Time to be self aware, kids

So I’m aware that there are certain flaws about myself that I want to change. I was thinking about how I only have two more years before I’m twenty, and how much of how your life goes which is determined by what you do from the time you are sixteen to the time you are twenty. So basically I want to iron out some flaws in my character before I turn twenty. The first one I want to think about is how I think of myself.

Most of you can probably tell, even from reading my poetry, that I am very self-conscious. This is not a thing I want to be. I don’t want to think about myself awfully much. I especially don’t want to think and worry about my body all the time. But often when I look in the mirror, I see things I dislike about myself and spiral into hating what I see, which is neither healthy nor pleasant. It’s also kind of proud.

The thoughts behind this post were inspired by a video on Youtube by Malinda Kathleen Reese entitled I didn’t look in the mirror for 5 days. I highly recommend watching it.

So what she says, roughly, is that when she didn’t look at a mirror, she wasn’t comparing herself to any set of standards at all, and the negative thoughts were all from comparing herself to societal standards. She wasn’t thinking of her body at all–she did not love it, she did not hate it, it was just a reality.

And so coming from the viewpoint of Christianity I considered this, until I realized that our faces aren’t for us at all. Our bodies are not for us. They are us, but they aren’t for us. We use them every day, to work and to play and to help others. But we weren’t born with mirrors in our hands to see them.

They aren’t ours to look at. What they’re intended for is for other people. Our faces help other people identify us. Our bodies help us help other people. Our eyes cannot, without a mirror, see our own faces. Our eyes can’t see and don’t register most of our bodies unless we’re really trying to look, in fact.

Our bodies are not our own to change. Our eyes, our skin, our smiles aren’t for us; they are things we have so we can give the gift of seeing them to others.

I think this is the main problem with makeup. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing–it’s just a thing. It can be good, or bad, but it has problems. And this is the main one I see. It treats our faces like they’re meant for us to look at or like or change. It focuses on what you like or don’t like, not on actual truths.

The other thing is that our faces and bodies were given us by God. Whether we like them or not, he was the one who made them and entrusted them to us. They’re ours to take care of, certainly. We can decorate them and take pleasure in them–but they aren’t something we made or something we can change (apart from plastic surgery, and I don’t advocate starting with a new face because you don’t like the one you’ve got).

And lastly, of course our faces and bodies aren’t perfect. We don’t belong on earth. We belong in heaven, and our bodies and souls aren’t ready for that yet. We will be glorified in heaven, we are told. Our imperfections will melt into perfections and our bodies and faces will be as God intended them to be. But heaven is not full of mirrors. In heaven our faces are still for others, not for us.

So what I’ve been trying to do is recognize this. God made my face. If he made it with flaws, well, thank you God because that is a help toward humility if I can accept it! If he made it with beauty, well, thank you God because you made that for everyone else to enjoy! If I see someone and start comparing my body and face to theirs, and I just have to say “Thank you, God, I love what you’ve done with them! Thank you, God, for knowing better than I do on this one!”

God does not take constructive criticism because he makes no mistakes. God does not need your input on how you look. You do not need your input on how you look.

Because everyone, ugly or lovely, is beautiful when you love them. Not necessarily beautiful to look at, but you wouldn’t change a thing about how they look. You love them and that makes them beautiful. My dad, who is going bald, is beautiful. My friend with strawberry blonde hair which I call pink is beautiful. My little sister with her quick temper is beautiful.

Love, after all, is the point of why we’re here. Not beauty.

The problem with makeup, with selfies, with plastic surgery, with comparing yourself to a model, is that it turns the focus inward.

Now, when you think about yourself, you are not yourself. When you are in a funk, are hating everything and most of all yourself, and thinking about and pitying yourself, it is not you, is it? You are not yourself, not the person you like to think of when you think of yourself, not the person anyone else would like to meet in you.

But when your focus is outward, you are most yourself. When you pray, for example, and all your focus is on God and if you incidentally think of yourself you laugh at yourself for it. When you help someone else. One of my friends was going through some really tough stuff recently. She was in so much pain and heart-break and had lost (though not to death) one of her dearest friends. I tried to help. I would hold her and tell her I was there as long as she needed me and she could call whenever and tell me about it when she felt comfortable to, not now if she didn’t want to. That was me. That was the me I want to be.

My little sister was sick, another time. She had thrown up and was just so tired so couldn’t shower to clean up the sick. So I carried her into the shower and held her and washed her. She was almost asleep and couldn’t even stand on her own. So I carried her the entire time. That was me. None of the focus was on me, or remotely on my body or face. It was all her, and that was the most me.

And if I’m imperfect, it’s just a sign that I’m not at home. This is not the body that I was meant to have because that body will be perfected.

So the thing to do is to laugh when I think of myself. Laugh at that thought about my waist. Laugh at that thought about the acne. Laugh at the thought about why am I not more like that person, and thank God that he made me as I am. Thank God for knowing better than I do. Remember that my ultimate responsibility is me. Take care of this body, don’t criticize it, make over this soul, don’t hate it, look after me and bring me home to heaven. That’s the goal.

It is important to be healthy, care for your skin, and eat well and exercise. But this should not be because of an obsession with yourself, but because you yourself are necessary to other things. Health is necessary to help others. Eating well can help avoid self-indulgence. Your body should be something you take care of because it is your responsibility. Your body is not the goal. Heaven is the goal, and the body is part of getting there because we are soul and body.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is the key is charity, not unselfishness. Unselfishness focuses inward; charity focuses outward. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. So we are supposed to love ourselves. But our focus isn’t there. It isn’t in us. It’s okay to know we have qualities. We don’t have to hate ourselves or belittle ourselves. We just have to see our faults too, and most importantly not focus on that at all, because we don’t win races by looking at our feet, but at the finish.

So we win heaven by focusing on God, not our own selves.

I hope this makes some sense. This is not to be taken as criticism of anyone but myself, but if it helps you, I’m glad. I love you all; you are all beautiful and incredible beings; God bless you; and have an excellent and joy-filled day.

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A Song of Hope

I wrote this to music, and it became more a song than a poem. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


The sky is so big it cracks open my chest

Because it can’t fit inside as it is

My heartbeat’s so wide it spans the continent

Where on earth is it lovelier than this?

Snow smells crisp-bitter like smoke and sky

I ask the stars for the reasons why

But they tell me I shall know soon enough;

I shall be taught by the breath of love.

 

Too old for my body, too young as well

I feel the tide in the ocean turn

And as I find hope in the silver moon

I feel the windtorn pages burn.

For how far are our souls extending from us?

No one can tell us, we take it on trust.

How do we know that the wind is air?

We cannot see it but we trust that it’s there.

 

How far do we go?

How much do we know?

What tells us what truth can be?

We cannot see, we can only believe.

Our hearts are a compass magnetically drawn

To beauty and love and the heavens and dawn.

Our thoughts are a current in the sea

Of the lover who loves us endlessly.

So do not fear, my dear.

Do not be afraid.

Do not let the darkness rule you;

To conquer ourselves we must be brave.

 

Big Things

So big things have happened. To begin with, I am eighteen, now. After a year of seventeen, which was more pain and beauty and love and light than I could have ever imagined, I’m eighteen. And I’m tremendously scared by it. There’re so many things I have planned for the future, or which have been planned for me. If at all possible I’ll be going to college this Spring semester. I’m going to work through college. So be patient with me if my posting is even more sporadic and occasional than usual.

Honestly I’d rather post something worth your time of reading than post the thing I hated writing which was only worth my time because it was writing of some sort, not for any quality of it’s own. I’ve been writing lots of papers, so my inspiration and writing has mostly been going there for a while now.

Back to the subject, anyway. I’m eighteen, and I’m also delighted and at peace with that as much as I’m scared. I’ve been given so many gifts by everyone around me (and no, I don’t mean simply birthday presents). My birthday was so beautiful. I was happy the entire day. I studied and read and danced and did all the usual things–but somehow happier and more content. I prayed so much that day. I kept closing my eyes and offering love and hope, and that brought me so much joy. Nothing brought me down because I didn’t let it. And I think that’s a good sign for this next year.

