Closed Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

In service to Akajia, each Nightstalker undergoes different trials. On rare occasion, they experience the same trails.

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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kynier on October 18th, 2018, 10:51 pm

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8th of Fall, 518 A.V.


15th Bell





As Kynier walked through Baroque Bay towards home, his heart felt heavy. It bore multiple burdens in many different forms. Anxiety, fear, and bitterness to name a few. As always, Kynier internalized it and did his best to continue onward. Doing so was only getting harder with each passing day. For each day presented another failure, regardless of whether he took action or not. Failure in multiple efforts. The task he had to perform tonight was not going to be of any assistance in his mindset. Kynier was certain that it was only going to make things worse.

It was his turn to cook.

His backpack of voiding was slung over his shoulder. When he had finished his work for Doler, Kynier had stopped by the markets to gather the ingredients for tonight’s meal. The faces of the other residents were present in his mind. Looks of polite distaste in their eyes after having to muscle through his rather simple meals. For a few years he had lived alone and was accustomed to simple foraging. Some days having to go without meals in order to preserve his funds, which had been scant. Cooking had never been a priority. In fact, it seemed like an indulgence when he was content with a few handfuls of fruit and some dried meat.

Slowly he had learned how to not burn eggs and had worked on a few recipies utilizing the rewards of their chicken coup. Successful or not, Kynier was seeing that people were desiring more variety. Even if they didn’t voice it. So, tonight he was going to try something different. He had picked up potatoes, celery, onions, and a clove of garlic for tonight’s meal. His heartbeat echoed in his chest from nervousness at trying the new recipe. In his mind, it sounded like it would taste good. Kynier hoped that it would be half as good as he imagined. That alone would be an accomplishment.

When he got to the Midnight Gem he set his pack down just outside the kitchen before unloading his weapons and changing out of his damp clothes. Feeling less burdened, he came back to the kitchen and started setting all the ingredients on the counter. It was still early, and everyone would not be gathered for supper for a few bells. That should be enough time to prepare and cook. With a few steps over to the pantry, Kynier retrieved the large pot used for making stews. There were a lot of mouths to feed. And each of those mouths ate a lot more than one would expect. Who knew that Kelvic’s had such an appetite?

He cranked on the water pump to fill the pot with water. By the time it had enough, his arm was weary of the motion. With a sharp exhale, Kynier lifted the pot onto the hooks to hang over the firepit. It was too soon to light the fire. All that would do was boil the water away before he was ready with the rest of the ingredients. Kynier started with the potatos. Pumping more water from the well, he washed each of them before cutting them down to edible portions.

It helped distract him from the plethora of things that were troubling him. Just enough to only allow him to dwell on a singular topic. As it had been the last few nights, his mind dwelled on Kelski. He hated what had happened between them and felt that it was all his fault. In fact, he was certain of it. One of the things about it that disturbed him so, was that he didn’t feel like anything he had said had been wrong. But he knew that everything Kelski had said about him had been right. All except for how he didn't believe in her. And he was struggling to come to terms with what he needed to do to make it better between them.

Trust. That’s what they had concluded with. They shared many things, but trust was not one of them. The cutting motions of his knife slowed without stopping. It wasn’t trust though, was it? It was magic. Nothing else seemed to have been a problem. At least, not from how he currently saw things. Kynier hoped that he wasn’t ignorant in that regard. Of course, there was the Bond dilemma. Though now it seemed like less of a mystery. Kynier sighed heavily as the rate of his knife increased. “How can you share your soul if you don’t trust them?” he muttered bitterly to himself.

“You knew didn’t you,” he continued to whisper, “before either of us even knew. This was the storm on the horizon.” Kynier was still of the opinion that the goddess of night had led them to each other. That they would need each other. Was that the truth? Or did She just want him to assist Kelski with whatever was to come. He had his own destiny, and one of importance based on what She had said, but he was not Favored. So, whatever was expected of Kelski was of greater importance. Kynier gave a last chop with the knife, one that rang loudly in the kitchen, to vent some of his frustration at the thoughts that had followed.

That was childish. Kynier lifted the cutting board and scrapped the diced potatoes into the pot. Returning to the counter, he pulled out the celery stalks and began chopping them down as well.


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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on October 20th, 2018, 5:07 pm

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She’d spotted more of the collared Brats – one of which was the same one she’d seen two nights ago when she’d met Koro – and had been following them. This time they’d picked up some more random supplies. One had dragged rope, another metal, and yet two more had food. They showed such intelligence that it bothered Kelski who had hunted and ate them with abandon before. It was almost like they were sentient creatures. And when she’d lost them down another hole in the earth, she knew it was time to learn some splunking and follow them. But first, she’d need gear, supplies, and to be well read before she got started. So, Kelski had swung by Remmy’s and had spent the afternoon copying a book on climbing and spelunking into a blank journal, listing supplies and some basic techniques she wanted to try out before she made her first decent.

The Kelvic wasn’t sure why she’d been so obsessed with the Brats. But she couldn’t get them out of her mind. There was a why behind them that she was absolutely curious about, a mystery to be solved, and part of her Nightstalker nature had to absolutely solve it. But it was more than that. The first time she’d seen one she’d felt like she was staring down some sort of truth of future for her. The term destiny didn’t mean anything to Kelski, but if she would have been pressed to describe it, she would have literally said that she knew she was meant to see them, to investigate them, and to find the source of the mystery. Something rode her hard to do it, and while she could feel herself be driven… she didn’t mind because it was something that took her mind off other things – troubling things – like Kynier.

So, it was with a backpack full of new knowledge that Kelski returned home, eager to make a few lists from her notes and to indeed acquire the equipment she needed to get in order to start practicing for her descent into the bowels of Sunberth. She was actually hungry too, as she watched the sun set and knew it was near dinner time… someone would be cooking. Whose night was it? Kelski wasn’t sure. She tracked her own nights diligently and often hunted for fresh meat to provide for the meal that day, but she’d cooked two days ago so she wasn’t sure it was her turn yet.

Walking into the Gem she gave Ebon a nod. He was just packing up the shop for the night and he gave her a thumbs up when she asked him about sales. Whew! She was glad. In order to make her loans they had to meet a daily sales quota and evidently Ebon had gotten that done today. She was happy the Night Lion was with them. His presence freed up her time in the workshop so she could make sure there was always inventory to supply for sales to happen. And while by and large they sold mostly mid-range trinkets, Kelski was lucky enough to be able to do custom work when high end was required… and smart enough to keep inexpensive but beautiful jewelry on hand for the occasional marriage proposal or make-up gift the poorer needed.

The Gem itself flooded her senses with warm welcome. Kelski sent the same thoughts back to it along their link and made sure it knew how happy she was to be home and that everything here seemed fine. She asked after it in her own Arch Mage fashion and The Gem didn’t broadcast any complaints whatsoever which made her happy. It flashed pictures of strangers doing work towards its northern side and Kelski sent reassurances and pictures of Moth living in something warmer than the temporary shelter they had setup for him. The Gem muttered agreement and flashed her a picture of one of the workers urinating on one of the bushes The Gem particularly liked. Kelski frowned, made promises to speak to the foreman, and check on the bush in the morning before the workers came. Kelski had read in her book that the sentient buildings often took up hobbies. And she was sure landscaping and horiculture was going to be one of The Gem’s interests. It always worried about its landscaping and more often than naught had her out there pulling weeds and sprucing things up when it didn’t like how shabby a flower bed was getting.

Kelski reassured The Building again, laying her hand on its walls, before turning back to Ebon and offering him a smile. “Thanks. It’s a relief to make quota today after having fallen short twice already this tenday.” She said. He nodded. “Sales helped. I know you take less profit, but it brings in more people.” He added. Kelski agreed. Selling a hundred things for a single miza was better than selling one thing for fifty mizas. And once the Mask commissions paid up, she’d be more than fine.

Making the quota was a good sign. They’d fallen short two of the ten days and Kelski had worked extra hard and had sales to make up for the shortfall to bring the remainder of the quotas up higher to make up for it. She was ahead on payments to Goldfinger, but the Kelvic didn’t want to be in his debt any longer than necessary. It was just another form of slavery to her.

Lightly striding up the stairs, skipping one or two occasionally, the woman reached the top and looked around. She strode forward and slipped out of her cloak, she skipped hanging it on a peg near the top of the stairs where such things were stored. Instead she hung it on a peg near the fire where it began to immediately steam. The heat would dry it there faster and warm it up. Sunberth was hellishly wet this time of year and no one went anywhere without a warm oilskin cloak if they could help it. The kelvic then slipped out onto the balcony to glance towards the side of the building where construction. The eight-stall barn was taking shape. It wasn’t going to have eight stalls, but rather perhaps four and a tack room and a small living quarters at one end. Before true winter hit, it would be warm, welcoming, and Moth plus Anja’s Maisa would have far better shelter from the snow that was surly going to hit. Kelski also hoped to talk Mosa into living in the small caretaker’s space. It was on the ground level where she wouldn’t have to climb stairs, had easy access to outside and the rest of the city, and would be far superior to the frigid conditions in tent city come winter. There would be space for the chickens which were getting a far bigger coup – mostly paid for by the golden eggs – and perhaps space for a milk cow at the rate they were going through milk.

Kelski had her eye on some acreage to her northwest which had a large building and several acres attached as well. If she could buy that place, it would give the animals more grazing and perhaps pave the way for another business. She still wasn’t sure. And she wouldn’t consider it until her loan was paid off. But she’d kept it in mind and was hopeful it would stay vacant until she was ready.

Turning, Kelski walked into the kitchen, setting her backpack on one of the stools near the table that rested on the far side of the kitchen fireplace. She popped in to see who was cooking and saw Kynier. The Kelvic frowned, wondering if it was too late to slip back out again. Then she thought how terrible the thought was. And then she lied to herself, telling herself she didn’t want to see him in the kitchen because his cooking was…. interesting. But the truth was, she’d been avoiding him and would rather that continue. Their last conversation hadn’t gone well, and even though she’d tried to distract him from it, something had been lacking. There were big gaping holes in their relationship and Kelski didn’t know what to do with it.

She cared for Kynier, but more often than not he came across as … superior to her. Human. She didn’t know if he meant it that way or not. The Sea Eagle couldn’t begin to guess his true feelings or what motivated him to act how he had. Kelski needed an equal, not a superior. She was fiercely independent and coveted protecting people. Bowing to Kynier’s wishes on magic had done some fundamental damage within her and even when he caved at the end and told her he would tell her anything she liked… she hadn’t believed him. And it certainly didn’t heal anything broken within her. He didn’t trust her not to get hurt or perhaps hurt others. That was the most painful fact of all. She had tried to be what he wanted … but it wasn’t herself. And in that Kelski felt like she’d failed him… failed him badly by not being what he needed her to be… a pet? An animal? Stupid and worthless? The Kelvic gritted her teeth in anger and wondered if he’d notice if she just left.

Instead, she found herself asking him quietly… “Do you want any help?” She knew he didn’t need anything, not really, so want was a far better word. Then she waited for his reaction, hoping for a dismissal so she could retreat.
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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kynier on October 20th, 2018, 9:30 pm

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The truth of the matter was that Kynier did not have a culinary bone in his body. It simply was not one of those skills that he had a natural ability, or even an inclination for. When he began chopping the celery stalks it was with slow and unnecessarily hard cuts. Making louder than normal echoes throughout the kitchen. There was no one else around for it to bother, so Kynier just kept on cutting at his own convenient pace. Most of the time, Ember would try to assist him with his meal preparation. It wasn’t really assisting though. She would direct and tell rather than suggest. Most of the time, Kynier was appreciative of it. Today, he preferred the solitude.

His mind would wander and only enough attention was given to his hands to prevent mistaking a finger for a stalk of celery. Everything felt as though it were unraveling around him and that too many things were taking his attention to really allow him the ability to address the issues. Was he too divided to succeed at anything now? It had not felt as though he were so heavily burdened until something gave out. And it had been…

Kelski’s voice was soft and he had nearly missed it. Kynier half turned in her direction to see her standing at the kitchen corner. He had been so enveloped within himself he had not heard her approach. His eyes went straight to hers and then quickly took in her body language before settling again on her mercurial eyes. There was tension in her body that he could mainly see in her shoulders. As well as in her eyes there was a look he had not seen until the past few days. Withdrawn. Kynier was not sure what answer it was that she wanted to hear from him. If her preference was to stay or if it was to be able to leave.

If he were to make a guess… it was that Kelski wanted to turn and leave.

Since he had started on the project in the basement, there had been very little leisure time for him at the Midnight Gem. Progress was slow, much slower than he had anticipated when he first started. Everyday he made sure that he had spent at least a bell on it to keep it moving forward. Some nights he was very tired and forced himself to stay awake just to have a few chimes of interaction with the Sea Eagle. Yet this, right now, was already more interaction than they had had the past few nights. And it felt forced.

Kynier forced a fraction of a smile just to prevent from losing the habit of smiling when he saw her. After a moment of silence, he answered with a voice as soft as her own. “If you don’t have something you feel is more important, I could use some help.” He turned back to the kitchen counter and set the knife down to retrieve the clove of garlic and onions from his pack. Had he wanted any help? A chime ago it was the last thing he had wanted. But, he missed her and she had offered to at least be in his presence to assist him on something. Did he need the help? Most likely.

What he had wanted to say was no, but that he still wanted her to be nearby. The last few days of reflection had solidified the conclusion that part of the problem was him making her do things that were not what she had wanted. Kynier had told himself that he would not take away her ability to choose when he first learned that Kelski was free from slavery. Still, that was what he had done. So, he ignored what he had wanted to say so that she could have the choice to stay and help him, or to turn and leave.

With his back turned he would not be able to tell what her choice was initially. Kynier set another cutting board and knife out so that she could help chop if she chose to stay. “I, uh… was planning on making something different from my usual dishes tonight. A stew. One I thought would taste pretty good if we were to use the last of the fish that we still have in the pantry and add that to it.” The others would most likely not mind fish again. It had been a couple of nights since Kelski had cooked so it wasn’t as sequential as it had been last season. Kynier would not tell anyone, but more than half the reason he had chosen fish was because of how much Kelski liked it. This… whatever it was… that had been going on between them since their last conversation, was something he wanted to have end. A fish stew may not be noticed as an effort, but it was a small thing he could do to start repairing those holes.

Kynier picked up his knife again and was about to continue cutting the celery when he paused. He let the tip of the blade rest on the cutting board as he partially turned to Kelski, whether she had joined him at the counter or still stood at the kitchen’s edge. “There was,” he paused in his words. He was going to ask if he could ask a question, one that wasn’t related to magic. How could he let her know that without just asking it aloud right now? When he continued, it was in Makath. “There’s something… I wanted to ask you. It does not have to be right now. If you’re busy with something else, I understand. But if possible, would you mind if I asked it later tonight?”

As he waited for her answer, Kynier slowly continued to cut the celery stalks into bite-sized portions.
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on October 20th, 2018, 10:12 pm

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She dipped her head, finding her feet fascinating for a moment before she realized she still had on muddy boots. Kelski hopped up on one foot, pulling off one boot, then repeated the process with the other, taking the pair and siting them by the hearth as well. After the mud on them dried, she could brush them off the balcony and would have clean boots. She’d heard Kynier’s answer, of course, that he could use some help. She nodded, but his back was already towards her so there hadn’t been any real need of an answer. He continued speaking, bent over his work and not looking at her. Kelski made a face just because she could, and forced her feet to carry her over to the counter.

Fish stew sounded good. She’d hunted the fish a few days ago and they’d only ate half of the big fat river sturgeon, so she was glad they were going to use the rest of it before it went bad. The Kelvic had salted it of course, but that didn’t always guarantee it would stay fresh. She moved, finding herself in front of the cutting board he set out for her. But instead of picking up the knife and chopping something, she reached for the potatoes and started peeling them. It was a task most of the Midnight Gem folks disliked so she didn’t mind doing it. The act of removing the skins of the potatoes kept her hands as busy as her thoughts were. It was fine detailed work, something her hands knew how to do, and she did it carefully thoughtfully creating long strands of potato peels.

She watched the peels pile up and finally looked up, studying Kynier’s side profile. He began to speak, then switched languages. Kelski stilled her hands to listen, wondering why Makath? What he said, the way he said it, put her on her guard. Odds are she’d not make it to bed after dinner until late into the morning if even then. There would be no tonight. She’d been avoiding sleeping like she’d been avoiding other things, and she couldn’t see that changing anytime soon. Her workshop was full of projects that needed to be finished, but she’d taken the afternoon and part of the evening off to get a few errands ran and to deliver a few things she hadn’t even wanted Duncan to deliver.

Kelski glanced around, her sharp eyes looking for signs of a mouse or any other denizen that Kynier might not want to overhear him. “I’m not busy with anything. I’m peeling potatoes.” She said thoughtfully. Her response was more of a question as to why he was speaking Makath than anything else. More of a …. “Why are you asking permission to ask a question?” She didn’t realize she’d spoken aloud until the question was asked. Then she paused, shook her head, and said thoughtfully… “You can ask me things.” She said firmly. “Now, of course, or later if it would be better.” She answered in Common though, reserving the language of shadows for shadowy things.. for Akajia’s world.

Cooking together in The Gem was not that shadowy world, not really. Kelski wasn’t even sure she shared that shadowy world with Kynier, not anymore…. bound up in her emotions. He did his thing – spying for a master she didn’t know – and carrying out missions she wasn’t privilege too. So, the Nightstalker in her wandered, finding her own path, mostly in the dark. Kelski was slowly learning the city, its heartbeat, and some of its peoples. She’d been spending so much time alone – investigating things that struck her as unusual – and meeting new people that she wanted to meet. It was different for her… in so many ways. But it was starting to become her new normal. And she didn’t talk to Kynier about it… mainly because she wanted to feel what he felt keeping his own secrets close.

And so, she continued to peel potatoes, looking thoughtfully at the growing pile, not sure how many he really wanted. She periodically swept the peels away, adding it to the bucket that would be discarded alongside the gem where they were making soil through something called ‘composting’. The Midnight Gem itself had asked her to do it… interested in such things via its new landscaping hobby. Every day she turned the pile of scraps and waste, letting it breath, and watching it steam and break down.
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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kynier on October 21st, 2018, 12:05 am

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Small assurances. Kelski coming to the counter and picking up the potatoes, was a small assurance. That their relationship had not been so broken that they could not even prepare a meal in each other presence. As Kelski’s dark, pointed nails skinned the potatoes Kynier felt a small warming sensation within. It was small, but it was welcome. Though she held no smile for him.

In response to his question she had gazed around the kitchen and the places beyond suspiciously. The simple observation about how she was peeling potatoes would have been amusing enough to give him a laugh, were it not for the way she had said it. Kelski’s tone was firm. A tone that he had not heard her use for nearly two seasons. He thought on that for a moment in the following silence. That, and how to ask what it was that had been bothering him as a young Nightstalker. The more he thought on it, the less sure he was that she could understand, because she probably never experienced it herself.

When the last of the celery had been cut, Kynier lifted his cutting board and took it over to the huge pot. With the knife he slid all of it into the water, making sure that none fell off to the sides. Then he came back and took the first bulb onion and cut off the roots and leaves from the ends. He cut it half and set on half down on its new flat side. Kynier started cutting it down smaller beginning at one far side and working his way to the other. The smell of the onion made his mouth water. While he did not enjoy it enough to consume it on its own, he had found he enjoyed the meals that had included onion more than most of the other meals.

“Do you ever feel,” his voice was neutral and just loud enough for Kelski to easily hear him, “that all you’ve ever done is disappoint Akajia?” Kynier did not take his eyes away from his task to see her reaction to his question. Though the insides of his nostrils were beginning to tingle as he continued to cut the onion down to smaller pieces. The question sounded idiotic now that it had been spoken aloud. Kelski was Favored. Her faith was absolute and stronger than anything Kynier had ever set his faith in. After he had come to live at the Midnight Gem, Kynier had struggled to come to terms with a truth he knew. One that Kelski had never spoken aloud to him.

That Akajia would always come first. It seemed petty to be jealous of a divine being. But for a long time, he had been. Kynier did come to accept that. After all, he was only Human and Akajia was a goddess. What sort of comparison existed where things would be in his favor between the two. There was no comparison at all.

Kynier felt the need to elaborate for Kelski to be able to see why he would ask such a question. “Since before being marked, I’ve tried to unveil the mysteries that Sunberth keeps. That’s part of why I became a spy. The other part being that I had no steady means of income. When I became a Nighstalker, it felt more like the right place for me to be. It had already led me where She wanted me to be. But,” Kynier sniffed suddenly. His eyes were beginning to sting and water. He tried to blink them away only for the stinging to feel more intense. “I have not made any more progress in discovering the secrets behind that mysterious slab. No one is talking. The Daggerhand have reinforced themselves and are less active than before. And the vile doctor only provided more questions than answers.”

He stopped and stepped away from the counter. The aroma from cutting the onions had overwhelmed his tolerance. With his sleeve he rubbed at his eyes, groaning. “Gods.” Kynier took a few deep breaths and felt a little better. Eyes wet and running, he returned to the counter and continued to cut the onions. Kynier hated doing this. Not the cooking or the reaction to cutting the vegetable. Showing his weakness to Kelski. She used to look at him in a way that no one ever had before. It made him scared that he would fall short and disappoint her. Which was exactly what had happened. Now she saw him differently, and he was not as scared to show his weaknesses. However, he wasn’t any less ashamed of them.

“What I’m supposed to do, what she’s asked of me, isn’t truly difficult. And yet, I’m failing to get even that accomplished.” Kynier stopped and looked at Kelski for the first time since he had asked his question. “You’re Favored. What do you do when it feels like She no longer smiles on you?”


Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on October 21st, 2018, 1:20 am

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When the potatoes were done, Kelski quietly began chopping them into a bit bigger than bite sized chunks. She handled the knife expertly, not worried about her fingers and not really watching what she was doing. Instead, she was busy pretending things were okay and that Kynier was beside her laughing and that the room was filled with joy and the simple pleasures of being together. Such little fantasies were the sort of things that kept her going. It would have been better if Little Rhaus was playing a tune for them to work by or Ember was running around chasing her red ball. Ebon had been broody lately, so she visualized him in his night lion form working a particularly huge femur bone from a cow… that sort of thing relaxed him. Thus, she knew she could get through this… moment.

His actual question came as a surprise. She waited, as if he would explain, but he was silent a long time. She finished cutting the potatoes into the pieces she wanted and added them to the pot. Then she began to peel carrots. It seemed peeling was her duty tonight, so she took to it with gusto.

Was it a moment? Or was it a new normal? Kelski wasn’t sure. All she knew was that things weren’t right and hadn’t been for a while and she didn’t know why. “I don’t think in terms of whether I have disappointed Akajia or not. I understand I am not ever going to be on par to a Goddess and so I don’t try to be. We are different creatures with different natures. I constantly work to be better myself, improve my skills, and I feel like as long as I am doing that how could she be disappointed?” Kynier was always hard on himself. Kelski didn’t understand it, but she knew it was true. “She’s never been a person I have been afraid of. She’s been someone I love, admire, a mother figure.” Kelski said softly, knowing Kynier had parents and didn’t need those same things so he probably viewed Akajia differently… but how differently? “You had parents. So I can see how you wouldn’t see her as such. I call her The Night Mother a lot. It is not a common name of hers, but it is still one she accepts from me because she understands how much I love her through it.” Kelski said, looking at Kynier thoughtfully.

She started peeling her carrot again after a moment, then politely offered something she wasn’t sure Kynier would accept. “I would worry less about what Akajia thought of you and instead worry about what you thought of yourself. Then I’d keep adjusting yourself until you think of yourself as the best you can possible be in that moment. If you did something like that, how can Akajia ever have issues with you? Or how could any God or Goddess for that matter?” Kelski said thoughtfully. She had been learning recently there were more Goddesses and Gods about than she’d first realized and most of them deserved consideration. Duncan was sure free with his thoughts on Izurdin. And Ebon spoke often of Rak’keli. Kelski listened, learned, and her awareness expanded.

But there was more on Kynier’s mind. Kelski addressed that as well. “Maybe you are asking the wrong people, watching the wrong places… spying, you call it… incorrectly? The slab was open enough when I offered it comfort. It shared. It wanted to be heard. I saw how it was formed, gained its awareness, and its rejection by everyone around it. I saw it torn from its brethren and how it was cast into the sea… and how Stiletto and the Doctor torture it. It only wants love, understanding, and company…. It doesn’t want to do what they want it to do. It is so lonely, so trapped, and like you it doesn’t understand where it should be or even who it should be. It hurt you because it was defending itself; because so many people have hurt it. But you’ve never asked me about it. You probably hadn’t thought that it would reach out to a Kelvic.” Kelski said softly, her eyes haunted by the pain she felt from the slabs very existence. Kynier had exhibited such a heavy hand that day, automatically assuming it was hurting Kelski when it was only sharing itself with her. The Kelvic had never talked of that day, but instead had retreated into herself and not spoken about it to Kynier or anyone else. She hadn’t even wanted to bring it up. But she could feel Kynier’s pain, and it was almost tangible to her. So, she continued.

“You cannot discover anything if you aren’t willing to … get to know the people you are trying to learn about. If you were closer to the Daggerhands you might learn more about them. The same goes for The Doctor, though I have heard nothing good about him to get to know. You are so alone with yourself sometimes, Kynier. Sometimes the best way to get information is to reach out and to give information, be something to someone until they trust you enough to let down their guards. I don’t pretend to understand your work or what you do for your Master but shouldn’t you be doing something that makes you happy? Something you can grow with and not feel so overwhelmed by? Sunberth has been the way it is for a long long time. It might perhaps be a lifetime goal, especially for a human, to uncover this city’s secrets.” Kelski said thoughtfully.

His last comments surprised her. Akajia had asked Kynier to do something? And he hadn’t? Or he had disappointed her somehow? Kelski wasn’t sure. Kynier, in his usual fashion was being cryptic. She hadn’t known, but then again, they didn’t talk much these days. They shared only snippets of their lives together, existing in passing glances and sometimes shared sleep deep in the night. “I’ve never felt like she’s not smiling on me. But it has happened with others, Kynier, where they have been disappointed in me. And I understand that lost feeling. At first, I always blame myself and think that I have done something to disappoint or let them down. But always, as time passes, I realize more and more that it usually is never about me. It is about them. I think it is about me because I am the center of my world… but when someone looks at you and frowns, it doesn’t always mean you were the one to make them frown. Sometimes you are just a place their eyes settled as a thought crossed their mind. You must remember they are the center of their own world, and Akajia’s world is far bigger than ours can ever be or even bigger than we can understand as mortals. I would talk to her, ask her if you have disappointed her and if the answer is yes, simply ask how… and do better in the future to not do what you did in the past.” Kelski said softly.

“Our Dark Mother is not ever gone, vanished, or elsewhere. Among all the followers, we are lucky in that way. When Syna sets, she is all around us, Kynier. Even now, she is here, in this room and right outside and with the shadows and her marked. Don’t you understand that? To speak to her all you have to do is start talking. She will hear. Just as I would if someone started speaking to me… or you would… given that we wanted to hear and wanted to listen. And if you will listen, she will answer. Her answers might not be in words, but the answers will be there. They always have been.” Kelski said softly, her work peeling the carrots done. The strips of carrot skin were added to the compost bucket and she was busy chopping them into fine rounds that would add flavor to Kynier’s fish stew.

“Is… there anything I can do to help? I don’t exactly know how you think you have disappointed her, but maybe there’s something that can be done to correct that.” Kelski said softly, finishing the carrots, and looking around for something else to do. She added the rounds to the stew and took the cutting board to the sink to clean. She busied herself doing that while Kynier answered… or not.
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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kynier on October 21st, 2018, 4:14 am

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After a few of the onions had been sliced, Kynier set the sliced down flat and started to dice them into smaller pieces. Eyes continued to burn and water but it did not feel like it was going to get any worse, so he endured through it. If he did not like the flavor that onions provided he would’ve decided to never have them again for any other meal that he prepared. But it was a reflection of life. One had to face discomfort an tears on occasion if they wanted something they could enjoy later.

Kelski spoke about the differences between mortal and divine nature. Kynier never thought that he could reach a point where he could rival a god. That’s not what he had meant by disappointment. He did not interrupt her as she continued. Describing how she viewed Akajia as a mother, one that she loved. While it was true, Kynier had known his parent for a time and never saw anything as a replacement for them, except for perhaps his instructor, Bourin. But the old Eypharian had made not to quickly shatter that perception. All that contributed to Kynier’s envy of Kelski. How she could feel so closely connected to their goddess. It was too late for him to be able to view anything from that standpoint.

The fine cutting stopped as Kynier turned to look at Kelski when she commented on what had occurred with the mysterious slab. It had communicated with her? She never had said that, and he never thought to ask. When he had woken up he was too focused on the fact that she was safe and unharmed. She revealed that she knew far more about all of it than he did. Even how the Doctor had come to torture the artifact. Kynier broke his gaze away from her and stared down at the vegetables before continuing to cut them. Knowing only the little that she had revealed made him feel… worse. The scaring he had endured and the work he had done, all of it for nothing more than what she already knew. He could not even give further details to the knowledge she already had. So then… how could Akajia not be disappointed with him?

Kynier looked back to Kelski, “Why do you do that?” he asked with words gentler than he had spoken before. “Assuming that I think these things because you’re a Kelvic. As though that makes you something less than me. You’re a Kelvic, I’m a Human, Duncan is an Isur. But all of us are people, Kelski. That’s how I try to see everyone Kelski. As people.” He gave his head a small shake as he returned to the onions. “Many of the people with the most significant impact on my life were not Human,” he commented before continuing to chop.

It was hard, but he quieted his own thoughts to listen, really listen to what she was saying when she continued. In essence, he needed to become more involved. Less observation from a distance and interact with people. To build their trust in order to gain something. But trust was so hard to form and so easy to break. After all, that’s what had happened between them. If he had ever had that trust to begin with. But there were certain… creatures… that were not worth getting close to. Kynier had learned, that the Doctor was one of them. The man had a demented view on life. Claiming to be a Doctor and delivering unnecessary pain on others. And getting close to the Daggerhand? How was that possible without joining them?

The few onions he had endured chopping were added to the pot. Coming back to the counter, he separated two more onions from the pile and took the rest to the pantry for storage. Then he returned again to slice and dice the last two onions as Kelski commented on his last question. The knife moved slowly as he heard her words. About how there were unknown things to consider beyond our selfish viewpoints. That he should ask Akajia if she were disappointed in him. At that, his hand stopped again as he recalled his last encounter with the divine entity.

As Kelski padded around he thought on her offer to help. He wanted help so badly but had no idea what form it needed to take. She would not know either, because she didn’t know the source of it all. Kynier turned his head and looked down at Kelski’s feet as she washed her cutting board. Quietly, he set his knife down and turned to face Kelski with his hand resting on the counter. Cutting the onions had irritated his eyes and caused tears to line the rims. Through that, his eyes were sad as he recanted why he felt… why he knew… he was a disappointment of a Nightstalker.

“Feather,” he said feebly to get her attention. “It was late summer. The night after I had forced you to promise to not practice magic unless I was there. The night after, you told me about what had happened and that…” he took a deep steadying breath, “that your ability to bond felt broken.” Kynier looked beyond Kelski to the balcony outside and gestured at it with a hand. “I had stepped out there with so much on my mind. About what I could possibly do to fix your ability to Bond, so that we could.” His troubled eyes returned to hers. “I knew I needed to know more. More than what I could find in this city. So, I was prepared to send letters, begging, for assistance. Letters to the wizards of Lhavit, Zeltiva, and even to Bourin, whom I’d rather not speak to again. Asking for knowledge or books relating to Kelvics, their creation, and their bonds. That way I could have something in addition to what you and Ebon could tell me.”

“The problem with that plan was that I don’t know any wizards there. So then, I prayed to Akajia for guidance. If there were other Nightstalkers I could reach out to with access to what I needed to understand. And she came to me. Akajia appeared from the shadows,” he pointed at the balcony again, “just out there. She answered my prayer with metaphor. That my eyes were looking too far outward in too many directions. That I should instead, ‘peer into the eye of the storm itself’ to find my answers. And then she did something I did not ask for. She offered to answer one question truthfully.”

Kynier looked down at the counter and made a fist with his hand. One that he lightly thumped down on the counter it had been resting on. “There were so many selfish questions I wanted to ask. But instead, I picked the one question I had that was not about myself. One that I thought would assist me more in being a better follower to the goddess.” Kynier looked Kelski in the eye again. “I asked what it was that Akajia was searching for. And in my nervousness, I asked a second question rather immediately. I asked how I could help her. And She was silent for a long time. When She finally spoke again, She said that I had ‘squandered an opportunity’. That she expected me to be selfish and improve my own life rather than try to learn something that I ‘cannot understand’.”

“I heard her disappointment, Kelski.” He turned back to the counter and leaned on it with both his hands. “She then commented on how things were not progressing, that you were distracted, and if that things did not change she would assign someone else to the task.” For what felt like the longest chime, Kynier was silent. Now she knew. Kynier shook his head and continued softly, “I need so much help Kelski. And I don’t even know what form it needs to take. All I learned from the Doctor was that he tortured the stone, which confirmed my suspicions about it being alive. I do not even know why he did. Only that Stiletto had asked him to. The task Akajia had given me to prove my worth was to assist you in your efforts. For a season I had tried to uncover the secret and only have a fraction of what you learned in a single day. How does that not make me useless to Her?”

Kynier closed his eyes and a single tear began to fall. He turned his head away to conceal it and went to the pantry as though it had been his intention. In there, he wiped at his eyes and took the second half of the sturgeon from its place. He brought it out to the kitchen and set it on the counter. Then he realized that he still had the onions on the cutting board. Taking what he had cut, he added it to the pot before coming back to begin cutting the fish into edible pieces.

“She already knew, even when we didn’t. There’s nothing wrong with your Bond Kelski. The problem is in who it is you want to Bond to.” If she still wanted to Bond to him. Another question that plagued his mind. One he felt he knew the unfavorable answer to. He stopped for a tick to look at her meaningfully. “How can you Bond to a Human you don’t trust?” His tone wasn’t an accusation. It was a rhetorical fact. Kynier returned to cutting the fish.
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on October 21st, 2018, 9:59 am

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Like many of the recent times before when they had spoken, Kelski felt like Kynier never actually heard her. She’d told him to adjust his view of himself via his actions until he was something he was proud of and then everyone else would be as well. Akajia included. She’d asked how she could help, but he’d instead only said he needed help… but maybe not her help because he hadn’t responded to her question on how she could directly. He said nothing about her revelations about the slab. The Kelvic assumed because all her knowledge were things he already knew. Kelski swallowed and adverted her eyes, feeling stupid for even mentioning the slab though he’d brought it up.

She truthfully was no good at this.

He latched onto the one thing that Kelski wouldn’t have suspected he would have… her comment about being Kelvic. “Okay.” She said, making it a point to note he saw all the different races as people, not more or less. He’d said as much before, but Kelski never really believed him. She believed him now. It was the way he said it, with the gentle conviction that lacked bitterness or anger.

He continued cooking and looking over the soup, she decided they needed bread to go with it. Instead of standing useless, she gathered the ingredients that she’d need to make bread and put a small pot of water over the fire to heat. She took out yeast, flour, salt, and a bit of sugar, laying them all out on the counter to put together a simple loaf. She assumed Kynier’s stew would take a bit to come together so a simple bread that took a short time to make and a half hour or so to rise by the fire wouldn’t be unwelcome.

As Kynier softly said her name, she paused and turned to study him. He spoke of meeting Akajia on the balcony, of asking her questions and her speaking a metaphor. Kelski wasn’t sure what a metaphor was, but it was something she could research later rather than interrupt Kynier’s retelling. Kelski’s eyes widened at Kynier’s admission that Akajia had offered to answer a question for him. The Kelvics hands trembled causing the tiny kernels of yeast in the bottle to dance as she watched him.

Had she not answered his question then? Had the Night Mother just chastised him after making him a promise and left him feeling like this? Kelski was confused because this wasn’t the Akajia she knew. She knew a strong patient Mother that taught and admonished and above all never lied. Kelski wanted to ask him to clarify, to tell her if Akajia had answered his question. But Kynier was more focused on the emotions around the encounter than he was on any answer Akajia may nor may not have given him. And really, it wasn’t Kelski’s business. She had no right to ask. But his second question…. his second question was presumptuous. Did Kynier think he was on the same level as a Goddess and COULD help her? Kelski could only go on what Kynier said since she did not witness the exchange.

Kelski studied Kynier intently even as he turned away. She watched him walk to the pantry and thought about his question. Useless to Akajia? No… he wasn’t useless. But he was well on his way to being useless to himself. What did she say to that? There was no time to speak because Kynier was already moving on. He spoke of her bond and a potential bond they might share. And he asked a question, though it sounded more rhetorical than anything else. And then he didn’t say anything else… he simply went back to cutting fish.

Kelski was quiet for a long time, busy proofing her yeast and thinking on what Kynier had said. She measured out flour for the simple recipe, added in a touch of oil, and then mixed in the leavener and the yeast mixture, tossing a pinch of salt and a few spoons of sugar into the mix as well. Kelski stared at the mixture as she pushed it all together with her hands, slowly adding more and more water until her hands were making dough in the bowl.

Then she turned out the dough on a cleared off spot on the worktable they’d been chopping vegetables on and began to kneed it. She half watched the dough and half watched Kynier as she slowly began to speak.

“I didn’t know any of this… that you had talked to her and that you felt like that afterwards. I’m so sorry.” Kelski said softly, continuing to knead the dough, glancing up at him periodically. “Akajia often answers prayers in person. Have you spoken to her since? She’s not the type to hold grudges, Kynier, or dismiss someone as nothing just because they disappoint her. Surely she understood the pressure you were under standing before her for only your second time with the whole of her attention on you. Everyone gives her strength through their prayers and worship. You give her strength by simply offering prayer. Surely she won’t forget that. Nor will she forget you asked to help her instead of helping yourself?” Kelski said thoughtfully. Though something else occurred to her as well.

“Maybe she was offering you a kind of gift, Kynier. And by asking about her secrets and not asking something else, something you thought of as selfish, you were mocking or undervaluing her gift? Perhaps like a person that won’t accept a present.” Kelski whispered, folding the dough in on itself over and over, waiting for it to feel like stretchy and firm. It was getting there, but not quite ready.

“You may need help, but you sure don’t ask for it or act like it. You push people away and keep yourself private, Kynier. I doubt anyone would even recognize that you struggle. I did not know that.” Kelski said softly, pausing to look at him. “But I do know you shut people out, not sharing with them and forgetting how much easier a problem is if it is shared among friends.” The Kelvic said thoughtfully. “And it’s so sad because you live in a home with a whole bunch of people that would gladly help you if they knew how to or what you required.” Kelski said softly.

She pulled out a square baking pan, dumped a bit of oil in it and smoothed it around the pan with her fingers, and then rolled up the dough and slipped it into the pan. She covered it with a dish towel and let it rise, dusting off her hands.

She washed her hands, then turned to lean against the bench where Kynier had been cutting fish, and watched him a bit more. “I don’t know why I can’t bond with you, Kynier. I know I don’t completely trust you, and as I’ve told you before I know why that is. I think its because you’ve ordered me about so much, set such strict rules, and haven’t believed in me. It’s utterly destructive when you are told you won’t understand or won’t be safe. It’s hurtful when someone you love doesn’t believe in your ability to handle something maturely and sensibly. But I don’t want to have that argument again. We’ve had it, more than once, and nothing has changed. You’ve given me full permission to do what I want…. but the fact is you had no right to do that. You’ve never had the right to tell me what I can or can’t do, permissions or otherwise. I know you think your ‘requests’ come from a good place, but I’ve earned the right not to have any such things restrict me and I won’t. But this isn’t about me, this is about you. I want to help you, but I don’t know how… I don’t know what would be accepted or honored.” Kelski said with tone that brokered no argument.

“You didn’t say anything to what I said before…. But I’ll say it again. I think you are the only one that can fix yourself. You need to adjust your view of yourself via your own actions until you was something you are proud of and then everyone else will be as well. Akajia included. You seem more worried about what everyone else thinks about you rather than what you actually think of yourself. If you don’t like what you think of yourself, change it.” Kelski urged.

“Life isn’t a competition. It’s not who is better, more skilled, has nicer armor, or a better relationship with The Gods. Life is about change, moving forward, overcoming obstacles, and making mistakes. We’ve all been there… including myself. There are some days I can barely make it through them.” Kelski said softly. “But you sound like you are stuck in a very negative place and you need to break out of it. It sounds like Sunberth has its claws in you.” Kelski said gently, not accusing him, but trying to address the core of his issues.
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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kynier on October 22nd, 2018, 7:31 pm

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As Kelski began to make bread from scratch, Kynier was working on cutting the sturgeon into smaller pieces. He had seen others, mainly Kelski, prepare the fish for meals before. It was not frequent, but when he was home at the time that others cooked he would lean against the kitchen’s edge and watch. Mostly, it was when Kelski cooked as opposed to the others. Even if they didn’t exchange words a sense of calm would envelope him as comfortably as his cloak, just from watching her move. So, he did his best to mimic how he had seen her debone a fish.

It was a messy process. Kynier felt the bones through the knife periodically as he cut through the meat. Most, or perhaps only half, of the bones he was able to remove without discovering them by accident. The rest he had to remove with additional cuts with the knife. Kelksi had made a lot of progress with the bread by the time Kynier considered his work with the fish done. He set the fish bones aside for later disposal. The last time he had added bones to the compost pile it had attracted rats and brats. Not wanting to be the source of that sort of embarrassment again, the bones were set on a small plate that he had placed on the counter specifically for them.

Once the fish was added to the stew Kynier washed the knife and cutting board before setting them on the counter again. The clove of garlic was the last thing to add. Kynier cut the clove into smaller pieces before using the flat of the knife to crush them into as fine of a powder as he could. It was then that Kelski broke the silence. An apology for not knowing. How would she know when he did not tell her and tried to conceal how the encounter had affected him? “I… didn’t want to tell you,” he said quietly. “You used to look at me in a way that made me feel as though I could depose Syna and Leth from the sky. And I… I didn’t want you to lose that marvel in your eyes. And I thought if you knew then you would see me as… less…”

With the last of the garlic crushed, Kynier went over to the pot and brushed it in. “As the Human that I am.” Kynier set the lid on the pot with a soft clank. “That doesn’t seem to matter now,” he muttered to himself. Kneeling down, he willed his Djed to come forth and transmute to res. With it, he set the fire to begin cooking the stew. Not a hot blaze but a gentle fire hot enough to get the stew to simmer for a few bells to be ready in time for supper. As Kynier stood, Kelski spoke about how Akajia answered prayers. “No, I haven’t since that day,” he said without taking his eyes from the cooking fire.

Kelski spoke in a way Kynier expected. In a way that he needed. She offered assurances that her Night Mother knew his nervousness and understood why he had done what he’d done. Then she gave the comparison, though Kelski spoke so softly Kynier had to put all his attention on her to hear what she said. “I… never would have thought of it that way,” he admitted as he looked down at the fire again. Kynier took a mental step back, trying to leave all the emotion behind and relive the memory with that viewpoint. His hand rose to rest his fingertips where Akajia had set her hand on his face. He recalled the affection that had been infused with that touch. She had answered his prayer in a way that left him to discover it for himself. She also spoke about what was… anticipated for him. Thinking of all of that, she had given him so much and tried to give yet even more.

It was clearer to him now, though his conclusions were the same as before. That alone… made him feel better.

When Kynier returned to the counter, his movements were different. Not as slow or weighed down as they had been before. He washed the cutting board and knife once more before returning them to their rightful places. Then, he leaned against the counter as Kelski finished the bread and spoke about his remark about his needing help. It was one of those things where a person knew that about themself yet never realized until it was spoken aloud by someone else. Kynier would not deny any part of it. That was how he was accustomed to living and was a problem he knew he’d encounter living with others. A problem he knew of in advance and had still done nothing about, because he did not know how else to act while not feeling like he was being someone else entirely.

His eyes settled on Kelski’s shoulder when she finished speaking about his need for help yet being closed off from everyone. “All my life… I’ve had to be reclusive. In Sunberth, because I’m a mage. In Syliras, because Bourin was not favorably looked upon, though I did not discover that until later. In Nyka…” Kynier paused and looked down at the floor before him. The painful memories of a different life from long ago crept to the forefront of his mind. “In Nyka,” his voice was softer and barely louder than a whisper, “because even my parents rejected something about me. Told me that I should ignore it when…”


“Be Silent!”

Kynier abruptly closed his eyes as his head twitched partly away from Kelski. The voice had screamed in his head and it had caused him an instant of pain which was already dissipating. Opening his eyes, he let out a sigh. “Shutting people out… is a second nature for me. Somehow, I convince myself that I’m protecting everyone by carrying the weight myself.” It was poor reasoning, but it was the only way he had of justifying it. Or was he still letting his fear dictate his actions?

Then she spoke about the Bond. But it was less about the Bond and more on what he had done to deserve her ire. He did not want to have that argument again either. For in truth, he already knew that he was in the wrong and would only have excuses to offer. Spouting his reasoning would not make things any better between them. It would only cause them to fester in this state for longer. “I… didn’t intend for it to sound like permission,” he said weakly. “I only wanted to state that I would not stand in your way of whatever you decided to do.” He paused for a second as he recollected the words the had used then, trying to hear them from her perspective. “But… I understand why you see it that way. At least, I feel… that I understand.”

Kynier turned his head and looked down at the closer of Kelski’s hands. Gazing at the longer, sharper, dark nails that heavily contrasted the paleness of her skin. His heart beat nervously in his chest as he slid a hand slowly across the counter to meet hers. Fingers cautiously came in contact with her own before Kynier wrapped the hand around Kelski’s. The young Nightstalker’s thumb gently caressed Kelski’s knuckles as his fingers settled themselves around the inside of her palm. He gave her hand a squeeze. One filled with many different emotions that he wished she could understand just through his touch. That he was sorry. How he had missed her during the past fiveday. The appreciation to be able to still talk. “This,” he said softly, “has helped. This talk.” His hand gave hers an affectionate squeeze.

When Kelski mentioned that she would repeat what she had said, Kynier looked up into her eyes to listen. There were very few who’s opinion had mattered to him. Bourin’s, who Kynier had already broken away from. Then Akajia’s the moment they had found the altar deep in the Temple. But he was one of many followers. One of many unknown numbered of marked individuals. One that she had taken time to appear before to answer a prayer and offer even more. And Kelski’s, whose opinion, even the unspoken ones, had been the most important to him. Now she was telling him that those should not be the most important to hold.

That he should shape himself to who he wanted to be. The question became, what was it that he wanted to be?

Kynier considered her words for a long moment. If she had not withdrawn her hand from his, he would continue to gaze at it and caress her knuckles with his thumb. Otherwise he would turn his gaze on nothing in particular as he thought. “I understand what you're saying. The truth, Kelski, is that I’m tired of trying to fulfill the demands of others. Of Doler, the wizard I spy for, because I never gain enough knowledge to truly understand why I am sent to do the things he has me do for him. Of the Daggerhand Spymaster.” Kynier would turn his eyes upon her mercurial eyes again. “Her name’s Ashara,” he softly informed her. “The tasks she leaves are gradually becoming more difficult to accomplish. I may not be able to wait as long as I had intended to attempt to reverse the situation on her. I cannot expect to defeat her in combat, for she has already defeated me when I was armed, and she was not.”

“Of trying to understand what you want and need of me. It always feels as though I need you more than you need me. You give me a sense of belonging. A place to call home. Insight to what it is to love someone more than yourself.” Kynier turned his gaze away again. "Perhaps, living here has affected me more than I realized. I knew that I would end up making changes... compromises with myself... to try and accomplish what I wanted. It feels as though I've allowed myself to be distracted from those goals. And I didn't even realize it."

His thoughts returned to something else Kelski had said earlier. “You commented on doing something that makes me happy. The issue with that Kelski, is that I have no conventional skills. Nothing to be used to be a tradesman. My father was a tailor, and the profession never spoke to me. My mother was a midwife. Then I was Bourin’s apprentice and learned magic. But there’s no magic that I know that can be used to earn an income in…”

The pause came when an idea crossed his mind. One that he dwelled on for a few ticks. “Perhaps,” he said with an intrigued voice, “there is one form of magic that could be used. One that would help to make an improvement upon the city.” Kynier gave himself a mental shake and blinked as he broke himself away from that trail of thought. That was magic, and Kelski had expressed how she did not intend to delve in it. While he hoped to reconvince her, that was something he did not intend to do tonight. “That’s magic though,” he said with a dismissive tone, “and I’d rather not talk about that tonight.” He wanted to open and share his idea with Kelski. To understand what she thought of it. At the same time, he was appreciative that they were speaking to each other again. And he didn’t want to ruin that with more talk of magic.

He sighed as he thought of what else he could say in order for them to keep talking. After a moment, he chose to continue talking on what it was that had started the conversation. “Akajia told me other things as well when She appeared. That… I have served her for many lifetimes. Yet, this life, had been the most turbulent. That my purpose in this life is not to find and keep secrets, but to find and reveal. But I will also face things of legendary nature. And that I will need allies to help me to face those trails.”

“She also answered my first question. But for me to understand, She touched me and… imbued me with power. Though, once she took her hand away, that power was taken back and all I can remember is a phrase. And that it is important somehow to Akajia.”


Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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Kynier
Delves in Darkness
 
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Troubled Devotion (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on October 24th, 2018, 2:32 am

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Kelski slowly decided she wasn’t sorry that she’d offered to help and that he’d accepted. Even though The Sea Eagle had wanted to bolt at first, now she was glad she hadn’t. For some reason, tonight, the mood was different and they both seemed more at peace with each other than they usually were. Slowly, as they worked, she relaxed around him letting the tension ease off her body and some of the worry she almost always carried drift away. Kelski thought back to when she’d first met Kynier and how fascinated she’d been by him. She’d seen him just once and just known that he was for her. It was a hard feeling to describe – that sense of fate – and that a piece of her that had been long lost or always missing had been found. She thought bonding to him was all she ever wanted. And so many times it had tried to happen. Kelski remembered the feeling, like tendrils of her soul reaching out to him, wanting him, trying to wrap around his form. It had been instinct and necessity. Kelvics existed to serve. And yet Kynier needed no servant. It was a broken circle.

Kelski’s thoughts whirled in an infinite loot of want, need, and disappointment.

Regardless of what should be, what actually was reflected her new reality. Kynier stood there, completely willing, and she had no clue how to go about bonding with him since that reaching questing needy feeling had completely dissipated in her. It was something she rarely talked about, not at least to Kynier or the other Kelvics. As if it were a quiet shame…

She said nothing more about the bond. How could she? They’d said everything already, repeatedly, and it had solved nothing. But Kynier spoke and Kelski tilted her head. “And how do I look at you now?” She asked curiously, wondering what he saw in her silver eyes. “I know you better now, Kynier, and the man I thought you were before I knew you is so much more complex, so much stronger and passionate than I would have ever imagined. You are smart… so smart… that I envy your mind. How can I look at you any differently now than I did then unless it is to think that along with Syna and Leth you could also pluck Zintila’s stars from the sky?” Kelski said softly, not even looking at him. It was just words, simple words, perhaps even overly sugary, but she meant them.

It was odd how they were having this conversation over crafting a meal. They weren’t looking at each other and their hands were busy. But in a lot of ways their words were more plain spoken than they had been for a long time.

“You should pray more. Daily. It strengthens our Mother… giving her our words and our love. I pray to her often, so very often, mostly when I scout the city with my feathers in the very early morning when dawn is rising. I have started talking to other Gods too… Izurdin for Strength since Duncan has taught me some of him. And Semele, especially Semele… for she is the earth where my gemstones come from.” Kelski said softly, thoughtfully…. “I want to learn about the others like Akajia. My Night Mother is enough for me, but there is a power in knowing. Like sometimes I think we might be at war here in Sunberth and I wonder intently if there is a God or Goddess of War.” Kelski admitted, glancing at Kynier, wondering if she was speaking blasphemy for being twice marked by Akajia and curious of other Gods.

Kynier told her more of his life and Kelski listened quietly. Some of this she knew, some she didn’t. The stuff she had heard before she wanted to hear again… as many times as he wanted to tell it. Sometimes he let a little bit more slip, gave another detail he’d withheld before… more tantalizing tidbits of his life which she knew nothing about and couldn’t even envision. The Kelvic didn’t interrupt him nor did she divert him. He so rarely talked about himself like this and she was curious. She was cleaning up the flour spread around the counter, her hands continually moving, brushing crumbs and missed bits of vegetables off the surface with a towel in one hand and into her bare cupped hand. It gave the impression that he was almost talking to himself, letting his guard down… and something slipped out.

His parents rejected something about him.

Kelski tilted her head, noting the detail, but saying nothing. She saw Kynier flinch away from further detail and kept her hand moving cautiously. The Kelvic didn’t understand his physical reaction nor his abrupt change of topic to shutting people out. She almost smiled. Wasn’t that what he just did a breath ago? He followed the action by one of his typical explanations, but in Kelski’s mind it didn’t make it right. His ‘protection’ was often stifling and restrictive. He was bossy and, in many ways, only thought his way was the best way and wasn’t open to other paths.

He gave more explanations and justifications for his actions and she only nodded. Kynier was Kynier. But at least by saying what he said in the future if he were to discover she were continuing her studies without him he couldn’t be mad. No. He’d be mad. He’d shout and run down all the reasons why such an action was stupidity incarnate and would give example after example as to why she should have turned to him.

Would he be right? Kelski wasn’t sure.

The Kelvic blinked and stopped her pretend cleaning – since the counter had long since become clean – as Kynier took her hand. He was so rarely physically affectionate like this. Even the pressure, as welcome as it was, came as a surprise to her. He’d hold her close in the darkness of night, but in many ways, he was uncomfortable with physical affection openly shown – especially to himself. If Kelski could have gotten away with it, half the time they gathered in the Great Room she’d be curled up in his lap much like Ember sometimes did with her. She’d touch him every minute of every day if he’d let her, but more often than not she felt that he didn’t welcome the attention. And oddly, she didn’t feel like it was a rejection of her. It felt more like he felt he wasn’t deserving of love.

The Sea Eagle nodded at his words, about their talking, uncertain how this talk was different than their other ones were. She quietly contemplated the whole thing for a moment. Kynier was thinking hard himself. Maybe something she said, something about him having to mold himself to a view of himself he found worthy, had gotten through. She gripped his hand like it was a life preserver and then leaned forward to nuzzle his shoulder, nibbling it gently as if she were preening her own feathers. Kelski wondered if he knew how safe she felt next to him. He was tall, strong, and his scent filled her with calm.

The Kelvic blinked back tears, uncertain where they were coming from. It was Kynier’s words about being tired of living for the demands of others that caused the reaction, she supposed. He’d purposely made himself a slave to their whims, putting their needs before his own and in the process, he’d lost parts of himself. She understood it more than he would ever know, having never worn a physical collar like she had. But he was even now owned as she had been, and was just starting to realize it. Kelski remembered when she’d begged him not to give in to the Daggerhands blackmail… that they’d deal with the threats when and if they manifested themselves. Yet he’d let this woman, this Ashara, control him. Was she Kynier’s version of Darvin? Kelski didn’t know. She was afraid to ask because this was more information than he’d ever given her before and she was afraid he’d clam up.

Wait. What? He was trying to understand what she needed from him? Kelski made no demands of Kynier on purpose. She set no boundaries save the one she’d set during this conversation about him having no rights to make demands of her. She gave him absolute freedom, which was no less than what she wanted from him. But that didn’t mean she didn’t need him. Sometimes such things couldn’t be quantified. Would she survive without him? Certainly. She’d survived other things. But would she be happy? No. Absolutely not.

Then Kelski gritted her teeth, her mind still on what Kynier said about what she needed from him, even as he switched topics to magic. She pulled away, rinsed out her towel in the sink, and then folded it and refolded it to hang by the hearth where it would dry. She reminded herself Kynier _was_ magic. His whole life was magic. And it was ironic because as he worried he’d always take second place to Akajia in Kelski’s life, Kelski knew she always would take second place to his magic in his life. Her hands clenched in frustration. She didn’t want him NOT to talk about magic. She wanted him to stop dropping half bits of information and dismissing her choice to either want to talk further about it or reject it. Kynier made decisions for her… especially in regards to magic. And she could all but see him slamming the door shut on sharing his idea with her.

It was the exact reason she avoided some sorts of conversations with him. He drove the part of her that was very much a Nightstalker crazy.

Akajia.

Kelski saw what he was doing immediately and buried her frustration and exasperation deep. She nodded at his revelations as if they were interesting. They weren’t. The man was dense sometimes… blinded by his own brilliant mind. All her Nightstalkers served her over and over again, and Kelski was certain the shadows were Nightstalkers resting, waiting, or gathering information in another way all still in servitude. Not slavery. Servitude. She’d never met a shadow that didn’t love Akajia as much as she did. Kynier was the only Nightstalker she’d ever met that doubted things.

Well… to be fair he was the only other Nightstalker she knew. But Kelski was CERTAIN they all loved Akajia. How could they not? Looking into her warm night-dark eyes was all one needed for reassurances. And yet he talked as if all this were new, life changing, and revealing.

“Of course you will face legendary things. Mages live legendary lives. You are a mage.” She said, as if that made all the sense in the world or if she were talking to a small child. “It is the path you choose and its no one’s fault but your own because of your obsession with magic.” Kelski added, retreating even further, angry suddenly and trying not to show it and not understanding why she was. He told her of the answer to his question. He told her Akajia had told him a phrase. Yet, in typical Kynier fashion he withheld the phrase. And Kelski was too proud to ask. Just like she wouldn’t ask about the magic that he wanted to use to change the city and help it be better.

The man was… frustrating. He was ever so frustrating and the Sea Eagle wanted to hiss her displeasure bird-like to his face.

She settled for taking the small hand axe that rested by the pile of firewood by the heart and kneeling next to it and roughly breaking some of the larger chunks of wood and splitting them into smaller pieces so she could feed the fire slowly, keeping the inside of The Gem warm. It gave her something to hit without hitting him. She set the already quartered chunks of wood upright and brought the hand axe down on them driving it in hard enough to get blade deep, then with a twist she separated the pieces before doing it two more times, making quarters. Kelski created a small pile of thinner wood that would allow the fire to pick up and burn lighter but longer than a heavy piece of wood would.

“You wonder what I want and need from you, Kynier… and you’ve said what I provide to you. But you’ve never told me what you actually want from me. You don’t talk of the future except in cryptic ideas that you never fully manifest in your talking. I never know what to think of your ideas because I never know what they really are. You often… share without sharing.” Kelski admitted, glancing up at him and letting the frustration show across her face.

“I’ve liked this talk, but I find that I’m walking away no wiser than I walked into it.” She said softly. “Magics to help the city? Akajia’s secret phrase? Why do you tell me these things only to not tell me? Are you deliberately trying to drive me insane? To one Nightstalker to another… don’t share unless you are going to share. Okay?” Kelski said, the actions of her suddenly going at the firewood with an axe in a frustrated matter making more sense as her frustration was apparent.

She didn’t storm out frustrated, but she wanted too. Kelski shook her head and glanced at him. “I don’t need anything from you so you can stop trying to guess at the list. What I want from you is love, trust, understanding, friendship, companionship, equality, and someone to stand by that shares my ideals. It’s not big secret.” The Kelvic said gently. Her attention to the wood had pulled her ombre hair out of its well-tended braid and it sprawled loose framing her face. She brushed it back out of her eyes, still on her knees by the hearth. She shook her head, rose smoothly, and glanced around at what else needed to be done.

She grabbed at the broom and began to sweep. It was her day to do the chore and she’d make sure she was getting everything done.
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
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Kelski
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