Loss... Found?

Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:04 am

It seems a bit foolish to write down my thoughts now that I have returned and have so many others with whom I can speak. Even Aloisius is available to me, though I doubt that would accomplish much good. Better to talk to myself. I find myself in an interesting place. I do have plans, plots one might say, and goals, with a modest outcome in mind: the gradual betterment of the lives of the people of Myrken Wood. Nothing grand, nothing drastic, small early steps that might reap later benefits. I now admit to myself that there are time-based limitations to what can be accomplished. Others take this as defeatism or pessimism or some sort of great self-sacrifice but it is a simple math equation refracted through the lens of history. There is nothing arcane about it. If all goes well, I could live for perhaps another fifty years. What has any man accomplished in that time? Moderate advances. Great destruction. I could build a foundation for something that will outlast me and I intend to do that now.

It is a freeing notion, that I do not have to fix all of the problems of the world, of my race and people and province, in a few scant years, or even, yes, a lifetime. It does not mean I should do nothing and it does not mean I will do nothing. I appreciate the value of every day now. I will not rush and I will not panic and I will carefully weigh the cost at every juncture.

Immediately, however, I fall to distraction. A letter from Petronela regarding her sister, from Gloria which shall lead to other conversation, the others you'd expect upon my return.

Finn and Catch are not distraction. They were necessities. They feel like distraction, however, which is strange since the former shall be part of what I intend and the latter is primal to everything here. They don't feel like the work though. In the first, it was a combination of a reverie and a fete and something far more concerning. For the latter, it was a swishing torrent, tide moving in and out, with revelations and true connection and a rift that may not be bridged in my lifetime. On the nexus the two, I did not at all get accomplished what I need to. It's maddening for all of Catch's secrets to be laid so bare, so obvious, to realize how close I was in some senses and how absolutely wrong I was in others. So much comes into focus now.

How will we break the cycle when he doesn't trust me? Am I wrong to see it as a cycle? That speaks of fate and inevitability and something Natural that denies chance and choice. He loathes solitude, grows close to others. Either through animal cunning or measured reason, he allows his power to be used. The use fosters exponential growth which leads to a rising pressure and ultimately destruction. Maybe it's not a cycle at all but instead a pattern of repeated stimuli and overwhelming power. Is that truly any different. Part of the problem is time itself. He might restrain, in either his reasoned or addled state for a time. Others around him might as well, but over the span of a hundred years? All it takes is one moment of weakness from either side and



Burnie was familiar enough with the feeling of being watched by now that he suspected that he was no longer alone. He had no idea how long he had not been alone and more than that, he knew well that if his feathered companion had wanted to obscure his presence longer, he could have. This awareness was as much about politeness as anything and that was a difficult admission, one of many as of late. Still, it was with a tight smile that he looked up and glanced around the room.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Niabh » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:23 am

In the raven's defense, it wasn't like he was hiding and he hadn't even been there that long. Most of his lingering was spent listening for the scratch of the quill tip to stop, so that he could announce himself in the pause, gathering from a drifting black cloud to a solid clump in the time it took Glenn to push back his chair and look over his shoulder. He scuffed the side of his head with a foot and shook his newly assembled feathers back into order.

"Hiya." His neck stretched out long to peer at a page he could not read. "Figgered you'd be out of the letter-writin' business since you're here already. Want me to take it somewhere? I can come back."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:49 am

"Not out." Burnie let out a long exhale as he shifted from one frame of mind to another. It wasn't the first time that Benedict seen Glenn have to regroup like this, but it had been a while and often, in those other situations, he was working with unnatural letters from the raven's mistress. This was just the weight of the last few days bearing down upon him. "This is not a small city, even though it pales to Razasan and there's frequent need. Enjoyment too. And effectiveness. I suspect I'll be writing with yours more than she thinks too, especially if we can't be seen together often."

