Roleplay City

Oberon Castle => OBERON CASTLE: Drink Today, Die Tomorrow => Domiciles => Topic started by: Kysis on February 26, 2010, 04:37:19 AM

Title: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on February 26, 2010, 04:37:19 AM
The sun was starting to crawl into the sky, slowly inching up into the dusty blue bowl above them.  The slanted, soft beams of the sun were not as harsh, hot, as they were in Greece, in Kreos specifically.  There was a cool breeze rolling in through the trees, abloom with new Spring.  For a moment, Kysis closed his eyes, taking a long, deep breath.

Birds chirped from treetops all around him, wings fluttering as a group launched into the sky.  Kysis tensed, muscles along his shoulders tightening, if only for a moment.  It was a reflex.  His dark blue eyes opened again, gaze sliding over the shadows, scanning them.

Ever since what happened in Kreos, he had been jumpy, skittish; who could blame him?

With a low, quiet cluck, Kysis spurred Atropos, his beige warhorse, to continue on.  The powerful horse was attuned to him and no one else, having felt his unease.  The horse trotted on, nostrils flaring with a snort.  Kysis rubbed a leather gloved hand up the horse’s neck slowly, soothingly, though his gaze never left the darkness, never stopped being watchful and wary.

Though he had a travel-mate, there was little to no conversation.  They were both in grieving, but for their own, different reasons.  In Kysis’ mind, at least Matthew had a home to return to.  Yes, Oberon was where his wife was, his young daughter was, but at the same time, Kreos was home.

Kysis nudged his boots back into Atropos, the horse starting faster, into a gallop.  He did not look back to see if Matthew was moving to keep up.  Lam’s servant had done a fair job of it thus far; Kysis trusted in his competence at this point.

It was Matthew, after all, who delivered news north of the battle, his capture, the losses.

Kysis’ breath rattled, catching in his throat.  He swallowed at the sudden lump there.

Oberon was near.  He could hear it.

The city gates stood tall and proud, as he remembered them.  Kysis sat up, running a hand back through his disheveled, platinum blond hair.  He tied it back with a leather cord, making quick, neat work of it.  He straightened his cloak, smoothing it out slightly as Atropos trotted to a halt.

The guards stared at him with open mouths, wide stares, but did not say anything, scrambling like they had seen a ghost.  Kysis frowned, that tug of his lips pulling down a fresh scar through his bottom lip, wrapping down around his jaw line near his chin.

It had been long enough that Kysis almost had trouble remembering his way, the streets winding and unfamiliar, the faces all new, the sights and smells near overwhelming.

After two wrong turns, Kysis finally saw his manor, a sore thumb sticking out in the noble’s quarter, horse trotting right through the front gate.  Kysis dismounted, an easy, graceful music.  When he landed, on a slight grimace flashed across his tanned features.

Not all of his wounds had healed yet.

The front door opened, Alex standing there, surprise and joy lighting on his face at once.  He jumped, hurrying down the small set of steps, falling to his knees at Kysis’ feet, arms wrapping around his Lord’s legs, “Ο Λόρδος μου, σκεφτήκαμε ότι ήσαστε νεκροί!” Alex paused for a moment, eyes glassy.

Kysis stared down, face a stone mask, before he finally reached down, hand touching the top of Alex’s head.

“Πάρτε τα άλογά μας στους σταύλους.” The Greek rolled easily, naturally, from Kysis’ lips, though the words came out hollow, flat.

Alex’s surprise remained, the joy slowly melting from his face.  The guard stood, nodding.  He hurried off about his duties, leaving the door to the manor open.

That door was welcoming, beckoning almost.  Kysis took one step, pausing.  He closed his eyes, lowering his head, before he finally forced himself to walk onward, crossing the threshold into his manor.

It looked utterly foreign from what he remembered.  It was not the feeling of home he had been hoping for.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on February 26, 2010, 06:58:29 PM
Lady Liari\'s day hadn\'t begun as smoothly as she would\'ve liked, but that was par for the course when a child was part of the equation.  Nothing in her life felt like it was going to plan anymore and she\'d learned to face one day, one obstacle at a time, managing to get by and keep her sanity by relying on those willing to help her, those who loved her.

Her world had scattered, tilted and taken all rational perspective from her the day Matthew had ridden back into Oberon, on the eighteenth Green Corn Moon day, and told her that the attacks on Kreos had worsened, Kysis had been badly wounded in battle - fatally, in his opinion - and taken as a prisoner by the enemy when they couldn\'t get everything they wanted.  He was as good as dead.

Initially, she\'d tried to cling to the \'as good as\' part of the message, but as Matthew had gone on to describe how her husband had been wounded and how vicious his captors truly were - embittered by a largely unsuccessful campaign (due to Kysis\' efforts), the Ottomans had retreated with him as their only real victory - she\'d let go of hope.  She\'d let go of living for a while, too, until her then-five month old\'s needs had lured her out of her depression and mourning enough to begin a charade of life.

Dagger had helped immensely, too.  He\'d been there for her to sob and rail against - since Matthew had turned tail and headed south again as soon as he\'d delivered the devastating news - had nursed her through some nightmarish nights and visited her on the bleakest of days.  When the cold touch of Talon\'s fingers had leeched across the land during the Full Beaver\'s Moon, she\'d surrendered to her past love\'s tenderness and thanked him with her body.

Her heart had been encased in ice that fateful day the year before, but Pandora, life and Dagger had begun thawing it slowly.  She kept the affair a secret from everyone by taking her daughter and meeting her lover at her old townehouse, where they spent as many hours as they could together.  Somehow, watching Balthus play with her daughter, rock her to sleep, feed her, kiss and hug her, soothed Lam\'s soul and made her feel a little more human and complete every day; she loved him and was grateful to him for all that he did for her, though it wasn\'t the same with him as it had once been.

Dagger didn\'t quite seem to agree.  He often mentioned that she shouldn\'t still be in Liari Manor, that she should move out of such a large house, filled with memories that made her cry, move closer to him, or back into her townehouse, or even into the palace - places where there were people and she wasn\'t haunted by the memories of a husband who\'d never return to her.  When he raised the topic, it was like old times between them for she would flare up angrily at him.  She didn\'t fight with the same passion, though, she instead simply brooked no argument and changed the subject.

Moving away from her marital home might be what was good for her, but it was her last connection to the husband and love she\'d lost and, almost six moons on, she wasn\'t ready to let that go yet.  Perhaps Dagger knew that and it was why he was so vehement about her letting go; she knew he clung to her and to Pandora and considered them his family as much as Mia and Jeremy but Lam couldn\'t bear to think on that.  She couldn\'t take responsibility for Dagger\'s emotions too, not when hers were so brittle.  She found comfort in his arms, found warmth and moments of happiness when he was inside her or holding her and it was all the burden she was willing to accept at this point.

As Kysis and Matthew rode for Oberon, Lam was sorely wishing that Dagger was there that morning.  Dora had decided to wear more food than she\'d eaten and had then proceeded to get her clean dress dirty and rip her stockings when she\'d got into the potato bin in the kitchen while Lam was upstairs getting dressed.  Lam\'s cook, Lily, had been asked to watch the toddler but had - the lady of the house supposed - got distracted making eyes at Alex instead.  It didn\'t matter that the guard (who had taken on housekeeping duties as well as guard duties since the house had been emptied and he\'d been left behind) didn\'t particularly respond to the girl, she tried her hardest to get his attention anyway.

Alex had brought Dora upstairs just as Lam left her room and she\'d taken the child - who got into everything now that she was ten moons old and walking fairly confidently - with a glare and a huff that had resulted in an apologetic smile from Alex and him scooting away downstairs to be out of the line of fire when she came down to leave.  The King\'s Advisor was due at the palace before nine of the clock and by the time she dropped her daughter off at her Aunt Mairin\'s tailor shop to be looked after, she knew she\'d be late.  Hew wouldn\'t mind, in all likelihood - he\'d been somewhat distracted lately - but Lam minded.

With Pandora now dressed in a sunny yellow satin dress, new white stockings and her little white leather shoes, Lam changed the ribbon holding a tiny strawberry red ringlet aloft on the left side of her head from blue to yellow and stood her daughter up on the change bench in her room to inspect her. Pandora gazed back at her mother with Kysis\' blue eyes - something that was squeezing her heart less painfully and with appreciation instead, these days - and babbled wetly at her, dribbling due to teething.  She had four large ones at the front and a couple of molars now but Lam hadn\'t looked to see where the latest was coming in.

"You need to behave yourself and stay out of things that don\'t concern you, young lady," she told Dora sternly as the toddler murmured at her and reached for the badge on her breast that identified her as a palatial attendant.  She was wearing dark blue pants and a tunic today with her old guard boots on, her own thick red hair - which had grown to the middle of her back since she\'d begun neglecting herself - smoothed back from her fringe and held in a loose knot at the back of her nape.  Pandora\'s hair was thick like hers but curlier than either hers or Kysis\', falling in pretty ringlets to her shoulders now; Lam loved her soft, curly hair.

"Come on then," she sighed, scooping Dora up and onto her left hip as she reached down and grabbed the shoulder bag with her child\'s supplies for the day in it and settled it on her right shoulder.  It held things such as changes of clothes and napkins and some salve from the apothecary in case her teeth began bothering her.  It was highly likely that Dora would come home in a brand new outfit today, though; Mairin always delighted in outfitting her grandchildren in new and exciting clothes and she\'d been working on something new for a week now, Lam knew (the fact that Dora wasn\'t truly a grandchild didn\'t matter, either).

As she came down the stairs, the toddler started fussing and thrusting herself towards the ground, wanting to walk now that she was independent and Lam sighed again, setting her on her feet and holding her hand at the bottom of the stairs.  "Just to the front door," she told her daughter, "we\'re already late thanks to you and I can\'t afford another week for you to walk to the shop as well."

Slowly, they made their way through the dining room and turned the corner, Lam leaning precariously down to hang onto the tiny white hand that reached her knee height, heading for the home stretch.  When she looked up and saw Kysis framed in the doorway, at first she thought she was hallucinating - she\'d done that a few times too, though never sober - but when she realised she wasn\'t, the blood drained from her face (from her entire body, it felt like) and she swooned.

"Kysis?" she whispered weakly, uncomprehendingly, her right hand going out into the air to steady her on nothing as she resisted the urge to faint.  The sound of blood rushing through her ears made it very hard to hear but instead of allowing it to fade everything away, she held onto consciousness grimly and physically went south instead.

Numbly, she sank to the polished floor, her legs all tangled, her shoulders drooping, her heart thumping with fear and confusion.  The baby bag dropped off her shoulder suddenly and spilled some of its contents but she didn\'t look at it, her eyes riveted disbelievingly on the person in her doorway, telling herself she was seeing things, her senses arguing that Kysis being there was the truth. Pandora staggered a little as her mother crumpled, looking back and soon realising that she was being held only weakly. She pulled away from her mother - whose hand dropped listlessly without the baby\'s touch - and toddled on, sensing the freedom of the front door (a place she was never allowed to go alone) and oblivious to her father - whom she was approaching slowly - blocking her way.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on February 27, 2010, 07:20:10 AM
His name might have been something to break the ice, make him warm to his home once more, as this was the only home he had left, but it did quite the opposite.  The whisper it came in was almost fearful.  Hearing it, the hesitation, trepidation, pinned to the weak note, made his heart clinch.

That was not the sort of welcome home he had been expecting.

Kysis turned his head, further than most people would have to in order to compensate for his eye, good eye focusing on Lam.  She looked different than he remembered.  Perhaps it was just a slight haggard edge from caring for Pandora alone.  She was paler, it seemed, and her hair was longer than he ever remembered it.  The clothing she wore reminded him of a uniform.

So much had changed since he was gone.  That slight frown, a little bowing down of his plush lips, remained in place.  When he saw the toddler tottering towards him, however, that melted into a stern straight line.

The lord knelt, slowly as to not aggravate his already irritated wound, one knee on the stone floor, the other still up.  He put his hands out to Pandora.

She had grown, grown so much, since he last saw her.  He could see the red tinge to her hair, a gift from Lam, and the deep sapphire eyes, from himself.  Pandora had been one of the thoughts to pull him through the Ottoman ordeal.  This was his daughter, and he was finally back to her.

There was a faint hope in his heart that his daughter, at least, would be glad to see him, perhaps recognize him against all odds, that hope festering in his tight chest, the knot in his stomach.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on February 27, 2010, 04:45:49 PM
Pandora stopped when the stranger stooped down to one knee in front of her, a chubby fist shoved into her mouth to gnaw on while she contemplated her options.  She was a very outgoing child and went to anybody, but Kysis\' movements were those she recognised only as a gesture to block her exit.

Thinking it was the beginning of a game - for she was frequently contrary and knew exactly how to vex those that looked after her - she pulled the hand from her mouth in order to squeal a laugh, her eyes lighting up delightedly as she spun on her heel and raced back to her mother, expecting to be chased and giggling wildly the whole way.

Lam rocked back slightly as the toddler slammed into her, tiny fists scrabbling at her clothes and head and little feet climbing onto her sprawled legs as Pandora attempted to continue the game by hiding in a safe position.  Her mother\'s hands, finding some strength through her overall numbness, supported her daughter\'s rear automatically, holding the child to her even as she gaped at her husband.

"You\'re not dead," Lam whispered wonderingly, the reality of it beginning to sink in slowly to her traumatised brain, compelling her to move.  It wasn\'t graceful and it took her a few false attempts, but she eventually got to her knees and walked on them over to Kysis, more or less on his eye level as long as he\'d remained kneeling.  Holding a muttering Pandora - who was back to chewing on her fist as she looked at the scenery behind Lam - with her right hand only, she reached out her left to touch his face, unsurprised that it was shaking.

"You didn\'t die?" she asked stupidly, feeling tears of relief, gratitude and confusion welling inside her soul as well as in her eyes, her lips quivering as the strength of her feelings began to overtake her.  "Matthew told me... I thought... I lost you," she gulped, so many words tumbling into her brain, so many questions, that she couldn\'t get anything decent or coherent out.  Her gaze roved his face, noting the differences in his eyes, the coldness in them, the scar on his lip and chin.

"I love you.  I\'ve missed you!  I thought you were gone forever!" she cried and surged towards him, attempting to hug him with her free arm, the tears and the relief pouring out of her in a loud and violent manner that startled Pandora and made her begin to fight to be put down, even as she was forced between her parents.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on February 28, 2010, 05:00:07 AM
His eyes followed Pandora as she turned and ran away, giggling, a special sort of light in her eyes.  Kysis did not move to follow her, waiting, almost holding his breath as he watched.  The last time he had seen Pandora, she was swaddled in cloth, a tiny little thing, and now she was up walking, moving around, so much more alive than he ever could have imagined.

This was what he had missed while in Kreos.

Kysis’ stern gaze did not change, not even a flicker of his slight wonder sparking in his cold, distant eyes.  He watched Lam’s crawled approach with pursed lips.

Involuntarily, the touch on his face made him flinch, even if it was barely.  It was her hand, a hand he knew well, one he had held on many occasions, and yet, it felt foreign, causing his reflexes, battered and frayed as they were, to jump.  He repressed it the best he could for now, though his next reaction was not the same.

If he had not been focusing so calmly on Lam, on the fact that this was his home, that it was safe here, he would have scrambled backwards when Lam moved forward to hug him, a quick surge, a jerky movement.  A low hiss seethed from between clenched teeth as his daughter was pressed against him, the wound which needed to be dealt with, lest it actually claim him.

The grimace on his face from the sudden flash of pain lingered for a moment before he managed to smooth it out, make his visage a mask once more.  His voice sounded hollow, partially from the echo of the large entry room, partially from what he had gone through.

“Thanatos did not want me.”

They were quiet words, but harsh at the same time.  Those words mirrored what his own mother had said the first time Kysis came back with a supposedly mortal injury and somehow survived it.  She had said it again when he came back to the refugee camp, battered, bleeding, barely recognizable but somehow, against all odds, alive.

Kysis was starting to believe it.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on February 28, 2010, 01:33:42 PM
Even through the desperate wash of her emotions, she heard Kysis suck in a breath and stiffen.  It occurred to her that he was still injured and she pulled back immediately, hefting a wriggling Pandora and looking at him with concern.  Only once she was away from him would it occur to her that perhaps he\'d objected to the hug and kiss somehow, that her touch was no longer welcome.

"Are you hurt?" she asked urgently, sniffling back her tears and using her left hand to wipe her face as dry as she could.  He might notice that she still wore her engagement and wedding rings as she swiped haphazardly at her face, a testament to the fact that she still felt married to him even when she believed him dead.

