[P] Wash my fear downstream
Kaly <3
#1
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Optime | July 21st | New housing area (river)520+

OOC: Let me know if you need anything changed!


For the past few days, Cidro had been practically glued to the stables. He rarely wandered anywhere else, and the only other Courtiers he met were the ones he ran into while he was there. He felt comfortable with the horses, and they quickly became a security blanket for him. He could spend hours in the stall with Branwen, recounting stories of his mother in Spanish while she calmly chewed on her hay. It was very therapeutic.


Today, Cidro decided that if he was going to assimilate into the Court’s culture, he would have to venture elsewhere. As calming as it was in the horses’ presence, he’d only come off as a traumatized little kid if he spent all his time there. He needed to make better first impressions with his pack mates if he were to thrive here. He needed to honour his mother’s word, even if deep down, he knew he really was just a traumatized little kid.


He’d heard Paloma mention the new residences they’d been working on, and how hard everyone was plugging away to get them finished. The idea intrigued him, and he knew there would probably be many Courtiers down there to talk to. However, he hadn’t been around more than two pack mates at once in the few days he’d been at the Court, and the thought of being around so many made him anxious. What if none of them knew what he was saying? What if he was a nuisance? Cidro bit his tongue and made his way down anyways. He’d have to meet everyone at some point, he’d just have to be strong.


Although navigation wasn’t too difficult because of his elevated senses, there were times where his blindness did make certain aspects of it challenging. He’d been blind his whole life, so he’d found ways to work around it, but that had been when he lived in the same two areas. The Court was new, and there were still many places he was unsure of. Finding the housing area wasn’t difficult — all he had to do was follow the scent of paint, wood, and sweat as his pack mates slaved away at finishing their new homes. What was difficult was knowing where to go once he was there.


Without his sight, it was difficult to tell who was doing what or how much was being built — everything was just a blur of sweat and heat. The pup didn’t want to interrupt someone’s hard work with broken English and sloppy introductions, and he knew he wouldn’t be of much use if he tried to help them. After wandering around helplessly, Cidro finally gave in and retreated to the river that ran through the area. He sighed, feeling rather ashamed for giving in so easily. He sat down on its banks, letting his feet dangle in the stream. The water felt cool and refreshing, but it didn’t do much to alleviate his gloom — he was never going to be a real Courtier, was he? Looking dejected, he let his chin rest in his hands as he listened to the gentle flow of water caress his feet.


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#2
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--


Kalypso could hardly do anything and it put her in a foul mood that was often too potently mixed with hormonal fluctuations. As her pregnancy advanced as there was only a handful of weeks left, the Queen was rounder and more agitated. Though, she did her best to take her frustrations out on no one else. Chaska got the brunt of her irritation but he bore it patiently and with an easy nature, which often only irritated her more. It was a cycle of tongue lashing, apologizing, and then more snappish, shrewish behavior.

Neither one made mention of the cause of her discomfort and poor attitude, as it was both their faults and neither one wanted to address it. Kalypso had made it clear that it was her choice to keep them and that Chaska was not to expect recognition, nor was he expected to be a father properly. Both seemed comfortable with the situation, though she found herself needing the man’s help more and more to get about.

Mercifully, he was helping with construction and she was left to her own devices. That meant a lot of walking as the village slowly took shape. It was so close she could taste it. The air smelled of churned, fresh earth and the labors of her people. While she could do nothing, at least the progress made could lift her spirits.

What she did not expect was a child lingering at the edge of the development. Brows furrowed as she made her way, waddling a little, toward the youth. A boy, she realized. Young, very young. Maybe even new to his two feet. But he seemed dejected. Was this the child that Abigail had found?

Her damned maternal instinct, new and budding, kicked in like a sudden hurricane. What’s wrong, jeune? she asked standing a few paces by the boy.

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#3
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Optime | July 21st | New housing area (river)780+

OOC: Sorry if this is sloppy, I’m not feeling very good right now. Writing seems to be helping though, so at least there’s that. It’ll take me a moment to get back into the swing of things though.


Startled, Cidro turned to face new Courtier. There was no way to miss her. She overwhelmed him with the scent of the new life growing inside her, and the strain it caused. It overpowered her other scents, but he could just faintly smell something foreign and adventurous — almost tropical. Who was this woman before she came here? Was she safe? He reminded himself that he was also from far away. He just had such a fixed idea that the Court had a strict, homogenous culture, and was shocked whenever it wasn't quite true. With every Courtier he met, his worldview loosened a little more. Maybe it was better that way after all — it would be easier for them to accept an outsider like him. Despite the hopeful train of thought, he was still too lost in thinking of himself as an outsider, not a true Courtier. It wouldn’t be until he accepted himself as worthy of the title that he would feel comfortable.


