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Author Topic: Ride the Rushing Billows  (Read 4960 times)

  • Talia
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #100 on: May 19, 2017, 09:02:40 AM »
It was dusk by the time they found the harpy colony, the perfect cover to survey the area. Selina scaled a cliff, followed closely by Caden, and peered through her trusty telescope. It was easy to guess the reason the Vanguard scouts had turned around. There were just too many harpies to tackle, enough to take on a small army. She leaned further out and tried to spy from her perch, any means of escape Andrea and Goodman could've taken. She couldn't imagine anyone, even someone as capable as Andrea, getting through the colony of harpies unscathed. She began to suspect that Andrea might've employed trickery to get the scouts off her trail, and then taken a different path to escape. One that led to the west.

Selina shared this theory with Caden and they prepared to leave. However, the rustle of leaves and movement on the cliff caught the eye of a patrolling harpy, bringing the attention of the entire legion all at once. Battling the harpies on the slippery ledge proved to be a challenge, especially when the larger harpies arrived. They were each an entire head larger than Sel or Caden, and hit with the impact of a brick wall. Caden dazed one of the closest large harpies that had threatened an attack, and Selina took the chance to steal its shield. They hid under the shield as more and more attacks pummeled from above, threatening to break right through the wood. Selina knew their time was running short, and began to survey a means of escape. But while her attention was divided, a smaller harpy managed to weasel its way through, jamming its teeth through her sword-wielding hand. She shook it free, but lost her weapon down a muddy slope in the process. Within a moment's thought, she instructed Caden to daze the attacking harpies again. Once this was done, she grabbed him by the waist, and followed the sword down the slope, into a pool of mud hidden under thick foliage. With the now muddied shield obscuring the pair, the harpies lost sight of them and after sometime, decided to abandon the search.

Once silence was restored, Caden suggested to leave. Selina retrieved her weapon and handed Caden the grapple and rope from her pack. He managed to get a good grip after a few tries, and they pulled themselves out of the muck, fleeing the harpy infested area as quickly as they could.

It was at the break of dawn when they made their way through a forest and ended up at a small Vanguard camp. Selina's movements had slowed, having discovered that the bite on her hand had gotten infected. They decided to rest and recuperate at the camp, giving Caden the time to address the wound and bandage it up. Selina whispered into Caden's ear that she didn't deserve a friend like him before she fell asleep. He didn't know what to make of what she had said.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #101 on: May 26, 2017, 10:19:28 AM »
The next day, Selina found Caden sitting beside her, realising that he had not slept a wink. Captain Carbins of the Vanguard, given authority over that post, asked Selina for a saliva sample to check for rabies, having heard that they had undergone a harpy attack. He complained of ramped up attacks in recent times. And just as he was speaking of it, several harpies entered the camp and attacked the villagers and soldiers. Caden and Selina got involved, just as the larger harpies began carrying off three villagers. Selina chased them out of the camp, but they were too far gone for her. Soon, the other harpies were chased off, but Carbins was kept busy trying to placate two very upset villagers. One with a father, and the other with a sister, both lost to the harpies. Carbins intended to wait for backup to arrive, and that would only happen the soonest over the next day. But the two villagers demanded to go right away. They told him that one, the farmer, had already made his way to the harpy nest, with the intention of saving his son all by himself. Carbins was left with little choice but to gather up the three uninjured men under his care, and head out into the field to save the farmer. Selina stopped him on his way out, having heard about the entire conundrum. She offered to help, and suggested to set up a distraction in order to save the captives without having to actually go head to head with the harpies. Initially Caden protested, wanting to have nothing to do with Selina getting herself hurt again, but he soon relented, and threw in his help as well.

The strategy began with one of the soldiers luring away the bulk of harpies at the entrance. Selina and Carbins then entered with bags of gunpowder and dynamite, creating a trail through the camp with the intention of causing maximum confusion. On their way out, Selina almost tripped over an arm. On closer inspection, they found it to be the mangled body of the farmer, who'd unfortunately met with a fatal end at the hands of the harpies. Having little time to deal with the issue, they signaled Caden to set the fire, and as the fire raged through the harpy nest, exploding each time it hit a stick of dynamite, one of the villagers threw in a bag of chemically-induced powder that billowed smoke the moment it hit the flames. Confused by the flames and smoke, the harpies left their nest and soared into the sky. At such time, Carbins and the two soldiers with him, Selina and Caden rushed into the camp and began to search for survivors. They found the villager's elderly father first, then as they trudged deeper into the smoke filled camp, Selina and Caden gradually lost sight of each other. Selina gravitated towards the sound of a child's crying, while Caden towards the sound of a woman's voice. A harpy swooped into Selina's path as she searched the camp, and she traded blows with it. Caden heard the clashing of swords and began to worry, losing his focus. As soon as the harpy was put down, Carbins approached Selina with the farmer's boy in his arms. Together, they headed to where they had come. At the same time, Caden was found by one of Carbin's men, who had found the villager's sister. They too attempted to escape, though they nearly thwarted by an attacking griffon.

As soon as Caden returned to the others, they hurried back to the Vanguard camp to recuperate. Carbins praised both Caden and Selina's efforts in the rescue, and asked if they were interested to join a newly set up group named the Adventurer's Society. He touted good coin to be had, for skilled fighters who might be able to do the job of keeping the peace where the Seraphs, Vanguard and Lionguard found their forces stretched thin. Both refused, though Selina said that she was surprised Caden had not taken up the offer. She'd always pictured Caden to be one for adventure, but he told her that he had had enough adventure and only wanted to go home and live a simple life. This saddened her, and she replied that she would also probably be going back to Lion's Arch after Andrea had been apprehended. Caden's jaw clenched up at the thought and he became rather quiet. Selina asked him what was occupying his thoughts, and when he would not tell her, she guessed that he was still upset about her being inconsistent with her opinion of Rob. She apologised, and Caden told her that he never stopped her from leaving so he had little to complain about. She asked him if he wanted to stop her then. He became agitated and told her that he wasn't interested to discuss it. She apologised again, and they fell silent with their thoughts, till Caden finally admitted that he didn't know how to behave around her because she had become a distraction to him, whether or not she was physically present. She opened her mouth to respond, thinking he was sending her a subtle message, then shut it, realising that if she made a wrong guess again, she would be made to regret. She left the camp in that moment to get some air, and ended up heading south through the woods to clear her head. Meanwhile, Caden remained in the camp, wondering if he had said too much or too little.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 10:21:12 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #102 on: June 05, 2017, 10:53:08 AM »
Diana, Sax, Aidan and Sarah Goodman had found each other through the previous days, and had plans to head north in search for the charr named Tokky, whom they had discovered was actually named Tokkra, of the Iron Legion. On their way there, they bumped into Selina and Sax was also discovered by an associate of the Priory named Tracey. Sax was berated for not having given proper notice to the Priory concerning her abrupt departure, and she promised to write a letter to them for that purpose. Selina and Aidan also traded words as to his intentions for taking to the road, because Selina had believed she'd left Lion's Arch in order that Aidan would be able to stay behind to rest. On their way, they chanced upon a rift, and Sax and Tracey were immediately taken up by it to study its workings. This delayed the team for a bit, causing a worried Caden some consternation.

