44th Ymiden, 720
Llyr felt ether press against the air, invisible and otherwise imperceptible... except for the talented etherist. He wondered what magic Hart had performed before entering the cafe, but it wasn't anything that seemed to extend outward towards others.
Once seated, Llyr glanced a few times at Wren. The boy acted rather serious, but he recognized those looks - and Llyr refused a sense of approval, until Wren took the mittens off, and the biqaj leaned ever so slightly. His gloved fingers tickled over Wren's hair, to mess it up, then smooth it down in a touch of approval instead. He patted the child on the head, then tapped at the next step on the puzzle before he leaned back against the bench. Arm against the back of the booth's couch, Llyr acted silently protective with the placement around Wren.
However, Llyr's gaze fixed on Hart. He noticed the soft blush, and the fidget with the coat sleeve. The mage didn't bother with any further lead-up, as he tossed the conversation onto the proverbial table for them all to look at. This was not some date, or family get-together, or whatever people did. This was also not a business deal. So, in Llyr's approximation, the fact that he had to take time for it... it grated on the young biqaj. He had known it was unavoidable (if Hart had survived his little visit before Llyr returned, which he had) but it still bothered him on a level he didn't fully acknowledge.
So, he had to hold his tongue when Hart admitted he had no plans. How does one not have any
plans? Llyr didn't understand that, nor did he trust it. It had to be a lie. Why else would Hart have led with Truthfully
before making the claim?
The tea arrived, and Llyr settled his own cup. No black tea for Wren, but he did have a mild herbal tea prepared for the boy. Such orders were given ahead of time, when he had first established with the cafe that this particular booth would be left empty for whenever he was in the city. It cost a small fee, but it was worth the convivence due to how close the cafe was to his current residence.
Hart ordered toast, and Llyr wondered if he ate lightly or if something else had caused the modest order. He tapped his fingers against the back of the curved couch. He leaned over, then whispered in Wren's ear: Toast does not make a decent breakfast, Wren. It has no meat, no oats, and no herbs.
Llyr could have simply telepathically related the statement, but there were a few reasons why he didn't. Whispering worked perfectly fine. He lifted again, offered a forced thin smile at the waiter, and said, "Soaked oats with rosemary, and do you have fox today? Yes? Then some strips of flank, not the sausage. Bloody."
He glanced at Wren while the boy ordered next, with the same simple expectation of being heard and respected. Llyr noticed the mimicry, and his smile twitched a little more sincere. Once Wren said thank you, Llyr made a small dismissive gesture with a wave of his fingers for the waitstaff to leave them.
While they waited for their food, the conversation returned to the important topic.
One arm still stretched along the back of the couch, the other rose slightly so that Llyr placed his gloved hand on the table. While Hart talked, he slowly touched each finger against the surface with a muted tap. He didn't interrupt or interject, but his smile faded soon enough. His eyes were blue in the hue of deep sapphires. For most of what Hart said, Llyr gathered his thoughts and started to gradually knot his own emotions so they wouldn't rise through his tangle. The blue in his eyes cooled to a paler tint.
Such was necessary because Llyr could not allow himself to feel the way he would have, otherwise. His thoughts would have gotten tripped and mixed up, and unsure how to respond to all that Hart claimed. He felt a lash of anger, and quickly knotted the thread, before it showed in his sensitive biqaj eyes. His hand lifted away from the table and he moved to instead play with one of the rings underneath the glove in a slow fidget. He had always agreed that he would bring Wren to Hart, ever since Eliza Soule had trusted him with the boy's guardianship...
...but that had been a long while ago. Nearly an arc. Llyr had, of course, grown attached to the boy who remained in his household for all that time. They'd spent plenty of time in Emea together, both in their dreamscapes where they manipulated the worlds around them, and in the Veil where they often strolled while Llyr told Wren stories of his emean travels. Sometimes, the boy spoke otherwise too and shared his hopes and his enthusiasm for whatever it was that caught his eye at the time. And Llyr would let him talk. As much as Wren wanted. And then he wouldn't press for any more information once Wren wanted to be quiet. It was a sort of relation that felt easy to Llyr. Few things felt so easy.
Llyr leaned slightly away from Wren while he adjusted his seated posture. His hands came forward, and he picked up the tea cup. The biqaj breathed in the black tea, then sipped. Warm, but not hot. He sipped again, then set it down and exhaled in a slow quiet manner.
For a bit, he didn't say anything more than that. The waitstaff arrived with the food, quick as ever to supply the consistent patron with the meal. He hadn't given them the signal to delay it, after all, so they hadn't. He did set a nel on the table as a tip for the waiter though. Once the meals were in proper spots, and Llyr made sure that Wren had everything he needed to eat with, then Llyr examined his own food.
The oats looked more like porridge and the mere sight almost made him sick. The bloody strips of fox meat looked far more appetizing. He scraped a spoon along the thinly sliced meat, gathered the blood, then looked at Hart. The blond set the spoonful of blood against his lips, then his tongue glided out along the underside of the metal curve. Pale lips wrapped around in slow, gentle tease. His cheeks hollowed in a demure suck of the spoon's head, then he pulled the dining utensil away from his mouth with a quiet smack
sound. The silver had gotten entirely clean of the blood, shiny with hints of Llyr's saliva.
A small drop of blood had caught on the corner of his lips. He felt the warmth, the tip of his tongue slowly licked it away while he kept his blue-eyed gaze fixed on Hart. The mage strummed his own threads, and the blue flecked with lavenders and sea-foam green within the irises. His halo flickered, a warm cast of light from the ring.
"If it is only a matter of money,"
said Llyr. His gaze slid away while he scraped the spoon over the strips to gather the raw animal blood again. "Then that is simple."
"You would be correct in your assumption that I am busy,"
he said while he used the second spoonful of blood to mix with the oats in a slow stir. "How else does one make money? It is the predicament of any father, because children require both presence and security. It is why I bother to have familiar faces that Wren knows, outside of myself. Certainly you are somewhat aware of biqaj traditions in this?"
"Do you have family, Hart?"
inquired Llyr while he gathered some more blood to mix with the oats.
Llyr glanced once at Wren, then continued once Hart either answered or refused, "There are few places in Idalos that have such education as here, but tutors can travel anywhere. Maybe when he is older, Viden would be far more imperative to further his studies. However..."
He almost sighed. Almost. Llyr glanced out at the cafe, his eyes blue again, and avoided any eye contact with either Hart or Wren. He said, "...I have need of couriers for my company. Couriers able and willing to travel great distances between cities. If you were to do this for me, then I can easily provide for your monetary needs."
"I grew up traveling,"
he mentioned, though he spoke to Wren rather than Hart. "My father took me all over, on the seas and... elsewhere. It is important for any of us to learn how to traverse the waking world just as it is important to learn of Emea."
said Llyr while his blue-eyed gaze moved onto Hart in a sort of look that didn't allow for much hiding. The empath ethereally danced around to explore Hart's tangle; and thus emotions. "...a contract about such an arrangement would need to be drafted and signed. If it suits you?"