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Author Topic: hello, sister, my old friend  (Read 489 times)

Description: Attn: Rehema

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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hello, sister, my old friend
« on: Jul 19, 18, 12:18:32 PM »
Kemet, Summer 193 - Rehema's Clinic



Kontar did not like this part of town.

While the lower end of Kemet was not utterly downtrodden, Kontar saw the dirt and grime on the buildings. He saw the hardworking people struggling daily to make ends meet. He saw the roughnecks and sailors on leave who frequented the less-savory Red Moon Houses. He checked himself against the innate urge to deem them people with no future and no hopes granting a better one to their children. His family had come from nothing. Even he, himself, had been no one of note until his recent elevation to the First Escort of Asyut District.

Yesterday’s pauper and today’s prince could trade places at any time.

He disliked this part of Kemet, mostly, because his sisters lived in this area. Passing their apartment, he saw darkness in the widows. Masika might be home now, but there was no guarantee that she would talk to him if he was. Heading south, Kontar ventured on to the clinic where his elder sister, Rehema, worked daily to ensure the working class and less-fortunate of Raej received the medical care needed to keep the Territory moving.

From Nailah’s reports, the lunch dates between her Ema and Nai were positive. They were building a better relationship, which made Kontar’s heart glad. He needed to talk to all of his sisters in the near future about his appointment in Raet’s court. He also had come upon an idea for the family gathering at Winsol, one that he needed an opinion on. Rehema loved family gatherings as much as Kontar did, making her the natural choice for vetting his idea...and helping him enact it.

He entered the door to the clinic just past noon and smiled at Sativa, one of Rehema’s fellow healers and a friend to his sister. “Lady Stativa, you are a vision, as always.

And you are still an incorrigible charmer, Lord Kontar. What is this I hear that you’re taken now?

I am, indeed. She’s a wonderful woman and far too good for me.

Sativa rolled her eyes, but couldn’t suppress her laughter. “That sound you hear? It is the collective weeping Raej's women that you are no longer available.

...or maybe it’s the men of Raej breathing a sigh of relief?

Come on back. I think Rehema just finished with a patient.” Sativa said.

He followed her to Rehema’s office, conjuring the backs of fresh Dhemlani food from Casa de Atholi.

Hello, sister mine. I need to talk to you about something.

I brought you lunch.
” he said, holding up two bags of spicy-smelling fare.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #1 on: Jul 19, 18, 01:32:37 PM »
It was a rather slow day at the clinic which gave Rehema plenty of time to tend to her patients without hurry. This was a pleasant change, and had much to do with the donations provided by the High Priestess of Raej. Nailah did not disappoint, in fact she had come thorough beyond Rehema’s expectations.  The Healer’s were overjoyed with the bags of bandages and much needed herbs in which to make their tonics, not to mention the bed linens and added cots that had come in the most recent delivery. Lady Stativa even joked that had they known the response would have been so lucrative for the clinic she would be packing Ema off to every family gathering without fail. It would be a noble sacrifice, all things considered.

Having her nephews at her disposal was the best part. The boys had taken so well to the clinic and had even asked to return. Nailah’s presence had come as a shock to the few Healers in attendance, but Ema truly felt that for the first time Nailah truly absorbed the impact that she was making in one of the most impoverished areas of Kemet. It was satisfying seeing the emotion on her elder sisters face and while she wouldn't admit it, not right away, her approval. Soft laughter announced Kontar’s arrival. Smiling at Stativa she looked at her handsome younger brother with equal parts surprise and guilt. Masika’s confession jumped to the very forefront of her mind. Knowing that she was privy to this knowledge was as comforting as holding an angry viper in one hand.  She couldn't help but think it had already sunk its fangs into her flesh. The poison was flowing and it was only a matter of time before the symptoms showed. Having Corvo around was in fact a comfort. If nothing else, he offered her companionship when the silence of her thoughts became deafening.

Corvo did not have to be in the same room as Rehema to protect her, or to act on her behalf with regards to protecting her Jewels.  He could have sensed her anywhere in the Clinic, but he chose to be where he could see her.  It was just good policy to have your ward in sight..  Corvo did not interfere in her work, and he was silent when it was necessary, but his presence, if only for his great height, was difficult to ignore, no matter how unobtrusive he tried to be.

When her brother walked in, he said nothing.  He had heard the greeting he received, and knew who he was the moment he saw him.  Corvo nodded at the other Male, and left it to Rehema to introduce him if she chose to.  He did not think family visits to the clinic were common, so either something important was happening, or it was bad news.  He would wait to see which it was.