Her gaze was drawn over Kysis\' shoulder as someone walked in the door behind him and she gasped as she saw Matthew. The light was gone from his eyes as well, even though he attempted a smile when she exclaimed his name, transferred Pandora to her left arm and scrambled to get up and hug him as well.  She was more careful this time, but Matthew hugged her back and sighed gratefully instead of flinching, which made her smile briefly.

"I\'ll just get Lily to take Dora to Mairin\'s," Lam said decisively as she stepped away from Matthew - who was looking at the child in fascination - and looked down at Kysis.  She was all business now that she sensed that her husband needed her help.  "Do you think we should get a physician here?" she enquired, her gaze roving her beloved\'s body, experienced gaze looking at the way he was holding himself and guessing where his injuries might be just from the way he moved.

She would wait until he spoke before she turned her head and bellowed for Lily to leave the kitchen and come collect Pandora from her.  As wonderful as the child was, she was better off out of the way while Lam got her husband settled; she\'d interfere and take too much of her attention, otherwise.  Besides, her family needed to know that her husband was not only alive but that he\'d returned to her!  They needed to celebrate with her (and even though Dagger\'s image rose in her mind, she pushed it away, shying from sharing her fortunate news with him even in her head; that was not a conversation she was looking forward to having).
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on March 08, 2010, 07:11:40 AM
At the question of if he was hurt, Kysis automatically pressed his hand, lightly, to the place just below his ribs, where the sword had pierced him.  That blade had slid all the way through, somehow missing everything vital, but there was still a great deal of damage caused.  That injury was the reason the Ottomans had been able to take him.

Kysis gaze followed Lam as she stood and ran for the door, dark eyes fixing on Matthew.  Though the serving man had not lost his home, he had lost something else, his lover.  Kysis had gotten used to them as a couple, had grown accepting of them together, had actually been genuinely happy for them, and then Rico had died.  Kysis was not there for it.  He had only heard stories.  But from what he understood, Rico had been alone in his death, Matthew gone off north to report the dire news of Kysis’ capture.

No one, absolutely no one, should have to die alone like that.

There was still a spark of resentment lingering in him towards Matthew, though he knew the serving man was just trying to do his duty, tell Lam what happened, and yet… Kysis closed his eyes for a moment, sucking in a deep breath.  He stood, trying to stifle the pain such a motion caused as his abdomen flexed with the motion, pulling at the wounds.

Lily was not a name Kysis recognized; he assumed it was someone Lam had hired to help in the manor during Matthew’s absence.  Mairin he knew, though.  That name brought back a slight sense of familiarity, which he was missing.  At least not everything was foreign.

“I just need to change the bandages.” Kysis spoke quietly, once again, as if the large, open main room of the manor would swallow his words whole otherwise.  As always, he was self reliant, persistent about his ability to care for himself, even if it had not worked perfectly in the past.  That was just his way.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on March 15, 2010, 06:39:45 AM
"We\'ll see," she told her husband ominously and then did exactly as she\'d planned.  Lily appeared immediately, looking somewhat wide-eyed to be summoned with a bellow such as she\'d never heard (for Lam hardly had reason to use her \'Captain voice\' in a house inhabited by just the four of them).  She was further disoriented by the two men standing in the doorway, blinking at them with her large, pale brown eyes like she\'d never seen their like.  Her hair was also brown, straight and hanging softly to her shoulders, and she tucked one half behind her ear nervously as she walked slowly up to Lam.

Lam introduced Matthew and her husband - which only caused the girl to blink more rapidly and goggle at the blonde lord standing so stiffly in the entryway - and became impatient very quickly with her lethargic moves to take Pandora from her.  She seemed unable to take in all the information Lam threw at her about taking her daughter to her aunt\'s shop and informing them that she would be around to pick her up again and tell them about Kysis being back as soon as she could.  Matthew took pity on the girl and offered to escort her to Mairin\'s so that he could relay some of the story - he had yet to drop off the horses at the stable (though Alex was already seeing to that) or see his parents, and he was keen for the latter.

When it was all settled, Lam handed Matthew her child - he asked to hold her and Pandora seemed wary but was happy enough to go to him with Lily nearby - and then retrieved the spilled baby bag for Lily to carry.  They were seen off with another kiss of gratitude for Matthew and a stern frown for Lily, then Lam closed the heavy door of the manor and turned (with some trepidation, she noticed fluttering inside of her) to face her husband.  She walked to his side but wasn\'t game to touch him again, for fear of aggravating his wound, though her hands hovered around him and darted towards him as she spoke, signalling that she wanted to help him walk, if she could.

"Would you like to go upstairs to our bed - can you get up the stairs alright, do you think?" she offered nervously, leaning forward as if to peer up at his eyes in order to ask him this question.  He would find their bedroom greatly changed when he got there, for it was as much Pandora\'s as Lam\'s now.  Her cot was set up in there, as well as a large dresser of drawers to hold her multitude of outfits that Lam usually laid her on to dress her.  Another set of shelves held frequently-used items such as teething salve from the apothecary, folded stacks of napkins and her baby-sized bath.  Bright colours - a new patchwork quilt Lam had made for her marriage bed as well as a softer, pastel-coloured one for Dora\'s cot - everywhere were designed to stimulate the baby\'s sight and had made Lam feel better when her misery was at its greatest; it was no longer the stark, simple bedchamber of a warrior, but that of his family, getting on with their life, together, when they thought his was past.

How wrong they\'d been.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on April 25, 2010, 02:41:48 AM
Kysis watched closely, carefully, as Pandora was handed off to Lily.  He could feel a pang, an ache deep inside him, to hold his own daughter, but rather than say anything, he merely watched Lily and Matthew go through the door, Pandora in tow.  They were gone from his partial sight before he could do anything.

He quickly, curtly, turned his attention back to Lam.  The last thing he remembered of her was the birth of their daughter, and before that, her depression at losing the job in the Guard.  So much had changed.  Despite the outburst, the surprise, which was to be expected, she seemed fine.  The house seemed in order, from what he could see.

That was good.  His own family, his own people, had been in such disarray when they learned false news that he had fallen on the field.  There was a sort of emotional chaos swirling about the refugees.  It was almost as if they were not willing to trudge on, to fight on, without their lord at the helm.  Kysis felt as though that was his own short-coming, that he had not inspired them enough to rise up on their own, that he had not done enough for them for them to move on proudly, like his people should.

His feeling of failure was part of the reason he had returned to Oberon, rather than staying in the new settlement on the other side of the pass, where they were trying to build a temporary replacement for Kreos itself.

Being home, though… Kysis let his eyes move to the stairs, travel up that winding staircase to the dark hallway beyond, where his room—their room—was situated.  It had probably changed, like the rest of the household.

He did not want it to seem like he was an utter foreigner, once again, that he was utterly disconnected from her, this place, and yet, he was.  Going to that room, the inevitable shock of its transformation, would do just that.

Kysis would rather visit it alone, acquaint himself with his house alone, so that he can settle in it again without someone mothering over him, helping him every step of the way but at the same time, making him seem as that more dissonant with the place.

He had noticed how Lam’s hands lingered, wanting to touch, wanting to lead.

“I should probably redress these bandages down here, first.” Kysis tried forcing a smile.  It was small, thin, unfeeling.  None of it spread to his cold blue eyes.  For a moment he stood there, saying nothing more, then he added. “Were you not headed somewhere when I arrived?”
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on April 25, 2010, 06:53:57 PM
Lam pulled slightly away from Kysis and blinked, understanding that he seemed to want to get rid of her yet... not believing it.  Why would he want her to leave him alone?  There\'d been no explanations, no chance for her to ask questions, not even a real kiss, yet his tone implied that he wanted her to leave.

"Uh... I... the p-palace," she stammered with a frown, her hands wringing together before her.  "I w-work there, with Hew, a few days a week. I - but are you saying you want me to leave you alone?" she interrupted herself, tilting her head and looking anxiously at her husband.  It had been implied, but she needed clarification of something like that.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on April 26, 2010, 10:30:15 AM
Though his words had not been angled directly at being left alone, at having Lam, specifically, leave, his body language paired with them must have given that impression.  That was not it.  Or was it?  He would not admit it, but he was tired from the long travel to the north, especially with a wound so fresh.  That wound might have healed already, had he not traveled as soon as he escaped Ottoman control.  He was here now, though.

Kysis shook his head, slowly.  His platinum blond hair fell in its usual chaotic halo, framing his tanned face.  He looked down.  Though now might have been a time to smile, in the past, how certain misunderstandings in the past had brought humor to them, he was unable to crack a smile.  He thought about it, but his will was not strong enough to break the icy facade of his face.  Even if he had broken into a smile, it probably would not have warmed him any.

"No, I..." Kysis took a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment.  He looked away. "I did not want to delay you from any plans you might have already had."  The words were stiff, curt, unemotional.  He did care; showing it was an entirely different matter.

While he was in Ottoman custody, he could not show anything, lest they have leverage over him.

"I should have sent message of my return rather than..." Kysis finally looked back at Lam, letting his words trail off.  Rather than bursting back in, foreign, unwelcomed.  For all he knew, unwanted should be on the list as well.  He had been gone so long, supposedly dead, that he would not be surprised if... Kysis did not want to think about that.  Not at all.  Just the notion, barely formed in his head, made his heart clench painfully, an uncomfortable pit in his stomach.

No.  Everything looked to be in order still, as it was left, kept for his return.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on April 26, 2010, 11:46:35 PM
"No plans are more important than you," she whispered, tears pricking her eyes as she stepped close to him and grasped his forearm firmly in her hands.

"I thought you were dead.  I\'ve mourned you for months and to have you returned to me... it\'s like a gift from Adora herself.  I can barely believe it\'s true; I need to see your wounds, to know how bad it is, so that I know where I can touch you to convince myself that you\'re real," she told him passionately, her gaze searching his beautiful blue orbs for some semblance of recognition in them, a spark of emotion, anything to tell her that he understood she was as nervous and dissonant as he.

The husband she\'d given up for dead walked back into her home just like that; yes, sending a message first might have staved off some of the shock, but even then she wouldn\'t have believed it until she\'d seen him with her own eyes.  They\'d as likely be in exactly the same position, regardless.

"Don\'t tell me you shouldn\'t have returned to me without warning," she begged him, leaning forward and pressing small kisses to the corner of his mouth (not quite game to kiss him properly), lifting them only to murmur her next words or move to a new spot of skin.  "It doesn\'t matter; what matters is that you\'re alive, you\'re safe and you\'re here.  This is the happiest day of my life!" she confessed, squashing the flutter of nervousness that wanted to beat at the inside of her ribcage much as Pandora had once done.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on April 27, 2010, 09:27:19 AM
Perhaps it was because of that fact that he knew he was alive the whole time that he was having trouble understanding Lam\'s point of view.  Perhaps it was because of the fact that he wanted, with all his heart, for Lam to have held on to a faint chance that he could have been alive, that he was having trouble finding the will to understand Lam\'s point of view.  Kysis was alive.  Not well, but he was alive, and that was the part that truly mattered.

The kisses on the edge of his mouth made that nervous tension knot up in his chest, as though his heart was clenched in a smithy\'s vice.  His platinum brows pulled in at first, frustrated creases forming between them.

Kysis turned his head.

The kiss he initiated was hard, needy, too urgent, driven by the fact that he had teetered dangerously over the precipice that was death and somehow made it back.  He moved his left hand up, a scar spattered thing, rough with callouses, and ran his palm up along Lam\'s jaw line, to the back of her neck, as though keeping her there.  This kiss was vastly different from the soft, tender kisses he had delivered upon leaving Oberon.

When he pulled back, it felt entirely too soon.  His breaths were short gasps.  He looked into Lam\'s eyes, searching them, almost desperately, for some sort of welcome feeling, and yet...

Perhaps he had seen too much.

Then again, a throbbing headache was sneaking up on him, pulsating in his temples.  He felt entirely too warm.  It was the wound, the exertion, the excitement of being home at last.  The flush on his cheeks was more from that than the kiss itself, though it did add to matters.

"I should..." Kysis pressed his right had gently to his armor, where the front end of the wound was.  He felt the material give, felt a small amount of liquid run down his hidden abdomen.  Kysis did not think it blood.  It was probably just sweat, accumulated in the bandage.  Either way, he needed to redress the wound before it could become something worse, like puss.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on April 27, 2010, 11:34:37 PM
She met his kiss with equal intensity, relieved beyond belief to have a chance to clasp his head in her hands, to butt her mouth against his and let some of the pent up emotions out with action.  Her body quivered with the memory of him, even though she\'d never felt this much desperation from him in their time together.

He\'d always been the polite and tentative lover, chagrined by her forthright nature and obvious experience in the bedroom; now he was kissing her harder than she\'d ever been kissed and she relished it, fighting back with the love for him she\'d been forced to squash down and hide (for he was never coming back to receive it again, why wear it on her sleeve?).

Lam, too, felt the kiss ended too soon and she stared at him with wild green eyes, her tongue finding tender spots on her bruised lips and tasting blood for her efforts.  She let her hands drop when he moved away, looking at his armour unseeingly for a moment, before she recalled he was hurt and that he\'d mentioned redressing his wounds before he went upstairs.  It snapped her out of the place her mind had gone after that kiss and spurred her to action.

"Oh!  Get you undressed!  Right!" she exclaimed, leaning down to begin helping him get the armour off even as she kept speaking.  It was surreal, the way they could go from tense strangers to passionate lovers back to polite soldiers in the space of a few moments and she felt her mind spinning on an axis that was no longer centred, not at all steady.  It was enough to send her crazy, this sudden reappearance of her husband, and she was feeling more and more at a loss every moment.

"Do you have bandages or do you want me to get some?  Why don\'t we move to the dining room, so you can sit?" she suggested, weird images of them laying atop the table as soon as she found out how close she\'d come to losing him forever whirling into her head, only to be pushed away again.  The desire to reaffirm their relationship, that he was real and alive, was mounting with her, the need to couple with him coming from a far darker place than the love and curiosity that had originally driven her.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on May 03, 2010, 02:09:15 PM
Kysis tensed, out of reflex, when he felt a tug at his armor straps.  It sent a cold chill up his spine, small hairs at the back of his neck rising on end.  He could remember so vividly waking up to a dark room, lit by only a torch, an Ottoman guard roughly shucking him of his armor as though he was nothing more than a stalk of wheat, harvested and thrown aside.  The Ottomans were rough, uncaring, throwing him around without a care, so long as he stayed alive.  Somehow they managed to keep that balance between extreme cruelty, torture, punishment, and life, health, surviving.

When he managed to push those images from his haunted eyes, Kysis was struck by how odd it was, dealing with wounds out in the entry, a wide open space without privacy, without any real comfort, other than being out of the beating sun.

Thankfully, Lam suggested they move to where he could sit before he could do so; it surely would have come out more biting from his own lips.  There was still a question open, though.  Kysis did not move for the dining room yet.

"My bandages were in my saddlepack.  Knowing Atropos, Alex will not be back for a while." A slight tug of a wry smirk tugged at the corner of his lips, barely there.  The presence of such an amused, dark composure was entirely new about him, a new cynicism he did not possess before, as much of a pessimist he had been.  This was at a different level.

Rather than stating Lam should get bandages-- he felt his previous statement made that obvious-- he went for the dining room himself, sitting down at the head of the table.  His blue eyes fluttered shut, as though savoring the feeling of being in his proper place, of being home, for the first time, before quickly getting to work on his armor.

Kysis pulled off the armor over his torso, peeling it away slowly.  Bandages criss-crossed his abdomen, discolored from sweat and blood.  Kysis looked down at them, pursing his lips. He should have stopped outside Oberon and dealt with them, perhaps closer to Ravenshom even, but the allure of home had been too strong.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on May 03, 2010, 09:53:29 PM
"Right," she smiled briefly, distractedly and raced off to get the basket of bandages she knew to be somewhere in the house.  She went to the kitchen first - though she was unsure why once she got there, then down to the guards\' rooms before racing back to Alex\'s room - the room Alia had occupied before her death.  As soon as she walked in, however, Lam spun on her heel and ran up the stairs, taking them three at a time in her haste.  The bandages were in her bathing room; she remembered now.

On the way back, she quickly stopped in her bedroom to divest herself of her jacket (in case her nursing efforts got messy), flinging it carelessly on the bed and loping back downstairs to Kysis wearing her pants, boots and white undershirt, carrying the large woven basket of calico bandages.  The garment she wore was sleeveless and had a rounded neck that dipped just below her collarbone, her shift and corset beneath it hiding all but the shape of her body, her freckled arms and décolletage bearing a little colour, for she and Dagger also enjoyed taking Pandora out of town to private swimming holes and laying about completely naked in the sun - not something she was thinking about as she ran back to her husband\'s side.

When she reached the dining room once more, she placed the basket on the table and breathed a murmur of concern as she saw the stains and extent of bandaging around her husband\'s abdomen.  Tears pricked her eyes as the shock of his wounds impacted; he really had been as good as dead.  "Ohhhh, my love," she whispered, touching his shoulder but staring at his lower half.  "I\'ll get some warm water and soap, it looks like you\'ll need cleaning as well - unless you\'d prefer I prepare a bath for you?  A full wash might be better?" she asked quickly, thinking a bath more appropriate.

Whatever was beneath those bandages looked like it needed a good wash in some hot, clean water, otherwise the risk of infection was very high.  It would be the bitterest of ironies for him to reach his home and family only to die slowly of wound poisoning.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on May 04, 2010, 03:07:27 AM
“I don’t want to trouble you.” The words floated from his mouth immediately after she asked about the bath, a reflex, an old habit.  It was one of his intact personality traits: his stubbornness, his self-reliance.  Those things had saved him while he was beyond enemy lines.  The Ottomans would not kill him until they garnered information from him about the mines, what happened to them, and he had not spilled a word when he finally escaped.

Kysis kept a level gaze on his bandages.  He held his thin linen undershirt in his hands still.  It was stained as well, on both front and back.  His bandages were much the same, discoloration on both sides of them, from entry and exit of the sword.  How it had missed everything vital, Kysis did not know, though his mother had been convinced it was nothing short of divine intervention a la Thanatos not being interested in him at all.  She had never thought that perhaps, just perhaps, it was a positive thing.

A bath would not have been such a trouble if he thought he would be able to help without pulling a stitch.  He did not want to admit to the extent of which he was injured, the thought of drawing a bath, carrying the water to the bathing room, all too clearly reminding him of just how serious it was.  Kysis closed his eyes, taking a shaky breath.

Despite his better judgment, his usual stubbornness won out. “I’ll help you prepare it.  Everything is where it used to be?” Kysis let the linen shirt drop onto the pile of his armor, to be tended to later.  Part of him really hoped that nothing had changed, that it was a familiar home he was returning to, and yet, from what he had seen of the entry hall so far, of the dining room, he knew it was changed.

Though he was beginning to feel more comfortable in his wife’s presence, he was not feeling entirely at home in this abode.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on May 05, 2010, 11:49:01 PM
"You will not," Lam told him tersely, pressing a hand to his shoulder to keep him seated, lest he try to fight against her.  She was frowning down at him, ready to physically restrain him if she had to - in his condition, she didn\'t believe he had a lot of choice.  "I will get your bath ready.  We\'ll use the downstairs bathing room, it\'s closest," she warned him, hoping he wouldn\'t object on that principal alone.

The last time Kysis knew the bathing room to be in use was when Alia had been alive, it was just off her bedroom.  Alex still used it, of course, but it would be Alia\'s in Kysis\' head she knew.  still, it was the most convenient, right near the kitchen and wouldn\'t take her long to draw.

"There\'s plenty of water still on the stove after breakfast and if I boost the fire, it won\'t take long to get the rest ready.  I\'ll be back in a moment," she instructed him, backing away and staring at him like he was a horse about to bolt if she dropped his lead.  When it seemed she could get to the kitchen unchased, she spun and strode swiftly in there, banking the fire in the stove so that it would burn hot and splitting the hot water currently there into two much larger pots, that she then proceeded to add cold to.  her theory was that the small amount of boiling water added to a large tepid amount would heat more overall more quickly.

Once both pots were placed so that they\'d heat as quickly as possible, Lam raced upstairs to get a large clean drying sheet from her bathing room, as well as some of the healing salts she\'d used to use after being injured at work - bought at the apothecary and good for fighting infection and cleaning open wounds.  She got some soap as well, of course, and then went to the wardrobe in her bedroom to get a pair of pants and a shirt for Kysis.  She wondered if he\'d question the fact that all his clothes still hung beside hers in the cupboard, as they\'d been left when he went to Kreos.  Dagger had questioned her about them, telling her she should give them away to the poor; even Mairin had advised she give them away or throw them out, for they were too much of a hardship for Lam to look upon, in the early days.

Now, she felt justified and smugly happy that she could use them once more; they were no longer the remnants of a dead man, they were the clothes of her husband, worn into comfort, familiar and soft on his travel and battle-worn skin.  She went downstairs with a smile, her arms filled with her bundle of supplies, intending on moving her patient to the tub so that he could settle and undress while she fetched the water.  She only hoped that he hadn\'t decided to be stubborn about it and go and attempt to carry the heavy pots of water himself, and that he was still in the dining room (she\'d have to take a chair in, she thought, for she couldn\'t remember if there was one in there or not).

"Ready to move to the bathing room while I get the water?" she asked as she rounded the corner into the dining room, ready to offer her arm at the least.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on May 20, 2010, 01:49:30 AM
Kysis nodded, slowly, detachedly, not moving from his spot at the table.  His bandages felt cool, wet, against his skin, but at the same time muggy, oppressive.  They needed to come off.  Perhaps it would be good to let the wound breath some rather than rewrap it immediately.  First, though, it needed a wash.

This musings ran through his head as he waited, trying to distract himself from the heavy feeling of the bandages around his abdomen.  If he had been kept in better quarters after the wounding, if the wound had been treated immediately, Kysis might have been healed already.  In Ottoman hands, he had to make do with basic items, like a dirty tunic, stagnant water, whatever he could get to clean his wound and keep himself alive until escaping.

Licking his dry lips, he mashed them together, closing his eyes for a moment.  He took a deep breath.  He could feel it pull on his wound, front and back.  It was strange, being able to feel all the way through.  Thankfully that sensation has dissipated before his long ride north, but the memory of it still lingered.  The cavity where that blade had been would remain in his mind for a long time to come, he was sure.

Soon enough, Lam was back.


He had an injury, yes, but he was far from invalid.  Kysis stood on his own, quickly, none of the pain he felt passing over the cold mask of his face.  The Lord rolled his shoulders, getting a slight bit of their stiffness out.  The hot water would help as well, which his travel weary body was greatly looking forward to, even if he would not admit to it verbally.

Not saying a word, he walked to the bathing room, the one which had been his parents’ first, then Alia’s before her death.  That event seemed distant, a tiny blip in the past.  So much had happened since then.  Kysis tried not looking at the grand bed as he passed through the room, going straight to the secluded, large bathing room, a notable luxury, but something Marcos had been insistent upon having, like a palpable stamp of their standing in society.

Kysis had never much been for such displays, such mantles, but he bore it.  In Oberon, that seemed the only way anyone was recognized.

Rather than sitting somewhere, Kysis stood off to the side, patient, silent, slowly starting to take off the heavy linen bandages over his abdomen.  As the layers peeled off, the bandages became more and more discolored, the bottom layer with a slight rust hue to them.

Flinching, Kysis pulled that last thin cloth layer off.

Stitches still showed along the slice just below his ribs, both front and back.  It was slightly wider than a Greek blade, nor was it the straightest line between the front and the back.  Ottoman blades were different, and Kysis would not forget that soon either.

The air felt good on the wound, but he knew water would feel much, much better.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on June 20, 2010, 01:02:55 AM
Lam scooped an arm through one of the dining room chairs and followed after Kysis, getting around him as unobtrusively as she was able and busying herself setting everything out while he worked on his bandages.  By the time she finished making sure it would all be in reach and away from water splashes, he\'d bared his wound.

The sight of it caused her to go still and she approached him slowly, with soft, mincing steps worthy of a bride making her way down an aisle, hands clasped before her stomach much as if she held a bouquet.  An enormous lump formed in her throat and tears welled as she stopped before him, reaching out tentative fingertips toward the smooth, hard plane of his abdomen (well above the stitches).  She tried to swallow the lump as she withdrew her hand and looked up at him, tears shining atop her lashes but not yet falling.

"This... is why Matthew told me you were dead?  He saw this happen to you?" she asked thickly, her voice husky from forcing it past the obstruction in her constricted throat.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on June 29, 2010, 12:31:53 AM
Part of the question was true, and part of it was false.  Matthew had been nowhere near the battlefield, back in the camp set up on the northern side of the pass, in relative safety.  Rico had been insistent that he not be allowed into the turmoil of Kreos itself.  

It was Rico who had reported back to them of the wounds, of how bad it was.  He had seen it all happen, had tried getting to him, but there were too many Ottomans.  From what Kysis had heard, Matthew road to Oberon to deliver the news of his capture (and fictitious death), and while he was gone, Rico had died of the injuries he incurred on that day.

Kysis had not said anything to Matthew about it, but he was furious.  It was a silent kind of outrage he kept to himself, a slow simmer, a deep boil inside of him.  The pressure was not so great yet that it had to come out.

"No, Matthew did not see it happen.  He was in New Kreos at the time." Kysis considered leaving it at that.  He looked up at Lam, seeing how she shuffled, her nerves, the way she stared in horror at the front half of his wound.  The back of it, where the blade had come out the other side, was the harder to keep clean, the harder to heal.  He had pulled a stitch from the back more than once already.

It was probably not right to leave the information there.  He continued on, voice as cold and detached as it had been for the first part.  That was the only way he could convey it. "Rico saw it happen, and reported it back to New Kroes.  He died soon after Matthew left for Oberon."  Kysis tapped his right hand nervously on his thigh, fighting against the urge to ball it.  His throat was tight; he swallowed back the lump there, trying to seem perfectly normal, perfectly fine.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on August 06, 2010, 05:36:35 PM
She blinked, feeling empathy for Matthew, to have lost Rico while he was far away and not guessing that Kysis might see such a tragedy from another perspective.  The tears that had been hovering on her lashes fell as she looked up at her husband, the pain of so much death and loss weighing heavily upon her simply because it had been such a close companion for so long that it was easy to embrace.  Easy to hurt, even for someone whom she\'d borne no particular amount of affection.

"So Rico... believed you to be dead also?  He was killed in battle, thinking you were dead?"
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on August 06, 2010, 11:54:31 PM
"Yes, he..." gave up. Those words hovered at the tip of his tongue.  Kysis\' jaw tightened.  His sapphire eyes focused far away, either on the wall, or the battlefield so far away, on a battle fought some time ago.  He could still remember it like yesterday. "From what I hear, there was no one to stay with him, when it happened."

Somehow, Kysis managed to keep his voice cool, level, detached even.  There was a broiling storm inside, though, of anger, of blame.  While what romantic fixation he might have had on Rico had died a while ago, the two of them had somehow found a way to be friends, the best of friends, and as such, he felt betrayed for his comrade in arms.

Too many people had died for Kreos, yet at the same time, Kysis knew he would have given his life if it meant his people could have their land back, their lives back, their freedom back.  He would, in an instant.  The Ottomans would not allow that.  They would never keep their word.  That much had become obvious by their attack.

Kysis moved to the tub.  It was large, deep, luxurious.  Kysis had not seen such luxuries since he left Oberon.  It felt frivilous, but he would not complain.  It would make cleaning his wounds easier.  If he could, he would have tipped the water into it already, so this could be over with, though he did not know yet what he would do when he was done.  Nothing was certain anymore.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 08, 2011, 10:27:15 AM
Lam drew in a quiet breath, the shuddering of it an embarrassment to her, for she felt she didn\'t have much right to feel upset in the face of what her husband had been through.  She didn\'t know if there was more and she feared that; the sorrow of Rico\'s death was clear in his demeanour, poisoning his insides, while the pain of that vicious wound was obvious on his outside.  Yet he\'d borne himself here, to her, in the end, and she supposed there was something to be held onto, in that.

Seeing him move to the tub, she decided he didn\'t wish to speak any more for now and she raced out of the room, her long legs assisting her in getting to the kitchen swiftly.  The pots of water were ferried in with some difficulty (they were very large and too full, really, but she\'d wanted a generous amount for him to bathe in) but she showed none of it in the bathing room.  She didn\'t want Kysis to admonish her for struggling but, thankfully, it was easy to hide with the bath being so close to the door (though she did tip a little too quickly at first, with both pots).  It made her lament the lack of strength she had since birthing Dora - training a king hardly rated as a taxing exercise, most of the time and she didn\'t get enough time to work out on her own.

Once the second pot was poured in, she pushed a hand into it, wincing at the heat of it.  Her stoking of the fire and splitting of the hot water had worked better than she\'d anticipated in such a short time.  "Shall I add some cold water?" she asked as she put the large pot down and proceeded to break a generous amount of healing salts into the steaming tub, bending down to stir them in and doubting that his wound would allow him to bear the temperature when her own heat-hardened hand found it a challenge to remain inside and stir.

She watched him over her shoulder as she persisted, her skin turning an angry red.  She expected, once he tested the water, that he would request a small amount of cold be added and there were two buckets of such on hand, left in the bathing room since Alex had last bathed, no doubt.  It would be no trouble to pour in.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 09, 2011, 03:05:05 AM
Kysis did not have his back to the door, half-watching it with a nervous kind of tension.  Though he tried to put on a front as strong as Liari steel, deep inside, he was still skittish, frightened, in shell-shock over everything which happened.  But none of it came to the surface, not now, hiding in a dark corner of his subconscious.

Still, he watched the door, a manifestation of that deep seated fear.

He could see, if only from familiarity, that Lam was struggling. His first inclination was to help.  He took half a step forward, arm rising, but then he stopped.  As much as he hated it, he knew he could not help.  If he did, he would only hurt himself, and his injuries were already on the verge of dire, even with what healing he had managed while in New Kreos.

He stepped back, glancing down with a slight sigh.  When she was done tipping in the two buckets, he finally stepped to the edge of the tub, letting his right hand drift over the water\'s surface.  From the steam alone, he could tell it was too hot, but a sort of morbid curiosity drove him onward.

Kysis dipped his fingers into the water, watching as his barely sunkissed skin turn pink, then red.  After a moment, he cringed, if only slightly, and withdrew his hand.  He looked up at Lam.  His expression was hard, lacking emotion, but there was just a touch of desperation in his dark eyes.

After a moment, Kysis nodded, glancing to the smaller buckets at the side of the room.  He wanted to help.  He wanted to tip them into the bath himself.  He was tired of feeling so helpless.

It took all of his will-power, but finally he spoke. "Yes... thank you."
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 09, 2011, 06:46:42 PM
She tipped them both in when the first didn\'t cool it down enough to meet her other hand\'s satisfaction, stirring it through to cool the water before straightening.

"It\'s ready," she told him quietly, smiling into his eyes as she stepped a little closer to him.  "The salts should help clean out anything nasty in your wounds, but I\'ll get some more so you can bathe daily just to be sure," she promised.  The idea that he would be there to bathe daily still filled her with wonderment and made her head spin a little with the excitement of it, but she pushed it aside.

She needed to concentrate on what was at hand, taking one step at a time, for if she didn\'t, her sanity would be challenged.  Her gaze dropped to his pants, the only item of clothing he still wore, and she reached for them, to begin untying for him before she hesitated, glancing up into his eyes.  "Um...?" she began but also couldn\'t continue with her question, leaving it hanging between them, unspoken.

Was it alright for her to see her husband naked?  Would this be the point he asked her to leave the bathing room, telling her he could take it from here?  He\'d been so prudish at the start of their relationship, it had taken her moons to coax him out of the awkwardness he felt in his own bare skin.  Having endured countless months suffering at the hands of torturers and enemies, she could imagine he might well have reverted to such insecurities.

He\'d had no defenses, after all, who knew if he was ready to be stripped entirely bare, even if it was before the mother of his child?  She needed some indication from him that he would permit her to help him disrobe before she acted.  He would likely be able to do it, but nothing came easily to him and she would be able to get him in the water much more quickly if she assisted.  She swallowed nervously, hesitating still, until she was sure.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 10, 2011, 01:29:17 AM
Kysis nodded to himself at the mention of salts.  Apparently, when he had dragged himself to the camp of New Kreos, they had used healing salts and different herb mixtures-- anything and everything they possibly could-- to nurse him back to some vague idea of health.  He did not remember the early days, knowing only what his men, his father, and his mother had said to them, each of the stories varying.

Healing salts would be good.  As would sleeping in an actual bed, but that would come later.  The thought of it sent a shiver of anticipation up his spine, a wonderful sensation which was snapped away when Lam reached for him.

Again, his first reaction was to tense, a knot forming in his throat.  It was not because he was uncomfortable in his own skin.  No, Lam was the mother of his child.  It was just the memory of strange people poking and prodding him with a mixture of things, cutting here, burning him there.

Kysis closed his eyes, taking a shaky breath.  Slowly, he let his seethe out through pursed lips.  Finally, after having banished those demons from his immediate head-space (they lingered close behind it, though, like dark, broiling clouds on the horizon), he opened his eyes again.

