Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:04 am
I apologize for not contacting you sooner. There is no obligation between us, one way or the other. I would not demand otherwise. We've had a number of talks, one or two adventures, and I imagine those were smaller adventures then what you've experienced away from my company. I saw you as a young man with promise, one who cared for his friends, who cared about his home, one that balanced his morality with the harsh realities of Myrken Wood.
I have done you ill, if indirectly. I understand that Giuseppe, after he was infected by the Storyteller, menaced you in particular. He stabbed me in the back at the most inopportune time, and before that in the front, both times harming things that I cared deeply about, not to mention myself. Still, I let him roam, a wounded beast, for far too long before that. I paid for that mistake but others paid as well. Then there was Rhaena. If you wish me to write more on that account, I will, but you have not asked for this letter and as I said, there is no obligation, so only if you think it is something you would want or that would help you to understand and move on from the pains of that summer.
Your response to those pains is an interesting one to me. I do not understand entirely what happened, but I see that you made the best of things. No, that you took something that should have been terrible and made it into something good and helpful, though not without a cost. There's always a cost and the hardest is always what you pay yourself over time. These decisions add up. You can imagine, I think, as well as anyone, what they added up to with me.
I also apologize for my absence. I was long recovering, physically, and still not recovered in other ways. Perhaps Myrken was better off without my heavy hand pressing down upon it, perhaps not, but it what remains certain is that I have not been there as new crises have arisen. I am trying to change that now, slowly. In starting this process, I have looked at my ledger and found areas marked in red.
You are one of those and this letter is sent, more than anything else, to provide an apology, to offer what recompense you may find reasonable for my role in your ills, and to inquiry towards your well-being.
The choice of whether to reply is wholly your own and you will not be judged for it.
Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:11 am
Ser Glenn Burnie
Thank you for your Letter. Please do not be sorry, I am sure you have had things to do even now that you are not Governor. I hope that you are better now that you do not have the wait of Office on you.
The Black Man is dead, he was a Devil, and it is good that he is gone so that he will not speak any more lies. I can not say more about him as it is a Sin to speak ill of the Dead, even for Devils. You did not make him how he was and you could not stop him being how he was.
The Lady is dead also, and though she did many Wicked Things when her madness took her I am sorry that it all happened. She was very kind to me at the School and taught me my Letters, and I choose to remember her like that and greve for her.
You were not here for the Ladys Summer so I do not know what you might say that I do not know already. I heard you speak to the Town and I do not need to hear any more lies. Sera Kasmarek was cruel and hurt many people. She took joy in hurting people because she has a bad heart whether or not she was Swained. You do not Understand what happened. You were not here.
I am angry for what the Lady did to Elliot Brown even though she made him a Knight and I became his Squire. I am angry for what she did to Sera Ariane which was Cruel and Wicked and gave her awful grefe. I am angry for what Sera Kasmarek and the Civils did to Ser Catch and to Nura and to many others. The Lady did many very bad things even though she thought she was Doing Good for Myrken because she Believed it a fair price. It was not fair for them. That is a Lesson.
I am well. I have a House for me and my Friends and we are Safe there. Sir Elliot Gahald (who was Elliot Brown but still did not find himself after the Lady was gone) is on a Quest so that he is a Knight for true, and has Charged me to do Good until he returns. I know I can not change Myrken or stop every Wicked thing that comes but I will look after my Friends. That is enough Good for me.
You do not owe me anything. I know better than expecting Help from Governors or Kings or Councilers. I know better than putting trust in Saviours. That is also a Lesson.
I remember the Task you set upon me and have kept it Faithfully. I do not want Help or Pity.
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:12 am
The passage of time can be a strange thing when distance is also added to the mix. It is almost four years since we last corresponded. That, I think, is much how you preferred it. Wounds were fresh and they festered with well-meant trespasses (of truth, perhaps? of probability certainly). I know nothing of what has transpired in your life since save for that you are not mentioned by those who I have written to or spoken with (Gloria Wynsee at far too long a length, Catch though you know how that goes, others).
