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The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Yvithia's fakes

Zi'da, 10th, 716th Arc
Ye Olde Inn, Midtown, Andaris

Almost thirty trials ago, Sin had promised an Eidisi squire a drink and today was the day he would finally manage it. After they had met the first time, Sin had spotted her a few times around, sometimes on duty much like him, other times training or in her free time but he had never had the chance to set a proper date for their get together. So with the new campaign approaching quickly, Sin had gone out of his way to look her up. Between public deployment lists and some quick asking around, Sin had learned where she usually came from and had called her aside when she returned from a patrol to ask her when she wanted to get together to visit Ye Olde Inn with him for that drink. He had been dressed in his squire outfit and so had she. Two Eidisi in a pod or something like that.

Sin shook his head before pulling his shirt over his head. Somehow, this season had started off horribly. What should have been a first date had turned into a meeting with the boyfriend. But after that the season had turned out quite well. During a social event at the Ferver estate, Sin had met with a lovely woman who had caught his eye and now, two trials later he was meeting with an actual Eidisi with a killer shot, literally. While Sin had done very little in the way of stopping one of the bandits running away, the Eidisi woman had shot him dead in mid run.

Once he was fully dressed, Sin put on his boots and pulled his cloak around him. It was cold outside as he opened the door. Turning two corners, Sin arrived on the main road where he blended in with the rest of the street quite quickly. His clothes were as generic of those around him and there were enough non humans in Andaris for him to not draw attention because of his skin color. He had left his weapon at home, realizing all too well that it wasn't of much use to him and knowing the main rule of Ye Olde Inn: no weapons inside. He hoped that sh-... What was her name? Oh shyte! Aelig's chaotic balls... How could you be such an idiot. Great foresight, just great. And you call yourself a tactician. What is wrong with you... Sin kicked a nearby barrel and immediately regretted it.

Hopping on one foot while holding the other, Sin cursed under his breath, calling upon all the immortals and their family jewels. The pain subsided just a bit later as Sin kept rubbing over the tip of his boot, doing very little to ease the pain. He flexed his toes as best he could inside his boot before carefully putting weight on it. It didn't hurt. Good. Sin walked through midtown towards the Crown. Since his own home was near the border of lowtown, everything important in midtown was in the direction of the Crown. The main street took him towards it quickly and by the time he arrived, the cold seemed less on his body.

Sin opened the door to the inn and stepped in. While it was mostly an inn, the ground floor of the place had enough space for people to eat and drink as well, even people not staying overnight. While it was in the late afternoon, the place was starting to get packed already. Being famous came with its perks for a place like this. Almost at the door, Sin was stopped and someone asked him to hand over any weaponry he had. He held open his cloak to show he wasn't packing anything. "I know the rules well enough here so I just left them at home right away." He smiled at the man who gave him a skeptic look before letting him in.

Sin claimed a small table near the window on the street side, a luxury spot once the main crowd got in. He put his cloak over back of his seat and waited. The heat from the fireplace was more than enough to keep him warm. His brown and beige tinted clothes mixed well with the wood in the interior and the clothes most people here were wearing. His outfit was by no means fashionable or attractive but here it was normal. A waitress came up to him to get his order. "I'm waiting on someone still, thanks." His eyes set on the door as the waitress left him alone for a while. Sin sat and waited for a woman he had invited for drinks without knowing her name. You're a big idiot. What were you thinking?
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Yana wasn't particularly fond of the cold, even now when it wasn't all that bad outside she'd rather trade this season for a warmer one. It wasn't the temperature per se, as that could easily be overcome with warm clothes. It was that she felt as if her mimicry of a being she was not could fall short at any moment. Granted, her body did adapt subconsciously to appear the same as any other mortal, but her cautious nature could not help but worry. Even if it was silly and unnecessary. In cold weather her skin seemed a little paler than usual, just like any other person's. It mattered not if she were pretending to be human or Eídisi. Her cheeks and nose mimicked a slight blush, also because of the cold. Because of the cold, any parts of her skin left uncovered felt also cold. No problems at all.

It was the breathing she worried about, not all the other things. Sure, she had been subtly trained by her mother, as any Yludih child was, to breathe. It had been done while she'd been too small to do anything else but cry and feed and sleep and excrete unneeded substances from her body. By all accounts breathing was as natural to her as it was to anyone else. Heck, she had to pay more attention to stop breathing rather that to continue, as she would inhale and exhale without even thinking about it. But still, she worried. In the cold, breath formed clouds of damp. In the cold, one could notice when someone was breathing from afar. She worried that she somehow might forget to breathe. Or that her body might fail her, and refrained from heating up the air she inhaled. That she might be found out. She knew what had sparked this nonsensical thinking; the meeting with the other Eídisi squire. (Or, like Hannes had labeled it with obvious jealousy and reproach in his voice when he'd found out about it, a date).

