Closed Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Cleon and Faye seek refuge at the Protea Inn

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Cleon on March 5th, 2022, 1:01 am

11th of Spring, Somewhere around Midnight

It was the first, and last night Cleon would consider camping out along the beach. He’d thought he’d chosen a, sure enough, position on his allotment, but when the winds came whipping across with rain that pelted against the side of their canvas tent, he quickly realized something needed to change. Rain was seeping into their tent, while the fabric leaned in ominously as it quickly became soaked by the torrent. He saw that Faye was huddled towards the back of the tent as he struggled to keep it over their heads till finally, it occurred to him that they had to get out of there.

“Hey, Faye. Remember those huts in the commons? I think we’re going to spend the night there. How does that sound?” He asked, doing his best to keep his voice calm as he hastily put together a plan. “Grab our pack and wrap my cloak around it. I’ll carry the tent and the rest. We’re going to do our best to run for it, so just follow in my footsteps so you don’t come into any harm alright?”

He didn't watch to see that she had followed his instructions. He really didn't need to as he had known she would for she was dutiful if anything, though she was acting a bit strange, covering herself up as if there were strangers present of which there were none. Finally, Cleon let it fall and gathered it up haphazardly as he broke down what hadn’t already collapsed in on itself. Then with that unwieldy handful of the canvas, he started up the beach with his sister following close behind. Outside the sky was darker than normal, and the jungle shook with the wind off to their right.

Fortunately there remained a handful of torches that someone was maintaining undercover and he followed those lights as they carefully plodded along the sandy shore while getting absolutely drenched by the rain. It got to the point that it started to sting where it hit his face so Cleon turned his head seaward so it only drove against one side of his face.

“Stay close behind me, and hopefully it will keep the brunt of it off of you. At least until the wind relaxes.” Cleon said, having to practically shout it against the thunder of the sea, and the howl of the wind. They were getting closer to the commons now where he had seen those huts. He could just barely make them out through the wildly flickering torchlight.

They pressed on, picking up the pace as they closed the distance, with Cleon sprinting the last little bit to get Faye underneath the hut as soon as possible. Once they were there, Cleon leaned against the post as he caught his breath and studied the tumult around them. It looked almost out of a nightmare, only it was very real. This little hut was nice though, a welcome reprieve from the worst of the rain which is what he had been after with that mad dash. Faye had enough health problems without having to be cold and soaked on top of it. Well, those two issues hadn’t quite been solved yet, but one thing at a time, right?

“Don’t worry about that,” Cleon said as he turned around to see Faye fussing with their pack. “Let's head over there and I’ll see if I can’t get a fire going.” He was pointing to the kitchens, a name which alluded him in his present condition as tiredness tugged under his eyes.

Cleon then ran over to the covered kitchen and fumbled with some cut wood while watching Faye out of the corner of his eye press herself close to a wall. After chucking in several logs, he fumbled about for that thing Farren always used to start their fires, then belatedly realized it must still be in their pack.

Reluctant to go that far, Cleon looked around and settled on a nearby torch which he grabbed carefully off its base before bringing it over to the fireplace. As he knelt he hesitated a moment as he thought about just how he was going to do this before eventually settling on just stuffing it against the logs and praying to Laviku that it would light.

That was decidedly not the right decision as the torch started to gutter out almost immediately prompting a panicked withdrawal of the torch which he surreptitiously replaced back upon its base. At a loss for what to do, and feeling rather a foolish right about now. They could go back the way they came towards that building they had passed. It had a name didn’t it, someone, James maybe, had mentioned it yesterday. Proto something. Anyways it was an Inn wasn’t it, and Inns were supposed to be warm right.

Cleon leaned against the stone brick of the fireplace and nodded to himself. It wasn’t like they had any better options.

“We have to go back Faye. You remember that inn that was mentioned yesterday?” He asked, looking at her sidelong. It finally appeared to him that there was something different though it was hard to make out anything in the fragile light there was. She was certainly more quiet than usual, and already being a quiet girl to begin with, well it was disconcerting though he felt he had it coming by urging this course in the first place.

However his words seemed to have found their mark as they left him, and he watched as her face brightened considerably. Though real or imagined he thought he could see a trace of resentment in her eyes, he ignored it in favor of focusing on the task at hand.

Besides that, he had considerably more on his mind than a possibly petulant little sister. His cravings were still there, for instance, ever pressing at on the edges of his mind even as he struggled to find them shelter. Perhaps, this was a bad idea after all, and he should have taken the night at the Inn.

Certainly, anything was better than handling this weather with a headache starting to press at the back of his eyes and leaving him on the verge of tears as he waited for his sister to gather herself up.

For want of something to do, he ran out to retrieve their things, and while there through the damp and cold he thought he could smell something that couldn't be there, but made him want to light up all the same.

Cleon laughed softly to himself at that suggestion as he felt his face grow wet, and then came a wave of shame. Taking in a deep shuddering breath, he pushed his way to his feet and got them going to where they would hopefully be able to shelter for the night.

Together they retraced their steps back along the beach, and to their fortune the rain let up some, becoming just a light little sprinkle that the wind blew away more often than not. It was not hard to find the Protea Inn, situated as it was on the beach not far from where they had docked several bells ago.

As they approached, Cleon felt a building tension that he hadn’t felt going to the guest house, and he almost hesitated to try the doors. Though with Faye practically clinging to him, he knew he had to be strong for her sake. He pulled the door open and together they walked inside dripping water as they passed through a little waiting room by the entranceway and out into a common room that had two branching hallways running from it. One to their back, and one on their right.

Without looking to see if there was anyone even present in the common room, the both of them gravitated towards to fireplace, towards the heat and warmth like filthy little moths. Which was a fairly apt description for how they appeared in that moment, draped in their soggy gray cloaks that drooped like dilapidated wings. Cleon almost felt bad for dirtying their floor, but his thoughts and feelings were consumed by sheer preservation at that point and so they hovered as close as they could manage to the fire while Cleon thought about what their next move was going to be.

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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Faye on March 5th, 2022, 6:52 pm

Something strange happened that night on the beach. Something she thought neither her brother nor anyone else for that matter anticipated. Faye changed. Not mentally, but physically in the scarce few bells, she managed before the wind and rain woke them up to pitch darkness. She suddenly had breasts. Small ones, but they were there plain as day on her chest which she furtively felt while listening anxiously for her brother who had poked his head outside of the tent. She couldn’t see him, not long anyways, only for a moment when light crackled across the sky, but that was fine because she really didn’t want him to see her.

Faye felt almost too big for her clothing. Actually, she was too big, her dress clung tight around the neck so much so that she had to tug hard at it to get a split against the seam which gave her a measure of relief. The rest of the body wasn’t so bad, a little tight, and the hem of the dress was to her upper thigh now which meant she had gained a few inches. More than a few really.

An even stranger still, her brother didn’t seem to notice though it was dark and he seemed to have a lot on his mind with the rain rattling their tent as it was. She wanted to chide him on this point, and almost did because it really did feel like all his fault at this point, but he simply didn’t give her a chance to. He gave her an order, and instinctively she went along with his plan.

She was too confused to do anything else really as she hastily pulled on her cloak and drew it tight around herself, and tried to shut out of her mind this scary change her body was experiencing. Perhaps Cleon would be able to make sense of it when they found their way out of this storm. Preferably at that nice Inn they visited, though much to her disappointment her brother seemed to blow right on by that idea as he dragged them up the beach towards where the commons were.

There must be much more on his mind than just the rain and wind for the hardly looked back at her to notice that she was of a height with him now and that feeling for her was beyond bizarre. Was this really how girls grew up? One day they just opened their eyes and suddenly had breasts and itched in uncomfortable places.

She felt almost bad now about ripping her dress which is one that Cleon had bought her when she had outgrown her small clothes. In part she had done it out of the desperation she felt closing in waking up with her body so new and clothing so tight. She supposed they would have to get new clothes now, or maybe she would go on her own because she already knew about how much that would only stress him further and he already had a lot on his plate to deal with because of her.

Why was she vacillating so much between her emotions? That was new too wasn’t it? She’d almost even talked back to her brother earlier, and the thought made her blanch slightly. Faye was suddenly very afraid of these changes she was experienced, and unsure if there wasn’t an additional new change lurking around the next bend.

At least, there wasn’t much time to mull over that as the weather took her mind off of things somewhat. It was somewhat bracing as strong winds pelted rain right at them so that she had to shield her eyes and clutching her cloak to avoid the brunt of it. However, all of those strange emotions came surging back when she saw where her brother was taking them. One of those open-air huts on the beach was so obviously not going to work it was pitiful. Faye wanted to scream and bit down on her tongue instead as Cleon got them to set down their things inside before taking them over to the open-air kitchen.

There she watched in simmering irritation as he tried and failed to start a fire while the cold crept into her clothing absent the rain, and she huddled against the wall, pulling her legs into herself. This was miserable and could have all been avoided if they had just stayed at the Inn as she had wanted. Petching Cleon.

She immediately felt bad for cursing him, even if it was only in her mind because he’d always done everything for her, making sure to keep him comfortable even if it meant he wouldn’t be, but couldn’t she just feel some righteous indignation for once!

Faye clenched her fists underneath the cloak and trembled. Then Cleon said the words she wanted to hear, if only a little bit too late. Still, some measure of relief washed through her, mollifying the anger she felt, and she went along with him quietly.

The weather was a little easier to bear this time around as the rain had quieted down to a sprinkle, but from having spent the night so far outside, she knew well that could soon change so she picked up the pace to try and get to the Inn as soon as possible. What a sight it was when they finally walked through those front doors, past the entrance lounge to see the common room just as cozy as it had looked earlier in the day.

Faye immediately snuggled close to the fireplace, warming her hands against the fledgling warm light as her eyes wandered up and down the establishment. It was really beautiful. The wood they used was unlike anything she had ever seen before and the designs. Oh, it was enough to take her mind off her own troubles for a while, and better yet the cold as the warmth spread through her weary body.

Looking over at Cleon, Faye smiled and asked. “Do you think we might be able to get something to eat this late?”

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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Tazrae on March 12th, 2022, 3:37 am

The rainstorm that had swept through earlier in the night was a routine Syka occurrence. The jungle survived because of the frequent rains, especially in the spring of the season. The heat and humidity were relentless between rainstorms, so Tazrae had learned to appreciate the breaks for what they were. She often took to curling up on one of the oversized chairs on the deck and watched the rain fall all around The Protea, coating the blooming flowers with glittering droplets and filling some of the oversized flowers with pools. Frogs often sang during the rain, and Taz loved the sound of their choruses. It didn’t matter what time of night it was, the Innkeeper often had trouble sleeping. Tonight, after what had happened earlier in the evening, Tazrae wondered if she’d ever sleep again.

She was exhausted body and soul. Heartbroken didn’t even begin to cover what she felt leaving The Outpost after seeing Alric for what she felt was perhaps the last time. It had been sixty days she’d stayed away, but she’d returned to fulfill her promise to him and induct him into Reimancy. Only, he hadn’t known her. It was the same with him as it was with everyone staying at the Inn and even Bree. Only her dog, Creature, who even now curled up at her side seemed to recognize her and was happy to see her. His thumping tail was a happy sight for her and so she’d stayed out on the deck with him, watching the rain late into the night. Truth be told she was waiting for the sun and the recharge it would bring her with the coming of the dawn. Then she’d swim in the sea, and maybe take a run with the Settlement’s new Ixam and see if being out in the wilds could help her.

The run would have to come after seeing to her guests though.

Creature, whom Taz called Creech more often than not, raised his black and white harlequin head and whined softly. He was looking in towards the common room and the fire Tazrae had left burning there. There were two figures she could see clearly from her position. Young, possibly children, though she wasn’t sure. The Protea, like most of Syka, had windows. In fact, the Inn had rather large ones that held no glass. Instead, they had shutters folded up beside them that could be moved across the open spaces to protect against high wind and rain when necessary. Tazrae could count on one hand the times she’d shuttered the Inn.

Guests wandering in late? Guests that were hungry? Taz didn’t want to move, but more so than her exhaustion was her drive to take care of people. So, she rose, gave Creech a thoughtful pat on his head, and wandered into the Inn with a curious smile on her tired face. She stopped in the firelight where she could clearly see the two figures. They were people she’d noticed earlier and maybe had been introduced to, though a lot had happened since James’ ship had docked for her.

The older… the brother, looked worn and exhausted. The younger girl, his sister, looked worse for wear. Taz strained to remember their names, but couldn’t swing it. Maybe she hadn’t been introduced. Maybe she had? Taz could have sworn the sister was even younger, but surely that was the same girl? Gods… it had been a long day and was proving to be an even longer night. If she was lucky, the pair would want something to eat. That would occupy her for a little bit, and better yet if they decided to take a room, she could look forward to cooking for them several times a day.

Taz was… desperate to keep busy. Her mind was a million miles away and she wanted to be present at the moment. So she stood by the doorway, a hip leaning against the doorjamb, and cleared her throat slightly. Taz knew how she looked. She wore a bloody brightly colored Isuas blouse, a flowing skirt of a coral and red pattern, and hair that was out of control even though it had been tamed in a ponytail earlier. She had dark circles under her eyes and a pallor to her skin that would have told any other mage that she’d dug deep into her power earlier and had yet to recharge.

“I hope you two need a room and a meal.” She said quietly, respectful of her other guests that had long since scurried off to bed. “I have a room available if you don’t mind sharing, and there are plenty of leftovers in the icebox I could make you both something to eat.” She added, already heading to a side cupboard that housed towels that she passed out to guests going to play in the waves. Taz pulled out two large fluffy towels and offered one to each of them. “Dry off… you look half-drowned.” She said, tilting her head sideways slightly. The gesture was almost animalistic, though she decidedly was no Kelvic.

“Did all your things get wet? I can stretch the line out on the deck under the covered area and have most of it dry by mid-morning. I can loan you….” She gestured at the girl. “.. a dress or something to wear. And I can knock on Shade’s door and borrow something for you.” She said to the young man. “Kick your shoes off… leave them by the fire. Do you want cold sandwiches or would you rather have something like soup? It wouldn’t take me long to come up with something for you.” She said, ushering them into the kitchen where she sat about slicing fresh bread and laying out butter from the icebox so they could get started on something to munch while she decided what to fix for them.

“Sit… tell me your names… and I’ll get started on something for you to eat. Help yourself to the bread and butter in the meantime.” She added, sliding over some mango jelly she took out of the icebox in case they wanted to try it.

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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn
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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Cleon on March 12th, 2022, 10:34 pm

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Cleon turned at the sound, his eyes drawn to a woman standing in the doorway. As they lingered to appreciate the woman he noticed her bloody dress, and that she appeared drained. Maybe that was underselling it by a bit he thought as he looked at her face, and belatedly realized he’d been admiring the beauty a little too long without saying anything. A nervous smile twitched across his face.

“Sorry.. We tried to rough it.. It’s my fault really.. Didn’t mean to disturb you.. We can go if you need..” Cleon stammered as he felt a tug on his elbow, and shot a look over at Faye before looking back at the woman. “I mean yes, we would like a room and food if that isn’t an issue. I don’t know why I’m stammering all of the sudden.” Cleon admitted feeling a warm flush across his cheeks as he looked down at his feet. This, this also wasn’t like him at all, but the woman made him feel nice when he looked at her face, and he couldn’t imagine how much it would improve when she wasn’t exhausted. For a blissful moment, she helped him to forget all about the aches and pains of the day as he entertained other ideas.

His head turned to follow her as she crossed the room where he had the occasion to appreciate the back half of her body till he became aware that his sister was very much so present, and definitely felt like she was judging him for his crassness. Cleon shrugged, then tendered a smile when the woman turned around, making sure his eyes were well above chest level when she approached with a pair of towels.

Cleon accepted the gesture eagerly, putting it at once to work drying his stringy wet hair that he rubbed briskly between the two halves. As he did, he kept her in his view, sneaking glances when he thought he could chance it while considering her words carefully.

“I’d be grateful for that, thank you. There was a lot more rain than I expected.” Cleon said as he continued to wring out his hair, and realized they had tracked little puddles all over the floor coming in as they did. He looked back at her, presenting himself more at ease than he felt as he put on a strong face. The towel felt nicer than he expected to find in a place like Syka. To that effect the Inn itself was a surprise, a place finer than any he could remember staying at ever before.

He started drying off hi and legs next as he found himself nodding, listening intently to Tazrae’s next words. “We’ll accept whatever you want to offer and in return I can help around the Inn if you need.” Cleon suggested, and listened to Faye make her suggestion as he did his best to maintain eye contact with the woman to avoid his gaze straying any further.She had interesting mannerisms that made him think if she was not the owner of the place, she was most certainly working here which could have been inferred by the obvious other examples.

When she suggested that they could borrow some clothes, Cleon’s initial inclination was to say no, but he decided answer as he had after mulling it over quickly. While the idea made him a little apprehensive, coming from her it was a lot more palatable. Cleon went ahead and took his shoes off, lining them up by the fireplace as he dried of the rest of what he could manage without stripping down.

He assumed that they would change later in the room afforded to them, but for now he settled for placing their things alongside their shoes while hoping nothing had been ruined by the rain. They could replace them now of course, but still Cleon wanted to remain as frugal as possible till he got a chance to properly adjust to coming here.

For now though he was content to allow his mind to be taken with other things, like the sight of bread being cut which made his stomach grumble. He was suddenly glad that Faye had asked for something warm as even by the fire, he felt a growing numbness within himself that had started right around the time the headaches had. Fortunately though, that particular ache had been pushed the the background so that it barely even bothered him even if he was a little apprehensive about it coming back.

Cleon readily accepted the fresh bread which was probably one of his favorite treats from Syka so far, and was quickly growing on him although this was only the second time of him having it. There was something distinctly pleasurable about the way that it tasted with the butter she had put on it, and he had to resist a small smile, not wanting to look foolish in front of the woman.

He’d glace over briefly at his sister in a brief exchange, and in spite of his reservations, his mouth did tilt upwards for a moment before he went back to looking for her. To go along with her offer of fresh bread the woman also pulled out of a chest a jar.

“My name is Cleon, and this is my sister. We plan on staying here for quite a while, so I was wondering about how long we could book a room here for before we needed to find other accommodation.” He said quickly, as he pushed the jar further along to his sister. It looked appealing whatever it was, but he wanted to continue looking at her for the moment.

“I could pay you now if you need, and then I guess we could go ahead and get changed before enjoying anymore of your hospitality.” Cleon suggested as he considered the options, and his rising desire to get out of these sodden clothes. He didn’t exactly feel presentable which made his ears burn a little when he realized just why he was worried about that all of a sudden.

If she decided to get them situated with clothes first, Cleon would dutifully follow her to wherever she lead, trying his best to memorize what room was which in the Inn as they went along. Then when they figured out their arrangements, and got a good look at their room, Cleon would leave to allow Faye to change in there while he changed in the bathroom. It wasn’t exactly that he was shy about changing, just that there was a lot of baggage tied up with that routine action.

Scars that he would rather not display openly to make him any more unappealing than he already was. It was better this way, changing alone with no one to be self conscience about seeing him save himself.

Then emerging out into the hallway, Cleon found himself waiting a couple of chimes for Faye, at which point they both set off down the hallway together. He decided to lead them back to the common room so they could set out their things to dry when to his surprise he found the common room occupied by a beautiful woman who appeared to be intent on cooking.

His stomach still rumbling from earlier, Cleon put on a smile and walked over to introduce himself. “Hi, my name is Cleon. Me and my sister are staying in the room at the far end of the hall.” He paused, allowing the woman a chance to introduce herself while boldly helping himself to some bread that had been set out on the counter that he assumed was for this purpose. At least, part of him recalled it being there before he and Faye had gone to get changed.

There was a fragment of a thought there, but it blew away before Cleon got the chance to examine it, and he didn’t pay it much mind as he continued to appreciate the woman. She clearly needed some rest, but petch was she fine.

“I was wondering if you mind us setting out our things to dry? They got kind of soaked out in the rain.” Cleon asked to make small talk as he noticed whatever she was cooking, it smelled really good. He took another bite of bread as he considered what they were going to do with the rest of their night. It would probably do them some good to get to sleep soon, but after seeing Tazrae, he felt slightly to awake for that even though a dull throb was starting up again just behind his eyes.


He looked over to see what Faye was doing, and saw her examining her dress which struck him has odd, although he did not immediately know why. Then he realized it wasn’t a dress she had worn before, but they hadn’t bought or stolen it. That would have been strange enough on its own, but Faye herself looked different in it. When he noticed why, he turned back towards the kitchen where he focused on a woman who seemed to be busy at work there, a blush quickly racing across his cheeks.

She hadn’t had those before, right? He thought as he considered how his sister had changed practically over night while he thought about just how he was going to introduce himself to this woman.

“Hi, my name is Cleon. That’s my sister Faye over there. What are you cooking? It smells really good.” Cleon asked with a warm smile.

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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Faye on March 12th, 2022, 10:35 pm

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Faye was surprised as Cleon to see the woman standing just behind them in the doorway, though she recovered quickly enough to flash her a bright smile. “Um.. Sorry if we’re interrupting something.” She added to go along with her brother’s statement as she pulled on his elbow before nervously fidgeting with the edges of cloak while trying not to think about how dirty they’d gotten the Inn’s floor coming in like they did.

Her mind felt like it was spinning as her weariness seemed to catch up with her with the warm flame to her back, and she felt a little guilty as the woman who stood across from them seemed more than a little bit tired herself. If she was the Innkeeper like she assumed, then they were deserving of a reprimand soon for tracking into the room like they did, and seeking service at this hour.

Faye steeled herself for just this sort of response, though to her surprise it never came. Instead the woman offered to accommodate them generously while she regarded them curiously. Being looked at in such a way, she didn’t feel so bad about examining the woman herself, and found her eyes in particular attracted to the colorful garments the woman wore although she got a little anxious when she noticed the blood. She might have missed it if she hadn’t been so concentrated on the garments, though now she did, she couldn’t help but find her eyes drawn to it several times as they continued their conversation.

She wondered who or what it might have come from as it didn’t seem to be the woman’s who didn’t seem to be in that sort of pain as she walked around. Faye settled on that it must be some animal the woman butchered and left it at that as there were many more interesting things about the woman to observe. The latest being how comfortable she seemed to be navigating the Inn as she handed out a pair of towels which Faye took with another wide smile.

“Thank you miss.” Faye said gratefully as she rubbed the plush fabric against her face, then up and across her wild mass of hair. It would take more than that to get it dry, so she ended up wrapping the towel around it after briefly rubbing the skin of her hands and feet dry. She was more than glad to take the woman’s invited to slip out of her soaked shoes, and sort of reveled in the feel of warm wood against her bare soles as she followed the woman over to where she retrieved a fresh loaf of bread.

This woman really was as kind as James had said, if this was indeed the innkeeper he had referred to, though it could have well have been another given how nice every Sykan had been so far. She felt no trepidation taking a seat as she stuffed a bite of bread into her mouth, then hastily introduced herself. “My name is Faye. We came all the way from Sunberth.” Faye said, having no trouble warming up to the woman who’d offered them food and a change of clothing so readily out of the generosity of her heart.

The bread was as fantastic as it had been earlier, perhaps more so with the butter the woman had spread upon it, and when she slid across the jar, Faye eagerly tried that too. It was surprisingly tangy, and as she was savoring the flavor she leaned forward to tell her brother to try some when he suggested that they should get changed before dinner.

Faye was agreeable to that notion as she was tired of her clothes sticking to her uncomfortably, not to mention how much tighter they had gotten in the night. She still had yet to explore that strangeness though she soon got her chance if they were given the opportunity to change after seeing their room. There she changed into the new dress, rather enjoying how it looked even if it did hang off of her loosely. No matter, it wasn’t like it was in danger of slipping off if she was just walking around though she quickly realized albeit belatedly that she had something in danger of being revealed in the chest department, and adjusted the dress so that it well covered the slight oval contours of flesh.

Then when she was satisfied she emerged out into the hallway to find Cleon waiting for her, and they headed back to the common room together. She figured it was to get their things situated which they had left in the hallway, and it occurred to her why they had felt okay doing such a risky thing. True the people here had been nothing but nice, but it wasn’t at all like her brother to be so trusting, no matter the environment.

Even though they ended up seeing that all of their stuff had been accounted for, she felt a worry she couldn’t quite place as she turned to see her brother talking to a woman who was busy cooking away in the common room. Whatever it was, it smelled good and remembering that bread on the counter got her practically salivating as she went to retrieve her waterskin and found herself interrupted by a thought as she realized she was still carrying her wet clothes.

That didn’t make sense though because she only had the one set, and the dress she was wearing was dry. Then where had this come from? She considered as she carefully touched the hem of her dress which felt like a different quality of fabric than the rest of her garments. She chewed on her lower lip thoughtfully as she wandered over to where her brother was, a question on the tip of her tongue that she didn’t know quite how to ask in front of the strange woman who looked like she needed a bed more than they did.

She took her seat hesitantly, and then for want of something to do, grabbed a slice of bread to munch on as she tried to think about what she wasn’t quite remembering about this dress. They’d gotten it from somewhere, but who she couldn’t quite remember and she felt awash in guilt because of it as she sat there nervously on the edge of her seat.

All she knew is if she didn’t find something to do with her hands, she was going to start fidgeting again, and so if their wet things hadn’t been set out already, she would go about helping with that unless the food was ready to serve as an appropriate distraction.

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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Tazrae on March 13th, 2022, 5:51 pm

The Innkeeper had nothing but sympathy for the youngsters as she got down to doing what she needed to do. Tazrae had been desperate for the distraction anyhow. It was a blow returning to her Inn and no one besides the dog greeted her with any recognition. In fact, she’d taken Creech and wrapped her arms around him and used him as a pillow to bury her tears in. She’d cried a great deal and had gotten blood on him from her dress, staining the white of his coat pink and where she’d lingered - red. She’d have scars that only she could explain… though no one would remember.

Alric hadn’t cut her deeply but she still bled, from more than just her body. She bled from her heart and her mind. Creech sensed every bit of it and stayed steady for her, wagging his tail and whining softly until she cried herself out. And she found guilt there too. He was so easygoing, so often left at home because he liked the deck porch and sleeping in the sun. She didn’t count on him to guard anything, though she did know he’d be friendly to her guests. But something in her told him that he knew her. Perhaps it was the fact that he was an animal that spared him from whatever it was that plagued everyone else.

It was a useless clue, perhaps, or maybe one that meant something more. She didn’t know.

“Let me get you guys some clothing.” She said, then went to her room and fetched Faye a simple bright purple sleeveless dress the girl could keep. She knocked on Shade’s door as promised and got a linen shirt and pants for Cleon with the understanding they were worn and Shade had meant to replace them anyhow. She set the clothing along with the room key for #5 on top of the pile when she returned.

“Rooms are 120 a season. If you share the room rate stays the same but it's an extra 20 for any extra mouths, so you will be paying $140 for it. I can feed you any or all your meals. I enjoy cooking. You both can keep these clothes so you have a change until your own things dry. Of course, I’ll hang them for you.” Truthfully Taz decided she was going to wash their things before she hung them up. If they got a good morning breeze they’d be dry quickly, unless the morning was full of rain. Taz wasn’t sure what the weather would bring. “I would suggest you both draw a bath before you go to bed. There’s a roof cistern, but the water would probably be lukewarm at best this time of night. In the evenings it's usually still piping hot, but the night cools it down… which is a mixed blessing. Sometimes you want a cool shower, and in that case, there’s one outside if you don’t mind cool. It's off the back deck towards the Reptile Garden. You can’t miss it. Follow the pavers.” She said, then shoved the clothing pile at them with the key.

“I’m going to make you some soup. Give me a few chimes and then let it cook a few chimes, and it will be ready. Then I suggest baths or showers, sleep and let yourself sleep it out in the morning and I’ll make you something when you get up.” She promised, already pulling vegetables from the cool storage and meat from the icebox.

“Pay is due at the end of the season, and you can work some of it off if you like because I always need help around here carrying or chopping wood, that kind of thing.” She added, especially if these pair were going to be here a while. “I can also introduce you around and help you find work.” She said, smiling slightly. “If you don’t want work, that’s fine too.” She said thoughtfully.

Taz liked the girl, she was nice and polite, but the boy was… odd. He left the room and returned, reintroducing himself, and Taz blinked and almost cursed. “Sunberth huh? Was it a long trip?” Taz asked carefully. Sunberth was a sore spot for her and one that started in a way that she didn’t want it to. She kept chopping, grating, peeling, and putting the contents of a soup together for the newcomers. She paused, piled wood into the stove, and concentrated, her sunset Res coated the wood, ignited, then Taz carefully fed the fire more Res-crafted air that stoked it up hotter and got the wood-burning deeply. She smiled in appreciation of the magic and the fact she had a bit left, even after all that had happened today.

The Innkeeper started to yawn but was still too keyed up to actually sleep. She glanced down the front of her blouse and found the wounds still oozing slightly. She could do with a shower herself and decided she’d take one and clean the blouse when she cleaned the newcomer's clothing. When the raw ingredients were ready, they went into a skillet to fry, giving the flavors a chance to release as the carrots, celery, and more exotic roots of Syka softened in the fry pan cooked in lard.

Tazrae seasoned the vegetables thoroughly, giving the cast iron frying pan a hearty shake or two periodically while she filled up her soup pot with fresh cistern water and added the contents of the frying pan. She let the vegetables begin to stew and added chunks of tapir meat to the pan, intending to brown them thoroughly before adding them to the soup. She doubled up the meat, turning each bite-sized cute individually to make sure each side got browned. Then the meat went into the soup to flavor. Taz added the drippings from the cast-iron fry pan to the pot and stirred it all thoroughly. She added bay and a few other seasonings before she took some fruit out of the icebox and sliced it for the children.

She laid out plates of sliced mango and pineapple to go with the bread while the siblings were waiting for the soup.

“So, will you tell me about your trip? About Sunberth? Everyone gets a fresh start here. But I know someone from Sunberth and am curious about the city. I know him from the Outpost. Do you two know what the Outpost is?” She asked. If at any time they left the room and returned, she’d reintroduce herself patiently. This had been going on for the entire day yesterday and seemed to have lingered into tonight.

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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Cleon on March 14th, 2022, 4:22 pm

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Cleon listened carefully as Tazrae explained the rates for the room, and got them sorted out with clothes. He was still a little surprised that she was willing to share them so readily. Naturally he wondered what might be wrong with them, but he did his best not to hesitate when he accepted the gift. The last thing he wanted was to offend this woman even if he was having serious doubts about the generosity. Everyone had a play, even her but that doesn’t mean he’d like looking at her any less.

As for the price, it sounded reasonable enough to him with what came with the accommodation, and he liked that she gave the option to work some it off if he wanted to. That might just be in the cards, as the work didn’t sound unreasonable. Anything that lowered their bill had to be a good thing right?

“Thank you, that all sounds great. See you in a few.” Cleon said when it came time for him to change and walked down the hallway till they got to room number five. He turned to Faye and handed her the key. “Why don’t you get changed in here, and I’ll change in the bathroom.” Cleon said, and after she took the key, he entered the restroom where he hastily stripped off his wet clothes before trying on Shades.

They were fairly baggy on him, but at least they were dry. Cleon had hopes that he would be able to fill out these sorts of clothes this season. Ever since he had left Sunberth with Faye those many days ago he had been gaining weight and height, albeit a little too slowly to really notice at first. Now though he could recognize that he felt more of a person, yet he was still unfortunately scrawny upon examination. He’d have to work hard to change that, and with any luck it would happy naturally as he wouldn’t be sneaking around thieving anymore. At least he hoped he wouldn’t have to.

Cleon came out of the restroom still feeling a little of that self consciousness but then forgot all about that. He forgot because he saw Faye standing their in the purple dress that seemed to accentuate the change she had underwent the previous night. Like his own clothing hers appeared large for her, but she filled it out more than she should and that fact discomfited him greatly.

He forced a strained smile when Faye looked up at him, and then nodded at her comment. “I agree.” He said before turning around to walk up the hallway with her, following a smell that made him more than a little hungry now that he thought about it. While he was at it he decided to do a little flirting with the cook there, a lady that they had somehow missed coming in but he didn’t see how as she seemed to be pretty deep into cooking.

Cleon didn’t quite recall ever mentioning Sunberth to her, but he supposed word must spread like fire in a small settlement like this. “It was a lot longer and more difficult than I had anticipated, even with us chartering passage with a group. Though the trip seems more than worth it now that we’re here.” He said slowly, taking the extra effort to enunciate his words clearly. Cleon didn’t want to seem stupid in front of this woman, and had a fragile hope to impress her with eloquence where his body was quite lacking.

Chewing on the bread gave him something to do that wasn’t chewing on his nails, so he did that while he tried avoiding looking directly at his sister Faye for that was a confusion he certainly didn’t want to deal with feeling the way he was. Its not exactly that he felt unstable, just his desires felt stronger. Strong enough to pull his emotions in unnatural directions that he only noticed now because it was a striking deviation from what he had felt only a couple days ago.

He decided to take his mind off of all of that by watching the woman cook, only it was a different one this time and she introduced herself as Tazrae. As an aside, he wondered just how many women were working here, and why this one looked so tired. Cautious of giving any offense though, he tried keeping things genial with a forced smile every now and again, which wasn’t so forced when he tried a slice of mango or got a good look when Tazrae turned around.

“Well it wasn’t so bad till we got on a ship. My stomach didn’t take well to the rocking back and forth for the first leg, and I spent much of that time below decks as I could, but yes, James showed us where the outpost was, and gave us the gist, though we haven’t had the chance to visit it yet. I didn’t know Sunberth had a connection to the outpost, though we never really strayed far from where we were in the city until we got the opportunity to come here.” He said, putting a hand over his mouth to hide a grimace after saying that last part. It shouldn’t feel as strong as it did, but it seemed that coming here had opened up that old wound for him. That opportunity was as much his failing as a human as it had been their salvation.

He took another bite of bread then and looked for a way to change the conversation. “What about you? Where are you from? I assume you weren’t born here given what James has lead me to believe about the settlement.” He asked as he occasionally drummed his fingers across the table. In these dry clothes beside the fire, he could almost forget the torrent outside they had just endured, though he still felt rather filthy from the days excursions.

That bath didn’t sound like such a bad idea after they ate something, though that thought tumbled into another more confusing one. Who exactly had they arranged their room and board with? He had the idea that it had been already taken care of, after all they had a key, and had been given fresh clothes to change into, but why couldn’t he remember them beyond a vague notion that it had happened. Then he remembered that their equipment and clothes needed to dry, and that he should probably retrieve them from his room to make sure it got done.

“Excuse me for a moment, I’ll be right back.” Cleon said, and quickly made his way down the hallway to retrieve his clothing from the bathroom then Faye’s from their room. When he returned to the common room he placed them in a neat pile by the fire before returning to sit beside Faye who looked to be watching a woman cook.

“Hi, I don’t know if my sister has introduced us yet, but my name is Cleon, a pleasure to meet you. Whatever you’re cooking, it smells good.” Cleon said, then extended his hand as the woman introduced herself as Tazrae. He ignored the strange look his sister shot him, figuring she must have introduced them already, or didn’t like the kind of attention he was paying the woman. Whatever it was, he had other things on his mind, like filling his belly with something warm and substantial.

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance Tazrae. Have you been in Syka long?” He asked.

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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Faye on March 14th, 2022, 4:23 pm

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“Really? Thank you!” Faye gushed as she got her first look at the purple dress Tazrae was lending, and she held the article of clothing gingerly out in front of herself until they made their way back to the room. It was far nicer than anything she had expected to be allowed to borrow, and a solid step up from her own worn clothes. She worried slightly about how it would fit her, but even that had the helpful side effect of taking her mind off of how her body was suddenly changing.


After the business of accommodations was talked over, she followed her brother back to their room where she took the key and tried it on the door. She’d be lying if she didn’t admit a part of her worried it wouldn’t work and this would all turn out to be some cruel joke, but the key did turn, and the room inside was lovely to look upon. The first thing she did after stripping off her wet clothes, and laying the dress across the desk was to jump onto the bed where she rolled around for several moments, luxuriating in the softness of the sheets and the spacious interior.

It was better than anything she had experienced and she seriously considered just laying there like that for the rest of the night when he stomach growled plaintively. Faye sat up in the bed, and sighed dramatically for no one in particular before she got up off the bed and walked over to where her dress was. There she tried pulling it on, and again was impressed by the fabric, wondering why the cloth here felt so much nicer compared to the clothes they’d got cheap in Syliras.

Perhaps that was the key word. Cheap. She recalled that James said there really wasn’t a market here per say but that everyone contributed to the settlement’s resources. She wondered if that meant there were other dresses available, ones that her brother could take her to go pick out because she started to have a desire to get some clothes that she could call her own. Not that she wasn’t grateful to borrow this one, but she liked the idea of being able to wear a variety depending on her mood. It was a luxury that she’d never had, but seemed suddenly obtainable here.

Faye frowned. Her brother likely wouldn’t go for that though. He might be convinced to buy her one dress, but nothing more. Though that didn’t necessarily have to be the case. She remembered Farren had left her a little something to treat her self with, but up until this point she hadn’t even thought about touching the stash. Hurriedly she checked her wet clothes and found the pouch she had stashed there, and quickly took it out.

She looked around briefly on where to stash it in the room, and decided to put it in the desk where Cleon wasn’t likely to check. That settled, Faye did a little spin in her dress then pulled it up when it started to slip a little before she exited the room. There she found Cleon outside waiting for her, looking well covered in his borrowed clothes. Faye gave him a tentative smile, and touched her dress.

“I think it looks rather nice, don’t you?” Faye stated more than asked, and appreciated the fact that Cleon agreed even if his smile looked to have a little more behind it. Together they navigated their way back to the common room, though Faye found herself a little too preoccupied with her new dress to notice the woman in the kitchen.

It really did look gorgeous on her in the light of the fire, though she felt a little badly about wearing it before taking a bath. She felt like she was soiling such a fine dress that way, but there was still that question of dubious origin nagging her. It wasn’t like she really had anyone to apology to, save maybe the innkeeper wherever they were. She’d like to have left a note, or word or something, but she was too nervous to talk to the woman Cleon was chatting up, and she wasn’t exactly confident in her letters. Besides there was nothing to write with as far as she could tell, so she decided to sate her nerves by sitting next to Cleon and sampling some of the food had been laid out for them.

As good as the bread was with the mango spread, the sliced mango was even better, like an explosion of fresh and sweet juice that dribbled a little down her chin before dripping onto her dress. A fact she noticed too late to do anything about but fuss at it by rubbing the fabric between her fingers. She really hoped she hadn’t ruined the dress already, and ate the next slice of mango much more cautiously, hunched over the table.

While she was doing that, she was pretty content to listen to her brother tell the woman of her travels, and stayed when Cleon left to retrieve their wet clothes. There she’d smile at the woman and answer any questions posed to her while putting forward one of her own as the curiosity struck her.

“Do you cook here often? I remember hearing something about regular meals being apart of staying here, but, um. I guess I just mean that uh, are you the cook for the inn here?” She asked, then blushed as she realized how foolish that was to ask a woman currently cooking. “Sorry, I just ask cause I was wondering if I could help you sometime? I um.. Kind of like the idea of it, although I’ve never tried..” Faye stammered.

Then her brother came back and after returning from laying their clothes out introduced himself again. Faye crinkled her nose as her brows knit together in confusion. Didn’t he just introduce himself as she came over? They’d had a whole discussion about it. She wondered what sort of game he was after as he seemed to reiterate the same points from before, but held her tongue for the moment as she refocused on Tazrae.

“I’m sorry, my brother is usually not this dense. I think he uh.. Well you.. Its just nice talking to people you know you are going to see for a while you know?” Faye said, still feeling a little nervous and keyed up from their night so it made it hard to get a sentence out, especially when her brother was around whom she was so used to letting speak for her. However because of their brief conversation, she felt a little more comfortable continuing it on her own as she was desperate to make some friends of her own outside of her brother’s influence.


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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Tazrae on April 9th, 2022, 1:37 pm

Tazrae made herself busy as the two youths changed. She picked up a few things in the Common Area that people had left laying around and had a few scattered dishes to wash up before she could put them away completely. All the while her mind was awhirl with what Faye had said… “We came all the way from Sunberth.” She wanted to lay into them with questions on how long the trip had taken, whether it was dangerous or not, did they know the same people she did from there? The Innkeeper in truth was a bit shaken by the fact that people could come to Syka from Sunberth and living proof was standing in her Inn. Of course, they might not be telling the truth. But did they have any reason to lie? She didn’t think so.

Gods. Alric was everywhere in her life. He was like a burning shadow she couldn’t escape and really didn’t want too.

The young man Cleon rejoined them long before her mind had settled and she offered them a smile. Oddly the boy didn’t know her. Taz hadn’t sensed anything off about them and she wasn’t sure what exactly was going on. But the day had been weird, by far the weirdest she’d ever lived yet, and they weren’t the first people to do this. Taz thought it beyond strange, but she let it pass. The pair must be exhausted. “Tazrae.” She added for their benefit. “Stew… help yourself to the munchies on the table before its done.” She said, gesturing to the little loafs of bread, butter, and fruit. She glanced at Faye and lifted an eyebrow. They exchanged curious expressions.

“Two years. I started this Inn when I came and now I have six rooms.” It wasn’t a huge accomplishment, but it was definitely something. “I really enjoy it. Syka is… harder than anywhere else I’ve heard of in some ways and easier than where I was born.” Taz commented, then nodded southeast. “From Riverfall…” She added.

“Faye mentioned you were from Sunberth.” She said, making conversation. “I have a close friend in Sunberth. That’s why I asked about your trip details. I miss him… a great deal. I see him sometimes, but only at the Outpost. I don’t think he’d consider a trip here though. He’s pretty tied to Sunberth.” She whispered to the pair of siblings. “But I’m very glad you did.” She added, and found that this was the truth. It was so nice to see a family in Syka… a true family. And that’s exactly what Faye and Cleon were.

To distract herself, Taz set about doing what she did best and that was feeding people. The stew was ready in no time. And when he answered her questions, she smiled and nodded her understanding. “That’s rough, not having… what do the Svefra call it? Sea legs? I wasn’t a good ship traveler myself. But I enjoyed the views at night. Who knew the skies were so big?” Taz reminisced. She loved the trip and traveling, but she had decided she’d do it more overland than anything. “A friend here tried to teach me to sail, but I wasn’t that good at it. I’m far better at paddleboarding. If you want to learn, I’ve got extra boards and a lot of free time especially in the afternoon.” She added, throwing out the offer to the newcomers.

Taz smiled at Faye. “I cook here every day. But you can have free use of the kitchen and pantry if you keep it clean. I can show you a few things too whenever you want. I gather and hunt most of the meat myself. It takes time to keep the larder full. But others help out too. There’s often extra food here in Syka so we share. You can take three meals a day here. If I’m not actually cooking, I will leave things for you to eat. Breakfast has pastries, yogurt, fresh fruit, and twice a week I cook things like pancakes bacon and eggs. Lunch tends to be a fend for yourself, but I always leave fresh bread, sliced meats and cheeses, and things like fresh potato chips or salads if you are not into meat. Then I tend to go all out for dinner and you get something fresh cooked daily.” She explained. “And if you miss a set meal time, I always leave leftovers in the icebox. If you need help heating them, you can always come find me and I’ll assist. There’s a tea pot you can always fill next to the stove and you can put it over a fire on the deck or start the oven or hearth if you actually need a larger quantity. The tea tins are up there.” She gestured to a cupboard above where they were working. “Help yourself.”

She loved playing host.

When Faye apologized for her brother, Taz shook her head. “That’s been happening all day. People who I know, even very well, don’t have any idea who I am. Can you do me a favor, Faye? Will you walk out of the room and walk back in?” She asked carefully, a chill filling her bones. “I want to see if it happens to you. I don’t think your brother is dense. I think something else is going on.” She added, glancing at Cleon. “We’ve made our introductions already. We were just talking before you went to change.” She added, explaining why she was saying this to him.

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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn
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Tazrae
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Fits and starts (Tazrae)

Postby Cleon on April 9th, 2022, 4:23 pm

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Sunberth was a name he would have rather kept out of his mouth, but he couldn’t fault Faye for being who she was. Besides, the news was bound to spread anyways in this small community, and Cleon didn’t have a lie handy that would keep them from getting tripped up, even if he had been sure that Faye could follow through with it. Sheltering her had raised that little drawback so the fault was his own, though ruefully he did wish Farren was here to admonish him for that very reason. Oh well, there was more then enough time for reminiscing later and his growling stomach had a way of pulling him away from these mental tangents.

“Tazrae is a nice name. I don’t know if I knew any Tazraes back in Sunberth. If you had any name at all it something plain like Delle, or Whila. I knew a lot of Whilas. I think a.. Dockside attraction made her popular.” Cleon said, changing his tack as he remembered Faye was present and a lot younger than she presently looked at the moment. He still didn’t have a firm grasp of that yet, but he’d deal with that later with a full nights rest under his belt. “What was it like for you in Riverfall? We didn’t get much of a chance to experience it, just spent a glimpse there really, but it seems like a very protected city.” Cleon said, protected being his nice way of saying that everyone he saw there had been armed and looked more than capable of using their blades. Not like it had been in Sunberth, all the men there looked like they had been breed for battle, though they were friendly enough around them. It had been a disconcerting experience to say the least.

Cleon slipped past the mention of her friend. He doubted he knew him, and didn’t want to bring up anything else that might be tangentially related to him. It was easy to have beef with someone in Sunberth and not even know it. Given their position, he didn’t want to take the slightest chance of jeopardizing their position here. That out of the way, it did feel slightly comforting to know that there were no ill feelings on her part towards people from Sunberth. A great relief actually.

As she spoke about the sea, he took the opportunity to help himself to the bread and jam, enjoying himself throughly as he connected his own experience to hers. This bit about paddle boarding sounded interesting, and from the way she spoke about it, he figured they must be like small, flat personal boats which could be a useful way of getting around here. “What’s paddleboarding like? I’m afraid we didn’t get out much in Sunberth, or on the trip over here. It was easier to just remain in one spot, y’know?” Cleon asked, feeling a little bit out of his depth again as this change was as big for him as it was for Faye who he expected it must be even more overwhelming for as he’d kept her largely in their little home in the mines, and before that, his parents had kept her in the backroom of their little hovel.

After saying his piece about that, the stew was ready and he mostly contented himself about that while Tazrae and Faye chatted, then once he was feeling somewhat full he went to retrieve their damp clothes. Then it was back to his bowl, thought there was a weird air about the room now that he returned with Faye giving him such a look as he tried to introduce himself to the cook that had worked so hard on their meals. Before he could clear the air however, the woman said something that simply couldn’t be possible and he watched as Faye dutifully walked out of the room, then walked back in. Then it was Faye’s turn to give him an uncomprehending look as he watched her take her seat back at the table, and grin at Tazrae nervously.

“Just what the petch is going on?” Cleon asked, a little aggressively of this stranger.

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