The OOC thread for this Role Play can be found here
. If you are new to this tale, please read the opening post of that thread first.
((OOC: My apologies in advance for the very long opening, but this role play will be a continuation of an already long prior story . . .
. So the commencement of this thread consists of the last few posts of a previous thread, then the actual opening post for this thread.
The previous threads:
Redemption: The Curse Breaker's Journey
Redemption: Lord Cemandorin's Court
and a portion of the wedding of Orion and Elena . . .
What has gone on just before:
((OOC: my apologies to Jann Arden for hijacking and mauling her most wonderful song "Will You Remember Me" . . . and also for the shameless BAP . . .))
She had known Cornelius would be late. No matter, time was something she had never lacked.
She leaned her head back against the rock and let her gaze drift aimlessly over the thick, brilliant scattering of stars above her. After twelve long centuries, how had her life come to this? What had ever possessed her to pause in her wandering, to seek out the Bards Guild, to think she could ever fit in, ever safely walk the haunts of men? Why had she not simply remained apart, either on the move or undisturbed in the wastes of Rhudaur while the time leading up to the appointed meeting with Delkarnoth had passed? How had she let things get so far out of her control? Why had she not forseen this? Luinil had warned her, drilled it into her time and time again 'Care for any mortal at your peril, Scribe.'
She ground her teeth in frustration. . . . stupid . . .
Her thoughts scattered, whirled away from her like fallen leaves on a winter wind, and after a time she closed her eyes and drew a deep, steadying breath.
It mattered little enough now, the unavoidable choice had been made. What could be her last road now stretched before her, the appointed time for her final confrontation with the dark elf mage drawing ever nearer. It was entirely likely that she would not return, that release from both her accursed life and this last, final dishonour would come with death. She would then be merely a name, one that would, if the gods were merciful, quickly fade from human memory. The words to a song she had heard long, long ago rose in her mind . . .
. . . will you remember me when I'm gone
will you remember me at all
I tried to be kind, I tried to be good
will you remember me . . .
the gods only know why we try and fail
is this heaven on earth or
the fires of hell?
I tried to be honest, but I had to lie
will you remember me, after I die . . .
I don't need to tell anyone I'm afraid
I'll be paying for all
the mistakes I've made.
I tried to be thoughtful,
it's hard not to be blind
will you remember me . . . after I'm gone . . .
The distant sound of a twig snapping brought her head up and her eyes fixed on the spot where the game trail opened into the clearing. Several minutes passed, then Cornelius came into the firelight, leading her horse behind him.
She rose and silently took the reins from him, then led the beast under the overhang, where she quickly unsaddled him and rubbed him down. When she was done, the tall warhorse snuffled loudly, then moved off to graze. Scribbles returned to the fireside and stood opposite where the fat monk had collapsed in a groaning heap.
Cornelius was too saddlesore to argue, or even to react. "Aye, and I must beg your most generous forgiveness, oh pinnacle of precious pardons. But the scent of food and the warm hominess of the fire only served to make this humble messenger hungry and thirsty after the heartstopping and backbreaking, not to mention backside punishing flight to yon 'Pot, and after a modest throat easing and lifesaving flagon, there was the matter of finding said Fool, and then came the dire necessity of food and one cannot be expected to choke down victuals in a rush without something to ease the passage into the stomach so aye, this miserable sot confesses to another modest flagon or two and well, before this wretched slave to poor weakened flesh knew it, 'twas nearly evening and both fatigue and sleep stole upon me like a thief in . . ."
"Save it Cornelius, I get the idea," she replied drily.
"It was only a short nap," he finished defensively. "And I am most gratified to know that you grasp all the most complex intricacies my sweetest, downiest of evening doves. Ai, my nether regions will never be the same," he moaned, "but I have performed my duties admirably in spite of it all. The Master of Fools has your letter, I delivered it into his keeping personally with mine own, albeit fumbling and unworthy hand. And I can tell you before you feel the necessity to interrogate my poor abused self, yes, he read it."
"Thank you," Scribbles answered simply. She looked away, turned back, looked way again and then finally fixed her eyes firmly on the fire. "How does he fare?" she asked quietly.
Cornelius was leaning over on one hip while gently rubbing the other one. At her quiet question his eyes narrowed. "Ah, this most humble lamb then oliphaunt then dog was right after all. You sent me on your horse simply so I would have to return with it and in doing so, provide you with the opportunity to grill this poor servant like a tender cut of beef, and thereby discover the welfare of the gentleman in question, eh, eh?"
She pressed her lips together in silent displeasure but could not find it in her heart to chastise the fat monk. After all, he had discharged his errand faithfully, and had not pressed her for the reason she had asked him to play the role of courier. She drew a slow breath and fixed the monk with a level, calm stare.
"Just tell me how he fares," she repeated.
"Well enough I suppose," Cornelius returned, "for a man who has just had his heart cut out and nailed to a conveniently adjacent wall."
"He told you this?!" she asked sharply.
"No," the fat monk snapped back, then sighed audibly. "He didn't have to." He shifted to a more comfortable position by the fire. "Forgive me oh star of the morning, but when a man nearly kills himself with drink, even this poor example of a brainless mortal can see that aught is amiss. And by the same thread of logic, a man rarely tries to kill himself with drink unless it is an affair of the heart. However, said Fool did not see fit to enlighten me with the reason for the illness which he barely managed to survive, though like most drunkards, I'm quite certain that for a few hours today at least, he heartily wished he had not," the monk finished with a faint, ironic smile.
Scribbles closed her eyes briefly, remembering the last look on Façade's face. When she opened her eyes, Cornelius was regarding her intently.
"I am sorry to hear that he fares so poorly," she answered, her outward expression remaining fixed, her voice flat. 'Ah Finian, please do not throw away the life that I have bought so dearly,'
she thought to herself. It would be as heavy a burden on her conscience than if she had let her father's curse have him.
Cornelius frowned but said nothing. He knew something wasn't right, something had happened but he was fairly certain that the Scribe wasn't about to tell him a thing, any more than the Fool had.
"Thank you for delivering the note," Scribbles added softly, her eyes fixed once more on the flames. " 'Twill likely be the last."
"Indeed," Cornelius replied. "Though it pains me to say it oh most Silvery of Scribes, the gentleman appears to be of similar opinion. There is however, a last verbal reply, a recitation if you will . . . " he trailed off.
The icy knot in her belly tightened a little more, though she gave no outward sign. "Well?" she asked wearily. "Are you planning to recite it or will you act it out in sign language?"
Cornelius shrugged. "His exact words were . . . 'You may tell her thus: Lies are not easily forgiven. They plant forever the seed of doubt that not even time can weed.'
She drew in a sharp, quick breath then bit her lip. 'not easily forgiven . . . forever the seed of doubt . . . not even time . . . ah, there it is then, the end of all hope,'
she thought bitterly.
She had made the worst mistake possible, allowing herself to become trapped by another's wants and needs. . . . blind . . .
And now she was not only cursed, but damned, her name squandered and everything she had been, destroyed. Rather than have another death on her conscience, she had chosen instead to pay for a mortal life with her honour, the one thing she had held most dear. Now, she had nothing.
Façade had missed the meaning behind her words, he would never know, never care, never understand what she had paid, nor why. She heard Lord Elrond's voice again, 'Men are weak."
Perhaps. Perhaps they were merely too mortal. So many Edain never seemed to grasp the long view, perhaps their brief lives rendered them incapable of seeing beyond their own immediate desires. She had hoped Façade would prove different, somehow, but in the end, he had been measured and like all the mortal men before him, had been found wanting. She had risked it all, her name, her honour, her very soul. . . and lost. . . . wasted . . .
She fought the sudden rush of bitterness and instead steeled her resolve . . . so be it. To the victor the spoils, and to the one who gambles and loses, defeat and dishonour. She had known the risk.
If there had been no place for her among mortals before this, there would certainly be none now, for she would simply be seen as faithless, self-serving and cruel, to be reviled as the worst sort of creature possible . . . a liar, an oath breaker, a betrayer of trust.
. . . never again . . .
"Forgive my most ardent and possibly unseemly curiosity, but what did you send him?" Cornelius asked softly.
She regarded him calmly over the fire. "Merely a bit of verse," she replied.
"And this humble servant gets the distinct impression that you are not about to tell me exactly what that bit of verse was, yes?"
She shrugged. "I don't see that it matters now. it was,
A lover's lie
fades not with time,
but where lies truth,
enemy mine . . . "
Rising smoothly to her feet, she wrapped her cloak around herself. "I left you some supper. I need to walk," she said quietly, then left the shelter of the rock overhang and disappeared into the darkness.
Puzzled, Cornelius stared into the flames and sighed, suddenly wishing he was any place other than where he was.