• Closed • Affection [Part i.]

A gift exchange for the 12 Trials of Zi'da. [Vincent D'Ordyn]

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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Sabine
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Affection [Part i.]

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Dust.
Timestamp: 50th of Zi'da, 716
Location: The Harpy Inn

It had been several arcs since Sabine had last celebrated the 12 Trials of Zi’da.

Two arcs ago, her father was arrested just five trials before the holiday began. Their family had been too numb to celebrate as they awaited his sentencing and then, the arc after, they couldn’t even speak of the holiday without her mother bursting into tears.

But now that she was back in Rharne, she couldn’t avoid the holiday that was on everyone’s lips – and part of her didn’t want to. She couldn’t deny that she missed the creativity involved in finding the perfect gift for each trial and the excitement of opening her own.

Besides, it wasn’t as though she could claim a lack of gift-giving partners. Vincent had shown clear interest, and she could hardly say no - no matter how painful it felt to celebrate the holiday without her family.

Now, inside the Harpy Inn's noisy tavern, Sabine pushed away the guilt that had coiled up in her stomach and placed a small package on the table before Vincent.

“Go on.” She nodded at the gift and tried to hide a playful smile. “Open it.”

Vincent would see a scrap of plain red fabric wrapped loosely around a book-like object. When he unwrapped the fabric, he would see a blank leather journal with a goose feather quill pen tucked between the pages. Should he decide to open the first page of the journal, he would find the following inscription:

For Vincent.

In case you’d like to continue your work as a scribe.

Yours,
Sabine

PS. Bennett can’t keep a secret to save his life.

Off Topic
Reviewer's Note: -1gn for the quill pen and -5gn for the blank journal.
Last edited by Sabine on Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:53 am, edited 6 times in total. word count: 315
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Vincent D'Ordyn
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Vincent quirked an eyebrow at the curiously wrapped package before him and then at the sly, poorly hidden grin on Sabine's face. Seeing her smile made the corners of his own mouth rise. Gently Vincent undid that cloth that hid the book she had placed in front of him, and as he removed the covering found himself holding a simple yet well made leather journal. Setting the red cloth to the side, Vincent ran his hand over the cover before giving Sabine a small questioning look.

When he did look up, the woman seemed almost ready to laugh, and her eyes danced with such mirth he had a hard time not laughing at her own enjoyment. Looking back down at the book, he open the cover and read the inscription there. Then read it again, before letting out a long low sigh. "I'm never going to live this down... Am I?" Vincent asked as looked up from the book and back at her. "And in Bennett's defense, he probably thought selling me out was the only way to save his life." Vincent teased nudging her leg gently with his own.

"It's lovely Bine, thank you. Though I'm not sure I'm entirely cut out to be a scribe. Something about sitting in a room all day..." Vincent began but trailed off thinking back to his short tenure as a scribe for the Lightning Knights. "No, I think I'll fill this with something a little more important than numbers." With that Vincent set the journal back on the table, and reached into a pouch on his belt.

"I'm still a bit new at this tradition, and was having a bit of trouble find things that matched in the ways you described." Vincent began. "Then I saw this, and it kind of reminded me of you." At that he took out a small leather bag and held it out to Sabine. When she took it Vincent continued on. "At first glance, I though it was ordinary and plain," Vincent started, though quickly continued as he heard himself talking, "but the longer I looked, the more amazing, and beautiful it became..."

Vincent trailed off as he watched Sabine open the small leather bad and pull out the small bottle of Stormdust he had bought trials earlier. At first the dust would just be sitting at the bottom of the bottle, gray and lifeless. If Sabine didn't already know what the substance was, and looked to him at all he'd make a small gesture for her to shake the bottle slightly. When shook the dust would shift and the particles would shine and refract light in a multitude of colors. Watching as she looked at the bottle, Vincent would watch her for any signs of whether she liked the gift or not.
Last edited by Vincent D'Ordyn on Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 484
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Sabine
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His reaction was better than she’d hoped.