That didn't quite answer the question however, and even as he shifted his chair to look the raven head on, he would attempt it, though not for long; some things weren't worth it. "I'm working out my thoughts on paper here. I did this frequently before she started to write with me. In the beginning, I had no one but myself and then, gradually and eventually, she took that place," and didn't that raise such problems for both of them, and maybe the bird most of all.

"Are you well? She was kind to you after I left?" Glenn Burnie was fully aware of the amount of ridiculous bullshit he had pulled for himself, for the raven, in the raven's name, in her name, maybe in the name of humanity, in the last day. He had been well intentioned and relatively competent given the circumstances, but it was not exactly a perfect job and it was most certainly not a neat one.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Niabh » Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:40 am

"Things are still a little raw around here," Benedict admitted. "We patched things up a few things after you left, and then we patched up a few more this morning. She's still miffed I brought you but pfft, she'll get over it." He puffed himself out, then deflated, a fine feather-dust exhaling around him. "I dunno. I'm still put out with her. I don't think she'll do it again but I didn't think she'd do it the first time either, so what do I know, eh? She knows I'm here. She didn't tell me to come but she knows I came and I think she knows why, but she didn't ask and I didn't bother mentioning it. I am not here to report back. I mean. That's exactly what someone who was reportin' back would say, unless they really were reportin' back and they knew that you'd know someone who was reportin' back would have the sense not to say it so it cancels everything out but that's really convoluted. Point is, I'm here as an autonomous agent."

Paugh, at this rate they'd all be announcing their loyalties and intentions every morning over breakfast. The raven rose, his wings battering the air of the warm, stuffy room as he gained height, then swooped and settled on the desk's corner. His wake lazily rocked a sheet of paper; he leaned forward, delicately plucked a corner with his beak, and dragged it back to center.

"Startin' over. Hello, Glenn. I look forward to delivering your mail in the future. I am torn between wonderin' what you feel you need to sort out and being relieved because writing things down is a fairly positive sign when it comes to you. Mostly I wondered if you've been to see the big guy yet and how all that went, but the fact that you're sittin' here with your face still on means my worst case scenario didn't play out, so all around this is already going pretty well."

Ravens have keen eyesight. Benedict's was sharp enough to see how things fit together. Glenn used to write to himself. Then the lady fulfilled that role. Now Glenn was a scant short flight from the actual article, but had gone back to writing to himself. Not that the man wasn't entitled to a bit of interior privacy if he wanted, but it left a gaping hole in the narrative. The first conclusion--that he was writing something he didn't want her to know--was both the most reasonable and a bit too obvious to satisfy Benedict. More information was needed.

Particularly considering that he was reporting back.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:37 am

Glenn was always one for speech before action. Speech before most things, really. Here though, he'd give the raven something more to surmise from action. The rumcake had been squirreled away in a drawer, yes, but it was fresh. He had anticipated this. Maybe he'd even sought it out? Or maybe he just knew how bad the raven's last few days head been. Regardless, it was on a little plate and the plate was placed not far from where Glenn had been working at the corner desk. The raven was most of the way there anyway.

"There's plenty to sort out, some of it years in the making. Anyway," he was happy to skip the preliminaries anyway. So much of what was to come was based on him trusting the bird, because maybe, just maybe, there was no one else. "Hello Benedict. I know how fortunate I am that you take any of my letters anywhere. I won't use you without good reason here. Letters to her are good reason." Otherwise, there were pages of varying levels of skill, speed, discretion, and sanitation to call upon. Rarely, after all, did Glenn have Benedict send a letter to anyone that had already been in Razasan. "Moreover, I'm glad she did not take your voice again or do something worse, like make you into a human."

Really, that was about enough for her for this part of the conversation. Glenn sat back in his chair, writing implements already docked in their homes. "What have your interactions with Catch been like, Benedict. He usually takes to animals, talking animals all the more." Right to it then, and with questions instead of answers.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Niabh » Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:52 am

Glenn had cake. Not just any cake. Rumcake. He eyed it with interest and greed. Glenn did not strike him as the sort of person who would keep cake lying around for personal consumption, so obviously, Benedict was expected.

