The Races

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Savitr Tamboli

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Hayll Terreille
    32 Posts    50 marks
The Races
« on: November 21, 2018, 11:24:11 AM »

Inky brows tipping towards one another Savi turned a judgemental eye to the dining room window. Under the tables his knee bounced in an uncharacteristic display of anxiety. From his seat at the small table he and Jani took their lunch at he could see the shadow that a fence post cast on the ground. The length of it told him the morning was gone and the afternoon started.

Fork poking into the roasted sprouts on his plate he studied the shadow as if it would give him some great insight. The table hardly moved despite his bobbing leg, but the ice in their glasses rattled softly. Little food had actually made its way into his mouth. His mind, and occasionally his probes, were far away. With the queen who had said she would arrive by lunch.

”It is on purpose. Just to needle me.” He decided out loud. Speaking to the room at large even though it was empty except for his wife and her maid. The former was not of his ”Never late a day in her life, but when she knows I’m here worrying she’s suddenly on the slowest ponies in Terrielle.” With a sigh he popped the green ball from the end of his fork into his mouth. Chewing as if he could take his frustrations out on the food.

There would be guests soon and his mood would have to improve. No matter how late Mariam chose to be. Savitr would just have to distract himself. On a private thread to his young valet he ordered the boy to take a stable hand out to look for the queen’s caravan. That would help sooth his worries some while he focused on the guests who would begin arriving soon.

”You have done a beautiful job of preparing everything, Jani.” He praised, turning his attention to those doll-like eyes. Glancing, only briefly, at the wooden beads she wore on one wrist. Still not the ivory he had gifted. Maybe never the ivory. She had not really agreed to tell him at all.

Did that mean he was obligated to find out on his own? Or was it invitation to just try at will? He would have to consider the consequences carefully. His shy little wife had not yet grown comfortable in his presence. Nor had she done as he advised and visited priestesses other than her own. He had not asked, but he hoped she would be in attendance today. So that he might judge once and for all if she were leading his wife astray deliberately, or by misguided opinion. The former still felt the most likely to Savitr. And none of the priestess he had spoken to since could imagine a case in which they would conscript anyone to such vows. ”Are you excited? This will be your first function as a wife, where you can play hostess in your own home.”

”The canopy by the roadside is lovely. Where did you have it made?” He asked. The answer was unimportant. Its maker none of his concern. What he wanted was for Jani to say she had been in the city. Opening the conversation to ask what else she had done there. Since visiting an unbiased priestess had not been on her agenda.

@dergon

Neha Rajani

    Tiger Eye to Summer-sky
  • witch
  • Played By: dergon

    Hayll Terreille
    27 Posts    43 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2018, 05:21:41 PM »

”I’m sure its not,” Neha Rajani soothed mindlessly. She had no such knowledge, of course. In reality she knew very little of the queen her husband served. Perhaps more than some other girl off the streets, but not much. Mariam, Neha Rajani had the feeling, was hard to get to really know. Pleasant enough upon their encounters, certainly, and her husband was enamored; but Neha Rajani could not even guess if this lateness was on purpose. It just seemed the thing to say.

”She must not have bought them from you then.” Flattery might work to ease the tension where empty assurance did not. Neha Rajani did not like it when her husband was anything less than relaxed. Though she did not much like him at ease either. Really, he was always frightening, the fear was just different. Her smile wavered at the edges, their eyes meeting as he finally turned his attention to the table rather than the distance.

”Thank you.” Neha Rajani dropped her eyes, pleasure staining her cheeks. Annoyance too, that he would not use her proper name. Jani, he called her, like a pet or a child. It did not escape Neha Rajani that there was a similarity between this name and that of his first wife. She prayed sometimes that it was not an ill omen. She did not wish share the woman’s fate.

”Yes.” She smiled at her plate, fork separating her food into careful, individual piles. ”It is nice to do things my own way.” Just as she wanted them. Down to the ribbons around the center pieces. Everything had been picked and arranged by Neha Rajani. Fingers chasing hair from her face, she looked out the window at the canopy. It was green, a deep grassy green with gold fringe, held high and tight by white posts. ”I’m glad you like it. I ordered it in the city through a friend of my father’s.”

Because of that they had received a discount. Not a steep one since she had risen in the world, but enough to allow her to spend else where. ”It will hold up better than something in white. And is less likely to clash with later color schemes.” A good color, Neha Rajani thought, eyes darting toward Savitr’s nearest cheekbone.

Savitr Tamboli

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Hayll Terreille
    32 Posts    50 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2018, 11:55:44 PM »

A corner of Savitr’s mouth quirked up into a grin. Sly amusement at her cunning glanced from the look he shifted her direction. Soon turning more steadily her way. Compliment taken in that meek way he found so enticing. The warm glow of pleasure all the reaction she spared beyond soft words of thanks.

She was mysterious, his reserved little wife. Secretive, especially with that maid, who he eyed subjectively once again. It would be delicate work, getting to know that one without unsettling Jani. Work he had to do, because she was a resident of his household now, and had the ear of his wife. An ear he needed an ally in gaining for himself. Or at least tipping towards his own opinion.

The look was gentle and brief, inky pupils focusing back on Jani with an imperceptible twitch of golden irises. ”That is good to hear. I want to you be happy here, in your house and in your role as the mistress of it.” He said with a gracious pomp that should have been grotesque if he had not meant every word.

Together they looked at the canopy. Savi muttered meaningless niceties at her answer. It was a fine tent. Wasn’t she clever not to choose white? Green was surely among his favorite colors- but understandably less admired than sapphire. The sort of things one said to keep a subject open between two people without leading the conversation off course.

”I hope you enjoyed the day trip. Did you make time to visit your parents, and your friends while you were in the city?” He leaned over his place, fingers intertwining to give his chin a place to rest. Long, dark lashes blinking slowly while he waited for his naive little wife to take the next dropped bait. It was not the first time he had tested her this way despite the newness of their union. She was far prettier than she was cunning. Too sheltered and naive to see how easily she was manipulated.

Savitr would have to vet her old friends and acquaintances carefully. Make sure that none were taking advantage. Or had been, they most certainly wouldn’t be for much longer. Starting with the priestess. ”Did you invite… I forget her name. The priestess you find so enamoring you reject my advise in favor of hers.” With the suddenness of a viper strike he laid his accusation down. Drawing, faintly, the first line in the sand between himself and the priestess. He hoped, quite enthusiastically, that she would attend. With Mariam’s input he had devised a tidy trap to see, once and for all, if the temple woman was greedy, or just overly pious.

Neha Rajani

    Tiger Eye to Summer-sky
  • witch
  • Played By: dergon

    Hayll Terreille
    27 Posts    43 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 03:56:22 PM »

Neha Rajani worried that she should have chosen the rich blue fabric  brought out for her to admire. It had been splendid, but she had worried then it would seem too much like pandering. A stroke to Savitr’s ego rather than a fitting choice. Something to be seen as garish by there guests, to have them snickering that his wife was so cowed by her husband’s Sapphire. Too ignorant for her new, lofty, position.

”Actually, I did not.” Her smile was regretful, but Neha Rajani felt mostly relief. Her mother had too many questions and her father too much pride. Her friends were distant now. Neither they nor Neha Rajani quite sure how to balance on this new, greener ground. ”I have invited my family today, instead.” Her father was clever, and Neha Rajani wanted to show off to her mother just how well she managed on her own.

She did not lift her eyes from her meal. Picked at rather than eaten. She could feel him looming, the closeness. Neha Rajani did not need to see his elbows leaving creases in the table clothe or follow the rise of his arms to know her husband leaned in. Keen eyes watching her when she wished they would not. Sipping her tea, Neha Rajani looked out the window instead, begging anyone to come down the long road that would soon by full of galloping colts.

”Lady Mitra.” She supplied without thought. Slowly her eyes turned up to her husband, wide where his were narrow. Her fingers plucked beads before touching her neck, which felt hot, as if circled by a noose. ”I do not dismiss your advice, Savitr.” Neha Rajani panicked. She could not remember him giving her advice. Blinking, she looked away and folded her napkin neatly, setting it beside her plate as a signal to the servants.

The meal was finished.

”I am sorry of I have made you feel so.” Pulsing fluttering in time with her frightened heart, Neha Rajani tried not to let her mind or emotions run away with her. He did not seem angry, only suspicious. Curious. ”I did invite her, though. I hope you do not mind.” They would meet, and he would see his fears put to rest about her priestess. Standing, Neha Rajani smoothed a wrinkle from her flawless gown. Yards of colorful silk wrapped around her body, cleverly pleated to add curves to the places she lacked.

”Come, our first guests are arriving.” Witnesses, should his temper rise upon insult. She would have to be more careful, lest her husband think she favor anyone higher than he. Neha Rajani slipped her arm through his and leaned in close, letting him carry some of her weight, slight as it was. He liked the nearness, she knew. Always trying to be closer. Intimacy, he claimed. Neha Rajani was not so sure. ”Perhaps it will be Lady Mariam, and you can rest your worries.” Maybe the strain of missing his queen made him see what was not there.

Outside on the track of soft, perfectly cut grass, Neha Rajani dared a look up at her husband. Studying the sharp plane of his jaw. ”I am sorry if I dismissed your advice, husband.” Neha Rajani would he sorry for anything he chose if it kept him from being angry. She did not want there to be ill will between them before their guests either. A happy couple was a stable couple, and such things made for better business.