Not the meeting itself was making her feel uneasy, but the race of the man. Or rather, the respect Yana had for the Eídisi race. They were intelligent beings, quick of mind. She was worried that perhaps he'd see through her. Not that her father ever had, but then again, she hadn't known of her true heritage for most of the time spent with him. And when she had learned of her actual race and name, she had already been of an age described by many as the “rebellious fase” of teenage girls. She hadn't spent as much time with him after that. But now she worried. Before she had been unable to mess up due to being left in the dark, but now? Now she could make mistakes. True, she had met intelligent people before, but they had not been Eídisi. An Eídisi only needed a minor slip up to connect the dots. Despite her usual confidence in her act and mind, she still was nervous. If it doesn't pass I can and will blame it on social awkwardness, she decided.

She took a deep breath which failed to do anything at all for her, and opened the door to the Inn, blasted by warm air. She closed the door quickly, keeping the cold out, and moved to the counter, pulling off her warm gloves so she could unbuckle the belt that kept a dagger at her hip. Once her weapon had been taken care of, she stepped towards the table with the conspicuously bluish man sitting there, waiting for her.
“Mister Rathaan, I presume? I hope I did not keep you waiting for too long?” she spoke, slipping off her newly bought overcoat, and hanging it over her chair. The rest of her outfit was also new, purchased to repel the cold. As always, it was but simple clothing, a woolen shirt and pants, both a deep purple –though the pantaloons were of a deeper shade than the shirt.

“I did some asking around in the Hand,” she explained in regards to how she knew his name, while sitting herself down in her seat. She was not really sure what the conventional greeting was for a situation as this. A curtsy was a tad bit too much, she found, having noticed it was something reserved for the nobility, or for the 'common' females when greeting one of higher birth. Pressing her cheek against his while making a kissing sound did not feel quite right, and a handshake... well... So she just sat herself down, managing a tiny smile. “I am Saeri. Saeri LaChasse.”

She took a moment to study him again, her one good eye taking in his features while she gently pushed a lock of hair out of her face and behind her ear. She wore it loose this trial, as opposed to the ponytail she kept it in while on duty. From where she sat she could see some markings on his hands and face which she had not noticed before. They were just a tad bit paler than his skin, which was quite remarkable. Such pale skin was quite rare among the blue folk, she knew, as was his thinness. She suspected he was often asked if he was sick by other Eídisi because of it.

The waitress returned then, having noticed the expected company's arrival. She smiled politely, and asked for their orders, her eyes darting from one false Eídisi to the other, seemingly a little unnerved by the two pair of pupil- and irisless orbs pointed at her. Or perhaps she was attempting to read the any information on the nature of their relationship from their foreheads. Either way, Yana asked for a mug of ale, and when Sintih had placed his order, the waitress bounced off to another table.
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As he was waiting, Sin let his eyes wander, barely registering what he was seeing. He was excited to meet an actual Eidisi. It wasn't like he had never seen one before, Andaris and Rynmere were open enough to non-humans that they were everywhere, but he had never actually worked with one before and definitely hadn't asked one out for a drink before. He hoped things would work out. It was just a way to say thanks for the last time they were together. Nothing big, it wasn't like she had saved his life or anything, but she had been kind enough to haul his ass back to a medic once the whole thing had gotten back under control.

The door opened and Sin turned his head expectantly but a bunch of men walked in, handed over their weapons, and headed up the stairs, probably guests staying here. Despite being a well known inn, the prices at Ye Olde Inn were affordable for all but the lowtowners. Staying long term came with pretty good benefits as well as the price went down sharply depending on how long you wanted to stay. When he had first become free of his parents' constant oversight, Sin had thought about staying here instead of buying a place but his mother had put up some good arguments for why he should buy a place. He had the money at the time and never had gone into debt because of it. It was good to have a place of his own where he didn't need to worry about landlord rules or preventing damage to things when his rupturing went awry.

The door opened again and this time Sin looked up to see the Eidisi squire walking in. She walked over to the counter and handed over a dagger before stepping up to his table. Sin wasn't sure how to handle the greeting properly and as he hesitated to decide between a casual wave or standing up in the presence of a woman, she had already put her coat over the chair and sat down. See, you dunce, at least she did some research into the other party... "Just Rathaan is fine, miss LaChasse." Sin said as she was getting comfortable in her chair. She looked different from how he remembered her, mostly because she wasn't covered in armor, didn't have the Andaris tabard on and her hair wasn't tied up to regulations. It all looked much better this way.

