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Old May 28, 2014, 07:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rose [Spring] I would give everything I own (Klue, please)

Timestamp: Mid-spring, Era XXI

It had been so very long, and Hay'aan had been so very unsuccessful in what she had set out to do. The memory of the argument they had before she left had been foremost in her mind but she pushed the memory from her as she turned the corner and saw Wits' End in front of her. Her children.... their children. They were there and Hay'aan knew without a doubt that they were some of the people who loved her unconditionally. Of Klue, she had no doubt that his love for her was strong, but she had left him. Without agreement, she left him. She knew that he had just been made Lord Protector but she had to find her family. Could he ever forgive her for that? She wasn't sure.

Damnit, but some brightenings, she could be unerringly selfish.

And then He had been there. This Man that she did not know, this one who had.... she would not think that, would not consider him, she thought to herself. Looking down at the floor, at the ground which she had walked so many times, Hay'aan breathed in. Her babies were here and she had no idea how to tell them how sorry she was. She had considered so many possibilities. What if he had met someone else? She couldn't blame him. She had left and he had told her that it was a bad idea. They needed to find out about the Xet, but no. No, she had to find her family. Her face flushed the familiar flush as she remembered just how stubborn she had been about that. What could she do to make amends?

One foot in front of the other. That was all she could manage. Wearing the same clothes that she had worn the last time he saw her, thinner and with a look in her eyes that told of more than she would ever speak voluntarily, Hay'aan took the final steps and did something that she had not done for what seemed like a lifetime.

She lifted a hand and knocked the door. After all, she couldn't bear it if he was there with someone else and she walked in. No..... no this was better. She didn't have a right to belong here any more, as much as she wanted to. So, she knocked the door and waited to see if anyone would answer.
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Old May 28, 2014, 08:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hay'aan knocked on the door. But long seconds passed, seconds turned into a full minute or more. The door never opened and she'd realize that all she could hear was the sound of the surf down on the shore, of the light breeze rattling through a few of the taller whirligigs off to the back of the house. Their metallic, rhythmic squeaking might seem unnerving, when Wits' End seemed so eerily still and silent.

No footsteps heading towards the door, bare feet on wood plank floors, no childish shouts of 'I'll get it!...No, let me!" Just silence, and nothing else at all. Suddenly Giggums, Katerina's old ginger cat came up on the porch and began weaving its way through Hay'aan's ankles. Next to the door was a rusty pail and two sets of mud boots. One of them appeared to be Klue's, or maybe Edgar's. The other pair was small, maybe belonging to Praesis.

And then, just when the silence seemed to stretch out unnaturally long, she could hear the back door of the house swing open and bang shut again, and the more familiar sounds of bare feet racing towards the front door. "I'll get it Grams!"

Funny. That didn't sound like Klue, and though childish seeming, definitely not one of Hay'aan's children.

Just then, the front door swung open. And before she could even look down, a small chubby figure with curling hair hurled himself at her, hugging, burying himself into her knees...or her lap.

Definitely not one of her children. But the bespectacled Blinky was as familiar as one of them, and as common a sight at Wits' End. "Hay'aan!" the little fellow exclaimed and looked up at her, blue eyes wide, blinking, teary. "Grams!" he shouted back at the door, or rather at the side of the house before turning back to assailing Hay'aan.

"You're ok! It's been so long....Are you ok?! Where have you been?" Blinky was a compulsive crier on his best brightenings. Now the tears were streaming and he was unstoppable. And the string of questions went on, mostly incoherent, nonsensical now...."When he came back he said you weren't....sniff...but we thought you were....sniff...and he was too...but then he came....sniff...snifff...." Finally Blinky pulled himself together, sort of, pushed his spectacles up his nose, blinked a few times and asked, "Are you ok, really?"
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Old May 28, 2014, 08:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The thing with silence, Hay'aan had learnt over the eons of time that she had spent captive since last she saw Klue was that it was deafening. Deafening and vile and something which made the skin on her arms stand to attention. The sound of the whirligigs was something which gave her comfort; their metallic squeaking was familiar to her, was akin to family. But they were not here, her people. She felt every fear lift into her chest and constrict there. They had left. Perhaps they were at Klue's wedding on the beach to a beautiful, talented, clever woman who never ran off to seek out her family, who never argued with him.... a woman that he was totally unlikely to marry, she knew in her heart, but her heart was fickle and it scared her with pictures of women who were much more likely to be attractive to her wild-haired love.

Silence.

It was deafening. It was complete and it was all that she heard. No children. No shouts and laughter, no screams and giggles. Nothing.

Nothing.

It was everything that He had showed her and more. It was all of them gone away, not one of them looking for her. None of them remembering who she was. Just... gone.

She looked down at the boots and she bent at the knee, putting her hand down to touch them. Klue? She thought so, but possibly Edgar. What if something had happened to Edgar or Lily whilst she had run off on such frivolous adventures, she considered? They were her family now and she had no choice but to face up to the very real consequences of her actions.


So Hay'aan Malinconico did something which she did not think she would ever do at this door. She stepped backwards. Away from this place where she no longer deserved a place. She had worked so hard to earn it and now it was no longer there. Klue was on the beach, marrying a woman who was more beautiful, more talented than her and the children all loved her because she was there for them. Hay'aan understood that and she had nothing in her heart except hatred for herself; no hate for the unknown woman or animosity for Klue. How could she expect him to wait, after all?

And then, landing on the floor with something of a thump, Hay'aan realised that Blinky was in her lap. That she was sitting on there floor and therefore had a lap to sit in was something of a surprise, but she looked at him in amazement. Blinky, this lovely wonderful little fellow. Why wasn't he at the wedding which she had created entirely in her mind? What was keeping him from this place?

She heard his questions, but she shook her head. She couldn't tell him. It wasn't something she could vocalise to him. It just wasn't. She shook her head and tried to escape. From him, from this situation. It had been so long since she'd spoken to anyone and to be faced with Blinky was just about as extreme as it could be.

"I'm fine" she said, quietly, her voice stuttering in a way which it never had "I just.... I just want to... are the... the children? Is it finished.... that is.... when will Klue be free? I need to... oh Blinky, I'm so sorry.... I can't do this right now" she said, tears filling her eyes and spilling down in a manner which was most unusual for the young Air'riela. "I was... it's ok. He said I wasn't and you thought... but he was right. I wasn't. Whatever he came to, it's right for him. I just... oh ... I can't do this... but he came to it... Blinky... is he.. is he happy? I just want to... please don't tell him I was here. I don't wish to complicate it. I'm fine. I'm fine with it. If he's happy, I'm fine. Really"

It seemed that, somewhere along the line, lines of communication had become somewhat confused. Hay'aan scrabbled backwards and then, if she could but extricate herself, she would stand and back off.

"Please.... just... I'm sorry, Blinky. You should get yourself down to the... to the..... to the beach. she said, unable to say the words which represented the reality she had created.
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Old May 28, 2014, 09:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Blinky had rarely been happier, but somehow the little cether managed to look all the more miserable as he climbed to his feet and blinked back at Hay'aan. Blinking, spectacles up the bridge of his nose, blinking again, and snuffling, he just couldn't help it. "Why would I want to go down to the beach?" he wondered aloud.

Just then, another familiar voice drifted round the side of the house, and it was headed their way, annoyed and just around the corner. "Blinky, what's all this nonsense I'm hearing!? If it's that peddlar again, well you can just take your box of nonsense, your doubletalk and be on your way before I have to..."

From round the corner, Pilar Malinconico appeared, a basket in her hand overflowing with vegetables from the garden. Klue's grandmother hadn't changed much, there was something timeless about the aged seventy something woman that others envied. Tall, willowy, silver waving hair left loose as if she was only seventeen and as eccentric seeming as ever.

At the sight of Hay'aan, Pilar stopped dead in her tracks, the basket dropped out of her hand and its contents spilled on to the ground and she raised a hand to her mouth from the shock of seeing the young woman standing there with Blinky. "Look Grams, Hay'aan's here now...She's ok!

It took a second or three for Pilar to gather her wits and she shook her head slowly. "I've got eyes to see Blinky...By the gods child, where have you been?" the woman said as she came up on the steps and framed Hay'aan's face in her hands to have a look, then embraced her.

"Nevermind that, just you never mind," she said then as she pulled back, but kept hold of Hay'aan's hands. Whether Pilar sensed there were things Hay'aan didn't want to talk about, or not, whether she sensed some barely endured hardship was impossible to say. It only seemed she'd decided not to press.

"You come inside now, child, you're thin as a rail. Not so different than he was," she added. "Blinky, go in the kitchen and fix Hay'aan some tea," she added while pulling Hay'aan into the house, into the front room.

"Then....Well, where's he gone off to then?" she wondered, before Blinky hurried off. "I think he's at the paper, he said the press needed fixing, should I run get him?" Blinky asked. "Fix some tea first," Pilar said and urged Hay'aan into the sitting room.

"Sit down, Hay'aan," she said quietly. "And before you ask, the children are fine. They're off with Lily and Edgar at the market. They should be back in a candlemark or so. Now I won't ask you what you've been through or where you've been all this time. But at least tell me you're alright now."
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Last edited by Klue Malinconico; May 28, 2014 at 11:18 PM.
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Old May 29, 2014, 07:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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That she was overwhelming the poor Cether was clear and Hay'aan shook her head, trying to be thoughtful and remembering that this was confusing for him. "The beach.... I... I thought Klue was there." she mumbled and then turned, physically jumping and somewhat startled as she heard Pilar's voice. The familiarity of the woman was reassuring, however, and Hay'aan did not move from the spot on which she stood. For those few seconds, the young gypsy girl looked at Pilar and said nothing, just as Pilar looked at her.

Then, as Pilar first cupped Hay'aan's face in her wrinkled hands and then embraced her, the older woman would feel the tension in her, the urge to pull away and run. But the urge was overcome and Hay'aan returned the embrace, albeit tensely. Tense she might be, but Hay'aan held on to Pilar's hands, holding firmly and nodding her head as Pilar said that she should come inside. Different than he was? Did she mean Klue? She did, Hay'aan realised as the two of them discussed where her Miri Ozi was. He was at the press? Not getting married on the beach. She felt a flush tinge her face as she realised just how over-dramatic her imaginings had been.

As directed, she sat, putting her hands in lap and looking at Pilar with gratitude when she said that the children were fine. Hay'aan had worried so much about the children in the time that she was held, to know that they were alright was something which made her breathe out in obvious relief.

