, suspect neighbors. It's happened before and it'll happen again, and I just don't think it's for me. Not now that I've been away." She had not explained her misgivings before and while Gloria hinted at possibilities now, she did not even press. Having scored other small victories, Mary felt confident enough to catch back up to this previous point of the conversation. "It's a good place for arguing but a bad place for disagreeing."

One last swallow, this one more self-aware than the last. "I think it can work, or else I wouldn't have written you, Gloria." She placed both hands upon her own face, fingers upon the bridge of her nose, palms together, so that when she spoke again, it was through flesh, sinew, and bone. For even such mumbles, proximity sufficed for understanding, thankfully. "I'm not sure exactly what it is, either, but I think it can work. You don't have to have all the answers now, Gloria. Just think about it, ok? And I'll keep thinking too." Here, at the end, where all they needed was an agreement to take steps forward, not to make it to the very end of the dark, uncertain road, she still hid behind her hands. Yet, so hidden, she continued her, maybe their, march forth.
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Acquaintances

Postby Rance » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:24 am

It makes it too easy to suspect one another, suspect neighbors. It's happened before and it'll happen again

"Menna Tolleson," Gloria said, with a tense sobriety underneath the shelf of her voice, "is a judicious and fair-minded soul, and her Inquisitory thrives. In the hands of a capable woman, it shrugged off the corruption and self-service of its previous administrators." Her hand cannot hide itself: her palm gripped and flexed and squeezed an edge of her skirt, staining it black from sweat, all the while telling herself, Silence impulse. Silence impulse. You're a shield, not a hammer. "I'm sorry that it wasn't at its best when last you served, Mary, but it's — it's different now. It would benefit from you.

"A mind like yours, it ensures neighbors have advocates, not antagonists."

But like any good seamstress, she knew when to remove a stitch. This was a seam to be refreshed. Mary Ford, she had not come here on this misty morning to criticize the Inquisitory, and by proxy, Genny Tolleson. She had come to speak and speak alone; she had come to express, to be heard, and Gloria nearly bit her tongue.

A flinch. She glanced down at her remaining hand, spreading the palm, staring at the nub where a ring-finger had once been.

Mirror-glass for Myrken Wood. Blood for what she believed.

But Mary Ford, she still had her ten whole, flexible, dainty fingers. Things of bone and flesh that could do so much.

"You have my partnership, Mary Ford, and my fullest dedication to whatever we create. I cannot and will not turn my back on the Inquisitory, Mary. I know that is also not what you are asking or expecting. I — I merely need to speak it before we embark on this endeavor. I care for this place more than perhaps I ever thought I would. I saw parts of that outside world, hated and loved them all at once, and I realized—"

Stepping forward, over that unseen threshold, behind Mary Ford.

"This strange and stupid and violent and confounding place, it's the only place I wanted to be."
User avatar
Rance
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2456
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 8:00 am
Location: Maryland

Re: Acquaintances

Postby Glenn » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:45 am

They had already pushed past uncomfortableness and difficulty. They were beginning to bond over shared concerns, over the smallest glimmer of possibilities. It had taken a while, though not as long as Gloria might try to force them to think, but they were coming to a real, a heartening understanding. Gloria's tone shifted quickly and Mary was left taken by surprise.

Menna Tolleson, a capable woman. Judicious and fair-minded. Gloria would not turn her back on the inquisitory. In fact, it would benefit from Mary, would benefit from her mind.

None of that was either what Mary had asked or expected, but the sum of it, appearing so suddenly, and at only the hint of criticism of the Inquisitory, put the white-haired woman on the defensive. For a brief moment, she swished saliva around behind her teeth unknowingly, unsure how to react. When she swallowed it down and spoke, her voice came out at a slightly higher pitch. "Genny Tolleson means well. I don't know her all that well, but I do believe that."

Something else rose, not simply spit but instead bile. Her words came out fast and sharp. "I can understand how she might have been charmed by Giuseppe and maybe that saved her back during the Lady's Summer. We all had to do what we had to and I don't hold it against her," yet still, until a moment ago, what was there even to be held against Genny? What door had Gloria nudged open simply by brushing past it?

Whatever it was, Mary seemed increasingly uncomfortable, increasingly unwilling to meet Gloria's eyes. "So maybe that saved her or maybe it was the other thing." At that, she wasn't even willing to meet Gloria's chin. "Look, it's the job, Gloria. It's the job. Knowing all the secrets. Let's say it was me or you. Just us," because whether or not Gloria thought it or saw it, there was a divide between Mary Ford and Gloria Wynsee and Genny Tolleson. "We find something out of place in that job. We see something missing, something that don't add up? We hunt it down best we can. That's us. No matter how good we are, though, and I don't even know how good we are really, there's only so much we can do.

