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Duncan and Aeodan. <3

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Duncan Oisin
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Duncan took the cup from Aeodan with a grateful tip of his head and drank it deeply. He took the moment to calm himself, taking in Aeodan's calm, nonjudgmental reply. "Thanks Aeo." He said finally, blinking up at the younger man, still quite confused by his own reaction to him. Aeo returned to his seat and Duncan shot another sour look at Eda, this time one that promised he'd have his revenge, sooner or later. But then Aeo asked after how they'd met, and Duncan feel silent, unsure how to tell him that their "relations" were the primary cause of that as well. Thankfully, Eda answered for them, and Duncan resumed his meal, slower this time and chewing carefully as he watched the twins speak with each other.

Duncan was of course mostly aware of why Eda had sought him out the night before, though he was certainly not about to bring it up. It wasn't his secret or burden to tell, and he would keep confidence, even if it was only her brother. On top of that, he wasn't quite sure he'd gotten a thorough enough run down of the whole story, between Eda angrily pushing him into bed and then sobbing into his shoulder later on. Eda stood and disappeared from the room, and Duncan half raised to follow her, unsure of whether it was wise to leave him with Aeodan, least he make a fool of himself again. Duncan squirmed in his seat and eye'd the other man for a moment, before deciding too try for conversation. "The food was great Aeodan, thank you!" He began, before trailing off, completely at a loss.

Ed returned, and Duncan stood, making his way around the table to join her. "Let me help make the tea, I offered before after all." He called over to her, hand coming up to rest against the small of her back as he stood beside her, surveying the small kitchen area for a kettle and cups. He lowered his voice before continuing, speaking into Eda's ear so that Aeo couldn't hear him. "Are you going to tell him about last night, love?" Duncan murmured, rubbing his hand in small circles over her back. "I think you should."

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"Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
and when you move fall like a thunderbolt"
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Aeodan
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”Mm. Tea sounds wonderful, thank you, sister.” He gave a sincere smile, one that was distracted but heartfelt. Aeodan loved his sister’s tea, though mostly just because she made it. She wasn’t exactly the best home-maker, and her hostess manner was lacking, but she tried and Aeodan always appreciated that. With a glance at Duncan, Aeodan returned to his eggs.

The boy gave no inclination of noticing as Duncan rose to help Edalene, instead continuing to stare at his plate and chew his food. In fact, he did notice, but he assumed his attention would best be sought elsewhere, considering the hushed tone Duncan used to speak to Edalene. Aeodan didn’t hear much, but he heard “tell him”, and his curiosity was piqued. With an inquisitive gleam in his eye, his head shot up, eyeing both of their backs. He has just stuffed a large chunk of seared pork into his mouth, but that did not seem to stop him.

”Mmf. Till heh whaa?” The words were barely intelligible, but his meaning was obvious. And to Eda, who knew him well, she’d recognize the gleam in his eyes. Whether she had intended to tell him before, she could surmise from the look that she was going to have to tell him, or risk fighting with him for the entire trial.

Aeodan chewed quickly, swallowing the large bite before it was fully processed. He almost choked, but instead shoved the food down, burping immensely before pushing himself to his feet. He stood and held the table, swaying slightly, but he didn’t even notice. His excitement was building, and a redness came into his cheeks. He smiled, this time with boyish excitement, at learning a secret.

”Seriously, sister. Tell me what?” He did not have the strength in his legs to propel himself across the room, but his voice grew louder and seemed to fill more space. He was not angry, simply excited, as he could not wait to uncover the secret.


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Edalene
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Edalene leant back into the warm hand that Duncan pressed against her back. She bit her lip as she worked, taking the full kettle of water and hanging it above the fireplace. She crossed her arms over her belly, huddling to keep the warmth in her thin body. She looked up at Duncan at his words, and her mouth twisted, biting at her lower lip in consternation.

