Conflict And Discord

Summary : Falennt chances upon Alric visiting Natayah who had hidden herself in a cave.
Characters : Falennt, Alric, Natayah
NPCs : None
Date : 23 February 2001

A Small, Bare Cavern
This cavern is totally bare, apparently cleaned out long ago. There are only a few stray rocks, the rest probably removed to prevent them from falling on the unsuspecting people below. All in all, this seems to be a good resting place, and nothing more.
Exits: east
A sewer rat scurries around here.
(Hide) Natayah Kulria sits upright here.

Alric emerges from the gate. A small bundle is tucked under his arm, and a basket hangs from the other.

Alric shuts the gate behind him and puts down both bundle and basket.

Alric says 'Milady?'

Natayah turns her head away from the cold, gray stone that surrounds this tiny room. She seems surprised to see another person, then smiles faintly as she realizes it is Alric.

Natayah nods a greeting to him, remaining quiet.

Alric brings out a fat stumpy candle from the basket and lights it, adding a little more warmth and light to the cave. He glances at Natayah again.

Alric says 'I apologize, milady. I was held up… earlier.'
Alric quickly uncovers the basket and brings it to Natayah. "Your dinner, milady." He looks at Natayah again. She looked too pale for her own good.

Natayah rises to her feet and tiptoes towards the candle. "I do not mind," she says softly. Still dressed in her badly torn golden gown, she resembles more of a pitiful beggar than a lady.

Alric sets a platter of fish and bread, and a glass of white wine on the flat stone which served as a table. He looks at the girl again, concerned.
Alric says 'I hope you are getting used to this common fare, milady.'

Alric sits himself down on a piece of large rock, and sets the basket down, placing his hands on his knees.

Natayah wraps her webbed hand around the glass and lifts it to her lips. "Wine. You did not have to go through such trouble, sir." She has yet to adjust to calling Alric anything but sir.

Alric nods a little. His expression turns grim. "Ovadiach has been taken care of, milady. You should be safe… I don't suppose any more of his kind will be trying to capture you."

Alric looks a little over Natayah's shoulder, his gaze falling upon the shadows at the back of the cave. "The book is safe?"

Natayah winces at the taste of the wine. It is an inadvertant gesture, and she does her best to cover it. "What has happened since we arrived here?" She looks at him eagerly, wishing to hear of any news at all.

Alric 's gaze turns from the shadows to look at Natayah. Her face looked pinched and terribly weary by the candlelight. He straightens a little, fingering the lace on his cuff.

Natayah nods quickly, glancing back at another flat stone which serves as the resting place for that book. "It is fine. Not even the rats will bother that book." She is curious as to why Alric is always asking about that book, but she does not ask.

Alric says 'As I said, I have taken care of Ovadiach. He should, or rather, will not be trying to capture you.'

Alric leans forward, folding both arms against his chest. Nearby a rat scuttles away from the gate, squeaking loudly.

Alric says 'Since he will not bother you anymore, what are your plans, milady?'

Natayah sighs, her shoulders sagging more. "You killed him didn't you." It isn't an accusing statement, but she does seek an affirmation.

Alric looks slightly perturbed. In a sudden, he breaks out into a thin laugh. "I don't kill people, milady." He softens his laughter, a smile still crimping his lips.
Alric says 'But, what of your plans? You cannot stay here forever.'

Natayah sets the glass of wine down on the flat slab of stone, replacing it with the plate of food. Picking bits of bread and fish from the plate, she chews her food slowly and does not speak until she has had her fill of food. "There is a market within the city." She points out.

Natayah says 'I can always return to Trading. It is what I have done since I was a small child.'

Alric 's eyes travel again to the back of the cave, his gaze half-lingering. Suddenly a rat scuttles across the floor again from the gate.

Alric glances behind his shoulder, intently at the gate. A small gust of wind blows in under the cleft of the door, spluttering the candle for an instant.

Natayah waves her hand in the air as she exchanges the plate for the glass of wine again. "There is nothing interesting about that wall. I have stared at it for hours."

Alric pulls his attention from the closed gate, back to Natayah. "Trading, milady?" He looks at her carefully. "You might get recognized."

Natayah gains a small degree of confidence in her voice as the food begins to warm her stomach. "Is something following you?" She takes another sip of wine.

Alric shifts, pulling out the backflap of his velvet coat from beneath him. He shakes his head. "I don't suppose. And my naa'dil will not dare to defy me."

Natayah grimaces once more at the foul tasting wine. "I appreciate your troubles. I do realize I am fortunate to have any meal, much less one complimented with wine."

Alric frowns a little. "Let me have a look at the wine, milady."

Natayah hands the half-empty glass to him and smiles politely.

