Private Tales Read between the lines

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Zana

Second Level
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Zana backed up until she was pressed so rigidly up against Talus that it might seem as though she hoped she could phase walk through him then use him as a shield.

"Please stop crying," she held up her hands as if scared of some sort of attack but the woman just rocked and spoke in that almost familiar language over and over, moaning Arina's name. The younger woman tried to sooth her but it seemed to do as much good as Zana's pleads. "She thinks I'm her granddaughter - that my mother was her daughter," she explained quietly to Talus without taking her eyes off the pair on the floor. Eventually the younger woman shook her head and looked up.

"Will you help me get her home? We only live a little from here. She will be better after she sleep, her mind... it is not what it used to be," after a slight hesitation and a glance to Talus, Zana nodded and stooped to help take the woman's other arm and hoist her to her feet.

As they began to move off people went back to their days.

It didn't take long to get to the small little terrace house with its blue shuttered windows. The old woman was still weeping but not as loudly. An tall man with grey at the roots of his mid-length hair came out to greet them.

"Mother, Jamelia, what-" he froze as he looked up, eyes moving to Talus to Zana before going a pale white. "Arina?"
 
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Talus

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Talus didn't really have any idea what was going on, but Zana had given him a nod and that alone was enough for him to move along. There wasn't really anything for him to do or say, and he would be damned if he didn't follow along with his wife.

Stepping slowly behind the group Talus watched those around them carefully.

The darker part of his mind still somewhat thought that all of this might be some sort of trap or trick. As a Dreadlord he'd been trained to expect that type of thing. It was a silly thought, especially here, but one could never really tell for sure.

He decided to stay silent throughout, simply remaining at Zana's side and offering her soft soothing touches.

What had they gotten themselves into now?
 
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Zana

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"I really wish people would stop calling me that," Zana said under her breath as she ground her teeth together and released the woman into the care of the man - the young woman's father she presumed. He blinked and shook his head to clear his thoughts then he drew his features into an apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry, you are ... the spitting image of my little sister when she was your age," his voice sounded thick with tears and he quickly blinked, turning away. "Please, please come in let me at least give you a drink. Please," he ushered them inside.

Zana latched herself on to Talus' side as they entered the small but cozy house. There were paintings everywhere; some of people, some of landscapes. Not one bit of the yellowing walls was without some form of art. They were taken into a small livingroom of sorts and Zana sat slowly on the edge of the ratty sofa as the young woman - Jameila - settled the older woman in an arm chair.

It wasn't long before the man returned and dished out some tea for them all.

"You see, my sister, she ran away when we still lived to the West with a young man. My mother thought he was dangerous and forbid her from marrying him..." he shook his head with a sad smile. "If she had thought Arina would run off she probably would have held her tongue a little better. What was his name... Karel, yes. Karel Vjollca."

Zana's hands began to shake.
 
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Talus

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Talus hand fell over Zana's, thumb slowly stroking over the back of her palm.

He listened to the man carefully, watching him in silence for a few moments before glancing over towards Zana to make sure she was okay. Through the bond he could feel her anxiety, the wash of emotions as she struggled to understand.

A pang of concern filled him, but he quickly washed it away.

In that moment he needed to be strong. She knew his concern, knew that he worried, but right now he needed to be the one standing tall. His fingers tightened over the top of Zana's, holding onto her softly as the man explained.

He understood now what was happening, could understand her reactions.

This was her family, or at least a part of it.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana couldn't hear a word he said after he spoke her fathers name. It was a strange sensation, seeing his lips moving but only hearing a white noise. It was Talus through the bond, Talus' hands on hers that finally broke through the rising panic and anxiety. He had moved on to talking about the paintings, explaining that that was what he did for a living when she finally burst out of her bubble and managed to swallow her emotions enough to speak.

"That... was my fathers name," she said quietly, squeezing Talus' hand hard. The man opposite fell quiet but he didn't look surprised, merely nodded.

"Then you are Arina's child," he said quietly. Jamila murmured something to the old woman who nodded furiously. Suddenly she was on her feet and hobbling her way to the mantlepiece. From it she took an old, carved wooden box and tottered to Zana.

"This was hers," he explained, watching his mother and translating her babble. He smiled faintly. "A few bits she left behind."

The old woman settled herself between Zana and Talus rather firmly, patting Talus' cheek and then opened the rather large box that swamped her lap. From it she pulled all sorts; old baby clothes, a silver bracelet that would have only fit a child, a lock of hair, a painting of a young girl of around 19 who could have been Zana herself.
 
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Talus

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This was all...very confusing.

Zana had just discovered a piece of her family she had apparently not even known existed. She was seeing keepsakes of her mother, and all of it...all of it was something Talus had never really prepared for in his entire life.

It seemed that family was crawling out of the woodwork for the both of them.

First Riley, now Zana's grandmother, uncles and apparently cousins. It was all incredibly overwhelming, and all Talus could do was sit there and send a wave of love through the bond. His fingers tightened for a brief moment as he looked at the keepsakes Zana was shown.

She needed to know he was here.

That she was safe. Okay.

Through the bond he sent a steady flow of calm, patience. Everything he could muster.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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The next hour or so was a blur to Zana.

The old lady - her grandmother, or Baba was she insisted her and Talus call her - showed them pictures, objects, and then over more food got the others to translate stories she wanted to tell Zana about her mother, Arina. The greying gentlemen who she supposed was her uncle - Arash - was the helpful translator. They asked questions themselves about what she was like and she tried as best she could to answer but she didn't remember much about her mother.

Her most vivid memory of her mother staring at her in fear when she realised Zana had predicted her fathers death.

Eventually she made excuses for them both to leave by explaining that they had things to do in the city. She stood there awkwardly in the doorway as each of them hugged her tightly and more tears were shed. Promises were drawn out of her of returning to visit and then it was over.

Zana said nothing as they walked quietly along the street, her arms wrapped around herself as though she were trying to hold everything together physically. Her mind and emotions were a storm through the bond and at the centre of it was trying to reconcile this image they had presented with the only one she had ever had of her mother.
 
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Talus

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Talus walked with one hand wrapped around Zana, his touch gentle and caring, leading her directly back towards Zell's estate.

A part of him had wondered if they should immediately return home, but he figured that one more night in plush comfort might be a better idea. Right now Zana needed time to process everything she had learned, and it might be best not to do that...well in the city that had taken her from her family.

That was how he would see Vel Anir right now anyway.

He walked slowly, carefully, but projecting an air of lethality around him. Anyone that got to close was given a rebuking gaze, pushed away with the mere thought of a threat.

With that, they managed to push through the crowd fairly quickly, making it back to Zell's estate far earlier than the two of them had originally intended. "Here, let's get you a bath."

Talus said as he waved away some of the Servants that came up to help them.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana barely noticed where they were until Talus was gently trying to coax her out of her clothes to get her into the bath he had run at some point. Slowly she blinked at him, recognition sparking in the depths of her green eyes, and then realisation of what she had done. Slowly she brought her hands up to rub at her eyes and let out a breath she had been holding in for god only knew how long.

"I'm sorry I completely... blanked didn't I?" she dragged her hands slowly down her face to look at him and then offered him a shaky smile. When prompted she raised her arms so he could drag the dress over her head. "I didn't even..." she trailed off and shook her head. "I mean... I thought that perhaps somewhere I would have distant... distant family but travellers don't tend to put down roots and..." Zana cut off when she realised she was rambling then unsteadily climbed into the bath.

Suddenly she cursed.

"I didn't get everything on my list."
 
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Talus

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"It's alright." Talus assured Zana, patting her gently as she lowered herself into the tub.

A smile touched his face for a moment, just to make her see that it really was okay. "We can ask Zell to send some of his servants to get what you want."

He had no doubt his friend would comply.

There was of course the mater of her family still, but that was something Talus...well Talus just didn't know much about. Riley had just come back into his life, and that was as confusing for him as this was for Zana. No one had taught either of them how to deal with this.

"It'll be okay." He assured her. "We're together."

That was all they needed.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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All she could do was nod. Too tired to argue about sending others to get what she needed, too in need of the feeling of safety he offered her with his words of being together.

Zana took a deep breath and then sunk into the bath until it came up to her chin. The motion of his hand running through her hair as he sat on the lip of the tub soothed her further and she soon found the stress leaving her body. Family had not been what she had expected to find in Alliria of all places. After a while of simply sitting with one another she opened her eyes and looked up at him.

"If I look so much like her... do you think our children will look like us?" her fingers trailed over her stomach with a faint smile, some of the life returning to her eyes as the worry melted away.
 
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Talus

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"I would hope so." Talus said with a slight laugh.

If they didn't he would be slightly concerned, though not because of the usual mundane worry. What would concern him was the touches of magic he was sure their children would have. Such things were often complicated beyond all reason.

Best not to test something like that.

"Family is so very...strange." He said quietly. "I don't think either of us ever expected it to be a worry."

Or a blessing.

He smiled. "I suppose at least the children will have some relatives that are taller than them."

Instead ofa bunch of dwarves.
 
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Zana

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Zana's laugh was a little hoarse - a sign she was close to tears at the very thought. It was partly down to the situation being so confusing, but a large part of it was the hormones too. She scrubbed at her reddening cheeks and eyes in an attempt to stop herself from crying.

"Thror is going to be so happy," she sniffed and offered him a wobbly smile. It was hard to tell really if she was happy or sad at that present moment of time. Her Baba and Uncle had been quite insistent that they come back and she didn't suppose she would be able to hide the twins then. She hadn't been able to tell them this time, shock had held her tongue. It had been hard enough telling them about Talus being her fiancé - which they had adored. Thror would probably end up being one of the first they told.

"The only person I want to tell is Sloan," the woman was basically her mother. "Who do you want to tell?"
 
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Talus

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"Riley, probably." Though in truth he hadn't really given it much thought.

He supposed that eventually he would want to tell Fen too. Obviously Thror and the other Dwarves, but he somewhat doubted that they would be able to make it to Karak for quite some time. None of them would mind, he knew that.

They would just be happy for the news. "I'm not worried about it just yet."

Talus told her as he softly stroked her hair.

There was still so much that they had to do before all of that. So much that he wanted to get done. All of it was incredibly daunting. Yet there was no challenge that he would rather face.