Enough of this self-serving nostalgia. I have one more post about computer games that I was thinking of writing, but that will have to wait. And soon, I promise you, there will be a glorious return to the mistakes I've made and the ramifications thereof.
Because some people's issues are just more important, you know?
Your Culture Does Not Belong to You, It Belongs to Us
Southerly had swept the rain that began out at sea far inland to turn the plains where once the behemoth roamed to mud.
‘I’m pretty much a prisoner in my own house,’ Gray lamented. ‘And for what? This is not the life that I was born into. Even if I did want it once, which I didn’t really, I don’t want it now.’
‘Then we have to escape,’ T’Dore said.
‘You make it sound so simple,’ Gray moaned, ‘but it won’t work. I wish my brother was here.’
‘And that is why we must go. No-one believes that you ever had a brother, not even your mother and father.’
‘And we should go and find him? Is that what you think?’
‘Isn’t that what you wanted – you told me that you had always dreamt of a life of adventure, that if I came with you then life would never be dull. There was no hesitation when you saved my life. How am I going to get the chance to repay that debt if we stay here?’
Gray looked sad. ‘I wanted adventure when it looked like everyone else wanted that for me too, when they were behind me. I didn’t have any worries about going on quests when I didn’t think that the quests would mean anything. I don’t know how to just react, whatever you may think, and I don’t know how to do this on my own.’
The rain continued to beat a lonely tattoo.
‘So you’ll just let yourself down, let your brother down? Wherever he is. You’d be letting your parents, the ones you really know, down too.’ T’Dore looked sad now. ‘If you went, yes, then there would be no coming back unless you succeeded – you might never see home again, but you would not be alone. You would have me. And you would have the life that is truly yours, not this... this false construction. Whatever may have brought it to be.’
They were sat in Gray’s rooms in the eastern tower, just overlooking the shard forest in the far distance. Gray had made up a storage room into a second sleeping chamber for T’Dore himself, the servants having been politely cold about doing so themselves. Gray was certain that this reticence was on direct orders from his father, there was no other explanation.
His parents had been very courteous, very kind to T’Dore. They had assured him of their hospitality but they had done so in a manner that while assuring him that they held him in no way responsible for their son’s behaviour, he was still an inconvenient and permanent reminder of it. For Gray, meanwhile, they had reserved the strictest and most disappointed of tones.
He should never have gone – that much they made clear; not without telling them, not without proper precautions, not without taking an escort and not through the shard forest. He did not understand how, let alone the mystery of Gret’s non-existence, they could reconcile this behaviour with the hearty good-byes he had been given when he had set out a week ago. It was certain that this was not where he was supposed to be. This was not his life.
‘What do we do then?’ Gray asked T’Dore. ‘We can’t just walk out of here. It doesn’t matter that I’m supposed to be taking charge of this place in a couple of years time.’
‘Then we sneak out.’
‘And we never come back.’
‘Until we have solved the mystery, no. But this isn’t really your home anymore, is it? Let’s sleep on it, and see how you feel in the morning.’
‘No,’ Gray said, finality steeling his tone. ‘Let’s not. I’ll only come up with reasons not to go, and I am afraid that if I stop to think too much then I’ll wake up into this world and it’ll be normal. I’ll never have had a brother and I’ll believe that everything is right and as it should be. I cannot let myself become that other person – it would be like admitting defeat for who I am now, like letting myself die.
‘I don’t care who he thinks he is, that other me doesn’t deserve to live. We have to go tonight. Before I decide not to.’