Blindsided

Description:

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    57 Posts    1156 marks
Blindsided
« on: March 31, 2019, 02:09:47 PM »
No one really noticed that Arkyn was in a rotten mood. Which probably reflected poorly on his personality in general. Or maybe they were just too afraid he would combust if they commented. Either way he had been stomping around the sjefholme all week. Impatiently waiting for the lull of the weekend before skulking out to find comfort in the usual way. Careful to avoid the source of his discontent by skipping the entire city block around her house.

It prickled and festered, the ugly way they had left things. But he wasn’t sure how to fix any of the mess. Wasn’t sure it even could be fixed. Maybe Kirsi was just a bitch. That happened sometimes. People were just mean. And while Arkyn tried to console himself that it shouldn’t matter if that meanness was learned or inherent, he was still eaten up with a nasty bit of guilt over their tiff.

Everyone noticed when he left his office early on Friday afternoon. Several of the staff and court members stopped him with curious questions. He sniffed at them all, ”It’s called time management. You do your  work, and when its finished you get to go home.” He was only in the residential quarters long enough to change, though. N intention of staying there that night at all. Wrapped in a warm coat that ended around his thighs he headed out into the first light snowfall of winter.

Around him the market was bustling with a flurry of last minute activity. Stalls being shut down for the evening while customers rushed to make their final purchases. It was tempting to stop at the racks of woolen coats. A flashy burgundy one catching his eye. If Tine needed a new one she would ask, he scolded himself. Tired of hearing her fuss at his hovering. It was just her style, though, he knew. Maybe in the morning he would pass again. Did it count as overbearing if he gave it as a Winsol gift?

Mind on one problem he was caught off guard at suddenly facing another. Rounding a corner he saw her up ahead. Back to him but he recognized the way she stood. A fresh line of guilt bubbling in his stomach that he could spot her from afar when she clearly just wanted him to leave her alone. He would, he decided. Right after he said his piece. Not today. Maybe today. Promising himself he would do something relieved a measure of the anxiety coiling in the pit of his chest. Was it enough to get him by a few more weeks before confronting the issue? ”Kirsi,” He greeted almost walking by before he decided it was now or never. Twisting on his heel he crossed his arms over the brass buttons down his front. Staring at her shoulder rather than her face. His own squinched as if he were in pain.

“You are allowed.” He told her sternly. ”You’re allowed to be mad when people pry into your life. And you’re allowed to be afraid of living among people when people have let you down in the past.” He knew that he was making an awful lot of assumptions. They were educated guesses, really. After having watched his own mother’s suffering. ”But most of all, you’re allowed to move on from the hurt and grow into a new person. Just because no one was around to save you when you needed it doesn’t mean you need to build walls to keep them out now. These are different people, you can be different too. They can be your friends if you let them.”

Not Arkyn, obviously. But her neighbors and patients and nice people she met in coffee shops or taverns. They were all good candidates for friendship. Just not Arkyn, so he turned back around as quickly as he had stopped. Strong legs good for weaving in and out of the crowd so he could slip into the lounge of his favorite red moon house. In the entry he stomped the dirt from his boots and buried his face against his mittens. Muffling a roar that let out the tension from his shoulders. Mortification and guilt ebbing now that he was alone.

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    106 Posts    303 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2019, 02:35:24 PM »

"Sjef." Kirsi answered, body bowing over her purchases. It was nothing nefarious. A few bulbs to sink before the ground froze completely. Small items for her house and bread to go with her dinner. But she felt defensive. Of her choices, both material and personal. Her person.

About to breathe a sigh of relief because he seemed ready to pass by. Body brisk with movement and greeting sharp. Not at all friendly, which was to be expected. They were not friends. In a way they were enemies, even if the sjef was unaware that they should be. But he stopped, turning toward her and folding his arms over his chest. It widened his shoulders, and made Kirsi's own stoop.

She turned to face him. Expression guarded, where his was agonized. She had no way of knowing what to expect. Was it about the permits? Had he wrote more letters? Worse, receiving more telling replies? There was something on his mind, and Wildling didn't leave her waiting for long. Vomiting his thoughts out at her like a drunk man spilling beer down a woman's blouse. Kirsi gathered her things and dropped marks on the counter, hugging her bag close.

"You have no idea what you're talking about." She interjected. It didn't stop him. Move on! Grow?! Bitterness bubbled up in her chest. Had she not tried to make friends? She had thought of Trygve as such and he had told her business to others. To this sjef, of all people! It was the only way he could have found out. "You have no rights!" She sputtered. All these men! Wanting her to be open. To... Kirsi wasn't sure. Wildling couldn't want the same as Peregrine, they didn't share a child together. Didn't have to work together to find him.

While she struggled to find the meaning, the reason, behind her visceral rejection of his ideas, he vanished. Whipping away as fast as he had whirled toward her. Melding into and through the crowd. Vanishing her bag, Kirsi went after him. Not again would he storm off after offering her unwanted advice that did not apply. all of them were ignorant to the hurt she carried. It was her pain, her burden, and they blamed her for the way she carried it.

