Henceforth

Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:30 am

Finn,

To begin, we must deal with an inconvenience. No. That "an" is misplaced. We must deal with inconvenience itself. The timing of this is frustrating for there is so much to cover, so much to discuss. I fear, however, that this will be our normal in a year's time. You may much prefer it. Action. Motion. Trouble. We cannot even start with pleasantries. Also, having introduced this letter so (and to introduce it any other way would be bad faith, and we avoid that, you and I, do we not?), were I to start with what I would prefer to write about (no matter how much you profess to find worth in my real, honest preferences), you would simply skip ahead.

I'll tell you, then, but do promise to read the rest and reply at length. There is only so much we can control of this situation in the immediate. Let us focus on it, but focus as well on those things that we might be able to more directly influence, namely our own interactions.

As promised (did we?), the raven (henceforth Benedict, his choosing upon my urging -- it helps in conversation, damn you and your people's anti-conversational nature of showing above all) and I searched for your missing satchel. What we found was alarming. Another raven was spotted in the vicinity. Benedict assures me that it would have to be acting on quite specific instruction and that leads to both a backwards looking concern (that you are targeted even here) and a forward looking concern (that now that I am a known entity, I will be targeted as well). You should act with slightly more care. I shall do the same. This seems as good a reason as any for me to more swiftly begin to inoculate myself as we discussed. I will stay true to my word and not begin to do this until we correspond further on the matter. It does seem an immediate risk given certain admitted personal deficiencies (we agree that I have them though not necessarily what they are), however. I will be glad to discuss any of this further.

There, done. Read on.

Is there any point in even telling you how I am? Will you trust me or only Benedict in this? You sent him in woefully uninformed. It felt, through both glamourie and more conventional (a better word than either mundane or honest for multiple reasons) interaction, as if we spent days, weeks even, together. Did it feel that way to you as well? I apologize for not sooner realizing how being in the city affected you. We could have met outside if I could have known. I thrive in such an environment. Not all humans do so do not make sweeping comment. Would some of your people thrive here, do you think? Is it just the iron then? Some of my people would likely do well in your lands, though I fear to say that I am likely not one of them.

Despite bounds being overstepped, by both of us though one more than the other, I think it was a fruitful visit. Names were returned. Common ground was found. We have a path moving forward, one that suits both of us and both of our people. We have some sense of what we are to one another. Perhaps we have some sense of who we are to one another as well. I think we are as pleased as we are ultimately horrified, and really, that's not a bad balance all things considered.

Benedict will say I am not well, that you inexorably changed me. Inefficiently as well, perhaps? I hope this letter shows you that even a few days later, I am, to a degree, unveiled. Much of this is about what I learned, what I saw of myself in the midst of your glamour. Much of it is the intersection of the logical loosening that would follow and what you may have done. I will not contest that last bit (in fact I introduced it) but I will downplay it's importance relative to the knowledge that I can feel without harming and that I am sane and whole.

That does not mean it does not hurt. That does not mean that it will not hurt in the days to come, for I have carried much pain at a distance, just out of my reach, with joy and other long-withered but bright burning things. This process, I hope will be a healthy one.

I refuse to thank you for violation though. I will also not thank you for simply being yourself, though I will let you know that I appreciate it. Appreciation and gratitude are not the same thing.

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:00 am

But there was no reply.

For a long time, there was no reply.


=====


Came the raven, unexcused, bedraggled after a long flight through the chill evening rain. He shed a spray of droplets as he shook and fluffed himself a polite distance from both Glenn and the contents of his writing desk. "You two," were his first words. "I swear, I am gonner drop dead over one of the pair of you. I can't keep up with this bullshit."



Dear Glenn,

Such preambles, my shunna! It is exactly like you to spend a dozen sentences explaining your need for urgency. I would overlook a little bad faith for the sake of getting to the point sooner.

The raven Benedict (he is now very insistent on that name) has informed me of the strange raven. Tell your urchins to watch carefully for the color of its wings. That will give some idea of its provenance if it should come again. As you have seen, my own ravenBenedict bears our clan colors, red and gold, as do all our ravens. I cannot think that any but my father would sent a house raven here, which opens a whole other set of aggravations: to my mind he is the least likely culprit, but all the more meddlesome should he be provoked to engage himself. My bard would use her own raven, who is blue and white. Of any other color, be wary, but in particular of green, white, and gold, for these are the colors of the High Court, which can mean no good for either of us.

I have written as well to my bard to pass on this information. If she knows anything of the matter, she can be trusted to tell it faithfully; if she knows it not, then she and my others must be warned, for any spy or interloper that has reached so far as this place means ill for them as well. For now, accept no message save through the raven you know well.

