Bubbling Doubts

Agora stood gazing to the west until Gorsnuck was only an imagined dot on the horizon. She had no doubt he would do exactly as she wished, but she had other doubts, and they nibbled at the edge of her mind like persistent rodents determined to eat their way through to the tender middle, without even knowing what was really there.

Even after all these years, that niggle would still return. Why had the creature opened to her and invited a bonding?. She knew well the laws and principles that defined and enforced these relationships, so she had no reason to ever fear, or expect that Gorsnuck would betray her in any destructive manner. 

But there was something she sensed. A deep sickly sweet something that made her want to gag. Her own characteristics were so very much different. She was no fairy princess do gooder. Far from it. She was certain that Gorsnuck was fully aware of that, so why did he commit to being subservient to her demands? 

And was he a he at all? She didn’t care, but it bothered her that in all this time he had never once given her any impression of gender. It was important that when you share thoughts with another creature, even direct their activities and actions, that you properly address them, even if it is only within your mind. Agora had known more than a few turpids in her time and one of the very first impressions you got was whether they considered themselves male or female. It was almost inconceivable that she had had to make her own decision on such an important perspective.

At least, it was important then, when Agora was building her network of influence and crafting her power. It didn’t matter so much anymore. Agora seldom was in the company of anything or anybody that matched her power, and she didn’t need to compose her thoughts or direct them with Gorsnuck as she had in the beginning. Gorsnuck knew what thoughts were intended to be acted upon, and Agora was somehow certain that no other thoughts entered the creatures mind at all. 
Still, it had been awkward at first, not knowing with a surety what was required in order to communicate effectively, and sometimes more importantly, how not to communicate. In the end it had come down to simply experiencing it and gaining a trust in the process. She had come to think of him as male, simply for the sake of perspective within her own mind when she needed to think about him. Like now, when the question returned with such a bold demand to be answered. Why had he chosen to bond with her? It was not something that a turpid would take lightly. To seek out and present yourself for bonding was in essence giving your life and will over to another sentient being. Yes, it was natural for turpids, for that is simply the way they are, but usually a turpid bonds to a willing creature it emphathises with. The turpid is almost always a reflection of its master and even though Gorsnuck never hesitated to follow orders with exactness, Agora never really felt at ease with him. 
She had been quite amazed, and happily, when the offer had been made. The beast had landed in front of her, locked eyes with her, and proceeded to kneel ever lower before her until nearly prostrate. Agora could scarcely contain her surprise. She desperately desired such a powerful and rare creature and had expected to get one eventually, but she had assumed it would take great deceptive efforts to attract a turpid. They were ever more rare, and in the last generation it seemed the dwindling numbers were determined not to bond, but rather pass their time alone. An unbonded turpid is practically worthless, or at the least seems so to others. It is a creature devoid of personal will or desire, with no ambition despite being quite unique and powerful in a variety of ways. It fully relies upon a partner to give it a sense of purpose and direction. And yet they are not unintelligent creatures. Stories abound with examples of how resourceful and clever a turpid can be in exercising the will of its bondmate.
Agora had been so surprised at the time that she had really given no consideration to accepting. Of course she accepted! Who in their right mind would not accept a powerful magical creature pledging itself to do your bidding for as long as you live. Add to that the fact that they don’t talk and you have the perfect companion don’t you? So it had seemed to Agora. But her doubts had begun soon enough, and though Gorsnuck had never once failed her, they remained, and had even grown stronger over the  years.

Finally she turned away, casting the thoughts from her mind with a quick shake of her old head. Gorsnuck was not a problem. He was one of her greatest assets, and now that it was obviously true that the girl had returned, he would be called on frequently to test his loyalty. 

Agora began whistling. It was a low gutteral tune that likely only a hag could enjoy, but it seemed to lift her spirits. In truth, Agora didn’t really care so very much about the little princess. The girls return didn’t surprise her as it had some others, or would, when they discovered it was true. Even the eventual outcome wouldn’t have so great an effect on Agora. At least, that’s the way she had it figured. What kingdom or rule of men did or didn’t impose itself on the world made little real difference to Agora. She would find a way to manipulate the winner come what may. It was the way of things. Hadn’t she played nice under the rein of the girl’s father? And that would go far in securing a trusted position in the unlikely event the girl actually rose to power. And if things went the other way, as she bet they would, well, she would be right there in the right place and at the right time to take such action as would put her in quite good stead with whatever powers were victorious. Maybe things would be at such a balance that she could even choose the winner. Wouldn’t that be a duggin she thought. Her whistling turned to a loud cackle. 


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Bubbling Doubts

by Richard Crossley time to read: 4 min
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