The Silver Princes Awash in Crimson
Principles of Motion
After the second day of soaring over the infinite sands, the Agata seemed sluggish. This would not impact the journey, of course; Cecelyne cared only that an attempt at progress was made. She would permit passage on Her schedule and no other. Still, the demon’s speed and endurance would be of paramount concern once inside the City. Guldur bid it land, and let him dismount. He would walk ahead, and the demon would rest until its rider was just barely visible on the horizon. This way, progress would continue, but the creature would not wear out so quickly.
By the third day, the Agata was much recovered, but Guldur had come to appreciate the steady rhythm of his own feet. It helped him to think, to re-imagine the city that Detritus of Reason had sketched. So he continued walking, and was annoyed to find the demon hovering over him from time to time. Still lost in thoughts of streets-to-be, Guldur tried walking faster. This escalated into a staggered race, until Guldur finally burst from his reverie with an irritated growl, and ordered the Agata to go scout ahead.
There was always something in the way, some distraction pulling his mind off course. Why could no one stay focused? Why could no one force the world to conform to a plan, or force themselves to do so? He struggled to ground his frustration, literally, imagining it pouring into his leg muscles, flowing down harmlessly into the hungry emptiness of the Desert. And it seemed to work. Soon, there was a sort of peace where the anger had been.
Yes, this was helping. Perhaps he could learn to let go, to offer up these frustrations to Cecelyne. Perhaps he could find satisfaction in making progress, whether it be strategic, social, or geographical in nature. Was he running? Hah, this was not so bad after all. Certainly better when something wasn’t trying to kill him, and no one of importance was around to see. He almost felt, zipping along over the glowing grains, as though nothing could touch him. After all, who strikes the wind?
And that was when something did finally strike him: the simple joy of running. And there was, indeed, joy in it. The freedom of motion, the sensation of ground being eaten up with each stride, the quickening pulse in his veins. Yes, it was exhilarating! Enough to make him let out a silent giggle!
He skidded to a stop, touching his throat in horror.
NO! Absolutely no giggling! Running might, just might, be a dignified activity. The implacable momentum of the Vitriolic Emperor, for instance. The sinuous grace of the Dragon’s Shadow. But to giggle at mere movement, that bordered on insanity.
Up ahead, the Agata had circled back, curious as to why its erstwhile rider had stopped moving. Guldur gave it an imperious gesture to continue scouting, and resumed his running. The demon dipped low in acknowledgment, and the arc described by its diaphanous wings was fascinating. “There,” Guldur thought, “There is grace and beauty in motion. There is mastery of movement. I shall not become the wind, I shall learn to command it.”
Controlling his breathing, Guldur focused on owning his motion, ruling it as though it was a nation of desperate, maddened fools.