A Picture From a Thousand Words

Description: Shyboy

Offline Chatty Dagny

A Picture From a Thousand Words
« on: January 22, 2018, 10:21:15 PM »
The bustle of a day’s work carried Dagny happily through her morning. She was a favorite hearth witch in the household. Always busy because she was always being requested. Beds made, teas brewed, breakfast trays delivered then taken away again. She whipped through the house like a small red tornado.

Until she spotted someone new. Or at least, new to her. They looked close to the same age, she suspected. It was hard to tell when he never looked up. He wore a Rose, like her Rose. Which was part of why she noticed him at all. Quiet man, trying to fade into the woodwork.

He must have come on the Odense ship. There was no other explanation. She knew everyone in Meols (and all of their affairs). Some years before she had come from Odense as well. Not by ship, though. On a wagon.

For a few minutes she watched in the foyer. Seemingly unnoticed by anyone else he seemed lost. Or confused. Slipping over on silent feet she clasped her hands behind her back. Leaning forward slightly. He was taller up close. Much taller than her, despite his slouching. ”Hello.” She greeted, smiling as if that was all she had to say.

Then it pour outed. ”Have you come from the ship? The ship from Odense? I was raised there, you know, in Madame Kelda’s orphanage. Some years ago, clearly. I’ve been here a while now. Oh...” Her lips pursed and her brow furrowed as she realized she was being rude. She hadn’t introduced herself! ”I’m Chatty- well, Dagny but called Chatty. You can call me whichever I don’t mind either. What’s your name? Did you need me to get someone? You look quite alone standing here.”

Offline Shy Laurens

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2018, 09:04:25 AM »

Laurens wasn't sure this fell into the purview of his job description. He was supposed to be the ship's healer, not Valor's fetch and carry boy. He'd said yes though. Of course he had. Saying no was hard. He had a slip of paper in his hand of things he was to collect. From someone, Laurens wasn't sure, Valor had terrible hand writing. Or was that him? He couldn't remember who had wrote the list.

Probably Essi.

But still, what did that say?! He thought about asking. There were plenty of people milling about, or, moving, anyway. Laurens was the only one uselessly lingering. Everyone else had places to go and things to do. Destinations. Names they knew! But asking meant speaking. To strangers. Meols strangers. Not even home-city strangers. Damn Valor. Next time Laurens was going to say no.

Something moved into Laurens field of vision. Bright and pale, it blurred beyond the edges of his list, slowly working his attention away from the paper and toward... Oh no. A girl. Worse still, a pretty girl. And the way she was standing.. did things. Laurens swallowed. It only got worse from there, as the heat crept up his neck, over his jaw and started scaling his cheeks. She was talking.

"Hello," he mumbled, hoping that was the end of it. Seemed like the end of it. He glanced away, as if he was about to be dragged away at any moment. Hoping Valor would come up, tell him it was all a good joke, and let him go back to the ship. Unfortunately, she started talking. Again. Laurens' head swung back, eyes blinking at her in almost panic.

"Ye- ye-" He tried to answer, but she didn't stop. Laurens wasn't even sure she was breathing, at this point. He ought to check. He was a healer after all. But, well... he couldn't seem to look away from her mouth. Her lips in particular. Mother Night. Damn Valor. "Yes. No. I. Um." His lip vibrated as he blew out a frustrated breath. What was the question? Too many. He wasn't sure which to answer.

"Laurens," he blurted, as his mother had taught him.

Offline Chatty Dagny

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 12:19:11 PM »
While her eyes widened to match his own Dagny didn’t stop until all her initial questions had been asked. Then, and only then, did she consider his expression. Strangely startled at first. Then flushing redder than her hair. Had he even been paying attention to what she said? Scowling slightly she tilted her head, trying to figure him out.

She’d never met someone that could stare without actually looking. Her lips vanished for a moment, sucked in between her teeth to hide. Males were all the same, with their oral fixations! Even the old men, now that she was older, were always watching her mouth. When she was a bit younger she thought it was because she was talking. Their eyes lingering at the source of information. Time and kitchen gossip had taught her otherwise.

The young man huffed at her. Deflated she fell back on her heels in a pout. Arms creeping up to cross over her chest as she waited for a more definitely answer. This was her household, after all. He was the thing that didn’t fit. ”Laurens?” She thought for a moment. There as no one named Laurens here. So he couldn’t be looking for them, could he? A probe flicked at his barriers. Quick as her words had been but gentle.

”You’re Laurens?” Dagny asked more slowly, worried that perhaps he was simple. It didn’t make sense, not with the caste his psychic scent suggested. But she had seen crazier things. ”What have you got there?” Without asking she grabbed his wrist, pulling it close enough to inspect his slip of paper.

”Oh a list!” The words rode out on a joyful squeal. She did love a good list of things to fetch or prepare. ”Is that what you’re here for?”

Offline Shy Laurens

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 07:58:12 PM »

”Yes. Shy Laurens.” He repeated, not ashamed to include the name he’d earned, one way or another for better or worse. He was shy, he supposed. Laurens didn’t really see it that way. He just found people hard. And a little unnerving. Or a lot unnerving if he was honest, which he wasn’t.

It didn’t seem to make her happy. She wasn’t leaning into him now. Body retreating. Smile too. Laurens swallowed, fumbling again as she looked at him. Arms sliding over her front. He felt her probe against his outer barrier and clammed up. Fidgeting. Squeezing them tight. He did not like being probed!

Girls! Girls were the utmost worst thing!

”Eeehhh!” Laurens complained, already overset by her probing, he was nearly undone by her touching. Touching! It made him squirm. Her hands were warm, and soft without being soft. A little rough but not rough. A girl’s hands. A girl who worked. But still really! Ruder than Valor himself! ”That’s mine!”

He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be letting people read it. Too frazzled to think of vanishing it before she could. Not thinking she could help, being a girl of the house.

He had been a little sorry she’d retreated. Now he was not so sure. What was the squealing for?

”Yes. Yes.” He cowered. Frighten by the squealing and the proximity. And the squealing! What a girl! ”We need it. For the ship.” He couldn’t do this. Laurens was ready to go home. Walk straight home to his mother. No more lists. No more Valor. No more girls.

Offline Chatty Dagny

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2018, 01:00:45 AM »
Lips twisting to keep from smiling rudely Dagny nodded. ”That explains a lot.” Shy was better than simple, at least. Or was it? Simple people often did not know what they lacked. Someone shy would always suffer, though. Poor lamb. Maybe she should pet him? Did hearth witch petting help? She’d never tried. Her calming spells were rather good, though, so she wrapped him one of those instead.

”Aren’t we a fine pair, then. A Chatty and a Shy. You have quite the luck.” But no manners to speak of. Practically shooing off her probe. Brow furrowing she sniffed. ”I won’t dig!”

That was a lie. She always dug at least a bit. It was the only way to find people’s secrets.

Rude! This Shy Laurens made a silly noise when she pulled ‘his’ list (and wrist) close. ”Yours? You going to drink all this vodka yourself, then? Sounds like a party.” She sassed back at his rudeness. ”Looks like its been signed by Captain Valor.” She sighed the Odense man’s name with a soft smile. Wonderful hair on that man. Wonderful rest of him too, she had to assume, but Dagny had heard from the sister of a friend of the ship’s hearth witch that he was a rotten whining brat. And hearth witches always knew what was what. Dagny wasn’t sure what she wanted from her Virgin Night, but a whining Gray warlord prince was probably not it.

”They weren’t kidding with that nickname.” The boy, it was easier not to giggle at him if he was a boy instead of a man, was shrinking away. Blushing a little she settled her own nerves and pulled in the calming spell she had lost her hold on. Uselessly fluttering around their heads. She tried to speak more softly, ”We’ll get your list together, then. Do you want to come with? Or stand around here?” If he didn’t come she’d have to take the list, and he was strangely attached to the silly piece of paper.

Offline Shy Laurens

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2018, 09:34:38 AM »

Laurens' mouth worked without working. Opening to protest, but really, what could he say? It was his name. It did explain a lot. But she didn't need to say so out loud. He was beginning to suspect she'd missed a few classes on manners and not harassing guests. Flustered, he writhed a little quieter under her spell. Still not quite ready to be mollified.

"I still didn't..." Laurens made a vague gestured. She hadn't been invited! Probing strangers. He could barely stand talking to people, he certainly didn't want them mucking around his barriers. He wasn't she was pretty enough for that. Even if she was quite pretty. Less pretty when hissing though. As if he were the rude one! Laurens sputtered.

"The list!" He began with some heat, though not much. "Is mine." He finished lamely. Ugh! Girls. Laurens face went flat. Flatter still when she began sighing about Valor. They all did that. Girls and women both. Laurens sighed, head bobbing with the force of it, shoulders slumping even deeper. He did it too, unfortunately. Damn Valor. Laurens was pretty sure that was why he was so... Valor. "Yes. It has been." Maybe she wasn't so cute after all. But at least now he knew what that name was.

