... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 There's only me and the lonely

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Caoimhe

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PostSubject: There's only me and the lonely   Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:34 pm


The daily grind was keeping her plenty busy tonight though she really hated working the second shift. It was easier for her to be up early and be home before supper. Her mother was watching Thessaly as usual. Ariadne did not want her daughter raised in a creche. Not when her mother was available to take care of the girl. Evening was drawing near and unfortunately she was given the task to collect laundry from the Guard's school and barracks.

Her hair was tied back with a plan ribbon her mother had saved for her. She wore a usual working dress, a tan, course material which no one ever took much notice of. Her shoes were brown, leather and well worn. Some strands of her dirty blonde hair had come free from their ribbon and were free to fall across her face. The apron she wore was almost gray with dirt where it was white before. In her blue eyes was a constant sadness, a look that never seemed to leave her now.

She never particularly enjoyed going to the barracks. At least not anymore. There were too many memories of Evander here and though almost all of them were pleasant the result was the same. One of these days she would come here without wanting to burst into tears. Taking a deep breath she walked into the barracks, quickly grabbing up what laundry was there.

She walked steadily passing more than one group of young men. Ariadne was used to the cat calls and shout outs. She'd been doing this for many Turns and never had problems. As soon as she had a full hamper she began to walk toward the main courtyard. Leaving was better than entering. She would be able to finish up and go home and hold her little girl in her arms.

Her thoughts were on home when some of them men came closer to her, closer than they usually did at any rate. Their words had a familiar quality to them but there was something else in them that made the hair on her arms stand on end. She'd learned to trust her instincts because he husband had told her if something felt wrong then something probably was wrong.

"Why hello, beautiful..."
"Where are you going in such a hurry?"
"Don't you want to stay with us a little longer, honey?"

The men circled around her, although they were not all within reach of her. One of them knocked the hamper out of her arms. She froze, mostly in shock of what was going on. One of the men, put a hand onn her shoulder to keep her from moving. As if she could run faster than them or fight them off?

"Please, I don't want trouble..." She pleaded, wondering why they were doing this.

The man with his hand on her shoulder laughed, "Good, we don't want trouble either. You just do what we ask and we'll all get along just fine, won't we gentlemen?"

"You don't have to do this." She said, looking from one face to the other, to find nothing but meanness and cruelty there. She had no reason to believe they were going to let her go, so she did the only thing she could do, nothing.

They were working together but separate, one man was tugging on a strand of her hair, another at the ends of her dress and as this went on she felt like there had to be something to do, something was better than nothing. There had to be someone here who would help her if they knew? So she screamed. It was a loud, shrill, high pitched, scream.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:13 pm


Another long day had demanded of Toshiro diligent patrolling of the streets of Telgar River Hold. The hold was ever booming, newcomers arriving daily through the main gates to find work and a fresh start in life. After all, it was here, within the majestic walls of the new destination hold that the young Lord of Telgar would soon reside with the greatly-talked-about Daughter of Igen. The young couple was the envy and pride of Telgar's people, drawing curiosity over Lady Eolyn, and at the same time, eliciting high hopes for an ever brighter future from the entire territory.

Patrols were always busy, organizing camps until family groups could be designated proper housing, keeping the general peace, and routing each group of arrivals to the Steward of Telgar River Hold where they could be recorded in a census and designated to work for the hold that was fitting for their trade. Today in particular, had been very busy. Ever since news had spread that Telgar River Hold was to be where the young couple, Rihan and Eolyn, were to be wed, excitement escalated about the place; everyone wanted to be there for the wedding, or play some part in preparing for the Lady's arrival. Not that any of this made Toshiro unhappy. In fact, he was rather enjoying himself lately, because it was hard to ignore the general buzz of excitement in the air.

The only thing that created any sort of disappointment for Toshiro at all, was the fact that spirits in general were so high due to the anticipation of the wedding, that there'd been few fights break out, which meant no violence for him to become involved in. A pity, that. However, this was his friends wedding they were preparing for, and the future Lord Holder of Telgar, so he surmised there could truly be little room for complaint.


The Captain of the Guard inhaled and exhaled deeply, enjoying the feel of the fresh evening air of late summer as he made his way back to the barracks for the night. He was a bit tired, so as he walked, his left arm lazily found a place to rest over the top of his sword where it was secured at his hip. He was about to yawn and start spacing out, ready for sleep, when the voices of men, and a woman, rose to his ears. It was perfectly normal for other guardsmen to be about, and for them to be horsing around in their off time even, but he couldn't think of any reason a woman should be on the premises so near their training area and barracks.

Toshiro leaned into the shadows of a nearby copse of trees to watch the group's activities.

"Good, we don't want trouble either. You just do what we ask and we'll all get along just fine, won't we gentlemen?"

As Toshiro's eyes narrowed into barely more than fine slits, he heard another man tell her to disrobe. That same man reached to pull her garment from her shoulders, opening it so as to reveal the top half of her breasts.

"You don't have to do this."

The uncertainty and hint of fear in the girl's voice troubled him as much as the rest of it, and so he pushed himself off from the tree to make his approach. As the men's hands groped for the female, pulling at her hair and another for her chest, she screamed.
It was so deafening to him at first, he had paused...luckily their attention was so focused on their victim that they had yet to take notice of him. So it was, when her screech subsided that it was followed up by the very clear sound of sword steel being released from its casing. Nothing fancy, but Toshiro had come up behind one of the men with his hands on her, the biting edge of the end of that blade pressed into the flesh of the man's neck. A thin line of blood was drawn there, but the blade remained as a sinister promise, just in case a wrong move should be made.

The man that Toshiro's blade now threatened, instinctively froze in place, stricken with fear. The others took only another second or two to realize their situation had been drastically changed. Though, at first, none of them realized exactly who had snuck up on them, as Toshiro's shorter frame remained behind their larger friend. But when they all removed themselves from the girl to go to their comrade's aid, every one of them stopped far short of achieving their goal as they recognized him as Captain. The men either could not or perhaps more accurately, would not fight him.

Their Captain was quick to meet each of them with his own pernicious glare, pitting each man's Will against his own. And of course they all understood what happened if they stood against him. Toshiro now gave them his own kind of greeting, "Are you all so undisciplined that the five of you cannot kill me by yourselves? Ohh, but that's right. You don't have the Will to do it, do you? You're all either smart or weak. Now since we've ruled out the likeliness of a fight, return to your barracks for the night and your sorry lack of discipline will be dealt with later."

Of course, that was only assuming none of them changed their minds to create any more trouble for him. If any did however, he would consider them a traitor and slay them on the spot. He almost hoped for it, but until these men raised a weapon againt him with honest intent to inflict harm, they were still his own comrades as well. He would let them decide how little or how greatly they valued their own lives tonight.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:46 pm


Things had gone far enough, she thought as soon as her scream was over. She waited for the worst and it never came. She felt rather than saw the men around her tense up. She closed her eyes in preparation for what was going to happen now. They all stopped touching her and while they were distracted, she held her arm over her breasts and watched. She wouldn't dare move until they were done with the Captain.

Ariadne knew him because well, who in the guard world did not know Captain Toshiro if not by sight then by reputation. Evander had spoken quite highly of him so her fear began to dissipate. If he was here she would be safe. The men seemed to agree and where they might have objected to his interference they knew better than to stand against the best swordsman in Telgar. His bloodthirsty reputation preceded him as well as his skill. As for herself, Ariadne waited to see the men leave before she would do anything.

Seemingly the leader of the group, the one who had been standing furthest back, "Yes, Captain." He said and turned on his heel, the others were more than happy to follow on his heels. They made sure not to look back mostly for fear that the Captain might come after them later if they did.

Ariadne readjusted her clothing so that she was as covered as possible. Then looked up at the Captain, "Thank you, Captain Toshiro." She was obviously feeling quite embarrassed that anyone would bear witness to what had happened. "Are you hungry? I'm about to head home and my mother usually has food to spare." Yes she was inviting him to dinner because she felt the need to repay him for helping her. However he would likely decline. Evander used to invite him to their home all the time and always the man declined.

"Or, umm if you have any clothing that needs to be repaired I can mend well?" Even as she spoke she knew nothing she could do would be worth what he had done for her. She felt deeply indebted but perhaps he remembered her and had helped her because of Evander. In a way she really hoped he did not remember her. The last thing she wanted was his pity right now.

Taking a deep breath, she turned her back on him. Her basket was there, a few paces away. She retrieved it first then went about picking up the laundry which had spilled out over the ground. "Of course this had to happen here..." she said softly to herself. She had enough to deal with without men harassing her. The event had tarnished her memories of Evander whom she knew would never had done anything like what those men were going to do. Why couldn't one of them have been killed last Turn and Evander still be with her.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:18 pm


Fear of him was well-placed, but Toshiro had never considered himself the best at his craft. It was his reputation for being able to discard a man's life so easily that made others fear him, not his skill. And though truthfully enough, he possessed a level of skill that others might hold in admiration, it was both of these that bought him the respect of others -whichever type of respect they chose. All the same, it was both, the frightful reputation and the admiration that allowed others to exaggerate their perspective of him -which was OK by him- but Toshiro knew the truth of it. Fear and Admiration both caused men to see through coloured glass, and that is precisely why most of them would lose to him in any match. That is also why Toshiro was very careful not to Fear a man and very careful not to hold any man in great admiration. Both were dangerous in their own way.


Toshiro was focused on the men and the progress they made in their retreat, not the girl as she re-dressed. Though his eyes were drawn to her briefly when she called him by name, they were redirected quickly, to the backs of the men who soon disappeared into the barracks. Even as Ariadne went on talking to him about dinner and how she might be able to repay him, he said nothing. His stance relaxed once the men were out of his sight, and there came the sound of his blade cutting through the air as in habitual action his sword arm swung down, angling the tip of the blade toward the ground. It was a swift motion that was meant to remove blood from the blade, after which it was returned to its scabbard.

"Are you hungry? I'm about to head home and my mother usually has food to spare."...
"Or, umm if you have any clothing that needs to be repaired I can mend well?"


"Yes...Dinner sounds nice." It was because he had always turned his comrade down for pleasant dinners at his home that Toshiro now accepted. Toshiro did remember the man Evander as her late husband now, and in a way, he wished he would have made the effort to reciprocate the man's kindness while he was alive. Toshiro imagined they could have been good friends. Because Evander's heart was so constant, that is something he could say he regretted.

The prison break incident Evander'd been caught up in was a very unfortunate occurrence, and anyone in the Guard would have heard of it. It was a disaster that nearly cost the Guard it's fine reputation and ended up in the loss of several lives. Evander, one of the men killed, had always been a warm and amicable sort. Because Toshiro rarely found use for such expressions in his day to day life, he'd never put much thought into Evander's many invitations. For Toshiro, friendship was just not...well,...it wasn't highly necessary. Being practical as he was, he understood such companionship and valued it, but rarely went out of his way to nurture such a thing. Considering how easily a man's heart could be swayed and therefore how quickly might he be faced with ending that man's life, how could Toshiro consider friendship too deeply? Even Rihan, who he considered to be his best friend, understood that their relationship was more heavily founded on loyalty for a cause than anything else. Though...if Toshiro had to say that anyone was ever truly a friend to him, that friend would be Rihan.


"Of course this had to happen here..."

At her whispering, the Captain's eyes finally turned up to regard Ariadne, left thumb still hooked over the top of his sword hilt. Watching her bend to fetch up all of the laundry, he considered her quietly for a moment before offering, "If you'd like, I'll carry the basket,... and go with you to drop it at the wash stations before we eat."

If Ariadne was concerned about his offer being made out of any feeling of pity toward her in any situation, then she worried for naught. The Captain didn't really have it in him to fabricate any amount of pity for anyone. Pity did not kill men like he did unless some brand of pity existed that was far less kind than the pity he'd ever imagined. In Toshiro's eyes, life offered whatever it wanted to whomever it wanted, whenever it wanted. The 'whatever' aspect of that equation, he knew, was not always pretty or favourable, and he was just there to help it along. What could pity have to do with any of it?


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:47 pm



The Captain surprised her. As he accepted her offer for dinner she nearly dropped her basket a second time. “Wonderful.” She said, but knew her mother was going to give her quite the earful about inviting people unexpectedly to family dinners. Ariadne, despite knowing this, was actually kind of glad he had agreed. She did feel rather bad about not knowing him better after the way Evander had spoken of him. He had been trying to befriend the lonesome soul, but it seemed he wasn’t looking for friends at the time. What she knew of the man was that he lived at the Guard school since he was a baby and had no family.

She hoped that was not going to make things awkward. He wouldn’t have accepted the offer if he thought it would be, she supposed. Then she doubted he was ever in a position to feel awkward. “Oh, yes, that would be great.” Ariadne said. Now that she had collected the laundry from the ground around her she set the basket down next to him. She had reason to believe he was offering just because he wanted a hot meal but she could not presume to know Toshiro all that well.

Ariadne walked at an even pace, neither fast nor slow. She was in no real hurry to get home although admittedly the further the guard’s school, the better she felt. The feigned happiness which worked well to keep people from irritating her over her grieving process was back. She put on a smile and tried to make everyone else believe she was fine. Her eyes belied the deception; they expressed the all-consuming pain and sadness which had taken hold of her spirit. The only time it truly went away was when she was with her daughter.

“We’re almost to the wash stations.” She said, making certain the Captain was still following her there. She was glad that he had accepted but still a bit shocked he had. Evander would have been ecstatic, he held the man in such high regard. Ariadne never really saw what Evander saw in Toshiro but she had always trusted her husband’s judgment when it came to people. She was far too easily liked by people and not nearly as selective of her friendships.

Ariadne led to a sorting area where the clothes and bedding were taken to be sorted and then cleaned. “If you’d be so kind, set the basket right there.” She pointed and waited. He would be hungry now. “Its not a far walk from here to my parent’s home.” Well she should say her home. Since Evander’s death, she had not been living alone. Her parents and the rest of her family feared she might do harm to herself. In the days directly following his death, she nearly had. The pain had been more than she could bear at the time. Now though she thought about her daughter and knew she could never leave her without a parent.

“Hope you don’t mind large groups of very chatty people.” She said with a light laugh. Her family was large, talkative and even she would be lucky to get a word in. Someone like Toshiro would be unable to unless they were very interested in hearing what he had to say. In which case dinner might be more like an interrogation. Either way, she was going to feel bad for asking him to dinner in the first place.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:00 pm

Toshiro


The guardsman's mouth twisted into a wry smirk when Ariadne nearly dropped her basket again. She was either shaken by events that had just taken place or he'd surprised her by accepting. He was at her side then, easily hoisting the basket of clothes to be carried to the wash room. Though he knew where they were going, he let the young woman lead the way, and decidedly left it up to her to do most of the talking.

Toshiro didn't have much experience when it came to casual friendships with women, so the situation did leave him feeling a bit incompetant. That frustrated him just a little, but not enough to show. So it was as they walked, keeping only a couple of strides behind her the whole distance, that he began considering the woman more deeply. He had caught the look of sadness captured within her eyes, and he had to wonder if the loss of her husband was anything he could empathize with; after all, he knew what it was like to be abandoned, to have a void in one's heart, and to live life with a certain emptiness that could never be filled. If her kind of grief was anything like his, perhaps then, they had at least one thing in common. Still, what kind of common ground was that? He didn't see that becoming any significant grounds for conversation, so he continued in silence.

“If you’d be so kind, set the basket right there.”...“Its not a far walk from here to my parent’s home."

Obediently, Toshiro placed the basket down where Ariadne indicated, then turned to face her again, fixing his eyes upon her intently. Perhaps it was because his own gaze had to be filled with the multitude of thoughts running through his head that they became dually intense, or because he'd yet to break his silence. Gesturing that he would follow her lead, Toshiro's left aorearm came to rest over his sword in repose.


“Hope you don’t mind large groups of very chatty people.”

A coy grin perked up at the corners of his lips then, and they parted in a low chuckle. "Should I remind you I live in a full barracks?" The better question would be whether or not he didn't mind chatty Family. That would have been a question to which he did not know the answer. But, it's not as though Toshiro said enough to neep to fit a word in edge wise even if they made it easy for him. Likely, they'd hardly get an introduction out of him without the familial interrogation process.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:48 pm



Ariadne laughed, “Yes, I expect you are used to that. My family might be louder than the Barracks and certainly more curious.” She said amiably. They did not have far to walk, as she had promised. It was maybe ten minutes to the exact place; the door was tall with a curved top. Ariadne held on to the metal knob. “Ready for chaos?” She looked over at Toshiro to make sure. The warmth of the home, emanated from the doorway as she opened it. The smell of a well cooked meal wafted in the air and though the house was small for the number of people inside of it, no one looked uncomfortable.

The first voice to ring out was the smallest member of the family there, Thessaly. “Momee! Momee!” The little girl walked and ran to her mother, nearly stumbling over her growing feet. Ariadne’s smile encompassed her whole face, even her eyes were happy. “Thessaly! Were you a good girl for your Grandma?” The emphatic nodding ended when the girl saw Toshiro in the doorway wherein she stopped and stared for a long moment. “Who dat?” She pointed to the Captain. “This is Captain Toshiro.” She replied as she scooped the child into her arms.

“Toshiro, this is my daughter. To the right are my brother, Senuel and his fiancé Helayna. On the left are my sister Monalise and my father. My mother is in the kitchen of course.” As soon as she finished, her introductions the door opened. “Mother, I swear I repel food. Please say you have some leftover for us.” The overwhelmed woman entered, holding one child in her arms, and one holding her hand and the other tugging at her sweater. Ariadne laughed, “You are nothing without your cook.”

The three children all screamed at once, “ARI!” The eldest, a boy, came over and gave his aunt a hug. “You okay, Ryker?” She asked with concern. To which his mother replied, “Someone said something to him about the dragon thing again…”She paused, eyebrow raised and looked over the stranger. “And who is he?” Asked the sister, who was quite unused to strangers at family dinner.

“Captain Toshiro this is my sister, Avigail. Her husband is a cook and that’s why they are here tonight. She can’t cook a lick and her husband is amazing at it.” She said with a grin. Then her daughter butted in, “Momee good cook.” Ari shook her head not because she couldn’t cook but because she never had time and he couldn’t possibly care about any of it. She indicated all the open seats for Toshiro. “Sit where you like.”

From the kitchen the oldest woman in the house, shouted, “Five more minutes. Mona, get your lazy ass in here and lend a hand.” There was groaning and eye rolling but the youngest sibling got off her seat and disappeared into the kitchen. Ariadne sat closer to the door and further from the kitchen next to her father. Thesally reached her arms out to go to her grandfather. “I’ll take her for a bit Ari, you look tired darling.” Her father picked the little girl up and squeezed her shoulder affectionately. “Granpa play.” The little girl was completely distracted while the food started to come out. So far the interrogations hadn’t started but one could barely hear themselves think so much as talk. It was like ten conversations were going at one time, and that might have been true.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think Avi was bringing her kids tonight. It wouldn’t have been as crowded.” She apologized for no reason other than she had not wanted to make the Captain uncomfortable.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:37 pm

Toshiro


Nearing the threshold to Ariadne's home, with one hand, Toshiro took both of his weapons from his belt. It was only polite as he entered someone's home for a meal that he remove them.

“Ready for chaos?”

The Captain's expression remained mildly curious as the young woman led him into her home. He entered behind her, readily taking in the details of his new surroundings, should anything happen. The sweep of his gaze was inconspicuous while he stepped out of the doorway, ending in a simiarly curious regard for Ariadne's daughter. His smile was gentler than before, when he regarded her daughter then, however faint, and he inclined his torso in a bow to the adults when introductions were made. "Good to make your acquaintance."

As soon as other family began arriving, Toshiro was glad that he'd already moved out of the door. The rush of children and people through the doorway left him subconciously searching them all for weapons, and likewise, searching their eyes for intent. Of course, Toshiro would never have accused Ariadne's family of wrongful intent, but considering his occupation, safety became habit.


“Captain Toshiro this is my sister, Avigail. Her husband is a cook and that’s why they are here tonight. She can’t cook a lick and her husband is amazing at it.” ... “Momee good cook.” ... “Sit where you like.”

A second round of introductions had him bowing again and smiling curteously. Gradually he realized he was beginning to enjoy the sound of Ari's voice, and hoping that he'd get to hear her talk a lot t'nite. A final incline of his head in Ariadne's direction and before he could find a place to sit, Toshiro turned about, looking for a place to rest his weapons where they would be out of reach of the children. Without another option more practical, Toshiro simply accepted a seat near a wall where he could be facing the door, his weapons leaned against the wall beside him.

Situating himself in his chair, Toshiro looked on in hunger, appreciating the delectable smells of the food being brought out to the table. He was certain he could feel his stomach growl. All the while, his ears perked to the family's varied conversations, hardly able to keep up with one or two of them, let alone all of them. Periodically, a word or phrase uttered would catch his particular interest and he would switch to listening to a whole new set of voices.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think Avi was bringing her kids tonight. It wouldn’t have been as crowded.”

The sound of Ari's voice attracted him and he looked to the young woman again, acknowledging her worry and dismissing it with a whit of a wry grin. "No trouble. It can't be helped."


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:16 pm


She nodded, “Well it could be worse. I have five more, older siblings and they all have families.” And not little ones either. Her family did tend to procreate and frequently. “So far they’ve been pretty easy on you but mother will likely stick her nose into business she needn’t be concerned about.” Ari warned him.

There were many comments being murmured under breaths and she knew they were directed at her and her choice of dinner companion. No one dared say anything to her face though; for fear that she would revert back to not leaving the house at all. The room was still full of chatter when the food was finished being brought to the table. Her mother, as usual, set out more place settings than needed.

“You’ve outdone yourself again.” Ariadne said looking at the bounty before her. The roast wherry , tubers and fresh greens were making even her stomach rumble. They began to pass the food around, so people could dish out as much as they wanted. Ariadne passed to Toshiro, making sure he wasn’t feeling completely overwhelmed. Thessaly had fallen asleep in her Grandfather’s arms, so he got up to put her to bed.

Before she even got a mouthful of food, her mother started, “Ari, so how do you know Captain Toshiro?” Her mother was not going to let her get away with anything. The problem was Ariadne did not generally invite people to dinner anymore. “Oh, umm, he and Evander knew each-other well. I was gathering dirty laundry at the barracks and we just happened upon one another.” It was not the truth but it was not a complete lie either.

“He was hungry. I invited him to dinner.” She said matter of factly. “Well at least you said his name without crying.” Monalise said with her usual attitude, which got her a kick in the leg from their brother. His eyes told his sister to be quiet or he was going to make her quiet.

Then everything went to shit. Her brother and sister started a nice little argument about respect and keeping comments to oneself. Her father, now back at the table was trying to coax Ryker out of his depressed mood by telling him a story about dragonriders. Avigail was busy with her other two trying to get them to eat and adding in to her brother’s comments when she deemed necessary. Her future sister-in-law was trying to calm her brother down. That left her mother to continue interrogating them.

She was staring, her mother was literally staring at the Captain as if she could make out his character from across the room that way. “So Toshiro, how long have you been in training?” She asked above the noise. “And do you enjoy your work?”

Ariadne was used to most of this. Her sister didn’t understand her depression. Her nephew seemed to understand it, he was six, her sister was twenty. Still, she was not the type to get ruffled over comments by the angsty one. Instead she preferred to let everyone else get ruffled. While this was all going on she decided to take the opportunity to eat her food. All the while she was listening to Toshiro and her mother.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:45 pm


“Well it could be worse. I have five more, older siblings and they all have families.” ... “So far they’ve been pretty easy on you but mother will likely stick her nose into business she needn’t be concerned about.”

That wry expression remained glued to his features as he considered Ariadne's warning, and waited patiently until dinner was served. Toshiro was grateful when the food was passed around, finding himself rather impressed by the quality of the food over what the guard tended to eat every day. Toshiro thanked Ariadne quietly when handing the first platter over to him, taking a healthy portion of each food in turn, onto his plate. Toshiro's eyes followed Ariadne's father away from the table when he got up to take Thessaly to bed.

After every dish had passed through his hands, Toshiro's head inclined toward Ariadne's mother, expressing his appreciation early, "Thank you for inviting me to your table. The food looks delicious." As the man began to eat, much of the unease seemed to disperse from him. He listened intently as Ariadne related to her family how the two of them knew one another. It didn't concern him that her story was partial and he didn't bother speaking up to comment.

It wasn't until after the siblings began their arguing that Toshiro actually seemed to look up from his plate, a good half of his dinner having been cleaned from it. Seeming rather disaffected by the ongoing banter, a shady stare was returned to Ariadne's mother as she directed another question -this time at him.

“So Toshiro, how long have you been in training?” She asked above the noise. “And do you enjoy your work?”

In all manner of seriousness, Toshiro considered her words for a brief moment. The captain's tone was rather matter-of-fact when he answered her, "Training began when I was eight. I have trained almost every day since then. ..I do enjoy it. Some of the work becomes a little monotonous; other times a bit grueling. But being a swords-master pays off when you enjoy killing people."

After the briefest pause for a breath, Toshiro continued, "Unfortunately there haven't been any executions lately. It's quite an honour as a swords-master being chosen to help bring the lives of others to an end, testing Pern's finest blades on their bodies. It is good to see when many of them find their honour in the end. A life can be put to rest well, then." The levity of his speech illustrated no hint of jest that might otherwise excuse his words as some dim humour. Whether it was to keep them all at a comfortable distance by making them all even more wary of him, or whether it was just his own sick sense of humour, he had a reputation to maintain, and didn't bother waiting to verify their responses before he went back to eating.



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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:53 pm


As he spoke in answer to Ariadne’s mother’s question, the room suddenly went quiet. Her brother’s brows were furrowed, Monalise’s mouth was gaping open in shock. Her father had even stopped talking which left the children to stare at the Captain in a new-found fear and respect. Ariadne began to choke on the food she was eating but coughed it out. The only person who seemed entirely unaffected was Ari’s mother and she was listening to his answer intently. His words didn’t scare her after all he was on their side.

Ariadne did not recall her husband ever saying that Toshiro was bloodthirsty although now she was beginning to wonder. Perhaps his reputation for bloodshed was why the men had run off. She had assumed it was because of his skill alone. Knowing that if they failed in their attempt to defeat him, he would kill them was…well shocking to her. It wasn’t like it mattered now and since he had gone along with her story, it seemed she was going to be indebted to him still.

“Well that is a long time. It is good to have pride in one’s work.” Her eyes shifted to Ariadne when she said it, who in turn looked away. Ariadne hated doing laundry work all the time. Partly because she got bored with the monotony of it and partly because there were a whole host of things she would rather do. “We’re lucky to have someone so dedicated, protecting the Hold.” She went on, and then changed subjects completely. “Do you have family here?”

The more her mother spoke, the more uncomfortable she became. This was going in a direction she was not going to like.

“And you obviously don’t have a wife, yet.”

There it was. The root of her mother’s questions, as if this explained why the man was at dinner with them. If they thought she was going to rush into a relationship with a man they were wrong. He had saved her from being harmed and possibly worse. That was all and it was enough. It was moments like these that she really wished her mother could think about something other than getting her to move on from her grief. She couldn’t think of a good reason to interrupt because it would really only cement things in her mother’s mind that they were together.

The rest of the family was still quiet, though a couple of comments were being said to certain people about mouths staying shut.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:16 pm



Thus far, Toshiro thought Ariadne's mother was brilliant. Looking up from his dinner as he chewed another bite, she hadn't reacted the same way as the others. The man's eyes turned on Ariadne to make sure she was OK after nearly choaking on her own food.

“We’re lucky to have someone so dedicated, protecting the Hold.” She went on, and then changed subjects completely. “Do you have family here?”

When the woman commended his dedication, Toshiro bowed his head in appreciation. Ariadne's mother became more and more interesting to him the more she spoke. Decidedly, he was getting to like her and enjoying their conversation of theirs, even if the question she next asked pained him. He would likely never admit it, but there was a part of him that had always remained wounded by the fact that he'd been abandoned at the age of five by his family. That fact pained him even more after suffering a childhood of excessive bullying because of the situation that left him in.

Though Toshiro did consider Kondou, the current Commander of the Guard, his father figure and the Guard itself similar to family in a way, Kondou was not his father, and an entity like the Guard could never be a true family, no matter how much one insisted on supplanting one for the other. It was often that Kondou's position required that he treat Toshiro like every other child he educated, even if his heart desired otherwise. There remained a deep understanding of eachother however, that Kondou had a soft spot in his heart for Toshiro, and Toshiro held the same kind of love for Kondou. Since his relationship with Kondou was the closest thing he had to family, Toshiro kept it rather guarded. Only the few he'd attended school with at that time of his youth knew about his relationship with the commander. So, to answer her question, he was curt. "There is no family for me."

It seemed not to bother him; the words came rehearsedly and without hint of the pain that lingered over the subject in his own heart, though such depth of emotion may have flickered through his eyes just then. Regardless of how discomforting her questions might become, he wasn't going to let that ruin his enjoyment of the evening.

"And you obviously don’t have a wife, yet.”

The Captain's eyes regarded the Ari's mother a bit more curiously then. "No." He couldn't help but grin and chuckle under his breath at her rather forward manner, as she'd made it rather obvious her intent. "But your daughter is not unpleasing. I'm sure Evander would be pleased to see her well taken care of." Toshiro's brow quirked, casting Ariadne a tsidelong glance, offering her a truly rogueish grin.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:26 pm


She wanted to tell her mother to let it go because unlike the rest of them, she knew he had no family. No one really knew what to say about him not having family. Ariadne was certain despite the ease at which the words came from his mouth, there was some pain there. It sounded so rehearsed. It was like asking her if she was alright and she would lie and say, she was fine. She was broken and anyone who thought differently was only deluding themselves. No one wanted to hear the truth because people really abhorred unhappy endings.

Mother did not seem as bothered by this, although father wasn’t either. They had lived among the Holdless long enough to see children starve to death and watch families abandon children where they thought they might actually stand a chance. “You are more than welcome to come to dinner any time you like since you have no one to cook for you. We all know how awful barracks food is.” Mostly they all knew how bad it was because of Evander. She set her plate away from her, since she was finished picking at her food.

His answer next had her family, inclusing her mother, quite speechless. No one uttered a word. Maybe they were not sure if he was serious or not. She wasn’t sure if he was herself. Then she caught the look on his face. Oh for the sake of little green dragons, this was not something she took lightly. Her throat went dry and she realized this is what came of telling lies. Why did everyone make it their business to torture her? Perhaps she could twist this situation to her benefit. She was not helpless, she could do something about this indeed. And he might just regret ever saying anything.

Looking straight at Toshiro because that was the only way he would be able to read her. The mischief he had started she was going to run with. “Oh Evander would be pleased to have me well cared for. So no one needs to worry. I’m in very capable hands.” Hah. So they could all get off her back about finding someone to replace her lover. She was not apologizing for this either, after what he almost put her through just now.

Her mother sat agape now, while her brother was talking quietly with his fiancé, shaking his head. Mona was the only one who said anything. “Oh really?” Sarcasm dripped out of her mouth. “I highly doubt that, Ari.”


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:59 pm

Toshiro



“You are more than welcome to come to dinner any time you like since you have no one to cook for you. We all know how awful barracks food is.”

Toshiro wanted to argue that the barracks food wasn't as terrible as she made it seem, but in comparison to the cooking tonight, this kind of eating was certainly a treat. Of course, Toshiro had been eating barracks food most of his life, so he was accustomed to the tastes. That being the case, even if he had it in him to impose on them more frequently, the Captain did not likely have it in him to break the force of current life habits -diet included. Dining on such a feast every day might make a man soft or forget himself in some other way.

Toshiro was perfectly alright living the way that he was living now. At least, he told himself that. Everything he did was in service to the Guard and living in service to the guard offered his life purpose; that purpose was something that he clung to, for without it, his entire existence fell apart.


“Oh Evander would be pleased to have me well cared for. So no one needs to worry. I’m in very capable hands.”

Well wasn't she just a peach. Toshiro didn't expect Ariadne's answer and it briefly shown in his eyes. But he certainly was going to enjoy playing right along with her. If she was going to use him as a tool to get her family off her back about 'moving on', then he would put any remorse out of his mind as well -if there was any remorse to begin with. Watching intently for the reaction she might have to his next words, he even managed to mostly ignore her mother's response. "Mmm. Capable hands and a warm bed. It'll be nice having someone to snuggle with tonight."



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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:06 pm


Everyone was silent again at once. Was he serious? Then they looked at Ariadne like she had two heads as well. Her mother and Mona, who both almost always had something to add to a conversation, at least if one did not the other one did, were both silent. The most awkward part was that none of them were looking at Toshiro. Instead she had everyone’s gaze fixed upon her. Ariadne, who would normally enjoy the attention, was at a loss for what to do or say at that moment. She supposed it was time to end the charade in order to keep her good name.

“Although I cannot see how any of this affects the rest of you I’ll be quite honest now. There has been quite a lot of pressure put on me to quote, move on.” She paused, looking straight at her mother and then her sister at the end for emphasis. “If you’ve deluded yourselves into thinking that its possible I will tell you this, I am going to grieve at my own pace which no one here can dictate to me.”

Her irritation was not directed at Toshiro though she wanted to make them all suffer for treating him less kindly than she would have liked.
“The Captain was a friend to Evander and he saved me today from some trouble. I invited him to dinner and your overly active imaginations took over. He and I are not lovers, so you can all set your little hearts to rest.” Even if they were, it would not be their business unless they made things official and she was moving out. Then it became their business because of that; however she had made things clear to them before.

Ariadne was not trying to rush the man out but she needed to get out of that room before anyone had a chance to make a smart ass comment. So she stood up and walked out the door. Leaning against the wall to the house she took in several deep breaths. The air was chill on her skin but she didn’t seem to notice it. Her eyes had watered a little but she was refusing to give in to them.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:49 pm

Toshiro


Though he said nothing, faint disappointment shown on Toshiro's face when Ariadne decided to be completely honest with her family. Well his fun was over...for now. Why'd she have to go put a stop to it? He didn't argue though; he could see how her mood had changed and did not suspect she was willing to put up with any more wise comments from any of them. Rightly then, he kept his mouth shut for now. Like the rest of them, he waited to do or say anything until Ariadne had gotten up and left them.

Toshiro finished eating what was on his plate, placing his utensils down so that both hands could rest on his thighs. Inclining his torso and head a bit to express his gratification, he addressed them all, "Thank you for such a fantastic meal. The food was very good. Perhaps I'll take you up on the offer and join you for dinner again sometime."

It could be seen in his eyes and the very slight smirk at the corners of his lips that he knew their earlier invitation was most likely dependent on the fact that he 'had been' dating their daughter earlier in the evening. Still, he was glad to irk them with the thought that he might just decide to come back at some point. And with that, Toshiro stood from his chair, taking both weapons up in his left hand as he turned to make his way toward the door.


Exiting Ariadne's home quietly, the captain closed the door behind him. Well, that was fun. Toshiro had been enjoying himself, which left him wondering what had Ariadne seeming so upset. Narrow eyes peered at her through dark blonde bangs, which swept across his left cheek, with renewed curiosity and perhaps even concern. For a polite few seconds as he stood there, he was silent, taking that time to slide both weapons under his belt at his left hip. After doing so, he stepped up to her, closing much of the distance between them so that he could speak in hushed tones -but it was then that he noticed how her eyes watered. Her condition caused him to hesitate briefly, but when he did speak up, it may have been that he was trying to use his own brand of humour to help improve her mood; even if that humour ended up being lost on her. Regardless, he didn't really know what else to say. "I guess that's a 'no' then? There won't be any snuggles? Heh. Well, I guess I didn't expect you'd go along with that. ...Anyway, I should probably leave now. I expect my welcome is overstayed."

The Captain figured that if there were something Ariadne wanted his help with, she would speak it, and apparently she'd had enough of her family's 'help', so he did not question her emotions now. She had told them all inside that she needed to be left to heal on her own terms. He respected that sentiment.

Though Toshiro turned so that he no longer faced her, he did not yet leave her side. Instead, he gazed up into the blanket of stars overhead, that left arm coming to rest again over the top of his sword, assuming a bit of an indolent posture. Whether it was to himself he spoke or for her benefit, his voice came so softly that she may have barely been able to make out his words. "I usually sit outside this time of night...to think and watch the stars. Today...I haven't done that. Maybe there is still some time."

Over his shoulder, Toshiro turned a wry smile over his shoulder at Ariadne, speaking up now, "I guess this is goodnight. Thank you, again." And though he would not say it, as he began to retrace their steps back toward where the Guard were housed, Toshiro thought that he didn't mind Ariadne's company so much; in fact, he'd rather have her to talk to, than to be left alone. In his heart, he silently hoped that she might join him, and sit with him, but he doubted his luck would be that faithful.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:05 am

All they could do was watch the scene unfold. Even when Toshiro excused himself everyone else was simply stunned. So when he left the chatter was quiet and no one seemed to want to follow Ariadne out. She was obviously dealing with issues that were beyond their ability to help her with. Ariadne could not explain the depth of her sorrow and grief and no one else had lost someone like she had among her family. When Toshiro just stood there without saying anything she was strangely comforted. She did want people around her, but she did not want people to push their ideas of what she should be doing on her. She was taking one day at a time.

A sad smile and nod, followed his words which she knew were meant as a joke. Ariadne was thinking about Evander on nights like this. He worked some nights, but when he was home everything in her world made complete sense. He had always been there since she was a very young girl. They shared so many experiences together and she feared she would never be able to get through the day without thinking of him. How could she really? How could they expect her too so soon? Thesally didn’t even remember he existed and for her that was worse than her own pain. Her daughter would never know her father.

Toshiro’s talking took her out of deep thought and she too looked up at the sky. He was leaving before everything he had said and the things he had not said, registered in her mind. With no time to respond, she just watched him walking away. There were many things he had not said that he was thinking about, she could tell. Watching her family interactions must have been difficult as he really had no place there. Toshiro was a good person, she could see that and he seemed to want something from her that even he did not understand yet. She could sense that in his words when he was leaving. Maybe at this time, they both needed a friend.

Leaving the wall, she jogged to catch up to him, “Mind if I come? I could use some time to think.”


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:22 pm


“Mind if I come? I could use some time to think.”

Expressing her desire to join him at last, Toshiro slowed his pace so that Ariadne could catch up. Secretly, Toshiro was glad that she had decided to keep him company, and that brought a whit of a grin to his face again. "I hope you don't mind that I'll be heading back to the training grounds. That's usually where I sit. But no one is usually around there this time of night."

The captain only shifted a sidelong gaze in her direction as she caught up to him. He continued walking at an easy pace in his customary silence. It might seem that he did indeed spend a lot of time in thought, even if he tended to say things that came across as rather thoughtless. That could only lead one to wonder then, if he didn't speak such things with good purpose, even if it was for his own strange reasons. In a lady's presence alone however, some noble sense of chivalry simply couldn't be ignored, and he couldn't help but speak more kindly for her sake. "I'm glad. That you aren't afraid to come with me."

He led them on a desultory path through the night under the dim light of both moons, and when they arrived at the training grounds, he went to the stairs leading up to the small training hall and there, took his seat. Both weapons were removed from his belt to be placed between his legs where feet settled on the lower steps, the hilt of the sword coming to rest against the inside of one shoulder. Toshiro watched Ariadne as she made her way to sit beside him, and then turned his gaze back up to the stars.

"I don't know what it's like...to lose someone you love. But I hear that it makes your heart ache and your gut feel cold and empty. If that is true, then maybe we have something in common, because there are other things that..." But just then, he didn't know how to finish what he was saying. He was trying to express that there were other kinds of losses in life that could make one feel the same way. A loss he'd experienced before, and though it wasn't the same as losing a husband or a wife, he could still understand her pain. Toshiro turned his eyes to the stone of the steps then, bringing his right hand to grasp the scabbard of his blade so that he could lean upon it, being in thought. The Captain's eyes closed and the action came with a discomforted sigh.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:24 pm

Her silence was not meant to be rude, simply that there was nothing she could say to change any of it. She had to admit, the training yard was not her favorite place in the world. However, she had already said she was going and it might turn out in her favor. Maybe it would be easier to think there because she would not have to deal with anyone’s expectations but her own. “Should I be?” She asked curiously. Ariadne had not thought to be afraid with him, because he had protected her before. Why wouldn’t she trust him now?

The training grounds were quiet and dark with no hint of any living thing, other than the two of them. When he led them up some stairs and sat down, she sat next to him. At first they both said nothing, peering up at the skies. He was the one to break the silence, the topic was her loss. When he tried to tell her he felt a similar pain and how he could not express it she answered him kindly.

“There are many things in this world that can make you feel cold and empty. I’ve never felt so alone in my life. Evander and I had been friends since we were very young. Best friends. I don’t remember a time when he was not part of my life. I can’t really do anything every day but go through the motions of living because everything else just reminds me of him. Everything I’ve experienced has been with him. It’s as if he was my soul, he was my heart and I have nothing left to give the world.” In short, she was half a person now, she was broken.

Then she addressed his own issues, “Being abandoned must have been the worst of all feelings as a child.” She paused, looking at him. “Even now, it would cause you to wonder, why? Have doubts about your capability to have a family or be part of one. I’m sure you’ve told yourself you would never be able to love because it has never been shown to you. Honor and duty alone are not enough to fill the gap.” Her hand reached over to rest on top of his left hand.

Ariadne remained silent for a few moments, thinking if she should ask the question burning her brain or if she should leave it alone. Curiosity won out, “If you ever found your family what would you do?”


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:55 pm

“There are many things in this world that can make you feel cold and empty. I’ve never felt so alone in my life. Evander and I had been friends since we were very young. Best friends. I don’t remember a time when he was not part of my life. I can’t really do anything every day but go through the motions of living because everything else just reminds me of him. Everything I’ve experienced has been with him. It’s as if he was my soul, he was my heart and I have nothing left to give the world.”


Even as his eyes were still closed, Toshiro considered her words, and found that sound of her voice somewhat of a comfort. He couldn't imagine being in her position, having loved someone for so long only to have them be lost to you. For an instant, he tried to imagine how he would feel if his adoptive father were lost to him. Admittedly, it was difficult to imagine and he figured that he too, would feel lost and utterly alone after that. Indeed...she must feel as though her heart was taken with him when Evander passed away.


Toshiro's eyes opened, glancing up at her then, as she continued.

“Being abandoned must have been the worst of all feelings as a child.” She paused, looking at him. “Even now, it would cause you to wonder, why? Have doubts about your capability to have a family or be part of one. I’m sure you’ve told yourself you would never be able to love because it has never been shown to you. Honor and duty alone are not enough to fill the gap.” Her hand reached over to rest on top of his left hand.

When Ariadne's hand rested upon his, he was a bit shocked at first. He didn't object, but wasn't expecting her touch just then. The feel of her soft skin against his was nice.

Toshiro'd been about to respond when she inquired of him a bit more deeply. “If you ever found your family what would you do?” Within his own mind he seemed to flounder with that question. People tended to find out eventually that he was an orphan, but rarely did anyone approach him to speak casually on the matter or take any real interest in him beyond the fact that he was now a captain. Usually rank alone was able to somewhat kept people at bay -which was generally how he preferred it. She was going to end up being a lot like Evander then, always pressing him, for whatever reason choosing to be closer to him than duty required. But...maybe she was right; duty and honour alone were not enough to fill the gaps of that loneliness.

"Heh. You and Evander both then, huh? Always questions." Evander must have known he wouldn't ever get any answers out of the captain unless he asked lots of them. She seemed to share that understanding. Toshiro siged heavily before he could come up with any reply for her. "If they... I... I have no family. It's too late for any of them to come back now." Even if he didn't intend for his words to come out that way, she'd caught him off guard with the question and it was very quickly that his displeasure became evident through his uttering the words. He would not look at her then, because he did not want his anger to be directed at her and he nearly apologized for having spoken at all harshly out loud, for fear that she might think he was taking his anger out on her; and apologizing was not something that he was accustomed to doing.

The Captain took a few breaths in silence before he could find the will to continue on the subject. "There is one man who always treated me like a son, to the best of his ability. That must be enough for me."

Glancing back up, into the sky, Toshiro's frustration had gone from him. He now smiled, however faintly. “I used to remember what she looked like -the one that brought me here. That time is so far gone now, that I do not remember what her name was, or what she looked like. But I swear I used to know. I do remember that, to me, she was beautiful and I looked up to her, whoever she was. I used to sit outside the training grounds like this, watching, waiting to see when that person would come back for me. That person never came.

"The instructors kept me under the guise of a live-in student at the Guard’s training hall, where I worked until I was finally old enough to begin training with the other youth. I began training at an earlier age though, because of my situation, so I was always the youngest and the smallest. Other students found out that I had no parents to speak of, and that I lived at the school. For that, they would push me down, spill my food so that I couldn't eat with them,... burn me -anything they could think of to pick on me. Eventually, under the pretense of ‘practice’, they beat me with their wooden swords. That became their daily habit.

"One day, our teacher -who did his best to treat me like a son- saw the bruising on one of my arms. Haha. It was so bad, practically my entire arm had turned purple. He reprimanded them for their behaviour, but that just made them hate me even more. Later, I had to tell him not to intervene anymore. They just beat me harder and called me the pitiable child whose family abandoned him because he was too weak. But it must have been true, because even the adults called me that when they thought I wasn't listening."
Toshiro seemed to be having a little trouble speaking at that point, but it actually felt a little relieving to be able to talk about it to someone who might understand him, even if he didn't recognize the full purpose or importance of that. Insatiable malign filled his eyes, bringing back the feelings of hatred as his gaze fell over the empty training grounds.

Going on, he was very careful to keep his voice level so as not to express the distaste of his thoughts through the tone of his voice. "Being pitied, even now, is not something that I can live with. Even if I am different, even if I am a lesser human being, I still have pride, I still have honour. More than their physical threats, the other students were attacking those things in me that a man should hold dearest. So I was left to fend for myself, no matter what punishment they brought upon me; because defending one’s honour, is the one thing that a man must do on his own -even if he is very young.

"There are some masters who say that one can only learn the art of swordsmanship by being cut. Consider then, that I was cut many times each day, when they beat me, and therefore, I learned faster than any of them. I also learned how to solidify my resolve."
A deep breath visibly dispersed the anger from him and Toshiro managed another smile. This one however, hinted at his mischievous nature.

"After a while, I learned to read the other students’ movements and was able to defend myself, if only a little. I lost to them many times. They were still older and more skilled than I, but I swore to myself that they would not be superior to me forever. It wasn't long after that, that I was able to beat them in a proper match of skill.”

Regarding Ariadne with a much different, if not disaffected expression then, he decided to make sure she understood his intent -or at least the intent that he wanted her to understand. When there could have been other lesser reasons in his mind, he stuck to this simple excuse in his own defense, “Don't get me wrong. I just told you that story so that you’d understand why I became strong.”


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:46 am

“Yes, he learned that from me.” She said with a slight air of superiority in her voice. Of course it was meant to lighten the mood a little before things became more serious. She supposed he was right about, how could anyone accept their family after what had happened. She knew her parents would have starved before giving any of them up even if it was common among Holdless families to get rid of children they could not afford to feed. Ariadne felt a little bit bad for asking but some questions needed to be asked. The anger he experienced was not unexpected as she had mentioned before, some hurts were never healed.

When he continued she was surprised but pleasantly so. Her hand remained on his, where she thought it might be helping him say things that were not easy to speak of. She had never thought someone like him would have been bullied. Listening intently, her eyes were closed. When he ended his story and explained why it was necessary she smiled. He did not have to explain to her. Everyone learned to be strong for different reasons. She refrained from asking about the bloodthirsty side of him, confident that it too had something to do with his anger at the people who had treated him like dirt to be walked on. Besting people in battle must be quite rewarding for him.

“You are not the only one who has been picked on and bullied. My parents were Holdless.” She said matter of factly as if it explained everything. Her eyes opened and she looked back over at Toshiro, “My father was born Holdless, my mother’s family was kicked out of the Hold because of something her father had done. They had no trouble living the life of a Holdless until my mother was pregnant with me. She became very ill.”

Ariadne paused. “The only way to have a healer help was to go back to the Hold and try to find a way to serve there. My mother’s friend recognized her and allowed the whole family to stay with her, while a healer was sent for. Ever since then my family has lived here but it did not make things easy on any of us. My parents and my older siblings received the brunt of it but when I was very small I was picked on.”

Her eyes reverted to the sky, “It stopped eventually. Besides I’ve always been able to make friends easily. So I was never short on people who would defend me.” She never had trouble fitting in after that. Besides she had so many friends it was difficult for anyone to say anything bad about her. Then she met Evander too who would have defended her no matter what. “I don’t think I would feel any differently in your position.” And no she wasn’t implying that he could not have friends, he had decided he didn’t want them. People seemed to have continuously let him down.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:29 am

Throughout his story, as Ari's hand remained, he wouldn't move it. The touch pleased him yet he still had a hard time accepting that it was there for his own comfort. Toshiro looked down to where her hand rested on his, wondering just how he should feel. All of the conflicting emotions he ended up shrugging off, quicker to ignore them in case the confusion should just make him frustrated; so he remained still and without thinking anything more of it, simply enjoyed her while he could.

“You are not the only one who has been picked on and bullied. My parents were Holdless.”

When she began in response to him like that, he had to meet her eyes again, becoming even more curious of Ariadne. Continuing her story, Toshiro couldn't help but become angry that anyone would pick on a little girl -especially a little girl as sweet and delicate as her. It did make him glad to hear though, that someone had always stepped up to defend her, whether it be family or friends.

“It stopped eventually. Besides I’ve always been able to make friends easily. So I was never short on people who would defend me.” ... “I don’t think I would feel any differently in your position.”

The captain's eyes fell back to where her hand rested, a more gentle smile curling up at the corners of his lips just then. "I think Evander would have been a good friend to me had I let him," Chuckling at that, he went on, "but...I have a hard time getting past how different we are, whether he treated me with different respects than the others or not.

You should understand though, like I do, that people treat you different for being different, and no matter how long we live here, we are not like the rest of the people of the hold. In a way, I think it frustrated me that Evander never seemed to want to acknowledge that about me. It seems now, that his character was simply too good to think of that as a limitation for either of us.

"In his own way, he always tried to treat me like everyone else...just like my adoptive father used to do. But both of them,...both of them are too soft. Neither of them could understand that no matter how far you try to bring a man up in the world, a farmer will always be a farmer, a tanner a tanner, a holdless a holdless. That’s just the way the world works. No matter if they try to treat us the same or bend reality to their liking, there are no people in this world that were meant to fulfill some lofty destiny that they were not born to; there are simply those who lack the resolve to do what they were meant to do.

"I have always been a Guard, but before that, I was something else. I was born to a life not intended to exist within the walls of a hold, yet somehow, I ended up here. That must mean that my entire life is at odds with itself,... which is why I am not like them.

"In their eyes, you can see the peace within them, even if they all have their own day to day struggles. There is something there that I am missing in order to be like them -like Evander. Because in him too, there always seemed to be an underlying happiness. As though his existence had been fulfilled as it was meant to be. They were all born to a life of certain civility, have real parents, real siblings, a real home to go to at the end of the day.

"Though I am fed by the kind hearted of this hold, I have no real parents here, no siblings, and no roof over my head but for the training hall. Growing up, I did everything I could to imagine that for me, something like a family could be real. Heh. I was just kidding myself. All that life has seen suitable to give me are fakes; no matter how much I love my adoptive father, no matter how much I would give to protect this hold and hall -they do not become real family or a real home."


Supposing then, that without family he couldn't even call himself holdless in the same way that perhaps she could, he decided on a more fitting explanation, "A stray will always be a stray,...so, though I have lived here since I was nearly six turns of age, I still have a hard time saying that I truly belong in this place. Perhaps that gives me an edge over the rest of them though. Because a stray never follows the same rules as a canine of finer pedigree.

"Even those who don't know me, they too, will see the stray in me.”
Seeming satisfied with that, Toshiro was then brave enough to bring his left hand from under her own and take her hand into his. He lay her hand on his thigh and let his own hand curl around hers. He was very glad to have her here. He was very glad to know that she was like him in many ways. She could understand him in a way that no one else could -likewise, maybe he could understand her.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:57 am

“You are not so different.” She answered without explaining. It had never been her story to tell. Evander had never wanted anyone to know because of how it would change the way people looked at him. She knew better than to tell a man’s secrets even after his death. If he wanted someone to know he would have told them himself. And now, with his reputation for being isolated from people, he was telling her what he would not tell anyone else. If she were someone other than who she was, this would not be happening. Ariadne could not help herself when she thought someone was in some pain she had to help where she could. Even if Toshiro might not be happy to tell her now, later he would feel lighter and know he talking had helped.

Ariadne did not agree with him and she knew no matter what she said he would not agree with her. However, she thought he might see her opinion on this as just as valid as his. “I do not agree.” She took in a deep breath, unsure of how he would take this. “I believe a man can change his destiny. I can leave here today if I want and pursue another life if I want. I don’t have to do laundry. I could easily go to the Healer Hall and study if I want. I would do it because I love healing other people. I would do it because I have a child who depends on me for an example.” She shrugged, as if it wasn’t a big deal to move.

Guessing that he would want to know why she stayed here, “So then, why do I not just go? There are things here which keep me from leaving. I have a family who would never want me far from them. I have people throughout the Hold who count on me for help when they need it. I have obligations here. However much a stray you believe you are, you have remained here and are not as free as you might think. You are loyal to this place and Lord Rihan. To deny that you are here because you want to be is to deny your feelings of belonging somewhere. Everyone wants to fit in somewhere. You want this to be your home.”

Otherwise he would have left this place long ago. If he couldn’t find something to fill in the gap in his heart here he wouldn’t find it. He enjoyed his work, she could see that. So he could be a Guard anywhere. “Pedigree has nothing to do with it. You decide how to live your life every day. You decide who to include in that life. I think you push people away because you want them to only see the outside. You don’t want to be hurt.”

After all, she was born to a Holdless family turned holder. People could change if they wanted to. If one didn’t know her father was born Holdless, one could not tell. He fit in just fine with holders. There was nothing branded in his eyes that said he was a mutt. Ariadne believed what she was saying fervently. Whether Toshiro wanted to believe what she was saying, well that was for him to decide. “You are not alone, Toshiro. No one wants to be hurt. Still better to open yourself up to people and be hurt than to live life so closed up that you never feel loved.” And she would know better than anyone. Love shaped her life into a tragedy but she wouldn’t be sad forever. Even when she was in a dark mood, she knew that was true. There was no reason that eventually she might be able to make it through day without feeling melancholy.



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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:00 pm

While Ariadne spoke candidly of her own oppinions on the topic, he let his chin tuck toward his chest, but his eyes were on the place where he held her hand. She was right, there were certain things she was saying that he'd probably never be able to agree with, but he did indeed appreciate her words, and did not try to argue. He was admittedly curious though, about her suggestion that she might rather have made a life for herself elsewhere. He wondered if she was truly unhappy here, or if life was only now unhappy for her since she was without Evander.

"Does a canine bite the hand that feeds him? Of course I'm loyal to the hold." Chuckling quietly, the Captain smiled.

"But you are right that I choose to be here, and for more reason than that. Like you, I will never leave this place, even if I don't feel as though I completely belong to it." He seemed content with that though. Toshiro turned his grin upon Ariadne as she continued her thoughts, wondering if he'd kept her hand within his for too long. Wasn't he always the one to push his luck though, and never find reason to be appologetic? This time was no different, even though as he held her hand there, he was nervous about doing such a thing. And secretly, that nervousness thrilled him. Toshiro hoped that maybe Ariadne had become so engrossed in her thoughts that she had forgotten the hand left in his possession.


“Pedigree has nothing to do with it. You decide how to live your life every day. You decide who to include in that life. I think you push people away because you want them to only see the outside. You don’t want to be hurt.”

"Do you think so? What if,...instead... I only keep people at a distance because on the inside they will find something even more disturbing? What if I'm only doing it to protect them? And what if I just can't bear to let anyone else see how much hurt is already there? Or...what if...it's not that I don't want to be hurt, but that I don't want to heal?"

In all truth, Toshiro pondered how true each of those things were to his heart, and at the same time he wondered if his reasoning was even more multi-faceted than that. The Captain wondered if perhaps, that as he'd mentioned earlier, that distance lent him a certain edge over others that might not be there otherwise; and he would use that little bit of extra edge to better protect the hold.


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PostSubject: Re: There's only me and the lonely   Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:51 am

Ariadne was looking up at the sky, thinking about this conversation. She had forgotten about his hand on her own. Then physical contact was something she was quite used to, from all of her friends and family. She had many friends who would hold her hand who were men and she considered it to be simply a way to comfort her.

Contemplating his reaction and response to what she had said, it took her some time to reply. It wasn’t that she was shy rather she was trying to get her thoughts together. In the silence she kept her eyes on the stars, they did seem to help her think things through.

“Perhaps.” She said in answer. “I don’t believe it though. I think somewhere deep inside you would like to heal. Only then can you be whole and have the ability to belong here.” She paused, a wistfulness in her soft voice, “ I know I would give anything to feel complete again.”

On the other hand not worrying about anyone or having to be concerned for anyone other than himself allowed him the advantage of not being distracted when he was defending the Hold. “Unless you think you are made stronger without the attachments of people?” At which she shook her head. It would make sense for him to think like that.

Again she would have to disagree, and turned her head to meet his eyes. “Love is greater than anything in this world. To be loved is to be strong.” She had a sad sort of smile on her face, because she would know better than anyone that this was true. Ariadne had loved and lost and she truly believed that nothing in this world could compare to having someone love you whom you love in return.

Ari could imagine he would again disagree with her but she had never felt isolation was a good way to keep herself strong. The more friends she had the more people were willing to help her out when she was in trouble. Distancing herself from people would be to make her less strong and less able to overcome the struggles in her life.


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