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Kalmuli

Teller's Respite

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"Oh I very much believe it. Kamuli was an incessant shopper, and in another life, she had penchant for knitting. Clothing and the love for it is in the core of her being. I can imagine that it provides a sense of kinship between you two. How the house is not covered in fabric is a stunning compromise. However, I need only look at the so called 'closet' and realize that there is plenty of room for such a work. I would not be surprised if one of her income markets is a textile industry."

Kala smiled widely. "Not that I mind a good outfit myself, but I do prefer a good slimming robe that accents form fitting leggings and a comfortable undershirt that can fold open. With these I prefer open necks but I don't mind a turtle neck when it is not a factor, or when the weather is suitably cold. But Kalmuli always tries to put me in lavish suits that are far too garish. Some of them are quite handsome for an occasion, but too often I find myself in trouble, or not wanting to be too conspicuous. Black and purple stands out enough as it is. But  I admit... I fancy the color of my mothers wings. Aside form her kindness they are the most stand out memory I have of her - she died when I was born, you see. Only in the shifting of my time was I able to meet her, and just the once out of all my lifetimes."

Her smile fade to something more sullen. "My heart could not take the weight of doing it again." 

With a moment, Kala looked about the grouping for a moment. Gizelle was one she would ask in private. She knew Hiegel's tale, Plume would have plenty of opportunity to discuss in the construction of Kala's tools, and Niles spoke of her hertiage back at the garden. There would be time for each to elaborate privately and there was little else she could ask that would not be an intensely private question, so instead, her thoughts turned inward. "It actually occurs to me that I have not spoken in depth of my Paradox, or any other major function... did any of you wish to learn more tonight?"

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Brenna laughed, though Kalmuli didn't really join in. She sat with her wine, twisting the end of her hair as she seemed to be a bit distant. Something that Plume looked worried about considering that she was usually pretty talkative. Brenna, however, let her sit at the end of the table and sort through her thoughts. "Oh believe me, I want to open my own business. I have so many ideas about fabrics and designs, I'll need an army of my own just to get them all made."She said with a laugh. "Though I have seen some of the items she's picked. It may be gaudy in some regard, but pairing it with the right layers makes an outfit. I'll have to show you one day."

Brenna would reach over to pluck a few more items for dinner. She started picking at the vegetables, munching and setting it down to pat her mouth to speak again. "Though purple works with your cooler skin tone. Stick to cool tones, it will take you far."She said with a grin and looked around the table. "Though, each one of us has a color of the rainbow we get to work with. I personally love warmer colors like orange and yellows. You may have to work with Gizelle on the purples."

Gizelle seemed to perk up on the prospects of learning more about the Paradox. Seeing it on paper in the journals didn't do it justice.  "Well...Perhaps at another time."She said, conceding considering the condition of their leader at the end of the table...Who seemed to have gone missing. "I'd like to grab a few of the journals to compare notes....but...has anyone seen where the Baroness has gone?"

The Valkyries looked to the end of the table, seeing the spot empty and some of them looked under the table. Gizelle would sigh, getting up. "I'll go check the Nip room and drag her back."She said as she moved the napkin off of her lap. 

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Kala was mute. She noted the leave and decided to follow. There was no further reason for her to explain why or apologize to the remainder. They would continue to have the conversation at a later time. 

As she passed Gizelle, she tapped the woman gently on her shoulder to indicate that she wanted to have responsibility for this aspect. After all, it was the first time Kala had given Kalmuli a hard rebuke since returning that was more than just correction and lecture. This was a personal boundary Kala had checked Kalmuli on, and it needed to be discussed and clarified. The only one who can do that, who could reassure Kalmuli of her place and confidence in this case, was Kala herself - at least that was the thought process running through the Avion's mind as she zipped down the hall. 

She used her light weight to her advantage and hers sense of bond with Kalmuli to guide her almost flight-like steps. She did not care where she was going, only that she was following the trail. The sent, the sensation, and Kalmuli's impact on the aether. The light steps belied the growing weight in her heart. Kala was indelicate, but not uncaring. The Avion hoped that her firm stance was not too much for the elfish beloved to bear.

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Gizelle furrowed her brow, watching Kala dash off in hopes of finding Kalmuli. They knew her hiding spots and whenever the Baroness went to mope, she found a place where she could be alone or sate her personal desires. She would follow behind Kala but only to check some of the other rooms just in case. 

