Healing Old Wounds, Finding New Hope: Episode 14

D'zoll and Shorsh are heading out for a walk in the gardens before another loooong shift. It's unseasonably warm, and it may be the last time before it's just too cold to wander about aimlessly.

D'zoll: So let me see if I have this straight. That's a spruce tree, right?

Shorsh: Well, it's a fir, actually. ~~ amused ~~

D'zoll: Okay, okay. I thought I got it straight when Nick was talking about evergreens, but I guess not.

Shorsh: Close enough.

D'zoll grumps, but he can't really be too disappointed in anything on a day like this.

D'zoll: At the risk of not sounding like a channel and a mind-healer and a First and all that, wasn't that the most amazing thing this morning with Mik and Gegg?

Shorsh: It was indeed. D'zoll, you're a miracle worker. ~~ sincere admiration ~~

D'zoll: It's easy to be a miracle worker when your patient is a magician. I've seen breakthroughs before, but never like that. Mik called it correctly: Gegg had no fear at all.

Shorsh: And Gegg must have initiated that powerful nageric engagement.

Shorsh knows it was powerful because Mik needed help to disengage.

D'zoll: For sure. Which means he was, for the moment at least, functioning as a Donor. Which we all swore up and down would never happen, should never happen, would never be allowed to happen.

Shorsh: When Mik told Gegg that he was acting like a Donor offering transfer, Gegg didn't blink. It could have gone very very bad then, but it didn't.

D'zoll: To tell the truth, I'm not sure Gegg really understood in full what Mik meant. He heard it, but he immediately rejected it.

Shorsh: Did it zlin like enticement or need-to-give to you?

D'zoll: No, not at all. I don't think that's what Mik meant, anyhow.

Shorsh: But absolutely selyur nager. Gegg really had a grip on Mik's field, didn't he? He overpowered Mik.

D'zoll: He did. What's more, he did it as if he had been doing it for years. He's definitely a high Second or low First, at least in nageric power. Speed and control, that's another matter.

Shorsh: If only he could use it. ~~ regret ~~ compassion ~~

Shorsh shakes his head.

Shorsh: D'zoll, several times I've tried to imagine what I'd be like in Gegg's shoes. If I'd gone decades, never able to use my talent...

Shorsh shakes his head again and his ~~ compassion ~~ deepens.

Shorsh: I wish...

Shorsh smiles, but he has tears in his eyes.

Shorsh: If only he could experience the ecstasy of transfer...

D'zoll: I don't think it's a fair comparison. What you never had, you'll never miss.

Shorsh: Well, you're right, but still. Poor man.

Shorsh briefly entertains the heretical fantasy of Gegg returning to Gumgeeville capable of serving changeovers, too.

D'zoll gives Shorsh a hug.

Shorsh hugs him back. ~~ love ~~ admiration ~~ pride in his naztehr ~~

D'zoll: I'm very encouraged not only by what happened but about Gegg's view of it afterwards. I think our time together may be drawing to its end. At least at the current intensive level.

Shorsh nods. ~~ curious ~~

D'zoll: What he really needs now is to interact in semi-controlled situations with semi-normal Simes and Gens. Not meaning you and me.

D'zoll twinkles.

Shorsh: No one would ever confuse a Farris with even a semi-normal Sime or Gen. ~~ twinkle ~~

D'zoll: Gegg might, and that's something we should avoid. He needs to develop his own useful defense mechanisms that he can consciously control.

Shorsh: I suppose a Companion to protect surrounding renSimes from slams...

D'zoll: Good idea, at least at first. Do you realize that he's only ever met two kinds of Simes, juncts and Farrises? Until today, anyhow.

Shorsh: Well, he has met Hajene Bibi, and Hajene Marvin, and Hajene Seruffin. And he has had some contact with others of our naztehrhai.

Shorsh smiles.

Shorsh: Farris-centric. ~~ teasing ~~

D'zoll: Well, of course. But Sectuib and I are the ones who've done functionals on him.

Shorsh: True.

D'zoll: And of course however he got that mysterious burn that Sectuib was going on about.

Shorsh: So what do you propose?

D'zoll: Get Sectuib to order, mmm, one of the steadier Seconds to escort him. Maybe he'd like to talk with some of the agricultural staff. They're a mixed lot, Simes and Gens together.

Shorsh: Sounds good. There should be enough of them who can speak enough English, and they certainly have some experience in common with him. Actually... he might benefit from working with some of them, too. He does feel like he's freeloading, and he's not used to sitting idle. He doesn't think telling children about life out-T is real work.

D'zoll: Oh, absolutely. I don't think there'll be any keeping him off -- well, whatever it is Agricultural does this time of year.

Shorsh: Sorting potatoes, making compost, fixing equipment, I suppose.

D'zoll: I guess. Sorting potatoes was the sort of thing they would have had me doing, I bet, if I had been born a renSime.

D'zoll laughs.

Shorsh: Dunno, D'zoll. It can take some skill to spot a potato that's going to keep. ~~ teasing ~~

D'zoll clutches his abdomen.

Shorsh: Now shoveling shit... that takes less discernment.

D'zoll: Oooh, aaah. The pain of your sarcasm, Sosu ...sears me sorely.

Shorsh ladles a dollop of ~~ saccharine comfort ~~ over his channel, well mixed with ~~ sincere affection ~~.

D'zoll smiles at Shorsh.

D'zoll: It's amazing how you can manage those doubled-up feelings. Most Gens only feel one thing at a time, it seems.

Shorsh: Ah, well. We Farrises just aren't normal.

D'zoll: Huh. Sectuib, of course, can feel A, say B, think C, and do D without tying himself into knots. But I guess that's why he's Sectuib. He told me once that in a lesser house I might be Sectuib, but I can't see any trace of that gift in myself.

Shorsh: In a lesser House you'd no doubt rise to the challenge. And as Sectuib, nobody would be able to zlin what you didn't want them to.

D'zoll: Well, no. But that doesn't mean I'd be able to inspire them with my Virtue, either. Unless, of course, the Virtue was Shit-Shoveling.

Shorsh: D'zoll, anyone who saw or zlinned Gegg this morning, and the first time he met you, would know that you could inspire the most unlikely to achieve the most incredible. ~~ admiration ~~ affection ~~ pride ~~

D'zoll: Hrm. Well. Yes. ~~ pride with some smugness ~~

Shorsh: It's been a pleasure working with you on this. I can't imagine a channel I'd rather spend a month in a pig sty with.

D'zoll: And I can't imagine a better Donor to work with in any conditions, Shorsh.

Shorsh: Well, if you want to slog through blizzards, you might invite Nick instead. I'm getting too old for that sort of thing.

D'zoll dismisses that with a wave of the hand.

D'zoll: When we get where we're going, though, you're the one for me.

Shorsh: I can handle out-T saloons with gun-toting drunken Gens, even if the management feeds you carrion. Donor biscuits... well, if necessary.

D'zoll: Carrion? I didn't eat the meat, I didn't! You were there, you saw.....

Shorsh: I remember you telling me that the sauce was especially good.

Shorsh looks thoughtful.

Shorsh: Potatoes and carrots with carrion sauce, hm... No, I can't see adding that to the menu here.

D'zoll: Only for the Farris channels, to be sure.

Shorsh: Indeed. An Iron Farris thrives on what no normal Sime would touch. ~~ twinkles ~~

D'zoll: But back to Gegg, I think some other social contacts outside work, or what will become work, will be useful too. Any thoughts? We can't expect two shifts of Donors to escort him as a practical matter.

Shorsh: He'll probably find even one shift stressful, especially at first, so he'll want to spend time at the cottage with his family. He might take some meals in the refectory, though.

D'zoll: Oh, sure. I simply meant that even though he'll probably want to, working all day is not a good idea for him.

Shorsh: I wonder which of our leisure activities would appeal to him. I don't suppose he's ever had much leisure.

D'zoll: He must have something to do all winter long besides fix things around the house. It's cold up there in Gumgeeville.

Shorsh: I think they spend a lot of time looking after their animals, and probably visiting their relatives.

Shorsh thinks about it.

