Surprise Meetings

Kura meets Faith...again

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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75th of Zi'da, 716

Kura lit her pipe as she looked out of her city, her icy eyes fixed on the docks, where the midday sun danced on the waves. She was well above where the docks were, and even she couldn't make out anything happening on them, but that didn't matter yet. She hadn't taken on the Strangler case, not yet, but she was keeping an ear to the ground regarding any new details about the case, along with the eyes, ears, and nose of her two familiars. "Hmmmph. Difficult to tell which scent is the one we want to follow." she said, her tone thoughtful before she turned away from the view. There was naught she could do in regards to the Strangler yet, but she knew that as soon as she got hold of any thread that would help to unravel the case, then nothing would shake her from this killers trail.

For now though, she was hungry. She headed into the Earth Quarter and made her way to the Bronze Boar, a bar and restaurant that had very quickly become a favorite of hers. Partially it was due to the fact that Ithecal were close enough to their bigger cousins in both protective instincts and appearance that the owner alone was a source of comfort her, but the real reason was the stricter discipline in the Bronze Boar compared to most of Rharne. Kura was an Imperial and discipline was the backbone of Imperial society and culture. However, in Rharne, it was all but non-existent and that fact grated on her. So while she would occasionally go to places like the Harlot n' Hound for a bit of fun, she preferred the Bronze Boar in general.

Walking into the bar and shutting out the cold of the Zi'da afternoon, she walked over to the bar and grinned at Daveth. "Simple meal with meat, please. Oh, and a mug of ale." she said, her tone cheerful. Phelan and Speck were sleeping in her apartment at the moment, as they did a fair bit of their work at night these days, and so the Mortalborn was alone. Daveth had her order ready with his usual speed and efficency and she handed him the fare for her meal before wandering over to a table against the wall, where she watched the room as she ate.

OOC: Kura spends 9 SN in total in this thread, deducted from her ledger.
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The Bronze Boar, Earth Quarter.

"I had a lovely morning, thank you. It's a fascinating place, isn't it?" Faith stood on tiptoe and kissed him on the cheek. Having been there a few trials now, and fully into their investigation of the Strangler as they were, it had been nice to spend a morning just walking around, seeing sights and so on. The market had been fascinating, with such a lot of exotic and unusual things. Faith had been intrigued by some of the foodstuffs and had wandered around, making a few surreptitious purchases here and there, which she had secreted away in the black bag she carried with her.

Having walked around all morning, though, they were both hungry and so had decided to stop here and eat. "The Bronze Boar? That's an interesting name, isn't it? I wonder why they call it that." But the food smells which wafted into the street were more than tempting and she was happy to go and sit a while. She rolled her eyes and gave him a vaguely apologetic look as she moved to open the door for him, but his much longer reach got there first. It was all just habit and she would break them all, or not as the case may be. The trick, Faith was learning, was not to worry about it. So, she slipped into the bar itself and took his arm the moment he came in, too.

"There's a table over there, look." She motioned and there was a well-placed table where they could look out of the window if they chose to. She glanced around the room, but more in a way of looking for the layout of the place. It seemed spacious enough, and she moved over with Padraig as they took the vacant table.

"I bought some things for you." She smiled at him, her hand reaching for his across the table. "They're unique to this place and I thought you'd like them for your work. Here." She had to take her hand out of his as quickly as she'd put it in as she put down a small jar, filled with a multi coloured dust. "It's called Stormdust. It's usually sold in very small amounts, just enough to coat a bottle, but they sold me more. Isn't it beautiful?" While he examined that she rummaged some more and then put down a small box, which she pushed forward to him. Inside were a number of crystals, which looked like pieces of quartz. "They call it bottled lightning. It absorbs light and then glows. I thought it was better to get lots of small ones rather than one big one, but we can go back if you'd like to?" She watched his face and reached out for his hand again.

"I have discovered a tendency to shop which surprises me, you know. She was teasing, but also telling the absolute truth "I think I might have to get a third job when we go back to Andaris." Looking out of the window, she wondered whether the feeling of freedom she had here was because of the place or her. It was probably just time, she reasoned, coinciding with being away. But there was no doubting that the young woman was different; even to outward appearances ~ certainly from what Kura had seen previously. Whilst wandering around Rharne she wore a long yellow skirt and a white blouse. The mixing, and even the wearing, of colours was new to her, but she discovered that she was enjoying it. Her hair was tied back into a loose braid with some yellow ribbons. Pulling herself back from thoughts of going back to Andaris and determined to enjoy their vacation for what it was, Faith smiled. "What do you think? Aren't they interesting? I thought you'd enjoy to experiment with them."
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Deducted from ledger:
4gn for 4 ozs of stormdust
4gn for 2 medium crystals of bottled lightning
4gn for 8 small crystals of bottled lightning

I haven't put the purchases in her ledger, as they're going into Padraig's in this thread. :)
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It was a different sort of city than Andaris. Different enough to strike up plenty of interest in just spending a morning exploring it. The market and it's many, various wares was a curiosity worth looking into. And those times when Faith briefly wandered away caused Padraig to smile, so long as he was able to keep her in sight. She did seem to enjoy shopping. No one needed to tell him that.