Savitr Tamboli

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Hayll Terreille
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Re: The Races
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2018, 11:18:38 PM »

”Very good, I did not spend as much time getting to know your father as I would have liked.” Savi enjoyed cunning people. And his father in law would know better than anyone what tactics brought Jani to heel. Not that he wanted to train her, per say, but he did want her to stop flinching so often. And to see sense about these ludicrous vows. A sentiment he was aware her father shared too. Or at least, he had when they seemed a wall between Jani and a good marriage. Perhaps he would not care now that their families were tied by the bonds of a holy union.

There was the man’s mind for business to consider too. Which Savitr did, but he was also smart enough to recognize the same sort of cunning in his own wife. That would help them to become a proud, powerful couple. And it might help him rid her of her vows and guilt too.

Nerves, it seemed, would also need ridding of. A healthy dose of caution in the handling of men was wise. But his doll of a wife was more timid than the stable mice! Picking listlessly at her food while she ignored his attention. Studying her food and the courtyard. Anything to keep from looking at him. A habit he was beginning to worry had little to do with shyness. His words brought her around though. Not even an excuse, just a weak denial. ”And yet, you go back to this woman when I have advised you to seek other opinions. That certainly seems a rejection of the idea.”

He did not say so, but he was glad that the priestess would be there today. If she was a shrewd woman they might find a way between them to ease Jani from her vows without upsetting her, or pointing out her idiocy for falling so far into the honey trap. If not, well, he wouldn’t kill a priestess in front of all their friends and potential customers. It would be entertaining, at the very least, to see her face when he told her there would be no more money.

”Of course I do not mind. She is important to you, and so it is best we know one another.” He reassured Jani, standing as the servants swept in to clear the table. It pleased him, that she took his arm before he had a chance to offer it. Appeased him for the moment. As did the thought that the rambling carriage might contain his queen. ”Perhaps it is. I suspect she will be on horseback rather than in a carriage. She rather enjoys riding.” She was very good at it too, his smile hinted. A hand patting the small one his wife had tucked against him.

Distracted by the carriage that made its way into the lane he glanced down to see Jani staring up at him. Eyebrows ticking high he sighed, catching her head with his free hand and reeling her in close. Fingers and lips careful of her styled hair he planted a kiss at her temple. ”Do not trouble your head with it today. We will discuss it another time. I do not want either of us upset when we are meant to be celebrating.”

Before the first carriage had parked a second appeared. In the stables the horses started to react to the new arrivals. Nickering over their stalls through the open doorway. ”Ah, this is my friend Jeet Naidu, we were in training together as boys. I do not recognize the first carriage, though.”

They were the first of several guests. Within the hour there was a yard full. Savitr had to relinquish his wife’s attention so that she could tend their guests. He dominated the conversation in the yard, bringing out his best foals of the season for his friends to see and laughing with them over the camel. It was good, his closer friends agreed, to see him spoiling a wife that appreciated the effort. Without stirring any suspicion he dismissed any implication that he had been cowed by her beauty.

All was right with the world. His home and wife were being politely admired. His animals crooned over. Mariam, that wicked creature, turned up safe and sound. The twist of her lips confirming his complaints that it had all been on purpose. ”You terrible woman. Worrying my heart nearly out of my chest for the sake of a laugh.” He warned. There would be more words later. For now he was mindful of the audience and only fussed her with probes.

More guests filtered in. So many that the yard was full of laughing people and Savitr wasn’t sure who he had already greeted anymore. Any time someone said his name he raised his hand in polite greeting. A thread cut through the small crowd, tracking his Ladies so that he could find them quickly if there was need. Before it could overwhelm him, Savi cut away from the party to find Pally in the stables. The races would start soon, and then people would be swarming him less.

”Still enjoying the festivities?” He asked, slipping up beside Jani. ”The horses are ready when we are. Has everyone we expected arrived?”

Neha Rajani

    Tiger Eye to Summer-sky
  • witch
  • Played By: dergon

    Hayll Terreille
    27 Posts    43 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2018, 06:08:20 AM »

Neha Rajani could do nothing but sigh at the accusation. Fear and frustration mingling over her lips as she looked away. She did not want to repeat her story over again to a dozen priestesses just so Savitr could feel better about her penance. She did want to argue with him over the fact. To defend her vows and her priestess, but she was too frightened. Of Savitr. Of ruining the day she had worked so hard to plan. So she did not.

She made soft sounds and softer apologies, which he accepted, bless him. Neha Rajani could forgive his lips on her skin and his hands pulling her closer for his dismissal of the argument. It seemed he was as keen as she in fighting before their party. ”Thank you.” Later was better than now. Neha Rajani could enjoy herself even with the promise of suffering on the horizon. For now it was time to take her hand from where it balanced her on his chest and go meet their guests.

All the people that belonged to the names Neha Rajani had so carefully written on the invitations. Their consorts as well. A dizzying array of people that turned into a crowd, parting her from Savitr. Neha Rajani did not mind. She was perfectly safe, and with the distance between them she could pretend ignorance at the looks that passed between her husband and his queen, forget, for a while, the half glimpsed expression on his face when he’d said Lady Mariam enjoyed riding. She had married him knowing well his devotion to his service.

