stories

Reason #39


Because I want to write stories with you, all of them, for the rest of my days.  I want to discover you, discover us, word by word, sentence by beautifully written sentence, page by wondrous page.  I want to write histories and futures as they unfold to fill book upon book with tales of happily ever after because for the first time in all of my days, I believe there is such a thing.

Camping at the manor with Capa (Part 3)


He kept his eyes on her even as she rolled over a bit. It was odd to have this woman’s  or any other person’s weight on any part of his body for that matter. It was something that he may need to get used to. It wasn’t an unwelcome feeling exactly, just something he wasn’t quite used to any more. He saw in her face different thoughts rolling around, and he would venture a guess as to what was going on in that brain of hers. Deciding it best to probably not ask at this point, he broke the eye contact to look near the top of the flames again. Finally he spoke the question that was on both of their minds.

“Why did you bring me out here?”

She wrinkled her nose, and grinned up at him, shrugging. She knew he was going to ask, and she had her own question for him that she was working up to.

“I’ll tell ya th’ truth, ’cause I never can tell lies, an’ the truth is, I don’t know. At least not exactly… ”

She blinks up at him through her big long eyelashes, and waits for his response instead of asking him a question in return right away.

His face contorted into one of concentration before looking back down to her in an almost frown. He opened his mouth to speak though closed it again as nothing came out. Finally he actually spoke up.

“What do you mean exactly..?” He trailed off a bit, picking up… something in her gaze. He couldn’t quite pick out what exactly.

“Well… ” Her cheeks turn a little pink, and she giggles, a very childish sound probably, and not the grating sharp sound it normally is, “Yer a man, an’ I miss bein’ near a man.” The answer was honest, simple and honest.

He lets out a breath he doesn’t realize he is even holding before he nods and answers slowly,

“I understand that… I too have been on my own for quite some time.”

“Well … now ya not, “ She crinkles her nose and reaches up from where she lies to touch his face, as she did often. Touchy feely, that was Lylah, but most of the time she wasn’t even conscious of doing it. If she wasn’t already quite comfortable where she was, she’d have been sitting on him, or trying, or toying with his hair, anything that involved physical contact and probably a little more in his personal space than he would have been comfortable with.

“Can I ask ya somethin’ o’ my own?”

His eyes closed as he turned his head away from her hand just a couple degrees, but not enough to make it impossible for her to touch. The breath of air left his nose and he spoke softly. Her question arose and he kept still. Every muscle in his body froze at her touch and his blood ran cold. He almost stammered.

“I can’t stop you. I’ll answer as best as I can.”

Either not noticing his discomfort, or not paying any mind to it, she doesn’t retract her hand and her fingers brush his cheek. She blinks up at him.

“Why’d ya come out here -with- me?”

His eyes opened slowly and he blinked them a couple of times as if trying to rush away whatever it was that he was peering at underneath those eyelids of his. His attempts in vain, however, as his expression didn’t change.

“I don’t know. I truly don’t. You just sort of took me with you and I got swept up in it. I don’t regret it, but I just simply don’t know.”

Lylah opened her mouth to sing a song that suddenly popped into her mind. She did that sometimes, songs and rhymes and silly things, but closed it again. Oddly, it didn’t seem the time, and were she to sing the words that she was going to, she somehow doubted it would have an effect on the man’s mood, or lack of mood. She sat up suddenly, and nimbly hopped to sit in front of him, right in front of him, cross legged, and she tilted her head and peered at him, at his eyes, the twinkle in her own eyes not there anymore, if he looked they would seem flat, and sad almost.

“Ya know, Mister Capa. Ya very hard for me t’ read.” She pursed her lips and crinkled her nose. “I don’t know what t’ do with ya, or … for ya.”

He blinks once more before bringing his eyes to hers, for one of the first times he actually looks at her. Wholly. His expression is empty and blank despite her words.

“Necessity to be hard to read… and I am not expecting you to do anything. I don’t expect much of anything from anyone any more.”

Lylah blinks at these words and crinkles her nose.

“Ya know. When ya say things like that, I just wanna give ya a big ol’ hug.” She frowns, looking down at her hands and keeps her eyes there. Seemed like she could giggle and grin all she wanted but it wouldn’t help the man do the same. What to do, what to do? She pondered this thought in the silence following.

He wouldn’t pull his eyes away from her this time even as she looked away. He signed and reached around his waist to procure a long leather strap about an inch and a half wide and several millimeters thick. It looked very weathered and worse for wear, yet it still kept it’s shape in defiance of everything it had seen. In many ways it would reflect the Farstrider himself in this aspect. He held it in a relaxed hand to her. It had clearly seen better days.