The cake temporarily distracted him, and in that brief gap, Glenn managed to wriggle right around the question. The raven gave him a stern, dry look, which unfortunately looked exactly like most of his other attempts at facial expressions, which was to say, it looked like being looked at by a raven. He had to compensate by sounding humorless: "I've interacted with him exactly once, and I wouldn't've done that if I hadn't thought Herself were dyin'. Other'n that, I steer clear. The question is, did you interact with 'im? What was your interaction like?"
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:57 am

Natural science had its limits. Or at the very least, Glenn Burnie, natural scientist, had his own limits. Yes, patterns could be found everywhere. Yes, observations were the only way to truly document and discover them. Yes, with enough work, enough time and effort, truths of the world and all that was in it could be plucked and processed. This would inform all future interactions with the world and allow for the deriving of success even in the face of great adversity. When dealing with the glamourie of a Fairy Queen, with the Mysteries of Catch, with the dark-blooded stubbornness of a Wynsee without whimsy, certain things had to give. Figuring out every expression and tic of Benedict based on the smallest of motions? Limits, indeed.

The bird's answer wasn't very useful, though it was sensible, far more sensible than other animals. "You don't want him to think that you're avoiding him either. Just be careful. It'll be more, not less moving forward." That wasn't an answer either of course, and Burnie had to look up at the ceiling to try to gather his thoughts. "Oh, I don't know, Benedict. It's a lot. Overwhelming, more for him than for me." He had just come from speaking with Catch and even with the large man now more complete, more together, there was still a simplicity one must use with him. Glenn had ultimately failed in that, but he could attempt it again here. "When we are together, there are many emotions, good and bad, and bad because of the good, and Catch struggles with that. I struggle more with the mental challenge of wrapping one's mind around the scope of him, just how long he has lived, how big he is, the memories he has, the time he has spent lost, and the destruction he had caused even when found. I led with kindness, for the most part. I learned many frustrating things that I cannot share with you or anyone else, not yet at least, for they are his things. I don't trust him with her or her with him. I trust both more with myself than with each other, but I don't think I'd trust myself with both of them together."

The bird wanted an answer, didn't he? Well, there was an answer, and Benedict would find Glenn's eyes not directly upon him (for he did not like that and Glenn well knew it), but at least looking in his general direction once again.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:55 am

The raven had been kind enough, agreeable enough, to wait for the silence between strokes of quill and fancies of thought. The third guest, however, was not so reasonable.

Somewhere wedged between both of them and together, a thunderous report punctuated those profound thoughts: on the door to Glenn's abode an impatient rap, rap, rap refused to be anything but noisy and demanding. A fist couldn't make that noise: a stick, a tool, though — the pop of wood against wood, enough to shake the frame of the door and nearly threaten the threshold with invasion.

Someone had come to Glenn Burnie's home, and certainly not for his rumcakes.

* * * *

"Waking a dragon," one said, sucking on his teeth.

"Sure," said the other, barely listening, scanning a ledger.

"You don't think that woman didn't disease his mind, leave him alive with some part of her?"

"I don't consider much that doesn't come across my desk in a nicely-organized file."

"That's love. Leave behind parts of yourself without realizing it. Right up there with madness."

"You some love-scholar, Yates?"

"More than you," came the response. "You can't think those black elves didn't break him just a bit. And all that meddling with the Big Fellow. You're a hard-looking sort. You ever gotten a chance to work in the mines?"

Here it came, the story. You could feel it coming, like a tremor. "I was blessed with a fragile constitution."

"I did. And it wasn't all just putting pick to stone, let me tell you. In Thessilane, you'd find these pockets of sorts, hidden away between the rocks, and if your pick or your hammer struck one stone just the right way, you'd spark, and when your day wasn't lucky, that spark would set those pockets aflame: invisible space would just become fire, fwoom—" an illustrative motion accompanied the sound, "—and the next thing you know you'd have burnt men and dead men and the mine, if it suited it, would just fall to pieces. I've seen a man without a nose. I've seen a man's eyes boil like rendering jam in his skull."