Plus, she had friends of her own to fall in with and her parents to distract. Neha Rajani was quite enjoying herself. A smile for Savitr when he appeared to reclaim her. ”Yes, still.” She laughed at the idea of it wearing off, taking his arm and scanning the crowd. It was nigh impossible to find anyone in it. ”I believe so. All except your father, though I may have simply missed him.” It was possible, there were many people and no reception line.

Pallav was leading horses and jockeys from the stable. Hand tightening on Savitr’s arm, Neha Rajani stood on tip toe to see. ”Is it time? I had not realized.” Turning up to her husband, Neha Rajani felt her smile still on her face. Frozen to her lips while her eyes worried.

Savitr Tamboli

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Hayll Terreille
    32 Posts    50 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 11:48:13 PM »

Around him the world seemed to move slower. Savitr could feel his breath as it moved from his chest up through his nose. Feel the slow blink of his eyes as the words sank deeper. Expression slipping from pleasant to furious. All it took was his brows threatening to meet over his nose and his smile to flatten. Tension buzzed across his body so fiercely a few of the women who had been chatting with Jani made quick excuses to be away.

”What did you say?” He tried to ask, the words hard to get out when there was no air in his lungs. Absolutely deflated. That was how he felt. People hopped out of the way as he shoved probes along the ground. Shunting through the crowd to see if it was true. Why? Why would she do something so stupid?

Anger boiled over his barriers as he found the psychic scent he had been seeking. It spilled along the thread he had snared his father with. Arm slipping behind Jani’s back he grabbed her hip and dismissed her friends with a curt nod. ”You will excuse my wife, we need to have a talk before the races start.” That was all the reason he offered. Wheeling her away, making a beeline for the house.

That was where they found Jwala. Sipping on an expensive liquor from Savitr’s personal collection. His feet propped on the tea table in the sitting room. Puffing on an odorous cigar he greeted them with a smile. ”My boy! There you are. I was so charmed to -”

”Shut up Jwala. Get out of my house.” Savitr pressed Jani towards a chair, wrapping her in shields. Mostly for her protection from his own temper, but also so she couldn’t run away. The three of them were alone in the house, guests and servants all on the lawn. Oohs and appreciative cooing had started. The horses must have been led by on their way to the starting point. ”Do not make me repeat myself.”

They argued only a little. Jwala slowly finishing the glass of whiskey he had helped himself too. He didn’t understand why he had been invited. He was eager to meet his daughter in law. Couldn’t he just stay for the races. Savitr cut him not an ounce of pity. The conman had left him high and dry, struggling to get by. ”If you make me cause a scene while I have people here there won’t be enough of you left for regrets.”

Sapphire sparking against Green shields Savi bore down his father with psychic energy. If he had wanted to kill his father then Savi could have. He was stronger, his training had been more specialized, his temper was fiercer. His body younger and jewel stronger too. But Jwala deserved to suffer, to know he would have a son and grandsons that would never speak of him. Besides, if he did it in front of Jani she might piss herself. Another clash of their Craft and Jwala rose from the chair. Bowing shortly to Jani he swept off towards the door. Savitr could barely keep down the bile that rose in his chest.

”That bastard! You fool of a girl! Why? WHY WOULD YOU INVITE THAT MAN HERE?” The windows rattled as he forcefully dissipated the smoke that lingered in the room. Curtains rolling shut he picked Jani up by the shoulders and shook her. ”What were you thinking? He’s probably made off with half our silverware and our best wine. You don’t bring strangers into your home, Neha Rajani! You do NOT!”

She was so clever, and that made these acts of idiocy so sour in his mouth. When eh let her go Savitr tried to rein in his temper. Pulling at his own hair and growling at no one. Or maybe at his little wife. ”If you want to behave like a child then I will treat you like one.” And he did. Throwing his foot onto the seat of the chair and tossing her over his leg as easily as he would a doll. Just as he often compared her to.

It was easy. She weighed nothing. He wanted slapping her across the bottom to feel good. To bring relief to his anger. To wash away his humiliation. All it did was wrench his heart. One. Two. Three. No, it didn’t help. Maybe it would teach her though, that she was a wife now. Not a little girl that could play at making big decision. Panting he let her up just to sink down to his knees, fingers smoothing her skirts as he went. ”I’m sorry. You just… you have no idea the shame that man…” Eyes closed he shook his head. At a loss for the words to help her understand how being faced with that traitor made him feel.

Neha Rajani

    Tiger Eye to Summer-sky
  • witch
  • Played By: dergon

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Re: The Races
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2018, 06:09:04 AM »

She never finished reaching for him. Savitr’s fingers biting into his flesh before she could lay a worried hand on his arm. Neha Rajani never even tried repeating herself. Too afraid to incite more anger in her husband. A quick and startled glance over her shoulder showed similar fear and surprise on the faces of her companions. And worse, pity.

