Sharvani stared desolately at the corner of the inn room that her entire family was occupying. It was crowded with all but her father present, and her mother was clucking around annoyingly, “It’s such a shame that we couldn’t talk Piava and Inigo didn’t want to join us out here; the whole family could’ve stayed together that way.” Shar sighed inwardly; there was no point in complaining again that she had wanted to stay with them instead of coming out to this nowhere place in Andor.
“I’m going to go to my temporary workshop, Shar; keep an eye on the boys!” her mother called cheerfully as she departed the room. The young girl bit her lip and mused, ”Why did nanny have to go and stay back home? Why am I stuck having to watch the boys?!” Her head turned slightly to catch sight of her brothers playing in the cramped space between the beds. They had acquired some sticks, and were pretending to be fierce warriors, as young boys often did. And, of course, with mother out of the room, they chose to jump onto the beds and pretend they were fighting over a river.
“Stop it, you two!” Shar growled, spinning to face them, “Even if these are not our own beds, that doesn’t mean you two can go hopping around on them like madmen!”
“But Shar,” Rio protested, “We’re bored. There’s nothing to do in this room!”
“Well, go play outside or something; I don’t care,” she countered, turning back to stare at the wall.
“Momma gonna be mad if you aren’t watching us! She told you to watch us, and we don’t want to stay inside!” little Cid complained, eying his stick sword thoughtfully.
“And you’ve not left the room except to bathe since we got here a couple of days ago, Shar!” Rio spoke, bouncing over to his sister, “I want to go see what there is around here, and you’re going to take us.” He started tugging at her hand, and laughed in delight when Cid ran over and grabbed Shar’s other hand.
Glaring daggers, she ripped her hands free of her brothers’ smaller hands and turned to face them again, “Well, I am simply not interested in exploring this cesspit of madmen that Father’s fancy has dragged us into. I would much prefer to stay here until they see sense and send me back to So Habor to live with Paiva.”
Cid’s bottom lip began to tremble; an old presage to tears. Sighing, she bent down and hugged him tightly, “Hush Cid, hush… I guess we can go right outside the inn and you two can run around. Would that be okay for now?” A bright smile dawned on his small face as he nodded emphatically, and she couldn’t help but smile in response.
Standing, she went to her chest and fished out her small hand mirror. In spite of her self-chosen confinement, she had still taken care of herself – her chin-length hair was neatly held back with a headband, and the red around her eyes was pretty much faded from the first couple days of non-stop tears. Her dress was finely embroidered green wool, as was fitting for a well-off Altaran girl, and was accented by a low-slung belt & pouch dyed to match. She checked to make sure her dagger was belted on as well; she didn’t know anyone, and had heard some of the queerest stories about outlander men and their ideas of propriety.
Nodding in satisfaction, she turned to her brothers, who were snickering to each other. “What’s so funny?” she demanded; a flash of anger flickered in her eyes as she eyed the little boys. “Oh, nothing Shar, nothing,” Rio sniggered, only to be cut off by Cid, “Can we go outside now?!” Sighing in frustration, she stalked to the other side of the room and held the door open. Gesturing grandly yet sardonically, she had to bite back a small laugh as the two youngsters ran out of the room screaming happily. Shar rolled her eyes, and closed the door behind them.
Once outside the inn (and convincing the innkeeper that no one was dying, but that the boys were very happy), she grabbed their hands to keep them from running off and spoke forcefully, “I am going to sit down here on this bench, and you two can go as crazy as you want… as long as you stay where I can see you. Bad enough I have to play nursemaid, but it’s going to be death if I have to explain to Mother why one of you dolts has gone and vanished.”
The boys eyed each other and gulped slightly, but were back to their swordplay in a flash. Whooping, screaming and laughing, the boys darted around in front of the inn. Shar rolled her eyes and sighed, ”If only I could be so easily distracted…” Biting her lip, she tried to not think about anything at all, lest she start crying again.
12 January 2009 (10:40pm GMT)
Shar didn’t even have time to retort at the bold stranger who plopped down next to her, since he seemed to not understand balance, and immediately fell over. Raising an eyebrow, she turned around to her brothers, “That sort of behavior,” she gestured behind her towards the fallen figure as she spoke quietly, “Is not appropriate behavior for a gentleman. But still, I guess we should probably get someone to see to him, idiot or not.”
