gnawing doubt
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#1
she had magic in her eyes even the stars envied
A day has passed since the disaster, and Amalia finds herself at Ronin's door, her hand raised to knock without follow-up motion, frozen by trepidation and doubt. What is the point, what is the point? rings like chime through her brain, doubt gnawing at her throat, her chest, making her heartbeat an uneasy pulse. Both Ronin and Remi made their stances clear, drew lines to stand firmly behind, so why is she trying to cross them?

The hand falls, and Amalia considers turning away.

But if she leaves now then what good is she? What was the point of any of this, if she refuses to so much as discuss, as question, if they can't listen to each other? Ronin is her friend: won't he want to hear her out, to have a conversation so they can understand each other, come to stand on even ground?

Swallowing resolutely, Amalia raises her fist again.

And doesn't knock.

She wishes she'd brought Deimos, or Jigano. Even Wessex had been more eloquent than she, making her opinions and intentions clear while Amalia sat and shivered and sulked, too weighed down to contribute to anything but her own despair. She had thought - had hoped - that it would be easy, that she would simply suggest a thing and magically their problems would be solved. She had been childish, and naive, and hopeful, and stupid. She had been terribly afraid.

Just like now.

Sighing, Amalia bites her lip, almost hard enough to bleed. Fuck it - fuck it - she can't do this, what's the point, where will it lead except nowhere at all, she should just turn around and walk away-

Amalia knocks on the wooden door, and and prays nobody will answer.



Set before the KQ
Ronin Taliesin
the Dark Star
Monster Hunter

Age: 27 | Height: 5'10 | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 26 - Endr: 26 - Luck: 30
SUGAR - Mythical - Dragon (ice breath)
Played by: Honey Offline
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#2
the things we hold are always the first to go
It was getting on in the afternoon, and the guildhall was stifling from the LongHeat sun beating down upon it. All of the windows were open, and when Ronin answered the door it was with a rosy cheeked and unhappy Aoife in his arms, the majority of the hunters having left for cooler pastures by now. Still, at the sight of Amalia he did manage a smile, though it wasn't as bright as perhaps it could have been. (Partially because of recent events and partially due to the heat).

"You don't have to knock. Just walk on in, it's usually open," he assured her, stepping aside to let her inside. "What can I do for you, Amalia? Sorry about how warm it is, I'm trying to air the place out. Great for Deepfrost, not so good for now, it turns out."
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,924
MP:
#3
she had magic in her eyes even the stars envied
Alas, her knock is answered.

He doesn't seem pleased- or is that just her, anxiety and doubt projected onto his vacant face, his slightly dimmed smile? Looking away from his face, Amalia leans over to greet Aoife instead, taking sanctuary in the infant's lack of judgment. A finger traces across her toes, her thigh; "Sorry,", she murmurs, still not looking at Ronin, a frown on her expressive face. Rising back up she follows the man inside, her arms crossed tight against her chest despite the oppressive heat.

What can I do for you? is a weighted question, not a friendly one, but this is not a friendly visit, is it? Amalia has never been in the guildhall: her eyes roam the trophies and structures within, as though looking for answers among the dust and hides. "We used to go to the Oasis on days like this." She bites her lip, not really sure what else to say, how to transition from some weather we're having? to so how do you feel about rebellions? Reaching up, she grabs her braid anxiously, pulling at the plaited hair. "I saw your name on the enlistment board," the baker says instead, looking curiously at a shelf in the corner to hide her expression of uncertainty. "When I went to add mine."
Ronin Taliesin
the Dark Star
Monster Hunter

Age: 27 | Height: 5'10 | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 26 - Endr: 26 - Luck: 30
SUGAR - Mythical - Dragon (ice breath)
Played by: Honey Offline
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#4
the things we hold are always the first to go
"Sorry for what?" Ronin asked automatically, his smile growing a touch warmer as Amalia turned her attention on Aoife; the girl was grumpy today, but she still managed a half-hearted burble of greeting to the baker. Leading them through into the greathall where all the shutters and doors were thrown open to let a draught through, Ronin set Aoife down on one of the rugs so he could speak properly with Amalia. Instantly, the child wiggled onto her hands and knees and began to crawl away - Ronin had long stopped trying to get her to keep still.

"The Oasis sounds wonderful about now," he admitted. "Might be an idea for tomorrow." He smiled over at Aoife, who was trying to pull herself up against one of the chairs. "Hm? Ah, yeah. I didn't feel like jail, so... enlisting it is." He shrugged. "I've been a soldier for over a decade, so it's hardly new to me."
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,924
MP:
#5
she had magic in her eyes even the stars envied
She doesn't say for knocking, because it seems like rather a moot point by now, and besides, she has greater things to apologize for still looming on the horizon. So she shrugs in response, an awkward half smile flitting across her face before fading, falling back down to a mask of uncertainty, the matter at hand still heavy on her mind.

Ronin's tone is easy as always, but Amalia does not trust it (it's hard to trust anything, these days). Instead she keeps her eyes on the shelves, glancing occasionally at Aoife on the rug, always anxious, always watchful, taking solace in the child's progress while worrying, worrying, worrying what the future will bring for her, for them, for everyone here. "I've... never been a soldier before." Amalia admits, still facing away from him, still frowning, still unsure. "It was probably foolish of me to sign up, but..." But I couldn't bear to see my friends dragged into something, and be left powerless.

It is the thing that hurts the most, in the end: feeling powerless while her world changes and grows, while things fall apart around her and without her knowledge or consent. Amalia is used to living in a small world, a community where every change happened with a rippling of knowledge and consent. "What do you think will happen?" She is a child of a bubble, a shattered snow globe with the water leaking out who does not fully know how to breathe.
Ronin Taliesin
the Dark Star
Monster Hunter

Age: 27 | Height: 5'10 | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 26 - Endr: 26 - Luck: 30
SUGAR - Mythical - Dragon (ice breath)
Played by: Honey Offline
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#6
the things we hold are always the first to go
Whilst his daughter conducts her own explorations, Ronin pulls out a chair at one of the tables and sinks down into it, waving a hand to invite Amalia to do the same. A jug of cold, sweet wine sits in the middle of the table, and Ronin wastes no time in pouring himself some. "Can I tempt you?" he asked, smirking and nodding to his glass.

She spoke of being foolish, and Ronin had more than enough experience in knowing what that was like. He smirked and nodded in agreement. "Given that the enlistment was for males only, I imagine it will have some absurd repurcussion. Don't worry about it too much, though." Zariah probably had bigger fish to fry, like those who hadn't signed up at all.

Sipping at his wine, Ronin quietly shrugged his shoulders. "Zariah is a wildcard, she always has been. I've no doubt that she thinks she is doing what is right. By us and by her family. But it's... warped, to say the least." He glanced up at Amalia, guilt written plain on his face. "I'm sorry I walked out, the other day. I... I wasn't expecting the nomination, or for people to talk to candidly about something awful happening to my daughter."
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,924
MP:
#7
she had magic in her eyes even the stars envied
Amalia shakes her head at the offer, never one for wine, still too uncomfortable to come and sit. Instead she continues drifting, absently looking around as she listens to Ronin speak. Don't worry is very far outside the girl's skillset, an ability the baker decidedly lacks. Worrying is like breathing to her. She worries about everything, all the time.

But he doesn't need to hear that. Sighing, Amalia finally turns around, settling onto the carpet beside Aoife, her hand reaching out to absently ruffle the girl's hair. That Zariah thinks what she's doing is right does little to earn the baker's empathy. Scoffing, Amalia shakes her head. "She could do what's best for them without dragging us into it."

It is when he finally broaches that most difficult subject that the the starlit girl finally looks up, her dark eyes unreadable because she is not sure what it is she feels. Guilt? Anger? Fear? Shame? Sighing, Amalia looks away again. "I should have spoken to you first." Staring at her hands, the girl swallows. Aoife.. I'd die before I let anyone hurt her. So would Remi, and you. But Ronin... If we want to make a better world for her, we have to be brave enough."
Ronin Taliesin
the Dark Star
Monster Hunter

Age: 27 | Height: 5'10 | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 26 - Endr: 26 - Luck: 30
SUGAR - Mythical - Dragon (ice breath)
Played by: Honey Offline
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Posts: 1,481
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#8
the things we hold are always the first to go
Aoife, always jubilant for female company, could no longer keep up her grumpy appearance as Amalia came to join her. A wide grin lit up her face and she flopped down to try and crawl all over the baker. (Obviously).

"You're right, she could," Ronin agreed softly. "Where we came from things were very much... well, you might call them under the thumb. I suppose Zariah saw a power vacuum." That didn't make what she had done right, though, and the dark expression on Ronin's face said as much.

His eyes widened a fraction at hearing that she would die for his daughter, the words slipping so candidly from her lips. Still, his brow furrowed and he slouched back in his seat, tapping a finger absently against his cup.

"Bravery got me killed," he said softly. "I know you are right, but... I'm not the man who fought the demon at the Spire, Amalia. Hell, he'd knock me flat out with little more than a swat of his hand." Maybe before he'd died he'd have been able to challenge Zariah, but now? Right now? He was pathetic.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,924
MP:
#9
she had magic in her eyes even the stars envied
Aoife's attention is a welcome distraction from Amalia's discontent. She smiles at the child, running playful fingers across her nose, feathers sprouting from her fingers to tickle against her skin. If only adults were so easy to speak to, so simple and straightforward to understand-! Amalia sighs, leaning over to press a kiss on the star-eyed girl's curls before looking back at her father, wishing he would understand.

"You don't have to fight her. I know you're still recovering." Biting down on her lip, the girl frowns, dropping her eyes. Is that his concern? That they will force him into combat against an opponent he cannot quell? No- the opposite, in fact. "I don't want you to fight our battles, Ronin. I want you to be the one who guides us when the battles are done."
Ronin Taliesin
the Dark Star
Monster Hunter

Age: 27 | Height: 5'10 | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 26 - Endr: 26 - Luck: 30
SUGAR - Mythical - Dragon (ice breath)
Played by: Honey Offline
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#10
the things we hold are always the first to go
Ronin regarded her with a soft frown, not understanding. I want you to be the one who guides us when the battles are done. ”Why?” he asked. ”What makes you think that I can do something like that? I’m a soldier, Amalia. I won’t let anyone fight a battle for me that I might fight myself. I won’t sit on my laurels like some precious jewel to be kept safe.”

It was his pride that spoke now, and he knew it, Ronin remembering Wessex’s words, her implication that he and Rory would need to be sequestered out of the fight while the real warriors did the doing. And it made him sick to his stomach.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,924
MP:
#11
she had magic in her eyes even the stars envied
"But it's not just your battle."

Her voice is characteristically quiet, yet there is something else there, too. Something crackles behind the words, her limited patience wearing thin, aggravation and desperation rising to the fore. Turning her ardent gaze on Ronin, she bites her lip, her face a frown as she looks for the words to make him understand.

"I grew up in a world with unspoken leadership. The best person to do a thing did it, and everything worked. Caido isn't like Northhaven. We didn't need a ruler, because we were so small.

"But we're bigger now, so we need bigger people. People who are good. Who care.

"I could tell you why I think you'd be good to lead us. But the truth is it doesn't matter."
Sighing, smiling vaguely, the girl rolls a shrug. "Safrin chose you to be reborn. You have a second chance to make the world better. And Zariah... She isn't better. But getting her off her self-styled throne isn't going to be the hard part.

"That will be what comes next. And that's why we need you."
Ronin Taliesin
the Dark Star
Monster Hunter

Age: 27 | Height: 5'10 | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 26 - Endr: 26 - Luck: 30
SUGAR - Mythical - Dragon (ice breath)
Played by: Honey Offline
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Posts: 1,481
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#12
the baffled king composing hallelujah
Under the weight of her words, Ronin could only stare at his feet.

He frowned, rubbing at his forehead, hearing her out and having to swallow past a lump in his throat. It had been said to him before, that he didn't have a choice but to be something more than what he was now. That for whatever reason he had been marked, chosen, and that the world had a right to expect more of him now than ever before.

Reborn, resurrected, not-man - it didn't matter the name they gave to it. Ronin was no longer just Ronin... and for the first time since his return to life, that actually seemed to sink in.

"I have been rather naive, haven't I?" he said softly, glancing up to find Aoife clambering into Amalia's lap for a cuddle. He smiled warmly at his daughter, taking a long sip of wine.

"Since getting back, I have been trying to continue my life as normal. To grieve Vanya, to learn how to be a father to Aoife, to set up this guild... and it has been wonderful, but it has felt like a charade." He set his cup down, smiling sadly to Amalia. "...Alright. If you want me, you'll have me - in whatever capacity I can give you."
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,924
MP:
#13
she had magic in her eyes even the stars envied
Aoife is more than welcome in Amalia's lap. The baker wraps her arms around the babe, fierce affection blazing in her chest. We do it for her. For her, and all the others who cannot defend themselves, who deserves to live in a world that is good, to thrive and grow and succeed, exceed.

Part of her is sorry for the things she has said. Ronin deserves the things he has taken: to be comfortable, normal, contented, happy. She wishes she could let him have that, that it did not come to this. Amalia would give anything to turn back time, create a safer place for them all.

But the world continues to move despite them, and Ronin is no longer just a guard, and she is no longer just a baker. Looking back up at the not-man, Amalia offers her own sad smile, her heart breaking for the things they will lose.

They are cut from the same cloth, in a way.

"Thank you." Running soft fingers over Aoife's back, the baker lets out a gentle sigh. "I know it's... But. Thank you."
Ronin Taliesin
the Dark Star
Monster Hunter

Age: 27 | Height: 5'10 | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 26 - Endr: 26 - Luck: 30
SUGAR - Mythical - Dragon (ice breath)
Played by: Honey Offline
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Posts: 1,481
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#14
the baffled king composing hallelujah
Aoife burbled and cooed up at Amalia, offering a broad grin and nestling against her chest. Ronin smiled softly as he watched the two of them, feeling a sudden sharp tug in his chest as he wondered if his daughter felt it, the lack of a mother in her life. But now, above all, was not the time to sink into that sort of game of what-if.

Nodding to her, the hunter ruffled a hand through his dark hair and tried on a smile. "I know," he murmured in understanding. "The next time you plan anything... let me know. I'll be there - and I won't walk out this time, I promise."


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