37th Day of Achtus
There’s a kind of tired that needs a good nights sleep, and another that needs so much more. For Leo, energy spent in a flurry of released emotions, he sat firmly in the latter category. Had he been standing, had Corwynn been crushing him against a wall instead of the floor, he would hand hung limp like linen left out to dry on a rainy day. Instead, he lay on the floor, breathing heavily (or as much as he could beneath the intrusive weight above him) following his tirade.
“The man feeds and houses me, of course he controls me.” It was only a partial lie, and it didn’t contain the same fervent energy of the words earlier. Leo didn’t doubt Resha’s fondness for his apprentice; he would be fed and paid regardless, but Resha had the power to deny him those things without cause, should he want to. That was enough for Leo to mistrust the notion that he had any rights or power anymore. “Fine. You’re right, I’ve squandered everything. I’m stuck in this pit, because I’m the lucky one. The scrap who got away.”
He laughed mirthlessly, a sound filled with the same bitter resentment that fuelled his decent into enjoying the finer things in life. “No brand for me, no gated life trapped in Brunnhold. How Lucky.” The boy fell silent, breath catching for a moment as Corwynn’a thumb trailed gently over his check, collecting the crimson fluid he didn’t even realise was flowing.
Problem was, to be born into privilege made the downward tumble even harder to bear. He knew what it felt like to have it all, to want for nothing, to know he would one day be worth everything. Even as a child, Leo has craved power. He’s lost sight of why he had originally wanted it, but the last decade saw him craving it simply to protect himself. Corwynn could never understand that, no matter what he said.
When the galdor stood, Leo took the opportunity to curl onto his side, practicing how to breathe again as if the skill was the same as learning to balance a bicycle. As he did, he was glad for Corwynn’s continued speech, which seemed more like a chastisement than anything else, because it meant he didn’t have to speak, he could concentrate on feeling normal again. Eventually he did stand. Instead of responding, or even speaking directly to the disfigured blond, he muttered, “I need a drink.” When did he not, really? It was no longer clear if the tremors were due to acute withdrawal or the adrenaline rush of the past few minutes. Regardless of the reason, a stiff drink was the only thing Leander could rely on to remedy any situation.
He shuffled over to a cabinet in the corner and unlatched the hook, opening up to a single, half empty bottle of rum. He leaned over the table and pulled out two tumblers and the bottle, which he quickly opened and poured a healthy portion of amber liquid into one of the glasses. The bottle banged against the top of the cabinet as he put it down, discarding for Corwynn to pour his own if he felt so inclined. With all the refined practice of a regular drinker, he took a large swig, swirling the liquid in his mouth before swallowing. The second swig finished the glass, which he then refilled and turned to rest his thighs against the cabinet. “I told you already, I don’t have names. I don’t know who they are. Do you think me imbecilic enough to put a target on my head?”
“Yeah,” he scoffed, “You know as well as I what I can do... but you also know I have no control over it. Clocking mona sings whenever she feels like it, and we all become victims.” He took another, smaller, sip of the rum, inspecting the glass as if it were the most interesting thing in the world, rather than meet Corwynn’s gaze and see whatever it was he was afraid to see in the other man’s eyes. “But you keep explaining to your inferiors what they should be feeling.” still smiling to himself, Leo pushed up from the cabinet.
Silence reigned as he fished out the forgery he had been working on when Corwynn had entered. It was almost finished, dated and everything. Placing it on the table, he pushed the useless pile Corwynn had brought in aside and examined more of the relevant writs and ledgers. I fledgling idea stared to form in his mind, one which required more alcohol to find the balls to follow through on. He downed he second glass and poured a third, forgetting his present company and how he might be judged for his liberal relationship with alcohol.
“This ledger,” he waved the nearly complete forgery, “Is dated for a week hence. The ship’s name and details of the captain are already recorded, though I cannot vouch for whether the captain and crew are involved. You can memorise the details and cut them off, but the Drain will know and that will be the end of the involvement of the Attic, and you will lose your chance of thwarting then on a larger scale. The other option,” another swig, and pause for him to savour the burning sensation as he swallowed, “Is to play the long game.”
“I gave you enough information tonight, information that I could have kept to myself without fear of you discovering my deception. I willingly provided it, wilfully disregarding my code and disobeying my master in doing so. If that is enough to trust one another, without you throwing about your weight, we can drop the pretence and superfluous threats. Hawke has me in his service. I will work for him, for you, and no one needs to know.” Another swig, his hands no longer shook as he poured out another generous helping of rum. “I’ll follow your instructions, and the Brothers can come out victorious. If you believe your own words, this magic-less scrap can be of use. But no, I can’t give you details, other than the ones lettered in this forgery.[/color