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UNBOUND

Here on Unbound, our plot follows four different timelines, set throughout the canonical history of the Dragon Age. The events following Trespasser, the time of the Inquisition, the rise of the Champion of Kirkwall and the quest of the Warden against the Fifth Blight.

And So is the Golden City blackened
With each step you take in my Hall.
Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting.
You have brought Sin to Heaven
And doom upon all the world.

-Threnodies 8.13


 
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 Child of the Wild [C], Kat - Free march coast??? - TBD
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage

It was drizzling again.

Paj swiped her wet sleeve against her running, raw nose. Her hood and cloak were sopping and heavy, dragging down her shoulders. The wraps on her feet were soaked through. The mud was cold, squishing around her narrow feet with each step. Her toes were numb. Actually, her whole foot was, she realized. And it was spreading up her legs. This was miserable.

She was miserable. She’d seen the inn and tavern from the road bend back there. The sight of the establishment did not spike up her mood much from back there. Up close, there was a small spark of appreciation for an open outside deck with a fire. It seems most of the patrons wanted to be inside.

Paj scraped her feet against the porch edge and moved closer to a table by the fire. She dropped her two halves of her broken staff on the table surface. As she whipped off her hood and cloak, water splattered off, and the fire hissed angrily. Paj sniffed and rubbed her frigid hand beneath her nose again, leering close to the fire, willing its warmth to penetrate her wet clothes, and shivered.

Then, dripping and feeling self-conscious, Paj walked through the inn’s doorless doorway to find the counter. As she expected, the interior was smoky and its haze tickled her throat. Keeping her head down, she approached a nearby waitress.

“Uh, hi. Can… do you just have… something warm? That’s not… like beer?”

The shem waitress’ large, round eyes blinked kindly at her. “Some mulled cider?”

“Cider?”

The shem’s eyes flicked to her ears, poking out between the dark, wet strands of her hair. “Apples, love. Apple juice.”

Paj nodded eagerly. “Yes. That will be fine. And a… do you just have a… vegetable stew?”

“Mmmhm.”

“That. Please. I will be outside. On the other side of the fire.”

“You can come in.”

“No,” Paj said, perhaps too quickly. She glanced at the other patrons. “I don’t want…” she looked to the ground, where the water running down her body in trickles was pooling around her feet. “… to puddle your floors.” She also didn’t want to be an attraction.

The waitress laughed like a bell chime. “Suit yourself. I’ll be there shortly.”

“Okay.” Paj shuffled carefully between the occupied tables and slipped back around the corner to the fire. With a sad sigh, she sat heavily in her chair and flopped over on the table to await her drink and food.

She didn’t have the energy to ask around about the Griffin here.

Jan 14 2017, 12:47 PM
as played by Cherith

108" posts

group

Rogue
A sweet smile and a couple of kind words to one of the more homely barmaids had gotten her the first drink for free. A couple of hands of Diamondback, not so many that anyone noticed her good luck, had earned her a meal and enough to keep her in drinks through the night if she paced herself. When the rain had started, she'd started inspecting the crowd a little closer. They were too close to the coast for the crowd to be completely full of locals. A couple of men looked like they had enough coin on them they wouldn't notice a few gone missing. There was a woman too, with an Orlesian accent and not at all particularly to Katarina's tastes, but she'd requested a room for the night and that was worth keeping in mind if the rain didn't let up.

Back to a wall, she'd hovered over a single, small table near the open doorway. She hadn't pissed anyone off lately but the night was still young and she was good at making an exit. Being on her own had been… difficult for a variety of reasons, it made her feel young again in ways that were all wrong. It made her vulnerable and bitter and she'd ventured too far to the coast before she'd even realized she'd done it. There'd been a time when running mean going to ground, when she'd been happy to feel the earth beneath her feet. It wasn't like her to hope her feelings about the situation would get better, so she didn't.

Water dripped across her table, heavy drops trailing in the wake of a slip of a woman passing by. Kat glanced behind her through the door, at the fire and the collection of cloth it silhouetted. A lost, lone little field mouse. The woman spoke in hushed tones with a waitress, tucked in as if she could take up less space but Kat had her pegged -- wrapped feet, downward gaze, pointed ears.

Cool blue eyes tracked the woman, watching as she walked warily back to her outdoor fire. She stuffed the last few bites of bread in her mouth and chewed thoughtfully. In the dim light, the woman half shadowed by the fire, there was something familiar there. For sure that woman wasn't all Dalish, though she had the look about her. And she'd spoken clear enough to the waitress. Intriguing enough on its own were it not for the strange sensation that she'd seen her somewhere before…

Shoving her hat on over her unruly hair, Kat stood. Without being constantly battered by sea salt and breeze, her curls had softened out. Without Ben nagging at her to keep it brushed or braided, it hung loose over her shoulders with the added benefit of keeping her ears covered with or without her hat. She slipped into her jacket and turned just as the barmaid drew close with a meal and a drink, headed for the door.

"Headed for the little lost one?" She smiled knowingly and nodded down at the tray. "How about you keep dry," Kat said and reached for the food. "I'm heading that way, let me."

"If you like… but you be nice to that poor girl, she's a bundle of worry."

She put down a couple of copper on the tray and reached for the dish and the drink. The sweet cider smell twisted her lips and she shook her head, turning for the door. "Adorable." She winked at the woman, but promised nothing.

Reasonable folks were inside keeping dry, though the fire on the patio kept the closest tables warm enough. Kat approached, sliding the woman's meal down on the table before slipping down into the nearest chair.

"You look like you've had better days," she greeted. "Drier ones at least."
Jan 15 2017, 02:20 AM
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage
Post collapsing, the next moments flooded with reminders of the day’s horrendousness. She was partially worried she’d run into those men in armor again. They had taken one look at her staff and known, somehow known she had magic. There was still an ache in her foot from when she’d smashed it against a tree root while running. With a shudder, Paj curled tight into herself. Thank the Creators she’d managed to trick them.

Her toes were so cold. Paj thought she was curling and moving them, but they were just so numb.

Most terribly, her staff was broken. Paj, her head cushioned by her forearms, glanced at the snapped pieces. The simple, gnarled piece of ironbark was the last apparent symbol of her Dalish ties. Why her heart cared so much, Paj was uncertain. They’d merely tolerated her, sort of claimed her as their own when it was convenient. At the same time, they were the only family she had known. And she’d had at least a couple of friends who would have comforted her on a day like this.

A drip fell onto her head. Paj shivered, ducked her face. Then a few more fell, turning into a small, broken stream of ice water dribbling right onto her head. Leaning upright, she looked up to notice it was a leak in the wooden plank roof. She moved her seat, but, unbidden, foolish tears warmed her eyes and began to track down her cheeks. With a vicious hiccup, Paj covered her face with her arms as she leaned back over the table. She cried silently.

The air disturbed and she startled upright. Expecting the brown-eyed waitress, Paj sniffled in surprise to see a curly, blond haired woman instead. She jammed her palms across her face, trying to look as if she hadn’t been just crying. And hiccupped. Her cheeks burned.

The woman sat down near her. Paj looked between the woman and meal she brought. That looked… sort of like vegetable stew. Had someone come to sit with her? Why? “I… Maybe. Yes. I mean. Dried days. Drier, I mean. Ugh.” She dropped her chin, hiding beneath the soaked tangle of her hair as she wiped at her face more. Closing her eyes, Paj shook her head at herself, collected, and looked back up with a sigh.

“But the wet doesn’t bother me so much. I don’t mind rain,” she said, recovering a bit more with each word. She pressed her lips together, eyes still flickering between the woman and the vegetable stew. Her stomach twisted in hunger.

“I’m… sorry. But is this,” Paj gestured to the bowl and cup, “Mine?” Her fingers passed through the wafting steam, and the warmth tingled the freezing tips. Paj really hoped this food was hers.

Jan 15 2017, 04:26 PM
as played by Cherith

108" posts

group

Rogue
What sat before her was a mess. A cold, dripping mess of a woman who seemed at the end of her rope. Definitely not a creature Kat had any business tampering with and yet… here she sat, pushing a steaming bowl of stew and mug of cider under her nose.

"It's yours. Warm and paid for. I smiled real nice and told her to stay warm." Kat offered up a smile for Paj too, winking as she leaned back into the soggy wooden chair. Long legs folded up in front of her, Kat held onto her boots and rested her chin on her knees. "Thought you could use some company too -- or maybe with some food I could convince you to come back inside and sit by the fire." Her voice was honey smooth, friendly and sweet.

And she knew from sopping wet and sickly, too many men thought they were beyond the whims of the weather and paid the price for it. Sailors weren't immune to the weather, or her wrath when they stayed out to prove their manliness and threatened them all with illness.

Wet hair was matted around the woman's face, it stuck to her and fell in her face and streams. It was a little unfair how much the sad, drowned look softened her features. Baby hairs flattened against her temples, trailing water down her cheeks, Kat was reminded of the first storm Penelope had ridden out on the Griffon. Angry and cold, soaked from tip to toe and looking for anywhere dry where no one would stare at her. Maybe that's all this was, a little kindness for a distant memory. She was allowed a little bittersweet reminiscing from time to time.

"Not minding the rain is one thing. Sticking to it when you're soaked through and there's warm fire under a dry roof is taking things too far." She tilted her head to watch the woman dig into the meal in front of her. "Besides. It sucks to get sick when you're on your own." Her lips twisted with what was almost a smile out of pity and a kind of understanding.
Jan 16 2017, 01:08 AM
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage

She beamed a bright grin. “Ma serannas!” Her voice was gracious and elated. She eagerly wrapped her hands around the mug and drew it beneath her nose. Much to her chagrin, she couldn’t smell due to her running nose. Even so, the steam caressed her face with beautiful warmth and Paj’s change in attitude wasn’t deterred. She lapped at the cider with a curious tongue. Sweetness of apples, tangy with something. so good. Paj took a deep swallow, shivering as the drink warmed her from mouth to belly, and began to thaw her cold bones.

She tilted her head when the woman spoke about going inside. She’d meant what she’d said to the waitress – she didn’t want to puddle their floors and make a muddy mess. Additionally, she hadn’t wanted to revel in misery in the presence of strangers. With the woman here, however, Paj wasn’t going to cry anymore. Out of pride. She was trying to act as if she hadn't been crying moments before.

Picking up the spoon, Paj stirred the contents at the bowl, trying to identify the bits of vegetable as they turned over in the brown broth. She could be convinced, but, “Everything is wet. I’m worried I’ll create a miniature pond in there.”

She nibbled on a starchy piece from the stew. It was more the cold bothering Paj than the rain. The woman was right – being sick by oneself was a miserable existence. Such as it was, Paj knew all too well the frustrations of being ill and having to only having herself to care.

Then there was this shem woman. Who, thank the Creators, was being extraordinarily kind and smiled prettily, which eased Paj’s nervousness. Round gray eyes looked at the blond woman as she slurped at broth. She had brought out her meal and then sat, but sat bundled as if to keep out the worst of the chill. If she was intending to stay as company, Paj felt guilty about making her stay in the wet and cold.

“If you don’t think they’ll mind…” And… and only if you sit and look shem-like. Maybe I’ll look like I should be there. With someone. “I’ll go in.”

Paj picked up her bowl and mug while standing. Then hesitated. Her pathetic, sopping cloak was draped and dripping onto the porch. Her staff still lay in two pieces. “Would you… um… mind taking these.” Paj extended her stew and cider to the woman. “I’m going to try wringing this out and then I’ll… find you.”

She wrung out her hair too. It remained matted in thick strands and Paj scowled at its unadjustable state. It hung heavy down her back as she walked inside, scanning for the blond woman. Taking a chair, Paj draped her cloak on its back, placed her broken staff in the seat, and then took a moment to peel away her wet coat. She wore soft leathers cut to her body and bits trimmed in fur, in a style familiar and hearkening to Dalish-ness. The leathers ended at her elbow. They were wet, but not soaked through. Leather was good for wicking away moisture. The fire’s warmth reached her skin much better.

Sitting with one leg drawn up, she took her mug back. “Ma serannas,” she said again. “I’m Paj.” Drinking, something clicked over in her mind, bout shem payments and repayments. “Oh. I can… give you coins for the meal, if you want it. I mean… I wouldn’t have asked for it if I couldn’t…”

Jan 16 2017, 11:33 AM
as played by Cherith

108" posts

group

Rogue
Her Dalish was lacking in a great way, but she knew enough to recognize thank you. Especially when it was accompanied by such a grin. That smile was trouble. The kind of sweet, wholesome smile that drew scoundrels like herself in to see what they might find for the taking. Well, she was already here, so something was going right in the world.

Kat shook her head. "They won't mind. In fact, a little rainwater puddle is the most innocent that'll end up on that floor by the end of the night. Even in a little place like that. Believe me." A pleased nod preceded her rise from the chair, unfolding her limbs into the chill. "Good."

Kat took the woman's food and drink for the second time in only a few minutes and carried it back inside. There were a few tables open closer to the fire and she picked one out that would get the woman a good chance at drying out quickly. She sat down in the next chair and stretched out, taking stock of all the customers nearby. Her gaze swept over the assorted members of the evening's clientele, focusing back as the dark-haired young woman approached the table and folded herself into the chair.

"Ca- Katarina," Her fingers tipped the top edge of her hat down in Paj's direction. She'd not bothered to introduce herself so much in the past few months that she'd worn out of calling herself Captain. She could've used it still, not like anyone here would know she didn't really have a ship of her own. But she wouldn't be getting the Griffon or any other ship back anytime soon, so trying to hold on to the title would be pointless. With a tiny shake of her head she dipped her head and slid her hat off.

"I believe you, but the meal's on me." She looked like she needed a meal, but more than that, she'd looked like she could use a little kindness. That was a little out of her depth and would give the woman the wrong idea. And there were always other ways to extract a payment, if she really felt she needed it.

"I'm guessing you don't spend a lot of time in taverns?" With half a smile, Kat's fingers tucked an unruly piece of hair behind her ears. They weren't nearly as pointed as some, but enough to give her away if people were looking for them. Being at sea for so long had given her a little freedom, as had Ben-- she wasn't immediately uncomfortable with having her hat off or her hair pulled back. But after a few moments she fussed with her hair to cover it up again. "Mind if I ask where you're headed?"
Jan 16 2017, 11:16 PM
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage

“That’s a pretty name,” Paj commented, scooping a spoonful of broth into her mouth. “And you are very nice.” She sat in such away her arms reached around her knee to hold her bowl and spoon, and twisted a little in Katarina’s direction.

The fire was very nice and she was grateful Katarina had convinced her inside. Her mood was improving with each small bit of good fortune offered to her. She watched as Katarina removed her hat and pushed around her hair, hoping her interest didn’t come across as rude.

Gray eyes tracked Katarina’s hand as she curled her hair around an ear. Paj quirked her head. A bit pointed. Well, that could mean… a couple of things. Either they were just narrower for a shem or… or she was elf-blooded! With a rush of excitement borne from potential connection, Paj noticed she was smiling consistently.

“Well… I spend more time in them than not than I ever have. I just find them… stuffy,” she offered in explanation. “I’m used to open space and the smoke clearing to the sky, not being held in by the roof.” She gestured overhead with a single finger. “Sometimes the people are not so friendly toward the likes of me. But… it’s… very nice when someone is.” Paj offered Katarina another large smile.

Wrapping her hands around the mug, Paj drank a large swallow of cider while considering Katarina’s question. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to ask around after the Griffon and be disappointed after today. Everything was currently going better; she didn’t want to jinx it. After a longer moment of drinking and deciding, Paj rested the mug on the table and jammed her thumbnail against it. She was never going to get further if she didn’t talk.

“I’m looking for someone. My father, actually.” Paj studied her mug as she scratched at its surface. A fool’s plan. A fool’s journey, it had been called. She took a deep breath and decided last minute not to reveal the name she’d discovered. Those who seemed to know “Benoit” had horrible reactions. Assessing Katarina with an open gaze, Paj thought her hair seemed a bit soft to know much about the sea. Still. One never knew. “I think he’s on a ship. Called The Griffon?” her voice lilted in inquiry as she quirked her head again.
Jan 17 2017, 03:46 PM
as played by Cherith

108" posts

group

Rogue
The cider in Paj's mug seemed to be a hit with her and once she'd had the chance to warm back up, Kat very much was missing a drink of her own. She raised her hand as Paj was talking, thinking to order them both another round of drinks. If for no other reason than to help keep the conversation flowing, although getting the young thing drunk didn't seem like it'd be a viable option anyhow. Or one she was particularly interested at the moment, interested as she was.

"Ah." A breathy acknowledgement. "Fathers, in my experience, do tend to wander off." Or to die, in succession, she thought. Though her comment was barbed, she smiled, to let in on the joke.

A waitress approached Kat's waiting gesture, but her hand dropped quickly. Had her arm come down on the table in her surprise, it would've been a thunderous response, but instead it hit her lap with a sting but little else. Her brow raised at Paj, ignoring the waitress who'd come up to their table and waited impatiently for an order.

"Your father, you say?" Kat leaned back, willing her heart not to beat too quickly or too loudly, because it was almost all she could hear. There was a flare of anger, her hands and face were warm and grew increasingly flushed. She couldn't stop nodding, it was a small movement, a tic of the chin forward each time her eyes took in the whole of Paj's features. The cheeks, the hair, the lips. She'd thought of Penelope, but so many years had gone by-- She could still see her face, dark brown eyes wide with shock as her brother struck her down.

"Miss were you going to order?"

Kat turned a brilliant smile on her, a distraction and a chance to take a few deep breaths before plunging ahead in talks of the Griffon. She had to be sure. She couldn't really know until she asked, but she knew.

"Yes. Another cider for the lady," she gestured at Paj with a tilt of her head. "Ale for me." The woman smiled at them both. "Right away--"

"Actually," Kat interrupted before she could get too far. She was going to need something more for this talk. "Rum, for me instead."

Turning back to Paj without waiting for another response she leaned in and stared for a long moment. With a deep breath she said, "I know that ship. I know it very well. And most of the men on it." Ben couldn't have replaced them all yet, she certainly hadn't when he'd left. Her head shook in disbelief. It was only a temporary shock though, for the longer she looked at her, the more evident it was. So much she should've seen it before she'd even sat down at the poor thing's table.

And elf-blooded to boot. Of course, she would be. "How old are you, exactly?"
Jan 17 2017, 11:30 PM
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage
Katarina’s hand dropped so swiftly, so heavily, Paj heard the gentle “smack” as it landed in her lap. Averting her gaze, Paj took a special interest in her cider again, drinking more.

Seems the shem woman was familiar with the Griffon. Probably in the bad way everyone was when she spoke its name. Despite this, her belly fluttered – somewhere between queasiness and as if it contained a flock of birds. It had been wonderful to have her meal paid for; now she would learn more about the Griffon.

“Mmhm,” Paj nodded, and met Katarina’s nodding gaze with an open expression. Better to pretend she didn’t know the dark stories about the Griffon. More so, to pretend she didn’t know the black stories shrouding “Benoit”. She still expected to hear about how she shouldn’t bother. Katarina’s stunned face stared at her, and Paj tilted her head. “Is… everything okay?” Then she eyed the waitress waiting. “Um…” she said softly, subtly pointing to the waitress and hoping Katarina’s attention shift.

As another cider was ordered on her behalf, Paj glanced into her mug. A little less than half. The corner of her mouth, hidden from Katarina, ticked. Ale. And then rum. Rum was stronger, wasn’t it? If she could assume correctly, this meant Katarina intended to talk, and hopefully more about the Griffon.

“Oh, you do?” Even though she meant to contain it, Paj’s smile was evident. She leaned forward slightly, bowl and spoon balanced in her hands again. “You can tell me about it, then?” Her chest swelled, inflated on happiness and pride. Now if only the rain would stop and the afternoon sun could be found.

Paj paused with spoon in her mouth when asked after her age. Well… Creators, she knew the elvish number for her age but… her new elf-blooded friend looked more shem than elf. “Um…” embarrassed, Paj rested her spoon on the edge of her bowl and stared into its contents. It’s not like she hadn’t heard the numbers before, outside of elvish, but she couldn’t… recall. She knew the shem word for “ten” and “four”, though. She could add to her age. “Uh… as many as… ten and ten and four?” Peering up, with narrowed eyes, Paj slowly asked, “Whyyy… does it matter?”
Jan 18 2017, 10:34 PM
as played by Cherith

108" posts

group

Rogue
"I do. And I will." Deep breaths. She needed them, lots of them. Already she could feel the pull, back to the ship -- into the wind and the salt air, the sound of a dozen sailors working to keep them upright in a storm. She'd been trying to avoid the feeling. She didn't want to miss it. And she didn't want to go back. Wasn't ready to go back.

Her eyes wrinkled at the corners, a smile followed but it was small and hesitant. How to start. How to tell this poor thing who her father was. Twenty-four. Well, that could've been anyone really. He would've been young, she would've been even younger. She remembered that Benoit -- fresh-faced and doing his hardest to make an impression, to be a real sailor. Two-handed. That made her chuckle.

There was no good way to begin, so she said the first thing that came to mind. "You look like him." And then. "He'll be eager to meet you."

Their drinks arrived and Kat parked another couple of coins on the table between them as the waitress set the mugs on the table. Scent drifted up and tickled the hairs in her nose, the rum was weak but it'd been some time since she'd touched the stuff. If anything could prepare her for the Griffon, this was it.

The woman collected the coins with a polite thank you and Kat took a swig of hers, letting it burn her tongue and her throat as it made its way down. Another swallow and she set the mug down, settling back again in her chair. "This is the closest you'll get to the Griffon without help, Paj. But I know it well. Until a few months ago, the Griffon had a beautiful female captain--" she grinned-- "or so people say. She'd know how to find it, and it's current captain, in no time."

Mug brought to her lips again, she stared over the rim at Paj, long lashes hiding the intensity of her gaze. "How long have you been searching for him, Paj?"
Jan 19 2017, 09:53 PM
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage

The question of her age seemed to be more of a curious thing. Katarina chuckled, and Paj’s lips fluttered in a brief smile before she spooned up more stew.

“You look like him.”

Another fluttering smile, though more unsure. “… Really?” Well… that is… Paj knew, or so she’d thought before leaving the Dalish. Mother had always said she’d looked like her father, but it’s been about a decade since she’d heard those exact words. When Mother had said it, Paj could never tell if she had meant it fondly or bitterly.

She wasn’t sure if she should be proud. To look like the father she had never met. Digging her thumb into the bowl, Paj stared into her stew, as if she could find her reflection there. Such looks earned sneers from many elves. “Is that bad?”

Putting bowl and spoon down, Paj wasn’t sure how to really react to being told Benoit would be eager to meet her. Her heart shivered strangely, and she couldn’t tell what emotion she was experiencing. Nervousness? Excitement? Fear? Uncertainty. She was just uncertain. How did Katarina really know? But she smiled regardless, feigning the level of her joy.

Grasping her shin, she rested her cheek on her knee. Her hand extended, cupping the side of her mug. Her thumbnail scratched at it slightly.

“Um… about… It’s been a long, long time,” she replied with a sheepish chuckle. “Like… Three or… four years? Almost? Starting out was really hard and I mostly walk everywhere. Been here, been there, backtracked, looped around…” Paj made a dismissive gesture and returned the hand to the mug. “There wasn’t a lot of information to go off of until I started finding the people who knew the… the stories.

“Though… a lot of them are not… happy stories,”
Paj admitted. She pushed a still wet lock of hair behind her ear. “But… you know him. Or seem to. So, you probably know the stories.” Paj had no desire to repeat them out loud, either.

Tilting her head, still on her knee, Paj studied Katarina again. She was still bothered by her earlier words. “Why do you say he’d want to meet me? I doubt he knows of me.” Mother had been perfectly clear she’d been conceived in a one-time encounter, and he’d left. “Actually, I’m really sure he doesn’t.”
Jan 22 2017, 04:45 PM
as played by Cherith

108" posts

group

Rogue
No laugh came but there was a bubble at the back of her throat that threatened. Was it bad? Hadn't she fallen in love with one woman that looked like him? He might not have been her sort, but his family certainly made for beautiful people. "Depends on why you ask," she answered at last. "If I didn't know him as well as I do, I'd say it will only do you favors. I know you look like him, because I know what to look for. Others won't." Kat reached out, thinking to lift Paj's chin with a hooked finger. Her touch stopped short and she pulled her hand back. "His looks do you a service. I don't know your mother or what she looked like, but your beauty is in part a gift from your father." May he never know I've said so.

She swallowed a few sips of her rum, letting it burn the words away as Paj explained how long she'd been searching for the Griffon. Of course she'd heard little information, those were the years Ben was away and she'd been Captain of the Griffon. Any stories anyone had heard would've been old by that point and told by spurned and surviving sailors.

"No, I don't suppose you heard many... good things. And if all you want are stories of his exploits, I won't have much different to tell you." Benoit could be kind, even sentimental if he chose, but those moments were few and far between and almost never without an ulterior motive. Lips pursed in thought, fingers tapping softly on the table, Kat searched for something to say that wouldn't push the woman away. Though the stories she'd heard so far hadn't done so yet and that was telling. "They haven't discouraged you, the stories?" That alone was reason enough.

"If he knew about you, we wouldn't be having this conversation. You'd know him already." A younger Benoit wouldn't have stayed, but eventually he would've sought this creature out, taken her out to sea, made a proper daughter out of her. "I think… even though he doesn't yet know you exist, he's been looking for you. But don't tell him I said so."

Fingers silenced, she grabbed her mug and swallowed down the rest of the rum. "I'll take you. First thing tomorrow morning we'll head out. Might take a few days." Her gaze returned to Paj, brow cocked. "Unless you have other plans?"
Jan 26 2017, 10:52 PM
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage

Her blush burned wildly across her cheeks and warmed her ears. Her beauty? Doing her a favor? Paj hugged her shin and pressed her smile against her knee. After receiving so much scorn for looking like a shem or a “knife ear”, it was so nice to be considered a beauty. She looked like her father. Katarina took the bite out of that phrase. Paj’s shy smile grew, but she kept it mostly hidden against her knee.

“The stories are…” Paj trailed off, not sure what to exactly say. “Well, stories.” They hadn’t exactly been encouraging of Benoit’s character. Hearing them had made her pause, several times, and reconsider her journey.

She had hoped, since she was fourteen, to set out on this adventure. That maybe, just maybe, there would be a man out there who, despite leaving her, might welcome her. When she’d found people who knew him, her excitement had been stabbed with tales of terrible deeds. So she’d reassessed. Over and over again. Even spent time, spent nights staring at the stars, wondering how she would feel were she some man living his life. If a child of ten and ten and more years appeared randomly before her and interrupt this life she’d been living. Would she accept the child? Would she even believe? Paj still couldn’t answer those questions definitively within herself.

How could she expect Benoit? With his reputation?

“I suppose they haven’t. Not enough to stop me. I came so far. I left so much. I-I…” Paj faltered. Her thumbnail pressed harshly into the mug. “I can’t go back. If I just… just see if maybe… if he…” If maybe he would want her. Paj couldn’t finish the sentence and she didn’t look at Katarina. “And if he doesn’t… then… I’ve really lost nothing.” Paj smiled a little, with both doubt and hope. She wasn’t sure which she had more of.

Pulling her other leg into the chair, Paj leaned back with her arms stacked against her middle. Her thumb caressed her elbow. If he knew about her… Katarina seemed to believe Benoit would want her. Her well-guarded flame of hope sparked and danced in a brief, wild moment. “I won’t say anything.”

Paj pulled the new mug of cider to her and drank. I’ll take you. First thing tomorrow morning we’ll head out. Shocked, Paj choked around her swallow. Coughing heavily and spluttering, she nearly missed putting the mug back on the table. Her nose burned and Paj realized with a quick groan some cider had gone into her nose. “I’m okay,” she assured between hoarse coughs. Cupping a hand over her nose, she snorted and sniffed hard as her eyes watered.

Four years. Her efforts spanning four years could be abruptly summed up in days. Days. A few of them. Creators. What a day. She’d been turned away so much and made such little ground in so many years that she never thought… she would be days from meeting who she thought was her father.

“No,” Paj croaked. “I don’t have other plans. This is… this is what I’ve been doing. For four years. I just… Creators, I thought…” She stared at Katarina then and coughed weakly. “You would take me? You would do that? That would be okay? You’re okay with that?”
Jan 28 2017, 09:49 PM
as played by Cherith

108" posts

group

Rogue
With a wink to acknowledge their shared secret, Kat lifted her mug and drew strength from the fire of the rum, bad as it was. Her pride could stand this reunion, though she would go expecting nothing more than to see Paj delivered safely to the Griffon.

There was a such innocence in her face, hopefully bright eyes looked at her and Kat wondered what she'd really heard about her father. Kat held her smile and nodded as Paj spoke, it was almost encouraging that she hadn't yet been discouraged. Perhaps when she realized how much he would want her, she might look past his many, many flaws.

"I hope you'll think the journey worth it when you meet him," Kat said, with a nod. She leaned forward slightly. "Four years is a long time, Paj." She reached out and laid a gentle hand on the woman's arm. "A really long time in the world in this world-" she shook her and took a breath. She'd captained the Griffon for most of that time, that someone in the world had been searching for Benoit in the same time he'd been mostly land-bound… Well wasn't that just the way their lives worked. And putting aside her anger, she'd do this for him and not just because of those bright brown eyes watching her with such hope.

"I would. I will. It won't take four years, not even four weeks-- we'll be there in no time by comparison. It's not the thing I expected to be doing," she admitted. "I wasn't looking to go back aboard the Griffon for some time." If ever again. Lips drawn, smile faded, Kat turned her gaze down towards her drink. This wasn't a story for Paj or something she wanted to talk about. This was between her and Benoit and they'd deal with that when she got there. "But, you need to be there and to be quiet honest, you're not going to find him if he doesn't want to be found. Which is pretty much always." Her shoulders lifted and fell in a deep shrug. It wasn't hubris, just truth.

She didn't need to tell Paj that she also knew if Ben ever found out that she'd come across his daughter and hadn't led her to him, he'd have her heart on his hook. And she'd let him. Whatever past they shared wouldn't matter.

With a forced smile, she lifted her gaze back to Paj. She drained the rest of her mug and stood. "Come on. If you don't mind sharing a room, you can stay in mine. We'll go over the trip and I can't promise to answer all your questions, but I'll tell you what I can. I've got a few of my own, I think."
Feb 10 2017, 12:44 AM
as played by SQUEE

22" posts

group

Mage


Creators, she hoped the journey was worth it as well. She gave Katarina a small little smile when the woman touched her arm, shaking it. Resting a light hand on top of Katarina’s in response, she hoped the some type of panic vibrating the center of her bones did not translate outwardly.

Paj hadn’t planned on what to do if Benoit didn’t believe her. Within her, the dark voice buried under a horrendously large pile of hope spoke from its deep depth: You may not belong anywhere. Where would she belong if not with her own father? What would she do? Where would she go?

She had listened to those little whispers for four years. In those for years, she never planned contingency. The journey had been slow, the information hard to come by, and she figured she still had plenty of time to figure out her life if there was no Benoit.

Now she had only days. Creators, what if she was rejected? There wasn’t enough time to prepare her heart for a probable rejection. Maybe eventual rejection. Please, please like me.

Katarina’s words suggested her acceptance, but Paj couldn’t solidify that potentiality within her. Couldn’t let herself believe the words of a stranger who seemed to know Benoit so well. There was always a difference between assumption and reality – a difference Paj was only too keenly aware.

A small, quiet part of her wanted to tell Katarina not to go out of her way. It was okay to not take her to Benoit. Yet, she also frowned, at Katarina’s mention of not being able to find Benoit herself. There was a confusing uproar of conflicting hope and panic that Paj only sipped more from her cider to purchase a bit more time.

“Ma serannas,” Paj said finally, in a tight voice, and then translated, “Thank you.” As the words came out, her heart sided once again with optimism and hope. “That’s… you’ve… you are the most helpful so far. And one of so few to tell me finding Benoit is a good idea. I never expected this.” She met Katarina’s blue eyes and returned the woman’s smile.

She only hoped her hope was well-placed in the end.

“I don’t mind. I was…” Paj tilted her head toward the door. “Probably going to sleep out there otherwise.” Setting her mug aside, Paj collected her articles and the broken staff. “Ask away. I suppose… the least I can do is answer. Besides more thank yous.”
Feb 11 2017, 06:22 PM
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