Author Topic: Grounded Part 2  (Read 556 times)

Lirssa Sarengrave

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Grounded Part 2
« on: December 19, 2016, 11:40:28 AM »
Lirssa?s eyes opened and peered into the darker corners of a night enveloped room.  She breathed in and breathed out, but knew it was not a fear or a nightmare that had woken her.  It was longing.  Longing that nothing but a richer, darker black of space could fill.  No silence in the hallways of Old Temple could match the memory of that penetrating silence of being out among the stars.

This was not new.  And it did little more than rouse Aric from his slumber to hum a soft inquiry as she slipped from the bed and tucked the covers back close to him again.  ?Sleep.  I?m alright.?  And sleep he did, trusting her to tell the truth.

And what could she tell him?  She was alright.  Outside of her continued desire to recover her acrobatic talent and the strength and stamina that went with it, she was healthy.  She did not have nightmares to confess.  How does she tell him that she feels as she did those years ago when Shade tortured her body leaving her legs temporarily paralyzed?  That she feels partly dead inside and there is nothing he can do?  He isn?t supposed to fix her.  That isn?t his job.  She has to fix herself, but she doesn?t want to drag him down while she?s doing so.

It was that which kept waking her two hours before dawn with a heart sore.  The vacuum of her loss, not able to fly, strained at her every day.  There was no solution.  She could not afford a ship.  She had not afforded the first one.  It had been given to her needing repair.  Inferno would offer her a job.  Eventually.  If she could get her head straight, but then she would have to follow orders?

Lirssa found herself walking down the steps into the basement, pacing there where few walked and only one floated.  Thailin was just moving past the bottom of the stairs when Lirssa caught sight of him.  ?Did not mean to disturb you, Thailin,? she smiled her apology.

?Odd.?  He paused and looked at her with a curious lift of one brow.  ?Is it not more customary for the unliving to disturb the living??

With Thailin remaining where he was, arms folded with hands tucked into the robe sleeves, Lirssa walked past him and started to pace.  ?If it weren?t impolite to do so, I would say I feel half dead.?

?And yet you just said it.?  He followed her for a time.  It seemed he realized she was going to pace and finally stopped at the midpoint of her pacing.  ?I am not offended.  You have wandered these halls alone many nights since your resurrection.?

?I did not die,? she scowled.  She hated the idea of it.  That she had hurt some people.  People who ranked within her personal pantheon of deities.  That she had hurt Aric.  She rubbed at the middle of her chest.

?This is clear as you pace before me.?  Thailin did not sneer so much as one lip twitched.  ?What troubles you?  What that you cannot say to the Baron, your lover, the man who should know the most about your worries??

Lirssa groaned and threw a sharp glance Thailin?s way.  ?Don?t rub it in.  And I don?t say what bothers me to anyone, because...because?? she threw a fist into the opposite open palm.  ?Because people have it worse.  I know this.  I know I should be glad I?m alive and learn to adapt.  I?ve always adapted.  It?s just...I feel empty.  How can I tell him that as much as I love him I feel hollow??

Thailin was silent, but even his translucent form showed the furrowed brow of thought.  Until the brow relaxed and he answered simply, ?Because it is not him that troubles you.?

?No, no, not at all, but I just...I feel like I did when I lost the use of my legs temporarily.  I don?t know who I am anymore not being able to fly.  My skin crawls when I think of my ship and being under the stars.  I am half of what I was, who I was, and I can?t seem to adapt like I used to.  I was meant to be up there.  I?m trapped.?

It was a snicker.  Clearly voiced without hesitation or attempt to hide.  

?I don?t know that I ever asked how you died.?  Lirssa stopped her pacing to glare at him.

?You have not.?  And Thailin did not supply an answer to an unasked question.  ?You are not trapped.  That is more offensive to me than saying you feel half dead.  I am trapped.  Feeling you are trapped is an honest feeling, but one you will undoubtedly move out of.  But if you believe you are trapped, you will refuse to see openings to move.  You will want the path you know, the path you are comfortable walking, and not be open to possibilities.  When you lost your legs, what did you do then??

Lirssa rubbed her hands over her face, trying to focus and listen without the anger and misery controlling her words.  ?I was younger then.  I had not decided exactly what I wanted to do.  I was protected by my parents, they were with me, and helped me believe I could do something else than acrobatics.?

?Aric is with you.?  His name.  Not his title.

Turning, she rested her head against the wall.  ?For now,? she whispered.  Eyes clenched shut against that fear rolling up to magnify her despair.  ?I have to be strong.  I have to make my own way.  There are people counting on me, and I cannot provide...I have to fly.  I have to fly.?  She punched the wall.  The pain sprang from knuckles to elbow to shoulder then settled back again in her hand.  She saw the blood trickle from the broken skin.

She turned for the stairs and pounded her anger out in each step, forcing each step to be lighter, quieter until she reached the top.  Turning to look over her shoulder, she threw back to the specter,  ?Whatever it takes.?
Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven

Lirssa Sarengrave

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Re: Grounded Part 2
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 01:19:55 PM »
She didn't know Drake.  But she did know he could understand how she felt.  He flew among the stars.  She wished she could talk with Mister Matt.  Years of adoration, he and Mrs Koy definitely deities in her pantheon, kept her from seeking him out.  Besides, she had let them down.  She had let lots of people down, and it was easier to just stay distant, aloof, and play her part than seek help from those that knew her well.

Which brought her back to Drake.  He had offered a ship, yes.  But a larger ship with a crew.  Every day she was tempted to take him up on the offer just to get out to the welcoming embrace of space.  The heady thought of controlling a vessel past moons and planets, comets and mammoth ships caught her up in daydreams that slumped her in her desk at the acrobatic studio or at the foundation.

