A Good Time with a Girlby Shafty and Greenie
17th of Midyear, Sunset
The events of the prison along with travelling had exhausted Meg. She had been adamant on not taking it easy as she had when she'd left Gilane and ridden in the wagon, but by the time the group had reached the tent village, the intoxicating enthusiasm had her wishing she hadn't pushed herself so much. Despite the excitement in the air, the music, dancing, and most of all the scent of the delicious food, the Nord woman found herself having to fight off sleep, her head slumping and jerking back to wakefulness more than once.
It was probably best to rest... but she didn't want to. The evening almost reminded her of New Life Festival, and she wanted to take in as much as she could. Rubbing her eyes as hard as she could, she wandered about until she finally caught sight of a barrel of water meant for drinking. Unable to stop herself, she grabbed the ladle that was meant to dispense water into cups and instead dumped a couple of ladle full over her head, hoping the shock would induce wakefulness. Perhaps it did, but what had her up and stepping back was a rather miffed woman who scolded her tremendously before shooing the Nord away.
"Sorry!" Meg continued to call out sheepishly until she was safely out of the woman’s sight. Letting out a huff, both embarrassed but feeling somewhat better and alert, she was pleased to see she'd found her way at an entertainment she actually found interesting enough. Grinning and completely uncaring that her hair was still wet as well as parts of her shirt, she leaned forward eagerly, eyes following the sword fighters.
She might have felt a shadow fall over her, a shirtless figure of large stature with dark skin, his scarf wrapped about his head in the Redguard style. He sipped at his water, watching the spar, seeing if he could tell either the man or the woman would be able to boot his pompous brother’s face in the dirt. Sevari looked sidelong at the seemingly attractive woman next to him, utterly dwarfed by him. Parts of her shirt clung to her toned and slender midsection and the view commanded his eyes to look. Had it really been that long for him? That he would just stare like some boy. Even so, maybe she’d be receptive to a good ti- that was Meg. That was Jaraleet’s woman, he chided himself as recognition gripped him. He then shuffled a bit away from her, hoping she didn’t notice his eyes on her. He tried at some conversation, remembering what his brother had said about integrating.
“Are… you well?” He asked lamely, still looking sidelong at her. “I haven’t talked to you since…”
Meg jerked at the sound of the voice- despite being a sneaky thing herself, she hadn't actually noticed the man standing next to her until he spoke up, much too engrossed in the show taking place before her, now that she was wide awake. Green eyes immediately swerved to look to her side... and then up, blinking in recognition when they landed on the familiar face- it wasn't as if she knew too many Ohmes-Raht. "Oh! Uhm, Sevari!" She sounded rather shocked that he of people would be here. Casting a glance about to see if perhaps Latro or Jaraleet were about, she came to the quick conclusion that no, she was the sole member of their group at this particular place. Well, not anymore, he was clearly part of their group since Gilane. At least, in her opinion. She knew there had been some fuss about his disappearance, but really... it wasn't as if people purposely allowed themselves to be capture, right?
Still... he was intimidating. "I... uhm, I'm well," she replied, sounding equally awkward, even though a part of her was actually a little pleased. If he was asking if she was well, that had to mean he didn't hate her, right? "Thankies! Uh... think we ain' talked since Jaraleet got hurt..." She scratched at the back of her head, fiddling with the small locks of hair, guilty expression as clear as day. "Uh or was it when we were plannin' on savin' Sora...?" She pursed her lips a little, finger tapping her chin as she tried to recall. "Oh, uhm, how're you? Shudda pro'ly asked ya that myself, eh?" She let out a small sheepish laugh; clearly her brain was a little fuzzy even without alcohol.
“Ah, that’s… good.” Sevari cleared his throat of nothing and shuffled in place. He took a long sip of his water since his mouth wasn’t set on doing anything else, it seemed. Finally, he spoke, “I’m glad, you know.”
He let that hang in the air and realized she wouldn’t know what the hell he was talking about, “Jaraleet. I assume you know what he is.”
"An Argonian?..." As soon as that came out of her mouth, Meg knew her answer was a very stupid one. She face palmed and then rubbed her forehead hard. "Yeah... I know whatchu talkin' 'bout. Gregor tol' me the same... back in Gilane..." Her voice trailed and she looked at the khajiit man curiously, unsure of what he meant. "Yer happy? What 'bout? Er- I mean, it's good yer happy! Jus’ wonderin' what 'bout!"
