Private Tales Word of Mouth

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
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"You're absolutely sure that she's the one?"

Underhill was already a crowded place, holding a large contingency of the Winter Court in its population. Addako Nachamek had found that out quickly enough when he'd moved here from the Autumn. When you were tasked with finding one particular person out of that though, it tended to complicate things, especially when the person in question wasn't a high-ranking nobility or noted social butterfly. Hell, this "Diedra Rhawen" woman wasn't involved with Winter's 'game' in the slightest. So when the Cwn had finally spotted the platinum-haired beauty with the help of another young male, he'd almost not believed that she'd finally turned up.

The other fae nodded, holding his hand out expectantly. Addako rolled his eyes and passed the coin he'd promised for leading him to Rhawen. The young lady was making her way down the street, albeit quite slowly, taking her time to admire the light of the sky visible through the maw as if she were some child gazing up at the stars. What in Mab's name had she heard for him it to be brought to the attention of the High Inquisitor? Surely one of his lesser's could manage this one? Yet everyone who'd reported to him has shaken their head in defeat, claiming to be unable to get anything of value out of her.

Of course, Addako had advised them not to resort to force. There needed to be a... delicate touch to extracting information from commoners to the Queen. If Miss Rhawen told anybody the Queen's men were trying to pry into her private life, it wouldn't matter much in the long run, but it would reflect poorly upon him and his skills. No, it was time to do this on his own. Whatever the young duanann had heard, Addako would just have to put on the charm and pull it out of her.

So, brushing his hands against his clothes to rid them of any dust, and running his fingers through his own snow-white locks, Addako strolled out from the alley he watched from, eyes trained on the back of Diedra's head. The only thing he'd been able to find out about her was that she was an exemplary singer, who often found herself in ridiculous situations as a result of her own aloofness.

Well, Addako supposed she was about to find herself in another.

Nudging her shoulder as he passed, Nachamek quickly spun on his heel and reached out to her, gentle hands finding her arms and resting on her shoulders as if to steady her from what was really not a very solid hit. "Oh! I'm so sorry, Miss! I wasn't paying any attention, it seems. Are you okay? Did I hurt you?"


Diedra Rhawen
 
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Diedra Rhawen

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She walked slowly. She always did, nose up to the sky as though she were looking for a shooting star. Paying no mind to the crowded streets with people weaving in and out, she hummed to herself. A melody had been stuck in her head for days and she couldn't figure out an ending that was powerful enough in real life as it was in her ears.

Her walks through the crowded street were daily, like clockwork. She came through, expecting to hear something. Expecting a breakthrough, but had only been getting disappointment as of late. While she held no ranks, she was nobility. Her parents were, at least. She was only a ditzy girl who showed up to gossip until she was bored. None of the stories were worth remembering, everyone at the parties seemed to be there to spread lies to gain favor or admiration from others.

"Hmm hm hmmm" She hummed the melody quietly, shutting her eyes momentarily as she walked. People knew to walk around the girl. She was in her own world.

"Hey!" Her eyes shot open, squinting at the man who had bumped into her and grabbed her. "I..uh..no. I'm fine, just scared me, that's all." She stopped in her tracks, looking him up and down. He was nice looking, sort of familiar, but she couldn't decide if she had met him before or he looked like someone from a dream. "I wasn't really paying attention either, honestly. I'm so sorry." She somehow ended up feeling guilty for him bumping into her, putting the blame on herself.

Addako Nachamek
 
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Honestly, Addako had meant to bump her a bit harder. With how lightly he'd grazed Diedra's shoulder one would think it obvious he was being intentional. When she'd looked up at him and began to reassure him of her well-being, eyes full of some sort of child-like wonder, Addako realized one reason his men may have had a deal of difficulty with her. She was the picture of innocence, after all.

It didn't matter what she looked like, though. Addako had it on good authority she'd been in the presence of Falle' Tav, a rather outspoken critic of the Queen and somebody that Nachamek had been keeping his eye on for some time. He wasn't sure if Tav was just a fan of Diedra's tones, or if maybe he had some more nefarious idea in mind for the beautiful woman, but anybody who spend that much time with Falle' had to know something, and Addako had been tasked with getting whatever possible out of her.

