Interlude: An Imposition

Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Glenn » Fri Mar 04, 2022 12:35 pm

As clever stratagems under pressure went, this started out fairly well. It was a very good threat, something of her own making to be used against her in this situation. And why against her, save for the fact that something was very much about to happen that they'd likely both regret later (the means if not the end)? Because she had acted in bad faith previously, had led him on. There were only so many betrayals one could rightly take, especially when it was the same betrayal over and over again. She had hid this from him. She had indirectly acted in a certain way towards him because of it. Much of the trouble with Gloria which had caused such problem for both of them was at least indirectly due to this. How much of that had impacted what had happened in the woods? How much of it had led to Burnie being dragged to the Inquisitory?

But that wasn't the worst of it.

The worst of it was that there could be no future for the two of them, no open doors, regardless of which door they might walk through. The worst of it was that he had come up with some sort of solution, not a perfect one, but one with charms, one that they could make work, and she hadn't even entertained the possibility. Instead she resorted to a sort of cowardly sort of agreement, of letting him believe that things might go on.

Meanwhile, she hid other (related, though he still was only partially sure how) things from him, things he had to find out from her mother of a sister of all people.

And now, here at the end of it all, things were about to happen at the best and the worst time and there would be no coming back from any of it.

So then to his lips the ticture of her own making, something that would drive him away from her, that would leave her with a hardly appealing body and little else, with silence and her own thoughts, and deeds, and actions. It was something that would potentially allow him to stymie her plans or to rush straight into the fabric arms of the ghoul of his love, or that would send him back to Meg. She couldn't know what it might do, but it would allow him to meddle. At the best and the worst time for it.

It was a wonderful threat. And a wonderful threat it would have remained if only he wasn't already beginning to waver, if only she hadn't been so strong and quick and errant in her swatting and grabbing.

That was the problem with the threat of a thing. The best threat could actually occur and for the chance of it to be tangible, it had to be high, and for it to be high, well, all it took was a queenly hand acting in an unqueenly manner.

A third of the vial splashed down his throat. A third of what remained splashed across his face and to the ground. The rest remained and he looked at it in front of him more quizzically than bemused, even as she shoved him causing the lingering liquid to splosh about. "Well, maybe not days."
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Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Niabh » Fri Mar 04, 2022 1:29 pm

While he was talking—which seemed as good a time as any to catch one over on him—she grabbed for the vial again. Strong as any other urge was the desire to clock him in the side of the head with her forearm. Let him get his sleep that way.

“I ought to pinch your nose and pour it down your guzzle,” she snapped, chin thrust forward. “You rusting arse, do you know what this is? Do you know what this is?” The question rose shrill, capped off with an incredulous chuckle at him, and at herself. “You just slit your wrists. I said you would, and you did. And I still fell for it. And do you know what makes me twice the fool? I wasn’t even thinking about what havoc you might wreak on my plans—which incidentally, is not much; don’t get your cock up over that. I was thinking about you. I thought you were going to poison yourself, you utter toad.”

Just shy of panting, she drew away and shook out her hair haughtily. “Speaking of: when I made that batch for you, I put in enough hellebore to worm a horse, precisely so you couldn’t use it to sleep forever. I’d aim out the window above the neighbor you like least, an I were you.”

She set her foot and folded her arms over her chest. Her own heart knocked against her inner arm, and the gean-connah gripped the entire back of her head in its black claws. “Want to answer for yourself, before you start puking?”
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Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Glenn » Sat Mar 05, 2022 12:23 am

He watched her. She had been subdued before (before the flailing, at least). She'd been on the bench. The most she had done was rise up and move his finger where it ought not be. Now, though, there was just so much to see. The fairy queen was putting on quite a show and if she hadn't asked him a direct question at the end, he might well have watched for as long as his eyes forced themselves to stay open. As it was, he rubbed at those eyes and gathered his thoughts.

"There's a danger," he spoke slowly and calmly, despite the fact that one way or another, time was quite limited, "because of how our letters have gone, of you misunderstanding this, so let me be clear. You have had a tendency to take my silence as a sure sign of your own correctness. You taunt me about it. Yet, very often there is either too much in the letters for me to hit every point, or I would rather focus on some other element instead of whatever you are currently probing, or it is simply something I've not yet worked out exactly how to share, believe that or not." His voice was not yet wavering, but the clarity of his statement was beginning to, perhaps, drift, just a tad. "In a very recent letter, I think I proved this notion of yours very wrong, but it may not always be wrong and I do not want you to think it always wrong. In this case, for instance, I could ignore what you just said, and you'd likely think it wrong. I will instead tell you that you are right."

He kept his distance, but his eyes were upon her and he forced a swallow, unsure momentarily if his throat was wet or dry; an odd sensation but one he'd not remember later. "Loose fitting clothes can hide many things, vials included, you see, and if a vial can be included, well, that is to say that I want you to know that I do find myself.. that is, my interest is currently piqued, but it not because of your beauty, or your charm, or your wit, or your hunger, or your uniqueness, or your passion, or just how alive you are in every moment and how alive you make me feel, none of those things, no matter how obvious and wonderful they may be," though he rubbed at his eyes again and rubbed his hand down his face as if stifling either a yawn or a retch, one or the other, "though maybe not the hunger." His voice threatened to fade before he began once more. "No, what you're not seeing right now is entirely because in the face of three offers of one thing you want, and two bits of pleading so that we might have my personal forever, you and I, you've held your grown stubbornly and unimaginatively, and I've just put myself in a position to stymie your plans. However you may want me me in the years to come, it deeply, truly, should not be in a carnal manner, for it is that which gets me going. I thought it important you know that you were right."

How much of that was to convince him instead of her was anyone's guess. Maybe he was stalling. Maybe he was drifting past the point of good judgment. Maybe he was coming up with anything he could to stop himself from crossing the room and forcing embraces literal and metaphorical upon her.

There wasn't much defiance left in his eyes or his tone as his arms slumped down to his sides, but there didn't need to be, for he had this left to say. "I'm limited because of what your bard did. I can't act. I can't change. I can't stop. But I can find now that I know what I'm looking for and I can pitch my offer upon one more set of imaginary ears. If I am not mistaken, and I am not, he knows Gloria Wynsee even better than I do. He knows what it's like to be a child able and not able to chose his own fate. The idea of you frustrating her over decades but it still being a level, fair playing ground where she has a chance? A way to give you what you want but make you work for it, to give Gloria a fighting chance. To ultimately give the child a choice in the end. Best of both worlds for a stubborn Myrken boy. He'll love my plan even if you don't allow yourself to give it a moment's thought. If I can't act, maybe Brown can."
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Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Niabh » Mon Mar 07, 2022 3:55 am

She let out a light snort. “You’re the first man who has ever tried to drug himself to escape my attentions. I’d be insulted an you’d not already frightened me out of my wits.”

Still she hovered, keeping a close watch on his face, particularly the eyes. Counting blinks. Checking the bloom of his pupils. Above her boot top she wore a flat hide purse, which, when unrolled, contained just enough equipment to stitch and dress a wound, an assortment of muslin teabags with various useful herbs, and a clay phial filled a glowing red juice that would have held Gloria’s interest for some days. Even through phial and leather, that bottle left a warm spot glowing against her calf. Risky on a tultharian but she’d risk it. You’re not the only one can hide surprises in their sleeves, sir.

“I have no care for fair play. Not in this matter. In this, either you stand with me, you stand against me, or you stay out of my way.” She paused, her fine brows drawing together in sweet, sad pain. “But there is nothing so sure to make Glenn Burnie take up arms than to dictate his choices for him. I know him well enough to know that.”

Her fingers brushed his stubbly cheek, and she sighed richly. “Mayhap it is that our old game grows stale. We begin to repeat ourselves. We wear dull what’s left of our wits. I would rather keep you in this way, and lose you the other, than lose you in all ways for good, which is the only other option you leave me.”

The hunger was in her touch, too, like magnets made flesh. It took an effort to pull her hand away.

“Elliot Brown despises you. He remembers you only at your worst. He’ll never leave me. He’s too much to gain and you to spite. But you will try. I can’t stop you trying. I hope you survive him, is all.”
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Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Glenn » Mon Mar 07, 2022 5:30 am

In a battle of wits, he may well have defeated her. In a battle of steel, perhaps as well. She'd honed him in some ways and softened him in others, but then the reverse was true as well. Still, no one could overturn the playing board in dramatic surrender quite like Glenn. Here he'd certainly given her the battle, so as much as there was a battle, but by launching one of the last gambits possible to even just continue to fight the war. Banter was both harder and easier as the tincture took effect. It was easier than more complex communication but hard to manage in a witty manner. "I've leaped... leapt out of windows to avoid the attention of larger bosoms." The trick was to make it seem like you thought you were being witty, that there was no doubt in your mind or anyone else's.

His arms had drooped to his sides now and blinking had begun. That made her fumbling about and the advancing and retreating and touching of his face all a bit bewildering. Still, she was saying something important and he had to at least try to contest it. "The game's fine. It's a fine game. A good one. We like it. It's that we had a different set of expectations," that had been a hard hill to climb, but he managed it. "You come here. Letters are joined by visits. The game expands. We haven't had to have that." Going down the hill, however, felt a bit more a stumble. "We hadn't, that is. Because of all your plans and schemes and grabby little baby snatching hands as much as anything else."

Given time and a proper diagram, he could have mapped it all out for him. For now, she'd have to take his word for it and somehow, he doubted that she would, but he was past the point of having time to care. There was a final thing to say. "Bet you haven't told Brown a lick of truth. All fantasies and fables and mysteries and omens. I'll cut through that. Tell him what's what. Directly. I am capable of that, Finn," said with a mutter as eyes began to close. "Small words. Bet you no one's played him straight in a while. We'll see where that gets us. Maybe he'll see what I see, that the only way to keep you is to make sure you have what you need and not what you want." It was a big thing to say but one without consequence, given how significantly he was flagging and how close his knees seemed to be to outright buckling.
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Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Niabh » Wed Mar 09, 2022 11:16 am

Judging from her dry, slit-eyed glower, he had failed at wit. “Why, Glenn,” she murmured, with saccharine demureness, “I’m only grateful you noticed my bosom.”

Then she flared up like a rushlight and seemed to be at six places at once, aft and fore, bearing down on him and bullying him along with the same gesture, as though she were the gale he were caught in. A queen in her wrath was a dazzling thing. If he wanted a show, then he had it, if he were not beyond appreciating it. He ebbed and she flamed, in the way of all Tuatha, who in their greed made themselves look bigger and brighter by diminishing all around them. Her very hair seemed electric, crackling about her face as she whipped back toward him.

“Best get on that couch while you’re able or you’ll lie where you drop. I don’t dare lay a finger on you.” A fact she got around by shoving him with her shoulder, herding him toward the bed she had just abandoned. “And when you wake, an you ever do wake, which you do not deserve to do, we’ll have a talk about these ridiculous overblown self-destructive gestures of yours—an we ever do speak again, which I don’t intend to do, because an I were a wiser woman I should press a pillow over your face and rid the world of one daft, rattish, intractable, whey-faced, gobermouch mimmerkin whom no one will mourn but I.”

A sentence unspooled itself in her head: an Myrken found you dead tomorrow, there’d be dancing in the streets. Some things must never be said; some things could not be taken back, even at a split in the path where nothing one said mattered, which, conversely, meant everything mattered all the more. She swallowed it, and it burned all the way down like a live coal. That sentence would live unspoken in her head forever, a weapon ever within her reach, but too cruel to use.

“As I am the only one of the pair of us with any practical sense, I’ll tell the raven to come to you. The pair of you deserve one another anyway.” She drew herself erect, all sharp and terrible lines, and raked her fingers through her wild hair. “Do your best. Or your worst. I welcome the challenge.”

Welcomed it, but was not entirely optimistic. She had to get to Elliot first.
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Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Glenn » Thu Mar 10, 2022 5:17 am

He was at her mercy. But then, what a complicated statement that was. He was always at her mercy in some ways given the powers at her disposal, powers he had seen first hand, powers that he need not imagine, that impacted the very limits of imagination. Had he done nothing, they would have both been at the mercy of her physiology and currently, it had none at all. The tincture itself had been a mercy of sorts long ago provided. As it pertained to their current situation, he was the one who wanted her to change her course. He might choose to aid, oppose, or stand aside, but it was her actions and her hungers that were driving the situation. So, her mercy then, but mercy was a complicated thing.

Still, the world was becoming grey and distant. She nudged him and he went towards that nudge, gracelessly landing in the spot she had so recently been. She had looked like a queen from stories. He looked like the crumpled up paper that they may have been written upon.

When he spoke it was away from her. "I'll miss you too." Audible. Completely out of place, save for the fact she said she'd mourn him. It wasn't quite the banter he'd been going for, but there wasn't enough blood left flowing quickly from head to toe for any visible embarrassment to register, whether it wanted to or not.

Instead, he managed, with some valiant effort to half turn his head. One eye was shut and the other was quickly threatening to join it. "I'm going to win, Finn," a whole sentence with more to come, "because you're only fighting for you while I'm fighting for us." Not quite poetry there. Not quite a rousing speech, but he had managed to spit it all out before his arm draped the rest of the way over and his body went limp.
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Re: Interlude: An Imposition

Postby Niabh » Thu Mar 10, 2022 6:28 am

Once she was certain he was gone, her throat clenched closed. That hateful prickling began in the corners of her eyes. She was still tempted to blame him, rather than Catch, for that (for who could blame Catch for anything? Catch was perfect and in all ways correct, and Catch would never curse her with such a dreadful thing as tears. No, it must be the tultharian; she caught it from them like a case of the mumps). No amount of blaming would turn the tide once that fatal prickle made itself known.

She sniffed, then knuckled her eyes. “I shall miss you too, mo sionnach.

She could hardly bear to leave him. The temptation was there to arrange his tangled limbs so that at least his sleep would be a comfortable one, but she hardly dared be in the same room with him. More temptation than that was more than her jangled nerves could bear. The gean-connah’s claws were digging rents in the meat of her brain, trying to turn her head. Instead she forced her gaze to the floor.

The vial, mostly empty, had disguised itself against a hummock of moss and even her sharp eyes needed a moment’s adjustment to find it. Her smallest finger barely fitted into its rim. She sucked a pearly-green gobbet off her finger, then frowned, trying to calculate how much she’d diluted the stuff before trusting him with it. Her first batch had knocked her out for half a day, and that had not been much more than she just sucked from her finger. How long for a tultharian? How even to estimate?

Forcing herself to be cold, to be still, to be calm—all largely futile—she made herself touch the side of his neck. It was very warm, and his pulse became mesmerizing. She closed her eyes and went on counting it, and on, and on: one-two, one-two. Like a little drum.

One kiss. That would be alright, surely. And he would never know.

Slowly she lowered herself to her knees and bent close to his face.

“Don’t you dare die until I get back,” she hissed in his ear.
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