Never once offering to shoulder the burden their damn selves. Wildling was too late, and Peregrine admitted to having not cared at all.

Agitation bubbling upward and into her fingertips, Kirsi dogged him into the building. She didn't look to see where he lead her, following him to what was obviously a public house. Hand on his shoulder in demand of his attention. "Not this time. You aren't running your fool mouth and then running away this time, Sjef." Kirsi gave him a yank. Somewhere beyond them laughter broke out, and a few girlish squeals.

Kirsi blinked down the hallway, shudder running down her spine. Of course. Of course. "Oh nevermind." She retreated, arm tucked tight to herself, shoulder bumping the door as she backed into it. "Just quick fucking worrying about me," she hissed. Of all the people to give a shit. Why him? And why now? Kirsi slammed the door open, knocking down the warlord on the other side trying to come in. "Ice it." She hissed, practically leaping over him.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    57 Posts    1156 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2019, 11:28:00 PM »
Arkyn’s eyebrows rose to mark that he heard. He absolutely did, and could have even argued if he could. But he had to speak right over her interruption. Had to get it all out or else he would not get enough of it out. In the end it didn’t sound much like an apology at all, which had been his intent. Too late! Too late. Her face started to color and he could smell the anger rising up behind her barriers. As soon as he was done he made for his original destination. Filling up with his own spiraling thoughts and frustrations. Sure that if he could just get through the door being there would give some sort of relief. Especially once he had paid for relief.

No right! He was a man with senses and observations. He could put two and two together as four. She did not have to like any of it, but she couldn’t claim he didn’t know. Men that didn’t know had memories of their mother smiling. Not headstones they visited once a year to spew regrets at. Those thoughts dulled at the warm waft of air he walked into at red moon house. The subtly named ”Anya’s” which was half pub half prostitute’s lair. A high-end establishment that was quieter than its low brow counterparts.

The weight of a hand brought his face from his mittens. Peering down his back to find Kirsi had followed him rather than take his outburst as a permanent farewell. So much for wanting to be left alone, apparently. ”Run away?” He scoffed, eyebrows puckering over the bridge of his nose. More offended at being described a coward than a fool. ”You can’t run away from a place you’re not wanted. It’s just called leaving.” He told her with gritted teeth. Some unnamed emotion jerking him towards her instead of away.

Maybe it was the prickle of warning along his skin. That she was uncomfortable in this place. Realizing it before she realized it with a shiver of- disgust? Trepidation? Mortification? Impossible to tell. Once she realized where she was, though, she was in a hurry to get out. ”You’re the one that followed me, Lady. I said my bit and didn’t give you any reason to come skulking after.” He said with a wagging finger. Some of the seriousness in his tone killed by her hasty retreat. A flicker of humor in his eye, ”What do you have against Red Moon houses?”

The answer didn’t come, she was too busy bowling over customers. Shoulder knocked hard on the wood to get the door open. Where it kissed a warlord square in the nose. Arkyn stepped forward with a growl as the man on the ground reached to catch Kirsi’s ankle. ”No.” He instructed, the word enough warning to see the hand moved away. His own busy holding open the door so that it didn’t shut itself on the warlord’s head.

”Come back in, Kirsi. They don’t bite unless you pay them too. There’s a bar. I’ll buy you a drink and you can yell at me some more. Maybe I’ll tell you why I do know exactly what I’m talking about.” He bid, tossing his head to indicate the deeper rooms of the establishment. ”They make a good pot roast, too.”

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    106 Posts    303 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2019, 04:40:25 AM »

”And you have no reason to shout at me in the street!” Kirsi snapped. Mother Night he was arrogant. She was starting to suspect she had been right. His hair was a physical manifestation if his ego. But Kirsi wasn’t interested in exploring any such truths with him in a Red Moon house. That subtle sensation brushing against her barriers. People said it was soothing. A place to relax. Kirsi felt only shame.

Ignoring his question, because Kirsi could not answer it without telling him far more than she intended anyone to ever know, she jerked the door open. Her eager shoulder knocking it into a man on the other side. It made her want to scream. Pain filling the air, but not the scent of blood, thank Darkness. Surprise too. And she was very certain the Sjef was laughing at her. Or growling. No. Of course not. She didn’t understand why he wouldn’t just leave her be.

Maybe Kite was right and she needed to practice being friendly and boring. But Kirsi didn’t know how to be friendly. Pausing in her headlong flight, she reached down and jerked the warlord to his feet, scooping up a handful of early snow as she did and slapping it to his face. ”Hold it.” She commanded, shoving him in the door past the Sjef who lingered to offer her invitations. Kirsi shook her head.

Keep your head down. Stop flirting. Be nice.

Go unnoticed. Be alone.

She’d lived in a cave with an isbyr just to be those very things. Cutting herself off from the wider world, Kirsi had emerged only when it suited her. To find those lost in the snow and caught in her webs. To trade brews for supplies she could not get otherwise. Now she lived in a city full of people and she felt more alone than ever. It was how she imagined floating across the sea on an ice drift felt. Some nights she had nightmares of such a fate. Though more often, lately, she dreamt of fire and death.

