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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > The face behind the mask
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 08:30 PM
There came a point when notes did not help. Paper was one of the inventions that Maalech appreciated the most, compared to the clay tablets of his childhood they held a great number of advantages. But in this, it lacked dimension. It lacked texture.
Perhaps it was simply the fact that he had learned to think with his hands so long ago, and had never stopped. Perhaps it was the fact that nobody but him understood the language of the weave in quite this way anymore, or perhaps it just spoke to his aesthetics.
In the end the reason did not matter, he had gone out and bought himself a loom.
Just a small one, suitable for weaving cloth no more than a armswidth across. It had taken him quite some time to find a suitable one, he wanted the old fashioned type, the upright, hanging loom, not the one where you sat as if at a desk. He wanted to use his hands, not machinery. This was for thinking, not ease of production.
In the end he had found a disused one in an old weaver's shop, that had belonged to the man's grandmother. A few more coins had brought it to his house, cleaned and repaired. The yarn he had already bought earlier.
Now he could think properly again.
He had been up since dawn working on it, placed in front of one of the large windows in one of the almost empty rooms. By now there were about four handspans of pattern, glittering like butterflies in the sun.
Greens and reds and blues and yellows, in a pattern so tiny it might just have been random. Except nothing was ever random with him.
Not a single word.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 08:33 PM
Footsteps padded quietly on the floor behind him, and a shadow rose over his shoulder, greying the colors of his weave.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 08:36 PM
The shadow had revealed her approach, and so he did not jump. Nor did he turn around. He did however smile faintly to himself, easing the strand of red he held into the weave completing what looked like a funny little squiggle.
"I was pondering when you would grace me with your presence again. I assume I have been expecting you too much."
He had not expected her now, he had been too into his own world.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 08:38 PM
The girl's mouth quirked up mischievously. "I don't think I am who you think I am."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 08:42 PM
Now he turned, one dark eyebrow raised in a question as he watched her.
Truly watched her. He no longer had his Art, but the intensity of his gaze remained the same.
Grey eyes. They never managed to be cold when he looked at her.
"I see." There was a faint frown, because the look matched hers, as did the feel he got from her. "Have there been another replacement?"
That jabbed him far harder in the stomach than it should. He had warned her. She took risks. Risks that could lead to her being discontinued like the other one.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 08:55 PM
"Only temporarily," the girl in black replied, and the she gave him a curious look. "Don't worry," she stressed. "The usual Psychopomp is taking a brief hiatus. How are you doing?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 08:57 PM
"I see." There was no way that this could be good news, at least he suspected so. Was this somehow Scarlet's doing or had there been conflict with the other aspects?
"Is it a voluntary hiatus then, or was it decided at a higher level?" He refrained from commenting about how he was doing.
Not until he knew more about this business. He did not trust easily.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 09:03 PM
"I think that depends what you would mean by 'higher,' the girl answered cheerfully. "But your friend isn't displeased. In fact, I think she's very happy about it."
She looked around, then pointed at the weaving. "What're you making?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 09:08 PM
"I suppose she would deserve a change of perspective." The frown slowly faded, though the grey eyes retained their sharpness. She had been professing jealousy about his chosen path, perhaps she had at last gained the opportunity to try it for herself.
Too bad it was not here. Still, the regret was fleeting and he pushed it down.
"I suppose you would call this... notes." He ran his fingers over the weave, short nails, well groomed hands. A mage's hands. "Paper has limits that a weave does not. I am simply used to think with threads. It is less permanent than clay and needs more afterthought than paper."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 09:11 PM
The girl frowned, and looked at it more curiously. "Notes on what?" she asked. "I mean, I trust your judgment here, but it looks like squiggles to me. Like..."
She pointed at the red squiggle. "What does the squiggle mean?"
She tipped her head at the man. "I don't think your path would really appeal to her, in the end. Not enough socializing."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 09:20 PM
"Perspective." He went for her last comment first. "It is all about perspective. The greater your scope, the lesser the need for details. Should she end up in one small village, confined for life, I assume that she would simply learn everything there is to know about the people there. Also, when you lack the vision, the smallest thing becomes a mystery worth exploring. But perhaps you are right, I could not see me pursuing this for the rest of my life."
