Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Ian goes missing (Doubles as a job thread for Caspian)

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy roleplay forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

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

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on February 14th, 2021, 7:28 pm

Image
50th Day
Winter 521

"She didn't mean it, Shi."

Shiress's grip on the towel clutched between her hands tightened. "I know."

Behind her, the woman sighed. Shiress heard the snick of the door closing on the all too quiet cabin, then soft footsteps crossing the old wooden planks of the porch. "Look at me Shiress"

Shiress turned toward the soft, contralto voice just as Luci Blackwater closed the distance between them and cupped Shiress's cheeks in both hands, much like she had when Shiress was just a girl.

"You know Eve is grieving and not thinking properly right now."

Lucinda Blackwater was Shiress's mother's closest friend, and Eve, Luci's only daughter, had once been Shiress's. Standing slightly taller than Shiress's five-foot, four-inch frame, the longtime widower was a striking woman, even in her late forties with long salt and pepper hair, cobalt blue eyes, and a figure most her peers could only remember from their youth. Adam, Luci's husband, and Eve's father had died young, leaving Luci with only one child to raise on her own. She had never remarried, and Shiress could never understand why but knew it hadn't been for lack of potential suitors.

Eve had taken more after her father, inheriting the man's unruly dirty blonde curls, tawny-colored eyes, and a long and lean frame. Eve didn't lack her own beauty, both inside and out, though one would be challenged to find it these past seasons with a face lined with grief and a too gaunt frame, despite the life growing in her womb.

In the early days of Eve's pregnancy, her husband, Liam, and their two-year-old twin boys, Adam and Liam Jr, were killed when fire lept from the fireplace and engulfed their home. Eve survived, but not unharmed. She had sustained substantial burns on her arms from a vain effort to reach her family. The days since had been darkened by grief for Shiress's friend, with the only small spark of light coming from the anticipation of her unborn child.

Now that light, too, had been snuffed out.

Eve's baby girl had been born too early to sustain life, and Eve had blamed Shiress, despite the doctor's valiant efforts and long, sleepless nights to stave off the premature labor.

"What can a slave know of doctoring."

"I should have known better than trust a slave!"

"You could have done more!"

"I'll never forgive you for killing her."

"I hope you lose everyone you love just like I have!"

Eve's words crawled over Shiress like frigid fingers, causing a shudder to roll through her body. Shiress pulled the woman's warm hands from her face but held onto them as she stepped back just enough to meet Luci's gaze.

"I know." she repeated, smiling sadly, "I just wish-"

Shiress was cut off by the sound of the cabin door opening and her mother stepping out, a small wrapped bundle in her arms. Lorna stepped in close to Luci, holding forth the lifeless newborn. Luci's eyes brimmed with fresh tears as she took her granddaughter. She turned silently and headed off to the undertaker, Shiress knew. She watched her for a moment before turning back and making to pass by her mother to see to her friend, but Lorna stopped Shiress's progress with a gentle hand on her forearm and shook her head.

"I'll see to Eve." she brushed back a lock of hair from Shiress's face and smiled in a way only a mother can. "You've done all you can, and it's time for you to go home."

Shiress opened her mouth to argue, but when the look on her mother's face grew hard, she snapped it closed again and only nodded, turned on her heel, and headed for home.

Five days after Eve's baby girl's funeral, Shiress found herself home alone with her son, Ian, sleeping soundly in his cradle. Her mother had left early to deliver stew for Luci and Eve's lunch and had said she would be staying to visit. Ambrosia had also left for work. Caspian and Taalviel and apparently left early also or had never come home. Shiress had a hard time keeping up with the brother and sister, and ever since her foolish attempt to confront Caspian about his drug use, she had stopped trying. It had led to fewer arguments, but truth be told, Shiress missed her friend but didn't feel the sentiment was reciprocated and vowed to leave him and his alone.

So, when she heard footsteps at the front of the cottage, she remained at the sink rinsing off breakfast dishes, thinking the siblings had returned. When she heard the creaking of the front door opening but heard no footsteps moving inside, Shiress turned and froze in place.

Eve stood swaying steadily side to side by the door, her eyes, devoid of emotion, fixed on Shiress across the room.

Placing the towel behind her on the counter, Shiress took a hesitant step toward her friend, worry etched across her features. A tangled mess of curls curtained eve's pale face, and she wore the same dress she had to the funeral days earlier, and it now looked dirty and stained.

Shiress came to a stop right in front of her friend, hand reaching out to steady her.

"Eve?" she ventured, but Eve said nothing. Shiress didn't even think she blinked. "Are you okay?" Those words were met with a snarl that sent Shiress back a step.

She had failed to notice that Eve held a hand behind her back until it came hurling around her side, aimed at Shiress. She barely had time to register the rock Eve fisted before the blow struck the side of her head. Just before everything went black, Shiress swore she heard Eve speak.

"I will be, but you won't."

Shiress came awake to a complete and utter silence that spoke of a maliciousness that her addled mind hadn't caught up to. She lay blinking rapidly until her eyes finally focussed on the slanted wooden slats of the cottage's ceiling, trying to remember how she'd ended up on the floor. The memory came slow.

Eve

Shiress sat bolt upright and immediately regretted it when nauseous pain beat through her head in time with her heart, making her sight go black at the edges. A hand to the side of her face came away bloody, but she staggard to her feet anyway, fear for her son fueling the attempt. She made contact with every piece of furniture as she swayed and stomped her way across the floor to Ian's cradle.

To the empty cradle.

Terror filled Shiress's core, stirring to life as a numbing vibration in the soles of her feet that worked its way to the top of her aching head, eliciting a feral scream that rocketed out between teeth clenched in pain, borne on a single word.

