Reverberations, Part III

Adrian didn’t have time to ponder the meaning of his latest dreams.  When he arrived at work the next morning, the office was in chaos.  During the night, a landship met with a serious accident on the Honrich Causeway west of Riften.  Well before dawn, Hendrikson had chartered an autogyro to the crash site, to make sure the drivers were looked after and the wreckage handled properly.  Adrian began his day taking over Hendrikson’s office duties, rerouting landship traffic around the crash and arranging leases of ordinary surface lorries to carry goods recovered from the accident.  He’d laid the groundwork for most of this before the general manager feverishly asked him to, which earned him a hearty “Well done!” and a teeth-jarring slap on the back.  By midday, the two landship drivers were released from the local hospital and Hendrikson arranged their transport home.  During the afternoon, giant cranes lifted the damaged trailers from the right-of-way, while a giant tow truck pulled the wrecked tractor to Riften Yards.  Hendrikson would have to stay near the crash site through the next day to meet with investigators, but by nightfall the crisis was over.

The long day left Adrian too drained to cook his supper at home that night, so he tried the corner kitchen that had just opened a block from his apartment.  Not bad; he thought it deserved a repeat visit.  He was startled to see his favorite tram driver walk in with a young girl as he was leaving.  She gave him a familiar smile.  “Do you live out here?” he asked.

“Oh, no,” she said, “just out here visiting my niece.”  She nodded to a tiny, skinny Dunmer girl who grinned at him for a split second, then hid behind her aunt.

Oddly enough, Adrian experienced no vivid dreams for the next few nights.  What dreams he had remained in his memory in fragments:  things seen, said, and heard in no cohesive pattern.  While he was sure he was dreaming of Lukas and Marisi, no specific narrative emerged.  Somehow, he had the impression both Lukas and Marisi were contented, and that some time had passed.  Beyond that, he had no concrete recollection.  “Is this progress?” he asked Dr. Gustafson at the end of the week.

“I’m going to give you my annoying therapist reply,” said the Doctor.  “What do you think?”

“How should I know?  I don’t even know what these dreams are supposed to be about.”

“That itself may be significant,” said Dr. Gustafson.  “Could it be that your unresolved dreams might have to do with some unresolved issue of your own?”

“Are you saying that if I figure out what these dreams mean, I might identify whatever it is that’s bothering me?” asked Adrian.

“I’m saying it’s possible, but it gives you something to think about, anyway.  But for now, keep on listening to the music.  You seem a little less fatigued, so maybe it’s working.”

Adrian had to admit it was working, at least a little.  He’d slept fairly well past few nights, and felt better because of it.  That night, though, the music didn’t lull him gently to sleep.  His legs felt restless, as if he was running.

Lukas 1 Small
Proud Lukas

Lukas was weeding his mother’s vegetable garden when he heard the screams.  They seemed to be coming from his right.  The canal!  Had someone fallen in?  The canal was too deep to wade across, and while stairs were cut in certain places along the canal wall (to facilitate loading and unloading), they might be impossible for a non-swimmer to reach.  He sprinted in the direction of the sound.

“Somebody help!”

“He can’t swim!”

As he approached the canal, Lukas recognized three of Bram’s bunch, pointing, panicking.  “Who?  Where?” he demanded.  They pointed.

Bram was in the water, treading frantically, but losing ground.  The walls of the canal were steep, and Bram could find no handhold.  Lukas stepped out of his clogs and jumped in after him.  Ducking under the surface, he emerged just behind Bram, then wrapped an elbow gently around his neck and towed him slowly downstream to the nearest stairs, where Bram’s mates were waiting to pull him up.  Once on dry ground, Bram coughed and sputtered on his hands and knees, while Lukas did his best to wring out his own clothes.

“So, just how did you manage to get in there?” Lukas asked.

“Didn’t think it was so deep –“ Bram coughed up some dirty water, then tried to stand.  Lukas helped him up.  “Lukas, ah, thanks.  I guess I’m in your debt now.”

One of Bram’s bunch handed Lukas his clogs.  Lukas patted Bram on the shoulder.  “Stay dry,” he said.

“He didn’t think it was so deep?” Marisi stifled a giggle.  “Just how deep did he think it was?”  Marisi and Lukas were sitting on the floor of the upper deck of a canal signal tower near Marisi’s home.  The tower was a narrow, two-storied structure; the upper floor was used to communicate with oncoming canal boats, while the lower floor was used for storage, including feed and water for oxen pulling the boats.  That afternoon, with no boats expected, the upper floor gave them some privacy.

“It’s impossible to know what Bram is thinking,” said Lukas.  “There seems little point in even trying.”

“Perhaps,” said Marisi.  “But maybe we should speak of something else.”  She switched to Dunmeris.  “Did you remember to write out that poem?”

“Indeed,” replied Lukas in the same tongue.  He unrolled a leather scroll.  “Here it is, although I had to scratch a lot of it out.”

“You learn quickly,” said Marisi, leaning over his efforts.  “Well done.”  Lukas blushed at the complement.  “But I have to ask, why do you want to learn all this?  Is there a purpose?”

“Does there have to be?” replied Lukas.  “I’ve always liked learning.  Reading, working arithmetic, all those things.  Some of it is useful, even for a blacksmith’s son.”

“But there must be something.  Dunmeris is not a simple language.  Isn’t there just a tiny dream?  Something that keeps you from abandoning your efforts?”

“Oh, I see what you mean.”  Lukas paused.  “Well, maybe it’s this way.  My father is very good at what he does.  Iron, steel, bronze, all metals obey his commands.  Myself?  I try, but possess so little skill that my father has taken on an apprentice.  Meanwhile, I use my own skills.  I write my father’s letters, figure his accounts, things of that nature.”

Marisi continued probing, “But isn’t there anything more?”

“More?” Lukas answered.  “For me?  What more do I have a right to ask for?”

“I’m not talking about what you feel right asking for!  What would you actually like to do?”

Lukas was reluctant to answer.  “Well, you did ask, but please don’t laugh at me.”

“Of course I won’t.”

“Well,” Lukas continued, “I’ve always thought I’d like to be a scholar.”

“A scholar!”

“You said you wouldn’t laugh!”

“I’m not laughing,” said Marisi, slightly indignantly.  “I think it’s a beautiful idea.”

“It would be,” sighed Lukas, “if there were a place for a blacksmith’s son at one of the schools.”

“It’s a beautiful idea regardless, and you shouldn’t abandon it.  Meanwhile –“  Marisi produced an elaborately decorated scroll.  “Here is an old love poem for Mister Scholar to translate.  As I’ve told you before, in Dunmeris, the way words are presented is as important as the words themselves.  Tell me what you think.”

Lukas studied both the words and their placement.  The poem itself was a sad one, describing a woman’s longing for her lover, who had gone away, or had died.  The poem never stated it explicitly, and it probably was not important.  The arrangement of the words gave Lukas the vague impression of hands cast heavenward, as if in supplication.  Beyond the hands, Lukas recognized the words for “devotion,” “eternity,” and “comfort,” each by itself.  “What do these words represent?” he asked.

Marisi kissed him.  “That,” she said. Maris Contemplative Small

“But there’s three of them.”

“Very well, that and that, Mister Scholar.”  She kissed him twice more.

“Oh, you mean that…and that…and that!”  He kissed her.

Marisi giggled.

Go to Part II     Go to Part IV

A note about the illustrations:  The pictures of Marisi and Lukas are screenshots taken while playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  The following user mods were used to create Marisi and Lukas:

  • Marisi’s hair style is from ApachiiSkyHair by Apachii
  • Marisi was created and stylized using RaceMenu by Expired
  • The Marisi interior shot was created using Emma’s wonderful Highview Cottage
  • Lukas was built using RaceMenu, based on the Lovergirl race, which doesn’t appear to be available as of this writing, but was hosted at Skyrim Nexus
  • Poses were accomplished using Pretty Motion Collection by Dualsun
  • The screenshots were edited using Picasa, which I don’t think is supported any more, but you still might be able to find.