In the interest of accomplishing that, Addako gives her a bright smile, running his hands quickly down her arms and taking her hands in his as he sighs with relief. "No, no. Entirely my fault. I was lost in thought and wasn't paying any mind to where I walked. I could have seriously hurt you." He quickly apologized again and again, before lowering his hands and stepping aside. "It's just been such a long day. I was on my way to get a drink and unwind. How about I treat you? It's certainly the least I can do."


Diedra Rhawen
 

Diedra Rhawen

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She maintained her position, unmoving as the crowds pushed their way past them. Should I be worried? We barely bumped into one another and he's acting like he's offended me. She wondered to herself, her big lilac eyes locked onto him. More than anything, she was confused. Perhaps he's seen me perform. That would explain it. He's only a fan of my music. Makes sense? Sure it does.

She smiled politely in response as he grabbed onto her hands. "I promise, you are fine." She squeezed his hands. "It happens sometimes in these crowded streets. People don't care who they run over as long as they get to where they are going." She shrugged. "Don't lose sleep over it, dear."

He's inviting me to get a drink with him? I don't even know him. He looks nice enough, but who just bumps into someone and invites them out? "I don't usually drink. I can't hear as well when I do." She admitted, looking up at the sky as though she were checking for the time before looking back at the young man. "...and I should be getting home...but okay, maybe just one drink. Oh! But make it an expensive one. You could have killed me after all." She laughed, allowing him to lead the way to wherever he planned to get drinks.

"I do suppose you should probably tell someone your name before buying them a drink, don't you?" She tugged at his arm lightly, offering a clumsy bow as they walked. The girl looked like beauty and grace on stage, but off...she had all the grace and decorum of a reversing dump truck with no tires. "I'm Diedra!"

Addako Nachamek
 
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Addako would have to take her word on the regularity of knocking somebody over on the streets, certainly, it seemed plausible based on how tightly packed the other Underhill dwellers were as they squeezed around the two of them, eager to reach their own destinations. Addako wouldn't know; he usually got from place to place in his canine form, darting across the tops of buildings or through the alleyways in-between. Much less congested, and it gave him some time to think. Granted, he'd been doing far too much of that lately.

Diedra seemed conflicted over his offer, but only for a moment. That was good, the noise all around them was clogging Adda's thoughts up, he could hardly hear himself over the hustle and bustle of the Underhill, and he was reminded why he so often chose to remain home. "Well now, I never said the drink had to be strong, did I? Very well, if the lady wants a treat, it's a treat she'll get!" He slickly looped his arm around her own to keep her close, pushing them through the dense crowd in hopes he could at least get to said drinks without another person stepping on his feet.

Of course, he was careful not to scowl when she was looking. To be fair, she was charming. Maybe he could get some decent company out of this whole affair, make it at least look like he'd started some semblance of a social life in this damned city.

There it was again, that pang of sadness that started at his gut and ran through his body, remembering his home of Autumn. It was so beautiful this time of year...

"I do suppose you should probably tell someone your name before buying them a drink, don't you? I'm Diedra!"

Addako snapped back to reality, his head swiveling to look down at the platinum-haired beauty on his arm. For a moment, this almost felt normal, taking a lady out for a night on the town. It was something he'd done dozens of times before his exile... The only difference was that now he was on the clock. "Ah, I suppose so! You can call me Addako. It's a pleasure to meet you, Diedra." He smiled once more. Adda already knew her name before she'd introduced herself, of course. It felt more official now though, in an odd sense.


Before long they came upon a brightly lit open-stall building on the side of the road, a large bar with a set of stools lined up beside it resting in the open air, for anybody to sit and order a drink as they passed through, a congregation of men and women lingered around it, some seated and some standing as they chatted about whatever nonsense the hot topic was today. "Lucky us! Two seats open!" He stepped ahead of her, pulling one of the stools out near the corner of the bar. "Do you have a poison of choice?"

Diedra Rhawen
 

Diedra Rhawen

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She smiled as he linked arms with her, her naturally blushed cheeks going a shade brighter. She couldn't help it. The slightest bit of attention from any man and the poor girl was head over heels for them. She looked up at him for a moment before staring at the cobblestone pathways. Lady luck must be smiling down on her tonight if she sent a man this handsome to bump into her on the streets.