“I have a story for you…” he trailed off, almost as if he didn’t realize he was talking and had to stop himself, though he kept his hand outstretched with the strap in it, offering her to examine it.

Taking it from him, she’d keep her eyes on it, gaze down as she turned the strap over in her hands. Eventually she glances up to look at his face again, surprised that he still is looking at her and nods.

“‘Kay. I’m listenin’.”

His eyes trained on her, he spoke almost cautiously at first, and over time of the story his words would have more depth to them and more of himself delivered, rather than something off of a record.

“A couple of years ago the attacks started. The second time he ever attacked me was in the Ruins of Lordaeron where I confronted him again. I stood up to him and he removed my sight in the most brutal way possible…” He brought up his left hand to trace the index finger over a few of the scars that surround his eyesockets. There were several chunks of flesh missing as if something had exploded from the holes in his skull and taken skin with them. “In the scuffle, he removed my eyes. Not with his hand nor a weapon. He… he made them explode outward and left me to bleed out. Only by a miracle was I found and patched up. I wore this band for several years and trained to ‘see’ the flows of magic that are around us. Objects. Living beings. I had no other way of seeing. I had to walk the world entirely blind for a while…” he seemed to have more to say, but the words wouldn’t come. He closed his mouth and only now did he look away.

She only gaped at him, her mouth open, eyes blinking, and she screwed up her face as she listened, wincing and pulling faces as she imagined somebody taking her eyes out, and she felt something odd, when he told her that, and it made her think of a lady a while back, the one that the man had robbed of her sight, on her say so. Was it guilt, this feeling? Whatever it was, it was unfamiliar and she frowned and shrugged the thought off, for now. She leaned forward, her hands on his knees and stared at his face, blinking, poking her tongue out, flipping her head from side to side, her pigtails bouncing and then stopped, sitting up a little straighter, her hands still on his knees.

“So, ya can’t see me proper? Or nothin’? What’s that mean anyways, flows o’ magic ’round stuff?”

His head leaned back a bit at the sudden proximity of the woman. He may not be able to actually see her, but he could tell she was close. He blinked a couple of times, shaking his head afterward.

“No, I can’t. I can’t see your body. I don’t know what you actually look like. All I can sense is what flows through you. Every living being, especially us elves have a magic that pulses through us to one degree or another. And each of us has a special way that it happens. I’ve learned this through my own experience. Even if you don’t use magic, you have it in you in trace amounts that I can pick up. The only reason I even have sensitivity to it is because of my family. I come from a family of nothing but Magisters. I was the only one who couldn’t actually use magic.”

He seemed to stop himself, having spoken much more than he intended to. It wasn’t like him to explain so much all at once, and he paused to take a moment for her to take that in.

“Well, “she grins, a thought occurring to her, “I knew a lady once couldn’t see. Ya know how she used t’ see people an’ things?”

He nods at her, the glow of his eyes receding a fraction more, though underneath would be an odd color of green. More paler. Emptier. It still wouldn’t be enough to see a pupil, but the color of it was apparent.

“It’s not easy to go through life without being able to see. Especially as one who uses a bow and arrow. My condolences go out to her.”

“Somebody took that ladies seein’ from her. An’ some people didn’t like when she did it…”She raised her hands as she spoke and would gently touch a palm to each of his scarred cheeks if he didn’t pull away, moving her small fingers over his cheeks, his forehead, down his jawline, even tracing his lips with the digits, “touchin’ things she said could make ya see ’em better. Ya know… in ya head.”

His jaw clenched at the contact, though he didn’t pull away this time. Her words came in, but he didn’t quite hear them. He was lost in his own memories. Thoughts coming back to him that hadn’t been uprooted for quite some time. His head dropped to look down just a few degrees.

“I walked without eyeballs for a while. Learned how to ‘see’. Only after quite some time were new ones crafted for me. They worked… until those were ripped from my skull as well.” He lifted his right hand now, tracing his index and middle finger over a thick scar that ran from his left temple, over his eye and bridge of his nose, and back to the temple on the other side of his head. “Twice my sight was taken from me. Twice I was left for dead.”

She shifted her hand to trace the scar after he did, the one on his temple, and then she tried to catch his hands with her own, carefully, but insistently, if he would allow it she would bring his own hands and fingers to her face, inviting him to trace her features to see as she had done to him. Her shoulders were slumped a little, her entire mood and demeanor changed. It was completely out of the ordinary for her to be so subdued and quiet, but respectfully, she was. It was quite unusual.

“I feel bad for ya, ‘was all she managed to say. “It’s bad an’ sad.”

He stopped in his movement as she guided his hand. Despite the strength of the man and the seemingly brutal history he had seen, he seemed very willing to be guided and it seemed almost easier than it should be. He allowed her to move his fingers over her face. Despite the leather gloves he was able to get a rough idea of what the woman may appear like. The thought rolled into his head that he’d feel better without the protective barrier, and yet pushed it from his mind. He let out a soft sigh.

“I don’t want you to feel bad for me. Pity and sympathy kills more easily and thoroughly than any plague. I appreciate the sentiment. I’ve learned to live with the handicap. If anything I can ‘see’ better now than I ever could with my original eyes. With the flows of magic. I feel them. I sense them around me instead of having to rely on eyes to perceive them…” he trails off again, slowly wanting to pull his hand away from her face. Should she keep a firm grasp, however, he wouldn’t put up much of a fight to retract.

The slightest movement, that he would pull away from her and she gently but firmly tightens her grasp on his gloved hand, and then places her hand over it.

“An’ how d’ ya see -me-?” she asks, genuinely curious.

He allowed his hand to be kept where she wanted, and froze for the few seconds of silence before she asked. He closed sightless eyes in thought, slowly taking in a large breath through his nose. His right hand now this time moved up. This sincerely would be an odd gesture from the Farstrider given his physically shut off behavior before. His hand moved up to her face, the leather oddly warm and allowing for articulation of the joints of his fingers. The limb moves to the side of her neck, thumb placed upon her jawline just below her ear. It would almost seem an intimate display if not for the male’s unchanging expression. He opened his eyes once more and spoke.

“Hints of shadow magic flow through you here and there. Ever present and swirling benevolently. There is arcane in your veins, and a larger concentration of it centered in the muscles of your legs.” He paused for a moment. “And in your chest.” He opens his eyes again, sightless gaze upon her.

She lifts her other hand, placing it over his other hand now at her jawline, and studies his face as he speaks, silent. Absolutely silent. She wonders if this magic stuff is somethin’ that people just know about, but the thought is only fleeting, and she just sits there dumbly in her ignorance, completely fascinated, almost entranced. She shrugs, a slight movement and giggles, softly. A squeaking sound in the corner of the room would alert him more than her that Mister Muggles was back, and sitting there just watching. She would hear more than a squeak though, and she narrows her eyes, shooting the creature a sideways glance as if to say ‘shut up’, but she doesn’t move, not an inch, not to move away from the man, nor to let go of his hands.

He wouldn’t look in the direction of her companion. Instead he kept his attention forward, only making mental note of his surroundings. He too would sit silent now as if trying to compose more to say. His efforts fall flat and he releases the held breath growing stale in his lungs. It would escape slowly through his nose, and as if deflated by the thought his shoulders slumped for the first time, removing themselves from the straight backed posture he always held. His arms would grow heavy and would release the woman ‘less she kept hold of the near deadweight.

She’d fling herself at him then, the only thing she knew how to do. She didn’t know many things. She knew how to sing terrible nonsensical off key songs, she knew how to procure things, any things, she knew how to talk to and hear the words of a rodent, even though she wasn’t really sure if that counted, but she didn’t know what to say to this man now, and she suddenly felt silly. She’d been called a lot of things. Crazy, out of her tree, silly and she certainly wasn’t stupid, but for now, this moment, she felt about as stupid as she ever had done for the simple fact that she could find nothing to say, not a word. And so she foisted herself upon him, on her knees, her arms around his neck, half clinging to him as a child might to some toy they didn’t want to part with or some such thing. She would most likely spend the rest of the night between fits of sleep trying to figure the thought process out, and what these feelings were she was having right now, and come up with nothing definitive, but the entire situation was entirely out of the ordinary. This one was different. Had they met in a different place, at a different time and she’d played to her usual script, she was sure it would have ended up at this point. She would neither toy with nor rob this man, had he even had anything to ‘borrow’ in the first place. She might have just discovered not the thing he’d told her not to have for him earlier, sympathy. But empathy. And it was a strange thing.

Instinctively, his body leans back a portion of the way, but it was nothing to put off the woman’s embrace. His arms were now to either side of their bodies, out in surprise. His entire body froze and the blood ran cold in his veins. The green glow of his eyes flashed to their original brilliance before, and he didn’t even realize he had stopped breathing for this fraction of a minute. Slowly, carefully and as if he wasn’t sure of anything in the world anymore he would close his arms around the woman’s waist. He sat there blinking, breath coming in shallow breaths.

“I think… that may be all the storytelling tonight.” he spoke awkwardly, unfamiliar with the position he found himself in.

 

((Again, I am aware of tense issues in this piece but when you’re in the middle of an engrossing roleplay, correct grammar and spelling sometimes goes amiss in places.  I have left this text largely as is, save for the correction of a few obvious spelling errors)).

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.))