"Nooo!!"

Body tipping forward, she matched the momentum to throw herself staggering for the front door and wrenched it open, the intake of sudden air from outside slinging Shiress's hair around her face as she weaved through the doorway and slammed right into a pair of strong arms. Those arms immediately wrapped around her body to keep her and their owner both from toppling backward off the porch. Shiress fought the embrace wildly, only managing to call out the vile words that were etched across the sheer panic trying to claw its way up and overtake her.

"She took Ian!

Oh, gods, Eve took Ian!"
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

Character sheet
User avatar
Shiress
Every path has a few puddles
 
Posts: 839
Words: 710222
Joined roleplay: January 25th, 2013, 7:01 pm
Location: Syliras
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Featured Thread (2) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Donor (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 15th, 2021, 2:17 pm

x

Image

The problem with liquor is that it goes with everything.

With sadness, with anger, with frustration and fright. With motivation, inspiration. With the shiniest, flounciest of his outfits, to his most hand-me-down, ragamuffin, should-have-thrown-this-away-two-seasons-ago ones. Alcohol is there for him always – on the holiday, the weekday, the scant weeknight when it’s just him and the barkeep and a hunkered over old codger rehashing the same stories about his days as a yeoman and his enthusiastic ranking of the whores in every port city.

It’s on a mixed bag that Taalviel finds him on the 49th night of Winter. It’s far from the worst she’s ever seen him, though evidently nowhere near where she’d like him. He’s been floating around in that middle zone a lot lately, that frustratingly pale gray area, where all she can do is purse her lips and send venom through her eyes.

The old codger whistles as he takes in Taalviel. “ – aye, but this one’d put all the diamond dames of Lhavit to shame.”

“Doubtless,” Caspian says flatly, “though I’d thank you to keep your evidently well-researched and thoroughly informed opinions to yourself, as this is my sister.”

The barkeep snorts. The old man waves them off and turns back to his beer.

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” she says, settling on a stool beside him. On paper, they’re innocuous words, but from how she’s affixed herself to her perch, she’s poised to strike.

Frankly, she can relax – because it’s that mixed bag again, and this is just his second beer. Which, though she’d never believe him, he’s been sipping at an alarmingly normal pace.

“We sleep in the same bed,” he replies, casually examining a stray streak of his gold eyeliner that he at some point had rubbed across the back of his hand. “I would argue you see me very much.”

She narrows her eyes. “Something’s the matter with you.”

“Why do you always have to assume the worst?”

“I didn’t say it was the worst, just – different.”

He pauses, picks at the bits of kelp that had stuck to the rim of his tankard. Funny how disgusting he had found the local specialty when they first arrived. Now, he –

Honestly, the most helpful thing to do is not think about the recipe very much at all.

“I –” He sighs. There’s no use hiding it; she’ll find out, and besides that – he finds he doesn’t actually mind, sharing bits of his life with her. In fact, at times – and this is new – he looks forward to it. “I found her.”

Taalviel considers this for a moment, her eyes roving across his face. He can practically hear the gears whirring in her head as she makes her calculations. Doubtless she’s got her deduction firmly in hand, a veritable top three, but she instead carefully asks, “Who?”

And it’s not terribly sharp, nor interrogative – gives him the space to tell his truth, and in the way he wants it.

“Rohka,” he replies as evenly as he can. He takes a sip of his beer, his hand shaking as he raises and lowers a tankard that now seems unusually unwieldy.

“The sybil.” The news does not surprise her; no, Rohka was most definitely at the top of Taalviel’s list. “The one you took to the Lark party.”

“The one who left me at the Lark party,” he corrects, face burning. Something occurs to him – that beaten-in, barbed instinct that has him sharply swiveling back to his sister. “Did you know she was here?”

Taalviel tilts her head, considers him in the flickering tavern light. Is she preparing to lie to him? “No,” she says after a long beat. “But I did know that she had left Ravok.”

Caspian doesn’t ask her how she knows, only nods numbly, tries to take another sip and finds it doesn’t go down with much gusto.

“How is she?”

Why do you care – is on the tip of Caspian’s tongue, but that’s the old him, the one that’s still convinced Taalviel is only capable of deception and thinking of people in terms of currency and time. That bats back as a matter of reflex. He takes a leap, though the question itself is a convoluted one to answer. “Still her, deep down. Still sidereal. An aster. Still, with that petching wonder of a tail, Rhysol’s bloody chosen. But – “ He snorts, shakes his head, feeling fond and lost all at once. “Something’s happened to her. I found her at the Healing Center. She’s been there for a while, recovered enough to stroll about on her own, which is how I saw her in the first place.”

“And now?”

He rubs a bit of kelp between his fingertips, pensively considers the gray-green smudge. “Now I think it would be better if she didn’t find out what a sorry gutter rat I’ve been.”

The implication isn’t lost on Taalviel that he means to see Rohka again.

The argument with Shiress, running into Rohka – it had done something to him, perhaps irretrievably, and for once not to his detriment. Though the words are difficult to form to any specificity in his head – who enjoys scolding themselves, exactly? – the feeling remains that he distinctly does not want Rohka to see him at his newest nadir. She knew perfectly well what he’d gotten up to for fun in Ravok, but when they’d first met he was on a sincere upswing, with steady employment and genuine friends and even his sister by his side. The drugs, the alcohol, the endless parties – they were recreational, fripperies to amuse his time, and not the near-methodical anesthesia they represent now. It’s just another disguise, one more masquerade, of him as a functioning, upright citizen. But he’ll put himself through those motions if it means she’ll never have to know the true extent of his grimy disassembly.

