Drewett

Lotus: Flowers

lotus

Jade woke as the mattress shifted. Her eyes did not open to let in the early morning light, but she smiled. Rolling over into the warmth of the sheets where Drew had lain, she curled up with his pillow. Every morning she woke with the briefest of fear that she was on a cot in a camp with petty sorcerers circling like vultures, or in a fat stranger’s bed just because of the generous coin, or back at the House behind locked doors beneath a pile of warm bodies of people who could have cared less if she were dead. Every morning she woke here, and she kissed Drew as he kissed her, and it was perfect. Then the kitten, who had waited for Mister Harlowe to head out for the fields, hopped onto the bed and stretched out along Jade’s stomach.

She woke an hour or two… most likely two later. Malt stretched out his little paws, head resting between her breasts as he considered Jade through sleepy eyes. She petted and scratched him, then shifted the kitten off of her so she could slip out of bed. Jade dressed, no matter how reluctantly (for it would not do for any of Drew’s field hands to see her in such a state), and raced Malt downstairs.

This was the part of the day that keenly reminded her that she was a housewife. Lists were made, plants were watered, and the house was cleaned. But she always kept it clean. Jade had scrubbed the rooms top to bottom after moving in, and now she made small changes. Not that Drew probably cared, but she made them gradually to acclimate him, and asked with the bigger ones… she really did want to have that rug replaced. Something that she picked. Something that helped make it more their place than his parent’s.

Jade had just discarded a cook book in favor of making something simple… like another type of sandwich, when she heard the dogs tumbling about the porch. Sighing, she buttoned up the front of her shirt and adjusted the sash of a belt around her waist before stepping outside.”

“Listen here, you two –” She stopped. Jacomys and Jamettus froze to stare all too innocently at her. Covered in dirt, the flowering vine from her new little garden hung between them, the object of her play. A flicker of panic ran through her. Running from the porch Jade rounded the house.

A hand pressed to her stomach, Jade took in the sight of the ruined garden. The flanking flowering vines had been torn down, and the little gardenia had been ripped up and gnawed to bits. Jacomys and Jamettus had followed her, and now sat, watching curiously as Jade slowly fixed the bit of fence Drew had erected. She cast them a burning look, and both of the hounds whined a little, ducking their heads as they laid down.

Setting the gardenia to the side she searched it’s hole, her bare hands sifting… then clawing the soft earth aside. It had to be there. If they had disturbed it or moved it… gods, if the hounds had drug it out… then she found it, and gasped a sigh of relief. The rock was still there, the stone’s charge remaining undisturbed and hidden beneath it’s weight.

She sat there for a moment, staring at the dirt that had stolen in up under her nails. She felt sick. She wanted to cry. Every day just before noon it struck her. It still ached and hurt a little, but then anger and frustration temporarily burned the memory away like the fire that had consumed the old sheets. It wouldn’t do her, or anyone else any good. There would be no tears. No confessions for something that probably wasn’t even her fault. She would just need to find another plant to fill the space. Smoothing the dirt to fill in the hole and head up as confidently as ever, Jade carefully gathered the shredded remains of flowers and went to go change and wash the dirt from her hands.

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Bring May

Real-Image-Arabic-Kaftan-2015-Newest-Design-Moroccan-Kaftan-Court-Train-Appliqued-Abaya-In-Dubai-Special

The clerk sighed again, giving Inaris an impatient look.

“He’ll be here,” she repeated curtly. By the gods, it was not like the clerk had anything else to do all day. Inaris fidgeted with the red silk of her inner sleeve, looking down at the soft lace and skirt as blue as the sea of Rhun. The longer she waited, the more she wondered. Wondering was dangerous, she knew, and it was worse when she began to doubt what she wanted.

Drewett sprinted into the room, a piece of grass in his hair. “I’m ‘ere! I’m ‘ere!” He coughed a little and upset a few chairs as he staggered toward the stage.

The world exploded around her. The light streaming through the grimy windows grew brighter, and the scent of jasmine lingering on her skin and the little white vanilla flowers in her hair filled the air around her.  What do you really want? Inaris could not hide her grin as he filled her vision, and bit back a laugh. “What kept you?” I bet it was that bloody goat.

