Closed A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Zhol celebrates the 2nd Anniversary of his arrival in Wind Reach.

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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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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Zhol on May 14th, 2015, 1:53 am

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53rd Spring, 515
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Zhol scratched at the bare skin over his collar bone, a subconscious attempt in vain to subtly hide himself from view. Whether it had any affect on the attention of others, he didn't know; but it certainly affected his attention, reminding him once again of what he was wearing... or rather, what he wasn't.

It had seemed like such a good idea at the time; such a sweet idea, even. It was the fifty-third day of spring: an ordinary day by all accounts, made remarkable only by the fact that exactly two years before, Zhol had arrived in Wind Reach after his exodus from his first home. Zhol paid the day no particular mind, but after the fuss that he had made on Khara's birthday back in winter, she had insisted that she be allowed a day to pour affection on Zhol, all in the interests of balance and fairness. Not wanting to have attention drawn to the day of his birth - a day that stood mostly as a reminder of being forced from his family, and of the twin who was no longer constantly beside him - he had instead sacrificed this day, this lesser event, for Khara to do with as she wished. In truth, he'd hoped that she would forget; but she hadn't, and despite Zhol's determination to not allow the day to feel even remotely important, Khara's eagerness had been too formidable for his stubbornness to stand a chance. She'd won him over even; a little bit, at least. He didn't quite feel special the way that people were apparently supposed to on birthdays and such things, but what he felt was better: he felt wanted, loved, and cared about; he could see how much he mattered every time he looked in Khara's eyes, and that was a far better kind of special.

Of course, things weren't quite as elaborate as Khara might have wanted them to be; Zhol's obligations at the stables had made sure of that. He knew she'd been a little disappointed when he'd revealed that they wouldn't be able to spend the entire day together as she'd hoped; and yet she had stubbornly managed to work around that limitation, lurking at the stables for as much of the day as last night's overzealous consumption of wine had allowed. Secretly, Zhol had liked this better than if they'd spent the entire day doing "special" things; the only problem with an average day in his life was the lack of time spent with Khara, and today rectified it. Today was perfect; perfectly normal, at that.

But then there was this: their excursion this evening to a part of the city that Zhol had never visited before. Unlike the lakes, it hadn't been ignorance that kept him away; he'd just never been drawn to the Inclement Weather. He heard stories of the sorts of things that happened there, but never really paid them much mind; while such antics didn't appeal to him personally, he had no judgements against anyone who felt differently. But Khara had explained that this was how the Inarta she knew often celebrated birthdays and such things - a drink in the Inclement Weather. What better way to celebrate his arrival in Wind Reach than to celebrate it in a typically Wind Reach way?

One thing had led to another though, and Zhol had made a foolish step too far. Jokingly, he'd suggested that if they were going to act like typical Inara, then maybe he should go the whole way - shrug off his ordinary outsider clothes, and dress the way the Inarta did; make himself look as at home as his too tall and not ginger enough body could manage. Whether Khara had realised he hadn't been entirely serious or not, he didn't know, but the look on her face when he'd said it - that utterly pleased surprise - made it impossible for him to back down. So here he was, wearing pants that were far too baggy to be practical, and a shirt that was non-existent, about to find out first hand what the Inarta apparently did for fun. After two years of trotting tentatively into Wind Reach's culture, here he was skipping a stride and leaping straight into a full-blown gallop.

He forced his hand to fall away from his chest, waving it through the air beside him briefly until it managed to ensnare Khara's fingers. He mustered a smile that he hoped seemed confident, letting it settle across his feature as his gaze sought out her eyes. "I love you," he said quietly, his fingers squeezing gently around hers.
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Khara on May 15th, 2015, 12:22 am

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This was a terrible idea. It had sounded good when she had suggested it, made sense even; a normal celebration to emphasize that Zhol was as much a part of Wind Reach as anyone else. Good intentions had taken over somehow and had pushed out whatever ill thoughts she had regarding the Weather at the time. It wasn't that Khara hated the place or actively avoided it, it just had never sat particularly well with her. The few times she had been there it had been crowded and filled with intoxicated individuals who left their inhibitions behind. While that was all well and good if you were one of them, it just wasn't in Khara's nature to let herself go in such an environment and she ended up more uncomfortable than anything else. Even the amount of times she had ever actually been drunk could be counted on one hand and she still felt a twinge of embarrassment - and the faint memory of a small headache she'd awoken with - for the events of the evening prior.

For all her reservations and second thoughts on the matter, however, Khara somehow managed to push down her usual open displays of concern. Oh sure, there was still the slight fidgets with her hands but otherwise she projected an air of confidence that this would all be fine, fun even! It was part of the balancing act that was between her and Zhol; the more nervous one became the more self assured the other would be, even if Khara knew it sometimes was a false projection to simply bolster the other's courage. It didn't matter how much her insides were squirming, how much she was tempted to call the whole thing off in a frantic attempt at easing his mind; Khara was determined to see this through. At first she had worried that maybe she was forcing them to go, but Zhol hadn't seemed like he didn't want to visit the club, just nervous about going somewhere he hadn't before dressed how he normally wouldn't be.

Of course, she had made a another foolish mistake as well. Not soon after Zhol had apparently suggested simply wearing bryda to the club that Khara had determined that she would dress a bit differently as well. After all, what was the point in having spent the pinions on something nice if you never really wore it? The rather revealing satin top had been something she never had planned to wear in public, but this was supposed to be a special occasion, and if nothing else she liked the way Zhol looked at her when she wore it. The fact the vinati left her back exposed and he tended to take that as a silent invitation to touch her there certainly didn't hurt matters either. Khara still worried though, it hadn't been outrageously priced but she knew the embroidered outfit she wore was definitely a step above her typical attire. She hadn't really paid much attention to how others dressed when they went to the Inclement Weather, but she had heard that something fancier was normal and the Endals especially usually went above and beyond their usual grandeur. The girl doubted she could be mistaken for an Avora, but did she look like she was trying to be one? The woman who had sold her the clothing wouldn't have even suggested it to her if it did, would she?

Khara's fingers tightened around Zhol's and she assumed her typical place at his side, even if she avoided the standard urge to cling to his arm. The worries were smashed down with one perpetual thought: You always worry too much and you haven't ever been here with him. He makes everything better, right? Who knows, maybe you two will actually have fun for a change. It'll be good for you! Funny how even her inner commentary didn't sound entirely convinced of the matter.

As they approached, Khara wasn't sure what she noticed first, the steady rhythmic beat of the music within, or the small crowd that had formed just outside; it left her wondering if there was ever an evening when the Inclement Weather wasn't busy. Her stomach clenched and in response she playfully nudged Zhol's arm, refusing to allow the nervousness she felt come to full bloom.

"No backing up now," she teased and quickened her pace to take a few steps ahead of him so she could gently tug him forward. "There are places to sit against the walls, on the sides of the dancing floor. I am sure we can find an empty one to settle in. Just… Keep to the front of the club, yes?"

Despite the hint of serious warning at the last statement, Khara found the heady mood of the others lingering outside to be infectious in a way. Of course there were rumors of fights or other negative incidents within the Weather, but overall you usually only heard of people going there and having a good time in whatever way they saw fit. Why should they be any different? It'll be fine, she silently encouraged herself. Just a normal night of celebration at the normal place to do it. What's the worst that could happen? You have a drink or two and he decides he doesn't like it and then you go home. No big deal. Just means you can give him his gift faster, right? When she put it that way the worst didn't sound so bad at all.
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Zhol on May 20th, 2015, 1:33 am

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Zhol knew that Khara's comment about backing out - or backing up, rather; he always adored it when she fumbled her idioms like that - was about their visit to the Inclement Weather, and Zhol's obvious nervousness about the way he was dressed, but part of his mind couldn't help connecting it to what he had said a moment before. Backing out on loving her wasn't even worthy of contemplation or speculation. Zhol's eyes turning purple, his skin turning green, and the sky falling - all at once - was more likely to happen than his feelings for her fading even the slightest bit. He was utterly and entirely hers, in every way it was possible to be. Never, he thought to himself, tightening his hold on her hand just a little more.

Having that notion to protest against in his mind helped; as the queue of people waiting to enter the Inclement Weather shuffled forward, and the interior finally came into view, having something so definite to focus on was the only thing that stopped his mind from drowning under sensory overload. He had thought that the market was crowded, but here was something else entirely, countless Inarta all crammed together like a herd of half-naked animals, bumping and brushing and pressing against each other in a constantly moving ocean of people. He tried to pick out landmarks, to match them together with the instructions and warnings that Khara had provided; she'd spoken of fronts and walls, but Zhol was having trouble seeing anything through the darkness and gloom, and could only guess at where the limits of the vast cave might be by peering at the vague shadows of rock that he could barely make out. There was the noise, too; not just the general sounds of hundreds of people having hundreds of conversations, but the music too, the thumping of drums and the pounding of instrumental rhythms, blurring in a strange hypnotic fashion with the constant movement of the crowd. It was like stepping into a hive of bees: everyone else seemed to know exactly what they were doing, but Zhol merely stood there, overwhelmed by the endless drone.

Yet there was something infectious about it, something strange about the way that the Inclement Weather dampened your vision and overwhelmed your hearing, leaving your other senses to take the fore. The warmth of all those bodies packed together prickled at Zhol's skin, and the scent of the various alcohols and the taste of them blending together in the air was strangely inviting. The feel of Khara's hand felt more intense than ever, the way her work in the wilderness stopped her dainty fingers from feeling as soft as you might expect; the way her fingers intertwined with his conjuring up memories of other intertwined moments.

Zhol pulled her back towards him, gentle but firm, spinning her to face him so that he could capture her in a long, deep kiss. Each second that ticked past, the kiss became deeper, more intense, Zhol allowing his bare torso to press against Khara's barely covered torso, feeling his skin pressing against her skin, feeling his fingers roaming across the skin of her back. Amid the darkness and the noise, everyone else seemed to fade into the background; all he cared about was her, and the Inclement Weather made it all too easy to focus on nothing else.

As Zhol broke away, his lips lingered against hers just long enough to let her feel the insatiable smile that graced them. "I love you," he said again, in a deep, breathy whisper that Khara felt more than heard. Zhol's arm wrapped itself around her waist, making sure that the woman he loved wouldn't slip away from him as his attention shifted. His mouth tried to move to her ear, so that his words would be easier to hear, but his lips found themselves distracted by the soft skin of Khara's neck, a familiar trail of kisses working their way with agonising slowness from her shoulder to her ear.

Reluctantly he stopped, his cheek brushing lightly against hers as he whispered into her ear directly. "You're the game scout," he said, somehow managing to make those words sound like some sultry and enticing compliment, as if being a game scout were the most alluring thing in all the world, "And I'm the Avora who enjoys nothing better than spending his money on you." His body drew away just a little, enough for his hand to retreat from her waist, his fingertips lingering enticingly against Khara's bare stomach. "How about you go scout us out a table, while I go buy us some drinks?"
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Khara on May 20th, 2015, 3:10 am

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She honestly hadn't expected Zhol to react such a way once they were inside the Weather, but she had always heard that it was the unexpected that you could look forward to at the club. Maybe that really was the key to it all, coming with the right person at the right time. After all, with that one kiss Zhol had all but obliterated any reservations she had about the evening and shut away all other memories she had about the club. Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea, after all.

For a few blissful moments there was only her and him and the music and the intoxicating after affect of the kiss and his words that made Khara entirely certain she didn't even need the alcohol to remove any lingering discomfort or inhibitions. She wanted to protest his suggestion that he be the one to buy the drinks - it was all supposed to be for his not-exactly Birthday, after all - but the way Zhol had suggested it made it sound like finding somewhere for them to sit was the most important task he could have given her. Never mind that the open display of passion had left her relatively stunned and breathless and Khara was fairly certain she couldn't have actually objected if she had been more of a mind to.

The lingering touch at her stomach was more than enough for Khara to quickly close the distance between them one more, her arms quickly moving around his shoulders to rest behind his neck as she practically threw herself back into kissing him. Anywhere else and she would have been more timid about it, but the darkened atmosphere was perfect for providing just the tiny bit of privacy that was necessary for her usual reservations to be abandoned - at least for the moment.