Drawing himself out of his thoughts, he noticed that she emanated a maternal aura. Understandably so — the woman was soon to bring new life into the world. But Cidro was feeling vulnerable, and he felt himself sinking into her maternal warmth. She didn’t have the accent or familiarity of Paloma — not quite — but her motherly demeanour was painfully reassuring in the absence of his madre. It brought back all the bittersweet memories of her that he tried so hard to repress. He didn’t want to give into her comfort. If he started sobbing and running to every maternal pack mate he met, he’d never become strong enough fit in here. Strong enough to honour his mother.


He shifted his body away — just slightly — and his ears flicked in indecision. He’d come to the river because he knew he wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone or be of any help, but she came up to him. It would be rude to ignore her. He’d just have to hold himself together and try not to show the torment he was feeling. Not like it mattered anyway. He was sure the scent of dejection and sadness was near suffocating.


She spoke in English, like the rest of them. Even so, her voice was very different. Clear, confident, but laden with concern. She also exuded an aura of power and authority. Cidro wondered if she was ranked high in the Court, or if she just radiated dominance. It didn’t matter either way, he’d still have to make the best impression he could. He didn’t know exactly what she said, but her voice sounded concerned and kind, much like a mother would speak to a crying child. He fought the urge to rub his cheeks to make sure he hadn’t been crying himself. He couldn’t be obvious, she’d already seen too much.


He shifted his position, pulling his feet out of the water and sitting up straight. He tugged his ponytail over one shoulder, hoping it would block her view of his face. He didn’t want any more pity from this woman. Every moment he felt her gaze on him, he felt increasingly torn between burying himself in her arms and running away. What would she do if she saw his eyes? If she heard his voice he was sure would tremble? Would her pity only worsen? He just wanted genuine acceptance. He’d met so many kind people already, but who’s to say they were only kind because he was a helpless blind orphan? His whole life was such a pitiful cliché. He wanted to be more than that. He wanted to earn his status as Courtier, not be gifted it out of pity. He wanted to make his life here, for his mother’s sake. She did everything she could to give him a better life, and now, he was going to work for it.


Yes, he still didn’t know English, but he’d have to try his best. The woman seemed concerned, understandably, so he’d have to do his best to reassure her that he was okay — even if it wasn’t true.


“No wrong, sólo estoy pensado. Thinking.”


He surprised himself by remembering the last word. Where did he hear it? How’d he remember?He knew his accent was probably too thick to decipher whatever it was he said, but he hoped it was enough. He drew in a breath to calm himself, and was horrified to find how shaky and strained it sounded. Had his voice trembled the same way? Not knowing what else to say and feeling rather awkward, he muttered one of the only English words he knew by heart:


“Sorry.”


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#4
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sorry for the wait, and I'm sorry for your loss :c


Ah, it was the little boy that Abigail had indeed brought into their fold. The story was a sad one, or perhaps her body flooded full of hormones insisted that it was such a tale. It had made her chest ache at the loss the child had felt over his mother and being a stranger with a strange tongue in a foreign land. She could sympathize, but her decision to come had been a choice and not a necessity.

Abigail could mother him better than the Queen. Despite her advancing pregnancy, there was a disconnect between the state of being and the fact she would need to develop some sort of maternal feelings before the children realized their mother was a force to be reckoned with. She felt pity for the boy, but it was a mere fragment of maternal affection.

Was she even capable of being a loving mother?

She paused at his struggle with the language of the land. Her brows furrowed as she watched him rub at his face, pretending he was not saddened or something else. Pity she had plenty, but there was no point in coddling the boy. No such thing from her, she decided. There were other loving souls who could give that to him if he so desired, but he was a youth about to become an adult in her Court. He would be treated like the rest.

Que es tu nombre, chicito? she asked with the accent of a native speaker of English and French, the grammar butchered but easily understood. Spanish was a dabbler’s tongue for her, something that needed far more practice than she had. Cussing, though, was far easier since sailors loved to swear.

Que haces aqui? she added, her tongue thick and heavy around the unfamiliar words. So like French but entirely different. It felt like a nice challenge.


