Part of the Through A Glass, Darkly Arc
Summary: Meri tells Khitti about Lanara's breakdown and subsequent journey to a mental health hospital in another land, as well as passing on the gifts that Lanara had left her Khitti during a brief period of lucidity. Neither of them can find a reason to be happy about things right now and end up turning to a bottle of whiskey instead.
The Rebel Room: Art Gallery, Cenril
Khitti || It wasn’t often that Meri sent for Khitti, now that they both lived in the same city. Usually, it was the other way around, mainly because Khitti was multi-tasking as usual with fifty million different things--while Meri usually just went with the flow and did not do this thing that her neurotic sister did. But, sent for Khitti she had, and the redhead would eventually show up at Meri’s home/art gallery, with that raven-haired child of hers in tow. She’d let herself in with the key she was given (as she had a few times up until this point) and look around for Meri, eventually even attempting to call out to her, “Meri? I’m here!” Khitti peered down at her not-so-talkative child (well, he wasn’t entirely talkative unless he was angry anyway; both aspects of that were definitely from his parents), booped his nose, and asked, “Where the heck is your aunt? You need to finally meet your cousin! Just don’t gnaw on her, yeah? She’s not a teething ring.”
Meri heard Khitti call for her but was slow to respond. Her hands were a little more full than the norm. See, Mountain is used to having the company of Mr. Weanie, who really does not enjoy playing with Mountain. Can he be blamed? And all of a sudden Mountain has not one, but two new playmates that he deems appropriately sized...because yes, a polar bear seems like a great playmate. On top of that, Meri has a growing werewolf baby. It takes a moment for Meri to wrangle the child in all of the commotion that was occurring in her flat. Khitti might be able to hear it, but then again she might not find a dog barking to be very out of place in Meri's home. Meri opens the front door of her flat with a child on her hip, one that has grown considerably since last Khitti saw her. It wouldn't be long before she's scooting around Meri's place, and then walking shortly after that. Meri's can't quite find it in her to smirk, given the news that she is about to deliver to Khitti, but she does issue a teasing, "I don't know, his cousin might just bite back if he's not careful. She does take after her momma." With that said, Meri steps out of the way so that Khitti can come in, "Come on inside. I have...news...and things to give you..." Meri's tone and entire demeanor suggests that this will not be one of their more pleasant conversations.
Khitti had indeed heard all of that commotion, but it really hadn’t seemed out of the ordinary. Her eyes bugged out a little bit at Fleur’s appearance, then looked down at Dominic, “Sorry, kid. You get to take the long way around to growing up.” She felt a little bad for her son, knowing that quite a handful of children in Lithrydel were either werewolves or magicked-up by curses to speed along their aging. She sighed, and resisted the urge to say “Sorry for being normal, Dominic” a slight frown gracing her unpainted lips. The frown remained once Meri’s own demeanor was noted, and her words spoken. Khitti’d had this feeling, days ago, as she often did. The feelings, she never really could explain much (perhaps she had some minor precognition? And lingering after-effect of the experimenting that was done on her as a teen?), but usually, when she had them, things were never good--that’s how she’d knew to go after Lionel the day he went on his little adventure into the Shadow Plane to confront Kahran. Khitti wasn’t sure if she wanted to know the news, but as soon as she walked into Meri’s home and saw Aspen, her heart dropped. It was probably a good thing she’d brought Dominic with her, so she had something to cling to. There was hesitation, and another sigh, before she finally asked, “Do I want to know?” Clearly, it had something to do with Lanara, but her brain couldn’t stop thinking about how bad the situation might be.
