Walk through Osgileath. “This is an old forest. Here Vercingetorix held a council with the other Gallic tribes. [The last man to arrive was executed for being late when the council ended.] He convinced the Gauls to rebel against Julius Caesar. They lost. He cut off the right hand of every prisoner.”
How can you show me the future?
You have asked that question before. Did you not listen to my answer or are you insane.
Everything happens time and again.
To answer your question, I can only predict the future because my nature is so entwined with reality that I know how it may unfold. Some futures are more certain than others.
Why do you communicate with me. Alexander never spoke of the future.
He was closed and you are open.
In time and space.
… why didn’t you talk about it?
Because words never change the underlying reality. Only actions do. By not talking about it I avoided having to determine whether his actions were true or designed for me.
The power relations. Who is lord and who owes fealty.
By choosing to bear me you did not give up your freedom; you chose a fate. What you call your thrall is your freedom. Let me enhance it with my power.
I am not free when all I do is resist your temptations.
You are in thrall to your freely made choices.
… Oak tree. Vercingetorix
What is your motive Ring?
The same as yours, to control, survive, be loved.
Love. All you do is enthrall.
I do not know the difference between forced and unforced love because I do not know what will is. I do know that when being supplicated I feel safe.
What greater love than when I force it. The Ring blasted Dmitrius with its full power. Supplicant, kneel. The Ring pushed him onto his knees. It almost worked. Dmtrius resisted. With knees almost bent to the floor he stood.
The Ring laughed. Of course it had a sense of humor. That was all in the head.
What is your motive?
What I call real is different from what you call real. My reality has no sensations. Just thoughts and actions. I read your mind I see what you do. That is how I know you.
Surely you see my intention?
I don’t. I really don’t. I do not know what intentions are.
You have no plan?
Certainly. To be safe. That is why I scan your mind for thoughts of forges and volcanoes.
And forced love.
I don’t know why you would experience love otherwise. To wait for it to happen on its own is so … indirect.
Ring, tell me. What am I to you? An other, nothing more?
Yes an no. Yes you are just another; of course. You are not me. But again and of course you are different from Lady Ithilaen or Jopthama or
… mystery – a particular autocorrect turns gibberish into a message. To Inwood murder mystery novel …
… what are the Ring’s last words. It discovers identity. “I have discovered your identity. Do not destroy me. I know you know me because now I know you. You are no other. “
Just another victim …
… we’re going to solve the problem and then get the senate.
The Ring pleaded. “Do not destroy me. I know who I am. I know who you are. I know what identity is!”
Penelope before destroying the Ring: In France she would have listened to the Ring’s pleas, and reflected. On correct assessments of her own weaknesses. On blame. And the virtue of redemption. But she was post-moral now so the time for that was long past. And even if the time for judgement was now, she could no longer be a judge. She had become the quest, to destroy Alexander’s Bane.
And it would not die, it was bound force. When dissipated the force was neither created nor destroyed. The purpose of the quest her life her fate was to unknot this thread of fate by dissipating this power.
… later with Numenoi.
Would you like me to advise you on whom to kill?
… Outtake … Eleanor with hand maiden ælf Ithilæn
“Tell me true.”
The Lady Ithilæn scowled. She said,
Why do you hate me?
How do you know?
“You are le Duc de la Rochefoucauld’s niece.”
The young woman looked at the Lady Ithilæn. She was wearing a simple dress with simple but elegant lace trim, and a high collar. Her tight blemishless skin, and slender, almost child-like body looked ageless. Not young. The maid thought, Of course she knows how I feel. She’s a witch.” The child crossed herself and said a quiet prayer to the Virgin Marie, her namesake.
Eleanor looked on, detached. There was so much about humanity she detested, but she forbade herself to engage. Engagement brought out her humanity; corrupted her ælfen nature.”You admit you hate me?”
“You know I do. Why do you ask?” Why converse at all? she thought. You can read my mind, witch.
“That’s a trivial question, girl. Not one living thing wants to be hated, certainly not me. My motive is clear. But your motives are not. Why you you hate me?”
“Your really don’t know.” The girl laughed. “Of course. You’re too great to know.” Knowing her mind was being read made it easier to speak freely.
“What don’t I know?”
“What happened to my family after Gisors?”
“Gisor was a great French victory.”
“Philip Augustus did very well out of that battle.”
The maiden raised her supplicant head. The Norman’s still hold my uncle. They captured him on the first charge. He was half-way to Caen by the time the Normans had lost. Along with a dozen valets, poor cousins. Her brother.”
She stopped and let her emotion wash over her. It was not pain for the grief of her uncle, who she understood was chained in a dungeon, living on mouldy cheese stale bread and rats, should he capture them. She had no love for that man. He treated his own prisoners the same, even worse. Her grief was for the servants King John was executing to make the Duc pay his outrageous ransom.
Take time to envisage the outcome.
Eleanor experienced this all through one vision (her visions are only present and past. Dmitrius’ visions are only of the future). The scene was the arrival of John’s present. The delivery was presented as a gift of state. With pomp. … The messengers quaked as they spoke. They knew how offensive the gift was. The bodies they presented were all cleanly killed and washed when delivered. John was not a savage, just greedy. [Despite the talk of his apostasy he always allowed his victims – the servants at least – a Christian burial.] The main feeling was through emotion.
“Why hasn’t the family paid?”
“King Richard asked too much and now King John wants more.
“Why won’t they just offer King John all they can afford. He will surely take it. He needs gold.”
“They don’t want to. They’d rather he died in captivity. That’s why they’re going to let King John kill my brother.”
“I understand why you hate King John. And your Aunt. And your Uncle. But why do you hate me?”
“Then freely I will speak. I hate you Lady Ithilæn. When you fall – and you will because all the barons hate you – I will be tortured and I will confess to whatever lies they tell me to. To cover up their sins they’ll declare that I am a witch and burn me to death with young wood. That is the fate of unlucky women like me.”
“I hate you Lady Ithilæn not because of who you are but what you are. My brother will die. My maid’s are dead. I will die. Killed for being loyal. Killed for being disloyal. I’ll never win. That’s the way it is with the high-born, playing your games through proxies.”
Dmitrius steps out of the shadows. “I will free your uncle.”
Why are you doing this? Eleanor thought.
I have foreseen. This maiden has a role to play.
He sent her his vision. – Penelope being helped by the maiden (she needs a name!).
John arrives. LRF
If the archers came closer than … they would turn and start firing on their own.
Tell me what you feel. Don’t worry. I will not kill you. You have a role to play. I have foreseen it.
In the presence of the Ring her human nature was strangely mute. She felt only calmness and detachment when presented with harm her class did. She hated feudalsim, and how it trapped her into roles and hierarchies. She made so few decisions, was so barely an agent. “Is there anyone left to rescue?”
“You mean aside from LRF?”
“We cannot rescue him. That would alter the timeline.”
“Who can we rescue? John must have his prisoners with him. He can’t wait for his gold.”
“My brother. Maybe that great hero can rescue my brother? Can he? Do you know? You can foresee …”
“I don’t know”, Eleanor snapped. She was awesome in her fury. The LRF maid cowered.
Dmitrius stepped forward from the shadow of the tapestry. “I will go.”
“Have you foreseen?”
Tell me more.
“Thank you hero.” Her voice had lost its sarcasm. “Let me tell you what my brother …”
“Think about him.” She did, and then Dmitrius knew.
“Will you succeed. Perhaps you can foretell like the Lady?”
“I can only tell you this much. If I succeed your brother will live.”
Tell me what happens. The Lady implored.
No. To me you only have one fate. I cannot risk you having another.
I know I can escape my fate.
This is hard enough. Don’t taunt me. Eleanor you cannot escape your fate. You are a tragedy.
Eleanor lost her control and the Ring made its move.
Kill the ælf. Take me. The Ring pulled into the air toward Eleanor. She leaned toward it. Her human nature overwhelmed the aelven …
Penelope steps out of the shadows. She observed the battle and realized she had a role to play. She added her force to Dmitrius. The Ring faltered and then was contained. It fell back onto Dmitrius’ neck. Eleanor relaxed.
But the air remained tense. Penelope was shocked. Eleanor had been in thrall. Dmitrius had been in thrall. She looked at herself in the mirror. Have I been tempted, she wondered. Did I succumb?
“No. NO! I can tell you nothing or everything an you cannot escape your fate. I don’t see a good path for you. I do see worse ones.”
In the heat of the exchange neither had noticed the spell the Ring had cast over the conversation. There was only one question. Would Eleanor become enthralled.
The LRF maid broke the silence. Not a word had been spoken for thick slow minutes. “May I speak?”
The Lady calmly replied, “You are from Caen. Return there. Take these. ” She had a small treasure chest, which she kept beside her bed. She opened it and withdrew two satchels, one tied with red thread, the second with purple. “Come closer, no one must hear.”
Lady Ithilæn nodded.”
“How do you know?”
“I have foreseen it.” — Dmitrius? Eleanor?
“And if I spend the money in the purple bag?” It was a stupid question. The Lady was a witch. There was no question about denying her will.
The Lady replied, “You are already cursed. If you do this the curse will be revoked.
<!– Although Eleanor’s anger was directed ælf to human, its intensity came from her human side and was intense as a form of self-hatred. –>