Solo Day Trip

Imogen shows Aster around the Outpost.

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Herein lies Xyna's Outpost, and her gift to Mizahar's people. It is a magical place full of potential and possibility where all can gather and exchange ideas and commerce.

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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on February 27th, 2020, 3:27 am

75th of winter, 519 AV

Once again, it was Imogen that had found her. Restricted from errands for the better part of the season after the stunt she pulled by returning well past nightfall, Aster had finally been let out to go do something for Alard on her own.

And it seemed once again she was going to break the rules. She wondered if he would eventually get tired of it and just chain her up inside the apartment. Now that was an unpleasant thought.

But it was impossible to say no to Imogen, especially when she was so excited. "Slow down," Aster laughed, as the girl tugged at her sleeve, jumping around her and babbling so fast that Asterope couldn't understand her.

To say she'd been scared when she felt a hand grab her elbow as she walked down the street had been an understatement, but Imogen was so excited she didn't seem to realize, which was strange for her.

"Come on come on come on," Imogen was saying, with no punctuation or pause for breath, as she pulled on Aster's sleeve, dragging her down the street now.

"Imogen please, at least tell me what has you so excited," Aster said, somewhat exasperated as she followed the girl.

"I can't! It's...it's crazy! You gotta see, you won't believe me," Imogen said, tugging impatiently at Aster in an attempt to make her walk faster.

"I highly doubt that," Aster said wryly, but she humoured the girl and picked up her pace slightly. Imogen lead her through the streets to the outskirts of the city; Aster expected them to go towards Tent City, but instead, Imogen lead her the opposite way, towards the ocean and the Dust Bed Ridge.

"Why are we going to the graveyard?" She asked, as Imogen lead her out of the city. Oh, but the fresh air away from Sunberth was always pleasant. Aster inhaled deeply.

"Not the graveyard," Imogen shook her head. After a bit of a walk, past the graveyard and up towards the ridge, Imogen lead them to a clear stretch of grassy land; it overlooked the ocean, and it was truly a stunning view. Not far away sat a single lone stone building.

"It's a lovely view, Imogen, but..." Aster was caught off as Imogen ran ahead towards the building.

"Not the view!" She yelled over her shoulder, and waited impatiently outside of the building for Asterope to catch up, bouncing on her toes. "Come on, geez, you're so slow," she complained, pushing open the wooden door and holding it open for Aster.

Aster was perplexed and, admittedly, slightly annoyed by this point, but she followed Imogen inside. "Imogen, this is just a roosting building for pigeons." The walls were covered with hundreds, if not thousands, of roosting places for the birds, and Aster could hear some faint cooing distantly.

"No, it's so much more," Imogen assured her, making sure the door was firmly shut. "Stand back and just wait a second. I promise, this is...it's amazing," Imogen said, breathlessly, looking up at Aster with wide and shining eyes.

Aster sighed. "Alright," she agreed, taking a step back from the door. Imogen followed suit, waited a tick, and then approached the door again. Holding her breath, the child cracked open the door and peered out, then let out a delighted whoop of laughter.

"Here, come see!" She said, throwing the door open.

"See what?" Aster asked, and then stared, because they were no longer in Sunberth.

Word Count: 578
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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2020, 3:07 am

"What?" Aster said, dumbly, as she stared out into a bright and sunny city. Speechless, she followed Imogen out of the building, twisting around to look back at it. That was certainly not the old, weathered dovecote they had entered; this one was huge, two stories and elaborate.

Aster stared, open-mouthed, Imogen looking at her gleefully. "I told you!" She practically sang in delight, "I told you it was so petching cool!"

"Language," Aster said automatically, but...that was an appropriate response, honestly, because it was petching cool. "How...how is this possible?" She asked, finally tearing her gaze away from the building to look around, dazed.

It was hot here, she realized; not boiling, but a fair bit warmer than it had been in Sunberth, especially right by the edge of the sea. As she looked around, Aster spotted a man approaching them, a smile on his face.

"Hello," he called out in greeting, waving a hand. "New travelers, are you?" Aster could only nod. "Wonderful! It's always welcome to see new people joining us here. My name is Paul, and this is the Outpost."

