Friday, April 8

an experiment in dialogue

"You can't be perpetually desensitized. You can't fight like that--it just doesn't work that way," he said.

"But don't you, I mean--do you ever see red, like the stories? Don't you go into a rage or think you're in heaven or something? Like the stories?" she asked.

"No. You kind of block the emotions. I've never seen red or gone angry or lost my mind, if that's what you mean. You just fight because you have to. It is something you've promised to do, or have to do."

"But princes don't have to fight; you could have been a priest or a scholar or something without going into battle every time there's a border skirmish."

"I don't go to every border skirmish. Keep a rein on your tongue when you talk about battles, little thing."

"Alright, you win. You know I don't mean any harm; I just want to know. But then why do the stories say what they do about fighting?"

"I don't know. I meant to ask our bard before I left. Does your father's poet know the same stories?"

"I think so; we can ask him anyway. His new apprentice likes to sing fast and low and it makes us all laugh."

"And while we talk, maybe we can have something to eat. That bread we had at the morning meal is sitting in my stomach like a stone."

"I made it."

"It was delicious."

The broad steps to the large front door were often swept in the springtime because of the perpetual dust from the orchards nearby, though to the despair of apprentice gardeners there were white petals beginning to fall in carpeting sheets on the staircase. The maid slipped on them once on her way up as she attempted to walk upright and lift her skirts so as not to touch the ground, while still keeping pace with her absentminded friend.

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