Closed Wine please (Oralie)

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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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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Cleon on March 11th, 2022, 1:52 am

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13th of Spring, 522 A.V.

Who could have guessed sleeping on the floor would be a bad idea. Cleon woke up with more aches and pains than he went to bed with, rolling onto his back with a deliberate groan. He hesitated to open his eyes as already he could feel a rush at the back of them as his pulse thundered in his ears, the beat of his heart like throwing a bell down a staircase. His mouth couldn’t have been drier if he had eaten a mouthful of sand last night, which given how poor of a time he had of recollecting it, he just might have done. There was really only thing to do as he lay against the floor trying to stretch the pain away. Open his eyes.

He did, and going from a dim red to that practically blinded him for several moments as he squinted his eyes shut while continuing to stare at the after image that blinked in time with his headache. Cleon groaned again, this time something deeper, more instinctive as he rolled onto his stomach, and propped himself up onto his elbows. Even with his eyes closed the world still spun with the movement. Bile suddenly burned at the back of his throat. Cleon heaved, and something warm wetness landed on his hand. He could scarcely feel the rest dribble down his chin before his head thunked against the floor.

Cleon opened his eyes quickly realizing he must have not been out long because the vomit was still warm and still very wet. He almost wretched again, but managed to stop himself by clenching his teeth. With a little more effort he pushed his way onto his knees, still bent forward with most of his weight towards his elbows. It was another several long, agonizing moments before he managed to get to where he was half sitting up, his legs splayed underneath.

Grabbing the edge of the bed for support, Cleon looked around and was relieved that the room was empty, the sheets undisturbed. There was another thought, or thoughts rather that should be there, but it hurt too much to look for them. He closed his eyes up, and climbed upwards until he was sitting on the edge of the bed. His head swam with the effort, and he found himself falling head first into the plush sheets which felt a lot better than the floor had. He laid there for what felt like thirty chimes until his headache subsided somewhat and the world stopped spinning enough for him to pull himself up to a sitting position again. Then when it seemed the spinning might be gone for good, Cleon reached for the foot board, missed, pitched forward and clipped the desk with his shoulder.

He was back on his back again, staring at the ceiling and wondering how the night sky got there as all he could see was blackness with white dots periodically poking through. A warmth spread through his pants then, and Cleon noticed he pissed himself. As it spread up his lower back, he wondered just how he’d gotten to this point in his life for a long while before he tried picking himself up again.

This time he took it slow and so was more successful as he drew himself to a standing position beside the desk. Although he was shaking like a leaf, the world wasn’t spinning like a top, and he could see relatively clearly. Still it was not without a little trepidation that he took his first step towards the door on shaky legs, then another and another till he was gripping the doorknob tightly as his heart rattled away in his chest. With that first milestone out of the way, he leaned his weight against the wall beside where the door would open, and then cracked it a bit to peer down the hallway.

When he saw the way was clear, he’d shambled his way out of the room, leaning heavily against the wall as he made his way into the bathroom. There he checked the room much in the same way as he had the hallway but with less patience as the vantage point wasn’t as good, and he’d rather not be caught out in the hallway soaked in piss. So he pressed inside a room that was blessedly empty before practically slamming the door behind him. Then he leaned against the door for a long moment as he took in a deep breath then tentatively walked over to the basin where he hastily splashed cold water over his face which managed to steady him somewhat. Then he hastily stripped down and started rinsing his clothes in the water. Fortunately he found a cut of soap beside the basin and started promptly scrubbing at the fabric to get hopefully most of the smell out before he re-donned the wet clothes.

Looking at how ridiculous he looked, he realized he needed to get some new clothes but that could at least wait until after breakfast. He walked out into the hallway intending to go back to his room to tap into his rations when he smelt something more appealing wafting down the hallway. Cleon knew that meant people but it felt like there was no arguing with his stomach this time as one foot after the other he found himself easing down the hallway using his right hand for guidance along the wall while his left arm hung mostly useless at his side, still smarting from the brush he had with the desk.

He came out stumbling into the common room, and saw two women who looked at the moment to be rather busy. There was something familiar about their faces, one more so than the other, but he didn’t quite pick it out until the more familiar woman spoke up. The sound was subtly different, but that was his sister Faye’s voice, there could be no denying it. Cleon swallowed hard seeing how much older she looked now that she was of a height with him, and pieces of last night drifted to the fore, though they made his head hurt considerably more.

Squeezing his eyes shut, Cleon leaned against the wall as he composed himself before opening them again. His vision felt hot, and watery as the blurred outlines of the women refocused, and Cleon made a hasty decision.

“Look, I’m sorry about last night. The way I acted. It wasn’t right.” Cleon said, his voice thick with emotion, and he clenched his right hand, belatedly remembering the cut when he felt a dull throb go up his wrist. “It won’t happen again, not so long as I can help it under your roof.” He said, assuming this lady was the innkeeper her since she seemed to be taking that role rather regularly. “Now can I help make breakfast, cause I’m actually rather hungry myself,” Cleon said while looking apologetic.

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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Faye on March 11th, 2022, 7:39 pm

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As morning light crept into the room, Faye stretched out underneath the covers, relishing the feel of the soft fabric against her skin before she opened her eyes to see Oralie half asleep in a chair that faced the bed. Her smile was tender, and bittersweet as last night slowly trickled back to her. She felt more than a little guilty for her role in it, especially for the bloodied dress that she’d stripped out of sometime during the night. Faye couldn’t remember exactly why, but she was pretty sure she had started feeling really hot so that must have been the reason for it. Now though she felt like the stranger she was, laying bare skinned in this woman’s bed, and furtively wrapped a blanket around her to cover herself up.

She’d hoped she would be able to put on some clothing before Oralie stirred from whatever reverie she was in, but her luck didn’t play out so well there as Oralie turned her head to look as she sat up in the bed. A embarrassed smile touched her face as her mouth pulled tight into a grin that gave her cheeks little dimples as she felt suddenly flush.

“I’m sorry, it got hot last night and I’m not too used to the weather here just yet.” Faye said, gulping past her embarrassment as she tremulously held the sheets. She knew there was nothing to fear from the woman who had been nothing but kind to her, yet she had been rather demanding of late. It made her want to look for an out of the situation though a larger part of herself kept put where it was. “Um.. Do you have something else I could borrow. I promise I won’t get anything on this one, and I’ll wash the blood out of that dress and mend any holes if it has any.” She said rapidly, the words rattling out of her in a wash of nervousness that she wrapped up with a self conscious giggle.

Faye needn’t have worried as Oralie continued to surprise her with her kindness, even going so far as to open up her wardrobe to her where she felt her jaw drop to see how many outfits there were. Well, perhaps not a lot to a Sykan, but more than one was a lot to her. After taking her time studying the clothing while huddled under a blanket, she ended up picking a pink top, and cream colored skirt made of a fabric she hadn’t quite felt before. Whatever it was, it felt similar to the sheets which was to say luxurious.

