Closed Facing Your Demons (Khara)

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Azira on November 23rd, 2014, 8:39 pm

43rd Fall 514AV
The day's hunting had been frustrating and the girl had returned to the city early and empty handed. A brief trip had been made to her room to drop off her stuff and wash using the basin before going to the Kitchens. It was a time when there were a few individuals around who were having dinner before the rush. There were a few Endal, Avora and Chiet but no Dek as yet as their meal bell hadn't come along. The huntress watched the interactions between the occupants morosely as she picked at the meal that she'd chosen for herself.

It didn't feel right to her to be eating meat - she thought it might be deer - when she hadn't brought in any of it herself. It was only coming up to the halfway point in the season and she was becoming paranoid that they would run short again, that there wouldn't be enough meat to come around come winter. The idea of another famine was something that the Avora couldn't bear. Another riot of the lower orders couldn't happen, not again as such an eventuality had been safely guarded against. Any inkling of a future rebellion would be mercilessly crushed before it was allowed to germinate, let alone take root. The huntress was still afraid. A repeat of what had happened during those few days at the end of the season had been truly terrifying and such events weren't likely to be forgotten, even after a reassertion of the proper order. The fear, at least for Azira, remained.

It had been quite some time since she had had any reason to fear others, not since her Yasihood and it made her feel just as weak now as it had made her feel then. It was different though. Now she was afraid of an idea, of a faceless mob rising up once more and trying to do unspeakable things to her. In the past her terror had always been connected to individuals, some more than others. Time would soften the edge of her fear though and in time it would be blunted and she'd wonder what she'd ever worried about. The bullies of her childhood years were like zynx without teeth or claws now, powerless to hurt her even if they'd wanted to do so.

Her meal was forced in slow increments to vanish down her throat until she was finally done and could retreat to her room to be miserable in peace. Her dishware was returned to the counter as a group of Endal came in. Their loud and brash manner marked them as the eagle riders that they were, coming into the place as if they owned it. Azira was extremely glad to be on her way out or else their presence would have put her even further off her meal. She'd made it halfway across the room when something on the floor caught her eye. Disregarding the rowdy bunch talking about "the new guy" the Avora took a brief detour to examine the object.

A miza, not a pinion. It was a copper one, a trivial bit of coin but she took the time to pick it up all the same while murmuring to herself, "Find a copper, pick it up. All the day you'll have good luck." Fingers grasped the small coin and let it slide into the middle of her palm as she turned her hand over. She looked at it wondering why she hadn't found it earlier when she'd needed the luck. Without thinking about it, she flipped the coin into the air and made to grab it as it came back down. It glanced off her fingers as she grabbed for it and was sent flying forward. It landed on its side and rolled and bounced its way across the floor until it arrived beside the Endal party. No way was Azira going after it.

Instinctively she'd taken a step to follow the coin, a movement that she aborted as soon as the miza was given up for lost. A glance up showed that she'd attracted the attention of one of the men among the Endal, one who was looking at her with interest before their eyes met. As soon as they saw each other properly, there was a moment of shocked recognition before he said something that she couldn't hear but she saw the words form and she had an idea what was said: Eagle Eyes. The sneer that broke out on his face was one that was recognisable to her even after the passage of years. It was Cedrin.

There was no thought, no decision made, the teen just ran. She was out of the Kitchens and out in the twists and turns of the Warrens within ticks, moving blindly in her panic. The past that she thought she no longer had to fear had come back to haunt her. Her old tormentor had gained a position where he had power over her once more. When he'd been a Chiet she'd had nothing to fear but now... He'd been reminded of her existence too.

She had no idea where she was going, had no destination in mind. Her sense had left her, she couldn't focus on anything at all. She just ran until she reached a quiet section of tunnel and found herself collapsing panting against the wall, unable to figure out where she was and unable to care. What was she going to do? Was he going to come after her? Tears began to flow down her cheeks, the girl quickly becoming hysterical as she slid down the wall and hugged her knees.
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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Khara on November 24th, 2014, 1:54 am

Khara felt exhausted; mentally, physically, howeverly. It felt like she had been dragged over half of Skyinarta that day with a pair of hunters that had decided to bring along a few game scouts. Pressure was building to bring in more game, Winter on everyone's minds as the weather turned colder every day. There was talk of storms moving in soon, of rain and possible snow. All in all it seemed to weigh heavily on everyone's minds and even successful days still somehow didn't feel like you had done enough.

All the Chiet girl had wanted to do was eat, get a bath in, have her clothing cleaned up and then go to bed and for the most part she was able. Even if the baths had been unusually loud, a group of other Chiet excitedly talking about how one of them gotten picked by an Wind Eagle. It was the same routine every time such news circulated that someone other than one of the expected Yasi rose to such a position, as if it was a stroke of good luck that would wave through the other Chiet and more of them would become Endals in quick order. It never happened like that, though, and all Khara could think of was how someone else had been chosen, broken away from their normal life and moved as far away from the drudges as possible. It only seemed to make her own desire to rise above her caste seem all the more pointless, somehow.

The aimless wander back towards her room hadn't been done in any real hurry. Khara's head was too busy with the downtrodden thoughts as she stared down a chunk of her own still damp hair that she had tugged in front of her eyes as she haphazardly tried to braid it as she walked. She glanced up occasionally to make sure she wasn't going to run into anyone unexpectedly and it was as her eyes moved away from her sloppy attempt that she spotted a rather unusual sight. Someone was slumped against one of the walls of the warrens and they were crying. Her first instinct upon seeing the short hair was that it was a Dek, but as she cautiously approached and saw they weren't wearing a lontev, but rather the slightly finer clothing of an-

Khara's breath caught at the realization. There was only one person she knew to fit the description that her mind was busy filling in and she firstly felt horrible that she mistook the Avora for a drudge, but secondly was having trouble coming to terms with the state she seemed to be in. The girl shoved her hair back behind her ear as she slowed her approach even further. Should she say something? Should she pretend like she hadn't noticed at all?

"A-Azira?" Her voice questioned without her permission. There was nothing to be done for it now, her mouth had committed her to the situation without any way to remove herself from it. Khara stopped a small way away from the huntress, hopefully just out of her reach if she chose to try and lash out at the Chiet. The girl's throat felt dry a she forced herself to speak again, surprising herself with the amount of actual concern that came through. "I'm sorry... Are you hurt? Do you need me to fetch someone?"


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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Azira on November 24th, 2014, 8:11 pm

She was locked in her own head for the most part with only a dim awareness of what her body was doing. The rocking motion that she'd adopted, which had her head rhythmically striking against the wall. It caused a dull pain, the hits not particularly hard. It was familiar if not exactly comforting, a gesture used in times past to ground her when her fear and anxiety grew too much. It was automatic and she hardly seemed to feel it as her thoughts ran wild, eliciting wails and moans that went unheard by herself.

Cedrin had seen her. He had recognised her. He had remembered. She'd always thought that tormenting her had provided her with some twisted pleasure and the moment their eyes had met had brought it back. If he hadn't come after her, followed her from the Kitchens then he would bide his time and gather information about her. He would learn what he could about her, find out all the places that she frequented, all the places that she liked and he would pick his moment to pounce. He'd waited so long to get back at her after all. She'd humiliated him and once she'd become apprenticed Azira had risen beyond his grasp until now. He'd probably resented her all the more when she rose in caste ahead of him. Younger than him, better than him and he'd been left among the Yasi until his time had run out and his skills had made him a Chiet.

Why wouldn't he take full advantage of his new status? Why wouldn't he torment her again? Maybe he'd even try to drag her to bed, break her and leave her able to do nothing about it. They were no longer on equal footing and hadn't been for a long while and there was no way to even the playing field. Retaliation had been possible as a Yasi but if he did something to her now, something unspeakable... She would have to bring it to the Valintar. Until he actually did something though she couldn't go that higher authority and so he'd be free to use her as he saw fit.

The sound of her name had her jolting from her mental prison, imagination running away from her as she looked up expecting to see him there. The teen whimpered.

But it wasn't Cedrin. It was enough for her to register the sight of a female form before any thoughts of trying to identify it popped into her head. It wasn't him, which was enough for her but whoever it was seemed to be talking to her. There was concern in a familiar voice that went along with a familiar face. The haunted, hunted look prevailed as she scanned the face and tried to recognise it. Recognition wouldn't come at first, the girl staring at the other person for a chime without any sign of knowing who she was. Understanding dawned slowly but yet she couldn't quite believe who it was.

"Khara?" she asked uncertainly, her own voice sounding alien to her as choked as it was with tears. Her head was shaken slowly backwards and forwards, the teen not even sure what the scout had asked. "'M fine," she offered, assuming that reply would cover anything that the Chiet might have said.
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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Khara on November 25th, 2014, 1:30 am

She was at a complete loss. Khara had offered help to the huntress before, but that had been different. That was only frustration and a threat of ruined books. This, this was... Well, she didn't know what this was! Azira didn't look obviously wounded, but something had caused this reaction and it was about as far from typical as she could think of in regards to the Avora teen.

"With all due respect," Khara tested the air, speaking without even really thinking. "I think I disagree."

It took a few ticks for what she had said to register in her head and Khara wasn't sure if she should regret it or not. She decided on the later as her fingertips were forced to stop twisting about the ends of the crimson scarf at her neck. The Chiet let out a sigh and took another few tentative steps closer before crouching down near the other teen. Slowly she reached behind and placed her hand on the wall behind the huntress' head, her palm poised to take the impact of any further movements like the rather unnerving ones she had witnessed.

Khara kept her eyes downcast, lingering towards where her other hand hung in the air, unsure of what to do with it. Another small breath was taken in before she allowed herself to talk again.

"This isn't like you so I'm not leaving until you are more yourself. You can yell at me if you want," She paused and briefly looked up for their eyes to meet for just an instant. "It's less scary than this."

The girl had to have gone mad! Well, both of them, really. Azira's state surely hinted at it but the fact that Khara hadn't quickly turned away and left the huntress alone was pure foolishness. It was like trying to approach a raptor that had injured a wing. Sure it wasn't going anywhere in a big hurry but claws and beak were still a very real threat and probably far more inclined to use them than normally.

Khara had meant what she had said though, she knew it in her core. Some part of her was much happier with angry Azira than this new face. If the huntress shoved her away and told her to mind her own petching business then maybe Khara could think it was just some random burst of emotion from the other girl and there was nothing to actually be concerned about. If not, though... Well, that lead right back to the realm of not having any idea what to do.


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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Azira on November 25th, 2014, 9:59 pm

As soon as the words had been said the scout was dismissed from her mind. It didn't matter that she was still there because the huntress had ceased to notice her, retreating back into her own head. The girl would take her word for it, would be too scared to call her out on what she'd said because of their difference in rank and then she would go away. The rocking and head banging resumed, a slow rhythm beaten out by her skull against the stone wall.

Bang, bang, bang, ba-

The rhythm was interrupted, something getting between her head and the wall, the girl brought back to full reality again with a start. Her head jerked forward, shuddering away from the soft and foreign touch. Bewildered eyes were turned on the Chiet who against her expectations had remained. She was still acting like a subordinate of hers but yet she was standing up to her. Her demeanour seemed normal but her words and firm tone did not belong in this situation. No Chiet should speak to an Avora that way. This inversion of the natural way of things brought her mind back to Cedrin, reminded her that he had risen from his rightful place and it was just as wrong as this situation.

