Solo Face and Fiddle

And fractures and folly. [Job Thread]

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Face and Fiddle

Postby Caspian on November 30th, 2019, 1:51 am

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    58 Fall 519
One of the more obvious signs Taalviel’s cooked up some new imposition to impress on him is a certain way she has of pursing her lips while fixating him with an unblinking stare, a demonstration usually following her having burst into a room unannounced.

On this musical morning she’s caught him mid-practice, mid-yawn, with a look on her face that means she’s a mind for meddling.

“Slim pickings ‘neath the western wharves today?” he asks lightly, as if he’s inquiring on cordialities as quotidian as a trip to the milliner’s, rather than the fact that sometimes his sister turns into a bird and out of recreational and habitual instinct scavenges for shiny bits, sparkly bobs, and just as likely, dead frogs at the Docks.

Resolutely, he’s remained facing the window, and returned to the easy arpeggio he’d been playing when she swept in, a first-third-fifth on a major scale. Behind him are the familiar sounds of her rifling through the closet and pulling on her linens. Before flying out she’ll shuck her clothes and hang them here, and upon flying back there’s a moment where she’s no longer a bird but a very unapologetically unclothed young woman on his doorstep, in thankful repossession of the limbs and digits required to turn a handle.

Caspian can only imagine what the neighbors think, though she’s no fool and chooses her moments of transformation wisely.

In any case, no one’s said a thing.

“There’s a music school in the northern end,” she says by way of greeting.

First-third-fifth, fifth-third-

“A little sharp, wasn’t that-?” she says, and he’s not falling for it, not today, so third again-first, first-third-

“Flat,” she intones as befittingly.

At this, bow screeching tightly against the strings in abrupt halt, he whirls around to face her with - he certainly thinks - an admirably restrained glower.

“I assure you I am very aware as to the extent and consequences of my being out of practice. I’d rather like it if you didn’t rub it in.”

“Not what I meant,” she replies simply and remorselessly. “You couldn’t afford it anyway.”

“If you’re trying to insult me, could you at least pick something that sincerely hurts? It’s beneath me to be so relentlessly misunderstood.”

“It’s about a job, and if you don’t want it, I’ll handle it myself.”

Frowning, he crosses his arms, violin held akimbo and bow jutting haphazardly into the air, readying for emphatic conduction. “I don’t know why you didn’t just lead with that.”

“Because anything else I might say to you isn’t worth your time?”

As ammunition, somehow, that’s the one that lands.

The bow quivers midair as he opens his mouth in retort, comes short, and shuts it.

“Don’t say you’re sorry,” she says before he tries. “I know you don’t mean it, and you’re not a very good liar, so to hear it from you would be - what do you call it? Insulting[i] and [i]beneath me.”

They fall silent, and he imagines a whole host of reactions he might take, most of it derived from repertoire they’ve cultivated together and seem to constantly find themselves trapped within. Lately, though - the past year, he supposes, ever since she’d appeared last autumn - there’s a breath he takes, one that doesn’t always completely dispel the recurring veil of snappishness and grit, but lifts a layer all the same. It becomes critical, that he can suddenly see what had first presented itself as an impossibility - that perhaps his sister, though relentlessly frustrating and automatively critical, and usually over aspects and events he doesn’t seem as worthy of the same intensity of regard, may not be the worst person he’s ever met.

In fact, she may be one of the better.

“Thank you,” he says instead of simulating repentance, which is not entirely beyond him but would have in this moment originated, more than anything, from wanting to eliminate her ire.

“You’re welcome,” she replies, and she isn’t angry, only watching him with her curious dark eyes, hands already fiddling with the silver-tipped drawstrings at the neck of her poplin blouse. “Can I tell you more about it?”

He nods, loosening the camber of his bow, and joins his sister at the dining table.

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Face and Fiddle

Postby Caspian on December 3rd, 2019, 5:10 pm

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    Meekly tiptoe the children down the mahogany-paneled, lamplit hall; morosely Caspian follows.

    Nearly a fortnight’s passed since Taalviel made mention of the music studio. Unlike all previous instances of his sister scrounging up labor and scheduled obligations for him, the delay between the relaying of that news and the point of his actually setting about after it was markedly abrupt. On the third day of laying about and traipsing in at desolate hours - the third day of his typical fare, that is - she was up waiting for him the morning after. Usually he woke alone, she having gone off to skim for, petch knows, rat corpses in the eddies, but he came back to consciousness beneath the scrutiny of a pair of darkly glittering eyes.

    “You haven’t been scoping,” she’d said, with an unuttered but resounding like I told you to.

    “Except that I have?” he’d replied, yawning widely and attempting to cast the sheets back over his head, but she had a firm grip on the lot of it, and he hadn’t yet regained strength enough to tussle.

    “How many windows along the first floor of the facade?” she’d demanded.

    “Four.”

    “And the front door’s painted?”

    “Red.”

    “And the number of steps leading up to it are...?”

    “Trick question, it’s a ramp.”

    She released her hold, only to cast it back over him like a shroud, with barely reined intent to suffocate.

    “Liar,” she’s hissed, leaping back before he can snatch at any retribution.

    “How dare you -“

    Liar. And, worst of all, still a bad one.”

    “I’ll get around to looking, alright?” In his flailing he’d managed to wind his limbs into unhelpful pinions, with she of course watching him blankly all the while, because she hasn’t the common decency to at least exert the effort of a sneer. “I’ve just been busy. And it’s not like it’s going anywhere.”

    “I don’t even know where to begin with what you’ve just said.”

    “That’s a first.”

    She departed to roost at the dining table, though her glare even with distance was no less piercing.

    The sooner he got this over with it, he supposed, the sooner he could return to his original mode of operation - and perhaps also the sooner she could devise new ways to spoil it all over again, but he’s trying this new thing to boost his lifespan and overall well-being where he accepts the things he cannot change.

    “...fine,” he’d conceded when he lost their nth staring contest, swinging his legs over his bed and slogging up to his feet.

    At the closet, he reached instinctively for his magical suit, but jumped and looked back with a hard scowl when Taalviel made a sudden tsking sound.

    “Please, this time - with some tact?”

    “We don’t even know what it’s going to turn into until I put it on -“

    “- and then it will be sky blue and patched with sapphires and you’ll refuse to take it off.”

    Which was, unfortunately for him, a fair point with plenty of history to back its claim.

    The old fading tunic and trousers in varying scales of gray and black it had been - and to the music studio he’d gone.

    The music studio through which he pads quietly now on soft-soled shoes, broom and dustpan in hand.

    There’s a dark, wayward girl 17 years of age he’s meant to find here, a sullen-eyed Mittra Davril, who may not be a Davril after all but a Devathi, the ambiguity a consequence of a young mother having given up her newborn some 17 years past. How the mother in the present day had found trust and solace enough in Taalviel to tell her her story is beyond him.

    “Why try and reconnect now?” he’d asked Taalviel. “17 years later instead of 7?”

    To this, Taalviel had shrugged. “Suppose she’s in a better place for it. And the girl’s of age soon. She said she saw her passing through a market with a lute on her back.”

    “And she just knew? After all 17 years apart? Assuming there’s some unseen maternal spark for it - let’s assume, then, that I surely don’t have it.”

    “She said there should be a birthmark between her shoulder blades,” Taalviel had replied. Like an arrowhead, pointed northwest.”

    As Caspian slinks after the flock of students in their identical high-necked, tightly buttoned uniforms, Mittra trailing at the back, he internally recoils at level of incorrigible scandal that he might incur if he were to take the more efficient tack.

    So a fortnight he’s stayed - and a fortnight more he dreads it’ll be.

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    Face and Fiddle

    Postby Caspian on December 7th, 2019, 2:48 am

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      The position he’d interviewed for had been a meager one. The school needed a housecarl, but to call it that outright is plastering a dignity on it that not even Caspian sees as worth the charade. The day-to-day banalities involve a lot of dusting-off and looking-after and washing-up, and by accident he’d revealed he knew one end of a kitchen knife from the other, and since then he’s been conscripted into assisting the cook with preparing two meals a day, that two as multiplied by what seems like an infinite stream of squabbling children and defiant-eyed adolescents, though really the school’s capped at a little over 70 for the semester.

      For breakfast they serve the kids porridge and toast with a hardboiled egg nestled in little wicker baskets. The especially unruly ones have the gall to wrinkle their noses when Caspian ladies the porridge into their bowls. The sight irritates him because though it’s slop it isn’t, really, and they‘ve no conception of how exceptionally and unbelievably good they all have it, because for so many in Sunberth this would be something exquisite and rare and only reserved for particularly good tidings - and here, they serve it in near infinite abundance every morning a quarter past the eighth bell.

      Though the lamps are kept dim and the
      halls stay gray and everyone’s buttoned and stitched up to severe stodginess, there is nothing particularly sinister about this place. The instructors take on a certain tightness to their tones when one of the students makes an error, but it’s usually only if it’s a repeated one recurring over a certain span of days, and a generous one at that. Sometimes the younger ones dally about the halls and heckle each other too within range of the gleaming, hand-painted vases populating the drawing rooms and lining the corridors, but the instructors never reach for a switch or opt for a slap, and with only a sharp hiss of disapproval they disband the children from their rumbles.

      Most shockingly of all, when Caspian burns the toast, the cook doesn’t treat him to a knock upside the head or even so much as a sharp retort.

      “A tick or two less on the grates next time, alright?” is all she sighs upon sight of bread brutally blackened.

      When he does it again, half-bracing himself for the reproach he deserves, the cook only asks if he’d rather stick to the porridge until he gets everything sorted - as if it doesn’t really matter that he’s destroyed a mass of labor on top of resources as well as wasted both their time, as if there isn’t any rush to competency, as if it might actually matter how one person treats another in the workplace. Promptly following, owing perhaps to shock, he’d then gone and burned a piping cauldron of that too.

      Mittra sits alone at meals.

      Mostly alone, he corrects himself before his inner Taalviel can.

      There are a couple other students she’ll nod and exchange a few words with, though only when prompted. From his skulking about with broom and dustpan in hand for concealment in plain sight, he knows that one plays the lute like Mittra, and the other the lyre. Socially restrained is how he’d put it, because she’s demonstrated she’s far from inept, always ready with a pleasantry and the expected set of disarming expressions. The efforts put forth are admirable, calculated without the sinister intent he’d consider normal, though there’s plenty a time he catches her faltering.

      Better than you, Taalviel might try and castigate him with, though that’s not actually true, because the girl hasn’t realized the intensity and frequency of Caspian’s surveillance.

      Beyond the fortnight of his hiring date, and he’s still not sure how he’ll catch sight of the birthmark given how tightly they keep the students laced. He’s pondering it while sweeping at ponderous pace, until finally someone at this petching unnaturally even-keeled institution exhibits enough backbone to snap at him.

      “Why don’t you make yourself useful and fetch all the laundry?”

      The reproach comes from the principal violin instructor, and if there is any stereotype to be held true, he supposes it’s fitting after all for this one to have broken the seal.

      It’s a shame they’re reduced to interacting only in this capacity, because Caspian lingers outside his classroom when lessons are in session, as if he might even through walls and doors glean something of his own use, and not at all to do with the task of spying at hand. When one of the students is sharp or flat, the instructor is rapt with their judgment; so in the split second before it’s deemed one or the other, Caspian, pausing with cleaning articles in hand slows his motions enough to hold the memory of the faulty pitch in mind and guesses for himself. To date, he has been right a little more than half the time, which is not particularly great or something to brag about, though certainly not the worst - though one wonders if, statistically speaking, one might guess sharp or flat at random and end up with the same streak.

      Were he directly in the room he might learn more, and faster, without having to fill in the blanks based on a childhood’s worth of past experience and assume. In person, he might see something in the way of posture that could prove useful, because it’s an easy trap to fall into, clutching one’s elbows too tightly to one’s sides as if one is pinioned in place. Just as easily, one might develop an unhelpful habit in the other direction, and hold elbows akimbo, which would seem to then grant a wider range of motion with the bowing of the right arm, but in doing so one would also subsequently limit the freedom of the fingers of the left hand upon the strings.

      So if he just had the violin instructor without a wall between them - if he were in the room - if he were a student himself -

      “Have you gone daft, you undergrown rascal, or perhaps simply deaf? That would be quite the irony, wouldn’t it? Deafness at a musical academy?” inquires the instructor sharply.

      A little vitriol is just what Caspian needs to snap back into his practiced role. Eyes cast downward, he murmurs something in assent and departs for the purported direction of laundry needing to be hauled and cleared. Coincidentally, he passes Mittra just as she’s exiting her assigned dormitory, and by then he’s already one linens trolley in hand half-full as reason enough for his being in the area at all. Discovering her room solves - well, something, surely, and he mentions as much to Taalviel when he heaves himself up his own set of stairs and onto his bed, still fully clothed.

      “You smell like vinegar,” she says, wrinkling her nose and holding herself in the furthest corner of his apartment.

      “That’s more than likely,” he replies, face down, voice muffled by his duvet. “The cook had me frying the chips while she battered the fillets. And then the laundresses drenched a mountain of black petticoats in the stuff - something about keeping the dye?”

      “Are you sure you can’t get to the birthmark?” she asks, having had her fill of small talk.

      “Best case scenario, it’s there, she screams, and I’m clapped in irons. Worst case scenario, it’s not there, she screams and I’m also clapped in irons. There has to be another way. She hasn’t - I dunno, a letter or a birth certificate or some sort of magisterial serial decree?”

      Taalviel ponders him silently for a moment, then swiftly departs. When she returns, the estranged mother is with her, wringing her hands and looking uncertainly at Caspian, who has now at this point of the evening sloughed off most of his uniform in favor of lounging by the window generously cracked, pipe gleaming in hand.

      “A pendant?” Caspian repeats when she gives him his next best bet, smoke unfurling rapidly from his nostrils with salamander’s rush.

      “Dark amethyst, square-cut,” she says, “with a halo of little crystals in blue.”

      “You’re sure she’ll have it?” he presses. “How do I know she isn’t just wearing it, and it’s as tightly smothered as the birthmark we’re still not entirely sure is there?”

      “She was wearing it when I passed her the other day,” the mother insists. “Though she may not know the sentimental weight, it would take an absolute fool not to see it’s clearly of some worth, not to mention beautiful - not some trinket to let slip or give away.”

      “This is depressing me,” Caspian says to Taalviel, though the mother’s still in the room.

      This earns him not one but two simultaneous looks of rebuke - but hey, he’s dealt with much worse.

      Tomorrow, then - and the prospect of doing chores has never been sweeter.

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      Face and Fiddle

      Postby Caspian on December 7th, 2019, 7:00 pm

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        “Three days, and you haven’t been sent to her dorm?” Taalviel asks skeptically when he returns home later that week.

        “Slow and steady, better safe than sorry, trying one’s utmost instead of being a lazy, loutish, fizz-minded blighter - that last bit’s not one of your catchier shots, but I’ll grant it does stand the test of time.”

        “Is this hard for you?”

        Par-don?”

        “Is this mission hard for you,” she repeats flatly.

        Hard-ly. I’m just trying not to get caught is all, or bring further shame upon you as you so clearly brace yourself for.”

        Despite the presented challenges, the truth is that Caspian might actually be stalling, because he may just so happen to sincerely like it there. Things are orderly and bright, and neatly kept - with or without his own assigned input, because in further truth he’s been shirking his lavatorial duties with increasing frequency - and the authoritarian apex of anger, as demonstrated to date, has been the violin instructor’s well-founded ire. Further to his not being very good at his job is the reason standing above all as to why he didn’t just cinch this three days ago and walk away -

        Not since being taken from Snowsong Hold has his life been filled with so much music.

        Though the lessons have to come as poltergeists through the walls, from moments stolen as he lingers before shut classrooms brimming with cacophony and mirth, it is not nothing, the sum of it quantifiably more than he possessed before. When the students err - and they err plenty, in either rhythm or pitch or tuning or naming a chord from pages he himself can’t see - the instructors are ready by the beat that follows with correction. So wary are they of allowing any of the students to develop even an inkling of a bad habit that they cut right to the quick, even at the expense of tireless repetition.

        Mistakes don’t get fixed right away, and it’s not always the consequence of an unhelpful habit so much as wrapping one’s head around things can just take time. One afternoon, Caspian’s meant to be re-categorizing and alphabetizing several floor-to-ceilings’ worth of shelves of books in one of the studies. The principal violin instructor, who he’s by now learned is named Komal, has one of the more precocious of the string players in remedial lessons. There’s a lot of stopping and starting and screeching of the bow in far-from-perpendicular slant against several wrong strings at once, and Komal is doing a lot of explaining and breaking down the motions of his bowing arm, but the student’s having a time and a half replicating the action. Watching from the corner of his eye, Caspian can tell that the student’s likely got his gaze trained on the wrong joints - instead of the wrists he perhaps ought to be looking at how slack Komal’s holding the individual joints of his fingers, how acutely or obtusely they grip around the bow. The misdirection might have the student unnaturally tensing the muscles he thinks[/] ought to be the focal point, and the overall response to that is that one should [i]never at any point feel unnatural tensed, as counterintuitive as that may sound, especially when one is as young as the student in question and joints and limbs and the holistic spirit are something still in the way of flux.

        The lesson ends, and Komal with a sigh escorts the student out to whatever’s next on their docket.

        Then enter Mittra and her own instructor, who chitchat freely as they take the vacated seats and unbuckle their lutes from their cases.

        No one minds Caspian as he teeters atop the highest rung of his ladder, presumably reaching for a publication on the merits of evergreen sap over deciduous as regards rosin and waxed woods.

        So - not entirely out for his own devices is he, because he’s been waiting for this lesson to begin, and Komal and his demonstrations were a happy accident. Having noticed the day’s schedule for this room posted right outside the door, he knew precisely it would be Mittra to walk in next, and he also knows he has at his disposal approximately one hour plus the five minutes it will take for Mittra to conceivably return to her dormitory.

        The laundry cart as cover awaits.

        And if the pendant isn’t somewhere in her room, then - Caspian supposes he will just have to muster the fortitude to stomach another fortnight.

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        Face and Fiddle

        Postby Caspian on December 10th, 2019, 12:51 am

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          This is far from the first time Caspian’s dallied about somewhere he ought not to, under pretenses built entirely on falsehoods, with a smidge of foundational truth for the sake of actionable reliability of his expression and response. But a little wave of anxiety comes over him regardless, heightening his perceptions of all sound, smell, and sight, warping and ratcheting creaks in the floorboards up to precursors of boots thundering down the halls to haul him off to the stocks. When he enters the girls’ wing of the sleeping quarters, the feeling worsens, and in a lapse of weakness his heart stutters at the sight of a stray leaf brushing against a window on an autumn gale.

          It’s not crippling, to have it come down on him this way, it being, well - self-reflection and a healthy fear of institutionalized consequences if he’s caught, he supposes.

          Not guilt, though.

          There’s time and place for that, and it isn’t here.

          The little trill of casting a dozen glances over his shoulder melts, after a moment and with the clicking shut of the door behind him, as it always does. Trill to thrill and he’s lighter on his feet now, with the laundry trolley abandoned stalwartly by the now closed door, guaranteeing him enough breadths of silence and solitude to carouse about as he likes. There it comes again, that indomitable little spark - the knowing that he’s somewhere he shouldn’t be, that he can trace the lanes and slips and smiles it took to infiltrate. This mission’s gone on much longer than he usually likes them to and his having drawn it out as it suited him is another cause to grin unabashedly to himself, now that no one’s around to witness. Whether it’s nature or nurture that he carries this within him, or the product of both working in tandem and compounding, he doesn’t know. Perhaps it should bother him more - not that it doesn’t, but more and enough to cause him to examine its origins further. But he likes doing something, even if he’s not the best at it he’s still not the worst, and it’s been a hot minute since he’s played this sort of game to any extension. The last time he’d been so immersed in a job at hand had been - well, about a year ago exactly, when he’d ultimately been thrown down a stairwell and elected to throw himself out a window and then -

          Taalviel had reappeared in his life after years’ parting.

          Grimly he can imagine the reunion that might befall him when this wraps up.

          Wrapping up requires cause for wrapping, however, so he sets about it, scanning the room for any obvious sign of where the pendant might be. There are two beds here, Mittra’s and her roommate, and it’s someone’s job to tidy up the rooms though they’re already fairly stringent upon the children to make their beds themselves. The result is that things are fairly pristine, sterile, and near-identical.

          Tell-tale signs might be - her hair’s dark, as dark as his own. If he checks the nightstand for a hairbrush -

          He’s rummaging through the drawer, then the drawers, all of them in full plural, flinching when he clatters a touch too hard and knocks a vial of face powder to the floor. It rolls beneath one of the beds, and he hesitates - does he have the time to spare to retrieve it? Gritting his teeth in annoyance, he deems it would be more suspicious if whichever girl owns it were to find it missing, and then spot it so diametrically opposed from her own side of the room. With a huff, he drops to his knees, and beneath the bed finds a sheaf of violin music, dog-eared and pencil-worn.

          This bed must be the roommate’s then, and he shuffles through his memories of all the recent violin lessons to which he’s been in half-attendance, ruling one student out and then another, but it doesn’t really matter which one it might be and is only leading to wasted time. Despite that he’ll waste more of it on the sheet music itself, eyes scanning the wrangled pages with their faded dashes and flourishes and dots as if he might imagine himself to be its owner, as if his own hand had scrawled a note in his own vexations of practice, dutifully scribbled a few more in the margins under the watchful gaze of Komal - as if with his own playful negligence he had cast the whole of it under the bed himself out of willful disregard.

          Another creaking from somewhere far off makes him jump and drop half the pages, and subsequently has him scrambling after them to hastily recollect. It could be no one; it could be anyone, and if he’s not careful he’ll daydream himself right into failure at the very last moment.

          The other side of the room, then -

          If he were a 17-year-old girl with approximately one possession, as they allow them here, to her name - where would she stow such a thing?

          The obvious place is her bedside table, but there’s not much there save two spare length of ribbon and something to round off her nails with. Her writing desk has only exactly what it ought to - bottles of sapphire and emerald ink, extra coils of strings for her lute neatly packaged in embossed little envelopes; spare notebooks and manuscript paper with melodies and backing chords fleshed out with careful hand.

          Suppose she isn’t just wearing it? But his checking had been worth a shot; it would have been more than absolutely and willfully negligent if he hadn’t tried.