Though Niles had given Kalar a clue earlier about where Kalmuli liked to hide and the trail would lead to the tower of the manor that was her 'nest'. Though it looked like a normal wooden door, on the lock there was a dial and the upper right corner of the door, a metal disc with the same colors. Gizelle wasn't far behind Kala, approaching the Avion carefully. "Be careful...If you choose the wrong color, you could end up in a totally different space than intended."She said, gesturing to the dial. "She's usually in the green space..."

She would furrow her brow and look back to Kala. "I'll be in the hall if you need help."She offered before she backed up. 

Inside the 'Nest'...

Kalmuli had buried herself in as many pillows as she could, weighed down by the mass of them. The weight of it was comforting and the dark underneath, a little shelter from the light in the room. It was a numbing feeling...dark, heavy and a little suffocating. Kalmuli could hear talking on the outside of the door, burying herself deeper until she was just a lump among other lumps. 

Kala had scolded her...but it was less about feeling like a slap on the hand but more or less, feeling like she was being rejected. That Kala and Kalar was already getting tired of her...Kalmuli's eyes watered a little at the thought. Her chest felt like there was a corset around it getting tighter and tighter. 

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Kala nodded to Gizelle and did what she was told, giving a thankful smile before closing the door immediately behind her in the room with Kalmuli.

She looked at the pile of pillows and the woman she knew was hiding under it, and remained silent a long moment. Instead of simply internalizing her thoughts and feelings, however, Kala, in a softer tone, spoke her thoughts aloud.

"This room feels a bit too familiar to be comfortable." Kala stated quietly. "It feels like where I hid myself away, when everything collapsed. Hm." 

Kala leaned over and plucked a pillow from the edge of the pile, pulling it to the side and setting it open, before folding her legs and sitting herself on top of it. Another long pause, another quite moment in which Kala let herself just breath and Kalmuli get adjusted to her presence there.

"You know, if I was my birth gender right now, my heart would be thundering in my chest. I would be panicked at the thought that you'd grow bitter at my reprimand, resent me for talking as such after all I've done, and then push me away. But I see you here and I think I might a bit more ware about how you feel. It's a bit similar, yes?  So, I'll say this again and please hear me: I'm not going anywhere, Fae. Not unless you want me gone." Kala had less of the hangups Kalar did, but even then, the female form could only manage the pet name version that they shared together privately. At least for now. But even offering that hopefully was enough.

Kala's hand fiddled into her robe a moment and she tilted her head. "Can you come out and talk a while? I think it would do us some good to clear the air... even in here."

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Kalmuli heard the door open and close, light feet wandering into the room. She was surprised Kala herself had made it in considering the space was not very large. She listened, face planted on the floor at the bottom of the stack of pillows and pressing her lips into a thin line. She felt a pillow move from the side, a few of the stack sliding off revealing just the back of her head and shoulders.  She didn't move though, keeping still under the stack.

Reprimand...She was just getting scolded. Scolded for being overly perverted. Overly enthusiastic. Overly eager. Usually people just dealt with it and she was able drain herself and them out until things just grew more apathetic. Kala didn't take it. She put the stopper on it. Whatever Kalmuli did Kala wouldn't let her go too far with it...and it felt like she was being weaned off of old habits.

Something she wasn't ready for. 

At Kala's request, Kalmuli moved, the pillows falling off of her while she sat up. She would grab one of the cushions decorated with fur, holding onto it while surrounded by a mountains of others. She didn't look her in the eye but she was sitting up with a pillow fort of defense. "That's...the closest you've gotten to saying my name..."She muttered, squeezing the pillow a little harder. "...and I don't want you gone...I...want you closer..."

She finally looked up, looking glassy-eyed at the female version across from her. "I just don't want you to run away again...Not again...Not from something I did..."

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"You'd have to do something really terrible for me to be even remotely in the realm of considering that. And that terrible is relative, you have an idea of what things I've seen." Kala said with a chuckle, looking at her with kind and patient eyes. "Just because I cannot, or will not keep up with the pace of your sexual drive does not mean that I suddenly hate you. But it does mean we have things to talk about."

Kala pulled her hand out from her pocket and held the object she was fiddling with in front of her to show Kalmuli, it was his part of the pair of wedding rings that betrothed their original selves together. "We've been through rougher waters. I don't think you'll need to be leaping off of any cliffs to reach me with how you feel this time. But I do want to say that this time... I may have some experience in what your going through emotionally. And... I think you're smart enough to know that it's just not really working for you. You're still running to the next thrill, you... just switched from combat to copulation."

Kala sighed and shook her head. "You know what happens after the sex stopped being so thrilling for me? The next step in the process? I can tell you're headed there. Duty. You'll take the title of Baroness more seriously, or you'll get full into the Fateweaver business you're wrapped up in. The idea of purpose will eat away at you cause you keep looking for that feeling that's going to fill that gaping hole inside. And these things handed to you seem like good things, worthwhile things. I'm noticing a bit more of that as well happening."

Kala adjusted her seating leaned in a bit to offer the ring for Kamuli to hold the ring herself for a while. "Sorry if that seems a bit blunt - but that's how I got to be who I am: Those same steps. I eventually realized something, and it's not really good news." 

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Kalmuli's brow furrowed...she clutched the pillow tighter. Her eyes looked down at the ring in her hand, hesitantly reaching out to touch it and look at it. She ran her fingers over the smooth metal, looking at the etching in the band. It was there alright...real. She reached to her neck a moment to the broach that kept her scarf in place. When she pressed the sides, it opened with a small click and inside it, was a thinner and more feminine band. She removed it and looked at the pair side by side.

"No...and knowing I can't really die from it makes it pointless."She said, looking down at the rings. 

In her hands though, were the rings of someone else.

Of peoples and creatures who weren't trapped by an unending Paradox. She looked up to Kala. "Copulation...sex...since I started working for the Fates, its the only thing I can feel. Something that's corporeal and I can make it useful."She said, closing her hand around the rings and wrapped her arms back around the pillow. "If it's not a metaphysical hole I can't fill...at least I have two or three that can be. I can feel that. I know that it's satisfied for the time being...and I can go on like normal."

Kalmuli buried her face back in the pillow. "I feel normal...and I haven't had that normal for a long...long time."She shook her head, letting out a shuddering sigh. "And I am CRAVING it badly...seeing you again..."

She looked back up. "I feel like I'm hungrier than I've ever been before. Every little bit of you...male...female...naked...clothed...wings or no wings...I feel like someone who's hadn't had a proper meal in years."She tucked her face back down. "I want to have more of you until I'm satisfied and can't take anymore...but I don't know if I can. I know you won't let me...it's too damaging as is...but I have never been so hungry before. Putting yourself in a small room with me may be a mistake...There's nothing stopping me from doing terrible things again."

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"What you do isn't a terrible thing... what it's doing to you is terrible. What you are doing to you is terrible. And I want to help you heal. That is all."

Kala pulled in closer and held a hand up. "I haven't done this in a while, so I apologize. But at the very least I can help you gain a small measure of control... by doing what I've been avoiding. By letting you in. By empathizing with you. Perhaps then you may get a sense of how I really feel. And why this won't be quick or easy for either of us."

With her hands she slowly removed her gloves and looked at Kalmuli in her eyes. "You may want me now... but you want me as a addict wants her fix and as much as I want you in turn I know doing it your way won't be healthy for either of us. So my bounds are this... we take it slow. For now... I want to offer you this, a way to connect that isn't sexual. A way to feel warm when your insides are cold. It may not be the same and it may not solve the problem... but it is a way to make good on my promise that I am here for you."

Kala tilts her head. "Take my hand, Fae, if you trust me. I won't invade your mind or take anything from you. This will be one way, like the heat of my flesh. It won't stop your desires but I hope with time it will help you let it take a better shape."

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Kalmuli moved her face looking up with a deep furrow to her brow. She knew it was terrible...in her body, she felt how much pain it caused and how much it didn't take the pain away. Kalmuli looked down to Kala's hand. She hesitated, reaching cautiously over. "Drugging or just attaching me to a machine for a while until I'm wore out completely could do the same."She said, trying a bit of dark humor. 

She would shuffle a little closer, moving her hand away a moment to switch the rings into another hand and then reached out. She would wrap her hand with Kala's, looking at the Avion woman in front of her. "Can you blame me though...few people have a connection like we do."She said as she looked down at their joined hands. 

