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(Created page with "Category:RP Logs {{Region:Cenril|RPs}} {{PC|Muzo}} {{PC|Reginae}} '''Summary:''' Nicolau and a dwarven monk stumble into one another in...")
 
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{{ArcNav|Arc=Mearcstapa}}
 
[[Category:RP Logs]] {{Region:Cenril|RPs}}  {{PC|Muzo}}  {{PC|Reginae}}  
 
[[Category:RP Logs]] {{Region:Cenril|RPs}}  {{PC|Muzo}}  {{PC|Reginae}}  
  

Latest revision as of 00:16, 26 March 2020

Part of the Mearcstapa Arc

Summary: Nicolau and a dwarven monk stumble into one another in a Library in Cenril. Muzo's been in hiding since his disappearance and brush with death, afraid his emergence would mean difficult choices for Reginae and an intimate encounter with the proverbial axe of either Larket or Cenril.


The Great Library of Cenril

Muzo scribbles and mutters, jotting notes in the umpteenth volume of a large catalog, one of the library's many various systems for keeping track of its sheer bulk. He is a dwarf and a man of the cloth, unremarkable save for an eyepatch and a rather short, silver beard. Next to his catalogue, several books sit open, and several more sit in piles. Another, ostensibly a personal tome of some sort, hangs fastened his hip, hanging by a bookstrap just below his monk's cincture. A great cowl hangs over his head, isolating him and letting him focus entirely on his noble, biblical work. Bit by bit, he scrawls the margins full of useful footnotes, cross-references, forming a precious web of wayposts for his fellow scholars, magisters, or whoever else might be interested in "Fauna of the Gualon Subsoil" or perhaps "Flies in the Ointment: An Alchemists Guide to Insects and their Uses". So absorbed is the dwarf, so utterly focused is he that surely no passer-by would dare disrupt his work.


The lanky, clean cut male stood out in this place. He looked like a loud sort. The kind of person with no business in a sanctuary of knowledge. His black shirt and pants clash against the white marble walls as if he was an illusion tugged up from the glossy tile underfoot. Reginae’s lingered in Cenril, in disguise, for weeks by now. This male’s humanoid legs feel more familiar than her scales. It’s not an easy thought. The rogue approaches the large, circular countertop and tap, tap, taps his fingers impatiently on it until a monk approaches to offer him assistance. The strange scribbles on a small scrap of parchment and directs Reginae towards a section near the south east corner of the building. Azurite eyes try to force the shapes into words but the handwriting is too bad. It’s out of their depth. The male spends fifteen or so minutes tracing the dusty spines of volumes long lost in slumber but to find this particular book without guidance was proving to be an impossible task. Yes, deemed impossible in fifteen minutes. Her patience was not kind. Thankfully, another monk labored over a set of tomes nearby. “ ‘Oy”, his gruff voice preluded the casual thunk of his leather boots on the polished floor. He drops the scrap of paper, letting it flutter down on the tome Muzo’s hooded frame is addressing. “Can you read this scribble? I need directions.”


Muzo feels his mental gears grinding to a halt. What's this? Half dazed, he sets his quill in the inkwell and squints at the piece of paper. Ah, very good. Having identified the figurative monkey wrench, he plucks it up off the page to read over the scribbles a few times. "Oh, ah, it's ah..." he squints harder, wrinkling his nose in the process... "yes, right! Snails, in Whole and Part. Just saw it, hummm." His hands scatter over the piles, skimming and brushing until, "aha!" he pulls one out and studies the embossed cover. "No wonder you couldn't find it. Delightful subject, though, would hardly have guessed you were the ty-ty-" his eyes slide up and down the rogue, and he swallows. "The type." His voice cracks, and his face visibly pales. "For snails I mean."


