Image

Deal 989: No town town

He was not a humble man, that much was obvious as he strode into town from the deep woods.

He stood six feet or more tall, slender, with long blond hair. The bow he carried was nearly as tall as he was. His quiver was empty, however. He walked steadily, as if accustomed to walking long distances.

This was a man who demanded attention. He drew the eye and held it.

His partner, however, was opposite in every way possible.

She was short. Short temper. Short hair. Short of breath. And clearly past the end of her patience for long walks. She carried a great battle axe strapped across her back, and clearly had the strength to use it. She also had no desire to be seen or noticed.

This couple was trouble incarnate. And my peaceful town was about to become the center of some chain of events that had followed them across the lands. Unless I took action to deflect it.

I acted alone, the need was too immediate to call for the others.

I cast the first stone in the pond, and muddled the reflection and by extension of my will, muddled what they saw.

If my will prevailed, they would not see the town spread out before them, and would walk on through, seeking shelter further along their trail.

This was the prudent thing to do.

It was not necessarily the right thing to do.

It was what I did.

As the town watched silently, they made their way through.

His confident strides missed every pothole, every small animal, every picket fence.

Her furtive pace nearly caught us out, but she was too intent on keeping up.

He held the attention of everyone as his tall bow and blond hair disappeared over the ridge and back into the deep woods.

I would pay for my actions tomorrow.

But for today, we remained safe and hidden.

Image

Deal 988: Friendly Darkness

My cave is a warm and welcoming space, but not a bright place. The darkness is nearly complete in many areas. The comfortable darkness enfolds you as you progress deeper into my cave, with occasional punctuation from ever-burning candles in sconces here and there, and an occasional chamber lit for a purpose.

The library is one such chamber, with low, shadowless ambient lighting in most of the room, and reading lights near a selection of comfortable chairs as well as work tables. The associated stacks, however, are reasonably well lit near the door and get darker as you wander afield into the obscure topics.

That lighting serves a purpose. A visitor (welcome or not) who is afraid of the dark will not get very far before they must face their fears. A welcome visitor may be accommodated. The other kind may find that their fears have some basis in reality.

Why do I live this way?

Contrary to rumor, I am not afraid of the light, or of open spaces. After all, there are a few rooms in my cavern which are large enough to house several houses.

I am simply selfish of my privacy.

I enjoy being not fully understood by the town.

It keeps my days undisturbed by solicitors. It keeps me out of the public eye. It allows my age to not usually be a matter of speculation.

Image

Deal 973: Not dying

I’m generally pretty cheerful for someone who’s been to hell and back.

I don’t bite, and I try hard to avoid unreasonable fears.

So when they tried to poison me, I did my best to not be annoyed. But you don’t need to wake up to poisoned cereal very often before it begins to leave the impression that you aren’t wanted.

Still, I put it aside and continued on my assigned task.

Then the accidents began to happen.

The spiked shoes were, I’m certain, just an accident.

The large saw that got loose and nearly decapitated me was at least partly due to my own clumsiness.

The tree the fell the wrong way and landed on my tent had to be a freak wind gust at the critical moment when the tree was felled but hadn’t yet realized.

Then I examined the stump, and there were signs that it might have been dressed after the tree fell to adjust perception.

And that saw, well it had never done that before I arrived (or since, but I couldn’t know that then).

The message began to become clear to me. I can be pretty stubborn, but you only have to drop one tree on me to get my attention. Unfortunately you apparently do have to drop a tree before you get my attention.

Now that you have my attention, be very sure that you wanted it. Because I am stubborn this way too.

Now that I think about it, I must be the only one taking home poisoned breakfast cereal or there’s be a run on the doctor’s tent. Ditto for mechanical mishaps. That loose saw had scared many people around the camp, but had also made a clear run through camp without leveling a single tent or even coming close to injuring anyone. It might have got me if I hadn’t been shaving and seen the motion in the mirror.

I fear not for myself, but for the others.

One of these attempts is going to succeed, and I will regret the collateral damage that results. Or maybe the nearly unthinkable will happen and I will be killed. I’ve never been assured that I am immortal, after all. In point of fact, I’ve never been told anything. I’m just very hard to kill.