Lips pursing, Laurens didn't bother to remark on that comment. Instead he buttoned himself up tight and tried to pretend he was far, far away. Somewhere where there was only himself and snow. No other people. Or even little animals to disturb him. Though, admittedly, he'd forgotten about the bustle of the place with the girl overrunning him like she had. Glancing around he shrugged, try to pull his arm and list back.

"I'll come." He didn't trust her alone with his list. Besides it would be easier to double check everything this way. And store most of it in his cabinet for easier transport. It would be a strain though. Laurens was pretty sure Valor forgot not everyone had as much psychic room as a skyship. Dejected, he followed the hearth witch. Still trying to decide if she was cute or not.

Probably not. All those half veiled insults.

Offline Chatty Dagny

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2018, 11:55:46 PM »
Once again Dagny had to turn her lips in over her teeth to stifle laughter. Gaping like a fish out of water Shy Laurens wiggled in some unspoken agony. Tiniest of furrows sprouting between his brow. Barely concealing a smirk she leaned close again for a better look. He was rather handsome, she noted- and unabashedly told him as much. ”Oooh, you have a nice face. Not everyone can look that attractive when they’re pouting.”

He drew her gaze away with his dancing slip of paper; flapping about as he tried to finish his sentence with hand movements that made no sense. Didn’t what, she wondered? Like her probably. Want her hovering. That happened every great once in a while. Most people warmed up to her quick enough. But things like rudeness and shyness got in the way of that for a select few. ”Fine! I wasn’t going to poke inside, though. So you know. It’s my job to make people comfortable. You said you were shy so I thought a little probe would be more tolerable to gauge your mood... Like a healer reading a pulse.”

Whining boy. She sniffed, or rather made a sniffing noise. She didn’t actually sniff because he might smell nice. It was hard to be upset with boys that smelled nice.

Lucky for him she was a good hearth witch. And a nosy brat. It would have been easy to walk away. Leave him to sort out His List all on his own. He hadn’t been rude enough to drive her away, though. So she tucked a loose strand of hair back into her braid and squared her shoulders. ”Fine. Then we’ll start in the infirmaries supply for the gauze.”

Dry goods first, then they would poke around the kitchen. He would have to ask if he wanted something to eat, though. Blinking slowly she rocked back down to her heels, skirt twirling around her calves as she headed down the nearest corridor. "Keep up, I can't read your list if you're a mile behind me."

At least he would still be nice to look at.

Offline Shy Laurens

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 11:08:34 PM »

"Am not!" Laurens sputtered, head rearing back at the accusation. Pouting! He didn't! Rude girl! He was not pouting, whatever she thought of his face. Who just said things like that to people? All bold faced as you pleased. Calling people attractive and accusing them of pouting for no good reason.

Oh.. wait..

Laurens mouth worked uselessly. Lips doing a frustrated dance over his teeth. She was impossible! Who had thought letting her deal with visitors was a good idea? Strange, rude girl. Laurens had never been so uncomfortable in all his life. She was sniffing! At him! Shy Laurens! No one ever sniffed at him! He was never fetching anything for Valor ever again. This was all his fault!

"Its different!" A step behind though, protests too late. Not that they mattered. Snotty girl! Twitching her hair and flicking her skirts at him. Laurens had trouble keeping his breath at the show, furious emotion roiling in him. Mostly confused frustration. "Gauze is good," he mumbled, watching her braid as she began marching down the hall. Not thinking to keep after her until she said.

"I am, I am!" Who would have thought a girl would get so worked up about a list? She shouldn't have been probing him without permission! Forward thing. Really! Shy Laurens burrowed deeper into his barriers, afraid she might be listening outside the door. Eyes sliding from list to other things as he tripped after her, feet unsure in unfamiliar halls. She sure walked fast for someone in skirts! Much too fast for a guide!

"Hold on! Not so fast." Laurens floundered. "Besides, I can read the list to you." The she wouldn't have to touch it. And gush about Valor again.

Offline Chatty Dagny

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 12:39:18 AM »
”Of course it’s different. That’s why I said ‘it’s like’ and not ‘it’s the same as’! Silly boy.” Dagny grinned at him over her shoulder before moving on. He was a ridiculous thing, really. Of course he liked gauze. Probably stuffed his patients mouths full of it to keep them quiet.

It made her wonder though, as she led the way, how someone shy became a healer. Not easily, she guessed. Was he very clever, or had he struggled all on his own to nervous to ask questions? Sometimes Dagny had a hard time asking for help. That wasn’t the same as being shy, she knew, but it was close. Bashful admittance that she had done a task wrong, or didn’t know how it was done.

