Brid Bridgeburner in the Book and Barrel.

Brid Bridgeburner watched the chattering gnome in fascination. This tiny bearded man could hardly stop speaking for long enough to breathe. Brid herself was well-trained in the discipline of Silence. She had spent weeks at a time saying nothing at all, in community with her brother and sister monks, many of whom also were practising the discipline of Silence. Even when she was in a Speaking phase, she was not one to prattle on endlessly on every topic under the sun.

Nor was she one to think the word “prattle”. She was trained in multiple languages as well as many studious pursuits, but where other students learned the lores and histories seemingly without effort, Brid had to work at it. Her mind, she felt, moved slowly and carefully and… safely. More like a glacier than a babbling brook or rushing river. The way the world was was the way the world was, and brains (or lips) that bounded everywhere like a squirrel on Veroc could go all sorts of foolish, inaccurate, and even dangerous places.

She felt annoyance gently brush the outer fringes of her consciousness, and carefully stopped that train of thought. She closed her eyes, mentally closed her ears, and concentrated on a long, slow inhalation through her nose. Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you 1. She concentrated on each breath, each heartbeat, and let the annoying distractions fade away. She would be at peace, and she would be in control, and she would be ready for whatever Creator sent to her.

The chatter died away, and she opened her eyes. Standing beside their table was a short, robed canine. He was dressed like one of those pacifist scholastic monks: clean robes with hood, ink-stained leather satchel with lots of pockets, simple walking staff. Brid couldn’t imagine completely locking off physical force; how much better to channel it in healthy ways! Otherwise, Creator only knew how The Red might build up and, oh horror, come out, uncontrolled…

Maybe pacifism could work for some. Brid was well aware of her blood. You just can’t train violence out of the Orc. Unless that training left the orc dead.



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