Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Alric Lysane on December 14th, 2021, 6:48 am



He watched Taz put her feet upon the table, flexing and curling her toes. Body language was a powerful language and he had seen how she relaxed over time before, though this was different. There was no immediate quest to be solved this time, instead there was a long path to travel, fraught with dangers and no ending of other trials he felt sure. She was smart enough to know that also and yet she chose to stay and she seemed, if anything, more at ease with him. He noted the soft curves and thought back to her words about the body. His job, in many ways, was to read bodies. Certainly he had seen more of them in the past season or so than before, in more positions that he could count.

Not to mention that…questioning he thought to himself, still feeling the embarrassment from that day though it had faded as his experience had expanded.

She was right, he decided, when it came to forming actual bonds with people it was what was inside that counted. It was why she was a treasure – a good person, if somewhat naïve, who had chosen to stand by him this time. The fact that at times she seemed to be so calm and relaxed about the situation merely made him smile the more. As if reading his mind she spoke of Mathias, his words and the rest. He nodded along slowly as she lay out her thinking for him to consider. He simply ate, drank, listened and watched as she did so.

She was quite physically expressive he had decided, rightly or not. He was not even sure she knew she was and he made a note to one day bring up the subject to see whether she thought it was something to work on. He knew well enough how careful movements and blank face could forestall your ending whereas a victim’s posture or too flamboyant a gesture could kindle conflict. For now, though, it was her tales to tell him and he tucked it away for another time. It would be a bittersweet thing to change, he liked the way she seemed to think and feel with her body despite her words about that within being more important.

“Are you sure you weren’t my advisor in another life?” he asked when she was finished, finishing his glass and putting it down before leaning back and turning slightly towards her, “were those all their words? Because it sounds like you’ve thought about it a lot yourself, a lot of that didn’t sound like a memorised speech” he noted thoughtfully as he looked at her, her knee up and hugging it as if for comfort, he reached out and squeezed her arm slightly.

“I’m pretty sure that you’re not going to betray me, though I take your point, it took a magical drug tea and a Dreamwalker to be able to be sure. It would be a pretty elaborate trick if you were secretly a spy. I mean if it would make you feel better I could interrogate you” he said teasingly.

He had to laugh at her comment about him and monkeys, bubbling up from within quite naturally. The fact that she said it in that way just made it more amusing to him. He was supposed to be the scion prince…or whatever the term was. Yet she spoke as if she were the royally educated one. Even the low comparison to this monkey creature was amusing because of that. After a while he subsided and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.

“Oh I…found one…in one of my night time walks,” he said after she had talked about how she felt weak, he took her point but it sounded like there was more an edge of self-criticism beyond acknowledgement that concerned him, “and being fair they attacked me first so…spoils of war I think my ancestors would say?”

“Oh I see their uses, which is why I’m learning how to use one, but I prefer not to use them. Once a blade is drawn there is never a good outcome. I’d prefer to solve most things without them. I suppose the sword has an appeal because it is big enough to be a threat even when sheathed so it helps me there. I suppose though, in time, I will have to learn other things. Like your bow, perhaps. As to fighting unarmed and teaching…well I’ve fought enough at Tall Johnny’s…it’s a kind of…fighting cage? Decent coin if you can win. Anyway, point is I know that reasonably well and will continue to do so”

“As for a weapon for you, with your beauty you probably only need a silver tongue and a dagger,” he said but he nodded at her machete, “but that’ll work well enough. A lot of weapons started out as tools. Pretty sure that could cut through flesh as much as jungle. But I suppose it depends what you’re looking for. Staffs are pretty good in the right hands, usually best most other weapons if you know how to use them, I hear. They are more about speed, dexterity and smooth movements if you are worried about your strength. I suppose that would also be useful in Syka for your…exploration”

There was a silence then that was made all the more pointed for their previous animated discussion. He cast his gaze at the fire for a while as Taz thought, it was clear that she was thinking, though when he returned his gaze to her she seemed more tense and her usual smile was twisted and absent. He looked at her thoughtfully before leaning in and putting an arm around her shoulder.

“You worry enough for the both of us,” he said simply, “we will find a way. I can’t promise miracles, and yes I have work, but as you said yourself some things are more important and I should start thinking of the…long game was it? What could be more long term than making sure the only one I trust is as strong as she can be? Besides you have your inn and you’re willing to sacrifice time to go over this book with me. What sort of partner in crime would not try to meet you halfway?”

He fell quiet then, wondering how best to take her mind off of what was clearly becoming a thorny problem. He understood well enough, he couldn’t pretend to be dealing with it much better than she was. He was more instinctive he supposed, whereas she had been planning things out, talking to her Founders and more. It had weighed upon her mind and he knew how that could turn thoughts sour within. He grinned as an idea came to him – she wanted to learn and he wanted to teach…and physical activity had a way of providing a release from the mind. Perhaps he could show her that if she did not already know it.

“As to when…why not start the first lesson now, before we’ve had too much wine...or I spontaneously turn into a mage, besides no book this time so might as well take advantage before settling in for the day and nothing stops you talking and questioning whilst you're learning to thump me,” he said, pulling them both up and stepped into the open floor, settling into a stance with his left foot forwards and his right foot back and slightly to the side, knees slightly bent and hands in loose fists either side of his head in a basic guard, left hand just in front of his head and right hand at his cheek, “mirror how I stand but opposite and facing me. Basic stance, should be good for most eventualities and basic fights”

“Two punches and two kicks I’ll show you to practise, and as a bonus you can even use me as a target,” he chuckled before slowly snapping his left hand out to a stop jsut before he was fully extended, it was a simple move, a straightening of the elbow really, “that is a jab, done with the lead hand it isn’t that powerful but it does help to judge distance and reach, and can be used to distract and occupy whilst you get ready for a cross” he continued, his right hand coming forwards now as his hips turned and shoulder followed, ending with his hand, fully extended this time.

“See how the hip turned and shoulder aligned with it, rotating to get fully behind the arm and fist, one straight line? That’s where the power comes from. People think it’s about the muscles on the arm, and that is true up to a point, but put your whole body into it and you will always hit harder than rougher techniques,” he said, settling back and bringing his palms up either side of his head as targets, “go on, give it a go. Please don’t hit my head even if you might have been tempted in the past, it’s been hit enough already this season, and don’t hold back. Mean it, no use learning if you don’t want to hit something as hard as you can. My hands can take it”

He'd let her hit as fast and hard as she could, though in his own experience the first few were just testing out strength and technique. He'd let her get a smooth rhythm and then if she lingered her fist too long he'd grab her wrist to show her that one shouldn't linger - they should hit hard and then get out of the way of reprisal if possible. Not that it always worked out that way but it was the principle that mattered most, to learn it and apply it where possible - be the one to hit and not get hit. She seemed the agile sort, she likely had the ability to be if she traversed jungle terrain. That would be to her advantage.


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Alric Lysane
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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Tazrae on December 15th, 2021, 5:30 am

Tazrae’s lips curled into a smile and her eyes lit up briefly. “If I had been your advisor in a past life, I would have advised you to not be so … frustratingly stubborn.” She said, then added. “My words, not theirs.” The woman shifted again, studied him outright for a moment, her tropical water gaze looking for something in his face. “They said more, much more. But none of it was productive enough to repeat. And none of it wasn’t anything I hadn’t told myself already.” Taz said, implying it wasn’t all positive. “The idea of you is dangerous. You yourself are dangerous. This thing… we have together… also dangerous. I am one of them, and they are worried. If it were someone else, and I stood with them and heard this same story from them, I would say the same thing.” She said softly, hooking a finger in one of her caramel-colored curls and coiling it around the digit. The curl held tight for only a moment then relaxed as she pulled her finger free.

Ticks. Nervous habits. She didn’t like telling him that, but still she told him.

One thing she’d decided early on with Alric was that there would be no lies and no sugar coatings on her part in her dealings with him. What he would get with her was the truth. He’d asked. She’d be honest. Taz owed him that much. She owed everyone that much.

“I do a lot of thinking, Alric. I have a busy mind. It teases things apart and ties them up, sometimes in good ways and sometimes in bad ways. I often can’t sleep because my head too full. Since I’ve met you, the problem has only gotten worse.” She added, blinking. He occupied her thoughts a great deal, probably more than what was healthy for her.

