Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Glenn » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:26 am

A ship needed a crew.

This was true no matter its size, no matter its design, no matter its materials. A large, mighty ship needed a large, hearty crew. A small ship may need only one man. This ship was large enough to need many and by many it was crewed. Except for that wasn't the case at all.

When water gave way to dirty and clay, the ship sailed through those. When the world itself turned sideways, the ship traveled upwards. When the world started to tilt further, it was anchored safely and while it swayed and leaned, it did not move. It was moored. It was waiting.

-----
She should feel lucky. She should feel blessed. The world did not tilt for everyone, after all.

Gloria Wynsee was a complex young woman. Her understanding was to be found in the midst of a forest, one shrouded by mist. Perhaps that would be alright if she was not from completely different climes. Perhaps, though, that was what made her kindred to Myrken.

The world did not tilt for everyone, no, but when it tilted too far, the path of least resistance could become the only path possible. That was the case here. The strange brown bark underneath her feet had once offered her choice. She could go forward. She could go back. Now, there was too much of an incline. It was not dangerous, save for in one way. If she began to start climbing back the way she came, it would become steeper. It was forcing her towards a down that was once forward that was once up. The stars told the tale, for she could see them in front of her instead of above. Perhaps that would not be strange were it not for the downward stumble that life was forcing upon her. If she fell forward, if she gave up her footing altogether, if she tried to climb back until the incline was absolute, would she then fall into that bouquet of never-attainable light?

Life was making the choice easy. It was, as always, she that made it hard.
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Rance » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:24 am

--after step, after step, after step, a repetition interrupted when the worldtilted.
Underneath her it turned as though it were a potatoskewered on a spit
and her heels scraped canyons through the bark and soil
caught on roots, struck stubbornstones
not on their crowns or brows
but on their temples
(with her heels)
and where
onceshe
stood
now
she
f
e
l
l

Did not remember how she came to be in this place, never remembered there was a place before it. The forest floor became a slanted slope beneath her. Trees bearded in gray mists flashed by her. From the soil they reached like not up, but out toward the sky, their thousands of black fingers thrashing in an unseen wind--

(In her bed in the Rememdium, her heart skipped a pace or two. Her legs beneath blankets once, twice, gave a jerk. Under the residual weight of hemlock, her body could not separate itself from the flickering images that danced beneath her bulging eyelids.)

--and she had one second, two seconds, a hundred seconds to think If this is falling, then I am certainly falling! before momentum and gravity wound an invisible noose around her neck and gave a pull. She tumbled forward, began to wildly flip and spin, her skirts a rippling banner of red, red wax trailing in the air behind her. It would end soon, she knew. The inevitability of that fact had etched itself like an incontrovertible law of Time and Being inside her brain. There were cliches she'd been taught in Standard and Jernoan together about the fatality of sudden stops. And when that sudden termination of force came--

(Her every muscle had become stone. She lay twisted atop the sweat-sodden mattress, stiffly arched, waiting to die -- asleep, but aware, and blissfully, doggedly content.)

--she landed without pain in a great upturned palm carved from bark and ash-colored oak. She blew out a breath of relief, then snapped her head up, up, toward the swirling mist in the sky and the sheer nothingness that seemed to surround her. She patted her chest, her hips, her thighs, making sure she was whole. The next instant, she dangled her head between the massive hand's fore- and middle-finger, leering down into the void below, shouting: "I might like to come down. I might like very much to know what you did to the world!"

She was laughing, giggling -- this was an adventure!
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Glenn » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:22 am

"Nothing's ever easy with you."

The voice came from below. It was a whisper, but not because it was spoken softly. It may have been shouted from the very bowels of the young man who said it. No, it was a whisper due to distance. She was quite high up. In fact, considering how long it took for sound to travel, it might have been said years ago, decades, on the very day she was born. It might have been a fell prophecy, a naming.

She felt the vibrations next, long before she heard the sound, a hacking, a dull thunck, thunck, thunck. Reverberations shook the hand. How many lumberjacks had she gotten to know in her time in Myrken? How many had she annoyed or upset through ignorance and manners askew? Rather more than she befriended one might imagine. Had the lot of them appeared at the bottom of the outstretched hand, standing in line, waiting their turn to take a hack at the base of the protective palm. She would never know.

So often in life causality was obscured. All one ever saw was consequence. All one ever saw was the symptoms of the consequences. In this case, the primary symptom was another long sharp fall.

At least now, the stars were up, though she passed by them, through them, like fireflies twinkling without stop. It seemed like the light itself slowed her descent, its pulse buffeting her in a steady, if not reassuring pattern. Now, with up up and down down, she could see, ever advancing, what she had been climbing before.

It was a stump, a giant stump, a stump the side of the world itself, and at the center of it, was anchored a ship.
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Rance » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:46 am

"Nothing's ever easy with me," she shouted back, throwing her voice into the misty void. Here, she was witty and smooth-voiced, Myrken-born and white-fleshed; here, she was indigenous. "It ought not be easy; I am not an easy person, nor am I an easy sight for the eyes. Would you ask a jagged knife to wean a child? No -- no," she said.

Echoing through her arms and ribs, a percussive beat hammered through the structure of the sprawling, endless tree. Here, everything was sluggish but instantaneous, protacted but minute; when she spoke, the words were not so much speech as they were the direct transferrance of thought--

(In dreams one did not feel the soothing vibrato of voice on the tongue. Sound had no body, only memory. In the Rememdium's after-hours silence, her breathing became fast, staccato.)

In the distance (was it distance, or was it just near her, so close she could reach out and run her fingers along its masts?), a vessel: tall, snapping sails like white beacons in the fog, a hull splitting through unseen seas half-consumed by the endless horizon of water.

(The sleeping mind was not a being shackled with chronology. It could not surprise; it pieced together the narrative from discontented elements running wild within the lobes, withdrew its images from the pathways etched by experience, happiness, and agony. Dreams knew all but knew nothing. She knew, as she slept, that there was a boy in her dreams -- not for that he might have invaded them of his own volition, but that he was a frozen totem locked away in the recesses of her conscience. His voice inspired her to create him--

--or fabricate a world in which he might exist.
)

A step--

"Oh, shit. Shit. A'arvek m'qulaad, il kol ket, ket pardis? No, no. Where are you? Where did you go?"

--and the surroundings were vastly different: a sprawling room comprised of wooden walls where no light dared breed. The piss-brine stink of sea seeped in from the outside. In the very middle of the unlit hold, she thrashed like a lost child on a floor bathed in blood. All around her, by the hundreds, were so many severed hands. Some bore the gnawed brutality of tooth and claw, others the clean severance that spoke of knife-edge divorce. They were little girls' hands and little boys' hands; they were infantile hands, as pudgy as whitened sausage. Some bore kohl-painted nails, the galena-laced memories of once-prettiness.

With a great sweep of her arm, the sobbing girl sloshed the severed hands aside, only to find more beneath. The fingers twitched like tubular molds, gripping the red, red wax of her tattered skirts.

"Where did you go," she asked of him, of the hands. "Why was everything so hard with you?"
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Glenn » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:04 am

"The problem is that you don't cooperate. That's just talking in circles though. Maybe it's contradicting myself too. I don't have any idea. I had time to think about you," The voice was coming from this way and that. At first, it gave the illusion of someone running around her. It got louder though, with each ridiculous stub or run on of a sentence. "between the raindrops, right? It was hard, with Ariane, harder than you'd think because even though she's all quiet and cold, there's a lot going on down there. It's a forge, constantly melting iron and making clunky words that clang when they hit the ground. That's not the interesting thing, though. The interesting thing is where she gets the iron and I'd love to tell you all about that, but it's not the point and if anyone needed the point,"

Suddenly, it would congeal, would make sense. The hands were all moving in unison now, clenching fists in a way to mimic a mouth opening and closing. The voice was coming out of each of them all at once.

"It was you."

What followed was a scream. Was it hers? Not necessarily, but if she wished to chime in she could. This was primal, the sort of scream of a young man completely distanced from social norms, entirely distanced from caring a lick about what anyone else thought. No one else would have the confidence or brazenness to manage it.

The bark rippled, and the hands were gone. In their place, whole and healthy and hale, in black and looking like he hadn't bathed in a few weeks (which was a fairly normal look for him, depending on how lushly she wished to remember). It had been ravaged by sea ans sand and sky and was bandaged liberally. "I thought a lot about you, Gloria, all bad. Why do you have to be so loud, huh? I'm not ready for you yet. You're a churchbell, not a lighthouse. Who wants to sail towards that?"
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Rance » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:48 am

She stood. It was not a fluid motion. One moment she was on her knees, picking through the sprawl of hands, and the next, she stood as though she'd been pinned into place for hours, her fingers clenching at the hips of her blood-stained garments with all the might of a peregrine's talons. She was slow; here, she was a seeping liquid, a lump of pitch that oozed through her motions.

"You are dead," the girl hissed into air. "You are dead because you were weak. You are dead because all you ever desired to be -- and all you will ever be -- was a simpering boy with too much bravado and too much arrogance. You abandoned me, us, everyone. I have no pity for what you let yourself become. What you let her do to you."

He coalesced, a shadow and a smell more than a tangible and quantifiable presence. The only hands that remained of those through which she'd been frantically searching were the infants' hands, some as tiny as pennies and others as fat and bulbous as swollen brains. The scream echoed. It bit into what piece of her was here, shredded the already-throbbing municipality of her mind; this was a ceded shard of her, some cogent silhouette--

(--that had not been drowned beneath blankets of poisons, drugs, and mind-numbing plants).

"I am loud," the Jerno told him, devoid of the occasional stumble between phrases or the unsure lilt of her tongue, "because this is what you turned me into. I am loud because I've been struggling to fill the holes you left and the footprints you made. Everyone else just as quickly forgot about you, you know. You were vile, unwanted, and impossible. The thing they put into your boots is easy to love because it is simple and endearing. People love a fool. And yet, for being foolish enough to think you would return? I was not loved; I was told over and over again that I was wrong."

Her face was a hot, twisted rage; the Gloria Wynsee before him was older, wrinkled, broader of shoulders and hips than she'd ever been. Her eyes had become hardened lumps of sod.

You're a churchbell, not a lighthouse. Who wants to sail towards that?

He did. He had. And why?

"I turned out to be the dearest friend you ever had, Elliot God-damned Brown."
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Glenn » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:05 am

This was pretty much to be expected. It was tea with Ariane or watching a bustling marketplace. It was outright adventure with Duquesne. With Gloria though. "Not even two minutes," not that time meant a whole lot to him anymore, or even made sense. It wasn't about the accuracy of the statement. It was the meaning of it, like everything else these days. "and you're yelling at me."

He rubbed at his eyes and she felt it, the slightly pulling motion, not upon her own eyes, but her own body, upon the reality of the world around her itself, everything seemed to move slightly back as work-worn but deft fingers clumsily pulled back and pushed forward. She didn't feel the slight sigh of exasperation that followed. "Ignoring everything you said, because when have I ever wanted your pity, I had a lot of time to think about this. I don't know what happened. I think it was Duck-Noose and I freeing them from the monsters, right? But that seems a long time ago now. So anyway," there was no gift better to share than exasperation. "how to deal with you. You weren't ever going to actually believe me, because you're so full of yourself that I half bet that you think being awake is just something you're dreaming up."

Really, all he could do was look at her, listen to her, to stare with those clear eyes, the ones that saw the world exactly as he wanted to no matter what facts got in his way. She was supposed to be better than that. "I'm a thief, yeah? Let's not lie about that. So I get it. Stealing. You can steal anything. You can steal an idea. I stole Darkenhold for a few hours. I get, from what people have said, that someone stole my body. My body's not me. What it sounds like, Gloria, is that you tried to steal everything else about me. Whatever I did, I didn't do it to be loved. I didn't do it to be right. I did it because I knew I was right, because it was the only thing I could do."

He'd shrug then, and again, the whole world would shrug with him, the weight of his enforced indifference pressing down upon her. "I can't do anything at all with you, Gloria, so just yell at me some more. At least that feels like home."
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Rance » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:41 am

"Right means nothing when you're dead."

And he was; he was dead, he was dead, little more than an old, obnoxious memory nettling at her here. The world throbbed, swollen from the inside like a being with a body distended by time and perception; it made her want to vomit, but here she had no stomach, she had no stomach, and...

Ignoring everything you said...

She surged forward, a heel scraping on the hold's filthy floor.

"I stole nothing from you. You surrendered it all in death. Don't speak to me about yelling, you obnoxious shit. If you think there is a lesson to offer me, some grand and mind-bending reality that ought to alter what I am, it will never be you who gives it to me. Do you understand? Or does your faint, rigid little brain--" she jabbed a hardened finger against her temple as if to indicate her skull, "--forget that the world does not revolve, anymore, around Elliot Brown? Dead, weak, hypocritical Elliot fucking Brown?

"Elliot Brown, who -- for all his swollen pride and swagger -- cannot keep his mind his own. Elliot Brown, who preaches sovereignty, individuality, and then becomes just another corpse."

A pause, then an added afterthought:

"Right?"

He had a subtle grasp on the mechanics of this world -- and yet, not every corner or margin was his own. A shadow crawled down along the walls and structures of the hold, leafy and overgrown, a green disease that slithered along boards and stanchions. It consumed view of the bark-etched wood, rapidly sprawling across the bloodied floor. Bursts of little white blooms emerged from amid the underbrush in this temporary grotto. The air reeked of sour mint and moldered lemons, a clinging stink that nestled into the inner creases of the nose. Medicinal, noxious.

Now, her posture was different. In an instant, she'd become lankier, taller. The thickness of her body had diminished. Her dress dangled off her hips, struggled to cling to her shuddering knees -- but this girl was different, now. Divergent from what she was. Changing. Altered. Something else--

--familiar?

"What you never chose to do," she hissed, stutterless, voice lower, faster, less considered in its every foible and noise, "was count me among your friends, never chose to give me reason to listen to you. But I did, right? I've survived well enough without your wit and sarcasm; I've lived through the events that consumed you.

"You're only here, in front of me, because I've chosen not to forget you the way everyone else has."
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby catch » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:56 am

The wooden walls moved with the motion of their creators, mind-hands that planed and smoothed the trees, and set each plank tight with dream-caulk and the pound, pound, of hammer-hearts. They rocked with the motion of a half-remembered wave. They shuddered, then, with the close passing of some giant wind, some giant beast - it's physical presence an instinct, a feel, as it twined from one end of the boat, the room, to the other - a huge, benign thing, a whale, perhaps, who was apart from the drama enacted, yet part of this dream. Disinterested, save to find this foreign object, the unseen leviathan bore it along his back.

His song barely pierced the wood, a bone-deep hum, tuneless and wandering as the feel of the beast itself. It vibrated through the feet, rattled the legs, and the flowers seemed to grow a little larger, their stench eagerly reaching for nostrils, both real and ethereal.
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Glenn » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:44 am

"Sounds like your world revolves around me still." There was a certain level of peace to be achieved from his current state. There was only so much frustration one could have and that had been spent back in Ariane's dreams. This? This free sailing, even without a map or true stars to guide him (or any idea how to be guided by them), was endlessly better than what he had before, and he spoke true. It was refreshing to be yelled at by Gloria Wynsee. It was welcome, in this small dose, to feel her rancor. It was far better than feeling nothing at all or even brushing against unfamiliar dreams dreamt by unfamiliar people. So yes, a certain level of peace, but that didn't mean he wasn't Elliot Brown. That didn't mean he could meet every situation, every word with kindness. He hadn't been in the mood to meet that with it.

She was transforming. He on the other hand, seemed to be skipping back and forth in their conversation. She moved it forward and he continued on from an earlier point. "So, with that time to think about it, and knowing you wouldn't believe me, I wasn't sure how I could prove it. I knew I couldn't, so there was no point in trying, but it was even more stupid not to try, because then I'd have to listen to you go on sort of like this, and that just wouldn't do either of us any good, so maybe by trying I would be able to accomplish something, even if it wasn't what i was trying to do." There were nightmares and then there was Elliot explaining a near infinity of thought about this specific subject matter. "So I figured I could tell you things that you couldn't possibly know about me. Great idea, right? No good though. You'll just think you imagined up the answer."

There was no shrug this time, but there was a jump back to the present. "It wasn't their fault, Gloria, the knights, my mentors, on the field of Snowstill. It wasn't. They fought bravely. They died well. They tried to protect people, even me. It wasn't their fault that I burned them. So, I didn't blame them, right? Of course I did. Of course I blamed them. Look at what they made me do! So I get it. I should have been there. Maybe it was my fault and maybe it wasn't and that doesn't matter. The people who get left behind are the ones who have to keep suffering. Maybe, just maybe, it'll make you feel better to know that I had to keep on suffering too? Of course, i it does, then you're a real jerk."
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Rance » Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:19 pm

(Do you remember that one time?

Which one? There have been many. Maybe too many, right? Too many times--

--we knocked our heads against one another, thinking we could breed fresh ideas, new worlds.

You never learned.

Neither did you.

And that, Elliot Brown, is why we're so much alike. You see?)

* * * *

Beneath their feet were the floorboards. Brine and water the shade of diluted milk bubbled up from between the planks like foam through the teeth of a rabid beast. The twisting sprawl of plants and tiny white blossoms embedded themselves in the cracks of the wood. The emerging foliage stuffed pliable spines and limbs into the grain until it began to crack, snap, splinter at the invasion. A song of Creation and Destruction hummed its harmony in the air, knocking against the very structure of the ship's swaying, surging hull.

(She twisted with a gasp amid the filthy sheets. Her arm lifted with all the uselessness of an infant's, reaching up to cradle her jaw as she slept. The black oil beat a drum inside of her gums. She had no fingers to soothe it or lodge the ichor back into the hole it had burrowed in her rotten molar.)

"My world always revolved around you," she said, though the accent had vanished altogether. "You presented me with a challenge, an opportunity to become someone else, right? Not the filthy, reeking Jerno girl with too much fright between her thighs. I became someone else, a Myrkener, a force. Perhaps you didn't see it that way, because what were you ever other than blind? You saw nothing but yourself. You never saw Cherny for what he was. You didn't see me, but all the shadows I cast behind me, yeah? It was my job to look forward and dance around all your obstacles and the broken pieces you left behind."

The words came faster, the sounds more violent, shaped like the edges of knives.

Her eyes bled out their stony hue. Her chin had become angular, firm, like a polished stone. Her hips had fled and her shoulders bore an invisible lodestone. Now, as it had never been, the girl's gaze was exactly as tall as his own. They looked into one another. And if he hadn't the immediate understanding of which tongue was his, the voice that came out of her throat threw confusion into the air.

"Those who die don't suffer, Elliot Brown. You perished. You took the easiest way out you could find. When a path presented itself -- here, me, us -- you forgot what you missed and you came here, right? Maybe to look upon all your worldly endeavors, everything you thought you set into motion, the mortar and bricks you stacked together into some hideous, half-assed creation. But I've changed since you left. You died, and I was left to do what I did well before I came to Myrken Wood.

"I survived. I protected what you couldn't. I protected myself. What did you do? What did you ever do?"

The hemlock reached out, serpentine, trying to crawl across the tops of his feet and snare his ankles and knees.

Gloria Wynsee was gone. A taller shadow stood in her place, more bones and less Sun-gorged muscle than she had ever been. If he blinked, if he'd turned his head, perhaps he might have thought he was looking into a Storyteller's enchanted comma of broken glass.

So often in life causality was obscured. All one ever saw was consequence. All one ever saw were the symptoms of the consequences.

Who stood before him now, amid the crawling poison, was Elliot Brown.

* * * *

(We talked to one another on the spine of the world. I couldn't find my hands. I was frightened.

You were insensible. Just as stupid as ever, Wynsee.

Maybe so. But I was you.)
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Glenn » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:40 am

"Most people like to dance." It had been a while since he had felt outright bemused, and strangely enough, that wasn't something that Gloria Wynsee could usually inspire in him. Maybe she wasn't the only one who had changed though. "We don't have much time. Do we really have to waste it in these histrotonics?" He had learned some words in Sylvius Duquesne's mind. Or, more accurately, had failed to despite his third or fourth best attempts. "It was always your life, Wynee. That's the point. Who cares if it revolved around me? It couldn't really, not anyway.

"You would have had to understand me better for that anyway, so maybe it just revolved around your idea of me, which was full of you anyway, so it was like a mirror where you were looking at yourself, and I just happened to be peeking out from behind you." Poisonous weeds were encroaching on his personal space, and he knew them for what they were. One didn't study under Solena without some semblance of herbalism seeping in. It didn't matter if it was a throny rosebush or morning lilies or some sort of big breasted man-eating plant. Nothing was going to trap him, constrain him, hold him down. Never again.

Gloria Wynsee transformed before his eyes. Elliot Brown, however, started to rise up into the air. "And anyway, all I would have ever wanted for you, all I still want for you, is for your life to be your own." Hemlock creaked and started to snap. "That's all I want for anyone. I wanted it for you most of all though. Well, Nova more, because she was stuck in a jewel. You were just stuck in your own stuffy head." He started to flail his feet forward to knock the foliage towards the head of the other Elliot. "I picked up on something back with Ariane, and you can't learn this stuff from her but I could learn it from you, because I think it applies, but I can't learn it from you if you're me, so can we get back to you being you so that you can booklearn me something. What the hell is irony anyway?"
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Rance » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:44 am

(And though she'd not been given a dose of the hemlock for two days, it still reigned in its lordship over her. It had left stains on her mind, blemishes along her skin, pinhead-sized clots in her veins.)

He rose. The hemlock had become more than the sprawls of green leaves and black flowers. It manifested as a permeating, piercing stink that he might have smelled through his pores or experienced as a taste of compost rot inside his mouth. However he kicked, thrashed, or slithered his way out of its sluggish roots and digit-like vines, it sought to find him any other way it could. For what was Elliot Brown, here, other than an interloper, a concept given shape because of the remembrances of him lodged within a sleeping girl's mind? Yet he was more than that--

(When she awakened, would she believe it was him? Or would she understand him as nothing more than an illusion, a fancy, an automaton given life through her wandering, longing, seed-addled conscience? Something cobbled together to haunt her.)

The Elliot Brown in her memories -- a conflation of her memories, of a Dream-shadow -- stood firm in the face of him. An intruder, an invader. An impossibility.

(He was dead, he was dead, he was dead--)

"They're replaced you with something that can't be shaken free. You know that, right?" said Elliot Brown. "They like the thing that was made to wear your flesh so much more than they ever liked you. The wildling found herself both trampled and comforted by your replacement's bulging heart. Cherny got tangled into all his bullshit about knights and goodness, yeah? Catch tried to shape himself into a knightly likeness, too, because there's an infectious quality to unrequited goodness. Something like that. So make yourself clear, explain why you're here, and we can eliminate all the confrontation. You're a powerless image burned into the back of Jernoan eyelids. Got it?

"You're only here because she misses you. Step down off your pedestal, respect that truth for its humanity, and stop posturing in a kingdom neither you or she can control. You're a fledgling, an infant, a desperate child. You blamed the burned corpses for what they did to you, to us. But you know that wasn't their fault."

This incubated, inflated, too-smart and too-brash concept of him -- an assassin, a manipulator, a destroyer -- was the sentinel in her mind, the guardian, the shield.

Then, behind the intruding Elliot, her voice, her accent, lilting over the edge of her tongue:

"I always respected you as -- as a friend," said the seamstress. "I need you, for once, in -- in this place that nobody will ever see, to look at me and not through me. I need you to tell me that I was your friend, too. That you respected me as I did you, or else--"

Two heartbeats throbbed beyond the walls of the ship's inner hull, muffled behind hemlock and henbane, one loud and prominent, the other subdued, barely there, an echo of the first.

"Or else, there are other things I can dream about."
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Shitfaced and Stentch

Postby Tolleson » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:47 pm

It is mid-day before he returns to the bedside of the maimed woman, the stink of a hangover clinging to him as pungently as Gloria’s bed. Despite it he opens the curtains and forces open the window, letting the too bright sunlight stream in.

Glugthunk. Glugthunk. Clink.

Did red have a particular sound? Two bottles, one of which is near half-empty, are set at her bedside. Where his hand had been is clear, a perfect, lanky print left in a thick layer of dust.

There is a deep breath, a wrinkled nose, and a sigh. Hesitation follows as his eyes lazily fall to the chair now molded to his form. A long watch, first with Genny, now the Jerno; perhaps they might be surprised how much they shared. The second sigh that follows is resignation. Welled deep within, it was the heartburn-hungry sort of pain, of acrid guilt and the deep ache of defeat by fate. To be in the Rememdium was his destiny, yet at every turn his prior choices mocked him.

Destiny sought to be cruel, and he was certain. To have such misfortune upon people he cared about, when tooth and nail he had fought against the footsteps of his father and older brother. He had wished for a better life, free of confronting illness every day, promise and plenty; not the bloody stumps of untreatable wounds, the stench of death and sick that permeated places where one went to be well. How painful the irony that inevitably he ended here, useless at a bedside.

Puh.

The cork popped with a sigh and he drank down a third before it was re-corked and set back again. He needed to save some to share with her. Two bottles, just as before. Just as she had written. It would make her happy, he hoped. So the back of his hand wipes the excess from his lips and when he sees her legs twitch and tangle the sheets he sets a hand on her shin and rubs gently atop the blankets.

“Quiet now, lovely Gloria,” a whisper, it’s almost a coo to soothe a restless child. But he doesn’t linger long, releasing her to find a nurse that together they might change her sheets. And he might find someone more suitable to bathe and clothe her. Lest she get more sick from herself and sores, he needn’t be a doctor to know that much.
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Tolleson
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Re: Henbane and Hemlock: Silt and Starlight

Postby Glenn » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:46 am

"Yeah."

One word, in the midst of vines and flowers, in the midst of doppelgangers. One word in the midst of a subconscious more powerful than anyone's he's encountered as of yet, more so than Ariane Emory, either of them, more so than Sylvius Duquesne. Gloria couldn't best either of them in a battle, whether it be of wits or of blades, though it would probably run fairly even if she tried the former with Ariane. In pure stubbornness, though? Well, that would be a battle too, but it'd be one for the ages.

Just what went on behind those Jerno eyelids? Could anything in Myrken truly match it?

"So, to sum up, and I can do that now, sum things up, because you watch a lot of things, and you are stuck watching a lot of things, and you eventually start to pay attention, because really, you don't have too much else to think about except for how you got stuck there in the first place and given the choice, you choose the thing that's more distracting, right? So to sum up, you think I should give up, admit that I'm going, and give you closure by saying that I was your friend." Some people would raise a finger for each of those points, a helpful tool for summing up. Elliot chose to point at her, not through her, but at her instead.

"Nah."

That would be the other word, a matched pair. "For one thing, you've pissed me off. I know that there's some storybook bastard out there in my body, trying to play by stupid rules that don't exist instead of breaking down the screwed up rules that do. I know that. I get that. Ariane's said it nicer than you, which really says something about you, don't it, but I know it. I don't have to see me in front of me though. It's bad enough I know he's out there.

"Guess what. I came here to see Gloria Wynsee, who I give a damn about for my own reasons, in my own way, not because she's my friend, but because she's still mine, because I'm Elliot Brown, and there is plenty I can still take, more and more every day, and because no prison can hold me forever. If I wanted to see myself I'd find the dream of someone shapely in the right ways, not the wrong one, someone vain for good reason who liked to dream herself naked in front of a bunch of mirrors. I'm here instead and I can leave twice as easy as you can try to make me. So stop hiding behind me, be yourself, and get back here."

Behind them, the ship raised its colors, a black flag, otherwise empty, void as the starless night. Its anchor was lodged firmly in the dream.
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