Yates could have gone on for hours. Fortunately, he didn't. The man with the ledger clapped it shut, rubbed his upper lip, and then motioned to the door.

"Give it another knock," he said.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Niabh » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:12 am

The first shudder of the door in the jam brought a decidedly raven-like scream from the raven. He winked out of existence and popped back perched on the back of a chair. "By the Morrigan's six tits, is it an earthquake?" he rattled off--in Tuathalli, not much help to Glenn--before disappearing again and reappearing, almost in the same instant, back on the desk.

Give it another knock, emerged distinctly through the heavy wood, and that was enough to settle the raven, who began jabbing at Glenn with his beak. No one trying to break down your door was there to welcome you back to town.

"Shit, you need to go," he babbled in a low, urgent voice, "you gotter get out of here. Out the window. I'll feckin' stall 'em."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:42 am

It wasn't that Glenn Burnie didn't have enemies. He did. Many of them were passed now, moved on from the area or from this plane of existence. Things have been resolved with others. Glenn was the sort to seek out consensus, to try to find what people wanted and try to find a middle ground when possible. Rarely did it cost him more than outright antagonism. He was a man of pride, however, and certainly a man that would so often rather try to tear down those 'above' him as opposed to working towards a common solution, so it was never quite a sure thing.

Still, he had been very effective in Razasan, a place where he had an enemy or two even before arriving, by going against expectation. He had not sought title or power; he had not even sought to assist Myrken as one might expect, not at first at least. Those enemies kept expecting him to make a move and set barriers in a path that he never intended to walk. That meant other doors were left unlocked. Here, he intended to do much the same.

It seemed that some may not have wanted him to do anything at all. "Stop." This to Benedict, soft but not a whisper. "It's likely one of two things. Either way, I'd have to deal with it tomorrow or the next day if not today. Better just to get this over with regardless. Yes, I can always jump out the window if I have to." It wouldn't have been the first time. Anyway, knocking wasn't breaking doors down. People who wanted to break doors down didn't knock in the first place. "Stay close and watch, if you want, but try to stay quiet and out of sight. If I need a distraction, you'll know."

Two one-sided conversations finished, Burnie stepped towards the door and spoke loudly to it. "One doesn't get very far in Myrken opening a tavern room door without good reason. If you have one, I'm more than happy to hear it."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:17 am

The man with the ledger rubbed the white bristles on his chin. Of course this wasn't going to be simple. Of course it couldn't be simple. That was the way of it, wasn't it; it was always just a bit too important to be agreeable.

"Tavern-keeper's got a skeleton key. I could ask for it. I don't imagine I'll need to. Best reason that I can think of," he said, cheek almost touching the door, "is that I'm a few years too far past my prime to want to wrestle with or kill a man, and if it was a matter of main force, I'd leave it to a man twenty years my younger. Which as it goes, I just happen to have out here with me. On Inquisitory orders, of course."

Yates took that moment to knock a baton against the side of his boot, giving off a resonant clap-clap beyond the door.

"My name's Inquisitor Corm McKinnon. If I had any questions of my own to ask, I'd be happy to ask them through this door, but official business, I think you and I can agree, is best carried out face-to-face."

A few breaths of silence, so the world could grow still as stone.

"She told me I wouldn't need any irons. Think I can trust her on that?"
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Niabh » Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:24 am

The raven, clearly the only one around here who could obey a simple instruction, bobbed silently to Glenn, then vanished. One would be hard-pressed to hear the faint fluttering as he resettled himself just outside the window on the warm slant of the roof. He scraped and clawed his way as near to the windowsill as possible while still staying well below it, and was glad he did.

Glenn wasn't opening up without knowing why. One good thing, anyway.

Then a deeper rumbling, of which Benedict caught only one really important word.

Irons.

Maybe irons meant manacles, but sometimes irons meant iron.

shit shit shit
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:05 am

"Gloria then?" Could you hear disappointment through a door. You could. It was easy to be disappointed about this entire affair.

