Page 11 of 11 FirstFirst ... 91011
Results 101 to 109 of 109

Thread: [M] The Sword and the Fang [Namingtoohard & Ashen]

  1. #101
    The Ashen One
    Ashen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    A land that smells of sunflowers
    Favourite Roleplay Genres
    medieval fantasy, adventure, psychological
    Posts
    5,617
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    98

    Default

    Watching the Lucet stumble over his words was cute, and Lec waited patiently to hear about his people’s dancing customs. They tried to imagine him dancing with his family, but they only had their own people’s stereotypes about the Lucet’s erratic movements to go off of, and they tried to dismiss those. At the suggestion of his dances not being teachable, Lec opened their mouth to protest. All dances could be taught; their mother had taught them many of the moves they knew, and traveling performers had taught them dances from overseas, and even library books had taught them about dance history and form. But Lec bit their tongue, because now was not the time to be close-minded, not when they had someone willing to teach them, someone they would likely be traveling with for a long time. If they really wanted to learn, they would need to let go of their preconceptions about what dancing even meant.

    Lec closed their eyes to imagine Issa’s dances. They pictured him surrounded by other red-eyed people, or perhaps animals, gathered together under the forest’s canopy. Did they combine movements from their different forms? Lec thought that dangerous, and the scar on their neck itched at the thought. They were pulled from their thoughts when they felt Issa’s hand on their arm. Lec met Issa’s gaze with a start, and they stumbled into the spotlight with him. Was he inviting them to dance? A blush warmed their cheeks, and they cast an awkward glance around the room, as if an audience had suddenly appeared and was ready to judge them for dancing with a Lucet. It was a ridiculous thought, and they scolded themselves for it and tried to pay attention to what Issa was saying.

    If the stage’s wood weren’t so splintered, they might have sparked a flame to replicate the scene he was conveying. They had no instruments to make music, though, and they didn’t even know what kind of instruments Issa’s people used. Even without the music, Lec hoped Issa would show them his dances, impossible as it might have been. With how tense things had been for too long, they could have used the silliness, even if Lec felt weird about blindly dancing the moves of a culture they didn’t understand. But before Issa could talk anymore, they were interrupted by the long, booming groan of a ship finally leaving port.

    It was happening. The idea of really leaving Evimaire was dizzying, but Lec tried to dismiss their doubts. They could feel the ship moving beneath their feet, the slight jostling of a thing on water, and they looked to Issa to see how he was handling things. They replied to his question with a nod, and at his suggestion to see their homes off, Lec hopped off the stage and started towards the doors of the room, forgetting the lights they had left on. They would burn themselves out eventually, and the Evimairian didn’t want to miss the goodbyes either.

    A huge crowd of passengers was already gathered on the deck by the time Lec and Issa arrived. Lec found themselves wondering about them, about how many were Evimairians like them, or how many were returning home, how many were doing business in other lands, or how many were people as crazy as the two of them, setting out on a journey they may never return from. They led Issa through the crowd and squeezed into a spot against the railing, where they could see the sun reflecting on the droplets of water splashed against their ship. Evimaire was getting further and further away, but they were close enough to still clearly see the people on the docks waving up at them. The rest of the city hardly seemed to notice another ship leaving its port. The thick trees beyond that represented the Lucet forest were just visible in the distance, and Lec wondered if Issa’s family was watching, perhaps as birds or other animals no one would notice. They wished they could have seen Soren again, almost as much as they dreaded seeing the poor boy’s face for what might have been the final time.

    As they watched their home shrink on the horizon, Lec felt their breath hitch in their throat. They found Issa’s hand and squeezed it, no matter how it looked to anyone around them. They needed the comfort, and maybe he did too, and out here surrounded by unfamiliarity, they were all they had. Lec was quiet for a long time, thinking too much about the dangers they’d face, and the real possibility of never returning, until their thoughts became too overwhelming. They turned away from the railing, sick not from the rocking of the ship.

    They looked to Issa, whose dark eyes were set on the distant shore. “Hey,” they said quietly, “how are you feeling?” They motioned towards the bright clouds, the sparkling water, anywhere but their homes. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it? We’ll be back someday.” They didn’t know if they were talking to Issa or themselves.
    Thanks to Craze for the beautiful Bravely set!

    ~Recruitment Thread~
    Spoiler: Ashen's Personal Hall of Fame 

  2. #102
    Mistborn
    Namingtoohard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    3,550
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    395

    Default

    Apparently the stage’s small staircase was doomed to a life of disuse. When Lec stepped off the edge of the stage, dropping the short distance to the ground below, Issa was quick to follow suit. He didn’t spare the stage’s lights a second thought as they slipped from the performance hall, and out into the corridors beyond. From there, he fell into step behind his guide quickly, trusting Lec to lead them back up to the main deck faster than he’d brought them down here. The Lucet couldn’t help but be amused by the fact that, even now, he was still relying on Lec to escort him from place to place. It wasn’t like his human had ever been on this ship before, even if they were more familiar with this boat in general. Was it still because he trusted their expertise, or was it now just a habit? Issa found himself pondering the idea, right up until the moment they climbed the last set of stairs, and slipped into the sun once more.

