Private Tales Scorched Earth

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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It didn't have to be good, she thought to herself. She wasn't likely to develop an incredible palate for these things. But she smiled and nodded nonetheless, sharing his amusement.

The moment was temporary before he returned to the topic at hand, and Fife set down her drink with a smirk. She had one brow raised and gave him an assessing look. It wasn't like she had expected anything less. Raigryn wasn't any different just because their relationship had changed. She imagined he would find no shortage of trouble to test her burgeoning skills on.

What next? She took the opportunity to listen and eat the remaining few bites of her stew.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn chuckled at that look. He turned his head towards the fire as he fell into thought.

"Desire or Misery," he said, quietly enough that it wouldn't be easy to over hear.

"The first is a little more tricky to take, but a lot of fun to use. The second is easier than you'd think to take and use, but it's all about balance. Too little does nothing, too much is...bad."
 
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Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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Desire or Misery. Fife chewed on the options like gristly meat. On the one hand, she was nervous of casting curses. On the other, she wasn't sure she was quite ready to deal with Desire.

She was making progress, but she was still keeping a constant thread of conversation going to keep her mind off the underlying feeling of discomfort. Empathy required balance and a steady hand. If she wasn't yet as confident in an Aspect where it affected only herself, perhaps it would be wise to wait a bit longer.

Alternately, she might do well with the challenge. A little forced exposure in small doses might temper her fear of it. It wasn't all bad, right? Her experiences had been rare exceptions, not the rule; not all Desire was going to feel like theirs had felt.

After thinking on those options far too long, Fife shrugged. It was a lot to convey. She spent a moment thinking how she would reply instead.

I'm not certain. Both a challenge.

She looked at the table between them for a while longer. Though she tried to keep her mind open to him, she had instinctively closed it off around so many strangers. There was a steady note of unease beneath her other feelings, a mix of contentment, happiness, and wariness. When she looked up at him again, it was plain Fife wasn't saying nearly as much as she was thinking.

Desire. She felt surprisingly confident about that answer, but not because she was sure it was the right choice. Fife had hurt his feelings in the past regarding choices made for her, and she didn't want to tread that territory again. She would be accountable if it turned out to be too much, and that gave her a little more conviction.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Very well," he said plainly. Raigryn decided to leave the topic alone then. A certain elven tale had highlighted that her own feelings were not entirely robust in the face of external influence. Use an aspect too heavily, or drawing too deeply could affect the mind of an Empath. As long as they were careful then no long term damage would be done. And in this case feelings could - he mused to himself - be dealt with.

"Why don't we stay here a second night? Easier to learn when around people," he said. It was selfish, but he didn't want Fife to start off by drawing from him at the same time as he was trying to conduct the lesson. That could go very wrong indeed.

"No need to worry about training tonight any more. In the morning I might ask around if anyone needs anyone to scribe anything. Get a few more coins."
 
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Fife

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If he had thoughts, Raigryn kept them to himself. Fife didn't know if that was a good thing or not. She immediately began to question her choice. Was it a bad decision? Not that it mattered now. Whether or not it was, she was going to stick by it. She wasn't known for being short on pride.

To the suggestion of staying an extra night, Fife nodded and smiled. She hadn't seen him work much, and it wasn't like she was contributing anything. She was good at costing him coin, not as good at earning coin. Well, she could contribute, but… Her brow arched as she raised her hand, and her grin had turned playful.

You want me to help earn coin?

They hadn't really spoken much on what few skills she'd had when they'd met. There hadn't been a reason to. She had the standard skills of an Elbion urchin: climbing, running, fitting into small spaces, deft fingers, and resourcefulness. She had learned Tranquility early because it had kept her hands still and her mind clear and aware. It was the ideal addition to her natural repertoire, and had been the edge that had made her such a good pickpocket.

Fife wasn't going to tease him long. She thought she knew him well enough to know how he would feel about stealing more than spare feelings. Raigryn was a good guy, even if he didn't always think he was. She could (and would) do it without feeling much guilt, but that was the difference between them. No matter their similarities, some parts couldn't be reconciled.

After only a moment to see his reaction, she waved her hand to dismiss the suggestion. I will watch. No helping, she assured him with a huff of amusement.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 

Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn canted his head to one side, pursing his lips in amusement. He made a play of looking down at her light fingers.

"You beat me to it, because the answer is actually yes. Just not tomorrow. There's always work committing things to pages and it can be slow work. You can follow me around and see how it all works...

"...which is not, as I say this, particularly complicated. Find someone in need, write down what they say, read it back to them. Better work perhaps than stirring up a nest of plague ghouls."

