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Random Intermission story

Posted by Anke 
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 05:20PM
Sebastian stopped doodling once Nico was gone, smirking after her receding figure as he heard the question. "Oh. It's a person, usually older and married, who looks after unmarried young men or women so they don't run off and do something scandalous in the middle of the night between the sheets..." He readied himself for either a soft punch or amusement.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 05:31PM
Sylvie looked at him, one eyebrow raised. "Huh."

The welcome and apologies from the proprietor interrupted the conversation. On his recommendation they ordered some of the young wine - the season for it was short, after all.

When he had left, Sylvie picked up the thread again, "And their partner doesn't mind?"
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 05:34PM
"Well, yes. It's a social construct of some sort, to keep the young ones chaste and proper until the actual marriage. I would suppose their partner would mind," he said, looking at her curiously. "Don't need to guess how I'd feel about that."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 05:38PM
"Ah, right. I misunderstood."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 05:40PM
"Oh, don't worry. I was just bantering with her," he said, eyeing the wine headed their way.

He tried it, then raised his eyebrows. Well, that tasted...
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 06:01PM
...refreshingly fizzy, and sweet, the fermentation not yet finished. Sylvie drank half a glass before she reminded herself that there was alcohol under the sweetness, and slowed down.

Not too much later, Nico returned, carrying two pitchers and a glass on her tray, and sat down at their table. "Break time for me. It's been a while. How're you two doing?"

"Confused?" Sylvie smiled wryly.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 06:04PM
That drew a chuckle. "Very confused, and it's a long story, but the wine's helping," Sebastian said, licking his lips as he gazed into it. Then he looked up. "You don't seem to surprised to see me."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 06:14PM
"You turning up surprisingly is hardly surprising, now, is it?" She poured herself a glass of water, but after a beat continued talking. "Anyway. I know what Eda was up to, roughly, but as for me, I've mostly been listening to and trading in gossip lately. Some interesting stories have been coming down the river from Canyet, that doesn't happen to be where you're headed from?" She wasn't talking loudly, and the closest other guests were two men engrossed in a game looking old enough to be hard of hearing, but she might as well take a little bit of care figuring out the story here.

Sylvie let the chatter settle in her mind and relaxed, looking at Sammeh for him to answer.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 06:21PM
That called for another chuckle, a tilt of the head and squinted eyes. "I turn up in the strangest of placed," Sammeh admitted quietly, crossed hands on the table. "But you're right. That's where we're coming from. I suppose you've pieced two and two together, then?" he asked, glancing at Sylvie.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 06:31PM
"Mostly I've been having fun comparing the different versions. As far as imagery goes, I think my favourite has the Fox dragging the culprits off while riding on the back of a midnight-blue demon cat." Her smile wasn't quite as wide as before.

Sylvie hid a smile behind her glass and whispered pitched for very sharp ears only, "who's doing the riding."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 06:40PM
For a moment, the half-elf was quiet -- but there was a decided twitch to his lips when he glanced at Sylvie and then back. "I'd be rather quiet about that," he said as he coughed into his gloved fist. "Ah, well, I'll be frank. That's going to be the last story for a while."

He looked around the room, at Sylvie and then at the table, upon which he was drawing patterns with the tip of his finger. "Let us just say... Eda and I intend to find greener pastures. Or kelp forests."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 06:54PM
Nico looked at 'Eda', and after a look at her glass judged that that relaxed and happy, to avoid the term 'besotted', smile was probably not due to alcohol. She turned back to Sammeh. "Well, here's to hoping it'll work... your vocation wasn't permanent, after all?"

"Nico." Sylvie spoke slowly, mildly, the last things the other woman had said clicking together in her head. "For how long have you been collecting stories about the Fox, anyway?"

"Uh." Nico looked back and forth between them. "Started a bit after that Midwinter Ball where he" - she nodded in Sammeh's direction - "played music."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 07:01PM
Sammeh hadn't bothered to get upset about the story thing. "Lacklustre as it were," he muttered, opting to keep his gaze fixed on Nico for now. In the corners of his eyes, nothing moved that would suggest trouble; no sounds suggested they were being eavesdropped. He pushed his glass forward. "To answer your question, I thought it was permanent, but no. This last time, Eda found herself a part of it. It was the last straw. I'm burned out."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 07:16PM
"Ah. Well, as--"

"And you didn't think I might be interested?" Sylvie interrupted quietly. She was smiling, but Nico felt very much stared at.

She spread her hands, and answered, voice low and contrite, "It's not like you asked. Or carved initials into trees, not that I noticed, anyway. Sorry. It's complicated."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 07:22PM
He looked between the two of them, eyebrows raised; Sammeh even had to bite his lip for a moment to stop from laughing. The feeling passed, so he cleared his throat. "You know, Eda, a lot of those stories are bunk. Also, you might remember -- I wasn't sure you were interested in me."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 07:40PM
Nico raised her eyebrows at him. She appreciated the distraction, but interest, at least in the plain meaning of the word, had been obvious to her.

"I figured snooping was rude, so I owed a favour, and not being the cause for, uh, bunk getting in the way seemed to serve." She shrugged with one shoulder.

'Eda' sighed and leaned back to look at the ceiling.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 07:57PM
Baffled, he looked from one woman to another. Finally: "Well, thank you for the gesture. I do appreciate it. But," Sammeh shrugged and tilted his head toward Eda, "I would think she's got an insider's view into just how that bunk works. That's why I said 'you know' to her."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:12PM
"Yes. By now." 'Eda's' voice was tense with irritation, but she sat up with another sigh and shook off most of the mood. She even found a half-smile. "So by now it's not important any more."

Nico emptied her glass and after hesitating briefly poured it half full with the young wine.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:17PM
Sensitive to 'Eda's' moods, Sammeh gave a relieved smile at her words once he realised she wasn't going to blow a gasket. Without asking for permission, he filled his own glass after all, waiting for Nico to say something as he watched her.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:22PM
"Got any other interesting stories?" 'Eda' prompted.

"At least two of particular interest." Her smile returned, if a bit subdued, while she considered with which to start. "I found a way to the Cross'd Roads from here that seems to work for me, and afew weeks ago there" - she turned to Sammeh - "I met your daughter, who was looking for you."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:25PM
That struck home. Sighing, he sipped the wine and considered the table for a while. "Helmine?" he asked with a wince.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:30PM
"Argilla." Nico lowered her head and leaned forward a little trying to get a better look at his face. "Wait, Helmine's your daughter, too?" She leaned back again. "Eh, I should have guessed."

Eda watched them, elbows on the table.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:31PM
The glass stopped halfway to his lips. He froze and stared into nothingness for a moment, his jugular suddenly pulsing quicker.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:39PM
Eda nudged him under the table with her leg and watched for a reaction, while Nico looked confused.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:42PM
Blink, glance, return to Nico. "Thanks," he muttered in Eodean, took a sip and lowered the glass. "Argilla... well, that... takes me years and years back." He hesitated, then lifted his hood a little. "But yes. Helmine is mine too, though I'd wager she'd rather stab me in the kidneys than give me a hug. Eda's met her."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 08:50PM
"All right, won't mention you if I run into her again. Argilla was looking for advice since she thought it odd she did not seem to be aging at all. And she wanted to show you pictures... I don't remember if it went to your or hear great-great-grandchildren." Nico spared a look for Eda.

She raised her eyebrows, but kept smiling wryly. "Years and years indeed, it sounds like."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 09:05PM
Leaning back, Sammeh sighed and rubbed his face. "Years and years," he repeated, utterly ignoring Nico's promise concerning Helmine, but not hiding -- not with Eda next to him -- that the thought of Helmine brought along conflicting emotions. He knew a word for the feeling in a few languages, but doubted either them would have known it, that strange mixture of sorrow, fear, guilt and affection.

He settled for 'wan' and left it at that, peering into his glass, arms crossed in front of his chest in a defensive gesture. "If you do see Argilla again, be sure to tell her what you know. As for us two..." Sammeh looked at Eda, pleading. He didn't want to talk for a moment.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 09:17PM
She leaned closer to him, but looked at Nico. "I'm back to looking for a way home, and he's coming with me."

The phrasing made Nico grin. "Yes, that may be the other. I heard of a guy - and, mind, a drunk guy who fell asleep outside - talking about seeing a handful of different moons in the sky in a particular place."

Sylvie squeezed Sammeh's hand and looked at Nico with parted lips, lost for words.

Nico smiled and pulled up her shoulders. "Far from a guarantee, but it's a lead."
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 09:24PM
The faint smile on Sammeh's face faded slowly, giving way to a curious and intrigued expression just as he squeezed back on her hand. He wasn't quite as lost for words, his mind working on overdrive again as he thought and considered. "No, not a guarantee, but a lead indeed," Sammeh muttered and rubbed his chin, eyes narrowed in thought. A glance at Eda later, he looked back at Nico. "Do you have a lead toward where he is, who he is or where he chanced upon the moons?"
Random Intermission story
August 22, 2012 10:04PM
"Not sure about his name, but I've been told he's from Pyer, that's a village a way down the coast. Happened somewhere near there." She looked at Eda, smile fading a little. "I hope you won't run off that way right now; I'd love to catch up, talk-wise."

She shook her head slowly. "Right now, I might fall over if I tried walking." A deep breath later she felt less like swimming through syrup. "How about you start with what details you have about what you heard?"

"There isn't that much. Some folks found it amusing that a local drunk who'd got lost near the village tried to convince people he had seen several moons in the sky. 'Blue, and red, and yellow', they imitated him." Nico shrugged. "Hallucinations, they were sure. I asked if they knew the guy, but they didn't."
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