    When they reached the rear of the ship, Issa found himself eyeing the crowd that had already gathered there. It seemed they weren’t the only ones who wanted to bid the city a proper farewell. How many of these strangers had witnessed his earlier humiliation, and how many would object to his presence now? The Lucet had never been shy, had never cared what the other Lucet thought of him – the sense of trepidation he felt now was unusual, in a way he didn’t quite know how to express. Lec didn’t hesitate, of course – they pressed onward, heedless of Issa’s concerns. Perhaps that was for the best, as it forced the Lucet to set aside his concerns and hurry after them. He joined Lec at the railing, tried his hardest to ignore how the person on his other side shuffled away, and turned his gaze to the vista beyond.

    The sight beyond the railing was a unique view of Evimaire Issa had never seen before, even while wearing the guise of a bird. While objectively beautiful, it tugged at his heartstrings in a way that wasn’t entirely pleasant. He’d always wanted to explore the world, but Issa had always hoped to do so of his own volition. This should’ve been a happy moment, but the entire situation was tainted by the knowledge that they’d been forced into this, and thoughts of those they were leaving behind. Such moroseness wasn’t like Issa, and after several days of it, he wanted nothing more than to banish these emotions and enjoy the trip for what it was. Easier said than done.

    Issa was drawn from his thoughts when Lec took his hand, and gave it a gentle squeeze. Their touch was a balm of sorts, and the Lucet welcomed it wholeheartedly. He threw a sideways glance at his human, offering them a small smile, before he turned his gaze towards the horizon once more. This time, the silence between them was more companionable than awkward, and Issa dare not shatter it by speaking. No. He’d keep his mouth shut, just this once, and try to enjoy the moment. Just for a little while longer.

    When Lec did finally speak, their first question left Issa feeling uncertain. He wasn’t sure he understood the full breadth of his emotions himself, let alone how he was supposed to explain them to someone else. And yet, had he not been annoyed with Lec earlier for refusing to speak plainly with him? The Lucet wasn’t sure he liked where this line of thought was taking him, but before he could follow it to its conclusion, his human offered him an easy out with another, simpler question. Perhaps this wasn’t the place, with so many other people about. That’s what the Lucet told himself, anyway.

    “It’s very beautiful” Issa agreed. He spoke in a low voice, given the crowd around them, but his tone was no less sincere for it. “I can’t help but wonder if I’m the first Lucet to ever experience this. It’s weird, but…a good kind of weird. Probably a sensation I’ll have to get used to, right?” The Lucet chuckled softly to himself at the thought, and the pain of leaving seemed to wane, just for a moment. He threw another glance at the crowd around them before leaning in close to Lec. His next words were spoken in a low, conspiratorial whisper.

    “To be totally honest, all this wind and water and open space kinda make me want to stretch my wings a little. I doubt the other guests would appreciate it, though. Or the workers, for that matter.” Such a blatant display of his Lucet abilities would only ostracize Issa more, of course, and angering these people when they were all going to be trapped on this boat together probably wasn’t the smartest idea he’d ever had. Even so, after the embarrassment he’d been forced to endure at their hands before, Issa found himself tempted. He trusted Lec to talk him down if the idea was a little too stupid, which was half the reason he was sharing it now.

  3. #103
    The Ashen One
    Ashen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    A land that smells of sunflowers
    Favourite Roleplay Genres
    medieval fantasy, adventure, psychological
    Posts
    5,617
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    98

    Default

    Though Issa seemed fascinating by the scene before them, his words struck Lec as odd. Surely a Lucet had been out here before, seeing Evimaire from this angle…right? The history books they had read had been so adamant about the monsters the Lucet all were, but Lec wondered about a time before any of the politics. The war between their peoples was still young, so what was it like before the massacres, before the hatred, before the only reality they both knew? Could it really be that Issa was the first Lucet to travel like this, among humans, to lands far beyond his forest? The thought humbled Lec as much as it unnerved them.

    They weren’t built for making history, or they didn’t think they were. They’d tried to live a normal life despite the power they’d been given, and they didn’t like knowing their actions would influence so much about the world. But they wondered too about how they could influence just their city, and the relations between it and the Lucet forest. What would this trip mean for the ties between their peoples? Was it presumptuous to assume Lec and Issa alone could change the fate of their descendants? It was far too much to think about for the already exhausted human, so Lec only responded with a simple smile. All of that would come later, much later. First, they had to make sure they fulfilled this prophecy.

    They looked back out over the horizon, trying to shake their thoughts and think of instead all the new and exciting things they would experience on this trip. When Issa spoke again, they were thankful for something else to focus on. Lec’s gaze turned skyward, and they wondered what it was like to change one’s skin as easily as Issa’s people could. The thought of Issa shifting in front of them still scared them, even if they wouldn’t admit it, and their scar ached with the knowledge of what Issa was capable of. But if they were going to be traveling together, and fighting together, then Lec would need to get used to that. And what better time than now, when all the other passengers were distracted?

    “Maybe not,” Lec agreed in a similar whisper, though a smirk tugged at their lips. They remembered the way these people had treated Issa, between the guard who’d checked them in, and the looks he was getting from people even now. Lec glanced around at the crowd. No one would notice the two of them snaking away. “But,” they continued, ducking away and motioning for Issa to follow them. “It might be fun regardless.”

