Solo Back Again

Shiress finally comes home

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

Back Again

Postby Shiress on September 1st, 2020, 3:09 am

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Last edited by Shiress on November 19th, 2020, 12:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Back Again

Postby Ambrosia Alar on September 1st, 2020, 4:08 am

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Back Again

Postby Caspian on September 1st, 2020, 4:44 am

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Back Again (Ambrosia, Caspian)

Postby Shiress on November 7th, 2020, 3:19 am

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Shiress stood propped against the wooden bow of the ship, watching as the large vessel floated slow and steady toward the opening of Mathew's Bay. Ever since the large landmass that was Zeltiva came into view, Shiress has been unable to take her eyes from it.

Shiress had just turned fourteen years old when her family had struck out for Sunberth one warm, autumn morning, and she had had no indication that the return journey would take nearly fifteen years.

Fifteen very long, harrowing years.

"Left a girl, returned a woman." Shiress muttered into the wind, long hair stirring around her shoulders, green eyes scanning the coastline carefully.

Memories of her and her brother, Zane, playing along the shore, jumping rocks, chasing crabs, or stretched out on top of a blanket, watching ships come and go from the ports filled her thoughts. They were good memories, happy memories from a different time. A time before chains and whips and subservience. Before pain and heartache and grief. A time before stolen innocence and constrained obeisance.

Shiress sighed forlornly, gaze lifting to scan the columns of Zastoska Mountains encompassing the bay, their snow-capped peaks long ago melted, their skirts a rusty brown, where hues of yellows and greens should be. The absence of cooler temperatures has taken its toll on all corners of Mizahar, it seems. Shiress wondered if the Bonesnapper still slipped from the Zastoska's to chill the backs of Zeltivans. Doubtful.

Though it all looked the same, everything had changed.

As the ship circled to enter the bay, Shiress turned from her nostalgic vigil, turning her attention to her companions, smiling at each in turn.

"We're home." Shiress said, pulling the soft bundle of blankets from Rosie's arms, settling it within her own, gazing down lovingly into her son's face, shrouded by light blue cotton, still and peaceful in sleep, a tiny thumb resting between plump, rosebud lips.

It took another bell for the ship to port and arrangements to be made to deliver belongings. By the time Syna had reached her zenith, Shiress and baby, Ambrosia, Caspian, and Tavi had disembarked, entered the city proper, and slowly began to make their way through the dirt paths toward Shiress's childhood home. With each step closer they came, Shiress's heart filled with more and more memories.

"Everything still looks the same," Shiress noted, gaze flitting from one thing to another. "but maybe a bit smaller." she laughed. "I was last here when I was fourteen, now I'm twenty-nine, and nothing has changed."

Shiress shook her head, a fond smile tugging the corners of her mouth.

"My father's name is Zachiah or Zach, he'll say, and my mother is Lorna. Daddy's a gruff and blunt man, but honest and kind. He's a shipwright and most likely had a hand in building the ship we sailed here in. My mom is a gentle soul," Shiress smiled wide "and most definitely a hugger and will love you as her own, in time. She's a nurse at the infirmary. My brother.." Shiress's voice caught in her throat, smile fading, "Zane's funny and smart. Always joking, smiling, and playing pranks. First to fight for those he loves, and last to get caught." Shiress grew quiet, eyes downcast, as they continued their trek, growing ever closer to the little cottage.

Voices brought Shiress up short, subsequently stopping her in her tracks as one of the voices, in particular, caused her heart to shudder. Her mother's voice. Her mother was walking down the path before them, and she was singing. Someone stepped close, pulling the baby from her arms. Another placed a hand in hers, squeezing gently. Shiress reached out by her opposite side, found another hand, squeezing it, also. Whispers of encouragement flitted around her head, but she only had eyes for the woman now entering through a rickety old gate that led to an even more rickety old cottage.

Shiress dropped the hands that held tight to hers and took a step, then another, then another. "Mom?" she called. The woman stopped but didn't turn. "Mom? It's Shiress." Slowly, the petite woman turned, a hand fisted in the fabric over her chest, as if the voice she had heard pained her heart.

Lorna took several stumbling steps until she was outside the gate once again. "Shiress?" her voice sounded as if she were lost in the dark, calling for someone to find her.

Shiress could only nod through the tears that streamed down her face. Then, Lorna was running, and so was Shiress, mother and daughter meeting in a fierce embrace. Lorna was shaking, and all Shiress could do was soothe her with words that made absolutely no sense. Finally, Lorna stepped back just enough to cup her daughter's face in her hands. "My baby girl." she said, voice thick with emotion, then they were hugging again.

Their embrace lasted for some time until Shiress pulled away, pressing their foreheads together. "I home, Mom. I've come home."
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Back Again (Ambrosia, Caspian)

Postby Ambrosia Alar on November 17th, 2020, 4:55 am

She hadn’t slept a wink last night. Alarius hadn’t let her. He knew that they were going to be pulling into port this morning, and he wasn’t about to let any chance at Ambrosia slip away. He wasn’t a dumb man. He knew she was using him, the same as he was using her, and he knew that this was likely the last time he’d ever see her. He had finally fallen asleep a bit after dawn, giving Autumn time to clean up and get on deck before Caspian and Shires could see what cabin she emerged from. Perhaps they suspected. Perhaps they already knew. But if there was a chance they didn’t, she didn’t want them finding out now.