Why now, then?
I do mean to return to Myrken with the thaw but I have no plans to trouble or burden you upon my return. I do not seek power. In fact, I have asked others to ensure I do not somehow come into it. Again, you know how it goes there.
Consider this, instead, the closing of a circle. I will not burden you upon my return, but I will burden you now, briefly, in the anticipation of it.
A question. I would have your honest opinion if you are willing to provide it. Is being alive enough or should we strive for more? It has taken every effort of the people of Myrken Wood simply to stay alive in the face of plague, pestilence, monsters, and magic. It has taken every effort for them to simply hold some lingering, fading sense of who they are and who they wish to be, of the basic humanity and care for one another. In some ways, it has strengthened them, made them tougher, more resourceful, but in general, it has diminished them. So focused are they in the act of living and surviving that all joy is simply an escape from that (found at the bottom of a bottle, through sharing a bed, with music and song and dance) as opposed to a walk towards something, anything. It is the forgetting of pain as opposed to the remembering and discovery of pleasure.
Is this enough? Is this life worth living? Should we not ever try to find more? Where is the line? What if sacrifices are necessary to create a world where people can be safe enough to grow and learn and live instead of being eternally focused on surviving both the known and the unknown? Or do we simply have no hope of it and we should just resign ourselves to be a safe as possible, as small and unnoticeable as we might be, and find enjoyment in the scant escapist pleasures that we are allowed by this so often unforgiving world?
Can we find purpose in the act of trying? Is there any true purpose to find in the repeated, incessant act of survival? Do we need purpose at all? Is a life without it even a life at all?
I have my views on this, of course. I have lost much in the pursuit of it. Others have lost much because and despite of it. I look for a line now, whereas before I thought there was no end to what was needed. If we do nothing, I worry that we are animals capable of just the smallest, briefest joys as we are led to slaughter by this world. If we do too much and go too far, we are monsters and the entire point of the effort is hopelessly twisted. We are worse off than when we began.
You may agree in part or disagree entirely of course, but I would hear it. It would do me good to hear it. It might do others good as well.
Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:37 pm
The letter had arrived in the darkest days of Winter, and though years had passed the boy - more a youth now, perhaps even a young man - recognised the hand that had addressed it, and hesitated. It would contain a great many words, he guessed, in long strings tied in difficult knots. Reading them by candlelight be all the more taxing, he reasoned, so he tucked it onto the mantel shelf to read in the daylight.
The next day was cloudy and dull but had chores which seemed more pressing than untangling difficult words into difficult thoughts, and it was dusk again by the time they were done.
Days followed days, growing shorter and darker and colder before, finally, by increments, it seemed that Winter began to loosen its grip. Early crocuses sprouted below the still-bare trees, the first stirring of the woods from a months-long slumber, a cautious promise of better days to come.
The sun deigned to shine upon Myrken for a time, enough to open windows, to breathe out the winter's staleness and replace it with scents of pale green growth. Spring warmed into summer, a stretch of heat and light filling the woods with the chatter of new families hastily raised while the bountiful times lasted.
The days waxed their fullest and began to wane once more, the rich greens burnished to copper and gold at the nights grew cooler, the dawn hedgerows festooned with dew-jewelled webs of spiders fattening up for the winter to come.
It was on such a morning that the squire encountered the letter once again, fingertips brushing it from the mantel while reaching for flint and steel to light the hearth. To find it still sealed and unread after so many months brought a reflexive pang of shame at the discourtesy, tempered with a note of old spite not entirely forgotten and a flash of temptation to put it to use as kindling.
The work of an impulsive moment finally cracked the seal, brows lowering over dark eyes as he unfolded the letter to find every bit as many words as suspected; the work of considerably longer moments to carry it to a seat by the window, to laboriously pick his way through the letter by the grey morning light, to glean the once-Governor's meaning from his meandering.
