Time is but a dimension
Seethlaw/Ringil – PG16
“Several truths coexist within the Aldrain Marches. An infinite number of them, to tell the truth”
Seethlaw doesn’t even turn around as he speaks, as he explains, and behind him, Ringil struggles to follow him, both literally and figuratively. Didn’t they already pass through here, earlier? Well, “earlier”... As much as it could mean in this place!
“So everything is possible?”
“Everything has already happened. But you didn’t realize it.”
“And here? Did we fuck for real or not?”
Seethlaw laughs softly.
“What do you think?”
A small skirmish
Ringil, Gingren – PG13
“This is not funny, Ringil.”
“Oh really, father?”
“Yes, really! Good grief! You keep getting on the wrong side of the Invigilators…”
“With all due respect, I’d rather this side be behind them.”
"… which borders on madness”, Gingren kept going in an icy tone. "Was once not enough for you?”
Silence fell, suddenly filling the air. But the first one to avert his eyes is not Ringil, who darkly replies : “Of course it’s funny. To obey such absurd rules, life has to be a game. Otherwise, better to not have been born.”
Knowing how to turn a blind eye
Archeth – PG
Seeing things how they really were was a gift Archeth could have easily done without. That way, she wouldn’t have to ingest enough krinzanz to burst the blood vessels in her eyes, or to shiver like an old crone in the middle of the court.
At first, she’d believed in the nobility of her people’s actions towards humans, this race too frail to defend itself. Then there had been the war. Men against the Scaled Folk, first. Then men against men. She had opened her eyes then. She had seen. And no longer wanted to.
Trouble of everyday life
Ringil – PG
“Friend or foe?”
The wind carried the question away while Ringil didn’t wait for an answer. By definition, the one hiding didn’t harbor good intentions. This line too, he’d have to write down in an appendix to his treatise on war, the one he’d never publish.
“Well, are we going to wait all night?”
Ravensfriend was already shining under the bandlight, in the opening of its sheath. Gripping the familiar hilt, Ringil grumbled : “Whoever you are, I hope you’re in a hurry to die.”
Today is a good day to die
Ringil, his men - PG
Weary and despondent, the men huddle around the fire, too weak to dry their soaked clothes, covered with mud. The Scaled Folk have advanced, again. Smoke on the horizon has proved this.
The discouragement is palpable, and prompts Ringil to stand up in their midst. He’s weary too, frozen to the bone. But he’s their leader.
He knows all of them by name. So he speaks to them. Of the life they’ve given up to come and fight. Of the reasons why they’re here, with him. Their eyes light up. Smiles flash here and there. Perhaps this will be enough.
Or perhaps it won’t.
An expected end
Ringil, Grace-of-Heaven – PG
He’s really lost everything. Even himself. Grace-of-Heaven can read it in Gil’s eyes, here to kill him.
The coming sentence is not a surprise for the slaver. But more than his own end, what makes him sorry in that instant is the price paid by his former lover.
“I told you though”, Grace says softly. “No one leaves the Gray Places unscathed. Not even you, Gil.”
“Maybe. But I’m still alive.”
“You’re still a bad liar.”
Because no, Grace didn’t imagine the spark of blue fire in the eyes of his past love, and future executioner.
(No) One to love
Archeth/Ishgrim – PG13
“Tell me : would you still love me if I were a man?”
Archeth didn’t know which was more hypnotizing, Ishgrim’s smooth voice or the heavy breasts hanging in front of her eyes. Still not enough to prevent the deep meaning of the question from reaching her full conscience.
No, of course not. Ishgrim was beautiful and sweet, as much as one could be when leaving Jhiral’s harem, and devilishly sensual. And she was a woman. These were her only attractive traits for the Kiriath. On top of the Guilt she inspired in her.
“Probably”, she lied. “But you’re not, and that’s for the better.”
He thought he’d seen the girl in the kitchen.
Oh for fuck’s sake…
Shit. One last glance to his mother confirmed the bleak reality : he really needed to stop doing krin. Or at least keep the dosage down : he no longer had the twenty years of age that allowed him to withstand the drug’s effects without suffering from more than a headache. Fuck, he was hallucinating now!
The warmth of the cup, and the oh-so-distinctive smell of what it held, still lasted in his mind. Enough for doubt to creep back in. If he hadn’t dreamed this girl up, who was she?