    Lec made their way to the stern of the ship, where only a few workers were gathered. They glanced towards Lec and Issa, but they didn’t stay long, and they soon went to do their jobs. Once they were gone, Lec turned back to Issa. “Do you remember the last time we were on a ship?” they asked, as if either of them could forget. The chase they’d had through the halls of that cruise liner had been horribly illegal and wrong—but fun. Maybe something like that would help to take the edge off of all the emotions warring for their attention.

    Lec shot a glance back towards the front of the ship, but no one was paying them any mind now. “What if you did stretch your wings? If you did decide to be a nuisance for the people here, it’s not like they could stop you if you were, say, a bird or something. They wouldn’t even know it’s you.” They considered it, and they briefly wondered why they were encouraging this, but they dismissed their voice of reason. Issa brought out the rule breaker in them, but they couldn’t seem to mind when they had such fun together.

    “It would be a good idea to see what you’re capable of,” they went on, a last-ditch effort to convince themselves they weren’t just being children. “If we really are to fight together, I should be familiar with all of the things you can do in your other forms, right?” They motioned towards the group of people who were still waving their goodbyes to Evimaire. “So,” they said, “show me what you can do.”
    Thanks to Craze for the beautiful Bravely set!

    ~Recruitment Thread~
    Spoiler: Ashen's Personal Hall of Fame 

  4. #104
    Mistborn
    Namingtoohard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    3,550
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    395

    Default

    Lec’s refusal might have been disappointing, if not for the small smirk that tugged at their features. Even if Issa wasn’t going to get his wish, that sight alone made him glad that he’d voiced the thought. He turned his attention back to the view before them, thinking the matter settled, only to pause as his guide spoke again. He raised an eyebrow when Lec gestured for him to follow, promises of mischief perched upon their lips. It didn’t take Issa long to make up his mind – he’d never been able to resist a bit of playful fun, even when it seemed to go against all wisdom. His familiar smile returned then, and the Lucet was quick to follow his guide out of the crowd, towards the other end of the ship.

    As they walked, Issa cast a wandering eye over the boat’s crew, wondering idly about their roles. Both in this exact moment, and aboard the ship in general. Then the two travellers arrived at the stern, where the Lucet found himself another distraction. The ocean unfurled before them, totally unlike anything that Issa had witnessed before. An expanse of purest blue, stretching all the way to the horizon, and glittering in the sunlight. He’d glimpsed something similar when Lec had first escorted him along the docks, but it didn’t compare to this. Back then, the piers and boats and crowds had narrowed his perception. Stopped him from grasping the true scale of what he’d been seeing. Now, the realisation that the little specks in the distance could be boats just as large as their own left the Lucet feeling very small indeed.

    Issa was quick to turn his attention towards Lec when they began to speak again. The mere mention of their previous escapades was enough to make him grin wildly, even now – something that would probably never change. The Lucet was quick to nod his confirmation, only to pause when his guide suggested an alternative. It lacked the dramatic flair of his original idea, but it was probably a whole lot safer. Issa would fail to make the point he’d wanted, but he’d have his revenge, and it still sounded like fun. As far as compromises went, it wasn’t terrible.

    “I’m not sure how much you expect to learn from a couple of pranks, but who am I to deny you the opportunity?” Issa spoke his words with feigned nonchalance, accompanying them with an artfully deliberate shrug. His gaze drifted skyward, then. It settled on the seagulls that drifted around their boat, harrying people as they saw fit. The Lucet’s pursed his lips then, expression souring. “If I’m going to blend in, then I’m going to have to transform into one of those dreadful things, aren’t I? How undignified. They look like they can barely keep themselves from falling out of the sky.” Issa glared at them with obvious distaste for a long moment, before letting out a soft sigh.

    “Nothing for it, I guess. At least it’s for a good cause.” With that said, the Lucet cast a furtive glance around the deck, eyeing the sailors lingering nearby. Once he’d confirmed that all of them were preoccupied, their attention focused on their respective tasks, Issa made his move. He placed both of his hands on the guard rail, and lifted himself up just enough to plant one of his feet atop it. Then he kicked off, launching himself off the side of the boat and out over the water beyond. He seemed to hang in the air, just for a moment, before gravity overcame his momentum. Then, just as it threatened to drag him downward, Issa transformed.

    The Lucet slipped his skin as effortlessly as a human might change their clothes. The whole process was so familiar that it felt as natural as breathing, despite the pain it caused. In the blink of an eye, Issa’s human form was replaced with that of a dull, white and grey seagull. As soon as the transformation was complete, the Lucet spread his wings, both physically and metaphorically, and let the wind catch him. He lurched a little at first, but then his new animal instincts kicked in, and he settled in to the familiar motions of flight. Adjusted the tempo with which he beat his wings and the tilt of his tail subconsciously, until he was stable in the air.

    The Lucet seagull spent a good moment turning and banking, swooping and diving, climbing and gliding, and found himself revelling in the feeling of freedom. Flying was a thrill, no matter how many times Issa experienced it, and apparently the drab form he wore today wasn’t enough to spoil that. Then, once he’d had his fill, Issa’s mind turned to his task. He tilted his wings and banked away from the boat’s stern, veering off towards the crowd that they’d left behind earlier.

