"Parallel" is a Season 4 thread written on April 27, 2015.
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Nalaagura Ep'ha: Just before the others left on their journey, the Warden paused in her help preparing the others, handing an extra satchel of supplies to an extremely nervous-looking scout, and contacted the King once more.Your Majesty. We are about to leave. She tilted her face to the sky, judging which direction they needed to depart in.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Thank you for informing me, the king returned. May everyone travel safely. There was a bit of wist in his voice, as though he wished he were coming, too.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: She noticed his longing and smiled faintly across their link, saying to him dryly, You know, I’m mildly surprised you did not hide yourself in one of our bags to come with us.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: That would be undignifying, he answered stiffly.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: Ah, come now. You should loosen yourself every once in a while, it would do you wonders.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock snorted. And what would a demon know of ‘loosening oneself up’ anyway?
Nalaagura Ep'ha: She shrugged. I’d like to think I’ve changed from what I used to be…and I’d like to think that you have, too. I understand you well enough now; our paths have wandered ever closer together.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Those paths have come close enough to be the final product. Your understanding of me need not be… expanded. We have a truce. Let that be enough.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: Doesn’t it? she mused. We are as distorted reflections of the other. Seeing and analyzing one could explain both.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock frowned. I don’t believe I want to know your meaning.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: Ah, perhaps you don’t… She twitched irritably as she was distracted by a few raucous guards started singing somewhere outside of the dungeon. Infernal noise, she muttered, stalking off back to one of the wagons to search for anything more needed for their journey.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock frowned, having caught only her words but not anything that she had heard. What noise? I have spoken nothing.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: A few drunkards singing; nothing more. I find the practice to be tiresome and pointless, she sniffed.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Even though Haddock was speaking through mental waves, he nevertheless clamped his mouth shut as soon as he heard her words. The fact she was so irritated by the singers… and for such similar reasons as he found song frivolous… was more than a little unpleasant of a parallel to him. It made him a little uneasy. It is a human practice, Haddock said instead, not gruffly, but certainly avoiding the elephant in the room. I would not expect your… kind… to comprehend it so readily.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: No, I would not expect to…
Surprised amusement bubbled up within her as she sensed the grouchy crispness in his words.He doesn’t like singing either! Let’s see how long we can play this game…
The significance of many human practices escape me. Such as these…jokes, I believe they’re called. Greg was attempting to explain them to me but I still do not understand the point of…what was it…a “pun”…
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Puns? The word was sent back to the Warden with a little distaste.Ahhh… don’t you have better things to be doing than talking to a king about humor?
Loki’s left thigh, if onlyhe had something better to be doing.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: Of course, how silly of me. I wouldn’t expect you to understand mundane humor. Now she was suppressing a chuckle with difficulty. Perhaps we should speak of something else, such as how you just agreed with me twice.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: I did….. not….. maybe, he admitted.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: This time she genuinely did laugh. Oh, Haddock, this is what I was talking about. And yet you continuously deny it. She cocked her head, hopping up to sit on the wagon as Grey issued instructions to the others. Do you remember when I was adamant on not revealing my affections about the rebellion? My stubbornness nearly got several people killed.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock, from within his room, leaned forward with a sigh, placing elbows on his thighs and bringing his face down. As he hunched over, he briefly rubbed over his eyes before setting his hands up as props for his cheeks. Why must you bring up these similarities now? he asked softly. Why ever?
Nalaagura Ep'ha: Because you must understand yourself even as you understand your enemies–or, at least, those who used to be. I understand that you do not wish to become anything like I am, or was. And you are not required to. But you cannot deny the lines that lay straight within us, even if there are many that are tangled and crossed in different ways. Those parallels still exist whether you wish them to or not. Dislike of singing and humor are only mild examples. I am sure you’re smart enough to think of more on your own.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: I understand myself. And I know you better than I before knew you. To make the analysis explicit, however, and make it conversation between us: it is that for which I do not precisely care. When I said we could be in mental contact, it was for the necessity of security, not philosophical entertainments. On my own time I can think these parallels through and privately acknowledge them for what they are… and what they’re not.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: As you wish, Your Majesty. I did not wish for you to be uncomfortable but that is what these comparisons bring. She hesitated. I just…wished for you to understand… She fell silent.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: You? Concerned of my own understanding?
Nalaagura Ep'ha: Her voice was at a mutter now. Only because…Your Majesty, I am acting as a face for my family and my species. If I should leave any impression at all, I would want it to be one of… Nala paused to find the word. Similarity. Recognition. She grimaced. She wasn’t handling this well.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: You’ve left impression, he said, trying to be gentle. I think it’s more of trying to forge a new one you desire.
Nalaagura Ep'ha: Mh. Perhaps you are right. She looked down at her feet. I only wish you did not have take the brunt of my experimentation.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Well… he hesitated. I suppose someone had to.