Alric sniffs at the wine and peers at it. The frown lingers on his face. He places it back on the stone slab angrily.
Alric says 'I will make sure nothing like this happens next time round, milady.'

Alric 's voice carries a undertone of rage. He will discipline his student later. For now, he will have to be concerned for Natayah, for the sake of the book.

Natayah watches Alric's sharp motions. If she had still been in Maarlaure, she would have had any servant who would have brought her such a cheap wine thrown out to the streets. Considering the new location, she cannot comprehend Alric's anger.

Alric sits up, taking in a deep breath. "Back to what we spoke about, milady. You will return to trading?"

Natayah finally answers Alric's question now that he has calmed some. "I am not sure," she admits. "I was able to hide under my Father's nose for two years."

Natayah says 'Certainly I could blend in with the patrons of this city without much trouble.'

Alric says 'I think it will be wise if you changed your looks.'

Alric stares at the half-empty glass of wine again. The rage threatened to return, he felt it tingling in his ears.

Natayah returns to the flickering light of the candle. For the first time she stares at herself. "I should be ashamed that I have let myself fall into such disarray."

Alric takes in yet another breath of the musky air of the cave. It was no place to keep a young woman, but it was the only place he could find here. He couldn't risk letting others know.

Natayah plays with a strand of her once silvery hair. It is now wet, tangled and dull gray in color.

Alric smiles, his teeth showing. "You still are beautiful, milady." He pauses, his mind quickly formulating ideas. "Do you sing, or dance or play music, milady?"

Natayah finds herself laughing. "The ladies of Maarlaure are known for the skill in such arts." Her voice becomes sad. "My mother died when I was very young. My father only taught me enough so I would not embarass our family at gatherings."

Alric looks intently at Natayah, his yellow eyes gleaming like twin tourmalines in the candlelight. Perhaps the book, and her will not have to go after all.
Alric says 'If you are well-versed in such arts, milady. It would be far better for you to join us instead of returning to trading.'

Alric pauses, letting a rat scamper on his leather boots.

Natayah walks to the back corner of the room, picking up the book and cradling it in her arms. "I am hardly versed in any form of art. Women teach those arts to their children. A father teaches the important skills."

Alric says 'What did your father teach you then, milady?'

Natayah rests her shoulder against the back wall, reclining comfortably against it for support. "Usually it is only men who understand the rules of the market. But if a mother were to pass away-"

Natayah says 'And a father were only able to teach his daughter one thing, she would be very different than most ladies of that Kingdom.'

Alric suddenly snaps up his head. He looks over his shoulder at the creaking gate. A few rats run out, their claws scrabbling across the cave floor.

Falennt pushes the gate open. He stands at the doorway, a scowl on his face.

Alric rises up from the stone seat. Surprise on his face quickly gives way to a sharp angry look.

Natayah stops flipping through pages and looks down at the book. "How interesting. A chapter on dance. Look, sir.." She stops as she turns around and finds a stranger standing at the door.

Falennt looks across the room, and catches sight of a dishevelled young girl. His eyes travel down, staring at the basket, the bundle, and the food on the stone slab.

Alric looks at Falennt. "What are you doing here?" He demanded, his tone harsh.

Falennt begins faintly. His throat bobbed and he reaches up to push the silk away from his suddenly dry gills. "Who is this girl?"

Natayah drops the book to the floor. Thinking it might be a guard from Maarlaure, she steps behind Alric quickly. "Who is that?" she whispers in a frightened voice.

Alric reaches out a hand, placing it on Natayah's thin one. "My student." he intones, with a sharp note of displeasure.

A wave of cold passes through you, inspiring dread despair…

Falennt strides into the cave, slamming the gate shut. "So this is where you have been all these nights?" He stares hard at the cowering Natayah.

Natayah audibly exhales through her mouth and gills. She fumbles for the book in the dimmly lit room.

Alric swiftly bends, finding the book before Natayah and catching her around the waist, supporting her up. "The book is here, milady." He turns to Falennt, his arm still around Natayah's waist.

Falennt blinks rapidly. The situation is moving too fast for him to comphrehend. He opens his mouth, wanting to curse, wanting to yell. Yet nothing comes out.

Natayah gives Alric a nod of thanks, flushing slightly since she allowed herself to drop a book that seems to have some great value to Alric. "I am Natayah." She smiles as she introduces herself.

Falennt looks at Natayah, half-agape, not even imagining that girl would smile and say her name. He thought she would throw a rock at him.

Natayah whispers in Alric's ear. "While no offense meant to your training, but your student forgets his manners easily." Smiling still she asks the younger male, "What is your name sir?'

Alric hands the book to Natayah and leads her to sit down. He whispers into her ear before standing up. "He gets enraged easily, no amount of training can ease that." A rather audible sigh of regret seems to escape from Alric's lips.

Falennt swallows. "I am Falennt," He looks at her in an accusing manner. "And what are you doing here?"
Falennt continues, his voice hoarse. "And eating my food as well…."

Natayah looks again at the student. She makes a weak curtsey. She assumes his anger is because of her untidy appearance. "Forgive me, Falennt. If I had known you were coming, I would have made myself more presentable."

Alric says 'That is enough, Falennt.'

Falennt 's gaze sweep onto the floor. His shoulders tremble and a weak shudder fled into his knees. He wanted to sit down and cry.

Natayah stares at her feet, very upset over this entire introduction. Her father always warned her that she should always be presentable, less she meet a stranger and upset them by looking so ragged.

Alric looks at his student, expression turning grim. "Pull up the stone over there, and sit. And not another word from you."

Alric glances at Natayah.
Alric says 'Are you fine, milady? '

Falennt grudgingly pulls up a flat piece of stone and sits down. His eyes catches sight of the wine glass, and they flicker quickly with sullen truimph.

Natayah forces a smile to her face, but her her eyes remain glued to the floor. "I once again apologize," is all she says.

Alric looks at Natayah, and at Falennt. He shakes his head slowly. "It is his fault, milady. He is not allowed here."

Alric draws in a breath, flaring his gills. "Since you are already here, and you will probably demand an explaination from me later. I would just tell you now."

Alric glances at Natayah. "Will it be alright with you?"

Natayah lifts her gaze, looking from Falennt to Alric. "It cannot be his fault," she protests with confusion and incomprehension.

Falennt snickers quietly. His expression still carries a truimphant look, like that of catching a rat and boiling it alive.

Natayah opens her hand as she gestures around the cavern. "This is my residence and I have no food or drink or gifts nor am I a presentable hostess." She slumps against the wall, dismayed.

Alric 's expression turns weary. "He does not know about you, or this. He is too curious for his own good. I have told him not to ask."

Natayah places her palm against her forehead she brushes the tangled locks away from her face. "Tell him whatever you like." She does not hear much of anything, so caught up in her unexplainable greif of having not been a 'proper hostess.'

Alric stares at Falennt, hard. "This is the Lady Natayah from Maarlaure."

Falennt only nods, his gaze still on the glass and his expression is a little too gleeful.

Natayah looks up at Alric. "Natayah Kulria. Her Ladyship Natayah Kulria of the Kulria Estates," she corrects him in a proud, but bitter tone.

Falennt tears his attention from the glass suddenly, upon catching Natayah's introduction. He worries his lower lip before speaking.

Falennt says 'K..Kul..Kulria?'

Natayah shakes her head. "It is with just one K, sir."

Falennt scowls at Natayah immediately. "You are from the Kulria Estates?"

Alric says 'Falennt, your manners.'

Falennt looks at Natayah.

Natayah rises to her feet. She strides across the room, pacing angrily. It is amazing how quickly bad manners makes her forget her own improper behavior. "I am not from the Estates," she beings, angrily.
Natayah says 'I am the Lady of the Esates.'

Falennt sniffs a little after looking at Natayah carefully. "You don't look that nobleborn to me."

Alric intones in a low, dangerous voice. "That, I believe is enough, Falennt."

Falennt says 'You are Lady of the Kulria Estates?'
Falennt stands up, peering at Natayah closely. "You don't resemble anything my father said. You look more like a common thief to me."

Natayah stares at Falennt for a moment. At the mention of her Father, she starts to cry. "They still come for me."

Alric growls softly in his throat. Quickly, he puts an arm around the girl's shoulders and pulls out a clean square of linen,giving it to her.

Natayah removes the second to last piece of jewelry from her neck and throws it at Falennt. "I don't want to be her anymore. I would give anything to be just a common thief." She gratefully takes the linen and hides her face until she can compose herself.

Falennt fidgets, watching his turuan's actions. Unable to check himself, he bursts out again. "They come for you because you are just a common thief who stole a … a .." His eyes flit about the room, falling onto the book. "A book!"

Falennt shifts, watching the necklace clatter to the stone floor, the jewels sending gaudy rainbow flickers on the gray stone.

Natayah stares dumbly at Falennt. "Who do you get your story from?" she asks, her voice still shakey. "I didn't even steal the book, and the book doesn't even come from Maarlaure."

Alric walks towards the fallen piece of jewellery and scoops it up. He does not attempt to speak anymore, and he returns to Natayah's side, his expression tired.

Natayah shoves the book into Alric's hands, suddenly tired of holding it. "And I don't know anything about the book other than it has a section written in an ancient tongue discussing something about plagues."

Falennt grinds his teeth, unable to reply. Of course that was just meant to be an insult. He didn't even think he would make any right guesses about the book.

Falennt says 'I don't know where you got that book, I don't care. Just what are you doing here?'

Alric looks down at the book in his hands An entralled expression comes over his face.

Falennt stares at Natayah fiercely. A tremble runs through his knees, and he nearly buckled and collapsed with rage.

Natayah gives Alric a small smile as she reclaims her necklace and refastens it about her neck. "You would have to ask him.. you little - rift." She chooses the most insulting word she knows, not aware Falennt will be unfamiliar with the term.

Alric smiles back absently. His fingers begin flipping open the cover of the book.

Falennt clears his throat loudly. "I was asking you a question." He looks pointedly at Natayah.

Natayah speaks to Alric, deciding Falennt is not worthy of being spoken to directly. "Sir, if you could please answer your students question." She does not mention his name or scowl at Falennt. All would be ways to recognize his existance.

Falennt stalks over to where his turuan stands and plucks the book from Alric's grasp. He throws it down to the floor, watching it skitter across, scaring the rats.
Falennt demands hoarsely. "What is she doing here?"

Alric stares, half-surprised at the book flying out from his hands and landing onto the ground, its pages flapping. Anger rises up, almost choking him.
Alric says 'You try my patience, Falennt. Out now!'

Alric points at the gate, his stance stiff, his look unyielding. "Go back to your room. You and I will talk later."

Natayah slowly walks past Falennt. She stoops to pick up the book, unfolding the edges of any bent pages. She cradles it in her arms, running her hand over the leather cover as if it were a small child.

Falennt 's fists clenches into balls. He knew it is better not to irk his turuan further. He bows meekly and slips across the room. Something had caught his eye before Natayah picked up the book. Something about swords…

Alric says 'Go now.'

Falennt swings the gate open, vanishing into the catwalks, his boots making that noisy clacking sound on the wooden boards.

Alric lets out a breath of frustration as he watches his student leave. He turns to Natayah.
Alric says 'I apologize for his rudeness, milady. His nature leaves me wondering at times as well.'

Natayah stares out past the gate for a little longer. "He seemed so angry. I did not think my manners were so poor to cause such wrath."

Natayah raises her eyes, wrinkling her forehead in concern. "Have you told him anything about me yet?"

Alric moves to close the gate carefully. The hinges creak a little. He stares at the rusting metal, not looking at Natayah. "It is not your manners, milady. You are not at fault."

Alric 's head bows a little. "No, I did not tell him anything. He grew suspicious at my late nights and taking of food away." Alric tenses. "I suppose I should have let him know."

Natayah looks again at Alric. She is unsure whether she should feel very worried or betrayed. "I wonder how he knew of my father."

Alric turns from the gate, leaning gently against it, feeling the metal and rust etch into the palms of his hands.

Alric says 'Falennt came from a noble family. In Maarllmori.'

Alric says 'He told me their family are too traders. Perhaps that is how he knew about it.'

Natayah traces a finger along the spine of the book, which is barely able to hold the book together after so many years. "And how did he know of the book. And - why does everyone seem so interested in it?"

Alric 's shoulders tip into a light shrug. "I do not think he knows about the book." Alric leans further into the gate, flaking rust from the bar.
Alric says 'It was just a tool for insulting you.'

Natayah flips it open again. She passes the section on Ancient Plagues trying to find something more interesting. Her fingers stop on a chapter midway through the book. She marks the place and closes the book.

Natayah says 'Well I do not understand why he would want to insult me. I never did anything to him, aside for my unacceptable appearance.'

Alric falls silent. The wind blows in, curling around his ankles. He holds out his hand to Natayah. "Come, milady. I will bring you somewhere else. This place gets cold and damp fast… " A small chuckle comes over his voice.

Natayah unfolds the linen, observing it carefully. "I probably should do something about my appearance." Pulling at a strand of hair, she remarks, "And my hair too."

Alric says 'As for Falennt, I will speak with him. '

Natayah takes Alric's hand and steps beside him. "Where are we going?"

Alric offers his hand to Natayah. "I will bring you back to my house, and have Elvandel see to you. Falennt will have to learn his manners properly again, tonight."

Alric 's webbed hand curls around Natayah's small fingers. "You will get a change of dress, and get washed. That will be fine with you?"

Natayah nods quickly. "Right now I would like that more than I would enjoy watching Falennt trip into a puddle of mud."

Natayah takes one last look around the empty cavern. She is holding everything she now owns: A small sailbag, a book and a linen. Not much for a Lady of the Kulria Estates.

Alric smiles, his teeth half-showing. Swiftly, he packs up the remaining things into the basket. As for the glass of wine, he left it standing, disgust passing over his face.

Alric opens the gate, carefully leading Natayah onto the catwalks. "There is a moon, but shrouded by the clouds. Watch your step, milady."

Natayah follows quickly, eager for a bath and new clothes. These are things she no longer takes for granted in this new city.

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