Druid work is boring. So much paperwork. But you know, I’ve been trained for that so I’m writing this with the spare time I amounted (because I’m a fast writer and a fast reader, seriously, who do they think I am?). I’ve finally figured out how to start getting more diversity in alchemical understandings of druids. They got really interested when I started drawing charts of the minor alchemies. I can’t blame them, a lot of them are either really eccentric or really upstanding, or they’re initiates who stop in wide-eyed to see what work I can give them. They’re really annoying. I’ve been wearing the glamour out of habit now because the last time I didn’t some doe-eyed halfling came and asked if she could pet my beard and claimed I had a soul of the Crying Rainbow.
Now since you seem to like astronomy, I don’t have to tell you that it’s that stupid asterism in the sky.
Besides that obnoxious display of self absorption, the other druids are tolerable. They really want me to disclose Shadow Alchemy to them, but I’m holding my tongue for now, since teaching people is hard and not something most people are capable of doing. Also I had to write a sixteen page dissertation on the philosophical and physical differences in the casting creation of “Demolior” in how it works as an alchemist versus how demonic creatures cast it. Back in university I probably would have gotten an award for it, but here it’s more of a “oh good job” and then they kinda forget it because they’re all more distracted with like, fucking holes in the ground or something.
U’ala liked it though. She seemed ecstatic about it. I am pretty sure she cries every time I succeed in life. She nearly flipped her shit when she saw me with the glamour on. Tried to stage an intervention or some shit. Went into that whole “you need to LOVE YOURSELF” bullshit she always does. I think she’s projecting a bit, but hey that’s not my business.
Also I have underlings now. I mostly use them to get me coffee or do stuff. That’s part nice, but barking orders is so exhausting because I don’t really want to talk to them and they always jump around me and some call me sir. The sir part is nice but I wish I didn’t have to constantly be their source of authority. Like this one guy, don’t know his name, don’t ask me, asked me my opinions on the political going ons of the Eriador Empire. I don’t fucking know! I’m not from there! I was busy and distracted! Yeah I know some of the shit but why are you asking me these things? Then it turned out his opinions were wrong anyway so I had to lecture him for an hour it was terrible.
I’m glad to hear from you! I have to admit, I get a little lonely between missions, so your letter was a nice surprise. I mean, I have work to do, of course, but I still manage to find myself not knowing what to do with most of my time. You’ve at least saved me from scribbling down yet another mediocre attempt at poetry, so I’m sure the literary world thanks you for that.
I’m sorry to hear about you being confused with an asterism, though, if I may say so, I for one think that you’re pretty stellar.
… All right. Terrible joke. I apologize.
I am happy to hear that things are going well in terms of you pushing alchemy within the Druids. It’s definitely very useful. And I can understand you holding back on Shadow Alchemy. I don’t know much about it, but your logic is solid, so I’ll trust you on that. (However, I’d be happy to hear you talk about it whenever you have some spare time.)
I would hope no one in the druids are actually fucking holes in the ground. That sounds like Zander’s job. And I’m sorry to hear that your work is going unappreciated. That’s sixteen pages on a highly specialized topic, quite the achievement if you ask me. I’m glad that U’ala at least gives you that.
As for the glamour, well, you know how I feel about that. I do genuinely think you look much better without it. At least more like yourself. But it’s your choice, and given that there are people who treat you poorly based on how you look, I can understand your wanting to mask it, in a sense? Is that the proper terminology to use here? I genuinely don’t know, magic in all its forms is so new to me. But, you know, I’m albino, I sort of understand where you’re coming from, even if it’s not to that degree.
Give me some tips on getting your subordinates to listen to you, if you have any. I feel like I’m not doing enough as general and not really the best leader I could be. I keep going over mission details over and over in my head trying to figure out what I did wrong and what I can fix in the future. It’s really frustrating, actually. And I’m terrified for how things are going to go without you around. Of course, you have a lot of responsibility now, I can’t expect you to be around all the time. But I will miss having someone smarter and more experienced than me at my side to help. I really do appreciate how helpful you were this past week. It doesn’t go unnoticed, I assure you.
