well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Loren Launceleyn
Citadel Grand Healer

Age: 22 | Height: 5' 11' | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 (level 6 Attuned) - Strg: 16 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 23 - Luck: 29
ASTRA - Mythical - Luxere
Played by: Crooked Offline
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#1
whatever comes, let it come
what stays, let it stay
After speaking with Sunjata, Loren had gone back to his room in the Palace and passed out. However, he'd been unable to forget something the bartender had said. So, when the healer rose before dawn with a pounding headache, he'd found himself throwing on clothes with a singular determination.

Then, he'd marched the long road to the Fangs, Astra by his side (giving him worried looks as she often did these days). Heading through the portal, he'd gone to the Hollowed Grounds. And from there he marched in a straight line towards Devas Bakery, a dark expression on his face. By the time he arrived, it was fairly late in the day.

Walking into the building without bothering to knock—and indeed, opening the door with far too much force—he glanced around for Amalia. "Amalia? A word." And from his tone, she very much wouldn't like to hear what he had to say.
what goes, let go
LOREN
Force and magic can be used against Loren without permission.
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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#2
Amalia
A deeper conversation is all I want from you-
Amalia glances up as Loren thunders through the door, a little surprised, her eyebrow arching at his forceful manner and tone. The temptation to deny him this word is strong: whatever bee he has in his bonnet today, she very much doubts she has the emotional fortitude to help him through his turmoil.

"Hello, Loren." Has he heard about the caves? He must have, by now. Perhaps that is what he's here for- to blame her for the loss of his adopted kin, confront her about Peter's death. Leaning her elbows on the counter, she fixes him with a weary look. "What can I do for you?"
- I want the words you're afraid to say:
the lonely ones you keep hidden
between the folds of your heart
Loren Launceleyn
Citadel Grand Healer

Age: 22 | Height: 5' 11' | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 (level 6 Attuned) - Strg: 16 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 23 - Luck: 29
ASTRA - Mythical - Luxere
Played by: Crooked Offline
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Posts: 3,918
MP:
#3
whatever comes, let it come
what stays, let it stay
Loren strode right up to Amalia (as did Astra, though the luxere was obviously delighted to see the baker). Leaning his hands on the counter, he regarded her cooly. "You can explain to me why Sunjata told me it was your idea to go after a dragon." His tone might've been as neutral as he could manage under the circumstances, but the words were clipped, and something ugly lurked in his eyes.

Astra turned a worried look towards him. Then she trotted over to the baker. The luxere pressed herself against Amalia's side. He's not well. He is lonely and angry and sad, and without a herd. Astra's voice was concerned, though underneath was an undying love and faith in Loren, one he obviously didn't feel himself.
what goes, let go
LOREN
Force and magic can be used against Loren without permission.
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: 1,949
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#4
Amalia
A deeper conversation is all I want from you-
All the accurate accusations in the world, and he chooses to level a baseless one. Amalia blinks at Loren's approach, leaning back reflexively as his hands hit the counter. There is a dry, dusty anger in the core of her chest; she almost laughs at the audacity, the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Of course Sunjata has made this whole thing out to be her fault. Why should he take responsibility for anything, when there are scapegoats so easy to douse in blame?

It's Astra's presence and soft voice that allows her to keep her calm. Jyoti helps, too, descending from the rafters where she lay asleep to croon a note of concerned uncertainty, starlight spreading between the humans who are both so horribly hurt. Reaching down to scratch Astra between her ears, Amalia does not look at Loren when she replies, her voice empty and blank. "We never should have chosen a dragon," she agrees, as though she'd had any say in the matter. As though it had been her quest. "None of us... none of us knew enough about them. We were stupid." To Astra, silently, she adds: I'm sorry. I don't know if I can help him. I'm lonely and angry and sad, too.
- I want the words you're afraid to say:
the lonely ones you keep hidden
between the folds of your heart
Loren Launceleyn
Citadel Grand Healer

Age: 22 | Height: 5' 11' | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 (level 6 Attuned) - Strg: 16 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 23 - Luck: 29
ASTRA - Mythical - Luxere
Played by: Crooked Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,918
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#5
whatever comes, let it come
what stays, let it stay
As Jyoti came down, Loren glanced up. Despite everything, all the toxicity roiling within his breast, he managed to reach up to give the starwhale an affectionate scritch. Somehow, he felt calmer, which might've been why he didn't snap at Amalia. "No, you shouldn't, and yes, you were." Though the words were accusatory, his tone was suddenly as blank as hers was, exhaustion stealing over every limb.

Astra let out a happy bleat at the contact with the baker, though the luxere's mind was still worried. Then you two should spend time together. Herds always make things better, so being together will help too. It was a simplistic thought, but one his companion embraced wholeheartedly. Then she glanced up excitedly at Jyoti, the luxere always glad to see a friend.

Unaware of all this, besides the faint shifts in Astra's emotions, simply hung his head. Then he glanced up, and gave Amalia a caricature of a smile. "I suppose congratulations are in order, since you seem to have healed. Unsurprisingly, he didn't exactly sound pleased by this development.

Slumping, he rested his weight on his elbow. His forehead came down to press his forehead against the counter. Tears prickled his eyes. "Gods. I'm sorry. I'm just..." His voice trailed off, and he did his best to blink away the moisture that threatened to fall. However, he was too worn out to hide the sorrow in his mind from Amalia.
what goes, let go
LOREN
Force and magic can be used against Loren without permission.
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: 1,949
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#6
Amalia
A deeper conversation is all I want from you-
And what about your herd, little luxere? Running her fingers behind Astra's ears, Amalia leans forward to press her head against the companion's. What must it be like, being tethered to humans with their broken hearts and aching souls?

She rises up in time to see his mocking smile, the words that follow striking her with the same force as a slap in the face. Closing her eyes the baker winces, her head dropping down in guilt and shame. She deserves this, she knows, but it still hurts the same, and there are tears in her eyes when they open again, her voice still empty, hollow like her heart. "Thank you-" even though they both know he didn't mean it as an actual congratulation, even though she would gladly trade her body if it means she could bring them back.

As his head drops to the counter Amalia looks up, her own expression still dull and pensive as she turns dark, tear-stained eyes to the back of Loren's skull. "Oh," she says softly as though surprised, her hand hovering awkwardly near his shoulder, not sure if the gentle touch would calm him or upset him more. "It's okay. It isn't your fault." It's hers.
- I want the words you're afraid to say:
the lonely ones you keep hidden
between the folds of your heart
Loren Launceleyn
Citadel Grand Healer

Age: 22 | Height: 5' 11' | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 (level 6 Attuned) - Strg: 16 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 23 - Luck: 29
ASTRA - Mythical - Luxere
Played by: Crooked Offline
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Posts: 3,918
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#7
whatever comes, let it come
what stays, let it stay
Astra responded as she had been this whole time, of course, because this narrator knows how companion speech works with a series of images and emotions. Loren, Jyoti, Amalia, Zuriel, Deimos, a range of people and their companions. The indication was that they were all her herd, in a way, even if they weren't all together at once, and often scattered and broken in a way she disliked.

Loren got flashes of all this as well, and it made the tears in his eyes finally fall. Shaking his head, the movement awkward given his current position, he lifted his gaze to Amalia, turning so he could meet her tear reddened eyes with his own. As always when he cried it was entirely silent. "No I....I shouldn't have...said that. Any of that." It came out in a whisper.

Scrubbing his eyes furiously, he hugged his arm to his chest. "It's no one's fault. It's just...shitty." For a moment, his mind was elsewhere, and he lifted his arm to expose the smooth skin of his wrist as despair bubbled up inside. Astra, sensing his distress, bleated unhappily and moved to press herself against him. He hugged her tightly to his side, a little bit of tension easing in his chest.
what goes, let go
LOREN
Force and magic can be used against Loren without permission.
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: 1,949
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#8
Amalia
A deeper conversation is all I want from you-
She watches Loren bend and break, but what she said to Astra is true: she can scarcely keep herself afloat, let alone reach for him. "It's okay," she says again, shrugging, her arms reaching around her chest like armor. "It feels... Wrong, sometimes. For me to be walking while they-"

Her voice hitches in her throat; Amalia looks away, dark eyes unfocused as they drift across the familiar objects in the shop. Jyoti croons, nuzzling up to press against the Shield's neck and earning an absent, gentle scratch. "It is someone's fault. It's mine."

Her voice is blank, empty: no self deprivation, no wallowing in guilt, just a simple statement of facts. "I probably could have saved them, but I saved Jyoti instead. I made a choice on whose life was worth more, and now my best friend is dead." Was it worth it, the choice she made? The idea of losing Jyoti is like a tear in her heart, but the price she paid for it was steep. Almost too steep for her to bear.
- I want the words you're afraid to say:
the lonely ones you keep hidden
between the folds of your heart
Loren Launceleyn
Citadel Grand Healer

Age: 22 | Height: 5' 11' | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 (level 6 Attuned) - Strg: 16 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 23 - Luck: 29
ASTRA - Mythical - Luxere
Played by: Crooked Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,918
MP:
#9
whatever comes, let it come
what stays, let it stay
At Amalia's despair, Loren forced himself to stir. He gave Astra one last squeeze, before reaching for the baker. Tentatively, he laid a hand on her shoulder, afraid of what she might do at the contact. "You didn't kill them." It came out softly, barely above a whisper, but the healer's conviction practically blazed through his link with the baker. "Failing to protect them is not the same as killing them. And it is absolutely not your fault."

Taking a deep, shuddering breath, he closed his eyes. Letting his hand fall from her, he shifted to hug one arm to himself. "Otherwise the blood of everyone who died at Fiat Lux is on my hands." The words were still spoken in that quiet tone.

"You didn't know what would happen. It sounds like it happened suddenly. Hindsight is..." His voice trailed off, since he knew she probably wouldn't react well if he continued.
what goes, let go
LOREN
Force and magic can be used against Loren without permission.
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: 1,949
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#10
Amalia
A deeper conversation is all I want from you-
Amalia does not react to the hand on her shoulder, though the arms across her narrow chest shift their grip. "No," she agrees, voice still dull, not looking up at Loren despite his supplications, his reassurance. "I didn't kill them. But my actions were part of what led to their death." No matter how well-intended, no matter what she'd hoped- and oh, she can trace back a long chain of choices that led to this moment, a string of unbreakable, unfixable mistakes that seemed so very right at the time they happened.

Maybe the blood of those who died is on Loren's hand. Amalia certainly does not reassure him, not this time, not today.

"It was sudden," Amalia agrees. The scene plays out before her, the way it had so many times in her nightmares, waking and asleep. "And it was also slow. Coffee and Apricum went first. Peter was knocked out. Adam... tried to save him." and failed hangs there, obvious enough. Amalia's grip tightens again, claws digging red marks into her arms. "We were able to get Coffee's body. Deimos... had to carry me out." Not because she was injured, but because she would have stayed, would have risked everything for the thinnest chance that Peter and Adam could be saved.
- I want the words you're afraid to say:
the lonely ones you keep hidden
between the folds of your heart
Loren Launceleyn
Citadel Grand Healer

Age: 22 | Height: 5' 11' | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 (level 6 Attuned) - Strg: 16 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 23 - Luck: 29
ASTRA - Mythical - Luxere
Played by: Crooked Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,918
MP:
#11
whatever comes, let it come
what stays, let it stay
Sighing, Loren rubbed his temples. "Well, by your logic this is all my fault. And if I have to, I will take full responsibility to absolve you of your guilt." Lowering his hands, he almost glared at Amalia.

"Because if I had acted differently at Fiat Lux, done better, made different choices, Aoife would still be alive, Ronin wouldn't have gone mad with grief, the Temple wouldn't have fallen, and there would've been no need to seek out the heart of a rare creature to begin with." Voice sharp, yet filled with equal parts grief and despair, both of which spilled through their bond as well, he spread his arms almost helplessly.

Then his voice grew as soothing as he could manage, which wasn't very. "Or this was just a terrible tragedy, like that was, and there is no blame to be laid at either of our feet. Either way, it wasn't your actions that led to their deaths, Amalia."

He reached out to pull her hands from her arms almost harshly. "This is not your fault." Expression soft, despite the almost harsh words, he tried to send what little comfort he could muster from a soul scraped bare of it. However, he was insistent that she was not to blame for this.

"And punishing yourself for mistakes that aren't yours to begin with is not how they'd want you to honor their memory." It was a rebuke, albeit a gentle one. Astra pressed herself against the baker's legs, trying to support both Amalia and Loren in this moment.
what goes, let go
LOREN
Force and magic can be used against Loren without permission.
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: 1,949
MP:
#12
Amalia
A deeper conversation is all I want from you-
Loren's outburst is meant with more of the stoic, emotionless silence, his glare and voice falling upon her like water over stone. There is nothing she can say just now to make him feel better, no platitudes to offer, no absolution of his guilt. Even when his voice grows softer and soothing Amalia does not yield. He will not talk her out of her responsibility for this.

Not today.

Her hands fall at his insistence, the claws abandoning the skin and leaving welts behind. Obedient she listens as he chastises her further, too tired to fight, wanting only to have him leave her alone. "Okay." He is so very good at making her feel lesser for her pain, his own suffering ever outweighing hers, and she does not feel like having a dick wagging contest over who has done the worst, hurt the most.

Stepping back from the counter, Amalia pulls her hands back together, fidgeting with her clear opposition to her false, affected calm. "I... I heard about Abasi. I'm sorry. He... I liked him."
- I want the words you're afraid to say:
the lonely ones you keep hidden
between the folds of your heart
Loren Launceleyn
Citadel Grand Healer

Age: 22 | Height: 5' 11' | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 (level 6 Attuned) - Strg: 16 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 23 - Luck: 29
ASTRA - Mythical - Luxere
Played by: Crooked Offline
Change author:
Posts: 3,918
MP:
#13
whatever comes, let it come
what stays, let it stay
Amalia's silence was damning, and though Loren held her hands, he couldn't help the spark of anger and hurt from welling up and spilling over through their link. Releasing her, he stared at her with suddenly chilly eyes. When he spoke, it was with an equally icy tone. "You know, I expected Wessex to call me a child killer. Not you." However, underneath his anger was a deep seated pain.

With that, he turned, more than ready to leave her to her grief. However, Astra trotted up to him just as he placed his hand on the door. Although it didn't stop him from opening it, the disapproval he could sense from the luxere was enough to get him to pause. Fingers tightening until they were white-knuckled, he stood there on the threshold.

When the baker spoke, though, he stiffened, frozen for a moment. Finally, he sighed, and ran his free hand over his face. Letting go of the door, he turned to face the baker. "I loved him." For just a moment, the healer's grief was as open and as raw as the day the undertaker had died.

Then the Launceleyn put up his mental walls, and sagged against the door. "I'm sorry. For your loss. And for...barging in here like I did. I had no right." Hugging his arms to his chest, he stared at Amalia helplessly. "Do you want to talk about it?"
what goes, let go
LOREN
Force and magic can be used against Loren without permission.
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: 1,949
MP:
#14
Amalia
A deeper conversation is all I want from you-
There is a part of Amalia that wants to slap Loren, to tell him that isn't even close to what she said (or didn't say). But a larger part of her is still too tired to have that fight, too mired in her own unhappiness to drag him out of his; so the baker simply looks away, an expression of pain flashing over her face before fading back down to stony exhaustion.

She fully expects him to walk away, to make his way back into the world and leave a gaping space between them, another bridge irrevocably burnt. But instead he stops, hesitates in the doorway, the silhouette of someone who could so easily slip away. When he turns around his grief is a buffet, the harsh wind of a hot oven crushing down upon her soul. I loved him, he whispers in that torn, anguished voice, and for a moment Amalia's facade drops as well, his misery echoed in her own confession, a similar emotion for a very different man: "Me too."

He apologizes and she shrugs it off, a clear don't worry in her tense shoulders, her tired eyes. At the inquiry of whether she wants to talk Amalia simply exhales a half-snort, turning her back to Loren and moving toward the rear of the bakery. Only her voice betrays that she has not simply chosen to walk away, that she is willing to lay down wood to rebuild their bridge if he is. "I only met Abasi once. He asked me about the gods. His answers were... hard."
- I want the words you're afraid to say:
the lonely ones you keep hidden
between the folds of your heart


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