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Sunday May 17, 2020

Hello! I figured it was time to update my profile bio. It’s nice to meet you. I’m LadyAnnaLee! I’ve been role-playing on this site for about a year and a half now. I like fantasy and sci-fi role-plays with a strong focus on character development. I do have a few fandoms that I don’t mind role-playing in, but it’s always as original characters. I’m willing to try just about anything but I will not do 18+ bedroom scenes. They make me uncomfortable. So, if that’s what you’re after please move on. I am mainly a weekend poster and will let you know if there is a weekend that I cannot post. I am a strong believer in letting my partners know if I cannot continue a role-play. I will not chase people looking for posts. If you choose to ghost me, I will let the role-play die.

Here’s some fun facts about me. I live in the CST time zone and work a set schedule Monday through Friday. I am an “essential” worker and a hard worker at that. I like the color purple and I am trying my hand at growing flowers for the first time. It’s not working so well. The rain washed away my dirt. When I’m not working or role-playing, I’m either sleeping or watching Netflix or Disney+. I enjoy junk food and I really like the new cherry vanilla Coke. I’m in my late 20s and can’t seem to get a date to save my life. That’s okay. I am a strong independent person who pays all my own bills.

It was so nice to meet you!

LadyAnnaLee!

PS. Check out my most recent interest check here.

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Darin swallowed the bite she had in her mouth as Ridahne finally joined her, “It’s fine.” She smiled, “It’s not my favorite but I do enjoy Azurei cooking. I think out of all the new stuff I’ve tried on this trip I liked Eluri cooking best though that one dish Umi made for us in Deepblood fashion was super good. I didn’t realize fish could be that yummy.” Darin took another bite before turning her attention to what she believed was a more serious matter, “I didn’t like sleeping away from you, and I am not use to sleeping alone. I’ve almost always slept in place with at least one other person. So, just so you know, I’ll be sleeping in the stable with Talbot, and Taja and Tsura and Mitaja, if she chooses to join us, for the rest of the time we are in Tasen. If you need to find me in the night that’s where I’ll be.”

In Darin’s mind that was better than demanding that Ridahne come share the room with her. That was what the human wanted to do, but she knew that Ridahne wanted to share the barracks with those who had once been her friends. So, Darin would share the stables with those who wouldn’t mind her company. Besides the human would love to see someone try to mess with Talbot, Tsura, and Taja in order to get to her. Darin didn’t think they would get very far. Darin had to wonder if the Red Hand would try anything while they were in Tasen. Eija Salei had seen the aftermath of their first encounter with the Red Hand. Well, it was actually the second if they counted Mark. Still the warrior knew about them. She had told the Sols and the Sols had executed people connected to the Red Hand. Still the Red Hand was crafty, and nothing was certain.

She drained her water cup, “Still that is for tonight. For now, we have a grave to visit. I would like to see if she was honored in death. If what you told me about the Ojih is correct than I doubt the Bookkeeper knows the truth of her betrayal unless you took the time to mark her face before you dealt with her. Somehow, I doubt there was time for that. Since we cannot be sure of her reception in the afterlife, I would not have her be interred with honor or grace or peacefully. Besides I am angry with her. I would have her know that.” She leaned over to mention to Ajoran, “I plan to yell at her, in Azurei, so she knows what I am saying. I’ve been practicing my swears, though there are a couple that don’t translate well from my native tongue to Azurei and there are a few Shallowsoul swears that seem fitting.”

Darin had been wondering how they had treated Khaltira’s corpse. She hoped it wasn’t with any kind of honor. She almost wanted her burned. That was a mark of the deepest dishonor where she was from, to do nothing to help the world grow. She knew in Lively, even though they buried their dead, it was the same. In fact, Ja’heil seemed to understand what Darin had meant when he asked her what to do with the Red Hand corpses and she had said to burn them. It was possible that Khaltira had been burned. Still, if she had been honored in anyway Darin would protest and she rather thought Astra would protest with her.
Darin may have gotten to sleep quickly, but she had problems staying asleep. She kept waking up, and then when she realized she was alone in the room she worried about where Ridahne could possibly be. When she remembered that warrior was in the barracks the human would fall back into an uneasy sleep only to repeat the process more times than she cared to count. Finally, when the sun started to peak above the horizon, Darin called it quits and just woke up. It was easy enough to pull on her boots and slip on a belt. Her leathers for Taja were next. Her hair had dried while she was asleep, so it was easy enough to braid it back from her face. With that done she was ready for the day.

As she exited the room it was easy enough to find someone to tell her where to find breakfast. She followed the instructions to find what looked to be a dining hall. There were only a few people in the room and there didn’t look like there were any servers, so it was easy enough to grab a plate and fill it with food. The tastes were familiar. While on the road between settlements the two of them took turns cooking. Darin tended to make stews that reminded her of her home while Ridahne had made curries that reminded the Azurei of her home. The first couple of times had caught Darin of guard. Now, while it wasn’t Darin’s favorite, she still liked the spicy Azurei cooking.

Darin ate slowly, waiting for Ridahne to come find her. She trusted her sister, so she doubted that she went to the grave on her own. Still, the human hoped that the warrior had gotten more sleep than she did. Darin was almost tempted to tell Ridahne that Ajoran could come share the room with them, but that Ridahne needed to come sleep in the same place with her. Darin was not used to sleeping alone. The only time she had not slept in the same room as at least one other person was the three months after she left home but before she met Ridahne. Maybe she would just sleep in the stable with Talbot, Tsura, and Taja. That might just be easier.

Someone that Darin didn’t reconizge, but they looked young, came over. With awe in their voice they asked, “Forgive my rudeness, but I have to know, are you really The Seed-Bearer.”

Darin looked up from her plate to see everyone in the room look young and were either staring or trying to avoid staring. She couldn’t help the smile that came to her face, “And if I’m not? What will you do?”

The asker seemed taken aback, “I mean, mean no disrespect.”

Darin ran a finger over the rim of her water cup, “Shame. I learned long ago that if you are going to be disrespectful you should at least mean it; really commit you know.” She raised her finger into the air and the water from the cup followed it, “Pick a course you believe in and stick with it until you no longer believe in it or discover a better way or that you were wrong. Be strong enough to stick with your beliefs but flexible to change if they are proven faulty.” The water was following down her bare arm to form a series of interlocking bracelets, “But now I’m sounding like a preachy elder when I am not that experienced.” She smiled up at the questioner as they looked at the water with wide eyes, “And I am hungry. Do have any more questions?”

They shook their head, “No Astra-Sol.”

Darin flicked her head in dismissal as the water flowed back to her cup, “If you’ll excuse me back to my meal.” They hurried away as Darin called after them, “I am no Sol. That is not an honor I ascribe to.” She muttered to herself as she turned her attention back to her meal, “Ridahne better not be sleeping in. There’s too much to do today.”
Darin thought about that. At least in this moment Ridahne and her were in the same emotional states. They were both feeling a bunch of conflicting emotions that didn’t make sense to feel altogether. Yet, they both couldn’t help but feel them all. It didn’t seem like there was any logical solution. Then again, when were emotions ever logical. How could they be? Logic belonged to the brain. Emotions belonged to the heart. They very rarely agreed on anything. Sometimes logic needed to win. Sometimes emotions did. They could very rarely both win. Darin knew that, yet it was difficult to remember.

Darin held out both hands, both lightly closed, “I guess that makes sense. And I think it’s okay, to have two conflicting emotions.” She opened one hand, “On one hand to be grateful that the conversation happened, to be honored that she was candid.” She opened the other, “One the other, to hate that it had to be happened at all, to hate that she put you in the position that she put you in.” She closed her fists again, “It doesn’t have to make sense to feel both things.” She opened one hand again, “On one hand to not want to leave home.” The second hand was open again, “On the other to be glad that it led us to each other.” She sighed as she moved to rub a hand against her face, “And you’re right, there’s not much that I can do to help, except try to understand. So, feel free to feel whatever you want, even if it is conflicting and confusing. I’ll do my best to listen and try to understand.” She smiled as she placed her fiddle back under her chin, “But for now one more song for the pretty boy who’s never heard a fiddle before and then my bath and bed.” She eyed Ridahne with a hint of mischief in her eyes, “Perhaps a jig. Or maybe a ballad.”

In the end she wound up playing something high spirited and lively. It was a dancing tune. Darin was never good at dancing, but she had gotten a lot of practice since she had left home. Dancing was one thing that seemed to bring people together. Each culture had its own styles and Darin had grown to love each one just a little bit. She had learned to play most of the music that went with it, but it seldom translated to a fiddle well. As such she had taken very basic lessons in more of the Eluri and Orosi instruments. She wasn’t an expert by any means, but she enjoyed the little that she knew. Finally the song ended and she leaned over to place a kiss on Ridahne’s cheek.

She stood as she said, “I’m off to my bath and to bed. I’ll see you when I wake up.” She turned to Ajoran with a serious look on her face, “Watch out for her in the barracks. I doubt everyone is happy with her or with the Sota-Sol’s decision to allow her back. If there’s trouble I will back whatever it is, you decide to do to deal with it.” She moved to enter her room thought the window, “Good night lovebirds. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Once in the room the first thing Darin did was to detune the fiddle and place it back in the case. She probably wouldn’t get a chance to play her again, but one never knew for sure. After that it was easy enough to strip and scrub the travel grime off. She noted that there was a clean outfit. It wasn’t one of hers, but it was close enough. The water wasn’t cold, but it was on the tepid side. Still, Darin had taken plenty of cold baths before and would again. She delighted in the scrubbing off of the dirt and grime. Finally, when she was clean, she got out of the tub to change in the soft cotton breeches and cotton shirt. It was a little big, but just to sleep she left of the belt and the boots. Darin almost literally fell into bed and as soon as she closed her eyes she was asleep.
Darin had shifted for dancing tunes to something a little more somber, but still uplifting, by the time that Ridahne had joined her on the roof. As expected, she had brought Ajoran, but she didn’t seem to be at peace. In fact, unless Darin missed her guess, the warrior had been crying recently. For a moment Darin was torn in two. Part of her wanted to try and comfort Ridahne. Another part of her wanted to find whatever it was that made her sister cry and end it. She wasn’t good at being comforting, especially without knowing what the problem was, and she couldn’t end the problem without knowing what it was either. Therefore, she needed to find out the problem first. So, when the song was done, she pulled the fiddle out from underneath her shoulder and rested it on her lap.

She nudged Ridahne with her shoulder, “We share, or at least we try to. So, I will start. I am terribly homesick. I think I’ve been homesick for a while and am just now realizing it. That’s why I’m up here on this roof, playing music that doesn’t fit in here. I’m trying to catch just a little bit of home. And besides that, I can’t make this any easier for you. I want to. I don’t want to leave you to face this alone, but the truth is that I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what’s wrong to do. I don’t know what would help or what’s right.” She nudged Ridahne again, “So it’s your turn. Tell me why you have been crying and tell me how I can help.”

Darin wasn’t sure there was a way for her to help. She had already made demands of the Sota-Sol and the Sols. That couldn’t have helped. Yet she couldn’t regret it. It had made a statement. The human wasn’t quite certain what that statement was, but she had made it and she was going to stand by it and whatever came from it would come. What was done was done. All she could hope to do was to do better than she had done in the past. Darin had been thinking about that a lot lately. It had to mean something. She just wasn’t sure what. Then again, she could just be exhausted and tired. Night had come late. Day was sure to come early.

Still this conversation needed to happen. Other wise Darin was due to find herself waking up in the middle of the night to have this conversation or not being able to sleep until it happened. As such, the plan was to have Ridahne tell her what was wrong, go take a bath, and then go to sleep. The bathwater was probably rapidly cooling. She had spent longer playing then she had planned. Darin spending as long as she needed to helping Ridahne. Still, as long as the water was clean, and she could get the travel grime off and into a clean set clothes the temperature of the water hardly mattered. Right now all that mattered was dealing with Ridahne’s tears.
Darin wasn’t sure that Ridahne in the barracks was a good idea. The Eija and the Taja might not be a threat to The Seed, and Ridahne might have permission from the Sota-Sol to be here in Azurei, but certain warriors may not like her Ridahne at all. Darin couldn’t fault them for their opinion. She just didn’t think tempting fate like that was safe. She wasn’t going to say anything. Ridahne could take care of herself and if things went badly Darin had a feeling Astra would tell her. Azurei liked her and with Darin’s help could rise to her defense. That would have to be good enough.

Darin nodded as she stood up, “Sounds like a plan. I’m going to see if I can fond someone to escort me to the tom the Sols have set aside for us to see that bath. I am dusty and grimy. and would like to be clean.” She turned her gaze from Ridahne to the shadow behind the curtain, “Make sure you take care of her Ajoran.” Her attention was back on Ridahane, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

There was someone waiting to take her to the room. It was a nice room and it seemed like someone had both brough her things and had gone though them. It didn’t seem like they were looking for secrets. Rather her clothes were all missing and that was it. Darin didn’t like it, but she was willing to bet that her clothes had been taken for the sole purpose of getting them clean. Unfortunately, it meant she didn’t have anything to put on after her bath, at least not yet. The bath wasn’t ready either, and Darin wasn’t sure when it would be. She knew it was coming. The attendant that had escorted her was adamant about that. It did mean she had a little bit of time to kill.

She looked around her room and her eyes fell upon the fiddle in its case. IT had been a long time since she had played, and she was missing home. With that slightly impulsive decision made Darin grabbed the case and tied it to her belt before moving to crawl out the window. It wasn’t easy, but soon she was on the roof of the two-story building. It was east to look over the city of Tasen. The human sat on the edge od the roof with one leg tucked under her and the other dangling off the side. This was not her smartest move ever. It would be far too easy to fall off, and Ridahne wouldn’t be here to catch her. Darin paid that no mind as she tuned her instrument. Then she tucked the fiddle under her chin and began to play.

The tune carried for a fair distance and was surprisingly uplifting. The melody was fast pace and slightly flighty. It was a tune with a message of under currents of hope, but it was mainly just playful. Back home this song would accompany a high-spirited jig filled with laughter and several partners switches. If Darin closed her eyes, she could almost see the shadows of the dancers as they swung and dipped each other. She could see Thomas gather his courage to ask Milla to dance. By The Tree, she hoped they were together. She hoped that they were planning on kids. She hoped the mayor of Lively hadn’t been allowed to have her. She hoped that her peers were alright. She hoped her mother had made all of the apple pies for this year’s harvest festival. She smiled just thinking about it. She was miles from home, but for just a moment she could be a part of the celebration she knew was happening.
I have been busy the last week week and a half. I will not be getting you a post this weekend, but I will try to get you one with in the next week or so. Thank you for understanding.
Darin peeled herself off of Ridahne and quickly darted after her as they headed to these fabled bathing rooms. Taja few into the stables to find his own rest with Talbot She wasn’t sure what she expected, but she was suddenly struck by the fact that she didn’t have a change of clothes. Now that she thought about it she hadn’t seen her bags when they had gone back to the stables. She was left to assume that their bags had already been taken to where they would be visiting Tasen. That was a problem, because she was used to sharing a room with Ridhane, and she had assumed that Ridahne would be rooming with Ajoran. Darin had no desire to sleep alone in this building, so she had planed to sleep with Talbot, Taja, and Mitaja if the cat didn’t go to sleep with her person. She was also left with the fact that she didn’t want to wear Azurein clothes. No matter where she had visited, she had always worn human styled clothes. She didn’t want to change that.

She asked the girl who offered her new clothes, “I would feel more comfortable in my own clothes. Can you tall me where they went so I can go grab a set of my own?”

The girl looked at her with solemn eyes, “There will be a set here when you are done bathing Astra-Sol.”

Darin’s smile became forced, “Thank you.”

She didn’t like the thought of someone just going through her things. Yet Darin was far too tired to argue the point. Especially since it seemed like it had already been done. She supposed that as long as everything was there when she left Tasen it would be alright. She was glad that she kept The Seed close. She didn’t want anyone finding it. Though that brought her to another problem. She couldn’t believe that she hadn’t thought of it before. If she stripped naked in front of all these people, they would all see the band on her upper leg where she kept The Seed. That would not ideal. She hadn’t even shown Ridahne it.

She told Ridahne, “On second thought I’ll just come look. I wasn’t thinking straight and it’s not a good idea for me to strip in front of everyone.”

The rooms certainly were pretty, and Darin was enchanted with the bucket that rained on people. That almost seemed more practical than taking a bath. She wasn’t sure though. Darin did take off her boots and roll up her pants to her knees, but even after following Ridahne to the room with the soaking pool she didn’t enter it. That would just be bad manners since when was still grimy from the road. She wanted to get clean, but she rather keep the location of The Seed a secret. She was glad she had made that choice as she saw the strangers in the room. As she followed Ridahne to sit on the edge of the pool near her, the human knew that she would either be viewed as shy or disrespectful. That was okay. The Seed-Bearer could live with that.

She smiled as Ridahne mentioned the thing she had missed most, “I remember you talking about that. I can’t wait to smell them, but I don’t think I’ll be using them. After all it’s not looking like I’ll be clean anytime soon.” She laughed lightly, “But that’s my own fault so I’ll live.” She spoke to Ajoran on the other side of the screen, “It is impressive, but I’m definitely out of place.” She stood up, “So I think I’ll go see if Talbot will let be bed down with him for the night.” She made a request of Ridahne, “Come and get me tomorrow when you are ready to go visit.” The she practically commanded, “Do not go without me. I have things to say to her. Even if she is dead, and I will not send you to face her alone.” She wasn’t leaving until she was sure Ridahne was in the same mind set, “Promise me sister.”
Darin spent maybe five minutes crying in self-pity and homesickness before she felt a huge weight knock her over. It didn’t take her long to realized that it was Mitaja. As soon as the hunting cat had toppled the human over, she laid on top of the girl causing the girl to let out a groan as all the air was pushed out of her. Mitaja didn’t seem to realize that Darin was having a hard time breathing as she started to purr. Darin struggled for a minute to get the huge cat off of her before resigning herself to defeat and just laying there and staring at the ceiling. She absently rubbed the hunting cat’s ears.

She told the cat, “I suppose this is a better use of my time anyways.”

MItaja gave Darin a look that clearly said that the human was being completely silly, of course this was a better use of her time. However, the cat didn’t stay put for long before getting up. Darin sat up to continue rubbing the cat’s ears. She was completely convinced that Mitaja would lie back on top of her if the cat didn’t get the attention she felt was her just due. It wasn’t long before, not one, but two more hunting cats joined them. Darin found her hands busy as the three cats and Taja demanded affection. There wasn’t much time for melancholy or homesickness when she had to keep four animals happy with her.

It appeared that one of the cats grew bored with the petting and leaned down in the stance that indicated that it wanted to play. The other newcomer followed suit. MItaja let out a noise of question as Darin watched the display in dismay. There was only one game that Darin could think of given the fact that she didn’t have something to play fetch or tug with. The human had no desire to deal with this. Yet, a year of traveling with Mitaja had taught Darin that a testy Azurei hunting cat was not something you wanted to have upset with you.

Darin sighed in resignation, “I know chase. Is chase okay?”

The two newcomer cats yet out yowls of agreement as Mitaja pushed Darin into a standing position. With another sigh Darin took off running. Taja screeched in excitement as he flew above the human. The cats were polite enough to give the human a few minutes head start. Then with playful noises they gave chase. It wasn’t long before she was lost in the game. Darin ducked around corners and upstairs just as fast as she could while laughing like a madwoman. She was careful to keep to hallways and streets and avoid rooms and houses. She didn’t want to intrude on anyone. She wasn’t sure how long she had been running. Taja let out a sound of warning anytime the cats got too close. Then, when she was looking behind her for the cats, she bumped into someone.

She laughed in near perfect Azurei, “I’m so sorry. Please.” Then she saw who she had bumped into, “Hey! I know you!” She stopped trying to run as she paused to talk to the person with glee in her eyes, “Apprentice Ja’heil! How have you been? I trust The Tree has blessed your travels!”

It was Ja’heil, from the village where Darin had stopped the rain for the first time, “Do I know you human?” He seemed confused, “You speak like a long-time visitor.”

Darin laughed again, “You knew me as Martin Lively, back when I was still trying to pass as a boy.”

Darin saw the gears rotating in his mind and the stunning realization when he put the pieces together, “From the Eluri village. My master’s report began the hunt for the Red Hand.”

Darin nodded as MItaja came to press her head in the human’s hand, “Yep.”

Ja’heil smiled tightly, “Martin right? I trust The Tree has blessed your travels.”

Darin shook her head, “Darin.” She clarified, “My name is Darin. I travel under the name Martin Lively to try and avoid attention.” She asked again, “The Tree has blessed you journey, correct?”

Ja’heil nodded slowly as he processed what Darin was saying, “Ah yes! I certainly have felt blessed. My studies have been going well.” He asked a question of his own, “How have your studies been going.”

She nodded, “They have been. Thank you for asking.” She looked around as one of the new cats pressed into Darin’s other hand, “I’m afraid got a little bit lost as I ran. Can you lead me back to the stables?”

Ja’heil shook his head, “My master is expecting me?”

Darin smiled, “Of course. I would like to see you again before I leave Tasen. Would that be alright?”

He shook his head, “I may not have the time.”

Darin was sure as she turned to leave, “I will make time.” She waved at him, “Till we speak again.”

With that she was gone, following the three cats, back the way she came. She didn’t not miss the look of confusion on his face as she said that she would make time and that amused. It was kind of fun to know that she could practically make whatever she wanted to have happen in this country happen. It didn’t seem that news of The Seed-Bearer being in Tasen had spread yet. Darin wondered how long it would be before it did. Soon they were back at the stables and the two newcomer cats peeled off to go home as Taja flew to land on Ridahne’s shoulder as the warriors exited the stable.

Darin exclaimed as she draped her arms around her sister, “Ridahne! I’m dirty and grimy and want to be clean. You speak of these incredible bathing rooms! Take me.” Yes, she was whining but it was mostly teasing. Her mood was much better, “Please! Then sleep. We can visit the grave tomorrow before we go to market.” She slumped so the other girl would have to carry most of her weight, “I’m sleepy.”
May I borrow Mitaja and Apprentice Ja’heil in my next post? He's the one that was cleaning Ridahne's blades in the town where Darin first stopped the rain.
Darin was about to say that of course she would go with Ridahne to see the grave of Khaltira. For one thing there was no way that Darin was letting anyone she cared about face that monster even if that monster was already dead. For another thing Darin wanted to know what the Sols had done with the body. If Khalitira had been honored in anyway shape or form her displeasure with the Sota-Sol would increase tenfold and all of Azurei would know it. The Seed-Bearer wouldn’t stand for a traitor to Azurei, The Tree, and all of Astra being honored, even in death.

She didn’t get a chance to before the sounds of another person approaching the stables were heard. She was puzzled by Ridahne’s strange actions. They seemed almost familiar, but she was sure that the warrior had never acted like this before. What happened next explained why Ridahne was acting so strangely, as a strange man came into the stable, was blinded by Ridahne, retaliated, and only stopped when he heard the warrior’s laughing. That was when it clicked for Darin and she politely adverted her eyes as Ridahne Torzinei and Ajoran Teleisun have their reunion in peace. Though what she saw from the corner of her eye seemed familiar as well. She just wished she could place it.

Ridahne drew Darin’s attention back to the conversation as she mentioned asking her. She smiled at the newcomer and was just about to introduce herself when he swept her up in his arms the same way Hadian had. Unlike Hadian he picked her up off her feet to swing her in a circle before setting her down. Her eyes grew wide in alarm as the action suddenly reminded her why it was all so familiar and she felt like she had been punched in the stomach and all the air in her lungs had been pushed out. Luckily Ajoran was distracted for just a moment so Darin had time to turn her look of shock and dismay into a least a small smile. Ridahne would know something was wrong, but hopefully wouldn’t pry.

Darin let out a small laugh as she spoke in Azurei, “I am Darin Torzenei, daughter of Martin by Talia, Seed-Bearer of Astra.” She gestured to Ridahne, “As she has said She is Ridahne Torzenei Seed-Chained, Guardian of Astra.” She pointed to the man, “You are Taja Ajoran Teleisun. I have heard nothing but good things about you, I am delighted to meet you, and at some point soon I would have words alone with you.” She turned to her sister and let her expression turn serious, “However, for now, I will let you two reunite in private.” She moved to the door of the stable and lightly ran a finger along Ridahne’s arm, “The last person who did what he just did to me was Martin, son of Gregory by Edith. I would appreciate it if you didn’t let anyone else do it again.” She smiled at the both of them as she finally reached the door, “Come find me when you are done catching up so I can clean up.” She reassured Ridahne, “We’ll talk later I promise.”

With that Darin left the stable and the reunited lovers. She hoped Ridahne didn’t think she was running off. She planned to talk to the warrior about this, but later, after she and Ajoran had a moment to themselves. Taja flew out just as the door closed to land on her shoulder. It was easy enough to find a secluded corner where she figured she could be left alone to think, but close enough that Ridahne could find her. Then she began to pace as she chewed at a hangnail. The way the two of them acted, it had been the same way Martin, son of Gregory by Edith, and Talia, daughter of Mark by Emilie, had acted before things had gone horribly wrong. It had been the way things had been forever. Martin would come home from working the fields, kiss Talia passionately, and then spin Darin around. That life had been soured in one night. Darin stopped pacing as she looked back towards the stable. She suddenly remembered comparing Ridahne to Martin. Yet, it seemed that Ajoran forgave Ridahne for leaving him, so maybe it wasn’t quite the same.

It wasn’t just the familiar actions that had unsettled the young human. It was also the fact that she was just hit by another realization. It had taken longer than it should have, but first she had been distracted by what Hadian could teach her and then by her anger at the Sols. Now that she wasn’t, she realized that she was envious of Ridahne and had been for at least two days, possibly as long as a week. Darin wasn’t jealous of the romance she had with Ajoran. Romance never really crossed her mind. She wasn’t jealous of her relationship with Hadian. Hadian himself made that impossible with how loving and welcoming her had been. Darin was envious just because Ridahne had come home and Darin wasn’t going to get to see her home for at least a year, possibly more, probably more. She still had to zigzag though the three human kingdoms before she got home, and suddenly, for the first time in a long time, the only thing Darin want to do was go home. Darin sank to put all her weight on her toes as she bent her knees and crossed her arms over her stomach as a bout of powerful homesickness washed over her.

Though no one would hear her, she whispered to the hot air, “I want my mama.” Tears began to crawl down her cheeks, “I want to go home.”
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