He'd enjoyed the morning as well, and he told her so. But when she suggested they stop in somewhere for something to eat, she'd find him more than happy to oblige. All that walking around, he'd developed an appetite and a yearning for something that would warm him from the inside out.

The Bronze Boar? Who knew. "Maybe," Padraig suggested once they decided to give the place a try, and he beat her to opening the door, "the proprietor was once a pig farmer. Maybe a local or regional significance. Or, maybe the owner just liked how it sounds." No matter, he thought, if the smells coming from the place were any indication, the food was good.

The place was filling up too, which was another good sign and they were lucky to find an available table. "You should stop buying things for me, and buy them for yourself," he scolded her, but also teased as she dug into her sack. He knew that having money and things of her own were both new to her. But thinking of others before herself was an old habit. But also part of who she was. The combination then caused her to spoil him. And while he wouldn't object, since he'd like to spoil her in return...still, maybe she spoiled him too much.

The things she'd purchased though were fascinating, and he'd not seen anything like them before. Stormdust, bottled lightening, even the names were unfamiliar. "No, no need to go back," he said, and held up one of the bottles for a closer look. "You got them here at the market?"

Oh, the things he might do with these wonders. As a chemist, as an alchemist. One of them, maybe, might even be useful if prepared and used in a particular way, in their hunt for the killer who was roaming loose in the city. "I can think of all sorts of uses for these. Interesting, yes. Thank you, Faith," he said.

For the moment, he'd give them back to her, to put in her sack, while he ordered them each something hot to drink, and whatever she wanted to eat. Something for himself as well, whatever local dish was suggested by the establishment. When in Rharne, as it was. "It seems to be a popular place, don't you think?" he asked while they waited for their meal.
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Kura sat and watched the other customers as she enjoyed her meal. After a moment, her eyes fell on a specific pair and lingered. The man was completely unfamiliar, but the woman she was pretty certain she had seen before. However, the problem with a lifespan like Kura's was that one met a lot of people, so placing her was difficult. That being said, Kura had picked up a number of tricks to help her pick out faces and she brought them to bear on this puzzle.

First, the woman didn't look that old to her, thirty at most. That right there cut out a lot of the people Kura had met, but still left a pretty sizeable pool to shift through, so she moved to her next tool. The woman's appearance was commonplace, but her demeanor was carefree, loose. She obviously didn't have the level of personal discipline and self control that defined the people of the Eternal Empire. That limited her to a very small pool of people, allowing Kura to focus on people she had met since leaving the empire, which meant only about a year and a half of people. Yet she was still having trouble placing her.

After a moment, the Mortalborn finished her meal, then got up to take her plate up to the counter for the bartender to send to his kitchen staff to clean. On her way, she moved past the table the two were sitting and chanced to catch the girls name. Faith. Kura nearly stopped in surprise at that. No wonder she hadn't been able to place her, the Famula devoted slave was not someone she had physically met. Instead, they had met in a dream that had been hijacked by Famula herself.

After she returned her plate and refilled her mug with another serving of ale, the Mortalborn turned on her heel and walked over to the table where Faith and the man Kura presumed was her her owner were seated. "Faith? Is that you, lass?" she asked, her Atvian accent giving her speech a flavor that was uncommon in Rharne. Glancing at Padraig, she continued. "And this would be yer owner, then?" she asked, her tone polite though the look she directed at Padraig was not exactly friendly. After all, Faith's owner made her sleep on a stone floor and only fed her once a day, not a man to endear himself to the protective Mortalborn.
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"But there's nothing I need", she replied with a smile and a look of genuine confusion on her face. He was a very strange man with peculiar ways, she knew this already, but here was another example of it. If buying him something brought them both pleasure and enjoyment, where was the problem? "I never told Tristan about the food I used to bring you. I was worried if I did he would forbid me from doing it. Especially after he told me I wasn't allowed to just call you Padraig." She would never have disobeyed Tristan, had he forbidden her, but she thought that he had always been a little jealous. It was, after all, the only time he said no to her about anything, when she'd asked about using Padraig's name. In truth, those cooked gifts were the closest she ever got to anything resembling defiance and it still didn't occur to her that the miniscule rebellion would have been better served by wearing sensible clothes on an outing to the woods. "I wanted to show you, I suppose. Because I knew he was paying you, but I wanted to show you I was grateful. That took more effort than these, I just handed over some nel for these."