Pulling them on, she rather liked how the clothes looked on her, doing a little spin before she turned around to give a shy smile to Oralie. “You’ve really been so nice to me. Are you sure there is not anything I can do for you? I’ve had a good amount of practice sewing if you need anything done.” Faye asked earnestly.

Regardless of whether or not she’d accept Faye’s offer to help, she did the least she could do by remaking Oralie’s bed. “I promise I didn’t get your bed dirty either.” Faye said, although she wasn’t quite certain if this woman would consider what she did dirty or not. She certainly hoped so as she continued to make Oralie’s bed before turning around to pick up the dress only to see Oralie having already taken it.

“I really don’t mind helping wash it, its the least I could do.” Faye said, but on this point Oralie seemed rather firm as Faye followed the woman out into the hallway. There she didn’t see anyone she recognized but wasn’t so disconcerted as she figured her brother must still be sleeping off whatever had happened last night. She wanted to check on him, however not just yet as it wasn’t quite full light outside. More importantly, she didn’t quite know what to say to him just yet after all that had transpired last night, and she wanted to hang onto that good feeling of being with Oralie just a while longer.

Turning to the woman, Faye asked. “Could I help you cook some breakfast at least?” Faye asked hopefully, though she would try not to be too disappointed if the woman decided differently. If she accepted however, Faye would do her best to be a good gofer although she found out quickly her coordination wasn’t quite what it should be as she kept banging her knees into things going to and fro as she was, and eventually just took a seat as she realized she was hurting more than helping Oralie around the kitchen.

From her vantage point she enjoyed a good view of what Oralie was doing and he watched intently as she leaned with her elbows against the table. Cooking was something she never had learned how to do, but now that she had seen it a few times, she found herself more than curious about it. Watching Oralie just then, it seemed to be something magical though that could very well just be her growling stomach talking as fussed with her hair, twirling the ends around her finger.

“Oralie? Where’d you learn how to cook?” Faye asked after a while when she grew a little bored sitting there, and then she noticed a movement out of the corner of her eye. There leaning against the wall was Cleon whom was looking more than a little haggard as he dripped water all over the floor. Faye’s smile curdled into a frown as she sat up and went to her brother, then stopped which she noticed the strange way he regarded her.

Looking down at her own body, she didn’t notice much of a difference, but there could be no mistaking that look. Somehow, she’d changed again.

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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Oralie on March 12th, 2022, 7:08 pm

Oralie jerked awake with an uncomfortable start, her head sliding off the palm it had been resting on. She blinked rapidly for a moment until her eyes adjusted to the dim morning light stealing into the room. She had managed to fall asleep in her chair, and not for the first time during the handful of days since the new season had started.

A sharp panic stabbed at her chest as she remembered why she had been determined not to sleep. Faye – one of the new guests at the Inn and the sweetest girl Oralie had ever met – was staying in her room. Oralie’s golden eyes quickly sought out the shadow being hovering in the corner opposite her chair. It stared right back at her with its unblinking silver eyes.

Movement from her bed then caused her to shift her gaze away. Faye had woken up too, and blinked at Oralie sleepily. A relieved breath left her in a rush. The girl was okay. She had been worried about the shadow being somehow harming her, even though it had done nothing so far to suggest it was in any way violent.

Oralie stifled a yawn as Faye started to speak. She smiled and gave a light chuckle at the girl’s words. “If there is one thing you will quickly learn about Syka, it is that clothing is – for the most part – totally optional. You’ll soon get used to at least seeing people without any. There’s no need to be shy.” It had taken Oralie herself a little time to be comfortable with the fact, but as she had grown more comfortable with her Kelvic side, her nonchalance to nudity had become even more pronounced.

She stood slowly, stretching out her legs where they had grown stiff from being crammed underneath her body in the chair. She then showed Faye all the clothes she owned, smiling again when the girl chose Oralie’s favourite outfit – the cream skirt and pink top. She had been meaning to take a trip to the new clothing shop to get some more things, but she hadn’t yet. Faye’s choices left Oralie with her jungle clothes. With a shrug and not a thought to the fact that Faye would be able to see her body, she pulled on a pair of moss green pants, her bikini top and a beige shirt that she left unbuttoned and pushed up the sleeves of. Her feet stayed bare and her hair was a mess of blonde waves.

As she watched Faye twirl in the skirt, Oralie did a double take. She hadn’t really looked properly at the girl yet and was alarmed to see that she had definitely changed. Faye was taller than she had been yesterday, though not quite as tall as Oralie was. The clothes fit her almost perfectly too now. Faye didn’t seem to notice herself though, her excitement over the clothes perhaps even more pronounced than it had been the day previous. Oralie lightly shook her head to herself. It was most peculiar. She would have to get Faye back to the Panacea shortly because she knew Kami would want to know about it.

“It’s totally fine Faye.” Oralie smiled and scooped up her dress where it lay on the floor. She folded it roughly into a square and placed it to one side so she could sort it out later. She was not sure what she should do next though. There was clearly something happening to Faye, though she didn’t seem to be actually sick. She remembered Cleon too, and how he had been last night. Making her decision, she stepped into the hallway with Faye. She would wait for Cleon to wake up too, see how he was doing and then they could all head to the Panacea together.

“Sure you can help with breakfast if you want to.” Another smile. Oralie was not exactly a cook, and it technically was not her job at the Inn. However, over the season previous she had picked up a little skill and she was comfortable making simple food for the guests if there was not any already made and nobody else around to do it. Besides, at this point Oralie felt like she was basically going to be cooking with a friend, rather than serving aa guest.

Oralie decided to make scrambled eggs on toast today, something simple and easy to show Faye. There was plenty of fruit to be had too, if the eggs weren’t enough. As she whisked the eggs up in a bowl, she noticed that Faye seemed to be a lot clumsier than she had been the day before, almost like a puppy when they weren’t used to their lanky legs yet.

Soon enough the smells of cooking eggs and toast filled the kitchen and Faye’s voice piped up behind her. Oralie thought for a moment, her head tilting to one side. “Um… here, I guess. I can’t cook very much yet, just easy things. It is not hard to learn when you live at an Inn though.” She grinned at the girl.

Another voice sounded from the entrance and she looked round to see Cleon standing there. He did look sick, with shadows under his eyes and an all around drawn appearance. He was also quite wet. Oralie blinked at him once, registering his words. She was most certainly not the Innkeeper, though she could understand why one might think so., especially as she couldn’t remember the last time she had seen the actual innkeeper. Come to think of it, she struggled to remember who that even was. She must be much more tired than she felt.
“Oh, it’s uh, it’s not my Inn. But I am glad to hear.” She offered him a smile in receipt of his apology, deciding not to ask about the water for the time being. “Of course you can have some food, take a seat. No need to help, you’re both guests after all.”

