[RO] eyes met across a crowded room

They had met under the poorest of circumstances.

Only a moon had passed since Vinitharya’s passing, but the potential for a wedding acted as a distraction for the family – though Iomair could see the way that CIryandil so often disappeared only to return with a slur to his words and new bruises that told their own story. It was as if he sought out his own danger now in an effort to feel something other than the weight of grief that threatened to crush them all in their grasp.

He dreamed about her sometimes, his pretty sister with her golden curls. In his mind she wasn’t sick – her cheeks were filled and there was a sparkle in her eyes that he had never seen in person, not in the mortal realm. They were always somewhere beautiful, cast against mountain scapes that took his breath away and forced him into stunned silence. Despite the snow it was always warm like spring. She had always been wise for her age, and she would always tell him that everything would be alright.

He would awake on mornings where he met with her with a peaceful feeling in his chest – one that he carried with him until like a feather on the breeze it was carried away.

It was often upon remembering the responsibility that the sense of crushing grief would return, and Iomair wished with all of his heart that his sister was there to help guide him through this marriage. A delegation from Lorn was coming from the south to present one of their women to him, a concept that broke tradition but had Tairnean beaming. Trade went well between the clans, and as an idealist the man was prepared to do anything to ensure prosperity not only for his family, but also for the clan at large.

”You ready?”

Tairnean clapped his son on the back, straightening the way his high collar lay – a glittering pin set against his cloak to signify his roots. There was heavy wool lain into his cloak, with a pretty tarten design that Grainne had inherited from her side of the family.

”You look mighty handsome.” She managed, smiling through sparkling eyes that were laiden with tears that she refused to shed on such a joyous occasion.

”Have you seen her? I hear she’s hideous.” Ciryandil was grinning crookedly, and Iomair had spotted the flask hidden carefully against his hip, just out of sight.

”Shut up.”

They left together, a strange and broken family.

Seeing Vodeva for the first time Smile

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Vodeva stood in the centre of the hall, ignorant to the ways of a clan she had never interacted with. She had grown up sheltered, an only child in her trading family – her nose buried deeply in books that had spoken of Nín and all of her glory. The girl was an aspiring writer, and she stayed up late into the night bent over candles that burnt too low and a quill that ran too dry. She was dedicated to her religion, and when her parents had explained that she was to marry an Aegas she had been shocked to her very core.

She had prayed over her reeds, whispering and singing like the tides – arranging sticks and offering leaves to any river that she came across… but it was all for nothing for the time still came.

Her mother poured over her, arranging her hair so that it lay in perfect waves of silvery grey – her diadem centred between her long ears.

When she had first arrived for her parents inspection they had both gawked at her.

”That’s not the dress that we picked out for you!”

She had only smiled, dipping into a curtsy that had been drilled into her after many years. ”I know.”

It was a plain and high necked thing, woven in colors of brown and grey – natural fibres that had not been dyed for a potential suitor. The collar rose close around her throat, and she had arranged a pendant to lay atop her dress – one that clearly marked her as a daughter of the reed whisperers, lest the Aegas forget themselves. She pulled at her sleeves, pacing the hall as her parents tittered to one another – their expressions unreadable.

When the Nartholiels arrived Cyrandil appeared first, his usually proud swagger stilted from too much drink – a dark bruise around his eye making the young woman gasp, her mouth hidden beneath a fretful hand. He was to be their chaperone, but something said that his attention would easily be thrown elsewhere.

The parents came next, a pretty woman with a thick braid and a shaggy man with a stern face.

The final entrant walked with his hands clasped before him, perfectly put together – as she was. The pin on his cloak winked at her, and she felt herself cant her head, her expression doleful as he glanced about the room.

His eyes were warm. Much warmer than she had expected.

When he smiled she felt her lips twitch, and she was forced to drop her gaze as their parents began the introductions.

”Eru! Tasardur!” It was Tairnean who was bowing, his deep voice booming between them as they came together at the centre of the hall, ”Let me introduce my son, Iomair Nartholiel.”

”And this is Vodeva.”

She curtsied, allowing her gaze to quickly flutter over the cloak and pin that sat so close tomans heart. Grainne clapped her hands, pushing the pair of them together, ”We have much to discuss – go, get to know one another!”

”Uh- I-“



They were a transaction she realized, one that would create better relationships in an uncertain future. The hall was a large circle with no corners, and she realized with a sinking feeling that there was no where for them to hide – nowhere for her to run to unseen.

So she did the best she could.

Vodeva held out her hand for the man to kiss, ”A pleasure, I am sure.”

He bowed deeply, ”Well of course. Yes.”

They were like children re-enacting a play. How were they supposed to get married?!

She sighed, pulling her skirts to the side so that she could lean against one of the windows.

Iomair was peering passed her to the trees outside, a small garden arranged in dedication to a god that she didn’t understand.

”We could run you know.”

He was grinned again, a smile that was too big and full of charm that it caused a strange feeling in her gut.

”Run!?” She gasped, smoothing the front of her dress as if he had suggested something bawdy, ”You- You can’t be serious.”

His expression was full of mirth, ”They’ll be busy talking about us for hours.”

He gestured with his thumb at the gathering of Luperci, their voices ringing like eager bells in the long hall.

”Come on then!”

The gold tone of his eyes was like molten brass from this close, and she could see pinpricks of vibrant yellow closer to his pupils. She licked her lips and glanced at the cluster of parents and then back at this… strange young man. ”Well, I mean,”

He chuckled, ”So it’s a yes then.”

Iomair leapt nimbly through the window despite his cloak, tossing it over his shoulder with flourish before holding out his hand. She rolled her eyes before following him, "As if I had a choice."

”My lady,” He bowed his head and released another chuckle, ”Hurry, before they see you.”

Written from Vodevas POV - wow she was nice once ish

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