Fife would probably take the risks of the streets over another nest like that. Admittedly he hadn't been planning to place her in such danger on that day. A lot of his plans didn't quite pan out.

She would need to meet some fairly odious characters when writing for coin. That in itself was the lesson in the work: how to deal with the old, stuck up minor nobility who hadnt bothered to learn to read.

Maybe she would prefer ghouls.
 
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Fife

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Her brows shot up in surprise. Yes? For a very brief moment, Fife thought he was actually consenting to her picking pockets. Surely not! She wasn't at all sure how she felt in that moment.

As he followed through with his response, however, it became painfully clear he had missed her intention. Fife bit her lip, smiled, and nodded.

It wasn't that she wasn't interested in what he was doing; on the contrary, she always had a vested interest in how he carried on. By his description, it was another item on a long list of professions she couldn't keep because it required verbal speech. Which was fine, because she would much rather watch him do what he did well. Eventually they would find something a mute woman could do. In the meantime, she was genuinely curious to see how he lived, even if it was slow.

Raigryn had to call back on the plague ghouls. Not again! she signed with animated repetitions of gestures. Please, not again!

Fife was laughing, at least, even if it had been rather terrifying. It took her silent amusement a moment to settle, hiding her grin behind her hand, already feeling the first effects of the wine as it loosened her inhibitions. She still had two thirds of the glass yet to go.

I will enjoy watching you write. Very fast, very pretty. But I meant to say…
Still smiling, her eyes swept the surrounding tables before continuing discreetly.

I meant I help... I steal. She watched his face as she signed and added a note of humor. Fife was fairly certain that was one of the words he had missed. It had been more like a lesson that, in hindsight, was not very subtle on her teacher's part. Smile widening, she subtly made a mock purse from one hand, mimed taking something out of it, which she stowed it in her pocket, then said steal once more.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Oh I knew that's what you meant," he said, chuckling softly. At the same time he repeated back the symbol for steal a few times, trying to commit it to memory.

"You can learn to put those delicate hands to better use," he added. "Unless there's someone we really don't like..."

Raigryn was teasing now, just to see how she would react. Her past was such a bleak episode. It was almost a relief to enjoy a moment of humour about it.

He lifted him mug and washed down the rest of his beer in one go.

"I wonder if they have any desserts."
 
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Fife

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Why not say? she laughed. Make me worry? I thought you were not you.

Fife sat back in her seat and sighed. She arched a brow at his specific description of her hands, only for the questioning look to be replaced by another bout of laughter. This time, she simply nodded and gave a thumb up. Gladly. Stealing from rude people had been her favorite and usually the easiest.

Taking a drink of her wine, Fife, continued to smile to herself. Sitting back in her seat, her bowl of stew mostly demolished and comfortably cradling her wine, she had managed to relax. This wasn't so bad. Then again, they were in a corner all by themselves.

Raigryn mentioned dessert, however, and she perked back up from her quiet repose with a small gasp. A moment ago she would have said she couldn't possibly take another bite. Now, she scooted to the edge of her seat, eyes fixed on Raigryn expectantly.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn knew that this was actually a big step for her. Coming her, to a place not so far removed from her home culture and not in a disguise. He had deliberately avoided that subject too.

He liked to think he knew when to skirt around to truth to make people feel more at ease, but history had shown he was not as wise as he liked to think.

"Have you got any cakes or sweet breads?" he asked the girl as she came to refill his beer.

"We got gingerbread and custard?" she offered.

"Two please," Raigryn asked, with barely a look to Fife.

"They do make good pastries in...where we came from," Raigryn admitted.
 
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Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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If anything had the power to pull her out of a mood, it was either food or a good laugh. And if the fleeting look he gave her before answering the server was anything to go by, Raigryn knew it well enough. He ought to by now. Fife was arch, temperamental, and more than a bit stubborn, but none of those things stood a chance against something sweet.

Whether he knew or not, however, Fife hid her grin behind her wine and waited for the girl to go before setting it down and inching closer. Silly as it was, the excitement was honest. Raigryn was spoiling her, as always.

Making good on her offer to contribute by lightening a few coin purses might not have been an honest trade, but it could go a long way toward feeling like she wasn't deadweight on their travels.

But Raigryn was talking about pastries. She could think on that later when her head wasn't quickly growing foggy and light.

Tell me? she requested, smiling. Fife held her wine in both hands and waited expectantly, wanting only to listen to him for a little while.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Everyone does something different for dessert," he said. "I guess everyone does something different for food and a drink that can get you drunk. But drink is a different and very long topics of its own. And speak of anything other than ale, mead and whiskey around the dwarves can start a fight, so one we'll have to have before we get to Belgrath, " he laughed.

" The..."

Idemni, he signed, "Use pastry in thin layers with nices and spices to make sweet treats. I suspect you would have eaten those over the spiced meats for meals. Go South and east of here and its mostly fruit soaked in brandy. When we go to Alliria I will have to introduce you to marzipan."

Raigryn looked as if he was about to drool. He shook it away.

"Yes if you know the world well, if you go to the closest Inn and ask for a dessert and a drink you can guess roughly where you are."
 
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Fife

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She got what she asked for and then some. Not that she minded. Raigryn always had so much to say, and it was generally quite interesting. Fife settled in to listen, sipping her wine and watching him speak.

The odds of attempting to steal from a fellow Empath had been slim and the chances that he would be kind enough to take her on as an apprentice even more so. The chances that the same man liked food as much as her? Next to impossible. A lot of the likelihood surrounding her current circumstances were beyond unlikely.

More stuff to think about when she was sober, she decided. Right now, she wanted to think about what marzipan was or why someone would soak fruit in brandy.

You know the world well? A place you haven't seen? Fife assumed there were a few, but he could talk endlessly on so many she hadn't even heard of. As soon as she asked it, a crease formed between her brows.

I have asked before. She looked at the wine, nearly gone and what remained saved for dessert. Fife laughed and waved her hand. I'm sorry. A long time of none of this.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 

Raigryn Vayd

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"The mythical dwarven floating city, the eratejva tundra and wherever those Eagle riders came from comes to mind," he said.

Raigryn didn't know that a portal stone had been discovered in the tundra. When he did, Fife was getting wrapped up in Arctic gear and carted there as fast as he could go.

"I've missed enjoying a hearty meal with you near a fire," he admitted, looking down into his mug. "And its so nice to be able to talk...to communicate so much more easily."

A man at the bar at watched a few exchanges, curious at the hand signals from the mute, but Raigryn could feel he meant no harm.

"Best finish dessert quick if you want that bath to still be warm," he mused as the two bowls arrived.
 
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Fife

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He answered anyways, and she listened like it was all new. Half of it was, at least. She had never even heard of the Eratejva tundra, nor did she know what a tundra even was. Raigryn must have thought it interesting, if he found it worth mentioning at all.

Fife looked up as he looked down. If she hadn't already been blushing from the drink, the heat on her cheeks might have been more noticeable. As it were, it may have been a small mercy he had his attention on his drink. It was easy to forget that he perceived her presence as an improvement in his life, the same as she thought of him.

She nodded, but there was no hiding her smile behind her fingers or the unbridled, giddy Joy that small comment elicited. I am happy, talking to you, she echoed.

The server brought their bowls of dessert, and it wasn't necessary for Raigryn to threaten the warmth of her bath to make her hurry. Reminded of that, however, she gasped and shed all sentimentality from her expression. While she was willing to leave a few small bites of dinner, she could and would scarf down every bit of the sweet treat. To the point of being miserable, as she had demonstrated in the past.

Tonight, however, she managed to put away all but a couple of bites. Fife wasn't wasting the wine, either. Beyond the halfway mark, it had lost the dryness and had just been… well, good. She drank the last of it after she had finished her food.

Stomach just on the edge of feeling too full, but starting to feel wobbly from all the drink, she pushed it all away from her to relieve her temptation and, with a gusty sigh, sat back in her seat with a lazy smile to Raigryn.

A hot bath now? she asked. If she wasn't careful, she was liable to fall asleep in the warm water.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 

Raigryn Vayd

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It was one of the situations where Raigryn had to admit that even being an empath, he could not fully understand it. He couldn't walk in her shoes, couldn't quite imagine what it would be like to have gone without a voice for so very long.

"And I am glad to be able to relax and talk back and forth," he replied. He talked too much, especially after a drink.

"Theyll have run the bath already, but in truth...anything more than tepid...than warm...will be better than that damned ice river. It can wait. How are you feeling Fife? Other than full of course," he laughed. He made a mental note to ensure some heavy sword training was on for tomorrow to work off the meal. For both of them.
 
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Fife

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Fife was all smiles. She indicated with a gesture an emotion that fell between the valley of contentment and mirth. How the Idemni gauged what had needed a sign of its own was a mystery she didn't have an answer to. Learning them had taken a lot of context and had been helped considerably by the fact that she could feel what they described.

Happy. Tired. Dust dirty. She picked up her braid, only to let it fall to her shoulder again as she made a face. The dust and sand from their journey reminded her that there were going to be a lot less baths in her future.

You? She grinned. Happy about a bath? After all the complaints she had heard for months? Fife narrowed her eyes in suspicion. You are Raigryn, yes? You are feeling well?

It was highly likely that a little teasing before the very real possibility that she would have to rely on him to walk up stairs was not her wisest move.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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They might have left Indretar on a high note, but it had been a stressful time. It was nice to take a breath. Before Indretar he had become used to road dust. It was like another layer of his skin.

"I will enjoy relaxing in warm water and nice shivering as strangers try to wash my back," he laughed. He was not about to admit that he had become used to it as part of his daily routine, that he could feel grimy now and couldn't wait to scrub.
 
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Fife

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She couldn't tease him about that. Fife faux grimaced and shuddered. She, too, was glad to be shaking the unwanted help at bathtime. She made a sign to echo the sentiment.

Happy for bath alone, she laughed. Too many people at mornings. All look, all help.

Fife shuddered again, holding herself with her arms across her chest as she did so. It was an unintentional imitation of the very real posture she took when she was uncomfortable.

However, I must learn… She gestured to her hair and made the plaiting motion. You are better. I will practice.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"I am sure that we will find many things to miss about that place."

He imagined that Fife would soon tired of only having one person she could quickly communicate with. He decided not to say that out loud now. It was a tine to relax.

"Good beer though," he said, draining the last of his mug. He wiped his beard with his sleeve and grinned. Quite unbecoming of an idemni legend.

"Retire then?" he asked.
 
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Fife

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Oh, she had no doubt she would find plenty to miss. It only took a moment to think of things she would and might already be missing. It had only been a day, she told herself, and shut the door to those thoughts. She could miss then in a week or even a fee more days. For now, she was happy to be happy and enjoy the liberties of traveling.

Good wine, she laughed, nudging her empty cup. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes half-lidded. It wasn't the drunkest she'd been. No, that prize belonged to a very strong dwarven ale. But she was just silly enough to (hopefully) forget the stress of being in an unfamiliar place and sleep a few hours straight through.

Fife smiled and nodded when he suggested retiring. He might be content with a tepid bath, but she still wanted it to be hot.

Sliding to the edge of her seat, she bent to pick up her bag. Her feet felt sure. Her head? Not so much. It took only a moment to get her bearings when she stood, however. Fife shouldered her bag and smiled at Raigryn confidently when she straightened, as if he had somehow doubted her and she was proud of something as basic as standing.

She would not be so confident when she hit stairs.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn laughed, for that had been terrible wine. Drinkable, he could go that far. If they reached Elbion and he had some spare coin then they were going to find something better to try. He was not a wine lover as such, and it was easy to get stung.

The ships came in and out of Elbion and wine was used as a commodity much like exotic spices or precious metals. He knew an unpretentious little place down by the river that did fresh fish and reasonable wines. Frequented by busy merchants rather than wizards and the nobility.

"Would you like me... to take your bag?" he offered with as little judgement as possible. She was so small that a glass of wine was half a bottle.
 
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Fife

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Her smile immediately turned down into a frown. Take her bag? She wasn't that drunk. Just a bit unsteady and giggly. Fife held it tighter to her shoulder and shook her head.

Proud as ever, she made a line for the steps. She walked just fine and confidently started on the first step. It was clear she needed a hand on the wall, but it was also a point of dignity that she didn't want to lean. It was only a cup of wine! She was fine.

Fife made it to the top without making a fool of herself, at the very least. Doing so, she looked around... and promptly turned back to Raigryn with a rather indignant crease between her brows.

You go first. She wasn't about to admit that she had no idea where she was going.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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One of these days he was going to end up carrying her back from a table, he mused. Fortunately she was very light.

He wore a smile impervious to that frown and stepped past her. As he turned the corner he slowed down. Raigryn realised he had forgotten which room the landlord had said.

"Second or third on the left..." he muttered. Fortunately the door was open and the bath still steaming.

He shut the door behind them and set his bag down in the corner and kicked off his boots.

"Ooo they might have sausages around for breakfast," he mused.
 
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Fife

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Was he as lost as her? Fife held her bag tighter than necessary as she walked after him. She was relatively proud of the straight line she walked. The longer the wine settled, the more she felt it.

The bath was in the room, which wasn't unusual. Fife followed him in and sat her bag down with a thump. Her boots followed shortly thereafter, a knife clattering out of the left. She cast Raigryn a sheepish look as she braced a hand on the tub to kick it back into her boot.

Looking around, however, she realized the tub was in the room. Their room. Fife looked at the hot water, then at Raigryn. This had felt almost like one of their normal inn stops until now.

You go first? she asked. Her face was far too red to just be the wine.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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