Even though the crowds were noisy, she noticed he was rather quiet as they walked. Normally, she would talk off anyone's ear if given the opportunity, but when she looked up he seemed lost. In his own thoughts or the city, she wasn't sure. She wouldn't pry, though. If someone wanted to share something they would. No sense forcing it out.

"Addako..." She repeated after him, "Are you from around here?" Her head tilted a bit as she waited for a response. "I swear I've seen you, but I can't recall where or when."

She stared at the open-stall building as they approached. She was being honest when she said she rarely drank, but she was familiar with most bars having performed in them at one point or another in her time. This one, however, was new to her. An outside bar in the winter. Strange, but not a problem. "Oh yes, we must be very lucky. Today must just be a very lucky day, I can feel it." She agreed, taking a seat.

"A drink of choice? Oh I don't know. What are you having?" She asked Addako. "I'll have whatever you choose. You're buying anyway, so I suppose its fair you choose what you're spending your money on." She smiled, pulling her cloak around her to protect herself from the cold breeze. Perhaps she should have made him promise it wouldn't be too strong, but that escaped her while she was continuing to admire the man. "I was only joking, you don't have to get something expensive. Just something to keep me warm while we are out here." She gave him a wink.

Addako Nachamek
 
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The strange little bar was Addako's place of choice for the sole fact that he didn't have to be inside of a building while he drank; he could be more aware of his surroundings, and disappear at a moment's notice, which was a rather valuable perk in his line of work. While the older fae gentleman who ran this place was familiar with Addako, the Cwn had never come here with a woman before, and he eyed the pair of them curiously as he gave Nachamek a nod.

"Ah, the usual, Harlow. And one for the lady as well, on me."

The bartender, Harlow, as Addako called him, nodded and turned around to make their drinks. Addako flashed him a smile and turned in his seat to face his lady of the evening, "Ah, yes. I've only been living in Underhill a few years, moved over from Autumn, rotten business that was." He didn't want to go into the details, thinking about it was... frustrating. "I'm often flittering about on business though, so it's possible you've seen me passing by, I suppose."

Addako hadn't gotten anywhere in terms of probing for information yet, he was too caught up in enjoying the company. Whatever, he was sure once they had some drinks he could figure something out. Harlow slid two tall mugs of a frothy yellow drink towards them, and the young Cwn practically drooled at the sight. "Now drink up, one of the best things about drinking out here in the cold is how it feels when that warm feeling from the drink settles in your stomach." He raised his mug and took a long swig of the drink, a ginger-based ale with a bit of the sweet stuff mixed in.

"Ah... that'll keep you warm alright." It had almost sounded like she was flirting with him there, but he couldn't afford to get that distracted. Probably. Still, her wink made him smirk, and he nudged her playfully. Here went nothing. "What is a lovely thing like yourself doing wandering around on your own anyways? Surely you've got people wanting to keep you company?"

Diedra Rhawen
 

Diedra Rhawen

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"I take it you've been here before, then Addako?" She raised an eyebrow as he addressed the bartender. "Is this where you were headed when you bumped into me?"

She listened quietly as he spoke before interjecting. "Oh Autumn? Is it really that bad there? I've never been there myself, but I've heard about it in passing. Never anything bad, though. What did you find so foul there that made you want to leave, if I may ask?" She fiddled with some of the jewelry on her fingers nervously as she asked him innocent questions, unaware if he was uncomfortable talking about Autumn. "What sort of business do you do here? Wait, no! Let me guess...."

She squinted at him, looking for something that would be a dead giveaway to his career. She dragged her finger lightly over the scar on his face, then grabbed his top to inspect the material. "Teacher?" She shrugged, laughing as their drinks were served. "Am I right? Please tell me I'm right! I never get these things right." The pace of her words increased as she spoke, another sign she was nervous.

She had been performing since she was young. Calm and composed since she first stepped foot on a stage. She never stuttered or let anyone believe she was less than the most confident woman in the world. So why now was she fumbling over her words? She had never been on a date before or even really spent time with a boy, despite many trying to ask her out. In her defense, she likely never heard them talking to her. Was she supposed to keep asking questions? Hold his hand? Ask for his jacket?

She was already wearing a cloak, so the jacket would have been a stupid thing to ask for.

She followed him, taking a large gulp of the drink, shivering as it went down. "Ooh its spicy!" She coughed as the ginger hit her throat. He was right, though. As soon as she had a few more sips, she could feel herself warming up, getting more comfortable in the presence of the handsome man.

What is a lovely thing like yourself doing wandering around on your own anyways? Surely you've got people wanting to keep you company?

He thinks I'm lovely?

"You flatter me, but I don't think that's the truth at all!" She giggled into her mug. "I wasn't wandering, I was just clearing my head. I mean I guess that kind of sounds like wandering...but I'm not lost or anything. Just trying to figure out the ending to a song."

Addako Nachamek
 
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Addako couldn't tell if Diedra was just a woman of simple thought or if she was extremely forward, but the looks from some of the passing crowd as she touched his face and grabbed at his clothes were less than pleased. Not that PDA wasn't too uncommon around here, but Diedra was known by many for her song. Jealousy would grow thick quite fast if word travelled she'd been feeling up a random Cwn at a bar.

Not to imply that Addako minded much.

It became rather apparent that she was merely trying to sort out what he did for a living, a self-imposed question that Nachamek didn't have any real intention of answering with much transparency. "I was no longer welcome there, though I shouldn't really get into that right now." He had purposefully excluded the word exile from the sentence; no need for her to think that he was some sort of dangerous criminal. "As for my line of work, I'm... well, think of me like an investigator." It wasn't entirely untrue, was it?

Addako had never seen Diedra perform, but she was making a case for him to go out of his way too. So young and full of wonder, it was no shock she was so popular, especially to those whose hearts were chilled and hardened by the unforgiving nature of The Game. Even trying to get information out of her was causing him to feel almost happy for the first time in a while, thanks to that infectious bubbly voice of hers. "People hire me to find answers to questions."

Even as she tried to focus on her drink, Addako caught her stealing glances at him more than once. You would think he was the popular one here with the way Diedra was acting. Did she... Was she convinced he was trying to sweep her off her feet? Well... not the worst outcome but... no, he'd better stay focused.

Taking another long swig of his own mug, his whole body shivers and a low, quiet groan escapes him. "Spicy it is. Perfectly so." He sighs. "I was right then, you are the one I've heard about. You're quite popular in Underhill, I almost feel like I'm getting spoiled, sitting here with you." more flattery, but was it for his job? Or more genuine this time? He wasn't even sure.

"Tell me, what's it about? I'd be awfully lucky to get a sneak preview of the beautiful Diedra Rhawen's latest number."

Diedra Rhawen
 

Diedra Rhawen

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"Oh of course, you don't have to tell me now but you will have to tell me at some point. I can only hold my curiosity for so long." She was as threatening as a helpless baby bunny as she made an attempt to warn him that this wasn't the last she'd hear of his past. It was also a not-so-subtle way to imply that she would be seeing him again after this date she was most definitely on right now.

She rested her chin in her hands, propped up by her elbows on the bar. "An investigator? That sounds well fancy. What kinds of things do you investigate?" She was completely enamored by this man as he shared bits of his life with her. "Are you the kind that goes out to pose as a customer and get places shut down for poor practice? You can be honest with me, I know about a dozen or so places you might want to check out. For real, just ask and I'll take you there." It had not occurred to her until this moment that she actually had no idea what an investigator did.

She paid no mind to the locals that would look towards them every so often. She may have been well known by some of them, but she didn't feel like some sort of celebrity. It was sort of a double life- the on stage Diedra and real life Diedra. On stage, she could bask in the glory of the music all around her. Putting all her time and energy in emotionally manipulating her audience through beautiful sounds. Every other day, she spent practicing instruments around the city or helping her parents with their own business. Was she really that well recognizable off stage? For all she knew, they were looking at the gorgeous man she had the fortune of running into.

"Oh... so you have heard of me..." Her bubbliness died down a bit, worried he was just an obsessed fan. That was, until he followed up with more flattery. They had only met and he already knew the way to her heart. "I suppose you knew that before you bumped into me though, right? You just wanted to hear the latest." She poked him on the nose, playfully teasing him as she took another sip.

"I haven't quite figured it out myself, if you must know. I just keep hearing bits and pieces, but nothing ever fits the...purple-ness of the rest of it." She made no attempt to explain what she meant by calling the song purple. "I would play it for you, but I actually don't own a piano or a harp. My parents had a harpsichord, but I don't live with them anymore. I usually use the instruments in the music hall to practice and they aren't open this late. Though, If you have either in your home, I'd be happy to play what I do have in my head for it so far." It was an innocent suggestion to move their party to his house, the only motive to share her gifts with him and get some honest feedback about the multitude of endings she had been debating between. If anything more were to happen, that would be up to him.

Addako Nachamek
 
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Diedra's warning didn't fall on deaf ears, but it certainly made Addako laugh a bit. "I have a hard time believing you've got what it takes to pull any information out of me." He teased. It almost seemed like she was scooting closer with every sentence she spoke, and... was she getting more attractive? Damn it, drinking during this job was a bad idea. He cleared his throat and tried to steer the conversation back the way of business.

"Nothing quite like that, no. Say there's a secret being kept from somebody and they really want to know it." This was an unforgivably barebones way to describe his work, but it would have to do. This was already the sloppiest and most unprofessional interrogation he'd ever performed. "They might hire me to find out what the secret is and tell them." It just so happened that said person was the Queen. Taking another long drink from his mug, he could feel it working its magic on him. "Does that make a little more sense?"

The sparkle in her eyes only seemed to brighten the longer the two of them sat there, and Addako couldn't help but wonder if maybe he was going about this the wrong way. Certainly, he was learning things about her, but not what he needed. As it stood, it seemed he was just making her smitten with him. What was worse, she was pretty enough that he could fall for it... She might not have been the wisest Fae he'd ever met, but she was certainly more alive than most of the old hags that made up 'The Game'.

So when her enthusiasm died a bit upon learning of his prior knowledge of her, he quickly moved to save the situation. "Well, I wasn't sure it was you until you just confirmed it to me. I've never seen or heard you perform before. I definitely didn't expect to bump into you, regardless." His eyes cross to look at the finger that pokes him, and as he listens to her explanation of her song-ending dilemma, an alternate plan forms in his mind; Maybe taking her home wasn't a bad idea?

If something went south, there wouldn't be such a crowd, and he could be a bit more... creative... with his tactics. That sounded bad, but really Addako had no intention of hurting her. This was getting him nowhere though. So, with a bright smile, he wraps an arm around her shoulders and pressed against her slightly. "I have something you can play it on, though it's not a piano or a harp. Something I brought with me over from Autumn. Come on, I'll show you."

The trip to Addako's home was rather uneventful aside from further small talk, Nachamek didn't really pay much attention to it, but Diedra was enjoying herself well enough. His place was tucked rather neatly underneath the Maw, nestled against the rocks. It wasn't very big, little more than a modest little cabin made more of wood than stone. It looked brand new, though, as though it was only recently built.

Swinging the door open revealed the main room, mostly occupied by round table in the center with a glowing light of some kind in the middle, surrounded by scattered parchment, maps and books. There was a large cushioned chair by the window next to the door with even more books stacked on a shelf, and a dim fire glowed in the place built for it.

It was small, homey. You couldn't tell Addako worked for the Queen from the humble nature of his house. "Make yourself at home, darling. I'll find that thing for you to mess around with." It would give him time to come up with a plan

Diedra Rhawen
 

Diedra Rhawen

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"Hmmm..." She frowned. "I suppose it makes sense, but how or why would someone tell you a secret? That's the whole point of secrets, isn't it? It would be a betrayal of trust and that is unforgiveable." It was, perhaps, not the answer Addako would want to hear, but Diedra was only being honest. Trustworthy people were far and few in between in Underhill. It was one of the many reasons she didn't tend to keep friends, not that she had any secrets.

Her eyes lit up at the mention of a new, foreign instrument she could play with. "Really?" She hopped off the chair, letting him wrap his arm around her shoulders. "You should have said something earlier! This is so much better than drinking spicy alcohol!" Her voice was full of excitement, talking his ear off about anything, everything, and nothing in particular all at once through their entire walk.


"Oh it is so beautiful!" She ran her fingers along the hearth, enjoying the warmth it brought after spending so much time out in the snowy night. At first glance, it was definitely a place she would want to stay. The wood details were much more welcoming than the cold, stone walls of her own home. This place was homey, comfortable, and strangely inspiring.

She nodded, letting him leave the room to find the instrument he promised her while she wandered about to look through the parchments and books scattered about. A little organizing would make the room look so much nicer. She thought to herself, humming as she moved things around a bit. He did say to make herself at home and she liked to keep her own home organized.

The melody in her head grew as she moved around, eventually transitioning from her cleaning to her dancing alone in the slightly cleaner room. Her eyes were shut as she spun around and danced in an almost dreamlike state, humming the mysterious story his house was telling her. A dark but confident theme was the focus with an underlying shameful loneliness weaving in and out. Perhaps the walls of the house were telling her the story of how they came to be. She was unsure.

Addako Nachamek
 
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Gods, Addako would never hear the end of it if the Queen found out he was messing around like this. He deserved to be chewed out, too; he knew better than this. "Come on Nachamek, find a pretty face and suddenly you've gone soft?" It wasn't being fair to himself. He was lonely, had been ever since he'd gotten here. Who wouldn't be after being forced out of your own home? It only bothered him because he was letting it interfere with his job now, and this job was quite literally the only thing that Addako had.

It was also true that this little home was looking worse for the wear in reflection of his mental state, but he wasn't exactly trying to impress her. Leaving her in the main room, Addako had slinked off to his bed-chamber, which made the other room look spotless by comparison; Nachamek's belongings strewn about the room, odd trinkets of all shapes and sizes hung up from the ceiling... really it was a good thing he so rarely slept here.

Still, despite the mess he did know where everything was, and he found the old lute he was looking for without much of an issue. Giving it a quick once over, Addako was happy to see that it was dusty, but in perfectly fine condition. Was he actually going to have Diedra play for him? That nagging part of his brain that knew how off track he was getting started to nag at him again, but this time he shook it off. He'd come this far, might as well enjoy himself a little, right?

Re-emerging with the lute in tow, he stops in his tracks in the doorway, looking in bewilderment at the scene before him. Diedra shuffled about the room, tidying up as though she were a housemaid, humming a mysterious, but beautiful tune to herself as she flittered about as though she were in her own little world. Normally Nachamek would have been upset at the disturbance of his belongings but... in a weird way, it was beautiful...

"Miss Rhawen" Addako cleared his throat to get her attention. "Hate to interrupt the fun, but I found that instrument I told you about." His voice was softer now, even he could tell. Maybe it was because there was a lack of deception in his words now; he wasn't trying to pry something out of her so much as he was giving in and enjoying her company for a bit. Moving closer, he holds the lute out, a warm smile on his face. "Here, you move your fingers to pluck at the strings to make notes..."

Diedra Rhawen
 

Diedra Rhawen

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"Hate to interrupt the fun, but I found that instrument I told you about."

"Huh?" Diedra was stopped dancing, pulled from her music before it could conclude. A bit disappointing, but it seemed to be the trend as of late. Every melody she brought to life either ended before its conclusion or with some cadence so hideous she wouldn't dare write it down.

She stared at the lute for a moment, blinking with confusion. Lost in her own little world for a few minutes, she had completely forgotten why she came to Addako's home. She grabbed it as he described what one was to do with such a strange thing.
"Pluck...to make...notes...." She tested his instruction curiously, delighted with the sounds it produced. "Oh my goodness! Its like a violin had a baby with a harp! How fascinating."

In her excitement, she wrapped her free arm around him, pulling him into a tight embrace for a little too long before she let go and walked over to one of his free chairs. Taking a seat, she began to mess around with the strange thing. She plucked the strings gently, testing out different sounds it could make before the wonky notes and mismatched chords began to sound like song- the song she'd been humming. "Oh that sounds so lovely, doesn't it?" She smiled, still strumming. "Its often hard to sing over the piano because its loud...and the harp and my own voice tend to...clash...but I reckon this would sound even lovelier with a voice to accompany it. I don't suppose you can sing, can you?"

She cut the tune short once again, not allowing it the proper ending it deserved. Maybe Addako could sense her frustration as she did so. As of late, she'd begun to wonder if the problem was with her. She had never been an anything but easygoing, so why now was she getting too anxious to finish any new piece? She would make an attempt to steer him away from noticing her reaction to the music. "So...what do you do when you aren't investigator...ing?"

Addako Nachamek