There was more that Pilar had to say, and Hay'aan considered the instruction she'd been given by Klue's grandmother. Was she alright now? The young Air'riela considered this carefully for a few moments, looking down at her hands and then back to Pilar. "I think I am. I.... is Klue... that is..." her cheeks flushed again and if she'd noticed she would be annoyed that they continued to do that; it was a habit that she couldn't get out of at all. A hundred thoughts went through her mind, a million questions. He hadn't wanted her to go, they'd had words. But she had gone anyway, could he ever forgive that?

"Yes. I'm fine, thank you" she said, quietly. She couldn't ask Pilar the questions that she needed to ask her husband. They had to have their own conversation, she couldn't have it with Pilar, that wouldn't be right. So she answered the question and sat quietly. Usually, when sitting with Pilar, the two women would chat constantly, but Hay'aan had been quiet for so very long.

So, Hay'aan sat in the chair and said nothing, just sitting and looking at her hands. After a few minutes she looked up as though she'd realised something "Can I go to where Klue is? Or should I wait here?" she asked, looking at Pilar for permission, perhaps, or for reassurance. Or maybe just direction.
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Old May 29, 2014, 09:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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From the moment Pilar had pulled Hay'aan into her arms, she'd known something was very different. The girl was wound tight as a spring, and primed to flee like a startled hare. She seemed somehow fragile, or broken, but not at all like the confident young woman she'd known before. Changed, much like her grandson when he'd finally came back home, and about as talkative since.

Different, both of them. But also in very different ways. Still it made Pilar wonder, what was it about the eastern lands...

It was oversimplifying, she was sure. And whatever questions were on Hay'aan's mind, and left unspoken, weren't hers to answer. "Maybe..." she began, and was still considering when Blinky came in from the kitchen. Painfully slow, while he took great pains not to upset the silver tray he held gripped in both hands.

To the little cether's credit, he'd gone to great lengths to prepare a proper tray of tea, complete with a small vase and a wildflower from the garden outdoors. And now he looked something like a child, making his way across the floor, cups, saucers and spoons rattling fiercely on his way.

When he got there, he carefully set the tray on the small table between Hay'aan and Pilar. "I hope it's ok, Hay'aan," he said hopefully, "I made it just like you like it."

Pilar had taken time to consider Hay'aan's question. There was no telling when the children would be home. And when they were, in their excitement they'd rush over Hay'aan in a wave of noisy chaos. Pilar wasn't sure the girl was up for it, just yet. She might be able to calm the older ones if she headed them off at the path. But not the little ones, they'd be unstoppable.

On the other hand, it wasn't a brightening for official business at the press. Klue would, in all likelihood, be there alone. "When the children get home and see you," she finally said, "they'll be all over you and you won't get a word in. It might be better if you went to him then. It would give the two of you time, before the children see that you're back."

"Do you remember where it is?" Blinky asked quietly. "After all, the building housing the press had only just been established, brightenings before Hay'aan had gone. I can go with you," the cether concluded, and Pilar thought it might be best, just so Hay'aan wouldn't feel exposed, walking there alone.

***

Secrets :
 
 

It wasn’t the largest building on Demios. But the building that housed the Fire Island Press was one of the island’s more notable establishments by virtue of its location and design. It sat atop a gentle rise, with a footprint in both the Government and Mercantile Districts. The property was surrounded by stone and wrought iron, native grass and rustic foot trails that looped through groupings of fragrant island flora. The landscape managed at once to seem cultivated on the one hand. And on the other, as wild as the island itself.

A narrow cobbled path led from the street, again to stylized gates unlocked during the working candlemarks.
Then again, up three wide steps to a cool open gallery that spanned the front and one side of the building. There was a pair of doors, colored crimson in sharp contrast to the remaining, white exterior. All but for two notable exceptions.

The entrance was flanked by two thick columns of native wood, transformed by one of Demios’ local artisans. They were a bold riot of color, and gilded, stylized dragons cavorted round and round from bottom to top and down again. Only natural that the creatures so loved by the citizens of Demios, would also be prominent here.

Inside, the whitewashed planks of the exterior gallery floor transitioned into a grid, that in turn framed large native stone tiles of vibrant red, green, blue or gold. The effect was a large, checkerboard pattern that filled the wide open interior. Against white walls, it was a dramatic effect. Demosians loved their drama and surprising color combinations. The owners of the Fire Island Press were no different.

There were plenty of windows, floor to ceiling. A pair of glass doors again accessed the side exterior gallery. Even from the indoors, there were breathtaking views of Demio’s largest active volcano in the distance, the mountainous wilds in verdant green. And from another vantage, the aquamarine sea. Much of the outdoors had been brought in. A small trickling fountain sat center gallery, beneath a vaulted ceiling with its stained glass beveled dome. Tropical, flowering plants filled colorful pots. The paintings on the walls, the art and carvings on the tables and seating represented the peoples of the Fire Isles and their neighbors and friends, the Incarri.

At a glance, there were three closed doors. And between two of them, a half elven beauty sat behind her desk. Somewhere in her early twenties, her hair was auburn, her dark green eyes had an exotic shape and her complexion was fair and freckled. Known to most of the locals, Cora Greene smiled openly when visitors wandered in. ”Serale and welcome. How may I help you this brightening?”
 
 



Whether Hay'aan took the time to drink her tea, freshen up, or whether she went straight over, she'd find that Pilar was right. The Fire Island Press was closed for business that brightening. Still, the gates leading on to the property were open and so was the front door that led inside.

No lamps were lit though, there was only sunlight filtering through the windows and dome, and Cora Greene's desk sat empty, like the rest of the place seemed to be at first glance.

But in the adjoining room, it's door open too, she could hear movement and the sounds of work being done on something large and ungainly. And judging by the muttered, emphatic curses drifting out into the common room, as stubborn and contrary as the man working on it. Some of those epithets would make even Pilar's ears burn. And the others, he might have learned from her as a child.

Klue was lying on the floor in that room, below a window and on his back, hidden halfway behind the enormous press. Blocks, forms, nuts, bolts, rods and other sundry were scattered across the floor as if a storm had come through recently. Or a good old fashioned temper tantrum.

In spite of not seeing a thing but the back, underside of the press, and maybe a glimpse of a pair of shoes, he must have heard footsteps coming into the building. And Blinky had stayed outside, leaivng Hay'aan to go in alone. "Sorry, we're closed right now," he grumbled without lifting himself out of his work.

It was an unusual tone, for him, at least as Hay'aan knew him. Ordinarily he'd have come out and greeted any and all with a friendly smile, no matter they'd disturbed him at his work. He'd have struck up a conversation, gone to lengths to make them feel welcome, offered his help. On the contrary, he sounded more distant, and less himself.

Nevertheless..."As long as you're here though, would you mind handing me that wrench over there?" he said and lifted a hand out to point vaguely over in one corner without looking. "The big one with the lopsided grip." Off in the corner, so far from his work, it could only have gotten there by being thrown. With some force, if she was to judge by the small dent nearby in the wall. "If you've got a few minutes, as'well, I wouldn't mind some help," he conceded, still blind to who was there and hand waiting for the wrench he'd asked for.
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Old May 29, 2014, 10:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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She looked at the tray which Blinky so carefully put down and she smiled at him. The smile she gave was perfunctory, not reaching her eyes but a polite reaction to his kindness. "Thank you, Blinky. It's lovely" she said, but did not drink it. She sat and waited to see what Pilar thought and when Klue's grandmother spoke of the children, Hay'aan looked at her calmly. No argument from the young gypsy on that score, or on any score, really. She looked down at the cup of tea and lifted it to her lips, once. Sipping it with hands which shook only slightly, she put it down and looked at Pilar as she said that Hay'aan should go to Klue. Nodding her head, she stood up and turned her gaze to Blinky. Nodding her acceptance of his accompanying her, she didn't say whether she knew where it was or not, she simply waited for him to lead the way.

The walk to the Press was a quiet one, the young woman not speaking to Blinky at all unless he spoke to her, although when they got there she turned to him and smiled once more. More of a genuine smile this one, though shaky still. "Thank you. Really." she said, her voice quiet. "For... for being such a good friend." she added, in case he didn't know what she was thanking him for. Then, breathing in and wondering what would happen next, Hay'aan stepped in to the place.

She knew it, of course, she remembered it clearly and the excitement that they had experienced together. The logo she had designed, how pleased he was at the way that they had worked together, her ideas and his fitting together in a clearly synchronous manner. That was so long ago, she thought, and here he still was. She heard him before she saw him, his muttered curses illustrating his frustration and anger. His voice sounded.... hurt.

As he continued to speak, the reality of that hurt hit her; he didn't get up to greet the new customer, he didn't do anything that he would do. He must be hurt to the point that he was barely able to function and she took a step towards him, the bells on her ankles tinkling as she walked. She was all prepared to turn that step into a run, but he spoke again and pointed her towards a wrench that he wanted. She stood there for a moment, looking between him and the wrench. He wanted it and maybe he knew it was her, she reasoned. This was a way of him... keeping it formal? No, not her Klue. She knew better than that and she knew him better. If he had any idea that it was her, he would at the very least have said something. The last Era had done a lot to Hay'aan, changed her in ways that would stay with her a long time, but it had not broken her faith in the man in front of her.

So, she turned away from the wrench. Moving to get that would be a good excuse to avoid this, to give herself something to do and to just ... avoid dealing with it. She had to deal with this, Klue deserved that and so much more.

"Klue" she said, her voice cracking as she spoke his name. Cursing herself internally, she spoke again "Klue... it's.... it's me. Hay'aan" she added, somewhat unnecessarily. Taking another step forward, Hay'aan wanted nothing more than to run to him, but she didn't know how in that moment. So she stood, waiting to see what he would do.
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Old May 29, 2014, 12:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The sounds the small bells on her ankles made should have cut through the frustration of mending a press that had sat idle for nearly an era, while he'd been gone. But they didn't. Instead, silenced seemed to stretch out unnaturally between his request for the wrench, and her answer.

He expelled a little hair, part exasperation and part, well, part something else, and still prone on his back behind the press, he wiped the grease from his hands, ready to come out and see what this silent visitor wanted. It took some effort wriggling out of such a tight spot and before he'd managed it completely, she spoke.

He banged his head coming out but ignored the sharp discomfort and climbed to his feet, staring back at her for a long moment, as if he might have imagined it. It wouldn't be the first time, but those times he'd been dead asleep in the night, or the notions were only subtle ones. Thinking he heard her footsteps on the stairs at Wits' End, or smelled her scent in the parlor...Till he discovered Kat had taken to wearing it.