So he’s reformed, sort of. He’s cut back without even really trying. The fact remains he’s got a drink in front of him this very moment but even Taalviel can tell that it’s more out of commemoration of his being more hopeful than he’s been in a very long time.

In an increasingly less rare act of solidarity, Taalviel drinks with him. They don’t talk much more about Rohka, instead drifting to morbid reminiscing on old days in Sunberth, odd jobs and speculation about former associates, who had died when and where and exactly who they’d slighted. They even get into a scathing scuffle with the old man at the bar, who had decided it was high time to make another blithely specific comment about Taalviel, though it’s all in good nature and no one gets hauled off by the Wave Guard. It’s the best they’ve gotten along in a while, the most they’ve talked, perhaps ever, and after the tavern they hop from one house party to another – the college students, how do they manage to do all this and study? – and end up spending the night in a linguistics professor’s parlor.

It’s to this degree of worn out and hungover that they traipse home – where Shiress collides right into Caspian’s arms.

He staggers backward in bewilderment, one arm around Shiress and the other snagging the porch railing just in time. “Petch, Shiress – “ He eases her safely onto both feet back on the porch deck, realizes how he must look, and shrinks back a touch. At least Taalviel’s just as ruffled, so if Shiress wants to harangue him she’ll have to take Taalviel down with her, and that’s a match he’d pay good money to see –

“What?” Caspian says when Shiress exclaims. “Eve? Who the petch is Eve? What do you mean, she took Ian?

-

WC: 1,287
Image

x
Last edited by Caspian on February 17th, 2021, 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 402
Words: 531695
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on February 15th, 2021, 9:44 pm

Image
It took a chime for Shiress to realize that the arms she was furiously trying to bat away were Caspian's, but even after the realization, she still struggled weakly against his hold.

"Eve!" Shiress barked out, impatience warring with panic for dominance of her thoughts. "If you gave two petches about me at all anymore, you'd know I've been caring for her and her unborn baby for the past fortnight!"

Finally breaking free of the steadying hold, Shiress stepped back, unshed tears brimming in the green gaze she held on Caspian.

"She had her baby nearly a week ago, but she died, the baby died." Shiress slapped a hand across her mouth, choking back a sob. "Eve blamed me! She said that a slave shouldn't be a doctor, and she told me-" Shiress hiccuped, swallowing down a gag when nausea sent bile up the back of her throat and moved her hand to cover the lance of pain it caused to blaze in the side of her head. "-she told me that she wanted me to lose everyone I love too."

Shiress's voice lowered as if she were talking to herself, rambling, as she spoke, "Eve came here, this morning, and she hit me with a rock, I think. When I woke up, Ian was gone." A dazed look passed across Shiress's eyes. "There wasn't anyone here, nobody was here. I was alone and I-"

The doctor's eyes sharpened suddenly, head snapping up, so she could finally take a good look at Caspian, taking in the man's bedraggled clothes, his redrimmed, kohl-smudged eyes. Her keen eyes moved next to Taalviel, noting that she too looked much the same as her brother, and the sight made anger bloom to life deep in Shiress's belly.

"For once, just once could you not have been out drinking all night!"

Rare as it was for this emotion to manifest within Shiress these days, rarer still for Caspian to be its target. It made her tone harsh, rising in the end until the woman was nearly shouting at her friend.

"You should have been home! If you'd just been here, Eve wouldn't have-"

Shiress's words cut off in a grunt, and she stumbled back, grabbing at her head with both hands, pain radiating between her palms.

"Shyke! Shyke! My head hurts!" she glanced up at Cas, "Shyke, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I just.." She lurched unsteadily for the steps and stumbled out into the yard. "I have to go to Eve's house." her words were slurred "I just...I have to go."

Thankfully, Luci and her daughter only lived a block away, and Shiress only managed to fall twice, batting away angrily at any helping hands. By the time she stumbled up to Luci's front door, she could hardly stand and didn't bother knocking and blew through the doorway. Lorna and Luci both flew out of their seat at the kitchen table, the former taking one look at her daughter, grabbed her by the arms, and lowered her down into the chair she had just vacated.

"Shiress?" Lorna's voice was low, cautious. "Whats happened?"

Shiress took an unsteady breath, finding it difficult to speak.

"She came in and just stood there, watching me. I didn't know what she wanted, so I went to her." Shiress let out a sob, unaware she wasn't making much sense. "She hit me on the head with a rock and when I woke up" Shiress looked up imploringly at her mother "Ian" another sob, "She took Ian!"

Lorna knelt down in front of her daughter, cupping her cheeks.

"Shiress?"

She paused until Shiress's glazed eyes focused on her. Nothing if not patient was Lorna Underhill.

"Who took Ian?"

"Eve!"

An audible gasp came from Luci across the room, and Shiress looked up in time to see the woman leave the room. Within just ticks, she returned, hand trembling across her mouth.

"Eve's clothes are gone, as is her coin purse."

Shiress jerked to her feet.

"I have to go! I have to find Ian!"

Lorna placed firm pressure against Shi's shoulders, making her reseat herself.

"You are going nowhere. Your head needs sutures, and Im sure you are concussed. Someone else can look for Eve."

Shiress frowned, but the look her mother leveled on her had her swallowing any protests. That same look traveled up and over Shiress's shoulder to stab directly into Caspian when the man spoke from somewhere near her back.

"What do you need me to do?"

Shiress turned in her seat until she could see Caspian's face. She stared long and hard at her friend, a multitude of questions and concerns wordlessly portrayed in her emerald gaze. After an uncomfortable moment, she shoved away her mother's hands and stood slowly, coming face to face with Caspain. Shiress was sure the man knew what she was saying without words, and he probably suspected she would deny him his offer to help.