Maybe it wasn't wise to give in to the sway of the club so easily, but it was liberating in a way. They were somewhere public - very public, and she didn't have to hide all the wants and feelings she had for the man she loved. She didn't know if anyone was paying them any mind and if the continued kisses she placed against his lips were anything to go by, Khara didn't particularity care in that moment either. The music may have drowned out her voice, but taking a cue from what he had done, the soft utterance of her love for him must have been felt as she spoke the simple words.

When at last she drew away, her feet returning from where they had gone to toe to grant her the absolute maximum height she could achieve, Khara couldn't even begin to contain the smile that formed. "Go," she said, barely hearing herself above the sounds of the club but hoping the word would at least be able to be read on her lips. "Hurry."
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Zhol on May 20th, 2015, 3:27 am

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Getting swept up in his desires for Khara was one thing. Zhol couldn't remember a time when he didn't have to fight against the urge to kiss her and more, and with the way things had changed between them recently, Zhol had fallen into some bad habits regarding how intimate Khara permitted him and he permitted himself to be. It was another thing entirely for Khara to respond in kind though, not simply to allow and permit, but to encourage and reciprocate. Her onslaught of kisses left him stunned and breathless; she could have asked him to do absolutely anything, and he would have been too utterly enchanted to do anything but completely obey.

Her smile infected his lips instantly, his cheeks burning with how eagerly his grin spread across them. Hurry was not an instruction that Zhol would need to be given twice; not with the tingle of those kisses still lingering on his lips, or with all the related thoughts and urges still prickling beneath his skin. He almost wanted to change their plans, to take her in his arms and carry her back to their room. He almost wanted to forget drinks entirely, and merely drag her to the nearest dark corner, to press her against the wall, to start kissing her and not stop. He knew from experience how easy to remove the vinati she wore was; a simple tug at the laces and it would fall away, and he would find himself with something better than a scrap of ornately embroidered satin pressed against his chest. He'd heard stories of what went on here, he knew what the other Inarta supposedly did; would it be so wrong to take this behave like an Inarta day that one step further? They wouldn't have to stop here, not the way that they had in the baths. Oh gods, the baths...

Only one thing kept Zhol focused, and restrained. Khara had told him to go, and to hurry. Whatever might or might not happen when he returned, he wasn't about to jeopardise it by lingering too long. With one split second to burn the her unrivalled beauty firmly into his eyes, Zhol turned towards the bar with such eagerness that he collided with someone he hadn't realised was behind him. Red flushed to his face, the embarrassment utterly lost amongst the colour that was already there for other reasons. He mumbled an apology to the Inarta he'd crashed into - fortunately, the man was too drunk to really notice, let alone care - before glancing back at Khara, seeing the amusement at his expense twinkling in her eyes, along with all the other things. He couldn't stop his fingers from curling into the familiar grassland sign that he'd taught her to understand; and then without a word he turned, more carefully this time, and disappeared into the crowd.
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Khara on May 21st, 2015, 1:44 am

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Khara had been happy lately, really happy for the most part, but in that moment she almost felt like this was some sort of impossible dream. Being perfectly content and blissfully lightheaded when alone with Zhol was normal, having that same feeling continue when so many others were around and they both were out of their element was more than Khara had ever hoped for. There was a difference between their usual manner of being together and this sudden new feeling like they wanted all of Wind Reach to know they belonged to one another; it was terrifying and elating and a whole other host of emotions that were far too easy to be swept up in.

Her eyes lingered on the crowd until she was entirely certain she couldn't see Zhol anymore before she spun on her heel in a carefree manner and quickly started searching for an empty table. It wasn't too hard, most of the patrons seemed intent with sticking to the dance floor or mingling about in small groups, leaving available seating practically anywhere you wanted. Her warning from earlier about staying towards the front of the club repeated in her mind, but given their current mood Khara impishly strode towards somewhere that might have been considered middle ground.

She felt guilty in a way, considering such things. It didn't make her nervous as it once did, but there still was moments of hesitation and a certain amount of shyness that made her blush as if she was entirely unfamiliar with such things. Khara didn't know if it would ever go away, but she sincerely doubted she ever could be quite as open and comfortable with things as some others. After all, a simple compliment still made her feel dizzy most days. She idly wondered if it bothered Zhol how prude she could seem at times, but the thought was fleeting, driven out of her mind by every sensation the Inclement Weather had to offer.

It didn't take her long to find an unoccupied space, a table with two chairs set against the wall as if waiting for the two of them to claim it for the evening. She didn't want to sit just yet though, instead she chose to linger and wait for Zhol to see if he approved of her choice - not that she really expected him to object either. It didn't take long until Khara found herself slightly swaying in time to the beat of the music, she wasn't nearly confident enough to actually try and dance; maybe after a drink or two.

Her eyes continually scanned the crowd in the direction of the bar in anticipation of waving to Zhol to make it easier to see her among all the other Inarta and her hands couldn't decide if they wanted to lace together in front of her or if one wanted to touch at her neck or maybe just idly tap against each other roughly in time with the pulse of the music. It was the light brush of a hand on her back that ceased her movements and broadened the smile across her lips. How Zhol had managed to sneak behind her she didn't know, but it was a wonderful sort of surprise.

"I did not think you would be so fas-," she began, just loud enough to be heard over the drone of the club, but the words and her smile died on her lips as she looked behind her.

Confusion set in as she eyed the man smiling back at her and for one very strange and very short instant Khara almost had to wonder if somehow her love had managed to transform himself into an Inarta. But the height wasn't right and the build was all wrong and his clothing was much much too fancy and adorned and he was missing the usual braids of thread on his wrist… The completely ludicrous notion vanished almost as soon as it entered her thoughts and she took the slightest step away from the other individual.

A hand chased her and Khara recoiled away from the soft touch of the back of his fingers trailing down her arm. "Well, aren't you a jumpy little thing?" He cooed and another retreat was made, this time from the instant smell of alcohol that came from him.

Her eyes tried to take in all the details she could, but it was sometimes hard to gauge a person's caste just by what they wore and she certainly didn't want to try and look like she was trying to actually look at him. There were subtle things though, the feathers and flashy beads the adorned his bryda, the way even in the dim light she was certain the pants had been dyed to match the exact shade of his hair, the intricate stitching and patterns stamped into the leather of his sontavs, lower caste members didn't have that nice of things...

"How has the evening been treating you, huntress?" Another smile and a step towards her made Khara back up a bit further, it didn't seem to phase the man in the slightest.

It never took anyone in Wind Reach very long to deduce when one of their kind worked outside. Their skin was just a tiny bit darker, even if only by a multitude of freckles that Syna had caused their skin to glow with.

"I- I'm not a... Not an... J-just a Chiet." Khara corrected, note entirely certain her voice was heard over the club until she saw the way the other's face changed. She couldn't tell if he seemed pleased or disappointed, though, and her eyes flickered back towards the bar, silently willing Zhol to hurry even more than she had originally.

"Is that so?" He finally responded after a time that seemed to stretch on for far too long.
"Well, little chick, you're quite in luck then. How would you like to come back with me to my Aerie?"

An Endal. "I... I... " Khara stammered as her eyes quickly averted downwards. Her back touched the wall of the club and a breath was sharply sucked in from between her teeth. "I'm w-waiting on-"

His hand quickly shot out towards her, fingertips tightening around her upper arm as his other came in with far more ease, toying with one of the strings that ran over her shoulder before running under it. As he pressed even closer there was no denying the Endal smelled of sweat and alcohol, leading Khara to wonder for just how long he had been in the club and how bored he must have been to choose her of all people. But she didn't want this. Didn't want him. At that moment all she wanted to do was shrink away, wanted to be able to breathe, wanted the rising panic to go away, wanted him to stop touching her, wanted...

"That wasn't exactly a request, pipit." The firmness in his tone was masked in a veil of casual almost-kindess and it made her all the more uncomfortable.

Khara tried to back away further but the wall prevented it. The Endal wasn't being cruel by any means, but her heart pounded and her breath stuttered as if he had just threatened her life. It was too much, brought up too many memories and too many feelings and it left her entirely unable to even look up. The daydream was turning into a nightmare and she would give almost anything for Zhol to make it stop. But this was an Endal, not some Avora.
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Zhol on May 22nd, 2015, 4:11 am

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Zhol wasn't entirely sure what he had just purchased. It had occurred to him several moment after parting company with Khara that he had not thought to ask what it was she might want. He knew that she liked wine - last night had made him well aware of that - but more of the same seemed like an excess, and there was something strangely enticing about the assortment of colourful drinks that those around him were carrying that entirely piqued his curiosity. He had discussed it with the Inarta behind the bar, described what he knew of Khara's taste preferences, and his own, and had departed carrying two vastly different beverages that he had almost immediately forgotten the name of.

The contents of the glasses immediately became irrelevant as soon as his eyes succeeded in their efforts to find Khara, however. One glimpse at the Inarta who seemed to have her cornered, one glimpse at the desperate discomfort painted across every inch of Khara's body, one moment of his eyes meeting her desperately searching gaze, and both glasses tumbled from his fingers, splintering on the floor.

Within an instant, Zhol was at her side, wrenching the Inarta away from her. Despite the somewhat rough and tumble upbringing that Zhol's brothers had graced him with, the horse boy had never properly punched someone his entire life, but now seemed like a more than appropriate exception. It seemed like such an easy thing to do, such a basic skill, that Zhol had never spared any consideration for how it actually took place; he squeezed his hand tightly into a fist and swung with all his might, his knuckles pounding into the Inarta's jaw like a club. Instantly, pain exploded inside Zhol's hand, but he ignored it, letting it fall back to his side, ready and prepared to be used again if needed, in spite of the pain.

Zhol's breaths left him in heavy, snarling waves. He didn't recognise this Inarta - not the blacksmith, nor anyone else who had harmed or threatened to harm Khara in the past - but it didn't matter. Whatever his intentions, the Inarta was now all of them, compressed into one repulsive opportunity. For a brief moment, Zhol cursed himself for having left their room without his sword; if he hadn't been so unprepared, the Inarta's heart would be impaled on steel by now.

Instead, Zhol stabbed at him with the sharp edge of his words, not bothering to specify the threat of harm that his voice made all too obvious. "Keep your hands off my wife."
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Khara on May 29th, 2015, 6:46 pm

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She didn't know what to feel in that moment. Relief and pride were how you were supposed to respond to such a display, weren't they? And they were there, but they fought for dominance in her mind with other things, namely the fear that followed the reality of what Zhol had just done; he had punched an Endal.

As terrified as she was, the Endal himself seemed far more amused by what had just happened, though the laugh that crept from his lips and could be heard over the music had an undeniably cruel streak through it. Khara could only press herself further against the wall at her back as her hands rose and pressed together in front of her mouth, as if she was willing herself to keep quiet and not let out the gasp of shock that had tried to escape in the first place.

"Your wife?" The Endal spat out, the last word leaving him as if it were a swear of some nature. All the while his hand idly rubbed at the place where Zhol's fist had made contact.

For a moment he looked torn between angry, amused, and even a bit confused until he craned his neck to the side just a bit to glance at the metallic sheen on Zhol's neck and then flicked his gaze back to Khara to look for the corresponding one. Another boisterous laugh left the Endal and he leveled an incredulous stare upon the Avora.

"You can't be serious," His amusement turned into a cruel grin and he awkwardly shifted into a heavily accented Common. "What is matter, Outsider? Cannot get someone of your own caste to join with you? How long did it take to pick this one out and make her do such a thing? Oh, that is right, you need many, yes? Why not start with the easy ones who cannot say no to such a thing. But, if that were the case then you should have gone with a Dek girl, they would have really appreciated the things your higher caste could offer them."

He glanced towards Khara, another snort of laughter seen through the sharp exhale rather than heard. "You really think such things matter to her? Or to any in Wind Reach? Have you forgotten so quick? You don't have anything, horsepetcher. Anything you think is yours is only so because we let you. So I can take what I want and just like she said yes to you, she has to say yes to me. That is how it works."

His words stung and Khara couldn't find any way to object. It wasn't like how the Endal was phrasing it at all, she knew it and she believed that Zhol knew it as well, but you couldn't exactly argue with one of the Eagle Riders. Worse still, the Endal seemed to take her stunned silence as proof of guilt and he shook his head as if disappointed before he rounded on Zhol once more, slipping back to Nari as if he realized speaking in any way that accommodated the outsider was far beneath him.

"You're both pathetic. I think letting you live in your lie is almost justice enough, but you've gone and ruined my evening. So it seems I'll have to teach you your place and then..." He glanced back to Khara before the Endal's attention snapped back to Zhol, a sneer forming on his lips as he lowered his voice, not really caring if he was heard or understood. "Don't worry, I'll only break your toy a little for your insolence."

Khara watched in shocked horror as the Endal's hands balled into fists, fear welling up in her. Even if Zhol did manage to fight the upper caste man, even if he did manage to win, he still would have harmed an Endal. Fights between Avora were one thing, but this? The consequences weren't even something that a Chiet like her could begin to dream of.

She felt herself trembling at the thought and before she could stop herself she quickly pushed off the wall and put herself between Zhol and the Endal. "No!"
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Zhol on May 29th, 2015, 8:05 pm

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"No?"

It all happened so fast. A cascade of emotions swept through Zhol as Khara stepped between him and the Endal. A moment before, he'd been ready to grab the Endal by the throat and rip out his entrails with his bare, flaming hands. Next there was confusion, and shock, and surprise, and then the briefest moment of overjoyed realisation that, when faced with the choice between being Khara the obedient Chiet, and Khara the devoted wife, she had chosen her husband over her city. But that realisation was rapidly replaced by much darker thoughts of the grim consequences that her actions would bring about.

A similar rainbow of emotions washed over the Endal, too. At first he was stunned, utterly thrown by the unimaginable defiance of a lowly Chiet. That surprise quickly melted into rage though. How dare she defy him? First the Outsider, and now this? Fists already balled and ready, it was instinct more than anything else that compelled his muscles to raise it and strike. It was instinct that compelled Zhol into motion as well, throwing his arms around Khara and tucking her out of harm's way, his body a protective shield between her and the Endal's retribution. Pain exploded in Zhol's body as the blow caught him full force in the back, just below his shoulder. He refused to allow himself anything more than a slight grimace though, carefully letting Khara find the feet he'd swept her off before turning back to their assailant.

Out of reflex, Zhol felt his hands become fists. He felt his fingers longing to reach for the hilt of the broadsword that wasn't there. He felt the prickling urge of his djed stirring inside him, itching to be allowed to become res, and turn this loathsome man into a smouldering heap of ash and charred bone. He forced them all to retreat, forced his hands to unfurl, forced himself to square his shoulders and look the man straight in the eyes.

"I did not realise you were an Endal," Zhol admitted, the closest thing to an apology that he was prepared to offer. "But I will not let you hurt her. She is not yours, she is not mine. If she does not wish it, it will not happen -" A threatening edge managed to force it's way into his voice. "- and if you try to force yourself upon her, I will stop you."

Another laugh escaped from the Endal, amused to the brink of hysterics by the sheer absurdity of it all. What were these strange, misguided fools? What sickness of the mind had befallen them to draw out such foolhardy defiance? He very nearly succumbed to his righteous anger; very nearly allowed the Outsider to follow through on his naive and futile threat. But then he considered the words; considered the horse boy's actions; considered the stories and mutterings that surrounded him. They said he was a reimancer. They said he fought with fire. The Endal did not doubt his supremacy; he'd felt the unskilled delivery of the Outsider's punch, and knew his own fighting skills were more than a match. The boy was stupid and desperate though, and while he would surely lose, the damage his magics might wreak in the process gave the Endal pause.

A cruel smile curled at the corner of his mouth. The Outsider had pledged to stop him if he forced himself upon the girl; but what if he turned the tables, and forced the Chiet upon the Outsider.

"You." He skewered Khara with his voice, and with his gaze, adhering to his native language as an ongoing insult to the horse boy. "This Outsider has offended me. You will punish him for his defiance; or I will, and when he is a broken heap on the floor, I will force him to watch as I have my way with you. Perhaps afterwards I will have my way with him as well; or force you to, so that your marriage will be forever tarnished as punishment for your sins."
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A Horse Boy and A Game Scout Walk Into A Bar...

Postby Khara on May 29th, 2015, 10:31 pm

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Khara froze, eyes widening in horror at the Endal's ultimatum. If the threat had ended with or I will, the decision would have been agonizing but maybe easier to make. She knew which Zhol would have preferred at least, being beaten at the hands of another to spare her from committing such an act herself was the obvious choice in that scenario - even if Khara didn't like it much. It was all the added bits that made it a near impossible choice.

She couldn't let all that happen. When she had stepped in front of Zhol, Khara hadn't considered the consequences that such a simple thing would follow with. Somewhere in the back of her mind she had expected the Endal might try and hit her for her insubordination and even realized the possibility that she would be tossed to the side and that Zhol and the Eagle Rider would come to blows and that if the Endal was the victor things would probably end quite badly for her as well. Those thoughts hadn't managed to form quite as fast as the simple compulsion to stop someone from hurting the man she loved, though. She wasn't sure what would have happened if she hadn't intervened but it hardly mattered now.

"Well?" The Endal verbally nudged her, his impatience clear in his voice.

No, she couldn't let the Endal hurt Zhol and then force him to watch whatever the upper casteman may do to her. It was something out of one of her worst nightmares. The other option though... The Endal would know if she held back. Logic told her that even with her best attempts any damage she could cause to Zhol would be nothing but bruises, a far cry from what the Endal was capable of. She wasn't trained in any form of unarmed combat, she didn't know how to throw a punch, and she was fairly certain her own body would give out long before any permanent harm came to her husband.

Physically, at least. That first hit would scar the both of them for life, though. There would never be a day that went by that Khara didn't look at her hands and know they caused hurt to Zhol. Any bruise he had would be unbearable to look at even after they healed. Any time she touched him she would think only of this moment and what the Endal had told her to do. The worst part was that Khara couldn't help but wonder if it would be similar for Zhol, if he would shy away from her touch from then on, even if he consciously knew she would never do such a thing willingly.

That thought in particular was more than enough for Khara to consider asking the Endal to punish her alone instead. She didn't care what he did to her as long as he left Zhol alone. That too was problematic in that Khara knew it would hurt Zhol as well. Then it would be her that shied away from touches and everything that she had struggled to return back to normal after her encounter with the Avora blacksmith would be undone.

"Hurry up and make your choice or I'll make it for you." The Endal spoke up again. It couldn't have been more than a tick or two since he had first stated the cruel options but Khara could feel the pressure he was putting on her just the same.

At what point in the process of her thoughts had tears begun streaming down her cheeks, she didn't know, but they seemed to form all the more earnestly as she looked up to Zhol. She had to. He had to know that. He couldn't hate her for obeying an Endal. Not nearly as much as she would herself.

Of course, maybe if she did nothing the Endal would just become enraged at her alone and...

She wanted to shove Zhol away, to tell him to run, to leave her there. It would be okay, she was just a Chiet after all, right? Zhol could forgive her for that easier than hurting him at someone's orders, couldn't he? Though if she let such a thing happen to herself, wouldn't that hurt him too?

It was an impossible choice and Khara felt each breath she made come faster than the last, clipped and stuttered as panic took hold of her. She forced herself to look to Zhol though, for a hint of any direction, anything that might show his preference in all this madness. Maybe if they were hurt together it wouldn't be so bad... Why did they have to come here? Why did she have to dress as she had? Maybe if she had been in her work clothing the Endal never would have noticed her. Why hadn't she stayed near Zhol the whole time? This was all her fault and so would be whatever followed. Maybe if she attacked the Endal instead...? She felt her hands bunching and releasing, her fingernails digging into the palms of her hands each time a fist was made.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, her right hand weakly rising to make a pitiful attempt at the grassland sign to Zhol that they often made to one another.
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