She watched his expression change as Faye approached him. Oralie nodded her head once. “You see it too…” She met his gaze. ”Both of you have some food and then we can think on what to do, that okay?” She served the toast and eggs to the siblings, giving Cleon the portion she had cooked for herself. Oralie instead grabbed a banana and peeled it, leaning against the counter and watching the pair as she did so.

“Faye, remember how Kami asked you to go back and see her today? I think we should take you there after breakfast. Have you noticed how well my clothes fit you? I’m not eleven.”
Oralie’s voice was gentle, and she decided the intricacies of Kelvic aging was not something relevant for the conversation at the moment. She looked like she was in her early twenties, and that was the important thing for now.

She turned her golden gaze on Cleon next. “I won’t force you as it’s not my place, but Kami asked if you would come too. She just wants to help and see if she can work out what is happening to the both of you.” Her eyes slid to his hand. “How is your thumb today?”

Regardless of what either of them said, Oralie would clear their plates when they had finished and replace them with a bowl of fruit that they could pick from if they wanted to. She quickly cleaned up all the dishes in the sink – for that was her true job here – and set them on the side to dry. She then chose a fig from the bowl and studied the siblings again.

“Shall we?” She knew that Faye would come with her, and she hoped that Cleon would too. Syka was the place that had saved her, and she hoped that it could do the same for them too. When everyone who was coming was ready, she would lead the way out of the Inn and onto the cobbled pathway, munching on the fig as she went.

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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Cleon on March 13th, 2022, 3:50 pm

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Cleon’s smile was strained as he watched the woman register his presence and suddenly felt the full weight of her gaze. There was something unique about her appearance that he couldn’t quite place. It wasn’t just her golden eyes, or maybe it was, for they were very striking and they were the first thing he remembered about the woman standing before him now.

Come to think about it, with Faye now looking significantly older, the pair almost looked like relatives of sorts which was a thought he thought to disturbing to pursue in that very moment. He had enough on his plate to deal with without adding that too, and seeing Faye’s almost panicked reaction, he decided quickly to modify his expression to a more neutral one before trying to disarm Faye with a grin.

“Hey, did you sleep okay last night?” He asked tentatively as he watched Faye close the distance before wrapping her arms around him. It felt like holding a stranger, but he pushed past that thought as he wrapped his arms around her, and made himself be thankful that she seemed to be healthy as far as he could tell.

When Faye pulled away with splotches on her top Cleon made a little shrugging motion and looked down at his shoes abashed. “Its just water, I promise. I might have gotten a little dirty last night in my wanderings.” He said, before flinching back as Faye punched him on the shoulder.

“Alright, alright. I won’t do it again, I promise.” He said, raising his hands in an effort to placate her, and he was ready to flinch again when she wrapped her arms around him to hug him tightly once more. “I promise.” Cleon said reassuringly before following Faye back to a seat where he watched Oralie with mixed feelings.

It wasn’t exactly that he was attracted to her, he didn’t usually go for blonds for obvious reasons and yet all the same he found himself admiring her body as she went about plating the eggs and bread. Then she started eating the banana, and Cleon looked away, suddenly not feeling hungry anymore. However he made himself eat it since she had already went through the trouble, and spent the meal occasionally trading glances with her.

He was thinking about what she had said earlier. The part he had tried to ignore, but remained stuck in his mind. You see it too. Just reflecting on those words made him clench his teeth as he knew exactly what she meant.

“No, I agree, I think we should go, the sooner the better.” He said softly as he turned to give his thumb a confused look. It didn’t hurt too much on its own now, except for when he moved it, then the pain radiated from it like one of those tuning forks. Beyond that, he wasn’t about to take the bandage off while they were eating, even if it looked positively filthy. “Its been better, but hasn’t bothered me so far.”

Looking at Faye, he decided to try to shift the focus off of himself again as he felt uncomfortably hot under the collar when Oralie shifted those golden orbs onto him. “Where did you end up going last night anyways?” He asked as he pushed his plate aside and watched as Oralie replaced it with a bowl of fruit. Picking out a hard, red one with a spiky exterior, Cleon peeled it open with his teeth before cautiously sampling the translucent flesh underneath.

Once he had determined it was mildly sweet, he took a larger bite, then picked out a piece of the pith that had gotten caught in his front teeth. As Oralie seemed busy with the dishes he didn’t feel too self conscious about it until she turned around, at which point he suddenly became aware of something important lurking just over his shoulder.

When he had removed the offender, he turned back around to see Oralie with another piece of fruit, and flashed her a nervous smile. Strangely, Cleon found that he had a hard time watching her eat this piece of fruit as well without his mind going in directions it had no business going, and abruptly he turned around in his chair. Then Faye had the nerve to snap at him till he looked over, and rolled his eyes at her curious look at which point she tried and failed to stifle a giggle.

Cleon just shook his head, stood up and started walking towards the door, hardly needing anymore encouragement to start walking away from this embarrassment. He was really down bad lately, and he wondered idly if this could be related to his other increased impulses. The two things hardly seemed connected, but then again what did make sense when he took Faye’s aging into account.

For their walk, Cleon did his best to walk abreast of Oralie because he certainly didn’t want to be caught walking behind her while he was in this sort of mood, and tried occupying his mind on things other than the sound of her voice which raised his flesh in little goosebumps. It didn’t help that Faye couldn’t stop snickering or that she would go into a brief lull to where he almost could forget about the whole thing before having another outburst.

Needless to say, it was a long, silent walk for Cleon who could feel his headache coming back, and this time for an obvious reason. His problems seemed to only compound themselves when they reached the Panacea and encountered the woman he’d met previously with James, and found her to be just as captivating as he remembered her to be.

Cleon swallowed hard, wiped his sweaty palm out on his trousers then extended it by way of greeting as he nervously met the woman’s eyes. Then he breathed easier when she took his hand easily enough, and gave it a little shake as her eyes roamed to take in the trio. They rested on Oralie.

“I see you managed to convince them. This.. This must be Faye, right and that would make you Cleon?” Kami said. The change in her expression had been brief but unmistakable as Cleon had watched her face carefully to see the startled look that had crossed it before she masked it again with a tender smile. That reaction grounded him more than anything else could have as he suddenly found himself listening carefully to her every word.

“Why don’t you all come inside.” Kami said, gesturing them in and once they were inside she turned towards Cleon. “If you wouldn’t mind waiting here, Jensen will see to that thumb of yours in a moment while I go take a look at Faye.” She said with professional look, and when she left him, Cleon turned away embarrassed, sure she had saw something. For it wasn’t hard to see with his gray trousers clinging to him as they were and before Jensen came in, Cleon shimmed closer to a table so that it would at least be partially obscured. Really, if it wasn’t one thing it was another.