"I\'m afraid if I bend over at all right now, I\'ll pull another stitch in my back."

He tried giving a light-hearted laugh, but it came out stilted, unnatural.  Kysis stopped, falling silent again.  He turned a little, trying to look at the stitches in his back, from where the sword had come through the other side.  Two had already torn, the line of the wound a thick, dark scab with some glistening, fresh red here and there.  Thankfully, there was no yellow.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 10, 2011, 01:58:12 AM
She frowned a little, still uncertain, then gave a nod, deciding he was giving her permission - to help him, not just undress him.  At last she heard the underlying message in his words, saw that he detested being helpless.  It reassured her somewhat, that such things should never change.

Quickly, she helped him remove the rest of his clothing, noting new marks, scars and bruises on his body; the former from his captivity no doubt, the latter from his journey.  With care, she assisted him into the tub, leaning back to watch the strain on his stitches as he lifted his leg to get in, deciding it might be a good idea to speak to the apothecary and get someone more skilled to stitch him again.  She wasn\'t entirely sure anyone did know how to do it, though she would find out, she mentally resolved.

Once he was seated in the hot water, able to relax, she removed her tunic so that she could help him bathe and not get her long sleeves wet.  Her undershirt was white, high-collared and sleeveless, tucked into her pants and buttoned up the front to her throat.  Unless there was accidental splashing, the material was taut enough to stay out of the way and dry.

Lam watched his face silently as she knelt by the tub, taking the soap in her hands and looking at him a little longer before she reached beneath the water to begin with his right leg.  If he couldn\'t bend, no-one had likely washed his toes for a very long while and she was firm in her application of the soap, massaging his sinewy leg muscles as she worked her way slowly down towards his foot.  For a while, the only sound in the room was their breathing and the occasional loud drip or swish of water as one of them moved limbs about.

"I still can\'t believe you\'re here," she whispered, looking up at him from beneath her lashes, her gaze shifting between what her hands were doing and his expression.  Belatedly, she realised she should be asking questions about his parents, the state of Kreos, details of how he\'d got away... but she still couldn\'t get past this.  Every time their eyes met, as much as she wanted to shy from what she saw in there (part of which was her own shame, that she\'d allowed Dagger so close to her again when she should still have been mourning him), she was fascinated anew by the fact of his existence.  He\'d been dead, by Adora, yet now here he was, returned.  "Will you... stay or will you have to return to Kreos?"
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 10, 2011, 02:49:52 AM
Kysis let himself be undressed and moved into the tub, as much as he abhorred his own helplessness.  It was difficult, moving with his stitches in mind and moving to get things done.  He had always prized efficiency, and yet now, he was resigned to taking everything at a slower pace.

Slowly, he was coming to terms with the fact that Lam was surprised to see him returning, rather than welcoming him home.  So far, he had heard “you’re alive” and “you’re back” but no welcome home.  It made him more nervous than he ever wanted to admit, stomach slowly churning, a low simmer.

It had to be the shock.  That was what Kysis kept telling himself.  It had to be the shock.  She would welcome him back eventually.

As Lam washed him, Kysis tried thinking of things other than Kreos, concentrating at first at making sure he was not hindering her process in any way, then musing in a cynical way over how many lords took their baths this way all the time, with the lady of the house—or a maid, in many cases—washing them, though they had no dire need for such things.  It was vaguely horrifying that people might force others to wash them just to prove power and standing, and yet, Kysis was almost certain the Ottomans would stoop that low.

It was the thought of the Ottomans which brought him back, and then, shortly after that, the question about Kreos.  Right when the first layer of tension was starting to meld away from his travel-wary, beaten muscles, he tensed again, jaw taut as a harp string.

“There is no Kreos to go back to.”

Kysis lowered his gaze on the water, fighting for a few moments as he felt his cheeks flush with heat.  He blinked his eyes rapidly, dispelling the water which had suddenly appeared in him.

It was the first time he had admitted aloud, for anyone else to hear, that Kreos was really gone.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 10, 2011, 11:35:22 AM
Her expression reflected her horror at such a thing, the beautiful city he\'d so proudly shown her around... gone?  Just like that?  War was a terrible, evil thing she knew, but the simplicity of those words struck a deep chord within her, causing her to abandon the soap and her attention at his legs and move swiftly up to him.  She wrapped her arms about his shoulders, pressing her forehead tightly against his temple, the pain of loss throbbing through her as she squeezed him in her arms.

"Oh, my love," she crooned, instinct seeing to it that she rocked him ever so slightly, her maternal drive to soothe his pain at the fore, beyond her consciousness.  "I\'m so, so sorry.  What of your parents?"  She expected there\'d be more bad news here and her grip on his slippery skin shifted slightly, preparing for her hand to cup his cheek so that she could turn his head and kiss him.  That urge was another instinct, driven by a need to silence him so that he could share no more bad news, but she wasn\'t aware of that on any conniving level, either.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 10, 2011, 12:15:56 PM
"Alive." There was some relief in the word as he spoke it, even though it was short and clipped.  If he had lost his parents as well, along with everything else, he did not know what kind of emotional condition he would be in, or if he would have come back so soon.  It was entirely likely that he would not have been able to. "They are managing the refugee camp."

Refugees.  That was all he was now, all his people were now.  Gone was the proud Greek spirit, never before truly conquered, never forced to bow to anyone else, brought to their knees, bleeding out of fatal wounds.  Kysis leaned into Lam, fiercely, hungrily, leaning into the kiss.

For a while there, he thought he would never get to see her again.  Never get to see Pandora again.  His lip quivered, hot tears clinging to his eyelashes for a moment.  He pulled back, gasping for breath.  He was afraid to give in, to let himself go, when he had already lost so much, and yet, this was home.  Right?  Despite how foreign it felt to him now, this was home?

He wanted it to be so bad. "Lam, I..." Kysis looked down.  He could feel the icy shield he had constructed melting, cracking, peeling away.  No, he felt too vulnerable still.  He had not had enough time.  Kysis swallowed roughly, trying to regain his composure, but he couldn\'t.

He wrapped his arms around Lam, pulling her closer, burring his head in her shoulder.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 10, 2011, 01:07:40 PM
She wanted to hear the end of his sentence, yet she also didn\'t.  Having him cling to her was enough of an admission of pain, his load hard to bear; she believedl he was weary of it and about to let it out.  Returning from death hadn\'t been the only feat he\'d accomplished here today, he\'d reached his true family and everything seemed about to catch up to him.  She only hoped she was ready.

Wriggling her lower half as subtly as she could, she released one arm in order to untie her boots, toeing them off as she then worked on her pants.  Everything in her yearned to be closer to him, yet she feared already that him holding her outside the tub was forcing his body to twist in ways it shouldn\'t.  It would be easier if she was in there with him... what wasn\'t easy was accomplishing it while holding him.

With an exhalation that declared her frustration, Lam pulled away from Kysis, stripping as hastily as she could before stepping gingerly into the tub.  The heat gave her pause, and she was careful to get her feet either side of his thighs before she knelt down into it, her added weight lifting the water level towards the rim.  She ignored it though, leaning towards him and cupping his face in both her hands.

"It\'s alright, I\'m here, you\'re safe now," she told him fiercely, wanting him to understand that she would go to any length for him.  She was pliant before him, ready to lean her chest into his so that he could press his face into the crook of her shoulder, or kiss her, whatever he wanted, however she could comfort him, she would.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 11, 2011, 07:52:05 AM
He shouldn\'t have been surprised when Lam started stripping of her clothing and joined him in the tub.  When he first met her, he was younger, more innocent, and practically took some sort of to every little thing she did and said.  However, it was her openness about everything which had been endearing, and led to him tumbling head over heels in love with her.  Seeing this display was another bit of normalcy, another way his home had not changed.

Kysis sat there for a moment, leaning his head into her palms, nuzzling them slightly, though surely the little bit of light blond stubble was scratchy.  His muscles were relaxing slowly with the heat of the water, which also worked wonders to soften his scabs and re-moisten his stitches, stopping them from pulling so much.

After a few quiet seconds, Kysis sent a small wave at Lam, holding a very serious face.

The thought of safety, of finally being here, was near overwhelming.  Sending that wave at her, that splashing wave, was a small but needed diversion, a small, emotionally inappropriate smile cracking on his lips in start contrast to his red, watery eyes.

His tongue felt like lead, but he finally managed to speak. "I was afraid I\'d never made it back..." Kysis looked down at the water, not at all bothered by his own nudity, like he might have been once upon a time. "...or that I wouldn\'t have a home left to come back to."

There, he said it.  There were times when he had almost given up.  But he hadn\'t.  He had people to stand up for, not to mention a baby girl who needed him and a wife.

"How..." Kysis paused, clearing his throat lightly.  He had not spoken this much in a long time, his throat raspy and sore.  He almost asked how she had been, though he could guess.  Mourning was a terrible thing, after all.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 11, 2011, 11:40:00 AM
Guilt suffused her when he mentioned he was afraid he\'d not have a home to come back to, nor a family, and she dropped her hands from his face, and her gaze too. She settled back, sitting on his thighs and letting her hands rest on her own, the happiness that had risen when he\'d given that little splash entirely dispelled by his words.
All she could think was how she\'d betrayed him. Tears welled and she blinked at the water around her breasts, wondering if he was going to finish his question... and whether this would be the right time to admit that she\'d done her best to move on with her life... but only got as far as Dagger\'s bed again.
"It was horrible," she whispered, her own voice hoarse with emotion. She still couldn\'t bring herself to look up at him. "I felt like my life ended, like Talon himself reached into my chest and tore out my heart. I... didn\'t cope very well, without you. Dora pulled me through, in the end but... every day it\'s been hard, resigning myself to believing you were gone, missing you like part of me was cut off. I... can\'t imagine what pain you went through... but I had much of my own," she assured him, giving a nod that sent one of her tears into the bath water she was staring at with a tiny plop.
She couldn\'t tell him, not yet. Not until he acknowledged how much she\'d been broken by his loss.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 11, 2011, 11:58:48 AM
Oh no.  She was crying.  That was not his intention at all.  This was supposed to be a happy reunion.  This was supposed to be joyful, and yet his heart was clenching, his lip trembling, just barely, not really enough to see, though it was enough to feel.  He felt it especially because of the tension of his new scar, that mauve arc pulling his skin tighter than it should have been from that split in his lip down to his chin.

It was his turn to reach out.  Kysis scooted forward, only vaguely aware of the much higher water line.  A few drops sloshed out, completely unnoticed.  He touched Lam\'s face, fingertips roving slowly over her cheek, tracing her lips, moving up to tuck an errant strand of red hair behind her ear.  It was like he was a blind man acquainting himself with her features for the first time, or worshipping her features with a slow sort of care.

He pulled her into a hug again, shivering at the feel of her skin against his, even as his back ached from the sudden strain on his wound.  Thin little pink scars ran up and down his back from the whip of the sultan\'s eldest son.  Kysis ran a hand up over Lam\'s hair, relishing it.

"I\'m sorry.  I wish... I\'m sorry. Σ \'αγαπώ."
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 11, 2011, 02:52:39 PM
His tenderness made her cringe inside, yet she could no more push him away than she could voluntarily stop breathing; she craved him, as she had for almost a year, crying herself to sleep dreaming of himand feeling her daughter a poor substitute.  He\'d taken her world by storm and then become it.  She couldn\'t bear to put anything between them right now, not after so long apart.  She mentally whispered a prayer to Adora, promising that she would find time to tell Dagger and end their affair - this very afternoon, if she could manage it - if only she could steal some reassurance now.  The sanctuary of his grasp was too powerful to resist.
Despite her rational thinking, him pulling her close again unleashed a further flood of emotion within her.  She slid as close to him as she dared, creating a triangle of space that kept their abdomens apart but clenched her thighs either side of his hips and wrapped her arms about his shoulders, chest tight against chest.  More tears came, unbidden, and she couldn\'t tell if they were from sadness, happiness to have him back or shame for believing what had turned out to be lies and seeking comfort in another man\'s arms.  All of this, no doubt, caused her to rest her head against his and sob like a forlorn child.
"I\'m sorry, too, I love you, too," she whispered back, once she had a little control and her crying was no longer hitching her breath irregularly.  She pulled back so that she could see his beautiful face once more, her fingers still roving restlessly over his newly scarred shoulder blades, learning the new bumps there.  "I\'ve missed you so much," she added, nibbling kisses at his lips, afraid to kiss him as hard as she wanted lest she do more harm there than good (even though there\'d already been at least one).
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 11, 2011, 11:52:44 PM
As Lam began her small, tender shower of kisses, he could not help but smile into them, if only for the joy of being able to feel such ministrations again, where he had believed he might not ever again.  Even as he had dragged himself back to the camp of New Kreos, there had still been that doubt, but as always, Thanatos was not ready for him and he mended well, returned.

However, his relief was short lived as he looked down again, noticing the tendrils of blood drifting from around him.  Kysis reached back touching the back side of his wound, producing fingers slicked in a mixture of water and blood.  From that short feel, he knew he had pulled at least two of the stitches, and the pressure on the ones nearest those was more than it should be.

Kysis swallowed back the sudden taste of bile.

He was home, yes, but it was not over yet.

"Lam..." He looked up at her, then back at his hand. His worry was a mixed bag at the moment, part that he would bleed out now that he had reached home, and die here, despite everything he had done (he wasn\'t bleeding that much, but the panic was still there), and that Lam was in fact getting dirtier by being in the water with him, when she had been all dressed up and collected to meet with the king.

His tongue wouldn\'t work right now, though, just her name slipping out, tainted with fear.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 12, 2011, 06:44:28 AM
The tone of his voice triggered alarm in her but she was used to acting decisively on an overload of adrenalin, so she stood quickly.  "We need to get you up so I can see how badly that\'s bleeding," she told him, not panicking until she\'d had a good look at the colour of the blood, its consistency and how much was leaking out of him.

"Careful, now," she said, stepping backwards in the tub and helping him stand up in the water, before she dropped his hands, got out completely and moved to the back of him.  Part of his wound was gaping, the bits of whatever had been holding it together poking out of his flesh on either side of it, and blood was running from it.  She was relieved to see it was a bright red colour, though.

"I think the water or the tub have taken off the scab and you\'ve broken some of those stitch things, so you\'re losing a bit of blood but it looks clean and it\'s not running too fast," she told him as she stepped back so she could see his face.  She glanced down at the front side of his wound and saw it wasn\'t faring nearly as badly, but then, she supposed it was easier to keep track of a wound you could see.

Looking worriedly back up into his eyes, she grasped his forearm, preparing to help him out of the tub even as she spoke.  "How about we get you lying on your stomach on Alia\'s bed and I\'ll either find Alex or go get someone here to fix you up?  The bleeding may not be too fast but I\'ll put something on it to soak up while I\'m gone, alright?" she queried, believing leaving him naked and on the closest bed at hand to be the most efficient course of action at this point.  She could lay the drying sheet of material down beneath him first.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 12, 2011, 01:28:29 PM
Kysis let himself be helped up, not taking the full brunt of standing on his own, like he might have if he was not so wounded.  Small tremors filled him as Lam moved around him, a thick knot forming in his throat.  It was decidedly much colder outside the bath than on the inside, goosebumps rising over his now damp and exposed skin.

The news, that his blood was the correct color, that there wasn\'t worse oozing from his back, made it slightly easier to breath.  For a moment, it had felt like a load of heavy stones laid across his chest, making it impossible to breathe, but now, that was slightly lessened.

It did not, however, stop the fact that he was bleeding.

Kysis was glad when Lam came back before him again, touched him again to help him out of the tub.  Contact was reassuring at this point, keeping him in the here and now.  There was a dark chasm near by, where he could easily fall, Kysis teetering precariously on that cliff.

The fact that Alia\'s room had not been changed at all, despite the fact that she had passed on some time ago, was reassuring in a way.  It meant that not too much had changed.  Kysis nodded, slowly, taking in what she offered.

"I sent Alex with the horses." The words fell numbly from his tongue, Kysis only really noticing what he said afterwards.  It was the truth.  Alex was the first of the household for him to find, the one he had given the reins over to.  It was entirely likely that Alex was back by now.  How long had it been, since he returned?

Kysis could not tell.

With shuffling steps, Kysis started off towards the door which led to the largest room in the house, the one that had been Marcos and Arna\'s room at first, then Alia\'s, and had sat empty since.  He touched the door knob, resting his head against the wood of the door for a moment, collecting himself as much as he could.

He had not even noticed how much water, now speckled here and there with blood, that he was leaving in his wake, nor had he thought about the fact that he was utterly in the nude, rows of scars visible, his torment laid bare.  Right now, his only thought was to remain standing.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 13, 2011, 07:02:31 AM
Inspired to stop Kysis moving as quickly as possible, in order to stop blood pumping out of him, Lam moved hurriedly around him, turning back the bedding and laying down the drying sheet so Kysis could lay upon it.  Although there were no overt signs, Alex slept in this room, this bed now, to be closer to his memories of Alia.  It had taken Lam a while to work it out but when she did she had understood it; she\'d slept with Kysis\' memory as well.

Somewhat regretful that she\'d be kicking Alex out of his adopted bedroom, she knew the serving man would understand.  The bedclothes would not be sparklingly clean but they weren\'t that old and she knew they\'d be changed again soon enough anyway, with the amount of blood that was likely to get on them.

The slowest thing Lam did was walk Kysis to the bed and ease him down on his stomach, blanching when she saw the blood that had seeped down over his buttocks and legs.  She tried telling herself - as she literally sprinted for more drying sheets - that its path had been made easier by the water, with no resistance, so of course the blood looked more profuse, slicker.  It was hard to swallow her heart down out of her mouth, though.

"I will be as quick as I can," she reassured the back of her husband\'s hand as she laid one bit of material across his back to keep him warm and another to wipe up the blood from his legs and buttocks before she placed it on the wound itself.  She pulled the sheet up over his legs and rear end to protect his modesty a little when she returned with her planned army of specialists, then realised she\'d been about to dash out of the house naked.  Sighing impatiently, she picked up another drying sheet from the pile she\'d brought in and swiped her mostly-dry body down before racing in to the bathroom to reclaim her clothes.

Bringing everything back into the bedroom to hop around and dress beside Kysis, she also lifted the towel at intervals to see how fast the blood was welling.  At first it had been too fast and she was worried by having to change the towel almost immediately but the next couple of times showed obvious slowing and some congealing starting to take place.  By the time she was dressed and wearing her boots, she left the towel off so that it wouldn\'t stick to the wound, packing it around instead and telling Kysis what she was doing.

"Laying still is better, the bleeding is nearly stopped," she reassured him, crouching down by his head so that she could make eye contact with him.  "One of us will be back with you very soon, my love," she crooned, unwilling to say the word \'goodbye\' to him in any form.

Looking into his glazing eyes scared her too much to say such a thing, for she refused to acknowledge his sudden return only to farewell him again - in any form.  She brushed his hair aside and leaned forward to kiss him, planning to run as fast as she could to the apothecary and be back before he\'d lost any more blood.  It wouldn\'t be a decorous trip, but she didn\'t give a shit.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 13, 2011, 07:24:43 AM
Kysis gripped Lam like a vice as she led him into the bedroom, waiting patiently as she turned back the sheets and made the place ready for him.  It all looked clean and orderly and fresh.  Kysis felt bad dirtying the place, but too weak, too worried, to protest.

The entire arduous ride from New Kreos, Kysis had refused to truly rest, had refused to show even an inkling of the pain he was feeling, even an inkling of worry.  He had to be strong like the Liari steel to make it back, to return home and right the wrong done by Matthew in delivering news of his false demise.  If Matthew had just stayed in New Kreos, the shock upon returning home might not have been so hard, and Rico... Rico might have still been alive.  At least that was what Kysis told himself.

There was a slow churning sort of rage he had for Matthew, sitting beside that dark chasm in the back of his head.  They were not at the forefront, but waiting.

Kysis laid down thankfully, sagging down onto the overly soft bed.  He had not gotten to sleep on a bed since... since he originally left Oberon.  It felt good to lay down, and he tried, the best he could, to relax, though small trembles still took him now and then.

He was able to focus a little better now that he was off his feet, paying close attention to Lam, what she did.  He wanted to reach out to her, grab her, tell her not to leave, plead with her, but he remained silent, barely even moving until Lam was kissing him and telling him an indirect goodbye.

He turned his head, giving a soft kiss on her hand which he managed to catch without too much strain, before letting her go.  Kysis found he could not speak, just laying his head back down.

The last thing he wanted to say was goodbye, and he hoped it was the same way.  He had just come back.  Kysis closed his eyes, eyelids feeling as though they weighed a hundred pounds at least.

He quickly dropped into a light, fitful slumber.  It had been a while since he\'d even gotten proper sleep, and when he started to get some, horrific nightmares always woke him.  Now, it was a sleep of utter exhaustion, Kysis forced into it without even really noticing.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 13, 2011, 10:23:44 AM
As it turned out, Lam got to the apothecary and was returning with two of them in tow - one an older woman who moved frustratingly slowly and a young man who helped her along for the most part - by the time Alex got back from the stables. Atropos had been surprisingly little trouble for him, but he\'d stayed to attend to the horse himself, wanting to reassure his lord that the beast was well cared for.
The whole walk back to the manor, Lam shot anxious sideways looks at the old woman, wondering if it would be appropriate to pick up her other arm and simply heft her the whole way, so that it would happen faster. She didn\'t, though the urge was difficult to resist.
Kysis was sleeping when they all entered and Alex and Lam gathered quietly in the room with the two healers, listening as the old woman clucked and cleaned the wound. She gave quiet advice but poked and prodded at the opening quite viciously (in Lam\'s worried opinion), exclaiming over how deep it went and what sort of healing she could see happening within. Overall, she seemed satisfied, dropping powders of various sorts into the gap before she stepped aside and invited her colleague - whose hands weren\'t failing with the first signs of arthritis - in to begin sewing the wound shut with sheep tendon - the proper way to do it, she explained haughtily.
Lam barely paid them any attention from then on, her gaze rivetted on Kysis, expecting he\'d awaken when the cowl first pierced his flesh and wanting him to not to be startled by it - but she could hardly wake him sooner, when there was a chance he would sleep through it. If the gentleman (whose name was Robert, as it happened) attending him was as gentle as his nature indicated he would be, it might be possible to leave her husband to sleep deservedly.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 13, 2011, 11:13:05 AM
Somehow, Kysis had not awakened when the group came in, the exhaustion winning out after all.  Though he had always been a light sleeper, this was a very deep slumber.  Even the initial poking at the back half of his wound did not wake him in the least, or the powders applied to it.

It was only when the needle pricked him, the hard pulled sheep tendon sliding through his tender skin, that Kysis suddenly jolted and tensed, eyes flying open, wide and full with a wild, almost mad sort of fear.  He gasped a few short breaths, turning quite suddenly.

And then he saw that he was laying in a bed, in Alia\'s old room, and that it was a healer merely sewing up his back.

Kysis sagged back into the bed, burying his face into his arms, squeezing his eyes shut.  He tried relaxing his back muscles again, the young male healer having paused to wait for him, so there would be no more tearing.  Then finally, when Kysis got his fluttering heart to calm and his breathing to be more regular, the man started stitching him up again.

It was painful, considering there was no sort of numbing agent used at all and the wound was quite tender from being reopened, but Kysis was glad for some proper medical attention, as there really hadn\'t been much in New Kreos.  His original treatment had been the sort of treatment a soldier gives on the field, which is better than nothing, but not much.  This would help a great deal.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 13, 2011, 11:23:33 AM
The tendons were wet, pulled from a stoppered bottle in Robert\'s kit, but the needle was still sharp and Lam knew there would be much discomfort.  She moved swiftly to his head, resting a hand on his muscular shoulder to let him know she was nearby, knowing he\'d gone through much worse to get this far, but wondering at it nevertheless.
"Would you like some wine?" she offered quietly, knowing alcohol would soothe him and help numb the pain for a while.  She had stronger alcohol available, if he wished that, but figured she\'d start with the more refined offerings.  Thinking on it, she realised he probably hadn\'t had a decent meal in a while, either, and she should dutifully offer that, as well.  "Are you hungry?"
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 13, 2011, 12:04:11 PM
Kysis leaned his head against Lam\'s arm as she touched his arm, taking a small amount of comfort from her closeness.  It had been slightly disorienting, waking to a sudden pain, seeing strange people and a room he had never woken up in before, but now, he had calmed down a bit, and knowing Lam was in the room was a reassurance.

The offer of wine... Kysis mulled over it, considering.  It would help with the pain.  It would help keep his mind off everything.  It might even help keep the demons away.

And then food was offered.  Kysis\' stomach lurched a little.  He was feeling a touch too nauseous to smell food, much less consume it, the pain and fatigue not helping any.  Perhaps later, when he was stitched up all the way and had some time to recover from a relapse in the way of blood loss.

"No food, thank you.  Perhaps water?" Kysis\' mouth was considerably drier than he expected, and when he wetted his lips, they only seemed drier for his efforts.  The thought of wine was discarded, forgotten when his stomach churned at the mention of food.  Water, however, sounded good, as Kysis knew he was probably on the dehydrated side.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 13, 2011, 03:01:06 PM
"Alright," she smiled and began to move just as she felt a hand on her shoulder, holding her down in her crouch.  She looked up to see Alex smiling at her, reassuring her that he would go and get the water, so that she could remain with her husband.  His needs were obviously the most important to both of them at that moment.
"Won\'t be long," she assured Kysis, holding his eye contact with another smile, trying to think of something to distract him from the pain if he wasn\'t going to take alcohol.  "Was the weather good on your journey back?"  It was inane, but all that would come to her at that moment.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 13, 2011, 10:32:26 PM
Kysis was thankfully when she stayed, though with his blind side towards the door to the dining hall, he could not see who went to retrieve the water in her stead.  He could tell that there was some communication going on, even if it was not verbal.

When the tried and true topic of weather came up, he understood that while he generally thought such subjects were pointless wastes of speech, it was meant to distract him.  With the wet, strange, seething pull of the tendon through his skin, he could use all of the distraction he could get.

"The weather held well for us, though there were a few ominous clouds over Frankish lands." Kysis spoke quietly, making sure he did not move too much with the words, and not really caring for the other people in his house to hear what he said.

He wondered just how much Lam had told them to get both healers here so quickly... or perhaps he had been asleep longer than he thought, though it only felt like the blink of an eye.

"I hope Atropos was tired enough he was not too much of a problem." Right now, he would not elaborate.  There were other people in the room. If he could have, he would have switched to Greek entirely.  His accent had thickened from going back to Kreos, so it was a wonder if these people could understand him, unless they had dealt with accents a lot.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 14, 2011, 07:24:23 AM
She chuckled at his thoughts of Atropos.  "Alex said he was surprisingly well behaved indeed, though he stayed to make sure that he was properly cared for.  He, uh, also had to secure him a new stall, so that took a little bit of time.  He didn\'t say, but I believe he managed to get one of the big ones again."

It was a bleak thing, to admit that in Kysis\' \'death\' they\'d surrendered Atropos\' large stall, with the belief that the horse would never return, simply because his master never would.  It immediately turned her mind back to thinking of all that had transpired while he\'d been... away.

She cleared her throat and tried to think of something else that wasn\'t related to death or Dagger to think about.  "Dora walked when she was just past nine moons old, you know.  She\'s used to it now and she gets into everything if you don\'t watch her.  I hired a new housekeeper to cook, clean and help me look after her - you may have seen her earlier," Lam frowned delicately, finding there was a haze over her memory, of exactly what had occurred when Kysis had walked in earlier that day, "her name\'s Lily.  Unfortunately, she does more watching of Alex than she does of Dora," Lam muttered jokingly.

It felt odd to share the goings-on of the household, like she was telling a guest where to put their chamber pot for collection in the morning or something.  There was... a detachment she couldn\'t seem to overcome because it was hard for her to resolve that Kysis was actually back, there was almost a block to her thinking because it was such a surreal concept.  The dead walked once more.  It was... odd, yes, but she knew she needed to dispel these feelings and start imagining him back in the household, as part of it, once more.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 14, 2011, 09:14:48 AM
"Yes, I think I met Lily." Kysis remembered Lam calling for a woman to take Pandora-- whom Lam seemed to have given a nickname since he left-- along with Matthew\'s help to her aunt and uncle\'s care.  It would be strange, living in a house with someone he did not know in the least, but something he had to get used to, considering that the manor\'s main attendant was now gone.

Carefully, Kysis glanced over his shoulder.  The man was tying off the lat knot of the stitches, the skin carefully sewn together, Kysis unable to spot any gaps.  It looked sturdy.  Next the man slathered some sort of wet substance on the stitches, the elderly woman explaining that he would have to regularly reapply the salve in order to keep the stitches moist and to keep there from being further tearing during the healing process.

She also stated that he should avoid any sort of hard work, or other strenuous activities.

For once, Kysis agreed to that without protest.  He had had enough of swordwork for a while now.  Yes, he would still have to manage the business, but he could not see himself holding a sword for a while, or training as arduously as he had before.  He did not see himself needing it.  Not now, not when he was so freshly back from the horrors of war and the verge of death.

"Thank you." Kysis meant it sincerely, though the words had somewhat of an edge to them, attributed to the pain.  He asked how much he owed, Alex coming back with the water at that point.  Kysis instructed the man, in Greek, to fetch the coin, which he jumped quickly to comply with.

Kysis did not dare sit up quite yet, not with these people still in the room at the very least, taking a very careful cup of the mug of water Alex had given him.  He was eager for these outsiders to be gone.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 14, 2011, 11:04:37 AM
Lam\'s Greek was rusty; she hadn\'t pursued its use because Alex was more interested in acclimatising to Oberon\'s language than she had been interested in learning the language of her dead husband.  She\'d insisted Alex speak in Greek to Pandora, though, so that she grew up hearing the language of both of her ancestors.  When Kysis spoke, she thought she picked out the word for money of some sort, but she wasn\'t sure until Alex returned, just as the healers were finished packing up their belongings and handing over the container of salve.
"Oh, no, Alex, I\'ve already paid them!" Lam exclaimed when she saw him holding a coin purse.  She\'d paid them double what they got paid normally and twice that again for the two of them, so that she could ensure their prompt attendance at her home, when there were others lined up at the apothecary for their attention.  Plenty of money had been thrown their way already, and although the healers cast greedy eyes at the coin pouch, Lam felt they\'d been paid enough... until they cast resentful looks her way and then she relented.
"Although, I hadn\'t reimbursed our wise healers for their supplies, perhaps a generous tip is a good idea," she advised Alex, sharing a knowing look with him that had him forking out more coins for each of them.  Really, Lam was happy to pay triple anything they demanded, for her husband\'s sake, but she didn\'t want to appear to be taken for a fool.  Being known as a woman who would throw money after anything she wanted was not something she craved.
"Could you please accompany our guests as far as they\'ll need you?" she asked Alex, not knowing whether the old crone would need support back to the apothecary or not.  Weighed down with coin as she was, perhaps she\'d welcome the services of a big, strapping Greek boy to support her all the way back.
As they all left, Lam fussed around tidying things up, moving the blood-soaked towels out of the room and fixing the sheet covering Kysis\' lower half before she squatted down near his head once more.  "Now.  Was that enough water?  Can I get you anything else or would you just like to rest now?" she asked him softly, laying a hand on his arm once more.  Being on his stomach with one blind eye must be very awkward for him, she realised belatedly, but the pain of sitting up might be worse.  She didn\'t want to force him into any particular position.
If he was going to rest, it was also a perfect time for her to go to see Dagger and her family, and properly inform both parties of Kysis\' return.  A different reception would occur at each, she wagered, but all parties needed to know.  The sooner the better, even if it did cause her heart to race at the thought of it.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 14, 2011, 12:14:05 PM
Kysis was too tired to be angry at the healers for trying to charge extra of an injured man.  They saw his back, saw his wounds, and yet, were still lacking in the compassion Kysis expected of their profession.  It let a bitter taste in his mouth, but he said nothing, allowing Lam to deal with the situation, as she had complete control of it.

Once they were gone, and he heard the front door close and bolt, Kysis set the mug down on the floor next to him, turning his head so his left cheek was rested on his arms and he could actually see Lam.

Again, he could feel the pull of exhaustion, its rough, relentless hands gripping every fiber of him, trying to pull him down, under the black curtain of sleep again.  And while his mind reached up, grasping, trying to stay above the surface, it was a loosing battle.

"I... I haven\'t gotten rest in a while." His voice was hushed, heavily laden with the load of everything he had been through, dragging him down further.  He fought to keep his eyes open, barely winning that skirmish, though the next battle against sleep was already surging forward.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 14, 2011, 06:08:43 PM
"Alright.  Well, I\'ll wait until Alex can be here with you, then I might go and see my aunt and uncle - they\'ll no doubt want to know your story and possibly want to visit, but I\'ll convince them you\'re too tired for that.  I\'ll bring Dora home, too, perhaps you\'ll be awake by then.  I won\'t rush though, you sleep as long as you need," she whispered, the guilt souring her innards even as the lies spilled easily off her tongue.

She would go first to Dagger\'s and end their affair, and then be as quick at her aunt and uncles\' place as she could, but she felt it didn\'t hurt to work in the notion that she\'d dally with her family deliberately to give him time to rest, just in case either took longer than expected.  Dagger\'s reaction wouldn\'t be good, although her delivering the news in front of his wife would likely work in her favour... she couldn\'t guarantee that would happen, though.

Lam had no idea whether the woman suspected her of sleeping with her husband; she believed she likely did, just as Lam had always sensed it when Dagger had slept around on her when they were together.  There was a sense of these things.  She did know that Alex likely knew about the affair, for even though she\'d lied about staying overnight at her family\'s residence, he seemed to always stare at her in a soft and somehow approving way.  Like he knew, but he understood the lengths she was going to, to keep her pain at bay.  It could all have been in her imagination, but it made her even more grateful for the large, silent man\'s presence in her life.

What must he think now, though?  If he did know about her and Dagger, would he break the silent stigma of such matters in order to tell her his opinion?  She doubted it, but her guilt made her worry that she\'d let Alex down as well; she was feeling more and more that she could never do anything but let the men in her life down, that she never would.  Her self pity had no place in the shadow of Kysis\' wounds, however, and she needed to push that aside for his sake.

"I love you, I\'ll see you when you awaken, my darling."  She kissed his hand (feeling wrong about kissing his mouth with such lies being told) and stood, preparing to take her leave.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 14, 2011, 11:35:57 PM
Wait until Alex got back?  The words drifted through his head, lingering, but not really finding any purchase.  Kysis nodded in a slow, lethargic, tired sort of way, as though he had to move his head through molasses.  That was what it felt like.

He could still see Lam there, next to him, taking some reassurance from that.  When she returned with Pandora, he wanted to be well rested so he could spend the proper time and energy with his daughter.  She was already walking!  When he left for Kreos, she was swaddled in cloth, so small, so vulnerable, and it had hurt his heart all the way through to have to leave such a beautiful child behind, but he knew Lam was more than capable and that his people needed him.

The thought of just how many people would have died had he not shown up when he did had him slightly more awake again, a sour taste in his mouth.  He had to go, even if he felt like he had stepped outside the river that was time, and everyone else had been whisked away without him.  It would take a great deal of swimming for him to find them again, but first, he had to sleep.

He smiled softly as Lam kissed his hand, wanting a kiss on the lips, but not having the will to speak it out loud.  Perhaps Lam was uncomfortable.  That could be it.  He remembered how skittish he had been, once upon a time.  That last small layer of innocence he had still clung to was gone now.

"I love you." There was something slightly desperate to his tone.  He needed to say it, he needed Lam to remember it.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 16, 2011, 01:59:28 AM
She swallowed hard and watched him fall into the arms of sleep, leaving him only when she heard movement elsewhere in the house.  She didn\'t know how long it took, though she was stiff from crouching by the bed when she eventually moved.  She met Alex on his way in.  "He\'s sleeping," she told him, "would you watch over him while I go to the palace to tell them I won\'t be in for a few days and get Dora from my aunt and uncle\'s place?"

He agreed willingly, but she couldn\'t quite meet his gaze.  It wasn\'t a complete lie - she would have to go to the palace and inform them of her intended absence, wanting to be by her husband\'s side until he was at least able to move freely enough to walk around, if necessary - but she knew that, depending on how long her entire trip took, she might have to lie afterwards.

She went to Dagger\'s residence first, relieved when Mia answered the door.  There was wariness between them still and Lam had never been able to figure out whether it was just because she\'d once bedded Mia\'s husband... or whether she knew she still did.

"I have amazing news!  Is Balthus here?" she enthused, grabbing Mia\'s hand and dragging her along behind her until she found Dagger.  "Kysis is alive!  My husband returned to me this morning!" she told them both and, to his credit, Dagger\'s eyes only gave the barest of flickers.  Mia was predictably astounded and congratulatory, doing the majority of the talking with Lam, asking all the right questions that allowed her to tell the couple of Kysis\' injured state, the death of Rico, the destruction of his home town.

When Dagger made a snide comment about what sort of husband left his wife abandoned without sending word, she bristled, arguing that he\'d come himself, as soon as he was able, that he\'d just about killed himself getting to her as fast as he could, in fact.  Their eyes locked and the tension in the room rose palpably as her spine stiffened and Dagger raised further objections as to why she shouldn\'t accept Kysis back in her life (not that he said so in as many words, but it was implied).  His points were salient enough for Mia to echo his concerns, but Lam would have none of it; especially since she realised that what he was actually fighting for was continued time alone with her and Pandora.

Feeling cornered and knowing she had to make her point bluntly, Lam stated that regardless of the circumstances surrounding Kysis\' return and his possible mental health after such an ordeal, she was ecstatic that her daughter would have the benefit of growing up with a father now.  The blow struck Dagger where she intended - even as Mia agreed with her point (likely in an effort to ease the tension she wasn\'t able to define) - and, as much as she regretted hurting him when he\'d been nothing but wonderful to her in helping her through her mourning, she couldn\'t take her words back.

Dagger retreated to stony silence, his eyes telling her the tremendous blow she\'d delivered his heart and suddenly it was all too much for her to bear.  Being stuck between two men she loved had never been harder.  Blinking back tears, she blathered about still being emotional and shocked to explain it away, grateful for Mia\'s sympathy and kind words as she said she\'d better move on to tell the palace she wouldn\'t be at work for a while, and to visit her family to share her news.  She left the house with Dagger\'s quiet warning that she shouldn\'t invest too much time in things that might destroy her career and that if she ever wanted to talk about things, she knew where he was ringing in her ears.

She knew, certainly. But she didn\'t plan to visit him alone again any time soon.

The palace message was delivered efficiently and she organised two weeks of leave without meeting with Hew, stressing her desperate need to get home to her husband to avoid that eventuality.  Hew was always busy with something or other, so it wasn\'t too difficult to extricate herself as advisor, when there were others to take her place (though she was loathe to allow the vile man Phinneus any advance in such matters).  She hastened out of the palace after just over ten minutes had elapsed.

Her aunt and uncles\' house was an entirely different matter.  Mairin sat Lam down and had her recount just about every second since Kysis\' return, and every word he\'d spoken, so that she could understand how such a tragic mistake had been made.  She\'d spoken somewhat to Matthew when he\'d arrived with Lily, but he\'d seemed even more traumatised than Lam did, and still heavily in mourning for his lost love.  Respectfully, they\'d let him go to see his parents; not so, Lam.

Donald came and went throughout the conversation but, at one point when she and her aunt were alone, she was stunned to be asked what she was planning to do about Dagger.  Staring, dumbfounded, Mairin had clasped her hand and told her that of course she\'d figured it out and the man was owed a medal for bringing her peace in such harrowing times.

Lam broke down, confessing everything; her confusion, her sorrow, her guilt.  Mairin was excellent at calming her and reassured her that she was not an evil temptress for Talon in disguise.  She\'d merely done what had to be done to get through her grief and Dagger also couldn\'t be faulted for his caring of her and her child.  Mairin eventually convinced her that there was no blame to be had in this situation, that it was merely a terrible set of circumstances that had occurred badly.  Surprisingly, she wasn\'t convinced Lam should even tell Kysis what she\'d done, since it might hurt him and do more harm than good, but she didn\'t give any definitive instructions to her niece.  She told her to follow her heart.

The sun was sinking towards the horizon when Lam and Pandora finally made it home.  She\'d been gone just over five hours and had regretted that time apart from Kysis, but hadn\'t managed to pull herself back into calmness before then - she didn\'t want to walk into the house looking miserable and like she\'d been crying.  Passing the kitchen, she spied Lily working on the evening\'s meal and informed her she was home before she walked into Kysis\' makeshift bedroom, the lively blonde - who was getting more than fussy for her dinner and bed by this late stage - perched on her left hip.  She first wanted to ascertain Kysis\' wakefulness and possible needs before she set about feeding and bathing Dora.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 16, 2011, 02:23:26 AM
A great majority of the time Lam was gone, Kysis was deep in sleep, a good sort of sleep where he dreamed only of the events of earlier, meeting his daughter there at the door.  Pandora was practically wreathed in sunlight in those dreams, and instead of the sobering events which followed, his mind replaced them with his playing with Pandora, and Lam participating.

When he woke, there was a sort, wistful smile on his lips.  Then he remembered, that had not happened.  Pandora did not even know him at this point.  Alex was sitting near by, and offered to retrieve him clothing.

For now, Kysis only donned his pants, Alex helping him up the stairs to his room, which was hardly his room anymore.

Kysis wandered around the chamber slowly, running his hands across the unfamiliar bed cover, then walking to the crib, staring into that empty space with sad eyes.  Eventually, he found where his clothes where, exactly where he left them, perhaps the only thing still familiar.

With some help from Alex, Kysis managed to don a tunic fitting to his station as a lord, though it was not too dressy. Kysis did not want to seem formal, though the black tones he wore made him seem such, despite it all.  He was still in mourning for more than just his city, after all.

Apparently Lily as back, the young woman servant blushing as she curtsied and introduced herself to him.  After that was done, Kysis suggested she begin preparing dinner for Lam\'s return, which she jumped to immediately.  Alex went about cleaning Alia\'s old room, Kysis finding out Alex had been using it as his own for a while; Kysis followed him, sitting in a chair out of the way, the two having short, clipped, stilted conversation about what had happened in Kreos when Lam returned.

Kysis wanted to jump up immediately, but forced himself not to, very mindful of his just redone stitches.  Slowly, he got up, with the help of Alex, facing both Lam and Pandora.  His eyes, haunted, dark eyes, lit up slightly at the sight of his daughter.  He approached just as slowly as he had stood, not wanting to startle his daughter.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 16, 2011, 01:40:09 PM
"You\'re awake!" Lam exclaimed as she approached, looking him over.  "And dressed!  Why?" she demanded, instinctively holding Pandora\'s front foot against her hip as she leaned forward and kissed Kysis on the cheek.  Their daughter had stopped kicking and fussing as she was pressed lightly against this strange man though, fingers in her mouth and wide blue eyes gazing at her father in a speculative sort of way.

Lam didn\'t want to think about the fact that Dora had only ever seen her kiss Dagger, but it came into her mind anyway, guilt spurring her into talking more than she had to.

"Sorry I took so long, I expected you\'d still be down here sleeping, you need to recover you know," she admonished her husband, looking at the bed and seeing its state of tidiness.  It didn\'t look like Kysis was going to be making himself comfortable in it again, any time soon.  Her heart fluttered at the thought he\'d join her in their bed and she couldn\'t have said whether it was through excitement or worry that she\'d hurt him by rolling around restlessly in the night.

"Are you going to even be able to get up the stairs, won\'t you want to stay down here until you\'re more agile?" she queried, believing Alex had brought Kysis his completely inappropriate wardrobe - the lord should still have his torso naked to air his wounds, in her opinion.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 17, 2011, 01:35:48 AM
Kysis gave a warm smile as Lam kissed him rather chastely on the cheek, though right now, he had eyes only for the little strawberry blond girl he did not even recognize.  She had hair now, showing some of Lam\'s wonderful red tones, and big blue eyes, and though she was young, she looked about as curious as one would expect of a child with the name Pandora, of all things.  And yet, he\'d been insistent upon the name, something in his gut saying if they had to girl, that was going to be it.

Ah yes, he was supposed to be resting.  Rather than immediately start defending himself, saying at least he had not done anything truly strenuous, he reached out a nervous hand towards Pandora, doing everything he could to stop it from shaking.

This was his child.  His mind had a hard time wrapping around it, considering how quickly he had to leave for Kreos after her birth.  He touched Pandora\'s arm lightly, still smiling.

Finally, he looked up into Lam\'s eyes. "I had Alex help me up the stairs.  I...

wanted to see if you had removed me entirely from your life

needed to see our room." Kysis bit back those other words, rolling his lips together slightly.  They still felt strange with that scar. "You know I cannot sit still for the life of me.  I needed to do something... and I kept it within my bounds."

In all reality, he could have gone to the markets to see how badly the shop was doing, considering the disruption in weapons being sent north with the dire need to the south.  There would be another caravan of weapons coming soon, now that everything had died down to a low simmer, among other things, like olive oil, though that was not for sale.

Alex shifted a little, uncomfortably.  He looked between his master and the lady of the house, whom he had grown somewhat closer to during Kysis\' absence; they both understood grieving.  And though Kysis was returned, Alex knew it was not the same Kysis who had left.  He wanted to speak to Lam alone, but knew it was not his place to separate them, since they had been forcefully separated for so long.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 17, 2011, 02:05:24 AM
"Recuperating is something," she muttered, watching him pat timidly at his daughter\'s arm; the baby looked down at him touching her too, unsure what something so soft was all about.  "This is your daddy, Pandora," she told the little girl, whose gaze swivelled up to meet her mother\'s when she heard her name.  "Daddy," Lam repeated meaningfully.

"Da... " Pandora said, the sound more of a light, airy hiccup of noise rather than a word that actually had any meaning.  She was watching her mother\'s lips, trying to learn.


"Da... "

Lam had never encouraged such a word - nor even the concept - with her child, so she knew it would take some time for there to be any sort of meaning to it.  Still, she smiled and nodded, using big, bright actions when Pandora mostly copied, reaching over with her right hand to touch Kysis\' chest.


"Da... " Dora echoed yet again, now looking up at her father\'s face.

"Yes!  Good girl!" Lam congratulated, clapping the baby\'s hands together to let her know she\'d done something to celebrate.  Not knowing what she\'d done but tired enough to be excited by anything, Dora shook her head rapidly from side to side and barked a little laugh.  She stopped as soon as her mother\'s obvious excitement did and her hand went back to her mouth for her to gnaw on and stare at Kysis some more.

"She\'ll understand soon enough," Lam smiled indulgently from the baby up into Kysis\' eyes.  "Hopefully your stitches will be mended enough that you can start holding her, too - I\'m afraid to let her near you just yet, because she\'s really rather strong and I don\'t want her to hurt you with a wild kick or crawling on you.  Do you want to feed her?  She\'ll have some rice pudding while we eat, then we can bathe her and take her upstairs for her drink before she sleeps."

It was odd, describing a routine to Kysis like he was a stranger, yet she and Alex and Lily did it every single day - catering to Pandora while they ate their evening meal together, then Alex generally helped Lam bathe Dora before they parted ways, Lam taking the baby upstairs to breastfeed before she was put in her cot for the night.  Again, the surreality of welcoming someone else into their routine struck her and she was momentarily lost for words.

What would it be like when there was no longer anything between them?  No wounds to tend, no baby to introduce, no meal to eat?  Just... she and Kysis... and the dreadful burden of her guilt, the knowledge that just two nights before, she\'d been in another bed, with another man and Pandora slumbering nearby while they... it didn\'t bear thinking on.  Honestly, would Kysis really be up to sharing a bed with her?  What if she flailed in her sleep as she usually did and hurt him?  She would broach that, when the time came.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 17, 2011, 09:03:23 AM
Kysis felt a sort of soft warmth well up inside of him when he heard Pandora speak, even if it was in small little bits, just part of the word Lam was trying to goad her into saying.  When Pandora finally looked at him and said Da, Kysis had to close his eyes and take a deep breath, all of it washing over him so quickly.

The transition between the embattled Kreos to here was so startling that his nerves and wits were still a bit frayed.  He would have to take this in steps, even if it meant there was still some distance between him and his family.  Too much at once and...

Kysis opened his eyes again, swallowing at the hard lump which had formed in his throat to no avail.

Perhaps it was best if he would have to wait to handle her for a while.  If not for his mending physically, for his mending emotionally.  Kysis nodded mutely, trying to take in all of the information he was suddenly rushed with.  He knew nothing about the care babies needed, nor of the routine Lam might have established, so it was all frightfully new.  Kysis knew he would not remember it all, but for now, he nodded again, realizing that he would need to supply some sort of answer.

"Yes, I would like to feed her." Kysis looked from Lam to Pandora again.  She was such a small, innocent, helpless creature.  She needed taking care of at every moment, careful attention.  Kysis felt a pang for a moment.  Should he have stayed in Oberon, despite his people\'s call?  Already he had fallen short of his duty as lord to Kreos, having let the place fall to Ottoman control.  Yes, they had managed to save so many people, but...

No matter what, he would not be leaving Oberon any time soon, for Pandora\'s sake.

His mind trailed off for a moment, to those who would be moving to the north as well.  Jax, filled with shame at failing as Captain of Kreos\' guard, would be traveling north, along with Calista, his cousin, who had in her care a child almost a whole year older than Pandora.  When Kysis had seen poor Calypso without a father, he knew he had to make haste to Oberon for his own daughter.

"Does Pandora have any playmates?  Calista is relocating here, and her daughter..." Kysis looked away, having to steady his mind for a moment.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 18, 2011, 09:25:48 AM
"Calista!" Lam cried, excited by the news... until Kysis\' reaction registered, along with his words.  "Just her daughter?  Tiberius... ?" she asked tremulously, receiving her answer in his eyes without him even having to say anything.  "Oh no," she breathed, tears coming to her eyes.  The war had taken too many good people, she\'d really liked Tiberius.

Pandora, discontent with all the standing around and talking, took that moment to start crying, grappling at the front of her mother\'s tunic and swiping her face against the breasts that were denied her.  Lam frowned down at her tired daughter, telling her, "No!" in a firm voice that only made Dora cry harder.

"Come on, let\'s get some food," she told Kysis, ignoring the dramatic crying in her ear.  Pandora didn\'t like being reprimanded but it only made Lam do it more often; the redhead feared what her willful, beautiful child would become if she was always given her own way (and it was likely, if she grew up to retain the angelic beauty she possessed now - the world was kinder to the pretty ones).

She walked into the kitchen, where they ate their meals.  The dining room had seemed so big and formal when Kysis was gone, that she, Alex, Lily and Pandora had taken to just using the worn and solid kitchen table instead.  Pandora had her own chair, fashioned by a woodworker in Oberon, that was tall enough to bring her up to Lam\'s eye level and had a tray on the front of it to place her food bowl on while she was fed.  Lam placed her daughter in it now - unsurprised when her squalling immediately stopped, because she recognised she was about to be fed and the tears had been false anyway - and pushed her against the table so she would be stabilised while she and Lily indulged in a little shorthand conversation, evidence that they did this every meal.

"She in the chair?"

"Yes, is dinner...?"

"Almost.  Hers is there, on the warming plate."

"Ah, good, her daddy\'s going to feed her."

"He got a rain coat on?"

"I haven\'t warned him yet, where\'s her..?"

"There\'s a clean bib in the washing over-"

"Ah yes, I completely forgot it was on the line."

"That\'s what I\'m here for.  Is Alex...?"

"Actually, I\'m not sure, I\'ll just go and see, he was in... here, tie this on and feed her small mouthsful of this, with this small spoon.  Hopefully she\'s as hungry as I think she is, and she won\'t end up spitting any out at you - but I can\'t guarantee you\'ll walk away clean!" Lam warned with a laugh as she handed Kysis the small square of material she\'d dug from the washing basket on a chair by the back door - it had strings dangling from it that made it obvious (to her) that the cloth was to be tied around Pandora\'s neck to catch her food dribbles - and a bowl filled with a small amount of sloppy, blandly-coloured rice cereal in it.

With a vague gesture that indicated Kysis should sit in one of the chairs either side of Pandora\'s chair, at the head of the table, Lam left the room, intending to see what was taking Alex so long to follow them into the kitchen.  He was rarely late for meals, though she supposed perhaps he was hanging back to allow Kysis to take over the quasi-father role he\'d been forced to adopt in his lord\'s absence.  Alex was thoughtful like that.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 18, 2011, 12:08:04 PM
Kysis kept looking between Lam and Lily, the conversation flying through one of his ears and back out the other, its going by so quickly.  It almost sounded rehearsed.  Coming into the kitchen rather than into the dining room for their meal was strange, though it looked as though that was where they had been taking their meals. It almost seemed cozy.

And then suddenly Lam was talking to him again, and it took a moment for his mind to catch up. He took the cloth and stared at it, replaying the words in his head.  Oh yes.  Kysis tied the little cloth around Pandora\'s neck, then sat so she was on his left, though he turned to face her completely anyway.  Soon enough, Lily placed the bowl in front of Pandora and he had a spoon in his hand, for his first attempt at feeding his own daughter.

Alex was staring at the floor when Lam entered the room.  He did not look up immediately, then finally, after letting out a shaky sigh of a breath, lifted his gaze.  With Kysis in the kitchen, they were finally alone, and he could speak to her without worry of his lord overhearing them, and yet it felt as though his tongue had swollen to the size of a million bricks, standing strong like the walls of Troy.

Looking at his feet again, he shifted his weight back and forth, knowing he probably only had a breath of a moment. "M\'Lady, I need to warn you of something." His English was easier now, Alex making a concerted effort at learning the language, as he knew that was what Alia would have wanted for him.  That was enough to keep him learning, and learn he did, though his accent was still extremely thick.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 18, 2011, 01:27:17 PM
Lam\'s jovial query about what Alex was doing died on her lips when she saw his demeanour, her heart flying to her mouth as she heard his serious words.  She stepped closer, into the room, holding her own hands with her breath caught.

"What is it?" she asked in a whisper, uncertain what it could be but supposing it had come from the time he\'d spent alone with Kysis that day.  That was all it could be, right?  What had her husband told him?  Millions of scenarios, thoughts of other women, other men, dying love, desires for them to relocate to Kreos flashed through her head, but still she waited, breathless with worry.

In the kitchen, Lily hovered, watching Kysis attempt to feed Pandora before she went back to the stove to dish out their meals.  "Wipe afterwards, sir, like this," she told him, nervously taking the spoon from his fingers to shovel another spoonful into Pandora\'s waiting mouth.  When some food leaked back out, Lily demonstrated the method of turning the spoon sideways to scrape it up from her lips and using it in the next mouthful, tapping it into the enamel bowl before holding the spoon out towards Kysis once more.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 18, 2011, 11:35:12 PM
Kysis took notes of what Lily showed him, trying to soak in every detail so he could get it right. He had always been a perfectionist.  That, at least, had not changed.

Taking back the spoon, Kysis tried again, emulating the motion of catching the dribble to be used for that next spoonful.  Again, he was struck by just how helpless children were, how much they had be cared for, and he tried harder, making sure he got the feeding right.

Alex knew, perhaps, that he had made to grave of a statement, and yet, he knew that sort of weight was absolutely necessary.  He glanced at the door, then back at Lam.  He could hear how distracted Kysis was, and knew it was now or never.

"I do not believe it would be a good idea to bring Matthew back into the household." Alex looked down again, shuffling.  He felt strange, warning Lam of something.  She was his lord\'s wife, and yet, he felt this had to be said. "We were speaking of Kreos and..." Alex frowned, trying to find a way to phrase it. "He has much anger at Matthew."

The words did not sound quiet right, but it would have to do.  He could try to explain more, if that was what Lam wanted, though he hoped he had sent the message effectively.  Alex was extremely worried, and figured Lam would be a much better judge of the situation and more likely to know what to do in regards to his lord.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 18, 2011, 11:50:29 PM
"Ohh," she breathed her understanding, her gaze sliding sideways to look at the bed, unseeing for all that she\'d chosen it as her focus.  "Yes, alright.  I... sensed that earlier.  Because of Rico," she nodded, now frowning back at Alex, somewhat questioning, mostly knowing.

There\'d been a great deal of restraint and anger within Kysis\' words at the beginning and she\'d been in so much shock, she still couldn\'t be sure she was right, but her gut told her she was.  Alex had more or less confirmed it.  "Well, I think he\'s planning to stay with his parents for tonight," she murmured, folding her left arm across her stomach and resting her right elbow on the wrist, that hand creeping up to clasp worriedly at her throat.

"I suppose one of us should offer him the townehouse, if he wants that, although... he\'ll have memories of Rico there, so I\'m not sure what he\'ll want to do," she told Alex quietly, her gaze large and worried.  So much had changed in the space of but a few hours, it was becoming hard not to be overwhelmed by it all, this just another thing that made her want to cry.  Her lip quivered and she bit it, at risk of letting loose her emotions just as she had earlier at her aunt, because everything was so daunting.

"You or I, whoever sees him first, will have to ask.  Tomorrow.  Warn him, I... is that everything?" she whispered, her hand clenching at her throat as she fretted about it all.  She wanted to ask Alex his opinion about when or whether she should reveal her transgressions with Dagger to Kysis but shied from it, knowing it would make things too awkward between them.  It was something best left unsaid.  She hoped.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 19, 2011, 12:19:13 AM
Alex nodded to affirm that if he saw Matthew first, he would warn the man, so he would not have to deal with Kysis\' quiet fury or worse, an outburst of actual hatred aimed at him.  Alex felt for the man, considering how he was only trying to do what duty dictates: tell his lady that her husband had perished.  Alex was certain Matthew would have stayed if he knew it could have changed the outcome of Rico\'s survival, but still, duty called.

Was there anything else?  Yes, there was, but... Alex took a deep breath, holding it for a moment as though it would help gather courage.  And finally, he could say it. "Lord Liari is not the same man you remember.  He is not shy and awkward and innocent any more." Normally, when just talking with Lam, he could call his lord Kysis.  They were not very far separated in age, they had served as guards together, they had been fast friends.  Now, the Kysis he knew was gone.

Kysis gave Pandora another spoonful, scooping again, ever mindful that Lily had said something about having to wear a raincoat.  So far, he\'d yet to see that, though he was slightly worried.  He was wearing a black tunic, and whatever she decided to spew at him would no doubt do some serious harm... though right now, he could not help but concentrate on the task at hand.  He could not imagine such a little angel doing anything like that.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 19, 2011, 12:27:21 AM
Lam\'s frown deepened and she took a step closer to Alex, her expression completely baffled.  "I... don\'t understand what you mean... what you\'re implying...?" she asked.

The man she\'d sent off to war had hardly been shy, awkward or innocent any more.  She\'d watched him shed that skin long before they were married, seen him take the mantle of responsibility so seriously that it had got him killed - she\'d believed.

Why was Alex warning her of what she already knew... unless there was some other aspect of awkwardness or innocence gone, that she wasn\'t aware of?  Was he saying that Kysis had done something in particular that had changed him?  Or was it simply that the torture of being a prisoner had destroyed her husband?

She refused to believe that.  He loved her, he\'d said it.  He was glad to be back, he just... needed time to adjust, that was all.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 19, 2011, 12:55:20 AM
Alex looked back to the door, towards the kitchen, concentrating hard that direction as though he would be able to see his lord through the barriers there, and see exactly what he was trying to say.  And yet, he couldn\'t.  As much as he tried, he couldn\'t.

Maybe he was wrong, and with all his heart he really hoped so, yet, it seemed like there was something missing from his lord which had been there before and he wanted to show that to Lam, to warn her, but he could not put his finger on it.  After a moment, he shook his head. "Maybe I am wrong." He shrugged, deciding that there was nothing he could say now.

Either way, they needed to get into the kitchen.  Alex was vaguely worried about his lord being left alone with Dora; he walked quickly, relieved to see nothing bad had happened, though he had no idea what bad could happen.

Kysis glanced at them when they entered, spoon held up in the air, just in front of Pandora\'s face.  She looked a touch frustrated that the spoon was right there, right by her mouth, but not giving her food.  He did not say anything, turning back towards his daughter, giving her another spoonful.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 19, 2011, 01:10:57 AM
Lam watched Alex walk past her, confusion and overwrought emotions swamping her, causing her to sway so that she found the hand that had been at her throat now supporting her against the wall.  Her eyes closed and she pressed her head to the coolness of the plaster, wishing... wishing things were easier.  Understandable.  Simpler.

With a heavy sigh she straightened away from the wall, squaring her shoulders and preparing to face the confusion and turmoil that awaited her in the kitchen.  Thankfully, dinner was ready - a simple stew with plenty of vegetables and thick chunks of lamb floating in the broth, accompanied by day-old bread and butter - and bowls were ready to be carried to the table.  A few last-minute things were brought over by Lily - salt, pepper and an extra drinking glass for the wine they were having with dinner - and then everyone was seated.

Eating began even as wine was still being poured, Kysis offered anything he might need by Alex for the most part.  "Here, give that to me, I\'ll finish her off while you eat," Lam said softly, reaching for Pandora\'s spoon from Kysis.  She\'d sat opposite her husband and tried to offer a smile as she held her hand out for the utensil but another of those surreal moments struck her and she couldn\'t quite believe he was across from her again.  Not dead.  Not even close.

Idly, she pondered if they should be praying right now, or giving thanks that Kysis was returned to them, but Lam had given up on such frivolities as Gods when Kysis was taken from her.  She no longer had held the heart to indulge energy in sightless creatures, when a very small, very real reminder of all that she\'d lost lay squawking against her breast each day.  No, best she demonstrate her maternal dexterity at feeding herself and her daughter, and leave the worry of thanking Gods to those that had time for them.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 19, 2011, 01:22:18 AM
Kysis gave the little spoon over to Lam, if a bit reluctantly.  He had not been a part of his own daughter\'s life until now, and suddenly, control was taken from him again.  Kysis sat quietly, watching them, lips pressed into a thin line.  Lam would not let him hold the girl as it was likely to tear his stitches, but this did not get in the way of his healing process.

Food was placed above him, the smell calling to his stomach, despite everything.  And then Alex offered him a glass of wine, which Kysis agreed to, if quietly.  This was the first meal he had shared with his wife and daughter, the first meal with his wife in a long time.  Something so mundane seemed so strange now.

Kysis took to eating, slowly, feeling the slightest pang.  He could tell that lamb was used, and it was supposed to be flavor-filled, he was certain, and yet... Kysis closed his eyes, taking a shaky breath.  He could not think about how Rico would have made it better, how Matthew had...

Kysis let out that breath, taking another bite, chewing slowly.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 19, 2011, 07:42:39 PM
Lily\'s face showed that she was somewhat alarmed by Kysis\' reaction to her stew and her gaze flew worriedly to Lam, who gave a minute shake of her head and a reassuring smile.  It settled the serving girl\'s fears that she\'d done a bad job of the cooking and she returned to eating her meal while the lady of the house was left to watch her husband speculatively.  She was pretty sure what was going through his mind; anything to do with food always came back to his Greek roots and how best food was prepared... by Rico.

Her lips pressed together disapprovingly before she took a gulp of her own food then fed Pandora her last.  There\'d been no bored spitting back tonight, thankfully, though she was rather more interested in what her mother had now that there was something else on the table in front of her tray.  "You were a hungry girl tonight, weren\'t you?" she cooed at the baby, who smiled and giggled at her mother on cue.  Before anything could start splattering, Lam moved Dora\'s bowl to the table, leaving her with her spoon to gurgle over.

As the meal progressed, Lam dropped bits of food on Dora\'s tray to keep her entertained - a bit of bread, a carrot, some broccoli, a bean - but by the end of it she wasn\'t hungry and was just playing with it, smearing remnants of vegetables over her face and her hair. Lam did most of the talking to the baby, to keep her entertained and distracted from the fact that she was so tired her eyelids were drooping, but it was obviously a practiced art that her other companions knew well, for they chimed in with a silly action or a bit of food if things were going poorly.  Conversation between the adults themselves was somewhat limited to requesting condiments or discussing the fact that Lam had taken two weeks\' leave from her job as Palace Advisor in order to be at home with Kysis.

Dinner didn\'t take long, thankfully (for Lam was feeling as weary as her daughter looked), and Lily was soon bustling at the sink, pouring water that she\'d been heating over the stove into a large metal tub, tempering it with cold and feeling it with her elbow.  For his part, Alex was clearing the table then heading to the washing basket once more, extracting a soft towel, clean napkin and sleeping outfit while Lam stood and approached the vegetable smeared baby, looking at Kysis with a devious smile.

"Alright, are you ready for your next job, Daddy?" she enquired, hefting Pandora onto her hip, pulling a bit of carrot out of her hair and reflexively eating it as she turned away and bent down to retrieve a small mattress - slightly bigger than the baby - that was stored on one of the shelves beneath the preparation island in the middle of the kitchen.  She placed it on the table and  Pandora was laying on it moments later, grabbing at her swinging feet as Lam announced, "It\'s time to undress and bathe your daughter.  As an added bonus, anything found in her napkin is yours to deal with."

Snickers echoed quietly around the kitchen from nowhere in particular, for all knew the smell of a loaded nappy - they\'d also noticed Pandora grunting while she ate the vegetables they\'d handed over.  Lam was kidding, because Kysis would have no idea how to deal with such an unsavoury surprise (and he wasn\'t agile enough for a trip to the outhouse to dispose of the contents anyway), but she wanted to tease him a little anyway.  She, Alex and Lily occasionally negotiated all sorts of treats in exchange for avoiding this eventuality, or begging favours; the baby was loved.  The baby\'s offcasts were not.

Lam stood beside Pandora so that she didn\'t roll off the changing mattress and the table, letting her fingers be sucked and chewed while she watched Kysis, to see if he was ready to rise to this challenge.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 20, 2011, 08:09:47 AM
Kysis paid attention to the conversation, the way everyone put forth effort to keep Pandora entertained throughout the meal.  It seemed orchestrated, practiced, performed countless times.  Kysis had no idea what to contribute, so he remained silent, concentrating on his food through it all.

Though Kysis tried at first, he could not finish his meal, pushing away about half of the bowl.  He was still not used to eating a great amount of food, and had lost some weight, as was evident from his bath, though it was not too much, his body proving resilient, despite it all.  Kysis had been trying to increase his meals in measures, though he had only been partially successful.

He saw the look Lily gave him, but did nothing to correct her thought.  The food was edible, yes, but at the same time, he was slightly disappointed.  He wanted a taste of home, and the thing he feared was that he would never get it again.

Soon enough, everyone was up and moving again, Alex and Lily and Lam all moving like a well synchronized routine.  Kysis watched, remaining seated.  A small spark of fear touched him, Kysis moving just enough to know he would need help getting up.

Lam caught his attention, Kysis listening, taking it all in.  Then there were the snickers.  What was going on.  Kysis grabbed the arms of the chair he was in, bracing himself, counting to three under his breath.

Before he could do any damage, Alex was there, helping him up.  It was humiliating, to say the least.  Kysis blinked away the water suddenly forming in his eyes, turning his attention back to Pandora, laying there, looking sweet as she did.

Kysis had no idea where to start.  After a moment of looking helplessly at Pandora, Alex stepped in, showing him what to do one step at a time, Kysis following in suit and actually doing the task.

And then the "napkin" was revealed, the smell was revealed, and Kysis was forced to turn his head, holding his breath.  It was shocking that such an angelic little girl could produce something that putrid.

Alex, still feeling guilty about what he said about his lord a moment ago, whisked away the laden napkin, hurrying out of the room with it, thankfully.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 20, 2011, 10:23:30 AM
Lam cast a bemused look at Alex and stepped into his wake, picking up the baby (if Kysis couldn\'t get himself out of his chair easily, there was no way she was going to burden him with carrying the infant) and gathering Kysis\' hand in her free one at the same time.
"Come on, Miss Nude, time for your bath," she announced, pulling Kysis after her towards the sink. With the baby deposited in the warm water, Lam showed Kysis how to bathe his daughter using the soap and the washcloth, smiling and encouraging him in his nervousness, doing as much as was necessary considering his injuries.
It was all very tiring, the tutoring and patience needed to keep a tired baby happy with being the subject of experimental and worried hands exhausting Lam more than if she\'d just done it herself, or let Lily do it. But it was necessary, to bring them together as a family, and as sapping as it was, she was glad for it, kissing Kysis and complimenting him as she wrapped the baby up in her towel and transported her back to the table for dressing.
As she dressed Pandora, Lily questioned Lam on what she\'d require in the morning, being told that a bath for she and Kysis would be required after breakfast (for which Lam requested hotcakes, butter and syrup as a treat) but nothing extraordinary otherwise - nothing that would alter Lily\'s usual routine.
With quick efficiency, Dora was soon dressed warmly and sat upon Lam\'s hip, rubbing her eyes and fussing as her mother said goodnight to everyone. Unusually (for her), this was done not with just words but also a kiss to the cheek for both Lily and Alex, a habit she\'d developed after these two had pulled her through some very dark days indeed.
Checking that Kysis was alright to get up to the bedroom and ignoring any indignation he seemed to be displaying that she bothered asking such a thing, Lam then helped him up the stairs and into their bedroom, closing the door behind him. Alex knocked almost the second it closed and handed her the salve for Kysis\' stitches and she thanked him gratefully before closing the door once more.
"I\'ll put some on after I feed Dora," she told Kysis quietly, stepping over to place the container on the bedside table even as she began loosening her clothing with one hand. The baby\'s fussing reached quite loud levels as she was abandoned momentarily on the bed (so Lam could strip down to her underpants and turn down the bed covers) and everything became too much for her. Soothing the child reassuringly, Lam - now settled against a pile of pillows against the headboard with her legs crossed tailor fashion and a pillow resting mostly on top of her right thigh - pulled Pandora into her lap, on the pillow, cradling her in her arms and attached her to her right breast. Instantly, there was quiet, into which Lam breathed a sigh of relief and smiled tiredly at her husband.
"Ahhh, it\'s bliss, as long as she gets what she wants," she laughed, wondering what other conversation she would be capable of coming up with, now that the room was just filled with the sound of slurping and snuffling baby. It seemed very quiet and she watched Kysis for her cue.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 21, 2011, 03:37:12 AM
Kysis helped as much as he could, rolling up the sleeves of is tunic to make sure they did not get sopping wet, doing what he could with the washcloth.  For so long, he had fought to desensitize himself to everything.  In Kreos, he had to.  This, however, was not something to desensitize himself to.  This was his family.  If he blocked his family out, what would have been the point of racing back at his own peril?

With some help, Kysis made his way up the stairs.  He was nervous about it.  What happened if he needed the outhouse in the middle of the night?  The thought of staring down that long stretch of staircase was nearly dizzying, but he did not speak it.

It seemed Lam was determined to have a normal family again, and for that, he was thankful.

Kysis moved to his tall dresser of clothing, taking slow care with unlacing his tunic and removing it, trying not to move his torso.  The stitches were much drier now, and every little thing seemed to tug at his skin.  He moved to sit on the edge of the bed to get out of his pants and socks, putting on a pair of sleeping pants now, to make sure he could don them on his own, in case he did have to wander out into the dark manor on his own.

That done, he folded the clothing he had been wearing, putting it down by the door, to be dealt with later.  He just dropped the stack, really, as he did not want to bend at this point.

What could he say?  Kysis circled to his side of the bed, not sitting quiet yet. "She has grown up so much..." He knew she had a long, long way to go, and yet, she was already so different than he remembered her.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 21, 2011, 07:09:41 AM
"Mmm," Lam agreed, looking down into Pandora\'s face as she fed, brushing her forehead lovingly with her left hand.  A dark shadow moved in her memory, its presence allowed by tiredness relinquishing space to the negative thing her life had become when Kysis had died.  Dagger was there, but there were many more things to address as well, too many admissions crowding her, wanting to suck out her breath and bury her.  She couldn\'t hold them in and continue as she had been.  Not now.  He had to know.

"She... I nearly killed her," she whispered her confession as she stared intently at her child.  "When you... when I was told you died... I didn\'t want anything to do with her.  She looked too much like you... she was yours... and I hated you for leaving me with her.  I thought I hated her.  I didn\'t want her.  I wanted you.  Mairin would come around and force her onto my breast... I didn\'t want a thing to do with her.  Something in me... didn\'t care if she starved, just as long as she stopped crying.  It... took weeks, I think.  I\'m not entirely sure.  I was so lost without you.  I couldn\'t function.  She got through... eventually," Lam smiled down at the baby, intensely regretful about her behaviours but unable to change them.

So much of those early days had brought home to her what her father went through.  How love could turn so easily into hate.  She\'d never understood before... she wished she still didn\'t, that she hadn\'t become like him, but Adora had seen fit to curse her with the same emotions.  Perhaps her family was cursed?  She often wondered.  Pandora was a big baby, a tall and strong child already, but her own frame had allowed Lam an easy enough delivery.  Her pain had come after the fact but it was more or less the same as what her father went through... did she deserve that, because she killed her mother?

The darkness was ever present, but she hadn\'t succumbed to it in a good long while.  Dagger had kept it at bay, focussing on daily routines had, too.  But with Kysis back... so was that confronting worry.  Would her daughter grow up as spiteful as she had towards her father?  Would there always be a chasm, wedged into place by instinct?  Would Pandora know there had been a time when her own mother had cared so little for her, she might as well have followed her father to the grave?  These questions kept her awake some nights, despite the exhaustion she moved herself into each day, to ensure she could sleep.  Would sleeping get better now that she had a husband again?  Part of her still resented him, she knew...

"I\'m sorry," she said miserably, lifting her gaze to meet Kysis\' now, sorrow skimming around her own watery emerald orbs, slick with fear and tension and anxiety.  Would he hate her for confessing this?  Would it be the worst crime she could confess... for there was another she felt weighed as heavily... had she picked the right way to begin their reconnecting?  She watched him through her tears, trying to decide.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 25, 2011, 01:18:20 AM
Kysis froze.  For a moment, it felt as though his heart stopped.  He stared blankly out into the room, gaze focusing on nothing, not willing to focus.  The thought of Pandora dying-- not just dying, but having her light extinguished by her own mother-- made him go still, made him feel empty and pitted, left as a husk to dry in the sun and wither away.

He could not look at Lam, not right now.  He sat there, like a statue, brain racing from one feverish thought to the next.  The information was not soaking in, staying like rain atop a wax sealed cloak.  He tried to understand.  What kind of emotions would drive someone to murder their own flesh and blood?  The only thing they have left of someone they hold beloved and have lost?

There was a place that desperate in everyone.  When the Ottomans had kept him shackled in his cell, before he was so weak they did not even bother to chain him, he had considered desperate acts which his mind would never entertain otherwise.

All of this thinking came back to a single place, though, a single point of contention.

"Matthew never should have left the camp." Kysis\' voice was a low, seething hiss, barely above a whisper, not allowed to rise higher by his clenched jaw.  His eyes narrowed, though they still held no true focus.  His lips were pulled into a thin-lipped frown, scar running down from his lip taut, uncomfortably so, not that he noticed.

The information, the thought of Lam trying to kill Pandora, was still sitting on the surface, unwilling to go deeper.  He could not wrap his head around it right now.  Anger at the circumstances that led up to such a horrific act were easier to process right now.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on July 25, 2011, 07:15:42 AM
Lam stared at him blankly, taking a moment to comprehend that he hadn\'t directly addressed what she\'d said at all.  Indirectly, he had... but was he actually blaming everything on Matthew, rather than on her?  She couldn\'t decide how she felt about that; she supposed she should be relieved, but the rebellious and resentful part of her wasn\'t.  He needed to address the issue.

"If you want to argue that, then you might as well say you shouldn\'t have left!  What\'s done is done," she sniffed irritably, swiping at her wet eyes and latching onto the annoyance she was feeling, instead of dropping into that helpless blackness that threatened.  "He thought he was doing the right thing; you can\'t blame everything on Matthew.  None of this is Matthew\'s fault," she stated slowly and clearly, her voice steely though quiet, so as not to alarm Pandora.

In her green eyes - and completely without premeditation - there was accusation.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on August 21, 2011, 12:49:39 AM
He opened his mouth to argue, but it snapped shut again when she suggested that nothing was Matthew\'s fault.  His jaw tightened, strung tight like a harp string on the verge of snapping.  His eyes were narrowed, watching the corner of the bed rather than Lam and his baby.

What would he say?  Would she even understand?  Or want to?

Kysis took a long, seething breath, nostrils flaring.  He closed his eyes for a moment, counting each and every one as it slipped away.

The return home should not have been like this.

"If he hadn\'t left, Rico might still be alive.  If he hadn\'t left, you wouldn\'t have..." His voice cracked.  He could not say it.   He could barely even think it.  He wanted to take Pandora away from her, hold her, keep her safe.

But she was better now, right?  Whatever had finally brought her out of that black hole was a blessing.  He did not know what he would have done if he came home to find his daughter dead.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on August 21, 2011, 10:44:16 PM
"The one thing that might have kept Rico alive was the war not being engaged with in the first place.  That\'s all," she argued stubbornly.  "If you\'d all stayed here in Oberon and left it alone, then everything might be alright... but where\'s the point in lamenting that?  You went, I thought you died, Rico did die and the truth of the matter is that it was not anyone\'s fault but the soldiers who chose to decimate your lands!"

Her voice rose more than was warranted in the silent quarters, disturbing the baby at her breast so that she gave a start, opened her intensely blue eyes and started suckling rapidly again when she\'d previously been lapsing into sleep.  It drew Lam\'s attention downward once more and she breathed a reassurance at the angelic child, stroking her daughter\'s head soothingly.  She waited until the baby\'s eyes were drifting closed once more and Pandora was easing back into slumber before she looked up once more at her husband.

"Why are you so determined to lay all this on Matthew\'s shoulders?  What did he do?" she whispered, pleading for understanding on the matter.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on August 22, 2011, 12:42:56 AM
Kysis stood, unflinching, as Lam laid out her accusations, as she distributed the blame.  His lips were pressed into a firm, hard line.  He watched her with narrowed eyes, though only one was seeing.  Either way, it was still a harsh gaze.

He was not wearing his signet ring and he could feel it right now.  He had allowed his homeland to be conquered.  He had failed as the Lord Liari.  If he had not gone at all, he deserved no better than a coward and deserter\'s death in the barren wastes to the east of his pillaged homeland.

What did Matthew do?

Kysis was not willing to discuss anymore.  He had just wanted to be welcomed into a warm and ready home.  Rather than staying, Kysis pivoted on his heel, walking sharply for the door.  He went out, slamming it behind him.

He\'d sleep downstairs.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Existentially Odd on August 22, 2011, 06:12:31 AM
Lam sagged in his wake, her head drooping down to rest against Pandora\'s as the anger left her almost immediately.  Sadness welled and she gave in to the need to cry once more, quietly, angry at herself for pushing at him.  He was traumatised.  Of course he was laying blame where it didn\'t belong; she should\'ve known better than to challenge him it was just... she still blamed him and she\'d used it all as an excuse to vent her own feelings.

They were as bound to see opposite sides of this as they ever had on anything, both of them fired with passion... and neither of them yet ready - for whatever reason - to settle back into a situation that was supposed to never come back again.  But that was no reason to be apart any longer and she missed him the second she couldn\'t see him any more, now matter how the rest of her topsy-turvy emotions affected her.

She couldn\'t follow him immediately, because the slammed door had roused Pandora yet again, but after ten minutes she was confident the baby was asleep and eased her off her breast without rousing her.  She placed the child in her cot and covered her up with a kiss before she found a nightgown and pulled it over her head.  She used the lantern to light the wick of one of the candles sitting on its holder on the bedside table and slid her feet into a pair of woollen slippers.

Opening the door, she crept out onto the landing, trying to get a sense of where Kysis would be before she eventually headed downstairs, planning to search until she could crouch down beside him and make amends.
Title: Re: The Long Road
Post by: Kysis on July 06, 2013, 04:59:17 AM
Perhaps leaving in a huff had not been one of his most tactically sound decisions, but he needed the air, needed the distance, to cool the heat of his nerves, further jangled by his deep seated anger and Lam pushing it away, dismissing it.  Kysis took a deep breath outside of the door, trying to center himself, gain his balance. He had stood too quickly. His stitches were well enough they had not been further pulled, but if he continued storming out of places, that would not likely remain true.

Now that he was out of there, and in such a hasty fashion, he could not just stand there, or for that matter, just go back inside.  He had never been the type to apologize, less so when he believed himself to be right-- which he was.  Kysis turned his gaze on the stairs.  As he suspected, they seemed to go on for an eternity, a dark, dangerous menace just waiting for him to attempt it alone.

He had survived worse to escape his captors.  This was trivial.

Kysis leaned carefully against his wall, making sure his weight was firmly between his shoulder and that solid surface.  Slowly, he started down the steps, only stretching down his left food, opposite from his injury.  It was an excruciating process, but one he was glad he was making now rather than in the middle of the night when there were no lights and no one awake to hear if he took a tumble.  Yes, the circumstance of his sudden descent were less than savory, but he was determined to go.

Once safely down the stairs, he was again at a severe loss for what he should do.  Part of him said that he should just go back up the stairs, back into the room, and give some form of apology for being stubborn.  The indignant part told him to find something to occupy him down here.  There was that full bandaging kit Lam had brought down, and he had yet to put the soft linens over his stitches.  The salve was up the stairs...

Kysis went immediately into the kitchen, not a thought passing through his mind about the bareness of his chest or the profusion of scarring. "Αλεξανδρή, όπου οι επίδεσμοι?"  Immediately, Alex jumped to, hurrying to get the bag of supplies.  Kysis thanked him, taking the bag.  He was heading back into the main room when he heard the door up the stairs open, and he let a shaky breath out. His temper had receded, leaving him feeling cold, trembling, though he attempted to cover it to the best of his ability.  Today had been entirely too much, his senses and mind assaulted from all sides.  Kysis leaned against the closest wall, taking a moment to rest, knowing that soon, he would likely have to explain himself, or at least divert the topic until later, both of which sounded more mentally exhausting than he was certain he could deal with.

((I doubt you want to continue this, but I really felt like writing as Kysis again, so if you ignore this, cool, if you don't, cool. Don't feel obligated))