For the last few weeks, Caspian had been a stranger to Shiress, coming and going with never more than a cursory glance her way or a vague response to a question. He hadn't so much as smiled in the direction of Ian, much less shown even a morsel of attention to the baby. Why would he now concern himself? After weeks of drugs, drink, and nothing but snark and rudeness spoken between them. Guilt, perhaps, but guilt wasn't what Shiress placed faith in. Not when her son was in danger. But, was there anyone else that Shiress could trust more?

She studied her friend closely, this time looking past the outward evidence of debauchery and to the man that she knew Caspian was, even if he himself no longer saw it.

The fighter.

The survivor.

The friend.

No, no one could hold a candle to how much Caspian had come to mean to Shiress.

Reaching out, Shiress fisted the fabric over Caspian's chest and drew him closer, her gaze a penetrating thing of its own.

"I trust you, Cassy."

Leaning forward, she placed a soft kiss on the corner of Caspian's lips, hands tightening around his shirt.

"Bring my baby back to me." she whispered against his cheek.
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

Character sheet
User avatar
Shiress
Every path has a few puddles
 
Posts: 839
Words: 710222
Joined roleplay: January 25th, 2013, 7:01 pm
Location: Syliras
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Featured Thread (2) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Donor (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 17th, 2021, 12:53 pm

x

Image

Were Caspian in any less of a better mood, he might have reacted more perceptibly to the first accusation Shiress lobbies at him. But the hangover has him moving slower, softer, and it takes him a second of gritted teeth, but in the end he finds he has no retort, and that she’s probably right – there must be a whole slew of things he’s missed about her life and Rosie’s, most of it by choice.

The situation at hand, Ian being kidnapped, has him staying silent through her next two exclamations. It would be pointless and shallow to try and assert how and why last night had been different; that it really isn’t any business of hers, difference or not; that there is no would have or should have or could have, because Ian isn’t his kid, it’s hers, that if he wanted to have children he simply would, and in no way should she ever have assumed that Ian’s wellbeing is something for which he has any responsibility.

None of the above matters, and the thoughts flare and die immediately in him like solitary sparks.

He and Taalviel follow Shiress to Luci’s house, and he shifts restlessly from one foot to the other. Lorna’s never liked him and he only vaguely knows Luci but he assumes she doesn’t hold him in much esteem either. Taalviel, impervious as usual to social chagrin, only stands with her arms crossed and meets all glares dead on.

When he offers his help to Shiress – he doesn’t think very much about it. He doesn’t need to. The words fly out of him and not for a moment does he try to stop them. No matter how much there is between them now, so much of it like ash and venom – he doesn’t blame her initial wariness, the scrape of her gaze across him and his intent. In a matter of life and death, all of their arguments, their resentments, are petty scraps. To help her is a given. Does she hate him? Even so, he hopes she at least knows this about him – that he knows when things are down to the wire, when he needs to flip the switch.

He accepts the kiss numbly, wrapping an arm briefly around her shoulders before taking a distinct step back. The motion, the affection that should have been easily and freely given, feels foreign to him now. The observation gives him a pang of sadness that he can’t quite parse – but he shoves that aside in the face of the matter at hand.

“Tell me everything you know about Eve,” he says to Shiress, to the group at large. “What she looks like, what she tends to wear, her favorite places in Zeltiva. Her least favorite. Does she have a job? Any close friends in the city? A boyfriend, exes? Anyone who might take her in?” Shiress might take this an opportunity to point out again how absent he’s been, that he should know at least half of the answers to his queries, but he’d ask them anyway. If they’re going to find Ian, he’s going to be thorough.

-

WC: 523
Image

x
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 402
Words: 531695
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on February 17th, 2021, 5:33 pm

Image
Shiress in no way missed the lack of emotion from Caspian.

When the man took an obvious step away from her genuine attempt of kindness, Shiress's heart slammed down somewhere in the vicinity of her toes, if it hadn't already been there because of Ian's disappearance. When she looked at Caspian then, she saw nothing in his eyes, no affection, not even friendship, if it had ever been there at all. Shiress only saw bitterness and what very nearly resembled rejection reflected in those green eyes, but maybe that was just her looking for what she thought ought to be there.

Fitting

Unavoidable

It seemed everyone Shiress cared about was taken from her in one way or another, no matter how much she tried to keep them close to her heart. Caspian was no different. Neither was Rosie, for that matter. Shiress had inadvertently hurt Caspian, dragging him from his home by the very upheaval of her own life. She hadn't meant to, but Shiress also knew that meaning to or not didn't negate that fact. Ambrosia, Shiress had pulled from slavery, and she knew that Rosie's friendship came from a place of obligation and not true love for Shiress. The girl grieved her sisters and the life that she was taken from and longed to return to; she couldn't love something or someone that directly resulted from that displacement.

Richard, Hadyn, Orion, Sayana, Elias, Rook, Caspian, Ambrosia- it didn't matter who, only that everyone, in the end, was taken from her, or left, became enemies or somehow resented Shiress in some way by the end. But not Ian. Never Ian. Her son's love was unconditional and pure, and- gods, she needed him back.

Shiress took a halting step back to match Caspian's, hands scraping down the front of her dress as if that would dispel the anxiety that washed over her in the wake of a sudden apprehension that she was very tainted and very unwanted. Unworthy was, perhaps, a better word.

Because, oh gods, how unworthy must she be that such an unsullied love be taken away from her, too?