“Excuse me, Cleon is it? May I see your thumb?” The man asked, and Cleon really had to crane his neck to look up at the giant of an Akalak, suddenly feeling a little emasculated. Dutifully he did as he was asked, unwinding the bandage before thrusting his hand out somewhat petulantly. If Jensen noticed, he didn’t deign it with a response as he took Cleon’s hand in a surprisingly gentle way turning the thumb over so he could get a good look from all angles before the Akalak produced a small piece of white cloth that he soaked before dabbing at the cut.

“Oralie said you cut it last night? May I ask how it happened?” Jensen asked.

Cleon shifted his head slightly as he felt a twinge uncomfortable at the question, and being held by this man’s too warm hands.

“I only ask because I wouldn’t one another Sykan getting hurt by it if it is something that can be avoided.” Jensen prodded as he started to clean off the final touches of caked blood.

Cleon shook his head. “I cut it accidentally with my shaving razor. I.. It just slipped. I should have came last night, but its embarrassing you know?” Cleon said defensively.

“Is related to that other thing Faye said you’ve been experiencing. It sounded to me as if you’ve been experiencing a lot of pain recently, even before your little accident with the razor? Do you want to talk about it?”

“I..” Cleon felt his face flush with red head as he pulse thundered in his temples, and his mouth went dry. “I.. Its just headaches is all, nothing as special as all Faye has been going through.”

“What about the alcohol?” Jensen asked as he cinched a bandage around the cut.

“What about it?” Cleon growled, suddenly feeling very cornered even if his back wasn’t necessarily to the wall. Belatedly he realized he had raised his voice as Kami poked her head through to regard him briefly before ducking back out of sight.

“I mean its not a problem if I don’t do it. Haven’t done it yet, so I don’t know why you’re on my back about it.” Cleon said through clenched teeth, going through a considerable effort to control his voice.

“I didn’t say it was. Have you ever had a problem with alcohol?” Jensen asked.

Cleon nodded sharply. “Once or twice when I was around Faye’s age.”

Jensen’s gaze seemed to sharpen at that. “And you haven’t drank since. Since coming here I mean?”

“Haven’t drank at all. Wasn’t even on my mind before I came here, and now I keep having these shite dreams about it, day one too where its just so close.” Cleon said, practically spitting out the words as he started to back away from Jensen. He was trembling as his heart raced and his back bumped into the wall. “Look, thanks for seeing my finger and all, but I’ll just wait outside for Faye if that is alright with you.” Cleon said, and walked out of the Pancea before Jensen could get in another word in edgewise.

Once he was out, he practically ran to the beach, kicking off his shoes as he did so and feeling the white sand scorch his feet until he got near the water. There, with the water just barely licking his feet, he sank to his knees on the wet sand and brushed furiously at his wet eyes with the back of his hand.

“I’m not about to petching cry. I’m not!” He mumbled to the wind.


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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Faye on March 13th, 2022, 3:53 pm

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Faye felt like the girl she never got to be, standing there giggling with Oralie as she tried on the woman’s clothing. Despite the fact that she said there was nothing to be ashamed about, she still found herself looking well away when the other woman undressed as she’d never gotten quite so comfortable around another person before. She knew in private Cleon and Farren didn’t hold much reservation, unless they knew Faye was around, at which point they started acting very shy about undressing, even if they were wearing underclothes.

It had to do with the life they had kept her from she knew, but they didn’t illuminate her any further on the subject, and after a while she just dropped it, much like she did now as she took in the clothes Oralie now wore.

“You look beautiful. I hope I can look half as good as you when I grow up-” Faye said, that last word sticking in her throat a little as she realized. Embarrassed she looked down and fiddled with them hem of her skirt. “I’m going to be okay, right? I mean, I have to stop growing eventually don’t you think?” She said as she nervously looked from her feet to Oralie.

Naturally, no matter what she said, Faye took what comfort she could out of the words and tried focusing on something more productive. Presently that was solving her growling stomach. She practically shrieked with joy when Oralie agreed to let her help, just as quickly forgetting about the dress she had meant to wash as she followed Oralie out of the door and into the kitchen.

There she watched as Oralie cracked a few eggs into a bowl, and watched her stir them all together. For her part, she did her best to be helpful by handing over any seasoning or supplies she needed like doling out a few slices of bread for toasting on one of the pans Oralie was warming up. Then she tried her hand at a bit of whisking although they looked pretty stirred up already.

“You really know a lot” Faye chirped as she watched. She realized long before that she wasn’t exactly helping, probably getting in the way more than she was doing any good by continually tripping over herself, but she was glad that Oralie didn’t have a problem humoring her as she tried. Faye stepped back as Oralie started to fry up the eggs in the pan, and started to make her way to a seat when Cleon happened.

Faye felt her smile drop as she beheld her bedraggled brother, and found her legs propelling her forward of their own volition. Then mechanically she wrapped her arms around his waist as her head gently rested against his shoulder.

“I slept okay.” She said quietly before she pulled apart to look him up and down as she wrinkled her nose. He was really damp. “Why are you all wet?” She asked and got a shrug in response. Something about that gesture irritated the fire out of her, and she slugged him on the shoulder before bringing him in for another hug.

“Don’t ever do anything like that again.” Faye pouted, and this time when she separated she could feel a wetness under her eyes that she swiped away before turned towards Oralie. She lead the way for her brother back to the table where Oralie shortly thereafter brought breakfast.

As hungry as she was, she didn’t miss the fact that Oralie hadn’t taken any of the eggs and toast for herself. It made Faye feel a little bad about eating in front of her until she drew out a banana to snack on, and Faye tried to reason her guilt away with the idea that Oralie wasn’t that hungry. Maybe Kelvics ate less, she couldn’t be too sure as she had only just learned about the race yesterday.

So while she quietly enjoyed her breakfast and did her best not to inhale it, she thought about that among many other things that currently floated around in her mind. There were so many concerns, it was hard to focus on just one of them, but she dwelt the most on the way her brother had looked at her. The concern that Oralie had. There was something wrong with her, wrong with the way she was growing up, and it scared her because it scared them.

Faye then realized she’d been staring at Oralie’s while she chewed on that though, and looked up to meet Oralie’s eyes as she furnished a shy smile. “Sorry.. Its just.. You know.” She said, parroting something she had heard her siblings say long ago but never really got. She didn’t have a firm grasp of it now, just figured it was something you said in occasions you felt lost for words. She hoped Oralie would understand.

She turned to Cleon. “I went with Oralie to go looking for you on the way to the Panacea. There that woman.. Kami I think.. Looked at me again, and wants to see me again today. Then we came back and saw you sleeping. I didn’t want to wake you up so I stayed in Oralie’s room.” She said, not really meaning to be so brusque with her explanation, but she wasn’t exactly feeling tender with her brother just now after all he’d pulled last night.

He was still behaving oddly for that matter. She watched as he kept sneaking glances at Oralie and intermittently blushing while hiding a smile behind a raised hand. Faye tried snapping to get his attention and when he did, she gave him a what gives look.