I do not feel entirely well about this plan of your inoculation (I have had to see what inoculation means). I thought to write my bard for advice, then thought better of it, and that alone is enough to give me pause, that I should keep anything from her because I know what she would say to it: it is treachery, it is blasphemy, and above all, it is impossible. You cannot be made immune, lest we two find some way to change either the very nature of glamourie or else we alter your mind to it, and your mind has already been meddled with so often that I should wonder how much of it be original stock. At best we may hope that you will learn to recognize it, as some men do, or else you see enough of it to realize that it cannot be turned aside. But I fear now I have only set you a challenge.

My true concern is the
why of it. What do you hope to gain? What good will it do you? Is it for the sake of the knowledge itself, that you will have one more security? As I told you before, it is unlikely that you shall ever meet another of mine on this side of the water, and I have met with none here yet who wield true glamourie. Beyond this I can only conclude that your concern is that I will do you mischief. Or is it that by so knowing, you would have power over me?

Do not bother with reassurance there. We both know that the very question is such that it can never be answered. If it were aye, you would be a fool to say so; if you say nay, I would be a fool to quite believe it.

And so I am very torn. It is not that it is such a great secret, Glenn, but that it is
ours. I know what would be thought of me were it know that I had revealed even the outlines to a mortal man, but I know, too, that your knowing would leave you a marked man amongst my own. The whole matter must be of grave discretion between us. Even in writing these words I feel as if there is a shadow over my shoulder, reading in secret.

Moreover, I am concerned for your well-being. What happened in Razasan was an unpredictable result, though as you maintain, a positive one. I dare not risk unpredictability with you again, lest the next accident be none so happy. I have thought the matter through, and I am still thinking it through, and it is impossible to use the glamourie upon you directly without you be full submerged. There will be no way for you to protest or beg off. For the time you are so used, you will be powerless. I know how that sensation affects you.

Therefore must I know well in advance in what state you are willing to put yourself, what things you do not wish to experience, how far you are willing to go. I know you well enough that you will try these limitations purely for my stating them, but before we begin, I want them firm and decided and given freely of your own will. If at a later time, once you know what the experience will be like, you feel you are capable of moving beyond these stated limits, we shall discuss it. But if here and now you refuse this condition, or if you say one answer here only to refuse it in practice, I will cut you off and we will not proceed another step without it be resolved.

For my part, I promise that though you be under my power, in this you will be master. I will keep to whatever conditions you set and I will do nothing that cannot be undone at once. I do not seek to do you any ill, or to cause you any undue discomfort. That said, I can see no way that there will not be at least a little discomfort.

As for the rest, my shunna, I will say to you what my bard told me once, and which was a great comfort at that time. You survived the hurt while it happened, and you shall survive the remembering of it. You were strong then, and you are still stronger now, and now you have a great advantage over it: the hurt is not a thing that is being
done to you, but something that is a part of yourself. You are master over it. It comes this time not to harm, but to heal. In the depths of pain, you will forget this, but believe and never doubt that it is true.

That you may move beyond pain to joy is all the thanking I would ever ask.

Finn
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:47 am

"You can." Simply put, though he'd add, with just the tiniest smile. "I have faith. Anyway, this isn't our first winter, is it now?" It would be that and little more, for he'd let the raven warm himself by the fire and get straight to the letter and its response. It had been too long.

Finn,

Precautions have been taken. I would very much appreciate it if your languid, long-lived people might give us a bit more time to accomplish our simple, human-paced goals before interfering. I worry (mostly a turn of phrase for this does not actually concern me; in fact, I'm wholly set upon it unless situations change) now that I will not be traveling before winter sets in. We left too many things undone here and even more have come and found me after you left (see my last sentence, but do not jump to it now. I would not have you distracted).

First, humor me. You've seen me now for a good long while. You've seen me at my worst, perhaps at my best, at my most and least controlled. I interact with you as many different things: a fellow sentient being, someone both older and younger than me, a woman, a queen (of sorts), a being of power, a being of your race. You've seen how I treat others as well, directly and indirectly. You've seen how I regard them. Once upon a time, for one letter and one letter alone, I treated you as a Victoria, this a response to very specific stimuli presented to me.

Is that the norm? Do I treat women a certain, lesser. way than I treat men? I have been accused of this. Victoria might have claimed it. Do you? You've walked in both guises over the years, been treated very differently by different people. Is that a fair claim or not? This bothers me only for its earnestness.

Moving on: In this specific case, inoculation is not immunity. It would be nice, were it so, but it is not immunity I seek. First, while you think it very unlikely I will meet someone else with your power, note that ravens fly and intrigues waft and that one such eventuality already has gone past you. Who is to say another more extreme one might not as well? Second, I do mean to spend time with you, Finn. We have a thousand questions yet unanswered and business on top of that. I prefer letters but you do not and I would not shy from you over a simple matter of the entirety of my sanity. It is not a matter of power. I would rather be able to be near with you without you having to constrain what comes entirely natural to you. I would rather be able to be near you without me being a fool drunkard at the smell of your breath.

