Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Conversation around a Candle

Briar sat alone at a table in the Inn of the Dancing Maiden, staring into the flickering light of the lone candle on the table. The sounds of revelry filled the inn's common room, but the 30 or so people shied away from the dark corner, leaving her with her thoughts.

"A copper for your thoughts," said the figure as he moved up to the table. Briar blinked, suddenly brought back to the here and now by Bordane's voice.

"Oh, uh, they surely wouldn't cost that much," she mumbled as he put a leather jack of mulled wine in front of her.

"Come now, I can see something's preoccupying your mind. Spill it," the young man smiled.

Briar nervously eyed her fellow noble, noticing his smile didn't touch his eyes. They were cold, grey chips of flint. "It's just, I mean, I was thinking of the last few days... or was it a day?"

Bordane nodded, taken a sip from his own mug, "You're referring to the High Forest."

Briar also nodded, her fingers nervously playing with the rings of condensation the mugs made on the tabletop. "We broke their trust, the fey I mean. We had an alliance and then we set out to kill them," her voice quivered.
Bordane watched her fingers, then looked at her face. His own visage was a stony mask, unfeeling to his companion's distress. When Briar looked up however, his face softened, and there appeared some semblance of empathy in his eyes.

"We went into the forest and were attacked -" he started to say.

"We went to kill them," she interjected. Bordane held up his hand to continue, Briar quieted down.

"We were hired to kill them, but we're not like those skeletons that Eva creates. Who's to say what would've happened once we got to the fey settlement? We could've changed our minds. Instead, they attacked us, never once trying to find out what we were up to," finished Bordane.

Briar slowly nodded, and then stopped, "But our intent-"

"Intent? Intent? They attacked us with murderous intent, I'd say. Just ask Griffith or Eden, they'll tell you. They attacked first, meaning to kill us all," snapped Bordane.

Briar's eyes filled with tears at the naming of her dead companions. Bordane continued, "Mayhap we were wrong to even enter an alliance with such fickle, chaotic creatures. No, Briar, we were not in the wrong, they were. You shouldn't feel any guilt. What if we'd been simple travelers, unable to defend or fight back? It's best we did what we did and I'd do it again. You do see that we were right, yes?"

Briar snuffled and nodded, lowering her face and wiping her eyes. Bordane watched her intently.

"Now, we'll have no more talk of being wrong, yes? The Company is always right." he said softly, but with a menace underneath.

Briar looked at him under her brows "I understand completely." His voice, she thought, was like a steel gauntlet covered in silk...

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