“He’s…” he said at length, unsure of how to word it in a place like this, out in the open, “He’s from the same world I come from. You don’t love when you come from there. You don’t find
love, it doesn’t find you.”
He sighed, chuckled awkwardly, “Anyway, it’s good.” He nodded, “Was he your first?”
He smiled at her, before it dropped and he held a hand up, “First love.
Meg flushed to such a degree that she could practically feel the heat radiating from her face; she was extremely
grateful when Sevari clarified what he meant. "Uhm well... ain' like he said anythin' or I did..." It seemed so strange talking about this with a man she had felt hated her just a few minutes ago, but she was rather flustered and the words just kept coming out. "Not the firs' though. I er- I had someone I liked 'fore, in Skyrim." Her hand fiddled with the amulet of Mara that still rested against her collarbone, and she lifted it up, eyes lowering to look at it. "He was a khajiit, bu' like, he died 'fore I could say anythin'. We used t'go tomb raidin' together."
She breathed out and let the amulet fall against herself, eyes returning to the Ohmes-Raht. "Why- why'd y'say that?" she finally asked, sounding a little off. "Are y'sayin' y'never loved?" It seemed impossible not to at least love someone
, no matter what a person may have been involved in.
Sevari almost choked on the mouthful of water he had. He leaned away from Meg, spluttering until he recovered. How she had come to that conclusion was unexpected enough to have him doing that. Albeit, it was a sensitive subject. “I’m not saying that…” he said, his mouth working but nothing coming from it, “I’m saying… I’m saying even when you do find it, you’re forced to make a choice. Love or the job. As for which I’ve picked, been forced to pick…” he threw his arms out in a gesture to where they were, the circumstances they were in, “Well, I wouldn’t be here if I picked the job.”
He frowned, shaking his head, “Even when I thought I found it for good, it just couldn’t be. Her belly was swollen when I left her and I know it wouldn’t do any good to try to see her again.”
A little worried for his life, Meg had hesitantly patted the large man's back with much more force than one may have expected from her, though she did stop once she saw he was somewhat composed. The slight frown remained on her face though. "Isn't that... I mean- pickin' love, isn't tha' worth it?" she asked. She could tell she was intruding in territories that probably shouldn't have been poked about in, especially with this still rather intimidating Khajiit, but she couldn't help herself. If she learned one thing from her misadventures since the Jerell Mountains, it was to seize the moment.
"Why'd ya leave... her?" she continued to ask, though once again she was hesitant. "Didja not love her? Or... somethin' else?" She chewed on her lip for a moment before speaking again, this time rather rushed. "Sorry, don' mean t'pry but, like, if y'think Jaraleet's foun' somethin', then why'd it be diff'rent for ya?"
“Because there’s always consequences for everything.” He breathed, “I left her because there were people who wanted to kill me for making the choice I did. I left her because I chose love, it’s not always a good ending when you pick the right choice. They would’ve killed me and her and the baby.”
He sighed, “I ran away from them because my life never let me make it normal. Even Zaveed, I count the man as my brother and they took me away from him when I was twelve.” He shook his head, “Then turned me into what I am today.”
"That's..." It was hard to find the right words to speak after hearing what Sevari had to say. Meg looked down, mouth downturned and eyes stinging as she thought of the unfairness of such a situation. "How... how could someone jus' take y'away when y'were just a li'l thing..." Head shaking, she clenched her fists. It didn't matter that she didn't know who these 'they' were- it was just wrong. Her thoughts returned to Gilane, to Zahir. Children needed their families, whatever little they had. How cruel was the world where separations like this were forced upon the innocent? Why did the Divines allow such things to happen?
"T'be honest," she finally muttered, still too unsure of her feelings to look away from the ground, "I dunno much 'bout you or whatchu are... I actually thought y'hated me... but y'saved Jaraleet, an' y'helped us with gettin' Sora back. Y'didn' havta but y'did." She finally looked at him, a little pointedly, eyes narrowed though not meanly. "Just 'cause things didn' work b'fore doesn' mean they won' work now though, no?"
As much as Sevari was hopeful Meg was right, he was just as much a realist. A good life was as promised as a long life- not at all. He’d seen men killed over words or wrong looks. Even so, he shrugged, “Maybe.”
He looked into his cup and sighed at Meg’s words, shaking his head, “I never hated you. It’s just that there was more hanging in the balance than just Sora, and even then.” He said, “She was safe under my custody, when I was working under the guise of the Dwemer’s Secret Police. If they caught you, it might have cost you more than just Jaraleet. It might have cost everybody some.”
“So, no. I’m an abrasive man, a violent one, in all honesty. I’ve known little else than killing and robbing and lying for causes great and small.” He nodded his head, frowning, “But I don’t hate you.”
"If ya did, I wouldn' have blamed ya." Meg relaxed her gaze and let it return to the sword fighters instead, though it was clear that she wasn't really paying attention to the feats being performed before the crowd. "I
hated me then. 't'was stupid, thinkin' I could just go an' do somethin' by myself like tha'. I cudda gotten Jaraleet killed... cudda ruined things for everyone..." She shrugged her shoulders, letting out a breath. "I wasn' thinkin', I was jus' so... pissed
she'd been gone so long an' no one even noticed... or I thought no one did."
She paused a moment before looking up at the Ohmes-Raht yet again. She didn't look intimidated any longer, nor was
she; he seemed less scary and more... sad and beaten. Her eyes roamed over the myriad of tattoos, both impressed by the array but also wondering how much it had to have hurt to get them all on his person. After realizing she was staring at the tattoo that depicted a sword through his neck, Meg quickly looked up, meeting the Khajiit’s eyes.
"Can I ask y'somethin'? Why- why'd you decide t'help us?"
Sevari looked away awkwardly, letting Meg stay in her reverie until her eyes began to roam. The question she asked seemed to be on everyone’s mind, so he couldn’t blame her. He rubbed at his neck- or the tattoo on it- and spoke, “I needed people to help me with a task. Latro was the first one I came to and I knew he wouldn’t be able to help me until Sora was safe.” Sevari scratched his stubble, still not able to tell these people absolutely everything. “Latro and Jaraleet are my friends. I decided to help because of that.”
He looked down at himself, glancing over each of his tattoos and smirked, “Never seen a tattoo before?” He jerked a thumb over his shoulder at some mats and tables near a tea maker's tent, “Come, let’s sit. Ever had a good tea before? I can tell you about these things over some.”
seen 'em b’fore," Meg replied, face reddening a little; she guessed he had probably caught her staring. "Jus', not so many? An' like, so many differen' lookin’ ones." The occasional tattoo here and there was normal enough, but Sevari looked like a mural, though not necessarily unpleasant. Awkwardly scratching the back of her still damp head, she did have to admit that the sound of tea sounded very pleasant, and probably a much better way of staying awake than dumping water over herself.
"Well, if yer offerin'..." Her look of embarrassment quickly shifted to one of genuine curiosity, more than willing to listen to the Ohmes-Raht's explanation about his tattoos, and of course, at the possibility of making a new friend.
Sevari nodded, admittedly smiling a bit on the inside. He seldom did this before but spending time in the company of somebody who wasn’t an unrepentant killer was… he liked it. He hadn’t felt like this in quite some time. Not since Ja’Vashara. That tinged his smile with sadness some, but it was the same far away wistfulness as looking out at sunsets.
He spoke to the tea maker and returned to their short table, sitting cross-legged and placing Meg’s tea before her before he sipped from his own. “Honestly, I’ve no damned clue what they put in different teas but I know it’s good.” He chuckled, “I’m sorry if you were expecting a connoisseur. So, point one out.”
He straightened up on his sitting pillow, offering Meg a full view of almost all the tattoos, save for the three-steepled chapel. To be honest, none of his art had been gotten for good reason, but he would be honest with her. Her eyes bade him do so.
Meg couldn't help but chuckle at the Khajiit man's words about the tea, shaking her head. "Oh, ya don' havta worry 'bout that," she told him reassuringly. "I'm more a... well, an ale an' mead sorta gal. Any tea'll be good for me, I'm sure." Saying that, she took a sip, a small hum of satisfaction escaping her as she set the hot drink back down. Lips pursed and eyes narrowed, she allowed herself to peruse the tattoos yet again, eyes falling upon the most easily recognizable one to her. Nodding, she spoke up.
"Talos... does that mean you've been t'Skyrim?" It was easy to hear the hint of excitement in her voice.
“I have.” He smiled a bit, “It was mostly business, though. Not too much sight-seeing but I was all around. I got this there too. I’ve… been a servant of the Empire for some time. It only seems appropriate I find something in their culture I identify with. Another?”
Meg couldn't help but grin, one leg wiggling excitedly as per her habit when she felt happy. It wasn't such a big deal, but she always felt a sense of pride and joy when thinking of her homeland, and especially during these very hot days- it was just nice to know someone else who had been there as well.
"Uhm..." Putting her happiness to the side, her bright eyes were once more resting on the sword tattoo that seemed to pierce Sevari's neck. "Well, what 'bout that one?" she asked, motioning towards his neck with a finger.
“Ah,” his hands went to his neck, rubbing it nervously. He would’ve been apprehensive with anyone else, but Meg’s non-judging eyes held his trepidation from him, “You know what Jaraleet is, Meg, what he does. I was never a peaceful man. This is a symbol in Tamriel’s criminal world. Skooma syndicates look for Colovians with these sorts of markings when they need blood spilled.”
He breathed out a sigh, mind flashing back to things he’d done that at first glance- or hell, even the hundredth- seemed hard to justify that it was all in Imperial service. He sipped at his tea, “Which next?”
In truth, Meg was still mostly unsure of what
Jaraleet was before the dwemer attacked. She had her guesses, and there was that which Gregor had insinuated the night of the party... but she didn't have the guts to actually ask about it after openly accepting the Argonian man despite his past- it just didn't seem right to.
"Y’mean... something like the Dark Brotherhood then," she murmured to herself. She looked at his chest once more, slightly nervous- she wasn't sure if she was stirring up memories that he perhaps wished to keep hidden. Still, if he was offering yet again, then perhaps it wasn't that bad? It wasn't as if she had thought him pure and unblemished- who was, really?- but she really didn’t want to end making him feel bad about himself...Y'think too much. Shut up, mind.
"That one," she blurted out, motioning towards words in a language she wasn't able to read, but knew was Ta'agra- J'raij would often write in it. "What does that mean?"
Sevari was much more happy and forthcoming with this one. He patted his ribs where it was, “A saying in Ta’agra, it means ‘it is good to be brave.’ Something I keep with me to remind myself. I’ve been alone my whole life with seldom and fleeting friends and loves.” He said, “But through it all, when I’m shitting my trousers and shaking to my bones, or just doubting my life, I remember the words. A mantra.”
That made Meg smile. She relaxed from her earlier nervous disposition and took a sip of the tea, contemplating on the meaning. "I like that," she declared, once she set her tea back down. "An' I've heard it b'fore too... my friend J'raij used t'say it 'fore he went off t'sell somethin' he probably shouldn' have been sellin'." She giggled and shook her head, though calmed down a little after, eyes lowering as she looked down at her hands still holding her cup of tea. "Ain' easy bein' brave when yer alone... Scary even."
“And that’s when you should bravest then.” Sevari smiled, looking at Meg. She really was a kindred spirit with Ja’Vashara. Meg may have come from the other end of Tamriel that he did, but she couldn’t make him feel any more at home. “Hell is easier to walk through if you pick a direction. What else catches your eye?”
"That one there." She easily pointed out the white sailed ship tattoo'd on the Khajiit man, recalling her journey from Anvil to Gilane. "Not one for ships m'self though... was sick the whole time comin' here from Cyrodiil." She grimaced before chuckling. "Not gonna lie... I don' wanna go sailin' for a long, long
time, maybe never. I like m’feet touchin’ the ground, thankie very much." Then she blinked, wondering if she might have babbled a little too much. "Eh... no offense if ya like ships… I’m sure they’re nice ‘nough for people who’re used t’them."
“By all means, put me in a saddle and I’ll get where I want to get.” He chuckled, “It’s less about the ship than what it represents. I got this after I was sprung from jail in Bravil after a job. Long story, but the ship with white sails means I’m a criminal that escapes too much to be held for too long.”
He winked at her, “One of my many talents.”
"Ooh...!" Now that
made sense to the Nord, and she couldn't help but grin a little as she thought of her own escapade. "I get it! Hrmm… maybe I should go an' get one of those too then, eh?" She pulled at a lock of hair, twisting it around her finger in thought before explaining. "I lived some years in Riften... y'pro'ly know it's pretty, er... well, it's shady. I might've learned some things there that weren' precisely... good? But sure kept my ass alive when I was headin' down in the crypts lookin' for treasure." She seemed almost smug. "The guards never did catch li’l wee me. Pa did though." She shrugged, though the proud look on her face remained intact.
“So you’re not as innocent as I thought, then.” Sevari smirked, “I’d take Riften over Senchal or Torval any day, at least the parts I’m from. Trust me, you knew me a few years ago, you’d know shady.”
He chuckled, he pointed to another of his tattoos, “Renrijra. In Ta’agra it means criminal, lowlife, mercenary.” He touched his fingers to the ones on either side of his chest, “Fusozay Var Var, Fusozay Var Dar. Enjoy life, kill without qualm.”
He touched another, “In Ta’agra, this means ‘thank you, Anequina, for my ruined youth.’ Elsweyr is beautiful. But get too close and you’ll see.” He nodded, “You’ll see. As for escaping,” he twisted around to show the chapel on his back and the two eyes, “Three steeples, three years. I was supposed to be in there for twenty, but I made good friends and they decided they needed me out sooner. I got the eyes in jail, it means you go behind my back and I’ll see your treachery.”
“Y’sure been ‘round lots,” Meg remarked. She had been sipping on her tea as she watched Sevari point out a few other tattoos. “Hammerfell, obviously, Skyrim, Elsweyr, I’m bettin’ it’s safe t’say Valenwood… Cyrodiil? Morrowind?” The last two were just guesses, of course, but she continued onward anyway, letting out a huff. “If it hadn’ been for the dwemer attackin’, I’d pro’ly still be wanderin’ ‘round Skyrim. I’d never really been ‘round the Reach… ‘cause of the Forsworn-” she raised her eyebrows and glanced at the Khajiit - “I’m not usually
someone who run t’wards danger…” She flushed, remembering that was exactly
how she had first met the man sitting across from her. “Usually.”
“You tend to live longer that way.” Sevari chuckled, “Cyrodiil, yes. Morrowind, no. I’ve never liked swamps, couldn’t stand the ones in Valenwood, so Black Marsh is a no.”
He sipped his tea, “You’ve… never been outside Skyrim?”
“Like, 'til now? Nah.” Meg shook her head as she picked up her tea, draining it until only the dregs remained. “Jerall was m'first venture an’, well, even that was just at the border. I… well, I always wanted t'go 'round Tamriel, but not like this… this was more bein’ chased 'round.” She shrugged once again. “I s'pose we jus’ gotta take what we get?” That didn't sound quite fair to her though. “Part of me says once.. well, once whatever's s'posed t'happen happens, then I'm just gonna stay in Skyrim. The other part wants t'see more, without havin’ t'worry 'bout dwemer.”
“Huh.” Sevari nodded, “Well, you really are traveling now, then.”
He chuckled, taking the last sip of his tea. “Well, I did make a bet with that asshole I call my brother. Keep an eye out, I’m setting up a duel.”
He rose, sighing and scratching at his chest. He looked at Meg, saw the look in her eyes. It really was the same as Ja’Vashara, there was a mischief there, but not any evils. He smiled, turned away from her and chuckled a bit, letting the moment flow on until he spoke, “I’m glad we had this talk.” He said, “You… remind me of someone. I miss her a lot, to the Moons and back. You and her both, you’re good people. Keep that.”
He kept his smile, wistful as it was. One last look at Meg and a wink and he turned and took the steps away from her and back into the crowd.
"I'm glad we talked too!" Meg called out as he left, staying seated where she was for the time being though her eyes followed the two eyes and three steeples on his back until he was lost in the crowd. This was certainly not how she'd fathomed a talk with the Khajiit man would have gone. She let out a happy sigh, smiling to herself as she looked down at her empty cup of tea. Deep inside, most were good, and he had shown that as well. She hoped perhaps he'd realize that he could indeed have more than he believed he deserved.
If Jaraleet could, then why not Sevari? It was that simple to Meg.
With those thoughts, she stood up, ready to whet her lips with something a little stronger, and perhaps some food.