There was a brief pause as he pondered, pulling the loose wreath overshirt a bit tighter around himself. She made him feel vulnerable, especially after Scarlet.
"Show a book to somebody who does not know letters and they are squiggles as well. A weave... is something I use for concepts not not easily put in words or writing. This one here is charting out a few theories about reality, and how concepts and individuals relate. That particular 'squiggle' has a meaning only in relation to this pattern here... you see the red there as well, right? Surrounded by greens and blues it is then hidden, only to appear here once more."
He doubted she was interested in his take on reality. But still, she had asked.
He prided himself on answering questions truthfully.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 09:26 PM
"So the red vanishes and comes back," the girl replied. "But it isn't just red, is it? It stands for something beyond red."
She nodded. "That's what I mean. I don't think it would matter if she were in a tiny town or a big city, but she would have to spend all her time talking to people. Which really isn't what you do at all."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 09:31 PM
"Of course it is not just red. Everything stands for something else, our own reality is just what our senses and mind can interpret it to be. But let us for arguments sake simplify. Let us say that the red is a life. As you can see the pattern down here is fairly constant, regular, but then there is this gap. it disappears and reappears. Now what question does that bring to mind?"
Perhaps he was lecturing, but she had asked. It was faintly unnerving to watch her like this, so much like the woman he knew, and yet completely different.
"As for spending one's time talking to people... do you mean the general consensus on how humanity is supposed to act in the term 'you', or was it aimed at myself?"
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 09:36 PM
"Aimed at you," the girl answered. "Not the proverbial you. I mean, you have your hobbies, but even when you watch people, you never really talk to them. I mean really talk. Sometimes you talk at them, sometimes you exchange ideas, but you don't talk the way she does."
She eyed the thread. "Resurrection?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 09:43 PM
"No, you are correct. I do not talk to people like she does, they have never really held my interest for very long. I assume I am not properly socialized, but I cannot bring myself to care overmuch." Indeed he did not. Most people bored him nearly instantly, and though he had lost much of his active dislike for them, he had no wish to be around him.
He could easily go months without seeing another human face. it did not bother him.
"When watched, they can provide with some entertainment. It can be intriguing to hazard a guess to their paths in life, but actual discussion? No. They reveal their ignorance far too quickly."
Like her. Resurrection had been an obvious guess.
"No. Not resurrection. If you would look below, you would see similar breaks in the pattern, though smaller ones. It would be a rare individual that would be possible to bring back that many times. No, there is another question we need to ask ourselves."
He ran a finger over the pattern.
"Where does the thread go when we cannot see it in the pattern? This is the same thread, I know that quite well. Yet it runs true, disappears, then appears again... where is it when we cannot see it?"
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 09:50 PM
"So do you, did you ever notice?" the girl asked in reply. "You just don't think of it as ignorance because you think it's less important than what you do know. Everyone is ignorant about some things. Usually the people who care to be bothered by ignorance are the ones who are ignorant about the most and just don't want to admit it."
She smiled, but it was a bitter, rather insulted smile.
"And there's more than one kind of resurrection. I guess most of them just don't occur t people who like to tease people instead of giving them straight answers because they think they're ignorant."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 09:59 PM
"I am ignorant about great deal of things. I am well aware of my flaws in this. It is in part why I walk this path, to confront matters I simply overlooked before. However, I doubt that I will turn into a smiling, loving bundle of joy any time soon." His expression was completely deadpan, and perhaps it was no joke at all.
Or perhaps he was just good at keeping a straight face.
"Is it an annoyance to you then, personally? Since you see it as so important. Did people dismiss you as ignorant, or did they simply not approach you and talk about important matters?" She had sounded too bitter for this not to be personal.
In the end, mostly everything was. The human condition.
In response to her last comment he ran a palm over the weave. "I pose questions because I seek enlightenment myself. To ask someone questions and dismiss their answers is not something I do for my pleasure. I simply have no proper answer yet, and seek to reflect my knowledge against another intellect to see whether some illumination can be reached."
