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Old February 12, 2018, 05:27 PM   #1
Moss Oktra'rek
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[Port Alyxandrya] Tonight, We Make Soap

Era XXV - Midwinter

It was on evenings such as the one that Moss found himself walking through Port Alyxandrya in the middle of winter that he felt especially grateful for his temperature-moderating leather armour. True, the temperature was mild compared his experiences of Jaedaxia that same season, but the Bay of Queens still carried its own bite as if pushed ocean air up the coast.

The onset of dusk didn't help, either. Telath's triple suns were more than sufficient in staving off the worst of winter's savagery, but once they vanished from sight - as they were just beginning to do - there was a noticeable drop in temperature.

As such, Moss' arrival at Calanon and Kailin's new home brought with it a sense of relief and the promise of a warm room and warmer hospitality, despite recent events that had thrown the couple into a state of great turmoil. And that was why the mystic had made his journey across town from Noble's Nest amidst the fading light. He had found himself wanting to support all three of those affected by the news of the pregnancy - a difficult balance to maintain at times, but he felt a sense of commitment to it. And after everything the Alyxandas had done for him, taking up a supportive role had come naturally.

Leather fingers creaked as one gloved hand formed a fist and rapped against the door, the outline of the house only just visible against the growing darkness and Moss took a deep breath, even though he was sure he had nothing to be nervous about. It would be a good darkening.
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Old February 18, 2018, 04:09 PM   #2
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It took a good long while for anyone to answer Moss' knock, enough that he would have been forgiven for deciding that the couple were, perhaps, not at home. And, indeed, Kailin had contemplated not answering at all, as she was currently in no mood for company of any sort. But she'd peeked out a window to see Moss standing outside, and - gritting her teeth against the questions she hoped he would have the sense not to ask - wiped a handkerchief over her face to clear the worst of the mess before finally twisting the knob, her eyes shutting briefly as cool air blew in over heated cheeks.

She had no doubt that her eyes were puffy as they opened to settle on Moss, and she stayed firmly in the doorway so that he did not have room to enter. Indeed, puffy though they were, it was the glitter of anger in the pale green eyes that would likely stand out to her friend.

"Moss..." she would begin, one hand lifting a small, folded piece of paper and extending it for him to take, "how good of you to come. Perhaps you would do me the favor of retrieving your friend. He's been gone all afternoon, and I fear he won't make it back home on his own, at this point."

Her teeth ground together as she waited for him to take the note, which - in an exceedingly elegant script - read:

 
Dear Cuz,

On a stag run, saw your beau in The Toasted Barrel, looking rather the worse for wear. Might think of collecting him sooner rather than later.

Yours,

K.
 


"Kerric sent that along candlemarks ago... I figure he's well and truly gone by now," lips pursed in distaste, Kailin nodded in the direction of the city's Western Gate. "It's on the edge of the Crown district, hard to miss. If you reach the Gut, you've gone too far."

"Maybe he'll talk to you. Good luck," she said, and moved to shut the door, aware she was being unconscionably rude to her friend, but more than ready to return to her own glass of whiskey, with which she was attempting to avoid thoughts of exactly why Calanon had refused to even answer the question she'd posed to him. Why he'd been so quiet since his return and the shock of information that had been dropped on him. Thoughts that had, by this point, worn a groove in her mind amidst the overwhelming quiet of their new house.
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Old February 18, 2018, 04:14 PM   #3
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It had been an impossible few brightenings. Calanon was still reeling from the shock, trying to make the reality of it fit but it was hard between the the tangle of different emotions he was wrestling with. He knew he had been withdrawn in the little time that he and Kailin had been alone, but he was almost afraid to open the floodgates again,cowardly though he knew it was.

Cowardly yes. But not stupid. Because he had been afraid of the very thing that had fallen from her lips earlier that brightening. Did he want to be with Niven? Her words had reached out and punched him in the gut, and he had been unable, unwilling to form a response. That was what she wanted? A kinder way of letting him know this was far beyond anything her love for him could survive?

“I can’t talk about this.” His reply had been woefully inadequate, punctuated by the echoing bang of the door as it closed behind him. Genuinely, he had not sought to leave, intended only to take some space, do as he had been practicing, meditate through the initial spark of reaction, find the truth that flickered somewhere within the muddle of his feelings so he could at least try and make Kailin reconsider. Only it had proven far beyond his capabilities this time, any sense of calm and perspective sent flying out of reach. So it had been a slip backward into a more familiar method of coping, and he had not said anything before walking out of their home and heading toward the nearest tavern.

***

That had been several hours ago now, and the elf was safe in the welcoming arms of his drink of choice, and everything was pleasantly blurred, much less disturbing from this angle. Which was a slightly off kilter slump on a bench in some far from salubrious Inn. Hey! At least he wouldn’t run into any of the Alyxandas though

“Who?”

Calanon blinked, not realising he had spoken aloud, and focused on the slightly hazy face that was surprisingly close to his own. What was her name again? He wasn’t sure when she had appeared, or when she had decided that straddling his thighs was the most comfortable place for her to sit. But her hands were in his hair and it felt nice so he didn’t see the need to dislodge her.

“Doesn’’t matter” he mumbled, trying to find a way to get his glass to his mouth around the body that was rather in the way “ I don’t suppose it will be an issue for much longer”

Even through the rather heavy alcohol induced fog he had shrouded himself in, the thought was enough to make his chest hurt, and he abandoned his attempts to reach his glass to rub his hand over the spot as if it might help. Except another hand was threading with his own, with both of his own and settling them elsewhere and as Calanon looked up into eyes that were entirely the wrong colour he wondered if it was even worth protesting. Kailin had clearly had enough, and he couldn’t bear the thought of going back and letting her finish whatever she had been about to say earlier on.

No. Jema..Genna.something..was far less likely to smash his heart into a thousand pieces. Not that his heart seemed to be drawing much of her attention anyway.
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Old February 18, 2018, 06:48 PM   #4
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The eyes that eventually greeted Moss were familiar, but not in their current state. The mystic's own gaze showed immediate concern when he caught sight of Kailin's puffy eyes. Even the brief flash of anger that looked back at him didn't dissuade - Moss himself had played no part in the couples' predicament, so he decided it was meant for either Calanon or the situation itself.

But more than the expression on the brunette's face or the look in and around her eyes, it was Kailin's words that caught Moss' attention.

'Your friend.'

The phrase had surely not been a slip of the tongue. No mention of her love or even the elf's name. As a gloved hand took hold of the note and Moss read it over, he realised that even the woman's cousin had been more open with his reference to the Sylrosian.

'Your friend.'

It was as if the woman was implying that Moss was taking possession of the relationship now. Was she...disowning Calanon?

'Your friend.'

"Is he okay?" he asked quietly, before closing his eyes briefly and shaking his head, because he was asking the wrong question. "Are you okay, Kailin?"

The answer was obvious, and the mystic silently reproved himself for seeking it, but the tone in his voice contained all the sincerity he could muster. It was clear that the woman was hurting and - Moss hoped - it was clear that he cared. If his query amounted to nothing more than the equivalent of him saying 'I am here for you, then it seemed worth saying.

Even if her response was to slam the door shut.
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Old February 19, 2018, 02:23 AM   #5
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Perhaps Kailin hadn't been scorned yet, at least not in any way that she could point to with surety. But Calanon's hesitance to even discuss the subject with her, much less give her an actual answer certainly left her feeling halfway there.

And there was a saying about such women that Moss would have done well to heed as he stood on their brand new doorstep, looking into angry, tear-reddened eyes. But, of course, he didn't. (And if she were in a more charitable mood, she could never have blamed him for not knowing what he didn't know.)

But when the first question that left his mouth - as Kailin began to close the door - focused on how Calanon was doing?

Eyes closed against his error in judgement, Moss missed the very brief widening and then rapid narrowing of those dark lashed eyes. What he couldn't miss, however, was the loud, distinctive sound of a slammed door, or the warm scent of whiskey on the breeze it blew into his face. The correction of his second question went unheard and unappreciated, then, and he found himself staring at a door that looked in no mood for further knocking just now.
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Old February 19, 2018, 07:38 AM   #6
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Kailin slammed the door shut so firmly that a small clump of snow fell from the eave above Moss, narrowly falling behind him and settling upon the small path behind the visitor. A gloved hand met the wooden door a moment after it shut, and the mystic let out a dismayed sighed.

Then he set about drawing on his arcane abilities, drawing the familiar threads and weaving them together as best he could. In truth, Kailin's obvious hurt was distracting, but that also made him more determined. Eyes closing to maintain his focus, Moss set about forming his patchwork, casting Voice of Thought through the door and into the room that had appeared to contain a scent of whiskey.

"I will find him, milady," he told the room, hoping that Kailin would receive the message. "I will bring him back to you, as you wish."

And then he turned away, leaving the house and following the brunette's directions, making his way towards the Western Gate. When he arrived at The Toasted Barrel, it took him all of a few short moments to recognise the back of his elven friend with someone...straddling him?! The human paused for a moment as his eyes followed the length of the elf's arms, watching until he saw that his friend's hands had disappeared up the woman's hiked dress and were latched onto her backside.

"The feth...?"

Moss moved across the room quickly, taking hold of one of the woman's wrists and easing it away from Calanon.

"I'm sorry, milady, but there seems to be some kind of mistake, here," he spoke, trying to sound polite despite his shock. "My elven friend needs his rest."
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Old February 19, 2018, 09:06 AM   #7
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Genevieve was pretty sure that she had found her mark for the night. He was well into his cups which likely meant he would pass out before she actually had to do anything, and if not, well, he wasn't too hard to look at. She was less than impressed then, when her hand, which had been snaking its way down the elf’s chest, was gently removed from her target by some other fellow who had just appeared from nowhere.

“Doesn’t seem like yer friend thinks its a mistake” the blonde addressed to Moss, looking affronted as she snatched her arm back “ Whose you t’ care anyway, his boyfriend or somethin’?”

Reading Moss’ expression, she huffed and slid off the elf’s lap, annoyed to have wasted the past half a candlemark. But she wasn’t about to write it all off yet. Eyeing Moss up and down, she ran a finger down his arm and leant in a little “ I can take care of you too, if that's what you’re worried about? Let your friend ‘rest’ whilst we have a little fun?”

When no desired response was offered,the woman shot Moss a sour look before sashaying over to another table, where hopefully her work would not be interrupted.

Calanon, who had twisted his neck to look glassily up at Moss- when did Moss arrive?- gave a small sound of distress. “ Wait...Gemmi..Je…” But she was gone, and the elf looked accusingly at the man to his right.
“ Why’d you do that? She was...friendly” he observed astutely. And indeed, the proof of her friendliness was stamped over his face, where garish lip rouge was layered over his already flushed complexion. He had clearly had more than the couple of glasses left on the table in front of him, and did look ,in fact, as if he might benefit from sleeping it off.Not that he was ready to concede such a thing.

“You wanna drink Moss? Have a drink. Let me get you a drink.” The intent was there, the elf reaching into his pocket and dropping a handful of coin on the table that he then began sifting through to try and put together the right amount to find his friend a drink, which he seemed resolute on doing. It looked as if it might take a while as his fingers kept fumbling and he was counting the same coins more than once. “What are you having?”

It was when he stood, assumedly to go to the bar, and gave a little lurch sideways into the solid steady wall that was Moss, that the human could confirm just how drunk his friend was. It seemed Kailin had not been too far off the mark. Well and truly gone, indeed.
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Old February 19, 2018, 05:23 PM   #8
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Moss scowled at the woman when she resisted, and he made sure to stand over to accentuate his point. A short snort of air escaped his nostrils at the suggestion that he and Calanon were anything more than friends, but he held his ground until she had the good sense to leave, disentangling herself from the elf's greedy grasp.

The human turned to his friend to ask him what on Telath the fool thought he was doing, but the sorcerer was clearly too far gone, offering to pay for a drink. Moss' gaze only watched elven fingers fumbled with coins for a few moments before he moved in himself, grabbing the money and feeding each individual coin back into Calanon's pouch.

"No more drinks for me, Cal," he offered, only half-suppressing a chuckle at the absurdity of the man's sad state, "or for you."

Moss clapped a friendly hand on the elf's shoulder, still having not taken a seat.

"It's almost closing candlemark," he added, though it was a lie. "No point spending more coin until the morrow."

A cursory dark glance was sent towards the woman and whichever man she was now trying to tease money out of, though she was already focused on her new mark.

"Come, Cal," the mystic added, "before your head hurts too much come dawn."
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Old February 20, 2018, 04:42 AM   #9
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Calanon, not quite understanding how his additions were not working, eventually gave up and was ready to just hand the whole lot over to the bar tender. Only Moss seemed to have taken over, and the elf pushed a little unsteadily to his feet, grabbing on to the arm connected to the hand that was resting on his shoulder as he sought to balance himself.

“ We should..” he glanced down, realising his shirt had somehow come all kinds of untucked and trying, unsuccessfully, to straighten himself out. “ We should go on somewhere.”

Because he was quite sure he didn’t want to go home just yet, the drink not quite enough to wipe out the memory of what he was certain awaited him there.
“My head doesn't hurt” he clarified, as much for himself as for the man next to him. Of all the the things that felt so very wrong, the slight spinning sensation was not enough to warrant any attention.

“Moss. I think we should not go home. Kailin will..She wants to say things. The things... I don't want to” Calanon’s tone was serious, only undermined a little by the fact that his attention was drawn part way through by a flash of blonde and he half raised a hand in farewell, before moving toward the door. “ Lesgo”

He at least headed in the right direction, making it to the door and rather hanging off it as he moved through, loose limbed but perhaps lacking the elegance that befit his race. Once outside, the cold air hit him hard though, and the alcohol too and he paused for a moment, letting himself lean back against the outside wall of the tavern, seemingly unperturbed by the fact that he wore little more than a shirt and breeches against the biting winter chill. He had left the house in rather a hurry earlier, after all.
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Old February 21, 2018, 01:10 AM   #10
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Moss was grateful to see Calanon stand and leave the tavern. He'd not seen his friend drunk before, but had witnessed enough fights in almost every city he'd visited to know that it didn't take much alcohol to fuel them. Fortunately, it seemed, the Sylrosian was not the type to let a little liquor to make him aggressive.

On the contrary, the one time Moss had seen Calanon with any intoxication, the elf had been decidedly relaxed, so surely this would be much the same?

With a polite and apologetic glance to the barman - who, simultaneously, confirmed with a nod that there was no bill outstanding - Moss made his way out of The Toasted Barrell, more than a little satisfied that he wouldn't have to deal and more with the lecherous wench who had been held far too closely by the elf.

The human and his friend were usually only a few inches different in height, but with Calanon's unsteady feet, Moss would have appeared even taller than usual as he stepped out onto the street, bracing against the cold. The drunk's words had been spoken as he'd left the room, so it wasn't until they were both in the street that the mystic resumed the conversation.

"Cal, nobody expects you to speak to Kailin before you're ready," he bluffed, noting that the elf was in absolutely no state to be holding any kind of serious conversation any time soon, though neither was his lover, for that matter. "But she's worried about you, so let's get you home safe, hmm?"
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Old February 21, 2018, 04:59 AM   #11
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Calanon had leant his head back against the wall and closed his eyes briefly to try and shut out the spinning. He hoped he wasn’t going to be sick. He might have stayed there a little while had it not been for Moss’ voice distracting him from the steady breathing he was affecting so as not to puke his guts up in the street.

Opening his eyes to find the man somewhat looming over him, Calanon scowled and pushed himself upright. “ I’m not a child Moss who needs escorting home” Who did he think he was talking to? Disgruntled, the elf began to walk off down the road, not in the direction he needed to be going should Moss keep his promise to deliver him back to Kailin.

“Kailins’not worried” he corrected the man’s inaccurate assumptions.
“ She just wants to finish what she started” It was half called over his shoulder, which unbalanced him a little so his steps wove across the street a few paces. What it even had to do with Moss….

Calanon stopped and let out a small laugh as he spun, wobbled and then stared hard at the human. “Convenient that you are here for that. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. She moves on quickly” He did not seem overly amused, but rather there was a wounded expression that flickered over his face for a moment before he set his jaw and narrowed his gaze at Moss. “All worked out pretty well for you though hasn’t it? You’re welcome” With that, the elf sketched a precarious bow and continued his rather aimless progress down the street.
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Old February 21, 2018, 06:08 AM   #12
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Moss' eyes narrowed in bemusement as Calanon's stroppiness came to the fore. Here he was, trying to help his friend get home to the warmth and safety of his own home, and now he was making incoherent statements.

The mystic could only manage a long-suffering sigh at the elf's initial retort, his breath visible against the chilled darkening air.

I wasn't calling you a child...

He'd seen enough tavern belligerence to know better than to voice his thoughts, but apparently the elf hadn't finished.

Moss began to follow Calanon down the street, but he kept his distance. He wanted to guide his friend home, especially before he caught a chill, but grabbing hold of an argumentative man was an invitation for trouble.

That didn't mean the elf could get off scot-free, however.

"The feth, Cal?" he growled, a question that was not entirely unfamiliar to the elf. "What's got into you? I'm standing in the street on a winter's darkening, freezing my arse off. How does that translate to 'working out pretty well'?"

It wasn't like Moss to argue, but his patience with his friend was wearing thin.
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Old February 21, 2018, 12:36 PM   #13
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There was a snort of disbelief as the mystic’s words registered with the elf.

“ I’m sorry Moss” Cal waved an arm expansively. “ Must be truly terrible for you out here in the cold. I can’t think of anything worse.” He scoffed, continuing on his weaving walk, before pausing to clasp a hand to his chest in mock surprise “ Ohhhhh,consider though if you magically got someone pregnant without knowing about it. Perhaps that would be worse. Orrr” His voice was growing in volume as he went on, gestures becoming more erratic. “ If the person you actually loved was just .not wanting..going to...” Calanon stopped himself, choking back the words that he really didn’t need to confirm. Not to Moss, not to himself.. “..never mind”.

Turning to face the man trailing him, the elf shot him a dirty look . “ I didn’t ask for a babysitter, so you might as well go”

He felt unaccountability irritated that Moss had come along and pulled him away from his distractions, his situation pressing more heavily on him out here, even with his committed attempts to pickle himself to the point where it would not matter.

It still mattered.

With a dismissive flick of his wrist, he twisted and staggered a little before resuming his journey to..wherever he was heading. In fact, Moss would realise as per Kailin’s directions, that Calanon’s meandering progress was edging them closer to The Gut. Not a pleasant place at any time of the day, it was certainly not somewhere that it was wise to stagger into drunk and - as far as the mystic could see- unarmed.
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Old February 21, 2018, 03:04 PM   #14
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Moss could barely believe what he was hearing. He had to temper his reaction with the knowledge that Calanon was drunk, but still...sometimes liquor helped men to express how they really felt, and the mystic worried that such a thing was happening then and there.

"Are you somehow turning this onto me, Cal?" he replied, pointing at his own chest but managing to keep his agitated tone from raising as he was able to keep up with the meandering elf.

He watched as the elf moved towards - of all places - The Gut. A quiet curse escaped under his breath, disguised by the patch of crunching snow that buckled beneath the weight of his boots as he quickened his steps, wanting to be able to keep his friend within reach, lest he strayed too far.

"She isn't going to leave you, you dolt," Moss said, managing to force himself to ally his anger. "She's upset, just like you. I saw."

Moss moved closer then, his voice noticeably dropping in volume as the human consciously tried to calm the situation.

"Look, Cal, I told you I'd support you, and that's why I'm here. Let's get you home so you can have some rest and live to fight another brightening."

And with that, he reached out, placing a cautious but comforting hand on his friend's shoulder.
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Last edited by Moss Oktra'rek; February 21, 2018 at 05:15 PM.
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Old February 21, 2018, 05:09 PM   #15
Calanon
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Still irritated, Calanon could only wish it was a situation that could be turned onto anyone else. As it was, he was well and truly in the centre of his own little storm, and he was not enjoying the experience. He had been waiting with bated breath since he had returned to the parallel universe that had somehow become his reality, for Kailin to say what he was convinced she had started to say earlier.

And it had become an impossibility then, to try and fight against the tide as he had been doing. And so what if he let himself get carried away by it for a little while. He hadn’t been hurting anyone. Had been quite happy until Moss came along and ruined it all. And now he was here,and it was cold and he was feeling more and more annoyed by the persistent footsteps dogging his own,grinding his teeth against the urge to just teleport his shadow up the nearest tree and be done with it.

He was almost positive he could still weave the spell. Perhaps.

“You don’t know what she’s going to do” he snapped in response to the mystic’s attempt at reassurance. Cal stopped abruptly as Moss said he’d seen Kailin, turning accusatory eyes on the man, who had closed what little lead the elf had made to draw level.

“O course you saw her. She send you after me?” That smarted too, that Moss had been sent to retrieve him like some stray puppy. “ How’d you even know where I was?”

It only added further weight to the pressure that Calanon had felt bearing down on him since he had returned from Mercuria. He just needed to be able to breathe. With Kailin, with Niven...and now Moss had appointed himself his guardian of all things. It was laughable, the human having seen a shadow of the years the elf had. That irritation made the man’s next words grate all the more, and when the hand moved toward his shoulder, Cal pushed it away non too gently.

“I don’t need your support Moss. I don’t need you to follow me or get me home. Just.. back the feth off before I do something I’ll regret”

He meant it too, though any intended menace was somewhat diluted by the fact that he couldn't quite focus and had to keep blinking to assure himself he wasn’t in fact, moving in a slow circle.
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CIR
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