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The New Recruit

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

Azuel’s trip home had been uneventful, for which he was grateful. He took the same path he had last night, altogether too many thoughts weighing on his mind. When he pushed through the heavy doors once again, he was surprised to see his father up on the second story, walking across the interior balcony over to the hall.

Maalik glanced down at Azuel and Azuel stared back up. No words were exchanged, and the brief encounter was resolved when Maalik simply continued walking for the door to the hall on the opposite side of the room. Azuel cringed as the door closed slightly harder than it usually did.

A sour emptiness filled him, and Azuel simply wandered up to his room. Such was his fate, to deal with a parent such as Maalik. He missed his mother. What he could recall of her was affection and joy. It was funny that she had left his life the same time that Mire had; though he hadn’t really thought about Mire at the time, he could recall that stage of his life being very difficult.

What a cruel twist of fate was it that had left his sole remaining paternal figure Maalik. He bitterly wished that his father had taken the place of his mother or grandfather.

Trying to discontinue his unhealthy, spiteful thoughts, he made his way to his sister’s room, intending to keep her informed and prevent her from gossiping or operating on poor assumptions. His knock upon the door was returned by silence. He chewed his lip nervously, not hearing any response.

There was nothing to be done for it. He didn’t know where she had gone, and would only have to pray she had not already decided to confront Elemire at some point during her daily misadventures. He could guess that he was not so lucky, but no matter what course of action he came up with none of them seemed to solve his situation.

He reluctantly retired to his room, his mind still racing for solutions and drawing blanks.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Metarie on

Mire tucked the bishani in her wallet and her wallet in her front pocket. She wore pants and a comfortable sweater. Her hair was loose, but pinned back from her face with a hair tie at the crown. Strands fell in front and behind her ears. She never bothered to hide them. What was the point? Even when her hair was completely down, the tips of her ears poked through. As for the pants, dresses were for ladies who did not have to help out a fellow guardsman on occasion. A voice called her name and she turned to see Veridian, hand raised, at a stall they frequented for breakfast on duty days.

“Ver, I do think you have your eye on that pretty baker woman. What’s her name? Talia?” Mire grinned as she moved to join her partner. Her gait was an easy one, but quick. She had long legs. Veridian grinned,

“Well, since you won’t marry me, Mire, I have to look elsewhere.” Mire snorted. She’d never believed Veridian was in earnest whenever he proclaimed his undying devotion.

“If I married you, you’d never have your pick from the Kitten’s litter again.”

“A man has needs, Mire. Needs. Although dancing by oneself has its benefits, the best dances are with a partner.” Veridian winked at Mire. Mire just raised her eyebrows and wondered about his comment. Men might have needs, but some men knew how to control them. Mire nodded slowly as she surveyed the baker’s cart.

“So you say. But, I say a man who knows when to wait refines his appetite.”

“That’s food. Dancing requires practice and I can promise, I am a very, very good dancer.” Veridian waggled his brows at Mire, making her laugh. When she smiled and laughed, her face lit up. Veridian smiled to see it. This was much better than her brooding from the day before.

“Stop, stop, stop. I can’t take it anymore!”

“That’s what they all say… and then they ask for more!”

“Ver! Seriously, it’s too early for ribald humour!” Mire gave Veridian a punch in the arm, but it wasn’t a hard one. Mire was no fainting virginal upper class lady who’d swoon at such talk. She was earthy. She laughed. She liked her pints. More reasons for Azuel to want to be friends. Mire sighed, then.

“Ah, I despair of ever being considered a lady. Maybe Hulben was right.” Mire tucked the breakfast breads she’d settled on into her pack. An omelette made with a thick rasher of bacon, eggs, and some vegetables accompanied by a flaky, buttery croissant and strong tea was the best breakfast she could imagine.

The look on Veridian’s face darkened. “I’m sorry about that, Mire. I didn’t know Hu would be such an ass. Who knew his view of women was so poor?”

Mire shrugged and gave Veridian another smile. It was like the sun parting clouds. Veridian couldn’t help but smile back at her. “I don’t think you’re a man. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have anyone else as my partner.” Veridian gave Mire a soft punch back on her arm. He knew she’d never look at him as anything other than that.

Not for the first time, he wondered why she never seemed to date anyone. He’d seen look over men when they were at the Rat after she’d had a few pints. He’d even seen her look over women, so he he wasn’t sure if she did actually prefer men. He knew about her past. There'd been a write up in the Daily Tattler when the house mother had finally been arrested. The drawing that accompanied the article had shown a large-eyed elf girl, holding another child on her hip and surrounded by others. The elf-girl looked remarkably like Mire. Maybe she was right about waiting. Maybe that’s why she never considered him. She wanted someone who she thought might be a little more faithful, a little less keen to serve their appetites. But, for her, he could be faithful --- at least, that’s what he told himself --- and it's not like he'd ever spent time at places that catered to extremes in sexual pleasures. Sure, he'd tried women of different species. He'd even tried the dwarf at that one brothel, just because. But still...

“What are you up to today?”

“Oh,” Mire gave another shrug. “The usual. Laundry day for starters, bills, and I’m thinking I will go to the book store.” She glanced up at the sky and pursed her lips. Veridian looked at her mouth when she wasn’t looking. Someday, he’d get up the courage to kiss her. Maybe when they weren’t partners anymore… “I’m pretty sure it’s going to rain again this afternoon. So, I want to get my errands done early.

Veridian broke his gaze from her mouth to peer at the sky. He nodded.

“You might be right on that count. Guess I better get my errands done, too. See you next shift, Mir.”

“You, too, Ver.”

She’d never noticed the looks he’d given her. Not one. She had to know though. Right? She was beautiful, lithe, and graceful. She was round and full in all the right spots. He enjoyed watching one such spot as she walked away. Veridian arched a brow and decided a visit to the Kitten would be a good way to pass a rainy afternoon. Yes, indeed.

Mire entered the book store and inhaled a deep breath. The shop owner was a grouchy, young man with black hair and penchant for the drink and smoking, who cared more for his books than people. His assistant was sweet and regularly the owner’s verbal whipping boy. The assistant’s hair was long, but his pate was balding. The assistant sported a beard, as well, where his boss did not.

As a regular, though, Mire knew what to expect. And, her looks, her coin, and her love of books always meants she would be allowed back in even when she and the owner would have a falling out about the quality of this writer or that. All she needed to do was bring a bottle of wine and an all was forgiven.

“YOU!” The owner roared as she entered. He sputtered. “Who gave you the right to enter my shop? Hm? HM?” So, it began. Mire smiled sweetly.

“Me.” A response to his greeting and an answer to his question.

“You. You pointy eared philistine, get out of my shop!”

Mire put down her bag and pulled out the croissants, some cheese, and a bottle of wine, as if she was rummaging for something. The owner paused mid-rant. “Oh, is that… is that… a Black’s vineyard?”

“Oh, that?” replied Mire. “Yes. Just a burgandy. Pay it no mind, I was planning on drinking it while a read a book. Hmm, where did that go? Oh, there it is.” The sound of bishani clinking together in a very small pouch followed her words. “Ah, here it is.” Mire smiled at the little bag and began to put the other items back. The shop assistant looked back and forth between the pair. His eyes lit up when Mire produced the bag of bishani. Sales were good! Sales meant food!

“Wait. Wait…” Dylan Bernard waved his hand randomly as he edged a little closer to Mire. “I was a little harsh when I said you had oatmeal for brains. I mean, there is some validity in the argument that the latter half of the story is an allegory in the falsehood of history.” For Dylan to admit as much was to acknowledge that his thirst was greater than his love of the written word, but not by much.

“Here, here, here…”

Dylan deftly slipped next to Mire and acted charming in that way that only a truly drunk en man could – specifically, clumsily and pathetically. His hand slipped once or twice on a stack of books as he tried to act nonchalant. “Let’s not be hasty. Come, browse the books…”

“Buy some books…” Chimed in Bailey Bianco, the assistant.”

“Yes, yes… buy some books…” Dylan somehow managed to become deft as he scooped Mire’s bundle of treasures into his arms and drifted over to the small desk he used regularly. “And, we shall have a lovely repast together.”

Mire’s eyes twinkled with amusement and a little sadness. Dylan Bernard would have been a beautiful man, what with that muss of lovely black hair and those dark green eyes, if he didn’t drink so much. But the drink had left gin blossoms on his cheeks and nose and he always smelled a little sour. But, now, all was forgiven and Mire was free to roam and pick and choose to her delight.

“Why don’t you go ahead and start without me? I’m more hungry for new books than wine and cheese.”

Dylan made a grandiose gesture, “my Lady Mire, you are most kind!” Mire snorted a soft laugh as she moved off into the stacks. Here she had been thinking she’d never be a lady. An hour later, Dylan was snoring softly, book laying across his face.

“Well, Bailey, I hope it will give you a little respite from the despot.”

“Oh. Uhm. Why. Uhm. Yes.” Bailey nodded, though he still had the sad faced look of a bassett hound. “I say, uhm. Miss Elemire?” Bailey was standing awkwardly and rubbing the back of his head. Mire knew what was coming and deftly side stepped it by holding up the stack of books she’d decided to purchase.

“I’ll take these, Bailey. And just call me Mire. Everyone does.”

“O-of course, Miss Elemire.” It was always the same. Mire traded bishani for books and tucked them into her pack. By now, it was past lunch and her stomach had begun to rumble. The sky answered in agreement. Mire moved to the market, finding a little this and that to have for lunch and to stock her pantry. All, in all it was a good day.

When she arrived home, it was late afternoon and the clouds were stacking one atop the other. She needed to get her laundry in before the rain started. Mire stopped short when she found a black-haired, green-eyed Lady leaning against her lintel.

Mire’s eyes widened. So soon? Arms full, Mire found it hard to balance on the step below, offer a proper greeting, and get the door open. So, she chose to duck her head in greeting, dig out her key, and hold the key out to the woman.

“If you could get the door? I’d be happy to have your company.” Mire offered Latifa a smile as she spoke. The sky rumbled again and Mire looked up worried. “Teodinus! I hope I can get my laundry in before it starts pelting down rain.”

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

Latifa’s lip turned upwards in a characteristic, wry grin. The elf that had stolen Azuel’s heart was a cute one after all. She raised her eyebrow without a word and snatched the key from Elemire’s hand, flourishing like a boastful fencer before sliding the key into the lock. She swung the door open, her face wearing the same satisfaction displayed by a cat upon the successful catch of a mouse. She ushered Elemire inside.

“Let me carry one of those for you. Elemire, right?” She offered, not bothering to see if she was actually willing to part with the bags before she pulled it from Elemire’s arms. She took the opportunity to look inside the bag. Books! She snorted with mirth at the sight of her oldest enemy. No wonder her brother was all bothered over the poor girl. “I’ll help with the laundry too,” her voice turned higher and took on a lyrical, humorous tone “but you’ll have to pay with a bottle of something nice!”

She quickly checked the other woman’s reaction to see what she thought of that; it was important to ascertain if people knew of her reputation or not. Truth be told, she played it up a bit. Always in slight and subtle ways, exaggerating rather than lying, but she did. At the right times in the right situations, a poor reputation could be more useful than a positive one. Azuel had figured out much the same, in different ways. He simply preferred dismissal over derision. Such frail pride her little brother clung to! It was surely making the poor boy miserable.

Latifa ushered Elemire inside, stopping just short of actually shoving her. She closed the simple door behind her with a deft quickness, sparing only a single glance up at the sky before she did so. It was soon to rain indeed, as the dire sky reminded her. She was glad she had brought her thickest coat, planning her trip with the turbulent weather of late on her mind.

As soon as the door clicked she moved to the first table she saw and set the books down. Latifa then shrugged off her coat. She knew how to be subtle, and right now that would involve not bringing up the matter of Azuel and Elemire’s relationship. She also knew there was a time and place for subtlety, and with a girl like this she was fairly confident she didn’t need to worry about it.

“So! My dear brother has a thing for elves, but what’s your stake in screwing him?” She walked over to the laundry hanging over the alleyway. She reeled the first piece in, a bland pair of pants common of the lower social classes. She was reminded of her brother’s preference for simple outfits, despite the fact that his wardrobe was by choice rather than necessity. This Elemire needed a nice dress; Latifa resolved to make it a priority the next time they spoke, provided she came to like the elf.

She started folding the pants as she continued, “Feeling grateful for that whole cover-up business, or just an inexplicable attraction to awkward human guys?” Latifa had also considered a honey trap scenario. Her brother was pretty gullible when it came to some things, despite his endearing attempts at cynicism. She thought it best not to mention it until she had a better estimation of Elemire’s character.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Metarie on

Mire watched and waited as Latifa performed her theatrics for an audience of one. Once the door was open, the bag of books were pulled from her arms. Mire quickly compensated by adjusting the other bags she carried.

“Thanks.” Latifa seemed amused by the books. Mire crooked her head a little, wondering why, but went with the flow. “That’s very kind of you. Hmm…” Mire followed behind Latifa and placed the grocery bags on the counter.

It was a small apartment and Latifa’s ebuillient nature made it seem smaller somehow. “My version of nice probably won’t be yours, but I’ve got cold cider in the press.” Mire hunched down and pulled out two bottles. She opened one for Latifa and held it out to the woman. When Latifa took it, Mire tapped the neck of the bottle she held to the one Latifa held before taking a sip.

“So! My dear brother has a thing for elves, but what’s your stake in screwing him? Feeling grateful for that whole cover-up business, or just an inexplicable attraction to awkward human guys?” Mire paused in mid-drink, bottle tilted up. She cut her gaze to Latifa.

“Ah. I hang those.” Mire nodded to the closet, which was behind Latifa’s back. “And, I can see we are going to need something stronger than a few bottles of hard cider.”

Mire moved to the laundry line and pulled everything in quickly, hanging the items on the line in the kitchen she’d used for Azu’s clothes earlier, and creating a wall between her and Latifa for a moment. Rain drops had already started to fall. There was no time to fold each item as they came of the line.

Truth be told, Latifa’s blunt observation about Azu’s preference for elves had hurt a little. She’d thought his attraction had had something to do with her considering his vehement reactions previously, but apparently any elf woman would do. And, apparently his vehement reactions were because he was trying to keep himself from his desires.

Mire took the bedding to the bed. The bedding snapped as she flapped it up and down to lie across the bed. She made the bed with efficient motions and very militaristic. Live in a barracks for two years and you get used to doing things in certain ways. The questions were rude and crude, but showed a protectiveness for Azu and for the family one wouldn’t expect from the ‘black sheep.’

“I care about Azu. He is gentle, kind, smart, and has an amazing sense of self-control.” The look on her face softened. Azuel was awkward. It was true. " And, yes, a little awkward, but that just makes him endearing." She couldn't help it. She just couldn't. The look on her face said it all, didn't it? The look didn't last long, though, considering part of Latifa's question.

“I wouldn’t worry much about the ‘screwing’ part. He may be attracted to elves, but he doesn’t want a relationship like that with one. He asked last night to be just friends.” Mire nodded as she stared at the bed, before turning back to the kitchen and Latifa. “And, I agreed.” Mire still felt guilty for her part in the whole debacle, but now that they agreed to put it aside, she would.

There were only a few pieces of clothing and folding them took no time at all. The bedding had been the biggest item and that was done. On the bed side table lay the little wrapped package Latifa had gifted Azuel the night before. Mire lifted the bag of books and moved them to the little sofa.

Next, she moved to the kitchen. After putting the groceries away, Mire reached into a top cabinet and pulled down a full bottle of whiskey and two glasses. She held a glass and the bottle in one hand, and the other glass in her other hand she lifted the items up and raised her brows.

“Shall we?” With a nod of her head, she gestured toward the two-person table. The bottle made a soft thunk as she placed it on the table. The glasses did a double thunk. A chair scraped and Mire sat. The soft pop of a cork as the glug-glug-glug of whiskey being poured heralded the opening of the bottle.

Mire slid a glass of whiskey toward the other side of the table before lifting her own. She leaned back in the chair, legs crossed, and an arm across her stomach on which she propped the one holding her glass.

"When I wrote my report, I expected to be reprimanded for striking a Descendant. Striking a fellow guardsman isn't uncommon, though we are encouraged to take it to the training ring. Yes, the reprimand was less than I expected and for that I was grateful. BUT, whatever punishment I received, I was ready to receive it. I had no idea he was going to do that. Because he did, I thanked him and decided that was his way of apologizing for being an ass at the time." Mire took a sip from her glass.

"You're probably wondering if I am trying to seduce him because of his societal status. Arrogant as that thought is, if you aren't, I'd be surprised. I'm not. Blackmailing someone goes against my principles. I have no stomach for the intrigues and appetites of the upper classes and had my fill of those when I was younger. I am a Guard, sworn to protect the laws of Marn and her people. Unlike most, that oath means something to me." After another sip, Mire raised her brows at Latifa.

"Any other questions for me?"

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

“The stronger the better!” Latifa commented cheerfully, walking the garments over the closet. She opened up the doors and judged her wardrobe as much as she deigned to. It seemed the pants were not indicative of her overall tastes; Latifa was satisfied by the range of colors she could see. She brushed the matter off before she hung up the garments she had carried over and strode back over to Elemire.

“I care about Azu. He is gentle, kind, smart, and has an amazing sense of self-control. And, yes, a little awkward, but that just makes him endearing.”

A shrug was Latifa’s first response, and she kept her arms held to the side as she responded. “His self control can’t be all that great if he went and had sex with you. Not that you’re not a cutie.” Her limbs raised up to her head as she completed her shrug. Privately, Latifa was quite a bit reassured. Elemire was presenting herself nicely if one could count her naive, puppy-like devotion as nice.

“I wouldn’t worry much about the ‘screwing’ part. He may be attracted to elves, but he doesn’t want a relationship like that with one. He asked last night to be just friends. And, I agreed.”

“Pft,” Latifa contained herself, pulling her lips tightly together in a thin, restrained smile that hid the whites of her teeth. “Azuel has no idea what he wants. I can tell you with certainty he is second guessing himself up a wall back home. Probably pacing too. Might be masturbating. Anyways.”

Latifa preformed a mocking, tiny curtsey and moved to follow Elemire’s motion to the table, hesitant though it was in light of Latifa’s crude comments. She brushed off the white dress she wore and slid into her seat with the grace of a cat, noting with some small, guilty glee how frustrated Elemire was becoming. It seemed like every word out of the other woman’s mouth exacerbated her annoyance. Latifa raised a dainty hand to stifle her giggles, an act which was punctuated by a mirthful raise of a single eyebrow as Elemire finished her speech.

“Arrogant am I? Not the worst thing I’ve been called.” She twirled her glass around and downed half the whisky in a single great gulp, displaying none of the table manners that might be expected of her. It was followed by a quick little titter, “I’m a broken woman, dearest. I stopped giving a damn about my pride years ago. Azuel hasn’t yet, and you know, I’d rather that he didn’t. So you’ll have to sit pretty and deal with my questions and our politics like it or not. Friend or lover of a Vyaduka, they’ll follow you around like a swarm of hornets.” She lowered her glass to the table and leaned forwards, her voice taking on an uncharacteristically dangerous edge. “I’d know. Have you ever heard the name Laleonalia?”

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Metarie on

“The stronger the better!” Mire couldn’t agree more, but her only response was a raise of her eyebrows, a lift of her glass, and another drink from her glass.

“His self control can’t be all that great if he went and had sex with you. Not that you’re not a cutie.” Mire looked away and back, a deadpan look on her face.

“Thanks. You're not so bad yourself.” Especially when one considered Latifa's hair, eyes, and even the tone of her skin color was the same as Azuel's.

“Pft. Azuel has no idea what he wants. I can tell you with certainty he is second-guessing himself up a wall back home. Probably pacing too. Might be masturbating. Anyways.” Well, that got more of a response, which was probably what Latifa was baiting her for. Mire looked into her glass and swirled the amber colored liquid around for a moment. Color rose on Mire’s face, but probably not for the reasons Latifa might think. She’d looked at him enough, seen enough, and liked him enough that an image of him doing all of those things were easily called to mind.

A little smile peaked through at the thought of the latter being because of her and Mire huffed a laugh with a tilt of her head. The idea brought another sip. Especially because Mire thought Latifa’s giggles came on the heels of Azu’s sister figuring out what she was thinking. A hint of amusement and something a little more earthy appeared and played behind Mire’s gaze.
Mire then watched the woman drink half the whiskey in her glass in one go. Oh… it was to be one of those? Mire obligingly refilled the amount Latifa had swallowed before quaffing what remained in her glass.

Mire gave a lift snort of a laugh. “No, the idea that someone is after one of you because of your status and station is a little arrogant, though not unfounded.”

Mire tilted her head to the side a little and regarded Latifa. The Vyaduka get had the dutiful one, the attention seeker, and the one who thinks he’s worthless – all probably stemming from the same source.

“Azuel hasn’t yet, and you know, I’d rather that he didn’t. So you’ll have to sit pretty and deal with my questions and our politics like it or not. Friend or lover of a Vyaduka, they’ll follow you around like a swarm of hornets I’d know. Have you ever heard the name Laleonalia?”

The look on Mire’s face changed again. She was annoyed by being told to sit pretty. She was envious that she did not have a sister who cared for her as much as Latifa obviously cared for Azuel. And, she was thoughtful. Latifa gave just another reason to keep things quiet. Why did Latifa think Mire had agreed to be friends? It was pure selfishness on Mire’s part that she hadn’t let Azuel go completely. After their talk last night, Mire knew it was pure selfishness, probably on both their parts. A bad match, a bad friendship, just bad… but damn it all, why did it have to be?! Latifa derailed Mire’s musings.

“Laleonalia?” Mire looked confused. Very, very confused. She blinked and slowly shook her head. “No?” Mire pursed her lips and leaned forward. A cold feeling curled in her stomach.

“Why? Is Azu already betrothed and it just hasn’t made the Tattler, y-- Wait.” Mire stood up and moved to the little couch. A copy of the paper lay on the end table. Flipping through the pages, she stopped on page three and found a half-page advertisement for Aureus Dance. There, in a beautifully done graphic was a playbill. Mire took the paper to the table, turned it around and slid it across to Latifa. There, in the graphic, sensually depicted was an image of one Shanuri Laleonalia. Mire frowned a little, noting the beautiful, sensuous, and sexy woman was an elf – and one certainly much more feminine than Mire was.

“You mean that one?” Her tone said 'bleh'. Mire was sure Latifa was going to say that Shanuri was actually who owned Azu's heart and that she was a poor substitute.... except for the interrogative style of the question. A smile quirked Mire's lip. Latifa should have joined the guard, too.

Elves had integrated into Marnian society, but also had an elf-subculture. Mire, due to the loss of her parents and the subsequent events following had never been indoctrinated into that particular elfin hubris. Laleonalia was a foreign family, not a Synevive one, and although elf, still held a little apart because in the end, the elves were as much Marnian as the humans. Marnian culture was like an onion, it had many layers and most of them stank. Other subcultures existed, too.

Mire took her seat again. “I suppose I have heard of it, but with it spread in the papers like that, who hasn’t? Why?” Mire leaned forward, turning the interrogation the other way.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

Latifa had been about to correct Elemire, but she soon realized she would find this whole situation far more entertaining if she kept quiet for a little bit. Elemire’s voice filled with transparent envy and suspicion, and Latifa was unable to restrain a telling chuckle. When Elemire’s eyes narrowed in realization, Latifa managed to bring herself under control, going so far as to nod politely.

“I’m afraid this one has nothing to do with Azuel.” She moved her hand to the side as if brushing her little brother out of the way. She leaned back, staring up at the ceiling and scooting her chair a short distance off the table. “This is my side of the story.”

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. With thoughts cleared and calmed, she continued, “Fourteen years ago, I was twelve. My mother and I were friends with a foreign family of elves: the Laleonalias, of course. I happened to think their oldest son was rather fetching, in that cutesy way children can.” Latifa wondered for a moment at the differences between herself then and now. Wishing she hadn’t, she reached forwards and downed another half of her drink, pushing it harshly back down on the table.

Latifa then reached over and drew in the newspaper. A clumsy flourish saw her finger aggressively poking at the face of Shanuri on the paper. “I’m not drawing parallels between you and her, by the way. You two obviously have different situations.”

She blinked, realizing that might have interrupted her story a bit. She had never claimed to be a professional. Leaning back in, she continued. “When we met them the family had a lot of bishani from their foreign enterprises. Of course the information happened to come out between mother and father. Father was annoyed, saying that we shouldn’t associate with foreigners. According to him, it would stain the family even more than good ol’ gramps had already done. So we decided to be quiet about it.”

Truth be told, Latifa still wasn’t certain if her mother had been enjoying an adulterous affair with the family’s father. Like mother like son, if that were the case. She didn’t mention it, and no trace of the knowledge appeared on her face.

“Wouldn’t you know it. The family started losing money. Some mysterious new fees that weren’t there before, the coin going to Vyaduka pockets. Except, the courts found the foreigners guilty of fraud; why wouldn’t they?” Her voice grew sarcastic, and Latifa rolled her eyes, “Foreigners always try to come in and steal money from rich, well entrenched families, after all. ‘Specially ones they aren’t friends with. After all, nobody knew about that besides mom and me.”

She took another drink, this one closer to one of Mire’s sips than her previous swigs. “As fate would have it, mom fell sick at about this time.” Latifa sighed, wondering. There was a clear implication in her own words, but it was one even she didn’t care to think about. It wasn’t as Latifa had anything solid against her father either, just that the whole situation had turned out awfully convenient for him. She turned her head aside. “I don’t know how involved our father was. It ended with a significant bishani reimbursement for Vyaduka expenses and time related to the trial.” Her gaze wandered the room, lost in thought as she ruminated on the past.

“But my point is, it was all the easier to hide something that was already hidden.” She rested her hand on her chin, a casual but palpable frown dominating her features. Her eyes, previously fixed to the side and lost in musing, came to focus on Elemire. She reached her free hand out across the table as a gesture of friendship. She wanted Elemire to know that if nothing else, she wasn’t about to do anything of the sort to her. “I don’t mean to scare you. I don’t think father would perceive you as a threat anyways. I just... Ah, Teonidus only knows what I wanted to accomplish.” She smiled, shrugged, and finished off her glass. “Maybe I just wanted you to know what you’re up against! If nothing else, I’ve got your back. Azuel will too.”

She had been twelve last time. But maybe this time, she could do something.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Metarie on

Mire’s gaze slipped from Latifa’s and her mouth turned into a straight line at the mention of Maalik Vyaduka’s need to keep the stains from the family name or how the elf family suffered from his treachery. The frown disappeared, though, at the mention of the mother’s illness and subsequent death. So… around the same time she had lost Azu, Azu and Latifa had lost their mother.

When Latifa slid her hand across the table, Mire eyed it for a moment before reaching out, hesitantly at first, but finally with surety to grasp the woman’s hand. Mire’s conclusion to Latifa’s first statement was that it would be better if Azu and she were out in the open, not hidden, because if Maalik did disapprove once more of their spending time together, the easier it would be to ensure Mire disappeared. Mire nodded.

“I already know what I am up against, or at least most of it. Some of it is to be expected, who wants to see half-breeds running around, right? The longevity thing, too, might put someone off. There’s the whole you’re a Descendant, but I am not thing and certainly, though I am a Synevive, I’m not one of the rich ones. But, I have to say, I would be perfectly fine with everyone knowing if Azu and I were more than friends. You may not know it, but the dislike can come from both sides of the spoon. I'll be given a hard time by my peers, just as Azu will.

I was fine with no one knowing, too, but I see from your story if that were the case, I could conveniently disappear. And that wouldn’t be the first time your father did that to me.” She couldn’t help the bitterness in her voice at the latter comment, though she recovered quickly enough.

But, at least now, Mire thought, I am old enough to fight back. Mire reached for the bottle and poured both of them a tall glass. Mire lifted the glass and drained it. No, it wouldn’t be the first time, but by Teodinus, it would be the last if she had anything to do with it.

“Azu has to want to, though. I.. I don’t want to hurt him.” Mire pursed her lips as she curled her hand and glass to her chest. "Maybe, it's best if I let him go all together..." Mire looked at the bottle. Between them, they’d nearly finished half and they both seemed to have only the slightest buzz. Pity that… Mire didn’t have anything else in the pantry. Then again, whiskey was sneaky like that. You'd feel perfectly fine, and then suddenly couldn't walk or see straight. Maybe they each needed another swig and would be passing out.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

Latifa smiled warmly when Elemire grabbed her hand. Her smile was personable and charming; it was hard to imagine her wearing any other sort, looking at her face as it was. She had always felt the little hand gestures meant more to people than any words. An informal pact had been made here, one that little would break. Elemire’s firm, confident grasp only reinforced the notion. Latifa shook her hand with a quick and jittery motion, perhaps influenced by the slight buzz clouding her thoughts.

Elemire had immediately jumped to the conclusion that she was talking about not hiding a sexual relationship, which only told Latifa how badly she wanted it. Latifa giggled a bit at the humor she found in Elemire’s fixation on her brother, the awkward clown who had never seriously attracted a woman for any length of time. Latifa mockingly wondered if the situation was divinely inspired; such devotion from a woman who fit his tastes so neatly was surely a sign from Teodinus himself!

Latifa measured the tone of the other woman’s voice as she spoke, and was alarmed when it grew borderline vengeful. She had not been aware of any prior history between Elemire and Maalik, though she acknowledged that she had little reason to know of such things. She suspected that Maalik wouldn’t even remember the little elven girl that he had wronged years ago. She wondered if she should mention that.

She liked the taste of the whiskey from her upper lip, considering Elemire’s last statements. “Well sure. Leaving him would probably be the smart thing to do. But fuck that,” She snorted crudely, shaking her head vigorously back and forth, “you’d both kill yourselves in a big ugly pity party for two, and I came here to try and keep that from happening.”

Putting a finger to her chin and leaning back, she stared at the ceiling and thought about it. “I suppose maybe you could stave off the madness if you each found some similar substitutes in a brothel and slowly descended into lives of self loathing and guilt as you forever wonder how your lives could have gone differently, but Azuel hates the thought of going for a good night of whoring.” She shrugged, “To each their own. You ever been?” A smile quirked the side of her lip and she continued to sip at her whiskey, "I won't hold it against you."

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Metarie on

Latifa giggled again. Maybe Mire was wrong. Maybe the woman was drunk. If Mire had known Latifa thought she was sex-crazed, her face would have turned beet red. As it was, Mire just grinned.

Until, of course, Latifa started talking about whoring. Mire shook her head.

"No. I never have." To do so would be too close to her own history. Although, Latifa was probably talking about places like the Kitten and the Hound. Both were government sanctioned and supposedly the men and women who worked there weren't sold into it. They were free people who decided the money was too good to pass up. Mire didn't care for it, though. It was a slippery slope that.

"Pfft. You sound like my partner. Maybe I should introduce you." In her mind that sort of thing was for someone you cared about.

"I think... I think you should wait. For someone who cares for you and you care for. Until then, ..." Mire gave her best rakish grin, wraggled her brows, and wiggled her fingers. The implication was easy enough to interpret.

"...There's always these."

The whiskey must have kicked in. An old saying said whiskey makes you frisky.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

Latifa gave a hearty chortle, once again wondering what she had done to Azuel to get him into bed with her. Apparently it wasn’t experience with seduction; Latifa mockingly wondered if she shouldn’t give the other woman lessons. It wasn’t as if that would be the strangest and most awkward thing in the world.

“Your partner, eh? A practiced lover?” Latifa wiggled her eyebrows back at Mire, teasingly implying that the other woman would have knowledge of her partner’s skill. She rolled her eyes but maintained her smile, deciding to go easy on her. “Though I suppose you wouldn’t know, would you?”

Privately, Latifa mused on the nature of Elemire’s words. Wait for somebody who cares about you? She had been quick to hop in bed with Azuel for one who professed such a belief, though from what Latifa knew Elemire had a whole mess of issues regarding her brother. Latifa filed the information away for later, deciding it wasn’t relevant.

She raised an eyebrow at Mire’s risqué gesture. “I find fingers can only take one so far.” It was only in ignorance that she unknowingly echoing Veridian’s views. Her eyes turned to the bottle, now nearly empty. “Off to the bar then?” Latifa drew herself up a bit, “I’ll leave the location up to you, unless you’d rather be rid of me.” She winked across the table, reaching out to pet those naughty fingers of Mire’s with her own. It was a clear indication that Latifa did not think herself unwelcome.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Metarie on

Latifa gave a hearty laugh, when Mire admitted that she did not frequent the Hound. Was it so odd to not have sex? The way Latifa and Ver made it sound, Mire was a prudish, old maid.

Mire gave an abashed and stubborn look when Latifa said that about Ver and then recanted her knowledge.
“No. Not that he hasn’t offered.” And, she gave a ‘snrk’ noise when Latifa unwittingly echoed Veridian’s earlier word. Mire grinned.
“If you two haven’t slept together, I’ll be amazed. You sound just like him. Weirdly enough, we had this conversation just this morning at the baker’s cart. Mire, he says, while it can be nice to dance alone, dancing with a partner is better.”

Mire waved her glass a little. “Mmnh. Sure. He’s probably at the Rat. Let’s go.” Mire paused to eye as she stroked Mire’s fingers. Was she? Was she really hitting on the woman who likes her brother? Had she been a different woman, Mire might just have taken her up on it. But, aside from Azuel, Mire was like a fortress and no one ever wanted to put in that much effort.

As she moved to pull on her coat, Mire eyed Latifa again. The woman was wearing a white dress on a rainy day. Granted, Latifa did have a coat, so there was the probability that she wouldn’t be wearing a sheer dress by the time they arrived. Mire shrugged. If she had her guess, Latifa might just like showing up at the Rat looking nearly naked and acting innocent about it. How in the world did two siblings get so different?

Tucking her hands in her pockets, Mire made a motion with her head. "Well, come on then. Let's go."

With that, she headed down the steps. "Look out, Rat, here we come!"

The Rat was block in the opposite direction from the Fort, so they passed in front of it. The pair of guards on duty looked miserable, but wouldn't step down from their duties or slack off either. Mire resolved bring them something back as she hunched her shoulders against the rain. The rain dripped from her hood and that amused her from some reason, but the cool of the rain was making her lose her buzz.

"Hoof it, Vyaduka! I need a refill and I hear there's a band playing at the Rat tonight."

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

“I’m going, I’m going!” Latifa merrily responded, pulling up the front of her dress for freedom of movement with a little laugh. She regretted decided not to bring her horse, following the example Azuel had set. At least she had gone forth with enough forethought to bring her coat along. “Not all of us are blessed with pants at the moment.”

Dropping her dress, she used her hands to flip her hood up. Her coat was a luxurious thing, something to be envied. Its predominant color was light purple, though it was adorned with silver bits here and there alongside accents of a darker, royal violet. It was long and extended halfway down the back of her legs, trailing behind her a bit as she walked. The length of it worked to her advantage, protecting the dress.

She had to wash it almost every other time after she used it, but it hardly mattered. Latifa just loved the way it looked. An extra bit of misery was something she could deal with while working off a hangover in the morning.

Latifa’s pretty face smiled under her hood as her eyes fixed on the back of Elemire as she led them off down the cobblestone. There could be no doubt the elf had left a good first impression. She was a good listener, a sharp woman, and most important of all she had a cute butt. Latifa decided to stare at it for as long as Elemire walked ahead of her. Azuel might have been lucky enough to get first dibs, but she saw no reason not to siphon what she could out of the arrangement. What he didn't know couldn't hurt him.

When they made it to the Rat, Latifa took the opportunity to swerve ahead of Elemire, quickly moving around. Latifa walked up put her hand on the doorknob and all shouldered her way through the portal, flinging the door wide open. She strode confidently inside and raised her hands to the air like a deity receiving prayers.

Everyone else ignored her or grumbled about the wind that rustled in through the open door, though a few generous souls who knew her eventually extended friendly or lewd smiles. Latifa seemed unaffected, and strode fully inside with a silly grin on her face. Music piped through the air: Elemire had been right about there being a band playing today.

Mire’s head swerved left and right, but there were plenty of elves present tonight. She turned to Elemire and raised an eyebrow, nonverbally asking for guidance.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Metarie on

Mire arched her brow as Latifa pushed in front of her. Well, now she knew where all of Azu’s confidence went. His sister had sucked it all up and left none remaining. When Latifa turned to look at Mire, Mire lifted her chin toward a group of elves at the periphery of the dance floor. It was a mixed group, women and men, with more men than women. A fact, thought Mire, that Latifa would not mind much at all.

“Mire!” Veridian held up a mug in greeting. His eyes traveled over Latifa, partly curious as to why Mire was with Latifa and partly in appreciation. Latifa’s reputation preceded her. Mire led the way through the crowd to the table. They were in luck that another nearby table was available. Said table was quickly pulled toward the group and chairs made available for the two women.

A server weaved through the crowd as well. “Another pitcher over here please and two glasses of Joran’s, “called Mire. The first pitcher would be on her. The bottle was for her, too, no point is mixing at this stage. It’d just lead to an ugly morning after.
“Well, well! Look at you, Mire. On the rye tonight are we? And it looks like you brought a friend. Good for you.” Veridian smiled at Latifa as the women took their seats.

“Latifa this is Veridian . Ver, I think I’ve found a female version of you. This is Latifa …”

“Vyaduka. Yes, I’ve seen her here before, but never had the chance to introduce myself.” Mire rolled her eyes a little. Veridian was being, well, himself.

“These are Maethanar, Seregnith, and Alageth.” The male nodded his head in greeting. Seregnith was on his knee. Alageth was closest to the music. She glanced and lifted her hand in greeting, but resumed watching the band after.

“That’s Cîr, Cair, and Galenaspen.” Two of the three gave Latifa an appreciative look; the third, not so much. He preferred elves to human women.

"And lastly, Hulben.” Mire’s lack of love for Hulben was not easy to conceal. Surprisingly, there were a few humans and half-elves in the mix, too.

“Yohn, Caleb, Sorsha, and Mii.” Yohn and Mii were the half-elves and male and female respectively. Caleb and Sorsha were human and obviously brother and sister.

“Everyone, Latifa. It’s an incestuous little crowd, you’ve been warned.”

“Mire, you’re too funny. We just don’t like to get too tied down. Life’s too long for any of that nonsense.” This from Cair.

“So, you say. So, you say…” Mire nodded and lifted her glass. “To a long life filled with joy!” The toast was taken up by all at the table and drinks were shared.

The band launched into a set dance and several people moved to the dance floor. Mire smiled as she watched the dance. She loved them.
Veridian moved to take the now vacant seat beside Latifa.

"So why does Mire think we are soul twins, hmm?" Veridian gave her a broad smile.

Re: The New Recruit

Post by Azuel Vyaduka on

Latifa trailed after Elemire to the tabletop. One of the elves present greeted them with a friendly raise of the mug. She blessed him with a pearly smile, wondering if this was the Veridian of whom Elemire had spoken.

She didn’t have to wonder for long, as Elemire introduced them. Apparently Veridian had taken notice of her; how sweet. Her lip tilted upwards at the side and she sat down, her movements resembling a parody of a dainty, shy descendant women. She finished her flourish with her hand hiding her smile and her eyes fixed on Veridian. He was a rather handsome man. Latifa couldn’t help but think Elemire had wasted a fine opportunity.

She reluctantly pulled her eyes away from their newfound elven candy to nod at each new face as Elemire introduced everyone. Latifa’s eyebrow raised at Elemire’s naked resentment of Hulbren, but quickly dismissed the matter. In such a large group there had to be rivalries and it wasn’t any of her business besides.

Latifa’s wry grin only grew at Elemire’s proclamation of long life. “Some of us longer than others!” Latifa jested, referring to the long years enjoyed by elves as compared to humans. She realized immediately that it might be a source of difficulty between Elemire and Azuel, and wondered if Elemire might find her words barbed. She shrugged and immediately forgot the matter. Nothing to be done for it now, even if Elemire had.

Veridian slipped into the seat beside her. Latifa took on an impish expression at his words; if Veridian was interested in Elemire, perhaps he would like it if she played a bit first. Formalities had to be taken care of.

“Why, it must surely be that we’re both excellent dancers.” She responded. She was unable to keep her face from betraying her already obvious innuendo and broke into a wide smile. Overwhelmed with a desire to test him despite the apparent nature of her words, she reached down and grabbed his hand, pulling him towards where the others were dancing.


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