Private Tales The Weight of the Past

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
Aleric froze, stunned. His head slowly cocked to the side, watching the odd black tendrils crawling just beneath her skin.

A myriad of emotions flickered through him in an instant. Confusion, fear, despair, but most of al he felt absolute anger. Rage.

Unbridled and uncontrollable seething fury rolled through him like a tidal wave. He could not believe that this was true. That he would have his freedom. That he would find Lileas. That he would get a glimpse of what he wanted, only for it to be snatched away with something that he did not understand.

"I..." The syllable choked in his throat.

"Lil." His head shook. "No."

He denied reality, pushed it away. Aleric couldn't accept this. He simply couldn't. Everything he had wanted, so close in his reach. Now taken away by the same man who had already stolen so much.

His head shook again, his fingers squeezed her palms as he fought to keep the wrath from his voice. "How did this happen? What...what happened?"
"It's how he got me back..." she said softly in attempt to calm some of his anger, but she knew it wouldn't matter how quietly she spoke. "He grabbed me when I tried to flee the old hideout and.. Well there must have been some sort of poison on the blade. I tried to leave, several times, but I was dying. I didn't have any choice." she frowned.

"There was another girl, a friend, a few years back, he did the same to her, but she got herself caught and thrown into a cell. They just let her die... I know if I get caught, I'll be the same, and I'm so fucking scared of dying like that..." Slowly and painfully...

"Can we just go back to our dream?" she asked, pulling the collar of her dress back up over her shoulder.
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The last six years had been filled with pain. He had been beaten, cut, flayed, and stabbed. A thousand different agonies had been inflicted upon him. Yet they all paled in comparison to the agony he felt in that moment.

Hopes were dashed.

Dreams cut down.

For so long he had dreamed of something new, something better for the both of them. Aleric had so desperately wanted something better for the small family that he'd had before going away. For Lileas, for himself.

Now it was stolen before he ever had a chance to take it back.

The pit in his stomach seemed to grasp at him, pulling and dragging. Threatening to consume any hope that might still survive within. He felt sick, and yet..."We can always dream, Lil."

Slowly his free hand reached up, softly cupping her cheek.

"But I won't let you die." Aleric said softly. "I won't."

He had no idea how. He had no idea if he even had a chance, but he was going to try. "I can't."
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She hated the way he looked at her as though she'd just driven a blade through his heart. She wanted the easy smile back. Lileas leaned into his hand with a soft smile of her own.

"I know.." she told him calmly. "I'm not going to die.." she assured him despite her own uncertainty on that matter at times. Logically, she made the Robber too much coin for him to let her die. Letting her suffer was his way of maintaining control, but she was too valuable to him to be rid of. At least, that's what she told herself.

She leaned to press a feathery kiss to his cheek, and looked at him with a smile far brighter than she felt. "Everything will be fine." she sighed quietly. So long as she behaved, she thought with a smirk.

"Are you going to stay here? Make this the new hideout? Most people still think it cursed. I can bring things to make it a little more... Homely."
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The small smile on his face felt like the biggest lie he had ever told, for the moment she had told him the truth all the joy had been ripped away from him.

He had known there would be challenges. Had known that nothing would come easily, it never did in the Gutters. But...couldn't he have had just one thing? In a life of misery, pain, anger and despair, could he not just have had one good thing?


That had to be taken from him too.

"I think so." He said softly, trying to hide the anguish he felt in that moment. His head turning as he peered around the old chapel. "You're right, the Gutters is too dangerous for now."

Aleric continued. "So I'll start with the Towers."

Inch by inch, he would take back what had been theirs. Including Lileas life.
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Even after all these years she knew him well enough to know that smile hid what he truly felt underneath, and she sighed, wishing she'd never told him. But she had to, there was no other way to explain why she couldn't leave the Robber and join him.

Her chest squeezed as she watched him, hating that she'd have to leave him here. She rubbed the tears from her lashes and drew a deep breath which she blew out in a huff. He was alive, and that should have been more than enough to make her happy.

She reached to turn his face back to her, a warm smile on her lips. "I'll come see you every day. And I'll keep trying to find some way of.. healing. I'll try. I promise." she nodded, slipping her hand into her pocket and taking out a carved, wooden ring attached to a long piece of black string.

"And I still have your promise.." she huffed a quiet laugh as she held out the trinket.
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Aleric's smile drew a little longer as Lileas held up the ring that ran around her neck. That genuine flicker of joy radiating in his chest. "I knew you would."

He told her with just enough confidence that she would know it was true.

It was a small glimmer of hope. Perhaps their choice had been taken away, but she hadn't. Just as he had always wanted, known, she had been here. It had to be enough, it was enough. They were together again after six years.

Time they could no longer snatch back.

As Lileas turned with a final wave back through the window Aleric took a deep breath. His head spun, half a decade of planning gone as his focus now drew away from revenge and wrath to something far more important.

He knew what he needed to do, what he wanted.

He knew that they could have it all.
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Two days passed before she could return again. Two days before the Robber decided she'd suffered her sickness enough and had likely forgotten why he'd been depriving her of relief in the first place. She had slept most of the day, and by the time she slipped out, the sun cast the warm hues of golden hour over the rooftops of the Gutters, deepening to a periwinkle glow when she reached the Towers.

She moved quickly and stuck to the shadows despite the sack she carried. She was stronger today, and she'd take advantage of it whilst she could.

"Pssst... It's me." she whispered as she tapped a knuckle on the board that covered the Old Chapel's window she'd climbed in through before. "You here?" she asked quietly with another tap..
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Freedom was a strange thing.

In a way, Harrowgate wasn't the first prison that he had been trapped in. The slums of Vel Anir, whether it was the Gutters, Towers, or Pit was a world of it's own. A place that many of it's residence were trapped in. No bars kept them there, but a weight pressed down on their shoulders.

Enough to make them stay put.

And yet, he'd picked to stay anyway.

For two days Aleric planned, plotted. He went out into the streets, watching and observing. He crept along roof tops and even reached out to a few former friends. None of them knew his name, none of them knew he was back. But an innocuous question or two, a coin left here and there.

He needed to know what the slums were like now, really like, and there was no way to do that within the Old Chapel.

All of it had been done carefully, but when Lileas returned to the little abode Aleric had gotten a better picture of things. The chapels wall's were now decorated with small lines of writing, the Hanged Man having no parchment nor paper to write anything down, he'd chosen the material he could. "I'm here, Lil."

Aleric said softly, walking over towards the boarded up window and gently removing the slat from it's place.
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A weight shifted from her chest the moment she heard his voice, letting her draw in a deep breath which she sighed out in audible relief. He was still here, still safe. A shudder of elation rolled through her, and as his scarred face came into view she beamed a rare smile back at him, now looking far brighter than she had done the last they'd met.

"Here.." she huffed as she heaved the heavy sack up to him and climbed in after it. She looked over him.

"I must admit that I'm a little surprised you haven't managed to get yourself into any trouble already.." she laughed under her breath and opened her arms to hug him tightly.. "Though.. It seems, perhaps not for long.." she murmured as her icy gaze wandered over the scribbled walls.
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Aleric helped Lileas through the window after setting the sack onto the floor. Pulling her into the tight embrace before letting her go. "No, not for long."

He said quietly, a small patter of mischief flickering over his features.

Even before Harrowgate he had never been one to sit still for very long. There was always another score, always something else that they could get. His mind was singular, focused, and now after everything he had been through it was only more so.

"What'd you bring me?" Aleric asked. "We can talk about..."

He gestured to the walls. "This, later."
Lil's lips twisted into a knowing smirk and she shook her head at him.. "Mh. Just be careful, whatever this.." she gestured to the walls "is, please." she huffed, and opened the bag.

"Bunch of things.." she murmured, biting on her tongue as she rummaged and began pulling out items and setting them on the floor where she sat herself. Two soft blankets and a small cushion, a water skin, a handful of candles, a bottle of rum, a cup, plate and knife, some wrapped parcels of bread, cheese and some apples, some parchment, ink and quill, a pretty leather-bound book since he could read, a fresh shirt and breeches that seemed about his size.

"And.." she muffled as she half buried herself into the sack to reach the small but full coin purse in the bottom which she tossed up at him.

"That's about all I could carry." she smirked with a shrug.
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"I'm always careful." Aleric lied as Lileas began to pluck a staggering amount of goodies from the bag that she had brought. Things quickly piling up on the floor as his eyebrows began to raise, ending with a purse of coins that he just barely managed to catch.

It clinked, as he looked at all that she had brought him. "Lil..."

He said slowly.

"Where did you get all this?" There was a hint of concern in his voice. He did not doubt her skill as a thief of course, even back in the day she had been just as good as any of them. What worried him was that this amount of stuff would be missed, that she had taken it from the Robbers stash or worse...her own.

Aleric wouldn't take if she went without. "Half of this we would have killed ourselves for back in the day."

His head shook as he crouched down besides her, the smile on his face still holding trepidation.
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Her pale eyes rolled but she smiled at his concern. "It's not all from the same place, don't worry. I just, collected a little on my own, that's all.." she shrugged and chuckled softly. "Told you, I've moved up in the world."

She reached to pat his knee and went about setting up his little space.. "I'll bring you more pillows. We'll have this place lookin' like a palace." she spun and threw out the blankets into a corner space, his candles and book beside the makeshift bed and the clothes neatly folded.

"Hungry? The bread is good." she grinned at him. "I might've taken a bite or two out of it.."
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Aleric closed his eyes for a brief moment, taking in a deep breath as Lileas began to move around his stolen abode like a hurricane.

A part of him felt beyond lucky to have found her again, and another part felt nothing but guilt for taking even this from her. That impulse to provide for her, to take care of her still lingering on even after all of these years. It was strange, that the situation was now reversed.

He smiled, opening his eyes and looking down at the bounty before him.

Without saying anything he stood back up, catching Lileas after she swept one of the blankets over the small mat he had been sleeping on. His hands settled gently over hers, and he said two simple words. "Thank you."
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Her smile paused as he took her hands and spoke the sincere thanks, and her head tilted, the hesitant smile quickly warming. "It's nothing.." she chuckled under her breath, slipping free from one of his hands so that she could lift and twirl under the other.

"We look after each other. Don't we?" she smiled up at him as she tugged at him to dance with her. "No need to thank me." .. Especially when she owed him so much.
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Aleric smiled. "We do."

Though he had failed at that for nearly five years. Gone because of a fools mistake. One that he couldn't help but chide himself over even now.

Twirling Lileas he shifted, stepping so that she would not crash into any of the myriad of items she had strewn about nor the ancient pews. Aleric moved until she came to a final stop, catching her when she nearly tumbled to the ground from dizziness.

"I thought Turtledoves were supposed to be great dancers." He jested with a smirk.
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Lileas laughed as she stumbled against him, her arm wrapping around his waist and chin resting on his chest as she stared up at him with a grin and a glint of mischief in her icy gaze. "Well nobody ever taught me."

"I'm just happy you're here." she sighed.
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"'Fraid I can't help with that, Lil." Aleric said softly as he held her, letting himself revel in the little moment with her. It was they that he had missed the most. Not the highs of their heists, not the warmth of the sun, not the sound of the Gutters.

It had been this. The tiny sparks of happiness in their utterwise shit lives.

They had always found some joy in themselves. Moments where they could laugh, where they could feel like things weren't so very bad. The best of those moments had always been with Lileas, always when they were together.

The years had been dark without her. "Me too."

He said quietly.

"Let's make sure it stays that way." This time, he wouldn't be going anywhere. Wouldn't leave her behind. Never again.
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Her smile brightened and she nodded, tightening her hold on him with a brief squeeze. "I hope so." she sighed and closed her eyes, listening to his heart with her ear pressed to his chest. The heart she'd thought had long since stopped dead. Tears formed in her eyes at the thought.

They'd never had contentment in their lives, but she'd always felt safe with him, had always been protected. Nothing had been safe after he'd been taken from her, but it was nice to feel it again now, and she'd hold onto it for as long as she could.

"I'll protect you this time." she smirked. "You just need to stay out of trouble.." she glanced up at him with a huff.
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He realized that he could have stayed in her arms for the whole day. The warmth, the comfort, the feeling of serenity and calm that washed over him as he stood there. It was like a puzzle piece of him had been torn out, and now Lileas had put it back into place.

Aleric smiled, shaking his head at her and raising an eyebrow. When she did her little huff at him. "Never met anyone who could keep me out of trouble."

It was in his nature, his very bones.

The only way Aleric knew how to survive was by getting into trouble. A heist, a job, something that would always end in someone getting a little bit too mad. It had been no different Harrowgate. Always there had been a scheme.

"Even the best person I ever met." He teased, obviously speaking of her. "She never much was able to keep a leash on me."
Lil failed at looking disappointed for long, her smile spreading until it broke into a soft laugh. "The best person? Me?" she asked, making a dramatic gesture of settling a hand on her chest and gasping in disbelief. "Well I am flattered, Mister Noose Man." she chuckled, but the smile faltered and faded as she shook her head, her gaze snagging on his scarred neck in reminder of how very close she had come to losing him.

"I would never wish to put a leash on a spirit so free." she sighed and smiled sadly at him. She just wished that they could both wander the streets as safely together as once they had been able to..

"I'm scared, Al." she whispered. "If they find you, or if he does." her head shook..
Aleric took in a breath. She didn't have to say who he was, or they. "The Guard isn't coming for me."

He said softly.

It was one of the things that he had learned while she'd been gone. Though his name no longer ran out, there were still a few people who owed him favors. Some whom he could trust, though such a thing was so very scarce. It was easier though when those people sat on the other side of the line.

"They think I'm gone." Aleric whispered. "Or maybe that's what they were told, but no one from that side of the fence is coming for me."

He told her. "And him..."

Aleric trailed off, hesitating for a moment. His hand came up, gently grasping her chin and tipping her head up so that he could look her in the eyes. "I won't do anything I don't have to."

It was the only promise he could make.

"But I won't leave you to him." He told her. "Not ever."
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They would come for him, if someone told them that he was here, that he lived..

She sighed as her gaze was tilted to his, the hopeless sense of fear clear in her small smile as he attempted to reassure her. She nodded anyway.

"I wish we'd left, all those years ago. Like those travellers do. Wander the world, just you and me." her lips curled slightly at the thought.
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Aleric smiled softly.

The dreams they had as children were some of those that had kept him alive in Harrowgate. Not the distant ideas they had, but the moments in which they had come up with them. There had been something comforting, in remembering.

Now that he was out here, with her, he couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt. Guilt that he'd clung to those thoughts, that he'd needed to, when he could have maybe made them a reality.

A slow breath swept into his chest. "Don't need to see the world."

He said quietly. Trying not to think about what could be, what another decision might have brought him. What they had missed out on. "Already seen the best thing in it."

They were here, now. That was enough for him.
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