A P O G E E
Written on August 20, 2020 (♌)
It wasn't that he'd set off imagining that Miluda Folles would fall into his arms and he'd be hailed as the revolution's savior in the midst of a dip and a kiss. When he'd run things through his head on the long bitter ride past the Gulg, Golargros had tried not to let himself think past getting in, getting out, and getting back again. When the reality of his chances loomed too large, he'd done his best to direct his thoughts towards pleasant abstractions. This wasn't about him. This wasn't about Miluda. This was about the PEOPLE, about the FUTURE, about the RIGHTEOUS OF IVALICE: all those nouns that Wiegraf had had the print-makers set large in the pamphlet.
It was only when he was well into the thick of Igros—warm and winded and much more alive than he thought he'd be—that Golagros reconsidered his role in things with a bit more emphasis. He thought, as he worked his way flat against the dohm-and-a-half gap in the high wall, that he was being very impressive. He thought that this was something perhaps worth a retelling or two.
As he made a shift between the wall and the tree and the outer gate, he began to contemplate the gravitas of some future oration. When he muffled the mouth and snapped the neck of the poor drunk bastard on watch, he could already hear the solemnity with which he would describe the struggle. In the gap between that moment and the next, when he looked to the purpling sky and just breathed a span, he realized his mind was cycling through all the myriad expressions Miluda might wear upon hearing the tale.
Things ran smooth after that—at least for a while. The lever tripped. The gate opened. The party funneled in, silent as the slow grown grass. By the time they were in the manse proper, the whole affair seemed more brilliant and daring than it seemed bleak and suicidal. Golagros ran down the tapestried halls light as air, and when he cut through the lithe-bodied Hokuten squire on the landing, it seemed as though he were King Mesa set to spear all the seven dragons of Palmecia.
He did it all… or he did most of it all at least… he did the important part for sure. Corrin took a bad cut to the shoulder, and a knight went down with a cry just a little too loud not to garner unwelcome attention. When it came down to it, when they breached the upper chambers and still had two floors between them and the Hokuten rushing after, it was his blade. He was there, midway in a door, and Lord Beoulve or Viscount Beoulve or whatever-he-was Beoulve was pinned by the stiletto in his hand.
In that tumble of seconds between the balcony and the drop and the fumbled melee back to the gates, in that moment when he was just face to face with the man he was killing, he felt as though he were up on the central players’ booth in a high market day pageant. This was the culminating act—the great moment when everyone went silent as the hero stood framed amidst the lesser players.
“Enjoy the people’s justice, Milord,” Golagros whispered harshly, twisting the blade.
He did his best to take the dying man’s rolled eyes as something more of dread than exasperation. He supposed on the way out that it mattered little whether his victim fell in the midst of fear or disdain. Such details were unknown to any but him, God, and the dead. They could be eased in the recounting.
Golagros carried that moment of triumph—hot and bright and impossibly impressive—in the backmost chambers of his mind and heart all the long road back along the vast plains of Gallione. Not the scouts, nor the hounds, nor the weeping noblewoman slung over his saddle dimmed his enthusiasm until he was well into the highlands and the hoarfrost had melted from the leaves. He was, for a little span, the exact sort of man he’d wanted to be, and he was giddy at the hope that he would be the exact sort of man others had hoped for.
Even when his spirits began to deflate on the road to the windmill—even when he realized that the girl he’d snapped up was a lot younger and more frightened than he’d considered she’d be—he’d still tried to hold onto it. He’d still told himself that he’d been, if only for an instant, the most brilliant among them. He’d been the revolution triumphant.
When it finally faded from him though, it faded fast.
He did not know what to say when the runner pulled Wiegraf aside; the use of heroics seemed quite beyond him then.