Camping at the Manor with Capa (Part 2)

He would actively follow her for the first couple of rooms, but would actually stop and take a bit more time to examine them, getting a feel for the environment and fully orienting himself in the space. He never left earshot of the woman who seemed to have not even noticed he lagged behind. Only when she reached the last room of the odd tour she had just given him would he step in before she smiles over to him. Apparently she had no idea that he hadn’t been with her the entire time! He blinks almost confused at her, despite the fact he had heard everything she said in his investigation. His eyes too glanced out the large window, nodding in her direction. His words seemed almost hushed.

She spins around, looks at him with that odd twinkle in her eyes, and skips forward a little bit, before falling forward, or at least it would look as if she is falling forward, but she would end up falling into a perfectly executed forward roll, bouncing up right in front of him softly on her toes. She tilts her head to the side, grins and taps him on the nose with her finger. She giggles.

“So! Will ya stay with me? We can light a fire an’ stay up all night an’ tell each other stories. It’ll be like .. like .. campin’ or something’!”

She ventures to touch his face then with her fingers, tracing some of the angry, old scars on one of his cheeks. “I’m thinkin’ ya might have more stories than me, though. Jus’ maybe.”

Reflex kicked in as she fell, and he would step forward to try to help her up, though he quickly stopped himself as she balled up and rolled towards him. He flinched lightly at the tap and opened his mouth to speak as she spoke, though the touch of her hand to his face would bring his own left hand up to gently grasp the wrist of the limb that would be touching him. With leather covered fingers, he would politely pull the woman’s hand away from tracing the scar, his head turning to the opposite side and his eyes shooting off into the same direction. His speech would he heavy.

“I have nowhere else to go, so I can stay. I can’t promise I am a good storyteller, though.”

She stares at his marked face where her fingers had been, blinking and pouting a little. Where had he been, what had happened to make him look that way? How old was he even? Maybe he’d tell her that when they shared stories. This thought made her smile, and she shrugged and giggled, skipping across the room to pull the mountain of blankets out, getting them ready to sit on.

“Ya any good at lightin’ fires, Mister?”

His hand easily released her wrist when she drew back, his eyes only returning to her once more when she would turn from him and retrieve the blankets. He stood there with his feet like anvils and his heart heavy. Only when she spoke up again would his feet feel the need to move once more. His path led him to the fireplace where he examined the ashes and bits of wood left behind. His words seemed almost hollow, though still rang out strong.

“I am. Where do you keep the wood? I can set it up fine.”

Lylah looked over to the picture window and pointed, giggling.

“Whole forest full o’ it out there.” She shrugged and took pause to look at the man again.

She wondered what he was thinking. He sure didn’t talk much, but he was here. Why’d she brought him here anyway? She thought about that idly for a moment. Last time she’d brought anybody anywhere it had been that silly paladin in the city, drunk on wine and promises of a good time. She’d given him the latter, of course, because one mustn’t tell lies, but she’d borrowed something in return on her way out, as she did, but this one, this man with the face that looked more like a bumpy, marred road map, she figured he didn’t have anything to borrow anyways, and her only intention at first had been to make him smile, and not for her own amusement or entertainment but because she thought she could. Now, standing here in the manor she didn’t feel so confident, and that was new for Lylah. It occurred to her that maybe, just maybe, some people didn’t even want to laugh or smile, and that made her frown.

She realized that when he asked her this last that her bottom lip was pushed out in a pout, and she straightened up, forced a smile a replace the former expression and shook her head. “Nope, ya didn’t say nothin’ wrong. As long as one never tells lies, nothin’ can be said that’s wrong. No, sir!” was her simple response, and she skipped towards the stairs to go and get started on collecting some firewood for the night.

If it were possible, the response was almost more confusing than the sudden change in character. He would roll the thought around in his head, his brightly glowing eyes dimming for only a few moments as he thought, slowly following her in a stride to keep pace with the skipping woman. Just as they got to the bottom of the stairs he would have almost stepped on her heel. He shook the thoughts from his head and continued in her wake, eyes scanning the area. He still wasn’t used to this manor and it would take some time until he would be able to be comfortable in it should he be kept here for some time. He didn’t know why she brought him here, but he didn’t seem to mind the adventure and company.