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#5
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Cidro Amato de la Peña
Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun
Optime | July 21st | New housing area (river)
<3
WORD COUNT
443

His eyes widened when he heard her words switch to his mother tongue. It seemed every day he met another Courtier who could speak Spanish. First Paloma, then Odalis and Solomon, now this strange woman who felt so foreign yet familiar. Had they met before? It didn’t seem possible, her scent was hard to miss. The smell of life growing inside her was stronger than anything around them. He wondered how much longer she had before there’d be new additions to the Court.


Although he could understand her words with ease, there was something a little stiff and unpracticed in the way she spoke. The letter “r” didn’t roll off her tongue the same way it did with native speakers, and the words didn’t flow together as pretty as they should. Even so, he was still mesmerized that she knew any at all. From what he knew of ‘Souls, it was an English dominated area, so why were there so many Spanish speakers?


In a way, he was thankful for her fluency. Logically, he should speak to as many anglophones as possible to learn their language, but he was feeling rather distraught. It’d be easier to hide his emotions in a language he was comfortable in. He calmed his expression, taking in her question. The good thing about being blind is that he could make eye contact with ease. It was hard to be uncomfortable when you couldn’t see the face staring at you, even if sometimes the feel of it could be suffocating. He turned to face her, offering her a gentle smile as he leaned back on his hands.


“Me llamo Cidro, soy nuevo aquí.”


He chuckled, barely audible.


“Es extraño cuántas Courtiers hablan español.”


The next question was a little harder to answer. He hummed thoughtfully, thinking of how to respond. He didn’t want to lie to her, but he also didn’t want any more of her pity. Regardless, something about her maternal warmth compelled him to be truthful. In the back of his mind, he could hear his mother telling him se honesto, Cidro. Las mentiras solo te lastiman. He sighed, resigned to his fate.


“Iba a hablar con los demás, pero mi inglés no es muy bueno y, bueno …”


Not thinking, he pointed to his clouded eyes.


“No creo que yo sería muy útil, je.”


He immediately wished he could take it back, but it’d already been said. He shifted, clearly uncomfortable for mentioning his blindness. He decided the best route was to change the subject.


“¿Qué hay de tí? ¿Cuál es tu nombre? ¿Por qué estás aquí hablando con un niño cuando los adultos están allí?”


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#6
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--


Kalypso could see his surprise and his amusement. Clearly, he had not expected so many to understand him, likely worried that no one would know what he was saying. It seemed there were quite a few canines about that spoke with that dialect, which pleased the Queen. A versatile collection of members was exactly what she hoped for.

But her brows furrowed as the boy spoke, mercifully simply for her, and she took a few moments to really understand what he said. Some of the words escaped her knowledge but she figured she had pieced it together somewhat, better than what she had expected. Spanish was a little rusty for her, not that she was that great at it to begin with. Practice would help. Maybe Paloma would be willing.

Hay personas que hablan español, she said with a sigh. Perhaps, he just needed to be guided by them while he learned the local language. Paloma, por ejemplo, she added. Likely as not, the woman had already met the child.

But her eyes flickered dangerously to a narrow. Useless? Was that the point he was getting at? If so, she did not believe it one bit, not when everyone could find a way to do things. There were plenty of crippled dogs, short an arm, a leg, something, that successfully navigated life with their short comings. Julia had been deaf, and that was not likely why she had disappeared from their midst. She had helped plenty.

No eres estúpido. No dame ideas estúpidas. Her tone was flat, hardly cruel, but it had a firmness to it that suggested she did not want to hear something so self-depreciating.

Arm on her back, she sighed audibly. Mi nombre es Kalypso. Soy tu Reina, chicito. Estoy embarazada, tambien, she said, smiling, knowing even so he did not see it on her face. Her fingers kneaded at her back. Ven conmigo. Tengo una idea para ti, she added with a spark to her words. Leaning forward slightly, she placed a hand on his shoulder, hoping he’d take it and stand.

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#7
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Cidro Amato de la Peña
Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun
Optime | July 21st | New housing area (river)
too lazy to write in Spanish today. Like Kaly, my Spanish is very rusty. Just gonna put it in those bracket things.
WORD COUNT
495


Cidro couldn’t help but smile at the mention of his guardian, she always brought up warm thoughts. It was dangerous how attached he was getting in such a short amount of time. His smile quickly turned to a cringe when the woman wouldn’t ignore his self-deprecation. He really needed to think more before he spoke. When he spoke Spanish, it was easy to speak without second guessing himself— nothing like how he agonized over every word in English. Feeling guilty, he lowered his head so she couldn’t see his face.


