Old February 21, 2017, 10:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Aelyria Prime] These Words Don't Come Easily

Late Spring Era XXIV


Toward the side of a small back-alley inn there was a table littered with cards, dice, and coins. Several men were situated around it, faces buried in their hands, liquor sloshing about in the glasses they twirled idly as they thought. At the end, a hand had long been abandoned, coppers surrendered to the players who still remained, its owner having decided to favor something he deemed more interesting by now.

In the chair near that abandoned hand was seated a human man with dark hair nursing on a cigarette. One arm was hanging limply at this side, a whiskey bottle dangling from his fingers and grazing against the floor. A laugh rumbled from his chest, releasing a puff of light blue smoke that danced into the air.

The smoke trailed into the face of a woman who giggled at whatever it was he said. She was straddled in his lap, dark undulating hair spilling against his face and over the broadness of shoulders. By the way he tapped and scraped the bottle against the wooden floor, and by the way he wobbled slightly when he shifted, it was clear he was somewhat intoxicated.

Such had been Adyn's life for the past decade or so, his weekends spent lounging in a tavern with a woman he didn't know. For a time that had changed, as it sometimes did, but he had slipped easily enough back into the rhythm of his habits. To anyone who might have known him here, nothing seemed out of place, but inside the man's thoughts were a mash of something he determined he could no longer tolerate - and as such he nursed the whiskey with a fervent sort of desire to tamp down his need to feel. Recent events in Ziel Aerca, and being faced with a past in Port Alyxandrya, had done so very little for his nerves. Here, at least he could drown them.

The woman on his lap murmured something into his ear, causing the man to laugh again. He took another swig before setting the bottle down beside him, drawing the woman into him as she twirled a strand of hair.

The other patrons seemed to be ignoring the two amid the typical din of the environment. They were not the only ones enjoying themselves in such a way, after all.
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Old February 21, 2017, 11:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Drugs, alcohol, sex, the elf had experienced it all in a hazy whirlwind before she left Ziel Aerca. The city had began with such promise, and it ended up breaking her. She'd vowed never to return to Aelyria Prime until she could no longer remember that human's name. But she knew she would never forget it. His image would never fade from her mind as long as she lived.

She thought she was reconstructing her mask as she drowned herself with liquor. The woman begged for her old life back with every puff and snort of Sliucha's finest concoctions. Every man she took to her bed was meant to put more distance between herself and him. Yet he remained as fresh as the air on the brightening of their first encounter. She would never be rid of him. And the elf thought that might just be ok.

She gathered the pieces of herself that she could find and glued them together with grit and resolve. Ministra reemerged in the capitol city a few cycles previous. Those that remembered her barely recognized the elf that stood before them. She hadn't been eating. Her only sustenance came from a bottle. She was slowly reintroducing food into her diet now though, but the weight had yet to return. But it wasn't that so much as her demeanor had changed. She still had her feisty edge, but she was somehow softer. As if irritating her would no longer warrant a knife to the throat.

She found jobs where she could. She hadn't the heart to make her living the way she had previously. The thrumming behind her eyes was still there, always there, but she'd learned how to ignore it. It was one of these errands that brought her to this particular inn.

She tossed a bag of gems onto the table of an intense card game. She didn't appear the part of a thief currently. The elf was adorned in a simple blue dress; the color of her eyes which were currently still dancing from the thrill of the hunt. Her hair was pulled to the side and tied over her shoulder; she could have been mistaken for someone who belonged among civilized people. One of the men looked up at her and grinned as he pulled her onto his lap.

Ministra smiled and allowed herself to be yanked in that direction letting out a little squeal. It was the game she had to play in order to be paid. The man opened the bag and counted the gems. He nodded to his friend who handed the elf a pouch with some coin. It was her turn to inspect the contents. Her brow furrowed into a scowl.

