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Rebellion has swept the Territory in the south as Glacia dominates the north. Landen and Blood join forces to spread a message of equality with any method possible while Glacia works to infuse the land with power and the people with their Dark Beliefs. The Rebellion, led by a Council of Eight, is not always in agreement but none can resist the power, and the danger, the movement has generated.
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Author Topic: Falling Down  (Read 230 times)

Description: Padmalaya Stables // Tag: Kharisande

Offline Param Joshi

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      phinneas

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Falling Down
« on: Mar 16, 18, 08:06:17 PM »
Fall, 191 AP

He'd stopped moving, again. He hadn't meant to, but there he was again, standing perfectly still with the muck shovel in his hands, his back straight, his eyes forward. Realizing it, Param looked down at the unfinished work in front of him, and set back into cleaning the stall.

For what must have been the hundredth time, the reel of thoughts and memories restarted in his head while he worked. The vague recollection he had of Hari as a baby. Screaming, unhappy, red in the face, but somehow the most amazing thing a young Paramjit had ever seen. He knew, now, that he'd fixated a little on Hari as a way to cope with the loss of his mother. The only alternative would have been to hate the screaming bundle of pink skin for being the thing that took his mother from him. Their father very quickly assumed that mindset, however, and it seemed unfair even to a six-year-old Param that everyone in the world should be against something so small.

Hari's features always seemed too big for him, when he'd been small. His large eyes were difficult to meet with bad news. His goofy grin was hard to ignore when he tried to make people laugh. He'd grown into his looks, and by the time he'd hit puberty he'd been a favorite of the women his age. Never quite a scoundrel, he'd toed that line with an impressive bit of finesse, and was far more adept at juggling the fairer sex than any of his brothers had been. He'd had more charisma in his little finger than the rest of them had combined. Param had always thought he'd go far, if he could just pick a path for himself. There weren't many people he met that he couldn't charm, after all. Even now, Param could recall how brightly Hari laughed, and how hard it was to be mad at him when he got that playful tease in his eyes.

He'd stopped moving, again.

Param huffed, emotion swelling up in him in the form of anger, this time. He gritted his teeth and set into his work again, the shovelfuls of muck slapping into the wheel barrow a little harder than necessary now.

Hari's laugh played through his mind again. His promise that he knew what he was doing. His impassioned diatribe about how someone had to do something. Param had never given his blessing. He'd never consented to what Hari had wanted to do, but it hadn't stopped the younger man. Hari had followed his heart instead of his head, and now the world was bereft of a smile and a laugh and a charm that it could never replace.

"Aaaaggh!" Param shouted, throwing the shovel as hard as he could against the back of the stable wall. It hit with a sharp CRACK! that had the horses in the next stalls shifting and whinnying. He stood there huffing, eyes damp, body tense, and tried to will himself back under control. It was harder than it should have been. He turned away from the stall and leaned forward on his hands, which braced against the opposing stall across the aisle. He let his head hang low, closed his eyes and made himself breathe. He was lucky, he thought, in that his work kept him away from the main house. Had he been nearer, someone might've witnessed his outburst. It was far from a professional thing, and this worked paid for his family to live better than they had before.

...what family he had left, that is.


Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #1 on: Mar 19, 18, 12:46:35 PM »
She was looking forward to visiting the saucy mare again, and she was hoping that Param would be there.  He probably would be - he worked the stables now after all.  When she first entered, she found herself happy to see she had been right.  But something was wrong.  The way he had paused in his work, the way he slapped the muck into the wheelbarrow.. the way he shouted.

She froze as she heard the shovel hit the wall, her eyes widening a little as she looked first at the shovel and then at Param.  She had her basket again, her hands tightening on the sides as she stared at the back of Param's head.  He was leaning on his hands, breathing hard.

She knew the look of someone wrestling with bad memories. She'd taken that pose many times.  But she'd been broken of her outbursts, audible ones anyways, years ago.  It didn't mean she didn't have the impulses.  There were moments, even now, where she wanted to scream and throw things.

Now she kept herself from doing so because those sort of outbursts wouldn't DO anythign to fix it. 

She took a deep breath, clearing her throat as she stepped in.  She schooled her expression to be neutral, lifting the basket.  "I brought you some food, Param."  She didn't look at the shovel.  She didn't look at the mare that she usually visited.

She gave him a soft, small smile, and then nodded once to the side.  "There's a good place for a lunch not far from here.  I think you will enjoy it."  He didn't have to eat with her.. but she was fairly certain that the open air and the tranquility of the bench beneath the tree overlooking the lake would help him calm whatever furor was beneath his skin.

It helped her, anyways.  "I can take care of the rest of this while you eat, if you would like."  It was an offer to assist, though she knew he'd probably tell her no.  The offer wasn't just about trying to help - it was to let him know that she didn't expect him to be social.  She didn't expect him to eat with her, if he did not want to.

Offline Param Joshi

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #2 on: Mar 20, 18, 07:50:32 PM »
Param opened his eyes, and for a second, prayed that he'd just imagined the noise he thought he'd heard. It sounded like someone clearing their throat, but it couldn't be. He was alone. He was al--

I brought you some food, Param.