When he touched her arm, she offered him a forgiving smile. “I don’t like the sound of that… you interrogating me.” She said, shaking her head and running her hands across the tops of her knees as if she were wiping them. It was odd, talking to him like this… her hands not occupied with a task. She should have a task – peas to shell, fruit to peel, something – for she didn’t know what to do with them when all there was to do was talk. And it didn’t help that the mutinous digits wanted to tangle with his.

Blades. That was a good topic. Weapons. Questions. Cage fighting? Taz’ head snapped up and her eyes widened. What in the world was he going on about? He fought in a cage? She started to stop him but he moved on. It was something she could circle back around too or ask someone from Syka about. Sunberth definitely was starting to sound more and more … exotically horrific.

Taz blinked, forgetting momentarily that she’d asked him what weapon would be best for her. It took her a moment to catch up, realizing he wasn’t seriously calling her speech a weapon and thinking a dagger could be sufficient. Women were constantly and decidedly underestimated. Daggers were nice, sure, but they had no reach unless thrown and Taz knew one never released a weapon when that weapon might be necessary. It was a lesson she’d learned from the jungle.

Alric had probably never seen a good bush knife. Some of them were as long as her arm and razor sharp, good enough to butcher a kill for food or slit the throat of a rogue Myrian. She liked the machete she carried because it gave her reach and it was a safe weapon to utilize from Bree’s back. Randal had been teaching her about that… about utilizing it with a mount being involved. And on Bree’s part, the Ixam had been learning to acquire the spatial awareness of Tazrae’s weapons.

So why had she asked Alric his thoughts on weapons for her? Taz had wanted him to take her seriously… or at least her question seriously. Had he? Her mind was moving so fast it took her a moment to realize what he’d said. “Beauty… isn’t a weapon.” She said flatly. Maybe some people thought that way, but it wasn’t something Tazrae would ever consider.

She noted what Alric said about staffs and nodded. Useful in Syka? A big stick? No, sadly she didn’t think so. Fangs and claws, maybe. A sword? Perhaps. But not a stick. Taz said nothing to deny his words though. Instead, the silence descended heavily between them. She took a breath, counted, and took another one. She needed to take Stu’s advice and learn to let things go, clear her mind, and just exist in the moment. Surely a priest of Sivah would know these things. Breathing helped. The man beside her did not. He provoked to much thought. He was… a lot. Tazrae turned her gaze upon him again. He’d come to mean so much.

Tazrae’s head snapped up and she stared at him a moment. “Wait… what? Now?” She said, getting hauled to her feet and dragged over to an open bit of floor. Taz almost tripped over her own bare feet and when he released her to take a stance and ordered her to mirror it, she ran through a mirid of emotions from surprise, to anger, then on to annoyance and finally settling on laughing. “I can’t hit you.” She said firmly, automatically taking his stance though and facing him with her head but her body slightly to an angle as if she were only showing him her profile. She studied where his fists were in relation to his head and copied the guard position. Wait… was he going to hit her instead?

No wait… no … he was going to show her a pair of punches and kicks while volunteering to … what be a training dummy and take her hits? Taz noted how he made his fists, checked how he distributed his weight, and watched him run through a jab and then a cross. She didn’t realize he’d adjusted his body behind his second punch until he pointed it out and she moved to mimic him, feeling silly and fascinated all at once. Lead hand? Was that the one you were dominant with and used to write and eat with? She decided that’s what he must mean, before she got her shoulder and hips into the business of following up the punch, then realized he meant doing it all at once and fell out of the stance to regroup.

“Wait… give me a chime.” She said, focusing. Then she ran through it again, this time trying to get everything moving together at once. She was slow, sloppy, and awkward, but she didn’t smack him in the face with a jab. Even if she had aimed for his pretty countenance, he’d have time to counter, because she was moving like she was a fly trapped in molasses. She aimed for his loosely upheld hands. Taz had trained for some of this, slow and methodically, with focus on the form. She’d never thrown a punch in anger or to have to defend herself, and she figured form was more important than speed or power.

He grabbed her wrist when Tazrae was too slow for his taste and she instinctively jerked back and sped up a bit. But there was no real force in her jabs and the one bravely mustered right cross. She didn’t want to hurt him and the action of throwing punches at someone felt wholly unnatural. Plus, there was the problem of her hair. It got in her eyes each time she tried to move. Finally, she stepped back, pulled a piece of leather from a pocket on the leg of her isuas pants, and took a moment to gather it all up in a tail behind her head. Once it was secured with the strip of leather, Taz studied Alric a moment and then said…

“You said two punches and two kicks. What are the kicks?” She asked, wondering if she’d be better at those. The punches felt so unnatural. The woman would take a few steps back and watch him, careful of the space and the furniture. She didn’t want another incident of a suite being messed up like it was the last time they’d rented it.

“I feel… a little silly throwing punches at you.” Could they really be called punches? She truly did feel like an idiot copying his actions though. “How do you make it feel more natural?” She asked, brows furrowed and her eyes concentrating on him. She was being serious, though she felt a little embarrassed by how stupid she felt she looked punching at his upraised hands. Had she been in Riverfall, all the Akalak would have been slapping each other on their backs and guffawing at her attempts. To them, women didn’t belong in combat. The Sykians she knew would be more understanding… though wracking her brain she couldn’t figure out if any of the females there would know how to fight.

Then it dawned on her. A verusk solider named Seraya would know how to fight for sure, though Taz was uncertain if the woman would spar with her. The verusk were scary and aggressive. Alric was going easy on her and she needed someone that would half kill her if she was going to actually learn. Taz just hoped she had something to trade Seraya for to get her to show her some moves.

Finally, Tazrae stopped, calling a halt to the whole thing. “This isn’t right. Fighting here in this room. I just don’t… want to break anything or hurt you or myself or….” And it was true. It wasn’t right turning this nice suite into a training ground. Tazrae was an Innkeeper herself, raised by Innkeepers, and it was in that moment she realized why she was so uncomfortable and uncertain. Alric had no such qualms, obviously, but then again had he ever owned any piece of land or put any effort into decorating something nicely and making it feel welcome for guests? If this room was his own, would he even fight in it? Taz felt guilty and a whole lot disrespectful doing this here like this. “I can’t… I just can’t. We need a proper place to train.” She said firmly.

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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Alric Lysane on December 15th, 2021, 6:47 am



“Very well,” Alric shrugged, “I do suppose that ruining the room twice would probably not let a third hiring”

He decided not to mention that at some point there may not be much of a choice as to where to fight. That was something he had learned through bitter experience. Not to mention the fact the Arcadius, should he ever find the opportune moment if he found him, or them, would likely not call out a battleground in advance. Still, his main aim had been to try to stop her sinking into herself and though now she seemed merely incredulous at him and what they were doing it was better than depressive thoughts.

He flashed a smile before returning to the table to fill his glass and root through the bag she had brought, seeing the bagels he did not know what they were but a quick investigation showed them to be a type of bread. He nodded and took the halves and combined them with butter, cheeses and meats before balancing one half in his left hand, leaving one half for her on the table, and stoking the fire with a poker, adding another log thoughtfully as he ate. Taz didn’t like spontaneity, he was beginning to think, which was strange given the fact that it had been her spontaneous idea that had brought them onto this shared path in the first place. She liked to plan, think and prepare for the smallest detail it seemed to him – to the extent that she admittedly had trouble sleeping at times. He could sympathise, he had been there too, before he had realised that even if he had everything prepared then it could still come tumbling down.

Can’t prepare for everything. Timing is not always up to you. I gave up trying to make the world do my bidding and instead went along with the currents. I suppose that has it downsides too. But what else can I do? I can’t spend every chime of every day in fear of what might happen. Not that I want it to happen but what can I do besides my best? he mused to himself, suddenly aware he was on the edge of the same thinking trap as he finished the first half of his food and chuckled slightly.

