Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Alric Lysane on December 19th, 2021, 4:00 pm



He nodded at her comments about the darker sides of Sunberth, even by Sunberth’s standards. The look she gave him was tentative, almost as if fearful to even look at him, her mouth opening a fraction perhaps before she looked away and they were continuing their wandering. He wasn’t surprised, though he had hoped to avoid such thoughts given that he didn’t even like thinking about them. There were things that happened in Sunberth that he was beginning to believe should probably stay in Sunberth. Not for the first time his mind was taken back to his talk with Zach and that question he had asked.

“It isn’t politeness Taz…I just don’t really want to darken your flames too much. I know you said to share burdens but our worlds are so different, I don’t like the idea of a bit of Sunberth making its way to your Syka” he said honestly and with a little sadness.

“Oh, I’m not sure they’d be song worthy, I’m not really that good, I just dabble really. Think and write mostly, something to pass the time that is more enjoyable than silence. Sometimes they help me figure things out, sometimes it’s just how I feel. If you really wish to, I can give you a selection to look through”

He had known that she found cooking enjoyable though he was not prepared for the tumbling out of words that followed his question. At times Taz even seemed as if she were holding off on breathing so as to get all of what she wanted to say out into the open. She asked him questions but left him no time to answer and her passion was clear to see, the flames that he compared her to growing to become a veritable bonfire that seemed to radiate out from her figure. He smiled to himself at the fact he had manage to rouse the embers within and though she joked about her figure he doubted a few extra pounds would stop the men of Syka watching her quite intently.

As she spoke of killing things in a sacred way, of using the whole animal and turning to a more spiritual tone of conversation he nodded along and enjoyed learning something new about her. He never would have thought of things the way she did, then again perhaps a lot of his opinions would change if he ever spent time in Syka. He had painted a certain picture of the place and with each of her stories he added to it in his mind, trying to connect them all into a whole that he could coherently understand. This was the more vibrant Taz who had won him over at their first meeting, not the Taz who worried about planning and thinking and whether he was okay. No, he liked that she could get lost in her loves in a way he had not seen before. This was the woman and not the inn owner or ideal and he liked her very much.

“You know you light up when you talk about things you are passionate about?” he asked, ignoring her words about the apartment, he had the feeling she would do as she wished despite anything he said and so he chose to absent himself from that particular battle until such time as he could simply pay his fair share in a way she couldn’t refuse, “it’s quite endearing. Those are the fires I saw and it’s nice to see them again”

He sighed at her question, clenching his jaw and looking away, he had no desire to follow up her light with his shadow, but she had asked and the rules of the game made it so that he had to answer. He knew why she was asking, she wanted to know how terrible he was. It was only natural, though it hurt him slightly that she would think he could be that bad a person. Though, upon reflection, he hadn’t given her the best of impressions all of the time. His gaze remained distant though his tone of voice was still companionable, as it had been before though quieter.

“Taz, I wish you wouldn’t ask me to dampen your light” he said, honest and direct but without accusation.

“Your imagination is not worse than the reality, in fact it is likely the reverse though I cannot read your mind,” he began with another sigh, “but that doesn’t mean everyone is involved in it. Slavery is there but I detest them, many do, if I could I’d rid the city of them. If they go a lot of the exploitation might vanish also, particularly that of children. But I am only one man”

“I’m not sure I’d put blackmail and torture as worse than the other things you mentioned but yes they exist there too, though I’ve not been involved in them, I was never in a gang and they tend to have the market cornered on extortion, blackmail and related things when money isn’t paid”

“I have killed, though I wouldn’t say it was murder as they attacked me first. I’ve stolen and lied and swindled, cheated at gambling and been involved in more than one fist fight – though not all of them were of my choice. I’ve woken up in the cage at Tall Johnny’s with little choice than to fight or be offered up to be…sacrificed to the baying crowd. So yes, I’ve hurt people”

“I haven’t raped though it happens. Most don’t like it, it is frowned upon but the strongest can do what they like in some ways. I have visited brothels, though not often as a customer and the times I did it wasn’t exactly gratifying. My job is to protect such a place, make sure no one raises a hand to the workers or causes trouble. I suppose you might say I am a…guard…there” he finished with another sigh.

“Mostly I just try to stay out of the darkest parts of the city and earn enough to keep me in food and clothing. Last season and this season are the first real times I’ve had long term employment and beggars can’t be choosers” he didn’t meet her gaze in case he saw horror there, it would be a shame if his past actions, mild by Sunberthian standards he thought, would ruin the bond that was forming but he knew, deep down, she was a much more moral person than he was. It was partly why he was afraid of her joining this fight if Arcadius ever came. He was truly evil and he’d do all of those things she spoke of to her just to see her suffer and cause him pain.

