Nodding, she watches Aurelian move off to go find them a bucket. After a minute she says "Oh!" and rushes to the door. Holding onto the frame and leaning out she shouts "PRIMROSE WOULD LIKE THE BUCKET TO BE FULL WITH FRESH WATER. THIS WOULD MAKE PRIMROSE VERY HAPPY."
Pulling herself back inside, she looks around the hovel. "We need to get some work done in here. Did you have anything in the great hall that survived the fire? Do you have any, you know, stuff?"
"How did the fire start anyway?" she asks curiously.
"This is pretty much all I own," Tettia says, gesturing towards her bag that rests on the ground just inside the door next to her staff. She reaches into the bag and pulls out a thick book that she begins flipping through.
"The shapechangers started the fire when we engaged them within the hall. They threw aside the guises they held as people we know and challenged us. There was fire involved."
She seems slightly distracted as she finds the page she's looking for. She spends a moment studying the page and committing the contents to memory. Once she's completed her task, she turns to Primrose.
"Now let's see what we can do with ..." she gestures at the room, "... all this."
She begins judicious castings of minor spells of cleaning and repairing.
mending and prestidigitation
"Oooohhh. You know magic too? What's your specialty? Are you classically trained? I know a few odds and ends myself." She also casts prestidigitation and tries to restore as much order as possible.
While cleaning, Primrose will give a few details of her attendance of the prestigious Kitharodian Academy. "It's the largest bardic college on Golarion, you know? It's an amazing institution. I am actually still supposed to be enrolled there right now, but I received approval for a sabbatical here to visit..." she catches herself before she says her brothers name, willing herself to stay focused. "...visit this magnificent land."
Clearing her throat, she changes the subject "You're pretty handy with those spells! I bet you were a star pupil."
"I'm a generalist, currently," Tettia answers with a smile. "But I've changed my major previously a couple of times. I received my Doctorate at Almas University in General Magical Theory, but I've been working on my degrees in Ancient History and Magical Development."
The girl seems quite proud of her accomplishments. Continuing her work on the cabinets, she gives Primrose a side look.
"I've read a lot about Oparra. I did a paper on their contribution to the formation of governments in many different locations. The Kitharodian Acadamy has produced some of the most famous singers to ever exist. Were you born there?"
Folding her arms and leaning against the side wall, she does a double-take. "Doctorate! That's quite impressive! It sounds like you're all sorts of smart, Tettia Tuditanus. Perhaps you can help me with a spell I've been struggling to get down sometime? It's the most advanced spell I've ever tried and I'm messing something up and note getting the results that I want."
She smiles when she most likely unwilling compliments Primrose's attendance in the Academy. She nods in acceptance of the compliment, unwarranted or not. "I was, yes. Lucky to be born in the right place at the right time to the right people I always say. Just far enough out of the political infighting and just close enough to the right people. You should come visit sometime, it's an amazing place."
"You're from Andoran then, yes? I've traveled here and there, it's quite an interesting place. Very differing political philosophies then Taldor."
The cabinets forgotten, Tettia's expression turns to something resembling avarice. "A spell?" she asks. "What kind of spell? I've just finished creating a new spell and I can't wait to try it out. What does your spell do?"
Pushing off the wall she says, "Well I haven't tried it today, so I can do so now, I suppose."
She looks around the room and points to the cabinet. "Can you cast something that has a long-reaching duration? Something more than a few seconds? Like... light? Can you make a light?"
Prim focuses on the light and closes her eyes, focusing her breathing "Okay. I've been trying this every day on the ship over here and I only got it to work once, and I think it was an accident."
Opening her eyes, she focuses on the light. "I'm going. To make. It go. Away." she says, focusing so hard that she adds unnatural pauses into her sentence structure.
"Alright Prim, you can do this. Focus. Focus."
Standing tall, back straight, she brings her hands up from her side and presses both palms together, fingers extended. Pushing them towards the light she speaks in a firm tone "Dissolundo!" as she throws her hands towards the light, pushing them away from each other with a quick and fluid motion.
The light stays flickering as Prim sighs heavily, collapsing on the bed. "See. It was supposed to go out. I was supposed to make your spell stop."
She places her elbow on her thigh and drops her head into it, frustrated.
Tettia leans forward in anticipation as the bard begins her spell. She frowns a little as the gestures seem not quite right. When the spell fails, she approaches Prim.
"I haven't used that spell before," she says, "but I think it should be more ... do you mind?"
Tettia steps close next to the woman and draws her back into a standing position. She reaches out and takes Prim's hands in her own. "Here, start with your positioning just a little more ..." she shifts the woman's hands just a little closer to her body. "And when you reach the third part of the Second Stanza of Control, give them more of an uplift, like ... so." She moves Prim's hands through the motions she just observed.
She steps back, her hands moving to mimic the motions.
"Control stanza's always take a little more flair or they're overwhelmed by the Conclusional Refocusing. It's just a math thing. Try that."
Prim lets Tettia Tuditanus move and guide her hands, paying attention to the slight adjustments to the form. She recognizes the variations from the posture and placement she was using. After she steps away, she tries it out a few times.
The first time she gets it wrong again, but with Tettia's corrections she tries it again and again until she feels like gets it correct on the fifth try. "Okay, like so?" she says, going through the motions to the best of her ability.
"Like that? I think I see now, more uplift. My problems with the controls stanza's are not conclusion refocusing, it's my inability of factoring the causal variations of deviation and frequency resulting in inaccurate precision."
"I can totally help you with Causal Variations," Tettia says with a grin. "I taught an undergrad class on Causal Variations and the complications they create. Most of the students learned enough to pass." She shrugs, her grin widens, and she looks towards the light in the fireplace. "I'm sure you'd get at least a 'B'.
She looks back with a mischievous grin. "But that would depend on how well you did on the final paper. I grade those on a curve."
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You can't keep a good performer down for long. Looking up at Tettia, she pouts. "A B. Really. A B? That's it? I think you're severely underestimating the talents of my tongue. I have to warn you, my oral abilities are unprecedented. I don't think you can comprehend the exercises I do with my mouth to keep myself in the best possible condition all of the time."
She smirks, trying her best not to burst into laughter before Tettia does. She waits for Tettia to laugh so she can double over and in laughter.
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By her reaction, either the double entendre went completely over the girl's head, or she's completely ignoring it.
"I'm sure your oral abilities are fine," she says in all seriousness. "But if you need ways to expand your repertoire in that area, I can show you some exercises that might help. I wouldn't grade entirely on oral, though." She holds up her hands. "You hands and, to a greater extent, you finger work is at least as important. I'm pretty discerning when it comes to somatic components."
"I could expound just as much on material aids. We covered that in another class. Wands, rods, and such. They're not really needed, but they can serve a purpose."
The girl frowns.
"What's so funny?" she asks. "A powerful wand can really rock someone's world."
Yeah, it looks like it went over her head.
Prim's jaw opens and continues to become more slackjaw the more Tettia talks about finger work. When she gets to wands, she's done. Doubling over and falling to the floor in a fit of uncontrollable shaking and either laughter or crying, but some form of serious emotion. She slaps the floor twice and says "Finger work!" before laughing some more.
It take nearly twenty seconds, but she slowly pushes up off the floor and wipes the tears from her eyes. A smile seems to permanently be affixed to her face despite her best efforts to to clear it. She tries to start a sentence by saying "You want to show me finger-" but burst into laughter again, this time falling back on the bed and laughing hysterically. Looking over at Tettia's confusion she asks "No clue, right? Nothing? You have no idea?" before laughing again.
She wipes her eyes again and says "Sorry. Sorry."
Clearing her throat, she wipes her eyes again and sits up. She holds up a finger and says "Give me a second here. Just a moment." She shakes her head and exhales three times quickly. Wiping the emotion away, says completely deadpan "I. Am interested. In your dissertation on rod and finger work. When can we begin?"
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Tettia seems completely discomfited at Primrose's laughter. Thinking back over what she just said, she doesn't discern anything humorous.
"I haven't done a dissertation on rods or wands. I never spent any real time with either. I've studied them, of course. But I haven't spent a lot of time actually using them. I prefer to do the magic myself. There's nothing a good magician can't do with her own two hands."
She looks at her new roommate for a moment.
"Are you ok? I could show you some better finger techniques after Aurelian finishes bringing us some water. He'd just wink and make some insinuation about sex." She rolls her eyes. "Sometimes I think that's the only thing men think about."
I don't even know where to start with her.
Standing, she walks up and places her hands on Tettia's shoulders. "My dear Tettia Tuditanus. I do believe you are spending entirely too much time in your textbooks and studies. As much as I appreciate the offer on finger techniques and rod motions, I believe that I am going to have a long and arduous task ahead of me here explaining some things to you."
Looking over at the door she asks "How long does it take to get a bucket of water anyway?" Standing she makes her way to the door, opens it, steps out side closing the door behind her. She immediately walks back in, flinging the door open wildly. She puffs out her chest and stands talk with an air of prestige as she tries to imitate Aurelian's flourish. "Aurelian says he brings beautiful damsels the water they need. Aurelian wonders now what else he can do to please ladies."
She gives up on the charade and turns back Tettia "You know what Tettia Tuditanus? I think we're going to get along just fine. I'll think about taking you up on your offer at some point in the future, but do me a favor? Please don't offer finger work or rod motions to anyone. As in ever again? Unless you really like them a lot. Okay? I'm going to explain to you why now, please brace yourself. Are you ready? Are you sure?"
Clearing her throat she begins "There are certain sexual connotations with all of the terms you just used. I'd like you to close your eyes and think about everything you just said. Replay that in your head to yourself. Now try and picture how it could be perceived as sexual. That's juts about how most people are going to take those comments Tettia Tuditanus."
Prim waits for the realization to hit the arcanist like a ton of bricks.
"What are you talking about?" Tettia responds incredulously. "I never said anything that was sexual. I was talking about magic! The hand gestures that magicians use to ... I mean ... and ... and ... and wands and rods are ... used ... to ... It's not ..."
Primrose can almost see precisely the moment when the lantern lights. Tettia's eyes widen and her mouth moves silently for a moment before her face turns crimson. She turns suddenly towards the table and wraps her arms around herself.
"Why does every ... every stupid conversation ..." her shoulders start to shake and her voice begins cracking. "It seems like every conversation on this island ... turns to ... to ... sex."
She turns back to Prim. Angry tears are now streaming down her cheeks and her voice continues to tremble as she begins her tirade.
"I'll have you know that ... that I've studied ... sex. I've ... I've written papers on it and got 'A' plusses on them. It's not the ... the be-all and ... and end-all of life. And I know that ... that something that touted can't ... can't be all that great. And I don't care what ... what you say ... or ... or what Aurelian says ... I'm not convinced. Nothing can be that great."
Her arms crossed in defiance, she stands as if in challenge to the bard.
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Primrose is caught off guard by the Tettia's reaction. Having anticipated embarrassment, her tears and expression clearly were not what the performer had expected.
This woman is full of endless mysteries.
She studies the woman quickly and tries to discern the best way to disarm her defensive posture.
"Tettia Tuditanus. You are frustrated and angry, so please allow me to apologize for putting you in that position. This was not my intention. I realize now that I've embarrassed you, please realize I was only trying to help show you how others would interpret those words."
Motioning to the door she continues "Now then. I'm positive that you have studied every subject imaginable and that you are clearly the most intellectually brilliant woman on this island. Matter of fact, I'm going to go so far as to say that you are the most brilliant woman that I've ever met. A doctorate at your age? That's simply amazing."
She points at her own chest then to Tettia's. "You and I? We don't need to ever talk about sex again if that is an uncomfortable subject, okay? I've only met you a few hours ago now and it's entirely my fault for misreading the situation."
"To tell you the truth, sex is just a thing. You can study it, perform it or hear about it with about all the of the same result. It sounds great at first, but then it's a gigantic mess. No, you are right. Sex is not always that great."
Holding up a finger she caveats her words "However. Love, that is something special. You can't study love Tettia Tuditanus." she says tapping her heart. "You feel and experience love. When you have love, sex means something else entirely."
She offers a warm smile hoping to disarm the woman and show her she is sorry for getting her worked up. "If you like, I could sing you a song about love."
Tettia looks away when Primrose gives a sincere apology. As Prim talks, Tettia's body language relaxes and her arms shift until she's simply standing with her hands clasped together.
"Toddy and I used to love listening to love songs," she says sadly. "Mother and Father would take us to the opera and we'd sit enraptured by them." She rolls her eyes. "Then she met a boy ..." The way she says the word 'Boy' would be the same way someone would describe an unknown substance on their shoe.
"Then it was all 'Gilbert said this' or 'Gilbert did that'." She frowns. "When she told me that they had ... and it wasn't at all like she thought it was supposed to be."
She looks up at the bard.
"She said she was in love with him. Shouldn't that ...?" She shakes her head in frustration. After a moment of silence, she asks quietly, "Do you know the song from 'Tago and Elecia' where he tells her to look into his eyes?"
A small smile slowly spreads across her lips as she reaches out with her right hand, uttering a few words just before a stringed instrument magically appears out of thin air. Pulling it back to her body, she sits down and begins to strum on the instrument. The notes are expertly struck and it's clear that this woman could do this in her sleep. After several chords she begins to sing with a soft voice once more.
On the edge of the bed with her eyes closed, she starts to sing. Once the first few words come out, she stands and slowly walks up to Tettia and opens her eyes, staring into them with her own big brown eyes. "Look into myyyyyy eyes, you will seeee, what, you mean, to meeee."
Taking a step back, she stops strumming to place a hand on her heart and then onto Tettia's chest over heart. "Seeeearch your heart, search your soooooul."
Resuming with the instrument, she begins to slowly circle around the woman while singing "And when you find me there, you'll search no more. Don't tellllll me it's not worth tryin' forrrrr. You can't telllll me it's not worth dyin' forrr."
Finishing her circle, she slowly makes her way back up to Tettia's and closes the gap between them until they are no more than a few inches apart. Lowering her voice again she concludes "You knooow it's true, everything I do, I do it for youuuuu."
Look into your heart. You will find. There's nothin' there to hide. Take me as I am. Take my liiiife. I would give it all. I would sacrifice. Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' forrrrr. I can't help it, there's nothin' I want morrrrre."
Closing her eyes, she leans her forehead again Tettia's and finishes strumming and swings to vocals only. "You know it's truuuuuue."
"Everything I doooooo,"
"I do it for yooooooooooou."
She keeps her head resting against Tettia's, waiting for a reaction different than angry tears and defensive postures.
Perform: Sing: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (14) + 17 = 31
Tears do, in fact, flow. However, it's reasonably clear that they're not angry tears. A moment later and Tettia steps back with a start, clearing her throat. "Thank you," she says, her eyes moving around the partially cleaned room. "That was ... beautiful." she reaches up and wipes her face.
"Umm... we should really finish getting this place ready," she says as she continues to avoid looking at Prim. "Where is Aurelian with that water?"
Perhaps it was a striking coincidence, but Tettia stood at exactly the same height as her. A 5'8" most women were a little shorter than she was and only the elves tended to be taller. When Tettia pulls her head away, Prim opens her eyes and stares directly into Tettia's pale blue eyes. When she sees the tears streaming out, she's afraid that she's screwed the performance up in someway, even though she knows she nailed it. She's sung that song so many times, there's no way she was off key or missed a beat. And with the heart and head thing!?
When she realizes they aren't tears of anger, she steps back and takes the front of her shirt and works it in and out a quickly so that some cool air can help alleviate the warmth of the room. She looks to the door and says "Yes. We should. Open the door. Is it warm in here? Maybe the breeze will help."
As Tettia asks where Aurelian is, she and Prim realize the swordsman is in fact waiting in the doorway, two buckets of water in hand.
"That song was almost as lovely as you, Primerose Lethanna," he says, though his cheerfulness still seems almost forced. "You make beautiful music together, the two of you. Perhaps someday, Aurelian can join you and we can be a threesome making beautiful music."
He looks around for a basic.
"Should we see if we can heat up this water? If you need someone to scrub your back, Aurelian Fache should be happy to oblige."
Primrose turns to face Aurelian Fache slowly, letting her body twist as if in slow motion. She looks over her shoulder at him and his commentary, a wide smile on her lips. She laughs softly at the jokes, too easy she thinks to herself. Looking over her other shoulder to Tettia she sees that both of them have completely gone over head and there was no way she was going to explain to her roommate what was
"Well hello Aurelian Fache, we were beginning to wonder if you were filling those buckets of your own tears for the time it had taken you. Still, I couldn't be happier to see a gentlemen with such gifts as yourself coming to my rescue."
You make music? I would love to hear it sometime?" She leans in and whispers [smaller]"But three's a crowd." with a wink.
Standing back up and looking around the room as if searching for something, she says "I am incredibly partial to the sound of music. So much so that I've spent considerable time using it to improve morale on the heat of battle. Perhaps someday soon I could inspire you on the battlefield someday soon? I bet you are extremely talented with your blade?"
Moving back to the buckets of water she asks, "Indeed, the water must be heated. I have already had a less than hot bath today and I am clamoring for the scorching waters on my skin this time around."
"Oh!" she adds as if she had almost forgot. "Could you be my hero and retrieve my large chest and bring it here? There are several items in there I need. Like my soap. One simply must bathe with soap."
Happy for something to occupy her, Tettia immediately sets to starting a fire and heating the water.
"She doesn't need someone to ..." she begins in response to Aurelian's offer, but then looks hesitantly at the bard. She shakes her head and returns to her self-appointed task.
The picture of concentration, she continues to listen as the swashbuckler and her new roommate converse.
As Aurelian assuredly heads off to retrieve her chest, Prim turns back to Tettia and laughs. "Scrub my back. Can you believe that one? Does he ever stop?"
Shaking her head, she asks "Do you need some help heating that up?"
Assuming not, she lays down on the bed and kicks her legs up and brings her feet close to her bottom so that her knees are in the air. Folding her hands under her head she looks up at the ceiling at nothing in particular. She lets the jokes, songs and play of earlier fade away as the arcanist prepares the bath. In her head she pictures her brother laughing, stealing her bread and running through the street laughing loudly as he taunted her.
After a few minutes of zoning out, completely oblivious of whatever Tettia had been saying she speaks up cutting Tettia off "Tell me Tettia Tuditanus, You haven't found bodies the bodies of any of the first group of colonists, right? They are missing, not dead? Josef is still out there? We're going to find them? Him?"
Tettia frowns. She pours the last of the heated water into the small tub.
"No we haven't found their bodies, but ... I mean it's possible that something is keeping them as slaves somewhere, but ..." she shrugs. "I mean we'll keep looking. We haven't covered the entire island yet, so they could be somewhere we haven't yet searched."
She looks down at the small tub. "It's not something you can soak in, but it's better than a sponge bath."
She picks up the large book from her bag and steps to the door. "I'm sure Aurelian will be back any moment with your trunk. I'll give you some privacy so you can go first."
Prim has either forgotten about the bath or no longer seems to have an interest in it. ”No bodies? That’s great news, right? That’s encouraging? That mean there is a chance? He’s still alive then. Josef wouldn’t die, he’s too stubborn. I’m sure he’s engineering an escape right now for all of them. In fact, they are probably already on their way back here. They’ll be back in a few days time.”
”I think you’ll like Josef, he’s a bastard, but his heart is pure. I remember when we were kids he always looked out for me and made sure I had food and his protection wherever we went. This one time? He jumped in the street and stopped a carriage from running over me when I was just a little girl, running cluelessly through the cobblestone streets on the way to some formal event. Father never forgave him.“
She looks over at Tettia and sees she’s about to leave. ”Don’t leave me yet. Please? Talk to me. Tell me about Toddy. Is she your girlfriend?”
Tettia looks back at the water as Prim continues on about her brother. She understands that, statistically, the chances of finding Josef alive were almost non-existant. But she can't bring herself to point that out.
When she asks about Toddy, Tettia snorts with laughter, putting her hand over her mouth as she tries to stifle the rude sound. "No, she's my sister. Her name is Taldara, but she's always been Toddy to me." Her eyes grow more somber. "She calls me Teddy. We're twins. In fact this is the longest I've ever gone without seeing her. I know she's ok, but I do miss her. I know that I'll see her again, though. Someday."
She shrugs her shoulders. "I've never had a boyfriend. Toddy's engaged ... actually, what's the date?" She picks up a notebook out of her bag to check her last entry. "Oh," she says in a small voice. "Their wedding would have been two days ago. She's married now."
Tettia moves over to sit on the edge of the bed near Primrose and closes the notebook and puts it in her lap.
"Were you still going to take a bath?" she asks in a soft voice.
"You make music? I would love to hear it sometime?" She leans in and whispers "But three's a crowd." with a wink.
Despite the joking entendre that would normally delight the Aldoran master swordsman, his face falls at Prim's whispered comment, and tears fill his eyes.
"No, you are wrong. Aurelian Fache had two people he loved very much and there was no crowding there," he says sadly. "They are gone now, but it is much too soon to joke about."
He wipes his eyes and gives another bow.
"If you will forgive Aurelian, lovely Tettia, beautiful Primrose, he must take some time for himself. Perhaps he can pick up these sentiments at a later date, but now is a time for mourning."
He leaves, returning to Tobias and Marguerite's home to restore it to its previous condition, from before their fight. Once that's finished, he searches their cabinets for a strong drink.
"No, you are wrong. Aurelian Fache had two people he loved very much and there was no crowding there," he says sadly. "They are gone now, but it is much too soon to joke about."
"Oh. You lost people too. I'm sorry to here that. Don't worry, we'll find them. I'm sure Josef's with them. Well fine them and bring them all back." Good segue to get Prim thinking about Josef again!
Primrose looks sidelong at the hot water steaming in the bath. She knows she needs a bath, but the desire has all but completely left here. Feeling lethargic, she doesn't want to do anything at all.
When Tettia asks if she's going to take a bath, she shakes her head no silently. Trying to keep her words from being blatantly morose, she tries to small at Tettia. "No. I'm. No. Go ahead. Why don't you use it? You're still quite dirty from earlier, right? I'm just going to... lay here for awhile. I think? "
She turns away from Tettia, facing the wall and moves her arms to hug herself similar to what she was doing earlier when she fell in the courtyard area. She pulls her legs into her chest, moving her arms around them to and pulls herself into a fetal position.
"Um ... ok?" Tettia says as she looks from the bed to the tub. "Uh ... you won't ... won't look, ok?" she asks hesitantly.
She reaches into her pouch and after pulling Wallace free, drops him into the tub where he begins swimming around. Then, glancing over her shoulder repeatedly, she removes her blouse and then her skirt-pants, noting a tear at the bottom. "I'll have to fix those later," she says to herself. Her smallclothes follow and she gingerly steps into the warm water.
"It's not that hot," the girl says with a roll of her eyes. "You're not staying in it very long anyway. You know you don't like the soap."
She settles herself down into the small tub, just enjoying the heat. After a moment of simple relaxation, she lifts Wallace back out and drops him on the floor where he sits waiting for his Mistress. With the soap and some cloths from her own bag, Tettia quickly goes about the task at hand. She continually casts a nervous eye toward the bed to make sure she's not being spied upon.
A quick rinse follows, along with a spell for her hair. She steps out of the tub and after more magic over her clothes, she dons them again.
In spite of the large bed, she then pulls out a bedroll from her bag and spreads it out on the floor next to the bed. It doesn't take her long to get comfortable as she pulls the toad in as someone else would a teddy bear. "Goodnight, Wallace. Goodnight, Primrose," she says quietly.
"I won't look, I promise." she says in a small whisper that rings of thoughts focused elsewhere. True to her word, not only does she not peak, she doesn't move from her position on the bed even once. She lays there nearly motionless, fixated on something beyond the wall that she stares at.
While Tettia bathes, Primrose's mind is flooded with thoughts of Josef. From their childhood days together up through the time they split to take their respective paths to further their careers and make names for themselves. While Primrose set of for the Academy, Josef enlist with the Pathfinder Society and undertook numerous adventures of exploration.
"Goodnight Tettia Tuditanus. Goodnight Prince Wallace. "
Primrose doesn't particularly note that Tettia makes a bed of the floor next to the bed. While she responds to the words the arcanist speaks, she's not actually processing them. Had she been doing that, she would have given up the bed and taken the floor. Or at the minimum insisted she go get the silk sheets from her trunk. Instead, she loses herself in grief and tries to convince herself that her brother still lives.
"When we got here, Talmandor's Bounty was empty. Everyone had been killed or driven off.
Prim's considers herself strong-willed, but one can only take so much before they relent. Her will breaks and her chest starts heaving as tears begin to stream down her cheeks again. She sobs on and off through the night, unable to find sleep. After all of the terrible days on the supply ship waiting to get here, she just wants to leave again immediately and go home. First mother, now Josef.
I'm all alone now.
At hearing the woman's first sobs, Tettia debates for only an instant before climbing out of the bedroll and onto the bed to pull the woman into her arms.
Sometimes people just need someone to hold them, she tells herself as she rocks Prim gently back and forth.
Primrose doesn't react to Tettia comforting her at first. Eventually she pulls Tettia's hand into her chest and holds it with both hands. Eventually she runs out of tears and her emotions give way to fatigue and she passes out into the awaiting darkness, but she never let's go of Tettia's hand until she falls asleep.
Her dreams are a mixed lot of people with change faces dragging her brother off to be killed, beaches with frogs that change into princes and fancy swordsmen who talk in the third person.
In the morning, Aurelian gets up with his head pounding. He heads out in the morning to do his usual exercises in the water, but there's an edge to it, his sword flashing and stabbing with far more violence than the usual grace he displays. He spends hours -- not stopping as the sun rises his in the sky -- slaying invisible foes in the surf until he finally emerges, body limp with exhaustion.
Walking back up the beach, Aurelian notices Tettia sitting on an empty box, watching him. Her expression is unusually somber as she sits with Wallace in her lap.
"They have to be out there," she says as he gets closer. "They have to be. Tobias, Marguerite, ... Josaf, ... all of them. And we have to find them."
She looks at the swashbuckler as if seeing him for the first time.
"Tell me we can find them, Aurelian."
Primrose doesn't rise early the next day and when Tettia leaves, she just pulls the blankets up higher over her head. She was hoping this was all a bad dream and if she could stay in bed long enough maybe wouldn't have to deal with it. Unfortunately however, her bladder did not agree with this idea. With a huff and a puff she kicks off her sheet and slides out of bed in search of a proper area to relieve herself.
She moves behind the building in a place she hopes that is out of sight and does the deed before heading back out into "town" in search of food. Stumbling across Sarine, she jogs to catch up with her. "Hey, Sarine. I owe you an apology yesterday for my outburst I believe. It was a long day and I was a little out of my element. I'm sorry if I offended you."
Aurelian looks up mutely at Tettia, tears filling his eyes.
"Aurelian Fache does not think so," he says sadly. "But he will find whatever is behind this and make him pay. He should have killed Aurelian Fache while he could. You must make sure to stay clear, for he doesn't wish for anyone else to get hurt in this."
Sarine wakes up early the next morning, unable to get a proper night's rest. While she doesn't stray far from the village, she begins scouting around the perimeter, hoping to find some tracks that might help them to find the villagers that disappeared. Although a human, Sarine has low-light vision from a draconic racial trait.
She's heading back inside when Primrose catches up to her, and Sarine greets her with a hug. "Don't even think about it. We all had a hard night."
Nodding, Primrose falls in line and starts to walk with Sarine. "It sounds like things are very bad. What can I do around here to help you out? To help everyone out? I'm afraid my ability to engage with blades is not my specialty, but I promise I won't slow you down."
Looking around in the dark area, she frowns. "How can you see anything in here. Here, let me help." she says before casting light on something nearby to illuminate the area.
"I know it's partly that you want to find your brother, but the fact that you're even considering joining our search party more than qualifies you to come. That takes a lot of bravery, especially if you aren't good with a blade. I can't speak for everyone and we don't even have a leader around here at the moment, but you are more than welcome to join us if I have anything to say about it."
Primrose's spell doesn't actually help Sarine see any better in the near darkness of the morning, but she smiles anyway. As she does, her familiar catches her eye at the edge of the light. "You haven't met Narue yet, I think."
She bends down to pet the small cat as it approaches. "Narue, this is Primrose. Primrose, Narue is my familiar...or something like it I guess. I met him a long time ago...I suppose that if you are going to travel with us I might as well explain the whole thing. I was on board a privateer vessel while my father did business with its captain and I touched...some sort of relic that looked like a cat down in the hold. When I did, I saw some sort of vision of a great white dragon. When I came to, the relic was broken and Narue was with me."
She stops her story briefly as though she was interrupted and looks at the cat directly, "Yes, in spite of my best efforts to get rid of you."
"Anyway, it seems that some of that relic's power stayed with me. It was some time after that I noticed that I was stronger than I expected. I can manage to cast spells a little bit. We came out here to see if we could make some kind of sense of what happened to me back then but so far...nothing. That's me I guess."
It's been a week. Sorry for a retconned in response to things from ages ago:
Jenner opens his mouth and then shuts it at Tettia's logic regarding the odds that this Primrose is a shapeshifter... He seems to be groping for a counter-argument, then finally just runs a hand still smeared with blood over his face and nods, oh-so-wearily, before turning back to the attempts to assess the damage to the community.
It's hours later before he seeks out Primrose, and at least in that time he has washed and changed. He knocks at the house where various passers-by have said they saw the new woman going, and, if and when she answers, clears his throat and gives the human a somewhat subdued nod.
"Thought we might try starting over, if'n yeh don't mind. It's been... a hell of a few days. Dunno how much you've been told. But we're all in mourning, a bit, and new faces showing up, well.... can't say I was in too trusting a mood, but, 'tis not your fault, Miss Lethanna."
Jenner offers a callused palm in a weary way. "The name's Jenner, though I've been known to answer to Holystone. I patch folks up, or cut 'em open if they seem the bad sort. Yeh've come at a hell of a time but we'll do our best to make yeh feel at home. I wish I could give you news of this brother of yours-- we can check the logs, such as we have, of the first colony's work, but I'll admit, I cannae say I've seen any hint of that name so far."
Jenner watches Aurelian briefly when the other man is punishing himself with grueling battle training, but does not approach the other man. Everyone grieves in their own way.
He spends his time in the forge, beating metal until it warps and is useless and must be cast back into the furances, until sweat rolls down him til he's slick with it and can barely see for the sting.
Primrose walks along with Sarine, listening to her talk about various subjects. "I came to tell my brother news of our mother's passing. I knew this journey would be somber, but this is not the greeting I had anticipated upon my arrival. I was led to believe the colony was flourishing and I would be joining a thriving community. It would seem I received some bad information."
Looking back over at the now empty dock, she adds "Besides, it's not like I can go anywhere else even if I wanted."
Turning back to Sarine, she adds "I'm here, so I'm going to help anyway I can. Whatever it is you need done, you can count on me to be there to assist. While I may now be in the front lines, I have a few tricks up my sleeve and I'm not afraid of getting down and dirty." As long as there is a bath afterwards at some point. she keeps to herself.
When Narue approaches, Primrose bends down to pet him. Stroking his head and neck, she remarks "Well hello Narue, it's a pleasure to meet you. Aren't you just a handsome thing? I love your coloring." She scratches behind his ears and leans in to whisper "I had a kitty back at home and I miss her terribly so. Any night you want some extra warmth you are welcome to come cuddle in my lap. Open invitation, okay?"
Standing back up, she looks to Sarine and offers "I've been classicly trained in Oppara at a really fancy school. I'm not telling you this to impress you, I want to try and convey that I've received some formalized training on a broad spectrum of topics and areas, a few of which were leadership. I'm not suggesting nor requesting any position of or responsibilities in that area, but I wonder if anyone has tried to organize the survivors and begin working on the handling the Great Hall issue along with others? Inventory and distribute the new supplies from yesterday? There are probably a dozen things to be done and if everyone is shocked and out of there element today, perhaps I can lend a hand in organizing whilst you all recover?"
"It's entirely possible all of this is already being doing, so please do not think me pushy. I want to help where I can and I'm still trying to get caught up."
While Primrose and Tettia are cleaning their new living space, there's a knock at the door. Prim opens it to find the brusk dwarf from earlier standing there. When he gives his nod and starts to talk she smiles in response "Just one moment." Turning over her shoulder she says "I'm going to talk to Mr Jenner, I'll be right back. I'll finish that corner when I get back."
Taking a break from her cleaning duties, she steps outside and closes the door. "Then start over we shall." She extends her hand to him in a formal handshake, not a 'you may kiss thy holy hand' fashion. "Well met Jenner, Primrose Lethanna at your service. Forgive me if I skip the song and dance routine this time around, I usually prefer to work those in larger crowds."
When he offers to help find information on her brother, she nods "Though the news saddens me that you have not heard of Josef, I assure you he was here. Your offer is accepted, good dwarf. I know you have a lot on your plate out here right now, the timing of my arriving has left a lot to be desired. Regardless, I am not just another mouth to feed. Put me to work wherever help is needed. I will swing the hammer, assist in rebuilding, tend the wounded, entertain the masses, offer magical assistance, or lend a shoulder to grieve if appropriate. My repertoire is knowledge and skills are wide and diverse and I offer them to your group wholly, without reservation."
Before he can put her to work she holds up a hand "Starting tomorrow that is. Today I need a bath and a long sleep in a bed that is not on the sea. My stomach has been in knots for weeks and I cannot stress enough how relieved I am to be back on land."
Jenner shakes the woman's fairly-offered hand with a small nod, then hooks his hands into his belt. "You speak well, Miss Lethanna. Any who are willing to work, and who are not cowed by the dangers so far, are worth their weight in gold, here. Keepin' spirits up with the loss of so many of us recently-- and the knowledge that monsters wore their faces and fooled us-- is perhaps one of the most important things you could be doin'. It seems yeh'd be good at that."
He offers a brittle, tired smile. "Aye. There's tomorrow. Take your bath. Me, I'll be in the forge. And have some of the wild onion soup if they've got some brewing in the square-- it's good for the belly."
When his talk with Primrose is concluded, Jenner makes a weary way back to the forge. He hopes Primrose can find a good night's rest, but he doubts sleep will come to him anytime soon.
So occupied with his own sorrows is the dwarf, he fails to notice a pair of eyes watching from the treeline.
Those same eyes, the color of the blue-green sea, observe the house where Primrose and Tettia are dwelling, and watch Narue and Sarine, and the master sworsdman punishing himself with his drilling...
When Aurelian stumbles from the surf, there is a figure perched on some of the rocks by the water, watching him. The settlement is not so large that Aurelian doesn't know every face in it (some faces so much better than others); he can say with some confidence this is as new a face as Primrose's.
The figure is slim and wiry, with straw-colored hair that speaks to years of exposure to the sun, pulled back into a simple knot. The face that meets Aurelian's eyes seems like it could not be much older than sixteen or so, unlined as it is, but the pair of blue-green eyes that watch Aurelian seem older than that.
"Will working yourself to a collapse help?" the newcomer asks Aurelian, curiously, head cocked like a bird's.
"Aurelian Fache is nowhere near collapsing," the swordsman replies suspiciously. "He certainly can handle anything that tries to threaten this community. If that's you, he recommends you flee now!"
He lifts his blade in a guard position.
"Why would I want to do that?" the youth (?) asks, with a small moue of unhappiness at Aurelian's raising of his blade. The figure pulls sun-tanned and scabbed knees, visible beneath a pair of tattered sailor's half-breeches, to their chest and wraps wiry arms around them. The pointed chin rests on the knees, and the eyes continue to watch Aurelian.
"There's a lot of you and just one of me. I think it'd be stupid to try and hurt anyone here. But it's not like I have any reason to, anyway. I don't like hurting people." An uncomfortable fidget on the rock.
"I... I like to help when I can, except when people take too much. I wasn't going to talk to any of you, I was just going to go off into all the places none of you have seen yet and just not bother anyone and live without anyone asking for anything. But..."
The figure toys with a bracelet made of leather and little shells and feathers. "But you looked very sad. You and the dwarf. And if you work yourself so hard you're going to be too tired to help your friends if you need to. --Are you trying to punish yourself? It doesn't really work. It doesn't bring them back. I'm sorry."
The babble is unselfconscious, delivered in a soft and quiet voice. Abruptly the figure stops rambling, blinking again at Aurelian. "I'm Zay. You can see I'm not armed."
(Indeed, no possessions seem evident save for Zay's somewhat worn clothing and little adornments of string and twigs and bone and shells.)