Regarding Histories and Truth

Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Rance » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:46 am

To the Floating Dragon, a missive on bland parchment, words written by a hand unfamiliar to a quill:

Burn,

The LADY EGRESS and I will be ta kking mid-day's dinner at th e Broken Dag ger and rekrec reccuest your presents as soon as you are able, we shoult like to talk about one ALKARRA and to con firm with you things witch we have been shewn,

I trust y ou as the danser's protector.

yours,

Glour'eya Wynsee

A table in the corner had been taken earlier in the day. Farmers and soldiers had come and gone throughout the early afternoon, but a young, broad-bodied woman in a ragged dress and tattered mantle sat silently in the midst of the bustle, rarely moving. A folio lay open on the table before her where, with a knob of coal clutched in her mutilated grip, she sketched bloated faces and fat circles. Each bore two uneven eyes, a poorly-drawn nose, and a gummy hole of a mouth. She gave some of the sloppy portraits black, wiry hair like hers. At the top of the page, smeared by her trembling palm, the word S'OETSE glared at her from behind a furious crossout.

Fanciful distraction.

To the noblewoman who sat across the table from her, Gloria said, "Bern is Bern. I know little about her, but I trust her to be punctual if -- if it concerns the dancer."

Coal touched her lip. She chewed its edge with broken teeth, wary of the gap where an incisor had gone missing long ago. Tiny shards of coal speckled her chin.

"Castor and Michta, though? I don't trust them at all."
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Kestrel » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:25 am

The Lady left Smith in her office to mobilize her men. Besides, she had terrible visions of the man and Bern talking shop while she and Gloria sat quietly, uncomfortable and wishing they were elsewhere.

Instead, she sat awkwardly while Gloria Wynsee sketched her missing child. Her eyes begged the staff to help her, but they elected to pass her glasses of wine from time to time instead.

Egris glanced at the girl from over the rim of her glass. She set down her glass and nodded briefly. "I find Bern trustworthy, but we know her just as well as we know them," she cautioned. "We find ourselves at a distinct disadvantage."

She drummed her fingers on the scarred wood of the table and cast her eyes over the room in brooding manner. "The Bloodletters are dangerous, Gloria. And if your friend is involved with them, she is too."
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Rance » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:12 am

"You're dangerous. I'm dangerous."

Displeasure blossomed on her saucer of a face. She violently scratched a series of lines through her most recent sketch. She angled the leather-bound folio toward the table's unreliable candlelight and surveyed her creation.

"Just because they showed us visions does not mean they're truthful, Lady Egris. I trust my eyes, not theirs. If Jig's past has -- has a horrible shadow in it, then we ought to be as willing to hear her interpretation of the tale." With a bottom lip pinned underneath her fragile teeth, she started a new drawing, her bent knee an easel for the volume in which she drew. She spoke into the paper, her mass of knotted hair hanging like a curtain around her shoulders and face.

Only occasionally did she pause, letting the sliver of coal roll down between belly and paper while she lifted her tin mug of tea and drank. Often, she did this only as Egris partook of her wine.

"She's good," the girl said, perhaps prematurely. "She -- she dances like a dream. Michta and Castor can seek out whatever justice they want. My friend is my friend. Whatever shadows follow her around aren't worth my judgment or criticism. I've performed foul deeds. We all have. You wouldn't give me back to Jernoah, would you? If they came seeking me," Gloria presumed. "So Michta and Castor, they've no influence over Jig's future."

Another drawing; another dissatisfied grimace.

"People oughtn't be taken away from those who cherish them, Lady Egris."
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Kestrel » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:55 am

"We are dangerous to some, perhaps. I would like to think that we have the best intentions in mind to help the vast majority of our people. If we start debating the judgement of good and evil, we will be here for the entirety of our lifetimes and not get a thing done, Gloria," she offered, gently.

"You are wrong if you think that I have made up my mind. I merely want more information to better make my decision. If your dancer friend is working with these Bloodletters, a group that has attempted to claim my life, I will seek justice. They wish to take Myrken for their own. If she has been detained against her will, I will seek mercy, whatever the envoys' requests. Even if they are being honest with us, they will have to understand, should it come to that."

Egris sighed, at the seamstress' final word. "Ah, but they so often are."

They waited.
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Glenn » Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:04 am

Time passed. Minutes. To be fair it wasn't longer than minutes. "I got lost." The former governor would say as he entered. "I couldn't remember if it was down this street or..." His voice faded off. He walked on towards the noblewoman and attempted to sneak in a kiss at her cheek, but it was like besieging an impenetrable fortress and he couldn't find the correct angle of entry. He instead threw up his arms and retreated back a few steps.

There was likely someone there to serve them especially considering just who Egris was. He didn't seem to care. In truth, he didn't get out much anymore. Egris had done a fine job of alienating him, or at least encouraging his alienation, from the rest of the human race.

He'd look back, though his steps didn't halt; they just slowed considerably. He could talk without breathing, some said, but talking and walking and not breathing and not looking was endlessly harder. "Do either of you need anything. I'm thinking ale for myself. It's been years since I had it. It's a fine drink for the young and the stupid. All the complexity of a heavy stone in your belly. We spent all of our time sipping at Derry Red as if what we use to get ourselves drunk will help define our civility. Anything to grasp on to, don't you agree, Egris, my dear?" It was much safer to say that outside the reach of her hands.
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Rance » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:30 am

Glenn Burnie's unexpected arrival was met with a stare diligently cold and unimpressed.

Promptly, her one hand sought to close the folio in which she drew, wedging the nub of coal in its sinew-bound spine. Meanwhile, her own spine stiffened, and she found relief in the tin mug still steaming on the table at her elbow. One sip. Two sips. Each one scalded, burnt her tongue, left it tingling and numb. For the moment, the girl preferred to note Egris's response; theirs was a game of propriety, a noblewoman and a commoner complicit in business despite their otherwise amenable friendship, it was necessary to observe the niceties--

"As long as we're just. Their threats on you ought to be answered with appropriate force, but I don't think Jig should suffer by association unless she was in compliance with -- with their attempts. Bern will know," she added. And then, between the cork-colored angles of her teeth, she grunted: "Hello, Glenn."

His offer of a drink was met with a turn in the hard shape of her chin. She had her tea. She glanced over the beaten tin of the rim as he sought a kiss from the Kestrel.

"You," she told the former governor, "should take lessons in politeness from Henderson. Throwing your lips at -- at a woman without her consent is a fine way to get them cut off."

A beat. She gnawed on the wax-dipped string of her bonnet, its edge little more than a wild, gnarled fray.

"What are you doing here?"
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Kestrel » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:10 am

Glenn's arrival made the Lady narrow her eyes in annoyance, not bothering to hide that from the man. He might be making a tick-mark in his column as a result, but she didn't mind - honest emotion was always a sort of currency with them. "Well, you weren't invited," she remarked, sitting ramrod straight until he gave up on gracing her cheek with a brush of his lips.

She noted that the seamstress tucked away her drawings and her heart softened just a little. The trust that Gloria had for her was obvious, even if it simply was more than Glenn had earned. "Gloria," she offered, reaching out in an attempt to catch her arm gently. "We will be just," she promised. There was a smile and the woman's eyes danced over her chide about Glenn's lips, but she said nothing in response on the subject. Best to pretend it did not happen.

As always, when the Lady and the former Governor were in the same room, all eyes were upon them. They noted the chill between the two with interest and whispers.

"Glenn, go fetch yourself whatever you like. Then, come back and tell us exactly why you are here," she demanded, quietly.
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Glenn » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:57 am

Best to pretend that Burnie himself didn't happen, at least in the last few years. It had been a marvelous stumble upwards, away from sanity and into the Governor's chair and then through force and programs and near-pogroms (words that were ever so similar when you looked at them), he almost made this place better in the most terrible of ways. Now, here he was, having climbed back up in all the important ways that no one ever got to see, save, of course for Egris, who didn't have the proper history to fully appreciate it. He had fallen in much more visible ways, power. What worth sanity in the face of that one might wonder?

Did Gloria? Upon her arrive, she had wondered about the title, about the mantle. She was likely well past the point of wondering about either that or the man who once held it.

He would return, then, with an ale, looking almost uncomfortable in the carrying of it, as if he had forgotten how to do something so simple and common. His clothes fit, because he, over the span of a year and more, recovered physically enough to fill them once again. For Egris' glare he had a smile. His ire always ran much more passive aggressive with her, as if her grasping his throat was some sort of victory. Any attention was good attention, then? Or maybe it was just breaking that control of hers, no matter how. Any emotion was good emotion. That had to be it.

"I have my ways." Pestering, mainly. In truth, he was kept on a rather long leash and, truly, was allowed for certain freedoms, specifically because he hadn't yet misused them. He didn't have free rein of her house but he had controlled rein of it, quite often. It was strange, perhaps, that he chose to snoop around about this particular meeting when there were so many more important political ones to interfere in, but then that was Burnie. "I had actually hoped to beat one of you here and then I could indicate, conspiratorially that the other had invited me. I had a plan in mind, but somewhere in the last year, they've moved this establishment obviously." They hadn't done anything of the sort.

Still, he smiled, and he said it all with such calm, easy aplomb. "Either this is a pleasure visit between the two of you, of which that exact nomenclature would be entirely suspect, might i add, or you're discussing business at hand, of which it could be one of two things: either Gloria has decided to serve in the Council, perhaps as a barely literal counterweight to Augustus' overconsuming," the words just rolled off his tongue without thought. It was either a gift or a curse. "Or our bloodletting friends, and the Alcara who's 'with them once again,' or so I've heard. From them." He'd heard other things as well, like Wynsee's stake in all of this. "Being the one who's spoken with them without steel and blood coagulating up the mix." Then, as if in apology to Gloria, he added. "She's had me Inquising," as if it was somehow lewd or naughty.
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby CherryStatic » Thu Jan 08, 2015 4:46 am

Doing her best not to interrupt, a barmaid slipped between the tables towards them, carrying a tray of tankards overhead and ignoring the catcalls thrown her way. She smacked away a hand that crept towards her behind, determined to reach her destination with as little ale spilled and as little groping suffered as possible.

She smiled cheerfully at the Lady Warden and the former governor as she pulled out a folded piece of parchment sealed with red wax, a distinct teardrop shape pressed into its soft center. She set it on the table, an inch from Gloria's remaining hand. She leaned down, her ample cleavage threatening to fall out of her uniform if she so much as sneezed, and spoke in a low voice intended for the seamstress but clearly audible to the others present.

"Letter came for you about five minutes ago, Gloria, love. I would have brought it to you right away, but we're just so busy this afternoon." She gestured broadly with a wave of her hand, illustrating her astonishment. "Seems like everyone in Myrken and their mother came out to have a drink. Haven't seen this much business in a minute. S'pose I shouldn't complain, not when Dulcie might hear me."

She seemed to remember something else, and reached into her apron, retrieving a tiny burlap pouch the size of a clenched fist. "Almost forgot, this came with the letter. I have to say, the courier was oddly dressed. Never seen a uniform quite like that, but I figured maybe he was working for someone all important like. Handsome lad, too. I wouldn't mind if he delivered my letters from now on." She fanned her face absently with the hand that wasn't holding the tray, then seemed to remember that two of Myrken's most important officials were at the table. "You let me know if you'd like some drinks, miss Lady Warden. All of you. They're on the house."

Her mission complete, she turned and waded back through the sea of raucous laughter and mild profanity from whence she had come, smacking a man upside of his head when asked which of her 'specials' were on the menu after hours.

The letter, once opened, revealed a slanted, curvaceous script that was, very oddly, like lust given shape on paper. A sweet smell, the scent of roses, wafted daintily from the parchment. It read:

Dearest Miss Wynsee,

We were truly enchanted to receive your letter this morning. I am sitting across from Miss Clydell as I write this, and I regret to inform you that she must politely decline your invitation to dine with yourself and the Lady Warden this afternoon. She offers her most sincere apologies, as do I, for she will be unavailable in the foreseeable future. She is operating under a new contract, and she has quite a bit of incentive to comply with our wishes. She is perfectly safe, and will remain so, unless someone were to raise their blade against her. As the Bloodletters do not rely on blades to get what we want, I highly doubt we would be the guilty party in such an event.

We have a proposition of sorts, born from the benevolence of our hearts, one that will not affect our dealings in Myrken one way or another. A certain individual, a half-elf by the name of Michta Vess, along with his companion and their entourage, have recently arrived in town. I will terminate Miss Clydell's contract with the Bloodletters in exchange for the seer. His associates are of no importance to us.

My dear Lady Warden, should you happen to read this letter, know that I am truly taken with Myrken. It is a lovely town, and it will make a wonderful home for our family.

Ever close,
Crucia Douleur, Chief Inquisitor and Mistress of the Bloodletters

Also, before I forget, Alcara sends her love, and a small gift.


The pouch, once opened, revealed two things.

The first, a smaller piece of parchment, scentless, creased neatly in half. Unfolded, it read, in simple script:

Scarlet, please stay out of this. I don't want you to get hurt because of me. -Alcara, the Vixen-

The second was a baked potato, still warm to the touch.
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Rance » Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:26 pm

When the well-endowed barmaid interrupted the tenuous conversation to deliver the nondescript letter, Gloria's smile was both relieved and surprised. A letter? For her? Even as she considered the missive and the pad of her fingertip drummed on the dollop of wax, she didn't stop staring at the woman's chest. Somehow, orphans still wanted for sustenance in Myrken Wood! "For me? At'chemso," she said. "You oughn't keep the patrons -- or their eyes -- long-waiting."

She set aside the lumpy pouch. She thought to leave Glenn and Egris to their discussions, their swordfights-without-steel. Burnie could chew all he wanted at the Lady Kestrel's skin, at her authority; the man hadn't much else anymore, and watching him scramble for any desperate bud of power to cultivate was an amusement. "No," Gloria corrected as she popped the wax seal with a blunted fingernail. "You weren't Inquising. You were investing independently. Don't confuse the two. Unfortunately, when you refused to meet with me those weeks ago, you turned down any opportunity to Inquise as -- as an extension of the Inquisitory. Besides, I..." Her words faded like vapors in a breeze as the parchment captured her attention.

The faint redness bled out of her cheeks. A stiff finger ran underneath the words, trying to understand, clarify--

Quickly, as though unhanding a volatile strip of fabric or a plague-blanket, she pushed the letter toward Egris. The girl's pupils had turned to wide, black pits. A broken tooth crushed her bottom lip. "Here," was all she said, all she could say. The second letter, the smaller one, lay open in front of her, the still-warm potato weighing down its corner. Alcara isn't her name, flitted a foolish child's-thought inside her brain. Her name is Jig. Her name's Jig, that's her name.

Her four remaining fingers clamped around the potato, covering its rooty eyespots with her palm.

"Because your words clearly helped so very much," she muttered to Glenn.
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Kestrel » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:48 am

Glenn awkwardly made his way back to the table to join the two women. The weight of The Lady Warden's glare was like a knife against his back until he turned. Then, knowing his lust for attention, it flickered away to the former seamstress. "Neither would have believed the other felt you important enough to include," she revealed, without restraint for his feelings. "You are useful at times. Far fewer times than you suspect, however." The mood between the two had chilled, but it was telling how often they filled the others' gaze. Like everyone else ceased to exist. Denial, perhaps.

Their dance, their spar remained as intricate as ever.

The barmaid approached and the Lady's smile turned polite and friendly, with just a hint of vacancy that the others (those who knew her) might catch. "Thank you. You are kind," the Lady offered to the woman, pressing a hefty tip across the table to her.

She was distracted when Gloria offered her the letter, casting a glance at the strange message the other had received in the form of a steamed potato.

Despite her misgivings, Egris did slant the letter so that Glenn might gaze upon its contents as well. Her eyes narrowed with restrained anger and her smile turned cold. "We must inform Michta and Castor. We will not negotiate with this filth that has taken residence in my town. We will get Bern back," she vowed, chair scraping as she rose.

She cast a wary glance over towards Glenn. "I assume you will insist on providing us with your ... company?"
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Glenn » Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:04 am

"I offered you what I had to offer. You turned it down. Completely different. Rarely do we get all that we want." Yet, even as he spoke to Gloria in response to what she said, he looked at Kestrel. "I'm not important and I'm less useful than I used to be. But, inversely, when I..." Then the message, as it was, arrived and he looked more perturbed that he didn't get to play whatever card he was going to slap down next with her yet, as opposed to anything else.

Were one to pay attention, the little things might be remarkable, the looks, the pointed words, the way she let him gaze at the letter before he craned himself halfway over her shoulder to do just that. They responded to one each other physically, a push and pull. There was an unnatural amount of familiarity there, but it wasn't the sort of balance and moving in unison that Gloria might have seen when Glenn and Rhaena together. This was a response, a thousand responses one after the next.

And then, at the end of it, after Egris read, after her statement, he was smiling at them, though as if he didn't know it. It had been a slow creeping thing. He smiled at Gloria's paleness, at her harsh words and he smiled at Egris, her anger and determination. "I imagine so. You'll have my company, my sword, and my tongue." It was overly dramatic language, though for which woman's sake it was hard to say. It would mean different things for different people. Apparently, he was bringing his mug too since he made no attempts to relinquish it.
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Rance » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:44 am

They stood. She stood, clutching the scalding potato as if it were a talisman.

...please stay out of this, Alcara's letter had begged.

"No," she uttered, a simple word meant for no one else.

Glenn, as always, was so cool and unflappable. His easy bravado turned the pit of her stomach into a roiling waste. His blindness was palpable, his indiscretion a child's, his sheer determination to be contrary a boil. Gloria Wynsee couldn't trace back far enough in her own memory to remember when Glenn had become an annoyance, a frustration, but it's all she could remember of him now -- that he nettled, pried, and clung to the inner walls of her nose like a foul stable-odor.

"You offered what you had to offer," she repeated from the table, before stepping around it. She'd always been a tall young woman, a treestump, a brute, but losing her hand had brought her the illusion of additional height. At Glenn's side, she paused to lean forward, driving her sternum against his elbow so she could crane her neck and whisper up into his ear. "But you offered me a riddle, a waste of my time when -- when life had far more pressing demands. Playing your bull's shit little games, following your maps, bending to your requests as you ignored mine? Those are a servant's actions, and I'm not your servant. I'm not your toy. I'm not your subject. Where is Genny Tolleson now, in this moment, to do the bidding of your will? Where's Agnieszka, that paltry crumb of a woman?

"Perhaps they've learned how it breaks them, to be so loyal to you. Perhaps they've learned how little they matter when -- when smothered by your shadow. Egris won't be so pliable, and neither will I."

Past him, then, leaving the sour words behind her. At the door of the Broken Dagger, she lifted her eyes to Egris--

"I'd like to accompany you if you'll have me; I cannot merely sit and wait, I cannot abide being patient."
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Kestrel » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:01 pm

Glenn smiled at them like an idiot and Egris' eyes showed her annoyance with his expression. When he offered his tongue and sword along with his company, her eyes rolled with childish ire. "Can you leave your tongue behind?," she drawled, "We could use a little less conversation from you, if we are being honest with one another." There was a hint of remembered playful banter before she blinked. Her lips slanted downward at herself and she busied herself with anything but him.

Gloria slipped up behind him with her lapsed attention. She hissed her harsh truths into his ear. She sought to tear down the man with well-said barbs. The Lady gave no thought to the validity of the offered statements. It was not her war to wage.

Egris' delicate hands lifted to fasten the metal buttons at her throat, upon her collar. She had allowed the rigidity of her uniform to relax with the familiarity of her company, but now was the time to make a good impression. She smoothed a hand over her hair in effort to tuck away any stray strands. She politely ignored the interaction in front of her. Eventually, Gloria made her way towards the door and the Lady could stop pretending that she was not listening in.

She finally turned towards the former Governor and spread her arms out in question; silent request to give her any input on her appearance. "Michta and Castor hail from Mixalydia. The Bloodletters murdered their King and fled here. These two came to help us as penance," she explained, in quick summary. Perhaps he already knew the details of the affair, with his spies; she did not care to ask.

She nodded her acceptance to Gloria, before attempting to take Glenn's arm. Whatever their issues with one another, there were appearances. Theirs was a fairytale love story for the women in town to coo over. "To the Floating Dragon."
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Re: Regarding Histories and Truth

Postby Glenn » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:26 am

Egris, despite her status, was one of the men, as it was. She was used to travelling with soldiers and, at times, used to their own unique brand of humor, the sort that sometimes slipped down along /the refuse. Burnie had a few choice words for her that he held back (restraint was a rare trait; it was truly more discretion that had been beaten into him, sometimes literally. There was a time and a place for everything and this was simply not it). "Frankly, I think you need my tongue more than my sword," was what he compromised upon. He did it so deadpan and obliviously that if heads turned, they would be wildly disappointed.

As for needs, well, Egris would have an inkling of another. Gloria meant to tear him down and it seemed he responded in kind, but the harsh and hard woman had seen the way the once-Mapmaker operated, and she was not blind to the way he danced around her, and, of course, how obtuse Gloria Wynsee could be. One could be teared down by well-said barbs and one could be built up by much the same, inspired and roused, even by such tortured reactions as spite and resentment. It was a very Myrken thing indeed. She'd so rarely gotten to see him interact with anyone other than her. Did it make her feel less special or more so? "You really are two beautiful women. It'll be a pleasure to accompany you." Certainly not the input either might have expected, for two women who couldn't be more different, and once again, said without any obvious guile or teasing, more that idiot smile than anything else.

He'd link arms with Egris and draw her a little closer than expected upon his sword side so it pressed against her just a bit. She'd sparred with him and even though he still missed half a step from what he was, It was obviously meant to be a reassuring gesture...

... or an infuriating one.
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