I think that means that I’ve learned 1) to accept it when things don’t go according to plan, 2) to laugh at myself, 3) to let go, 4) to always keep trying and most importantly 5) to love above all things.

Now I don’t mean to say I’ve become perfect or that I do these things all the time. I just mean that I’ve seen myself do them, and that means that I can do them. Which is a lot.

Anyway, there’s that… And also Advent has begun. We’ve got about three weeks just now to prepare the way of the Lord. I’m trying very hard. I’m reading the book of Luke and trying to do something extra and special every day as a sort of birthday present to Our Lord.

So, yes, big things have happened and are going to happen. And I’m ready to try traveling down the path less traveled by through these experiences. Are you ready to come with me?

Sunshine

It’s not easy to be sunshine, brave hearts. But when you are, it’s worth more than you guess.


Hi there, little sundrop

Hi there, little star

Fallen now to earth

To bloom right where you are.

Not so easy, you find it

To shine like you did in the sky;

But if you want a reason

And if you’re wondering why

It’s so hard, at this moment

To find sunshine within

You were made with it coating

Your lips and hair and skin;

But that doesn’t mean it’s inside you

Because you have to plant it there

No one else will do it for you

No one else could ever dare.

And why should you plant it

If it isn’t there by nature inside?

To choose the light is your own choice

To let it be your guide.

If you die inside and smile

The smile changes your pain

And turns a thunderstorm

Into sweet and cleansing rain.

So choose light, light-bearer

So choose the starry sky

So be the burning sunshine

That gives others a reason to try.

If you never live for you, love,

But live for other men

You’ll have your reward back a thousand times

When the stars are yours again.

It is not a command you receive

But a silent request

Tugging at your heartstrings

To serve at light’s behest.

So when your heart is heavy

The cross is cruel upon your back

Feel no despair, and lose no hope

As your heart wrenches on the rack;

For in the darkest pain you feel

Behold a mystery

The greatest love given to any man

Is given you pure and free

And when you shudder in despair

He felt all of your pain

And every other in the world

A thousand times again.

So get up, little soldier

And serve in every thing

To Him that made and loved you

Your borne cross love does sing.

Knight

Come away, come away, tis time that you came home

Here you are, come home, come home, come home

This way by the back road. Pull the vines apart, see the meadow again.

Look, we’re almost home, dear friend.

There’s no need to fear, nothing in the dark.

There the trees rise, eldest child of forest stands tall still.

Roots pushing down into the earth.

Moss rising about his roots, where the fairies play over the midnight.

Come. Not far now.

Floorboards rotten at the stable, cellar fallen and crumbling.

The old manor is fallen, the oppressors are dead.

Mold crumbling over dusty walls, chandeliers broken up on the floor

Glass and bloody wax.

It’s alright though; home is still there.

All immortal men, all emperors  fall prey to death

And we poor mortals still live on, ancient as the stones of the earth.

Up on the mountainside, Spring is starting.

Already there the flowers shoot upward.

Here in the valley soon enough we’ll see rains come again.

See the fire in the window? Glass was broken in the war, but it waits for you yet—

All of us do.

In the ancient cliffs, the hawks are speaking omens again

It will not be long till Arthur comes back.

Excalibur blazes at night in the stone where we left it;

I let no one touch it, all days you had been gone.

One by one, all are waking up again, all are coming back.

Come on, Sir Knight—

Galahad’s returned, and the Grail with him, that all of us thought was lost forever—

Perhaps this time, a sweeter day has wakened us

But there will never be an ending of it.

Believe me.

When we’re needed we’ll be back, again, again, again,

As long as the earth breathes soft in the night

And Tristan sings of Iseult to the stars

And Lancelot hungers for honor

And Arthur builds within him a kingdom of Light Eternal—

And wake us then, valiant child, dreaming now.

For we are here yet, in Albion awaiting,

Across the sea awaiting,

For your call, sweet dreamer, awaiting.

Horror

There are no words which properly express horror.

