Nice and peaceful, Nabias offers a great place to start your journey or stock up on supplies before heading out to brave the rest of the wilderness out there. They also have Barakka's largest hospital facility to treat all sorts of injuries you could get out there. (+2 Precision)

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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Mousen Heath » 09/11/2017 7:22 PM

Its funny, she hadn't thought too much of him when he'd walked in, but he was definitely growing on her. There was a sort of... earnestness about him, something genuine in his manner. Alessa appreciated that, it wasn't something she saw a lot. Maybe it was that more than anything else that made her blush. It was difficult to see in the half-light cast by the glittering lamps, but it was there. "Thank you, Ves, goodnight."

She gave the bar a final wipe down, and left Ves' glass in the sink at the back. She paused there, in the affected brightness of the fluorescent kitchen lights. She was being silly, she supposed. Impulsive. But, she'd picked an isolated spot out in jungle and while she didn't regret it, it had left her without many friends. She missed her home sometimes, as stifling as it had been. There was nothing wrong with seeking out contact with someone who was pleasant, if a little strange.

What would her mother have said? Alessa moved into the bar and poured herself a drink. Not only was she disappearing off into the wilderness with a strange man, she was drinking moonshine too. She could already hear the unfavourable comparisons between herself and Zari, yelled at volume- Ugh. She made a shooing motion with her hands. Not tonight.

Alessa headed up the stairs, past Ves' room and unlocked a door that lead up another flight and into the attic. Her living space was small, but surprisingly luxurious. There was a seating area with a worn, but clean chaise lounge separated off from her bedroom by an ornate screen and a door that lead through to a bathroom beyond that. Alessa sat down on the edge of her bed and allowed herself a small smile. It had been awhile since she'd last had something to look forward to.
" the bare floor crackles, book

lies torqued along its spine,

splayed. “I don’t pretend

to know anybody well: people

are like shadows to me and I

am a shadow.” Her job: years

in an empty room, to wait. "

— Muse not Muse, R. Warren


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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Kestrel » 09/14/2017 10:28 PM

The transition from asleep to awake was abrupt for him, as always. One moment he was peacefully asleep, no nightmares (and no strange dreamwalking siblings) to disturb him, and the next he was perfectly awake, eyes wide open and staring at the ceiling.

He sat up slowly, hands still clutching the blankets. Soft gray light peaked in behind a set of drapes, doing little to ease the darkness of the room. It was about an hour before sunrise, he figured. Maybe about 5am. The bird had settled down shortly before he entered Nabias--maybe about 9pm?--so he probably had a good 4-5 hours to find it before it started moving again. It should only take him an hour to reach its current location, but that was assuming the path was open and clear of obstructions (very unlikely) and nothing unexpected happened (even less likely). He'd better head out soon.

Ves got out of bed, running one hand through a tangled fringe of dirty blonde hair as he reached for his clothes. He'd probably have to check out before he left, or at least leave a note at the front desk-

He froze, one sock halfway on. Alessa.

Ves groaned, pressing one hand to his forehead. What had he been thinking last night, inviting her along? Nevermind her own responsibilities, these trips of his were no place for, well, anyone. The whole purpose of them was to prevent others from coming into contact with these otherworldly creatures. And there he'd been, just ever so slightly inebriated, charmed by a pretty smile and the ability to keep an inn clean, forcing that contact on an innocent stranger.

He quickly finished dressing, then grabbed his pack and slung it on his shoulders. It was early still. The sun wasn't even a sliver over the horizon. Surely Alessa wasn't awake yet. He'd just head downstairs, write her a polite note apologizing for everything and explaining that he had to get an early start, and be out of town before she woke. There was no need to involve her in this mess. No need to see her again.

As he slipped down the stairs, careful to muffle his footsteps, Ves couldn't help but notice the slight twinge of regret that accompanied that last thought.

[9]
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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Mousen Heath » 09/15/2017 3:05 AM

Alessa drifted in and out of sleep, her long hair spread like a dark curtain across the pillow. She was having a strange sort of half-dream where a huge bird had gotten into the inn and wanted Ves's room. She'd explained that it was already taken, but-- The steady hiss of water as it ran through the old pipes was enough to bring her to her senses. She sat bolt upright, she'd promised Ves, hadn't she? If there was water running it could only be him. She wondered for a moment if the whole thing had been a mistake, but it didn't really matter, a promise was a promise. She'd said she'd come with him.

She got ready and dressed in a hurry, shoving pins into her hair to keep the tight bun she'd put it in in place. She threw an old backpack on her bed and threw some essentials in to it, including a large machete still in its case. Alessa had lived around Nabias for almost four years now, she was under no illusions about what the jungle held.

When she headed downstairs she was wearing a pair of hiking boots, loose-fitting shorts, a tank top and a raincoat with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. She had no make-up on and her hair was tied back. She had no jewellery save for small golden studs in her ears and one on the right side of her nose.

"Ves...?" she called hesitantly. He was across the room from her by the door, and it didn't seem like he'd been waiting. It seemed like he'd been about to leave without her. Alessa felt a bit of pain flash through her at the realisation, and she was surprised by how disappointed she was. He'd been the only company, the only person to express more than a passing interest in her in months and for whatever reason, that interest had waned. Was she really that boring? No. She wouldn't give in to pity. This wasn't her fault. "Did you change your mind...?"
" the bare floor crackles, book

lies torqued along its spine,

splayed. “I don’t pretend

to know anybody well: people

are like shadows to me and I

am a shadow.” Her job: years

in an empty room, to wait. "

— Muse not Muse, R. Warren


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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Kestrel » 09/27/2017 11:07 PM

Ves had gotten all the way up to the desk by the door, note already written and ready to be delivered. But he had hesitated, just for a few minutes, while writing it, and those minutes had evidently been enough for Alessa to wake up (Was waking up this early normal for her? Had he woken her up? He hoped not.), get ready, and come down the stairs to meet him. He had frozen at the sound of her voice, a strange mix of relief and uncomfortable disappointment passing through him.

He turned now, one hand tightening around the note in his pocket. He sighed. "Hey Alessa, sorry if I woke you up. I…I had hoped I- I didn’t want to bother you." He took a step towards her. "Listen, I shouldn’t have asked you to come with me last night. It’s not really- Other people don’t need to be-" One hand was in his hair, tugging slightly. "I just…I always go alone. I shouldn’t have said all those things last night, about the bird, and my sister, and the portals…" His eyes were pleading, as he looked at her. "Listen, I’m really sorry. For waking you, for just…for everything."

His note had been a half-truth, a quick apology and a brisk explanation that he needed to get an early start to catch the bird. Perhaps he should've told her just now the same things, said he was leaving her behind because he had to leave as soon as possible. But that wasn't the real reason, and the hesitancy in her voice bothered him enough that Ves felt she deserved something closer to the truth, at the very least.

[10]
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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Mousen Heath » 09/28/2017 6:45 AM

Stupid. What a stupid woman she was. She could already hear her mother's voice, of course he was trying to leave without her, what did she expect? To be dragged away into a world where portals and size changing birds were real? Alessa felt embarrassed, naive. Was she so sick of her life that she'd allowed some ridiculous stranger to sell her this fantasy? Her face was flushed, although Ves wouldn't be able to tell.

She was angry too, less so at Ves than herself. "Didn't want to get caught, you mean," her tone was dry more than anything, sharp. Then, looking at him, his expression, she softened slightly. He looked genuinely upset with himself and while that didn't count for much, there was no point in putting him through the wringer. She felt tired. "Look, Ves, I get it. You were tipsy and wanted to impress me. For whatever reason I was bored or stupid enough to take what you said seriously, I mean, its absurd. Look, just go, do whatever business you actually have to do in the jungle, be it poaching or botany or whatever and if you happen to come back this way, you're welcome to stop by. Honestly, I could do with the money."

Alessa slung her backpack off of her shoulders, the contents clinking against each other. Once Ves was gone, she'd get changed and open for the day. No point in slacking off. "It's fine. You'd better not keep whatever urgent business you have in the jungle waiting."
" the bare floor crackles, book

lies torqued along its spine,

splayed. “I don’t pretend

to know anybody well: people

are like shadows to me and I

am a shadow.” Her job: years

in an empty room, to wait. "

— Muse not Muse, R. Warren


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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Kestrel » 12/16/2017 12:09 AM

He felt bad. Gods, he felt bad. She was angry with him--she had every right to be angry with him. But then, suddenly she wasn't, and she was...she looked resigned. As if she had expected this, expected him to break their agreement, expected him to lie to her, expected him to be sneaking out on her.

He ran a hand through his hair. He knew what he should do. He should just suck it up, give her another apology, and head out into the jungle like he had planned. Deal with his guilt, but comfort himself with the knowledge that Alessa's neat life hadn't yet been tainted with his own, that she'd go on running her inn and finding her happiness wherever it may lie. But looking at her, the slump in her shoulders.... An idea fluttered into his head.

"Alessa...I'm sorry. I didn't...I didn't mean to cause you any harm. But I don't want to drag you into anything. Look, I have something for you. Here." He set his pack down on the counter and pulled out a blue sphere, small enough for him to cup nicely in his hand. Its surface was smooth and shiny, as if it had been recently polished. There was something small etched into it, the only defect on an otherwise perfect sphere. "It's uh. It's a little useful thing. Just press on the top, here..." He tapped the mark. The ball began to glow, then expanded outwards and unfurled. Immediately, several items clattered to the floor, each of them noticeably larger than the original sphere.

Ves swore, dropping down to gather up the objects. "Sorry, sorry! I thought this one was empty! ...I have a tendency to overpack them," he said, as more items continued to fall out of it.

He didn't keep a strict organizational system, so this one held all manners of things: a few days' worth of bread (already looking a little hard and crusty) a pocketknife encased in an old wooden sheath, some nice pieces of firewood, a golden locket that had sprung open to pictures of Noelani and Evi, a small metal puzzle consisting of two lengths of metal twisted around each other, a plain change of clothes, and a pillow all lay fallen on the floor. The open hemisphere that the ball had turned into lay in the middle of it all, some more bread and miscellaneous things poking out of it.

[11]
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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Mousen Heath » 12/20/2017 7:04 PM

Alessa squared her shoulders, her brows creased, her eyes flashed. Did he really think she could be bought off? Really. She could tell he didn't mean any harm, but was this all he thought of her? To leave her with some... trinket and shut her up? There was a part of her tempted to grab the damn thing and throw it at him. Alessa exhaled slowly as he explained himself. Damn him, but mostly damn her reasonableness, damn the fact she wasn't like Zari and couldn't bring herself to spit and swear, to throw things. Goodness knows it would have made her feel better. Instead, as he spoke, the fire went out of her eyes, her tone was even. "Ves, what do you think you're playing at?"

Then, the sphere opened, her eyes went wide. "What? ...What?" It... had she seen that right? All the stuff in that sphere-- it couldn't possibly be, well, possible. Unless it'd been... compressed, no, no. It just couldn't work, and here it was, in front of her. Here it was, being offered to her, whilst Ves fussed about as though it was perfectly mundane. While she stared, her mind connected the dots. Alessa was totally taken aback, she felt for the wooden edge of the bar behind her, to ground herself, be reminded that she wasn't dreaming.

"Ves,"
she was aware her voice had taken on a strange quality, she didn't even really sound like herself. "Where did you get those spheres? They're not... that's not how physics works. Were you telling me the truth? About he bird, about the travel, about everything? Is this really what's out there? Impossible things?"

Then she was reminded of her current predicament. She came back down to earth. "You know, I've always been the sensible one in my family. I've always looked after my siblings, I've always done my duty. They go, they have fun, they have adventures. And what do I do? I sit here, and I clean the rooms, the bar, and nothing changes. No one ever stays, no one looks twice at me. I thought I was doing the right thing, I can support myself, I can be independent, but what's the use if I'm just sitting in my grave? I'm not going to beg you, Ves, but if even a quarter of the things you've told me are true and I watch you walk out of the door without ever getting a chance to see it, well." Alessa winced, she was reaching behind her, her clinging onto the bar. Her knuckles were white.
" the bare floor crackles, book

lies torqued along its spine,

splayed. “I don’t pretend

to know anybody well: people

are like shadows to me and I

am a shadow.” Her job: years

in an empty room, to wait. "

— Muse not Muse, R. Warren


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Mousen Heath
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Re: A Bird in the Hand... [Mousen & I]

Postby Kestrel » 12/26/2017 9:41 PM

Ves stopped, pillow and pile of clothes under his arm as his hand reached out towards the bread. This…hadn’t been a good idea. He realized that now. This had been an absolutely terrible idea. First she had looked furious at him, at which point it had occurred to him that perhaps foisting strange objects on her just as he was leaving maybe wasn’t the best course of action, but it had been too late, the thing was opening. And then she had questions because of course she had questions what kind of sane rational person wouldn’t, and now she…now she just looked really…dejected, he supposed.

He sighed, and dumped the things he was holding onto the edge of the sphere, at which point they were promptly sucked back into it. “Yeah, it’s…. I got it from my father. He has hundreds of them. I don’t know what world he got them from, but it’s not this one. They’re incredibly useful, as you might imagine. I think when he and mom brought them back they had were just carrying one little sphere, and nested inside were a dozen more, each which had another dozen inside of them…. You get the idea.”

He finished collecting the items off the floor and pressed against the sides of the sphere. It closed up and shrank again, and he picked it up and put it in his bag. Ves sighed, standing up to look Alessa in the eye. But he couldn’t hold her gaze, and he dropped his head to look at the floor. He felt tired. His reasons for keeping her away were growing fainter and fainter in his mind. And how could he deny her this, when her words revealed such loneliness?

“I’d really like you to come, Alessa. I know I haven’t acted like I do, but-” He took a breath. “I guess I just assumed you were happy here, so I thought you’d be better off not knowing about all of this and I thought you’d be happier if I left, but I guess…I was wrong. And I can’t have really ever known where you’d be happier. And you can probably make a better judgment than me.”

He turned to one side, one hand reaching up to rub his neck. "And I...I know I'll be happier if you come with me. So if you still want to join me..."

[12]
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