Private Tales Silver Bladed Dreams

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
Zephyrine sighed and conjured up a seat, perching herself on it as she sat opposite from Kor. Her hands disappeared into her the thick fur lined coat she wore, generating more heat for herself. "Couldn't have sent that in a letter? It's freezing out, Kor. What personal business would have you out here in the cold?" She did all she could without her teeth chattering as she spoke. Her breath turned cold in the air, the soft plumes swirling from her mouth like she were truly a dragon.

"Do you need a hand?" She raised a dark brow, it almost disappearing under her hat to keep her head warm.

Kor turned his head to face her, the dark bags under his eyes standing out against his cloudy white pupils. Even by his standards, he looked exhausted. Still, he found the energy to roll those milky orbs at her all the same. "Forgive me, you weren't so forward-thinking as to leave me an address." Even if she had, he admittedly would have likely forgotten to inform her. It had been a long night, and his work wasn't done just yet.

"As for the cold..." Kor hummed, looking back up into the cloudy sky above them. "I've actually always been quite fond of this weather. Something about the individual flakes falling onto me, the way that sound echoes off of the snow on the ground, making everything silent..." Kor trails off, shrugging before turning back towards the door of the dorm building.

"Come inside, I have tea on. Wanted to talk to you about your friend anyways." Kor slipped into the dorms, walking carefully up the stairwell to the left to reach the second floor where his room was. It was slow, watching him climb steps, but even with a bird to guide him, he'd had a few accidents that had left him wary. "There are... birds." He cautioned her, looking over his shoulder. "But they won't pay you any mind. I promise."

Zephyrine let out a snort. No, it was not like her to tell people where they could find her and annoy her, but she at least thought he had a messenger pigeon at his disposal.

She followed him, still wondering if he was mental for embracing the snow and cold, but the warmth inside the dorms was instant. Zephyrine relaxed, hesitating a moment as he admitted to birds. More than one.

"It's fine." The past few weeks she had been working on shields and reaction time, enough to stop the force of a bird. "I don't think you're annoyed enough at me to be wary." She cleared her throat, but did not take back what she had said. She still couldn't trust, but she was here. That should speak volumes louder than her admittance.

Kor let out his own snort back at her words, the bird on his shoulder turning its head to briefly look back at her as they walked down the quiet hallway of the second floor. Most of the Initiates were in classes or holed up in their rooms to keep warm, but these halls wouldn't stay quiet for long, Kor was sure.

"If I was annoyed at you..." Kor stopped in front of his door, pulling out his key and unlocking the latch holding it shut. "I wouldn't have warned you in the first place." Though they had agreed upon a partnership, there was not yet any level of trust between the two of them. That, he knew, would take time and effort, if it were to ever occur at all.

Pushing open the door to his room, Kor quietly stepped inside to the dark dormitory. His curtains had been taken down and replaced with a set that blocked out sunlight, and the only visibility came from the light leaking in from the hallway behind them, casting two tall shadows across the floor. The bird perched on his shoulder flew across the darkness and pulled at the string on the curtains, tugging them open to reveal the entire scope of Kor's chamber.

Aside from the bed, there seemed virtually nothing meant for him; Nearly all of the space was dedicated to his feathered companions. Cages of all sizes hung from the ceiling, containing all of the birds that Kor had taken the most hands-on approach in caring for. Each was full of bedding and food, and the Initiate had seemingly rigged up a water dispenser to his ceiling that drip fed water into small bowls in each cage via tube. On the walls were tools, avian study books, and medical equipment.

A table across the room from his bed held a large glass container, much more spacious than the cages. Straw lined the bottom of the container, and a large candle burned beside it. Nestled in the straw was a Cardinal, feathers as red as Zephyrine's hair, laying on its side and breathing awkwardly.

The birds all began to make a commotion at the sudden light, but stopped at the raising of Kor's hand.

"I found her with a broken wing outside the dormitory. I think a younger student launched a stone at her."

