[Closed] The Fragrance of Honesty

"Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief;" —Berowne, Love's Labour's Lost (vii 737)

Anaxas' oldest and most prestigious University of Sorcery, the de facto cultural capital of the kingdom and a city in its own right.
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Ezre Vks
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:36 am

Dormitory C
Evening on the 65th of Roalis, 2719
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The day had been long. So long. Here in the Midlands' kingdom of Anaxas, the Vitan sun seemed brighter, and while Roalis was the one time all year that the sun did not set in his homeland kingdom of Hox, for some reason, it was just so much more oppressive here. Ezre had navigated unexpectedly intense social waters with whatever grace the Hexxos Guide could skillfully and muster, all too aware of how much he'd hurt Lilanee's feelings and possibly damaged their more-than-friendship with his trip home without her. He quite possibly damaged Madeleine's sanity today with his Hexxos tattoos and his talk of ghosts, with his blunt confidence and aloof form of conversation. He might have also stirred up a bit of salty discomfort between himself and Tom Cooke, forcing the once-human criminal to crawl through Brunnhold's expansive campus with two young women and himself, pursuing ghost stories and confronting all manner of campus residents.

When they were finally through with their investigating for the afternoon, the Hoxian carefully extricated himself from too much awkwardness through the glorious excuse of pure hospitality. He said his polite farewell to Gosselin-vumein, promised Lilanee he'd meet her at dinner, and volunteered to escort the Incumbent to catch a rickshaw to wherever he was staying—the Stacks, probably. Once free of all three very living, very emotional, very different bodies, the dark-haired boy all but crawled his way to his dorm.

He was tired. He was sweaty. He was as desperate to decompress as he was to filter through all the various accounts of the East Garden and restless spirits on campus that they had miraculously managed to compile today. Travel was hard. Making mistakes was harder. Dealing with so many people at once was shockingly difficult for the Hoxian who had just spent almost half a season among people who knew how to properly control their expressions and their emotions.

Ezre knew he had more to say to Lilanee.

He knew he had more to say to Tom, too.

He wouldn't be surprised if Madeleine never wanted to talk to him again.

Oozing into his sweltering dormitory room, so very grateful all three of his suite mates were gone for Summer Break—one in Vienda on internship, one back home in Muffey, and the last probably gambling his life away in Old Rose Harbor—the dark-haired boy peeled off his outermost layers of clothing and opened his window as wide as it would go. He stood in the center of his tidy room and his still mostly packed luggage and his carefully wrapped packages for his friends, and he let his satchel droop off his shoulder to the floor.

Dark, linen outer coat held in tattooed hands, he sighed, lighting incense before he chose to process everything through productivity by sorting his clothes. He unpacked, setting presents on his bed: two bright cloth-wrapped gifts for Lilanee as well as his stack of letters he was too cowardly to send; one small wooden box for Madame Exudus, lacquered and intricately carved; and a leather-bound stack of old and definitely forbidden books accompanying wooden case of scrolls for Tom Cooke. There were new teas and chan for anyone to share, and several varieties of snacks he'd missed for years from home. His mother had spoiled him, really, and he hardly deserved the generosity of his cousins in the clothing they sent him back to Anaxas with.

Once everything was efficiently tidy again, he checked the clock—pebbles and stones! he still had half a house before dinner—and chose to wash away the sweat from the humid Roalis weather, secretly hoping that a bath would be refreshing when really it all just seemed to soak into his bones and make him more tired.

Finally, clean and dressed in more casual linen layers in anticipation of a mostly empty Cafeteria for the evening meal, Ezre sat on his floor, barefoot, shoulder-length still-damp hair pulled upward in a smooth bun, and began to lay out notes from the day. He set things in piles. He tore out a couple of pages. He shuffled things on the floor, writing down possible connections until his eyelids felt heavy and his mind swam with not simply the garden mystery but all the things he'd let go unsaid between himself and Lilanee, himself and Tom, because of how this investigation had simply gotten in the way.

Maybe if he just closed his eyes for a few moments, he'd be able to better deal with all the accusations and questions and unexpressed feelings he knew would be waiting for him in the Cafeteria. He'd wanted more than just a hug and he was acutely aware that both of them had tenuously held so much inside for the entire course of their unusual and awkward afternoon. He had so much to say, but he also knew it would be difficult for Lilanee to let him get all the words in. Much of what he had to say—much of what they both had to say, surely—was more suitable for a private conversation. How angry was Lilanee, really? What would she have to unburden from the past sixty days apart over their meal?

She had been hurt as well as been hurtful.

He was both guilty and afraid. He had struggled with how to define their relationship in front of strangers. He had struggled with the flood of desire and longing in her company under the judgmental presence of their companions.

Ezre had perhaps made poor choices before he left for Hox, and he had definitely held back too many parts of himself out of hesitant fear, out of a deeply-rooted need to protect the secrets of his people, out of a respect for those he called family, and out of a worry that once Lilanee knew all of his truths, she would no longer desire to be his friend. He had also never felt these more than platonic sorts of things before for someone else: he'd never missed anyone other than his family as much as he had missed a particular Hessean while away, and the regrets of his parting had weighed him down for so much of his traveling, even if he had been quite busy while in Kzecka with his family proper.

