Realm of Kaeleer => Ile de Paon => Rosnay Island => Topic started by: Salomé Nazaire on February 17, 2019, 01:27:09 PM

Title: Sleepless
Post by: Salomé Nazaire on February 17, 2019, 01:27:09 PM

The beaches were long and empty. Water black and then silver where it lapped the sand, bubbles reflecting the faint light from the sky. Salome watched it all from her porch. Legs a complicated tangle in front of her body. A foot under one knee, fingers and chin resting on the other. She sat on a heel, the hard bones of her ankle digging into the hollow place between her thighs.

All her bones were hard now. Gaunt points that shone beneath her skin. The softness had melted from her face and body in her time on Rosnay. The girl fully replaced by the woman she hadn’t been ready to become. But here she was in the nearly cool air of the night, alone, backed by the house she had bought herself for herself. Hardly more than a sprawling room with a kitchen tucked into one corner, but it was hers alone. Except when she shared its walls for a brief time. Quick, furious nights spent trying to find something to ease the hard coil in her stomach or the deep ache in her heart.

Not much helped. The men on the island had strange ideas about what the wife of a warlord prince might expect or want in bed. Some were under the impression that he must be violent and so she required a gentle touch. The others thought the same, but thought she liked it, wrapping fingers around her throat and punishing her body with their lust. Few got it right, whatever they thought or did. There had not been very many. Maybe half a dozen or so. Enough for Salome to grow tired of the game.

Game it was no longer. Just her life. The silence stretching farther than her solitude. Every day much the same as the last. She wore her Green openly but wove her webs in private using only her Summer-sky, the depths of her Jewel of rank too strong for the fine work. Or Salome’s abilities unable to match its capabilities. She practiced in the evenings she spent alone if she hd the energy left over. Warping frames and wasting spider silk.

Tonight she had forgone practice for a bottle of wine and a box of dinner from one of the shops near the temple. Filling her glass, Salome lifted her chin from her knee to light a neatly rolled cigarette, smoke obscuring the waves as she exhaled.

Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Tariq Lamare on February 27, 2019, 07:18:23 PM
”Shit.” Tariq cursed in Hayllian. The word eloquent as it rolled down his tongue. Body stiffening as he laid a protective hand on Kashi’s back. He had told her the house belonged to an agreeable acquaintance. Which had been true some months ago. That seemed to have changed, however. Because he expected it to be empty. And had no permission to stay there despite what he might have implied to keep Kashi from worrying. Tongue tracing the inside of his lip he tried to pinpoint the unfamiliar psyche with his Gray.

A woman, one whom he shared a caste with. That was either very good or very bad depending on what sort of Black Widow she happened to be. They were notoriously bad tempered, or moody, sometimes both. Tariq was glad he seemed to be mild on all fronts. As they edged closer to the house he stroked his probes a bit more broadly. Trying to alert her to their approach without letting on that he had intended to break into the house. Perhaps it would seem like they were only on a romantic evening stroll. As he curled his Gray around her chair he caught, by accident, a vague tinge of sadness in the air she spewed smoke into. ”I’m sorry, I thought the house was still empty.” He told them both.

Brow knitted in concern. Both for the woman, who he recognized once they were close enough to see face to face, and for Kashi. He was sure the latter must have been clawing with questions. ”I didn’t know Remi had sold his bungalow. We haven’t really met, Lady Nazaire, I’m Dupuy Lamare. Your husband is my half brother.” He had been at their wedding, but Isidore had left early. Too eager to take his pretty young wife home. Not that Tariq had complained. They had an awkward relationship. One that Isidore pretended was very close, but neither quite felt the connection. They were very different sort of men, bound by one that had disliked them both.

Tariq eyed her bottle of wine with a curious eye. Surely the one was barely enough to wet the Green she was wearing. Strange of all the people in Paon he would find her here. He wondered if it was fate or just strange luck. ”This is Kashi, my-” His hesitation was brief but notable. What was she? Not his wife, more than just a friend. Had she forgiven him enough to be called his woman? He didn’t know but it was better to be scolded for overstepping than insulting her. ”woman.”
Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Kashi on February 28, 2019, 05:57:32 AM

His hand made her lean in close. The word not understood but the tone was. Kashi did not need probes to tell her he worried. Shoulder tucking into his side, she held on to the edge of his shirt, twining it around her fingers. ”What?” She hissed softly. Kashi did not like being in the dark. And not only was the evening light dim but the world felt stranger and farther away. Half her senses cut away with the loss of craft. She had never realized how much she had relied on her Jewels to tell her about the world around her.

Now she felt half blind and sometimes completely lost. Vulnerable in new ways as she followed Tariq from place to place. Sand making their steps slow and cumbersome. Trees roots tangling them when they walked through forests instead of along beaches. Tariq answered her in a round about way, taking her closer to the house where a woman sat on the small porch, smoke obscuring half her face. Kashi flashed a look at Tariq, face turn toward him and eyebrows turning on him. Another lover? She questioned without words. The answer not one she really wanted to know.