  • Cry
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She tried to ignore the fact she was aware of a great number of avian stares, even if Kor silenced them. She followed him closely, not saying a word of how she would be standing closer to him than she intended, but fear certainly had a merciless hold on her.

Her eyes then fell onto the young cardinal, cradled into the straw. It made her soften. Zephyrine lowered herself to her knees, allowing herself to be eye level with the bird.

"And you can fix it? The wing?" She asked in a soft voice, not wanting to startle the crimson bird.

It was Zephyrine that Kor's bird watched now, as the blind boy kept his cloudy eyes trained in the direction of the wounded bird. The warmth of the candle was his guide, subtle but present against his face as he stepped in behind her and gave a slight tilt of his head. There was something else in her voice now, something he'd never heard from her before.

"Yes, but it will take time to heal." He answered. "Even after the bone is set, she will be staying with me until she can fly again. I'll feed her and monitor her progress, and when the time comes..." Kor reached out and placed his palm on Zeph's shoulder, gently pulling to signal her to move. "She can fly freely, or stay with me. Whichever she prefers." Kor finishes as he slides in front of the container where she'd been kneeling.

With a snap of his fingers, the bird acting as his eyes flitters over and perches itself on the edge of the container as Kor lifts the lid. Carefully, the Initiate scoops his hands underneath the Cardinal and raises them up and out of the straw bed and onto a small cloth folded on the table. Stirring, the bird makes a weak sound, attempting to move its wings, only for one of them to twitch in pain, obviously bent at an incorrect angle.

"I know many think me a freak, one that enslaves birds. Perhaps brainwashes them with magic..." Kor mutters, delicately grasping the broken wing with only two fingers of his left hand, as his eye-bird hops about to give him the angle that he needs. "But I do not force any of these creatures to obey me. They choose to, because I've raised them myself. They're as much my children as they are my pets, they've known me for their entire lives, most of these birds."

In a quick and fluid motion, Kor snaps the wing back into place. The cardinal chirps sharply in pain, then appears to settle down again, burying her head in the cloth underneath her as Kor takes both it and her and places them back in the straw.

"There's some seed in a small pouch next to my bed. Zephyrine, would you please bring it to me?"

  • Bless
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Zeph carefully got out of the way, standing behind Kor to watch him do his work.

Her stomach dropped seeing Kor work the wing, her chest tightening at the pained chirp of the cardinal.

She welcomed the distraction of moving towards his bed. Her eyes averted the birds, moving carefully and very aware of her movements. Her head felt as if she was going to explode, aware of being watched. She found the pouch, opening it to see if it truly was seed and nudged Kor's shoulder with it to alert him where she held it.

"And how long will it take to heal properly? Until they can fly with it?"

Kor took a rag hanging from the side of the table and gently wiped any soiling from his hands, as if this was a process he'd undertaken hundreds of times before. Zephyrine's question was met with a shrug of his shoulders. "It varies. I don't have any way of knowing the extent of the damage done to the wing tissue, so I have to adopt a wait-and-see approach. Sometimes it's a week, sometimes it can take over a month"

Sometimes, they didn't leave at all. A couple of the birds living with him now had met Kor through this same scenario, and grew so attached to them that they rejected independence. Archene was one such bird, the Red-Tailed Hawk that Kor often brought along on missions where combat was expected.

Kor took the seed from Zephyrine and left a small bit of it in the container with the sleeping Cardinal, tying the bag and placing it nearby. Then, he turned towards his companion leaning back on the table and crossing his arms. "Larkin wants in. I don't trust him completely, but you're right... Something is there. If we can get him over himself, I think he'd make a fine enough ally."

  • Sip
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"He is an ally." She raised a brow at him. Larkin had been the first person she trusted so easily, and that first day in Vel Zrada only proved that their friendship was fated to happen as it did. "He is no fighter, but I don't think that exactly matters, does it?" They weren't out here building an army. Zephyrine wasn't sure of Kor's skillset, but she landed a good punch and he did not resort to physical retaliation.

It was clear who would be the strength if trouble were to come their way once they left this place.

"Besides, he needs out of here. He has an anger... that is only fueled the longer he remains here at the Academy." She crossed her arms and stared into Kor's unseeing eyes. She refused to look at the bird that became his eyes, still not comfortable by how exposed she was to so many of them in such a small space. "I leave for Vel Castere soon. Someone has agreed to taking me on as an apprentice to learn the forge. I will be gone... close to two months. Do you think you can look out for him while I am gone? You know... for me?" Zephyrine never knew true family. Proctor Caddel was a father figure to her, but there was no true familial love there. Larkin made her feel like she had a brother in him. He was protective, badgering her into listening to him speak about looking after herself first before the Academy, and even the idea of traveling along to Vel Castere was a lecture itself.

"I think I would feel better if I knew he wasn't going to be... alone."

There was a strange feeling that came with being looked at in the eyes, even when one was blind. Kor could not see her gaze pointed at him, even from the bird he looked through, as she'd turned away from it. He could feel her stare though, Somehow, he knew. Enough that the hairs on the back of his neck stood up a bit, bristling at the uncomfortable eye contact.

Zephyrine was unused to the birds being in her space, of their unwavering eyes that lingered on her at all times. Kor was similarly unaccustomed to Zephyrine's presence in a place that was usually his own, the way she now looked at him. Not with anger, but with the smallest hint of pleading as she asked a favor of him.

"Two months?" He repeated. It was good that Zephyrine had taken his advice, found a mentor to help her broaden her abilities outside of the Academy's curriculum. Still, he didn't sound entirely fond of her departure. "Good. That will definitely come in handy. My condition leaves me ill-fit for forge work." Most of his birds could not handle the heat, and couldn't provide him the sight he would need for such a thing.

"Do you think you can look out for him while I am gone? You know... for me?"

Something about the way she asked him unsettled him. Kor grimaced slightly, biting the inside of his cheek as he felt his head turn towards the window in an attempt to avoid the gravity of such a request. Zephyrine, he'd grown somewhat used to. Larkin? Their first encounter had been... somewhat prickly.

"I said I'd met with him. I never said I could tolerate him alone for two months."

He wanted to refuse, wanted to tell her she shouldn't leave if she was so damned worried about the boy. But then... to do so would be rather hypocritical. It was he who told her she should seek to improve her skills, he who'd sought her out and formed the partnership they now shared.

Kor was many things, but he was not a hypocrite. Zephyrine had been true to her word since the start, hadn't left him alone.

In this, he could repay that.

"Fine." He sighed concededly. "For you."

  • Bless
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Zephyrine did not falter as she waited for the definitive answer from Kor, and once she heard it, relief flooded through her and took form in a smile.

"Thank you. I don't expect you to hold hands and make merry... just, work with him. Like you do with me. His magic is interesting..." Zeph relaxed a little.

"You know... I am excited to get away from here for a while. The travel to Vel Castere is about three weeks to and from... but they just confirmed one month to train me in the forge." She found a spot to sit at the edge of his bed, mindful not to mess the sheets or lean to close to the birds nearby. "It is daunting, though. To be away from the only home I have known for that long." She frowned, knowing it was bittersweet to leave but want to stay.

Zephyrine's talk of leaving home led Kor's eyes elsewhere, his mind drifting away into some reflection of a memory locked away in the back of his mind, the only place he could truly look without vision. Did Zephyrine consider this place a home? Kor had never had such a thought. This place was an in-between, a means to an end just as where he'd grown up had been.

And yet... he couldn't deny that he never missed that aviary in Vel Numera. That some nights, in his introspective moments, he didn't regret what he'd done to the couple that had raised him from a child. Regrets made one weak, and he dispelled them promptly. Even so...

"Will it be hard to leave?" He found himself asking, "The Academy, I mean? You've shared with me your frustrations with this place, but you also speak of it fondly. As if... you might feel attached to it somehow." Kor didn't understand the concept of a home. A place to rest and call your own, maybe, but the security and warmth that people would associate with the word... it was lost on him.

  • Thoughtful
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