Brevari? Or have you had enough?
I believe I have had enough, yes.
...Give me your bottle. Thank you. A fine vintage; tart.
It was in autumn I think. It gets very unpleasant there in autumn. Though the way my life has been, who’d really notice? They all start blurring together after a while. One season’s as unpleasant as another. Yes, well, it was autumn, and we were in Martenlen Vel. House Durani estates. Business, politics. Society. Dancers, all of us. Weaving in and out of the fray, afraid to linger too long in one spot lest we bring ruin upon ourselves, upon our families. Stop moving, let slip and the whole web could become unstrung. That is something we knew, instinctively, as if by Vision. I remember, looking down at the buttons on my waistcoat, and visualizing the stitching threads as the people I would meet. If I looked long enough, I thought I could just begin to see how it worked, where they met up, how the web functioned. Then, it would be gone again. I mentioned this once, in company. This same Durani visit. It was after High Lunch, and I was among the adults as they gathered in the Centre Crest, as was customary in Martenlen after meals. Huge room, biggest I had ever seen. I was likely far too excited. The conversation among the elders turned to politics; the court had been following the Selinial affair quite closely, you understand. It was just after the weapons shipments were lost at Harrash, and the Narn insurgents were believed to be acquiring the stolen firearms through House Selinial operatives based at our embassy on Brakir. The room was too big. The talk of weapons I believe frightened me. It is difficult to tell now. So long ago, and even then I controlled it so tightly, I can’t truly remember if I really felt it. Yet evidently my control was not tight enough.
Or too tight, and something had to give?
Perhaps. Someone gave a cryptic remark about the connections between Lord Selinial and another house, and before I knew what I was doing, I had blurted out something about buttons. I still remember my father’s face. It slipped, briefly. He may have winced, but his control was tight too. I looked around, and I saw, on the other adults' faces, smirks. I was ashamed, so ashamed. They ignored me after that, but they were still smirking. We left the house. Weather was still terrible, windy. We walked in silence to the House Transport. I wanted to tell him I was sorry, that I had not been thinking and wished his affection, but that is not the Centauri way. I must have shown something amiss on my face, though, because he looked at me, and I have never forgotten this, he told me: “Do not fear them, son. They will soon be gone, and everything they stand for with them”. You can imagine my shock. For a Centauri to say such a thing - any Centauri, yet alone my father...I do not know if I ever understood why he said that. I looked for him not long ago, and he was gone. He’s gone and I don’t remember where and why. An entire republic under my crest, and the one piece that means anything has disappeared, gone. Yes, the universe likes playing these little games with me. One would think I kicked it someplace unpleasant in my youth.
You have lost much, because you never truly grasped it. And that is because, once again, you do not know yourself. You cannot know where to look, so you cannot find. You cannot find, so you cannot acknowledge. You cannot acknowledge, so you cannot forgive. And you cannot forgive, so you cannot forget, and let go.
Bah, you speak in puzzles. You are singularly obsessed with your own voice, you realize this, yes? You remind me of someone else with too much to say. He was highly irritating too. Go away.
Consider the Respik Lizard. If you handle it, it will bite and sting. Left alone, it will ignore you and present no harm. Upon disturbing one in the grass, would one poke his hand in its nest or would one find his way back to the path, accepting that he should be far from the nest? Let it go. First look for it. Find it. Acknowledge it. Forgive it, if you can. And then...leave it.
Look, I am tired of your infuriating riddles. It is late and I have had quite a bit to drink. If you have something worth saying to me, say it.
There are those unfortunate souls who are bitten by Respik, you know?, and who come to like the experience. The venom’s effect becomes pleasant to them, even addictive. So they actually seek the Respik out, enticing it to bite. They know it is harmful, know the terrible burden they are inflicting on themselves, yet there they sit, hand in the Respik nest, attempting to acquire more of it. Why? Because they are slaves to the impulse now. They no longer see themselves, and no longer acknowledge what they know, what they feel. They have
forgotten they have a choice. And because in the end, they think they deserve it.
Perhaps they do.
Perhaps. But they must still forgive. You will not, Mollari. You are not far now from that forgiveness, but you can’t make the jump and I know why. You haven’t yet fully acknowledged yourself. You’re still hiding, still twisting your self-image, still reflecting a mask rather than truly
searching. And it is because you are ashamed. Thanks to me, Mollari, and I ask you, that one question that is so hard for us but which we must submit to: do you forgive
I don’t even know who you are. Nor do I know who I am.
But do you forgive me?
I don’t like this vintage. This brevari
. It’s not right.
*sigh*. Then we shall move onto something you find more palatable. As usual.