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.