<“Sorry. It’s just… it’s been a hard few days.”>

He winced at his words. Once again, he spoke without thinking. It was harder to keep himself in check when he was feeling vulnerable— she’d really caught him at a bad time. Cidro scrambled to make up for it, looking up at her in panic.


<“Not that everyone hasn’t been kind! The Court has been more welcoming than I could’ve imagined, it’s just—“>

He sighed shakily.


<“I didn’t realize how hard it would be to forget.”>

He left the her silent. She probably knew his story by now, he’d rather not repeat it out loud. It cut him deep every time he gave it voice.


<“Sometimes it gets to me, that’s all.”>

Honesty was very hard for him, especially with such touchy subjects, but he’d rather that than her think him ungrateful. Self-confidence felt near impossible without his mother there to support him. Every time he remembered her absence, he only continued to spiral. Paloma made it much easier, but he’d only known her a few days — who knew how long she would care to stay with him. She didn’t seem like the type for pity, but he couldn’t help but worry that she was only there for him because she felt bad. He worried every day how long he’d have her support for, and when he’d be left on his own once again.


All of that became insignificant when the woman told him who she was. His Reine. He let out an ungraceful squeak as every muscle in his body went stiff. He couldn’t believe how candid and disrespectful he’d been to his queen. Not just that, but she was pregnant to boot. The last thing he wanted to do was stress her out when she was so vulnerable herself. The youth gaped at her, not really sure how respond.


<“Your Majesty… I’m sorry, I… I didn’t know you—”>

But suddenly she was offering her hand, telling him to come with her. She didn’t seem offended, but that didn’t make him feel less uncomfortable. He had so much respect for the woman, he couldn’t believe her first impression of him was this pathetic. He wished he could redo their entire conversation, but there was no going back now. He swallowed thickly, tentatively placing his hand over hers and moving to stand. He hoped she was as merciful of a ruler as she was powerful.



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#8
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my spanish is pretty bad too hahaha


She sympathized with him. He was young and he was traumitized. There were things that a soul did not forget; there were things that the body refused to let go of, as well. When there was so much pain in one's past, it was unfair to expect a person to move on quickly. At least he was young and resilient since it would make recovery that much better. Age was the limiting factor since time was no longer an ally of the elderly.

Not that Kaly was in any way, shape, or form to be considered elderly. At a scant few years, she was honestly still overly young, even for her position. Especially for her position.

Kalypso cackled at the boy's response to her identity. How was he supposed to know her? It was clear that she was not angry over the mistake.

Don't worry. I'm not upset. She shook her head, though the boy would not have seen the motion. She helped him stand and began to lead him away from their spot by the river, guiding him with a firm grasp. While he likely had adapted to not being able to see, she still did not want him to accidentally tumble into the slow moving water. It would have exacerbated whatever embarrassment he felt from having failed to recognize her. Not that it was really his fault; she ought to have sought him out sooner.

They came to a patch of reeds and she stepped into the shallows. The water splashed as she felt the mud slip between her toes and she hid her innate disgust at the sensation. Here. Something you can do. Her words were simple as she put the boy's hands on the reed lengths. Have you made.. baskets before? she said, her language skills faltering somewhat over the more uncommon words in her repertoire. At least it was not a difficult word to figure out. Reeds, she added in English. Plants for baskets, Kaly explained in the boy's tongue.

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#9
[html]
Cidro Amato de la Peña
Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun
Optime | July 21st | New housing area (river)
WORD COUNT
379


The pup tensed at his Queen’s laughter— it certainly wasn’t what he was expecting. He turned towards her in confusion, but couldn’t sense any anger or annoyance. If anything, she almost seemed amused. Well, a sense of humour is certainly better than an explosive temper, especially in a monarch. Cidro let himself relax a little, but he still felt guarded.


She led him with a firm, supporting hand, reassuring him as they walked. He smiled hesitantly at her words, but said nothing in response. The last time he met one of their leaders was when he was sick and starving at the border, but he was too exhausted to remember much. He was very awake now, and not sure how to respond. Should he follow her lead and be casual? Or would that still be disrespectful, sense of humour and all?