Kashi tried to stand strong on her town. Tall and able. Before she had been strong. Work shaping her body into something capable, but pregnancy had stripped away a lot of that strength. She had been so sick in the beginning. While she did not tire as easily now, and her food stayed in her stomach, she still did not feel the same. There was weakness in her spine and arms that had not been there before, and she found she could not quite meet the woman’s eyes. This wife of Tariq’s brother. But pregnancy had not done that to her.

They made introductions. Tariq’s polite and well spoken. Strange as it was to hear him call himself Dupuy. Kashi had never known him by that name, though she knew it was his. It did not suit. A world removed from the man she’d fallen in love with. She would give the name to the man she’d seen paying the priestess with his spear. Giving a little shiver, Kashi took his hand. The moment passed. Bought. Sold. She was Tariq’s woman, and he had paperwork to prove it. ”Lady.” She greeted softly.

The other black widow was less genial.

Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Salomé Nazaire on February 28, 2019, 06:25:36 AM

Salome heard their footsteps before anything else. The telltale sound of sand shifting under heels and between toes. They appeared through her smoke like ghosts. Angled toward each other for all the approached her. She frowned at them, realizing that the strange sensation she had ignored before had been his Jewel spreading warning before their approach.

She had not known how used to such things she had grown in Isidore’s house.

”Not for some time.” It was hers now. Had been hers long enough for her to forget what it was like to live with servants and people. But not long enough to miss it. She had to share her house with no one unless she invited them. It belonged solely to her, and was the only thing that did so. Everything else... Salome did not want to think about everything else.

”You were at my wedding.” She pretended to remember. One last drag of the cigarette and then Salome flicked it away into the sand. They looked nothing alike other than being tall. She wondered if it was a trick. Or a ploy. But she couldn’t imagine why it would be. She owned nothing of value to steal. Her gaze shifted to the woman at his side. Pretty in that common sort of way most women possessed. Salome did not smile in greeting for either of them.

”So. You collect them as well.” At least this one didn’t bother to marry them all. Salome stood. One leg first and then her body, the other unfolding from beneath that. She gestured to the doors, which rocked open on sloppy craft. She did not approach them, but lit another cigarette instead. ”I suppose I should make the brother of my husband welcome. And his woman. There is no food inside, but you may stay. For tonight.” Eyes tracking the roundness of Kashi’s waist hungrily.

Of course. Of course. She turned away to fetch her wine bottle, needing something to wash the bitterness from her throat.

Inside was more welcoming. A messy jumble of things mixed with trash. A tidy stack of dirty dishes in the sink. Clothes and webs strewn with equal carelessness across the small rooms which were really one large one. Bed half hidden by gauzy curtains in one corner. A large sofa filling the center of the room and a small round table with tall legs and high chairs making up the dinging room in another corner.

Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Tariq Lamare on March 04, 2019, 02:13:44 PM
Neck growing long so he could look down the slope of his cheek at her Tariq shrugged apologetically. ”Don’t fret, my love, don’t fret.” It was a useless request, he knew, she worried all the time. A trait so ingrained in her nature there was no hope she might give it up now. His hands tried to draw soothing circles through her clothes. Wishing he could dip his own confidence into her psyche for reassurance. But he could not. Their child was too delicate. And try as he might to keep from being the source of her worries and doubts his previous failures were still wounds she bled from.

Evidenced now in the way her eyes narrowed in suspicion. Eyebrows high and curving as it became clear the occupant of the house was another woman. His own eyes rolled before he could stop them, but his tongue was mercifully easier to master. He hardly knew the Lady Nazaire. And would be a poor excuse for a man indeed if he were bringing one lover to find shelter with another.

For Salome, Kashi had very different body language. Going demure and servantile. It scalded down his spine. Indignation on her behalf raised probes to guard her from ankles to waist. They sat like angry snakes along her skin. Aimed at no one, just reminding her that she was beholden to none any longer. While Paon might not recognize her as a free woman, yet, he had paid the price for her to hold her chin up in any company. A steep one too, all her trust in him washed away. ”Oh? Well. It is a fine house and I am happy to see it being put to good use.” Tariq told Salome with his best smile. Some of it was true. It was a good house that deserved occupying. However he wasn’t sure what to think knowing that the new inhabitant was his sister-in-law. Isidore had seemed so smitten. And he knew his brother well enough to know he was as much a collector of heartwounds as he was of women.