”No thank you.” Nice people are boring. Be safe. Kirsi wondered at their advice. Measured it against her life. Kite and Peregrine had each other. They had Starling and a mother, and now the baby too. People to fall back on when they were in trouble. People who gave a fuck about them. Kirsi had an empty house with empty rooms. Scorch marks on her windowpane. A hollow promise of friendship and a good fuck.

”I’m sorry for interrupting your evening.” Nice people were boring. He had started it! Kirsi didn’t like the way he shouted at her and then invited her in for a drink. These males ran only two directions. Angry than appeasing. Wanting forgiving after using up the first one on you. ”But I didn’t yell.” She pointed out. ”And I’m not hungry.” Would they know in there about what had happened at the last red moon house she’d entered? Kirsi could still hear the laughter that had followed her out.

But she couldn’t do it. Pay for a person even when they wanted paying for.

”Do you really come here for the pot roast?” She asked him, looking at him, finally. Eyes sliding away from all the places that were almost him but not quite. There. Square in the face. His eyes nearly dark with most of the light behind him. She stepped back into the heat that pooled from the building. Why did she have to run away from the one person who seemed to care? He’d get no son from her, so he wasn’t obligated. ”Or is this where all your hearth witches live?”

She was tired of her own cooking anyway. One or two big meals made up during the week and doled out over the days. It was boring, if cost effective.

Inside, Kirsi shivered again. It was like she could feel them all. Every person crammed into the building with them. It was worse than city itself. The air moist and warm. Trying to invite her deeper. Her heart pounded hard against her ribs. Sweat building at the back of her neck. Pulling off her gloves, the one wet now from handling snow, Kirsi tucked them in her pocket and pretended she wasn’t on the verge of a panic attack. Sucking air through her nose, Kirsi plucked the buttons on her coat open, head bowed to watch her fingers.

She was being an idiot. But he never had to know. Not all of it. Kirsi didn’t have to let him beyond what he saw. What he thought he knew. It would be fine. It was just a drink and a meal, so they could put whatever it was festering between them to rest. And then he would forget about her and Kirsi could go back to not existing until someone needed healing. And the sjef could get on with his night and the real reason he probably came to this place. Though she didn’t know why he needed to, he was plenty handsome.

”Just one drink.” She told him, trying to quell her nervousness. Just one drink.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    57 Posts    1156 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2019, 10:11:19 PM »
Arkyn held his weight with a hand on either side of the doorframe. One higher than the other on the same side that his hip leaned away from, forming a gap for the warlord to slip inside. Without meaning to he dominated the space. Waiting for Kirsi to either answer or run. Mouth at a slant he started to shrug at her refusal. Head already working back and forth before she even opened her mouth. Already sure of what she would say. He had not really expected her to accept. So it was ridiculous that he had hoped the tempation of a good, possibly free, meal would change her mind. Still, he had hoped.

”Well, I started it.,” Remorse made him admit. Eyes growing as she cast his own deed in stark relief against her own. Voice pitching he was careful not to let it get too loud. ”I was not yelling!” Had he yelled? Under the curls of his long hair Arkyn’s ears turned pink. Clearing his throat he rolled a shoulder and dropped his hands from the doorjamb. ”I didn’t mean to yell, if I did. I was just trying to say that I was sorry. Except it didn’t come out that way and I didn’t know how to turn it around without sticking my foot farther down my own throat.”

Or how to do it before she started yelling at him to go away.

He thought that would be all. The end of the conversation. Rather than walk off she turned her eyes to his. Without knowing why he smiled, it’s warmth growing at the unexpected question. ”I stay for the pot roast.” It certainly was not why he came to a brothel. Surely she didn’t really expect to hear differently. Which led him to wonder if she had hoped to hear differently. It all made much more sense when she turned it into a jab. With a snort he slumped against the wall and spared a glance down the entryway.

”Of course not. The hearth witches live with me.” The tone he used was suggestive. It was just a bluff, however, and not one he intended her to take seriously. Flashing another grin he tacked on a quick, ”That’s why I’m eating dinner here.” She had a good memory. Teasing him about the hearth witches. At least it wasn’t another apprentice joke. Those were getting old fast, not that he had ever found them entertaining. It was a reminder of how one small decision could change everything. Thankfully his indescretion had not marred his social standing any. She had been just old enough for people to smirk rather than gasp.

Though she had done plenty of both at the time.

In front of him Kirsi had gone a funny color. The skin under her eyes was very red, or the rest of her face had gone pale. Eyes darting around until they settled on her gloves, then her coat buttons. Something about the setting, or perhaps the company, seriously unsettled her. Yet she was still there. Stepping into the warm bubble of energy the place gave off. Slipping free of her outwear. Arkyn took a half step back to give her space. Nodding at her change of heart. ”Alright, just one.”

”I won’t even write a letter about it.” He promised with a wicked grin that turned into a pleased smirk. There was a room off the hallway that lead into a tidy barroom. Seperate from the thick of the Red Moon house, only simple business was done here. The buying of food and drink. Arkyn pulled a chair out for the lady at a small table near the door. In case she changed her mind yet again. ”Any preference on what that one drink is?” He asked when a plump witch with a notepad came over to take their order. She spoke to Arkyn, calling him by name. After ordering Kiris’ drink he asked for enough food for two- ”I’ll take it home if you don’t want it, but I think once you smell mine you will.” He explained. For himself he ordered a pint of the house ale. Thick, frothy stuff that made his Summer-sky perky and his laugh a bit less forced.