“Last season, late in the season, I was asked by a man named Zach who I met here in the Outpost, whether I would change Suberth if I could. I said no at the time, not because I didn’t want to but because I didn’t think it should be my choice but the city’s choice, the people. I didn’t like the idea of having that sort of power over others. My ancestors did and look how it ended up, I didn’t tell him that part but I suggested to him that such power in the hands of the unwise…” he trailed off, looking at a piece of stonework as if it might bring him answers.

“I am not so sure I told him the whole truth. There are things that I would change after hearing about other places, how they are happier or more stable. I don’t like the idea of some central authority but surely there can be a middle ground? You could somehow cut the more rotten parts out to see if the rest heals a bit? I don’t know…I only know that I try not do be the worst of Sunberth’s citizens. I have turned down lucrative things more than once because of it and starved for that for a time. I don’t regret it. If the rest of what I’ve done make me evil then so be it, I was never dealt the best of hands in life it seems. At least I am alive to try to do better”

He didn't ask a question after, the taste for them had faded and though he felt a slight easing of his burdens because she now knew pretty much everything about him, even the grimy bits, there was no satisfaction in it. He doubted he would ever live up to the standards she clearly held for herself, it didn't seem possible unless he either left the city or the city transformed beyond recognition. He was not sure either was likely in the short term, perhaps not even the long term.

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Alric Lysane
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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Tazrae on December 19th, 2021, 4:52 pm

Taz listened to Alrics words carefully. She heard him and felt she understood insofar as one could understand being outside of Sunberth and living elsewhere. As he talked, she dropped her arm from his and instead linked her hand in his. Taz felt for him, his struggles, and the environment he found himself in. One thing she noted as he spoke was that he didn’t hesitate or pad the edges of his words. To Taz, that meant he was speaking the truth and being honest. She’d come to expect that from him, specifically, where she often thought other men preferred to lie or glaze over the truth. Alric did not.

His philosophy was refreshing. Everyone, it seemed, wanted the power to change things yet Alric was hesitant about such things. She marked that as a character trait, and one she liked tremendously. He was responsible and not complacent. He understood the difference between authoritarian and inherent power. Taz said little during his talk, only nodded, and squeezed his hand a bit as she walked with him, listening and trying to understand.

Before she knew, they’d come to the end of The Hanging Gardens. She paused then, turned, releasing his hand and instead, wrapping her arms around him. It was a spontaneous hug of affection and thanks. Taz was a strong no-nonsense hugger that didn’t draw out the actions into uncomfortably long intimacy. Instead, she laid a soft kiss on first his right cheek then his left before she released him and stepped back. She instantly regretted the loss of his strength and warmth. “I suspect Sunberth was where you needed to grow up to understand the responsibilities of power, especially being what you are and what is in your blood. I don’t think anything about your life has been easy, but I don’t think knowing what you’ve shared with me now and how you carefully word things would change much of it. We have a fight coming in the future. I will help you get ready for that. I think I’ve definitely picked my side and I won’t let him use me against you. Florentin Arcadius will have no power over us.” She said softly, firmly, and then offered him a smile.

“I steal too much of your time. And yet I consider any time spent with you a gift. I made a mistake not bringing the book. Let’s go back to the Inn, and meet again in a few days… and start our studies in earnest. I’ll bring coin then, and you bring what you can spare and we’ll see if we can’t get a place to do so privately when we need a break.” She added, knowing quite well that he might not agree to come back, and that a few days might give him the time to talk himself out of magic or of studying it with her. She wasn’t going to be deterred. She was a mage already and the Gods knew he had the potential to become one. She didn’t think he’d abuse the power. He simply wasn’t built that way mentally. But Florentin Arcadius had years on them, and they had a lot of catchups to do. They might have years before they had to face him, but Taz didn’t want to waste what they had.

“Does that sound like a plan? Will you meet me say on the 21st? I have a guest scheduled until then, but they will leave with The Veronica on the evening of the 20th so I should be free after the Tenday celebration. I can even meet you that evening if you’d like, so we can take part of that night to study.” She added, thinking out loud. Oralie could watch the Inn and make up the guest room after the guest was gone so it was fresh for the next set of guests.

“This means a great deal to me.” Taz said, wanting Alric to understand. “This feels like I need to be doing this and I need to be with you for this. I’m not sure why. Maybe we are being pushed into something or are some cosmic buffers against someone’s build-up to power. Whatever it is, this is the right thing to do.” She went silent then, not wanting to voice what she was thinking next.

It was too much pressure on him to voice her fears aloud. But that didn’t stop her from thinking it. The world didn’t need another Valterrian… and it felt like Arcadius might be setting himself up to go that way. Alric might be the person to stop him, whether he liked it or not. Sure, Arcadius was after him to add to his power base and strengthen his family, but Taz didn’t think Arcadius could succeed. He didn’t know Alric like she was starting to know him. It wouldn’t be nearly as easy as the older man thought it was going to be. Alric wasn’t stupid and he had a conscience. Those two things were lethal to someone becoming an easy pawn. And while she had no idea if Arcadius even knew about her and the fact she was with Alric and plotting against him, she wasn’t going to take any chances. The man could have eyes or ears anywhere.

Taz looked around then, got her bearings, and took Alric’s arm again, heading back towards the Khamsin Inn. She would grab her things and depart immediately. Then she’d fill in the Founders about what she was going to do and make sure they were on board with the plans. Taz wasn’t going to make the mistake of forging her own path alone with Alric. She was going to utilize every resource she had, even if that meant alerting the whole of Syka to aid in their success. They would be successful. Alric would be defended and be assisted in building up enough strength to fight the wizard. And hopefully, he’d get his revenge because honestly, when Taz closed her eyes, she could still see Alric’s father chained in a corner of Selana’s room, turning his back on the scene where her grandfather – who looked no older than forty – took his pleasure of Alric’s mother in order to get her with childlike some stud servicing a bitch in order to make pups. That took courage… to give privacy… the only thing he could give… in the face of that kind of brutality. That memory, of all of the horrors the pair had witnessed together, haunted her the most. Alric had a lot of his father in him. Taz could see that clearly. And she wanted to make sure that Alric would never have to be that person that had to show his back to violence he couldn’t prevent.

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Tazrae
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Promises Fulfilled [Tazrae}

Postby Alric Lysane on December 19th, 2021, 5:38 pm



As they came to the end of their walk, the gardens now replaced once more with the hustle and bustle of the Outpost’s streets, he was genuinely surprised when her arms enveloped him in a bodily hug. He reciprocated as best he could but so surprised was, he that he managed but a warm squeeze and a brushing tap of her back. The kisses to his cheeks were definitely a surprise, even if she had done so last time the once, this time felt more open and significant. He opened his mouth and then shut it again as she started to talk, touching his cheeks briefly.

“I will meet you, of course I will, and bring what I can but though I suspect you are right I hope you are wrong,” he said softly, looking into her eyes, “it may be the right thing to do but buffers, buffers don’t get an easy ride. We will be ready, but I hope that it will not be that…big” he said, returning her smile but not feeling it within, he could almost feel the sands of time flowing.

“You steal nothing from me and give everything. Like I said, you are a light whether to admit it or not and I don’t think I could overstate that these meetings make Sunberth’s problems melt away, if only for a time. I do not want responsibility, or power. I just want my family back and wrongs righted, even if that means ridding the world of Arcadius. You mean much to me Taz, be careful, the one thing I do know is that he is worse than all the evils of Sunberth. I would not want you to suffer that because of me”

"But, the Khamsin on the 21st. We can rent it or go elsewhere but either way you will find me there. I will probably be there on the 20th to take a good bath but there is no obligation for you to cut your Syka celebrations short"

There was little to say after that, they had made their agreements and, tough he preferred clasping her hand to them being arm in arm, they made their way companionably back to the Khamsin and they said their goodbyes. He gave her one last hug and watched as she left, for all the world looking as if she were marching into a fight that she meant to win. He wished, in that moment as he watched her leave, that the world could be decided that way. That reality could be moulded based upon the desires of good people.

“Unfortunately, I only know that the strong shape the world, and they are usually not nice people. Crime of politics” he sighed into the now empty rooms they had rented. He packed up his things and as he went to close the tin of shortbread he hesitated and instead took out two pieces and placed them upon a napkin before putting all of the things she had brought him, along with the food and wine they had not finished, into the bag and shouldered it.

Looking around he wondered if his parents had hidden in places such as this, had not always been reduced to caves and ruins and wherever else. Had they been here, in this very room perhaps, years ago as they frantically tried to find a way out of their predicament? It would seem fitting to him if they had, though he planned on having a different ending to his own endeavours. He picked up the napkin and made his way to the front desk where he put it down.

“What is this?”

“An apology and something sweet for a sweet hostess”

“Are you drunk?”

“No, it just seems to me that I have not been the best guest and yet you made allowances. I am not rich but I thought a gift was in order. You can eat it or not but still the intention stands. Thank you”

With that he walked away, leaving her to look at him quizzically no doubt. He would return to Sunberth and then return to meet Taz and see what this blood of his was made of, even if the idea still went against the grain for him still.


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Alric Lysane
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