He took a step to the side, so he could look at the back of the weave as well, shaking his head. "The thread makes a pattern on the front where we can perceive it. Then it disappears to the back, where it is still part of the pattern yet unseen by us. Unseen but necessary since it determine exactly what point the pattern will resurface again in the front. However, there the details are less important than the general direction." He shook his head, the implications so very simple yet frightening.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 10:02 PM
The girl made a face. "You did," she pointed out. "In your head. Am I not supposed to be insulted by that?"
She rolled her eyes. "You just talk and talk and talk and never say anything because it's all speculation. Is it so bad to ever speak with certainty? Did anyone ever say you couldn't change your mind?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 10:08 PM
"Ah, you do have her feel for context then." That meant he should guard his mind more. But he had got used to being relaxed around her by now, and he would be sad to lose that intimacy.
It was a rarity that people saw through him. it was almost relaxing.
"If you wish for me to speak with certainty, we should aim for simpler subjects. There are a great many things I am certain of, and a number of those i suspect I will be proven wrong about in the future. But this..." He touched the pattern again. "This is me trying to understand. Time. Reality. The path of a man's life. Tell me, have you the knowledge of how we humans perceive time and our lives, or is this all you know?"
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 10:13 PM
"No, you should stop assuming that you need to know everything for you to know it," Ariel answered irritably. "You can still state what you do know right now."
She eyed the weaving again. "I think I could guess at how people view time and lives. But that doesn't mean they all do it the same way. You, for example, don't."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 10:19 PM
"What I do know right now?" It was an interesting challenge, he supposed part of this was simply an argument about language. What words to use for different things, this was the reason he found debating other magi so tedious.
"Life is not a strand. We remember a beginning, a middle and a now. For us humans, it might twist and turn, but it is one continuous strand. Reality however seems to disagree. There are difference in... perhaps weight would be a word one could use. There are moments of the Real, and then moments of the Remembered. I am trying to find a way to put the varying perceptions of time into a single whole, as well as attempting to see whether there is a way of foreseeing what moments in the future will be Real, and which ones will simply be imagined,"
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 1 2008, 10:21 PM
The girl sighed. "Why didn't you just say that from the beginning?" she asked.
And then gave him a thoughtful look. "Does this mean you're considering the new job?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 1 2008, 10:24 PM
"Because if I had, you would simply have nodded. This way there was a possibility that you might give me some new insight in our discussions around it." But he had abandoned that path eventually, he did not feel inclined to argue semantics with the woman today.
"And yes, my answer to you is the same as my answer to her. I am considering it. No more, no less."
It intrigued and enticed him, but it also stood against every single thing he had ever stood for.
Not to mention...
No. He would not let his minds stray in that direction.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 2 2008, 08:30 PM
The girl gave him a curious look.
"How?" she asked.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 2 2008, 08:36 PM
"How?" The word was small and innocent enough to be aimed at a number of things. Did she mean how he was considering it? Had she picked up on his distrust of the offer and asked how they went against his principles? Or was the comment aimed at how he planned to keep her out of the corners of his mind where he did not want her.
A faint smile played on his lips for a moment as he looked away, amused despite himself. She was no fool.
"To what are you referring?"
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 2 2008, 08:39 PM
She raised both eyebrows at him. "How-what is irrelevant now," she answered. "Let's start with how you're considering it, and then move on yo how it goes against your principles."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 2 2008, 08:43 PM
Interesting. She was not as subtle with her abilities, and she had the skill to pick up nuances. It seemed that he had indeed been correct to infer that his mental shields might as well be useless.
Still, it also seemed to be limited to surface thoughts, because he had a feeling from her demeanor she did not ask those questions because she was polite.
"I am considering it the only way I know how. By learning more about the situation and exactly what advantages and disadvantages that could be gained from taking that path. I do not plan to take any decision uniformed. As for how it goes against my principles..."
