Red King's Command
Saturday, August 3rd
Back at Ellie’s apartment, after all is said and done…
Ellie enters her bedroom, carrying Cinnamon Sugar with her. As she closes the door, she heaves a deep sigh. “Today was a long day – another one. I’m glad to have you for company now.” She reflects a moment, then lifts the kitten to look it in the face. “I… wonder if I can /talk/ to you. It seemed to work with the racoons. …That… really ought to have seemed odder to me than it did. I’m not sure I even gave it a second thought at the time.” She lowers the kitten back to a more comfortable spot in her arms, shaking her head as she does so.
She thinks to the kitten, /So, is it okay if I ask you a few questions, little one?/
Cinnamon: “Mraow. Puurrrrr.”
Ellie giggles in surprise. /I can handle providing skritchies./ She settles herself into a comfortable sitting position on the bed, and settles Cinnamon Sugar on her lap, beginning the promised skritchies promptly. /So, to start with… I can’t actually tell: are you a girl or a boy? And do you like the name Cinnamon Sugar?/
((<~brock> !1d6: even boy odd girl
<@karmabot> [Brock] rolled “even boy odd girl”: (2) = 2.))
Cinnamon: “Momsicle said I was her favorite only boy.”
Cinnamon: “Puuuurrr, that’s a good spot, human Ellie!”
“Heee!” Ellie laughs. /I’ll try to stay there, then. So the name – do you like being called Cinnamon Sugar, favorite only boy?/
Cinnamon: “What does it mean?”
Ellie thinks a moment, then replies, /Cinnamon Sugar is the name of something sweet and pleasant-tasting, but people also call each other sweet when they are kind and enjoyable to be around. So it’s really a way of saying I enjoy being around you./
Cinnamon: “But we just met, how do you know you’ll enjoy being around me?”
“Heh.” /Well, for one thing, I know I tend to like being around kitties in general. And for another thing, you seem to enjoy getting skritchies, and I enjoy giving them. And you are so cute that seeing you makes me happy… and I kind of need some things that make me happy, because I’ve got some hard things happening to me right now./
Cinnamon: “Aww. Hard things are sad. I don’t want to be sad. I want to be happy. If you are happy, can I be happy too?”
/Well, I’d like for you to be happy. One of the things I wanted to ask was whether you would be happy staying here with me, or whether you miss where you came from and want to go back. My friend brought you here accidentally, and I can’t promise he’ll be able to send you back, but if you wanted to go I would ask him to try./
Cinnamon Sugar goes all stiff. “Oh please don’t send me back oh please oh please!”
/Oh, goodness! No, we won’t send you back if you don’t want to go./
/You have a mommy; I wasn’t sure if you would be missing her. But I would like to keep you with me if you want that./
Cinnamon: “Oh good oh thank you human I love you I want to be with you forever mraaaow.”
/Well, I would be happy to keep you with me and be your human if you’d like to be my kitty./
/Can you tell me why you were scared of going back where you came from?/
Cinnamon: “Momsicle was scared of her humans… she wanted us to be scared of them, too. And I was not, but I should have been, and then I was, but you’re not like that.”
/Aaah. I’m sorry to hear that. No, I don’t want you to be scared of me. I like you, and I want you to like me. I’m happy that I get to have you here./
Cinnamon: “Yay! Can I sleep on your mattress?”
/I would be happy to have you sleep on it with me, yes./
Cinnamon: “Aw, not by myself?”
“Hehehe.” /Silly kitty, it’s rather big for you all by yourself, isn’t it? And I need it for sleeping. If I don’t get to sleep, I will be sad and cranky, and my head will hurt./
/However, if you want a bed of your own, I could make you one./
Cinnamon: “Ooh! You’d make me my OWN bed?”
Cinnamon: “…can I have some string, too?”
/Yes, I can certainly get you some string. But not right now. And I can’t make your bed tonight, either. It’s late, and I have things to do after I’m done talking with you. Will you mind sharing my bed until then?/
Cinnamon: “Not unless you snore. But I don’t mind if you purr like Momsy did.”
/I honestly don’t know if I snore; I can’t hear myself. I’m not sure I can purr. But you can tell me in the morning, okay?/
“Hmmm, I need to get something.” Ellie sets Cinnamon down on the bed while she gets up to rummage through her purse, finally pulling out her journal. She settles herself back on the bed, leaving Cinnamon to choose whether he’ll stay on the bed or crawl back on her lap. /I said I have some things I need to do. Mainly that was… well, I need to spend some time… kind of talking to myself. I do that by writing down what I’m thinking in this book, see?/ She opens the book in front of her, and holds up a pen. /It helps me know a little better what to do about things. Like some of the sad and hard things I mentioned before./
Cinnamon headrubs against Ellie. “So you write in it?”
As she thinks the answer, she begins to actually do so.
Cinnamon: “You should make sure to write down happy things too. Not just the sad things. Write about the happy things first.”
Cinnamon leaps up and flops across Ellie’s shoulder, then falls asleep purring.
/Hmm… happy things first. That might be a good idea…. I will try it./ Ellie smiles broadly as the kitten settles onto her shoulder for a nap-perch, and sets about writing in earnest.
((Cinnamon Sugar’s side of the conversation courtesy of Brock.))
It has been… a day. Ooooh, such a day. I will not – I refuse to – begin yet another journal by saying I don’t know where to start. Even if I don’t. Because I have a sleeping kitten purring in my ear, and he told me to start with the good and happy things, and at the moment, even if it did come from a kitten, it seems like pretty wise advice. I’ve got enough difficult things to tangle with: some procrastination is in order. And if it’s procrastination that carries some level of thanksgiving with it, all the better.
And the first good thing is… I have a kitten! …And I just finished having a telepathic conversation with my kitten. How else could he tell me where to start in my journaling, after all? He’s a pretty smart little thing, too; I would’ve expected… well, not nearly that coherent a conversation. It’s certainly going to be interesting to have a cat I can actually talk with like that.
Best of all, though, is… Lord, I know he had to come from You. I mean, it was a mix-up with Llewelyn’s magic, but… it was exactly the mix-up I needed. It was the one I needed at the time… though really, a silly thing like not being able to shift seems like an awfully small thing to have a breakdown over now, at the end of a day like today. In fairness, I knew then and know now that it wasn’t just the shifting. It was frustrating for that not to work, but it was really… everything. Everything in my life is out of control, and one thing I had been able to control was suddenly out of control, as well. What was that I journaled about a few days ago – letting go? I wasn’t.
And I know I was worried about the others – what they’d think of me, looking like something I knew… that they had issues with, I guess. But they made it okay. Sila did have a hard time with it, but she made it okay, too.
And then You made it okay. And I think I’m seeing that really, I didn’t just need my Cinnamon Sugar at that moment, though I did need him then. But… somehow it’s good to think I’ll have him going forward, too. I needed him, and it sounds like maybe he needed me. Or at least a better home than the one he had. So all-in-all… that just comes down to a reminder that You do have everything under control. You know what we need, and You know how to meet those needs, whether for a tiny kitten or for me.
…I shall need to remember that as I get to… other things.
Other good things from the day…
I got to see a side of my dad I’d never imagined before. The other day when I was journaling, I said I’d trust Mom’s reasons for keeping silent until I had a chance to hear them from her. He took that to a whole deeper level. All these years, he’s been married to her knowing she’s had secrets he couldn’t know, and even now that she’s gone, even with a means of learning about her available and in a sense sent by her… still, he sticks to his commitment to trust her. On one level, I’m not surprised. It’s… just who he is; it’s fitting. And yet, on another level, I’m left in awe. I knew before that Dad was amazing, but… I’ve never seen quite how much so, I think, until now.
Hmm. Now that I think about it, I was, at least in a small way, also blessed by our talk with Sgt. Schaeffer today. All I remember about him from the investigation was how he wouldn’t believe me when I said I’d seen Zachary – that he was sympathetic, but also completely dismissive. Not that he talked with me a lot; now that I think about it, he usually talked with Dad while “Detective Davenport” talked with me… and in retrospect, I can see why, too. But that later. That’s not good stuff yet. No, for now, focus on what I saw today – I got to see a deeply honest man who cares passionately for the truth, and for justice. What he said about the case he was working on right now – he didn’t care because he liked the person he was trying to help; he cared because he wanted to see the fact of the matter proved, regardless. I had to respect him for that. It was impressive.
Thinking of people we talked to, there was also… what was his name? I don’t think he actualy said while we were talking with him, but I think it was somewhere in a file… Charles Benson, that was it. We talked with him. He put up a cross for Mom, thinking she was dead. It’s… so touching to know someone took up such a concern for us. Thank You for that blessing, Lord, as well.
We also got an unexpected lead on Mom. At least perhaps. I know I remember Mom mentioning the name “Victoria Howard” before, but she never talked too much about people from work; it was always about problems and solving them, creations and accomplishments, things like that. I think she once said she’d not talk about the people because she saw her job as a trust to be honored, and gossip did not honor it. Something like that. But apparently she’d left a trust with this Victoria Howard, as well… and as well, the trust was honored. We now know where to get information about Mom’s background, and we have money to get there. And once again, I am encouraged.
Is that the last of the “good things,” then, before I shift? No, wait, there’s one other. My magic testing. Apparently in addition to the shapeshifting, telepathy, and healing we discovered, I also have what Llewelyn called “lightbending.” I can control and direct light. Odd… interesting… useful. I’m going to have to brainstorm ways it could be helpful. I wonder if I could pull apart the colors of light? Or make shapes? I’d love to make glowy butterflies and flowers, if only to have a chance to see them. And that sphere I made, hmm…
…My mind just totally wandered off on a brainstorming spree. For, like, a half-hour or more. :-p I’ve imagined up the COOLEST… shall I call it a light-bending routine? Not that I’ll ever be able to pull it off. But goodness, do I want to see it! I’ll have to try, maybe practice. Maybe it’s something I can learn bit by bit, like a really hard piece of music. I’ll have to see.
In the meantime, back to work. I know there are still other things to think through… and I think they’re pretty much all the negative ones.
…Which is pretty impressive, come to think of it. I’d kind of been thinking of today as a bad day, but honestly, look at all the good things that happened in it. “Start with the good things” – quite a large bit of wisdom for such a small kitten. I’m glad I did, but now… I’m still going to need help getting the good of it. Help remembering.
Because mainly what I think I have left to work through is… Zachary. Of course, I don’t really want to deal with this right now. I want to say it’s late, and I need my sleep, and surely I can journal more about this tomorrow or something. I want to put it off. I want to just forget all of it, and go back to living a life that… well, at least that doesn’t acknowledge his existence. I want to… but I know I can’t.
I just don’t know what to feel about him, Lord. I… I know most of what I thought I felt for him was probably a lie. I know what he said about his feelings for me couldn’t have been true. I know I was manipulated to stay with him, that I tried to leave. That I tried to leave because I felt You wanted me to, and I told him that. And he – they – used magic to keep me there, to get me to disobey.
I did disobey, didn’t I? I stayed, despite feeling You wanted me to leave. Part of me wants to plead that they forced me; part of me insists there still must have been a way to resist. I don’t know what to do with that… other than ask You, I suppose. But then I’m afraid of what I’ll hear, and afraid that my fear will cause me to hear too much, or too little, or just plain wrong… when I shouldn’t be driven by fear, because… even if You tell me I blew it, don’t You usually do that in order to also draw us back into reconciliation? …I’ve tangented off. An importat tangent. One I need to come back to. But the other is nagging me; I think I need to finish that first.
I was listing the things I know – the next was that he did try to kill me, using that curse.
And then comes the other hand. I also I know he didn’t do that last because he wanted to, or because he didn’t care. I know he didn’t want to. That he was deeply – terrifyingly – angered and upset about being told to do so. How much else was he also manipulated into doing? Did he… could he have actually felt anything for me, or was it something else we were seeing in that reaction, when he punched that hole in the wall? …And am I being a vain, foolish child in even wondering?
I guess I wonder because… I’m half afraid – rather more than half afraid – that I’m going to find myself in the middle of that one trope – the one where the will-be villain isn’t quite a villain yet (or at least, not to the extent he will be), but is driven to it in the end because he was in love with someone (or trusted someone, or was friends with someone), and they rejected him. …My inherent procrastination is now wanting to send me to TV tropes to see if that trope has a name. But I will resist! It doesn’t need a name: that trope is all the name it deserves. I HATE that trope. I want to refuse on general principles to play any part in that trope. I almost think the fear of being part of that trope would be enough to drive me back to Zachary in an instant if he seemed to be headed in that direction. I told Llewelyn I was afraid he would gaze into my eyes, manipulate my emotions again, and that I wouldn’t be able to resist. (Why DID I tell him about that? And why- GAH, no more tangents! Finish this!) I am afraid of that… more afraid than I can account for – terrified, even. But… though the first fear isn’t as sharp, as fierce… I’m still not sure I can quite decide which one, overall, is worse. I don’t want to be the one who from some misguided, finicky sensibility drives another from the verge of redemption over to wholesale, sold-out destruction. And after all… even Llewelyn was reminding me that I do need to be ready to forgive him. And if I’ve forgiven him… then if he did care for me, and if he repented… why not go back to him? …That sentence contained far too many “if”s, either for readability or for any soundness of thought. And yet, I’m not sure that isn’t the scenario that scares me the most. Being faced with a situation in which I either return to him, or drive him over the edge.
Which… put that way, I think I begin to see a couple things a little more clearly. First and foremost: my dread scenario is a lie. Even if Zachary were, at the very most extreme, to declare that I’m the one who will either draw him to goodness or drive him away forever… I am not and never will be what he truly needs. There is the vanity, the pride – accepting that role is claiming for myself far too much power. Again with the extreme: if he were to choose me as the condition of his goodness, then he would not have chosen goodness, and he would have made me an idol. He needs You, and only You… no conditions, end of story. Nothing else can really help him until he’s reached that place, and after he’s reached it… then he and I should both be on the same page: we should both be submitted to Your will, regardless of what it is. I was fearing to ask You if I was really responsible for staying with Zachary when I felt You wanted me to leave. But I think what I feared more was an affirmation that You had indeed not wanted me with Zachary, because I was afraid of being forced into that trope if it was true. But in the end… that trope is a lie. And in any case, if You’re asking me to do something, I shouldn’t be fearing to do it, regardless of what the consequences may seem to be. After all, don’t you already know? And can’t I trust You not only for myself, but for others as well? Heh! Isn’t that what You showed me within this very journal, with how you were able to provide for both a kitten and me at once? You have the good of Your world – whether kitten or person – as well as mine in hand. I’m responsible for obeying You, and if I’m actually doing that, I will never truly bring harm to others, nor will I truly be harmed. Even if the results seem negative, if it’s You directing, then You know what you’re doing in those around me as well as in me.
And the other fear? Or fears… there have been rather a lot of them, haven’t there? But let’s narrow it for now down to the rival fears: the fear of being forced away from Zachary as I just described… and then the fear of being forced back to him. Why – and how – could I possibly fear both at once? I… feel rather stupid that I have a harder time putting this to paper than I did even what I’ve written above. But get over it and do it. This is no time to be shuffling and hiding things; you need to be clear. In drastically and shame-inducingly simplified summary, I was afraid of being kept from returning to Zachary because of that trope… and I was afraid of finding myself forced or obligated to return to him…
…because I have a crush.
The schoolgirl in me who was always afraid of being found out in her crushes is now about ready to die of shame if only in order to drag this journal with her to her funeral pyre. But hey, if she’s going to do that, I might as well finish. She can do it just as well after I’ve written through to the end.
So, brutal honesty and all, here goes: I have a crush on Llewelyn. Which… I’ve known him, what? A couple weeks? That much? Gah, too much has been happening; I’ve lost track of time. But not nearly long enough. Not nearly, child, HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING?! And yet in that time, I’ve faced some of the craziest, most difficult situations of my life. And through it all, he’s been kind, considerate, gentlemanly, encouraging. Not to mention the fact that he saved my life :-p. He’s been the one, more than anyone else, who understood what was going on and knew what to do about it… and then took it in hand to help me know, too. It’s like… no, no simile: it is – that I was suddenly dropped in the middle of a completely alien world, and he came along and found me and just automatically started showing me what to do and how to survive. Which rather means you should not go annoying him with some silly crush, child. NOT.
But moving along. I’ve come to trust him, to depend on him. Why, I asked myself, did I tell him what I did? That’s why. Because I’ve taken him as… a native guide, I guess – one who knows the land and how to navigate it. So I’ll tell him where I’m having trouble, where I see myself possibly getting stuck. Because if I don’t know my way out of it, I still think it likely as not that he will. And after all, the guide needs to know about the difficulties of the people following him, or he can’t effectively guide.
And… from what I’ve seen, he doesn’t seem to mind that role – I mean, that of guide. It’s the kind of person he is – one who desires to help and protect others, and also to teach and equip them, so eventually they can make it for themselves, as well. That’s one of the things I like about him. And he knows You, Lord… has walked closely with You, and I believe still does so. That – that is probably the main reason I do trust him, and another of the things that I like in him.
So yes, I like him. LIKE-like him, even, as the schoolgirl saying always went. But it’s just plain impossible, child. CHILD – remember, he can’t possibly see you as anything else, Ellie. After all, he’s old enough to be your grandfather, for goodness’ sake! And he’ll probably live hundreds of years after you’re in your grave of old age. I think when he started talking about age… that’s when I finally had to admit I had a crush. There was no other explanation for why my heart sank the way it did. But there’s no way; there’s just no way.
Besides, to use another schoolgirl phrase, Ellie, he’s way out of your league. Think of him as your teacher and survival guide and maybe even friend… but don’t let yourself think of him as anything more.
So, we now have that bit of unpleasantness out of the way. Right? Oy, I hope so. Please, Lord?
In any case and regardless… I really hate to end on that note. Perhaps the one downside to the wisdom of beginning with the good things? But no, because I can always go back to them. I can give thanks for them. Lord, I really do thank You for the fact that, despite the difficulties of the day, You’ve given me so many vivid, substantial reminders that Your hand is still on my life. That You’re still working and providing. That no matter how much things may hurt, You still care, and You’re still attending to my needs. Please help me to continue seeing how to trust You… and once I see it, please help me to do it. I’ve been fearing all too many things; please help me to rest in You, and not to fear. Thank You that even beyond any guides You may provide me, You Yourself are walking with me. Please help me to remember.