RP:Worth The Risk
Part of the The End's Not Near Arc
Summary: Pilar and Yozenra pay a visit to the still quarantined Reginae in Frostmaw's Food Storage. They discuss romance and all it's risks while also shedding light on a particularly interesting fact. Jaize, prior to vanishing after the fall of the Archmosian Empire, she lost her left eye in a duel with Acheron, a member of The Fold during the Rynvalian War,. Her eye was one of the components brought back from the palace by Callum, Meri, and Sargaso. Pilar and Yozenra both swear that when Jaize appeared on the scene of the Coronation both of her eyes were intact!
Reginae is still in the Food Storage area turned temporarily into her Queen's quarters. That means she has a cot, two guards, and all the frozen privacy the pantry can offer. It wasn't long ago that Callum, Sarge, and Meri delivered items from Alithrya to Frostmaw for Reginae's inspection. Just now her white bobbed hair is swaying back and forth in a decent breeze that signified someone was coming. These old corridors only moved when the things within them moved first. She's bent over a very old book, wrapped in an oversized gold robe and looking more pale than icy, despite her current surroundings. Two frost giant guards are posted on either side of the pantry's exterior.
Pilar and Yozenra were stopped by the guards, but only for a moment. One of them went inside to announce their arrival, and stayed to be sure no funny business went down. Pilar smiled brightly when she saw her teacher. "Reginae!" She hurried over to the naga and embraced her. Yozenra followed along, also smiling, and gripped Reginae's arm in a warrior's greeting. "My queen." Pilar looked Reginae over with a healer's eye. "You look better... but still not well. How are you feeling?"
Reginae 's eyes lit up with the familiar faces, the old tome remained open on the cot beside her as she stood to greet her guests with gusto. "Student," Pilar's embrace was equally met, Yozenra' s arm grasped once they parted. He grip was stable and present. "It's taking more time than I'd like..." She admitted, noticing how even now her chest tightened with effort to move. "It's this cold weather I think." The Naga sighed heavily. "It makes my body feel sluggish. Ah how I long for Alithrya's warm summer waters." Her eyes were still rimmed with Grey, the center of her pupils slowly graduated into her usual azurite hue in the center. "What brings you ladies to Frostmaw?"
"You," Pilar said, smiling. "We wanted to check on you. I brought an invigorating tonic." Pilar pulled a few small vials from her bag and placed most of them on the table, holding on to one to offer it to Reginae. "It's not much but if might make you feel stronger." Her eyes went to the book. "What are you reading?"
Reginae moves to look at the vials, curious to see what Pilar had made or brought. She holds the one Pilar offers her up to a nearby sconce and studies the liquid inside. “Did you make these?” She asks, wondering if her student’s skills had been put to use in healing more than fighting. It suited her nature, sweet Pilar, but it was good to know she had combat expertise as well. It made Reginae feel a little better about her safety. Having Yozenra by her side helped a little too. Gone were the days of discussions about fear and running away. Pilar seemed to be holding her ground in all matters, at least in what Reginae knew about. “I’m grateful you thought of me, I’ll try it right away.” The vial is uncorked and the liquid drained. Reginae half expected that the liquid would steal her breath away, like Muzo’s traveling concoctions but it doesn’t. It fills her veins like a comfortable flame, a breath of warm salty air under her skin. “Aramoth above, that’s something.” She remarked, a more substantial grin on her lips. Then Pilar asks about the book. “Ah! Yes! It’s something that was brought back from Alithrya. I hired a small group of rogues to retrieve this eye for me and this was something else they managed to bring back. A curious tome… it discusses the rituals and requirements for members of the naga to become Ha-Naga. I believe they are comparably to human...priests? They commune with Aramoth and are blessed with divine powers as a result of their sacrifice and they often advise all the rulers on the will of our god. “ Thin digits point to a phrase in the text, it’s golden script glittering in the low light like stars. ‘And so the naga, chosen at birth for this blessing, is trained in all the ways of the kingdom. Combat, Magic, Politics, and Governance.’ “ While Reginae read, the grey lensed eye in the jar bobbed in it’s mauve liquid, staring blankly in Yozenra and Pilar’s direction as if it could somehow see them.
Pilar felt a swell of pride as Reginae took the potion. "Yes, I made it myself. Old Frostmawian recipe I learned from the shamans here." She looked at the book, listening to Reginae as she spoke. "I see. What did you need this for?" Yozenra glanced at the eye and grimaced. Creepy...
Reginae placed the empty vial down on the table, picking up the jar as if it was a trophy, with a broad grin. Whatever potion it was, it was invigorating! “I’ll let you in on a little secret…” She whispered to the pair. “It’s Jaize’s eye.” This is an odd sort of information because, if they recall from the coronation, Jaize had both of her eyes and no scars or markings on her body to tell she’d ever lost it. “It’s it fascinating?” Now Regi didn’t know this, because she hadn’t seen her sister before fading out with the poison. But Pilar and definitely Yozenra should recall this critical detail. "I don't know how yet, but I think I can use it to find a weakness in her. Call me crazy, but having a tissue sample is the best shot I have right now."
Pilar and Yozenra looked at each other. "Um..." "My queen," Yozenra said, "Jaize wasn't missing an eye when she revealed herself... Did these rogues really manage to take her eye out since then?"
Reginae blinked. “No- they didn’t run into her. She lost this eye in a fight, back when she fought against Acheron. Some member of the Fold that opposed the Archmosian Empire back then. There are writings that curse his name all over the Queen’s Sanctuary...She won the battle but lost her eye. This eye.” Regi rotated the jar so the eye’s dead pupil pointed directly at Pilar. "They didn't mention anything about it when they delivered it to me..." Her brow creased in thought. " Are you absolutely certain?"
Pilar nodded. "Positive. She didn't even have any scars."
Reginae exhaled, expression still thoughtful but wondering if this was avenue for another time. “Well, that’s very strange.” She agreed, putting the matter squarely behind them. Her mind was whirling too quickly due to the potion and her urge to move overpowered the strangeness of this idea that her sister had two eyes and no scars. What a thing, this world! “Would you two like a bite to eat? I haven’t much here but the guards can fetch something from the mess hall. You must be famished, coming all this way. They make a mean stew here.” She smiled, moving to clear away the book and vials from the table top so they would all have someplace to eat together.
Very strange indeed. Pilar smiled at the thought of some of that good old Frostmawian stew. Yozenra's stomach growled. "I suppose I am, a little," she said. Pilar nodded. "I fed before we came up, but I suppose a small bowl would be nice..."
Reginae gestures to the guard that had followed Pilar and Yozenra into the room. “If you wouldn’t mind?” She asks with the wave of her hand, while the guard walks away grumbling something about not being a servant. They knew full well, Reginae wasn’t about to wander around Frostmaw and get caught out and about. Alive and all. While they wait, Reginae moves two crates up to the table as chairs and takes an empty space of floor near the corner of the table. “Tell me what’s been going on with you? Making potions? It’s impressive.” Then her eyes turn to Yozenra, patiently watching the naga grin at Pilar.
Pilar sat on one of the crates and Yozenra seated herself next to her. "I've joined the Healer's Guild and have been collecting recipes for salves, potions, stuff like that. I hope to learn how to use magic to heal, too, though I can do stitches and first aid. I work at the clinic in Chartsend now."
Reginae nods, happy to hear it. "Tell me more about Chartsend and your job? Who are you training under? What is the structure of the town like? I'm afraid I didn't get to spend more time there." A frown as she considers she can't visit for a while still.
"It's a lovely town. Small and peaceful, mostly fishers and pearl farmers. There's no real ruler, but the townspeople pay homage to a man named Wilhelm Ilivaris, as he owns the land and pays for its upkeep. I've never met him, but I hear he's nice, if a bit odd. I'm not currently in training, really, but I am looking for a teacher. I don't do much at the clinic, just make potions and tend the sick and injured. It's not terribly exciting. But I very much like Chartsend."
Reginae nods, digesting the information rapidly. "It sounds like a perfect fit for you. I hope this Wilhelm maintains the place. It might improve if someone was looking out for it but it sounds peaceful enough. There's likely no need for anyone to step up and call the shots if everyone gets along and there's no danger." She considers this next thought. Looking for a teacher of potions. Didn't she know someone? "I'd suggest Muzo but maybe not..." She offers, suddenly shy. "I don't think he's much into healing potions. I'm sorry."
"It's fine," Pilar said, smiling. "I'll find someone. Now, how have you been doing? You must be bored, having to hide in here all day."
Reginae nodded, "Boring, most days." Her face flushed but she didn't dare discuss it. How would Pilar look at her if she gushed like a school girl over Muzo? Would that he show up with fire in his heart and kissed her in such a fashion that made her head spin! Her heart beat to think about it. AHEM. "But sometimes visitors stop by. Like you two, the Queen when she can, Muzo...when he can." Damn her, the blush wouldn't cease. She opts to clear her throat and ask about the potions instead. "These potions are quite strong."
Pilar and Yozenra shared a glance. "Your face is red, Reginae... Are you feeling alright?" Pilar asked. "I hope I didn't overdo on the white-fyre herb..."
Reginae tried to maintain her composure. "Yes, just a bit warm." Hard to believe, considering her fluffy golden robe. "I think perhaps I might love someone..." She says, candidly. "Would either of you care to offer advice on the subject? You seem to be a good pair."
Pilar and Yozenra blushed. "Oh! We, we aren't a, uh, pair," Pilar said. Yozenra coughed. "I, personally, have never been in love, so I, er, wouldn't be the best to ask. Pilar?" The vampire cleared her throat. "Yes. Right. Well. I've got... some experience." Pilar's face broke into a grin. "Tell me everything!"
Reginae nods, a solemn warrior on a mission to understand. "Muzo..." Her voice was weighted with thought. Then realization as she blinked, "I'm sorry, I thought..." She smiled, further embarrassed for her troubles. "You two just seem to get along well...." She cleared her thought, trying to explain her symptoms like you would to a clinic healer. "My heart beats erratically when he's near. My thoughts race when we work together... But I still want to be... Closer... To him."
Pilar and Yozenra blushed. "I-it's fine, l-lots of people have assumed..." Pilar cleared her throat again. "Anyway! Muzo. It does sound like you have the beginnings of love stirring in your heart." Pilar smiled. "I'm happy for you. Does he feel the same, do you know?"
Reginae's eyes widen. "He knows surely I care about him as we are an item in the way of people trying out relationships." She nods, matter of factly. "But I have not spoken about it beyond 'I'm glad you are beside me'. "
Trying out relationships... Yozenra looked at Pilar. Was that a thing they could do? She coughed, but said nothing. Pilar nodded. "Ooh, good, good. If, if you're already that close, it wouldn't be a mistake to take it a step further, I don't think. Just remember, real love takes time, and work, and always carries a risk. My first romance ended in tears and we don't even speak anymore. But it can be a fulfilling and joyful part of your life if you're willing to take that risk."
Reginae wondered. Could she live life with someone like Muzo? Different ranks but similar mindsets. Happy to bond over a text or experiment. Easy to laugh with, plan nefarious schemes with. It all felt too easy, where exactly was the risk? Might they change their minds later on? If the progress appeared too rapid? Too uncontrollable?! Too unpredictable?!? "I see..." She said, pondering this idea while watching Yozenra studying Pilar. "What if..." she considered, phrasing this question carefully. "What if my afffections are somehow...more than his? What if he prefers the affections of friendship more than something more romantic?"
"Then you have to decide. Can you bear to be near him when you're in love, but he's not? Would it be enough to just be friends or would it hurt too much?"
Reginae looks to Yozenra, to see how her face changes with this information. Could -she- stand to be by Pilar's side no matter what? Could Regi by Muzo? The naga Queen knew her answer, but did her former Queen's guard?
Yozenra considered Pilar's words. She still didn't know exactly how she felt, only that being near Pilar made her happy. Pilar felt the same, even though they were oblivious to each other's feelings.
Reginae couldn't tell how Yozenra felt either, but she appeared to be thinking. It's a good start or development at least. "I think I'm more afraid that he'll leave if I try to change the way things are now." What kind of woman was she?! To be afraid of such an inconsequential thing?!
"He won't," Yozenra said firmly. "Not if he truly cares for you." Pilar nodded in agreement. "It'll be awkward sure, but if he's really your friend, he'll stick it out."
Reginae smiled, seeing her own resolve in their expressions. "A very good point." But she wasn't sure she felt as confident. They'd never talked about what trying to be together meant. It was such a fluid TOS with no restrictions or guidelines. "I'll bring it up with him when next we meet. Thank you, for the pep talk." She smiled, just as the guard came through the door with the stew they'd ordered. It felt like ages but here it was, steaming hot and on a lengthy tray that took up the entire table. Three round wooden bowls and spoons, fit for humanoid hands.
Pilar smiled back. "Good luck. And be sure to invite us to the wedding," she teased. As the guard came in, Pilar and Yozenra offered their thanks, and they began to feast.