Of course he rolled his eyes, and Faye grinned as it sort of clicked for her. He had a crush! Faye tried to cover her mouth as a giggle bubbled forth, but then she looked at Oralie and there was really no stopping it as she doubled over the table giggling loudly as Cleon left the table.

When she managed to catch her breath, she shook her head at Oralie with a wide grin on her face. “Really its nothing, just my brother being weird. I wouldn’t pay him any attention.” Faye said, and then giggled again as she walked with Oralie out of the door.

She might have been able to control her mirth from there, only her brother continued to act weird all the way to the Panacea as he tried walking with Oralie without looking at Oralie which was quite the feat. Faye trailed a little ways behind for part of the journey, giggling occasionally as she watched Cleon’s discomfort, but as they neared their destination, she started walking between them which made her feel slightly better about the inevitable conclusion of their journey.

The Panacea. Outside of which Kami greeted them, giving the trio a curious look before those same kind eyes widened looking at Faye. It was not the response she had been hoping for, and more than a little disconcerted, Faye shied away behind Oralie slightly as Kami spoke. Strangely she didn’t seem to recognize Faye at first and when she did, Faye wasn’t exactly glad she had.

The woman welcomed them inside after that, then took Oralie and her further into the clinic where they had a little more privacy. Faye gave a small wave to her brother as they parted ways before the dread of what was to come started to feel like it was going to overwhelm her. Kami gestured her to sit on a table, and Faye complied while she watched the woman turn towards Oralie.

“Thank you for bringing her. Did you two manage to get some rest last night?” Kami asked, looking back at Faye with a look of trepidation. When Oralie had a chance to properly answer, Kami would walk over to stand beside Faye, giving her a slight smile as she took her hand.

“I see, and you stayed with her the whole night? Did you see anything odd in the process of happening?” Kami asked a quick follow up, and Faye just sat their nervously looking between the two women while the healer seemed to be intent on examining her hand. After that question was posed and answered, Kami looked up at Oralie while she seemed to be mulling over something.

“Faye, would you mind if I got some measurements of your body? It won’t take very long, but you will have to take your clothes off.” The woman said looking at Faye again.

Faye’s eyes widened as she looked between Oralie and Kami nervously before nodding slight. “I suppose..” She said quietly, though she certainly didn’t relish the idea. Perhaps noticing this reservation, Kami turned to Oralie to ask. “Would you mind waiting outside for a few while I do? Just to make her as comfortable as possible.” Kami suggested.

At that, Faye felt a brief surge of panic as she didn’t really want Oralie to leave, but she also didn’t want to be measured naked in front of her friend either. She chewed on the edge of her bottom lip as she looked between both women till Oralie made a decision, and then she would do as Kami asked to get her measurements done while wanting it to be over quickly.


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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Oralie on March 15th, 2022, 9:21 am

Oralie smiled gently at Faye. She honestly didn’t know the answer to her question, but she still wanted to reassure the girl all the same. “I would certainly think so, nobody can keep growing forever!” She reached out and placed a hand on Faye’s arm, squeezing gently. “No matter what happens you have me here to help you okay?”

She couldn’t help but chuckle at Faye’s comments while Oralie cooked. A fleeting worry flickered across her face though. The girl's mind was very clearly still eleven, while the rest of her was far closer to Oralie’s apparent age. Her mannerisms and excitable words only reinforced the fact. It was so peculiar, and she really hoped that Kami would have some more ideas when they went back to see her.

She met Cleon’s gaze as he entered the kitchen properly, wondering what thoughts were moving behind it. She turned back to the stove, stirring the eggs and giving the siblings some space and a smile pulled at the side of her mouth as she heard Faye tell her brother off. She briefly wondered what it might be like to have a sibling, and at the back of her mind she had an odd, fleeting thought that she might have done once. The thought was as fickle as a mote of dust though, and it quickly blew away before she could focus on it any more.

Oralie was happy to see the pair of them eating. They were both pretty skinny, much like she had been a season ago. Faye’s odd growth was probably not helping her there either. She smiled at Faye to show she understood her little quip. The poor girl obviously had a lot to think about and it was clearly weighing on her mind. She had also noticed that Cleon kept glancing at her too, possibly wondering what she might be thinking of him after the previous night.

Oralie turned to clear up the skillet she had used to cook with while Faye explained to Cleon what they had done after he had left them. She looked back, over her shoulder, as the girl erupted into a fit of giggles and then flicked her gaze up as Cleon left the table abruptly. She smiled to herself and shook her head. It was nice that they felt comfortable enough now to act like siblings.

The walk to the Panacea was uneventful, thankfully, though she did notice that Cleon was acting a little strange, almost determined to keep exactly in step with her. Perhaps he was embarrassed about his behaviour the night before, and it probably was not helped with Faye’s giggling. An amused expression stuck on Oralie’s face as they walked, only dropping when Faye sidled between them, some nerves clearly creeping in as they neared their destination.

Oralie did not miss the expression that had crossed Kami’s face as her gaze had passed over Faye. Another confirmation that the girl had changed again significantly. She noticed that Cleon seemed to focus himself more intently too. Oralie let herself be led away with Faye, while Jensen spoke with Cleon. She was glad that he had agreed to come, and hoped that the Akalak healer could help him.

She could sense Faye’s hesitation, so she let the girl stick to her as close as she wanted to. Oralie gave Kami a nod. “Yes. Faye stayed with me to let Cleon sleep too.” She watched, her golden gaze fixed on the healer as she gently examined Faye’s hand. “I didn’t leave the room, and neither did Faye. I admit I did not sleep as long as she did, and as far as I am aware nothing happened at all.” It really was perplexing. Faye had not changed noticeably until she had slept, and Oralie was absolutely certain that her shadow being had nothing to do with it either. It had never interacted with her before, let alone somebody else.

At Kami’s request, Oralie nodded. “Of course.” She turned to Faye, who she could sense had had an increase in nerves. “Kami will look after you Faye, you don’t need to worry about anything okay? She’s a healer, remember, she’s seen all sorts of things before.” She smiled encouragingly. “I’ll be out the front alright?”

She left Kami and Faye in the back room to find Jensen by himself in the main area of the Panacea. She looked at him curiously. “Is Cleon okay?” The healer gestured to the entrance. “He is… sensitive about certain questions.” Oralie turned to look where he was pointing. She could see the boy just a short way off on the beach near the clinic. “If Faye is finished before I come back, would you show her where we are?”

Oralie had no idea what she was going to say to Cleon, but she didn’t feel right leaving him to suffer whatever he was going through alone. She headed down the beach, letting her voice carry ahead of her so that he would not think she was trying to sneak up on him.
“Cleon?”