Through the first reading his frown was that of a student set a particularly taxing challenge, a mix of concentration and resentment. By the third it was more a scowl, a word picked out here and there to be muttered out loud, turned over in his mouth as one might chew at a scrap of unexpected gristle.
At some point this brought a crow clattering down to the windowsill, bead-bright and curious, and the squire was glad to have a second opinion on the meaning of this sentence or that. Before long he was reading the whole thing aloud to a small but attentive audience of rats and crows alike, affecting a not entirely charitable imitation of the author's voice as if delivering a speech in the town square.
Perhaps surprisingly, there followed some debate between those gathered, with the squire opining with some force on his correspondent's (apparently extensive) flaws of character and judgement amid the croaking and chittering of the rest. With time, however, the conversation grew less heated as it turned from the author of the letter to its actual content, more thoughtful, with suggestions and speculations as if untangling an obtuse and cryptic riddle.
The discussion continued even after the squire rose to light a fire in the neglected hearth and prepare a breakfast for himself and the rest, though he listened more than he spoke, prodding irritably at berry-sweetened porridge. Once the meal was finished and cleared away he rummaged paper and writing tools from his room and sat himself down at the kitchen table with the air of one resigned to a task rather than enthused by it.
Ser Glenn Burnie
You are a man of Letters but you are uncommon bad at Learning.
It is enough to be alive. If you are alive in Myrken you have spited all the things here that would have you dead and that makes you the match of any outsider. If you are alive in Myrken you are doing better than all the souls who are dead and gone to Judgement. If you are alive in Myrken and can find joy in the things you said then why is that not plenty?
Your Lady made people walk towards Something and took away theyr troubles and I watched them dance and laugh and drink and eat and wear fine clothes all through her Summer and I never saw such misery in any Myrkentown gutter.
You have lived in Myrken for years but you still look at people here like things that crawl in a bottel. You think them wretched and suffering but it shows what you do not know. It is enough to be alive. It is enough to wake and eat and work and drink and dance and talk and love and sleep again. It is important to do all those things because if you are alive in Myrken there is a day you will be dead and gone and can do none of those things no more.
You think all Myrken folk have is misery and joy is an escape. You do not see they have joy and fight each day to keep it from getting stolen. You do not see that each soul in Myrken already has a purpose and already strives. A Baker who sets himself to make the day's bread has a purpose as good as any Knights or Heroes or Governors and will likely do less harm or Sacrifice for it. It seems to me a fine and grand purpose.
It seems to me as well that you are looking for a purpose for your self and can find none or you would not have wrote to me. My honest opinion that you asked for is that you should set to mending what you have made wrong before seeking purpose for others. I reckon that purpose will keep you for a life time or more.
Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:37 am
I am heartened by your directness, even if not by the words you write. Even then, after multiple readings, I have decided that you write out of earnestness (honesty, though not just) and altruism (concern for others over concern for one's self). The one highlights the other.
Do not feel obliged to respond to this once again if you do not wish to. If you do wish to however, even if not today but again in three seasons' time, I will read and respond accordingly. I return to Myrken soon, not to disrupt large things, not to be Governor, but to mend certain threads and yes, I admit, to tug on a few others.
Where do you think I developed my viewpoints, Cherny? Before I was dragged underground, I spent a few years at barn dances and working in fields for my dinner and scratching out maps. If I payed a price to save Agnieszka Kaczmarek, it was, in part, beacuse of the nights I spent at her family's table, when she had no great military career and was more apt to wield a kitchen knife than anything else.
I appreciate that you seek to see the best in me, to think that perhaps it's just that I haven't Learned. I've learned much of what there is to learn on this matter. I simply disagree. What Rhaena did in her madness was to increase the natural tendency of which you speak. It was pushed in a different direction, but it was not progress, simply distraction.
I assure you of this. In whatever I do next, my primary concern will be to improve the day-to-day life of people in Myrken Wood. More food. Less sickness. Better shelter against the weather. Not lies. Not promises. Be reassured of that.
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