Postby Glenn » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:47 am

It was a drop in the water, no more no less. Less effort than one might think was taken in the delivering. Money was fronted to people who valued it the most. It was not much, not really, but it was still more than a normal delivery might garner. Was there risk? Some. One did not spit in the wind. One did not rile Catch lightly. Clinking coins were, ultimately, not light in one's pouch. So it was that the letter was delivered by a daring urchin. She dared to deliver it, a brazen projectile tossed vaguely at the man's chest. She did not dare to stay after that. Were he to read it, were he to have someone read it to him, were he not to ever know the words within, this is what it would say:


I've lost track of the time. You never had it to begin with. It took effort on my part. I'm not sure exactly how long it's been. I miss you. I imagine you miss me too. You miss the me you first met, before I was dragged down into the pits. You miss the me who was lost and who would damn the world to find you. You miss the me who was pulling himself back when it was far too late. You miss them all, the familiarity, the care, the dull ringing in your head when you got too close to well-intended falsehoods or when I got too close to the truth.

There are two sides to every story. That's a saying, at least. I'm not sure it's accurate enough. I think it's more like this: there are always two stories. I rather like yours. In it, you're the hero, vanquishing me from Myrken once and for all, cutting those final strings, not with words or magical power or an army. No, just with one punch. One punch in front of a crowd. One punch to quiet an endlessly jabbering mouth. Isn't that the way of it? You've been around longer than me, Catch. You've been myth itself, swam in it, when I'm little more than lowly human. They could sing of it: that lone heroic punch. That is one story.

Would you like to know mine? We must be a few years down the road now, right? It's that long. For old time's sake? It's not very complicated. I know, better than anyone, what happens if you get out of hand, if that ringing becomes a screaming, if that screaming opens the oldest of wounds. There are two extremes with you, the sickening worship, a drowning in sugar and gold, a debasing where we would give up everything that made us human to bathe in your Glory, one where we get everything we want at the expense of all that we are. That is one. The other is a tearing, a ripping, the ultimate lack of satisfaction, whereas the hollowness you would let us see in ourselves would be unbearable. We would tear at you until fire poured from your very pores (excuse the terrible turn). We would be engulfed. Perhaps it is a bad description for the one might logically lead to the other, but it could go the other way as well. You need not be used to build it up so that it could be torn down. You could tear it all down so it might be built up. That, I think would be even more horrific. Would it be unprecedented?

She understood better than anyone the horror of healing, of the body being changed, manipulated, transmogrified. I would put it differently than Her though. Every one of your gifts defies civility. That's the point to the stories, Catch. It's not just that you are drawn to purity. It is that no one that is not pure can truly handle what you offer. It's not a lure. It's a warning. Perhaps that's why I did as well as I did. There was a purity to me, especially when things were the very worst. It was only when I was conflicted that you could affect me. (I think of an exception to this, but I wonder if it might be that I was pure in that moment, but Rhaena was not? It hurts to dwell.)

A tangent, a long one. My apologies. My story. I stood at the precipice, everything falling around me. I had lost it all. I came out one last time to speak. I came out one last time and put my face in the way of your fist, and with that offering, Myrken was not engulfed yet again. One last time I bore the brunt of the temptation and the fire so that the people I cared about, the place that was my home, was not harmed. It's a good story. Your story is good too, of course. I wonder if you might be more apt to tell my story and I might be more apt to tell yours? I think not. I am me and you hide within you. In a moment of clarity, you might tell my story as I laid it out, but I think you would use that moment to tell a far sadder story indeed.

I wish I had valued those moments more. I thought myself clever enough to have the capital to buy an infinite amount of them. I wish I valued the quiet moments more as well. Those were the ones I didn't know how to appreciate at all, despite my claims that they were what I was fighting for.

If you have regrets, I hope they are about her. So many of mine are.

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Re: Harm

Postby catch » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:48 am

I haven't lost time. I have too many times - or too much times. I don't know how to say it so that it can be written down. I closed my eyes and there are towers and carriage-dragons in a black-milk sky, full of stars. But sometimes I see dusty books and I look at my hands and they're small, even though I know Myrken. It's not a dream. It's a time.

You're wrong. You're always wrong. But that's okay. I don't think even I can be right about myself.

When I was here myself I liked stories, and you told me stories, and they are good to hear. You could almost think that stories were real, that you should try to be those stories. Like the unicorn and the Fat Man. But I know that you can't. You never can be a story. Maybe someone would write you down, and then after - when it's a long time - people will read it and it will be a story. But that's what it is, just a story. It's not real anymore. You and me and a crowd, a punch, none of those are real.

I'm sorry I punched you. I don't remember it, but if you say it happened then it must have. I don't like being hit. I do remember you told the Black Man to hit me.

I just want to be here. I just want... I don't know. I want to watch the water-dragons. I want to watch the people in the town. I want them to be happy and have food and to never be cross. I can't do anything about any of that. You-Know tried. You tried. It's a story, now. I know my story, what would happen if I try. I can do it with the water-dragons, because they're simple. People aren't simple. I think I remember that. They just look simple, like rats in a rosebush, but then they turn the roses to gold. You can't smell gold.

I'm sorry. I'm trying very hard.

Maybe I made you - made Her - want to turn the roses into gold. When I think about it, I'm afraid that's what I did. I'm afraid that's might be a regret. Is it? She's tried to explain a regret to me but I'm afraid we've gotten no-where. It makes me sad. I know you'll say it wasn't me because you value maps and I'm certain you've mapped your mind. But you didn't know what you were doing then, either.

When I think about time, I think a lot of ruined things and people who were better when they were not gold.

Maybe I didn't know. What would happen if I did?

The handwriting was unfashionably tall and narrow, like tiny church fl├Ęches. Owing to left-handedness, the letters leaned like a row of reeds in the wind, and there was a hesitation to their composition--a blotch of ink where the nib had lingered too long waiting to be told what to write, an out-of-place and oversized gap between sentences, a word begun, struck out, rewritten.

And at the bottom, a short note in the same narrow hand but blacker, tighter, and with no such uncertainty:

As you may imagine, this reply took some time for Him to compose. If there need be future missives, I am at your service. Discretion will be maintained. Reach me at the Dagger.

- Victoria
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Re: Harm

Postby Glenn » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:55 am

The letter that was returned would be hastily (though as always skillfully written and addressed to Victoria, not to Catch. There were, in fact, two separate missives.

For him:


In short,

The second thing that I wish to say is this: I can see why you would not understand the concept of closure.

The first thing that I wish to say is this: I understand now, actually. It might have been useful a few years ago. You see now and then simultaneously. You have difficulty differentiating in your mind because you experience all at once constantly. The logical progression here would be to ask you if you see tomorrow as you see today and yesterday. Do us both some mercy and refuse to answer that.

Instead, heed this. The hardest thing for a god to do is nothing.

It is also the correct thing to do. Think of the differences between us and your so-called water dragons. Think of our complexity, our imagination, the way we come up with wonderful ideas that you wouldn't ever dream, how we delight you. The temptation is there to make us forever gold so that you would preserve those things forever. It's a reasonable temptation. We die. You do not. You're an endless circle travelling a straight line. You're experiencing--- No, simple. Simple and bold.

To make us forever would be to lose everything you treasure in us.

Enjoy us while you can. There will always be others so long as you do not try to keep what you have now.

Maybe you wanted it so badly that you made her want it too. Maybe that way you could have the endless order without doing it yourself. It's our chaotic hearts that you love the most though. If you trap the flickering flame in a bottle, it goes out. I know that more than anyone. If I find some way to make it do otherwise, you'll be the first I tell. If you did that to her on purpose but not on purpose, I forgive you.

Goodbye, Catch.


To her:

Discretion. Belief. Perfection.

As he said, the road is a circle. How many times have others tread it? It is littered with the bones of the well-meaning and the gilded remnants of the avaricious.

Those who don't learn what's come before will fall to ignorance, the old mistakes. Those who do will fall to hubris, new ones that are far worse.

Putting yourself at my service is the former. Putting yourself at his is the latter.

Hers was not signed.
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