Old July 17, 2018, 12:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[PA] But oh oh the summer nights (Seph)

TS: Late Summer, Era XXV


The salty sea breeze whipped through Niven’s cornsilk blonde hair and grey-blue dress as she stood on the end of the pier. The elfess stood, her hands held before her abdomen, eyes closed, simply enjoying the feel of the air against her creamy porcelain skin. The first of Telath’s three suns was starting to kiss the horizon and the combination of warmth mixed with cool was so soothing.

It had been a particularly difficult brightening and as soon as she could, the elfess had stolen away, making her way to the docks for some much-needed peace and quiet. The ocean had always been Dante’s solace, but after spending eras living on the shores of Demios, Niven had come to appreciate the sounds and scents of the sea as well. The sounds of the water lapping the shore, the seagulls crying out to each other and the murmur of people working nearby were all music to the Sylrosian’s elegantly pointed ears.

For a few moments, Niven was transported back to her old home in the Fire Isles with her now ex-husband and his family. It was like the past few months were nothing but a vivid darkeningmare and everything was as it had been. She and Dante were happily in love, the children were all well and good, and Calanon, Kailin and she were nothing more than close friends.

The thought of Dante and his children resurfaced the ache of her grief over her losses and the elfess’ eyes squeezed shut as she braced herself against the pain. It would likely be a while before she would be able to think about them without the pain of longing. She still loved all of them, but there was no going back. Dante had made his choices and even if he showed up here in Port Alyxandrya, Niven knew she wouldn’t go back. As much as she missed him, missed his children, the damage had been done and Niven had too much self-respect to return to a mate who could abandon her when she needed him most. She had shed her last tears over the situation months ago, but the pain of loss lingered, as it tended to do in such situations.

But things had not gone smoothly from there. There had been a hope for her once her marriage had been destroyed by her pregnancy by Calanon. While she grieved for the loss of her marriage, she was able to find happiness in the knowledge that she was going to bring two beautiful babies into the world. And she had done just that. When her twins had been born, they had been perfect and Niven had never felt happier in her entire life.

But it was not to last.

A blessing from a celestial being turned out to be a curse from the Woodland King and a few days after birth her children had been reduced to a bundle of twigs and sticks. It had been a crushing blow for the new mother and the new father. Neither of them had known how to handle their grief and so when Calanon had been called away to Trelore, Niven was envious. He had something to take his mind from his grief, a luxury she didn't have.

So she sought solace here, at the edge of the sea, letting the sounds wash over her and soothe her troubled soul.
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Old July 19, 2018, 12:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The ocean waves lapped lazily against the hull of the Broken King, rocking it slowly in the harbor. A sort of calm had lain itself over the docks. Anchor was weighed, and the crew of the King was in that twilight you would get between unloading your cargo and receiving the new. The day was slowly closing as if being gently lain to sleep like infant. In short, Seph was bored. This sort of boredom was the exact kind of life he left behind in Trelore. Lazy afternoons where you just laid about with nothing to do. There was no nostalgia from this feeling, just a deep, almost painful boredom.

Up in the crow's nest of the King Seph stared out at the horizon. His arm was wrapped around the mast, swaying with the ship as the waves and the breeze caused it to rock gently. Emerald eyes gazed languidly toward the setting suns. Seabirds squawked in the distance, somehow only magnifying the tranquility. At any moment, Seph thought he might drift off to sleep. It wouldn't have been the first time he had taken a nap up there.

His eyes wandered down from the horizon and he saw something that caught his interest. Maybe it was the way her blonde locks caught the light of the setting suns as they were caught by the breeze. Gods knew why she was staring out to sea like she was. Or was she staring at all? All Seph knew was that his boring evening might be rescued by this beautiful woman. From his vantage point, he couldn't make out more features than just her hair. But squint hard enough, and they could look however you'd like, right? At the very least, they could exchange stories. Everyone had a story to tell, even if his stories were often far from the truth.

The Quel'anthasan jumped out of the nest and began clambering down the shrouds. When his feet hit the pier, he hesitated. Even from a hundred feet behind her, Seph could see that this wasn't some wench at the tavern, or a seadog whom he could throw insults at and become fast friends. No, this one might require some tact and class. A skill not often used by the pirate lately.