Shiress squeezed her eyes closed, causing the tears that had formed there to break free and spill down her cheeks. Knees buckling, she would have fallen to the floor had it not been for the chair that suddenly appeared beneath her. The overwhelming and undeniable feeling of loss fell upon her shoulders like a boulder cast down from a precipice, drowning out Caspian's words, and all Shiress could do was shake her head dumbly. Beside her, sounding as if it came from a far-off place, Luci drew in a long, shaky breath.

"Eve is my height, maybe just a bit shorter. She has long dark hair to about here," Luci indicated a place about midway down her arm, then her hand trailed down further to indicate the area between elbow and wrist, "she has scars on both arms from the fire, red and raised." her breath hitched, and she swallowed, cleared her throat. "Eve has about a total of twenty gold in her purse that I know she took with her." Luci paused, thinking. "Eve had a friend, um..her name was Bella. Bella has since married and moved off, but Eve used to accompany Bella and her father, Avery, on hikes through the Mirahil Pass at least two or three times a season before Bella moved away. Avery is something of a survivalist, and Eve often talked about how much she learned from the man on their trips.

If I know my daughter as I think I do, I would say that if she wanted not to be found, she may very well fall back on that knowledge."
she gave Caspian a pointed look. "She often spoke of hunting cabins and assessable caves along the trails, too. Maybe you could seek out Avery for better detail. He's a fisherman. His boat, The Easy EEl, usually docks sometime before sunset. Avery's a big man. Closer resembles a lumberjack than a fisherman, if you ask me, what with his full beard, broad shoulders, and hair that rivals that of a princess." Luci hesitated as if she was contemplating her next words. "Avery's a good man and is good with children, as he often has his own grandkids in tow for a season or more at a time. He would help you if you asked. Be a sort of guide, perhaps, if need be."

"He was wearing a light blue gown." Shiress's voice interrupted Luci, her words spoken low, utterly devoid of emotion. She raised equally devoid eyes to Caspian, "Ian, I mean. He was wearing a light blue gown, and he didn't have any socks on." Her gaze went distant, settling on something unseen just beyond Caspian's shoulder. "He'd be hungry now."

Lorna "hummed" in concern, grabbing Shiress by the shoulders.

"That's right helpful, sweetheart, but let's get you home and see about that head, shall we." Shiress stood with her mother's help, and Lorna began shuffling them toward the door but paused, glancing at Caspian. "We'll be at home if you or your sister need anything, anything at all. And Caspian," she waited for the man to meet her gaze fully, "thank you. Taalviel, you too. Thank you both so much much."

Lorna turned and started them off again, but this time Shiress paused and turned slightly to catch Caspian gaze. She didn't say anything, no nod of her head, no smile. Nothing. Just...stared....lost in the green-eyed gaze of a splintered friendship -that she now felt had always been decidedly unrequited- before her mother muscled her onward. She wanted to say that it was no use to go and look, that everyone left her at some point, and that Ian might not come home, despite his and Tavy's effort, but even in her state of despair and self-loathing, even Shiress lacked the heart to claim such a thing. So, numbly, Shiress was guided out the door and into the midday sun, head resting limply against her mother's shoulder, feet shuffling along weakly, stirring up puffs of dirt clouds in their wake.
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

Character sheet
User avatar
Shiress
Every path has a few puddles
 
Posts: 839
Words: 710222
Joined roleplay: January 25th, 2013, 7:01 pm
Location: Syliras
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
Featured Thread (2) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Donor (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 19th, 2021, 2:05 pm

x

Image

“I think she wanted you to tell her everything was going to be okay.”

They’ve all left Luci’s house. Caspian tries and fails to resist the urge to watch Lorna and Shiress heading back for the cottage. They can’t move very quickly given Shiress’ condition, and he might have easily run after her. For a moment he vividly imagines catching up, digging down deep enough to find the old version of him that would be wrapping Shiress in his arms, asserting that he will find Ian, that she needn’t worry, that she can leave it all to him. That this will be over soon.

The siblings turn the opposite direction down the road.

“Aren’t you the one who taught me not to make promises I can’t keep?”

“Right.”

Caspian rounds on her. “What, do you think I played that wrong?” he demands.

“I’m just telling you how it seemed.”

He frowns, searching his sister’s face for a moment. She stares back flatly at him.

“I can’t tell how much you actually care,” he says. If she’s only invested in this because it has a direct bearing on Shiress, and subsequently on their living arrangements – which would be in their best interest to keep at peace.

Or if, after many long weeks at sea and even more in the cottage, she had grown to see Ian as part of a domain she has some sense of duty to protect.

“Does it matter? The objective is the same.”

It occurs to him suddenly that through all the clamor and flux of his life, the parts upended and rotted by his own hand – she’s always been there, Taalviel. He can predict her reactions to the point that parodying her is a recreational sport, and as of late he wonders if she isn’t becoming, disturbingly, a touch more empathetic – but all in all she’s been a force upon which he can rely. A painfully pragmatic one, but something that he perhaps needs. Latent appreciation for his sister strikes him with palpable force – but as with Shiress, he keeps the impulse to admit it to himself.

“Do you think you can’t find Ian?” she asks.

“I think there’s no winning if she gets to the Miharil Pass. Help from Avery or not, you and I won’t get very far in the wild.”

It’s possible Taalviel might, in her Raven form, flock through the woods unimpeded. But they’ve heard enough dark tales about the unnatural beings lurking in the mountains, and even as a Raven, it won’t do much good if being hunted by something with greater brute force.

“What are the odds she’s there already?”

And, unspoken but ringing between them, that this is already a waste of time?

“I don’t know,” Caspian says, “but we have to try all the same.”

