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Random Intermission story

Posted by Anke 
Random Intermission story
August 22, 2012 10:10PM
Pursing his lips, Sammeh considered the morsels of information, but had to nod when Eda said she was tired. Filling his glass, he squinted at the pink liquid and hrmm'd thoughtfully before taking a sip. He looked at Eda. "So our best bet would be to find the newest village laughingstock or drunk in Pyer, then? In any case, I agree. Rest would be damned good right now."

He sniffed the air, then his sleeve. "And a damned bath."
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August 26, 2012 10:07PM
Eda rubbed her forehead, eyes closed. "And remind me you need your head examined."

Nico raised an eyebrow.
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August 26, 2012 10:10PM
Sammeh blinked and automatically tried to gauge whether or not there was something in his skull that needed to be examined. The hood fell off, of course. "I'll try to." Catching Nico's look, he said, "My skull's had a bad few years. Concussions and such."

He even smirked.
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August 26, 2012 10:27PM
Nico winced in sympathy. "I know <em>that</em> feeling. Nice hair, though."

Eda poured some more wine to distract herself from staring to check how obviously his roots were showing by now.
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August 26, 2012 10:33PM
They were, in fact, but the hood was back on fairly soon after he caught her look. Confused as he was, Sammeh still put on a genuinely amused smile. "Thanks. It's all Eda's, though, but compliments are always good." He shot a look at Eda, then back at Nico. "I'm supposing you won't be leaving anytime soon, so... maybe the two of us ought to get some sleep."
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August 27, 2012 09:38PM
"Something like that," Nico said. "If you're in a hurry, can we catch up a bit tomorrow? Or are you really in a hurry now?" She looked at Eda, who needed a few moments before she noticed.

"Ah. Yes. I'd like that." She was tempted to head out right away, but running off seemed rude. And a few hours or a day would hardly make a difference. Her thoughts were in an uproar, and she could not quite put a finger on what bothered her.

"All right, then. Mind, if bath has priority over rest..." She recommended a bath house not far away that had a good reputation and offered more than usual privacy, if you could afford it.
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August 28, 2012 10:23AM
"Thank you," Sammeh said, feeling the weight of the coins inside his clothing. Yes, he surmised, they could afford it, but as it were, he was far more concerned about the way Eda seemed to be acting. He looked at her, worriedly. "Opinion, dear?"
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August 28, 2012 02:10PM
"Sounds lovely?" She wore a puzzled frown, chasing her own thoughts.

Nico gave her a sympathetic look. "Threw you a bit off balance, did I?"

"Something like that."

"Balance is easier--"

"--with forward movement," Eda joined in, finding a smile. "Break now, talking and planning tomorrow morning?"

"Works for me. There's probably glasses waiting to be polished."
Random Intermission story
August 28, 2012 03:08PM
"Just don't polish them too much. Might blind someone," said Sammeh with a hint of a smile. He drained his glass and nodded at Eda. "Let us, then?"

Nico grinned. "Right. I'll take care of the tab here."

They parted ways after agreeing on a time and place to meet the next day.

On the way to the bath house, Sammeh grasped Eda by the elbow and softly asked: "What's wrong?"

"Nothing in particular." She pursed her lips briefly. "Just too many small... could-bes that wouldn't matter on their own. I'll be fine."

<em>Nothing in particular.</em> He'd heard that line so many times that he knew it was belittling some matter or another, especially when said in that tone and with an expression such as that. What wasn't clear to him was whether to pursue the matter or not -- it took a moment to decide what to do. As they walked on, he said: "Could-bes. All right." His tone was warm enough to convey that no matter what it was, it wasn't his business unless Eda wanted to speak of it.

Privacy, after all, was something he cherished.

She hummed and leaned against him for a moment. Most of the things she could grasp seemed like pointless little worries nothing could be done about.

After a break that to her indicated a change of topic, she said with some humour, "I hope you consider Nico a friend of yours. Seems like she deserves it."

"I do. I find her interesting. She seems... mature despite her antics," he replied, blinking. "Something about her. She really <em>does</em> seem like she's taking things in stride." He didn't say that it felt sort of familiar.

"Good." It was more reassuring than 'I have no idea what she's after' would have been.

At that point, the half-elf was getting the general idea that there was something left unsaid. Considering it for a moment, he shrugged, made up his mind and said: "I'm not going to pry."

"Eh. Just a little unreasonable grudge." She whispered turning the matter into a joke, "Imagine she'd told me of your vocation, and I'd decided to avoid you. Horrible thought."

He hadn't been expecting that, clearly; Sammeh's stride missed its beat as he stared at her in wonder before arriving to words again. "It... is."

At the same time, he really did appreciate Nico keeping her mouth shut.

Eda wrinkled her nose at him, smiling, and held on to his arm. "Maybes, might-have-beens, could-bes. They can be very annoying. You never <em>know</em>, so they just take up attention."

Sammeh laughed. "I know. We're here, though. My lovely."
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August 28, 2012 10:10PM
"...and then I don't even notice where I'm going." She laughed, too. Some of her tension melted away when she realised again that she believed him when he used pet names like that.
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August 28, 2012 10:13PM
"Well, good for you that I know where we are, then. Come on, we're almost there. Massage or a backrub?" he said, smiling as he noted the tension slightly lessening. He also tore a tiny seam and pocketed at couple of coins.
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September 05, 2012 07:57PM
Cleaning up after their time on the road, trading backscrubbing, and soaking in a hot bath had done a lot to relax Sylvie, but she still wasn't all there.

While they were settling in the room they had rented for the night, she stopped halfway through undressing, dropped herself on the edge of the bed and sagged. After a moment Sammeh sat behind her, reaching around to take her hands, and she leaned against him, grateful for his support.

"Exhausted?" he asked softly. He started tracing her fingers, slowly and with a light touch.

"Mhm." She felt spent, but exertion seemed the smallest part of the reason. "Too many news in one day."

Sammeh gave a sympathetic hum, and waited if she wanted to elaborate.

His solid warmth in her back, and his fingers drawing circles on her palm ever-so-gently let her relax. She breathed deeply, slowly, wondering if she would cry with relief at having found someone she could trust and rely on. Rest would do her good. And a night in clean sheets, just after a hot bath, was a rare treat indeed. But she needed to say something.

She turned over Sammeh's left hand and traced its lines, and the scar across his palm. "I love you, you know. I'm not sure I mention it often enough."

"Some things can be said very clearly without words, my love." He pulled her closer with his right arm around her waist. "I don't know what--"

He drew in a breath when Sylvie, having lifted his other hand, kissed his palm. A satisfied smile crinkled her eyes, and she leaned back her head over his shoulder.

A chuckle underlying his voice, he asked, "Does that mean you aren't all that tired?"

His jaw rubbed against her cheek. He had just shaved, too. "That would seem like a waste."

Turning in early had its perks.
Random Intermission story
September 05, 2012 09:59PM
For once, it was she who woke up first, to a slight shift in his position. Sammeh's dreams had, in her experience, always been slightly unrestful unless he was utterly exhausted. As it were, this time it seemed to be that he was both exhausted and dreaming of something that did not make his sleep all that restful.

Sylvie watched, head still fuzzy from sleep. She examined the scars that Sammeh had revealed by discarding his blanket from the bed altogether in his sleep. She rubbed her neck and considered.

Her decision done, she took her warm body and her own blanket to wrap around him and herself -- and considered some more. By the looks of it, it was still early in the morning, but Sylvie couldn't remember the dream she woke up from. But there was silver there, and the sounds of seagulls, that much she was sure of.

Whilst she thought of the reasons why she was there, their bodies close for warmth, he finally woke up. It was a quick awakening, because she could feel his muscles tense and his head move minutely -- and then he relaxed again.

"Hello," Sammeh said quietly, voice still full of sleep.

"Hello," Sylvie returned, rubbing her chin against his shoulder, her arm low on his stomach. It seemed to suit him fine, at least. He stretched and pushed his body back at hers, humming his content.

For a while, there was silence.

"Should I count to three hundred again?" he finally asked, having listened to her breathing slowly. The cadence was already in his head.

Sylvie chuckled at that. "No. Rest is good."

A moment again.

"Well, I'm waking up at least," Sammeh said, twisting his neck enough to make a few popping noises, then stretching like a lazy cat.


He chuckled, turned his head and stared her in the eyes lazily. There was a smile on his face, and it was -- she had to trust the fact that he knew it was futile to put on a show or act -- sincerely loving. He took her hand, gave her knuckles a few rubs and then guided it lower.

"Proof enough?" he asked, a slightly sleepy smile on his face, but eyes all alert for her mood.

Well, it was proof enough.
Random Intermission story
September 06, 2012 09:08PM
The meeting place Nico had suggested ("it's a bit closer to where I'm staying") was a few streets further down the slope of the hill, a crossing widened to a small plaza. She loitered by the column in its centre, mostly watching the two streets leading in from uphill, and waved enthusiastically when she spotted Sylvie - Eda, Nico reminded herself. She led them to a place nearby that offered soup with noodles and vegetables she recommended.

Sylvie was mainly happy Nico didn't seem to mind they were a little late, but the smell was promising, too. Did they use actual peppers here?
Random Intermission story
September 06, 2012 09:15PM
Sammeh gave a wave and pleasantries -- and wondered the same about the peppers once they had proper seating in at least somewhat agreeable privacy; he examined his soup, wracking his brain for all the ingredients. Some of them he couldn't identify, but he figure fish stock was involved. That was good.

Fish rather thank chicken, that was good enough for him. And the peppers... well, those he couldn't quite place. They seemed to taste different on different worlds.

Finally, he said, after all the idle chatter: "Well, I could go for a cup of tea after this, but..." he looked at Eda and considered. "I'm sure you've some questions," he said in Interworld.
Random Intermission story
September 06, 2012 09:46PM
She had been mostly quiet, enjoying the spicy soup and trying to come up with exactly that. Looking at Nico, she said, "Nothing much concrete. Which way to Pyer, and do you have any more details?"

Nico raised her shoulders and shook her head. She followed the language switch smoothly. "It was all a bit confused from smoothing in telling. Pyer is down the coast - west, that is. It could possibly have happened in a different place nearby, but the folks I heard it from had come from that direction and it had happened when they were there."

Eda nodded, eyebrows drawn down in concentration. "Are you coming along?"

"Uhm... I was wondering about that." She looked at Sammeh with a half-smile.
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September 06, 2012 09:54PM
He returned the expression and narrowed his eyes, deep in thought. He had been considering -- even anticipating -- this line of conversation. Sammeh tilted his head. "I won't say no. It's not my place to say where a free soul can go, is it? Granted, it'd be easier if someone who knew the lay of the land was there to give directions -- and that I, for one, wouldn't have to show my face too often."

He paused, winced and looked at them one by one. "I'm still pretty conspicuous," the half-elf said, thumb and index finger under his eyes. He pretended to rub the bridge of his nose, but there was a message there. He couldn't do a thing about his eyes. They had put him in trouble before.
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September 06, 2012 10:06PM
"I've never been down that way myself, but if you think I could provide a useful distraction..."

"Not tied down by your job?" Eda asked.

Nico grinned, "Eh, I paid my tab, so I'm free to go. See, there was a misunderstanding involving some broken glass and a scratched-up table - those monsters are expensive to fix - and since I had nothing more pressing to do, I didn't correct his assumption I couldn't pay cash. Did you know what was in that puzzle-box? Oh well, I'm rambling." She sighed. "There's a lot I'd like to talk about, but I don't want to talk like that gate is certainly there. Don't want to jinx it, or something."

Eda looked at Sammeh.
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September 06, 2012 10:10PM
He looked amused. "Don't worry about jinxing. I have a fair idea that the result is pretty much guaranteed." Sammeh didn't look away from Nico, but placed a hand on Eda's knee -- and then, out of curiosity, tilted his head slowly again. "No, I had no idea what was in the box. But I don't mind talk if Eda doesn't. I'm sure you've got words to say."

He left it at that, then glanced at the woman who'd more or less saved him.
Random Intermission story
September 06, 2012 10:28PM
"We made a deal," Eda added.

Nico's eyebrows shot up. If for nothing else, then for a chance to get the full story of that she'd have to tag along.

"Interesting. But before I forget"- she looked at Sammeh -"if eyes are a problem"- and back at Eda -"can you do something? I mean, I know you can give yourself cat's eyes..."

"Probably, but I don't think I could keep it up all day on somebody else. Living bodies always work back towards their natural state." The thought had crossed her mind before, but apart from not being able to picture it as practical, she doubted Sammeh would like his perception dampened.
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September 06, 2012 10:38PM
It was a bit of his naturally suspicious mind combined with the more calculating part of said mind that caught onto to something. He was, for a moment, stunned. Sammeh didn't hold it against anyone, it was just that...

The thought of having his vision impaired -- he was used to that advantage -- made his skin crawl. "I think I might get jumpy if that were to be done to me. But yes, we made a deal." He looked at Eda. "Should I put it in a nutshell?"

"Only if you'd rather keep all the details private," Nico quipped without thinking.

Sammeh smiled. "She trusts you, so I'll trust you. You'll have to use your imagination for the rest, but here is how it went..."
Random Intermission story
September 06, 2012 10:55PM
Eda shifted ever so slightly at the mention of trust.

Nico could indeed listen quietly when what was offered was that interesting. She exchanged a look, surprised and admiring, with Eda, when Sammeh described her giving the goddesses terms. When Sammeh was finished, she looked away, biting her lip, but eventually asked, "And you'd rather that story did not get out? Just to be perfectly clear."
Random Intermission story
September 06, 2012 11:09PM
Sammeh looked at Eda. He had noticed the shifting of her body, but right now he wanted her to be the one decide. In Eodean, he said to her: "Yes? No?"

"I don't care either way," she answered in Intercommon, and after a beat, "If you like carry it to a temple and see what the priests say."

That wiped the smile off Nico's face. "Ah. I do try not to cross divine beings. Would point towards not spreading the word, I guess." Or at least not in temples.

Sammeh grinned ferally. "I'd suggest you not mess with either of mine. They're really bitchy bitches."

"Thanks for the warning."

"Trust me, I'd warn anyone about them."

Nico grimaced in sympathy.

It was just honesty on Sammeh's part. He looked at both of the women and considered. "Well, yes. Please, no word. It's best I disappear."
Random Intermission story
September 06, 2012 11:36PM
"As long as you disappear with me." Eda tugged on his sleeve, smiling.

"That was my intention."


Nico watched the exchange, grinning. She loved seeing friends of hers happy. When Eda looked at her, she decided to put the other topic she'd wanted to talk about on the backburner. "So, the three of us go to find a worldgate? Pyer is a few days away, so we should have time to talk over what happens then."

Sammeh gave Nico a knowing look, examining her as he would anyone new he might meet. It was a bad habit, a good habit, but a habit anyway. He read her, came to some sort of consensus and smiled faintly, hand again on Eda's knee. "I can't see why not. We can always try to make Eda laugh." <em>And maybe you may come to understand me a little, too.</em>

"All right," Eda added. "How soon can we leave?"

"I don't need much time for packing, but I should get word out to a few folks before disappearing," Nico said, hours in mind, and looked at them.

That seemed all right with the half-elf at least, but the look Nico gave him spurred his curiosity. "All right," he said with a glance at Eda, "in that case, maybe you might suggest a meeting place and we'll get more supplies?"

"How about the old western gate? Far from the edge of the city, now, but the right direction." That agreed on, Nico gave some more detailed directions about getting around in this part of the city.
Random Intermission story
September 07, 2012 09:16PM
When they met in the early afternoon, it was Nico who arrived last, almost running to make up for it. Short or not, with the red shirt she was hard to miss; since the weather was nice she had rolled up her jacket and used the top flap of her backpack to hold it. "Sorry, lost track of time a little chatting with some of the girls and ladies I'd been sparring with lately. Shall we?"
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September 07, 2012 10:18PM
Judging by Sammeh's expression and faint smile, he wasn't all that worried. He'd enjoyed the sounds of the city while keeping an eye out as he'd sat on a balea, his satchel and a pack of supplies. Yet there was a singularly amused and curious hint to the look he gave Nico, even as he re-examined her clothes and face and stature and body language. He chuckled and stood up. "Physical sparring, and of what kind?" he said, no teasing at all in his voice.

"The kind of sparring that's supposed teach something useful in case you're attacked," she answered in good humour before adressing Eda, "You haven't been keeping up practise?"

"No." She looked down the street leading away from the gate and the old city centre, only the slightest bit contrite about the lapse.

"Aw, you should. I bet Sammeh'd be a better teacher for you than I am."

Sammeh grinned nervously and, with a look at Eda accompanied with a jerk of his head toward the gate, started walking. "I think I've given her more practise in terms of healing, when it comes to myself and... others. I won't say I'd be a better teacher."

Eda stayed at his side, and Nico caught up after a few steps, walking on Eda's other side. "A lot of my favourite tricks rely on being smaller than my opponent, and having practised with me a lot isn't that helpful when you face someone taller than yourself. Size matters sometimes."

After a careful and almost sheepish look at Eda, he gave a sigh and spoke. "Size can matter -- both ways, but there are more many of those ways in many regards."

He hesitated. "Leverage is a good tool. The unexpected, as good if not better. And knowing how to not hurt yourself when striking. Fighting a smaller opponent who knows how to use your strength and motion against yourself... well, that's a start in itself. Fighting someone bigger after that, you may just have an idea how to turn another person's reach and mass against themselves. Just not the way to cope with the fear of the mass coming at you."

"Yes, <em>that</em> is a problem," Eda said.

Sammeh looked at Eda, then at Nico.

"What?" Eda asked.

"Nico would know."

Said runt laughed. "I believe the only thing that helps is practise."

"And I'll agree," Sammeh said, thinking of all the times he'd had to crane his neck at someone bigger and bulkier. The topic was making him a little wary.

"Well, I'm not going to pick fights or ask strangers for practise. Seems more risk than it's worth." Eda had a crooked smile on her face.

The suspicion Sammeh had been trying to put out of his head remained, but he settled for reluctantly saying to Eda: "Ask me whenever you want a few pointers." He then shot a sideways look at Nico, one eyebrow raised.

Eda thanked him.

Nico briefly fell a step behind to make room for someone coming the other way. Back in position she kept quiet for a bit, in case one of the others wanted to say something.
Random Intermission story
September 08, 2012 12:06PM
Eda wondered if Sammeh was picking up an undercurrent she was missing, or why else the topic made him uncomfortable. As for herself... "I prefer getting away. And, well, you can't really train things like a kick to the outside of the knee with a partner."

Nico winced and nodded.
Random Intermission story
September 08, 2012 12:11PM
"Can't argue with getting away. Or the training," he mused, biting his lip and squinting one eye in thought, one hand's fingers clenched on his palm. "It's only preparation, though," Sammeh finally added.
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September 08, 2012 12:24PM
Curious or not, Nico shut up. She hadn't meant to drag the mood down.

"Better prepared for a disaster that doesn't happen, than not at all," Eda said.
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September 08, 2012 12:31PM
Sammeh's mouth twitched, then a not-quite-so well contained smile appeared on his face. "Oh, that's for sure," he said amusedly, tugging at his hood, feeling the wire in there. "And I <em>do</em> like to be prepared, for one."
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