The Speed of Tobacco

Where else, but in one’s journal, can a man confess his heart?  I might as well admit it; I love language. I love the way it works, the things you can do with it, the games you can play with it.  I love how different languages are inter-related and borrow words from one another.  And I even love the way language grows and evolves. Here, I find myself in disagreement with some of my contemporaries, at least, those who were my contemporaries before I was cut adrift from the normal course of time, many of whom would tsk-tsk about modern ways of speaking and decry any deviations from the ways they were taught. To be fair, I do not entirely disagree with them, for there are some modes of speech that I find uncommonly ugly. That said, I do hold that language should evolve and change; else we would all be speaking the language of Shakespeare or even that of Chaucer, beautiful though those are, in their place.

Language came up a couple of times yesterday afternoon.  Aoibheann, who had clearly been in the wars again, no surprise there, was lamenting the state of her dress and Nadya offered to make her one in exchange for something.  As ever, Aoibheann did not really know what to say to that, having lost her box of treasures in the escape from Jasper Cove.  In the end, she traded her recipe for potato chips.  It seemed an unlikely trade, but Nadya seemed happy with it.  Her comments on Aoibheann’s spelling led Nadya and I to chat a while about the changes in language.  She claimed to be fully comfortable with ‘modern’ English, but I did point out she had the advantage of having lived through it, whereas somebody extracted from, say, Chaucer’s time and deposited in the present day, whatever that might be, would have more difficulty.

The latter occasion was more a game of words with Gwyn.  Her hair was still doing its trick of changing styles every few minutes, which presumably means she hasn’t had her faerie lessons from Isabella yet.  At one point, it changed to include a pretty little bow, prompting the exclamation of “Fuck me!”  Now had I said that, Gwyn would have been straight in with a joke of some sort, so I replied by asking if we shouldn’t have at least a date first.  She played along, insisting on at least dinner and a movie first, and not wanting a quick shag. I couldn’t resist feigning ignorance of her slang and asked what tobacco had to do anything and offered her a go on my pipe.  I thought it was a pretty good feed line, but we were distracted by Nadya’s questions.

Nadya, ever the trader, was curious what skills I had to trade. I listed accountancy, carpentry, bar-tending and writing, even if the first and last of those were probably not a great deal of use around here.  Not unless the castle needs somebody to look after the treasury. Gwyn kept quiet, reasoning, I suspect, that her academic skills were of little use.  Nadya’s primary skills, she was proud to say, were in thieving.  I must remember to check my pockets any time I am around her. She also told a rather alarming tale about the number of times she had been maimed, flayed, had her tongue or eyes gouged out.  Such a busy life she has led.  She left soon after, leaving Gwyn and I to our flirting, as she put it.  I thought we were just joking around, but I find it very hard to tell with Gwyn, since she is so prone to hiding her feelings behind jokes and badinage.  Not that I am very good at spotting serious flirting at the best of times.  I could do much worse than Gwyn.  She is smart, funny, a good soul behind that brash exterior; she knows what I am, and if she is truly faerie, or partly, that diminishes the age problem somewhat.  This is all idle speculation, of course.  I doubt she means anything beyond a joke and I am not sure I need the complication of a relationship, not until I work out what the situation here is, and my place in it.

Aoibheann was mostly non-communicative, ignoring me as much as she could.  She appeared more concerned about the dangers outside the castle, and judging by the state of her clothes, she had encountered some. I must be going outside at the wrong times, for the most dangerous thing I have encountered was the dryad.  I told her about the crutches, but she deigned to acknowledge that and did not venture a time when I might find Jada for the fitting.  I do hope that she isn’t letting her personal grievance with me affect her dealings with the child.  I regret I will think less of her if she does let that get in the way.  She ate rather hurriedly and departed for some rest.

Sophia came by for a glass of wine and some food.  She has found herself a place to hide away, in a cave. I told her I had commandeered one of the huts; and that she was always welcome there, should the cave prove too cold or damp.  She said she’d think about it.  She did not stay very long and departed in the direction of her cave before I got the chance to ask a favour of her, in the matter of nutrition.  I really should stop being embarrassed about it with her.  She offered, and she is well used to the process.  I should ask her soon.  I tire of the flavour of horse and get bored waiting for various castle guards to fall asleep at their posts.

I must enquire of Cristof if there is any spare furniture to be had.  The hut is dry enough, but the floor is hard and not the most comfortable place to be.  Rather that, though, than the noise and company in the tavern.


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