“You think too much, and I think too little it seems,” he observed as he poked the fire once more, squatting before it and looking into the flames, “if we were one person, we might be normal”

“You can’t not sleep,” turning back to her words from before, “ especially if you want to train all the time when you aren’t being a hostess. And though I know nothing of magic I suspect trying to use it when falling asleep would be…dangerous”

“You know, last season whilst you were planning, I was doing my job, scraping by and trying to help people where I could. I didn’t think about much beyond the fact that I met you, I couldn’t, it was too much. So I occupied myself with trivial things. And then, when I did start to think of it towards the end of fall…too many thoughts and feelings, lost in them. I didn’t take it well, until recently actually. There is no one in Sunberth to confide in without likely getting killed. I tried to shoulder everything as just one person…I'm not sure anyone is strong enough to do that”

“Florentin will find me, eventually. I’ve squared that with myself. I can’t know the day, the bell or the chime. Where I will be. Whether I will be fighting or running. How many there will be, what will be at stake…see…the thoughts are endless. I can’t spend every moment of every day worried, stressed and in fear. All that will do is mean that when he does come I am in no fit state to resist” he finished the other half of his food and stood up, putting the poker back before turning away from the fire and sitting down once more.

“And though I’m sure many might lament it, myself also on occasion, I can’t stop being me. I have no real plans beyond staying alive and getting to a point I can possibly, perhaps, if I am lucky, one day get to see my parents and let them spend what’s left of their lives somewhere nice to balance out the horror that I have nightmares about,” he picked up some shortbread and broke a piece off to eat.

“I can only do what I can do, train as much as I can train and learn as much as I can learn before I either break or am ready to start my own hunt. The body and mind can only take so much before it needs rest. So I have to find ways to relax and enjoy what bits of life I can. Otherwise what is the point?”

He was not sure that he was making sense, or even helping, but he did know that if she kept herself up every night, worrying until her hair was grey and her smile was lost in the frowns then she might end up wasting her life over something that might never happen to her. At least he hoped it never did. The irony of her finding a form of torture in paradise was not lost on him. He thought that he had a busy mind but it seemed, at least in this regard, he had more control than she did – which surprised him.

"But enough of dark talk, I don't our time together to be trying for you. Especially given all the learning we will be doing. You must have happy tidings too? Can't all be talking to Founders and magic and terrible peril. Come,let us talk of happier things," he said, offering out his arm, "tell me how your inn is doing. Did you build the extension yet? Or perhaps you have had some funny vistors?"
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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Tazrae on December 15th, 2021, 11:56 pm

“Probably not.” She answered with a relieved smile. Truth be told she did want to learn combat, especially unarmed, but she wasn’t sure she wanted Alric to teach her. There was exposing oneself to someone and then there was the vulnerability that would display to her while she learned. She could only imagine what he thought of her now – as awkward as a newborn ashta – instead of graceful, strong and well able to take care of herself. Some things were sacred, like timing and placement. This was neither, in her mind.

A man needed to eat, after all, Taz decided as she watched Alric fix himself a makeshift bagel. “Those are bagels.” She said, nodding to the bread he was using. “You boil then bake them… to get a chewy texture.” Taz added, not sure if he cared or not. What were his interests? Did he have hobbies other than lifting purses off the unsuspecting rich?

He’d be right thinking Tazrae wasn’t spontaneous. She didn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body. Instead, she mulled and brooded and rooted things over in her mind. Then she tucked odd facts in all the empty corners of it, ready to be pulled out and examined whenever her mind got an idle moment. Even when she planned building projects around the Inn, she often built it in her mind first, board by board and nail by nail until when she got down to the actual building of it, the whole project was already familiar.

Alric was none of those things. He was the live in the right now spontaneous change plans on the fly sort that lived fast and loose and probably would die young. In other words, everything in the world she should run screaming from. Even his city of origin indicated that much about him. Sunberth. She’d never heard of it, but the way he described it from the perpetual fires to the endless crime gave her cause to pause. The very way he made a bagel sandwich was slightly irritating. He was supposed to put things BETWEEN the sliced circles, not make two meals of one bagel and offer her up one like a gift. She laughed at that a little, shaking her head at her own thoughts.

“They are bagels.” She repeated, as if not realizing she’d already spoken. “You cut them in half, often toast them, and pile things in between the two slices to make a sandwich. This works though. Thanks for sharing.” She said, taking up the other half and peering dubiously at what he’d considered fitting for toppings. Truthfully, his hearty meat and cheese build looked delicious enough, but Taz would have settled for some fruit on hers with the light cream cheese she’d tucked into the bottom of the bag in the small crock. He was unique, alright… even in how he dressed up his food.

“I do think too much. But sometimes there’s nothing else to do. I think that’s why I’m a decent cook. I sit around thinking of ways to use food differently. Some of my best recipes were thought up in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and just sat on the beach in the sand watching the moon off the water. The nights in Syka can be hot and beautiful with the sky full of a thousand stars. It makes you feel small and think big.” She added, offering him a smile as she nibbled at her loaded bagel.

“I think if I used magic all the time, I’d sleep a lot better. It’s exhausting. You’ll find out if you learn any. I also sleep better with others than I do alone.” Then she paused, laughed, and shook her head. “That sounded bad. I sleep better when Creech joins me or I curl up in Bree’s forearms. I just don’t like being alone, I suspect, and I am alone a great deal. It’s not easy being an Innkeeper at times. So many people travel with others, come as families, and it just emphasizes how alone a person can be.” Taz said, being truthful. It was slightly embarrassing that she slept better curled up with her big Imperial Watcher or her Ixam, neither of which were human.

“I think it all has to do with safety and security. If you are safe, well fed, and comfortable… then you can have the leisure time to think. When your stomach is as empty as your coin pouch, I suspect its harder to think about the beauty of the stars or how to cut up a pig to get the best use of the animal’s sacrifice of life.” She added. Was he a sympathetic hunter or did he just think of animals as food? “But you are wrong about yourself. You are a thinker too. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have thought enough about the whole situation you are in to realize one person can’t shoulder everything. And you can’t understand your own strength or your own lack thereof.” She said, taking another big bite. Her bagels weren’t half bad, though she was already thinking what she’d do to tweak the recipe next time.

“I like talking with you too, Alric. I can confide in my Ixam, and she is usually sympathetic, but I have to admit Bree and I don’t have the level of discussions you and I have.” Taz said, starting to roam around the room, restless now. She glanced sharply back over at him and nodded. “No one has asked you to shoulder everything. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” She added, knowing it was cliché to say, but it was still her truth. “I find my thoughts are occupied a lot by you. I wonder how you are, what you are doing moment by moment, and … I’ll admit… I wonder if Florentin has found you.” She added, her voice a bit hushed.

“There’s a difference between planning because you don’t want to be afraid and living in that fear. I don’t live in fear. I never have. I plan so I don’t have to.” She added, not sure he’d understand the difference. “And I agree with what I think you are saying. We’d best be ready. But my friends are right as well. It’s hard to be ready when you don’t have equal resources. Its hard to meet him on equal footing. So we stack the deck. His people are loyal due to fear and fear is a false strength. I’m going to be loyal because I have a common goal that has nothing to do with living or dying by a madman’s whims.” She added, pausing by the window and gazing out on the view of the courtyard.

“I like who you are…. I mean what I know of you. But I’d also like to get to know more of you, Alric. I want to call you my friend. And I agree with everything you say. We need to find a balance. We can learn, train, experience life, and move forward, but we can’t do it unless we take breaks, have fun, and learn to relax. If there’s no joy in the journey we are going to take together, there’s no point in taking it. I’ll tell you right now, I want to invest in this… and this is what I will get out of it.” She said thoughtfully, then walked over until she was right in front of him.

“I’ve always been alone. I was a lonely child, raised alone, even though out there somewhere I have a sister… and what looks to be a twin by that family tree… I’ve always had something missing from my life that only feels a little fulfilled when I take care of people and play the hostess. I love parties and entertaining. I love serving people and cooking and caring for them. It brings me a great deal of fulfillment and joy. But I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger and important to people by just being myself. You are a virtual stranger to me, and yet I’ve talked more with you than perhaps I have anyone else in my life. You are comfortable to be around, entertaining, and my loneliness flees when I see your face. I find you incredibly attractive… and I mean that, not just your physical person, but your mind and the way you think. I like that you aren’t level headed, but have a duality and the ability to react. You emphasize your short comings, which makes me feel better about our friendship because that means you are honest and view yourself realistically. Above that, I like how I feel when I am with you… like you somehow fill some missing pieces in me.” She said, taking a breath.