It is not the direct effect of your power that I seek immunity or even tolerance to but instead the additional effect it has upon me due to my own damaged weaknesses. I think with repeated controlled exposure that some withered aspect of myself could be restored to strength and whatever remaining effect being near you has upon will be wholly normal. If I gain some level of understanding of how your power works in the process and some aptitude in recognizing it in action, all the better, but that's hardly my goal. I would like to just be able to be myself around you while you are being yourself. That hardly seems too much to ask for.

I would think we start small, over a small period of time, and look for improvement. This is, I would propose, the direct opposite of what you have been thinking. It is, however, far more controlled.

As for the rest, if we move forward with any other of our well-meaning idea, I'll be marked by your people anyway. Frankly, just for who I am and what I believe and what I already know, I'd probably be marked after a time nonetheless. If I am to be marked, better to be marked and in control of my facilities, no?

Finally, speaking of controlling one's facilities, we have to discuss Gloria.

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:47 pm

Glenn,

I cannot rightly say if you in particular treat women as lesser, for the habit is endemic in all your race and sex. Your men cannot accept any mastery or authority but their own, and in that respect you are common as grass. That such a question bothers you only for its earnestness makes a case for itself, for you are more troubled that the question be raised than by the behaviors that provoked it. Moreover, the sheer impertinence that I myself made such a claim against you, and you rebuked it, only to have you come to me now and ask again because some other has pointed out the same fault—was this other a man, perchance? For I have noticed that the word of one false and foolish man weighs more than the assertions of a dozen honest women in these parts. Whoever it might have been, you might reflect that the very fact that you stand so charged by more than one person means that the accusation has bones.

If that is not proof enough, consider that you are so blind to yourself that you follow this question by refuting the very basic tenet of my previous letter. I gave you an absolute, and you immediately set to cozening your way out of it, and in the worst, most cowardly way possible: I expressed a fleeting interest in your continued sanity, you replied that my company concerns you more than sanity, therefore all the impetus to preserve said sanity is thrust on me. It is the very argument we had regarding your name. If you recall, I told you then that if you ever gave me back your name, I would keep it. If you give me your sanity, I shall keep that as well. You accept my conditions or there will be nothing. In this respect it matters not if it is your custom with all people, with women only, or with me alone, for mine is the only authority that matters here.

Shall I glam you as a woman for a while? Surely that would be an experiment worth trying.

I could go on but I trust you are sufficiently humored.

Are you being metaphorical when you talk of being drunk on the smell of my breath? That turn of phrase I mislike quite, for it is much the way people speak of being struck by my grandfather the ganconner. I confess that possibility did not occur until you mention it, but again, it is a matter to be taken into account along with all the rest. As little of the ganconner remains in me, still some does. I have never been sure in what part it resides, how much I command it, or how much it commands me, only that I have had some trouble of it in the past, which I do not like to speak of.

Frankly, the only sensible thing you speak is of your wish to be restore to your strength once more. It is a noble goal, and one I would more than gladly assist you in. But in this I mistrust our limitations much more than I mistrust your motives. Glamourie did not cause your ills and I can think of no reason why it would cure them. At best, there may be no change at all; at worst glamourie may but cover over your ails, as I offered once before when last you came to Myrken. In either case I am resolved to try if you are. I will refrain from going on, lest I grow maudlin and embarrass us both.

What is to discuss of Gloria?

Finn
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:03 am

Finn,

It is true; you cannot rightly say if I, in particular, treat women as lesser. That was an unfair question and I apologize. I cannot accept any mastery or authority. That I admit freely. I hardly see how that has anything to do with women. I would have just as much trouble with a king as a queen and a god as a goddess, or some ungendered creature. My behaviors were dismissive at best and insulting at worse. Were she a he, I may have been harsher still. Perhaps that is troubling for I have little use for such courtly manners. I think it might be more a matter of balance. I'm not blind, Finn. When I gave bright, young women (and the ability and the desire to read was more than enough in a relative sense) opportunities in the Inquisitory or elsewhere, it was not because I was lewd and rapacious and demanded their adoration and pride. It was because I knew well what would happen to those talents and that potential were I to not provide opportunity. If I were not, no one else would, save for as property, reproductive or otherwise. They would be wasted.

It was not a man. The issue was the surprise. It was a curious interlude. I think, in retrospect, this was much more about her than it was about me. Still, I thank you for the time, effort, humoring, and lack of restraint. It warms my heart to know that when you offer me something, you offer me all you have of it. Through your vibrancy, I too am reminded that I yet live. You are the finest and loudest of neighbors and you make me even more human a human just through your attentive gaze.

You shall not glam me as anything for a while.

What would you even do with my sanity?

