Henceforth

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:37 pm

The raven retreated to the bookshelf, Glenn abandoned to his desk. The lamplight threw odd flickering shadows onto the desk as the bird tried to squeeze in between shelves. A brush of his tail knocked a leaning book askew and sent the rest running like balanced dominoes until the final one thumped flat upon its face. The raven jumped, muttered a curse in Tuathailli, then glared down at the top of Glenn's dark head as if this was his fault--which it sort of was, if you were feeling perverse about the extent of cause and effect. By that expansive reasoning, one could also blame Lugh for inventing the whole rank of humanity that had eventually resulted in Glenn and his unique short-sightedness.

"They." He clucked wearily, tipped his head, and spoke to an invisible companion perched just to his left, as casually as if he had the whole room to himself. "They, they, they. I don't even know what They he means anymore. I mean, of course, of course that's what he takes from it. Am I surprised? I shouldn't be. Only thing he can't find in a forest is a tree. You started this." The invisible companion had taken wing, and now he was directing himself toward Glenn, glowering as only a raven could--a drab black minister scowling down on a congregation of sinners. "This is what coming back into the world means. You have to let people help you--or at least be a little more gracious about it when they offer you what you don't want. The world is feckin' full of helpfulness. It's a pain in the arse but it's better than the alternative."
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:32 pm

Glenn was half talking to himself. The raven was half talking to himself. This was a fine bit of business between the two of them. Glenn had an excuse. Glenn was also the raven's excuse. The exile never was away from his desk for long. In fact, so long as he was near it, he was never truly an exile. Therefore, it was a short abandonment. The desk was the best place to write and there was writing to be done.

But, first. "There's coming into the world and then there's coming into fairyland. This was the latter. There's general, well-meaning help and then there's returning a letter without any guidance on how to deal with a sick Fionnuala." That was just the tiniest of lies though. There was a bit, whether it had been intended or not (and he knew immediately that the bard was the sort who could take credit for any little coincidental correctness). "There are more answers to come, Benedict, but I have to write her back. She wrote to me. Even if I've sought help, I can't let her think she's alone in this."

So write he did.

Finn,

You're the raven's second journey since your letter arrived. I was not sure what to do or what to tell you so I thought learned advice from someone with more specific knowledge than myself. This was a rare gesture, a testament to my concern for you, so let it warm your heart in the midst of winter and your afflicted sniffles. It was also entirely futile and reminded me why I so rarely do such a thing.

Of Catch and healing. I possess a tattered journal written by a younger hand. In it are tales of cities far away, tales of death and destruction, of fated oblivion and ignorant, pointless loss. These were once memories, pained, wounded memories. Somewhere along the line, they were memories no longer. I believe the words I wrote years ago, but they are now nothing to me but words. In the midst of healing my body, someone inadvertently healed my pain. We are not just automatons, mobile creatures of flesh and blood. Our pain, our hurt, what ought be healed by one with the power to do so; all can come in many forms.

Catch does not often differentiate.

When you initially spoke of yourself, you lead with the ganconner. We've talked very little about it since, mainly only as it pertains to your specific role amongst your people and how it may or may not affect me (and recent evidence points to may not, though that means I am all the more vulnerable to anyone of your people hunting you until we rectify this matter). You initially described it as a curse. Let us look at it like that.

Were Catch to try to heal you of that curse, no matter if he meant to or not, what would the result be? Would it look like this?

I am willing to provide what assistance I can from afar. I still intend to come with the thaw. That gives us, if all else fails, time to ensure that I am hardy enough spiritually and mentally so that I may aid you.

When you are well, we need to talk about Gloria. Be heartened by the fact that I will not give up on that. It means I will not give up on you.

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2700
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:37 pm

Glenn,

I have been foolish. I was frightened, and I am frightened yet. But never should I have pleaded to you without my wits about me to temper it, and never without explanation. Betimes it is so hard to slip a word sidelong against you, my shunna, that when the opportunity presents itself, I fling them all any which way and hope a few will stick here and there. If I have imposed or caused you undue alarm, I beg pardon.

Here I have paused to wonder if I am truly begging your pardon or if I only say so to save you from worrying, if indeed you do worry. It is both, I think. It is very late and I am a little drunk. I will try not to make the whole letter like this.

However, if by futility you mean your letter to Ainrid, be assured your efforts were not in vain. She has written me as well, a full swarm of questions—so many that it might be simpler to strike out what does not apply than to answer each in its turn. From my mother I have received medicines and powders in such abundance that I believe the only reason she did not include a wooly muffler was for fear of overtaxing poor Benedict. To be fair, it was such comfort to have word of either of them that I have almost forgiven you for being so impudent as to write them in the first place.

Almost, but not entirely. I would not have you known in our courts at all unless and until I introduce the matter myself. They are not a place for mortal men, my shunna. In truth, I wished to keep you separate in large part because I fear it would be temptation too great for you to resist, and as susceptible as you are now, with spies or enemies that we know not, I fear it all the more. It is bad enough to have a whole country to worry about without having a country plus you.

But as much as there is nothing I can write to warn you away from the courts, there is nothing you can write that will keep me from Him. You are too late for that. It may have been too late the very moment I met Him, but now it has most certainly gone too far to undo. I fear I shall have to write as a woman for a moment, my shunna: He has become my sanctuary. With Him, I find I can bear being alone here. I have never been much a solitary creature, Glenn. If I want for company, I find it; if I want it not, it never crosses my mind. But this one is like a fever in the blood. I am too hot, too chill, never satisfied until I seek Him out again, and the more He offers the greater grows my capacity to receive. There is no bottom to either of us, Glenn, and that troubles me some. I am still enough myself even to resent it, for He has usurped what was once
my province; I am the one who has always

I strike out that last line as I realize that what I meant to write verged on an affront to your vaunted prudery and making you blush is wasted when I am not there to see it. (I did warn you I was going to be a woman.) Suffice to say, the ganconner’s spirit still dwells in me. I do not know if He could undo it even if He wished. Myself He might destroy, but not that.

The ganconner is banaheen, too pure and complete within itself to be reckoned curse or blessing. What curse there is, is of ourselves, punishment for the sin in daring to meddle with it, for we are to the banaheen as unfit and defenseless as you would say your people are against ours. Yet your folk and ours are more like one another than any of us to them. Being human, you do not understand the boundaries in the world, for that knowledge is not part of you. We know better, and still we transgress, always to our own sorrow. Of the two of us, our sin is greater, for we should know better. Your own folk merely blunder into great wickedness on occasion, like a child who reaches into a fire. Such knowledge is its own responsibility. I feel that of all I have said, that one thing you might understand.

When I was very small, I used to go and play in the ganconner’s forest because I was the only one who could. It was not truly safe, and no one wanted me to, but once I was within, no one could rightly fetch me out again save for my father, who never bothered. He, too, had gone into the forest when he was little, and he knew the way of it. The ganconner knew me as its own blood and would look after me. I used to go into the river and stick my face under the water while it stood above shouting at me, for it knew that living things could drown. It also understood that living things must eat, only it did not understand that we do not have to eat
all the time, so it would try to feed me woodlice and worms, uncooked roots I could not even chew, and once a whole stag’s head still steaming. I would have to pretend to eat to make it cease its fussing, and when I was a little older, I got into the habit of bringing a handful of dried curds or cake with me so that I could nibble them in front of it.

I thought it funny, you see, that I, this little child, could tease something so great and ancient as the ganconner, whom all others feared. I began to think that that everyone else was foolish to fear it because they did not know it as well as I. And I felt very clever and special to have been so brave.

But there was a time, Glenn, when I was lost. The ganconner led me back to the path, but by that time it had grown late, and my mother so worried that she came in herself to find me. No sooner did the ganconner lay eyes upon my mother than it abandoned me and went to play its wiles upon her while she stood helpless before it. I was too little to understand what was happening; I knew only that I did not much like the ganconner putting its hands all over my mother, so I picked up a felled branch and swatted the ganconner right across the backside. And all I remember after that is that my mother snatched me up and ran with me and did not stop until we were safe back at camp.

For the rest of the summer, I was too afraid to set foot in the forest. But the next year came, and I had time to grow bold again, so I ventured in to seek out the ganconner and see if it had forgiven me. It had not forgiven, because it did not remember. More than that, for the first time I saw that the ganconner did not know me for myself, only that I was kin to it. For all it knew, I was some other child, and for all I knew, it had thought me a different child every time I came to visit. My father had known this all along, for later he told me that in his day, the ganconner always called him “grandchild,” just as it called me.

The lesson here, you would say, is that by now I should have learned better than to dally with things in the woods that are greater than myself.

Now it is near morning, and I seem to have writ myself sober. Doubtless I will regret having been so forthcoming, but Benedict is plucking at me to be away. He shall have to wait a moment longer.

Very well, then: Gloria.



The handwriting, those crisp black spires, gradually grew jagged. By the final line they were but stabs and sketches of words.


She was coming toward your door just as I was leaving. I became very curious if you would let her in and lingered near enough to see what would happen. When she did not knock at all, I tried to move on, but she

She spoke His name. Black vines came out of her throat and snatched at me, tried to take something of mine, but instead it hurt me. I tried to get away from her, but she would not cease in following. I ran away, tore my shoulder on some iron, and lost my glams. When I could no longer hold her back, she took me away to a healer. I did not wish to be there, so I fought. A woman came and demanded a tooth of me for safe passage. She was very rude about it, so I struck her. I would not have killed her, but she twisted her head and cut her own throat against my blade. There was a fight, and in the end only Gloria and I were left to make our separate ways. I did not care to see if she escaped, but I suppose that as you have spoken to her, she must have done.

You may tell her that if I see her again, I will have her bowels for bowstrings.
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Sat Dec 29, 2018 3:32 am

Finn,

You may always come to me with your concerns. Do know that I may act upon them. Also, think, if just for a moment, how often I find myself without my wits when I am near you. There is a level of trust there and it must run both ways if it is to run at all (otherwise, we should run from one another, and despite the tone of your next few paragraphs, we will not).

As for that tone and those paragraphs, this is not the time to worry about whether or not I worry, and to a lesser degree, it's not the time to worry about me being known at court. If I am known, it is in the smallest sense. Ainrid had more questions about who I was than about your health and well-being, though I suppose that makes sense, to a degree, if you were communicating with her. Benedict helpfully left that bit out.

Anyway, you needen't worry. So long is there a path back to Myrken for me, I will not be running off towards such foreign adventures. You are all of the fairy court that I need or desire. We should likely move forward on my plans to engender some level of immunity, however. Ainrid's letter affected me. Small, controlled dosages are what we ought to try between now and my arrival back in Myrken.

Gloria, first. She thinks me compromised. Or she thinks me mad. Or she thinks me distant from human reason. She thinks me both tantalized by the mystical and domineering over all womenkind. She fears all aspirational vision but offers no alternatives save for endless toil without advancement. She can tear down but can never build back up. She will be an impediment but I will continue to try to deal with her through reason. She knows much pain and disappointment. You'll try to use her bowels for bowstrings. I'll try to win over her heart and her mind. She deserves the attempt.

Enough of that. Catch. Your words trouble me. I know him better than anyone else in Myrken. I studied him in ways that I have not even begun to study your people. Years of my life were spent with him on my mind.

Let me begin with this: there are two elements to him, his kindness and his grandeur. Within that kindness is innocence, simplicity, purity, a care for other creatures, a gentleness that does not know his own, even mundane strength. It is a child's goodness, with all of a child's failings. Within his grandeur is power, presence, mystery, the weight of centuries, the endless cycle, an order to a world in which none exists. It is the beauty of a storm, a healing and purifying presence, but as fire heals and purifies, cutting out the undergrowth so that new things may grow. You and I? Even you? We're undergrowth.

His presence is held in check by his kindness, but only because he is broken. Because he is broken, he takes on attributes of those around him. His kindness is, in many ways, the best and the worst of the humans around him. This is not his original nature. It is not his unfurled nature. It may be that you only care, on a primal level, on the most primal level there is, about his second element. I doubt that though. I can imagine many attributes of the first that would appeal to you, tuatha, collector of children, relisher of their innocence. It's the combination of the two that makes him rightfully irresistible.

Know this: were Catch healed, were he to be made whole again, he would no longer be Catch. Whatever he was, whatever he ought to be, it is not this. The first thing to go would be that kindness, and it would be replaced by the harsh realities of nature. The strong devours the weak. Living things breed and die in endless, pointless repetition. Catch could wipe away our progress more quickly than your Hounds, but he would leave us an even larger multitude, all remade in his image and ready to swarm over every inch of this world.

You care for a broken thing because of the specific shape of his shattered pieces. Because he is broken, he is a danger to you and you to him. He is brittle and you are insatiable. He is sharp and he is insatiable. He will break further and you will bleed more. Perhaps he will destroy you and leave only the ganconner's spirit. Then where will we be? Where will your people be? If nothing else, he is a far worse distraction to you than I am. You are a not just a woman but a queen with the responsibilities of a queen. Have you not invoked such a sweeping statement when dealing with me?

I would promise to stay away from your courts, save for letters to Ainrid for these have both begun and are also relatively harmless as you would well admit, if you would show more restraint with Catch. A half measure for both of us. Another compromise between neighbors and friends.

The ganconner may not have known you.

Catch does. Beware.
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2700
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:23 am


Dear Glenn,

You speak as if I am entirely ignorant of what is before me. Would that I were ignorant. It would make all of this so much easier, and I would have taken pains never to have you know of it. Our trust is such a jagged path, my shunna. I must be able to trust you not to meddle when you are not invited, whereas you must be able to trust me not to take advantage when you are without your wits. I wonder if you know what a trial that is for me betimes, and I wonder if it is as difficult for you. I think for you it must be worse, as you never seem even to try to resist it.

However, this one time I do indeed beg your aid and advice, or yet ask that you bear witness, for someone else must know what is happening—not for my sake, or His, but for all the others too. I know something has happened between myself and Catch. No, I will not even bring Him into it. The fault lies in me, not Him.

Long ago, before we knew one another well, I told you that I never sought to use His power for my own ends. That holds true still. But you know how eager is He to please those He counts as friend. That is part of His charm, and all of my caution. It is not as it is with you, or any other friend; we cannot share our troubles with one another, for His are too great for me, and if I tried to tell Him mine, He would only wish to help, and that he must not do. I have no doubt that our High Queen
would look upon such as He and try to make something of Him, for she hungers for power, any power. I cannot say for certain that Father would not do the same.

For now we seek solace in each other’s company. To be but a little comfort to Him, to still His heated brain a time, is as much as I can offer and as much as He has ever asked, save for one thing. He has forbidden me to die. I told Him I must and will, someday, but He would not hear it.

I cannot tell you I would not seek to heal Him if I could. You well know how I feel about such things. If wishing alone could heal Him, it would already be done. Fortunate it is for me, and perhaps for us all, that it is not, and that I have no power beyond wishing for it. That knowledge has mocked me in every moment I am near Him. It would not be for love or any wish to see this place undone, but for the same reason I could not leave the bear in the pit, or why I would rather my gentleman be a dragon, and himself, though it meant I could not have him anymore. For sake of wholeness, for the restoration of order in the world, I would do it.

You have said so often that my people stagnate. To me, it has always been your kind who stagnate. You so fear change that your idea of paradise is a place forever unchanging, where there is no outcome that is unforeseen and all is safe and well-ordered. But that is
not order. The notion of order you ascribe to Him is less abhorrent to me than your own. My people move with the world. Yours stand still, then wonder why it rolls over you.

I ramble, but I well know what all this is, such a simple and stupid thing that I am ashamed to say it aloud, for I can guess what you will think of it. My mother always joked that I was the only person she knew who was more miserable in love than out of it. Speak not to me of danger; do not remind me that I am queen and responsible for more lives than my own; and more than all, do not presume threaten me with the assertion of His nature, for I have no fear of it. Only tell me that I will hurt Him, for that is the only thing I can hear now.

Ainrid has reminded me that I cannot forbid her speak to you if she chooses, and she has chosen. Therefore I will relent, solely because she is a bard and not, strictly speaking, part of any Court, even mine. She is very trustworthy and knows many things. She may be able to help you with whatever it is we occasioned in Razasan, only you must not speak to her as you do with me, for she has very little humor. I have not told her anything, for I consider all that passed between us as a private matter.

You may believe Gloria deserves your patience, but she has had all of mine, and little enough there was of it to start. Tell me if you need her and for your sake I will keep my path from hers.

I have had to set this letter aside for a whole day, as this week has been the last of the winter rites. I have always tried to keep the fires here, at least the important ones. This time I felt even more strongly that I should, for protection. Yet even before I began, I felt very foolish and irritated, as if I were only play-acting. I kept wondering what all this looked like to some other person if they were watching from the woodline, and I realized it would all seem ridiculous to someone else. I have never thought of that before. Perhaps it does not matter if one is ridiculous so long as it please the gods, but when they are not there to see, one feels differently.

Of late I have even tried to talk to some of the gods here, for I realized it might be polite to let them know I was there. I glammed myself and stole into the big chapel by the market (though I did not really have to steal as it turned out that anyone may go), but I understood very little of it. There was a man who spoke of all the old heroes who had died for their god and all the terrible ways they had died, which was very interesting, like a history, and I thought it would all be like that. Save that next he asked who there would lay down their life that very moment, and he called them all cowards. Everyone seemed very uncomfortable, and some swayed on their feet and made moan and muttered to themselves, and I began to feel very nervous, in case there was going to be a sacrifice right then and there. But when he was finished speaking, all those same ones let go their fear, and smiled and chatted with their neighbors as if nothing whatsoever had happened, and in the end, the god did not appear at all. Is that the usual way of it?

Fionn



Post-scriptum: He knows about the Horn.
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:49 am

Finn,

It was easier to resist everything before I met you. In fact, I had spent so long resisting anything and everything that there wasn't much too me. I was colorless and ethereal, translucent and insubstantial.

Do I know what a trial it is to you? Surprisingly, yes, to a degree. It's much as you say in the words to come, about Catch. It is of your documented nature. You must change. You must grant. You must restore. You must tear down. You must transmogrify. You must inspire. You cannot leave well enough alone. It's also in the words above, if you think of it so.

What I wonder, what I wonder still, is why. Is it because you are long-lived and to give in to boredom would be the end of you? Is it because of the glamourie that flows within and around you? You must give it answer externally or it will turn itself upon you instead? Is it simply the ways of your people, how you identify yourself and find purpose? What are we in this world without purpose after all? These questions consume me, far more so than exactly how your glamourie operates or why iron hurts you. Those are mechanical. This is of your heart and mind. It raises questions about myself and my people as well.

I had meant to write more about Catch, about his wits and other violations, about your need and other violations, about neither of the two of you able to control your impulses so as not to violate one another, and how that does not forgive either of you in the end.

I find myself wanting to say little more than that.

Save for this: he knows about the horn. Does he understand? If he understands, does he think it beneath him and his glory, except for as something to covet, an accruement?

Does Fairness matter when it comes to a natural order? Is that a notion you have? Fairness? Equality? At least equality of Opportunity? To you, can the true natural order be morally wrong or does its simple and basic Truth make it moral. Can we never strive for something better? If not, what's the point of life itself other than to seek joy within our natural confines?

Finn, I need you and as such, I would rather you not antagonize Gloria further. She'll likely antagonize you. Fight her with ideas, not blades and claws.

I've encountered what I would consider to be gods. There's more to say there, but first, answer me a question.

Have you encountered a god not in a church?

Is Catch a god?

What if he were to be restored? Would he be a god then?

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2700
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:51 pm

Dear Glenn,

A terrible thing you are for my resolve. You write of how hard it is for you to resist now, how drab and starving you were, and all I want to do is set you a trail of silver coins and lead you step by step toward more temptations. It would be for my delight and your own. Have you been so long from the world that you have forgotten what fun it is to show people things for the first time, and to watch their eyes widen? Half the pleasure in enjoyment is experiencing joy anew through someone else’s eyes. At least it has always been so for me. Perhaps that itself is your answer: perhaps, rather than grow bored and stale, we have found a way to make old things new again. The oak may stand a thousand years, my shunna, but every spring each leaf is new.

But to say
I must is somewhat different as you mean it, is it not? You speak of it as though it were a compulsion, or the spirit that moves the starlings to turn as one group. Must I? I know not what to make of that notion. Like a blindness so complete that one knows not even that one is blind. Like glamourie itself. I feel I choose. I have been able to choose against some things with you, though betimes with difficulty and bother, but only because it would have been easier to do things the ordinary way. Must you, though? You were damaged, not by your own will though your will made it so. Some inner part was stifled. You would never choose such a thing for yourself, you who value your freedom, but what you did choose led to what you were. Might you have said no? It is a conundrum.

Nature does not keep company with fairness or justice, as well you know, else all of Nature needs must be but one creature, as it was in the first days of the world. When the world changed, there was an order, and the order came to be that the great must prey upon the less, but the less would always be greater—that is, that there would be more of them—and that is the accord that was set. But I do not understand how you mean about Opportunity and Equality, or what you mean by Truth being moral. How can Truth be moral? If it bends to morality, one way or another, then it is no longer Truth. If the Truth be changed, is it not then falsehood? I try to explain it better but it is all cows. If truth can be false then all is confusion, and a worse one even than that you say He would wrought.

I do not know what He understands of the Horn. A year or so ago I told him the story of how we came by it. Mostly he was angered over the unicorn and wanted to know what became of it, but I did not know.

Glenn, I believe I have misled you. You have spoken before as if the curse on my clan is my grandfather, but the curse has always been the Horn; if anything, the Horn cursed the ganconner with us, as we were the ones to bind the ganconner to its forest. We never should have taken the Horn. It has never brought more victory than sorrow. It has saved us three times over the course of many centuries and cursed us every day between. It will not be destroyed or cast away. The Sister-Queens tried to leave it behind when we quit your lands, but it followed us. And I myself know not if it wants to flee from Catch or to go to Him. What I most dread is if it would go to Him and He would have it, then I am outnumbered.

You ask me to answer one question, then set me four. You have your own greed, my shunna, though you would never deign to call it that. Here I thought to bait you by quibbling at the word “encounter.” One does not encounter gods; they come at their own choosing. At most we invite them to appear and welcome them as best we can if they do. In that sense I have met many gods, though we have no churches.

Do your people build churches in places where gods have been before, or do they put them wherever there are people? For that matter, why do gods so like fire? I had not thought of it, but I was wondering why there were so many candles in the church, then thought it might be their way of lighting fires, as we do. I did like that the church was beautiful; I forgot to say that last time.

But I do not believe He is a god. Were He a god, there would be nothing He might be restored to, for if His power were such that it could be taken from Him, then He was never a god. Moreover, were He a god, I would be all the more fool to love Him, and even more powerless not to. I still have choice there, though it fills me with sorrow to choose against Him. Can there be love when there is no future in it? Between us there can be nothing I would want of love: no sharing of joys or sorrows, no creating things together—not even a child—and no hope of ever growing old or wise together. There would be only basking in one another’s presence until I am gone. Loss is another thing that should come of love, and I cannot even say that He would miss me.

I think I am writing to myself now. Things look so sensible and permanent when they are written out, when inside everything is twisted and barbed. This is why letters are so frustrating. They are so deliberate that all the feeling is sucked from them. I could cut my arm and splash blood upon the page, but even that would not be felt.

I did read all that last aloud to Benedict, who had a few sharp words for me as he is wont, and then told me not to send it to you. You may ask him why, if you please. All I will say is that it appears I have far more faith in your sensibility than he.

What gods then have you met? Is He one?

Fionn
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:26 am

Finn,

Know from my own hand that I had an encounter (she came to me at her choosing but I had to open the door to my dream) with your Ainrid. I will write her soon enough to make amends. You've seen my amends. I do not think she'll like them quite as much as you do. She thinks there are as many things that I do not understand as I think there are that she does not understand. Of all she said, most confusing was the idea that she might somehow warn you away from me by telling you what occurred. I half expect the opposite and as such suggest that you not take much heed in what she tells you in this specific matter. It was a dream. I became upset. Then I suppose she did me some harm and I became all the more upset still. I threw no book at her, however, only truths.

It did leave me to wonder exactly how they look at you. Have you deceived me about more than the horn and the curse? Does your appearance, in truth, deceive me as much (that is, slightly) as mine might deceive you. I half think we all look the same to you so a few years here or there would be no large distinction.

It makes your letter hard to deal with.What shall I do? Answer every line? The situation has temporarily move past us.

Let me see, though. For you, I try.

Each leaf is new and no two leaves are the same. All leaves from the same tree, however, are similar and year after year, they would be, in practical terms, the same. It is the same oak. They are, more than they are not, the same leaves.

When we do not just which is easiest but what which is new or different or challenging, we grow. It is the very opposite of your cycle of leaves. If ignorance can be pushed aside and a broader world discovered, then it is simply fear, as much as anything else, that holds us back from that. I was sad, yes, but I was also afraid. I am less so now.

I find your idea of natural order stifling. The truth does not matter. It is our perception and understanding of the truth that matters. That is why your glamourie is so dangerous. Less abstract, we have our freedom but within limits. I cannot leap into the air and fly. Not today. That is a limit. It is a "truth." If I wish to do so badly enough, however, a way can be found with a cost. Magic, technology, an understanding of those limits of how other beings might transcend them and then how I might as well. Those limits can be stretched and strained, broken and rearranged. It often comes at a cost. Perhaps fairness is worth that cost, however.

Gods are just beings that have transcended the limits. They still have their own. They still have their own natural order. Instead of venerating and begging them for mercy and sustenance, it ought to be our duty as mortals to find those limits, to understand them, and to use them to hold them in check. Otherwise, we are nothing but slaves.

Kylerryth. Galacia Tarin. The Baie. Maybe Vraal. Catch in some of his forms, perhaps. Where is the line? You think it omnipotence, omniscience? I think it surpassing the mere overcoming of limits to the ability to create and manipulate the limits themselves.

Our current limits are distance and time. How much has occurred since I received your letter?

Yours as you are mine, absolutely no more and absolutely no less,
Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2700
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:54 am

Glenn,

Do you know what you dare, naming things yours, mine, ours? I do not think you do. I call you my shunna because you are, and because it is a safe enough thing for you to be, for there may be affection without entrapment. I do not think you would ever wish to be anyone else’s shunna, nor would it be a great loss to you if you could never be your own. But when you start laying claims of
whose and how much, then I might believe Ainrid’s misgivings. Stay these yours and mine and let us remain ourselves and separate.

You may well imagine what sort of an earful I have had from Ainrid. I know not if my warning to be civil with her came too late or if you chose to disregard it. With you, it can go either way. Do you think that I warn you of these things to hinder or stifle you? I had hoped that she might be able to tell what has become of you. She might have solved it, or given you some direction to do so, or she and I might have devised a plan to help expose you to more glamourie safely, as you asked. Now she is instead resolved to convince me to give you up, and my every request hereafter will need struggle against that. She thinks you a morbid and unwholesome distraction who will soon destroy yourself, and she does not wish for me to be present for it, or worse, to be made part of it. She fears that you will only waste my time and leave me bruised in the bargain.

Ainrid has been good counsel to me for many years, Glenn, but she does not understand what it is like to really live here. There is not one time I pass a farthing to a merchant that I do not think I have more in common with the coin than with the man, for both of us will outlast him. Betimes you all
do look the same to me, though not in the way you mean it. One were better to love one poppy in a field, or one wave in a sea, than one human amongst humans, for the one will always vanish, but the whole will always remain. I do not say this to sound indifferent, but only to be truthful. The longer I stay here, the more I understand why He must forget.