“Maybe I’m saying too much and am a fool because this is going to drive you back off to your burning city… but I’m committed to this… whatever this might end up being. If we lean over a book and absorb all it can teach us, so be it. If we end up trading blows until our bodies get better at fighting… I’m willing to do it if we can find a proper place to train. I’m willing to stand here and listen to all your dark talk because you can’t hold it in forever without it poisoning you. And I hope for the same courtesy for me. And maybe there will be some days I can’t sleep and you’ll be willing to curl up beside me so I can actually get some rest. That’s what friends do for each other. That’s what I want from this. All of it. I want you in my life. And no, I’m not a spy. I’m not someone’s plant to lead you down whatever dark road you can envision. I’m just Tazrae. I’m not easy to understand. I don’t always understand myself. I’m sure you don’t always understand you either. But yes… enough talk. Lets get out, stretch out legs, and do something.” She agreed, and grabbed her pack, and paused to put on long socks and slide on her tall boots.

“I have drawings of the extension. It’s for my very own apartment, so I can stop living in my guest rooms or a tent on the beach when the Inn is full.” She said, slipping out the doorway with him. They crossed the courtyard and she told him about a few of the guests – some of the more unusual ones like the Alchemist that helped her set up her own philtering lab so she could learn the art. Taz walked with Alric, telling him about how she hoped to incorporate philtering in making more household items like candles and soaps, and even infusing food with things that would alter moods or elevate health.

She told him about a masked spider monkey that let all her snakes out two days previously, and how she’d had to round up all the snakes. It turned out the monkey was just trying to get one of her snake’s nest of eggs that the mother had been coiled on, and how that snake had ended up giving the masked spider monkey a bad bite for all its trouble. Taz laughed at the explanation, mimicking the big snake getting testy on the monkey who kept trying to reach under her coils to get to the leathery soft delicacies. Taz had felt sorry for the monkey but had also sympathized with the mother snake. She rambled on a bit more, changing the topic to Bree and how the Ixam had made friends with a local dolphin and the two swam together in the mornings while they were catching shallow water breakfasts.

Then, they were walking towards the Hanging Gardens, which Tazrae wanted to see. “I’ve only been here a few times. There’s quite a few places I still want to see.” She said, glancing at Alric. “Would you mind walking through the Hanging Gardens with me? I just saw a sign for them… if we go down this path…” She added, nodding in the direction. “Because anyhow, I wanted to ask a few things of you…. a game if you would….questions? I just want to get to know you better. Because lets face it… we know nothing about each other. Maybe we can walk and talk… and ask questions of each other. Maybe some what are your favorite… questions… mixed with a few ‘what if’ type things… just a little get to know you better type thing.” She said. “And if it gets too hot, we can go swim at the spa or go shopping for weapons… or whatever you want to do.” She added, knowing there was a lot going on at the outpost. “We might even keep our eyes open for a proper place to spar that doesn’t involve pushing furniture out of the way.” Taz smiled, a teasing tone to her voice.

“I’ll start it out easy…. One questions… you answer… then get to ask me one.” She added. “The only rules are you can’t ask me the same question I ask you… and you can’t lie. You have to completely answer the question and do so truthfully.” She said, almost wanting to start with something easy. But something easy didn’t come out. If he agreed, she’d ask her question. “What’s one regret you have in your life?” She asked, blinking slightly in surprise that of all the questions she had for him, that’s the one that came out first.

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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae]

Postby Alric Lysane on December 16th, 2021, 4:39 pm



There was a small smile for her explanation about bagels and how to eat them. Proper or not he would probably carry on as he was. Why eat a whole bagel at once when you can use it for two meals? Then again, he supposed he likely had more reason to ration food. It was strange how her particularities didn’t so much bother him as bemuse him. He had spent less time with more specific and picky people and had been far more annoyed. His thoughts turning internal he wondered whether it might be because so much had happened of late, had changed, that his perspectives had changed too. It was difficult to give much thought to minor annoyances when his life had been turned upside down. Then again, she was his only friend and so perhaps he had just never made allowances before.

“Thank you for the bagels” he said simply, it was honest, they were quite delicious and felt softer than the rough break from the markets of Sunberth. Different ingredients he would have to guess.

It didn’t seem the time to say much more, he had had his own set of words tumbling out of him and now she was responding in kind. Given what she was talking about it felt more appropriate to listen and wait for the time to commit to words. The longer he spent with her the more he was starting to think that whereas words for him were a sort of stock in trade, for her they meant more. At times, with her turns of phrase, it felt as if she thought words were a sort of sacred bond, a window into the soul. He could see where she was coming from, if so, he believed in keeping his word and the rest. But where he came from words were used as much to conceal as to reveal. It felt strange to talk to someone who perhaps had not experienced that as a basic essence in life.

He was about to open his mouth until she mentioned her loneliness, and though he had never been a shoulder to unburden upon, even he knew that that meant it was not time to speak. Instead he settled in, picked up his glass and started to sip and listen. She had mentioned it before, her loneliness, but it was hard to reconcile with her picture of Syka painted in his mind. How could a paradise, jungle or not, provide such isolation? Or was it that though she could open up in a communal way physically that emotionally she held back? Was she scared of being hurt perhaps? He could only guess as he listened, saving her words in his memory. Her words about him were strong, stronger than he expected. Deep down he thought she was too good for him, to him, but it did fill him with a certain sense of happy satisfaction that she thought otherwise on some level.

“Taz, I would do all of those things, if I were able to transport myself at will,” he said, pushing himself to his feet and searching for words, “you are beautiful and you don’t even realise it. But you are more than a concept, an idea, you are a woman. You can’t expect more of yourself than you are already giving, most would have run away by now. I don’t think you realise how brave that makes you, or how special. Sunberth is not a pretty city, thoughts of you made it a bit brighter despite circumstance” he continued, noticing a series of her curls had made a bid for freedom and reaching out to tuck them back.

“I don’t need looking after, though I won’t say no to pampering should you find joy in it,” he flashed a smile and squeezed her shoulder, “but that’s not why I am here. I told you, I want to be here. If you are worried about that then stop, it is not necessary. Think of it this way…I am willing to consider overturning a lifetime of what I was told to believe…thanks to you helping me discover the truth and this…cause, I suppose you could call it. I may not always be so level-headed about it but that should tell you enough to know you need not worry that I am here for anything other than you, who you are and the fact that you have courage enough to not mind being around me and help me figure out what to do”

With that they were setting off, the words spoken seeming to linger and percolate into his mind as they made their way. He couldn’t speak for her but if his forming view of her character was anywhere close to correct he hoped that she would take his words for what they were – a promise.

Her stories were simple ones, varied and colourful. She certainly got up to many things and he wondered if that was as much to distract herself as it was for practical purposes. He found himself wishing that he could transport himself back to Syka somehow, breaking the rules of the Dovecotes, so that he could be there for her. She wasn’t weak in many ways, he knew, but in others he sensed a certain fragility that raised some worry in him. No one should feel alone, and perhaps unsafe, in their own home. As he listened his mind returned back to the offer of her Founders and he wondered, for the first time, if it might not be the best option despite his conversations with others and his own ruminations.

He nodded at her offer of a game and the notion of walking through the Hanging Gardens with her, slipping his arm into hers as their pace slowed and the relaxing atmosphere the gardens were clearly supposed to invoke began to envelop them. He raised his eyebrow at her first question though.

“If that is an easy one I’m not sure there’ll be much left of me to discover after the hard ones,” he noted with a wry sense of amusement, “well…I suppose you won’t accept ‘not meeting you earlier and beginning the revelations’? No? Very well”

There was silent inspection of the surroundings for a time as he thought, her rules had been simple but it meant things required more thought than humour, something he was not the best at. He imagined she might have guessed by now he masked many things with it. Perhaps it was the purpose of the game, it cut through that to the core.

“There was someone, once, Nerrel. We were at the orphanage together. Grew up together, did pretty much everything together for a while. It was easier to earn enough to get by when there were more of us…and he always was good at getting others to join in. I was better at practical but he could get people on side easier,” he said after while, “he was too trusting though. We have these…gangs in Sunberth. He wanted to join one, the Sun’s Birth. Said it was good money, board and food. They needed people so they were giving better deals. He wanted me to go with him but I told him no, tried to convince him not to. The city didn’t feel right, moods were turning against the gangs and they were gearing up for territory fights but he didn’t see it”

“He died in the end. There were alley fights and the gangs went to war again, people who had had enough went and put some fights down themselves…a whole messy affair involving city politics and mob mentality, too long to go into the details of here. I found him after, tried to find him on the day but I was too late. I wonder sometimes what would’ve happened had I been better at convincing him not to do it…or gone with him and maybe been able to…” he finished and sighed.

Silence reigned again for a few chimes as he thought, and they went about their garden tour. He reflected upon her as a person, or what he knew of her at least. She was lonely by her own admission, running her inn made her feel like an idea more than a person. Did she run it because she truly thought it was her purpose? Or did she do it because it was a way of connecting with her adoptive father beyond the grave?

He mused a bit further, wondering if perhaps the reason she felt alone was because there had been someone once who had gotten close and then she had been burned, perhaps. No one was as tentative at sharing with many others who had already faced some sort of pain or betrayal. A lover, perhaps? But then again, she had not mentioned anyone beyond that mage who had initiated her and if he had been the first it seemed unlikely. He pursed his lips in further thought before finally deciding upon a question.

“What is the worst lie that you have ever told, including to yourself?” he asked, coming to a halfway point that might provide other, new, paths towards further understanding her.


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Alric Lysane
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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Tazrae on December 17th, 2021, 5:26 am

She walked along beside him, having told her stories and listened to what he said before that.

Alric could move her to long silences, not out of any anger but out of the need to process what he said. He’d called her beautiful, though she’d be the first to deny it. And he saw her as a woman, not a concept, which in many ways brought her joy because there was at least one person in the world that saw her as herself and not a concept. He used words like brave and special, but that’s how she saw him. And truthfully, if she didn’t have responsibilities in Syka, she might be tempted to set out to see his dark and dangerous burning city. He was wrong though. He did need looking after. Everyone did. Everyone deserved someone to care for them and make sure they had a safe place or a decent meal to eat. And now, somehow, he had given her permission to do so for him. It was an instinct within her as strong as breathing.

With her arm in his, she laughed as he tried to flirt away his answer. No, male wiles would not get him out of the difficulty of the question. But he didn’t try long and eventually he did answer her. Taz listened with interest. The tidbit about gangs in Sunberth piked her interest, since she had no idea what a gang really was. When Alric said Nerrel died, Taz watched his face. “You couldn’t have protected him. And in my experience, its extremely difficult to get people to change their minds once they make them up.” Taz said quietly, thinking how hard it must have been for a boy to lose a friend to street violence. “What exactly is a gang that they recruit people and then wage war?” She asked, her brow furrowed. This question wasn’t part of the game. She just wanted to understand his world.

Tazrae heard his question then, looked over and slightly up at him to meet his gaze, then turned to look straight ahead once more. She pursed her lips and thought about what Alric was asking. “I used to tell myself that I loved my mother. I used to tell myself I would eventually earn her approval if I worked hard enough, kept quiet enough, acted more like a girl and less like a scholar. I used to tell myself that life held enough … and that I was content.” She said thoughtfully, then cracked a smile. “I knew it was all lying though. I never loved Estra. I really didn’t. I hated her and cursed at myself for that hatred. I knew nothing I ever did would be good enough. And I know that life wasn’t enough. I wanted more… needed more than the walls of that little Inn and then the estate of my stepfather. But I’m not sure which one is the worst of them. I lied about love… to her; to myself. I lied about being content. I even lied about being good enough.” She paused then for a long moment, studying the hanging gardens. The place itself was like a giant overgrown street dividing the living spaces from The Open Sky Bazaar. It was a corridor of green, almost a fence, though people could come and go from the avenue in dozens of places. It herded them without being forceful, and shaded them without being deliberately covered.

“I hate lying. I spent too many years doing it. That’s why I’m not ever going to do it to you. And I’m certainly not going to lie to myself anymore.” She said thoughtfully. Taz knew she meant it and fully intended to keep that promise. She might end up breaking it, especially when she told those lies to herself, because sometimes people didn’t often recognize they were lying, especially to themselves. But she was going to do her best to avoid it.

They kept walking, the hanging gardens providing shade and a cool breezeway for those walking. Benches lined the avenue along with neat drinking fountains of a kind the young Innkeeper had never seen before. Taz admired the stone and the way the water from the bubbling drinking fountains refracted throughout the stone structures, creating tiny dancing reflections on the otherwise smooth unmarred stone. She enjoyed Alric’s stride. He walked boldly places and didn’t slow down for her. She also had long enough legs to keep up with him as well… and a fit enough body to not getting winded in their leisurely walk.

“You know… I love getting up early, doing some baking, maybe fixing a meal and then setting out for a long walk on the beach or in the jungle. I like tending the animals towards the end of the day, then making another meal. My nights are filled with firelight activities. I read some, do a lot of cleaning and cooking, and I love cataloging or digging up fresh flowers to transplant around my Inn. What would a perfect day be like for you? Would you describe it to me? Don’t leave any details out. I want to know what makes a day perfect. That’s my question to you..” She added, regretting yet again having not brought the book. She had a feeling some of her more perfect days were shortly going to involve Alric, whether she wanted them to or not.

“The Innkeeper told me there are apartments here to sell… a whole building full of them. They are like the suites at the Khamsin but once you buy one you are the only one that gets to use it. You don’t have to make reservations… once you have the keys its up to you to use it. I have some money saved and I think I will put off my renovation for another season and buy an apartment here for us to use. It only makes sense. That way you also have a place to stay anytime you need it away from Sunberth. I know for me coming here would be better if we didn’t have someone recording our doings… like the Innkeeper does. I can stock it full of food and come over. It would give us a place to spar and study privately. What do you think of that?” She said hesitantly. Taz wasn’t sure her companion was up to another challenge. But maybe he was…

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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Alric Lysane on December 17th, 2021, 11:59 am



“Perhaps,” he said, there was no pain about it anymore, it had long since passed though the sadness lingered every so often, “but that doesn’t mean I don’t wonder at times whether I could have. Natural impulse, perhaps” he conceded her point.

But then people were never truly wise, he thought, they could only get close to its approximation. Some races he had met seemed more inclined to it that others but even they had their problems. Nerrel, for all his foolishness, had taught him a valuable lesson that day – that you couldn’t rely on anyone. The lesson had served him well, he thought, slipping the grips of anyone large enough to send him to his own death and forging his own path, though poorer for it but still alive. Now, though, trusting Taz and the rest of what had happened the past season or so, he wondered whether it had been a wise lesson to learn – or foolish.

True he was still alive, but had he really lived? He had had the thrills of the sneaking and thieving, the feel of a decent scrap and the knowledge of thankfulness for a full belly and many other simple things along the way. But one by one the ones he knew had fallen until only he remained, the only one to stay and carry on. It seemed to him now that perhaps he had frozen himself in time somehow, avoiding its currents and so not really experiencing anything new. He didn’t resent his life, it was a reasonably enjoyable one when it went well but with new knowledge had come a bigger world, and different perspectives.

“Sorry, I forget that no one else knows even if in Sunberth everyone does, can’t escape it really,” he said, thinking a few moments before answering, “I suppose they are as close as you will get to what I’ve heard others call a…government? Ruling class?” he tested the words and shook his head, they weren’t quite right but were the closest perhaps she might recognize.

