You do not respond to defeat by being defeated.
Penelope has been caught sneaking in Dmitrius warddrobe. She has found something but doesn’t know if its what she’s looking for.
Dmitrius stepped out of the shadow and said, “What are you doing here?”
Penelope replied, “Looking for færies.”
Dmitrius nodded gravely, as if her sarcasm was unheard. “No. You lie. You are looking for the ring.”
“You are right, Dmitrius Euthydemus, I let you read my mind and yet you close your mind to me.”
“I can read your mind whether you open it or not. You are simply a virtel ælf.”
“Perhaps that is true, but answer me, what am I feeling right now?” she smiled sweetly and then blasted him with a projection. His view was that of a dying Roman soldier. He was being trampled by an army of elephants. The vision had an intensity and violence that no ælf could summon. It was all human. Dmitrius staggered.
“You’re too busy trying to be an ælf. That’s no way to fight the Ring.
The next vision she blasted him with was of a snow leopard leaping at prey. He was the prey.
It was an image she barely knew having learned of it through conversations with animals. He blasted her back with an image that he did know. The Tyrant had just conquered a city in trans-oxonia and wanted to use humans as mortar in his new tower.
The power of the Ring was a power to mold reality – it radiated outward, getting progressively smaller. But beside its origin … the projection of Dmitrius’ anger onto reality was so intense and so forceful, and such a dramatic change that she was forced backward to the edge of the courtyard and became pinned against the wall.
He looked at her. His eyes pinned her to the wall. He looked up and she slide up, against the coarse brick and aged mortar.
He blasted her with another image. Persepolis, the most beautiful city in the world, being looted and burnt to the ground by Alexander’s troops. Payback for incessant war. Dmitrius let the image dim; this let her focus on the intentions that motivated what she had just seen. The drive was craven, but it was also weary. A Samson addiction that kept pushing, only content when dragging the whole world down.
“Letting off steam.”
“No! Each violent act gives it more control.”
She threw a vision of the most optimistic sunrise she’d ever seen. It threw him off balance and he released her. Gently. She slide back down to the ground in a handful of breaths. The intense vision went away,
“How were you before you took on the Ring?”
“I only knew love. For Eleanor, for your suffering peasants, for me.”
“Show me.” His love image was of water and wood – a willow, some oaks, a meadow and a river.
<!– And now? “Hate. For Eleanor, for all peasants, for me.”
What mind do you know?” “The mind behind those feelings.” “Do I love you?” Dmitrius smiled. “Why do you smile?” –>
“Perhaps I know your mind better than you.”
“Do I love you.”
He smiled, as he replied, “You can’t know what is mixed up until its settled. And even then you know something else.”
Pause. They came back to the situation. She was snooping in his wardrobe. He had to ask her, “Why are you here?”
“I’m looking for something.”
“What explanation do you expect to find in that closet? Or yonder chest?”
“Why did you give King John the Ring?”
“He took it from me by force.”
She looked at him. “Why?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why do you lie so carelessly with me? Its because I’m a viertel aelf, isn’t it?”
She had been circling him, like a predator. That showed how human she was. An aelf would go to the position she intended to attack from and wait for the appropriate moment. Like an animal. He couldn’t stop his aelven prejudice from filtering his view of her.
“Why did you not give it to me. The Ring will not rule me.”
Still she circled him. He had to turn to keep facing her. He had to keep his eyes open because she walked silently. Like an aelf. She could kill him.
“Why did you not give the Ring to the Lady Ithilaen?”
To her surprise he answered with a thought, I will.
Penelope feared Eleanor. Being haffen made her unable to use her humanity as a strength. It conflicted with her, it undermined every thought and action.
She answered with a thought, Give the Ring to me. I am stronger.
He had been tense until this moment. There was only one good way this encounter could work out or rather all other ways were far worse.
You will take it.
Dmitrius had never shared a vision with a viertel aelf, but now he knew that he could with Penelope Mortain. She would be a Ringbearer; the vision would make her burden that much easier when her time came.
He showed her a battlefield. John was on one hill, a baron on another. She didn’t recognize him. Everyone else was dead. John had been defended by an army of body parts …. Eleanor counter attacks. Knights. Aelves. He could not show her himself, but she could feel him as a force behind the entire vision. It was his sword which cut the Ring off of King John’s hand.
Eleanor smashed John’s skull with a mace and picked up the Ring. The ground was soft and bloody – the Ring could animate anything that once had a will, dismembered limbs digitals, organs, all now beaten into a morass. The Lady Ithilaen was covered in gore. She grabbed the Ring and put it on her finger. She started to shake. And shake some more. A deep noise echoed through the fabric of reality (needs work!) Her eyes started to smoulder and her body to disintegrate, but it didn’t dissipate, it reformed as a tower that started to grow. But it was all blurry, because the Ring fashioned reality; it was not part of it.
… It takes over her aelven nature through her hatred of humans.
Although the vision was only in her mind, Penelope stood wide eyed and swaying as Eleanor came in to her power.
This is the future?
No. A possible future it is best for you to see.
I needed to see that?
He realized she didn’t.
“Know. These visions are for me alone. I don’t help you but by showing you what might come I am less alone in what I know about what could be.”
She knew his burden and how long he’d carried it and how badly things were working out and saw how tragedy was part of the essence heroism.
is essence divisible? perhaps tragedy is the essence of heroism.
<!– decisions are never made in meetings – to city of rats –>
Perhaps you can read my mind elf lord, but I can still fool you by changing its contents. Tell me, when you felt my love did you love me? Can haffen aelves even experience love. Hah!” [flirting?]
I know you love me quintten-aelf but let’s not talk about that because then we’ll have to talk about how you also hate me. Let’s talk about Ahnkemar’s Ring. You are searching for it. You don’t want it.
No I don’t. But I am one of the few creatures in Middle Earth who can resist it’s power.
But that is not my primary reason for spying on you my liege. I was looking for drawings. Cannons change everything. They can destroy city walls.
You don’t want those either. Gunpowder will destroy this world. But you won’t find anything here. I destroy technical drawings.
She knew he believed his words. She couldn’t believe her good fortune. He hadn’t read all of his library, or perhaps he did not understand it? There were no pictures, and the language was unique to the Netherlands.
But words were enough. It was all about strengthening the iron, and the instructions were there.
Haffen-faerie, if you please.
Penelope, I am not here to play games. Westernesse is closed to haffen-aelves and I do not want to live forever here. So I have no reason to lie to you, to mislead you. I am trying to guide you.
I must go.
I can’t read your mind but you are right. When I am dead and Eleanor is dead, and our deaths will happen, we are both tired of life on Middle Earth. And Westernesse is closed to haffen-aelves.
When we die, only you will be able to resist Ahnkemar’s Ring.
She had waited for himi to blink, but he rarely did so. So she waited for one of his ethereal moments, where he retreated into his head. And when he did she quickly picked up the satchel with the stolen documents and quickly left the room.
he did not search her, he was preoccupied with the question of whether the love he had felt from her was just a faerie trick.
The document was not complete but it solved one problem very well, how to make bands of iron which would stop cannons from exploding. Not one cannon – and no cannoneers – survived the battle of Angers.
The treatise had no pictures, because it was a secret document, written in code, which in this case was scientific German. . But the instructions, written in German, were very clear: heat Swedish iron over hot coals (not lignite), and throw in a bit of sulfur from anywhere and a few other trace elements. She wondered how much was magic and how much science. She had some spells to add, of course, but these were just a matter of strengthening the cannon’s with bits of her malice and anger.
Thus far heavily influenced by Manichaeus. Perhaps a chance to make things a little more edgy?