”Savitr?” She stumbled to keep up with him, grabbing hold of his shirt to keep herself upright as he hauled her along. Neha Rajani did not understand. Ignorance and fear both making her tongue slow and stupid. Inside the house, she was confronted by a sight that set her leaning into her husband’s side, her confusion deepening even as her nose wrinkled in distaste. She never had been able to abide the stink of smoke.

With a small grunt of surprise, Neha Rajani was thrust into a chair and sealed to her seat with Savitr’s shields. Which meant she had to watch, fingers bruising her beads into her wrist, as her husband had it out with father-in-law. At some point she let go her beads so she could press the tips of her fingers to her lips. Holding her mouth closed as she quaked. Terrified of Savitr’s wrath, which turned on her once he had expelled his father.

”I-“ She whispered around her fingers, only to be shouted to silence. Neha Rajani was as pallid as death, wide eyes wider. ”Savi!” She cried as he yanked her to her feet. Her hands scratching at his sleeves as she tried to catch hold of him. Rattled so violently by his shaking that she bit her own tongue. ”But he is your father!” She whimpered. Nothing at all like her own father, she saw now. Indolent. Greasy while being clean.

She swayed when he let her go. Arms linking around her body while Savitr pulled at his hair and snarled at her. Temper turning him from cunning prince to ferocious beast. Neha Rajani was terrified and hurt. She had never been treated so roughly by anyone. Savitr gave her no chance to calm either of them. Still unbalanced by the shaking Neha Rajani could only gasp when he yanked her over his leg. ”No!” She shouted before she really understood what he was about.

Each strike drove a grunt from her lips and more air from her lungs. Stomach crushed again and again against his thigh. It did not hurt, his hand hampered by his tangled skirts, but Neha Rajani felt every blow down to her soul. Even as a child she had not been spanked. Her hands had never been struck when they wandered where they should not. Her parents had always been gentle even when they had been stern.

But now, now her husband hit her. Once. Twice. Three times before he let her up. Repentant, Savitr kneeled before her. Apologizing and and stroking her skirts back into place. Neha Rajani looked down at his dark head. Could see nestled in his hair a single bead of wetness. A tear. Her tear. Calling in her kerchief, Neha Rajani plotted the skin beneath her eyes. Absorbing her tears while trying not to smudge her kohl.

”I do not understand what has just happened, husband, but I am very sorry that it has.” She told him coolly. The need to defend herself was once more thick in her throat. But he was too wild and she was too scared. But beneath Neha Rajani’s fear was cold, hard anger. She was humiliated. She was beaten. And Savitr had done these things to her. He had struck her and called her a child.

”If you are calmed, we should return to our guests.” She was the one who would be shamed before all of them. Surely they had all felt Savitr’s anger. They must all know what had happened behind the drawn curtains and closed doors of the house. She had been punished for her error, she had created strife in her household. ”You will miss all the congratulations from your colts’ winning.” Now they would never take her seriously. Neha Rajani could feel their eyes on her already. As if each hand print were visible upon her body.

Savitr Tamboli

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Hayll Terreille
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Re: The Races
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2018, 12:59:03 AM »

A part of Savi wished that Jani would hit him back. Rip at his hair as he bowed down at her feet. She was too meek, too sweet a creature. Turning her anger inside where he could not heal it quickly. All the things he had done to soothe her fears and put trust, maybe even interest, between them… all gone in a second.

Working to steady his breathing he considered his next move. There had to be some reparation in this very moment or the shock would give way to rooted resentment. Today was not the time to try repairing the full damage he had done to their relationship, he knew that. She was not ready to forgive. He couldn’t leave things as they were either. Sucking up his own pride he bent lower, down to the toes of her pretty little shoes. Kissing one then the other he  sat back on his haunches to watch as she dabbed at her eyes.

”You will understand in time, my love. For now let it suffice to say that you have shamed me, the inadvertence of the act only heightens the blow. My response was cruel, I am sorry to have hurt your pride. I wish it were as easy to mend as flesh.” That was not the case, sadly. What would it cost him to win her heart now? A herd of camels probably.

Standing he cupped her face, checking the set of her eye khol and pinning a loose strand of her hair back in face with Craft. Mother Night he loved the little fool. ”I have to check the cellar. When you go back out, tell your mother, in secret, that it was a maid I beat. Do not whisper too quietly, you understand?” She as a merchant’s daughter. Perception and selling an image were things she could understand.