Meri :: At a different time, Meri might have spent more time chatting about how if her child aging so rapidly would really be a blessing or a curse. Meri sat down on one of the couches in her living room, leaving Khitti to settle herself wherever she saw fit. Fleur was put down on the floor so that she can be overly curious down in that space, instead of trying to pull at Meri's hair during the middle of a serious talk. Meri's stomach was in her throat right now. There was no enjoyment in what she was about to tell Khitti, she hated being the one having to deliver the bad news. What she was about to tell Khitti felt no better than when she had to tell Alvina that Khitti died. "I went to the sanctuary to meet with Talyara and presumably Lanara. It was just Talyara though. The sanctuary had been badly damaged, I'm not entirely clear on how...But Talyara did reveal that she and Lanara had both been kidnapped by witch hunters." Meri frowns, still surprised that no one had heard a peep of them going missing. Guilt was definitely an emotion that Meri was feeling, because if they had been there for the sisters? "And well they are both alive...But...Um." Meri sighs. There is some comfort that at least Khitti knows that Meri is not always the best with her words in these delicate situation, so Meri explains it bluntly. "I guess Lanara is not the same. Mentally. Talyara used the word fractured...when describing Lanara's current mental state."
Khitti || Out of everyone Khitti knew, she’d never thought that Lanara would be the one’s whose mind would break. Hell, Khitti thought that -she’d- be the one locked up in the nuthouse at some point (it’s a wonder Brand never was, what with his own schismed mind a couple years ago). Khitti’d long since put Dominic down on the floor, so that he could interact with his cousin, her own spot claimed on another of Meri’s couches--she’d felt like she was going to need the space to breath after being told what she’d just heard from Meri. “I… figured she’d just been with Eli all that time she was gone. But… something must’ve happened there too. The last time I saw her, at the sanctuary, she’d not been wearing her engagement ring.” Something had been clearly wrong with Lanara, but the witch had chosen not to speak about it. “First, I’m not there for Rachelle, and then I couldn’t be there for you, when you were stuck in the Shadow Plane, and… now I wasn’t there for her either.” Khitti’s own guilt was clear; the sadness was there, but it soon shifted to irritation, bordering on outright anger, “How the hell am I supposed to lead this guild if I can’t even protect my friends and family?” She sighed heavily, shook her head, then looked to Meri, “Did Talyara say anything else?” Something perhaps not as depressing that happened out of this whole situation?
Meri could relate to what her sister was feeling. Meri felt like a failure when she watched Khitti burned to death, the same with Valrae, Lanara was another friend to add to the list of 'failed you's. "Yeah. Something must have happened there." Meri agrees with a frown, recalling her meeting with Lanara at the manor...but Meri does not dive into that topic. Not now. The woman furrows her brows for a moment, trying to recall the conversation she had with Talyara in depth. It had been a long couple days. Was there anything else of super important note about the situation? Meri sighs, growing restless and finding her way to her feet so that she can pace around the room. The children seem to be in far better spirits than the adults. Look at them making friends. How little they seemed to really process that Meri and Khiti were talking about. "No, I don't think so. Just that in one of Lanara's more lucid moments that she left us a few things." Meri motions to Aspen, who is not nearly as excited about his temporary living arrangements as Mountain is that he has company. The bear definitely seems sad, like he misses Lanara. "You have a new friend to care for. I hope Brand will not mind." Meri frowns. "And well, she also wanted you to have this. She was not certain if you and Brand already had your engagement rings picked out..." Meri retrieves a little box from a desk drawer that she has positioned in the corner of the room. This little box is given to Khitti.
Khitti || “We hadn’t yet, no…” Khitti’d take the box, her free hand held outstretched to Aspen to bring him over to play with the much less excited children--he was sort of like a child after all. Khitti would eventually open the box up and frowned. “Friends that I’m not sure I’ll ever speak to again seem to have a habit of giving me their rings.” She sighed heavily, then closed the box again and pocketed it in the dark blue cardigan she wore over the rest of her outfit. “Well… if we end up not wanting the design, we can always have it melted down and used for new ones, and it’d still hold the same meaning. Might do that with the ring Alvina gave me too once it was time,” she said, eyeing the ring on her hand. The redhead frowned, thinking about her own wedding that seemed like it was never going to get here, “I suppose my guest list has gotten much smaller too.” She didn’t have many friends, or family members for that matter, but the little bit that she did have, she’d wanted to share that moment with them and… there’d been so many people in the past couple years that’d been crossed off that list. “I, uh… don’t really know what to say… I’m not sure how I should feel right now.” There was definitely a bit of an inner struggle going on in Khitti’s head.