    Issa made no effort to blend in with the other seagulls as he scouted out the crowd, searching for a suitable target. He sincerely doubted that anyone would notice that such a small pair of eyes were crimson, especially from this distance, and these birds seemed to behave so erratically that he saw no point in trying to mimic their behaviour. His gaze eventually settled on a short, middle-aged woman that he recognised from his earlier humiliation. Before he could think any better of it, the Lucet tucked in his wings and dipped into a dive, swooping down towards the mass of unsuspecting people below. Nobody seemed to notice his approach until the last moment, and by then it was too late. Issa plucked the woman’s dainty white hat right off her head, and then he was off again, climbing back into the sky before anyone could react. Surprised shouts and angry cries followed him, and Issa delighted in the sound.

    Carrying the hat proved infuriatingly difficult. The Lucet had to put so much more effort into keeping himself aloft than he’d never needed to do as an eagle. Another reason to hate these ugly little things. Even so, Issa persevered. He waited until he was out of sight of the guests before circling back around towards the stern. When he caught sight of Lec again, Issa dropped the hat, aiming to have it land directly on their head. Unfortunately, his aim was poor, and the wind of their passage quickly pulled his prize off target. If Lec was quick, they might manage to catch it out of the air. Otherwise, it’d land on the deck, a few paces away.

    Free of his burden, Issa swept down towards his companion. He pulled back at the last moment, killing his own momentum, before slipping back into his human skin. The Lucet dropped the small distance that remained, and bent his knees to help absorb the jolt when he landed. He performed the entire process with much more grace than the time he’d visited Lec’s room as a bird, thankfully. Once he’d straightened up, Issa met his human’s eyes and grinned.

    “I brought you a present, Lec. I do hope you like it. Maybe don’t wear it in front of the other guests, though. Just in case.”

  5. #105
    The Ashen One
    Ashen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    A land that smells of sunflowers
    Favourite Roleplay Genres
    medieval fantasy, adventure, psychological
    Posts
    5,617
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    98

    Default

    When the mischievous smile returned to Issa’s face, Lec couldn’t help but meet it with a grin of their own. Even though they knew this was a foolish idea, it was worth it just to relieve the concern from their companion’s expression. They nodded along to his voiced logic, played up at it was, and wondered just how much they could learn from such a silly situation. Dull fear ran through their veins as their imagination ran away from them. This was just a prank; surely Issa wouldn’t do anything he’d soon regret…right? Lec tried to shake the thought, and they followed Issa’s gaze to the clear skies.

    Issa’s complaints about the less than graceful birds surrounding them interrupted Lec’s anxious thoughts. They turned to him and the scowl on his face, and laughter bounded out of them. “I guess hating seagulls isn’t an exclusively human experience,” they joked. “I’m sorry.” They giggled at Issa’s inconvenience. “I think you’ll manage.”

    Issa launched himself from the side of the ship, and a wave of panic still rushed through Lec, as if they’d forgotten what the Lucet was capable of. They wondered what might happen if something were to go wrong in his transformation, and if he couldn’t catch himself in time. Would their magic be quick enough to save him? They ran to the guardrail and peered over the edge, neglecting to check who might have been watching them. There, just before the water’s surface, they saw the end of Issa’s transformation. He shed his human shape so effortlessly, and the bird that replaced him held no sign of his former self save for his dark eyes. The whole thing was as beautiful as it was unnerving, and Lec wondered if they would ever get used to it.

    Issa rose in their air, and Lec stepped away from the guardrail to watch him embrace this new form. He seemed like he belonged in the sky, a natural among the other birds. Despite his earlier complaints, and despite Lec’s dislike of seagulls from living so close to them all their life, Lec still thought Issa beautiful. He didn’t act like a normal seagull; his small form commanded a confidence that the other klutzy flying rats did not, and Lec sighed as they watched him approach the other side of the ship. He was unnoticed by the other passengers, and Lec leaned against the guardrail to watch the chaos ensue.

    In his heart, Issa was a lover of mischief. Lec hadn’t known him long, but they knew that in the way his face lit up at the chance for a new prank. Even as a bird, Lec could almost make out a smile on his beak, and Lec delighted in watching him play. No one would notice how different he was from the other birds if they weren’t looking, and no one was looking, so Issa was able to get close to the crowd without a problem. When he plucked a hat right off the head of one of the passengers, the crowd turned to him with angry shouts and frantic motions, as if they could catch him out of the air. But Issa was too swift for that, and he flew away with the hat, all the while leaving Lec doubling over in laughter.

    They needed to stop themselves left they make the woman even angrier, but it was hard not to laugh at the situation. The way Issa struggled to carry the hat bigger than him, or the way the woman’s face was red with anger, or the way she nearly knocked people to the floor to try to get at him; all of it made for a hilarious time. Lec tore their gaze away from her, glad she hadn’t noticed them laughing at her. They looked instead to Issa, who dropped the hat. It fluttered in the wind, heading past the edge of the ship and towards the lapping waves below. Lec was quick. A subtle use of magic was enough to lead the hat back to the ship and into their hands, and they held it triumphantly with another chuckle.

    Issa reappeared beside them, no longer a bird, and unnoticed as the crowd took off in search of the lost hat. “Are you insane?” they asked, though their voice held more laughter still. “You’re framing me!” They waved the hat towards him. Lec knew the smart thing to do was to return it. To claim that the wind had taken it to them after a weird bird had dropped it overhead. It wasn’t even a lie. But Lec remembered the woman, and how she’d sneered along with the crowd at Issa’s mistreatment, and they weren’t feeling particularly inclined to give the thing back. Instead, they slipped it under their shirt and motioned for Issa to follow them as they avoided the crowd in search of a hat they now would not find.

    On the way back to their room, the hall was filled with their giggles. “Did you see her face?” Lec asked, then imitated the wild, angered expression the woman had worn. “She was so mad, as if someone had killed her family, not just taken a dumb hat. I thought she was going to start climbing people to get it back.” They arrived at their room, and it was only when the door was shut behind them that Lec pulled the hat out of their shirt and soothed its new creases. “How sweet of you to steal a present for me,” they teased. “I’ll have to find you something nice in return.” They placed the hat atop their head and stuck their arms out before spinning, modeling it for him. “How do I look?” they asked.
    Last edited by Ashen; 12-19-2022 at 08:20 PM.
    Thanks to Craze for the beautiful Bravely set!

    ~Recruitment Thread~
    Spoiler: Ashen's Personal Hall of Fame 

  6. #106
    Mistborn
    Namingtoohard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    3,550
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    395

    Default

    Issa was already struggling to contain his mirth, and it wasn’t long before laughter was bubbling out of him too. The way Lec was waving the stolen hat around would’ve been enough to push the Lucet over the edge all on its own, to say nothing of their concerns about being framed. He found the situation so hilarious that he was forced to forego any sort of response to their accusations, purely because he was laughing so hard that he couldn’t get the words out. It was only when the human tucked the hat away, hiding it under their shirt, that Issa regained a semblance of control. When they gestured for him to follow, the Lucet spent a brief moment catching his breath, before he moved to obey.

    When they neared the top of the stairs, Issa caught sight of the woman he’d stolen from, and the group of people who were helping her search for the missing hat. They hurried across the deck like they were being chased, but with their eyes turned skyward. After the way they’d treated the Lucet before, it was easy to imagine these people blaming him for the theft, even if they didn’t have any conclusive proof. The thought simultaneously made him wonder if this had been such a good idea after all, and banished the last remnants of any sympathy he might’ve felt for these strangers. The realisation did put a bit of a damper on his mood, until Issa shoved it to the back of his mind. He wasn’t going to let them and their foolish prejudices ruin this moment too.

    Thankfully, Lec’s acting skills were developed enough to coax another bout of laughter from Issa. By the time the two of them had reached their room, he’d truly forgotten about such things. “Once I accidentally woke a hibernating bear, and I’m fairly sure it looked less angry than she did. I’m surprised the vein on her forehead didn’t burst” the Lucet responded, just as they stepped through the door and into the safety of their room. He pushed the door closed behind him, and found himself oddly comforted by the satisfying click of the latch sliding home.

    When Lec suggested that they’d have to steal him a gift in return, Issa opened his mouth to insist that wasn’t necessary, only to stop himself. His guide had given him so much over the past few weeks, to say nothing of the way they were funding this adventure. Even so, a part of him wanted to see what sort of prize Lec set their sights on, and what sort of scheme they’d come up with to acquire it,. Did that make him selfish? If it did, then maybe he’d allow himself to be selfish, just this once. He’d already had the chance to cause a little bit of mischief with his powers. Who was he, to deny Lec the same opportunity? No. That certainly wouldn’t do.

    Issa turned away from the now-closed door just in time to watch Lec extract the stolen contraband from its hiding place, and set it upon their head. He watched them smile and tease. Watched them perform a little spin, arms held akimbo, like it were a single step from one of their dances. In that moment, Issa found himself struck by how free they looked. The first time he’d met Lec, they’d been nervous about his very presence. After that, they’d been nervous about their role as a tour guide. Then they’d been nervous about dancing before him, about Issa hitting that person, about the prophecy. The trip they had to make, and the battle they had to fight. In that instant, it seemed like they’d finally been able to shed those burdens, just for a moment.

    “Stunning, actually.” The words slipped free before Issa could stop himself, and the Lucet found himself surprised by the sincerity of his own sentiments. It wasn’t just the hat, either, even if it was very cute on them. It was the unexpected confidence, the sheer lack of self-consciousness that Lec so rarely displayed. They seemed comfortable in their own skin for the first time in days. This was the Lec that stood on stage and performed for the other humans, made manifest here, in their room, just for a brief moment. All this dawned on Issa at once, striking him with all the force of a charging bull.

    It took the Lucet a little too long to realise that he was staring. Suddenly feeling a little self-conscious himself, he turned his gaze away, cheeks burning. He spent another moment scrambling, trying to come up with something else to say. “I…” Had his throat been this dry, and had his tongue felt this heavy, just a few moments ago? Where had all of his easy charm gone? Was…was it speaking to humans that flustered him so, or just one human in particular? Perhaps that was a thought best saved for another time, when Lec wasn’t staring at him, waiting for him to finish.

    “You said you wanted to see what I was capable of, right? Well now I can’t help but wonder what sort of tricks we can pull off if we work together. That seems like another important thing to know going forward. So we might have to steal you a whole new outfit to go with the hat, if you’re feeling up to it.”

    Issa wasn’t entirely sure where that had come from, but it was better than nothing. He sent a quick prayer to the goddess, whilst promptly deciding that he wasn’t going to look a gift-Lucet in the mouth. The real question now is whether Lec would let him get away with such an obvious diversion, or if they’d insist on pressing the issue at all.

  7. #107
    The Ashen One
    Ashen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    A land that smells of sunflowers
    Favourite Roleplay Genres
    medieval fantasy, adventure, psychological
    Posts
    5,617
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    98

    Default

    Issa’s reply to Lec’s joke of a question caused them to laugh even more. They assumed, of course, that his compliment was just him going along with their show of toying with the new hat. The thought that his words might have been genuine did not even occur to Lec, not until the moments of silence following stretched on, and they finally met his gaze. The smile fell away from Lec’s face, and they shifted, suddenly feeling very awkward. Stunning…? Issa hadn’t meant that, had he? But the way he was staring at them, unable to find the words to follow such a compliment, and the way he seemed caught, as if he hadn’t meant to say such an outlandish thing… Lec turned away, their cheeks hot. What did Issa mean?

    The way Issa stumbled over his next words only flustered Lec more. They hadn’t meant anything in asking Issa what they thought of the hat; he knew that, didn’t he? If the Lucet really did find them attractive—stunning—then they didn’t know how to feel about that. They thought Issa pretty too, of course, though they would never tell him that, and that didn’t mean anything…right? Did Issa think there was more to it than that? Gods, Lec scolded themselves, stop overthinking this. But their warning did little to assuage the rising anxiety within them. They slipped the hat off their head and set it on the bed they’d claimed, suddenly very conflicted about it.

    Issa went on to fill the silence, but Lec could barely hear him over their second-guessing and conclusion-jumping. They cleared their throat, trying to focus on the conversation. “That…might be difficult,” they mumbled half-heartedly. “Maybe if this ship has a sauna or bathing area, we might be able to pilfer an outfit there, but I doubt it’s the kind of outfit you’re thinking of. Certainly wouldn’t match such a hat.” Lec motioned towards their stolen accessory, their mind wandering. Whatever they’d steal from a pool would likely be thin, revealing, and the thought of them wearing someone else’s beach clothes made them think back to Issa’s words. They were getting more and more uncomfortable, until finally, they glanced behind Issa. “I’m sorry,” they mumbled, and they moved past him into the tiny bathroom attached to their room. They locked the door behind them.

    It was just a compliment. They were overreacting over a silly little compliment. Lec found their gaze in the mirror, and they rubbed at their eyes, hard. What was wrong with them? People had complimented them before. Their own work practically begged for it. Hell, Issa had given them compliments before this too, and they hadn’t been this bothered by them. Had they? Had he looked so genuine then? Maybe compliments like those meant something different in Lucet culture. Maybe Lec was just seeing flirtation where there was none. They wanted to ask him, to demand what he meant by those words, but they couldn’t. They’d already made this difficult trip already so much more awkward between them, and Lec didn’t want to make things worse. Even excusing themselves so suddenly like this had made the Lucet uncomfortable, no doubt, and they felt guilty for that. Lec sword under their breath. They were so good at blowing things out of proportion, and just once, they wished they could silence their warring thoughts.

    They emerged from the bathroom only a couple minutes later, and they offered Issa an apologetic smile. They took a seat on their bed and sat on their hands so Issa wouldn’t see how they were shaking. “There are still parts of the ship we haven’t seen,” they supplied, eager to fill the awkward silence with something. “We’ll need to scout the place well if we’re going to pull off a heist. And I hope the mess hall will be open soon, because I didn’t get a chance to eat much before we left.” They felt awkward. They knew Issa knew that, too. If they let themselves, their mind would drift to him, to the beautiful Lucet standing before them, whose smile could light up a room—but they wouldn’t let themselves, because that was a ridiculous way to think of someone they were supposed to be working with.

    Lec hopped off the bed, suddenly antsy. They walked towards the door, but they stopped to look behind them, in case Issa wanted to spend more time in the room. “I’m…not sure about stealing a whole outfit,” Lec murmured, only then realizing how they were jumping from subject to subject. “But Soren did ask me to bring him back a souvenir from our trip. I think it’d be extra special if we worked together to get him something. He wouldn’t have to know how we got it. It might be something to think about?” They turned back to the door, half to hide their rosy cheeks from Issa. Their mind, once more, returned to his compliment. Issa had just been saying that. There was no way he didn’t realize he was the stunning one, after all.
    Thanks to Craze for the beautiful Bravely set!

    ~Recruitment Thread~
    Spoiler: Ashen's Personal Hall of Fame 

  8. #108
    Mistborn
    Namingtoohard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    3,550
    Mentioned
    20 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    395

    Default

    Issa said nothing when Lec excused themselves, and slipped into the bathroom. Once the door between them was closed, the Lucet’s shoulders slumped a little, and he let out a shaky breath. He couldn’t bring himself to believe that Lec’s need was genuine, no matter how hard he tried. The timing was simply too convenient. No. They were doing the exact same thing they had last time, when the two of them had sat down to hash out their travel plans. Lec was running away again, instead of just speaking to him about whatever was wrong. Whatever he’d done wrong. Maybe Issa shouldn’t have been surprised, but the realisation pained him nonetheless.

    That said, a part of him couldn’t help but welcome the respite. Lec’s strategic retreat gave him an opportunity to catch his breath, to try and recover his composure, without making an even bigger fool of himself in the meantime. In fact, his human was probably trying to do the exact same thing right now. Issa collapsed atop his bed as he considered the possibility. Thinking about it that way…maybe he had been a little too hard on Lec the first time. When they’d shoved him out the proverbial door, maybe it had been less about his mistakes, and more about their own needs. What had happened certainly felt a little less upsetting, viewed through that particular lens.

    By the time Lec was ready to emerge from their makeshift shelter, Issa was feeling calmer, if not better. He pushed himself up into a sitting position again, just as his companion dropped down onto the bed opposite. When Lec began to speak, the Lucet found himself feeling torn. He really wasn’t sure how to start the discussion they needed to have, and was worried that Lec would just shut down again if he messed it up. A part of him wanted nothing more than to accept this easy out, forget this had happened, and move on with his day. Embrace the mischief that came with trying to steal Soren a souvenir. And yet, today had proven that the same thing would just keep happening until he spoke up. So, with a measure of reluctance, the Lucet decided that he had to try.

    “Actually, I think we need to talk first. Before we go.” Issa remained seated while he stumbled through his objection. The Lucet kept his eyes fixed on Lec the entire time, despite the lingering urge to turn away. He sent a silent prayer to the goddess while he waited to see if they’d flee, or make another excuse, or find some other way to put this off. Only when it was clear he had his human’s attention did Issa continue.

    “Why do you keep running away from me?” The words came out softer than Issa had intended, making it sound like he was asking himself, instead of them. Even so, the Lucet persevered. “I didn’t get upset the other day because you wouldn’t let me go over the maps with you. I was upset because you wanted me to go over them with you at first, and then suddenly decided that I had to leave, and didn’t tell me why. And now…” Issa trailed off a little, but his eyes flickered towards the bathroom door quickly, before returning to Lec.

    “I don’t know what I did wrong, but if you’ll just tell me what’s bothering you, then I promise that I’ll listen. I know I didn’t always do the best when you were showing me around the city, but I’ll try my hardest.” It was at that moment that Issa realised he was fidgeting, and forced himself to stop. Maybe he should’ve taken a page out of Lec’s book and sat on his hands before trying to start this conversation. “If you just need some time to yourself, then I understand that too. But I’m not sure how we’re going to survive this whole journey together, fight together, if you can’t even tell me that much.”

    As soon as the words stopped flowing out of his mouth, Issa found himself feeling dissatisfied by the way he’d phrased things. The words tasted like ash in his mouth, thick and mushy. Still, there was nothing for it now but to wait, and see how Lec would respond.

  9. #109
    The Ashen One
    Ashen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    A land that smells of sunflowers
    Favourite Roleplay Genres
    medieval fantasy, adventure, psychological
    Posts
    5,617
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    98

    Default

    Before Lec could pull the door open and escape this tiny room they were sharing with Issa, his words stopped them dead in their tracks. We need to talk. That was never a good phrase, and Lec’s mind jumped at every horrible outcome of such a conversation. Maybe Issa would call them out about being weird about the compliment and tell them he’d never feel any kind of way about them. That might alleviate some of their fears, at least. Or, what if he did have feelings for them, and he was taking this opportunity to tell them? Lec was not ready for this.

    They realized they had just been standing silently with their back to Issa for an uncomfortably long amount of time. They tried to cleanse the panic from their expression and take a deep breath. Weren’t they a little old to be getting flustered over something so silly? Even if Issa was from a different race, one Lec’s people were at war with, they’d find a way to work things out. That probably wasn’t even what the Lucet had to talk to them about, and guessing like this would only make things worse. So Lec turned to face him, and though their expression was neutral, the edges of their lips curved into a nervous frown. “Okay,” they said, “what’s up?”

    Issa’s next words defied their expectations, and the sad tone he delivered them in made Lec feel like a monster. They wanted to stand up for themselves, insist they were not running away, but they couldn’t. That was the exact reason they’d excused themselves only minutes ago: to get away from Issa and their warring emotions, their inability to think about anything without blowing it out of proportion. Issa continued, and Lec listened through gritted teeth. Their gaze fell to the floor in embarrassment. They had been wrong—about everything. Every time Lec had gotten overwhelmed, Issa must have thought he was at fault, and they’d never told him otherwise. How cruel, to leave him in the dark and let him come to his own conclusions regarding their nonsensical reactions. Lec hated that their childish coping mechanisms had hurt Issa time and time again.

    Unsurprisingly, their instinct was to leave. To open the door like they’d been planning and dart down the hall, until they found the first empty hall they could. They’d plop themselves in a corner, where no one would find them, and where they could be alone with their thoughts. The realization that they wanted to do the very thing Issa probably hated them for by now answered them. They hated how they’d been handling things, and they hated that they were like this, and they hated that even now, even knowing they were hurting someone else, they didn’t know how to fix it.

    He was asking them to be vulnerable with him. While they recognized his good intentions, they couldn’t talk with him about these things, for a number of reasons. For one, they already knew their thoughts were nonsense, and they didn’t need someone else making fun of them for the conclusions they jumped to or the fear that paralyzed them when they weren’t in danger. There was also the fact that Lec didn’t know enough about Lucet culture, and there was no telling how Issa approached such topics like this. What if he was malicious enough to use this against them? It wouldn’t be the first time someone had. No matter how much time Lec spent with Issa, they couldn’t convince themselves that he didn’t want to hurt them. Besides, wasn’t talking about their irrational feelings a waste of time? The two of them had much bigger things to worry about, and they couldn’t afford to complain about problems that probably weren’t real to begin with.

    The silence between them was stretching, adding to the unbearable weight settled on Lec’s chest. They forced their attention to Issa, to those big red eyes, to that forlorn expression, and they felt sick. They looked away sharply, painfully embarrassed. Lec didn’t know how to reply. What could they say to the creature they didn’t know, the one whose family had given them a scar, a reminder that they could never be trusted?

    Lec opened their mouth to speak, but their words were interrupted by the droplet of water that landed on their lower lip. They didn’t know when they had started crying, but they hastily wiped at their face with the edge of their sleeve. It was another of their body’s involuntary and endlessly frustrating reactions, and they hated how pathetic it made them look.

    Trying again, they mumbled several unintelligible words and signed half-formed sentences, all the while avoiding eye contact. Frustrated at that too, they finally took a deep breath. “I am going to answer you,” they said, a promise. “But I need you to leave me alone for a little.”

    They took a seat on their bed with their back towards Issa. It was an impossible task, calming themselves down when Issa was right there, waiting, expecting, probably glaring holes into their back, but they couldn’t leave the room now, not when it would prove him right. So Lec sat there, trying their best to count their uneven breaths, to mentally describe the things they could see, and to reassure themselves that they were not in any danger. This conversation, as uncomfortable as it was, was important to have. They owed that to their companion.

    When they did turn around, they looked a smidge calmer, though their brows betrayed their frustration—not at Issa but themselves. “First, I should apologize,” they said. “You didn’t do anything wrong. This is on me, and…” Lec sighed, trying to find the words to explain to Issa why they were like this. “We all have a response to danger, right? Your breathing gets faster and your heart beats harder and your hands get sweaty. It’s natural. But for as long as I can remember, my body has never been any good at knowing when there is danger and when it’s all in my head. It’s bad enough that Mother wanted to try having me medicated, but then she got pregnant with Soren, and… Anyway, my body responds severely to very minor dangers. I know these responses are irrational, but my brain is very convincing. And it’s embarrassing to talk about, because imagine someone taking you seriously when you say you might die if you say the wrong thing in a conversation. It’s stupid, and it makes me feel stupid, and it’s not worth talking about. I haven’t found any way to fix it, but sometimes, getting away from things for a little while, just long enough so that I can remember where I am, and that I’m not in danger, can help. It’s not running away; it’s…” Unable to decide if Issa was right about them, they let their next words die in their throat.

    Their gaze fell to their lap, where their hands were punctuating their words with grammar Issa didn’t know. They debated keeping the next part to themselves, but they didn’t think Issa would appreciate that, not when he was so frustrated at their lack of communication so far. “And,” Lec said, more quietly this time. “Frankly, Issa, I’m terrified of you.” Their fingers fluttered to their neck to drum softly against their twin scars. “You’ve noticed this, haven’t you? One of your people gave this to me. Soren and I were in your forest, trying to get home, and we ran into…one of your family members, I guess. She didn’t take as kindly to us as you did. I saw the look in her eyes, and I knew she really was going to kill us. Soren was five, just a baby, and I couldn’t let him get hurt. He’s my baby brother, and I’d do anything for him, so I didn’t even think, when she came at us, and…” They paused to take a breath, to stop the shaking of their hands. Lec realized this was not something they spoke of often. They didn’t like bringing attention to their scar, and they didn’t like thinking about that terrifying day. Telling this all to Issa, to a person who probably loved the one who’d given them this scar, made them feel like they were suffocating. Like he would side with her, whoever she was. Like he’d see just how ridiculous their phobia was.

    They took a few shaky breaths before continuing. “That’s…dumb,” they admitted. “It’s really not fair to distrust your people just because one person attacked me. We were trespassing in your forest anyway. And it’s not your responsibility to prove yourself to me. But that’s…where I’m coming from. Okay?”

    Their hands stilled in their lap. Lec was horribly uncomfortable, and every part of them itched to get up and leave. But Issa deserved a proper conversation. He deserved to know what was going on, and why Lec was so difficult to work with.

    “So,” they continued, finding their voice again. “It’s not you. It’s me, and my dumb brain, and my body’s panic attacks, and my inability to let go of something that happened five whole years ago. I know there’s a lot I need to work on. I’m sorry that I’ve let you think this was all on you. You didn’t deserve that. You don’t deserve…” Me, they wanted to say, but they swallowed the self-pitying thought. Regardless of what either of them deserved, they were stuck now with each other.

    “I might still need time to calm down in the future,” Lec said. “I won’t promise that I won’t…run away…when I need to. But I’ll try to tell you about that beforehand. And I’ll try to be more transparent when something’s wrong. Before we left Evimaire, our apothecary gave me some plants to chew on. Said they’d help calm my nerves. I don’t know how effective they are, but maybe it’s unfair to judge when I’ve only tried them while starting on a life-changing trip.”

    It was the first sincere smile since they’d started talking, small as it was. When it fell away, Lec turned towards the door, eager to get out of this room. But they looked at Issa again. “Is… Well, does that clear things up at all? I… I’m sorry for dumping that all on you.”
    Thanks to Craze for the beautiful Bravely set!

    ~Recruitment Thread~
    Spoiler: Ashen's Personal Hall of Fame 

Page 11 of 11 FirstFirst ... 91011

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •