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Kingsport The smaller (population 8,000) but northernmost port of the 'Reach, Kingsport's fortunes faltered and fell in the last ten years with Zaksalam cutting off the northern trade routes, but the city is recuperating with the return of trade. The town's name is from the Vellfyre summer palace which is built nearby and serves as a seat for younger sons and a place for the court to flee in case of plague in Tal Volorro.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:58 AM   #1
(Prince) Jason Vellfyre
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Default 8.11.30 evening (camp) | Answer One Questions | Jason, Ziamara... probably safer not to join

Jason waited for the tent to be set up and for things to be settled before he sent Domingo to go find his sister. It'd taken longer than he'd have liked, and while he waited, he sat with a book in his hand, calmly reading to keep from pacing and going to find her on his own. Finally she was announced and Jason dismissed his squire, scratched his chin with his gloved hand, and then said, "I'm sorry to have pulled you away from the merriment so early," he began, his voice even which was not always a good sign. "I just needed you to answer something for me."

He didn't ask right away. Instead he crossed over to where the wine tray was, pouring himself a cup and taking a sip. "Want some? That's not the question... but... still...?" He poured her a cup anyway and carried it over to her. Another sip and then, "How old are you, Zee?"
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:07 AM   #2
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Ziamara curtside as she entered, then drew herself up to face her brother. Precisely what Jason wanted to see her about was a mystery, but she suspected he was upset about how much she'd lost in last night's betting with Kain and some of the Wolfes.

"Have you been away so long you've forgotten the difference in our ages, Jason, or just how to count?" Her arms crossed in front of her, Ziamara's eyes glittered with her own show of temper.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:17 AM   #3
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"I must have been... because you've certainly been acting a child of four," he said, realizing she wasn't going to take the drink so instead setting it down on the table... hard. "I have forgotten quite a bit it seems. Being away must have made me remember you a lot sweeter than you actually are. Or... much has changed since I've left... I can only imagine what it was... And since you're leaving it to my imagination, I should warn you... my conclusion is not at all flattering. So unless you care to enlighten me, I will happily play your game. You won't like it when I play... In fact, I would wager you'll hate it very much. But you're giving me no choice in the matter, Ziamara."
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:22 AM   #4
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"Play whatever you want, brother. Your games are not my concern, any more than mine should you." She pushed her hair away from her face and looked pointedly at the pavilion's entrance. "So, let me hear the lecture on my faults and flaws. The sooner you begin the list, the sooner I can return to the woods. Bromios calls, and I find his voice is sweeter than yours."
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:33 AM   #5
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Jason took a step back, gave her another thoughtful look, but then shook his head. "I won't waste my breath when you're obviously not listening. And why would you? You drink like you've got reason to forget... Like you've been through what they've been through," he said, gesturing with his head outside to where the noises were coming from. "I was confused... but no longer. I didn't think we parted on terrible terms... We didn't... So there's only one thing left to assume." He drew up straighter and looked her dead straight in the eye. "Return to the woods. Find Bromius... Cry to him over the fact that I'm not Rollant. Speak your disappointment that I returned instead of him. You've made it clear enough to me," he said. "I will not keep you from your childish games. I've said what I needed to say. All I needed to know was where I stood. And you've answered. Thank you," he took another sip and turned his back on her.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:50 AM   #6
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Fury flashed in Ziamara's eyes, and her cheeks paled but she held herself still. "It is me who finds you unworthy...? You have not looked at me once with aught but judgment in your eyes, Jason. I have not fought your battles, but I have lain awake and I have lived with every breath a prayer, every heartbeat a fear. I have grieved. I have wept and begged the gods... but you're right. I'm obviously not worthy of celebrating with them, any more than I am of being in your confidence."

She shook her head, but there was no good way to hide the tears that thickened her voice. "I shall pray Bromios never lets you feel what it feels like when the person you love looks at you like a stranger. Else you might be seeking him in the woods as well."
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:02 AM   #7
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"Then you haven't been looking at me enough," Jason told her, whipping back around. "That or you're imagining something else in my eyes." He strode to her and grabbed her wrist, pulling her closer, but mostly so he could loom over her. "It's not about worthiness. You're not celebrating with them, you're embarassing yourself. What am I supposed to do? Sit back and pretend to not notice you throwing yourself in the lap of every man here? Every man you've more kindness and consideration than your own brother? When you admit to rather being with them...? Your fear and your tears were nothing compared to what I endured, and for you to treat me like this when I bled and burned and pulled myself through just to see you and Val again...? Damn right I'm judging you for that. Would you do any different?"

He let go of her hand because he wanted to punch something. Damn it... those fucking tears. "You're a fucking idiot if you don't know how much I love you. Or how much it hurts to think your heart has turned against me. Your anger is your right to feel, but to turn it to coldness... to ignore me and treat ME like the stranger when I all but asked you to tell me why you were upset...? You brought us here, Zee. Not me."
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:15 AM   #8
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"Liar." She hated the way the world warmed when he stood closer, hated the way his words reached into her chest and twisted. "I have never been cold to you- I wish to all the hells I could be." Ziamara's voice broke and she put her hand over her lips to keep some amount of composure.

"What do you want of me, Jason...? To tell you I love you? To beg you to hold me tight and swear you won't leave me again...?"
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:19 AM   #9
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"You have been," he said, but then her voice broke and the last of the heat was stolen away.

And in an instant his arms were around her, dragging her against him, holding her in a way that was probably crushing the air out of her but in that moment he didn't care. "Yes... Yes... Is that too much to ask?" he said, his voice barely composed itself. "To look at me. To not avoid me or my eyes. I prayed so long and so much to see you... So yes. I just wanted to hear you say you love me. I wanted you to ask me to be right here... Is that so wrong?"
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:37 AM   #10
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He was so much taller than he had been- broader, leaner, harder... and stronger. His grip drove the breath out of her, but she wasn't sure she could remember how to breathe even if he let go. At least this way he was keeping her upright. Ziamara's arms wrapped around his waist and she held him tight as she could as the sob finally broke out of her, and her tears slid down her cheeks and wet his tunic.

"Please don't leave," she begged in a broken, whispered gasp. "Please." The wretched, terrifying feeling of safety- the way it felt being close to him, knowing that at least here, right now... no one would harm them. And knowing that it wasn't going to last. Ziamara's voice caught and she sobbed again. "Jason... don't let go. I-I can't... lose you again. Please... you broke my heart already. I cannot bear it again."
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:44 AM   #11
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His heart was breaking, too. He wished he knew a way to comfort her better than this. "I'm right here," he whispered, his hand going to her hair. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm not letting go until you ask it of me. You won't lose me, Zee. You never will." He lifted his left hand to his lips so he could pull the glove off with his teeth, and he reached between them to wipe her cheeks, trying to brush away what tears he could. "I'm sorry, Zee. I never meant to break your heart."
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:56 AM   #12
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She put her hand over his, feeling the raised scars but not caring. It was still his hand, and still warm and real- not a ghost, not a dream, and so she clung to that as she clung to him. The fear showed in her eyes as she looked up to meet his gaze, but she managed a faint twist of the lips that was meant to be a smile.

"I love you, Jason," she whispered. "I could not have borne it if you did not return..." Her eyes lowered and she put her head against his chest. "I am sorry I am not stronger, brother. I'm sorry... you are not coming home to a perfect world. I know... you do not enjoy returning."
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:00 AM   #13
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"You are wrong. I am glad to be back. With you. With Valencia. With our kin. Hells, I'm even excited to see father," he said with a bit of a snort. "It... was hard leaving," he admitted. "I'm not sure I left it entirely... but... I would rather be nowhere else than right here in this moment. I have missed you so much. Not a day went by that I didn't think of coming back. You are strong, sweetling. You don't need to be stronger. You are you and that's all that matters to me."
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:06 AM   #14
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"I thank the gods you are here..." She wrapped her fingers around his hand and pulled it against her lips, inhaled... and sighed. The scars... she could see them in the dim light though not well- feeling them was certainly more revealing. "Is this why you insist on gloves now?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper. She pressed her cheek against his palm.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:17 AM   #15
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He looked down at his hand, seeing the lines across his fingers. "This hand is not so bad," he told her. "The other...? Yes. The glove is better left on." His voice was soft, barely loud enough to be heard between them. He teetered on the edge of telling her the full extent of his trepidation. "I made a mark for every day I was in there... At first, anyway. Fifteen total... but I stopped counting... The days started blurring together anyway. And I think I might have missed one or two days when I had the fever. I don't remember it all very clearly..."
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:22 AM   #16
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She drew back enough to look up at him, and lifted her hand to touch his cheek. "Let me see it?" she asked, a quiet entreaty but one still deeply meant. "I do not wish you to need gloves to touch me, Jason." Her hand reached then for his other arm, but she didn't try to touch his wrist, just kept her gaze on his.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:31 AM   #17
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He hesitated at first, but then he drew his hand in front of him, slowly pulling the glove off and setting it on the table. The bright, red mark was the first thing his eyes were drawn to. The ugly mark was evidence of where his skin had been seared away, the accidental touch enough to mar him so badly. "I was trying to knock it away... The iron they were using on my back... My hands were free and so... I hit it. The pain was such I couldn't think straight, so... this is a scar for stupidity, I guess. Should have just let him keep burning my back... It's easier to hide and it was a mess by then anyway."
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:46 AM   #18
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"You do not need to hide it." Her fingertips trailed lightly over his wrist. "Unless... it hurts still?" she asked, with a concerned glance up at him. The near-darkness of the tent cast his face in shadows as they stood like this but she kept her other arm wrapped loose around his waist. "You cannot call it stupidity to try to fight off the pain, my love. At least it was pain in a different spot. Sometimes that is all the difference you can make."
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:49 AM   #19
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"Phantom pains..." he said. "Not from you, at least. But from others? Yes... Can you imagine the look on my mother's face? Or father's, even?" His fingers twitched and he grimaced. "After a while, the pain was reassuring. It was when it started going away that I was worried. But... it doesn't matter... I'm here now. It's over."
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:52 AM   #20
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"It does matter. To me..." She paused and kissed the back of his hand, then giggled, looking up at him over the scarred skin and foot of height difference. "Can I admit, however, that your mother seeing you less than perfect for at least half a moment might be worth it...?" As quick as it had come the amusement vanished. "In any case, father's got a wealth of his own scars. I don't see how he could complain about yours."
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:56 AM   #21
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"Well... My back hardly looks like a back... I've seen father's scars... They're not like mine," he said firmly. "But... you've a point about Charlotte..."
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:02 AM   #22
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"You are always too hard on yourself. And your poor body too." Ziamara sighed, but she lifted up on her toes to kiss his jaw- once she might at least have reached his cheek without jumping, but that was lost now. She settled for hugging him again. "I still love your hands, even if you insist on hiding them. They are yours... How could you think I would shrink from seeing you, in any state, Jason?"
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:07 AM   #23
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"Such a trait runs in the family," he told her. His arms went around hers and he bent to kiss the top of her head. "I have filled my head with so many fears about returning home. Most of them having to do with father but... the rest... I know I am different. We all are different. I was afraid... it would be different between us, too. And so when you pulled away... I overreacted. I thought I had lost what we had before I left, and it frightened me."
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:19 AM   #24
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She smiled, if a little sadly, reaching up to straighten his hair for once in place of disheveling it- even if she still thought he looked better with it in a mess. "It frightened me too. I thought... perhaps you had decided to be the Crown Prince for true at last," she said, using an old inflection of her step-mother's on his title, the echo of long-ago impersonations she'd done of Charlotte to make her siblings laugh. "But really... can I help it if others have more inviting laps than you?" she asked, her lips turning in a brighter smile.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:48 AM   #25
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"Even if I had... I would still love you," he promised, but he did smile and his own hand went to her hair, brusing a few strandings between his fingers. "No. That definitely can't be helped. But what can be helped is you being in them. They'll get the wrong idea, Zee. And then their hands will be on you and then I'll have to kill them... and it really just gets so messy, you know?"
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:51 PM   #26
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Ziamara's smile was soft as she leaned into his touch. Her hands smoothed down his tunic before she looked up to meet his gaze. "I think you actually mean that..." She sighed and turned her head so her lips brushed his wrist.

"I need to listen to the depths ere they reach father's court, and that's easier done when they're... distracted. If that means putting up with their hands being on me, so be it..." Her head bowed. "I wish I didn't have to play this... but I am not a soldier like you. I have to be useful somehow... So... Here we are."
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:57 PM   #27
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He flinched more out of habit than anything else, watching her lips move against one of the parallel scars left from the rusted shackles he'd worn for nearly a month. Not so ugly as the burn, but to his eyes they were blaringly evident. "Of course I mean that," Jason affirmed. "You know I was always a terrible liar." At least with her. He could lie easily to everybody else, but Zee always saw through it. It would bother him more if it didn't work the other way around, too.

"I hate that..." he said, but the tone of disdain was no longer directed at her but was spoken in general. "I wish you didn't have to play it either. And it kills me that you do. Why do you have to be useful in this way? Come then... I'll teach you how to be a soldier. I'll sleep easier at night." He knew it wouldn't change, though. At least not for a long time.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:14 PM   #28
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She felt him wince, and let go of his hand- but only to move closer, wrapping her arms around his waist again and pressing against him. "You are a very good liar, when you need to be." Ziamara's voice was thick and she had to stop talking for a moment.

"I'd look dreadful in armor, truly. It's... better this way. I'll... soon be able to tell you all the whispers among the Westridge men. Won't that be amusing? I'm sure it's more entertaining than you think." She didn't understand why her chest ached as it did, but she felt herself shaking. The rum, the visions in the wood- catching up to her... that had to be it. "I'm... I should sit. I'm sorry... that ridiculous brandy... rum... the blue stuff. We were half-mad out in the woods with it... and I think it's making me... a little ridiculous."
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:41 PM   #29
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"Just not with you," he pointed out, but he heard how she sounded and responded by tightening his hold around her, rubbing her back softly.

"Amusing? I'm not sure that's the word I would use." He closed his eyes and cursed to himself, feeling how she was trembling. "You... had Kartheen Brandy? Sweet stars... You've not already started conversing with the dead, have you? Sit down, love. I'm going to get you some water... And before you go on about how I'm ruining your fun... trust me. You'll thank me for this."
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:41 PM   #30
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"No the dead, precisely... but there were... I don't know. The woods didn't seem quite real." She didn't protest the idea of water, nor try to stay on her feet. Ziamara turned and folded herself into one of the oversize (or rather Jason-sized) camp chairs, one hand pressed to her cheek. "I may have really heard Bromios before your squire found me. It was... terribly strange..." She sighed. "And I really should go back out. Gaiseric Harrowmont's rather more... talkative... when there's stronger liquor."
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