Talus Kahar's House - Living Room - Crown's Refuge
- Built mostly by his own hands, this is the first structure built by the exiled Emperor of Fastheld, Talus Kahar XIV, as a project to learn self-sufficiency among the denizens of the Wildlands.
- The main living room area is rather spacious, with room for a couch and several chairs. An L-shaped wooden counter divides this area from the kitchen and dining area. A door leads to his bedchamber.
The sound of booted feet walking at a hurried pace can heard outside. The door flings open and a the form of a rather disheveled and tired young man appears. He's dressed from head to toe in pathfinder armor, spears in thong on his back and the insignia of the Imperial Blades mark his source. "Alright," he growls without waiting to check the inside. "Where is he?"
The explosion of the door from its frame sends a half-grown, charcoal-colored kitten bursting from the floor and skittering across the room, towards the bedroom, into darkness. Another soul is equally startled by the vehement sounds, her breath caught firmly in her throat as her writing falls from her hands and ink spills to the bed chamber's floor. There's the sound of panicked footsteps, a hiss of steel from its sheath, and then the newest guardian of this domicile appears in the doorway, rapier lofted into a defensive position.
There's a long moment of quaking silence as the Royal Healer holds her ground, staring into the face of the entered man, eyes ablaze, lips taut. The significance of his armor does not settle into reason quite yet, her mind still trying to catch up to her body's reaction. The only movement to sway her stance is the heaving of breath in her breast.
Theo blinks with some surprise at the sight of the healer and for a split second looks as if he might just turn around and run back out. However he steels himself, standing up straight but making no move for his own weapon. "Where is he?" he demands again. "I can see he's been busy. Least yous is much nicer lookin' then the other that were hangin' round all googly before." His expression is one of pained anger and he shakes slightly as he speaks, his face twisting as if his emotion might just as quickly turn to tears.
The finely detailed weapon begins to quiver at the tip, adrenaline catching up to Rowena's flurried motion in the form of tremors. Her eyes have now fixated on the Imperial insignia, identifying him as clearly as she need know...for now. He didn't seem to be much bigger than she beneath the armor, anyhow. So maybe...
The rapier lowers slowly till its tip rests against the floor. When she finally speaks, the voice is kept low, soft. "My answer to your question depends upon the name of the man you seek." Very cautiously, she releases her hold on the weapon all together though her left hand migrates to rest lightly over the dirk at her thigh. "And perhaps upon your manners of address, sir bladesman." She adds cooly, treading away from her post and towards the opened door, holding him fast with her wizened eyes.
"There is no manners outs here, least none that matter no more, sides I have no clue who you are...don't care," Theo replies with the same anger, his words coming in a rush. Deftly he works at the clasps of his spear thong, hefting it from his back as he speaks, "Skinner...it's him. He friggin left me yah know...left me there to die."
His tone gets more emotional and upset as he speaks, "I had to hide from that Shadow army. And then I wandered around that friggin' land out there for days. And then yah know what happened." He throws the spears on the floor and lifts his arms up and starts flappin them. His eyes grow wide, "BIG SHADIN' SHADOW BEAST".
He then flails his arms around even harder, "WAS GONNA EAT ME I SWEAR!" By now he is breathing heavily, "I swear. I hate him. I hate you all. Tell 'im that there's some friggin heart change with that Nimrod shadowtouched piece of rock here and back in Fastheld. That the beasts said he should consider something. Cause you know what. I QUIT!"
Digesting the riddled speech with some degree of difficulty, considering she'd never encountered the 'big shadin' shadow beast', Rowena closes the door behind him with calm, measured movements. Her expression of bewildered statement has faded, brow creasing now with some degree of concern as she watches him closely. "Vhramis..." She murmurs, making sense of at least that bit. "The stone that was here has been taken away. This much I know.
Her slender hand falls away from the door's latch, extending to a chair with meaning. The Ring of the Stars glows steadily upon her left hand. "Sit..." She advises gently. "Then tell me what it is you mean. Vhramis would leave no man to die...not of intention. He, the Prince of the Blood, and the rest of the men here have defended this Palisade against the black wildlings, the battle now nearly a month's past. And myself...I arrived just on that grave day, so I assure you I've not had time to do wrong against you, nor is it in my nature."
There's a pause as she looks around the emptiness of the cabin, then to the kettle at the hearth. "Sit, breathe, and I shall make for you some tea."
Theo blinks at Rowena as she explain, his expression showing he doesn't quite comprehension all that she has said either. His brow furrows at the talk of battle and questions at the offer of drink. For a second his mouth hangs open until it closes again, words left unsaid. His weight shifts first to the right leg then to left as he ponders his next move. "I'm still quittin'," he says just so she's sure, "An I don'ts want to sit in there. I sits by the door." This compromise seems to please him. He quirks a brief smile meant for himself as he descends to the floor and leans up against the door jam.
"Very well" Rowena murmurs, looking down to the man as he huddles near her feet. A tired sigh breathes from her throat and she pops a few buttons loose of her tunic's shoulder to allow some of the flooded heat to escape. "But let it be known that as Royal Healer of the Imperial Council, guardian of the Hall of Healing, bearer of His Majesty's strength 'pinned my tongue, and future wife of the Prince of the Blood, is /is/ in my jurisdiction to 'advise' you, a citizen of Fastheld, towards better health. And it is thus my suggestion that for your health, you will remain seated and drink of what it is I give to you. Rest assured, young man, that I have wrest'd larger, more desperate men than yourself to restraints beneath my care."
Lifting a single brow to punctuate her sentence, she remains as still as a sentinel for a heartbeat longer, then takes a long stride away from him towards the hearth.
Her booted feet bear her along with graceful sway of the hips despite the less than graceful attire she's been forced to adopt. "I, too, am afraid in this land, if that is of any comfort to you. I, too, was once abandoned." Glancing to him over her shoulder, she lifts a rag from the ground and wraps it around her palm to retrieve the heated kettle. "Perhaps we will share stories. But first, I wish to listen to yours."
"You're who?" Theo asks. His face having turned a bright shade of red as Rowena makes her explanation, seemingly hung up on that particular piece of information. He stares after her and whispers hoarsely, "What in the Light are yah doin' here. Yah nuts?" This causes a flash of embarrassment and he immediately shoves his head against his knees. "Oh lightly," he mumbles, "Oh lightly. I'm sorry your Grace. I jus' don'ts know nuthin' more."
"There are few who do...and I am no exception." Rowena mumbles solemnly, keeping her back turned as she carries the kettle to the counter, free hand fetching a dinged, metal tumbler. "/That/ is why I am here. To witness, to learn...to seek. But above all, to protect in ways I can, faith kept fast in the Light." The sound of pouring liquid spatters into the tumbler, steam rising in an aromatic plume from the kettle spout.
"I believe that if you hold to it, such faith will build you stronger than hatred, dear sir. Now...be you hungry as well?"
Theo licks his lips as he watches the tea being prepared and starts shaking his head vigorously in answer to the question. He catches himself as if he's broken one of the stipulations for the conversation and snaps a quick, "No I mean." A second guess, "Yeah." Then another, "NO." Then finally he gives in with a sheepish, "Yeah. Starvin' M'am. I mean Your Grace."
A knowing nod bobs Rowena's acknowledgment. She takes up a wooden plate and piles it high with some of the purplish berries and stumpy mushrooms. "We've no more meat, but there's a ranger in the town who sells such. I'll be purchasing more from her tomorrow." As the Duchess stirs around the kitchen, her tiny companion timidly comes back into view from his former flight. A mewl of inquiry makes the kitten known as he pads out of the bed chamber and stares warily at the newcomer by the door.
Theo nods and offers in a pitiful voice, "I ate bugs." He visibly jumps at the sound of the kitten, wide-eyed looking for it's source. His eyes narrow as he contemplates it, staring back in return. "Looks like Bear." Again in the same pitiful sounding voice though now tinged with a stab or yearning.
"He's hardly the courage of one." Rowena remarks wryly in turn, casting the kitten a dip of her brow. She balances the plate on her palm, steaming tumbler in the other hand, and paces back to where the young man hunches. "You're certain you would not like to sit nearer to the fire where it is warm?" She questions softly and stoops to a knee to level with his eyes. The food and drink is offered up regardless of his decision, extended by both hands.
The kitten follows after his mistress, in pursuit of a loosened boot lace. When the boot grows still, he rears up, claws extended, then bears down on her leather-guarded ankle with mischievous fury.
Theo glances at the fire, look back at her and shakes his head, speaking quietly "No M'am. Thank you M'am...gah. I mean your Grace." Gingerly he grabs the plate and sets it on his own knee. His gaze moves back to the cat. After a few moments, "Bear would stand up ta anythin'. He earned his name."
"Ach...y our two-legged 'father' has far more stealth in pouncing than you, my sweet." Rowena berates the kitten gently and when her hands are freed, she pries him off her clothing and holds him to her chest. Squawker squeaks in reply and turns his antics to attacking her escaped wisps of hair instead. "I may so guess that this 'Bear' you speak of is a most valiant feline then, yes?" Rising fluidly to her feet, she braces the kitten against her with one hand while the other pulls a chair for herself away from the table.
Theo pops one of the mushrooms in his mouth and nods. "Aye. He is. Though I dont's see him much no more. Yah can't have a cat in the barracks." He watches it for a second as he chews, "My Mom looks out fer him."
"I've never before had a cat to call my own," Rowena notes, curling into the seat and giving the kitten a little scratch beneath his chin. A purr thrums to life, deep within his chest. "Alieron kept one, in East Bluff Keep...Shalis was his name." Trailing off, she does not mention the likely fate of that feline within the tumbled keep.
"This fellow came to me as a gift by the hands I'd so long sought, some weeks ago. Two gifts in the presence of one, I suppose." Dipping her chin low, she touches noses with the little beast, then is forced to endure of series of chin-rubs in addition. Contented, the kit huddles down onto her chest and sucks absently at a button on her collar while his little paws knead away.
"I miss my Mom," Theo says absently until he realizes what he's said, starts and his face turns a bright red. He cringes back against the door and looks directly at the plate suddenly becoming quite focuses on shoveling the berries into his mouth.
A soulful glance flickers his way just as his eyes downturn, and Rowena smiles warmly. Not wanting to worsen the prideful embarrassment the young man exhibits, she says nothing. Instead, her focus drifts to a window to witness the wind's strength as it howls in gusts of fury. After watching it for a time, she says aloud "It is a bitterly cold night for bodies to wander alone. Even if it is your greatest desire to 'quit', as you say, I invite you to stay as a guest."
Theo glances towards the door, ponders this for a moment. "Before we left I slept over there." He points to the corner on the other side of the room.
"Then you may reclaim that place." Rowena nods, lifting the kitten away from her bosom and to the table. She stands and vanishes into bed room for a moment. After some shuffling around, she emerges again with an arm full of hide and fur to create a more comfortable bed roll than the wooden floor has to offer.
Once the bedroll is laid out Theo finally gives in to the call of a warm bed. The plate is set on the floor beside him and he slowly stands to move from his place by the door.
Return to Season 4 (2006)