Pattern of Infinity - Part III - The Bed At MidnightBy J. Kel
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What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight?
I am not alone.
There is another with me; for almost four years I have felt its presence. Obscure, curious, capricious, frightening, I call it my mind shadow, my soul wisp. I do not know what it seeks. When it first spoke to me from some cavern in a stellar wilderness, I feared I was going mad. Now, I wish I were.
Please understand: when I first heard the voice, it was barely a whisper, a soft smothering something that wanted to learn about me. I, in turn, hoped it would help me, but that apparently was unreasonable. Even as its knowledge of and power through me grew (in its mental chamber, I was never to deny it want it wanted), it became more remote. The voice became clearer, louder, but more estranged. As if it were embarrassed to acknowledge that it might need me. Was there a gulf between us that even its immense power could not bridge?
What does it do when its mind enters mine? I will tell you. It watches through my eyes (bewildering); hears through my mind (wondering); feels with my heart (sorrowing). Yet it never responds. I think it cruel -- I have an image of a cold claw and the snarl of a slouching beast -- but I forgive it. It is vital in life to forgive. Perhaps it does not know the fear it inflicts. Others may dispute that, but I do not feel my sentiment to be so shallow. A bond, even a painful one, is not to be pitched aside lightly.
Then, after slyly tempting me with glittering ambiguity, it was silent for nearly three years. In the barrenness of my soul, I searched for it. I vowed not to yield to pain. I am not pitiful in my hope that this voice might grant knowledge of my sister's fate. Pain cannot bury hope. It is not so wasteful to yearn for things doubtful. For it to have resonated so strongly within me -- only an entity that mirrored my soul/self could do so.
But she is dead with utter finality, lying still in her stellar sepulcher. Logic and reality have urged me to accept that slab of a conclusion for years, insisting that whatever it is that is calling me, my sister Cally is no part of it.
Stars of stone, speak to me -- deny that it cares for neither myself nor she.
The Abuse of Greatness
I am Molli and I have been a prisoner of the Federation now for several weeks. Since my capture (there seems no point in arguing that my surrender was voluntary), I have been imprisoned on a military vessel, part of a BattleGroup traveling to the Black Shield. During that confinement, I have had only two visitors. One is a young Auron named Mykal Hodos. A
well-meaning sort, I was quite surprised to discover he is in service to the Federation. He is, in fact, an aide to my other visitor: the Lord Protector, Kerr Avon.
Yes, the Lord Avon. I can scarcely believe it. The man is so wrapped in enigma, I at first worried I would never be permitted to approach him. Following the incident at the Festival, which resulted the capture of Jenna Stannis (my companion for three years) and myself, I feared the worst for us both. I anticipated that almost everyone would be questioning me except him and that the interrogation would be torture. As it turned out, however, only he asked the questions. For unknown reasons, everyone else (including even Mykal for a while) was forbidden to approach me.
As one might guess, there were some unusual aspects to my interrogation. At first, he forbade me to telesend during the course of it, presumably so that nothing would be "off record". That concerned me, for as an Auron, I find telesending natural. Later, however, at his signal, he would insist that I telesend only. These questions were brief, always yes or no, but seemed always off the object. I did not object. Lord Avon's wish is to be obeyed with the finality of Servalan's Command.
When I told my experiences to Mykal, I hoped he might be able to shed light on the odd way the interview was conducted. Regrettably, however, he has no telesending abilities and was clearly uncomfortable in discuss the matter. He was not unsympathetic to me, however, and suggested I use his "recorder" to maintain a diary. He said it helps to write; that it clarifies one's thinking. He was correct. Writing has indeed consoled my spirit, and has given us a way to communicate in secret.
What were my first impressions of the First Citizen, hero of the Galactic War, the man who killed Blake? I felt at once that the honor of greatness, unlike its power, does not sit easy with him. There is a directness, an abruptness about the man that can lacerate the unwary who dare approach the boundary between him and us. He appears every bit as fearless, and fearsome, as his reputation boasts, yet he suggests a man more of the shadows of treachery than of the daylight of heroism. I have come to understand, as the interrogation confirmed, that in the mire of this man's life there is much he wishes to remain hidden.
Do not interpret that as a harsh judgment. He is not incapable of kindness. Indeed, at times, I found him to be not quite the terror the Federation propagandists have made him out to be. Always remember with Avon: he is never an easy man to sum. Whenever you think you understand him, he will break the conceptual bonds and forcibly achieve freedom.
I am not alone in my bewilderment. Mykal has told me (discretely: we have solidified our quiet communication during the long voyage by passing messages in distinct forms-- his written, mine mental -- to make interpretation by an outsider more difficult) that Lord Avon's personality, of which he has had ample opportunity to observe, permits great respect for knowledge but much less for people (both humans and Aurons - he is not prejudiced). Yet this is the same man who saved Mykal's life.
So it is unwise to draw sweeping conclusions about this most complex and, I feel, embittered of men. Perhaps people have disappointed him too frequently. From what is known of his life, this may well be true. But I choose not to brood on that. Certainly, if there was anything I could read in his face, it was sadness; sadness hardened past despair, and thereby achieving a proud loneliness impossible to penetrate. He suggests an Atlas holding up the heavens, while the gravity of earthly regret pulls him down. Indeed, that is my private name for him: Mr. Gravity.
Many would find it strange that a man who has done such terrible things should still retain an aura (forgive me) of goodness. They would be even more shocked that he drew that feeling from me that moment I met him. And Mykal, who has grown increasingly uncomfortable with Lord Avon, admits to a similar feeling.
The strongest impression one receives upon meeting Lord Avon is that of a fierce intelligence. There is the singe of genius about him. He may well be, as many have suggested, one of the great minds of our generation. That fact might also serve as an explanation of his life: the devastating affect of genius upon those nearest them is not exactly unknown.
During my interrogation, I found his questions to be sharply focused, extremely penetrating. I felt it would have been impossible to withhold anything from him -- even had I been inclined to do so. Understandably, I was grateful he always seemed to believe what I had told him, which is more credulity than I gave myself!
Can I summarize the interrogation? As for the questions themselves, I have written on them in detail in the recorder (what I could remember and I think I missed only a few), but for now I want to point out how he asked one question repeatedly, though in different guises. He was extremely curious about the first message I received. Clearly, the oblique reference to Blake disturbed him. It was as if he felt that message was directed to him personally. At first, I resented his harsh manner of asking the questions, but as he continually returned to that first message then I began to feel for him not only sympathy but empathy. So, he too is looking for a sign.
My sympathy is not a matter of forgiveness, though Avon, like Blake, is a hero to the Auronar. It was just a sense, entirely unwarranted I am sure, that his fate is bound with ours; that he is part of us and that we cannot turn our back on him -- if you will pardon the grim ambiguity of that statement!
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