What would you call me if not drunk? If it is ganconner, it is due to the weakness in myself. Thus, we build strength.

Can we not start with small things? Classification has provided us with three levels. You can change yourself. You can change our environment. You can change me. I would also suggest a fourth, a corollary to the second. You could send me a letter with words that move strangely when I look at it, just for a few seconds at a time. I would look at it only at regulated and agreed upon moments, once in the morning and once at night, and then record my feelings. We would see if this would have an effect upon me and that effect might lesson as time goes on? You could have Benedict be the judge and oversee the experiment, in case things went too far?

Isn't that a more measured way to begin? Perhaps by the time we are together again, none of this would be an issue.

This letter is disorganized. I hope you are satisfied.

Glenoria. We need to speak of Gloria. She was the one who said I treated all women poorly. She was displeased with me since I would not reveal all of your secrets or, in truth, any of them, or really anything of use unless she was to take me at complete faith. She has no faith at all and I hardly blame her, Anyway, she then made it about me, not you and threatened my life if I did not give her the means to imprison me back in Myrken if she so desired. I gave her the means to speak with Aloisius instead and she still did not stab me.

Oh, let's start here: did you intend for things to get so far out of hand or was it an accident? I will take you on faith.

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:58 am

The raven looked grim, as only ravens really can look: he would not have looked out of place atop a tombstone, or perched upon a dead man's chest on a battlefield. Part of it was the rain; he was drenched. Part of it was his hunched wing joints and hanging head. He slipped in, shivering. He hadn't been able to protect the letter as well as he normally would have, and the thick paper was swollen with water droplets.

"You tell me, mate," he said grimly as he passed along the letter. "I don't know what to make of it anymore."


No salutation. The letter began abruptly, the letters themselves thin and prone to cracking.


Glenn, something is amiss. It has been wrong since I left Rasazan, and I cannot say if it has to do with what happened between us, with Gloria, or with what happened afterwards. I have been ill all this past moon, feverish and fearful, and I have not been ill since I was a child. The only relief from it is those times I can spend with Him, and those are all too brief, and of course I cannot explain to Him what the trouble is for fear He will only want to fix it. I do not dare let Him try. I am afraid of what will happen.

When I left Rasazan, I was iron-poisoned. He found me and healed me, except



A black smear of ink blotted out the remainder of the line.


except I do not know what else He might have done. He has changed me. Everything is gone. All the old calluses from my bowstring are gone. He does not understand the difference. He never does. It makes me want to strike Him or scream at Him, but of course I never would. It is my own fault for coming too close, I who should have known better.

I think you should stay where you are. No good can come of us together; no good can come of your coming here. Something is looking for me here, and I would kill it, if I could but find it. Guard yourself.
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:18 pm

Burnie read. When finished (and it usually did not take him this long to devour so few words, making any bird in the room potentially wonder just how many times he had read it), he somehow fought the instinct to immediately put pen to paper in response. Despite all that had happened, he was still able to fight impulses. Though he would not be quick to admit it, he was actually far better at it now that emotion and life had burst through once again.

Instead of writing, he looked to his friend. "Benedict, details. First and foremost, it would help to have a better sense of exactly what happened with Gloria. Don't tell her," her being Finn and they both well knew it, "but i may have been somewhat dismissive of Gloria upon her arrival, talking in generalities instead of trying to force specifics out of her." Why not tell that to Finn? She could have probably read between many of Burnie's lines and would come out the other side of that knowledge spitefully pleased. "That's first."

Unfortunately, it could never be one thing with him. He settled back into his seat, the immediate stimuli of her need counterbalanced by the fatigue of nothing ever being easy. There were things unresolved between the two of them and while her letter roused him in particular, definitive ways, it was equally unsatisfying. "Second, her symptoms. What exactly is she experiencing and how is it different from the iron-poisoning."

Fingers had not previously risen for the first and the second, but for the third, his hand shot up, two fingers already raised. "Third, do you see any sign of someone hunting her? Fever or no, it would track with the stolen bag, no?" The fourth finger popped up immediately, far too quickly to be without suspicion. "If I wrote a letter to her Bard on her well-being and on what being healed by Catch can do to someone, would you deliver it?" The shameful admittance that some things were actually outside his expertise. No wonder he had done it so quickly, hardly willing to hold that jabbing pain for long. She had a need and his regard for her was such that he was willing to swallow his pride and not demand that he and only he could save the day.
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:06 pm

The bird let forth a watery sigh that was mostly relief. He had no idea what the letter had said, but he'd had his suspicions and Glenn's reaction, his barrage of inquiries, pretty much confirmed them. Praise the gods. Now he didn't feel quite so guilty about spilling his guts. From his perch on the hearthstone, he gave himself one last good shaking that dispelled the worst of the wet, then hopped from there to a series of perches that landed him at last on the back of a leather chair, where he could be nearer to Glenn's eye level without worrying about ruining the upholstery.