Drewett grinned back at her, looking at the somewhat worried clerk with a slightly embarrassed expression. “Goat got outta ‘er paddock. Reckon she’s jealous. I’m ‘ere now though!”

Inaris laughed now, a burst of warmth blooming in her chest. “I should have guessed she’d be the one to throw a fit.” She brushed at the sleeve of his best jacket as she gravitated to him. “Don’t you look sharp!”

Drewett shoved his hair back and smoothed down his mustache. He gave a little chuckle. “Y’ look beautiful, by the way. Ain’ never seen a woman looked as beautiful as you…” He looked at her, utterly lost in thought.

The clerk cleared his throat noisily.

Arching a brow at Drew, Inaris smirked before quickly looking to the clerk. “Seems we’re both here now.”

Drewett didn’t seem to notice the clerk, completely absorbed in looking at Jade.

The clerk shuffled his notes. “I… Ah… do you have any witnesses?”

Inaris’s mouth quirked, and she blinked out of the warm spell Drew’s gaze held her under. “Oh… uh…” She looked to Drew. She knew she forgot something. She had meant to ask Dorsett, but when it came down to it, she didn’t have the heart to. He said he was past grief. She didn’t believe him.

Drewett blinked and then shrugged. “Ted’s lookin’ after the farm…” he muttered, scratching at his beard.

The clerk sighed and, looking between the two of them, bellowed out, “Oy! Gwinnie! Ed! Get in here!” After a few awkward minutes passed a hobbit lass in green skirt and a sallow-skinned man in a high collar make their way in and plopped down in seats at the front.

Inaris looked around Drew to grin gratefully at the halfling.

Drewett grinned as well, looking a little embarrassed by the whole affair. The Hobbit, Gwinnie apparently, clapped her hands together. “Oh weddings are so lovely!” she declared to the man beside her who just nodded a little irritably.

The clerk cleared his throat. “Well! Now that’s sorted. My friends, we are gathered together here in the sight of the gods to join together this Man and this Woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of the gods in the west, and into which estate these two persons present come now to be joined.”

Inaris reached over to slip her hand into Drew’s, and lightly brushed her hip against his. How perfectly it fit.

The clerk looked over at the two witnesses gathered from the office and flipped over a few of his notes before continuing, “I require and charge you both, as you would answer in full binding before the gods, that if either of you know any impediment, why you may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, that you confess it.”

Drewett squeezed Jade’s hand, he didn’t appear to have looked once at the clerk since the man had begun officiating.

Her slender fingers curled over the edge of his palm, and it surprised her at the amount of effort it took to keep her eyes on the clerk.

The clerk looked over at Drewett. “Will you have this Woman to be your wife, in the estate of Matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, keep only to her, so long as you both live?”

Drewett coughed, aware suddenly that he’d being addressed. He looked over at the clerk and then at Jade. “Wha’? Oh aye!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

candles

 “What are you still doing up?”

Feira looked up from where she laid on the floor of her little bedroom. The map of the world from Cirieldis lay flat before her, and beside it a fat candle and several books, each one sprawled open and marked with a bookmark decorated with a flower saved from her first nosegay. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“Again?” Torrin left her door open and his stockinged feet padded softly across the hardwood floor. “What are you looking at?”

“A map of the world,” Feira responded, pulling her loose, golden waves back as she sat up.

Torrin crossed his feet and sat down beside her. By Emeleth, but he looked tired. “Going on a trip?”

Feira snuggled up beside him. “The Lady Ciri offered to send me on a trip. I can go anywhere?”

“Why would she do that?”

Feira rolled her eyes. “Because she is nice? The Lady can do as she pleases.”

Torrin reached over the map to pick up a book that showed a painted drawing of Dale, the Lonely Mountain’s silhouette dwarfing the towers of men. “And you are going to take her up on her offer?”

“Of course I am! How many maids do you know that ever leave this city and it’s bay, let alone Gondor? I may never have a chance like this ever again.”

Torrin grinned, and let her take the book from his hands. “Do you know where you want to go?”

“I want to go everywhere. I have been practicing my Haradic diligently, so somewhere in Haradwaith is definitely on my list. Dale too, it being so dreadfully far away. Also Forochel. Did you know the Lady is from there? I have never seen snow. I bet it’s deliciously cold.”

“How are you going to choose?” asked Torrin with a laugh, suddenly looking uncommonly relieved. “You said you had a list?”

Feira leaned forward to scoop up her stack of books, adjusting the short sleeve of her night dress. “Oh, yes! There were one of the Dwarven kingdoms, but I do not know a lick of KhuzdulI had Edoras on my list, but it is too close, and I do not think there is much to do in Rohan besides drink mead, ride horses, look at horses, and talk about horses.”

“Hey, now! That sounds like a good way to spend every day,” said Torrin, feigning offense.

Feira grinned and waved a hand at him. “I was also thinking of the Grey Havens or Lothlorien, but it is all Elves there, and I hear they are all planning on gradually leaving. I imagine it is all a bit depressing in spite of the scenery. I closed my eyes and put my finger on Dorwinion and Khand, but those probably are not the best of places for a young woman to visit right now.”

Torrin rumbled a chuckle, and kissed the side of her head. “Well, wherever you go, I am sure it will be the best of options. I am glad you’re going, though I’ll miss my little Faerie.”

“Just you wait,” she chimed, beaming a smile a bright as the May sun. “I will be a young woman when I come back. But before I forget!  Will you have time to walk me down to the docks tomorrow?”

Torrin sighed, and rolled his eyes. “Leaving him a letter?”

Feira stuck her tongue out at Torrin as he moved to rise to his feet. “Of course! I can’t just up and disappear on him.”

“Like he does to you?”

Feira scowled, and snagged a pillow from behind her to toss at him. “That’s low.”

Torrin grunted, and caught the pillow, stealing it away with him as he headed for the bedroom door. “That’s the truth! Anyways, get some sleep! You can scold me on our way to the docks tomorrow.”

“You’re the best!” Feira called after him with a roll of her eyes as she laid back down to study her map, propping her chin up on her hands.

“I know. Now get some sleep!” the young man called back as he closed the door behind him. “Love you.”

Bossy. Love you, too.”

(Thank you to Raenarcam for playing Drewett! Jade’s portion was taken from in-game RP and edited for tense and composition.)

Lotus: Things That Glow

Lost in thought, Inaris climbed the steps to the archives with three books in her hands. The first two were scandalous volumes that had fallen short of expectations, and the third was an introductory to knitting (which, while a valiant attempt, had ended in utter failure).

Not watching where she was going she stumbled up the last step that, to her surprise, did not exist, and sniffed indignantly at her clumsiness. Returning the books to the main desk she turned to look around when she caught sight of Dorsett. Completely oblivious to the rest of the room, the man was engrossed in writing down notes and looking at a small stone beside him that emitted a faint light.

Sauntering over she stopped behind the man and peered around him at his work. “Hey there, you. What ya doin‘?”

Dorsett jumped and looked first to the stone, as if it might have done something between then and the last time he looked, and then glanced back at Jade. “Oh– Jade, hello,” he murmured, offering her a weak smile. “Just… just copying a book, you know how it is.” He glanced to the stone. “What are you doing here?”

Inaris’s head listed dramatically to one side as she eyed him. “Returning books and hopin’ to bump into you. What’s that?” she asked, motioning to the stone.

Dorsett looked back at the stone. “Oh, that is… that is…” He stopped, and took a deep breath. “That is a stone which is magically tied to a ring Atanamir wears. It– well, when he wears the ring, the stone is supposed to shine a bright pink. This…” He gestured to the dull white color, “…This means he is not wearing it. And he never takes it off.”

Inaris leaned a little as she peered at the stone. “Does the ring give off any light? Perhaps he’s… somewhere where it might give him away, or he has it hidden to be kept safe…” she offered slowly, hoping herself that it was just that.

Dorsett shook his head. “No, no. It is just black, and it does not… glow, or anything. He always keeps it on so I know he is safe. This is… this is not good.”

Her expression sobered a bit. “Maybe… maybe he was robbed by brigands in the night and he’s currently hunting them down to get his stuff back?” She tried hard to sound encouraging.

Dorsett chuckled a little, quietly. “I doubt it. But I appreciate the thought.” He paused. “I know he cannot be cooped up in the house all the time, but every time he goes out, something like this happens….”

Inaris crossed her arms under her chest and moved to lean against the edge of the table. “Do you know where he went off to this time?”

“Angmar,” Dorsett said with a bit of a shrug, as though it were a perfectly reasonable place to vacation. “He was looking for an artifact of some kind. Took Hallem and Oendir with him. He sounded so confident when he left.”

Inaris arched a brow. She had heard mention of the place more than once, and none of it was ever good. “Yeah… bright and sunny spot to go treasure hunting,” she responded dryly. “No wonder you’re wound so tight.” She then nodded to the stone. “How long since it stopped lookin’ pink?”

Dorsett looked at it again. “A… few days. Four days. I wish there were some easier way of making sure he is all right….”

Inaris hummed in agreement, then turns her keen gaze back to him. “And I suppose you are spending all day staring at it, and sleep with it at night just in case?”

“Well… well, yes. I mean to say, what else would I do with it…”

The young woman huffed and shifted her leaning to stick out a hip. “Not wear it out. You won’t be any good when he comes back if you’re anxious and helplessly sleep deprived.”

Dorsett looked a little guilty. “Well… well, no. But if I do not keep an eye on it I will not know if he is okay.”

Inaris narrowed her eyes at Dorsett as she gave him a look. “Would the stone turn a different color if he died or a different person put the ring on?”

Dorsett hesitated. “No. I mean… just if he put it on again, you know…”

Inaris nodded curtly. “Well, then that settles it.” She extended out a hand and leveled her gaze at him. “I’ll babysit your rock tonight.”

Dorsett blinked. “Oh– no– you do not need to. I can keep it.” While unspoken, “Just in case,” hung readily in the air.

She smirked. “I think I do,” she countered stubbornly. “I promised Atanamir that I’d keep an eye on you. Either you can surrender the rock to me for the night, or we can have a sleepover and I’ll stay up with the rock while you get some rest.” She almost preferred the latter option, imagining the man might need to be force-fed tea and sat on to keep from fidgeting and pacing all night.

Dorsett looked torn, but he eventually picked up the rock and handed it over. “I could just keep it in a cabinet,” he mumbled.

Inaris barked a rich laugh. “Uh-huh. I don’t believe you one bit, Dorsett. If you stuck it in a cabinet you’d just stand there with the door open afraid you might have blinked at the wrong time.”

Dorsett sighed. “I use that thing to read at night, you know. Light without a fire.”

Inaris shook her head at him as she cradled the rock in one hand. “I sympathize for you, but a little warm flame won’t hurt you, and the light of a fireplace is more likely to lull you to sleep. Besides, I’m sure Atanamir has other non-lethal glowing things about the place.”

Dorsett couldn’t argue with that, so he finally gave up. “Have you convinced Drewett that Elves exist yet?” he asked quietly, shuffling his papers around aimlessly.

Inaris ‘s mouth curves in an amused smile. “No, not yet. I’m picking my battles with that one, though I can’t decide if elves or dragons would be a harder topic to sway him on.”

“I think… I mean, could you not start by convincing him that Elves are essentially people who look a little differently than we do? Dragons seem like something that could be only a legend, but Elves…” His voice drifted off before quickly adding, “And we have an Elf or two we could introduce him to.”

Inaris hummed thoughtfully. It would at least be entertaining. “Good point. Think either of your Elves are the type to agree to meetin’ him?”

Dorsett cleared his throat. “I feel like, ehm, like Miss Raenarcam might terrify him just a little, so… maybe Miss Eruviel. She might humor us if we ask nicely.”

Inaris arched a brow. “Worth a shot. Would you mind asking her? I admit I’ve never really talked with an Elf before. Not sure how to approach ’em.” Thinking about it, she was sure approaching an orc would be far easier… of course that she had done.

Dorsett blinked. “Well, um. I suppose I could, yes. I sort of just… say hello, and then…” He trails off, like someone wondering if they had been doing things totally wrong up until now. “But, I mean to say, I can ask her. I suppose it is not terribly important that he believe in Elves, since most people will never see one around here.”

Inaris shrugged. “True enough. Maybe I’ll stick to dragons, then and make a game of it.” She almost carried on, suddenly distracted by how absurdly endearing Drewett’s superstitions were, but she cleared her throat and gave her bangs a toss of indifference.

Dorsett smiled faintly, and started cleaning up his things. “I suppose I should go home. I will see you tomorrow to get the stone back, yes?”

Inaris nodded. “You will. Don’t fret so much, really. I promise that if it changes I’ll go to your place straight away. Try and take a breather, though, all right?” she insisted, more sincerely. “Feed the cats and yourself, and try a hot bath or something. It’ll be all right.”

Dorsett tucked his papers into his bag, and attempted a slightly wider smile. “Thank you, Jade. I will… see you later, then.” He paused for a moment, and then slipped out.

Watching him go, Inaris leaned back against the wall as the door clicked shut behind him. She tossed the stone up to catch it a few times before stopping to inspect it. “I know he’s cute when he frets, but this is just cruel,” she muttered as if the stone could hear her. Tucking the stone safely down the front of her dress, Inaris turned to head for the other exit. “Get your act together and get home.”

The Trouble with Boys

staring_out_window

“Faerie?”

“…Fei?”

“Feira!”

Wha — Torrin!” Feira jumped from where she sat by her bedroom window, and nearly fell from her seat. “Can’t you knock?”

“I did,” her brother replied with a smirk as he leaned in the doorway. “You got a little…”

Feira’s eyes grew wide. “A little what?”

“A little mark from the sill on your face.”

“Ha ha.” She made a face at him as she scrubbed at the indent on her cheek. “Is supper ready?”

“It will be as soon as you stop pining and moping, and change out of that ridiculousness.” He motioned to the blue silk skirt from her ball gown that she wore over her work dress, topped off by a baggy knit sweater.

“I-I’m not pining,” she muttered as pink rushed to her cheeks.

“Uh-huh… And I’m not judging. He gone again?”

Feira tossed her sweater aside, and focused on the skirt.

“Feira….”

“Been for a while.”

Torrin scowled. “Wanna know what I think?”

“No.” Feira wiggled around as she pulled the cloth of the gown’s skirt up over her head.

“You should find yourself another boy.”

“I don’t want another boy,” came her muffled response from beneath layers of cloth.

“You all right in there?”

Her struggling stopped for a moment. “I’m fine.”

“Really, Fei. The city is full of young lads who drool when you walk by.”

“No they don’t. Nobody drools at maids.”

“Yeah-huh, they do. Problem is your nose is always stuck in a book, or your head’s up in some cloud thinkin’ of that blasted sailor.”

She started struggling again within the confines of the skirt. “You’d like him if you met him.”

“No I wouldn’t,” he retorted. Sighing, Torrin walked into the plain room and move to assist the struggling girl. “Nothing good can come from a sailor. Besides, I haven’t met him. I don’t like some sea fairing highwayman calling on my baby sister and taking her who knows where.”

“Heavens, Tor. He’s on a naval ship.”

“And that makes it better?”

Giving a despairing sigh, Feira let him help her as she finally found the hidden button that had snagged on her apron. “I’m not a baby, Torrin.”

He grunted in disapproval. “I know. You’re a young woman now. And that is suppose to make me feel better?”

“I don’t — I don’t need you to protect me.” She didn’t sound as convincing as she’d hoped to.

“You keep tellin’ yourself that… Heeeere we go,” he said as he pulled the skirt up and away. “Smart or no, you’re too pretty to be walking about without an escort.”

Feira chuffed out a soft chuckle, and tossed the skirt and her apron onto her bed. “Only ladies have escorts. You’re my brother. You’re biased.”

“Damn straight. I call it as I see it.” He crossed his arms over his chest and gave her his sternest look. “And then I catch you attacking bales of hay and trees with pointy sticks? I’d rather you learn to run faster than anyone else instead of learning how to fight –”

Before he could get the last word out Feira had flung her arms around his torso, and destroyed any chance he had of seeming dour.

“Woah, Faerie, what’s this for?”

Feira’s hug tightened. “F-For caring.”

Torrin’s wavering frown instantly melted into a warm smile, and he hugged her back. “I’ll keep bugging you about the sailor. Find a honest, wealthy, hard working young man who treats you like the world. Then I’ll be content.”

Releasing him, Feira poked him in the stomach. “Whatever, Dad.”

Torrin snorted, and tugged playfully at her ponytail. “Your face is leaking.”

“Oh, shut it,” she retorted, pushing him away and heading out to the room to go downstairs as she wiped at her eyes.

“Shut it? Shut it?! Ooph! I’ve been shot!” he cried, grasping at his chest.

Feira snickered and padded down the narrow stairs. “I smell burning!”

“What? No you don’t. I took all the food off the hearth.”

“Oooh… Is that smoke?”

“Don’t say that!” Torrin shouted, darting after her. “I haven’t burned anything all week!”

“You made it all the way to Tuesday!” she shouted back, squealing as he chased her into the kitchen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Marlowe-Fireplace

Inaris gazed out her front window into the dark as the light from Drewett’s lantern disappeared down the road. “Good for you, Jade. Now you’ve gone and done it.”

Brushing her knuckles over a smooth cheek his scratchy beard had kissed she sighed, then promptly abandoned the window to began tugging furiously at the strings of her cossetted vest. “Bloody hell,” she grumbled.

It had been a year since he‘d left, revealing everything to be lies. A year since she wasn’t rich enough, or not well bred, or good enough. And it had been a year since she turned her back on him and left the Mark to end up in this backwater little town. She was going to be free. She was going to traipse around the realm and do whatever she damned pleased. She’d be with who she wanted and never tie herself down….

Think y’might be properly th’most amazin’ woman I ever met.

All of the tiredness that crept up on her earlier in the night had vanished, and she cast every ounce of clothing aside except for her long, thin blouse that she now unbuttoned well below her breasts. Tossing her swooping bangs out of her eyes in a futile, irritated gesture, she lit a fire in the hearth and tromped back into her little bedroom. Being cold fueled her frustration at herself, and the shivering that set upon her she gladly accepted as punishment… before promptly wrapping herself up in an over-sized blanket and returned to the front room to plop down before the hearth.

He said he loved her. Did he really? She’d been told that before, more times than she cared to remember, and not all of it from the one man she’d thought had spoken the truth. What was love, but a bunch of lies bound in copper, and silver, and hungry smiles?

But this one was different. How, by all the gods, he had slipped in past her walls and made her suddenly consider being (of all things) an honest woman was well beyond her. He wasn’t like the last one… aside from the broad shoulders which she didn’t mind one bit. No, he didn’t have a long, golden mane, or eyes like the blue sky over the inland sea. Most would find him unremarkable… And for some reason she didn’t want to sell him anything. She wanted to give. The glint in his green eyes, the curve of his bearded smile, and the feel of his hand brushing against hers made her feel that terrible awful warmth inside, beyond the desire to make him smile more, that she had only known once.

Damned Farmer, singing sad songs to his goats, conning ale, not believing in dragons, and looking at her like she wasn’t just a conquest. Sometime we’ll build a castle or sommat, that’ll show ’em.

He said he loved her. How could he? A part of her told her that suddenly worrying was ridiculous, and a part of her said he’d say about the same. As guiltless as she’d always been concerning her past, she felt that she could be ill at the prospect of telling him. He would ask, eventually, about her brand, and tattoo, and where she was really from. He would want to know why she kept her hair short, and hated her father, and if she’d ever taken a life.

Inaris bundled the blanket up tighter around her, and flopped over to lay on the rug on the floor in a puddle of self-pity. She had told him her name. The gods be damned. She had said she loved him too. Did she really? Did she love the way he cursed, and didn’t believe in ghosts, and couldn’t read to save his life? Yes, somewhere deep down, she knew did.