When they finally got to the camp where he was at, Caden joined the others in awkward silence, trading discreet glances with Selina while Sax spoke to Sarah of her father and his friends, in an attempt to turn her away from any influence from the man. Apparently Sarah only had a low opinion of her father's friends, although she knew little of them.

Arriving finally at Splinter Hills, they managed to reunite Tokkra and Sarah. Tokkra revealed that he had searched for Sarah, and found that the only way to free her was to rid her of her father. In an attempt to do that, he had tracked Alistar Goodman all the way to Drake Hollow, where he was currently hidden at. The others were ecstatic at the news, assuming that they were finally close to the capture of Goodman and Andrea. Tokkra pointed out though that he would go nowhere if Sarah was not safely guarded in the camp. Tracey and Sax volunteered to do this job, leaving others to participate in the operation to capture the two fugitives.

After carving their way into the camp through several mobs of separatists, carefully evading enemy traps that Tokkra had previously studied, they found a rifle wielding Goodman on top of a slope. He took aim specifically at Diana and Caden, oblivious to Selina who had crept up behind him for a surprise attack. Unfortunately, Andrea sprung her own surprise on Aidan, taking him at sword point, threatening to kill her nephew if anyone dared make an approach. However, with a few skillful dodges from Aidan, he managed to draw her attention away from Diana and Caden, both of whom managed to injure and daze her, leaving Selina to render her unconscious.

Tokkra joined the others after he had freed the captives at Drake Hollow and had laid explosives around the camp. Both he and Diana carried Goodman and Andrea out while the entire camp went up in smoke.

Returning to Splinter Hills, Diana and Tokkra decided to take Goodman to the Summit to decide which race would lay claim to the criminal. The others, aside from Sarah, headed back to Ebonhawke with Andrea, who would then be claimed by the Shining Blade to stand trial before the Queen. Sax and Diana made plans for a victory party at Vanguard headquarters to mark the achievement. Selina attempted to spread good cheer to her brother in the light that with Andrea gone, he might finally get his life and status back, but Aidan was much too engrossed in the negative state of mind that he had slid into over the past few tragic events he had to endure. Selina mistook his negativity for ingratitude, and came to her own conclusion that her brother was like the many others who would use her for favors, and discard her friendship if it would not benefit them. This cut her deeply, and she left alone for the inn to drown her sorrows in ale.

Caden followed soon after, discovering her in the bar after a search. She told him that she would be leaving for Rob's the next morning, and though Caden would not stop her from her plans, invited her to his home for a short getaway. After some thought, she agreed to this plan - Rob would not miss her for an additional day or two, she said.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #103 on: June 07, 2017, 04:58:27 PM »
Selina had risen early as promised, had her breakfast, and waited next to the door to the inn for Caden to arrive. The prospect of visiting Caden's birth home felt invigorating, in spite of all that had gone on, or was going to occur. She'd decided to focus on the now, and just enjoy the time she had left with Caden.

Caden found the prospect only half as invigorating and found himself rather nervous as he made his way down the next morning. He pulled himself together though and cheerfully greeted Selina as he found her by the door. "Ready to go?"

"I am," she said with a sparkle in her eye. "I'm really grateful that you're bringing me to your home Caden. I know you said I was welcome, but it's quite another thing to actually do it. I wasn't sure half the time if you were serious or just being polite."

He smiled at her. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it." He grinned cheekily "Now lets hope my family shares the sentiment."

As they walked along the streets, headed out of Divinity's Reach, Selina opened and shut her mouth a few times, a thought on her mind that she wanted to share, till she finally blurted out. "Caden, you never asked me how I spent my two weeks."

"It's none of my business" He said, feeling slightly irked now the thought of Rob was brought back to his mind.

Oblivious to Caden's discomfort, Selina carried on proudly. "I joined the arena fights in Lion's Arch! And I won, twice. The people went head over heels for me. It was glorious."

He raised a brow at her. "Pitfighting is definitely not what I expected" he mumbled surprised.

"Mhmm! Rob runs the entire thing, so I just needed to ask him to let me join. I've caught a couple of shows before, but never actually participated in one. On hindsight, it could be something that I'm good at."

"I'm glad you found something you like" He said, not sure what else to say.

"You should come to one someday. Cheer me on! That would be so much fun."

"Maybe" He said with a slightly sad smile.

She noticed that his expression had fallen and wondered why. "What's the matter?"

He paused as he mulled over his words. "I doubt your ........friend would like me visiting" He finally said, hoping it wouldn't upset her.

"Oh pfft.." she waved the thought away. "What can he say? You're my guest. I'll bugger him till he lets me." She grinned confidently.

"If you really want me to, I'll come" he said.

"Of course I do! Look at you, you're inviting me to your home. This is where people tend to be most vulnerable and private, but you've chosen to share that with me. How can I not offer you the same? Given that I don't actually have a home to call my own, but the Pits hey... I can share that with you."

He smiled at her but made no further reply.

She smiled back, and as they neared Claypool, stole more glances at Caden. She hadn't been in such good spirits in a while. It was just a matter of time till Aidan's problems would finally be over. The thought of going back to Rob still bothered her a little, but she figured it wouldn't make a huge amount of difference if Caden came to visit her every so often. Perhaps she'd even manage to convince Caden to scout the people on her list that she intended to investigate. She began to imagine the two of them, running around Lion's Arch in the night, staking out some of these homes, side by side... chatting till the sun rose... staring into each other's eyes... She snapped out of her dreams as her face became a little flushed. Sheepishly she looked up at the bright and sunny sky, enjoying the breeze on her skin.

"Sel?" He asked after some time. The gate to Claypool came into view and he slowed down his pace slightly. "Do you have to go back to Lion's Arch?"

She blinked twice, wondering if it finally mattered to him. "Should I not go back?"

"Do you want to?"

She selected her words carefully. "Well... Rob will be awful mad if I don't go back. But if you want me to stay... if you really... I mean... if you need me to be here, with you..."

He looked at her intently. "Perhaps you should do what you want most" He said before moving towards the gate again. "It's not far now." He smiled.

She bit on her lip. It wasn't the response she had hoped for, the one she had waited for since Kessex. "What I want is irrelevant," she said stoically. "Can't... always get what you want."

"Then why should I or Rob get what we want?" He said, before waving at the guard by the gate. "Hi there Jer, everything alright?" He greeted the man. "Caden, it's been a while" Was the reply he got as they walked through the gate. "This way" Caden said, leading Selina towards an orchard within the walls.

She choked on her response. She lowered her head in thought as she followed after him.

At the edge of the small town near the orchard stood a small house, surrounded by a neatly kept herb garden. Besides the house was an empty paddock. "Dad must've gone into town" Caden said, noting the empty paddock. That's where we keep Daisy, our packbull." He walked up the path to the house and opened the door. "Ma, gran, I'm home" He called. "I brought company". "Come in" He said opening the door further, allowing Selina to enter. Inside she found a room mostely covered in wood panelling. Across from the door was a large desk. Behind it were shelves as high as the ceiling. They were filled with small drawers and glass jars. On one end of the room a neat row of herbs hung from the ceiling.  Behind the desk the room seemed to continue to the left. From there two women came into view.

"Caden!" The younger of the two exclaimed happily as she rushed around the counter and took him in her arms. "I'm so pleased you're home".

Caden smiled hugging the woman. "Hello ma" As he stepped back he looked at Selina. "Ma, gran, this is Selina. Selina, this is Molly, my mother and Meri, my grandmother." He smiled as he introduced them, finding himself feeling really rather happy he took her home.

"Hello," she smiled at the two cheerful women in the warm household as she removed her helmet and gave them a little polite bow. But something about the place... or the people, it was giving her a migraine. She pushed on into the home, frustrated because she wanted so much to enjoy it as much as she'd been excited about it, but there was something wrong with her.

"Welcome to our home Selina" Molly said, giving her a warm smile. "I hope you had a pleasant journey"

Meanwhile Caden embraced his grandmother. "Has dad gone into town?" He asked after.

"Yes" Molly replied, her face slightly clouding with worry. "We actually expected him back yesterday, but you know how busy things are lately, I"m sure he's just held up somewhere." She forced a smile on her face and looked at Caden. "Come lets have tea"

Meri went ahead of them as Molly ushered Caden and Selina further into the room. It turned out there was a kitchen around the corner that Selina had been unable to see from the door earlier. "Come sit" Molly said while Meri put a kettle on. In front of the kitchen window stood several brightly coloured blooms and on the kitchen table was a small vase with flowers as well. Molly sat down at the table with them and smiled again.  "Caden doesn't bring friends home very often" She said. "He told us he met you through his work"

Selina followed as she was told, sat in the kitchen and looked around as the headache slowly eased up. She wondered what had brought it on - she'd slept well, eaten well, drank well... Meanwhile Caden's mother seemed to already know some things about her, although it would seem that he had been very general to gloss over everything that had actually transpired. "Uh huh..." she replied. "Yeah, I know him through work. He's eh... a very dedicated and hard worker."

Across from her Caden blushed slightly, he began fidgeting with the backpack he'd just placed on the table before sitting down. "Ma I brought you some Makrut, I know it's hard to come by this season and I happened up on it." He opened the pack and pulled out a small bag witch was clearly filled with something lumpy. "How have things been here? I'm sorry I was away longer than planned."

Meri meanwhile took the kettle of boiling water and poured it over a mixture of several herbs and what looked to be orange peel. She kept a close eye on her grandson however and there seemed to be a twinkle in her eyes as she looked at him and Selina. She picked up the tray with the teapot and cups and placed it on the table where she poured everyone a cup before sitting down.

Selina took the teacup, and another spike drove through her head. A little more intensely this time. An old memory rudely jammed its way into her head... she saw a house, much like this one, though just slightly darker. A man at the table.

"Are you alright my dear?" Meri said, looking at Selina carefully. This caused Caden to look at Selina.

She looked up as the memory faded and the spike eased off, a little embarrassed to have drawn attention. "Yes I am... just a little nervous, I guess," she lied.

Frowning Caden continued to look at her. "Would you rather go outside for a walk maybe" He asked, feeling rather sure she was making light of the matter.

She waited till all traces of the migraine had subsided to reply, "No, I want to stay here." She looked at the cup in her hands. "This tea looks delicious! What is in it?"

"Honeybush, lemongrass, bramble leaf, mango, orange peel and calendula" Meri answered stirring some honey into her own tea. "I'm glad you like it" She followed up with a smile.

Selina took a sip, and the explosion of flavors in her mouth surprised her. "Wow, you all really know your herbs. I see where Caden gets his skills from."

"Pah skills, the boy ought to study more" Meri made an effort to give Caden a pointed look, but clearly did not mean to reprimand him.

Even as a tease, Selina felt obligated to defend Caden. She placed a hand on his and said sternly to Meri, "Caden does magic with those herbs, he's saved me on more than one occasion and that's more than anyone can ask for. You should be very proud of him."

As Selina spoke the front door opened and closed and Molly was instantly on her feet walking to the front of the room. There was a mumble and she soon returned. "Trust me lass I couldn't be more proud" Meri said with a warm smile before looking at Molly who was taking a large back from a shelf in the corner. "Mrs Green's time seems to have come. I'll send word if I need your help" She said before rushing back to the front where the door opened and closed once again.

Selina was taken aback by the interruption. Typically running off in the middle of the conversation meant something dire had occurred, and she was suddenly concerned. "Mrs Green?"

"Caden may have told you that as herbalists we take care of most of the people here when something ails them. Mrs Green is an elderly widow. I suspect that was Els at the door, her granddaughter. Mrs Green hasn't been well for some time now." She stared at her teacup for a while and let the tea swirl around. "You mentioned Caden saved your life before, sadly we can't save everyone. Sometimes all we can do is make them comfortable."

Selina looked from Meri to Caden, trying to imagine how it would be like to be in their shoes. She had been trained from a young age for only one thing; how to point a blade and stab it into another. She had also become rather proud of her abilities in said craft, but all that suddenly felt frivolous and destructive. She wondered how would Meri see her if she really knew who she was.

Meri mistook her thoughtfulness for sadness. "No need to worry dear girl" She said with a smile. "Now lets hear about your plans. Do you intend to stay long? I'm sure you would brighten our days with your presence."

Selina stared at her hands as she gave the invitation some thought. "I'm not sure. I'd like to, certainly, but..." Another spike drove needles through her skull. She paused to wince as another image was slapped into her mind. A hunter's lodge, somewhere in Queensdale. It was at least three storeys high. Her mind was telling her something but she didn't know what. She thought the memory spikes had been dealt with, but apparently they were still infecting her. And why now of all times?

"Sel?" Caden placed a hand on her arm. "Tell me what's going on please?" He looked at her with concern as Meri quietly got up and left the kitchen allowing the two some privacy. Through the backdoor she made her way into the herb garden behind the house and quietly returned to the work she'd been doing there before Caden and Selina arrived.

She took a while to collect herself. The spikes were draining and all she wanted to do was to go lie down. "I'm remembering something, something that wasn't there before. I'm sorry... I'm ruining this reunion, I'd so wanted it to be perfect."

"Don't worry about it" He said softly pulling her into his arms hoping to comfort her. "It's much more important to me that you're well. Is there anything I can do for you?"

She appreciated the hug, but she was much too exhausted to enjoy it. "Can I just go lie down for a bit? Maybe I'll feel better then. Again... I'm so sorry, please don't let me take up more of your precious time with your family."

"I'm afraid you'll have to make do with my room, I hope you don't mind" He said as he let go of her and got to his feet. Without question he picked her up in his arms and walked towards the stairs. As he arrived at the top he walked towards the room at the far end of the landing and carefully pushed the door open. It was a simple room with a single bed on one side of the room and a small desk on the other side. Above the desk was a shelf with several books on it. Carefully Caden placed her on the bed. "Will you be alright here?" He asked as he opened the window to let some fresh air in.

The headache was already receding, as it did previously. But she laid down all the same, making sure to soak in every sight and sound in that room. Every corner of it rang his name, from the items on the desk, to the texture of the sheets beneath her. It felt wonderful... it felt like a little piece of home. "I love your room, it's beautiful..." she marveled.

He smiled at her. "It's only a simple room, but it's a good place to call home" He said. "Is there anything you need? I'll get it for you, otherwise I'll check in on you later."

"No, go back to your gran. I know you must have so much to catch up on. Don't let me keep you. I'll go down right away in a moment. Right after I collect myself. Thank you for everything."

He nodded. "Rest well" He said before leaving the room, softly closing the door behind him.

She set her head down, listening to his footsteps disappearing down the stairwell, a breeze blowing through the window, and for a while she just remained there, watching the shadows on the ceiling.

After sometime, Selina clutched a fist and felt her strength returning. The bed felt incredibly inviting, but she felt hugely compelled to get herself back up, so she would be ready to go back down those stairs and rejoin the conversation. Urging herself, she managed to get up to a seated position, and then to completely rise to her feet.

Glancing around the room, Selina had a moment of surreality to recognize that she was indeed in Caden's private sanctuary. She'd often regarded Caden as aloof and shy - someone who'd never reveal what he truly thought, and would probably keep her skirting outside his gates trying to guess what really was going on. She walked around the room with barefeet, picking up a random book at his desk. She didn't know if he'd like her touching his things, but she figured he'd never knew if she did. Bringing the book to her nose, she sniffed it. She put down the book, and picked up another, and did the same to sniff it. Each book had the scent of old pages, but also the distinct scent of Caden's touch. She wondered how many times he'd flipped each book. How much he'd studied each page.

Selina put the book down. It was high time to get herself back to Caden and Meri and stop being distracted by the items in Caden's room. As fascinating as book sniffing was, she couldn't wait to be a part of that family conversation again. It was a strange sensation, being between Caden and his gran. It almost felt like she had been temporarily adopted into the family, and could regard Meri as her own gran. It was a warm feeling that felt very welcoming to her.

Downstairs Caden went into the garden as well, following his grandmother. "Gran, do we still have that spare mattress? I'll be bunking in the kitchen while Selina is here." he said as he walked up to her.

Meri turned around to look at Caden. "Not sharing a room?" She asked teasingly. Caden turned bright red at her remark. "Gran.." He objected.

"Oh shush you" Meri said. "I can see the way you look at her, there's no hiding from me lad. How long have you two been an item?" Her smile shone brightly as she asked him.

Opening the door as quietly as she could, she snuck out of the room, shut the door behind her, and tread lightly down the stairs. She could already hear mumbles coming from the garden outside, and she beamed as she peered outside to see Caden with his gran. A picture perfect moment, with the light hitting them just right, and the herb garden of myriad colors enveloping their feet. Selina wished then to capture that sliver in time to replay it forever. She moved slowly to the edge of the window to admire the scene while waiting for a suitable moment to re-enter.

"Gran, we're not, I mean, she's not..." Caden blurted out. Feeling utterly embarrassed he stared daggers at her. "There is no understanding between us grandmother." He said, a little more calmly after he collected himself.

Meri's smile dropped. "I'm sure I saw something between you two" She said, with an air of disappointment. Her eyes carefully took in her grandson's face as she awaited his reaction.

"You probably did" Caden said, realizing there was no fooling his grandmother.

Meri took his arm and pushed him gently towards a bench that sat in the center of the garden. "Sit with me" She told him before sitting down on the bench herself and patting the seat next to her. Caden sat down beside her, their backs towards the house. "Tell me then my boy, what's the matter" Meri said, placing a wrinkled hand on his.

Selina stayed low in order not to be noticed, even while her fingers lightly touched the glass. She realised how rude it was for her to eavesdrop on Caden's private conversation, but this was exactly what she'd wanted to know for sometime - and that for some unknown reason, Caden had refused to share with her.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #104 on: June 07, 2017, 05:31:11 PM »
He gave his grandmother a small smile. "Oh gran it's complicated, I don't possibly know where to start." He stared off in the direction of the orchard. Nothing had changed here in this garden for as long as he remembered and it put him at ease a little. He sat there staring in silence for a long time, until his grandmother broke it. "I suggest the start my boy, come tell your old nan, you know well that there's not a lot that can still surprise me."

After a while Caden spoke up. "When I met Selina, she was seeing someone" He said. "A hunter from the Queen's forest. They clearly loved each other. She was taken by bandits however, a vicious gang, they took her all the way to Brisban and further, through a portal. I helped her boyfriend to get her back. We managed to return her to Divinity's Reach but he never did get her back. Whatever they did with her there, it wiped her memory." Caden fell silent. He told as much of the truth as he could, but it still felt wrong to lie so much to his grandmother.

Meri silently sat next to him, content to hear him out rather than question. After several minutes Caden continued. "We did our best to help her, and most of her memories returned, but her memories of him didn't. After all this time, she still doesn't know. So how can I tell her how I feel gran, when her heart belongs to another. " He wrung his hands nervously. "She may not know it now, but I'm sure she'll remember at some point. She would resent me for trying to take his place. "

Selina felt her hand slipping from the glass as she listened to Caden reveal what truly happened that she'd lost all memory of. The hunter's lodge that had flashed in her head was brought back to mind - was that where the man lived? Was that why her mind was trying so desperately to show her what was missing?

A spike speared through her head as she attempted to recall anything involving the man or his whereabouts. It resonated wildly, causing her to slide to the floor in agony. She held her temples desperately to hold back the spasms.

There was sadness in his eyes when he looked at his grandmother again and she couldn't help but feel for him. "You ought to tell her lad, leave her the choice." She said.
Caden shook his head. "I just need her to be happy and healthy, that'll be enough" He said.

Together they sat there, staring out over the garden and orchard. "Don't forget to look after your own happiness Caden" Meri said after some time. Standing up and giving him a kiss on the forehead. "I best get on with these herbs now" She said with a gentle smile.

Caden nodded. "Let me help you" He said.

Drained once more of energy, she quickly decided that she had had it with the spikes. She would not think of this man any longer, no matter what he'd meant to her before. He now meant nothing to her. In fact, she instead found a seething resentment towards him - that whoever this man was had inevitably doomed her to a life of solitude, denying her of what could've been with Caden.

The mixture of anger and frustration gave her strength that her limbs did not, and it drove her to claw her way back to Caden's room, and plopped her back onto his bed, her hair in disarray, her eyes red from emotion and her nails cracked from friction against the stone flooring. She went back to staring at the shadows cast against the ceiling, but now they looked like the thorns of a beast, consuming its prey. What hope had she? She had come to the end of the line.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #105 on: June 08, 2017, 10:59:53 AM »
After Caden and Meri finished weeding the herbbed the sun had started to sink and Meri announced she would start dinner. Caden spread the weeds out on the path to let them dry out over night and went back inside as well. "I'll check on Selina gran, She's been asleep so long I'm sure she'll be hungry." He said, already half way up the stairs when he spoke.

When he reached the door to his room he softly knocked on the wood. "Selina?"

She heard the knock, it woke her up from her state of sleep. Instantly, Selina remembered all that had transpired before she'd drifted off. She looked up at the door and thought about staying silent... leaving him wondering. But she rose instead. She knew she wouldn't be able to avoid him forever. She just didn't know what she would say. "I'm here..." was what she started with.

"How're you feeling Selina?" He asked through the closed door. His hand was on the handle but he didn't open it.

"I'm fine," she said.

"Sel, can I come in?" He asked, feeling slightly nervous for some reason.

"It's your room," she replied simply.

His hand slid off the handle. "It's yours while you're here" He said, sighing slightly. "Gran is cooking dinner, will you join us?"

Selina sighed. She felt too dismayed to work up an appetite, but on the other hand, she didn't want to be rude to Meri. She seemed like such a wonderful person, Selina knew she would feel awful if she ended up offending Meri. She rose from the bed and opened the door, staring Caden directly in the face. She didn't care to tidy her hair, or even manage a smile for him.

Slightly taken aback by her appearance Caden took a step back. "Sel you look awful, are you sure you're alright?" He looked at her with concern. "Would you prefer it if I brought some food up so you can rest more?"

"Caden..." she was tired of all the secrecy and unsaid words that had only served to hurt her, just when she thought things couldn't get any worse after what had happened with Aidan. "I'm going to just come out and say this... I went down the time you were out in the garden with Meri. I saw the both of you talking and... well... I overheard everything. I'm sorry... I just couldn't stand to make my presence known then."

He paled as he stared at her. His brain was working overtime but no eloquent response seemed to form in his mind. "....You .....heard" he finally stammered.

"Look... I respect the sentiment, but understand that that person... the Selina that left DR to head into Brisban... she died. We've tried everything to revive her - I've tried everything to restore her but it seems that this is all that remains... a broken... wreck of a person who can't even sit through a nice little lunch like she wanted to. I get it... I'm not the person you wanted... I'm not even the person I want to be. But this man you speak of... I don't know who he is, nor why he's still relevant to my life. Should I be chained forever to the ghosts of my past?"

"Sel" It felt like each word she said broke away the floor beneath his feet a little further and desperation took hold of him. He never meant for her to hurt, never thought that she would find out, not like this. Every fiber in his body wanted to run, but he remained standing in front of her his feet nailed in place. "I was scared" He said, looking at the floor between their feet, too afraid to look her in the eyes now, afraid of what he might find there.

She dipped her glance, disappointed with the way things had turned out. "I'm sorry Caden, this isn't working out, as much as I wanted it to. You deserve a sweet young thing who adores you and agrees with all your political views, not a broken rag ten years your senior who continues to fight for everything you're opposed to. We are so different..." she smiled sadly at him. "I'm not sure what made me think that this could work out, you'd be the only one on the losing end. I've been so very selfish, and I think it's time I did something for you instead, Caden." She gripped him firmly by the shoulders and spoke sternly to him. "Whatever we've meant to each other, whatever we've done together... you've got to forget it all. Go on, live your life. Don't come looking for me. If it helps, I'll make sure you can't follow. If my brother comes looking for me, don't tell him where I am. I'm going to shed this childish infatuation, and do what I need to do. You must too."

Her cruel dismissal of what seemed to be ... both?? their feelings made him angry. Angry with his grandmother for prying, angry with Selina for eavesdropping, angry with himself for even telling to begin with, or perhaps he should've told more. He doubted Selina understood even half of his feelings. He had tried to deny them for so long he was sure now that he could not forget. How could she even begin to suggest it after all this time. "No" He said firmly. "I cannot. You already own my heart Selina Knox, if you run away now you'll just take it with you." He finally made himself look up at her and there was sadness in his eyes.

"Then make me stay Caden..." a thin whisper came out of her lips. She widened her eyes, as though as surprised to hear herself say it. She let him go and turned away. "Don't make it harder... I'm not good for you. I know you want to fix me, but I can't be fixed." She slammed a fist into the wall. "It's better if we go our separate ways."

Her whispered question gave him the tiniest inkling of hope and he decided to grab it with both hands, he had nothing more to lose after all. His hand took hold of her underarm gently pulling her to face him. His other hand cupped her face as he looked in her eyes. "I don't care if you think you're good for me or not. You own my heart and I need you to survive" His face was inches from hers and he longed to kiss her, to feel her lips against his and forget about their troubles. His heart beat wildly in his chest and he felt it might burst as he opened his mouth to speak again. "I love you Selina" The hope inside him flickered, desperate to be fed, desperate to grow and anxiously he looked in her eyes, awaiting her response.

She wound her arm behind his back and fell onto his lips, a hunger enveloped her, stronger than she'd ever felt before. She'd fought so hard to set him free, and she knew full well that she really shouldn't be kissing Caden Mullins, but she had become locked into his embrace, and couldn't find the strength to leave, not even if the world came crumbling down around them.

His breath caught in his throat as she kissed him. He could scarcely believe it but he banished all doubt from his head as he slid his arm around her shoulders and held on to her for dear life. His fingers laced through her hair as he answered her hungry kisses with sweet ones of his own. Unwilling to break the moment he prayed for it to last.

As their breaths got more intense, she wedged him against a wall and kneaded the sides of his waist with her hands, pouring every ounce of emotion that she'd kept bottled into him. It felt like a wealth of eternity, her mind racing through every captured moment when she wanted to touch him and to hold him, and somehow had hesitated. She felt validated to indulge, to pay back the debt that was owed.

He had ached for this for so long that he savoured every kiss they shared. As she wedged him against the wall he held her close to him, his hand holding the back of her neck, his fingers laced into her hair. There were still so many things that needed to be said, but for now, this was enough. He suddenly jolted when a loud sound came from downstairs, unwilling he tore himself away from Selina briefly looking in her eyes before running over to the balustrade that overlooked the kitchen. "Gran?" he called, his face still flushed.

His eyes found Meri standing in the middle of the kitchen, leaning over a stack of fallen pots grinning sheepishly. "Ah sorry my boy, I'm afraid I was rather clumsy"

She stumbled backwards and caught a corner of the door to Caden's room. She didn't think she had it in her to channel such passion into one kiss, and she became a little frightened of the sheer power it had over her. Wiping a corner of her lip with the back of her hand, she tried to assess what had just occurred. It'd happened so quickly that she hadn't the time to think it through.

Sighing Caden looked down. "Do you need some help gran?" He asked. "No but you two can come and eat your dinner" Meri told him.

He nodded and turned, feeling suddenly very aware of how warm his face felt and how red it would most likely be. He walked back to Selina trying to gauge her as he approached. "Sorry, my gran she..." He mumbled as he took her hand and held it against his cheek.

Selina looked at him, but still found herself in a daze. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. Seeing as she was at a loss for words, she simply nodded.