It is not fear, precisely, it is not the pain of lack of light

And darkness does not bring it, nor does shadow

Both used to describe it, ‘blackness’, too

But separate from color, from physical bruise

Instinctive reaction to something unnatural, sick, despicable

Whereas color, black, white, red, darkness

All exist within nature and are properly good.

But this is where horror begins

From things taking what is natural and good

And bending them over backwards until they snap

Into a shaking, perverted form.

Rising, deathly, but not like death because death is not the end

Hellish, then, because they take good

And make it nasty

The way children think of nasty

The way they recoil from lying, from stealing, from torture of innocence

In innocence well-instructed seeing clearly how terrible, how evil

And though they themselves fall, feeling inside what they have done

They feel it first and name it horror.

They shudder back, retreat, and run

And do the better things formerly left undone.

For though children can be cruel, it is only by instruction

That they learn this

Just as it is by instruction of beautiful things

That they sense evil’s presence whether or not they know its name.

Shaking, withdraw, as it leaves them sickened—

Horror is the only description for it I can find.


I was reading an article and I was just sickened and this was the outlet.

I really abhor some parts of modern culture.

Love y’all, God bless! I hope you all have a gorgeous day.

Crescent

So there’s this hollow

Off the trail a little ways—

You climb up a tree trunk

And at the top of the trunk, where the roots were

Is an empty space, sheltered from the wind on every side.

No one knows about it except the three of us

And we only ever went there once.

We swore it was ours

Shared, but secret, and no one else would ever know.

We ate there, and made it ours

An island of claimed land in a sea of the possessions of others

No one would know where

And maybe it’s gone now.

It has been years, hasn’t it?

But it could be there, don’t you think?

Wind running overhead like water.

Waiting for our return.

But would we all fit there now, do you know?

It was small even then

And I was smaller then and so were you.

But that’s how growing up works.

Maybe we’ll never go back.

Maybe we’ll go back tomorrow.

I imagine going back.

Cold frosty air biting my neck and my ears,

Stinging my cheeks and my eyes

And by the side of the trail, a fallen tree,

Older now, desiccating with fungus and blooming with new life

Maybe some little thing hibernating within

And I climb up inside to find that little cove, our crescent.

And maybe a new tree, hiding within the roots, reaching for the sun.


There is an actual Crescent hideaway in the woods where my siblings and I love to hike. We went hiking in December, at the tailend of December one year, about–four, five years ago–and it was cold and we needed to find a place to stop for lunch. And we found this hollow off the trail and ate there. We haven’t gone back since.

We’ve hiked that forest, but never that particular trail and I’ve no idea if it’s still there.

So here’s another poem for all you lovely people, a little autumnal, maybe.

Have a lovely day, all of you, and God Bless!

Deceptions

Finer wrought deceptions there have been

Than that first stole immortality from men;

And these, you see, are what we tell ourselves

And wreck our own sweet ruin as down man delves.

For the devil no invention in him possesses

Only ruining that which he tenderly caresses—

Then with mighty rending, sunders to destroy

Every lovely wonder meant for God’s employ.

But man has dreams designed to learn of heaven

But perverts them ever still for earthly leaven.

Seeking forever some passing fair pleasure

And throwing thus aside a finer treasure.

For the devil would have fewer many successes

If man did not purposely play in folly’s tresses

Did not entangle himself in her bitter-turning hair

And foul himself and his own soul by playing there.

So be wise, innocent one, and hide within

The arms which never would have you turn to sin

Enslave yourself to him while you still can

And lose not by own will the immortality of man.


Trying to post some of what I’ve been writing here and there and everywhere so a couple will be coming your way.

Hope you all enjoy!

Love you all, God bless you, and have a wonderful November!

Liebster Tag +Eclipse Tag

o my. It has been a while since Writefury tagged me for this but. Well. I have had stuff which needed doing. I still have stuff which needs doing (which my poor dear neglected followers are probably aware of from hearing snips of what’s going on in my life, and from the lack of content, for which I apologize. I truly am trying to post. Life keeps on getting in the way.)