"You said twice this," her voice was even without a twinge of malice. Just a simple statement; an invitation to right the wrong that had been done to her. The man laughed and buried his face in her neck as his arms tightened around her waist. She pushed him away as she continued, "I need that money, Merek!" The blonde man shook his head at her. "You'll get the rest when you finish the job, you know that Mini."
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Old February 22, 2017, 08:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Adyn had picked Merek's face out in the crowd when he had initially entered. He had a tendency to do those types of things with the people he didn't like. As the alcohol had taken its hold, however, he had allowed himself to focus on the woman in his lap, and in time Merek had become a memory like many of the rogue's other problems.

What didn't help was that Merek was drawing attention to himself now, and the rogue groaned into his companions hair, determining that the man's voice was positively ruining his afternoon. The human turned his gaze, rested his head on the woman's shoulder, and peered toward the table to his right. Adyn watched the scene unfold with eyes that seemed to see right through Merek and his new friend, his lips set into a thin line over his cigarette.

Then, he laughed. It was a laugh of disbelieving amusement, one that erupted suddenly and faded slowly before he turned back to look at the prostitute.

"She looks just like my ex." His speech lumbered, fighting the background noise.

The girl looked, wide-eyed, directly at Ministra, giving her an amused once-over. "That one? I didn't peg you for the type."

"Nonono," Adyn turned into the woman's temple, murmuring something that the other table couldn't hear.

The girl giggled at Ministra, eyes grazing once again over her hair and dress, and then turned her face into the human's neck. It almost seemed as though the two of them might have abandoned their attentions on the table, until Adyn inevitably turned a scowl back toward Merek.

"You cheating her, too, you scummy bastard?"

The girl in his lap giggled again, having become used to the occasional insult Adyn had seen fit to sling out toward Merek. So far they had gone largely ignored, so she seemed unconcerned with whatever reaction might result.
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Old February 22, 2017, 09:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ministra's face fell when he said she needed to finish the job. Yes, she knew exactly what that meant. Another darkening of him grunting on top of her while she staved off a wave of nausea and remained unsatisfied. But he kept her supplied with drugs and paid her enough to get by. Just once she would have liked to get paid without having to feel his hands on her.

He'd initially hired her after remembering how she cleverly stole his wishing gem without him noticing. If she could do that to him, she could do it to others. He had no shortage of that need. The other parts of their arrangement were a sort of punishment for embarrassing him in the first place. He didn't like being rejected, burgled, and abandoned. Merek took it upon himself to remind Ministra of that every chance he could.

And yet every brightening, her face would be renewed as if he hadn't shown his displeasure a few candlemarks before. It gave him a sort of sick joy to know he'd have a fresh canvas each time he saw her. He didn't know how she did it, and he didn't ask.

His hand had snaked its way under her dress by now, exposing her leg as his fingers wound up her thigh. The elf had to suppress a shudder of disgust. "Can't we just go upstairs?" she cooed into his ear. He lifted his head from her neck at her words and was distracted by the drunk at the other table.

His hand detached from her thigh and Ministra breathed a sigh of relief. He slammed a fist into the table and scowled at the man. "Mind your own business, why don't ya? You deal with your whore and I'll deal with mine. What's it matter to you anyway?"

The elf had long since stopped surveying the inhabitants of the inn. She didn't want to know their faces any more than she wanted them to know hers. Ministra took Merek's distraction as an opportunity to stand and smooth her skirt, wincing when the word whore was used as a pronoun for her name. She wished he hadn't of said that.

Ministra could handle a lot of things. She could tolerate many words thrown in her direction. And as much as it might have seemed like she was, in fact, a whore, she couldn't tolerate the term being used for her. The elf drew a deep breath and rolled her eyes. She really was trying here. The coin purse found its way into a pocket. Her heart was beating against her chest.

Merek looked at her as if challenging her to say something. He knew the meek little elf wouldn't do anything. She never did. Her rage was always bottled for the job. He felt completely secure in that fact. Which was why he didn't mind looking her straight in the eye and repeating the word, "Whore."