”Yes, lady, I was.” Tariq answered, forgetting for a moment that remarks on such things were usually accompanied by compliments. ”A very beautiful event.” Which it had been. Though his mind at the time had been more focused on the loss of a raiding party, several of whom he knew well. His weight shifted to the leg closest to Kashi as Salome’s eyes did the same. He knew very little about his brother’s wife. Other than her caste, that their families had similar reputations, and that Isidore had described her as clever but naive. He had said other things too, but Tariq put them from his head.

”Ah, I was rather guilty of maintaining a robust number of… connections in the past yes.” Tariq admitted, since lying would not endear him to either woman. What could he say now to keep from insulting Salome, though? There was no fairness in wanting to be loved and finding you had to share it. So he said nothing but gave her a sympathetic twitch of his cheek. Not pity, she had married the man willingly enough. But understanding, because he knew very well that no one got quite what they had expected when it came to Isidore.

The invitation to stay was quite unexpected. Eyebrows rising he turned towards Kashi to gauge her opinion. They had done a good deal of walking that day. She must have been ready to rest. ”That would be incredibly kind of you, Lady Nazaire. If it isn’t an imposition.” He watched her take in Kashi’s figure as they stepped into the light that pooled on the porch. Wondered what emotion darkened her cheeks and sent her after a near full bottle of wine.

”Any good?” He asked, tone implying he meant the strength of the alcohol and not its flavor. What had gone on between the lady and his brother, he wondered. That drive to solve puzzles, and troubles, making his palms itch. From his cabinet he called in a very different sort of smoke. ”Try this instead. Makes the coughing more worthwhile.” And it was good for nerves, or anxiety. Very relaxing. It was also his last one. Which only made him cling to it half a second longer.

The inside of the bungalow was pleasantly lived in. Not that sort of tidy that made you afraid to touch anything. But it did look very lived in. Salome had been there a while, which made the questions in his chest rise a bit higher. ”Very cozy. You must love that view of the beach. I know Isidore’s got a nice one at home too but his ships are all-” He waved a hand around to gesture at the haphazard way they seemed to fill the private harbor.
Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Salomé Nazaire on March 13, 2019, 07:10:38 PM

”It was,” she said softly, watching them through the coils of fading smoke. It had been a beautiful ceremony, the wedding a glamour that had not prepared her for the realities of marriage. Or maybe just marriage to Isidore. Even now, living alone in her own house, she could not imagine being married to someone else. She just happened to want to murder him as well.

”An interesting way of putting it.” Smile sour as she tipped her face in his direction. Her eyes were slower to follow, releasing his woman to pin him. Connections. Is that all women were to men such as him and his brother? Or was it all men? She doubted any loved her who had passed through her bed. She did not like him, this Dupuy, brother of her husband, Salome decided. Neither him nor the way he smiled at her.

But she invited him and his woman to stay anyway.

”It’s of no consequence.” There was a hammock on the other side of the house, strung beneath the porch, which wrapped all the way around the house. Salome slept in it sometimes, though never before at night. She would this night, and give her house over to the couple. She knew she wouldn’t be able to stand the walls with them in it. Flashing her teeth, she clicked her tongue. ”It was very expensive.” Which was all in the same, wasn’t it? Salome had always thought so.

Before. Before.

”Thank you.” Eyebrows lifting in surprise. Ome took the rolled cigarette from him and waved them away into the house. ”It’s why I bought it,” she lied prettily. Fuck Isidore and his view. Salome hoped all his ships caught fire. A neglectful hostess on the whole. Salome curled up tight again and lit the gift, the taste a fair shade different from what she’d been expecting. At least the weather was nice and mellow. She just hoped they wouldn’t fuck in her bed.

Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Kashi on March 13, 2019, 07:28:44 PM

”Are you sure that is wise?” Kashi whispered, voice a low hiss between them. Her eyes swept the house, all if it laid out to be taken in in one glimpse. It needed tidying. ”Giving drugs to the wife of your brother?” He was a powerful man. And as any powerful man, he was dangerous. Kashi did not have to meet him to know. She looked back out the window at the woman they had left on the porch, a new wreath of smoke circling her head.

Stretching, Kashi worked the muscles along her lower back with her fingers, elbows jutting outward. Critical eyes making a catalogue of what needed tending. It was only polite since they were guests. And she couldn’t stand the mess. Stacks of dishes, little heaps of laundry. ”What do you think she is doing way out here alone?” She kept her voice quiet, knowing just the tight pitch to keep from being over heard. ”His holdings are on Thure with the Mother Priestess, are they not?”

Kashi was not still while she spoke. Back eased enough she set about straightening the house. Gathering the small bits of trash left behind and filling the waste bin. She ran the sink until the water was hot, looking in the cabinets for soap, of which she could find none. ”How is that possible?” She asked herself in awe. Standing again, she turned shocked eyes fo Tariq. ”Give me some of that soap you carry about. Just a sliver will do fine.” Muttering to herself, she plugged the sink and filled it with hot water and dishes, dampening a rag and lathering it up with soap.

”Do you have food left, in your cabinet?” She asked while scrubbing. There wasn’t any that she could see in the house. Lady Nazaire had not been lying. And clearly needed a maid of some sort. Kashi set the clean dishes aside for rinsing, waving at a towel so Tariq could fetch it and stop the soapy water from running off the counter and onto the floor. ”Does he really have a harbor full of ships?”

Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Tariq Lamare on March 24, 2019, 11:15:41 PM
Expression strained beneath her bitter glare Tariq lifted a single shoulder. All the guilt he felt held in the set of his eyebrows over eyes so dark they reflected the starry night sky. ”I rather not dig my own grave, if its all the same. You can’t compare my assortment of sex partners to Isidore’s… Well you just can’t compare us. He’s a very different sort of man.” Or so Tariq tried to console himself. It was mostly true. His brother used words like lovemaking and made them wives. While he… had been having fun. Heart free.

Until it wasn’t. Caught by the woman that clung to his hand now. Fingers woven together for mutual reassurance. ”Kindness is always of consequence. I won’t forget it, Lady-sister.” He had not had family before. Not really. It was strange to think of this woman he barely knew as such. It was likely she would be the mother of his nieces and nephews- unless there was more to finding her on Rosnay than he knew. She was his sister-in-law now, and he felt an obligation to be near. To look out for her, if not after her, since his brother was (blessedly) not around to do it himself. So her invitation was doubly welcome.

Their exchange brief, and the exchange within the exchange even briefer. Her wine defended on the merit of price alone. Which made Tariq bite back a grin. ”I’m sure the Lady has exquisite taste. I’m more of a gin man myself.” The cheaper the better. He had never been much of a drinker, though, since it was hard to drown his Jewels. The result usually more of a mess than it was worth. No. He much preferred the effects of good cannabis. No hangover, no vomiting, a respite from the stress. Which Salome looked like she needed. Accepting the offering with brows raised and a hand to flap them off.

He urged Kashi in silently with a hand on the small of her back. A small chuckle at her fresh worry. ”Where do you think I get them from?” Or at least, how he had gotten the first taste. Isidore had a much higher tolerance for experimenting. Whereas Tariq had found what he liked early on and never diverged from the one vice. There were seeds in his cabinet and a small plot of plants growing in the Corlay forest where only he could find them. When he had less worries he would harvest them, or plant a fresh little crop. For now he needed all of his wits sharp, no matter how much it hurt to watch his shortcomings unfold.

Stepping into one of Kashi’s sharp elbows he took over the work of loosening the tension in the muscles of her back. A touch of soothing Craft in the tips of his fingertips. No school of knowledge too narrow for Tariq to have dipped his toes into. He was a scholar that knew a little of everything while only mastering a few subjects. None of them, sadly, of the social sort. He was, he knew, a bad choice for a partner. Saw his failures in the dark circles under his woman’s eyes. Knew that he caused her more distress than he solved, all in trying to make her what she deserved to be- what all people deserved to be: free. While his mind wandered his chin rested on his shoulder. Pupils contracting his vision back into focus he turned towards her words with a sad smile. ”I cannot say. We have not spoken since the week after their wedding. I can only guess that she needed a bit of space to be on her own. They’re both very young,” He commented as if they were not younger still, perhaps that was the real beauty of their coming together. The merging of two old souls. ”Isidore has his hands in a lot places, though, beyond Paon even. So there’s no judging by geography.”

He was too busy questioning himself and pondering the possibilities to notice her eyes tracking the stack of dishes and a floor in need of sweeping. Starting at her forward motion he stood in the middle of the room another second. Then joined her in the cleaning with several long glances at the doorway. ”It won’t offend her, you think? Cleaning up?” He thought it might. It would have made his aunt livid. He could hear her the words she would screech sitting heavily behind his eyelids. Sapphire tapped into he watched, and mumbled another question. ”Should I ask? Why she’s out here alone? I don’t want to intrude, but if she needs someone to talk to.” They were family of a sort. He knew things about Isidore no one else did. Probably.

”How is what possible?” He asked, watching her search the kitchen area in confusion. Still looking over his shoulder as if Salome would charge in any second to be highly offended that they took it upon themselves to clean her house. From his cabinet he slipped free the soap she asked for. Craft knocking off a small wedge from one corner. ”You should let me do this. Rest some, we did a lot of walking.” He tried to chide. But Kashi was Kashi and did them anyway. Lathering plates turning her mind to a more pressing question.

Tariq took a mental inventory. Eyes turning up in that way of a person who was searching through unseen cargo. ”Oh I might have a bit of something.” He tried to tease. Not much. Not much at all. But he had a few apples- because the witch at the produce stall took pity on his charming smile and Kashi’s round belly when he told her it was his beloved’s greatest craving. There was half stale bread that would soften when warmed and large round of soft goat cheese too. ”Go sit down while I finish these dishes and I’ll give it all to you for sorting.” That, he hoped, would tempt her. Another task in place of the one that required her to be on her feet. Sloping up the wet runoff from the dishes he mopped the towel across the cabinets. Trying to push her towards a chair with his hip.

”He really does.” Tariq answered softly. Thinking of the people those ships had ported to the islands. It sent a sick sliver down his spine into his stomach. Staying his motion, even his breathing, for half a second before he swallowed it all away. If it wasn’t Isidore it would just be someone else. Hell, if he had been born through a different womb it might very well have been Tariq himself. At least his brother seemed to try and treat his own slaves well. It was, as far as Tariq knew, the only estate with a fully servicing infirmary available for the staff. He had even payed Tariq to teach the children to read in write a few times. Setting his rag aside he moved to set out the promised food for Kashi. ”You eat first. No arguing.” On a gentle thread he tugged at Salome too, lifting a wedge of the soft cheese when she looked. Wordlessly offering for her to join them if she wanted company.
Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Kashi on March 25, 2019, 06:28:11 AM

It was shocking to Kashi, the way they spoke to one another. The topic a shameful dispute over lovers. The Lady Nazaire accusing and Tariq defensive. It made Kashi embarrassed, as if she were witnessing something private. And stirred her shame of so easily being one of those many, and the delusion she had allowed herself to live thinking she was not. It was shocking and hurtful, and Kashi was very glad when it was over. Both she and Tariq waved away as no consequence by the lady.

”Oh.” Kashi answered in the quiet of the house, lip chewed as she thought about it. ”Still, a wife is different than a brother.” She worried that the brother’s wrath would fall on Tariq’s head. Thinking of all the ways he might find out and react. Fretting as she took in the room and rubbed the small of her back, starting when Tariq’s fingers joined her own. High up between her shoulders. Letting go of her lip, Kashi let him. Hands moving to the front of her dress so he chase the knots down her spine and away. It made her feel lethargic and soft.

She looked out the window at the woman they discussed. She paid them no mind, attention focused on the ocean, her curls wreathed in smoke. ”I would guess being married is a big change for anyone.” Even for young women of good family destined to such things. ”Well, I hope he isn’t here for our sakes.” Or Tariq’s at least, Kashi still wasn’t sure the man would not be upset at gift bestowed on his wife. And Tariq’s fate was now linked to hers by child and ownership. She would be doubly vulnerable without him. And completely bereft.

Kashi could not bear to think of it. Or look at the mess of the house a moment longer. She found comfort in work. Idle hands had always been distressing to her. The doing let her mind quiet. ”We are guests returning a favor. Why should she be offended?” Kashi doubted she would even notice. Women like Lady Nazaire were used to someone else doing the work for them. They only ever noticed when it was not done. Sighing, Kashi looked at him, fingers sweeping his hair behind his ear because she could not help herself.

”I do not think you are one she would want to talk to.” Kashi suspected the lady lumped the two brothers too much together. Or perhaps she was just wiser in this than Kashi. The thought hurt, forcing Kashi to push away memories she did not wish to see ever again. The soap helped, given over so she could apply it to the dishes, which she did with vigor. ”Why? I am good at it.” This was easier than walking. She knew the posture of dishes, how to stand so that her back did not ache at the end. And found comfort in the task. Since it bothered Tariq, Kashi gave him a task of his own.

Just a bit, he teased. It made Kashi’s heart sink, though she appreciated the way he tried to soften the reality. It was a kinder was of saying ‘not enough’. Not with his Jewels and her pregnancy. ”I an almost done,” she argued. Kashi quickly scrubbed the last dish, body leaning as he pushed her away with his hip. She laughed, relinquishing the bowl to him and dropping the soapy towel into the sink. ”Okay, okay, you can rinse them.” She conceded, sitting down in the chair he directed to.

Instantly the feeling rushed back into her feet as her weight was taken off them. They prickled and ache, forcing Kashi to pull her sandals off with her toes and work one foot over the other to ease the sensation. ”That seems...” She trailed off with a shrug, not wanting to insult his brother. Instead she bent to the task of sorting through the food, finger circling the apples greedily. She parted them with a knife, passing Tariq the seeds to put away in his cabinet. Nose wrinkling at the cheese, she was almost glad when he used that to try and tempt his sister by marriage into the house with them and was gladder still when she refused.

Somehow Tariq ended up with most of the cheese and Kashi most of the apples. She hoped he would not notice, or if he did, would not mind. She knew her diet needed to be better but her stomach would not take the cheese again. Or her tongue. ”I am eating. Right now, see?” She bit a slice of apple in half and chewed carefully. Too fast and her stomach would rebel. Too slow and it would grow nervous waiting for the food. She ate steadily, and made sure Tariq did some of the same. No hiding behind the dishes that needed rinsing. The food kept his Jewels fed and his Jewels kept them safe.

”Eat.” She begged him softly, pressing cheese crusted bread into his hand. Wishing for a proper kitchen where she could cook him an actual meal. Take away the blade of hunger that rested at the back of both their necks. Just another worry to burden them. It would get better, she promised herself. They wouldn’t wander this way forever. Eventually he would have to let her take work. She could feed them both with her skills. ”We can save over some of the cheese for her, if you want. But you must eat most of it.”

Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Tariq Lamare on March 27, 2019, 12:05:56 AM
”Don’t fret, Isidore won’t mind.” Tariq tried to promise without being sure it was true. Aware that there was not quite enough conviction in his voice to convince anyone. So he added on a more accurate addendum to make sure he was soothing rather than stirring her anxieties. ”If he does, he’ll just give me a stern talking to anyway. Tell me not to do it again. He isn’t a naturally violent sort.” Which was hard for many to believe considering his reputation. But Tariq had seen his brother at war. The same reluctance to bring down life that he had felt when forced to do it.

Sometimes he wondered if that was why their father was such a hateful thing. Had he been forced too? Did he regret sons that would be taught the same. Or had the gene skipped Grégoire making him bitter when they inherited remorse instead of savagery. They would never know now he was gone.

The thoughts made him cling a bit harder and push a bit deeper with the craft he worked over Kashi’s muscles. Desperate to ease what hurts he could. Even if they were not his own. They were his fault, at the very root of it. Graciously she let him untie the knots in her flesh. Tying up his heartstrings through conversation in return. A rabid sort of panic spinning his thoughts. Marriage was a big change. Did she want to be married? It was the right thing to do, when you got a woman pregnant. The honorable thing. Tariq was ready, too. Not just because of the baby but because her stubborn resilience and the depth of her kindness had captured him completely. It was just that the circumstances made the right thing seem wrong. He wanted her to be a completely free woman when he asked. Free to say no. To leave. To have her own life. That way he would never have to wonder if she stayed for reasons less than loving him back.

He didn’t have much to say about his brother’s marriage since he didn’t know the details. There were a few things he could assume though, and that it would be a difficult adjustment was one. Kashi seemed to agree. ”Especially when you find yourself married to a young warlord prince with the weight of three islands on his shoulders.” Not even Tariq knew the extent of his brother’s responsibilities. But he knew he did not envy them. On its own the Gray came with a heavy set of expectations. By luck alone Tariq had managed to skirt the worst of them. Still, he had done things he had not had the option of not doing. Things that he would lose sleep over for the rest of his life. ”I’m sorry.” He told her, head dipping as she expressed a sentiment most would agree on- that Isidore was not near. With being pregnant she would surely be ten times more frightened of the raider captain. It was all his fault she ever had to deal with him too.

”Nevermind. Let’s just be quick.” Tariq answered. Not willing to say out loud, where it might be overheard, that cleaning someone else’s mess could be misconstrued as calling them messy. The wealthy were often the most slovenly and least appreciative of being told so. He wouldn’t go so far as all that with Salome, of course. There was no filth laying around. Though it was evident she was unused to cleaning up after herself in any fashion. Tipping his face toward Kashi’s hand he smiled at the gentle touch. Little by little she seemed to be forgiving his stupidity. He would wait as long as it took, and live with the knowledge that her trust in him would never be the same. He just would not wait patiently. How could he when that shifting doubt in her eyes was worse than any barrier between them? He sighed as she answered him exactly as he had thought. Relief mingling with regret that he could not really help. ”You’re right. I’m not.”

Too close to the problem to be a part of the solution. There was just nothing he could do. For Salome, or his stubborn little woman. Dishes scrubbed clean while he frowned and mopped the excess water from the counters. Refusing to give up her work until it was finished. Dishes that could have dripped dry were given to him for rinsing Likely just to shut him up. It felt good to see her get off her feet, though, so Tariq didn’t care. The conversation rolling back around to his brother he lifted the corner of his smile in understanding. ”Excessive? It was all our father’s and his father before him. Isidore inherited it all.” There was a lot of it too, Tariq knew. If any had been set aside for him, his aunt had taken it without saying a word. However, Tariq doubted there had.

When he finished with the dishes he joined her, sitting on the floor at her knee. Accepting her apple seeds in the palm of his hand. Each little dot dried with Craft before he vanished the lot. He did see her eating, too, watched with unabashed glances to make sure she kept at it. One bit for every of her five. He didn’t mind the cheese, and he didn’t really want the apples either. If his body had not demanded filling he would have rather gone hungry. Maybe would have anyway if not for Kashi’s pressing. He could see the flutter of thoughts behind her eyes. It made him wish he was as good as reading people as Isidore seemed. He didn’t know what Kashi was thinking, but he knew she was worrying. ”It’s going to get better soon.” He promised.

”I don’t think she wants any.” He told Kashi, already decided that he would eat as much as there was bread to spread it over. His own mind was on a track similar to her own. She would not like it, if she knew, but he had to consider every angle. They couldn’t keep going this way. He had to make some money. Or borrow enough to tide them over until the baby came. ”Tomorrow we can go to my friend Roan’s house. It’s on Corlay, but he’ll be happy to see us. And then once we’ve had some real food and rest I’ll go to see my brother.” Alone, his tone implied, ”I should make sure he’s alright. I don’t know what’s going on here but I’m sure he’ll like to hear that I’ve seen Salome and she’s doing well.” That she needed a maid and looked completely miserable. Perhaps the news would mend their spat or whatever this was. Either way he was sure Isidore could turn him on to some work that wouldn’t involve raiding.
Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Kashi on March 27, 2019, 04:26:32 AM

Kashi’s lips pursed, eyes drifting toward the window. ”Yes probably. Thank the Darkness for the Mother Priestess’ Black.” A cooler head and darker Jewel to keep the Ebon-grey leashed. Kashi had no way to imagine or compare. Even Tariq’s strength was a mystery to her. Many would call her own Jewels measly, but Kashi had never met a task they could not complete. Tariq drew her from her musings, however. ”Sorry for what?” He took the blame too well for things that were not his fault, Kashi thought.

But she appreciated that he accepted the guilt for things he had, too.

”Who wants to linger over dishes?” Kashi asked, bemused. Only people shirking other work, and there were none of those here. Tariq was actively looking to take on more responsibility. This time in the form of his sister-in-law. Fingering the soft end of his hair, Kashi turned to the dishes. She was a beautiful woman. Alone and obviously troubled. Any man would have been interested in helping her. Kashi wondered if Tariq’s interest would have extended beyond the pain if she had not been present. If Lady Nazaire being his brother’s wife would dissuade him.

Such thoughts did not bring happiness. Only more doubts. They made her scrub harder. Furrowing a crease between her dark brows. Kashi knew it was foolishness. Petty, also. He was here. He was kind. She could not condemn him for the thing that had appealed to her to begin with. But she still wondered, and worried. Leaving one set of fears for another. Her heart for her stomach. And her aching feet. She needed sturdier footwear for all the walking they did. Later. Later she would manage some.

”He could get rid of some of it.” Kashi pointed out, a slice of apple directed at Tariq like an accusing finger. He defended his brother, she understood, but she thought he missed the truth she saw. ”Just because he inherited it does not mean he must keep it.” She thought the man must keep it because he liked it. Who gave up wealth? Even when it was excessive? And a personal harbor full of ships was excessive. And just then it seemed more unjust than ever before. Kashi was used to a low lot in life, even if hers had been by far better than any other pretty slave girl’s.

But a man had a harbor full of ships while they split a handful of food between three. And offered to share.

”I know.” If it got much worse, they would die. Or worse. And the Lady Nazaire would not deign to eat with them after offering her home. Kashi did not know if it was because the woman was too prideful, bitter or miserable. Or maybe this was her version of compassion. A roof to share, and refusal to take from those who had so little. It made Kashi feel small. Aware of the sand and dirt her feet shed on the lady’s floor as she rubbed one over the other and back again.

Tomorrow she would press again. Tariq could not hold out forever. She was a good worker, someone would be willing to pay him for use of her skills. Tariq had plans for tomorrow as well. Plans Kashi liked less than her own. ”And where am I supposed to stay, while you go speak with your brother?” Torn between wanting as far away from the warlord prince as possible, and not wanting separated from Tariq. ”With this Roan?” Who she had never met! Kashi smiled, teeth fierce and lower lip trembling. She had been so independent before! Owned but free. She had been confident and possessing of a certain security.

Now she was more vulnerable than ever and terrified by it. Galled by the weakness in her once strong body. Stripped of the protection her Jewels had afforded her. All she had was Tariq. It was a strange and cruel twist of fate. Once she had wanted only him. How the Darkness must have laughed at her wishful thinking.

Too overwrought for more eating, Kashi passed what was left of the food over to Tariq. Attributing the burning behind her eyes and the excess of emotion she felt to tiredness. ”Help me make a bed on the floor.” She stood slowly. Feet alive and awake with tingling. They ached bitterly to be stood on again but Kashi ignored the discomfort, sure they would hold her a while longer. And more than sure she could not sleep in another woman’s bed. ”There are extra blankets there.” She pointed, having noticed them earlier. Kashi worried about the laundry, but left it. That was a more intimate duty the lady might not appreciate.

”Here on the rug, where there is extra padding. Maybe she will change her mind in the night, and appreciate having her bed free.” She did not want Tariq in another woman’s bed either. No matter if that woman was absent and Kashi there with him.

Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Tariq Lamare on March 29, 2019, 08:33:24 PM
”It exists, so someone was going to have it, why not Isidore? He gives more than his share to the temple and give everyone in his employ- willing or not- a chance to advance their life.” Tariq answered. He didn’t know why it mattered. She was probably right, Isidore didn’t have to keep any of what he had inherited. If anything Tariq probably should have been jealous of what might have passed to him instead. But he was not. And there had been too many drunken confessions between the brothers for the younger not to wish he could fix all the things that hurt the other. Too much knowledge about the price of that inheritance. ”Besides in the years since it became his, he’s earned it all. If it pleases the Darkness and Mother Priestess for him to have it then the matter no one’s concern.”

He did not look at Kashi while he spoke the words. Eyes low and voice lower. Afraid to hurt her feelings or stick a wedge in the healing rift between their hearts. Feeling with covert probes he studied his own hands a moment, then the curves of her legs. Strong calves that tapered down to feet that had been dainty when they met. Now they were less so for the strain of carrying a child. Puffy around the toes and rubbed over one another while he made promises that things would improve. It had just happened so fast. From a bachelor that lived between paychecks to a man desperately selling everything he owned to free the woman he loved. A good, hard-working woman who’s qualities made the price to acquire her even higher.

Tasting the fresh anxiety in her tone Tariq stroked her sore legs with massaging Craft. Hands busy with cheese and bread while he explained between bites that he had a plan to bring their better days along more quickly. Working the telekinetic threads between her toes and over her heels he hurriedly swallowed to assure he had thought it through. ”Tomorrow you can meet Roan and his wife. If you’re comfortable staying there while I visit Isidore then yes, that would be ideal. You could come with me if you rather. My brother is generous, and friendly to a fault. Getting to know him won’t be a bad thing, I promise.” He wanted Kashi to be Isidore’s family the way Salome was his. To know his child and child’s mother would be looked after if he were gone.

His hands abandoned the food to join in the work of his Craft. From his seat on the floor he could put her feet in his lap. Fingers gentle but steady in their progress from toe tip to knee. One then the other while his less targeted Craft mimicked on the opposite leg. Until he had done both twice. Then he wiped his hands on his shirt and finished the cheese. Leaving half a hank of bread and the apples Kashi didn’t finish off for just in case. Determined that they wouldn’t actually need the meager leftovers later.

”Sit down. I can lay blankets on the floor all on my own.” He promised, trying to flap her away. Stealing the pile of blankets in one great sweep of his arms so she couldn’t bother with them. But watching the point of her finger to see where Kashi guided. ”Good thinking.” He agreed about the extra padding and Salome. ”I hope she won’t stay out there all night…” His brother might just kill him for letting that happen. Exposed, even if not particularly vulnerable. Folding a couple of the blankets in half he laid them down one atop the other. The weather was so fine they didn’t need to be covered by more than a sheet. If anything at all. ”If she does, stay out there out all night I’ll have to convince her to let me put shields up.” He said loudly enough for his voice to carry.

Yes. He was definitely going to have to talk to his brother.

When the cot of blankets was done he held his hands out to Kashi. Support to help her lower down on them. ”Rest. I’ll go say goodnight to Lady Nazaire. Let her know the bed is free and thank her again.”
Title: Re: Sleepless
Post by: Salomé Nazaire on May 28, 2019, 08:08:04 PM

She watched them, arms resting on the railing of the porch. From here she could see into the house without appearing to spy upon them. But she was. Cigarettes smoked to nothing, wine bottle emptied. Couple watched as they did her dishes, together, and then sat at the table, together. They sorted food and shared a meal, together.

A portion of their meager fare offered to her, but Salmone shook her head. She did not want to eat with them. Or see them. Or share her house with them. But she couldn’t let them continue. Walking to who knew where in the dark. Hungry and tired. But together. Feet rubbed. Food eaten. They began plotting out the best way to break up the house. Woman shooed back into her seat, Tariq swept up Salome’s extra blankets - when had she acquired so many? - and began arranging them into a bed on the floor. A tidy little bed for the couple.

She appreciated that they would not sleep in her bed. Bring their coupleness to her sheets. Another cigarette flicked away, they were not as good as his, and while it had burned slower it was long smoked, Salome rolled her eyes at the words that carried through the walls. Men were all the same. Vigilant in protecting their women. Physically. The rest they left to chance.

She let him. Shields to keep her in. To keep her safe. But her bed remained empty. Hammock swinging beneath her, she watched the stars rather watch him help his woman to lay down on her floor. She felt guilty for not insisting. But she didn’t want them in her bed. Between her sheets. Smelling the phantom scents of Salome and her lovers. Not many. Only one more than once.

In the morning she saw them off with a smile. Breakfast delivered from the village. Cigarettes smoked with her coffee instead of wine.