Lylah scowled at the mouse as he ran along behind her, or rather, waddled quickly, as she skipped around gathering wood, and once she had a large armload, she headed back towards the manor, dumping it on the hearth in the room upstairs and heading down for one more before going in for the night. Her elfie companion would  either follow her or not, she didn’t really pause to wait. Besides, they’d have all night to talk anyway, or not. By the time she dumped the second armload inside it was half dark in the room, and getting cold.

As soon as they made it outside, Capathios too would begin to gather a large amount of wood under each arm. He seemed to pick up ones that seemed drier rather than just any wood that he could manage. First small twigs, then larger logs for the actual meat of the fire. He seemed pleased with what he had and too would gather a second set. They both made it back to the manor at about the same time with a good amount of wood gathered between the two of them on both trips. He’d look between the stockpile of wood and the fireplace and began to put a couple of the larger logs on bottom and built a teepee sort of structure around it with the smaller twigs. He then reached for his flint firestarter he kept in a hidden pocket in his leathers. He stopped and looked back to her curiously.

This should be good for more than a night, I think. Depending on how long we stay and how long we are actually awake.”

Lylah plonked herself down on the pile of blankets watching him work, tucking her legs up close to her body and leaning her chin on her knees.

“I don’t know ’bout you, but I don’t sleep a long time. Too much goin’ on up here, “she taps at her temple and pokes her tongue out, “bad an’ sad, an’ mad an’ glad things, but too many things t’ think ’bout.” She nods finally and exhales loudly. Nights were long, yes they were. “An’ I’m stayin’ here every night I can, ’cause once this ol’ place is done an’ finished, this won’t be my room anymore, an’ I like it here just the way it is. Mhm!”
Capathios removes a small knife from his belt and chips some of the flint off of the starter and onto a concentrated area of the teepee he had made. He then flips it over and grinds the knife over the starter. Several sparks would fly forth and land on the spot. A few strokes of this and the fire would begin. He blew on it once or twice for it to actually set and it would roar to life. It was then that he scooted back and sat about two feet to the right of the female, looking into the fire.

The fire now going, Lylah rolled onto her side, stretching out, leaning on her elbow, and she alternates between looking into the flames and at the man.

“What are you thinking about, Miss Lylah?”

She quirks an eyebrow at him and sings her answer, awfully and out of tune of course.

“A lot. Things an’ stuff an’ more’n enough! A lot, a lot that’s never forgot, “she wrinkles her nose and shrugs, a little hiccuping sound at the end. She’d meant to giggle, but it was halfhearted.

Capathios kept his gaze in the fire even as she spoke. The hiccuping sound though would bring his eyes to hers. He looked her over momentarily, his expression rather neutral. The actual glow of his eyes was bright, blocking out the view of the spheres underneath though it wouldn’t be unsettling. Simply present and masking. His thoughts kept rolling and his eyes upon the woman far longer than he had meant. Finally he speaks.

“Aye. Some things are never forgotten.”

Lylah doesn’t stay still where she lies, she shifts her position many times and every few minutes. It’s not often that she can or is inclined to do so in any case. She turns from one side, to the other, sits up, lies down, kneels, and then finally comes to rest on her front after kicking off her boots, turned so that her hands hold her face up and she just lies there, staring at the man, tilting her head from one side to the other.

“Can I ask ya somethin’?” she finally says.

Lylah purses her lips, screws her nose up and reaches out a hand to point at his face, not intending to poke him, but more a curious gesture. “What happened to ya? Yer not pretty like lotsa other elveses.”

Capathios actually turns his head to look at her, the finger coming close to him, though no contact made. His left hand lifts from its position and he absentmindedly runs a covered hand over a portion of his cheek. There was a long, long silence between them.

“I’ve seen a lot of atrocities. Experienced a lot of horrible things. I’ve been the target of a very bad man for a very long time and I carry these as a reminder of the horrors he committed to me and those I-… Used to know.”

Lylah wriggles forward a little, still on her front, and pokes at his thigh absently while he speaks.

“Bad people are bad, “she says, when he finishes talking, and looks up at him, nodding, and all at once, she feels sad again. She lays her cheek on his leg, looking towards the fire. “Ya remind me o’ someone I used t’ know. Every bad person ever was after Mister Ceran. Don’t even know if he’s livin’ or nothin’ anymore.”

He lets out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding as she speaks, not seemingly responsive to the physical contact. He stared into the fire as it burned wholly, lighting up the room and providing the both of them with heat. He glanced in her direction before speaking again.

“In my case it was two people out to get me, but it certainly felt like the whole world.”

“An’ is the whole world still out t’ get ya?” She wonders out loud, still looking at the fire.

“I haven’t seen him in a few months, but that’s his game. He pretends to have forgotten about me and then strikes when I least expect it…” He trailed off in his speech, lost to memory. The flesh around his eyes twitch lightly as he lets out a long breath through his nose.

“Well he ain’t no ghost, right? Can’tcha jus’ find somebody t’ find him an’ fix the problem for ya?”

And she would think of such things in these simple ways. If people needed things, she found them. If people needed other people taken care of, she was used to that too. She wondered why this man wouldn’t just do the same. It seemed logical. Stupid she was not, but naive she maybe sounded. She turned her head, still on his leg, but looked up at him, from an awkward view point, quiet now, blinking at him.

He shook his head at her question and spoke quickly this time. The communication lag shrinking exponentially.

“It’s not that simple. I’ve tried doing that exact thing a number of times, and everybody that’s stood up to him has ended up-.. Dead or worse.”

The last three words are dropped like bricks out of his mouth, almost seemingly to cause the man physical harm as his chest spasms. He closes his eyes slowly and opens them, staring at the base of the blaze.

“Once there was a lady, a bad bad lady that did some stuff an’ kidnapped an important man. She’s gone now.. “Lylah tells a story that would probably make little sense to him, but tells it anyway because she’d been responsible for fixing it. She couldn’t wrap her head around what he was saying that somebody could be that hard to deal with, and it bothered her.

“Maybe ya jus’ not usin’ the right people, “she adds, and then shuts her mouth on the subject. Here she was intending on making the man smile and doing everything to have the opposite effect.

He nodded at the story if absentmindedly, almost as if giving the acknowledgement to something he had simply heard rolling around in his own skull. The glow of his eyes dimmed partially once more as his thoughts ebbed back into an earlier time.

“I want to be the one to handle it. It’s… it’s kind of a personal matter.” He spoke to her, turning his head to face her once more. The orbs of his eyes just barely visible now. She’d be able to pick out the greenish hue, but not much else from the actual organs. The muscles in his jaw tightened and relaxed slowly.

She moves suddenly, her eyes feeling oddly heavy. Maybe there was just something comforting about lying with somebody talking, just talking, far away from the constant thrum of the city, the heat of the fire, and the absence of needing to be anywhere else for the moment that made her feel a little sleepy. And she didn’t want to sleep yet. If she did that, then she would wake up in the morning and he might be gone, and she’d have no one to talk to again. Not that that was unusual, but it was a nice change, admittedly. She rolled onto her back, and lay her head on his leg still, staring up at him. Those eyes, they were brighter, and it made her think of Mister G and the incident with the bad botanicals. It seemed like forever ago now.  She sighed, at a loss for words for the time being.

((AN:  Yes, there is a lot of switching between tenses in this writing.  I noticed it a lot when I was editing through this chunk of the roleplay.  This scenario was played out over at least a few hours and tense was the last thing being paid attention to, so I have decided to leave it as is to preserve the majority of it exactly as it occurred.  I am not after all rewriting this snippet of story, just posting it.))


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