A spoonful of sugar
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 9 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 37 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 3,155
MP:
#15
Jigano sat quietly as she teased him, caught between a rock and a hard place. Once, perhaps, he might have taken her suggestion for the wisdom it was. That was before she had been captured by the Fae, before Deimos had made it clear that he blamed Jigano for that - and Jigano had agreed whole-heartedly with the soon-to-be-General. Amalia was the one person he wouldn't raise that old specter with, not when it was only ever buried shallowly, and all too quick to rise when next she found herself in harm's way. It was idiotic male posturing between he and Deimos, he knew that, and Amalia wouldn't appreciate it...

But it wasn't the sort of thing one forgot, either. She was not the only one with flaws, after all.

"I... suppose I do," he agreed softly to her last point, remembering how often he walked away with little more than bruises when others were left dead or shattered in his wake. Survivor's guilt weighed on him more heavily than any other flavor - something he suspected Amalia understood, having lost her grandmother and mother.

At least she relaxed enough to stop holding herself together, something he took as a good sign, and he listened quietly to the voice in his head as Isuma shifted to nibble a lock of Amalia's hair that had come into range with the stretch.

I don't think I'm cut out to be anyone's father, he admitted with a touch of rueful humor atop the quiet honesty the statement rested on. But... I want to be your friend. He looked down at his hands, opening them to study the crescents his nails had dug into his palms and seeing only then that they were still trembling with the emotions - fear and hope, love, and despair - that shook him to his foundations as they spoke. What... what is it that you're afraid of? he asked gently, realizing how much of their relationship had been built on assumptions... how little on actually talking together.
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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: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,698
MP:
#16

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help


Long fingers curl and uncurl in the sheets before coming together to hold her toes, the languid stretch in stark contrast to the tension in her mind. She rolls back up as he speaks again, the functional parts of her spine arcing like a cat, the rest of her following in suit. Pale, slender, trapped inside for far too long, she is a ghost of who she was before.

But there is iron in her, too.

Leaning back on the couch again, Amalia lets her head fall back, her eyes returning to the fragmented ceiling. "Oh, you know," she replies mock-lightly, shoulders rising and falling in a shrug. "Hurting people. Losing people. Failing.... everyone. My family, my friends. The gods. Not being good enough." The answers are easy enough, because these are the fears none can fault her for.

Biting her lip, she falls silent again, letting her thoughts speak the harder truths. I'm also afraid because... because sometimes I do feel I'm doing well, but then everything goes wrong anyway. I've worked hard and done my best and it doesn't matter. I still hurt people and I still get hurt and I still fuck things up. So what's the point of trying anymore?

a m a l i a
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine


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Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 9 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 37 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,155
MP:
#17
She was fluid, water and air, flowing even when half of her body wouldn’t obey her commands. Obstacles arose in her path and she slipped around them or rose above them… until they came crashing down on her, as the Temple had done.

And he? He was a stone, cracked and crumbling about the foundations, unmoving until the day came when he would fall and shatter upon the challenges of life on Caido, his own weight bearing him down, his rigidity the key to his undoing.

Everything she said struck answering chords in him, as he assumed they would in most people. Fear of loss, of failure, both of which happened far too frequently in both their lives. He nodded wordlessly in agreement and understanding, reaching out to stroke Isuma’s back as words shifted to thoughts and to more intimate fears. The ones that were dangerous to say aloud, because what would people think if they heard them? If they thought a person less than strong, less than perfect, for having them?

He curled his fingers lightly into Isuma’s feathery ruff and swallowed hard, staring at the gryphlet but not seeing her. Yes, he said softly. Every two steps we manage to take forward is followed by falling three steps back again within a season or two. It’s frustrating as hell… He drew in a breath, looking up at her with a solemn vulpine tilt of his head. But if we didn’t at least try, didn’t work to get those two steps forward, when the world comes crashing down we’d be five steps behind instead of one. He hesitated a moment, then offered her his hand again, for no other reason than he missed the connection between them. And because in between the pain and the storms and the catastrophes there’s still days where we can smile, and be with the people we care for, and bake bread and sing songs and live our almost-normal lives. Those are the days worth trying for, even if they’re few and far between. Far too few, and with fewer people he cared for left alive every season, but the ones who remained? They were still worth loving and wanting to make the world a better place for, no matter how futile the effort.
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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: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,698
MP:
#18

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help


Her mouth is a tight line of discontent; her eyes are hard, staring at nothing. Two steps forward, three steps back- as though that made it any better. As though trying and failing was somehow easier than never trying at all.

"Doesn't it feel like the people who don't try are the ones who succeed the easiest?" Fingers clench and unclench on the blankets, an exhaustion under the deceptively light tone. "That they're the happiest? Maybe trying isn't... isn't right. Maybe it isn't that we're better people, just that we're arrogant ones, thinking we can affect the world." We're only human, and in what sense could it be truer than this? Hubris, pride, the belief that their choices are important, will matter in the end. She remembers what Safrin had said to her, blighted an enraged.

If this is a fairytale, then who is the hero?

Not her. Not him. Not any of them. They're nothing but stars, moments of light within untouchable eons of darkness that they can never hope to illuminate. Bright, brilliant, but in the end? Utterly insignificant and small.

a m a l i a
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine


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Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 9 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 37 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,155
MP:
#19
The iron had always been in her, but the ice was unfamiliar to him. Or perhaps he had simply blinded himself to it when he had placed her upon that pedestal she had never asked to be put on. He left his hand where it was, palm up and open on the bedside as he watched her turning away and inwards, struggling with an ennui he recognized but had no easy answers to overcoming.

"Yes," he agreed simply. "They probably are the happiest. I think that they can be that way because others do the trying for them... but maybe you're right. Maybe we're wrong to try and make things better, to want to help, or protect, or hold a candle up against a gale..." He looked to Isuma, his lips quirking wryly into a painful smile. "And I know I'm one of the arrogant ones. Safrin was... quite adamant on that point. Not a hero, nor a villain just... nothing special, in her eyes." Unlike Amalia, he didn't need to say, the star-eyed's chosen ever held dear to the goddess's heart.

"Do you think you could be happy, if you stopped trying?" he asked quietly instead, wondering what her answer would be now that she was in the Infirmary and not out working in the bakery or walking through the fields with Deimos. "Even if it's wrong, even if it makes us arrogant... could you let it all go?"
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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: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,698
MP:
#20

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help


"None of us are really special to the gods." Is it blasphemy? Not exactly- but coming from Amalia's mouth it may as well be so. Turning her head away from Jigano, the girl chews her lip, hands once again clenched to leave sharp red crescents on her palms. "We're all just moments to them. Except maybe Ronin." There's a hard bitterness in her mirthless smile; she remembers watching Ronin and Safrin vanish while she was left behind.

Would the goddess have mourned for her? Maybe for a moment - but in the end, that's all Amalia is. A moment in a lifetime stretching eons more than she can ever understand.

Could she be happy if she stopped trying? "I'm not sure I'm happy now," Amalia points out. "Maybe that's just who I am - someone who can't be happy, so I keep trying to fill up the emptiness with useless tasks and failures." Chasing hope that one day she'll finally feel like enough, without ever really knowing what enough is.

Finally turning back to Jigano, Amalia tilts her head. "What about you? You could give it all up - go live with Rory on the farm. Take care of animals. Leave this all behind. Stop trying so hard. Do you think you'd be happier if you did?"

a m a l i a
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine


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Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 9 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 37 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,155
MP:
#21
He arched a brow at that statement, so patently false, but said nothing for the moment. He had often chided people on how the gods lived on different time scales, and Amalia's description of 'moments' made sense with that framework... but he had also seen how genuinely fond the star-eyed goddess was of the baker. A moment she might be, but still a much-beloved one.

That she wasn't happy now was painfully obvious, trapped by her own legs and her own frustration to a bed she refused to leave. Jigano nodded slowly, though, understanding how hard it was to be happy when he was constantly searching for validation he rarely found more than fleeting moments of. "Not useless," he protested softly. "And not failures, always, either. I remember Ludo's realm... your grandmother is proud of you. You found Safrin's library. You planted Vi's Roses. You gave a Tulmhainar her dying wish, and you built a new Shrine to a goddess that was blessed by her. You saved Jyoti and you gathered lost souls for Ludo. You haven't always succeeded... but you have made things better than they were before, at least a little bit. At least for some people. It might not matter to you right now, but it matters to those you helped. It matters to me, as one of them." For what little that counted for. He might be trying to pull down the pedestal but he wasn't going to forget the good that she'd done for him and for others in the process.

The question she turned back on him was met with thoughtful silence at first. He tilted his head to the side, meeting her gaze squarely. "I've thought of it," he admitted. "It's been tempting, the longer he's stayed away from everyone else, to just join him. Not... to hide, exactly, but to go away from it all for awhile." He stroked Isuma's foreleg idly, drawing strength from her quiet support. "And I think I could be happy with him like that, for awhile, yes. A few days, a few weeks, even... but... I'd worry. Worry about if anyone got hurt and I could have helped them. Worry about my friends forgetting me. Worry about if the Guild was getting along okay... The longer I was gone the more I would worry until there was no room left for happiness. I tried going away for awhile before, just to be sick and with my mate for awhile... and it solved nothing and caused so many more problems instead." He gave a slight shake of his head and a wry, painful smile. "I might withdraw from the world a ways for a time, but if you taught me one thing, it's that I can't hide from it completely."
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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: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,698
MP:
#22

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help


"My grandmother was proud of me," she counters swiftly, voice terse. That seems like such a long time ago now - a different year, a different girl, so many mistakes before. It's easier to counter his points than to accept that maybe they're a little true. "Jyoti lost her family and her freedom. The Tulmhainar died. The only reason we needed the shrine was because Safrin nearly died. And even then, she was sick for months- because I begged her to do something foolish.

"And you never needed me to help gather souls," the Shield adds, her smile bland. "Just like you didn't need me in the library, or the Spire, or at LongNight, or any other time. There's nothing I've done that someone else couldn't have, and probably better." Is this what Ronin felt like, being pressed to become more than a man? Is the pressure why he broke in the end, trying to tear the world down alongside himself?

She listens quietly to Jigano's explanation, sighing softly and shaking her head. He'd had a chance at peace, and the expectations of others - not the least her - had ruined that. Another fucking mistake.

"I wish I'd died," Amalia says simply, staring blankly at the ceiling again. "At LongNight. Or the Temple. Or in one of the other disasters. I wish I hadn't made it out. Then maybe I'd be happy."

a m a l i a
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine


Reply
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 9 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 37 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,155
MP:
#23
She wasn't in the mood to be encouraged, but he gave a slight shake of his head, his smile rueful. "Just as you have pointed out that I am not responsible for you or your actions when you've chosen to help me, Ama, you aren't responsible for Safrin's choice. Nor is Deimos or Kiada or Ronin. Only Safrin is." He looked at her bland smile and his heart ached for what he saw there, and it was his turn to twist the sheet in his fingers. "And I have needed you a great deal. Not just because of your own strengths and skills and curiosity, but because you are important to me. There is no one else who could have been there for me when I fell apart, no one else I could rely on the way I've relied on you. And even if someone could have done any of that better? I'd still rather have had you with me, and I don't... I don't want to lose that," he finished quietly.

His answer was not, perhaps, what she wanted to hear, but it was the truth. They had hurt each other, each in their own ways, by accident or negligence at one time or another, and it was a cycle he desperately wished to stop. Still, her next words silenced him for a time as he watched her face, gaze flickering briefly to the ceiling to see what she saw there. There was a sadness in her that he couldn't reach, a broken heart that was beyond any mortal magic to heal. "Is there nothing here you want to live for?" he asked softly at last. "Anyone or anything that makes you happy here?"
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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: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,698
MP:
#24

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help


There's truth in his words, but it isn't truth she particularly wants to hear. Unfortunately for Jigano she isn't in a mood to be receptive to reason; she would rather rage against the world, bury herself in the comfortable weight of self-loathing and doubt. It's easier to drown than swim against the tide.

Still, some of the words pierce through, settle into the cracks of her heart to be examined closer when she feels better equipped. For now she stays silent through his retort, not looking at her friend and the praise she does not feel she deserves.

His last question, though, earns another mirthless laugh. "Of course there is," she replies quickly, irritated and tired and bitterly unamused. "And I know that if I... if I did go, I would be missed. That it would hurt people. But even though I'm happy sometimes, it doesn't change the fact that I'm unhappy all the time."

a m a l i a
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine


Reply
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 9 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 37 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,155
MP:
#25
He hadn't intended to praise her; perhaps that was where they clashed and fractured sharp edges against each other, in the end. He told her what he saw, what he felt, and if he was biased on her behalf? He considered that a prerogative of their friendship; past and, he hoped, future.

She was silent on the matter of losing her in his life, but he left it where the words had fallen. Pushing now might only fracture things further towards a breaking point, and he had come to help her, not to put more pressure on her. Still, when she didn't seem to want to be helped it made it more difficult to know what to do, and all he could offer was patience and support until she was ready to hear it again.

At least she was not so far sunk in her ennui that she denied the joys in her life. "Would dying change that, do you think? Would it make you any happier to be there rather than here?" he asked instead, curious and gentle as he considered her words and wondered if there was any cure for a heart so broken... other than time.
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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: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,698
MP:
#26

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help


"Wouldn't I?" She doesn't look at Jigano; her eyes are far away. "In Mort's realm, with eternal rest... Isn't that supposed to be what happiness is like?" Even Ronin who had not made it to the realm of Mort had been happier in the afterlife. That was the promise of Mort, after all.

But to give herself to Mort is to abandon her fealty to Vi, her promise to protect life. With a weary sigh Amalia blinks, her eyes seeming to refocus on the room around her, the cracking ceiling, the man. She uncurls her hands, crescents left by the biting nails.

"I'm sorry. I'm being ridiculous." And selfish, and childish- all the things she said she was not. "You came to see if I was okay, and I... I made it into a thing." Her nose wrinkles over the word, but her playfulness is full and unconvincing.

a m a l i a
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine


Reply
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 9 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 31 - Endr: 37 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,155
MP:
#27
He watched her quietly as she questioned the meaning of happiness, but he stayed silent and let her think through her words, turning his gaze to Isuma and petting the little gryphon soothingly as she did her best to comfort them both. For such a small creature she had a mighty heart, and she was stronger than he was in many ways, working tirelessly to ensure that he knew there was joy in his world, and that he was loved in a way the bond between them would never let him doubt.

Her sigh was so tired that he almost winced, feeling her weariness in his own bones. Blue eyes found her face again, but at her apology he shook his head. "If I can fall apart on you sometimes, then you can fall apart on me," he said gently, not disagreeing with her for once, but accepting her words and her unhappiness. "And after everything... Fiat Lux, Ronin, your legs... you don't have to be okay. Gods know no one else is." He exhaled slowly, glancing down at the hand that he had left palm-up on the bed near Isuma. "Besides, you gave me some important things to consider. Maybe none of us did enough, were enough, to change what happened... but we also didn't cause it, either. That's... not a way I'm used to looking at things, but you've given me something to try, at least. Thank you for that." It was a small lesson to take from their emotional talk, perhaps, but in time the seeds might grow into something healthier and stronger. Maybe strong enough for him to become someone worth the friendship they'd once shared again.
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