Eve and Shiress were friends, fairly good ones, or so it seems. If this outburst had come from the loss of Eve’s child, then at most, any premeditation stretches back about a week. But the crime had not come from mizas, but feeling, and that’s the most dangerous bit of all, for Eve herself. Caspian’s willing to bet Eve’s made mistakes between now and then – unlike him and Taalviel, raised to quantify the gains and losses, treat their schemes like ledgers, there will likely be gaps in Eve’s logic, fatal pieces of her theft and escape that she’s overlooked. A trail that they’ll be able to follow.

“We still have a few hours before sunset,” Caspian says, from a quick glance at the sun’s position in the sky. In the middle of the winter season, the dark creeps on them sooner. “That man, Avery. Do you think Eve would go to him for help?”

“From what Lorna said, Eve might have gone out into the wild before, but never alone.”

Though, in the heights of her desperation, Eve might try it all the same.

“She might not have her own equipment either, if she was tagging along.”

“We find Avery, then. And go from there.”
-

WC: 672
Image

x
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 402
Words: 531695
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 20th, 2021, 4:19 pm

x

Image

The last thing they had eaten was –

Caspian tries not to think about it. Technically the last thing he had consumed was a good dose of tepid ale in the bleak hours of the morning, which he had insisted on finishing simply because it wasn’t, for once, of the kelp variety. He had hoped it would make him feel a little more human – indeed, it does, for as they make their way to the docks he has the very human-ish urge to hold himself against the side of a building and pray that the poison roiling around in his gut expels itself once and for all.

But it doesn’t – and that’s worse, maybe, than throwing up in public in front of an unsympathetic sister and a dozen strangers. Evidently he’s just going to have to live with it.

“Here,” she says, annoyed – and it’s not fair, how there’s barely a scratch on her – and hands him something with a suspicious dotting of green.

The kelp bun goes down without complaint. Though she’s finished hers, he swears he catches her eyeing a beetle whizzing by.

As the sun begins its descent, more and more ships are docking at the harbor.

The Easy EEI,” Caspian says. “What’s that all about, do you think?”

“I don’t own a boat and couldn’t tell you,” Taalviel replies, gaze roving across the names emblazoned across the ships’ sides.

They spot the man before the vessel. It’s the hair Caspian notices – lush and golden and reaching well past Avery’s broad, rock-solid shoulders. He’s just docked, his arms full of net and rigging. The boat is a modest but sturdy-looking craft, a pair of other fisherman scurrying to and fro with the day’s catch, too busy to do anything but spare a glance for the siblings as they rattle up the gangplank.

“Are you Avery?” Caspian asks the man looking at them curiously.

“I might be,” he replies easily enough, as he leans down to slit the throat of a thrashing eel the length of his own torso.

“Then would you happen to know an Eve?”

At this, the man’s expression clouds. “I might indeed. Who’s asking?”

With a brevity Taalviel would have admired, were she given to openly admiring anything at all, Caspian relays how they know Shiress, and in turn, Eve. Avery’s a decent man, from the outraged expression overtaking his roughly hewn but kind face, when Caspian explains what happened to Ian.

“I thought it was hers, the baby,” Avery says, bewildered, wiping his hands on a rag looped at his waist. “I had no idea she lost her own.”

“So she did come to see you?”

“Yes, early this morning. Real early, just before we set sail. Had a little squalling bundle in her arms, seemed worried, in a hurry to leave. But I figured – well, with the baby squabbling, you’re not going to look your best.”

“What did she want from you?”

Avery blinks, runs a hand through his long locks. “Camping gear. Used to take her and my daughter out hiking through the Pass when they were young. I thought it was a bit odd, given the baby.”

Caspian and Taalviel exchange a look. Would Eve still try the trek on her own? She isn’t just running solo, without Avery – she’s operating on a handicap, with Ian on her hip. Where would she even go, if leaving Zeltiva? The closest city was Lisnar, but he’d never heard of anyone living there or being from there; after that – perhaps there’s Sunberth or Syliras, but those are weeks’ long journeys.

“But you gave her the gear?” Caspian presses.

“Oh – no, actually. All that would be back at the house, but I think Bella took most of it when she moved on. Told Eve as much, which seemed to make her even more upset than she already was.”

“Then what happened?”

Avery’s brow furrows. “Not much. The baby was fussing, and she was already halfway back down the gangplank. I mentioned – well, I said I thought maybe some fauxsil or connal would help.”

“Fauxsil or connal?”

“Herbs. For sleeping draughts. I think for a baby you’d have to be real careful with the dosage, but that’s what my wife and I used to help soothe Bella, when she was a little ‘un. Listen, if there’s anything I can do to help – I just have a hard time wrapping my head around this. I’ve known Eve since she and Bella were schoolmates, and I can’t believe she – ” He shakes his head in sorrow.

“We’ve got this,” Caspian says, “but if you see Eve again, could you send a message to Shiress and Lorna, straightaway?”

Avery agrees and the siblings excuse themselves back onto the shore.

-

WC: 790

Ledger: Kelp buns (bread, 2): -4 cm
Image

x
Last edited by Caspian on February 26th, 2021, 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 402
Words: 531695
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 21st, 2021, 2:22 pm

x

Image

“What are the odds she’s taken a ship?” Caspian mutters out loud, shoving his hands into his pockets as he stares down the docks. There’s far more ships around the bend, the long shore of Mathew’s Bay stretching far beyond what he can immediately see – and he doesn’t like that, not being able to get the full scope of things at once. For all they know, Eve, this very moment, is slipping somewhere aboard. Unless he and Taalviel somehow gain the magical ability to clone themselves and immediately disperse, in order to accost every woman with dark hair and a baby in their arms, there’s too much potential that everything they’re doing is in vain.

“They said she only has 20 gold,” Taalviel replies, sharp gaze also trained in the same direction.

“Is that enough to get to Sunberth?”

“Barely.”

The greater question over the arithmetic, though, is would she go that far?

“It’s not like she can stay here, and, what, spend the rest of her life dodging Shiress at every turn?”

Taalviel hums in response. Seeing nothing of import on the docks, she turns back to him. “Let’s check the kiosks. If she only has enough to get to either Sunberth or Syliras, that narrows it down.”

The information they find from the agents at the kiosks makes their deduction even simpler. The clerk tells them it’s about 30 days from here to Syliras, and on top of needing the necessary equipment and supplies, Eve doesn’t have enough to pay her passage with a caravan. That leaves Sunberth, and the next passenger ship there isn’t leaving until the next morning.

And what might Eve do until the morning?

“The fauxsil and connal,” Caspian muses aloud, ruefully glaring at the cobblestones beneath their feet. They’ve settled a few yards away from the travel kiosk, and he’s packing his pipe with tobacco, his motions sure and automatic from constant practice, as he turns over in his mind the matter at hand. “As much as she might want that baby, I’m sure it would drive anyone mad, all that constant crying.”

Ian certainly had, at times, with him, even in his rightful mother’s arms.

There might be a dozen apothecaries in the city; dozens, plural, of inns where Eve might have hidden herself and Ian away. But where might one go, in Zeltiva, if one’s stolen something and doesn’t want to be found? Where someone like Eve wouldn’t be recognized, and further to that, wouldn’t be questioned?

“What are you thinking?” Taalviel asks. Ever thorough and painfully on guard, she hasn’t given up her compulsion to scan everyone passing them on the piers.

Truthfully?

That his conspicuous absences and late nights spent scrumming away from the cottage, doing the very thing that had created a rift between him and Shiress, might have been to some worthy point after all.

“I’m thinking we take a trip to East Street,” Caspian says with a great plume of an exhale.

To this, Taalviel doesn’t object, immediately catching on to his reasoning.


-

WC: 507
Image

x
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 402
Words: 531695
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 21st, 2021, 3:34 pm

x

Image

The paths to East Street are slightly uphill. The siblings scale them in silence, the smoke from Caspian’s pipe, another cloud exhaled from his nostrils, trailing delicately behind them. By the time they take the telltale, sharp turn past a battered sign hanging askew, dusk is settling.

“She’d want to go somewhere she isn’t known. Right?” Caspian says as they linger at the end of East Street, gazing down. “And more than that, somewhere she can afford.” East Street would certainly fit the bill.

“We’re here because it makes sense to be,” Taalviel replies, which is as close to a compliment as she’s capable of giving.

Like the docks, the street also goes on further than he can immediately see, further obscured by the increasing darkness. Has this feeling always been a part of him, that urges him further, that compulsion to peel back the curtain? Softly, one might call it curiosity – but it’s sharper than that, heckling him from the sidelines, a poignant sense of disturbed dissatisfaction until he looks and sees, enough to chart his entries and exits and the likelihood of external actors stepping in.

“You take the left,” Taalviel says in her succinct, clipped way, drifting towards the right.

The air is empty without her. They’ve just spent somewhere near 36 hours together, all of which had been – petch, did they even fight once? At one point in time this might have been considered an occurrence laughably unheard of, and completely unlikely – and then he remembers the many ships and passages they took to get here from Ravok, the entire season spent traveling side by side, and –

This is his new normal now, and it had crept on him without his realizing. It had taken advantage of the numbed stupor he had ground himself down to, and when he emerged it had shown him his relationship with Taalviel was, irrevocably, not the same as it was before.

Though he keeps a quick pace, eyeing each threshold and storefront he passes, he loses track of his sister in the dark, her cloak fluttering behind her and melding her into the night.

He wishes he’d paid more attention to the apothecaries; he just never had much reason to before. He comes upon one in a few yards but the person at the cashier hasn’t had any fauxslip or connal for a week, and doesn’t recognize Eve’s description, nor Ian’s. When the exits the shop, the bell at the handle loudly jangling, a figure suddenly whips around from the adjacent alley and bears down upon him.

Lost in thought, and focusing on stowing the fear that he’s already too late off to the side, he nearly stumbles off the two rickety shop steps in his surprise.

“All hail the lord of tarts,” the self-proclaimed mayor of East Street guffaws. “What’s that yer looking fer, I wonder?”

Caspian sighs and dusts off his shoulder from where he’d slammed into the apothecary wall. The crochety old man who perpetually reeks of brine and dresses in what can only be described as a shift made of layers upon layers of sandy kelp – he isn’t a friend, exactly, though Caspian inevitably finds himself spending time with him whenever he’s here. The declaration that he’s the street’s municipal overseer is also something Caspian very much doubts, at least when it comes to the red tape and bureaucracy that Zeltiva runs on. But the fact remains that he’s rather old and seems to know just about everything about East Street’s comings and goings, which is valuable all the same.

“For the last time, I’m not a whore,” Caspian replies flatly, though he knows there’s little he can do to dissuade the makeshift mayor of that notion. Even when he isn’t wearing his flashy magical suit, the initial impression he’d made is already set in kelp-slick stone. “Apothecaries. How many of them are there on this street?”

The mayor scratches his green-gray beard thoughtfully, sending off bursts of sand and what appears to be flaky sea salt. “Three or four, I’d say. Though that’s just the storefronts, with a proper sign and whatnot. Might be a half dozen more old biddies who’d sell you a bundle of anything from their parlor.”