Reginae’s male guise scuffs in annoyance. How did they expect anyone to use these books if they were all in dusty piles under dusty robes? His gaze flickers away, watching filtered sun wash the already bleached wood in a fresh coat of light. The hooded monk stumbles, fumbles and all around mentally tumbles until he finds the book and presents it with a stutter. “Yeah well, people are surprising.” He huffs with impatience, tan fingers reach out blindly to take the book but halt before making contact. His azurite gaze is snagged on the monk’s eye patch. Reginae squints hard and the silence the swells between the two seconds is deafening. “You -” The rogue snatches the book, like the monk’s hand was a venus flytrap, ready to devour him whole. He looks at the cover, then back at the monk, and repeats this process until he’s dizzy before wordlessly brushing a speck of dust off the cover and setting it down gently on the corner of the table and turning back towards the entrance.


Muzo sees Nicolau turn to leave. "Just wait, *wait.*" There's sudden urgency in his voice, a whisper sharp enough to echo back at him from the ends of the aisles. The dwarf gathers himself. "We really ought to... I'd like to," he nudges the book toward Nicolau and raises his brows, "go over this one with you. Believe you may have, ah, read it by its cover. Could explain it a little better, somewhere where we can talk more easily." He lays a single finger over his lips and marks his page to close the book he's been working on.


Reginae’s rogue form stops, turning back to look over his shoulder at the monk. All manner of words had lined up like little soldiers on her tongue. “Oh did I?” He asks mercilessly, twisting back around to scoop the book off the edge and open it, supporting the spine in his left hand while he flips the pages. “Looks so far like the insides match the outsides so -” But Muzo’s marking his page and she’s hating herself for not leaving before. Nico snaps the book shut and sighs. “You’d know better than I would.” The words are leaden while his empty hand grandly sweeps the aisleway. “After you.” He’ll fall silently in line, the myriad array of potential excuses and responses fracture and bend through Reginae’s mind like warped stained glass.


Restricted Section

Muzo makes no attempt to defend himself against Reginae's digs. Not yet. His lone eye sweeps the library's aisles and alcoves, and he soon leads the way out of sight, away from prying inquiry and troublesome visitors. A few twists and turns eventually lead the pair into the library's darkest corner, and here at last, with a lonely table and a sole lantern between them, Muzo grabs his chair, but he doesn't sit, not unless Nicolau sits first. "There," he looks around quickly, making extra sure there's no sign of anyone about, "should be fine as long as we keep our voices down." The dwarf's eye snaps to Niccolo's azurite. "And we keep our voices down." Muzo's heart is pounding, and again, he finds it necessary to take a steadying breath. Many unsaid things march likewise across his mind, but none escape the prudent prison of his teeth. At last, he settles on somewhere safe enough to begin, at the very least. "You found me by accident, here, and not by intention?"


Nicolau follows in silence, flexing his fingers around the book in hand all the while. The dim lighting and private nature of this space mimicked the conversation at hand. The atmosphere meshes well. Muzo draws out his own chair but Reginae doesn’t move to sit. If they’re to a have this discussion, it will be clear in the next few minutes if she’ll stay, but not before then. The dwarf’s hushed instructions are met with a limp nod. Formalities. She’s been in a library before, for Amaroth’s sake… He starts, she’d given no indication that it would advance otherwise, and she holds him in the mirrors of her eyes. Pressing down a glass slide to better examine the situation objectively, instead of as a partner betrayed. She recalls her foolishly naive parting words and scuffs before she can stop herself in this form so different than her own. It’s difficult to restrain her tongue. “I thought you were dead.” Each word is spoken with slow, smooth calculation instead of the hot coals that smoked and spat in her stomach. Her own questions go unasked, waiting for him to give her a solid reason to even get that far ahead of herself.


Muzo's grip on the chair tightens in the tension that fills the silent seconds. His mind reels with memories, possibilities, with the weight of the encounter and what it could mean for his future. He'd been found out, and his days of quiet, secluded living were surely at an end. What manner of end? Yet to be seen. "Came very close," Muzo admits with an anemic little laugh. "Awoke in a ship's cabin. Was told I'd turned up in a fishing net. Spent some time at sea." Though he wishes it could, Muzo knows that can't yet be the end of his tale, he goes on. "Feared much, could ask little. Realized the rebellion had passed and... didn't know what I would be coming back to, whether I would be," he swallows, "killed when I returned to Alithrya. Whether I would be killed returning anywhere." The researcher was certainly running from a checkered past. "So I hid."


Reginae had hoped that his words would soothe her bruises but they don’t. He sounds frightened, she wonders if the fear is inspired by his being found out or his being found out by her in particular. The peroration is equally uninspired and she stares at him. What did she have the right to say? His plan to stay hidden worked until this random happenstance unearthed him. “You’ve never been shy about your wanderlust.” Meaning Alithrya wasn’t an anchor, a place to come back to nostalgically for him. It isn’t like she came into Cenril and tore the seaside town apart looking for him. When he could have been anywhere, alive or dead, it makes more sense to wait. His mention of being killed ‘anywhere’ reminds her of their argument in Larket. His new gem eye; the mark of that chapters finale. Long tomes of endings. The rogue holds the book so it flips open near the middle. He sets it down on the table and pretends to read it’s pages. “My attempt to bring you back before - “ When she’d fought Kreekitaka. “-was not to-” The male clears his throat quietly. His tan knuckle makes contact with an illustrated decollate snail. “How fitting that it’s a book about snails.” She muses in a whisper of her own voice, just a tint of emotion. A book of snails responsible for their convergence. Hmm. Well. “Glad to see you alive. Our minds can rest easy in the truth, then.”


"Reh-reh-rest easy?" Muzo blinks in incredulity and wipes a hand down his face. "The sentiment of the moment is not lost on me," he gestures vaguely at the book of snails and frowns in turmoil. "You and I. This." Releasing the chair, Muzo begins to pace. "We, we," he points back and forth between them, "lack parity, right now, in this specific instance." He pushes back his hood, revealing a silver tonsure to match his beard. "Do you understand?" The dwarf shoots her a pained look. "No matter what, this," he lightly raps a nearby bookshelf with his fingertips. "Is over for me. Ended permanently with your arrival. Permanently, yes," the dwarf solemnly nods. "No matter what happens next, I certainly cannot go on quietly annotating margins because, because I either leave with you, to stay with you, or I vanish again. Deeper than before." With a grimace, he closes his eyes and rubs the bridge of his nose. "Do you understand? Do you see why?"


Nico grits his teeth. Reginae doesn’t want to be swept up in the sentimentality of the moment but Muzo’s animated reaction gives her pause when she’d otherwise continue on insouciantly. It could have been a firm bookmark planted on the page of their relation. A neat ending to a spasmodic but unshrinking romance. He pulls back his hood, showing a wreath of silvered hair. His expression locks her heart in a vice, his words tighten it further. Did she understand? “I don’t.” She says plainly, her own voice falling off this body’s tongue. All the pieces were there, he’d shoved them into her hands but her proverbial fingers trembled with uncertainty. “I don’t care if you-“ Her arms are crossed, fingers tensing in the crooks as she sighs, exasperated. Tanned lids obscure azurite optics, tamping down her emotions and thereby insuring a safe, consistent volume. “I’ve done nothing but try to understand the immoderate twists and turns of the last year. To trust you even when I have no idea what’s going on.” When he didn’t tell her. His voice over the winds of Cenril’s shore blares in her ears. His dearest friend. His lover. She wouldn’t let this ridiculous rogue guise cry. “Tell me, so I understand and there are no misconceptions, no second guessing, no misunderstandings.” Did he still…remember who they were?