Meri frowns. Her restlessness finds some temporary ease and Meri settles into a spot on the couch next to Khitti. She does not cozy up to her sister or try and pull her into a hug, space is still given. "It's a tough decision. I don't think anyone would fault you if you didn't use either ring and got something with a clean meaning." Whatever Khitti decided, one way or another she would still have the rings. It did not feel right to linger on what -should- be a happy subject for long, even if Khitti had her own sore points about her wedding. In a lot of ways, Meri could understand how Khitti was feeling right now. Meri was feeling many of the same emotions. It's not like Meri wanted to see anything happened to any of the witches, she has sincerely put her best foot forward to make herself known as an ally to them. Or she tried to. "I wish I knew what to say too. I think sometimes it is okay if we don't have the words. We don't always have to say anything." Meri shrugs. "Once upon a time my solution to this would have been to get very, very drunk." A beat. "Maybe I have a bottle stashed away somewhere..."
Khitti wasn’t sure she wanted to do the drinking thing again. After all that time getting wasted in Venturil and nearly claiming the title of ‘alcoholic’, it probably wasn’t a good idea. One of the people that’d been proud of her for slowing her roll with the drinking was Lanara… but now Lanara was no longer here. Her mind was eventually made up on the subject and she said at length, “Yeah. That definitely sounds good.” At least if she didn’t come home right away, Brand knew where to find her--and she wasn’t going to get into any bar fights since she was here with Meri. “I just told Talyara… not too long ago, that the guild is there to support and protect people. It didn’t feel like a lie then, but it definitely does now and I wish she’d never asked me about it in the first place. I don’t even know how to remedy this. I can’t have tabs kept on people twenty-four-seven. I don’t have the manpower for that, and plus that’s just an outright invasion of my guildmembers’ privacy and I don’t want things to come to that. But… I don’t know how else to keep this from happening again. To anyone else.”
Meri :: Drinking all hinged upon if Meri was able to find a bottle of booze. It's not improbable, she never moved all of her stuff into Cal's home, some of it had to be stored. Mostly the stuff that was from her shop after they left Larket, so nothing too serious. Just stuff she did not want cluttering up the home. When Khitti seems to be on the drinking band wagon, Meri finds her way to her feet again. This time she disappears into the kitchen. "There is guild support to protect people," Meri attempts to assure Khitti from the kitchen area as she rummages through cupboards. She was on the hunt, but not for an animal. "And she can still receive support. I doubt....these witch hunters are suddenly going to leave her alone. I doubt that Larket is suddenly going to change their stance on witches." Meri emerges from the kitchen. Wouldn't you know it, the former alcoholic didn't manage to get rid of every single bottle she owns. She finds a dusty looking bottle of whiskey, and two glasses that are far less dusty. "Even if you did have that sort of manpower, to keep tabs on someone all the time...I don't think the sister's are the sort who would have appreciated having a set of eyes on them. They value their freedom, I have always thought." The glasses are poured, not to the brim. Each glass is given about an inch of whiskey. "But I can see how you'd feel that way regardless, because you care."
Khitti || “They’ll not get Talyara again. I’ll make sure of that,” Khitti said to Meri while she scrounged around for booze. “I imagine it was Krice that found them. Him and Lionel had gone looking for her at one point, but found those frog-things, the sloads, instead. I’m not often that fond of Krice, but… I think it’s safe to say that he needs to be lumped into protecting the witches too, even if it’s just Talyara.” The whiskey is smelled and yet another sigh breathed; it was almost as if she missed drinking it. “Part of me, the part that’s not feeling entirely guilty about this whole thing, is sort of glad that we weren’t at the sanctuary when Lanara was found. I… don’t know, as of right now, if I’d be able to deal with that. It’s different than just charging in and sticking the bad guys with the pointy end of our swords.” If only things were that easy. “I guess this is how Lionel’s felt over the years, losing all of those friends. I know Lanara’s not dead, but… not even being able to say goodbye? I feels like she might as well be.” Khitti hated thinking that about her friend, but it was true. Even if there was some way for her to visit Lanara, wherever she was, there was no telling whether or not she’d be entirely herself again. It was sort of like when the minds of elderly people started to go and they just… forget everything. Putting a stop to those thoughts, Khitti drained her glass, watching as her son, niece, and the polar bear cub continued to play.
Meri sips at her whiskey. Just because drinking seemed like the right answer for the situation, did not mean that Meri was looking to get out of control drunk. She might have had a mixed drink once at Halloween, and maybe a glass of wine with Cal, but the werewolf has not really drank heavily since being bitten. It may not be a wise idea. "Did they? I wish I had known. I feel like if Krice was there to save Talyara, he will probably at least assist in keeping a watchful eye on her from here on out. You can at least trust that he will do his best in that area." And Krice has proven himself a skilled warrior. "It's weird not being able to say goodbye. To think that she has been taken somewhere to receive treatment. They say she has no hope ever of being let out?" Which, Meri has a hard time swallowing. The psion is of the opinion that the mind is a strange and powerful thing, how could there be no hope ever? When she was not always this way? This prompts Meri to drink again. "It's strange to think that it wasn't that long ago that was over at the manor, here in Cenril. Her wedding had been postponed, but she was still talking about planning for it? She wanted to give Fleur dance lessons when she was old enough. And got a new tattoo from me too. And now here we are." Meri sighs. "I am not sure which is worse. Her being dead in the earth. Or locked up and being told there is no hope."
Khitti frowned at the things Meri was saying. “Even when things were really bad, before I came here--” As if things had never been that bad here in Lithrydel. “--it was always really difficult for me to have hope. It got a little easier here, despite the things that went on here, but… it’s starting to get difficult again. People I know are dying off, being sent elsewhere, or betraying me and my family. How am I supposed to have hope through all of that? And with the fact that some of Kahran’s lesser lackeys are still out and about too can only mean that that asshole might worm his way back out of the void.” She paused, eyeing her empty glass, not ready to refill it, but at least studying the few droplets that remained, “Heh, I was just getting the hang of things again, I thought. After Venturil. But, somehow, getting kidnapped by a mindflayer seems like a kid’s game compared to stuff like this. At least I know how to handle it, when I’m able to handle it.” Despite the depressed nature of the conversation, she actually let out a bit of a laugh. “Is it bad that sometimes I wish I would’ve been like Brand was when I first met him? Always looking out for number one. Not wanting to make any attachments whatsoever. Giving the world the cold shoulder unless it struck his fancy to actually help someone--which was not often, mind you.”
Meri sighs. It's not like she could disagree with what Khitti was saying. Yet what Khitti is saying sort of supports her thoughts...Which is worse? Both brows are lifted when Khitti starts comparing kidnapping events. "I don't know if it is fair to say that when you were kidnapped was any more or less traumatic. Maybe you were able to handle process it better sure...But that does not make what you went through child's play in comparison. I think...that maybe you have other things in your life that maybe Lanara does not. Reminders of why you should stay grounded." She points to Dominic as one example, there were plenty of other examples but he just happened to be in the room. "But I can relate to how you are feeling..." Meri was just talking about what the point in caring about people was while she was crying her eyes out over Alvina. "About looking out for number one. However...It was you that reminded me that we have to care." It was hard for Meri to sell right now, she was still trying to convince herself that Khitti had been right during that little pep talk. Meri snorts at her own failure to sell this whole 'why we should have a damn' bit and instead adds a bit more whiskey to both her glass and Khitti's glass.
Khitti shrugged, eyeing what had been poured into her glass, “Yes, well. It’s easier to give advice than to listen to it. And, I know it is important to care about people, but… it gets tiring, you know? Especially when this happens. Or when the Alvina and Hudson thing happened. I still care about my family, and the few friends I have close to me, but it’s getting hard to be able to care for anyone else.” She took a sip the whiskey, then continued, “That’s going to make running the Devout’s Guild even harder, I suppose. I’m glad at least, that there’s others there that can pick up the slack for me in that department. And I am grounded. I don’t feel like I’m going to need to join Lanara wherever she’s at, but all of this stuff, it makes me feel older than I am, if you get what I mean.”
Meri just nods. It might be easier for Khitti to give advice than to follow it, but Meri was not very good at either most of the time. Sure, she might have her moments of wisdom and occasional bright idea when it came to all this emotional stuff...but for the most part? If it did not involve trying to fight with something, she did not feel particularly adept. "Yeah." Meri says, leaning back into the cushions of the couch they have been sitting on while she releases a deep sigh. "Yeah, I could drink to all that." And that is precisely what Meri does, a nice deep drink from her whiskey. Honestly, she was not really sure she was catching that much of a buzz of the stuff. One downside to being a werewolf I guess. Meri presses her lips together tightly out of frustration, because there were no words to make either herself or Khitti feel better about anything. Eventually her blue eyes drift toward Dominic, Fleur and Aspen.
Khitti finished off her own whiskey in time, her line of sight eventually joining Meri’s and settled on the kids and the bear. “I should probably go home. Gotta tell Brand that another animal’s getting added to the zoo. Finally got my rabbit a while back, and some chicks for Dominic. This one though,” she said, watching Aspen, “I think he could sleep upstairs with Dominic. I’m sure he doesn’t particularly want to be alone after all that. I’ll grab him a cot from one of the spare rooms for now, and have a little bed made for him. I’m not sure where Lanara got Aspen from, but he’s pretty sentient. Probably moreso than the Tikifhlee. I guess he’ll never age though. Which makes it easier in the long run with keeping a bear on the ship.” She was unsure how Brand would handle having yet another animal added to the menagerie Khitti’d started on the Tranquility, but he’d more than likely soften up to the idea once she explained why Aspen was there at all. “Thank you, for telling me. I wish I could’ve been there when you went to the sanctuary to talk to Talyara. I dunno if it would’ve made things any easier, but…” She shrugged. “I should probably go talk to her soon too. Tell her she’s excused from guild stuff for awhile until she’s ready again.”
Meri nods to Khitti. She moves to find her feet again when she announces it's time to depart. This is to give her sister a one armed hug and then to plant a smooch upon her nephew's forehead. No comment is made is to if it would be easier if Khitti had been there or not, probably not. The only boon would be that Meri would not have to be the messenger of bad news. "I think that is a good idea," she confirms when it comes to reaching out to Talyara. "She had mentioned wanting some time to herself, but I think you should reach out to her soon. I encouraged to her to come by and make sure our new friends were settling into their new homes when she was ready..." Meri sighs. "Anyway. Good luck with Brand and telling him about the newest family addition...We'll talk again soon." Hopefully about more pleasant things. Or maybe they wouldn't talk. Maybe they'd just sit in the same room and paint their troubles away. Whatever is clever for the sisters.
Khitti returned the hug she was given, handed over her whiskey glass, smooched her niece, picked up Dominic and reached down to grab Aspen’s hand. The bear and her child looked up at her in her solemn state, almost with concern, but she said nothing to either of him. “Yeah… I don’t need one sister following the other,” she said, in regards to the witches. “If she does come by, just lemme know how she is, okay?” Dominic and Aspen waved goodbye to Meri and Fleur--and Aspen even reluctantly patted Mountain on the head as they passed by the horse-like pupper, and then the three of them were off to introduce Brand to his new “child”, tell him of the unfortunate news, and maybe even drink a little more. So long as -someone- was there with her, she likely wouldn’t fall down that not-so-great rabbit hole again.