Clever but not cunning. Bright but not wise. A resourceful hostess and a naive fool. With a short squeeze of reassurance to her elbow he left her to rejoin the party. He had not lied when he said he would check the cellar. There was only the one bottle of whiskey missing. Savitr finished it in the bathroom of his master suite. In the mirror he tried not to compare the set of his eyes and the squareness of his jaw to his father. Hair put back in place and clothing straightened he too returned to their guest. The first race ended before he reached the canopy. Picking a spot beside Jani he rested his hand on her lower back. Forced smiles and polite nods got him through the rest of the event.

Then, finally, it was evening. A dinner with his wife and his queen. Nothing less could have set his mood back to rights. He was careful to rain affection on Jani without crowding her as the evening turned to night. The unfortunate incident, it turned out, was a good cover for his sudden lack of interest in sharing a bed. ”You will want space from me, while your temper subsides. It is alright to say so. And I will leave you to your own bed, my love. It was a long day, and you hosted a beautiful party. Rest now.”

Morning would be better. A fresh day to give them fresh footing and perspective. Savitr brushed her with a thread early in the morning. Before the sun had risen. He had not gone to sleep at all despite being in his bed most of the night. Mariam was still there, and he had a feeling she would be taking a late breakfast. Enough time, he thought, to give Jani the explanation he had promised. *Forgive the early intrusion, Jani. Can we speak? There is something I want to show you before the day starts.*

Outside the stable boys were already saddling his favorite mare.

Neha Rajani

    Tiger Eye to Summer-sky
  • witch
  • Played By: dergon

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Re: The Races
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2018, 06:20:14 AM »

Neha Rajani felt nothing as Savitr bent low to the ground. She knew she should have as he placed a kissed on the toe of each slippered foot, but it was as if he had driven more than just the breath from her lungs with the spanking. She cringed to even it name it so, but it had been no beating. A spanking, as if she were a naughty child and not his wife. And still she did not understand how she had wronged him.

”I am sorry.” Her eyes closed against his touch, eyelashes trembling a he wiped away a smudged of kohl. He was by turn cruel and tender, which upset Neha Rajani all the more. Such fickle moods from a man who called her wife and love. She did not feel loved at all, even when he fixed her hair as well. None of it would have needed care if he had not dragged her over his knee and laid hands on her.

She could not look at him. He was too close. Too Savitr, to look upon. So when she opened her eyes at his retreat, Neha Rajani kept them turned to the floor. ”I understand.” She would have to devise some excuse for a maid to need beating as well. Nothing too simple, she did not wish for him to he seen the brute he was. It would he bad for business. People might assume the horses were mistreated as well.

Steadying herself at the door, Neha Rajani went out while Savitr went below. Her mother was easily found, her eyes searching for her daughter as well. Fingers sliding together, they met in the crowd, and Neha Rajani did as her husband bid, laying blame on a maid to divert it from herself. The story recounted in small pieces while they watched the first race, and then left lie when Savitr returned. Neha Rajani tried not to flinch at his touch, or wilt under his attentions.

She focused all of herself outside herself and away from Savitr. The racing helped. Her eyes moving from the colts to her camel with some interest. He were much leggier than the horses. Neha Rajani was sure he was very fast, though she had not ridden him a great amount yet, or at any great speed. The idea, however, was planted. And she spoke of it at dinner to distract herself from Savitr affection, even if it was his side she sank against as the day worn her down to exhaustion.

Thankfully he left her be at the end of the night. She knew she would not be able to sleep with his breath at her neck. But Neha Rajani was piqued that the idea came from him instead of herself. Sullen, yet free, she bid him good night and took to her bed. The lady Mariam had their room since it was the most lavish, yet Neha Rajani had little trouble falling to sleep beneath the weight of the day.

Unfortunately, her husband waited for her in the morning.

*I will come.* The answer prompt, though quiet. She sat before the mirror, her maid winding her hair into a braid, ribbons of gold and sapphire woven through it. She finished dressing, drank tea that had gone cold with milk, and joined him in the dusky stable yard. Pallav having selected a quiet gelding for her to ride, saw it saddled by one of the boys and watched the pair from the barn door. More worried about his stock than the couple.

”Good morning, Savitr.” Neha Rajani wondered where he had spent his night, but she worried more about his temper. Hands steadying herself against him as she allowed herself to be lifted into the saddle. She arranged her skirts quietly and wondered if he meant to see her dead out on the plains in a riding accident. The sun was only just beginning to rise and she could tell his thoughts by the set of his brows. ”Where are we going?”

Savitr Tamboli

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Hayll Terreille
    32 Posts    50 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2018, 09:35:25 PM »

While he had posed it as an invitation or request Savitr had not considered that Jani would refuse. Her answer was short, without being rude. The wording less submissive than he had expected. Perhaps the early hour lessened her demureness. Or she was still offronted by the previous day. *I will be in the yard.* He answered finally, turning on his heel a second later.

A shadow of stubble had grown along the line of Savi’s jaw overnight. Making the angle sharper and ruining his well groomed appearance. Adding to the sudden roughness was his attire. None of the fine silks he donned at court. Sturdy trousers and a simple cotton kurta for this ride. He wore light riding boots that reached up to his calf and had to sweep his unruly curls back from his face every few minutes.