Taking his hand in hers, she held it, palm upwards and cradled it in one hand whilst trailing the other over it. "I never had the ability to reciprocate a friendship, let alone to buy gifts for my love. I walked past a hundred things and thought of you back then. Thought how you'd like them, wondered if you'd read them. I imagined, I suppose, but I wanted, too; I wanted to be able to buy them, of my own choice. Now, I have more than I ever dreamt of and I want for nothing. Sometimes, Padraig, I'm scared I'll wake up on the floor in Jamal's again. When I buy things for you, it's because I want to and I've always wanted to but now I can." To be able to just buy something for the person she loved was a very significant thing for Faith and the idea that she should buy things for herself was just ludicrous. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again, no doubt. You are an odd man." The hand which had been tracing a trailing pattern over his settled and she intertwined her fingers with his.

He ordered the drinks, she asked for a simple meal without meat and smiled at him as he ended up with the stew. When in Rharne, indeed. But then, as their server moved away, a woman stepped up to their table. Faith looked up and a frown creased her face. She knew this woman from somewhere. Faith's hand in Padraig's tightened. The woman knew her, she knew her name. "I'm sorry. I know I know you. I remember you. No, no, he's not my owner, I'm free, he's my choice." The creases on her forehead grew deeper and then, with a sudden clarity, Faith remembered.

"Wolfs daughter? Your name. But I... I dreamt about you! Famula was there she was the receptionist and there was a small person, Nave? They didn't like the idea of slavery. Oh. Kura?!" But that dream had been so long ago. She looked at Padraig in amazement then back to Kura. "But, I had a dream and you were in it. Just like you're here now. How can... how can that be? This.. Padraig, this is Kura. Daughter to Karem, one of the Immortals" She said that bit quietly. Was it true? Was that who she was? "This is Padraig. I love him and choose him and he is mine. No owners. How did... how did this happen? Are you the woman I shared a dream with?" She looked at Kura, then Padraig, her hand not having left his and she wondered just what on Idalos was going on here. She realised, thinking back to it. "No, no, he's not Jamal. Oh, is that... no. I am free and choosing freely." Well, she thought, this was awkward. But she smiled at Kura and shook her head. "I can't believe you're real. I thought you were just a dream."
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"I think he would have forbidden it," Padraig had told her, with a wry grin when she told him about the food she'd brought him, back when he was her tutor, and her sent to him by her master. And why wouldn't he? If he'd forbidden her to call him by his given name, if jealousy was in fact the reason, then a gift of food ought have met with a similar objection.

"You were a rebel even then," he'd teased her. "and I came to love you all the more for it." Naturally the same spirit that he admired in her, and his admittedly like inclinations, had been the root of any number of their debates and banter back then. Still did, off and on. And he wouldn't change a thing.

He knew how it must feel, he told her, and what an adjustment it must be. But he was quick to reassure her that they'd go to bed side by side that night and when she woke up in the morning, she'd remind herself that it wasn't a dream. Until she didn't need to remind herself any more. "And I won't complain about the gifts," Padraig added with a smile. "You know me very well, they're wonderful and I look forward to using them. Even if you're the only gift I really need."

It was only when an unfamiliar woman approached them that he frowned a little. Not in an unfriendly way, but curious, since so far as he knew, they didn't know anyone in the city. But it became apparent fairly quickly that the woman believed she knew them. Or more specifically, Faith. Padraig felt Faith's hand tighten around his own, reflexively, and in response he became more cautious himself.

Padraig was also aware however that he might have a tendency to jump to conclusions too quickly, or rather too dramatically when it came to Faith's well being. He'd deny it of course should anyone suggest as much. And the glance the woman gave him didn't exactly encourage an openly friendly welcome in response. But, ah, the question explained that at least. But before he could correct the assumption of ownership, Faith spoke up instead.

But the rest of Faith's response, didn't help much in regards to sorting out whether she knew her or not. Or how, if she did. She dreamed it? He decided then to focus on something that made more sense in the moment. "I was once Faith's tutor, hired by her master. Now," he added with a smile. "We are much more to each other."

The revelation that Kura was mortalborn was a new curiosity however. Daughter of Karem. Had he met another mortalborn before? How would he know, or even in this case, had Faith not told him? But dream or no, clearly they were acquainted in some way. And Faith no longer seemed nervous about the woman's presence. "Would you like to join us?" he asked.
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Kura smiled as Faith worked to remember her properly. She wasn't stung by the trouble Faith was having remembering her, after it had been a dream where they had met, and that had been seasons ago. When Faith recalled her, Kura grinned slightly, before giving a slightly surprised look when Faith mentioned that she had been freed. She didn't pursue it though, as free was a better condition than her owner had put her in, whatever Kura's other feelings regarding the matter were. When Faith said she had believed that Kura was just a dream, however, the woman gave a slightly teasing grin. "A thought shared by many a one-time companion, I'm sure." she said, before she looked at Padraig as he invited her to sit.

"Thank you." she said, taking a seat. "Sorry if I seemed unfriendly towards you at first, I had reason to believe that Faith was bein'...poorly treated. It's nice to meet you." she said, before glancing back at Faith. "And I'm glad to hear you're doin' well, lass. And aye, Karem's my mother, but I try to not advertise that fact, gives people expectations that I can't always fulfill, if you catch my meanin'." she said, keeping her voice low enough that only Faith and Padraig could hear her. "So with that in mind, Kura Mareth is my name. Which isn't even exactly a lie, as Mareth was my poor fathers surname." she said, her tone saddening a bit at the mention of her father. "As for the dream, I remember it too, lass. When the Soul-Keeper got involved, I'm fairly sure it stopped bein' a dream, after all."

As she spoke, Faith would see a pair of figures materialize next to the Mortalborn, one on either side. Too her right was a large, heavyset man with coarse black hair and a thick, bushy beard of the same hue. His eyes and body language showed a hatred that seemed to be beyond words and raged at Kura. Yet for all his fury, he could make no sound. The other was a girl about Faith's age, thin enough that she appeared to have been starved. She looked at Kura with sorrow, and after brief period of time looked straight at Faith. "She needs help." was all she said, before she too fell silent.

Unaware of her tag-a-longs, Kura looked at Faith and Padraig. "So, do the two of you live here? Or are you travelers as well?" she asked, her tone politely curious.
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"I am a well behaved and entirely appropriate individual, I would remind you." Her eyes danced with her amusement as she assured him of that. He was completely right, of course, and they both knew it. "With, granted, a few minor misdemeanours along the way. But really, they hardly warrant mentioning." The amusement turned more serious when he told her how he understood what she meant from back when they were tutor and student, of the difficulty of wanting to be more, and do more. Something so simple as being able to give a gift or pursue a romance were not to be taken for granted and they both knew it.

His reassurance on the nature of how they would fall asleep and wake up caused her to smile; she nodded her head, not really able to form words which expressed how that reassurance made her feel. Some things were still too overwhelming to say. With his promise that he wouldn't complain about the gifts, even though she was the only gift he needed, she looked at him with a serious gaze, her hand squeezing in his. "And you, for me." Quite how he managed to be so eloquent Faith would never know and she was sure she would never match. But he was a romantic, there was no doubting it.

Kura, though, threw her into a whirl, really. Faith had never met anyone from a dream before and she started to wonder just what that might mean. She gave a grin, though, when Kura said that many a one-time companion might have felt the same way. Best not to answer that, she thought, there probably wasn't a right way to do so. She nodded, as Padraig invited Kura to join them, though. "It was when Jamal owned me", she explained to Padraig, just in case he started developing his anti-Tristan feelings further. "At one point we were in the room where I was sleeping." She left it there because, in fact, she had told Padraig very little of her time with Jamal. Ironically, Tristan had told him more than she had or ever would. She was not there any more and he knew everything she needed him to and more by the stories her scars had told him.

Kura said that she thought that, once Famula had entered the dream, it had stopped being so. Faith's eyes widened in surprise and amazement. "Really? I assumed it was just a dream." What did that mean, Faith wondered. She frowned slightly and then realised something. "When Famula came to the park where we were sitting together." Faith hadn't really noticed at the time that it had been meant to be a romantic moonlit stroll, so she had no idea that the Immortal had scuppered Padraig's plans. "She spoke, and I recognised the voice. It was the same voice. I hadn't put those together. And it was.. She looked in the dream like she looks. I hadn't thought of that." So, it was not the first time that she had met Famula there in the park.

The two spirits with Kura drew Faith's gaze, looking at the man and then the young girl. She had the scrawny look about her which Faith recognised. She had seen it in the mirror when Tristan had first bought her, after all. Her attention was drawn to the smaller of the two spirits and she heard the young girl's words very clearly. The ability to see souls with her Zuuda mark was something which Faith, and Padraig in fairness, were growing used to, but she knew that for all that they could see and speak to her, she could not do the same for them. So, she nodded her head, because at least the spirit would see that. She was so focused on that young woman that she missed Kura's question, but thankfully Padraig was able to answer. Faith drew her attention back to the living people at the table.
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There was nothing at all wrong with occasional bouts of misbehavior, Padraig maintained, and he'd told Faith so. The trials when others expected anything to the contrary were behind her.

And as for him, he liked the rebellious streak in her that he'd seen from the very beginning, even if few others did. Both of them really, but until she'd come along, he hadn't recognized his own tendency to be contrary on occasion. And he resolved with something of a grin, not to admit it aloud. Certainly not here, in front of someone that they hardly knew. Her, by way of a dream apparently. And him, not at all.

But this Kura, an apparent mortalborn, seemed friendly enough and he smiled, shaking his head when she accepted his invitation to join them. "Please," he reassured her. "No need to apologize. I am not offended. Faith's life now is not what it was before. And neither was mine. You couldn't have known that." And it was true what Faith said. Apart from the scars and what he'd mostly assumed to be the nature of her treatment, she hadn't told him much about her previous master's ways. Before Tristan, that was.

But he wasn't particularly fond of Tristan either and she knew it. Certainly being dressed like a doll for another's pleasure, being loaned out on a whim and being consigned to sleeping in a coat closet, didn't amount to physical abuse. But, well, he'd made no secret how he felt about that. Solidarity then, that's what this young, or ancient woman and him had in common.

So, a daughter of Karem, the Immortal of the hunt, and wolves. Padraig was a scholar, a scientist, and not the least bit religious. What thoughts he'd given the Immortals mostly were comprised of awe and curiosity. Faith's devotion to any of them, he didn't have a bit of it. But respect, plenty. Understandable she'd not want it talked openly about in public however. Kura Mareth it was then.

While the talk of dreams remained a fascination, the figures that appeared beside Kura went completely unnoticed. At least by Padraig. But by now he'd come to recognize the signs. Nuances, mostly, in Faith's mannerisms and responses. A glance, another, distraction or rather focus turned elsewhere. Happened all the time now and he'd become accustomed to it, if not completely comfortable. Something was there, and she saw it. But not him.

Better that there were other things for him to focus on. "No, we don't live here. We've only just arrived a few trials ago in fact. We've come from Andaris. I'd wrapped up a season of study there, having earned a certificate in physics. It seemed like a good time to do a little traveling, see something of the world. What about yourself?" he asked. "Do you have a home in Rharne, or are you traveling yourself?"
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Kura smiled at Padraig as he said that she didn't need to apologize, then glanced at Faith. "You met the Soul-Keeper outside of dreams then? An honor to meet her, for you especially, I imagine." she said, her tone calm as if meeting Immortals was an everyday thing for her. But then, it kind of was, though she hadn't met Famula before the dream or since. Turning her attention back to Padraig as he spoke, she shook her head.

"No, I'm a traveler as well, lad. My home is Korlasir, capital of the Eternal Empire. However, after over a 120 Arcs of livin' only in the Empire, plus a few other issues, I decided to take some time and see Idalos outside the borders of my home." she said, before giving a disconsolate sight. "Though I do miss the black city and the windswept plains of my home." Kura paused in a moment in thought before continuing. "Though Rharne is quite entertaining in its way, I won't deny." she said, before she glanced at Faith, noting that she seemed to be somewhat abstracted. After a moments thought, the Mortalborn dropped her eyes to Faith's left wrist.

At the sight of the tattoo on Faith's wrist, Kura gave a sigh that was half-amusement and half-irritation. "Zuuda. I ought to have known when you said you met her outside the dream. Well, Ghost-Watcher, I'll tell you that I've spent more Arcs as a judge than half the people in this room have lived and it was no small number of murderers, rapists, and traitors I condemned for their crimes. So if yer seein' a ghost rantin' and ravin' at me, odds are good you can ignore them, fer they spent no small chunk of their last Trials callin' me all sorts of unkind names, as you might guess." she said, her tone so unconcerned that it wouldn't have surprised Kura to learn that her sheer indifference caused the coarse-haired man to blow away on the spot. Both he and the girl lingered however, though the girl still didn't speak and the man still raved in silence.
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