Unrequited

Unrequited

Postby Serrus » Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:07 am

When you had little to do with your afternoon free hours but to watch people go by, you learned that certain individuals had patterns in their routine. Whether this was intentional or not, a planned daily to do list, or simply form of habit, people tended to wander to the same places at the same times. He'd been in Myrken almost two seasons now, and had learned himself a distinct pattern certain individuals took on different days, particularly through the market. Most of this he learned as a way to look for prospective employment, as he hadn't been hired by the Lady Warden when he first arrived here, and was looking to be in the right place at the right time -- a useful sellsword for the man who had enough money to hire him.

She's late today, he thinks. Later than usual. Maybe it's that child of hers. He'd known pregnant women in his lifetime, and how the change made their habits and waking hours change, too. Maybe she just got held up.

He stands under the thatched roof of a large smithy, more specialized in a farrier's work and making iron things for building than anything to do with weaponry. The peen, peen of his hammer working away a horseshoe from the street was a familiar sound to those who walked past here day by day. It was the place he could at least ask her about something, and not worry about other prying ears or eyes catch wind of the conversation.

The smithy's shop meets the southern end, the tips of the poorer hollows just touching the town market end. They are all here, tanners, farriers, smithies, bowyers, carpenters and cobblers, and the air smells rancid of their works. Peen, peen, peen. Amber sparks fly upwards with the pumping of the bellows into a stone flue, and Serrus watches them for a moment, distracted, and would have missed her walking past had he not pulled his attentions away. But there she is, with the usual mingling crowd of the noon marketplace, easily spotted with that ridiculous looking straw hat she chooses to wear almost everywhere.

"Wynsee!" His call is sharp enough to cut across the crowd, and she would see him leaning against one of great wooden posts on the outskirts of the high roof, arms folded, leaning back with one foot propped up, the typical pose she could imagine he'd be in, when he wasn't sitting at a table drinking ale. At Gloria's approach, the sellsword will nod, voice lowering to a more conversational level.

"Mind if I've a word? S'bout Sera Nova." Straight down to business, no mussing or fussing about, is Serrus Belcaw.
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Rance » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:08 am

She shouldered her way through the mingling crowd, her bootheels sinking, sucking into brown craters of mud and offal, her single hand trying in vain to pick her skirts up out of the dirt. White underfabric had faded almost black from the soft earth, a hue nearly as dark as the scowl that tarnished her plain face.

A bonnet ribbon snapped against her cheek, an untamed animal; the crescents under her eyes were heavy from unrest, and in the crowd, her low-hanging abdomen bulged as if she had hidden a bag of grain under her garments. She struggled to free a heel from the squelching soil, then approached him where he leaned like a human support-post under the smithy's awning.

"Mind if you've a word," she trills, knocking her wooden-soled boot against a stone. "Of course not, if you don't mind me dropping my water right here in -- in front of you. You could have come to find me, Serrus Belcaw." The complaint was weak, uninspired. You should be abed, Sera Wynsee, the wellsmiths said time and time again; but in her walking, in her daily tasks and obligations, she chiseled out something like solace.

Something like distraction.

The smithy's hammer rang, a rhythmic, one-note song, metal shaping metal.

"She thinks she upset you," Gloria said between strikes. "She believes she may have -- have said something that would harden your heart toward her. Is it true?"
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Serrus » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:52 am

"Of course not, if you don't mind me dropping my water right here in -- in front of you. You could have come to find me, Serrus Belcaw."

Finding amusement in matters most often considered not amusing at all by most is one of the sellsword's favourite pastimes, and Gloria has just opened the gates far and wide for his blow-by-blow repartee.

"Worry not, fair yon lady wit' child," the sellsword retorts, "for ye've come to t'right place. Smithy 'ere 'll stop t'bleedin' with a hot poker, I'll pull t'babe out with some tongs, an' you can wash 'im or 'er off in t'quenchin' pan."

Whether she'd take offense to him describing the birth of her only child in such a crass manner was is neither here or there to him, he met sarcasm with sarcasm, usually three fold. But they're not here to talk about giving birth; even though he did find it amusing to see her waddle about. At Gloria's comments regrading Nova, his eyebrows rise up.

"Harden me 'eart?" he exclaims. " 'Arden 'me bloody 'art!?" Then Serrus actually laughs, a warm guffaw, leaning back into the post to take a breath. "Ahh, that's right funny, that is. Such a naive lil' dove, that girl. So kind.. an' other times so bloody daft."

He looks down to her, all smug. "No, Sera Wynsee, young Nova did not strike a dagger through me poor sufferin' 'art, though I might be wantin' a word with you on such things." His head leans to the side a little. "Still, we really should find somewhere for y't'rest an' sit proper, like. That thing looks ready t'leap out an' punch t'nearest bloody wet-nurse in 'er teat."
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Rance » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:15 pm

That thing looks ready t'leap out an' punch t'nearest bloody wet-nurse in 'er teat.

She returned his earlier laugh with one of her own, a rough and obnoxious braying that echoed in her shoulders. Offended? Gloria demonstrated no sign of it. And so they found a spot: a long-dried well just across the avenue where she could seat herself upon a crumbling alter of stones and let her heels and skirts hang just inches above the mud. There, they could watch the masses pass by as smears and stains of dull color. In the air was a din of business, of feet crunching through fallen leaves and slapping in wet avenues, of the blacksmith still peen, peen, peening dutifully for his wage.

She squinted into the dull glow of the overcast day.

"She's naive. But that's how she is, Serrus. I gave you fair warning: she's talented, but she's also fragile. She's been hurt. Different things hurt different people. Nova turns the knives inward, what did I do wrong or did I do something to upset him. Protecting her," the girl said, looking at the grimy breast of his jerkin and the muddy sprawl of his breeches, "doesn't come down to -- to just defending her body, but her mind, too. You're a rusted sword. You like being a rusted sword. Nova? She's..."

Couldn't think of an analogy, an appropriate comparison. Instead--

"She's more human than you or me, I wager."

A pause. Her gray eyes lighted upon him, curious.

"A word with me regarding what?"
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Serrus » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:39 am

"More human? Puh! More like turnin' 'erself more into a woman, if'n ye ask me," Belcaw replies with regard to Nova becoming human.

He looks blasé for the most part during the conversation, but that's how Serrus is... most of the time. Two sides of the coin, one perhaps a guise to his own personal struggles, the other a vent for those personal struggles he tries so often to hide. He shrugs to Gloria's explanations regarding Nova's attitudes and demeanour, he'd seen enough of Nova for himself for Gloria's words to simply affirm what he already knew.

"I don't much care for whatever personal or private concerns other people 'ave 'of themselves or others, Wynsee. As for Nova, well.. T'girl asked t'come along, I didn't see no 'arm in it. I warned 'er she wouldn't much like t'sort of work I get involved in. She was quite determined t'see her wishes through. See t'world, or somesuch. Told 'er t'world I often see ain't rarely t'sort she'd like to look for. But, she insisted, so,said I'd let 'er tag along."

It's more an explanation, a dismissal. Her problems weren't his problems, unless they affected him in some way. Not crass or cruel, but impartial. Getting too personal with others always caused strife and problems with his line of work.

"I'm under t'employ of 'er Lady Warden, and from what I gather, there's no sign of us havin' t' leave' Myrkent'n anytime soon. May'ap she's a tad disappointed I ain't asked t'come along when we drill... though I don't much think sittin' 'bout with soldiers showin' scars an' talkin' about 'ow many women they fucked 'd be 'er cuppa tea. Which brings me t'my point."

Dark eyes turn askance to regard the girl, the peen of the blacksmith's hammer and the heaving breaths of the bellows granting him a moment of pause.

"I think t'girl's startin' t' fancy me in that way, Wynsee." Serrus frowns, shaking his head. "An' I don't much fancy 'er. She's a good girl an' all, a sweet white dove. I'm 'appy t'ave 'er tag along when she wants, maybe jus' t'sate that curiosity of 'ers, but nowt else." He leans back at their seat in the well, rolling one of his usual lazy shrugs. "Problem is, I don't think there's much a way I could explain it to our Sera Nova without that fragile 'art you mentioned bein' broken. So... I thought it might be best if someone else explained it to 'er."

His eyes turn to her, full attentions now. "A close friend of 'ers, for instance."
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Rance » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:32 pm

Listening was a skill Gloria Wynsee had become increasingly adept at. For as often as her mouth often functioned of its own free agency, she kept broken teeth and lips pressed together for the duration of his elaboration. She watched him while he explained, expressed, her fingers picking at an errant thread on her skirt. She drew it out from its brethren, a long spiderweb-thin string that tugged the rest of the cloth up at a peak across her belly--

Serrus Belcaw was an interesting beast. He was an honest liar, at least, a noble swordsman with ignoble bones to loft his too-sharp steel, a genuine tongue to wield his too-loose words. She liked him, but what she said was--

"So then you contract me to -- to break her fragile heart for you? Do you believe, Serrus Belcaw, that because I've breasts, I have superior insight into the womanly soul? That perhaps the words coming from my lips would be less clumsy, more exacting, and -- and surgical enough to cauterize her heart while I shred it? Have you truly any faith that it would hurt her less coming from me if she has eyes for you?"

More striking of the smithy's hammer, a cadence by which her words can march.

"I have got the mind to tell you no, that if you can wield a blade without regret, then surely a dreamy-eyed girl shouldn't intimidate you, but--"

Her cracked lips pulled up into a conspiratorial smile.

"You're a bit of a coont, Serrus Belcaw, but if you didn't care for her in some regard, you'd have never asked me. I'll do it," Gloria agreed, "because Nova is my friend, because you are as well. But I reserve the right to inform her that I come at your behest. She ought to know; a lady deserves as much.

"I'll fight this battle for you."
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Serrus » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:56 pm

"Battle?" the sellsword replies, eyes smiling at her while his stoic frown remains. "Oooh, lookit you now, t' right an' fair girl Gloria Wynsee of t' north, chargin' off on some brave sortee, battlin' for poor Serrus Belcaw and 'is bleedin' 'art." His voice shifts into an amused snort. "Fook off," he dismisses, shaking his head and letting out a chortle.

"No, Wynsee, that'd serve no good, tellin' Nova it was me who asked ye t'do it. Make it right worse, it would. Be summat like... if'n that fae bloke... whassisname? T' freak with all them feathers and t' kid bird he carries around everywhere? Yeah, that one. Be like if'n 'ee came up and said, 'Sorry Wynsee, that Catch boy of yours says he don't like y'no more, says t' stick your head in some dragon's mouth, says y'can go fuck off. You 'ave y'self a nice day, now.' Be summat like that." He lets his voice fall silent, listening to the sounds of progress... progress that stank to the heavens of wrought iron and rancid tanning leathers, sitting forwards with hands on his knees, eyes thoughtful.

"Thing is.. we 'ave t'face facts, girl. Sera Nova, pretty an' funny an' kind as she is... she i'nt no girl, nor human. She wer't born, Gloria. She didn't grow up with some family, learn t' ways o'life. She's a construct, magicked up by some dark arts. Made by some... wizard or mage or fuck knows what. Made t'serve his or 'er interests, and only theirs. Servin' others, bein' a slave? It's all she knows. It's what she was created for. I think that's why she struggles so much. Wants people t'tell 'er what t'do, an' she don't know why folks keep tellin' 'er t'make choices for 'erself. Now that she thinks she might actually... I dunno... 'ave feelin's for someone? This someone's about t'tell her some home truths she don't want t'know." His gloved hands mesh together upon knees, boots scraping slowly upon the sand. "Fuck me, I 'ate dealin' wit' this shite. S'why I was so bloody reluctant t'let 'er tag along in t'first place." A pause in reflection, and Serrus finds his attentions returning toward Gloria.

"This squire boy... Elliot. What 'appened between them two? Y'told me some about it, but nary enough."
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Rance » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:36 am

"She's human enough to me."

Gloria Wynsee wasn't well-versed in the abstract ways of the world. The scholars and commoners in the employ at the Inquisitory had stuffed countless books under her nose and requested she become acclimated with the occult, with a general knowledge of it, but it had always seemed so overblown, so otherworldly. And yet, what she'd seen, what she'd known--

(weeks gone, months gone, an eyeblink; that was golben

and the black hour,
that taint in her brain that came flooding back with
genny genny tolleson, focus, focus, but

memories dashed apart by someone else's,
friends turned to empty husks and filled with
knightly recollection and

a Dream, a Dream, and do you remember, wynsee
when you used to have a hand, how you told yourself that sheen of silver was just a mistake
a fluke, even though you remember
the knife, the ritual.)

Dull eyes tightened, closed. ...a construct, magicked up by some dark arts. The girl's voice downshifted, became almost too soft to be heard over the cacophony of the falling hammer.

"if it's her choice to endear herself to you, Serrus, then -- then you're asking me to shatter her freedom. You're asking that I aid you in smothering her choice to love, to feel, and to risk gambling with her own feelings. They're hers. You can only protect her so much. And I can only protect her to a point before--"

Elliot. He spoke of Elliot.

"Elliot forgot she even existed," was all the seamstress said.
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Serrus » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:40 am

"Elliot forgot she even existed," was all Gloria said. He watches her for a moment. Whenever the squire boy had been mentioned to either from her or Nova, there was always obscurity, some evasive or eluding answers that gave little in the way of information and more in the way of distaste. It was odd to think that one youth could be the centre of so much bitterness, so much discomfort. Though the sellsword is ignorant of the topic or the circumstances surrounding it, he offers his own perspective on the matter.

"Sometimes... man chooses t'forget, simply as he don't want t'remember."

There was a time he wanted to remember her. Nights upon nights awoken with drunken swill and uncontrollable rage. I looked to go find me a man. Any man. Just so I could kill him one more time, for naught the good it'd do me. How much could a man forget? How much did he truly remember? How much did he take away?

Rhian...


"I's a squire once," the sellsword admits, quietly. He glances towards the girl, seeming nonplussed as per ususal. "Near lifetime ago. Was sworn t' searjanty... enfeoffment for a Lord." He rolls a shrug. "Some you folks might call it a hedge knight."

