Counting thoughts
Maea Valair
Loreseeker

Age: 22 | Height: 156 cm / 5'1 ft | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 5 (Level 1 Attuned) - Strg: 13 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 21 - Luck: 11
SHII - Regular - Will-o-Wisp
Played by: Chan Offline
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Posts: 2,069
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#1
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I talked to God to no avail

Said, "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time."


The story of the carnage at the festival had run rampant across the Grounds. Everyone who hadn't been there had already been told of the tragedy - of the monster, and the dead, and the calamity at the Temple that followed - though the exact reasons for all of it were rather vague. If Maea hadn't already gotten the gist of the story she would have paid more attention to the rumors, but as it was, she was more concerned about the baker, the fellow Loreseeker, the childhood friend.

If friend was the right word. She wasn't sure anymore. Their relation had always been more complicated than that.

Maea entered the Infirmary and looked around. There were far more patients occupying the cots than even a rowdy a Fiat Lux dance normally should warrant, and though she quickly spotted Amalia among them, she held herself back for a moment. Was it really a good idea to come here? Amalia would no doubt need rest, and she might make things worse if her presence was unwanted. Not to mention that she wasn't entirely sure she actually wanted to check in on this particular person. There was so much water under the bridge by now, of pent up feelings and old misunderstandings.

But then... Maea if anyone knew what it was like to be confined to a bed, unable to leave it. Once, it had been her over there. So... wasn't it owed, after all this time?

Shifting the burden she carried under the shawl, Maea cleared her throat with an awkward smile, and moved towards the bed and her friend - again, questionmark on that - with a quiet look of concern. That at least was genuine because frankly, in her eyes the baker looked to have been wrung out quite thoroughly.

"Hi, Amalia. Long time no see. I heard what happened... How are you feeling?"

----

<3

Permission granted for magic/violence, short of killing.
Unless otherwise stated, Maea is always wearing Ludo's Rags around her shoulders.
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
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#2
Amalia
only lonely hid the morning from the stars
Of all the faces Amalia expected to see, Maea's is not among them.

Granted, most of her visitors have come as a surprise - but none moreso than the pale girl, whose absence these past seasons (year?) had led the baker to fear that Maea had joined the ranks of those lost to the world. Seeing her now is not unlike seeing a ghost; for a moment Amalia can only blink as the figure drifts toward her, wondering if perhaps she's hallucinating.

Or dead.

A blanket lays over Amalia's lower body despite the warmth of the infirmary, as though by hiding her broken appendages she can make them disappear. Struggling to pull herself up in the bed, her useless legs dragging across the scratchy sheets, the Shield regards her childhood friend with a listless, blinking stare. "Maea? I thought you were dead."

There is no celebration, relief, or resentment in her voice. Amalia's rich, expressive alto is entirely devoid of inflection: a tired, observant monotone, stating the obvious because she lacks the will to muster anything more.
Maea Valair
Loreseeker

Age: 22 | Height: 156 cm / 5'1 ft | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 5 (Level 1 Attuned) - Strg: 13 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 21 - Luck: 11
SHII - Regular - Will-o-Wisp
Played by: Chan Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,069
MP:
#3
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I talked to God to no avail

Said, "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time."


Right. So that's how it was going to be.

Maea pursed her lips as she stopped by the bed, peering at at the woman with an expression that was hard to decipher. Perhaps she wasn't entirely sure what to think, or feel. It was a strange reversal of roles, this. Once, it had been Maea prone on her back, with Amalia standing over her. They'd been younger then, smaller too and yet... it still felt odd to look down on this person.

"Not an unreasonable assumption," she replied. She didn't try to smile, or explain anything. Reaching in beneath the shawl, she instead began to place things on the nightstand beside the bed. A stack of books from the Aetheneum. A boquet of pretty but odorless flower, neatly placed in a simple vase. One small bag of treats, from the second best baker in the Settlement... seeing as the best one was bedridden. Once done, Maea pulled over a chair and sat down, wrapping the dark rags about herself as she settled in.

And waited.

Permission granted for magic/violence, short of killing.
Unless otherwise stated, Maea is always wearing Ludo's Rags around her shoulders.
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:
#4
Amalia
only lonely hid the morning from the stars
What was it with people and bringing her things? Amalia watches sidelong as Maea begins to unload her wares, still too dull to feel as bemused as she might have under different circumstances. Idly she wonders if Maea doesn't enjoy this, being on the other side. If she came her to gloat bat their role reversal, or to point out how thoroughly Amalia wasted her opportunities, how fall she has fallen.

Normally she wouldn't believe the lake girl capable of such cruelty, but something about being a bedridden invalid has left her to suspect the worst of the world.

"So where were you? If not dead." Still bland, Amalia at least makes an effort to look over at this ghost of her childhood. Amalia has never been good at interacting with the wounded, yet here she is, their broken queen.

Turning her dark eyes to the flowers, she wonders bitterly if Ronin would be proud.
Maea Valair
Loreseeker

Age: 22 | Height: 156 cm / 5'1 ft | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 5 (Level 1 Attuned) - Strg: 13 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 21 - Luck: 11
SHII - Regular - Will-o-Wisp
Played by: Chan Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,069
MP:
#5
M
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I talked to God to no avail

Said, "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time."


No, probably not cruelty. But if asked about it later, Maea would probably admit that it was a bit satisfying. To be the good samaritan, doing her moral duty towards the poor fallen hero. Oh, there was so much pent up resentment going on here. Crushed hopes, shattered dreams, injured pride and scars of the soul poorly healed. The kind that ached when the weather took a turn for the worse, and that you'd rant about to a stranger over a drink.

So petty. So very bitter.

The hard part was realizing that while it felt good to nurse those old hurts, it was high time to move on. Grow up, get on with life, see if something of the good could be salvaged amidst the ruins. Maybe that's why she was here. To see if the two of them stood a chance at making peace. Start over.

"I got lost in a storm," Maea told her, matter of factly. "Hazy with fever, I went out into the woods. Lost the path, got turned around in the dark, in the wind, in the rain... That's what I remember, at least. When it cleared, I stood alone on the tundra, with not a soul in sight."

Scratching the side of her nose, she considered it all. It was absurd, really. Walking into a forest and out of a blizzard, and somewhere in the middle a year disappeared without a trace. Read like a bedtime story for children. 'Maea and the Storm'. Laughable, really. Except she didn't feel like laughing, when so much had happened during those gone days.

"You've been busy meanwhile, I hear. I've heard your name everywhere since I came back. The Shield. Queen of the Hollowed Grounds. Sounds like the stories we used to hear when we were little. Do you remember?" Maea leaned her chin on the palm of her hand, eyes touching on Amalia for a moment before drifting off to the rest of the room.

Permission granted for magic/violence, short of killing.
Unless otherwise stated, Maea is always wearing Ludo's Rags around her shoulders.
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:
#6
Amalia
only lonely hid the morning from the stars
Maea's story is woefully lacking in specifics, Amalia thinks, her brow furrowing despite her lack of energy. "What about before that?" she wonders, trying to make sense of the timing of it all. "And how did you get to Halo? Did you find another portal?" She feels like she would have known about another portal, but stranger things have happened.

Pressing her palms against the bed, Amalia scoots herself up on the pillows, enough to be considered something approximating 'upright'. She has come to loathe the sound of her legs dragging uselessly over the bedding, but the blanket muffles it well enough that she can almost ignore it all. There is no part of Amalia that ever loved houses of healing; as an invalid she finds that everything in the Infirmary irritates her, every footstep and rustle and goddamn flower feels like a slap in the face.

She doesn't want to talk or hear about herself, and her expression likely shows that as Maea begins to list her questionable accomplishments. A tight smile marks pale lips, nostrils flaring as she exhales. She squeezes her eyes shut for a moment. "I remember. The stories were more interesting, though. Less of literally everything going wrong all the time, no matter how hard you try." She doesn't try to hide the bitterness in her voice, or the tiredness in her face, though she turns her head away.
Maea Valair
Loreseeker

Age: 22 | Height: 156 cm / 5'1 ft | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 5 (Level 1 Attuned) - Strg: 13 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 21 - Luck: 11
SHII - Regular - Will-o-Wisp
Played by: Chan Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,069
MP:
#7
M
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   A
I talked to God to no avail

Said, "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time."


Maea simply shrugged, as confused as the Shield about the specifics of her case - or rather, the lack of specific details. I don't know. If I did find one, I can't recall it. Nor what I was doing this whole year. To me it feels like a week has passed, or maybe a bit more, and I've been very drowsy lately. Like I slept for a long time, or not nearly enough..." She tucked a strand of hair behind an ear. "My memories aren't entirely clear or reliable either. Someone suggested I might have been touched by a spirit... it's as likely as any explanation at this point. Quite the interesting puzzle though."

Smiling slightly, she reached for the bag of pastries. Producing a pair of napkins, she picked one out for Amalia and one for herself, offering it to the bedridden woman. "Want me to get you some tea? I'm sure they have something around that isn't medicinally foul... I remember the remedies used to make me lose all taste for food, back in the day. Sweets take the edge off it though."

Taking a bite from her own treat, the pale-eyed woman listened to the reply, noting the sour tone and the weariness without saying anything. Nor did she try to console, merely nodding thoughtfully as she chewed.
"Indeed. I imagine it must be rough... I mean, look at you. Not even a proper glorious death, after all that effort. The stories never said anything about the heroes getting broken bones, or nightmares after their glorious deeds either, or making everything worse by jumping into things too quickly." She rolled her eyes. "In hindsight, it's quite the sucky job description."

Permission granted for magic/violence, short of killing.
Unless otherwise stated, Maea is always wearing Ludo's Rags around her shoulders.
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:
#8
Amalia
only lonely hid the morning from the stars
Though she could have sworn she was not hungry Amalia's stomach has other ideas, rumbling loudly as Maea produces the pastries. With a small smile of gratitude the baker takes it between her hands, a pang of nostalgia for her own bakery, her own work, sharp in the middle of her chest. "Thank you," she says softly, shaking her head at the offer of tea. "Evie brought me some from her shop earlier. It was quite good- I'm sorry I don't have any to offer."

She takes a delicate bite as Maea responds, still not able to eat much in a sitting but relishing the flavor nonetheless. So far she's been largely relegated to soups and grains: it is nice to taste something of her trade, even if she was not its creator. Alas, the sweetness is offset by her own mounting bitterness, Maea's remarks about stories and heroes eliciting a snort of derision and a shake of her head.

Sighing, Amalia studies the bun. "I never wanted to be a hero." That was always you. "I just wanted to be good enough." Good enough for her mother, her grandmother, her friends, her gods. Good enough to be worthy of the world, and where had that drive gotten her? Lying in the infirmary, unable to move her legs, while Maea of all people offers her food and flowers.

Turning back to Maea, Amalia fixes the other girl with a black eyed stare, carefully inspecting the pale face. "Do you ever wish things could go back to how they were before?" Before they lost their families, before the barrier came down, before the world grew so much bigger and they had to grow up just as fast, or else risk being left behind.
Maea Valair
Loreseeker

Age: 22 | Height: 156 cm / 5'1 ft | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 5 (Level 1 Attuned) - Strg: 13 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 21 - Luck: 11
SHII - Regular - Will-o-Wisp
Played by: Chan Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,069
MP:
#9
M
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I talked to God to no avail

Said, "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time."


Waving off the apology with a hand, Maea found glasses and a pitcher of water for them instead. Those were on easy supply in the Infirmary, and covered the basic needs. Though Evie's teas were good, it did not irk her to be left out. At least that part of the past had been left behind for good. She no longer craved to be a more intrinsic part of their little group the way she had when they were younger.

She raised a pale brow at the comment of wanting to be good enough. "Ama, as far as I know you've always been enough. More than enough, people love you. They depend on you and speak well of you, and I've had my head bitten off more than once for even implying that you might not be perfect." Jigano had scolded her, Loren had scoffed at her jealousy, and she thought Safrin's saving of her Shield spoke volumes about her value to the gods. "What makes you think you're not?"

Leaning back in her seat, she rested the half-eaten pastry in her lap. The last question was a difficult one, and Maea considered it seriously. To have everything returned to the way it was... To see her family again, live the old life... it sounded good for a little while.

"I would do anything to have Noah back," she said in the end, voice soft as her expression grew wistful. "My brother, the children... But then, if I went back to before it'd be me lying in that bed again, like you do now. I would be alone again, whenever you or Evie were too busy to come around. I would never have met Ludo. Never met Jigano, or joined the guild, or tried to think of myself as anything but a burden on my kin and this community. I think... even despite all the bad things, I wouldn't go back.

"Would you change it to be like before? Truly?"
Maea looked carefully at the woman, searching her eyes for the answer. If Maea had gained much, Amalia had found twice that in these past few years. Did she really regret that, and wish it undone?

Permission granted for magic/violence, short of killing.
Unless otherwise stated, Maea is always wearing Ludo's Rags around her shoulders.
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:
#10
Amalia
only lonely hid the morning from the stars
The idea that anyone would chide Maea for speaking ill of her (or, indeed, that Maea would spend her time wandering around and telling others of Amalia's sins) almost makes the baker laugh and roll her eyes; she settles for a wryly crooked smile instead. Shaking her head, the Shield picks listlessly at her sweet bun. "There's always better, Maea. Nobody's perfect - least of all me." Hadn't she proven that often enough when they were children, always too concerned with her own little squabbles to be a better friend, uncomfortable in sick rooms and preferring to roam out in the sun?

Quirking her lips, Amalia listens to Maea's reasoning, her gaze turned back up to the ceiling. The barb about her and Evie stings a little, causing her to close her eyes in tacit acknowledgement of her childish mistakes; the comments about not being a burden make her open them again, raising an eyebrow at the pale girl. The comments don't surprise Amalia, exactly, but they rub something in her slightly the wrong way. "It sounds like you've gained a lot," the baker says softly, looking at Maea with unreadable eyes. "I hope it's worth the cost."

Would Amalia change it back? It's hard to say, but easy, too, and though it pains her the Shield answers with a calm, simple honesty. "If going back would stop the Blight, and keep Safrin from dropping through the Spire? And save Aoife, and Remi, and the Tulmhainar, and the Greatwood? If it kept the Temple from falling? If me giving up everything I've gained would help protect the world?"

She sucks in a breath, turning her face back to the bed, to the useless legs beneath the sheets. She's paid such a high price already, and for what? What has she done to improve the world? Portal Guardian, Shield of Safrin, friend, sister, fiancee- all of her pride, all of her accomplishments, all of her happiness, all that she is-

"If it would help the people I love- yeah. I'd give it up. I'd go back. And I'd try to do things better."
Maea Valair
Loreseeker

Age: 22 | Height: 156 cm / 5'1 ft | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 5 (Level 1 Attuned) - Strg: 13 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 21 - Luck: 11
SHII - Regular - Will-o-Wisp
Played by: Chan Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,069
MP:
#11
M
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I talked to God to no avail

Said, "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time."


Ah. Right. There they were again... all the reasons why Maea had such trouble with Amalia. Ever the humble, selfless sacrificer, so ready to put her own happiness to the torch for the sake of everyone, for the world, as though she actually thought herself able of accomplishing such things. The barb soured Maea's stomach and she felt the sweetness of the bun like a nauseating layer over her tongue. As always, she felt the selfish one. Who wouldn't bring her family back to life for her own selfish reasons. Who didn't even strive for perfection even if it was unattainable, whereas Amalia... oh, even the way she denied being enough implied that she ought to be better.

Better than whom, exactly? What kind of high, lofty standard was she measuring herself against? Because the only one Maea had ever tried to mimic was lying here in a bed with legs that wouldn't move... and all she felt when looking down on her was a faint sense of disappointment in herself. What had she even been doing, all these years?

"Worth it?" she repeated slowly, throat burning as acid bubbled in the gut. "Of course it's not worth it. You really think I would trade Noah away for any of this? But nothing is going to reset time, so why spend time pretending it might happen?

"I'm trying to move on, Amalia. Wallowing in self pity and despair got tedious rather quick... I'm sick of it. I'm sure you'll know all about the feeling, if you keep up like this."

Permission granted for magic/violence, short of killing.
Unless otherwise stated, Maea is always wearing Ludo's Rags around her shoulders.
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:
#12
Amalia
only lonely hid the morning from the stars
She doesn't wince at the comment about Noah, though it does strike her cleanly, the blow landing as Maea must have intended. But spending time pretending, wasting energy and wallowing? Her hands ball into fists on the bed at the accusation, fury and pain running white behind her eyes. Amalia cannot help it; she laughs a little at the comment, turning piercing black eyes to the pale girl. "You would be the expert," the baker bites back: too cruelly, too quickly, the barb wielded in some level of defense. She has been bedridden for all of a week, perhaps; isn't she allowed to hurt a little? Isn't she allowed to take this time and wallow in pity, to rage and wrap herself in devastation without everyone and their uncle showing up uninvited to remind her that she needs to cheer up?

Glaring at Maea, the Shield scoots up in her bed, dragging her legs pointedly beneath the sheet. "Did you really just come here to tell me to get over it, Maea? Because I'm not really in the mood to deal with your hypocrisy right now, or to hear about how you've overcome so much worse. You have no idea what I've been through this year, because the minute something didn't go your way you disappeared."
Maea Valair
Loreseeker

Age: 22 | Height: 156 cm / 5'1 ft | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 5 (Level 1 Attuned) - Strg: 13 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 21 - Luck: 11
SHII - Regular - Will-o-Wisp
Played by: Chan Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,069
MP:
#13
M
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   A
I talked to God to no avail

Said, "If you won't save me, please don't waste my time."


Maea stood. The tone, the words, it was all just far too much. As if she'd wanted to leave! As if it had been a choice to survive when her family had not? Lying in that bed did excuse Amalia of some of the ire, but not of the cruelty. Not of the implication that Maea had run away like a coward when all she'd ever wanted to do was stand and pull her own cursed weight, for once.

"I came because I thought there might be a chance to become friends again, like we used to be," she said, rare anger flaring across her cheeks and narrowing the pupils in her too-pale eyes.

"I thought I'd give it another try, since I've grown tired of being a bitter, jealous person who blames others for my own inabilities. But it seems you're not very interested in trying, so I will just stop."

Tossing her half-eaten bun away into the trash, she pushed the chair away with a foot and gave Amalia a long, hard stare. If she was sorry this had derailed so quickly, or sad to find that her good will and intentions went unreciprocated, it did not show on her face. It was cold, hard, more distant than it had ever been, and the lips were pressed into a tight smile.

"I do hope you get better soon. When you do, I will kick your ass for what you said about my brother. Goodbye, Amalia."

With that she turned and stalked out, moving with surprising speed for one so short. Something in the look on her face had people back out of the way as she passed, clearly startled; Maea didn't even notice.

--------

- Fin!

Permission granted for magic/violence, short of killing.
Unless otherwise stated, Maea is always wearing Ludo's Rags around her shoulders.


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