April 1st, 2013

Elf

Correcting Assumptions

I wote this to kunama_wolf's prompt "Angel universe, if you can work that in somehow."  It follows on from Choices and Consequences.

Orges and Leodes were ushered by their long-lost brother Birgenes through a series of courtyards and cloister-like walkways to a laver. The centre of the room was occupied by a three tiered fountain with water cascading down the three tiers into the basin at the bottom. A stack of fresh towels stood one end of a bench, there was a bowl of soap sitting in the middle and the wicker basket of used towels sat beside its other end. The top two towels in the basket were blood stained.

“Looks like Zarana and Kaeso had a rough lesson this morning,” commented Birgenes. “I know Tito knows what he’s doing with their training, but I still worry.” He proceeded to pick up a piece of soap to wash his hands and smiled at his two brothers who were still looking around them, “Come on you two, you don’t want to keep everyone waiting.”

The brothers reluctantly copied him and allowed themselves to be led out into the adjoining courtyard. There they found themselves confronted by a long table laden with food and lined with people. Birgenes led them straight to the tall, athletic woman their own age seated at the head of the table. Both brothers noted that she fitted the description their brother’s old friend, Forgenes, had given them of his owner.

“Dear,” Birgenes was addressing her in a tone that neither of his brothers had ever associated with slavery, “I’d like to present my older brother, Orges, and my younger brother, Leodes. Gentlemen, this is my wife, Saprista Birgenia.” While his brothers’ minds were still grappling with that, Birgenes went on, “The large, worn man in the middle of the table is Saprista’s brother, my brother-in-law, Tito Wesnivus. He instructs the household in weapon use.” Tito seemed to be smiling, but the scars made it difficult to be certain. “Then there are our children. Apina, you’ve already met. Zarana and Kaeso,” he indicated a teenaged boy and girl with their mother’s build, then his hand moved on to indicate the oldest looking boy on the far side of Tito, “our eldest son, Nones, and our eldest girls, Callista and Yiara. Then coming back this way,” his hand moved to point at the younger children sitting on the side of the table nearest them, “Publio, Eramilla, Serto, Gavia and Lustia. Now, you two come and sit with me up here and we can talk over lunch.”

Stunned by the overturning of the their ideas about their brother’s situation, and the profusion of individual combinations of mixed Benarian and Gelaharine features before them, Orges and Leodes sat quietly in their places beside their host at the true head of the table.

hippeastrum

An Important Conversation

I wrote this to starlitdestiny's first prompt, " The choice between life, love, and death."


...I have a choice?

There is always a choice. Some options are simply rejected.

How can you have the middle without the first?

You would be surprised.

I’m sure I would. Can I choose everything, in combination and in order?

Everything is not one of the choices you are being offered here. Take your time.

Why does this come up when I’m alone and in the dark?

When else would it come up?

Fair enough. Can I ask questions about the consequences of each choice?

Of course. But I can only give you the answers you already have. I cannot give you new information.

Why not?

Because it is your choice. To be made with what you know now. Feel free to ask questions.

What happens if I choose life?

You continue to breathe, to grow, to change and to adapt.

What about death?

What about it? If you choose death, then you cease. Your body stops, you cease to grow or to change and you lack the ability to adapt. Your non-corporeal elements “shuffle off this mortal coil” and the chapter closes, fin.

What about after that?

I can only tell you what you already know.

Can’t blame me for trying.

Blame isn’t what this is about.

So, what about love?

Emotional life, both good and bad. Pain and joy. The power to change the world around, and to change yourself, for good or ill.

So if I choose life, I don’t get this?

It is a choice.

Hang on, if life gives you the ability to change but love gives you the power to change, then choosing love doesn’t exclude life.

Neither does it exclude death.

What if I refuse to choose?

Then you remain here. In the dark. Alone.

Way to weight the conversation.

You have a choice.

So the real choice is life, love, death or…this?

Yes.

I choose love.

Good bye. I’m sure we’ll talk again someday.

Eyes flutter open and take in chaos. “Oh good, you’re awake,” says a relieved but unfamiliar voice. “The doctor will be with you in just a minute.”