"Warmth is better than feeling cold in this room...it still gets chilly."She said as she moved a little closer but kept at arm's length. "I'm always cold Kal..."

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Kalmuli could feel it in their touch so intensely that it created an almost physical representation in her mind. She stood at the top of a damn, a cavernous drop behind her where she saw the water, the expressed emotion, pour out with gentle control behind it. The emotion she saw. But on the other side she saw the crested water of emotion behind the wall now. A mixture of deep loves and pains always hidden away. Churning, and burbling, almost as if it boiled and tormented at the same time. In the waters she saw Kala's fear of Kalmuli's rejection, her leaving, her simply finding someone better suiting her aims. She saw the fear of Kalmuli drained and worn, looking like someone deprived of all life, having tapped the well of lust and emotions till its banking point and having not thing to grow from, to grow beyond, simply becoming an ever resetting husk for lifetimes.

Kalmuli could see Kala's own barely contained desire, wrapped tightly in guilt. The passionate encounters they both crave deeply endlessly occurring. They were mixed with more homely desires, up to and including the possibility of children. But all of it was checked behind concern, the worry of the sullen, empty face of Kalmuli, being less like herself and more like a mindless robot, lost to creature comfort.


Then she did not just see it emotionally but felt it down to the core. The broken seam in his being a fragment of madness all the way down that was held only by the weight of all other things. The part of him so broken, so maddened by grief that the right things said, or done would just tear all the mask away and leave a lunatic behind. One of those deep cracks being the devastation felt when losing Kalmuli, to giving into fear, and the failed attempt to create a world.

A world that bore her true-name - that was impossible to keep together.

Her kindness, her clam, their chemistry beyond the simple physical attraction, it helped keep him together, helped keep 'them' feeling normal, feeling welcomed. A sense of belonging that held the pieces together, gave something that resembled a whole. He strove to mixed success to hold himself together. Her presence helped salve that. But there was a redoubled strength to hold himself together seeing her torn so. To the point of willingly surrendering his natural state to put a stronger face forward for her, that could share in her fixes on occasion just to give her a moment of calm. But they knew it would only further rock the core.

If Kalmuli moved towards the waters they would shift rapidly, letting her gaze at the broken pieces but moving the bits that reacted to her to move forward, a warm wash of water slipping about. And the memory of how water always seemed to be a healing place for them surfaced in Kala's emotions. She would realize, physically, that Kala had approached to turn sit behind Kalmuli, draping her wings about her a moment in a gentle hug. And Kalmuli knew, if she concentrated on centering herself for just a while with her partner. Kala would not hold her emotions, or her desires back from her. But, for now, she wanted them both to work together to pull themselves together just for a moment and allow them both to breathe.

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Kalmuli knew this place...at least, a place comparable. In her own head space, hers was a mix between a desert and a jungle. Kalar's was a flowing dam that contained the fine line between calmness and desire. She stood on the fine wall between both sections, reading into them. On the outside, she felt a warmth like a heavy blanket about her while she read through the feelings Kala shared.

When her eyes opened, she was leaned against Kala with the warmth of the wings around them. She didn't feel cold...but at the same time, she felt wary of how close the Avion was at the moment. Especially since she had just told her that she didn't trust herself to not do something terrible. Kalmuli looked to Kala, bringing her hands up to hers and let out a tired sigh. "I...know. I know you want to help...but I..."She said, drawing herself up and easing herself to settle her head on the Avioness' lap. "I can't trust myself right now..."

She lay there, face buried on Kala's lap...but it didn't help much. She wanted what was between them. She wanted what was under the clothes, hidden from view. She could smell everything like someone had shoved it right up her nose. Kalmuli brought a hand to grip the caveat around her neck and her other hand tucked underneath her, keeping her hands away. "I can't trust myself around you right now...I won't want to hurt you...Us..."Her voice broke as did the dam keeping her eyes dry, feeling her eyes leaking as she cried. 

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"Shhh... it's okay. You may not trust yourself but I know you won't hurt me, even if you lose yourself. We will work together, love... so you can get control of yourself, of your life back." Kala spared a hand to gently pet at Kalmuli's head reassuring her. It took a long time for Kala to build her on control, her own center to work from, and even then there was a constant threat. It was this fear, this inner distrust that Kalmuli was thrashing with, that became a cornerstone, a start to work from. It was painful, wrenching. But at least here Kalmuli would have some form of comfort, even in her pain, that the person she was struggling for was there, and loved her all the more for her efforts.

"Here is what I will promise you. One session a day. You and I will take turns on the timing. Outside those times, we control ourselves. We keep the flirting subtle in public and try not to disturb people who are uncomfortable. People we trust, and are okay with our sharing we can talk openly about it with. We respect their boundaries and pay attention to their reactions. When alone, we can talk freely... and we should. Honestly. We should see how we can best be together. But it will not be the sole focus of our life together. I will help show you other ways of feeling whole again. Other things besides thrills that will ease the suffering. And we will both explore together the things that will bring our life the feeling of completion we both want."

Kala gently opened the set of hands that held the rings quietly and claimed them. "These will be ours again, when you feel ready." Kala was more than ready to state her vows again in that moment, but her dependency upon Kalmuli was in a different shape than Kalmuli's and right now, Kalmuli was not in a place where she felt right of mind to make that decision. The Avion would wait patiently for the day to come. For now, her beloved needed comfort, and assistance in refocusing herself after being lost for so many ages.

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Kalmuli shuttered as Kala's hand touched her head. That didn't provide much comfort. She wanted that hand too in places that were taboo to very few. She curled up tighter, sobbing in Kala's lap up until she heard the suggestion. Her body recoiled at the idea and she sat up, looking at Kala with her eyes running freely. "One? Just one?"She sniffed, sitting back and wiping her face but her eyes still kept flowing. "You're *sniff* you're trying to starve me..."She sobbed before she collapsed back on the floor again. 

Kalmuli didn't want to feel so contained but at the same time, she wasn't going to get any better. She cried on the floor, almost childishly considering that now one of her favorite things to do was going to be whittled down to nothing.  She never threw tantrums until now but it felt like the end of the world and she would never have the sweet taste of relief the same way she used to.

Was Kala really trying to kill her?

The rings were pried from her hands, Kala taking them away for the time being and Kalmuli felt more miserable without the one she wore about her neck. "Fuh-huh-huuukkk..."She sobbed, pounding her fist against a pillow. "Uuuuggggghhhh!"

Her body was rejecting the idea of smaller doses of...well...everything she craved at that moment. She grabbed a pillow, rolling across the room and then rolling back into the stack of pillows she had buried herself in before. 

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Kala paused for a moment as she watched the tantrum play out, it was only after a few moments of it that she reached her hand up and snapped her finger against her thumb. This created a loud cracking sound that would snap anyone to attention.

Kalmuli could feel pain, and a bit of indignation. This was all too familiar for Kala. Her words would likely be hurtful, because this time around, Kalmuli needed a wakeup call, even if Kala hurt herself with each word.

"Perhaps this is the real reason why you evade mirrors; to prevent yourself from having to face the state you are in." Kala stated in a hiss. "I wish for nothing more than to simply be with you constantly, but it will avail us naught. It would bring about the very same fate you fear or I fear. That one of us would tire of the other. And in the loss of such feeling we would grow to resent one another, forgetting all we have been through to get this far. Is this the fate you wish - to simply ruin one another? If all you want is me as your bedding fodder, you could have saved yourselves years of torment by having Maria craft you a homologous in my image."

The blue eyes shown in intensity, the dim light showing the tears streaming down the Avion's face in spite of her contorted appearance of anger, but her voice cracked and betrayed that she was breaking "I will not sit idly by while I watch the woman I love let herself be betrayed by her own body and tear herself apart from within. For your own sake, stop for one moment and look at yourself. Judge yourself not by my eyes, but by the woman you were. Let her tell you what you if gorging yourself in desires is worth shedding tears over. Remember what she shed tears for, and how she felt those times she held. them. back."

Kala looked like she had more to say, but she trembled, shook and collapsed. Perhaps years ago she had the fortitude to continue. But there were wounds still deep within her that were still breaking her down, and there was only so much energy that could be spent both on Kamuli, and in maintaining herself. And in this moment, she simply faltered, and slipped into quiet tears. Kalmuli wasn't the only wreck in the room.

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