She came up alongside him, leaving him plenty of space, the tide brushing at her bare toes. She didn’t turn to face him, instead keeping her golden eyes focused on the sea and the birds wheeling above it. “I’m sorry that your first days here haven’t been the best. Don’t be too hard on Jensen, he’s only trying to help, and it’s his job to ask uncomfortable questions sometimes.”

She let a pause hang in the air for a moment. “Faye said that how you have been is not really who you usually are. It’s not my place to ask you anything about your past, though she did tell me some things. What I will say is that I don’t think anyone here has ever experienced anything like what she is going through right now. I don’t know if what is happening to you is connected to her but…”

Oralie hesitated then. Should she tell him about her shadow? Would it help the situation? It just seemed like too much of a coincidence. The fact that the two siblings and herself were experiencing something… even Naadiya had been acting differently when she had seen the woman about the Inn recently. She sighed and dropped down to sit in the sand next to Cleon, pulling her knees up towards her body.

“I think something is going on that is bigger than the both of you. There is a strange thing happening to me too. I thought I had imagined it, but I don’t think I have.” Oralie had expected that the shadow being might have gone away if it really was her mind playing tricks on her, especially with her being so focused on other things for the past day. But it was still there now, hovering next to the pair of them. It felt wrong to her too, almost sinister, and that feeling had been increasing with each day that passed. Another clue that it was not in her mind.

She lapsed into silence, letting Cleon fill it if he wanted to. After a time, she turned her head to look back up towards the Panacea. She caught movement inside and made to stand again, brushing sand off of her trousers. “I think Kami is finished with Faye now.” Oralie did not wait for Cleon - if he didn’t want to return to see the healers again that was his choice, but she knew that Faye would want at least one of them back up there. She smiled at Faye before turning her focus to Kami, curious to hear what the woman had to say.


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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Cleon on March 16th, 2022, 3:41 pm

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It was all falling apart. He just wanted to scream back at the world. To rage. To hate. To feel anything else than the great emptiness that was slowly eating away at him. He felt like he was falling backwards in slow motion and that there would be no one to catch him when he fell. It felt a lot like drowning had, only his instinct to fight it was gone. He would have given anything to feel something just then, even pain. Instead all he could find was a certain bleakness he knew all to well.

Cleon swallowed hard, and trembled as he pushed himself up onto his feet, his eyes glued to the horizon. He didn’t know how long she had been standing there, but he felt a coldness spread across his breast as he heard his name called. For a while he let her talk as the only words he cared about in that moment sat on the edge of his tongue. In his minds eye he was out on the sea they were watching, constantly on the edge of succumbing to the waves.

Her words came and went like she was talking on the other side of a vast chasm with him only catching bits and pieces as his thoughts turned further inward. Without conscious effort he felt a warmth around his eyes, but he didn’t bother to resist it this time as it trailed down his cheeks.

“Did they figure out what’s wrong with her?” He asked simply when Oralie had taken a more pronounce pause than the first one. It was not the answer he wanted to hear, but he hadn’t expected to hear any different. Instead of saying anything more about the subject he simply turned to follow her inside where Kami was just wrapping up a conversation with Jensen.

Cleon imagined himself as a stone while he stood there regarding both of the healers. Both of them had been talking rather animatedly as they approached, and Kami was the first to break from the conversation to walk over as they came within earshot.

“Well your sister seems in normal healthy condition for a woman in her late twenties. Its very strange, I haven’t seen anything like it before. I.. Well I’d like to ask if it would be okay for Faye to spend the night at the Panacea so we can observe her. It could help us get to the bottom of whatever this affliction is.” Kami said as Faye walked over from the room she’d been in.

Cleon looked over at her, and clicked his tongue against his teeth. “Sure, I mean yeah, whatever it takes.” Cleon said flatly, his eyes busy studying the lines of his sister’s face. After a time she crinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out. Cleon faked a smile, then belatedly realized Kami had been explaining what they needed to bring for her overnight stay.

He nodded, and worked his jaw as he thought about just getting this over with. Kami turned to Faye and Oralie then. “Good, well then Faye I’ll see you tonight before sundown, and we’ll have a great time, don’t you worry.” Kami said, giving Faye a brief hug before walking them outside of the Panacea.

Cleon lingered with the rest of them outside for a bit as Faye spoke, but not at him, around him. He was having a hard time focusing. He heard something about clothes, then they started walking. He walked with them for want of something better to do.

There was no Cleon anymore. Not in the sense he had known him, that was a separate distant identity now that he couldn’t begin to find his way back to. His thoughts were thick, slow, and vaguely empty. He was aware of his chest rising and falling with every breath. Of his feet taking one step after another. His eyes blinking. None of it mattered.

The headache when it came was almost a blessing as it gave him something to attune his mind to aside from moving the automaton. They were walking to a place he must have missed before or not been paying attention to as he followed the girls in to see an older woman fussing with a bit of cloth. Cleon’s jaw worked again as his eyes scanned the interior of the shop and registered that it was in fact dealing in the clothing they mentioned before. Before, it felt so long ago.

Cleon walked along and gradually came to a stop off in a corner of the shop as he turned to watch the girls go about their business. Part of him knew he needed to look for something that suited himself, but again, he couldn’t bring himself to go through the effort. Couldn’t feel the mirth he saw on Faye’s face, or the concern when she chanced a glance at him.

It all rolled off his back to be quickly consumed by the void.

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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Faye on March 16th, 2022, 3:42 pm

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The examination itself was quick and methodical once Faye had disrobed. Kami quietly took several different measurements that ran from her head to her toes, encompassing everything in between. Faye watched on as the healer wrote it all rather neatly down in a notebook. She found it more than a little embarrassing to be examined in such a way, but Kami was as gentle as she was patient.

While she was waiting for it to just be over, Faye took comfort in the fact that Oralie and Cleon were waiting just outside. She really hoped after going through all of this that Kami would figure out what was wrong with her. It made her feel vulnerable being examined in such a way. Like she was on display at a Sunberthian street show.

She shouldn’t think like that she knew. Kami was only trying to help her, and this was purely to keep track, right? It didn’t really make sense to her just yet how this would all play into getting her problem solved, however she had to trust Kami. After all, her cough syrup had been working wonders and..

“All done. You can put your clothes on now Faye. I don’t know what to say other than the fact that you look and appear to be a healthy despite this unusual growth spurt. I’d like to keep you here overnight if that is okay. You don’t have to stay here the whole day, but I’d like you to come back this evening so we can observe you tonight.” Kami said carefully as she turned around to give some privacy. “You don’t have to decide just now, but I’ll be outside when you’re ready to come out.”

With that said, the woman walked out of the room leaving Faye to get dressed on her own. She did so quickly, pulling on the top and skirt while she tried to forget all about the experience she just endured. They wanted her to stay the night!

Faye wasn’t sure exactly how she felt about that. She was starting to rather like staying at the inn, and hanging out with Oralie. Kami was nice, but still very much a stranger to her. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if she could get Cleon and Oralie to stay the night with her. Yes, that had to be the play otherwise she’d never be able to sleep.

