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Let's Play Cinders


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Perrault: Dangerous? Hardly. But are you sure? You said you've just spent the afternoon walking about and the patrol route is quite long.

Cinders: Don't worry about me, I'm stronger than I look. Besides, this is my last day of freedom. I'd rather make it last as long as possible.

The big red-- I mean Lady Carmosa is coming back home tomorrow.

Perrault: I see. Now I understand the long face.

Very well then, you may come with me. But be warned -- I will not change or shorten the route, if you're tired.

It may not be the most demanding duty there is for a soldier but it is a duty still.

Cinders: Oh, don't worry! I can be very militant, if there's a need for it.

Some of my witty ripostes and well-aimed grimaces could be classified as weaponry.

Perrault: Ha! I had no idea you're such a menace! I can only hope I won't end up arresting you for possession of lethal irony.


Perrault: What do you mean? Is something wrong?

Cinders: My feet are killing me. And I thought I had a chance at this line of work.

Perrault: You have walked almost the whole route already and it seemed a fine patrolling job to me. The town is safe, calm, nothing happened on your watch. Isn't that what matters?

Cinders: Does anything dangerous ever happen on these routes? Because if so, I must admit I am disappointed with our walk and its unfulfilled potential for adventure.

Perrault: Well... no. It's almost always uneventful.

Cinders: Then I really feel like I have accomplished something today.

But if these patrols don't change anything, why do you do them?

Perrault: I did not say they change nothing, Cinders. Maybe it is because of them that the town is peaceful. Maybe something will happen and the town is going to need me to be here.

Cinders: Hmm, good point. Like that kidnapping the other day. It was good you were around.

Perrault: Yes. But whatever happens, or does not happen, these patrols are my duty, Cinders. Written generations ago to keep this town in order. So that is what I will do.

Perrault: I did make once choice - to become a guard. I do accept my duties as they are a consequence of who I am. You don't seem to accept the concept of duty in general, though.

It's fine. I mean I can understand. From what you have told me about your house and its rules, you are bound to dislike your duties.

Cinders: Isn't that almost by definition? Duty is something you HAVE to do. Not WANT to do, not CHOSEN. How can you like an obligation like that?

Perrault: That is how it is for you, as Carmosa took over your house and life. For me it's different. I have chosen and accepted my duties. Or maybe chosen to accept them.

I see the purpose of my duties and I am glad I can contribute to it. And if I can have a pleasant walk every evening as a means to uphold order in this town. Is it really that bad?

Cinders: When it pours or snows the pleasure must be doubled!

Perrault: Haha! Ok, you've got me there. Though the town does look better when all the dirt and these clashing colors are covered by snow. Or at least smudged by the rain in your eyes.

Cinders: So you honestly like protecting this sleepy, dirty town? I distinctly remember you saying that you miss the past, the times of battles. Where do your patrols fit into that?

Perrault: I do whatever is necessary. If the times demand I walk the Town, that is what I will do. But yes, I do prefer the thrill of battle and times when heroism had its use.

Cinders: I can't figure you out, Captain. One minute you stop to show me a magnificent view of the evening mist over the lake that unfolds from the Palace stairs. A minute later you admit killing is more preferable to you than such an evening stroll.

Perrault: I do prefer battle, but I certainly did not say I preferred it over this evening stroll in particular.

Cinders: Thank you. So are you a warrior, or a poet? Or a killer poet maybe?

Perrault: Oh, I would be an awful poet, I assure you. In fact you may be right, my poetry would probably kill.

Perrault: Ugh... If you break the law, then I'll kill you?

As you can see, not a poet. But then again--

Why do you think killing and poetry exclude each other? That's child's way of thinking. I've seen cruel crooks that wrote delicate poetry. And not all warriors are mindless brutes.

Cinders: You're right, I'm sorry.

Perrault: That's ok. But please understand, I do not enjoy killing. What makes me feel good is the sense of proficiency at something. Of being useful.

I can see the value of freedom. But the notion of having a purpose is what works for me and makes me happy.

Cinders: It's nice to see someone content with where they are and what they do. Maybe the fact that I enjoy breaking the rules is caused by the fact that I myself am not...

Perrault: Ah, but I broke a rule by inviting you to go on a patrol with me and I did enjoy it very much.

Cinders: I'm glad. And if I offended you by questioning your way of life, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude or nosy.

Perrault: By no means! There aren't many people I can talk to about such things. And how can you think things through if you don't let them be questioned? So thank you.



