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 Post subject: A breakfast w/ Tukufu where nothing much happens
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1725
Location: Portland OR
PART 1 of 3

Just after dawn my morning began with the usual rituals, simultaneously pleasant and depressing.

On the plus side I woke up with bright sunlight spilling in from a narrow window. I could smell the familiar scents of paper, papyrus, and old vellum. I was in the rare book room of Litera Scripta Manet. LSM to friends.

Get up. Roll and stash my bedroll in the corner.

Yes, the old one I carried across the Hinterlands during the Crusade…

Use the water from the pitcher. Shave. Get dressed.

I kept repeating the advice I got. Not to give in to despair. Mostly I succeeded. I am blessed by Altheres. I own a magnificent shop dedicated to preserving and spreading knowledge. I have a large number of friends. I own, a few, fabulous items…

Belt on Acuity. Maybe take a moment to draw the blade and admire the glassteel in the light. Run my fingers over the runes. Heroes of legend would have been proud to carry you.

That much of my life was pretty good.

On the downside…well the books smelled wonderful but even so, they didn’t smell as good as my wife's hair. Belinay wasn’t next to me. She was across the hall sleeping in the master bedroom. In our comfortable feather bed.

And I’m back to the bedroll. At least I don’t have to worry about scorpions …

Or do I? I lock the door to this room every night. And I hope and pray it's still really Belinay who looks back at me. But I don’t know with any certitude. Given the powers of Mattias and his influence in the Golden Court, I can’t be entirely sure. Whose soul stares out of her eyes now? Or are there other passengers in her body?

Yeah I know how that sounds. Paranoid.

I haven’t said these words out loud. Not even as a whisper. Still, thats where things stand. Somehow Matias “Spirit Mount” had the women of the Golden Court under his thumb. It wasn’t traditional mind control. I could detect and defeat that through my own use of the arcanum. Matias had done something else…

I’ll kill him.

Sometimes the heartache of Belinay’s enslavement and the rift that had opened between us bordered on physical pain. And on bad days I was tempted to consider that I was delusional - that Belinay had just fallen out of love with me. But then I thought about the woman I married, and I thought about that noose wearing weasel.

I’ll kill him.

Whatever else was happening, it wasn’t the natural charm of Matias I needed to worry about. Besides if Aunt Nasha could cut down Ys from behind, then it wasn’t just about me and Bel. It wasn’t just in my head. I might be caught up in a nightmare, but it wasn’t a paranoid delusion. I haven’t been hit in the head too often.

I’ll kill him…but how? He’s in the entourage of the … the Great General. Say “the Great General.” Even here in the privacy of my own head, never the “D” word. Never the “D” word.

My thoughts chased each other. Mostly in circles. I hated the feeling of powerlessness. That was pretty normal for how I woke up these days.

At least I was waking up. Poor Ys. The Tomal Khan had been a good ruler and a good man. Not a common combination. He deserved a better end. But his death was useful as an object lesson on balancing love and trust. If Aunt Nasha, under Matias’ influence, could kill Ys - then I had to keep it permanently fixed in my thoughts that I can't let my guard down around Belinay.

That much of my life is wretched… Well, time for breakfast.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A breakfast w/ Tukufu where nothing much happens
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1725
Location: Portland OR
PART 2 of 3

Breakfast was something of a communal affair at Litera Scripta Manet. It was a chance for everyone to touch base and make plans for the day ahead. Usually that wasn’t really necessary. We all were all professional book worms. My staff knew how to do their jobs. As often as not we just talked about recent discoveries, or rumors floating around the city.

I was never a big eater in the morning. But one of the the advantages of owning LSM continues to be the amazing people who work for me. Someone always takes on breakfast duty. While I might not wake up hungry, I am perfectly happy to nibble on something if it was put in front of me.

I’d even started drinking the foul brew known as posca.

Have you ever tried it? T’messe swears by it. Supposedly Coryani Legionnaires drink it for breakfast. T’messe says he picked up the habit from an ex centurion named Marcus during his years in the Shining Patrol. Though why veterans still drink this later in life is harder to fathom.

Posca is an acquired taste. At best. A typical recipe is one and a half cups of vinegar or sour wine, four cups of water, a sprinkling of crushed coriander seeds and maybe half a cup of honey. You bring it all to a boil in a saucepan to dissolve the honey, and serve it warm.

You can tell which members of my staff are ex Shining Patrol just by watching who drinks what in the morning.

T’messe swears posca helps fight hangovers and scurvy. I am deeply reluctant to assign the drink any medicinal properties. But I’m ex Crusade and I hate the idea that one of Felix’s Irregulars somehow has a less manly morning than his Shining Patrol employees. I know, thats a stupid reason to drink posca. Laugh at me if you want. I’m pretty sure T’messe does some mornings.

Still, I will say this. If you choke down a whole glass then I guarantee you that you are up and ready to attack the day. In fact drinking this stuff every morning probably goes a long way towards explaining why legionaries are so ready to impale people with swords…

I’ll kill him.

I contented myself by cutting up a few dried figs with a knife.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A breakfast w/ Tukufu where nothing much happens
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1725
Location: Portland OR
PART 3 of 3

The pleasant chatter trailed off abruptly. I didn’t need to look up. By now I just knew. The staff was probably shooting me nervous glances as Belinay joined us. I stopped nibbling on my figs.

Here we go …

“Good morning Bel. You’re up a little early.”

“Husband.”

Only one word. I suppressed a wince at her cool formality. A sign of foreign influence? Or just unhappiness? Once upon a time we were a conspiracy of two against the world. And she called me by my name. Then - effectively a lifetime ago - she only used “husband” when I was getting called to task for something I had done wrong.

I haven’t done anything wrong.

The staff made for the stairs or the scriptorium. T’messe lingered a moment and shot me a look with a slight shrug of his shoulders. I wasn’t sure what he was offering but shook my head slightly. But I also signaled to bring over a pot and bread on his way out.

“Come join me.” I gestured to the pot. “Still hot”

I saw something of my old Bel as she glanced at it with mock suspicion. She pulled face. “That’s not posca is it?”

“That pot? Tea. Swear by Sarish.”

She settled in to my left. A wave of longing welled up. But I also noted all the sharp cutlery within reach. Are you still you in there Bel? I wanted to brush her dark hair with my fingers. Instead I made myself sit still and wait for what she had to say. I could guess easily enough. But I waited for her to speak. She took her sweet time. Sipping tea. Buttering a slice of bread. She didn’t look over at me. Eventually I looked away out over the roof tops of the neighborhood.

“I saw you packed your travel bags last night.” Finally.

Yeah, I did…it was my turn to pause.

“Message came yesterday." I didn't say from who or how. "Emperor Scipio passed.” No sign of a reaction. Was that good? Or bad? “If I really hurry I might reach Grand Coryan before the State Funeral is finished. Even if I miss the official ceremonies, I should pay my respects. The Emperor did honor me with an Armilius.” I paused - wary of picking a fight, “I waited up to tell you last night…you must have gotten back after I went to sleep.”

Was that a hunch in her shoulders? “I was at the Golden Court,” my wife said.

Duh. Is there anywhere else you go? I’ll kill him…but not today.

She still wasn’t looking at me.

“Yeah. My best to Aunt Nasha next time you see her…” Might as well get it all out, “I ve heard whispers that there is trouble brewing with Malioch in the Western Lands. Or raiding batmen on the frontier. After Seremas, Liveh and the bloody mess in Dhaakar I seem to have a budding reputation there. I might detour to the League before I come home to see and report on the craziness. I could be gone for a month. Maybe a little more.”

I waited in silence for several long heartbeats. Book and Hammer Bel, please say something. Recently you’ve been gone a lot Tukufu. I wish you wouldn’t go Tukufu. Take me with you Tukufu, let’s get out of this city while we can…

Looking at her profile I could see the beginnings of a frown in her brows. But that was it.

I’m defeated. Again.

“Well. I need to get on the road. May I?” I leaned in and softly kissed her where her cheek met her ear. I thought she might have been a touch surprised. “Love you Bel, stay safe while I’m gone.”

I turned and went downstairs to exit by my front door. Safe travels? Come home soon? Watch out for those batmen? No such luck. Apparently I would build no bridges today.

T’messe was waiting for me by the front door.

“Safe travels boss.”

I looked back upstairs and at the staff as they opened the store for the day.

“I’ll be careful.” I rested my hand on my sword and tapped the hilt twice with my finger, “You be careful too.”

He nodded and did the same with his flintlock. “I’ll keep the evacuation plan updated.” he said in a low voice.

Then T’messe blinked, and gestured back towards the staircase.

I turned to look back and to my surprise I saw Belinay coming halfway down. Her brown eyes looked sad. She had a shawl wrapped tightly around her like armor but she raised the fingers of her left hand.

I raised a hand in farewell too. Whatever Matias has done to you, hang in there. I’ll find a way to fix it. I just need time and the right allies.

I left and rode hard for the Citadel of Anshar and the Gate that would take me to Grand Coryan. I had to see a dead emperor. And of course there was a good chance some of those potential allies might be found around the Imperial Court...

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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