“Never,” she agreed, and grinned at his embarrassment. But as he went on to describe his distaste for scribe work, she shot him a sharp look. “Hey now, it isn’t that bad. Try not to look too much like you’d prefer shoveling dung, yeah?”

She stuck out her tongue and watched him set the journal down before pulling out a small leather bag and describing his thought process.

“That’s what every girl likes to hear,” she said dryly. “A man telling her she’s ordinary and plain.” Still, despite her teasing words, her tone made it clear that she was far from offended. And while she appeared to ignore the compliments that followed, Vincent might notice the hint of pink that lingered on her cheeks.

Her attention fell to the small leather bag. With eager hands, she reached in and pulled out a small bottle of… dust.

Is he really so literal?

Laughter bubbled in her chest and she rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “Vincent, when I said the theme was ‘dust’…” She glanced up at him with a jest on the tip of her tongue, but he only made a small gesture for her to shake the bottle. She raised an eyebrow and gamely followed suit.

“Oh…!”

Her eyes widened as the dust shifted and began to shimmer in the low tavern light. She shook the bottle again and, again, the dust shifted colours and danced behind the glass. “It’s beautiful.”

A small smile settled on her lips and she raised her eyes to meet his.

So he did understand.

This might be a more successful 12 Trials than she'd expected.
Last edited by Sabine on Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:33 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 292
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Timestamp: 51th of Zi'da, 716
Location: The Bronze Boar

Vincent replayed the look on Sabine's face as she had opened his gift the day prior in his mind over and over again. The look of wonder and delight as she had shaken the bottle numerous times throughout the rest of the night. He was glad that she had been so excited about it and was relieved that maybe he hadn't completely botched the whole concept for this tradition. Though Vincent was more worried about today's gift if he was being entirely honest with himself. Though him and Sabine had been working together for some time now, he still didn't know much about her past, and their past together was full of enough strife and pain for more than the few seasons they'd known each other. Though when Sabine finally joined him at the bar a few bits later, Vincent couldn't help but smile at her warmly.

"I'm glad you could finally join me." Vincent teased, his smile touching his eyes and he spoke. "I was starting to contemplate keeping your gift from myself." He continued playful. With that he pulled a sheathed throwing knife from his belt, one almost identical to the one he'd given her so long ago when they had first sat down and spoken at that inn in Rynmere.

Holding it out to her by the sheathed blade, so that she could take it by the handle, Vincent waited for her to accept the gift. When she drew if from the sheath, he watched as her eyes ran across the blade. The knife was one of the one's he had carried on his person for most of his time in Rynmere, though this one was different. It was etched with lines that ran from the handle to the point, all inlaid with silver and in the center of the blade, written in Rahaki, was a simple phrase; 'Like the moon on the waves, she shines.'

Vincent watched with bated breath as she stared at his gift, and hoped she'd understand it's meaning.
Gift
Knife was already owned but for calculations = 4sn
Decorative = x 1.5
Silver Inlay = 2gn (no real price, guessed)
Total = 3gn 6sn - price of knife
Actual cost = 3gn 2sn
word count: 393
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Sabine
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Sabine grimaced apologetically and unclasped her cloak to reveal the white Novitiate robes beneath. “Sorry I’m late. They kept me longer than I thought they would.” Her eyes betrayed her distraction as she placed her leather bag carefully on the wooden bar top and draped her cloak across the barstool.

While the first season she'd spent in Rharne was mostly slow going, the second was busier than she’d ever anticipated. She was twenty-one trials into her role as a newly initiated Thunder Priestess, and each trial was turning out to be more challenging than the last. Her muscles were perpetually sore from her combat training, and her mind felt as though it was nearing its limit when it came to the amount of knowledge she could retain. This particular trial had been especially brutal as a result of an early morning and long day of training, and her exhaustion could be seen in the lines of her skin.

It was only when Vincent teased her about keeping her gift to himself that her face softened and her full attention turned to him. “You better not!” She poked him in the shoulder and threw him an exaggerated pout until he pulled the knife from his belt and passed it to her.

