The scene is the courtroom where the Realist is on trail for killing travelers and removing their eyes, in an attempt to frame the sidhe. Misha’s voice is halting at first, as he tries to choose his words and enunciate carefully, but as his passion grows his speech quickens and his accent becomes thicker, interspersed with Ussuran words or sometimes odd syntax. (I won’t write this because it would be difficult and anyways it would take away from the message he’s trying to get across).
My mouth opens, and you know I am an outsider here. I left Ussura behind and traveled across the wide white sea to Avalon not to seek adventure, though certainly I have found adventure. I didn’t come to make my fortune or my fame, and neither have I gold nor banners announcing me. I came here simply to change, to leave behind the comfort of the things I knew, which were making me fat and happy but also stupid.
My mother is dead. My other mother, my матушка, lives in Ussura. Her name is Matushka, and her title is Matushka, and she is the other mother of every Ussuran. She may not be one of your sidhe, but she is definately not human. She lives in forests and mountains and in the silence before a decision is made, and she guides us in her way. Like any human mother, her love is sometimes gentle like a kiss on a bruise, and sometimes hard like a slipper hitting your head. Like the sidhe, she has a sense of humour and understands the importance of a promise and a contract. Like humans and sidhe, Matushka loves a good story.
I will tell you some stories, about people and about sidhe and about other things. They will not be as good as Matushka’s stories, but they are mine, and that counts for something.
This is Niccolo. Niccolo is a knight of Avalon. If you didn’t know that already it’s because there is cauliflower in your ears, because he will tell you. But there are secrets in Niccolo’s heart that are badly kept, and I know them. I will not tell you, because a man’s secrets are his own, no matter how poorly they are kept. Though the eldest of many, in this way Niccolo is still the younger brother. He is convinced he is the first to find where the jam is hidden, and having found it names himself the world’s best seeker of jam, while the jam-maker approaches with slipper in hand. Also like a little brother, Niccolo will surprise you with the depth of his heart and his uncanny ability to escape with his jam and hide intact, whether that jam-maker be human or sidhe. I do not know if this is a story about human nature, or sidhe nature, or Niccolo, but it does seem that poor secrets make for rich convictions.
Now Bastien, here, has many secrets in his heart that are not kept poorly, and countless more secrets in countless books. To know I know little of Bastien but that I trust him is enough. He is the worldly older brother, gone for long stretches and returning with treasures that seem trinkets compared to his words. Bastien’s stories are like sidhe deals – they have more left out than left in, and all the good bits are in the omission. Learning to listen for the unspoken has made me wiser, and learning not to speak it all plainly makes for better stories in the end.
Yseult is a problem solver. Sometimes she creates these problems, too, but that is not the point of this story. Sometimes she solves problems in ways I understand, like with her sword or with her strength. Sometimes she solves problems in ways I don’t understand, like with smooches*. When I see a problem I can solve, I say “this one I will solve with fists.” When I see a problem of objects and things that belong elsewhere, I can say “this one Mirabelle will solve without fists.” When I see a problem for Bastien, I can say “this one he will solve with books and secret knowledge.” When I see a problem of Avalon, I can say “this one Nikolo will solve with shadows and the queen’s ear.” But when I see a problem I don’t understand, I can say “this one is for Yseult. Yseult will find where the dog is buried**.”
Finally, Mirabelle. Mirabelle is a lover of history, of arfet.. art.. farticats… objects. Old objects with stories of their own. Mirabelle is a lover of objects, and enjoys nothing more than moving things from one place to the other, from the place they are to the place they belong. One of these objects was a tablet, and Mirabelle said “I, who love objects like no other, will smash this one before I give it to an evil person.” It came to pass that the evil person was about to take the tablet, and Mirabelle was unable to stop it, but I was around. And so I smashed that tablet, and broke it badly, and Mirabelle was mad at me for a very long time. Some things happened after that, that aren’t important to this story. It was anger at the evil person that caused those words, and not Mirabelle’s heart. Even if someone’s desires appear clear in the moment, their history is more important. Even if Mirabelle appeared to want the object smashed, she is, at dawn and dusk, a lover of objects. Even if this man, this Realist, appears to want to help people against the sidhe, from dusk to dawn it is people he is murdering and sidhe he is framing for it. Even if the sidhe appear to want to do evil, from dawn to dusk to dawn most want only to exist in the way they were made.
I left my mothers in Ussura, but I found my siblings in Avalon. We are different, very different, and sometimes we don’t understand each other, but that is the way of every family. Who we are is only part of who we choose to be. Bastien is Bastien, Misha is Misha, and the sidhe are sidhe. This man is a man, but he is also a murderer, not because of the way he is made, and not even because his actions caused people to die, but because he murders to make people afraid of the things he fears. I understand the sidhe more than I understand this man here, this Realist who demands reality bend to his ideals.
* This is said in such a thick and weird Ussuran accent that it’s unlikely many people outside the main party actually understood what word was being used.
** Вот где собака зарыта, idiom meaning to get to the root of a problem.
Many thanks to Chloe, my GM, who spent time to gave excellent feedback and suggestions on a draft of this, even though it’s just a lil dribble drabble.