He placed a kiss on her hand before letting go of it. "Gran wants us downstairs for dinner" He said with an apologetic smile.

She smiled bashfully in return. "Did that just happen? Or was I dreaming?" she asked, walking behind him.

"If you did then so did I," He mumbled before walking down the stairs, still feeling slightly embarrassed by his grandmothers interruption.

Selina looked at the elderly woman, and awkwardly raised a hand to wave at her.

"Ah Selina, so good to see you on your feet, are you feeling better?" Meri chattered cheerfully. "If you have any more headaches I can give you something for that"

"I'm feeling much better, thank you Meri. And to tell truth, I don't know if herbal remedies work against spells?" Caden and her had broken down all barriers of secrecy, she figured that she'd do the same with Meri and let her assume that she'd overheard the entire conversation.

Meri's gaze shot from Caden to Selina and back. Caden nodded at her. "She heard" He said softly. Meri gave Selina a kind smile. "Sit down child, and eat. Then we will talk." She said gesturing to the table which was now filled with several bowls. There was rice, what looked to be a stew and a salad that looked like it came straight from a meadow.

Selina sat in front of the bowl gratefully and picked up her utencils. "A home cooked meal," she said contemplatively. "Made with love, served with grace, makes for an unforgettable taste." She grinned and looked up at Meri. "It's a rhyme I learnt when I was a child."

Meri smiled at her. "It's rather on the mark I'd say" She took the bowl of rice and passed it on to Selina.

Selina took the bowl and started digging her spoon into the rice till she noticed that no one else had started yet. She pulled the spoon out and looked at Meri and Caden in embarrassment.

"Sel, you're our guest, you get to take food first" Caden said, nudging her softly.

She looked at Meri for approval, then gingerly scooped the stew into her bowl. "I'm sorry... I don't get invited often for social meals like these. I always forget my manners."

Meri smiled at her encouragingly "Don't worry about that dear, just enjoy the meal and the company"

Selina had taken several mouthfuls of Meri's delicious cooking when she found her eyes wandering the table to settle on Caden. She still couldn't believe what had happened with him, and was half expecting to wake up from a dream. There was something new and striking about Caden she hadn't noticed before, something that set her heart racing at the very sight. She wondered why it wasn't as prevalent before.

Caden caught her gaze as he looked up from his food and smiled warmly at her. After several seconds of gazing at her he tore away and looked at his grandmother instead. "Has father been gone for long?"

"He left for the city four days ago, but it's no rare occurrence. Your mum worries easily, you know that. On this side of the city we've been relatively safe, as you will have witnessed yourself on your way here I presume." Meri said before finishing up her meal.

Selina listened as she finished her meal. "If you need him tracked down, I'd be more than glad," she offered.

"That's very kind of you dear but I'm sure he'll turn up soon enough." Meri smiled. "Caden got his wanderlust from no stranger"

Sel chuckled and cast Caden a pointed glance. "Didn't he tell me recently that he's enough of adventuring and wants to settle down here with his herbs?"

Meri raised her eyebrows at Caden. "Did he now? Well then, we'll see for how long" She chuckled as Caden's face turned a shade of crimson again.

"If you ask me, I think the trip into Brisban scarred him for life. I wouldn't be surprised. It's scarred me too," added Selina.

"Tell me child, what causes your headaches" Meri asked her, giving her a concerned look.

"Old hidden memories crawling back. I'm no expert, but it sounds like a mesmer created gaps in my head, mostly for the purpose of brainwashing me into working for them like a mindless zombie. I think we've mostly got it fixed.... but it seems, not entirely."

Caden nodded. "I've seen her regain memories several times, she gets sharp pains in her head, sometimes even spasms as if she's having some sort of fit, like her body is fighting what goes on in her head." He fell silent. "I"m confused as to why you would remember anything here though, you've never been here after all."

"The only reason I can see for that happening, it's in relation to that final piece of the puzzle that's still missing. The guy you were talking about. Speaking of... if there really was something going on between myself and that guy, why did he never turn up at all? It just seems odd that he wouldn't care at all."

"He did come for you, at Aidan's house, but when you saw him you went into a fit and passed out. He didn't want you to hurt on his behalf and he left." Caden said quietly.

None of what Caden said seemed to resonate with a memory. "He assumes if he comes by I'll get into a fit again, I suppose?"

Caden nodded.

She leaned towards Caden and plopped her chin on the palm of her hand. "Well... since he's gone, let's just leave him out of the picture. I'm much too occupied to really bother now." She grinned.

Caden blushed, not quite knowing what to say he stared at his empty bowl.

Meri seemed thoughtful for a while. She got to her feet and started to flip through a book that she took from one of the shelves. Meri finished flipping through the book and closed it. "I can't help you with your memory Selina, but I can make you something to help with the side effects."

"Don't worry about the headaches Meri, I've learnt to live with them. Besides, they don't typically occur these days."

"If you're sure, otherwise I'm sure Caden generally has something handy, although that's more tailored to helping with a hangover most likely" she said with a wink.

Selina nodded, and then she became a little quiet as she looked about the house. "Meri, and Caden... this is a little awkward to bring up. But Caden first intended to bring me here for a visit, I assumed I'd be spending one... or two nights, tops. After which I'd fully intended to leave. I have some business that needs to be done in Lion's Arch. But Caden... well he convinced me not to go. And now my plans are up in the air, and I'm kinda at a crossroads. Can you give me some directions, like what kind of work is in demand around these parts... or perhaps the location of the nearest inn? I really don't want to impose."

"My dear child, you'll be more than welcome here" Meri said. She looked thoughtful for a while and then looked at Caden. "She can have Maggie's room" Surprised Caden looked at her. "But.. are you sure? What will Ma say?"

Selina looked from one to the other. "The inn is fine, I don't want to cause problems."

"Wherever you feel most comfortable child, but friends of Caden will always be welcome here, you remember that." Meri gave her a warm smile and started to clear the dishes from the table.

She turned to Caden just as Meri got up to clear the table. "This... is what you want, isn't it?"

"Nothing could make me happier" he said with a warm smile.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 12:50:40 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #106 on: June 15, 2017, 01:22:59 PM »
Early that morning, a crackling campfire sent lazy wisps of smoke through the air, into Caden's room.

Caden stretched as he awoke, as he sat up part of him wondered if yesterday had actually been a dream. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and looked at the window. Who was building a fire at this hour, he wondered as he got up and moved towards the window.

Found sitting beside the fire right beneath his room, Selina sheepishly waved at Caden. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?"

"No. Are you trying to set my house on fire already?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.

She laughed a jovial laugh. "I'm trying to scare away the harpies, assassins, pirates, and brigands with this fire here."

"I feel safer already" He laughed. "Will you come inside and have breakfast with me?"

"What?" She pulled out a measly looking sausage from the fire that gotten black on one side and uncooked on the other. "This not good enough for you?"

"That definitely beats oatmeal" he said laughing. "I'll be right down." Caden quickly grabbed a fresh shirt and pants from his chest of drawers and got himself dressed. He then made his way downstairs and towards Selina's fire.

