• 10/12/369

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    April 30, 2016 /  Entries

    What makes a person?

    Today, I buried three members of the White Flame. They didn’t know with whom they were fucking; they could hardly put up a fight. I have a few minor wounds – desperate dagger slashes, too shallow to even require stitches. They all died quickly, killed with the surgical precision I suppose is my trademark. Yes, I imagine I’ve killed enough people by now to have a trademark.

    I advocated for this, for simple and swift endings, for eschewing the appearance of due process lest we fail to respect excommunication sufficiently. But there is a part of me that sits uneasy, wondering… wondering, is humanity something so easily taken away? Is there such a thing as being utterly beyond salvation?

    Of course, there is because the Order decrees it, but… is it so true that every single member of the Flame is lost? Might some of them be salvageable beneath the brainwashing of their leaders?

    Then again, it was that sort of thinking that led me to persist with Casimir… persist again and again, well beyond the level of sanity or reason. I was still discussing giving him back nobility long after he’d proven he couldn’t be trusted with power or responsibility.

    Perhaps… there reaches a point where the possibility that someone could be saved isn’t sufficient justification for the effort. Perhaps what excommunication is really telling us is that our kindness, our charity, and our time is better-spent on those who choose not to spit in our faces.

    I could believe that. I do believe that, really. How could I not?

    Have I ever seen anyone saved, except by the pyre, when they didn’t want to be?

  • 8/12/369

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    April 14, 2016 /  Entries

    I can handle this. I can. Things are… under control, I think. It’s going to be all right; I know what to do.

    I think.

    Arien.

    At least she didn’t abandon me after all. And I didn’t… well, I did say things I regret, but I didn’t drive her away. And it was… good. It was a good conversation, moving forward on a new footing, building a better relationship.

    Funny, those lines could apply to three very different women, now that I think about it. I suppose I have a good deal of new and better relationships to forge in the near future.

    I just… need things to hang on a little bit longer…

  • 7/16/369

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    April 7, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    Summer, again.

    The walls are closing in, again. And I cannot even talk to anyone. I need her so badly, but she’s half the problem. Maybe… less than half, to be fair. But this anger – it’s blinding me to everything. I’ll make a mistake, I know it; I’ll say something I don’t mean, don’t want to say. Yet all the knowing in the world is doing nothing to prevent the mistake I feel brewing somewhere in my gut.

    And beyond her…

    I’ll never get away, will I? I was such a fool, such a young fool. Thought it wasn’t so important, wasn’t so bad; I even enjoyed it, more often than not. I had no idea. No idea of consequences, of aftermath. What boy does?

    “…you bastard knave! She had no choice,
    she had no chance, nor had she voice
    To find surcease for all she missed-
    Twas fainting desperate lips you kissed!”

    A terrible bit of doggerel from a truly awful play. Melodramatic, ham-fisted. Commoners marrying Dukes under assumed names. Only a member of the gentry would write such class-deaf nonsense.

    But that stanza… Salestri sings it when he believes his childhood friend, Mell, has slept with the Duke as her only way to survive and then been thrown out into the streets afterward. That stanza – it’s the one part of the whole ridiculous play that rings true to me.

    How little do people who have never truly wanted for the bare necessities understand desperation. How freely do they condemn what others do to survive, with no understanding of the luxury that allows them to speak.

    I had no choice. I had no chance, nor had I voice.

    Or is that simply how I choose to see it?

  • 5/12/369

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    March 21, 2016 /  Entries

    5/12/369

    I would go mad if I was dealing with all of this alone.

    Though, admittedly, sometimes I think I’ve gone mad already.

    I puzzle over it all. What did I do wrong? How did I fail her so badly? She idolized me, considered me a hero, even – dreamed of fighting at my side! Surely I could have said something more eloquent, done something more convincing, to make her turn herself in… instead of exposing the entire city to the kind of danger and damage a demon like the Sovereign poses. Arien, I shake thinking of how easily someone might have died, much like Baildana’s chevalier, and how completely it would have been my fault. I couldn’t have handled it alone… I didn’t even hardly handle it at all, given the curse I was under; it was all Tomas, really. Sending for help was the best choice… but we Knights are supposed to put ourselves in the line of fire, not ask others to put themselves in the line of fire for us.

    My shoulder aches so. I bruised it down to the bone knocking her door in, and then injured it further carrying the corpse to the morgue. Corpses that have bloated are… my least favorite thing. The smell, the feel, the utter foulness… the humors going to war, it seems, without the light of the soul to keep them in check or balance.

    She was telling me how I was her inspiration, her hero, while all the while that corpse rotted slowly in her basement.

    Sometimes I hate almost every part of this wretched world I continually bleed to protect.

  • Winter

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    February 11, 2016 /  Writing

    All must die-
    So I am told-
    And death appears
    As creeping cold.

    Fiery leaves,
    defiance bold;
    They quake in wind,
    they lose their hold.

    Color flees, and
    Flowers fold;
    silver steals
    The place of gold.

    The last of warmth
    And life is sold;
    An aging world
    Is become old.

  • Knights

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    February 11, 2016 /  Writing

    A priceless gem beyond compare
    Has fallen in the dirt;
    Trampled low, its faces soiled,
    And sullen in its hurt.

    Beneath the filth you see the light,
    The flash of beauty, cowled;
    The muck is all the sadder for
    The glory it has fouled.

    We scramble low, within this mud
    Of treachery and hate;
    In tears and sweat, in our own blood,
    against the teeth of fate.

    We do it all to save those gems,
    To pluck them from the mire;
    For each is priceless, past compare,
    And only cleansed by fire.

  • 7/25/368

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    January 5, 2016 /  Entries

    7/25/368

    Success! Most all of those outstanding warrants have finally been served. A few remain, but all in all, we have made remarkable progress in getting our house back in order. I could wish Rovar was slightly more present, but at least we’re not floundering, and it seems my Squire has at last returned. There is even good news about the Farin Foreign Quarter!

    And Sandomere, the case I was the most concerned about, done. Our informant can rest safe at last, beyond the reach of her revenge – especially if Sandomere was telling the truth, about being utterly alone in the world. I must think so. Otherwise, why take the risk of revealing yourself to a ‘mundane’, as she called us? And beyond that… her sadness spoke eloquently of isolation. It really did bring Curos Arents to mind. The melancholy of a mage who has survived all their companions, some part of them perished with each loss until nothing was left? It would make sense, in its own way. If the soul is twisted, blackened and cramped, perhaps it can offer no support to the injured and hurting heart. Yet another reason why the fire is a mercy.

    Beyond the Knights’ success in ensuring salvation lately, my melancholy has been more than adequately tamed. Oh, I have my fits of temper and my concerns – Tomas’s illness, for one! – but I have rarely had so prolonged a period where my enemies and issues were external rather than internal. Feeling yourself heal, feeling yourself recover, is a strange thing. Like repotting a fragile young plant, and watching its stems strengthen every day bit by bit. (Gardening is quite relaxing. I wish I had more time for the hands-on work.)

    I might reach out to Marisa for her birthday. I don’t know how, exactly, but… we’ve been too distant, too silent, of late. I do not want that – I’ve never wanted that – and I think I have the strength to make the first move, this time around.

    A year, nearly, since my travel to Farin. A year that is shaping up to be the happiest one I’ve ever known, oddly enough, because the happiness is authentic. I am myself, fully and completely, wounds and flaws and all. And that is fine. It is truly all right.

    Ah, what bloody sap!

    To more practical matters. I am sincerely weighing the question of political involvement once more, and perhaps these impersonal pages are the best place to think it through. Lord knows the Physicians only need me for the rare case, and there is no reason they could not summon me when required even if I were not officially affiliated. It has been made clear that I would be welcome at Court again.

    But I think Tomas underestimates the pushback that would follow. I made many enemies as Regent who were happy to witness my disgrace, and would be stunned and appalled to see my return. Even those who didn’t dislike me personally and believed my side of the story, rather than Gianina’s, were rather morally offended by my sins. There is no amount of penance that truly wipes away such things, they might say. And would they be wrong? Even if my soul is cleansed, there is still the point that I was willing to commit the sins in the first place.

    Well, I knew that of myself already. I once thought nothing was worse than death. But I have changed – I have learned otherwise. Far better death than to wither to nothing, like Arents, like Sandomere. Far better death than to give in to madness and bloody ruin, like the Flood Witch, like so many others. If I had the choice again, the choice to starve or to sin… well. Life is short, and eternity long.

  • 1/11/368

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    November 17, 2015 /  Entries

    1/11/368

    I put the wrong year on this entry not once, but twice. The first time, I actually tried 366.

    How time flies, aye? It’s been ten years now since Marisa and I wed in a flurry of celebration that overshadowed any lesser wedding Lithmore had seen during my time here – and many ostensibly greater ones, truth be told. Ten years. The cask of hippocras that Shaylei gave us to celebrate has reached its maturity. I never really thought I’d be considering broaching it under circumstances such as these. But what is there to say about it?

    Knight business is in a hopeless shambles at the moment. We have so many warrants piling up, yet no hope of executing half of them given our utter lack of any actual information. Too few boots on the ground, too many cases, and too little support from every direction. We’ve been so half-alive for so long that I hardly know what to do to fix it. Just trudging onward, chipping away at the backlog however we can… never losing sight of how critical these duties are.

    At least I have been lucky to enjoy excellent health this winter. I had one rather nasty bout of my illness, but only one, and my leg hasn’t bothered me at all in months now. I still have to be careful about overextending myself, but I can run a league in twenty minutes again.  (If only hunting mages simply consisted of the literal -hunting- part.)

    Life feels almost settled, almost routine, in a way I am grateful for. I have come to learn that these moments of peace are really all there is. There’s no point squandering them being worried about when they’ll end, when the next disaster is going to descend. Life happens in the cracks, the gaps, the spaces between.

    Now if I could just figure out what to do about all these damned cases…

  • 8/28/367

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    October 13, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    8/28/367

    There’s something very strange about embalming somebody that you know. Used to know? Knew? I don’t know. I’m not enough of a philosopher to know where you draw the line between the past tense and the present.

    Certainly when you’re elbows-deep inside of someone removing their internal organs, it doesn’t feel like they’re the person whose face they wear. After all, embalming is the process of presenting a shell to the world – a shell that looks as lifelike and pleasant as possible, but a shell, hollowed of everything that might decay. It was… good, I suppose, that Zumini’s wounds could all be hidden by his armor. Casimir’s case was nowhere near so easy. I wonder if anyone would have bothered for him if I didn’t?

    A few months ago I wrote how summer is a time of disaster, and for once, I was right. My peace and happiness, weak things that they are, were crushed easily under the weight of mistakes – both mine and others’. I am saner now than I was in the immediate aftermath of it all, able to keep going, but I am looking forward to this trip out of town with a painful degree of anticipation. Some time away from all of this, some time to simply enjoy myself… some time to rediscover that happiness and sense of self I had finally managed to grasp after so long.

    I do feel guilty for leaving so soon, given the fact Shaylei will inevitably need support. But I think she understands, and I will be a great deal more helpful to her upon my return than I can be now, walking around like a… I hardly even know the metaphor. Like a great pile of daggers inside a bag of skin, waiting for a single misstep? Scratched up in a hundred tiny ways, and fearing the misstep that ends it all.

    The misstep that ends it all. I should have made more time for Zumini. I knew how alone and isolated he was after the separation from his family. I should have reached out, ensured he knew he had a friend in me. Granted, in the last few weeks it wouldn’t have been possible, but… before that, I could have done… something. If he had felt less alone, maybe he would have been more careful, more considered, waited for help… but then again, maybe not. Perhaps nothing would have changed this outcome. (You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you!)

    All I can do is regret and try to live up to my promises – to make sure Shaylei and the children are safe, to be a good and true Knight.

    This trip… so much rests on this trip.

  • (Undated)

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    October 2, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    One second I hate her. The next second I hate myself. She was safe; when nobody else was safe, she was always safe. I could trust her; I thought I could always trust her.

    I scrub and it doesn’t do anything. Why would it? I don’t own this body. It isn’t mine. It belongs to her and she wants me to feel this.

    I destroyed the painting but every room is full of signs. Things. Everywhere. It makes so tired I want to cry. Nowhere is safe but the conservatory. Or the gardens. I could sleep in the gardens.

    Sin begets sin, misery begets misery. I should have been alone for the rest of my life. I should have stayed alone. Instead I was selfish and this is the price. I have to do something. My face? No – I’ve already taken several scars and it hasn’t changed anything. I could go to the Order. Beg them to take me on despite my vows. Or I could be sure. Sure I never sinned again. The lash wasn’t enough. The knife… the knife might be…

    I know my mind isn’t right. I know I have to stop thinking these things.

    I don’t know what to do.

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