Completed Love and Hate

Shiress confronts Caspian about a few things

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

Love and Hate

Postby Shiress on December 5th, 2020, 1:43 am

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Winter 5th day
520

They were arguing.

Again.

At least Caspian and Taalviel were attempting to keep their harsh whispers quiet, but the obvious tone carried nevertheless.

Glancing down to a sleeping Ian, Shiress debated on rousing her son and taking him from the house, but he had just fallen asleep. Instead, Shiress met her mother's gaze knowingly before crossing the floor, pulling open the door of their cottage, and stepped out onto the porch, the door gently snicking closed behind her. She'd give the siblings their privacy, but if their bickering woke Ian again...

Shiressstepped from the small porch and rounded the side of the house, settling herself into her mother's roses. The tension of the house slowly began rolled from her shoulders. This back and forth between Caspian and his sister had been going on almost to the day they had arrived in Zeltiva but had gotten steadily worse over the weeks. But, it hadn't just been between the two siblings. Caspian seemed more irritated and annoyed, not just at Tavi, but at Shiress, too. Moreso at Shiress, maybe. His words were cutting and downright hurtful at times. Ambrosia was on the receiving end of Caspian's new ire, also, but thankfully she had a job and a means of escaping the man's venom.

Shiress had been taking more and more walks away from the bitterness that plagued her home, but lately, she found a new determination to get to the bottom of it. Especially since...

The cabin door swung open, interrupting Shiress's thoughts, and Taalviel stepped out, slamming the door behind her. Shiress tensed but didn't say anything as the girl stomped down the steps. Shiress stood and followed her for a few steps, but when the girl didn't seem to be stopping anytime soon, she called out for her.

"Taalviel?"

No reply

"Taalviel, please?"

Nothing.

"Tavi, please, wait!"

Shiress had caught up with the dark-haired woman and reached out for her elbow to pull her around to face her. She had barely touched the other woman before she found her wrist caught and twisted away.

Shiress's reaction was instant and driven by pure instinct. Her body tensed and went completely still, green eyes flashing, freehand hovering over the dagger sheathed on her thigh. Thankfully, she was just able to control the urge, settling her hand by her side instead, fist clenching.

Shiress's eyes lifted from her restrained arm and settled on Taalviel's dark ones "Let. Go." Shiress demanded, her voice just as cold and steady as her gaze. Tavi wrenched her hold away from Shiress's arm, and Shiress gasped, another attempt to control a temper she presently had little control of.

"Leave. Off. Shiress." Taalviel spat, mocking Shiress's tone, before turning and marching away. This time, Shiress let her go.

It took a long while for Shiress to return to the roses. An even longer time, it seemed, for her mind to get back to what she had been planning to do.

Lorna's rose bushes were a pitiful sight. Brown, leafless sticks mostly, all aligned in a sad and lifeless row. Shiress spent some time digging into the earth, straightening the bushes, and snapping rogue growths from them. As she reached the last bush, she stood, hand near the thicker part of the stem and concentrated. Slowly, the bush came alive. First, a lush green color started in the roots and spread through the stem and out through the tiny branches. A bud formed here and there until finally, fully bloomed roses popped free.

Shiress's hand skimmed through the tops of the bushes as she stepped past them, new life forming beneath her fingertips, Bala's mark on her calf shining and pulsing. As soon as she reached the last rose, the door to the cottage opened, and Caspian stepped out onto the porch. Shiress said nothing, only watched. When Caspian finally stepped from the porch, Shiress walked toward him.

"Will you walk with me?" she asked, voice calm. "I have something I would like to show you."

She waited for his reply, but not long enough to actually hear it before she turned and started down the dirt road leading to town. Shiress knew he would follow, despite the state the man was in.

She led him to the end of a pier and stopped, leaning a hip against the wooden railing. The sound of water lapping against the shore calmed the awkward silence between the two friends as seagulls battled for their share of discarded chum from a nearby fishing boat.

After a moment, Shiress turned to Caspian, hand dipping into the front pocket of the shift she wore, and pulled free a small burlap bag, no bigger than her palm, and held it up, just out of reach, for Caspian to see.

"When you leave your pants for me to wash, it might be prudent to clean the pockets first."
Last edited by Shiress on January 22nd, 2021, 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Love and Hate

Postby Caspian on December 13th, 2020, 1:55 pm

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“Are you serious?” Caspian says, glancing incredulously between Shiress and the bag held aloft in her hand. The sun’s too bright, the ground too loamy, the wind too biting against his overextended system. Making the connection from the offended to the offending object is nearly too much arithmetic for him to handle, but when he makes it, it sticks, and his irritation comes like an adder’s snap. “It’s perfectly legal, Flutter. What are you going to do? Call the Wave Guard?” The thought of it makes him laugh. The Winger he’d taken last night is still stringing its way out of his system, as if it had started at his core and hour by dreadful hour is peeling its way free. For the last two bells it sat just below the surface of his skin, kept him tossing and turning until finally, as the morning broke and the sounds of the city’s comings and goings were well underway, Taalviel had lost it, really lost it, and they’d scrabbled and argued their way out here. If only he could shed the feeling, slough it off like a snake, so he might find the moment’s worth of sleep that his worn out body so desperately needs.