The peen stops, the smithy turning over another horseshoe before the the song of his hammer starts again, but the man sitting beside the girl doesn't hear it. Hands rest upon his knees, his back slouching forwards, eyes casting a thoughtful gaze forward.

They had stood in the temple before him as he had knelt before the great fire. The priest said his words, the greatsword kissed his shoulders, and the man had spoken words of his own... the same words of the priest. The words. I spoke the words, but I don't remember them. I don't remember her.... Don't remember her at all. He saw her in the flames of the great fire, her hair a smoking ruin, eyes black as the night without a moon. Home. She asked me to take her home. So why didn't I?

Forget her, she's nothing to you now. Never was.

He said I'd forget them. Forget her. So why do I still see her in the fire?

Forget her, she's nothing to you now. Never was.

I want to remember. Rhian.. Rhian... Was that even her fucking name?

Tickles. It tickles, daddy. I want to go home.

But they were talking about knights and squires, and bitter memories of lost friends. She was long burned, and that man had long since died. I chose to forget, too. But he still remembered the life, the responsility.

"See, bein' a knight i'nt all 'bout shiny armour an' pretty maidens, or flowers an' tournies an' them swoonin' girls. T' boy becomes a man... an' t'man makes a vow. An' all, many times them vows mean t' man must let go've 'is past. Forget all an' serve 'is Lord, all an' above all." The sellsword sits for a moment in silence. Then he stands up, turning to face Gloria, nodding as if reached some conclusion or epiphany of his own.

"I'm gonna have t'tell 'er. It's me who 'as t'do it. An' I will. It's 'er choice whether she understands or not."
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Rance » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:04 pm

A journey in his eyes. Not one she was not invited to join. Gloria Wynsee knew why.

The mind had a penchant for forcing sojourns to long-unvisited territories, banishing the conscience to other worlds and older places. Regrets. Truths. Imperfect memories. An exile reflected in the eyes or balancing on the tip of lips tightened as the brain forced itself to relive, regret--

T' boy becomes a man... an' t'man makes a vow.

Serrus Belcaw's leather and scales creaked as he stood, She wanted to know where his thoughts had gone off to, but knew never to ask; the curiosity was natural, innate, but it was not a place for her, nor were hers a place for him. Instead, as he stood and proclaimed, the dark-skinned girl reached out with a hand abandoned to its continued existence, sought out his sleeve, snared and gripped. "I've professed my adorations to people," the girl admitted. "And while I've rarely received them in return, what I earn are smiles and -- and softer words of encouragement, voices too afraid to give me the truth: No, Wynsee, you aren't in my future, and you can't be. So I'm left blind-eyed, wearing a veil made out of stupid, girlish hopes that smother me worse than someone else's honesty.

"Whether or not she is in pain when you're done speaking to her, Messa Belcaw, what she will continue to know is this: beneath all of that grime, behind that lurid tongue of yours, you're a good man.

"That," she finalized, "means the most."
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Re: Unrequited

Postby Serrus » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:04 am

The man stopped when she clasped his sleeve, and she would note the look upon his features, the tightened frown of consternation, the pensive, near-jolting flinch -- reactionary... a reflex. He does not pull away at the squeeze upon the leather and mail sleeve, does not show disconcertion as his eyes meet hers. Dark eyes, they were. Dark as a moonless sky. Eyes that stared at something perhaps incomprehensible, mysterious. He listens to her explanations, self-critical and doubting to herself and her hopes, to which he keeps an impassive gaze.

"Fear an' fight 'ave both aged thy sen, girl, through an' through. Y'not so naïve as y'might think.”

Beneath all of that grime, behind that lurid tongue of yours, you're a good man.

Her eyes were dark, too, and there'd been no moon that night when he'd run the longsword through him with such force he'd had to use his boot as a lever to uproot him from the great tree he'd been impaled against. She wasn't supposed to see that... never was meant for that. She deserved better. 'I curse you,' the woman had said. 'Your every pissant breath. You ain't my blood no more, an' ye can't 'ave her, neither.' She'd watched as he left them both. A girl standing from a doorway. Tears that would not fall from eyes that would not blink. Came back for them. I came back for them both, but they were already lost.

You're a good man.

The sellsword lets go of the seamstress' grip, whether by the lowering of his hand, a pull away, or a sidestep, whatever he needed for that hand of hers to slip from his elbow.

“I used to be.”

Terse, cold. Impassive. He steps away, his boots crunching upon dirt and cobblestone to the peen peen peen of the smithy's hammer, the usual swagger, the cocky step, and the brazen uncouth with his steel to match has returned once more.

“Get you an' that child abed, Gloria,” he barks at the girl in farewell, like the older father scolding the younger child. He slips back within the sea of people, the very same sea he'd called her from ealier.
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