Loss... Found?

Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:11 am

Lovely murderer you have here.

Inkpot smashed, crashed, spilled. Tattoo of black, scattered and wasted. But he's murdered far more ink in his time than a spill ever will.. But Marion never lost her control, did she; she, instead, turned herself to stone with it. And with the grimace plastered on Gloria's face — cork-colored teeth clenched so tightly they might burst to powder — it was clear she was prepared to heel the vicious girl if she must.

"Marion, in but days, has grown to be a greater and more trustworthy confidant than you have been in seven years' time, and with the poisoner, the fae you harbor in the woods, we must be decisive. You may not believe it of yourself, Glenn, but you are poison. I would happily — happily — watch you hang, if it meant protecting the interests of my family here in Myrken Wood. If it is restraint you crave, then look in its face: that you are not a dead man already is the clearest evidence of it.

"Your could not protect your own family. You abandoned her. You abandoned your town. You abandoned humanity. You abandon us even now. I have given you ample opportunities to explain yourself: in writing, in person, in Razasan, in peace.

"I have, as both a fellow and a representative of the Inquisitory, stood by as you have subdued knowledge and willingly obscured it. Twice I have been set upon by Fionn's violence, and there will not be a third. I am through parrying words with you. That you cannot perceive or understand—" she jabbed one of her fingers against her temple, "—what threats you and your machinations pose, from one Myrkener to another, is reason enough to imprison you."

Looking at him now nearly turned her stomach. She'd forgotten, at some point, what his face looked like. She hated being reminded of it now. He could have all the words he wanted, but she would have words and action.

"My friend—" to counter his murderer, "—will bind your wrists, and you will allow her. Unless you prefer the cage. You will be placed under arrest for harboring a being whose practices suggest a capacity, a — a premeditation, and an interest to do harm to Myrkeners, and for playing your part in a conspiracy to undermine, overthrow, and sell our province to exterior powers. Should you deny this imperative, Glenn Burnie, you deny written Inquisitory order in the midst of an ongoing investigation, and proclaim yourself a fugitive."

Then she locked her jaw. No more options. He had such a way of squandering time, of divesting himself of every reasonable choice offered to him.

To Marion:

"He is not worth proving right."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:26 pm

Murderer...indeed...

The daggers were placed with care under the seams of her cloth back to the leather belt around her thigh from which they were taken. If only she’d lied and brought her needles... The tongue lashing would have been worth seeing his reaction to the drug.

For now, she offered him the same treatment, her back to his, ignoring his presence. A darker part of her wanted the struggle, the excuse. Of course, by now she figured he wouldn’t risk the conflict here, at this moment. Though not a fighter, the test would have been somewhat appetizing. Two creatures, neither bound by the fear of physical harm... For a few moments more she would offer herself as a target.

“My... It seems Marion lost herself. For that she is sorry.” Her attempt at an apology was flippant, aimed over her shoulder at him, but meant more for Gloria. It was a disgusting maturity she preferred not to show, not in the light. It was a disgusting maturity that did not match the youthful, if not golem-like, expressionless visage face she wore.

On the other hand, just as that dark part of her psyche wished for this conflict, there was another part of her that found the man curious. Not necessarily his excessive use of his tongue. She wouldn’t have minded claiming that as a trophy. Rather, it was his mannerisms, his attitude that captured her. In a sense, he was a window into her own devious mind, and learned as he seemed, he might even be able to produce some of the answers she herself sought. Perhaps if she were to encounter him again, she would seek counsel with him...

One lost a mind, and then there were nine...

“Marion believes it is the Good Ser’s intent to leave here spoilt, to prove him better.” She didn’t bother hiding this assumption, his behavior screamed it, at least in her mind. “He will fight only enough to make Marion lose herself again, but will not go with ease.” This was less a prediction than a gambit. As much as she wouldn’t have minded the contrary, she did hope that he would prove her wrong. “Or, the Good Ser could spread his arms, with his palms up and open.” This she punctuated with two nods, offered to the wall she’d faced.

“Marion is curious, however, as to why the Good Ser is so wanting harm. She believes it to be a show for someone, but does not know who, or why, other than to invite war.” She, in contrast to the other two, was quite matter of fact in her intent, even if her manner of speaking was not. “If Marion is correct, then he should remain here, out of the light. If the guard is called, quietly, then he cannot flee. He can be sacked, if Miss Gloria wishes, and taken under cover of night.” For a presumed child, her mind was rather devilish. At the least, it was far too experienced in this matter than it should have appeared to be. “Miss Gloria should call who she trusts only, and the Good Ser should be taken somewhere likely not to be sought. That who he follows or leads is want to look in this gaol.” Another two nods.

This was typically the sort of thought to be expressed in confidence, and likely would have been, however, she expected this too to fail, and only wanted to draw a reaction, any reaction. No, she could not match his tongue, and was not necessarily sure of his physical prowess, but there was always a weakness to be found, and it was time to probe.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Fri May 01, 2020 3:30 am

Gloria gave him a litany of choices, more than they had time to cover, especially when she didn't seem to want to listen to anything. What do you tell to someone that claimed that you ruined them? How severe a statement. There was no black and white to it, no room for reason or discussion. He had so few interactions with her over the years, before Razasan. It was impossible to know Gloria Wynsee and not feel that you knew her, but the effort had not been put in then. Later, it had, to a degree, but not to great effect, not in her mind certainly.

His abandonment then? He may have abandoned her at certain points. But his family? Humanity? Myrken? Could she even place what she was saying? "For six months, eleven years ago, I abandoned hope and sought only revenge. That was a mistake." Was it a joke? Only if she made it one. So much had come from that poor decision, but mainly he was highlighting the absurdity of her accusations. "In the grand scheme, you never know what might lead to darkness and inevitability, Gloria, but often it's the more drastic decisions you make." As for the rest, well, he was betrayed by Giuseppe? Maybe, in time, she might be betrayed by her Marion. It seemed more than likely given the shifting tenses.

"Look, never mind that. What does habor even mean in this situation? They're not my woods. I haven't even been here, Gloria. I've sent no letters of introduction. I'm obviously not making much of a case for her with you, am I? Now then, have I made an attempt to understand someone who might be a threat to people? Yes, but then you and I both have with Kacela or Catch or anyone else with power or presence. We both do it with Genevieve now in our own way and if things go poorly, if Myrken or Glenn Burnie or Gloria Wynsee help to ruin her like Rhaena Olwak was ruined, she'd be just as large a threat. She'd admit that and we all take care to help prevent it. Do we harbor her? Did you harbor the storyteller when you advocated for her out of a sense of justice? I could not find my way to Fionn in this moment, even if I wanted to. What sort of harboring is that? What do you even claim? If you're going to get what you want, at least put in some effort to the rationale." He raised hand in exasperation, either feigned or honest, and turned to look at Marion as if for the first time.

For her, there was a smile, though it was slight, coy, barely there just like the rest of his face seemed to be barely there. It reached his eyes though and did that surprise her? "I accept your apology," he hoisted himself back up on the desk and patted the space next to him. It was a tight fit but he was not overly large and neither was she. "but only because you finally expressed some curiosity. I'm happy to answer your question, as it's the first question I've been asked today. For as much as she says the words warrant and harbor, Gloria Wynsee is on shaky ground, both legally, and one would have to imagine, personally. I appreciate and admire her resolve in this matter. She obviously believes it important and believes her right and in times like that, you have to make costly decisions for Myrken, but I think here the benefit is too low and the cost too high. In this moment, however, to ensure this, and maybe convince her that the cost is so high that she best not pay it, you bloodying me, unarmed, unasailing, a bit, raises the stakes. I was, and still am, willing to pay that particular cost at the expense of my own body, so that she might have to pay it in power, prestige, and perception."

Whether she sat down next to him or not, he'd shrug his left shoulder in a soft, arching circle. "And as for why I just paid the cost of telling you that, of making it less likely you'd do it and give me yet another bit of currency in this mad exchnage? Well, you asked a question and then shared your thoughts of squirreling me away. The latter is a bad idea. People know I've returned. People know I was taken. People will be eager to see me once more. Things went poorly but I did not leave friendless. I did not stay away friendless. I trade books with merchants. Hell, I owe people money! That's the best way to get someone to come looking for you," and at that he laughed softly, solely for her. "No, she won't do that because she doesn't want answers from me. That's why she's not asking any questions, why she made such harsh terms and then quickly rescinded them once she realized I wasn't going to pick the one she thought I was. No, no, I'm fairly sure that she thinks she can use me as bait."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Fri May 01, 2020 4:53 am

"You have no need for apology," Gloria said to Marion, never pulling her eyes now from Glenn. "He infuriates and incenses; he's devolved from a man of great intelligence over the past several years into — into the clown of some comedy. He aims to discomfort you, and pull you out of yourself, then revels in your recognition of the discomfort.

"But there are better teachers, by far, and kinder souls."

Yet, the only words Glenn spoke that seemed to land, that grazed her, were those involving Genny Tolleson. Speaking of her, what, as if she was some liability? Gloria could have ripped into him, torn him with her teeth, or clawed his eyes out. Would have happily been the greater monster, if it meant showing him. How much Genny had done. How much she had peeled away, rearranged, reformed herself to prevent the future she feared. Feared. Genny knew fear; Glenn, incapable of it, scoffed at fear.

That who he follows or leads is want to look in this gaol.

True. Gloria's pulse pounded just beneath her temple. She considered the room around them, suddenly, for its capacity as a place of holding. It would suit. It would do its work — and Glenn would, after all, hold himself much by his own choice with his words and insistence to speak. It possessed no windows, and but a wooden door. He could be given a chamber-pot. He could be provided meals. And he would be within sight.

"Those I trust," Gloria said to Marion, "exist largely under this roof. This is as good a place as any, Menna Marion, if you will help me see to his security." To Marion, she spoke surely, coolly, easily. The anger he inspired abated; for Marion, she possessed patience. "Whether or not she comes for him is little of my concern, because no matter his perception, the matter was never bait—" a word nearly spit, because as usual, Glenn Burnie thought himself keenly in possession of the Truth and yet largely managed to evade it. "She wouldn't come for him; it threatens too much to disclose her, and she works too keenly with violence to be trusted with anything but shedding blood."

And blood would not help him. Not now.

"I count on her, though, to find the Inquisitors and volunteers I sent to the forests with her name on their lips, because like your pride will never keep you from holding your tongue, hers—?"

She opened the door to Yates, pointing to the irons at his waist.

"We will discover the limits of her pride in time."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Fri May 01, 2020 6:17 am

Ochi, a game played in the slums of Wrexham by men with too much time on their hands, and too much coin. It was a game of strategy, sacrifices for gains, traps, feints, and attrition. Standing there, hearing their words, she was reminded of the pastime. She’d never had the opportunity to play, herself, but had seen it enough to understand the general idea. The Generals used the pawns to lure and entrap the opposite General. Sometimes sacrifices had to be made, other times direct assaults were best. Predictions were often valuable, even if imprecise.

No, she would not sit, but rather continued to present her back to him. Her mind was laying the pieces on the board, musing for a strategy started long before her arrival. How were they currently arranged? Were they currently in possession of a pawn? A lieutenant, or a captain? Surely not the General, judging by the way they were talking. No, the General was still in play.

He was far too intelligent, or at least far too wordy to be a pawn. He had given himself freely. Well, mostly, considering the bruise on his cheek. There was a General here, or so it appeared. At least, Gloria presented herself as such. Was he meant to be the sacrifice? That seemed to be the case, currently. If it was as such, it was a brilliant gambit, sending him here to expose the General. Still, even brilliant gambits could be trumped.

“No, Miss Gloria, not here. He was summoned, yes? That means he was seen. That means he is here. Those that will come will look here first.” Finally she spun about on her heels to face him. “The Good Ser is bait, if he wishes or not.”

She took an over-pronounced step toward him, with her hands clasped behind her back, as a child would. “Marion believes it to be wise not to use the whole block of cheese to lure the rat, when a hint will do. Let the rat think the cheese is there, even if it isn’t, and he will be drawn to the light.” Another wobbly melodramatic step. “But the Good Ser is no rat. He is more like a wolf, a skilled hunter in the middle of the pack. Not the lead, but too valuable to lose. They will come for him.” A third step, akin the the first two. “If they know where he is, they will have the favor of planning, and Miss Gloria will have to defend. If they only think they know, then we can watch from the shadows, and sniff out the scouts. They will quickly know he is not here, and will scurry back to the darkness, but will need to step into the light, in time, to ask questions.”

A fourth step, and she was upon him again, in his space. Her musings were directed at him, but not for. “The Good Ser is likely truthful, they know where he is, and who has him. It is not for his sake that he needs taking, Miss Gloria, it is hers.” As before, she leaned into him, taking in his essence with a deep, yet quiet nasally breath. “Marion believes he may have fulfilled his purpose...” The pieces, one by one, rearranged infinitely on that wooden slab. “...and if Miss Gloria is to achieve hers, she must retreat for now. Yes, Tai~?” This, the title she bestowed was for him.

The game had infinite permutations, depending on the sensibilities and personalities of the players, and though she did not yet have an accurate picture of either of their machinations, she found it best to try to eliminate possibilities, one by one, until there was a revelation. It was, after all, how one played a game of lies. Out of the three of them, besides, the only one with no knowledge of the pieces on the board was herself, and a tactical retreat was for her benefit as much as Gloria’s, or at least that’s how she saw it. The only way she would find the hunters, was to start a chase.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Mon May 04, 2020 1:20 am

Burnie kicked his feet. It was idle and restless, with an energy which wasn't exactly concerned, but was also impossible to constrain. That was the price of sitting instead of standing. She hadn't joined him, and neither were particularly engaging him, though both were doing it half so. "You are resolute, Gloria. And there are times in the history of Myrken Wood where such decisiveness would have meant everything. Here it just shows you to be thick and people will almost surely suffer for it. It's not too late though. No deeds have been done that can't be walked back from."

That was for her. This would be for Marion. "For all she just said about trusting you, she won't listen to you now. Has she listened to you at all today? Truly? How many suggestions have you provided in those little sojourns outside? How much of her plans and her intentions are you learning now? According to her, I'm not here to answer questions. I'm not here to be bait. I harbored some wicked villain despite not even being here in the province. And on and on and on. You could have stabbed someone an hour ago and you could be having dinner and drink now."

Would there be a slash of a dagger? No? No dinner for anyone then. Instead, to Gloria. "My terms. I will stay, for a few hours, and you can make of them what you will, on the following terms. First, paper and some fresh ink that's not been used as a clumsy weapon. Second, some assurance that Genevieve knows what you're up to, for your sake and her sake as much as mine. She'll know this soon enough. Nothing has been done that can't be walked back, Gloria. Nothing yet. Third, and this is the most important bit: send me your current specialist on Catch. You must have one. This building primarily exists for him. You're swatting at phantoms and grudges when there's so much more afoot." He paused but just for a moment. "You seem to be confused how terms work as you gave me yours and then provided me no opportunity to answer them." He put a finger over his lips, from left to right, as if silencing himself so that she might respond.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Mon May 04, 2020 4:20 am

"So much more afoot," she repeated. "There it is — the willing elusiveness, to keep the gates of knowledge locked and barred, except for how it might benefit you. As for paper, you'll have none: you've earned no right to it, and will find none in this room. If your silence is also suffocation, then so be it.

"No man held will have access to weapons. I know how you can put pen to work."

But then she laughed — suddenly, and abruptly, and humored, the kind of mirth that came on the end of a joke. Current specialist? Here, Gloria set herself to a new work, skirts hissing across the floor, socked foot sliding, booted foot clicking, and took up the iron-filled boot. She took out pinches of the iron shavings, rubbed them so vigorously between her fingers that the tips faded gray. "There are no specialists for Mister Catch, except for those who love him. Their specialty, as you choose to put it, beggars measurability. You want a specialist?" Spit pooled in her mouth; she wanted to put it at his feet. "Then fucking lower yourself, Glenn.

"You want to know about him? Then talk to Cherny. Talk to Catch's family. Or did you forget, in your infinite incompatibility with your fellow Myrkeners, that we have had to tear ourselves apart for one another, just to survive? And that means seeing the ugliest parts of one another, and the most wonderful parts of one another, and the truest parts. Hurting each other irrevocably," she said, "and hating ourselves. Just for a spark.

"Nameless," Gloria breathed, as if the realization burned like magma, squinted at him from a thousand leagues away. "You don't know what that's like, do you. You have no idea." There was no other word for it, and it came out of her with a lilt of audible regret.

"You're so — small."

Retreat. Marion's voice came to her as if blown through a tiny glass tube. A retreat was not walking back. Nothing here was worth walking back, for no lines had been crossed, nothing done without recourse. A retreat was not walking back. Nothing would be walked back. The iron had been shaved.

Somewhere else, now. She looked toward Marion, past her, through her, her dull gaze catching no light, her dark face easy, reserved anew. Held her boot against her chest. Hugged it, would have breathed the iron into herself, into all of them, if she could. Here, she spoke with an air of softness, of rationale and reason nearly battered out of her on a hay-stuck floor in Razasan.

"You have no stake in this, Marion. Knowledge can be a festering wound, can't it? Had no stake. But knowing now what you do and what you do not, I defer to the truth of your perceptions—"

"Do we hold him," Gloria Wynsee asked, "or do we let him go?"
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Mon May 04, 2020 7:19 am

Feint. Press. Options. Options with consequences. What were the sacrifices needed? What needed to be reserved? There were too many pieces missing from view to make a proper, calculated decision. There were two pawns, one Tai, and a general one side, and an unknown number of pieces on the other, with one captured. Each move had merits, each had pitfalls. She could not yet visualize the machinations on either side, but she trusted Gloria, if only because she had the wherewithal to hold her penchant for lesser deeds at bay.

She stayed close to him, close, but not touching. He was the one piece on the other side she could see, the one she could form conclusions about. She was certain of his purpose, less so of the others, however many there could be. He had a pleasant earthy smell, like the first rain after a brush burn. It reminded her of the journey north, and her journey here. It was soothing, it helped her focus, it was calming, even if he was quite the opposite.

“Miss Gloria should...euhhh....” she hesitated. She had machinations of her own, based partially on those trusted perceptions. She, herself did desire to know more, they were both correct on that front. “...Hold the Good Ser for now. Marion thinks he should have his letters, Miss Gloria can monitor them. I will watch from here to see who comes. Miss Gloria should take the Good Ser...” another hesitation. She needed a code, somewhere that would require digging. “...To stay with a seamstress. Two men, dressed as common should be quiet enough to avoid eyes. She should move at night, to keep him hidden.”

That was the best she could do for now. It was a retreat, plain and simple, reserved for those without the advantage. “But, Marion is willing to do what will best ease Miss Gloria. If she may, Marion asks to use all of her trinkets, for now...” She offered Gloria the most comforting nod she could muster. There was likely to be another sacrifice made, before the morning.

“Marion will go retrieve them, and will return.” She was supposed to wait for an answer, but couldn’t, not this time. Next time... She would hold her promise then. She backed away from the table, and padded toward the door, sliding past Gloria, past the guard, Yates, it was. She paused in the hall, briefly, taking a moment to temper a concealed shaky resolve, before pulling a hood over her head and grasping the knob to the portal back into the light of the town. Something kept her from turning it, however, and so she waited for a few moments longer, expecting an answer to materialize.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Mon May 04, 2020 8:57 am

A protracted moment. Marion could have easily denied the responsibility, might have held high her palms and escaped the course of it all. But she did not. She and her trinkets certainly had their own intentions, and though there might have been some thirst to slake, some satisfaction to achieve, there would need to be walls, barriers, assurances—

As Marion passed, Gloria's iron-darkened hand lifted, made as if it might touch the passing girl's shoulder. Mindful of their iron, though, the fingers merely brushed the blossom-colored fabric. A reminder of being there. For the nod, Gloria offered her own: just a curt lowering of the chin, a momentary aversion of the gaze, a breath more in the nose than the throat.

No denials. No refusals. A seamstress needed not be told how tight her stitches should be.

When Marion had gone, Gloria's stillness intensified. Someone might have carved her out of black stone, or fashioned her out of some too-tall knot of burnt wood. For some time there was just the hissing, in-out sound of her breath spiraling out from her nostrils. She found a knot in the wood of the desk's side-panel, just barely the size of lips pursed to kiss, studied it, breathed through it, listened to the quiet (just moments, or maybe hours, a little lone bird hovering near, beating its wings, flick-flack, flick-flack)...

Then her stare snapped back up to Glenn, and she did not blink. Such eyes had stared into a Sun; they'd stared into Black Smoke, and they were all too happy to stare at him.

"She deserves to feel safe, too. Years from now, she will know she's been seen, and protected, and given a chance to protect."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Tue May 05, 2020 1:14 am

Years from now.

Trinkets.

A Seamstress.

Years from now.

Burnie extended both arms outwards in a deep stretch. The previous night had been full of anything but comfort. One couldn't blame his hostess so much as the journey to find her. Sleep had been mandated but hardly pleasant. After that had been Catch and after Catch had been this. Somewhere in there he'd been punched. Not bloodied though. "Who is she? Do you know who she is?" He ran a palm across his eye, up and down, and laughed with the mildest of exasperation. "No, I suppose we can cover that ground later. She asked me questions and I gave her honest answers. Let her appreciate that too. Years from now, I think this day will be the smallest of memories for her, but then you can never predict what stands out later on, can you?"

He put both hands behind his head as he sat, stretching his neck now in a broad circle. "Small. Yes, Gloria, I am small. You are small. We are small. If I live another twenty years, it'll be remarkable. Same for you, I think. Fighting pits and mad sojourns into the woods take a toll on someone. I imagine childbirth does too. You've some sense what I've been through. We will be gone and yet others will remain. Every human we knew will be gone and others will remain. They blink and we're gone. Again and again and again and again."

His face had become mirthless. "Gloria," he said her name once more, stared at her, even as he slumped forward on the desk, bringing his knees up to rest his arms upon them and his chin down upon his hands between it all. "Do you think us to be the first to love him? The first to treat him with compassion, dignity, and care? The first to do so when he was whole and the first to do so when he was not?"
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Io Ono » Tue May 05, 2020 3:59 am

Now. Hurry.

Don’t run, walk, but hurry
.

Her steps were hastened, yet measured. It was far too bright here, and as she moved, she retreated into that hood, trying to spread as much shadow about her face as she could. Waking hours were not pleasant for her, they were like staring into the heart of a candle for far too long, or at the sun, if all the light filtered into a single eye. She was blind, couldn’t focus.

Mind your directions. Left here.

Or was it to the right?

Yes, to the right, left after the next corner
.

She’d walked the route before, in the evenings prior, but she saw them differently during the day, she saw everything differently during the day. The noise was a hinderance, an oceanic roar of humdrum, and laughter, and bartering, and gossip. The moon brought quiet, not quite silence, but aside from the taverns, a stillness earned by labor, and trade, and study, and play.

She’d lost herself in her pondering along the way, still placing pieces on that wooden board, still arranging the knowns in ways that seemed to fit. The trouble, naturally, was that the unknowns outnumbered, and aside, even with the limited knowledge she had, she couldn’t yet predict the types of movements of the ones she was aware of. A small part of her almost preferred being a pawn, sent in a singular direction, toward a known objective. Thinking could be troublesome. Memories were an annoyance. Predictions were an inevitable impossibility. Having to decide, who to trust, what to do, what to ask, muddled the simplicity of her life. Of course, she was here to escape that simplicity, after all. Still, that small part of her missed it, craved it. That small part of her couldn’t escape it, her conditioning. She was a tool, a thing to be used to gain ones desires, to do ones work, and tools typically didn’t carry the weight of thought. It was liberating, sure, but it was yet a burden she was not ready to bear. Things were changing far too quickly.

Are you going to turn the knob today, poppet?

How long had she been standing there? Her hand was gripped tightly around the knob of the Wynsee home, frozen. The residence, was warm with life, the ashen smell from the winter logs beckoning to her, yet, outside she remained. She was given permission to come and go, but, her past life prevented. Was she waiting to be let in? No, that would be silly after all, but... it was hot too, in the light. She disliked it, the heat. The cold and dark were comforting, they served as a constant reminded that she still persisted.

You could just...run again...

No...not this time...

Why not? Just gather your trinkets, and mind your steps...


With a heavy chunk of the ironwork, she pawed the door open, as if for the first time, and stepped inside. She would return, as promised. Of course, she would. Just, not now, not until the night, until she could be of proper use. She had questions, curiosities, but they could not be satiated in the blinding, masking light. No, only in the cool glow of the moon, when secrets were uncovered, could she find the truth.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Wed May 06, 2020 2:09 am

"What does it matter," she asked, "if a thousand people loved him, or if only one did? I care that we love him now; I care that he is loved. You know I hurt him beyond all reason — and it is a shame I will carry with me until I am just bones. But I can still work from afar to set the world right for him.

"Fionn is—" she sought the right word, but never found it, "—dangerous for him. Not because she wishes to be, or desires to be, but because that is the nature of love. But the gods damn you, Glenn, if you think you'll be able to control that or mitigate it like so many values and timetables, or ease it into some sense of perfect balance. It is beyond you, and well past you.

"That is how you burn us all down."

Marion would be back in time. Perhaps sooner than later. Perhaps too late for reason. A new discomfort twisted around in her intestines. The heat faded from her cheeks. Yates had hung the irons on the door-handle, and she considered them. Later, maybe she'd drink a bit of wine, or have a pipe; maybe she'd jab her own finger down her own throat. Maybe. Maybe this was the right way. She took up the serrated file. Replaced the chair. Maybe it wasn't the right way. But it was a way. As for Marion...

"Whatever you do, and whatever you choose to say, do not confuse her. I found her lost, and I've a great deal yet to learn. But if she can hold some part of this place in her hand, grasp onto it, and fight for it, then maybe the scars of the past won't be all she has."

Finally, Gloria turned to the door. Her whole body, wide and tall, might as well have been pieced together from clay or ore. There were other matters to attend to today, after all, and managing Glenn Burnie was the first of many. At the threshold, with grinding fingers, she scattered powdered iron, rubbed it on the jamb, smeared it along the handle.

"Marion will bring you paper and quill," she said. Then: "We could have been partners in all of this, Glenn. But you waited far, far too long."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Thu May 07, 2020 2:51 am

What does it matter?

"Gloria," he began but ended up rubbing his eyes again, and fading off. "We are not the first." He repeated, because that should have told her everything. How did she get so close to Catch and not understand? How could she of all people, in this room, in this building, with this responsibility, not understand. All he could do was continue to try, because if he did too much, it would be as bad as doing too little. That was obvious now. "We may be the first in a long time. We are certainly the first to love him while he has been lucid. Can you imagine how he feels right now? If you are Catch and you have sustained clarity for the first time in decades, centuries, if you have clear access to your power for the first time in that long, if you are surrounded by people you love, in a place you love, by people you claim, in a place you claim, to see it and them so hurt and damaged by life."

Burnie unfurled his hands, held his arms beneath his waist as he sat, but held his palms upstretched. "Be it out of hatred or be it out of love or be it out of the greed that straddles the two, he will act. Once he acts, it becomes a matter of time. It may be a year or it may be a generation, but he will enact a sort of historical, mythic inevitability that I do not think I am clever enough to stop. Things have progressed too far and I do not see a way to break the circle, not yet at least. You leave him Fionn? You take her away from him? You work to free her from his presence? This will change the result by degrees, but only by degrees. Be it gold or be it fire, we will drown in it. What we need is time to work out some sort of indirect application based on limits and boundaries that will still provide a sense of autonomy and fulfillment. Even then, that just buys us more time. There's no solution to this today, but maybe there's the hope of one tomorrow. For now, caution is everything and delaying action is the ultimate goal. Please realize that."

What was the rest? As if any of it truly mattered. They couldn't fight history. Didn't she see that? "I won't try to confuse her. I'll write things that'll be of some use to you, I hope. You'll use them or you won't, since you have no direct use for me, not to answer questions and not apparently as bait. Maybe I'll write something you can indirectly find useful. Then I will leave. If you need me again after that, please come yourself."
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Rance » Fri May 08, 2020 5:02 am

"Before we start discussing solutions," she said against the door, "we ought to identify the problem. And that problem lies not with Mister Catch, nor do I always believe it lies in the fae you court, confound, and no doubt confuse. The immediate problem, the visible, tangible, and real problem, sits in this room. Because—" her lone hand lifted, tightened into a fist, over her shoulder, not to threaten, but to bolster herself, "—no matter what position you hold, it is always about power to you, Glenn.

"Not the power you want, but the power you think you hold. The power you presume you have."

She shook her head. The bonnet-strings smacked against her collar, a pit-pat of wax-tipped sinew against fabric. Even for all the years she'd been here, scarred by the place, picked apart by it, she'd never shed her commoner husk: still, she wore those muddy skirts, that crumpled bonnet, those black-stained sleeves. But the knife in her boot was happier to come free. Without Ariane, without Agnieszka, the sheath needed to be looser, and the willingness less restrained. But not here. Not in this moment.

"It will be Menna Marion's decision, after she speaks to you and determines your clarity, whether to see you freed or momentarily held. Perhaps her knowing so little about you, it is fairest I leave the decision up to her. But know this," she said, standing so still she might as well have been carved from lava-glass, and speaking so lowly it shook inside her chest like a falling stone. "I will never take part in controlling him with — with false autonomy, or illusions of freedom. I will set no special boundaries on him. I will not wrestle his will from him. Never again. And that you think I would, for even a moment, understand?

"It tells me you never knew me at all. It tells me you never cared to learn who I am."

She turned her head. Spit on the floor over her right shoulder.

"And here I thought there was only one raper in this room."

A door had never closed so softly before under Gloria Wynsee's watch. And a lock had never been turned so surely.
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Re: Loss... Found?

Postby Glenn » Mon May 11, 2020 12:20 am

For once, Glenn Burnie had no words. It was difficult to reason with someone so set in their thoughts. It was downright impossible to reason with someone who was trying to make themselves feel better about being a rapist. Glenn Burnie was a skilled orator and an even more skilled sophist, but there were limits to what even he would attempt. Or even what he wanted to attempt. On other things, she was correct, and he would have been happy to engage her on the matter of power and ambition, of autonomy in the face of a world that oppressed them so. They had talks about this sort of thing previously, but that was apparently a different Gloria and maybe a different Glenn as well.

"Yes Gloria," he muttered after she left, laying back down upon the table where the iron contrivance sat and poking at it idly. "I'm the problem. All the worlds' ills. Maybe eight years late. But then, that's been your problem all along. You got here too late, too young. You watched it all pass you by helplessly. But then, you had me instead of Calomel, not that dear old Cinnabar was of much use in the end. One moment, two, and it became too much for him. But then he didn't become a monster, at least. That's more than some of us can say, isn't it, Gloria? He would have been so much worse than you or I, and that's why he withdrew. I withdrew as well, you know, and yet here and now you try to steal away even basic comfort, all for what? Revenge and paranoia? Grasping at what's already gone. That's not the end of it, Gloria. It's but the start. The wormholes await you on this path. Just ask Catch."

It had been an exhausting two days, with so much travel before that. The table was uncomfortable but he had known his share of hardship. For just a minute, two, his fingers still toying with the contraption beside him, his eyes shut and he rested. Here in Myrken, under the shadow of dreamwakers and dreamwitches, two minutes in the waking world could be an eternity. When he startled, it was with the sense of something lost, something forgotten.

He sat up, groaning and stretching, unkempt in ways he had been hiding before, and he waited, for paper and for Marion, but not for reason. There seemed to be none to find here anymore.
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