• PM To Join • Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Two students are forced into each other's company

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Virikai Talius
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:29 pm

4th Trial of Zi'da, 717th Arc



The Prime Atheneum was heaving and, from the level of noise, Virikai was sure that the majority were not regular students. There seemed to be no adherence to the unspoken social etiquette that governed the vast library: that which insisted on relative silence in all areas. This was not a playground; some people actually had to study. A few well-aimed glares had a number of people hushing, but it was not enough and the Talius heir, expression set into one of utmost contempt for the general public, grabbed the book he wanted from the shelf and stalked down the stacks of shelves towards the staircase.

The lowermost floor, housing all tomes on the sciences and related subjects, was where Virikai would normally work. However there was no hope of drowning out the chatter and laughter today, so he decided to try his luck on the level above, where students of the arts usually set up camp. He had been up here a number of times: sometimes to work with his sister; others to just learn something different.

Today it was just to find some peace in which to work. Virikai climbed onto the landing of the first floor and strode forward with purpose, head held high. As he always expected, people would move out of his way; his path was straight with no twisting between milling students. Occasionally he would nod in acknowledgement to those who bowed their own heads, murmuring “My Lord,” as he passed them. It was not unexpected: Virikai was an heir, not a lord, but it was a courtesy that most natural-born Videnese citizens would bestow upon him and his elite contemporaries regardless.

Eventually, he found a table in a secluded part of the Atheneum. To his dismay it was not empty - there was a young eídisi woman, close to his age if he were to take a guess, sitting at it. He glared at the back of her dark teal head, as if she had intentionally ensured that he would not be able to work alone. After a deep breath in, the Talius scion adjusted his features into an expression of polite indifference and approached the table.

Would you mind if I sat here?” If it were his sister, he would ask to ‘join her’. But he would not give anyone the false impression of thinking they were doing him a favour by allowing him to sit down. He had gestured at the seat, but did not pause long enough to wait for a response before actioning his own thinly-veiled request. If the woman agreed, she would be speaking when he was already pulling the chair out and preparing his vellum to continue taking notes.
Last edited by Virikai Talius on Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Maebella
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:21 pm

There were too many books.

Maebella had never thought that she'd ever believe that there was such a thing as too many books but then she'd had to carry them, which had promptly changed her mind. When she'd worked in the Prime Atheneum, she'd had an awful habit of carrying sizeable stacks of books around but back then she'd been sensible about it; there had been a reasonable limit. Now, when she was actually studying here, all common sense seemed to have gone flying out the window. It wasn't her fault that every book she searched for was in close proximity to many other books that caught her eye. Admittedly, when she'd arrived at the table with the third stack without even having begun her study session, she probably should have realised that she'd gone overboard.

There wasn't a chance that she'd get through all of these books to-trial but she'd certainly be making a list of all those she'd collected so she could find them again and tick them off once she'd perused them. In fact, that turned out to be the young woman's first order of business, scribbling down the multitude of titles, filling a page with neat print. She was inclined to write in script but as soon as that happened, she'd get carried away in her excitement and it would become illegible. It had happened more than once before that she'd been unable to decipher her own scrawl. It would be a disaster if she couldn't read the book titles but carefully printing each letter was also agonisingly slow so she allowed herself to write in a careful script instead once she opened the first tome, taking pains to keep her excitement in check.

The youth had only marked Common Approaches to Literature down at the head of her notes when an Eídisi man appeared. She blinked stupidly at him for a moment over her piles of books, her mind completely out of gear for social interactions. However, before she even had a chance to open her mouth to say anything at all, he'd already moved to take a seat at her table. In fact, he already seemed to have his mind on other things as if she was so insignificant she wasn't even worth bothering with. Maebella gaped at him for a trill before letting out a little huff.

"Oh well, apparently it doesn't concern you whether I mind or not," she whispered coldly, white eyes narrowing as they fixed on his face. Her mouth contorted slightly, lower jaw jutting out to one side as she glared. Even as she did so, there was something niggling at her, some familiarity about him but she couldn't grasp it. There was no way that the young woman was going to ask him; her pride wouldn't allow her to seek an answer when she knew she could discover it herself. She had the necessary knowledge, it was only a matter of accessing it.

When she probed for the answer, it eluded her. She could feel it slip just out of reach, teasingly close to her outstretched mental fingertips. As irritating as it was, she had to let it go for the time being and hope that some association would arise that made it easier to retrieve.

