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Old Rose Harbor is Anaxas' main trade port; it is also the nation's criminal headquarters, home to the Bad Brothers and Silas Hawke, King of the Underworld.
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Niccolette Ibutatu
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:41 pm
Topics: 13
Race: Galdor
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Plot Notes: Plot Notes
Writer: moralhazard
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Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:03 am

Late Evening, 39 Bethas 2719
The Ibutatu Residence, Quarter Fords
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Niccolette woke to a bleary, throbbing feeling. Her head ached, somewhere between a dull pounding and the vague idea that she might still be drunk. She curled up in the bed, shuddering, and wrapped her arms tighter around the pillow she had been clutching in her sleep. A wave of tears came, then, and Niccolette sobbed softly into the pillow. She didn’t try to fight it; she knew better by now. She let it take her, and she wept until she could breathe again.

Slowly, shakily, the Bastian pushed the pillow away. She sat up, rubbing her face with her hands, and glanced at the nightstand. An empty wine glass sat there, the faintest traces of dark liquid at the bottom. Niccolette peered over the edge of the bed, and saw the bottle laying on its side on the floor.

Niccolette sat still a moment longer, thinking. Her head throbbed, and the thought of trying to go back to sleep hurt even worse than the thought of getting up. She eased out from beneath the heavy blankets, feet dropping to the cold floor. Niccolette glanced at the empty fireplace, the ashes sitting in the hearth, and away again. She stumbled to the window, opening the shutters and squinting outside. Night, she thought; the moon was bright enough through the trees to hurt her eyes. She closed the shutters again.

Niccolette crossed to the closet, opening the doors. She didn’t look at the lovely hanging dresses, blues and grays and blacks and browns and brighter colors beside; instead, she went unerringly to the shirts and folded slacks. She pulled the shift off over her head, leaving it in a pool on the ground. The galdor looked down at herself for a moment, grimaced and looked away. Her right hand lifted, crossing her stomach, and pressed softly against the scar that lay over her side, and then she was sobbing again, sobbing so hard she couldn’t breathe, dropping to her knees on the floor of the room, gripping the edge of the closet with one hand, the other arm wrapped across herself. The air darkened around her, her field shifting a deep blue. The galdor sobbed until she was shaking with cold, until her teeth were chattering and her jaw ached.

Slowly, slowly, the tears stopped again; the blue-shift bled, drearily, from her field. Niccolette sniffled, wiped her nose on her arm, and climbed achingly to her feet again. She fumbled in the closet, pulled out a shirt; she buried her face in it, but it smelled like soap. Another wave of tears threatened, and Niccolette held, still, waiting for it, but it passed – it eased, and she pulled on the shirt and buttoned it with shaking fingers. The trousers next; she pulled them on, and lifted her cold bare feet up to the shelves and turned the hems up – once, twice on each side, so the bottom of them sat above her ankles.

Niccolette shoved the bottom of the shirt into the trousers and buttoned them closed. They hung loose on her hips, and she fumbled through her husband’s things for a belt, the one with a ragged extra hole that let it sit smaller than the rest. It was closer to the top, and Niccolette pulled it through the loops of the pants, buckled it closed, and took a deep breath.

Niccolette made her way barefoot down the halls. Her Quarter Fords house was empty; it was large, and had been large even when it had two residents and a host of day time staff. Now it was just empty, most of the rooms closed; sheets covered the furniture here and there. There was no dust, though, or at least very little, but none of the fireplaces had been lit either, and more than a few of the lamps had run out of fuel. It was tucked into one of the wealthier pockets of the Mugrobi-heavy neighborhood, a quiet corner where - like a diamond in the coal bin - it glittered discretely, half-hidden off the main road among the trees.

It was in the foyer, close to the door, that Niccolette paused, one hand reaching for a heavy black coat that hung on the coat rack. She had almost thought she heard something – a noise. She held still a long moment, then, hearing nothing else, tugged the coat down and pulled it over her shoulders, wearing it nearly like a cloak. For a moment, she stood, almost warm, and breathed in the faint, spicy overtones layered into the wool. She grasped the open front of the coat and pulled it tightly against herself, and closed her eyes, and for a moment – for a moment –

Niccolette let go of the edges of the coat. She wiped her eyes on her hand, and made her way down the narrow hallway towards the dining room. Niccolette went to the side table, still stocked with cups and decanters. She wiped her eyes on her arm, picked up a bottle of amber liquid, and poured it steadily into a cup. One, she thought, two, three – then again, then a third time, until it sloshed over the edge when she picked it up with her shaking hands. She rubbed her eyes on her hands again, and took a sip. Her headache eased, slowly; she took another, and she didn’t feel quite so cold. Another, and Niccolette thought she could bear the notion of going back to her empty bed.

Niccolette made her way back out of the dining room, bare feet quiet on the cold stone and thick carpets. This time, in the hallway, she was nearly sure she had heard a noise.

Niccolette tugged her hair out over the collars she wore, and pushed the rest of it back off from her forehead with her fingers, dragging them through it. She took another sip of whisky, and turned towards the noise, the fingers of her free hand resting lightly against the wall to keep her steady.

Niccolette paused in a nearby doorway, frowning into the room beyond. Yes, she thought after a moment, she was awake. Even thinking of the wine and spirits before she had slept, she did not think she had drunk enough to hallucinate. That meant – yes, there was a tall, slender looking person with long white hair rummaging through their things. Her things.

Niccolette stared at their back for a long few moments. She rubbed her eyes on her hand again, then lifted the glass to her mouth and took an unsteady drink, licking her lips, watching the person who was robbing her.

“Take what you want,” Niccolette said, finally, wobbling slightly and leaning against the doorway. “Just be quiet,” the galdor's head still throbbed, and she wasn't sure if the whiskey was still helping. She looked at the – man? woman? – as they turned to face her. After a moment, she shrugged, the coat shifting over her shoulders, not quite sure what else to say. Her eyes dropped, drawn to the glittering gold ring on her left hand, then pulled away. She took another swallow of whisky, and wished she’d thought to bring the bottle.

“Leave the grimoires,” Niccolette added a moment later, practically. There were tears welling in her red-rimmed eyes already, and she wiped them away again. “They are hard to replace.”

Shakily, the Bastian turned and walked away from the doorway, taking a few slow, uneven steps down the hallway. She did not think she would make it to the bedroom, and she did not wish to cry on the floor, not again. There – Niccolette pushed open the door of a room not too far away, stumbled inside to the cold, bare fireplace, the familiar full shelves – the two chairs. She set the glass down on the little table next to the armchair closest to the door, and sat herself down as well, heavily. She drew her feet up onto the seat cushion, curled herself against the heavy back, and began to cry again, softly, burying her face against her knees, the air around her a soft, hazy blue once more.

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word count: 1396

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