Feel free to write whenever you have the time, there’s no rush, I know you’re busy.
You write poetry? Why? Most fiction is a waste of time anyway. The writers are usually drunks who are just writing about the person they want to fuck but can’t. Or the person they want to murder but can’t. Never seen a story that didn’t have one or the other. Poetry is usually too short, so they have to be way more blunt and upfront about it. Furthermore it has an even worse subdivision of “I saw something pretty and want to make other people be in awe of me” which is the most pretentious bullcrap I have ever read. Congratulations, you saw an ocean, you know what I can go look at? The ocean. Prose is for concise and concrete communication, not your artsy fartsy attempts at evocation. Go draw a fucking picture if you want that.
Honestly the communication of pictures and motion is shit, and there is a reason the best historical art is that of imagery, while famous manuscripts and plays are often lost to time or discarded once people grow bored of them. Even more so if it’s poetry. It takes dozens of poems for a poet to achieve any modicum of stabilty, success, or acknowledgement.
A good painting, portrait, or sculpture can be observed by millions more and remain immortalized and understood by more on top of that.
Also for the druids listening to me, it’s cause they’re just a bunch of kiss ups. Crusaders all think they’re special and deserve recognition for that time they didn’t murder someone when they could have. Or the fact that they’re not being actively evil. Druids just want to help the world and think that if they somehow impress me the world will improve by some sort of proportional amount.
For instance, the Druids are in near constant state of vigilance against the void. So often times you have people talking about how their department is best combatting it or some shit. Like how alchemy is good against the void. The answer is it’s fucking not. Literally nothing is good against the void. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the void. However knowing alchemy has saved my ass from multiple things, and it will save their asses too. They’re too focused on some idealistic end goal. Well some of them are. Others are convinced the end times are upon us. Those guys are really annoying. Especially when they get drunk.
I almost want to tell them that the world is probably gonna be destroyed by Misfortune Lady and the Dragon Spire of Death first, so surprise, all that void worrying was completely pointless.
I can understand your feelings about poetry. A lot of it is really trite and pretentious. Probably a large chunk of my own is. It’s why I don’t really publish it anywhere or show it to anyone. There’s no point, really. For me, I just use it for emotional catharsis. Using concise metaphor and imagery with words helps to convey feelings I might not be otherwise able to express. But that’s just me, of course. I’m not good with feelings, really.
I do appreciate art when I can see it, but most of it is pretty inaccessible to me. Poor vision and all that. And while I was a bit of an artist when I was very young, that got put on hold once Levon hired me. So I’m extremely out of practice, ha.
And, hey, no need to throw in the towel just yet on the entire world. We still have a chance to get things solved. How is another question entirely, sure, but the Crusaders have been through worse and managed to put the world back together just fine.
Do tell me more about alchemy when you have the chance, I’m really curious.
All right, so what kind of poet are you? The horny kind, the murder kind, or the pretentious kind? I need to know what kind of asshole you are. My guess is the pretentious kind, but you could be repressing murderous shit in you. I won’t judge. Or you could be the horny kind, I guess, depending on why you’re uncomfortable about the whole ordeal.
Fucking sucks that Crowface stopped you from scribbling shit. Pick it up again. Or I dunno, look into music. Music is decent as an artform, even if it’s constantly subjected to a far less interesting form of societal mirroring than visual art, in my opinion. It has too much elitism in it, that there’s a true way to appreciate music. So long as you’re good at drawing someone will like it, but music, if you’re good at it, you’re dismissed at being bad at it, because there are standards, dammit. It’s a fucking crock.
Art culture is a load of shit in general, actually. Society as a whole is kind of stupid. Too many rules. Most of those rules meant to keep people down as opposed to actually promoting the hard workers, in my educated opinion.
As for alchemy, there’s a lot of shit to talk about. You have the historical origins of alchemy, current practices of alchemy, the three major academic fields of course, the more obscure fields, etc. etc. So I’m not about to launch into an entire explanation when I’d have all the more success of just sending you a book.
Ah… Nothing I write really fits any of those categories, I suppose. The matter of sexuality is … confusing at best, for me. And I don’t have any especially homicidal urges. And my style is relatively plain, so I don’t think it would count as pretentious, but what do I know? I mean, I could show you some, if you want, but it’s pretty terrible, in my opinion. Like I said, I mostly just do it for cathartic purposes.
I suppose I could try to take up drawing again, though it’s definitely more time consuming than writing, for me, at least. I do have a nice view out my window, though. I could always practice drawing that. You know, I actually used to have this incredible view in my old room back when I still worked for Levon. We were right on the shoreline, perched up high on a cliff, so when you looked out, there were these incredible gray stones just poking up out of the water where all the seabirds would make nests, and a completely flat horizon, the ocean stretching out as far as you could see. And on especially still nights, you could see the moon and the stars glittering off the water like a pane of glass. I hate having such a fond memory of working in that terrible place, but it is an image that brings me comfort when I have one of my anxious meltdowns. So, I suppose that’s one good thing that came out of that mess.
I have to admit, I never took you for the especially artistic type! But I suppose that’s my own fault for making assumptions, so, I apologize for that. It’s nice to have someone to talk to about these types of things.
Do you have any recommendations for books? I really need to be doing more research on… well, just about everything, but I do think alchemy should be thrown into the mix after seeing how much you can do with it. I imagine your studies have made you very well-read, so I can trust you.
I’m not an artistic type. I’m just educated on most things. I am a literal genius, I know a lot of things. Even the stuff I dislike. I’m not even a fan of paintings or anything it’s just I’d rather take that than some droning epic about how a bunch of soldiers starved in the cold of winter before they could make it to the grand battle. And yes I have read that epic. It was over two hundred pages. All forms of fiction are terrible. Nonfiction is better, because then at least when you read two hundred pages of soldiers dying in the winter, you know it actually fucking happened, and you know no one is trying to teach you a lesson, it’s just reality at work. Way more comforting than some asshole who thinks they have an important message to give to the world.
Also if you want to show me your terrible poetry you can. Maybe I can convince you to pick a better hobby.
Your view sounds pretty boring to me, but I grew up by a lighthouse on an island. All ocean views are pretty damn generic when you woke up to it for seventy years. We used to have a shallow water garden where we raised coral and fish and reeds and stuff. It was terrible because it would make the surrounding ground so muddy and sloshy and every time it stormed too badly we had to go out and set a tarp and make sure the foundation wasn’t hurt. And sometimes it would break.
Once when I was twenty or so our foundation broke, and the fucking volcanic dirt just absorbed nearly all the water we had sequestered. My parents freaked out and blamed me for it because all their pretty fish died.
As for books, yeah, a ton, basically going to any official library and starting with the Alchemy section is a good start, so long as it’s not written by Jenus Barian, who was this annoying Corsivan prick from a few hundred years ago who started an anti-protection alchemy campaign, comparing it to blood magic and saying it summoned demons (unfounded), Fellywit Happythought, who had been the Breean leading authority on alchemy in the mid 400s and her bright idea was that the elements were negotiable exploitable boundaries and used it to incorporate philosophy of interpretive dance, Lesrathe Imoto, some fucking elf who’s still alive and is responsible for the worst alchemical curriculum I have ever seen and I’m pretty sure it’s the standard for the Beristan Institute and if there was ever an elf I wanted to murder it would definitely be that asshole (don’t know gender– it’s a fucking elf).
Alchemy is dwarvish originated, so you want good dwarvish authors. Some orcs get it pretty good too, but even then you shouldn’t read anything by Erstrak Bismuth, because she is a TERRIBLE writer and did not know how to spell “biologics” or as she wrote it “byologiks.” It’s fucking pretentious. Also she claimed to be an advanced type of alchemist known as “Aether Alchemy.” WELL GUESS WHAT BISMUTH? I KNOW EVERY TYPE OF ALCHEMY IN THE WORLD. GIVE ME ENOUGH TIME AND I WILL BE ABLE TO PROVE YOU ARE A FUCKING CON ARTIST YOU ANNOYING DECEITFUL RUNTY ASS MOCKERY OF A DWARF.
Otherwise there are some good ones, but it’s more important to just stay away from the bad ones.
I’ve attached the newest thing I’ve written. Fair warning that it might be a little, ah… upsetting, I suppose. Maybe. You’re probably made of stronger stuff than me, but I figured it would be best to leave a small note just in case. It’s… not very good, I know. But it’s probably the best example of what I usually write, so. There’s that.
Your view sounds really beautiful. It’s funny that we both grew up by the ocean. What kinds of fish did you have? I’ve always wanted a pet, even if it was just a fish. My mother and I moved a lot when I was young, and Levon never really cared for animals. Claimed he was allergic. I think he was lying.
You definitely are a genius, though. You know more than me about pretty much everything and I respect that. Truthfully, I think it just makes you more interesting to talk to. Not that you weren’t already interesting, of course. It’s just nice to know that I have something to learn from you every time we talk.
I will definitely keep these authors in mind as what not to look for as I do my research, thank you. 🙂
“Say your age,” he tells me,
the cracked yellow teeth a wall between me and the void.
“Twenty-five,” I say,
feeling sweat form on the back of my neck.
The rats squirm in a pile in the corner.
The dirt is embedded in his skin and I wonder if it’s gotten to me, too.
Most people expect dragons to roar, but this one doesn’t.
He says my name three times,
drags his nails along the glass pane,
white etchings in three narrow scars on the sky.
I am mute. Always have been.
I can feel the salty seaweed swirling around my teeth,
can feel my teeth being pulled from my mouth and down my throat,
bone marbles scratching at the inside of my windpipe.
I want to say something but can’t,
the seaweed is wrapped around my tongue too tight,
and I can’t seem to make the right noises anymore.
The skin under my shirt crawls like ants,
and I am so hyper-aware of how small I am.
“Say it clear, say it outright,” he says.
“Twenty-five,” I say.
“Tell me about your lover.”
“Tell you about a figment-?”
“No.” He punches the wall. He is growing irritable.
My teeth have settled in the pit of my stomach,
and my tongue flails uselessly in my bleeding mouth.
I am trying to say something but I can’t.
I can feel something crawling just beneath the roots of my hair,
but I can’t reach up to scratch it.
I am frozen in place.
The door is wide open and no one is looking inside of it.
He walks closer.
The fingers of my right hand twitch.
I am looking for something to hold onto,
a hand, a chair, a dagger,
but I am met with empty space.
He hunches down lower.
I can feel his breath on my face,
recoil from the rancid scent.
I am hot and cold.
“Stay a little longer, won’t you?”
There are no etchings in my window.
There is no he.
No one ever believes me when I tell them this.
Don’t get me started on the fucking fish. For most of my life we were in a closed ecosystem, so we had to monitor all activity fairly closely in terms of breeding and fishing, because we had limited resources and there was no way to go outwards if we ran out or made a species extinct.
There were some issues as a result. For instance we were only allowed to hunt the runty fish, so as a result the populations of certain types (like the Gumbor Fish, that has a poison sac in its gut that it uses to feign deathlike systems, before being woken up by the adrenaline rush of being chomped on, and then eating its predator from the inside), changed sizes massively. Like they went from being a foot at most to being three feet at minimum. After a while it caused problems because they were capable of overpowering all the other predatory fish and aquatic mammals, and there was this minor reward for a few years of just massively cutting them down in population.
And then too MANY of them died, and then we had to go to trying to breed them, but they ended up breeding inadequately due to the fact that they had to keep fucking their cousins. As a result, they went extinct in Aranarth, with some preserved versions stuck in stasis boxes just in case.
Luckily for us, there were plenty of them that existed outside of the bubble that hadn’t aged at all cause everyone else experienced time for a week. And in the end because we had some interesting versions of creatures, we technically improved nature, although with a few hiccups along the road.
As for fish in my house, we had a freshwater garden and a saltwater garden, and each ones had different plants and fish, and they were of course connected by this insipid little stone path where when we were younger we made clay molds of our hands and they used them for that. I think I destroyed mine? I forget to be honest, but it was a terrible mold because it didn’t fold around my hand right. I had the longest fingers, but the smallest hand, it made it look like it was some bird foot in comparison to my siblings.
Personally? I never had a pet. I occasionally strung up some animals and played with them until I got bored, and my step-dad had this pet anteater for some damn reason that ended up dying from choking on some rice it mistook for ants. I hated that animal a lot, it made the worst noises.
So you are the pretentious kind of poet. I was right. Only it’s just the angst kind, not the visionary kind. You need a better hobby for catharsis.
Or maybe it is the murderous intent, just channeled through desire to gore yourself or some shit. You fucking masochist.
Oh, wow, your ecosystem sounds really fascinating. I wish I could have been outside more to study the animals where I lived, but my skin burns really easily in the sun, and I didn’t have much time to do anything other than work when I was under Levon’s care, so I was mostly indoors for most of my life. Which I guess makes me the perfect candidate for creepy shut-in, aha.
Thanks for your honesty about my work. I know it’s not very good. I do try but, like I said, I don’t like showing it to people. It’s embarrassing on a lot of different levels. Honestly, you’re the first person I’ve ever shown anything I’ve written.
I guess I kind of am a masochist, yeah. Which feels disgusting to say, but, yeah, I do get kind of a release from physical pain. I don’t really know why. I’m sorry you had to see that part of me. I hope I didn’t upset you with it.
I’m sure I can look into a type of alchemy that might work as protection from the sun. I know there are similar ones that allow for lung expansion to allow breathing to work better.
Also, wait, shit, you really are a masochist? I was just teasing. All right. It doesn’t really upset me so much as it’s really fucking funny.
Oh, you don’t have to do that! I’d feel terrible, you already have so much work on your plate, I don’t want you to have to go through anything extra because of me. That wouldn’t be fair, especially considering I don’t have terribly much to offer you in return.
Ah, yeah, I suppose in a sense I am. I know, it’s probably disgusting and creepy. I’m sorry. It’s just – I dunno, it’s cathartic, I guess. Although, I mean, maybe it’s not that bad if you find it funny? I don’t know, I’m not sure. I’m not really used to this whole… interacting thing.
Kid, listen to me. I know what disgusting and creepy is. I don’t think you’re capable of disgusting and creepy if you tried.
Also I fucking love alchemy. Don’t tell me what to fucking do if it involves alchemy. I know more about alchemy than you. You know jack shit. So would you be interested in it or not? If I did succeed it would probably mean a tattoo and certain other issues.
Oh… W-well, um, thank you, that’s kind of you to say.
And, well, if it’s not too terribly much trouble for you, I would be interested in learning it. But only if you’re sure it won’t be a bother to you or impede on your work in any way. You have important things to do and I don’t want my nonsense getting in the way of that.
It will literally be easier for me to research it cause otherwise one day you’re gonna go on a mission in a desert and then I Have to hear you bitch for weeks about how you are a boiled lobster. Logically, it would be the easiest thing for me to find a minor alchemy that would do the trick.
Also it’s not “kind” of me to say either. It’s accurate and truthful. Haven’t you ever been to the House of Bliss? Shit is everywhere.
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