"Duncan," she sighed, looking up at him, making sure to speak quietly. "I can't. You don't--" But it was too late. The words from Duncan, with his deep voice, resounding even when speaking under his breath, carried their way over to Aeodan. Edalene sighed, dropping her shoulders. Fuck. Her brother, bless him, was too excited about new things - ever curious, he ached to unearth secrets, and here was one dangling right under his nose. She turned as he stood, and Edalene felt a flash of worry at the way he gripped the table, his legs obviously shaky.

"Sit, Aeodan. And put that jumper on." Deflecting, she turned to the kettle, watching as it began to boil. When the whistle began, she took it from the fire, pouring the hot water into the teapot filled with the strong black tea Edalene had filled it with. Busying herself, she sidestepped Duncan, avoiding Aeodan's gaze, bringing the kettle and teapot over to the table. Turning back to the kitchen, she fetched three cups, bringing them over to the table. "Aeodan. Jumper." Edalene repeated herself, before hesitating. She did not want to tell them. At all. She already regretted the moment of weakness with Duncan the night before, and telling Aeodan what had happened would open up a barrage of other questions. But it was Aeodan. She looked to his excited face with sparkling eyes, and knew she could not keep anything from her twin. And honestly, there was a part of her which ached to tell him.

Maybe she didn't need to tell him everything. Not right away. Edalene reached for the pot, pouring the strong tea into each cup. "I... met someone again the other day. Someone I haven't seen in a long time." Edalene paused, but she knew that wouldn't be enough. Not for her brother. Sitting, she took a sip of the piping hot tea to steel herself. "Narav is back."
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Aeodan
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Aeodan struggled with the jumper for a moment, finding it difficult to hold his weight on each foot as he put the clothing on. When Eda repeated herself, he looked at her with a pleading look, silently begging for her to understand that he was doing as well as he could. However, his sickness coupled with his excitement caused him to be more shaky than usual.

As he got it on, though, he eagerly awaited her response. His eyes flicked between she and Duncan, lighting on each of them for a few trills before bouncing to the other. Aeodan was excited to learn what had happened, but nothing prepared him for the truth. Typically, Aeodan preferred the truth, no matter how disturbing, but Narav's name was not one that he'd heard in a long while.

For a moment, he sat with his mouth agape, unable to formulate a response. When he realized, he shut his mouth with a hmph noise coming through his nose. He leaned back in the chair and studied every minute movement in Edalene's face, before turning to Duncan slightly.

"Narav is an old friend of ours. Eda was in love with him, I think. She never told me so. But something happened." He looked at Eda from the corner of his eye. "Something horrible. And now, him being back could mean many things for my sister."

He sat forward and placed his fingertips together, elbows on his knees. His mouth was suddenly dry, but he could do nothing to assuage the predicament. Instead, he just watched Edalene and ran a finger over his silvery mark-scar.

"Will you tell me why he left? Or shall I just continue with the presumption that Duncan here is an emotional substitute?" He turned back to Duncan, offering a smile. "No offense meant, Duncan. Please don't think me rude. Nor Eda. She's quick to care, you see." His smile was warm, as he was speaking good things about his sister. At least, he thought he was. He didn't realize that in the real world, that could be problematic.

"So what now, then, Eda?"

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Duncan Oisin
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Aeodan overheard them, and Duncan cringed guiltily, shooting Edalene an apologetic, soft eye'd glance. "Sorry, love." He grunted. It hadn't been intentional, Duncan felt too fondly for Edalene to intentionally oust any secrets she had, despite the short amount of time they'd known each other. Duncan glanced around to Aeodan, suppressing a small twinge of disappointment as the younger man struggled to pull him jumper on, covering up his slim torso. He also felt quite the urge to rush over and help him, to wrap his arms around Aeodan's narrow waist and help support him. Blushing slightly, Duncan banished the ridiculous, inappropriate thought and returned his focus to Edalene as she prepared the tea and brought it to the table.

Duncan followed, retaking his seat and watching her quietly as she collected her thoughts, looking withdrawn and none too pleased with the turn of events. The mercenary took his own cup of tea when it had been poured, and sat back quietly, watching the two siblings interact. When he and Edalene had spoken about this very subject the night before, Duncan had no point of reference for this 'Narav', but seeing Aeodan's reaction now served to drive home the gravity of the situation. Aeodan turned to him suddenly, and Duncan stiffened, having been caught staring, not for the first time. "I don't think you're rude." Was all he could bring himself to croak, eye's darting between the siblings. He felt awkward, half from the effect Aeodan had on him and half from the situation itself. "Excuse me a moment." Duncan said suddenly, pushing himself to his feet and turning to retreat to Eda's room. He'd give the two some time alone, some privacy. Duncan dressed slowly, trying his best to regain his composure with every piece of clothing he pulled on.

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"Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
and when you move fall like a thunderbolt"
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Edalene
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Silence. Edalene could not look at her brother, but she knew his face would have changed: frowning as if trying to work out a problem. She heard his sigh, and waited for his response. But she could not look at him. She sipped the too-hot tea, felt Duncan come to sit beside her - she could not look at him either - and stared at the table. Waiting.

In love? Her eyes snapped up to Aeodan, finally. How could he have known? But that was a stupid question. Of course he had known. He knew everything about her. He saw everything. Always. She bit her lips, and stared at him, hoping he could see the apology in her eyes. For not telling him. For not telling him why everything had happened. How everything had happened. But those words, they were too hard to say.

She watched as he stroked the mark of knowledge, the mark she knew he cherished above nearly everything. That mark, that stroke, it meant he was thinking. Puzzling. Working through the facts and trying to come up with a solution. But for this? For what she and Narav had done? How could there be any solution?

"Substitution?" The word burst out of her, incredulous. "Aeodan, no. No. Not a substitution..." Edalene turned to Duncan, looked at him with pleading eyes. "You're not ... that's not why I came to you. I promise." She reached out a hand, to touch him, to assure him, anything, but he stood. His back was stiff and straight, and he went into her room. Edalene sighed, dropping her hand.

"I don't know what now, Aeodan. I don't." The words were spoken softly. For the twins, not to know something - that was a hard thing to admit. "I can't... I can't tell you. What happened. I can't, Aeodan," and she looked at him, pleading. She wished she could. But she couldn't. "You... you'd look at me... it would change everything for you. You wouldn't be able to see me the same way. Aeodan," and she reached out a hand, touching her brother's forearm. "You'd hate me."

Duncan, she knew, would leave. And she wished she could stop it. She wished she could get up, explain everything, have them laugh it off. She didn't want to lose him. He was warm, he was honest, and she needed him. If she was honest with herself. Gods, she needed someone good for her.

"Should I go after him?" Edalene asked her brother, but was she talking about Duncan or Narav?
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Aeodan
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Aeodan could tell there was tension in the room, but he couldn't quite grasp that he had caused it. Instead, he watched as Eda tried to touch Duncan, and his shying away from her, with interest. Something in him stirred, and he tried to identify it logically. He struggled, getting lost in his own head temporarily as Eda watched Duncan go. Finally, just before Eda began to speak again, Aeodan identified it: Pity.

He zoned back in and focused on his sister's face, seeing in it a pain he'd never seen before. He reached a fragile hand out, placing it gently on his sister's wrist. He'd seen others do it to those in emotional distress, and it seemed like the correct course of action. As she spoke, he couldn't help but notice how shaky her voice was, which drew a quizzical look.

If there was one thing the Burnett twins could not do, however, it was let a mystery go unsolved. It was almost a compulsive desire in both of them, and as soon as Edalene told him that she couldn't tell him, his sense of wonder kicked into overdrive. He narrowed his eyes, still with his hand on her wrist. But it gripped her, not tightly, but in excitement. He stared into her eyes, through the sorrow.

"I understand, Eda. Truly, I do. Something has happened, and it has shaken you. But... You can be honest with me." He tried to smile, and failed. Instead, it looked pained, which could benefit him more than a reassuring smile.

"Remember when we were kids? You and Narav used to help me get around, and that one time when I fell trying to play with you. Narav came over and he lifted me up, and you screamed at him because you didn't want him to drop me. You have never seemed so fierce as when in the face of adversity, sister. In the face of fear. And here you are again..." He nodded sagely, hoping his logic would stand.

"If you want to wait until Duncan is gone, I understand. You should go to him, yes. Assure him. I am sorry if what I said caused trouble." Finally, it had hit him. He frowned and leaned back, lowering his eyes. In truth, his mind was racing as to her secret. But he needed to appear sullen, as if Duncan's mood was his concern.




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Duncan Oisin
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His shirt and pants were the easiest to find, both pieces of clothing strewn across the ground close to Edalene's door. Duncan pulled them on quickly, taking a moment to re-lace the front of his shirt, the ties tangled and uneven from Eda yanking at them the night before. His shoes were more elusive, and Duncan gave up his search for them for a moment, instead retrieving his weapons from the corner they'd been dropped in, setting them down on the bed and taking a moment to look them over.

He carried both of his blades' with him, secured on either side of his belt. The oldest of the two was also the one in the worst shape; a chipped and scratched gladius that he'd bought as a teen while living back in Etzos. The other prompted more confusing feelings. It was a spectacular weapon, master-crafted and at a whole different level to Duncan's first weapon. The hilt however was worse for wear, deep gouges and scrapes cut through the metal and leather grip, destroying the rose and words that had been carved there. While before he may have referred to the blade as "Loyalty", now it was just "Gladius".

Sighing, Duncan strapped his belt on, pushing the unpleasant memories to the back of his mind as he stood, finally snooping around Eda's small room for his shoes. He found the first, kicked off at the end of her bed, and then soon after found the second, where it had been pushed under the base of the bed. Duncan tugged them on quickly and stood, straightening himself up and pulling his coat on. He didn't particularly want to leave - he enjoyed Eda's company, and wanted to spend more time in Aeodan's, but it was clear that the siblings had much to discuss, and the last thing Duncan wanted to do was to infringe on that.

He made his way back into the living area, smiling slightly when he saw the two, standing together and looking quite glum. "Sorry, loves." He called, announcing his presence before he was close enough to unintentionally overhear their conversation. "As much as I'd love to stay, I do have work to get to today." He grinned, drawing closer and pressing a hand to Eda's back. "I hope you'll track me down soon, Eda, or I'll miss you." Duncan chuckled, pressing a kiss to her cheek. He glanced over at Aeodan, and reached out to briefly squeeze the smaller man's shoulder, smile turning more coy. "And Aeo, I really do hope I get to speak to you more sometime, you seem like someone I'd like." He finished, following the words with his most charming grin. That said, Duncan stepped back, gave a little wave, and left the little home.
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Edalene
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Edalene gripped her brother's hand, grateful for the contact. Aeodan so rarely initiated moments like this; he was incredibly intelligent, but emotions did not come easily to him. That he was trying in this moment meant the world to her - and it shook her. If Aeodan was offering emotional comfort, it truly meant the pain was clear for all to see, even Aeodan.

Edalene smiled at the memory. Truthfully she had almost forgotten it; protecting Aeodan was second nature to her. His health and happiness meant more than anything to her, and she would do whatever it took to protect him. That moment, with Aeodan shaking in pain, and Narav struggling to lift him - she did not think for a second before springing into action. Even though she trusted - had trusted - Narav with anything. And here was Aeodan, offering a little bit of that old Edalene back to her. An Edalene that had disappeared as of late.

A weak smile, and she squeezed her brother's hand. "Thank you," she whispered, smiling a weak smile in his direction - as false as the one Aeodan had given her. "Aeodan..." she trailed off. She knew her brother. Now that this had been mentioned, there was no way she couldn't tell him. "I will tell you. It ... will be hard." She opened her mouth to continue, but Duncan returned. Edalene let go of her brother's hand, and went over to the man.

Her heart sunk to hear that Duncan was leaving. Again, another one who would go. Her heart squeezed painfully to think that she had lost another, but the warm kiss to her cheek and his arm around her waist warmed her. No. maybe not everyone would leave. With a quick glance at Aeodan, and a blush on her cheeks, Edalene leaned in and kissed his lips tenderly. Let her have this one last time, if he would not want her again. "I will," she promised, holding him close. "And Duncan... I'm sorry. Thank you." She took a step back, smiling weakly. "We will see each other again," and it was a promise.

Edalene smiled softly watching him say goodbye to Aeodan, and she knew then: he meant it. He could come back. Edalene would not lose Duncan. Her heart a little warmer, she watched him leave in silence, which settled heavily over the room with the closing of the door. Swallowing, she looked down. It was time.

"Just... give me a moment." A weak look to her brother, and Edalene went into her room, closing the door behind her. She would have to tell Aeodan now. She just needed a moment to collect herself.

For Reviewers

This thread is finished. However, the events of Trust is the Hardest Thing with Aeodan continue immediately after this post. Thank you!
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Congratulations!

Edalene


Knowledge:
  • Psychology: Confiding in others to ease anguish and heartbreak
  • Seduction: Tender touches and light kisses
  • Persuasion: Seeking forgiveness while asking for permission leads to better outcomes
  • Etiquette: Apologizing on behalf of another to defuse a tense social situation
  • Socialization: Poking fun at a friend to keep the conversation moving
  • Deception: Using half truths to avoid further questioning
  • Leadership: Giving orders multiple times to ensure compliance
  • Discipline: Taking time alone to strengthen ones resolve


Loot: None
Injuries: None
Fame: None
Devotion: None
Magic: These points cannot be used for Arcana

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure:5/5

Hunk-an Oisin


Knowledge:
  • Etiquette: Apologizing for exposing oneself
  • Etiquette: Complimenting the chef and thanking them for a homecooked meal
  • Etiquette: Leaving a room when others need to speak alone
  • Psychology: Painful memories are associated with sensory cues
  • Aedoan: Edalene's brother
  • Aeodan: Cute, skinny, pale
  • Aeodan: Scholarly
  • Narav: Edalene's lover, returned
  • Edalene: Secretive
  • Deception: Using a realistic excuse to get out of a tough situation
  • Seduction: Charming smiles and muscles engender affection and attraction

Loot: None
Injuries: None
Fame: None
Devotion: None
Magic: These points cannot be used for Arcana

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 5/5

Aeodan


Knowledge:
  • Strength: Using a bedpost for leverage to lift ones body weight
  • Cooking: Frying eggs in animal fat
  • Cooking: Frying pork in leftover fat and fond to enhance flavor
  • Etiquette: Graciously accepting an apology
  • Duncan: Edalene's lover
  • Discipline: Using repetition to cement names to memory
  • Detection: Listening to distant conversations for leads
  • Logic: Creating a hierarchy of possible emotions to identify how others feel
  • Rhetoric: Using past examples to strengthen an argument
  • Edalene: Holding onto a large, life-changing secret


Loot:
Injuries: Bruised/lacerated knuckles and knees - will heal fully in 4 trials, provided the injured areas are not agitated further
Fame: None
Devotion: None
Magic: These points cannot be used for Arcana

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure:5/5



Comments: All - I loved this thread. It was raw, realistic, and telling. There was humor at first, but it quickly spiraled into something a bit darker. I loved the way you portrayed your characters. Aeodan is socially awkward in all the 'right' ways. You can just see him saying these things, but he's not so awkward that I couldn't see anyone speaking to him. Duncan/Hunk-an, you were given a raw (naked?) deal here. Having to stumble out and deal with Aeodan's eccentricities is no small task. As for Edalene, I loved how you portrayed her spirit, turmoil, and flirtatious side. There was wonderful balance.

Thanks for the wonderful read! If you have any questions, let me know. Feel free to reword your knowledges for clarity/length
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