“Prince Anansi this is Kontar Abbasi my brother.” Rehema stood just behind her writing desk and set down the crafted quill she was using to write down instructions to a patient. Giving the men a chance to greet one another she considered what Kontar could be here for especially having just paid a visit to her with Nailah and the twins just the week prior.

“Please give us a moment.”  Rehema smiled thoughtfully at her escort once they were done. Judging by her relaxed posture she had read her brother the moment he entered the room with an offering. This was a bribe. He was especially good at those.

“Of course. A pleasure to meet you Lord Abbasi.” and with that the nearly seven foot tall Prince retired from the space to give the siblings some privacy.

Kontar looked good. There was rarely a day he wasn't completely put together and exuding a confidence she envied.  Forcing herself to take a calming breath she glanced at the bags and sighed sufferingly. “How you can eat there as often as you do I will never know.  I had to drink a soothing tea after the last time. “  However delicious, the cuisine from Casa de Atholi filled her mouth with a heat she was not yet accustomed to. That being said, it was quickly becoming one of those guilty pleasures. Walking around the desk she pressed a kiss to his cheek affectionately, rising onto her toes to do so.  “Oh fine, set it down. I hope you brought more of those chips.” she smiled, a bit more excited for a warm meal than she let on.  Clearing some scripts from her table, she made space for them to eat. “Thats two visits in two weeks. If you're looking for money, I don't have any.”  she said, opening one of the bags and pulling out a container. Clearly, that was a joke.

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #2 on: Jul 19, 18, 04:40:48 PM »
Kontar entered the room to greet his sister, and froze halfway there. He was a guardsman of caravans, a warrior by trade. The sensation of someone else in the room besides Ema had Kontar’s head on a swivel, seeking the source of his trepidation. Kontar immediately cast out with his jewels, attempting to learn about the male sharing the space with his older sister. A twinge of possessiveness set in at the back of his mind. Nailah had asked Rehema to get an escort, but Kontar hadn’t expected to meet him. It was a little jarring, but he was recovering by the time Ema introduced them.

Good day to you, Prince Anasi. Please, call me Kontar.” he said, offering the Prince a bow, followed by offering a hand to shake. Once the Prince accepted or declined, Kontar noted that he hadn’t brought enough for three people. He was a little glad when Rehema asked her escort to grant them privacy, though he was quietly surprised when the Prince stood to his full, seven-foot height. Until now, Hector was the tallest man that Kontar knew. Even the Dhemlani chef seemed smaller in comparison.

Once he was out of the room, Kontar pointed back over his shoulder in the direction he’d gone.

He’s a tall man. Does he help you reach the higher cabinets when all the footstools are in use?” Kontar asked.

He laughed and handed over the bags so that Rehema could get to the food. He laughed about the chips, though. “Between you, Nima, and Nailah, Hector has to make more chips than anything else each day. But I love the food there. The spices are the best part. You’ll get used to it.” he said, taking a seat across from her.

Ema said she didn’t have any money and Kontar gave her a mock-withering look.

Ha. Ha. Ha. How droll.” Kontar said, his voice deadpan.

You’re the peacemaker of the family. If I really needed money, I’d ask Theoris. Not only is she beautiful and tolerant of me, both strong points in her favor, but she also manages her money well. She picked a lucrative profession. And unlike some people, who shall remain nameless, she can hold down a job.” Kontar said, his tone a bit more salty than necessary. He was still mad at Masika for losing her job at Casa de Atholi. Sika’s pride was ever her downfall. That and her addiction to being angry at the world.

But money isn’t an issue for me these days. Something happened and I wanted to tell you first because I need advice breaking it to Nailah.” he said.

You know that I am bonded to Lady Neith, the Queen of Asyut District, right? Well, I was having lunch with Raet a few weeks ago and, well...she offered me a position in her Court.” Kontar said.

Ema, she asked me to be her First Escort. The First Escort of a District. I mean...I’m still in shock. I keep pinching myself to see if it’s real. But it’s real. She’s real. She’s amazing. She’s…” Kontar sighed as a rather dopey-looking smile settled on his face.

She’s great. But life always seeks balance. Nailah hates her. And not in the ‘Nailah-will-ignore-your-existence-because-she-dislikes-you' way. I mean...Nailah won’t even say her name. I don't even think I can put them in the same room again without risking the palace. I’m worried that she’s going to take this badly.

So...I may or may not have avoided telling her. I’m leaving Raej for a few days, a week at most, so I think I’ll wait until I get back.”
he said.

Am I being a coward?” he asked.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #3 on: Jul 23, 18, 08:16:04 PM »
Kontar and her newly employed escort shook hands. Though the interaction was brief and polite she was certain her sometimes, protective younger brother had already measured him in his mind. Neither of the men were Warlord Princes, so she had little to worry about a pissing match staining her clean carpets. Now her nephew, he was already beginning to embrace his Caste and with it his temper. Had he wandered in there would have been quite a bit of chest puffing from the young man. It only reminded her to ask Nailah if she could have them back again.

“Thats part of the Anansi Guardians deluxe package. He also acts as a shadow on sunny days.” she smirked, feeding into her brother’s joke before he repaid the gesture in turn. “Well I think the chips were a casualty of nervous eating when it came to us, but I see you take all your women there.”  she teased though she was relieved to pull free a bag of still warm chips.

Ema wasn't sure why Kontar had come to visit her, but she knew she would find out why. After opening the containers and unwrapping utensils, she set them on the desk where they could be easily accessible on both sides. Today was just another day in a long list of days where she had opted to eat late in hopes that Masika would be home long enough to cook dinner. It was as if Ema was using her own hunger to feed the guilt she felt for the rift between them. It was Masika’s fault, and the fact that she kept having to remind herself of that meant that she had let her twin get away with too much for too long.  “Are you saying I am not beautiful or tolerant? If so you can take your food and go. On second thought, you can just go.”  A chip crunched between her teeth as she set him with an expectant look. While definitely the peacemaker of the family, he was still her little brother and she was well within her rights to make things just a little difficult for him. Smirking she couldn't argue with his points. Theoris was a businesswoman, clever and beautiful while Masika was definitely the latter, she wasn't sure it was always used for the betterment of herself and others. “I'm sorry about that. I know you put in a good word for her.” Again, she was apologizing for her twin, blinking she sat and motioned for him to do the same.

He was coming to her because he needed advice when it came to Nailah? This was not unusual territory, but she was hopeful by the easy way he treated the topic. There was a time when he would have hesitated to discuss anything about their older sister. Quelling her immediate reaction of excitement Ema bit her lip until he came to why exactly he was anxious about any of this. The First Escort position was amazing, and even more surprising having just been newly bonded. Lady Neith must have been as fond of him as he clearly was of her. This was a position of great power in the Asyut District, second only to its Queen. His smile was almost goofy.

“No. You're not a coward.” she assured him, then considered the predicament. Nailah’s go to response was to simply ignore the offenders existence, she supposed she was doing just that, only dislike might have been a light word if that was the case. “From what I remember Nailah is a thorn if she feels wronged or less than impressed. You both have become very close and she is protective of you. We all are. “ Then there was also the fact of her temper. “Why does our sister dislike her so? And where are you going?” she asked, curious at whatever drama could cause Nailah to be so cold with the Queen. Though she didn't say it out loud, though she had been disconnected from Nailah for a long time she wasn't one who made her distaste known so publicly if it wasn't for a reason.



Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #4 on: Jul 23, 18, 11:28:22 PM »
Kontar laughed at Ema’s description of her escort’s services. So long as he kept his “package” away from his sister, he could act as a sun shade to his heart’s content. Kontar did not begrudge his sister finding a man who made her happy. But Rehema did not get out enough for Kontar’s liking. Perhaps...perhaps she would enjoy Vadik’s company. Kontar would have to put them in the same room and see how they reacted to each other. He laughed once more when Ema said that he took “all of his women” to Hector’s restaurant.

No, not all of them. Just the important ones.” Kontar grinned.

I did not say you weren’t beautiful or tolerant. You are wonderful. The boys certainly think so. I think they’d stay here with you if they could get Nailah to sign off on it, especially Tsekani. I think he has a Healer’s heart.” Kontar said, taking up a chip and chewing on it thoughtfully. He said nothing about Masika because he was still far too irritated about what she’d done to discuss her properly. Maybe in a week or so, he could find her and figure out what was wrong with her this time.

Well, there was this man, a Tacean. Lord Shingetsu.” Kontar said, distaste creeping into his tone at the mention of the foreigner. Nothing had been quite right since that man entered their lives. If Kontar was being honest, he was glad the man had left Raej, despite the hurt it caused Raet.

He and Raet were… close. On the day I met Raet and discovered our bond, she and Nailah were supposed to meet about something. Raet is close to Lady Neferet, the Province Queen. Nailah is close to Lady Neferet. On paper, they should have been friends.” Kontar said, taking up another chip.

We arrived at the palace at the appointed time. We had to wait on the District Queen. But Nailah felt that Raet intentionally disrespected her. When Raet finally arrived, she was with Lord Shingetsu. Nailah told me later that they had been...together.” Kontar said.

The phrase Nailah used was actually rutting like pigs in the mud, but Kontar did not want to repeat that to anyone.

Later, Raet introduced Lord Shingetsu to Lady Neferet. As it turns out, Shingetsu was bonded to her. I don’t know what happened after that, but Lord Shingetsu was asked to leave Raej for Dena Nehele.

I’ll give you one guess who did the asking.
” Kontar said.

He sighed.

But Lord Shingetsu has been writing letters to Raet and sending her gifts. Ema, he’s not allowing her to move on with her life.” Kontar said.

So I’m going to Dena Nehele to politely explain to Lord Shingetsu that he needs to stop contacting my Queen.” Kontar said.

Nope. He did not sound like a possessive or jealous male at all. Not one bit. He shared Raet with Maaria and Vadik with no problems. He was simply looking out for Raet’s best interests.

Lord Shingetsu didn’t fit into those interests at all.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #5 on: Aug 25, 18, 05:30:20 PM »
Praise and food went a long way to soothing Emas barely existent ego. It felt good t speak so freely to Kontar about their family. For a long time Nailah had been the elephant in the room, a topic not easily discussed without Ema quietly excusing herself from the conversation or Kontar reluctantly trying to convince the twins to live and let live. Everything wasn't perfect, that would take far more time, but perhaps Ema Ema still rode the pleasant mood that lingered after seeing the twins. When he said he only invited the important ones to his favorite restaurant she smirked, settling down across from him and nodding softly. “They did so well. Tsekani stood by my side when he wasn't rushing to help the other Healers and Bakari was so curious. He is coming into an age where he will need guidance.”  she looked at her brother. A paternal figure now that his father was robbed from him, she thought. “He is such a sweet boy. They have grown so tall.”  she had balked, one year she could wrap her arms around their shoulders and the next they had nearly towered over her.

Kontar delved deeper into his predicament. He was no coward, but when it came to Nailah she knew he had to be . cautious. She could be difficult. Opting to listen instead of questioning she ate her dinner while he spoke. Three of the most important women in Kontar’s life were connected.It should have been an easy transition, but it wasn't. There was another male standing between Kontar and his Queen. The familiar lit of possessiveness crept into his voice.

“Oh.”

Hearing that Nailah had taken a lover and that same male had arrived with another nearly made her flinch. Keeping her expression neutral she blinked, dipping her chip into perhaps too much of the spicy chili.

“Does she want to move on?”  she asked, because clearly someone had to. If Lord Shingetsu had feelings for Raet and was forced to leave, did Kontar’s jealousy have more to do with the Lord’s inability to let go, or Raet’s?

“Oh....” she said again, taking a bite out of the chip. The spice struck the back of her throat causing her to cough and seek out the aid of water, though she did her best to stifle the cough. “I can see why you don't want to tell Nailah.” because it was a colosally bad idea . Sighing, she wiped her hands on a napkin before tucking them down against her lap. “She would tell you the same as I am about to, only a bit more candidly. Its a bad idea.”  almost apologetic her gaze softened on her passionate little brother. He was a Warlord, but he could be as stubborn as a Prince. “Not only would you risk an unpleasant confrontation with this Lord Shingetsu but no doubt Nailah and Raet will hear about it anyways by the time you return.” There was no way that would turn out well for him.

“ Perhaps you could save yourself a trip and speak to your Queen instead? I understand your instinct is to protect her but these might be choices she needs to make.”

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #6 on: Sep 14, 18, 10:36:11 PM »
Kontar listened while Rehema talked about how their nephews were enjoying learning from her. Having Bakari and Tsekani stopping in now and again had thawed relations between Nailah and Rehema in a major way. Kontar was happy for it, and he smiled as he imagined the boys asking questions and trying to understand Rehema’s role in the world as opposed to their mother’s. The twins understood that Nailah was a Priestess and that she helped people, but they didn’t see it as easily as they saw Rehema’s job.

I wondered if Bakari had the temperament for healing. If he does, it’ll soothe the rougher edges of being a Warlord Prince and do him some good. Tsekani is methodical and studious, like Nailah. I don’t think he’ll go into the Priesthood, but I know that he enjoys praying with his mother.” Kontar said.

I’m trying to convince Nailah to let them become Wards in Raet’s Court. It’s a slow process, though. I think Nailah would rather eat glass than let Raet near the boys.” he said.

Rehema asked if Raet wanted to move on and, truthfully, Kontar didn’t know. He sensed that she didn’t. It bothered him, to have Raet’s attention so focused on another male. It wasn’t like her attention with Vadik. Vadik was her family. Maaria was hers, but her friend as well. Kontar did not like Raet’s attention being lavished on a person that wasn’t part of their their group.

But if I do nothing, he’ll continue contacting Raet. It will keep her from healing and living her life. You have see her sometimes, Ema. She’s so full of life and joy. She’s a beautiful, wonderful woman. Lord Shingetsu’s intentions toward Raet were not pure.

But he’s going to try to use her to keep his foot in the door here in Raej.
” Kontar said.

Was Rehema right, though? Would it be better to let Raet make this decision on her own? Could Kontar live with it if she made a decision he didn’t like? He could leave it alone. He could leave it be and just stay in Raej and be happy.

Except that he couldn't.

I don’t run her life, Ema. I’m just trying to be good for her. Half the time, I can’t stop thinking about her. The other half, all I want to do is hold her. This bond has flipped my life upside down.” Kontar said.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #7 on: Oct 05, 18, 02:47:50 PM »
“Bakari can do it if he can redirect his passions there, you're right it would do him some good. Those boys are clever enough to do anything. I remember a time when mama and papa thought the same about us. Have you given any thought to children brother? If so, there is a theory that twins run in families. They certainly do in ours.  I'm not sure if Nailah would consider it a blessing or a curse from Mother Night, I guess it depends on what day you catch her on.” Ema chuckled goodheartedly under her breath. Her relationship with Nailah was improving, a little tense as they always seemed to find things to talk about outside of Masika.  The boys certainly helped as they gave them a pleasant distraction. 

She was content with the changes, if not a little wary, Nailah was actually making a real effort to mend their broken relationship. Just when Rehema saw this as a real opportunity, Masika dropped a horrifying revelation that threatened to destroy all they accomplished, if not fracture the family all together.

She was grateful for the shift in conversation away from Nailah and to Kontar’s personal affairs. Knowing her little brother he had already made up his mind on this course of action. All he needed was a sounding board, though she didn't really think he ever expected her to agree with his plans. If he knew anything about Ema, it was she often sought the path of least resistance.  She didn't need to scry into his future to see two very angry females waiting for him at the end of this road.

“You think you can convince him otherwise?”  it was a rhetorical question. “If she allows him to do so, then that's her choice. Unfortunately, as much as you wish to protect her there are just some things she will need to handle on her own.  Bonded males never seemed to get that point and Kontar was not the exception. “I never said you ruin her life. If anything your presence in it will only be an improvement. You have so much love and wisdom to give little brother. Not now, but normally.” Offering him a playful smile she tilted her head. Leaning forward her hand slid across the table for him to take. “You are newly bonded. It will shake every foundation you've ever known, you don't live only for yourself anymore. Your mind and your heart are shaken.One thing is still true about you baby brother and that is  If you were so set on this idea, you would never have come here knowing exactly what Id say. Even if you convince Lord Shingetsu to stay away, you will still have to deal with the backlash when you return." Clicking her tongue she squeezed his hand. "Good thing you know a Healer.”

Offline Masika Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #8 on: Nov 01, 18, 11:42:31 PM »
Masika was actually having a decent day. She had a lead on a new job. She cleaned the apartment as a partial apology to Rehema. Things had been a little strained since Masika admitted her culpability in Badru’s death. Since then, Masika had taken to leaving before Rehema got out of bed and coming home after dark so that she didn’t run into her. It was cowardly and unkind, but Masika couldn’t handle the disappointment and judgement in her twin’s eyes. She wanted to be a different person. She wanted to be a better person, capable of dealing with her problems like an adult. Her relationship with Nailah was a continued problem in her life, one that she had no answer for. While Masika couldn’t fix that relationship, though, her intent remained as it always had been:

She would fix things with Rehema.

She picked up lunch from a local eater that they enjoyed, then made her way toward Rehema’s clinic. Masik hated this part of town, but there was nothing for it. Her sister would go where the people needed her. Rehema could have been a Court Healer anywhere she chose, but she devoted herself to helping those who needed it. It was just another reasont that Rehema was a better person than Masika could ever hope to be.

Even waste has its uses.

Masika entered the clinic and found Sativa at the door. The Witch offered Masika one of her smiles and Masika forced herself to return it. She promised Rehema that she would be nice to her staff.

Hello, Sativa. Is my sister here? I brought her lunch.”

You’re all so sweet to each other. Lord Kontar had the same idea, it seems. They’re both in the back.”

Masika froze. Kontar was here? Now?

And Rehema was talking to him.

It wouldn’t be long now.

Then I’ll join in.” Masika said, heading down the hallway. Their voices carried as Masika approached.

"...wish I would have known how the Bond would affect me sooner. It’s made things tough. But if I need help, I’ll limp myself down here so that you can hit me with a few more I-told-you-so’s.” Kontar said, his laugh filling up the hallway. He was like their father that way, warm in personality and presence. Kontar was a hard man to ignore. It bothered Masika more than she cared to admit, that he was having trouble with his Queen. Nailah must love that.

She knocked on the door and appeared in the doorway. Kontar turned and saw her first. His expression was indecipherable. Did he know? Would Rehema betray her that way?

Is this a private party or can anyone join in?” she asked, holding up the bag of food.

Come in, Big Sister. I was hoping to see you. We need to talk.

Masika’s gaze cut to Rehema. She wished that she could send a psychic thread right now. She wanted to know what Rehema had told him.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #9 on: Nov 09, 18, 08:37:37 PM »
“Even if you did there is nothing to be done about it. It's not like you weren't warned that you'd be knocked on your...ass. Rehema whispered the last word as if it was too scandalous to bear. “I expect your Queen and our sister might slap you around a bit, reminding you I was right will be but a salve compared to those wounds.”  They laughed together. It felt good to concentrate on Kontar, it always did. As the youngest child and only male, he was just a bit spoiled and equally tortured by his sisters. This entire plan felt a bit out of character for him. Kontar was always so even headed, finding his Queen might have changed that, at least when it came to her.  Hearing him laugh was a warm reminder that things werent as bleak outside of her home. Not all her siblings were so disconnected with the world and each other that they couldn't appreciate small joys, they weren't so locked up in their pain that they didn't care who they hurt in the process.

There hadn't been a moment where she could have brought up Masika’s confession, and for that she was grateful. It was easier to focus on something else entirely, even if it was Kontar’s deluded notions of chivalry or spicy chips.

Ema laughed softly, leaning back in her chair in a comfortable repose. That was until Masika, her mirror image appeared at the doorway. At first she was confused. It was so rare for Masika to visit the clinic, she would often complain at how dirty the streets were in this side of the city, not to mention the sick in her clinic. Tension rose up in her spine, not because she was doing anything bad but because Masika had a way of making her feel guilty for spending time with their siblings away from her. The twin’s jealousy was easily targeted

Kontar welcomed her in, but his choice of words could have been better, in fact anything other than ‘we need to talk’ would be an improvement. “Of course not, come in.”  Ema welcomed her, though it lacked the fondness that perhaps Kontar was accustomed to seeing. Of course she provided a gentle facsimile of a smile.  Usually Ema was uncomfortable around Nailah, even speaking about her elder sister proved to be an uncomfortable if not antagonizing subject, not Masika, never Masika.

Ema did not try to assure her that their secret was safe. The fact that it was now a joint cover up had nearly filled her stomach with bile several times in the last week. There was nothing to be done about it now. Kontar was ignorant of his sister’s treachery. Corvo was right, she would give herself an ulcer if she continued this way. “Please have a seat, we have food from....” Casa de Atholi. The pungent aroma of Dhemlan spices filled the air like a pointed accusation. No doubt that was topic Kontar was so eager to hash out. “Atholi’s, but there is always room for more. I might have to stay late. You didn't have to do this, thank you.”

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #10 on: Nov 12, 18, 10:04:40 PM »
Kontar watched Masika saunter into the room as if she owned the place. Her expression was just this side of severe, and Kontar wondered what great tragedy had happened to his older sister to sour her on life so badly. Masika would never tell him, most likely. She seemed determined to share her pain and anger with only one person, a fact that caused Kontar no shortage of pain. Somewhere along the way, Masika had decided that she couldn’t be loved by anyone who loved Nailah. And now that Rehema and Nailah were repairing their relationship, it was only a matter of time before she pushed away her twin.

Masika slid into a nearby chair and Kontar leaned back in his.

Hello, Big Sister. I was just sharing with Ema that I’ve been made First Escort to Lady Neith.” Kontar said.

Masika did a double-take. “I’m sorry, Kontar. It sounded like you said a District Queen made you her First Escort.” she said, looking toward Rehema for confirmation.

Yes. I’m heart-bonded to Lady Neith. She’s a wonderful woman. I would like it if you two could meet her in the near future.” Kontar said.

Well, that’s wonderful news, Kontar! I’m happy for you. But...how is that going to affect things with...Nima? I think that’s her name?

Yes, it is. And Nima understands. She’s supportive of my bond with Raet.” Kontar said.

Masika looked down at the floor and sucked in a breath of air through her teeth. Rehema knew that expression. Masika was avoiding saying something that she knew the other person wouldn’t take very well. She swung her gaze to Rehema, saying nothing.

Sika, we should talk about Casa de Atholi.” Kontar said.

It didn’t work out, Kontar. These things happen.” she said, shrugging. 

Hector said that you were showing up late to work every day. And that you snapped at staff and customers. What’s going on with you, lately? You don’t even try to see the boys. Or Theoris. We’re your family. We want to be there for you.” Kontar said gently.

Masika’s laugh was bitter. “Right. Look, Little Brother, I get that you want to help, but this is supposed to be a friendly lunch. Let’s not talk about family. I’m sure that we’ve all got a reason to be disappointed in our family these days.” she said.

What does that even mean?” Kontar asked, looking to Rehema for help with translating Masika’s anger to something understandable.


Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #11 on: Nov 12, 18, 10:33:27 PM »
It was in times like this that having a reputation as the quiet sibling became useful. Masika sauntered in, seemingly imperceptive of how she was received. While Kontar wore his disapproval and no small amount of frustration on his face Ema was simply uncomfortable.  Had it been any other day, had Sika simply decided a visit was in order and surprised her Ema would have been elated. Any other day except the days that preceded Sika’s confession. Unable to wash the stain of her sisters admission from her memory, Ema was almost grateful for the distance between them.

Maybe it was because she feared her judgement, or just wishing to avoid Ema’s suddenly rigid spine, Masika had thought it wise to make herself a persona non grata around the house by disappearing early in the morning and not returning until late in the evening. They had always been so close, two souls divided down the center and all of a sudden Rehema found herself unsure of who her sister was and by proxy, herself. Had it not been for Corvo and their nightly conversations, the silence in the house would have been deafening. Even he could not replace her sister.

Kontar hadnt expected to run into his older sister and truthfully, neither was she. Her appearance presented an opportunity, one she knew that little brother would not be hesitant to take. Kontar was always an honest man who wore his emotions on his sleeve. Sometimes those feelings were a well deserved lash.

Making space for Sika, she pulled containers away from the edge of her desk, grateful to be listening and ignored for just a moment. The lull called her attention up, the twins eyes met and Ema nodded in confirmation. “Its true. He is blessed by Mother Night, and not because Lady Nieth is a district Queen, but because any would be lucky.” She smiled at her brother, proudly. Had she not already heard of some of the friction between Nailah and Raet she would have been less surprised to her that Nima too was less than fond of the Queen.  If Masika knew this much, it meant that Kontar and she had spoken, something they both neglected to mention.

“Did you see Lord Anansi out there? What have you brought us?” Ema asked quickly as if trying to drown out the judgmental hiss that filtered through Sika’s teeth with a more pleasant topic. She was doing it again, smoothing over the rough edges, making sure everyone was comfortable, buffering a fight before it could happen. That always seemed to be her job. Though when Kontar mentioned Casa de Atholi, her lips sealed, forcing herself not to offer any excuse for Sika’s actions. It was a miracle she hadnt been let go long before that, she'd been so distracted, so irritable for so long. The only reason that Hector kept her on so long was as a favor to Kontar.

“We had a spat.” Ema began, her tone perhaps a bit more warning than she expected, a reminder to her sister that the terms of her silence were not yet met. “You should see the boys.” Ema added, shaking her head, though she looked to Kontar, the reticence in her eyes should have been enough to give him the sense that it was much worse than that, but not a topic to discuss. “They came to the clinic last week."  With Nailah, she almost added. Almost. " Took a tour of the clinic, brought supplies. They are growing, tall, handsome, kind hearted. They had all of the Healers and our interns fluttering. They miss you.”

Offline Masika Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #12 on: Nov 12, 18, 11:37:10 PM »
Masika fought down the urge to counter Hector’s version of events, as  presented by Kontar. It was clear to her that her brother had chosen to believe his long-lived friend, rather than even as for her side of the story. It angered her, but it was also something that Masika was used to. Her family believed anyone that wasn’t her, just because it was more convenient than dealing with any possible idea that Masika could be right about the indignities she’d suffered. She knew that Rehema didn’t want to see her, but she’d come here all the same because she needed to ensure that her sister didn’t betray her the way that everyone else had.

I didn’t see Lord Anansi, but then….I wasn’t looking.” Masika said, opening the bag. She took out a large bowl of rice, and another bowl filled with cooked and sliced meat. She allowed her brother and sister to have first choice of the food provided. She didn’t answer Kontar immediately. She didn’t really want to go into the things that Rehema said, either. Listening to her chalk up things between them as a “spat” made Masika shoot a cutting look in her twin’s direction. The same woman who avoided her and froze up when she entered rooms was calling her admission a “spat”.

I would love to see the boys. There are certain parties who would prefer that I didn’t.” Masika said simply.

That’s not true, Masika, and you know it. Nailah would never keep the boys from seeing you. She wants to mend this rift between you two.” Kontar said.

No, she doesn’t, Kontar. Nailah and I...it’s never going to work or get any better. I know that you two think that talking and pretending that everything is okay will make it all better, but it won’t.” Masika said. She was removing the last of the food in the bag, a beef dish that could also be served over the rice.

Nailah and I simply can’t exist in the same room. I could visit the boys here, without Nailah, but that’s it.” she said.

Kontar just shook his head. “You’re being unreasonable, Masika. Nailah wants to fix things! Why is that such a horrible thing in your mind?

Masika just stared at him. He really believed everything that Nailah told him. He believed that Nailah was the injured party, while Masika was just the evil shrew seeking a fight.

Even waste has its uses.

This is Rehema’s place of work. I think we should stop talking about this.” Masika said.

Kontar stood up. “I’m sorry, Rehema, but I can’t sit here and listen to this. Sika, you should think long and hard about what you’re doing to this family. Or one day, you’re going to wake up alone because you pushed everyone away.

Thanks for lunch, Ema.” he said, moving to hug his sister.

Masika let him walk out.


Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: hello, sister, my old friend
« Reply #13 on: Dec 03, 18, 03:42:15 PM »
It had been such a pleasant lunch. For once Kontar could confide in his sister without her feeling as though the mention of Nailah loomed like a pendulum over their heads. She wasn't dreading the drop and the moment their time together would be cut off due to a sense of loyalty to her twin sister. She wouldnt have to feel severed from the rest of her family. For once Ema didn't have to choose between her siblings, she could simply be a part of their lives. It had taken everything to admit to both Kontar and Nailah that she felt so excluded by their family, forgotten, neglected, lumped up with Masika’s bitterness. It was still early yet, but there had been changes for the better. For instance, she was no longer being used as a pawn to get to Masika.  Of course Nailah was tempted, she could tell , but for the time being she had respected her younger sister’s wish to be considered under her own merits. For the first time ever, they were learning what it meant to be sisters.

And that's when true to Masika fashion, she decided to self detonate over a bottle of stolen Dhemlen wine. This time, Ema was collateral damage. Had it not been for Corvo, the house would have been unbearably quiet. Masika had made one bad choice after the other and now she was avoiding her. The truth was, they both were.

While Masika seemed intent on oversharing, Ema was trying to downplay their argument. Meeting her sister’s eyes for a brief second she looked unimpressed. That was another change. Ema was no longer cowering, afraid to find her voice.  The irony of it was laughable, part of finding her voice was knowing when to keep her mouth shut. She couldn't very much tell Kontar that the reason she was so cross with Sika was because she had attempted to murder the High Priestess of Raej and actually murdered their sister’s lover. The father of the twins that Sika claimed to want to see.

It was better that she continued to think that Nailah would not allow the twins to see her. It was safer.

The moment that thought crossed her mind it dragged in a hefty load of guilt with it. Would Sika hurt the boys?  There was a time when she would vehemently deny that she was capable of such a thing. Today wasn't that day. “You should be nicer to him.”  Ema glanced at her sister. Corvo was there for her protection, but that was also a benefit to whomever lived in the house, including her ornery twin.

The blade swept down once more, seeking a different head. No sooner did Kontar begin to chastise Sika, not with his words, so much as his tone, Ema felt the familiar discomfort creep its way up her spine. Try as she might, she could not change the subject, neither of them would budge, but even so the fact that Sika tried to end the conversation by speaking for her, and her place of employment was an annoyance. She hadn't thought about the sanctity of her workplace when she came here. Why had she? The last couple weeks were nothing but deafening silence and the clicking of shut doors. Why now?

“No, Kontar stay, please.”  she sighed, but rose, hesitantly offering her brother a hug. A part of her wanted to beg him to sit back down, enjoy some of Sika’s cooking if only to keep her company. His absence meant even more discomfort, conversations she wasn't ready to have. “There is still more.”  sliding back down to her chair she watched as Kontar left, closing the door behind him. Her appetite was suddenly not as robust. “I thought we talked about you trying.”  It wasn't much of a conversation as it had been a demand. “To what do I owe this visit? You dont like this part of town." Had she heard that Nailah had visited and donated supplies? Or was she here to make ammends? "Mother and father will be having a gathering to celebrate the holiday.You should come, see that things are different. Try, Sika."

 

 

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