When perservance is your only miracle, from Fen's Memoirs
Proper homes were being planned and erected in Gelassi and the tents packed up in the storehouse beside the armory. More and more the lines and angles were becoming straight and most houses could survive a proper storm. Ornamental gardens were maturing and the dust from the roads and walkways minimized by river rock.
Eyre Nalev visited the settlement often and his presence seemed to subdue Vay to a certain degree. Any calming factor was welcome. The new mandate in Gelassi was for education. Since there were not many children around, this was primarily meant to convince the Houseborne that it was time for them to undo the wrong done to them by generations of societal abuse. A beautiful, almost palatial structure was built for scholarly endeavors and the women of the House quickly filled it with their countless volumes of knowledge that they had been scribing if not authoring for centuries.
The friction between the silken intellectuals and the trained killers had not dissipated much, nor had it turned into great lusty romances that would at very least have provided the next generation of settlers. No, it was only tension that permeated every blessed encounter day in and day out. Therefore, the mandate was designed to bring the whole situation to an immediate head. The men would either take their education seriously or they would be subjected to an arranged marriage, placing us in the match-making business, even though our personal relationships should have clearly shown our incompetency in such matters.
It was during this time that I received word that Roarke had taken ill and wasn't responding to either women or strong drink, which were Burgi's infamous remedies. I didn't bother to respond by messenger but gathered my things and left with only the briefest note to Misha and Tironik about where I was going.
I arrived at a small, dirty lodging called "The Restful Arms." Burgi was inside giving his sermon on unification from a tabletop in the bar. His presentation skills had gotten much better, even without his other half. I ordered a drink and sat down.
Many boos and hisses later, Burgi was finished and sat down beside me. "Fenaway, how are you?" He glowed as much as from his sense of mission as the drink.
"I am well, Burgi. I see that they're hearts have not opened to the truth."
"It will happen. I must persevere." He took another drink. "I don't know what to do about Roarke. I'm at my wit's end."
"He walks in darkness."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"The same darkness that claimed his uncle and sister." I stated.
"Come now, Fen. He was just fine. How could he suffer from the same illness?"
"He is fine one day then he is not. That is the way it has been since the killings."
"Well, what can we do?" Burgi asked.
"That's a relief. It's already been two weeks, so he should be done soon. We have a lot of work to do."
"I'm afraid that your timetable has no meaning to him now."
"It is not my timetable!" He was indignant.
"I understand. I will see what I can do."
Eburgistraten tossed a key on the table and took another drink. "Thank you," I said and walked away.
Roarke was sleeping when I entered the room. After setting down my things, I opened the drapes just enough to for some gentle illumination. He stirred.
"Hello, Roarke." I said as I sat beside him on the bed and placed my hand gently on his arm. He rolled onto his back and looked at me blankly.
"Hello, Fen," he said quietly.
"I'm afraid Burgi's mission doesn't allocate much time and energy for patience."
"Why would they send me on a mission and not make me well? It doesn't make any sense, Fen. Of what use to them I am I like this?" His voice cracked as he spoke.
I moved my hand to his chest and he grasped it with both of his. "I don't think anyone can answer that. But it will pass. It always does."
"I was sure it would all be different. I wanted to believe so badly. And now, everything seems so futile."
"Burgi needs you. I just came from his afternoon talk and it is lacking your warmth and sincerity."
"I have nothing to give."
"Maybe not today. Perhaps tomorrow, or the next day. The darkness will lift."
"Look at me, Fen. No money, no country... I've given up everything for this mission. Why, Fen? Why?"
"I don't know. I can only offer to stay by your side and help you. But you have to find your way back."
"I'm not sure I can this time."
"You have to, Roarke. Do you have any idea what it would do to D'Hir to lose you like this? He is so afraid this will await him."
"D'Hir is strong. He is untouched by this."
"You forget that I know him better than probably anyone else. There is so much pain that he dares not show you. " I paused. "I know that you love him very much and that the reason that seduced me was to get him out of the contract."
"Fen--" he began.
"Don't deny it, Roarke. It will do you no good because I know it to be true in my own heart. And once you changed your mind about me you wanted to fix the mistake you made and make everything right for your son. I can forgive you for being wrong. Can you?"
He turned away from me again. I kissed him on the ear. I walked over to my bag and took out my lyre. My lessons from the priestess had not produced much in the way of easily recognizable music, but I trusted that even my feeble attempts would mean something to Roarke.
After spending much time on the road with Roarke and Eburgistraten a messenger from my father finally caught up with me. This time he wasn't ordering me.
"That's poetic," I said to my companions. "He wants to put his bastard child in charge of the settlement."
"Replacing Tironik?" Eburgistraten asked.
"Replacing Naeri." I replied. "Burgi, could you please excuse us for a few moments?"
"I'll be in the bar drinking to your good fortune." After Eburgistraten left there was an unsettling silence. "Roarke, I need to do this."
"Come back with me," I pleaded.
"Burgi will find someone else. He's gaining support. You hate doing this." I insisted.
"Even if that were all true... "
"Yes, it is." He paused and took my hands in his. "Fen, you tempt me with that which my heart desires most, but I must see this through."