Through the daylight that to anyone else, might have been perfectly pleasant, but to him is scouring and blinding, he squints at the bag. Just to make sure, and – yes. Thank Rhysol in his far-flung, dark cathedrals, Xyna in her luminal, clinking troves, and Morwen, wherever the petch she may be. Shiress has only found the Temper, not another Winger, or something stronger that would surely upset her in appropriate proportion. Though it’s unlikely it would be another Winger – if he ever has one, it’s as good as gone.

“If you wanted some, Flutter, all you had to do was ask,” he throws out with sarcastic sweetness, crossing his arms. Blast the wind again. It slips its way through his seams, has him hunching in on himself. He’d like nothing more than to crawl into bed and rid himself of a conversation that promises to be horrendous and stick to him like glue. “Again, perfectly legal. Which, I would like to point out, is a way that does not come naturally to me.”

It’s almost laughably easy for him to find this sort of thing now. Ravok’s geographic isolation had made all manner of trade a challenge, one he’d mostly overcome and circumvented by swanning about the intellectual salons and playing nice at parties with the idle younger generation of the merchant class, and carefree, generous cousins of the Larks. But in the port city of Zeltiva, with so many coming and going, all it had taken was his around East Street enough to make affable acquaintances. Better than all that, over the Fall he’d discovered the dovecote, and the endless shuffle and bustle of the Outpost, where they sell substances he’s never even heard of. Petch the old Ravokian rigmarole; he’ll build a shrine to Xyna and get a tattoo of her on his backside if she asks, so wonderfully egalitarian and simple and rewarding it is to pull out one’s wallet and be treated precisely as one asks.
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Love and Hate

Postby Shiress on January 5th, 2021, 10:44 pm

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Shiress let the glare she held on Caspian slide away, thin lips pursing as she sucked at her teeth, scoffing indignantly, head shaking.

Someone who knew the doctor well enough would recognize the attempt for what it was; reigning in a belligerent temper. Shiress didn't anger often, but when it truly hit her...well, the last few times, there was a dagger involved. Not that Shiress would ever go after Caspian with a knife or hurt him in any way, but to treat her as if she were a simpleton lacking the sense to see what was right in front of their face?

It was a near thing.

Shiress's green eyes narrowed to slits as her perceptive gaze zeroed in on Caspian again, hands perching on slender hips.

"Do you seriously take me for a fool, Caspian?" she glared but not really expecting a reply "First off, I'm a doctor. If I wanted to get petched up, I sure as shyke have a lot better options." Taking a slow step toward Cas, Shiress extended a hand and pressed a finger to the man's chest.

"Second, if you think for a tick that I don't know you, then you are a bigger fool than you take me for!" Shiress lowered her voice, arms crossing over her chest. "I see your eyes, Caspian. I know the nights you stumble across the doorway when the blacks of your eyes are so large I can't see the green.

Shiress's head tilted slightly as if daring the young spy to deny what she was about to say.

"I also see your eyes on the nights when the blacks of them are so very small that I might need a looking glass to find them." She let that sink in a tick before continuing. "I see your hands shaking, Cas. I see you push away plates of food and draw your belt tighter and tighter. You're gone from home more and more, staying out until morning. Sleeping all day. You speak harshly to your sister. To Ambrosia and me." She paused, studying him closely.

Something had changed in Caspian, something significant, and Shiress struggled to put a date to it. If she had to guess, it would have been right around the time they had left Ravok. Actually, she was sure it was when they departed the city. Almost to the day, he had become withdrawn, short tempered, and seemed bitter and angry all the time, and now?

Now drugs.

Shiress's shoulders sagged, and she ran a hand across her eyes, feeling suddenly exhausted.

"Look, Cas, you're one of my best friends," placing a hand on each of Caspian's biceps, a look of genuine concern crossed Shiress's features "I'm just worried about you, is all, and I want to help you if I can. If you'll let me, but you have to talk to me." Shiress dipped her face, catching her friend's gaze, looking at him imploringly "Please, Cas, tell me what's going on?"
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Love and Hate

Postby Caspian on January 9th, 2021, 8:59 pm

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“If now’s the first you’re seeing of me and my sister’s squabbles, you’ve really not been paying attention.”

But the rest, about her as Rosie -

It holds water, enough that the fact of their being surrounded by it rings sardonic and has him resentful of the absurdity of his being brought here at all.

