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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > All that noise, and all that sound
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 01:09 AM
Shane knocked on the Captain's cabin door, and though he tapped only gingerly, the sound was loud and hollow. He shifted, vaguely uncomfortable on the boat--the rocking sensation was bizarre, and lanterns flickered in the dark...too much fire, too close. Shane infinitely preferred having his feet anchored to solid earth, and quiet solitude of.... well, no matter now. He knocked again. "Captain?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 01:17 AM
"I'm trying to find i--" Marcello started, at the first knock, and then frowned when the voice wasn't Niabheara's. "Ah. She's not here," he answered politely. "The Countess is using the cabin."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 01:22 AM
"My apologies, sir," Shane blinked down at the man in the doorway, mildly surprised. He looked oddly familiar... well. If Judith wasn't in, he might as well take advantage of the opportunity. "Is she taking guests? If so, I'd rather like to speak with her."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 01:25 AM
Marcello raised both eyebrows. "Tree-man!" he exclaimed, smiling, and thrust a hand out. "No, she's just out on the deck; she sent me back to look for something. We met. I was a woman. A much more attractive woman than I am a man."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 01:29 AM
Shane hesitated, then took the offered hand awkwardly, afraid of hurting Marcello if he shook too hard. "Tree-man?" he asked, amused. "Who told you that? News certainly gets around."
He scrutinized the man from head to toe. "Is that a usual practice? Shifting from woman to man?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 01:32 AM
"It is when a hobgoblin's turned you into a woman," Marcello answered, then smiled. "It wasn't news. Niabheara told me; she recognized you immediately. She--from what what she says, she's got quite a bit of experience with your lot. I didn't realize that's what you were, though. I've never seen one of you walking around like this. I rather thought you generally stayed in one place."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 01:40 AM
Shane laughed at that, a big booming rumble. "Generally, yes," he said, nicely. "I have not met another walking, though truly I have not walked for long. It is very different, moving about in the world." Considering Marcello, he added, "I would prefer it not be so widely known? It does not always generate... friendliness... amongst the fearful."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 01:46 AM
Marcello blinked. "I, ah, I apologize; I wasn't aware it was supposed to be a secret. People are afraid of trees?" he asked. "What for? Are they afraid you're going to try to avenge all your brothers who are turned into ships and floors and benches?"
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 01:56 AM
"Not a secret--it's difficult to hide for long." He rapped his knuckles against the doorframe and the resulting thunk thunk thunk was obvious. "But I would like people to meet me, and then learn of it? I suppose it would be difficult to be frightened one you know to be a friend."
Then he grinned. "You're the man, you tell me. But yes, it might be very well the fear that we will take back what is rightfully ours."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 02:02 AM
Marcello shrugged. "It doesn't worry me. In fact, it was a bit of a relief to know that there was a reason you looked like you do."
He smiled, tiredly, and rubbed the back of his neck. "Brings a new meaning to 'knock on wood,' doesn't it? Did you-- ah. Did you choose to uproot yourself, so to speak?"
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 02:08 AM
"What's that supposed to mean?" Shane asked, voice teasing. He knocked on his chest idly. "No tree can willingly make themselves into something they aren't. I was... not created. How would you say it..." He thought for a moment. "Reshaped is a word, yes? I was reshaped by a witch of the wood, to serve as a guard against the incursions of man."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 02:10 AM
"Oh, you you were meant to avenge your brothers, in a way?" Marcello teased back. "Are you...what kind of tree were you before you got this way? Are you pleased with your new form?"
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 02:18 AM
"You could say that," Shane informed him. He smiled at the teasing, but did not hesitate to elaborate. "When I was first unleashed I spent many months toppling barns and homes, blocking roads and breaking dams," Shane said simply. "Man had no right to be there--it did not belong to them. But now it is so many pastures, flooded with useless creatures to be harvested for food."
"I was an oak," he said, with a sad little smile. "A very old oak. Now I am a tree but not a tree, and a man, but not a man. It's very strange to be so unnatural."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 02:23 AM
Marcello shrugged. "Not so much unnatural as two natures. I was Tuatha for a few days. I-- I don't think it's nearly as big a difference as tree to man, but it's enough. The sensitivity-- better hearing, better smell...it made me feel strange, see the world a different way than I was used to. What made you leave?"
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 02:28 AM
Shane had never given much thought to the differences between the two legged races, but he supposed it might be something like that, and nodded thoughtfully. "There are nice things, too. Like tasting things--I like that very much... like colors, but in your mouth."
He hesitated almost imperceptibly before continuing. The villagers set a fire, and burned the woods and its Mistress. She bade me go, and I did. I have never met one quite like her... Judith is a very different sort of creature."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 02:30 AM
"I don't think Judith is that kind of witch," Marcello agreed. "For all they call her the sea witch. Do you know what country you came from, where this happened?" he asked.
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 02:38 AM
"No, she's not," Shane agreed. "She is very different. But she is old and strong, and I find myself liking her very much."
Then he shook his head. "It was far from here, they did not speak this language. Their hair was light, and their fear of God very great indeed."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 02:42 AM
"So not Italy," Marcello replied with a chuckle. "We're all dark and find God to be a humorous and beneficient companion."
He glanced toward the door. "I haven't made my mind up about her, myself," he admitted. "I don't like the way he treats Niabheara particularly well, but then...she goes and lets us have her cabin for the trip."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 02:48 AM
"I have little opinion on her treatment of her daughter," Shane admitted. "I know nothing of the way you see family. I think that perhaps she does not see the trees for the forest." He tugged at a lock of his own thick, dark hair. "May I ask--how old is your Countess? I am surprised she saw me for what I am. That does not happen so often. Does it come from her mother, or has she power in her own right?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 02:52 AM
"She is twenty?" Marcello answered. "And...I hesitate to say that anything comes from her mother. She...her sister raised her. That is not how it is usually done. Her sister raised her, and her sister is...Morgana is sensitive to those kinds of things, I think. She is a talented healer. She might get the understanding from there. But mostly...I think she may have seen tree men before. She has warned me before, about trees who do their own thinking. But Tuatha are different from tallfolk anyhow," Marcello pointed out. "They notice things we don't."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 03:12 AM
"If you are tallfolk, what am I? Verytallfolk?" He grinned slightly, though the expression was tempered with thoughtfulness. "She carries too much weight for one so young--so very young, for a Tuatha."
His face lit up at the mention of other tree-men. "I should like to meet others, if there are indeed others caught between, like me."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 03:16 AM
"I don't know," Marcello answered. "We could ask her; I'm sure she'd tell you. She was very curious about you when we met you, only we didn't see you for very long." He shot the taller man an encouraging smile. "But I don't know if they were uprooted or not."
Marcello looked thoughtful for a moment, then nodded. "She's been through too much already. More than anyone should. I...I worry about her, a lot."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 03:22 AM
"I saw her stare," Shane admitted. "I thought there might be more to it than just my appearance, she looked very keen. As I understand it... she is returning to the Erins and seeking after the crown? I know little of what brought her here, and nothing of you to her." He said politely, seeking whatever explanation Marcello might share.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 03:29 AM
"That is it," Marcello answered, nodding. "She is looking to take the crown from the present queen, who is the most wretched bitch you will ever meet. She murdered Niabheara's fiance-- six year old fiance-- nearly killed the girl herself, planted a plague in another city for still little reason that is apparent but to murder the ruling lady of that city..." He took a deep breath. "I'm her Queensman," he answered. "I'm sword to protect her, I act as her voice, negotiate for her. Really," he admitted honestly, "I love her too much to dare let anyone else do the job, else she be hurt and me not there."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 03:41 AM
Shane watched Marcello very thoughtfully, and when the man had finished, he remained silent for a moment, digesting what had been said. "From what I have seen, love in and of itself is a powerful force," he agreed, though he spoke of the emotion almost clinically. "It's good that she has someone like you with her, when so many others appear concerned with what she can achieve rather than who she is." He thought of the prisoners in the hold and shook his head. "The man down below is her father, then? And he has been captured."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 03:46 AM
Marcello shrugged. "That man is less of a father to her than mine is to me, and that's saying a mouthful," he replied. "I-- I can't help it. I don't want her to be Queen. I think -- I don't know if it's just me being selfish, but I think it would be bad for her. I think she would sacrifice herself. And maybe I only say that because if she has to be a Queen, she might stop being mine anymore, or the person she is now, whom I love, but I think she'll be sad. Lonely. It will be harder for her to have true friends. It will be harder for her to understand herself, without all the trappings of who she's meant to be."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 04:02 AM
"It's not always possible for people to be what they were meant to be," Shane said, softly. "Or perhaps it's just that we aren't privelaged to know what we are meant to be from the start, and when it is not what we were expecting, we feel cheated."
He looked away for a moment, expression blank. "Does she want to be queen?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 04:06 AM
Marcello shrugged. "I don't know that she knows. I know she feels she must," he answered. "I don't know if it's the path she wants to take. She is all wrapped up in obligation already."
He sighed. "Do you ever resent not having been given a choice in becoming what you are?"
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 04:13 AM
"At times." Shane said, slowly. "Sometimes it makes me very angry. That fire was my death and I would have died with her, as I should have. I am very old, I have lived enough. But this new life is not wholly bad... Every day I find things that were beyond my knowing, then. And she would not have made me what I am if she did not believe it was best for me." He growned. "I do not know if those would have Niabheara be Queen are the same as my mistress. I believe only love moved her hands--but people here have many motivations."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 04:19 AM
"There..." Marcello sighed. "I'm not sure who would have her be queen," he admitted. "I...I think there are too many people who think that she is the best choice and that they simply can't have the current queen anymore. I don't...I think people are seeing it as a sacrifice worth making?"
He shook his head. "But maybe I'm too pessimistic about it."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 19 2008, 04:32 AM
"She might find happiness there. Different from other kinds of happiness, but still happiness. And you are good to worry, I think." He licked his lips. "I do not think she should take up the mantle of Queen simply because there is no one else. That does not leave it her responsibility."
He hesitated. "She has a choice to some degree, does she not? And that choice is one no man can make for her."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 19 2008, 04:36 AM
Marcello's expression darkened. "That's just the trouble," he replied. "I don't know that she does. If she has a choice, it's become Queen, live in exile, die, or destroy her country."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 04:07 AM
"Truly, only two of those are choices. Death is usually an accident or twist of fate, and I do not think anyone as caring as your Countess appears to be would willingly ruin their homeland." Shane said gently. "But iif she becomes queen, can she not dictate the manner in which she rules? And if she lives in exile, again, it will be a life of her own choosing, though not one in the land of her birth."
He frowned. "I do not envy her these choices. I have never known the Queen of the Erins, but they say she is a mighty woman."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 04:21 AM
Marcello snorted. "She's a bitch, in the very definition of the word. I've met her. I've been held prisoner by her, tricked by her...dueled her...cut her ear off..." He gave Shane a pained smile. "She's not a mighty anything. She's a pathetic, pitiful, twisted, wicked woman who needs to be put out of her misery before she infects even more people."
He sighed. "And I'm generally not one to judge anyone."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 04:25 AM
Shane chuckled at that. "You cut her ear off?" he asked, genuinely impressed. "My next question was going to be whether or not you thought Niabheara could handle the queen, but if you've already gotten that far, I find myself inclined to believe that you could succeed with completing your task."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 04:37 AM
"I should have killed her when I had the opportunity," Marcello said, shaking his head. "i didn't. I...it was a mistake. But Niabheara was sick, and I was afraid that if she died, there'd be no way to fix the Countess. She's on her guard now. I don't know what we'll be able to do."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 05:16 AM
"If the Queen were killed, and the woman seeking the crown killed as well, I can't imagine it would have brought joy to the Erins in any way," Shane agreed. "Now we have a weapon, though? In the form of the angry-looking man in the brig, and your countess's horn. You did not have these things before."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 05:28 AM
"We have a weapon," Marcello agreed grimly. "But we have a weapon that all but ensures that Niabheara will no longer belong to herself."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 05:34 AM
"I can't pretend to know what it does," Shane admitted. "Only that it is powerful indeed, enough that many people wish it were their own."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 05:48 AM
Marcello gave the man a tight look. "It's best you...I think it's best you remain ignorant," he said. "And it's not my place to tell you. It's not my place to tell you a lot of the things I've said. suffice to say, it's powerful enough to give us an entirely new set of problems when it destroys the old ones."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 06:00 AM
"As you wish it," Shane inclined his head, accepting the answer kindly. "Likely it is beyond my ability to understand. I will say, though, that our conversation has been private and will remain that way. I would not share what you've told me for fear of hampering your efforts, whatever you decide to do."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 06:06 AM
"It's not my choice to make," Marcello replied, shaking his head. "If it were, I know exactly what I would do, but it can't-- it's not mine. Niabheara has to make it herself, or she would never accept it." he tugged on his earlobe, uncomfortable. "I know you're not-- you're not going to do anything to hurt us. I just feel a bit...awkward about it. Foisting all of this on an uninvolved party. I barely know you. You're a tree. Trees are just supposed to sit there and soak water out of the soil."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 06:11 AM
"We are," Shane agreed. "Though I am no longer that kind of tree. I am trying to make myself into someone, but it's so complicated. I still do not understand people--I don't think like you think. I did not know it would be difficult for you to speak to me about this, and for that I am sorry."
He smiled. "Don't make yourself uncomfortable on my behalf. I could not and would not act on the knowledge, so not knowing is the same as knowing, and it is no trouble to me."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 06:16 AM
Marcello raised both eyebrows. "Have you got emotions, then?"
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 06:21 AM
Shane looked thoughtful--as though he'd had this conversation with himself many times over. "How can I know? I feel things I didn't before--taste and smell, things of that nature. I want things. I didn't want things before. But I do not think I feel what you feel when you look at Niabheara, or what she feels when she looks at Judith, or what I saw on the faces of those being chased by dogs."
Here he hesitated, and looked at Marcello earnestly. "When the dogs beset my friend, I was--my body went tight, I felt my heart pounding, my breath came short. I'm uncertain, but it was... very different. I thought it might have been fear."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 06:24 AM
Marcello laughed. "There are two kinds of fear," he replied. "The kind your body feels and the kind your heart feels."
He put a hand over his own heart. "It's that way with most emotions. Did your mind go-- so fast you could not keep up with it, or slow down until it was difficult to think? Did the way your thoughts came change in any way?"
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 06:29 AM
"I don't believe I thought much at all," Shane admitted, considering the moment. "There was no choice and so there was no thought. Just coldness and uncertainty. There were others there, though I did not concern myself with them... She was more important, and there were so many animals I knew I could not defend from them all."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 06:34 AM
Marcello smiled slightly. "That's fear, but courage, too," he answered. "Or bravado, or whatever it is that keeps you going in the face of fear. When Niabheara was dying, when I was facing the Queen; that's how it felt to me. A little different," he admitted. But not too much."
He looked up. Very, very far up. "You're a good sort, I think. I...I don't mind telling you things."
Posted by: Shane Lockwood Apr 20 2008, 06:42 AM
"I don't know if I'm good, but I am honest," Shane shrugged, looking pleased despite himself. "I'm told that is a very good trait to posess. You feel things very keenly--I can see it in the way you move and the way you talk. We've only spoken, but I've learned many things. I've lots to think on, and I'm grateful for that. If I am feeling, then I've stepped further from what I was. Good or bad, it is done, and there's little to be gained from regretting it."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 20 2008, 06:45 AM
Marcello bowed his head to the other man, giving him a formal nod more from habit now than anything else. "If you want to talk again, then," he said, "please feel free. And I know Niabheara would talk, too, and...she is a curious study. She will be, for you."
He clasped the mirror in one hand. "But I should get back to her. You should...I'm not sure where Judith is, but once you've spoken, or tomorrow...she would like to meet you more properly."
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