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 i write a thing

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A labor of Love
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PostSubject: i write a thing   Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:52 pm

imma store my d&d writing here just so it doesn't get lost in fb over time

---

She finds comfort in the sounds of turning pages, the paper thin and weathered from decades of use against her fingertips. She can barely read the words in the darkness, delicately running a finger along the line of script as to not lose her spot.

Her arms ache, muscles trembling lightly from the strain of that day's work (carrying stacks of manuscripts seemed easy enough a job until the repetition began to wear her down over the course of hours). As she continues to read, she bites down on her lower lip to keep herself from grunting in pain as heat flashes through her sore limbs.

Tzila curls in on herself, gripping the cloth of her dress once she gets to a particularly interesting section of the story. Her eyes are faint white lights in the darkness in her room (if she were generous enough to call it a room and not a broom closet) while her skin blends in flawlessly with the shadows. She likes the night for this reason; her ability to hide so easy with the darkness has saved her from much pain in the past when preachers angrily searched the temple for her.

She still remembers the feeling of her heart pounding against her ribcage while she pressed herself against against the wall in terror, the human man storming by with footsteps heavy against the wooden panel floor. Tzila hurt enough from the labor as it was, thus she had no desire for another round of “punishment” for her slip-ups.

“Oh please, you're not even actually hurt.” She hears the voice repeat in her head, followed by her argument through sobs that the bruises fades easily into the blackness of her skin. Only she could feel them. “I barely even touched you.”

She hiccups as she begins to cry, holding a hand over her mouth to muffle the noise. If she woke anyone up again with her sound, she would be in a world of trouble. She tries to continue reading but her tears blur her vision and the words twist together to the point where she can no longer tell them apart.

Crying, she hugs her knees to her chest and buries her head in her arms. Her shoulders shake and her arms sting, which only upsets her further.

There are foot steps. “Child? That better not be you. What did I say about making so much racket at night?” She hears from somewhere close by. Her head snaps up in alarm, eyes wide, and she tries to swallow her tears but to no avail.

The door opens, and a large hand reaches in and snags her by the arm. Pain shoots through her torso as she's dragged outside.
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PostSubject: Re: i write a thing   Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:53 pm

“There, that'll do it. Just don't mess with it and it'll heal the rest of the way on its own.”

Her sister puffs up her cheeks in indignation, testing the bandage wrapped around her elbow by gingerly bending her arm and rubbing at it with her free hand.

May nearly squawks and slaps the girl's hand away. “What did I just say?! Don't mess with it!”

Alicia groans loudly, tilting her head back while May rolls her eyes. “Why can't you just heal it the rest of the way? I've seen you do it before!”

“That was different. It was just cartilage and not the joint itself. I'm not good enough to be that precise with my magic yet.” May begins rolling up the spare bandages and carefully stacking them together in her pack. “I'm not willing to risk causing permanent damage to fix something that should be left to heal on its own.”

“Lousy excuse,” Alicia grumbles, blowing a strand of hay-colored hair from her face. “Practice makes perfect, right?”

May laughs a little and shakes her head. “Not in this case. Just take it easy with the sword-swinging and you'll be good as new in some odd weeks.”

“Blah, fine. But if we run into any bugbears again I'm not promising anything.” Alicia stands, stretching her good arm behind her head and shifting her weight from side to side.

“That's just the attitude that got us into trouble with the bugbears to begin with.” May replies quickly, shooting a halfhearted glare at her sibling. Alicia intentionally avoids her gaze and stares off into the forest. “And got you hurt.”

“Not my fault though. They got too close.”

“I swear,” May says with a chuckle, shaking her head, “I don't know what I'm going to do with you. It's a good thing you have me to mend your little cuts and scrapes. I don't think you'd last long without me.”

Alicia snorts in laughter. “Well, it does certainly help having the best cleric around as my sister. As I'm sure it helps you having a fantastic fighter to plow through beasts and keep you safe from harm, huh?”

“Keep telling yourself that.”

Alicia laughs fully, a warm sound that fills the air. May smiles, finishing her packing and getting back to her feet. With a delicate sigh, she looks out to the horizon while her sister goes to fetch her blade from the base of a nearby tree.

Despite their plans to get as far down the road as possible before nightfall, their little bout of fighting cost them precious time. They will have to camp at the edge of the forest for the night, as much as May would rather get to town as quickly as possible.

“We gonna stay here tonight?” Alicia asks, snapping May out from her thoughts. She merely nods at the younger girl before turning her gaze back to the setting sun.

“Well, I'm gonna set up camp then. When you finish staring off into the distance at whatever, you can come help.” Alicia pads off with her sack slung over her shoulder.

“Alright.”

May blinks the spots from her eyes as the sun finally sinks down below the distant hills, and within seconds she feels the creep of the night air descend on her. It will be a cold sleep.

She turns and heads off to join her sister. Hopefully they can reach town the next day and find the right job to suit them both. Bahamut knows she's tired of the road and tired of the risks that adventuring out in the wilds possessed. A little stability would do them both a lot of good, she thinks.

At the very least, it will keep Alicia out of harm's way, and that's all May wishes for.
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PostSubject: Re: i write a thing   Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:53 pm

She finds work where she can, mostly in small temples and orphanages. Sometimes she is able to put her stature to good use, lifting heavy crates and moving furniture around for the weathered, elderly attendants of either place. She gets along well with orphaned children too, which she likes (they are innocent spirits in a frightening world, and she hopes to nurture that good inside of them where their birth parents couldn't), though they were understandably intimidated by her very presence at first. Well, all except a little dragonborn boy with dirty red scales and a slight lisp, who stared up at her in reverence and asked to hold her hand.

She cannot give them a name for herself so they decide to call her Arion, at least until she can get herself back together. There's a faint tugging in the back of her mind, as if she knows (knew?) something more about the name. Maybe it was some sort of interesting fact, trivia from history, or maybe the feeling is utter nonsense and she should simply shake it off. Either way, Arion never grows on her and her nostrils flare in indignation, though she says nothing, whenever she hears it.

She already has a name, she thinks, but it's been long lost.

She catches herself sometimes in the remaining shards of a broken mirror mounted beside her cot. It always takes her a few seconds for the familiarity to strike her (if anything, it's the amber eyes staring back that make her feel like herself again), and she feels less panicked by the bright-scaled stranger looking back at her. She doesn't know why her own reflection startles her so much.

I'm just not used to this yet, she thinks, but then quickly realizes that she doesn't know what there is to get used to.

She does her work, gets her food and clothing and roof over her head, and her assistance is generally appreciated. She finds that she has a knack at healing magic when a child badly scrapes her knee and she gently hums to the girl, soothing her tears while the skin knits back into place. She becomes a sort of small icon, then, but it never quite dawns on her as to why. She simply does what she's asked, what she's good at, and tends to people who are hurt or sick. She's hardly a priestess worth renown.

There is a group of strangers in the town, some looking to barter goods and others asking around for information. She listens to the gossip of the older folk and the way the children excitedly babble about their swords and bows. This makes her uneasy, as she doesn't particularly like violence, nor does she like the little ones playing so happily with make-believe weapons fashioned from broken twigs.

Curious, she peeks out the window of the temple one day and spots them deep in conversation with each other. Her heart races, blood rushing through her ears. Something about them is familiar, exciting. It's right within reach but she can't quite find the right--

She sees horns and the taste of blood fills her mouth, choking her. She stumbles backwards, catching her shoulder on a bookshelf and throwing off her balance entirely. She hits the floor hard on her side, and her hand is to her throat and she can't breathe because there's so much blood filling her mouth and running out through her teeth and dribbling down her chin--

Reality slams back into her and she breathes again, entire body shaking and tears streaming down her face. There is no blood, and she is lying on the floor in her home, completely safe. She is safe.

She refuses to look back outside as she slowly picks herself up, wincing when pain shoots through her hip, and hobbles to the deepest corner of the house. She finds a spot where light won't reach through the cracks in the walls and curls in on herself on the floor, head buried in her arms. Her shoulders heave with sobs, the sound of her muffled crying carrying across the room. She is scared, more scared than she ever remembered being. Even more scared than she was when she first woke up, confused and at the mercy of the villagers who found her lying unconscious on the edge of town. More scared than when she admitted she didn't know why she was there, or who she was.

The fear keeps her inside the house for the following week. One of the priests comes and asks for her, requesting her advice on a wound one of the adventurer's sustained. She refuses, and when he begins to insist she snarls at him, a deeply draconic sound, and he does not say a single word after.

She only returns outside once she is told in-person by another that they have left, disappointed at the lack of help the town provided. It takes her another few days to regain the momentum in her work, but eventually she is back to business as usual and without another incident to speak of.

Sometimes she watches the children play swords and has a moment of flickering panic, deep inside her chest. One morning they are at it again, pretending to stab and slice at each other with sticks, and she feels nauseous and goes to excuse herself (apologizing profusely to the old caretaker, who couldn't keep an eye on every rambunctious child while they played).

She is ducking below the door frame into the building the when one of the boys cries “No fair! You cut my throat!” and static fills her vision, the taste of blood seeping into her mouth.

She hears someone close by shouting before her world shatters entirely, and everything goes black.
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PostSubject: Re: i write a thing   Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:15 pm

Her name is Nina. Or, at least, that's what everyone calls her now. She thinks she used to have a different name, something too difficult for her to pronounce at first, but she's forgotten it and doesn't really mind. She likes Nina.

Her brother is Marshall, and she thinks he looks like a Marshall, with his messy hair hugging his cheeks and growing down to near his shoulders. She talks for him because he doesn't want to, and because he always has his thumb in his mouth. She doesn't mind that either, because she likes to talk and likes it when others listen to what she has to say.

She knows they're different from the other children, with their sprouting horns at their brow and their long tails and red skin-- but Tokul is different too (“I'm a dragonborn!” he always says proudly and with his chest puffed up as big as it will go) and he doesn't get to have a brother or sister that he can be with to not be alone. Nina holds Marshall's hand so he doesn't feel lonely and offers to also hold Tokul's hand, but he looks at her funny whenever she reaches out to him. She thinks he doesn't know how nice holding hands is, but hopes one day he'll figure it out.

The rest of the children treat them the same, and while her elderly mother sometimes does a double-take whenever they tug on her dress, she is also kind to them and never ever says anything bad to them. Nina likes her a lot, but likes her other mother a lot more (she says not to call her mother, but Nina does anyway because she loves her like she thinks she would love a mother). Her second mother is very large, like Tokul but nearly to the ceiling, and shines silver in the light of the sun. She also has a tail, not like Tokul, but like her and her brother, which makes her very happy. None of the other children have tails, so they don't know what it's like to accidentally knock over a toy from a shelf or smack someone when you turn around too quick. Her second mother laughs a very pretty laugh when Nina tells her about the time she knocked a glass clean out of her friend's hand with her tail, not out of anger, but to see if she was strong enough to.

Her second mother doesn't have a name, which confuses Nina because her older mother calls her Arion, but when she tries to call her that her second mother says quietly, very gently so Nina doesn't feel bad, to not call her that because she was still trying to remember her real name. Nina understands that since she used to have a different name, but she also likes her own new name, so she listens and doesn't call her Arion at all (she chooses “mother” as her alternative, much to the dragonborn woman's chagrin).

Whenever she or Marshall has a bad dream, their second mother will crouch by their bedside and sing softly and soothe their fright. If they feel sick, she will ease them into bed and gingerly tend to their fevers with a cold, wet cloth and give them gross-tasting medicine (Nina tolerates it a lot better than her brother, who sometimes spits it out and makes a face). She will play with them outside and allow Nina to swing from her large arms and doesn't get mad when she steps on her foot or tail. When Nina is busy, she holds Marshall's hand so he doesn't get scared and hums a small tune to calm his anxiety. Marshall loves her, and says as much in those rare occasions where him and Nina hide under a blanket on their shared bed and whisper secrets to each other, so Nina loves her even more.



“My father was a great warrior!” Tokul brags one day in front of the fireplace, while Nina draws on parchment paper and Marshall sits to her side, yawning. “He defeated all of his enemies and died a hero! I'm going to be just like him when I'm big.”

“But you're already big,” Nina says, looking at him inquisitively. The fins on Tokul's cheeks flare momentarily.

“I mean older. Bigger and older, like Arion! But bigger!”

Nina frowns and tries to imagine Tokul as bigger than her second mother, but can't possibly envision anyone bigger than her. She's the biggest person Nina can think of.

“Oh,” Nina responds simply, and Tokul wrinkles his nose.

“Well, it's a big deal for me. You'll get it when you're older.” Tokul says with certainty, turning his attention from her and back to the crackling fire. “I want to be just like my father.”

Nina thinks for a moment, and realizes that she doesn't have anyone to call a father. Her second mother explained that she used to have both a mother and a father, but they were gone and that's why she lived with the other children. She doesn't remember them, so it doesn't make her sad, but she wonders sometimes what they looked like. She wonders if she would love them as much as her mothers now.

“What's a father like?” She asks Tokul as he picks at a toe claw. “Are they like a mother?”

“Not at all! Well, maybe a little, but fathers are big and strong warriors. Mothers are like...” he trails off, making a face of concentration. “Well, mothers can be big and strong warriors too, but they also take care of you when you're sick. They sing to you and tell you stories. Fathers tell stories sometimes too, but usually they teach you how to fight and protect you from scary things. At least, that's what I think.”

No one taught me how to fight, Nina thinks, I taught myself.

Still, she wonders what it's like to have a father. To have someone to protect you from monsters and fight bad people and be there with a mother. She wonders how much happier she could be if she had both, and wonders what her second mother would think if she found a father. Did people find fathers, or did the fathers find them?

Nina yawns, feeling sleepy, and gets up onto her bare feet. She drags Marshall clumsily along to their bed, where he curls up on his side and is sound asleep within seconds. She takes a little while longer, still thinking about fathers, and what hers would be like. Would her father look like her mothers? Or would he look different from all of them?

Excited by the idea either way, Nina doesn't get much sleep that night.


It's the following day when her second mother brings a visitor to their home, and Nina is ecstatic when she sees that he looks just like her and her brother. She interrupts a conversation between her mothers and him when she careens into the room as fast as she can run, even leaving Marshall behind (who made a small noise in protest before seeing why she ran off and following after her). She stops right at his feet and talks, asks questions, says enough that makes her second mother laugh and the new arrival look confused and concerned.

They usher her to the side, pat her on the head, and continue talking while she stares up at them all with big eyes. Marshall trots along side her, thumb between his sharpened teeth, and joins his sister in her staring.

Eventually they stop, and the large person (not as large as her second mother, but still much bigger than everyone else she sees a lot) gets down low onto a knee and at their level. He greets them in a gruff voice, and Nina squeaks a little in excitement, which startles him. Again, she babbles for a while longer while her tail flicks from side to side and Marshall moves away from her to look at the man's swords (second mother doesn't look comfortable when he gets near them, but Nina doesn't mind because they're shiny).

Nina asks him if he fights monsters, which he confirms, and then asks if he'll protect them from bad people. His expression turns into something she doesn't recognize, and his tail lashes once behind him. She doesn't think it's good, so she tries to share her stories about her play fighting, and how she doesn't need a teacher because she's already very good-- just ask Marshall when the blond human boy stepped on his tail and she chased him off with a stick and was put in a corner opposite to him later--

He smiles a little and her heart soars. Maybe, just maybe this could be her father. They already look alike and he can fight, just like what Tokul said. Maybe she could ask-- maybe she could--

Before she realizes it, it's nighttime, and the tall man has to leave alongside their second mother. This makes Nina greatly upset, and she tugs hard on the fabric of the man's cloak and asks if he'll come back in the morning. She asks if he'll show her his swords (the fins on second mother's cheeks flare) and show her how to fight properly. She begs him to come back.

He puts a shaky hand on her head, and then on Marshall's head. He nods, and Nina's heart is about to burst from happiness and she doesn't catch his goodbye because she's got so many thoughts spinning around, so many possibilities and she is excited for them all beyond measure.

Her mothers look pleased, and older mother smiles through her wrinkles and gently urges them both to bed while Nina waves goodbye to the two. She throws herself into bed, rolls around a little out of excitement (bumping into Marshall repeatedly), and snuggles into the blankets as deeply as she can manage. She wants to get plenty of sleep so she can play with her new father tomorrow, and show him how good of a fighter she is.
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