Tuesday, October 12, 2010

[RP] Dreams in Salt, Part 1

He went to Ambika’s door just like last time, with three loud, even taps and a white rose in one hand. He’d not seen the priestess since the incident on the Echo Isles, and wasn’t sure that he wanted to now. It seemed wrong somehow to stand her up on their scheduled day, though, so he waited.

After several minutes and another set of knocks at the door, the troll was ready to give up. The fumbling click of a deadlock stopped him halfway through his first step back toward the stairwell. He turned and saw the diminutive priestess at the door. She wouldn’t look him in the eye.

“I didn’t know whether you would come back.”

He shrugged slightly. “Why wouldn’t I?”

She peered past him down the hallway, then pulled the door open further. “Please, come in.”

The apartment looked the same as it always had, except for a large bowl placed in the center of the table that dominated one side of the room. There was no slender vase waiting for his flowers this time. She waited for him to pass over the threshold and quietly shut the door behind him, taking care to fasten all four of the various locks.

He stepped just inside the landing, surveyed the room, then turned to Ambika. He held out the white rose. “Please, take it.”

She met his gaze for a moment with a flicker of irritation in her eyes and sighed. Plucking the stem gingerly from his fingers, she went to a low cupboard to retrieve her vase, dropped the rose inside and filled it with water.

Zana’zua remained rooted to the doormat. He watched her movements carefully, then cleared his throat. “Are you all right?”

“No.” She crossed over to the couch and sat, posture erect as usual even if her shoulders were slumped. “Shall we begin?”

Zana’zua smiled cautiously. “Would you like to talk first about why you are not all right?”

“Are you asking whether I would enjoy doing so? The answer is no.”

He frowned. “Would you like me to leave?”

Ambika folded her hands in her lap. The nails were bitten down to the quick and she sat looking at them for some time before answering. “I think that’s inadvisable.”

“Inadvisable for who?”

“Entirely for myself.” She cleared her throat.

“Ambika, I am not going to make you tell me what happened on that island. But I would appreciate it if you did.”

She raised her dark-ringed eyes and looked at him. Her skin was pale and her face pinched. “You had better sit. I need something to eat, then I will tell you what you need to know.”


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