Her eyes flicked over the materials he had, trying to read his notes upside down, something that proved difficult. There was no way to assert any sort of superiority that way, no way to show off her knowledge so instead, she chose to gripe.

"I might mind a great deal about you sitting here, you know. I could have been holding that seat for someone or I might simply have had no desire for your company. Hasn't anyone ever told you that you shouldn't assume that you have someone's permission until they've given it?" she questioned curtly, her voice remaining low.
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:25 pm

The corners of Virikai’s lips curled as hie looked into his bag, removing the ink pot and reservoir pen and placing them onto the table next to the vellum. The girl had spirit, that much could be said of her… even if her manners were a little too ill-refined for his liking. He did not respond, only turning to his book and opening it to the first page and beginning to read. He did not want to enter into a conversation with the girl, even if they had to share a table.

If she looked at him, she would notice a crisp, well-fitting outfit that indicated a certain amount of wealth. It was not often that Virikai was mistaken for a commoner, and a small part of him was amused at the mistake this girl was making.

A few bits passed and Virikai worked in silence. He was aware, all the while, of the young woman’s glare directed at him. It was any enough to ignore, but when she started to speak again, the Talius heir had to close his eyes and count to five before looking up to meet her milky-white gaze. “No,” he replied softly, his tone quiet but cold, “It has been a very long time since anyone demanded such a thing from me.

Virikai was severely unimpressed. He did not require people to bow to him, but he expected respect from those he met. Did this girl have any idea who she was speaking to? And here he had always thought that eídisi were intelligent… well, there was always at least one exception to every rule, he supposed. “Regardless… on such a day, where the Prime Atheneum is overflowing, it would be inordinately selfish of you to refuse another student the opportunity to study, would it not?

He fixed her gaze pointedly, as if rebuking a small child, before returning to his work. It was relatively dull research that he was conducting today, even if it was necessary groundwork. He was looking at the typical development, physically and cerebrally, of humans, after which he will start looking at other relevant races, namely the ellune and eídisi. After that, once he knew what typical development looked like could he consider atypical development. Virikai secretly admitted to being interested in eídisi development - he was looking forward to seeing how advanced he was when compared to his peers.

If you have more interest in ensuring that you share a table with your… friends, than focusing on your studies,” the scion continued without glancing up, “Then perhaps you are wasting your money here. Did you ever consider pursuing your academics in Rynmere?
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Maebella
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:49 pm

The Eídisi girl couldn't deal with the indignation that bubbled beneath the surface, making her temper rise to such a degree that the heat of it was likely to outdo cold reason. She wasn't going to get emotional, or at least that's what she told herself. As it was, it appeared safe to say that she'd allowed emotion to get the better of her thus far. All she had succeeded in doing thus far was making a minor fool of herself. Thankfully, it was only minor in her eyes but if she wasn't careful, she might well say something more idiotic.

When the man finally deemed to make a reply to her, she regarded him coolly, taking in his clothing, the planes of his face and... her breath caught. Prior to this, she hadn't had a good look at his face and thus, hadn't registered the scar-like mark on his right eye. It was certainly distinctive, a soft, shiny blue that stood out on his skin in spite of its hue. Yvithia. That's what it was, a mark of her favour. She wasn't wholly certain what having the mark entailed but she knew enough to realise that the erudite Immortal valued his intellect. Before that obvious external symbol, she felt highly insignificant. After all, what was she compared to that? All Maebella had ever managed to do was kill one of the Immortal's favoured servants when her birth brought about her mother's death. Hadn't she always been a reminder of sorrow, failure, disaster?

To make matters worse, the sight of the blessing sufficed to jar certain pieces of information loose in her brain so that this time, the girl could easily remember why the man before her bore the air of familiarity: he was the Talius heir. The epiphany cooled indignation and anger, so efficient in fact that she felt herself go cold. It wasn't logical given the heat of the building that she was in but she found herself giving a little shudder.

Once before, she had made a mistake in this very building. It had been well over an arc ago now, on another occasion when she had felt full of her own self-righteous importance. Back then, she'd effectively turned up her nose at an aristocrat, making lofty claims about the lack of importance that titles held for her and for the Videnese more generally. Actually, if she remembered correctly, she'd made some flippant remark that perhaps there was what could be considered nobility in the city. Once again, she was going to have to humble herself immensely after making a terrible, unforgivable mistake. It was quite likely that she'd caused offence but it was far more likely that the other of her race now regarded her with some disdain.

Her thoughts had effectively proved the depths of her humiliation by the time the other finished speaking but still there was a flare of spirit within her as if she was desperate to sink to an even greater low. It was laughable and utterly self-deprecating but she wanted to triumphantly declare to the man that she didn't really have any friends and certainly none within Viden Academy. Thankfully, she realised the levels of her own pettily driven stupidity before she opened her mouth. Instead, the young woman's eyes closed, her eyelids scrunching with tension and a muscle twitched at the outer corner of her left eye. She took a deep breath, counting silently and trying to determine what she'd say to patch this.

"My apologies, I didn't mean to suggest that you weren't welcome to the seat. You're a Talius, aren't you? The heir?" she asked softly, before some socially or intellectually suicidal impulse took hold of her. "Did it not occur to you that you shouldn't expect respect from someone without showing them the first in return? After all, you couldn't even wait for a response from me before assuming you could sit. Maybe friends was an ill chosen word but what if I had been due to work with others on some manner of project? I don't think it could be deemed as selfish to wish to succeed in an intellectual endeavour and strive to do so. You, however, would have other options open to you but-"

The youth broke off abruptly with a sigh and a slight shake of her head, eyes fixed on the table as she chewed her lip. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have... This is why no one wishes to interact with me. I suppose it's no less than I deserve," she explained bluntly, turning her attention back to her book, something that had become sorely neglected. Why was she so intent on irritating aristocracy rather than simply focusing on her studies? Maebella understood what her priorities were and yet, she'd allowed irrational emotion to carry her away.

How one was to approach literature, now that was a matter of import. Her eyes fixed on the title to the first approach concerning literature as worthy of artistic merit but she couldn't concentrate, her gaze crossing the same words again and again without extracting their meaning. Her heart and mind weren't in it; she was too concerned with how badly the other Eídisi was likely to respond to her. Not that she could blame him. She'd been as much a bitch as her classmates had accused her of being. An ice queen with her nose in the air and an icicle up her ass.
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:14 am

t was interesting to watch the emotions fly across the other woman’s face. It wasn’t unheard of, to see such a display in an eídisi, but it was certainly not common. Virikai wondered if this girl had lived her entire life in Viden; other cultures were likely to bleed into the natural psyche of any race, which may be affecting her. Or maybe she was just an unusual specimen. It was refreshing, Virikai thought… but that did not mean that he approved of it.

She was finally taking him in, finally realising just who she was speaking to. He inclined his head, “Virikai Talius.” The smile was still present and, to an outsider, his gaze would appear blind, or blank. But another eídidi would easily recognise the way his eyes searched her own, taking in everything as he regarded her, “and whom do I have the… pleasure of making the acquaintance of?

Then the young woman surprised him, and his brow shot up as she continued down her tirade, evidently thinking she had some moral high ground upon which she could look down on her betters. “No. You shouldn’t have,” Virikai would not sink to her level - he was as calm inside as he was outwardly appearing.

I asked if I may sit, what further respect would you need?” He asked, dumbfounded. “There are enough rooms in the Academy’s Wings in which to complete any group work, the Atheneum is not an appropriate venue for such learning. Quiet discussion, yes, but I have yet to complete group work without the decibels rising at some point in the session. Now that would be selfish of you.” His statement wasn’t strictly true, even if there was an element of truth to it. In part, Virikai wondered whether she would insist on arguing with him.

The woman certainly had opinions, and that was part of what the eídisi prided above all else. She just needed a filter, to think before speaking. She was far too loose with her tongue. When the girl turned back to her work, he too looked down at his book, starting on the physical developmental stages of human infants: when the average child would learn to sit, crawl, walk, and talk.

It is hardly my place to judge you on a meeting of five bits.” The Talius heir’s tone was a little more cutting, as if wounded that she would decide how he felt about her. If he had a lose tongue, he would tell her that he felt nothing for her; he would most likely finish his studying and walk away, forgetting her name and her face. “Have your peers been so unkind to you that you are determined to find fault in me before you even know me? It is a strange protective mechanism. Common, yes, but very primitive.
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:49 pm

Virikai Tailus. It was so obvious when he said it aloud that the girl wondered how she'd initially failed to recognise him. To make such an error was the very height of ignorance and incompetence, but to make matters worse, he was certain to have made note of her failings. Considering who he was, Maebella's response to him was the most awful first impressions she could have made. Her father would be horrified to discover that his only daughter had done such a thing and no doubt, he'd bring her mother into the matter. After all, he'd used than one occasion in the past to point out how Trinna would have been shamed by one thing or another if she still lived. Such comments were double-edged swords, both a way of worsening her current shame and a reminder of the damage she'd caused by killing her mother when she was born into the world.

Humiliating herself in front of one of Viden's scions probably shouldn't have come as a surprise. It seemed inevitable that her life was doomed to failure, every good opportunity reduced to tatters by her before she even understood what she was losing. Perhaps it was mere superstition but the signs certainly seemed to be against her and it wasn't unheard of for Immortals to interfere with the lives of mortals. Sometimes, the young Eídisi wondered if she'd been cursed without fully realising it. Her horrible inability to communicate with others in a way that wasn't negative felt like divine retribution from Yvithia for killing one of her beloved subjects.

She made a show of staring intently at her book with a frown on her face as if she'd found something worthy of such note. However, despite appearances, she was paying close attention to what Virikai had to say but simply couldn't bring herself to meet his eye again, not yet.

When he talked about protective mechanisms and how hers was primitive, she decided that enough was enough. She set her work carefully aside, allowing the man to see that she was giving him her full attention. Clasping her hands together, she placed them on the table before her and leaned towards him.

"All right, we've clearly had a poor beginning here so I think it's necessary to clarify and explain certain things," she murmured. "I'm not intent on finding fault with you and whether I form a judgement about you after five bits or five breaks is of little concern to me. I haven't come here to socialise so getting to know you is far from being a priority for me. That being said, it would have been nice, no... courteous if you'd allowed me to acknowledge your question, even if it was mere pretence to begin with." She cleared her throat quietly. "As for my peers, I don't see why they have anything to do with this. I had no peers to speak of for most of my formative years and consequently, the quirks or 'mechanisms' behind certain aspects of my personality have nothing to do with them. My family have always considered me to be atypical but I'd appreciate if you wouldn't analyse my psychology at the present time."

The scholar tucked her hair behind her ears and picked up her study materials again. "If for some reason you wish to psychoanalyse me, I'm sure a more suitable time and place can be arranged. For the time being, I'm sure we both have better things to be doing. You obviously didn't come here for conversation and neither did I." A small, humourless smile flitted across her features before she bowed her head back over her work to read. "I'm Maebella by the way, Maebella Arval. I'm sure the pleasure of making your acquaintance is all mine," she murmured, a hint of sarcasm entering her voice at the end. It didn't seep in intentionally but once it came out, she was glad; perhaps it would prevent him from recognising the name and connecting it with her mother's. Her family might not be as significant as his but her mother had been loved and reasonably well-known.
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:18 pm

Would the girl ever shut up? It took a lot of self-control for Virikai not to groan as, out of the corner of his eye, he saw her commit to making her point known to him. Books and notes were pushed aside and milky eyes gazed directly at him, hard and determined. As the girl spoke, Virikai did not look up from his notes, nor did he give her his fullest attention. Eyes flickered from the large tome in front of him to his vellum sheet, where he was confirming and building upon notes from his lectures.

Momentarily, the Talius scion wondered if the girl was looking for sympathy, what with the way she rambled about lack of companions. Virikai, having never wanted for anything, could not empathise… and he certainly wasn’t about to experience something as debasing as pity. No, he continued to focus on more important matters, only the occasional twitch of his features providing an indication that he was still listening.

When the girl opposite him referenced their mutual desire to study in silence, Virikai could not help the curl of his lips into an amused smirk as a single eyebrow rose. The medical student inclined his head in agreement, but did not respond, particularly not to rise to any of the inexpertly placed bait.

The pair remained in silence, and Virikai took the time to not down a timeline of typical ages at which a human infant would have enough motor control to do certain things. Most infants would be able to sit, roll, crawl, stand and walk by one arc. A quick flick through a second book showed that eídisi gross motor development didn’t seem to be much different. However fine motor control did have some variation: eídisi were generally far more advanced. Frowning, Virikai flipped through the pages to find the difference between fine and gross motor control. They were exactly what they sounded like: fine motor skills involved smaller muscle groups for more delicate tasks, whereas gross motor skills would involves multiple, or larger, muscle groups.

The eídisi spoke again, and Virikai closed his eyes, praying to Yvithia for patience. But then he heard her surname and he paused for a moment before opening his eyes and glancing up. “Arval? Are you perchance related to Trinna Arval?” Virikai had never met nor known the woman - how could he, Virikai had only been an infant when she had passed away in childbirth, but she had been a well-respected linguist. Virikai’s own sister, who was studying Linguistics, spent much of her time referring to the woman’s pioneering efforts in academia, which is how Virikai knew the name.
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:28 pm

Virikai didn't seem willing to speak to her but that was fine. It was silence that they both wanted after all so she couldn't exactly blame him for remaining mute. Considering how long of a monologue she'd just been on, she couldn't blame him for smirking either when she spoke of silence; the Eídisi girl hadn't exactly been practising what she'd been preaching. Maebella responded to the show of humour with a faint smile of her own, tucking her hair behind her ear as she focused on making notes.

She wrote down the words, "Art for art's sake," before she read through the debate that followed, skimming so she could get the gist of it. Apparently, there were only some sorts of literature that were considered 'true art' while others were deemed as trashy. The girl's brows rose as she read on, incredulous as she scanned through an argument that seemed largely based on class bias. Those who were highly educated seemed able to see what was worthy of attention, what was in 'good taste' and could be considered art. They could also decide what was in 'bad taste' and that seemed to be anything that was enjoyed by those of a lower class, mainly those who had less educational capital. It was something that was largely linked to money as only those who had a lot of it could receive the amount of education that was seemingly needed to make such judgements.

It made the young woman frown. She could see the sense of it in some respects - those who had education could determine what the ignorant could not - but she could also see the flaws. The same people who called certain types of literature art were also the ones who devalued those things they determined as lesser. While she knew that some highly popular forms of literature could be quite crass, such as the raunchy ballads that people with truly filthy minds managed to compose, there was at least a few grains of worth in them somewhere, even if it only provided insight into the culture that made it popular in the first place. Still, she had to note down arguments for later consideration, adding some of her opinions in afterwards that she might later be able to bring up in class.

Maebella had been lost in her own pleasant little world, mind whirling with thoughts provoked by what she was reading. Her near total immersion had happened quite rapidly but she'd actually managed to forget Virikai. She hadn't really been expecting to hear any more from him and thus, the Eídisi had happily blocked him from her immediate thoughts. As such, his words came as quite a shock. Firstly, it was unexpected that he was speaking at all but secondly, she was horrified by the potential connection that he'd drawn. He was on the right track but that didn't mean that she wanted him asking her about that!

For a whole bit, the youth remained silent, eyes moving over the words in her book without absorbing any of them as she tried to prevent herself from sinking into a horrible place within herself where guilt reigned and her self-confidence dipped. If Caius was here, she had an idea what he might tell her but he wasn't here; hadn't he abandoned her so he could return to Rynmere? It was just Mae without friends, without family and with classmates who delighted in tormenting her. But perhaps Virikai didn't know the destruction she'd wrought on her entry to this world and maybe, if she told him, he wouldn't point the finger of blame her way. After all, he was a fellow Eídisi so he ought to be logical about the matter but how many times had she told those of her race and been met with that thoughtful silence as they considered the implications of her words?

So she sat in rigid silence, gaze fixed until she finally licked her lips in an attempt to moisten them, her mouth seeming to have gone impossibly dry. Her milky eyes rose, her expression incredible grave. "Yes, I'm related to her. She was my mother," she explained, teeth briefly nipping at her lip. "She died after... after I was born."

It wasn't a lie but it did mean that the cause wasn't immediately apparent. Her mother hadn't died straightaway but had taken a bit or two to bleed out, a concept that always made the young woman conjure up images of animals being butchered, which seemed like a terrible and less than dignified way to die. Of course, her careful phrasing might well be for naught. If he knew of her mother then he might well know how she'd met her end and from there, it would be easy to work out with a little calculation.
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:10 pm

Ah, a daughter. The hesitation in the woman’s voice as she spoke was enough of a clue for Virikai to assume that she was the survivor of a birth that had had fatal effects on the mother. It was uncommon, in Viden, for such a thing to be the cause of death. Medical advances had been great enough that for the past half a century childbirth had been relatively safe. Immortals, some families even risked travel through the tundra for the increased chance of delivering safely.

That was the reason for Trinna Arval’s death causing such a sensation: because it shouldn’t have happened. Her legacy was further advances in medicine, as well as linguistics. His sister studied her theories, but even Virikai would use her as a case study for changes in medical practice.

Virikai did not create false platitudes of sympathy for the woman across form him, despite the social expectation, even in Videnese society. How could he be sympathetic for a death that happened over two decades ago? One that Maebella could not remember? Yet he sensed the girl’s discomfort and resigned himself that he would not be able to work with the dark cloud that had drifted over the table. ‘This girl is a sensitive little soul, isn’t she?’ The lordling thought with some amusement.

With a very limited motional compass of his own - even by eídisi standards - Virikai sometimes struggled to identify what others were feeling. He was not adept enough with his control of Xypha to use that to help him, but every so often Kai was able to use context and intuition to make an educated guess. It wasn’t sadness the girl was feeling, it was guilt. Somewhere in the short span of life Maebella had lived, someone had led her to believe that she was responsible… and worse, she had apparently believed it.

Maebella Arva was challenging everything Virikai thought he knew about the eídisi race: where was her logic? Surely her emotions had not so clouded her judgement that she could truly believe an infant, a newborn with no control over her actions, could be responsible for a death? He placed his fountain pen down and leaned back in the high-backed chair, regarding the other for a few ticks.

When he spoke, it would be obvious that his words were not representative of what was on his mind. She was like a puzzle… an impossible one. Impossible because she appears to be missing a few pieces. In a word, she was a challenge.

You’re lucky my sister isn’t here. You’d be tried to your seat and subjected to Raven reciting the life and works of your mother… and then you would be forced to answer every trivial, facile question that enters her mind.” He smiled, “Avoid her. She’s obvious enough to spot: regal, looks down on everyone she meets, but with a rebellious streak that screams daddy issues and a desperation to avoid the responsibilities of being born into my family.
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Something's Gotta Give (Mae)

Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:11 pm

Concentrating on her studies seemed like an impossibility now. Virikai's presence had left her self-conscious and uncomfortable, making the notion of studying in his vicinity a highly unpleasant prospect indeed. It wasn't that she had an issue with the man - Yvithia, she didn't know him! - but rather that he'd made her think in ways that were problematic for her. She wanted to be able to bury herself in her work, to become lost in critiques and analyses but now her concentration was broken and it seemed unlikely that it would return to her. All the same, she didn't think that she could stomach rising and leaving now. The young Eídisi didn't want her companion to draw the (correct) conclusion that she was fleeing on his account.

After gathering the multitude of books that she had, she wasn't keen on the prospect of leaving them behind; she couldn't carry all of them away with her when she left the Prime Atheneum. Thankfully, she'd written the titles down earlier but she was reluctant to leave all the same. Still, it was a route that had to be considered and so while the young man scrutinised her, she began to jot down a number of quick additional notes. The handwriting that she'd gone to so much effort to keep clear and legible now became more of a scrawl, each ink mark close to oozing into its neighbour as she moved the nib hastily back and forth. By the time she'd gotten everything down, she's managed to stain her fingertips, the side of her hand and even the hem of her sleeve with ink.

Carefully blotting her skin so that she wouldn't transfer ink onto her face, or worse still on the pages of the books, she turned her attention back to the argument of literature as art. Or rather she tried to do so. Of course, the moment she attempted to do so, the Talius set down his pen and actually leaned back in his chair to stare at her with an intensity that made her feel as if she was being stripped bare and dissected before him. Her white eyes lifted to stare right back, her brows raising questioningly. The blue-skinned woman wanted to make him look away, either from shame or something else but she couldn't manage to be in any way intimidating, particularly when anxiety shone in her white gaze rather distinctly.

When he spoke, Maebella decided that this was unendurable. He discussed his sister and how she would interrogate her and place her under intense scrutiny, but he was already doing an excellent job of making her feel like an object rather than a person. She could almost see him twisting her this way and that in his mind, trying to puzzle her out, trying to work out how to make her release her secrets. Yes, perhaps she was sensitive. Perhaps she'd been more correct than Caius Gawyne had given her credit for when she'd explained that there was something off about her compared to other Eídisi. At this moment in time, she felt like a freak of nature that Virikai was investigating and to make matters worse, it bothered her.

Not wanting to appear panicked, she slipped a piece of paper into the book she'd been reading and began to gather up her belongings. "I'll be sure to be on the look out for her so that I can avoid crossing paths with her then. If I have the misfortune to be caught by her, I'll be sure to withhold my identity in order to prevent any... probing examinations," she murmured, pausing and gazing at him pointedly as she said the last part. She placed her bag on her shoulder and hoisted up the tottering stack of books that she'd acquired, balancing them carefully so that she wouldn't send them toppling to the floor.

"The table is all your own, Virikai Talius. It was pleasant to make your acquaintance," Maebella remarked as she stiffly inclined her head. With that done, perhaps all too obviously revealing her true feelings, she moved away to deposit the books on one of the sorting shelves so she could flee before the other Eídisi could pursue her out of curiosity.
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