The plainness of his clothes only made his wife look more stunning. Braided with gold and sapphire. Always a picture of beauty. While he double checked her horse’s tack he watched her graceful path down the stairs. ”Good morning, Jani.” He answered back, giving the gelding she was to ride a gentle pat on the back now that he had ensured the stable boy had done his task well.

Hands familiar on her waist despite her vows and abstinence, Savi swept her up onto her saddle. One small hand on his chest, then his shoulder, for balance. He rested his hand on her knee a moment while she fixed her dress. She was very quiet, always but particularly this morning. ” I want to show you the entire property. And I thought this was a good way to do it, so that we can talk out in the open.”

Brows dipping towards one another he left her side to climb into his own saddle. The mare chomped quietly at her bit under him while she waited to get moving. ”We will go this way,” A nudge with his boot had the mare stepping around the barn. It’s long row of stables was half empty. He could fit every horse on the farm inside with a few stalls to spare. ”Fifty years ago I started an add on to the barn.. I couldn’t fit all of my foaling mares inside.”

They passed a patch of boards that were darker than the rest. As if the paint were newer. ”You can see here, where we took it down before it was finished.” It was just one of the spots he wanted to show her on their ride. He knew that he had a way of talking at people, women especially, and he tried hard not to do that to Jani today. His gaze slide towards her a thousand times. Trying to read her expression and guess her thoughts. It was quiet, nothing but furtive glances until they had ridden several acres. The fence stopped there and a field of golden grains began. Sidling up to the tall grass he pointed to a line of trees in the distance. ”When I bought the farm that was the northern property border. I had to sell all of this to save what little I was able to keep. Over a hundred acres.”

Shifting his weight so that his ass didn’t go numb he moved them forward again, following the line pasture fencing to the east.  ”My parents gave everything I wanted growing up. I didn’t learn the pleasure of working for what you wanted until I was a grown man.” That was something he thought they could relate on. Jani had a very doting father. ”This farm was my dream. The courts and the escorting, that was just what I had to do to get where I wanted to be. The most sensible, and the easiest way of earning my own income since my mother was a queen so the training was half there already.”

They passed a long field of mares. The herd came galloping over to investigate but flinched away when Savi tried to pet their noses over the fence. They were interested in the horses, not their passengers. ”After the war my family lost… everything. My father had tangled all of their finances into supporting Witch, and securing my mother’s court. There was nothing left when the dust settled. No way to get back their investments.”

Money, money, money. That was what it was all about. The herd’s head mare bucked her head at Savi’s mount. Recognizing the start of a fight he reigned them away again. Closer to the property line where the waves of wheat glistened in the early morning light. ”My mother came to me for help. I gave her all I had. All of it. My father and I have never been close, you saw yourself that he is… not an easy personality to love. But my mother. Darkness bless her she was a queen among queens.”

He was quiet. Wistful a while. Remembering the ways he had been wrong to her while she was alive. Always bucking the leash she tried to tame him with. She had been right about so many things but Savi had been young, reckless, so sure of himself no one could have convinced him that he was wrong. They reached another joint in the fence. It turned and headed back towards the farmhouse. Beyond it was untouched land. The fences that had once been part of his pastures were still standing about a mile off. The nearer ones had been taken down by the buyers to keep Savi from continuing to use the pastures. ”I tried to keep this fifty acres. It grows a thick blue grass that the pregnant mares love.”

There was a tree. He was leading her towards the long low branches. ”Vanya used to hide from me here.” It felt like another life. He had been so in love with Lavanya he had hardly survived her betrayal. Her death had sent him headlong into the Twisted Kingdom for days, but by the grace of Mother Night his chalice had not fractured from the shock. His return to reality had been quick and complete. ”I needed some of the money back. The money I had loaned my parents. Just enough to bury my wife. It had been fifteen years, my mother was dead, surely my father could repay a thousand marks. I never expected him to give it all back, I knew better than that.”

His temper sparked and he shook his head. Words bottled up in his neck. ”I gave up so much without a thought, and when I needed just a little back. When I needed my father to be my father… to be my family.” No one. He had had no one. Only Lavanya’s family had come to see her put to rest. While Savi stood in shame and let her father pay the debt.

Neha Rajani

    Tiger Eye to Summer-sky
  • witch
  • Played By: dergon

    Hayll Terreille
    27 Posts    43 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 03:46:48 PM »

Neha Rajani nodded from the back of her gelding. A ride to see his properties was not what she had been expecting that morning. She did could not name what she had been expecting, but this was not it. Beneath her the gelding was quiet, she held the reins gently and touched his side lightly with her heels. Mostly he followed Savitr’s mare, head and lids drooping sleepily as they went. Neha Rajani did not mind, it allowed her to look and listen without having to worry about her mount.