"The Outpost," Aster echoed, and Paul chuckled at her bewilderment.

"It is a lot to take in, yes. This here is a commerce hub, open to business from people all over Mizahar. This place is both a gift to and a product of Xyna." Paul paused expectantly.

"Who's Xyna?" Aster asked, and Imogen nodded, echoing the sentiment. Paul chuckled.

"Xyna is our Goddess of commerce and trade, and perhaps most importantly, money. Without her, we'd have none of that, and certainly not the Outpost," Paul explained. Aster nodded slightly, still semi-distracted as she glanced back over her shoulder at the building they had come out of.

"Ah, the dovecote. So, here is how the Outpost works," Paul explained. "In every city there should exist a dovecote. Not just any dovecote, a specific one connected to the Outpost. If you enter it and close the door, you will exit it here. To return, it is as simple as entering this dovecote," Paul motioned to the elaborate building behind Aster, "and closing the doors. You will then exit from wherever you originally entered. Does that make sense?"

"Yes," Aster nodded, then shook her head. "No. Absolutely not, it makes no sense, but I understand." Paul laughed.

"It takes some getting used to. Now, did you lovely ladies have a reason for visiting the Outpost? Looking to start a business, or to purchase any specific wares?" Paul looked expectantly between the two of them, and Aster and Imogen just stared at each other.

"Uhm," Imogen said. "Not really. I looked around a tiny bit when I came before but you weren't here and I wanted to come get you," she looked up at Aster. "So...I dunno. I just wanted to look around I guess, this is really cool."

Paul nodded, reaching into his bag for something. "No problem at all, take your time! You're more than welcome to simply look around and enjoy the Outpost. Here, perhaps this will help." From his bag he produced a scroll of paper; unrolling it, he showed it to both Imogen and Aster.

"This is a map of the Outpost. You're here, at the dovecote," he pointed. "This is the bazaar. I highly recommend checking it out. Is there anywhere you think you might be interested in visiting in particular? Restaurants, gardens...?"

"Oh!" Imogen clapped her hands together. "Gardens!" The man chuckled and pointed out several locations on the map.

"We have plenty of gardens, that much is certain. We get many desert people here due to the warm temperature, but we have plenty of water to grow all sorts of beautiful plants," he explained to Imogen, and Aster's head jerked up.

"Desert people? Do you get a lot of Benshira?" She asked, without thinking. Paul looked at her curiously, but nodded with a smile.

"We do, plenty. Are you looking for someone in particular?"

Aster hesitated, then shook her head. "No, nobody in particular. Thank you for your help. Ready to get going, Im?" Aster asked, looking down at the girl.

"Am I! I wanna see the gardens!" The girl was practically vibrating with excitement. Aster and Paul both chuckled. With another smile and wishing them luck, Paul waved them off, and Aster and Imogen set off into the Outpost.

Word Count: 728
Total: 1,306
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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2020, 4:15 am

Walking away from the dovecote lead them out into a wide-open plaza; high walls surrounded it, with what looked like apartments built into them. The center of the plaza held some trees and what looked like a small pool; people milled about, walking to and from their destinations and chatting, or stopping to watch the occasional musician or performed that filled the square.

"Isn't it so pretty?" Imogen asked, as she skipped ahead, beaming.

"It's beautiful," Aster agreed, and it was. The architecture was elaborate, and everything was immaculately clean. People of all sorts were walking around, Aster noticed, as she followed Imogen across the plaza. All ages, races, genders, clothing styles...it was incredible. Truly a melting pot of cultures.

"I think that's the bazaar up ahead," Imogen said, pointing before peering at the map that Aster had handed to her. "Here, I think we can get to one of the gardens this way!" And off she went, down a shaded corridor full of plants.

Aster followed, walking slowly, craning her neck back to look up and admire the various plants that hung above them, providing shade from the intense sun above them.

Imogen happily lead the way, nose practically touching the map as she traced their path carefully with a finger. More than once she stopped abruptly to announce a sudden turn or silently looped around to retrace part of their steps; Aster, for her part, was taking her time walking as she admired the plants around them, so didn't risk bumping into the girl when she suddenly switched directions or halted.

"Here, this way," Imogen said, taking a sudden right turn. Aster followed her; the path was short, ending in a set of stairs leading down. Imogen happily skipped down them, Aster following curiously. The sight that greeted them at the end of the stairs made them both pause, staring.

It was a water garden. A beautiful pool of water, still as glass, stretched out in front of them. Walkways intersected it, allowing for the handful of people there to stroll around. There were a few benches as well; but of course, what was of note were the flowers. They were everywhere; floating in the water, in planters and spots of soil, climbing up the walkways and walls...it was beautiful.

"Woah," Imogen breathed. "This is amazing. I had no idea there were places like this. It's so...so pretty and peaceful."

Aster's heart ached as she looked down at Imogen. Of course she would have no idea that places like this could, did exist; she had been raised in Sunberth, living on the streets.

"Come on," Aster smiled gently, offering Imogen her hand. The girl hesitated for only a moment before taking it, and she and Aster began to walk down one of the walkways, wandering the gardens. Insects buzzed around the flowers, bees and butterflies drifting lazily about, and peering into the water, Aster could see fish swimming in the pool.

"Look," Imogen said, delightedly, and Aster followed her gaze to a particularly fat frog sitting on a lilypad. Imogen leaned over the railing, and Aster tightened her grip on the girl's hand, but Imogen didn't seem to care.

"Ribbit," she croaked at the frog. The frog blinked one large, round eye at her, and croaked back before leaping into the water. Imogen squealed with delighted laughter as she stumbled back, water spraying her in the face from the splash.

A few of the nearby guests looked over at the commotion that broke the silence; a few looked annoyed, while others simply chuckled and shook their heads. Aster ignored them; she was glad that Imogen was having fun. She wondered how often the girl had a chance to truly be a child and enjoy herself; the answer was likely not nearly often enough.

They wandered the walkways of the water garden for awhile longer before coming to a bench and deciding to sit and rest a bit, both of them in awe at the beautiful city they had suddenly found themselves in; for surely the Outpost was its own city, despite it being so far removed from anything Aster had ever seen or known.

"This place is amazing," Imogen announced, swinging her legs back and forth. "I wanna stay here forever and ever."

That was a question; perhaps if they ran into Paul again on the way out, Aster could ask. Did people live in the Outpost, or was there just a constant stream of visitors at every hour of the day? She had just compared it to a city, and it certainly seemed as lively as one. It wasn't difficult to imagine people living here.

Word Count: 778
Total: 2,084
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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2020, 4:55 am

They sat for awhile longer, enjoying the scenery, before Imogen jumped up, deciding she wanted to explore more of the Outpost. They avoided the bazaar for the time being, seeing as neither of them had any spending money, and looped back around, walking beneath the hanging plants back the way they had come, towards the main square.

From there, Imogen picked a direction, and off they went. As they walked, Aster noticed that Paul had indeed been right about desert races; she saw several of the multi-armed people the journal she'd read earlier in the season had described. What had they been called...Eypharians?

Not only that, but every so often, Aster glimpsed a person who she could swear was a Benshira; tanned or dark skin with golden eyes. But what was she supposed to do? Stop a random person minding their own business and ask if they were a Benshira? For all she knew they could just be a normal human with similar colouring. Not to mention even if they were, and even if they humoured her odd question, what would she say then? What would she ask?

So for the moment she contented herself to gaze around as Imogen lead her through the Outpost. They didn't walk far this time before Imogen lead her through an arched gateway, and they found themselves in a small courtyard. Linen sheets covered the open air above, providing cool shade and a slight dimness to the area, but it was still more than bright enough to see by.

It smelled wonderful. The smell of roasting meat and sweet fruit filled the air; tables were occupied by people, alone or in small groups, enjoying their meals or drinks. Imogen's stomach growled.

"Aw man, I'm starving," she mumbled. "And it smells so good here." As they stood there, a young woman approached them, smiling brightly.

"Welcome to the Courtyard Cantina. Please, have a seat. I can let you know what food we offer," the woman explained, gesturing for them to pick a table.

"Oh, I don't think we're actually going to order anything," Aster said, apologetically. She wished she had money to buy Imogen some food; good food, too, it smelled like.

