This is it then. Whatever events and possibilities I thought I would have in the Scarlet after my return, there is one inevitable thing in my near-future: There will be the offer for a job and the need for me to acknowledge what I have become and stand up for what I am. To face the consequences.
What manner of fantasy-thinking has lead me to this situation? Would I end my career as an endsman in the form of a floating body in some forgotten sewer, childish dreams and body slowly rotting and being eaten away by things more real than what I have become. Causing conflict would be inevitable.
An anger of sorts rises from the depths. An anger of man’s inability to change what he is. A reckless one inside tells me to ignore the request whatever the cost. The sensible in me can’t, but perhaps there is something in between.
— Bring me writing equipment. I need to write a letter.
The servant complies with efficiency and delivering me what I want. I dip the quill and remember how much I hate writing letters. Brings back memories from the time spent with Papak. How he demanded a perfect grasp of the quill, a smooth curve in each letter. I threw such tantrums over it, as I wanted to only learn swordmanship and the exotic dances. “The pen and the sword complete each other,” he used to say. Such an eloquent hypocrite, the bastard.
I write a response using old, eloquent style. How I feel and how I write couldn’t contradict more but this is the way these things are handled and second nature to all people of Scarlet.
To Most Honored Vansittart Gabaldon
My heart rejoices in this incident of a man of the Virtuous order to extend the courtesy of his golden influence on top of this humble servant.
Nothing would please me more than to consult you in professional matters and I assure you that I will bring forth all of my skill and knowledge. However, in a most saddest of notes I must add that it is not possible for me to take an assignment at the moment. I am still preoccupied with the events that led to my long journey away from Serenissima and until I have resolved it I am unable to take an assignment.
Do know, Honored Sir, that I will double my efforts on solving these difficulties, so that it would again be possible for me to serve You.
In dearest and sincerest apologies.
Derak the Eastern-Born
Streching my fingers after the exercise I decide to write another one.
Most clearest of days and sunshine to you and your household. I decided to drop you this note to check, whether you were still interested in pursuing our joined partnership in, as you suggested, professional basis. If so, I would like to invite you to dinner at Three Lanterns. It is a particularly interesting establishment and can offer us both privacy to conduct our businesses as well as an exquisite experience of food and drink.
Any evening from tomorrow on would work for me. If you are interested, please let me know. I am staying in the Ruby Dancer Inn and a message sent here will reach me.
Your in partnership and thoughts
Derak the Eastern-Born
I seal both letters and send a courier to dispatch them as soon as possible to their desired destinations.
I then choose a quick morning routine. Breathing exercises followed by twisting and turning of joints around all possible ranges of motion. Then centering and movement drills. I have honed this condensed routine during the years when I haven’t had a possibility to allocate much time for training. I will have to do so in the near future. The strings of the Puppet are strong and without me being equally strong they will rip me to shreads.
I have a busy day ahead of me. First I will go and see the Unbroken Circle. After learning more details of its nature I am even more puzzled of how it could help me in my quest for the Mask Market and the vague idea of my future. I will have to enter with open eyes, and mentions of Papak Vicente and hope to gain some more insights.
Then there is the dark crystal. In the evening I have to skulk yet for another nightly adventure in the Estuary. The chest containing the Dark Crystal needs to be hidden in the stash as soon as possible. I am becoming more and more visible in the city and the thought of it going in the wrong hands — in any hands to be particular, fills me with dread.