From Whence We Came

Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:53 pm

"I am no longer sure I wish to be me." That was an oversimplification. It might have even been completely wrong, but she was unrelenting. She threw at him so many absolutes. Arrows would be easier to dodge. There was no ease, no relief to be found in her, in this conversation. She pushed without restraint or remorse against a tree with a rotted root. Could she not hear the creaks? For all of her lofty declarations of responsibility and need, couldn't it be that she simply wanted to tarnish one more thing more beautiful than herself.

He took a step away from her, two steps, then three. She wanted him to run? He was considering running. Away from her. "I understand need. I understand purpose. I understand calling. I do not understand I." His lip quivered ever so slightly. He understood puns too, though not well enough to know for sure if he had made an unintentional one there. Was it in bad taste? Being in bad taste still made him sick to his stomach, generally without him realizing it until it was already done and he'd corrected his behavior. There was no behavior correct or incorrect enough for Gloria Wynsee though. No behavior was enough for she would always want more.

He had so little to give. "It's as if you'd put a sword in my hand to ensure that I not use it. That's madness. It's a leap that makes no sense, Miss Wynsee." Still, he was a young man of discipline, and he forced himself into a false calm as he stared her down, though not before he took one last step back. "If I am to believe you, all of you, instead of every memory I have, then I am to believe that everything I am was created, fake." It was an impossible premise to start from. It meant wiping the slate clean. Or it meant doing as she said, but could she not see the flaws there? He did, certainly. "You'd have me embrace that falsehood! Why? Because there's a need for more lying? Because it's easier? When do lies do anyone good?"

He was a knight, yes, something out of fables and storybooks, something made to accent and accessorize a Myrken that never was, that only existed in a madwoman's fantasies. That knight was crafted of false memories, of course. Those false memories were crafted, however, out of the real memories of Elliot Brown, before the point of deviation and even after. At the root of Gahald was the stubborn and animalistically canny Brown. That had always been the crack in the facade. An artist was only as good as her materials. The hair on his neck, fair and fine as it had somehow grown to become, still stood slightly as he stared at her with his one good eye, the discarded chrysalis of a boy's accusations shining upon her. "Gloria Wynsee, is this about me? Is it about Myrken Wood and what it needs? Or is it all really about you in the end?"
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Rance » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:23 am

"Of course you don't understand you. Nobody does, Gahald. Don't you see," she chimed, with a morsel of budding impatience, "how real it is, to be unsure? To be afraid, or walk paths that are unfamiliar or frightening?

"If you understood yourself, I'd call you a god."

In the Sunlight, her brown flesh gleamed like damp soil. As rusty as the blade she held.

"If you understood yourself, I'd beg you to teach me the methods."

But this did not work. One did not pick up a stone and scream at it, You are a stone! and expect it to understand. What became more and more clear to her was how much of a child this one-eyed Elliot Gahald still was: that inside, once all the façades of his existence had been stripped away, peeled off him like dead skin burnt by an unrelenting Sun, he had nothing. No mass, no constituents, no agents of being. Just a desperate want for direction, but an absolute fear of taking such a risk — for what if it was false, or untrue, or misguided? When he met her with that lone eye, it met hers, those steely, stone-colored, dull things. Their unresponsiveness to light — for the pupils neither swelled nor diminished at the insistence of radiance or shadow, broken as they were by the Jernoan daylight — provided them an almost alien emptiness. The kind that pierced.

Gloria Wynsee, is this about me?

"Yes," she breathed—

Is it about Myrken Wood and what it needs?

"Yes," she said—

Or is it all really about you in the end?

"Yes," she told him—

—and none of those responses came with hesitation. Here, he struggled with this clash of purpose and creation, like a child in a great spider's cocoon, thrashing in silk that ever-tightened, ever-stifled. Gods, she could bombard him with more and more ideals, with this battery of conviction that made its barracks inside her chest. But that would not help him; it would only interfere, to be the hammer that struck too many times at the molten blade.

So this time, she stuck the sword into the ground, then reached out to touch him again. Not in intimacy, nor misguided affection, but in gentleness. Softness. If he did not draw away, his hand would be hers, lofted in her own with the airy softness of a seamstress' touch.

A reminder that he was here.

Don't run, the touch could have said, if only he listened. Don't flee.

"I want you to have the opportunity to build for yourself and — and your life what it is you desire most. To have open to you the avenues of profession and passion and belonging. That's all," Gloria said to him. "That's all."
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:27 am

What he had, even as he had nothing, was poise. Who in Myrken Wood had poise, an artificiality in the face of everything this accursed place threw at them? Teahouse Girls and Elliot Gahald. No one else. Very few stones in this world were made for symbolic purpose, for appearances. He was a gilded sword, not sharp but blunt. In the right hands, however, he could bruise and batter, could kill. A sword could not wield itself, however.

She did not have poise, but nor did she have hesitation. She lived and breathed her answers, even as he was detached and almost theatrical, a player on a stage carrying a script adorned in beautiful calligraphy but that was chewed up by a rabid pack of wolves, squinting with one eye shut for his next line and struggling to work out his motivation. Despite that, when he was not thinking about it, his performance was impeccable. He was best suited not to be a player at all but instead a painted wooden stand-up of a bush. Myrken could find none finer.

If only he wasn't trying so blasted hard to think his way through the scene.

She touched him and he did not flee. At least she was no longer tearing apart the set or adding another wolf's toothmark to his script. The words came easily, too easily, but he meant them as he always did. "I am glad you have found your kindness, Miss Wynsee. When you are able to do so, it is a testament to you. You are not ugly, but you are the most not ugly when you speak kind words that you believe."

He saw what he wanted to saw, or perhaps, he saw only what he was capable of seeing. Still, that was a choice made, even if it may not have been his own. "I do wish to serve Myrken Wood. I think I did it harm, even though I never intended to do so. Moreover, if what was told to me is true, I did a great deal of harm that I cannot remember, unlawful acts and wanton burglary. I would begin with small tasks, however. Tasks of the body." There was strength in his hand, obvious strength that she would be able to recognize even though he did not squeeze. "Starting with Snowstill. I ask that you do not stop expecting more from me, however, if that burden is not too much for you to carry."
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Rance » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:13 pm

"I am not averse to burdens."

For she'd great shoulders, fit for the labor of sweat and muscle. And under the weight of this new load, she seemed to strengthen, even unfurl. Like a serpent of ribbon.

"You did do Myrken Wood harm." Gloria Wynsee did not shy away from the truth; often, like a burning Sun, she scorched with it, and all too frequently burned herself in the process. Her left eye twitched as the edge of her lips tried to draw up into a comforting, even commiserating smile. "But so I have I, and likely more. But a good town ought not go without bearing marks and scars from its tenants, else it would be but a house and not a home.

"What will be remembered more fondly, when we're gone, will be the goodness we strive to do. Of that, there is a lot left in you. That was not Created in you. It flowered," she reasoned, "of its own accord." She gripped his hand for but a few moments more before she released it, stepped back twice, three times, four times, as if locked in a stern, courtly choreography. "If expectation is what you wish for me to have, then I promise you this: it will be crude and clumsy expectation; it will be loud, as I am wont to be, and — and red-faced; it will see to you weekly, and demand to lend its one hand to a few hours of Snowstill's healing.

"So if you cannot stomach this—" and the finger, brandished before her, could have been a crone's, or a mother's, "—tell me now to abandon this task, before you exhaust of it."

They both knew, didn't they, that even if he said to her now No, on second thought, Gloria Wynsee would not heed it. Gahald, in this unspoken truce, had requested a favor of her. It would be done. In this, she found her inner warhammer. How Gloria Wynsee, in her Jerno birth, had ever managed to awaken and find herself a seamstress was a mystery for the ages.

Afternoon crested the sky. The morning fog had burnt away. The hot wind of a new day blasted across them. It dragged strands of her black-and-ash hair out of her bonnet, freed them, made them snap and crack like flags in the breeze. Did he see, and did she see, as she impaled her twilight and let it bleed out into the grass?

Half-turned, she asked him, "Why Snowstill? Why there," while picking at a pill of fabric on the rib of her dress. She could have walked away. Could have ended it with their agreement, like business. Like Myrkeners.

But sometimes it was nice just to talk.
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:45 am

He did Myrken Wood harm.

She was sure of it, stated it matter-of-factly, so much so that she was happy to associate herself with that same harm, to give weight the two alongside one another. One could not do that without a clear sense of it. She made not just a comparison, but an easy comparison.

His stomach burbled under the stress of this, bile striking where certainty once sat. He was a entity filled to the brim with false discipline, but a bit of intestinal unrest might cause that to topple over entirely.

Stomach this, she said, and in that moment, it almost came spilling out. He swallowed it back down, though the focus on her words was more than he could fully manage. For a seamstress, she was careless with her threads.

She could have walked away. She could have just talked. Why Snowstill? His stomach dropped once more, a sudden plop, the color returning to his face, though not without some overcompensation, hints of red in what was once bronzed and perfect. "Because it's where they all died."

Those memories were so clear, a boy, not a man, not a man after that night either, rushing across the battlefield with a fell task. As his mentors, his heroes, fell, he was to set them aflame so that they would not immediately rise up to join their enemy's army. This memory was somehow easier to deal with than some of her questions. He was even able to manage a question of his own. "Did they die, Gloria Wynsee? The knights facing down the army of the dead? Did that happen? Was it real? Was I there?" If what she claimed, what they all seemed to claim, was true, where did the truth end and the lies begin?
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Rance » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:12 am

"They died."

Reassurance.

"The knights."

Clarification.

"It was real."

Confirmation. Then a pause.

"You were not there."

Could one break a man apart with truth, she wondered. Balance it. Offer a falling soul a ledge to grab. The Sun was hotter now, growing closer toward midday, and their shadows met to become the silhouette of a mountain.

"But neither was I."

Why had this been her responsibility, she wondered, to always speak so painfully of fucking truth? To scream it in the Commons, or wield it like a tiny glass blade between the ribs of Ariane's fine corset, or stand firm with it even when it pained her, pained them? Where along the line, in this stony journey between Jernoah and Myrken Wood, had she found it necessary to stitch such a bloody thread into herself? Speak the truth. When you must. Speak it loud. Do not hesitate. But lie to yourself, wherever possible.

Do not let him fall. You are not here to shatter monoliths.

"But the books say that it happened, Elliot, the annals and the records. They confirm it. Whether or not we were there makes no difference: a body's memory is only so many fabricated ideas, and as fallible as — as a roof under duress of storm. A memory becomes collective. I am Jernoah," she said, begging understanding, "and you, you're Snowstill. If it hurts, if it frightens, if — if it stirs, then it is as real as it must be. And I will not leave you alone to be confounded or broken down by it."
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:41 am

Whatever happened next might have been seen as breaking. Elliot Brown was never a great mind. Elliot Gahald was certainly not one either. Whatever additional schooling had been forced into his mind had been superficial and vain, flowery poetry, manners and etiquette, those chivalric ideals. He had been a boy of Myrken and a young man of other strange places, some real and some, apparently imagined, but there were limits, and when truth met limits, the people of Myrken Wood either laughed or cried. Here, he laughed, though it was a sound wrenched with exasperation.

"Books. Records. Books and records." Records and books. He did not state that, nor stammer it, though it seemed like he might repeat those three words forevermore. Instead, he swallowed down the sound that hissed out of the crack within him, and swallowed, once more, his overly hearty lunch. "I need to speak with someone who was there, Gloria. There is a record of me not being there? If I wasn't there, where was I?" Say what one would about Rhaena Olwak, but she had been there, if not at Snowstill itself, then in Myrken during that fell year of the Ashfiend.

What had she said about a body's memory? A collective? What was a collective anyway? It made no sense, none of it. "My family's no help," he spat, manners fleeing just for a moment in the face of total obliteration (would she rejoice at her victory, of the kicking of a still warm corpse?) "If something was in fact done to me, it was done double to them. Triple. With less care. I saw them briefly. Whatever world they now live in, it is not this one. They are happier than anyone else in Myrken though. Do you know that?"

He took a step towards her then, followed immediately by two steps away, by a half turn of his body. She had barely pushed at all, but it had been too much, far too much. Seamstress as she might have been, she was the last person to handle something as brittle as glass. "What if no one knows the truth, Miss Wynsee? What if no one remembers? What if there is no truth anymore? What if there is no real? What matters then? Who gets to decide? What if everyone feels differently?"
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Rance » Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:06 am

Gloria Wynsee had been built for simple tasks, simple questions, and simple purposes. And his were remarkably simple — but endless, too, and unanswerable. So when his deluge of questions gave way to silence, and he looked into her for answers, she did the only thing she could: stared at him, not with challenge or strength, but with the posture of a being in surrender. One hand to her side, palm up. Shoulders back, like in an apologetic shrug. And a frown that weighed a hundred stone. "I am not here to mislead you, or lie to you, or discomfort you to serve malice. I could not presume to have the answers to — to those questions. The Nameless know, I ask enough like them of the world each night.

"But I promise you, the books and records will hold no more answers than you already have, Gahald. Myrken Wood has never been a place of accurate measurement or logic. It exists wholly to — to defy logic. And somewhere in that chaos is life worth living."

Did any of it make sense? The confidence faltered, rolled off her like rainwater. She rested her hand on her pinned apron, squeezing the fabric until her black sweat left handprints as stark as blood and ash.

"You were there, and not there."

So accurate a fabrication, his very creation, that to deny it would shatter all reason of the mind.

So fragile the hinge of that existence, that should it swing too fast, it might all fall away...

Gloria aimed to keep his eyes. Despite his laughter. Despite his questions. Look at me.

"I am scared," the woman said, "that to tell you what I know would — would harm you greater than it would help you. I am frightened that if I add to this burden, I will harm an otherwise innocent man. I am trying, but — but it is difficult. You are here. You stand. You live. That is what I can tell you. But anything else..."

Years ago, you wanted nothing more than to wield that sword. Those Precious Words, the ones that would shatter Ariane's false reality, and Elliot Gahald's, and everyone else's. But did you ever think you would stand here in the face of such a moment, dry of mouth, and utterly wordless?

"Do you want to share a drink with me?"
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:35 am

Here they were, more at the center than any periphery. Snowstill was outside the center. It had symbolic value, history, though that history was suspect now. It would be of use, and use was important to a man whose ironclad ideals were crumbling more and more each day. But it was away, far enough away that he did not have to face these things.

In some ways it was heartening to see Gloria Wynsee at a loss. Maybe that meant there was hope for the rest of them. Maybe that meant it was alright to be unsure. Really, though, what it did most was underpin her words. His lips tightened. There were no lines upon his brow, but expressions such as this threatened to forge them over time. "They all suffer like this deep down." Chaos made life worth living? It brought suffering. Everyone was lost, confused. That's what the rules, the edicts, were meant to instill; that was what common dress, common manners were meant to ensure. That they were aesthetically pleasing, aspirational, would create a life worth living. They wouldn't have to look for it. It would be staring them down each and every day, and with a smile at that. Had she really been that wrong? If so, what was right instead?

"I want to help them. Do they realize it?" For he had not, not until this moment. "Do they realize that everyone else feels the same way? That you feel the same way? Have you ever told them? It helps. It helps more than you yelling at people, Miss Wynsee. Did you know that?"

Perhaps he did want to share a drink, but she had shared far too much else with him already. He could only handle one thing at a time, and the current thing just happened to be everything-all-at-once.
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Rance » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:01 am

"No. They do not realize it. Because people neither wish to ask for help, nor willingly seek it. And they do not need help, Gahald. But guidance? Guidance, always. And to be guided neither damages our agency nor reduces us to pitiful dust. Be true with yourself," Gloria said. "You have no tools right now to help anyone." There, Gahald. If you do not wish for yelling, then you shall have painful truth. "Disenchant yourself of the notion that you are here to help. You are here, if anything, to live, and that is that.

"Succeed first in that. Discover your needs. Establish camaraderie. Commit yourself to normalcy. Then worry yourself with the needs of others." A faint impatience quivered in her voice, a potential energy ready to either burst or ignite. She capped her hand across the crown of her bonnet and rubbed her scalp. A gesture of thought. Of self-containment. "You belong here, Gahald, though it will not always be a comfortable existence. You will be watched — and closely. People will be wary of you. They will stare at you from across hallways and streets and whisper against their collars to the friends they trust when you enter a room.

"You're an old memory. You hurt. But without that pain, what would they learn?"

A turn of her head. Off, her gaze, toward the unseen ruins of Snowstill, or at least its general direction. Gloria crossed her arms across her stomach. The wind could have been kinder to her, could have blown the beads of sweat off her nose and forehead, but it refused.

"Have you ever thought that — that Snowstill has remained in shambles all this time," the Jerno said, "because people are happier to let it rot?"
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:06 am

"Miss Wynsee," she was energy and verve. She was a disturbance, a rumbling beneath the ground. Were there an applecart, she would overturn it by her mere presence alone. She just did, after all, in her own way. He had become stillness, however, trained disciplined. Just a moment before, he had asked questions, deep questions that might have been unanswerable for a man who had lived a normal life, let alone whatever it was that he had become. Now though, there was just one question left. "What you say," soft and direct, for he had found something to fall back upon, a truth even more than rearing and training, "that I am in no position to help and that I should ease my way back to the people here," and if there is just a hint of hesitation, it is driven by an undertone of embarrassment, frankly for both of them, "is that not what I was attempting to do before you called me to you and asked me to be Marshall?"

Sometimes, the applecart is doing what it ought to do, holding the apples. Perhaps apples taste better to Gloria Wynsee's unique tongue if they had rolled about the ground first.

"Which is why Snowstill. I think you have the right of it though. I also think they'd be happier letting me rot as well. I do not blame them for that, for many things are as you say," which might have been a peace offering, but it also seemed to be true. "We fit, it and I. Something with use that has gone into disrepair. In fixing the one, maybe I can begin to fix the other."
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Rance » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:43 am

"Easing," she said, "does not mean becoming a hermit. You might as well then be a creature in a cage, like a moth trapped in the cup of a child's palms. If it makes you happy, if it makes sense to you—" a quick breath, as if the notion itself somehow pained her, "—then by all means, rebuild it. But they will watch you from afar, and wonder after you the — the way we wonder after poisonous snakes. When will it strike? When will it slither into my shoe, or my bed? Will I see it coming?"

Gahald grasped at contradictions. Tried to forge an armor of sense from them. But it rendered him immobile.

"Ariane, she — she possessed her darkness and blemishes the way we all do. She bore a grand capacity for destruction. She could have easily been compromised." She was easily compromised. "But she busied herself in guidance. Taught boys how — how to be men, turned sweaty-palmed farmers into competent sword-bearers. It was not what she did for them that earned their trust, but what she gave to them.

"So when she was broken, we still trusted, even if it frightened us. That's faith. That's belief." Would he understand? Or did it all confuse him still, the way it unspooled from her foreign lips like so many careful columns of stitching? "Belief that the snake is a compatriot and not an opponent. Belief that in it being so near, we can better understand it, instead of eyeing it from afar like wary and skittish children."

She jabbed her toe into the earth, dug up a damp divot. Peeled up grass and weeds. Damaged something serene.

"If to build Snowstill is to rebuild you, then deny loneliness, Gahald. Ask us for help. Let us help. Trust us."
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:23 am

Gloria's metaphors had adapted to match her audience. Whether this was a conscious effort or a subconscious response to the frustration caused by a man more lost than he was bright hardly mattered. What mattered more was the fact he was better able now to grasp what she said. A cage, a moth, a snake in a shoe; these were things any Myrkenborn could understand, no matter what was lost and what was given through preternatural means. It was pantomime for the child in the last seat in the crowd, big and bombastic and impossible to miss.

Of course, she lost him almost immediately when it came to Ariane. His memories of her were doubly false, more directly hacked at and pruned than let to grow wildly as had most of his other false thoughts. "Belief is a snake in your shoe as well?" Teeth that were straight, if not as white as they once had been, pressed down awkwardly upon his bottom lip. He wished to please, not her, but someone who no longer existed, had only, herself, existed for a span of less than a year. He was older now than that Rhaena had been. He was a poor, if eager, student for her, and a poorer student still for Gloria Wynsee, who had begun to mix metaphors to everyone's detriment. Every moment of forward progress was followed by him tripping on divots wholly of her making.

"I would appreciate help if it was offered." His voice was careful, measured. This was often the case because it seemed to take so long to get from thought to voice. He was the opposite of the other boy he might have been who spoke without ever thinking. Whatever he was, it had been made with at least a few specific cares. "I cannot ask for it, not without more progress to show. If it as you say and none of them want it, then let me show them it is something worth having first. I will gladly accept any help offered after that point."
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Rance » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:43 am

That drink was closer than expected: from her hip-satchel, she withdrew a blown-glass bottle, vaguely in the shape of a thin fish. Inside, flat red wine sloshed like blood. She thumbed the cork out from its mouth and drank. She swiped across her mouth with her sleeve. "You seem entirely unable to understand," Gloria said, never having met a pair of eyes from which she was willing to pull her own. "You are an unknown entity here. Whether or not you wish to acknowledge it, Gahald, here are the truths, and you may ask any soul in this town to corroborate them:

"You wear a face which once belonged to a boy many people here knew, and whether or not they liked him, he was one of theirs. You know this.

"You stood beside a woman whose — whose sole purposes was to rewrite and recreate the lives of men and women against their wills. You know this.

"I cannot guarantee that anyone else will receive you as warmly as — as I already have. And while I can offer my apologies in advance for how this town may treat you, I would not blame them for their fear or their wariness. You are — are an emblem of cruelties, dangers, and deaths. You know this."

She offered him the wine. It was cheap wine. It stank of brine and wood. But it was what she had. The softness Gloria Wynsee had previously demonstrated seemed to fade away. She stood, now, with a brawler's poise: shoulders forward, one foot forward, the other stationed behind her.

"As the interim High Inquisitor, it is my place to — to investigate matters of concern inside and outside of our town. You are a matter of concern. Snowstill is a symbol of past tragedies, as are you, Gahald. To allow you to embark on — on this reconstruction without Council approval or any greater forethought would be of great irresponsibility on my part. I am inviting you to be one with this town in a way that can be monitored and overseen, and thus, trusted.

"I want this place to help you heal, but cannot risk its inflammation in response. This is not a stance I take to be unkind—" she reasoned, '—but because it is one I must take."
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Re: From Whence We Came

Postby Glenn » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:55 am

With some reluctance, he accepted the wine. He stared down at it, sniffed it with some real training, almost laughed in disgust before shaking his head. "There was always a tense," he paused further, looking for the words, as if tense had been hard enough, "truce, between my order and spirits. The Lady Olwak was all for it, of course, but it, like everything else, was to be of quality and surrounded by quality, though she rarely used that actual word." That interested him, and it was tempting, almost intoxicating (and far more than the wine) to further delve into his matron's philosophies and the reasons behind them. Instead, sniffed again and allowed the slightest of wetness to fall across his lips. "Ser Malaroth wore, that is, he wore the weight of his grief, ok? Something had to keep him going and honor only took him so far. Now, Ser Gahald, and though I think you won't believe it," and somewhere along the line here, had he not become rather chatty? Perhaps she had passed some test now that she was not berating him, even if she was challenging him in her own, torturous way (torturing him in her challenging way?), "I am more open to the idea that there was never a Ser Gahald than other things, like me not being at the Battle of Snowstill, well, he was flawless and chaste, wasn't he?" His lip twitched ever so slightly, creating the illusion that it was leaning towards the nearby bottle.

She would then act within her role, making things official which were hardly even casual before. "Of the things I know, or claim to know, they are less than you," here, finally, he would sip of it, and it was a dainty enough thing, really, poised, practiced, a gentleman's sip of a scoundrel's drink, "than you would claim for me."

He reached out then, even as she stood somehow uncoiled, as if the whole of her had been unleashed upon him, not through slow and steady sophistry and slow-falling spirals, dusty grey webs of tangled logic, but instead as a bare, frank thing, a primal scream that would rouse no sleeping babes, but that would be heard by every adult in radius. He reached out but only to hand the bottle back. "That, Miss Wynsee, seems a wise official action. I shall not contest it."
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