His quill scratched the parchment faster than he could believe recording each moment, each thing he noticed.
He had the unenviable position of noticing things, and needing to transcribe them by himself. He was the eyes and the mouth of the world, and it was often exhausting if he wasn’t so interested in it. He worked alone, bag of ink at his side and multiple quills at the ready so he looked as an archer did with feathers jutting out his back. It was his courtly duty, and he was not only privileged, but fascinated.
This had lasted many years, as he saw the drama unfold. The eyes that did not cross, or crossed too often. The gazes that moved around places, the circular table that was pure in its right and withered at the seams. He knew the King had much to worry about, and he held him no grudge. He watched as the world fell down around him, in small bits here and there.
He knew the King did so as well. His eyes may not have touched those things, but only because he already knew they were there. The treacheries and successes were not invisible to his gaze. He found it the fairest to go with it.
It was painful, but the scribe wore his colors and watched the court with an eye of the eagle. He watched the colors of the court fly in pride. Others wore them in jest.
Well, their end was near as well as his. He quietly sat as the banners above him grew dim and old, as the stories around him turned from rumour to true. He watched as people brought about their own end, by pain or by success. His job was to write it all.
As his hair grew whiter, as his tales went out of fashion, he spoke to those around him just a bit more. They laughed with his familiar face, their hair growing as mink-white as his own, and sat him down to regale them on their own glories.
“He said it!” they proclaimed through aged mugs of ale, “It’s true! It happened nigh before ye were borne!”
And he told them more, and embellished a bit. A luxurious stead he never kept, but for when he took their eye. It was towards a time that he would like one.
He was the shine in many eyes, for he told them well.
He was the bane of very few, who figured him a disruptor to their plans, while he was merely aware of them.
All along, he had picked a new one, a new youth to carry along his plans. And he copied and entrusted his stories to the youth, dressed in fresh new colors of the court that was likely to fall in on his ears as the large hat fell about his head, and he said: Be careful with them, lad.
They are an ecology and we work within them.
We show what they do but do not interfere. We are quietly ourselves.
When you are my age, you may mingle. I hope t’God ye be my age someday.
And the ale flowed
and for the first night, he slept in a mattress made of feathers, and was celebrated as a bard instead of ignored as a scribe.
It was not long after he ceased to be either.
But his legacy was writ in the young man before him, with letters unwritten and stories untold.
The downfall was beginning. The youth would be there for it all.