"Then there's her. Let's say she learns something bad." You learned plenty bad in that job. Mary had. Maybe that was part of why she didn't go back to it. Gloria had too, hadn't she? A quaver that entered Mary's voice, her arms traveling inward, memories bouncing around her head. She didn't hesitate though, because Gloria would swallow all of her air if she hesitated and she knew a thing or two about that from her patron. So she stumbled forward, talking before thinking and hoping it all made sense. "She learns one thing bad and she lives with it. She learns two things bad and she tries to prevent it the right way. She learns six things bad and she realizes she needs to know more. She cares too much or else she wouldn't be there in the first place, right? So she uses the other thing and learns all of the bad there is to learn? Well, that's when meaning well turns into doing bad. Rhaena Olwak meant well once upon a time too."

And there it was, what didn't even have to have been. She hadn't asked Gloria to turn her back on anything. She hadn't said one bad word about Menna Tolleson. "It's the job." She muttered to close it all out. "It just can't be for some people." Either Gloria would see it or she wouldn't and if she didn't, with those belabored eyes that saw so much, well, then just why was that?
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Acquaintances

Postby Rance » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:10 am

A pulsing in her temple, where the muscles of her jaw massaged skull and brow.

Then there's her.

The sucking of her teeth.

Then there's her.

The step forward, careful, so very careful, toe-to-heel, as if balancing upon a sliver of hair.

Then there's her.

One minute, she'd hesitated to follow; the next, she was beside Mary Ford, and then in front of her, breathing so powerfully that the steam spilled like dragonsmoke from her nostrils and the corners of her mouth. Her teeth, fully visible now in all their crude rows, clamped shut.

What door had Mary Ford set aflame, simply by shining a light upon it?

For several too-long seconds, she did nothing. She stared. Those alien eyes, that flat-line mouth, that dark skin. Stared into, stared through, as if Mary no longer existed. Gloria Wynsee had never felt so large, as if in any moment, to be free would be to split the seams of her own skin and become something else entirely. Even her skirts refused to snap in the wind, and the wax-edged bonnet strings fell to such stillness around her cheeks. You could pour words into a bottle, could watch as they bubbled and fermented, yet might never know when they would burst or pop—

"Today, I learned one bad thing."

Elbow bent, fingers erect, she held out her hand for a gentleman's handshake.

"And I will live with it."
User avatar
Rance
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2456
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 8:00 am
Location: Maryland

Re: Acquaintances

Postby Glenn » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:26 am

How to Deal with Basic Uncertainty (Imperfect Information) - Glenn Burnie (211)

As Inquisitors, you will often have to make important decisions in situations of high uncertainty. Remember, it is not your duty nor your mandate to make such consequential decisions when you have time to escalate matters up the proper chain. My door is always open and I consider no matter too small to review with you. Myrken Wood can be assailed by forces of any size or significance and the smallest symptoms may lead us to understanding the worst malady. That said, in the moment, given the nature of your work, you may find that your investigations lead to moments of immediacy. In these moments, your primary goal is to stall for time, to prevent action where possible, and to gather more information. You should picture a sliding scale in your mind and utilize this scale to develop the proper instinct at how much you can possibly manage to gain without committing to an action while putting neither Myrken Wood nor yourself at harm. Remember, when dealing with any nexus of investigation that is not entirely bestial in nature, it will almost always want to talk about itself. That is inhuman nature but it is especially inhuman nature and you will do better with questions, or barring questions, insults, than you would through direct action. Moreover...


Frustration flashed in Mary Ford's eyes, frustration being a better response to the surprise she was feeling than anything her 'training' had bestowed upon her. That is not to say that she didn't lead with hesitation instead of action, because that's exactly what she did. She hadn't said anything worth a cold reaction like this. Gloria Wynsee was a logical, reasonable person. For the life of her, Mary couldn't figure out what had changed things so thoroughly. Yes, there was loyalty to the Inquisitory but loyalty to the Inquisitory meant questioning everything. That was the whole point of it. That was part of why Mary couldn't go back!

For a long second, she did not shake Gloria's hand. When she did, eventually, she met Gloria's eyes. Gloria stared into her, through her, bowled her over with a gaze alone. Mary, however, met her evenly. She planted her feet, planted her spirit, and maybe it wavered, but it would not fall. She did not recoil, for she had done nothing wrong. Her pride was a limited thing but it encompassed that notion, at least.

Her hand extended, knowing full well that Gloria could crush her fingers if she wished to. Still, she held it there, did not pull back. When she spoke, her voice contained a waiver but no stutter. "You'll think about all I said and when ready, if ready, write to me. I will await a letter," and if no letter would come, then that would tell Mary what she needed to know, even if only a fraction of what she wanted to know.
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Previous

Return to Myrken Wood Meetinghouse



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest