That Which Lingers

That Which Lingers

Postby Glenn » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:58 am

Egris,

Upon reflection, I am heartened by the fact that no deadline has yet been missed. That said, it was a coward's gambit, or at least a desperate one. Let us go with the latter. It'll bolster your ego without crushing my own. I had not the facilities or the wherewithal to contain or constrain you. I also could not bear the thought of you walking out the door never to return. Therefore, I leverage an entire province, something I know you know I care for, upon a return meeting. It does sound desperate when one puts it as such, no?

I do plan to return with the thaw. I'm hardly well. I'd made some progress and then experienced setbacks. You know the sort.

Do you, though?

I wonder. You were part of our lives for a short time. You have such a life of your own, power and adventures and responsibilities of a sort; blood and violence and a certain tedium as well. How much of it did you really experience in Myrken? The wild, uncontrolled magic. Did it touch you? Did it change you? I think you'd be much like I, at my worst (which is not a judgment). You'd want to harness it, to redirect it, to capture it and use it to fire industry and progress. I say it's for humanity, but in truth, it's about testing myself, about finding worth and value and autonomy. Freedom from doom and fate and the circumstances of my birth and environment. I'm not sure how to find freedom except for through exerting control, through proving that.

Oh, it's true with politics and warfare and everything else, but those are human creations. Simple logic shows the way. It's different with the preternatural.

How do you bear it, knowing all of that is out there? Knowing that no matter what conquests you might engender, there'll always be so much more? Another whole world that we can barely touch but that can touch us at will. I tried to stab it once, Egris. I spent a year's time training, learning, punishing myself in so many ways so I might become stronger. That's why I'm as good as I am, why I can stand to you despite being a mapmaker and governor and whatever else. I succeeded. After a year's time, I ran it through.

What did it avail me?

I lost everything I had left.

And for what?

Do you miss it? Do you long for it? Or can you shut out the noise with drink and companionship and simple, basic duty? March here. Put down that uprising. Secure yonder border. Again and again and again.

I hardly have the choice. It finds me. You found me. It finds me as well.

Of the two, I'm glad you found me, at least.

Glad is not the word I would choose for it. Then, though, is the question of choice itself. The entire point is choice. You see the dilemma? We lose in being passive and not fighting. We lose in being obsessed and devoting ourselves to the fight.

Have you yet figured out how to win, Egris? Or is it enough to shut our eyes and block out the noise? For others, perhaps, but for you and for me? For such as us?

Is anything ever going to be enough?

Glenn
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Kestrel » Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:14 pm

Burnie,

I suspect that you will serve as a cautionary tale for those who seek to ruffle the feathers of The Kestrel, time and again. Our last meeting was fraught with posturing and prose, speeches without anyone to listen and grand gestures that serve no purpose. The pair of us seem destined to sire nothing but regret and animosity towards the other. And yet, almost an entire year after we last spoke, I find this ill-advised correspondance waiting for me at the nearest village.

If you recall, dear Glenn, I made no promise to accompany you to Myrken these many months past. I said maybe. And maybe is neither acceptance nor refusal of your request.

I am well aware that your gamble was crafted of desperation. I will grudgingly admit, you were not alone in that feeling; it clawed at my insides and made my stomach clench to think of a parting especially with no ties to bind us. Our martial commitment was broken and the contract within flames. We could safely stride away without another thought. We are a sorry pair, but we still hold a bond that neither of us can explain. A scrap of actual honesty in compensation for your own.

Perhaps you have not lost everything, after all.

I win many things and quite often; just not for long. Such is the way of life. My version of success is probably in no way aligned with your own, so think no more of it.

For reasons not entirely clear to me, the path of my company draws nearer to your own. I would be able to meet you at the mountain path just in time to travel along your journey as the thaw comes. My men have been absent from their homes and families for years and the King has granted me some time away from my duties. Though, I truly doubt he would be happy to know it would be spent with the failed suitor.

So, tempt me, little mapmaker, while I have time to debate joining your cause.

Tempt me into joining your journey to the sleepy town filled with both survivors and magic; the town that holds so little for me and so much for you.

Will it be enough?

Egris
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Glenn » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:36 am

Oh Egris,

Is it all just the game? I am, of course to blame in part. You arrived a year ago and I wasn't nearly ready. Save for a moment's hesitation, I'd hardly say you were ready either.

Is that all you want of me? The game? Have you defeated every other opponent? Have you cowered all men around you (I assume, as always, that there is nothing to your wholly martial life but men, more the pity)? I am protected by the luxury of distance so you've yet to fully vanquish me. I remain elusive because I refused to play. Now I indicate that I might again. Is that all there is to be? A touch of blades, of wits, of words?

Egris, look back at my last letter. I asked you questions. I did not ask you questions to rile or ruffle or provoke. Were I to provoke, I would spend three paragraphs ruminating on how seriously you take your own avian moniker. To ruffle the feathers of the kestrel! What would I be? Oh, ho, see that the mapmaker has led you stray! When you were not looking, you've been poorly mismanaged by the Governor!

(See, that is how I would rile you).

My questions were genuine. Yes, I understand we may value certain victories differently. I am currently struggling with many things. I have the luxury of struggling here in my room. I am about to reenter the world and I must be more careful with such things.

Do you understand my cause? Do you think, even now, that it is about my personal advancement? Do you think I feel that yours is simply your own sensation, your own exhilaration, your own hunger for blood and action? I do not. Even if that were true, that would only be the surface. What drives it? What do you really want?

If I were to have something, be it rival or friend or whatever more, then I would find the substance of it, for I know there is substance there. I know that in battle, such doubt, such questing and questioning can be death. I know that others rely upon you to be untouchable, ice and steel and stone.

This is no battle. This is a letter. If you wish nothing but antagonism and animosity, then know that I do not currently have that to offer you. I cannot currently provide a hundred such paragraphs of the one I provided above. I am not nearly well enough for that.

If you instead dare look for the center of yourself, dare stand witness as I do the same, and then try to find a way through this path of darkness for the sake of our people, our very race, then I think we have something to offer one another.

If you merely want a sparring partner, wait. There is a good enough chance I'll be driven from my senses soon enough and then you'll have someone more than fitting and more than willing.

Otherwise, respond with difficult answers and difficult questions and see what truths you find.

Glenn
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Kestrel » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:09 am


Oh Glenn,

This is all in the past, so what is the harm?

Each and every interaction we two have had in our recalled past has been a game, a spar, or a dance. When we met years ago now, finally face to face, I discovered that you were far more compelling than my prior expectations would have led me to believe. Annoyingly so. I anticipated that, like most leaders of boring little towns, I would offer coin or take what I wanted at the point of a sword. Instead, I found a broken man who marched into battle with only the silver upon his tongue as his chosen weapon. I found a man that had been chewed up and spit out by the inhabitants of the town he loved and still naively saw the best in them. What's more, instead of bowing to the demands of the crown, you engaged with me in an attempt to save them all. You expected more from me than I was willing to grant and that made me woefully curious.

A little truth is what you are after, I assume, so let us continue to be frank.

To be clear, I had certain assumptions, I had clearly miscalculated and I had mere moments to adjust my course. It had been some time since I have been surprised by another individual such as yourself. I had certain illusions, perhaps delusions, of what I wanted from life. I began as my father's property and shifted to a loyal soldier through the most desperate of measures, to a commander of a small, loyal group of men, and I assumed that transition to a leader of a tiny town in the heart of the King's lands would translate perfectly. I discovered instead a proud, worthwhile little town filled with magic with a fragmented leader at its helm. (Let us not do one another a disserve by assuming The Council was any great power.) You held power over them all in your two hands, though you did not want it. Instead of a mere Governor, I met a fellow lost soul that yearned for something bigger and despite my better judgment, I decided an alliance was in my best interest. I may have suggested that it was purely to win over those stubborn people, but a small part in that decision revolved entirely around you.

Bear with me and try not to swoon. I do have a point.

I will always wonder why you actually agreed to give your hand in marriage. Mayhaps it was mere survival for a soul floundering in the absence of his late wife's betrayal. Perhaps you saw hints of the same desperate creature you saw in the mirror. Maybe you merely thought I would be good for Myrken. I doubt that you would ever tell me the truth in this matter, so I'll avoid asking. I wouldn't want to disappoint us both by forcing you to lie to me. It matters not given that our arrangement is now embers in your hearth.

To answer one of your many questions because you are an insufferable child about them, a relationship built of antagonism mingled with cautious, grudging affection that neither of us quite understand - that is enough. I have accepted that we are both broken individuals that will likely be unable to transition to anything more than what we are. What we have been, I mean. I'm not certain that we are anything to one another, now, as much as you like to argue the contrary.

Now that is where this heartfelt truth ends. I have indulged you enough. Honest vulnerability has never been a strong suit of mine; give an inch and most take so much more. You are no exception; you ask much of me, but give nothing in return. You are correct that you did not aim to provoke with your questions, but you did ask for a certain measure of truth without giving any of your own as collateral. From here on out, you will answer your own questions, Burnie, and I will follow suit in return.

You ask me what I really want and I ask you to be clear. Do you wish to know what I want from you? From life? From Myrken? I may have substance, as you suspect, but why are you alone worthy to have that knowledge? This time, your letter darkened my doorstep instead of the reverse. What is it that you want from me? Other than a companion on your travels, of course, which seems a poor excuse at best.

Why do you seek to return to Myrken now, after so much time? I understand your cause as much as you've explained. As far as I understand, you seek to bring more than mere survival to a town that seems unlikely to thank you for it. And out of the goodness of your heart, at that. What will you do then, Glenn? When you make Myrken yearn for more than they have, what will you do for them? It seems irresponsible to leave them to their own devices following such a cultural revolution. Will you take up the mantle of leader once more?

Do tell.

Yours,
Egris

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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Glenn » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:26 am

Egris,

This is good. I think we're starting to make some progress here.

I am, like every man before you, something of a beggar. You are inscrutable. It gladdens me to see that you know yourself. It interests me to see that even in offering truth, most of what you have provided, all but a few scant words, is your truth of me, of that moment in time, now years ago. That is enough. Your words. I imagine you think this enough or more than enough. What truth of you could I possibly want other than the truth of your feelings about me? What truth would have any practical use other than that? I rarely give you that, offering instead questions about you outside that realm or truths about me that have nothing to do with you. It shatters the entire idea of an exchange. It's not a transaction at all.

See, Egris, you're fascinating and I only ever scratched the surface. Why is everyone around you not so fascinated? They cannot see past the surface, because it is so distinct and dynamic a surface. I told you (did I?) that I had a certain luxury, that I have in this moment, a certain luxury to think and ponder, to examine. I am still, at rest. This is rest for me at least, a thousand thoughts instead of of five-hundred thoughts and five-hundred actions. (You are, of course, a thousand actions and woe be he that stands in your way for any of them).

All that said, I deeply appreciate what you've told me. It only ever makes me more thirsty, of course. Why is it that we have so much more potent and effective word for having too much water than too little. Drowning is so much more forceful than parched, but it's far easier to have too little than to obtain too much of anything. Save rancor perhaps.

So I shall give in return. Fine, I will answer my own questions, both about you and about me. Then it's up to you to do with the knowledge you gain what you will. Shall you contest my assumptions or let them linger, knowing that miles away, they are, in fact, my true belief, knowing that no one else in this world dares to think of you this way or that?

Why am I worthy? For the reasons you listed, because you were not wrong in what I was then and I assure you I am both more and less now, more stubborn certainly. I am worthy of the knowledge because I seek it, now, for its own sake. Who else can say that? Of the handful who even know it exists? I did not do that years ago, which is why it came to nothing. I sought to protect my people. I sought to still have a hand on matters, to have influence (which is not the same as power), to have choices, to have options. It was a gambit to create space, giving what I had left (namely, myself) for that which I cared about. That is why it had to end a year's past. It was no longer fallow ground to build upon (I know my grammatical error), to build any sort of relationship, antagonistic or otherwise, from. We had to start anew.

Know this: if I ask something, I wish to learn it. I wish to learn everything, of course, so that's hardly surprising. Do not be offended by that notion. Take some small pride. My priorities do have their own value.

So, something else about me then. Your questions answered.

I wish to return now because it has become obvious that I will not find the objective answers I seek. I can calculate as many variables as possible, plan and plot, extrapolate forward the all the results of my efforts, yet still never be sure I will do more good than harm, never be sure that I am right. I understand that now. This was a fool's errand, an escape of a damaged mind and heart, an attempt to restore some sense of balance and to cope with guilt and grief. Perhaps it has brought me closer to an ideal, but hardly close enough. Let me put it this way: it has brought me closer to death by a span of years than it has brought me to total assurance by a span or steps. We only have so much after all. It'd be a shame to squander it further.

As for my cause. You're close but not quite there. Culture is well and fine. It's a good goal, an ultimate goal, but I cannot force it upon them. What I'd like to give them is the choice, the chance, a life without tyranny from gods and tyrants and the tyranny of what we so casually refer to as nature or chance. This world is biased against us, Egris. We can take up arms against one another, but not against monsters, against hunger, against pestilence. So long as that is true, we will always be running helpless, overcome by the next wave and forced to build again. Culture is a luxury to be gained, a wall to be built to protect the freedom. The freedom must be earned first, however. If I try to lead my people towards this, it will not be with any formal title. That time had past. If I don't return though, they'll all die paupers and slaves, not because anything particularly special about me, but because there's no one else willing to see the chains, let alone try to break them.

Does that help?

Glenn
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Kestrel » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:23 am

Glenn,

There is progress in every word, each interaction, and in all communication. Not solely between the pair of us. One can get glimpses into the true character of those we conversate with in every word chosen, in each lie crafted, and in all tiny reactions poorly hidden. You just need to pay more attention to the game. I’ve made a habit out of seeing any perceived weakness in my time among the court. Secrets in the right ears, even half-realized, can buy all kinds of favors. In light of that, I must admit that I will be relieved to see you finally leave Razasan behind. I am still uncertain how they have not consumed you whole without the deft protection of your allies. I saw how alone you were there; if you recall I threatened to abscond with you for your own preservation.

And my own amusement to see you among soldiers.

It also gladdens my heart to hear that my womanly enigma remains thoroughly intact. You are not incorrect that my given truth had more to do with you than me; my impressions of you more than the heart of who I am. Most people don’t notice; given that most are entirely interested in themselves. Narcissism is easily distracted. How clever you are. Yet another reason that I do not merely ignore your verbose letters. Though, there is some truth in how we see others. Or how we see ourselves through the lens of another’s scrutiny. Perhaps our mutual fascination has more to do with ourselves than we’re completely comfortable with. There is more truth in that than anything we have ever said to one another.

I am glad that you find my attempt at a parry enough, for I doubt you would gain any more than that. Not yet. We have known one another for quite some time and I do trust you with many facets of myself. But perhaps not that one. Perhaps you’ve not earned it. Perhaps no one has. You wish to know who I am, but I am not at all certain I even remember who I am without all the armor.

I must confess that I’ve long wondered what you gain from our relationship. Not from the engagement. There, I very cleverly backed you into a corner. You longed for what I could be to Myrken, back then. But now? I know you’ve no use for my position, nor what little power I claim at this juncture. Now, I’ve no idea other than a wager that you merely like the mystery. So I’ll keep it to myself if it’s all the same to you. I enjoy watching you chase your tail with your questions. I’d imagine you would grow quite bored if I give you anything truly substantial.

Surely you’ve found that almost everyone is a little more entertaining with a bit of secrecy muddying the still waters by now.

You have much time to ponder, you say. I am infinitely touched that you’d chosen me as a focus, though I’m not entirely certain why you would bother. You do recall the definition of insanity? You ask me questions, I ignore them. You taunt and goad me into action and I break our engagement out of spite. Spite and a little bit of necessity. Your opinion of me is wholly unique, you are correct. There’s no one else like you, Glenn Burnie. I think you’ll find the same for me. Still, your far away attention flatters me endlessly - at least when you’re not busy insulting me. I hope that I can continue to maintain your obsession with me with a minimum of my effort on my part. Moth to my flame.

Alright, alright. I shall stop my unrelenting teasing in light of your own honesty. I thoroughly apologize. I’ve never, ever been good at flirting.

I am trying.

Have we started something anew? I do feel as if there has been a change in our relationship. You are far more present than before, but the steps seem familiar all the same.

Now then. Imagine my stern expression at this juncture. You are wrong in your chosen shame. Your purpose in Razasan may ring false, but it is never absurd to seek out safety for the purpose of healing one’s wounds, physical or not. It is not foolish to take stock of oneself to be better able to attend to the battle at hand. You can not make gains without knowing your own faculties. I did not know you before that strange day in Myrken, but the wounds you carried were plain as day upon your weary soul. I unabashedly used it against you. No, no. You were wise to retreat when you did. Even if Razasan was a strange place to do so. Still, you are all the stronger for it; I saw that when I invaded your space yet again a year's past.

I appreciate the honest ambition in regard to Myrken. Lofty goals as always. You go to battle against monsters, hunger, despair, and disease. You sell your soul to an ideal.


I take it back.

You are foolish.


Count me in.


Enigmatically yours,

Egris
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Glenn » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:29 am

Egris,

Here is where I should stop. I have your agreement. I trust it. I trust you. Moreover, I have all sorts of other effort from you, with open eyes self-aware enough that you talk to me about the effort itself as opposed to simply making it. The talking comes easier. That is a familiar notion to me. It is not that talking is preferable to doing. That's not what I mean. It comes back to control, a notion where you and I have more common ground than anywhere else. There is an element of surrendering that control, of release, of unclenching and just allowing one's self to be. Perhaps we can accomplish this in battle. Perhaps I can accomplish it when verbally jousting with those more powerful than I, that sort of thing. There is a rush in that, and I do hunger for it. Thirst for it? Perhaps that is a better word.

I also thirst for mystery. Your words resonate with me far more than Wynsee's. She accused me of being seduced by magic, by the preternatural, by beings that were more than human. That's hardly it at all. I need know everything. I cannot simply leave things be. Frankly, I have a hard time understanding why all other humans aren't this way, even now.

That brings us to a slight problem though, something which you lean into with open eyes. Is my interest in these conversations merely learning what I do not already know? Have you no leverage but that, no appeal but that (in any sense of the word)? To me, are you simply a mystery for the sake of mystery. We cannot truly know, of course. I would make two arguments, one pedantic and one meaningful. The first is that I continue to correspond with those with whom I have known for years. That may be because there is always more to learn about someone or that in learning and sharing and interacting, there are always new branches to the tree to traverse (still, I admit that this is not necessary how others interact with one another and see those interactions). More importantly, the second, I think there is substance there, something more than what the facade of a disenchanted, battle-hardened, resentful distant royal might suggest. Though all things are worth knowing, some are worth more than others. I suspect that the substance of you will turn out to be worth more than many things, indeed. It's a risk we both take, but I think we'll enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

I am happy to continue our correspondence in the meantime, but know that I will write to you again upon the start of my journey, and that upon hearing back, I will wait for you at the pass in Darras. I'll even let you decide whether we cross back through Heath or the Grange. I imagine you'll like that.

In that letter, I shall also warn you about some of what lies ahead of us. Just in case you wish one last chance to put reason over uncharacteristic optimistic determination.

Glenn
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Kestrel » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:49 am



Glenn,

You were never one to stop while you were ahead. Part of your charm. Part of why trouble finds you.

And vice versa.

Mostly vice versa.


Tsk, tsk. All this talk of hunger, surrender, and release. You are liable to make a lady blush. Alas, you had your now-unrealized opportunity when our fates were shackled together by our previous accord. All jesting aside, it is my sincere aspiration that you had not actualized just how dangerous the unintended implication of your written words. I hope that now, as a happy consequence, our arranged meeting will now be tinged with just a morsel of dread on your part. I will be certain to remark on it and not allow you to forget in the slightest. I trust you are looking forward to our rendezvous now.

You are welcome.

On another, more serious note, I do wholly understand your craving to know each and every thing that might wander into your purview. I do not quite have that thirst nor that hunger for knowledge that you do. However, I do have a particular need to know anything that others would want to keep from me. It is a character flaw, no doubt. But tell me, Glenn Burnie, what happens once you solve the mystery? What happens when there are no more answers? Do you merely move on to another?

That is a risk that I am willing to take. I look forward to disappointing you in so many ways.

How dare you presume that I will not be the one doing the waiting at the pass to Darras. Be wary, if I have a choice to make, perhaps I will leave you to cross back through Heath while I take the opposite path.

Reason and I have long since parted ways. It found my personality abrasive, I believe.

I await your further instruction with an appropriate degree of trepidation.

As Always,
Egris
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Glenn » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:42 am

Egris,

It is now four months since we last corresponded. I wonder what goes through your mind when it comes to this passage of time. Oh, you find me weak and hesitant. I am sure of that. Your lip snarls. Your chin rises slightly. Do you sneer? You might. Do you chuckle? Of that I'm less certain. Most of all, you are assured that you are correct, a fetching image, though also your natural state. Moreover, you curse yourself for your own indolence. Slightly rarer, maybe not as fetching? I'm not about to try to fetch you, so it hardly matters. That's a fine way to lose an arm.

I have been afflicted. You knew this, of course. You will be happy to know the following, of which you could not have been sure:

1.) It was not lack of nerves.
2.) It is not contagious.
3.) While not fully recovered, travelling will be no issue.
4.) The self-inflicted cure is worse than the disease and thus I have reluctantly stopped trying to treat myself.
5.) It has done nothing to my wonderfully nondescript features. You will be able to ignore me just as easily as before.
6.) I am not ensorcled, though it is magic, of a sort, that I am negatively reacting to.
7.) I also took a battering in my dreams, know now what the face of death looks like (it does not look like you; my apologies), have been sent a cursed ring that would give me everything I desire but twisted in the most horrific ways, and have made just enough enemies in Razasan that I shall not be back again anytime soon.
8.) I am still intent on meeting you at Darras.

I'm not sure what to warn you of. That is something you shall take as a bad sign. I meddle with powers, of course, but then I always do. I mean to improve the immediate lot of the people of Myrken Wood, but most especially, to try to increase their possibilities for the future, but then you admire that in me. I long to spar with you in every way, verbally, ideologically, politically, otherwise. I need a challenge, many challenges. I desire constant challenge and you are nothing but that. In the process, we will make one another stronger and sharper and we shall pity whatever fool finds ground against both of us in common. I would enjoy that more than you know.

9.) I have not fully regained control of my emotions. I ought to admit that to you. There are parts of my unwilling or unable to scar over completely and as such, I bleed out at times. You will find it endearing and shocking and off-putting and you'll want more and more of it, I fear, until you may start to prevent the healing so that you might bathe in blood of your making, not of anyone else's. It shan't be boring at least?

Consider that my warning, not of the monsters or mystics or magic or purposefully misspelled quenes, but of myself. Face that at your own peril.

I travel with young Miss Genevieve Tolleson and her companions, some of which she is far too personal with. She came, out of concern and an over-abundance of free time, that seems an impossibility for an Inquisitor. You travel with your loyal hounds of war. I'm sure we'll all get along for the last stretch towards Myrken and the not at all after that.

Let me know if I have not scared you off due to neglect or truths either pleasant or unpleasant. If not, we shall see you at the pass in two week's time.

Glenn
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Re: That Which Lingers

Postby Kestrel » Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:51 pm

To my wayward darling Glenn,

I started to wonder if you would ever write again; I speculated at great length if you’d grown weary of me and our curious alliance.

I wept, I wailed, and I whined to anyone who might listen, all while wringing my hands.

Woe is me.

No. Obviously not.

I did nothing of the sort, but that is likely no great revelation to you and that blade-sharp intellect of yours. You know me well enough by now, even if the greatest knowledge to date is through correspondence. One could argue, of course, that it is easier to know someone through letters. It would be far more difficult for one to offer their vulnerable throat with eyes upon them. Distance creates a safe enough refuge from judgment that we feel safe enough to give little pieces of ourselves to one another.

I digress. I fear that I am picking up some of your more annoying habits. Perhaps I am to act as mirror so you can come to the realization that you sow exasperation wherever you tread.

At any rate, where we were? Ah, yes. My feigned distress.

Can you imagine? Do you wish I would; that I were a different breed of woman, that you were a different kind of man? Would it matter if I had actually been fretting? Would your breath catch in your throat, captured under a lump of dread, as you puzzled over your next maneuver to soothe the savage Lady who you had the poor taste to slight? I have my doubts that you’ve even had the dignity to think of our accord since making it some months ago.

No, no. I did not fret, dear Glenn, but something worse - I waited for you to send word. And waited. And I waited.

It was an opportune time to travel just a month’s past. I promised my men time spent with their families, but of course it would have to be delayed until I was called away by an annoying bureaucrat who feels as if he can save a brutal little town that does not wish his help. Alas, no call came and then men began to grumble about missed opportunities and coin. I do not enjoy being idle; especially being idle waiting for you to beckon. The longer I was idle, the more my temper grew. I am not used to being placed aside, ready at a moment’s notice. At least not for anyone other than royalty. Even then, I merely swallow my temper and it burns still. My pride is a little bruised, I admit.

Now then.

What is this about an affliction? What sort of illness troubles you? Do you need a physician? Surely there are doctors in Razasan. I travel with one, but he isn’t the best skilled, else he would be there in the city and not unconscious from overindulgence each night. But he does have certain talents. At least he does if one catches him before a certain hour of the day. Now, you’ve done it. I hardly know if I should be irritated or worried.

1.) I would never accuse you of lack of nerves. You have nerve in spades.
2.) Would you be able to talk me out of coming if it were?
3.) How comforting.
4.) I didn’t think you one to give up on anything. You seek to break the chains of the common man in Myrken. Do you find yourself shackled similarly, Glenn Burnie?
5.) No boils? Disappointing. I will be sure to tell my heart to be still upon our meeting. Nondescript is exactly my type of man.
6.) I despise magic, Glenn. Why did you not choose a different sort of illness?
7.) If death does not take my form, that must mean you do not yet fear me enough. I will take strides to rectify that shortcoming. I cannot have another taking that esteemed position from me. My pride is wounded yet again, my dear. What do you want that you do not already possess, Glenn Burnie, and why have you not claimed it?
8.) Well, that is a relief since I am mere days away from Darras.
9.) I think I’ve finally settled on worried instead of annoyed. Perhaps they’re just two sides of the same coin. You sound desperate. And troubled. You sound as if you need a friend at your back; a service I am quite honestly happy to provide. I do not fear danger, you know that. I am happy to challenge you, time and again, for as long as you have need of it.


You warn me. I will take heed, but I have never avoided trouble before and I’m unlikely to start at this juncture.

And now you bring company? Alas, I had thought to get you alone and vulnerable, but at least the company will provide better conversation. I remember Miss Tolleson, but not well. She was wise to be worried, it seems. Perhaps I could learn something from her. You have never scared me before, Glenn. I don’t see the sense in being scared off now. Especially not for reasons of truth and negligence. You’ll just have to make it up to me. Somehow.

I will see you at the pass.

Peril be damned.


Courageously yours,
Egris
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