Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Remora the Remorseless: Chapter Five

In which Steppy and Remora continue the adventures begun in Chapters One, Two, Three and Four...

As the days lengthened and the icicles shortened, Steppy hoped for a similar mellowing in her friend Remora. But the enchantment which bound Remora was a deep and dark one, and the icy shard at her heart showed no sign of melting...

One morning at the very end of Winter, the Head Butler of the Great Town Hall summoned Remora, Steppy and some of the other public servants to meet with him in his inner sanctum. Steppy was invited to speak about the servants' workload. But every time she opened her mouth, Remora (sitting beside Steppy, as was her wont) opened hers too, cutting across Steppy's words as if the speaker was wearing a cloak of invisibility. The first time, Steppy assumed that it had been an act of misadventure.

But it happened again. And again. And again.

And in the weeks that followed, Steppy began to feel she was facing Remora upon the jousting field. For suddenly, Steppy felt assailed on all sides, as though she had been entered into a competition without her knowledge or consent.

Remora began to learn another language - one Steppy also spoke.
Remora began fashioning a quilt - because Steppy had done likewise.
Remora wore the scent that Steppy wore, joined the course of learning upon which Steppy had embarked, invited Steppy's friends to her dwellinghouse for repasts, and began writing verses (as Steppy did).

Cunningly, Remora published these achievements and activities loudly; so that were Steppy now to mention her own, it would appear as though she was mirroring Remora!

And any time a member of Great Town Hall royalty or another servant paid Steppy any attention at all, Remora made sure she crossed the Castle from one side to the other in order to thrust Steppy out of the way, and ensure that she - Remora - was the cynosure of all eyes....

Steppy was baffled. Steppy was bewildered. Steppy was hurt.
But when, during their still-regular lunchtime sojourns, Steppy tried to speak to Remora about the change in her behaviour, her friend affected complete ignorance. And never once did she utter truth about what was happening.

It seemed now to Steppy that the servant who had once cleaved so closely to her side had become a stranger. Had the real Remora been abducted and replaced by a changeling ??

Poor, foolish, naive Steppy ! She did not realise that Remora the Remorseless had simply begun to unveil her true nature.

As the first primroses of Spring began to appear, Steppy was granted a leave of absence from the Great Town Hall. She chose to travel to a land far away, where she might forget about the strange enchantment which seemed to bind her friend. The journey was long, and Steppy had much time to ponder the strange and troubling season which had just passed, and the many painful episodes which had occurred.

Then a question began to pop into Steppy's head, over and over again.
And the question was this:

"What is a friend?"

And Steppy concluded: a friend is someone you can trust, someone you can count on as they can count on you, someone who is kind to you, who makes you feel good about yourself. A friend is loyal, loving, and honest. A friend is someone you are drawn to, as a source of laughter and light. And a friend is someone who will never deliberately do you harm.

And Steppy pondered long until the ducat finally dropped in her head with a very loud clunk.

- Remora did not fit this description in the slightest.
- Remora was the very antithesis of this description.
- Ergo: Remora was not her friend.

All during Steppy's travels, the same realisation reverberated over and over again.
Remora was not her friend.

By the day of the homeward journey, Steppy had decided that on return to the Great Town Hall, she would have to gently end the close relationship between herself and Remora. Because Steppy - naive and foolish though she was - had finally woken up and smelled the primroses.

And she believed that Remora would not really care about this decision of Steppy's.

But alas, dear Reader, Steppy was so very very wrong....

No comments:

Post a Comment