He noticed the newer looking clothes, colored to match her own skin, maybe. For a moment, both Eidisi silently looked at each other, letting their eyes drift. He watched her push a lock behind her ear while he entangled his fingers together into a double fist and placed it softly on the table. He studied her face while she was looking at his hands and noticed that she lacked the scars other Eidisi always had. Curious, but nothing Sin worried over. Maybe she was lucky or maybe her scars were limited to the areas of her body currently covered by clothes. Sin didn't know enough about the race to attempt to question her.

Their few trill inspection came to an abrupt end when the waitress popped back to take their order. Where she had been fine before when it was just one empty-eyed Eidisi looking at her, she seemed a little less in her element when the both of them looked at her. Saeri ordered some ale, which Sin thought was a strange order for someone coming from a race of people that valued intelligence above all but again, asking stupid questions might make it difficult for him. "I'll have the fruit juice and whatever the homemade pie for today is." As the waitress left, Sin turned back to Saeri.

For a moment, he just kept quiet, openly looking at the woman in front of him. Unlike him, she had the exotic blue-ish purple skin color that most Eidisi had. "I'm still amazed at how long it took for me to sit down and talk with another Eidisi in the Iron Hand." Sin suddenly blurted out, smiling at her. "There aren't many of us in the Hand, are there?" His voice trailed of for a bit while he was thinking about something else. "So, tell me, Saeri, how did you end up in the Iron Hand?" Sin figured that between two off duty almost-knights, dropping formalities would be no problem. He wondered if there were any stuck ups in the higher up knights that kept referring to themselves and others as sir this and sir that.

While he listened to her story, the waitress returned with their drinks and a slice of homemade pear pie. She placed them all down and headed off to another order. Sin took his fruit juice and held it up for Saeri to toast against. "To not being on duty." Sin said with a smile. He sipped from his juice and placed it down before cutting a piece of his pie with his fork and trying it. As always, Ye Olde Inn did not disappoint. "Hmm... Do you want to try some?" He pushed his plate a little in Saeri's direction while holding out the fork. The fact that he just used it to try his first piece didn't register in the moment.
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After the waitress had left, Squire Rathaan –or just Rathaan, as he wished to be deferred to—started making conversation. It was a small confession to break the ice, but Yana could tell a great deal from it already. Well, if he was speaking the truth, of course. Though, why wouldn’t he? It seemed he too had yet to meet a whole lot of other Eídisi –or at least those few that had enrolled in the Hand. She suspected that it also meant he was a little nervous, though she couldn’t be sure. The way he’d blurted it out suggested he wasn’t the best at conversation, and that he might have been exited at the thought of this meeting. She smiled back at him while his voice trailed off for a moment. “Not all of us like to clean armors and tack for half an arc in order to get a job,” she joked. His next question was not an unexpected one, really, but it was a good conversation starter.

“Well,” she began, “originally I came to Rynmere for the University, to be honest. I wanted to go to Viden, but it was a bit too far, and my purse was not capable of getting me there.” She made a small “what can you do?” kind of gesture, then the waitress returned, and Yana took a sip of her ale after a toast. “So I arrived here, with little coin, and then I saw the entrance fee of the University. Needless to say I would not be able to rent a room, sustain myself, and attend classes without some sort of job with decent income.” She brushed a strand of hair back out of her face, putting it back behind her ear. “It took a while before I came across one of those flyers they hand out. You know, the ‘the Iron Hand wants YOU’ kind? It had a list of benefits on the back, and free classes at the University upon earning Knighthood was one of them. Though I must admit I also wanted to learn a thing or two about weaponry and military structure, and ways to defend myself. So it is a win-win situation.”

She paused for a second as he offered her a bite of his pie, and instead of gracefully turning his kind offer down like her better judgement told her, she accepted his fork. The false Eídisi wedged off a small part, impaled it, and carefully brought it to her mouth. Gently she placed the fork back on the platter while she chewed, licking her lips when she was done. “Hmm, this is pretty good,” she admitted, “I did not know they served pie here.” She drunk some ale to wash her throat, which did not really go well with the sweetness of the pie, but it did not really matter. Food was food. Sustenance was sustenance. “Pie this good, I mean. I was of the belief that the Bread Basket served the best ones, and none could compete.” Not that she had ever bought any sweets from that bakery ever, let alone from someplace else. She drunk enough alcohol not to need any additional sugar.

