Corthos, Rexus, and Sonarra Scene
“No.” Rexus stood behind Corthos, watching as the man wrote frantically. “You can’t simply write whatever you want about the nobility, Corthos. Not even under a pseudonym. Please, think carefully about this – there are other ways to show that you are unhappy. Perhaps you could file a grievance. They have open table discussion monthly, you could hire another to give you counsel….” Corthos set the pen down into the inkwell, turning to face Rexus. “And then what? Hope that someone I hire can argue my point as well as I can? Pray that they give me a chance to speak, and that the paperwork doesn’t wind up in a trashbin somewhere?” The two were sitting in a small room on the outskirts of the Alabaster Academy, seated across from each other at a small table. Rexus ran his hand through his hair, frustrated. “What is the goal that you have here, Corthos? Is it anger from being rejected by the Academy? Or is this an issue because Sonarra’s family has questioned your nobility? What is the reason for you to do this?” Corthos slammed his hand on the table.
“They dared to question my nobility! They called me out on the square, and they questioned my worth. Rexus, if that is not something worth fighting about, then what is?” Rexus stayed seated, calm and quiet. “They are just words, Corthos. Simple words. Responding back and yelling is only going to give them ammunition – you are going to keep handing them more things to pick at? Where is the tactical mind that you Tanessaens are so known for?” Corthos turned on his heel, facing Rexus again, his gaze intense. “That mind still works fast, Rexus. But there is no reason to hide my feelings, to keep my words inside, to pretend that I do not know what I know. I don’t know why they don’t want to allow Sonarra and I to have happiness, but I intend to -” Rexus cut him off, voice raised this time. “You intend to what, Corthos? To go out there and hand them all of the reasons they could ever want? You….you ignorant ass! You stand here and talk like you believe that you are the greatest mind in the nobility, and you pick a fight that is well beyond your ability. But that doesn’t matter to you, does it? You believe you can debate anyone. But you don’t have the common sense the gods gave a stray dog to realize when you shouldn’t fight-” Corthos turned, grabbing his coat. “Rexus, I do not ask you to speak for me. I only ask that you understand why I can’t let this sit.” With an angry step, he left the room.
-The Square, an hour later -
“The Delronge see no reason to allow for the joy between houses. They reject a marriage offer from House Tanessaen and go so far as to call into question my nobility – the child of an opera diva, the brother of another, and yet they refuse to allow my marriage. Why? Because Delronge does not care for the emotion of the people involved. He does not see his divas as people, only investments. Time and money, profit and loss. I ask you, all of you, to think of the House and realize that you are nothing more than a commodity to them.” Corthos stood in the square, beneath a poster for Sonarra, speaking loudly to those around him – the gathered nobility and wealthy that attended the Alabaster. He was still talking when the guards seized him, and he did not stop even as they had taken him into another room and set to shutting him up themselves. He did not stop talking even when Rexus had come into the room, carefully and tactfully negotiating with the guardsmen to allow his release.
Three weeks later
Sonarra Vodun moved through the crowd, flanked by Delronge guards. She moved with a slow purpose, graceful and gliding. A tall woman, lean and pale, her face white except for the pale blue of her eyes under the jet black hair. She was elegance and grace personified, and Corthos found himself standing in front of her. He hadn’t reacted when he had received the invite to the Delronge House, and now, in front of Sonarra, he felt that he might still win out. That feeling had shaken, and then began to fall as she told him softly and quietly of the roles that she had been offered. They would require her to travel, to live afar, to devote herself to her craft. She had been selected for such a limited position, and it would allow her family to be protected and paid well. Her voice cracked slightly as she told him everything, her delicate hand pressed to the side of his head.
When she stopped speaking, Corthos had only said one sentence. “So. You had a price too. You could be bought.” His words were shaky, hesitant and weak. Sonarra had simply nodded slightly, imperceptible, a ghost of a movement. As she had turned, her eyes had welled with tears that were not allowed to fall. Grace could not show pain, she had been told. No matter what that pain may be. Corthos had left, fleeing to the alleyways and ultimately back to the room he and Rexus had shared before his abrupt removal from the Academy. Through a haze of tears and impotent rage, he scrawled page after page after page of notes and letters, working like a man possessed for hours before Rexus had found him.
The man had not said words, simply embraced his friend and allowed Corthos to weep.