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    Drunken Pilgrim

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    Genevriel
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    Drunken Pilgrim

    Post by Genevriel on 09/12/14, 12:39 am

    Gen's vision was swimming as she lurched her way towards the dark blot on the horizon. You've really done it this time, that wretched voice muttered in the back of her head. It is impossible that Myrtale could not have noticed how drunk you are. Hush you, Gen admonished herself. You don't know how it feels. I rather think I do, the voice replied, since I am you. And you - we - are going to be sick as dogs come morning.

    We are all one, we are all one, whispered the endless chorus of voices.

    SHUT UP! Please, Gen begged. The wind was picking up, burning cold on her wet cheeks. I don't want my uncle to die...  At length, she made it the top of the rise known as the Downs, where lights were few and far between and she could actually pick out more than a handful of stars in the night sky. She collapsed to her knees and threw her head back so she could see them.

    "Please. I know I'm not a very good servant; I don't have the slightest clue what you want from me, or who you are, or what I am supposed to be. I hurt, I'm tired, I'm forever asking you to do things for me, to heal this person or that one... And you never ask for anything in return, or at least, not in words I understand. So I am sorry that I am going to ask you for something else. Please, if you can... if it's your will, can you help my uncle Jerard regain his health? It's not for me so much; I barely know him. But Dorien... I think Dorien still needs his father, though he probably wouldn't admit it. I don't know what happened between them, but I hope it can be mended, in time, and if uncle Jerard dies, they won't have that time. I'm sorry; I'm greedy; I'm nothing special, to ask for all these favours. I... know you'll do what's best, and I thank you for it, whatever it may be."

    Gen didn't expect anything; didn't want to come to expect anything, because she knew she should take nothing for granted. But she didn't know how else to help Dorien, without being there for him, which she felt sure would not help his mother, and so she sat back on her heels, and watched the stars wheel overhead. She waited, and prayed, and waited again, and hoped that the morning would bring better news.
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    Curtana
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    Re: Drunken Pilgrim

    Post by Curtana on 11/12/14, 08:16 pm

    Gen's prayer, or whatever it might have been, remained stubbornly unanswered, as far as she was able to tell. If her uncle or her cousin received any divine favour, she wouldn't know out here in the dark, alone with the stars...

    Or maybe not quite alone. There was a rustling sound like dead leaves blown by the wind, which was what she thought it was at first. But it continued even when the wind died down, sounding closer than before, and she became aware that there was a woman crouching near a pile of rubble - maybe the remnants of a section of the old city wall, or an ancient building long since fallen into ruin. She was humming to herself, a song that was familiar to Gen, but that she didn't know any of the words to. In her clouded mind the words spoken by the voices seemed to fit with the tune - We are all one.

    The woman's grey hair was long and tangled, making it difficult to get a clear look at her face, but she had to be old. She rubbed her weathered hands together as if trying to warm them, and out of the darkness stepped a large cat - too big to be a stray. This was more the size of a lynx, and its eyes glinted in the darkness as it curled up by her feet and allowed her to rub its mottled grey fur.

    "Come over, if you're lost," the woman said in a rusty voice. "Ghost won't hurt you."
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    Genevriel
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    Re: Drunken Pilgrim

    Post by Genevriel on 11/12/14, 09:58 pm

    Gen rubbed her eyes, uncertain whether she was dreaming or hallucinating or what. When she opened them again, the woman and her cat still seemed to be there. She was pretty good at identifying wildlife - it was one of the subjects she'd been fascinated by as a child - but she wasn't sure what kind of cat this might be.

    She eyed the woman and the cat with some apprehension, then remembered to avert her gaze; staring was rude. The woman's appearance on the darkened hillside in Gen's time of need had the makings of a nursery tale, and it was always a bad idea to treat people with discourtesy in nursery tales.

    Gen wondered how to properly address her. There was a small possibility that the woman might mean her harm - not that Gen had anything anyone else would want to take from her. It was more likely that this woman was a homeless person who camped out on the Downs. But for all that, she deserved as much respect as anyone else. We are all one. It wasn't as if Gen was that far removed from being homeless herself. She settled on a term that she'd heard Psyrene peasants use to respectfully address an unknown older woman, only she translated it into Aveyronnais.

    "Goodmother, I thank you, but I'm not lost. Even if I didn't know where I was, I always know where the One star is."
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    Curtana
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    Re: Drunken Pilgrim

    Post by Curtana on 17/12/14, 12:34 am

    The old woman nodded, still scratching the cat's fur as the large beast purred comfortably, all the while keeping its yellow eyes fixed on Gen. "You can find your way by the stars sometimes, all right. But stars move - sometimes not the way you expect. Can you still trust the stars after that?"
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    Genevriel
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    Re: Drunken Pilgrim

    Post by Genevriel on 17/12/14, 07:21 pm

    Gen was not really in a state to have a philosophical discussion; an unfortunate side effect of her painkiller regimen. (The voice snorted its disgust.) Thinking was hard.

    "The... the One star doesn't move; it's at the centre of the Wheel - it's the hub. It's true all the other stars move... even disappear and reappear... around it, even Serpent, whom I suspect might be the rim. But the One star remains constant, and has forever, as far as I know. Sailors use it, and merchants... and me..."

    Very few people aside from her family, Dorien, and Madds had ever appreciated her ability to think, and most of them were dead now. Of those who lived, Dorien had changed, and she knew she had too. It was to be expected of growing things, of living things. But it would have been nice to have less drastic changes than she'd experienced.

    "Everything else might change... has changed. Nothing is what... what it was supposed to be. But the One star doesn't change. It's the one thing... the only thing... if I can't trust it, then what is there that I can trust?"

    She couldn't stop her tears from falling - oh how she wished she could stop crying!  She needed to be able to trust one thing. She needed something to cling to like driftwood in the unending ocean her life had become. Even if it defied all logic.

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    Re: Drunken Pilgrim

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