Thread: The Mere Tide
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:18 PM
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bluewpc (Offline)
The Next Bard
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April arrived with the mystery of the tube. New addition to her wall. Seated in an aluminum backplate and filled with a transparent fluid failing to float a bead above the blue slant shading its bottom. Dachni swatted it from its mount with a broom and prodded it across the floor into a corner and whopped it into submission with the stiff straw mane and cursed it and approached warily and finally picked it up. It was not menacing. She shook it. She put her ear to hear did it have a pulse which it did not. Characters were etched at intervals along its length between short horizontal lines. She held it at angles. Upright, downup. She shook it again for better measure.

Youre somethin, she muttered.

And Anaya would know.

Its a thermometer. The little reservoir at the bottom is called a bulb, this tube is called a capillary and it holds mercury. When the temperature increases it expands and lifts the bead and all you have to do is look to what number the bead aligns and that will tell the ambient temperature.

Whats it now?

Negative five Fahrenheit.

Their breaths plumed furiously the air.

Thats pretted cold.

Neither of us really need bother.

Whats say of an outside go?

Its colder out there than it is in here.

Ye can perk a fire outside.

You can make a fire inside.

Bellshit.

But it was true. A fireplace in the cathedral library. A great rococo palace, adequate even to the most pampered of scholars. It was easily missed, its door narrow enough to be mistaken that it led through to a closet. Two reading tables set opposite another propped upon the lamenting figure of martyrs the victory of Borodino, the sacking of Moscow. Book shelves lined the walls, rose to the ceiling, the upper shelves accessible by stairs spiraling up marble columns at each corner of the library. The narrow mezzanine balustraded by an ivory handrail with gilt spindles. Exhibits of muskets and sabers occupied the floor. Oil landscapes of the cosmos in its anthropomorphic beginnings, Satan in his fall, Othello on his bed, Michael at the helm, in the chairs Nico and Bart. Statues of Alexander upon Bucephalus, Diogenes in his jar.

Dachni caned about in awe. She came to the hearth and floundered like a muskrat drowning in molasses.

The pilot was crouched in the mouth of the fireplace.

Whore ye talkin to?

The pilot whispered on. Smoke rose and then you could see the fire rising into the chimney. The pilot pushed up on her knees and rose and swung back and turned.

Do you want some tea?

No.

The pilot grinned slyly. Some whiskey.

Ifn its your keep.

The pilot stood and opened the door of the giant grandfather clock installed in the mantle and withdrew from the bar therein a moonshine titled Perron's Mock Death by their Albanian distillers. She poured two tumblers full and gave the child one and they drank and basked in the growing heat.

Does ye have any friends?

Very few.

Where are they?

On their own. Ive never kept a circle, I draw from the
corners.

So ye doesnt really have none.

I do.

But they aint with ye. Friends steck agether.

Sometimes you have to go your own way.

No. Friends keep through.

Anaya thought about this. Bill Camel.

Fuck camels.

You didnt like him?

Who?

Bill. Bill Camel. He kept by you the whole time.

When?

To Kilcok.

Ta what?

The town we rode to. To find your offenders. He was the one most abreast of you.

Neverd sawed him.

You were pretty out of it.

Well about him.

Hes my friend.

Yaller friends.

Quite. Even when I dont want to talk to anyone I can still talk to him. Thats a rare quality. Some people rejuvenate themselves through socializing, some through solitude. So it is rare for the man who prefers the latter to find solace in another. I propose you and I are of that fold who finds the exception of relief in each other. But were more than that arent we?

You say that.

I say were sisters. That makes us more. What Id tolerate from you Id not tolerate from him. Bill is a hard man but hes not soulless. He told me: I aint Catholic but Im more Catholic than most. He saved my life in Mexico. Maybe a day Ill tell you the story. I could tell you another story about me and him and your...in Kansas. When we were in Kansas.

Whats Kansas? An Mexico?

The former is a state, the latter a country.

Whats former? An latter?

Former means the first, the latter the second mentioned
or last. So Mexico is latter, Kansas is former.

Ok. Tell whats of storied.

Not now. Later.

The pilot sipped the raki. Ive read much and found differences in the conceptions of the devil between east and west. Theres a somberness in the eastern Satans thats not present in the west. A shabby nobleman felled of status, clinging to society's coattails is no devil, not even a subdevil, not even a proper subaltern to an assistant of a subdevil. The devil is a merry go luck and he has much cause to rejoice.

Does ye lieve in the devil?

I dont believe in the devil in the same way I dont believe in gravity. The pilot picked up a sheet of paper and let it fall to the floor. Theres no need for belief.

Ye caint see him.

Ive met him.

Whatd he say?

We discussed Job. He said the story of Job is really the story of god committing suicide. Because god's infidelity to himself contradicted himself. He said it was the devil's master trick, tricking god into putting a gun in his own mouth. Only later did he realize that god had tricked him. Because he was left to run round with nothing to do and since he had no intention of joining his adversary in oblivion he was forced to haste round the margents of the world shoring up the belief in god in the hopes that they could revive him. Or else what had he to do? Rebel against himself and suffer the same fate? To become a living contradiction and then like god perish. Except that in the pushing of men towards god the contradiction had already occurred and so he said his great fear was to become what he always sought to overthrow and that one day he would sire the rebel who would fool him in being fooled.

Does ye think theys more than juss the devil keeped rounds?

Why if there is a devil cannot there be little devils?

How da ya think they get round?

Possessions. Pacts. Summonings. Illicit acts. I...dont think theres many devils circuit this earth anymore.

Why not?

Who would want to visit this hell? Arent demons forever trying to escape their torment?

Ye said this wertent hell.

Well. What do I know?

How does ye reckon ta get out?

The pilot smiled. If were in hell dont you think we deserve to be here?

No. How does ye get out?

I dont know.

Bullshit.

The pilot's smile rubbed the child's shoulder fondly. Patience. If you dont know how to get out of hell then you damn sure dont have the will to get out if you were told.

Thass yourn pinion.

Tis.

Will ye not say?

Ill not say. But no harm will come to you. And Ill get you out. Thats my promise. Do you believe that?

No.

Believe that. If I have to stay all my life I will but to save you.

Youre crazy.

Verily I confess it.

What about aienee devils?

In Iphsisavios. We have them.

Are they here?

Yes.

Has ye seen em?

Yes.

Ded ye talk to em?

No.

Why not?

Whats left to say? Now its whos going to kill who.
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