All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Hama Valon, the city around the Grey Tower.
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Welcome to Hama Valon! The aptly named 'mountain guard' is the city that has grown up at the gates of the Grey Tower at the western edge of the Two Rivers. Like all cities, there are quiet quarters with pleasant inns, such as Elman's Creek, which used to be the nearest village when the Tower was young, but was absorbed as the new city grew; its Band of Brothers Inn is still a favorite relaxation spot for many of the Tower's denizens. And again, like all cities the world over, there are less pleasant places--narrow, nameless streets that house hells and other houses of ill repute. Most of the city falls somewhere in between, with hawkers crying their wares in the streets, respectable shopkeepers ready to serve you, and petty cutpurses happy to follow you.

Novices, Soldiers, and drin'far'ji must be accompanied by a chaperon when outside Tower walls or they risk being picked up as runaways and duly punished.
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Roan
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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Roan » June 1st, 2018, 4:11 pm

Paks
Band of Brothers.

Truth be told, it wouldn’t matter where they went. The last time Paks had been in Hama Valon it had been with Jesi. Any establishment she went into, chances are she would have visited it with Jesi. As they walked, her mind went back to the last time she and Jesi walked this path, or went into that shop, or had drinks at that tavern.

Paks chewed at the inside of her lip as they went further and further into Hama Valon. The Void wasn’t something she’d yet mastered. . .wasn’t something she even attempted to master, but Light did she wish she’d taken the time to learn!

‘The Void doesn’t let a person hide from their emotions or their memories, my heart. Even if you did know how to call on the Flame and Void, you couldn’t hide from what you are feeling forever. . .you can’t avoid coming into Hama Valon,’ Jesi’s form appeared on Paks’ side opposite to the Gaidin.

Looking to her, Paks frowned, ‘I’m sure I could find a way.’

Giving her a flat look, Jesi replied, ‘You gotta cut the attitude, sweetheart. The Gaidin didn’t have to reach out to you. She cares, and she’s not the only one, darlin’, but you’re wallowing in so much shit, you can’t see it for the mud in your eyes.’


The vision of Jesi disappeared and Paks stopped in her tracks. They were close to the Band of Brothers, but her focus was on a different tavern. The tavern where Paks rescued a very drunk Jesi from a very drunk, handsy patron. The tavern outside of which Jesi professed the depth of her feelings, and her desire to bond with Paks.

“I don’t think I can do this,” she mumbled, the statement not really directed to Natlya. Part of her wanted to turn and run away, but another part of her was frozen in place.
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Bella
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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Bella » June 2nd, 2018, 2:25 am

Nat's desire to help was at war with a lack of certainty. Did she really know what she was doing? Yes, it was true that she had been somewhere like the dark place Paks was now, but did that really qualify her to help the other woman? She was beginning to feel a little out of her depth as she contemplated the situation while walking into Hama Valon.

As they neared the Band of Brothers, though, the Ji'val suddenly stopped walking.

Two steps later, Nat realized that Paks was no longer beside her and she turned to see the other woman just standing there. "I don't think I can do this," she said, and Nat looked at her for a quiet moment.

She thought back and remembered those moments when she saw something or went somewhere that reminded her of Morgan, and it nearly paralyzed her, much like Paks in this moment. Nat could almost feel a resurgence of what she felt back in that day and she sighed softly, returning the two steps.

"You can," she said gently. "The longer you don't, the harder it will be, until you're a hermit to the Warder Yards. That disrespects her memory, and yourself. It's hard, but that doesn't mean you can't."

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Roan
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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Roan » June 2nd, 2018, 3:30 am

Paks
Paks hadn’t taken her eyes off the tavern when stepped to her side once again. Memories of that night went round and round in her mind.

‘Are you willing to pull my sorry, stupid backside out of trouble forever, Paks? Because if you say yes, I will bond you right here, right now.’

The Ji’val felt the knot form at the back of her throat as her eyes started burning. Damn it, not here. Not now, she cursed herself mentally.

“You can,” the Gaidin said in a soft voice. “The longer you don’t, the harder it will be, until you’re a hermit to the Warder Yards. That disrespects her memory, and yourself. It’s hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.”

Jesi gave Paks a warm smile, ‘Listen to her, my heart. She knows what she is talking about.’ She reached out and ran the back of her fingers along Paks’s cheek, ‘Given how much of an ass you’ve been to her, she’s being incredibly patient with you. Give her a chance? For me?

Finally, the Ji’val turned to meet the Gaidin’s eyes, expecting to see frustration, but instead saw patience and concern. Perhaps her lover was right and she was being an arse. She took a shaky breath and nodded slightly. It didn’t just feel hard. . .it felt impossible. Part of her desperately wanted to look back to that tavern, and that same part of her could have stared at the tavern indefinitely as those memories continued to play over and over again.

It took every ounce of willpower Paks had to keep her eyes on the Gaidin, “Lead the way.”
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Bella
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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Bella » June 5th, 2018, 12:21 am

Nat nodded once and then stepped closer. She had been giving it fifty-fifty odds in her head as to whether Paks would go forward or turn around and hurry back to the Tower. Frankly, Nat wouldn't have blamed her, precisely. Nat had wrestled with her demons too after losing Morgan, so she got it.

Still, Paks was going forward, so Nat would walk with her.

She put her arm companionably and lightly around Paks's shoulders. "It will be alright," she said softly, gently guiding the other woman forward toward the inn. "We will spend a little time here and try to get that break from everything, then we can head back."

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Roan
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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Roan » June 19th, 2018, 12:11 am

Paks
Paks almost flinched when Nat put her arm around the Ji’val’s shoulders. She didn’t exactly relax as the Gaidin guided them the rest of the way to the Band of Brothers. The Ji’val was relieved the Band of Brothers wasn’t where she and Jessi’d spent the bulk of their time when they went into Hama Valon. Both preferred to be away from the prying eyes of those from the Tower, never mind the excitement that came with some of the seedier taverns in Hama Valon.

The inn wasn’t overly busy, and it was very easy for the pair to find an empty table. Paks felt out of place and couldn’t help but scan the room. She seemed to look everywhere but at the Gaidin. Every bit of her wanted to bolt.

‘You used to love a night out and a pint or three. Try and relax, Paks. The Gaidin’s right. . .you need this. Do you know how tightly you’re wound?’ the image of Jesi stood just behind Nat.

Part of Paks expected (wanted?) to see the real Jesi walk through the door any moment, but another part of her knew better.

‘Are you just going to sit there with the Gaidin and not say anything?’

‘What’s there to say? This wasn’t my idea.’

‘So? You know how to be social, Paks. You know how to have a conversation with a person. Why do you have to be so bloody stubborn?’


The image of Jesi disappeared as a woman stepped up, “Welcome to the Band of Brothers. What can I get the pair of you?”

“Uhm. . .ale?” Paks said a bit uncertain.
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Bella
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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Bella » June 19th, 2018, 2:50 am

"Make that two," Natlya said, looking up at the serving girl and almost asking for a rescue.

Had Nat been this recalcitrant after losing Morgan? She couldn't really remember, since that time was all shrouded in grey. She knew that her recollection was not a clear one, and certainly not how she looked to others. Of course, she knew that it wasn't entirely fair to compare what happened to her to what happened to Paks, but it was hard not to.

As their orders were taken and the other woman moved away, Natlya looked across the table at Paks.

She inhaled slowly, exhaling just as slowly. The other woman wasn't very quick to jump into conversation, and Nat supposed she understood, but it left her a little stranded. This wasn't a con, so she wasn't putting on an act...which made it harder. She thought back to her own path to recovery. The parts not involving her sword.

"Do you talk about her to anyone?" she asked quietly. "Or do you keep it all to yourself?"

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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Roan » June 22nd, 2018, 3:30 am

Paks
It wasn’t a question Paks was expecting. Truth be told, Paks wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. She used to be good at conversation. She used to be the life of the party. Until she lost Jesi. Paks looked to Nat for a moment before shaking her head and looking away, “No. I don’t really. . .I don’t really talk to many people aside from the Yellow who tends to check in on me.”

The Ji’val furrowed her brows and let go a frustrated sigh, “And why would I?” She looked back to Nat, “She’s gone, and talking about her won’t bring her back. Talking about her doesn’t. . .it doesn’t make me feel better.” She swallowed, hoping to force the knot she felt in her throat back down to wherever it came from.”

“And two ales for two ladies,” the server returned, placing a mug in front of each of them. “If you two get hungry, we’ve got a cheese board and there’s a venison stew on in the kitchen. Just flag me down.”

Paks looked up to the server, and nodded.

‘You are being a right stubborn fool, you know that? Stop being so pig-headed and lighten up. If you don’t, you’ll push everyone away and turn into that hermit she talked about, and that just isn’t who you are, Paks Liard. The vision of Jesi didn’t look angry. She still seemed to have that sly smirk on her face.

‘I. . .I don’t know how to do what you’re asking of me.’

‘Sure you do, love. Be yourself. Who you are right now is not you. I know it ain’t easy sweetheart, but below the anger and the guilt you seem so intent to hold tight to your chest is the woman that grabbed my heart. Let her out or she’ll suffocate and die. I don’t want to see that.


Reluctantly, Paks met Nat’s gaze once more, and shook her head, “I. . .I’m sorry. I don’t seem to know how to act any more.”
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Bella
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QC: Andraste Alhandra Sedai
Location: New England

Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Bella » June 23rd, 2018, 8:46 pm

Natlya held her ale mug in both hands, turning it a few times as she looked down at it. Would the answers be found there? No, they never were. Although she had spent less time looking for them at the bottom of a cup than some, she'd done it often enough to know. Still, for some reason, there was allure in looking there.

"I thought the same thing," Nat said thoughtfully. "I didn't talk a lot about Morgan, after I lost him. It wouldn't bring him back, or make up for the fact that I couldn't save him. But I came to learn that not talking about him could make it all feel worse, and help me wallow in only the memory of his death.

"Talking about the before times, the happier times, made me sad at first...but then, it started doing the opposite. And it began to let me push the past aside."

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Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Roan » June 23rd, 2018, 10:57 pm

Paks
‘You know she is right, right?’

Paks looked to the vision of Jesi, ‘What do you mean?’

‘You need to talk about it. . .about me. You can’t ignore what happened.’

‘How have I ignored what happened? The fabric of my soul has been ripped apart, and that is a pain I can’t escape.’

Jesi sighed and shook her head, ‘Always so dramatic. If you remain quiet too much longer, the Gaidin is going to think you’re ignoring her.’


Looking to Nat, Paks took a long draw from her mug before finally replying, “It’s. . .it’s hard talking about her.” She didn’t like feeling vulnerable, and she felt as if even revealing as little as she had that she’d opened floodgates.

The Ji’val looked away and gave a slight shrug, “I know you didn’t . . . you didn’t know me well when I dragged you out of the Tower that one time, but perhaps you knew me well enough to know I wasn’t shy. I wasn’t really known for being a one woman . . .woman, but she changed all of that.” She took another sip of her ale before looking back to Nat, “I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I’ve never looked for an actual relationship. . .I just wanted to have fun with no strings attached until she came along.

“I’m not sure either of us expected to. . .heh,” she swallowed hard and wiped away the tears that threatened to flow. “I miss her,” she spoke barely above a whisper.
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Bella
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QC: Andraste Alhandra Sedai
Location: New England

Re: All Work and No Fun Make Paks a . . .dull girl [Attn: Bella and Nat]

Post by Bella » June 25th, 2018, 12:54 am

"Of course you do," Nat said easily. "And you'll never stop. And that's okay. You won't ever stop loving her either, but that's okay too. You don't need to. I still love Morgan, and I still miss him. It's why I took his last name, even though we weren't married. We'd been together since we were kids, really."

She lifted her ale and took a long drink. "Thing is, you can't run from the feelings. You can't run from the fact that she's gone and it hurts like hell, or that you loved her, that you love her, and that you miss her. Pushing the feelings away does nothing but make them harder to handle when they come back. And they will.

"Feelings like that can never be pushed away entirely. The only way out is through."

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