Thursday, March 7, 2013

In Flux e01 : Shadows of Esteren

In Flux
Episode One
"Donan's Journal - C and G and Eight"

My name is Donan Roik.
I am an Investigator.

And I am saying this at the start of my entry because I want to remember that is what I am.

I awoke to find myself naked (as usual) in some woman's home.  Cormarel I think her name is.  Cormirel?  Ah, I was never good with names.  I calmly leave the bed and find my Rebec.  I decide to play myself some music while I figure out what this woman wants from me.  Most women want something from me.  But this one.  She's clearly under the impression she's in charge.  I best let her keep that assumption.

She speaks of her twin sister.  Identical, she stresses, which clearly suggests she believes I am smitted by her appearance.  What is it with women who believe their beauty is that bewitching?  I don't see people obsessing over an apple, when there are melons, bananas, strawberries and grapes waiting to be tasted.  Why should women be different?  The sister's name is Gilana, or at least that's how it might be spelled.  She's a woman of Faith, it seems, which tends to mean her morals are far more important than her freedom.  And supposedly she is to be married to some man soon.  Cormereal (Gosh, that's what, my third attempt at her name now?) flatters me claiming I can teach her sister "true happiness" before her wedding night.  Clearly she's pulling on what she believes are my strings.  Even worse, I admit the prospect does interest me.  I haven't bedded a young woman of the Temple before.   She offers me two Frost as payment, but the daols don't truly interest me.  I urge the addition of a Notebook.  And one of her signature scents.  She relents.

A bit too quickly.  Hmm.

I can almost imagine it happening.  Somewhere in the vast distance, a young man is being told to do his familial duty.  He's probably brash, or barbaric.  Or maybe suave but more into men.  Regardless marrying is the least of his interests and now he has no choice but to do so.  I wonder if he even knows how to bathe.

Probably end up cutting himself or something while there.  Worse yet, with his dogs.

If I were a storyteller, I'd add the tale of one of the Varigals to the events.  Varigals were always the interesting sort.  I could not fathom having such courage, to travel between towns on one's own.  Without soap.  Or soft bedding.   But yes, I could imagine a Varigal... a foreigner to be more interesting perhaps receiving a job from the unlikeliest of sources.  Say perhaps a child.  (I was tempted to say a talking goat, but that might lure the Feondas upon me!)  He would probably be caught in events far greater than his liking. Glowing costs extra.  Humming costs extra.  But nothing matters if you can't talk your way out.  Or remember.

I just re-read my earlier entry.  I must have been sipping far too much wine the previous night.  What on this forsaken land did I just write! Oh well, at least this quill and ink were free.  I walked up to a shop before leaving and knowing how most merchants are aware notebooks are expensive things, held my new notebook just enough to suggest it was of some import.  I easily persuaded the shop owner to allow me to "test his quill and ink" and proclaimed them fit for selling.  I left with both before he could speak in his own defense.  People can be so easily spun around with the right words, the perfect timing, and the disarming smile.   The Varigal and Cormyel speak and I catch him reporting to her some message.  "They feed on Flux" are the words, and I jot them down in my memory for future use.  Too often, people let slip lines which prove to be their undoing.  I have learned never to ignore such resourceful gifts.  

While I traveled with my foreign Varigal, a dark skinned man who seemed one of the Tarish.  Rashid, I think his name was.  I felt he was just as frustrated about how Carmichel talked to him.  (Damn, what is her name really?) so I tried to reach out to him.  Offered him my Battle Axe as a show of how I was willing to place my life in his hands.  He simply informed me he does not use such weapons.  I don't think we quite connected.

The trip was long, but partly my fault.  The milk maid half a night from the town looked just ravishing.  I had to ravage her.  And the young farmer's boy a day from the destination looked delicate enough for my hunger.  We bathed in the nearby river afterwards.  Damn, I think I put on Cormariel's perfume instead.  Oh well, I can use it to claim she turned me down.  Perhaps that will gain the sister's favor.  Given her interests, I can imagine this Gilana would not approve of anything Corrie would.

Our arrival showed animosity in the air.  My eyes quickly caught the worried glances and the nervous looks. The man who welcomed us, his name was Liam, looked distraught and struggled to be accommodating.  His dogs perhaps smelled my quite gifted bone and seemed intent to attack.  I wondered if the man was indeed as barbaric as I imagined him, and easily visualized how he and Gilana would probably be at odds most of the time.  Man of the Wild to wed woman of the Temple?  You'd sooner see a cat rut with a dog if you ask me.   Liam's brother arrives.  Clearly one of the Demorthen.  I try to be courteous but he quickly dismisses me and drags the Varigal away to talk.  He mentions some contract between the Demorthen and the Varigals.  I don't recall ever hearing of such a thing.

As Liam and I walk down the corridor, I realize the dogs might not be angry at me per se.  Dogs, from what I've been told, are beasts born with their noses first.  Smell is everything.  While Liam spoke with his future bride-to-be, I slid my own personal perfume upon me and left a dab of Corrie's on the other side of the hallway.  The dogs attentions shifted to the hall, as I suspected.  My brain quickly began to consider truths.

Truths are the bread and butter of a man's words, you see.  Even the words he does not actually say.  That's why I always ask people I meet, "Are you married?" when I first find them fascinating.  The question disarms them, and immediately brands me a fop.  The misunderstood impression works to my favor, and leads them to display the tell-tale signs of how they lie.  "Yes," a woman would say, But I would catch how her throat shifts as she swallows her guilt, and her fingers fondle her neck unconsciously.    "Yes," the man would cry out, and while I ignore his passionate disgust at the thought of sparring fleshy swords, I easily see how his body speaks when he desires to make a truth spoken clear.
I wander off after speaking with a wounded Gilana, whose personality is far too much like her sister while she was riding me well.  This Gilana is by no means the woman of the Temple I was hired to "teach."

A fĂȘte.
Why they don't just call it dinner is beyond me.  Oh the terms used by barbarians and priests.    Dinner is served and Gilana addresses us all like a prepubescent virgin with an itchy fish between her thighs.  She swoons so often I feel insulted by her passions. All the gods (real and false) know how much I delight in the pursuit of fleshy flavors, but you don't see me throwing myself out there as if my hole demanded plugging.  She rises to dance and drags Liam to join him.  His reluctance is amusing.  I imagine he's the type to force a woman on all fours and take her from behind.  Just like how I take my men.  But then Liam's brother stars throwing disdain at my direction once more.  I begin to wonder how much of it is hate and how much is an act hoping to distract me from his true intentions.  He tries to convince Rashid to dance with me and I counter by inviting him to dance instead.  He feints my offer.  Frustrated, I splash Corrie's dog-luring scent upon his face.   Rashid joins me on the floor, and deep inside I weep for the Demorthen's lack of clarity.  I sense we are on the same side, but he has a point to prove.  So I decide to be the fool and bumble along.  Rashid and I dance, and for the briefest of moments, his appearance shifts.  Instead of a man, some horrid, rotting face emerges.  A festering corpse of some sort.  I remain calm and dance as if I noticed nothing odd.  I admit to Rashid that I sense we are being set up.  That I am the man made to be the murderer.  And that he to be framed as my accomplice.  There were later mentions of the terms Flux Poisoned.  Or Flux Thralled.  But damn it I failed to mark to memory why such things were mentions.  My attentions were distracted by the amusement of knowing the proud Demorthen was attacked by the dogs.

At least that cemented my suspicions on the perfume.

Later that eve, a private meeting. Liam has me and the Varigal Rashid summoned forth.  We discuss our truths and I easily make out the Demorthen's presence in the vicinity.  The burly man breathes far too loud.  Like a snoring goat.  As we discuss possibilities, I ask if the wound has been cleansed.  My brain has yet to grasp if Gilana's state of being is intentional or not, given her personality was caused by the shard of a Magience weapon left festering in the wound.  It seemed too clumsy a method to make her... an embarrassment to the temple.   (I know I would have just slipped some aphrodisiac into her food, then made sure the monks were audience to her loud fitful rutting with the barbarian groom.)  The wound in inspected and true enough a shard is retrieved.  Blue fluid oozes from the wound, and Gilana becomes the bitch we all expected her to be upon meeting her.

So far, my suspicions seem sound.  Corrie sent me to be the fall-guy, even if logic would clearly dictate a man who had just traveled days to get her could not have actually fired the bolt.  Worse even, I don't even know how to use such a device, nor weapon.   Remember, I use a battle axe.  I like having a big weapon.  Size tends to intimidate.  Even better when one knows how to use it.

Sorry.  I digressed there.  Had to relieve myself.  Forget I wrote that.  Going back, there is conspiracy afoot and I am being set to take the fall.  So it is best to give them what they want.  After all, that is what I do best.  I will take the blame.  We will have them murder me before the audience of monks and men.  And let's see who will benefit from the death of a fopish man with a beautifully played redec.

Damn.  I just realized.  Neither mountain man nor Varigal might have understood that I meant for them to FAKE my death.  I just might actually end up dead in the end!

Oh well, at least I slept with eight new people since my last entry.
And my last entry was barely a week ago.


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