"You don't tell, I don't tell. She'll figger out one of us told something but it won't hurt if we keep it vague for a while." Mostly he worried about how much, in her distracted state, she would figure out at all--or if, in her outward spiraling fear, she would guess everything and lump it in with her other paranoia. "I don't much know what happened. First she wouldn't say, and then she weren't in much shape to talk. They got into some kind of fight, the lady tore her shoulder on a nail, or something. She did say that part she'd done herself; it weren't Gloria's fault. She asked me to go ahead of her to Myrken and fetch her dulaleigheas--medicine, it keeps iron from spreading so fast. I wanted her to come back here, to you. I figgered if she stayed with you at least you could keep her still and she'd be safe and not passed out on the side of the road or nothin', which is exactly what did happen, but what the feck do I know, I'm just the delivery."

The words roiled in a fury, as if they blistered his black tongue and he couldn't spit them out fast enough to satisfy him. The raven was pissed, a rare thing. The direction of his ire was somewhere between his lady and Glenn himself.

"Anyways, she made it most of the way there. I got the medicine to her fine. It didn't help much." A quick hot glare at Glenn, one of the rare times the raven dared match a human's eyes. "Iron works its way in if you move around too much. I was hopin' I could find that big fellow she gangs with, the dragon fellow, but he's still up north somewheres. So I found Catch. Asked him if he could move her. I don't know what in sin I was thinkin'--maybe he'd get her to the doctorin' place and they might be able to do something--but he..." And the raven hesitated, trying to think of the bare bones of what he had seen, which differed utterly from what he felt had happened. "He sort of...put his face up to hers? And then she was just...fine. For maybe like three, four days. Better than fine. You'd've been disgusted, actually; she was swanning around singing to herself, like."

He adjusted himself uncomfortably. "Right, so, here's the bad part. This is probably the bit you don't want to tell her I told you. Or just the bit I don't want you to tell her I told you."

He leaned forward, upper body swaying at the outermost limit of his balance, and whispered hoarsely. "I come back one day and she's cut herself. Like. All over. I thought she'd gotten into a damn knife fight and whoops, here we go again, but she finally admitted she'd done it to herself. Whatever Catch did to her...I guess it made all her old scars go away? She said it just popped into her head..." The raven wavered, then let out a small, sad crill. "I don't know. I guess she thought if she put them all back, she'd feel better. And she seemed better, after that. She's not sick--not iron-sick anyways. But acting strange. Not like her. About the only time she goes out anymore is when she wants to see Catch. She stays with him a little while, she'll be fine a couple days. Then she starts in with this weird making-things-up business. Like she swears someone's taken her horse for a hard ride while she's asleep. Goes out there and feels it all over, then swears it's sweatin' too much, or that there's stones in its hooves after she's already cleaned 'em out, or that there's melted frost in the straw. Or she thinks something's been moved. Like it's a message to her. Tell you what, I pity any poor hunter who accidentally wanders out her way because she's warded that place backwards, forwards, and crossways. Someone's gonner get killed."

He rocked gently backwards, wings slightly arched for balance. "But no. I ain't seen shit. And I been on the look-out. I think she's addled from whatever he did to her. That's where this business started." He blinked hard at Glenn's unexpected wince, as if whatever sharp stab had struck the man had glanced off him as well. "Tell you the truth, I've thought of callin' on the bard myself. Or someone. If you want to send something to Ainrid, I'll take it. If you do it, worst that'll happen is she'll think you're a presumptuous arse, which she already does so no skin off your back."
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:52 pm

"We'll see," was all Burnie said as the bird was now at eye level. This was a breach of trust, one of many, one with a far better reason driving it than some (rum cake probably not a good reason when it came to the grand annals of history), but she might not see it that way. She might value interest over altruistic need, at least in the short term. Or she might see this as an uneven exchange. She might do a lot of things. Still, it was better to get her to a point where she might healthily be able to do things. The two of them would agree upon that and would amble forward down this path as unspoken partners in crime.

So the raven explained and Glenn listened. There were few follow-up questions he could ask about the fight. He'd have to either ask Gloria for more detail (even coached with a plausible untruth, that would be surely impossible; he had his chance and he decided to do something else with it) or he'd have to coax it out of a fevered Finn, now, beside the point of its true importance: chastising her, of course. It wasn't worth sullying his hands with Follox' associates. Deduction was a better, safer tool. "You should have taken her to me, though if you had when Gloria had arrived, that would have been something. I'm well past the words to save anyone from her. They're all used up, Benedict. This time, for Finn as much as anyone else, I saved myself (so much as she could truly hurt me in that moment), but at the cost of Gloria's regard."

