Reunion

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Reunion

Postby Shakune on April 10th, 2015, 9:50 pm

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Reunion
54th Spring, 515AV

When the knock came, Shakune knew it was not one of her regular visitors. If it were Lenny, the door would also be knocked right off its hinges. If it were Vince, he wouldn't bother with such formalities. If it was one of her other lovers or close friends, they would also most likely just walk into her home.

But this person had knocked, and politely so. Not too loud, as if they didn't want to cause a fuss.

Which was very unlike the general Sunberth populace.

When she opened the door, Shakune was almost knocked backwards with the shock of the face on the other side. A woman. A plump, kindly-looking woman who would look far more suited working in a bakery than standing on Shakune's doorstep. Of course she knew instantly who her visitor was, but before saying anything needed to fully drink in the woman's appearance. Her frizzy hair was far greyer than when Shakune had last seen her, but other than that Rachael had changed only a little. "It's good to see you."

Their hug lasted a good few chimes. When the two women broke away, Rachael was dabbing at her eyes. Her voice was thick, fractured. "I wanted to come sooner, but..." She gave a great shuddery sigh, "Life, y'know."

This was a sympathy visit, Shakune realised. She wasn't surprised; if any of her previous family would bother visiting her following her adoptive father's death, it would be Rachael. But Pa Salt had died nearly a year ago. The baker was behind schedule. "Better late than never," Shakune comforted gently, rubbing the woman's large arm. She needed to change the subject of conversation before this feeling of relief and comfort changed to sadness and grief. "Are you still living in Riverfall?"

Rachael nodded blearily, "I see Percy sometimes. He's got three kids now, believe it or not. But it was when I heard some other fella in the kitchens - Richard - talking about a ship called the Lady luck, and how he'd just come from Sunberth because the captain had died, that I realised what'd happened. I nearly battered him to death with my rolling pin for leaving you all alone."

Despite the overwhelming sense of loss she was feeling, Shakune laughed. The scene was one she could easily imagine. Rachael had taken on the roll of her mother after Shakune joined the crew of the Lady Luck as a girl. In turn, Shakune filled the void as a stand-in daughter for the one Rachael had lost some time ago. Her husband, in a drunken rage, had crushed their daughter's skull before going on to rape and beat Rachael repeatedly.

But she had been saved from that life some time ago now.

"He didn't leave me, in his defence. He's a good man."

"Yes. He is, to be fair. But that didn't stop me wanting to throttle him. I mean, how could he just up and leave?"
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Last edited by Shakune on May 9th, 2015, 7:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Reunion

Postby Shakune on April 10th, 2015, 9:58 pm

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The events after the death of their captain were lost on Shakune. She had been wrapped in grief like she had never known before. But she had fractures of memories. They had docked in Sunberth one day, and as usual their captain had paid for the crew to stay in a tavern for the duration of their visit. On the morning of the second day, each crewmember woke up to the sight of a pot of money at the foot of their bed. The money had been a share of Pa Salt's wealth, for the old man had sailed himself off and presumably died at sea. Shakune, who had known him the longest of the remaining crew and had certainly been the closest to him, had been utterly inconsolable. Slowly, her remaining family had departed from Sunberth until only she remained.

"He had to leave. They all had to."

Rachael gave an unconvinced grunt. She could hardly complain too much. After all, she had departed from the crew seven years sago, when they had docked at Riverfall and she finally had the confidence to restart a life of her own. "But still, at such a time. And Johnny?"

Now it was Shakune that grumbled. She did not want to spend too much time thinking about the Vantha who had once been her lover. "He realised what was truly important to him," She muttered shortly, the underlying of her statement quite clear: And I didn't make the cut.

Rachael sniffed indignantly. She had left before Shakune and Johnny's relationship truly matured in a sexual manner, but the woman had foreseen where it would lead. She had not approved then, and she didn't approve now. "I never thought much to him anyway. We all had our reasons for leaving our previous lives, but what was his?"

He didn't love his wife anymore but he didn't have the balls to tell her.

Shakune had only learnt Johnny's shady history after sleeping with him for the first time. Until that point, he'd shared very little about his history with the crew, which had done nothing for his reputation. Even after Shakune had encouraged him to open up more to the others, some did not trust him. "I think he was running away, like all of us." She murmured gently, a part of her still loyal to her ex-lover's secret history.

Pa Salt had the habit of saving people. Amongst his crew, it was a running joke that he could hear the cries of a desperate man, woman or child from anywhere in the ocean. He'd saved Shakune from her drug-addled prostitute mother, Rachael from her alcoholic husband, and countless others from similar shitty situations. The entire crew, past and present, owed the old sailor an unfathomable amount. "So," the courier said, keen to turn their conversation off her past lover and onto a new subject, "I suggest we go out for a drink, and catch up."

Rachael smiled and wrapped an arm around Shakune's shouldrs. "Well, what else is there to do?"
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Reunion

Postby Shakune on May 5th, 2015, 6:55 pm

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Shakune learned that Rachael had remarried shortly after moving to Riverfall. Her new husband, Erol, owned the cafe that she worked as a baker in. Erol was a widower with three daughters, and according to Rachael he was a kindly and generous man - the complete opposite to her first alcohol husband. They met in Spring, when Rachael had left The Lady Luck and docked at Riverfall, and were married a year later. It was quite obvious to Shakune that this new relationship had sparked a new lease of life in Rachael. When she had last seen the woman, she was timid but growing in confidence. Now she practically glowed.

"So, anyway." the older woman continued after sipping at her glass of wine, "the girls are lovely, really. Lucy is a little monkey and Skylar is just reaching that age where she is adamant she doesn't need help from grown-ups. But they're all sweet."

The courier smiled and nodded along, but a strange sensation tugged at her mind. It was jealousy. Shakune had been twelve when she first met Rachael. She'd been in desperate need of a mother figure, which the woman had been more than happy to become. They'd been two broken souls, but through time and mutual support, Shakune and Rachael had become whole again.

But now there were three other girls in Rachael's life. They also lacked a mother, so it was only natural for Rachael to fill their void as well. And Shakune was now an adult, with her own home and job and new social circle. She no longer needed a mother per se - so why was she so envious of these precious sweet girls?

Because now her adoptive father and mother had moved on. It had been easier to forget this fact without Rachael smiling kindly up at her. But the woman's presence was a painful reminder of what Shakune had lost.

"That's nice." She eventually forced out, her voice tight and restrained. This was all getting too much: the reunion, the catch-up over drinks. They were not two friends gossiping over who in their social circle had recently gotten fat. Rachael had been a lifeboat for Shakune, who at the time had been drowning amongst her biological mother's drugs and neglect.

And now here she was. Talking about these new girls in her life.

It was difficult for Shakune to shift the jealousy out of her mind, despite her best attempts. There was no need for jealousy now. It had been seven years.

Seven years.

"So, what have you been up to since--?"

Shakune knew how Rachael's question was meant to end. How had she spent the time since her adoptive father had died? "Oh, not much." She replied, quoting the standard socially acceptable answer to such a question. But then Shakune realised that the truth was not hugely different: she had simply been living - enjoying herself, but nevertheless just living. "Not marriage, no children. A business, though. No Questions Couriers." It was impossible for Shakune to say the name of her company without smiling with pride.

"A courier company?" The similarity between Shakune's business and the business owned by their former captain was not lost on Rachael. She was taken aback for a moment, perhaps considering how history had a habit of repeating itself, but then she picked herself up and said, "well, those lessons must have really paid off."

Shakune nodded. Pa Salt had educated all of his crew about the basics of his work, which spread across all the known seas. But in Shakune's case, he had gone a step further. She'd become his assistant, calculating the figures of what the old man had purchased and sold to ensure he always remained in green, always made a profit. It was through these lessons that Shakune had become engulfed with her passion for business and commerce.

"I hope to expand it someday." She offered, trying hard to keep her voice even and constrained. Even in front of Rachael, she wanted to upkeep her reputation as a shrewd business, and not an excited little girl.
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Reunion

Postby Shakune on May 6th, 2015, 8:18 am

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"Oh?" Fortunately, Rachael's question invited further information.

The courier drunk in a mouthful of her beer, trying her best to act blasé and casual, when inside she glimmered with pride and excitement. "I want to expand, see. First in Sunberth - get an employee, maybe two. I have this girl, Havzi --" as per usual, Shakune felt a tight knot in her stomach as she thought of her slave. She hadn't quite come to accept the fact that the girl was her property. It made her sick. "-- and anyway, once I've got a couple of workers, I want to branch out. To the other cities."

Perhaps it was nothing more than a pipedream, but Shakune had needed something to work towards. Her career as a courier had started because there had been few alternatives; plus, she knew the business. But now the same passion that had sparked within Shakune had reignited. She breathed for her business, for every miza that dropped into her hand after a delivery. Couriering was not a skilled job - any arsehole could do it, she liked to tell people. But that fact only made it more rewarding that Shakune's business was thriving. She had a long-term plan for No Questions Couriers, one that expanded the business to become a central part of Sunberth's economy.

"That sounds wonderful." Rachael's voice was soft and sympathetic. Her wide told Shakune how she wanted the courier's business to succeed. Somewhere, deep within that most innocent part of her mind, Shakune realised that Rachael still cared for her. But as a girl, she'd been so used to being thrown out in favour of her mother's drugs, assuming second place had come depressingly natural to Shakune. "I'm sure if anyone can make a success in this place, it's you. You were always so much like him."

Him. They said his name like a deity. Shakune swallowed, found it difficult to muster up a strong enough voice to reply, and drunk some more of her beer to lubricate her throat. Yes, she was like Pa Salt. He'd been spirited and crude, but smart and tactful when it came to business. He'd known his line of work and clients incredibly well. Shakune had in turn inherited this mind-set, and the appreciation of a branded business. She'd worked hard over the past year to establish herself as a recognizable face and service in Sunberth. "It's hard to remember all of his rules." Shakune admitted quietly, her eyes not lifting from her tankard of beer. She began to recite the guidlines her adopted father had given her: "One: be a brand, make yourself known and easily recognisable. Two: Offer a service that differs to everyone else. Three: Keep up appearances. Don't let stress or problems affect your service. Four...." What was the fourth rule? Shakune desperately filtered through the thousands of conversations she had Pa Salt had shared about business. Her fingers ran along the rim of her tankard. With a lick of her tongue, she lapped up the froth from her fingertip.

"Rule four: Treat your employees well and they'll give you their loyalty." She'd paid particular attention to this rule since Havzi had entered her life. The slave girl was timid, but so far she had impressed Shakune for her quick thinking and intelligence. No doubt she'd be a real asset when the business had fully flourished. And yet, the courier still had mixed feelings about the slave. She'd never expected to own a person - it went against the few morals Shakune possessed. But Havzi had been a... prize given to Shakune by Goldfinger. Out of fear of what would happen to the girl if she hadn't come with her, the courier had begrudgingly accepted his gift. But since that fateful day, she'd been thinking. What if Havzi had been given to Shakune so she could spy on the courier business? Perhaps every time she ran an errand, she was actually reporting back to Goldfinger about the status of No Questions Couriers.
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Reunion

Postby Shakune on May 7th, 2015, 3:40 pm

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"Very impressive." Rachael said earnestly. The two women fell into silence. They had now caught up with what each other had been doing for the past seven years. There were many other topics for them to discuss, perhaps too many.

The silence stretched onwards, and Shakune shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She found herself comparing her friendship with Rachael as it was now to how it had been on the ship. The woman had at one point been the only other female on board, and thus Shakune's only source of womanly conversation. A young girl on the cusp of puberty had required such support. There was only so much Pa Salt could provide by himself.

And then her mind wandered the friendly old man who had adopted her. There had been no signing of documents or legal action to transfer Shakune from her mother's care into his. But that day, he'd extended a lifeline to a desperate girl standing on Zeltiva's dock, and she'd gladly accepted. At the time, talking to a stranger had gone against the rules Shakune followed to keep herself safe. But in this case, the old man hadn't been terrifying or perverted. Straight from the off she had trusted him.

Of course there had been questions about this charitable sailor. She could remember his answers to all of her questions.

Where did you grow up?

"I was born in Sunberth."

Who are your parents?

"Marie Smith is the name of my ma. M'dad is called Peetro Whitewater. Svefra, y'see."

Do you have any brothers or sisters?

"I reckon there's a couple hundred kids runnin' round with m'dads curly hair, yeah. His kind didn't always believe in monogamy."

After that, she'd ask what 'monogamy' meant, and their conversation had taken a comical turn after that.

Shakune had thought of more questions about her adoptive father as she'd grown up. Most of them had been answered one way or another, but there were others that had remained a mystery.

"Do you think he ever had kids? Or a wife?"

From Rachael's reaction, she was as surprised by the question as Shakune was. The courier blinked, swallowed. Her mouth had gone dry and she sipped her beer to rejuvenate her mind. She'd been thinking about Pa Salt, but one of her thoughts had apparently escaped. "I mean, he was old. And he hadn't always been living on a ship."

The older woman nodded, her blue eyes downcast to watch her wine glass. "Yes, maybe."

The strain in Rachael's voice did not go unnoticed by Shakune. At a guess, Rachael was in her late forties, maybe early fifties at the most. That could age her as one of the oldest crewmembers The Lady Luck had ever seen, probably only second to Pa Salt himself. The two of them had been undoubtedly close, but in a wholly platonic way. There was no doubt that they would have discussed and compared their past lives - maybe Rachael knew more about the old man than Shakune had realised.

"He must have told you. You were closest to his age."

With a weary sigh, Rachael nodded again. Her demeanour had changed, from happy and relieved to guilty and forlorn. She had been keep secrets from Shakune for the entire time she had known the girl, but only know was the half-breed old enough to hear the stories. But the woman was still wary: "Shakune, does it really matter? He loved you so much, and he never wanted you to think differently of him."

Even if Pa Salt had killed someone - and Shakune was pretty sure he had in his eighty-or-so years - her opinion of him wouldn't be soiled. The man had ultimately saved her; she owed him everything. Gods, he'd meant everything to her once upon a time. She carried her memories of him around with her like a shrine. "I want to know, Rachael. He would have told me himself if I'd asked. I just never did."

That fact wasn't deniable.

"Okay." With a final shrug, Rachael laid her hands on the table and watched Shakune carefully. Her words were slow and measured. "In short, the answer to your question is yes. He married young, aged seventeen. Her name was Bridie. They'd grown up together and she was half-Svefra, just like him." Rachael gave Shakune a pointed nod, "just like you." The woman stopped speaking and sipped her wine.

There was more to this story. Shakune's gut clenched and she minutely shook her head. The tiny gesture was enough to silence Rachael immediately.

So. Her father had had a wife. Called Bridie. She could not un-learn this new information; it was now tattooed into Shakune's mind and couldn't be wiped away. How did she feel about this? Was the sick feeling in her stomach just nerves, or something more?

She swallowed down a mouthful of bile and nodded to Rachael. "Go on. I know there's more. You're a terrible liar."
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Reunion

Postby Shakune on May 8th, 2015, 9:47 am

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Endless black eyes watched as Rachael sighed, her gaze darting from Shakune's face to her wine glass. The woman was clearly battling an inner turmoil within herself as to whether or not to tell the truth. It was not her story to tell after all, but the responsiblilty had fallen into her lap nonetheless. Eventually, Rachael gave a small nod and spoke in a cautious voice: "Yes, they had children. If I remember correctly, the girl came first. Roseanne. Then two boys, Duncan and Larke. But Duncan died -- twins are often weaker than single births. And then Bridie fell pregnant again. But this time she died in childbirth. A stillborn boy. I think he named him Edgar."