That would certainly make this harder. But Caspian doubts Eve would wander into an unmarked establishment.

“If yer lookin’ for something to, as they say, light a fire – “ The mayor waggles his eyebrows suggestively. Caspian turns away in exasperation, stalking down the street.

“Hey! Wait – “ The mayor can move surprisingly swiftly, given how many layers of ocean matter he’s constantly coated in. “It’s not a bad thing, yer know! Get it while the givin’s good, I say. But, I presume, tirin’ work. No one expects yer to be performin’ yer absolute best, night after night – “

Caspian whirls back to face him. “I’m not looking for an aphrodisiac,” he says brusquely. “And again, I am not a – oh, hang it all. Have you seen – “ He describes Eve, makes sure to mention the scars on her arms. Describes Ian, what he can remember of him – and that’s something to be ashamed of, maybe. That it takes him a while to rack his memory for the details on someone with whom he shares a roof.

The mayor passes his barnacle-encrusted, conch-topped walking staff from one hand to the other as he hums and haws. “Can’t say that I have,” he says after a good deal of pondering.

“Then could you let me know? If you do see them at some point?” Without waiting for an answer, or bothering to give a rendezvous point – the mayor always seems to know how to find him – he steps into the next apothecary shop.

This one gives him no answers either. When he emerges, the mayor is gone.



-

WC: 970
Image

x
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 402
Words: 531695
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1)

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 21st, 2021, 4:10 pm

x

Image

The moon’s fully risen by the time he checks the third shop. The mayor had said there were three or four – and it’s nerve wracking, continuing down the street, hoping there’s at least one more for him to try. Otherwise –

He tries not to think about that otherwise.

And then he finds the fourth shop.

They’re trying to close up, understandable given the hour but frustrating given that the present crisis goes on regardless. He knocks on the glass, right over the wooden sign that’s been flipped around to read CLOSED, keeps knocking and eventually bangs on the wooden frame until a bleary eyed teenage girl comes to the door.

“We’re closed,” she says flatly, with a lot of unnecessary pointing to the sign.

“Yes, obviously,” he says, then reigns it back, because he’s not about to scare off his last real lead. “But I’m looking for fauxslip and connal. Actually – looking for someone who must have come here looking for either of those things.”

The girl frowns, lingers in the doorway, her foot jammed behind it in a clear stance of not allowing him to pass. “We don’t have any.”

Caspian’s shoulders slump.

“…because some lady came in here earlier and bought up the last of it.”

The revelation nearly has him falling off another set of stairs for the second time that day. “A lady? With long dark hair, scars up her arms? And a baby?”

The girl yawns something about patient-doctor confidentiality.

“You run a till, not a hospital,” Caspian snaps back.

This only makes the teenager roll her eyes, which – had he been that obnoxious at her age? “Fine. Yes. Baby wouldn’t shut up either. Gave me almost as much a headache as you are.”

“Where did she go? Did she ask about lodging?”

The look she throws him is – yes, he’s certainly had that expression on his face too. Insouciant little rat –

Caspian digs in his pockets, comes up with five silver mizas and a copper. “Here. Now do you remember?”

She snatches up the money and regards him with an entirely unimpressed expression. “Told her there was plenty on this street. Though she could try Miss Marge’s down the block.”

The sense of relief is mutual as Caspian swiftly descends the steps and heads in the direction she’d pointed.

Taalviel suddenly materializes out of the gloom beside him, sending him slamming into another wall. People, it seems, are hell bent today on sending him into cardiac arrest.

“Anything?” she asks.

“Eve definitely went into that shop just behind us,” Caspian replies. “And she might be holed up at a Miss Marge’s, which shouldn’t be too – there. Yes – “ It’s not exactly triumph that strikes him when he spots the old, chipped sign – it can’t be anything but another spike of dread until Ian is back in Shiress’ arms.

The inn is a fairly standard one, with a tavern on the first floor. The siblings step into flickering candlelight, briefly scanning the four patrons at the bar. Three of them men, all middle-aged, gruff but not rowdy. They get one perfunctory glance their way, but everyone’s minding their business.

“Excuse me. Are you Marge?” Caspian says, striding up to the bar with Taalviel slinking close behind.

The woman tending the bar sets down the rag with which she’d been mopping, regarding them with a raised eyebrow. “Who’s asking?”

“Someone with a time-sensitive task at hand.”

The woman scoffs. “Join the party, doll. Time’s all I need, and there never seems to be enough of it.”

“We’re looking for – “

They’re interrupted by the second scowling teenager Caspian’s had to deal with today. The girl has a baby in her arms, dressed in –

He was wearing a light blue gown –

Taalviel sees it at the same time Caspian does. But it’s not Ian that the girl is passing to the bartender – their baby has brilliant, blonde hair like spun gold.

“Where’d you get that?” Caspian asks.

“Little miss Margaret?” The bartender snorts, rocking the baby lovingly in her arms. “Darling, if no one’s explained the outs and ins to you yet – “

“Not the baby,” Caspian interrupts. There’s a time for gallant charm and this isn’t it. “The gown.”

“Cute, isn’t it? From one of my lodgers. She didn’t have much coin on her, but when I saw the fabric, seemed a fair enough trade.”

Worth, quite possibly, far more than one night at the cramped little inn.

“Is she still here?”

The bartender considers him dubiously. “That’s not really my place, sharing someone else’s business – “

But Caspian’s already tearing away from the tavern and hurtling up the stairs.

-

WC: 775
Ledger: Bribe: -5 SM, 1 CM
Image

x
Last edited by Caspian on February 26th, 2021, 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 402
Words: 531695
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1)

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests