PM to join We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Kavala and a cousin of sorts reunites.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Kavala on July 16th, 2015, 4:31 am

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Timestamp 70th of Summer, 515 AV

She wore her weariness like a fine mantle. It draped across her shoulders and weighed her down. Kavala had done something foolish and it was a miracle she' made it back whole. In theory it had been a good plan. Ride to Endrykas with disposable possessions, drop off the bloodbane, and then return home as fast as possible. To Kavala, fast meant on the wind, with wings instead of feet. Only, she hadn't thought the trip through. Leaving everything behind in morphing meant that once she lost the form - which she could not hold indefinitely - she was without clothing, shelter, food, or anything else she couldn't carry as a bird. Stupidly, she'd assumed she could hunt as an eagle, but her skill - like her flying - had proven poor. So sure she crossed the grasslands in two days borne by a favorable wind... but food had been lacking, comfortable rest had been lacking, and exposure even in the summer had taken its tole. No supplies - not even a hunting knife - meant no fire. So she shivered at night and roasted during the day.

The lights of The Sanctuary late on the second night had never looked so welcoming. Having been gone thirteen days, there were children to greet, people to reassure, patients to look in on, and then herself to see too.

She'd slept another full day through then ate everything in sight when she awoke. Still tired she'd seen a host of emergencies, checked up on clients and boarders, and then made a list of her patients in the city that she had to see immediately due to their condition or the timing she'd been away.

And that's why she was in town now. Her in-town patients had all been visited, some given good bills of health, others having been treated immediately. Sometimes the Rak'keli gnosis really came in handy. She even treated a few people that approached her having known who she was. These weren't unwelcome clients, because they paid just as well as scheduled ones, but they added to her lateness in town.

And truthfully, by the time she was done with the rounds there it was late. She was reluctant to make the trip back, not because the darkness scared her, but because her weariness was peaked. Too much magic in too many short days - magic she was not master of - and an overabundance of things to do once she got home.

It landed her at Alements for a bite to eat and a quiet corner where she could enjoy a strong restorative drink and decide if she could make the walk home or if she should just see if Caleum was about and would let her borrow his bed or a spare for the night. For that matter, the Dreamcatcher might even be docked alongside the bar. And that too would provide her a bunk for the night. She hadn't thought to look when she slipped in.

Kavala sighed wearily. If she'd just brought one of the horses instead of walked, the whole problem would have been solved. Looking around, Kavala flagged down Elise and ordered something.


Last edited by Kavala on July 16th, 2015, 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Sanctuary The Sanctuary Forum Riverfall The Cytali
Reverie Isle Wolf Creek Training Course
Please Note:
  • This pc is maxed out in Animal Husbandry, Medicine, Observation, Rhetoric, and Socialization.
  • Kavala a Master Teacher. Students she is teaching in thread can earn more than the maxium 5 XP per thread.
  • This pc has a Konti Gift of Animal Empathy. She has a superpower from a Riverfall city event that allows animals of all sorts and Kelvics (in kelvic form) to speak clear understandable Common around her.
  • Kavala is a Konti but was raised in the Drykas culture so her accent is entirely Pavi though she can speak Common, Pavi, and Tukant well. She's only conversational in Kontinese.
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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Branimir on July 16th, 2015, 4:19 pm

"Tea. Please." Branimir had actually been looking for the Raven's Perch after hearing about it. Instead, he had found this place. While its name had made him shake his head, it had also managed to intrigue him enough to step inside. The Perch would remain for another day in search of... of something of an understanding with this strange city.

The Suvan architects of old had not just built houses and walls, they developed entire cities on their drawing boards. They had had rules for orientation of the main streets so as to force the houses into patterns. They created public places and set up wells in strategic locations to shape the further development of these cities. Like a cared-for young tree they bound it to sticks and pruned its branches as needed. And so these cities grew into practical and pleasing shapes.

Riverfall had none of that. It did have a certain exotic charm and some attempts had been made to tame its growth, but in the end it was more shaped by the cliffside than the city shaped the rock. Was this the fact of the world beyond the Valterrian? Branimir would often wonder when he realized how small and haphazard that thing the survivors considered civilization was.

In short, the city was a mess and a maze to Branimir, but it had been that from the moment he first ascended from the docks. Yet even this city would have its discernible patterns to it. While natural growth often seemed random, chaotic even to the untrained eye, Branimir knew that nothing happened without reason. If there was a reason to everything, then there was an underlying order to things. One just had to find it. Finding the order to Riverfall might just take a while. Taking that in stride, he took on the city bit by bit.

Tonight, Riverfall had won, the Raven's Perch eluded him, but instead his path had delivered him to something almost as interesting. Alements, a place that sold drinks and medicine. Including a cure for hangovers. If they also offered cots and buckets for a fee, they would be perfectly poised to get people drunk then take advantage of them without breaking a single law.

Branimir had to applaud the ruthless efficiency of the design. Silently, of course. While the three pieces of silver he handed the server when she arrived with his tea wouldn't swell the establishment's coffers, he considered it a tithe paid out of respect.

The girl who'd given Branimir his tea urged him to find a seat and enjoy his tea, but his mind was set on exploration. After assuring the server that he wasn't intent on bothering any other patrons, the young man took a step away from the bar and let his gaze wander about. The interior was tasteful and warm, but his favorite installation was the copper behind the bar. It was a sensible choice for a place you wanted people to feel comfortable. Warmer than brass for certain. The smells were pleasant, too. Rosemary and sage, Branimir recognized from home, but other fragrances eluded him. Once more, he had to applaud the proprietor. Silently again, of course.

And what would the back of the place offer its guests? Were there cots and buckets for the fools who drank more wine than they could stomach? Taking slow, ponderous but finely measured steps, Branimir set his sights on the quieter parts of the tavern.
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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Kavala on July 17th, 2015, 4:02 am

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Once long ago, or so it seemed to Kavala, the barmaid had been a half dead slave Caelum had traded his services for. Kavala had been there while they'd tried to put her back together and see her into the next day. The Master of the Rattling Chains, a loathsome snake, hadn't expected the girl to live. That's why she'd been traded so readily. Caelum had known differently. The pair rarely lost patients between them unless the departure from the world was orchestrated by one or the other of them. So needless to say Elise and Kavala had known each other for a while.

Elise brought the healer a stiff tea, one loaded with restoratives, and then piled a plate of food in front of the Konti that would make an Akalak proud. "I heard you had a long flight." Elise commented, her smile more than a little teasing.

Kavala just shrugged, stretched out a leather encased leg, and hooked the heel of her sturdy well-worn boot on the chair opposite. "Someone has a big mouth. Was it Caelum or one of the twins? I know it was stupid... but I had to try it. At least I know it can be done." The Konti responded, shaking her head, and already reaching for the tea. She took two big swallows and then leaned back in her chair, setting the tall glass down and already reaching for the nearest food item on the tray. She really didn't care what it was. Elise knew how to feed mages, especially mages recovering from slight bursts of stupidity.

"I put something in their for your muscles. I can tell by the way your moving that your still sore today." Elise said, flipping her braid out behind her and glancing around. "Glad you are here, actually. Caelum's out, at least for the moment, and we've got some new folks in town. Some stranger than others. That young man, over there, hasn't sat down since he got here. He's just wandering around drinking his tea." Elise said thoughtfully, her chin nodding towards the stranger.

Kavala's bright blue eyes snapped towards the man in question and studied him for a moment without turning her head. The man was tall without being lanky and built like a human though she couldn't see his face to see if he was any sort of mixed blood or not. He was indeed wandering in almost a manner that reminded her of her son Tasival when he had a thought in his head to get into mischief.

The healer shifted again, her leathers creaking on the wooden chair, as she pushed her light summer cape off her shoulders and revealed the brace of daggers hanging across her chest. There were more in her boots as well as a blowgun in her beltpouch with enough darts to tranq a herd of Denusk horses. "You're just glad I'm here because I like weapons better than jewelry." Kavala said, smiling slightly, and then shoving something into her mouth. By the sweet and savory taste, she could tell it was a meatroll.

Chewing thoughtfully, her eyes shifted back to Elise. After a swallow and a sip of tea, she continued. "I'll keep an eye on him. He's either casing the place out, in culture shock and unable to process Riverfall anymore, or hes looking for someone. Either or we'll make sure he's harmless." Kavala said meeting Elise's gaze. She held the woman's eyes for a few moments and they both smiled, as if sharing a memory or just enjoying solidarity.

"By any chance is the Dreamcatcher here? I might need to bunk in town tonight. I'm just flat out exhausted. I didn't even think to look when I walked in. I just wanted someplace to sit down and something to fill up the hole in my gutt that used to be my stomach." The Konti said, shifting again, this time bringing her hips up in the chair, settling her slight frame more up and down so she could get about the business of eating. "If she's not tied up here, I might very well curl up in the bay or in Caelum's bed unless there's a spare place to stay. I doubt I'll make it home tonight." Kavala said, glancing at the colored windows up front. She'd truthfully hurried by the dock and most of the patio because the stone work there was hers. And as tired as she was the stonesong would enthrall her and truthfully keep her mesmerized for bells if not days.

Elise smiled. "Your in luck. She's out there. Though Caelum wouldn't mind you crashing in his room if you need it. I think the sea will be better for you though." Kavala nodded gratefully and thanked Elise again for the food as another customer signaled the waitress over. Elise was no longer a slave. She was all but family, one of Caelum's circle and definitely a good friend.

The Konti settled into do her best to polish off as much of the plate as she could.

As she ate, her eyes drifted back to the man Elise had pointed out. He seemed to have explored all the front portion of Caelum's place and was now headed towards the quiet back area where she sat. There was still a clinic behind her and a retail space that was unoccupied. She wasn't sure Caelum would want him in either of these places, but Kavala wasn't about to start acting like a bouncer then and there. Besides, there was something strangely familiar about him. It was almost his gait, the way he carried himself, almost... barely contained disdain? She had to narrow her eyes a moment as she nibbled a bunch of grapes from the far off regions of her plate.

He was definitely familiar. The thought nagged at the Konti like fleas biting a dog until he turned and looked her direction. The light caught his face directly for a moment and the features were familiar to her. He wasn't Eypharian this time, though there was enough distinction she could easily see that form overlapping the one he held now. Human, young, just coming into his prime....

Kavala knew his name. Branimir. Hasuthep. As the man started past, the booted foot with its heel still leaning on the chair opposite her kicked it out blocking his way.

"Have a seat, Cousin." She said softly, tilting her head and managing to get the words out between another bunch of grapes.





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The Sanctuary The Sanctuary Forum Riverfall The Cytali
Reverie Isle Wolf Creek Training Course
Please Note:
  • This pc is maxed out in Animal Husbandry, Medicine, Observation, Rhetoric, and Socialization.
  • Kavala a Master Teacher. Students she is teaching in thread can earn more than the maxium 5 XP per thread.
  • This pc has a Konti Gift of Animal Empathy. She has a superpower from a Riverfall city event that allows animals of all sorts and Kelvics (in kelvic form) to speak clear understandable Common around her.
  • Kavala is a Konti but was raised in the Drykas culture so her accent is entirely Pavi though she can speak Common, Pavi, and Tukant well. She's only conversational in Kontinese.
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Kavala
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Joined roleplay: October 25th, 2009, 1:46 am
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Medals: 19
Featured Thread (1) Trailblazer (2)
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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Branimir on July 20th, 2015, 5:19 pm

In his defense, maybe, all Konti kind of looked alike to Branimir. Terribly blonde hair, fine scales and somewhat... froofy. Traipsing through flowerbeds in billowing gowns and braiding each others' hair. Or something of that description. Not that he had seen a whole lot in his life or had had social dealings with any, really. Which might explain (if not excuse) the fact that he neither truly realized that the woman in the proverbial quiet corner of the establishment was one of those white witches nor thought to compare her to the figure of light from his dream.

All in all these oversights left Branimir somewhat startled as a chair slid into his path while he was walking around Alements and critiquing the decor in his head. Stopping dead in his tracks, he straightened quickly before his desire to control at least what he could of the situation caused him to slow down. Peeling his gaze from a peculiarly subtle wall ornament, the young man turned his head and gazed at the seated woman. For a few drawn-out breaths, he regarded Kavala (for who else would this interloper be?) with thinly veiled surprise and curiosity.

As it was, the advantage was hers once more and his role would be to play along nicely. For now. His blessing and his curse was always a simple one: Branimir's curiosity trumped all other emotions. He might be annoyed, he might be startled, but most of all he was curious. Curious about the coincidence, curious about the woman he was apparently now meeting in the flesh for the first time. The woman who had in one night made him cast his life to the winds and let them blow him here. And she didn't even have to undress... though that would probably not have been a winning strategy with the architect at any rate.

And so play along he did, affecting a faint little smile as he carefully placed his mug onto the Konti's table, then pulled the chair just right to sit across from her. Finally, he straightened his garb as he took a seat, folding his hands around the mug of tea in front of him. He'd interspersed it between them like a little bulwark; a guard tower full of warmth and calm, even if he shouldn't want for either on this summer's eve. "Kavala." It was not exactly the question it might have been. The process of deduction very quickly left only one possible person who would call him as she had. Unless there was a major amount of confusion or alcohol involved on the woman's side.

"I would ask how you are doing, but not only would it seem trite at any given time, it seems particularly trite given the nature of our last meeting. But I would not hasten to leap to the questions we both certainly have, myself probably moreso than you. So what shall we do?" Quiet words he spoke, but they were not as somber as his stilted parlance made them seem initially. In a sense, the lack of volume aimed at intimacy and their content at least tried to be polite if maybe too neutral to be truely friendly. Maybe this was as intimate as the speech of a guarded man became.

As his touch drank in an image from the cup clasped in his hands, Branimir felt the weariness of the potter who'd made dozens of the exact same cup before and would continue to fashion dozens more. And yet the weariness never stopped him from also adding a touch of tenderness, maybe as he stamped the tavern's motif into the unburnt clay. Or maybe it was the tenderness of the proprietor or his employees as they cared for their wares. It was a momentary distraction as he watched the creature across from him. He meant to consider in how far the real person differed from the image in his dream, but it was a thing of impossibility.

The woman he'd seen in that dream was a concept, an abstract, not truly lines and colors and angles and dimensions. Flesh and blood was a far different thing. Far less open to interpretation. It had its good sides, and its bad ones. A thought that struck the young man himself as odd crossed his mind. Upon further inspection, though, it seemed actually sensible. The concept of a building was abstract, too. To give it substance without actually having to build it, an architect laid out its shape on paper. Maybe he could make the woman more real in the same way.

Trying hard not to look sheepish as he spoke, trying not to sound too hasty as he added the question, Branimir thus wondered, "Would you mind if I drew you? It will be better than stick people, though you might still not recognize yourself. You might also end up looking like an Alahean grain silo. I do usually draw buildings after all." Branimir definitely had to smile a little more. Self-deprecating humor had the advantage of lowering expectations so they could at worst be met, or preferably exceeded. It also took the force out of any verbal barbs another person might fling after. Strategically, it was always a good option.

And so he was left with that crooked little smile that one might consider timid, and wondered why he'd even spoken so much. Technically they did not know each other at all. Once again, Branimir was left to wonder about the strength of the connection they shared. One of those many questions he'd alluded to, but so many were his questions that he could impossibly single that one out to go first. Besides, he had set his strategy for now, and he intended to stand by it. A crooked little smile it remained, but no more.
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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Kavala on August 14th, 2015, 5:41 am

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So that was how it was going to be? Kavala studied part of her future as she looked up at Branimir from her seat. The healer dressed in the guise of a warrior understood in that moment that perhaps nothing would be normal between the two of them. And that was just fine with her. He was family, and she guessed he must have on some level accepted that if he were here and they were meeting.

Even if it was hundreds of years overdue.

It still felt… good. Part of her, that part that was Eypharian from so long ago awoke, stretched, and purred a little like a cat inside because he was familiar – maybe not as he was now – but deep inside and she recognized that. That part of her still wanted to love him, be with him, and have him accept her too. But the Dreamwalker was far removed from that slip of a girl who had stolen away with her cousins blessing in the night and started a new life for herself far to the north. She held no desires for any of that youthful fancy. What she saw instead was an ally, more family to gather around her to strengthen their foothold on the world, and someone who might just need her as much as she’d needed him all those era’s past.

After all, if he hadn’t let her fly free and had instead given her what she had desired most, odds are she wouldn’t be where she was today and who in fact she was. Travel was hard on a woman. Breaking into the world of magic and climbing its ranks were even tougher. The Konti had went back and walked that part of her Chavi so she knew what happened to that girl. She knew too what happened to Hasuthep. She was, however, no Seer to even speculate what would have been had the two stayed together in any sort of capacity. And she was glad for that.

“Welcome to Riverfall.” She said softly, her voice tinged with exhaustion, though he might not pick up on it with the two of them being virtual strangers. The tone and cadence of her accent was more attributed to Pavi – the language of the Drykas – than it was to common or the Tukant he could hear spoken around them.

Kavala definitely wasn’t Shanru.

The Konti sat up straighter, pushed her half eaten plate of food away, and took another sip of tea in a singular fluid movement that really left no room for pause from one action to the other. Eyes bright like the sky studied him as curiously as he studied her. The difference was her gaze was warm, inviting, and wholly Konti. Her stare was in direct defiance to her appearance. Kavala’s race was known for their beauty and grace, their ability to sooth others and make them at ease. Had she worked at it perhaps she could have perpetuated the illusion. But instead, she was a Konti wrapped in Akalak body leathers with her hair coming loose from Drykas-style braids, and her body corded with muscle that hinted only that nothing about her was soft, yielding, or nurturing. Her demeanor screamed fierce, not soft, and certainly not approachable.

The weapons sprouted from her body like weeds from an ill-tended garden too.

His gaze was curious, true, but also a little haughty, almost distant. She recognized it from his memories and knew he wore the expression like a shield. A very intense shield. His intensity didn’t make her uncomfortable. She’d crawled around enough in his memories to understand that he was quite capable of giving a drawing of a bridge or a blueprint from the old Alahean Empire just as much regard while writhing with emotion inside from a discovery or revelation on some new to him technique or physics defying design.

There new things about him though, things that surprised her because she hadn’t anticipated them. He was tall, fit without being gangly, and handsome in a slightly foreign way. She was used to looking at Akalak and Drykas men. He was decidedly neither. And he moved with an unexpected grace that she didn’t attribute to most men. He wasn’t the bear of a man he had been all those years ago. He was, in her mind, more contained, compact, and somehow more powerful.

Her mark of Eyris sang to him and his to her and so they both knew they were marked and on equal footing. She could sense no other marks if he had any, and that too comforted her slightly. In this life he was no Dreamwalker, at least not yet.

Her lips, thinned out from exhaustion, tilted upwards in a smile as she let him look his fill and in turn studied him. Branimir would find Kavala wasn’t the talker her past self had been. She was the observer, the contemplater, and even then the person of action. Oh, she’d hold a conversation if one was required. She’d even warm and laugh if the subject was lively enough. But she didn’t need words to fill silence. That definitely wasn’t her purpose on life. And that Branimir didn’t want seem to want to launch into a huge detailed debate reassured her. She was far too tired.

“Good. That requires little effort on my part. And I was done eating anyhow, so you won’t have to get after me to hold still… only to keep awake.” The Konti said, unconsciously moving to accommodate another weapon wedged between her hip and the chair while making herself comfortable. “I came here to get a bit of a meal and find a bed for the night because I just flew in, stupidly, from a couple of hundred miles north of here thinking to save myself a long hard ride. I would have been better off to have taken a strider and returned the same way.” She added, letting herself grow still so he could draw her and figure things out in his mind.

“I shouldn’t be surprised though.” The Konti said after a few moments. She was talking more to herself than to him. The Healer usually kept her own council, rarely talking to herself, but the situation was odd and strangely almost surreal. Kavala was by nature a keen observer and suspected a few things about him he might not really understand.

She voiced those observations carefully. “If you set me to paper, then I become real for you. Your eyes will find details that your hands will translate onto the paper for your brain to process later. You’ll note things on that sketch that you will not note with your eyes and your brain. But if you have a tangible record in your hand then you can go back and review. You can note every detail without understanding it, and then understand it later when you study it.” The Konti observed, understanding inherently that Branimir – and the man he was so long ago - functioned differently than most men.

She stifled a yawn and took another large sip of her tea. It was topped off by the waitress which Kavala flashed a smile at. The Konti leaned back, held still, letting him sketch to his heart’s content. She was quiet for a time then abruptly asked another question.

“How was your trip?” She finally asked, not really reaching for something to say. Then she laughed, rephrased, the question, and asked it again. “So how was your life?” She said, the real thing she wanted to know. The Konti was curious as to what his situation was in this life. He didn’t look particular aggrieved, poor, or desperate. He looked confident, curious, and intelligent.

Her lips curved upwards almost into a smile.

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The Sanctuary The Sanctuary Forum Riverfall The Cytali
Reverie Isle Wolf Creek Training Course
Please Note:
  • This pc is maxed out in Animal Husbandry, Medicine, Observation, Rhetoric, and Socialization.
  • Kavala a Master Teacher. Students she is teaching in thread can earn more than the maxium 5 XP per thread.
  • This pc has a Konti Gift of Animal Empathy. She has a superpower from a Riverfall city event that allows animals of all sorts and Kelvics (in kelvic form) to speak clear understandable Common around her.
  • Kavala is a Konti but was raised in the Drykas culture so her accent is entirely Pavi though she can speak Common, Pavi, and Tukant well. She's only conversational in Kontinese.
User avatar
Kavala
I am more than the sum of my parts.
 
Posts: 3022
Words: 3290117
Joined roleplay: October 25th, 2009, 1:46 am
Location: Riverfall
Race: Konti
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 19
Featured Thread (1) Trailblazer (2)
Overlored (1) Master Merchant (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) 2014 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1) 2012 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Branimir on August 14th, 2015, 4:03 pm

The Konti across from him seemed so very confident. Certainly, she had seen him first and approached him with the element of surprise on her side, but as Branimir offered probing feelers of words to her, she danced around his feints and slid under his guard with ease. He should have minded, he knew, but to his surprise he found he did not. Though removed by ages and generations and peoples from the Eypharians they saw in their shared... dream, vision, hallucination maybe, vestiges of the kinship between these long gone people remained.

From what Kavala had explained to him in the dream and what a cursory search of the library and his own experiences had shown him, Branimir had a working understanding of how it was all supposed to work. But much to his hidden dismay, he found that experiencing something was not the same thing as being aware of the theory of it. Not by far. And all the options that that realization left him with condensed into the maintenance of that ghost of a smile his face had taken on. Kavala smoke, and that little thing pulled the corners of his mouth taut.

Only once did he break that tension, as the young man curiously echoed the Konti's words. "You flew?" he asked, and the question jabbed into Kavala's cadence but she lithely stepped over it with a knowing smile. She might answer that when her own curiosity was sated, though Branimir's tone belied his racing mind at the many possibilities and implications of both that aside and his simple question. Trusting that the woman would answer in due time, the architect began unpacking a large but slender book bound in leather a mottled hue of drying blood and a stick of charcoal.

As if on second thought, Branimir interjected once more, noting quietly that, "No single thing is ever properly seen from a single point of view. Things at rest are different from things in motion or action. We cheat using perspective and drawing things as if they were made of glass but it gets confusing." All he was really trying to say was that he didn't need Kavala still to draw her, really. But it wasn't in his nature to just do so it seemed.

Setting aside the mug of tea from where it stood as a guard tower between the two of them, Branimir created space for the book to rest on the table before him. Charcoal pen in hand, he once more looked frankly at the woman across from him while she spoke. Being understood, at least in a very basic, simplified manner, was something new to the boy. After all, the boy really only learned to understand himself, he found. Like theory, introspection only took him so far. Seeing himself reflected in the eyes of others and in turn inspecting that reflection, Branimir quickly seemed to grasp more of himself than he ever had sitting alone in his room. For now, though, it was sufficient to accede to her words with a nod. She was close enough to grant her this one.

As the architect took in the topography of Kavala's face, the shadows that the dim lighting drew from her nose across her cheek and her lids had ever so slightly begun to creep lower than they would in a well-rested person. The lines of her jaw, the round of her ears or the crook of her chin. Cardinal points on a map of skin and light. But, lacking light to draw with it was left to Branimir to capture its absence. His first strokes left little more than these impressions. Vague dots and shapes that lacked the connection to show what they were even supposed to be. Like the stains that remained if someone had pushed their face to a pane of glass. He had never done this before, but the approach seemed sensible. Her face had highs and lows like a valley with hills and trees and brooks. The angle was different from looking down from a tower or hilltop, but the basic idea was the same. A valley, a city, a person, they were all angles and curves and shadows and light. Were they not?

The action of sketching this shadow map of the Konti's face was also a useful excuse to look at her and mull over his thoughts and experiences. The odd familiarity between the two he couldn't not accept. The actual weirdness of being social with this woman after a fashion. Never mind that in one night she had made him toss an entire life to the wind, in as far as it had been one. And just as he thought that, as if reading his mind, Kavala asked after that discarded life.

"Stifling." Branimir answered without thinking, and it was no surprise. He had said as much in the dreamscape, hadn't he? "I am certain the Zeltivan University is a lovely place for someone who wishes to simply go on as their forefathers have since the Valterrian. But..." Branimir raised his gloved hand, charcoal pen and all, regarding it as if the Lykata mark was about to push through the leather. "But there is so much more out there. Which has been lost. Which awaits being found."

"They will have none of that talk. None of that thinking. Not from a student. You are supposed to learn all they have to offer because, apparently, one is unfit to even judge such things until one has reached the level of the professors in knowledge and deed. Yet, all they had to offer I could find in books. The same books their teachers' teachers had found the knowledge in generations ago and rebuilt the world. The only thing they have on me is that they already had the opportunity to put their knowledge into practice."

The young man paused as his smile returned and deepened. Another point for the Konti. She had gotten him to rage against one of the most august establishments of higher learning in the world. It was of course all true, even if maybe Branimir withheld the fact that he also tended to have issues with any form of authority that didn't descend from him. But what was he to do? Club his teachers into submission with his...? "But that might not be what you were asking after."

Abandoning that line of thinking, he regarded the woman again, pausing in his sketching as he turned the charcoal pen between his fingers with slow but deliberate fingerplay. "I was removed from people beyond my family, but beloved by my books. I will blame neither myself nor the world for this. It was probably the best for both sides. Books do not want to get drunk or sleep while you want to learn. Yes?"

The smile twisting into something of a smirk almost, he clarified, "You may be the first person I am having a real conversation with in a while now." And it wasn't even that much of a conversation, was it now? Trusting Kavala somewhat satisfied, Branimir set down his pen once more, dusting valleys of shadow and sparing hills of light on the paper.
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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Kavala on August 15th, 2015, 8:22 pm

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Kavala would have laughed had she heard his thoughts and initial observations about her confidence. Caelum, had the proprietor of Alements been about, would have as well. Kavala was a cat stretched out in the proverbial sun, confident only in the fact that Alements was a thing partially built of her magic and a home away from home. On its inside, the siren song wasn’t so bad, but out on the dock where most of it had come from her soul the stonesong often seduced her with its voice and lulled her into a false sense of kinship with something that most would claim soulless. He was witnessing a geomancer firmly encircled by her stone, not a woman with the sort of confidence he was attributing her with.

Kavala nodded at his question about flying. They’d discuss that later, in a moment perhaps, along with so much more that needed to be said. She realized, though, that not all of it needed to be said tonight. The Konti stifled a yawn and covered it with another drink of the restorative tea. Alement’s was a good place to recover and she was already feeling more energy.

Branimir’s voice lulled her with its rich low tone and impeccable logic. She agreed with what he said completely, though it was not something she’d initially have thought of until he pointed it out. Perspective changed from eyesight to art. That much was true. And that line of thinking drew her lips up into a smile that answered one of the questions she’d had about him before she even had a chance to ask it. Was Branimir’s brain hardwired like Hasuthep’s had been so very long ago? Yes. It was. Their thinking was similar and their mannerisms hauntingly familiar. The fact comforted her. The man in front of her was really no stranger. Strange? Yes. But no, not a stranger.

She watched him sketch, quiet and pensive, wondering where he found all the lines and shadows of her face. Kavala was born among the Drykas which meant luxuries like mirrors were rare. She rarely looked in her own eyes or checked her appearance. If anything she hated her pale skin and her scales. When she was a child it had marked her as different and had in fact drove her older sister to take up the sword. But she’d learned later on that healing and magic were the great equalizers. So even if she had a small stature and lacked the golden skin of a human, she could still make a difference even as a Konti.

He broke the silence – that beautiful comforting silence – with one word. Stifling. She nodded, acknowledging it. “You never did like to tread well worn paths.” She commented, shaking her head in regret. “I know almost nothing of Zeltiva. I sailed to and from its port once on the way to Mura. But I wasn’t there long enough to do more than gawk at the stone buildings of the University and city. I was born among the Drykas. Stone was a foreign concept to me then. I can only imagine you, with your questioning and seeking, didn’t thrive in Zeltiva. They seem… hidebound at best there.” She added, wondering suddenly about his family. Did he have parents? She watched him study his hand and figured he was thinking of Eyris now. Her mark, too, was on the back of her hand.

“You wear gloves. Why not take them off? Afraid to touch?” She asked, curious. Long ago she’d learned to turn Eyris’ gifts off and on. If anything, a gloved hand was easier to read than a non-gloved one. Eryis didn’t reveal secrets from living things. Her mark’s touch only coaxed secrets out of dead things turned tools – like leather – or things that had never lived at all.

“You must have hated it… them too.” She suggested, hoping he meant his instructors and not the whole of the city. Zeltiva had been fairly pleasant as far as cities went. She studied his face as he talked and noted that although he was expressing his displeasure, rage even, there was no change in his expression. So like her ancient cousin, he was… so very like him.

“No. I want to know. All of it.” She corrected him, a knowing smile curving her lips again. In that moment, she would perhaps remind him of Shanru. It would have been something the girl would have said. She noted the smile then, blinked in surprise, and quieted so he could speak.

His words turned cryptic and she didn’t understand. He was removed from his people…. but his books loved him? She frowned over the words until understanding dawned. He was quiet, socially outcast and probably not participating unless it was family. He was bookish, smart, and antisocial. Some things never changed.

“There’s a lot to be said about good wine and an even better bedmate. Riverfall is not stuck on sensibilities. You’ll find both in quantities.” Was all she said in reply. “You can walk away from both in the morning and return to your books if you know what you’re doing.” She added, a twinkle in her tired eyes as she shifted and leaned back, stretching out a long leather encased leg. The motion caused her lips to thin and she almost stifled a groan. The noise was odd, but not attention drawing in the quiet roar of Alement’s evening crowd.

Alements wasn’t the place to pick up some company though… not usually. The Blue Bull was far better if one just wanted ones’ bed warmed and inner fires stoked. At least that’s where the women went that Kavala knew. Some slightly trite inner voice stayed her hand in telling him that even though he was young, human, and everything she despised in a partner. The human females of Riverfall, some but not all Akalak widows, would adore him. She’d rather take a half-feral kelvic to bed than tangle with a human. They were too complicated by far. She’d tried to bring one home a few seasons ago. And the time with Shane had been humiliating. It had questioned her abilities in that regard utterly and had left her with shattered confidence, even though the whole point had been to just get a release. It would have been almost better if he’d have outright laughed at her. Instead, something vastly different had happened, something Kavala still wasn’t over yet. No… she’d never try to seduce a human again.

His last comment pulled her out of her musings about his sexuality and her failures and caused her to blink and glance down at the paper. He was a good artist. And she recognized her own face, and studied it as intently as he did. “It’s strange seeing someone else capture my likeness. I don’t look that way to me.. not inside… she looks too frail, to weak, too vulnerable. That doesn’t mean you didn’t capture my likeness well. I think you did. I just hate seeing small truths etched in paper like that.” Kavala said, reaching across to capture one of his gloved hands with her own. She gave it a gentle squeeze than sat back.

“We have a lot of catching up to do. You didn’t get a place here in town did you? I have more than enough room back at my place. And we’ll need to do a great deal of talking. I’m sorry for that ahead of time. But you’ll want to learn a few things, and it takes interaction.” The Konti said, smiling a little.

“I would take you tonight that is if you wanted to go, but I’m exhausted. I don’t think I could make it home at all. I had a horse sale to the north to attend too so I rode the mare there, minimal gear, and morphed into an eagle when the deal was done to fly home. I thought it would be faster. It was. Only I can hardly lift my arms and my reserves are dangerously low. I stopped by home briefly, but had clients in town to deal with that had emergencies so I came this way … and now I think I’ll grab a berth on the Dreamcatcher for the night and rest when its time for us to go. Then we can sail home tomorrow when everyone is more rested. The catamaran has two berths. You are welcome to the other one.” The Konti added, eyes flickering outside. The sky was darkening as evening was falling. But due to the angle, one still couldn’t see the ship.

“You can study whatever you need to here. We have books a plenty and magic free flowing. If you stay with me though I’ll need your help around the place. It would be even better if you wanted to learn Reimancy. There’s always geomancy to pull off around my facility and we’ve a noted lack of mages to do so.” Kavala said, though she grinned almost as an afterthought.

“Reimancy isn’t the only magic. Morphing, Auristics, Glyphing… if one of us doesn’t know it, someone else might. I know Caelum has Flux now I think.” She added, shifting again and stifling a yawn. “I’m glad you are here, Branimir. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I missed you. She missed you. And insofar as we are both ‘her’ your company is more than welcome.” The Konti added knowing full well anyone overhearing their conversation would be thoroughly lost by now.

“Do you have any questions? I want a sweet roll before bed if I can talk them out of one.” She said, turning to gesture to her friend Elise and ask after the treat… holding up her hand for two if Branimir gave any indication of wanting one as well.

Last edited by Kavala on September 10th, 2015, 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Sanctuary The Sanctuary Forum Riverfall The Cytali
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Please Note:
  • This pc is maxed out in Animal Husbandry, Medicine, Observation, Rhetoric, and Socialization.
  • Kavala a Master Teacher. Students she is teaching in thread can earn more than the maxium 5 XP per thread.
  • This pc has a Konti Gift of Animal Empathy. She has a superpower from a Riverfall city event that allows animals of all sorts and Kelvics (in kelvic form) to speak clear understandable Common around her.
  • Kavala is a Konti but was raised in the Drykas culture so her accent is entirely Pavi though she can speak Common, Pavi, and Tukant well. She's only conversational in Kontinese.
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Kavala
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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Branimir on August 17th, 2015, 8:41 am

"Zeltiva..." Branimir softly launched into a thoughtful reply, "Zeltiva is... quaint. It lacks the raw, stark beauty of your City here. It actually is a humble City in many ways, but also simple. It could be much much worse I am sure." Resting his pen to compare Image and original one more time, the Young man squinted at Kavala. He had indeed managed to capture her likeness in a vaguely realistic way, but. But there was always a but, was there not? "But it is also limited. Or maybe that is humanity. I cannot honestly tell, this is my first time away from home."

"People cling to what they hold to be true, and try not to look beside or beyond. That much I know. They like their world limited. Quaint." Branimir more raised his shoulders and forgot them for a Moment than he shrugged, but the tenor of that gesture was the same. Either the topic was outside of his field of expertise, or his comfort zone. In any way he did not seem keen to delve deeper into the thought then and there. Instead he focussed on the drawing again, which bore an acceptable amount of resemblance to the Konti but lacked something to make it more than an an eidolon; it lacked life.

Then again, it was literally the first time he had tried to sketch a human being. The fact that Kavala was mildly recognizable was already a success of sorts. Not enough to satisfy him as the pensive expression on his face indicated, but this had been his choice and it was his to succeed or fail at on his own merits or lack thereof. In many ways, Branimir was his own worst critic and his own worst enemy moreover. "I try not to waste my hate on people being who they are. If anything, the fault is mine for not adapting to the system, or overcoming it. I cannot control the hearts and minds of others, merely my own actions."

Once more the shoulders went up after they had naturally deflated over these past few moments. Once more the delivery of Branimir's words had been as stoic as a boy could possibly muster. "What I could do was separate myself from those elements I deemed not in my interest."[/b] And once more, the gloves came into play as the young man flexed his fingers as if to show them off. Holding his shoulders aloft, Branimir almost came off as apologetic as he explained these little intricacies. Indeed he himself thought it all very boring as far as topics went, yet he found himself willing to acquiesce Kavala and so he went with that.

When the conversation turned to alcohol and bedmates however that willingness waned. Neither topic was particularly dear to him to say the least. Raising his eyebrows and casting light wrinkles across his forehead in doing so, Branimir listened to the Konti pontificate, wondering what he could say to that. It wasn't in him to agree just to get the matter over with, but losing his senses to alcohol or his wits to a woman's wiles was not something he even considered desirable if he was honest. [i]"Who needs a woman when I have two good hands?"
Branimir deflected and quickly moved on to trying to add a last layer of the lightest shading to his drawing, adding the mere idea of hair around the depiction of the Konti's face more by omission than by anything he did.

Kavala gave the drawing a curious look, so he turned the book around to present that thing he knew he was not satisfied with. But neither way she, which was oddly reassuring in its own way. Allowing that faint smile to settle back in, Branimir noted, for lack of an apology, that "I daresay that anyone who judges someone by their looks rather than their deeds is a fool at any rate. That old truth about books and their covers." In the end, Kavala did not seem to mind all that much, but then she seemed just as affected by their shared past than he found himself to be. He considered the notion that this was just their respective minds or hearts suffering from some form of lunacy that made them perceive things as they did simply because they wished for a friend.

Friend. Branimir fed that term to the gears grinding away in his head all day and all night to see what they made of that. How could you be friends with someone you'd never met? And yet, in those bursts of curiosity, Branimir knew that the woman reminded him of Shanru, the Eypharian girl. A girl he'd in turn only seen in a dream. Here and now, Branimir could not solve the puzzle. Here and now, he chose to accept and concentrate on the things he could do rather than those he could not. Conveniently, the Konti, too, had moved on with her thoughts and gave the architect ample time to do things he could do. Like talk. Of which Kavala desired even more, though at least not tonight. Maybe the next time would start on a more even footing, debatable as that might be. Warefare had not featured among all the things that had caught Branimir's interest, but he remembered a quote from a historical text, vaguely. Something to the extent of not leaving the choice of battlefield to the enemy. Armies of the past had to have done far more maneuvering than actual fighting if they held to that quote.

Necessary as maneuvering might sometimes have been, Branimir fancied himself as someone more direct. He responded with as much candor as he could muster when the Konti seemed to expend what energy she had left on a barrage of information and questions. "Of course I got a place in town. A nice little inn, close to the gate. It does what it needs to do, for now. I might care to stay there a little longer and experience the city on my terms, at least for a few more days. Besides, unless you are planning to renovate or need ledgers penned, I doubt I could be of much service for now."

"That said..." He hesitated. His curiosity had swelled from virtue to vice, became unabashed wanton greed. Shanru had spoken of the stonesong and Branimir would have been a fool had he not considered the implications of being able to design buildings of stone and summon the stone into place as well and give it shape and purpose. He had considered the idea itself since that dream. Like most human beings, he was distrustful of magic to say the least. Like Hasuthep, he preferred things crafted from ingenuity rather than by incomprehensibly mystical means. But he was neither most human beings nor, for all the things they might have had in common, the long-dead Eypharian. Though he had pride in spades, he would not let it interfere with learning new, valuable things.

"I would lie if I claimed your magic had no allure to me. I doubt I need to tell you about stone, it seems to be something of a trend with... us. If you teach me how to do it I will earn my keep. Then we can see further. About other topics, magics, jobs. One step at a time, yes?" Those were the things he could do right now. The answer as to whether he wanted to sleep on a boat again after having spent most of this summer on one, Branimir left unanswered. He simply didn't know whether he wanted to. He'd know when he got there.

Shaking his head at the notion of food, Branimir instead wondered whether he had any questions for Kavala. Of course he did. Many. But really, none of them were truly urgent or pertinent. Except maybe... "Why?" For a heartbeat, the word hung in the air, cryptic or at least vague, then he expanded. "Not that I do not believe what we saw in that dream, and I presume I do feel a connection on some instinctual level here, but most importantly, I had little to nothing to leave behind and any place was as good as any other to me if I am honest. But why do you take it all in stride? You do seem to have enough things to worry about as it is."

Behind his little smile, Branimir wondered if that wasn't too hard of a question for the weary Konti.
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We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Kavala on September 21st, 2015, 2:33 am

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He used the word ‘quaint’ a lot, Kavala thought. And for a moment was worried he’d think such harsh things of Riverfall or even The Sanctuary. Some people used the term to describe things simple and old fashioned. Her place, and even the city itself, was some of that. But she wanted him to like it, even to thrive among the people here. He could not do that if he hated it right from the start.

She took a moment and a breath to wonder, not for the first time, why she even cared what he thought… and why it was so important to her that he was here. Branimir had an arrogance about him that was untampered and thus, in Kavala’s mind, untested because of his age. It was a different sort of attitude than he’d had when he was older and Eypharian and the weight of the family had dropped on his shoulders. Young, human, full of his strength… Kavala watched her ‘cousin’ settle into his comfort and think things through with his familiar furrowed brow.

She hoped …. The Konti viciously squished hope down and out of her mind. What would be would be. Nothing she ‘wanted’ to happen necessarily would and even then not for the reasons, perhaps, she wanted them too. In many ways she felt she owed Branimir. She owed him for that life, long past, where he’d set her free and never chained her to the demands society should have and would have made on her. She had no right to make such demands of him now that things were different. And as far as she was concerned, his contentedness was one such demand. In all her years of training warhorses, for example, she could put a horse through its paces and teach it moves and techniques, but she could never make individual animals love going to war or being carriage horses or even placid palfreys. That was all up to the horse. In this case, Branimir either would or he would not.

And for all that, his words still held a ring of truth to them. And uncharacteristically, at least to her, he was ready to admit his own shortcomings. And his reaction to her words over the libations and bedmates caused her own brow to furrow. She chuckled appropriately and uncharitably thought - most likely due to the exhaustion – that one’s own company could never satisfy her for long. Kavala craved intimacy. It didn’t have to be sex, but it sure as the chavena wasn’t going be release by her own touch. She’d leave that to the men. But Riverfall was Riverfall and he’d find bedmates a plenty if that’s what he wanted. There was certainly enough if Kavala ever had needs.

The topic turned again and Kavala smiled. “If you have eyes to see, people are easy to judge by their covers.” The Konti stated, more to be contrary than to really argue with him. Old habits, especially between cousins, died hard. “Your face and neck, even your arms are without scars. I suspect if your gloves were off you’d not have callouses there either. Yet your brow is wrinkled where your scowls and frowns have left their marks. Many things about the inside of a person is easy to judge by the outside.” She chuckled and went on. “I’d judge you a scholar or a young merchant’s son, nothing more exciting than that. Certainly not a wizard because they need bare hands for many things and your eyes don’t have the haunted look most mages carry.’ Kavala said, turning her own hands over and studying callouses there. She looked thoughtful for a moment.

Then he said he had a place in town.

Truth be told, as tired as she was, her guard was down enough to be hurt by the fact he hadn’t sought her out the moment he hit town and that he did indeed have a place to stay already. Bastard. It was an utterly uncharitable thought, but she was sorely tempted to let him rot in town. Had she taken a moment, she’d have recognized her jealousy for what it was. She missed Vanator – her Drykas brother – terribly. He was family and for a while had been her whole world. A small part of her, when she’d dreamwalked with Branimir, had hoped Bran would come find her and be someone she could look to for guidance, support, and companionship. Family.

Belatedly she nodded in acknowledgement to his statement of having a residence. “I know the one I think. It’s a good place.” She added.

The one thing in the world the girl wanted, be they flesh and blood or otherwise, and the one thing the world entirely kept denying her was family. She had the twins though. Her teenage niece and nephew, Vanator’s legacy that he’d left in her care, and the other Denusks who’d slowly been adopted into the family. Aweston being chief among them. And she wanted more… flesh, blood, adopted, The man across the table from her who drew such lovely things was being unfairly set up to fail, she supposed, and was wise enough in her exhaustion to be honest with herself that she wasn’t being fair to him.

She’d probably be even more hurt if Kavala had any inclination that he was thinking of his interactions with her as some sort of sorte on a battlefield.

The Konti released her grip on her tea and ran her fingers through her hair, pushing the translucent strands back out of her eyes. The action caused her pain for her arms felt all but useless and she knew she needed to either curl up on Caelums bed – though upstairs seemed a long way away – or on the berth aboard the Dreamcatcher soon. Even the bottom of the bay seemed appealing now. She was weak, vulnerable, and wished suddenly that Caelum was there. Her cousin, in that instant, felt too much to handle and yet one more person judging her for not being what she was supposed to be – whatever that meant. Not Drykas enough, not peaceful enough for a Konti, and certainly not mundane enough in the eyes of other mages.

He didn’t know her, so it was unfair to judge him for his slight snark about renovations. She was always building – bigger, better, stronger – adding on to her fortress home and making things more comfortable. Was he even being snarky? Maybe he thought of her as that girl, Shanru, whom he’d known to be spoiled and needing attention and with not one ounce of skill in her body. The thought sparked a flare of anger in her that she soothed with a sensible touch and a reminder to herself that she was tired, to let it rest…

She felt comfortable with shrugging as a response to his comments about the appeal of magic and stone. Yes… it was in their souls. Blood had very little to do with it. It was a subject they’d already broached. Allure was not an appeal though. He’d asked her for nothing and probably wouldn’t. But she understood the concession he made by his admission. Always curious. Always proud. She furrowed her brow briefly, glanced back down at his sketch, and though she thought it was good, wondered if he would discard it as not good enough. She was half afraid, in that moment, to show him her home. It would not, of course, meet his standards. It hadn’t met Vanator’s ideals either. It didn’t matter that every stone was created by her hand and every tile of mosaic that coated the walls decorating the interior was laid by her hand.

He could dwell in town, on his terms, and on those same terms if he ever wanted to see her or visit, she’d introduce him to her place… such that it was. Kavala finished off her drink as Banimir asked her his last question.

“Why is the easiest question of all. I accept it because I’ve lived it. I’ve lived it so many times I know whats coming and what the future might hold. The things I fear are the things people take for granted. Big bad and scary doesn’t scare me so much. It probably should. We’re not so uncommon, those of us that walk Nysel’s path. To a man woman and child we all live in the past as much as the now and indeed we live in the future as well. I learn as much as I can. I get as strong as I can. And at least I will be as ready as I can when whatever life throws at us. It’s a lonely life. But its rewarding too.” She said as she scraped her chair backwards and rose from the table. She let a handful of coins on the table, rimmed mizas to cover the drinks, and nodded to Branimir. “I’m not good for much else tonight. I’m going to go get some sleep. Maybe we’ll talk again in the future, on your terms perhaps. Have a good evening.” And with that, she turned and headed for the door, giving Elise a nod as she headed out towards the Dreamcatcher.
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The Sanctuary The Sanctuary Forum Riverfall The Cytali
Reverie Isle Wolf Creek Training Course
Please Note:
  • This pc is maxed out in Animal Husbandry, Medicine, Observation, Rhetoric, and Socialization.
  • Kavala a Master Teacher. Students she is teaching in thread can earn more than the maxium 5 XP per thread.
  • This pc has a Konti Gift of Animal Empathy. She has a superpower from a Riverfall city event that allows animals of all sorts and Kelvics (in kelvic form) to speak clear understandable Common around her.
  • Kavala is a Konti but was raised in the Drykas culture so her accent is entirely Pavi though she can speak Common, Pavi, and Tukant well. She's only conversational in Kontinese.
User avatar
Kavala
I am more than the sum of my parts.
 
Posts: 3022
Words: 3290117
Joined roleplay: October 25th, 2009, 1:46 am
Location: Riverfall
Race: Konti
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Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 19
Featured Thread (1) Trailblazer (2)
Overlored (1) Master Merchant (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) 2014 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1) 2012 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

We Can't Call It A Homecoming... ( Branimir )

Postby Branimir on September 29th, 2015, 3:11 pm

As an aside of an aside of an aside, Branimir brushed past the faintest consideration one could have of the divinity, Lhex, and wondered. He himself had no taste for the entire concept of fate. The idea that all life was somehow preordained, the days to come as written in stone as the days gone by, was anathema to him. To all things, there was a reason, had to be a reason, a chain of causality. But faced with his current helping of reality, fate was almost as good an explanation as to consider the minutiae of the thousands of tiny decisions that brought him face to face with Kavala on this night. Not simply because it did happen, but moreso because he certainly did not mind and minded less with every passing moment.

It wasn't the kind of heartfelt warmth he wouldn't recognize if it rode him over on the Kabrin Road. It wasn't a flight of fancy, for he was not one to take interest in flights or fancies. It was a subtle, earthy, deeply rooted thing. A void he hadn't known was there that filled as they simply spent time. It was as hard to deny as it was to accept for the young man, but ultimately reality trumped worry, and he had no will to have it any other way. And so he let her in. In his own fashion, beneath a veil of secrecy that forbade him to actually let her know. He simply accepted the Konti as a part and fact of his life now. For who and what she was.

Without even knowing who and what she was.

Maybe that was the thing she spoke of then, amidst the dying embers of their conversation. Of this particular conversation that is. There would be many more, and some of them would be far less pleasant or peaceful. He could see as much without needing to run the equations and possibilities and chances through the grinding gears spinning away inside his skull. Even beaten and worn, the woman presented him with an aura of tenacity behind her softness. Like a reed that bends without breaking, then bites back once loosened. Or indeed the leather she wore, tough and resilient without being hard and stiff. Some people just made that impression, slumped on a chair and about to pass out or not. And he wondered what impression he himself made. Had he ever wondered that before, he wondered as well.

When Kavala spoke of the wrinkles on his face, the lines drawn by feelings of derision and Branimir's judgement of his peers, when she showed her own calloused hands, he felt move to bare as much of himself. And truthfully he revealed fair, smooth skin that had never seen a day of hard labor, except for the tiny writer's callous, a sliver of thick skin along the outside of his index finger. Not a point of pride but a distinctive landmark on the soft plain nonetheless. Even as he drew in the toil of the carpenter as he splained his fingers on the table, the architect raised his shoulders. Things were what they were. He was what he was. He would apologize as little for that as she would apologize for being herself. And he didn't think they'd have each other any other way.

Kavala wouldn't know the smile on his face was as genuine as it was faint. He wouldn't let her know. For all his rapid advancement tonight, he found it hard to actively let slip the mask he so obviously bore. He couldn't tell her he meant it, even as he thought she began to distance herself, her answers becoming simpler, her tiredness becoming more pronounced on her features. He couldn't fault her for that of course, but the one thing Branimir always readily admitted to was his greed. He considered it honest to do so. And he did want to know more. Speak more. Spend more time. And maybe that was what this was all about, and maybe it was good but he still wanted more.

When the Konti announced her impending retirement, however, he knew he should say something. Still, he couldn't. All he got out was a banal comment on how living in the past seemed preferable to living in the present at times, and a reflex wish for a good night and sound sleep and then, Kavala was gone, the door closing behind her. Greed was his driving factor often enough. Greed, curiosity, all the same. All the same but tempered with patience and a compulsive need to plan and control things so they might play out in an orderly fashion. Just jumping up and following his unblooded relative from another time, maybe to say something meaningful before they parted, was not in his character. And so, he let her go. He let her go and remained at his table, looking at mug and sketch on the table before him.

Idly twisting and twisting away at the little chain around his wrist as it went from stinging to cutting to prickly numbness.
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Branimir
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Joined roleplay: June 27th, 2015, 1:27 pm
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