Minding Missives and Madness

Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:34 pm

It wasn’t odd that Glenn listened silently, after all she had always considered him a good conversationalist. But there was an absolute intensity to it, a physical advance, and a purpose driven reply. Together it might have been unsettling if these had been more normal circumstances. It was years ago when they had last spoken so directly, so who was to say what was normal anymore. When had it been? Where? Years upon years ago in the sitting room of his residence or maybe across from one another in the office? If she had been the same woman from those conversations, she might have shrunk or startled at the advance and closeness.

It was doubly odd looking slightly up to him; she was quite tall, even compared to most men, and it was not a common vantage point for a conversation. But she didn’t shrink or balk to retain whatever personal space felt appropriate. Her chin inclined smoothly and her eyes remained locked with his.

Considering all that he revealed she demonstrated remarkable restraint to listen, fully, as he had. In short, the answer to the single question she had asked, had been yes. He was in danger. That answer alone was all she needed to justify the whetstone to prepare her questions.

But then as Glenn often did, he elaborated. There was Benedict, the raven; seemingly safe enough as he had mentioned his ‘friend,’ in their exchanges. Then again, if she were not to read anything he brought how trustworthy could he be. And fairie intrigue? There was a lot that Glenn had said worthy of being surprised and even concerned about. Risk was not entirely the same as danger, but it was possibility. Suddenly, fragments from Gloria’s cautionary letter started making sense.

Genny’s eyes narrowed with concern, curiosity, and perhaps even a bit of suspicion at the mention of blood. There had been nothing about ‘bleeding’ in her letter. While they sometimes spoke in elaborate metaphors she couldn’t help but to let her eyes flick away and look him up and down again to ensure she hadn’t overlooked some glaring stain or a gaping wound. Of course, if the danger were fae there were far worse things that could be done with little more than a timble’s volume of blood. As for Razasan, it didn't even garner a reply. She couldn't care less about exploring the ostentatious city; except, perhaps, a visit to several notable libraries.

“Both,” she offered plainly, factually. There was no denying it and why would she, her letters had been candid. She was Genny and he was Glenn, it was both simple and complicated. And they both knew it and could do little about it. “Although, to say you have told me everything is not quite true, I think,” her lips pursed thoughtfully.

When a person wants something badly enough they might sacrifice quite a bit. A day’s meal, a week’s pay, their worldly possessions, even their ideals. There were burning questions heavy on her mind, topics and details of which he had been withholding in their letters. Some which edged dangerously close to forbidden topics and others far too personal. She might take advantage of the moment; ‘for justice,’ the back of her mind, angry and eager hissed. It was a strange, foreign thing, an urge to drop the axe on Glenn’s exposed neck and let her Inquisitor’s nature take over, unleashing endless questions. Her eyes screwed shut, the hand gripping the papers squeezed and made the blue-thorn wound bulge. And in a moment it was gone, a deep breath and her eyes opened, gentle as ever as she inclined her head again, closer if that was even possible, as if daring him to test her.

“Bleeding?”
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Glenn » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:22 am

Had they ever spoken so directly? It was all in that letter, or at least, he claimed it was (she was to question this soon enough). When she had known him, had he even been himself at all? Or had he just been a portion of himself, a shadow of himself, or more accurately, himself without a shadow? That he had not been particularly cruel to her, relative to others, that her experience might have been wholly unique in all of Myrken, well that meant something, but it did not mean everything.

Granted, this was not him either, not really, not fully. If one added up all the half measures, however, the soulless creature that had elevated her, the fallen one that had withered in Myrken after his lady's death, the letters that contained so much information but far too little nuance, this manic being before her with all the answers in the world if one just dared violation with the right questions.

Of course, there was the promise that if she just waited another hour, she'd have someone whole and hale to finally meet.

There was momentary offense when she claimed what he said to be less than true, less than complete even. It had not been an easy thing to write. It had been a foolish thing to write, a foolish thing to create such evidence of, even though it exonerated him more than not to anyone who knew even a third of what had taken place. It was all a foolish thing to tell her, whether she deserved to hear it or not. He had not painted himself in a positive light, exoneration or not. Thankfully, she followed with at least one explanatory word and he laughed, a laugh not of delight but instead of warm exasperation.