Slowing she turned back as he called. Too full of energy to wait for him to catch up. ”Alright, alright. No need to get your knickers in a twist.” She couldn’t the giggle that slipped by this time. He did look quite lost and they’d hardly gone twenty feet yet. His legs were much longer than hers, though. She didn’t know what his hold up was. ”That’s fine. I won’t touch your wonderful, precious list again.”

She wouldn’t walk on beside him in awkward silence either. If he wouldn’t talk, she would talk enough for them both. It was still a few yards to reach the long infirmary hall. ”Have you been Meols before? Do you get-” She stopped short on a breathy sigh. He hadn’t liked too many questions before. Better one at a time for the wee fussy shyling.

Offline Shy Laurens

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 08:37:58 AM »

She really was some sort of trouble, Laurens was sure. Sassing at him over her shoulder like that. He'd always thought hearth witches were supposed to be the quiet, soothing sort. Never mind that he knew enough of them that didn't fit the mold that he should have known better by now.

Maybe it was a good thing he'd come instead of Valor though. Too distracted to be upset she'd called him silly. Not that Laurens hadn't been called worse, by other girls, even.

"I'm not in a twist!" And he didn't wear knickers! Laurens went from flushed to strangled red. Even he couldn't say why he was so damned possessive over the list. Could hear a ship full of people laughing at him. Shoulders all but swallowing his ears and she slumped along with her. Giving her a strange look when she actually stopped talking.

"Er. Yes?" His voice sounded choked up, so Laurens cleared his throat, rubbing the bobbing adam's apple with a thumb knuckle and bumping her with an elbow. "Yes, I've been to Meols before." He corrected, and then fell silent again, looking at her expectantly. She'd been about to say something else, hadn't she?

Offline Chatty Dagny

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 09:07:14 AM »
Too bad Prince Valor hadn’t come instead. Dagny felt sure he would have found her much more amusing than Laurens did. Face burning flush as he slouched along at her side. He stood almost a head taller, despite the hunching. Must have been terrible for his back. He was the healer, though, she supposed. Maybe he wasn’t really. How did you heal someone when you could barely spin a sentence together.

She was far less deluded about his need to control the list. If being male wasn’t enough of an explanation, then being a male and a healer was. People thought of the prince caste as calm, good-natured fellows. Really they were just as Blood as a warlord prince. People just expected more control from them. Why shouldn’t that translate to possessiveness? Or perhaps Dagny just liked to make excuses for people. ”Very convincing Prince. Or do you prefer healer?” Too much a mouthful to use both. Especially with a name like Shy Laurens to add on.

Then he hit her! A nudge really, as she dodged his flying elbow a second to slow. When you were as short as she was you got used to such things. Face down where most people’s shoulders were. Still. He might have put her eyes out! Wincing she covered it to blink away the sting. ”Careful.” She complained. Reminded then by the look on his face that she had more questions. ”Do you get to travel much? On the ship?”

Dagny had never been. Sadness of her life. There was no one to take her, though, so what could a girl do? Traveling was a tedious thing for a hearth witch anyway. One needed a space that was particularly theres, that could be set to their standards and ease their territorial nature.

Offline Shy Laurens

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 10:55:09 AM »

”Either,” Laurens muttered, shoulder humping around his ears again, making his arms jump against his sides. The girl had more sass in him than the last three women he’d met put together. If course, Laurens had mostly avoided interacting with them on any level deeper than absolutely necessary.

”Sorry! Sorry!” Distraught at her wincing, Laurens paused, turning toward her a little and giving her a wild eyed looking over. Wishing he hadn’t. ”Didn’t mean to,” he mumbled, hand resting in the air above her arm. He did nothing though. Cast no calming spell or applied no healing craft. Let his hand fall and started off again. Almost in the wrong direction.

”When I go. I don’t always.” Too many people crammed into a small space. No place to escape sharing air with another person. Laurens liked the traveling, just not the people. Or at least,  not the amount of people. Some were alright, he guessed, blushing. ”This it?” He could smell good healing smells. Clean cotton and crisp herbs.

”I could use more things for brews...”

Offline Chatty Dagny

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2018, 12:56:20 PM »
”It’s alright. I’m a grown woman, been tossed harder than that by the cook... I think I’ll go with prince, though.” She decided, rubbing the wetness from her lashes. Wouldn’t want to go misleading people. Thinking he might do something if they needed a bit of healing done. She wrapped herself in a tiny Rose calming spell. Kept just to herself this time. Enough to keep her temper, if not her mouth, in check. Watching the healer with one curious eye. Where was he going?