So. On with the stuffs.

Rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you for this tag
  • List the rules so the next nominees will know them
  • Include the ‘Eclipse’ image somewhere in your post
  • Answer the 3 questions, and ask 3 questions for the next people.
  • Nominate 3 people, and make sure they find out that they have been nominated.

oooook. Thank you Writefury! You’re amazing. I really appreciate the thingamagig. Nomination. Whatever.

  1. What’s one weird name that you really like?

Um. Probably Inej. Name of a character from this one book Six of Crows. So yeah, I do love that one. Also Caspian from the Narnia series and also Aravis from the same. Me likey fantasy names. And books. Which if you know me you probably know already.

2. If you had a theme song that would play when you walked in the room, what would it be?

Varies from day to day. Glad You Came by the Wanted? Definitely, kids. Shut up and Dance? Oh yes. Non Nobis Domine (not the one by Tallis, the one that’s the round? what’s it’s composer I no longer remember???)? Sure why not. Top of the World by Greek Fire? Sure thing!

So yes. It would vary. I would love to hear any of these though. My little sister would probably be Dynamite or Geronimo (by Shepard). She’s easier than I am.

3. What’s one very small, random memory you have from when you were little?

An ice cream cone while my brother and sister were on a ride in a water park which I was too small to go on when we visited my aunt in Arkansas when I was like? 3? The ice cream cone is what I chiefly remember because Mom bought it for me and we went to this ice cream shop with shiny clean windows and sunshine. And that’s about all that’s clear.

My queries:

  1. What is your opinion on top one hundred songs? Are they jams? Are they so overrated? Will your ears bleed if you hear one one more time? Enlighten me, lovelies.
  2. What was your nickname when you were five?
  3. What does your best friend do to make you feel better when you’re so miserable you don’t want to breathe?

My Candidate Peeps. Leila from https://wildflowersandcosmictea.wordpress.com (Sorry the link thing isn’t working for me on this particular browser. It’s a great browser. Just annoying that way.) Sarah from https://tpssarahlightshadows.wordpress.com. Autumn over at https://ourmp.wordpress.com. Go for it, ladies!

Liebster. Answer 11 questions. Ask 11 questions. Nominate 11 cool people!

  1. If you were a food, what food would it be?

I think I’d be a cup of tea with scones.

2. Story that you read over and over again?

Madeline L’Engle. Meet the Austins. A Ring of Endless Light. Anything.

3. Something that never fails to make you laugh?

My own sense of humor (I’m hilarious. Also unfailingly modest. Also sarcastic.) and my Dance Teacher’s sense of humor. She’s like scary beyond words and so hilarious she has the entire class in stitches.

4. Fictional character that you really identify with and why?

Adolf from Under a Changing Moon. In the middle of the kids he’s sort of out on his own. He wants to write. He’d love to be a wandering minstrel. He’s in love with fairytales. He’s in a place where he’s losing everything he knew and finding so much in return. He makes me ache in a way that very few characters do. Horace in The Box and the Dragonfly because he feels responsible for everything that happens and feels that he has to do the right thing every time. The weight on him is something I can feel so deeply. Vicky in the Austins series (first book of which is mentioned above in my can read over and over answer) because she wants to know herself so much. She doesn’t know who she is and she’s trying so hard. She’s a poet. She’s an empath. She isn’t perfect and sees others around her who are so much better than she is. Her struggle to find herself is unbelievably personal for me.

5. Favorite song at this moment?

Miracles by the Piano Guys. Just listened to it. Am in love with it.

6. A really good thing that you think more people should know about?

The fact that you yourself can change your life. You can’t change what happens to you. But you can change how you act in response. You can change the person you are and the things that you do and this will change your life.

7. Topic that you find yourself rambling about the most?

God. Morality. Philosophy. In poetry especially, stars. Light. Infinity. The road I have yet to take.

8. Piece of advice you would give to younger kids?

Love without limitation and don’t grudge what you give. Always be kind. Of all the failings you can ever have, the worst is not loving.

9. A picture that you think is really pretty?

um. I don’t really know at the moment? Probably

supernova.jpg

this one here.

10. Favorite and least favorite vegetables?

I actually love a lot of vegetables. I like asparagus and lettuce and tomatoes especially. Least favorite would probably be sugar snap peas. You know, those ones in the sweet pods that you’re supposed to eat pod and all. Hate ’em.

11. If you could choose, what genre of story would you make your life? (feel free to mash together genres)

Family, adventure… travel, sci fi (because I wanna see some planets other than this one even though I love it so much)

and now 11 questeeeeeeeones.

  1. What is one item of clothing you like very much to wear?
  2. What’s the longest you’ve ever lived in one place?
  3. Where would you most like to go in the world?
  4. If you could have tea (or coffee or alcohol) with any historical figure, who would you have that drink with?
  5. What person, past or present, would you love to punch? (or yell at dramatically. Punching is optional)
  6. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  7. What the heck is a woodchuck do you guys know? (this one is purely for your own amusement. I actually do know what they are. Tell me it’s a seal with a unicorn horn that carries a striped umbrella if you’d like. Get weird please.)
  8. What is the most important life lesson you ever learned from your father? (or a father-figure)
  9. What is the most important life lesson you ever learned on your own?
  10. What do you want to do with your life?
  11. What is your least favorite food group?

And lastly some nomineeses.

  1. Leila from https://wildflowersandcosmictea.wordpress.com (yes of course I can nominate people for two things. Do not protest)
  2. Sarah from https://tpssarahlightshadows.wordpress.com
  3. Autumn over at https://ourmp.wordpress.com
  4. Addy over at https://addyspenciltips.wordpress.com (publicity for your new blog! check her out here and at her old one https://crazysprinklehorse.wordpress.com because she makes amazing art and you should see it!)
  5. anyone with a nose and a love for science
  6. anybody who loves school, actually
  7. any one of my followers who’d like too! (You’re all amazing and I love you! Thank you for reading my work!)
  8. Ruby over at https://singingtothesea.wordpress.com (because I love her and everything that she writes!)
  9. anyone who prefers lemonade to iced tea
  10. anyone who thinks iced tea is an abomination and tea should be hot, thank you
  11. anyone wearing pink

also anybody who wants to. 😉

Thank you all for reading, sorry for how sporadic posting has been, and bless you all!

 

Because I have been Writing

Just not anything I was sure was worth posting. Anyway. Have this to read. This is a story of sorts I’ve been working on for fun, more or less. We’ll see how it goes.


The council was displeased. This was not hard to surmise from the dead silence which pressed in on Caryn from every side; silence punctuated only by the noise of thought. The use of mental communication is usually forbidden in polite society just because it is so difficult to separate a given thought which you have from a thought someone else has without rigorous, exhausting training. Even with training, some never master the direct communication of mind to mind. Caryn, though, performed it naturally and without (as Caryn noted rather humorously) thought.

Caryn’s tone of thought and use of phrase in thought, however, was entirely distinct from that which the council had the habit of using, which made an instinct of differentiating between sent thought and own thought distinctly easier.

It was still impolite for them to decline speaking.

It was only because they were displeased, (and justly so) that Caryn did not hint that the council was impolite, and should cease being so.

Alaric had already hinted the council was impolite. He had hinted it multiple times, and the hints were beginning to smack of decidedly less politeness. In fact, they were less of hints at the moment and more like insults, which, had they come from anyone except Alaric, would instantly have been taken as deadly insults. Alaric would have been in an extremely uncomfortable position then.

But he was Alaric, and because he was so very much himself, Caryn doubted that he had ever experienced anything but courtesy from this council and every other council.

He was, after all, the heir to an empire.

Caryn ran a hand through his hair as Alaric politely suggested that the council as a whole could get screwed in a remarkable (and rather impossible) manner.

“My Lords,” Caryn interrupted politely, “I do realize that time is of the essence in the business the council must attend to, and I do not doubt the council’s wisdom. I do wonder, however, if a little too much concern—and perhaps a waste of some valued time because of this—is occurring because of the incident at hand.”

Caryn wondered if that phrasing meant he had just told the most powerful executive council in Corthania a lie. He did not think the council was too concerned about the incident. He really thought, in fact, that they were a little too unconcerned by the incident and all it entailed. The only concern he really saw in them was a concern for appearance—a concern Caryn did not discard, but viewed with distaste all the same.

Caryn Velanor, Council Member Jackari thought, too tersely and angrily to be polite even in thought.

Your Grace, Councilor Elai interjected in her graceful, apologetically polite cadence.

Your Grace, Jackari continued with a biting emphasis, the Council has little time, as you noted, to deal with lesser concerns. Your ‘wondering’ should be saved for your own concerns, and not those of your betters.

            Jackari, Tialya sent, her cadence reproving, we have been aided in our thought by His Grace Velanor of Lioarcka too often to discount his thoughts or reprove them without cause. Speak your thought, My Lord, and we shall hear it.

“Oh, for gods’s sake! We haven’t got time to waste on dragging this meeting on—”

Caryn cut Alaric off with a sharp look, grateful that the council was cloaked and moreover, blind, and could not see it. Alaric groaned and sank with poor grace onto the flagstones on which Caryn was already kneeling.

“I do not think the intent of the child was to cause any difficulty.” Caryn began, wincing slightly as he imagined Loret’s objections to being called a child, and mentally tendering his regrets to her.

I do not think her intent is significant, Elai thought, gently, but quite firmly, the message clear; he was to keep to the subject.

“Your thought is valid, my lady. It is not relevant to us; but it might be relevant to the Ilr. If she were to give them her apologies, I am not convinced they should not be willing to forgive her without recompense.” Caryn bit his lip and wished Lucien were here.

She was remarkably good at extemporaneous speech.

But now he was delaying himself by thinking of Lucien—such thought would not serve him here, not when Elai and Tialya could read him with such remarkable ease.

The child in question caused an incident of unparalleled gravity, Jackari sent bitterly.

“Not in fact unparalleled. I believe Ethoi did much the same thing when he was a child—but that’s beside the subject. The point, for now, is to close up the incident with as little trouble and blood as possible.”

Indeed, the Council assented, in a deafening mental send.

“The best way, I think, that it can be done, is for me to send to my old mentor there, and visit him in the city. Once there, I can act as the Council’s messenger—always providing, of course, that the council so wishes—and resolve the difficulty’s through communication with Irgovian.”

Irgovian has always wished for peace, Elai thought mildly.

Irgovian has always wished to be in someone’s bed and I could name a few names—

That is enough, Tialya snapped, cutting Jackari off. If you cannot keep your remarks relevant to the situation, Council member Jackari, you shall be removed from the session and penalized.

            Now, I see no reason why your proposal cannot be used—as Elai has pointed out, such strategy has been of greatest use to the council before. But it seems for the best that another council member should accompany you, because the council cannot appear to the Ilr only through one they consider a child. I do not mean, Caryn, Tialya continued more warmly and gently, that you have not done us great service. I merely point out that the Ilr take a different view of Your Grace than the Council has done. Their view of you as a child has in fact done us the greatest service. But the council must appear most firm to the Ilr and Rule.

“Of course, Councilor Tialya.”

And the child in question must tender her apologies in person, Caryn.

Caryn jumped. “My lady!”

            In person, Caryn. On this I will not move. She is, to you, a child. Nothing more. I do not say she is not a child. But as you are of use to the Council, so is she, because of her station. She must learn to act in accordance with her station.

I’m so sorry about this, Loret, Caryn thought in the direction of his sister. But he didn’t send the thought, and he covered it over in politeness. “Of course, Councilor Tialya.”

You may go, Caryn. I shall join you presently.

Halfway out of the courtyard, Caryn realized what Tialya had indicated. She was accompanying him and his mutinous, engaged, undiplomatic, thoughtless, loud, beloved little sister to the Ilr home planet and governing city, where Loret’s betrothed lived, and who they would undoubtedly meet there at some point.

Some days, Caryn thought with silent bitterness, it would be so much easier not to get out of bed in the morning.