As she unsheathed the blade, she immediately recognized it as a duplicate of the throwing knife that he had given her so many seasons ago. She ran her thumb over the handle and remembered that first meeting at Ye Olde Inn: him, quiet and sombre, and her, ready for a fight. He’d surprised her by giving her the knife as his promise of protection, and it was that same knife that came up again and again during the seasons that followed. She’d used it to accidentally threaten him during their Ymiden stakeout and had thrown it at one of the Qe’dreki looters during the Saun civil war.

Sabine smiled at the realization that she’d never actually managed to use it to effectively defend herself. It seemed fitting that this version was decorative – the blade was etched with lines and inlaid with silver, and text was engraved into its center.

“It’s just like the one you gave me when we met at the inn, isn’t it?” She reached out to give his hand a grateful squeeze. “I love it. Thank you.” She set the knife on the bar top and brushed a finger across the text. “Like the moon on the waves, she shines,” Sabine read aloud in slow and choppy Rahaki. She repeated the words again under her breath before raising her eyes to meet Vincent’s. “That phrase… why did you choose it?”

She would give him time to explain, if he wanted, before reaching into her leather bag and pulled out a small book entitled A Short History of Boats. Like the trial before, a teasing smile took over her features and she watched for his reaction.

While the book was a self-conscious and playful reminder of the lies she’d told him during their very first meeting, it was also a token of her forgiveness. She hoped that when he looked at it, he’d realize that she no longer held their first meeting against him. Somehow, despite her own obstinacy, he’d managed to become one of the few people in Idalos who she could forgive without strings attached - though she'd never say the words out loud.
Off Topic
Reviewer's Note: -10gn for the nonfiction book.
Last edited by Sabine on Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 599
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Vincent smiled softly as Sabine apologized for her tardiness. "No need, I haven't been here long." He said, waving off he apology with a flick of his hand. He still wasn't used to seeing he dress in the white robes of her new station, but it was still as new to him as it was to her. He could see the fatigue in her eyes, and in the way she moved. The Priestess' seemed to be putting her through a lot, but it was what she wanted, and Vincent would support her however he could. "A warm bath with help with the soreness, and more stretching will keep you from getting stiff." He offered as she opened her gift.

When she asked about the phrase, Vincent stopped to think about his response. After a few trills passed he finally responded. "Because no matter how choppy the waters, you always find a way to shine." Vincent said simply, as thought it were a simple fact everyone knew. After his response she reached into the bag she had set on the bar top a drew out a small book, and handed it to Vincent. "A Short History of Boats?" Vincent read, running his hand of the cover as he looked at the book. For a moment confusion was plain on his face, but slowly the confusion turned to realization and then something happened that Sabine hadn't witnessed in all her time with him. Vincent laughed. A laugh full of life, and joy. It didn't last long but even after it passed it could still be seen, dancing behind his eyes. "It's perfect." Vincent said, as he opened the book and flipped through a bit, before closing it and slipping it into a pouch on his belt.

"I know you have another early morning tomorrow, but how about a drink in celebration of our past?" Vincent asked, taking her hand and returning the squeeze she'd given him.
word count: 337
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Gray.
Timestamp: 52nd of Zi'da, 716
Location: Vincent’s Home

Vincent was going to murder her.

Sabine clutched the gray wool scarf to her chest as she navigated through the crowded streets of the Earth Quarter. Most Rharnians were off work, which meant the roads were lined with families and revelers intent on celebrating the third trial of Zi’da at one tavern or another.

If history were to repeat itself, Sabine would have been on her way to yet another bar for her own gift exchange. But tonight, they had decided to take an evening off from the rowdy bars and meet at Vincent’s home.

In a way, it had all worked out for the better; this trial’s gift was definitely not meant to be given at a tavern.

But on the other hand, meeting at Vincent’s home would make it much easier for him to cover up her inevitable death.

She glanced down at the scarf and held back a groan. There was a good chance that last night’s unexpected laughter wouldn’t be appearing again.

Not with what she had in store this time.

Sabine steeled herself and approached Vincent’s front door with all the eagerness of someone about to attend her own funeral. She knocked on the door once, twice, three times before managing to convince herself that it wasn’t worth the risk. She valued her life too much to throw it away on a 12 Trials of Zi’da gift.

They would just have to wait until the next arc to finish their celebrations.

Which would have been a better idea, really, except the door swung open and she came face-to-face with her green-eyed friend.

Sabine didn’t give Vincent a chance to greet her. “Before you say anything,” she began, “I promise I didn’t plan this. I was stopped by a woman on my way over and she seemed so desperate for the nel and her daughter’s sick so she couldn’t care for it herself and it matched this trial’s theme and-”

A small mew interrupted her explanation, and the tiny gray head of a kitten popped up in the middle of the scarf.

Sabine bit her lip and glanced hesitantly at Vincent to gauge his reaction.

“Okay, so please don’t be mad…”
Off Topic
Reviewer's Note: -2gn, 2sn for the gray wool men’s scarf & -5gn for the untrained kitten
word count: 419
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Vincent sat beside the fire he had going in the small hearth that was the center piece of the living area of his home. Thumbing through the book that Sabine had given him the trail prior, a small smile pulling the corners of his mouth upwards. Though he wasn't too facinated by the content of the book, it was the thought behind the gift that had him leafing through the book.

Looking up at the window, Vincent watched as the last of the light faded and the blues, and purples of night began to bleed into the sky. Late again, Vincent thought to himself. Standing, he walked over to the kitchen area and put a small pot of water on the stove there, hoping it would be ready by the time Sabine actually arrived.

Though no sooner had he placed the pot on the stove, than there came a knock at his door. Letting out a small sigh, Vincent turned at opened the door. The light from within illuminating a slight anxious looking Sabine. Before Vincent could greet her though she began talking in a hurry, something about a woman, and a sick daughter. The more she spoke the farther up Vincent's forehead his left eyebrow crept, until a sound cut her off and drew both their attention the the scarf she held clutched to her chest. From witch sprung the head of a fluffy gray kitten.

For a moment Vincent just stared at the small creature, then looked up at Sabine, and then back to the cat. With a deep sigh Vincent conceded defeat without even saying a word. There was no way he was going to be able to tell her no, even if he had wanted to, and he wasn't entirely sure that he did. "Come on, let's get you two out of the cold." Vincent said opening the door a bit wider for Sabine to step through.

After Sabine and the ball of fluff that she carried in her arms where inside, Vincent shut the door, and then led her to the couch near the fire. "Sit, relax. Help make your new friend at home. I've got some water on the stove for tea." With that Vincent crossed the room to the stove. After a few more bits the water was boiling. Taking a few of the tea leaves he had on hand he tossed them into the water and let them steep before pouring himself and Sabine a mug each. Setting his on the nearby table he grabbed a folder piece of cloth that was tied shut with a simple ribbon. Walking over to the couch he handed Sabine the mug first then the cloth package.

As she undid the ribbon and unfolded the cloth, she would find herself holding his gray cloak, though resized for her and improved with a warm fur inner lining. Vincent watched as she opened it, and wondered if she'd realize it was the same cloak he had worn for so long before arriving in Rharne.
Cloak Price
Gray Wool Fur Lined Cloak = 14gn
5gn Cloak
2.2 Wool Mod
.6 Fur Mod
word count: 535
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Sabine held her breath, waiting for a rebuff as Vincent’s gaze shifted from her to the kitten and back again. But the argument she expected never came; instead, he only sighed and ushered her into his apartment.

“Wait, seriously?” Her eyes brightened and a cautious smile crept onto her face. “You’re going to keep her?”

The kitten mewed in response, and Sabine’s smile turned into a full-blown grin.

“Yes! Oh, that’s great. She’s so cute, did you see her?” She wrinkled her nose. “At least, I think it’s a girl…”

Sabine followed Vincent to the couch and took a seat in front of the fire, careful to balance the scarf on her lap. The kitten batted at the fabric and fell onto its back. Sabine scratched its stomach idly and watched as Vincent moved off to make tea with an air of calm that could only belong to someone who was perfectly at ease.

A feeling of warmth settled in her chest and she glanced back at the animal on her lap. Just when she thought she’d had him pegged, the man had to go and surprise her.

She dodged the kitten’s paws and tapped it lightly on the nose. “Are you going to name her? I was thinking you could call her Socks, or maybe Max… Oh! Or what about Mrs. Whiskers? Thank you.” Sabine accepted the mug of tea with one hand, careful not to let it spill onto the creature that was busy ruining Vincent’s new scarf. With the other, she placed the cloth package on the couch and clumsily undid the ribbon.

And then she paused.

Disaster seemed imminent.

“Okay, wait. Can you… ah, hang on. Hold her.” She picked up the kitten and handed it carefully to Vincent before setting the mug on the floor. She placed the scarf to the side and picked up the gift with both hands. Within seconds, the cloth was unfolded and the cloak shaken out before her.

She inhaled sharply.

After a moment, she began to run a hand slowly over the soft gray fabric as a rush of emotion passed across her face. She recognized it immediately - how could she not? It was his cloak. The cloak. It was the cloak that he’d given her time and time again on the ship to Rharne, and it was the cloak that he’d left behind.

The cloak he’d left behind when he’d left her behind.

Her heart clenched. The fact that the cloak had been resized and fur-lined barely registered. Instead, all she saw was the cabin door closing, locking, forcing her to stay behind as Vincent marched off to his death.

A storm began to grow. She could feel it in her bones - the lingering anger that she’d tried so hard to suppress for fear of losing him yet again. Her expression hardened against her will and she rose to her feet, barely missing the mug as Vincent’s cloak tumbled to the floor.

“I can’t.” Sabine clenched her jaw, pulling on every ounce of discipline she had to keep herself from telling him off. “I just… I can’t.”

She headed for the door, hoping that he wouldn’t stop her, that he would stop her, that he would let her leave and make her stay. Her fingers trembled and she curled them into fists as the storm raged on without her consent.

Fuck.
Last edited by Sabine on Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:19 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 590
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Vincent gladly accepted the kitten from Sabine as she opened the cloak and shook it out. He could tell by the look on her face that she was not pleased with it, and he knew why. It was almost the same for him. The cloak was a reminder of his betrayal back on the boat.

Though what Vincent didn't expect was for her to turn and begin heading for the door. "Sabine! Wait!" Vincent said, his voice calm and steady, though full of pleading. "Can I at least explain why I gave you that." Vincent asked to the woman's back as she stood only a few feet from his door. He wouldn't chase her, no matter how hard he wanted to. He had learned that forcing her to do anything was never the right idea, he had to hope she would stay long enough to listen.

If she left, Vincent would look down at the kitten in his arms with a touch of sadness in his eyes. "Hopefully she won't stay mad at me for too long this time." He'd whisper down to the animal before placing it back on the scarf and collecting the mugs of untouched tea to dispose of.

If Sabine stayed, he would continue on. "I know that cloak brings back some painful memories." He'd start, "But, it's more than just those hard memories. It's the good one's too. It's Lowtown during the Civil War, and the Inn the night after. It's the night I admitted to you who I really was and you told me about your father. It's those few precious day aboard that ship, when it felt like we were the only people around, and everything else was a distant memory. It's also a reminder of how fragile that peace was, how easily I ruined it. It's a reminder to me of the promise I made to be your partner, and to always have your back. At the same time it's a symbol of bond. It shows that no matter how beaten and worn out something may get, that with a some effort, and enough care it can be made new again, and though tears and rends can be mended, their scars remind us of the lessons we learned when we got them."

After that Vincent would bend down and pick the cloak up off the floor. "I understand if you don't want the cloak, but please. Don't leave angry. I never meant to hurt you."
word count: 437
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