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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: Faux Reply with quote

Friday, July 27
Old Market, RhyDin


Jay spent a great deal of his waking hours now in New Haven, but it still didn't feel like home. He spent much of his time eating, sleeping, and training at the AMD Training Academy, and it felt walled off from the glitz and glamour of Benson Boulevard. He dressed in workout clothes while exercising or sparring, and in his skater clothes other times. On the rare occasions that he left the campus, he could feel the keen, judging eyes of the rich and powerful wondering how this scarred and poorly dressed man had gotten into their neighborhood.

Today was one of those times, but he didn't mind it much. Today, he was heading to a neighborhood he was more familiar with, more comfortable with, nearer and dearer to his heart. It was technically the Old Market, but it was so close to the WestEnd that it frequently got lumped in with that. That dividing line between neighborhoods, that space in between, was where the Kesey Apartment Complex was.

In all the years he had been in RhyDin, in all the years he had known Lizzie and Kazzy and Samiyah, he had never visited them there. There were a lot of reasons for that, some good, some bad, some just...circumstance. Whatever the reason for his past avoidance of the building, today, he was going to stop by and visit. Being on more familiar ground - and preparing to see a friendly face - quickened his steps, and before he knew it he had entered the building, climbed the steps, and found himself outside apartment 2E. He knocked on the door and waited for it to open.

The door swung open and the friendly face was on the other side. It was familiar ground for Sami as well. After all, the dark, nameless pit of a bar in WestEnd that she'd grown up in was only a seventeen minute walk from the border with Old Market. But it was a seventeen minute walk that she tried to avoid both mentally as well as physically.

Khaki shorts and a tank top were already splattered with the bright orange paint she'd chosen -- Kumquat or so it had been called by the paint store. Her smile brightened her face further and she opened the door wider so that he could step in. "I couldn't wait. I taped off last night and I had to get started. I wanted to see what it was going to look like."

The wispy white curtains that usually separated the bedroom nook from the rest of the studio apartment had been removed and were lying over the back of the couch. The bed that took up much of the bedroom area had been shoved forward into the living room and only the bedroom nook had been taped off. One wall was now the rich burnt orange while the three remaining were still the base white. Somehow, despite having lived in the apartment for two years, those walls had remained white, as did the rest of the apartment. It was a failure to commit, a failure to sink in roots. And, even now, it seemed she was only ready for that small nook. The rest of the studio apartment would stay that base white.

Jay stepped in, taking a look around the apartment, at the wall that had already been painted its new orange hue, and the walls in white that would soon be orange as well. Jay had taken a trip to a thrift shop - Cheeky's, perhaps - and bought some jeans that had already been stained with white paint. He had on a beat-up pair of tennis shoes and an old white tank-top. "So far, so...good?"

"It goes well." Her tone was bright and she swept her hand towards the wall with a paint brush in hand after shutting the door behind him. "Shouldn't take long. And you can catch me up on all the things I should know about you. You know, considering we've been dating for four years."

"What sorts of things?" Jay felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck, like hackles, and he ran a hand over the back of his head as if to smooth it down. He thought of all the things that someone would find out about somebody after dating for four years, and he realized that he had never made it anywhere near that long with a relationship. Probably in part because the secrets he kept had to remain deep, dark, and buried. He sniffed at the room briefly, his nose slightly lifted as he did so.

The apartment smelled faintly of takeout Indian, the herbs growing in a series of pots against the window sill, and the pizza that was already waiting for him on the center of the small mosaic garden table. "Have some pizza. There's Silvermark in the fridge."

She had picked that piece of business before handling his question not just to be a good host. His question gave her pause for the same reason that he was asking it. After the debacle of the year prior, she wasn't allowed to date. Her secrets were far more important than a relationship. But he felt safe. The fantasy felt safe. Maybe she would feel a little more normal for a little while. And it was that sense of safety that had her wearing a tank top that she never would have worn in public. At least not without a sweater. The entire reddish head of the horned beast that sat on top of the Bhavacakra tattoo on her back was visible. The rest of the wheel of life, though, lay hidden beneath the white tank top.

"Let's start with where you grew up. Your family. That sort of thing."

Jay took note of the tattoo on her back, but didn't say anything about it right away. He had been asked a question, and answer it he would. After he had taken a slice of pizza, of course. He picked up a piece of pepperoni, murmured a "thank you", and took a few bites before launching into a response.

The information passed freely over breaks of pizza and through the easy labor. His family. Her life growing up with Harris and Stick. His skateboarding and the accident that had ended it. The summer she spent interning with Koy much to Stick’s dismay. The soothing sound of wet paint rolling against the wall provided a relaxing backdrop for the conversation. Eventually, Sami left Jay to the roller and dropped with a paint brush in hand to a seat to carefully edge around the baseboards.

A laugh suddenly died from Jay as they built the story to explain away the time he had spent with Candy and as the sound ebbed Sami lifted her dark eyes to him, feeling the mood shift in the room.

"You probably need to know that I was in jail from late April of 2009 until...I am really bad with time, there. I think...September of 2009 I got out? And then...I went missing from June of 2010 until April of last year." Jay made no further attempt to explain the gaps in time, and the way his jaw was set, trying to question him any further seemed like a fool's errand.

There were no super powers to keep her or her secrets safe. Well, besides the way the ink on her back prickled and twisted and writhed when it perceived danger. Instead, she had to be keenly observant to keep herself out of trouble. In profile from her seat on the floor, the hard set lines of his jaw were even easier to see.

A wave of guilt boiled up inside of her. There were so many truths to spill and she could possibly be complicating his life with her story rather than simplifying it. But clearly he had his own secrets. Maybe he would understand. For now, though, all she could give him was a piece -- and even that wrapped up in a lie -- with the hopes that it would pacify the guilt eating away at her stomach lining. "You, Stick, and Harris convinced me to come back to RhyDin right before the dojo where I was working, training and living at in Icecrest was destroyed. A lot... of people died." The final three words were expelled forcefully from her throat.

"I'm sorry to hear that." His hardened stance eased, and he too set aside his roller as he looked at her. Whether he detected the deceit that had slipped its way into her tone and simply chose not to pursue it any further, or whether he had been genuinely fooled by the lie wasn't immediately clear on his face. "And this was...when, remind me?" He laughed an embarrassed laugh at not remembering the detail.

"It was attacked in February. Two years ago." Her lips pursed into a thin, hard set line. The cheerful young woman was suddenly gone. Even now as she closed in on the details that led up to the ink on her back, the tattoo remained dormant. Maybe it didn't feel there was danger or maybe it was linked to what she thought was dangerous. There were so many questions that she never had a chance to ask. "The emperor was killed in August of the year prior. It was six months of anarchy."

Jay busied himself by putting more paint on his roller, heading back to where he had left his beer and taking a sip while he was at it. When he stepped back into the room, he had a solemn look on his face as well. He caught the fact that what had happened in Icecrest was painful, and he didn't push any further. "So..a lot of gaps and things like that. At least it's easy enough to explain away the time I'd spent with Candy over the last year. We were just friends. Were." It was probably selfish, in the face of all Samiyah had dealt with, for him to cling stubbornly to his personal pain, but those wounds were raw, and Candy seemed to have a way of reopening them in new and freshly painful ways each time they ran into each other.

“How old are you?” The subject was tilted away from Candy. The subject was painful to Jay and it drudged up fresh guilt for Sami. Every step she took deeper into this adventure with Jay was a step further away from her own responsibilities, her own vows.

"I'm 26."

"So you were 22 and I was 18. It's no wonder you didn't want Harris to find out." She shook her head slowly and playfully, unable to keep her smile from growing as she broke her concentration to shoot a look up at him again. "We're gonna make this work. It's going to be too easy."

She had an infectious smile, and although Jay couldn't fully match its warmth and brightness, he did smile back. It seemed an odd fit, the small smile on his face contrasted with his fierce blue eyes. "That's why I eventually stopped dying my hair blue. There's all sorts of...well, you know. And yeah. I think this'll work."

How long did it really need to work? A month, maybe two. And then they could easily say that the strain of his training caused them to break up. But she wanted to focus on anything but that at this point. His company was the perfect distraction and with a glance around the small apartment, she made up her mind.

“You know, I think the rest of this place could use some paint too.”

((Taken from live play with Jay.))
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thursday, August 2
Old Market, RhyDin


RhyDin had certainly not been built upon a modern grid system with the streets coming in neat numerical lines radiating out from its center to connect the streets like the spokes of a wagon wheel. Nothing was ever so neat and orderly in the old Dragon City. Instead businesses had set up residence wherever their owners thought they could thrive, great guild houses had been placed without planning or direction, roads had been cut around them all until the city was a disarray of haphazardly placed buildings and archaic roads that often changed names from one block to the next. The running joke that Farrow Avenue intersected itself was only a joke until one stood at its intersection frowning up at the street signs.

No where was this more true than in the Marketplace in the Old Market District -- the thumping heart of the city where its lifeblood was heartily pumped through its major arteries providing all of its many limbs with sustenance.

Sami had cut a path through the heavy traffic that clogged these narrow streets on foot. Even if she had been able to drive, attempting to drive it in an automobile in this area of town was foolhardy. Pedestrians burdened down heavily with shopping bags were everywhere, bicyclists dinged their bells in warning as they hurried from one location to another, merchants with hand carts lumbered towards the center square, and the occasional motorbike weaved its way in and out of stopped traffic.

The cacophony of familiar noise greeted her an entire block before she reached the Middle Eastern market and the scent of potent exotic spices were next. The cobblestones were rough, the sidewalks cracking. Carved out of the row of buildings lining the streets were narrow, shallow shops many with their garage door-like frontage shoved open to expose their wares to the passing foot traffic. But that alone wasn’t enough space for the vendors. In particular, the fruit, vegetable, spice, and fish vendors occupied temporary space by filling the center of the already narrow street with a line of handcarts, tables, and portable stands to display their goods.

The vendors and their customers who seemed to fill every inch of viable space spoke in a litany of languages. There was common, Arabic, French, Persian, Turkish, Berber, Hebrew, and more in as many versions and accents as one could dream up.

For how many years had Sami been wandering the several short blocks of this market, searching the faces? She was unsure. As far back as she could remember, at least. Although she had no idea if she was Arabic, or even human for that matter, she couldn’t help but troll the streets searching those with features similar to her own. For here she believed she would have her best chance at finding relatives.

Of course, it was the silly dream of an abandoned orphan that maybe, just maybe, she would pass some woman who would instantly recognize Sami as her own, would have some great story of love and loss, that her abandonment would make sense. Their reunion would be sweet and suddenly Sami would find herself at the hearth of a loving home with a large group of faces so much like the one she saw in the mirror.

It was a dream she should have abandoned as a childhood fantasy a decade ago.

The array of clothing the vendors and their customers wore was just as vast and colorful as any other marketplace. There were those in “western wear” of not only varying decades but varying centuries and alternate earths. There were also men in ankle-length thawbs similar to robes and colorful keffiyehs covering their heads. And although there were plenty of women in much less modest clothing, the market was also populated by women in full black cloak-like abayas and even several with veil-like niqabs that covered everything but their eyes.

A pale steel blue headscarf was wrapped up to cover Sami’s hair in a Turkish style hijab. It wasn’t that she feared the reaction of the vendors or patrons should she reveal her hair for quite a few women had no head covering. As in most places in RhyDin, legit currency was the only thing that most cared about in this market. Sami tended to wear it to this market because some of the patrons’ sense of modesty gave her an opportunity for more security. It almost served as a disguise, allowing her to blend into the crowd. With all the eyes that searched for the ink that resided on her back, the sense of safety that being just another headscarf in a crowd left her with was irresistible.

She smelled the roasting shawarma before she heard the deep, raspy voice of her favorite vendor. “Ah, Samiyah Asfoora.” Samiyah Bird, Houari Boudiaf had called her for years.

“Morning.” Her sunny smile arrived upon her lips easily for him and the three of his many sons that he had manning the shop today. All three sons looked away from their work to shoot her the same spirited smile that they shared with their father. The smile of the youngest son, Aadil, was twinged with hints of a blush warming his cheeks. The pause in their work occurred only momentarily. Quickly they were back to preparing their fare.

The regular thump-pat-pat-pat-slap was a soothingly familiar beat as Aadil dropped a lump of dough upon his work station and then worked it thinner before slapping it against the inside of the clay oven to bake.

“Aadil, take a break. Get the young lady falafel. She’s too thin,” Houari demanded of his son.

Aadil cut a smile Sami’s way as he wiped his hands off on his aprons and turned to prepare her meal. Sami did not bother asking him not to go to the trouble. Houari would insist just as he would tell her that her coins were no good at his shop. Houari had been feeding her since before she had coins to her name. Houari would never see past the dirty, skinny ten year old orphan he had met more than a decade before.

“Shokran jazeelan,” she said warmly to Aadil as he handed over the paper wrapped flatbread filled with deep fried chickpeas. It was one of the few Arabic phrases she knew and Aadil had taught her how to express her gratitude himself. His lips stretched outward once more and his cheeks flushed deeper but, too tongue-tied to reply, he turned back to his duties.

Houari leaned forward, resting an elbow on the ledge that served as the counter of his booth. “Aadil is a good man, Samiyah.”

The comment was not unexpected nor was it one that she disagreed with. Sami’s brown eyes swept back from the strong back of the young man to his father. “I know,” she replied, instantly regretting that her voice was coated in a light layer of sadness. Aadil was handsome as well as decent. More than a few of their female clients patronized their stand merely to make eyes with the few single sons that Houari had left.

“I wish to see you provided for, little one,” he replied in a low, gentle tone. As patronizing as it was, she couldn’t fault him for it. It was full of love for the woman she had become and heartbreak for the childhood she’d lived through. “Aadil would make a perfect husband and my family would love to embrace you as one of its own.”

It was a conversation they’d had so many times in the past and each time it became a little more difficult to refuse. Perhaps that was because each day got a little lonelier. What could possibly be more appealing to a girl who had always wanted nothing but a real family of her own than an instant, very traditional family unit?

She had to force herself to loosen the grip on the food in hand for fear of squeezing it until it spilled out onto her hand. There was no denying the sadness in her voice now. “We all must make choices when we are faced with forks in the road and sometimes we don’t fully understand the consequences of what lies ahead on the road that we have chosen. My path allows no altering of courses. My burden leaves me no such opportunities no matter how dearly I may wish for them.”

The openness of the mini-monologue stole her breath. The bhavacakra tattooed into her back and hidden by her tee writhed and twisted as she closed in on the truth. The ink in her skin rattled with an unneeded reminder her that the Mark’s placement on her left shoulder blade was a secret and that she was treading too close to the responsibility that she carried. Even Houari’s eyes widened in surprise by the moment of honesty.

Her resolve was faltering. To avoid the risk of her mouth running away with her again, she offered a sunny smile and dipped Houari a polite nod. “Give my love to your wife.”

Then leaving Houari with his jaw still hanging open, she turned on her heels to weave her way through the crowd, disappearing amongst the tightly packed sea of people. When she was sure that she could no longer be seen from the stand, she dropped the flatbread wrapped falafel into a trash can in passing. The food she normally took comfort in suddenly seemed the source of her pain.

No longer did she feel like admiring the bright fabrics, inhaling the scents of exotic spices, or listening to the bartering between vendors and customers. Crying would help nothing but the prickle of tears burned her eyes. Determined to regain control of her tear ducts before she ran into someone else she knew, Sam twisted into an alley, cutting up the narrow shortcut. The air was heavy with garbage but still she took deep breaths trying to rid herself of the urge to give in to sobs.

She had become so self-absorbed in that moment that she had not the slightest inclination that she had company until a stealthy hand had wrapped itself around her mouth and a strong arm had drawn her in towards his body.
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thursday, August 2
Old Market, RhyDin


Before she even had a chance to silently chastise herself for not paying enough attention, one of her elbows instinctively was shoved back just beneath the ribs of the mystery attacker, driving the air from his lungs. He shoved her forward into the brick side of the looming brick building to gain space from vicious elbows and fists as he tried to regain his breath.

Roughly she hit the wall and while she knew by the space she had stumbled forward she’d be too far away to reach with another blow of a hand or arm, she was betting she was still close enough for a kick. Immediately, she spun towards him to close that space and launched a foot in a round kick aimed for a face.

Drawing in a great, deep breath to fill his lungs, the man’s hands lifted to catch her ankle between his hands. A sliver of fear finally shot through Sami’s body as his hands tightened around her ankle, forcing her to balance on one foot.

“Stop this.” A familiar voice hissed at her.

Finally her eyes fell to her attacker and the fight was drained from her body. As he sensed the loss of tension, the hold on her ankle was released and she withdrew the attack, allowing her foot to fall back to the ground.

His shaved head was hidden beneath a well worn blue ball cap, hardened brown eyes masked by its wide brim, sinewy muscles earned by years of training covered by a loose t-shirt and cargo pants. Everything about his appearance was meant to downplay what he was -- one of the deeply secretive Marahara monks. The stern lines of his face did not change even though her own features lightened upon recognizing him. “Matthew.” She breathed the name out with relief but the expression on his face kept her from embracing him.

“Samiyah,” he replied quietly in greeting, shifting an uneasy glance around their surroundings. The alleyway was abandoned and even the street before it was lightly traveled. Seemingly assured that they would not be overheard, he allowed his eyes to turn back on Sami. “I am so frustrated with you right now that I do not even know where to start.”

Petulantly, Sami rolled her eyes up to the swath of blue sky that was visible between the two tall brick buildings that sandwiched them into the narrow space between. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He reached a hand out to grip her chin, tugging it down so that her eyes met his dark, foreboding look once again. A note of anger weaved its way into his tone. “Let me clear it up for you then. This whole lie that you have concocted about this man and you having been in a relationship for years? He gets a lot of media coverage and you are supposed to be keeping a low profile. You are supposed to be staying out of the news. You are supposed to be doing your duty. You made the vow--”

The word triggered a wave of anger to come crashing down on her. Violently, she reached a hand up to shove his away. “Don’t you dare remind me of my vows! I know them perfectly well. It’s laughable for a Marahara to come here and remind me of mine. The Marahara are the ones that lost the medallion. It’s the monks’ fault that I’m in so much danger and their fault that Master Lee and the rest died.”

Even as the words came spilling out of her mouth, she knew they were unfair. Matthew’s hand sunk down to his side and hurt pinched his features. Yet, she couldn’t find it in her to apologize. Let him be hurt. After all, she certainly was. She sucked in a deep breath, making an effort to temper her tone. “Hattori Hanzo is dead. Harris killed him. I killed Kyle. The Kongas are in disarray. I’m safe.”

“You’re sticking your head in the sand! You just said it yourself. The medallion is still missing and until it is found, all it would take is for them to get their hands on you and all of our knowledge is exposed,” he argued in a low, urgent whisper.

“Then let me come with you. Let me help search for the medallion. Let me be protected by the monks. I don’t want to be here alone with this anymore. Please, Matthew.”

The desperate pleading did break the sternness on Matthew’s features but it didn’t ease into acceptance as Sami had hoped. Instead, his expression settled into sadness, pity. Her stomach churned bitterly at his sympathy. He reached out a hand to squeeze her shoulder warmly. It was an old argument. One she’d had with the Marahara time and time again but each time the well of her loneliness grew deeper. “You know that isn’t possible, Samiyah. The Marahara fell in Icecrest in an hour during the Konga's attack to secure the medallion. In an hour all Marahara in Icecrest were dead. There are so few of us left now. We cannot protect you with force so it is best to protect you with secrets.”

As badly as she wished to find her mask of sunny smiles and cheerfulness at the moment, it seemed lost to her. Tears stung her eyes for the second time today and she shook her head firmly. There was nothing to do but move forward and so she did, brushing past Matthew for the mouth of the alley. “I’m tired of secrets.”

Matthew exhaled heavily, lifting his voice as much as he dared to hurl his parting advice at her back. "They are what keep you alive and our knowledge from falling into the wrong hands, Samiyah. Please remember that."
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friday, August 3
Old Market, RhyDin


Jay woke up late that morning covered in his own shedded fur, with a splitting headache for company. It was only through years of having dealt with the severe pain, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light and sound that he didn't just stay curled up in a ball next to a tree for the rest of the day. Instead, he forced himself to walk out of the Battlefield Park forests to the edge of the trees, where he had stashed his clothes and things for the trip back to the city. Luckily for him, the Wolf was still augmenting his sense of smell, allowing him to move much faster through the dense thickets of trees towards the park's entrance. When Jay had almost made it to where his stuff had been hidden, he sniffed at the air and peered out between leaves and branches to make sure the coast was clear. Fortunately, it was still early enough in the day - and the day was shaping up to be quite hot - that no one was in the gravel parking lot yet. He darted out from the forest's edge, pawing at a patch of dirt next to a trash can anchored to a block of concrete. He pulled out a plastic bag full of clothing and just as quickly ran back into the forest. No need to risk being spotted.

After brushing off some stray wolf hair, Jay quickly clothed himself in his typical workout garb - gray t-shirt with the Crew logo, blue basketball shorts, black crosstrainers. He was digging into the bottom of the bag to retrieve his wallet, keys, and phone when the phone began to ring - or rather, began playing the fast and aggressive punk music that was his ringtone. Jay clapped his hands over his ears and nearly howled, before he blinked and slowly retrieved the phone. He saw the number - and the name he had attached to the number in his phonebook - and half-smiled, half-sighed. He could have let it go to voicemail, but spending almost the entire day prior by himself had him feeling a bit lonely. He flipped the phone open and answered in a quiet voice.

"Yo."

"Please tell me you've finally given me my own specific ringtone because that general punk ringtone thing you've got going on so does not work for me."

Sami's tone was a playful breeze as she tilted her head and rose her shoulder to wedge her phone between her ear and shoulder. Frowning slightly over the pile of clothes on her bed, she leaned over to pick a maxi dress off the pile.

Jay took a seat in the dirt, leaning up against a tree. He felt some fur that had stuck to his hair, and picked it out with a frown.

"I paid good money for that ringtone, dude," Jay said, his free hand now pressed against his forehead. "I'm getting my money's worth.

"I'm not your dude, dude. You need to find something more appropriate," she teased in response as she held the bright fabric up to her chest, pursing her lips thoughtfully. "Where are you? Busy rubbing elbows with the New Haven elite? Or giving an interview on how hard it is being the Crew's newest star? No, no! I know! A endorsement shoot! I bet there's hot models. Is that Kallay girl there? She is totally RhyDin's hottest model this year. I saw her do a go-see at Koy's. Amazing. Is she looking super hot?"

"You're not the first person to say that, Sami." He paused briefly as he mulled that over in his head, glancing off to the side. He should have lied about where he was, because there was no good reason for him to be in Battlefield Park, but he was too tired to think of a good lie. "No, I'm not in New Haven. I'm in Battlefield Park."

The unexpected news caused her to pause in her fantasy building. The dress was tossed back onto the pile as she lifted a hand to take the phone once more. "Were you running or something?"

Oh good, a lie to latch onto. "Yeah. For a bit. Then I had a migraine attack." Jay snapped his fingers, reaching into the plastic bag. He had left himself a bottle of extra-strength headache medicine along with his clothes and things the night before. He twisted off the cap, poured several out into his hand, popped two into his mouth, and then struggled to put the stragglers back inside the bottle.

An unhappy exhale was huffed through the phone line as she sank to a seat on the edge of the bed, frowning down at her bare feet. Her toes sunk deep into the fluffy rug beneath the bed. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm cool," Jay said, although he certainly didn't sound cool. He almost sounded weak, though that could easily be a side effect of talking on the phone and not in person. "I've had issues with migraines since I was a teen. I'll be alright in a bit. Just took some Tylenol."

A tight frown settled on her face as she tried to decide whether or not she bought his assertion that he was 'cool'. In the end, though, she gave up. Her response would have been the same either way. It was time to get back on track. The cheerfulness in her tone relaxed. "I think you need to get away for a while. Just a week."

"What do you mean, get away?" Jay slouched further back against the tree. Even with a t-shirt on, the bark felt rough against his skin.

"I've got an out of town martial arts tournament I have to attend. The town's called Rentz. It's right on the coast. A handful of us are renting a house just a row back from the beach." She paused a beat. This had seemed so much easier before she actually made the call but the words came out nevertheless. "You should come."

"I should come?" Jay scratched his head, as he repeated her last sentence in the form of a question. It wasn't clear by his intonation what exactly he meant by the question, though.

"Yeah. It's only two days worth of the tournament. And then we're going to just hang out at the beach. It would be fun. You need more fun." She leaned forward, tightening her grip on the phone as elbows rested on her knees.

"Hmm...." There was a long pause on Jay's end of the line, as he turned the idea over in his head. He wasn't quite sure how the Crew would react to him taking a week-long vacation, particularly in the middle of the Hydra tournament. Given how the tournament had been going for the Crew, though, his presence seemed unlikely to change things there. And they hadn't given him anything important to do for the upcoming week... "Yeah. I can do that."

"Really?" Her cheerfulness returned abruptly and she didn't pause long enough to give him a chance to respond to the question. "Perfect. I'll text you the details. Go get some rest. Oh, and change my ringtone."

"To what?" Jay rose to his feet, shakily, and began walking towards the parking lot.

"You're a smart boy. Figure out something more... me." The sunny word dotted the end of the conversation. With her usual inability to end a conversation with a parting, she ended the call to return to her clothes sorting.
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Samiyah Zayn
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thursday, August 9
The coastal nexus point of Rentz


Greg Lynch leaned against the stucco building behind him to fall within the shade of the overhang. The humid air had turned his tropical print shirt into a clingy layer wet with sweat. From his vantage point beneath the canopy of the Seaside Grille and Cafe he could hear the continuous crash of waves and watch them grow to white peaks which tumbled over on top of themselves. It was the perfect spot to watch not only the ocean but also the pretty sunbathers as they pulled loose the strings of their bikini tops to avoid tan lines.

Unfortunately, the landscape and sunbathers were not what Greg had made the trip for. He gave a miserable sigh, letting a hand cushion the weight of the camera that hung around his neck for a moment.

Paparazzi. It had become an ugly term and he knew his teenage daughter told her friends that her father was an ‘independent photojournalist’. She may rush out to buy the gossip rags that featured his photos but it didn’t make her any less embarrassed that her father hunted celebrities for a living. It was a living, though. It kept her in those jeans that she liked so much that were so tight they seemed painted onto her skin.

Unfortunately, this trip was turning into a bust. The tip he had gotten that the teen heart throb, Eddie Coop, had come to Rentz for a getaway trip without his sickly sweet actress-girlfriend proved to be true. However, if the hotel staff was to be believed (and they usually were) Eddie was fully wrapped up in a drug-fueled vacation peppered with high price prostitutes and a small fortune in champagne and showed no signs of leaving his hotel suite. One picture. Just one picture of someone attached to his lips other than the bubbly redhead he’d been dating for the last three years would set Greg for a year. But his chances grew increasingly dim.

For the most part, those passing ignored him as they often did. Balding and a touch overweight, Greg was used to becoming a part of the backdrop or, worse, he was used to scorn when caught in a group of paparazzi trying to get the perfect shot of some new celebrity mom with her baby. But here, without a group of similarly minded photographers and in a place where cameras were not out of the ordinary, he easily passed as just another tourist. Therefore, he did not hesitate to return the smile of an olive skin brunette who passed in front of him with her fingers laced through those of a man on her opposite side.

She was familiar but he couldn’t quite put his finger on why.

The young couple passed in the direction of the ocean at the sort of casual stroll that suggested they had no real destination in mind. Her dark braid of hair settled over a shoulder, revealing a back that was mostly bare thanks to a halter top bikini and a navy blue maxi skirt slung low on her hips. Given the sweet smile he’d just had shot his way, he was surprised by the wild tattoo that was inked on her back. Some sort of a fierce creature holding some a wheel with intricate details and bright vivid colors. He could hear by the low hum of their voices that their conversation had resumed but they were already too far for him to pick out individual words.

Greg released another exhale and straightened from his position against the wall. Just as he had it in his mind to head into his own air conditioned hotel room for a nap, the man with the brunette turned his head towards her as she seemed to proceed into some elaborate explanation, motioning with her free hand.

Finally, in profile, Greg could see more details of the man’s face. Three old nasty scars reached his temple and ran down over an eye, rolling over his cheek and coming to a stop several inches above his chin. The face was unmistakable. Jay Capistrano. The Crew’s newest member.

Quickly, he was able to connect the dots. The vaguely familiar brunette had to be the former ward of Harris and Stick, the girl it had just come out that Jay had been secretly dating for a handful of years. And here they were on vacation together without another paparazzi within a hundred miles. As he positioned his camera and squinted through the viewfinder, Greg allowed a brief smile that seemed to come in time with the one that Jay flashed the brunette. Nobody else would have these photos.

It wasn’t Eddie Coop making out with a call girl but it would at least pay for the trip.
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Samiyah Zayn
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wednesday, August 22
Old Market, Rhydin


Sami was laughing as she approached her front door, tucking her phone between her shoulder and ear as she juggled her martial arts gear bag while fishing her keys out of her purse. Somewhere behind her one of her neighbors was performing a monologue from A Midsummer’s Night Dream (in full costume) in the center of the courtyard for a growing audience. It was just another day in Kesey.

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.”


“What is that?” Sami repeated the question that Joey had just posed to her across the line as she slid the key into the lock. “Well, it’s our apartment building’s Puck. Doesn’t every apartment building have a Puck?”

With another laugh, she stepped into her apartment, knocking the door shut behind her with the back of a heel. “No, no. Go back, Joey. I want to hear more about this calamity of a date. I don’t understand how each one you went on was worst than the last.”

It was all it had taken to get Joey back to regaling her about the ‘horrible, awful, no good, very bad date’ in the series of Joey’s less than stellar dating past. The tactic was obvious. Joey was trying to make Sami feel better about her nearly empty dating history by repeating the sinking ships that Joey had been attached to and, for that among many other reasons, Sami adored Joey.

She dropped her bag onto the couch, catching sight of herself in the mirror on the wall and pausing to give her hair a fluff. The red foam headgear they used in sparring was awful on keeping volume in your hair.

Joey had moved on to her contemplation of ditching her date by climbing out through the window in the bathroom when Sami spotted a photo pinned on top of the others on the corkboard in the galley kitchen.

“Joey, I’ve got to go. There’s somebody at the door. Let me call you back? Uh-huh. Later.” The call was ended and the phone slipped from her fingers onto the couch where it would more likely than not become lost within the cushions.

The picture had been cut neatly from the pages of RhyDin Weekly. Jay’s face was turned towards her so that his profile was visible to the camera. A smile warmed his features, lessening the intensity of his sharp blue eyes and the cuts across his cheek. With a halter top bikini, a low slung maxi skirt, and her thick fishtail braid slung over a shoulder, nearly the full Bhavacakra -- wheel of Life -- tattoo was visible. The deep reds of the monster holding the wheel stood out against her skin but the gentle colors and details within the wheel were not visible at the distance the photo was taken.

The picture was not surprising. Joey and Kazzy had pointed it out to her the week it was published as had several of her students (coupled with requests for autographs from Jay). But the photo stolen from the magazine stuck out like a sore thumbed pinned to her corkboard on top of personal photos of Kazzy and Jay and Anna and Joey and Koy and Harris and Stefan and even occasionally Stick who couldn’t stand to pose for photographs.

While she hadn’t loved that her tattoo was so predominately displayed, she had loved the smile on Jay’s face, the relaxed set of his shoulders, the way his face was tilted in towards her to listen to whatever story it was that she had been telling. He had looked happy and she knew she had been.

But now that she took in the words that had been scrawled across the picture in Matthew’s neatly set handwriting, their happiness seemed bitter and hollow.

We expect better of you.

There was no room in her life for the joy she’d felt on that trip. There was certainly no room in her life for her tattoo showing up on the pages of a weekly tabloid. Her secrets were big roadblocks that jammed up the possibility of an open friendship. She would always feel like she was keeping something from Kazzy and Jay and Anna and Joey... because she was, because she could never tell them what lay beneath her exterior. Years ago she’d chosen duty over all else and the Marahara were here to remind her of that duty.

We expect better of you.
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Samiyah Zayn
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

November 15, 2012
Old Market, RhyDin


Their secrets lay exposed. At least some of them. For only the second time in her life, Sami had fully explained the magical tattoo that took up real estate between her shoulder blades. Now someone other than Harris knew her as the secret keeper of the Marahara. And now she knew what Jay was. His absences, his demeanor all started to make sense.

The gravity of it sat on her chest, making it difficult to completely fill her lungs. They were both weighed down with a load almost too heavy to bear. This was something she could not protect him from. This was something he could not save her from.

Jay walked over to the love seat and practically collapsed into the fabric, immediately resting his elbows on his knees and covering the bottom half of his face with his hands. He reached into his pockets for his cigarettes out of habit but found nothing but gum. He pulled the pack out with a sigh and unwrapped the foil around a piece before popping it into his mouth.

Finally, though, he looked up at her with sharp blue eyes, his voice just barely above a whisper. It was a simple question, but the deeper meaning of it could be seen on his face. "What are we?”

It seemed a non sequitur, but to her it made perfect sense. One didn’t share these types of things with one’s fake significant other. These were the type of secrets unburdened on only the best of friends.

With a heavy exhale, her brown eyes slid to the crazy twist of colors applied to canvas hanging on the wall that she and Kazzy had set their hands to on a rainy day. But only for a moment could she avoid eye contact and physical contact. When her eyes bounced back to him, she slowly headed for the love seat, letting fingertips brush against his shoulder as she settled to a perch on the arm.

"I don't know. But we are not fake."

((Adapted from live play.))
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