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Author Topic: I would call you brother  (Read 204 times)

Description: Winter 192//Attn: Rais

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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I would call you brother
« on: Jan 16, 18, 06:32:40 PM »
Kontar sipped a glass of water while he waited at Hector’s restaurant, Casa de Atholi, for his friend to arrive. He’d chosen this place because Rais enjoyed the food on their last outing. Nima might be annoyed to know that he was here without inviting her, but there was nothing for it. He had to speak to Rais before things went any further. He drummed his fingers on the table absently for a several minutes before catching himself. He hadn’t been this nervous since the first time Theoris allowed him within her establishment to enjoy the company of her ladies. Now, as then, Kontar wanted to prove his quality. He did not want to embarrass himself or his sister. He also didn’t want to aggravate Rais or upset Nailah in the doing. Her sister liked the Warlord and Kontar did not miss the increased number of smiles that his eldest sister wore since she and Rais had become acquainted. For that, if nothing else, he owed Rais the respect of speaking to him face-to-face.

Their families were not perfect, but Kontar saw the Abbasi and Thuban families growing closer beyond just this day.

Kontar picked a pock-marked area of the table beneath his fingertips. The wood was polished to a gentle shine and the entire restaurant smelled of the Dhemlani food that Kontar so loved. Nima had been asking to come back and Kontar had politely demurred, wanting to wait until he knew the outcome of his meeting before agreeing. He wanted it to be a celebratory dinner, one that they’d all remember for the rest of their lives.

When Rais arrived, Kontar rose from his seat, beckoning his fellow Warlord over to the table. He wore a crisp blue shirt and dark pants. Kontar did not often dress this well, but to speak with Rais today, the extra effort taken was a sign of his respect and esteem for the other man.

Rais, my friend!” Kontar said. His smile was warm as he beckoned to the man wearing the Opal. When Rais approached the table, Kontar would step forward and clasp his forearm in greeting. Kontar admitted, inwardly, to being jealous of Rais’s amazing hair. His own hair was cropped short, but it had never been the regal mane that Rais seemed to wear so effortlessly.

Thank you for you coming. I apologize for the short notice. I hope that lunch will make up for it. Just us this time, though. I was hoping we could talk.

First, though, how have you been?


Offline Rais Thuban

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #1 on: Jan 16, 18, 08:34:28 PM »
The last time Rais had visited Hector's establishment had been a wash. The food had been delightful, Hector was a curious but entertaining host, and it had been nice to spend time with Kontar outside of their duties. However, Rais wasn't a man of many masks. While he did tend to stay on the outskirts of things, he certainly wasn't hiding whenever he did so, he was simply choosing his own company over that of anyone else. It was easier to take notice of whatever caught his eye when he didn't have to feign interest in some tedious conversation. He did despise useless words. So playing pretty with Nima for Kontar's sake had been annoying. It wasn't that Rais thought that he should act out to prove some point. Rais was confident that he'd made his best efforts at making points prior to that date, and continuing to do so was an exercise in futility. In all, he was done with the situation as a whole, and glad to be able to move on. Nima was his sister, but he didn't have to like her or feel obliged to entertain her.

After that day, Rais hadn't heard from Nima and life had taken on a new and comfortable normal. It would have been painful to write off his little sister had she not offended him as deeply as she had. Even the memories of what their relationship used to be had little sway on Rais' psyche. Things change. Life isn't fair. He was hardly the only one in the world who'd ever faced a hardship and he was well aware that his scars were mere scratches compared to some. He found his peace in understanding that he couldn't control the world. Trying would only expend energy he could apply to more fruitful endeavors. Perhaps he owed Nima thanks for helping him realize it. Even the sweetest, most innocent and perfect thing in the world could be corrupted. Nothing gold can stay.

He'd seen her from time to time when he visited his mother, but eventually, he'd adjusted his schedule to accommodate his needs in other ways. Hala had made a bit of a show about taking over for Nima, but she and Rais both knew she didn't mind playing courier with his money. The first time she had visited Rais at the palace he'd seen that she was instantly enamored. Both Hala and their mother enjoyed visiting, though Nuha wasn't able to come as often. Visiting with his family was much less stressful when done outside of the home. Rais had scolded himself vehemently for not having considered doing so earlier. There was no magic in the house that they'd grown up in. Any magic at all existed in the smiles of these two women and those smiles came easily in any setting.

Much more comfortable with Kontar now than he had ever been, Rais trusted Kontar to judge wisely. Rais didn't feel that there was any reason to pretend that his feelings were any way that might ring false. It was a mutual respect. In all, Kontar was perhaps one of Rais' best friends, certainly one of the closest. It didn't mean that they were so close, only that Rais tended to keep the list short and Nailah's brother had earned himself a line. Some would think it didn't mean much while others would realize that to Rais, it meant something.

With a kiss at each cheek and a third where he started, Rais offered a gracious greeting to Kontar. Some tension had crept into his muscles when he entered the busy establishment, but he eased it away, reminding himself that it was only Kontar, and he liked Kontar and good food.

Smiling broadly, Rais quickly moved into a seat and nodded. "You chose a poor venue then, brother, I'll be hard-pressed to talk with my mouth full of Hector's fare." Smirking, he leaned forward and accepted a glass of water from a server before it could even be placed on the table. Taking a refreshing drink, and then another, he seemed to mull over his thoughts for a minute.

"Things are good," he finally answered, a hint of coyness creeping into the slant of his eyes. "Better, at least."

"You? I don't see you about as much as I wish I would."

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #2 on: Jan 17, 18, 12:26:58 AM »
Kontar had always wanted a brother. But by the time he was old enough to recognize that desire, he was old enough to know that it would never happen. His mother couldn’t have anymore children and it had been a painful realization for his parents. Kontar got along better with women, thanks to having four sisters, but it also made it more difficult to stomach the presence of most males he knew. Especially the ones who enjoyed loose talk about women in his presence. He’d learned early in life to pick his fights wisely, so he spent his time with his sisters, and his mentor, Badru, to avoid a lot of conflicts.

Rais was the first male since Badru that Kontar actually wanted to know. That he wanted to be friends with.

Well, Hector’s resolved to keep us well-fed, so I will talk if you want to listen.” Kontar said with a laugh, extremely happy with Rais’s effusive and friendly greeting. Rais took up his water and Kontar slid back into his chair silently. He took another sip of his own water while a waiter brought out chips and spicy salsa for the pair to enjoy.

“I’m glad that things are good. I’ve heard as much.
” Kontar said, without mentioning how he might have heard such. Nailah was happy. Rais seemed happy. Kontar had no reason to delve into the matter between his sister and his best friend. Another man might have taken offense at a man’s interest in his sister, but Kontar considered it a stunning compliment to the beautiful woman that Nailah was. Rais was a steady and good man who deserved to be happy as well.

Things are good with me, too. In fact, that’s part of why I wanted to talk.” he said. He helped up his hands immediately in gesture of placation, in case Rais thought that Kontar was about to present a new case for reconciliation with Nima. Kontar had not given up on the idea, but he recognized now that the path would be slower than he thought. It would take something major, something important to bring them together once more. Kontar had a few ideas, but they required planning on his part.

It’s about Nima, but...more about you and I.” Kontar said, gathering up a chip and biting into it.

I understand that you have issues with your family. She’s echoed the same sentiments. But things between Nima and I are...different now. We’ve grown closer since her Virgin Night.” Kontar said, taking a sip of water for a mouth suddenly as dry as Pruul.

I invited you here to discuss my intentions toward Nima. Because when you asked me to perform her Virgin Night, you weren’t expecting me to fall for her. I did, though.

But I don’t want a relationship with Nima to compromise our friendship, Rais. You’re important to me and Nima loves you. If I can't speak to your family yet, I must be honest and clear with you.”


Offline Rais Thuban

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #3 on: Jan 17, 18, 04:52:05 PM »
Though Kontar maintained a joking demeanor, Rais still noted the curious way that Kontar had worded his first response. Kontar had only ever met Rais for a meal out on the town when there was something important to discuss and it hadn't escaped Rais that they were in the same restaurant where they had met with Nima. It didn't need to mean anything more than that Kontar liked patronizing Hector's establishment, that he enjoyed the foreign fare, or a little of both. Still, Rais didn't miss the cue that there may, in fact, be a topic coming up that allow Kontar to do much of the talking, (explaining?) and leave Rais to simply listen. Though he didn't enjoy surprises, Rais wasn't so hard a man as to not let it slide. Kontar had more than earned a few such hand waves. If nothing else, if Kontar had habits that Rais didn't enjoy, Rais would simply learn to expect as much without letting it compromise his estimation of the man. No one was perfect.

Rais settled against the table, one arm resting on the surface, the other raised with fingers idle at his chin. Purposefully, he ensured that he wasn't turned fully toward Kontar so as not to present an aggressive or too focused stance. Rais was a good watcher which made him a reasonable listener as well. Unlike some, he enjoyed paying attention, even if it wasn't entirely because the content of the conversation was all that enthralling, but because of the clues it might give into the person speaking in the first place. Slightly askew in his chair, Rais ensured that his eyes occasionally slipped away toward some boisterous laugh or a passing server, anything to keep the full weight of that attention fixed on Kontar. People enjoyed knowing that their audience was interested, but there was a limit, a line that Rais understood better than most.

As Kontar continued, Rais began to feel a rare touch of self-consciousness. Each sentence spoken by the other Warlord seemed to carry more meaning than the words that were said alone. I've heard as much. It was as though Kontar was reluctant to just come out and say the ideas and concepts that he actually wanted to impart. It left Rais wondering why. Had he given Kontar the impression that he shouldn't speak plain with him? Of course, there was an art to conversation and Rais wouldn't discount it, but as he rubbed his fingertips against each other he wondered what kind of man Kontar thought he was. Quick to anger, maybe? He wouldn't say that he wasn't, but quick to anger didn't mean quick to rage. One was a feeling, the other an action, and Rais liked to think he kept them as separate entities.

Nodding, with a touch of humor still left on his expression, Rais waited patiently for Kontar to resolve to express his ideas. Someone wanting to talk and not just immediately doing so spelled a touchy topic, so naturally, Rais was enthralled, further so when Kontar mimed defensive posturing. Slightly shocked and thinking it likely overdone, Rais couldn't help but give a preemptive laugh.

Finally, poor Kontar came to his point. Rais' lips pressed tighter but didn't lose the slight curve of contentment. He'd been prepared for Nima to be the topic, at least as much as one spurned brother could be. In all that Kontar hadn't said, Rais had been led to this potential conclusion. Wetting his lips, Rais shifted, leaning back into his seat with a wide stance and placing his hands on his thighs. Confident, but no longer leaning forward which could implicate some threat. He was not one.

Fall for her, Kontar said. Rais gave a silent laugh as he looked away, his head bobbing a moment. It wounded his heart to hear it, prepared or not. He thought better of Kontar, that he was a more discerning man. Believing that Kontar possessed a sound mind for judgment allowed Rais to believe that he was something special. Kontar had signed off on his placement under Nailah after all. If Kontar thought well of Rais and his impetuous sister, though, it seemed to devalue what was thought of Rais himself.

Chewing on the inside of his lip, Rais allowed Kontar to speak his mind, eager to listen in full before deciding a proper response. Kontar said that he didn't want it to compromise their friendship and Rais weighed the possible outcomes based on this. If he said that it would, would it be true? Would it be fair? Would it change anything? Things like this were often said as a salve to soothe known wounds but rarely meant as the offer of a choice in the matter.

Silent for a long time, Rais sighed, folding his hands in his lap. If only to spite Nima, he wanted to tell Kontar that they could not be friends while Kontar maintained such high regard for her. But this was an instinctual response, not even the sort of thing that was indicative of Rais' personality. One particular thorny statement stabbed at Rais, though, turning the edges of his lips downward.

"I'll ask that you not insist that Nima loves me," he began with enough gravity in his tone that implied there was a lot that was being filtered out from what he actually said. "I imagine at this point that you may be reluctant to admit that she is an imbecile and as I see it she must either be this, or not love me. It seems it would suit us all not to discuss it."

With that, Rais' expression brightened quickly, showcasing his eagerness to be the first to move on from such a topic. Whipping the napkin from his plate, he spread it in his lap and lifted his eyes again, this time with the face of the friend that Kontar recognized.

"You've been honest and clear, Kontar. Should we order, then?"

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #4 on: Jan 17, 18, 06:30:26 PM »
Rais was an intense and deeply feeling man. Even before he’d known Nima, Kontar understood that about him. He’d spent a little time looking into Rais Thuban prior to bringing him to Nailah’s attention. Everything he learned made Kontar like him before the invitation to meet was even extended. Any flaws that Rais might have held did not alarm Kontar deeply enough to reconsider. He was a Brother of Eventide and an attentive listener. He spoke well for himself and he was a good friend.

So Kontar recognized the signs that this was not going well when he saw Rais chewing on the inside of his lip. Rais didn’t interrupt him, but it was clear that he didn’t care for the topic of conversation. Kontar’s ability to judge people’s emotions lacked, something that this sisters reminded him of often. He was guilty of assumption, especially where discomforts of others were concerned. A boundless optimist, Kontar believed that every conflict or problem could be worked out if enough time and energy was put into it solving the problem.

No matter how many times he learned otherwise, Kontar refused to accept defeat.

So it stung to hear Rais be so dismissive of Nima’s love for him. He wanted to press the point, but held his tongue. Feelings cannot be debated, Kontar. You drive people away when you attempt to tell someone else how to feel.

Nima hadn’t just hurt Rais with her actions; she’d wounded him. Kontar had hoped that time would lessen that sting and allow the Thuban siblings to reach an accord but that healing still had not come. Kontar’s hopes for the future lay imperiled as Rais remained quiet. The sounds of laughter and conversation around them, while their table lingered in awkward silence, brought about Kontar’s turn to feel self-conscious. He’d been arrogant to assume that he could bridge this gap between two people that he was fond of, but that could not bridge it between themselves. The lesson was bitter and Kontar took a sip of his water to wash it down. He half expected Rais to get up and leave without another word now.

Instead, Rais suggested that they order and Kontar had to consider the matter closed at that along with any hope of receiving Rais’s blessing where Nima was concerned. This was not the day. Perhaps that day would never arrive. Kontar hurt for the both of them. He resolved, quietly, that he’d just have to think of another way to bring them together.

I won’t bring it up again. Let’s order.” Kontar said, nodding to Hector. The Dhemlani male swept over the table and took down their orders, then departed to get them started. Kontar looked to Rais.

Strange things are happening in the word these days.” Kontar said, leaning back in his chair.

I heard from a trader that their Coliseum sank into the ground. Can you believe that?” Kontar asked, shaking his head in disbelief. 

Looks like Raej is the only place to see a fight now, if you're into that.

Offline Rais Thuban

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #5 on: Jan 18, 18, 01:09:26 AM »
Rais sighed when he noted how Kontar's demeanor changed. It didn't take a discerning eye to know that he was giving up on the subject entirely. Rais realized that even though Kontar had been clear, he himself had not. Sucking his tongue against his teeth, he leaned forward again, but with his head hung between his shoulders, not lifted proudly atop them. Before he could conjure words to indicate his thoughts, however, Kontar was moving on, seemingly as he believed was expected.

Taking a breath, Rais settled some. Handsome Hector made the rounds, as charming as ever and noted what was requested without incident. Either Kontar had notified him previously that they weren't coming by for a visit with him or the foreign man noted the tone of the mood at their table and wisely chose not to insert himself this time around.

As easily as Kontar had dismissed the topic, Rais found himself feeling bad that he'd disappointed his friend. Clearly, Kontar felt strongly about Nima and had something that he wanted to say. Was it more than he'd grown fond of Nima? Was he hoping that Rais would be happy for him? He was happy that Kontar was happy. He didn't approve of the match, though, but that was simply on the grounds that Kontar was older, more mature and that this meant that his options, especially with the High Priestess of Raej as his sister, were much more vast than maybe he realized. If Kontar meant to choose a lifelong mate, Rais didn't know that he could pretend to not be shocked at the decision. It was hardly an expectation of him, especially at his age. Had Nima impressed him so much? Rais thought it more likely that the strictly regimented life of a man caring for his celebrity sister had squashed any real chance of meeting many interesting women and that Rais had unwittingly pushed the poor man into the arms of the first woman who saw him as his own man and not his sister's shadow. And now they were, what, in love?

Tapping his fingers atop the table, Rais shook his head, musing quietly. "The Coliseum, yes. It's Hayll though, they'll build another, and if they don't, Night watch over the poor souls who find their way into whatever game the Hundred Families come up with to replace their prized joy."

Flicking his wrist dismissively, though, Rais turned his palm up and gestured to Kontar. "I didn't mean to say that I don't want to talk about Nima, Kontar," he confessed, hoping to catch some realization in Kontar's expression when he said it, perhaps a touch of the hope that Rais imagined he'd killed returning there. "Of course, I'm not inclined to spend my free time in such a way, but I'm glad to hear that you're happy. You deserve happiness." Nodding, he shrugged.

"Was there more? I didn't intend to cut you off. I did mean to be clear, and maybe harshly so so that we avoid that particular argument in the future. But I'm not averse to talking about my family. Nima is only one of three members of mine that vex me. I suppose it's a trend." He smiled then, but it wasn't feigned, perhaps a little sheepish as he realized the math on this statistic. He'd written the majority of his siblings off now. Hala was the only one left. He imagined any of them could be redeemable but didn't envision himself playing a part in the rehabilitation process.

"Your intentions towards Nima then. You've fallen for her. You think you ought to speak to my family? What makes you think that you can't? Our friendship?" Rais grinned, sitting back. "If so, I appreciate your effort. It's commendable, really. You're a good man, Lord Abbasi" Kontar's willingness to put forth effort would probably come in handy if he actually meant to pursue something deeper with Nima.

"I suppose it wouldn't be right to try to talk you out of it." Tapping his fingers again, Rais studied Kontar. He didn't want to insult the man. He was more honorable than Rais would ever be. He simply didn't want things to turn sour and later wish that he'd been more persuasive at this very moment. "You have to know my reservations." He gushed quietly.

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #6 on: Jan 30, 18, 10:31:59 PM »
It’s scary, isn’t it? People who might as well live forever that are permanently in control of all the land and wealth in a Territory.” Kontar said, shuddering at the thought. He’d only known a few of the Long-Lived in his life and every one of them was comparatively young compared to the truly ancient ones out there. Hector himself once told Kontar that his father was nearly four-thousand years old. Kontar was a simple man and couldn’t wrap his mind around that kind of lifespan. Hector himself had lived before the Purge.

Kontar stifled another shudder, choosing to pay attention to Rais. The other Warlord hadn’t stood up and walked out after Kontar’s initial broaching of the topic, but it was clear that he didn’t want to speak about Nima. Kontar knew that Rais would warn him away from Nima, considering how she’d wounded him by essentially cutting him out of an important day in her life. Kontar tried to place himself in Rais’s shoes where Nima was concerned. Would he feel the same way if Rehema or Theoris, or even Nailah had done the same?

I’m not trying to make you uncomfortable, Rais, when I speak of Nima. I just know that some men would take it ill if a friend started a relationship with a member of their family and said nothing about it. I am probably one of those men who would take it ill. So that’s why I wanted to show you the respect of at least bringing it up and letting you decide how much or how little we talk about it.” Kontar said, smiling at Rais.

But now that I’ve said my part, I will listen to you.” Kontar said.

Offline Rais Thuban

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #7 on: Jan 31, 18, 06:22:37 PM »
Rais huffed a small laugh, stretching back in his chair and smoothing his hands over his knees. For someone who tried so hard to understand other people, he certainly didn't make it easy for those others to understand him. He'd spent so much time doing one thing, that he often ignored how difficult he might be to read, despite actually wanting to be transparent, especially in this case.

"Kontar, I'm not uncomfortable," he began, doing his best to ensure that his expression fit the words that he spoke and the friendship that he felt for the other man. "In fact, I'm absolutely at ease with my stance on the topic. Even your stance." Unfolding a hand in the air, he gestured randomly as he gathered his thoughts. "Nima is young and pretty. Headstrong. I hope you don't think it odd or distasteful for me to say that I don't think it's strange that you're attracted to this kind of woman. My opinion isn't yet a very qualified one, but it does seem like wild spirits run in your distaff heavy family tree. I don't judge you poorly for being interested in my sister." He paused there. There was a partial lie in that, one he'd not intended. He considered whether he ought to go back and restate himself. Studying Kontar, he decided against it, but bookmarked the idea for later if it began to seem as though Lord Abbasi hadn't understood what he'd meant when he said it.

"Of course, I think it's quite honorable of you to state your intentions and I'm glad that you took the opportunity to do so. In this day and age, and with Nima doing as she pleases, we both know that it's merely a polite formality, but that doesn't make the gesture any less satisfying. I'm glad to know that a man of your caliber intends to keep my willful little sister company. It would serve all of us in the family if some of your values rub off on her." Again, he slowed. It was easy for his thoughts to wander into territory that disparaged Nima out loud, but doing so wasn't his direct intention and doing so in front of Kontar bordered on disrespectful.

"I'm quite at ease with the choices I've made, especially considering how opposite my feelings are regarding the choices that Nima's made. To be clear, as I think you should know, it's not that I believe that what Nima has done is unforgivable, it's that I won't be convinced that she's sorry at all."

Rais laughed another small laugh and took a moment to take a drink of water, swallowing once, then swishing the second gulp around his mouth a few times before it followed. Kontar had very graciously given him the floor, but it wasn't so that Rais could lecture him on the extent of the damage that had been done. It seemed that Kontar only wanted to clear the air between them, though it had never not been comfortable as far as Rais was concerned. It was nice to recognize that Kontar cared enough to have the conversation and that it mattered to the other Warlord that Rais didn't object too strongly. What if he had? He wondered if Kontar would break things off if he'd been vehemently opposed to the pairing? Ah, but, no matter, he wasn't. He believed that Kontar deserved good things in life and probably better than Nima in her current state, but then he also believed that Kontar was a grown man and better attuned to his own desires than Rais would ever be. If Nima was what he wanted, Rais was no one to tell him he was wrong in that.

"Stop me if I make you uncomfortable, friend, I don't intend to. It's just that you've arranged this pleasant meal for a reason and so I want to oblige you and discuss things. If it's clarity you're looking for, I have no problem providing it. But I can sometimes be more blunt in my delivery and I don't want you to think that I'm being purposefully callous." Wetting his lips, he shrugged softly. It was a matter of saying what he meant in as few words as possible. Typically Rais wasn't one for in depth convesations, but so far, he was willing to make exceptions for every member of the Abbasi family that he'd spent any amount of time with.

"That being said..." Glancing up and gauging Kontar's demeanor, Rais nodded and plodded onward. "I absolutely believe that Nima regrets the consequences of her actions. I believe that she is not happy with the way things turned out. I believe she loves me still, as I do her. I think she has the exact same stubbornness trait that the rest of our clan has in spades. All of her life she had me wrapped around her finger and I constantly deferred to her, doted on her, changed who I was to suit who she was. This is what she expected from me. Taking for granted that I would get over it, she threw her little fit and stomped her way to the temple thinking that she would show me that she didn't need me or any of us. If you don't think this is the case, I respect that, but please respect that we will never agree.

Of all of my siblings, Nima has been the only one to freely move over and under boundaries that were otherwise set in stone for anyone else. She simply did what she'd always done. But she's not a child any longer and she hurt me enough that I decided to do what no one else ever had and put my foot down. There are consquences to your actions when you're an adult."
Stopping abruptly, Rais shot his glance sideways and he knocked his knuckles against the table. "I'm getting off topic," he admitted.

It wasn't like him to be so verbose, but with each concept he addressed, he found he still had plenty more ideas where the first came from. He needed to rein himself in or else they'd be there for a week addressing each of his points.

"I believe she's sorry that she's forced to deal with the consequences. Sorry that she didn't get her way. Sorry that I no longer bend to her whims. Sorry that I don't hold her in the same regard as I used to. I don't believe she's sorry for the disrespect that she paid anyone, myself in particular. I think that given a chance to do it all over, we'd still finding ourselves sitting at this very table having this very conversation, word for word." Fanning his fingers out, Rais shifted in his seat and wondered if he'd already overshared. "If I thought otherwise, we wouldn't be here."

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #8 on: Jan 31, 18, 11:24:57 PM »
Kontar remained quiet and listened to Rais speak, given that he’d opened the floor for Rais to talk. He’d asked Rais to share his thoughts and feelings. If anything, Kontar thought Rais would not go into deep detail or let the matter drop. Rais was a good friend, but Kontar knew him to listen more than he spoke. If anything, he’d state a brief summary of his thoughts and then fall quiet.

So Kontar was surprised when Rais spoke at length about Nima and her decisions.

Kontar nodded, encouraging his friend to keep talking. While Rais kept his emotions in check, Kontar sensed some of the frustration that Rais held with Nima. He knew that Rais used to indulge Nima. She’d said as much in some of their private conversations. Kontar and Nima were similar in that they were the youngest siblings, both used to bending rules and getting away with breaking them. How many times had Kontar charmed one or all of his sisters into forgiving him for something that they’d never allow from someone else? Only Masika truly challenged him anymore because she believed that he was fully on Nailah’s side.

In that way, he finally understood Rais’s issue with Nima.

This time, he did not try to talk him down or ask him to see a different side of the discussion. This time, he simply let Rais put his feelings out on the table. Kontar still loved Nima, but he understood that she was not perfect. After all, Kontar himself wasn’t perfect.

No, Rais. I believe that I’m finally understanding where you’re coming from with this. I may disagree with your assessment of Nima’s remorse, but I accept that you feel the way that you do.” Kontar said.

I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking that I could mend the rift between you and Nima if I just tried hard enough, but that was arrogant of me. I was trying to fix the rift between you and her, not for the two of you, but because it seemed easier than fixing the issues between my sisters. I thought that if I helped you and Nima, then I could fix things between Nailah and Masika.” Kontar said, shaking his head.

But it’s not my duty to fix these things. If anything can, it’s time.” he said.

You aren’t making me uncomfortable or unhappy. I’m glad you still felt that you could speak honestly with me. And you’re right. Nima wronged you and she has to deal with the outcome of her choices.” Kontar said.

I will always hope that you two find a way to settle your differences, but it’s a family matter. I’ll leave it at that.” Kontar said.

But you’re right about my sisters, in a way. All four of them are strong, free-spirited women who do as they like and demand that the rest of the world keep up. There are days when I’m hard-pressed to keep up.” Kontar said.

The food is coming. We should eat and enjoy ourselves. Besides, I should tell you something else that happened recently.” Kontar said.

I found my Queen.

Offline Rais Thuban

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #9 on: Feb 03, 18, 12:21:58 AM »
Acceptance was actually something that Rais hadn't anticipated. Not from a man who had managed to fall prey to Nima's charms. At least in Rais' experience, that was an all or nothing scenario. Since meeting Kontar, Rais had learned to believe that the Warlord was an honorable man, intelligent, sacrificing, and dedicated, all widely cherished traits, but none of that had figured into what Rais expected from someone who'd been won over by his sister. If what Kontar knew of Nima hadn't dissuaded him from finding love in her eyes then it was likely a very wild love indeed, not the kind of thing that was predicated on logic.

It was this that had caused Rais to predict that he and Kontar would agree to disagree at best. This they had done instead of deliberating semantics and choosing who would accept blame for what. Oddly, Rais realized that he'd been looking forward to that exchange, not because he wanted a dispute with Kontar at all, but simply because he might never be done disparaging his sister and he discovered that he took a rather cruel joy in it. Better that they hadn't gone down that route. Kontar was a bigger man for heading them off a separate way. It wouldn't be right to align the topic so heavily against the very subject of Kontar's happiness.

As far as how Rais felt about the revelation, he didn't see any reason to put much hope in the longevity of the relationship. For all he knew, Nima would jump ship at the first opportunity and later announce that she'd married a foreigner, some man who promised to show her the world she imagined she was being denied--and the family hadn't been invited. The tenor of his thoughts bordered on betrayal, he knew, as he truly respected Kontar and considered him a friend. But that was simply why he wouldn't say such things out loud. Rais didn't figure that he was setting his friend up for failure by inaction or by not speaking his reservations. Kontar had to know them. If he wanted more honesty from Rais, all he had to do was ask. But the warnings of strange and disloyal behavior were known to all men sitting at the table for two, so bringing them up would simply be unkind.

As it stood, little would change for Rais on account of Kontar's love for Nima. Was it love? Did either know yet? Or think that they knew? Rais didn't see a reason to care one way or the other. Lord Abbasi was still a friend, still Nailah's brother, still someone that he would interact with on a regular basis on account of their shared status on Nailah's entourage. Did it mean that Rais was no longer allowed to point out when he saw a particularly fuckable Priestess? Was he no longer allowed to behave like a bachelor in front of his friend? If so, this would be the greatest loss suffered from the two of them becoming an item. Rais visibly balked, frowning and blinking as though he'd swallowed a fly.

Kontar said that time would fix things and Rais let the statement pass without argument. Not if he had any say in the matter. It wasn't as though he'd fallen and scraped some skin on his palms and it would heal up on its own in enough time. Nima, a piece of his heart, had cut herself out. If she attempted to return, she'd find the empty place sealed over with an angry scar. That scar might heal, but the emptiness would never fill itself and if she ever wanted to be part of him again, the surgery would require cuts deeper even than the first. She might have had some success if she'd tried to reverse things sooner, but alas, sister fate had allowed for a different outcome.

"If I've learned anything, two people need to want to be fixed," Rais offered quietly. "You're a good man, Kontar."

Without disclosing any more, Rais allowed Kontar to draw the discussion to a close, feeling that maybe they had gained some understanding of each other in the past few minutes. It wouldn't be until later when Rais reviewed his thoughts that he fully grasped the gravity of the things that Kontar had said about himself and his sisters. Already Rais wondered if he shouldn't offer to help. Still, he didn't. If nothing else it might mark him as either a hypocrite or an imbecile. They'd both just seemed to come to an agreement that outsiders to an issue weren't likely to make a difference in a family problem. Thus far, Rais was content simply taking sides with Nailah and Kontar and hissing at whomever the problem was. It just so happened that so far Nailah and Kontar were displeased with the same people, though on vastly different levels, perhaps. He'd pray that the Darkness be kind and never set the siblings on opposite sides of an issue. He was paid to support Nailah but Kontar was the first man he'd come to respect in a long time. But Nailah tasted like honey over sweet cakes... Yes, there would be a prayer for this tonight.

Thinking that all serious discussions were now over, Rais relaxed, stretching back in his chair with a thankful grin and sighing relief. Food, yes, let them talk about Hector's food, Hector, Dhemlan, or whatever else might come up. Not women, though, not unless Kontar was the one to broach the topic, Rais decided. Oh. But then he'd spoke to soon, at least in his thoughts. Kontar immediately brought up women. The rare and near-fabled kind.

Rais stared at him inquisitively, half wondering if the Warlord was joking and waiting for the punch line. The glow on Kontar's face said otherwise and for yet another time, Rais found himself stymied by his friend. How on earth was this news second to the discussion of his sister?

Slapping his thigh, Rais finally reanimated, coughing a loud laugh. "Your Queen? You hound! Really?" Clamping his hands on his knees, he leaned forward and studied Kontar as though sure the joke would break at any moment. "You really have, haven't you? I... I don't know what to say. Congratulations?"

Incredulous, Rais sat back again, staring up and beyond Kontar for a moment. "What does it mean?" he wondered out loud. Would Kontar go to serve this Queen? "Who?" Ah, yes, an important question. "Who is she?" Is she beautiful? He didn't say that, though, on account of his own promise not to discuss women as though they were vessels for cocks.

"Does your sister know?" He meant Nailah, of course. She probably did, right? That would make sense. She ought to know before non-relatives, anyhow. What did she think? Even Rais realized he didn't like the idea that Kontar might leave his current post.

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #10 on: Mar 01, 18, 12:09:18 AM »
Kontar smiled when Rais congratulated him, albeit hesitantly. He didn’t blame his friend. Some men saw finding their Queen as a crowning achievement of their lives. Some considered it the defining moment in life when all things started making sense after years adrift. Kontar could not deny that, since he’d met Raet, he’d felt greater clarity and surety in his life and decisions. Before, he’d been somewhat aimless outside of wanting to protect his family and seeing that his friends prospered. Nima’s well-being was also a goal for him, but Raet’s mere presence in his life gave Kontar another goal to strive for. He wanted Raet to be happy, safe, and successful as a Queen. Even if she ruled only Asyut the rest of her life, Kontar was fine with it. He did not need to rise in prominence to feel accomplished.

His sisters were the achievers of the family, after all.

Thank you, my friend. It’s a wonderful feeling. If I could describe it to you without sounding like a fool, I would.” Kontar said, smiling as he took another sip of his drink. It was clear that he wasn’t jesting or playing with Rais’s mind. Kontar was at peace with his life and all of the people in it, even if those people were not at peace with each other. He had faith that it would come in time.

Her name is Raet Neith and she is the Queen of Asyut District. She’s a good woman, Rais, and a young Queen just starting to make her mark here in Raej. She trained under Lady Neferet, the Province Queen and they longtime friends. As it stands, Nailah has recently grown closer to Lady Neferet as well.

Unfortunately, I think Raet and Nailah have gotten off on the wrong foot.
” Kontar said.

I was escorting Nailah on the day that Lady Neith and I bonded. We’d actually arrived at the District Court because Nailah wanted to discuss something with her. But Lady Neith had another meeting that ran a little long.” Kontar said, kicking himself for even using that terminology. He was glad that Rais hadn’t heard this story from Nailah, for Kontar feared that his sister would use unflattering words to describe his Queen.

Besides, telling his best friend that his Queen was having sex with a foreigner while she made the High Priestess wait on her painted a poor image of Raet.

Nailah did not care to left waiting. But when Raet entered the room, I just knew that she was mine. It felt like coming home.” Kontar said quietly.

That being said, I’m not sure what’s next. She hasn’t asked me to serve her yet. Perhaps if I’m fortunately, I’ll end up in the Third Circle. The Second if she’s feeling particularly generous.” Kontar said. It did not occur to him that Raet would elevate him higher than that without any proof of his skills or acumen. In a few years, though, he could work his way up to the First Circle and become her advisor. He loved spending time with her and he liked the idea of being near her as often as possible.

“Nailah is unhappy and I pray she puts it aside. Neither of us ever saw this day coming.

Offline Rais Thuban

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Re: I would call you brother
« Reply #11 on: Apr 15, 18, 06:01:54 PM »
Rais' eyes widened when Kontar named his newly bonded Queen. Nodding slowly, he beamed a happy smile at his friend. "A prominent Queen too? I've always known that you deserve good things, Kontar, but it seems like you may be on quite the streak. Mother Night is smiling on you, for sure. If you don't mind, I think it's in my best interest to shadow you for awhile, perhaps some of your good fortune will rub off on me." Rais gave a hearty laugh and shrugged. "The least you could do for a friend is to put in a good word for me. I could use a positive turn. Your sister, well, and yourself I suppose..." he winked "...are the only good things that have happened to me in a long time." Sitting back, Rais sighed, turning up a palm and lifting his brows as though in defeat. "I guess I shouldn't complain. You two have been good for me. I was a ship without a rudder." After Nima.

Licking his lips, Rais only allowed himself to ponder for a moment or two before his smile returned as fresh as one newly sprouted. "Young is good. Gives you plenty of time to live alongside her. I've always wondered what it might be like for a man to meet his Queen late in life. Better to not meet her at all, I've thought." Or what if there was a large difference in age? Rais didn't bring it up, but he wondered what it was like for men who vastly outlived their Queens, or men who saw those women die young. These kind of thoughts were the reason he didn't think he wanted to know if he had a Queen out there. It was said that it was better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, and Queen bonds were often compared to love, yet Rais wasn't sure he agreed with either. In his own life, losing love had left deep scars, and could he change things, he would much rather have never loved at all. In the end, all he knew about Queens and bonds was what he was told, and so he relied on Kontar to tell him about those nuanced details that no one ever thought to bring up. As much as Rais didn't think he wanted a Queen, not knowing what the bond was like was one of the blind spots that he had when it came to reading men.

"It makes me nervous to think that there's a Queen out there for me. I accept that should I meet her, I would gladly submit to the bond, but currently, I can't imagine being drawn away from your sister. She's given me direction and I'm grateful for that."

At this point, Kontar explained that Lady Abbasi and Lady Neith hadn't met on good terms. Rais arched a brow and bit at the inside of his lip. He wasn't going to inquire too deeply into what had happened. Kontar was now eternally bound to both of these women, and though he'd broached the topic, Rais noticed that doing so had evidenced some amount of anxiety in his friend. Eyeing Kontar's cup, Rais raised a hand to beckon for refills.

"I won't say that I have the ability to distract your sister, but I promise that for the sake of all of your, I will do my best to keep her focus on her goals and the things that make her happy. There are already too many concerns that plague you and your kin. I don't think that any line destined for greatness will ever achieve perfect rest, but those of us who support you are glad to be leaned and relied upon. Let me know if there's anything that I can do to help, Kontar, you or your sister. As I said, I've been given direction, and I'm grateful. Rearing to go. Let me help where I can."

When their cups were refilled, Rais raised a toast to Kontar's continued fortune, promising his companion that he would ask the Darkness for clarity on his behalf. Kontar was a better man than he, and a good thing too. Kontar was at the beck and call of at least two too many women now. There was no such thing as too many prayers.

 

 

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