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    The Responsible One

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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 22/04/12, 08:11 am

    "It can be done, yes, I just really haven't had time...or headspace I guess... to figure out how. And you're right about the Thunderbolts too. And not doing it alone but.. I know I -*we* - don't have to, but this is really serious, with potentially really bad consequences. And what if it is a trap? As far as I could tell, my contact seemed sincere, but that doesn't preclude some kind of more convoluted plot. And yes, I know I'm being overly cautious, but, well, gods with this team someone has to be. I love them to death but they're mostly strikers and they think like strikers. And at the same time, I can't decide if I'm being.... I don't know, selfish isn't the right word, but who are we to make these kinds of decisions? But again, I feel terrible inflicting it on anyone else."

    He slouched against the railing, rolling his head back. They'd been out there a while now and tool coolness of the air was starting to feel a little less pleasant. He still felt like a wreck. "I mean, damnit, I made the others swear not to talk about it, so now I feel like a giant, pathetic, hypocrite anyway. I can't figure out if for this, our visibility will be a help or a hindrance. I guess it partly comes down to, well - what are we going to *do* with her, if we can get her? I have no idea what her side of this is, what kind of condition she's in, anything. We could probably hand her over to the Dead Rats, or maybe my father, but I don't know..."
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    Josh
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 22/04/12, 12:25 pm

    Beryl wasn't sure what a "dead rat" was, other than the obvious, but Vedran mentioning including his father stirred her.

    "Have you talked to your father about all this? I'm relatively certain he wouldn't want Nerath to go back to war, but I doubt pitting House Callais against the Sentinel Houses is something he'd be happy with either."

    She paused, considering.

    "Is there anywhere perhaps less associated with you and the Thunderbolts you could hide this woman? I might be able to find one of my family's farmsteads to place her at. So long as I don't tell them, we'd be fine."

    "As to being the ones to make the decision, you, well, we, are the ones with the information. We could go to the Parliament, or even the Council, if you thought it would better serve, but your not having done that yet tells me you don't think it will. I'm inclined to agree, but its a choice I think you and the Thunderbolts have to make for yourselves."
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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 23/04/12, 12:18 am

    "My father knows everything but this newest bit. I can't tell what he really thinks though - you know what he's like. He told me to be careful, only with more metaphors. I think he would at least want something more....solid than anything we have right now before acting. I know he doesn't want war. If nothing else, we're not ready for it, not with Undertow still a mess..." Vedran made a face - he knew how little it might matter to some, especially those not directly connected with the city. "Some people might not care, but they should, even if its just because they don't want riots here. And... well, lots of reasons, even if the people don't mean anything to them. I'm getting derailed again. There's just so *much* you know?"

    He shook his head to try and clear it, regretting it and wincing, and wrapped his arms around him. "No, we don't have anything to show parliament, and we're not *so* famous to have any influence against the kind of opposition we'd face. As for one of your family's homesteads... maybe? But I still worry what it would mean if they tracked her there. But if I do hand her over to the Dead Rats, we might just lose track of her again ourselves. But this information *comes* from them, sort of... We owe them something. Right. They're shifters, couriers that worked for her and were her friends, they claim. We, uh, ran in to them in Mythragal too."
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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 25/04/12, 11:19 am

    It was clear to the both of them after a little while that the discussion was turning unproductive. Vedran especially had neither the energy nor the peace of mind to contribute anything useful, other than just more overwhelming information. It would be easier to figure something out after some rest, and, of course, he needed to talk to the rest of the team, at the very least. And maybe Brenn and Beryl were right, and it was time to start looking a little beyond for help... maybe.

    In the end, he'd jumped on Beryl's offer to stay with her, for tonight at least. He really didn't feel like explaining himself right now, though it was going to become inevitable in the coming days.. There was even a tiny part of him that thought that it wouldn't be worth the stress and scrutiny, that it would be better just to go home and let things continue as they had been... but it was wrong and, having some support, he could hold on to that knowledge. Still it was going to be better to get away form the party sooner rather than later, and just hope desperately that no one got in to too much mischief.

    Mentally bracing himself as Beryl went to take care of a few things before leaving, he stepped back inside.
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    Curtana
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 25/04/12, 02:04 pm

    Aleyn was half-heartedly trying to follow a rambling, drunken conversation about foosball, but mainly he was dwelling on what he'd accidentally overheard of Vedran's troubles. He didn't know the full context, but it was enough to make him worried. He also found himself pondering the question of Vedran's relationship with Beryl - could they possibly be having an affair? or were they just close friends? He couldn't be certain from what he had heard.

    When the half-elf stepped back inside, Aleyn noticed from across the room. He tried to get a sense of Vedran's mood through the facade he was trying to put on, but mostly just perceived that he looked exhausted.
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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 25/04/12, 03:52 pm

    Vedran forced a smile as someone across the room called out his name, whooping drunkenly. It wasn't even anyone he recognized. The air inside was hot, humid and close; the room noisy, crowded and bright. It did his headache no good, and he felt a panicky flutter in the pit of his stomach, a powerful desire to flee and not have to deal with any more people tonight. He'd lost sight of Beryl in the close press of bodies, and could see no one he knew who wasn't wrapped up in their own little dramas.

    It was just a party, he told himself, letting instinct take over, not caring for the moment how mechanical his actions seemed, how hollow his laughter. People would all Know soon enough, so let them wonder now, if they noticed. He was tired, so tired, and felt unable to cope or connect with the people surrounding him. Running on social autopilot, he declined as politely as he could the various implorations to stop and chat or come and have a drink, finding one pressed in to his hands regardless before he'd gotten ten feet from the veranda. It was amber-colored and foamy - some kind of concoction of hard liquor, beer, and who all knew what else. Avoiding actually drinking any seemed like it might be more of a challenge, and in extricating himself from a particularly insistent group he somehow manages to back up too quickly too far, almost bumping in to whoever was standing behind him. He blinked in honest surprise and relief at seeing a friendly, familiar face, someone who didn't seem to be completely out of it.

    "Aleyn!" he exclaimed. He hadn't forgotten his earlier moment of weakness though, and his relief was tempered. It gave him something to seize on for the moment though, to snap him back from the disconnected haze. "I- I just wanted to apologize, for earlier," he managed, and sincerely enough. Half a dozen bland follow ups came to mind - I'm having an off night, I'm not feeling myself, I got a little carried away with everything - but he couldn't quite get them out and settled for a smile, tenser and tighter than he would have preferred.
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    Curtana
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 25/04/12, 05:13 pm

    "Nothing to apologize for," Aleyn said hastily, keeping his voice low under the din of the party. Vedran's smile looked brittle enough to crack. He thought about asking if everything was okay, but it was pretty clear that it wasn't, and having to make up excuses or lies to cover his distress would only make Vedran more upset and anxious. "You don't need to explain. Just know that... I'm here if you need me," he settled on saying, looking Vedran in the eyes. "For anything."
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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 25/04/12, 07:14 pm

    Aleyn, he was coming to realize, had dangerous eyes. Disarming eyes, when his brow furrowed like that, full of incomprehensible concern... Vedran couldn't meet them for long, feeling flustered and confused again at his own mixed reaction at all that was offered there. "Thanks," he stammered, feeling the full weight of his weakness, fighting the panic twisting in his gut. "I just really need to get out of here."
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    Curtana
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 25/04/12, 07:33 pm

    Aleyn could see Vedran was close to the breaking point. It would be possible, thought some part of him, to push Vedran past it, to reduce him to a quivering mess and then see what happened - but what sort of man would he be then? He wasn't nearly enough of a jerk for that, as sweet as it might be for a few moments...

    "OK, then let's get you out of here," he said instead, looking around for the clearest path to an exit. "This way," he said, steering Vedran with a light touch on his back, feeling the tension there. A few guests tried to intercept Vedran, offering drinks and praise, but Aleyn managed to shoulder past them and get him safely outside, into the cool night air and (comparative) quiet. "There," he said, breathing easier himself at escaping from the noise and crowd. He realized his hand was still resting on Vedran's back, so he shoved his hands quickly into his pockets, trying to forestall any further awkwardness.

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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 25/04/12, 08:06 pm

    He let Aleyn steer him out of the room, realizing as he did that what he really wanted right then was someone else to step in, to take control, even just for a little while. To be someone, or something else, like that time, during the disaster management. The realization was disturbing enough to push other thoughts, thoughts of green-eyed sorcerers, out of his mind. More or less. He shook his head once he was back outside, trying to push all that aside, again.

    "Thanks again." He risked a quick glance at Aleyn's face and took refuge behind his own fingers, rubbing his forehead fruitlessly again. "I'll be okay. Just waiting for... my ride." It was all he could think to say that, and he desperately hoped that he could take Aleyn at his word, that he didn't need to explain anything more, because he wasn't sure he could.
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    Curtana
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 25/04/12, 08:34 pm

    "Sure," said Aleyn, looking around as if for the mystery ride, but actually taking his eyes off Vedran to give him a moment's chance to compose himself. He didn't want to embarrass him any further - it was already painful enough to sense his discomfort, watching him try to hold onto a mask that was just on the verge of slipping off, revealing whatever agony was hidden beneath.

    He cleared his throat, looking down at his feet instead of back at Vedran. He couldn't see someone else in that much pain without saying something, even if it was futile. "Whatever's wrong - and you don't have to tell me, don't worry - but whatever it is, you don't have to carry it alone. You don't need to be strong all the time. You have friends who'll help you get through it. I know I'm not really one of them, you hardly know me, but... trust someone, ok?"
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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 25/04/12, 11:00 pm

    Nodding, Vedran ran his hand down from his forehead over his eyes, catching the first few tears on his fingertips. He didn't quite trust himself to speak, but maybe Aleyn would find his silence more concerning. "I know," he answered, but he couldn't quite swallow the sob that came with it. Beryl would be out any moment he told himself. He trusted her, and that was a start: she offered something solid when he couldn't sort out what he wanted from what was wrong or right. Keeping himself under control right then seemed like a loosing battle. "Please just..." But he couldn't finish the sentence and waved his free hand helplessly, not sure that being alone was something he could bear, let alone wanted.
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    Curtana
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 25/04/12, 11:26 pm

    Aleyn hesitated, torn between his instinct to try and comfort Vedran, and the knowledge that it would probably be unwelcome, and would certainly only make things more awkward. Come home with me, he would have liked to tell him, and I'll take it all away for tonight. It might even have worked, if he'd been willing to say it.

    "Do you... want me to go and find your ride?" he asked instead, shifting nervously from foot to foot.
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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 25/04/12, 11:45 pm

    Vedran nodded, desperate to get away somewhere safe. He'd reached the end of his ability to keep shit together and hoped that if he completely fell apart, Beryl would at least forgive him. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he started to open his mouth to issue a description when the door opened again.

    The panic rose for an instant before he realized that no, it was okay, it was Beryl. Taking the scene in quickly, she flashed Aleyn a quick smile, concerned and grateful, before turning her attention to her friend.

    "Oh, there you are, Ved... Let's get you out of here, okay?" She offered up a hand to lead him away, and he took it, clinging tightly, drying his face with the back of his hand and nodding as she drew him off towards, hopefully, safety.

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