“You forget I was already this way,” he said, but he’s softer now, because -

Because she is, when anyone else might have pitched him right over the edge of the pier.

She still might, so says her grip on his arms.

“Do you think I got through Sunberth sober? Does anyone? I’ve been down and out before, sideways and still-boiled through next dawn. Do you know how many times I tipped over my own shoes and nearly drowned in the canals?” Although - the last couple years there, once Taalviel showed up, it’s true his going clean had brought him a clarity he didn’t know he needed.

Thinking of Ravok, letting the name of it slip though he had willed himself to do anything but, it makes him sick -

He wrenches out of her grasp, not to rebuke her, but to hold himself over the railing for the nausea suddenly spasming up through his system. Nothing comes up, but it’s no relief, toxins still swimming through him with all the vigor they had stolen from him.

Breathing hurts. Namely, his nostrils, stinging and burning as if he’s back in the arid Outpost, having abused them last night past enthusiasm. Something warm trickles down. Hand trembling, he fishes his stained handkerchief out of his pocket, nearly loses it to the wind, dabs at the spot of red down his face. Let her comment on it as she will.

“Frankly,” he says with more gusto than he feels, “I’ve been worse off. I still take my jobs timely, make my marks even if I have to drag my corpse there. The lot of you are being - well. Terribly preemptive.“ He sniffs into his handkerchief, scowls down at the red there. At least it’s mostly stopped, though in this state he’s past caring what he looks like. “I have a feeling it doesn’t matter what I do.” Has he stopped caring what he sounds like too? “I hang too much around the house, stick myself in the loft - you all tell me to get back to work, make friends, keep myself busy. I do precisely that and none of you are any happier for it. Has it occurred to you that my line of work, if I’m to do it right, means I sometimes have to slosh and slither?”

There’s too many people around. They’re at a distance, but it’s too many eyes and ears and their nearness prickles the chemical anxiety already rising across the back of his neck.

She hasn’t tossed him over the end yet. And maybe it’s just the hour - an ungodly one for his sleepless soul - but he feels something in him crack.

“I’m - Gods, Flutter. I don’t know. I mean, I do know. I’m not deaf and blind; I’d like to be, sometimes, and I try, but nothing’s near strong enough for that. I know I’ve been a devil. I’m just -“ There goes his stomach again - but but nearly enough to expel. “I shouldn’t be here. It’s petching miserable.”
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Love and Hate

Postby Shiress on January 13th, 2021, 1:22 am

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Shiress let Caspian say his fill without saying a word, though it became a lot more difficult when the man wrenched free of her hold and threw himself over the railing as her friend's stomach rebelled; anger simmering dangerously just beneath her self-control at seeing his body's unhealthy display.

Seeing the blood, though. That nearly had her barely contained anger boiling over, but somehow she remained stoic and kept her hands to herself, although she ached to reach out to her friend. What good would it do, though?

Cas finally fell silent once his belly gave another rolling warning, and Shiress let her green gaze linger on him another tick before she turned from him and leaned down to rest her forearms on the wooden banister. A gust of warmer than usual air caught her long, chestnut hair, whipping it back and forth across her shoulders. Several long strands plastered themselves across her face, and she clawed them back with a finger, planting them behind an ear.

Caspian's last words worried her greatly, but she was too worried to ask him to elaborate, fearful that she may not want to hear the truth of them.

Was here a general term, as in meaning life, or was he referring to being here, in Zeltiva? The miserable part was easy to see. Caspian was consumed in misery; therefore, everything around him was going to seem just as miserable, but how to explain that without sounding insensitive?

One thing was for sure, Caspian had admitted to mistreating her and Ambrosia, but he hadn't apologized. Had she really expected him to? Not really.

After another moment of silence, Shiress straightened and turned her attention back to Caspian, leaning a hip against the railing.

The man was as anxious as a whore in church, so Shiress just began talking.

"I met you when you were what, fifteen, sixteen? The Caspian I knew then was young and scared and angry and newly enslaved to boot, but he didn't lack in gusto." she smiled at him "The Shiress you met was.." she had to think a moment, numbers flashing across her memory. "eighteen summers, and was scared, too, but I was very timid then. I had been in chains for nearly five of my eighteen summers when you fell into my lap." she grinned again. "By then, I was very resigned. I had excepted my fate, I think. My fight was gone right along with my freedom, I think" Shiress chuckled humorlessly, head shaking. "Barely eighteen and already so very tired of living."

"I never knew what happened to you after you left, but I thought of you often and wondered." her gaze fell to her scarred hands, turning them over and back. She ran a hand up along the thin, silver lines cross-crossing her forearm. "I remained a slave for another four summers before I finally had it in me to escape. Though, now I wonder if it would have been better had I not ran." she shivered. "A lot happened to us both between the time you left Jordan's farm, and I found you in Elias's home in Ravok. Even more since. Some we know of, most we don't, but one thing is still obvious in you, Cassy." Shiress lifted her eyes, meeting Caspian's. "Your will. Your will is still as strong as it was when it pulled you from that fever all those seasons ago."