His hair had been better trimmed the last they were together. He was thinner than he'd been before, but as fit or fitter, partly from having thrown himself so relentlessly into work since his return, rather than idle thoughts that would have consumed him. He had a smear of grease across his forehead where he must have swiped a hand. And she could tell due to the open laces of his tunic that the chain he'd rarely gone without, wasn't there.

The chain that held a number of things he kept close. A dragon's tear, a key or two and the locket she'd given him. The one that allowed him to sense her heart beating, from great distances. It wasn't there though, and neither was his wedding ring. But it was impossible to know the reason why, only to guess. Hay'aan was aware of shop rules after all, off at the Paedia. No jewelry of any kind near working machinery. No chains, bracelets, rings, pins nor anything else. And he'd been working on the press, after all.

"Hay'aan," he finally uttered. He didn't rush forward and pull her into his arms to hold tight. But instead, came quietly, staring at her face then reaching up to touch her cheek, assuring himself this wasn't his flask talking. The one he'd emptied behind the press a quarter candlemark ago. In fact he still wasn't sure. Being a Dreamwalker came with a variety of conundrums. Sometimes dreams were difficult to sort from waking reality. Sometimes, there really was no difference at all.

"I looked," he said, his expression pained at the memory of what a fruitless search it had been. "I looked, all this time. Sometimes I hoped that wherever you were, you'd look up and see me. Or maybe you'd write or send a message. But you never did. Where have you...How?"
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Old May 29, 2014, 02:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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He'd been drinking. She knew that as soon as he stood. Not a lot, not so much that he wasn't in full control of his faculties, but he'd been drinking. As he stood, she watched him carefully, eyes wide with concern and emotion, but still she stood, unmoving. Every part of her had started shaking at the sight of him, she could even feel her legs trembling violently. He stood and her eyes took in his hair, his eyes, his... there was no chain at his neck, no ring on his finger. What did she expect? It was still like a physical blow, seeing that and her reaction to it was written clearly across her face. No locket. No ring. So that told her what she needed to know and she breathed carefully in and out, shaking gulping breaths but breaths they were. At least she knew what conversation they were going to have.

Which explained why he didn't run to her, didn't put his arms around her. She understood and she couldn't be angry at or apportion blame to anyone other than herself. She should never have left. His hand on her cheek was almost too much for her to bear. She bit her lip as he touched her, not trusting herself to do anything else. Every part of her was shaking, but she tried to just keep control of herself. Not an easy job when she was losing him, had lost him already, but she couldn't blame him.

He'd looked for her? Oh, but of course he had, she should have known that. How long had it been? In the darkness she had tried to keep track, but she didn't know for sure. It was at least an era, of that she was sure, maybe more. Time had passed and she couldn't even dream to find him. Had she been able to do that perhaps he would.....

But she hadn't. And he had asked her a question which she couldn't answer. How? How could she do this? How could she have this conversation with him? Slowly, she suspected. One word at a time and no faster.

"I'm sorry" she whispered, her voice shaking as much as her body was. What to say to that? "I'm so very sorry, Klue. I didn't mean to...". Didn't mean to what, exactly? Run off and do something incredibly selfish and stupid? Didn't mean to hurt him? Oh, but she had no idea how to do this.

"I don't know where I was. I was.... it was.... it was dark and silent. There was no one except... except the man who took me. I couldn't dream. I couldn't. I tried, Klue, I promise you". The man with the mismatched eyes sprung to her mind and she forced him away, pushed him out. He had no place here.

She wouldn't cry in front of him. Hay'aan hated tears, hated that they were weapons against people and she wouldn't be that person to Klue. She had made a decision and that decision was bad and it had cost her the man in front of her. "I... tried. But... but I think I should..." what should she do, she wondered. She looked around, lost for what to say next and where to go. She didn't know anywhere other than with him, but her family were possibly still here? Her mother. Oh, by Kaimelea's grace, her mother might still be here. Hay'aan felt her lower lip tremble as tears threatened to overwhelm her at that, but she bit the offending lip, quietening it and giving her a moment to get back under control.

"I don't know what to do" she said, quietly. "I know I can't make it right. I should have listened to you, I know I shouldn't have gone and I shouldn't have argued with you.... I've pictured this moment every minute since he took me, but you always had.... her hand waved, vaguely towards his chest, the place where his chain should be. He had told her, after all, told her that he would never take it off. When he put it round his neck, a lifetime ago in Jaedaxia, he had told her.

"I don't know what to do, Klue. I made a mistake and I can't lose you for it. I'll put it right, if you give me a chance to." she whispered, then shook her head, frowning "I'm sorry... I shouldn't say that. It's.. I've got no right to put that sort of pressure on you. You've made your decision, and I can't blame you for it. I should... I'd like to see the children... I've worried about them so much. Can.. can I?" she asked, figuring that it was safer ground to be on than anything else.
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Old May 29, 2014, 04:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Watching the chaotic and changing play of emotions in his wife's eyes, only left Klue confused. Without the context of knowing where she'd been and why for so long without news of her welfare or whereabouts, the words and phrases seemed disjointed at best.

She was sorry....Sorry for what? For the angry words they'd traded before she'd left? More likely, his were angry and unyielding, hers were stubborn and to his selective hearing back then, completely unreasonable. Or sorry for being gone for so long, for not sending word? If not for him, at least for their children? He shook his head, unsure what she meant. "It's no matter right now, Hay'aan," he uttered and dropped his hand from her cheek. He wanted to take her in his arms, hold her close and not let go. But it almost seemed as if she'd rather he didn't.