"Don't know?" Bushy brows raise. "Don't care?" Beads of sweat dot his forehead. Thank the gods that she doesn't leave it at that. So he is to tell her. Muzo hesitates, but he knows very well that laying his heart and mind bare is only a small humiliation, now, after all he's been through. After all he's put her through. The dwarf flexes his fingers against the air, looking to the ceiling, as though he could somehow gather up the invisible threads of context from the very air and weave them into a cohesive, pictorial tapestry. If only. "You trusted me enough to follow me to a dark room, alone." It's good to say aloud, and Muzo lets the simple observation hang like a swinging thurible, freshening the stress-fouled air. "But if you can't bring me back to Alithrya, then I have no assurance that I will be safe from you, here, in this library. You have your civic obligations," he sighs, "and you could buy a lot of loyalty with my head. If you leave me now, for good, and forget everything that," there's a hitch in his voice, but he pushes on explaining, "that we were, and are, then you'll already have cleared the most difficult hurdle, will have dissolved the only real barrier that stands between my neck and the axe." Now he reaches out to steady himself on the edge of the lonely table, lamplight wavering between them. "Had thought... had hoped I could spare you the pain of ever having to face that decision."


Reginae’s cut by the jagged regurgitation of what she’d said. She –did- care. “I don’t care if you want to live out the rest of your days in this place, with that face.” She’s quick to remedy his assumption with this (other) lie. This skin feels wrong; she’s bursting at the seams to be herself. “All I did was fight to get to you. When Frostmaw and Larket called for your head, I defended you to Hildegarde’s face. When Pilar rushed to tell us the news and when that proved fraught, I demanded you’re extradition. I demanded it not to kill you, but to keep you safe. I fought that Uyeer to take you home and protect you.” Though politically she could only benefit from his disposal. “Time and again, I take your word and follow you through the dark despite the plethora of reasons not to, and you believe I’d come back to do you harm if I left today? Where is your trust in me?” This immoderate accusation that she’d bleed him to buy the loyalty of humans or giants or Aramoth knows what. He’d stayed gone to spare her the conflict of interests. “I made the decision even before I found you in that lab and if we had to sever the link of time and space I would not let them kill you.” All the emotion she’d tried to mask glosses her eyes while she’s gesticulating at the book, at the shelves, at the ceiling and all the heavens above. Anything but the Naga in dwarfish clothing. “How many times do I have to idiotically trip over myself to confess neonatic sympathies? What else is there for me to do to show you that you are my dearest friend? That you are my…” Her obfuscate expression falls and she swallows a lump of embarrassment. How her tone has stayed hushed with it’s passion is beyond logical comprehension. Her tanned index fingers tap lightly, repeatedly against her forehead when words fail her.


Muzo listens, relieved to not be speaking, even as Reginae's words bristle with emotion. Each turn in the conversation is a revelation and a reassurance... and a rebuke. Trust? "It's so easy when you're right here. Please, try for a moment to imagine my doubts, my fear. Have been alone since, since..." Since that terrible day under the sea. The dwarf shakes his head, eyes on the table. How many times must she confess? "No confessions. Don't have to confess anything I know. I feel the same way. Just, so terrible to imagine what a burden I am. You don't feel that way about me, I know you don't, but it's so hard not to see it in such a.... a terrible light." His eyes slide up and they find... square-jawed, roguish Nicolau. His face breaks in an untimely grin and he has to look away as quickly. "Forgive me." His broad dwarven palm runs down his mustache, down through his beard, and he tries once again to gather and maintain his sense of composure. "Will you bring me back with you?" He meets her eyes again in earnest. "Please. No accidents. No war. No misfortune waiting to disrupt us." Solemnly, his jaw tightens, and he nods, realizing he's finally facing the moment he'd dreaded and delayed so long. There's more he'd like to say, but his throat is tightening, and he's not going to risk another word.


Reginae groans in frustration, broad hands rest on angular hips before bending forward at the waist in an almost bow. He asks her to understand and she tries but she’d been just as alone. Surrounded by citizens but alone. No one alive still who knew her personally before the rebellion. The whole time imagining herself responsible for his death. The rogue straightens and their eyes meet – for a second, she doesn’t see the dwarfish features – he grins and Nico turns away quickly to look at a dusty collection of molding pages. Why suddenly can’t she look at him? How annoying. She feels his eyes again before she sees them. “It would be a heavier burden to leave without you.” Her lugubrious tones fall flat between them. A hefty leather boot scuffs it’s heel into the marble under foot. Maybe travel and time would ameliorate their shattered perceptions and uncertainties. A small silence unravels; Muzo’s spectral tapestry painted a clear enough picture. It’ll be dangerous, if he gets found out. Another sigh drips off her tongue, tan hands push back through ebony hair. Nico’s lips part to speak but Muzo looks to be holding his breath or tongue. “What?” Nico asks while Reginae feels herself suddenly self-conscious of his scrutiny. “O-of course I want you to come back with me…” The rogue stutters, just in case it wasn’t clear, before he averts his gaze anywhere else.


"These wretched bodies." Muzo wipes his eyes dry on his coarse sleeve, grinning despite the tearshed. He'd done well fighting them back, but sheer relief of hearing Reginae say it aloud, well... even a snake can only bear so much. "Didn't realize how eager I was to go home." Was it home? Alithrya? No. Home at her side, he realizes. "How, ah," swallowing back his emotion, Muzo clears his throat, straightens his back, "how would you like to do this, then? Seems most of our trouble starts when I take the initiative," he half-jokes. "Might be best to follow your lead." She'd be the one, if anyone, to lead him through the political minefield ahead. "Could begin practicing a new disguise, if you wish," the dwarf tries hard to hide his distaste at the thought; he was still not yet used to the idiosyncrasies of this form.


Nico's eyes flick back to the dwarf when he complains about their bodies. He looks down, tugging at his black shirt and chuckles. "Not ideal," she agrees but doesn't linger on the subject. It wasn't customary, she supposed, for nagas to...The rogue clears his own throat and rubs the back of his neck, contemplating their next move. It wouldn't do for anyone to know Muzo was back. Frostmaw or Larket could gather intel and find him out. He hums, frowning. She knows he isn't a fan of shifting to begin with. But keeping this form would undoubtedly trace back to a meeting here. She isn't keen on trying to use his potions just now either. Azurite scans the room, falling on the book again before his knuckle taps the page. The unspoken thought is punctuated by a mischievous smile. No one would ever suspect it. "We'll come up with a long term plan later on." A beat. "Humans aren't exactly uh..." There's no tactful way to 'compliment' them so it goes without mention. Nico looks up from the illustration to find Muzo's eye, hidden beneath flesh and fur. The lens of icy disappointment she'd looked through before were gone, replaced by a nauseating dose of rosy adoration. "Let's go home."


A second elapses where Muzo blinks and waits for Regi's plan. Had he missed it? All Nico did was tap the book. Tap the book about snails. About snails. The dwarf's eyes nearly bug out of his head. "Surely you don't-" But she does, and though the rosy admiration might serve as sufficient encouragement, he's still plainly not pleased with the prospect. His mouth opens to suggest an alternative, but he hesitates. Or if not that, than perhaps--no, no that won't do either. Muzo gives up his shallow, hasty attempt to think his way out of this one. "Wouldn't have guessed we'd be picking this over a human," he grumbles half-heartedly as he straightens his outfit, "dout it speaks flatteringly of their race." But already his dwarven form is beginning to flicker and warp, rather like a TV signal falling out of tune, shape and clarity failing ever more utterly until, as quickly as it began, the transformation soon completes as the formlessness quickly coalesces. Where once stood a dwarf, there is now nothing but... a rather large snail. Remarkable though it is that a creature Muzo's size could reduce himself so rapidly and dramatically, but grey-speckled snails the size of a cat are hardly a common sight. His eyestalks sway one way, then the other, assessing his new surroundings before he slowly, bit by bit, retracts wholly into his shell, shutting it's "door" behind himself and praying, silently, that this particular leg of his journey is very, very brief.