[SE] Silver Bells and Cockleshells
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 2 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 30
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 2,375
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#1
Last year after LongNight he had planted a memorial garden for Isla in the fields. Caiside had led him to the place where she had fallen and had helped him to prepare the earth with soil from the Oasis. Side by side they had planted medicinal herbs and flowers and set the memorial plaque into the earth to honor her name. She had been his friend and guildmate, his mentor in the healing arts and a rock of stability in turbulent times.

Until, in the middle of LongNight... she wasn't anymore.

Now it was Caiside who needed a memorial, another friend and guildmate lost to the dark. The bard knew exactly where his friend had fallen, but the Guild had burned to the ground, and Caiside's body with it. There was no point in planting a memorial outside the ruined and gutted structure, but he hoped that Isla wouldn't mind sharing her space with the fiery smith, however different they had been as people.

This year Jigano had come alone, though he had left a note in the Guildhall letting the others know where he was in case they would want to join him in paying respects to their dead. He had used his horse form to draw a small cart filled with black dirt from the Greatwood, and a small jar of ashes gathered from the fallen guild served as the memory for Caiside. It was a small and lonely ceremony, simple and singular. He wished he could have planted volcanettes to honor both of them, but lacking those he had brought bulbs and seeds of orange and yellow tulips, red dahlias, striped marigolds, and fiery-petaled alstroemerias to plant among the herbs to honor another fallen friend.

Shaking free of the harness as he shifted back to his human form he reached up to stroke Isuma's soft head as she landed on his shoulder, then reached for the shovel in the wagon to begin turning the softening earth and preparing it for the planting to come.
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Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 29 - Endr: 29 - Luck: 30
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,400
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#2
Amalia had not seen the note, having spent a limited amount of time in the Guildhall following LongNight's awkward conversations. Instead it is piety which draws her to the fields, her weekly pilgrimage to Safrin's shrine fueling her steps down the well-trod path.

A path which is slick, today, with mud, the strange memory sludge clinging to her bare feet like a child eager to entice her to play. The pads on her soles save her from too much entrapment; the leopardess was meant to float atop snow, her weight distributed elegantly despite the rest of her form being largely human. Her staff is tucked into the bracer made by Remi, along with her shield, neither needed for this particular venture. She left the bakery intending to plant some fresh flowers alongside Safrin's shrine, to tell her goddess of her survival of the night. She expected to see some others here as well, the Fields an ever popular place for post-LongNight revelry.

And yet, for some reason, she had not expected him.

Amalia pauses as Jigano comes into view, suddenly unsure on how to proceed. Part of her yearns to speak to him, to address him with apologies and beg his forgiveness. Another part still clings to her anger, wrapping it around her fragile heart as one might wear a shroud. Barefoot, loose-haired, dressed in blue and simple breeches, the Shield lingers on the brink of instigation, torn between opposing instincts and unable to follow either.

In the end she opts for silence, continuing on her interrupted path. Should he wish to address her she will pause, but if not she cannot say she blames him. She would not want to speak to her, either.
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


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Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 2 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 30
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 2,375
MP:
#3
The ground had looked hard with late frost when he had begun to dig, but it had parted with surprising ease beneath the tip of his shovel, light and malleable instead of clumpy and unwieldy as he had first expected it to be. It was almost like it was moving for him, but that was only wishful thinking, right? Still, it made the task of turning the fresh new plots of earth over go more smoothly than he had expected, and before long he had scraped aside the ashen dirt of the fields and was ready to replace it with the thick black soil of the Glade.

He wiped a bit of sweat from his brow, leaving a smear of dirt behind from his sleeve as he turned back to his wagon--

And stopped as he saw a familiar form walking past, cold as the morning dew and distant as the last star at sunrise, slim and proud and silent as she deliberately ignored him and the memory of her fallen guildmate. He watched her walk by, stunned to silence as she gave not so much as a nod of acknowledgment, seemingly refusing to even look in his direction, and he drew in a choked breath as he saw the direction she was going.

To Safrin.

The goddess who had so recently made him choose between those he loved... revealing his hypocrisy for what it was. He had chosen Rory over Amalia then, not once but several times, and now Safrin's Shield would not even grant him a greeting in passage. He knew he deserved it, deserved her anger and disdain for his weakness, but still it hurt to see her display it so openly. Had Safrin told her of what he had done? Not content to simply humble him in his own mind but to tear away the anchors he had set his heart to?

Isuma trilled in concern as he sank slowly to his knees, watching Amalia pass in stunned, wide-eyed silence, his expression stricken. Around him, unheeded, the herbs of Isla's memorial garden, young and just beginning to grow again, stretched leaves and fronds towards him, drawn by the strong emotions that moved in his breast like a tide pulled after the departing moon.

Amalia... her name whispered through the Attuned bond, but he could not remember the last time she had heard him there.
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Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 29 - Endr: 29 - Luck: 30
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,400
MP:
#4
It is Isuma's trill that attracts Amalia's attention, her bare feet stilling once again, her body growing tense. Slowly, glacially, the Shield turns, hesitant and anxious in the seconds that stretch like eons between them, the thin and tumultuous threads of their bonds. Threads with vibrate with whispered sound, a spider's web brushed by the slightest breeze-

-but of course she feels it, of course she senses it, of course she hears his call.

The plants that yearn and reach for him are less important to her than he, kneeling, fallen in the earth, his face awash with trauma and pain. It is an expression which slices her more keenly than any knife, plunging cruelly into her heart and twisting when it strikes her soul.

I did this.

A heavy breath hitches into her lungs, sharp and audible in the silence of the morning. She can feel her heart thundering in her chest, at once horribly lost and woefully conflicted. Expression broken, shattered and split, Amalia shifts her weight uncertainly, her fingers coiling in her tunic as her dark eyes never leave the bard. Jigano, she breathes back, also silent. Would it hurt him more, if she lingers and presses? Would it hurt her more, to walk away?
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


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Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 2 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 30
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 2,375
MP:
#5
He didn't expect her to stop for him, knowing that he wanted it and feared it in equal measure. He cared for her so deeply that he hurt them both with it, but he didn't know how to stop. When had a heart ever listened to reason? When had it ever heeded common sense? He had thought she wanted a little distance between them for the way he had failed her - the many ways, again and again, until the weight of it cracked the bridges between them and eroded the arching spans of love and trust to crumbled shadows of their former strength. Friendship, still, but without the snares and snarling thorns of any deeper bond.

It didn't make it hurt less, though as she looked at him from anxious, wounded eyes, her whole body tensed as if to run.

From him.

He didn't know what to say, not when his words so often broke what he tried to mend between them, but Isuma was not so bound or limited by the doubts and fears that hobbled two that were her family. The little gryphlet rubbed her head against his cheek and then launched herself, silent owl's wings beating swiftly across the distance to greet her big sister. She tried to land on the baker's shoulder, cuddling against her with the simple, joyful love in a heart far bigger than her diminutive size.

Her companion was still kneeling in the freshly-turned earth, studying Amalia's face and the conflict there, but after a moment he bowed his head, saying nothing more but sending a pulse of apology through the Attuned bond, regret wrapped in guilt and the sorrow for the pain he had caused her, and the way he had failed her in Safrin's shackles.
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Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 29 - Endr: 29 - Luck: 30
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,400
MP:
#6
She cannot know this new guilt of Jigano's, of course, knowing nothing of his visit to Safrin, but as Isuma lands upon her shoulder Amalia feels the remorse and shame as surely as she feels the beat of her own heart. Why? Slender fingers reach up instinctually, pressing into the place where feather and fur join, pulling the little griffin off her shoulder and into her arms. She lets her dark eyes flutter closed a moment, pressing a cheek to the small chimera in a distinctly feline gesture.

I don't know how to fix this, the girl confesses silently to Isuma. It is easier, sometimes, to speak to those who cannot hear.

She does not know how to fix what has broken between them, or if it can be fixed, but perhaps, Amalia thinks as she looks upon the fallen bard, it matters less what pieces are missing than what grows in their place. The baker has lost enough of her loved ones to fractured hearts and unresolved arguments. She has held on to pride so bright it burnt her, clenched pain between her bleeding palms. No more-

And so the girl steps forward, swallowing the trembling, tumultuous anxiety, the childish part of her that stubbornly wishes he had not put her in this position again. Always bigger, always forgiving, always the one to cross the divide.

"Do... Do you need help planting? I have some extra lilac seeds.."
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


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Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 2 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 30
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,375
MP:
#7
Love, was Isuma's response. Not the word, but the feeling, a simple and heartfelt upwelling of affection for her big sister as she rubbed her cheek against Amalia's with a deep and contented purr. Jigano was hurting. Amalia was hurting. Isuma had no answers for either of them but to love them both with all her heart. She knew that Jigano loved the leopardess, but this was the first time Amalia had ever spoken to her and she peeped quiet encouragement as she cuddled in the young woman's arms.

Her companion remained where he was, knowing only that his words wounded her, whether he was apologizing or trying to explain, treating her as a beloved family member or a valued colleague of his guild. Somewhere along the line he had hurt her, and every word he'd spoken since had only driven the blade in deeper, it felt. He didn't know how to repair what he had broken, not when he had come to her bakery after his brief kingship, had sought her out after his subsequent illness, had invited her to seek out the Underground library with him once more, and then finally, foolishly, approached her at LongNight. He reached out again and again, was the one to come begging to her door, to apologize and plead for forgiveness, for understanding, for guidance...

And she did forgive him, time and again. But only after he made the first move, and shown himself willing to humble himself before her. He was proud, he knew, or had been before Safrin's punishment, but he had swallowed that pride again and again for the Shield as he never had for any of the self-styled Queens of the Hollowed Grounds. Somehow, though, it felt like it had only made things worse in the long run, and now he knelt, not knowing what he should do. Could do. When chasing after her only seemed to drive her further away.

He could almost feel her footsteps as she approached, her feet light but still sending the faintest of tremors through the earth that seemed to sing to him and the unfurling awareness within him as his head remained bowed and his eyes remained closed. An awareness of the ground between them settled where sight usually held sway, dark and heavy and shrinking with every stride that crossed countless tiny chasms beneath her feet. His breath froze in his throat when she stopped, but the familiar gentleness of her voice settled over his shoulders like a heavy blanket, familiar and reassuring in its warmth.

He breathed out, folding his hands into his lap, fingers twisting hard together as he looked up and the sense of the world beneath him fell away like a dream to the dawn. Isuma blinked down at him, chirruping encouragement and sharing her love and excitement that they were together again, and he found himself nodding. "Please," he said softly. "I think... Isla and Caiside would like that. Lilacs, I mean." Isla's herbal garden was sprouting nicely in the warming Flowerbirth air, but new area had been cleared at its edges, the weary soil of the Fields dug out and fresh black soil from the Glade was waiting in the nearby cart to be spread in its place, to give the newest seeds the best start at life that they could hope for in the Hollowed Grounds.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
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