Yet Another Morning After

Re: Yet Another Morning After

Postby Glenn » Fri Feb 03, 2023 1:56 pm

"That's not how history works. That's not how life works." The healthier man's eyes burned but Burnie's all but glistened, one of the differences between them. "If she returned home before encountering the lot of you, maybe. This might seem a dream in time as she got reacquainted to her old life. I don't think so, but there's a shock and a shift of that, so maybe then. This transition though?" The shake of his head was slow, not sad, certainly measured. "One foot in each world. A bridge between the new and the old. Who she's become acclimated to her old environs through your presence. I really am the least of your worries." Even as he said it, though, something rang false in his ears, the lingering sound of it. That brought forth a chuckle. "Second to last, third to last. I'm low on the list and lower still if the you is plural."

And why was that? Well, he'd turn to the raven then, chuckle becoming a barely interested smile. "Benedict, one thing you have to understand is that he simply can't have me for a rival, a counterbalance. It's not even that I might instruct her in a way that doesn't suit his needs. And the idea that I might empower her, give her an edge that she might not otherwise have, might inspire in her a disruptive sort of unpredictability that would overturn the board in her favor, and therefore his? None of it matters. That's fascinating in and of itself; it either speaks to breathtaking confidence given the stakes or resigned fatalism." But none of that was the point he was trying to make. His eyes closed for a short second and his smile returned with their unveiling. "It's a matriarchy. There's only ever room for one of him and there's precious little room at that. He can't be marginalized. There's no margin to fit into. Shall I give him one last thing? He asks all the damned wrong questions, especially frustrating for me since I only want to help her and I wouldn't even mind helping him, despite his terrible manners as a guest."

With strength that he had hardly seemed to possess at any point in the last many minutes, he kicked his feet off the side of the bed, sitting up fully. "The thing about a queen, this queen, here in Myrken, is that if she can't have what she wants how she wants, she finds another way. If she can't have the father, she'll take the son. If she can't have a smile, well the lips will do. That's a bit far maybe, less literal than the first one." A long inhale there, a wistful exhale. "She couldn't have what she wanted and me as we were as well. She decided that. I'd make it all too hard for her. So she decided she'd breathe deep in the notion of me of an antagonist. Now she's a taste of that. The poisoning wasn't the point. It wasn't the ends. It was the means. That's what you're missing. It wasn't any sort of victory in and of itself, but the means to the victory that followed. Do you think for a second that she'll let me have the last word like that? Either I'll make peace with her or she'll wage the most affectionate war upon me. I assure you that I'm too old for that sort of attention."
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Re: Yet Another Morning After

Postby Niabh » Thu Feb 16, 2023 12:13 pm

The stranger rubbed his chin with one knuckle, scrutinizing Glenn over the back of his hand. “A marvel, the way you don’t allow pain to affect your loquacity.”

He still hovered between supposing that the man was being deliberately obtuse as a game, to assert dominance, or if he believed what he was saying and was earnestly trying to convince Mactire of the same. He delved the next layer down, to which of those things the Queen might believe. He hoped she would be a little more skeptical—she’d grown up in Court, where you had to assume the majority of what you were told was calculated to achieve a delicate, heady balance of control and preference—but she was young yet, and the mortal world had softened her. The bard had even remarked what unique peril an intelligent, lonesome girl could get herself into with a manipulative tultharian. Foolish young girls, the bard had quipped, got themselves pregnant, but the bright ones got ideas. Ideas resembled pregnancy, save they bulged the brain, not the belly, though neither ever took quite the same shape afterwards. The fruit could be quite monstrous, and much harder to abort.

The initial conundrum didn’t particularly matter, save as a matter of tactics. Mactire was not here to be convinced, be the tultharian self-serving or sincere, and if he was being this stupid on purpose then the Queen was well shut of him and Mactire probably should start breaking fingers rather than negotiate further.

The thought made him crack his own knuckles in anticipate. Then, with a quick, vicious twist, he addressed the raven directly. “Was he like this before her?”

“I don’t talk to you,” said the raven stiffly. “You want to kill me.”

“It’s a pertinent question. I’m trying to determine whom is the dominant influence. If he’s glam-addled out of his wee head, if he is compromised in her typical manner, there’s no point in continuing this because he’s incapable of recognizing urgency. We’re speaking two different languages as it is. I might as well go back to Tuathailli so at least I can get my point across.” This stymying point genuinely infuriated him; he felt he was speaking at half-speed, as though he were trying to convey a complicated series of instructions to Morgana’s little child, or to an imbecile.

The raven ruffled, diffident. “I don’t know. By the time I came into it, he was already pretty much like this, but they’d also been talkin’ a while, I think.”

“See. See. Look at that.” He held out his hand in demonstration. “That’s why you shouldn’t keep faith in a gossiping raven. They start to think they have the right to spill all your secrets when it’s important enough, and they’re the ones determining the level of importance, without benefit of a larger context. You just saw him tell me vital information immediately after saying I threatened to kill him. How can you possibly think this is an appropriate liaison? We don’t just kill ravens for no reason, you know. They’re a valuable resource. If he wasn’t a security risk, we’d keep him. How long were they talking before you came into the picture?”

“I am not tellin’ you anything else!” the raven squawked, flapping his wings.

“That would be a first,” he snapped back, but he had already moved on, and was somewhat distracted, groping in the air for his next thread. “A normal person, an uncompromised person, upon hearing that a young lady of his acquaintance was in such imminent danger that it was felt appropriate to categorize the trouble as cancer, would express alarm. There are certain questions. Does this situation have precedence? How far might it have progressed? Can it be reversed, delayed, halted? What would be the consequences—for her, for your clan? How does this involve me? You ask none. You simply barge ahead with your myopic, romantic, doomed vision of some previously unseen chimera the likes of which could revolutionize our clearly flagging system, without seeming to consider that I was speaking entirely literally and that the fate of the organism as an organism is in peril. I don’t mind saying that if you seek to further this condition rather than reverse it, you seek to undermine her. That’s treason at best and murder at worse. If I am asking the wrong questions, I invite correction; I didn’t come here to learn how to ask better questions. Withholding information is not going to help me, her, or us.”

He paused in his rambling to stare at Glenn, who had just made his way to the side of the bed. “I’m talking to a board.”
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
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Re: Yet Another Morning After

Postby Glenn » Fri Feb 17, 2023 7:59 am

"I can empathize to a degree." Burnie began, and it was well enough he began there instead of somewhere else, as there were any number of new threads to pull and each would be as frustrating or as engaging as the last. "I'm trying not to sympathize. It feels unfair to her and unfair to the two of us as well. I hope we can have conversations in the future, you and I, but they must be more targeted or less targeted. This feeling out process here, well, it just won't do. Yes, I will be dead in a blink of your eye, but that's the length of several potential conversations." He was aside the bed now but he could a least turn his torso to face the man. "See, this would be sympathizing. I think your existence is a lonely one. Your schemes and plots and plans have to be singular. You claim to prefer it, of course, that no one else can understand, that so many of them waste your time, but the truth of it is that you are different than the others in her circle. Might every queen have one of you? That would be interesting. Rivals pulling at strings, some level of healthy competition between you that plays out over decades and centuries. Ah, I met a male bard, so they do exist, but I think you have a different sort of antagonistic relationship with them. You ought to see me as a fellow traveler heading to the same destination but that is on a different path entirely. We're both heading the same way and you'll get far closer than I might, but if we pass upon an intersection, do not think our goals are that disparate, merely our means. There's something congenial about that metaphor even if you would have to make it more aquatic somehow, a canal where only one ship can pass at a time and where I might serve as a temporary nuisance? That sort of thing."

And after making all that effort to stand and turn, he sank back down upon the bed. "Loquacity I have a near endless reserve of, but my body does fail me in other ways. In truth, I tire. This has been a short conversation but we have both said much. Some truths: the raven is my friend and he will say what he says and I will find it worth it for his company and companionship; you have certain luxuries with your longevity that I do not and this might make me value certain things more than you do." He had raised no fingers, a caution born out of respect for his guest who was not a guest. Still he ticked off one point after the next. "Consider this who I have always been, though she has a transformative effect upon all those who encounter her as you well know; if I had encountered her more in person, I would likely be changed more. I do not worry at all about treason; such a thing is impossible for me for I am not in her service, except for in that one may serve as a friend. I worry instead of betrayal; she finds the idea of others talking of her behind her back anathema. I am confident that she would approve of what I have and have not say today. Finally, it was concern that drove me to reach out to you and yours. While I believe her in more capable hands than my own, it is not your hands I refer to. I will speak of her private matters to her phycisian-sister-mother, to her bard despite a mutual dislike, to those providing ministration. You do not look after her sanity, her health, her magic. You look after her future. You noted that there is time, so what assistance I will provide will be to her present and those who tend to it first. After that? Well, then you may get something further out of me, with her permission, of course."
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