Life’s a River
By Morty & Greenie
17th of Midyear, late night after the feast, Falkreath
A storm of thoughts raged within Jaraleet’s mind as he pushed open the door that lead into the tavern open. He had seen Meg going into the building and, without thinking, he had made his way towards the building; he'd be lying if he said that he hadn't worried when she disappeared for two days along with Zaveed, not that he didn't trust the Khajiit or Meg’s abilities to come out of whatever trouble the pair had run into but the worry still had been there in his mind. There was also the issue of Finnen’s disappearance and the promise that he had made to the former Forsworn, topics which he didn't know how to approach with the Nord girl but which he knew that she deserved to know about.
The warm interior of the tavern was a welcome respite from Skyrim’s cold climate, something that the Argonian still hadn't grown used to, and he took a moment to bask in the warmth of the building before he spotted Meg sitting alone at a table. Making a beeline towards there, he stood somewhat awkwardly as he looked at the Nord. “Hey…” He started, his eyes drifting to an empty chair in front of her “Do you...mind if I join you? I wanted to check in on you, see how you were doing.”
Meg had been nursing another tankard of mead once she had finished conversing with Judena and the khajiit called Do'Karth. It had been a nice feeling, meeting an old friend, getting to meet a new one, and just being happy knowing things were moving towards something positive for once. In Skyrim it felt as if they were actually winning
She looked up in surprise at hearing the familiar voice, not having expecting the Argonian to come over after nearly a month of silence. "I s'pose so," she replied, nodding slowly in a perplexed manner as she stretched out with her leg and pushed the chair away from the table so that he could sit. "Been a while, eh? How're y'doin'?" She set the tankard down and attempted to lift an eyebrow, something she'd seen Sirine often do.
Jaraleet winced inwardly at the surprise with which Meg had looked him when he appeared. “I….know it's been a while, I'm sorry…” He started lamely, trying to offer an explanation to her. “I was...trying to sort out...well, my feelings. Sorry for not talking to you…” He chuckled awkwardly, sitting down in front of her and signaling someone to bring him a drink. “Truth be told, I wasn't sure if...if you'd want to talk to me, not after the last time we talked…” Jaraleet admitted, letting out a sigh. “But I was worried about you, about how you were doing after being gone. I knew you'd be ok but, well, friends care for friends, no? I recall you mentioning something along those lines to me back at Gilane.” He said, trying to smile at Meg.
That brought out a chuckle from Meg, and she nodded as she brought the tankard to her lips, drinking in the sweet, tasty mead. "Yeah, they do," she agreed with a nod. Her brow furrowed slightly as she thought to Gilane and how it almost seemed like a lifetime ago. Since then she felt as if she had changed so much. Travelling through the desert, through the mountains, escaping the dwemer with Zaveed- it felt as if months or years had taken place, even if it were just some days or weeks.
"I'm doin' fine," she added after a moment. "Bein' back home has been good for me, even if I got caught by those bastards. I wasn' alone though, so that helped." She paused in her words, looking over Jaraleet. The last time she had seen him was when they'd gone to collect supplies from Raelynn- he had been so curt then and it had saddened her. What had he been thinking of since their last conversation in the desert? Had he been mulling over that since then? Had he talked to anyone about it, like she had? "How're you
doin'? Have you had anythin' t'drink? Eat?"
“That's good, that's good.” Jaraleet said, relieved by Meg’s words. “I knew you'd be ok but, well, couldn't help but worry.” He said, chuckling softly. A barmaid came between Meg’s questions and he ordered a drink for himself before he turned to look at Meg once again.
am doing?” He repeated the words, chuckling softly and shaking his head. “Don't think anyone has ever asked me that, not that I remember at least.” He said, pausing for a second to think. “I...I don't know truth be told. I am worried for Finnen, but I'm not sure about anything else to be honest.” He admitted, looking down at the table.
"Worried 'a'bout Finnen?" Meg couldn't help but look confused, because she was. She had noticed he wasn't about, but she hadn't asked why, being swept away into the crowd, and later by Ivy to star in Calen's tale. She sorely wished to talk to Sevari as well, but at least he knew that she and Zaveed were alive and well. "What happened to him? An' whatchu mean, 'bout anythin' else?" She had an idea of what he might've meant, but her buzzed mind couldn't be sure.
“He….ran away from the group. I don't know the full details, but it must have been something bad.” The Argonian said with a frown, shaking his head slightly. “Like I said, I'm worried about him. He...made me promise something to him and I'm worried he might have put me in a situation where I might have to keep said promise.” He said with a sigh as his drink was delivered to him.
He took a swig of the tankard before he looked to Meg. “I mean my life, myself. I’m….not sure what will be of me…”
Megana couldn't help but frown. Something happened to Finnen? He ran away? Purposefully? What in Oblivion could have caused that? She had seen Sora but hadn't been able to talk to her yet. Bringing a hand to her forehead, she rubbed hard, trying to focus so that she could understand what was being said. "Yer bein' vague," she muttered after a moment. "I don' get what y'mean, but I'mma talk t'Sora tomorrow. But if y'did make a promise, y'should try an' keep it."
She paused to take a gulp of her mead, holding on to the tankard as she looked over it, green eyes contemplating the Argonian. A soft sigh expelled from her mouth as she decided to come out and speak boldy. "When y'mean sortin' out yer feelin's, is it 'be'cause I couldn' return yours when ya told me y'loved me that night?"
“I'm sorry for being vague but….well, I don't know much more myself. All I know is that Finnen right away and, unlike you, I'm not good friends with Sora so I can't ask her what happened.” The Argonian said, shaking his head slightly. “Trust me, this is a promise you don't want me to keep. I
don't want to keep it.” He said, frowning slightly and taking another sip of his drink.
“Yes and no.” Jaraleet replied to Meg’s question, looking at her directly in the eyes. “It...hurt, yes, I can't deny that.” He began, taking another sip from his drink. “But it's not just that. I've...changed, for the better or worse I don't know but I've changed, that's undeniable.” The Argonian spoke, closing his eyes for a second and drumming his fingers on the table. “Plus...I've been gone for so long, with no reports, for all I know I'm on a death list right now…”
Meg wasn't quite sure what he meant by the promise, but if what he was saying was true, then she wasn't going to push him about it, seeing that it already had him upset. She looked away for a moment, eyeing her drink as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. She felt bad... she had never wanted to hurt him, but she could see now that saying she felt the same would have been wrong not just for her, but for him as well. What he needed wasn't a relationship... but a friend. Goodness knew the man needed a few. She had latched on in her own loneliness, and that hadn't been quite fair on her part.
"I'm sorry I hurt ya," she replied quietly. "Never wanted t'do tha'. No matter wha', you're still m'friend, an' hurtin' a friend ain' right. I hope y'can forgive me for that." Letting out a soft breath, she continued onward. "Y'have changed, we all've. Ain' normal if we all stayed the same after all the shit we've been through. But Jaraleet- even if yer on a death list... so wha'? Does tha' mean yer gonna die? No. Y'got friends now, ain' like we're gonna let that happen. Lookit Sevari, lookit Zaveed- I'm bettin' both got loadsa people who wanna kill 'em but... they ain' dead. They're alive, they're with us.
"Look." She reached out and put a hand on his arm, squeezing it. "Be who you
wanna be. Not what others want."
“It’s ok Meg.” The Argonian replied quietly, shaking his head slightly. “I was never mad at you, or anything, I was just….hurt, lost, but that’s in the past right now.” He said, placing one hand over hers and giving it a gentle squeeze.
“I’m not sayign that I’m gonna drop dead this instant, no. But, well, my life will probably be at risk, much like how Sevari’s and Zaveed’s life are at constant risk though I suppose that’s a given when you take our current situation into account.” He said, chuckling softly before he took another swig of his drink. “It also probably means I’ll never get to go back to Argonia…” He muttered, looking down at the table.
He let out a sigh when she told him to be who he wanted to be. “It’s good advice, it truly is.” He said, looking at her in the eyes once more. “But it’s a difficult one to put into practice, at least for me it is.” He continued on, closing his eyes. “I’ve lived my whole life dedicated to a singular purpose. There’s….there’s always been a clear, defined, goal that I’ve been chasing and now, I feel as if I’m adrift in a river.”
"Maybe y'gotta let the river take y'where it wants t'take ya," Meg replied after a small moment, giving the Argonian a small smile. "Y'know, I heard once from a bard that life's a river, y'don' know where it's gonna take ya, which way it's gonna turn, y'can't control it. But yerself? Y'can control that, y'can choose what y'wanna do, who y'wanna be. So like... let the river take ya where it does. Long as y'know who you are, it doesn' matter."
Jaraleet smiled at Meg’s words, his mood brightening slightly. “You are right, you are right, thank you Meg.” He said after a second. “Though, are you sure that bard didn’t take that particular piece of wisdom from Argonian culture.” Jaraleet spoke, chuckling softly. “We do
tend to consider life like a river, after all.”
"Well then, shouldn' you be the one tellin' me tha'?" Meg asked, a little cheekiness in her voice, though it was stifled with a slight yawn. "Y'really should... lighten up a bit more, y'know? Try t'have some fun. Tonight was fun, made all the pain an' all the hurt feel like... t'was worth it."
Jaraleet laughed at Meg’s words, shaking his head slightly. “Hmmm, maybe next time, maybe next time.” He chuckled, shaking his head slightly. “Hmm, I’ll take it under consideration. Though, I do think people would get mad at me if I tried to get drunk. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m not exactly a lightweight...probably wouldn’t leave too many drinks for the others if I went all out one night.”
Meg shook her head but decided to leave that be. To her it just seemed as if there was an invisible wall that kept him from loosening up and opening completely, but if that was the case, there was nothing she could do about it. It was his choice after all, and she didn't have the right to force him to do or be what she might feel was right.
"Well, 'least make sure y'eat somethin'," she said after draining her own drink, leaving only dregs behind in the tankard. "M'self, I'mma need some sleep. Been really tirin' couple o' days."
“That is probably a good idea, yes. It's been rather exhausting as of late.” The Argonian agreed. “You sure you don't need any help to get to your room? You seem rather tipsy to say the least.” He asked her, his tone light, as he let out a chuckle.
"I'mma sleep in one of the tents," Meg replied as she carefully stood up. She was her lone self, she didn't want to take up room that could be used for people who needed more space. "Don' worry, I should be fine. Ain' tha'
tipsy." She smirked. "Don' think much's gonna worry me after escapin' with Zaveed from that dwemer camp." Reaching up to fix her scarf around her neck, she then looked to Jaraleet. "See y'tomorrow then, eh? Don' be a stranger." She didn't want the next time they chatted to be because something traumatic happened.
“I’d say to watch out for the cold but, given that you are a native from here, this is probably like a summer breeze to you, eh?” The Argonian said with a light chuckle before nodding when she mentioned that she wasn’t that tipsy. “I’ll see you around then and, Meg, I won’t. I promise.” He said softly, reaching to gently grasp her wrist before she left. “One last thing, I am ok, truly, I am but, well, I’ll try and relax more I’m….just not all that good at it.” He admitted sheepishly, letting out an awkward chuckle. “Also, that scarf looks good on you.” He added as he let go of her wrist, “Have a good night Meg.”
“Y’can thank Sora for gettin’ it for me, then.” Meg patted the scarf affectionately before sending a nod in the Argonian’s direction. “You too, sleep well, Jaraleet.” With that said, she turned around and made her way to the door, thankfully not swaying too