Defender of Oerth
~ Stepping into the unknown, swimming way past the buoys. Ah well. To live? To die? To live. ~
Respen swoons, dizzy at Dame Clare’s bite. His heart races. Although the blood loss is minimal, he is nevertheless relieved when she restores his health. He still tastes a trickle of blood in his mouth, salty and unsettling. Her advances are completely unfamiliar. Aesthetics aside, Respen finally realizes that his curiosity has landed in a twisted sort of pickle juice, and for a moment, his eyes betray him. Fear. An emotion nearly foreign to him, the unfortunate side effect of his impetuous, even pathological curiosity. In his eyes, for a moment, she can see genuine fear and uncertainty for the first time.
And surprise. She sees genuine, confused surprise. Dame Clare’s turning of his words catches him wholly off-guard. Has she misunderstood him, or is she testing his resolve? Coming back to his senses, he replies to her, “So now you wish to bind me, and call it loyalty? That is simply trading domination for slavery? Your Grace, with all due respect, deities don’t demand that kind of fealty, reasonable ones anyway. And though you are akin to Eilistraee-extraordinary and captivating, and a little attractively broken (with due respect to your sister), you are not a deity. Yet. ”
He shakes his head and pauses briefly, contemplating ways out of this that will not involve permanent regret or death. He smiles for a moment, still curious about what happens next, despite now palpably fearful. He looks at her, shakes off his fear, and continues sharply, quickly such that his fear doesn’t show. He take control of the conversation, steering it the way he would want Dame Clare to intend it, not necessarily what she wants. He feels as if there is no return now; if he is to die or give his soul away, he will surrender neither his curiosity nor sense of adventure.
“Fine, you could end me. Does it make you feel more at ease hearing me say it out loud? You want to see what I am made of? How far I will go? You want to see if I mean what I say? Right then. ” He places his hand on the orb, and the other atop it, and looks at Dame Clare, as if waiting for her hands in kind. For a fleeting moment, he contemplates grabbing the orb and running for his life, and immediately thinks better of it. He chuckles mischievously in spite of himself.
“Your Grace, you should place your hands here. On top, of course.” His sense of humor being all that’s left to propel him, he tries to inject a little into his current situation. He remains stubbornly resolved. He thinks for several moments before speaking in the elven tongue in his native dialect.
“An oath to Dame Clare:
I will bring no harm to your named family in priority: Nelvandra and child, and then Ky, and then you, in that order.
I pledge to always tell the truth to you unless doing so places Nel or child, Ky, or you yourself, innocents, or allies at risk or compromises my integrity.
I pledge that I will freely speak truth to your power…to counsel you honestly…and to use my best judgment in both respects.
I pledge to assist you where the merits say I should, and to offer truthful reasons where they do not.
I pledge to always give you the opportunity to change my mind by reason and kindness.
I pledge fealty in exact manner and proportion to that which you pledge to me, insomuch as either of us have it within our power.
I pledge to not abuse that fealty by placing you in the middle of situations of my making.
I pledge to ask for your help when I need it, which you are free to give or not give, as long as you pledge the same in kind.
I pledge to save you from yourself by balancing your rules and cravings with balance and creativity."
Respen pauses a moment and continues:
"...As long as you do not upset the balance, and you allow me my personal freedom, you need not to force me to your will. I’ll help you where the merits say I should, and I will listen to you before I speak.”
After waiting a moment, he discards the dramatically noble moment with more humor, rather tickled that the pledges sound like human wedding vows. ~ How quaint. ~ “Now, since we appear to be wed, shall I assume we are wed? Does that create a problem for you and Nel? I hope not, as treacherous as you say she can be. I shall be nervous returning to her. ”