Loss... Found?

Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:18 am

He skidded down to his feet as if he hadn't said a word at all, and turned sharply to walk towards Gloria and her scribe. Whatever maudlin memories had clung to him as he addressed the iron contraption seemed to be out of his system now. "That was for her, Gloria, not for you. Everyone deserves one. Assuming she's not Myrkenborn, everyone deserves one warning too." He'd seen, or heard, or felt, the way she had shifted her writing at certain words, a reaction that was not the reaction he might have expected from someone born and raised, someone familiar to one danger or another. "If she is, maybe she'd do well to have another."

With a little sigh, he looked down the more seasoned Inquisitor. "For you, I have a gift from Razasan, but it's back in my tavern room. Hopefully Genevieve didn't tell you, not that it's a big surprise, but I get to give very few gifts. I don't think there are many left that would like to receive them? I brought nothing for Catch, so you're doing better than him."

He had been wearing the slightest of smiles, and it faded over the span of a few seconds. "Gloria, you know well that I'm happy to take a punch from a Constable for Myrken and that I'll begrudgingly take a punch in general for you, but I'm not about to take a punch from a Constable for you. Whatever this is about, it best not be personal. It best not be about you. It best not be out of fear and anger and with revenge in mind. An Inquisitor cannot be petty; that road leads to tyranny."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:37 pm

Threats and warnings. She’d seen her fair share of those, mostly by lesser men in more precarious positions. She knew the signs: desperation, anger, frustration, among others. She knew the motivations, many as they were. They mostly stemmed from some fear or another. Many threats came from positions of power. She’d experienced many of these. Many were bluffs.

This. This felt like neither. This felt like provocation, like an attempt to goad her out of the character she’d chosen to play this day. This was an attempt to force Io to the surface and expose Marion as a fraud. If only he’d caught her before the merchant she’d met first. If only he met her before Gloria. The time, he would receive nothing. No action, not even a change in her expressionless face. Nothing more than that jade eye tracking his movements...well, that and a slight tightening of her fingers about the quill, like a snake, coiled to strike, but having no desire for it. The quill was no needle, but could still be of use.

Mmm, poppet... how long would it take them to react if...

No...

But...

No...

Perhaps two or three, even four before someone fell upon her. Still, she was a bit unnerved, not necessarily by him, or at least not at the the threat of immediate harm by him. It was obvious that this was a man of prominence or familiarity, not only by the way he addressed Gloria, but by the fact that in all this time, in all of his bluster and movement, there was no drubbing, no boots. Of course, that proved his intelligence as well. He seemed to be well aware as to what he could get away with. He seemed to know where and who to press. She was quickly beginning to feel herself a liability. He’d seen her face, which, in the grand scheme of things, probably meant little, it was only a mask for the waking hours after all, and she had seen his, which should have put them on even terms, but she did not feel such.

Calm, a thing she needed, but could not find at the moment. She had a collection of crudely written and probably misspelled names, and aside from mental notes, little else as of yet. She wished Gloria was more forthcoming, and didn’t expose her to this light, an unfair wish, admittedly, since she herself was not exactly an open book. She drew in an exasperated breath and released it slowly, quietly. Razasan...more names, but little significance as of yet. Perhaps she would look into them herself, when she could get away. Perhaps when she could remove this mask.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:10 am

"Of course it wasn't for me. I hardly think it was for her. It was, as it always is, for you." Glenn Burnie's approach changed her work not one bit: still, perhaps softer, she scraped, rendering nails into powder. "What you think is — is altruism and wisdom, Glenn, is really just a flailing boy's desperate want for an audience. Even a performer like Mister Treadwell isn't so desperate for a crowd as you are."

Her gaze trailed toward Marion for a moment, trying to measure the girl's temperature from afar. No, Gloria had no special talent for it, no special vibration in her bones to sense the tenor of someone's ease, but sometimes she imagined she could. What she wanted, by nature, was to tell the girl come sit with me. But she was no breakable rubberwood, no fragile carving of sandstone.

"This," she said to Glenn, finally meeting his eyes, "is my friend Marion. You ought to introduce yourself to her as properly as you can manage, as opposed to guarding the gates of — of the knowledge of ancient history."