Herding the boys back into the inn, she sat them at the nearest table and cornered the first person she could find. This happened to be a serving girl, but the young Altaran woman politely explained about the idiot man outside who had fallen over and smacked his head, and could someone please assist him? The serving girl nodded and scurried off. Sighing softly, Shar pulled up a chair next to her brothers.
“I’m sorry you had to see someone hurt himself,” she said with a frown, “We can go back outside if you want to keep playing after they take care of him.” Rio and Cid nodded, and squirmed in their seats. They were definitely at that age where sitting still was the worst punishment that could be inflicted upon them, but knowing that this wasn’t their own home, they knew that acting out of line would be a quick way to upset their parents. Still, having to keep a literal eye on them or not, she wished she had brought a book down.
She sat there as the minutes passed, watching as the boys started to squirm more and more in their chairs. Grumbling, she stood back up, “I’m going to peek outside and see if they’ve taken that man off for treatment. DON’T MOVE!” Giving them a sharp glare, she nodded curtly and stepped to the door to peer out…
And immediately stepped backwards as the silly man who had injured himself was carted in on thin air itself and dumped unceremoniously on the ground. Stiffening, she turned back to the boys, who were peering with great interest. “Perhaps we should go back upstairs…” she started, trailing off as their peers turned into gapes.
Turning around, a different serving woman stood by in fright as the man on the ground had somehow acquired two bowls of food and a loaf shoved in his mouth. “What in the Light?!” Shar exclaimed to herself as she took a few steps backwards. Suddenly, the bowls were in the air, and the strange man was… juggling?!
Shaking her head, she suddenly noticed that her brothers had dashed in front of her and were clapping like silly fools. Before she could drag them upstairs, the strange man spoke, “Hungry?” He offered up one of the bowls, “It’s still good; I managed not to drop any.”
She blinked, grabbing her brothers by the arm and taking a few paces backwards, “No… no… I’m not hungry… and if you’re not crazy yet, you’re surely on the way there, sir!” Shooting him a defiant glance, she dropped Cid’s arm and clenched a dagger’s hilt in her fist. The poor fool was probably not going to harm them, but she wasn’t in the mood for any funny business at that exact moment.
11 February 2009 (10:35pm)
Sitting down, Shar narrowed her eyes at the older man, ”Who under the Light is he to tell me what to do and not do?!” She started to blush regardless; even her father never dressed her down like this, and in front of her brothers at that?! Admonishment about not clenching her dagger or not, she continued to glare hotly at this stranger.
He must have noticed her anger, this strange man, because before she knew it, she was trying to distract her brothers from listening in, ”He must not have had any siblings to not know that they’ll always listen in to this sort of thing!” Still, she felt perversely grateful, if still not comfortable with the situation.
Her eyes grew wide as another man intercepted her brothers before wandering over to where she was sitting. Giving him a hard stare, she wondered where her brothers were off to, and would have asked had she not been interrupted, “My Lady, I assure you that Storm Leader Covai is an honorable and just man. If you will not trust him then perhaps you will trust me. I swear on the grave of my wife may she rest in peace that you will not be harmed, but you must put that dagger away. I would also advise you to watch your choice of words. I stand surety for your safety and for the boys, but I caution you to choose your words and actions wisely.”
The rest of the man’s words were lost as what he said sunk in, “Storm.. Leader?! Oh Light, did I pick the wrong person to call crazy!” She shot Covai a slightly incredulous look across the table, and managed a wavering smile for the gentleman who was running off with her siblings.
Shar carefully moved both of her hands to the top of the table and did her best to refrain from tapping. She continued to look at Covai with incredulity in her eyes, but said nothing. After a long moment, she lowered her gaze and muttered, “Could’ve mentioned that you were one of the ma… men in charge of this place, rather than letting me make a fool of myself.” She sighed, and raised her eyes slowly, “And I do apologize for my rudeness, I’m just… I’m just not very happy, mind you. After all, how would you feel if you’d been uprooted to be a babysitter for your siblings? Me, a woman grown ‘well, nearly’ who had plans for her life. But did my parents care? Noooo.”
Shaking her head, she spotted her brothers and smiled in mild relief, “Not that you’re probably particularly interested in the homesickness of the daughter of a man who couldn’t make the cut, I’m sure.”