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About MJ2431

  • Rank
  • Birthday 10/30/1997

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    South Africa
  • Interests
    Anything to do with plants or animals. Read a lot. Draw a lot. I may occasionally drink copious amounts of tea and coffee which may or may not be good for me.
  • Occupation
    Full-time university student
  1. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    She watched as the odd amount of sunlight filtering in through the window made his polished armor gleam in the shafts of light. It was a spectacle to behold, her eyes widening at the sight of it. Whatever position he held from whatever place he came from, it must have been of some importance. That isn't the armor of any ordinary soldier or military personnel. The items were well-cared for. That much was obvious. Their condition spoke of a man who looked after what was important to him and that brought a small smile to Aza's face. He asked when she might be back, the girl shrugging her shoulders. "It all depends on how titillating everyone finds the occassion. It usually ends after about two or three hours though. If I hope really hard, maybe the universe will answer my prayers and make it even sooner." She said the words with a tone of disbelief, finally straightening her posture away from the door. "Either way, I'll be back as soon as I can. I'll see you in a few hours....bye Natheniel, for now." Azayla offered him a warm smile, green eyes glinting for but a moment before she turned and headed out the door and down the path. The girl knew that if she hadn't left right then, she might not have left at all. ******************************************************************************************************************************* Aza rushed out her room, her hair done up with the front and top braided with white ribbon while the rest hung loose. The girl was almost late, but had somehow managed to run into the house, change into the baby-blue satin dress, do her hair, locate her dress-shoes and reach the white satin sash at the top of her closet without falling to the ground or going too slowly. She galloped down the wide stairs, her small-heeled shoes echoing on the marble tiles as she wound the satin sash around her waist and tied it at the back. It will have to do. She thought to herself, stopping just outside the back door. Aza took a mere moment to breath in deeply, collecting her thoughts before opening the door and entering into the hedge-bordered courtyard in which the tea was already in full-swing. At the sight of the amount of people who arrived early, she felt a small lump form in her throat. It won't matter if Karrissa didn't get here before me. She glanced around, feeling her heart sink at the sight of a coiffed head of red hair prancing around the pots of red roses. Just my luck... The situation got worse though, the exact moment Aza spotted her, the girl turned and looked straight at Azayla looking at her. She was shocked for a mere moment, bringing up a hand to give her a small wave in the next breath. Karrissa spoke something to the other group of girl's she was standing with, walking up to Aza confidently. Oh great...here it comes. The young female thought, bracing herself. "How nice of you to join us at your own home, don't you know how to keep track of time? You were probably so busy sneaking around with that merchant that you couldn't see right from left let alone read the hands of a clock!" With Nat not being there, the cattiness in the girl's voice and the severity and mocking tone of her words had compounded quite aggressively. However, she spoke under her breath so that no one but Azayla could hear. "Hush now Karrissa, you'll make your eyes pop out of your skull if you glare at me any harder." Aza retorted, placing her hands on her hips in such a way it might have been mistaken for a battle stance. Karrissa was prepared for this, folding her one arm underneath the elbow of the other, her free hand's fingers rubbing together as if she was sampling the coarseness of sand. "No need to get so defensive sweetheart, I just think you need someone to tell you how completely out of his league you are. If he is who he really says he is, he could do way better. Sure, you've got Daddy's name behind you and some fancy dresses and a house, but so do I. The difference is that I don't trip up at an opportunity given to me. I'm the perfect noble woman...where as you have a lot to be desired in terms of mannerisms. Pity, if mommy was still around perhaps she could teach you how to be a proper lady." Her words made Az more and more furious. Her last statement was the final straw though. No one mentioned her deceased mother in such a way, especially not this poisoned-tongued witch. The girl laid a hand on the grip of her ceremonial dagger, ready to withdraw it. Sure, the blade was more for show and accessory than for actual fighting, but the need to feel it's unrefined steel sliding between two of the girl's ribs. "You little piece of scum, I'm going to make you regret-" A hand came to fall on hers where she was about to unsheath the weapon, a male voice filled with authority but calm suddenly halting Aza in her tracks. "Woah, take it easy now. No need to get everyone's dresses all bloody Az. Karrissa, stop being a pain and go pester someone else for a bit? You're ruining the party." When Karrissa saw who it was, she pouted angrily before swiveling on her heels and skulking away. Azayla looked up, seeing Caleb's face looking down at her. "I know, I know...you could have taken her. You also would have ruined a perfectly good afternoon and made a mess that would have needed to be cleaned up." The male said, giving her a cheeky grin that had barely changed since they were children. "I only caught the last few words of that conversation, but I know Karrissa as well as you to have guessed just how petty she must have been. Come on, let's go get some tea and eat some patisseries. Leave the fighting for another day...you'll have plenty of opportunity to annihilate her some other time when there aren't other people around." He teased her lightly, Aza scowling as she let the dagger slide back into place. He had always been able to do that, make her lose her need to slice Karrissa's lips from her face. He was a peace-maker even from when they were children, the male who was a year older than Az and Karrissa always taking a leadership role in calming any arguments that flared up among the noble youth. "I guess you're right. You've saved her slicing of her smug face for another occassion." She said with a sigh, letting a small smile grace her features as she followed him to where tea and food stood waiting on long wooden tables covered in lace cloth. ****************************************************************************************************************************** The afternoon continued on, people soon filing out and leaving. While Aza kept her word and didn't approach Karrissa again, the one thought that truly kept her going was that she would soon be seeing Natheniel once more. No sooner had the last person said their goodbyes than Azayla went charging into the kitchen without even changing first. She gathered up any leftover sweet-cakes and honeyed loaves that she could along with some tea and hurried on down the path towards the stable-house. (Sorry, it came out a bit longer than expected.)
  2. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    Azayla brushed his query away with a wave of her hand, smiling as she said "I'm sure it will be fine. It's the least I can do if I wish to pay you back after you helped me out in the market place." She gazed around, sighing sadly. I wish I could offer you better, but then everyone would be questioning what was going on and I don't have the answers for them. The girl pulled off her cloak, draping it over the back of the the chair set at a table made to seat one, going back to the door and leaning with her back against the frame while he walked around the accommodation. "If you want to go anywhere, just use the cloak. There's a gate further into the treeline that is the beginning of a winding path that leads back to the road. If you leave....just make sure there's a note or something so that..." She stopped herself, finishing the sentence in her head. ...So that I know you're safe. Her almost-words sent an unusual emotion reeling through her, the girl standing up straight and looking outside to hide her face. What was going on with her? Why was she concerned with his safety? She shook her head, remembering again why she had had to return. "I must go." The words were simple, but drawn out. They hinted at her desire to stay and her annoyance at needing to leave for something she didn't look forward to. "Perhaps I may visit you afterwards? I could bring food." Aza used the last sentence as something of an excuse, knowing that it was more his company she sought after than the need to make sure he was fed. The girl felt that after what was to come, an afternoon of torture among the other noble children, she might enjoy talking to someone she didn't have to hide herself with. @Ellipsis
  3. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    (Will be replying soon, I'm exceptionally busy today)
  4. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    After he waved her off casually, Aza saw no problem with him. At his reassurance that he was fine, she continued on with her quick pace. She led them through the side-streets, picking out a less-frequented route in order to minimize the amount of people who might see her. They were soon back at the building they had met, the girl answering him about his concerns as they walked. "Karrissa probably sniffed you out already. She's like a blood-hound when it comes to finding the weak point in someones argument and unraveling them from there. However, people are prone to questioning what she says, even if only a little bit, because of the amount of gossip she carries around like a second skin. You're safe for now, we will just need to be careful, especially around that ferocious red-head." Aza imagined Karrissa as a gorgon, with hissing snakes for hair and the ability to turn people to stone with one look. If she was honest, she thought the image suited her and her snake-like personality. They were nearing the Hilltop residences, a marked difference coming about in the architecture of the homes bordering the street they were on. The slope was beginning to level out more, allowing for properties to both be taller and wider with the better surface area available for foundation. Gates began to appear where before there had been none, window boxes with bright blossoms appearing as well trellises covered with ivy. The closer they got to Aza's home, the flatter the ground became. Below them, all of Caspar was visible but it was a mere blemish in the wide expanse of ocean that suddenly spread out before them and engulfed most of the view. "We're here...but we need to go round the back to get to the stables." She stopped in front of a white-painted gate, pale roses studding the flower beds that greeted guests while a stone pathway led to a wide set of steps that led up to the front door. Even the entrance was grand, the double wooden doors taller than the average man and carved with all manner of things such as flowers, birds and animals. Aza entered through the gate, always looking around as she held it open for him to follow. Now that they were back in 'enemy territory', her facade from before was beginning to fall back into place. Her posture was stiff, eyes steely and empty as she made her way around the side of her house. They walked along a path contained within repeated arches that made an almost tunnel-like structure, white creeping roses twisting up the metal framework. Two oaks shaded the tunnel, looming above them and providing speckled sunlight through the gaps in their leaves. After a following the path that curved and twisted along a green expanse of grass, they entered into an almost forest-like group of trees that signified that the edge of the property was near. "There it is." She said quietly, pointing out the wooden structure with it's exterior of feather-edged wooden cladding a dark grey colour and roof of stucco. She led him down the remainder of the path that had become unrefined, a simple dusty line where the grass no linger grew from the foot-traffic that stepped on it. @Ellipsis
  5. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    His acceptance of her offer brought a lightened feeling to her head, as if a spot of sunlight had just appeared inside her mind. He was rapid in his response...eager too. The undiluted clarity of his wanting to take up the room delighted her further. The man had some elated form of relief clearly evident on his face, but he soon got this under control as he responded in a more dull manner. I wonder why he does that? Shows unabashed emotion and then retreats from it? She cringed as he tripped, wondering if he would go straight into the ground as she had done when they first met. He recovered easily though, somehow saving himself the trouble of getting covered in dirt and fallen leaves. "Are you alright?" She asked with a light chuckle, ducking her head down to look at him when his hood suddenly obscured his features. The girl could still see nothing though, his dark hair falling into his face. Aza persisted in her pace, the walk teetering on a jog with how fast she was stepping. Although she was happy that he had said yes to staying in the stable, there was still underlying worry about her making it back in time to get to the tea. "I don't mean to rush you but we must hurry and go faster." She was genuinely worried about his almost-fall, concern flickering across her face as she looked him over from head to toe. She couldn't let her worry make her slow though or else there was no chance she was going to make it in time. Leaving the gardens and the serenity they offered brought an ache to the girl, especially known that she was leaving it to face an afternoon of pretentious and pompous behavior of the other Noble's children. @Ellipsis
  6. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    She was bouncing on the balls of her feet, making a checklist of the things she needed to do before the tea began. I can't show up like this....I'll need to change. Make up an excuse for how long I've been gone too. Her thoughts were silenced though by his question, the girl's mind easily sliding back towards the male. He wants to see me again? The question was said with awe among the inner happenings of her mind, the female's uptight posture suddenly relaxing somewhat. "I would like that. To see you again, that is." His guarded and neutral expression was back, something different in his eyes though. They were not so impassive, a secret thought there hiding among the flecks of purple. What are you thinking? She nodded her head after saying this, further confirming the answer she had given. Then another thought crossed her mind, the female's brows coming to meet together in the space where the bridge of her nose began. "Where are you going to go?" She began to walk back along the way they had come, her steps a lot faster-paced than before. Aza did not wish to go, feeling her desire to remain and talk like heavy stones in her stomach. The cost was too great though and the consequences of not showing face at the tea would be tremendous. "If you don't have any ideas yet, there's this empty stable room at the back of my father's estate. The stable-keeper usually stays there, but he is away for a few days visiting family in-land. It's only temporary, until you can find better accommodation." She couldn't believe what she was saying, but some small part of her liked knowing that he wouldn't be too far away. @Ellipsis
  7. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    Sitting in the middle is already tearing me apart. Two people living in one body and there's not enough room for both. She traced a pattern in the wood grain, following the lines of the fibres there. She noticed how conflicted the man had become, his aura becoming pained and almost frantic. Whatever it was that had made him decide to be here, it must have been truly horrifying. His uncertainty in terms of his purpose in life had exposed a new aspect to him that contrasted the man she had initially met. She waited until he finished speaking, then responded in a tone that was light and soothing. After noting the careful and vulnerable manner in which he had shared his reason for traveling to Caspar, she did not wish to pry too deeply. "Whatever it was, it brought you here. You didn't die at sea or get eaten by some mythical beast during the journey so there must be some purpose waiting for you here. The fates can only carry you so far though. I have to find my way soon just as you will need to." The anger he spoke of seemed ill-befitting. The man beside her now had cared when Karrissa had made an appearance while every other noble she knew would have tossed her to the wolves for the sake of self-preservation. She tried to imagine Nat as this rage-fueled monster and found that it was most difficult. The girl tried to comfort him, offering up a warm smile and placed her hand on his arm for but a moment. "Whatever happened, it made you who you are now. While it would be best not to repeat it, you still had the opportunity to learn from it." What could have happened that he felt the need to flee? Espionage, death, disaster? Just then, the bell tower that stretched above the harbor below them began to toll, the resonating bell sounds making the girl stand up straight. She counted the number of gongs, growing more anxious as the gongs continued. One....two....three.....four....five gongs? Thats five hours past nine am. Oh No....the tea! Her eyes widened to the size of saucers, the girl gathering her cloak and swinging it around her and pulling the hood up. "I hate to do this but I really need to go. If I don't get back home soon, there's going to be heaps of trouble waiting for me."Her voice was frantic and rushed, the female clipping the cloak closed with fingers that couldn't seem to do the action fast enough. It was normal for her to be out for some time in the morning, but her absence would definitely be noticeable if she was late for the tea. Not only would she displease her father but she would be adding even more ammo to the gun Karrissa had aimed at her head. @Ellipsis
  8. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    Azayla found herself growing warm from the summery breeze, the girl unclipping her cloak and folding it over the bridge railing carefully. Underneath, the wide-scoop-collared frock she wore revealed her clavicles as well as a toned yet non-too petite figure. She turned to lean her own back against the railing, mimicking his stance. His response brought a redness to her cheeks, her gaze dropping to her feet for a moment. He likes that I'm different? That is unusual. So far, my different way of thinking had only landed me warring chains of thought and a few slip ups that might have shamed my family. She watched him carefully, noticing how he had shifted from a confident individual to one who was almost bashful. The change was astounding. She folded her hands neatly in front of her, a small smile gracing her features as she turned her head to look at him. "Being lost....I hadn't really thought of it that way until now. In some way, I'm glad I've come to the realization while knowing that simultaneously I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm also happy that you don't think of my being different as a negative thing. Most of the Hilltop residents would if they knew the truth." Aza fidgeted with the folds of her dress, letting him finish speaking before asking her next question. "What made you become so lost....and turned your path towards arriving in Caspar? You speak as if you had purpose before but it was taken away from you." She had listened carefully to every one of his words, trying not to jump to conclusions and formulate her own assumptions but rather wait to see what his answer would be. People didn't just come to Caspar from a land so far away for no reason. @Ellipsis
  9. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    His next question brought on a new tide of confusion. Azayla propped her elbow up on the railing, resting her chin in her hand while gazing out over the stream. Who would have thought that such a short string of words could make me look so inwardly and question every facet of my character. She knew there were so many reasons and struggled to narrow it down to those of the highest importance. Eventually, after a moment of silence, she spoke again. "I...well....there's a lot of influences. I've grown up with certain expectations. As I've grown older, with knowledge of what these expectations are, the first thing I want to do or say lately goes against these expectations. So, I've built up the facade, this other me, that knows how to think and act so that I don't rock the boat." A soft breeze made leaves rustle around them, carrying a floral perfume of all the flowery scent combined towards them. "In a way, I feel like a trout being forced to swim downstream when it knows it should be going the other way. Secondly, my father's title is of a notable standard and bearing his name carries some weight. With his position, both him and whoever he is associated with is under constant scrutiny. Upper society is stuck in it's ways and the higher you are on the wrung of society, the more people look up to you. That's what my father likes to say in any case." Aza sighed softly, plucking a small honeysuckle flower from where the plant had wrapped itself around the bridge framing. She rolled the blossom between her fingers before tossing it into the gently flowing waters below. "Higher-born children are taught to be exclusive. Aloof. I've known no other ways except those I've grown with. I try to be my own person, but the end result is this incongruent, unrecognizable mish-mash of a personality that is often at war with itself." She felt exposed and raw. Like she had been scrubbing and scrubbing away the mask of her outward persona until there was nothing but new and sensitive skin beneath. A new self, so to speak. "Now it's my turn to ask a question. Why did you choose to help me back in the market?" This was the first of many questions she wished to ask, the female averting the attention away from herself after feeling like she had figuratively stripped herself down to the bone. @Ellipsis
  10. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    She mentally stumbled at his question, her mind having been preparing herself for what he would ask and building up a repertoire of answers. Aza had thought herself prepared for what was to come. However, with one swift query all her pre-concieved ideas on how she was going to explain to him what had happened back in the market all came tumbling down like a house made of straw. How do I even begin to answer? Do I even know the answer myself? Of course that statement seemed preposterous. Anyone should know who they were. However, Azayla had become so used to putting on masks from the moment she opened her eyes each day that the question felt like he had taken a dagger and sliced her down the middle to examine what lay within. The female dragged in a breath, releasing it slowly as she collected her thoughts. "That's a good question." She began, hand coming up to brush some of her honey coloured curls off and over her shoulder once she had pulled down her cloak hood. The birds carried on with their merriment, a pair of sparrows scooping low to the side of them. The female turned to gaze at them, suddenly feeling uncomfortable at the prospect of laying the truth out in the open. She thought of it as a child-like thing, vulnerable to the cold and easily knocked over by too strong a gust of wind. The gardens seemed as safe a place as any thought to let it free to so that it might frolic among the heather and jasmine. "I guess I should start simply then. I am a merchant guild-man's only daughter, although you might have pieced that together by now. I am a young woman of upper society who has to watch what they do, what they say...even how they feel. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is something of a weakness that many like to use to their advantage." She thought back to Karrissa, wondering if she had told anyone of her run in with Aza in the market. The girl was quite certain it was so. The female grew more serious, lips forming a thin, pale line before she continued. "I am like a sheep among wolves dressed in their fur as a disguise. Or maybe a wolf among sheep if the flock mentality of the other noble youth is to be considered. I do not share the wants of those who surround me although I feel that I should appreciate what I have more considering others have a much harder life. I do not trust easily. Too many people have betrayed me in the past and so I feel that the only person I can truly confide in is myself. I am...different to the others my age from the Hilltop. Unsettled. Why, I do not know." The words were leaving her more easily the more she spoke. It was easier to let the flood gates open though she did not look at Nat for fear that his judgement of her would be written on his face. Her sapphire irises remained on the pair of sparrows, following them in their flight around the garden. They came to one of the wooden bridges, Aza's footsteps echoing across the water as she moved from treading on stone to the wood of the bridge's walkway. "I am afraid and restless. Weary of needing to keep a facade in place that seems harder and harder to maintain." She stopped there, both in her words and her walking. She was at the peak of the bridge's arch, the female turning and resting her arms against the bridge's railing. Aza only looked at him then, her facial expression unguarded. Her eyes had softened while speaking, the icy blue reflecting her honesty in what she had said as she searched his face for any hint at his hidden thoughts. @Ellipsis
  11. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    He used her full name. The action made her wind up tightly like a coiled spring, an instinctive reaction after her experiences with her father in an argument. He started off speaking to her the same way, using her name like the trigger piece of a cannon. It was the thing that set off his explosive words from a usually calm and put-together man. There was one thing she knew and it was that she alone could anger him to a raised voice. Apparently it was a trait she had acquired from her late mother and Aza found some comfort in that. However, Natheniel spoke the word softly. It was like a bird being cradled in a palmed hand rather than the shortening fuse of a grenade. She still waited in anticipation though, expecting the worst after the false start she had given with him. His next words though eased the tension in her, making the girl unwind with the relief that brought a rosy-hue back to her face after Karrissa's arrival had made it pale and taut. "I appreciate you giving me the chance. The gardens will be a suitable setting with less prying ears." She pulled her hood up (the female not willing to go through another confrontation like the one with Karrissa) and cut directly through the crowd to make a beeline for one of the empty side-streets branching off from the main road. The street twisted up and round, tall trees standing like a welcoming committee at the top and signalling the entry to the gardens. The fenced off area held all variety of vegetation, another reflection on the diversity of Caspar. Tall trees were sparsely distributed, clumping around in certain areas or being dotted around randomly in others. Wild fig twisted around the thick trunks while brush and flowers covered all of the ground not belonging to the designated paths. Ponds and streams made small natural waterfalls and fountains, wooden bridges decorated with ivy crossing some of these waterways. Blooms of every colour studded the foliage and came in a variety of all shapes and sizes, some hanging low so that you had to duck underneath the arches they grew upon while others sprung up from the ground like gems seeking the light and adoration of the world. "This place and the cliff near my home is one of my favourite places to go. It's quiet and allows for isolation with all the paths." She said to Nat, birdsong piercing the air while the winged creatures flitted about the trees in a sort of aerial dance. @Ellipsis
  12. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    Gone was the happier expression Nat had easily displayed but a moment earlier. Azayla felt the loss like a blow to her stomach that pushed all the air and fight out of her. Karrissa was usually smug and downright purposefully irritating, but her actions now seemed to have a crueler streak than usual. Whether or not that was just because of her change in strategy in how she frustrated Aza was still confusing her. It was either that or the fact that this situation was one she was not too familiar with. While she was used Karrissa attacking her personally, she was not used to the extroverted red-headed trying to get to her by using people she cared about. This latter realization made the girl pause. Why did she care? Nat had only just met her. There had just been something about his bright eyes in the normal sea of blue, green or brown gazes that had somehow caught her attention and made her think differently...or was it just the oddity of him being here altogether? She set these confusing thoughts aside as he spoke, Aza already bracing for the news that he would be staying. Karrissa's charm was well known and it wouldn't surprise the girl that the female's allure and attention would convince him to remain behind. Instead of disappointment though, his words brought a shell-shocked expression to both the red-head and Azayla. He's...playing along with what I said? Even after he knows I wasn't completely honest? Valerie tilted her head to the side as she had earlier, her previously stoic expression morphing into one of neutral understanding laced with confusion Karrissa on the other hand stood gape-mouthed like a venus fly trap, her jaw suddenly clamping shut as if a fly had just flown in. "You're...a merchant? Oh. How surprising." While she didn't retreat completely, her advances did reduce to her being merely overly-interested in his presence.The female took a step back, not wanting to disrespect the man more than she already had with the invasion of his personal space. "I apologize for my presumptions, it just seems an unlikely- I mean unusual- scenario that Azayla be asked to escort you rather than one of the house servants. That's what is normally customary in Caspar. Perhaps things are done differently in Taris." She linked an arm with Lagatha, the girl's wide-eyes gaze not leaving Nat after the sudden abrupt manner Karrissa had been dealt with. "Best we be going then, I shall be seeing you soon Aza." Azayla's nickname in the girl's mouth sounded more like verbal poison, the syllables spoken with such disregard that one would think they were thorns being rolled around on Karrissa's tongue rather than letters. "Indeed you shall..." the girl said bluntly, watching the black dress spin haughtily as the red-headed disappeared into the crowd with her mousy acquaintance. With the troublesome pair gone, Azayla's shoulder's suddenly slumped from where she had been standing straight-backed and under scrutiny. She sighed deeply, running her fingers through her hair at the roots while turning to the male. "I have some explaining to do...although I understand if you wish to part ways and skip my attempt at an explanation." she said quietly, feeling the weight of the truth and guilt sitting on her shoulders. @Ellipsis
  13. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    Azayla knew she would be caught out by Karrissa's words, the fear and worry of what Nat thought of her now making her chest squeeze tightly. She chewed on her lower lip, her fear tainted with an anger and irritation that was aimed at the red-headed girl. The girl seemed none the wiser, giving the man a honeyed smile as she appraised him like a prime piece of livestock that had been placed on a sale block. "My my....Taris of all places? That seems awfully far to come to be kept in such miserable company as soon as you arrived." She did not even look at Azayla as she said this, the female loosening her grip and releasing the other girl. Instead, her long, feminine fingers came to trace along the man's shoulder. If she was a cat, her purring would be audible from a mile away. Of course there was the added benefit of getting on Aza's nerves, but Karrissa's main motivation for her actions had plenty to do with the fact that the man was not a sore sight for her eyes to appraise. Aza's eyes narrowed, clutching the bread tighter against her chest. "We...should get going. It's going to get busy around here soon with lunch." She knew that she had already dug her grave with her initial twisting of the truth. She just wished to scurry away before Karrissa could make it any worse. The female sighed deeply, exhaling long and silently from her nose as she watched how Karrissa seemed to be trying to commit Nat's appearance to memory. What saddened her greatly was that his suddenly straightened posture and stiff stature was taken as a sign of disappointment. She could not even begin to understand how she was going to explain to the male her motivation for not explaining to him who she was from the beginning. It seemed I will have plenty to regret by the end of today. No doubt that witch is already spinning the story she's going to tell anyone who will listen. "You can go on home Az, leave Natheniel with Aggie and I. I'm sure I can show him where you live as soon as we're done talking. I'm sure he has plenty of stories about Taris he can share." Karrissa traced her finger back up his arm, eager to make the other young woman as uncomfortable as possible. She knew it was working by the hardness that tainted the Az's eyes. Was Azayla...jealous? The feeling she was experiencing was unfamiliar and therefore could not be distinguished. However, what she did know was that seeing the red-headed girl draping herself over the male made her hands ball into fists and her teeth clench together until the muscle in her jaw feathered. If only I could use my dagger...then we would see just how smug you are. @Ellipsis
  14. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    Azayla grasped the wrapped loaves, holding them under her left arm before turning to exit the tent. The sudden assault of sunlight compared to the dimness inside the tent made her squint, the girl needing to pause as she was about to lift her cloak hood over her head. They had rejoined the busy bustle of the street outside, Aza's eyes scanning the faces of those around her as she sought the sight of a head with piled up red hair that would indicate the near presence of Karrissa. Nat walked closely to her, his presence a recognizable force even though she could only just make him out in her peripheral vision. The effect it had was....calming. As someone who rarely enjoyed other people invading the immediate space around her, Aza found that this was something of a comfort rather than an annoyance. A figure then bumped into her from behind, sending the loaves of bread tumbling to the street at her feet. She bent to pick them up, the individual who had jostled her speaking in an irritated tone behind her. "Watch were you're going! I swear, people are so clumsy around here...Hold on a second..." Her voice was sharp and piercing, words spoken harshly. The girl they belonged to stood with her hands on her hips, the red hair Azayla had been looking for arranged in an intrictae mess of braids while a scowl graced the delicate feature's of Karrissa's face. She was beautiful in the simplest sense. However, her porcelain face and doll-like features didn't quite seem to fit with the ever present snarl waiting at the ready on her red-painted lips. It showed itself now, elegant brows furrowing and breaking any misconception that her beauty on the outside would reflect inwardly too. Aza held the loaves close to her chest, straightening to turn and apologize to whoever had knocked into her. At the sight of the girl there though, she froze, feeling an immediate panic fill her while her throat seemed to squeeze so tight that she couldn't breath. Just keep a level head. Respond, then leave. No need to let her get any information as to what is going on. If you reveal anything vaguely interesting it will have reached every hilltop youth's ears before sundown. Karrissa gasped, the over-dramatic sound emphasized by the manicured hand that came up to cover her O-shaped mouth. "I'd recognize that blonde head anywhere...what are you doing in the market Azayla?" Her eyes scanned her up and down, the doe-like irises making Azayla feel like a carcass being stripped of meat. The girl remained stoic though, chin lifted and mouth set into a thin-line. She'd dealt with Karrissa before and knew she needed to be careful around this viper in disguise. Karrissa's father worked alongside hers, the pair owning many of the merchant ships that traveled these waters, but the girl had made it something of a mission to keep Aza on her toes and on edge whenever she was around. Karrissa's eyes looked over her from head to toe, the doe-like gaze then turning to notice Nat who would have had to stop near her when she went to pick up the bread. The red-head raised a brow, mouth curling to the side in a snide smile as she spoke again. "What on earth are you wearing? And who is your friend over here...a new chaperone perhaps? I sure do hope so, we all know the rules about hanging around the harbor alone." Her words dripped with fake concern, lips pursing as her grin widened. Lagatha stood like a silent sentry beside her, brown eyes glancing between Azayla and Karrissa without saying a word. She had always followed the other girl around like a wandering pup, too meek to have any say in what went on and always going along with what Karrissa said. "Not that it is any of your business Karrissa, but I came to acquire some loaves for the tea later today. As for him, he's...a friend. Someone visiting my father. Speaking of which I must get going so that he's not late..." Karrissa grabbed her forearm, halting Azayla's attempt to turn and leave. "Why go so soon? Why not stay and chat to Aggie and I...maybe apologize for your rudeness in not allowing me to introduce myself to your, ah, friend." She said the last word as if it were a pastry melting in her mouth, the girl turning to look at Nat with a sugary sweetness coating her previously harsh expression. Karrissa used her free hand to straighten the non-existent creases in her black dress, the outfit exorbitantly decorated with satin ribbons a deep navy colour and fine black lace. She was suddenly very concerned with her appearance at realization that Nat was indeed part of Aza's company. @Ellipsis
  15. ... Of Crossing Paths ...

    The food-seller was not used to the way the other man clasped his forearm, momentary confusion passing over his face but he took it in his stride. He leaned against the counter on both arms after the greeting, holding himself up. "Well, ya were told correctly...at least when it comes to bread tha' is. Been kneading dough since I cou' stand and don' plan on stoppin' until I'm in ma grave. What will it be then?" He motioned across the entire counter, words scribbled onto strips of wood to identify what was stuffed in each of the loaves. "I'll have the apple loaf. You were right in saying I enjoyed it last time." The girl said after a moment of thought, hands held loosely at her side as she waited for Nat to decide. She stiffened though, suddenly aware of a voice she recognized moving towards the tent. It was one of the youth, a girl who lived down the road from her. The high-pitched, overly-pronounced words that came shooting from the individual could belong to none other than Karrissa. A grimaced overcame the girl, the female hesitating as to whether or not she should hide or remain where she was. If Karrissa spread word that she was gallivanting about unaccompanied, which was just about a certainty, she would hear no end of it. It would also mean a quick end to an adventure that had barely begun with a man she hadn't gotten to know yet and Aza wasn't ready for that. "I asked for red, Lagatha. The sash she gave me was maroon. Why would I pay for something I didn't order? I told the seamstress just that and you should have seen how she scurried once I threatened to complain. It was absolutely marvelous!" The girls sharp voice reached her ears, growing ever closer. Azayla could only assume that the girl's lackey (Lagatha), a shorter,mouse-haired girl, was toting along while they shopped. This is not good....if they see me I might as well offer up my head to my father on a silver platter. Azayla waited for Nat to finish ordering, then said in as calm a voice as she could "Is it okay that we have the loaves to go, Jon?" The man looked at her curiously, his moustache twitching to the one side at the change in plans compared to the norm. "Ya usually stick around fer a small chat, but I guess we all have things ta do, especially with te equinox festival gettin' close." He hurried with packing the chosen loaves into brown paper wrapping that he secured with string, sliding it towards the pair as Aza placed three copper coins on the countertop. "Thanks again Jon." She turned to Nat, trying to suppress the urgency in her tone as she said "The gardens provide a good view of the city. Do you want to eat there?" The girl from her neighbourhood was getting closer. The louder her voice became, the bigger the lump that was stuck in Azayla's throat grew.