When they finally arrived at their destination, he let himself be led to the object in question— a plant. He turned to her, a million questions hidden behind his clouded eyes. She started to answer a few of them when she spoke, a little more stilted than before, but still understandable. He wished he could express how thankful he was that she made the effort to speak his tongue, but the words wouldn’t come out. At her question, he shook his head. He hadn’t done much of anything before the Court, and certainly not anything crafty. He was skeptical about his abilities to do such a thing, but he’d be damned if he made himself look anymore incompetent in front of his Reine.


He ran his fingers across the length of the plant, trying to associate the new word she gave him to its touch. Involuntarily, he spoke the word out loud, testing the weight of it on his tongue.


“Reeds…”

He slowly removed his hand, giving her a questioning look.


<“Can you show me how? I…”>

It was hard now, trying to figure out how to talk to her. She was still the same person, but the added weight of her title made it hard to think. He decided to just speak his mind and hope she meant it when she said she wasn’t mad.


<“I want to help everyone, even if it’s something small like this.”>



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#10
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--


An odd look crossed the woman’s face as the boy stroked the plant. He could not see her expression, which was the only reason it freely flittered about. She was far too tactful with others and tried to be more careful with how she presented herself. But Kalypso was heavily pregnant, hormonal, and in no mood to sugarcoat. At least Cidro was a soft boy, without the sharp edges that came from living a jaded life. He was easy to deal with and it was a relief to be open.

Not that she wasn’t rather open in general to begin with.

Have you always been blind? Did no one teach you to do things? It seemed a rather blunt and callous thing to say, but it was not spoken with maliciousness. Kalypso was merely curious to understand, especially since it seemed that Cidro had not been able to do terribly much other than getting around on his own. Obviously, he was not newly blinded but had he once seen? Did he knew what he could no longer experience?

Still, Kalypso tittered somewhat. She made his fingers wrap around the stalk, gingerly lowering herself in an awkward bow with her rounded belly a counterbalance. Pull, she said in the local tongue, knowing that he would never learn if they continued to chatter in Spanish. She tightened his grip on the reeds and pulled it hard. It ripped near the roots, popping free. Get more, she commanded gently, pushing a cluster of them into his hand.

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#11
[html]
Cidro Amato de la Peña
Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun
Optime | July 21st | New housing area (river)
---
WORD COUNT
571


Her question stunned him with its directness, and he gave her a near frightened look. He paused, not sensing any malevolence in her tone, but still worried his openness had angered her in some way.


At heart, the Prince knew it was a valid question. His condition often brought out the curiosity in others, some harmless, some not. Even more curious was the that he knew how to do very little, as if he’d never tried to adapt to his disability. However, it was the hurtful kind of curiosity other’s had of his blindness that stopped him from learning things. His mother was too scared to let him go out and learn things for his own, worried the world would be unkind to him and hurt him somehow. He’d spent most of his life tucked away in his shabby dwelling, hidden in the corner somewhere while his mother’s clients filtered in and out. All he’d learned about the outside world was from them, and they certainly didn’t make him want to learn any more about it. So he stayed with his mother until he couldn’t anymore, and now he was left with the task of proving he could fend for himself. That he could make her proud.


The pup tried to clear his mind, thinking of a reasonable way to respond. His condition and incompetence was the last thing he wanted to discuss, let alone with his Queen. But it was out in the open now. Might as well go with it.


<“I’ve been blind since birth.”>


He paused, not wanting to answer the second part of her question.


<“Because I’ve never had my eyes, I’ve learned to navigate the world in other ways. But…”>


He sighed weakly.


<“We never really lived in safe areas, and my mother was scared that if I went out on my own, I might get hurt. She was always too busy with… work…“>


He choked on the word, as if it left a bad taste in his mouth. Thinking about what his mother went through to keep them going hurt him more than he knew how to process.


<“Too busy to teach me much. Spent most my days staying inside and just trying to get by.”>


The mood was starting to feel a little solemn, so he was thankful that his Reine distracted him, guiding him to yank on the plants. At first he wasn’t sure what was happening with the language switch, but he quickly caught on. Her hand was warm and gentle around his, and he wasn’t sure if it was because she was pregnant, but it was a very motherly touch. He held the reeds she passed him close to his chest, looking determined.


He followed her lead, thankful her words were simple and to the point, and wrapped his slender fingers around as many as he could. He gathered as many as he could, but pulled a little too hard on the last cluster and yelped as he started to fall. He caught himself on Kalypso’s shoulder, and wasn’t sure if it would’ve been better if he fell into the muck. He immediately removed his hand and turned away, flushed.


<“Lo siento—“>


He stopped, remembering she was trying to switch their conversation to English. He could be such an idiot sometimes.


“Sorry.”


He took a deep breath, Turning back to her and showing off his collection, thankfully not soaked.


“This good?”


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#12
[html]

--


There was a time for pity and a time for action. Fortunately for the boy, Kalypso knew that it was not the time to give him any bit of pity for his existence. His mother had suffered to keep them alive and it seemed like the very air about them darkened with the conversation. The Reine caught most of what he said, but it was not the easiest to follow with her more limited grasp of the language. But she got the gist. His mother serviced men to get buy and had no time to teach him things to survive.

It was disheartening, especially considering if she found an amiable pack, they would have lived in comfort enough that Cidro could have blossomed sooner. Instead, he was stuck learning things others knew sooner, being taught late. But Kalypso knew between the other men and women in the Court, Cidro would have been primed for success despite the lateness of his learning.

Then you’ll learn now, she said simply, dropping the topic as it had clearly made the youth somewhat uncomfortable. Distressed, perhaps.

She watched him gather reeds, wincing when he tripped into her but said nothing as she let him straighten himself up. He seemed so unused to people and interacting with them, but he would get the hang of it. Somewhere underneath that reserved exterior was something valuable; she could tell.

Cidro showed her his bundles, somewhat proudly. Kalypso smiled for all that he could not see it on her face. It would be there in her voice when she spoke. She reached for a few, pulling out a handful of the stalks and quickly tucking them into her mouth. It was a short matter to put together a very short basket weave with a two by two of reeds, pulling the last from her lips.

Quick as she had woven the small sampling, Kaly pressed the length to the boy. The ends stuck out on all four sides, but it would be easier for him to feel where the weave was. Basket stitch, she answered crudely, knowing she’d have to find a better way to show him a basket – especially since she was not the best basket maker ever. Practice and we can use them as platters. They were great for carrying meat, clay, anything.

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#13
[html]
Cidro Amato de la Peña
Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun
Optime | July 21st | New housing area (river)
We can close this up soon if you’d like, after your next post or smth.
WORD COUNT
527


There was something steadying about the way his Queen didn’t linger on his tale. Instead, she redirected his focus to the now, not letting him get lost in his own painful memories. Memories. She was a memory now. The thought felt so foreign, it’d only been days since he’d seen her last. The thought did odd things to his chest, like something was clawing at it from the inside, so he followed his Reine’s lead instead and focused on the task at hand.


Even when he’d fallen — quite embarrassingly — she did little more than wince, letting him get himself together instead of scolding him. She’d taken some of his reeds, then, and started fiddling with them curiously. For a moment, he felt a pang of fear that she’d forgotten he couldn’t see and was expecting him to replicate it by sight alone. But then she was there, pressing the woven texture to his hands. He slowly ran his fingers across it, much like he’d do with his mother’s face when he tried to map out her features. He followed it strand by strand, feeling how each one dipped up and down around each other. He smiled, realizing he could do this.


Carefully, he made his way back out of the swampy terrain, making sure not to fall this time. He patted the ground around him before finding a solid place to sit, settling his pile in his lap. He gathered a few in his hands, beginning to thread them together, reaching down every now and again to check them against the texture of his Queen’s sample piece. As he did so, he repeated the new words in his head— Basket stitch, platters, words he would understand the full meaning of someday, he was sure. Cidro found that he liked the quiet calm of the activity. It was something he could sit and do without much worry of messing something up or hurting himself, he could just lose himself in the repetitive motions. He smiled down at his work, happy to finally contribute.


He wasn’t sure what triggered it, but suddenly, Cidro realized what was really happening. She saw how useless he was feeling, and gave him something she knew he could do well with little instruction. He wanted to feel patronized, but he felt oddly warm at the sentiment. She really was a kind ruler, after all. The youth stopped his motions, turning to her with a curious, but warm look. He didn’t know a lot of English, but he knew enough to hopefully get his gratitude across. What he couldn’t say, he would show in his warm tone and thankful eyes.


“Thank you, for help me.”


His accent was thick, of course it was, but if he focused hard enough, he could make them sound somewhat cohesive. He sat up straighter, giving her a determined look.


“Learn more, lo prometo. Help Court like Court help me.”


He turned back to his work, carefully weaving the pieces together, but he kept his head turned in her direction, empty eyes somehow filled with life.


“You good Queen, can tell. Do best help you— will get stronger.”


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