          Sighing, he flops onto her bed. These kids really have no idea how good they’ve got it. Though some of them take plenty of opportunity to groan about having been sent here by their parents when they’d rather be - well, what do adolescent Ravokians do for fun? - and despite the instructors and provosts keeping them under some measure of lock and key, at the start of their days they’ve got a drudge like Caspian serving them a far finer ladle of slop and grits than many others on the continent could only dream of, and at the end of the day they get to lie in beds of eiderdown. Their parents must pay a pretty penny in tuition but one supposes it beats paying for a governess who allows them to idle. A little absurd, how this bed’s even nicer than his own, and he bounces up and down on it absentmindedly, wondering if it might not be better for his back if nightly he were to lie upon such a thing instead of -

          A glint in the bed catches his eye, and his head snaps in its direction, like a cat having sensed a rodent whisking round a wall. In astonishment, Caspian draws out the pendant, the very and only it could possibly be.

          Not the stateliest of jewels, but just like a wayward teenager to keep it stashed under her pillow as if it were nothing more than a forgotten sweet.

          The impulse that comes over him is to steal it, hang it round his own neck and tuck it beneath his shirt, come back crowing for his sister of a day’s spoils shinier than her own. But there’s no point to it, and were he to run off with it, he might be tempted to run off altogether, and the timing would be conspicuously tight and one ought not to make enemies of an entire quadrant of a city if one can avoid it.

          All that needs doing is reporting back. The mother will believe him; she’s for some reason quite possibly friends with Taalviel, if such a thing could ever be and makes Caspian wonder if she’s not got something terribly off-kilter to deem it a relationship worth sustaining.

          As he heads home for the day, easing himself out of the harried fervor that had come as a result of his having to fetch all of the laundry in a mad rush to make up for lost time, it occurs to him that he can put this off longer if he likes. Taalviel already suspects as much but her suspicion can only hurt him so far as it irritates, she being the pinprickle he already accepts her to be, so if he chooses he can assert he needs another week, maybe two, maybe even three, and perhaps by the end of that fortnight-and-a-half he’ll have gleaned a few more things from the violin lessons that he may not have known before.

          “You found it,” Taalviel says astutely when he returns.

          He considers lying, holds onto the prospect of idling through hallways filled with endless smatterings of music and candlelight. How much better with his violin would he be now, he wonders, if his training had been more formal, more structured than observation and imitation and his father at his right ear?

          “I did,” he says, because it had only been a game.

          Albeit a lovely one.

          She retrieved the mother; Caspian describes the pendant in detail; the woman nearly weeps in relief.

          When the mother leaves, Caspian’s brooding at the table alone with the compact notebook that usually accompanies his stakeouts, should they involve a good deal of sitting and waiting and subsequently some form of cover to keep his attention adrift. With a charcoal pencil he measures out rows of horizontal lines in groups of fives - makeshift manuscript paper of his own, though each row’s clumsily not as equidistant from the next as he likes. There’s a melody in his head, one he’s heard Komal playing through the walls between lessons, winding and old and whistling like a winter’s gale. Whether he maps out each pitch accurately - hard to say, though he’s no doubt there’s plenty of error - and he’s quite certain he’s got the rhythm slightly off, because the meter had appeared to constantly shift. The accuracy of his notation matters less than the pressure of the marks upon the page - and he’ll try it later, maybe tomorrow, and he’ll take his violin in hand and if pitches ought to be raised or lowered until they configure into the memory of the song winding through his mind, he’ll do exactly that, even at ponderous and fractious pace.

          “If you were her - would you still bother? After so many years?” Taalviel asks.

          He pauses. He knows what the easy answer would be.

          “It would depend,” he says, “on whether I think the girl herself would want to know. Whether it would do her any good. And as far as bothering -“ He tucks the charcoal pencil into the folds of his notebook and shuts the lot in favor of joining Taalviel by the mirror, meeting her dark gaze. He takes the brush she’s running through her long locks and combs them through for her, steadily and without hitch. “Bothering plenty now, aren’t I?” he says with a wry smile.

          “You did really well,” she replies.

          “Hush. You know it unnerves me when you play nice.”

          Her turn to smile now - and when the moon rises higher, she in a moment of rareness readily joins him for a drink at the tavern just below.

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          Caspian
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          Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
          Location: Zeltiva
          Race: Human, Mixed
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