Seph ran a hand through his raven hair and cleared his throat as he approached the woman. "It's a fine sight, aye? Seen quite a few setting suns, and they always take my breath away." The pirate brought himself up level with the elfess. Pink light bathed the two elves at the end of the pier as the setting suns colored the sky.
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Old July 21, 2018, 02:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The soft sound of someone clearing their throat didn’t fit within the usual sounds of the docks or the ocean, so when it came, the elfess opened her eyes. Slowly she turned her head and found herself looking at a rather ruggedly handsome looking elf.

“Indeed,”
she replied, taking in his appearance as she responded to his invitation to conversation.

Niven wasn’t sure if it was the pink light cast by the setting suns or if his actual skin tone was purple. But he looked like no elf she’d ever met before. He stood tall and proud like a man of good breeding but dressed as if he was some kind of hobo. It was vaguely reminiscent of the way the men upon her ex-husband’s ships had dressed and coupling that with the earrings and the weaponry he sported, Niven quickly deduced him as a sailor of some kind.

Looking back towards the horizon, a content smile graced the features of the Sylrosian. “There is something special about the suns setting on the water. As if their beauty is doubled by their reflections." Niven had watched many a sunset on the beach in Demios, finding each one breathtaking in its own way.

She chanced a glance at the sailor, silently wondering why he would have found the need to interrupt her reverie. Surely an elfess standing alone on the docks was not that strange of a sight. And he hadn't asked if she was lost or needed anything, only commented on the setting suns. An eyebrow raised, but she said nothing further. His reasons should become clear soon enough. If he was looking for anything of a more suggestive nature, he would rather quickly find himself not in the presence of some meek damsel. Her dagger was on her hip and she had full knowledge of how to use it.
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Old July 23, 2018, 09:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The pink light of the suns set made the Quel'anthasan appear bright violet instead of the regular light mauve. When Seph turned his head to the Syl'rosian, it made it easier to make out the true hue of his skin. He looked at her. She was certainly very beautiful, albeit a lowborn. That simple fact might have bothered him a century ago, hell maybe even only a couple decades. That was back when he had cared enough to try to be who his parents wanted him to be. A lifetime ago for some.

"Aye, but even their beauty is dwarfed in your presence." Inwardly, Seph flinched at the sound of his own voice. A slip in his voice had shown a bit of that Trelorean upbringing he had been trying to leave behind. Hopefully the Syl'rosian hadn't noticed. Highborn elves were sometimes loathe to interact with the so-called lesser races. Perhaps the elfess had never even heard of Trelore. Then again, it didn't really matter. There was no one here to whom she could reveal his secret. And what was the likelihood of meeting her again?

Seph turned away from the elfess after keeping his eyes on hers for a moment. He walked further along the pier, gazing out onto the water. "The suns be beautiful, aye, but have you ever pondered at the sea? So calm and tranquil right now, you would never have known how many times it had threatened the lives of me and my crew. She's a capricious mistress."
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Old July 27, 2018, 07:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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At his words, Niven tore her eyes away from the setting suns to focus on the Trelorian. There was a different sound to the compliment he paid her, a different way of speaking, one that spoke more to the breeding that must go along with the tall straight and proud way he stood. He was hiding secrets. There was more than met the eye. The Sylrosian schooled her features, not allowing the one eyebrow that threatened to raise at this realization, and gave a demure smile instead.

“Diola lle,” she replied, in their native tongue, ever gracious in her acceptance of the compliment.

He broke the eye contact rather abruptly, which amused her but focused instead on the sea, his boots awful close to the edge of the pier as he attempted to almost get away from her. There was little place to go other than back the way he came if that was his goal. Niven watched him for a moment as he perched perilously on the end of the docks before returning her gaze to the fiery orbs kissing the horizon and the sea.

“Indeed. Perhaps that is why I never learned to swim and don’t often spend a lot of time on the decks of ships,”
she replied, once again looking to his face, he head cocked slightly to the side. It was true, she hadn’t spent a lot of time on Dante’s ships and what she had was usually spent tucked away someplace safe. Jar had once promised to teach her how to swim, but it had never happened due to no one’s fault. And having grown up in the forest, there wasn’t really anyplace to learn, though she knew her cousins had learned in a swimming hole. It was grossly inappropriate for a girl to swim nude among boys, so Niven hadn’t been taught along with them.

“It is beautiful as you stand here, though. I don’t know that I have ever seen the waters this calm,”
she continued, brushing a strand of hair that had been blown into her face by the wind out of her face and tucking it neatly behind her elegantly pointed ear, a place it likely wouldn’t stay for long.

“Does it call you?”
she asked, remembering how it had seemed to call her ex-husband and wondering if it was so for every sailor.
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Old August 3, 2018, 02:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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As their eyes lingered on eachother, Seph felt the need to put a little distance between them. Somehow under her gaze he felt naked, like she could see right through him. It was disconcerting. He could see that she had sharp eyes, seeing the little slips in his voice and posture. His facade was enough of a mask around most of the people. Not her. If he spent too long with this one he might divulge his entire past without speaking a word of it.

The elvish words made his ears perk up for a moment. A debate formed in his mind. Respond with elvish in kind, or keep the uneducated sailor persona intact? “What was that? Elvish? I might look like an elf, but I wasn’t raised as one.” He smiled at the woman apologetically. “But ’do la lay’ to you too.”

Seph nodded at the elfess’s query. “I have many things that call to me, but the sea has called most often and most recently.” His eyes scanned the horizon and even now he felt that pull. Right in his midsection behind his navel. There was a deep yearning there, urging him to sail out there as far as he could. “You hear it too, don’t you? A bit, at least. That’s why you’re here out on the pier, I think. Even if you don’t know it, she must’ve been whispering in your ear.” He nodded again, more to himself this time. Everyone had something calling to them, somewhere. Most people ignored it.

"You really can't swim?" He asked, studying her. "A bit risky to be coming out here, then." Then he grinned. "I can teach you if you'd like."
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Old August 5, 2018, 06:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There was a shift then in how he regarded her. She could sense that she made him uncomfortable, something that amused her. Her face showed none of this, but it was impossible to conceal the mirth in her eyes.

He responded instinctually to the sounds of elvish, likely something he didn’t even realize he did, and as much as he tried to hide it, there were ever so slight traces of the elvish accent in his common. So Niven continued to gaze at him as he bald-faced lied to her. She had to suppress a smile as he ever so poorly tried to butcher his own language. There it was, that perfect accent. Her head tilted ever so slightly as her curiosity manifested itself on her features for a moment before disappearing.

Alright. She would play along.

“A pity,”
she replied, simply. She would let it drop for now, but there was much this Trelorian was hiding, Niven was certain of it.

The elfess’ head turned back to the water before she answered.

“I have spent roughly ten eras living by the sea,” she said thinking of the place she once called home in Demios. “It was my favourite place to be. It seems strange to me now to not be close to it as I once was. It brings back memories of happiness to be here.” Painful memories, but that little fact didn’t need to be shared. "So, I suppose, in a way, it does call to me.”

The heartache from the memories of her life by the sea returned and the elfess found her breath stolen from her. She doubted the elf would notice considering she had finished her reply before the wave of mental agony had washed over her again in sync with the latest wave crashing against the posts of the pier. She swallowed the painful lump in her throat that had formed and worked to calm herself.

She shook her head at his question before there was a sharp turn of her head at his comment.

“Why would it be risky?” she asked, her eyes narrowing as she looked at him suspiciously. There was something in his tone that warned her she might be in for some trouble with him in this area.

“I’m not in the habit of putting my life in the hands of complete strangers,” she replied, her gaze still showing her suspicions that his offer wasn’t all it sounded to be.

“What would be in it for you to teach me?"
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Old August 5, 2018, 06:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The Trelorean would have a hard time relating to Niven's bittersweet memories. For Seph, the ocean was only ever a place of excitement and adventure. Never a dull moment, even on the most boring days. At least compared to the shore.

It was Seph's turn now to have mirth fill his face. The suspicion in her eyes wasn't completely out of place, had she known Seph's entire background. In certain circumstances he very well would have buried a dagger into her heart and walked away smiling to have drinks with his crew. But not in this circumstance. For now at least, he was completely innocent with only the most wholesome intentions. Relatively.

"Well..." He said slowly, as if speaking to a child. "Usually when one walks into the middle of a large body of water, you'd hope they would have the ability to keep their head above water if they happened to fall in. People have drowned in their bathtubs, you know."

Seph held his hands up, and kept that distance between them. "The sea is calm and really it's the perfect condition for a little dip. But, far be it from me to offer a service for nothing in return."
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Old August 5, 2018, 07:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A delicate dark eyebrow raised at the tone the Trelorian took with her. Niven had used that overly patent voice enough herself to know when it was being used on her. She chuckled and looked back out over the water.

"Rest assured I have successfully managed to not drown in my bathtub a good many number of times, thank you very much,"
she shot back, shooting him a look of amusement as she put a hand on her hip.

She looked back out over the sea and contemplated the offer. The conditions were rather perfect. And it was still warm. She could imagine the water was cool, pleasant, and refreshing like it had been on the hot brightenings in Demios.

"Well, I cannot in any good faith put my life in the hands of someone I don't know the name of,"
she said, looking back at him.

"Who are you?"
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Old September 23, 2018, 05:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Seph put a hand to his chest and inclined his head towards the elfess. "And I am exceedingly grateful for that. The world has preserved a bit of its beauty for now. But, we can't expect to always be in the gods' graces, now can we? Best to be prepared."

The Quel'anthasan was glad to see that the elfess was contmeplating the offer now. Might be easier--and quicker--to take the maiden to a tavern and see where that went. That was overplayed, though. Too cliche. Seph made his own survey of their surroundings. Just like the water, the docks were just as calm. A couple grunts hefting cargo, but far from the chaos he knew they could be.

His eyes went back to the woman and he grinned. "That's a tad dramatic. We won't be diving off right here." But he strode over to her, holding a grubby, calloused hand out for her to take. "I'm called Seph. And what might I call you?"
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Old September 23, 2018, 06:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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A wry smile formed on the elfess’ pale pink lips and one of her perfectly shaped eyebrow arched. He was smooth and it amused her. If she didn’t know any better she would swear that he was flirting with her.

“A tad dramatic?” Niven asked, with a short chuckle and a grin. “You were just concerned that I might drown in the bathtub. I don’t think it’s overstating it to say you teaching me to swim is me putting my life in your hands. The ocean is just a little larger than a bathtub.” The elfess held up her hand, holding her thumb and index finger about a centimetre apart.

After a moment of hesitation, Niven placed her soft smooth hand in Seph’s. “I’m Niven.”

Removing her hand from the Quel's she clasped her hands together in front of her nervously. "So....." she said, exhaling. "This is a thing that is happening. What did you want in return again?"
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Old September 29, 2018, 11:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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"Niven," he repeated. He held her delicate hand in his for a second longer before releasing it. "So you know my name, and I know yours. Now we're mates!" He flashed her a smile. "Or friends, I s'pose you might prefer."

The quel'anthasan sighed at his new friend's question. "I told you, I would be doing this out of the kindness of my heart." But even as he said this, Seph noted how nervous the elven woman seemed. Clearly receiving something for nothing was making her uncomfortable. "If it will make you feel better, I s'pose I can let you buy me dinner afterwards."
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Old October 23, 2018, 06:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Niven smiled warmly. “Acquaintances,” she corrected him silently but didn’t say anything out loud. “Friends" still remained to be seen.

“I can do dinner,” she replied, her smile widening, though her anxiety about her coming lesson starting to get the better of her. She looked at the water warily and wet her lips before turning back to the Quel’anthasan. She took a deep breath.

“Is this a single lesson, or will there be follow-ups? What are the chances I will learn how to swim this evening?” Maybe if she kept talking she could delay the lesson a bit. She wasn’t usually afraid of water but possibly drowning hadn’t been in her diary for the darkening.
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Old October 31, 2018, 09:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Seph smiled brightly when Niven accepted dinner as payment for his lessons. From the looks of her, he suspected she would insist on a reputable establishment, out of his price range surely. That would be excellent. One thing he missed from his old life had been the food. This past decade had flavorless bilge at best compared to what the cook would make in the kitchens back home.

"It depends on how quickly you'll pick it up. You seem smart, I'm sure you'll be swimming like a fish by tonight." Seeing her anxiety get the better of her, Seph lightly patted her shoulder. "It will be alright. Listen, we won't go any deeper than this--" He moved his hand off her shoulder and put it in the middle of his chest, about eye-level for the elfess.

"Now..." He pointed towards an area of beach that looked as good a place as any for a swimming lesson. It was a small walk away from the docks they were standing on. "Shall we?"
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Old November 6, 2018, 05:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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A proud smile formed on the elfess’ face. It was true, she was a fast learner. And she already wasn’t afraid of the water. It faded as she saw that they were going to be at least eye level in the water. She inhaled deeply as she gathered her courage.

Following Seph’s line of sight to the nearby patch of beach Niven nodded before walking past the violet Quel towards the shoreline.

“I hope you really want that dinner, because otherwise there is nothing else keeping you from letting the tide take me,” she said, half jokingly over her shoulder.

Upon arrival on the beach, Niven lowered herself onto the sand and began to untie her boots and remove her stockings. Once those were stripped off, she stood and looked at the water.

"Now what?" she asked, putting her hands on her hips as she turned towards her teacher.
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