[Featured thread] [Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

A familiar encounter in a different place.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Baelin Holt on August 7th, 2019, 3:12 am

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2, Summer 519 AV

There should be hot springs everywhere. Really. Everywhere. Stuck in a city? You get a hot spring. Live in the desert? Have a hot spring. Frozen icecap? Oh you definitely needed a hot spring. Baelin was absolutely convinced: Everywhere. Needed. Hot springs. The best part about leaving Black Rock―hands down―has been the discovery of the amazing, magnificent, glorious hot springs in almost every other place he’s lived in.

Baelin groaned and sank deeper under the warm water, luxuriating as it soaked into too-tense muscle, slowing settling into the many aches from his long trek. He didn’t even care that there were other shifty Sunberth natives around him. Let them stab him for all he cared; dying in a hot spring had to be the best way to go.

But even with the supposedly stab-happy anarchists around… It was weird. He felt relatively safe. Safer than he’d felt anywhere else since…well, as far back as Syliras, probably. Maybe it was the water. Or maybe it was the charming older couple that ran the place; they had some kind of quality about them that took a bit of the edge out of him. Whatever the case, Baelin was fully appreciating the loose easiness of relaxing his guard and enjoying the heat.

He flexed his foot under the water, spreading and curling his toes as he rolled his foot up and down. There was a small splash off to his left where he knew the turtles were―accompanied by a child’s happy giggle―and Baelin could already feel his semi-permanent scowl soften.

Yeah, hot springs should definitely be everywhere. Somebody needed to get on that back in the isle of the dead.

Now that he’d been soaking for a while, he figured his skin was soft and yielding enough to let him work on a few soon-to-be scales. There were spots on his thigh, hip, and back that had the telltale itch of a growing scale and he’d be damned if he let them surface.

Baelin rubbed his finger against the spot on his thigh, feeling along the slightly raised ridge. He got an idea of where the edges were and pinched around it. Kneading the squeezed area, he worked it until he could feel the growing scale pushed close to the surface. Holding it there, he scratched with his free hand until a corner broke free. Baelin moved quickly, shifting to get that little bit of edge pinched between two fingers and then yanked.

The scale resisted for a moment. But the skin was soft and yielding after such a long, warm soak and the scale came loose without much effort. Baelin tugged it through the small slit and breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally free. The spot bled a little, but the water did just as good a job at carrying the tendril of dark fluid away as it did at easing his tension.

Baelin took only the briefest of moments to look at the small, translucent abomination before he flicked it away. One less foreign thing in his body to worry about. He was just about to begin working on the one in his hip when he realized someone had come close. He’d been so absorbed in the task of pulling the scale out that he hadn’t even noticed their approach. Squaring his shoulders and bracing for anything, Baelin turned to see who or what had come over.
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Firenze on August 7th, 2019, 10:45 pm

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She grabbed the blue and white towel, flipping it over her shoulder, shoes slid along the floor as she kicked them off. Toes curled along the lip of the shoe to help pull them. It had been a long day, her hair was ratty and sticking out in almost every direction possible. She was pretty sure there were still bits of stick and rubble stuck in the tangle of her blonde halo.

Only a few weeks prior she had decided, in frustration, after having gotten her long mane wrapped in a bramble bush, that she’d take her small dagger to it. Fingers ran through the dirty pieces in remembrance, and to also try to comb out some of the mess. Once where her fingers would flow through the golden waves they now came to an abrupt end between her ears and shoulders, the ends jaggedly cut.

It was interesting, in the time that had followed that incident her hair took on a soft curl, although it was less noticeable at the present moment. Her day had become a long one as she’d chased a small weasel into a hole near some large tree roots and bushes. The hunt had proved fruitful but messy. Streaks of dried dirt marred her skin. When taking her tunic off sand and earth had fallen at her feet.

Stuffing the rest of her things in her pack she tucked it near a rock and grabbed her bathing items. There were a few bodies near and in the common pool. She had bathed here plenty of times. Her focus was getting into the water, getting clean, and then home to bed. It was only after she was a few ticks away from the edge that she caught a familiar sight.

Her eyes had flicked briefly around only in a feign interest; and to note how many people were in the area, male or female, etc. Fire had done a double take at the dark tousle of hair on the opposite end. Mentally shaking herself she thought, Huh. They look familiar. She noticed the broody eyes and strong physic tickled a memory at the edge of her mind, but she let it wash away as she sank into the waters.

Soft tendrils of steam rose from the surface licking gently at her skin. It was exactly what she wanted after her adventures of the day. As she went back through the events of chasing the animal, her hands mindlessly scrubbed the roughly made soap against her skin, her eyes wandered back to the vaguely familiar face.

Unaware of staring, she let her thoughts race and trickle out with the rivulets of water running down her skin. With a dip of her head below the surface, the hot water felt as though it burned against the sun-reddened skin of her cheeks. The pain eased as she came back up for air and ran a hand over her face. Her roughly cut hair tickled the back of her neck.

As she worked a lather into the soap in her hands, to cleanse the dirty tendrils plastered to her skull, something in her mind tugged at her from the dark corners. She was sure that she knew him from somewhere. Those eyes. The dark pools that sat on either side of a nose she was sure had probably been broken before. The serious line of his mouth.

In the study of him, she'd let herself stare again. It was rude of her, but it wasn’t something that crossed her mind when it came to something she was curious about. Like with most things that caught her attention.

Thin fingers worked the lather into a soapy afro. It was then that she noticed her satchel next to the fat rock was behind the man. Perhaps that could give her an opportunity to talk to him. Find out if she knew who he was. Sinking below the surface quickly she rinsed the same soap used to scrub her body from her mane.

Finished with her tasks, she pulled herself from the pool and wrapped her linen towel around and tucked it to hold. With her few bathing items tucked under an arm she walked over to the rock behind the man bathing. Wet feet slapped against the surface around the common bathing area and her soap attempted an escape from under her elbow. It slid in a bubbly trail along the ground towards the edge and with a soft plonk tipped over into the edge of the water.
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Baelin Holt on August 8th, 2019, 6:09 pm

To Baelin’s relief, whoever it was looked to be busy. With her bathing supplies haphazardly tucked under an arm, the lithe woman headed straight to a satchel. Baelin’s paranoia eased up a bit and he relaxed back into the water, satisfied that her business was with her own belongings and not him.

He was about to turn back and resume work on the flake growing in his hip when the woman’s soap slipped out of her hold. Baelin watched as the little bar made a daring escape, sliding farther from the woman on its mad dash to freedom.

Baelin had been sure that the soap would come to a stop before reaching the spring’s edge. But the bar proved to be the little thing that could, pushing its frothing route all the way to the edge and then―with a near magnificent burst of energy, courtesy of the little bit of water slicking the spring’s edge―the soap dove right in.

Without thinking, Baelin dunked under the water to fetch the slippery escape artist. He groped blindly for a moment, fingers scraping against stone, before his thumb knocked into the softer structure. It slipped away from him, but not far enough. Reaching a bit further, he could feel the solid grip of his fingers finally wrapping around its form.

Baelin surfaced and blinked water out of his eyes, pausing only long enough to check that he indeed was holding soap and not something else before pushing further to his full height. The breeze past his torso was almost cold after so long submerged―Sunberth summer or no―and he took in a reflexive breath at the chill.

Prize in hand, he made to return it to the woman. It wasn’t until then that he actually registered what she really looked like. Flint to a dull day, he thought on a strange impulse. Like an old memory tickling the back of his mind, teasing him with his inability to place it.

An almost ethereal mix of large and small, blended together in a way that somehow enhanced and emboldened the contrasting features. A petite nose nestled between high cheekbones, a small chin contrasted with engaging eyes, long legs with a slight frame. Baelin was having the most insane sense of déjà vu. He’s seen this before, he’s sure of it.

It wasn’t until he held up the bar of soap that he was convinced. It absolutely felt like he’d been here before. In this very spring. Exchanging a wayward bar of soap with this woman who somehow reminded him of burning coals. He had no idea why she reminded him of burning coals. And he knew that he’d never been to these springs before in his life… But he was still so sure that he’d been here before, with this woman, exchanging a bar of soap.

His memory refused to cooperate and he was left idling in his confusion. Brow scrunched, lips downturned, eyes narrowed―his face screwed up as wheels rolled in his mind to no fruition. For the life of him, he couldn’t place her.

Before he could think to stop himself, two words slipped out: “Do I…” He let the question trail off, only then able to remind himself that he was in a city he’d never been in before with people renowned for their lawlessness. Asking people do I know you seemed like as good a way as any to put a target on your back. Switching gears, Baelin held the soap out and offered, “Here.”
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Firenze on August 16th, 2019, 3:39 pm

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Turning her honey gaze, she stared at the spot where the soap had run off to. A man stood in the water, the buzzing distant memory rumbling around at the edges of her mind. The short jagged blonde hair tickled her shoulder when her head snapped around. Her body following the direction of her head to chase the bubbly escape artist.

As soon as she began to move toward the edge of the water she just as quickly stopped. The man she’d glanced earlier had begun to dip below the surface of the warm liquid, the thick hair moving fluidly under the water as he made it way to the bottom.

The water was clear enough at the spring from the constantly moving water being fed that she could see him dip his large frame under the surface in chase of the bar of slippery soap. Slick muscles moved as he pushed toward the bottom and she stood and gawked, still trying to put a finger on the dim memory. As she watched him break surface, her eyes squinted, partly in concentration of trying to catch the nagging thought, and partly due to the warm sun rays gleaming down. A quick notation of the temperature of the water wasn’t much different than the temperature of the air came as soon as it went. She stood barefoot in her towel, short locks almost dried, her gaze following the water as it dripped back to the surface off dark hair. His eyes opened and she met his briefly, the dark pools daring to tug the thread of her memory to the front of her mind.

Almost at the same moment that he began to speak she had stepped forward and begin to speak, “I think we-” cutting herself short she began to apologize, “- oh, sorry.” She watched as he reached out the culprit grasped firmly in roughened hands. She took hold with both hands, as though it were a squirming puppy waiting for a moment to escape. Giving a small smile, a brief flash of teeth, she paused unsure of what to do next. Should she join him or leave?

Fire decided to stay for a moment, not wanting to be rude. Tucking the soap into the fold of her clothes, she reached out a hand as she had been taught to greet at Touchy Subject. “Thank you for fetching my soap. I’m Firenze.” She wasn’t sure if he’d be one to want to shake hands but thought it was polite none the less. If he did she would give him another smile and ask after his name. But if he didn’t then she would tuck in back with her things and still ask any way. She was curious about the familiar face and was hoping that if he could catch his name if that would help to remind her if she’d met the man. The more she gazed, the more feeling of deja vu struck her.
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Baelin Holt on August 16th, 2019, 8:57 pm

Their words caught on each other and she backed off just as quick as he. The corner of his mouth twitched, a hint of a smile threatening to break free. Baelin smoothed it back down and obliged to stand still as she extracted her soap. Two-handed, with slender fingers…

His own work-roughened fingers mindful of her slender ones, determined to not let the soap slip again. Small scars on her hands. Marred skin of her wrists. Large swatches of healing bruises. It hit him like an unexpected jolt. Warm water and steam. Refuge after a heavy snowfall. It had been a hot spring, yes, but not one out in the open under Syna. It’d been the chambered Soothing Waters in Syliras. Baelin was sure of it.

Her words jarred him back to the present, pulling him from the old memory. A thank you and a name: Firenze. A name like fire. Flint to a dull day.

Baelin was absolutely sure of it. He’d met this woman before, back in the Syliran hot spring. And while what little he could recall may have been foggy, it was a fond recollection. He must have liked her. That was an unusual enough thing in its own right.

His little “aha” moment distracted him enough that it took him a full tick to realize that her hand was extended. Feeling like an idiot, he quickly moved to clasp it. “Baelin,” he murmured, his attention fixed on her hand. Not the best with eye contact on the best of days, there was little chance of him looking up on his own accord as he chased the memory of slender fingers and marred hands. She had the same small scars lining her hands, just as he remembered. The fierce bruising was thankfully gone, however…

Baelin turned her hand over and frowned at the sight of faint scarring around her wrists. Had she been scarred like this the last time he’d seen her? Baelin thought it’d just been bruises, but he supposed he couldn’t be sure. His expression pinched as a twinge of something unpleasant twisted his stomach.

He squashed the feeling, smoothed his face back into a blank mask, and dropped her hand. He shouldn’t pry like that, he was overstepping.

Still. It was nice to see a familiar face. Especially one that tugged on an old, fond feeling. It’d been years since he’d felt anything of the sort. Ravok had, at its best, been indifferent to him. If she was a local, maybe he could fish out the lay of the land from her. It’d likely be safer asking her than any other random he could approach.

“Are you from here?” As he spoke, he realized that he was still staring fixedly at her wrist. Annoyed with himself, Baelin wrenched his gaze back up to meet hers.
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Firenze on September 27th, 2019, 10:46 pm

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It took a brief moment but he’d finally taken her hand. His skin was smooth and yet rough at the same time. His palm felt calloused. There were faint markings on his skin in an interesting red welted pattern. Glancing to his face, she noticed that he didn’t look back at her. As she was watching him, she noticed that he was inspecting her as well. Her faded scars marking times that she’d like to have forgotten. A small frown formed on her lips as the memories flashed for just a brief moment in her mind. Times of being dragged all over, from city to city. She was happy to be back in a place that felt and smelled familiar. Despite the change that she’d noticed within herself since she’d last been here, it made her calmer than she could’ve hoped for; despite Sunberth being a city of lawlessness.

As she had the brief thoughts, the man seemed to have been trapped in his own, he released his grip and she let her arm fall to her side. As she had thought about the smells, and stench, of Sunberth it hit her that the smell of the man across from her seemed very familiar. She knew she knew him, but still couldn’t remember from where. Firenze wanted to stick around and see if she talked to him long enough if she could determine how she knew him.

He asked her a question and she shook herself mentally.

“Originally, yes. I grew up not far from here in the Sunset Quarters Orphanage.” Shifting the items in her arms, the weight reminding her that she was still walking around in a wrapped towel and not much else. She didn’t really mind that much, nudity hadn’t ever really bothered her but she wasn’t sure if it would make her new friend uneasy. Shrugging mentally she figured if it bothered him he would say so.

She sat the items on the ground nearby, moved closer back toward the edge of the spring and sat down, her feet dangling into the hot water. If they were going to have a conversation Fire wanted to be on a more even playing field, she’s sure that was at least the most courteous thing to do; talk face to face instead of looking down at someone.

“I know the area pretty well, I used to hunt in the forest nearby. Well, I still hunt there but… it’s where I learned to hunt.” She gave him a soft smile. “It’s probably one of my favorite places to be around here. There’s a stream near that is really nice to cool off in in the summers…” she continued to ramble about the outskirts of the city for a while, describing her adventures from what seemed ages ago, despite only being a few years prior. “...oh man, and there was this bear that came out of nowhere and went crazy! I actually still have the scar to prove it!” She pulled the towel aside and showed him the jagged scars that ran along her abdomen and down her hip to the top of her leg. “It was huge and actually pretty scary, but I had help and we fought it off!” The grin that had come across her face faded slightly as she looked over at him. Reminiscing had run away with her and she started to become embarrassed.

“Are you from here as well? You seem familiar… I think maybe we have met before around the city but I can’t put my finger on where.” It was as straightforward as she could’ve gotten and hoped that he didn’t mind. Flashing her teeth, she gave him what she hoped to be a reassuring smile. Color rose in her cheeks and flushed her skin and she became nervous that she might’ve overstepped. Fair was fair right? He’d asked her first if she was from here so she hoped that it wouldn’t come across as rude.
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Baelin Holt on October 1st, 2019, 6:38 pm

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Any worry that she might give him the cold shoulder vanished as Firenze answered. Starting right off with something as personal as the orphanage she grew up in, Firenze set down her items and took a seat next to him. She launched into a story about growing up in the area, hunting and exploring. The forest where she first learned to hunt, a stream she liked to cool off in: details of Sunberth’s outskirts that spoke of an intimate familiarity with the area.

As she spoke, Baelin could feel the tension he usually held whenever interacting with people slowly begin to unwind. It was easy, to just listen to her stories. There was no pressure for him to say anything in return―just to listen. And listen was something he could absolutely do. Relaxing back into the warm water, Baelin stretched out so that his shoulder was close to her knee. He tilted his head back so he could still see her, and let himself drift as she recounted her adventures.

He was beginning to legitimately enjoy himself when she got to a run-in with a bear. “I actually still have the scar to prove it!” was all the warning he got before she peeled back her towel to show proof.

Baelin froze when she showed him. It wasn’t that he had doubted her sincerity, it was just that actually seeing the remnants of such a grievous wound was startling. Long, thin marks stretched from her hip, reaching up to her belly button and curving down her thigh. A near evisceration; she was lucky to be alive. A pulse of alarm rushed through him before he stamped it back down. The wounds were long since healed, he reasoned. And if the nonchalance she had for it was any indication, the memory of the attack no longer hurt her―if it ever did.

Just scars from an old story, nothing to be upset about. Baelin forced himself to let go of his worry and relaxed back against the hotspring’s edge as she continued her rapid-fire story. Firenze’s excitement as she told him how she managed to fight the bear off with help was enchanting, and he couldn’t help but smile in return.

But then her grin faded, some thought that Baelin couldn’t hope to decipher apparently interrupting her storytelling. And she switched gears.

Baelin couldn’t help his small smile when she admitted that he seemed familiar. She remembered. She might not have been able to place the memory, but it was still there. And if that wasn’t heart-warming, Baelin didn’t know what was. When a blush rose to her cheeks, he figured it was only fair to tell her. “I’m not from here, but we have met before. In―” Baelin froze, a long-ingrained habit to avoid triggering his sibilance halting his words. Gritting his teeth, Baelin forced out the rest, “In Sssylirasss.” He grimaced and tried to finish the thought, “The bath there, long ago. Winter.”

There was more he wanted to add. That it’d been the last winter with snowfall, before Morwen disappeared. That he remembered the bruises on her wrist, and how kind she’d been to fetch his soap. That he was happy to see her again, and thrilled that she was sharing her stories. But Baelin didn’t trust himself enough to speak any further, and instead sunk a bit lower in the water, his chin nearly touching the surface.

He could do it. Just a little, at least. She just gave you childhood stories, stop being such a baby. In an effort to shake off his embarrassment, Baelin shrugged one shoulder―water lapping around it―and he offered quietly, “Good to meet you again.”
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Firenze on October 2nd, 2019, 1:38 am

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Her brow rose ever so slightly in surprise. He’d taken her brash energetic personality a lot better than some… than most. It warmed her heart if even for a flicker of a moment that she’d gotten to run away in memories and become her old self briefly.

And he’d let her.

That was the best part. When she’d looked at him to ask if he was from around here, he had seemed relaxed and at ease. It sent another shock of warmth to her heart and it made her want to smile again.

As he spoke, however, she’d gotten another unexpected jolt; they had met previously. She knew it and he just confirmed it. The feeling of the cold stone and hot water, the reek of weeks of stench clinging to her skin, and the embarrassment of not having coin to get into the bathing area rushed back to her. Firenze’s smile widened further, barely noticing his discomfort of speaking. If he hadn’t sunk into the water she would have wrapped her arms around his neck in a more informal greeting than the handshake.

Instead, she clapped her hands together like a child, a squeal emanating from her chest and out through her toothy grin. “I KNEW IT!” her words came out louder than she would have normally preferred but the excitement fueled the fire.

A few people nearby turned their heads in her direction but she chose to ignore them. It had started as a small joy in the center of her chest when she’d first sat, but his words were like kindling. A roar of joy made her heart race and the darkness that had settled a home in her fled at the emotion as though it were toxic.

Words tumbled out of her mouth now, she felt as though she were speaking rapid-fire at the poor man who would have to deal with the outpour of word vomit. The fact that he had sunk into the water made the scene all the more comical.

“I saw you earlier and I wasn’t sure, but YES! I hope that I smell a lot better than I did then,” she laughed at her joke. “It was pretty bad! I can’t imagine what you were thinking when you very first met me. Oh, you have to tell me about all your adventures! Let me tell you," she wagged a finger around," since we last met have I been on a seriously wild ride.”

Rolling her eyes to emphasize how crazy it had been, she continued, “I was attacked by my step-father and then a wolf ate him!... And then I got dragged to Kenash... and then I was stranded in Endrykas…” blowing out a whistle of air in exasperation she hardly noticed any reactions by the man she was currently assaulting verbally.

Firenze’s story was choppy and zig-zagging in every direction and any person would praise him if he could keep up with the many paths that kept deterring from where she’d originally begun.

“-OH!” She interrupted herself mid-sentence as she was talking about a man with a giant scar on his face, “Where did you go? Did you stay in Syliras? Why are you here?” Fire slipped a foot up onto the edge of the pool and propped an elbow on it. Her chin rested in the hand being steadied by her knee.

Eyebrows almost in her hairline, a broad grin on her face, the corner of her eyes lined at the edges, she looked at him excitedly, finally giving him a moment to interject with his response. Her foot that still dangled in the water kicked gently at the water in anticipation. Although it was doubtful Firenze would’ve noticed if he would’ve tried to speak previously while she was rambling.
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Baelin Holt on October 2nd, 2019, 4:58 pm

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Whatever kind of response Baelin might have expected, Firenze’s sheer excitement hadn’t been it. He legitimately jerked in surprise at her squeal, brows jumping high behind wet hair. Her enthusiasm was almost a tangible thing as words poured from her, infectious in their intensity. Baelin could feel the tips of his ears flush with heat and ducked his head, feeling absurdly pleased. He was smiling. What was wrong with him? Baelin chewed on the inside of his lip, hoping to smooth it back down, but his face simply refused to cooperate and he found himself smiling down at the water like an idiot.

She hadn’t needed to worry about him thinking ill of her because she’d needed a bath; Baelin recalled she cleaned up just fine with only a bit of scrubbing. He would have told her as much, but her excitement carried her on with no signs of stopping. Baelin only had a split tick to worry about what he’d say for his “adventures” before she spared him the trouble and launched into telling her own.

A step-father that attacked her… and was eaten by a wolf? Kenash and Endrykas? A lot had happened in the past few years, it would seem, and she jumped from point to point so fast that Baelin struggled to follow along. But he didn’t mind. The very fact that she was sharing any details at all had him feeling stupidly happy. The points themselves seemed alarming, but Baelin couldn’t process fast enough to understand quite yet.

He tried his best to follow along, and thought he was getting a little better at it―something about a scarred man―when she ground to a stop and turned the focus back to him. Where did he go. Why was he here. Her grin was huge and unbridled, and Baelin had an absurd desire to not be the reason it fades.

How do you go about saying that you hope to be a good Eiyon―one that Dira could finally be pleased with―to someone who wasn’t from her island? Syliras had protected its Nuit population, and Ravokians had their noses so far up Rhysol’s ass that it was difficult to do much of anything that wasn’t in his name. So Baelin left for a city that hopefully wouldn’t give a petch what he was up. A city that was relatively close to an island teeming with those who sought to escape the cycle. Baelin could get stronger here. Learn how to be a good Eiyon. And then, years down the line, he might be able to do his goddess proud.

But talking about how dearly he wished to exterminate undead was probably going to be a mood crusher. And Baelin desperately didn’t want to do that to her; Firenze’s smile was so bright. So, after an embarrassingly long pause, Baelin looked up to her and said, “It wass time to leave.” He spoke quietly―so much so that the contrast between his near-whisper and her boisterous excitement was a bit jarring. “I’m here for a fresssh sstart.”

Hoping to change gears before she could inquire any further into his perhaps morbid reasons why he thought Sunberth was the place for that fresh start, Baelin murmured, “Your travelss…” He paused a tick, not sure how best to word this. Dragged to a city. Stranded in another. And those scars around her wrists, as if she’d been bound. Now that he’d had time to process, none of it sounded voluntary. “Are they done?”

There. That was about the best way he could think of to ask if she was still being forcibly dragged around from city to city without actually saying as much. It really wasn’t his place to pry, but the thought that someone so vibrant and full of life could be repressed like that was nauseating. He hated even the idea of it. Her step-father was an idiot who fully deserved to be eaten by that wolf, and whoever bound her wrists so badly that they scarred should be hung by his intestines. Yep. Baelin thought that sounded fair. He might not be an expert at dissection, but he was pretty sure he could manage to find the intestines and pull them out for the bastard.

The woman perched next to him was so incredibly bright; she deserved better than the haphazard snippets she’d given him. And it infuriated Baelin that the world was too callous to do any better. Baelin dug blunt fingernails into his thigh and scratched. He needed to calm down. Firenze didn’t even sound upset by any of it, her enthusiasm was far more overpowering. She’s handling it just fine, idiot, he reasoned with himself, Calm down. It’s not even your business. He dug his fingernails in deeper, leaving a welt in their wake as he dragged a path, and gritted his teeth. Calm. Down.
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Baelin Holt
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[Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New (Firenze)

Postby Firenze on October 4th, 2019, 1:21 am

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With a head-nodding, her cheeks flushed red, both from the heat of the spring and from catching herself at running all over the conversation. She knew it was rude, but she couldn’t help herself. The small smile that was on his lips didn’t pass by her notice so she knew that he must at least be entertained by her antics. It was so nice to be back in a place -despite the theft, killings, and general all-around crazy of Sunberth- that she was comfortable with. The darkness that had been her friend for the past few years didn’t seem… as present. It had taken her a while to acknowledge the monster that had slowly started to creep into her soul. Once she’d recognized that there was something different the world became different.

It looked different through her eyes, it felt different, it didn’t seem as… special.

She didn’t feel as special.

Just another body that was floating in the sea of bodies that inhabited the world that was as easily tossed away as they were given life to. That thought was one of the dark ones that had snuck in when she was trapped in the slave holds in Kenash. There were many more of its friends that it had brought along to torment her.

But, at the current time, they appeared to have taken reprieve of their duties. The bright rays of Syna shone down on the skin of both conversing parties, giving them a comfortable blanket of warmth and gentle hue. The breeze was light enough to take off heat from the surface of the water and bodies, cooling beads of sweat on brows. Fire wanted to soak it up as much as possible.

He’d responded to her question and she’d listened intently. It was a short and sweet answer. Not entirely what she was hoping for but if memory served her right, he wasn’t much of one to talk. It made sense. She didn’t push it any further. She noticed that he was trying to steer away from it as he asked about her. If he wasn’t comfortable talking about himself that was quite fine in her book, it gave her a challenge to unlock the mystery of the man in front of her. There wasn’t much else that she’d done the last few months since she had been back. Mostly it was the same thing on repeat every day. Hunt, eat, cleanse, sleep, repeat. Maybe he could be a fun past time. She pondered on that for a brief tick.

“For now, I’m hoping that they are. I’m quite… tired of excitement for a while. Not to say that I don’t mind excitement… I was just hoping for a small bit of peace and quiet. Although,” she glanced in the direction of the city, “I don’t know how much of it you can get here. You usually have to be on your guard or you get robbed… or stabbed. But, it’s familiar and it was home for a time. So… I suppose that’s better than nothing, right?” The crook of her mouth turned up in a half-smile.

“I wouldn’t say that I entirely hated my experiences. I learned quite a lot from the Drykas. They’re a good people.” Her eyes drifted for a moment, brief memories flitting behind them. “I enjoyed the way they are close to nature. I’ve always preferred a soft nap in a sun warm field over a stiff straw mattress any day.” Looking back she gave him a little wink.

“I’m sure you remember Syliras? The snow there was beautiful. It made everything seem… peaceful. In the city, it was kinda stuffy with how many people there are…”

“My favorite place was Zeltiva. It smelled like salty seawater and they have this strange fish drink… I know, I know it sounds gross. It was pretty tasty. Kind of like eating raw fish… almost?” She chuckled a little.

Fire had done it again, but this time she tried to pace herself, giving him time to respond as she shared favorite memories. “I made a lot of friends there. More than any other place I’ve lived. I would love to go back there again someday, but it didn’t feel… right. Not right now anyway. I know, eventually, I’ll go back through again because I’ll need to travel to Syliras. I think my mother and grandmother may have gone there after me. The last I knew they were in Zeltiva though so I’d like to check there first.”

Running her hair through the shortened mane she scratched the back of her head, “Have you ever been there?” Smiling gently at him she waited patiently for his response. Fire didn’t want to put him into feeling uncomfortable, it was not a foreign feeling to her but also not that common. Still, she wanted to use some of the training that she’d briefly learned in the city by the sea and make her companion feel as comfortable as she could.
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Firenze
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