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 EOTI: Himmin

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sat 5 Mar - 18:41

“It is about that!” Dusk wanted to shoot back to combat Lach’s response, but as he watched Lach sink to the floor he couldn’t bring himself to argue any further. Lach was right, it was what it was and there wasn’t much they could do to change that. That was part of the problem though and it was nothing short of frustrating to think about, especially when everyone had come to expect it. Regardless, he and Lach had managed to maintain a friendship, and that spoke for itself.

“You’re right.” He groaned, pulling his lips back in a half-frown. When Lachlan was one of the few people he could vent himself to, Dusk sometimes went a little too far.

“I’m just... frustrated with Keiro I guess. You’ve got every right to be nervous around my magic when I can’t light a torch without guarding my own eyebrows.” Though he tried to chuckle, it came out more like a sigh. It was true, after all. If there was a Mage within two-hundred leagues of Himmin who could be considered a loose cannon, it was him. He was trying to change that though, he really was, but doing so on his own meant that every wrong he did was seen as intentional mischief whether it was intended to be so or not. Of course, pleading his case to Keiro always warranted the same outcome and he’d long since learned that it wasn’t worth it, but taking it out on Lachlan was hardly fair. Besides, he’d been hoping to have a good night, and he’d be damned if he was going to let it go to waste.

“Let’s just get outta’ here and find something fun to do, yeah? I’ll let you lead on this time. I can let that old lunatic ruin my night later, but for now we might as well make the best of it.”

Sliding off the crates that he’d been sitting on, Dusk downed the rest of his drink and offered Lachlan a hand up. “Finish up your drink,” He said with a wolfish grin. “or I’ll have to do it for you.”


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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 6 Mar - 1:31

“I’m… Dusk, listen,” Lachlan said quietly as Dusk admitted there was probably good reason Lachlan was nervous around him. He’d heard the strain in his voice, and though he’d tried to chuckle, Lach knew he’d really cut Dusk deep. Inadvertently or not, however, he couldn’t leave Dusk to get down on himself. “You know I’m not… not afraid of you, right? Just the magic, yeah?” He thought Dusk already knew, but he felt like he had to say it anyway. Though it was almost awkward to be so apologetic around Dusk, for he and Dusk had never really needed it. They could really step on each other’s toes sometimes. But they’d never really required apologies. It just wasn’t… needed.

“Yeah, that’s just what both of us need,” Lachlan muttered jokingly as he picked up his mug and drained it before Dusk could do so for him. He grinned and took Dusk’s proffered hand, and suddenly… it was as though nothing had come between them, as though they hadn’t nearly been pitched over the edge of a dangerous argument, as though the fear Lach had felt at the pit of his stomach had never been there.

Dusk had no plans, which was almost a first for them. Of the two, Dusk had much more time on his hands than Lachlan did, even though Keiro tried to keep him on a tight schedule of training. In his spare time, Dusk was able to cook up all kinds of adventures for them to go on, and Lachlan was usually quite interested in whatever it was Dusk pulled him into. Over the past week, though, Dusk had been working with Constance Alden, and Lachlan had a feeling that she’d been able to keep a tighter hold and a firmer eye on him than Keiro usually did.

It was therefore up to Lachlan to plan their excursion. And he had a small idea of where they might go. “I’ve got something to show you,” he said with something of a grin on his face—a grin that would prod Dusk to curiosity. But even if Dusk asked him, he would reveal nothing until they’d reached their destination. “Grab a lantern, all right? We can drop it off here on the way back, but we’ll need one. And I don’t expect you want to go back to Keiro for one, eh?”

Exiting the cellar with Dusk at his heels, Lachlan struck out towards the west. “Hope you don’t need another jacket,” Lachlan said as they left, for the sun had long since dipped below the horizon and out of sight. “We’ve going about fifteen minutes out of Himmin.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 14 Apr - 16:01

“You know I’m not… not afraid of you, right? Just the magic, yeah?”

Though the moment had slipped away and Dusk had intentionally released the friction before it sparked a full-blown argument, he couldn't help himself from taking a mental note of Lachlan's words. Lach had meant it in the most innocent way possible, and in that light Dusk allowed it to lift his spirits, but at the same time, it was a symptom of the heart of the matter. Magic was just as much a part of Dusk's being as his personality, values, hopes, or dreams, were. For Lachlan to speak as if he could simply single it out and leave his opinion of Dusk separate and intact was... well... misguided. Regardless, he didn't wish to dwell on it, and so once Lach was back on his feet, he thought only of the night that they had to waste.

"'Atta boy." He said, giving Lach a stiff nod of approval as he downed his drink. It certainly wasn't the most desirable ale in terms of flavor, malt, or texture, but with the ingredients grown locally it was both cheap and distinctive. That, and it was deceptively lacking in bite, considering how potent the stuff was, and it had caught even Dusk off guard many more times than he cared to admit. That was a story for another time though, for Lachlan had quickly grabbed Dusk's attention, and he knew it.

"Oooh, dark 'and' mysterious. I never thought you had it in you, Lach." Dusk said in amusement, compliantly making his way to the back of the room where several lanterns hung on hooks. While he searched for one without broken glass, he could only chuckle at Lach's comment about not going back to Keiro, for no matter how much the needed the light, it wouldn't be worth the blood toll he would have to pay. Thankfully however, Dusk managed to find one that was only slightly cracked and still with a wick, which he then lit with the flint sitting on the adjacent table even if a flick of his fingers would have been enough to do the trick. Either way, they had light.

"Fifteen minutes?" Dusk asked with a raised brow, returning to the front of the cellar. He ran through a couple places in his head that fit such an un-specific description, but there were too many to properly narrow it down. No, he was just going to have to play along, and that was fine by him.

"Anyway, I'll be fine;" He said, waiving Lach's comment off with his hand while he reached up and opened the wooden doors that lead back out into the alley. "Everyone knows real men don't get cold, anyway."


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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 14 Apr - 16:55

“Oooh, dark and mysterious. I never thought you had it in you, Lach.”

Lachlan grinned back at Dusk as they stepped out into the cool night air. There was nothing ‘dark’ about where they were going in any other sense that the sun had already set on them, and the only mystery was in his tight-lipped smile. But if Dusk needed to think of it that way to be at all interested, then Lachlan would let him. At the moment, he was simply relieved that the situation had been diffused sufficiently that neither of them had come away with bruises or burns.

That was the problem, though. He had always been the kind to shy away from conflict of any kind, whereas Dusk seemed to have a need to confront his problems head on… as he’d done when he’d called Lachlan out on his fear just then. He could have let things go… he could have, couldn’t he?

Before the line of thought could take Lachlan too far, he cut himself off. He and Dusk had a strong friendship, and it was only ever shaken when Dusk made things a little too interesting for Lachlan to feel entirely safe. And in general, that was only when Keiro was added into the equation.

Lachlan set a brisk pace for them, checking behind and around him occasionally to see that Keiro wasn’t tailing them. By now, the old man could have worked his way to the other end of the village looking for them, though, and it was all Lachlan could do to hope that he hadn’t doubled back just yet. The sooner they were out of sight of the village, the better.

He waited until they would be little more than a small speck of lantern light in the distance before turning to Dusk. “So. You’re a free man again, eh? Are you going to tell me how boring it was? Or how brutal a slave-driver she is?” Between his anger with Dusk for barging in before he’d had a chance to talk to Cira and their escape for Keiro, the original grounds for their meeting had almost slipped Lachlan’s mind. Now was as good a time as any to vent about the widow Alden, though.

An elderly Mage, the widow was almost universally known as the terror of Himmin village, and Lachlan wasn’t sure that even Dusk was immune to the fear she could inspire in young and old alike. At best, she was a grumpy old woman who was living out the remainder of her life on the edge of Himmin in near solitude, and at worst she was a vindictive hag with a long memory and enough power left in her to see that every wrong done her was repaid ten-fold. In that light, it hadn’t been Dusk’s best move ever to go around burning down her precious olive trees. Or even attempting to.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 14 Apr - 23:48

“Actually, I’ll give the old croon one thing: she’s full of surprises. ” Dusk started, deciding not to comment on the way Lach had waited until they were out of town and Keiro-free. He hadn’t really expected his master to make an appearance anyway, for if he knew Keiro, the old man would make one quick run through the town before retiring back to the house. After all, Dusk would have to come back eventually, and even if he didn’t go back for a few days in an attempt to wait it out, he would still find Keiro just as angry as he had been before.

“You know, she’d nag all day long about how slow I was, and how un-coordinated I was, and this, and that, but at the end of the day when we sat down to eat, all she ever talked about was how she thought Keiro was ‘holding me back’ and how there must be someone who could help me ‘nurture my obvious talent’.” Walking along right beside Lach, Dusk paused to look over at him with a half-confused, half-baffled, expression. “Weird, inn’it?”

Trying not to let any of his ego show, Dusk turned forward again, but couldn’t hide the small smile that lingered on his face. It was nice to see that someone understood his position.

“I mean, it was better than talking about her stupid orchard and whatever else, even if it was kinda... creepy.”

‘Creepy’ was about as close as Dusk could get to describing the situation each time Alden brought up the topic, as she had been giving him borderline compliments that he hadn’t been sure how to take. During the day she didn’t hesitate in the slightest to give him a hard time over any magic related mishap- however big or small- and yet she’d always thrown in something about it not being directly his fault, but the fault of his training (or lack thereof). It was for that reason that he hadn’t entirely despised his week with Alden- even if he wouldn’t admit it- for despite the hard work he was forced to do, it had been better than wasting his time repeating control exercises that he was able to do in his sleep. But, again, his thoughts had begun to frustrate him, and so he decided to quickly switch topics. After all, they had been walking for a while now, and wherever Lach was taking them had to be close.

“So... are we there yet?” He asked excitedly, purposely taking on the irritating eagerness of an excited child.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Fri 15 Apr - 15:25

Lachlan looked over at Dusk as he began to speak about old Alden. Admittedly, his words were rather surprising, for Lachlan had expected Dusk to seize the chance to bash the old widow until the mere idea of her was bruised a nasty shade of black and blue. Dusk was rather good at that, after all. When he reported the general tone of their conversations over the evening meal, though, there was a forcibly repressed hint of pride swelling into his voice.

Looking away, Lachlan scratched at his nose. He wasn’t really sure there was any safe way to comment without causing a flare up of their previous argument. Any time Lachlan even thought about Dusk and his magic, he knew the best thing was to simply close his mouth before he said something stupid or unintentionally hurtful. He didn’t like what Dusk was saying, though. How many times had he heard Dusk rage and rant over ‘Keiro’s holding him back’? And now the widow Alden was saying the same?

Perhaps Lachlan simply felt uneasy about it for the simple fact that they were talking about old Alden. She had a certain way about looking at him that made him feel uncomfortable, and so he was thankful that their paths rarely crossed. But if she was saying things that matched Dusk’s thoughts so well…?

“So… are we there yet?”

“Almost I guess it was farther than I thought. Actually, it’s Micah who found…” Lachlan trailed off slowly as he remembered something that had completely flown his mind. He’d promised Micah he could come. Oh… oh, Micah would be furious, he thought, internally berating himself. “Elshin,” he swore quietly as he guiltily looked around at Dusk. “I promised I’d bring him when I showed you.”

Trying to shake it off, he continued walking. “Here, give me the lantern. I don’t want to miss it.” Taking the lantern from Dusk, Lachlan held it higher so that the light spilled out farther in front of them and began scouring the ground before them. When the light fell onto a dark spot on the ground, he stopped and beckoned Dusk over to look. “Here they are.” He set the lantern down behind him and began searching the small holes in the immediate area around him. At long last, he found one of the small creatures he and Micah had found, waited for it to become accustomed to his presence, and then scooped it right from the hole and into his hand, holding it up for Dusk to see. “Burrowing owls,” he said, grinning.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 26 Apr - 2:06

Despite (or perhaps due to) the lack of a comment from Lachlan on the subject, Dusk neither said nor thought any further on the subject of Constance Alden. She was a bit of an enigma, yes, but Dusk was more interested in the mystery posed by Lachlan’s surprise destination which evidently hadn’t been his own idea, anyway.

“Elshin,” Lach cursed, and Dusk chuckled. It was one of the few Treaganish words he’d actually cared to learn, and even then only because he heard Lach use it more often than its Lochsalanian translation. Still, he always found it funny that Lach could mimic the accent near perfectly without retaining it so heavily in regular speech, while Dusk himself often butchered the pronunciation without even realizing it. Of course, both of them agreed that it was due to Lachlan’s father and the fact that his native tongue was Treaganish, and Dusk never failed to use it as an excuse when Lachlan pointed out his tenancy to speak the few words that he did know like a confused three year old. But, that was hardly the issue at the moment, and as Lachlan carried on to explain his reason for cursing, Dusk even felt himself frown a little- even if only for a couple seconds.

“Ah, well, we’ll make it up to him.” Dusk said, being both honest and cheery. Though he knew most of Lach’s family didn’t seem to care for him much, Dusk and Micah had always gotten along well. The young lad was one of the few people Dusk cared to watch himself around, and though he wasn’t ever a perfect role model, even he was impressed with how he acted in the younger boy’s presence. In fact, he was certain it was the only reason Lach allowed Micah around him, even if Dusk didn’t often enjoy the presence of children, for Micah was a rare exception. That wasn’t to say that he hadn’t tried to get to know Lachlan’s other siblings, but his sisters had been placed adamantly off-limits and his elder brother Reuben was... well, that was a whole different matter entirely.

Handing Lachlan the lantern as requested, Dusk watched in amusement while he began to search around.

“Miss what?” He asked with a chortle, looking around them without dropping his brow. “We’re in the middle of nowhere.” They were indeed in what seemed to be a random patch of field that was neither noteworthy nor spectacular, but Lach’s eyes were glued to the ground. Before he could voice more of his concerns for Lachlan’s mental health however, the young man stopped, set down the lantern, and began searching several holes in the ground. Again Dusk could only watch in confusion, and it wasn’t until Lach waved him over and held up what he had in his hand that it finally became obvious what he’d been searching for.

“Burrowing owls,”

Dusk look at the little creature in Lach’s hand and smirked, holding back his urge to ask why they had walked out so far for something such as that. Lach had always been an animal person, though, and so Dusk didn’t need an explanation, but even her found the little bird to be quite... well... cute.

Reaching out a hand to pat the small owl, Dusk found himself almost caught by its sharp beak, but he didn’t withdraw. Instead he moved slower, allowing the owl to watch him carefully as he went, until finally he was close enough to gently run two fingers across its head. Immediately a grin spread across his face while he continued to pet the bird, and without hardly realizing it, he began to speak.

“Cute little guy, in’it, he?” He said, talking only partially to Lachlan. “And soft, too. Aren’t you?” The more the bird allowed Dusk to pet it, the more relaxed it became, and the more Dusk’s voice began to take on an affectionate tone- so much so, that he had simply stopped talking to Lachlan, and began talking to the owl.

“D’awe, you like that, don’t you?” Still allowing Dusk to pet it on the head, it held its eyes partially closed, clearly enjoying the attention.

“Then what about here,” Dusk continued, his pet voice intensifying as he moved to smooth over the feathers on the owl’s neck. It responded by tilting its head, and Dusk continued with the grin that never left his face.

“and here,” Again the owl shuffled gratefully as Dusk pet its back, only stopping once the silence became awkward. From there he placed his hand on the ground beside Lach’s, and tried to urge the owl onto it, but it didn’t move. “C’mon, I won’t hurt you. Lachlan smells funny anyway, I’m much better company to keep.” He joked, but the owl snapped at his hand again, creating another near-miss.

“Hey! I thought we were friends!” Holding a mock frown with a sarcastically hurt tone to match, Dusk pointed at the bird and turned to Lachlan. “Don’t be fooled, he looks innocent, but he’s not!” But, as he spoke, the bird had gotten even more comfortable in Lach’s hand, looking right cozy where he was. All Dusk could do was smile and shake his head, seating himself down as he watched the creature close its eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 26 Apr - 23:00

Lach smiled as Dusk warmed to the owl that’d settled comfortably in his hand. Sometimes, Dusk pretended not to understand or be exasperated with Lachlan’s fascination of all animals, both big and small. But Lachlan knew it was just part of Dusk’s personality to dismiss anything that he didn’t necessarily have a talent for—riding, for example.

Chuckling a little as the bird in his hand gradually warmed to Dusk’s presence, Lach listened in amusement as Dusk spoke to the feathery creature. It was so un-Duskish that Lachlan couldn’t help but store away the memory to use against Dusk later if the opportunity or need arose in the future. The affection in Dusk’s voice was so foreign that Lachlan couldn’t help but laugh at the thought.

Placing his hand on the ground, Dusk attempted to coax the small bird into his hand, though the small owl would have none of it, settling more comfortably into Lachlan’s hand instead. When Dusk persisted, its sharp beak flashed, and Dusk withdrew his hand quickly. “Hey, I thought we were friends!”

“You smell worse to him, I’m sure,” Lachlan answered calmly, knowing the bird would disappear quickly if he allowed Dusk to get a rise out of him. “You smell of wood smoke and fire. Danger. You’re right, though. He’s not innocent. Little guy’s probably an eagle disguised as an owl,” Lach joked.

--

Eventually, the small owl hopped from Lachlan’s hand and returned to its little burrow. Lachlan watched it go with a small smile, still not quite able to shake the guilt for forgetting that Micah had wanted to come along.

Their return journey to Himmin was altogether more relaxed than the journey out had been, and though Lachlan said nothing on the subject, he rather thought it had something to do with their unspoken agreement to simply forget about their previous argument. They spoke of trivial things, of everything and nothing. It was as if nothing had happened between them.

The hour was late, and the moon high in the sky, and Lachlan was sure that most of the family would already have turned in for the night, having finished personal chores after the long day in the fields. Micah would be up in the loft alone, waiting for Lachlan and Reuben to return, for Lach was equally sure that Reuben was likely still in Himmin with Charlotte.

He was spending more and more time with her and her family recently, and though Lachlan did not always deem this a good thing, he couldn’t deny that Reuben was becoming more and more serious about his relationship with her. Not that it surprised him. Reuben and Charlotte’s father were very like-minded… in ways that Lachlan could not agree with. And furthermore… and further… Elshin.

Speak. Of. The. Devil.

Reuben.

And Charlotte.

Lachlan looked carefully over at Dusk as Reuben caught sight of them, his mouth drawing down into a thin line. This… would not be good if either Reuben or Dusk showed any signs of…

“Lachlan.” Reuben nodded curtly and strolled over, bidding Charlotte to stay behind. “What are you doing out so late?”

“I could ask the same of you.”

Reuben gave a derisive grunt and shook his head. “And in the company of a Corruption.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 28 Apr - 16:51

Though the walk back had been rather uneventful and filled with aimless conversation, it left Dusk feeling a bit lighter on his feet. He hadn’t fully shaken Keiro from his mind, but he had come to an almost apathetic understanding with the situation. When he and Lachlan went their separate ways for the night, he was either going to have to return to Keiro’s place and face his wrath, or sacrifice the comfort of his bed for a somewhat peaceful sleep elsewhere. Either way, they would run into each other eventually, and so it was simply a decision of whether or not to delay the inevitable. For the time being, Dusk was content to leave the decision unmade, instead focusing (gratefully) on the fact that Lachlan had said nothing about his somewhat embarrassing conversation with the owl.

Entering back into the quiet of the late night Himmin streets, Dusk allowed himself a stretch while he looked around. As per usual at such a late hour, the only lights in the streets were the lanterns that hung outside the shop doors and the few that had been placed in the street to guide anyone still awake to their beds. Of course, he did notice light still coming from the tavern’s windows, but such was hardly unusual. What was unusual however, was that they weren’t the only ones out so late.

Drawing his attention over to the pair, Dusk immediately recognized the two of them if for no other reason than the look Lachlan cautiously gave him. Reflexively his eyes narrowed and his back straightened up just as they usually did when Lachlan’s older brother was near, for Reuben and Dusk had a relationship that went beyond even his friendship with Lach. In fact, the two situations were quite fatefully intertwined despite their drastically different natures, but Dusk rarely liked to admit it.

“Lachlan.” Reuben said, walking over to them as they stopped. Dusk had hardly even heard what he’d said, instead taking note of the way he had bid his girlfriend- Charlotte, whom Dusk also knew well for the same reasons he knew Reuben- to stay behind. A bemused ‘Tch’ escaped Dusk’s lips at the gesture, but he did his best to remain silent while Reuben spoke solely to Lachlan. Lach wouldn’t approve of Dusk letting his temper flare like he often did, and so he always did his best to keep it in check, but more often than not, he lost the battle. Tonight especially, he knew he wouldn’t be willing to put up with much, and sure enough, on the heels of a single comment that hadn’t even been directly addressed to him, his already thin patience began to crack.

“If you’ve got something to say, I’m right here. Mundane or no, at least try to act like a man.”

Arms folded casually across his chest, Dusk carried an air of calm, but his eyes glinted a threatening shade of maroon. Lachlan wouldn’t want a fight, and so Dusk would hold his fist unless Reuben acted first, but he couldn’t bring himself to hold his tongue.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Fri 29 Apr - 15:28

“If you’ve got something to say, I’m right here. Mundane or no, at least try to act like a man.”

Lachlan sucked in a breath at Dusk’s words. Though it had not been directed at him, he couldn’t help but feel his anger prickle at the word. Mundane. A filthy curse for any Common, and though Dusk had never called him a Mundane, he still didn’t like it when Dusk used it in regards to anyone… even if Reuben had blatantly asked for it.

Not that he could really blame Dusk, though. Not considering the history between him and Reuben. It was a history that was inexorably intertwined with the beginning of his and Dusk’s friendship.

So when Reuben turned to look at Dusk, Lachlan felt himself tensing, prepared for whatever was to come next.

“Do I look like I have anything to say to you?” Reuben asked quietly, his eyes and tone thick with derision that was designed and sure to succeed at digging right under Dusk’s skin.

“Stop being such a sornoma, Reuben. Charlotte’s waiting for you,” Lachlan said roughly, grabbing Dusk by the arm and making to start off again. Reuben’s hand at his shoulder stopped him, though.

“Go home, Lach. You have no business with a Corruption.”

“Let go, Reuben. I spend my free time as I wish, just as you do.”

“The difference is I don’t shame Tacha.”

The derision from Reuben’s voice was gone. Now there was simply the hard quality of truth in his voice. Nor did Reuben seem to be taking pleasure in the direction the conversation had taken. No, Lachlan now recognized the note of shame creeping into Reuben’s voice—shame that Lachlan would choose to associate with one such as Dusk.

It brought the heat of anger to his face, and the will to strike Reuben was difficult to ignore. Before he could act on the impulse, however, Reuben released him and spoke. “Not just a dangerous Corruption, but a filthy mutt. You sure know how to choose your friends, Lach.”

Without thinking, Lachlan dove at Reuben, and they both went tumbling to the ground in a mess of tangled limbs.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 22 May - 22:29


The coming of the noon hour on what had yet been a peaceful and mildly weathered Sunday had filled Cira with an anxiety she was not accustomed to dealing with, therefore leaving Lady Ahlmir to calm the fretful girl. Her concerns varied from what she would do if she again fell off the horse to whether it was best to arrive several minutes early or right on time. After all, she didn’t want to be any trouble to Lachlan, but she wanted to try to dispel any air of formality she could. As far as his personality went though, it was likely to be a losing battle, but she was determined to have him call her by her first name at least once during the afternoon if for no other reason than to prove to him that nothing ill would come of it. That, and she wanted to prove to herself that he didn’t simply see her as another stiff-lipped noble who liked to stand above anyone without money or a title.

“Is this one fitting?” Cira asked, returning to the main room of Lady Ahlmir’s quarters after having changed into her third consecutive outfit. The first had been one of her choice, and thus had been intentionally bland to serve her desire to avoid any regal image. Upon Ahlmir’s reminder that Marik would likely be angry enough if he happened across her and Lachlan however, she had been forced to change into something with a little more taste. The flare and glitter had been too much for her to bare though, so she changed again, this time finding a happy medium upon which both her and Ahlmir could agree. They were casual clothes, albeit higher end, and suited well to riding a horse. That, and they wouldn’t attract unwanted attention that would see her father speak to her about her ‘image’.

“It looks fine, child.” Lady Ahlmir assured, a smile playing on her lips that tied into the slight mischievousness in her next words. “It’s not as if he’s asked for your hand.”

Cira’s face dropped, but her cheeks flushed red. They always did whenever someone spoke of such things, and Lady Ahlmir knew it all too well. Such was even a sort of running joke between them, but Cira didn’t much feel like playing into it like she sometimes did.

“It’s nothing of the sort, of course!” Cira agreed with haste. Though the thought had crossed her mind, it had only done so as a result of her worries. Should anyone think as Lady Ahlmir had suggested- even had it been in jest- it could give rise to severe repercussions. As for herself, Cira was prepared to deal with them, for she often argued with her father and other nobles about the unjust position they held themselves in. It usually came to naught though, so she had since learned to remove herself from the situation unless otherwise required, but Lachlan would not have the same freedom. It was for him that she was concerned, and yet...

“I kid,” Ahlmir chuckled, moving towards the door and opening it. “but you should get moving, and do have some fun. You know, it’s already noon.”

Again Cira’s face dropped, and as her eyes followed Ahlmir’s finger to the face of the old carved clock, the hands proved her right.

Without any hesitation, Cira turned for the door and ran, making her way across the court and into the fields without the usual grace of a noble woman. At this her master could only chuckle warmly, wishing the girl well as she closed the door.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 22 May - 23:29

Lachlan had been at the stables long before the appointed time, busy cleaning out the stables and taking the extra time to curry Valkyrie—the new horse, whom he already had high expectations for despite the fact that he’d never ridden her personally. He had seen several others do so, though, and couldn’t help but notice the grace with which she’d handled herself under each new rider.

Jem, of course, had been exasperated when Lachlan had shown up and wordlessly begun to clean out the stalls. “One day off a month, and this is what the boy does with it!” he’d ranted, and though it had taken Lachlan a while to explain the trade off, Jem had finally agreed to letting him take Valkyrie and Chancey for the day. By the time the sun signaled the noon hour, Lachlan’s newly cleaned shirt (for Dusk did happen to be right about such things most of the time) was stained with dirt and sweat, and he himself stood outside the stables with both horses already saddled.

Next to proud Valkyrie, Chancey had taken to stamping his feet nervously. For a moment, Lachlan had second-guessed his choice of horse, though he hadn’t really felt it within his right to choose any other. She was one of the few grade horses Lord Oaklear still kept, and though he would never be a suitable choice of one such as Miss Oaklear, he was a favorite of Lachlan’s.

“Lad,” Jem called from the stables, and Lach turned to see him holding a saddle. “You don’t recall the last time Miss Oaklear was on a horse, do you? Riding side-saddle?”

Lachlan shook his head, wondering why Jem would bring it up. Of course, he hadn’t known Miss Oaklear ever to have ridden a horse before, for she hadn’t mentioned such an experience. Putting Jem’s question with her reluctance, however, it wasn’t difficult to deduce the results. “It’ll be fine. We won’t even mount until she’s confident,” he assured Jem.

The stable master smiled tightly, then dropped the extra saddle down to the ground. “You might offer her the choice of saddles,” he said, nodding to Valkyrie and the woman’s sidesaddle he’d chosen.

Lachlan chuckled, then realized Jem was serious. “Oh… ah, all right.”

He turned back to the horses in time to see her approach, slightly out of breath and with a tinge of color to her cheeks, as if she’d been running. “Miss Oaklear!” he called, waving her over. As she came, he couldn’t help but take in her appearance. She wore a light blouse well suited to a spring day and riding pants. Though it was generally unusual for a girl to wear pants, Lachlan couldn’t help but smile as he noticed that they cut off just above her ankles. His eyes widened slightly as he realized it, and before the smile had found permanence on his face, he straightened it out and cleared his throat. “I hope Lady Ahlmir truly doesn’t mind your day off,” he said, somewhat apologetically as she stepped up to him and the two horses. “And… again. Truly sorry about Dusk the other day. He… it wasn’t right of him. But—” He brightened slightly as he turned to introduce her to the two horses, gripping each of their reigns in one hand. “This is Valkyrie. She’s young, but she’ll give you no problems. And this,” he continued, stroking Chancey’s neck. “Is Chancey. He’s probably been around longer than you or I if you can believe it. If you’d like, we can begin.”

He glanced over at the saddle Jem had brought out, slightly apprehensive now, for he wasn’t quite sure how Miss Oaklear would react to the question. “Ah… I’ve already saddled Valkyrie for you, but Jem wondered whether you might be more comfortable using a man’s saddle.” He smiled apologetically. “But you are dressed for it, so it would be no trouble for me to switch them out if you’d like.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 23 May - 20:03

Having caught the curious stares of more than a few villagers and field-workers as she ran past, Cira could only hope that the attention wouldn’t wouldn’t make its way to her father, giving her all the more reason to hurry up. Once she had reached the outer perimeter of the manor grounds she felt a bit safer, and with lost breath, she allowed herself to slow to a quickly paced walk. The stables were within sight now anyway, and judging by a curious nod given to her by a farm-worker as she passed, her cheeks were more than a little flushed. He’d returned an unassuming smile to her friendly one though, despite the look he’d given her clothing. She had to admit, it wasn’t serving her attempt at being subtle, but she could easily explain it away if Marik ever asked.

Catching sight of Lachlan’s wave as she drew near, Cira was glad to see that her lack of punctuality didn’t even seem to have been noticed. In fact, before she could even come around with an apology for it, Lachlan gave one of his own on behalf of Dusk. Cira merely shook her head and dispelled any concerns Lachlan might have held since that night, for it had truly been no trouble. Her day off from training too had been pursued with insistence from Lady Ahlmir herself, urging her to remember that there was much more to life than the time she spent mastering her craft. Cira had taken rather easily to the idea anyway regardless of whether or not she really had the choice. That, and the Lady herself held some interest in Lachlan Fox, something which she had reminded her apprentice of earlier that morning. If the chance came up for her to pursue it without the potential for a misunderstanding she had agreed to look into it, even if she didn’t really know what she was supposed to be looking for.

“This is Valkyrie.” Lachlan began, introducing the white horse to his left. Cira immediately recognized it as her father’s newest horse, and now that she had a closer look, even her untrained eye could see the strength and pride in the creature. Beside her, as Lachlan pointed out, stood a much older looking horse by the name of Chancey. Older than the two of them as he was, he still looked to be in top shape despite the signs of old age that were starting to set in, and Lachlan seemed rather taken to him.

“He still looks so lively.” She said, admiring the horse. Valkyrie, evidently hoping for the same affections, made just enough noise to be noticed, causing Cira to turn to her with a chuckle. “And you too, of course.”

Having caught sight of the side-saddle just as Lachlan mentioned it, Cira couldn’t help herself from looking knowingly towards Jem with a chuckle that held just as much embarrassment as comical recollection.

“Perhaps Jem’s suggestion would be the... safest option. I apologize for the extra work, but it seems he remembers my last ride on a horse just as well as I do.”

It was true that anyone who had been there to see her first horse ride likely hadn’t forgotten it, for her ‘fall’ had been something of a comedic masterpiece- or she was often told. In the moment the hilarity of it all had been absorbed in fear, and it hadn’t been until the bruises had healed that she could look back on it and laugh, but her desire to return to the saddle for a second attempt had never fully recovered. Even now she felt anxious just looking at the horses, but steady breaths and constant mental reminders that the better part of three years had passed since then kept her calm.


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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 23 May - 20:53

Lachlan looked back in time to see Jem give a knowing nod in Miss Oaklear’s direction, a small smile on his face. “You’ll feel more secure with that one and have better balance,” he said. “More control.” With that, he disappeared back into the shadowy stables.

“It’s really no problem, Miss Oaklear,” Lachlan assured her. He quickly tied both horses to a hitching post and then squatted down to begin loosening the leather straps on Valkyrie’s saddle. As he worked, he reflected that it was perhaps lucky Jem had been there to make the suggestion, for it was one he never would have thought of. After all, he’d never ridden sidesaddle, and had simply never thought of the differences. Now that he stopped to take a look, though, it seemed natural to assume that a regular saddle would offer more stability and support.

Sliding the old saddle off, Lachlan placed his hand on Valkyrie’s backside as he walked around the horse to return the saddle to the tack room and bring Jem’s suggested saddle out. As he again placed a hand on Valkyrie to walk around the horse, he explained, “When you’re riding or handling a horse, communication is the most important thing to keep in mind. You want to make sure to let your horse know where you are all the time if you’re out of her line of sight.” He threw the saddle over Valkyrie’s back and began cinching the straps tightly. “She’ll know by touch where you are.” He paused for a moment before deciding it best not to explain that this largely diminished the possibility of being accidentally kicked by the powerful horse. Miss Oaklear’s reservations were still clear, despite how valiantly she tried to hide it.

Finished securing the saddle, Lachlan straightened and clapped his hands together once, grinning. “So. Really, I promise it’ll be fine. I’ve never seen Valkyrie spooked. Just come over here and let her get to know you a bit and then I’ll show you how to mount,” he said.

As he waited for Valkyrie to become accustomed to her presence, Lachlan couldn’t help but recall the number of days it had taken him to work up the courage to make the offer. Dusk had rolled his eyes on several occasions as he’d tried to get Dusk to help him with the wording. And each time he’d tried to play the scenario out with Dusk, Dusk had simply answered ‘yes’ right away without hesitation, pause or show of even the briefest consideration. It had done nothing to ease Lachlan’s nerves. Nor, as it turned out, was how it had gone down. Funnily enough, though, the whole thing had come out better than expected and, grudgingly hating to admit it, Lachlan likely had Dusk to thank for that.

After a few moments, Lachlan stepped back up to the two horses and began to show Cira how to mount. Foot in stirrup. Hand on the saddle horn. Swing up and around. He showed her once by mounting Chancey, and then dismounted quickly and offered her a hand. “It’s probably easier the first time with an extra hand.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sat 4 Jun - 15:31

'Balance' and 'control' was exactly what Cira had been lacking during her first attempt, along with confidence, skill, and the general assertiveness she had observed in other capable riders. Luc had assured her that the others would come as soon as she began to grow comfortable atop the horse, and for a short while, it had. When the horse had broken into a spontaneous gallop for reasons they had never quite figured out however, she hadn't had the time to gain any sort of comfort. Instead, she'd opted to hang on for dear life until the horse decided to take a sharp left turn while she, dismounted from her side-saddle, continued moving forward.

Preferring to dislodge the memory before it did any further damage to her confidence for the day, Cira nodded knowingly while Jem disappeared into the back of the stables. In the same moment, Lachlan spoke up again, unintentionally reminding her that she had more than one task on queue for the afternoon: to have Lachlan discontinue his stubborn use of her formal title; Suddenly riding a horse didn't seem like such an insurmountable task.

Following Lachlan's example as he explained about communication, Cira set her hand upon Valkyrie's side, to which the horse responded little. But, though it had been left unsaid, Cira was certain the result of not making that small contact with the horse could- and would- be... unwelcome.

Gently stroking Valkyrie's neck as Lachlan fastened the saddle, Cira urged herself to continue to stay calm. Evidently Lachlan had seen through it however, and it his prompt, she made her way around the horse and continued to stroke her neck. Realizing that her mouth had gone dry and she hadn't said anything for quite a while, Cira even managed a quiet "alright" within which she conveyed her thanks for his reassurance- even if was unlikely to strengthen her nerves.

Once she had grown a little more comfortable (and Valkyrie as well), Cira watched with unwavering attention while Lachlan showed her how to mount. She had to admit, he made it look so fluid and easy, but she doubted such skill would come as easily to her without years of practice. As far as that went, though, Cira was no stranger to practice, and so though her heart rate threatened to double at the very thought, she placed her foot in the stirrup and bade herself good luck.

"Okay," She breathed in, smiling nervously at Valkyrie as her big brown eyes watched in silence. The same look went Lachlan's way, though it contained slightly more hope and a dash of apology for any awkwardness that was likely to ensue while she took his hand for support. From there came another deep breath, a mental run-through of the movements required, and finally a first- failed- attempt.

"Sorry about that." She chuckled nervously, her cheeks beginning to flare a light pink. It had been awkward and shaky, and her right leg hadn't come anywhere close to the saddle. Her second attempt was going to have to be much more impressive lest she risk further embarrassing herself, and so when she again tried to raise herself up, she put her all into it. Though slow, shaking, and heavily reliant on Lachlan's aid, she finally found herself atop the saddle.

"Ah, there we go. Thank you, Lachlan." Cira said, a little unnerved to be atop the horse despite the short burst of triumph. As a result, both her hands gripped the saddle horn while she silently prayed that Valkyrie had no qualms with her.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 6 Jun - 17:13

Cira’s hand closed over his own, slightly clammy and with a strength that suggested she dared not let go until she had safely gained the saddle. Lachlan gave her an encouraging smile, as she readied herself. And though he tried to ignore it, he couldn’t help but notice how small and delicate her hand was in his own rough and calloused one. Dusk’s words rang clearly in his head. “Bet you’ll never have been nearer a girl in your life….” Coughing slightly, Lachlan tried to clear Dusk’s words away, though he could not deny that it was worth the trouble and grief Dusk had already given him. Just to be near her.

“You’re doing just fine,” Lachlan assured her as she readied herself for her second attempt to mount. And though he shot her a reassuring smile, he was beginning to wonder whether Dusk’s interference hadn’t been such a good thing. Had she agreed simply to prove something to Dusk? Such a thing would not end well unless Lachlan could slowly coax her into shedding her nervousness and taking up the confidence that she yet lacked.

Cira mounted on her second attempt, though the nerves seemed to increase as she did so. Her face was tense, and the way she gripped the horn of the saddle indicated that her mind was still on her last attempt at riding. It was doing nothing to calm Valkyrie. Though she was far from skittish at this point, she was looking far less comfortable than she usually did with a rider.

“It’s really no problem,” he answered, crossing over to stroke Valkyrie lightly before handing Cira the reigns. “But she’ll start feeling a lot more comfortable once you do. Horses are intelligent creatures. They pick up on your emotions quickly—and respond to them. If you’re nervous, she’s more likely to be.”

Returning to Chancy, Lachlan mounted. “For now, don’t worry about that right now, though. Once you two are familiar with each other, you’ll forget you ever had… reservations.” He heeled Chancy into a slow walk, and the hold horse obliged, responding to the lightest of tugs on the reins. Turning a tight half-circle, Lachlan came up alongside Cira and Valkyrie. “You must remember more from your last time riding than you thought, Miss Oaklear,” he said. “Valkyrie’s already warming up to you.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 14 Jun - 17:12

At Lachlan’s suggestion, Cira did her best to keep calm, thereby hoping to instill the same in the proud white horse beneath her. She couldn’t help but note Valkyrie’s shifting feet however, and so until Lachlan way made his way around Valkyrie, Cira’s focus didn’t waver from her primary goal of remaining seated on the saddle. Even when Lachlan handed her the reigns she took them with hesitation and held them tentatively, forcing a deep breath all the while. That, and her desire not to make a further fool of herself in front of Lachlan, allowed her to slowly regain herself while she reached out and patted Valkyrie’s neck.

Continuing to focus on nothing but the feel of Valkyrie’s mane, Cira hardly noticed when Lachlan mounted his own horse. It wasn’t even until he had brought Chancy up beside her that she looked up and found that, though far from gone, her nerves were at least under control.

“Perhaps it is what I am trying not to remember that is my aid.” She chuckled, returning her hands to the reigns. Yes, the more she pushed from her mind regarding her last attempt, the more comfort she could find. It was much like wearing blinders she supposed, and though she wasn’t a stern believer in the ‘what she didn’t know couldn’t hurt her’ mind set, it allowed her to remain optimistic. However, just as soon as she was starting to believe that learning to ride a horse was not something outside of her grasp, she was reminded that it was still the lesser of the two goals she had set herself for the afternoon.

“‘Miss Oaklear’,” She sighed with a tinge of lighthearted amusement while shaking her head. Her formal title was something she heard many times a day, and though it was oft spoken out of courtesy, she did long for something more casual. It would likely go a long way in calming her nerves as well, but she wasn’t about to use such as a means to pressure Lachlan into what was simply a personal request.

“I don’t suppose there is yet anything I can say to convince you to simply call me Cira?”



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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 14 Jun - 18:42

“I…” A deeply troubled look entered Lachlan’s eyes upon Cira’s request. She had made it at least a half dozen times before, and though the determination had not been lacking before, there was a certain resigned quality to her voice that fairly begged to be heard. And heeded. As much as he wished he could do so, however, he knew that to do as she asked would be a violation of the stations that separated them. It would be a disgrace to the Oaklear name for a common laborer such as himself to take such a liberty. Mutely shaking his head, Lachlan’s grip on the reins tightened slightly, and Chancy looked around, stomping his feet nervously.

“Why not?”

Taken aback, Lachlan looked up to find Cira staring determinedly at him. “I… I… because it’s not my place!” he stammered, his heart beginning to beat out a tattoo of nervous energy.

“Whose is it, then?”

A nervous chuckle escaped Lachlan as he heeled Chancy into a slow walk, indicating that Cira should do the same. Valkyrie would follow even if Cira did not urge her to, though, for she’d been trained both to follow and to lead. Despite their light, easy pace, Lachlan’s face scrunched in concentration as he tried to form an answer to the unexpected question. “I suppose… your equals?”

He looked back at her in time to see the sigh. It was small, barely audible, but present in the slight hiss of breathe and the slightest slump in her shoulders. “If so, I would have the whole of Himmin and those on the estates call me by my first name,” she said softly as Valkyrie drew up alongside Chancy.

There was no accusation in Cira’s voice, but her words caused Lachlan’s gaze to drop. Struggling to understand her intentions, Lachlan looked over to study her face in a way he’d never before allowed himself to do. It was impolite to stare, and downright dangerous to stare at one such as her. “We’re not your equals,” he said, nothing but the simple truth implied in his tone.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 14 Jun - 21:56

Lachlan’s point of view was a conservative one, and one which was widely practiced at that, but that didn’t make it any easier for Cira to submit to. She knew far too many nobles who were much less than the equals of men such as Lachlan, however their last names and the sizes of their coin purses were often enough to earn them the near unchallenged respect that they flaunted without remorse. Though her father was just such a man, Cira had never revelled in such treatment, instead finding pride only in respect which she had earned. To do so however, she had learned that her last name was her biggest hindrance, and thus had set out to be seen beyond her granted image as Lord Marik Oaklear’s daughter. Such things weren’t so easily shed though, and through many years of trying to do so she had since given in, but her efforts hadn’t been without merit. Though few people had agreed to call her by her given name only, she found several people who seemed genuinely comfortable in her presence even with the formalities they showed her. Still, at the end of the day she was an Oaklear, and despite the kindness they had showed her, she had never met anyone beyond noble status that had treated her as ‘equal’.

Allowing the footfalls of the horses to be the only sound about them for several seconds, Cira chose her words carefully. After all, she wasn’t about to force Lachlan into anything, but she didn’t wish to give up either. So, when she spoke, she carried her intentions in her tone, hoping they wouldn’t serve to further unsettle him.

“Then if you would not be my equal, I would become yours. Tell me Mr. Fox, what would it take?”

Despite her attempt to deter it, uneasiness swept across Lachlan’s face and into his posture, so much so that she quite regretted her words.

“You can’t change what you’ve been born to.” He answered back, turning to face forward. It was only then that she realized he had actually been staring, but she did not think into it.

“And please... just Lachlan.”

Again with a pang of regret, Cira realized that she was thoroughly unnerving him now, however she couldn’t help but wonder if he saw the irony in his words. He wanted her to call him Lachlan, undoubtedly due to his belief that he was below her and thus was undeserving, but such was exactly what she strove to explain; his first comment was precisely the root of it.

“That is a notion I would prefer not to agree with, yet I seem bound by it all the same. Unfortunately I cannot call you by your first name Mr. Fox, if we cannot be equals, I do not wish to offend.” And truly she did not, for if they could not be equals, then at least she could show him the respect she believed he deserved. Lachlan himself however, clearly did not agree.

After several quiet seconds, Lachlan finally replied, this time in a weakening voice. “I could come by some serious trouble if I were to... to call you by such a familiar name.”

Lachlan spoke a truth that added to Cira’s growing feeling of guilt, and like a dam bearing the weight of a snow melt, her perseverance began to fluster. Still, she had known of the risks upon first making the request, but she had no intention of letting Lachlan bear a burden of her creation if it ever came to that. Besides, she knew she could not live with herself should he find trouble by her hand, and so she made certain to turn to him and convey her honesty while she bade him her promise.

“I understand what I am asking of you comes with risk, but I would not ask it were the situation more... becoming... of formality. You have my word that I would not see you receive trouble.”

More silence followed her words like a shadow, and even before Lachlan replied with a quiet apology, Cira knew she could push no further. Besides, the day was still warm, and without having realized it, she had been comfortably riding atop Valkyrie without the slightest incident.

“It’s no matter, I’m sorry if I have made you uncomfortable.” Cira said with the utmost sincerity and a smile. “It seems we have made quite a distance from the stables anyway, and I am still atop the saddle. A miracle, to be sure.” She chuckled.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 14 Jun - 22:50

Lachlan turned back to Cira and forced a small smile. “It’s fine,” he said, though he could not quite meet her eyes as he said it. She had shaken him, that was sure, and though he tired to hide it, he knew it was because there was a small part of him that wanted to bend to her request, no matter how inappropriate it was. It was out of the question… and yet she had invited it. It was unorthodox, and yet she had initiated. He could just hear Dusk’s voice in his head now, urging him to fulfill Cira’s request.

Lachlan shook his head at Cira’s comment. “You really are a natural rider,” he said, something akin to an ‘I told you so’ smile on his face. “Perhaps not thinking about what you were doing helped.” While Valkyrie seemed to be growing less concerned with Cira guiding her, Lachlan wasn’t sure he could say the same of Chancy. The old horse seemed more skittish than normal, though Lachlan doubted any but he would notice. It was present in his slow plod, the swish of his tail, and Lachlan was sure the nervous look would be in his eyes as well. Whatever was the cause, Lachlan could only hope it would pass. As they rode, Lachlan stroked the venerable horse’s neck fondly, murmuring soothingly. And, by degrees, Chancy calmed noticeably.

It was an odd feeling—one which he had never experienced with the old but trusty grade horse. Chancy was a quiet spirit, lively and spirited enough in his day. But those days had passed. It took quite a lot to upset him and even more to make him show it. As such, Lachlan couldn’t fathom what had him on edge, and was only thankful that Chancy had not displayed any overt signs of his uneasiness. It would have done nothing to sooth Cira’s own worries.

“I thought we would take the wooded trails,” Lachlan said after a short interval of silence. “There are only a few tight trails that are somewhat difficult to navigate. But we can leave those till later, eh?” He was starting to settle himself now, allowing the calming effects of the slow walk to take over. “I know these trails like I know the fields. Walk them often with Micah and Iris… My younger brother. And sister.” Only after the words had escaped his lips did Lachlan remember that Cira had once had two brothers as well. They had disappeared long ago, though, and no one talked much about them now. Looking over at Cira, he felt a pang of guilt for the careless talk. Turning back to face forward in his saddle, he coughed slightly to cover his hasty transition. “Ahh… how’s your master? I’d like to send her my thanks for allowing this.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Wed 15 Jun - 0:16

Unconvinced as she still was about being a ‘natural rider’ in even the slightest sense, Cira had to admit that she no longer felt as if she could fall from the saddle at any moment. Lachlan’s second reasoning was the more likely of the two, for now that she actually thought about what she was doing, she was reminded that they had only been carrying on at a leisurely pace while making wide, arcing, turns that lasted acres in their entirety. Still, Valkyrie seemed content to continue on without any of the sudden sprinting that had been her downfall the time before, and with that in mind, it was easy to remain not only calm, but comfortable. Chancy however, didn’t seem to be so soothed. At least, not if Lachlan’s actions were any indication.

Watching with quiet intrigue, Cira wondered at first what Lachlan was doing. After all, Chancy didn’t seem to be in ill spirits as far as she could tell, but after only a short while she couldn’t help but to see a visible shift in the way the horse carried itself. How Lachlan had not only spotted but calmed the horses woes, she didn’t have the slightest clue, but before she could ask on it, he spoke up again.

The wooded trails, as Lachlan had said, were to be their suggested destination. Save for a few rougher trails, Cira was sure it would make for a scenic trip and a nice change of pace, even to the point that she had no qualms with the notion of the increased challenge. If things continued as they had been, she saw no reason to worry. So, with an agreeable hum, Cira nodded and turned her eyes to the treeline while Lachlan spoke of his siblings whom she knew admittedly little about. The way he had trailed off however suggested something more, and so with a raised brow Cira turned to him just in time to see him cough and turn away. From the fleeting look of apology on his face though, whatever had been the source of his pause didn’t seem to be for his sake, but hers. It was then that she realized his thoughts had taken him to Cira’s own two brothers, long since missing. But, young as she had been, and with the many years that had since passed, Lachlan’s accidental and indirect raising of their memory had done no harm. It was a scar now, not a bruise or a wound, and though it was still subject to hurt every so often, it was to affected by such things. Either way, she saw no need to mention it, and so with grace that suggested she hadn’t even noticed his hasty retreat onto a different topic, Cira casually answered him back.

“She was bright this morning as ever. I’ll convey your thanks, but in truth, she has been trying to see me out of training much more often lately.” Cira chuckled.

“‘Look at you. Your skin is so pale from the hours in the spring cavern that you glow like the moon!’”

Doing her best impression of Lady Ahlmir’s voice, Cira could only smile at her own failure. Even so, she couldn’t help but to admit that her master had been right, for the fresh air and sunlight was doing nothing but good for her spirits. It wasn’t that she had disagreed with her master in that right, though, but rather that she had simply preferred the sanctuary she found in the cool under-earth cave where she spent many of her days training to the stress that awaited her above, especially with her father back home after several days on the Myrr. He had become so persistent lately that she find herself a betrothed that it had simply become smothering.

“It is I who is most thankful for this outing, though. Training with Lady Ahlmir is a quiet way to spend my time, but this is a welcome change.”

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Wed 15 Jun - 1:16

Given Cira’s previous hesitancy upon his offer to take her riding, Lachlan couldn’t help but feel pleased when Cira mentioned that this was indeed a welcome break from her regular routine. He took pleasure in many things, simple as they may be—everything from walking home after a long day’s work to spending time with the rest of his family. But as much as he enjoyed any of those things, nothing could quite compare to the feeling of… completeness… that came when he was riding or working with Lord Oaklear’s hunting hounds. To share the experience with another was so rewarding that Lachlan almost began to question his motives.

As they rode, the two settled into comfortable conversation, discussing slightly safer topics than the one with which they’d started. It was not unlike any of the other times Cira stopped to talk to him. Like every conversation they had, it took some time for him to loosen up—to stop worrying about whether he was saying the right thing or whether he should simply remain silent in her presence. Dusk would never approve of his reserve, but Lachlan simply could not shake the knowledge of the differences between himself and Cira Oaklear… no matter how much she conveyed that she wished him to. No matter how much he internally wished he could.

The canopy of foliage under which they rode cooled the air and rustled in the light spring breeze as they passed. Occasionally, Lachlan would pause to give Cira a tip or two on how to direct Valkyrie, but the majority of the time, the young horse simply followed Chancy’s lead without showing much interest in finding her own path. She was a sturdy horse built to canter for long periods, but for now she seemed to have accepted her rider, initial hesitance, present caution and all. Lachlan suspected that she was simply enjoying the extra attention.

They continued their easy pace without paying any notice to the passing of time. But when the two horses stepped out of the shade of the forest, Lachlan saw that they had been gone for two or three hours. Though such was not such a long stretch of time, it certainly hadn’t felt that long to him…. Nudging Chancy on, Valkyrie falling into step alongside them, Lachlan looked over at Cira, a look of congratulations on his face. Not once had she slipped from the saddle, though he supposed Valkyrie had had some hand in that. “I stand by what I said before,” he said with a light chuckle. All that had stood between her and success before had been fear. “If you’d like to come riding with me again some time… I daresay you’re ready to try a slow trot…” For a moment his voice caught on the last few words trying to be heard without stammer. He forced himself to look into her ocean blue eyes and not to the ground as his instincts told him to do as he said it. “… Cira.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 16 Jun - 2:59

Somewhere between the casual conversation and occasional riding tutorial, Cira had found herself thoroughly enjoying her trip with Lachlan, so much so that when the horizon became visible through the trees it was a rather unwelcome sight. It was rare that she ventured into the woods for any sort of purpose leisurely or otherwise, but after taking in the sights and sounds, she vowed to do so more often. Valkyrie too had been particularly accommodating to the point that Cira was not only comfortable, but enjoying herself. Of everything however, Lachlan’s patience with her had been the focal point, as well as his hesitant but eventual willingness to speak more casually with her.

Back out beneath the farmland sky, Cira looked out across the golden fields and took in a deep breath. In letting it out however, the faintest feeling of foreboding tugged at her, but she brushed it aside for it was without source. Instead she turned to Lachlan, having felt his eyes upon her, and found herself unnerved not by his praise or offer, but by the way he unflinchingly stared into her eyes in a way she hadn’t thought him capable of. Just before she could turn her gaze and save them both any bashfulness though, he further surprised her and brought a bright smile to her face simply by speaking her name.

Feeling an unexpected surge of panic through her, Cira did her best to ignore it, but by the time she opened her mouth to reply, the dread had smothered her words. The emotions were not her own, but rather a warning, however by the time she realized it, she knew it was too late.

“She will be doing nothing of the sort. At least, not with you, boy.”

Lord Marik’s Oaklear’s voice was both controlled and threatening like a sheathed blade as he spoke up from where he and Lady Ahlmir had been standing at the treeline, and without turning to look, Cira knew his face was likely to be filled with barely contained fury. It was all she could do to hope that he hadn’t heard anything beyond Lachlan’s offer, but as her father spoke up again, she was reminded of how sharp his ears could be when he so wished them to be.

“And you would do best to show my daughter her due respect, for I’ve a right mind to remind you of your place. It would be a lesson hard learned, of that I can assure you.”

With all the apology one look could bear, Cira gave Lachlan one final glance before closing her eyes. If the fates had sought to be cruel, they had truly outdone themselves, but she would hold true to her promise.

“Father, he is at no fault. He is simply acting upon my request.”

“Nonsense.” Marik growled. “No Oaklear would willing bear such disrespect from a Common farm boy.”

Slowly Cira opened her eyes, but she did not dare look up at Lachlan before turning to Marik for fear of what he might read in her face.

“It isn’t-” She began, but Marik cut her off sharply.

“What are the townspeople to think if they saw you about with him? And the other nobles?” Marik scoffed. “I should have him whipped and jailed if for nothing than for the explaining I’m going to have to do; on your behalf, no less. An embarrassment...” Trailing off, Marik could do nothing but shake his head in disgust, looking from Cira to Lachlan and back.

“M’lord, it was I who suggested Cira learn to ride. There is no other better to teach her such things than young Lachlan here, I can assure you.” Lady Ahlmir spoke up, and for her words, Cira was grateful. It was from her master that the foreign emotions had come, and though they had been intended to warn, they had come too late.

Rounding on Lady Ahlmir, Marik spared no harshness in his eyes. “I’ve no interest in whatever ‘practicality’ you sought in this endeavor, but it was misplaced regardless.”

Her mouth dry, Cira felt nothing but guilt as she sat helplessly while Lady Ahlmir tried to fight her battle for her, but when Marik made towards Lachlan, she found it in herself to speak up.

“Father, don’t. He’s-”

But again without heeding her words, Marik took Lachlan by his shirt and pulled him from his saddle to the ground in one swift movement with Cira trying to call him off all the while.

“Now, boy, you’re not to so much look towards my daughter again, understood? I should have your head for this, but if we keep it on your shoulders, you can better repay the debt you now owe the Oaklear family.”





(( I can continue on if you need/want me to. I'll delete this ooc later. ))

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 16 Jun - 10:14


Though trepidation had been rolling through him as he spoke her name, Lachlan could not help but smile as Cira did upon the hesitant fulfillment of her request. It felt no more right than it had before, and though he had never understood what had motivated her to ask such from him, he knew a fleeting moment of gratification to see her smile. It left as soon as it came, driven away by a voice he had never heard before—a voice of barely contained anger.

Even before he turned to face the speaker, he knew who it must be. Lord Oaklear, Cira’s father and his own employer and benefactor. No one else would speak with such authority. The weight of his next words hit Lachlan with the strength of a sledgehammer and stole the breath from his lungs. He tried to speak, but found his throat too constricted to do so. Immediate regret for what he’d done washed over him, but no matter how much he wished it, he could not take his words back. He would not try to explain away his words away, he would not shrink from whatever punishment Lord Oaklear saw fit to mete out, but he would take it with quiet apology.

“Father, he is at no fault. He is simply acting upon my request.”

Lachlan cringed upon those words. No matter what she had promised him, he did not wish for her to take his fall. Had either of them considered the possibility that Lord Oaklear himself would have overheard… but he had considered such a possibility. Perhaps not that Lord Oaklear himself would directly overhear him, but… the results were the same. And he had ignored his own instincts.

As Lord Oaklear continued, Lachlan paled considerably. “I should have him whipped and jailed….” What had he brought upon himself…?

It was then that Cira’s master spoke up—and on his behalf no less. Whether for his own benefit or for Cira’s, Lachlan could not tell, though. What was abundantly clear to him now was that he would not be the only one to pay for all of this.

What happened next, even Lachlan had not quite expected. He flinched slightly as Lord Oaklear approached, expecting a swift blow, but instead found himself being lifted from the saddle with uncommon strength for a man of Lord Oaklear’s age. The drop to the ground jarred him, and a sickening sensation swept through him at the simultaneous crack and the resulting pain that lanced through his wrist. He looked down to see the unnatural angle on which it had landed.

“Now, boy, you’re not to so much look towards my daughter again, understood?” Lachlan nodded immediately, stifling the pain as best he could. “I should have your head for this, but if we keep it on your shoulders, you can better repay the debt you now owe the Oaklear family.”

Carefully, Lachlan picked himself up and straightened as best he could. He did not dare to look into Lord Oaklear’s eyes, but instead looked down at the ground between their feet as he’d been taught was only proper. “My Lord,” his voice quivered with the effort. “I beg your forgiveness. I meant no disrespect towards your daughter. Or you.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 16 Jun - 20:54

Lord Oaklear coldly searched Lachlan’s face for the faintest symptom of anything but honesty while Cira dismounted Valkyrie with her master’s aid, but after several second of finding nothing in the quivering young man before him, Marik simply turned on his heel.

“Dahlia, Cira, with me.” He ordered in a low voice as he made towards the lights of the manor. Neither Cira nor her master took even a step however, and so Marik was forced to turn back and urge them on with a glare. Still, Cira didn’t move, instead motioning to Lachlan with defiant concern written all over her face.

“You’ve broken his wrist. I will not leave him without treatment.”

As Cira moved to make her way over to Lachlan, Marik spoke up harshly, the fact that he wasn’t yelling giving his words all the more reason to be heeded.

“Don’t... test my patience.” He growled, but despite a momentary pause, Cira lifted her foot but was stopped before she could take a step by a hand of reason on her shoulder. Immediately she felt a sense of calm trying to envelop her, but she held it strongly at bay. Perhaps Lady Ahlmir was just trying to do her a favor, but Cira didn’t intend to leave Lachlan shaken and injured, not even in the face of her father. So, clearly having sensed Cira’s determination, Lady Ahlmir again came to her defense again, speaking to Lord Oaklear with a respectful tone that few save Cira herself could see through.

“M’lord, if you will, allow me see to Lachlan’s wrist. He is a valuable farm hand on the estates, but he cannot work with such an injury.”

His eyes darting between the three of them, Marik seemed caught between the validity in Lady Ahlmir’s argument and his own reluctance to show Lachlan any sort of mercy. But, in wanting to rid himself of the scenario as soon as possible, he finally came into a slow nod which, coupled with a disgusted “Fine, do as you will” was more than any of them could have hoped for.

“Now Cira, come.” Marik ordered, and with a prolonged glance at Lachlan in the hope of conveying her silent apology, Cira complied.

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