A LotRO role-player character blog. Yes, I know. Shut up.
Inkling: Shadows of Shadows
September 16, 2013Posted by on
“You want to speak?”
He glanced down to the boy at his side and let out a breath. “I am uncertain if Hari understands that the man in your dream did not live through his feats.”
Mannati wet his lips at that. “I do not know. I did not tell him this.”
The man shook his head. “Nor did I. It did not occur to me at first that he might think otherwise.” He pulled air through his pipe and let out a slow stream of thick, cobweb-like smoke. “I must find a way to keep Idhror alive,” he murmured. “I may lose my brother if I do not.” He turned his gaze to watch the flames in the hearth.
The boy looked quietly troubled. “His ancestor carried the sword. It was not until he used it that he fell.”
With a nod he looked back to his son. “Someone will have to use it,” he said quietly.
Mannati dropped his gaze. “Yes. Still, we have time to learn these things. He has very far to go.”
He nodded, though he couldn’t resist a flash of irritation that the journey would be so long. The anger seemed unfocused, though, and he reined it in. “Yet I still must debate whether or not to make this clear. He may do better if he is given one less worry than he already has. Perhaps it will be a needless one, in the end.” He bit his pipestem and added, “Or he may hate me.”
The boy shook his head as he looked up and worriedly watched Cole’s face. “He will not hate you. He understands many things, and if you do not say, he will understand that also.”
The man gave the boy a small smile as he hugged him close. “Perhaps. He has grown in many ways this past year. But there is much he yet must learn.”
Mannati returned the hug, pressing his face to Cole’s chest. “I understand. Still, there is much love between you, and I have love for him also. I believe in him. It is this faith that keeps us very strong.”
The boy’s father smiled thoughtfully down at him for a long moment. Then, seemingly out of nowhere he asked, “Have you heard from Vaijayi at all?” But it wasn’t out of nowhere. He had learned long ago that some shadows have their own shadows, and sometimes they talk.
Later he sat alone to read again a letter that he had told no one he received. He pressed his lips and frowned as he worked to suppress something else that none could see. If his will meant as much as usual, no one needed to.
My reply to your request is simple: No. But I will say more because I do not accept threats, veiled though they may be, hidden behind words even as clever as yours.
I know more than you can likely possibly guess. I know who and what your nephew is. I know also who his brother was and what he could have become. If you think to insist on having your request fulfilled, I will call in the debt you owe. If you refuse, he will know and you will lose face; it would be his right to refuse your demands. If you honor the debt he will learn even more truth. If this comes to pass perhaps he will hate me. Either way, if the debt is called, it is you who will lose him forever.
If you continue to push, you will learn how much power my father’s family still holds even after his death; his blood does not flow in me alone. I care not for whatever plans you attempt either in honesty or treachery to gain what you want for your little illusory and self-styled border realm, so long as it does not adversely touch those under my own protection.
You are either mad or desperate to think I would give one son of the sands for another. Even if this did not transcend business matters, this trade will not happen. Send him to me and keep his esteem. Cross me, and you will learn to feel true madness and desperation.
Includes an adapted RP snippet. Many thanks and hugs to Glyngaris!