As he approached her, she smiled coyly, "I was actually kidding. This morning I've learnt that if there's one thing I can't do, it's cook." She looked in dismay at her failed attempt simmering in a pan on the flames. "I had the intent of surprising you with breakfast, but I fear we may contract a disease trying to mouth this down."

"Ah" He smiled. "I suppose oatmeal it is then. Come on in."

"Alright," she picked up her pan, dumped the contents into the flames and kicked soil over the camp fire to put it out. "That's the last time I'll try that."

He laughed as he turned and walked back inside. In the kitchen he found the pot of oatmeal his grandmother always prepared in the morning. After adding some wood to the fire he placed the pot on the stove to reheat it.

She followed behind him, and didn't stop till she was just inches from him, hovering over his shoulder. "So..." she said softly into his ear. "I wasn't entirely honest about why I was making you breakfast."

"Hm?" He asked as he turned his head to look over his shoulder while he took a ladle and stirred the oatmeal a few times.

"Well... I..." she hesitated, finding it hard to speak the words she intended to say to him. "The truth is I... I missed you... and cooking you breakfast underneath your window seemed like a good excuse to get close to you without seeming too... well..." Backing off a little from him, her face flushed beetroot red. "I hope it doesn't sound creepy."

He let go of the ladle and turned wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against him. "When I woke up this morning I thought I dreamt you. I'm glad you were right outside my window to ensure me yesterday was real." He said softly.

She smiled broadly, and stroked the side of his face. "I never replied when you said that you loved me. The truth is... I don't think I've ever felt the same way about another. I've fought some massive beasts, and have beat death too many times to count... but you... you are something else. I don't think I could ever bear the thought of losing you. That terrifies me more than anything."

"I'm not going anywhere" He said giving her a kiss on the top of her head. Just as he did that the oatmeal mixture behind him started to make bubbling noises. "Ah." He said sadly letting go of her.  "Lets not burn our second breakfast as well." He turned back to the pot and stirred it a few times.

She stepped beside him, watching him stir the contents of the pot. "I will go where you want me to go, Caden. If it's here in Claypool, then I'll try to make myself useful around here."

Caden gave her a loving smile before taking the pot off the stove. He put it on a counter and took two bowls from a shelf nearby. Just as he was about to ladle them full the backdoor opened. In the opening stood a large man, clearly a relative of Caden's. Caden looked over his shoulder to the door before putting the bowls down again and turning around completely. "Not the people I expected to find in my kitchen" he said, still holding the door open with one hand."

Selina regarded the man with a smile, and waited to be introduced.

"Dad" Caden said with a smile. "Welcome home I suppose. This is Selina" He said, gesturing at her. "Selina this is Ethan, my father."

"Hello Ethan," said Selina, reaching out her hand.

"Well met" He said, shaking her hand. "Finally brought a girl home then son" He said ruffling a hand through Caden's hair while Caden's face turned rather red.

"M-mum is still with Mrs Green and gran's gone out to the woods." He said changing the topic immediately.

"And they left you in charge of the pot of porridge hmm. Good thing I arrived when I did or I would have no breakfast." He said, sitting down at the table.  Caden took another bowl from the shelf and filled all three of them. He gestured for Selina to sit down as well before placing the three bowls on the table. From a drawer he took some spoons and handed them out before sitting down himself.

Selina sat down in front of a bowl, and took a curious look at the large man, trying to spot any features that resembled Caden's; His hair was a shade similar to Caden's and a clear resemblance could also been seen in their facial features.

"How was your trip?" Caden asked. "Mum said you're late a few days."

"Yeah I got a little sidetracked" He said with an apologetic grin. "When I went to hand off supplies to Joanna they needed someone to forward some things to the Seraph hospital in the reach. I figured it'd better be me than someone who could be of use in the field."

Selina dug into her bowl as she listened, trying to get a handle on who Caden's father was, and what their relationship was like.

"What about you, what're you up to, taking girls home?" Ethan gave Selina a glance before focusing on Caden.

Caden nearly choked on his oatmeal upon hearing the sudden question. He had hoped to avoid the topic for a while. The redness returned to his cheeks and he glanced at Selina while his mind raced to find an answer to that question.

Noticing the hesitation, Selina chimed in quickly. "I'm an ex-colleague of Caden's. Wanted to be shown around Claypool, which is why I'm here."

Ethan laughed loudly.  "I'm sure you are girl, but Caden's face is telling enough." He ate the reminder of his oatmeal in two large spoonfuls and got up from the table. "I'll leave you two to your ...exploration of Claypool, Daisy needs a wash." He said while rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. "Oh, if you do go out, pass by the Greens and tell your mum I"m home, don't want her worrying." He said before going back outside.

Taking the moment in privacy, Selina checked on Caden, "Are you alright?"

"Yeah" He said, poking around in his oatmeal with his spoon. "I.... I just ..I don't... This, us, it's all so new that I didn't know what to say to him. I didn't want to lie to him but I" He fell silent again. "I didn't want to tell him we ...are together without your consent."

She laughed lightly. "Caden, they are your family, not mine. I would think opening up to them about this would matter more to you than to I. I'm fine either way, if you want to tell them or if you want to keep it a secret. Just... if you're ashamed of me, I'd hope you'd let me know."

He smiled thankfully at her. "If we choose to be together I want my family to know, but this was so soon after yesterday that I wasn't sure how you felt. " He took her hand then. "I could never be ashamed of you Sel, I love you even if you do manage some pretty weird things every now and then" he grinned, "Like wacking me over the head to keep me safe or build a campfire in my backgarden. Oh, I'm sure dad will have something to say about that later if he finds out."

She grinned, leaned over suddenly and laid a passionate kiss on his lips. After a little while, she drew back and looked directly into his eyes. "How do you think I feel about it?"

He gave her no answer, instead he smiled and pulled her back for another kiss.

Her heart pounded in her chest as she pushed the oatmeal aside and leaned far over the table to get as close to him as she could. There was nothing more she wanted to do in that moment but to fall more and more in love with Caden Mullins.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 01:43:27 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #107 on: June 21, 2017, 05:31:21 PM »
After a passionate kiss he broke away and smiled at Selina. "We should probably clean this up and head out" He said, half regretting the comment as soon as he made it.

She smiled, even though she didn't want to let him go. But if she had to be perfectly honest, she was keen to visit the rest of Caden's environment. There was still so much about him that she didn't know.

Caden got up and cleared the table. "So, where would you like to go first?"

"Anywhere... everywhere," she said. "I want to see what you do when you're not in Divinity's Reach, hidden in this little corner of the world. I want to see the people you meet."

He finished cleaning up and offered her a hand. "Let's go then."

She took his hand and walked at his side. As they left his home she chuckled out loud as she reflected on them walking about hand in hand. "We're just like an old couple."

"Not quite, if I were I'd have a cane in the other hand" He said with a grin. "Hey Dad, we're going out now, see you later" he called as they walked past the stable.

Selina followed along, admiring the scattered homes in the quaint little village. She wondered what it would feel like growing up in such a place.

"Let's stop by the Greens first" He said, making his way towards the center of the village. He walked directly towards a small house located near the village square now. He let go of Selina's hand and knocked on the door. After some time a girl in her early teens opened the door. Her eyes were red and she looked tired. "How're you holding up Els" Caden asked concerned. The girl almost burst into tears and only nodded to him.

At that moment an young man appeared behind her. "Hey Eric" Caden said. "Can you please pass on to mum that father had returned home? I know she was a bit worried because he was late again" Caden asked him. Eric nodded and pulled Els away from the door gently.

"Your mom should be returning home soon. Grandma passed away during the night." He said quietly.

"My condolences" Caden said, placing a hand on the young mans shoulder shortly. After an awkward silence Caden stepped back form the door. "I will leave you to your family, may the six give you strength. " He said softly.

Eric nodded "thank you" he said before closing the door again.

Caden sighed and looked at Selina. "Sorry about that"

She shrugged, and tried to sympathize. But she knew nothing about the Greens, only that they mattered to Caden.

He took Selina's hand again and started walking, leading her past the mill back to the southside of the village. "That was Eric he explained while they walked, I used to hang out with him a lot, together with Jer, you saw him when we entered the town. Tom too but he moved away. I'm actually not sure what became of him. And Jake," He shrugged at the mention of the last name. "As far as we know he hooked up with the bandits in the caves up north, the idiot." the realization of what he just said hit him suddenly and he gave Selina a shocked look. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."

The fact that he worried about offending her made her laugh. "Idiot huh... Well, you can't please them all."

He gave her an apologetic smile. They passed the last few houses of the edge of the village and turned to their right onto a smaller path. They were now approaching the south wall that protected the village. He pointed at the road they had just left. "That goes to fort Salma" he said, before leading her further down the path. At the wall he greeted the seraph guard and they left the village behind them. "This is one of my favourite places" he said as they walked down a slope, towards a lake. On their left several streams of a waterfall plunged down into the lake with a roaring sound. A few fishman's huts surrounded the lake, and on their right side the lake turned into a stream. He lead Selina onto a walkway that lead to the middle of the lake where he sat down on the edge. He patted the space next to him, inviting her to sit down, before taking his shoes off to let his feet dangle in the cold water.

Delightedly, she took her shoes off as well and planted herself down beside him. Looking over the lake, she asked, "You come here a lot?"

"Yeah" He paused and then grinned at her. "Don't let the barracudas bite you"

Instinctively she jolted her feet out of the water. But when she realised that he still had his feet in the water, her eyes slid to gaps, guessing that he was merely playing her. "Is that your attempt at trying to be smart?"

He started to laugh. "I'll have you know that a fisherman once caught a specimen here that was over 5 foot long" he said, still laughing.

She loved to see him laugh, it was the kind of laugh that made her want to laugh along. "I'm calling your bluff," she declared, reaching over to tickle him in the side. "You're some kind of cheeky today, Caden."

He laughed louder now, trying to pull away from her tickling, almost losing his balance and going over the edge of the walkway. "It's true though" He exclaimed, just ask old Welkin over there" He said, pointing at a fisherman in a boat on the other side of the lake.

She cast a quick glance at the boat on the other side of the lake, just to make sure that it was really there, grinned, and reeled Caden back in. "Who else have you spent time at this lake with?" she asked.

"The lads and I hung out here a lot" He said quickly in reply. "We used to go around the hill there so we could jump down from the waterfall. Jake once nearly broke his leg on the rocks, dad got so angry with us then." He laughed.

Selina remained thoughtful at the mention of Jake. "Do you know if Jake is still up north with those guys?"

"No clue, why?"

"Need I remind you that you have the perfect infiltrator, sitting right here. I can drag that idiot back here if you'd like."

"Don't you think we tried to talk him out of it?" Caden sighed. "He made his choice. Besides, if we dragged him out he'd only be going straight to prison. Might as well leave him to his own devices."

"Maybe prison is what he needs, to sober him up," she suggested.

"Maybe, but I will not be the one that puts him there"

She leaned over and gently stroked his ear. "Well, you are a good friend. He's lucky to have you."

He smiled at her. "Not half as lucky as I am to have you" He said smoothly, his smile turning back to a grin.

She took his hand and looked him in the eyes. "Caden, what you said to Meri... that you'd hesitated because I had another man in my life. How long ago was that?"

"When we first met you two were still together." He said quietly.

"And... When did you..." she searched for the right words to use. "Well... when did you begin to feel something for me?"

His cheeks started to run red again. "You have to ask me that" he said.

She looked down awkwardly, "Just... there were a couple of things that you did, or said... they never added up, and I've... I've always wondered. But..." she waved the thoughts away. "It's something I don't exactly have to know. If you feel uncomfortable then just forget it."

"I'm not sure I can pinpoint when that happened exactly." He finally said. "I think it just slowly grew while were traveling to Brisban together. Of course, he was there, so I couldn't allow myself to consider anything at all."

Selina listened intently, and considered the implications. "So each time we argued, and you came back. And seemingly without reason, you chose to follow me while I worked out my brother's problems... and all that talk about me being a distraction... you've been trying to hide this?"

He nodded, staring at the water.

She gathered him in her arms and hugged him tightly. "I'm sorry Caden. I fought you over and over because I couldn't understand. I remained suspicious of your intentions. And yet I failed to see how you were suffering."

He smiled as she hugged him. "I never held that against you." He said softly. "I knew you didn't know, I just had to be around you. I felt that if I could just be near you I'd somehow be alright."

"Now you have me Caden," she began trailing the side of his face with light kisses, from the top of his head down to the end of his left shoulder. "All to yourself... We can stay like this forever."

"Mhm" he replied, taking her face in one hand and placing a kiss on her lips.

She returned his kiss with a deep embracing kiss of her own, leaning him down on the walkway, as she parted from his lips to admire the moment they shared together. "I'd like to be a part of your world Caden, but there's just one problem."

"Hm? What's that?" He asked, pulling her back, closer to him.

She looked down at the mix of armor and leather outfit that she'd assembled and worn since Kessex. "I doubt this is really suited for country life," she told him with a smile in her eyes.

"Well, I wouldn't protest if you took it off" He said with a grin, but the townsfolk might have something to say about that.

Selina grinned in response. "I wasn't hinting at that, but..." She dropped a kiss on the center of his chest. "If you want..." She dropped another kiss just above his navel. "I'm not opposed to the idea."

His face was bright crimson by now. "W-we should probably spare old Welkin the show" He said, half stumbling over his words. "I'm sure we c-can find you some clothes though"

She chuckled, stood up and offered him a hand. "Hey relax, I'm just teasing. I wouldn't embarrass you like that in front of your townsfolk."

Still red he got to his feet. "I'd never hear the end of it" he warned her with a smile.

She leaned over and whispered, "Maybe that's all the more reason to do exactly that. Life isn't worth living if you only dare tread the straight and narrow." She winked at him impishly and started heading back down the boardwalk.

He rolled his eyes at her back before going after her.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 10:34:41 AM by Talia »