redemption road.

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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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redemption road.

Postby Caelum on July 23rd, 2017, 9:32 pm

"You've always been someone admirable, Aoren." Caelum spoke without thought. The words wanted to wash out of his mouth just like love and welcome and joy sought to come in with the tide that was Aoren Skycrown. It had him frowning, a faint, downward curve, as he sunk a hip against the bar and drew a finger idly through the layer of dust decorating its once bright surface.

"I'm super tired." Elise lied or confessed. She stole a kiss from Aoren's cheek, blushing prettily even as she did so. Never before had she been so bold. Strong? Well, not traditionally. But Caelum had restored her, and kept her, and she no longer feared he would one day be done with her. She was not a woman who wanted to find her own way. She was much happier trying to keep tabs on his. "I'll see you later, Aoren? Right? I have so many things to tell you."

With the purposeful brush of her hand to Caelum's shoulder, causing him to clear his throat, Elise made herself scarce and disappeared upstairs. Caelum cast a slightly annoyed look after her and rolled the shoulder she had touched before refocusing on Aoren.

"I'm sorry." Every syllable was genuine. "I know you hoped for more from Endrykas, from your parent's people. And..." He squinted one eye. "I'm sorry you have suffered." As that suffering was plain to Caelum, clear as blood colored paint smeared across the seer's face.

He could not help but wonder then if his own was as evident. Caelum was deeply private man and would hate to imagine that it was. Of course, Aoren's was not worn on his sleeve. Far from it. But it was Caelum who was doing the looking, and even without the help of the divine bindings that strung together his skeleton, he would know what suffering looked like in this man's eyes. He remembered.

"How long have you been back in Riverfall?"
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redemption road.

Postby Aoren on July 25th, 2017, 11:51 pm

Aoren looked at Caelum then. He stopped avoiding gazing at the lines of his face or the set of his jaw. He looked up from his wine and truly looked at the man who had captured his attention and his heart for what felt like such a long time. To hear Caelum say those words made him wonder what the Ethaefal thought of him, right there and then. Elise’s announcement of her weariness was met with a gentle smile from Aoren. As she leaned in to press a kiss to his cheek, he wrapped one arm around her and hugged her again softly.

“We will talk later. I look forward to hearing the stories you have to tell. I have no doubt they’re bound to be exciting.” He smiled at her before watching her take her leave of the room. It was good to see her finding herself after such a long time lost in such a dark place. Aoren’s only regret was that he wasn’t there to see her find her way. He had no doubt that there were still many things that dwelled on Elise’s mind but seeing her finally break free of the shackles her past had left her in, he could only imagine that it must have been a beautiful sight. Caelum’s apology stirred several things inside of Aoren. His first reaction was to dismiss it and express how much the man’s apology was not needed. The only person in the room who needed to apologize for anything was himself. Studying his counterpart however…Aoren thought better of it.

Caelum was a tightly bound as ever. Cobalt blue eyes traced the lines of the man’s shoulders. There was the tension there that only came with Caelum’s intense thinking and focus. The subtle strain around the man’s eyes, the way he had preoccupied himself with pouring their drinks, his attentiveness to needs other than his own, Aoren knew the signs. They were subtle as with most things where Caelum’s deepest emotions were concerned. Caelum was ignoring something that was presenting itself as difficult and it didn’t take a Zeltivan philosopher to figure out what. So Aoren swallowed the dismissal back down his throat.

“In life there is suffering but there are other things worth hoping for than the ghosts of a past I’ve never known.” How many things went unspoken between the two of them? When Aoren had awoken from his state, the first thing that had come crashing back to him had been the very fight that had landed him unconscious. It had been jarring and he’s awoken…alone. The whole endeavor, vague though it was in the labyrinth of his memory, had been suffered alone after what had happened. Then came the question and Aoren could only sigh and rub his face.

“Don’t do that, Caelum.” Running a hand through his hair, Aoren fixed the doctor with a stare. “Don’t deflect and dodge me. Don't bottle this up. I know that…that running, leaving the way I did…it hurt you. I’m sure it hurt Elise. I know it hurt Lils, it may have even stung Kavala. I don’t really know until I speak with her, which I intend to. But whether I’ve been in Riverfall for a day or for a year, we both know why I’m here. Now. In front of you.”

Aoren stared at Caelum, his eyes searching the Healer’s face. What was he searching for? Aoren didn’t know. Something, anything that might tell him what the man was thinking.

“So tell me. Tell me how you feel.” Aoren’s face softened, almost pleading with the man in front of him. “Please.”
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redemption road.

Postby Caelum on July 26th, 2017, 12:10 am

Aoren found himself the recipient of very annoyed look. Caelum was unaccustomed to being called out and pinned down. His habits of deflection and keeping the focus off of himself had originated in the early years of his return to Mizahar, bred then by a carefully aloof exterior that had been replaced with an inordinate amount of clear care. Though the manner of his expression had changed with the sway of Nikali's hips and the kiss of Rak'keli's lips, the dreamer continued to keep the majority of the world at arm's length.

There, at least, he could keep them in his sight.

It was a defense mechanism. When he had been aloof, it was because he had been broken. Now, reforged, it was because he was horrifyingly vulnerable to everyone. To anyone. It was not enough to keep the mark of ranuri secret. He had to hide himself in painstakingly selected pieces so that when the desires of others stole him, erased him, he could come back and find himself again. Remember who he was, who Caelum, the person, was at core.

Aoren Skycrown had fucked all of that up. And right here and now? He was doing it again, the momentum of his need for answers and honesty sideswiping the ethaefal as he set his wine glass down with a sharp clink of marble.

"I was bonded to you, Aoren." Motes of gold were harbored in his eyes, campfires for the damned. Bonded for the blessed (or cursed) of Nikali meant an entirely different thing than for most everyone else. "It wasn't cemented, I don't think, but it was begun and was holding and then you simply weren't there anymore. Not only were you not there, you were gone and your parting desire was not to be found. It took more than half the time that's passed since for me find my fucking wits again."
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redemption road.

Postby Aoren on July 26th, 2017, 12:32 am

The fire that burned in Caelum’s eyes stung Aoren. There was anger there that smoldered beneath the veneer of calm that normally accompanied the man before him. The Drykas was physically taken aback by the words that fell from Caelum’s mouth. He had been expecting many things. He had expected an outburst. He had expected fury. He had expected a dozen different scenarios that had all jumbled themselves in his head but what he hadn’t been expecting was the admission that Caelum had just given.

“B-bonded?” Aoren knew well that Caelum was Ranuri. How many times had he traced his fingers over the wine colored links of the chain around the Ethaefal’s hips? While he still did not know the full implications of what being a Ranuri meant, he knew enough to be aware of the toll sifting through others wants and needs was at all hours of every day. Dropping his head Aoren stared at his hands. He closed his eyes and calmed himself. Clenching and unclenching his jaw in thought, the Seer contemplated his next words carefully. There was a door to be opened here. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to walk through it.

The very selfish core of himself wanted nothing more than to scoop Caelum up into his arms and pretend like everything was going to be okay. That was not the truth. Things were not okay. Neither of them were going to be okay for some time. If he opened the door that was slowly making itself clearer in his mind however, Aoren didn’t know if he could bring himself to push through it. Pushing away from the bar, leaving his wine on the counter, Aoren raised both hands to his forehead rubbing at his scalp in an attempt to massage the thoughts in his head. He turned away from Caelum, dropping his hands to his sides. Taking a few more steps away from Caelum, the Seer posted himself up near a wall and stood not truly staring at anything for a few tense moments. With a heavy sigh he turned around and leaned against the wall folding his arms over his chest.

Tilting his head to the side so that one ear was slightly closer to Caelum than the other, Aoren closed his eyes.

“And now that you’ve found them, what do you want?” The weight of that question sunk into the pit of Aoren’s stomach. He had to ask it though. Aoren wanted to move forward. He wanted to build a life in Riverfall. He wanted to make amends. He wanted a lot of things. None of that mattered though because it wasn’t about what he wanted. He was the one in the wrong here. So what he wanted to know was what Caelum wanted and he knew giving the Ethaefal some distance would help clear his head. So there Aoren stood, just listening.
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redemption road.

Postby Caelum on August 2nd, 2017, 10:52 pm

A hard line found the ethaefal's mouth when Aoren walked away from him. Leaving his wine glass on the bar, he paced out from behind it and began to take the once glowing wood barstools down and set them on the floor. It continued to keep him occupied and give his hands something to do other than shove back through his hair or reach out or strike out. A sideways glance was thrown the altogether too familiar healer when he took a post up against the far wall and Caelum shook his head at the notion of ghosts.

Not long before Caelum left Riverfall, he had handled a haunting. Magic continued to be somewhat of a trial for the newborn ancient, primarily due to the fact that he still housed an ingrained dislike of it in almost all of its forms. His relationships with Kavala and Aoren respectively, both of them sorcerors of varying ilk, had eased much of his initial wariness. It would not do for a servant of Nysel to continue ignoring his own abilities, regardless of their agonizing origins. Spiritism, however, was one of those magics that the mere mention of tended to shut Caelum down like a cathedral of deadbolts. He had known a powerful spiritist, and a cruel one, and for reasons he would only later start to suss out, the dreamer thought of him now.

"I want to be at home."

Surprisingly, perhaps, Caelum did not have to think about what he wanted. That single, overarching desire was so sharp and true that it was decidedly a need. A need that drove down through the bones of his transformative flesh and hooked into the heart of what made him him. Nameless. Beyond even the unspeakable syllables of his true calling, uttered last in the Ukalas.

It was the details that he struggled to retain.

Setting the last stool down, he turned to face Aoren, eyebrows rising expressively. "That's why I'm here. This was home. The first home I managed to genuinely make since returning to Mizahar. The first one I really found myself believing in."
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redemption road.

Postby Aoren on August 3rd, 2017, 1:44 am

Aoren recognized well the pattern of behavior that was playing out in front of him. It had happened between the two of them on a handful of occasions. Caelum was mulling through his thoughts. He was finding a point with which to anchor his concentration in order to sort through them. Aoren gave the Ethaefal the time he needed to reach whatever conclusion he was drawing. This was not the first bump in their road together that the two of them had reached, he doubted it would be the last if they chose to move forward. Still, his eyes continued to follow Caelum’s movements. More than anything he wanted Caelum to be happy. The man had suffered a considerable amount. In both this life and his previous one, if Aoren’s visions were to be believed. That’s what made this so difficult or at least, it was one of the reasons.

Aoren had seen what Caelum’s emotions were like. Auristics lent to him the insight he often needed in order to gauge his lover’s closely guarded moods. More than that however, Aoren had seen Caelum’s life. The divine gift of Divination had revealed to the Drykas many things in their time together. Sometimes it was voluntary, sometimes it was not. The gift of Avalis would not be ignored when there was a point to be made or a subject that needed to be studied for whatever reason arose at the time. Through those experiences, Aoren felt that out of many who were close to Caelum, he was perhaps one of the few who was better equipped to understand the man.

And then he said six simple words.

Home. The mention of it made Aoren close his eyes as he felt emotions well up inside of himself. Wasn’t that what he had been searching for his entire life? Where was home? More importantly, what was home? When he opened his eyes there was the slight blurriness of tears in his vision. He tightened his jaw a bit, fighting the urge to just let his emotions spill over. Taking a deep breath, Aoren pinned Caelum with a stare and there was a mix of things in his gaze. Confusion, anger, longing, hurt, and vulnerability just being a few of them. How was it that Caelum always resonated with him? How was it that without knowing, Caelum could even put to words what struck him to his core? It was maddening but it was what made being around the man such a relief.

“And what is home, Caelum?” He wanted to hear the Ethaefal say it. Whatever was lingering in Caelum’s heart, Aoren wanted the man to put it to words. Whether they chose to pick up the pieces of where their relationship had left off or if they chose to move forward as something else, he was done living in the dark about where they stood with one another.
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redemption road.

Postby Caelum on August 20th, 2017, 11:59 pm

"You're an asshole." Knee-jerk, muttered reaction as Caelum lowered the last barstool to the floor. It was not slammed, but neither did he place it down with delicate care. Healers hands wiped against the thighs of his riding pants as he curved about to face Aoren again, staring at him through the familiar distance of an empty tavern. The desires of all its previous inhabitants remained imprinted on the walls.

"Do you know I have been trying to go home since I crawled out of sea off of Dira's isle? Do you have any idea what it was I was kicked out of? Without explanation, without recourse? Aoren, almost everything I've done for fourteen years has been in attempt to return."

He moved around the tables, riding boots leaving imprints in the dust that filmed over the colorful array of rugs. He had hand picked them, not knowing himself to have any taste, but he had chosen the ones that had made him happy from a market stall and spent an entire day arranging them. Elise thought he ought to have left the floor barren. It was so beautiful, the stone of Alements carved from Kavala's geomancy deep and peaceful. Only Caelum had wanted warmth and hearth fires. He had wanted comfort and the beauty of the stone shone through on the walls as they were decorated only with shelves for his plants. He had wanted people to walk, even shoeless, on something soft and forgiving. What Caelum wanted for others was often a projection of those things he wanted for himself. Always through a mirror, dawn light echoing out and in and back again.

"And I just told you that I came here, to Riverfall, to Alements, to the last bloody place I saw you because I wanted to be at home." This last was quieter as he came to a stop in front of Aoren, having reclaimed the space the sorcerer had put between them. The physical space, at least. The question over how keen he was to obliterate the rest of their distance was a complicated one. "So, yeah. This is home. You were part of it. Maybe even then the part that made it damn well click finally. But then you left, and I'm back, because hell, Aoren. I need a home more than I need anything else."

He grimaced, hands falling to a prop on his hips. Strong shoulders tilted and in the face of Kas'bel Sunsinger, he had to look up to meet Aoren's eyes. "Whether or not you're going to be a part of it."
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