A wailing filled the Warrens, the huntress not even aware that it was emanating from her mouth as she buried her face in her hands, hunched forward and began to sob. She didn't need this, it wasn't fair! She didn't want some Chiet bullying her into being herself - whatever that was supposed to mean - and she didn't want Chiet turning into Endal. Why did it have to be him? Why couldn't it be any other Chiet but him? It could have been a Yasi or and Avora and Azira wouldn't have cared. The one thing that she didn't want, the very last thing, was for him of all people to have been chosen by an eagle.

If she hadn't seen him, if she had heard it then she could have at least doubted it but there was no doubt. There could be no doubt in her mind that Cedrin had risen to the hallowed rank of eagle rider. Her sobs increased, the young man's name groaned into her hands. With time the sobs eased, her hands sliding up to tangle and tug at her hair. Her eyes fixed on Khara, new thoughts rising in her head. Maybe she'd been wrong somehow. Khara was a Chiet and if another Chiet became an Endal then surely she'd have an idea who it was. They liked to chatter over such things amongst themselves after all so why wouldn't she know.

Her hands were freed from where they'd locked in her hair and were flung forward to make a grab at the scout's shoulder to dig into them with her fingers and shake the girl with violence. "It's not true, is it? He isn't an Endal, is he? Not him. Can't be him. It wasn't Cedrin. It can't be Cedrin, anyone but him. Is it Cedrin?" she asked desperately, more whimpers and groans interlacing her frantic speech. She needed to know and Khara would know for sure, even if she had to shake the information out of her.
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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Khara on November 27th, 2014, 8:25 pm

She had known this was a bad idea, that it was bound to end with her being in some sort of situation where Azira would take out whatever frustrations she was experiencing on the Chiet, but what actually happened was far from what Khara expected. The sight of the Avora sobbing uncontrollably was horrible and the girl wanted to do whatever she could to make it stop but being shaken and asked about... Cedrin?

Yes, that was who it had been. Not someone Khara new personally, at least, not a friend or anything. Then again, there weren't exactly many within Wind Reach that she did consider as that. She tried to think - which was very difficult to do when she was being shaken about - about how she knew Cedrin, why the name had been familiar even when the other Chiet had been prattling on about his elevation. Gods, she knew this, if only the Avora would stop rattling her head around in her head then maybe she could actually...

"Yes," Khara managed to sneak out, the word choppy as it was shaken loose from her. She hadn't wanted to say it, had wanted to soften the blow maybe since a negative answer to the question seemed very important to Azira.

But why was it so important? What did Cedrin mean to Azira? Was he some Chiet that she had been particularly mean to at some point and now feared what he would do as an Endal? Khara couldn't even remember what it was that Cedrin even did, well - used to do. Maybe it had something to do with last Winter? Maybe he had been among those who had tried to hurt the Avora during the riots? Maybe...

"I'm s-sorry, Azira. But y-yes, he-he's an Endal now." She tried to sound as sympathetic as possible, which wasn't really hard considering Khara honestly felt terrible for having to say the truth of the matter.


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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Azira on November 27th, 2014, 10:44 pm

She screamed, the sound reverberating off the walls and sending some Chiet who had just entered the tunnel scurrying back the way that they'd come. Azira didn't even notice, she was hardly even aware that the sound had come from herself. The scout was released as her grip suddenly slackened, fingers moving to twist into her own hair again. She pulled at it, some of the strands coming loose in her hands as she tugged them out of her scalp. Her knees were drawn up, her face hidden against them as she screamed again. Screaming changed to wailing and wailing to moans before she was able to make coherent sounds again.

"Not him, not him. Petching bastard shouldn't been an Endal. Any eagle with sense would have thrown him off the mountain, not bonded with him!" she groaned into her knees. Another shriek, more muffled this time before she began sobbing again. She cried for another while, her mind caught up in horrible possibilities once more. How hard would it be for him to come after her? How long before he began to make her life a living nightmare again? How long before she broke down completely and became some shattered and pathetic excuse for a human being?

There was a way out, an easy option. She was going to end up dead inside if he came after her so why wait for it to happen when this could be finished right now? Her eyes were raised towards Khara, still filled with tears as she regarded her plaintively. "I can't go through this again. I can't put up with him again, never again! Kill me now, kill me now! Please!" she pleaded. She clutched at the scout, her eyes growing wild as tears continued to stream down her cheeks. She didn't know if the other had it in her to kill the huntress. Azira could kill a person, had done it before but she didn't know if the Chiet had it in her to kill anything at all.

She buried her face in her hands. The teen knew that she wasn't thinking properly. She didn't want to die, not really. She just didn't want to think about facing that man again that was all and she was choosing the most extreme option for a way out. "I don't know what I'm saying. I don't want to die. I just don't want... I can't have him torment me again. I was safe when he was a Chiet but now what can I do?"
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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Khara on November 29th, 2014, 4:56 am

Khara flinched, not just at the screaming, not just at the unthinkable - even if quickly recanted - request the Avora had shouted about killing her, but mostly at her continued lack of answers. The full picture began to piece itself together. There was one thing that kept being echoed: Can't go through this again, can't put up with him again, can't have him torment... again. And then the proclamation that she had been safe while Cedrin had been a Chiet followed and Khara felt she suddenly had a better idea of what the problem was. Not a Chiet that Azira had bullied then, but he had done so to her back when they had been on equal footing. Yasi then?

Whatever had lead to this moment, whatever had been done to Azira in the past, her fear now was genuine, real, and not exactly humorously ironic. Still, Khara wasn't certain how to answer. She was no stranger to the fear of what a higher caste member would do to her. Azira herself had threatened the Chiet before, but that was different. It wasn't the same fear that grew in her stomach and threatened to overwhelm when Khara noticed one of the upper caste men looking at her a little too long. There was one in particular, an Avora that Khara seemed to keep running into. He'd smiled at her the last time she had seen him and it had unnerved the girl for the rest of the day.

"Y-you avoid him. As best you can." The answer came noncommittally as Khara stopped herself from reaching out to put a hand on Azira's shoulder, the comforting gesture aborted and tucked back in until she was fidgeting with her scarf again. "Go where he won't be, try to remain as unnoticeable as possible if he's around..."

It was Chiet advice, the kind that kept you alive and unremarkable, the kind that Khara had been failing at lately. More importantly, it was the kind of behavior that no one would expect from an Avora and the girl instantly regretted the suggestions. She paused, swallowing back the lump that was forming in her throat before she pushed on.

"Or... or you do what you always do. I've never seen you back down from an Endal before. Even Sira, and she's an actual Eagle. You're important to Wind Reach, you're a hunter. Anyone who would hurt someone like you and deprive the city of your talents? They're just asking for trouble from everyone else, I think."

It felt weird to be saying anything like that, to even be hinting at the fact an Endal could do wrong. Khara knew she was overstepping herself and a glance around was quick to make sure no one was overhearing the two of them. It wasn't good to talk like this, not ever, but especially not after last Winter.


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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Azira on November 29th, 2014, 5:19 pm

The Chiet's advice was met with bitter laughter. She knew it was what Khara's caste did. If they went unnoticed then nobody would bother them. She had no idea how well it worked for them but she knew that it wouldn't work for her. She shook her head, a hand brushed across her face to remove her tears. "You don't understand. I'm not just some Avora to him, I'm me. There's no avoiding someone who goes looking for you," she told the scout. She shook her head again for no particular reason. It was hopeless or at least she thought that it was, which wasn't any better.

The scout was still trying to make her feel better about the situation that was clear but she didn't really understand. The Avora didn't normally have to put up with any untoward behaviour from the eagle riders. If an Avora said no, an Endal went to the Chiet or the Dek who couldn't refuse. There were a few isolated incidents of course where Avora were abused in such ways but they often ended in some sort of violence, family members and victims often dealing out revenge. This was different. A psychological attack was what she was expecting rather than a sexual one although she didn't find it difficult to imagine her childhood adversary sinking to that level. He didn't have to hurt her, not physically and if she wasn't harmed in any way then no outside help would come. If she broke down they'd assume it was the stress of her work, of her caste and she'd probably end up demoted to being a Dek. Oh gods, she didn't want to be a Dek!

The huntress pulled herself up, using the wall for support as she looked around her with wild eyes. There was no sign of Cedrin but she could imagine him lurking around the corner, just lying in wait. He might not even have bothered to make any move to look for her. He'd always had two sorts of psychological games he'd liked to play to torture her. The first was to leave her in a heightened state of panic and paranoia by making her fear an attack that never came and the other was to let her feel safe and pounce. He had never made his methods all that predictable though. She had no idea which route he'd choose. Best to go somewhere that he couldn't find her, somewhere unexpected.

"He's not like other Endal though. I don't know them so it doesn't matter but he... he doesn't have to lay a finger on me to make me snap and the city won't do anything to help me if I turn into some sort of quivering chick. If that happens I won't be good for anything and the city nobody will feel too deprived when they toss me in with the Dek and leave me more vulnerable." A hand ran through her hair as she looked up and down the passageway, biting down on her lip hard enough to draw blood. This section of tunnel was no longer free of foot traffic. The anguished sounds that had kept people at bay having subsided they had no problem walking past herself and the Chiet and shooting curious looks at the tearful Avora.

"Best to stay out of the way, well out of the way. He'll check my room, might even be waiting there but I don't know. I need to go somewhere that he'll never think to look for me," she mumbled, talking to herself more than to Khara. It wasn't clear whether she fully realised that the game scout was still there. She was beginning to pull herself together but she wasn't really herself. If she'd been herself then she wouldn't still be contemplating some form of escape while looking around her like a frightened animal.

"Inclement Weather! He'll never look for me there. I'd never look for me there either. There'll be loads of people there so he won't find me and if he does I can lose him. Yes, yes the Inclement," Azira hissed to herself, hysteria creeping into her voice as she set off through the maze of tunnels for the dance club. The scout was completely forgotten in the wake of her revelation.
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Facing Your Demons (Khara)

Postby Khara on November 30th, 2014, 3:22 am

It would be so easy to just let the huntress run off. It wasn't like Azira was dragging her along or even looking behind her to make sure the Chiet was following. It wasn't like she wanted to be followed as best as Khara could tell. All the girl had to do was just continue down the hall, go back to her room and pretend like the whole incident had never happened. But it wasn't that easy. Azira wasn't a friend, but she was the only hunter who had deemed the girl worthy of her time. If it wasn't for Azira, she never would have gotten to meet Sira and ride an Eagle for the first time. Even the small bit of respect that Khara had earned among her fellow game scouts was due to the moose hunt who knows how that could have gone if it had been any other hunter who had decided to make use of her that day.

It wasn't that she owed the huntress - or maybe she did - but either way Khara knew she couldn't just walk away. The girl wasn't a fan of the Inclement Weather, she'd heard enough rumors about the happenings there that she had decided long ago it held no real interest for her, but to let Azira go there alone? In her already agitated state? If Khara heard of anything having happened to the other teen she knew she would fully feel the blame was on her for not having been there. If nothing else maybe Azira would just drown her sorrows and Khara could at least be there to help lead the heavily inebriated Avora back to her room. If she decided to pick a fight then Khara could help her to the Infirmary to treat whatever wounds the huntress sustained. There was nothing wrong with being the sober accomplice was there?

She tried to assure herself there wasn't as she raced after the other teen. This was a bad idea, Khara knew it. But it seemed like she was determined to follow Azira anyway. As she caught up and kept pace with the other, the girl didn't have the heart to say what she felt might be necessary to point out. They couldn't exactly stay there. Last place that Cedrin would look or not, Azira would eventually have to leave and face her fear. Maybe that would just be easier to do after a few rounds of drinks.


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Khara
Lost Little Sparrow
 
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