Elaine 11: "Moments of
I let the target become the
center of my focus, let it become the
source of my displeasure...
It was an old exercise my father
had taught me for dealing with
anger. To let it flow along my arm, and release it with the arrow. But
this time it just wasn't working. I released it with each draw of the
bowstring, but I always found a bit more ire welling up. And I was
running out of room on this target, which looked something like a rather
But was it really anger? Yes, I
was angry that he'd not outright
told me of the possible consequences, and I was also angry at myself for
not realizing there was more to it than he said. But more so than anger
at either him or myself, I felt something darker, and more dangerous.
Fear that I could quite possibly
lose him. I was momentarily startled by that realization. I knew I was
very fond of Harlan, but I had quashed anything else beyond that in the
face of my duty to the crown of Glorethien, for I had seen how
uncomfortable my impending marraige made him. Deep down I knew I loved
but some part of me was reluctant to admit it. But now, in the face of
losing him... He loves you, my mother's voice rang in my mind, and
the memory of that look of disapproval in her eyes still caused my hands
to shake with fury. What did she know of me and my capacity for love?
Nothing. Because she had abandoned everything she loved for her nebulous
cause. As if she had any right to tell me how to love...
Soft footsteps caught my
attention, bringing me back from my thoughts, but I didn't turn to the new
arrival. I had a fairly good idea of who it was, anyway.
"Hi." For some spiteful reason,
his voice only goaded my anger/fear on further.
The arrow slammed home into the
target, and I saw him wince out of the corner of my eye, and felt a dark
twinge of satisfaction.
We returned in the early
evening. The visit with Griselda, Raphael's grandmother, had been a
pleasant diversion from the situations in Amber and Gloerethien. As had
Rufus, Griselda immediately decided I was as much family to her as my
brother. It was a gratifying, and comforting feeling, to be so quickly
accepted by Raphael's kin. I was quickly developing a fondness for both
Rufus and Griselda, and was saddened when it came time to leave.
I stood there looking at the
scene before me. It wasn't something unfamiliar, by any stretch; I had
seen Jero and Randy like this on innumerable occasions during our
adolescence. And here is was again, this time jero was with Harlan and a
woman I recall seeing among the knights, howling some bawdy song, quite
out of tune.
I pried Jero away with some
difficulty, as he was going on about Harlan's last days at the top of his
lungs. I gave Harlan a kiss as I left, but I don't think he was coherent
enough to notice.
The next morning, in Glorethien,
I knocked on Jero's door a bit more loudly than was really necessary, and
was rewarded with a pained groan from within.
I am not normally a spiteful
person, but Jero and I have a long history of pointing out each other's
less than brilliant behavior in the most blatant terms possible.
I announced myself, and after
he mumbled something mostly unintelligible, let myself in, moving diretly
to the window and flinging open the curtains.
In response he burrowed deeper
under the blankets, which I almost yanked off of him until I realized his
state of dress, or more pointedly, lack thereof.
Ignoring his triumphant grin at
my sudden embarrasment, I inquired sweetly, "And how are we this
Annoyed, he grumped, "Dragging
me out of there when I was just trying to be a friend of a man who might
"What is all of this talk about
Harlan dying?" I snapped.
"His ordeal," Jero muttered
Everything suddenly fell into
place - Harlan's reticence in speaking of the ordeal, the drunkeness the
previous evening... For a tumultuous moment, anger and agony warred in me.
Anger won out, and I stormed out
I lurked at the outer edges of
the merry group, waiting for a convenient time to catch my quarry alone.
I was angry, but wasn't about to make a public scene. I'd leave that sort
of behavior for such as Belia.
The redheaded woman I'd
remembered seeing earlier was still there, watching the scene with some
amusement. I didn't recognize her, nor did she appear to be with the
knights, though something about her struck me as familair. But I saw
Harlan break away from the group, and for the moment, forgot about
I caught him as he was returning
to the tavern. It took him a moment to realize who I was through the
alcoholic haze. "Elaine," he said with drunken cheeriness, not noting my
less than pleased countenance.
Within a few moments I realized
that my indignation was completely lost on him in his current state, and I
left before I did make a scene. I wandered the castle grounds for a bit
before finding myself on the achery range.