The silence feels cold. What a strange phrase, as if sound
holds heat in any way. Yet, to her, its true. The air is still and cold here, barely
stirred from the rays of light from the windows. There is no one else inside this
room to help the sun with its mission of warmth and life. No extra bodies, no sweet words, no loving touches. Nothing but her and her work.
She holds her shirt in tight fists and takes slow
breaths to calm herself while waiting for someone’s knock to gather for the
monthly meeting with the Ministry. It was their deal after all: Let the woman
taste freedom all she wants but come back once a month with a report of the
situation outside their golden walkways and silk cushions. Once a month, she
stumbles back in and readies herself for the beasts that wait for her words,
ready to tear and demand reason for pleas.
She wishes they took her words in with great eagerness, with
the need to help as much as she wants them too. She wishes they didn’t keep her
here in the dark with only herself to keep company. She wishes_
“Lady Gallant, you know lying behind the desk in your office
is not recommended.”
She wishes there was a lock on that door.
There’s scuffling behind the desk before the first sign of
life comes up over the edge: Wild gold curls that defy gravity and the ribbon
that ties back most of it back to a messy bun. They settle, and soon a pair of
burning blue eyes appear. Blue eyes are striking on their own, but hers were
stronger, more powerful: As if the gods gave a piece of their essence to this
woman to watch humans, to be a seer for many. They look up to the speaker, who stands with
their hair in a long braid and in royal clothes, discolored skin glowing and an
arm full of scrolls and letters.
“See you don’t like knocking.”
“See you’re dramatic as they say.”
The eyes narrow and that annoyance grows along with the
volume of a voice. “Really. . . Prove it.”
“You’re in your office with curtains barely open, lying on
the floor, and muttering to yourself about dying in the clutches of beasts and
wishing it wasn’t so cold while dressed as a hungover playboy.”
A hand comes up to the top and falls flat as the top messenger
pulls herself up off the floor with a light grunt and a slight stumble. She tucks
hairs behind her ears then stands straight, almost blocking the light behind. Tall, broad shouldered, curves and a square
jaw that made her stand out. Almost stunning in someone’s eyes, but her tongue
is quick to diminish that grace.
“Enough from you, you hen. I was trying to gather myself
before this gathering.”
The fellow messenger shifts the mess from on arm to the
other and puts the hand upon their hip, releasing a sigh. “I know you don’t like how cramp all this is and the forceful return from adventure, but I sense
you are overreacting. They just want an update. They don’t want your soul for
Another sigh, then they look to Gallant walking around the
desk, picking at a few piles that came from expeditions and tasks on her desk
and pulling out documents and notes. Messy, but she had a knack of finding
exactly what was needed. A gift, so to say. When she speaks again, she doesn’t
bother making eye contact while pulling more from her piles.
“They treat so much of this like a story, as if I’m constantly
fibbing and making the truth miniscule. It’s disheartening. . .”
“You have a tendency say things are doomed, except you
decide to go colorful and make it a ride from beginning to end. Like that one time before Maguuma-“
They are given a side glance, and a low growl. Their
response is to shrug and continue to stand as she moves on from papers to pulling
on her government vests and robes in front of a dusty mirror hanging precariously
on the wall. Slowly with each button that is done, parts of her become tidier
and more professional. Yes, the hair was still wild and untamable, and
underneath the beautiful items she still wore her worn shirts and muddy heels,
but somehow, she tucks it away under a sense of duty and regality.
She hopes she can keep that face up until they call a vote.
“How is it out there,
by the way. I’m curious.”
She can only sigh. “Verdant is still a mess, even after so
long. Left a mess, and a lot of distrust to fix. We’re beginning the long road in
Oasis, but there’s hope. Eagerness is returning, and there’s a call for volunteers.
Bands of heroes are popping up, helping and finding their way in the world.
Granted, you don’t want them doing it for profit, but with people stretched, it’s
relief. If I can meet with some, I may have more to say, but for now I can only
say to spread that call and more on bounties.”
One final button is done, and she pops up the collar in the back,
so it covers her nape. The smaller one shakes their head and leaves it be,
reaching to the door behind them as Gallant gets her papers. Before that door
opens, they turn back. “By the way, you received flowers. From your husband, I
believe. Real looker_”
“And? I expect you to at least acknowledge them before they
get ‘lost’ again. They’re at least worth a sniff.”
As sunglasses are pushed onto the nose to help dim the
light, she only mumbles, “Desk.”
She’s given a nod, and finally they begin the long walk to the
Upper City’s gardens. Gallant looks to her co-worker with some hesitance, but
nods to herself. They were good, at least trying to work with her. Granted she
didn’t like someone’s honesty with herself, but they at least were honest.
Maybe they could be trusted if needed.
“Oh! And Estelle called for your company. Said no exceptions.
Also said to delay it so you couldn’t back out. See why. Be prepared for that
after your meeting.”
Nope. Damn this messenger and this whole place.