Summary:While his body is beaten, Spring's mind shares an illuminating conversation with Winter in the deeper recesses of his mind.


< A Disarming Procedure | Sol Invictus Logs | You Should Have Foretold It >

Spring feels himself slip away from the immense and unbearable pain, and float inwards, long-unused serenity training drawing him into an internal world he had long ago prepared in meditation: a tree-knot home, much like the one in which he had once dwelled in Wasirru, with a comfortably-sheeted bed and a table laid out with fresh tea and a variety of sweets.

It's been a while since Spring last felt the need to draw himself in to such a place, but even so, he feels quite certain that one present detail is not quite like it is supposed to be: the sight of another Spring, but redder, colder, and altogether less lovable, already sitting at the table and helping himself to tea when Spring "awakens" in the bed.

Spring_ "Good morning, inexplicable doppelganger."

`Winter "Good morning, arguably meaningless manifestation of latent Essence patterns."

Spring_ "What brings you to this nonexistent and ostensibly impenetrable construct within my psyche?"

`Winter "Well, in a broader sense... you do." He sips his tea elegantly. "But in the more immediate sense, there appears to be a to-do occurring just at the moment."

Spring_ "Yes. I suppose Varanim is purging your influence from my body."

Spring_ "I can only assume my agreement with the Mask of Winters before his execution had codicils I was not immediately aware of."

`Winter nods gently. "As have a variety of your other actions, both those you are aware and unaware of. Tea?" He gestures to the chair he has thoughtfully pulled out for Spring.

Spring_ "Thank you, no." Spring does take a chair, though.

Spring_ "So. How can I persuade you to leave?"

Spring_ "Perhaps by suggesting a better target for possession? Lucent is typically erratic and changes in his behavior might not be noticed," Spring comments invitingly.

`Winter "I was aware going in that this was likely to be a short-term lease," he says, nibbling a petit fours. "But if you suddenly need to clean the room out and show it around again, I suppose there's not much to be done about that, is there?"

Spring_ "I am pleased to see such acquiescence."

Spring_ coughs up an imaginary cookie of his own and begins to eat it slowly.

`Winter "I think a more pertinent question is... what are you going to going to do without me?"

`Winter He dips his snack daintily, then devours it whole.

Spring_ "Presumably, the same thing I have always done."

`Winter "The same thing you have always done, you say?" He picks up a gingerbread man from the table. "This deadly pastry is attacking you!" he says, thrusting it out at Spring. "Quick, what do you do?"

Spring_ " it?"

Spring_ "Nature, and the Unconquered Sun, have provided me with the tools to deal with gingerbread."

`Winter "But what about the living?" he says, and bites the head off the tiny man.

Spring_ "I have spent the hypothetical life I did not but could conceivably, had circumstances been different, have lived, learning how best to deal with the living, while allowing them to remain so. There is always another way. There must always be."

Spring_ takes the gingerbread man and painstakingly brushes the severed neck with his forefinger. Slowly a new head grows from the stump.

`Winter "Like causing them to dive headfirst into the infinite void?" He taps his feet and a small hole opens in the floor; he selects another ginger man, which begins screaming in a tiny and ineffective ginger voice, and drops it unceremoniously down the hole, which neatly closes up behind.

Spring_ "I was not myself. I hope it is clear now that I regret the consequences of that action on multiple levels."

`Winter "It was convenient, though, wasn't it? To be freed once more of the burden of preserving an artificial state, a measurably false dichotomy between life and death?"

Spring_ "By what measurement?"

`Winter "A being might remain alive, though its soul be prised out. A being might die but its essence, its memories, experiences, personality, loves, hatreds all remain preserved beyond death. Even that which is long gone might be brought back again, given sufficient ability." He eats another cookie. "The boundary is not as clear as you make it out to be."

Spring_ "I think I will have some tea after all."

`Winter eagerly pours a cup for his host.

Spring_ cuts a slice of lemon thoughtfully.

Spring_ "The principle remains valid, even if the implementation is faulty."

`Winter nods. "Words spoken often throughout the life of any possessed of true wisdom," he says, in what can't help but sound like a self-congratulatory tone.

Spring_ "Should we not preserve every living soul, given that we have the capability? If we must delve into the void and reconstruct the dead from a thousand years ago, is it not our moral imperative to do so?"

Spring_ "Even you, Larquen -- " he gestures absently with the knife -- "do you not deserve life?" He takes a sip.

`Winter "But is there not an allotted span for all things and beings? A time to live, a time to die? A time to dance, a time to mourn? To everything... there is a season," he says, pointedly indicating Spring's very name. "Spring must follow Winter -- and Winter follow again thereafter."

`Winter "My time for life has passed," he says. "But I believe that my time for death is not yet over."

`Winter There's a rumble as the entire building seems to shake, and some sawdust falls down from the ceiling. "Hmmm, and speaking of the times for things, it seems that the time for our little tea is almost at an end."

Spring_ "Shall I see you again?"

`Winter "Undoubtedly," he says: and with that, the roof caves in.


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Page last modified on April 25, 2011, at 08:14 PM