While they waited he clasped his hands over the table and rested his chin on them. Eyes Kirsi cautiously, as if she would get up and run out any second. ”Does it count as an awkward question to ask why you changed your mind?”

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    106 Posts    303 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2019, 06:23:05 AM »

”You did.” Kirsi agreed. He had started it. And butted into her business repeatedly, mostly over her fence. ”And you did.” She corrected. The volume mattered less than the intensity. Plenty of which he had possessed while condemning and lecturing her. On a public street! Kirsi wasn’t sure she’d be able to meet that shopkeepers eye again, and was very certain there would be gossip. She heard plenty of it from her neighbor.

At least he wasn’t blocking the door anymore, having forced the poor warlord to slink beneath his arm to get through. He was a strange man. ”There wasn’t a single sorry in that attempted apology, sjef.” Nothing remotely like it. Kirsi looked at him, and frowned when he smiled. Her shoulders rose defensively. Up and up until the collar of her coat brushed her ears. Why was he smiling? He looked like a lunatic.

”That doesn’t speak well for the rest of the establishment.” Kirsi said dryly. Once again she stepped into the building. This time with deliberation, the sjef fainting against the doorway as she went. Kirsi rolled her eyes at him, carefully to make sure they, or their clothes, didn’t brush against one another. Raising one eyebrow, she looked at him over her shoulder. There was that tone again. ”I see.” She didn’t really, assuming hearth witches always made excellent cooks. Unsure if he meant his words to sound that way or if his words meant the way they sounded.

Uncomfortable, she pulled her outwear off. Gloves slid into her pockets and coat slid down her arms. Kirsi folded it in half and then vanished it into her cabinet, pretending he wasn’t standing there watching her have an inner monologue with herself. She should have just gone home where she could been an idiot without the audience. But she agreed to one drink instead. The look she gave him unappreciative of his joke. And he was smiling again.

Shoulders tense, Kirsi followed him into the dining room, hesitating only a breath before taking the seat he pulled out for her. Here the air was less oppressive. She was inside now, with the people, and there was less imagination she could apply to it. Too much reality for her mind to make up worries. No one was fucking on the tables. Just people eating, even if some sat daringly close. ”Anything but vodka.” She mumbled around her hand, trying not to look at the witch hovering at the table. Or at Arkyn, how did she keep forgetting that? Or the people. But her eyes roamed in curiosity, only returning to him when he’d ordered enough for two. ”Better than the sex, I remember.” Kirsi nodded, knowing she’d eat it whatever it smelled like.

Arkyn took over the table. Elbows to the wood, arms making a pyramid over it, chin to his hands. He dominates the space as he had the doorway. Leaning into the back of her chair, Kirsi slid her hands between her knees and held tight to her seat, wondering if it was his caste or his personality. She compared him to Kite and decided it was probably the later. At his question, her eyes widened. Mouth quicker than her mind which found no way to answer. Or no answer that would have been polite.

”I would say its like asking a lady her age.” To be polite and unnoticed. Because she had wanted to. Because he’d cared enough to write a letter. It was sheer foolishness, Kirsi was sure. Being here, with the damn Sjef of Meols especially. But she was there and he was the Sjef of Meols. Hopefully by the end of the meal they could part ways and he would be able to put his curiosity to rest. Her fingers plucked at the cloth napkin laid out, twisting a corner into a sharp tipped spiral.

”Whatever happened with that young man?” Kirsi asked, casting around for anything to talk about that wasn’t her. ”The one that broke my fence?” She glanced up Arkyn’s arms, to where his face rested. She really should have gone home.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    57 Posts    1156 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2019, 05:36:06 PM »
”Well then have it now- I’m sorry to have put you ill at ease. It was never my intent.” He offered. Standing there with the awkward sensation that all of Meols was watching him silently writhe under the poignance in Kiris’ glare. Outwardly he was mostly unaffected. Smile a little too strong, perhaps. And eyebrows a bit oddly raised. But he was fighting to maintain the stoicism he was known for.

Why that seemed to fail so horrible with Kirsi he could not say. Every word he said just seemed to make things worse. He wasn’t surprised his attempts at being funny were not well met. He no comedian or bard. What chance did he have on a woman that didn’t look like she had cracked a smile since the last ice age? ”I’ll have to let it speak for itself then.” He said with a shrug. Glad for the breather traveling into the lounge gave them. Time to compose himself inside and out.

And to take in the way Kirsi grew more unsettled instead of less. Was it him? Did she feel like she was obligated to stay because he was sjef? Before he could ask the barmaid approached. Stealing his attention with the promise of refreshments. He might not have needed them the way those with mightier Jewels did, but he still enjoyed a good meal and better ale. ”A pint of your best for us both, and a bottle of the usual please.” He ordered, smiling at Kiris’ refusal of the vodka. Hiding his amusement that she seemed against vodka. What with it being warm and transparent. Maybe the dark murk and strength of a wholesome brew would suit her better.

”I didn’t say better, just good enough to stick around after for.” He told her with a grin he pointed at the woodgrain of the table rather than her face. In spite of the setting he found it challenging to broach such a topic. They were strangers, after all. Like the Red Moon house as a whole he would have to let the food speak for itself.

Eyes going round he waiting for her to answer his question. She seemed about to speak then hesitated. What words, he wondered giddily, had been on the tip of her tongue? None she was willing to share with him. Snorting through his nose he tried to the stop noise but failed. Her answer inspiring a flush and swallowed laughter. ”Forgive me please, but I’m of a mind lately that asking a lady her age is a rather critical part of getting to know her.” Mother Night he would never live it down. Hopefully Vivienne wasn’t suffering the same.

”Hm?” Arkyn wasn’t sure who she wanted to know about. Eyes brightening with understanding as she fleshed out her question. ”Oh. Not much. He paid for the damages and was fined a bit extra. There will be his Queen’s embarrassment to deal with and I thought that punishment enough. It was just an accident, and no one was hurt.” The drinks came just after. He sipped the foam from his mug while passing the other across the little table for Kirsi. Tongue darting out to clear the white froth from his lips he asked a question of his own. ”What would you have done, if it was your job to see to.”

Not fix the fence, clearly.

”You don’t have to stay, if you don’t want to. Just so you know.” He told her, when it had weighed on his conscious long enough.

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    106 Posts    303 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2019, 04:13:10 AM »

”Aren’t you doing it a little backwards, then?” Kirsi watched the witch instead of Arkyn. Order put in the woman wove her way through the tables back to the kitchen. Kirsi wondered what the usual was, while trying not to think about what she’d just said. A quick glance showed her that the sjef wasn’t faring any better than she was.  Face turned toward the table, before he managed to speak. His question adding to the awkward weight that surrounded them.

His response made her laugh. Covering her mouth, Kirsi shook her head, her whole body rising upward, hair and head falling over the back of her chair while she cackled. Slumping back into her seat, she brushed hair away from her face and wiped most of the smile from her lips. ”A late learned lesson, I think, sjef.” Knuckles brushing her chin, Kirsi hoped to Hell he wasn’t trying to get to know her like he had the queen’s apprentice.

It was the very last thing she needed, and not at all what she wanted. Mirroring him, Kirsi propped an elbow on the table and rested her chin on the curl of her fingers. How old was he, she wondered, that his bedding the young queen was such a scandal. Or at least a juicy but of news old women liked to giggle over. Maybe it was just his personality that lead to the shock of it. But Kirsi had always thought men and queens were meant to he drawn together. Warlord princes especially.

Kirsi had never met a queen to know kore than hearsay about them. To distract herself from her own thoughts, Kirsi pulled her eyes from the sjef’s hair and tried to steer the conversation to less dangerous territory. Though thinking on it, criminals was hardly safer than sex. She drank while he talked, using the heel of her hand rather than her tongue to clear the foam from her lip. She sank back into her seat again, clearing space between them for the cups. And for space.

”Me?” Startled by the question, her voice rose in pitch. Like a child caught unsuspecting on school. Lifting her mug to her face, Kirsi did not drink. She thought, her breath stirring the remains of the ale’s head. Her eyes drifted, gaze latching onto nothing. Viewing blur of legs, both human and not while she puzzled out her answer. Sucking her lip, Kirsi put her drink down and decided. ”I would have made him do the fixing.”

Her eyes settled on Arkyn again, shoulders lifting in an apologetic shrug. ”Maybe putting back together what he had broke would teach him a lesson a bit of guilt and lost marks wouldn’t.” People rarely had to face the whole of what they did. To see the real consequences of what they did. Turning her mug around, Kirsi picked it up again and drank.

”I know.” Her eyes were solemn, looking at him over the top of her cup and the humps of her knuckles as she clutched it with both hands. It would only be stranger if she left now, however. Running aroused suspicion and all that. ”I don’t much go where I don’t want these days, sjef.” Kirsi bluffed with a smile. Her mug thumped on the table, hands wiped on the skirts of her dress. ”What does your sister do, the one who lives over by my house?”

Wishing the food would come just in time for it to arrive. The table felt smaller once it was filled with food, however, and Kirsi half wished it away. Except it smelled better than anything she’d eaten in a while. It was hard, to eat slow. The smell reminded her what it was like to be hungry. To empty you were dying. No more pain at being hollow because there wasn’t energy enough in your body to feel what you’d been feeling for so long. So Kirsi counted to twenty with eat bite.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    57 Posts    1156 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2019, 12:27:06 AM »
”Well..” Arkyn struggled with a snort that wanted to stick in his throat. Surprise at the candid question sent his brain scrambling for an answer, and several were bitten back before he managed to say, ”Seemed the polite order to do things in this time. Considering.” While he answered he kept staring intently at the wood of the table. This woman was just something else. Cheeky was the wrong word. Hard to get a feel for, definitely. Blunt. Far from meek. How anyone could have taught her to fear a swift hand he didn’t know. Why anyone would want to made his blood thicken with anger- so he didn’t dwell.

Hard to, anyway, with her busy bursting with laughter at his silly troubles. It was a good, hearty sound. Head shaking he chuckled too, more embarrassed by the ridiculousness of it all then the deed itself. ”And you know, people only care that it happened because it was so unlike me to begin with. If I were any other man- or even a younger one, it would have just been a Friday night in Meols.” He said with a roll of his eyes. What was worse, he couldn't discuss what led to the situation. It just wasn’t a topic for general conversation. So he was stuck, face flushing as he laughed at himself with a woman who seemed very much to want reasons to laugh at him.


Thankfully she didn’t make him sit in the mess he had made for long. They had other things worth talking about. Smiling he sipped at his ale, watching her over the rim while she tried to decide an answer to his question. Clearly not one she had considered. That was, of course, why he was the Sjef. He had always been open about what he thought and felt. Discussed with others the way he would have handled this or that. What was fair, what was too much a punishment, or the wrong kind. Perhaps it was the unfairness of his own life that made him that way. And curious as to how others felt on the subject too.

Kirsi’s responses didn’t surprise him any. That was always the instant reaction. The cursory thought. Make him fix what he broke! But, ”If he were able, sure, but he was no carpenter or craftsman. He’s a sailor. The people who had their property damaged deserved to have it replaced properly, not half assed by someone who didn’t want or know how to do the work.” Traced the lip of his mug with a thumb. Thoughtful as he stared into the dark amber liquid, now that it’s foam was mostly in his stomach. ”He’ll miss the marks, it was no small sum. I think you may be misjudging the weight of a queen’s disappointment, too. Sailors take blood oaths, it’s more than a bit of guilt. I promise.”

There were other matters too. Diplomatic in nature. Holding him back to correct damages would have been bad for the skyship, who would have either had to delay their departure or leave without him. No telling how those ripples would have grown. Better for them all not to find out. ”Should it happen again, I’ll leave your boy that’s not a boy to fix it though. Sjef’s Honor.” He said, holding up his hand in the manner of a man making a vow.

They were very good at asking one another question that made things awkward. Or just being awkward at one another. Arkyn wasn’t sure why. Lack of chemistry perhaps. Bad timing. Defensiveness on her part. She said she understood she was free to go, and he couldn’t find a reason not to believe her. But he wasn’t sure he did. There was just something in the way she smiled over her mug at him that felt flat. Maybe she just had a hard time smiling at him at all. Now that he knew she was involved with the Runner, he thought it likely she had the same distaste for anything involving the law. Who could say?

Sitting back as the food was laid out he took his time answering her question. A sip of his ale. Plate pulled a little closer. Hair tucked behind his ears. Shoulders shaken free of their tension before he looked across the table. ”Same as you. Or hoping to be someday. She’s apprenticing as a healer.” Smiling lightly he took a bite. It was as savory as ever. The carrots were his favorite. Soaked up in the gravy so that they held all its flavor. He ate slowly. Finishing his ale before his plate was half done.

A belatedly the barmaid returned to deliver his bottle of gin and two square glasses. He was busy looking at the label when she set it on the table with an apology he waved away as unnecessary. Apparently the case had been hiding under a few boxes in the store room and had taken time to dig up. After thanking her he passed a small tip into her palm and opened the bottle with a pop of Craft. He poured a finger’s width into the nearer glass but was in no hurry to drink it. ”I was surprised to find out you knew the fur-trader. Shouldn’t have been I guess. He’s always beat to shit, probably takes half the healers in Glacia to keep him alive.”

He ate steadily. Clearing his plate with sigh of contentment before taking the first sip of his gin, now that it had settled to room temperature. He tipped his eyebrow at it in offer to Kirsi. Not sure where to lead the conversation now that such a soothing peace had settled over their table. ”So… how old is your boy?” He ventured.

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    106 Posts    303 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2019, 12:02:32 PM »

Kirsi bit her tongue. It wouldn’t do to insult his politeness. Smile twitching and slipping away as she kept her comment to herself. In reality, the probes he had stuffed down her shirt before hadn’t been rude. Just overly familiar. Reactive. Protective, as his caste dictated. Kirsi wondered if it was his caste that made him look so hard at the table now. Or just the awkwardness of the topic. Maybe both.

”You have a high opinion of yourself.” She told him while smothering her laughter and wiping it from her face. It was there still in her eyes though, as she watched him barely chuckle into the table. Eyes rolling as he tried to excuse himself. ”Younger definitely,” her smile flashed again. Kirsi didn’t even know how old he was. ”I’m sorry.” She snorted, shaking her head and looking away.

The conversation shifting away from Arkyn’s sex life. One that seemed to be spent in red moon houses or with young queens. Kirsi couldn’t and wouldn’t judge him for it. Her own was a mess of fleeting strangers and Peregrine. A topic that made thinking on punishment for crimes an easier one to dwell on. Her answer one that didn’t seem to move Arkyn any. He had a rebuttal for it, an explanation as to why her choice was wrong. Kirsi pulled her drink close, feeling as if she’d somehow failed a test.

”Well. You are the sjef.” She swallowed the beer. It was good. Rich, like a strong tea or a good meal. Her wrist brushing foam from her lips and away from her nose. It broke apart against the roof of her tongue with a tickle. ”I’ve never met a queen, so you are probably right.” One day she would have to, just so she could understand the draw they seemed to create.

Face going red, Kirsi sputtered. ”Mine?” She choked, coughing as the ale seemed to harden in her throat. Clearing it behind her throat, Kirsi shook her head. ”No. He’s not mine.” The thought made her stomach crawl. Kirsi couldn’t say why the idea was so repulsive, just that it was. He was unattractive or even unkind. Maybe just too other, with his gold chased eyes. ”Unlike some, I don’t like my partners just off their Offering.” Her fork speared a piece of potato, twisting it through a puddle of juice.

Arkyn took longer to get settled into his food. Cup and plate arranged and then his body settled as well. She half watched him, taking a bite and chewing it slowly. She turned her eyes to her plate and waited on his answer. Later she would regret asking at all, though is answer in innocuous enough. ”Oh? A useful skill, certainly.” Same as her. Kirsi hoped the girl never shared a similarity with her a single day of her life.

”Yes. That old fool.” Kirsi broke her meat apart with purpose. She was still sore that the old man had told her business. It seemed to be something that went around in Meols. People talking about her as if they had rights. Frowning, she put food in her mouth to keep from saying anything too derogatory. It seemed they were friends, Trygve and Arkyn. ”I imagine it does. He’d make a good patient for your sister. He doesn’t get mean when he’d wounded.” Just stupid. But he was always stupid, Kirsi decided.

Somehow they managed to eat companionably. Kirsi was content to chew without talking. Each of them steadily clearing their plate. She saved most of the meat for last. Slivers of onion speared to the beef before she put it in her mouth. Stomach quivering. Full. And aching at his question. Her fork sang against the plate. Noise loud. She shook her head at the gin and finished chewing.

How she managed to swallow she didn’t know. She didn’t know the answer to his question and it killed her. Her eyebrows frowned between her eyes, hand shaking as she grabbed her glass. Too unsteady to pick it up. Kirsi breathed. ”Still too young for his Birthright.” That much she was sure. Maybe six. The time blurred. She wasn’t sure how long she had slept the sleep that hadn’t been sleeping at all. And she never asked what year it was.

”It never goes quick enough for the children, and too fast for the parents.” All those years she’d missed. First steps. First words. Kirsi laid her fork across her plate and wiped her hands and face. Would she miss that too? Would they know to wait until he was ten? Would they even know when he would be ten? Old enough to understand the responsibility of a Jewel. To harness the extension of his power. What would he wear?

”You were right. Its a good pot roast.” Kirsi settled back in her seat, hands buried in her lap. She was full and hot and sick. Ready to leave so the sjef could get on with his real business. ”Thank you for the invitation, but I should be going. Nights don’t last forever no matter how much you pay.” Which reminded her. Kirsi called a few marks in and laid them down beside her plate as she stood. No debts. Debts held you to a place. To a person.

Arkyn Wildling

    Yellow to Summer-sky
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    57 Posts    1156 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2019, 11:50:29 PM »
Eyes closing in agonized amusement Arkyn tried not to snort across the table. Full of himself was not the way he wanted to come across. It didn’t surprised him to hear she saw him that way, though. A lot of people did. ”Not particularly,” He tried to assure her, voice flattened by modesty that bordered on self-depreciation. Did he think well of the work he did? Sure. Trust his ability to be fair? Yes. But what had he really achieved in life? Everything he had set his heart on…

Well it didn’t do to dwell so he finished the sentiment with a slight shrug. Giving her apology the same treatment once she had finished her teasing. ”If I’m being honest I think my being younger would have taken away from her interest.” Girls were strange creatures. And he was apparently lacking in the skills to behave normally with them. While he was being honest, he realized the implications of what he was saying shortly after and shook his head at himself.”That sounds so much worse. Mother Night.”

His explanation about the fence breaker didn’t seem to go over well either. Mouth twisting to one side he stared over Kirsi’s shoulder at a painting on the wall. Skyships over the mountains, generic work he had stared at a thousand times. But it was a nice focus point. ”That’s how the city voted. But seeing things from different angles is the only way to know you’ve been fair to everyone involved.” He had much less to say on the matter of meeting queens. With a grunt he lifted his mug to his lips for a  long drink. It started to warm the very edges of his conscious. Summer-sky wicking the effect away again before he could settle into it. Voice low he whispered, ”I’ll let you know if one worth meeting shows up.”

As far as he was concerned that was not the current state of things in Meols. Their queen wasn’t a bad person, but he had none of the respect for her that he thought a man should instinctively feel for a queen. That, he mused, was likely why little Vivienne with her blunt determination had drawn him in when he should have known better. Kirsi seemed to have some regrets of her own as far as young ones went. She took his words about her carpenter friend as literally as possible. Lashing back at him for the perceived assumption. Lips going flat and eyebrows sinking lower. His tone was much lighter, verging on playful or in so much as he could sound playful. ”I can’t think of who you might be referring to there, Lady Kirsi. A few minutes of weakness in a vulnerable moment and man is like to never live it down. Ah well. The price of crops and blood bonds I suppose.”

Queens. Why did they have to grow old and retire? The good ones should have had a few extra years. Or he should have had less. He was thankful when the conversation drifted to easier subjects. ”Mhm, I knew as soon as Tine came to live with me that she was natural to the caste. Relief, really, no telling what that girl would have picked for herself. Something to drive me to madness no doubt.” He could have talked about her for hours given a reason. Head tilting to the side he listened as she spoke of their mutual friend and the conversation tipped back towards his sister. ”He has been a time or two. Doesn’t come into the city much, though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him angry to be honest, and my father’s tribe once strung him up ankle to wrist on a post in the plains.” That was how they had first met.

For the rest of the meal they were quieter. Eating their fill, Arkyn only matching Kirsi because he was bigger and his caste potent. There was nothing in his Jewels that needed more nourishment than a plain meal could provide. Like a fool he put his foot right into his mouth, sadly ruining their tentative peace. The healing web weaver didn’t react defensively. This was something different. The same lurch in his stomach that had made him write to Reric. Just a feeling that things were not quite right. Her evasive answer puzzling but not one he could question. He had no right to know, if she didn’t want him to. ”That’s the truth. I’ve none of my own but Tine comes close. I’ve raised her since she was knee high to a caribou and now hardly ten years later she thinks she’s a woman grown.” His cheeks flushed as arguments about Virgin Nights and taking her apprenticeship to Frykat rang in his memory. Funny how he had felt so trapped when she arrived, but couldn’t let go now.

”Glad you enjoyed it.” He offered. Chin resting on his hand again as the food and drink made his limbs heavier. Eyes watching her across the table as she made her goodbyes. ”It’s not about how long they last. It’s about the quality put into the hours.” He said mindlessly. Tracking the marks she set on the table with a small grunt. ”That’s too much.” He slid half back towards her, ”You alright getting home? It’s icy out there.”

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    106 Posts    303 marks
Re: Blindsided
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2019, 06:25:54 AM »

Kirsi laughed at him again. This time it was quieter, her amusement spent over the head of her mug. ”See. Full of yourself.” She blew the froth away and took a drink, trying not spill as her smile twitched. Something about tormenting him made it all easier to stand. The crowd. The place. His company. The fact that he took it so well only encouraged her. His ear tips red through his hair.

Of course it wasn’t all laughs and barbed banter. It never was, not with anyone.

”I’m sure you’re right. Though I don’t remember being asked my opinion on my fence.” She raised her eyebrows at him. He had done good work, however. And the fence was mostly for show. A border around her yard that people ignored for the most part. They came up to her door or over to lean against it and talk with her anyway.

”Alright.” Kirsi agreed with a sympathetic smile. She let the topic of queens slip away since it seemed to needle him. Maybe there had been more than gossip let on between him and the apprentice that was spoiled by position and age difference. Or even by gossip. It wasn’t her business to pry into so Kirsi left it to defend herself against his assumptions about Kite. Kite! ”I suppose you’re right.” She agreed, both of them glad to leave the topic by the wayside.

”I don’t think the picking quite works that way.” Kirsi laughed. But she didn’t really know. Maybe for some it was as simple as what would needle a brother best. Kirsi was unable to say, even if she did pretend authority. She’d never had a brother or the freedom to choose. Healing had been more of a necessity than anything else. Now she made her living by it and the irony was not lost on her. ”I’m sure he deserved it.” She remarked on the Furman. The mental image gave her more pleasure than it should have.

And now she knew where the sjef got his dark looks.

Kirsi smiled and nodded. It was unfair. Unfair that this man could have years with his sister. Get to be a parent when he was not one while she... ”That age, then.” She tried to laugh, guessing by the color in his cheeks what the siblings might argue over now. It wasn’t unfair. Arkyn hadn’t lost what he’d been entrusted with the way Kirsi had. He’d held on tight to a precious life. She had let one slip through her fingers and been too stupid to get it back.

She had to get out. Trying not to rush her farewells as he watched her. He had a lazy way about his interest that made her skin prickle with alarm. Every inch of her aware of his gaze. Kirsi snorted. ”Well. I hope you get quality then.” How did it always circle back to this? His spear must have been a mile long for all the time they spent talking about it. Picking up the marks he pushed back, Kirsi vanished them without an argument. He would know.

”Yes. I’ll be fine.” She shook her head at him, lips twisting ruefully. She felt better for standing. Body in motion to escape. ”A person would half suspect you’re looking for an out, sjef.” A meal, an escort home. Kirsi wound her hair into a twist and stuffed it down the back of her dress in preparation for pulling on all her outer layers. ”Have a nice night.” Someone should. She pushed her chair half in before heading back to the front room, pulling her layers back on one at a time until her body was as insulated as it was going to be.

The cold was a relief, really, after the warmth and upheaval of inside. And the ice wasn’t so bad. She only slipped once, witchlight missing the gleam of a slick spot.

 

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