Eventually, curled up on the thick wool rug, surrounded by paper, quill still in one hand, the Hexxos Guide was sound asleep, heavy with emotional burden and exhausted by travel.

He slept through dinner, time slipping away behind his eyelids, totally unaware that he'd most likely made a difficult situation even worse.
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word count: 1168

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Lilanee Kuleda
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:40 am
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Race: Galdor
: Let's go on an adventure!!!
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Writer: Raksha
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:43 pm

Roalis 65th, 2719
SOMEWHERE SHE PROBABLY SHOULDN'T BE | EVENING
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"It’s fine. I’m sure it’s fine. There’s a logical, reasonable explanation for it. Plenty of people miss dinner, all the time. I mean, I’ve missed dinner before. It’s fine.” Lilanee pep talked to her parsnips, pushing their pale roasted shapes around the plate with her fork, along with the rest of her meal. She’d come down for dinner, after what could only be described as the most uncomfortable day of her life thus far, expecting Ezre would want to talk at dinner. Finally, after being unintentionally trapped in their own thoughts by the presence of the Incumbent and Madeline, finally the long and productive day had ended and they’d parted ways. But, the Hessean knew they both had more to say. Ezre has promised to meet her at dinner. They had so much more to say.

He’d promised.

Dinner was done. The few students that were still on campus finished their meals and escaped the cafeteria, leaving Lilanee the last lonely student in the huge empty room. Her meal was cold and uneaten, and the red head didn’t feel hunger. She felt that new and frankly unwelcome prickle of tears burning her eyes, and the strange twist of anger and hurt in her stomach.

He’d promised.

Standing abruptly, the young Hessean left her meal on the table and swept from the cafeteria in a flourish of red shift, her field pulsing with frustration. Her red hair was swept up into a messy bun, a loose curl or two framing her bespectacled face, the breeze of the warm Roalis weather brushing the tendrils as she shoved open the doors and took the steps at a brisk pace. Her legs moved freely, given her chosen attire this evening. A pair of fitted long tan trousers covered her legs, dark brown boots peeking out of the bottom, whilst her upper half was dressed in a long sleeved white blouse that was neatly tucked into the high waisted pants and sleeves rolled to her elbows. Paired with a pair of tan suspenders, Lilanee half looked as though she was about to embark on an endevour into the wilds of Anaxas. After trumping around the school grounds in her best uniform, even the Anaxi raised Hessean felt the heavy humid weight of the summer, sweating and uncomfortable in her forest green skirt. Bathing quickly, the ninth form had stood before her wardrobe for longer than was necessary, contemplating her outfit for meeting Ezre Vks at dinner. Should she dress for comfort, she pondered, blue gaze flicking to long pants and suspenders. Would Ez be dressing for comfort? Or should she dress up? What exactly was the protocol here, she had no clocking idea. In the end, she’d gone somewhere in-between, wearing the comfortable unorthodox pants but the good pair. The ones that were tailored to her form rather than just a men’s cut pair that she needed to gather up with a belt which made them bunch at the front.

Given she’d been stood up, it hadn’t really mattered in the end.

Storming through the empty courtyard, the darkness of the Roalis evening pressed down around her, feeling heavier after the ghostly investigations they had been conducting. Crossing her arms over her chest, Lilanee walked a bit faster, the wind picking up to push against the back of her legs. The moons were visible, their light giving most of the scenery an ethereal sort of glow. It could have been eerie, if you were worried about that sort of stuff. Reaching her dorm stairs, Lilanee stopped, looking back across the way.

Was this it? Was she just going to go upstairs and go to bed and leave everything unsaid? Was that really how this would go? Hadn’t she just spent a season miserable because of things left unsaid?

Almost without her permission, the teenagers feet were moving again, headed around the back of the buildings to make her way through the school yard towards the building she absolutely knew Ezre’s room was located in. As she walked, her temper flared.

“Clocking peers. Peers indeed Mister Vks.” The Hessean muttered to herself, field whipping with flares of emotions that she didn’t want to have. Things were so much easier when the only thing she cared about were skeletal structures and ancient pottery. Really, this was all just a distraction. They knew that. Silly distractions that made for silly choices. This was their final year at Brunnhold, and frankly it was far more important now more than ever to ignore the rush of endorphins that kisses and sweet words gave. Graduation was just around the corner and here she was chasing ghost stories and a boy. She should just go home and push all this deep deep down and work on next months Archaeological Society agenda. Read a book. Something. Anything.

But damn it here she was standing outside in the grass staring at the open third story window.

“Lights on, window open. Studying Mister Vks? Good good. I wouldn’t want to take up your time with dinner. As promised.” She muttered, gaze already scanning the wall, hands clenched into fists. There was a gutter pipe running down the building, and Lilanee was fairly certain it would hold her weight but truthfully she’d never tried before. Somehow there’d never been reason for her to sneak in.

Now was a good time as any to try.

Grasping the pipe, looking around first for good measure, Lilanee began to climb towards the open window.