Shorsh: And every household has to do everything itself. So he'd have to cut next year's firewood, and shovel the snow, and... all the things various groups of naztehrhai here do for all of us.

D'zoll: In short, "leisure" is probably not a concept that's going to make any sense to him. And I'm not sure he can learn it at his age. On the other hand, there are other things I didn't think he could learn, aren't there.

Shorsh: You are so right, naztehr.

Shorsh thinks some more.

Shorsh: They must have parties and festivities and such... play musical instruments, dance...

D'zoll: Gegg doesn't dance, I can tell you that for sure. Or at least, not for very long. His physical problems wouldn't allow it. Maybe he can sing. I'll ask him.

Shorsh: We could ask Toria for ideas too. She's seen more of how we live here, working with that group at the laundry.

D'zoll: Excellent idea.

Shorsh: What takes the place of the Gumgeeville saloon at Sat'htine?

D'zoll: We could send him to the Men's Club, or the Gens' Club. Or both. He's probably used to the idea of safe spaces for the sexes; most societies have them.

Shorsh: The Gumgeeville saloon did seem like an exclusively male preserve.

Shorsh laughs.

Shorsh: We're setting up a whole social calendar for the poor man. Let's not get too enthusiastic all at once. Once he makes a few acquaintances, perhaps someone will invite him to come along.

D'zoll: Or you could. You're a male Gen.

Shorsh: I suppose I could. He doesn't see me as just your assistant in therapy.

D'zoll: Right, especially since Nick's substituted for you a few times lately.

Shorsh: I'll invite him for a porstan some time.

D'zoll: Sounds like the right thing to me. I'll talk to Sectuib about an escort.

Shorsh: Good.

D'zoll: Umm, oh. He probably doesn't like porstan.

Shorsh: If all he's ever tasted is that swill of Henree's I'm not surprised.

Shorsh uses the English word "swill" as Simelan has never needed a term for swine food, and the terms for Pen Gen food are in poor taste.

D'zoll: It wasn't that bad. On the other hand, I certainly wouldn't want poor Petunia to get addicted to it.

Shorsh: Indeed, no. A nursing mother of nine!

Shorsh is getting silly again. He was very moved by the events of the morning, and very relieved that they didn't turn out to be disastrous.

D'zoll: I wonder whether porstan passes into the milk.

Shorsh shrugs.

D'zoll: I guess it doesn't matter. Those piglets are doomed anyway, no matter how cute.

Shorsh: Somehow I don't see Sectuib favoring a pig colony here for you to experiment on.

D'zoll giggles.

D'zoll: I'll file a formal request for it, Sosu, and then you'll see!

Shorsh: Well, I'll have a strong opinion to express if Sectuib asks for it! ~~ mock stern ~~

D'zoll: But then you always do, don't you. ~~ snarky ~~

Shorsh: Why of course. We Companions have our duty to support our channels in every way.

Shorsh looks ~~ solemn ~~.

Shorsh: Support them, care for them, protect and defend them even from themselves...

D'zoll: And wrap them in pigskin blankets when they don't behave!

D'zoll crows with laughter. He realizes just how much Shorsh's silliness is catching.

Shorsh joins and reinforces the laughter with ~~ pleasure ~~.

D'zoll: We have more fun than people, Shorsh.

Shorsh: As long as you eat your channel chow.

Shorsh offers a hug.

D'zoll accepts the hug and dances Shorsh around in the Farris Victory Dance.

Shorsh is glad his substantially greater mass makes up for D'zoll's substantially greater strength, and dances with him ~~ willingly ~~, painting the ambient in colors of ~~ joy ~~.

D'zoll: Ahh, everything zlins so beautiful when you do that. How my ancestors got along without Donors I'll never understand.

Shorsh enriches the ambient with ~~ comradely love and fellowship ~~.

Shorsh: And how my ancestors got along without channels I'll never understand.

D'zoll: And I am right and you are right and everything is quite all right, all right!

Shorsh: Right!

Shorsh hugs D'zoll again, engages his nager deeply and moves them both toward a beautiful ~~ calm and profound joy ~~.

D'zoll realizes once again how profoundly lucky he is to be himself.

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