Concessions

Re: Concessions

Postby Niabh » Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:19 pm

The woman rubbed her drippy nose on the back of her sleeve and glared at him. Facial expressions were no longer a problem. This face expressed whether the occupant wanted it to or not. It seemed to be part of the complete package: if you had a mouth, it was going to frown; if you had hands, you would, instantly and instinctively, feel the urge to slap someone with them. From the inside, it felt like going through an elaborate and formalized series of convulsions. The gods alone knew if any of them translated to decipherable emotions.

“To clarify,” the woman replied, with the same slowness and a decided lack of humor, “yes. Someone wanted to make sure they weren’t stickin’ needles under your fingernails or something.”

Glam or not, the heat caused her hair to slowly unravel, sticky strands clinging to her hot face. She gave them a quick shake, flicking sweat drops, and huffed in frustration. Her hands cut through the air. “I am not in the mood for your shit right now, wanker. Got it? Apparently I know a lot more about what’s goin’ on here than you do, so you can either help me out or go sit somewhere with your thumb up your arse and stay out of the way.”

She shook her head again, then brushed at something that clung to her eyelash. The wind had shifted. Fat flakes of ash drifted toward the ground. The summer heat evaporated them before they could land. She twisted her head upward. Smoke turned the evening sky ashen, and the raging fire glowed like an endless sunset. In its reddish light, snowflakes swarmed like clouds of moths.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Glenn » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:49 am

The woman-bird-thing had stopped falling apart, though Glenn did not discard the notion that it might still be falling in some other way, together perhaps? He refused to look at Benedict dead on. Either it was easier not to see him as what the glamourie wanted to see him this way (there was no mole to focus on here) or he wanted to be exposed to the glamourie as little as possible for the sake of his own inhibitions.

He was neither admonished by the words about needles and fingernails nor overmuch moved by them. "I suppose you'd make a suitable decoy." The idea that she might have been so interested in securing him due to what he knew and what he could potentially share never crossed his mind either. Where Gloria was correct, and perhaps the only place where she was correct, was that the fairy queen was his friend. That might not blind him to certain broader notions of what she might or might not do to the people of Myrken Wood to get her way or even on a whim, but it did muddy the waters when it came to how they might be expected and inclined to treat one another.

"Benedict," Burnie exhaled ever so slightly up into the air, his mouth a small oval. There was a danger of looking up given the scorched precipitation dusting down upon the town, but it did not quite match the danger of actually looking at his other friend in its current condition. "We all have our pride and I was going to say my piece, just as you always, and I do mean always, say yours, but if you're done grousing, I did just ask you to tell me what you think is going on. Tell me what you know and tell me what you think and then we'll decide the best course together," which, speaking of one's pride, seemed to indicate Burnie valued both the bird's opinions (and not just his facts) and would welcome his input on their mutual decisions to come. It wasn't as if Benedict had under his belt (and closer was he now, than ever before, to actually wearing a belt) the learned experience of three dozen conversations with the man to teach him where good intentions ended and where Glenn Burnie began.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Niabh » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:44 pm

Between the warmth of the ground and the chill in the air, the snow whisked itself into white cyclones that spouted up higher than a man, then evaporated in the heat. Folks gasped in surprise. Some of them were even laughing, a sound of stunned horror. Snow, falling in the double-heat of a raging fire at the summer’s zenith.

“This shit’s for real,” the woman muttered. “It’s not a glam. Either it’s her and something’s gone really, really wrong, or it ain’t her and something’s gone really, really wrong.”

The man was infuriating. He kept trying to look anywhere but straight at her—the one time they could have matched eyes, and he evaded her. Her jaw trembled under the force of a question unspoken, the one that would give away too much. Did you tell them where to look, Glenn? Did you tell them?

Red boots set in a fencer’s stance, the woman dipped, swerved, and planted herself right in front of him, all but thrusting her face into his. “What I know is that not too long after I showed up, that bloke who arrested you, Corm McKinnon, set out with nine-ten folk all heading for the wall. What I think is that your lass Gloria got you safe out of the way because she knew it’d get our attention, and then she sent a posse to smoke out the Lady but forgot to tell ’em that trees are flammable and it got away from them. That little thundercrack a while back was her. I know that much. You can decide if you want to help me or you can go sit somewhere with your thumb up your arse. That’s the decision you get to make today.”

Lacking the intimacy of reams of conversation, the woman—who in her way was wiser than the one she resembled—knew the only real way of ending an argument with Glenn Burnie: she turned her back to him and started off through the crowd toward the glimmering false edge of the Woods.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Glenn » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:04 am

As his companion started forth, Glenn, played, if only for a moment, with possibilities. Supposition was a luxury they did not currently have. The simplest path was the only viable one currently. "The entire point of glamourie is that you don't think it's glamourie, Benedict." If the other thought that Glenn might be shaken by the first quick swerve and the forceful words, well, perhaps it was enough to assuage concerns about guilt? Probably not. Anyway, Glenn had felt the tug, the dropping out of the ground beneath him, but the apparently erstwhile raven wasn't the only stimulus at play. The forest, past being on fire, seemed to almost throb. Even a few years away, he knew where it ought to begin and where it ought to end and the beginning seemed to outstretch the ending unnaturally. An unreality like that, married to the harsh reality of conflagration, could quickly lead to an even higher level of misery than could be prepared for or expected.

Burnie followed. "Can you still travel wherever you must to deliver messages? That would be just like her to forsake perfectly practical utility and lean into a wasteful frivolity. It's not as if you hadn't warned me plenty of times." The exasperation did not wrap itself around his gait but it certainly draped itself entirely over his tone. "It's different with the letters obviously, but it's even different when it's just she and I. Then, there's a chance to redirect her. When I'm not there, it's all things like this, or Gloria ending up in a pit, or the death of a perfectly charming minor crimelord." Yes, no apparently guilt except for the fact he hadn't been there to stop the fairy queen from making fool decisions (again). The words of a wanker, but not the words of someone who had given her up.

He began to fill in gaps as they moved. "Gloria had some sort of assassin she gobbled up from somewhere, a charity case, I think. A project. Because she can't ever do just one thing, and when she does, it's the wrong thing. I refused to play along. Gloria refused to have me tortured. It all amounted to a lot of nothing, which does make me think that she just wanted me out of the way or to serve as bait. I tried to explain the Catch situation to her but she's obsessed with her, which, from the three examples I just gave, is probably warranted but misunderstands the situation entirely, misunderstands her entirely," and what? Did Benedict expect that Glenn wouldn't spit out a mouthful of affection for the queen even in the midst of all this bemusement and exasperation and criticism? This may have not been a severe case but it was a case nonetheless, which meant that his heart was far more unveil than normal. How many times had Benedict seen it?

"No," and this wasn't affectionate at all, but harsh. "No person that would go into that Wood for this purpose doesn't understand the danger of it setting aflame. McKinnon less than most. Likewise, She, capital S," for he was being careful about names for once, "would not risk it lightly, so if they forgot it our themselves, it wasn't because of her. There are two rules about fire here, Bendict: Burn your dead. Don't burn the wood." Which meant that things were somehow even worse than they seemed. Up until now, maybe Burnie had followed along just to get his words in, but there was perhaps a bit more fervor in his steps now. "What else aren't you telling me then?"
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Re: Concessions

Postby Niabh » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:37 am

“The entire point of glamourie is that you don’t think it’s glamourie,” the woman corrected sharply. “I’m still me. I can still travel. I can still track. And I still know what’s real and what ain’t.”

The woman sailed on, occasionally stumbling over her own boots, listening to him without looking. Glenn would follow or he wouldn’t.

“She’s right about you, about one thing,” the woman said. “You’re in the same fix as me. I can’t see glamourie but I know it’s there. You live with these folks long enough, you have to, or else you smack into things. You sort of…feel your way around the edges. Whatever she did to you back in the city, you’ve got it now. You know it’s there. But you won’t let yourself feel it. That’s where she’ll always get the better of you.”

She squinted at the line of smoke, her head turning slowly to trace an invisible horizon.

“These trees aren’t real, so that’s her. The fire’s real, but your folks wouldn’t’ve started a fire and neither would she. But the snow’s real, too. Your folk couldn’t’ve done that and neither can she. But...snow...”

Smoke strangled her again. She bent, hair dangling in her face, and spat a wad of gunk between her boots.

“Third element,” she croaked, in a voice that almost resembled the raven’s. “There’s a third element here. Must be. It’s not the big guy.”

She wiped her mouth and lifted her head. The snowflakes were as thick in the air as the smoke, and she blinked rapidly at Glenn through a field of scattered, flying specks. “Could it be him? I kind of got the impression that if anything ever set him off, everybody’d turn into piles of goo or something.”

There was a lot of clattering all around and creaking of wagon wheels, a lot of useless shouting of orders, and the roar of the fire itself—something between an injured bear and a raging windstorm, with an eerie rising-and-sinking wail beneath it all that burrowed right into the core of her ears. She was starting to get that last-raven-out-of-Cnoch-na-Niall feeling again—the same churning chaos all around and the vast calm born of futile inevitability within. The only real surprise was that she could even hear Glenn’s chatter through it all, but the man had practice making himself heard. She found herself clenching her jaw until something cracked right below her ear.

Just as she wheeled on him, a gust of bitter-cold hit her full in the back. It cut through the velvet coat and turned the sweat-sloppy shirt chill as last-night’s dishwater, all in an instant.

“It’s women’s business, Glenn. It’s the last place you want to be. It’s the last place I want to be but I don’t really have a choice. I’d much prefer helping with the fun stuff, like jail breaks. What I will tell you, what you should’ve figured out on your own by now, is that if Gloria did this out of pure fecking spite, if your Inquisitory-doohickey locks her up or gods-forbid kills her in the attempt, the clan’s going to get involved. And let me tell you, having any number of Nialls in your front garden means you’re in for a bad time. If they show up, everybody’s fucked: you, Gloria, Myrken, the clan, everyone. It’ll be a real democratic massacre. So can we maybe assign blame for who’s the bigger omadhaun after we find her?”
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Re: Concessions

Postby Glenn » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:56 am

The entire point of glamourie... except for that wasn't the entire point of glamourie, just a narrow application. It wouldn't be good form to correct the raven about that now, though it was quite obvious to Glenn that only one from outside the culture could truly grasp the sociological implications of the power. He didn't care a lick about good form. There just wasn't time now. "Good." Travel, track, all good. Still Benedict? Good as well, though in this current moment, he was glad he didn't have to choose between the three. It meant, if nothing else, that they could find her, which made rushing into the Wood a much less mad gesture.

But then Benedict had continued on and now he had to clarify. "It's not quite the same. I don't sense it. I don't know it's there. What I know is myself. I feel the bottom drop out and unless I've suddenly fallen in love with encroaching trees, which is highly unlikely," though not the most unlikely thing to ever happen in Myrken, "I know I'm in its presence. From there it gets frustrating as I cannot generally tell what is out of place, as the nature of the thing is to make everything feel as it should be, so I have to doubt just about everything, myself included." Too many words. Too much method, even considering the trust between them. He couldn't stop himself though; that was the affliction within itself. "But to distrust myself is to surrender entirely, so I can't quite go that far. If I'm ever changed, I won't allow myself to suspect it, because to do so would make me completely impotent. So if she's ever going to really get me, that'll be how." Detect it or not, he'd lean into myself all the more.

"The scope of this is huge." He'd nod to the trees. He had a sense of her power and how it manifested. "Did it cost her? Something so large that would affect so many, be it the trees and the space they occupy or the people." It didn't matter which of the two because it was all the same in the end. She changed the seeming of the Wood, he decided, and not the perception of each person. Still, it was a massive manifestation. That was what Gloria didn't understand. If she had wanted to harm the people of Myrken Wood, it'd have been over already, before she'd even known she was there.

He wasn't expecting an answer, and he didn't get one. Instead, Benedict jumped to conclusions, and Burnie's lips tugged up. He stopped, even as his companion rushed on. He breathed in sullied air and coughed accordingly. He ran one smooth palm down the left side of his face, from brow to eye to cheek to chin. He exhaled and breathed in once more, through his nose this time. For this one moment, the world had stopped it's mad rotation and there had been peace.

That made it quite easy for Benedict to wheel upon him. "I could argue our way out of that." It was said so coldly, so simply, the wind battering him now, but to no obvious effect. It meant that Benedict would have to face it from both sides. "Especially so after I gave them Gloria. If. If that, then they deserve each other and they can rot and burn together. If that, then she'd be even more a poison than I. Dull iron rattling about their stomachs."

He stepped forth then, right past his friend, and could Benedict see it? Even if not, the woman had to feel it. The tug of a smile, one that did not simply pull up Glenn's lip, but pulled all near him along. As he walked past, could Benedict do anything but turn and join him? "A third element." Fire and frost and breath. "This is not her and this is not Her and this is not Him. So, let us call it a fourth. You're the first proper Inquisitor I've met today, Benedict, do you know that?" Maybe, just maybe, if he had his inhibition and restraint, he would not rush headlong into certain death in the name of friendship and mystery and retribution and Myrken.

But he probably would have.

"Track, then. And travel if you can. Consider me your message. One that's tardy and overdue. Let's deliver it to our young Lady and to whatever's done this to my home."
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Re: Concessions

Postby Niabh » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:45 pm

This near to the true forest the smoke was thicker and the heat starting to seep under her clothes. A shimmering puddle welled atop her upper lip in spite of how much she was sniffling. She gave him a helpless, bleary-eyed glare. “It doesn’t feckin’ matter right now if it costs her. She’s the Queen. She can do what she wants. Right now she’s—”

—got her torc, but she caught her tongue at the last second and instead paused to finally give her nose a good tweak with her sleeve.

Noses and sleeves, two things the raven hadn’t much truck with, and how much of it was real and how much of it only what one might expect to see?

“Right now she’s out by the lake. If she’s smart, she’s in the lake. She’s probably pissed off. You’ve seen how she gets when she’s pissed. No sense of proportion. That’s how you ended up in this shite situation, remember?”

Glenn started past her like he knew where the hell he was going, and the tall woman scrambled to a flutter of motion, putting herself back in his face again. This time her hand planted right on his shoulder. It was definitely a hand. The fingers curled properly and it weighed no more or less than a hand should. The face had evidently figured out how to wear a look of barely restrained fury, along with a fear that was out of keeping around the trembling corners of mouth. The nearest to fear Fionn ever expressed was dismay. The raven either had no qualms or else no ability to control what this face displayed.

“You don’t need to be going into this if you’re going to get all spoggly just from being here. Much less the smoke and everything. If you take off running or freeze up or do something stupid, I am not stopping to drag your arse out, you hear? You can’t argue with a rustin’ fire.”

This was why she’d wanted the big guy to begin with. The raven was perfectly willing to go on alone and die for her, which was all fine and noble and tragic except that there was a perfectly good resource available who wouldn’t get too badly hurt and who would be willing to plunge into a burning forest if he knew the Queen was on the other side of it. No need for anyone to get more hurt out of this. The raven was not here for making good tragedy.

Through all the rushing wind, through the roar of the fire as it gutted through underbrush and consumed the air around it, came a sharp, tinny wisp of sound. If Glenn hadn’t shut up just then, she might have missed it. Her head twisted away from him, honing on the direction from which it came. It could have been the wind. But it sounded like a woman’s scream.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Glenn » Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:43 am

The Wood would not kill me like this.

Were Myrken to end me, it would be more personally done.

I've just arrived back, Benedict. What sense would it make for me to die now?

All notions. All perfectly fine notions were you a madman, or someone who believed that the province was somehow sentient, or someone who had read all too many tales. Burnie was, at worst, only two of those things, and as such, he did not say any of those statements, and from all indication did not believe them.

He was no dashing knight either. He had, once or twice in the last years, joked about rushing off to fairyland to champion the cause of a fairy princess, but they had been the amused fancifuls of a man who had lost everything and had nothing left, not the earnest proclamation of one who held chivalry within his heart. Even then, the appeal had been the challenge of it, not the honor. Though, even that was not entirely true. There was the entropy of it as well. Such notions had been quite early in their exchanges, past the point of true introduction but well before familiarity and fondness. Ironically, in rekindling a certain will to live, she had made him far less likely to run off to certain doom in her name.

Yet, here he was now, walking briskly towards just that, and not for the first time, not even for the first time in this direction. How long had it been? Thirteen, fourteen years ago? So soon after his arrival to Myrken. His first bit of foolishness. His first bit of daring. Flanked on either side by the women who would help to define him over the coming years. And why? Was it to prove a point? To prove he could make a difference, that he mattered? No, it was because they were blind and because they needed the light of information. The Ashfiend had not killed him that day. Instead, Calomel, upon learning what had happened, had thrown him halfway across the Dagger. But he had learned something, and that knowledge came to matter, as all knowledge ultimately mattered in Myrken Wood.

It mattered now and the truth was burning before him. "I'm going, Benedict," for he had heard nothing out of the ordinary, but was nonetheless constrained by his companion's lack of motion. While some guesswork was easy given obvious signs and the inherited direction the erstwhile raven had been traveling before he had begun to walk past, there was just enough doubt about what his senses were telling him that he hardly seemed the harm in waiting a moment more for the other to take the lead again.
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Re: Concessions

Postby catch » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:13 am

His Bones had always been his. Dried and cracked though they had been - and broken, once, healed all wrong - they had pushed him along. Up and down went his legs, his heels pressing firmly to the Earth. They both shuddered to feel it. They both cried in agony at the separation, brief though it may be with his long stride.

His Bile was acrid. It was his own, made by him, yet it began in the stomach of another, torn by his teeth. Every scrap of food pressed upon him by Eater, swirling in his Belly, bubbling out and up the back of his throat. At any other time, this may be a detriment. Yet it coated his innards so thoroughly that he could hardly feel the Black Smoke, the smarting Sparks, doused the Fire before it could -

His Blood was his Mother's. He had drunk deep of it, below the Stones of the earth. It sang below his skin, purple and silver and bright, bright Red, bursting from his Eyes, boiling away from the heat as soon as it touches his unruined skin. It unfurled through his veins, filling his great limbs, pulsing through his muscles, drawing his Meat over his Bones so that he may Run, Run, Run -

He hadn't the Air. He struggled to pull it into his Lungs, but it flicked away almost as soon as he drew it in. Sounds were tunneled, muffled. There was nothing about him but Burning. He was Aware of frantic blood; hooves beating around him, the lone Elk and Moose and Deer knowing that he knew the way in one massive flock about him, dull and horrible silent save for their panting fear. There were Crows about him, also silent, beaks gaping. Some could no longer fly, but drooped wearily on the backs of the herd, tongues flickering frantically.

The rest were black shadows, flickering in and out, staying low to avoid the smoke and the embers; and there was a lone white shape among them.

The animals beat against him, they fled with him, they pounded against his skull

save us, save us, fix it fix it fix it


and he knew, he knew, because he could taste it, because the wise wolves who swiftly padded the perimeter with their noses to the ground smelled the Sweat and the Burnt Bones and screamed man, man, man


And then there was - Cold - Frosted fingers down his Spine.

And he knew.

With the flick of a pen.

_____________________________________________


He has stopped running, and he could not remember when. He knows only that he has stopped, because he cannot make this noise while he is Running.

He cannot Sing as he Runs.

It begins as a low moan, and it lifts to the bugle that the Elks make, and even as they mill about him in confusion they answer him, lowing, mingling, gathering to him, staring at him, daring to not - quite - touch him. The wolves lift their heads to choke out in their own voices; the crows whisper and racket. Whatever gathers that can speak, will speak, does speak, even as Catch's voice lifts. Ragged, at first, but then it smooths -

And another voice joins.

And another.

And there are three voices, together, in harmony, a Tenor and a Bass, a woman's Soprano, all emerging from the same throat, pounding together with the riotous Animals' call. It crept upward, and upward, above the roar of Flame - above the howl of ruined trees -

______________________

A man and a Raven might hear it first, before the Town ever would. It does not sound of natural make; a low howl, at first, an effect of the fire, some new or horrible effect of the Fire's flames. But it does not disappear, the way a falling tree-giant might, or a pocket of trapped beasts shrieking as they are devoured.

No.

This Sings, it howls, low and mournful and full of static. It clatters in the manner of a mechanic, clicks insect-wise. It creaks, and groans, and the whole World spins ever and ever upwards, as if the crank in one's chest seems to be turned ever and ever tighter until it

Snaps.

An almost physical force, soft yet fierce, a push of cool air that is only hard enough to ruffle the hair.

_________________________

He leaves them to recover. They are exhausted beyond all reasoning, laying where they stand among the vast expanse of little white flowers. Even the wolves cannot raise their heads, hindquarters sagging to the fresh and green ground, the crows scattered and sleeping like children's toys.

But there is one who comes with him, the white crow, her feet and thumb's claws dug into his mane, eyes still bright. As they forged back into the flames, she hid against his stone-cool skin, feeling the impact of his hooves against the ember-thick ground. Tendrils crept against her, gentle, familiar. It soothed irritated membranes, cleared fluid-filled lungs, drained blisters and toughened skin and feathers.

Find the Queen, he said, and sent her flying forth.

His World-eating strides took him towards another path entire.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Niabh » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:10 pm

The raven is still a Raven. Hatched in a ravenry in a land far removed from this one, full of tricks a Mainland bird could never learn, transfigured outwardly and transformed inwardly in ways that occasionally troubled him, he remains himself, because Ravens are clever beasts who learn from observation.

Forget who you are under the glam and you will be no more.



For once quite calm and unruffled, the tall woman slowed, then stopped, wholly heedless that they were surrounded on three sides by fire. Her eyes fixed past the false Woods, deep into the True. Her palm lifted in front of Glenn’s face to stay him. For a man who could not rest without explanation, the gesture was all he was apt to get.

The cords strained in her neck as her mouth contorted nearly square, adding her harsh and horrible cry to the chorus: three short, hoarse yelps, repeated three times. A bestial chant from a woman’s throat. Grotesque.

Sudden as she had begun, she fell back—was pushed back, it seemed, by a puff of wind barely strong enough to lift her hair from her shoulders. Wide-eyed, she touched her forehead as though to assure herself it was still there. “Oh, I don’t like that. I really don’t like that.”

The hand slid from her forehead to her breast, cupping it with utter unselfconsciousness. It felt like something had shifted around in there. She couldn’t say exactly what, only that it was uncomfortable. Like a line moved off-center, distorting the landscape. A line that might have been her loyalties. “Paugh. I really didn’t like that. That was the Big Guy, I think. I think he finally woke up.”

Still wide-eyed, unblinking and dazed, she turned to face Glenn. “Are you alright? Did you hear that? Do…do we need to get out of here? Get out of his way?”

Loyalties indeed. Something fundamental must have shifted in the earth if the raven was willing to abandon his mistress in the wake of a puff of wind. Only one thing could have done it: the certainty that whatever else, the Queen was going to be all right. And that whatever happened next was something the Raven did not wish to see.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Glenn » Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:59 am

What did he hear? What did he feel? Certainly less than his companion. There were things that Glenn Burnie would always be blind to. Such a blindness was usually associated with close-mindedness, with denial. For Burnie, it wasn't that. It was defiance instead, equally empowering and limiting like anything of true value. He knew it was there. He knew the shape of it, the size, the tenor and tone. He knew all of these things with such certainty that he never had to actually hear or feel them. They existed in his mind as symbols, and he could place them here or there, puzzle pieces solving the mysteries of his world. He controlled for his lack of sensation, transcending it. So he knew now, even without the hairs rising on the back of his neck.

"If," he began, speaking with a calm voice but a sweat-splattered brow, "Catch is to come to us, it will be for answers. I have none. What we know is not the whole of it. It's just enough of it to misdirect rage."

Introspection came and went quickly in a moment like this. It was welcome, for its presence when he did not ask for it, when he did not seek it out, was the surest sign that he was still sane. Was this his fault? No long term trends. No medium term ones. Was his return the immediate catalyst of this? Likely not. This could not have happened with Gloria. This could not have happened without Finn. They set the timber. His return? Was it the spark? No, and the metaphor fell apart there. He hastened it. That was all. His return hastened it and there wasn't time enough to work out a metaphor involving flint and sparks and whatever else to put it into perspective. He had perspective enough.

Not him then. The world did not revolve around him. This was not entirely his story.

Fine.

"Realistically, I don't think we could have reached her." It was quite a bit of fire, and the unveiling of Catch was enough to break a great many spells, "but I think we may have been able to spur something into motion with the attempt, at least." Neither of them had started to move yet again. "Benedict, It has been quite a day, which followed a series of very monumental hours. Let me speak plainly and quickly. My largest concern here, now, upon my return, is that Catch, aware and far more complete than he has been in a very long time, will act, and in doing so, set into motion the final doom of Myrken Wood. The cycle begins and begins and begins anew and the wheels do not yet turn. If he acts now, however, they will lurch forward. There are distinctions, but they remain beyond me, at least in any exactitude. The city and the Wood. People and fauna. I am not sure where the line is, but if he comes to us now, instead of providing him the answers he requires, I will try to dissuade him from fixing this. Some doors, once opened, can never be closed. If it comes to that, it would be a waste for you to stand with me."
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Re: Concessions

Postby catch » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:47 am

Benedict's instincts were Animal. Speak though he may, by Magic be Touched and be Wrought, pulsing and poured silver liquid in his hollowed, hallowed bones, they were still Good. Glenn's were... stunted.

Somehow, Somehow, he could make no sound, though his coming was thus; a tangled carpet of Green Grass, crowned with small and white flowers; a blast of air that held no temperature, though it was near-arctic compared to the cracking heat about them. The trees thrust aside, bending in scattered shows of embers. Those with no more support in them snap, but they make no noise, falling in slow and eerie silence, flaming fingers stretched towards a smoke-filled sky, the stars distant and choked.

Then he is there.

His shoulders crowd those very skies, though he is - should be, could be - no larger than a Draft, an Elk, a Large Moose - not large enough to thrust those trees aside, though their destruction still spin on silently behind him. Eyes shift, spin, close, and wink out under sweat-streaked muscles, hiding themselves from view, one by one. His color ripples from the inside of a pus-filled wound to careless sea-foam. The tendrils of snout and hock fizzle and stream, upwards, out of sight.

Do you see, Glenn? He hides.

Come.


Blaring, sonorous, the peal of a bell, there is a smooth scar where once there had been a ruinous crack in the creature's skull, and he bends down - down - the World groaning at the weight of him as he bends his knee, offering his back to both as the fire rages around them.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Niabh » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:11 am

Deep in the raven's mind, the words I don't like this became stuck on permanent repeat. It seemed the only appropriate response. The raven had not liked anything that was happening before, and what was happening now seemed in no way an appreciable improvement, except maybe, maybe, the idea of neither roasting nor smothering in a fire. Both of those seemed terrible ways to go.

But to the particularly sensible raven, all ways were equally terrible. The only really important thing was to avoid all of them for as long as possible. Make death catch up to you. Never fly toward it.

Only one objective superseded this rule.

"Glenn." In her quietness, she sounded much more like the genuine article than she had before. "I told you already. If it came down to you and her, I stand with her."

But her arm made a snatch for his, to drag him along for the first step as if she feared he might be rooted to the ground by sheer obstinance. Only one, though. One chance was all he got. She let him go and stepped into Catch's wake.

Her black eyes scanned slowly up the bulk of him before she shrugged in resignation. "That goes for you too, Big Guy. Sorry about that."

Her unfamiliar fingers tangled convulsively in the silver mane as though they meant this to be the final thing they ever held--as if they had no intention of ever letting go. She clamored aboard, awkward, scraping his flanks with her bootheels and muttering an apology out of habit, as if anything could mar that whiteness.

Part of her still kept tugging at Glenn. Perhaps only her tense, frightened gaze, still clinging to him. Come on, man. Come on.
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
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Re: Concessions

Postby Glenn » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:09 am

Benedict was all curled up tension, animalistic fear, and well he should be. Burnie, on the other hand, had never seemed more relaxed. He moved forward, but only slightly. He held out his hand and reached for the side of the newly arrived being's face, perhaps to let it sniff before he got up, not that Catch didn't know what Glenn smelled like, but because it was simply polite. Oh, he'd brush it very close indeed though, familiar and fond. His voice was light, though quick. There wasn't much time. "Do you hear him, Catch? Her. Fffff." He breathed out through hit teeth. "That'll get annoying quickly. All for a plan that died stillborn. Benedict. Do you hear Benedict? Equating you and me. Same treatment. Same bucket, the two of us. I don't know what sort of friendship you and Benedict have." Benedict, Benedict, Benedict. A false name made true through repetition that now seemed both out of date and absolutely necessary in a world that pronouns no longer made sense. "But Benedict," again, "and I are friends. I think you'll be glad of that. I've never had a friend that could be classified so. A raven. Not a dog or a cat or any such thing. You spend more of your time as a man than anything else, so you don't count. Aloisius too, I suppose, but better not to think of that. And I named my horse to be an antagonist; we're both happier that way. So we're not in the same bucket. Benedict would choose the lady before both of us, but me over you, and I think you'd rather it that way, no matter how much you like birds. You'd like me to like birds too, I think.I like Benedict at least."

He stepped a bit closer now, though not quite getting on. "One more thing before I COME. Come." He tried to match the tone but failed and stopped. "I am back two days now. The first day, I went to Her. The second day I went to You. Gloria had a constable and an Inquisitor snatch me up immediately thereafter and an assassin utterly refuse to poke at me afterwards. I know her. I know you. I know Gloria, but this? This we need to figure out. Because I do not know and frankly, Catch, this once, it's unfair of you expect it of me." His voice softened as he looked this way and that. "I'm just back, Catch. I'm just back. Oh, fine. Let's go, then." And he'd follow Benedict's lead and damn all good sense.
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Re: Concessions

Postby catch » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:30 am

He is cold, smooth, as if carved of stone instead of some living thing. Something rippled beneath the skin, and it was not muscle. It drove away heat and flame, so the further one embraced the sweat-streaked alabaster, more the raging fire became a distant thing.

Benedict's words, Glenn's words, were met with a similar and cool disinterest.

Glenn's hand was met with a positively glacial blast of air, and where the greenery was ruffled by it, small droplets of white buds blossom.

Impatient.

Even now he speaks, speaks, speaks as fire rages about them, and Speaks of how they must Speak Later, and a cloven hoof gouges a wound in the earth with a terrible shriek of discordant and impatient bells -

Except, the man finally mounts. Finally.

And Catch would hardly give Glenn a moment to find his seat before he leaps.

He had an inkling. Because at her heart, Fionn was a beast, dripping with Instinct, without an Intellect to stifle or get in the way of good sense.

And there is the Snow.

And there is the Song.

Even with the Crow, he Felt it, the tug of Strings on his heart, his lungs, the very fabric of him.

A Little Piece That Winked.

To those that rode him, who could say what experience they felt? For a raven, would she not fly, wings dodging the trees - or did the trees dodge her? For a man, did he not ride an exceptional steed, a horse bred from the wind? Or did they ride a Tower, looking out over it's moaning sides, mechanics and carved stone, long legs clicking spider-like as they took in acres with each pegged step? It was heat, and speed, and cold; ashes and snow; moments or minutes or trees hurrying and green and flowers, and was it He who moved the World, or the World who moved Himself?

The sludged stink of the Lake, the bawling and snarling and fighting of burnt beasts, and a flash of white feathers was seen soon enough.
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