A second nail done, Gloria began on a third. Her hands had begun to grow grayer, browner from the powdered iron, and slivers of it occasionally gave off a dull gleam from between the callused creases in her fingers. Today, Gloria's voice brimmed with quiet patience, even in the face of Glenn Burnie. Be not impulsive. Be not impulsive. She had written it a thousand times, a million times. She'd add no more scars to her knuckles today. She'd not answer that warm whisper, that insidious, familiar voice within her mind, hit something, hit anything, no matter how loud it became.

He could be as close as he desired. He knew. He knew Gloria had stared at taller men, at more threatening beasts, at more heinous dangers.

Her temple spasmed as her jaw ground impatiently.

"I fear Fionn has not been very good," she said. "And by association, Glenn, neither have you."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:59 am

"You'll have to admit, Gloria," a thousand things, really, and if they had all the time in the world, he could list them. To her credit, she'd probably admit a tenth of them, which was better than most people. The other ninety percent, however, she'd deny with all of her heart. There was little he'd deny anymore. There was no point. Better just to be buffered by it, by the waves, by the fists, by life itself. He wondered if she'd learn. "it's been quite a while since I've had a crowd. Anyway, the only crowd Treadwell can even see is himself. Maybe ghosts. I doubt we'll live long enough to find out."

Gloria demanded a polite introduction, however, and this other woman had done nothing to him. "Hello Marion. Welcome, to the Inquisitory, to Gloria Wynsee, to Myrken?" Only the last of these was a question. The first was a guess. The second though? The second was an assurance. Gloria rarely kept friends for long. "Please forgive us for what's to come."

No one hit him, though he'd welcomed it easily enough, so he drew back a few steps. That wasn't entirely a surprise. He'd done nothing to be hit, but then he'd done nothing to be in this room either. Still, good for Gloria. Still, he'd give her one last chance, visibly rolling his eyes as she mentioned Fionn. "I thought you said this wasn't personal?

"Association. What an interesting word. I thought we liked swain here?" Now with some distance between Gloria and himself and now that he wasn't hanging off of a desk and talking to an iron maiden, 'Marion' could get a better look at him. There wasn't very much to see. He looked like a rather energetic man of around three decades. He was a bit shorter than the average, maybe a bit thinner as well. It was hard to say considering his clothes: a slightly rumpled suit of earth-tones well-made but tailored to be a size too big; it was more than rumpled, more like dirty, as if he'd been in the woods, perhaps? There was nothing memorable about his features unless you considered plainness memorable. Maybe in Myrken Wood, it was. "What I can tell you, with real certainty, is that in the last year, I've spent far more time with you than her, and I have certainly spent far more time with Genevieve and Egris than either of you. In fact," he smiled and turned not to Gloria, but instead to her scribe. "I have loyalties only to Myrken Wood. I've lost everything else. I regret that, more than even I can put into words, but it means there's nothing anyone can hold over my head."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:40 am

A polite introduction demanded a polite response, though, she had no better to offer him than the hint of a nod, enough for acknowledgement, but not enough to avert her gaze. That is, save for a brief moment she gave to the chair behind the table, a silent suggestion.

She, herself, was, in contrast, perhaps a bit too memorable. She was noticeably cleaner, except a thin layer of dust expected of one walking the streets during the bustle of the day, with slightly more about her feet and ankles. She still hadn’t any shoes, and seemingly preferred it that way. This was the case, only because she’d snuck out the night prior, to the lake at the south end of town when she was sure no one would be awake or watching, and took a dip to bathe.

There were also the ink stains on her hands, though, considering her current role, was also to be expected. Her attire however, was definitely foreign, and perhaps looked far more expensive than it actually was. She wore a pale pink robe (most similarly to a yukata), hung loosely off her slender shoulders, with a deep magenta trim at the extremely oversized cuffs and at the collar and lapels. The sleeves, if they weren’t currently rolled back near her elbows, would have probably hung far past her waist, almost to her knees when standing. Being off her shoulders, it revealed a bodice underneath, pale pink as well, speckled with darker shades, and patterned with magenta dandelions. It was sized for someone not necessarily taller, but of more mature, feminine curves, which she did not, at least currently, have. Beneath the bodice, her shoulders and chest were bound tightly with slightly dingy white bandages, though, considering she appeared perhaps only a decade old herself, or perhaps two or three years past, they would have seemed unnecessary, as there was little to bind at all.

The robe draped asymmetrically past her narrow hips, covering most of her thighs on the right side, and perhaps half on the left, and was held together at the waist by a white sash, the same dingy tone as her bindings, wrapped at least thrice around. It was trimmed in blood red down the length, both above and below, and inked with pictographic runes down the center.

Stirrups covered her legs, and most of her feet, nearly up to her hips, in the same magenta as the rest. Her hair, a blushy blond hue (not quite strawberry, but not far off either), was mostly straight, though, partially tangled from a lack of a comb. She pulled it back away from her face in a high ponytail, leaving only bangs that refused to cooperate, and tying the rest with a strip of cloth, for a makeshift ribbon. Her face, aside from the wrapping around her head covering her right eye was slightly rounded, or would be with more regular meals, and her features were slightly more angular by nature. Curiously, her visage was, in general, perpetually expressionless, half dead and half alive, perhaps as it would be for one for whom death meant little and could come for at any time. She was pale, though, this was more a product of avoiding the sun, than from lack of regular meals. Aside from her back and shoulders, she had little in the way of scarring, save for the brands on her wrist and neck, and a few lash scars on her left forearm...sinew, perhaps?

She did seem to relax a bit at the distance, however, evidenced by her loosened grip on the quill. Then, there were the hints of strength peeking beneath the skin of her upper arms that rounded back out into girlish softness as well. The snake was satisfied, and uncoiling. Still, that wary jade eye of hers remained fixated. She wouldn’t relax too much, even if he claimed to be harmless.

She wasn’t buying his tales, however. He simply talked far too much for an innocent man, perhaps a contradiction, as innocent men often talked far too much, but this case was far beyond the norm. It was purposeful, a distraction, just as Gloria had warned. Too many names given, too much theatrics; it was a show designed to mask some kind of stink, perhaps the aforementioned ‘bull’s shit’.

She had ways of testing his so called loyalty however, ways that involved far less conversation, at the least, the verbal kind. Destitute as he wanted to seem, she was convinced of his prominence, past or present, by both his speech, and the wide berth he was being given, and if there was one thing she knew, it was that prominent people had possessions. Possessions that called out to her to be taken. Called out in the night, when others were asleep.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:46 am

Marion's silence was telling. Whether the young woman was deeply uncomfortable or spectacularly dedicated, she could not immediately discern. Never would, really. What mattered to her was that powerful knife of silence in the face of Glenn Burnie's fool's-gold monologue. Good girl. Blowing iron-dust from her fingertips, Gloria brushed them off on her skirt and said, "Menna Marion," as gently as possible. "When you are finished that line, would — would you step out to my desk and bring me the small vial that's on it? Barely the size of a finger. You can't miss it. The petals in it are the color of a carnation. But before you do—"

She ceased her filing only long enough to look back up at Glenn, whose absolute denial was, anymore, so foreign to her. Gloria'd had Myrken Wood beaten into her, molded into the cracks of her skin like clay, enough to know the place where humility met survival.

"Personal, Glenn, is that she kept me in a pit, nearly to freezing or drowning. But I'm neither so foolish nor so cold to believe that my recollection of that situation is — is reasonably accurate and tidy enough to merit charge. I was drunk, and more than drunk. I intended to be."

Gloria's accent became thicker, stronger when she spoke slowly, as if the words no longer had the desire to outrun the Jerno in her. Her lips shaped the softer consonants wetly, clicked dryly across the sharper ones, and let the vowels ring, ring, like little bells. A choirgirl habit. A fighting pit could not beat the black sweat and sand out of her.

"Factual, Glenn," she continued, "is that Fionn has been growing a plant capable of sickening and even killing people like you and I, something entirely unnatural to this environment. Factual is that she does not have the most peaceful history with human interaction, and neither do her kin. Factual," she sharply responded, "is that not only do you hide her away like a precious bauble and protect her interests through — through the willing diversion of the people you claim to protect, you've time and time again been found under the power and shadow of dangerous creatures very much like her."

All of this she had written to him before. But it bore repeating. It required forceful repetition. Especially now.

"Factual is that she and Mister Catch have grown terribly close, and while I trust him, I do not trust her, because — despite all the times I have sought out reassurance — you have failed to provide it. You've done her no service, and you know what can be done with him in hands both cruel and kind."

Stillness reigned in the Inquisitory. Stillness except for Glenn, except for Marion, for Gloria. Except for Yates. Even Corm had departed.

"How long do you expect our home to thrive," she said, "with you in it?"
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:53 am

She had already given up her face, and was loathe to do the same with her voice. One could be easily hidden, the other, less so. The nod she gave to Gloria was significantly deeper, however, than the one she gave to Ser Glenn, and with it, she set her tools aside on the floor next to her. Her hands had purpose, grace, practice in their movements, as did the rest of her body as it rose to full height; a singular motion of one familiar with repetition. Her feet left nary a sound as she strode across the wooden floor, squeezed past Gloria and out of sight.

It would be a few moments before she would return, though perhaps a few more than what would be expected from a “can’t miss it” search. With one hand, she offered the vial, upright and pinched between two fingers, and the other, a gentle squeeze of her shoulder. After retaking her place, she would seem distracted, her gaze no longer focused on the man before her, but on the candles, and the shadows dancing underneath. It was a subtle change, perhaps only noticeable to the equally keen eyed. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t watching him at all, she still took note of his actions and motions, but on the other hand, it would seem as if she were searching for something in the space between the light and darkness, or that she was just a child distracted by shadows and candles.

There, poppet, did you see?

See what?

There again, beneath his feet...the shadows...

What of them...?

Who knows, poppet, who knows...but they dance strangely, don’t they...?

Maybe, but why can no one else see it...?

Why indeed...why indeed...ten little beds...

She fixated on that spot, on the ripple in the dancing shadows that no one else seemed to see, that was there for a moment, and gone again. To the guard? Over to the bookcase? Had it noticed her? No, it was nothing, just her imagination...Right? Still, at the bottom of the used parchment, under all of the names, she wrote one more word, before covering it with a new sheet: shadows.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:04 am

Glenn Burnie had a shadow. It was not a particularly interesting one. At one point, years before, it might have been smaller than it ought to be in a certain light. At one point, a few years later, it might have been thinner, more shallow than it ought to be, might have lagged behind his movements by an imperceptible half second. At certain times, maybe it would have connected well in the midday sun with the veiled woman who was so often in her veils, but that was just because they walked so closely, and always in lockstep, no? Now, though? Now there was nothing to see, just a hint that something, once upon a time, might have once been interesting.

"To be fair," he started, before turning back to ...what was it? Monica? Marion. It was Marion, "and do you think I should be fair to Gloria? She needs it, even more than most. She deserves it more than a few." He wasn't expecting an answer, though he'd wait a moment for one. "To be fair, in this matter, I'd go personal as well. I'd be far more focused on you than the plant."

With that admission, he turned back towards the moved desk and sat back upon it, an act of certain whimsy given the setting and the circumstances. "One thing I've learned, and you might claim I have not learned many, is that we cannot see people for what they are instead of who they are. This was a hard lesson. There are exceptions: drow, for cultural reasons as opposed to racial ones, and vampires, because of the sheer necessities of life. I imagine other such things, incubi, succubi, that sort, the ones that actually need to feed somehow on humanity," there he paused, and his voice went dark, truly serious for perhaps the first time in all of this, "gods. Parasites, basically. Those are the only two exceptions I can think of. It's best to understand the nature of the others, the culture, the way their physical differences might affect their perceptions, but it is best to see them as people and not things. I've made grave mistakes along these lines over the years, especially when I was at my worst. It may have been logical to hunt a werewolf for being a werewolf, and thus outside the easy norms and laws of civic society, but doing so created a greater danger and limited potential good."

He shook his head. "I don't know, Gloria. You've said a lot. Would you rather I talk about the facts as you've presented them, answer that bit at the end, about our home thriving, or maybe have a chat about the real danger right now, your trust being half the problem. I don't think we can do all at once, and at least one of the three is pretense." He had slumped back into his seated positions somewhere in there, showcasing a sort of effortless, almost oozing agility that nothing about him would suggest in the least. "What about you, Marion?" He at least tried to offer her a half smile. "What would you like to hear the most?"
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:54 am

Here he was. The Glenn she expected. The Glenn she always saw.

The avoidant one. The one who believed himself beyond reproach or recrimination. The one who thought himself untouchable. But invincibility, Gloria Wynsee knew — the stump of her right hand twitched, throbbed, and for a moment, she remembered the phantom fingers — was a fabrication of a frightened mind. Here, he juggled and tossed topics like a court's jester, and while four or five years ago she might have thought it graceful, it seemed clumsier now, and dirtier, and altogether aimless.

He used to form steeples out of words. Now, they were just slums.

When Marion returned with the vial, Gloria eyed it with wariness, but she took it from her new scribe and into her iron-grayed hand, her ears warming at the touch of reassurance. To Gloria, contact was a precious gift, as valuable as jewels she had never seen. She inclined her chin, mouthed thank you for the retrieval, and squeezed the vial of fatum in her sweat-damp grip. When she took it, fingers brushed Marion's knuckles, an unspoken dash of gratitude.

While what she desired, wanted, more than anything in that moment was to explode from her seat and reduce this all to fists and puffs of blood and bruises on skin, she could not. The result would bolster the citadel of his self-image and his righteousness. Genevieve would frown. It would hurt. Instead, she leaned back in her chair, examined the faintly-glowing petals crumpled in the glass tube, and took a break from her vigorous filing of the nails. Iron stank. Stank like fire and earth. Like blood.

"There is nothing wrong in talking to him, Menna Marion, unless it discomforts you," she encouraged, watching the girl. "Let no man presume you must answer his questions, but especially not this one. He will try to bludgeon you with his rightness."

And that, perhaps, was the cruelest of all Glenn Burnie's foolish meanderings. He filled the world with himself. And worlds, like the books always said, eventually burned up and faded away.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:12 am

She chased the ghosts of her imagination for another lingering moment before returning to the shared reality. Her own, however, was growing distorted and paranoid. This...was starting to feel like a test. A test of loyalty. Her gaze would flash to Gloria. A test of identity. Then back to the man. Two tests, one of which she was bound to fail. Her mind sorted the infinite possibilities in the brief instant it was allotted.

She could explain away loyalty, to make her understand the importance of her silence, to tell her verbatim what she would say in the next moment and why. She could earn trust back through deeds both menial and desperate. She could beg forgiveness. They may work, or not, but the odds existed. On the other hand, if she gave him what he wanted, an answer, any answer, there would be no odds. No leverage, no safety, no distance, nothing could protect her from being any more than what she was now, assuming he would allow even that much. Sure, she knew what one could do with naught more than a name and a face, two things she’d already surrendered, but those had safeguards, those had masks.

No, there was but one choice.

There was not a place for wishes here, least of all hers, is what she would have said if she walked a proper path and had little to lose. Neither of those was true however, so she stayed silent, and steeled her mind. There was plenty wrong with speaking to him, three reasons coming to mind immediately. She was plenty discomforted, and she knew a bad idea from a long way off. Righteousness scared her little. Many were so until fear took them. Or money...or whatever their tastes were. Unfortunately however, these tests were polar opposites, and she was going to fail one. So be it. If she was to fail, it would be on her terms, then.

Once again, putting aside the slab, and the quill, and the round jar of ink, she rose to her feet, her eye staring in to the eyes of the righteous man before her. She seemed to see beyond, almost as if she was staring through him, to the wall beyond. Her gaze was hollow, like a purposeless golem.

If he would not flinch, she would approach, with the silence allotted a wraith, not just toward him, but directly into his space. She would lean into him, a warning to keep still. She may have been a pawn, but with the right play, those could threaten as well. Her right hand, just the fingertips really, would rest on his sternum, a quiet, yet strong suggestion not to move. She knew he would not attack her here, not now. It was perhaps the only advantage she had. Still, she was the cautious sort, and out of his sight, her left hand would rest near her thigh, as if to keep her balance, or as if she’d hidden some manner of safeguard there. It was a hint of a motion, designed to not draw attention. Of course, even if it did, Yates, was it..? Yes, he would not own to watching the thighs of a child.

Short as he was, the good Ser Glenn, she was still a bit shorter, and would rise to her toes, as she rested her weight, what little she had, on him, her pale lips rising to meet his ear. She was warm, save the patches of exposed skin about her shoulders and arms, and carried the scent of something she’d eaten earlier, honey perhaps? She almost didn’t seem to breathe as she leaned against him, sharing his space, and almost daring him to act. It was probably because she didn’t. In truth, she was no better than a bundle of nerves at this gambit, knowing what could be lost in the exchange. Perhaps it was the product of overthought, but he was too intelligent to assume otherwise. Still, it was... perhaps a bit too intimate and far too assertive for a child, but, it wasn’t as though assertive children didn’t exist at all. There were a few proofs residing on her back and shoulders to attest to that.

She would offer him the same kindness he offered her, a gentle warning of which all deserved, albeit in her own twisted way. She would give him no tone of her voice, however. No, she would allow only a whisper none but he would hear.

“I know not the contents of the vial, good Ser. I suspect that he may, and if he wishes not a taste, then Marion believes he should answer Miss Gloria’s questions. Short and true are best.” It was breathless, yet, purposeful, and as much as she could muster, dripping with feigned innocence. She would peel herself from him, using his sternum for a gentle leverage, and back away a pace or two, allowing her hands to clasp humbly behind her waist. She would offer another shallow nod, again, just enough to acknowledge, but not enough to alter her gaze. She could have offered her own threat, but wouldn’t, not here, not now. She knew better than to give herself away so easily.

Of course, there was the possibility that he would indeed flinch, and if he did, she would simply halt, halfway through the room and offer a brief, subtle smile of her own. She would be satisfied with no words at all. She would seemingly retain her advantage of silence, and maybe even gain one of intimidation. He would hopefully catch the hint, and perhaps leave her to her chore. Sure, he would suspect she was no scribe, and probably already did, but at least on the surface, she would remain just a strange child, and perhaps may live a bit longer.

Either way, she would ultimately spin about, and return to the darkened corner for her tools. Rather than just sit, however, she instead carried them to the side of one Gloria, and took her seat, her half-kneel-and-resting-on-her-ankles posture, in the narrow space left in the doorframe. She would answer her own questions later, she surmised, yet, for her, still, that was the easier choice.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:51 am

The iron was telling. Gloria was not bandying it about for his sake (he had decided), but instead because she did not want to stop her work. She'd be doing this if he hadn't arrived, if he'd run off or successfully refused, or had left Myrken in the dead of night. Still, it was telling. He wouldn't want Finn in this room. He wouldn't want any of her kind, necessarily. Iron didn't affect all magic, of course. It had been silver with Kacela, the werewolf. He'd told that story for a reason, but obviously such things had to be spelled out now. Still, if this was glamourie, this girl before him, the iron would cause some trouble. Anyway, if was glamourie, he'd know it for other, less pleasant reasons. Who needed a flower after all?

There were other explanations then, other possibilities, most of them more interesting than glamourie, to be honest. There were some, he imagined, who reveled in the idea of having their perceptions warped, who found reality dreary and dreadful or far too hard to manage. Drunks and lotus-eaters, but dreamers as well. Burnie had come to admit that it could well be a form of communication, but in all other senses, he loathed the thought of it. Shared and agreed upon perceptions were the foundation of human connection, of classification, of understanding the world. To make them fluid and subjective was to tear apart everything he worked for, to make ridiculous even the possibility of progress.

So yes, she should well be more interesting than another of Finn's people.

And he was curious, far more curious, especially by this point, than he was careful. Self-preservation meant little to someone who had lost so much. He let her come up. If she wanted to make an inspection of him, that was one thing. If she wanted to impose her own presence, another. If she meant to find some secret in his pockets, he had enough hidden ones that it would take her an hour at least. She would note, however, in her touch, that there was muscle under those slightly baggy clothing. He was not entirely what he seemed, but then who in this room was?

And let Gloria watch. She'd found her Glenn Burnie? Fine. Let her find him again, this one with the engaged, piercing eyes, this one that wanted to take in the entire world and drown in it, that wouldn't accept anything less but everything, that would shine light, his light, on every shadow even if it meant draining every bit of wonder from the world. It was never enough and it would never be enough.

I, Marion, Good ser, and he. That was interesting. Tenses seemed fluid, including the first-person. You rarely saw that. It could be subterfuge, an attempt to raise a smokescreen of sorts, to dissemble with chaos, but there were other explanations, and again they were more interesting.

She withdrew with a threat only half her own, and left him with a bemused smile. There had been no flinching. "What I fear, most of all, in this moment, is that you have heard all that you've heard, written what you've written, and yet, that you have no curiosity of your own. What would that say for our future as a people, right Gloria? I'd like to solve a puzzle box put before me. Gloria would like to smash it, but would then peer inside. You'd, what? Use it as a paperweight?"

He extended his arms now, giving her that sternum again as a target. It was a stretch from a man with poor social habits, or maybe it was how one made himself look larger when faced with a predator (even a smaller one). "I don't want to answer Gloria Wynsee's questions. She's far too biased. You learn to recognize what you can see in yourself. I'm willing to answer yours though. You'd heard so much, between her and me. What are you most curious about? You brought her in here, Gloria. Can't we let her curiosity reign? Just for a bit."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:24 am

"Her curiosity is hers, and certainly not yours to — to dictate. If Menna Marion," she tilted her head toward the girl, "has questions, then I hope she feels free to ask them."

That was that. No more. If Marion required some semblance of permission, that was Gloria's, spoken truly, punctuated in its confirmation with a look to the scribe, and a nod. Of course Glenn was going to try to dominate the conversation — Gloria had accounted for such. But even silver tongues lost their polish after long, and she found herself altogether bored by his continued diversion. Rage and fury was for Razasan. Partly, she'd anticipated being driven to ire by Glenn Burnie's continuous prattling.

She found herself pleasantly surprised at the stillness, the ease, of her beating heart.

There was some victory to be found in Marion's unspoken threat, the way she approached the man, consumed his space, spoke to him, all honeyed sweetness and meek simplicity, and yet broiling somewhere underneath. Or so Gloria imagined. Her jaw tightened with a moment's satisfaction. Short and true are best.. For safe-keeping, she slipped the glowing vial into a pocket of her patchwork skirt. The Jerno in her quite liked the threat; she would have liked to say something like that to Desra, to one of the other little j'uk'ols in the seam house.

For the briefest moment, in Gloria's inner eye, Marion had skin as dark as coal and smelled hot and brown as the Glass Sun.

Then, when the girl settled back beside her, Gloria dared to brush the faintest motion of a touch against the underside of Marion’s elbow. Quietly,: "I aim to be a friend to you first, and — and never your director."

Simple. Easy. Glenn Burnie had forgotten how to be.

For Io, speaking — or not — once again bore that dreadful nuance of choice.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:21 pm

Curiosities...questions...puzzles. Certainly the entirety of the situation weighed on her mind. Certainly she was curious about the grandiose gentleman, pointing a finger at his captors, something of which she could likely satiate in the dusk time, when the shadows were long, and the town grew weary. Certainly she was curious about the supernormal, secretive Gloria, something that could likely be satiated by time and trust. Most importantly, and most immediately, however, she was curious as to why she was even here.

The thought dawned on her as she sat, basking in the mild warmth of the halo of hall light. She’d never asked, nor was she told the purpose of this meeting. Surely he had done something, after all. This was the type of room for those accused of something more than personal betrayal, right? But, what if it wasn’t? What if this inquisition was just a power play between... It was at this moment, that a look of bewilderment would wash over her visage. Was she... Was she brought here to settle a familial quarrel? To any other outsider, one not used to overthinking the mundane, it would probably seem so. The image was almost comical. If the others weren’t so...solemn and stone faced , she might have burst into a fit of reserved laughter. At the very least, her sense of uncanny calm returned, if only for a few brief moments.

No, Gloria wouldn’t be that petty, right? To the gent’s credit, there was a sort of personal feel to their banter. There were no questions as of yet, no concrete accusations, no accounts, nothing of the sort. Why indeed was he here?

Returning the quiet, she pulled softly at the flank of Gloria’s tunic, and whispered two quick words, “A word?” Before standing, cradling her things under her arm and stepping out, aligning herself with and gently caressing the backside of the door. Gloria may have intended nothing untoward would happen, but she herself had made no such pact. She, herself, needed to have an untoward conversation. Yes, she had curiosities, among other things, and it was time to have at least some of them satiated.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Thu Apr 16, 2020 3:43 am

A tug upon her tunic.

You're tall as buildings. She'd tug on it, too, if she was around.

A word. Yes. Marion could have word; Marion could have several, or many, and Gloria would be all too happy to offer them. She stood, and said to Glenn Burnie, "I need more nails," though her pockets jingled heavily with them, and she seemed momentarily distracted. "Stay," she told Glenn — and not kindly, but sharply, like a needle. "Else you ignore Inquisitory directive, and you make my task that much easier." He could talk to the windowless walls, to the battered chairs, to the scuffed floorboards.

Outside the room, Gloria put her unrelenting frame against the portal, as if the breadth and height of her body might further muffle the words that she and Io were about to share. She kept rolling the glowing vial in her only hand, massaging the glass between thumb and forefinger, and occasionally tapping it — tap, tap, tap — against her chin, or even her own chest, as if stillness was no option. She turned her head, this way, that way, and the wax-dipped strings of her bonnet beat a rhythm against the collar of her dress.

Then, very coolly, she stared to force herself into breathing. Her nostrils flared, her mouth tightened as she exhaled—

"You're doing exceptionally," Gloria said to the girl in blossom-colors, and then looked down, away from her, to her own knees, to the floor. Rubbing, with fingers holding volatile glass, that spot on her garment where Marion had tugged.

"Have we done something wrong?"
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:50 am

She found herself pacing a bit, her mind awash as to how to begin. With her free hand, she ruffled her own hair, just a little, though, considering it’s fairly frayed nature, there probably wasn’t much effect. A frustrated sigh escaped her lips.

“Miss Gloria is kind, too kind.” Perhaps the wrong way, but, she had no better for the moment. “Marion believes this man, that he is familiar with Miss Gloria and here on Miss Gloria’s summon. Marion would not question Miss Gloria’s reasoning, but if she wishes a confession for something, he will not give it, not like this.” Her sense of justice never did revolve around actual innocence or guilt, as it never was applied to her. For her, justice depended on what one was willing to endure, what one was willing to admit to. For her, both the innocent and the guilty could only endure so much, though, the innocent did usually manage a little longer, most of the time. Still, everyone had a breaking point.

“He believes his mind is strength, and Marion cannot match words with him.” More likely that she was unwilling. It was purely self preservation for her. The more he knew about her, her face, her history, her voice, her...ailment, the stronger his position was, and the less she would be able to act. Whatever the reason for his presence, it was no trivial matter, and equally, he was no trivial individual.

“Miss Gloria may, but, not if she is kind. Marion believes...” She hesitated, and a lump of regret formed in her throat. Perhaps it was a side she preferred not showing, or fear of rejection, but the words did not come easy. “Marion thinks that Miss Gloria needs to take away his mind. Marion may know of a way...” Her expression chilled at the thought, and her attention drifted to the brand on her wrist. She lowered that hand to her waist, and her jade eye followed, growing empty as it went, sinking into the abyss of a memory she’d rather have not relived. There was ill intent in that gaze, a willingness to harm, infused with a taste of desire.

Oh yes, poppet, we may know indeed...

No...it...it isn’t right...

It worked for us...Didn’t it? I’d say it’s still working...


“Marion will not question Miss Gloria’s methods, but, if she wants answers, she must make him believe that she will do anything for them...” It was probably the most words she’d spoken at one time since she arrived, and she hated them, all of them. It wasn’t for speaking them, she firmly believed that the reminder was necessary, but rather for forming them at all. It was a disgusting thought, altogether, one she’d have rather left behind in the East, yet one of many that were seemingly destined to travel alongside her.

Truthfully, she was unsure of the entire ordeal. She wholly expected a resolute rejection of this plan, and secretly wished for it. If anything, it wasn’t for her own sake, but for Gloria’s. It was a thing to do, that required the rejection of one’s soul, and in this hallway, there was perhaps only one willing to do so.

She shook her head at the thought. “No, Miss Gloria is capable. And Marion will trust.” She was caught in the place between intimidation, anxiety, and a measure of intrigue. She was not fearful for herself, mind you, she herself had little to lose, save for a friend, but that was enough. He was correct, that she did want to solve the puzzle, but so far it was not on her terms, and it left her feeling raw, and exposed, and vulnerable. She had a way of doing things, like most ‘predators’ and nothing about it involved allowing the prey the first move.

Something was wrong in that room, she could feel it, smell it, see it emanating, radiating from him, yet, by all account of her senses, he was just a man. He was learned, that was to be sure, but there was something else. Something she couldn’t explain. It was obvious to her that at least part of his plan was to suspect Gloria of mal-intent, and another part to spread other confusion, her list of names was evidence enough, but she could not reason the third part, not yet anyway.
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