The lip that Ministra had been biting fell from between her teeth as the ends of her mouth curled upwards into a grin. "Oh Merek," she laughed as she shook her head. Her right hand curled into a fist as she brought her arm back and socked the man in the face with all the pent up anger she'd been storing since Ziel Aerca. His head fell onto the table as she spat at his feet and walked to the bar.

She supposed it was time to find a new job. But first, wine.
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Last edited by Ministra; February 22, 2017 at 09:25 AM.
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Old February 22, 2017, 09:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Spurred on by Merek's reaction, the aggressive sound of the drunkard's voice only loudened. There was a sort of enjoyment that leaped into him at how angry Merek finally sounded. Even the prostitute in his lap seemed to understand the change, and her giggling faltered as her head settled onto his shoulder. She watched Merek curiously from the shadow of Adyn's jawline, her expression unreadable... disconnected.

"Or what, you're going to fight me? You didn't seem so eager the last time," Adyn blathered on. And what did it matter to him? "Nothing, really, I just don't like you, you ugly bastard."

Realizing that Merek had turned around to say something to the woman made Adyn's eyes narrow in frustration. He was supposed to be paying attention to him, not bothering the girl. Adyn opened his mouth to egg him on further when suddenly the elf wound back and clocked him.

Both Adyn and the woman in his lap couldn't help but laugh at the proceedings. That took care of things just nicely. Still, even in his inebriated state, the human realized the elf had just soured herself to Merek and his entire crowd. She might not eat tonight, he knew, might even be pursued and taught a lesson by the injured man. That always left a sour taste in Adyn's mouth. Even then, he wanted terribly to ignore it, to keep his nose in his own damn business.

But... gods if she didn't look like someone he cared about. That was the problem with caring. The voice in his head wanted to beat him silly for having put more stories behind the faces. He groaned, patting the girl's thigh in a way that caused her eyes to shoot up to meet him.

"You gonna get me a drink?" she asked hopefully, but there was doubt in her eyes as they flickered toward Ministra. She was afraid she was getting replaced now, after the display the elf had put on.

"Five minutes," he promised. "I'll be right back."

Of course, who the feth knew at this point. Things always changed in mere moments around here. As the girl stepped off and away from him the human rolled to his feet, snatching the neck of the bottle beside him on his way up. He eyed Merek as he began to lumber past, cigarette lolling slightly, on his pursuit of the elf who had gone to the bar. He glared at the other human, daring him to try something. Even drunk as he was, Adyn's confidence demanded that he could finish the elf's job if he wanted to.
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Old February 22, 2017, 10:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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She gazed at her bloodied knuckles while she waited for her glass of wine, hands trembling, not with fear but with adrenaline. That had felt good. Ministra had wanted to do more. She should have done more a cycle ago when her nose had been broken. Something within her kept telling she deserved it all though. For all the pain that she had caused over her long life, a temporary broken bone was the least she should have to endure. She deserved more pain than that. The elf knew her sins could never be atoned for, but that didn't stop her from trying.

Maybe she shouldn't have punched him. It was too late now though. She had a few coins in her pocket so a hot meal in a few days would be ready for her. When her hunger had become so great that she wouldn't think she could live another moment, that would be when she dined. Steak and potatoes. The elf smiled at the thought. Thievery wasn't nearly as lucrative as murder, but she would survive. She always did.

None of Merek's crew rushed to his defense. They were too busy chuckling into their cups. They'd warned him. They had seen her in fights while working with her. The elf could be downright terrifying when in the throes of it. At least now they wouldn't have to worry about her blades turning on them. They would have to wait and see what Merek thought when he woke up though.

The bartender slid her a glass of wine along with a cold rag for her hand. He smiled gently at the woman and refused to take her coin. He had bore witness to the dealings of this place long enough to recognize what was happening. He was rather proud of her for finally standing up for herself.

She nodded gratefully and wound the rag around her hand with a wince. Ministra set herself upon a stool and delicately wrapped her fingers around the stem of her glass to take a sip. She kept her back to the world. She'd caused a scene and she didn't want to face the eyes now glancing curiously at the monster at the bar. She wanted to turn invisible again.

A presence came beside her and she had to overcome the need to shrink away. It didn't seem like it was going anywhere though. Ministra mustered enough of her confidence to square her shoulders to meet her new foe and raised her eyes up his chest to his face. Eyes widened with recognition and any words of remonstration to the interloper were caught in her throat which could only muster a surprised, "Oh?"

It was him.

Her heart suddenly felt as heavy as it had the night she'd stormed away and hadn't been chased. Her lip was caught between her teeth as her breath was held in her lungs. As if in reflex, with a mind of their own, her fingers reached for the familiar lines of his face. If she could just touch him, she would know he was real.
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Old February 22, 2017, 10:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The human gave a satisfied grunt when he realized Merek was out cold. He stumbled briefly, found the bar, and then leaned into it for support. He placed the near empty bottle of whiskey on the surface and nodded at the bartender, turning his body slightly to face the elf who had refused to look back so far.

"You know, I could probably find you some work-"

The slowness of his tongue didn't allow him to get the words out before he realized the woman's hand was in his face. He winced, worried that she might hit him, and reached out to stop her from poking him in the eyes. His fingers fumbled, clumsily wrapping around hers briefly to try and guide her hand back to the bar.

"Hey, watch it," he managed, patting her hand once it had found the wooden surface. There, his face was nice and safe now.

"Listen, that guy has a stick wedged so far up his ass he can't walk straight anymore." He seemed entirely pleased to speak ill of Merek, just for the hells of it. "The people I work for are..."

He peered at her, willing his eyes to focus, realizing all too suddenly now that he was close enough to compare her to the woman he knew. The similarities were so striking that for a moment he thought his heart might have stopped. A fear was welling up in him so swift and hot that he could have sworn the alcohol had stopped working.

Perhaps it was the fear that fought the acceptance. His brain was denying the truth of her. He shook his head, closed his eyes for a second, then looked like he might be sick.

He turned into the bar suddenly, exhaling in the hopes that his problems would depart his lungs as well. He removed the cigarette from his mouth in what might have seemed like a gesture of defeat, snuffing it out on the countertop.

"I need another drink," he mumbled to the bartender.
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Old February 22, 2017, 10:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Her eyes twisted into confusion as her hand was unceremoniously wrenched from his face and placed onto the bar. A flush of embarrassment rose to her cheeks. Had she been forgotten so easily? Was it just as she had thought and he truly had found her just a fleeting fancy? The secrets they had whispered to each other in the cloak of darkness and the words of love that had befallen each other's lips couldn't have been a lie. At least they hadn't been for her.

Ministra kept her gaze on him as he wobbled back and forth. Drunk. So drunk that he couldn't recognize her? She couldn't believe it. Had she changed so much that he couldn't see her anymore? The elf didn't think so. But then, she had been able to gaze at herself in a mirror every day and watch the slow process of her transformation.

Her jaw set to the side, holding back everything that she told herself she was going to say to him if she saw him again. All the apologies and declarations of love were forgotten. Her cheeks twitched with tension, as a look of disgust crossed his face before he fell into the bar. Was that truly how he remembered her? With disgust? The thought of her made him queasy?

Well there was only one thing for it. If she were to be rejected twice by the same man, she might as well make him spew the contents of his stomach onto the bar.

"You always were an idiot, Adynirach Thorne," she teased at him while grasping his face in both hands and turning it towards her own. As quick as she could, she thrust her lips upon his and felt that heady explosion of electricity that only he had ever managed to push into her. If he were to forget her, she wanted that one last moment. She'd taken for granted the scent of him when she had it and now she was drinking in every detail to hold from now on. Every sensation that was felt in that brief moment would be clung to.

For all the things she blamed him for this past season, making her feel was the greatest. And she wanted to remember what it meant. It would hurt worse the second time he left. But she would have this last stolen kiss.
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Old February 22, 2017, 11:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Adyn knew that it was her. He had, perhaps, known it the moment he had really, truly looked at her at the bar. But there he was, trying to tell himself that the woman he was convinced he had abandoned in Ziel Aerca... could not be standing beside him in an old battered inn, in a corner of nowhere-Aelyria-Prime. He tried to remember if he might have smoked something too, before arriving earlier that day, and it was this thought process that still remained when he realized the woman had said his name.

Bewilderment and fear still drawn across his features, the man could barely fight her when she grabbed hold of his face and turned him in her direction. He opened his mouth to speak, only to find the words drowned out by lips that felt so familiar. There was no doubting who they belonged to any more.

For a moment the rogue was so lost in his confusion that he sunk somewhat, feeling the goosebumps rise against his neck. The feeling of her absense came back to crush at him full force, cascading over the alcohol-induced fog and weighing on his shoulders. A simultaneous feeling of pain and relief wanted to wrench against his stomach, and without thinking his lips began to move, his body began to lean, and he kissed the woman back.

Breath thick with the smell of alcohol and Sparkle, the human could barely fight it. He met her with the force of a man who had abandoned all regret. His tongue found hers and he started to reach out to her, fingers grazing against the material of her dress.

But in an instant he realized where that weakness had gotten him before, and the high that he received from Ministra was tamped upon by logic. His heart fell, and for once since he had started on that bottle of whiskey, he willed himself to think.

No, nonono... He pulled away, forcing himself to breathe and stand all at once, and then stumbled slightly against the stool. His back hit the wall.

"No," he managed, holding a hand out in front of himself as if to keep her at bay, "Not again. I can't. I can't..."

After everything that had happened...after the rollercoaster of emotions. The pain. The elation. And now Port Alyxandrya? He was too torn by it all to not understand how these entanglements were destroying him.
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Old February 22, 2017, 11:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Time. It was what he asked for when she went raging off into the cold. The one thing that Ministra had in plenty, and she hadn't been willing to give it to him. She could feel him sink into her and she knew he recognized her now. His body was unwilling to forget her as easily as his head. As he pulled away, he took her heart from her lips and she was glad for him to have it back. She hadn't meant to take it with her. It was his after all, given freely from a monster who hadn't known what it meant at the time. She knew now though. And her patience could endure.

She nodded and smiled weakly at his declaration, patting the stool next to her. "Take your time, Adyn," she hoped he would know what she meant by that. She'd spent many darkenings chastising her pride and vanity trying to determine just what had caused her to leave him.

The elf fished a necklace from the bodice of her dress and began to absently spin the ruby on the chain as she leaned her elbows on the bar. At least her hands would be busy and she wouldn't be tempted to grab him again. Her eyes concentrated on the flow of color through the thing and she smiled at the memory it brought her. Of him delicately holding her hands as he prodded her through opening her first lock. She didn't want to think on what came after that. No, this gem was from a happier time.

If he chose to stay and sit with her, she had some words that she would air in his direction. They started with a simple, "I'm sorry." A glance into the grey-blue of his eyes told him that she truly was sorry for whatever pain she had caused him. Neither of them acted in a manner that was becoming. But she could take responsibility for her part. She'd wait to see if he could for his.

But she was just getting started. "I'm sorry for hurting you. It was never my intention. I just-" the woman sighed. This speech went so much better when he wasn't actually here to look at her. "I'd never felt like that before. No one ever cared for me the way you did. I found myself loving you faster than I should have, but how was I supposed to know how to deal with what love meant when I'd never been shown before? I did the best that I could, and I failed. I was selfish and vain and cruel. I couldn't see past my own insecurities to see that you needed something more from me."

She closed her eyes and lifted her head to the ceiling in an attempt to keep the moisture from the edges. Her words were coming easier now.

"I tried to give you patience. I demonstrated what grace that I could muster. And when you asked for time, I found I couldn't give any more without something in return. I know now that I shouldn't expect anything in return for the gift of love. It should simply be given and continued to be given and grown and fostered without the expectation of its requital.

So you have it, Rogue.

My heart is yours to do with what you will. I don't expect yours in return. The time you asked for is freely given to you. I will always be waiting for you to return to me."
She stopped and lowered her head, not looking at him. He might not even be there anymore. There were so many nights that she thought him to be there and she recited the same speech that this could have easily been one of those hallucinations.

"I will never be sorry for loving you though. You can't take away our time together. For all the pain we caused each other, there was real love and passion there. You cannot deny that."

She took a sip of wine and thought for a moment. There was more, she was certain she was forgetting something but it wasn't coming to her right now. Her lips pursed as she bit the inside of her cheek. "I suppose I'm also sorry for punching you... even if it did feel really good."
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Old February 22, 2017, 12:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The human's head was reeling. He stood there, arm stretched outward, waiting for her to assault him with something, anything - words, kisses, love, anger. It would have been like all the times before, where the rapidity of their relationship and the passion behind their words had drawn temporary patches over the pain they had inflicted. He wasn't ready for any of it. So much thought had gone into their separation that he had been tired of it by the time he left Ziel Aerca, slathering it in alcohol and what he had of Sliucha's drugs.

He had thought the alcohol would rid him of his problems, but here was, drunk and spinning, and she was sitting at the bar. He forced himself to keep breathing, his eyes closing and reopening tightly as if willing her image to dissipate away. He had thought that with time the sight of her would fade and the wounds of their relationship would disappear, too. He had convinced himself that the agony or the worry he had constantly faced wasn't worth the moments of bliss he had shared with her.

He still was not convinced. He couldn't even bring himself to move from the wall when she sat there, twirling something in her hands. He waited for his surroundings to seem solid again, hands somewhere at his side, eyes staring through the back of her head and into some world beyond. Among the noise that hammered at him from all directions, her voice seemed to carry through.

An apology. He swallowed it down and found it was one he had difficulty accepting. He was not angry with her, truth be told... had never truly had been. But he had learned in their time together that the sorries were plenty and frequent, between the two of them.

They were even more frequent now. He found his teeth clenching as she continued, hammering at him with all the things he would never be ready to hear. She seemed to be describing him with her "I"s and "my"s, but that only served to drive the pains of reality even further into his heart. They were too similar, the elf and the human, too passionate, too insecure.

Silently, the man found his feet again, willing them to carry him to the stool beside her. He sank into it, using the bar for support, his thoughts trying to break through the blur. He looked at Ministra, face devoid of hatred or anger, his breath steady and tired as he considered what to say to her. He was hardly in a state to offer the right words, but it was important that he try.

"I am sorry, too," he murmured. "I meant every word I said to you. Perhaps I didn't tell you everything, but anything I ever said was true." If it had not been, then he had believed in it at least.

"I made a mistake. I made many mistakes. I am a walking bag of mistakes." He sighed. "I am sorry to have dragged you into them. I should have known better, before."

He chewed on his thoughts a little, closing his eyes against her I love yous. They stung as much as they soothed the ache that had remained when she had left. He opened his mouth to return them, to leap right down that hole again, but he realized swiftly and painfully that to do so would not be right. Accepting and returning those words would reignite a hope he wasn't sure was good for either of them anymore.

Instead, he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, finding himself disappointed in the inadequacy of the gesture. She was beautiful, he realized, dressed like that... it was like she had blossomed somehow in his absence. If only he could feel surprised at that.

"Have you been well?" he managed, a strain clearly in his voice. He hoped against all else that she had been safe in her recent travels. Despite her having been the one to leave, he had felt that departing the city without her was an abandonment, and he had yet to come to terms with how he felt about himself because of that.
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Old February 22, 2017, 01:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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"We weren't a mistake, Adynirach Thorne," she replied without looking at him. At least he was still there. The hand on her shoulder told her as much. She willed him to take her into his arms and hold her against the world once more. She longed for that spot on his chest that she fit so perfectly into. When their bodies were pressed against each other, she always felt like they could face anything and they would endure. As if they had been two halves of a whole coming together. She could be patient though.

In the time since leaving the City of Lights, Ministra had stumbled through the wilderness trying to find peace. She'd eventually found the calm that coursed through her now. She couldn't explain the sensation of acceptance or where it had come from, but it was there. That seed was watered regularly and was on its path towards flourishing.

She turned to face him now after his question and smiled as she replied, "No." Her eyes flitted briefly to Merek who was beginning to stir and she chuckled. She would have been happy to leave it at that. But that had always been their problem, hadn't it? Their words were few and never correct. There was too much room for interpretation and doubt to seep into the emptiness of failed communication.

She drew in a deep breath and the edges of her smile grew crooked, "Apparently I enjoy getting myself into trouble." Her brow cocked in that old way it would when she was teasing. "Him being my latest instrument with which to torture myself." She didn't bother to nod towards the object of the him. Adyn would know.

She dropped the gem from her fingers and let the necklace fall to her bosom as one hand rested on her knee and the other absently drew circles around the lip of her glass. She supposed she should start from the beginning. If he truly wanted to know if she'd been well. "I tried every drug Sliucha had to offer, I'd probably be better at selling them than you by now. Met some strange people in that city too. I tried to find myself at the bottom of a bottle or the end of a line of that white powder stuff," her brow furrowed as she still couldn't think of the name.

"I forgot to eat most days," her eyebrows raised with a shrug. It wasn't that big of a deal. She was still alive after all. "Eventually came back and he found me. Offered to pay me for services rendered. Steal some things, never intimidation though. Not scary enough, I guess." That would always sting. "He isn't a nice man." she let the words hang in the air for a moment.

She absently traced the lines of her own face. The one she had reconstructed too many times to count now. "I put up with him because I deserved it. I've done so many truly evil things, that I let him take his frustrations out on me. I let the pain swallow me up each darkening. It's the least I deserve really." Another dismissive shrug. She'd resigned herself to her fate. She was certain when Merek finally awoke she would be dragged up the stairs anyway. Such was life.

Her eyes danced with feigned mirth as they settled upon his again, straining to keep the pain from them. "Or would a simple no have been better?"she chuckled. She knew what she said couldn't have been easy for him. Saying the words out loud hadn't been easy for her. She didn't know if life was supposed to be easy though. Sometimes, she supposed, one had to fight through the pain and doubt and fears and leap into the unknown. So the words were spoken and her story was given. It wasn't up to her what was done with it after that.

"And you? You look-" drunk. Scared witless. Like the elf still made him want to puke. "handsome."
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Last edited by Ministra; February 22, 2017 at 01:17 PM.
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Old February 22, 2017, 01:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Adyn didn't respond to her declaration that they had not been a mistake. He had enjoyed their moments and missed them still, but his heart was torn and his life had tumbled. Things were not the same, and he had still not come to terms with whether he was okay with that or not. Life had become too complicated and confounding in just the past two seasons. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he may need more than time.

A frown deepened further and further as she began to recount her experiences up until now. A brief flicker of disappointment, then anger, then sorrow flashed through his eyes even through the drunken haze. The falsity in the bloom of her face and the manner of her garb somehow became clear to him after that, and he realized how thin she had become and how broken she sounded as she spoke. The fire in her voice had become something of a weakened, defeated ember. The realization of what she had put herself through made him sick for her and for himself.

More than anything, it made him realize what he had done by letting things go too far. His thoughts drifted back to what he had realized when speaking to Kailin in the gardens. Everything he touched eventually wilted and turned to ash. He had destroyed Ministra, he realized, and there was no forgiveness in that.

"You deserved nothing of the sort." His voice dripped like poison. "It's the belief in such a thing that encourages people like that." There was no reproach directed toward her, his anger born of how often he had seen men like Merek abuse those who had lost their power.

He wobbled somewhat as he shifted in the stool, tightening his grip on her shoulder briefly for support. He sighed at her question, not sure how to respond to her in a way that sounded callous to her pain. Adyn had swiftly retreated to his drink and drugs, but this was something he had done for many years before. To tell her that he had so readily drowned himself in his routine felt wrong to him. And to tell her that he had gone to see Kerric to apologize... more importantly, that had seen Kailin there? His heart ached at the confusion that had been planted upon that visit.

"Do I? I'm pretty sure I look... plastered," he mumbled. He certainly felt it. He groaned, rubbing at his temple. "But I... I wasn't in my right mind for a while, either, Mini. I'm still not, to be honest."

He breathed, looking solemnly at her face. Gods, what had he done to her? He found himself withdrawing internally in shame.

"Where are you staying now? You should... stay out of this area for a while, I think." His gaze flitted toward Merek's inert form, wondering how long it would take him to wake up. It was probably not the best idea for Ministra to be present when he did.
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Old February 22, 2017, 02:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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He knew the monster that hid behind her face. He'd caught glimpses of it as she relished in a kill. She'd recounted what she used to think of as her life's work to him. He knew what she was and what she had done. And he still didn't think she deserved every bit of pain that was inflicted upon her? The elf couldn't believe that. Wide bewildered eyes were all she had in response to that. There were no words. She didn't want to even try and find them. "We both know better than that," was all she could muster along with a small smile.

She laughed when he admitted to being drunk and rubbed at his temple. The gesture was all too familiar. "You've always looked handsome to me, Rogue. Even when you are plastered and reek of smoke. I've always seen you. I couldn't see myself before. Though she is now slowly emerging from the pile of ash I caused." "And she is a spitfire too," she thought bemused. What would he think of her now? She found she wanted to know how he would react to her new countenance. She couldn't call it a mask, as she had no more need for such things. That had been left in a ditch in Ziel Aerca.

He didn't offer any more explanation as to how he had been. He was still closed off to her. He probably always would be. She rolled her eyes and sighed. Why was her heart so stupid? She wouldn't have changed it for the world though. Whatever effect she had on him seemed to have been extremely negative and that she would take back. If it meant he could return to the man she met on the rooftops, Ministra would thrust herself back into the darkness. She wished he would open up to her.

She stuck her thumb upwards towards the stairs when he asked where she was staying. "With him." She could have just as easily found somewhere else, someone else, or slept in the streets as she had done in Ziel Aerca- as she had done for eras before meeting Adyn. She was comfortable in her complacency though. She'd found a routine. She worked and she atoned. When Merek finally killed her or died himself, the next chapter could begin.

The elf leaned in close and whispered, "He doesn't understand how I go to bed with bruises and wake up renewed," she bit her lip and an innocent look befell her face at her insinuation.
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Old February 22, 2017, 02:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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He shook his head at her dismissal of his words, at how she seemed to sink into a mirror of his own self-deprecation.

A soft smile found its way to the corner of his lips as she called him handsome again. He had always been aware of as much, and it had gotten him the things he had wanted at times. His self-assuredness in that regard had come so easily that he had stopped caring after a while. Somehow her own words meant more than the truth, though, a cool balm that soothed his self perceptions. He liked to think that a part of what she had seen in him before, the man who had been capable and worthy, was still somewhere beneath all the rest of him.

A sneer curled at his lips when she declared that Merek was her boarder. He considered turning around and giving the man a good swift kick to wake up to later on, but then a sharp gaze turned back to Ministra when she addmitted what she had done. There was a flicker of something in his eyes that he swiftly buried away, before he reached into a pocket and produced a couple silvers.

His hand fell away from her shoulder and found her hand, which he cupped in both of his. He pressed the coins into her palm.

"Come on, I'll walk you home," he said, not really thinking so far as to realize that he was not the most stable of travelers right now. He would not leave her to sleep with Merek another day. He was convinced he just might kill the man instead, and was eager to leave the building.

"I don't use it much anyway," he blundered on by way of explanation. "I work so often, I..." He frowned again, seeming to consider something.

"I am serious about a job, you know. I hope that you'll consider it."
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