Burnie turned back towards his desk, shuffled through some papers, before leaving one lone piece, a letter, in the center of the desk. He moved the rumcake beside it, and tapped on the table three times to draw attention. "I got her letter yesterday. I sent her a letter back almost immediately. Before I got dragged off on this errand. Amenable terms. I half expected to see a letter back from her when I arrived from my other errand this afternoon, but I just haven't had a chance to check back in downstairs. Have you brought a letter from her?"

He didn't quite give them a chance to answer. Instead he moved towards the door, sat down against the wood, leaning his head back against it. It was a nice and casual motion. The voice, however, dropped down and would resonate to them more towards their crotches."Oh, I see how the brain's going out there. I can smell it through the wood. Hickory. Errand. What errand. And a second one too. Jot it down," here though, there was just a bit of hesitation, the theatrical sort. "Though, apparently, Corm McKinnon, you're an inquisitor without questions. Do you know what we call an Inquisitor without questions? Says he who was the first Inquisitor and who wrote up the bylaws of the place? We call an inquisitor without questions a Constable. That's the nice name for it, at least. Point there is that you can't pull that," he shifted his voice in a manner that would embarrass the raven who could do it flawlessly, to sound quite a bit older than he was, "twenty years younger. Going to retire soon. Old hip hurts when it rains. Reminds me of the sea. Except for of course, no one in Myrken's ever smelled the sea in the first place," and he returned to his normal voice, "bit, because the institutional's less than ten years old, and it was just me for the first year or two, before they made me become Governor, and then you're not in my first batch, so it's been what, five years for you? Five relatively quiet years without the things that go bump to chase down, not that I think you do a lot of chasing; some stair-climbing, apparently."

He was slowly getting back to his feet, was starting to reach for the door latch. There was a fairly good chance that one of them was halfway back with the keys by this point anyway. "Now that we all know each other and are friends, I'm about to open the door. As for the irons bit, like I said, I made the bylaws, and even if they've been amended in the meantime, which seems quite the odd thing to be able to get away with in a time of relative quiet, well, as I said, I have a letter, an amiable one, one swiftly responded to, where she says that I'll meet with he when I'm healthy and hale. It's with a friend, the sort who looks forward to delivering my mail in the future, as we speak, as we speak, (and you wonder, or you would if you were less constant and more inquisitive if that was one of my errands), and that's the sort of thing a solicitor would be able to use to great effect and, I hate to say it, as I do appreciate the institution; I created it after all, some real fiduciary damage."

He gave another second for the raven to pilfer the letter in question and disappear once again, before undoing the the latch and opening the door. "So, here we are then. The door is opened."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Niabh » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:18 am

After the three raps, a cautious black head slowly raised over the windowsill as the raven craned his neck. His eye first went on the door, solidly closed, then to Glenn, walking back toward it.

He vanished abruptly to reappear half a heartbeat later, silent as featherfall, upon the desk. Another quick glance to Glenn for confirmation, and if ever a raven could roll its eyes, Benedict would have done it. It figgered. He offered to stall for Glenn and now Glenn was stalling for him.

But he snatched up the letter. No sooner was it in his beak than both he and it dissipated into a black eddy rolling away through the gap in the window.

Delivery could wait until the raven determined just what all this was building to. Might be he'd need to make a detour or two first.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:57 am

After awhile, a man talks others into a dumbfounded stupor. At some point during the diatribe, Yates lifted his left hand, lovingly cradled the shaft of his baton, and began to slide his tight fist up and down, up and down, up and down along it, giving it firm squeezes at the peaks of Glenn's muffled words and loving, soothing strokes at the troughs. Finally, without ceremony, Yates blew his hand up into the air after a gasp of histrionic relief. Corm snorted. That was about right, after all.

So, here we are then. The door is opened.

And fitting, really, that it was then that it opened, because Corm had raised his fist this time to knock—

—and as the chamber opened, he took the satisfaction of the opportunity allowed to him, and threw a tight, well-focused punch right toward Glenn Burnie's nose the moment light and shadow fell across it.
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