Shakune's mind was spinning. Her father had not only had a wife, but they'd had had children. There'd been four births in total, but with only two children presumably surviving to adulthood. Babies died all the time, as did the women who birthed them, but these ghostly infants haunted Shakune. Did Bridie's ghost wander around Sunberth, crying about her lost children and her disappearing husband? Somewhere in the city there would be three gravestones bearing the name of Bridie, Duncan and Edgar. Had Pa Salt visited them each time they docked at Sunberth?

Though her initial questions had been answered, Shakune had uncovered many more. "What happened to them? The two kids that survived, I mean."

When Rachael shrugged and whispered I don't know, Shakune wholly believed her. Could Pa Salt have left his remaining biological children in order to chase the seas aboard his ship? Her immediate answer was a stern no, but the more Shakune considered it, the more she found herself thinking it as a possibility. He'd often said that ghosts haunted him, but at the time Shakune had presumed the saying held no truth or substance. Everyone has ghosts he would say to her, but if you're really unlucky, you'll know their names. At night, had he whispered the names of his dead children and wife, to beg them to leave him alone? Did they haunt him to avenge his abandoning the other two?

"Please, Shakune. You must understand that it all happened long ago. By the time any of us met him, he'd lost them all."

But the courier couldn't just shift her thinking, not even after Rachael's kind words. Even if her father hadn't stepped foot on the The Lady Luck long after his wife and children had died, what happened to the other two? A cold winter, a pox, a drunkard, a house fire. All could kill two children without any real stretch of the imagination. So why did Shakune feel so sick, as if she'd discovered a dead body under the floorboards?

"Please say something."

Mechanically, Shakune bought her attention back to Rachael. She blinked, trying to bring life back into her cells and nerves. A coldness gripped her. "Thank you for telling me." A lie; Shakune wished for nothing more than an elixir to wipe her memory of this entire conversation. "I wish I knew what happened to the others."

A sad smile crept across Rachael's thin lips. Was she thinking of Pa Salt's lost children, or the concaved skull of her own daughter? "That's something only Akajia can tell you."
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Shakune
I drive a hard bargain.
 
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Reunion

Postby Shakune on May 12th, 2015, 8:45 pm

EDIT 1/07/15: Content of this post removed as it was from another thread altogether... Oops.
Last edited by Shakune on July 1st, 2015, 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Shakune
I drive a hard bargain.
 
Posts: 352
Words: 281911
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Race: Human, Mixed
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Medals: 2
Featured Contributor (1) Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)

Reunion

Postby Orin Fenix on July 1st, 2015, 4:28 pm

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Shakune

Skills
    Observation 4
    Socialization 5
    Philosophy 2
    Planning 1
    Organization 1
    Intelligence 1
    Negotiation 1
    Interrogation 2
    Investigation 2
Lores
    An Unexpected Reunion
    Rachael: Going Grey
    Percy: Three Kids Now
    Johnny: Lover Who Left
    Rachael: Married Erol and Became a Baker
    Rachael: Has Three Stepdaughters
    Rachael: Moved On and Left
    Pa Salt: Left Like Everyone Else
    Business As a Point of Pride
    No Questions Couriers: A New Lease on Life
    Havzi: Slave Girl
    The Four Rules of Business
    Philosophy: Slavery in theory versus practice
    Rachael: Mother Figure and Source of Women's Wisdom
    Pa Salt: Father Figure and Rescuer
    Pa Salt: Had a Wife and Kids
    Pa Salt: Dead Wife's Name was Bridie
    Pa Salt: His Daughter Roseanne and son Larke survived, Duncan and Edgar Died
    Pa Salt: Remaining Family Lived in Sunberth, Fate Unknown
Rewards/Consequences
    -4cm for a mug of ale
Notes :
This was such a beautiful thread. I loved Shakune struggling to keep jealously and pain at bay, and also the reveal that the man who she'd loved had such a dark secret, one which took her completely by surprise. I think it'd be great if there was more developed in this plot.

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