Author Topic: The Long Road  (Read 20092 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #15 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.

Offline Kysis

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #16 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.
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #17 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.

Offline Kysis

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #18 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.

Ready?

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.
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #19 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.

Offline Kysis

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #20 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.
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #21 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?"

Offline Kysis

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #22 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.
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #23 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.

Offline Kysis

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #24 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."
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #25 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.

Offline Kysis

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #26 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.
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #27 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?"

Offline Kysis

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #28 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.
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Long Road
« Reply #29 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.