“What brought you into the Hand, Rathaan?” she guided the conversation back to topic, preempting an awkward silence that may or may not have been imminent. “I do apologize for a question I assume you hear far too often, but it is not all that convenient with a body as yours, is it?” His physique was about the polar opposite from what one so often saw in the Hand. Not a strong muscular man, this Rathaan, but a lanky thin fellow. Yana had seen archers –nay, clerks—with a better build than him. If he were human she might have expected a stubborn desire to prove others wrong and become a knight against all given advice, but surely an Eídisi would have a better reason, right?
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He liked her, especially her attitude. She was seemingly capable of seeing the funny side of things. According to her, Eidisi didn't like joining the Iron Hand because of the mandatory arcs of cleaning armors and tacks. Sin could get behind that. There was nothing he disliked more than cleaning up equipment of others. If he ever made it to knight, he'd never do another bit of equipment cleaning himself. And that's why squires always have to do it, because of such thinking. Sin smiled at her quip.

When she explained her origins into the Iron Hand, Sin was surprised to find many connections to his own story, despite having been born here. When she mentioned trying to get to Viden, Sin wondered where she was from originally then if she was going to Viden. As she told him about her desire to join the university Sin's mind reached back about a season of memories to pull up Solsarin, who had put it ever so eloquently. Why pay people to tell you to do something you were doing already? It just wasted money. He took another bite from his pie as he listened, absentmindedly chewing it. He was sure Saeri wasn't the first member of the Iron Hand who had joined for the benefits. Many a lowtowner did. Sin couldn't hold it against them either.

"It's not widely spread knowledge. They only make pie but I still think the bread basket's is better but their price reflects their skill." Sin mimicked Saeri's earlier 'what can you do' gesture with a smile. "I enjoy having some of it from time to time, helps me think and it helps to hold me over from lunch to dinner." Sin took another bite from his pie, enjoying it quietly until Saeri broke the silence with a question of her own, bringing the subject back from pie to the Iron Hand. When meeting new people it was always best to lay some groundwork first, talking about shared interests or life choices before getting to the nitty-gritty of pie discussions. While his smile remained, the sigh that escaped from between his lips in combination with the tone of his voice as he spoke would tell Saeri that Sin had long ago surrendered to the fact that he would be answering this question for the rest of his life.

"It's true that it's not easy when you look like this." Whether he meant being an Eidisi or being physically weak wasn't quite sure from his words. "And for a small part it's simply because others kept telling me I couldn't do it. But mostly it's because I have a mind for it. My body doesn't measure up for it, childhood sickness, you see, but my mind more than makes up for it. War, strategies, tactics, logistics. Apart from Will over at the barracks, I've yet to find someone to lose to." As he said the words, Sin realized that they simply sounded like bragging. He hid half an apologetic smile behind his hand as he rubbed over his chin. "I'm not trying to brag or anything, that's just how it is. When people think Iron Hand they think big, burly men swinging big swords and holding heavy shields while donned in full metal armor. Anything less and you're 'just playing'." Again, Sin repeated Saeri's 'what can you do' gesture but he seemed tenser, harsher as he did it this time. It was quite clear that Sin strongly opposed such views.

To calm himself down, Sin started cutting the rest of his pie in three somewhat equally sized pieces. "It wouldn't surprise me if you've come across similar situations simply because you're a woman." Sin took another piece from his pie, leaving only two now. They always seemed nice and big when you got them but you got through them so quickly. He took a sip from his juice to give him a moment to think. This wasn't the best subject to begin a get-together on. He quickly went over what Saeri had told him up till now and stopped on her desire to attend the university. "You said you wanted to get into the university. Any idea as to what you wanted to study first? There's a lot of options."

Sin was a little worried about their meeting. On one end, the lack of acknowledgement on account of his abilities in the Iron Hand was a constant source of irritation and anger for the young Eidisi. On the other, he had never had a one-on-one with another Eidisi and somewhere deep inside there was the gnawing feeling of worry that she'd find out he wasn't an actual Eidisi. She wouldn't understand if he explained to her that he'd lived his entire life as one and that the only difference between him and her was the fact that he went to a crystal city when he fell asleep while she dreamed about whatever she dreamt about. The combination of those two things made his, usually, well behaved manner towards others shake a little. If necessary, he could reach for flattery to try and mask any of his mistakes. Women always loved to hear just how much of an effect they had on you.
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It was apparent that her question was indeed one Rathaan would rather have seen and left unspoken. She understood well enough that he had developed a strong dislike for that specific question. She had known she might be treading on thin ice when voicing it, but that had not withheld her at all. Perhaps with someone she knew a bit better she may not have asked, though that usually came from already knowing the answer due to observation rather than consideration. It wasn’t as though she wanted to know what he was doing in the Hand, per se. He was Eídisi, he had a sharp mind, no doubt. There were other ways to flourish in the military than musculature and physical prowess.

Yana adopted a slight smile as he spoke, listening attentively. If she was disappointed that he admitted that others telling him it was impossible for him played a role, then she hid it well. In the end, though he phrased it differently, his goal did seem to be proving himself. Proving that he could become a high-ranking officer despite his build. That everyone was wrong. Frankly, it was something Yana had difficulty understanding. The need to show off. Proving oneself to others. Mind, she did understand competing against another, she could understand rivalry. That was about proving your superiority over another. To Yana, it was for herself. That she saw confirmed she was indeed better. But Rathaan spoke not of proving himself for himself. If he had, he wouldn’t have deemed it necessary to bring it up. It would not have mattered. It showed he did care about those nay-sayers. It was that which she could not wrap her head around.

Why would it matter if one said you couldn’t join the army because your body was weaker than normal? It only made clear that those fools were ignorant. That they did not know there was more to an army than brute force, armor and swords alone. Besides, if you knew you could do it, what need was there to show it to the world? If you knew you could climb a tree, but others said you couldn’t, why would you still climb the tree if there was nothing to be gained? Nothing but proving them wrong.

Despite it all, she smiled, leaning slightly towards the other squire to show interest. Deception was incomplete without body language, and when speaking, without the correct tone of voice. Expressions were one thing, but not the full image. She nodded at his words. “Well, I suppose. Though I never did pay heed to them.” If there was any person who knew what she could or couldn’t do, it was she herself, after all. “Besides, it plays into my advantage when facing such people in combat.” Though if Rathaan would ever decide to make use of his body in that way, there was little doubt it would be even more effective. With some training in the right fighting style, be it armed or unarmed, he could possibly take out anyone foolish enough to underestimate him.

As another silence began to encroach on them, Yana felt a bit at a loss of what to do to further the conversation. She did want to discuss some more meaningful topics, but without an idea of the other party’s interests, that was a difficult thing to do. Tactics and strategy, yes, she could talk about that, but only for so long. Sure, they could play a game of ‘what if’ to test the other’s mind, or they could even play a game of chess, but it would not help to get a general view on this man. Not to mention that she did not really wanted to talk war and tactics now, when they both were off duty…

Fortunately though, Rathaan had it covered, quickly guiding the conversation to the University and tuition. “There is a lot of options, indeed,” Yana agreed, pondering for a moment. “I am not sure yet, to be honest. I was thinking of Sciences, most likely Biology or Logic-” the latter would probably suit her just fine, though she wasn’t sure just how interesting it would be as a subject. “-however, History, Psychology, and Politics do sound very attractive as well.” She paused for a brief couple moments, ironically using alcohol to rehydrate her throat. “I had been considering one or other language as well, but I did hear the Language courses here pale in comparison to Viden’s, so…” her voice trailed off, and she gave a little shrug. “I will visit Viden anyway, eventually. Might as well study while I am at it.”

She placed an elbow on the table and rested her head in her palm, gazing at her company with an unfaltering, though genuine, smile of amusement. “Will you attend University when you earn your knighthood?” No if, just when. “Or have you already?” He hadn’t said he grew up in Andaris, though she thought it fairly possible he had. From how he’d been speaking when telling about his reasons to join the Hand, it seemed as if it had been some sort of dream, perhaps. Others had kept telling him he couldn’t do it, after all, which suggested he’d been wanting to join the Hand for a while. Though seeing as there were branches for every region in Rynmere, he might just have grown up somewhere else on the Island. He had worn a tabard with Gawyne’s symbol when she’d last seen him, after all.

Last edited by Yanahalqah on Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 943
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Sintih was impressed by the woman's ability to seemingly shrug off negative attention. It sounded like she barely even noticed that people were talking about her behind her back, or even in her face for that matter. The Iron Hand wasn't known for its subtlety when it came to social skills. From her words, Sin got the sense that she didn't really agree with him on the current subject. He ate another piece of the pie and regretfully noticed that it was almost finished. When Saeri accepted his change of subject to the university, Sin listened with great interest.

His own connection to the institution had brought with it many advantages that most people couldn't get. First, through his mother, a woman carrying the knowledge of an entire library in her head willing to teach him, forcing him to learn even, and when she left Idalos she arranged for a suitable tutor for the young Eídisi to replace herself and keep him occupied many arcs after she'd gone. Of course, at first their relationship had been one of mutual dislike, if not hate, but it had worked out over time. Sin briefly wondered what Doran was up to nowatrials.

As with many people faced with the option of choosing their own future, Saeri had no clue what she wanted to study at the university. There were many schools and various subjects within each one, even Sintih had no idea of the full extent of the offer provided by the university. Her interest had a certain feel to it, somehow Sintih got the distant feeling that she was interested in people mostly, biology, psychology, politics and even history all had to do with people. It explained her desire for learning languages as well. "That's quite a variety of options you're considering. Is there a particular reason for them or is it simply a general interest in the field?"

He was a little taken aback by the smiling, gazing attention he was getting from his companion. To recover himself, Sintih took a moment and drank the rest of his fruit juice, staring at the ceiling wondering why she was leaning towards him so much. "I've been taking some classes on and off for a while now but I'm not a full time student." If 'some' meant every other trial and 'on and off' meant for most of the past five arcs then Sintih definitely wasn't downplaying his academic achievements. "I think I'll officially start a course when I become a knight but I don't know which class or classes I'll take. Maybe study the language that is required for the higher up ranks. I know you can only choose one for a year upon becoming a knight. Hopefully there won't be many people taking that course so it'll be easier to earn a scholarship for a second year. But apart from that there isn't much I want to study in such detail that I can't read a few books on it in the public library." Sin grinned slightly as Solsarin came to mind again.

"As for Viden, it's much too cold for me there. While I'm sure there are classes there which are much better prepared and taught in Viden than here, I'm not going to go out of my way just to attend Viden University." Sin stabbed his fork into his last piece of pie and ate it. It was the delicious taste of a sad ending as he finished the piece. Sin waved at the waitress to draw her attention and ordered himself a second jug of juice from her. "Did you want anything else?" He glanced over towards her drink, not sure if she'd finished it or not. Once Saeri had answered, the waitress left to take care of their order. "They're sending a warden and his unit on a mission after the Qe'dreki in the Eastern Settlements, I heard, are you going to be a part of it, you think?" On one hand, Sin was very eager to get going on that mission, on the other, however, Malcolm was going to be in charge and Sin really didn't look forward to that. Beggars can't be choosers, however.
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The false Eídisi gave a slight shrug at the mention of the wide array of the subjects she was considering. “I suppose it might be a bit much to take on all at once.” Well, if she wanted to do a thorough job of attending classes, taking notes and confining the received knowledge into the vault of her mind, that is. “A reason..?” She echoed, pondering for a brief moment. “There might be. But it may be one I just cannot see despite it being right in front of me.” She frowned slightly. “Or perhaps because of it.” Usually that tended to be the case with … well, everything that had anything to do with her self and personality, it seemed. Others pointed things out, she denied it, thinking to know herself better than any other. Only to subconsciously pay attention to their words, mull over them, and ultimately come to the conclusion they were right all along. Not that it mattered. Any path that led to her Self was a good one. Staring in the figurative mirror was one of those paths.

Perhaps it was her imagination, but her companion seemed to be a little... surprised with her body language. Either way, it was enough to make the woman mentally flinch, though her shell did not even twitch. She wondered it had been too much. She wasn't sure. She wasn't good with this kind of thing. She usually did not bother showing interest, as most of the time it was feigned anyway. Not now though. Yana was genuinely curious about this man, and had though to communicate as much via body language. She'd read somewhere that making a person the center of your attention was a good start, and that leaning in amplified it. A smile of course, signified that you enjoyed their company and the conversation. Perhaps she had not quite been as subtle as she'd have liked. Nevertheless, she had to stick to her guns now, else it would be obvious. Perhaps her behavior was a little extreme, but it wasn't unnatural. Or so she hoped.

Why she was doing such things was not entirely clear to her, really. Perhaps it was because he was Eídisi and she was nervous she might come off as some sort of imposer by not responding to what he said and did? Maybe she just did not want to scare him off with her usual cold personality, so she could observe him more? Or was there another reason? Impossible, she snorted internally, Simply ridiculous.

She nodded to his words, filing the information away in her mind. “Ah, yes. That ancient language. What is it called again? Draketh? I suppose it would make sense to pick that.” Though she wasn't sure if it was worth learning instead of any other subject. Maybe together with another, yes. If she hadn't picked it up yet when she was made captain, she'd take a crash course. It shouldn't be too much of a problem to get something of a grasp of it, surely. Rathaan grinned, and Yana gave a chuckle. “I suppose that is a valid option as well, ” she agreed, “though you need to find the time first.” The Iron Hand wasn't really keen on giving squires a whole lot of free time, as they needed to fill in positions of knights that went out on campaigns or took some trials off. That combined with her second job as a mercenary kind of made time to be in short supply, resulting in far too few of it spent surrounded by books. Yana did not think she'd keep that schedule up for much longer. Her Eídisi self longed for knowledge after having been pretty much starved for too long now. Besides, she had money in excess now. It was not really necessary anymore to regularly go out as Rayna.

Her light frown vanished as her brain processed the last spoken words of the conversation she realized she'd only be following with half an ear. She also realized the waitress had returned. “Just a glass of water, thank you,” she requested, finishing off the remaining ale in her mug, and handed it to the barmaid. She took a breath in as the woman walked away, unsure just how distracted she had appeared all this time. Not that there was anything she could do about it now.

“Another rebel hunt under the command of Warden Krome, yes, I heard of it.” Her frown returned, and so did the waitress, who quickly placed their orders on the table before darting off again. “I considered joining the last one, but then I caught some excited talk of also hunting down the beast...” Her voice trailed off, the grotesque image of the monster popping into her mind. “Frankly, right then and there I decided I would rather live a while longer.” She ran a hand through her blue locks, sighing. ”Most of those who were fighting in the war did the same, I heard. I was quite surprised when the Warden returned. Not that running into the beast had been guaranteed.” One of her slender hands brought the wooden cup of water to her lips, bringing it back down after a small sip. “I reckon most of that campaign was made up of fools looking for fame and glory. Warden included. Anyone with a head on their shoulders would listen to what those who have seen and fought the beast had to say.” There had been some rumors floating about of a couple men that had been sent home when they had tried to warn the Warden of the monster. Then again, those rumors also said that those people had drawn their weapons and were trying to take over command. It was quite possible none of it was true.

Nevertheless... “I do not think I would thrive well among those with their heads so far up their asses that they can only see the glory that awaits them. Those are usually also the kind that do not listen to advice, nor take well to those that speak out of turn or object to stupid orders.” Yana cocked her head slightly, rubbing her temple as she put her thoughts into words, elbow leaning on the table. “Do not get me wrong. I understand the use and necessity of a chain of command, but a leader that is deaf for good advice should not be leading at all.” She took another drink of water. “I am not one to obey orders I deem foolish either, and knowing that, it is safer for my ambitions if I do not to tag along.” A smile. “That said though, I have never met Warden Krome, nor served under him. My decision is solely based on rumor, gossip and hearsay, and might have given me a warped image of him.” She shrugged lightly.

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t wasn't obvious to the young Eídisi why but he really enjoyed spending time with Saeri. She seemed to have much the same outlook on and expectations of life as him. He found it easy to relax while listening to her speak about her studies and all the things she was planning on doing still. He was impressed by her intellect as she remembered the name of the ancient language and found her vast interest in the various courses at the university like a breath of fresh air. He laughed when she mentioned their need to find time to do things outside of being squires in the Iron Hand. He really liked that she was in such a similar place as him. She was just easy to talk with and he seemed to get the impression that she was interested in him as well. At first, something about her had felt different, the way she sat and spoke with him was different than what he had experienced with some of the other women he had met recently, but it was easy to let himself slip into it.

Maybe it was because of his Eídisi like upbringing his mother had given him that made it so easy for him to connect with an actual Eídisi. Perhaps it was their similar experiences in the Iron Hand that had forged a bond between them before ever having met each other. Maybe they just clicked. "Between all the boots, saddles, armors and blades, I don't see a lot of time left to study. Maybe that's how the higher ups are trying to keep us controlled?" Sin said jokingly. He didn't really believe the average higher up even thought about squires enough to come up with such a plan. He took a sip from his newly arrived juice as he listened to Saeri's thoughts on the upcoming campaign.

Just when he thought they'd bonded over everything they could bond over, she went and completely mirrored his thoughts as if she'd plucked them right from his crystal head. He had been part of the first part of the expedition into the burning mountains but hadn't seen much action during it. The rebels had already moved out by the time they'd gotten there and he had been just another soldier in the warden's unit during the campaign. He'd seen a lot of cold nights by a fire, standing watch over a bunch of snoring knights and spent a lot of time cleaning other people's things and when the most interesting part of the mission went down, the warden had gone off on his own, basically, to do everything by himself. Neither the rebels nor the famed beast had been spotted in the burning mountains.

When she started to talk about the glory seekers that warden Krome's unit consisted of, Sin couldn't stop the surge of light to his ears and cheeks as they flushed a slightly darker shade of pale periwinkle. While she didn't mean it as such, he couldn't help but feel like she was talking about him. But he was different. He needed the glory, the reputation in order to get ahead, to step out of this endless pit of squire-ing and take his first steps as an accomplished knight. He needed them to see that he was more capable in certain, if not most, fields than the average knight. They had to understand that he was an asset was wasting away with cleaning duties and night sentry duties.

But he kept his thoughts to himself and hid them behind a casual shrug. "Most of his knights are as you describe them. But it's the only big campaign in the past three or four arcs, apart from the big rebellion and the shadow event, so I'm joining him once more. Nothing beats field experience in the end." He took another sip from his juice, looking mighty fierce with his cup in hand. "It's not easy when you're more qualified to lead than the people who are currently ordering you around, is it?" Sin gave her half a smile. "In campaigns like that, when the fighting breaks out, it's often so hectic that the orders that reach us, all the way down the ranks, are so vague that we can get away with 'misinterpreting' them a little every now and then. Besides, as long as the job is done, nobody will ask how it was done in the end."

Her use of the man's title and last name irritated Sin just a little but he shook it off. That the man was wholly overrated for the job was no secret to him. Warden Krome was not a man that Sin could respect. Between an endless supply of arrogance and a steady stream of military mistakes and failures that went unpunished and, in fact, were even rewarded, Sin couldn't understand why the man held such a high rank within the Iron Hand. "I served under him during the Burning Mountains campaign and I can tell you that what I've seen of the man seems to agree with the rumors, gossip and hearsay you've heard." There was a touch of anger in Sin's voice as he spoke about Malcolm. He didn't want to let the man ruin what had been a good time so far so Sin focused on his cup for a moment, taking another swig of his drink and forcing the warden from his mind.

He sat his cup down with a little bit too much force, causing the juice to swirl around inside of it. "But let's not talk too much about that. There will always be people like that in charge of people like us. Tell me, Saeri LaChasse, besides guarding kings and foiling assassination attempts what do you do? I mean, what does Saeri do to relax after a hard day of being a squire?" As he spoke, Sin tangled his fingers together and placed the double fist against his chin, letting his head rest on it, showing his interest in her answer. Unaware himself, during the conversation so far, Sin had slowly been drawn in by Saeri's body language and was starting to mimic her, leaning forward to show his interest, eyes locked with hers, a faint blush still on his cheeks. Leaning forward also made it seem like she was much closer now. Sin found his view shifting from her eyes to her face, taking her in in more detail.
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Yana chuckled at Rathaan's joke. She was actually pleasantly surprised with how this meeting had turned out. Not only because it appeared the Eídisi in front of her was not seeing through her Yludih illusions and false mannerisms -though to be fair, she had been raised as an Eídisi for more than a decade, and had believed herself to be one for the same amount of time, so she was in all aspects but body a full member of the blue race. But it wasn't only because of that. No, she liked Rathaan, even though she might not have realized on a conscious level. Somehow he had succeeded in making her feel at ease. He laughed at her little quips addressed at the Hand, and even though she wasn't the most jocular at all, his laughter made her look forward to the next opportunity to sneak in another one. His smile was infectious, prying the corners of her own mouth upwards.

He looked at her too, not in a shallow way, no. She could see interest in his features, genuine interest in what she said and what she found of certain things. It felt like it had been a long while since someone had. Well, there was Hannes, of course, but him and Rathaan could hardly be compared. Rathaan felt as if he truly understood her, while Hannes... well... She wasn't even sure what he really thought of her. How far did his infatuation reach? Was she just a crush? A conquest? Someone he enjoyed chasing, but would lose interest in once he'd reached his goal? Yana did not know. Not that she was even remotely interested in him either.

While she had been speaking of the previous campaign and her thoughts on it, she'd noticed Rathaan's pale skin had gotten a little more color on his cheeks and ears. The sight evoked the hint of a smile to play around Yana's lips. She wondered briefly if she'd blundered, if he'd been there, among the other knights and squires she'd lumped into one group of glory-seekers. She hoped he did not feel insulted, though she did not apologize. He'd have probably scowled or something if he'd felt attacked by her statements.

The Eídisi male shrugged, agreeing with her. Yana drank from her water. He casually dropped that he had indeed been among those who'd participated in the last campaign, but justified his presence there by stating he wanted to gain some experience in the field. Yana nodded. “There is a world of difference between what we learn during our time as squires, and what we need to know in order to do a good job out there,” she agreed.

It was clear that Rathaan was not in the mood to continue the conversation on the current subject, and Yana couldn't really blame him. From how he'd spoken of Warden Krome the false Eídisi guessed he had no positive feelings for the guy. Besides, it was not every trial they had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat over a drink anyway. Quite obviously it was a rare chance to get to know each other just a tiny bit better. She gave him a small smile, playing with the cup of water in her hand. “I would not really call either of those things part of my daily routine, really,” she began, eyes shifting from watching his lips move as he spoke to his white orbs above. “Usually, on the rare occasion that I am not completely exhausted from the drills, I can enjoy a good read.”She paused for a moment. “Sometimes stories, tales and legends. Other times more informative literature.” She sipped of her water again, noticing her cup was almost empty. “If I can find a decent opponent I also enjoy a good game of chess.”

“Do you play it?” she asked after a moment of silence. “I think I might want to play against you some trial.” She leaned on her elbow still, her tiny smile having grown just a little bit, but it was there nonetheless. He had claimed to be adept at logistics and tactics, both of which she found could be translated into the game. Chess was a game of strategy after all. Of mind games, of outsmarting your opponent with traps and bait and the willingness to sacrifice some of your troops. “I would like to say I have more hobbies, but as you know, there are only so many breaks in a trial.” A wry smile.

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