But she kept talking, and suddenly, he started listening. "I don't know where I was. I was.... it was.... it was dark and silent. There was no one except... except the man who took me." He hadn't expected it, but he didn't know what to expect. And again without real context, a sense of rage crept up on him and took him by surprise. The sort he hadn't felt in eras, not since he was fifteen and had picked up his drunken stepfather and thrown him through a wall. The same kind of rage that would have caused him to kill the bastard with his bare hands an era later, had his grandmother not beat him to it. "What man, Hay'aan...What did this man do to you," he asked, demanded really, but she kept talking, and apologizing.

He wouldn't forget, only let her get all of it out first...Always had what? It took another second or three to figure out what she meant. But he followed her gaze and her gesture, looked down, frowned deeper and shook his head while he dipped a hand into his trousers' pocket. "You mean this?" He opened his hand, and in his palm was the chain with the locket, coiled up and his ring was there too.

"Do you mean I had this on? Two cycles ago I broke my own rules for the shop. Me and the crew were working on the submersible, without lifting it from the water and I was up and down b'neath the drink, working on the propeller. I was wearing this then, I hadn't thought to take it off," he explained, though he wondered that she seemed so quick to jump to conclusions and make assumptions.

"Dunnie must not have realized I was there and he started the mechanism that turns the propellers. The thing sprang to life and dragged me right in before I knew it," Grabbed hold of the chain, he meant, "and the chain didn't break. If it hadn't been for Gregor and Waldo..." Funny, there was a time he'd never had admitted to her that he'd been so careless. But now, it seemed better to admit that by his own poor design, he'd nearly been strangled to death, chewed up by a propeller and drowned all at the same time, than let her think he'd just gone off of wearing the thing.

"I've been working on the press and testing it," he added. "When it's going, it's like an iron dragon with teeth back there."

Finally, though he didn't pull her into his arms just yet, he took her hand and shook his head again. "I looked for you. I left here in the balloon nearly an era ago when you didn't come back and didn't write, and I looked for you. I've been back, just a little over a month now. I didn't want to come back without you. I didn't want to tell the children I couldn't find their mother. All I could tell them was that I could feel your'e heart beating, and that you were out there somewhere. And try to convince myself that it was true."

"Hay'aan, I'm not sure what you're sorry for, or what you think you've lost. I don't know where you've been, or what's kept you there so long." Though when he found out, that rage might well make a second showing. "I don't even know what I'm thinking or feeling about any of it. But I do know I'm grateful that you're alive, and that you've come home. The rest doesn't matter." It might later, some of it, but not now. "You haven't lost anything," he said and took her into his arms, holding her tight.
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Old May 29, 2014, 06:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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He dropped his hand from her cheek, told her it didn't matter and to the young gypsy that told her that what the man with mismatched eyes had said was true. She carried on talking, he talked, and when she said about the man who had taken her he got angry. Hay'aan knew he would, she recognised it but still, at the anger in him she could not help but cringe, stepping backwards at his tone.

Fear was not something which Hay'aan associated with Klue, but she was in a place of fear generally; not specific to him. Still he let her talk and she watched him with an incredulous expression on her face as he pulled out the locket and ring. "You were hurt? Are you.... Are you ok now?" she asked, confusion on her face. That was why he hadn't been wearing them? Did that mean...... What did that mean???

She stepped forward, closing the distance between them again. She had stepped back in the face of his rage but hope flared in her, briefly. He took hold of her hand, which shook like a leaf in his and he described to her what had happened. What he had gone through for her, for her foolishness. She didn't want to hear it but that was because she didn't want it to be true, she knew that. So she listened, her face paling with every description, every word. "I'm so sorry" she whispered as he told her what he had gone through.

Then, those words. She hadn't lost anything? She hadn't lost him? how could that be? She was considering that when she felt his arms wrap around her and hold her. Klue had held his wife when they married, when she was birthing their children, in all sorts of situations but this time her entire body was shaking in a way that he had never known from her. As his arms wrapped around her and she returned his embrace by clinging on to him she let out an "Ohhhhh" as though she was about to cry, but she did not.

"I would... I would never just leave and not tell you how I was, Klue. I promise you.I would never do that to you....." she said, pulling away a little but keeping hold of his hands, as though she could not, would not ever let them go. "I was... I never made it off the island. I was travelling and he came...I couldn't.... It.. I... I was only just past the Weaver's Woods." she admitted with a slightly ironic expression. He had been in the balloon? He'd looked a lot further than he needed to. "He.. He took me and put me in a room. It was dark, so very dark and silent. He... I haven't seen anyone but him since. Klue, he told me that you were gone, that you'd met someone else. It was you he wanted to know about.... He asked me so many questions but I never told him anything. I swear.......

Of anything else which happened, she was quiet. Looking at him earnestly her entire body shaking from her head to the tips of her toes, she looked at him, trying to gauge his reactions.

"I haven't lost you? I... I thought you were getting married on the beach....I... I thought I'd messed it all up. he told me..... Klue, I can't .... Please tell me what's true?" she asked, pleading him for the truth of it. The tension in her body was not abated at all, the shaking if anything getting worse. Could it be true?
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Old May 30, 2014, 02:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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He was frightening her, or at least making her uneasy and he knew it. By her expression, her posture, the new distance between them. He'd come to realize why, when she told him what had happened to her. But it remained something he couldn't help but feel, for more reasons than he could possibly express. In this instance, he could only neglect to mention what he'd do to this man when he found him.

"My pride was the only lasting injury," he told her with the faintest of smiles when she asked if he'd been hurt in the submersible incident. And he slipped the ring back on his hand, and looped the chain around his neck. He was done working on the press for the brightening. The thing had won this round, but not the next one. "Waldo said it was a fair trade, if I'd learned a lesson from it," he added, trying to lighten the moment for her, to get past the sense that he'd spooked her a little.

"You were never gone from the island," he said, incredulous when she told him. Maybe if he'd asked about her at the ferry, they'd have told him she'd never got on. But why would he have thought to ask, why would he have thought she was still on the island? Illogical maybe, but he was convinced that he should have. Instead, he'd gone all the way east to the borders in the east where the fog prevented him going any further, than a serpentine pattern all the way back. An era's journey with a bird's eye view, and she'd been here all the time.

The more she told him of what happened, what had been done to her, the more he needed suppress for her sake. And there was so much to supress after all. "Me? What could he possibly need to know about me, that isn't an open book already?" It was almost too much to keep from her then. The thought that what happened to her, this man's actions, might have anything to do with him at all...Well, in Klue's mind, to his way of thinking, there was part of the blame to lay at his own door. All the more reason that he wouldn't just rely on fate or happenstance to find this man.

It didn't need mentioning.

"No, you haven't lost me," he told her emphatically. "How could you think that for a minute. I only thought I'd lost you, Hay'aan. But," he added then, because still he wanted to take the edge off the tension he suspected he'd caused. "Even if you had, I would never get married on a beach. It's a terrible place to have a wedding. It's always windy. Sand in the cake, the punch, in everybody's unmentionables...."

"I know five children who've been waiting over an era to see their mother. What do you say, want to go home?" he asked, and offered his hand.
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Old May 30, 2014, 03:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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"No, I... I almost got to the ferry, but I couldn't leave knowing that we'd argued. So I turned round and started to come home again" she whispered, her face a mixture of pain and hope. "I was going to apologise. I shouldn't have been so bloody-minded, I know. I should have... supported you better, been more sensible. I think he'd been following me, but he didn't expect me to turn back so he..." she shook her head, trying to shake the memory out of it "I had my sword with me, but I froze." she admitted, flushing at the memory. "I was so afraid, I froze."

How could she think that she'd lost him? She didn't entirely know how she might think it, but then the poison that had slowly been fed to her explained it, of course, the doubts, everything. "He... it was dark and silent. For cycles it was dark and silent. He would come into the room, I'd hear him and he put food in but he didn't speak, not for cycles. Then he started asking about you. I don't know... he seemed to know us so well, Klue, he asked about the sleeping sickness I had, about you and... silly questions, things anyone who'd met you would know, but other things, too. I couldn't separate out the trivia from the important ones." He told her things, too, of course. Things that Klue didn't need to hear, didn't need to know. Things that she would deal with herself in her own way. In the back of her mind Hay'aan knew that keeping secrets was not a healthy thing, but she didn't want to hurt Klue. Surely, she thought, that was a justification. She'd held her own counsel for so long that surely he didn't need to know.

"He didn't.... that is, he didn't try.... there was nothing physical" she said, quietly. He would worry about that, she was sure, so it needed to be said. "It was just dark and silent...." oh so very silent. Except, of course, for the times it wasn't, but that was something else that he didn't need to know right now.

He wouldn't get married on a beach? She looked at him incredulously as he quipped about that, confusion and disbelief evident in equal measure on her face. Was he...was he serious? She couldn't be sure. "I'm.. I'm sorry. I thought you liked the beach.." she ended, somewhat lamely. What was he saying to her?

But then, he offered her his hand and she looked at him in some confusion. Her face showed that in that moment she was lost, completely lost for what to do, but she closed her eyes for a brief moment. "I've missed them so very much, Klue. But... I keep hurting them. Keep hurting you all of you. I don't want them to see me like this" she held up her trembling hand, before biting her lip once more and shaking her head.

"I'm sorry. That's just... just selfish. Silly and selfish. I want to see them so much and I ... yes, please. Will you... what do I tell them?" she asked, taking his offered hand. She still shook from head to foot, but she did her best to get it under control, to calm down.

"I saw Pilar... Blinky is outside" she said, softly. Then she would lapse into silence as was her habit of late. In fairness, the young gypsy had spoken more in the last three candlemarks than she had in the era before, so it was, perhaps, not surprising.
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Old May 31, 2014, 11:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
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"It doesn't matter," he told Hay'aan when she seemed bent on recounting her experiences. "Not right now." It did matter, very much, however painful it was to hear and know what she'd gone through. To know that he hadn't been there, and had been powerless to stop it. It mattered very much, as did what clues he could sort out from the recounting. Clues about where she'd been held, and where he might look to flush this man out.

Dark and silent....she'd said it several times. The only places on Demios he knew that were profoundly dark and silent, but somewhat habitable, were the abundant caverns and tunnels that littered and crisscrossed the entire island. Much like the series right below the Paedia and his own workshop, that he'd used to advantage. But gods, if that was the case, the network of caves and tunnels that existed under Demios was enormous, consuming miles and miles of underground. It might take several lifetimes to explore all of it.

So there was nothing physical. It was a relief, since in spite of himself he'd been concerned, while at the same time unwilling to ask just yet. She was already spooiked and he didn't want to make it worse. He only nodded then.

And then he shook his head and smiled a little. "I like the beach just fine. In fact, it's where I met you...It's one of my favorite places then. I only think there's better places to hold a wedding...But then," he added and smiled a little more. "Why are we talking about weddings anyway. We're married already, the wedding we've had is th' only one I plan on having. I don't know why you'd have thought otherwise."

"Stop apologizing, and don't be silly. If you've seen Grams, then she would have told the children you're back already, t' prepare them," he said to reassure her. "And don't worry, you'll know what to say when you get there and see them."

"Come on. The press can wait, I'll get Gregor and Dunnie to finish up the repairs." He took her hand, leading her out of the building and locked the doors behind them. Blinky was there, sitting on a stump by the gate, his bare feet swinging free a foot or so above the ground. "Thanks for escorting her here Blinky, I appreciate it," Klue told his little friend. And after declaring he'd be off to the workshop now that things were in order, the cether left them and hurried off.

Klue locked the gates behind them too, and it was a leisurely walk back to Wits' End, to allow her time to prepare for the onslaught.

And what an onslaught it was, in spite of Pilar's efforts to calm the children in advance, to convince them not to converge on their mother like a storm, they just couldn't help it. Only Birdie hesitated as the others rushed out of the house and towards Hay'aan on the path. Their youngest daughter had been only crawling when Hay'aan had gone, then Klue shortly after. Now she was walking, even running. She grown and developed. She was as clever a child as could be, she loved to put things together much as her father had as a child. But it meant, the time elapsed, that while she'd had a month and a half to get reacquainted with Klue, Hay'aan now was in part, something of an unknown.

As a result while the others ran forward, racing and drowning each other out, the littlest remained behind, content to stay in Edgar's arms, but also content to watch the proceedings curiously, thoughtfully, if still a little shyly.
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Old May 31, 2014, 01:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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It didn't matter, and that was good. It did matter, she knew that, but right now it didn't. Which was what he said and that was important to hear. He seemed to be more himself, more grounded. She held on to his hand and nodded when he spoke again. There were indeed better places to hold a wedding. She thought of their wedding and smiled the first genuine smile that he'd seen, albeit a little shaky and weak as her smiles went. "I don't know why I thought otherwise... it all got twisted up in the dark, Klue. I'm sorr... I shouldn't have doubted you but it got all twisted up" she whispered. "I know it's silly, but bad things seem a lot more possible when you're alone in the dark, you know? I was just afraid it was true, really."

As they went outside, there was Blinky and Hay'aan watched the exchange between the two of them and then, just as Blinky was going, she put her hand on his arm, just gently before bending and kissing his cheek. "Thank you for the tea and for walking me here, Blinky. Really." she said, not letting go of Klue in the time that she did it, but still, she felt, it had to be said.

The walk to Wits' End was slow and leisurely and, unless Klue spoke, Hay'aan just walked without speaking. Not letting go of his hand, not if she had any say in it, but not speaking. It wasn't awkward, not at all, but it was unusual in the extreme; she might once have been shy and quiet but never had she been so with Klue.

At the sight of the children, though, Hay'aan did indeed drop Klue's hand and as much as she was thin and shaking, she ran to them as fast as her legs could carry her, falling to her knees with a skin-grazing thump as she wrapped her arms around them all, if she could. Raining kisses upon them, she seemed completely oblivious to those around her until she had greeted each one of them, kissed them, told them individually that she loved them and commented on how much they'd grown, or how very beautiful their hair looked. Then she looked up, looking for her youngest daughter and saw her there, in Edgar's arms. Hay'aan's eyes didn't meet Edgar's, didn't seem to see anyone other than Birdie and she raised her hand, waving her pinkie finger at her daughter the way that she had used to before she left. She hadn't cried, not when she'd seen Klue, not throughout the whole thing, but the tears poured unchecked down her face at the sight of her babies, Kateryna, Praesis, Gursin, Finnegan and Birdie. Wishing only for four arms instead of two so that she might touch each of them as she walked, she stood and walked over to Birdie, oh-so-slowly and she smiled, looking at her blue-eyed daughter with an expression which left no doubt as to her feelings. But it would be in Birdie's time, not Hay'aans and she did not push it in terms of showering her with hugs. She settled for lifting two hands to her lips, kissing them softly and placing them on Birdie's cheek with a lip-smacking kissing sound. "Mama is so so sorry to have been away so long. I will try my very best never to do that again, I promise you. I love you each so much and Mama is so so very sorry..." she said talking to all of them but looking at Birdie more than the others. It would be in her daughter's own time she knew, and there would be fall-out from each of them. But that was more than ok, that was expected and she would be here to deal with it, by Kaimelea's grace.

She looked at Pilar, Edgar and Lily and shook her head again, a different expression, though. Remorse, confusion, an inability to express in words what she wanted to say. "I'm so sorry. I'm so very sorry" she felt the fresh flood of tears, which she had tried so hard to hold back starting and she fell back to the floor, just holding her children and relishing the touch of their hair, their skin, the smell of them.

And, of course, she looked up to see where Klue was. Her eyes sought him and if ever she could telepath with him, in that moment she needed his arms there also, as emotion threatened to completely overwhelm her.
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Status: Chilling on Demios, living her life. Retired until further notice.
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