Shiress straightened and took a step closer to Caspian.

"Trust me when I tell you that I know exactly what the streets of Sunberth can do to a person and the mark that god's forsaken hole can leave on one's soul, but that is not who you are now. Not anymore. You have family that loves you, friends that worry about you, and a place to call home, albeit a tiny one."

Shiress tried for a smile, failed, and frowned instead.

"You don't have to tell me what's going on if you'd rather not. Maybe I wouldn't understand it anyway, but can you at least do one thing?" she waited but decided she'd only be getting a steely glare and not words from her friend.

"Will you let me help you with the drugs? There's a medicine that I can give you now to help, and there are others that I can prescribe for the long term that will help calm your yearning for them. I can even give you something to help with nervousness and shaking."

Shiress couldn't help but think she was trying to bandage a decapitation futilely. The help she offered seemed just as ineffective, but she didn't know what else to offer. Caspian wasn't going to talk to her; she could see it in his sunken eyes. He was completely closed down. Hopefully, she could reach him differently.

"At least let me help you clear your mind and strengthen your body. Once you are thinking clearly and feeling better, maybe you can talk to me, and we'll go from there?"

Shiress couldn't help but be hopeful and want nothing less than to throw her arms around her friend, but she kept her distance, only lifting a hand to his arm in an imploring gesture.

"Please, Caspian, you are not well." she glanced meaningfully at the bloody tissue he held in his hand. "Let me help you."
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Love and Hate

Postby Caspian on January 21st, 2021, 2:11 pm

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She believes it, what she said about Sunberth.

She really actually hand to her evergreen heart seems to.

It stuns him for a second. Because it’s not what he believes – he, who had made that fatal mistake before, of thinking that the city was behind him. Though he hadn’t been born there, it hadn’t mattered – he had spent enough of his formative years there learning how to scrape by, witnessed firsthand the fatal consequences of faltering, had played accomplice to crimes he doesn’t admit out loud and committed a fair share of his own. More than that, he had not felt bad about them. For years in Ravok – he changed the way he dressed, worked his way around his petching Slag Heap accent, disavowed his family and drawn a fog across them. And it had been in vain. All it had taken was Taalviel’s arrival to set him back on the same vector he had deluded himself into thinking he had veered from. Everything he had built himself up to be was not the development he wished for – it was only a sorry facade, marked now by his having strangled two people, the acts inevitabilities towards which he had always been hurtling. The greatest fault, the one that holds him back, drowns him in his present emotional arrest and implosion is his own indecision – knowing that a different sort of person exists, the kind who would feel that black mark upon them, wouldn’t have gone down that road at all, and for some reason he’s still clinging to the vague notion that he can contort himself into that mold, and –

For what, exactly?

Who is there to judge him – who has the right?

It certainly isn’t Shiress.

“Again, Flutter, you greatly preempt,” he says roughly in response to her offering medical attention. Petch his stinging nose; petch to hell the crisp morning mountain air which is bracing in the worst way. “I don’t have a yearning, I have a hobby you just don’t like. I will be fine, just give it a few bells. Had you caught me later, around noon, I highly doubt you’d be sounding the same alarm.” Distantly – he knows he’s still being unnecessarily curt. It’s like watching himself play out from across the way. \
And it’s a wreck.

“Look – “ He sighs. It’s hard looking her in the eye now. She just wants and he’s ground down to a place where that’s a foreign feeling, except for what he feels this moment for his bed. “This was just a huge change. A sudden one, and not something I think anyone can reverse. I worked so hard for everything I had in Ravok, to finally be in a place where I was the one in control, and now it’s just – it’s gone. I know it isn’t your fault, but – “ He bites off. Those last few words had come out of him in a way he didn’t like, pathetic and crackled and crumpled underfoot. Like he’s practicing his lines, writing them in dozens across a board, trying to convince himself – remind himself? – of a truth.

The conflict between them, through the lens of his exhaustion, seems irreconcilable. Tiredness ebbs at his furiousness, and in exasperation he throws out, “How about this – you don’t like seeing me this way. Fair. So I’ll stay out of your way. I’ll keep the noise down. I’ll go about my business and you go about yours. No trouble at your door.” He’s already pivoting away before he’s finished speaking. “If that’s all you have to say, I’m going to lie down. Contrary to your and Taalviel’s beliefs, I have a job and do give a petch about it, and I need to get myself sorted before I head out.”

The way back to the cottage is a long one. Each step he takes is brittle, battered by the breeze, a chill finding its way up his cuffs and through his seams.

Taalviel’s waiting on the porch. They say nothing to each other, and like a dark sentinel she watches silently for Shiress’ return.
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