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 (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)

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Eldarwen
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PostSubject: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:19 pm


Setting: Azure Caves
Time: 18th of July 3709, 10am

This takes place after Armeno has returned from his mission in Racksom and before he returns - hopefully with a partner in crime - to the DDC.

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- Kassandra/Static (Rogue)
- Armeno (Artemis)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:02 pm


It had been a long month for Kassandra Lemaire. The battle of Racksom had not stopped with the retreat of the Defenders, messy riots springing up in the city for days afterwards until the Surahnian Rebels had clamped down their hand properly. There was no place for natives in their new society, especially those who intended on infraction of the law.

Kassandra had thought, that with a new reign, with a new King, that things would change for the better. She had joined their cause somewhat unwittingly, now she thought back on it, thinking that nothing could be worse than it was already. A woman, a mercenary? A witch, with erratic powers that she could hardly control some days.
Things had not improved at all. Now she was native scum, a pathetic woman, a dark magician. Some of the insults she did not even understand, spoken in a different language, or words that she had never heard before. But she understood when they took her sword from her, telling her that such weapons were not for women, and she understood when they ignored her attempts to find work. She understood when, like sheep, she and the other natives were put to work on the basest of tasks, labouring and tending to the city. It filled her with anger for the Surahnians system, where she was even less of a person than anyone else, for the magic she held in her fingers.

Somehow, things had gotten worse after a couple of weeks under Surahnian reign. One night, with no warning at all, nothing different in her routine, her magic had just… exploded. It had been agony, and terrifying, like her ‘gift’ was trying to tear her apart. She had no idea (of course, how could she have?) that the lightning stone… well, what lightning stone was there now?
It was clear from the reaction of those that saw the way she struggled even on normal days sometimes, that there was no place for her in Racksom any more. She had been planning to wait longer, try and find her niche, something that she could present to… him and show him he was fighting for the wrong cause, but all she felt was doubt and guilt now, worse than ever. Leaving the city caused her no grief at all. With a little help from Starling, an acquaintance who had somehow managed to wriggle her way into being a little bit more like a friend, the two had fled into the forest, with little more than a hopeful plea to go on.
Meet me at the Azure caves in a month.

Would he even show up?
The day was here, the day that a month ago… Kassandra did not even want to think about it. She had barely slept the night before, too nervous to settle down and then stay asleep, but felt very awake despite that. Starling had accompanied her the whole way so far- the woman might have other plans later, but so far she had been quite happy to just go along with this madcap hope of Kassandra’s. She had left her asleep in the trees, next to the burnt-out fire they had made the evening before, walking the short distance down to the beach itself with the sun rising over in the east. The air was chilly, but there were patches of open sky between the fluffy clouds, heralding a fine day ahead.
The beach itself was empty, the caves dark and unwelcoming over one end. Just as she remembered it. Empty. He wasn’t there yet… if he even was going to show up. She couldn’t have missed him, the day had hardly started, but the fear of missing him gripped her tightly until she had paced a good length of the sand. It was clear and smooth, no footprints but her own to be seen. No trace of him. There was nothing to do but sit, and wait.

She threw stones into the waves, trudged the shoreline over and over until her footsteps melded together into one singular line, then when there was truly nothing else to do, just sat down in the sand, pulling her hood over her face and her scarf up.
He would come.
Kasmeno by Rogue on Grooveshark

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:49 pm


Once again, Armeno tried to calm himself down. Once again, he met with no success.
How many times had he counted the days, obsessively making sure that he hadn’t miscalculated? How many times had he stared at the map, trying to pinpoint the exact spot where he had first met her? His meeting with Siofra had, fortunately, been brief and businesslike; she couldn’t be absent for long without it being noticed, of course. No doubt she had noticed Armeno was acting somewhat strangely, but she hadn’t said anything, just given Armeno all the information she could and thanked him for returning her horse before sending him on his way with some fresh supplies. From there, it had just been a race to get here- not that anything he could do would make the time move faster before the meeting. It had been a relief when he was in the deeper areas of the forest, where nobody tried to steal his admittedly numerous horses. Most of the thieves had backed off quickly enough when Armeno had drawn a sword on them, clearly just desperate refugees from the war, but he had encountered one nasty trio who had given him a wound on his arm before finally retreating. It wasn’t serious, but it did hurt, and it was just one more thing he had to deal with.

