'Birds'' is in her library. All the books and scrolls are in neat piles on the floor, with scraps of paper on top: "World History", "Cooking", "Falsehoods", "Well-Meaning Misdirection", "Things Mortals Should Not Learn", "Poems", and so on.
Birds She is dusting the shelves intently.
Birds "Hmm. Does this go under Cooking, or Things Mortals Should Not Learn?" She flips through a small booklet.
Thirteen enters on soundless feet, stepping neatly over the piles.
Thirteen "Good morning, Birds-of-Trinity."
Birds "Good morning, Thirteen. What do you think? Cooking, or Nor For Mortal Eyes?"
Thirteen runs a finger over the pamphlet.
Thirteen "Hm. I had classified that as Well-Meaning Misdirection."
Birds "Maybe so. I'll have to fact-check it then."
Thirteen "You will need the large oven."
Thirteen "Birds, I have come to talk with you."
Birds "I was so looking forward to roasting that pig for dinner in a few days...do tell, what about?"
Thirteen pauses, searching for the right phrase, and seats himself thoughtfully on "World History."
Birds hovers in the upper shelves, chasing spiders and gathering them in a little jar.
Thirteen "Do you remember your pilgrimage a month ago to become a priest of Iallu?"
Thirteen "What has come of this?"
Birds "We have come to an arrangement of sorts."
Birds "Specifically, since you are going to ask..."
Birds "I wear certain tokens that signify our alliance, and we trade communication on various topics."
Thirteen "And what tokens does she wear to denote her service to you?"
Birds "You have met Nibbles. Beyond that there is not so much."
Thirteen "I worry."
Thirteen "It is our responsibility at all times to educate those lesser than us as to their proper place in the world."
Birds "Let me relax your worries, then. What is it that's bothering you?"
Thirteen "If we do not fulfill these responsibilities, we will be rewarded with intransigence and rebellion."
Thirteen "The results of such behavior will be unpleasant for all parties."
Birds "I think I see what you are suggesting."
Birds "You are worried that I have taken a position subservient to Iallu, that is it?"
Birds "And this will come back to bite us."
Thirteen "Not quite."
Thirteen "It is evident that you have taken such a position."
Thirteen "I am worried that it will be difficult for us to rectify things."
Birds "Let us say for the sake of discussion," she shoos another spider into the jar, "that I too am concerned about this. How would you suggest things be rectified?"
Thirteen "Unfortunately, I lack the necessary information regarding the situation to make this decision."
Thirteen "For me to make any meaningful suggestion, I will need to know the details of your relationship."
Birds "I'm sure you've noticed the cakes over there, would you throw me one? With jelly, please. This is thirsty work."
Birds "Our arrangement is as such: ..."
Birds describes it.
Thirteen thoughtfully eats a poem.
Thirteen "It is as I feared."
Thirteen "We must impress upon Iallu the understanding that your actions are not the tribute owed a master, but the appreciation given to a useful employee."
Thirteen "Firstly, if you are to wear her emblem, she must equally publically display our marks of power, perhaps in a more dramatic fashion."
Birds "I do not think that Iallu would be pleased to do that, but I would smile to have her do it."
Birds "So I am torn."
Birds "Here is something that I think -- Iallu is not a person in the way that you or I am."
Thirteen "Her pleasure will come in being safe from her enemies."
Thirteen "This, we can provide her."
Birds "That is to say, she is something of an ...organ... I think."
Birds "The part of the world that is concerned with things that are secret and forgotten."
Birds "So for this reason, I am not overly concerned with her evaluation of our arrangement."
Thirteen "The concern lies not only with Iallu's appraisal of you, but with the observation of other parties."
Thirteen "We cannot be seen to bend the knee in this wise."
Birds settles onto "Falsehoods" and bites her thumb, thinking.
Thirteen "However, your comment fails to reassure me."
Birds "I am not sure that I can allow this. There are ways things are done, and I would prefer to be viewed as one who respects the traditions laid down by my past selves."
Thirteen "All this means is that Iallu's opinion of you represents a part, though perhaps a small part, of the opinion of Creation itself."
Birds "We are, after all, rebuilding the world."
Birds "You make a good case, though, and I would be a fool to ignore it."
Birds "You see that I am in a difficult position - Iallu is a valuable ally and a close friend of mine. I do not wish to alienate her. But it is also true that I will not enslave myself or allow myself to be seen as a slave."
Thirteen "If we are to rebuild the world, it would behoove us to rebuild it with a better design."
Thirteen "I have come to tell you that you are currently doing the latter."
Birds "I remain unconvinced, but now you have me worried."
Thirteen "Moreover, a friendship based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the status behind it cannot stand."
Thirteen "You cannot be friends as equals. You can only be friends as master to servant."
Birds "Wait...do you suggest that our predecessors are fools?"
Birds takes an extra-large bite of cake.
Thirteen "We are they."
Thirteen "Our opinions are merely their reconsiderations and recriminations."
Thirteen "Perhaps, before us, they did not have the power or motivation to make the world what it should be."
Thirteen "That was before the Usurpation, after all."
Thirteen "They have come again, and we are here."
Birds "A part of me wants to threaten you at the point of my sword. But you are too clever for that."
Thirteen "We have both."
Birds "You have said it yourself - we would do well to learn from our mistakes."
Thirteen "I do not mean to antagonize you, Birds-of-Trinity. Only to awaken you to your responsibilities."
Thirteen "If you were not my sister, I would not so deign; but, then, you would not then have such responsibilities."
Birds looks out the window.
Birds "Do you smell that on the wind? They are the honeysuckles that only grow at the shores of the Grey River."
Birds "They are full of sweet nectar, but you must not brew them into wine, because it becomes a poison within three years' time."
Birds "This is a secret I told Iallu once. It has been forgotten; all that remains outside her palace of it is a superstition."
Birds "In Torjal they drape honeysuckles over the dead."
Thirteen "Ah. They remember, even if they do not know."
Birds "It is the same with me. You're right. I am no mere priest, but . Will you come with me to the North? I must impress upon my friend the seriousness of this situation."
Birds but I had forgotten.
Thirteen "Of course, sister."
Birds "Half a moment. It is rude beyond even the right of kings to bring bad news unannounced." She scrawls a note and tosses it into a fire.
Thirteen rises neatly, not disturbing the pile. "After you, Birds."
Tags: (:tags Iallu, Nibbles :)