Her stride across the deck was slow and deliberate, not because the rocking waves made her sick. No, the herbs the first mate had given her had worked wonders on that. Se was slow, because everything heart. He hadn’t been rough with her, but he had been very eager. Walking hurt, so she practiced an even pace up and down the deck several times until she was confident no one would be able to see any hint of pain in her step.

Eventually, Shiress and Caspian had made their way on deck. It was difficult for Ambrosia to look either of them in the eye, but not out of shame, at least not the shame of her previous night’s escapades. She had reasons to feel equal measures of shame when it came to each of them. Shiress had taken her in when she had no hope and had given her a home, and what had Ambrosia done to show her thanks? She had sought a way out, resented this new life she had fallen into. Sure, she had been grateful for what Shiress had saved her from and what she had given her, but she had not given the same amount of love Shiress had shown her. At best, she had been a distant friend. And Caspian? She could still feel the fabric in her hands as she pressed it into Caspian’s and remember the words that she had delivered so calmly. She had killed that man. Caspian had just been her weapon. That didn’t mean that he couldn’t feel the guilt the same as her. Maybe he did, but she wouldn’t know. He had barely talked to her since that day aside form the light banter that always seemed to exist between people. Maybe she was reading into it too much. They had barely known each other before that day. Not to mention, Alarius had been keeping her… busy.

Still, she cared about them bother. Shame be damned. They were her friends, and she would meet their eyes.

Shiress was the first on deck. Ambrosia couldn’t be sure if her friend was just eager to see home or if Ian had woken her up early. She had heard the baby’s cries every few bells last night, it seemed. It was amazing the way giving birth had changed Shiress. She had a mother’s eyes now. Tired but proud and resolute. Indomitable. She may have always been that way, but it showed more now.

Dark circles were under those eyes. Ian didn’t let her sleep as much as she ought to, and it was easy to see how much demand the baby placed on her. Stubborn and determined the way Ambrosia always knew her to be, Shiress tackled the challenge readily. The baby was not a burden but a blessing.

Quickly, Ambrosia prayed to every God and Goddess whose name she could think of that her recent activities with Alarius didn’t have her headed down the same path.

Shiress smiled when she saw Ambrosia. The younger woman was about to offer her a cheery greeting, but Shiress held a finger to her lips. Seeing the bundle in her friend’s arms, Ambrosia changed her greeting to a smile, her best smile, one that spoke of comfort and love and warmth. She held her arms out for the bundle, and Shiress gave him up to her.

In the first days after he was born, Ambrosia was terrified to hold Ian. She thought she would do something that would break him, but time and time again, fate proved her wrong. Thus far, Ian had survived every encounter with her. Each time, she got a little more comfortable, she relaxed more, and he seemed to fit her arms even better. Now, she enjoyed it, marveled in watching his sleeping face. It was when he was awake that she was less impressed with him. How something so small could make so much noise she would never know.

With him in her arms now, she cooed quietly. Shiress caught sight of land and left Ambrosia alone with Ian, but before she went, Ambrosia saw memories in her eyes. It was a hard thing to describe, but it was as if the soul was ready to leave the body on an adventure into nostalgia but, by doing so, was seen in all of its true nature like it never had been seen before. Ambrosia let her be.

Caspian was a little later coming up on deck, but he arrived just the same. He saw her wandered her direction. For a moment, Ambrosia thought maybe all was good between them, but the past several years had taught her to deny hope. She was probably just the most familiar thing in sight, and people tended to gravitate toward the familiar. He didn’t say anything as he approached, but maybe that was because he saw the bundle in her arms. Maybe he would rather not speak to her. She couldn’t know. All she could do was offer him a smile, so she did.

The one she had for him was different than the one she had given Shiress. This smile was still warm and comforting but carried something a little different. It was heavier, a little more somber. Apologetic. There was understanding there as well, an extended hand of friendship with no demand that the warmth be returned. It carried a lot, but it was easy to miss if one wasn’t looking. She couldn’t be sure how much he saw.

The day moved on with Zeltiva moving closer, and eventually, Shiress returned from her mind’s meanderings, taking her boy back from Ambrosia.

“We’re home.”

Ambrosia knew she shouldn’t feel it, but bitterness rose up in her at that. This may have been home for Shiress, but it was the entire world away from her own. As soon as she thought it, she felt her shame again. For now, for Shiress’ sake, for her own sake, this was home. Shiress and Caspian. And Ian and Taalviel.

Once they docked, Shiress began to guide them through the city, telling them of the people and places within. As Shiress talked about her home, Ambrosia marveled at how different it was from hers. A decade and a half and nothing had changed? Alvadas couldn’t go bell to bell and still be the same.

This journey to wherever felt like forever, and it was only made longer by the fact that walking hurt. But relief came. It came in the form of a woman, a mother recognized by her daughter. Ambrosia found Ian back in her arms, and as Shiress embraced her mother, Ambrosia couldn’t help but wonder what her own mother was feeling with her youngest daughter missing for two years and her middle child missing for half that.

She choked back the rising tide of emotion. Shiress didn’t need that from her right now. Shiress had faced enough of that of her own. Right now, she needed her friends to share in joy, so Ambrosia waited to be introduced, a practiced smile slipping to her lips masking any hint of what lay behind it. Joy, true joy, built in her for the happiness of her friend. She wouldn’t wish otherwise for Shiress. She just wished she could have some of that of her own.

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