Travelling with Tamarisk beside him, but not her, had been more than surreal. The horse was cheerful enough, whickering with Velox, but to Armeno he was just a reminder of her absence. In case he might have spent a second thinking about anything except the meeting, Tamarisk was always there to remind him. She didn’t know Armeno had her horse, he supposed; hopefully that would be a point in his favour, something to convince her to at least talk to him. He hated to admit it, hated to be so weak- but he would take anything, any conversation, over the rejection she had shown him before.

Now, he was so close- he knew the landscape around him, so little changed in the last year. Even the war seemed to have left this place largely untouched, bypassing it for the more bountiful towns and cities to its north. He could see the cliffs, the caves embedded into them- where he had come across her in the dark. Below them stretched the beach, a pale stretch of sand unbroken apart from one figure- one figure he knew better than he would have thought possible, given how long it had been since he’d really seen her.

Kassandra.

Abruptly, he was both more relieved and more terrified than he ever had been in his life. She was here, she’d come- a part of him wanted to leave it at that and believe everything would be alright.
Another part of him wanted to turn and leave as quickly as he could. He didn’t think he could take it if they were reunited once more, only to argue until she left again. He’d managed to move on by forcing her from his mind, but ever since he’d encountered her again at Racksom, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking of her. Every touch, every word, all replaying in his mind over and over until he couldn’t think of anything else. He’d tormented himself with a million different ways the scenario could play out, thinking of everything he wanted to say to her- but now that he was here, he couldn’t even think of how to approach her, let alone what to say.

There was nothing else to do but go down; after taking a few measured breaths, Armeno nudged Velox’s sides with his heels, turning the horse’s nose towards the sloping path which led towards the beach. The horses seemed to pick up on his mood; even when he released their reins to let them pick out their own way down the cliff, they moved along sedately, Velox not getting up to any of his usual tricks. As Armeno watched, Kassandra paced back and forth before finally sinking into the sand, burying her face in a way which was unbearably familiar. He could just see her face- how many times had he watched her adopt the exact same pose after Tabri’s attack? She didn’t look up as he finally reached the beach, the horses’ hooves sinking into the dry sand and the sound muffled. A silence hung over the beach as he drew ever closer to her, taking this moment to study her back in exhaustive detail. From here, she didn’t seem to have changed at all, her green cloak covering every feature.

He stopped a distance away from her, the horses drifting to a halt with snorts to chomp at their bits. For a second more, he stared at her, before licking his lips nervously and speaking.
“Kassi-” His voice broke on his old nickname for her, speaking it without thinking- but they were hardly in a position to be that familiar now, were they? For all he knew, she’d gone and got married since he last saw her.
Well. Unlikely.
“Kassandra,” he managed after a moment.
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:11 pm

The sound of the waves on the sand was soothing, and Kassandra closed her eyes to listen to them, trying to fit her breathing to them. In, out. In, out. There was no need to fear. It was Armeno.
What if he did not come?
What if he hated her now, for all she had done? Left him once before in her upset, stabbed him in the back and run to the other side of this damned war. She had been a fool, and she hated herself for her mistakes with him.

Weren’t these the same demons that had been haunting her all month, though? On the last day… was there point in crying over them again? With all hope, she would not have to spend the day alone… he would show. Starling had been beside her, but she was not the same. Nobody was the same.
Let the day just come to an end and all her hopes be crushed, finally. Why would he come? There was nothing good for him here. She scowled to stop her mouth from wobbling, upsetting herself already, her mind full of dark thoughts.

A sound behind her banished her thoughts and she snapped back to the present, scrambling up from the ground and whirling around, sand flying from around her feet as she spun on the spot. Then stopped.
Guardians.
“Armeno…” He had come. He had actually come for her. Her face creased as she looked beside him- he had brought her Tamarisk.
She clamped a hand over her mouth, stuck rigidly in place. Was this a dream? Her voice sounded weak as she spoke again; “You came.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:34 pm


As ever, Kassandra's reaction was a nervy one, jumping and spinning to face him. Armeno had to resist a strong urge to step forwards and hold her, grounding her as he had so many times before. Instead, he thrust away his feelings and took several steps towards her, closing some of the gap before them.
"So did you," he replied numbly. An uninspiring conversation so far. Behind him, Tamarisk pressed forwards eagerly, straining to return to Kassandra. Armeno dropped the long leading rein, letting the horse go.

Now that he could see her face, and had a moment to take it in, he could see that she had changed. A lot. Her hair was cut off short and uneven, several long parallel wounds crossed her face- claw marks? They looked fairly old, but they were going to scar for sure- and she generally looked even more unstable than usual. Sucking in a breath, he had to fist his hands to keep from reaching out to her. What had happened?

No matter how he felt about her appearance, though, he couldn't let it show. With an effort, he made himself relax, dropping his tensed shoulders, flexing his fingers.
"It's been a while," he said, keeping his tone relaxed, neutral. "Looked like we were on different sides back in Racksom. I wondered if you might..." He trailed off, frowning. What could he say? Just beg her to come back with him. "If you might reconsider," he managed eventually. All the time he spoke his eyes were fixed on her face, drinking in the sight of her. She looked so... fragile.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:52 pm

Kassandra couldn’t believe it, couldn’t process everything fast enough. Armeno, Tamarisk, alive and well in front of her, here. She yanked her hood away from her face for air, her heart beating fast. She had never thought… never hoped…
She reached out for Tamarisk as the horse came towards her, jumping towards him to press herself against his thick chest. It was all real, her most prized horse and Armeno were here. He snuffled at her hair and stuck his muzzle in her hood, all the friendly, contented gestures of a horse.
She couldn’t believe it.

She scraped her fingers through his soft fur and turned to catch hold of his rope eventually, the stallion rather less obedient than Armeno’s Velox. For now he seemed quite content to stay close however, nudging at her side and chewing happily on her cloak. As if it needed more weathering. Armeno was closer now, than the distance she had stood at before, wary… she was still cautious now, pressed back against her horse. She looked him over, his slightly unkempt appearance, his dishevelled hair and fine, elvish features… hardly different from before, although she was desperate to reacquaint herself with them, feel out the changes that he had gone through in their time apart.
Her mouth pulled down as he spoke. So distant. Did he even care any more? Was this a pleasantry, to deliver her horse and then wipe his hands clean?
“Is that all you have to say to me?” Did this hurt more than if he had not come at all?
No, that would have broken her heart. At least this way she might know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:54 pm


At the sight of Kassandra back with Tamarisk, Armeno smiled faintly. That was one thing he could fix, at least, even if his own relationship with Kassandra wasn't so easily mended. When she spoke, though, his frown returned.
"Is that all I have to say?" he echoed disbelievingly, the calm facade he'd kept up for all of ten seconds crumbling. "Of course it's not! It's been a year, of course I have more to say! But I don't know what you're going to say, or why you asked me to come here..." Yet again, his words tailed off into nothing-try as he might, he couldn't stay angry with her for long. With a sigh, he rolled his shoulders again, looking out at the sea for a moment before continuing in a softer tone. "I just... I don't know what to say. I don't want to argue, or... I know what I did was wrong, I just couldn't let Tabri hurt you again. I'd rather anything than that, Kassie! I'd rather you left me again than see you get hurt." Somewhere along the line, the intensity had crept back into his voice; he found himself standing closer to her, gazing at her urgently. He nearly stepped away, but after a moment's hesitation he continued instead, a pleading tone entering his voice. "I don't know why you joined the invaders. I don't care. Just come back with me now. Please."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:11 am

She knew she’d said the wrong thing the minute Armeno echoed her words. Since when had he been so sensitive though, to flare up at one small thing she said?
Right. Since he had turned into a prize –
Kassandra was torn between shrinking back against Tamarisk or rising up in return, her brows drawing together before she put her hand up to fondle at her scarf, running her fingers along the thick fabric.
“I…” What was she going to say? She hadn’t even planned it, in the event that he never appeared, and she was left with a thousand words unsaid. Nor could she look away from him now though, thirsty to have him, although fearful of all the baggage they carried between them.
“I wanted to see you again. Needed to.” She spoke only quietly, her hands gripping at Tamarisk’s bridle and rope. The time they had found each other in Racksom was such a blur, half of pain and incomprehensible, the other laced with guilt and self-hatred. There was so much between them that needed fixing, she barely knew where to begin. But, despite her want for him, when he came close she couldn’t help but shy away, pressing back against Tamarisk so he shuffled nervously, picking up on her mood.
“Don’t come… Don’t call me that.” Kassie. She had already gotten hurt, what did he care? She could fend for herself. “I can’t. Go where?”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:35 am


Armeno hadn't really thought about moving towards her, hadn't even realised he'd called her Kassie. It was so easy to forget, to act naturally around her- and yet it was so impossible to at the same time.

When she drew away, though, like he was poisonous or repellent- she couldn't even get out a proper sentence as she tried to get away- he withdrew like he'd been stung, shock and hurt travelling through him. They might have been arguing, true, but he never would've imagined her base reaction would be to recoil from him. His jaw clenched as he tried to control his face, tried not to let it show how much she had wounded him.
"I needed to see you too, Kassandra. I wanted to see you every day that I didn't. So why can't you come? The DDC need help. If you let yourself, you can be an incredible fighter. I know you can. And I-" Abruptly, he broke off what he had been going to say. If she couldn't even bring herself to stand close to him, then he wasn't going to tell her just how desperate he was for her to come with him.

He doubted it would make a difference anyway, though. His self-control, normally formidable, simply crumbled whenever he was around Kassandra. She had to know him well enough to read most every thought straight off his face.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:52 am

Kassandra’s mouth wobbled with uncertainty, her hands working nervously at Tamarisk’s tack. Her lack of planning before this had seemed like a good idea at the time to save her mind from shredding itself to pieces, but now was definitely having its disadvantages.
“I… I can’t think this fast.” Her mind was a turmoil, and she couldn’t decide whether she was about to laugh for the relief of having him, cry for all the time they had been apart, or scream at him for… what? The cause, rather than her.
“Is this what I am to you? Another fighter? I don’t want to be another fighter. Don’t keep talking to me like there’s nothing else between us. Or isn’t there? Before you didn’t even want me fighting, you didn’t want me in Racksom. So what’s changed?” She didn’t mean to bite at him, but in all her upset and fear, it turned into cynicism. Why would the DDC even want her? She had attacked their… whatever that avian had been- commander?- fought with the Surahnians, and done nothing to stop Racksom from falling.
What a mistake that had been, but how was she to know that at the time?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:40 am


Armeno's brow knit even further in his ever-growing frustration. How had Kassandra managed to pick out that from what he'd been saying? Had she really forgotten him to the extent that she couldn't even tell how he was feeling anymore?
But then, this had always been their problem: understanding each other. No wonder they seemed so doomed, he reflected bitterly; it was a fairly fundamental part of a relationship to fall down on.

Well, if she couldn't think this fast, that was understandable, at least. It seemed so obvious to him that he hadn't even considered before asking her, but if she hadn't been expecting him to ask her to come with him- well, there were a few factors to take into account. Such as her having shot Talos.
"Okay," he said, taking a moment, not letting himself get worked up again. "Okay. I don't want you to fight, no. I didn't want you in Racksom because I didn't want you to get hurt. But then it seemed like you were pretty set on fighting, so- I don't know, maybe you'll join the DDC as a fighter. It certainly doesn't seem like you'd come just to be with me after what happened last month- you put fighting first there. I thought there was something between us, but from the way you've been acting you seem to think otherwise."

And there again- what had happened to his restraint? His voice hadn't risen, perhaps, but his words had certainly been more cutting than he intended. Once again he was tense, uneasy with telling her so much of how he felt- but clearly he wasn't telling her enough at the same time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:19 pm

“What do you want me for then?” Kassandra jabbed, trying very hard not to shout in all her mixed feelings. She didn’t want to shout at him, it hadn’t been in her mind at all, but now they were arguing, it seemed stupid to suddenly turn around and try and plead with him, admit she had made another stupid mistake.
At the same time, she didn’t want him just to leave and give up on her completely, though. This was her only chance.

“It’s a bit bloody late now, isn’t it, if you haven’t noticed.” She had to try very hard to keep her roiling emotions from boiling over, dragging down her scarf to her neck and tracing a finger roughly over one of the new lines Jaden had left her as a memento. “Not getting hurt isn’t an option any more. Especially if I come back with you.” She dropped her hand away, swallowing. “They’ll kill me.”

Her anger returned again, clenching her fists. “The way I’ve been acting? Because you’re so saintly, on the side of the DDC.” She scowled, then yelped as Tamarisk, who had been nuzzling at her side in the hope of food, bit her hard on the hip.
“Tamarisk.” Her voice wavered as she shoved the stallion away, tears welling up in her eyes from all the stress of the situation, stepping towards Armeno to get away from her pestering horse.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:39 pm


Exasperated and perplexed by her questions, Armeno threw his hands up in the air.
"I don't want you for something, Kassandra! It's not like I see you as- I don't know, a tool or something!" What did she think he was, some heartless war lord who was going round buying whatever fighters he could?
Her next words shocked him- well, he was sure she had been hurt, but all that would last was the scars. She wasn't crippled, or worse.

"You might have a few scars, but you're hardly dead yet, are you?" he asked roughly, once again having to stop himself from reaching out to her. "There are plenty of other options- like not getting hurt any more. And as for the DDC..." His face darkened as he thought of Talos and all his remarks against Kassandra. "If you think I'd let any one of them so much as threaten you, then you're a damn fool, Kassandra. I'm no saint, I've done my share of misdeeds- but even when you shoot my ally from the back of my horse, I could never let anyone hurt you. I'm not that stupid."

It seemed odd, how amongst all this emotion, the horses could keep acting totally normally. Velox was tugging persistently at his reins, trying to get away- probably he wanted to make off and find some grass. Eventually, Armeno just let him go. It was easier than arguing sometimes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:07 pm

Rubbing at her side, Kassandra turned back to Armeno, wary of how close he was now. The horses boxed them in a little, something she might have been pleased about once, a year ago… their own space together. Now, not so much.
“Stop talking about me as just another fighter then. I’m not.” How could she be? She didn’t even have a sword any more, let alone the fact that, weren’t they supposed to have something together? Wasn’t she something special to him any more? “A few scars? You don’t know anything, do you?” She wiped a hand under her eyes, shoving away Tamarisk when he came after her. “I don’t have anything, Tam! Life isn’t just about surviving, Armeno. I want to live, not just struggle through and pick up ‘only scars’.” Didn’t he understand?
No, he was an elf. He had a hundred-score more years to live than she did.

“As for your ally,” she bared her teeth, disgust for Talos obvious, “I’d shoot him all over again. If you didn’t want any harm to come to me, you’re about four months late.” She bitterly hated that avian, for being where he had been- not even through his fault, through their paths crossing- and then for somehow rising up again later to shoot her through himself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:26 pm


"No, you're certainly more than that," he agreed, finally dropping his eyes from Kassandra to the bracers he wore on each forearm. Just wanting something to do with his hands, he began to unlace them, picking at the knots as he spoke.
"I'd like to think I've picked up a thing or two in my time," he said in a measuredly acidic tone. "And you're right, there should be more to life than just survival- though I'm not sure I've done anything but that for the past year." He couldn't bring himself to look at her, not when she might react with more anger and rejection.

For a moment he was quiet, seeming almost peaceful as he studied the patterns etched into the leather of the bracers. Then, abruptly, he threw them carelessly to the ground and looked back up at Kassandra with blazing eyes.
"And yes, as for my ally, it's not because of his charming personality I didn't want you to shoot him. I fought him, for god's sake, and there are times when I'd like to do so again- but the point is that I would've thought you'd have the decency not to attack him at the worst possible time, in the lowest way- his back was turned!"
Agitated as he was, it took a moment for her last words to sink in. Once they had, though, all else was forgotten for a moment in concern for her.
"What happened?" he asked, his tone suddenly soft. This time he didn't manage to catch himself in time, reaching out to hold her once more before catching himself and dropping his arms stiffly. She didn't want him touching her now, she'd made that clear enough- but all the same, he examined her face anxiously, trying to determine what damage might have been done to her four months ago.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:31 pm

“Sucks for you then,” Kassandra snapped back. She didn’t want to hear some story about how she had wrecked his life by leaving to get her to feel guilty. She felt guilty enough already. And he had done what he had, he should have accepted the consequences and thought about them before just buggering off and doing as he pleased.

She flinched as Armeno rid himself of his bracers so suddenly, her arms tensing towards her. His damn ally. What sort of ally was it that stirred mutiny in the ranks, for Armeno to even fight him?
When had that happened? She had left him covering the man from Kassandra’s blast. There must have been some dire circumstances inside the DDC for a loyal warrior like the elf to rise up against one of his ‘comrades’. No wonder the Surahnian Rebels had taken Racksom. They would have done even without the few natives that had joined their cause.
It was this reason the Defenders had no unity though, that there was squabbling and desertion and mutiny in the ranks. It made her so angry, that Armeno thought he could go from biting at them to biting at her. And then that he could go straight to ‘caring’? He didn’t care.
Her face crumpled in upset and she lashed out with her hand at his face.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:14 pm


If he'd found it difficult to understand Kassandra's reactions before, it was nothing compared to now. How had she thought he was fishing for pity? He was seriously beginning to wonder if something had happened to fundamentally alter her view of him; he had his faults, of course, but complaining had never been one of them. He took it to the other extreme, if anything.

With all her flinching and cowering as if he was about to strike her, the last thing he expected was for her to hit him. When she did, he simply reeled with shock for a moment- not from the pain, but from the simple fact that she'd done it. It had hurt, but he'd had infinitely worse.
Taking a small step back, he stared at her in confusion for a moment, lifting a hand to touch where she had slapped him.

After a long moment, he shook his head and stepped backwards, dropping his arm.
"What happened?" he asked again, his voice still soft- but there was a double meaning to the question this time. What had happened to her in the year they'd been apart to change her like this? He imagined there had to be something he'd done, too- or that she thought he'd done- for her to treat him so differently, but he couldn't think what it might be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Last edited by Artemis on Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:05 pm

She had actually hit him. He had let her hit him. She had hit Armeno.
Gods, what was happening to her? Her head was a mess, and now she had let out her anger on him, it had suddenly completely left her, as if it hadn’t even been there in the first place. Now all Kassandra felt was upset and confusion. She blinked hard to try and stem the tears in her eyes, face creasing as she tried to stop herself from crying. She was managing, sort of, for as long as the shock was on his face, but when softness entered his voice even more, she couldn’t take it. A choked sob escaped her as she tried furiously to hide it, then turned to hide her face against Tamarisk’s neck, grabbing at his mane, then clawing at her hood after a second to hide herself from Armeno’s view. Her hair pulled and stuck around her face as she scrabbled with it, trying to be quiet but hardly succeeding.

It was all going wrong, and it was her fault. Why couldn’t she be more tolerant, she hated that she had hurt him now, and even more that he took it so calmly and showed her only care in return. She hated how stretched and stressed and unhappy she felt, when surely this was supposed to be a good thing?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:58 pm


Difficult as it was to deal with, Armeno was almost relieved when Kassie broke down crying. At least she wasn't shouting at him, picking holes in everything he said- though he hated to see her so upset. For a moment he hovered uneasily next to her, pondering over whether or not to comfort her- but given how she had been acting and how she was trying to hide her face from him now, he wasn't at all sure he'd be welcomed. Things were so much more difficult now, than before- when he'd just held her and things had slowly become right again.

But of course, Tabri couldn't have just left them in peace.

Still watching Kassandra in concern, he backed off a little and rifled through his saddlebags until he unearthed a handkerchief. Hoping she wouldn't attack him for this as well, he moved slowly towards Tamarisk- who was looking more than a little alarmed by his mistress' behaviour- and placed the handkerchief on his back, where Kassandra could take it if she wanted to or leave it if she didn't.

Velox seemed to take this minor attention paid to the other horse as an insult, coming up behind Armeno whinnying and nudging him in the back. The elf stepped back, stroking his horse- but the action was absent-minded, his attention still focused on Kassandra. Whatever she might have said or done, hurt as he might be, he still couldn't believe that she was here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:12 pm

Frustrated and upset, and moreso by the minute, the more she couldn’t control herself, Kassandra didn’t know whether it was better or worse that Armeno didn’t jump to assist her. She didn’t want to cry and make a fool of herself in front of him, which was exactly what she was doing; but at the same time, now she craved him to take her away from her fear and just hold her, make her forget.

She sniffled into Tamarisk’s mane as Armeno moved around behind her, hanging onto the long strands and hiding her face between her hands. Twitchy as a bird, she looked to Armeno’s hand as he came close, then snatched out at the small square of cloth he left behind for her, clutching it tightly in her hand. She rubbed it furiously across her eyes, horrified she was making such a fool of herself.
They hadn’t seen each other in a year, and she was doing this?!

“I’m so… sorry, stupid. I didn’t mean to hit you, I just…” She looked over her shoulder at him, pressing the cloth to her lips, but the sight of him standing so quietly just made her dissolve again and she buried her face.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:19 pm


Despite himself, Armeno couldn't help but picture Kassanda as some kind of animal; the wary, guarded look in her eyes as she glanced over at him, and the way her hand darted out to snatch up the handkerchief like it might vanish at any second. She seemed slightly improved after briefly scrubbing her face- if only slightly.

When she finally spoke again, he was once more at a loss for what to say. It was alright? Much as he wished it was, he didn't think either of them would delude themselves into actually believing it. Like it or not, they were definitely facing some issues here- they just had to hope those issues could be resolved.

Or at least, Armeno hoped so. Who knew what Kassandra wanted?

He came out with a small shrug, still searching for something to say.
"I w-" he managed, before she turned away again, pressing her face into Tamarisk's mane. Apparently, there was no calming her. Once again, he found himself awkwardly standing a little way from Kassandra, not knowing what to do. What was she going to think now- that he was never going to forgive her?

Hesitantly, he stepped towards her, stopping just far enough away to give her a little space- and himself enough room to dodge if she decided to attack him again. Without saying anything, he reached out and slowly put a hand on her shoulder, watching somewhat nervously for her reaction.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:13 pm

Feeling helpless and pathetic, ruined, of no worth at all and why would Armeno ever want to take her back, when she was such a waste of his time, and weak, and she just hated that he had even been so kind as to come, because here she was being useless and so undeserving of his attention. Why would he ever have wanted to see her like this? If anything, he had come for her how she had been a year ago… but Kassandra wasn’t Static any more, was she, she was just a wreck.

They were not thoughts to bring any peace to her mind, nor stop her sobbing against Tamarisk’s coat. She was surprised to feel him suddenly draw close to her however, willing to… no.
Why would he accept her like this?
She tensed under his hand, then hesitantly, slowly reached up to touch his warm, strong fingers, nervous and slow to draw his arm closer, so she could hug it to her chest. Her crying quietened until it was a sniffle, focussed on the touch of him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:35 pm


He could feel her shoulder, hunched as it already was, tense further when he laid his hand on it. For a second, he feared she was going to lash out at him again- much as he dreaded it, it hardly would have surprised him- but instead she reached up to his hand, taking it in hers and holding his arm somewhat awkwardly to her. Slowly, hardly daring to move any closer for fear of scaring her off again, Armeno took a step into her and eased his other arm over her shoulders, hugging her gently to him.
"You'll be okay," he murmured, not really knowing what he meant by it- well, just to reassure her, really. Unlikely as it did sound, though, he could almost start to believe himself when he stopped thinking for a moment and just let himself relax; he'd never realised quite how right it would feel to just hold Kassandra again, even as loosely as this.

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:52 pm

Kassandra quietly hugged on Armeno’s arm as he stood close, still tense… until he put his other arm around her. Then suddenly she was allowed to relax, take a deep breath where she realised she had been holding it in… and just appreciate Armeno.
It had been too long since she had felt his arms around her, his strength holding her, warmth leeching through her cloak. She had treated him badly, much too badly for that which he had done, and yet, he still came to her like this.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, wriggling around so she could bury her face against his chest instead, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. There were so many more words to say, but she just didn’t seem to be able to grasp at them properly to actually say everything on her mind. Everything crowded for attention and made her speechless. She snuffled against him, trying not to make his shirt wet when she was such a mess, although it was a somewhat futile task.
“It’s just been so hard… and I missed you.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: (Azure Caves) Meet me at the Caves (21st Board)   Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:02 am


Armeno didn't admit to himself just how scared he was of Kassandra pushing him away again until he felt the flood of relief when she didn't.
The feeling was indescribable when he finally felt her relax, the tension that had built up over the last year- and especially the last month- seeming to melt off his body all at once. When she turned to face him, her arms locking around his waist, he brought his other arm up to embrace her, letting out a long, peaceful breath.

This was right.

When she apologised to him, actually apologised, he could hardly believe it. Coming from Kassandra, that was about as common as a guardian dragon dropping by- but then, that had happened in Racksom, so who was he to judge? She was hardly the only one at fault here, either.

"I'm sorry, too," he murmured, dropping his head to rest it on top of hers, hugging her closer regardless of her tears. "And..." How to put it? How could he express in words how much he had yearned to hold her? "I missed you too," he finally said, simply. What more was there to say?
His breath caught in his throat slightly as he eventually pulled back from the embrace just enough to look down at her face, lifting one hand to tip her chin up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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