“In a city where you’re looking to survive you need strength, unless you find a way to go it alone. But most like the idea of having others to band together with. That, in essence, is a gang. A group of people with whatever shared goal they have – usually wealth and what comes along with it. Sometimes just protection. There are loads of small ones, too many to name and some probably don’t even have names”

“The big three – Sun’s Birth, Daggerhands and Nighteyes – are the closest you get to a city of anarchy where some calls the shots, organises and sets up logistics, businesses and so on. As with any large group they always want more…so they fight each other for it. Most of Sunberth is unclaimed territory, they seek to claim it – or at least get the right to extort it and get some sort of services. That means they…brush up to each other every so often. Most people stay out of their way, let them get on with it. It’s not that they recruit specifically for fighting but they know that the largest and most skilled group will win if they do”

That was as close as he had figured it, in many ways Sunberth and the gangs just were. Without being a member he could only speculate on their actions and the rest but seeing as he doubted Taz would ever visit Sunberth he also figured she only really needed the broadest strokes of the brush. He listened to her own answer and nodded along silently, it made sense from their visions together and also from the way she seemed to say she closed off from most other people – if only emotionally. He remembered her being dropped by that…woman…with a frown and given that he doubted her childhood had developed into something much better, at least where Estra was considered.

“Lying to yourself, I think, might qualify as worst. Lying to others only misleads them but to yourself leads to many more…problems,” he said once she was finished, “in this case it may have marked you in ways unknown”

He left it at that and took in the scenery, it was pleasant enough tough he wasn’t used to this much wildlife. The water features were more familiar to him, reminding him of Yedra’s fountain and other old stonework scattered about the city he called home. Of course, in Sunberth he’d likely not have had as nice a walk with her on his arm. She had no problems keeping pace with him and her slight weight upon his arm felt more like a support than an anchor. She didn’t mind challenging him either, which was something he respected, and gave her opinion freely.

“Your day sounds quite peaceful, I can see why your attitudes toward life are shaped the way they are, you tend to things almost every hour of your day,” he said thoughtfully, “as to my own…I’d probably have to say I’d wake the same hour as you, use it to go and find somewhere not yet explored so that I could do so in the quiet with little disturbance. Hopefully I’d find a trinket or some forgotten thing, to keep or to sell would depend upon the day. Probably exercise after that, assuming the search wasn’t exercise itself. I enjoy the feeling of tired muscles after hard work, means you’ve done something”

“It’d not be a work day so I’d have some lunch and a few ales at a tavern, didn’t matter which one so long as I could meet someone new, discuss things with them, discover new things – about their homeland perhaps or something philosophical,” he continued slowly, he had never really planned out days before so the concept was something he clearly thought through as he spoke, “play a few games of course. Then do some reading, I have only recently discovered Sunberth had a library, I hadn’t known before, so I’d go there and find a couple I hadn’t read that looked interesting. Write, perhaps, take notes or something else if the mood takes me. I’d head to somewhere more lively after to listen to songs and music, dance quite poorly and enjoy my pipe. Then I’d guess I’d go for a wander, nowhere in particular just to be outside before retiring to look into the flames of the fire, there to toast the evening before”

There was quiet then once more for a time until she brought up the idea of buying somewhere in the Outpost. There was no immediate dismissal but he did have some concerns, concerns that no doubt would be shared by her loved ones back in Syka.

“Taz, clothes and food are one thing, but you’ve been planning that renovation for a while now you said. You can’t hold it up because of me, I’m not that important. I mean I’d likely be getting more use of the purchase than you, it’d probably be much preferable to my rundown little cottage back home,” he paused in their wandering and looked at her directly, “it wouldn’t be fair for you. Don't get me wrong, it's a good idea...the privacy alone appeals, and the idea of sharing such a space with you in general is appealing, but it seems only fair that I contribute something towards such a thing, if not buy it outright as you’ve done much for me already”

“How much do these places cost?” he asked, it made more sense to him for him to front the cost if he could than for her to put her plans on hold.


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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Tazrae on December 19th, 2021, 1:11 am

They walked, not slowly, but also not in much of a hurry. Taz enjoyed what she decided was her first ever stroll. Truthfully, she couldn’t remember a time she wasn’t walking somewhere with the purpose of moving from point A to point B. This day they both had no real destination in mind. The purpose was the walk. And that fact made Tazrae relax all the more. She liked these stolen moments of leisure, though the conversations tended to dig deep. The sun speckled through the hanging plants and droplets occasionally fell from the bottom of the pots as if the plants had each been freshly watered. It was a kind of music to both her eyes and ears. So too were his words. She liked the cadence of how he spoke. There was a roughness to him, an unfinished edge that was free of pretentions and veneer. It wasn’t something Taz was used to in others. But it was something she liked in him.

She also noted that Alric furrowed his brow a bit when he thought deeply and contemplated the world. It was either one of his tells, or the man who was constantly on guard against showing emotion or weakness had dropped his walls a bit and just simply relaxed. She hoped he was simply relaxed. He had too much on his plate at the moment and she could almost see the burden of it all weighing him down. Taz wondered if his world has just expanded ten-fold like hers had the moment she stepped on The Veronica having followed through with her decision to leave the town and pursue her own dreams. Only in her case, she hadn’t had the burden of something like being Nymkarta on her shoulders. She studied him out of the corner of her eye, wondering really how he was doing with all of his newfound knowledge.

“I don’t know much about Sunberth but what you’ve said. I have this image of a huge city half in ruins and burning full of… people banding together to try and survive. It feels like it might be hard for the very young and the very old to survive there. I… worry about you being there.” She said softly, knowing she had no right to the worry. He was a grown man, had survived there since he was young, and would probably survive there long after…. after what? Taz cut off that train of thought mercilessly in her mind.

“Isn’t there any government there? City guards? People that keep the streets clean and make laws?” She asked, shaking her head. Sunberth… it was a beautiful name that evoked images of sunlight glistening on a safe mooring for a ship. How was it so different in reality to its name? “You said before it was an Anarchy…. but that implies no government, no laws, nothing…. people would just openly kill others who were weaker for say something as simple as an apple or maybe a warmer coat….” She muttered, slowly turning to face him and stare. Tazrae was obviously getting a clearer picture of where he was from. And there was true fear in her eyes.

But Alric didn’t dwell on his home. He latched onto her answer and decided lying to oneself was the worst. She didn’t blame him. He actually looked like he wanted to say more but then trailed off, gazing about himself. Taz shook her head, just a little angry at herself for all the time she had spent lying. But no more… not really.

“Be that as it may, things are different now. The past is the past and I tend to boot it there and keep it there. I do things differently now. I learned something in Syka which is hard to give up. When I finally figured out how to live in the now, that really helped me succeed. I spent a lot of time waiting for the future. I spent even more time dwelling on the past. And I forgot about living and being present in the now. We walk here together, Alric… down this beautiful strip of hanging plants on a stone road in a somewhat fantastical place. I am with someone I have come to admire and call a friend, a man who is beautiful and rough inside and out, and I am seriously glad for it. I don’t want to step backwards and live in the past and let it hurt me like it is fully capable of. And I don’t want the fear of the future driving me to forget what’s happening right now.” She said, lifting her other arm and laying it on his where he had taken her arm in his. She stroked his forearm a moment, studying the world around them, and looking at what was in front of them.

“I’m escaping my duties and self-appointed tasks to come here and be with you. You have become part of my routine, peaceful or not. I have no good reason why really. It’s not because someone who by accident of my birth is my grandfather is trying to acquire you. I didn’t do anything to cause that and I am not involved with him at all as family. I do it because I have this strong feeling I’m supposed to be here. It’s like an instinct and a drive all wrapped up together. Its like the same kind of drive hunger gives me to cook something to satiate it. But its more inside here….” She touched her head, then she touched her heart. “And here.” She added, offering him a smile, as she released his arm with her free hand and brushed at a few curled locks that the wind across stone had set free. “I want to know these things about you. I know they are hard questions, but I suspect we need to ask them of each other. This too feels right.” She said, hating that she had no reason to justify the feeling.

“I like feeling tired after good hard work too. It helps me sleep if I’ve roamed far or baked a great deal.” She agreed with him, though his day sounded harder by far than hers.

“You sound like you enjoy a full life despite your city.” She said, smiling and taking the time to imagine him doing a multitude of things. “What kinds of things do you read and write about? And why don’t you dance well? You move gracefully… and you are astonishingly quiet when you do so. I’d have thought you’d be a good dancer.” She said, suddenly wondering what it would feel like to dance with him.

“In Syka we dance a lot. Sometimes its slow and you hold your partner close. But other times its just fast and loose and loud… with drums and you just shake loose all the bad things in your body and head… and feel the rhythm. I hated dancing in Riverfall. They had these pattern dances with fancy moves that you and your partner both had to know to keep the pattern. In Syka we almost treat dancing like a way to worship.” She said, smiling widely. “Of course, we play music the same way too. I can be really shy sometimes with new people until you put an instrument in my hand.” She confessed, laughing a little at herself.

He wanted to argue about the apartment. She raised a caramel eyebrow at that and looked slightly amused. “Alric, I’m not suggesting something inappropriate. I wouldn’t ruin your hard-won reputation that way… buying a place and keeping a… a pet man. I didn’t mean it like that, and you should very well know it. Nor am I suggesting we move in with each other. It’s not a full-time dwelling. My Inn is my full time dwelling and it needs the vast majority of my attention. It’s just a temporary place to study and train where we can keep a few things and stay overnight there when we so desire.” She said, her voice light with amusement as if she were on the verge of laughter. “I’m not sure when I can do the renovation to the Inn anyhow… Randal is booked way out on his projects and threatening to retire and open some surf shop instead… so I’d have to wait for a new builder anyhow. My turn won’t come up until Summer… I’ve already checked with him. And I’ll be able to make more repairs then because I’ll have more people available. Cash isn’t a problem right now… its getting people to build. And I need to wait my turn.” She explained.

“The Mistress of the Khamsin said they sell for about a gold a square foot… starting at five hundred square feet with the largest being a thousand. If we want to fight and study… that means two main areas and a bigger apartment. I was thinking about buying something big…. which can be sold once we are done using it. Maybe the full thousand square feet if that much room is available.” She added. ”And no I don’t have to buy it… but it was a thought. Or we could split the pool resources and see how big we could go?” She also suggested.

Laughing, she shook her head. “Was that your question?” She added, then looked thoughtful. “Mine’s more simple. I just simply want to know what your favorite color is.” She added, smiling slightly.

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Tazrae
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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Alric Lysane on December 19th, 2021, 9:07 am



He was noticing that she was quite expressive in her voice, even if at times her face remained in it its usual serene beauty, not that she didn’t express with her features but it was as if her voice was her chosen medium it seemed to him, the tones and inflections needing to be paid attention to. It made sense he reasoned, given her gnosis gift, though as he listened to her concern for him he caught a flash of fear in her eyes that was rare and he wanted to soothe it away, but he knew there was little he could do towards that end without lying, and he did not want to lie. She was right to be concerned for his safety, he was concerned every day. There was little to be done about it beyond transforming the entire city, a feat that was beyond his – and likely anyone’s – ability.

“No, no government. Closest really is the gangs and they’re more…protection rackets I suppose. Claim territory, ask for protection money, discounts and in return are supposed to provide order to that part of the city. They have patrols by their members, who keep order just enough that business and miza flow,” he shrugged, there was nothing he could do about it, “apart from that guards are hired to patrol the Storage Yards, where goods and food is stored. People know some things need to be left alone and protected for everyone so everyone who has enough chips in some for that, business owners and so on. We even managed to organise a fire service when it caught light earlier this season. And flood defences after that”

“It’s not that we can’t work together, or exist together, it’s just that there are few rules between you and what you want. Murder sure, theft yes and a whole host of things between. The city has some old stone left, the only part from before the Valterrian they say is on the island off the coast but I’ve no way of proving that…and the mines of course where no one goes really. The rest is wood buildings, or tents in the tent city outside of the city. It’s not all on fire, that’s just the Slag Heap…unless there is an actual fire of course. People just do their bit. They want the area outside their house clean then they clean it, if not, then not. If it’s lucrative then people will do it, like taking away privy stuff for tanning and so on. The streets are picked clean at random by scavengers for anything of note. In many ways it might be a good thing for me, you want a crucible to learn how to survive and fight then Sunberth is as close as I can figure it”

“There are…unspoken rules I suppose. Not codified but still frowned upon in general. Get too much power in one person and the people won’t stand to be lorded over and will bring you down themselves. Children can be exploited, and often are by slavers and so on, but most people don’t see them as threats, and I’ve seen more than one baker and the like give out scraps to beggars and children. Sunberth won’t survive without new people so children who don’t have parents have the orphanage, one of the few buildings everyone likes and agrees needs to be taken care of. When the old one burned down, many came to rebuild the destroyed parts. As for the old…well not many make it to their full grey years, so I suppose that isn’t a big city problem”

He tried to paint a better picture for her but in truth he had never really had to explain it to anyone, it just was. He would think upon it further, he decided, she no doubt would have more questions at some point and perhaps he would do a better job at explaining.

After he had finished, he simply enjoyed their walk for a time, her arms in or upon his and listened to her own views. She had a gentle sway to her as she walked, a grace he felt sure she didn’t realise she had. Mostly, though, he liked the way she showed him things he would not have otherwise considered. Stopping to admire a flowering plant here, the intricate trellis work there and stonework holding water dotted about. She took the world in as a pleasure whereas he took it in as a landscape to be wary of. He found himself relaxing in her company and though he found it difficult to see things her way he tried, tilting his head as he tried to see things as she saw them and relate. Her words suited his musing as if she were reading his mind, given recent developments he’d not have been surprised.

“I don’t think we can live in the past anymore, there is no choice but to step beyond it. Living in the now is something I am familiar with, you can’t really plan that far ahead in my life. About as far ahead as I’ve ever really planned is a season, maybe. You need to be aware of things as they are happening in Sunberth, just in case. Get a sense for the city, its mood and what that might mean. Not the same, perhaps, as what you meant but I understand the concept,” he nodded, smiling as she continued and pointed at her head and heart and continued to talk about life, “I think it is safe to say that I feel the same. I am not good with...feelings. But you are right, we try to find as much life as we can. When you live hard you have to celebrate when you can, usually most nights. Why waste a day, a meeting, an opportunity, if you don’t have to? Might be your last” he finished, all too aware that he didn't always live by those words but he tried when he could and t felt right to do so.

He chuckled at her talk of him being a good dancer.

“I’m not sure good is the word to use, but I have fun, I walk softly because I've snuck around so much I suppose it becomes second nature. Never really had anyone tell me, so I didn't know. It’s mostly tavern dancing and the like though, jigs and reels and rowdy affairs. There are slower beats to wind down the night for those as have found…partners, but I don’t usually take part in those. I like to be more in the background by then, besides which when you’re up against shirtless sailors and the like it becomes a kind of competition and I bow out gracefully" he said truthfully, he knew he was not the best specimen and besides which he liked to travel light in that regard, less mouths to speak of him was better.

"As to reading…anything really. I like learning new things – history and stories I like. Get a sense of what things were like a hundred years ago, two hundred if I’m lucky. Sometimes I come across recipes for food, odd journals and what look like trade skill books but some of those are written in ways you’d have to know how to read them I think. Lately I’ve tried to find things about my…blood. There isn’t much and I suspect I’ll have to go elsewhere for that. I'd like to explore the darker, deeper places of Sunberth one day, discover what is there...but no one knows and I don't fancy wandering in without any knowledge, so I search for that but there are baerly any fragments let alone trustworthy writings"

"I write…whatever takes my fancy. Random poem attempts, songs I heard or terrible ones I thought up, thoughts in the moment that seem important or notes on people that matter. I don’t keep a journal or anything, which is probably a good thing right now, but sometimes if I am looking into something for someone, or myself, I’ll take notes and draw simple diagrams. Think out connections and so on. Sometimes I sketch something that I saw that day that stuck in my mind for some reason, it gets it out of my mind and onto something else”

At the talk of the apartment his mouth opened and shut a couple of times before he closed it thoughtfully for good and thought about what he had said. He hadn’t meant it in that way, but he supposed he might have expressed himself wrongly. Her concern for being proper was a surprise, though he could understand. He had more wanted to suggest to her that doing all of these things might cause…talk back in Syka. He had no wish for her life there to be overly disturbed by whatever this destiny was. It was a vain hope in part, he supposed, given that they may have little choice. Not to mention that if he were honest with himself he would have taken as much time with her as he could have. At her talk of questions he raised his eyebrow in mimic of her earlier one.

