TAZ Nanowrimo: 11/19
Imagine, for a moment, Merle using Parley in the real world.
Sure, he teaches it to Sterling, who learns it despite his pitiful lack of magic. Parley becomes something of a governmental tool, and Merle’s lessons alongside Lucretia’s steadfast support of the tactic make it widespread in Faerun, as well as a favorite lesson of the kids who go on Merle’s Extreme Teen Adventures.
But no matter how far this knowledge spreads, Merle remains the undisputed master of Parley. Though his laidback demeanor might not show it, he’s an absolute expert in the art - he had fifty-seven years to practice, after all.
Imagine, then, a hostage situation in the Goldcliff Trust. A disaster that’s stretched on for two weeks, fifty-something citizens locked on the inside, sustaining themselves on desperate provisions that the militia’s been leaving at covert dropoff points around the bank for the hostage-keepers to retrieve and sustain their bargaining chips. Imagine Merle getting wind of this. Imagine a call from Captain Hurley, asking for his help.
She doesn’t want to ask, of course, because gods know he’s done enough for this world already. She also knows that he will help without hesitation. And she needs help: matters of the heart are her forte, but this man seems to have none.
Imagine Merle dropping in for family dinner that Sunday and mentioning, almost casually, that there’s a situation in Goldcliff he has to diffuse but he’ll be back by Wednesday for sure. Imagine the Seven Birds refusing to let him go alone.
Imagine a packed train car en route to Goldcliff, stuffed full of the universe’s heroes, clustered around their botanist and healer: Taako, Kravitz and Angus reading stories in one corner; Lup, Barry and Lucretia in deep and animated discussion beside them; Magnus, Davenport and Merle clustered together, Merle trying to lighten the worry that Magnus and Davenport are fairly radiating.
Imagine the moment Merle enters Parley with a man armed with a gun and homicidal intent. His family waits around his still but still-breathing body, fingers tensing with poorly-disguised nerves, as their healer once more puts himself on the line for the sake of people he doesn’t even know. Magnus paces. He’d go in if he could, but hundreds of years of living don’t make him immune to bullets and this isn’t a problem he can solve by hitting it. Taako braids and rebraids Kravitz’s hair, showing Angus how, and pretends he does so only to soothe Angus.
Half an hour later, the doors to the bank open, and out spill the hostages, free at last. They’re followed by a man who - doesn’t look regretful, per se, but muted. Drained. He doesn’t struggle as Captain Hurley claps cuffs around his wrists.
And several seconds later, Merle’s eyes blink open.
Read the rest of my TAZ Nano writings here!