Dreams cost.  Was the cost this time her freedom?  The solitude of her own ship?  Or would it be taking orders?  Putting her life on the line for people who didn't even think of their safety being protected by the shadows among the starlight?

These questions liked to make their rounds as carefully as the nightwatch.  They sniffed at her hopes and flared light on her feelings, making them scurry into darker corners of herself.  Dark corners framed her ability to smile to the world, work her jobs, visit the foster homes, and persevere.

But they were there.  And they were growing.  She needed to fly.
Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven

Lirssa Sarengrave

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Re: Grounded Part 2
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 10:38:38 AM »
"What is you want, Ansel?"  It might be a loaded question, but Lirssa was in no mood to tip toe around.  She doubted Ansel had a mind to gloat over her misfortune.  Being shipless was a smirk over a shoulder kind of thing, not the formal letter he sent.  In fact, Lirssa was fairly certain he had help on the letter.  The sentences too precise.  The phrasing delicate.

"And a cheery good evening to you, too, Lulu," Ansel pushed a bottle of grape NeHi across the bar table as Lirssa took up the seat across from him.  He knew her latest favorite drink.  That put her on high alert.

Still, she managed, "Thanks," while curling her hands around the cool bottle.  She didn't drink, but watched Ansel as he took a deeper drink from his beer.  He was steeling himself to say something.  A rise and fall of his shoulders in time with a slowly released belching breath.  There was hops on the breeze.  Lirssa wrinkled her nose and took her own sip to banish the smell away.  

"Work with me."  Ansel offered no preamble.  That was more like him.  

She should have been grateful.  Thing is, preambles help the brain.  Lirssa's was stuck for a moment.  "What?"  Twice in one day she was caught off guard by people she thought she knew well -- including herself.

Ansel leaned forward with a little more eagerness and confidence.  She guessed he was bolstered by the fact she hadn't stabbed or punched him.  Reasonable.  "Look," he began, setting aside his beer, "you need to get flying again, and I can only manage so much on my own.  If we work together, you start saving for a ship, we get more lucrative jobs, and start to build a shipping dyn--" he cut himself off.

"Dynasty?"  Lirssa chuckled, then laughed outright.  "I think you mean conglomerate -- or -- well, something.  I'm not breeding with you, Ansel."

His teeth clenched, he sat back so hard the table shook.  "That isn't what I meant, and you know it.  You have male friends and co-workers.  Why would I be any different?"

"Why ask questions to which you already have the answers?"

"Stop being that way, Lirssa.  We've worked together before.  Nothing happened."

Lirssa narrowed eyes on him.  She couldn't believe he actually tried to say that with a straight face.  "Except you lying to me, us getting in a fight, and you pulling a gun on me?  Oh, yeah, nothing at all.  Let's not even mention a few months before that."

"It was a misunderstanding," he pulled at his beer again, looking away as a light pink tinge heated his cheeks. "And years ago.  Besides, it worked out."  Ansel looked down at his bottle.  "I thought we had become friends after that.  You pulled away from the ship I was piloting in that race."

She could not deny it.  Ansel was not someone she thought of as a friend, not one she admitted to.  But she did treat him like it.  The competition between them had been there for years.  Often bitter, including personal remarks at each other.  But that trip had changed things.  Could she do it again?

"So, short term?"  She started the negotiation.

"If you want."

"What I'll want is this written up in a nice, neat little contract.  No other misunderstandings that might get one of us killed."

Ansel's lips disappeared in the monstrosity he called a beard while he thought.  "Alright.  Can get Lily to write it up for a fair price."

"60-40."

"70-30."

"Let's not kid ourselves, Ansel.  You know I'm the better pilot.  Can negotiate pretty good fees with my name tagged along with yours."

"65-35," he countered, but he didn't argue her point.

It chaffed.  She really wanted that forty percent, but considering his risk was higher in each venture....  She nodded, "Ship maintenance out of your share."

"Granted, though you pay for your own meals and weaponry."

"I don't use blasters."

"Just defining contingencies."

Contingencies.  There would be some neither of them thought of, she knew that.  It was space.  It was the very definition of anything can happen.  But she had grown up in a town, now city, that could do that.  Who would have thought that cobble streets and half timber buildings would give way to steel and plastic?  That the modes of Stars End would infiltrate so deeply into the city?  Well, she supposed someone had.  But not everyone.  "I get a say in the jobs we accept."

"I don't think that'll be a problem, though I'm saying right now Boatswain isn't ever for hire from that crew Inferno runs."

"Hey-"

"Not ever."

There were few times that Lirssa had seen Ansel so adamant about something, but his entire body was leaning forward and his attention did not waver.  He pinned her with his gaze.

Lirssa took a moment to think about her instinctual objection.  It was more an honor and respect thing for Inferno than any true connection.  Add to that she was still sore with his denying taking her on full time, and she shrugged and nodded to the rule.

"Look, I've seen a good job posted for a few weeks out, but it is a long trip."  Ansel looked around the bar a moment.  It was modestly attended, but everyone was about their own business.

"Made shorter with two, like last time."

"Right. Only this time I can go into the bid knowing and stating my crew."

"Wait a minute -- your crew?  I'm not calling you Captain."

He stood up, smirking.  "Not yet,"

Standing up as well, "Not ever.  You just add that to the contract if you can't accept the word of it."

"Fine.  Our partnership."  He tipped the beer to her as he walked out of the small bar tucked next to the docks.

Lirssa followed out, looking up at the sky as ships tracked in and out of Stars End.  She wasn't sure she liked the term partnership either, but lacking another word, she smiled to the sky.  She was going to fly again.
Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven