Author Topic: Ledger Five  (Read 1433 times)

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Stranger

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on: April 13, 2019, 06:15:10 PM
Much earlier today, I had intended to request her letter back.

Please keep it.

-M
Adrian would trip and roll down a set of stairs and then wriggle up on his broken legs, steeple his fingers and go "yes yes, all according to plan". You could wriggle a scheme before his eyes, like a steak before a hound, and toss it off a cliff- and he'd probably follow. Unfortunately, while I will never stop making fun of him, there is some genuine sorrow beneath the skin. You just need to cut through a lot of fat to get there. Adrian is dangerous in his own regard, but not because he intends to be. He needs my help, and while it is perhaps true he only swooped onto the chance to bring me into the fold, like some kind of malevolent bird of prey, I remain skeptical.

What I've seen is manifold. A complex man, squeezed between ten rocks and twenty hard places, with little experience about the immense task he has been entrusted with. The expectations placed on that man are staggering, and someone more frail would just cave in under the weight. I owe him my life, and beyond. He brought me in his House with my hands still stained of Orzan blood, made me a Retainer, consulting no one, waiting for no one to contest it. And before anyone'd claim it all played out in the end, he was scolded and ridiculed for it before my very eyes.

Let others tell what they want, and endlessly write away anything good he does as malicious scheming. He is a gentle and misguided boy, in desperate need of a slap, a hug, and a word of praise, who will do the right thing for anyone but himself when push comes to shove. He needs someone to help him, with enough of a thick skin to shrug off his gaffes and watch over his awkward ass anyway. And even though he fumbles, it only takes long enough to both shake one's head in frustration and grow very, very fond. I just hope he will never screw up so badly to drive those close to him away.

I cannot say more. His secrets are his. Just know that Adrian has had an excruciatingly hard life. It does not excuse him, and you should always be cautious, but compassionate all the same.



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on: April 13, 2019, 06:16:06 PM
Life moves on. But it is unfamiliar to me. The troubles which brought us together seem distant already. In a year, no one shall remember what happened. The Ordo Arcanum. The ritual which set my sweet little dragon against House Orza. The prices we have paid in blood. The people we have lost. Does anything we have done truly matter? Do I save even half the lives that I tell myself I do? Would it have been better to elope like Sylyn wanted to, to run away somewhere deep within the Rings, and raise a family in seclusion? Give up these childish dreams of a better world?

We'll never have the chance now.

And unless I pry her skull from Kristoff's dying hands, I can't even lay all of her bones to rest in the crypt of my forefathers.



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on: April 13, 2019, 06:18:06 PM
I am not going to play at the Whispers any longer. Justifying your actions, brother, has spooled my thoughts around increasingly confused, self-contradicting, and nuanced logic until not even I could believe the story I told myself. It has taken me to the brink of madness. It has asked me to compromise my morals for increasingly horrible purposes. I have been caught in your fits of spite and rage. I have constantly been bombarded with your storybook villainy.  I have even taken the blame for some of your follies, just to protect your career.

All this, because I put House Velstra first, and believed we needed you. But I now understand just how foolish I was.

It took the death of my true love. I had to see you stand back and allow Kristoff Orza to strike me down, then clap as he mutilated her body. I had to hear you mock me for not being strong enough to protect the innocent yet again, and it reminded me of all the lonely, painful nights you tried to goad me into flinging myself into the Pit.

It is no surprise that half our retainers resign in disgust and that the other half tries to kill you.



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on: April 13, 2019, 06:27:14 PM
I've words about my supposed romantic rival, but they might surprise you. While I am absolutely certain you are just being used, and that she despises you from the bottom of her heart, the chances she would actually try to kill you are about fifty-fifty. I suspect she would sooner just abandon you if a better occasion to establish her house presented itself, and you have to keep in mind she holds you and Velstra accountable for the death of her sister, as well as having nearly hanged her. Do not expect these two points to be something that will be forgotten anytime soon, if ever. Siobhan strikes me as someone willful and headstrong almost to a fault, and while I sincerely believe there is some good in her, she openly bragged about beating her younger siblings out of pure and simple pleasure.

I have done the same, once. I struck my own brother in anger, because I believed the alternative would have been to cause his death by inaction, and it still has tormented me ever since. Siobhan is weighed down by terrible duties, and what has likely been a difficult life. This does not make her any less dangerous. She will destroy anything in the path of her heart's desire, and this is the mark of a true KING.

I do not wish any harm to come to Siobhan, not really. If there is any alternative to handle matters in a sensible way without spilling a single drop of blood, I will gladly take it. She made a promise, to me, to not destroy you fully, but I also said many things in that conversation that are not true any longer- though I meant them at the time..



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on: April 13, 2019, 06:38:36 PM
AW: But your choice to leave House Orza is actually to your discredit and has dishonored you in the eyes of all lords, including the Velstras.
AW: That is how the Peerage is.
S: Well, as I said.
A: Don't fret, my firey sweet! I don't think any less of you, eh?
S: I can always throw myself down this pit and spare you the embarrassment of this marriage.
AW: Siobhan...

AW tries to comfort.

S: If my womb is considered worthless by your father, then why continue?
S: For that is what I have offered him.
AW: Please. You are family and you are his daughter-in-law. This will always mean something to him.
AW: It's not as though we're making Errilam a lord for being the same.
I: [Whisper] We only need this place before Oldspyre is ours, and despite Adrian's claims, we will not be reliant on their goodwill to continue the line and recruitment.
S: [Whisper] Rumour has it another tournament is coming ...
I: [Whisper] Grit and action will secure our place.
S: [Whisper] Velstra may lose the Banner, and with it, their ability to recognize me as nobility.
S: [Whisper] That may be a blessing in disguise.
S: [Whisper] We'll see what happens. Suffice it to say that I will stall if I have to, if they continue to play silly games.
S: [Whisper] Whoever holds the Banner after the tournament, whether Velstra or another House, 'tis they I will have to deal with.
I: [Whisper] Would an uncommissioned house, such as ours, be able to compete?
S: [Whisper] No.
S: [Whisper] Only the Peers may.
S: [Whisper] We could however fight, and dedicate any victories to any of the Houses ...
I: [Whisper] I see. Nonetheless, it would be a potent display of force if we were to compete in some form, and win a round or two.
S: [Whisper] But we'll consider that option, if and when the next Tournament comes..
S: [Whisper] It would.
I: [Whisper]  Yes.
S: [Whisper] Until then, I will continue to take a hard line. If I do make any compromise, real or seeming, rest assured it is for the ultimate good of the House.
S: [Whisper] But there are lines that I will not allow to be crossed.



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on: April 19, 2019, 07:54:33 AM
Hanna Patter is the widow of Reynard, that paladin Errilam killed in a very hated and pointless move. An insignificant child. A supporting spellcaster in service to the now disgraced Blackstone company.

She tried to seduce me. I gave her a sporting chance, amused by her low-cut top and cheesy pick-up lines. She did astonishingly well. She knew exactly how to appeal to me once she had me alone. For the first time since putting on my Velstra cape, there was an honest desire in my heart; I felt that she understood. That she got it. That she believed in my personal mission. In me! In the person that I tell myself I am each night. In the private narrative that I use to justify my actions. I was fully convinced that she wanted me for who I am and not for the position I represented.

It was wonderful to experience.  If only I could let myself believe!

But family comes first and I gave her nothing more than a kiss for her trouble.

Considering how Eryeth Cotte still blames Errilam for his minor part in the battle that killed some Thaumaturge of hers. I doubt that Hanna has forgiven Errilam (or House Velstra?) for the death of Reynard; it does not help that our Viper tries to mock her feelings on it every time they meet. She is probably trying to use me as a weapon against him. That is smart. That is what I would do. Even the strongest warrior cannot succeed without the logistical support that I provide. With a lucky trick, I could even defeat my brother in single combat. Does she think she can manipulate us into conflict? She wanted us to be vulnerable with each other. She could be after family secrets.
Adrian your whore Hanna was killed by Ercan one of black's men. He then left her in a back alley something common for women of her profession. Her lover Cedric and some dumb dwarf went around looking for her killer. After they went to Nephezar and failed to get help. I sent Cedric to the Reeve of all people where I gave him my usual flavor.  Funny enough the Reeve let Cedric join his house. It will be only a matter of time before he betrays Sunpurse or makes a giant fool of himself.

Another one of your dates have killed themselves it seems.



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on: June 02, 2019, 03:47:59 AM
Valindra,

I want you to know that House Velstra was unimpressed by the Thaumaturges' betrayal of you. It was a courageous thing to strike down the warlock, knowing the immense personal risk. You have done the world (and my family in particular) a great service by delivering justice to that villain. Even Errilam balked at the spinelessness of your erstwhile masters in abandoning their own agent; no small thing, you know how he normally is about elves.

Before her disappearance, I was personally in negotiations with Nailah Massari for her hand in marriage, as part of a compact to stand as her champion in duels against House Orza. It was bewildering to hear that the challenge was changed, accepted, then cancelled entirely, in the space of an hour, while I was indisposed with morning duties.

Such a shriveling terror among the servants of Heaven, when confronted with a thing of Hell, does not inspire confidence. We often wonder now if they'll be as timid if it stops being convenient for them to support us.

But I still can scarcely believe it.

How could those stupid, shallow children have cast out someone more worthy of being a Thaumaturge than any of them?

We choose to remember, even if the communion closes its eyes, what you have done for all mortal souls in Ring 99. You have earned favor with the Velstra family. Speak to me when you are ready to claim it.

Choose wisely the nature of that favor.

Respectfully,
Retainer Adrian Winespill




Dear Adrian,

Thank you for your letter. You do not know how kindly your words are received right now. I thought a chart might help to illustrate how I am feeling after reading your letter.



I will not stain this parchment with too many words. I lack the poetic eloquence with prose that you display. To be able to convey your intent with few words is a talent - to be able to do so with graceful prose is an art.

I did not enjoy doing what I did, but I still feel it was the just thing to do in the situation. I think we both wish that the aftermath had been better handled.

Thank you again for the generous words and the kind honour you have bestowed upon me..

Sincerely,
Valindra Celebrian Elenwe




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on: June 02, 2019, 03:48:32 AM
I can still write.

And I choose to be grateful for small mercies like these. For the love of my friends, of Rochelle, and of my neighbors. For the breath I still draw. For the gardens of my lord father—Royal Favours and Eryngiums in bloom—that remain a home for me even now that I have been diminished. I choose to hold tightly onto the comfort they represent. Because if I let go even for a moment, I might come apart like a shattered pane of glass.

He does not understand what he has taken from me. He does not know, and he could not appreciate the loss if he did. He has never experienced the joy of creation. He has never felt his heart soar with each note that leapt from his fingers. What is a hand, to him, but a way to hold a weapon? A tool? A hammer with which to pound the world into submission? All a crusader like him cares about is his vain grasp for superiority, for control, never for the bliss of a perfect performance. Even now, I can hear a melody play out in my mind, begging to be put to the string. The anguish I am holding back, the fear haunting my thoughts, the tears I have hidden so that my family would not look weak, they cry out in harmony. And no words, no matter how pretty, could be enough to give them voice.

All I have left to perform with is this sword, and it is of uncertain use to me now that I cannot bear a shield to match it. But this sword is not who I am. It is something I must do, for hearth and home. I could never understand how Errilam could delight in the science of slaying. Did it make him feel powerful? Liberated, because a battlefield required no pretense at human decency? Because he could cut. And tear. And smash. And break. And defile. And no one would tell him to stop, because destruction was the point. Was it that monstrous edge which made him powerful, a killing intent that Ser Nicholas (for all his skill) would never want to match?

I will pray at this Banner, every night, for my King to heal me.

Please. Even if I must never lift another sword, please give me back my music.



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on: June 04, 2019, 12:24:45 AM
« Last Edit: August 29, 2021, 12:12:00 AM by Stranger »



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on: June 04, 2019, 12:44:17 AM
The despair is more dangerous than any debilitation of the flesh. It threatens to drown everything in the cold, icy waters. My friends. My position. All the power I held lived in the connections I shared with others, and if I do not find a way to pull myself up to breathe, they'll all sink with me. I cannot do that to them. I have to do more than look strong.

I don't understand why Godfrey even sought me out like that. Sigismund seemed just as confused. What meaningless, childish feat of hatred and fear would lead him to attack me? Who is he? Why would he even want to do this? Why would he scorn any dialogue, any explanation? Any negotiation? Just the mindless violence of an orc.

Let alone do this to me. Threaten the beginning of a war with the Peerage. No one wins in such a thing, that fool.

I've begun to talk things down. My Peers seem to want blood more than ever. But this will remain the tipping point where I stopped seeing these Arbiters as misguided heroes, and instead as deranged killers and cultists like any other menace I've had to drive from this city. I don't know if I'll ever have the heart to forgive them their madness against me. They've been all so smug about it. But I am not the kind of man to want more death, no matter how much I now hate them. There will be other revenges for this. Better, I think, than letting another slaughter start. But it would not be hard to politically corner them if I wanted them dealt the same wounds I sought for House Orza. It is a tempting poison to consider drinking. So I will banish it from my mind.

I tried taking up the harp. It is difficult to make complex sounds with only one hand, but there is mercy here nonetheless. It is not as sweet as my violin, or profound as the chateau piano. And the limitations frustrate me, every time I try. But I have to try. I need to. It is what I have, right now.

I won't get back up if I let myself stop.



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on: August 29, 2021, 01:01:18 AM
They tell me that I have been dead for years now.

Almost everyone I served beside is gone. Those I loved. Those I hated. They all fell, torn apart by the injustice that ever prevails within this City. Even the Peerage Ward itself seems to have gone mad; the Royal Archivist is dead and a darkness rules over the land, an ancient and terrible darkness that I can barely understand. The Houses are so different now. The rules have irrevocably changed. What am I supposed to do? Even something so simple as the just punishment of oathbreakers must be shrouded in urgent secrecy, lest we be overrun by the villains they turn to serve. It's so much. It's too much. I'm trying to put on a brave, kind face, but all I can want is to crawl back into bed and go back to sleep.

But it's hard to sleep. Sleeping feels like death to me now. I turn, restless, knowing that I must, and dreading that I shall. I don't remember what it was like, to be dead; it was a long dreaming that dragged me on through some terrible, unending night, and like it is with any dream I cannot hold onto more than the vaguest impressions now that I am awake.

Fleta. I don't know this woman, this weary knight who has moved heaven and earth to bring me back to the Velstra Vale, but my heart bleeds for the desperate hope in her eyes. Why does she believe that I can save her? I could scarcely save myself. Yet still she recites from my old poetry book as if it were some gospel of ancestral wisdom. I don't deserve to be her hero, to be some shining example for her to emulate, but perhaps I might pretend I do for her sake.

At least, I might, for a little while yet.

I need must find fresh flowers for the graves of a few old friends.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2021, 01:05:00 AM by Stranger »



Stranger

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on: January 13, 2022, 06:26:51 PM




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on: January 13, 2022, 06:27:18 PM