"That's quite alright. If you want to just sit and enjoy the shade for a bit you're more than welcome to. Let me know if you change your mind; my name is Mela." The young woman didn't seem at all bothered by the fact that they weren't paying customers, simply smiling at them and then continuing on to address a nearby table.

"Let me see what I have," Imogen sighed. "I gotta get something. I'm starved." She plunked down into the nearest seat, pulling out a small, ratty coin purse, and began to dig through it, counting her copper pieces and occasionally setting aside a pretty stone or pebble that she also kept in the pouch.

Aster sat in the other chair; she didn't need to eat, nor was she hungry, but even she had to admit that the food smelled mouthwateringly good. She stretched out as Imogen counted what little money she had on her, looking around the courtyard, and paused when a table in the corner caught her eye.

Five people sat around it, two men and three women, all chatting and laughing as they ate, and...once again, Aster was sure, or at least she thought, okay she was totally guessing; but she thought that just maybe, they could be Benshira.

She would be interrupting their meal if she went to speak to them, of course. But they at least weren't busy trying to go somewhere. And it was a group of them, which...while more awkward on one hand, felt less awkward to approach on the other hand.

One of the women glanced up and met her gaze; Aster blinked, realizing she'd been staring, and blushed, ducking her head even as the woman smiled slightly at her. Maybe she should just get it over with. If she was bothering them, surely they would just tell her to go away, and she knew if she let this chance slip by, she'd be kicking herself about it for days and days to come.

Inhaling deeply, Aster stood up and cautiously approached the group. "Hey, where are you going?" Imogen asked, bewildered, but she didn't answer. The girl frowned, gathering everything back up into her coin purse, and scampered after Aster.

Word Count: 737
Total: 2,821
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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2020, 6:11 am

"Excuse me?" Aster approached the group of people, and they all stopped talking, heads turning as five pairs of eyes in varying shades of gold stared at her. That was unnerving. Some of the eyes widened as they took in the Eth standing in front of them, glass green horns curving up above her head and skin shimmering even in the shaded courtyard, and despite it all, her hands clasped timidly in front of her.

"Yes? What can we help you with?" One of the men asked her, curiously, and his voice was warm but accented; much more thickly than her mortal seeming's voice was, but it was the same accent, nonetheless. That gave her some courage.

"This is probably a silly and very strange question," Aster began, and the group exchanged bewildered and bemused looks between them. "But...are you Benshira?"

The bewilderment only grew as puzzled expressions crossed all five of their faces. The man who had spoken to her originally spoke up again after a moment. "We are, yes. Why do you ask?"

Why was she asking? That was an excellent question. She couldn't expect to learn about her own form specifically, especially not when she wasn't even occupying it, but perhaps she could learn some more about the people in general.

"I don't want to intrude on your meal, but I was just...well, I was wondering if you would be kind enough to tell me a little bit about yourselves. About the Benshira people," Aster explained, carefully, after a moment. The four others bent their heads together, talking in whispers in a language that Aster didn't recognize.

The man rubbed his jaw, scraping his fingers over the stubble that lined it. One of the woman asked him something in the language, and he let out a laugh, saying something back. Finally, he smiled at Aster and Imogen, who had crept up to cling to Aster's side during the conversation.

"A strange request to receive from a strange and beautiful lady," the man proclaimed, but his eyes were twinkling. They were a deep, warm amber, like whiskey that was being lit up by sunshine. "Please, pull up some chairs, sit with us. We can talk and eat, and we will tell you some. And perhaps in return you will tell us about yourself," he motioned for them to get chairs from a nearby empty table.

Relieved by the friendliness of the stranger, Aster pulled up a seat, Imogen doing likewise. "But here, you must eat, too," the man exclaimed, grabbing spare plates and piling them with various fruits, vegetables, and other assorted snack-type foods from a platter in the center of the table.

"Oh no, that's quite alright," Aster shook her head, surprised. She was already taking up their time, she certainly didn't want to take their food. Imogen, on the other hand, gladly accepted the plate, staring wide-eyed at the various exotic foods that were probably hundreds of times better than any food she'd ever had in Sunberth.

The man was adamant, so Aster took the plate reluctantly with a thank you. She plucked a slice of bright yellow fruit off of it, nibbling at it, and nudged her own plate over to Imogen.

"Are you sure?" Imogen whispered, wide-eyed, already beginning to scarf down the food on her own plate.

"Positive," Aster smiled. The man also poured them both cups of fragrant herbal tea, and that Aster did accept. It was brightly coloured, just like the fruit, and surprisingly chill and fruity when she took a sip; a delight in the heat of the afternoon. The other man was frowning, seeming displeased, and seemed to be arguing with the women in a low voice in the other language.

"My name is Atmish," the man introduced himself. "I apologize for my companions. I have lived in the Outpost a long time and learned to be open to strangers, but many of our people are not the same way. Such is life when you live in a place such as the desert," Atmish explained, not unkindly. "And you are?"

"Aster," the Eth introduced herself, "And this is Imogen. Thank you very much for talking with us and sharing your food. I really didn't want to intrude...we can leave, if your companions don't want us to be here." The last thing she wanted to do was intrude.

"Nonsense," Atmish waved his hand. "They will be fine. Besides, you are hardly a usual guest. It is not every day we are graced with one of your kind. One of Syna's own is a valued guest in my book."

Aster blushed slightly and nodded; did they worship Syna, then? He turned, saying something in the other language, and after a moment the women and the other man turned to face them as well, and they all introduced themselves. The other man was Tarell, and the women were Zasha, Esmine, and Namie.

"Thank you for having us. It's a pleasure to meet all of you," Aster nodded to each of them. The women seemed friendly enough, though Tarell continued to frown slightly.

"So, tell us, Aster," Zasha asked, leaning forward with wide eyes; hers were so dark they were nearly black, yet still somehow held that signature almost golden glow to them.

"Why are you so interested in our people?" The others looked at her as well, clearly all curious about her response.

Word Count: 901
Total: 3,722
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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2020, 6:13 am

"That's...hard to explain. For now, may I just say I recently found out about your people and...met someone who is Benshira but was born away from the desert and knows nothing about you, and she wishes to find out." Aster hesitated, explaining herself slowly, substituting herself with an imaginary woman. She didn't feel like explaining the whole situation quite yet. And while it seemed they were aware of what an Ethaefal was, she wasn't sure how much they actually knew.

"Very well," Atmish chuckled. "For now that will do, but we will want to know more. It is only fair, is it not?" Aster nodded her agreement, and Atmish smiled at her. "As long as we are in agreement. So then, you must have had specific questions. Please, ask what you will."

Aster took a sip of the cool, fruity tea, mulling it over for a moment. Imogen was quiet beside her, munching on some vegetables, listening curiously. What did she want to know specifically?

"Benshira are nomads, right?" At Atmish's nod, Aster continued. "How do you get around the desert? Do all of you use horses?"

Atmish stretched out, rubbing his jaw again. "So clearly you already know a little bit. Indeed, we wander the desert. Some of us use horses. Others use camels, or oryx...a type of antelope. We have our ways of getting around."

Camels? Oryx? Aster had never heard of such animals. Perhaps one of them was the strange humped animal that had been mentioned in the journal. "What about music?" She asked, abruptly changing the topic.

"Music is very important to our people across all tribes," Atmish nodded. He went on a slight tangent, explaining, "Our people live in tribes across the desert. Each tribe specializes in its own type of craft and often their own type of livestock as well. I am from the Beldra tribe. We raise sun cattle, and many of my people are expert blacksmiths."

Sun cattle? So many strange animals that she had never heard of. But Aster listened as Atmish continued, moving back to the topic of music. "Indeed, singing, dancing, and instruments are something many of us are raised to appreciate and learn to do. Our language makes for beautiful songs."

As if to prove the point, Esmine suddenly broke into song, singing a few quick words in the strange language; and it was true, it sounded lovely before she broke off into giggles as the other two women turned on her, chastising her playfully. "Show off!" Zasha exclaimed, in Common, and Aster found herself smiling.

"You have a beautiful voice," she said, sincerely. Esmine preened under the praise while Zasha rolled her eyes and Namie raised her hands in a gesture of despair.

"Do not encourage her," Zasha exclaimed, and Aster ducked her head in apology, sipping her tea. "But tell us some about you," she continued, "Please. I am so curious! You must have tales to tell."

"You're welcome to ask me anything," Aster said, honestly; it was the least she could do if they were sharing things about their people with her. Before Zasha could say anything, Atmish said something sternly in their language. Zasha frowned at him, but then turned to Asterope.

"Where do you two hail from, then?" Zasha asked, but something told Aster it wasn't what she had wanted to ask. "What do you do?"

Aster hesitated, glancing down at Imogen. "We come from Sunberth. It's a coastal city. It...is rough living. There's little to no law, and the city is run by gangs mostly. I'm a slave there." She reached up to tap her collar.

Zasha made a wordless exclamation of upset, reaching out to grab her hand, pointing out the brand to the others. "I am so sorry," Namie said quietly. "That must be very difficult."

"It is, but I'm working on it," Aster mustered nonchalance and shrugged slightly. "It is what it is." Frowning, Zasha finally released her hand, folding her arms over her chest.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you or bring the mood down," Aster offered, because Zasha especially seemed upset by this revelation.

Atmish shook his head. "It is not your fault. Zasha is deeply devoted to Syna, and she is upset to see one of her children in shackles." Aster blinked, looking to Zasha, who only nodded.

"Do many of you worship Syna?" She asked, and Atmish nodded.

"Oh yes, she is one of the most revered among our people. There are others too, of course, but she is among them." Atmish smiled at her, and Aster nodded slowly, thinking of what Aithne had said earlier in the season about her mortal seeming being tied to Syna somehow.

Word Count: 785
Total: 4,507
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Posts: 520
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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2020, 6:15 am

The day dragged on as they talked, Aster explaining some of her own life story, and in return being told tidbits about the Benshira; the women, especially, were excited to tell her about the weapons they favoured, metal claws that tipped their fingers. That intrigued Aster; Atmish talked some more about music and how art was integral to their life.

He seemed to skirt some topics, or was vague on others, but Aster didn't press; if he didn't wish to share certain information for one reason or another, it wasn't really her place to pry.

As the day wore into evening, the linens above were rolled back, exposing the sky as the sun began to set, and lanterns and candles were lit to keep the courtyard well-lit. Atmish ordered more tea, stretching as they discussed some of the animals he had mentioned previously; when she had asked about the humped goat-like creatures, he had laughed and explain that they were called camels.

It was a lull in the conversation now, and Aster felt the familiar warmth within her, radiating beneath her skin that signaled she would be changing forms. A few moments later, she sat there in her Benshira seeming. All five of the others had straightened up and were staring at her with wide eyes, and as the dim glow faded to reveal her form, jaws dropped.

All of them began talking at once, a mix of Common and Shiber (the name of the language they spoke, as Aster had learned), except for Atmish who threw back his head and laughed warmly.

"You! You sneaky fox," Atmish grinned at her. "Why did you not just tell us that you wanted to know more about our people because you are one of them?"

Aster flushed slightly and shrugged, glancing over to Imogen, who was staring with widened eyes, speechless for once. Finally, she whispered, "You were telling the truth," seemingly awestruck.

"I told you," Aster smiled, and Imogen poked at her face as if to make sure it was really her. "So...you're a Benshira? You're like them?" Imogen glanced between the group and Aster.

"Sort of," Aster exhaled deeply, and for at least the third time that season, explained the strange and puzzling transformation that she had experienced.

"Very strange," Atmish admitted, leaning back and frowning thoughtfully.

"Do you think it's a test from Yahal? To test her faithfulness?" Namie mused, and Aster looked over quickly.

"Yahal? You worship him?" All five heads nodded.

"Like Syna, he is a god we worship deeply," Atmish explained. "You know of him?"

"A little bit," Aster admitted, and the group fell into a brief discussion in Shiber. Aster sipped at her tea thoughtfully. A test from Yahal? If the Benshira worshiped him so much, and her form was a Benshira, and she had relatively recently discovered him and begun praying to him sometimes...

It was hard to say. But it wasn't something to rule out; the frustrating thing about all these theories was that, however. She couldn't really rule any of them out, because while strange, they were plausible, and she didn't have enough proof to disprove any of them.

"Do you know anything about yourself?" Zasha asked, gesturing to her new form, and Aster looked down at herself.

"Not really," she admitted. "I have a few scars but that's it."

The women stood up, crowding around her, chatting quietly among themselves in a mixture of Shiber and Common. "Show us, maybe we can help."

Aster extended her arms, showing them the scars; that sobered them up. But the callouses on her fingers got them talking again, and she showed them the scar above her belly button, and talked about the callouses on her feet as well.

Word Count: 624
Total: 5,131
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
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Day Trip

Postby Asterope on March 1st, 2020, 6:16 am

"A rider of some sort?" Namie pondered.

"A blacksmith," declared Esmine, but after a quick look at Aster's hands, Atmish shook his head.

"No way. Those aren't the hands of a blacksmith," he said, and Esmine frowned, tapping her lip as she thought.

Tarell spoke up then, for one of the first times that evening. "A dancer," he said. "Or musician of some sort."

The women exchanged excited chatter, looking over her hands again. "A harp maybe! Or something with strings, look at the callouses. My cousin Daesha plays and has similar ones. And dancing, oh, she would have had a belly button piercing if she danced a lot! And the callouses on her feet!" Zasha clapped excitedly, pulling up her own shirt slightly to reveal a belly button piercing with a small golden bell on it.

Aster stared at them, wide-eyed, then looked to Tarell, who had gone back to sipping his tea. Again, it was one of those things that couldn't quite be proven or disproven, but...it sounded reasonable. It made sense. The clues added up, though the scars on her arm that seemed self-inflicted were still a mystery.

But the rest of it made sense. Was it true? She had no idea, but she was going to choose to believe it until such a time she had enough proof to say otherwise. Aster smiled up at the women, clasping her hands together. "That's amazing. I never would have guessed any of that, thank you so much!"

She wondered if she still had any of those skills. Probably not, if the few times she'd tried dancing was anything to go by. But still, she felt elated to know just that little bit more about...herself? Her past? That, she was still unsure of.

They polished off the last of their tea, chatting amicably about all kinds of things now; Aster mentioned that it was their first time to the Outpost, and of course the group had all sorts of suggestions about where to go visit and what to buy. Even Tarell seemed slightly more friendly, now that she was one of them, so to speak.

But as the sky grew darker and Imogen began stifling yawns, Aster suddenly remembered her reality back in Sunberth. It was as if someone had dunked her in a bucket of ice water as she realized how late it was and how far it was to get back into the city from the dovecote.

"Oh," she mumbled, standing abruptly, eyes wide. "I'm so sorry. It's been so fun talking with you all, I absolutely will come back and see you again, but I have to go. I'm going to be in so much trouble..." she fretted, fingers twisting in her shirt. Imogen blinked sleepily, then realizing what Aster was saying, scrambled to her feet.

"Why don't you just stay here?" Atmish asked. "You have nothing to go back to, it sounds like. Plenty of people live in the Outpost."

Aster stared at him, wide-eyed. Was that an option? Even Imogen looked bewildered. "Oh, I'll need to think about," she finally breathed, because there was an option but she was suddenly terrified to take it. "I will, though, I will think about it, thank you so much for everything."

She bid the group farewell, hoping to see them again someday, and then she and Imogen ran back through the streets, now dim but lit with lanterns, racing back to the dovecote. It was going to be a long walk back indeed, and Aster had completely forgotten about her errand. She was petched, that much was certain.

"Sorry," Imogen whispered, as they closed the doors of the dovecote. "I shoulda known better. You're always getting into trouble because of me."

"Imogen," Aster sighed, dropping into a crouch and gently holding the girl's face. "Never say that, please. The time I spend with you is some of the only time I spend happy these days. It is always well worth it, and it is never your fault. Do you understand?"

Imogen avoided Aster's gaze, but nodded slightly. "Good," Aster smiled gently. "Now, come on. We have a bit of a walk, and we need to hurry." With that, they exited the dovecote back onto the outlook on the outskirts of Sunberth, and began the trek back into the city, Aster's mouth still tasting of fruity tea and her head still ringing with the suggestion to just...stay.

Word Count: 739
Total: 5,870
Image

The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 520
Words: 529972
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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