As she walked out of the room, the group that loitered just outside went quiet, and her brother turned to regard her almost like she was a stranger. Faye stiffened, swallowed hard then looked to the far kinder eyes of Kami and Oralie before walking over to the later. Looking down at the ground now, it was almost all she could do to hold back tears. Kami sounded relieved after Cleon had accepted her suggestion.

“Well, either of your are welcome to stay nearby while Faye is being kept for observation tonight. I’d advice you eat a good meal before leaving the Inn, and get anything else you need taken care of finished before heading over here. Feel free to bring anything you can’t do without, we’ll make room to accommodate you.” Kami said, and Faye looked up as the woman touched her arm gently.

“We’re going to figure this out, and help you. I promise.” Kami said. “Good, well then Faye I’ll see you tonight before sundown, and we’ll have a great time, don’t you worry.” Kami then gave Faye a brief hug before returning inside of the Panacea. Faye smiled tentatively and nodded to herself before looking over at Oralie.

“Do you really think its going to be alright?” Faye asked, and then hardly a breath afterward. “Could we do something fun now, like um, maybe see about finding some of those clothes you mentioned?” She wanted desperately at that moment to take her mind far from recent events and do something relaxing for a change. They’d come here to do just that yet it seemed like it had been non-stop with them over the last few days.

It was all so emotionally exhausting, which was what she was blaming Cleon’s current attitude on for her own emotional wellbeing. He’d been different since the day they got here, and she hadn’t a clue why. He wasn’t one to talk about what was going on with him. Instead he got like he was now which was a side of him that she didn’t like at all, and it seemed worse this time around. Cleon didn’t appear to her to be emotionally conflicted. More like checked out which scared her more than anything else.

So when it came time to walk over to the shop, she did so on the opposite side of Oralie, away from her brother. She’d try holding the woman’s hand if she would let her and as they walked she’d even start smiling a little.

“Do you think we can find me something like this? Only smaller for when they figure out how to change me back?” Faye asked hopefully, as she leaned towards Oralie while they walked. It was strange being of a height with her brother, stranger still to walk with all of this new weight. More often than not, she found herself catching her fall against Oralie and smiling apologetically afterward as they made their way across the cobblestone walkway.

Faye gasped when they finally came within view of the shop for it was prettier than she could have ever imagined with stained glass doors that glittered like a broken rainbow in the light coming off the water. She didn’t want to be the first to go in so she would wait patiently for Oralie to lead the way while her eyes hungrily took everything any.

Inside was even more fabulous with clothes of all sorts of clors on display, alongside rolls of fabric and even little sewing kits that caught Faye’s interest right away. She picked up the first box to catch her eye, then carefully studied the contents as a grin crossed her features. Looking up at Oralie she giggled. “Wow, I can’t believe they even have little kits. Oh this would be so much better for fixing clothes.” She gushed then grinned shyly as an older blond woman walked up.

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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Oralie on March 19th, 2022, 4:04 pm

Cleon was silent as she spoke. Casting her golden gaze sidelong at him she could see the tense set of his shoulders and the frustration in his jaw. She couldn’t even begin to start figuring out what emotions he was battling with at the moment. She didn’t even know if he was listening to her at all.

She turned her head to look at him properly as he asked her a simple question. Her mouth pressed into a line and she shook her head once. “Not yet. Kami is with her, she’s taking measurements.”

She could hear the sand shifting under his feet as he followed her back up the beach to the Panacea again. She noticed immediately that Kami seemed to be more puzzled than worried. Her eyes flicked to look behind the healer as Faye sidled out of the back room and came right to Oralie’s side and she smiled reassuringly at the girl before listening to what Kami was saying.

Oralie nodded, pleased to hear that Faye was - for all intents and purposes - healthy. But it seemed they were no closer to actually knowing what was causing her rapid ageing. She glanced at Cleon while Kami continued to speak, letting them know what she wanted to do next. She couldn’t tell if he was listening or not but then he nodded, albeit somewhat mechanically.

At her side, she could feel the tense nervousness rolling off of Faye, and then the relief that replaced it when Kami suggested that someone can stay overnight with her. If he was able to, Oralie figured that Cleon should be the one to stay being family, but she would stay too for Faye if the girl asked. Her work at the Inn did not require her to be there for every chime of the day. If they were not needed back at the Panacea till after the dinner, then it wouldn’t affect it at all.

It was telling of how Faye currently viewed Cleon’s emotional state that Oralie was the one the girl turned to once Kami had gone back to work on something else. Oralie shot the young man a glance but he genuinely did not seem to notice. She would have to keep an eye on him - she was starting to worry that he was mentally checking out. She wasn’t sure what she could do about it, if anything, but hopefully she would notice if he was about to do anything silly.

Again Faye asked that question that Oralie wished she could know the answer to. “I think that if anyone can help you, it will be Kami and Jensen.” It was not the answer that she knew Faye wanted, but she didn’t want to put false hope into the girl. She was glad when the subject was changed to lighter notes. “Sure we can.” Oralie smiled and headed down the step, motioning for Faye and Cleon to come with her.

She let Faye take her hand, pleased to see her start to relax as they walked. Cleon was on her other side, still with them enough that he had come along without any prodding, but she could see in his eyes that he was clearly thinking about something else. It did not take them long to reach the shop - Tropical Fever Fashions. Oralie had been wanting to visit ever since it had opened but had not yet made the time.

It was a beautiful shop, made even more so by the fabrics it housed. Dawn Swiftwater had what seemed like a spool of every colour anyone could imagine and Oralie paused for a moment to take it all in. Faye immediately found a little sewing kit that she liked, and Oralie grinned at her enthusiasm as Dawn approached the group.

“Hi! Welcome.” Her smile was friendly. “What are you all after today?” Oralie gently eased Faye forward. “Well, we would like some clothes like these ones.” She indicated the pink top and cream skirt Faye was wearing. “But for a smaller girl, around level years old? Maybe a dress too.” Dawn nodded. “I have some childrens clothing already made up over here, come and see.”

She showed them over to a smaller rail where the garments for children were hanging. “I’ve been making some for the kids that came over. My family take a lot back to Riverfall too.” Oralie nodded. Syka didn’t have a single child before this season had rolled around, so it would make sense that Dawn would send some back to Riverfall.

“What colours do you like, Faye?” Oralie flicked through some blouses until she found some that she thought might be the right size. She showed Faye the right section on the rack. “If you choose a cream or a white skirt like the one you have on now then you can wear all sorts of different tops with it.”

Oralie turned to Dawn again to ask her if she had some specific items that she was after too. If Dawn thought it was odd that they were looking for children’s clothing while the three of them were clearly not kids, and didn’t seem to have any, she acted politely indifferent to it. The seamstress showed her over to a different clothing rail and Oralie fawned over all the colours. A season ago she had been terrified to wear anything but beige. Now though, she could not get enough of the vibrancy of the clothing here.

Before Dawn left them to it, Oralie gently touched the woman’s arm. “Could you find a pair of trousers and a shirt that might fit him?” She nodded her head at Cleon standing on the other side of the store. “Plain colours, I would guess…”

Oralie took her time picking out some things that she liked. She first chose a long flowing dress that turned from a soft yellow at the top, all the way through pink and coral to purple at the bottom. A second dress was also draped across her arm, this one shorter, cream in colour with pink decorative tropical flower embroidery around the neck and bottom hemline. She next found a teal skirt and two cream blouses, one plain and one with intricate multicoloured embroidered suns along the hems.

Arms full of beautiful fabric, Oralie headed over to see how Faye was doing. She listened to the girl explain her choices and then told her about the fabric. “It’s all made of something called isuas, same as what you’ve got on now. It’s super sturdy but is really thin which is good for Syka.”

She looked over her shoulder to see Dawn trying to help Cleon with some clothing. She hoped that he would cooperate. Oralie carefully placed her picks on the counter and headed over to them. “Those are nice choices. Do they look like they might fit? Dawn can probably adjust them for you if they don’t.” The other woman nodded a confirmation. “Oh yes, quite easily.”

When everyone had their items, Oralie had Dawn gather them all up. She glanced at Faye, remembering the tatty clothes the pair of them had been wearing - that Cleon was still wearing. With only a small pause, the Kelvic handed over all the money to Dawn before helping her fold everything into a large canvas bag. She turned to smile at Faye. “Is there anywhere else you would like to go?”

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Wine please (Oralie)

Postby Cleon on March 20th, 2022, 5:43 pm

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As he tried pulling away, there it was, life pulling him back in. The older woman approached him with a firm smile that brooked no disagreement as she approached and got a quick sum of his measurements.

“I’m not..”

“Of course you are. Now hold still while I get your sizes correct.” The woman interrupted before carrying on her merry way taking his rough measurements before drawing him by the elbow over to where she had a few shirts made already. She held up a beige colored one, tisked quietly to herself, then brought out a dark green that looked to be a size larger.

“Hold this.” She said as she laid it across his chest, and Cleon obliged by holding the shirt over himself. He felt rather at a loss with the woman, not knowing which action to take, instead satisfying himself with just remaining dumbfounded as she brought out a pair of creme colored shorts next. The woman sighed at something, then fussed with the edge of the shirt before taking the clothes away from him and raising both garments in front of herself for a quick inspection.

When Oralie spoke he realized that this had been her doing, and part of him prickled at the thought. He couldn’t understand why she was doing this, asking after him. What advantage did she gain by doing this? To get closer with Faye? To what end? Cleon cut a glare at Oralie and to his side the woman hissed out a sigh before making a pronounced clicking noise with her tongue. For a moment, she seemed a cross purposes but something shifted in her gaze, softened as she handed him back the clothes.

“You’ll grow into it young man. These should have plenty of room for that. An you’ll grow to appreciate your family, I promise.” The woman said before walking over to Oralie and Faye. Cleon stiffened and where there had been nothing came a bubbling irritation as his eyes focused on the back of the woman’s head. What he felt next was almost indescribable, his anger and offense becoming so intense they felt almost physical as he clenched his hands into fists. His body tensed still following the woman along until just barely, Faye’s innocent face came into view. Her mirth curdled into fear and Cleon felt the blood drain from his face as his whole body went slack.

He let out a long, slow rattling breath then he started walking across the shop, and didn’t stop until he was well outside. Belatedly he realized he was still carrying the clothes but again he found he didn’t much care about that. He was lost. So very lost that he didn’t feel like he could accurately tell up from down. Words lost their meaning as his grip on reality became tenuous. Before he knew what was what, he found himself sitting on the ground with his legs crossed under him, the clothing piled in a tangle on his lap as he rubbed the fabric between thumb and forefinger. Over and over and over and over and over. It was the one constant he could hold onto and he gripped it dearly.

Cleon wondered what was next for him. He wondered if there was a next for him, or if this was how his journey ended. Driven mad by forces outside of his control. The self pitying thought jolted something awake inside of him, a primal drive that didn’t care about what people thought about him. That was aware of his desires but not beholden to them. That put his needs above all others. His eyes flickered open and settled on the stippled white sand before him. They flowed beyond to the water, then further to the steaming jungle island in the bay. The waves crashing against one another hit his ears next, softer more muted sounds of people carrying on with their lives both near and far. The beat of his heart in his chest. The feel of his lungs expanding in his breast. His stomach gurgling. The moist salty smell of his sweat mixing with the more natural and bracing scent of the sea. The metallic taste of blood in his mouth. The hot, tenderness of a tear on his right inner cheek.

Hunching forward, he let the scarlet dribble out onto the white sand, briefly consumed by the start contrast of colors before he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He’d live, that was certain now. Things would just be different now. He became aware then that Oralie and Faye had completed their shopping and turned slightly to regard them, swallowing the bit of blood that had pooled in his mouth.

“I’d like to go back to the inn now, though you two are more than welcome to do where you wish.” Cleon said as he stiffly stood up and brushed some sand off of him. He didn’t make too much of an effort of it before he started walking in the direction of the Inn, headless of whether they were following or not. An they didn’t, not at first anyways as for a while there was only the sound of his own soft steps in the sand. Little whispers that trailed along with him.

Other whispers joined him eventually, though they didn’t walk abreast which was fine. He didn’t need the added distraction that Oralie would present walking within view. He was able to contain his urges for now, but he knew he would need to soon sate at least one or two to ease his pain. That was the right way to do it at least. As he walked along quietly he nursed the tender side of his cheek tentatively with the edge of his tongue as he speculated just which urges he would satisfy and which he would let lie.

As such, the time past rather quickly for him between the shop and the inn. He almost breathed a sigh of relief when he came through those front doors. Inside it was just as cozy as ever. Cleon decided quickly that he would feel to cloistered in their room so he took a seat in the common room in front of a table. There he leaned across the top of it, and rested his head on his extended forearms, closing his eyes to the world for a brief blissful moment. If only they all were so still.

Faye’s soft voice came in then, and Cleon found himself shaking his head. A walk along the beach didn’t interest him very much in that moment, although a drink certainly would. He’d wait until they’d leave, keeping his head down all the while, then rising to his feet to leave the inn for where he knew Randal’s shop lay. There was a bar there that was certainly calling his name. In short order he reached it, poured himself a glass before drifting downstairs towards where several boards were in different stages of completion. There he nursed his glass, savoring it while the sounds of the waves outside filled the void. It was almost peaceful, even with the murmmer of voices upstairs, and eventually he took a seat behind the table and picked up a draw knife. Then pulling a block of wood forward, he got to work.

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Cleon
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