Dice Roll ClimbShow
SidekickBOTToday at 08:09
@Raksha: `1d6` = (1) = 1

Instantly her foot slipped off, plodding hard into the soft earth of the garden bed. Cursing softly, she tried again. This time she made it at least past the first floor, before the piping brackets protested with a squeak of metal against stone.

Dice Roll Pipe SupportShow
SidekickBOTToday at 08:10
@Raksha: `1d6` = (2) = 2


“Shit!” She hissed, feeling the pipe breaking away from the wall with a small shudder. Looking around, she spotted the ledge of the second floor window beside her, a dark dorm void of occupants during the summer break. Leaning, her heart hammering in her chest as the pipe leaned with her, the Hessean pointed her foot to rest her tip-toe on the ledge, body stretched between the unstable pipe and the precarious ledge. She just needed to get a better footing so she could reach with a hand to hold the top of the window frame. Just a bit more….

This time the pipe tangibly dropped, and Lilanee let out a squeal as she slipped, throwing herself for the window.

Dice Roll Catch WindowShow
SidekickBOTToday at 08:10
@Raksha: `1d6` = (6) = 6

She fell, and for a second her life flashed before her eyes and her heart felt like it might leap out of her mouth, but with a rough thump the student caught herself on the ledge by her elbows, fingertips curling around it where the window was half open. Her booted toes clambered for purchase on the red brick, and for a few moments the red head simply clung for dear life, breathing heavily.

“Tocks!” She exhaled, realizing in that moment that she was stuck. There was nothing to push off with her feet, and her upper body strength wasn’t enough to pull her inside the dark room. Panic chewed at the edges of her mind, before the Hessean took a deep breath. And another. Panic wouldn’t help her here.

Think Lilanee, think!

Hanging off the second story window, Lilanee thought as best she could, ideas flittering in and out of focus before one finally came to her. It was risky, it could go horribly, but…right now…it was either do that or call for help and most likely be in a world of trouble if any of the faculty found her.

Gathering her field, the ninth form focused it around her, a warm cocoon made of Physical monic particles that swirled around her like dsoh curled around a fork. Trying to keep her voice as steady as possible as her arms began to ache from supporting her weight, Lilanee breathed monite syllables with a formal lilt, imploring the sentience around her to ply the very gravity around her being. She wove the spell, a familiar one, to essentially levitate matter. It was an easy spell, one she’d done countless times before on various items. Books, cups and the such. Marissa. But never on herself.

Never on herself

Dice Roll Gravity SpellShow
SidekickBOTToday at 10:47
@Raksha: `1d6` = (3) = 3

A curious sensation would wrap around the young woman, a pressure that she hadn’t expected, that both pushed and pulled on her. The weight of her legs felt less, and the ache in her arms began to ease. Clocks it was working! She was floating! Letting go of the window sill, Lilanee breathed a laugh as she slowly lifted away from the second story, floating higher towards the third. Towards Ezre’s dorm. Wobbling a little in the air, arms outstretched, the Hessean reached for the sill…and missed.

“Shit, shit!” She swore, eyes wide as her fingertips brushed the wood uselessly. Shifting her approach, Lilanee began to stroke her arms through the air, as though she was swimming, too far from the window to just end the spell. If she did, she’d most likely hit the ground and potentially be quite seriously hurt. It was working, but Gods it was slow. At this rate she’d be on the roof before she was touching the building. Kicking her legs, the student desperately got closer to the brickwork, looking for somewhere to essentially drop down. Pulling her legs in towards the building, she looked down her body at the window ledge a few feet beneath her. From here, she could see inside the dorm, but was too far above the window to see Ezre’s form on the floor. If he was inside, and happened to look up, he would probably never be able to explain seeing two legs dangling in mid air just outside of his window.

Here goes…

Dice Roll LandingShow
SidekickBOTToday at 10:58
@Raksha: `1d6` = (5) = 5

Ending the gravity spell, Lilanee felt a rush of adrenaline as she immediately dropped out of the air, landing heavily on the wooden sill. She put her hands out to steady herself by instinct, except there was no glass there, given the window was wide open. Instead the red head tumbled head first into the room in a mess of elbows and knees, not at all a quiet entrance. Her shin collided with the edge of the sill, and her glasses flew off her face as it met the ground of Ezre Vk’s dormitory room, arms collapsing under her with a loud oof.

“….ouch.” The Hessean groaned after a brief moment of shock and momentary disbelief that she’d nearly clocking topped herself out of anger. Pushing off the floor to sit up, the teenager lifted her eyes, squinting to see properly.

“Ez? What…what are you doing on the floor?” She asked as though it was the most bizarre thing about this particular moment in time.

word count: 1994
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Ezre Vks
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
Contact:

Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:38 pm

Dormitory C
Evening on the 65th of Roalis, 2719
Ezre did not dream of snow-covered mountains or frost-dusted temples. He did not dream of quiet libraries with the last golden rays of the Hoxian summer sun. He did not dream of the Mhorven Basheva singing or of the bells. He did not dream of the East Garden.

When he startled awake, the thud of a body and tangle of limbs that greeted his bleary dark gaze, that groaned on his floor, was at once immediately recognized and named, as if she'd already just been on his tattooed lips moments before,

"Lilanee."

The Hoxian gasped. He rubbed his face, one hand numb from how he'd fallen asleep, and scrambled quickly to sit up, blinking in utter confusion while his vision came into focus. It was dark outside. She was dressed well—he admired her penchant for ignoring Anaxi gender norms in fashion because they were foolish and impractical expectations—and he had no idea how she'd made it to his third floor window.

"Sleeping. I—you—I—how did you? Why are—ara—I fell asleep. I missed dinner. Oh. I stood you up. I did not mean to leave you there. I promised, but I was tired. I am sorry." He felt the swirling eddies of Physical mona that lingered, that danced in her field and contrasted so heavily with his etheric Clairvoyant-laden aura. He sat there for a moment in stunned silence, inked fingers scratching at the tattooed skin of his chest just visible at the seams of his light linen shirt, the sleeves of which were wide and flowing. Shifting, he rolled to his feet to cross the room, immediately offering his hands to her, immediately concerned for her physical well-being because he'd made a fool of himself climbing trellises once before.

"Are you alright?" Ezre would invite her to stand with his help, tangling their fingers together so long as she'd let him, revealing with a turn of his wrist the new, darker lines etched beneath his skin on the tops of both his hands in order to hide the faded pink lines carved in his palms. His field brushed with hers in the offer of a totally different greeting than they were forced to participate in earlier in the day. Already off-guard and more open, the Hoxian was eager to share an intimate and vulnerable apology with more than just words, his face not the carefully-crafted mask of calm he'd miraculously managed to maintain all afternoon.

He sighed, chewing on his lower lip, curling the inked curve inward in thought while he carefully considered his words, while he resisted the urge to take the young woman's freckled face in his tattooed hands and kiss her like he'd thought about far too many times already that day. It was a strange hesitance, a wary caution born of her anger and frustration, of how much he knew he upset her, more than one born out of any lack of desire. He did not expect her to feel the same, considering all that had passed between them before he left for Hox. He did not expect her to share his tangle of emotions at all, considering how things had gone today under the awkward gaze of their unlikely companions.

His ability to hold himself back was perhaps enviable to some, but even now, it felt like such an unnecessary burden to bear. What others saw as hesitance, he defined as respect. Respect for her feelings in the form of a tenuous patience that was surely tangible in his field as much as it was readable in his privately expressive face.

He had missed her.

He had missed her very much.

He had—he knew what wrongs were his, unafraid to own up to them should she lay them at his feet. Almost because of his, Ezre allowed a warm smile to brighten his delicate countenance, as genuine as always, as welcoming and as raw as the Hoxian could ever be in her company here in his room in his otherwise empty suite in the last quarter of Roalis. On his bed were gifts. Some of them hers, though he'd brought back more than just things for her.

He repeated himself, the emphasis just not enough for his own satisfaction, "I am sorry. For many things."

The Hexxos Guide let those words be for a moment, settling into the rhythm of his pulse. Ezre exhaled slowly, expectant even though his knees felt weak, unwilling to hide the mix of feelings from bright, airy expression in his field or from his tattooed face, "I have tea. And snacks from home. And presents. We both have much to say—do we not? Please."

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word count: 837
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Lilanee Kuleda
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:40 am
Topics: 0
Race: Galdor
: Let's go on an adventure!!!
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Raksha
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Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:11 am

Roalis 65th, 2719
SOMEWHERE SHE PROBABLY SHOULDN'T BE | EVENING
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"Sleeping.” The tone of her voice was flat, the flare of hurt blue shift in her aura mild, but apparent. Squinting, she looked around, finally spotting the familiar shape of her glasses and grabbing to shove them back on her face. Letting her gaze adjust, Lilanee took better stock of her surroundings, the paperwork on the floor and his bleary eyed confusion at her abrupt and completely unpredictable arrival.

Well that made sense.

“Of course. It would have been a long trip back, and then you spent the day walking the campus, therefore it’s only natural you are tired. Dinner was…irrelevant…in the greater scheme of things.” Adjusting her glasses, the teenager couldn’t help the lingering cling of Physical mona in her field, carrying with it the embarrassment of her unorthodox entrance. Her blue gaze followed his fingers as they moved across his new tattoos, feeling altogether stupid now she was here. What exactly had she come to say? She’d come to be angry, or something. It all seemed so stupid now she was actually inside facing the Hoxian. Her shin throbbed—that was definitely going to bruise—and her adrenaline was still fading as she leaned against the dormitory wall, watching the other student stand up and approach her.

“Oh, me? Yes, yes fine. Just a bit shaken up, but nothing broken of course. It was probably not the most rational way up here, but I didn’t expect the climb to be so difficult. It’s a long way up here. Note; Gravity spells can be too effective.” She hesitated before reaching for his hands, frustrated by how the simple brush of their fingers as Ezre helped her up made the butterflies in her stomach flutter wildly. Standing now, facing the inked boy, Lilanee looked over his face carefully. There was warmth in his field, an invitation to be open and expressive after a day of being polite and silent around the others, the slow smile on his features quietly questioning her about more than just physical hurts.

The dark eyed teenager apologized again, and for a few seconds Lilanee didn’t speak.

“Actually, you know…no. No I’m not okay.” The Hessean said softly, looking down at the new markings on his wrist, fighting the urge to investigate their intricacies further whilst she collected her thoughts. Releasing his hands, she wrung her own together, brow furrowed slightly as she began to pace from one side of the room to the other.

“I’ve spent all of my time in Brunnhold focused on one thing, my studies. I’ve thrown myself into my fathers shoes, and I have dedicated everything to the pursuit of knowledge. But, it’s not like I haven’t wanted to make friends. I tried, a lot, but I just can’t help the things that come out of my mouth. It’s like I have to fill the air with words, or I get all wound up inside and feel ill. My inside thoughts become outside thoughts, and I get excited and talk about bones and pottery and the history of the world. But not everyone likes that. They think it’s creepy and odd, especially given I’m a girl. They expect me to be like everyone else, to wear my skirts and curtsy and I don’t know maybe get a job as a professor or a house wife or something. But that’s not who I am. I want to explore and adventure. I want to piece together the stories of our pasts, and give voices to our ancestors.” She was gesticulating now, her speech well underway.

“But then you came along and you didn’t think I was odd. You were excited too, and you didn’t tell me to shut up or go away and you knew things. You knew about the anatomy of galdori and the burial rites of so many different countries. You wanted to talk about it, and I was so happy. I’ve never had a friend, and I didn’t realize how lonely I was until then. But then I felt other things too. The funny feelings in my chest, and my stomach. And I know how biology works. You’re a male, I’m a female. We’re genetically wired to procreate and spread the galdori population. Chemicals, hormones, pheromones…all explainable biological functions. Except I—” Pausing mid stride to look at him, the red head nodded.

“Yes, tea is good. Snacks are good. Presents? You brought presents?” She shook her head suddenly, starting her pacing again with wild hand motions.

“—I know these feelings are designed to attract us to a mate, but I feel so much more. I feel happy and rejuvenated and I…I’m…I’m not lonely anymore. I didn’t know it would feel so good. Feeling like I finally found somewhere I belong. But then you wanted to leave, and I really should have said ‘take me too!’, but I didn’t because I don’t know. And you didn’t ask me either, and I felt like after everything we’d talked about. Everything we’d done, you were cutting me out. You didn’t want to talk to me, about those things you said you wanted to share, but then didn’t. Or don’t. And I was so upset, because I thought we were…I assumed that we had…” The freckled girl slowed, stopping in the middle of the room and looking at her hands.

“I thought we’d become something. I didn’t want to be lonely again. But you left. And I was.” Taking a calming breath, the Hessean teen looked at Ezre, her field brushing against his with a tentatively welcoming touch.

“I’m very sorry Ezre. I said awful things to you, because I couldn’t deal with how I was feeling, and because I couldn’t just tell you that. I missed you so very, very much, and I am so pleased you’re back. I hope you can forgive me.” Offering a small smile, the ninth form reached to tuck the loose curls from her face, suddenly conscious of the tirade of words that she had just thrown at the Hoxian.

word count: 1083
User avatar
Ezre Vks
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
Contact:

Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:47 pm

Dormitory C
Evening on the 65th of Roalis, 2719
Ezre listened. He knew dinner had not been any more irrelevant than the truth that he had not asked her to come to Hox with him. He knew that in this moment, as Lilanee filled his humble suite that smelled of incense and chan, of old books and strange spices with the fragrance of her honest words, that nothing she said was as without importance. He heard her, the entirety of his focus given to her without reservation as soon as she admitted she was not okay, as soon as she untangled her fingers from his to wring hers together.

His dark eyes took in her distraught body language, her cleverly well-tailored clothes, her disheveled red curls, and her expressive hands. The boy stood in the middle of his room, one palm drifting upwards, coming to rest against the tattooed skin stretched taut over his sternum, exposed as it was by the way the folded layers of light linen that made up his flowing shirt fell over his narrow frame. He felt as though he needed to keep the weight there, to hold everything in while the Hessean let everything out.

Ezre didn't move with her pacing. He let her move through her thoughts, flowing like swift waters, and even if he found his gaze straying to her lips, to the way her digits moved, to the bounce of stray curls that framed her face, he still heard her. He did.

And, as was his steady, well-disciplined way, he did not interrupt.

He would have stayed still, too, processing her emotions and letting his own filter through the airy breeze of his field, but she agreed to tea. She agreed to snacks. He smiled, subtle and inviting, one tattooed hand indicating the collection of gifts on his bed, some of which were hers. He would have let her open them in that moment, but with a shake of her head to clear away the distraction of his revealed thoughtfulness, she was unfinished.

This was unfinished.

His body tensed, muscles ready to move toward the shared common room between his bedroom and the three currently empty suites of his dorm mates, but she kept talking and he couldn't leave the gravity of her field as if it gave even more weight to her words. Again, he waited. The Hexxos guide was blushing, however. He couldn't hide that all she was saying, all she had said, had dug deeper than needles under tawny skin and lithe muscles, that her talk of physical desires as well as raw emotions were so close to his own.

"Feelings are surely not necessarily always about biological design. We are beings of flesh and bone, yes, Lilanee, but we are also beings with a soul. The connections we make with others in this life we are given are not as simple as reproductive progress or scientific theory. There is more between us than base urges and intellectual similarities, is there not?" Ezre murmured in his quiet way, almost a whisper, a spiritual riposte of her insistence that their mutual attraction was merely means to a practical and physical end. The dark pools of the Hoxian's eyes contained a depth he could not entirely articulate, but he watched her slow her steps, stopping just out of his immediate reach where he'd remained standing in the middle of his room,

"I have nothing to forgive you for. Not really. I feel as though I was deserving of your anger, but I can also see it was necessary. There is nothing wrong with exploring our differences as well as our similarities." The boy yielded so very easily to the brush of her field, relaxing his own to mingle willingly, gently revealing his innermost self one layer at a time, "However, since we are both apologizing, it is only fair to recognize that we both hurt each other. I was also not alright, but I am now."

He raised an inked hand in a dismissive gesture, delicate fingers waving off the burden they'd placed on each other as if he was countering an opponent's spell on the Lawn. His smile deepened, settling into his tattooed face, filling his changed countenance as he poured himself into her personal space like he was the water and she was the fine porcelain cup, same uplifted palm coming to a gentle rest against her cheek. If the motion was meant to tilt her freckled face toward his, it was subtle. Still, he waited, hovering just close enough for her breath to tickle his skin,

"I must learn to redefine my boundaries, Lilanee. As a Hoxian, raised to keep the expression of my innermost self confined to particular contexts, I thought I had to have a clear definition of where I ended and you began. I thought wrong. As our friendship deepened into something more, it became confusing for me and I admit I am afraid of giving both too much and not enough of myself at the same time. It is—" Ezre searched her face, so close as he was, and for a moment he couldn't help but let his gaze dart to her lips before returning to the light blue of her eyes, "—both an intoxicatingly pleasant experience, this unraveling of my own rhakor in your company, as well as an uncomfortably frightening one. And I already fear very little in this life and the next."

He chuckled, teasing in his vulnerable return of all the words he couldn't say just half a season ago.

"I value this relationship we have, for that is what it is. I am willing to give it a name, zjai, because I am aware that peer or friend or colleague or whatever else is no longer entirely the truth. I value whatever has blossomed between us. I value you. And you must understand that I wanted to invite you to Hox, but perhaps I also selfishly thought I was protecting you when I was only shielding myself. I have a duty to the Hexxos. I have a duty to my family. I thought it would be better to separate what we have, together, and the rest of my reality, because that is simply how I know how to live my life: behind a well-crafted barrier. Again, I was wrong. I do not want to keep things from you, and I am sorry that I had to hurt you to realize that."

Ezre'd had plenty of time to mull all of this over while traveling. While home. He'd had too much time, really, and he meant every word.

"I missed you, too. So much. I have so much to tell you—" He'd gone home seeking permission, and yet he found that he could have trusted his own judgment all along. Some secrets were just waiting to be shared with those willing to listen. While away, he realized that the Hessean he'd become friends with had simply been waiting to hear, longing to see.

The dark-haired boy inhaled slowly, eyelashes heavy, and brought his other hand to up to cradle her face, palms warm with both sincerity and nervousness, expectation and openness. He had waited, too. Waited long enough to better express the answers to unasked questions and to better express the unspoken feelings that swirled and eddied in their very different but not incompatible merged fields. Ezre held her for an extra moment and then leaned just so to kiss her. It wasn't tentative or cautious. It was, instead, affirming and expressive. He might have even lingered longer than intended, but as he slid his hands away from skin that warmed beneath his fingers, he smiled again,

"I will make tea."

The Hexxos Guide declared this necessity in a whisper, heat tickling the back of his neck, dancing down his tattooed spine, reaching downward. Temptation fluttered with his accelerated heartbeat, aware of how much he had, indeed, missed all of Lilanee Kuleda while kingdoms away in Hox. He wasn't going anywhere. He could wait again. He blinked, straightening to step away but not yet setting his body into that motion, "You can open your presents. I wrote you letters—I was too cowardly to send them—and I brought you back heartfelt things because we have meaning, you and I."
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Lilanee Kuleda
Posts: 39
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: Let's go on an adventure!!!
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Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:24 am

Roalis 65th, 2719
SOMEWHERE SHE PROBABLY SHOULDN'T BE | EVENING
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The Hessean looked at him, that quiet whisper so juxtaposed against her endless waffle, and yet just as strong and as meaningful. She made to answer, to agree of course there was more to them. More than just a physical attraction, a biological need. Her voice began, but then it caught, stuck in the back of her throat as though she realizing she didn’t really need to say it when looking into those deep black depths. Instead she slowed.

She apologized.

She smiled.

As their fields gently mingled, Lilanee couldn’t help the faint sigh of relief that escaped her, shoulders relaxing and aura reaching out fondly as Ezre allowed her in. He spoke about their fight, and the red head couldn’t stop herself from shaking her head, looking down again with a blush.

“I feel just the worst. You say it was necessary but by the Circle, it wasn’t really. I mean, I’m nineteen not nine. It was your private affair, and look some things are meant to be private. Even from people we li—” The raven haired youth was close now, moving without hesitation to stand before her, causing the teenager to look again. His smile was warm, wide and forgiving, encouraging hers to broaden in return as an inked hand came to rest on her cheek. If she tilted her face towards his, it was unconsciously, periwinkle gaze drifting over the new marking that dragged down over the curve of his lower lip and dipped along the arch of his throat to disappear under comfortable linens. Her breath came through slightly parted lips, hands curled into tight fists by her side as though the ninth form was physically restraining herself from reaching for the boy. There was a weight of anticipation in her field, laced with doubt and hesitation as she met his gaze again.

“It’s been confusing, yes, this not-friendship we’ve managed to appropriate.” Lilanee said with a soft laugh, her cheeks darkening with the warmth of growing delight as Ezre spoke of his rhakor and his feelings. It was almost scandalous to hear him say it, as revealing as the removal of clothing and exposure of skin. It was honest, and it was for her.

Relationship.

The word seemed to tingle in her ears, repeating in her head even as the usually collected young man continued to talk. He’d called her peer earlier, and ridiculously it had hurt. The Hessean had felt hurt that their time had amounted to no more than peers by his definition, but what had she expected? His girlfriend? Is that what she wanted?

Maybe it was.

“What would you need to protect me from, Ezre?” The young woman asked quietly, brow drawing slightly even if she still smiled, confused by his words. From his family? His religion? Himself? He mentioned duty again, and Lilanee tried to think back. He’d talked of the possession that night in her room, guiding the dead to where they needed to be. Is that was he wanted to protect her from? Hadn’t she already stepped into that realm too far to need protection? Hadn’t she accepted it?

As the Hoxian reached to hold her face with the other hand, Lilanee couldn’t look away from the dark rich pools of his gaze, heartbeat thrumming in her ears and fists unclenching to hover lightly as though she wanted to rest them on his hips but was afraid of being to forward. There were so many shared emotions and feelings in their fields, that it was hard to differentiate where hers ended and his began, full of things that were hard to capture with words. Lilanee wasn’t afraid to be open, to share all of her, but she felt it in Ezre’s aura and it sent a rush of nervous excitement through her. The vibrations of the air between them as he spoke ever so quietly tickled across parted lips, and the Hessean felt a shift, a weaving of something else creeping into her field. So close, so tantalizingly close that she could almost see faint streaks of browns and golds in the depths of his iris’, the teenager wondered if it was improper to just—

Whatever her thought process was, it flittered away like so many iridescent miraan on the spring breeze as the Hoxian moved to press his soft tattooed mouth against her own in a lingering and meaningful kiss that stole her breath away. Lilanee let her thick, slightly auburn lashes slip closed against freckled cheeks as she kissed the boy in return, the swathe of her aura shifting gently into passionate hues of magenta and pressing comfortably around them. Her hands brushed against the linen of his shirt, drinking in every unspoken word he offered as though her thirst could never be quenched.

And much too suddenly, Ezre drew back, warm inked hands slipping away from her face leaving her strangly cold without them. The red head took a breath, eyes still shut as she stood still for a moment, the tingle of his lips on hers lingering like a ghostly kiss in the space between them.

I will make tea.

Lilanee opened her eyes as he spoke, watching him straighten in readiness to move away, talking about presents and letters and heartfelt things and—

Before he could move too far, the ninth form reached to grasp at the upper sleeve of his shirt, dragging him back to her as she moved forward to kiss him again, inviting more of the same expressive ministrations that he’d begun. Her free hand slipped up along the back of his neck, short nails dragging gently against inked skin as she pulled them closer together, a wisp of a sound escaping as she inhaled deeply. Where he lingered longer than intended, she lingered with purpose, wanting the fascinating Hoxian close after so long apart. It was as though she could erase all the horribleness of the season gone through the soft warmth of his mouth.

Finally satisfied that they’d made up at least partially for the time apart, Lilanee broke away, catching her breath for the moment before finding her voice.

“You only had to bring yourself back to me, Ez.” She said quietly, opening her eyes to look at him through her glasses with a soft smile.

“Will you let me see your letters, and your heartfelt things?” There was a tension in her field, an innuendo even where there was none to be had. The red head laughed softly, before biting her lip gently, nails stroking softly against the nape of his neck.

“Sorry. You were going to make tea.” The student teased, her freckled cheeks warm with color.

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Ezre Vks
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Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
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: better with the dead
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Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:04 pm

Dormitory C
Evening on the 65th of Roalis, 2719
Maybe, just maybe, the Clairvoyant student knew what to expect, knew what was coming, or at least knew to anticipate the reaction his touch and his kiss would elicit from Lilanee. Half a year of friendship had taught him that the Hessean expressed herself not only in words but also in touch, the physical nature of her people something Ezre had come to enjoy instead of shy away from. He knew what he was doing, obviously; that one press of his lips would probably lead to another. It was more than simple teenaged intuition, but perhaps a familiar understanding. They’d not been apart long enough for things to change, and while his appearance and responsibilities had grown and changed while in Hox, inside, the Hexxos Guide was still very much himself.

He'd promised tea, but he didn't move away, either, hovering in her personal space because he'd missed her, because there was more he wanted to say without having to speak. His people valued silence and purpose—while he was aware that he was still impulsive in his youth, he still made his choices after careful, tempered thought most of the time. In Lilanee's company, thinking things through always seemed far more difficult than usual, even after over half a season of distance between them.

He'd needed the space to sift through everything thoroughly: emotions, desires, and at least a little bit of rational thought. That was difficult to explain to an outsider, to a non-Hoxian, and Ezre wasn't sure he could put such a need into words properly had he wanted to, anyway. Actions felt more fitting.

Now back in Anaxas, in his room, and tangled in her field, his perspective on many things in life had changed but his feelings had not. She didn't resist the press of his tattooed lips, her hands tracing over light, summer fabric, and in the indulgent, expressive moment, Ezre sighed. He'd just needed to say things without saying them: so many thoughts contained in a simple physical connection.

She'd said yes to tea, which was important to the Hoxian, but as he smiled and leaned away, her fingers curled tighter into his flowing, simple shirt and she made sure he did not slip away so casually. His hands came to easy rest on her hips, palms dragging with firm confidence toward her lower back as if at all in need of an anchor to hold them in place together. Her fingers traced lightly over the back of his neck and her faint noise of neediness was felt more than heard, a warm sensation spreading through his chest, dancing along nerves and ley lines.

When the Hessean finally let him breathe, his smile was slow to come back into focus, knees weak and body suddenly unwilling to move so swiftly toward the common room and his old metal kettle,

"I did bring myself—perhaps more of myself has returned from Hox, from Kzecka, than you thought you knew, to be honest." The humor was lost in his distraction, but Lilanee's knowing smile was enough. Ezre might have interpreted her question through a much more intimate filter, tilting his head toward his bed so his dark eyes could dart toward the bound stack of letters, toward the carefully wrapped packages that were on his bed. His hands drifted upwards lightly into a comfortable embrace, making it obvious he was hardly in a rush for much of anything. The brush of her nails over tattooed skin made his eyelids flutter heavily and he sighed, allowing himself the indulgence of one more utterly unprompted, much more poignant kiss.

Where she sought to make up for what time was lost, to apologize for what had hurt, Ezre's surprisingly passionate response was meant to exist in the present, the Clairvoyant student seeking to affirm what was already felt between them and make promises about what was to come instead. His hands wandered across her back, enjoying their closeness with all the boyish excitement of someone who'd been away far too long.

It was his turn to break away, and he made no effort to hide that he'd been completely derailed from any planned seriousness,

"Tea is best enjoyed without haste, without an anxiousness to move onto the next thing. I can certainly wait on tea if there are other priorities in this moment." The boy teased her with a sudden grin against her lips, a mischievous grin, the expression revealing in their proximity just where the dark tattoo ended (or began) inside the curve of his lower lip once he finally leaned away enough to take in her flushed, freckled face. He couldn't entirely help himself, voice still tempered and quiet despite the obvious continuation of conversational innuendo he was willing to pursue,

"Is it just my letters and presents you would like to see?"

Ezre laughed—some husky chuckle really—and allowed the Hessean a moment to consider what sort of sight he was offering, one delicate eyebrow arching to add a coyness to his expression,

"One thing at a time—" He admonished himself out loud, finally shifting his hips, finally sliding his hands away in an attempt to set himself in motion despite how comfortable he may have been pressed so close. His grin didn't fade and fingers trailed over her body to reach up and gently grasp one of her hands, staying close but tugging her toward his bed and her gifts, bringing their tangled hands up to his chest, pressing the heel of her palm against the new, dark line there where it disappeared below his sternum and beneath his shirt, against the swift beat of his heart. Carefully stepping over his mess of notes and ghost stories, Brunnhold records and interviews, all organized according to a thought process he'd forgotten in his sleep, he needed to at least make sure he finished a thought, just one:

"—about protection, Lilanee. Let me address that before I find myself thoroughly distracted by apologies and amends, please."

The Hoxian moved so easily between subjects, weaving them together, compartmentalizing each piece of the larger puzzle even while his pulse raced and his body hummed, while his physical self had other ideas on how best to use the moment, "The Hexxos are known in Hox as those who handle funeral rites and as caretakers of the process of death and burial. We are known as counselors to the bereaved, and while we often defer to the Mhoren Basheva when it comes to spiritual guidance, there are areas of expertise that the Hexxos are known for within the realm of the supernatural. Ghosts and restless spirits, those you know now. Raen, however, are supernatural beings you have seen and not known it. Today, even. In that way, we keep secrets, some of them for others instead of just ourselves. I have been unsure how much to share with you, not because I do not believe you are capable, but because there are those whose existences could be in danger should the wrong people know certain truths."

Ezre was aware that his response was mysterious, spoken above the rapid rhythm of his heartbeat while he lead Lilanee toward his bed. Reluctantly releasing her hands to move Tom's pile of gifts and a few other miscellaneous items onto his floor, he carefully made room for them both.

Not sitting right away, he searched her face, "I desire to share these things with you: not mere secrets but all of myself you wish to know. I will leave the order of such questions and answers in your hands, however."
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