With quiet politeness she listened. Lips forming all the soft noises needed to keep his explanations running. All of societies niceties came easily to Neha Rajani, she barely needed to think to bear them to her service, even now. Savitr talked and she listened. There was little for her to say. It was not a conversation but a lecture. He informed and she learned, as placid as her gelding. There was reason behind it all, Neha Rajani knew, her husband was too clever to waste a morning and so many words.

”Perhaps we can buy it back now.” She steadied her mount, drawing him to stillness next to Savitr’s. She looked at the thick grasses and at her husband. Neha Rajani knew she had been married for her dowry. Her new name paid for by the riches amassed by her lowly born father’s cleverness. She wished to secure her place as best she could. To prove her usefulness beyond her dowry, even if she used one for the other.

Savitr was not done with his tour, however, and led her farther afield to a tree with wide spread branches. Here her heart quailed, head dipping so that she could whisper prayers into her lap. He brought her to the place of his dead wife, and Neha Rajani thought he meant to bury her here in honor of Vanya, for her failures as a wife. Stiff with fear, she clutched her reins and sent her gelding dancing sideways with emotion. ”Hush.” She begged, drawing his head around.

Shaking, Neha Rajani held the geldings nose to her knee so he would be still. Eyes cast down to the place where his golden muzzle met her thick skirts, she listened. It was an ugly tale, the truth of it in the words unspoken. Neha Rajani frowned pity for her husband, and understanding of the infraction she had caused. ”I am sorry, Savitr.” It would not be a mistake she would make a second time, if given the chance.

”I did not know that he had done so poorly by you.” Gossip or secret, it had not been meant fir her ears. Too far removed from the inner workings of the worthy families. She glanced at him, and at the tree they waited beside. Her anger failed her, but Neha Rajani’s fear did not. She would rather take another beating than die. It chafed her spirit but she wanted life. ”I do not want to go under there.” The branches were low and the shade would have been inviting on any other day. But not on this. Neha Rajani was not Vanya and did not wish to end up so. Under the ground.

Savitr Tamboli

    Blood Opal to Sapphire
  • Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Hayll Terreille
    32 Posts    50 marks
Re: The Races
« Reply #12 on: Today at 06:26:30 PM »

”Perhaps,” Savi agreed in a distant voice that did nothing to hide the fact he was unconvinced. Which was a truth he quickly explained, ”It is the past now. And I want only to focus on the future. The money is better used in strengthening what we already have.” Not that he wasn’t tempted by the thought. Someday, surely, it would all be his again. More even. Today was not that day though.

Today was for stringing together the things his wife had not connected herself. Clever but not sharp. Perceptive but not wise. He forgave her out of love. As he had so often forgiven Vanya. As they stopped together to stare at his late wife’s favorite spot he was reminded of how his temper and expectation had wilted her. That was not what he wanted for Jani in the least. It had not been his intent with Vanya either. Too many questions arose when he wondered where he had gone wrong. The gelding skittered away and spared him any long thought on it. Savi caught the horse’s bridle with a slack thread of his Blood Opal. Just in case he tried to bolt. ”Try a calming spell, I am not delicate enough to craft them.”

A quick probe told him it would be a good idea all around. His little wife was as unsettled as her mount. And likely the cause of the gentle geldings dance. When he was quiet again Savitr fell into his story. Taken into his memory so deeply he failed to notice her growing distress. Silent little mouse of a wife. Her apologies were met only with a nod.

”I…” Savi sucked his bottom lip thoughtfully while the words arranged themselves in his mind. Twisting until they were just right for helping to enlighten her. ”None of this was for pity. I wanted you to see, so you would have a real measure of the things in my mind and heart yesterday. That way you could know beyond doubt it was not some random outburst on my part.” Surely it must have appeared that way. Thrown over his knee and misused.

Never mind the way it warmed the skin behind his ears and made him set his teeth against a grin.

”Then we will not.” He told her, confused that she seemed so upset by the tree. ”There are few things, Jani, that I do without some purpose. Not speaking of Jwala, or introducing you to him. Not having him at our wedding… to me that was evidence aplenty that I wanted no involvement with him. You are the center of my life, the most important person in it. I would not neglect to form acquaintanceship between you and the people that matter to me. But, I know now my expectations of your observance and logic were unfair.”

Jani was still half a child. Experience would lead to better decision making. And if it resulted in a few more spankings along the way… well, he would only complain in the moment. Reining away from the tree he took them back towards the fence line. Leading the way to complete the long rectangle of their tour. ”What I most hope you take away from this, is that I do not want you to feel as if you are trying to survive our marriage. My temper is short, I know. I told you so before we made vows to one another. It will always be in your defense, even when my anger is aimed at you. It is because I had hoped for better. Because I love you unconditionally. And no matter how angry I get, or what stupid ways I behave in the moment, I will forgive you.”
 

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