“As opposed to all of the questions you asked me?” he said with an amused tone, enjoying her laughter, but sensing he was a source of amusement within her head that caused his cheeks to redden slightly and he cleared his throat, “but very well, I will accept the answer, though by the sounds of the price and what we might need I am not sure I could give half the cost until next season. But we can leave the...negotiation...for later, the idea in principle is one I like and agree with. Perhaps I will find other ways to pay you back on top of what gold I have, but yes I think a private place away from prying eyes would be ideal, though I do not wish to be taking advantage of your kind heart,” he said thoughtfully, knowing she didn't see it that way but also suspecting others would, “as to my favourite colour…blue. I have always liked it best, I am not sure why. It just seems soothing. Something in my memory perhaps, that I have yet to recall”

“In return perhaps a simple or not so simple question for you, given your skills…what is your favourite food to cook and eat? And for a complete answer I’ll definitely need to hear all about your dishes” he asked, matching her light question with his own.



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Alric Lysane
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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Tazrae on December 19th, 2021, 2:56 pm

In talking about Sunberth, Alric was revealing a whole lot more about himself that he probably realized. Tazrae was also getting a clearer picture of his day-to-day existence which was in truth the whole purpose of their walk and talk. He seemed to be enjoying the activity as much as she was. Though she did notice that he seemed far more spatially aware of their surroundings and who was out and about around them than she cared to worry about. She saw the reason for it now though. If he wasn’t paying attention, she suspected he had a lot more to lose walking through Sunberth than she did walking through Syka smelling the jungle flowers. Of course, he didn’t know she had magic items about herself that gave her some comfort… immunity to snake bite and poison, awareness of where the snakes were in relation to her person if she chose to activate the magic. Her survival pack and her magic gear were all important to her survival. She doubted Sunberth had poisonous snakes, but then again, there was probably fauna that wanted him dead. There always seem to be in every major settlement.

She nodded when he talked about the lack of government and the unspoken rules. “I bet there is slavery, prostitution, child-labor and all kinds of things you are too polite to mention as well.” She added, looking at him curiously. He could probably read her thoughts then and there. She was wondering how much of that stuff he partook in. Had he sold anyone into slavery or paid for sex? No… it wasn’t her business and since she decided to trust him – all of him – that trust hadn’t come with conditions and invasive questions on his character. She wouldn’t pry about the darkness… not yet at least. Sunberth, it sounded like, made plenty of people dark… or at least fostered that in them. He was probably no exception.

His talk wandered around to living in the past, and the choices they had facing them for the future. She liked that he was familiar with living in the now, being present for the moment, which was very important to her. He also claimed he wasn’t good with feelings, and she had to smile a bit at that. He was more than fine with feelings… she’d witnessed a kaleidoscope of them from him. He just wasn’t good at expressing them, which she understood.

The conversation moved on. He talked about what he read and what he liked to learn. He was interested in his history and his blood. All that was understandable. She liked when he shared what he liked to write about. Taz wondered if she could ever get him to show it to her. She might have luck using it as a bribe if she ever discovered something he wanted to know about and could trade. She was interested in the feel of his poetry and lyrics… those sorts of things could be telling about a person’s mind and heart.

“If you write lyrics, maybe sometime I could set them to music.” She suggested somewhat shyly. It depending on what kind of lyrics he wrote, of course, but it was worth offering.

Tazrae laughed abruptly as he countered all her questions and called her on her cheating. “I can’t help asking you questions. You occupy a great deal of my thinking and a significant chunk of my planning these days.” She said, in a tone that was not in the least offended.

Did he realize his question was bordering on one of her favorite topics? Taz loved food… talking about food, making food, experiencing new food, and a whole host of other things surrounding food. She was fascinated by….

Taz abruptly cut off that train of internal dialog and voiced it instead. “You should be scared. Food is one of my favorite topics. Once you get me going, I’ll probably never shut up.” She said, ignoring the bit about the apartment for now planning on bringing it up later. “I’m currently fascinated by spices and have been experimenting with ones from the jungle and things that are new to me. I’m trying to make chocolate, for example, which is hard because there are these cocoa beans that need to be fermented for days and days before they actually become chocolate. Have you ever had chocolate?” She asked, then moved on immediately. She had to focus on his question or she’d be rambling all over the place and risk boring him to death.

“My favorite food to cook is something I’ve killed myself. That might sound morbid, but there is something sacred in hunting and killing or foraging and killing, then turning that animal sacrifice into a delicious sustaining food. We have this place in Syka that I consider a gift from the Gods. It’s a little beach with a shipwreck off its waters that I think domestic pigs escaped from. They swam ashore to survive and live on the beach in great numbers. People go there because they are fun and highly intelligent animals, who’s antics in the waters because they swim are a kind of tourist attraction. We call the beach Swine Swells and I often go there to kill a young boar to fill my ice chest so I can feed my guests. But I’ve learned to forage too… and to hunt for lobster and crabs or trap shrimp. I love everything I can get my hands on from the sea… and have gone diving with Bree to get more exotic things. I rake the sands for clams and hunt the river for muscles. I use all of those in dishes from soups and stews to fancy pasta. I never wander anywhere without a basket or bag I can fill with some sort of food. Food grows everywhere in Syka… from trees laden with fruit to the big pythons that reach upwards of ten to fifteen feet long. We kill them in town to protect our chickens and other livestock. And we eat what we kill. Visitors are always delighted to try the exotic… snake, tapir… which are creatures that look like a cross between a horse and a pig. They are good eating though. And we have a ton of different kind of deer in the jungle… lithe quick things. We have monkeys too, though I’ve never cooked one. With their little faces, they look too human to me to want to eat. And the fish… we have fish by the ton. There are fish in every color of the rainbow, big, small, hideously ugly or amazingly cute, and the river even has fish with razor sharp teeth in it that will take a bite out of your flesh or even surround you in their schools and pick your bones clean of tissue. Never go into the water bleeding… that’s what gets their attention, both the sharp-toothed piranha and the sharks in the ocean. We also have a ton of lizards which are edible… .iguana, monitor, and a hundred other types. And there are birds a plenty too. Though I feed them around The Protea because I love their plumage. Syka has a statue that a bird god left for us… it allows the birds to talk in the settlement proper so they chatter away – mostly not making sense – but its fun nonetheless.” Taz said, then paused for breath before getting started again.

“I love making drinks and experimenting with different types of liquor. Which makes me think of dessert, which I also love. I’ll try anything once, adapting new recipes, making old ones work, and utilizing all the weird fruits the jungle has to offer. I’ve been making fruit salsa lately that’s a hit with the guests. I do the usual stuff too, bread, biscuits, rolls… and I do more unusual things like yogurts and sauces. I’m teaching myself preservation techniques like canning and smoking… because often we kill more than we can eat before it spoils. So there is a lot of sharing of food around my settlement.” She added, looking thoughtful. “I don’t have a favorite food though. I’m just usually in love with whatever I’m currently eating.” She said, reaching down to pat her stomach and run a hand over her hips.

“It’s a really good thing I have to go kill or forage for most of it. The way I love eating, I should weigh a whole lot more than I do.” She added, then lightly laughed at herself. The truth was that Tazrae had very little excess fat. She was fit enough that lean muscle corded her body from all the activity she did in Syka. Walking everywhere and foraging or hunting, tended to keep the denizens lean.

“As for the apartment, lets skip it this time and on our next visit, I’ll come back with the book and enough heavy coin to rent something when we need a break from studying. I want to get it furnished so we don’t have to worry about that part as well.” She added, almost thoughtfully, as if her mind had been working on that problem as she spoke with him.

Taking a break… Taz paused in her walking and turned to study Alric again. “Give me a taste of your darkness. I need to know… some of the things you talk about in regards to Sunberth… hint that people need to do terrible things to survive. I don’t know if my imagination is worse than the reality, but I am picturing stealing which you’ve admitted too. But I also picture other things… slavery, child extortion, murder, rape, perhaps even worse things like torture and blackmail. I want to know some of your darkness… if you are willing to share it.” She said quietly, pitching her voice so no one could overhear them unless they were right beside them.

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