Corthos and Merry Scene
“Corthos. Wake up.” From beneath the pile of blankets, a hand clad in a silken glove moved and appeared in the air. It made a gesture considered rude in at least three cultures, then fell back onto the mattress. “No, no, no, you only paid for four hours, and you’ve been asleep for three. You always come in, talking that I’m your muse, then you drink and tell stories and pass out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the break…” The pile of blankets moved slightly, one boot sticking out from the bottom as the body within tried to orient itself. The woman continued on. “But there are clients to find, and bills to pay, and if I cannot get to work, then I cannot pay them.” The woman slapped at the boot, and with a groaning noise, the blankets shifted. Corthos Tanessen raised his head blearily, his eyes red from a lack of sleep and his hair messed by the bed itself. “Tea. Wake up tea.” He sat up slowly, his rumpled shirt marked with dirt and inkstains. “The good kind.” He watched as the young girl at the foot of the bed began to fetch her teapot, singing something to herself softly in a language he hardly understood as well as he wanted to.
But, by Cayden’s goblet, did he want to.
He smiled. Merrigold was a half-elf, a hair past five feet. Her skin was freckled lightly, the markings standing out against her pale skin. As she waited on the tea, he watched her hands deftly pull her hair into braids, moving with a grace and skill that he would always envy. He moved tot he side of the bed slowly, standing on a wobbly leg, one boot having decided to hide. He saw it under the bed, using his foot to drag it out as she fetched two cups. He spoke slowly as she set the tea on the table, next to a pile of papers scribbled and scrawled on. “As always, your service is impeccable.” She raised an eyebrow and spoke with a soft laugh, the charm of a trained courtesan. “I’ve heard that many times. However, it’s rarely just for getting tea.” Corthos managed a weak smile as he pulled the boot on, standing and fetching his cup. He began to look through the papers as she came to stand nearby.
“Your second act is rough. There’s a gap – why does the lead change his mind so abruptly about the Aulorians?” Corthos looked at her, confusion in his eyes. She tapped at the sheet in his hands, speaking quietly. “You’re the great playwright. But you left out anything explaining why he treats the magi like he does, and without it, the crowd won’t appreciate you.” He re-read the scene, mentally cursing himself. She was right. He had forgotten to write the scene he’d thought out – leaving it in the mind instead of on the paper. He coughed, sipping at his tea for a long moment before speaking. “Well, I thought about the scene, if that counts for anything.” She laughed, and once again, he could not tell if it was the laugh of an actress or of a friend. He had found that he still had trouble determining at times. “Merry….” She purred out an inquisitive hum from behind him, and he found himself slow to come up with words.
“I’ve been here every night this week. And I’ve watched as edicts get sent out that make no sense, and I’ve sat and prayed and wondered, and yet….the proclamations continue to come. What happens to us next? Where do the rest of us go? I feel like there is something coming – something deep and dark and foreboding, like a creature that is just glimpsed under the sea, with no discernable shape or reason, biding and waiting…..and I feel that it will be here that we see it.” His voice wavered slightly, the tiniest tremble of fear that every creator knows when they sense something beyond the words that they have to describe it.
Merrigold stepped over to him, placing her arm around his waist and resting her head against his side. “And then, this city will need something more than words, but words will help. My mother used to tell us that there were storytellers sitting around a fire when the world began, and long after we had all gone, there would be storytellers at a fire to talk of us. Stories, legends, songs and poems and myths and plays….that is a legacy you can leave, Corthos. But for now….we don’t need fear and gloom. You have…” She glanced at a hourglass on the bedside. “….about forty five minutes. Let us relax, and rest, and not worry about a future that you and I don’t know. That’s the problem with you writing types….you get lost in your own minds, and forget about what is while you think about what might be.” She smiled, pouring him more tea and then sitting on the bed and patting the mattress. When he laid back down, she rested her head onto his chest, a finger softly brushing through his hair as she began to sing.
“Merry? Can you sing the one that goes ‘ue I vethad ne I…’ – the one about…” She put a finger to his lips to cut him off, laughing, a true laugh this time. “You meant ‘ue I ve*thed na* onnad.’ And yes, I will. But you need to practice more.” She began to sing softly, and Corthos closed his eyes, letting her song silence the doubts that gnawed at him.