Sunday, August 29, 2004

Autobiography of a Parrot

Written about the time that Mages of Mâvarin takes place, this is King Jor's faithful transcription of his parrot's life story. (In Mâvarin, parrots know what they're talking about, if they talk at all.)

Autobiography of a Parrot
By Skwok
As Told to King Jor of Mâvarin

Hatched in Derio. Long time ago. Island. Tall trees. Soft nest. Three baby birds in nest. One fell. Parents fed babies in nest. Me. Sister.

Grew big. Flew. Storm. Wind blew north. White waves. Blue water. Land. Dark trees. Gath moss. Green water.

Spring. Lady bird. Nest. Two eggs. Two babies. Birds flew south. Skwok alone in Gathmak.

Spring again. Same lady bird. Nest. Two eggs. One baby bird. Flew south. Skwok alone.

Many springs. Lady bird gone. Sad. No parrots in Gathmak.

Saw food in box. Caught. Tengrem-man put me in castle. King Jor in castle. Nice man. Sad man. Sat all day on chair. Trapped together.

Jor taught me human talk. Too many words to learn. King Jor said okay.

Spring. No nest. Stayed with sad king. Spring again. Spring again. No lady bird. No nest. Many springs, no nest. King friend. Good biscuits. Good man.

Carli came for Jor. Jor brought me. Magic door. Different, bigger castle. Fly free. Still stay with king. Still no nest.

King Jor not sad now. Bird happy.


Art by Sherlock

Saturday, August 07, 2004

From the Diary of Mera Sinan, Innkeeper

(written about the time of Chapter Four, Mages of Mâvarin)

Thaledu, 9th Day of Ranosem, 897 MMY

Events are heating up again in the shadow world of my Dad's visions, so he's suffering more than usual. I've hardly seen him sober this past week. This time, the alcohol is not enough. He's just stumbling from vision to vision now, unable to stop seeing things that are impossible, unable to stop worrying about people who aren't really there.

He never complains, and would never tell me what happens in the visions if I didn't keep asking. Sometimes I think I should leave him alone about it, and not ask what he saw. Most of the time, though, I do ask. As painful as it is for him to talk about it, he seems to feel a little better afterward. He thinks it's useless, this magic gone so terribly wrong, and it helps him to know that I take his shadow world seriously. I can't believe that the Gods send my dad these visions, year after year, consistent with each other but not with the real world, and yet it all means nothing. It has to mean something! That shadow world with Cathma and Carli and Rani and the rest is important somehow. I'm sure of it.

Listening to his sometimes incoherent words, I gather that the worst of his suffering this time comes because his shadow self is suffering, too. The mage he never became woke up a few days ago thinking he was dead. He wasn't, but it was still a trauma. It's only gotten worse since then. There was a storm in my dad's vision, and a shipwreck, and an escape engineered by the shadow version of someone my dad loved in college. Then last night, according to the visions, the mage confronted Sunestri's daughter, a very different person from the one in the real world. She did something terrible to him. Now he's far away from home, with no memory of who he is. The best part of him, the spirit, is trapped in a bottle.

It would be easily to believe that it's all just dream symbolism, the stronger, happier version of my dad now helpless and trapped by alcohol. It's not like that, though. Cause and effect don't run in that direction. My dad drinks because it hurts him to see his other self suffer, along with all those other shadow people he's come to know over the decades since these visions started. Dad only reacts to what he sees. He doesn't cause it. Besides, the mage of the visions isn't drunk. It's a physical bottle, stuck in a knapsack. If the spirit inside it doesn't reunite with the lost man in the western cave, the spirit will pass from this world to the next, and the man without a memory will be as handicapped in his world as my dad is in this one.

How will my dad survive then, if even his shadow self can never be whole or happy again?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A Letter from Rutana

Dear Barselti--

One of these days I really ought to reestablish the portal between here and Gathmak so that I came come down and see you, but you know how I hate to travel, and I doubt that Lord Albi would welcome my visit. For now, you're just going to have to settle for one of your mother's nagging letters instead.

I've been surprisingly busy up here the last several days, ever since Fayubi's projection turned up, demanding a portal between my beach and a stretch of ocean halfway between Sûtelmar and Eplimar. The poor man was on a ship that was about to sink in a mage-induced storm. We managed to save everyone on board the Seeker, but the ship itself sank. I don't think we've ever found out who sent the storm. Or, at least, I haven't. I haven't heard from Fayubi since the day of the rescue.

There was a second ship on that stretch of ocean, a little one man boat that managed to tack through the portal before I deactivated it. I'm sure you'll be as astonished as I was to learn that the little boat came all the way from Londer. Can you imagine? Fayubi told me, before he left, that the man who sailed it was the Prince of Londer. He was unconscious by the time the sailors from the Seeker put him in the back bedroom, but Li found out the next day that Fayubi was right. He is Prince Talber Edmon Jon Verjul. He's about your age, and seems like a very nice young man. He didn't speak a word of Mâvarinû when he got here, but he is working very hard to learn. Li and I are helping him.

Now, I have a very serious question to ask you, Bari. Have you ever seen any indication that Li has magical talents? If so,why didn't you tell me? Li admitted to me today that he's been using a talent for languages on the Line for over a year without realizing it. It worries me, partly because of what happened with Imuselti last year. Li seems to have survived the experience without the usual consequence, but I'm still concerned that he's had magic all this time without my knowing about it. He hasn't had any instruction, or even the most basic warnings before this morning. I will do my best to rectify the situation, but it's going to be difficult. He's still worried about what your father will think.

How have you been doing down there? I haven't heard from you since winter. I hope you are being careful with your studies and experiments, and even more so with the tengremen, especially Albi. I know that you can take care of yourself, but I worry that the situation will get too dangerous if there's a real power struggle, especially if Albi finds out what you've been doing. Yes, I did hear about that. I think it's a very brave and noble thing you're doing, but please, mind your mother and watch your back!

Please write to me when you receive this, so that I know you're still alive.



(Art by Sherlock)