Closed A Place to Belong [The Midnight Gem]

After leaving the Dust Bed, Anja goes to Kelski for advice. Is there a better place to call home?

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A Place to Belong [The Midnight Gem]

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on February 19th, 2019, 9:30 pm

Anja paused in front of the shrine to Dira, gently extending his hand to brush up against the hanging jackal skull. Cool, white bone met the man's fingertips and his mind wandered even as he listened to the words passing through Kelski's lips. Incense. They were bound to carry some at market somewhere. He hadn't had a chance to give reverence to Dira in any way aside from his usual ghost hunter duties. Something more tangible would be comforting.

“To tell you the truth Kelski, I'm very surprised you don't know much of children,” Anja said, casting a brief, wry glance over his shoulder. “You're very nurturing. Not just to the Gem, but to those who need your help.” He turned around a looked at her, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “No one really knows how to be a parent Kelski. We all just pretend we know what we're doing and hope it works out. I'm sure you're doing the best with the Gem. Your heart is in the right place. As long as the love is there, I'm sure the Gem will turn out to be magnificent.”

The smile faded as Kelski spoke of her lack of skill in magic. As troubling as those words were, it troubled him far more for Kynier to try to forbid her from it. She wasn't a child. Who was he to command her to do anything? Anja had been raised by the Drykas’ patriarchal perspective, but the Spiritist's independent Sverfra wife has beaten many of those notions quite soundly out of Anja's head by the time of her death. Even if Kynier and Kelski had been properly married, the matter would not have sat right with Anja. Anja chewed on the thought for a moment before speaking carefully. “Talent is a pursued interest,” he said haltingly. “If you are not good at something, it only means that you have not practiced it enough. You did not emerged from your mother's womb a brillant jewelcrafter, did you? You took time to learn, and practice the things you learned. Magic is the same way.” He smiled at her gently. “We could always try to learn together. I think Spiritism is different from the magic you use with the Gem, but perhaps we can find similarities.”

Anja listened further as Kelski described the way that she communicated with the Gem, nodding thoughtfully and exploring his room, gently touching the fabrics, blankets, and each and every corner of his unusual little room. His explorations turned him in a slow circle until he finally halted back before Kelski. “I'd be happy to learn from you. You won't get any better at teaching if you don't practice. I can help you out if things get bumpy.”

Anja gave Kelski an intrigued look as she beckoned for him to follow her, but he took her lead all the same, heading past the tent flap and back into the interior of the Gem. The kelvic led Anja through the building, and the pair finally stopped within Kelski's bedroom. And he stared about in wonder. The interior of the room was brilliant, like the brightest of gemstones. “Amethyst,” he said, and laughed. “This is extraordinary.”

Sayeth and Battle had made their way into the room at some time during Anja's tour and had snuck into Kelski's bed, where they were now fast asleep, curled into small balls of fur. Anja shot his kelvic friend an apologetic look, and gently touched the tops of the pup's backs. They stirred and yawned, glancing up at him sleepily. “There are better places for you to sleep you know,” the Drykas said sternly. Battle grumbled and stretched, hopping off the bed, but Sayeth simply gave Anja a blank look before curling back up again. The Drykas sighed and lifted the black pup into his arms, where he hardly stirred.

Anja followed Kelski again, this time with Battle padding sleepily at his heels and with Sayeth held gently in his arms. As the kelvic settled down next to the low burning fire, Anja took up sitting beside his friend. Sayeth dozed peacefully in Anja's lap, and Battle settled down at Anja's back before rapidly falling into sleep once more. The embers warmed the room and the Eiyon turned and looked into the flickering flames. When Kelski spoke, and Anja took in her expression he could see the hopefulness and expectation reflected in her cool grey eyes.

“I think we could be happy here,” Anja said. His hand lightly rested on Sayeth's back and the pup stirred for a moment in sleep before falling still. Anja watched the rise and fall of the pup's chest and felt the tiny beat of the dog's heart through his skin. “Your offer is...far beyond anything I could have dreamed of, Kelski.” Anja ran his rough fingers through the fur behind Sayeth's ears and listened to the little dog mumble in his sleep.

“It's difficult for me to articulate but...if it were just me I would be content anywhere. But it's different now that I have two young and innocent souls to care for...and of course Maisa, though she is neither young nor innocent.” Anja felt Battle's breaths against the small of his back. “Your home is beautiful Kelski. The Gem is strange and wonderful, and I'm honored for the chance to live here and learn more about her. And you.” Anja smiled faintly and moved his quiet blue eyes from Sayeth to Kelski. “Thank you,” he said simply. “Truly. I will do everything in my power to keep this place and the people within it safe.”
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A Place to Belong [The Midnight Gem]

Postby Kelski on February 23rd, 2019, 10:35 pm

Kelski was truly surprised at Anja’s assessment about her being nurturing. She got really quiet for a moment, not responding right away. Then she took a breath and said very quietly….”I had nothing as a child. I was sold into slavery still in my swaddling cloths and there was never anyone to hold me or wipe my tears. There was no hope. My life was a narrow little place of hard work and paying my Master’s debts with my body as a child. I… don’t understand human children. But I understand loneliness, hunger of the body and soul, and other things that fall into that scope. Kindness, compassion, and even understanding have as much place in this world as violence and death. Life is to short to not be inclusive.” Kelski said soflty.

“All I’ve wanted my whole life is a safe warm place that was filled with love. I think that’s what other people want too. That’s even what The Midnight Gem wants. It’s… what we all deserve.” Kelski finished. She didn’t know how to tell Anja she gave others what she herself lacked because in a way it filled up parts of herself that were otherwise empty. She fought to protect them for the same reason.

Slightly embarrassed she turned away. The talk got darker and the tour expanded out. When Anja asked her about being born a brilliant jewelcrafter, she simply laughed and shook her head. “No, no of course not. I was afraid of daggers too… for the longest time. I didn’t want to be cut. Now they are like old friends.” Kelski answered, offering him a grin. “I’d like that… learning together. I learn best with use… with doing… not just talking about it.” Kynier had been the one to do magic, not her… not really. He’d talk about it, willing to answer her questions, but that wasn’t how she learned.

She learned by repetitive failures until she learned how not to fail. The thought made her laugh and she grinned at Anja. “I learn best by screwing everything up repeatedly until I can compensate and get it right.” She answered honestly. “Kelvics truthfully aren’t much good at a lot of things besides hunting or guarding unless its part of our animal nature. We have to work twice as hard as a to figure certain things out that come easy to humans.” Kelski said ruefully. Then she shrugged.

It didn’t matter how hard she worked. She’d accomplish things anyhow… just to spite humans.

“I need to get to a place where its safe to show you what I know… but that should be soon and I’ll be glad to show you what I know when I’m ready to move forward. I won’t hold you back and I won’t tell you know. I’ll just show you what it is that I know and let you make your own decisions. If you want to show me anything in return, I’d love to learn. I am going to learn new things for the whole of my life. If you do not, that is okay too. If anything happens to me, The Gem will needs someone to be here that will understand its needs.” Kelski said softly, knowing it was more than true.

She was glad Anja liked his room and then liked hers as well. The puppies were on the bed and Kelski did not mind one bit. “Anja, they are pups. They can sleep wherever they get tired and feel safe. I do not mind. Half the time Ember and Ebon are in here too. It probably smells good to them… like Kelvics.” Kelski grinned, throwing Anja a smile that showed him she thought the pups had good taste. “They are free to wander here they will and if they have accidents, its because they are young. It’s not a thing to worry about.” She assured him, knowing he was conscious of where they went and what they did for more reason than she was.

“I hope you are happy here. I hope you feel like this is your home… invite who you’d like to come visit… do what you need to do to feel normal here. But help protect us as well. With a sword, a spell, some of your ghost beats… whatever it takes. We… need to be a family away from family.” Kelski said softly. Then she reached out and gave Anja and the pups in his arms a hug.

“You and all yours are welcome. I already love Maisa and Moth leans on her so badly. He needs his friend. Now… how about we all get some sleep. I’ll wake you up in the morning and we can talk further or maybe go for a ride or something.” Kelski yawned, tired suddenly. “Its been a long day and its getting late. We’ll deal with your Nuit problem too. That can definitely happen. But for right now, lets settle, get some rest, and move forward. Luckily we have a tomorrow to make more plans. I’ll see you at breakfast!” The Kelvic said softly, gave the pups a wave, and headed back towards her room.

Anja definitely was going to settle in fine, and he seemed to have no other needs than needing some downtime to relax and tell himself everything was going to be fine. He could do that here, but that would require some alone time to do so. Kelski realized that.
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