This is why I am so frustrated with you! So little time, but you would squander it in proving some petty point, holding your ground at the expense of all else, solely because the truth displeases you and you think that if you stand there looking at it long enough, the truth will change. In this, Ainrid is wholly correct: there is only so much time and patience I am willing to squander upon you. How long? Two years for us now. If the game you wish to play is which of us can wait out the other, then there is no contest: I have already won. May we not consider that part done, and move on to some game that might profit us better? You are one man. There is a world. There are options other than you. I found you; I can find them as well.

Moreover, you make a poor example for your own folk. A thousand good words of mine on your people’s behalf, you undo with but a dozen. If your own skin means little to you, think of these ones you wish to see bettered. What would they want you to say on their behalf? They do not need your pride or bluster. Save those for I who am at least amused by them. I told you before in Razasan, and it hold true still: until you find it in you to conquer this trait, you are a liability. Do better or stay out.

As for what has occurred here, I have met a man, one of your local elves (I say “elves,” but they call me that here, too, as well as “fairy” and “fae.” I think it must be
your folk who cannot tell one from the other). In any case I did not offend this one too badly and we two have agreed to meet again to discuss our histories. This is a matter you know has long been of interest to me, of what might have become of whatever of our folks were left here, and how we might be kin to those who remain. If there is an inroad for us here, perhaps there is more hope with them than with you.

So tell me, what has occurred on your side of things since the last letter?

Fionn
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:25 am

Finn,

They are wrong or I am blind. If I am blind, then they are wrong anyway.

I could not stay with my own thoughts today. I simply couldn't. I went outside. You had so little time here and it was torturous to you. There are days that are particularly warm here, even in the depths of winter. It was a day such as this. Benedict and I went to a restaurant. Three restaurants, for the first two would not allow him. The third was down a back alley. You'd love it and hate it. I look for rugs now. Iron does not merely affect your magics.

There is a delicacy here, one from islands further south or maybe not. I do not entirely pay attention to such things, not even to better describe them to you. It's a dessert however, a pudding of sorts. The trick is that the sugar is scraped off of the loaf before your eyes at the table, and then through some sort of mystical means (I think there's a rod endowed with fire somehow?), burned before your eyes. It's all fake, the whole experience, power hidden away used to delight the rich with a false veneer of the forbidden. It would have taken a few of your coins to partake in it.

It's the sort of place that couldn't exist anywhere else. The dessert itself, is, not ironically, too rich. Benedict wanted something more savory but I couldn't convince them to use the magic to broil a mouse or some such.

I have squandered such places here in the city. I could spend another five years not wallowing in my thoughts and poking at my philosophies but in pure hedonism experiencing illicit wonders. Great power squeezed towards wholly inane ends. It's tempting. I wonder if it is not unlike what your people enjoy, just with far more effort and sacrifice. One color instead of a thousand with far more cost to accomplish just that. That makes the cost as much of the point as the wonder.

I can't share any of this with you. Rugs or not, you would chafe. For all my skill in writing these letters, the previous paragraphs were a struggle. Whatever my gifts, actually writing about the real experience of everyday life, even a remarkable iteration of such a thing, is not amongst them. Can you imagine if I had visited a brothel? What if I had tried to explain that to you? It would have been mortifying for both of us. Probably the woman as well.

I knew no one of your kind. I knew others who my people might mistakenly assume to be of your kind. One who lived in a tree and was affected by strong emotions. A woman who saw herself a healer but that suffered all the pain of those she healed. Another who lived in a hidden glade, who saw himself as a protector and steward of humanity, but who had retreated from that role. He was bound to Myrken in ways that the others were not. He's the one who sponsored me to be governor. You know of Sarayn and Jirai and Selenthis, of course. None of these are your people. None of them are you.

Benedict will tell you things. I am reassured that you will not overreact. Wait just a bit longer and I will come to you anyway.

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2700
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:05 am

Glenn,

Your letter comes so strange I wondered if you were making mock of me, or—more ominous yet—inventing quaint adventures for yourself because you thought they might please me. Well enough they
should please me, for am I not forever shoving you toward doorways? But invention is not your way, and Benedict’s bafflement vouches for your truthfulness. Likewise I have not failed to notice that you have overlooked every accusation in my last letter. Do you understand that when you do not bother to refute me, I take it as proof that I am right?

There, that should goad you as nothing else could—aye, and flatter you, too, both that you might be wrong and that you have become a measure of rightness.

I do not like to think I have read more into your warning than you meant. I do not have the correct letter anymore; I sent it back to you because it was not meant for me. But I remember the contents well enough.

Be rid of this ring, I beg you. It can offer you nothing but misery. How can you bear to do this to yourself now, when you have only just been loosed from your old chains? I did not come charging into Razasan to return your name only to sit idle as you bind yourself to a fiend. Had I so much as suspected it then, I would have kept the name and bound you myself, and damn the contradiction, for then at least you would have been safe while you recovered your sense.

Go, go you into your city. It is so rare that your restlessness leads you to wholesome distraction. This is something I have always wondered about you, my shunna: for one who declares himself such a human, you seem inclined to dismiss even the most basic of comforts, so that I wonder if you have denied them long enough that your own needs have atrophied. Why should it be inane to appreciate those things your people have made for the very purpose of appreciation? You are not yet so far removed from common men, and it would be a very sad thing to set up a world of happiness and comforts for others when you yourself have lost all taste for them. Go seek some out some new pleasures for your new senses. Do it if only to have something to write me about. Visit a brothel, even, only Benedict says he will not go with you there. (I myself have never been much fond of brothels. I am a huntress at heart, and brothels make the outcome all too certain.)

Despite all our contention, you must never believe that I am ever less than a friend to you. The only thing that could put an end to it is that you harm what I love or abuse my faithfulness. Is there no one near to keep watch over you? Benedict’s loyalty much exceeds his proportions, and I fear if he found something amiss, all would be over before he could reach me. Tell me if there is anything I can do from afar, and promise you will do nothing rash before we see one another again. Promise true, and do not try to argue out of it, for I am impatient enough with you as it is.

Finn
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:00 am

Fionn,

Obviously, I am not going to put it on.

For the sake of argument, we will both agree that the letter you meant for Catch came to me by accident. I do believe that, if only because the nature of your affections and the fact that you are able to muster a level of self-conscious girlishness or some such on this matter. At that stage in our conversing, you would not have shown me that willingly. I refuse to admit Benedict capable of such mistakes, however.

My letter to you, while not addressed to you nor written for you, was intentionally sent to you. This is an important distinction. It was raw and honest. It was, I think, not at all equal to your letter. Your letter showed a side of you that you did not allow me to see. Yours was certainly private. Mine was something more. It was sent, I think, with good intentions but bad faith. For you, this is a danger of me. The better you can trust my intentions (and in fact my affections?), the more dangerous is my faith (you use the word faithfulness; let me use that instead as well).

That was both more and less true then than now.

I wanted you to read it far more than I wanted the person it was intended to read it. I think without it we might never have reached the point we are at now. You gave me an opening to take a leap. It was the first of many.

Points matter. You would have nothing at all for us but sensation. It's all so matter of fact to you. You have such luxury. With life immemorial, you need not worry about meaning. Let us compare again. It would be one thing if you lived twice as long as us. Three times. Four. Ten? Twenty? Thirty? A hundred, though? The list of my sensations, conventional ones at least, the ones that most humans can achieve, all of them together is but a blink of the eye for you.

We have to find something larger. Our gods have to somehow be stranger and more abstract. A single point matters more if there is a principle behind it, because that principle can be magnified to be greater than the sum of all of our sensations could ever be.

We've been around this circle long enough to know a few things. I am more aware of my need for meaning, yes. You, however, are not the same person I met at the start of all of this. You strike at problems somewhat differently. You view things somewhat differently. Will you simply revert back to your old form the second I am dead and dust? If you forget me in a hundred years, would I still not have had an affect upon you, even if you have changed dozens of times more in that time?

You see what I'm getting at, right?

You manage to see me was a person and not simply dust. I manage to see you as a person and not just a monolith.

Glenn
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2700
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:53 am

Dear Glenn,

Why do you think I complained that you had become real to me?



Is the sound in his own head, or does the page itself whisper? Somewhere between the two.

Lift your eyes from the page. It stops.

Start again:


Dear Glenn,

Why do you think I complained that you had become real to me? It is a failing, and a dangerous one. You are to me much the same danger I am for Him: a thorn that catches, a root to fix one to the spot, a thing that cannot be forgotten when forgetting is paramount. I must be free to move on. He must be free to move on. And you must be free as well. That we three each have our circles and that they may be greater or smaller between us is no matter.



Try to pinpoint the precise origin of the sound and it slips away, maddeningly, like a fading dream.

But let it happen, and it became a clear voice, unmistakable down to the faint sliding s beneath the brogue, reading the words aloud as he followed them with his eyes. The more he allowed himself to go along with the conceit without questioning it, the easier it became to hear.

The easier it became to hear, the less one questioned it.

The ancient danger of glamourie: that it asserts itself as more true than truth, more natural than nature.

But the letter continues, and so does the voice:


I do not spend a great deal of time fretting whether or not He will remember me when I am gone. I hope that He does not. To remember someone or any thing for always would be unbearable. It is his nature to forget. But I have spent some time in wondering if I will remember you.

Scale, my shunna, and size.

Would it satisfy something in you to be remembered? How would you be remembered? As a wise man, a good man, one who enacted change? Or would you be a vandal who carves his name into a monolith to be wondered over by those to come? There is change, and there is change. There are things that cannot be forgotten because they leave scars, and those that cannot be remembered, for they grow and become such a part of the world that no one can imagine a time without them.

What matters it to you what your sensations would mean to me, or to anyone? They are your own. They must be for your own good, or no one’s. That is why it is such fun to tease and prod you about it: because you are so certain you will never act on them. One day you may surprise me, but I doubt it. The book came closest, but that was only because I was rude. Oftimes you are infuriating, my shunna, but you are rarely rude, and this I like about you.

But mostly I grow weary of being warned about your affections and your faith (good or bad) and your intentions. I believe you have other words for all these things, only you will not let yourself say them, because you cannot let yourself feel them. One may lie with words, but not with feelings.

Do you remember what I said about dust and moonlight? There is your answer.

Fionn
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Henceforth

Postby Glenn » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:10 am

In silence, he read,

and read,

and read,

and read.

Four times through the letter. Moonlight. Dust. He didn't remember and that stung. It was probably in the letters . The moonlight was bright and it reflected. It did not reflect dust rising off the ground. It reflected, the sea; the sea of the city, the sea sweeping through it. The smell rose up to his nostrils, pulled him down towards the paper for the start of a fifth read. He stopped himself. He did not know glamourie. He could not. What he could know, however, increasingly so, was its aftereffect upon him. The memory of the moonlight through a sea he now knew was not there? That was the aftereffect.

It threatened to consume him. The raven was in the room (was flying over the water that was not). This gave Glenn a choice. Once her letter arrived, all playing with rings, all distractions ended. He consumed the letter as he always did. Then, he was consumed. Now, he had a choice. He could face the raven as less and more than himself or he could face the words.

The raven was there. She was not. He deferred consequence and thus made it far worse.

Dear Finn,

Moonlight and dust. For you that must have been what? Yesterday? A minute ago. For me it was two years ago now. Obviously that's not how it works. You don't blink and see us pass by. That would be a mercy. You live every moment but the meaning stretches out over time. You feel every moment as it happens. There are just so, so many moments for you to feel and so many that you've felt. It doesn't make you older than me. It makes you more weathered.

I refuse your paradigm. I am neither wise and benevolent nor some vandal. I'm not some bard with pretty, haunting songs. I am a person as you are a person. We are real to one another.

What I want is for you to look back, to feel the tug and the regret and the pain and the loss, just as I look forward and know that death will allow me only the briefest time with you, when the world will have so much; I want you to look back in that moment and think to yourself that it was all worth it. I don't want to be good, more good than ill, but not Good. I don't even want to be remembered necessarily, not for the sake of me.

You will remember me, though, at least for a time. We've established this. Here is what I want then: when you remember me, I want it to bring you more joy than pain to remember. By far.

That is hard, because the greatest lovers the world has ever seen? They would feel so much pain separated than nothing could be worth it, no matter what they might say.

What then could? I want that. That is what I want. Something differently special. I want us to be worth it in the end for who we are, even if what we are seems to make that impossible.

Let us make a world between us that is forever better than the disparate ones we began with.

Glenn


Hours later, truth or no, he would regret it all but by then it would be too late. He had given the raven no words, just a shake of his head and a letter.
Glenn
Co-Founder
 
Posts: 2700
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:00 am

Re: Henceforth

Postby Niabh » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:51 pm

Between Glenn’s gobsmacked reaction upon opening the last letter and the lady’s smug flourish as she handed over the latest one, hell yes the raven had a few suspicions. This time when he appeared, he stayed a little beyond the reach of Glenn’s arm, and clung to the letter a fraction too long before reluctantly relinquishing it.

He shuffled back and forth between his feet before breaking the silence. “So. Um. The lady says to tell you that the weather Myrken way’s warmed up early. Top layer of frost is thawed. She says there’s gonner be another cold snap before true spring but she reckons the main roads are about as clear as they’re gonner get. She’s pretty good at predictin’ this stuff.”

This had the awkward feeling of a simple report that had gotten too detailed, elaborate to the point of a bad lie. Talking about the weather, for Lugh's sake, skidding around the real subject. He clacked his tongue rapidly in a woodpecker impersonation, then added, for lack of other resolution, “I think that’s her way of askin’ if you’re still coming.”

Once more the voice began hallucinatory and distant. As he read on, it warmed and gain strength. But it was not only the voice that warmed. A subtle flickering of light swelled in patterns of pink gold instantly recognizable as firelight—someone else’s firelight, the very light by which the page had been written—danced at the edge of vision, causing the true light of his study to dim. The scent, too, was subtly different: an earthy whiskey smell of peat smoke, undercut with the astringent green of balsam. Tannin and orange blossom lingered, tantalizingly familiar, on the back of the tongue. Cozy, an oddly homey feeling given the context, but that was the word for it. Warmth and safety and a space to bring forth.

The voice went on, at times so near it seemed one could go on reading with closed eyes.

My shunna,

Of course you amongst men would declare that you cannot be satisfied by aught but a whole new thing, as unique as yourself. But that wish itself is old. For as long as there have been men, each has seen itself as the centerpiece and purpose of creation. It amuses me, because for all your talk of establishing order, you never speak of yourself as a true part of the world you would create. Ever, you are the exception. I wonder why. To be a bard would bore you, but you would fain be a hero, I think: an unseen one, the silent but most necessary part upon which all else depends. There is power in that, I think—the power to exist in the knowledge that should you withdraw, the rest will fall apart. The assurance of one's own necessity. The comfort of purpose.

Benedict says that we talk a lot of wank between us, but I do not think it so. I do have my moods, though. Scores of questions I would ask, things that would be of great value to me but which I believe you would find too common to answer, or too painful. I have long wanted to know what they did to you when you were a little boy and they caught you trying to read the storybooks, though I suspect the answer will only make me cross. I want to know who you were when you were in bed with your wife. I want to know what it is you dream now that you can dream again (and in any case it is rude of you not to tell me if the ointment worked, at the very least). I do not write this so that you will tell me, but only to show you the sort of things I find important, and the things I wonder that I will wonder of you, someday.

Glenn, these things make a life. They are life.

And I want to ask you about regret. From the little I have known of it, it is an awful, sickening feeling that should not be wished on anyone, though that could have been the cabbage. Is it for things that happen, or things one wishes had not happened? Can it be for both? I truly do not understand. One only wishes things were not happening while they are happening; afterwards they have happened, and there is nothing to be done about them. Is it different for you? What is the use of it? Have you ever written a word so many times that it starts to look queer? I think that has happened with “happen.”

Here then is my answer. If you would have me remember you with joy, let me remember you joyful. If you would have me feel this was all worthwhile, then work to make it so. To your fortune, I am an easy mistress, in that I ask little enough, but also a relentless one. I will have change and your better nature, or I will hunt you to the edge of the earth if you deny me. You will fight against alteration, as is your way, and I shall sit afar and enjoy your struggling. To put it this way seems cruel, even to me, but it is what we have done all along and both of us seem agreeable so far. Nothing is different, save that the long game has at last been spoke aloud. I will have my satisfaction and you will be all the better for it.

Promise me but that and I will deliver to you your different and special something, one never before seen in this world. The leaves on the oak will unfurl blue as blood, the dawn will rise in the west, and the moon at midday. Men will look upon its majesty and know you were the cause of it, or else they will never know, as is your will.

Would it be so terrible if our disparate worlds were only resolved between ourselves?

Finn
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
User avatar
Niabh
Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:40 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Other



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron