More from what is planned as the concluding volume of the Laws of Power series. The title is subject to change, but probably not. Also, no real context, except if you’ve read others in the series you might have an idea of what’s going on.
Before they departed Shalas, Marta indulged herself by going down to the docks. She already knew the Blue Moon would not be moored there, and she had no idea what she’d have said to Callowyn even if it had been. The time they’d shared was because of an Arrow Path contract, now fulfilled.
They were not and never had been friends, even though Marta had grown fond of the pirate princess now turned ambassador, and Marta had a suspicion that Callowyn felt something like the same. Yet the Arrow Path did not leave room for friendship. Friendship was dangerous.
For all concerned.
Marta heard the whisper of wings before the raven touched down on her shoulder. “Mind telling me what you’re doing?” he asked.
“Yes,” Marta said.
“You do remember that the plan is to leave Shalas before noon. Standing on the docks staring out to sea isn’t getting us one step closer to Lyksos.”
“Noted,” Marta said, and that was all.
Bonetapper blinked. “You are in a strange mood. Even for you.”
Marta sighed. “Strange mood? I am in a strange life. What I do and the way I live is not what most people do and not the way they live. It’s the only life I’ve ever known, but why does it feel so strange to me now?”
“I think it’s called ‘perspective,’” the raven said. “Most people consider it a valuable thing, but in your case, I’d ignore it.”
Marta almost smiled. “Why?”
Bonetapper paused but he didn’t waver. “The point of perspective, I have been told, is to be for a moment outside yourself looking in. Perhaps seeing yourself as others do, but mostly seeing from outside things you were blind to when confined to the space inside your own head. I hear it’s useful for other people. For you, it is pointless.”
Marta frowned. “Really? How so?”
“Because whatever you see now can’t change anything or teach you anything useful. The truth is, no matter what fresh viewpoint you achieve, tomorrow you will wake up as you are and do what you have done and will continue to do. Change your mind? I know little, but I do know the Arrow Path doesn’t work that way. You were born with Amaet’s debt, and you will bear it until…whatever she has in mind, which I suspect even you don’t really know. All perspective can do is make you melancholy. As now.”
True, I don’t know, Marta thought. She was getting more than a little tired of the fact.
“You’re a thief,” Marta said aloud. “Man or raven, you will always be a thief. You can’t stop being what you are, any more than I can. Stop trying to turn yourself into a philosopher.”
While it was impossible to be sure, Marta had the feeling, if he could smile, Bonetapper would be grinning.
“Why should I? I steal food from the dead and philosophers steal their ideas. The two are hardly incompatible.”
Marta didn’t bother to answer, mostly because she didn’t have one.
That’s too much time wasted moping on this dock. Time to be moving.
Since there was no pull of the Seventh Law that Marta could sense, she picked her own direction. Not for any great desire of the destination. No, there was no pull there either, but any direction was better than none at all.
“Bonetapper, let’s go home.”
(c) 2021 Richard Parks