[flashback] Swimming with the fishes...or the falcon?

Jess'e and Khida meet in the waters of the harbor

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[flashback] Swimming with the fishes...or the falcon?

Postby Jess'e on June 17th, 2013, 3:57 pm

Summer 80, 511 AV

He had been dismissed. Just like that. Jess’e sulked a bit, as he ambled along the sandy shoreline, with no particular destination planned. Sandals dangling from slim brown fingers, his feet padded silently across the semi-dry swath that formed the transition from high tide line to the always dry beach above. In his wake, tiny white crabs scuttled across the faint traces left by his steps. With yet another look back over his shoulder, Jess’e could still easily make out the shape of the pleasure barge, as it slid slowly out into the far reaches of the harbor. He had thought to be on it, when it pulled away from the pier, a hundred strong arms pulling at the long oars, below the main deck where already the festivities had been underway. Ba’Rat had told him that he could come along, for the refreshing ride, out on the water and the cooling breeze that skimmed its surface. He’d also be handy to fetch things for his master, of course, and there was the possibility that a certain member of another House that Ba’Rat wished to court might find him of use as well – the entire evening had been discussed and mapped out, and Jess’e was pleased to play his part. But at the last moment, she had to show up – the ugly old hag! OK, well, the woman who had recently so captivated Ba’Rat’s attention was neither old nor ugly – except in temperament – and then only to slaves. To Jess’e, of course, for he was a slave. He never thought or felt otherwise, but he enjoyed at least being the petted favorite of his master, and it stung him to the core to be treated as no more than the boys who emptied the night soil pots by that…that…witch! And maybe she was really a witch, for she seemed to have cast quite a spell of enchantment over his master’s eyes. Typically, Ba’Rat was neither picky about who he bedded nor was he the type to be captivated by one comely face or well built body more than another. But this woman, she seemed to have entranced his master, and a half a bell ago, when he had laid eyes upon her and known that she would be part of this traveling, seabound party, his eyes had taken on that piercing look – like that of a desert eagle – and as Jess’e had scowled – just a bit – he had seen the wicked look of glee in the woman’s eyes.

So…here he was, cast aside and demoted and told to await his master’s pleasure upon his return. All their plans and schemes – well, Ba’Rat’s plans and schemes and Jess’e’s collaboration and obedience thereto – were turned to dust in one flutter of that witch’s eyelashes, Ba’rat had told the boy that he was free to wander by the shore, but to keep a look out for his return. When that was likely to be was anyone’s guess – these parties could go all night, Jess’e was well aware. But he would wait because, one, he was a slave and had no option, and two, he held some hope that Ba’rat might be glad of his company, if only that harpie would show her true colors. Besides, Jess’e would have died for Ba’rat – and gladly so. He would have literally thrown himself in front of a spear for his master and his one love – or so he believed. So waiting his return was an honor, in a way, and Jess’e would obey not so much out of duty or fear or compulsion, but out of love.

Still, the hours ahead stretched forth and looked to be quite tedious indeed. He was free to ramble, but there was no place to go. Here there was only sand and water, and the late afternoon sun that beat down on his hot head. His golden green eyes went to the surf that rolled in, tumbling over and over and over onto itself. Here the waves were not big, the swells gentle, and the beach sloped down quite gradually, so that the depth increased only in small increments with each step taken. There were a few souls about who were playing in the waves, one man far out who was surf fishing. Jess’e sighed, and felt the sweat trickle down his neck, and from there down his bare back.

Undoing the kilt from about his waist, he laid it carefully atop the sandals which he had let drop to the sand. Clad then only in the loin cloth that wrapped about his slim hips and upper legs, which served as his undergarment, he strode towards the lapping wavelets, feeling the cool wash over first his toes, and then his feet, until he was up to his knees. He stopped then, feeling the tug of the waves as they rolled back out into the harbor, bending to scoop up handfuls of water to splash over his arms and chest and face. Almost wistfully, he gazed out over the celadon waves, regretting that he had not the skill to plunge right in and immerse his whole body into their cooling embrace. But alas, he did not know how to swim!

The sand is singing deathless words to me...
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[flashback] Swimming with the fishes...or the falcon?

Postby Khida on June 26th, 2013, 11:02 pm

Swimming, as Khida had learned the summer past, had its high points -- especially in the warmest days of the year. She couldn't claim to be very good at it, but floating in the calm estuary was entirely within her skills. Laying on her back in the cool water, eyes closed against the vivid sun, was very nice indeed -- at least until her front got too warm, exposed as it was. That was cause for Khida to drop her feet down, moving through vertical to laying in the opposite direction atop the water.

This way, she couldn't just float -- not and see around her, or breathe. Khida kicked with her feet, and paddled with her hands, which did little to move her but kept her chin more or less above the water's surface. She also had an excellent view of a ship, something large and squarish, not that she had any idea what kind that made it. It was a ways off, but closer than she was used to being, at least while in the water and with them moving freely. The Kelvic girl wondered, briefly, what it was about -- then dismissed it altogether, moving away as it was.

Enough of the water, Khida decided, and turned herself towards the shore. She paddled so slowly, with more noise and bother than her predator's instincts liked, but even that was preferable to soaking her feathers to no avail. The slow progress towards shallower water allowed her to notice the human standing at the very edge of the waves, though, staring out at the water like -- well, like Khida herself sometimes stared at fish, when she could pick out their silver forms flashing under the ripples.

Maybe he wanted fish, himself.

After a while, she thought she might have come in far enough, and stopped paddling to let her feet drop again. To Khida's surprise, she hit bottom with her knees; fortunately, it was all sand. Gritty, but not solid rock. She stumbled gracelessly, a hand splashing down, then got her feet under her and straightened up. Shoving wet hair out of her eyes just left a streak of sand across her cheekbone, before she turned her attention back to the man on the shore, direct and intent.

"Do you see any fish?"
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