The second half of the prompts from the first event as Vitoria.
There are some times, when I look at the decisions that I have made, and the situation that I am in now, and think ‘Somewhere… somewhere I went wrong.’
So, I’ve called her every name I can think of, trying to redirect her aggression from others (because what is more dangerous than a winter-cursed bravo, looking for a fight?). That might have been my mistake.
And as my jaw smarts from the last punch, as my lip swells, as blood runs from the corner of my mouth, and Magda’s fingers close around my throat, too strong for me to pry off… and as drawing breath is getting harder to do…. I wonder why I’m still trying to help this effin’ cursed bitch, and where I can get a sword before this gets out of hand.
Masquerade of the Reaper
I’m apologizing to Beomund again, whose gentle, patient smile reminds me so much of Antonio that I know he’s the best actor for this role, even if I struggle to not cry when I look at him putting on Antonio’s clothing. The Masquerade is ongoing, and yet it hasn’t started, and the stress of trying to divine the correct time to have the right people in the right place — it’s not going well and oh, look, there goes Gabriel and Cive off on a skirmish, well! I need to have a drink, because fuck everyone.
I’m offering refreshments, though our death guisers have already had some, and checking up on our guests like a mother hen, which is odd because this really should be Adelina’s job, she does it better and with more grace.
When you’re waiting for the Reaper, one should never comment on his punctuality. I’ll think it to myself, instead.
I know I have missed so much, within our family; I think I missed you most of all. During all the times when I struggled, when I was afraid, when I felt so cut off from the Way, from the Labyrinth, there was the memory of your shining example, of how things should be done. Surrounded by such unvir– I remembered you teaching me when I was little, and I remember sneaking down to your church, to hear your sermons, to listen to the advice you gave everyone who came to you.
Now I feel like I’ve taken on an insurmountable task, one I have to get done, but don’t know how to do it. And I wish I could ask for your guidance. But the words are stuck in my throat, and I’m apologizing instead, choking over how far away I was, and like that I’m a child again; I’m a small pilgrim and you’re my Priest.
All I can promise is to watch over your congregation, and lead them how you did. You were my Exemplar, and now you’re gone. And I have to prove to the world just how much you helped shape it.
A gift always means more, when one has nothing.
Magnificent folding fans for everyone, and there was much laughter and delight as everyone talked about the language of fans; how to snap them shut in annoyance, flutter them flirtatiously, whack errant cousins over the head with them, etc. It was something to hold in hand, yet it was also a memory of the family all being together.
A birdcage necklace, one she delighted in turning around in her fingers. A highly polished black stone caught in a cage, that glowed with a rainbow sheen as she turned it in her fingers, and found herself clutching when she was getting anxious. Bracelets, two, each one taking pride of place on bare wrists, before all the gems were gently tucked away in a nearly empty jewellery box at the end of the night.
A beautiful diamond hair comb that made her wistful, fingers reaching up to tug hair that was shorn short, only slowly growing back to the lengths that she used to have it. But at least it was not white anymore. Hair would regrow.
A beautiful handmade orange flower, one made to resemble those that she remembered from so long ago. One of their mothers — was it her own?– had had a trailing vine of vibrant orange blooms that came out each midsummer, that overhung the patio and made everything smell light and floral.
Homemade preserves, that carried with their flavour the effort taken to make it. It was the taste of home, and yet not home, at the same time; both new and old.
An intricately carved stone box, that showed the dedication, effort, time and skill that went into each groove, each hollow. The perfect size to hold her rings, only recently replaced at great cost, the first thing she had done upon her return to Tassato.
A gift always means more, when one has nothing.
Everyone is asking me if I’m okay, and with each time they ask, I want to scream a little more, a little louder, and my hands grip this banner a little more tightly. Right now, it is my anchor, my unspoken metaphor for the thin grasp on reality I am clinging to. If I was to let go…
Yes, each time I say, ‘I’m fine’ what I am actually saying is ‘No, I am not okay’, and ‘No, my sense of self that I was rebuilding, my life and my profession are slipping away and I’m panicking.’ When I say the words, I am saying ‘I am not okay but I need you to pretend that I am, for 5 minutes, while I put my mask back on…’
I have had many things taken away from me in this life. This banner, I will let go of, when I am ready to let go of it. When I stop lying to you, and when I really am ‘fine.’
Normally I’m the one following you, watching with glee as you get into trouble and mining the ensuing drama for plot ideas. This reversal, does it feel as odd to you, as it does to me?
I don’t know whether I need to redouble my efforts to hold myself in. If you’re following me then I can only imagine you’re worried about what I’ll do. I don’t think I’ll do anything. Just, walk, and burn off this energy. Though Lilith did ask for a fight… but why would I go to one without you there?
No. You’re right. You’re right about needing a new mask to hold this persona inside. I can feel the magic in my usual masks, they are family masks, they are loyalty masks. They are masks of action, fuelling the desire to move, to act, to do. That’s not the right face for this play.
Until I can find such a mask, I can rely on you.
Dedication – Adelina
This is the first time I have ever hesitated before performing a Rite of Dedication, and this makes me feel like an awful Priest.
There is something unspoken here, a subtle shift of the balance of power, that makes me uncomfortable, makes me doubt myself, makes my hand tremble as I reach for my flask.
It’s not a question of Loyalty here. I know this is the right path for you. It is the reversal of roles that makes me question whether I am a strong enough Priest to lead you. I have always followed you, emulated you as a child, looked up to you, wanted to be as smart, as elegant as you. I don’t know how to guide someone as strong-willed and determined as you.
I think you believe it is just a rite; a drink of liao, a few words spoken, and a mark on one’s soul. I don’t know how to tell you, that the obligation is so much larger for me.
“Adelina. Take my hand, and be my sister.”