She sighed, still blinking fast as she tried to stem the tide of unwanted tears in the offended eye. ”This way.” She pointed. Before he ran off and got himself into mischief. Last thing she needed to be blamed for. Lost nonhealing princes.

At least he answered her question instead of running off. Blushing for who knew why? She nodded in answer to his question, turning the corner into a wide doorway that was rarely closed. Rows of beds neatly lining the center of the room. Another, much less ornate, door was tucked into the far corner. A blonde healer chucked her chin at Dagny, ”Hey Chatty. What have you got there?”

”A boy from Odense.” She called back offhandedly. Still marching on to the plain door. It opened to show a wide store room. ”You may take what you please. I’ll write it down.” They had a much easier time in Meols with gathering herbs and such. Nothing grew in Odense except what was purposely grown. And most of the warmed fields were used for crops. It gave Meols something to trade for. They liked the fish and blubber their northern sisters provided.

She leaned against the wall to wait. Rubbing at her eye again. There must have been a lash caught in it.

Offline Shy Laurens

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2018, 05:18:35 AM »

Laurens blinked. People threw her? He didn’t believe for a second she was a woman grown. Slip of a girl, even if she wore two Jewels and not just a birthright. It bothered him though, whatever she was, that people might be tossing her anywhere. Pictures of her being thrown onto bed flickering through his mind.

The cook, Laurens decided, was not a very nice man.

He tried to say something about it. Anything. She didn’t need to take such abuse! But all Laurens managed was to frown and follow as she bid him. The healer not able to escape the prince, neither able to escape his impossible shyness. But he would say something about it later. Surely. Or have Valor do it. Tossing girls, really!

So caught up in fretting, eyes intent on Dagny’s long braid, Laurens hardly noticed the other healer. Didn’t think twice about being called a boy. He simply followed like a well trained hound. Crowding her into the store room. The smell helped clear his mind some. Double checking the list, he turned, not sure if she actually would, or could, write anything down.

Found her rubbing her eye. The lashes wet with tears, the skin around it pinker than it should have been. Laurens’ stomach sank.

”I am sorry. Here, let me..” More vague gesturing. He hated craft healing. It was too personal and he was no good at it. But surely he could fix what he had broken. Not that her eyes was broken, he saw, just bruised a little from his carelessness. Laurens cupped her cheek, thumb resting just below her eye, and gathered her power.

”It won’t hurt any.” Flustered by her nearness. He could smell her now. All of her. He tried pushing it away, think only of the healing. Hand growing warm on her cheek as he funneled healing craft through it and into her. ”Better?”

Offline Chatty Dagny

Re: A Picture From a Thousand Words
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2018, 10:10:15 PM »
  Dagny didn’t have to taste his emotions to guess what Laurens was feeling. Reading expressions came with the territory when you were a very people oriented person. He wore his feelings pretty clearly though. Probably because he was so damned shy. Unnatural, Dagny thought. If she were so shy she would be... lonesome.

It turned out he wasn’t actually a complete jerk. A little awkward, and rude. Probably because he didn’t much deal with people. Shame. Even with one eye he was still pretty cute.

”You didn’t do it on purpose...” She defended. Voice slowly fading as she realized she wasn’t so sure. ”Did you?” Her good eye casting about wildly trying to figure out what his hands were about. Flapping in a way that reminded her of nervous birds fidgeting their feathers.

But it was her turn to feel a little shy. Mouth finally silent as he stepped in close. Warm boy hands on her face. Not a place she was used to being touched. He was more nervous than she was. Dagny could practically taste it. She stared at a freckle on his cheek. Or a beauty mark. They were dark and spattered funny. ”Okay.” It already hurt, she wouldn’t mind a touch more pain to set things right. For a second she found his eyes. Face heated, by his craft she was sure. It didn’t hurt. ”It’s much better.”

She stepped sideways, calling in a tiny spiral notebook and thin sliver of graphite for noting what he collected. It took a minute for her voice to come back. Humming to clear it she settled against a shelf with just enough room for writing. ”I’m ready. When you are.”

While did his bit of gathering Dagny tossed her mind for another subject of conversation. ”Have you been to the springs? Healers like them a lot.” She had learned the best ones. Quiet, secret cave pools that were only used by a handful of locals. Maybe he would like to see them. Or maybe not. He was very shy.

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