He paused for a moment, considering the woman. "I am human. I have never sought to become more than that, I have seen what happens to men on the path for godhood."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 2 2008, 08:52 PM
The girl rolled her eyes. "We're not gods!" she explained. "Believe me. I've only been at this for a day, and the first thing I've learned is that we don't have any more answers than you do! Definitely not gods. We don't even know if there are gods. There are no more answers for us, it's just...and this is the part you might not like...we're not really so much equipped to look for them."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 2 2008, 08:55 PM
"I know you are not gods. You lack most of the qualities generally associated with the term." Maalech looked at her for a long moment, taking in her entire countenance. "And I do know that the chains rest no less heavily upon your kind than any other beings."
That was indeed one of the things that disturbed him. Still, it offered illumination in ways he would never be able to gain otherwise.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 2 2008, 09:00 PM
"So then why does it matter?" the girl asked. "The one thing that confuses me is this. The rest of us, we're all...we're not supposed to know anything about being human. We're not supposed to have ties to humans or human life, or get involved, you know? But you...you are human." She gave him a look. "Are you going to be able to do that? Stop interacting? Stop interfering, stop affecting the continuity? You would-- your weaving there; you would have all the answers to that. You would see time from--" She pointed into the air. "Up there. Where you can turn it around and see where the red goes when it's not on top, but you wouldn't be able to choose whose threads could pop out when, if you know what I mean. And I don't know if you're..."
She smiled slyly. "You know. Up to that challenge. Are you?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 2 2008, 09:05 PM
"I am not certain yet. That is why I told you I was considering it." Maalech pondered for a moment, looking at the woman. "It seems as if you assume that I am affecting the continuity for my own pleasure. I do not. It is a means to an end, and once that end is done..."
He fell silent, watching the weave. "There is time yet."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 2 2008, 09:13 PM
The girl gave him an impish look. "I know there's an end. Remember, I know quite a lot. But it's still a personal end. An end you've chosen because it suits what you think is best. This is a test, if you will. To see whether you really understand what you've done right there."
She pointed at his weaving, fingering the red thread where it squiggled. "Perspective. Everything you do will be a means to an end, but you won't be guessing anymore. You'll see the bigger picture. You might think, from what you can see, that this thread is useless," she pointed out. "Or ugly. That it needs getting rid of. You see the whole thing, you realize that the carefully chosen but seeming randomness of this thread is what gives the whole picture its beauty. Without it, it's just a dishrag."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 2 2008, 09:19 PM
Maalech listened to the woman, nodding slowly as she spoke. He had no problems with her argument in theory, but of course he was still human.
It was as she said, no matter how much pain and suffering and unfairness there might be in the world, perhaps it all made sense in a larger perspective. However, that was little consolation for the people affected.
"It is a daunting process to step away from the Self that much."
He was not certain he could. Because her words made him doubt... or perhaps that was the wrong word.
Trepidation was a much better one.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 2 2008, 09:21 PM
"It's not stepping away from the self," the girl answered. "It's stepping into a different one. It's sort of like...retiring from the stage, so that you can direct plays, if you know what I mean?"
She smiled. "That's why I said it was a test. You're the one who has to decide if you're ready."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 2 2008, 09:25 PM
"I know. I am not sure whether I am quite ready for that either."
Part of him was. Part of him longed for this with all the ambition he had ever directed at his Art. But part of him was too invested in his old self, in the past and the vows and the promises.
He was not certain he could walk away from that.
And he was even less certain that he would get the option to finish what he had promised.
The more he learned, the more he saw the folly of it all.
Time. That was the one thing that he kept focusing on now. There was still time.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 03:07 AM
"Maybe there is," the girl said. "And maybe not."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 08:29 AM
Now -that- made him pause.
Conscious of her ability to pick up the turmoil in his mind he quieted it down, looking at her calmly.
"Is this connected somehow with her hiatus?"
What had chanced between then and now? Or did they simply have two different views of how urgent this was?
Everything he had learned recently pointed to the fact that -something- portentous was about to happen. But he lacked the knowledge to pinpoint what just yet.
Still, he would not let himself be hurried. That cost lives.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 01:52 PM
"Nothing at all," the girl answered. "She's on vacation. Of course, if she comes back from vacation and everyone else decides that vacation means that she can't discharge the duties of the Psychopomp anymore, you might be out a job offer, but no, not really, apart from that. I think it's more that you misperceive the intent of the offer in the first place. If you can't let you of your own attachments first..."
She smiled playfully at him. "If you can't let them go, then you might not be right for this job. Too Earthbound. More than you seem."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 06:31 PM
"There are loose ends I would see finished first, that I admit freely." Her words had softened some of the rising suspicion, but attempting to second guess people was an automatic reflex by now. What things might mean, if worst came to worst... because after all there generally were no trouble if the kindest assumptions happened.
"Some I know that I might be able to leave behind with some regret... others... no. There are debts owed I would not walk out of." Not without loathing himself for it.
"Unfortunately it seems that some of those debts have caused one of your colleagues to take offense." The smile was faint, but it was there.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 07:37 PM
The girl in black frowned for a moment, then smiled. "I know," she answered, clasping her hands. "It's not going to be possible, you know. To settle that debt the way you want to."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 07:49 PM
"So now you as well know what it is that I want?" Maalech sounded faintly amused, despite the subject. "There are a number of possible solutions, some more passable than others. If the most ideal one is unavailable, I assume I simply must take a greater risk. It is a fool man that relies on a single outcome when he sets his goals."
For a moment he held his peace, then he asked with a slightly pointed look "What do you assume it is that I want then?"
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 07:57 PM
"I know which solution is impossible," the girl answered. "One of them requires the compliance of Scarlet's avatar," she explained. "It would be...let's just say that it would be bad if the avatar were to be altered in the way you'd like. Do you know about the cult in Lorrain?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 08:02 PM
"Assume I do not. Any news I receive these days are painfully second hand."
He frowned, the wrinkles on his forehead deepening into severe. "Scarlet as you say, seems like a rather territorial aspect. I do not anticipate that my plans for her... avatar as you say, would harm her or interfere with her duties here."
Still, he was playing with someone elses toys.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 08:10 PM
"Well, of course she would be!" the girl replied. "Seriously, now, think about it. If someone came up to you and said, oh, see, I have this friend of mine who needs to use a piece of your personality, do you mind?" what would you say? It's not just a body for her to use to navigate humanity. It's a piece of her. No one wants to share their eyes or their hands or their stomachs, she's got a right to be upset by it. It wouldn't be her avatar anymore. I don't even know if it would be inhabitable, see?"
She tipped her head to one side. "Somebody tried to turn Scarlet into, well, another me. Not the same-me, but an earthbound Aspect. Part of having avatars is to keep the balance intact, for her. We almost got a whole city destroyed in Lorrain. If one of her avatars gets imbalanced? Things might go boom. So we can't let that happen."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 08:15 PM
Maalech was listening with rapt attention now. If what the woman said was true... and there was no reason why it should not be, he only had two choices.
Well, three if one counted railing at Scarlet. "It seems she would have been better served making a mention of this in the first place rather than go for threats."
He did not like threats.
But this complicated things. He could not say with any certainty that what he had planned to do would not unbalance the weave for Scarlet. He simply knew too little. If an avatar of these beings was something as closely tied as a piece of personality and not just a suitable host body... then she was right. The risk was too great.
Especially if one considered... no.
He would not think about that.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 08:21 PM
"Well, maybe she had enough respect for your intelligence to assume you already knew what you were messing with," the girl in black answered. "Okay, she shouldn't have threatened you. But what is she, seriously? I mean, that's what she's about. That would be like asking me-- or the usual me-- to deliberately hurt somebody. It's just not in our...you know, fabric."
She eyed him for a moment. "It is. It's like a little tiny mini-her. Sort of like a Scarlet-simulacrum if you will. It's not just a spare shell that can house whatever you want."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 08:27 PM
"I did not intend for it to house anything. It was intended to act as a focal point." Maalech rubbed his eyes, suddenly feeling his age. "For whatever tracking devices they use to keep updated on her whereabouts. But as this is mostly theoretical, I do acknowledge the danger there. Though it will be hard to undo what have already been wrought, the web have reached a state now where it progresses on its own accord. The parallels are too many."
He supposed he would have to break pattern. Before something happened that would solidify it completely.
However, he was without his Art still. Such an annoyance.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 08:33 PM
The girl shrugged. "However you want to call it, you're nosing in. And, you know, sometimes things work out on their own," she said cheerfully. "Right now, somebody else is being the Avatar, too," she added. "Somebody who isn't going to suit your pattern."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 08:39 PM
"Ah, is there more problems with the Tuatha? I know she fell victim to the Puck before... I suppose it would at least make certain things did not proceed any further." He rubbed his chin, almost talking to himself now. "As long as she does not get pregnant, there is still time to halt this."
But how? He did not relish to interrupt this path, it felt far too much like failure. And yet... he could not access the weave like this.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 08:43 PM
The girl looked honestly curious. "So, what, this weave you've done...it...how's it work? It's got triggers? Like, things that have to happen, and if they do, then your plan gets set in motion automatically? Like clockwork, where all you have to do is wind it and watch it go?"
She smiled reassuring. "She can't just get pregnant," she said, her tone brighter than her mood at the thought. "Not for months."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:00 PM
"Part of why this had an even remote chance of working is that it does not go against her path in life. It is indeed fairly automated, as long as she remains on a path that is similar enough to the one that is needed, the weave completes itself. Should she deviate, the whole thing will unravel. However, from what I have been told she is heading down an eerily similar path." He would lie if he did not admit that it made him pleased.
To see the seeds there when she was but a young child and act upon it. She had surpassed his greatest expectations.
"Clockwork is a crude but passable comparison."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:04 PM
"Clockwork is amazing!" the girl informed him. "All those little, tiny parts, all working together...especially when it's used for things that aren't clocks. Like metal men! Those are incredible," she informed him, and then nodded. "Right. So, in my, you know, official role, being here, as Psychopomp, they told me that I'm supposed to ask you what you need. What do you need?" she asked. "I mean, what would it take-- what would be a big enough deviation? Because I don't imagine she's ready to pop a kid out right now, but...you know, she's going to have to eventually if to have an heir."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:08 PM
"What would be a big enough deviation once it has already proceeded this far..." Maalech shook his head, pondering the question. "You have to realize i craft my weaves to adjust for minor deviations. If I cannot get green, I will make do with yellow and blue. The results are similar enough. I suppose a few things that would be enough to weaken the weave enough for it to dissipate would be for her to take the throne, for her home not to be destroyed. Breaking her association with her Queensman would most likely also do it, since he has been pulled rather deeply into the weave."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:12 PM
The girl frowned. "Problem there," she said. "Is that we need him where he is. I did a lot of work to get him to this place. Things have the potential to get pretty bad without him. I can discuss with my associates, but I think that's no-go."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:18 PM
"With the role he has crafted for himself, I assumed as much."
Maalech had to admit that he was intrigued by that man, he had not spoken to him but... he was moving into the position he had held in the old weave. That in and of itself was intriguing.
"Things should at least not proceed to worse as long as she does not become pregnant. I suppose... that I could arrange for something with Morgan. The man is not the most skilled mage there is, but he has a talent for disrupting things. The challenge is as always to make sure that only the thread we want cut is severed."
How annoying. He would have hoped he would not have to resort to his final plan. he had deemed it too risky a long time ago.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:21 PM
"How long?" the girl asked. "This year? Forever? And what is it? Why's it too risky? Do you see...you see now why we have doubts about you? You can't keep your hands out of anything, can you? I don't see...I don't see any way that...Marcello is anything like you are."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:27 PM
"If it would take too long, I assume that the weaving will fade. However, a couple of years is no time at all when it comes to these things. I first saw her potential when she was still a child. I am a patient man." But lately he had found himself wishing for change. true change. Lasting change.
He ignored the jibe about him not being able to keep his hands away from anything, because that was not important. She did not like what he did? Fine. It mattered little to him.
"It is risky because there is a greater possibility that what I am doing will be revealed to parties less pleasant than your Scarlet. It will likely mean the destruction of me and a handful of other people."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:31 PM
"Scarlet is perfectly pleasant," the girl pointed out. "You got on her wrong side. Look, you know arguing isn't what I do, but the offer-- you know, it's not going to last forever. And taking the offer might give you some other alternatives."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:36 PM
"The offer to join you? Or I assume you were referring to you asking me what I needed." Maalech shook his head, pondering the woman.
So alike. Yet so different.
"I can think of only one thing."
He fell silent for a moment, then admitted "Her back where she belongs."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:38 PM
"Which her? Where?" the girl in black asked. "And yes, I mean the offer to join us. The asking you what you need isn't really something with an expiry date."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:42 PM
"The one that held your position before you did. The one that is on a hiatus." It did not sit well with him to admit this.
But it was true. He had missed her, and to have her almost here was more painful than he would have guessed.
"To be fair, if I do take the step of joining you eventually, I would step away from all these concerns. So you are correct there, there would be new options."
The options of not doing anything because everything had a place in the world.
Unfortunately Alynealin did not agree with him.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:45 PM
"Right," the girl in black answered. "And the usual Psychopomp will be back soon," she assured the man. "But for now, you've got me. And I am going to warn you that you don't get to have your cake and eat it too. You wait to see your plans through, the cake will be gone."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:49 PM
"Then the choice is simple." Maalech regarded the girl thoughtfully, wondering whether she was attempting to push him into accepting or declining.
"This is one obligation I will not discharge. If that costs me this opportunity, so be it." It was not the greatest sacrifice he had made for this.
Nor would it be the last.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:50 PM
"Which one is that?" the girl asked.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 09:53 PM
Maalech almost scoffed there "What we have been discussing all this time. How to return my wife to a normal, human existence and allow her sanity and memories to seep back. I will not abandon her like this."
Not when he was partly to blame for what she had become.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 09:58 PM
"You need to learn to talk in specifics and not treat people like they're stupid just because they're respectful enough to double-check," the girl said irritably. "You can't be like this if you want to be one of us."
She nodded at him. "And I've been telling you the whole time that you'd have a better time being able to see the whole picture if you take us up on the offer. You might find a better way to fix her. I mean, you couldn't do it yourself, but I somehow doubt that would stop you. The other me would help you, you know that. OTherwise, I can ask what you need again."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 3 2008, 10:08 PM
At times Maalech hated being a suspicious man. It was all so seductively simple. She was most likely right, he would have a greater access to help her, if it wasn't for a few little things.
"She is not of this continuum, would I even be able to affect or help her?" The question was valid, but he supposed that in the end it mattered little.
It still needed to be asked.
More and more he felt as if he was being herded into a corner.
And he had heard it all before.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 3 2008, 11:37 PM
"Continuity," the girl corrected gently. "And, um, yes, I think so. I mean, I don't know for certain, but there are people I know about and people I don't, and she is on the people I know about list. Which means yes."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 4 2008, 09:24 AM
So that was the term that they favored. Continuity. The difference between the two was quite an interesting one. He was accustomed to use the term continuum, to reference different singular planes of existence. This put the focus on the fact that it was a continuous whole, where no part could be taken away without changing what it were. It focused on the all, of time and space and fate. Physical. The weave.
She had used the term Continuity. This focused on the flow, on the movement, more on the act of making the weave, of putting the threads in the right order. He would have to consider the implications of this later.
So many things he would have to deal with later.
Maalech looked away from the weave, turning his back on the woman as he walked over to the window. He needed to think. And he needed to think without watching her.
He'd heard it all before. Seven mortal hells, he'd heard it all before, hadn't he? Only the rewards had been lesser then. Had they just bid their time then upped the stakes?
"I need to consider this." And pray that he was wrong.
Right now he really did wish he still honored any gods out there.
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 4 2008, 07:30 PM
"All right," the girl agreed. "You know, most gods are perfectly all right with new worshippers and things, if you want to go that route."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 4 2008, 11:49 PM
That made him laugh, just the briefest of sounds.
"No, I have no need to worship anything. I left that path behind long ago. I just assume that it lies within every man's heart to at times look to entrust himself to something larger."
A faint but cold smile played on his lips as he watched the garden.
"I distrust temptation."
Posted by: Serendipity Jul 4 2008, 11:55 PM
"All right," the girl agreed. "Then I won't offer you anything to tempt you."
She tipped her head to one side.
And then, she was no longer there.
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