Param closed his eyes again, wilting a touch in the shoulders as it sank in that his little fit had suffered a witness. He dropped his arms and the gesture was heavy, like they were sandbags filled with all of his regret and anguish rather than the strong, nimble appendages they were. He turned slowly, resigned to his own misstep, and stopped at halfway, where his shoulder faced Kharisande instead of his front. His head turned, though, and her looked over at her, with eyes that were dark with grief and weariness. He met her gaze for a beat, then his eyes dropped to the basket in her hands, and he lowered his eyes entirely then and shook his head.

"You are very kind, Kharisande," he told her, quietly, fighting the urge to be curt with her. She didn't deserve that - she deserved the opposite of that for her generosity, but he was feeling shamed and foul-tempered. So when she pressed on to suggest she finish his work for him, he looked back at her with a furrowed brow and an expression the betrayed that unpleasant temper. He caught himself before words tore themselves free, and his face relaxed some as he visibly made himself take a mental step back.

"No, thank you. I can finish my work. I just..." He paused, eyes lifting to search the space in front of him. The empty stall offered little help. He sighed and shook his head, giving up on trying to articulate what he'd been doing. He didn't know, himself. Throwing a shovel did absolutely nothing to change the situation. "I'm sorry that you saw that. You must think me poorly mannered. I didn't not mean to-- well. It is done, now."

He turned his head once more and looked over at her, then at the basket of food once more. He hadn't felt hungry before, but the sight of a prepared lunch reminded him that his body did have needs. He sighed softly a third time, and turned more fully to face her before approaching.

"That is the second time you have offered to feed me, someone you do not know. What drives you to be so kind to strangers?" he asked her, his tone light and patient.

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #3 on: Mar 20, 18, 08:23:49 PM »
He was cross with her. She could understand that. She'd witnessed him losing his temper.  She'd witnessed.. something.. personal.   And he did not trust her, or know her, and so he was cross.  It was something she was willing to endure, of course, because he looked as if he needed.. something.  Company maybe?  Or at least the knowledge that someone SAW him, and still thought him worthy?

She tilted her head to the side, watching as he struggled to find a way to dismiss her, to dismiss her offer, to .. just not.  It wouldn't be enough, not this time.  She was going to insist that he eat, at least. 

"I do not think you poorly mannered.  I see a man who has obviously felt great hurt, and who had to let it out somehow."  She said it quietly, adjusting her grip on the basket.  "I.. understand that quite well."

She took a step forward, which would allow him to see the basket better.  She was right.  His stomach rumbled, and she saw the look that crossed his face.  Self control kept her from smiling about it.  No matter the trials and tribulations in life... a person had to eat.  And food.. well, food could usually help HER deal with the emotions at the time.  At least a little.

That is the second time you have offered to feed me, someone you do not know.  What drives you to be so kind to strangers?  He sounded patient.  Something she knew he probably did not actually feel, all things considered. 

She raised those pale gold eyes to meet his face, studying him for a moment.  "I enjoy cooking for others, Param.  And even if I did not.. I wish to get to know my own kind.  I find Nharkava beautiful.  I find its people warm, and welcoming, and kind.  I owe Nharkava a great deal - and if the only way I can begin to repay my debt to Her is through kindness, then I have decided to strive to be as kind as I can be even when it is unwanted."

Her lips turned up, soft amusement coloring her cheeks.  "And to be honest.. I would like to know more people outside of the Estate.  Come.  Allow me to serve your stomach at least this once."

Offline Param Joshi

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #4 on: Mar 21, 18, 11:16:43 AM »
Kharisande suggested she understood what it was to know anguish, and Param didn't know what to say in response. A kinder person would have invited her to speak on her losses, maybe. Maybe they would have offered to take the basket from her and would have found a seat for her, and would have given her the chance to stretch the legs of her own need to vent. But Param wasn't quite as kind as he was embarrassed just then, and so the moment stretched into an awkward beat of quiet.

The woman stepped forward, drawing his eyes back up from where they'd lowered. He took in her face, her expression, and then dropped his gaze to the food she was showing him. Those dark eyes flicked back up to her golden ones at her assertion that she wanted to get to know her own kind. She wasn't his kind, not really. Not with that golden cast to her skin and the shine to her eyes. And yet it struck him as abhorrent to think that she meant Landen in general. Had she no fellow Landen on the estate? Had she known no other Landen in her life? What of her family? He recalled the loss and pain she'd spoken of, and a thousand different scenarios presented themselves in his mind, potential reasons she could be ignorant of Landen ways and living among Blood as she was.

Param considered demurring once more, and sending her on her way with her work refused. It felt criminal, though, to do so when it seemed like she had already gone through effort on his behalf.

"I am afraid I am not good company, Kharisande," he warned her, though there was already resignation in his tone. She'd already won, and they both knew it. "But I would not see your generous work wasted. Let me.. wash my hands..."

He made his way to the work sink at the far end of the stables, and scrubbed the muck and hay and horsehair and dirt from his hands. He splashed water on his face to clear it of the sweat and dirt it'd collected as well, and then returned to Kharisande while drying his hands on a clean towel. He would then follow her where she led, curious about this space she'd suggested was particularly well suited for a lunch.

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #5 on: Mar 21, 18, 11:52:30 AM »
"You do not need to be company, Param."  She said it calmly, waiting for him to finish washing up.  She studied him, really, as he worked at scrubbing the evidence of his work from his hands and face.  She didn't bother hiding that she was watching him either - not even when he turned to start walking back to her.  Instead, she simply smiled and led the way out of the stables.

She did not fill the walk with babble.  Instead, she just hummed a little under her breath while she led him towards the lake.  It wasn't an overly long walk.  Five minutes, at worst.  But the landscaping was wonderful - mostly because the landscaping was meant to allow the world to exist as it was meant.  Yes, there were paths.  But the bushes and flowers did NOT have the look of something that had been planted and set in perfect rows. 

But the bench that overlooked the lake?  It was one of her favorite places to sit and eat.  She motioned towards it, setting her basket on a nearby stone before reaching in to pull out bowls.  With care, she began to fill them with a thick stew.  Spices, vegetables, and a small bit of shredded meat.  It was a little warmer than typical, at least as far as seasonings went, but that was because she liked the kick. 

After filling the bowl, she plucked out a biscuit and set it atop the stew.  She extended the bowl, spoon included, to Param.  "I hope you like it."  Only after he took the food did she bother to set her own bowl up, covering the basket with a small warming towel before settling on the other end of the bench to look out over the lake.

This place brought her a sense of peace.  The clash of colors - the deep green of the foliage against the blue of the lake, the reflection of sky in the water.. it was beautiful.  It made her problems seem so much more.. inconsequential.  It made them seem like problems that could be overcome rather than problems that would crush her beneath their weight.

"You do not need to feel obligated to tell me anything, Param."  She turned her head, looking at him.  "But.. sometimes.. talking things out can help.  I hope you have someone you can speak to."

Offline Param Joshi

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #6 on: Mar 22, 18, 08:45:00 AM »
The walk to the lakeside bench was awkwardly quiet, even if only from Param's side. He did not attempt to make small talk - he likely couldn't have, even if he'd tried - and yet he knew she was likely the more genial sort. Normally, she would have shared conversation with someone during that walk, he thought, but she was holding her tongue for his sake, because he'd made it clear he was uncomfortable with company. It was just one more way in which she was being extraordinarily considerate, and he felt further condemned by his own lack of generosity in that regard.

The lake was a beautiful sight, enough so that even the cynical laborer surrendered a pause to study it once they arrived. Nharkava was beautiful, even if he had a hard time appreciating it right now. Pain and suffering were part of life, and there was a larger picture in which one person's life and death meant very little. It was just one incarnation, just one turn of the wheel in the fathomless journey of an immortal soul.

And yet the thought of Hari's fate still caused Param's chest to tighten and ache.

Kharisande drew his attention by offering him food, and he took the offered bowl with a nod and a quiet thank you. He sat at the woman's side on the stone bench, and for a moment he enjoyed the stew and the biscuit and the quiet and the view. It made it so that by the time Kharisande spoke again, Param's usual gut-reaction to blow off her prompting was slowed a little. The urge was still there, but he paused before responding to find something he could say that wouldn't be dismissive of her care.

"I have my family," he said, finally. "But right now we..." He struggled, his throat tightening while he dealt with the thought that he'd never spend another evening debating with Hari over a game of cards. "Things are difficult, right now." Pause. "But perhaps no more for me than for others," he amended, drawing a breath and trying to push himself away from those too-emotional matters. "I am blessed to have the family I have, and a good wage and work that I do not mind. How can I complain."

He remembered the bowl in his hands then, and added, "I even have a kind woman providing me a wonderful meal out of the goodness of her heart. How can I complain?"

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #7 on: Mar 23, 18, 09:58:48 AM »
How can I complain?

Kharisande's heart ached at that question.  She'd asked herself that question in the last few years of her own trauma.  She'd done so much better than many others in her position.  She'd found a way to BE what she was expected to be, and no matter how bad it had gotten, she'd survived.

They had not.  So how could she complain?

But spending time here?  Padmalaya, and the Priest Prince who ran it, had begun to teach her otherwise.  The kindness of the Healer, Kiara, had been the hammer pounding his nail into her skull with the idea that she had worth and that her pain was justified.  That the fact others had experienced 'worse' did not nullify or invalidate the pain she had experienced - or the grief that she carried.

She set her empty bowl down on top of her basket, leaning forward to let her hands clasp as she watched the lake.  Was it better to offer her own hard-won thoughts ont he matter, or to remain quiet?  If she remained quiet, he might think he had made her uncomfortable - and he was already ill at ease.  No, perhaps this was one of the reasons she had been brought to the Estate. Perhaps, just maybe, part of her purpose was to help other wounded souls navigate through the mire of hard lives?

"I have learned.. that all experience is subjective and personal.  We may know of others' suffering, we may sympathize, and we may feel the instinct to base the level of our suffering against that of those we know.. but it does not change that we feel what we feel.  The suffering of others does not invalidate the pain of our own hearts, Param."  She turned her head to look at him.

"So you may complain as you like.  Your life is.. not someone else's.  It is yours.  Grieve, mourn, and.. complain.. as much as you think you need to. Throw shovels, and rocks. If it helps, if it does not harm others, then why care what others may think of it?"  She gave a soft laugh as she realized the hypocrisy of that.  "Of course, I don't always listen to my own advice.  So take it for as much, or as little, as you deem the thought worthy."

She slid off the bench, kneeling on the ground to begin pulling a wrapped cylinder from the basket, then setting her bowl within.  After a breath, she offered the wrapped package to Param.  "This was for you.  It's a bit of sweet bread.  If you don't like it, the horses very well might."


Offline Param Joshi

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #8 on: Mar 24, 18, 04:52:32 PM »
Param was watching the lake, enjoying the hearty stew that had been shared with him, when Kharisande began to speak. His brow creased at her words, and his chewing slowed some, as though she'd inspired some contemplation with her comments.

"I am afraid I cannot agree entirely," the man said, once Karisande had finished speaking and he'd finished his mouthful of food. He shook his head slowly, and a gentle wince betrayed his discomfort with the topic as he began.

"If everything is subjective, then how can anything matter? Yes, everyone has their struggles, I do not deny this. Yet should I feel as justified in grieving a broken cart wheel as I do in grieving a lost friend? They both trouble me but they are not the same. And neither a lost friend nor a broken cart wheel will change the fact that I have a roof over my head at night, and people to care for, and food in my belly every day. There are many who have none of those things, and who also endure broken wheels and lost friends. It is the duty of the better endowed to lift up those below him."

He paused, and gestured to the bowl. "As you have done."

Param looked over at Kharisande finally, and gave a nod of gratitude. "My struggles will remain until they are gone. But in the meantime you have helped to remind me of all that I have to be grateful for. I thank you for this."

He wasn't finished with his stew before the woman slid off of the bench and sank to her knees. He paused, watching her with uncertainty until it was clear that she was only pulling something more from her basket. He set his stew aside on the bench to take the bread she offered, and pulled back the wrapper enough to see what it was.

"Oh, you have been too kind already," he assured her, pushing the sweet bread gently back towards her. "The stew is delicious and hearty enough already. You should keep that and enjoy it this afternoon."


Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #9 on: Mar 24, 18, 08:30:11 PM »
"Everything matters."  She pushed hte bread back at him.  "That was made for you.  I have plenty for myself.  And as I said.. if you really don't want it, the horses will appreciate it.  It's better than sugar cubes."

She began to fold her towel over her basket, finally shaking her head. 

"Everything is subjective, but everything matters.  I.. saw a great deal of terrible things, and I saw how often people just .. ignored it.  I choose not to."  her head lifted, eyes studying Param for a moment.

"Helping others helps me banish my own demons, Param.  If this little lunch could help you find something you needed, then I am happy."  She gave him a smile, pulling herself up onto the bench again to look out towards the lake.  This place.. it reminded her of how small they all were. 

Their worries, their concerns.. their nightmares.  All of these things were miniscule compared to the great design of the World.  Whether that design was the will of Mother Night, or some other god.. it didn't really matter.  What mattered was that in comparison to the world, her life and her sorrows didn't really matter.

She couldn't control the world.  She couldn't control the things that impacted her life - she could only control how she reacted to those events.  "I don't think.. that anyone can be 'too kind'.  Perhaps if more people were.. the world would not be filled with so much pain."  She smiled, tucking hair back behind her ears and rising to her feet.  "I am going for a swim.  Would you like to join me when you finish eating, Param?  If not.. well.. you can leave the bowl on the bench.  I'll clean up when I'm back."

She grinned at him.  "You can always go back to cleaning up the stables afterwards.  But I think a good swim would help clear your head."

Offline Param Joshi

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #10 on: Mar 26, 18, 09:33:17 PM »
Everything matters, Kharisande insisted, but Param just gave that uncertain grimace again, as though once more unable to agree. But even if he'd desired to debate such matters - and he did not - he didn't have a chance before the matter of the sweet bread was being contested. He yielded that, at least, and gave a grateful bow of his head as he conceded.

"Then I thank you," he said, setting the bread in its wrapper down on the bench so that he could take up his stew and finish it. "I am sure the horses would enjoy it, but I will enjoy it more because it was given in kindness."

Param turned his eyes to the lake when Kharisande did, and thought about her words. He couldn't say that he'd found something he'd needed, though he wouldn't deny that it had soothed him some to feel someone express kindness towards him unbidden. He did not understand the woman's seemingly spontaneous desire to befriend him, but he believed that her motives were pure. She shared a bittersweet thought about how different the world might be if more people were kind, and he could only nod and return a sad little smile over the thought. He might have commented, but before he thought to, she was standing once more. He looked up towards her in time to hear her decide aloud to go swimming, and he looked from the woman to the lake with a surprised expression.

"I.. uhh... no, I'm sorry. I have work to do, yet. Stopping long enough to eat lunch is one thing, but I doubt anyone wishes to pay me a wage just to have me using the lake." He surrendered a half-smile at the thought, but nodded again to Kharisande.

"Please, don't feel like you need to sit here. I wish you a pleasant swim, and thank you again for the delicious food."


Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #11 on: Apr 05, 18, 02:28:23 PM »
She chuckled, watching the way that he seemed so surprised by her checking to see if he would like to go swimming.  "Obviously, if you wish to return to the stables, I won't stop you."  She smiled, carefully braiding her hair back away from her face.

"But, and this is just a thought, it might help.  A quick dip in the lake may just give you some relief."  She smiled, one last time, before inclining her head towards him.  She'd finished braiding her hair back, flicking the tie back over her shoulder before turning on her heels to start for the shore. 

She stripped away the wrapping around her leggings and top, hanging it from a useful tree branch before diving into the water.  It was refreshingly cool, earning a quick intake of breath after the heat of the day on her skin. 

This was not the first time she'd taken a dip in the lake.  it was unlikely to be the last.  But as with the first time, it was an almost spiritual relief to find herself in the water.  To feel the weight of her thoughts and her body lessening enough to let her really breathe.

She turned her head, looking towards the bench with a curious lift of her brow.  She could hope, dim as that hope might be, that Param would join her.  But she knew better, really.  Param seemed intent on maintaining some sort of distance, and he seemed...  well, she wasn't quite sure of the words to describe the man.

He needed a friend.  Whether he would allow her to be that friend was certainly in question.  But it didn't matter.  She wanted to be an option. She wanted to help him see that the world was not just darkness and dismay.

If anyone knew the truth of that, it was her.  But she didn't necessarily want to explain why.  Especially when he was already so.. so.. stand-offish. 

At least.. he ate the food.  And maybe he'll even be willing to have lunch again.  Eventually.  If I didn't spook him too badly.

Offline Param Joshi

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #12 on: Apr 09, 18, 03:49:49 PM »
Param watched Kharisande as she moved away, though he let his initial refusal stand and made no move to follow her. It would have been rude, he thought, to set aside the stew she'd so thoughtfully shared with him, even if he had been willing to eschew his work for the sake of a swim. He did not rush himself through the remainder of his meal. He enjoyed it, much as he enjoyed seeing Kharisande cast off the worries of the day and enjoy a moment of easy reprieve.  She was right, he knew. It would be therapeutic for him to walk into those waters and let them lift him, to feel himself buoyed by something natural and pure.

But now was not the time, he reminded himself. Here was not the place.

He finished his lunch, and if Kharisande happened to be facing his direction when he was finished, he'd give her a farewell wave when he stood to return to work. He took the sweet bread with him, simultaneously looking forward to sampling it later, and worried about how overly generous the near-stranger was being. Did she want something from him? Why was she so invested in drawing him out? Genuine altruism seemed such a rare thing of late that by the time he got back to the barn, he'd convinced himself that the woman was setting him up for something. He had no idea what in the realm it could be, but surely it was something.

Kharisande returned on other occasions, bearing gifts of lunch. Param gently blew her off the first time. And the second. He assured himself that she was after something more nefarious than mere friendship. She had to be. No one gave that much of themselves that freely for no return.

The third time she came back, she caught him on a day when he was particularly hungry, and her persistence combined with a growling stomach to persuade him to accept. He ate with her by the lake once more, and once more thanked her graciously but insisted on going immediately back to work, afterwards. After that, he quit fighting quite so much. He grew to look for her around lunch time, and would indulge in quiet conversation about how her day was going and how things on the estate were faring. Finally, the inequality of their lunches got to him, and he insisted one day that she refrain from preparing lunch the following day. He would bring lunch for them, he told her, and he wouldn't take no for an answer. That following day, he found himself looking forward to midday, when he'd have a chance to share what he'd made with the woman who'd all but forced herself to be a fixture in his world.

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #13 on: Apr 09, 18, 05:53:22 PM »
If she were honest?  Param's stubborn refusal to even contemplate her offers of food and friendship had nearly broken her of the effort to keep trying.  It had been sheer.. stubborn refusal to cave that had seen her through.  She wasn't sure, at all, why Param Joshi was so intent on keeping her at a firm distance.

And until he gave her a reason, she wouldn't stop.  He was a Landen who worked on the Estate, and he was a Nharkavan, and.. and damnit, she wanted a friend that she had earned for herself and not because they knew her history and felt pity about it!

But he did eventually crack.  He started to actually enjoy their meals, and to talk about things.  Normal things!  He asked her how the day was, how her education was faring.  They discussed the stables, and his work within them.  All safe topics, to be sure, but he was actually conversing!

She'd grown to look forward to lunches every day.  Not because of world-shattering conversations, but because Param was a person that she didn't feel as if she had to be overly cautious around.  He was a good male, with a good head on his shoulders - and he clearly expected nothing but mischief if she were to make a guess based on how hard he had tried to avoid her attention.

So it pleased her an inordinate amount when he said he would tend to lunch.  She even went the extra mile, brushing her hair dozens of times before pinning it back out of the way and pulling on one of her nicer work outfits.  So it may have scented of herbs and flowers a bit more than she necessarily wanted it to - it wasn't an unpleasant scent.

She'd felt a little naked not carrying her basket as she made her way to the stables.  Normally it was her bringing food in an effort to bribe her way into Param's friendship - and the basket had in a way become her shield against disappointment.  Now?  Now she felt open, free.. vulnerable.  It was nice, but a little nerve-wracking.

She had to blink, a little, as she entered the stable from the bright sunshine.  As usual, the sudden change from light to dark had her vision swimming a little, though out of sheer habit she turned towards the stall that would hold her favorite mare.  That gray face was irresistable - and out of habit again she pulled the sugar cube from her pocket.

"Yes yes.. I wouldn't dare enter the stables without your offering, sweet lady."

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #14 on: Apr 12, 18, 10:26:55 AM »
Param was at the back of the stables, washing his hands in preparation for lunch. Quiet as the stables tended to be, though, it wasn't hard to pick up on Kharisande's familiar greeting to the bossy mare near the entrance.

"You have spoiled her beyond repair," he said, like he often did, with a shake of his head. There was no more heat in the words today than there normally was; it had begun as gentle chiding but Param had given up on trying to correct her well before now. Lately it was just a habitual observation and little more. He dried his hands on a towel as he walked towards the front of the structure, and smiled in greeting to the woman while he approached.

"If you keep it up, she's going to think she runs this place," he added, though it didn't interfere with the apparent lightness of his mood. "How are you, Kharisande?"

After her reply, he moved aside to where he'd tucked the wicker box that held the food he prepared. He carried it under one arm, and then returned to Kharisande and gestured towards the exit. "Ready?"

It was a given, at least in his mind, that they'd walk down to the lake to eat. It had become something of a tradition already, and he found he genuinely enjoyed the change of scenery for his break. More than that, he was actually looking forward to sharing the meal he'd prepared with someone. What family remained to him was never far away, but Hari's death had taken the last of his brothers. His sisters were both married with their own little families to tend to, and despite how close by they stayed, they were no longer in his house. He had no one left to tend, no one left to cook for, besides himself. It was nice to have the chance to do that again, even in such a small gesture.



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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #15 on: Apr 12, 18, 10:40:11 AM »
You have spoiled her beyond repair.

"She deserves it."  Sande couldn't help but chuckle, gently setting her head against the pleased mare.  This horse was often her only companion when nightmares forced her from sleep.  This mare's coat had soaked up more than a few tears over the last two years, and would probably soak up more.

What were a few sugar cubes in comparison to that?

She grinned, scratching behind the mare's ear before turning her attention towards Param.  He had a box.  "I am well.  And curious."  She grinned, looking towards the box with obvious delight.

She was rather happy that Param seemed to enjoy the lake.  At first, she'd thought that he came to the lake only because he didn't want to argue about location.  But it had become obvious, to her mind at least, that he genuinely found the place beautiful.  She was just happy that someone else seemed to enjoy the place as much as she did.

The walk was quiet, broken only by the occasional hum that she gave as she enjoyed the beauty of Padmalaya.  Devesh Acharya was a blessed male - to have this place to care for, and to manage it so well, he must have divine favor on his side.  And for herself?  She was grateful.  It was a sanctuary.  A place for her to tend to her own wounds and try to forge ahead.

Which directed her thoughts to her companion.  Param Joshi.  He had his own wounds to tend as well - though she wasn't certain what they were.  That was fair.  he didn't know hers either - at least not from her own lips.

"How do you fare, Param?"  She smiled as they reached 'their' bench, settling into her usual place and nervously smoothing out her clothes a little. 

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #16 on: Apr 13, 18, 10:09:14 AM »
Param gave a gently chiding look when Kharisande insisted that the horse "deserved" being spoiled. He couldn't hold the expression, though, not when the woman looked so excited about the simple box in his hands.

"It's only lunch," he demurred, though her excitement managed to tug a small smile onto his mouth. He walked to the lake with her in silence, as was usually the case, though it was not hard to appreciate the beauty of the estate as they moved. The longer Param worked the stables, the more days that passed without him having to interact with the Blood at all, the easier it became to unconsciously pretend they weren't here at all. He would have scolded himself heavily for such a thought if he'd been aware of it; it was a dangerous thing to grow complacent around them. But so long as they stayed elsewhere on the estate, he had no constant reminder of their danger and volatility. Devesh Acharya felt like some distant overlord who ruled from afar, rather than a present and palpable threat he could have been. It allowed Param to appreciate the estate as though it was the work of nature alone rather than sculpted by a discerning hand.

"I am faring well enough, thank you." As he set the basket down between them his eyes caught the nervous brush of her hands down her skirt and then flicked up to her face. "And you?" he asked, as he opened the box and began pulling things out of it. "Are you well?"

The food he'd prepared was common, but hearty. Paper-thin crepes made from crushed lentils and rice were meant to wrap around a curry based in potatoes and onions. There was chutney for dipping the rolled dosa into, and some savory pieces of puffed rice and pea treats called chaats to sample as well. Of all of it, Param was most proud of his curry recipe, though he commented on none of it and instead allowed Kharisande to eat what she pleased.

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #17 on: Apr 13, 18, 10:42:17 AM »
"I'm wonderful."  She smiled, raising her eyes to study Param's face as he asked after her own well being.  But then those eyes drifted back to the food.

He had made simple fare, and that really did put a pang in her heart.  The food was vastly different from what her mother would have made, but the simple appearance was similar.  And the scent was wonderful. 

She took a bit of everything, carefully testing the tastes bit by bit.  It was when the curry struck her tongue that she let out a happy moan, closing her eyes and lingering over the complex mingling of flavor.  "This is wonderful, Param." 

Food tended with care did wonderful things for the soul.  She had been told that as a child, and she'd stuck with it for years.  She used that philosophy every time she cooked - and now it was reaffirmed as she indulged herself in the wonderful meal that Param had prepared for the both of them.

"I would ask how you make it - but I've found some grow a bit protective of such recipes.  I suppose I will just have to try to find a way to make my own."  She grinned, forcing her eyes open so that she could flash him that bright smile. 

She ate in companionable quiet for some time, finishing off the small bits of everything that she'd chosen before gently asking if she could have a bit more of the Curry and Chaats.  Those were her favorites, and she didn't mind allowing him to figure that out.

It was when she'd eaten nearly half of her 'real' plate that she paused, risking a glance at Param.  "You are free to refuse, Param, but I was wondering..."  She cleared her throat.  "Would you go with me to the market?  I've been wanting to look into getting a few things, and.. well..."  She blushed a little.  "To be honest, I've been a little nervous about going by myself."

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #18 on: Apr 16, 18, 09:32:10 AM »
Param set about eating, pausing only briefly when the woman beside him moaned and drew a quietly surprised, uncertain glance from him. He'd hoped that she would enjoy it, but the siblings for whom he typically cooked were far more reserved in their appreciation. They had grown up with his cooking, after all, and were quite accustomed to it. It was a strange little moment, to see Kharisande enjoy it so blatantly. Param smiled almost sheepishly at her following compliment, and shook his head as he returned his attention to his own plate.

"Thank you, Kharisande, but it is simple fare."

He looked back over at her when she commented on the recipe, and shook his head again. "Don't be silly. Of course I will share the recipe. A good dish is like a story. Every new storyteller adds something to improve it, to make it a little different and a little better. No cook starts with nothing."

Param happily refilled her plate when she asked for seconds, and was pleased when they exhausted what he'd brought, between the pair of them. She posed a question to him, and he seemed mildly confused by her request, at first. He lowered his plate and his hands, and narrowed his eyes in a blend of curiosity and concern. It offended him to think that a woman could not go to the market without fearing something untoward happening to her, though it offended him more to think that Kharisdande didn't already have someone to accompany her when she needed. He had deduced by past conversations that her family was not here with her, but what of her friends? With the number of people on the estate, he had a hard time imagining there was no male anywhere who cared enough about this sweet woman to ensure she felt safe during such ventures.

"Do you fear the market, Kharisande?" he asked. "Have you seen trouble there before?"

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #19 on: Apr 16, 18, 09:46:39 AM »
She caught her breath, turning her head to look at the lake as that question burned the air between them.

Do you fear the market, Kharisande?  Have you seen trouble there before?

"I fear all markets, truth be told."  She said it quietly, caught between the present serene beauty of the lake and the dusty market she'd first been caught in.  Sometimes, she could still feel the cold grips on her arms, and the way her feet had dragged int he dust as she was carted into a side building.

Sometimes, she could still taste the bitter drug they'd forced down her throat before darkness had claimed her and the nightmare started.

She shook her head, reaching up to tuck an errant lock of hair behind her head. 

"I.. Well you see.."  She frowned, turning her head back to Param.  "The last time I went to a market alone did not end well for me.  I would ask Lady Makur but.. well she's very busy with her duties."    She supposed she could ask Prince Acharya for an escort - but she would rather not go with a guard she didn't know well at all and .. well, she couldn't imagine that the Prince would wish to accompany her to the market of all places.

She blushed, turning her attention towards the lake.  "It's alright Param.  As I said, you're free to say no.  It's a silly thing."  When Vishal had still been around, he would take her sometimes.  It had felt odd - but she had known that Vishal wouldn't allow anything untoward to occur. 

Now Vishal was gone.  She'd sent him away when his sentence was over, having given him her blessings and her hope that his life would be content.  Hopefully far from Nharkava, as she would rather he not end up dead.  He'd been kind to her - but none here seemed to understand that.  And in a way - that was a good thing.  It meant that Nharkava did not see such cruelties with the regularity to which she was accustomed.

There's a Price for your boyfriend's bets, girlie, and you're going to pay 'em.

She closed her eyes, rubbing at her wrist as she worked to banish that memory back into the dark closet from whence it came.  It wasn't likely to happen in Nharkava.  It just wasn't.  Slavery was illegal here, not just frowned on.  It was a grave sin!  And .. and she was Landen.

She wasn't stupid.  She'd caught onto the looks when at that party for Prince Bal.  At best, she'd be ignored by most Blood.  At worst.. well, at worst they'd just likely be rude so long as she didn't do anything stupid.  So the chances were slim to none.  Even still - even still the thought of going to the market alone made her veins feel like they'd been filled with ice water. 


Offline Param Joshi

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #20 on: Apr 17, 18, 11:20:51 AM »
Param blinked then frowned slightly, confused for a moment by the woman's assertion that she feared all markets. But then she explained - well, almost explained - and Param's expression relaxed into one of concerned understanding. All kinds of scenarios flew through his head, and most of them made his blood want to boil. It was a sin against the world itself that a woman meaning no harm had to fear going anywhere in public just because some people felt themselves entitled to act like animals.

"Of course it is not," he countered, frowning when she called the request silly. "And of course I will accompany you. It must wait until after my work is done for the day, is all. I actually have some things to pick up myself, so it will not even be out of my way."

Clearly, though, the topic had upset her. She seemed to retreat into herself for a moment, and Param wasn't entirely sure how to respond. He ate a few more bites of his lunch and watched the lake, trying to allow her some semblance of privacy while she dealt with whatever thoughts she didn't want to share. And while it wasn't in Param's nature to want to pry, he couldn't leave the matter wholly unaddressed. So after that momentary lull, he glanced back over at her, and then dropped his eyes to his food while he arranged another dosa.

"Are you alright?" he asked, unable to stop his glance from darting over towards her again.

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #21 on: Apr 17, 18, 11:30:57 AM »
She took deep breaths, focusing on the way the light played on the lake.  The scents of the world around her, the colors.  Everything here was so very different from Dhemlan - it was easier to bring her quickened heart back to a state of calm.

Easier to remind herself that she was not that same person.  She was not caught in a web from which she could not escape.  She was not.. a slave.

And Mother willing, she never would be again.

Are you alright?

She turned her head, giving Param a smile.  "I am.  Just bad memories, that's all.  Thank you, Param..  it means a lot."  He was going to take her to the Market.  And it wasn't even that much of a chore for him.  She wasn't sure if she believed that he had things to pick up - but maybe he did. 

Maybe he'd just needed an excuse to go in order to actually get the things he wanted.  Or maybe - maybe he just hadn't wanted her to feel bad for imposing on his time.  Either way, she decided she would make it up to him.

Maybe more sweet bread?  "I'll make it up to you.  What's your favorite meal?  If I don't know how to make it yet, I'll.. I'll learn it.  I'm a quick learner."  She spoke as if what he was doing was some grand favor - some amazing feat of patience.  Because to her - it was.  Param  had resisted her friendship efforts for so long that it felt like she was imposing on him by asking for anything more than simple meals shared together.  She was willing to press for that - but anything else?  Well anything else felt.. forced.

She smiled again, smoothing her hands down her skirt before turning her eyes back to the lake.  "Or if you need help cleaning your home?  I'm.. very good at that, actually."  She gave a crooked little smile.  Couldn't help it.  To this day, cleaning was still a more restful thing for her to do.  Generally speaking, she'd been less likely to be chosen for.. duties.. when she was cleaning.  SO she'd learned to be very good at it - very thorough.

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Re: Falling Down
« Reply #22 on: Today at 09:19:15 AM »
Kharisande smiled in response to Param's inquiry, and the gesture seemed natural and sincere enough that the male didn't question it. He returned a smaller version of the same, and nodded as he looked once more towards his lunch. Tried to, at least. It bothered him, what she'd said about having had bad experiences in the market. What was there to say about it, though? It was in the past, and it wasn't in his nature to pry even about matters that weren't so personal and delicate. She'd talk about it if she liked, he reasoned, and a small, selfish part of him was glad that she seemed reluctant to do so. There was nothing he could do to fix something that'd happened in the past, and hearing about whatever it was would likely only frustrate him because of it.

She interrupted his thoughts by promising to make "it" up to him, and he looked confused by the prospect, at first.

"Kharisande, there is no favor to return." He couldn't help but be a little amused by her eagerness to learn this favorite meal of his that she was already convinced she didn't know. He shook his head.

"As I said, I would have been going to the market anyway in the next few days. It costs me nothing to take you with me." She offered to help clean his house, and he laughed a little at the notion. "Certainly not. I am sure you have plenty of your own concerns to tend to. There is no cause for you to concern yourself with how well-swept my floors are. That is a generous offer, Kharisande, but not necessary. It's only a trip to the market."