"Oh, Genevieve," said in a tone that was more fond than patronizing. "Don't you see? It's not that the letter wasn't entirely true. It's just that it was out of date the moment after I sent it to you."
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:36 am

Foolish it may have been, but she hadn’t lied, his letters had been a boon and a bane in ways beyond the focus of their conversation now. And while his letters had revealed his perception of himself, the shadow, the half-self, the self that wasn’t quite right, that was the man she’d come to know. The man she’d worked for, the man she’d learned from, the man whom she had befriended. Would that make this man a stranger, or the man before, moreso? Time being the way it is, perhaps all people were strangers except for the brief moments when they weren’t. Perhaps a moments like this, shared between two people, where Glenn was merely another version of himself. Manic Glenn.

It was undeniable that questions had been a primary purpose of her call. As vulnerable as he was, the temptation of asking them was like steak to a starving man. If only she were willing to violate a promise, sacrifice trust for answers.

Asking should be the simple thing. Genevive Tolleson was an Inquisitor, after all. And a mentalist at that, or a ‘mind-witch’ if one were to use the common term and more than a few of Myrken’s citizenry did, with all the scorn it entailed. From her, the threat of questions alone was usually enough provide more answers than any prolonged session in a hard chair, under a bright light, or even mere implication of torture, let alone the real thing. Without so much as a baleful glance she could literally extract the truth from a mind, perhaps even make someone forget who they were, or convince them of a reality that wasn’t their own. Not that she had ever tried. But it seemed there were many ways to break someone. And, undoubtedly, it would be easy. Yet, there was, as there had been through the conversation, a hesitation as her questions skirted any meaningful intrusion.

The tone of his reply may not have been intended as patronizing, but there it was. She with serious questions in her mind about murders and stolen dreams while his curious state had him practically chuckling over technicalities. And it had not gone unnoticed that her latest question was avoided.

“You shared much and answered many questions, for which I am truly grateful.” In this expression of gratitude her tone was softer, her eyes searching his face, perhaps looking for a version of the man she knew. Whether or not she found it, she sounded genuinely appreciative, as if to address the momentary offense she’d caused in the accusation.

“My apologies,” the words were offered with just a hint of warmth, but by no means a sign of her succumbing to the fond tone or his manic, friendly charm.

Observing, inspecting, studious eyes broke away and ran sidelong with a musing tone, “I wonder what questions you thought I would ask of you, in this state. I wonder whether you think I will betray your trust.” All questions, all statements.

“But most of all I wonder about the who, what, and how, and why you bled.” Well, not most, but there were promises made regarding things that couldn't be mentioned.

Her eyes returned to him tired but resolute. As tempting as it was, he stood seemingly whole, if not entirely hale, before her now. There was a line and it would not be crossed so long as she could help it.

“When your senses return, I hope you can tell me.”
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Glenn » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:17 am

It was his own fault, really. So many things were but he preferred it that way. He preferred to have a hand on his own fate. Unfortunately, that hand was quite shaky today. Still, he had been careless in setting terms. Later on, he'd attribute this to a lack of preparation. Of course there was no way to know that Genny would travel all the way up from Myrken to see him. Still, when putting yourself in a situation like this, even to better protect yourself in the long term, you really had to be ready for such eventualities.

She was the worst person to be in this room right now, even if she meant him no harm at all. He could do her harm and he did not currently have the wherewithal not to. Questions were not the entirety of the danger.

He did not look away from her. His eyes were full of many things, too many. It made it hard for anyone, mentalist or no, to grasp just one emotion. There was sadness in there, certainly, but why wouldn't there be given the losses he had experienced? That was the problem with anything she did cordon off: there was reason for it, reason she knew, no matter what it might be.

She had not asked a question, but she had listed a wonder. He could appreciate wonder, both curiosity and the delight that came from expressing it. "It's never just one thing, Genevieve." Somewhere in there, he'd firmly reestablished the back half of her name and thrown all y's to the wind except for the ones that she dared to ask. "My mind was already damaged and I took to certain magics involving perception like an allergy. It meant repression could no longer be possible. I sneezed out my feelings, if you want to take the metaphor farther. I also sneezed back memories, some mine, some Rhaena's, in the months before the end. I saw something else as well."

Questions weren't the danger at all for she would always show certain restraint in what she asked. The problem is what he might say unheeded.

"Her death. I tried to shield myself from it, from both death, a thing none of us should ever witness," not twice at least, "and those memories. I build a castle in my dreams to protect myself and to protect everyone else. A capricious old biddy tore it down to punish my rudeness." It had been a reasonable gambit. Through telling her as much as he did, maybe he'd get past it, beyond it. Maybe the hardest truth of all might not slip.

They'd made it to the precipice though, and she was still there. If only there was a book to throw. If only, if only. His mind raced a thousand ways, a thousand possibilities. "Do you remember it, Genevieve? Do you remember killing her?" He'd decided on a course of action. He could yet get past this even though it might embarrass the both of them. He'd thank himself now and she'd thank him later. The echos of his own voice rang in his ear as he moved to act. His body froze. He'd already said it, hadn't he?
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:15 am

Even if she had been reading into his mind through those eyes, base empathy alone could have told her, or anyone, that Glenn had suffered loss. But perhaps that assumed too much about how people read one another and what they saw. She knew him better, or thought she had. Perhaps if she had been born with the mind-reading talent, she would have never developed the nuanced skill of reading people as they were and the shape of their brows, the curve of their lips, their posture; all of these things would be invisible and trivial compared to the direct approach. One was little better than a vague interpretation while the other was precise, if not somewhat overwhelming for human minds.

As it was she could only guess at the depth and complexity of the emotion, but faced with loss plenty of people took to a bottle, or unsavory company, or simply left. Of these, she had known he had done the last, but as their conversation progressed it seemed more and more that he had done them all, in a manner. ‘It’s never just one thing,’ the words he spoke came as if to punctuate the thought.

‘An allergy’ was a curious metaphor that caused Genny’s brow to raise. If it hadn’t been for the gravity of his meaning, the involuntary actions put upon his mind, she might have smiled. But she recognized that it would be focusing on the wrong part of what he said.

“Sneezed back memories,” the words were repeated as if to attempt understanding, though her tone verged on incredulous. But then, surely there had been things that happened in her own mind that lacked any proper description. She knew how difficult it was to articulate mechanisms of emotion that had no common place in the world. Was ‘sneezing memories,’ any different from walking in dreams, or witnessing emotion, or absorbing another’s recollections?

He said Rhaena's name. A simple, lovely sound that carried such weight. He hadn’t wanted to talk about her and yet, there it was and Genny’s face fell. Glenn had expressed something akin to this admission in his letter. But he had omitted any detail, her death, and the fact that he’d witnessed it. Genny swallowed and stared.

Building a castle in one’s dreams was not as unusual as it sounded, of course, she had never tried to articulate the physical quality of the mental plane. It sounded ridiculous. But a ‘capricious old biddy,’ was moreso. So it hadn’t just been perception altering drugs or magics, but someone who had trespassed. Again her brows furrowed and a spark of anger flashed as her eyes narrowed. She was so consumed by the notion of someone invading his mind and tearing down his safe place, a place much like the forest she and Zilliah had built in her own mind, that she almost didn’t hear what he said next.

The words were sudden and plain, as if they were little more than a matter of light conversation. ‘Do you recall what the weather was last Tuesday,’ or some other trifle inquiry. And then he froze. Her brows furrowed further, her eyes pulled away, as if to examine the words in the space of her peripheral vision and somehow make the meaning of them more clear. When her eyes returned what would he see? There was anger, most obviously, and confusion, curiosity, and searching.

“What?” The word fell out of her dumbly, like a reflexive kick when someone taps under a kneecap. But his words were already registering more fully and with it her anger flared. She sprung to her feet, raised a hand, and so long as he was frozen she would hit him with a furious slap. It was an action the defied her character; it possessed an anger that ignored his lessons of careful dissection, patience, and logic.

“Do not play at this,” her voice was loud, firm, commanding without yelling; almost the tone a mother would chide a mischievous child. But her fingers trembled and her own mind raced. He was under the influence, he had been speaking nonsense in circles. No, not nonsense. He had been telling the truth. He had warned about questions. He had warned about her.
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Glenn » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:50 pm

Here is a fact that is not hard to believe: Glenn Burnie had been struck by many women in his life: soldiers and swordswomen, barmaids and teahouse girls, dark elves and deadly assassins, farmgirls and feral werecreatures. In his younger days, he had a fearlessness of running his mouth and an absolute lack of propriety. In fact, the number would be higher if he hadn't so good at dodging and darting back.

Generally, he saw it coming.

Red hair aside, you never quite saw it coming with Genevieve Tolleson. He certainly didn't here. He wouldn't have even if he was at his best. Of course, if he was at his best, he would have never said the thing in the first place. (That was a larger question for later, wasn't it?)

Glenn Burnie knew pain. Glenn Burnie's best quality (according to some, or at least one dark elf, maybe two or three) was his ability to absorb it. His head cracked back to the side. There was no dodging or daring here. There was also no ability to hide emotion when it snapped back to look at her. There was no ability to hide both the immediate pain and the long borne sort. Still, if there was any attempt at retribution, it was certainly not a physical act.

Instead, "The only questions," he continued on, because that was what he did in the face of this, in the face of everything like this, though the pain, physical and otherwise, was evident in his voice. It was what he always did internally no matter the pain, toil, or hardship; all things internal were laid bare in his current state, "are these: was she truly already gone at that point? Did she have a moment of clarity, there at the end? And did she make you do it? Even now, even as I remember so much that is not mine to remember, the moment of death obscures the finest of points." And now there was something else, something further in his voice. No human should ever have to see death. There was no greater danger. Every mentalist knew that, at least.

Playing? No, this was anything but.
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Sat May 04, 2019 11:16 am

Glenn had been struck many times but Genny had not struck many people. Anger was not generally something she was quick to show or share. Of course there were very few people who could get under her skin enough to warrant the reaction in the first place. The physical manifestation of the unusual aggression seemed to catch even her off guard; her hand retracted almost as suddenly as it had landed and her fingers clenched tight into a fist to steady trembling fingers. She stepped back, an instinctive reaction, accidentally catching and pushing back the chair whose legs groaned against the floor.

He had taken the blow in stride, returned his eyes, and then spoke with a unusually plain-worn pain. Despite it and regardless of his condition he replied with pointed, sharp, and stabbing questions. It was an offensive tactic so perfectly tailored she should have expected nothing less. She pulled away, her head shaking side to side...
No.
… understanding came over her that he meant what he said;
No.
...understanding that he never should have seen what he saw;
No.
...understanding that it could be true.

“No. I,” the confidence from a moment ago dissipated in her reply. “I didn’t…” her voice grew softer still, “I don’t,” the sound was suddenly distant and weak, even to her own ears. Uncertainty.

Of the many lessons he had taught her, regret had not been one. That one she’d learned the hard way, herself, from a very stubborn seamstress whose lips were cracked and breath was sour, but somehow had all the world in a kiss. Regret was an undying thing, a constant reminder, to never do what she had done to Gloria. Even so, she had to fight to resist entering Glen’s mind just moments ago. Whatever he was, he was worth more than answers. He was.

Her irises twitched, itching to break away, but all she could manage was to stare, horrified, into the eyes of her friend. He had felt it, he had witnessed death.

Where was the memory? When was the moment? What had she done?

Her mind raced in search of the answers, even though she had searched for them a hundred, maybe even a thousand, times before. The search, trying to reconcile the newly gained knowledge with memory, and the denial, it all crashed into her and forced great fissures in the foundation of what she thought she knew. And like towers built on those faults, all of the previously known things slammed down in ruin. The previously calm sea became a storm surge with great waves that battered the mental barrier that contained her.

The barrier was an invisible, intangible, shield; a thing that only people who even knew such things existed would even know the feel of it. If all were well, few would be the wiser that it was even there. Glenn, more than most, might know the sensation when such a barrier was equipped. In the way that an oncoming storm might raise the hair on your arms, perhaps he could feel the swell behind the membrane, or the pressure that built behind the wall.

I don’t remember

It wasn't shared gently, but not for a lack of effort. Sloshed from a overfull cup, the memory spilled into him so that he might smell the musty tomes of the Inquisitory office and feel the ceramic cup in hand. It had a ruddy tea, gone cold.

Drip

You woke alone, groggy and confused.
You recall this sensation, it's like trying to study late at night,
not quite remembering the sentence you were reading when you dozed off.

Drip

Blood dribbles from your nose into a cup of tea.

Drip
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Glenn » Mon May 06, 2019 12:31 am

It had been the flow of blood that had brought that selfsame Gloria Wynsee to his door not long before. His past relationship with Genevieve had been different and the offense far less close to him, but whatever he had provided her with, it was certainly not solace. Purpose, maybe. For a thing to cry on, Glenn Burnie's shoulder was jagged and bony. As a spur to drive one, though?

"As I said," being three words no one ever needed to hear from him, but especially not in a time of emotional hardship, "there are possibilities, eventualities, yes?" Her horror begot violence, now silence. He filled that gap as only he could, without hesitation. Truly, there was no breach that he would not fill with his unholy litany. This was even as he stood a few feet away from her, not having recoiled, yet not drawing in to provide warmth. That shoulder could well take out an eye. He knew it even if she didn't.

He did not sound vengeful or spiteful, but instead clinical, matter-of-fact. He was born for such moments; no one who could rightfully claim as such was a suitable partner for them. That was even at his best. He was not at his best. He was unfurled, unleashed. Physical restraint was possible (though after her blow took great effort; that it was possible at all was a sign of how far he'd come in his 'treatment') but it was the only restraint possible. "Did she move your hand? Did she plead for your action? Did she open the door so you could burst through it? Or was she unaware? Did you sense a desperate opportunity and act?

"In truth, it doesn't matter," though of course it did. Every iota of life that he did not know mattered. Those that were actively held from him mattered all the more. Still, he continued. "She had become a blight. She would have finished her conquest of Myrken Wood and then expanded ever outwards, removing individuality and smoothing all rough edges. Humanity would lose its spark, replaced by an unchanging, unliving blithe order. No matter the ultimate circumstance, you saved this continent and every soul on it, be you the blade or the hand wielding it. You did what I obviously could not." Yet. Yet there was the question of the cost. There was the question of the necessity. If Rhaena had recovered enough for an opening to exist or for her to somehow force Genevieve hands (two extremes not far apart at all), could she have not been saved? Redeemed? Part of the solution instead of the entirety of the problem?

Was the wariness just emotional? Was it practical as well? His walls were down. Her adrenaline was soaring. What might be the consequences of a touch? Still, he finally did it: he advanced. It was just one step but one step was a near-entirety when they were but three steps apart. "It's done, Genevieve. Five years done now. It's done and we now know it. Like always, all that's left to do is the living." Merely the hardest part.
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Sat May 11, 2019 8:40 am

Drip

“She will be like Rheana, only so much more,”
Zilliah’s saddened voice echoed from memory,
a distorted recollection heard through someone else’s ears.


She had been surprised and then she had been angry with the manner of revelation, but those things passed quickly. Coming to terms with this reality as fact, versus a mere possibility, had greater implications and would take time. To start, there was the realization that she must have been powerful enough to have done such a thing in the first place; whether it was manipulating someone else’s hands or making it possible for others to move by counteracting the hold Rhaena had on their minds.

“Focus," Rhaena urged, soothingly.
Her voice was almost tangible it held such a presence.
It was as if she stood beside them both, in this parlor, in Razasan.
Years and leagues away from them, yet sounding as she had during Genny's very first lesson.
When their minds first met.


And like a Pavlovian response, the distant chirp of a small bell pulled Genny back. The emotional spill had been an accident, one that was rare these days. The sensory memories that had been shared were quickly wiped away. She was not without skill, stronger now than than the last time they'd met. If it were to happen now, the audience in attendance at Glenn's speech would stand little chance against her. An uncomfortable thought, but a reality she was now facing - after all, the choices were wield with precision or continue stumbling. The latter would leave a mess regardless, at least practice had afforded control.

As it happened, Genny did know, or at least had an idea that solace was not to be found here and it was no surprise that as shoulders went, Glenn’s were jagged and bony. It suited him, like the uncomfortable chair in the office that had once been his at the Inquisitory. Make it hard, make it hurt, make it so no one wants to spend longer than they have to, so they never get to know you, so they never get close. Whether or not it was something she wanted or understood how dangerous it was, she didn’t need the warmth or his shoulder.

As for his unrestrained questions, his clinical tone; perhaps she had done all of those things, or none of them. But she could only listen to Glenn’s ambush of questions, letting them reel in her mind. She had tried to move onward, but inward and backwards always followed. Kal’s voice whispered in her mind, ‘does it really matter?’. The sentiment was echoed then by Glenn, but unlike him it wasn’t knowing for knowing’s sake that drove her pursuit, at least not in the search for this particular answer. It had taken a long time to admit that, more than anything else, it was fear.

“It does matter,” she put voice to the sentiment, though it was equally weary. The tone of someone admitting fault, or providing an honest answer rather than one that would benefit them.

Once she might have backed away in fear, but Elliot had given her courage to live. Another hearty slap was always an option; Gloria had given her the willingness to fight for herself, and in some small part Giuseppe the confidence to believe she could. For the memories she carried and his closeness, a part of her wanted to kiss him, and although instincts were important for blades, Ariane had encouraged a manner of temperance and patience. And from the woman who would have him on her lips, Rhaena, had taught her the focus to reach him.

But of all the experiences that formed her reaction now, Glenn had given her the most dangerous and wonderful attribute. He had instilled something that had made possible all of the other things she had learned and grown from, and it was the reason she reached out now. It was the reason he might never be at peace with her answers and what seemed to drive his every endeavor. Unending curiosity. Her hand which still trembled from fear or uncertainty, because those feelings never seemed to be truly overcome, hesitantly rose and laid flat upon his chest. She didn't push or press, besides the warmth of her, he might not even have known she touched him.

“Let us live then. But know I hide nothing from you.” She had been holding his eyes with earnest intensity, but with a deep breath to work up the courage her eyelids closed. He could hit her and she would never see it coming, step away to let the past die, or simply show restraint, however unlikely it was that he would, and revisit this topic sometime in the future. Oddly, as unfurled as he was, it seemed a good counterpart to her vulnerability.

He had asked about a door into Rhaena's mind which provided the metaphor, but it was Zilliah’s lessons that brought shape to this moment. At the border between their consciousnesses an open door was projected. It stood still and solid, a construct resembling a door from the Inquisitory office, his door, with all the nicks and scratches and wear one might recall from a place they’d seen every day. Beyond the door, across the threshold between their minds, within her, was his desk upon which sat a lone, large open tome and a cup of tea. Here she was an open book, quite literally.
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Glenn » Mon May 13, 2019 2:32 am

There had been two conditions, two rules. In his state of shattered though slowly mending inhibition, he had broken the first. Here, with good intentions and through being true to herself and her deepest, most legitimate needs, she breaks the second. He would have never been able to break it himself. That had been protection, despite his state, right up until it was protection no more. That had been his faith in her, absolute and not misguided so much as misunderstood. She was well past the point of his conditions, his limitations, his rules. Who in this world had any reason to listen to them still? Especially so when they went against what she knew so firmly in her own heart?

"And so," Burnie muttered, "We are lost." Oh yes, of course the choice was his. Except for she knew full well that in this moment, he would make every choice and choose he did. Upon the other side of the door, he collapsed almost immediately. He was sundered, rends showing, essence drifting out of him from a thousand small cuts. "This isn't the time," He managed, staring down because whatever might before him would be too much. Still, he was pulled by the two swirling entities that clung to him, the tall woman, veil-less and pristine, crystal perfection and madness the veiled figure, bone and power and inevitability. One pulled him up, ever upwards towards a goal that was never his own, at best a twisted reflection of it. The other pulled him down.

What could Genny Tolleson, power or no, do against the creature she feared becoming? Perhaps with all of her newfound courage and daring, she could face it. What then, could she do against death itself? And all the while, he bled out. "I'm mending," he hissed, constantly unraveling and trying to force himself together once again. If there was yet another monologue within him, it threatened to escape not from his lips but from everywhere else. "I just need time. I know you need this, Genevieve, but I am not able. Not now. Bring us back. End this."
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Mon May 13, 2019 12:33 pm

It had been a trap, no matter the intention. Perhaps on both their parts in equal measure. He had chosen to step closer and press upon her with questions in the wake of a devastating revelation. And she, offered the temptation of an open door to a man in a state that left no choice but to cross the boundary. Of course it had violated the condition of her entry. She had known it, even if she had hoped that by merely making it an invitation she could assuage the guilt. After all, he could find the answers he wanted and know the truth in his own mind, a more potent truth than any words she could ever speak.

‘We are lost’

But she had not anticipated this. Even though her body had no shape, the construct seemed to gasp at the sight of his crumpled form. No one ever appeared exactly as she perceived them, some individuals minds projected a more self-deprecated image of themselves, and others a more aggrandized one. Whatever he was, it was nothing so simple and far from what she had expected.

He unraveled and bled, he hissed and fought, and he pleaded, ‘end this.’ And with a stunned, bated breath her mind stilled and held the space as best it could; as if in this pocket of existence she dumped a viscous solution, or suspended the moment in amber or ice. It might have felt like any of those things, but if only temporarily, it might slow the degradation. Her form solidified beyond the space she had tried to freeze, opposite the door through which he’d come; her flaming hair dancing as she inspected the forms like curious specimens pinned to a table for dissection.

Whether this was the defense mechanism of a mind that knew enough to have one, or an offensive tactic for the same reason, she wouldn’t be able to hold him long. Not that keeping him was ever her goal. “Mending, are you? This is not a wound that heals in time,” she didn't speak aloud, but directly to his mind with a clear voice, though it might seem as if it should be distorted, like someone talking through water or a giant block of ice.
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Glenn » Wed May 15, 2019 1:23 am

He was adept.

On the one hand it had been what, ten years? No, less. More than half of that though, even with the gaps. On the other, that time could stretch as long as they wanted it to within each other's mind. He had always been carried by Rhaena's power, and when it dropped him, years ago now, he landed hard. One could not swim without the existence of the ocean, but if it did exist, one could learn. He had. Now, here was Genevieve Tolleson, a separate sea unto herself.

Even bleeding out, even beset from both sides, he was adept. One simply did not forget how to swim. Muscles may atrophy, but Burnie's muscle was his mind and his wit. He was afflicted, but he was still adept.

He faced the small challenges first. He bent his head upwards to look at her. Given the weight of her power, even this small challenge was monumental. "It's many wounds. Some are old. Some are new. It's further degradation. What I need," for he always knew what he needed, and what everyone else needed as well. He was sure of this as he was sure of most other things, "is the space to mend. If I can stop the bleeding, I can focus on the holes. If I can fill the holes, I can stop the bleeding."

Yet. Of course there was a yet. She had him captive, a physician who tied her patient to a slab so that he may not convulse and harm himself. Could she see the yet clearly? He could, despite himself. It frustrated him to no end. "I can't stop the bleeding because of the holes. I can't fill the holes due to the bleeding." And what did Glenn Burnie do in the face of that helplessness, his one true anathema? He did whatever he could. "So I focus on Her glamourie. I can treat one symptom, become immune to it over time, with effort, at cost. At least I can do that. At least I can do something." She had made it so he could no longer flail and writhe. That seemed to have focused him if nothing else. It had not changed his mind. "Stop this, Genevieve. No good can come of it. No good and so much evil." Bad. He could have well said bad. Bad would have been more appropriate, but it felt clunky in the mouth of his mind, and even tortured so, he could not seem so low to her. Instead he said evil, and the word invited its like. For the first time, the unveiled entity trying to pull him up lifted her own scaled face. She stared hungrily at Genny with shallow, beautiful, welcoming eyes.
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Fri May 24, 2019 5:16 pm

He was adept. Not that she made a habit of catching or holding minds enough to make her an expert, but there weren’t many people that could enter another mind with any sense of understanding. Or as it applied to the metaphor here, they simply couldn’t swim. Some floated, unknowing, at the mercy of the tide or fought it, flailing aimlessly; it seemed possible that one could even drown, if Genny didn’t take care to catch them. He was held, but not unaware, not powerless.

Stop the bleeding. Fill the holes. Stop the bleeding. Fill the holes.

It did seem a fruitless, tedious effort. Inoculation by flagellation was certainly no more appealing, but if it held even the slightest promise of results she could understand why he would try.

Genny came to be beside him, whether she had ambled over several long minutes or just appeared from beyond the frozen space. She knelt and her fingers reached out to touch the blood that had already spilled, and seemed to have pooled on what had become a floor. Her thumb slid over the first two fingers feeling it as if it had any real significance; after all, what was blood in this place?

He had asked her to stop, twice now. And she could no longer ignore the request, even though everything about the curious situation was intriguing; except that word, ‘evil’. It felt awful and sour, and wrong.

She would be face to face with him then, still kneeling to his height. Both of her hands slid against his chest, pressing until they were flat, even it it meant propping him upright. All she need do was give a solid push and eject him, but her eyes were caught by the scaled specter, and she paused.

“What does she want?”
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Glenn » Sat May 25, 2019 8:05 am

In this place, he could all but taste her curiosity. He had seen it before. That, more than anything else, was how the two of them were alike. Glenn had to know. He had to know everything. It might not have been the same for her, but she certainly wanted to know everything. Did he? Did she have the same need? He couldn't function not knowing something. It became a spike jabbed into his being, sometimes a dull prod and sometimes a sharp agony. Satisfaction and enjoyment were not always the same thing. Perhaps she managed both. Sometimes he did. It used to be easier but then life did take its toll.

Awareness or no, he was limited in what he could do. There wasn't a great deal left to him, bleeding out as he was. Turned into the proverbial fish who knew all the secrets of the world (or at least of Genevieve's) yet with none of the ability to act on any of it. If only his fairy queen could see him now.

Thankfully, instead of acting herself, she asked a question. He pondered it for a moment. "Nothing and everything. She's a shade, a confluence of memories not my own. She does not want to exist. She's even not aware enough to realize she doesn't. Yet still, she wants everything Rhaena wanted before the end. She tries to tempt me with it, but there's no nuance to it. She tempts with a thirsty man with a fountain of gold. It's valuable and lovely, but hardly helpful. It won't quench thirst. Her solution? A larger fountain with diamonds as well." Then he paused, disassociated from all of it for a moment, as if the effort of describing that took yet another toll. "I wonder what misbegotten treasure she'd offer you. I wonder what you need."

That was the ghoul Rhaena.

The other specter was death itself carrying with it forbidden answers but also the temptation of oblivion.
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Re: Minding Missives and Madness

Postby Tolleson » Tue May 28, 2019 3:00 pm

Curiosity can be a sweet morsel, tempting, occasionally delightful to pursue, but often leaving the lingering, bitter flavor of truth as a result. But truth mattered then and it mattered now. It was not always enjoyable, satisfying, or wise to know the truth of things. In fact, it usually hurt in one way or another, as it did presently. But it seemed, to Genny at least, that the world was not formed by individual perception and whether or not someone believed or forgot. Perhaps that opinion was a result of collecting so many perceptions and memories from others, but it was not the only reason. She could function without knowing, but not well, and not with confidence.

She is nothing and everything.

Beside the beautiful, blinding Death and stared down by the lovely, ghoulish shadow of Rhaena, Genny’s fortitude faltered.

For just a moment something pulled at the edge of her, streaking the image of her.

Rhaena’s small bells clinked with rose-colored nostalgia and it was as if she were in the parlor, having tea and lessons.
A slow and happy afternoon. She could feel Rhaena’s fingers, grasping for a strand of hair to braid, brush her cheek as gentle as a summer breeze.
And she saw the red locks, felt them tangled in her fingers, and heard the same sound of the small bells in her own hair, but through Rhaena.


This shadow, though somehow strange and evil, was surely the same as what lived within Genny. The shape was different and hungry, but no more real or sentient. A memory.

I wonder what you need.

“I need you to heal, and be well, and forgive me,” her words were almost a whisper, even though she seemed closer and could speak to his mind. There was no way to know if she could fill the wounds or slow the bleeding more effectively, but he had trusted her and asked her to stop. Her fingers spread with resolve and pressed firmly against his chest, followed with what may have felt like a great shove against him, as if forcibly expelling him from the mental plane that bridged their minds. Whatever construct she had built for him would dissolve, hopefully gently enough that the reality of the room where they stood, awkwardly close, was not entirely jarring.
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