• Closed • Fak Plz

Once the epitome of advancement and wonderment, this ancient city has suffered an apocalyptic catastrophe and now drowns deeper into destruction as schemes and further disasters threaten to tear it asunder. Hope has long since left the land... but some have refused to surrender their place in the sun
Post Reply
User avatar
Llyr Llywelyn
Approved Character
Posts: 678
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:24 am
Race: Biqaj
Renown: +300
Character Sheet
Character Wiki
Plot Notes
Personal Journal
Templates
Letters
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 5

Fak Plz

Sat May 18, 2019 4:03 am

Previous
66 Ashan 719.
Have you any interest, lord, in the world?

It’d been the last question that Kiwi had asked of him… well, the last asked while still in the loft at Lucretia’s home. Zarik had changed course then, in promise that he would answer, once they had something to eat. He didn’t know whether the man required food or… simply didn’t want to burden him, but Zarik intended to show the visitor hospitality. He wanted Kiwi to stay longer.

So the Biqaj led the Quacian down the spiral staircase into the one-room suite that housed both the study – lined with numerous bookshelves filled with various tomes ranging in subjects; the couple of long tables covered in research implements, books, and scrolls; a few benches of stone and chairs of wood; a kitchenette with white stone stools and a counter that could be used for dining.

Lucretia sat at the head of a table. The heavily mutated empath didn’t glance their way. Her cyan-lit gaze was stuck on the middle of a book. Every half-a-trill, she turned the page with a swift click of her tongue to accompany the turn. In a faintly strained voice, she managed to greet them, “Morning.” It was all she could do, compelled by her spark to spend all her attention and energy to finishing the book that was in her hands.

At the kitchenette counter, a human girl of 8 arcs jumped from a stool. Blond with widely curious eyes, she looked between the two men. She narrowed her eyes with suspicion then, and asked Kiwi in common, “Where’d you come from, mister?”

The shorter, darker blonde stared at her for a trill but said nothing.

Zarik set a hand on the top of her head, ruffled her hair, and said, “This is my friend, Kiwi. Kiwi, this is my daughter, Hazel.”

Kiwi inclined his head in a polite bow. “Hazel.”

“And,” he gestured over to Lucretia, “that is Lucretia Clement, author, scholar, and one of the most brilliant minds I have the honor of knowing.”

A scoff sounded from Lucretia, then she clicked her tongue, and flipped the page.

“Do you have a preference for tea? There’s mint and rot-root and a blend that I made myself from a mix of spices and herbs,” offered Zarik as he walked to the kitchenette. He retrieved a kettle and busied himself with the chore of preparing tea, while Kiwi remained still, staring intensely at Lucretia.

“Clement?” he echoed, apparently disinterested in Zarik’s offer of refreshment. “The author of the Inquisitione Scintilla Meam?”

There was no indication that Kiwi’s question was intended for Lucretia or Zarik - or even Hazel -, but Lucretia replied with a distracted, “Yes.”

For a moment, it seemed as if Kiwi were going to say something more, but, instead, he offered Lucretia a proper bow and a quiet, “A pleasure to make your acquaintance.” after which he turned to address Zarik’s previous question as if it had only just been asked. “It would be a waste to serve me anything, but I recognize your hospitality.”

With that, he settled onto one of the stone stools, posture rigid - but more so out of what seemed to be habit than a sense of discomfort - as he calmly observed Zarik’s preparations. Patiently, Zarik assumed, waiting for the answer he’d assured him would come once there was some food in him.

Lucretia’s cyan-lit eyes flickered from the book. The shadows at her back flared, gathering darkness around her before settling again over her shoulders like a cowl. She said simply, “Lord Zarik.”

Zarik winced. So much for not having a name. He had already collected water and gotten it over a small flame with the help of Hazel. The girl moved around to peer at Kiwi, whose head turned to stare silently back in return, before she ran past and disappeared up the spiral staircase.

The blond Biqaj sighed. He glanced over at his guest and said, “Lucretia appreciates your recognition, but due to her spark, she is unable to easily detach herself from what she is reading.” He assumed the Dreamer, after everything they discussed, would understand such a thing.

“I see,” Kiwi murmured, glancing at the darked haired woman, the bright glint of curiosity in his eyes.

“Why would it be a waste?” Zarik questioned. He set four ceramic cups along the counter. With a small spoon, he started to scoop a small amount of crushed leaves into each.

“I have no need of it,” the other replied, seemingly dragging his focus away from the author and back to his host. “Better to save it for yourself and yours.” He seemed to possess that Quacian frugality - one of the few things about him that supported Zarik’s assumption - and from his clothes alone, he was perhaps one of the many far less fortunate; though… his manner of speech and general demeanor suggested otherwise.

Zarik was no stranger to the oddity of a Heap capable of speaking and acting above the level of expected peasantry. The economical thought of the other man brought a smile to him. It felt almost nostalgic, even though it had hardly been even a season’s worth of trials since he’d been much the same. He’d gradually started to lose that aspect of himself, torn asunder by wealth and then his Becomer spark.

“It is no trouble,” he said regardless. Kiwi opened his mouth as if to decline yet again but seemed to think better of it and, instead, sat and waited quietly, stare gradually shifting to settle on Lucretia once more. Zarik checked the water but it wasn’t hot enough yet. He returned to the counter, opposite of the human, and he rested his elbows on the surface. He leaned forward. The irises of his eyes had warmed again, a faint amber and topaz yellow light that soothed the previous blues. “Did you desire anything to eat as well or would that also be a waste of something you don’t require?”

“A waste,” Kiwi absently replied, the corner of his left eyebrow twitching as Lucretia clicked and turned a page.

“You wish for my answer, don’t you?” said Zarik. His voice lilted in an almost teasing tone. He smiled again, though slyly, and the yellow in his eyes glittered against the cyan lights of the study. The windows, after all, were heavily boarded up and covered by the bookshelves to block any sunlight from peeking through.

That seemed to get Kiwi’s attention. The dreamer turned again to face him, grey-green eyes piercing as ever. “I do, yes.”

Zarik left the counter, to retrieve the kettle of water that had started to boil. He swiftly rotated his body with ease, a graceful step to his bare crystalline feet, and he brought it over to pour the water into the cups at equal portions. All the while the now expectant stare never left him.

Did he have any interest in the world? He’d been thinking of the question since it’d been asked in the loft. Though he wished to answer for Kiwi, he wanted to answer as sincerely as possible. He set aside the kettle, only a bit of leftover water remaining in it. Zarik glanced at Lucretia, then looked at the spiral staircase. From the top, he could see the young Marcoveran girl watching them.

“I do,” he said quietly. His smile faded when he watched Hazel retreat into the loft once she’d been caught in her observation. He stared for a few trills more before gradually bringing his gaze to land on Kiwi. “If I didn’t have interest in the world, would I be here?” Kiwi raised a brow at that, but didn’t interrupt as Zarik continued. “I have...”

He paused, a hand already placed on his chest, but the spiel he normally would give in such a moment… he felt his heart weaken and his enthusiasm became muted. He lowered his hand and his gaze, surrendering to a momentary sense of vulnerability. Zarik slid over one of the cups for Kiwi to either ignore or sip. Instead of his usual words, he said, “I have chosen this world over others, in moments of great pain. I care for Idalos immensely.”

word count: 1411
Quick Note
Zarik is currently undergoing a name change to Llyr.
If threading in Quacia prior to 80 Ashan, refer to him in narrative still as Zarik.
User avatar
Mads
Approved Character
Posts: 340
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:37 pm
Race: Human
Profession: hex hawker
Renown: +65
Character Sheet
Secrets
Templates
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 5
Medal count: 1

Contribution

Re: Fak Plz

Sat May 18, 2019 9:55 am

There was a soothing quality to the herbal scents of a nicely steeped tea. Though he made no move to drink it, Mathias set the cup directly in front of him, the thin vapors that rose up from the steaming, golden hued water’s surface dissipating just before they reached his nose, ferrying along the pleasant aroma nonetheless. He watched Zarik recede into himself, so much the shadow of his light and bright Emean persona. “You care for Idalos,” Mathias echoed in a contemplative murmur. He could see the pain in the other man’s seafoam green eyes without the assistance of the Biqaj’s shifting irises.

Pain, according to Fiona, brought with it progress, but only once it was overcome. The fear of it, the reluctance to repeat it, even the anger it incited were all drives, pushing one ever forward. It was something he didn’t understand, and something he couldn’t comprehend. It was more than the sting of a cut or throb of a bruise. Though Fiona assured him - in her own way - that it was a benefit, Mathias wasn’t quite so certain.

Sadness had never been something he’d had much tact in handling.

“If you had all the power in the world at your disposal,” he started, eyes bright, watching, and boring into Zarik’s like two unfaltering blades slowly pushing in and through the other man’s skull, “What would you do with it?”

The question brought other colours to the Biqaj’s eyes. As he glanced once toward Lucretia, the pale greens turned amber, then rose pink. When he brought his gaze back to match the intense look, the irises had become devoid of colour in a wash of crystalline white. They glimmered with inner light sourced from only his own ether. In sincere consideration of the question, a smile slowly drew onto his pale, chapped lips. He answered simply, “Help.”

“Just… help?” Mathias inquired; the slight pause in his voice was as clear an expression of confusion as he ever really gave. “That is rather vague, lord.”

The pale blond nodded. He picked up one of the cups and breathed in the steam, then lowered it without a sip. He replied, “I know not what the future holds, so specifics aren’t something I would be able to sincerely offer in such an answer. However, I suppose I could… extrapolate.”

Mathias nodded, interest now the standard gleam in his eyes.

“There is nothing more I intend to do during my mortal life on Idalos than to help those who need it. People like…” he glanced toward the spiral staircase, “Hazel, orphaned by bloodshed that could have been prevented. Or… Lucretia, even.” He looked over to the woman who remained paralyzed by her spark as she neared the end of the tome she read. “With all her brilliance, her life is dictated by her sparks and even she requires help. All of Idalos, from the most powerful entity to the smallest maggot, needs help of some sort and so, if I had all the power in the world at my disposal, I would help them all in the ways that they need to be helped.”

Was that the answer Fiona had wanted?

It was clear Zarik was a man of motivations dictated by his sense of morality. A sense, Mathias supposed, could prove problematic, but not so much so that it could not be anticipated and worked around. All this, of course, assuming the man was willing to work with them and they, in turn, were willing to overlook the liabilities of allying themselves with so garish a mage and so formidable a past.

What was the phrase? No risk, no reward?

“Even if these people you aid do nothing for you in return?” The purpose and very nature of altruism completely escaped him.

Zarik arched an eyebrow at the returned question. He leaned over the counter and lightly placed a hand on Mathias’ wrist. He smiled slightly, and said, “They will always do something in return, small or great. For me though? Directly? Well, if you’d asked me that before… perhaps I might’ve been keener to explain that nothing is an act of charity, in the end. Now?” he removed his hand with a slight gesture as if in apology for the touch. “I do not know.”

It was hardly an answer, but an answer nonetheless. An admission of uncertainty, if pursued, would only ever really end where it began. Mathias nodded, saying nothing. Instead, he studied Zarik’s face: the mark, his eyes, his pointed ears, the apology in more than just his gesture. Fiona would have certainly described him as weak - perhaps even pathetic. He seemed defeated, though only in the most surface of senses, and Mathias mulled over whether the potential was worth the price.

He was powerful enough to brush aside the passive effects of a field without batting an eye. He was confident enough to politely entertain a stranger who had intruded upon his home and accosted him with questions. He was wise enough to know that not all questions had answers, nor that answers should be given to every question.

But was he useful?

“Why did you touch me, lord?” he asked, stare steady and voice even more so. If it had bothered him - or even excited him - there was no indication of it displayed on any of his features.

The Biqaj lifted the cup of tea. A different sort of expression crossed his pallid features, bemusement. The white of his eyes became colourful again with gentle tints of lavender. He seemed to hesitate, but only in a moment’s thought of how he wished to answer before he did, “So you would know I am here, for you as well.”

“I see.”

“You come from Quacia and thus, you are of this world, are you not?”

“I am not of Emea if that is what you are implying,” Mathias replied, the tips of his fingers and thumbs touching, hands flat on the counter, with the cup in the middle. He could vaguely feel the heat of it, but more so in the sense that he knew it was hot rather than the sensation itself. “But if you are… ‘here for me’, as you say,” he continued, “What would you do should you be forced to act upon that pledge?”

A hyperbolic situation required two options of equally uncertain terms.

“Consider the Lady Clement,” His head nodded toward the dark-haired, decidedly unnerving woman who still quietly flicked through the pages of her book, “Or your daughter Hazel.” He didn’t need to turn around to know that little eyes still peeked around the stairs to the loft. “I assume you are dedicated to both in a more meaningful way than you are to me.” Mathias offered no pause for a reply in that moment, it was a statement, not a question. “If you were faced with a situation in which you could either save one or the other,” Grey-green eyes blazed bright with curiosity. “Who would you choose? And why?”

“Hm,” hummed the Biqaj. He picked up two of the teacups. They had cooled enough to be shared. Zarik walked around the counter and paused beside Mathias, in closer proximity. He quietly said, “You ask a question with little context for situation and thus, how am I supposed to answer when I know not the circumstances of what would force such a distinct choice?”

“You seem to have a suitable enough imagination for it, lord.” Mathias replied.

Zarik walked over to the table and set one of the cups of tea in front of Lucretia. She didn’t glance but nodded once and flipped the page. Zarik said in a louder, clear voice while he turned to look back at Mathias, “Obviously help does not always mean what one might expect. Help does not mean invariably saving a person, in such a scenario like I believe you are trying to create.”

“Oh?”

Over to the stairwell, he lightly whistled. Hazel hurried down the stairs with pitter-pattered feet, then grabbed the teacup before running back upstairs to the loft. Zarik smiled, his expression one of fondness, then he returned to the kitchenette counter. “So even though your premise is vague and likely flawed, and I will assume you mean something as plain as rescue regarding life or death… well…”

Zarik looked over at Lucretia, then he answered, “Hazel, because she is…” his dark brows furrowed. He said in a low, deep voice, “Pure… and she has more natural life to live.”

For all the man’s critique, his answer was surprisingly pragmatic - the concept of “purity” having any value at all notwithstanding. “And if this same, flawed premise were applied to these two and Idalos itself?” Mathias’ stare remained focused on the etherist, brow just barely raised in question. “A choice between three rather than two?”

“Idalos,” he answered, as expected, without hesitation or a moment’s pause. Zarik gave a look to the other man as if almost disappointed by the question itself. “What of you, Kiwi? If you had all the power of the world at your disposal, what would you do with it?”

Perhaps he was more asset than liability after all.

Fiona hadn’t been pleased with his answer the first time, but it hadn’t changed much over the course of the season. “I would remove existence.” He stood then, tea untouched, his bare feet padding lightly against the cool stone of the floor. “Thank you for your patience and hospitality, Lord Zarik.” He offered a smile, an almost profession curve of the lips that would have been charming had it even been distantly echoed in those blank, bright eyes of it. He tapped at the divot just below his own lip, certain Zarik no doubt could put two and two together. “We will be in touch.”

He’d been pressing lightly against the veil for some time, testing it, feeling where it was weakest, where he could slip through. One moment, he was standing there, in the kitchen, bright eyes staring blankly at Zarik. The next, Lucretia had closed her book and Mathias was gone.

“Quite a friend you’ve made,” said Lucretia.
. . .66 Ashan 719. . .
word count: 1730
Post Reply

Return to “Quacia”