Chapter III:37

Always it seems we come back to this,
a moment of loss, in an avoided kiss,
always rehash the moves unmade,
the fatal flaw in the roles we played,

always these things come back to mind,
as it all crumbles, and we run out of time,
always I wonder what might have been,
had I not stepped away, from you my friend.

– unattributed, circa 210 E.R.

Traitor’s Sorrow

Laeur 18th, 655 E.R.

“Hey goldie,” said a man outside a jail cell, banging on the bars with his boot. “You’ve got friends, come to vouch for you, and put down money for your release.”

Liora just laid there, an arm over her eyes.

The jailer banged on the bars a few more times.

“I don’t have friends, so I’ll stay right where I am, thank you.”

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Commentary III:36

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Sometimes Trite Just Happens

Life and death seem to be the subject of the chapter. I didn’t really mean to line up a rather unpleasant death in the same chapter as a birth, but this is where things aligned. Both events that have been stumbled around the coming of for longer than I intended, and yet at once earlier than I might have once intended.

Kiannae back safe, and signs still ignored. Adria has just put together the rest of one picture. Conversely another Adria is mentioned by title, not name at the end to avoid confusion, though if anyone lost track they could think it was Renae, who has run off with an Elder King on a honeymoon tour, that probably has wrapped up by now, but maybe not, as they figure out where best a former matron and king can best take up residence. I may regret this naming choice yet.

I’ll admit I had various ideas of how the time loss was working, but I’ve wound up somewhere that I think works well that was partly unexpected, though I will leave the actual speculation to the text for now.

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Chapter III:36

Oh what winds we’ve sown to bitter ends,
Oh what storms we’ve reaped my friends,
Oh for all the fortunes we might’ve gained,
Oh was it worth it, this withering reing?

– Heirs of Ruin, 34 E.R.

The Sown Winds

Laeur 18th, 655 E.R.

“A little girl?” Katrisha demanded incredulously.

“Of all the things to get disbelieving over?” Kiannae countered irritably. “Strange things, growing in the dark, shadowy apparitions that might be either, or neither of us. Then another turns into…this.” She nodded down. “The fact they took Zale in there, and I can’t do a cursed thing about it. All because one of us – of all things you say it was Wren – made that insufferable maze. Of course he did, and the little girl, that looks like him, this is what’s too far? We know he wasn’t always a he. We know mother has touched this power, and she is in him.”

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Commentary III:35

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A Road Narrow and Winding

Much is said of the straight and narrow, but far less of the challenge of the narrow and winding. It wasn’t an intentional metaphor but I find unintended ones that fit well often fall out of my writing. From the twisting of “The Path” to variations on euphemism of “purpose.” Our heroes are trying to find a moral path through an immoral world. Their lives an unending maze of twisting paths all alike. Their only real control their own choices, even if the decision is to take choice from another, still rests in their hands.

We open on Wren on his back in the snow. Etore has lived up to her promises, but most specifically to teach him to stay down, or to never stay down. This is more or less how she was taught, first by an abusive father figure, then by a mentor. Her path has not been kind, and even she wonders how much she is taking out on Wren, and how much she is teaching him a lesson he needs to understand.

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Chapter III:35

For every lock there is opening to fasten shut,
for every hiding place a thing great or terrible,
the grander the guard the greater the value,
of keeping a thing where it so securely be,

beware the palace and the dungeon below,
high walls and deep halls, prisons for kings,
beware the buried chest midst forest greens,
where wisp has led you be dangerous things.

– The Locksmith’s Warning, circa 20 B.E.

A Twisted Path

Laeure 7th, 656 E.R.

Wren lay on his back staring up at a gray winter sky, heavy flakes falling all around. Etore was circling, snow crunching under boot. Snow had barely cushioned his fall, and done far more to contribute to it. Cold, wet, and uncomfortable his aching head and back still made him not want to move. Taking stock as a healer was a thin excuse to lay there a moment, even if he wasn’t quite buying it himself.

A slight weight on his chest was strange, a feeling half there, like a shadow of a memory. Like one of his mother’s, a past that wasn’t his intruding on a present that was. It wasn’t hers though, he was oddly sure of that, nor was it long ago or far away. The pacing footsteps stopped, and a red-headed Osyraen looked down over him. For just a moment he saw the wrong one. Long thick coils of a bright crimson stood out even in the cold light, and not the dark well tended bun he expected.

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Commentary III:34

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The Eye is not Always Calm

I’ll admit there are a few things I’m not fully happy with in this chapter, but the day to day crisis to crisis needed to end. We’ve reached a stalemate, or even a checkmate but it takes time for things to come to fruition. So time moves on…mostly.

Adria’s a real card. *cough* Sorry. She continues to be cryptic about what she knows, though she does admit not so much as she pretends. The cards remain an all but impossible thing not to bring up around her, but she is learning to be more reserved in the company she is keeping. I do rather like her closing line from the opening segment.

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Chapter III:34

None can know the very hour or the day,
when all we have known shall pass away,
none can know what brings the storm,
a darkness carries light to a world torn,
none can stand where all things fall,
nor resist to move towards its call,
tis the end where all visions converge,
and a warning too few have heard.

– The Black Book, circa 10 E.R.

Beyond the Eye

One expects a great many things the day after a god is reborn. The snow to melt, and everyone to go on like nothing happened, should be much higher on that list. It was a day, almost like every other day. No more than a thread that tore long before the whole unraveled. Maybe some heard that first snap, or felt something and checked, only to find little of note. Most didn’t notice a thing. Breakfasts were ordered and eaten, shops opened, and meetings called to committee.

It was a day that started with an angry, tall woman glaring down at a seer on a couch. The woman nervously shuffled her cards, unsure what she could have done differently. The shield and the sun still wanted to be drawn. The cards hadn’t changed, but their directions and meaning were much less certain. Between them stood The Child, and Adria could see it all in her mind. Below them The Storm, to the right hand The Dog, still reversed, and to the left The Chamberlain. The Moon or the Queen could stand as the key, each in her noblest face.

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