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Cinders: We might not be able to stroll like this anytime soon, but if you'd like to talk you are welcomed to drop by anytime.

Carmosa is bad, but I don't think she is rude enough to ask YOU to leave. Nor does she have the nerve. So if you like, do come and visit.

Perrault: That's really nice of you. And I might just do that. I find talking to you very interesting and refreshing. I hope you won't mind me saying this, you are much more mature than your age should permit.

Cinders: Thank you. On a different note, I've noticed something today. When you and Madame Ghede spoke earlier, you seemed quite familiar with each other.

Perrault: I owe her my life. Such an experience does bring people closer and creates a bond. Maybe for life even.

Perrault: I was just doing my duty. I led a small group against brigands terrorising the forest. Got separated while chasing their escaping leader.

I got him eventually, but he managed to wound me. I lost consciousness there, in the middle of nowhere. Madame Ghede was out searching for herbs when she found me.

Cinders: You could have bled to death!

Perrault: Yes. But Madame Ghede took me to her hideout and nursed me back to health. And I will always be grateful for that.

Cinders: Sounds almost like a fairytale. All that's missing is a romance and a 'they lived happily ever after' ending.

Perrault: Well, at least part of that did happen. But it was no fairytale, so we did not live happily ever after. This was a real story of bloodstains and pain. And--

Perrault: I'm sorry if I have spoiled the story and the characters for you. But I'm not a dark and brooding knight, Madame Ghede is not an unearthly being. We were just human.

Cinders: I know. I'm sorry for stereotyping again. It's just so hard to imagine Madame Ghede in love.

Perrault: I don't think it was love. We were both lonely and fate brought us together. Companionship might be a better word for it. I'm sorry if that offends you.

Cinders: No. I guess I have never thought about Madame Ghede as of someone that could be lonely, or with any other human weakness for that matter. She appears to be so strong.

Perrault: She is strong. And a good woman, so it would be a shame to see the prejudice win and drive here away from yet another town.

But what you said surprised me, really. Seeing just one side of her seems unfair as well. Plus, the two of you seem so alike in so many ways.

Perrault: I'm sorry. I told you I am no poet.

Cinders: Don't mention it. I actually do admire Madame Ghede quite a bit. And I guess now I can see her in a different light. Both of you.

Perrault: A bit less mystery, a little more of reality. That is just the way it is, I'm sorry.

Cinders: You're right. And I'm the one who is sorry. I did not mean to offend you.

Perrault: You didn't. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go to the Palace. The reporting duties call.



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Perrault: Oh, I believe you can accomplish anything if you want to.

Cinders: Thanks for the confidence.

Perrault: I look forward to meeting you again, then.

Anyhow, if you decide to do something about what that vagabond said today, or even if you just want to discuss your options further, do come and find me.

Cinders: Thank you very much, Captain. I will.

Perrault: I really need to go. Goodbye, Cinders. Have a nice night.

Cinders: You too, Captain. Goodnight.

Cinders: After two such wonderful days of freedom, it's depressing to know I need to go back to my ordinary life.

There, out in the real world, I can meet amazing people, have actual friends. Here? I'm trapped between Carmosa's plots and her poor daughters' bitterness.

Sometimes I wonder: what if I were to vanish in the woods, would anyone notice, or care?

Maybe that's the answer? Getting lost in the wilderness, befriending an uncivilised but noble tribe of rather short miners, becoming their princess...

And spending the rest of my days being adored, praised and--

Oh! Get a grip on yourself, Cinders!

Maybe it's going to be my wild card in this game.

Sometimes I wonder if all families are like mine -- broken, conflicted and utterly unpleasant; or is it just a nobility thing?

My! My feet are begging for mercy. I must have walked a dozen miles today.

Those were really good shoes I saw at the market. And pretty too. I sure could use new shoes like that.

These old horrors are just a few steps away from falling apart and they blister my heels and ankles.

Still, it was worth the effort. The good Captain, bless his honorable heart, seems genuinely interested in my humble person. And he seems like an interesting gentleman too. Looks really dashing in all those belts, I think?

Besides, I always fancied scars and brooding disposition in a man...

Perrault: You have summoned me, my Prince?

Prince Basile: That I did. You came back a bit late tonight? Was there any trouble on your route?

Perrault: Not at all, my Prince. Something has caught my attention.

Prince Basile: You must be wondering why I wanted to see you at this hour. Surely you have guessed it must be about something important.

I will have to ask you to make an important decision and I will not be expecting you to give me your answer right away.

Perrault: My lord?

Prince Basile: Let me explain, Perrault. As you know we live in a time of transition and my father's death changed many things.

Prince Basile: With little success. Despite his best wishes, all his life he remained an autocrat.

That is why it has been my wish, MY vision, to change the kingdom in such a way as to eliminate the need to compromise between freedom and order altogether.

In other words, Perrault, I want reforms. But I am sure you know this.

Perrault: I do, my Prince. I have known you long enough to be able to learn about the qualities of your character.

Prince Basile: I want to give the people a constitution, Perrault! I don't want them to be subjects, I want them to be citizens!

Perrault: I see. This will not make you more popular among the nobles, sire.

Prince Basile: If that's even possible!

Prince Basile: Yes, they do! That's exactly why I need your protection!

Perrault: You already have it! You know I'd give my life serving the crown. I am your sword and shield, my lord!

Prince Basile: Yes, yes, my friend. I know that. But these are a different kind of enemies I am going to face during my reign.

I will be giving people more freedom, but that means taking away some of that old precious order. The nobles won't stand for it. They will want my head.

Perrault: They wouldn't dare.

Prince Basile: Of course not. That would give me a reason to ask for their heads! They will not do anything openly. Do you understand now what I speak of, Perrault?

Perrault: So you want me to spy for you?

Prince Basile: It is the new battlefield, Captain. The theatre of war of our times. And the crown needs you to be our champion.

Prince Basile: It is a war of discretion and intelligence, qualities I know you possess in abundance! Not to mention, loyalty.

Perrault: Forgive me, my lord. I don't want to come across as naive, I am simply not accustomed to all the subtleties of ruling. I'm surprised. What would you require of me in this new service?

Prince Basile: You would have to spend more time at the court, that much is certain. Keep your eyes and ears open and, of course, socialize much more.

You would have to trade those blades of yours for our exquisite white gold cutlery, I'm afraid. And maybe do something about this outfit. All those belts...

Perrault: I see. This is not exactly... This isn't--

Prince Basile: You don't have to decide right away. Also, you do have a choice, I am not a tyrant, after all.

Should you choose to distance yourself from this lovely mess I am planning for the realm, you can leave your current service with honor and retire.

Your patrolling duty is purely ceremonial nowadays, and the guards have their officers. As it is, your position at the court is a matter of empty traditionalism, nothing more.

Perrault: You would send me away? To where?

Prince Basile: Oh, I'm certain there's some picturesque and lucrative strip of royal land left that I can make you a count of. How about Middlehollow? Such a quaint little place.

Perrault: That simple? This is very surprising. It's strange... It's a strange thing to learn that you are not needed.

Prince Basile: If I am to rule, I have to learn to make difficult choices and this is my first: I am not ordering you to become the new Royal Master Spy, I am giving you a choice.

Not only because I know that you wouldn't make a good agent serving me against your own will, but also because you are my friend, Perrault.

Perrault: If that's the case, I reckon I'd prefer to be just a subject.

Prince Basile: It will be enough, Captain. let us not say things we will regret later.

Perrault: Very well, my lord. Will this be all, my Prince?

Prince Basile: Yes, Captain. Give my proposal some thought. I would have your answer within the next few days. Now go.

Cinders: *yawn* What time is it?

Sophia: Dawn already. And you need to get up right this instant!

Cinders: Dawn is not a reason to yell at someone. And I'm not sure it's reason enough to get up so abruptly either.

Sophia: Two days without supervision and you've gotten lazy already. Where would you be on your own I wonder.

Cinders: Oh yes, do come in and spill your venom on me... Is there any actual reason for me to wake up at this hour or is this just a social call on your part?

Cinders: Okay, I'm sorry. And awake now. Would you please tell me what's going on?

Sophia: Carmosa's back. She wants us to gather in the hall.

Cinders: I'm wide awake and up now! You could have begun with that!

Sophia: Well, now you know. She brought a large package with her and she looks like she means business, so hurry up.

Cinders: She always looks like she means business. I wonder what's in the package though. What shape was it? Did it--

Sophia: Oh, just stop being nosy and hurry up or we'll both be in trouble! If you were getting dressed instead of asking dumb questions, you would already be seeing it for yourself.

Cinders: If you didn't stand there, yell at me and stare, I would already be in a position to get dressed.

Sophia: Fine. I'm leaving. Just hurry up!

[This is an extra-long update, and I've had a busy day, so I'm going to break here and finish the rest tomorrow.]
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