If the raven was irate at Glenn, that piercing gaze was not making it through his obnoxious wall of congenial obliviousness. They were in this together now, he and the creature, and Burnie would be clinical and languid all at once, not in the least ashamed. Whatever shame he might carry was carried by the two of them equally. That was simply the way of it now that the unspoken pact had been formed.

All of that was to be expected, though. The fact that Glenn didn't even wince when mutilation was mentioned? Maybe glaring wasn't the right expression. "It's a violation. I tell her this, Benedict," He hadn't winced, but now there was an underlying wave of frustration bubbling to the surface. "I can't get her to understand, but it's the same thing. He changed her. He went too far. Undid things that shaped her. She's offered to do the same to me, but not just the scars, the physical remnants of it. She offered to undo the emotional ones, the memories of them, all of it. To change all of that. And her people? They do it to others without offering or asking. They just do it." So much of him wanted to lord this over her somehow, to push that ink into an arrow driven straight for her heart. He hadn't felt quite like this for a long while. She'd like it. It was like spending her coin to purchase a night of pleasure. It wasn't pleasure, but it was life, a vibrant, wholly unpleasant sort, actually. "It gets old, Benedict. I'm fairly certain it's because I'm always talking to her, writing to her, her more than anyone, but I find myself pondering what she'd think about my actions, my feelings. Too much. For one thing, it makes me overly sympathetic to her. In this case, I am, of course."

That took things mostly to the end, to the next step. "With Catch, it could always be more. With her blood, it could be more. I could make things worse. We could, that is." How many times had he, after all? "I'll write her so you don't have to." The least he could do here was take the heat for his friend, at least with the Bard if not with the Lady.
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:07 pm

"Could you save the I-told-you-so's until I'm out the window?" the raven snapped back. "He saved her life, whatever else he did to her."

For that matter, he had a fine crop of I-told-you-so's he might have easily dumped on Glenn regarding the lady, but he was much too worried to take any satisfaction in petty victories. The irony had not escaped him: Glenn had toyed with someone bigger than he was and paid the price, and then the someone bigger had turned promptly around to meddle with something bigger still and paid the price for that. The raven had just enough self-awareness to be grateful for his own small size and scope.

His head drooped forward. "Whatever," he muttered. "Gods forbid you should start feelin' sympathetic toward anybody. Then where would we be? Write the letter. Someone back home needs to get let in on this mess. That should've happened a long time ago."
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:53 am

Glenn was willing to pay such prices. The cost in not playing, in not toying, in not having such prices to potentially pay was to not be in the game at all. He'd ante up if he had to, and maybe, just maybe, he could be clever and daring and organized enough to win, or at least to stay alive. The raven wouldn't understand that, though. Might the Lady? To an extent, but she had a hard time extrapolating her own, assuredly unique, situation towards anyone else's lot.

What was the raven going to do? Fly away right when Burnie had offered to do something that he both could not do and would rather not do even if he could, something which not only had some actual hope in improving things, but that also showed a surprising notion from the once-mapmaker, and once-governor the idea that maybe he was not, after all, the best suited person for all tasks at all times. It meant he was something of a captive audience for Burnie, and there'd be griping, even if not gloating, and certainly an answer to every word posed.

"One can be sympathetic and feel other things as well, especially to a third party, which, my friend, is you. It's better I get it out of my system before writing her anyway. Frankly, this is the height of sympathy and empathy. I understand exactly how she feels, feel for her, and take it to its logical conclusion by pointing out the exact behavior of hers that made me feel as such. It's but a very detailed form of sympathy." He was already beginning to write though.

Ainrid,

As I know names are a sensitive point for your people, I apologize here, immediately at the start, if I show you offense by so brazenly using yours. I imagine those who wield a thing so precious to you would show care in its utterance and what I have listed above is nothing of great value, save for in its identifying and communicative purpose.

I write you out of concern for a shared acquaintance of the royal persuasion. Of all she has written to you about, I am likely not the most interesting and while I would very much enjoy to make myself the focus of this letter and begin a correspondence with you on any number of issues within your vaunted expertise, this is about her.

I have only learned much of this now and I write to you immediately in response. Recently, after leaving my side and as such the protection of home, host, and continued friendship, she was punctured by metal in a skirmish assuredly half of her own making. Her medicine was administered too late and through the good intention of another, she was brought before a fell magical creature, the Catch. He is a primal thing, thought by others over the centuries to be a unicorn. There are similarities, most pressingly here a powerful healing ability. It is not carefully utilized, as by a physician, but instead, it is an uncontrolled mass of power; not a scalpel but a hammer. It restores one to a previous state or a more innocent state or a more natural state. The effect is not always the same. It has restored years of youth to my body, healed a sundered soul, and turned my now deceased beloved into an orderly, precise madwoman.

It is my understanding while this did remove the metal, she exited this hazardous treatment with a fever of the mind and the body. I would see her aided but cannot do so directly, even if I knew the exact means. There are difficulties of geography among others, but let us just focus on those. Still, I write this to open the lines of communication. If you ask me questions, I will provide you answers, and together, perhaps, we can come up with a plan of action, even one achieved through trusted intermediaries.

Glenn, being a third of my name which I do give to you freely as a sign of trust
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:25 pm

“So here’s my advice,” the raven said before he had even tumbled out of smoke into substance. “Don’t ever go as far north as I just been. Snowflakes the size of rabbits, I’m tellin’ you. Sky the color of a counterfeit coin. Piss against a wall and you’ll be stuck there until spring.”

He shivered, but it was all exaggeration. Despite his frayed feathers and the dismal description, he punctuated his statements with animated jerks and trills, like a clockwork raven, eyes bright and sharp as cut topaz. It had been a good trip home, all things taken into balance. “Some bad news. His Lordship, the lady’s father? He found out. I thought someone was gonner get turned into stone for sure and I wasn’t even sure which one of us it would be. Wild night.”

He set before Glenn a scroll that should have been too cumbersome to carry. In truth, it looked as if he had spirited it out of history itself, archaic technology spared the wear of intervening centuries. The parchment had been so frequently scraped and reused that its texture was delicate and pliant as an old scar, yet suffused with warmth, as if it had not quite forgotten it was once living skin. It smelled of hay and sweet clover, of a spice not dissimilar to the scented oil with which the queen dressed her hair, and, ever so faintly, of salt. Two cobalt-blue ribbons of dyed and braided horsehair, clusters of tiny gold beads rattling on their tips, bound it around the waist. The beads themselves could pay Glenn’s passage for a half-dozen lesser letters.

Yet the page inside was blank, an anti-climax for all its portentous trappings. Only the shadows of previous missives seemed to squirm just below its surface, like sunspots dancing behind one’s eyelids. Only after it was unfurled did indigo ink bleed through its pores, staining the parchment with the overlarge, sloppy, looping script of a child newly come to letters.


For your courtesy we reject your own name save for such use as you have deemed it. This one is our common name. You have free use of it.

This one called Catch is known to us. Each encounter with beannaithe is fated. Herself must face her own fate as we each face ours. The will of the gods will be done. There nears a clearing at the end of a long path. There is in the bloodline a curse that may be purged. Innocence is no shield but may offer resilience. We may pray upon it.

To involve yourself is your own choice. We do not ask you to do so. To set yourself before this will profit you not in her regard or ours or in the regard of the gods. An obstacle you will make of yourself. Belief will be your own danger. You will neither return as you once were nor move beyond to wholeness. As poison we will be to you. Weigh the risks ere you proceed.

Glad are we this line of communication remains open. This is long of concern for us. What are you? What favor have you with the lady? What is your business? Tell us your plan. How may you keep from afar with her condition? How often do you dream? We may outreach. Intervention. Geography is no difficulty. Some immunity we may provide. The raven vouches for you greatly.

Good neighbor you remain.
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:45 am

"That's your advice?" Was it? Was it really? Was it more of a clue to where he had been or how he had gotten there? The gears of Burnie's mind were starting to turn and it was all he could do to slow them and listen on. It wasn't the raven's way to hide things suchly. "How did he learn? Couldn't your advice be about getting messages through without him learning instead?" Bemusement turned into mild annoyance. "I thought it would be safe to send you home of all places, Benedict. Is he mad that a human sent a letter or that he was close enough to send a letter about her or that she had given him enough to know how to send a letter? I don't imagine he's mad that she's at risk other than how it jeopardizes his plans, no?"

It was about then that Glenn looked to the rapidly modulating scroll. First and foremost, he appreciated the craft. Of course he did. He had a hobby with books and the like. Then, though, the room began to spin. He swallowed down the shift in the air, felt the fine hairs upon his arm try to leap towards the table. What landed there instead was his hand, a steadying gesture as he breathed deep and heard absolutely nothing the raven said. A small but wholly exhilarated chuckle left his lips. "Ok, ok. Let me read," and he did, three times, mouthing some of the words occasionally, especially on the second read. The sentences were as stilted as his were overlong and he'd go back over some repeatedly.

Upon finishing, he reached for quill and ink immediately. It took every effort to stop himself; so there he was, eyes slightly wild upon the bird as he grasped his right wrist with his left hand, squeezing it down upon the desk far too hard. He was smiling and not unfondly at all. "Your advice should have been how she'd be no help. All of her questions were about me. And look, no, no, listen. Listen to this part." The voice had run off in front of his mind with only the barest instructions. "To set yourself before this will profit you not in her regard or ours or in the regard of the gods." Despite that, there was something prepared about his next few words. He'd thought this bit out while reading. "Has she ever seen her regard? It's quite... quite regarding, Benedict. Very regarding. She throws it about fairly freely. I'll have her ire for this though, I imagine. Her ire and her regard. Does Ainrad even know her at all?" There and then, Burnie would finally swallow, hard. The smile finally faded. "Just bear with me here another minute, alright? I don't think it's safe for me to write her yet."
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:19 pm

The raven fluffed himself with great indignation. "Ainrid told him. She told Lady Meg, too. You do understand the lady's got family back there? People. Folks who worry about her. It ain't all politics." He smoothed down, head sinking between his wing joints until he was a squat, neckless little lump. "Who knows what gets that man angry? Could be any of those, could be all of them, could be he woke with his bowels in a bind."

The raven had a hunch. When Glenn spread the scroll, the raven's neck slowly emerged from his shoulders, craning forward until his entire upper body followed. He watched Glenn's face, caught the precise moment when his eyes went glassy. "Ah, shite."

He launched himself from the windowseat and crossed the room in two pumps of his great black wings to perch on the back of Glenn's chair, peering with concern directly into the man's earhole to see what sort of gears might have locked up in his brain. "Well, that's one thing?" he pointed out with wan hope. "It's not just her that has this effect on you."

By then, of course, Glenn was babbling. The raven drew away to give the words some room, gradually growing bored and shifting from foot to foot as the babbling grew more incoherent than usual. Finally he interrupted. "Do you know her at all? You only know her with you. People don't just stop existin' when you're not thinkin' about them, much as that must hurt, I'm sure. She don't treat everyone the way she treats you. I seen her. That girl goes through folk like gravel through a goose, but not you, amadán. She hasn't pitched you to the wayside; it's been more'n a month and she's not bored with you. That's what you don't get, because you don't see. You have no idea what she's like with other people and you don't bother to find out. The bard don't get it either, because the bard's known her long enough that she thinks you're just another one of her play things. So congratulations, you're now one step ahead of a trained precognitive."

He sighed deeply and let his head droop. "Sit down. Take a deep breath. You've got that bitey-smile again. Which one are you writin' to, Ainrid or Her Nibs?"
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:39 am

Burnie had no idea exactly how illuminating this conversation was. Of course, whenever he was exposed to glamourie currently, there was a great deal of uncertainty. There was an appeal to that but not the sort he'd ever admit. Control was the watchword and he was the one manning the gate. Usually, at least. First, before that, there was the matter of Ainrid telling others. "Meg's a healer." That was a useful piece of information. Maybe he should have thought of that earlier. "Did Ainrid tell him or did she give him the letter?" That was no small detail given that he'd likely have to correspond with her in the future.

There was no way to really know exactly what that correspondence would look like until he read the letter. By that point that had other, albeit temporary, problems to deal with.

For one thing, despite his babblings, he was in a state to actually listen to the raven. Even more, he Listened. "They're used to her. They," the word didn't come immediately, which led to the sort of stormy frustration around his eyes that might tell a watchful bird that no one was minding the gate. The words always came immediately. Here, a thousand other things were coming, flashes of notions and ideas and connections. He did take another breath. Was he no longer sitting? Was he pacing about? He hadn't even noticed. He took a third breath (a second? He was all too aware of all of this but not precise at all). He sat down. The word came. "They enable her impetuousness. Her tempestuousness." Then the raven had to bandy about a large word of his own. For perhaps the first time, Burnie seemed actively angry at him. His words were sharp and biting. "There is no future. There are just possibilities. If she can see that with limited pieces of knowledge then..." then he really didn't want to extrapolate that out further.

"Let me write, Benedict. I'm ready." The frustration and anger had cleansed his mind for the moment. "Let me write Ainrid. I promised to answer her questions," as misplaced and annoying as he found them in the moment.

Ainrid,

I am a man who was a great many things and am currently very few. I rose. I fell. I speak to her from that perspective. I think she finds it useful, or at least different.

That is me. That is her. As for us? We are dignitaries and political allies, concerned for the for the respective futures of our people and desperately hoping to find shared benefit in the unlikeliest of places. We are true friends, both of us deeply alone after years of singular togetherness and absolute immersion. We are incorrigible antagonists whole understandings of the world are impossibly at odds yet who will never stop trying to communicate with one another, no matter what mutual mischief and even pain it might inflict upon us. We find it worth it. We find it necessary. We are lucky to have it, though luck always contains both bad and good, and we're not always correct in judging which is which.

My plans have been turned on their head by this, lest I would not have written you in the first place. Her curse is also a blessing. Without it she would be diminished. Did He diminish her? It is still months before I would join her. Can you provide her no succor? I can provide the raven with resources, both here and near her.

Because of her I can dream once more. My dreams are a dangerous place, more for others than for me, perhaps even for you. Knock three times and I will know to open the door.

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2722
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Next

Return to Other



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest